The Death Guard are still somewhat under-represented in the Horus Heresy series, but Rob Sanders’ Distant Echoes of Old Night goes some way to filling that gap. Here we see Death Guard Chaplain Morgax Murnau as he leads a Destroyer squad through a dying world to finish off a detachment of Imperial Fists from a downed ship. The brutal, implacable Death Guard will have to use every awful weapon at their disposal if they are to prise the dug-in Imperial Fists from their tenacious defences.
It’s a simple story, like most great short stories, but what makes it work is the characters. Sanders paints the Death Guard as grim and dour, but also black-humoured despite their morbidity. Murnau burns with a disturbing fervour, relishing his duties and the death he sees around him, and while the Destroyers get little in the way of true depth they’re wonderfully gruesome and nicely embody the ethos of the Death Guard. They fight hard and they fight dirty, and the story fairly reeks of death and decay in a clever foreshadowing of what’s to come for the legion as a whole. It’s brutal, it’s bleak, and it’s a thoroughly entertaining story.