'I was there on the day Lasker took his second pilgrimage on the Thorns. The Chaplains of the Third and Fifth hoisted him unto those spines, while Master of Sancity Farri began the chants of Knowing. Evek stayed up there for what seemd eternal, while even his Astartes biology began to fail him, the poison washing through him like a tidal wave over and over. His left eye began to disolve within his head, pus seeping out of the socket. But only silence came from him. Silence until the fourteenth day, when he turned to me and whispered one sentence.'
'I am ready.'
'Fourteen days. Unheard of. Impossible. Transhuman biology can only take us so far. It was only the sheer will of Lasker that kept him alive through...that. His single eye looked at me when the Apothecarion carried him away. It was an eye filled with knowledge and wisdom.'
'The wisdom to fight the Shrine War. The knowledge of how he would die.'
Brother-Chaplain Teruis Hpolian, Crimson Shrikes Adeptus Astartes.
'It is with regret that I must report the death of Chapter Master Lasker during the Drop Pod Assault on the Tower of Aleph. Reports suggest that Shrike scouts triangulated the position of the Ethnarch to the 72nd floor of the tower, and that a potential decapitation of all rebel command structure would be a possibility. Lasker, taking this chance, ordered a targeted Drop Pod strike into the tower. Lasker, along with five pods of veteran Shrikes, fell into various locations of the structure, and almost immediately into heavy rebel resistance. Lasker's pod, containing himself and Squad Espehren (see pic-record above) smashed into the top levels of the tower, and began the short hunt for the Ethnarch. They instead, from vid-capture, found massive and deadly resistance in the form of Traitor Legion (cross-ref - Black Legion) Terminators, with the warlord known as the Terran-Born at their heart.
What can only be described as a titanic, yet one-sided battle erupted. Lasker bludgeoning through Terminator plate like paper, while the blades and bullets of the Black Legion tore Squad Espehren to peices. At the last, it appears the Terran-Born and Lasker took to personal combat, wherein Lasker met his death at the end of Ravensbane.
Lasker's body was later found by Shrike scouts, laid out in the open on an altar of obsidian, his armour repaired, his wounds cleansed. An audio-log found by the body and confirmed to be the voice of the Terran-Born contained only the following message -
'We return this warrior to you unblemished. This is our gift to those we honour. This is the way of the Old Legions'
The Shrikes have recovered from this blow with surprising speed. Indeed, the rapidness of their response would almost suggest that Lasker had his succession prepared in advance, although this can only lead myself to believe that the Master of Shrikes knew he was going to his death.
Addendum - The Ethnarch was believed to never have been within the Tower of Aleph. Indeed, sightings seem to confirm with 85.0192% accuracy that he was within a different system at the time. This leads to the question of how the scouts of the Shrikes were led to believe the Ethnarch was within easy grasp. We must begin to expand our information sources and create a web that covers the whole sector, my Lord.