Recently released as a 99p ‘quick read’, Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Heart of the Conqueror was first printed in the 2014 Horus Heresy Weekender programme where it sat alongside game rules for Heresy-era Navigators. That was surely no coincidence, focusing as it does on Nisha Andrasta, the Navigator responsible for Angron’s flagship The Conqueror. Set in the aftermath of Betrayer, it sees Andrasta looking back at her purity of purpose when she first joined the ship, and struggling to reconcile that with where she finds herself now.
For such a short piece this manages to cram an awful lot in, from Andrasta’s view on the changing face of the legion to an unsettling encounter with the primarch Lorgar, all wrapped up in a beautifully crafted, well-paced story. Dembski-Bowden has a way with some of his short stories of injecting tremendous pathos into unexpected situations, and this is no exception, full of sadness for times gone by and foreboding for what’s to come. Tonally this fits beautifully with the Heresy series as a whole, and like the best micro-shorts it takes an interesting perspective on events and wraps it up in a well-written, clever narrative. Top class.