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Heartwarming / Horus Heresy

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Even in the Darkest Hour of humanity, where all seems doomed and pointless, there are sparks of hope.

WARNING: Unmarked spoilers ahead!

  • The general concept of Flight of the Eisenstein, in which Captain Garro remains loyal to the Emperor even as the rest of the Death Guard falls to Chaos and risks almost certain death to Bring News Back and give the loyalists time to rally in the face of Horus' betrayal.
  • The end of Ben Counter's novel Galaxy In Flames. They survived the virus-bombing, they had inflicted serious damage in ground fighting, and now they are being bombed to death. Tarvitz had desperately gotten to the betrayed Emperor's Children so that he could die with his brothers, in defiance of the breaking of brotherhood that Horus had imposed on them, but at the end, he looks about the survivors — Emperor's Children, Luna Wolves, World-Eaters — and realizes that he knows all their names, and that men who had been only faces to him had become his brothers. One asked them if they had harmed Horus, and Tarvitz assured him they had.
    • Saul Tarvitz and Nathaniel Garro, Blood Brothers: Nathaniel Garro, the loyalist Death Guard shooting down the fighters pursuing Saul Tarvitz, one of the last loyalist Emperor's Children Space Marines, willing to risk death to protect him because of his absolute love and faith in his sworn brother of another legion.
  • Sindermann defiantly broadcasting a sermon of Peace and Tolerance through the War Fleet of The 63rd Expedition, pleading for the Love and Kindness left in humanity, stubbornly defying Horus' megalomania, not to mention the seemingly-hopeless Grimdark of the 40K universe.
  • The arguments between Garro and Varren in Legion of One and how Cerberus is convinced to stand down, despite being driven utterly insane by months of fighting and the events of Isstvan III. "The Emperor Protects."
  • The Outcast Dead features possibly the nicest depiction of the Emperor seen thus far, although that must be taken relatively. He only interacts with Kai Zulane, a thoroughly traumatised and frightened astropath, and tries to comfort him. He also makes a first in admitting weakness in that he can't know everything or do anything he likes. For the first time ever, the Emperor seemed less like a distant amoral psychic god, and more like a human being capable of relating to others.
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  • In Know No Fear, the anonymous narrator pauses for a moment to explain the other meaning of the "Mark" of Calth.
    Secondly, the "mark" of Calth refers to the solar radiation burns suffered by many of the combatants, principally the human (specifically non-transhuman) troops. The last of these veterans to die, many years later, still refuse graft repair and wear the mark proudly.
  • The final conversation of Ultramarine Captain Ventanus and Skitarii Arook in Know No Fear. Two warriors from two very different cultures, who had just won a desperate battle against the treacherous foe. Two men who are about to part ways, knowing they will never see each other again.
    Ventanus: We march for Macragge.
    Arook: We stand for Mars. *pause* It means the same thing.
  • Kharn, suprisingly, demonstrates a true brotherhood with Argel Tal. Argel Tal even describes him thusly: "He is the last brother I have yet to fail and has yet to fail me." In battle, Argel Tal continuously guards Kharn from death, deflecting blades, bolts and spears with no regard for himself. Considering what happens to Argel Tal, it is no wonder Kharn allowed himself to be lost to Khorne's will and the Nails.
  • Lorgar also demonstrates surprising compassion in the story with Angron, seeming to be the only Primarch interested in saving him from the Butcher's Nails. While he is vocal in his criticism of Angron and his Legion, he tries to find a way to spare him pain. He did, in a way.
    • Angron returns the favour in his unique way when he, while in the process of ascending to daemonhood, rushes to Lorgar's aid in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Argel Tal's utter devotion to Cyrene, even after her death, means he reacts poorly to people speaking ill of her. Angron is no exception.
    • And connected to this, when Cyrene is resurrected by Erebus, Argel Tal's first response to her return to life is: "You can see?"Important, because Cyrene was blinded in the past, and it says a lot that Argel Tal would notice it"
  • Four words from The Unremembered Empire - "We march for Macragge!"
    • Made heartwarming by the fact it is not said by the Ultramarines. It is instead said in unison by legionnaires from the White Scars, Iron Hands, Raven Guard, Space Wolves, Salamanders, and Imperial Fists who were coming to Guilliman's aid. And they say it to a frail old woman who is the equivalent of Guilliman's mother.
    • Another bit from The Unremembered Empire that takes some explaining: When Konrad Curze went on a rampage in the Fortress of Hera, it was believed that he killed Roboute Guilliman and Lion El'Jonson, but they were saved when Alexis Polux and Barabas Dantioch, using the Pharos, a piece of xeno-tech implied to be a precursor to the Eldar webway, pulled them all the way to Sotha, because the device's empathic resonance field felt the two loyalists' need to save the primarchs. When Sotha reestablishes real-time contact with Macragge, Lion El'Jonson has trouble passing back to Macragge. Tarasha Euten then informs Guilliman that Curze nearly killed her, and he walks through the field and back to Macragge without even realizing it. How? He needed to make sure his mother was okay.
    • Let's not forget Dantioch and Polux, who become fast friends, despite being an Iron Warrior and an Imperial Fist. In fact, the ability of Pharos to transport people gets discovered because Dantioch wanted to get Polux to safety so badly.
    • The way the Lion greets Guilliman when he lands on Macragge. After their respective forces perform shows of drill and strength and Guilliman's slight envy of Dark Angels, and knowing that El'Jonson is known for secretiveness and aloofness, we'd expect some formal shake of hands. Instead, Lion embraces Roboute in a bear hug.
    • Later, Guilliman is giving the Lion a tour of the Fortress of Hera, and shows him a special chamber which he had built in anticipation of the day when the Crusade was done. It contains a great table and chairs built for the Emperor and all eighteen of the primarchs. The traitor primarchs' chairs are still draped with the banners of their legions, and even the lost primarchs have their places at the table. The Lion is genuinely moved by the sentiment Guilliman has displayed in creating such a place.
    Lion el'Jonson: You still believe in a day where all of us, all of us, can sit at a table with our father, as equals, and talk of matters of empire.
  • The Wolf of Ash and Fire:
    ‘I was there,’ he would say, right up until the day he died, after which he spoke only infrequently. ‘I was there the day Horus saved the Emperor.
    • Really the entire story is a Heartwarming Moment for Horus and the Emperor, the father-son relationship that all the sources talked about is finally shown. Not to mention Horus leaping into a chasm without any hesitation to follow the Emperor as he fell. Which is also why the entire story is also a Tear Jerker, because we are finally seeing exactly what will soon be poisoned and destroyed by Chaos.
  • Scars
    • The sheer amount of restraint that the White Scars exercise when the conflict between those who favor Horus and those who favor Terra inevitably comes to a head. No active purge of its members via surprise betrayal, like the Luna Wolves, Emperor's Children, Death Guard, or World Eaters. No for the Evulz dog-kicking like the other traitor legions at Isstvan. Just a sudden surprise takeover that would have succeeded relatively bloodlessly if it weren't for a meddling human and an observant loyalist Khan, who in turn tries to avoid killing his fellow comrades if at all possible even as he's fighting his way to the legion flagship. Not to mention the only reason Chaos ever came close to subverting the legion was by manipulating their natural trust for those they consider Blood Brothers, as well as how it is ultimately resolved not by a bloodbath but by Jaghatai Khan and Targutai Yesugei arriving in time to reveal the truth that they spent half the book uncovering. Turns out Ignace Karkasy was right, back in Horus Rising: the truth is all we have.
  • Vengeful Spirit:
    • The Perpetual Alivia Sureka and her adopted little girls Miska and Vivyen. Her relationship with them is a Heartwarming Moment as she uses her psyker powers to make sure they escape Molech, and when she survives to join them. The book ends with all three of them reading The Little Mermaid. Made this troper smile.
  • Fulgrim, seemingly genuinely, complimenting Perturabo's vision of a rebuilt Olympia towards the end of Angel Exterminatus. Given that by this stage Fulgrim is not only a colossal bastard, but has spent most of the book trying to use Perturabo's life energy to ascend to daemonhood, it's surprisingly touching.
  • The audio-drama Honour To The Dead has a squad of Ultramarines - a Legion often characterised as being prideful and arrogant - in the middle of the battle of Calth - the worst disaster to befall their Legion - helping a random woman and her baby get to safety, simply because it's the right thing to do.
    • A bit of 40k knowledge makes this even better; one of those Ultramarines would go on to become a Chapter Master of one of the first Ultramarine Successors, the Doom Eagles. A chapter that while being morbid, is also one of the few chapters that truly does care about protecting the people of the Imperium, and it was the moment where their leader saved an innocent child that their creed was born.
  • In the shortstory 'Unmarked', we get to see more about Oll Persson and company. To keep them all together facing a demon, first he asks of them to have faith, or in minimum, belief in somenthing. What really makes it work is when they all start singing O Lord and Master of Mankind, which is most likely derived from the prayer O Lord and Master of My Life which is about dealing with sins.
  • An awesome one for Lorgar before his fall to Chaos. In A Thousand Sons we see him defending Magnus during Leman Russ' rampage over Phoenix Crag. For context, Magnus and his legion struggle to protect Phoenix Crag's great Library, while Leman Russ' Wolves charges through the Thousand Sons barraging in an attempt to get in and destroy it. Hastar succumbs to the flesh change as Magnus embraces him to comfort him, only for Leman Russ to gun him down. During the Primarchs first confrontation, as Ahriman notes with murder in their hearts, amids their dispute, Lorgar teleports in and convinces Leman and his wolves as well as Magnus and his sons to stand down with his lavish but reasonable speech alone. Lorgar's entrance was indirectly described to be full of sorrow upon seeing his brothers this way.
  • Sanguinius gets a massive one in Pharos when confronted by Konrad Curze, and seeing a glimpse of the tortured, wretched being that the Night Haunter has become, the Angel actually offers him a second chance and offers to try and help his dark brother put himself back together again. Curze doesn't take it, but it took an incredible sense of brotherhood and compassion to offer forgiveness to a self-confessed monster like Curze.
  • Targutai Yesgeui in The Path of Heaven. Slightly Tear Jerker too; before activating a device that will allow the White Scars to escape their enemies and reach Terra, albeit at the cost of killing him, Yesgeui uses his last strength to telepathically say goodbye to his Primarch and closest comrades.
  • Having spent most of The Path of Heaven treating his former comrade Torghun Khan like crap, (justifiably, given that Torghun attempted to turn the Vth Legion to side with Horus, an event resulting in the injuries that nearly crippled him), assigning him the worst duties and denying him a place in the battleline, as well as telling Torghun he can never atone for what he's done, after hearing how Torghun and his fellow Sagyar Mazan's Heroic Sacrifice in fighting Mortarion and the Deathshroud bought enough time for the rest of the White Scars to escape to safety, Shiban Khan forgives his former friend, acknowledging that Torghun's last act did make amends for his past wrongs and Shiban expresses regret that he wasn't there to fight beside Torghun at the end.
    • Torghun's own conduct counts as this. He meets his end with the laughter that defined his Legion. Torghun, the guy who believed he never fit in, was a true White Scar at the very end.
  • Jaghatai Khan himself in The Path of Heaven with Arvida. The orphaned Thousand Son has seen a vision of the dreadful future that awaits, as well as being wracked by the flesh-change. This leads him to voice his despair quite openly, with words that could easily get a warrior killed at such a fraught time. But Jaghatai consoles him, offering the closest thing to a hug we're likely to see a Primarch give a Legionary who isn't one of his own.
  • In Master of Mankind, Captain Dominion Zephon of the Blood Angels and Prefect Diocletian Coros of the Legio Custodes come across a child refugee, orphaned and alone except for his sister and aunt, who wanted to beseech the Emperor to send the Space Marines to retake his homeworld. Diocletian, already disdainful of base humans, ignores the terrified boy's pleas, while Zephon takes the time to reassure the boy that he is safe on Terra, and that Zephon will convey the boy's request to the Emperor when he is permitted to stand in His presence. In a book loaded with with people throwing resentment and hatred toward the Space Marines for causing the Horus Heresy, this example reminds us that the loyalist Legions at least never lost their humanity. It also questions the humanity of those feeling the resentment.
  • Also from Master of Mankind, the relationship between the Adeptus Custodes and the Sisters of Silence. As pariahs, the Sisters' ability to nullify the presence of the warp around them neutralizes the threat of psykers. It also makes them feared and hated by normal humans. However, one group can stand with them: the Adeptus Custodes, a group of Transhumans who make Space Marines look like cripples, and who are so monofocused on protecting the Emperor that they're utterly inhuman. Yet during the War in the Webway, the Custodes and the Sister worked so closely that they not only can tolerate their presence, but can look them in the eyes and have a perfectly accurate conversation without the Sisters needing to speak, a major accomplishment most pariahs never know. Service to the Emperor made the Adeptus Custodes and the Sisters of Silence allies. The War in the Webway made them True Companions.
  • The ending of Deathfire. Vulkan lives!
  • These three paragraphs from the end of Old Earth:
    "I would embrace you," Vulkan confessed, "but that was never your way, was it Rogal?"
    Dorn laughed gruffly. "Absention is a wise decision."
    Vulkan embraced him firmly anyway, and felt his affection for his brother returned, albeit awkwardly.

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