In Graham McNeill’s Primarchs short story The Ancient Awaits, set centuries after the Heresy, a trio of Thousand Sons are commanded by Magnus the Red to seek out the source of a faint prophetic vision. Eventually reaching a barren, unnamed world Vistario and his brothers find the remnants of a city long destroyed, beneath which waits the origin of the faint psychic beacon which has drawn them inevitably across time and space. Venturing down beneath the ruined city they find the truth of what happened to the devastated world, and an unexpected presence.
Tonally familiar to McNeill’s other Thousand Sons tales in the Heresy series, there are interesting glimpses here of these warriors’ frosty relationship with a distant Magnus, and their perspective on the Heresy. It’s a story that harks back to earlier events, and which gradually reveals its purpose as Vistario and his brothers progress. It’s perhaps a touch predictable towards the end, with a cool reveal that leads into a twist which, while entirely character-appropriate, feels rather telegraphed. There’s also a slightly strange final note that feels a little…blunt. That being said it’s still an enjoyable and typically well-constructed story overall, with a couple of crowd-pleasing inclusions.
At present The Ancient Awakes is only available in the event-only Sons of the Emperor anthology.