Day seventeen of Black Library’s 2016 Advent Calendar gives us The Aegidan Oath by LJ Goulding, a 40k short story…well, sort of. Set on Sotha at the turn of M32 it sees a pair of Ultramarines venture to Mount Pharos in search of Captain Oberdeii, the last of the Aegida Company. Almost a thousand years after the end of the Horus Heresy Oberdeii still holds to the oath he swore to his primarch, but times are changing in the rest of the galaxy. It’s time for the Ultramarines to finally remove the last reminder of Imperium Secundus.
A typical Goulding story, this deliberately sets out to answer a small but important question – why does nobody know about the Pharos in the 40k era? It’s quite a simple answer really, but one which makes for an elegant, powerful story that harks back to the Heresy (you recognise Oberdeii from Pharos, right?) while looking forward to 40k. There’s a rare feeling of melancholy here, a sense that Oberdeii represents, and understands, his Legion’s lost glory. Don’t expect loads of action or any mind-blowing revelations – what we get instead is a poignant story about duty and loyalty, packed full of little references and possibilities that set the mind awhirl.