'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the palace
Not a creature was stirring, not without bearing malice;
The wargear was placed by the guard post with care,
In fears that The Primordial Annihilator soon would be there;
The Primarchs were nestled all snug in their stasis beds;
While visions of compliances danced in their heads;
And Malcky in his hood, and I in my throne,
Had just settled our brains for a long wait alone,
When out on the walls there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my throne to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the Himalayan snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes came from afar,
But a miniature daemon and an eight pointed star,
A little old daemon so lively and slick,
I knew in a moment we must ready ourselves quick.
More rapid than eagles his curses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Lion! now, Leman! now Fulgrim and Vulkan!
Oh, Corax! oh, Curze! oh, Lorgar and Magnus!
To the top of the warp! to the top of the world!
Now cast away! Cast away! Cast away all!"
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the palacetop the stasis tubes they flew
With my heart full of tears, and apprehension too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
In the basement warp creatures came with a bound.
They were draped all in blood, from their head to their foot,
And their heads were all wreathed with ashes and soot;
A bundle of souls they had burned with a look,
And they appeared like a nightmare from some ancient book.
Their eyes—how they twinkled! The horns, all splayed!
Their skins were like embers, their teeth like a blade!
Their drooling little mouths were drawn up and bowed,
And the blood on it's skin was fresh as it flowed;
The stump of a guard it held tight in it's teeth,
And smoke, it encircled it's form like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a furnace like sword
That shook when he laughed, and glowed when he roared.
He was muscled and taught, a right fearsome sight,
And I halted when I saw him, not the first time that night;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had everything to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And dispatched all the Custodes; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his head,
And giving a nod, into warp space he bled;
They sprang to their master, as to his team gave a holla,
And away they all melted like smoke on the water.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he dropped out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all that survived through Old Night!”