This was one of the winning poems located in this post here. Just re-posting it for inspirational reasons. Thanks to the OP for hosting the contest!
The Ballad of The Lion
The first to fight shall be the first to fall ; the Emperor’s first sons still do recall.
In battles wrought millennia ago ; his lord’s sons marched to and fro, the golden city was prepared to go.
“Bring order to chaos!”, said in the earlier years, the Emperor himself swept away the xeno fear.
His son’s in tow, xenos on the run, the primarch’s chosen were succeeding one by one.
But this story is not of the Emperor fortold, but a wayward cub adrift far from his hold.
Born was a legend in a system far from home ; Lion EL’Johnson once called this place home
ACT I - The Man of The Beasts
A place called Caliban at the edge of the light, stories of old thrones, dreams of angels and knights.
Brothers in arms an order no less, led by a knight named Luther who valued pride above the rest.
One night in a village a patrol dark and cold, heard tale of man who was brave and was bold, told by a local tending his flock; a man who was attacked and then was in shock. A beast of chaos gave this man plight, when a hero of sorts came a slayed the beast in his sight.
Curious of wonder Luther came to be, he returned to the order to inquire about what the man had seen. Upon his return the questions did rise, and many a brother acknowledged the same ties.
A man of unknowns in the wilds of beasts, where chaos prevails and people don’t sleep, he comes and he goes not a thanks not a word, just lives in the wilds and belongs to no herd.
Luther intrigued dispatched a team the next morn’, they ventured the wilds dangerous seeking this young hero forlorn.
Returned they did next day looking all quite distressed, with a young man in front his height above the rest. Rugged and strong a man looked trained all his life, with long fair hair and a deep stern sight.
Luther did ask his men, “What has got you so wronged”? The brothers in arms told a tale an hour long.
Their journey was perilous, the beasts were quite tough, the knights all in question were not of quite strong stuff. One particular part of their journey deep, a beast had come forth and scattered them deep, a battle ensued a few wounds were met, but the knights on their quest were not up to the test.
But from heavens above a man did came, the one in the room who stood stern and eyes in piercing gaze. He wrestled the beast with lone strength and a knife, and did what several knights couldn’t and sliced the beast’s life.
They spoke to the man covered in vile life force, he said he would come to meet Luther, and not give any recourse. The tale did end and gazes were met, Luther however could not fathom how this man was well met.
The man stood tall in pride, even more so devout; both in honor and deed many knights were in doubt.
From where did he hail? Who’s town was he from? All he could ask “Where is home son”?
The man looked at him with eyes too cold for his face, fearless as stone simply stated, “From Space”. The knights gathered 'round drew swords, some had guns, but not one who had heard of spawn of from the sun.
Many stories do tell of how the woods came to be, magical beasts from the stars descended upon the trees. They slaughtered they killed, not a man was to spare, the origin of the knights knew well what to dispair.
“Stay fast my kin!” Luther did cry, “There’s something strange that has caught my minds eye.” A pace or a two Luther did inspect, the man up and close who showed no signs of ill contempt. His brothers around grew anxious in wait, for the possible chance that the man might tempt fate.
After a glance Luther did smile and say, “What is thy’ name?” and stood arms crossed waiting patiently entertained.
The man stood confused as if asked a strange thought, a moment passed and answered with heart “A name I have not, I’ve been all but alone; with nothing but beasts the forest is my home”.
Luther did think, did he ever ponder so much, could he be a threat? Or someone he could trust. .
After some thought and a careful laid plan, he raised his hand and his brothers released their stand.
“Well take him with us, and teach him our ways. If he can pass our tests then a knight he will stay.” Two men did object and re-aimed their arms, “We’ll kill this beast now and prevent chaos’ harm!”
Luther did act and took both down at their feet, he scowled his face and sternly looked in their eyes deep “Is this how we treat one of our own? You should know better in this hall of stone.”
He released his grasp and the knights did so grunt, they just couldn’t accept this new unknown cub.
Luther did approach and stared up at his charge, “I’ll take him with me he will be my new squire, you all will see that there’s greatness in his heart”.
He turned to his kin and said to the team, and asked “where was he sought?” the team quickly replied, “the Lions forest heart” He turned to the man and looked into his eyes Luther did smile and replied, “Your name is now Lion EL’, from Johnson you have come, walk with me there is work to be done.”
ACT II - The Legend of Johnson
A decade has passed and time healed some wounds, a beast clensing crusade; Sir Lion EL' Johnson became much the knights boon. He trained and he fought, surpassed scholary deeds, those who had doubt were now filled with great heed. But over them all sat a man green eyed and alone, who solemly watched as his charge roamed.
He beat his records, and could not be matched, even in solo-combat Luther was no match. One by one Johnson claimed all his glory, even so much now he was the orders story. They praised and they cheered every beast he slayed reviered, much too distrought Luther sat clouded in beer.
Regardless of envy, both Luther and Lion kept a professional role, defending the weak while greed slowly took toll.
One winters day on a sky clear as glass, Johnson slept peacefully up in his rack. Although much was at peace he hardly did sleep, as he felt he was watched even though alone in the keep. A loud crash was heard as the skys were torn above, johnson did jump and rush up to the keep where he witnessed a feat that not one could speak of.
Ships in the sky, made with gold and with gleam; too many to count and some larger than the vast sea. One particular ship was in center of all, adorned with a dual-eagle this seemed most important and framiliar of all.
The knights around rallied, and dawned their war-gear up tight, Luther was ready and shouting orders to prepare for a fight.
Johnson did listen but his mind miles away, a shadow was tugging inside his heart this day. Was it doubt? Was this fear? This simply didn't make sense, over ten winters battles and not once did he bend. .
With his sword in his hand and his armor now dawned he fell rank and file in the keep with the orders sons.
Luther up high on the walls looking out, Johnson arrived thankfully not looking with doubt.
"What is this Johnson"?! Luther did state, "These ships are too vast we can not tempt this fate"!
Johnson watched as his master did fret, but something inside was calming his breaths. After the ships decended and the vast armies marched out, men of iron and steel too vast to even count. At the head of it all on the main ship like the sun, a man clad in gold with a holy cast sight; was watching these troops march out into the light.
Johnson did stare and the man did take note, he stared fom his perch and Johnson soon felt bitter cold. A calming voice and a heat came deep from within, "Do not fear child we have much to delve in".
The armies approached the keep ready for fight, the man clad in gold took front of his armies might. He walked paces out with a few men at his side, and waited in stance in front of his army wide.
Johnson and Luther went to meet them mid way, and as they did walk the golden man never broke his gaze.
two arms length apart the men met face to face, and for once in his life Johnson felt smaller in grace. The man in the gold left him much to fear, a cause unknown just a sense he held dear; The man stared him down overlooking Luthers firm tone, and all Johnson could do was avert his gaze to the knoll lone.
"What do you want? Why are you here?! What does this army want with our world dear!"
Luther did cry but the men did not recount, and simply stared at Johnson who was still covered in doubt. Johnson approached and with a solom act, took a knee and bowed before the man with hair black.
"Are you mad?! Are you daft! How dare you give in!" Luther exclaimed in outrage at his friend.
Silence ensued and the man in gold spoke, but not of power and rage but of calm focused approach.
"My son, you may rise there is no need to give in, for I am your father and these are your kin." The man gestured at the men at his side, Luther was furious at the claim said from stern eyes.
Before he could speak and talk snark to the man, the first to his right stopped him dead in his head, "Choose your words wisely, you speak to the one, The Emperor of Man who shines like the sun. His knowledge is vast his power is strong, and if you value your life you will heed this one long."
Johnson did rise and looked at The Emperor so bold, his men at his side claimed to be his kin from old. "Could this be?" he said much in doubt, "My lord how did I get here if I truly am you son, I have so many questions and I dont think I should accept, but im willing to listen if you will entertain my thoughts."
"All in due time, my son lost in space cold. Know that you were cast far and I've sensed you in this hold, Im gathering my sons and strengthening my hand; purging the Xenos to far in the outlands. Come join with me and well discuss much later on, but I wish to inspect my forces here led by my son."
Luther was mad, he was not quite pleased, a foregin invader had dethroned him without taking heed. Stunned and in shock he could only follow in stride, behind his once friend and squire Johnson who had now shoved him aside.
ACT III - The Favored Son
Months had now passed, and a flurry of knowledge fortold, Johnson now understood of where he once was his home. He listened to his father and trained with his kin, and was introduced to new things to prepare his quest; to fight along side his father The Emperor no less.
He was told of the horrors and the evil of scum, the Xeno had once caused man to be unsung. A puge, no a crusade amongst all the stars in the sky; and here was his brothers who would now take up arms by his side.
His friends indoctrinated, and given new gear, a medical procedure that made him feel better than he had in years. His order was tested and given new charge, to fight for the Emperor and bring honor to the stars.
From his legends of home he recieved command of chapter one , the Dark Angels of man a force reckoned by none. But all in the glory in the battles to come, there was one who resisted still green and still numb.
Luther did pass The Emperor of mans test, but refused the medical practices and still put his best. Johnson left for glories with Luther in tow, The Dark Angel's legacy was growing expediantly so.
Battles like Sarosh were won with Dark Angel tears, men from their world lost in droves as they pressed into the Xeno gears. Johnson was worried and recruitment was thin, he needed his 2nd to command his home kin.
ACT IV - The Deepest Decent
Luther returned to Caliban home, and trained scores of troops to send to the Angels far from home. But dark whispers began to sink deep into his mind cold, He felt removed from the glory and took it to heart bold, unaware of the dangers and slight drifts of the mind; the ruinious powers are all but kind.
Fifty years deep, Luthers chosen in exile, back in this home training new troops with guile. He sat and he waited while brooding with dark thoughts, until a message arrived from Johnson who was quite distrought, "The Emperor was felled by Hours a Trator; Disgrace! I'm on my way home to rebuild our strength!"
Luther did smile at this fortunate event, a chance to return to the glories he once met. He rallied his recruits and informed his command, The Angels have Fallen and now were under his command!
Johnson tried to return home to figure out a new plan, with his father wounded; he needed to reband.
On arrival to home he expected warm welcome and cheers, instead he was met with fire
from his peers. In confusion and anger in The Emperors demise, he thought more of traitors who had leaked in their spies.
A battle ensued from skies up above, an orbital bombardment that sorched the grounds he once loved. The people long gone the surface scarred red, Johson took his forces and battled his old friend.
ACT V - Caliban's Fall
The battle raged on in the Dark Angel keep, brother against brother a civil war coup 'deat. The powers of chaos led by Luther who was lost, took power and glory for something he never had lost. The Fallen Angels of Caliban, fighting for their home and their pride, purging the loyalists who exiled them from glorys sight.
Bolter and Sword, Axe and Storm Shield, they fought for days on end with tons of death felled.
It came down to the Lion and Luther who fought night and day, a titanic battle of pride and dismay. They clashed and they met, blow to blow even matched; when Luther used powers he did not have have in prior matched.
The Lion Struck true and Luther fell hard, the runious powers were upset at another bad call. They lashed an attack with warp powers so deep, that caused te planet to begin to violently creak.
The charred planet broke, his once lush world was destroyed, the only reminder was the place friends once repoised.
The Keep of the Dark Angels kept intact beyond all hope, Lion EL' Johnson Impisoned Luther deep in the baroque, stricken with grief over his Fallen Angel friend Johnson retired to rest until he was needed again.
To Luther's last thought his mind warped to the core, a moment of clarity and dispair of what he tore, a legend gold, a honorable path, all for the sake of greeds green grasp.
Not a soul not a peep, was uttered to one. Caliban's fall was hushed to the chosen, The Emperor knows and a band of Circle leaders meet, hunting the fallen who were scattered across warp deep.
Their mission is sound, return the Angels all home, fight for The Emperor and bring the traitors all home. Luther does lie in the prisons rock deep, sometimes uttering madness and a hint where his men sleep.
The Angels Reformed, the Deathwing takes flight, hunting the xenos and those who fled from their sight.
They wait for the day that The Lion returns, to return to their glory and serve once again.