Later on, remember these smaller details of the Crusade: those pict-captures that became famous; songs that became familiar; stories of victories, of glory, of heroes. Those details which entered our worlds’ shared histories; details that bound a fearful Imperial sector back together after the dreadful years of the galaxy tearing open.
See them now: Winding queues of young citizens, waiting impatiently in the wan autumn light of Vossk. They chatter excitedly, rubbing their hands in the cold; cheeks ruddy, eyes bright. The line already stretches from the recruitment post to the town forum. It is hundreds strong and growing.
That famous expression captured and enlarged and plastered across the sector’s agitprop posters: a father’s sorrow, badly-hidden beneath pride and excitement. Both tall, strikingly handsome, the older man gazes at his son. The pict-capture has frozen the two in the break of an embrace – the young man uniformed, already turning, stepping away, his eyes bold, seeing far-off excitement in the stars.
Drawn by such agit-prop, more flock to the banner; both from within and without the Sector. Hive-dwellers of Prominus IV. Soft-eyed Lamb’s Worlders. North Star hypercapitalists. Ha’quan nomads. The indigent Iron Stave. Elirian glory-hounds. The half-men of Nares… a list of heroism and infamy.
The arrival at Cetus – the War-barge Madrigal, its battered, indomitable surface glittering in the warm light of the system’s star. A bull of a warcraft, heavyset and bristling. The rumours are true: Cadian Last. Cadian Last! Hard-bitten veterans, weaned on war; an eminently suitable vanguard for Warmaster Augustus.
A dozen such regiments. A hundred such images. More.
Parades, posters, pomp and pride. Marching bands; priestly exhortations; promises from governors and administrators; increased wages at the factora; sweating, grinning workers turning out arms and armour – all repeated across the sector, from Galvinax to Balto; and all as a quiet susurrus builds into a triumphant shout: Crusade!
Later on, remember these smaller details of the Crusade. They are what we can cling to.
Do not remember the horrors.
Put the memory of the Yranus Landings aside. Forget the ill-fated Operation Belladonna. Let the dead lie still, and the manner of their deaths be soothed by the salve of history.
And whatever you do, do not speak the black name of Xiah Hesh.
The roll call of the General Staff:
#theaugustinecrusade #augustinecrusade #findxiahhesh