On the ninth day of Christmas Black Library gave to us…a Flesh Tearers short story by Andy Smillie. A Son’s Burden follows Captain Temel as he leads a force of Scouts on a mission behind the Archenemy lines, while Chapter Master Seth and his closest advisors wait impatiently to attack. Outmatched by the Traitor marines they face, the Scouts are forced to rely on stealth instead of brute force, duty to the mission and to their brothers overriding their desire for blood.
As befits a Flesh Tearers story there’s plenty of blood spilled here, despite the lack of chainblades on show, but it’s far from a straight-up combat story. While the Flesh Tearers are often seen as blood-crazed berserkers, here Andy Smillie looks closer at their discipline and sense of duty, and their ingrained ability for self-sacrifice. As a Shield of Baal story this also links in with the threat that hangs over Baal, the spiritual (if not actual) home of the Flesh Tearers, and explores a little of the relationship they have with their founding chapter. It’s another excellent addition to Smillie’s Flesh Tearers series, and hints at some interesting events on the horizon.