Editor’s note: Today we’re introducing our newest writer for Thunderbird Studios, Jonathan Ward. Hailing from Bedfordshire, Jon intends to cover the occasional lighter fare, as well as grittier stories like Heloth from the Black Library.

It’s been a little while since I read a short story, so I decided to change that by picking up Heloth, the latest Black Library offering written by LJ Goulding. Set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, it’s a story about the Scythes of the Emperor (Scythes for short). Those familiar with the background will understand exactly what that means, but for those that aren’t, let’s just say that this particular Chapter of Space Marines has an especially bleak fate.

And that bleakness is on full show in this tale. This is a story of Space Marines at their absolute lowest: on the verge of despair, their losses extreme. Yet still, as they were created to do, they fight on. We see events from the viewpoint of Veteran-Brother Menele as what little remains of the Second Company of Scythes retreats from an endless tide of Tyranids: ravening predators from beyond our galaxy that seek to consume all biological life they encounter.

Let’s just say things don’t go well. From the very beginning you know how the story is going to end, but that doesn’t really matter. Goulding does a great job of portraying the character of the Scythes, fighting on as their battle-brothers fall beneath scything talons and sprays of bio-plasma, knowing that their fate will be the same. As for the ending… suffice it to say that it’s one of the best I’ve read for quite some time.

Perhaps not a story that newcomers to the Warhammer 40,000 universe will take to as easily as established fans, but nevertheless this is a compelling story and very well-written. I highly recommend that you check it out!