This week, I continue the further history of my home-brewed space marine chapter; The Spirit Eagles.
If you haven't already, you should read chapter one!
A Child from the Stars
One particularly cold and starless night a great blue light, the shape of an arrow head, fell from the sky. Riding that arc of blue, a small space vessel plummeted to earth and crashed into the wilds populated by the Tribe of the Black Bear. Tribal elders dispatched a party of warriors to seek out the cause of this phenomena and meet any potential evil with swift justice. Seven warriors volunteered and set out to seek the source of the strange light.
The journey took days, and consisted of many interesting and unique portents experienced by each of the seven warriors. Their journey brought them to a space vessel barely large enough to seat a man. It was scorched and battered- no doubt a result of the vessel's descent into Klikitat's atmosphere. A pressurized seal manifested where no seam existed seconds before, and with a hiss of pressurized atmosphere, a door swung open to reveal a cherub with a mop of thick, black hair. Now, the seven warriors had drawn closer to the ship, weapons held at the ready. Each man wore black paint upon their face and bodies- each with a unique pattern. The human baby did not cry or start at the sight of the seven Black Bear warriors, rather he smiled and cooed innocently. Startled, the men recoiled in shock- weapons drawn. Of all the evils each of the seven had imagined would be found, an innocent babe was not one of them. One of the seven, a warrior named Steillacoom lowered his weapon and spoke to the child, "I am Steillacoom, warrior of the Black Bear People. If your heart is true, and intentions pure then share this drink of cool water with me. The babe looked into Steillacoom's eyes with unusual wisdom. A pudgy hand reached for the animal skin filled with cool water that Steillacoom held in his hand and with surprising strength lifted the water skin to his mouth and drank deeply. The other men gasped at the sight, wide eyed and filled with trepidation. Looking into the young human's eyes, Steillacoom felt an overwhelming sense of ease wash over him. Eyes locked, the baby smiled at Steillacoom as if to say, "thank you". The men wrapped the baby in linen before taking the child back to their village.
The warriors' return to the tribal village with a baby in hand was met with a mixture of emotions. The entire Black Bear peoples' met to discuss the fate of this child that fell from the sky in a metal capsule. This baby who was strong as a man.
A Star Child Amongst Us
When Leschi was first discovered, a toddler in the wilds, it was immediately clear to the People that his soul was pure and devoid of chaos taint. By this time the War Eagles had incorporated rites to root out and purge the festering seeds of chaos within the Peoples. Leschi was accepted into the Black Bear tribe and was taught the ways and customs of the People of the Spirit Eagles. As Leschi's growth and development occurred at an accelerated rate, he had to survive the Soul Purification rites younger than most.
The Rite of Purification
During the Rite of Purification, tribal members of the Black Bear were sent out deep into the forest wilds with only the barest of essentials for six days and six nights. During that time, the person undergoing the rite may face inner demons, or demons from the warp as well. Should a tribal member prove successful in refuting the temptation of chaos, they would return on the seventh day purified. Usually this rite was fulfilled at the age of 13 for men, 11 for women. Since Leschi developed at an accelerated pace, he undertook the rite of purification at the age of eight.
It is said that a great bird on wing- a mighty eagle shadowed the boy into the wilds, and bore silent witness to Leschi's deeds. Leschi faced such corruption and temptation that would have claimed the souls of mortal men, however Leschi proved pure of heart and mind, and earned the attention of a terrible demon on the fifth day of his trial. The foul creature Verbally sparred with leschi one day and one night to no avail. So angry with Leschi's balanced temperament and calm demeanor, the demon attacked Leschi with tooth and claw. Gravely wounded, Leschi prayed forgiveness to a might and ancient tree before severing a rather large branch from one of it's many boughs. It is said that the tree gave itself freely to Leschi, who drove the mighty branch deep into the demon- piercing it's essence and banishing the beast to the warp. The foul demon's cry of pain and anger was so violent, trees rock and the very earth split assunder. Leschi collapsed, utterly spent, to the forest floor where he would lay, dying. So, on the seventh day of his trial, Leschi had banished a malefecent demon, but had been mortally wounded in the process. It is said that the great bird continued to watched over Leschi as a silent sentinel. No animal nor taint of chaos dared to pass under the Eagle's unerring gaze. Leschi, barely clinging to life, returned to consciousness on the tenth day of his trial. Leschi drew sap from the wound he had worked upon the ancient tree during his battle with the demon. He worked the sap into a poultice covering his wounds, then consumed what was left of the sap as nourishment. On the thirteenth day of his trial, Leschi managed to claw his way out of the forest wild. He found his way back to his tribe purified; free of chaos taint. It would be some years until Leschi and his people would see the great eagle again. The great bird would prove to be pivotol in Leschi's life. Leschi survived but would carry with him until death the mortal scar inflicted by the demon of chaos.