And so it was, in the 38th Millennium, Lord Brishu came to Haramon to find the Great Crane, conquer it, and take its power and wisdom for a new Chapter of Space Marines.
Alone he landed, unarmored and weaponless, to test himself for the strength to lead.
“Please My Lord, at least take a Tactical Squad and a Thunderhawk! The warpstorms in the upper atmosphere will destroy your pod before it reaches the ground!”
“No, Mesarn, I will take the Drop Pod. I have my armor and my bolter; they will suffice. Dorn’s blood gives us the endurance to withstand the worst Chaos has to offer. But we are building a new Chapter here; and the Soul of a Chapter is a leader forged in the Fires of adversity. I will face this task alone.”
The Test of Earth
When Lord Brishu landed, Auchrael, Lord of the Mountain struck at him with fists of stone. The Great Crane told him to move in harmony with the demons attacks, thus avoiding them. But, Lord Brishu tried to match the demons strength and was struck down.
And so the Test of Earth was failed.
The old man wore a robe of sky blue. Woven into the sleeve in white silken thread, was the figure of a crane. He was leaning over his fire, checking the contents of his stewpot, when he heard it. He glanced about before finally looking skyward. “He’s a bit early.” he said, to no one in particular. Picking up his pot, he began to walk slowly, leaning on his staff, along the edge of the cliff, barely making it to a safe distance before the remains of the Drop Pod obliterated his hut.
Out of the wreckage staggered a tall armored figure, coughing and swearing, *cakf* “Bloody retros!!” *cafk*
Shortly, he straightened and began to survey his surroundings. The old man approached.
“Welcome, my Lord, to Haramon.”
Brishu glanced in his direction, and dusted off his armor.
“You’re honored, I’m sure.”
Brishu stepped towards the cliff edge and began to compare the terrain to his map readout.
“I know why you have come, My Lord. I can help you find what you seek.”
Brishu snorted, “You have no idea why I am here, old man.”
The old man smiled, “You seek the Great Crane. I can show you where to find him.”
Sneering, Brishu turned. “And where, O Wise One, would he be?”
The Old Man pointed down and to left. “There.”
When Brishu leaned over to look, the old man hooked his staff in front of Brishu’s ankle, and shoved. As Brishu tumbled down the cliff, he said, “My name is Orima, and as for wisdom, I am trying.”
The Test of Fire
As Lord Brishu tended to his wounds, a Flame Hound leapt upon his back and began to tear and sear his flesh. The Great Crane instructed him to enlist the aid of the water spirits, for they easily could have defeated it. But Lord Brishu would not parlay, and was burned.
And so the Test of Fire was failed.
Brishu staggered from the base of the cliff to the bank of the river, where his armor’s reactor spirit informed him of a coolant leak. Heat began to build, and the skin of his back began to blister, when the old man stepped from the tree line.
“If you remove your armor, it will be easier to repair. Also, you will live.”
Brishu spun in rage, “You! I know what you are! You are a servant of Chaos! First you attack me. Now, you try to trick me into removing my protection!”
“Chaos has no need of subtlety on this world, it is nearly theirs.” Orima said. “You however, ignore the practical, the obvious. You will need to observe, and react appropriately, if you hope to ever find the Great Crane.”
“I will find your head on the ground, deceiver!” Brishu spat. Then, he charged. With his fist raised to deliver a killing blow, Brishu closed on Orima in the blink of an eye.
Orima quietly stepped to the side, and struck the hip joint of Brishu’s armor with the tip of his staff. Brishu staggered as his armor seized up. As his paralyzed form fell into the river with a hiss of steam, Orima spoke.
The Test of Water
Barely alive, Brishu was swept away by the Water Spirits he so casually dismissed. The Great Crane showed him how to move with the Spirits, that he might survive their choking onslaught. But, he would not see.
And so the Test of Water was failed.
It took 15 minutes for Brishu to free his finger’s armor joints enough to begin dragging himself along the bottom. 45 minutes after that, his head broke the surface near shore. Orima sat on a rock nearby.
“The Emperor of Heaven gifted you many times over. Taking air from the water is one of the lesser gifts of all. Why do you squander those gifts?”
Brishu gasped, “Why haven’t you killed me yet? What plan do you have that requires the battering of my body, and not my death? Do you seek to turn me to the slavery of Chaos?”
“No, my Lord, I seek to aid you in your Salvation. But, time grows short.”
“My Salvation?! I’ve known the Emperor’s Grace for over two centuries! There is no aid you could giv… Wait! Why does the time grow short?” Brishu asked.
Orima stood and began to move closer. “The warp storms, in the upper atmosphere, do not remain there. In a few minutes, perhaps less, you will meet one of the more… troublesome… residents of this world. You are helpless, it will kill you.”
To his right Brishu saw a twist appear in midair, and the world began to turn in on itself.
“Under my left arm is the rune of openi…”
Orima knelt and began the proper sequence.
“How do you know how to…?!
Orima sighed, “I watch, I act. Hopefully, we are not too late.”
Then Orima rolled to the side as Brishu was swept into the air by 20 feet of leather and spikes.
The Test of Air
Weschael, Demon King of the Skies snatched Brishu into the air, clawing and rending. Higher and higher they rose, and Lord Brishu knew that he was lost. He would never find the Great Crane. Never take its Strength and Wisdom for his own. Never build a Chapter for the Emperor’s Will. The Demon released him to fall to his doom.
And so the Test of Air was failed.
The Demon flew higher and higher, doing its best to shred its prey. In desperation Brishu clung to its neck, for letting go meant certain death. Armor pieces rained down as the Beast ripped ceramite like cloth. Brishu knew he had failed. Who was he to stand against such power? Tendrils of the Warp clung to the abomination and coiled about Brishu as well. His grip began to weaken and the Demon was finally able to fling him away to his death.
The Test of Iron
Brishu struck the earth with the force of a thousand hammers.
And then he stood.
And so the Test of Iron was passed.
Brishu lay in a tangle of armor and broken flesh, warp energy clinging still to his scorched body, as the Demon circled lower and lower, enjoying its victim’s agony. Brishu, in his delirium, saw it getting closer and began to pray.
“I...have failed you…Lord Emperor. I swore an oath…to protect humanity in Your Name…but who could stand against a creature such as this?! No Chapter Master, nor marine, no civilian could hope to survive! This beast will slay tens of thousands before it is brought down!”
With that thought, Brishu saw the faces of every citizen of the Imperium he’d ever encountered; and found that he could not recall any of their features, not even Orima’s.
The Demon drifted closer.
“My Lord Emperor… I do not deserve your Grace… but I beg for the strength to stop this creature, so that no others must suffer.”
The demon struck from fifty feet in the air, crushing Brishu deeper in the dirt, before grabbing and hurling him into a boulder yards away. Once… twice… three times Brishu was tossed like a ragdoll before the Demon, growing bored, decided to finish him. It pinned him to the ground and stretched its maw towards Brishu’s face.
“…m..t..n..” Brishu whispered.
The beast cocked it head and leaned closer.
Warp energy coalesced about Brishu’s head and light, brighter than the sun, burned through his eyes and into the Demon’s head.
Lord Brishu realized that his lack of vision prevented him from performing his Duty to the Emperor of Heaven. With the Great Crane’s help he founded the Iron Cranes Chapter of the Emperor’s Space Marines.
And so the Future began.
Brishu awoke in darkness. He heard a quiet, measured step nearby.
“Yes, my Lord?”
“Am I dead?”
No, my Lord.”
“Is it night?”
“No, my Lord. You burned your eyes out when you slew the demon. I did not know you had psyker powers.” Orima said.
“Neither did I.” Brishu said. “Blind, then. I did not use them much before, anyway.”
“I believe you see a bit clearer now, my Lord.”
“I am a fool, Orima, and stop calling me that. I don’t deserve it.”
“Few deserve what they get, Brishu. Fewer still get what they deserve.”
“Orima, If I had eyes to see, and strength to swing, I would punch you in the face.”
“I will stay alert then.” He said. “Brishu, why did you come here?”
“To Found a new Chapter of the Emperor’s Space Marines.” Brishu said.
“To fight the enemies of the Imperium, obviously.” Brishu responded.
“Blast you, Orima! You know what daemons can do! Humanity doesn’t stand a chance if we don’t defend them from Chaos!” Brishu raged.
“So, you came here to defend people like me, from monsters like that?” Orima asked.
“… no thanks are necessary, Orima. This is what I was born to do.”
“But, it is given, my L…Brishu.” Orima said.
Orima pressed something into Brishu’s hand. “I believe this is the communications device from your armor. You should call your people for medical attention.” He began to walk away.
“Thank you, Orima.” Brishu said.
“…Would you teach me some more?” he asked.
“Of course, my Lord. It is what I was born to do.”
“Will it be as painful as this lesson was?” Brishu asked.
“Very likely. Come back tomorrow, we will start early.”