From the Flames by Graeme Lyon. A Legion of the Damned short story, originally published by The Black Library, October 2013. Approx. 4 pages.
The review for From the Flames will be considerably shorter than the other entries in the series, since this is essentially one of those ~1,000 word micro-shorts that usually appear on the annual Advent Calender. Also, it will be graded on the 0-10 point scale, allowing for .5 scores as well.
From the Flames begins near the culmination of a brutal battle on the Eldar Craftworld Idharae. We see a burning inferno of a panorama through the eyes of Seoc, battle brother of the Invaders Astartes chapter. Narrating from a first-person POV, we behold a monstrous daemon, wrapped in fire, wreaking unholy havoc upon his fellow brothers; turning them into kebab with a wicked, two meter long spear (I am assuming this monster is an Avatar of Khaine, and not some Warp-spawn).
At the moment when all seems completely lost, a group of spectral soldiers emerges from a different set of flames, making their obligatory appearance in the story showcasing them.
But everything is not so by-the-numbers as you might guess. It is apparent that with each of these shorts, the authors are trying to add extra facets to the LotD lore, making them more than simply an unstoppable spectral killing force. In From the Flames, Lyon offers a situation in which the servant of the Emperor in need (Seoc) finds a way to communicate with the Legionnaires, and work in tandem with them.
The effect is very satisfying. It also helps that, even in this compact word count, Lyon makes Seoc into a solid protagonist, the epitome of Astartes fortitude (even if this warrior, genetically engineered to know no fear, can get a shiver down his spine at the arrival of his ghostly saviors). Even though the Legion feature, he is still the emotional core of the story.
Other factors in the story are handled to a perfectly satisfactory level. Lyon paints the background with fast, broad strokes of a colorful brush. The action scenes dictate the action effectively. The scope of the size of the Avatar is conveyed.
And that, in the proverbial nutshell, is that. From the Flames is a solid ten minute read that tells a complete story, in which the LotD are used well in a secondary role. I know these micro-shorts are polarizing for some 40K readers, but this one bears a look-see.
Of all these palette swap covers, this drab silver might be my least favorite. Might be.
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