‘Do not speak it,’ Malcador thundered, loading the words with psychic force that struck the primarch’s mind like a hammer to the forehead.
Horus reeled, blinking away the pain. His brothers, too, seemed to feel the blow, along with every mortal still in the chamber. Even the Sigillite’s own ears rang, but he kept his voice firm and unwavering.
‘This was your father’s command, boy, and you all agreed to it. To disobey now is to break faith with the Emperor Himself.’
The primarch gave a wry, defiant grin. ‘My brother’s name was–’
Faster than human thought, Malcador’s empty hand snapped up into an arcane gesture long forgotten by any other living soul on Terra.
Horus froze, his limbs locked fast within his armour. He shuddered uncontrollably, pressure building in his muscles as he fought against it. Slowly, Malcador stood, holding the primarch in place with the power of his mind, and nothing more.
The Khan sprang towards the centre of the room. ‘Lord Regent,’ he urged, holding out his open hands. ‘You must release him. Please. He speaks from grief, and the shame we all share.’
The air between them thrummed with invisible energy. Malcador could still see that hateful, defiant pride shining through, in Horus’ palsied gaze. ‘You are not ready for the future you crave,’ he hissed. ‘None of you are.’
He forced Horus down onto his knees.
‘Mal…’ the stricken primarch choked. ‘M-Mal… al…’
The Sigillite’s face twisted into a vengeful rictus. He felt the old, familiar rage beginning to stir, deep in his undying soul.
‘Enough. You will be silent, or I will unmake you, here and now.’
Horus’ windpipe closed with a sickly crackle. His right eye bloomed red as a blood vessel burst in the sclera.
But still he would not relent.
So defiant. So… So… ungrateful…
Alpharius took an uncertain step back. ‘Stop, Lord Regent. Stop. You will kill him.’