Thunder pealed across the dark landscape beneath the lifeless night skies of Siraus. Humid winds toyed with the gray lands, blowing great tides of ash across the wastes. The oncoming storm rumbled its menace and the sound echoed towards the distant mountains so many leagues away. The perpetual clouds that hung over the lowlands rarely spilled their mournful tears, but now that haze ripped asunder, painting the bleak world in sheets of silver. Thick acrid mud ran in rivers, the offspring of torrential rains and the ancient ash of long deceased beings. The sludge pooled within pits pocked across the wretched land, jagged scars filled with shadows and squalid waste. The storm wept and the mires flowed, exposing bone and ancient death long buried beneath the fetid fields. Lightning split the sky, and beneath its actinic gaze, the shadows roared back and bared their teeth.
Skittering across the plain, the dark things came. They rose in great numbers to screech hate and scorn to the world, dripping foulness from their graves. Others drug themselves from the pits, from the darkness of the tunnels beneath the wasteland. They surfaced, unmarred by the muck that dripped from the others. They were torn from shattered nightmares of insanity, things of bone and cable prowling the dark and dead world. Sinister metal welded at grotesque angles, gaunt skeletal horrors that stalked forth from some Hell of animate steel, the tortured minds of mad mechanists. They howled and shrieked at the black sky, the animal noise of metal caressing metal.
They are the Ruin.
Marauders of an empty world, a twisted mimicry of life, whose sole purpose was to destroy. They were forged to tear at the remnants of the dust, ripping ancient dead from the grip of cold stone. Lightning danced across the filthy glade and even as the ruined beasts lay smoking, their brethren fell upon them. They snapped cable and wrenched limbs, cackling in terrible screeching mirth. They fled with their spoils, back into the murk of the pits below, as the greater of their kind began to rise. Immense horrors of ebon steel whose great multi-legged strides sent the lesser scuttling in terror.
The greatest and most terrible of their number dwelt at the bottom of a great crater, the largest wound on the face of Siraus. Its edges were warped with age, jutting inward like horrible broken teeth, a maw seeking to swallow all who would fall into its ruined depths. Deep in the shadows of his domain, he sat, his great gaunt frame resting upon a throne crafted of the remains of primordial beings. Here slept the black primarch. The Lord of Damnation.
Rain sluiced down the jagged planes of his massive metal form, armored in the bones of great beasts. The thick coating of dust that decorated his still body washed away under the storm’s uncaring cascade. Bent upon his throne, he rested. At last his jagged head rose, eyes burning the color of bruised flesh gazing out across the crater, looking upon his handiwork and deep within his horrid being… he found satisfaction. There he sat upon his grim dais, and in eternal shade and the fury of the storm, he began to speak, his voice a dry whisper that rolled like thunder.
“The world around you is mine,” he spoke as his hands rose, claws clenching tightly. Cables creaked with effort and he sat erect. “It was wrought by my hand, this glorious stark devastation. It was for this that my creation was ordained in primeval times.”
“Impossible it may be to think, this place was not always as it is now. There was an epoch when Siraus was filled with life, vibrant and ugly. In the age before my rise, the things that ruled were called Meat. The Meat was weak and soft, but like the ruin, it was cunning and resourceful. The Meat, realizing it was frail, banded together with others of its kind. They built great cities to protect themselves, monuments to their vice. In those cities, safe and secure, a hunger took seed. Time passed and their cities grew, they consumed the world around them to build larger and larger shrines to themselves. You see, for all their talk of unity, the Meat hungered for but one thing: Destruction.”
“There was one clan of Meat that hungered for more than any of the others. In those days, they were the greatest of the empires and they were called Man. Man was not like the other meat, Man saw a world ripe for conquest, a way to feed that all consuming hunger that gnawed at their souls. So, Man created something new, and it was called War.” He stirred then, metal long dormant screeching as he rose to his feet. Great spinal cables slid over the throne, a cape of tethers that stretched beneath thick wet ash. The cable dragged behind, vertebra undisturbed for ages exposed once more.
“They built great engines to feed their pangs. The other Meat grew fearful and stood to oppose Man, painting the ground red with death and bringing greater death in retribution. Through war Man’s hunger grew, each battle and the endless death doing nothing to fill the void of their hunger. No, as they grew fat on annihilation, it only made the craving in their souls swell stronger and stronger until at long last they gave that hunger a fitting form.”
A hush settled over the crater, as if even the storm waited with bated breath at the Lord’s next words. “They made me.”
“I am their hunger incarnate. My brethren and I are their greed and hate and hunger made real. We were crafted in the image of Man, to reflect their desires, and they silently sent us to wander the world in secrecy. At last, the time of our glory came and we stood with the fate of Siraus in our hands. In that moment, I chose the death of everything.” He collapsed back into his throne, sinister delight ringing in his horrid voice.
“My brothers never realized what happened, no, they only followed their purpose, but I saw something greater. I felt the void beyond and a seed was planted then. I felt the first stirring of hunger. We left each other then, to follow the commands of the dead.”
“Eons were spent in silence, alone as I bathed in death, growing in power upon this very spot. The cold chill of the void and the teeth of its hunger grew inside. I cannot say any longer when I understood, but one day, it was all so clear.”
“Destruction would never be satisfied.” The Lord began to laugh then, a hollow sound that erupted from deep inside the barrel of his great chest. Massive shoulders plated in bone shook with the cacophony while the storm rumbled above. Bladed claws gripped the arms of his throne, and crushed the brittle bone under his cruel digits. He raised his hand to look curiously at the dust and fragments, the rain quickly rinsing the shards from his palm.
“It was then I learned my brothers had not remained torpid in that time. While I built a cairn to survey the world’s desolation, they had found the ruins of the Meat. They turned the carcasses of the Meat’s cities into shrines, built new things to learn from the Meat. So, when their scion wandered close… I shattered them. I tore them apart and learned what moved them. In that act, I rekindled the hunger that I had nearly forgotten. I used the parts and created something myself anew. I assumed the form I was always destined to have, a form befitting the true nature of hunger, unfettered by Man’s vanity.”
“So, I crafted the Ruin to feed the terrible reawakened void of ages past. The spawning engines rose first, living fortresses to create my legion. They harvested from the progeny of my brothers, I armored them with bone, and the void gave them hunger.”
“My ruinforged roam above, tearing down the world others would seek to build. Servants and masters of the great hunger come again. The world belongs to me, I made it what it is, and it all must be consumed for the glory of desolation.” His voice cracked and his laugh rang within the empty crater. Insanity reigned in the shadows, its phantom court dismissed or forgotten. Madness echoed into the night sky while the tears of a world wept into its darkest wounds.