ADVANTAGES

Taken from the battlefield by a cadre of his veterans, he had clung to life through sheer force of will, despite being reduced to an unrecognizable heap of charred flesh and armour and missing most of the right side of his body. Bearing the broken body of their lord, the last of the Astral Claws fled. Only a contingent of about two hundred of the renegade Astral Claws, now devotees of , managed to fight their way through the ' blockade and escaped into deep space, taking refuge in the hellish realm known as the Maelstrom, joining the horde of aliens, renegades and heretics that made the Maelstrom their lair. There, amongst the Warp-saturated clouds of dust and gas, the and laboured over the remains of Huron for seven days and nights. On the eighth day, Huron rose and looked on what remained of his Chapter. He saw a ragged band of loyal warriors, a last remnant of a past that was now dead. Barely a company's strength had survived the fall of the Palace of Thorns. Amongst them stood veterans and new initiates alike. And when his brothers looked back what did they see? A walking body of scar tissue and machinery, its wound-chewed face twitching from an agony held back by his iron will. Without a word the Astral Claws knelt to Huron then and there. He beheld his remaining warriors in silence and, through the film of pain and near-death madness, saw a new path for him and his brothers. He spoke then, telling them to rise, to strike out the symbols of loyalty to the Imperium which had betrayed them, and to paint their armour red for the blood of their murdered brothers. They would survive, he said, and they would rise. In that moment, the survivors of Badab shed their last tattered scraps of honour. The Astral Claws were no more -- only their bloody shadows remained, clad in the crimson that would give them their name: they were , and if they could not live in honour they would rule in hell. The Tyrant ordered his fleet to seek a new world to conquer. By the twelfth day Huron could stand and don his once more. His fanatical followers hailed his recovery as a miracle, but if it was any kind of miracle, it was a dark one.

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