My voice carries with ease, amplified by my helm. The crowd quietens, and Hel's Highway falls silent. I am reminded, against my will, of the impenetrable silence beneath the mountain of marble and rockcrete when the Temple came down upon us all.

'We are judged in life,' I tell them, 'for the evil we destroy.'

Never my words. Always Mordred's.

For the first time, I have an answer to them. A greater understanding. And my mentor… You were wrong. Forgive me, that it took so long to leave your shadow and realise it. Forgive me, that it took the deaths of my brothers to learn the lesson they each tried to teach me while they yet drew breath.

Artarion. Priamus. Bastilan. Cador. Nero.

Forgive me for living, while you all lie cold and still.

'We are judged in life for the evil we destroy. It is a bleak truth, that there is nothing but blood awaiting us in the spaces between the stars. But the Emperor sees all that transpires in His domain. And we are judged equally for the illumination we bring to the blackest nights. We are judged in life for those moments we spill light into the darkest reaches of His Imperium. Your world taught me this. Your world, and the war that brought me here.

'These are your relics. The last treasures of the first men and women ever to set foot upon your world. They are the most precious treasures of your ancestors, and they are yours by right of legacy and blood.

'I return them to you from the edge of destruction. And I thank you not only for the honour of standing by the people of this city, but for the lessons I have learned. My brothers in orbit have asked me why I dragged these relics from beneath the fallen Temple. But you have no need to ask, for you each already know the answer. They are
and no alien beast will deny the people of this world the inheritance they deserve.

'I dragged these relics back into the sunlight for you - to honour you, and to thank you all. And in humility now, I return them to you.'

This time, when the cheers come, they are shaped by the orator. He uses the title I swore to High Marshal Helbrecht, standing before Mordred's statue, that I would not refuse when it was formally awarded to me.

am told,' the High Marshal had said afterwards, 'that Yarrick and Kurov have spoken with the Ecclesiarchy. You are being given the relics, to carry Helsreach's memory and honour with you, in the Eternal Crusade.'

'When I return to the surface, I will offer the icons back to the people.'

'Mordred would not have done so,' Helbrecht said, masking any emotion, any judgement, from me.

'I am not Mordred,' I told my liege. 'And the people deserve the choice. It is for them that we waged that war, for them and their world. Not purely for the holy reaping of inhuman life.'

And I wonder now, as they chant my new title, what they will decide to do with the relics.

Hero of Helsreach,
the crowd cheers.

As if there is only one.

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