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Ave Imperator (Dune/Warhammer 40k)

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*Disclaimer
(Most of his Paul's dialoge i quotes from the Dune Books, I own none of it)

Rebirth


Paul Atredies bled out onto the throne room floor of Arrakeen, seen by most there as a blind Fremen Preacher.
His son Leto returned his water to the tribe, and spilled his mad sister Alia's on the open desert.

Paul had been a wanderer, a general, and an emperor. He never had the chance to be a father.

Paul died a former Emperor of the known galaxy, and the Fremen's Muad'dib.

But as he felt the pain of the chrysnife's poison fire along each nerve, the man was simply a man.
So Paul Atredies drew up a memory of Chani's face, and the smell of Sietch Tabar, and closed his eyes with a smile on his face, letting go of his destiny, and falling asleep for a final time.

Only to wake in agony. A trip down the gullet of Sha-Hulud itself would not hurt so. Paul thought.

He came to weakened and bound in an elaborate throne of patched-together machinery and gold workings.

Vast Powers and distant memories surged through his mind, and strange feelings through his heart until the men formerly known as the Emperor, and Paul Atredies became one person, unable to separate the Betrayal of Horus from Alia's coup on Arrakis in memory.

The Psychic peace of the bridge of a battleship in a becalmed Warp zone and the softness of Chani's hair became one, and the Emperor, who had been so long without a personal struggle, gave way for the Atredies who had loved his own family so well and fully.

Better to rise again a different man, than to repeat the same errors that landed me in this prison.

For the first time in Millenia, The Emperor opened his eyes.

The Adeptus Custodes straightened to attention, noticing eyes glowing bright blue, hard eyes, yet full of boundless compassion and pain.

As the Emperor coolly stripped aside the restraints of his Throne, veteran Space Marines knelt before him.

And Paul Muad'dib felt the immense power and peril behind his eyes as he extended an extended hand and bade them rise.

***

Cerith

 

Prorsday dawned on an unchanged Velga Hive, home to uncounted billions who lived, bled, and died without ever seeing the radiation-blighted landscape surrounding their home megacity, a legacy of the hard-fought Ork WAAAAGH! a century ago.

For Technician Supervisor Second Class Cerith Linner, it was a day like any other. She woke up in her family's small apartment before the buzzing of a much-repaired alarm clock woke the rest of her family. She bathed, dressed, and kissed her husband and children goodbye, sparing a brief prayer to the Emperor on Terra for the safety of her son Merrick, who had been conscripted to the guard two years before.

Nibbling on a sweetroll, (Merrick's favorite as a babe,) and remembering her son's face, Cerith Linner began her morning commute, the same commute she had done for over twenty-five years.

Thankfully the Gozsrt-Hirken Armaments Manufactrory was only a short tram ride away and Cerith made it into her office a comfortable ten minutes before morning bell.

It wasn't much of an office to be sure, a desk and two chairs facing it, plagued constantly by the rattle of pipes and the burnt ozone smell of dusty wiring, but for someone who started as a barely-educated line worker, it was an accomplishment. Next to spending time with her family, Cerith treasured the feeling of settling into the worn, comfortable seat, surrounded by pictprints of her family, giving the pict of Merrick in his recruit's uniform an affectionate pat before performing the rituals to activate her terminal and beginning to process output reports.

Coallating the numbers of lasguns produced and trying to re-purpose broken pieces for other tasks made for a challenging, monotonous day, requiring an eye for detail and a sharp awareness of how to encourage her workers without asking too much of them. In twenty years as a Tech-Super, Cerith's days had been unremarkable. She got to the factory, began work, and was done nearly before she realized, sending home happy, smiling workers, and making sure the hiver gangs didn't skim off too many lasgun parts.

Today was Prorsday, the weekly Velga Sector "Emperor's Day" in which special devotion was given in temples and in private each week, where each hiver, no matter the background was encouraged to reflect on the blessings in their life.

Cerith didn't know it yet, but this Prorsday would be different.
The battered hololith in the central chamber resolved into motes of light, and the factory proles went about their rote divinations, thankful for the break from work.

Unlike the standard message from the governor with his coat of arms and seal, and a divination, this message popped into being suddenly, with a presence to it Cerith couldn't-

It was Him. The Emperor. He had returned. Cerith thought for a moment about how glad she was that she had placed her morning cup of recaf on her desk before the broadcast before wondering if it was capital H “Heresy” to think about caffeine over the God-Emperor of Man.

She then resolved to stop worrying about it until she had heard the whole message.

Gone was the Terminator armor adorned with powerfists, the Emperor eschewed the golden panoply he was so often depicted with, donning a suit of beat-up brown carapace armor, his only weapons a battered bolt pistol on his hip, a sheathed power sword with ancient tracery, and finally, an unremarkable long knife.

In his eyes was written love and a terrible sadness as he addressed the pictoriator:

“This message is destined for all who see it, the loyal, the dammed, the xeno and the human alike.
To my people, I say only this: I have returned to lead you to the golden destiny we have fought and struggled for.
Times have been dark since I slept, and there is probably no more terrible instance of enlightenment than the one in which you discover your father is a man — with human flesh.

I tell you now, you cannot avoid the interplay of politics within an orthodox religion. This power struggle permeates the training, educating and disciplining of the orthodox community. Because of this pressure, the leaders of such a community inevitably must face that ultimate internal question: to succumb to complete opportunism as the price of maintaining their rule, or risk sacrificing themselves for the sake of the orthodox ethic.”

Cerith sat, along with trillions of others, spellbound at the quiet passion of her deity calmly destroying some of the longest-held tenets of their faith.

“There exists,” he said, “A limit to the force even the most powerful may apply without destroying themselves. Judging this limit is the true artistry of government. Misuse of power is the fatal sin. The law cannot be a tool of vengeance, never a hostage, nor a fortification against the martyrs it has created. You cannot threaten any individual and escape the consequences.

In my absence, some members of the Ecclesiarchs and Administratum have grown fat off of the sweat of your brows.
When law and duty are one, united by religion, you never become fully conscious, fully aware of yourself. You are always a little less than an individual.”

He paused, eyes downcast, and his voice held a catch. “On my honor, on the lives of my children, I have felt each death, necessary and unnecessary since my confinement. It has embedded itself in my conscience like a bundle of jagged thorns, and I say enough!

As I speak, messages and designs for a new order are being sent to sector commanders and governors. In order to birth an age of hope and prosperity again, I resolve here and now to restore you to greater power and less fear. You, the people! Join me in one final litany a litany against fear as we strive today to take back our life, our liberty, and our very humanity!”
Through the small window, Cerith saw her supervisors talking with their supervisors, frowning and gesticulating at a holoslate with the newly transmitted orders. They appeared to disagree with the orders and attempted to shut off the message.

The Hololith, as with all other hololiths manufactured had been hard-coded with certain authorizations.

On trillions of hololiths on millions of worlds, the Emperor's authorization was paramount.

“I must not fear, ” he said, “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.”

Cerith saw the Supervisors cluster behind plant security forces, and made her decision.

Grabbing her keyring, she walked to the arms test-locker on the wall, opened it with her key, and began handing out lasrifles and powerpacks to her coworkers, all the while repeating the Emperor's new Litany.

“I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

The Emperor's eyes grew hard, and his countenance rough.

“To those who would oppose us, from within and without, I say only this, Try looking into that place where you dare not look! You'll find me there, staring out at you!”

Ten million Ceriths on millions of worlds answered the call, and the Imperium bled as it cleansed itself.

The Inquisition was brought to heel, and overzealous members of Commissariat were tried and summarily executed while new leaders were promoted to replace the incompetent, the venal and the corrupt.

The Emperor was cleaning house.

He never again dispersed the Space Marines on combat operations. Instead they followed him in a massive legion, spearheading his campaigns, with regiments of the Imperial Guard, Tallarans, Valhallans, and other survivors of Death Worlds with rage in their eyes and something to prove following in their wake.

The Tau were the first to fall, and their technology was eagerly seized by a reformed Adeptus Mechanicus, purged so that those who valued learning and innovation were in charge.

On the flags of these victorious regiments, there was an addition to the imposing two-headed eagle.
It was a small mouse, capable of surviving the most brutal desert conditions.

To remind us, the commanded the Emperor, of how small We are, and how even in the hottest of days, a desperate traveler may follow it to water and shelter.
“We are all traveling this golden path together.” he said, “And are oft in need of shelter. The eagle is brave and stalwart, he said, “But the mouse is wise.”

In a dead language, the Emperor said, it was called the Muad'Dib.