This was a cover done couple months back for Fantasy Flight Games' Only War: No Surrender. [www.fantasyflightgames.com/edg…
Big shout out to Zoe Robinson and Andrew at FFG for helping to produce this
The brief was pretty straightforward, a guardsman having fought a long, exhausting battle with no end in sight. I thought a more graphic presentation would not only make a more arresting portrait of a guardsman in trouble, but perhaps also put an interesting spin on the usual "GET SUM!" image and hopefully sell that visual narrative of isolation versus courage, a theme I seem to enjoy coming back to with regards to the IG! All this was built around having him stand in the shadow of a Chaos space marine.
-Sincerely, Chaos <3
After recovering enough strength to get up and limp about, he picked up a bloody machete on the ground -- likely from one of his fallen comrades, who might have come from a death world--, and painstakingly wobbled to the door out, only for it to open on its own, with a renegade marine on the other side, mutated, looking to bloody his claw some more.
At that cold moment, the man was struck with immeasurable awe and terror of the hulking, grinning behemoth, which was ready to impale him. His mind then involuntarily flashed through all of his life memories: his first steps in a Hive marketplace, his parents, who had been killed by Orks, his first love, his children, whom he hadn't seen for well over 12 years, the friends he had made in the guard, and as his mind shifted into the military life, he remembered seeing those same friends getting blown to bits in their first battle, and their remains being trampled upon by imperial boots, his endless nights of terror of the commissar, who would brandish his pistol every time h saw a guardsman, and now, everything that his entire life had led up to.
He was frozen with fear, but would quickly thaw himself with his faith in the Emperor, and the idea that all it took is one brave soul to stand up to impossible odds and prevail, hoping to see his family again.
The poor sod...
Because they are just normal men. Marines are genetically made to be perfect and not show any fear at all. The guard, and the army before them, are just normal men and women who, despite the odds, are putting their lives on the line, not just for the emperor, but so that their loved ones and family don‘t have to. That is true courage and bravery. It doesn’t matter how good your weaponry is, how durable your armor is, if you were made in a test tube. The fact that you are a normal human being, and facing the greatest foes in the galaxy, and willingly put your life on the line for your loved ones, is a testament to your strength in itself. Strength even I don‘t think I have.
Don't get me wrong, I still love the space marines and even the sisters of battle, but it's the Guard that really makes all their awesome actions and tactics often possible.
It’s also why I respect ALL armed forces of the earth. Well, most of them anyway. The ones that go around terrorizing are nothing more than thugs, but the majority do it out of a sense of duty And honor to protect their families. The guard is no different. Yes, they get the short end of the stick most of the time, especially in the case of scintilIan fusiliers, or in space marine stories, even in the table top and dawn of war vanilla, but the Marines are not numerous, and there wouldn’t be humankind if not for the guard fighting the black crusades, the tyranids, the war of the beast, etc. That’s why I just started reading Cadian Blood. To familiarize myself with WHY they are the real heroes of the imperium.