Beginning with the first novella Tallarn : Executioner, the story of the Battle of Tallarn has developed into a mini-series of its own within the Horus Heresy, with John French’s micro-short Tallarn : Witness capping everything off. Set in the aftermath of the battle’s conclusion, it sees the new governor of Tallarn surveying the desolate surface of his world from the bridge of a Titan, and considering the cost that the victors have paid for their success.
The theme of these Tallarn stories really seems to have been the futility of the whole campaign, especially for the Imperial side. Witness carries on with this theme, imbued as it is with a strong sense of sadness at what has been lost, even though the battle has been won. It’s only a short little story, and at first read it doesn’t appear to offer much that the other releases didn’t already cover; spend a little time with it though, and this atmosphere of sadness and futility really hits home. It’s a metaphor for the Heresy as a whole – victory must be achieved, whatever the cost. Another fine example of John French’s powerful storytelling, and a fitting way to bring the Tallarn arc to a close.