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 from the SHADOW NARRATIVE of Barbosa:-

 By the measure of Mankind eight centuries had passed; during that time Basillius the Elder, unsparing judge and incumbent Ecclesiarch, accounting his mission accomplished and his purpose Purity not pride, relinquished his exalted office and retired to a hole-in-the-wall hermitage where he could live out his last days mouldering in Holy Obscurity - after this unaccountable act of Humility even those outside the ranks of the Imperial Guard and the Inquisition began to venerate him as a Saint all across the Imperium (all the more so when living memory of the purges, opponents lost to 'natural causes' and the fears he had honed to a pinnacle of paranoia began to die out).

The Judged, where they were remembered at all, were venerated as martyrs who had defied the Warp itself and proven themselves the very epitome of self-sacrifice in the Name of the Emperor and for the Honour of their Chapter, carrying the Aquila into the Eye of Terror itself and doubtless slaughtering multitudes of the Traitor Legions and other Archenemy populations all the while before their presumably-Glorious demise.

 In the one-hundred and twelfth year of M38, the Judged erupted from the Eye of Terror and Panic followed with them.

 The sheer Inconvenience of these survivors to those who had been pleased to consider them nothing more than a life-lesson in the pivotal role of self-sacrificing Suicide as a viable alternative to appeals for Due Process can only be called astonishing; it was presumed impossible for even Astartes to return untainted from a death-ride into the Immaterial Abyss and the Inquisition spared those elements of the Judged now returned from that most twisted crevice of Creation not one single consideration in all the intensity of scrutiny that followed - representatives from three Ordos of the Blessed Inquisition, my own Malleus foremost amongst them, subjected the Chorus of Eltain and the Prophets of Mercury and the Vorpal Swords to the most pitiless inspection, discovering (much to their astonishment) that these few survivors (of whom the slightly-more-than two hundred-strong Vorpal Swords were by far the largest part) were as pure as those Brothers of the Deathwatch and those others of the Astartes who had been called upon to ensure that these survivors could not only be constrained, but utterly destroyed if their Corruption were proven.

 What those who survived the Abyssal Crusade thought of all this inconvenience has, alas, gone unrecorded; unfortunately for the Inquisition what followed did not - Konvak Lann of the Vorpal Swords declared that not only had the Abyssal Crusade been a tragedy and a most brutal campaign (as was only to be expected) it had been founded upon a Betrayal: Basillius the Elder, that unrelenting scourge of heresy and disloyalty was himself a Traitor who had not only sent the Judged to their deaths but fully intended to set the seal on their Damnation.

 Had the Inquisition not been fully aware that the 'Saint' yet remained amongst the living at an impossible Age his claims might have been not merely dismissed but material evidence of Corruption - what other source of enlightenment other than those in service to the Ruinous Powers might be found at the heart of the Warp? - yet in truth the claims of Konvak Lann tied in all to neatly with the dark suspicions of the Blessed Inquisition, which has never been afraid to question the unquestionable and consider the unthinkable.

 Even so the Judged were inches from death; to permit them to live would be to tear away the mantle of martyrdom that had blinded the Imperium to the folly of the Abyssal Crusade and worse, would throw not only the sanctity of the Ecclesiarchy in all its works but the basic competence of the Inquisition itself into question.

 Worlds have burned that presented a lesser threat to the pivotal Institutions of the Imperium - many since have questioned why the Vorpal Swords and the few other survivors of the Judged that had rallied to them were permitted not only to live with such damaging knowledge but to very openly avenge themselves upon the Traitor Saint and publicly shatter his sanctity, but the truth is very simple: The Ordo Hereticus had lost control of one of its most potent puppets and the Hammer of Daemons were unwilling to permit their failure to cost the Imperium warriors of invaluable temper in its Long War against the Warp in all it's manifestations - thankfully the Ordo Xenos were persuaded to see things our Way, for once in their careless, alien-bothering existence.

 To cut one long story short so that another might be told, the Vorpal Swords were committed to an Inquisitorial Strike-Force alongside their fellow survivors as an impromptu trial by combat - triumph and they would be proven Pure beyond dispute, fail and they themselves would be deemed the Traitors: committed to an attack against the World-Hermitage of Vasilika they encountered fanatical resistance from zealous devotees of the Traitor Saint (with all the armed power that elements within the Ecclesiarchy and Imperial Guard could offer their own beloved saint ... even if they expected to be guarding his relics, rather than his living person) but carried all before them, though the last voices in the Chorus of Eltain were silenced as they helped grind through the death zone of the defences and the last Prophet of Mercury perished giving his life to open the Ultimate Gate (having slipped through the defences to the appropriate controls, the defenders finally caught up with him and reduced him to charnel, but were themselves fatally distracted in the process).

 Confronting the Traitor Saint at long last they could not claim to have encountered any sign of the Ruinous Powers; the withered Basillius was found seated, an island of peaceable distraction amidst the fire and fury and smoking ruin of the assault, was confronted with his treachery by Chapter Master Lann and for a moment looked on the brink of some enormous outburst of indignation, as pious as it was geriatric ... but then "something changed in his face, that all-encompassing indignation like the first tremor of an earthquake replaced in a flicker of amusement with a hideous amiability - "did I play my part in the comedy well?" he asked and died laughing as Konvak Lann suited action to Chapter Words."

 How then did an apostle of the Ruinous Powers not only infiltrate the ranks of the Faith Imperial and Triumphant without being weeded out, but ascend to the very pinnacle of power over that Institution (and far more of the Imperium besides) without being incinerated, decapitated or otherwise eliminated after being exposed through the rigorous scrutiny of the Blessed Inquisition (the very founding purpose of which is to avert such travesties) before subjecting the Judged and other Loyal victims uncountable to his tender mercies?

 In truth we planted him there - or rather the Hereticus found in the adopted son of some Guard Regiment with tendencies to disloyalty the Void-born son of disgraced naval Armsmen who had mutinied outright, a young man whose own Heretical tendencies were washed away as the Inquisitor who uncovered this little iconoclast elected to make use of him as something other than a roast (at the instigation of his pet assassin, Miro the full brother of Basillius, some claim); Mind-wiped into unwavering loyalty to HIM on Earth and a most useful agent of the Inquisition, he reduced his old regiment not only to compliance but to a fever of zealotry and began to make his name as an Inspiration throughout the Imperial Guard.

 His ever-increasing popularity with The Guard and the steadily increasing pitch of their fervent devotion opened up new possibilities for the exploitation of this asset; setting him to climb the ranks of the Ecclesiarchy (aided by his battle-won allies in the Adeptus Astartes and the Inquistiion), the occasional loss of his opponents to 'Natural Causes' no more than the common stuff of Politics at this level of the Imperial Hierarchy, Basillius the Confessor became Basillius the Ecclesiarch (with the Ecclesiarchal Purges to propel him still higher than could ever have been dreamed of) and the Hereticus achieved the summit of their power through his influence.

 How the Guiltless suffered with the Guilty! But how then did the puppet weave a web of Treachery that cost the Imperium perhaps Twenty Nine full chapters, despite - or perhaps FROM - the steely strings by which a domineering master dangled him?

 Perhaps Warp Storm Dionys unleashed some little spark of Chaos into his fractured consciousness that twisted his mind into Traitor Darkness? Perhaps having achieved their purpose his handlers grew complacent and allowed him too free a hand? (unlikely, I know); perhaps Basillius rose a little TOO high for easy handling, the controls required to maintain his loyalty impossible to impose with all the scrutiny of the Faithful in Mankind fixed upon him? Perhaps he simply looked within himself one day and found the smooth certainty of his mind cracked from side to side, then began to fill those cracks with something else?

 Perhaps he never was a Traitor and a Heretic, but did EXACTLY as the Hereticus commanded him from first to last (even to the massive elimination of the Astartes that was the Abyssal Crusade ... all the better to trigger a Founding to replace them that might be shaped to suit the requirements of Imperial Othrodoxy).

 Only the Traitor Saint can ever know all the harm he knowingly did, but the Judged remain the most obvious evidence of his treachery - of Thirty Chapters Judged and committed to the Abyssal Crusade only the Vorpal Swords remain loyal beyond question; the Chorus of Eltain and the Ancient Prophets of Mercury perished as Martyrs, the Fists of Olchis were lost to the Warp and a fourth remains in question, for the Blades Eternal have yet to prove themselves Loyal or Traitor undoubted.

 All the rest were not only Lost to the Warp, but twisted beyond all recognition into an Elite amongst the Archenemy, such a gift to the Ruinous Powers as had not been made since the Horus Heresy - of the damage wrecked across the Imperium in service to Chaos, in the name of mere anarchy or for the sake of Revenge there is already too much more to be told for me to relate here in any brevity.

 I fear that there will be much, much more to tell before the last of the Judged are brought to their end.
  

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Libra1010
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A man with a graphic imagination inconvenienced by the fact his artistic skills do not extend to the depiction of the Human Figure (and are indeed stretched to the limit by stick figures!), but delighted to discover and explore such a trove of works by the infinitely more skilled.
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:iconwolki:
Wolki Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2016  Hobbyist
Thanks for the fav!^^
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2016
 The pleasure is mine.Nod 
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your services are hereby needed, my Lord Libra.

Suggest me something ASoIaF to paint. Whatever and everything you think I could depict and portray properly.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2016
My dear Master Oznerol, please forgive me; I had intend to post more and sooner but the computer failed me and so I can only ask for your pardon - I hate to keep my best friend on deviantArt.com waiting for so long and then send so little.

 I shall do my best to send more as it occurs to me (assuming I can find a more co-operative computer!):

 The image that has occurred to me is, in fact, from THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE rather than the novels themselves. I have always found the mental image of Queen Visenya's acquisition of the Vale with no more than an implicit threat very arresting - the Dark Sister with a small and secret smile on her normally-severe features, sitting straight-backed with little King Ronnel perched on her knee like a favourite nephew and in all innocence making friends very enthusiastically with this mysterious, lovely lady who has flown onto his life ON A DRAGON! (even as his own lovely mother the Queen Dowager locks eyes with the rival who has just rendered House Arryn completely defenceless and somehow remains the picture of courteous dignity and poise - even as her hands threaten to shake so badly that she much clutch her gown with a death-grip to avoid shaming herself).

 An image of this moment in the History of the Seven Kingdoms could very well be a triumph of misleading friendliness undermined (perhaps underpinned) by hidden tensions through the excellent work of your own artistic skills Master Oznerol.

 Stay Well and if you don't like this idea, then please send to me again and I shall try to think up another.Nod    
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I was actually worried, thought something had happened to my staunchest follower. Glad that it isn't so.

Well, it is a really interesting suggestion, Visenya would be exciting to draw, clad in mail and plate, in dire contrast with the Arryn queen, dressed in rich courtly robes, a splendid brocade gown and a crown on her temples. I'd have to twist the idea in order to save me time and sweat, as the context would complex and grandilocuent: a dragon, several characters (including a child, which is extremely difficult to portray) and the Eyrie around them. I'll have to doodle and sketch around. 

Give me moar suggestions, moar! I'm hungry of ideas and lately mine haven't been overflowing. I have a personal piece on the works, around a historical character. I'm even doing research to depict him more accurately and a preliminar piece on paper and by pencil has already been done. I shall do it digitally soon enough, I hope.
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2016
 Master Oznerol, I shall do my very best to come up with more Good Ideas by your command (by the way, my idea for the Two Queens and the King Who Flew - working title - was that you would focus on Queen Visenya, Queen Shara and King Ronnel exclusively, rather than adding superfluous details like Vhagar and the Aerie; I thought that The Dark Sister was more than intimidating enough in her own right, especially if she were drawn as being closer to the Point of View in this particular picture, to make her seem to tower over the last Queen of Mountain and Vale).

 So far as other ideas for TWOIF pictures go, one thought that occurs to me is that it might be interesting to show King Viserys I in his element as the Peacemaker King - standing between either Prince Daemon and Ser Otto Hightower or Queen Alicent and Princess Rhaenyra with an arm thrown around both of them, smothering their hostility with sheer physical presence and that enormous weight of raw goodwill he carries around like a favourite Teddy Bear.

 I have to admit that I've always been fond of the idea that, like Prince Aemond to King Aegon II, The Rogue Prince was "half the size, but twice as fierce" when compared to King Viserys I and it amuses me to no end when I imagine the Young King keeping Prince Daemon very firmly under his thumb by half-smothering him with his demonstrations of Brotherly Love even as he takes him into his confidence (like a cross between Father Christmas and the younger Henry VIII).
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:iconoznerol-1516:
Oznerol-1516 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Merry Christmas, Libra!
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:iconlibra1010:
Libra1010 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2016
 ... and a Happy New Year to you Master Oznerol; may your projects prosper and may you remain very well yourself!:) (Smile) 
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:iconuszatyarbuz:
UszatyArbuz Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2015   Digital Artist
Thankstext by UszatyArbuz
Kiwi bird by UszatyArbuz
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:iconjakarnilson:
JakarNilson Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2015
Thanks for the fave!
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