The Seeker of Purity and Attonement
|Reputation: Kill-Team Member|
Maximilian Reine, the seeker of atonement
Born on the feudal planet Ruhe IV, in the Calixis Sector, Maximilian von Lichtenstein was the 5th son born to the Reichsritter Alban von Lichtenstein, a lesser noble who’s lineage was traced back to the first king of Ruhe. The Reichsritter knew that Maximilian’s best hope for a good life and the best chance for elevating his family name was for Maximilian to be squired to a knight, or possibly become a monk. When Maximilian was 6 he was sent to serve with the Templerorden, a monastic order of knights who were greatly respected for their service to the Emperor of Mankind in the forms of feats of arms and helping the Emperor’s children.
The monastery of the Templerorden is part barracks, part temple, part hospital, and part fortress; likewise the knights of the order were part warrior, part priest and part doctor. His time here was shaped by all the brothers, who all generally oversaw his time there, still, two men stood out from the others, the first was an unusual figure called only by the title Wahrsager. This man could not speak, as he had no tongue, and he bore a large distinctive brand on his forehead. While he was always ready with a smile upon seeing Maximilian, his eyes always betrayed fatigue and sadness, and since he was the primary cook for the order, he would frequently sneak extra food to the young pages, though he seemed to particularly fond of Maximilian. It was only much later that he learned that the Wahrsager’s primary job was that of diviner, he was a sanctioned psyker and he had been kept in the monastery against his will because of his abilities. Brother Wieldegraf was a fairly young member of the order who was a shining example of pure faith in the Emperor and the zeal with which it should be demonstrated. He sought perfection in everything he did and demanded as much from Maximilian. He was also a very harsh disciplinarian, but what he did, he did out of caring for his young page.
In time Maximilian learned to see all the Brothers as fathers to him, especially Brother Wieldegraf. The brothers instructed him in all their different tenants for worship of the Emperor: service to men (in serving the Emperor’s children, he would be serving the Emperor), self-denial (the better to serve the Emperor and prove his devotion to the Emperor), unquestioning duty (to allow himself to be the Emperors instrument in any situation), how to read and write (that he would better be able to study the Holy texts and histories), physical fitness (so he would not tire in doing the Emperor’s work), martial prowess (as to be able to fight the enemies of the emperor), and medicine (in healing the Emperor’s servants he would allow them to return to attending to the Emperor). Maximilian pursued his lessons with a passion that the brothers of the order had never seen in a young page, he rarely needed to be disciplined more than once for the same infraction. He was also an exceptional fighter, a gifted student, and had an unrivaled zeal for the Emperor. He was also a tremendous help in the hospital, seemingly tirelessly helping the brothers of the order attend to the sick and wounded, and he was growing quickly.
By the age of 11 he was deemed to have learned enough from his time as a page and grown enough, being unusually large for his age, to become a squire, something that was unheard of. At the time he became a squire he was given a short sword, which he was meticulous to maintain, and was allowed to partake of the Vow of Attendance. The vow is distinctive to the order, in it the vow taker swears to talk as little as needed so as to be able to hear the Emperor’s voice speaking through other people and events. Brother Wieldegraf was often sent to investigate requests for help or unusual claims and decide if more help was needed from the order, and Maximilian began going with him, mainly to learn to support his master but also to learn to interact.
One night, after Maximilian had turned 13 the Wahrsager called him over to the kitchen, he seemed unusually content when he asked Maximilian to carry a shield to Brother Wieldegraf. As he arrived to his master’s cell a cry of alarm went up; Maximilian quickly helped his master prepare for battle as he had scores of times before, only this time he knew it was his duty to fight alongside his master. As they hastily prepared they said a prayer of protection together, as Maximilian strapped his short sword on, and since the shield was too big for Maximilian to properly wield, his master helped him quickly adjust the straps to be able to fit better while on his back, for it would do more good there than in the room. As he rushed through the courtyard to the wall he passed by the Wahrsager who was lighting distress beacons as calmly as lighting prayer candles, the Wahrsager saw him, looked up at him and gave him a nod as if to say goodbye. Outside the monastery walls they found what appeared to be a small army of bandits, rogues, deserters and other riffraff, then a witch appeared and the army let out a thunderous cheer. Though clearly badly outnumbered the brothers seemed unconcerned, such was their faith in the Emperor.
The monastery had a great gate, and so the attackers would not easily get in. This was quickly changed as a large fireball slammed into the gate, a few seconds later the gate was blasted open by a second one. As the army charged, bows and crossbows began raining their deadly missiles, and soon a mix of cries of pain and prayers to the Emperor went up. The cacophony was almost more than the youth could take. He steeled himself with his duty to his master, the order, his faith in the Emperor, and the example the brothers of the order were setting for him. After a hole was blasted in the wall itself a group of knights broke off to destroy the witch, and Maximilian abandoned his post of bringing wounded to the healers to go with his master, as he was leaving with the group. For the first time, he drew his sword in anger and soon it would spill blood. As the group finally reached the witch a fireball emanated from him, blasting most of the group. Only Maximilian and his master were left to charge and they did so with all the righteous fury and indignation they felt for this warp touched enemy of the Emperor. As Brother Wieldegraf charged and was struck down by a crossbow bolt to the chest, this made Maximilian simply charge more intensely. A fierce duel ensued and the youth could tell he was going to win. When he felt several bolts hit the shield on his back throwing him off balance he thought he was going to join his master, but just then the witch screamed and grabbed his head; the young page quickly seized the opportunity to end the witch.
Word quickly spread that the witch had been killed and the ragtag army had lost their desire to fight, even as they had all but won. As he returned through the monastery killing those that he could as they routed he saw that they had indeed taken the walls. He saw the Wahrsager dead with a sword in his chest and a smile on his face. They had not had enough time to break down the barricade to the hospital where a few of the brothers had stayed to defend the pages, nurses and sick as best they could. He helped however he could and when the time came helped ensure that all the dead were cremated as was befitting a hero. The order had been decimated, but it had proven itself as worthy servants of the Emperor. For the time being he was allowed the honor of his own room because of his role in the battle, and the now abundant number of empty rooms. During this time he spent many days fasting, meditating and praying, at the end of it he announced that he was dropping the name von Lichtenstein and wished to adopt the surname Reine, because he had been tested and been found pure. Months later a massive man came to speak with him. The man explained that he was from the Keep that watched over the planet and that Maximilian was to be recruited to join the Emperor’s Angels of Death. He knew his duty to the order was completed and he was to begin a new duty, still in protecting and serving the Emperor. After a short and sad goodbye he began his trip, during which he fasted and decided he would maintain his Vow of Attendance as a reminder of where he had come from and what he had been through.
At the Black Templar’s keep, Maximilian began the process of becoming the Angel of Death he had been told he would become. There were many ceremonial surgeries and much fasting. There were sermons that were listened to several times a day, meditations to ensure his purity and dedication, and new information to learn. Even for one as gifted as he, it was an arduous time. He learned a new language, tactics and strategies, the history of the Black Templar, and the Empire of Man. By the time he was 18 he had been through the crucible and had come out stronger and with a new sense of purity. He was told he was ready to become a squire once again, and when a crusading fleet next came near he would join it as a squire to an Initiate.
Shortly after his 19th birthday Brother Maximilian Reine was assigned to the strike cruiser Dorn’s Wrath and squired to Brother Alin Balan, an Apothecary, a veteran of the Crusade of Wrath, and had fought side by side with Marshall Helbrect, back when the Marshal had only been an initiate. Brother Balan began the long process of training Maximilian again. Drills were run thousands of times, stories told for their tactical value, and subjects given to meditate on, new theories and ideas learned. Maximilian learned as much as he could from Brother Balan and the repository of information available from the Crusade’s library. In time Maximilian went to battle with his mentor. After many battles, Maximilian was finally deemed to have learned everything he could from his mentor. He was then accepted as an Initiate, an Apothecary in his own right, and assigned a squire to train.
Brother Magnus was an eager student, but lacked the attention to his own purity that had born Maximilian through his time as a squire. Through a similar set of drills, meditations, and sharing of lessons, Brother Magnus grew in skill and Maximilian grew in wisdom as he was able to reflect back on his life so far. Maximilian and his squire become fast friends, as he had with his own mentor, Brother Balan. The time came for his squire’s first taste of real combat, unfortunately it was to be a pitched battle against a terrible foe, but duty demanded that they go, whether they were ready or not.
The Planet Schrödinger VII, a mining world, had sent a desperate call for help. They were under attack by the soulless Necrons. Marshall Helbrect personally led the alpha strike which was to end the conflict, but it was anticipated and it became a very slow advance into the subterranean caverns to rid the planet of the Necron lord, and the necrons with him. Maximilian’s squire had been mortally wounded shortly before they made it to the caverns, as Maximilian administered the Emporer’s Peace to his wounded squire he lead him in a prayer, as he extracted his squires gene seed he felt a burning rage build within him. He found he fought with unprecedented ferocity as he battled his way into the Necron army. In rescuing him, the company’s castellan was grievously wounded, though he would live, the castellan needed to be evacuated. The goal was to meet up with the marshal and support him in his attempt to decapitate the enemy. As they fought their way underground Marshal Helbrecht was spotted in single combat with the Necron Lord on an ice bridge above. To their dismay they watched as Marshal Helbrect was defeated, his right hand cut off, his body discarded from the bridge. Maximilian’s company once again lead a furious push into the Necrons, this time to save Helbrecht. After reaching the marshal he assured the company that the marshal was not dead, only unconscious, treated his wounds, placed his helmet on the marshal’s head and slowly carried the Marshall out of the fighting, with his battle-brothers closing in around him to protect their marshal. With their marshal defeated, and having suffered heavy casualties, the Black Templar abandoned the planet.
In the years that followed Maximilian spent much time attempting to purify himself through fasting, meditation, and slaying the enemies of the Emperor. He found in himself a particular hatred of the Necrons, who had slain his first squire and so humiliated his marshal and his crusade, he saw this hatred as a weakness, this hatred clouded his mind, it had almost cost a high ranking brother his life and it harder to focus on his purity. As a penance for failing to protect his squire, not trying to rush to the Marshal’s aid sooner, and to purify himself, he requested to be seconded to the Death Watch. Though High Marshal Helbrecht was wont to allow an invaluable apothecary such as him to go, he knew he owed him a boon and so granted Maximilian’s request.