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Characters from the Horus Heresy who belong to the Legions that turn their backs on the Emperor.

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The Traitor Astartes.

     III Legion: Emperor's Children 

The Legion
Number: III
Original Name: Emperor's Children
Primarch: Fulgrim

Originally created from stock of Europa's youth given to the Emperor as a tribute from conquered lands, the "Children" of the Emperor were driven to excellence by their noble background. The 3rd Legion's early history was marked by both honor and tragedy. Honor since, after one cohort was annihilated while defending a wounded Emperor, they earned the right to bear the Emperor's aquila on their armour. Tragedy as the Legion found itself poisoned by the Blight, an affliction in their gene-seed causing organ failures, cancer and death. Eventually reduced to only a few hundred Astartes, the 3rd found its new home on Chemos, world of their gene-sire Fulgrim. Fulgrim met his Legion, officially named them as the "Emperor's Children", and managed to lead his small Legion to a yet unreached level of glory, serving alongside Horus's Luna Wolves.

Unfortunately, Fulgrim and his Emperor's Children were exposed to Slaanesh's corruption after a campaign on the world of Laer. The legion of perfectionists turned to a legion of hedonists, driven mad by the search for more sensations and more depraved actions. When Horus turned traitor, the Emperor's Children were ready to follow him. The Emperor's Children participated in the battles of Isstvan III and V, during which Fulgrim became possessed although he was freed some time after. Then, the Emperor's Children and Iron Warriors travelled to the crone world of Iydris where Fulgrim turned into a Daemon Primarch. The Legion scattered into smaller armies each completing their own goals during the Horus Heresy, while Fulgrim idled in Slaanesh's palace. However, Fulgrim was subsequently forced to gather his Legion and participate in the Siege of Terra.

Before their corruption, the Emperor's Children were among the most honored and respected of the Space Marine Legions: born from noble houses and particularly close to the Emperor, the Emperor's Children were perfectionists. They respected a strict hierarchy and strove to become perfect in all things, especially in the art of war. This made them celebrated for their most glorious victories, but also mocked as vainglorious peacocks by other Legions. In battle, the Emperor's Children were a polyvalent army able to perform anything at an excellent level, although with an affinity for quick and decisive assaults. After falling to Slaanesh, the Legion became a mob of sense freaks seeking more depraved acts to commit, such as heavy self-mutilation, while its Apothecarion deteriorated into a group of mad scientists wishing to improve the Emperor's work through horrible surgeries. Their battle discipline lowers but they add to their arsenal the Kakophoni, a special group of Astartes whose surgeries allow them to shout at lethal levels even for other Space Marines. The Emperor's Children typically wear purple armour with gold trim.

  • Agent Peacock: Before the Heresy, it's said that the prettiest Space Marines are either the Children or the Blood Angels.
  • Badass Army: A given, considering they are an Adeptus Astartes legion. Moreover, prior to the Heresy they are stated to have been one of the most accomplished and well regarded legions, excelling in whatever they did and even being praised by the likes of Rogal Dorn.
  • Battlecry: "Children of the Emperor! Death to His foes!"
  • Bling of War: Their armour is so over-decorated and well kept that other Legions tend to snark at it.
  • Body Horror: They turn themselves into grotesque monstrosities in their endless pursuit of sensation. Before Chaos mutations became a big part of the Traitor Legions, the Emperor's Children were already becoming monstrously inhuman due to extreme body modification, including artificial mutations and implanted technology that had no business being inside a human body, provided by Fabius, and self-mutilation, provided by themselves.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Purple is their main Legion colour.
  • Cultured Badass: Before their fall, they were taught appreciation for painting, theatre and other forms of art.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Fulgrim's command staff slowly devolves into this, as the command structure slowly breaks down with everyone working only for himself and trying to get the most of Fulgrim's attention and favour.
  • Fallen Hero: In spades. They were considered to be examplars of what it meant to be space marines. Indeed, Fulgrim prior to his corruption, Saul Tarvitz, Solomon Demeter, Vespasian and Ancient Rylanor exemplify everything that was noble and admirable in the legion before its corruption.
  • The Hedonist: They'll do everything to experience sensations.
  • Human Resources: After their fall, they start using humans as paints, decorative accessories, drugs and toys.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: Many of them take up the hobby of torturing slaves, or themselves. This takes on a different, but no less dark flavor with the introduction of the new specialist troops, the Kakophoni.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Adapting the exotic and destructive instruments designed for the opera Maraviglia into battlefield weapons, by simply playing them as they were designed, led directly to the introduction of the Kakophoni troops, the first we see of what would later become the Noise Marines,
  • The Perfectionist: Their hat is endless striving for perfection in all things.
  • Sanity Slippage: We get to see in detail of how the entire Legion, under the influence of a Slaaneshi daemon, transforms from cultured warrior aristocrats, to petty and self-serving Glory Hounds, seamlessly continuing into insanely depraved Sense Freaks and twisted Combat Sadomasochists.
  • Self-Harm: Becomes near-ubiquitous after their fall, with people scarring themselves, adding various "enhancements" to bring pain in movement and torturing themselves to feel new sensations.
  • Wicked Cultured: They retain their appreciation for arts even after their fall, it's just that now they add Human Resources and consider pain and sensory overload to be the trademarks of good "art".

I'm Fulgrim and I'm fabulous. Click to see his Daemon Prince form 
The Primarch of the Emperor's Children Legion. Stranded on Chemos, an industrial world which suffered from severe resource shortages, Fulgrim had managed to better the life of its population and became the world's leader peacefully. After being found by the Emperor, he easily took the mantle of warlord and led his Legion from the Blight to a new golden age. After falling under the influence of a daemonic sword he finds on Laer, he falls to Slaanesh and sides with Horus.
  • Animal Motifs: Has a phoenix theme going on, and his actions led to his homeworld's rebirth. The rebirth motif takes on a sinister aspect when Fulgrim is "reborn" himself as a Chaos serving lunatic.
  • And I Must Scream: After a daemon possesses him, it traps Fulgrim's consciousness inside a painting. When he gets out, though... let's just say it's not pretty.
  • Agent Peacock: Whether watching a theatre play or making war, Fulgrim is always downright fabulous.
  • Artifact of Doom: One of these is what does Fulgrim in.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: First Primarch to turn into a Daemon Prince. Gains psyker powers from this as well.
  • Attention Whore: Especially after his fall to Chaos. He needs people paying attention to him, turns into a show-off whenever possible and requires constant adoration and near-worship.
  • Cain and Abel: Ends up killing Ferrus Manus, the brother he was closest to.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: The first thing he did after learning about Curze's visions - something Konrad specifically asked him to keep a secret - was inform Rogal Dorn.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Post-fall to Chaos, he's known to kill people for daring to point out flaws in his plan or being unawed by him.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: First he kills Ferrus Manus, then tries to sacrifice Perturabo to fuel his own ascension, and 40K canon says that his forces completely abandon Horus' armies on Terra and he's quite gleeful about it.
  • Demonic Possession: After the Istvaan V Massacre, he spends some time possessed by his sword's daemon. Old lore posited that the daemon possessed Fulgrim in perpetuity and was promoted to Daemon Prince over the course of or after the Heresy, with Fulgrim pushed to a distant corner of his own mind, basically forever. The new lore readjusts events, with Fulgrim casting off the daemon on his own, then pursuing his fall to Chaos on his own volition.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Towards art. Fulgrim saw art as an extension of his drive to be perfect. He didn't appreciate that art is about the emotions it evokes, rather than a simple display of skill. His sculptures were perfect recreations of his captains, but Fulgrim hated them for reasons he couldn't articulate and Ostian, a master sculptor, found them devoid of feeling and empty. Sadly, his attempt to explain this only angered Fulgrim.
  • Evil Former Friend: To Ferrus. Only Horus and Sanguinius were closer than the Gorgon and the Phoenician, but after Fulgrim turns evil, things understandably sour.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Let's just say that he loses a couple of fangirls after becoming a Daemon Prince.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: His pre-possession uniform boasts one regular-size pauldron and one stylised like a golden wing, as the image shows.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Tries to warn Lucius that he's been possessed and succeeds at it.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the workers who find Fulgrim carries a book which he presumed was just full of fairy tales. In fact, they're depiction of Fulgrim's life, illustrated most clearly when the worker in question flips to a page depicting a multi-armed serpent fighting a blue-armoured giant; years later, Fulgrim - by then a daemon prince with a serpentine body and numerous arms - mortally wounds Roboute Guilliman in personal combat.
  • Genre Blind: The only thing that could make the Laer Blade more Obviously Evil would be "evil inside" written on it. Fulgrim picks it up anyway, and then doesn't consider even for a moment that a sword talking may not be a good thing.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: A trait he shares with Sanguinius.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's not on par with the setting's experts, but Fulgrim is still sharp enough to do things like feign outrage towards a critic of his to get the man to back down. When Horus tries to flatter him into obeying orders, Fulgrim calls him on the obvious attempt to exploit his ego.
  • Meaningful Name: Invoked by people who found him - in Chemos' mythos, Fulgrim is the god of creation.
  • Mood-Swinger: By the start of the Heresy, he's developed the capriciousness that Slaaneshi champions are known for. He'll respond well to having his pride stoked, but if he feels insulted or slighted in any way, he'll freak out, and there's no telling what will set him off.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: His daemon form has four arms.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Killing Ferrus momentarily returns him to his senses, and the grief he's overcome with has him give in to Demonic Possession.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Is on the receiving end of this from Primarchs who've grown tired of his constant melodrama. Lorgar of all people knocks him about in Aurelian and Perturabo does it again in Angel Exterminatus after getting well and truly fed up with Fulgrim's BS.
  • Odd Friendship: With Ferrus before his possession. One is practical to a fault and rather dour, the other is artistic and prone to theatrics. They bonded over their shared perfectionism.
  • The Perfectionist: His defining character trait, and, in the end, his Fatal Flaw.
  • Pet the Dog: Regicide shows that even after his apotheosis, he still cares for Ferrus and thinks warmly of him.
    • * Pet the Dog: Fulgrim orders Eidolon resurrected out of regret for killing him in a fit of pique.
  • The Prima Donna: After his fall to Chaos, he wants everyone to look at him and doesn't appreciate people interrupting him or trying to "play his part".
  • Rage Against the Reflection: After he kills Ferrus, his brother starts to pop up in various reflections, guilt-tripping him, leading to this. It was hinted that Fulgrim was doing this to the daemon within the Laer blade that had possessed his body, but the end of the story shows it was the reverse.
  • Red Baron: The Phoenician.
  • Snake People: Becomes a rather hideous one after becomming a Daemon Prince.
  • Thicker Than Water: Even when brainwashed into evil by a daemon, he still cares for Ferrus Manus and wants him at his side. When Ferrus attacks him for the first time, he holds back and runs rather than fights. By the time of Istvaan V, though, it's gone.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Turns out that trying to exorcise a Slaaneshi daemon with pain is not as brilliant an idea as everyone has thought.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: His stage make-up during his final spiral into Slaanesh's embrace is rather terrifying.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Part of his corruption is that he begins to view people's actions in the most negative light possible. So when Ferrus saves his life by driving his flagship between Fulgrim's assault craft and the guns of an enemy fleet, Fulgrim assumes he only did it for self-aggrandizement.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Poor Fulgrim had no idea what Slaanesh had planned for him in the end.
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Ferrus Manus, and he uses this exact argument when attempting to recruit him for Horus' side.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Snow white hair, the most terrifying fall to Chaos of all.

Saul Tarvitz
The Honour Of His Legion
The Captain of the Tenth Company, and de facto leader of the loyalist Emperor's Children.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: His name suggests he has some Jewish heritage, though being a loyalist of the 30K-era Imperium he certainly doesn't practice. Ironically, his gene-seed may have later been used to create the WWII Germany-themed Red Scorpions chapter.
  • Defector from Decadence: One of the very few Emperor's Children not to fall to Slaanesh.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Having been disregarded and kept out of favour before Istvaan III, he becomes one of the main Loyalist commanders.
  • Going Native: Played with. He quickly bonds with and becomes close to the Luna Wolves, but at the same time he admits that he's always been more like them than like his own Legion.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: Serves this way to Nathaniel Garro, warning him of the treachery just before his deployment on Istvaan III.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: If it wasn't for him, the battle of Istvaan III would have been far much easier for the traitors. He knows he's going into a death trap, but decides to go anyway.
  • Humble Hero: What keeps him away from the decadence that takes his Legion. If a comrade hadn't spoken up, he'd have let Eidolon take credit for his achievements.
  • Never Found the Body: Not confirmed, but it's assumed he died on Istvaan III when Horus finally gave up, pulled his forces back and wiped out the remaining loyalist survivors via orbital bombardment.
  • The Captain: Commander of the Tenth Company.
  • The Paragon: Of his legion, to a point that some even call him 'The Honour of his Legion'.
  • The Philosopher: Gives some thought to why the Mecharachnid attack the Astartes with so much fervour, and he can at least recite his Legion's philosophy to Torgaddon.
  • White Sheep: One of the few Emperor's Children officers that doesn't make his desire for perfection into a flaw, and the only one who doesn't seek glory and acknowlegdment.

...and after. Remember, kids, heresy's not good for your skin!
Captain of Thirteenth Company and a consummate professional, he's universally acknowledged as one of the best swordsmen in the Imperium.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: A huge part of his genius with a sword is his ability to notice and analyse any detail of his enemy's fighting technique. And let's not forget that it's his analysis of Fulgrim that uncovers his primarch's possession.
    • On Murder, he's talking about what fighting the Mecharachnid has taught him while his brothers are still trying to process what they've seen.
  • Broken Ace: He's a superlative swordsman and capable officer, but his ego constitutes a colossal flaw.
  • Evil Is Petty: Kills Captain Solomon Demeter on Istvaan III for no other reason than because Demeter chewed him out on their first meeting.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: His Fatal Flaw and pretty much the reason he turns traitor.
  • Face–Heel Turn: At first, circumstance sides with the loyalists at Istvaan III as the Token Evil Teammate (though the loyalists didn't know it at the time), but the idea of being left out of what his Legion was becoming, spiced by his jealousy of Tarvitz, gets the better of him and he gleefully betrays his side to the traitors without a second thought.
  • Heroic Willpower: He manages to stave off the madness overcoming his Legion thanks to his iron self-discipline and remains sane even after pretty much all the rest of the high command has degenerated into frothing insanity.
  • Irony: The first time Lucius is killed by Sharrowkyn of the Raven Guard, his killer feels no pleasure, seeing Lucius as little better than a rabid dog that needs to be put down. Anybody who knows the meta will know that Lucius, if killed, will resurrect if his killer feels even a moment of accomplishment, so the way he dies the first time is the same way that he would be killed for the last time.
  • Manchild: Before the turn of the legion, he was passionate, exuberant, eager to please and playful. He greatly looked up to Tarvitz like an older brother, who found Lucius' energy endearing. He was noted during the mission on Murder to be enjoying the adventure despite the hopelessness and carnage surrounding them, and his joy and bravado were infectious to his men. But his childishness had much darker implications as well.
  • Master Swordsman: One of the best. He certainly considers himself to be the best, period, and only three people have ever given him a run for his moneynote .
  • Pride: Ooh, boy. He's the best his Legion has and he knows it.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He may be a stunningly talented swordsman, but he's also incredibly selfish, childish, and petulant, with such an all-consuming need to be praised and flattered at all times that it leads to his damnation.
  • Resurrective Immortality: He died at least once over the course of the series, though how he came back, if by Slaanesh's blessing or Fulgrim's is anybody's guess. In the future he'll be blessed by Slaanesh to come back to life whenever killed, resurrecting in the body of the very person who kills him.
  • Sore Loser: He makes a big shown of besting three of the Mournival plus Erebus in the sparring cages, but when Garviel Loken clocks him with a single punch he cries foul play and spends months sulking over his crooked nose.
  • Self-Harm: His search of sensation leads him to cutting and scarring himself.
  • Spotting the Thread: The first person to realize that something is very wrong with his Primarch.
  • The Captain: Commands the Thirteenth Company, although this doesn't count for much after Legion's "apotheosis".
  • The Hedonist: Like all Emperor's Children after their fall, he seeks new sensations and it nearly kills him more than once.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: The second most infamous Slaaneshi cultist after Fulgrim, he's unlucky to others rather than himself.


Lord Commander Primus (the greater of two in who appear in Fulgrim) of the Emperor's Children, Eidolon's arrogance and lust for glory see him slide into decadent corruption with the rest of his legion.
  • Asshole Victim: Is beheaded by Fulgrim in one of his many post-Istvaan V fits of pique. Virtually no one is sorry to see the last of him.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: For all his many faults, Eidolon is considered one of the finest warriors of the III Legion. He even notes himself that he wouldn't have reached his current rank if that weren't the case.
  • Awesome by Analysis: At the beginning of Path of Heaven his underlings are worried about White Scars offensives at various locations, but Eidolon recognises them as decoys. What's more, he works out their true target early enough to fortify it.
  • Battle-Interrupting Shout: Thanks to Fabius's experiments making him one of the first Noise Marines, Eidolon is able to emit a mind-shattering shriek as a warcry. This proves instrumental in securing the victory to secure Istvaan Extremis, as Eidolon puts the Warsinger commanding the enemy out of action long enough to turn the tide.
  • Blatant Lies: Upon his return to the Legion after the Murder campaign, Eidolon does this to make his actions in battle seem even more glorious. Saul Tarvitz notes that he is quick to omit the fact that his lust for glory got most of the forces under his command killed because he went in without waiting for the Sons of Horus to reinforce him, as he didn't want to share the victory.
  • Body Horror: Post-resurrection he looks and moves like a zombie and has giant flesh sacs under his neck that amplify his vocal chords. The descriptions make it sound pretty gross.
  • Break the Haughty: By the end of Galaxy in Flames, Eidolon has been so humiliated in the Istvaan III campaign that he's quiet in war councils with the Legion, with the tacit understanding that if he annoys displeases Horus any further, he'll be given over to Angron. He learns nothing from the experience.
  • Broken Ace: He'd be the finest strategist in his Legion and is a lethal combatant to boot, but he has a colossal ego.
  • Came Back Wrong: After his resurrection by Fabius, Eidolon has the appearance and hallmarks of a zombie, including the shambling walk. Fulgrim orders Eidolon to stay behind him at all times so he doesn't have to look at what he considers unseemly. On the other hand, once we see him in battle, he seems more lethal than ever.
  • Drop the Hammer: Eidolon's weapon of choice is a thunder hammer.
  • The Hedonist: As of The Path of Heaven he's filled up to the eyes with drugs that will one day kill him, but he hardly cares. Tiring of his current campaign, he's on the verge of defying orders to find something new. As his second-in-command says, Eidolon "is always taken with novelty".
  • Jerkass: Is considered this by some of his Legion and most members of others, such as Tarik Torgaddon.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: After his resurrection, his main weapon of choice becomes a sonic scream that's capable of killing an Astartes.
    • Amusingly, it means he can't voice frustration without killing mortals.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • His using his shrieking during the early stages of the attack on Istvaan III clue Saul Tarvitz into what is going on within the Legion.
    • Lucius all but hands victory to Eidolon on a plate on Istvaan III and he still manages to screw it up. Instead of ordering his men to spread out and systematically take the Precentor's Palace from the loyalists holding it, Eidolon orders a full-scale attack on the centre; Saul Tarvitz takes advantage of this to set a trap, ordering the Emperor's Children to hit Eidolon's force in both flanks while they're held in place by the Luna Wolves. Eidolon's troops are driven back humiliated.
    • Another example appears in The Path of Heaven: Eidolon, expecting the White Scars to attempt to to use the Kallium Gate, a Warp Gate that would allow them passage back to Terra, reinforces the defences and the attack is repulsed. However, as he indulges in some Evil Gloating over a dying White Scar Legionary about how their plan was doomed to fail from the start, he is taunted by the White Scar that what Eidolon thought was the main attack was just another feint by the Vth Legion, and their true target was one of the worlds whose defences Eidolon stripped bare to reinforce Kallium.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Saul Tarvitz becomes suspicious about the battle plan for Istvaan III when he learns that Eidolon is not leading the first attack wave personally, when he normally leaps at the chance to win glory in such a situation. Tarvitz does some digging and inadvertantly stumbles upon the traitors' preparations for the virus-bombing of the planet, explaining Eidolon's actions.
  • Red Baron: The Soul-Severed.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: In The Path of Heaven, following his resurrection, Eidolon is absolutely convinced that he could defeat a Primarch in combat, insisting that would have killed Jaghatai Khan at the Kalium gate. One of Eidolon's lieutenants is split on that, thinking it's arrogance, but admits that Fabius' enhancements have given Eidolon an edge in combat. Mortarion, however, is convinced that Eidolon has brain damage if he thinks he could face the Great Khan.
  • Sycophantic Servant: In his neverending pursuit of glory, he often does what he can to ingratiate himself to Fulgrim, the man Eidolon sees as the most glorious. Ironically, it gets him killed when he insists to Fulgrim that he never betrayed him during one of Fulgrim's fits. At the mere mention of betrayal, Fulgrim goes into conniptions. Which resulted in Fulgrim beheading Eidolon, but the former ordered Fabius to restore him to life.
    • He seems to have learned his lesson. After Fulgrim ascends, Eidolon gathers a third of the Legion and prosecutes the war as he sees fit.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Fabius has to repeatedly point out that it is unwise for Eidolon to threaten the person who's keeping him alive.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Before Path of Heaven, his ability as a commander was little more than an Informed Attribute. Now he's more deadly in person, and shown to understand the kind of tricks the White Scars play.
  • Villainous Rescue: He saves Saul Tarvitz and Nathaniel Garro from being killed by a Warsinger during the battle to capture Istvaan III's moon by overpowering one of the Warsingers with his shrieking, then cutting her head off before she can recover.

Julius Kaesoron

First Captain of the Emperor's Children, who wholeheartedly goes along with the corruption of the Legion.
  • Blade on a Stick: Wields a glaive on Isstvan V.
  • The Captain: The First Captain, no less.
  • Cultured Badass: He's an enthusiastic patron of the remembrancers, and is very skilled on the battlefield.
  • The Dragon: Was initially Co-Dragons with Eidolon at the start of the Heresy, though following the Legion's full fall to Slaanesh, Kaesoron ends up being the most able to navigate Fulgrim's mood swings, and emerges as his right hand man.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: When Santar breaks his glaive, it [[Covered in Scars: burns his face off]].
  • Groin Attack: How he kills Santar, stabbing him in the groin with his broken blade and cutting upwards.
  • The Hedonist: He begins to get off on pretty much any strong sensation, be that a scantily clad woman or his own grief when his second in command is killed.
  • Hero Killer: Slays Gabriel Santar, his opposite number in the Iron Hands.
  • Pride: Goes with the territory, and he is livid when the Emperor's Children are put on construction duties on Isstvan V.
  • Resurrective Immortality: He becomes a daemon prince upon his death.
  • Warrior Poet: He's especially fond of poetry.

Marius Vairosean

The Third Captain of the III Legion.
  • The Atoner: To a degree that alarms some of his brothers, he seeks to redeem himself for reaching Fulgrim late in the battle on Laeran.
  • Body Horror: His ears have become gaping holes in his scalp, his mouth is fixed open in an unending scream, and his eyes have been sewn open.
  • Cursed With Awesome: He'd call it blessed, but it's nightmarish to pretty much anyone outside the Legion.
  • Death by Irony: During the battle of Iydris, he tries to use his sonic shriek to kill Ignatius Numen, an Iron Hands Morlock in his path. However, since Ignatius was rendered deaf in one of Marius's previous attacks, the shriek doesn't affect him, and Ignatius incinerates Marius with a volkite gun before he can draw a weapon to kill the Iron Hand in a more traditional way.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Yep, they're evil, and they're great big gashes where his ears used to be.
  • Instrumental Weapon: Inverted. He is the first Space Marine to appropriate one of Bequa Kynska's [[Sonic Stunner:lethal instruments]], becoming the first of the Kakophoni and Noise Marines.
  • No Sense of Humor: He really doesn't find Demeter's bravado and joking about the gods of war funny.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Initially with Demeter, but it all goes sideways due to his masochistic urge to "redeem" himself and then his corruption.
  • Yes-Man: He becomes a sycophant to the point that it grates with Kaesoron and Demeter.

Solomon Demeter

The Second Captain of the III Legion and a loyalist.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Subverted. He finds Lucius fighting with some Emperor's Children Marines during the Isstvan III battle and helps him fight them off. It's only after they are all dead that he realizes they were loyalist marines trying to stop Lucius' betrayal.
  • Hidden Depths: Solomon was infamous for his straightforward and hot-blooded battle plans, which is why he keeps surprising his brothers with surprisingly deep musings on the nature of command or the effect war has on the soul.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: His first impressions of Lucius and Tarvitz is that the former has the makings of greatness and the latter is a mere line officer. After the war on Murder, he reverses his opinions, but he still never truly saw the depths Lucius would sink to.
  • Indy Ploy: In a legion of perfectionists who believed in war being a matter of having a perfect plan for battle and following it, Demeter was notably not afraid to improvise.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: He once brags that he wrote the book on charging up the center. When Marius has to launch a similar, full frontal assault, he muses that Demeter would be right at home there.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Fulgrim places him with the loyalists on Isstvan III, while previous depictions had him nowhere to be seen. The explanation given is that he was badly injured at the start of the battle and by the time he recovered Tarvitz was fully entrenched as the loyalists' leader. Demeter thus stayed in the background to avoid usurping Tarvitz's authority since he was, technically, the higher ranked officer.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Subverted. He tries to avenge his slain Marines by throttling Lucius with his bare hands. Lucius just stabs him and leaves him to bleed out.


An Apothecary with sketchy grasp of job ethics. We're contractually obliged to remind you that he has a lab coat made of human skin.

  • Evil Genius: He's a genius all right, it's just that his work is absolutely terrifying.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: He works on making "new men", improving Space Marines. He also has absolutely no morals when testing his concoctions.
  • Human Resources: This supremely Nightmare Fuel-y labcoat of his.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Wears one made of human skin.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: He has machines that could shorten the entire torturing process to mere minutes, but notes that it's not as much fun as prolonging the pain and hearing the victim scream.
  • Mad Scientist: He does things like genetic engineering of monsters, reattaching severed heads and reworking already-reworked post-humans.
  • The Minion Master: His studies and experiments with gene-seed results in captured loyalist marines being mutated into hideous monsters he calls the "Terata", because he's unknowingly using material sabotaged with daemon blood (a powerful mutagen) by the Alpha Legion. Feral and animalistic mutants, the Terata make for good shock troops and body guards that Fabius keeps on hand. One of them was an Imperial Fist of uncommon willpower that broke loose and attacked him. Fabius was okay, but most of his data and material was lost, except for a certain Hon Sou.
  • Motifs: He's often compared to a Necromancer by various, unrelated characters. It's largely due to his personal appearance conveying both a scientific bent as well as madness cruelty. By Angel Exterminatus, he even fulfills the credentials by resurrecting Eidolon.
  • Swiss Army Appendage: He has a custom-made Apothecary set with dozens of functions on his back.
  • Token Evil Teammate: For the Emperor's Children. You know things are taken to the next level when someone's a Token Evil Teammate to the bad guys.
  • Torture Technician: Among many, many torture specialists the Children have, he's the best.


A Palatine Blade of the III Legion.

  • Arch-Enemy: Views Shiban Khan this way after their first clash.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Has this in spades.
  • Broken Ace: He's a superlative swordsman, but arrogant, and becomes obsessed with killing Shiban.
  • Dying as Yourself: During his battle with Shiban he opts for this when the daemon takes hold of him.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: He and his troupe tend to attract notice, even as the Legion degenerates.
  • Famous Last Words: "Unsullied..."
  • It's Personal: Cario makes it this by killing Shiban's friend and second-in-command Jochi just before their second duel.
  • Master Swordsman: As a Palatine Blade, he's this by default.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Views his feud with Shiban this way, plugging him into simulations where he fights him.
  • Pride: Deems himself the only true child of the Emperor, the only one perfect enough to deserve the honour.
  • The Perfectionist: Tries to stave off his total corruption by Chaos until he has achieved a perfect kill.
  • Resist the Beast: The beast in question being a daemon of Slaanesh which seeks to possess him.
  • Unknown Rival: As far as Shiban knows, Cario was blown up after their initial fight. Then they fight again at Dark Glass, with Cario killing Jochi before their duel begins.
  • Worthy Opponent: Cario acknowledges Shiban as this before requesting a Mercy Kill to die as himself rather than succumb to daemonic possession.

     IV Legion: Iron Warriors 
See also the Characters page for the Iron Warriors series.

The Legion
Number: IV
Original Name: None (briefly nicknamed the Corpse Grinders)
Primarch: Perturabo

The Fourth Legion, known for its ruthless approach to warfare. Its first recruits came from the savage gun-tribes of Terra, the Legion was known even before Perturabo for its affinity with firearms and artillery. They were thus deployed as a workhorse Legion doing gruelling attrition campaigns. When Perturabo was rediscovered on Olympia, he took command of the Iron Warriors; dissatisfied with their record, he ordered that one in ten Iron Warriors be executed by their comrades. Perturabo went on to turn the IV Legion into one of the most ruthless war machines in the Imperium. However, instead of being recognized for their successes, the Legion was pigeonholed as siege warfare specialists and often confined to inglorious garrison duty. Perturabo's resentment grew until the Primarch psychologically broke.

When Olympia rebelled against Imperial rule, an enraged Perturabo committed genocide on its population, a crime for which he decided he could not be forgiven. Perturabo thus threw his lot with Horus' traitor Legions, participating in the Isstvan V Drop Site Massacre. However, the Legion was lured into the Eye of Terror so that Fulgrim could sacrifice Perturabo to Slaanesh. Perturabo survived and fled with his Legion out of the Eye, at which point they invaded Tallarn and were then reassigned to defend Horus' rear guard against the Blood Angels, Dark Angels and Ultramarines. The Iron Warriors participated in the Siege of Terra, although they had to leave many warriors behind.

The Iron Warriors were formerly based on the rocky world of Olympia and are in many ways a reflection of their homeworld: enduring, cold, logical, and stubborn. Considering war to be a science first and foremost, their strategies are unsubtle and they win through attrition and equations rather than brilliance and valor. During the Crusade, they were also nicknamed the "Corpse Grinders", because they didn't hesitate to use auxiliaries as cannon fodder. They also have a great affinity for siege warfare, overwhelming firepower and melee assaults as an outlet for months of idle bombardement. As a result of Perturabo's personal hatred for Rogal Dorn, the Iron Warriors also hate the Imperial Fists and consider them to be their rivals as siege specialists. The Iron Warriors wear steel-grey armour, often trimmed with hazard stripes.

  • Abusive Parents: Their command seems to be utterly terrified of Perturabo's temper. Given his Mood-Swinger tendencies, not surprisingly.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Imperial Fists, for sharing their specialisation but getting a lot more respect for it. After joining Horus, Perturabo was willing to do basically anything to hurt Rogal Dorn.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Not the Iron Warriors themselves, but for the period between Horus becoming Warmaster and the outbreak of the Heresy, their attached forces were this - the Iron Warriors were so willing to accept casualties that Horus specifically assigned them only the most expendable units, which had a heavy bias towards criminals and slaves.
  • Badass Creed: The Unbreakable Litany, which pretty much every 40K fan, no matter their allegiance, agrees is a pretty badass chant.
    From iron cometh strength.
    From strength cometh will.
    From will cometh faith.
    From faith cometh honour.
    From honour cometh iron.
    This is the Unbreakable Litany,
    and may it forever be so.
  • Battle Cry: Iron within, Iron without!
  • Color Motif: Steel-grey, with yellow-and-black safety stripes.
  • Combat Pragmatist: They sneer at other Legions' ostentation and grandiosity, preferring cold, ruthless pragmatism. They'll use any tool to hand to win; one Warsmith goes so far as to manufacture shorter than average entrenching shovels, to make them better for brutal trench-fighting.
  • Continuity Snarl: Perturabo himself. Is he a cold-hearted statistician of a general who fights war as a numbers game, or a misplaced artisan simply best doing what's asked of him using what he has? Both?
  • Crippling Overspecialisation: According to Horus, they'd be no use hunting the White Scars because they play by a completely different rulebook.
  • The Dog Bites Back: They repay the Emperor for years of typecasting and abuse by turning against him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: They're remarkably casual about casualties, to the point of briefly being nicknamed the "Corpse Grinders" due to their willingness to expend Army regiments like ammunition, but they're appalled by the Heresy-era Emperor's Children and especially what Fabius Bile is doing to captive Space Marines.
    • They actually do have some standards regarding casualties. When a siege lost so much manpower that they could only barely take a fortress's interior, a commander was stripped of rank. Also, artillery should never hit a friendly Astartes (they call it Iron-on-Iron, a variant of Blue-on-Blue).
    • They also love architecture and can build anything from beautiful amphitheaters big enough to hold two Legions to planet-wide trenches extremely quickly. Perturabo assembles an impenetrable bunker that is part Mobile Maze, then packs it up to reassemble it on his flagship.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Because they were never really the most beautiful or interesting chapter, and given their lack of compassion, they have very little public support.
  • Metallic Motifs: Iron, strong and durable.
  • Mighty Glacier: While they may move slowly, sooner or later they will win.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Their reaction after suppressing the Olympian revolt, which is largely what encouraged them to join with Horus, as he praised Perturabo for his thoroughness. Staying with the Emperor left Perturabo facing penance he felt he deserved, joining with Horus gave him the forgiveness he desperately craved.
  • Oh, Crap!: Everyone's reaction in the vicinity whenever Perturabo receives bad news. For good reason.
  • Only Sane Man: Compared to some other Traitor Legions, their behavior seems reasonable to the point that they act almost like loyalists. They're still incredibly ruthless, but they don't take joy in atrocity the way that, for example, the Night Lords or Emperor's Children do.
  • Retcon: The Iron Warriors motivation for the heresy initially was described as combat fatigue and sheer exhaustion from all the dirty work they'd been forced to do. As their motivations had to be expanded and explored to make good novels, it changed to resentment for doing the dirtiest and least glamorous work in the Great Crusade and being passed over for glory, and grew to include desperation after realizing that their crushing retaliation over the embarrassment of their homeworld rebelling was unforgivably aggressive. The common thread was that their feelings of bitterness led them to go over to Horus.
  • Robot Soldier: Unique among all the Legions, the Iron Warriors incorporate a unit of Domitar-Ferrum Class Battle Automata, nicknamed the "Iron Circle", within their ranks. They serve as Perturabo's bodyguards but would be deployed separately after their introduction in the battle of Phall. Perturabo introduced them because he considered his own Space Marines failed him and wanted better soldiers.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: In some interpretations, this was the ground state of the Legion, which non-stop siege deployments managed to make worse until they snapped.
  • Shoulder Cannon: The Legion's Tyrant Siege Terminators are equipped with shoulder-mounted Cyclone missile launchers, giving them that much more destructive power against buildings and vehicles.
  • Storming the Castle: Their hat, at least in public eyes, is that of siege breakers.
    • The Engineer: They can accomplish quite amazing feats of architecture, even apart from their fortresses - for example, raising a beautiful theatre capable of sitting tens of thousands takes them two days. Such as their role in the Crusade and the Heresy, they put their skills to figuring out how to tear down and overwhelm fortresses instead of building them.
    • Victory by Endurance: Their preferred method of taking cities: slowly batter the enemy into submission until they can bring overwhelming force to bear on what's left over. It lacks flair, which explains the below.
  • The Rival: To the Imperial Fists. Both are siege specialists, with the Fists often being called upon to fortify, while the Warriors are called in to tear down, though both can fill out both roles competently. While Perturabo wants to build, the Fists often get the pleasure instead; additionally they are lauded and admired, while the Warriors are often passed over altogether.
  • Training Stage: The flagship Iron Blood has a unique great hall named the Dodekatheon in which are installed many tables with simulations of known fortresses so that warsmiths can train in battle simulations and study how to pierce a fortress's defenses. They even have a simulation of the Imperial Palace, which is nigh-impregnable and which three defending warsmiths can easily hold against dozens of opponents at the same time.
  • We Have Reserves: Their habit of using attached Army forces as sacrificial pawns was so pronounced, even before the Heresy, that Horus ordered that the only units attached to Iron Warriors forces would be ones the Imperium could do without - mostly convicted criminals and slaves from difficult compliance invasions. The habit also extends to the legionaries themselves, and even warsmiths don't hesitate to throw them into the thick of battle to gain victory. However, the Legion also frowns on wasting troops and any action should result in a net gain: a warsmith can lose as many men as he wishes as long as it gets results, but throwing manpower away will be punished, as was the case in Angel Exterminatus with Warsmith Harkor being demoted by Perturabo to simple brother legionary.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: When rebellion breaks out on Olympia, they raze the planet to the ground, killing most of the populace and putting the survivors in slavery.

The Primarch of the Iron Warriors Legion. Stranded on Olympia, Perturabo was gifted with an exceptional mind, already possessing all the scientific knowledge to be had, as well as a strange connection to the anomaly he would later christen the "Eye of Terror." He was found and quickly recruited into being the top general of Dammekos, the Tyrant of Lochos. Perturabo conquered Olympia for him, but then ousted him as soon as the Emperor came calling. Perturabo would then suffer indignity upon indignity, chief among these being made a warlord whereas he wanted to be an architect and engineer for peaceful purposes. He sides with Horus after years of frustration with the way his legion is relegated to constant siege duty, as well as the traumatic quelling of the rebellion of his homeworld Olympia.
  • Ace Custom: His armour, the Logos, designed by himself. In addition to having quite a few built-in devices, it doubles as a mobile command centre, enabling him to hear and see everything going on throughout his forces.
  • Affectionate Nickname: His adopted sister Calliphone was close enough to Perturabo to have given him one: "Bo".
  • Arm Cannon: One of Logos' features is a pair of those mounted on the wrists. They fire incendiary bullets.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: He considers siegecraft to be matter of mathematics rather than any sort of art, and he's excellent at pinpointing and exploiting any enemy weakness.
    • In Slaves to Darkness, he also conducts a pitched battle in the open and succeeds through these methods.
  • Bad Boss: His first act upon assuming command of his Legion was decimating it (i.e., having one in ten Astartes executed) for failing to live up to his expectations. Later, he keeps on having anger control problems and often vents his rage at his subordinates, sometimes killing or permanently maiming them. In one instance, he beats up one of his captains so much said legionary must be put in a Dreadnought, reserved for Marines who've received crippling and near-fatal injuries.
  • Badass Bookworm: He's neither the most brutal Primarch nor the smartest, but he's pretty high up on both lists. He even wrote a work called the Castellum Arcanum, the go-to guide for siege warfare among the Traitor Legions.
  • Being Watched: Perturabo can always see the Eye of Terror and feel it watching him, however far from it he is.
  • Butt-Monkey: The other Primarchs and their Legions rarely respected Perturabo and his Legion for their well-worn use being breaking sieges with time and blood... and then his Legion got relegated to garrison duty. There is literally a passage of an Emperor's Children marine talking to Fulgrim as they oversee fortifications for the Drop Site Massacre, asking why The Iron Warriors aren't the ones doing this work. Perturabo, needless to say, resents this.
  • Continuity Nod: Perturabo is the one who coins the name "The Eye of Terror".
  • Cultured Badass: While not as overt as Sanguinius or Fulgrim, Perturabo had an understated appreciation for culture, particularly in the form of anything to do with architecture and engineering. In Perturabo - The Hammer of Olympia, he is shown to be a gifted philosopher.
  • Depending on the Writer: A fairly awful case, to the point where his personality is believed to have been listed as "mercurial" primarily to avoid drawing too much controversy from how diametrically opposed the two major write-ups for him are. Graham McNeill writes him in a more sympathetic light: a cultured and intelligent, if cold and brutal man with democratic inclinations and a fondness for an In-Universe wargame rather like Warhammer 40,000, pigeonholed into disgusting siege warfare while his brothers take all the credit and glory until he snaps, and even then retaining more of his humanity (for a while) than his fellow traitors. John French and his co-writers in the Forge World books write him as a cold, perfection-obsessed killer who had a tenth of his legion executed shortly after meeting them for not living up to his impossible standards and developed a numbers-game warfare style of calculated attrition that reduced every battle to a math equation of soldiers in to soldiers out. Guy Haley's Perturabo - The Hammer of Olympia uses both depictions of his personality, and presents this paradox in his personality as an essential element leading to his fall.
    • French's depictions may stem from the fact that the narrators around him are his underlings in The Crimson Fist and an Imperial historian in the Forge World books. Perturabo would never allow either group to see his vulnerabilities.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: He seems to long for validation in eyes of his brothers and wishes someone would bond with him enough to call him a friend. Fulgrim exploits this in his scheme to ascend to Daemonhood.
    Perturabo: You don’t know the things I dream. No one does, no one ever cared enough to find out.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Perturabo - The Hammer of Olympia makes it clear that Perturabo's order to raze Olympia was this, as the rebellion itself was more of a farcical internal power struggle on the planet that had seen little outright violence rather than an outright revolt against the Emperor. It really would have been easy for him to intimidate the rebellious city states back into line. Instead, he chose to drown the planet in blood.
  • The Dog Bites Back: There's a long, long list of reasons why Perturabo's angry at the Imperium, his brothers, and the Emperor. Needless to say, he jumps ship the moment he's given a chance.
  • Drop the Hammer: He often used thunder hammers during the Great Crusade, and receives Ferrus's special weapon Forgebreaker as a gift from Horus after the Drop Site Massacre.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: He has a bad case of this. His works are not memorialized by any paintings or sculptures, nobody cares for what he'd want, and wherever he cooperates with another Legion, the other Legion gets all the glory while the Iron Warriors' part in victory is relegated to a footnote at best. It's not that he craves attention particularly, as he's ready to accept all kinds of honorless assignments, but he feels cheated of his due respect compared to other legions.
  • The Engineer: Perturabo's actually a brilliant engineer and architect, but was pidgeonholed into tearing down rather than building grand fortresses.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: His feelings about the reborn post-Istvaan Emperor's Children start out harsh and swiftly decline from there.
  • Freak Out: He finally snaps when his homeworld rises in rebellion and pretty much razes it to the ground.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: He constructs dozens of miniature models and automatons as a hobby. During the Magnus the Red: Master of Prospero, Perturabo has managed to build a warp compass out of ancient plans given by Magnus.
  • The Gift: On top of everything else, Perturabo's mind for architecture has given him a remarkable gift for navigating even the most mind-bending mazes with as much trouble as walking down a hallway.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Before he received Forgebreaker, one option for him would be to go to battle without a melee weapon. Part of the upgrades to his armor paired with his natural strength means his fists hit as hard as a plasma gun. For reference, this is right inbetween a regular human with a vehicle-crushing Power Fist, and the everything-cooking meltagun.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Not as bad a case as his brother Angron, but he does have a savage temper, particularly if he receives any sort of bad news. Hearing that Olympia had risen in revolt sent him into a terrifying rage, and its razing was basically an overly long temper tantrum on Perturabo's part. And all this without the Butcher's Nails.
  • Heel Realization: Experienced this in full when he gazed out of the Tyrant's Palace of Lochos at the end of the Razing of Olympia and saw how he had reduced his adopted world to a ruin. Feeling overwhelming shame, he regarded himself as worse than Konrad Curze of all people and knew that the Emperor could never forgive him and his legion for what they had done.
    'See how it burns,' whispered Perturabo. 'This was not the action of an honourable man. I have slain my foster sister and destroyed my own world. I swore an oath to the Emperor that I would spread his message and bring the worlds of mankind back into the fold of Terra. By this action, I have defied his edicts and come close to breaking my oath, for what iteration of Imperial law allows this, when the issue might have been resolved through diplomacy? Their rebellion was my fault, and how did I react?' His voice dropped further, and he gripped Forrix's pauldron. It buckled under the primarch's frightening strength. 'I am lost, my son. What have I become?'
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Which underlines his generally cool exterior, and his cold shortfall of empathy.
  • Insufferable Genius: To the people of Olympia. Perturabo was certainly the greatest mind on the planet and never let go a chance to remind his entourage of that fact. Perturabo looked down on almost everyone, was extremely confident and even arrogant in his theories and had a knack for verabally humiliating anyone who wanted a debate.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": He has a great deal of respect for a historical figure known only as the "Fiorenzi polymath", heavily implied to be Leonardo da Vinci with the serial numbers filed off.
  • Meaningful Name: Perdurabo is a Latin motto meaning "I will endure to the end".
    • Perturbare means to disturb and is the root of the French perturbé meaning deranged, crazy which is an apt description of his personality.
  • Meaningful Rename: Averted. On his home planet of Olympia, it is tradition for a nobleman to take the name of an ancient hero of Olympia in a special ceremony upon reaching adulthood. Perturabo decided to keep his name during the ceremony.
  • Madness Mantra: He finds a new Unbreakable Litany as he watches Lochos - and Olympia - burn from the Tyrant's Palace, repeating it over and over again for hours until Forrix finds him.
    Perturabo: The Emperor will never forgive us this. The Emperor will never forgive us. The Emperor cannot forgive us. Ever.
  • Mood-Swinger: His subordinates are terrified of him, because he can turn from Tranquil Fury to Unstoppable Rage without warning and within seconds.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction when the enormity of what he has done to Olympia finally hits him, realizing that he is no better than Curze, the most sadistic and psychopathic of his brothers. The novel Perturabo: Hammer of Olympia, specifies that the guilt hits him just after he strangled his own adopted sister.
    Perturabo: I have become Curze. His excuse was insanity. What is mine? My temper?
  • Noble Demon: He does remain honourable and lets the Sisypheum escape after they attempt to stop Fulgrim's ascension.
  • Not So Above It All: He has always believed that he doesn't want applause, but when he gets one from thousands of his and Fulgrim's followers, he realizes that it feels good.
  • Not So Stoic: Despite the Iron Warriors reputation for stoicism, Perturabo had quite a temper on him. In The Crimson Fist novella, he crippled Berossus badly enough that he was placed in a Dreadnought. Because he had to tell Perturabo that Sigismund wasn't commanding the Imperial Fists at the Phall System.
  • Only Sane Man: Sometimes he feels like the only Primarch (apart from Alpharius) who manages to turn to Chaos and yet retain his sanity. By the Siege of Terra, he is this for Horus, as all the other Traitor Primarchs who are present and fighting at the Sol system are on a downward spiral to insanity.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: His resentment of Rogal Dorn really took shape when Fulgrim once asked in Perturabo's earshot whether Dorn could create a fortress that the Lord of Iron couldn't breach. Rogal answered yes, prompting Perturabo to break into Unstoppable Rage and confront him in fury before storming out.
  • Rebel Leader: Grew up to overthrow his adopted father's regime.
  • Red Baron: Lord of Iron.
  • Rival Turned Evil: His reason for switching sides is his rivalry of Dorn, coupled with decades of resentment.
  • Tank Goodness: The "Tormentor", Perturabo's personal super-heavy tank modified so that he and his Iron Circle can be transported to the front.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives a short but effective one to Fulgrim where he points out that the Emperor's Children have abandoned any semblance of honour and discipline, to the point where a tide of mutated legionaries is used as their advance party on the Sisypheum, and so from this point he's the only one who's calling the shots and Fulgrim isn't getting what he wants if he doesn't play along.
    • Also gives an effective one to Daemon Angron during their battle on Deluge, where he points out that Angron has sold his strength to Chaos, while he himself has learned from his mistakes and gotten stronger.
    • Much earlier, he himself received a devastating one from his adoptive sister Calliphone when he razed Olympia.
    Calliphone: Always you do things the most difficult way, and in the most painful manner. You cultivate a martyr’s complex, lurching from man to man, holding out your bleeding wrists so they might see how you hurt yourself. You brood in the shadows when all you want to do is scream, 'Look at me!' You are too arrogant to win people over through effort. You expect people to notice you there in the half-darkness, and point and shout out, 'There! There is the great Perturabo! See how he labours without complaint!'
  • The Resenter: Resents his brothers - Rogal Dorn especially - for respect and recognition they get while he's brushed off as the destroyer.
  • The Rival: He hates Dorn with fierce, burning passion. The two of them have very similar specialities, but with Dorn's works being more grandoise, he's been the one tasked with building, while Perturabo has been volunteered to do the destroying, despite having dozens upon dozens of plans for architectural wonders rivalling, if not surpassing Dorn's.
  • Serious Business: Making stuff. He's rather obsessive when it comes to architecture, building or repairing his collection of oddities.
  • Shoot the Messenger: One of the many ways he terrifies his own men. When he was notified that Olympia had risen in revolt, his reaction was utter shock and disbelief, followed by him killing the unfortunate officer who told him of the uprising by breaking his back over his knee. He only barely managed to restrain himself from butchering everyone in the command bridge, human and Astartes alike.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Beneath the sour, rage-filled mask hides a person really wishing for someone to appreciate his work.
  • The Spock: Noted as having a much higher emphasis on logic in all things, a trait shared by the rest of the Iron Warriors. Is also outright disgusted at how devolved the Emperor's Children and Fulgrim became during the Heresy.
  • The Strategist: He actively encouraged his men to consider how to assault and defend the Emperor's Palace from the beginning of the Legion's inception. His attempt at defending it was competent and played out in a similar fashion to the actual defense later in the Heresy. His attack took far less time and incurred more total enemy casualties.
  • Villain Respect: Has this toward Rogal Dorn despite his hatred for him, because he still recognizes him as a brilliant man, and continues to follow the advice he gave him long ago.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Like several of his brothers, he felt his contributions to the Imperium were overlooked, which contributed to him turning traitor. He got approval from his adoptive father Dammekos, but didn't want it, and later wanted approval from the Emperor and never got it.
  • Worthy Opponent: During his trip into the Eye of Terror, he privately holds tremendous respect for the Iron Hands of the Sisypheum for their courage and ingenuity in trailing two Legions' worth of soldiers. Particularly in contrast to the Emperor's Children's decadence and impulsiveness.
    • Despite his hatred of Dorn, he also sees him as this. Back in the times when they had brotherhood with each other, Dorn advised him to take breaks, even in the height of battle, to regain his focus and clarity. Perturabo continues to follow this advice even during the Siege of Terra, because though Dorn is his hated enemy, only a fool would ignore the advice of a brilliant man.

Barabas Dantioch
I may be old but I'm not helpless.
A Warsmith disliked by his own Primarch, he commands one of the few remaining contingents of loyalist Iron Warriors.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: His genius at fortress construction comes from his ability to predict enemy movements and plan out a fortress that's nigh-impregnable.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Seems to have this attitude towards Polux, acting like a patient, mentoring brother towards him.
  • Cool Mask: Wears one fashioned into the icon of Iron Warriors to hide his Hrud-induced deformities.
  • Defector from Decadence: Refuses to partake in the treachery and instead pins down part of the Warriors' forces for over a year before joining with the Ultramarines.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: His friendship with Polux really takes off only after Curze tries to murder the latter.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He stays behind to blow up the Pharos and keep it from falling into the Night Lords' hands, killing himself in the process.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: He used to be a rising star among the Iron Warriors, but a Hrud campaign left him robbed of his reputation and good standing.
  • Meaningful Name: May be a reference to Barabbas, Jesus' co-prisoner who's suspected to have led an anti-roman rebellion.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: His Heroic Sacrifice is what alerts the Tyranids to the presence of something edible in our galaxy.
  • Not So Stoic: The only time his stoic facade breaks is when Curze is about to murder Polux. Good thing it did, because his emotions activated the Pharos' teleporter and allowed him to pull Polux to safety.
  • Odd Friendship: With Alexis Polux, captain of the Imperial Fists, the sworn rivals of the Iron Warriors. Made even stranger by the fact that Polux hates the Warriors with burning passion, but the two seem to find the common ground surprisingly easily.
  • Rage Helm: His mask gives this impression, owning its appearance to the Iron Warriors' sigil.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: His assignment to Lesser Damantyne was brought about by a campaign against the Hrud where he lost half of his company and was prematurely aged into an old man. It's implied that his banishment is not as much because of the former as it is because his fellow Warsmiths couldn't bear having a living, breathing proof of weakness that would take them one day nearby.
  • Send in the Clones: He's created sort of "mini-Astartes", Sons of Dantioch, who are basically his somewhat-degenerated but unflinchingly loyal clones.
  • The Engineer: After leaving Schadenhold, he works on making Pharos operational.
  • The Stoic: He takes pretty much everything his Primarch has him endure in stride, and this attitude doesn't change when he starts working against him.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In blowing up the Pharos, to prevent the Night Lords from seizing and using it, Barabas unintentionally summoned a far far FAR larger threat to humanity than the Night Lords could have ever been: The Tyranids.
  • Younger Than They Look: He's no older than two centuries, but his encounter with the time-manipulating Hrud left him looking like a very old man. 3,000 years old, to be exact.
  • Zerg Rush: Perturabo - The Hammer of Olympia depicts the fateful battle in which he incurred Perturabo's displeasure, and it shows the battle to have been this. Dantioch's company was hopelessly outnumbered against huge swarms of the Hrud, who were ironically on the move because they were fleeing the Iron Warriors' main force. Had he not ordered a withdrawal, he and his entire company would have been annihilated.

I make war a science.
First Captain of the Iron Warriors and part of the Trident, Peturabo's hand-picked advisory council of Warsmiths.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: His real genius lays not in combat prowess, but in his ability to organize and keep running the entire vast war machine of the Iron Warriors.
  • Call-Back: Forrix himself started off in canon as a secondary character who first appeared in ''Storm of Iron'', which takes place in the "present" of 40k.
  • Freudian Trio: Perturabo's current Trident fills this rather naturally, if underplayed. Forrix serves as The Spock, to Falk's Kirk and Kroeger's McCoy.
  • Number Two: To Perturabo, as both the First Captain and member of the Trident.
  • Only Sane Man: Among the Trident, especially after the events of Angel Exterminatus - Falk has all but lost his identity and Kroeger is a berserker on his merry way to fall to Khorne.
  • Straight Man: The only "normal" man among the Warriors, and one against whom the rising insanity of the Legion is contrasted.

     VIII Legion: Night Lords 

The Legion
Number: VIII
Original Name: Night's Children (probably)
Primarch: Konrad Curze

The VIII Legion, led by Konrad Curze and based on Nostramo. The Legion already had a dark side since its inception as it received its first recruits from the underground prisons of Terra, taking the children of prisoners interred there. Moreover, they were also used in retribution campaigns against non-compliant worlds to make an example of rebels. After their Primarch was found, they transferred to the similarly dark and lawless Nostramo. As a vigilante bent on terrifying the populace into obedience, Curze made his Night Lords into terror specialists, using any tactic from excessive force to cruel tortures and subterfuge alike to utterly crush their targets' spirit. Ironically, Nostramo slipped back into a state of lawlessness after Curze departed, resulting in the Legion's reinforcements being comprised of criminals for the most part.

After a campaign alongisde the Imperial Fists, Rogal Dorn confronted Curze on his terror tactics and was wounded, causing the Imperium to arrest Curze and prepare his trial. Curze broke out of his prison and escaped with his Night Lords, laying waste to Nostramo. When the Horus Heresy started, they joined Horus and participated in the Drop Site Massacre. They then embarked on the Thramas Crusade to tie up the Dark Angels but were ultimately defeated, the Legion shattering into smaller warbands. Curze was captured by Lion El'Jonson, but escaped after the Dark Angels arrived at Macragge, terrorizing the planet until he was finally recaptured, broken, and dragged before Guilliman and Sanguinius for judgment. Sanguinius winds up shoving Curze into a stasis coffin and ejecting him into space, while a contingent of the Night Lords led by Gendor Skraivok join Horus' armies for the Siege of Terra.

The Night Lords are shaped by their perpetually night-shrouded homeworld of Nostramo and its lawless, brutal culture. The Night Lords are vicious, cruel and some of them are outright mad. As a result, they are feared and hated by most. According to Curze's philosophy, the Night Lords are terror tactics specialists. They are accomplished infiltrators, codebreakers and will use any trick to make the enemy powerless, ready to cow as the Night Lords perform atrocities against the population. However, they are so accustomed to not fighting fair that they have relatively poor performance against fellow Astartes. The Night Lords wear midnight blue armour, often decorated with lightning patterns and the remains oftheir kills.

  • Animal Motifs: Bats feature prominently in their iconography and decorations.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: They were recruited from the dregs of society both before and after Curze was discovered. On the flip side, the Night Lords are very good at what they do (infiltration, intelligence and asymmetrical warfare) even compared to other legions. In Pharos, a detachment of Night Lords manage to infiltrate a space station and board a cruiser, all the while making fools of the Ultramarines commanding the places.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy/Black Eyes of Evil: Their eyes are totally black, adding to their creepiness factor. It's a feature native to Nostramo, but it just happened that their geneseed also granted this, as evidenced by the few surviving Terran recruits.
  • Color Motifs: Dark blue, which they call "midnight".
  • Combat Pragmatist: They abhor fair fights and don't attack openly unless absolutely forced to, in part because of Curze's tactical preferences, but also because of their innate cruelty.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: One of their chief weaknesses is acknowledged to be that when they can't utilize terror tactics, hit and run, or overwhelming force, they tend to lose, and badly. They spent most of their time in the Thramas Crusade running from the Dark Angels and taking horrendous losses in the process (although the Dark Angels were aided by an entity that could jump their fleets instantly with pin-point accuracy and predict the Night Lords' movements). Nonetheless, the Night Lords always suffer unfavorable kill-death ratios when pitted against other legionaries.
  • The Dreaded: Entire worlds have been known to surrender at the mere mention of who'd shown up to get them.
  • Evil Counterpart: They share a lot with the Raven Guard, including their appearance, preference for guerrilla warfare and affiliation with darkness, but while the Raven Guard are freedom fighters, the Night Lords are butchers. The similarities are overt enough, though, to give Corvus Corax pause when he realizes them.
  • Gallows Humor: Seems to be popular among them, although this may be fandom extrapolating from Sevatar's behaviour.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: They prefer guerrilla combat to open warfare.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Their language is full of allusions to night and darkness where day or sun would otherwise be.
  • Human Resources: They often decorate their armour with human skins and bones to strike terror into the hearts of enemy soldiers and civilians alike.
  • Innate Night Vision: Thanks to being raised in total darkness, their night vision is even better than that of other Legions.
  • Klingon Promotion: A common practice amongst the traitor legions in the modern setting, but the Night Lords are notable in that they did this BEFORE the Heresy even started. They made sure to keep the practice secret from everyone else.
  • Party Scattering: In the aftermath of the Thramas Crusade and a disastrous engagement against the Dark Angels fleet, Sevatar decided to scatter the legion into six smaller fleets to avoid being annihilated. However, this move turned out to be detrimental in the long run as the scattering became permanent, with minor warband leaders now fighting among themselves for leadership.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: A sociopathic version. Even before the Horus Heresy, the Night Lords were recruited from the violent criminal population of Nostramo and whatever hypno-indoctrination they received didn't curb their bloodthirst, while the cutthroat environment and Curze's obsession with fear only drove up their cruelty.
  • Stealth Expert: They're quite fond of sneaking around in shadows.
  • Terror Hero: Their hat is using terror to terrify the populace into submission. One of their favorite ploys is to torture prisoners and flood all broadcast channels with the cries of pain of their victims to break any resistance.
  • Token Evil Teammate: During their tenure as an Imperial force, they were the only Legion with the overtly obvious "evil" mindset and MO. Even their very small number of loyalists were still utterly devoted to their Terror Hero methods.
  • Torture Technician: The Night Lords are all skilled in torture with a preference for flaying alive prisoners. The least sadistic of the Night Lords justify themselves with I Did What I Had to Do, but most simply indulge on their bloodthirst.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: At Curze's orders, they blow Nostramo to splinters.

Konrad Curze
The Primarch of the Night Lords Legion and a peerless master of stealth and terror. Stranded on Nostramo, Curze lived alone and grew to be a vigilante who managed to terrify the entire population of Nostramo into becoming lawful citizens for fear of the "Night Haunter" coming for them. He was also plagued by visions of a grim future which made him into an unstable wreck. When the Emperor came to Nostramo and gave him the VIII Legion, Curze tried to become an enforcer for the Imperium, but he proved too extreme even for his fellow Primarchs. Put under censure, Curze readily joined Horus.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: A firm believer in this during his time on Nostramo and only very slightly tempered by military doctrine during the Crusade. It frequently overlapped with his Blue-and-Orange Morality.
  • Ax-Crazy: Has occasional bouts of psychosis, mostly brought about by his visions. Before the Heresy, he almost slaughtered Rogal Dorn during one, and stopped only when Sevatar and Sigismund managed to talk him back to his senses.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Curze is gifted with the ability to see the future constantly. While they contributed to his madness, his visions also allow him to see whatever is going to happen next during a fight or one of his infiltration, allowing him to see incoming threats or divine the next best course of action. Curze also notes that he's bombarded with visions of varying reliability and must make an effort to filter inaccurate and improbable futures.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Once he realizes that he had gone a bit too far off the deep end, he allows an assassin from the Inquisition to kill him.
  • Creepy Child: He started butchering criminals as a little kid.
  • Creepy Crows: Has crows as his motif and can make even Astartes feel fear.
  • Death Seeker: Angels of Caliban shows that he has already decided to die at the hands of an Assassin decades before it will actually happen for the simple reason that he is tired of living.
    • Tragically, one of the more well intentioned reasons he wants to die (before his time) is that it would prove his prophecies wrong and therefore mean that the future might not be as doomed as his foresight showed. He starts getting genuinely panicky and terrified when he thinks he's going to be killed by his brothers and not by M'Shen (post-Heresy). It ultimately doesn't happen.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: His modus operandi. Back on Nostramo, he'd punish everyone the same, regardless of whether they were gang leaders, corrupt politicians or small-scale drug dealers. Or suicidally depressed widows.
  • The Dreaded: His speciality is terror, and he's awfully good with it.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: A dark variant. He has prophetic dreams and visions that show him the worst possible futures. Constantly pressed by visions of doom and gloom, he's developed a cynical and nihilistic attitude and came to believe that there is no hope. He gets genuinely scared on the few occasions that he almost dies before his predictions come about.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Curze sees the Gal Vorbak (the first example of Possessed Marines) amongst the Word Bearers, his reaction is one of disgust.
    Konrad Curze: You are so much more than merely foul. You are rancid in your corruption.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: When Vulkan doesn't turn out like Curze did after months of torture, Konrad is surprised that he's still a good man.
    • The Night Haunter's means of keeping order on Nostramo involved merciless, terminal punishment for any infraction - a method that worked very well when he was around but fell apart almost immediately when he wasn't. When called out on it later by Sevatar, he genuinely doesn't seem to understand that he could have used other methods to create an ordered, compliant world. Then again, he may also have simply not bothered to find out.
  • Evil Counterpart: He's a good study of what would happen if Corvus Corax turned out worse than he did. Corax's Primarch novel heavily lampshades this.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Has a pair of fangs. It's unknown whether they existed before he landed on Nostramo or if he filed them down afterwards.
  • The Fatalist: His dark dreams, and his never-ending, seemingly unwinnable struggle against his violent urges, caused him to develop a fatalistic attitude.
  • Friendless Background: Curze's the only Primarch who wasn't raised by someone (or, in Russ's case, somewolf) on his home planet. Even after joining the Imperium proper, he typically keeps to himself and is distant from both his brother primarchs and the officers of his Legion. It was mentioned in old material he had a friendship with the equally morose and hateful Mortarion (more of an Informed Attribute, since it never came into play), and Fulgrim, but Fulgrim betrayed his confidence to Dorn out of concern, and likely ended their familiarity.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Even compared to other "outcast" Primarchs like Magnus or Perturabo, Curze is mistrusted and disliked by virtually all of his brothers and even elements of his own Legion. Even Horus, who was noted to get along with everyone before the Heresy, considered him to be "a moody bastard".
  • He Who Fights Monsters: He despised corruption and criminals, so he resorted to violent, murderous terror tactics to punish criminals and deter corruption. His unyielding sense of right and wrong and his constant visions of the worst possible outcomes, combined with his inability and/or unwilligness to use anything else besides terror tactics and brutal psychological warfare led him to become one of the very monsters he so despised.
  • Hope Spot: He has possibly the only one in his entire life in Ruinstorm when Sanguinius demonstrates that fate can be changed. Seeing as Curze had based his entire life (his betrayal of the Imperium included) on the inevitability of his own death by the Emperor's will, it gives him the slimmest of hopes that the terrible future he's always seen may be averted. And then Sanguinius takes it away.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: It's heavily implied that during his time on Nostramo, when times were thin, he'd resort to eating his victims.
  • I Have No Son!: When he realizes his Legion has become full of the murderers, thieves and worse that he hated so much on Nostramo, he grows to hate and eventually abandon his Legion. The feeling is somewhat mutual: the Night Lords aren't exactly fussed about finding their missing Primarch.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: An mildly interesting take, in that it's a bit hard to say when exactly Curze made the leap into being a complete monster, if he wasn't always one already in spite of what he told himself. And no matter how much he tried, he simply couldn't reform Nostramo for the better, nor the Night Lords into a tool for justice. Konrad's ordering Nostramo to be destroyed, shortly before the start of the Heresy, was probably the marking point of when he had just given up on his principles and on building an orderly future.
  • Knife Nut: Rather than a bolter, he uses Nostraman throwing knives, which in his hands are as lethal as firearms. On the tabletop, they are the one of the few weapons in the game that can potentially circumvent Invulnerable saves altogether.
  • Knight Templar: Curze has an extremely strong sense of justice and sees himself as a divine punishment to be wielded upon the unworthy. He terrified his homeworld into becoming a prosperous, crime-free planet (by horrifically butchering anyone who dared commit any crimes) and is noted for being one of the most ruthless and merciless of the Primarchs when it comes to punishing recalcitrant worlds. In a rather sad irony, as the Great Crusade progressed, Curze became the head of a legion of butchers and criminals (Nostramo having slipped back into crime and tyranny after he wasn't around to Scare 'Em Straight) and turned into one of the monsters he so hated.
  • Last Place You Look: Lion El'Jonson spends the first third of Angels of Caliban hunting Konrad Curze across the length and breadth of Ultramar. He doesn't take it well when he finds out Curze never actually left Macragge.
  • Lean and Mean: Out of his armor, Kurze is described as having a slender build for someone of his size.
  • Leave No Survivors: Played with. Curze sees the Night Lords not as an army, but as a punishment; as such, he turns down surrenders and pleas for mercy. He would occasionally leave survivors, but only so they could spread stories of the horrors he had inflicted and sow panic amongst the enemy.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He is ridiculously fast, even by Primarch standards. In Unremembered Empire he almost literally runs rings around regular Astartes, and wreaks so much havoc in so little time that the Ultramarines can't even pursue him, because he's already somewhere else.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Does not even begin to cover it...
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: Played With. Oh, it worked damn good when he was around, but the minute he turned away from his planet, things went right back to hell. It was a temporary fix entirely dependant on his presence.
  • Not So Different: He attempts to prove this with his brothers, trying to force captive Vulkan into various barbarities, without success. The fact that the other Primarchs aren't like him seems to be profoundly distressing to Curze.
  • Not So Stoic: Has bouts of this during his loyalist days. He frequently claimed that he did not enjoy what he had to do in order to create peace but that it was the only way it could be done. Despite this, he secretly enjoyed committing horrific murder and mutilation and by the end of the Heresy both he and his legion had given up on the pretence.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: His modus operandi in his loyalist days. Often overlaps with Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: He has black hair and very pale skin, although not quite to Corax's levels.
  • Red Baron: Lord of the Night, or the Night Haunter.
  • Sanity Slippage: As the Great Crusade wore on, Curze's actions became less and less defensible and he increasingly slipped into psychosis. By the time of Heresy, even his own Legion thinks him crazy.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Literally. While he was a loyalist, the mere mention of Curze and the Night Lords would cause rebellious worlds to become compliant, as his intervention was seen as a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Secret Keeper: One of two people beyond Jago Sevatarion to know that Sevatar is a repressed psyker.
  • Serial-Killer Killer: His childhood at Nostramo consisted of butchering criminals. Regardless of the severity of the crime.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Kurtz from Heart of Darkness. The Primarch is named Konrad (the book is written by Joseph Conrad) Curze (a homonym to Kurtz).
    • His MO is pretty reminescent of Batman. His methods, on the other hand, suggest the League of Shadows.
  • Split Personality: One common theory to explain his actions is that he has one, with Konrad Curze being the just and idealistic leader of men and the Night Haunter being a psychopathic vigilante. Part of his fall comes when the Night Haunter, rather than Curze, becomes the dominant personality as a result of the Crusade.
  • Straw Nihilist: The constant dark visions and his own cynicism and despair and fatalism leave him without any hope and cause him to gradually abandon all claims of justice or morality.
  • Suicide by Cop: While it hasn't happened in the 30K timeline yet, Curze's death at the hands of a Callidus assassin has been a detail long established by 40K history. It's most common interpretation is this trope in particular.
  • Talking to the Dead: As his mental health deteriorates, he starts collecting bodies of dead Night Lords and serfs in his room and spends long hours talking to them.
  • Terror Hero: What he used to be before falling.
  • The Cowl: His childhood on Nostramo consisted of hism terrorising the populace into behaving by acting like the most violent version of this archetype.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Whenever his psychopathic episodes take him, he turns into this.
  • Vigilante Man: Taken to its logical and horrific extreme.
  • What You Are in the Dark: No matter how his brothers and the galaxy at large saw him, Curze initially believed himself to be a man of vision and uncompromising principles when it came to establishing order. Sevatar, his most loyal son, tries to help Curze come to terms with the fact that he always had the heart of a complete, bloodthirsty monster, no matter how much he hid it with the mask of a Knight Templar. By the end of his life, between his hypocrisy, and being only able to permanently shape Nostramo and his Legion into a reflection of himself rather than into his vision, he's a broken man who's discarded everything that mattered to him, except for the violence and one last chance to be vindicated...
  • Wolverine Claws: Uses a pair of Lightning Claws in combat. The Night Lords call them "Mercy and Forgiveness", but it's unknown if Curze uses the same.
  • You Are What You Hate: By the time he realizes he's become one of the monsters he despised, he's a broken, self-loathing, and suicidal man.

Jago "Sevatar" Sevatarion, The Condemned, Prince of Crows
He's not good at this "smiling" thing.
Captain of the VII Legion's First Company prior to Zso Sahaal, and the man who first coins the infamous phrase "Death to the False Emperor".
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Averted. While many Night Lords are mentally abnormal in one way or another, the way Sevatar is written in the Prince of Crows novella makes him seem like a textbook example of antisocial personality disorder. He shows a modicum of empathy in The Long Night.
  • At Least I Admit It: He considers all Astartes to be living weapons enslaved to their legions, and his own legion in particular to be little more than a motley crew of genetically enhanced thugs and murderers, especially himself.
  • Badass Boast:
    • "I am Sevatar the Condemned, and I will wear your skin as a cloak before dawn ruins the sky."
    • "I am judgement! I am justice! I am punishment!"
  • Badass in Charge: As First Captain.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Altani points out that he's never been the fair punishment he believes himself to be, only a gleeful terrorist. He doesn't take it well at first.
  • Blade on a Stick: Fights using a chain halberd with a metre-long blade. And a teleportation homing device in it.
  • Blessed With Suck: He has psyker powers, which are extremely useful in battle and could be even more so if he trained, but suppressed as they are, they are slowly killing him.
  • Body Horror: Implied; his brain is described as rotting away inside his skull.
  • Broken Ace: Sevatar is one of the best fighters in the Legiones Astartes. He's also just as screwed up as one would expect of a Night Lord from Nostramo especially one suppressing psychic powers. It starts to get to him during The Long Night.
  • Brutal Honesty: One of the very few people to speak like this to the Night Haunter. Rather than sweeten the truth, he spices it with heavy servings of sarcasm.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Does one to the Night Haunter himself. Sevetar questions the ruling from fear doctrine that shaped both Nostramo and the fighting style of the legion, noting that the moment the Night Haunter was gone, the planet (and people/new recruits) changed for the worse. The Night Haunter denies this, claiming it was the only way, leading Sevatar to point out all the other ways that other Primarchs had made compliant, productive, and orderly worlds (without having to broadcast the screams of flayed children over the planetary vox network). The Night Haunter doesn't take it very well.
    Curze: There was no other way.
    Sevatar: No? What other ways did you try?
  • Combat Pragmatist: Doesn't care about honour at all and turns to any possible tactic to win, no matter how dirty or against the rules it'd be.
  • Covered with Scars: Going by descriptions of him, he's in fact much more scarred than the picture above implies.
  • Creepy Crows: Nicknamed "Prince of Crows" and certainly creepy even when he's not trying.
  • Dark Secret: In ''Prince of Crows" we learn that Sevatar's a repressed psyker in a Legion which was up there with the Death Guard and Space Wolves in hating psykers.
  • Dead Man Walking: The arterial red color of his gauntlets marks him as condemned, living only on the whim of his primarch.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Responds to most problems, threats, and insults with bone-dry one-liners. Even by the standards of the Night Lords he snarks a lot.
  • Dead Person Conversation: He can hear voices of the dead, and sometimes they speak to him.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Angrily refuses to answer to Jago; although almost no-one calls him Sevatarion either.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Averted whilst he is captive on the Invincible Reason. Altani only calls him Jago.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He's deeply suspicious of Altani's reasons for telepathically chatting with him at her own risk. It turns to bewilderment when she insists it's because she felt that he was hurting and she wanted to help.
  • Famed in Story: His fame during the Crusade era was nearly equal to that of Abaddon.
  • Faking the Dead: In Void Stalker, Mercutian confides to Octavia that he believes Sevatar is still alive, something which a number of Night Lords believe. Talos, however, dismisses it.
    • Recent fluff has seemingly given credence to this theory. Specifically, a novel surrounding the Grey Knights reveals that the founder of the Grey Knight's Eight brotherhood, went by the name Khyron note , and is depicted on his tomb leaning casually on a halberd. Considering Sevatar was known for his lax attitude, a chain-glaive as his Trademark Weapon, and the epitaph being self-deprecating and speaking about treacheries. It is hard to deny the possibility that Sevatar actually did not die like the Night Lords thought he did.
      • Both the Horus Heresy series and the Primarch novels reveal that neither the Legion or Curze had seen Sevatar since the attack on the Invincible Reason and was assumed dead from that point on. The last he was seen was by Gendor Skraivok, who saw him imprisoned on the Invincible Reason a few years afterwards but this wasn't relayed to the rest of legion as it served Skraivok's purposes to edge for command. As for the Grey Knights theory, Khyron's identity has not been declaritively stated but is greatly implied to be Fel Zharost, another Night Lord. So whilst Sevatar could well be alive (at least past the Heresy), it's fairly unlikely that he became the founder.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Speaks with mock cheer and courtesy the majority of time, even when addressing a former flaying victim he intends to... finish off.
  • Flashback to Catchphrase: Coins the phrase "Death to the False Emperor!", which cultists and Chaos Marines of the modern day use constantly.
  • Flaying Alive: His preferred method of execution. He's capable of taking off long continuous ribbons of human skin in one go, despite the size and power of his chainblade.
  • Genuine Human Hide: He wears the results of his flayings bolted to his armor.
  • Heroic RRoD: Breaks down on Invincible Reason when his long-running brain rot gets to him and Altani becomes unable to sooth the pain. He spends several weeks curled up on the floor, screaming with pain and floating in and out of consciousness.
  • Hidden Depths: For a person with an obvious personality disorder, Sevetar is surprisingly quite adept at understanding and debating his Primarch's moral shortcomings, as well as actually understanding him better than almost any other being save the Emperor or Sanguinius. He's also capable of empathising with a human child, which is something very few loyalist legionaries can do.
  • I am a Humanitarian: Having grown up on the streets, he sometimes did eat bodies of the dead to survive.
  • I Have Many Names: Sevatar, Jago, Prince of Crows, First Captain, the Condemned...
  • I Gave My Word: Takes his oaths of loyalty to the Atramentar and his primarch with a seriousness bordering on Honor Before Reason. Pretty surprising from a self-admitted liar and murderer.
  • I See Dead People: He can hear voices of the dead. In line with this line's Trope Namer, he believes that most doesn't realize they're dead.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: We have to repeat this boast once again:
    Sevatar: I am judgement! I am justice! I am punishment!
  • Lack of Empathy: He can't undestand most of emotions other people display. Among others, he's shown unable to understand why people whom he's led to death hate him and why anyone would tell him "it's good to see you".
  • Leaning on the Furniture: Serves to highlight his almost universal irreverence.
  • Mark of Shame: Wears gauntlets painted in sinner's red. He doesn't view them as much to be ashamed about, however.
  • Master Swordsman: Skilled with Blade on a Stick rather than a sword, but he managed to come to a draw with Sigismund, who's considered the best swordsman alive apart from the Primarchs. Sevatar actually won this duel, but a forehead in the face is considered against the rules.
  • Morality Pet:
    • A very mild and slightly twisted example with Flight Commander Taye. He lets her get away with talking to him with far less respect than is due to an Astartes, let alone a First Captain. The end of Prince of Crows reveals that he keeps her (and a few other people in the fleet) around because she resembles members of his long dead family. They might even be related. This said, he has no idea what to think of this, emotionally speaking.
    • And again when he is captive on board the Invincible Reason, taking great risk to hunt down and bring justice/punishment to the people who maimed Altani, the young astropath girl who sooths the pain in his head after his psychic power runs out of control.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever he did to earn his sinner's red gauntlets and accompanying death sentence, neither he or Curze are telling. The only thing we know is that Sevetar finds it funny.
  • No Social Skills: Astartes aren't known for their social interaction, but Sevatar actually has trouble joking and bonding with his own brothers in the Atramentar, actually expressing (private) envy of Sigismund for his ability to bond with his brothers in the Imperial Fists. This seems to be due to his antisocial personality disorder than any Astartes conditioning, though.
  • Number Two: Split between him and Shang. Curze associates the role with him so strongly that in his senile moments after Sevatar's death he demands his presence in war councils.
  • Only Sane Man: One of the very few Night Lords who understand the reality of their situation.
  • Pet the Dog: He punishes the man who's beaten to death the young astropath, Altani.
  • Phrase Catcher: Variations on "You're insane" are often directed at him.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Suffers from this as a result of suppressing his psyker powers. It gets increasingly oft and more severe as the time goes on and by Prince of Crows, he's shedding gallons of blood on semi-regular basis.
  • Psychic Powers: Revealed to be a pskyer in "Prince of Crows" short story for Shadows of Treachery.
  • Praetorian Guard: Commands the Atramentar, Curze's honor guard.
  • Red Baron: The "Prince of Crows".
  • Secretly Dying: His suppressed psychic powers are killing him slowly, but he doesn't let that slow him down one bit.
  • Skull for a Head/ White Mask of Doom: Wears a skull faced helm in the manner of Talos.
  • Softspoken Sadist: All the more jarring given how much he pisses off his enemies.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Back on Nostramo, he would talk with crows and understand what they were saying back, even though they were Nearly Normal Animals.
  • The Captain: Commands the First Company.
  • The Cynic: He's a pessimist, to say the least.
  • The Magnificent: "The Condemned" and "Prince of Crows". We learn why he got the latter in "Prince of Crows": as a child, he used to bring corpses for some crows to feed on, as their wings fluttering was the only thing that could keep his psyker induced headaches back long enough for him to sleep.
  • Tranquil Fury: While killing the man who beat Altani to death.
  • The Unsmile: It's described as "hooks tugging at the flesh of a corpse". Probably related to that antisocial personality disorder of his.
  • The Sociopath: Clear-cut case of antisocial personality disorder.
  • Troll: He will not miss the chance to dick with you For the Lulz, and he's extremely good at it. He even manages to piss off Lion El'Jonson, who is notoriously difficult to provoke.
  • Undying Loyalty: He breaks the block he's willingly put around his psyker powers to save his father and never orders the Atramentar to fight battles he can't or won't fight himself. When it comes to latter, he seems unable to believe that him not going to his death at the Atramentar's side is something that could happen.
  • Warrior Poet: Of sorts. His exchange with Corswain implies a fondness for Nostraman poetry, and his sometimes flowery dialogue seems to reinforce that impression.
  • What Is This Feeling?: In Prince of Crows he's sometimes shown feeling faintest traces of something that most people would undestand as emotions, but has trouble understanding what they might be or mean.

Var Jahan

Captain of the 27th Company, and a member of the Kyroptera.
  • All the Other Reindeer: Averted, unusually. No one makes an issue of his Terra heritage or his subtly different methods.
  • The Captain: Of the 27th Company.
  • Only Sane Man: He still holds more to the VII Ith Legion's old tactics of terror with a purpose, rather than the sadism which characterises his brothers.
    • He also recognises how far the Legion has gone when, with the situation already dire, his fellow commanders are plotting to kill one another.
  • Run or Die: He anticipates Sevatar's planned assassination of the Kyroptera's remaining members. Sevatar calls off the Atramentar in the nick of time as a result.
  • Skull for a Head: As per the Kyroptera's dress code.
  • Torture Technician: In a battle described in Massacre he leads a Night Lords force to conduct the psychological torture of an entire warzone. Notably, Sevatar considers him less of a murderer than a tactician, by Night Lords standards.

Gendor Skraivok

Captain of the 45th Company, known as the Painted Count

  • And I Must Scream: At the end of The Lost and the Damned, Skraivok is beaten in a duel by Raldoron and kicked off the wall of the Imperial Palace. He cuts a deal with the daemon in his sword to spare his life. Unfortunately for him, this turns out to involve being dragged into the warp for "six times six hundred and sixty-six years" (almost four thousand years) to learn the true meaning of pain.
  • The Captain: Of the 45th Company.
  • Klingon Promotion: He shoots his former commander Krukesh at the end of Pharos, then kills Captain Shang in a duel to take command of what's left of the VIII Legion.
  • The Red Baron: The Painted Count.
  • The Starscream: As is common with the Night Lords, he ascends to command of what's left of the Legion by backstabbing his way up the ranks. It's also revealed that, prior to the Heresy, he was actively plotting with his Nostraman relatives to undermine Curze's authority and was building up a force of Night Lords that would be loyal only to him.
  • You Are in Command Now: Horus recognizes him as de facto commander of the Night Lords for the invasion of Terra, since Curze and Sevatar are both MIA and anyone else who could conceivably have held the job is dead.

     XII Legion: World Eaters 

The Legion
Number: XII
Original Name: War Hounds
Primarch: Angron

Formerly known as the tenacious and savage War Hounds, the World Eaters are the brutal Twelfth Legion. During the early days, the 12th Legion was comprised of aggressive recruits who had an affinity for close quarters assault, and were split among expeditionary fleets to serve as shock troops. At that point, they were already known for being brutal and at best aloof allies. However, it was their Primarch Angron's return that kickstarted their complete fall. Angron had his Legionaries turned into a rabble of berzerkers by having special implants called Butcher's Nails driven into their brains. The whole legion turned into a mob of bloodlusting brutes. The War Hounds also renamed themselves "World Eaters" to honor Angron's original army, the Eaters of Cities.

When Horus turned traitor, Angron needed little convincing to join him. The World Eaters participated in the battles of Isstvan III and V, and then joined with the Word Bearers to conduct the Shadow Crusade that would complete the Ruinstorm and trap the Ultramarines on the wrong side of the galaxy. Incidentally, Angron became a Daemon Primarch of Khorne at the climax of the campaign, and his Legion soon fell to Khorne. The World Eaters then went on a mindless campaign of slaughter across the galaxy despite Horus' summons, until the Iron Warriors ultimately brought them back under Horus' nominal control. Led by Angron, the World Eaters went on to fight at the Siege of Terra.

The World Eaters are defined by their unique implants, the Butcher's Nails, which turns them into savage berserkers who cannot enjoy anything but bloodshed. As a result, the whole Legion is made of warriors barely able to contain their rage out of combat, emulating Angron's gladiators through ritual battles in arenas but otherwise being left to their own devices by an apathetic Primarch. In battle, the World Eaters only charge straight into the enemy lines, their Nails forcing them to seek the quickest way to shed blood at the cost of discipline or any pretense at tactics. However, their savagery makes them among the most fearsome close quarters troops in the galaxy. During the Crusade and Heresy, the World Eaters wear white armour with blue pauldrons, though many of them are gradually repainting it red.

  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The Butcher's Nails in their heads prevent anything more complex, pushing them to fight.
  • Band of Brothers: Who the War Hounds used to be before meeting Angron, as they were noted for their particularly strong sense of brotherhood. Made all the more ironic as their gradual fall to Chaos destroyed that brotherhood first.
  • The Berserker: The Butcher's Nails make them unable to feel pretty much anything beyond anger and bloodlust, and they find it really hard to restrain themselves.
  • Blind Obedience: Honestly, it's a small wonder that they haven't refused to follow their Primarch. It is somewhat justified in that they have a tendency for strong loyalty, even if that loyalty would be misplaced. They seem to obey him without question even when they clearly know it's a bad idea they're getting into. Even the Librarians, openly hated by their brothers and Primarch, remain loyal to Angron.
  • Blood Is the New Black: The World Eaters' color scheme was initially white and blue, and there's a suggestion that the newer red scheme isn't the result of paint.
    • Throughout their appearances in the series this escalates.
  • Blood Knight: All that matters to them is fighting. Their hat.
  • Chained Heat: In their duels, they often fight two versus two, with pair of warriors on the same side being chained together.
  • Chain Pain: One of their more famous habits is chaining their weapons to their hands so that they'll never be lost in the heat of battle.
  • Chainsaw Good: Their signature weapon is a chainaxe.
  • Color Motif: Bone white with blue accents.
  • The Dreaded: Entire star systems would surrender unconditionally when they learned they would be facing the World Eaters, and at times even that wasn't enough to save them...
  • Fallen Hero: They used to be one of the nicest Legions out there, but Angron's arrival has turned them into a pack of violent, out-of-control monsters.
  • Gladiator Games: Their in-Legion duels are heavily stylized to look like this, they are specially made cages and arenas covered in sand in which armorless legionaries can duel. Despite their bloodlust, the duels of the World Eaters are relatively cordial and there are rules to make them stop at first, second or third blood.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: They casually disregard any battle plans and tactics, preferring to rush the enemy en masse. The only one who cares is Kharn and he internally laments that his once disciplined legion has devolved into a berserker mob, also noting that any disciplined rank has good chances to obliterate them if the World Eaters don't break the rank on their first charge.
  • Meaningful Rename: They were initially named the War Hounds, and renamed themselves "World Eaters" in yet another attempt to bond with their Primarch, whose first army was called Eaters of Cities.
  • Mental Fusion: The Librarius of the World Eaters has developed a special technique in which several Librarians merge their consciousness and psychic power into a new temporary being named "the Communion" whose role is to reach Angron's consciousness whenever he's lost into his own bloodlust. The Communion is eventually killed after Angron ascends to become a Daemon Primarch, also killing the few Librarians who've survived thus far.
  • Mildly Military: In comparison to their fellows. Other Space Marines don't usually greet a superior with the news that they killed a battle-brother last night.
  • Psycho Serum: Not a serum, but the Butcher's Nails implant that each and every legionary has. It floods the brain with the urge for violence, and triggers the reward systems in the brain when violence is performed. Once the "user" starts this cycle, it's practically impossible to reverse it or heal it without killing him. It also has the nasty side-effect of occasionally causing the users to go insane or go into a permanent berserk rage, though it's likely that this was intentional. It started out as a gladiator control device on Nuceria, but Angron incorporated the Nails into the fabric of his legion against the Emperor's orders. The initial legionaries went along with it just to get closer to Angron, but he still rejected them. Later traitor forces either used the implant or had a blessing from Khorne which replicated its effects to create berzerkers.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The only way to stop a Nails-taken World Eater is to kill him dead, nothing else works.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Their relationship with Angron screams this from miles away. Pretty much everything - from adopting gladiator motifs, though their rename and taking on the Butcher's Nails and to siding with Horus - is done in hopes of finally winning their gene-sire's affection. It doesn't work.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: They manually kill every single person on Nuceria after Angron finds out that he's treated as a villain and a coward by his homeworld.

The Primarch of the World Eaters Legion. Stranded on Nuceria, Angron was enslaved by the planet's ruling class and made into a gladiator. When he refused to kill his adoptive father in the arena, the nobles mutilated his brain with the Butcher's Nails, although he managed to retain a modicum of restraint and honor even after being implanted. He eventually led a gladiator revolt, and his tiny army killed so many high-riders and high-rider armies that they became known as the Eater of Cities. When the Emperor came to him on the eve of the Eaters' last stand, Angron rejected his offer to join the Crusade, only to be teleported away from the Eaters of Cities' final battle, losing his beloved companions and having his heart broken. Indifferent to his Legion and hating the Emperor's guts, he quickly sides with Horus once the Heresy erupts.
  • 0% Approval Rating: One of his nicknames is "Broken One". His own homeworld vilifies him as a savage and a murderer and many, including those in his own Legion, feel he's too damaged and deranged to ever be considered a true Primarch. His brothers have no sympathy for him either. Most tellingly, all other Primarchs naturally exude an aura of charisma and authority but Angron doesn't even inspire either from his Legion.
  • An Axe to Grind: He uses twin chainaxes called Gorefather and Gorechild. Both are damaged and discarded at Armatura during the Shadow Crusade of the Heresy. Kharn recovers Gorechild, but Gorefather's lost when Armatura's subjected to Exterminatus. Gorefather returns when Abaddon initiates his 13th Black Crusade.
  • At Least I Admit It: He doesn't shy away from calling "compliance" and "tithe" for what they are - conquest and manpower.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Angron to Lorgar. Full stop. Angron has always treated Lorgar with contempt and at looks down on him for being a weakling. However, this trope has numerous examples inBetrayer, most notably when Lorgar was weakened by Roboute's blow to the chest, Angron charges in to deliver a "Reason You Suck" Speech to Gulliman and battled him while Lorgar recovers, eventually forcing him to retreat. While that fiasco was happening, Lorgar, still weak from his wounds, was chanting a ritual to help Angron's ascension, until he was attacked by the communion in the warp (Angron's psykers manifested as one in the warp), he was able to break through it, but he was still surrounded in the material realm. They fought until they managed to blow Lorgar's armor and hand off, they were able to bring him down. Cue the semi transformed Angron's Big Damn Hero moment while flying in rage against his Librarians.
    Angron: (Roaring) My brother!
    *slaughters the librarians*
    Angron: Traitors! [...] Traitors, seeking my brother's blood.
  • Ax-Crazy: He wasn't really all there even before the Heresy. His bloodlust and murderous rage are so great that Khorne, god of war and rage himself, takes an interest, and eventually turns him into a Daemon Prince.
  • Bad Boss: After Kharn managed to fetch him back from a feral world (where he had been living like a savage and seeking a foe that could put him out of his misery), Angron ordered the World Eaters to conquer their targeted worlds within 31 hours - a single Nucerian day and the time he and his original army had scored their greatest victory upon the planet. If the legion failed to capture the world within this time limit, Angron would order decimation as punishment, forcing 1 out of every 10 World Eaters to be killed by his other 9 brothers. As the World Eaters were known for their particularly strong sense of brotherhood prior to Angron's arrival, just one such incident would have had a devastating effect on overall morale. Angron ordered decimation several times. When Centurion Mago finally stood up to Angron and refused to again enact decimation after the start of the Ghenna Campaign, Angron flew into a berserk rage, slaying many of his sons before being subdued by his Librarians and put into a coma.
  • Band of Brothers: His relationship with his fellow gladiators. Angron's Legion, the War Hounds (which he renamed the World Eaters) tried to form this kind of bond with him, but he was too wrapped up in his hatred, madness and grief to reciprocate. The War Hounds were like this with each other until Angron had the Butcher's Nails installed in all of them, turning them into a pack of frothing madmen.
  • The Berserker: One of the many reasons why he becomes the Daemon Primarch of Khorne.
    • Calling him the Red Angel. His own internal monologue indicates he despises the implications the title makes that compares him to the "perfect creature" that is Sanguinius.
    "Of all his titles, given in glory or earned in infamy, Angron most despised being named the Red Angel. The Imperium already had an Angel in Sanguinius, and Angron had no desire to ape the fey mutant that commanded the IX Legion".
  • Big Red Devil: Becomes one of these after falling to Chaos.
  • The Big Guy/The Brute: Angron is known as probably the best fighter among his brothers, and makes good use of his Unstoppable Rage.
  • Black Sheep: The only Primarch to fail in conquering his homeworld, and up there with Curze in how he's treated by his brothers.
  • Blood Knight: Even more so than the other Primarchs. The Butcher's Nails warp and damage his brain so that the only sense of peace and contentment he can achieve is by fighting and killing. When he becomes a Daemon Prince, it gets worse.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: While he's possibly the greatest warrior amongst the company of the Primarchs, Angron also shows himself in Betrayer to be a gifted philosopher and debater when arguing his case for the Emperor's immorality. Unfortunately, due to the Butcher's Nails essentially ripping his brain apart with killing urges and preventing him from even sleeping, he can't really capitalize on any of his talents not directly related to killing.
  • Broken Angel: Created to be a demigod, driven insane by brain implants.
  • The Corrupter: Before Angron, the XII Legion, then known as the War Hounds, was renowned for the fierce loyalty his warriors had for each other. When Angron took command, he renamed them the World Eaters and had the Butcher's Nails installed in all of his soldiers, driving them insane with bloodlust. Afterwards, the World Eaters were so renowned for their bloodlust and butchery that other Imperial forces wanted nothing to do with them and entire star systems would surrender unconditionally when they got word they were going to be facing the World Eaters.
  • Cyborg: Butcher's Nails, a set of brain implants that force him to commit acts of violence and make him unable to feel anything other than rage. He was implanted with them for refusing to kill his adoptive father in Nuceria's gladiatorial arenas.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He's a contender for having the darkest of all the Primarchs. When he first arrived on his homeworld of Nuceria, he was forced to fight a squad of Eldar who had come to kill him, apparently because they foresaw what he would become. He grew up as a slave and a gladiator, and he had the Butcher's Nails hammered into his head when he refused to kill his adoptive father, driving him mad. When he finally managed to escape, his army faced years of starvation and constant attacks by his former captors. When the Emperor arrived, he forced Angron to join the Great Crusade and left Angron's friends to be annihilated. Angron never really recovered. Guy had it rough.
  • Death Seeker: Straddles between this and Not Afraid to Die. Angron believes that he should have died (and, symbolically, did die) with his gladiator kin on Nuceria and that the Emperor robbed him of his rightful demise. He leads the World Eaters, but with no particular zeal for his station; instead, he simply kills because that is what the Butcher's Nails force him to do. He's abandoned his legion at least once during the Crusade and has apparently been looking for something tough enough to kill him the entire time.
    • Interestingly, put into question in Betrayer when he's buried under tonnes of rubble on Armatura. Rather than accept his death, he frantically searches for the surface. However, going with his Blood Knight characterization, the frantic searching may be because that would be a very Undignified Death.
    • Is very much this after his ascension, constantly seeking death through close combat. As he is now an immortal Daemon Prince, he is incapable of doing so, much to his great distress.
  • Dented Iron: Even with a Primarch's healing capabilities, Angron is still heavily scarred from all the wounds he takes fighting on the frontline. Most of his teeth are iron replacements, replaced many times over due to losing them again and again to injury. And his scars and iron teeth are nothing compared to the damage that the Butcher's Nails have inflicted on his mind; his healing capabilities were the only thing keeping him alive, and even then the Nails were slowly killing him. Towards the end, before his return to Nuceria, he could no longer breathe through his nose on account of his sinuses and nostrils being clogged up from the nosebleed resulting from the Nails.
  • Does Not Like Magic: He disdains psykers and hates their powers. It's implied that it's because the Nails react violently to Warp disturbances, causing him pain, though this reaction could very well be influenced by Khorne.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: He insists that he won the Night of the Wolf, an event where Russ tried to prove to him that he could kill him. What happened was that Angron bested Leman in single combat, but the Rout surrounded the two of them and would have killed him, his own men too busy satisfying their own urges to kill to notice their Primarch was in danger, had Russ not called the Space Wolves off, in order to make a demonstration of the damage the Butcher's Nails were doing to the World Eaters. It takes Lorgar's explanations for Angron to understand that this was exactly what Leman was trying to prove. And he still could not see the point, let alone admit it.
  • The Dreaded: Even Leman Russ knew not to get on his bad side. And he only gets worse after falling to Chaos.
  • Enfant Terrible: When Angron landed on his adopted homeworld of Nuceria, he was attacked by what Imperial authorities believe were Eldar intent on stopping the rise of the future Daemon Prince. When humans finally found him, he was surrounded by their bodies.
  • The Gadfly: Has fun mocking Argel Tal's "Blessed Lady" right until Tal attacks him. The attack amuses him too.
  • Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!: In the short story "Lord of the Red Sands", Angron internally thinks to himself that only liberty is worth fighting for, as opposed to glory or conquests.
  • Gladiator Revolt: Angron's backstory has him leading one, and he was found by the Emperor the day they were going to make their Last Stand. Instead of joining his father, Angron decided to fight and die with his comrades. The Emperor departed... then teleported Angron away right as they were about to be slaughtered. Angron has issues with that.
  • Glass Cannon: At least by his tabletop stats, Angron is one of the most offense oriented Primarchs, but he's rather on the frail side (though for a Primarch, that's not saying much). He trades in on most of the tricks and tools most others bring to the table for sheer offensive capability.
  • Hypocrite:
    • He installed the Butcher's Nails in his gene-sons' brains, even though he hated the implants and knew well what they do to a person.
    • He also despises tyranny. While he does have legitimate issues with the Emperor over how he rules and how he treats his sons, Angron gives support to Horus who openly seeks to create his own tyrannical regime.
  • I am a Humanitarian: In their final stage of destroying his brain, the Nails make him eat bodies of fallen enemies. Kharn outright refuses to believe it. After his ascension, however, he munches on one of his Legion's Librarians in full view of everyone.
  • Never My Fault: He's quick to blame all that happens to him on his upbringing, father or Nails while not actually doing anything to fix his problems.
  • Not Afraid to Die: The Butcher's Nails drive all fear of death from Angron and his Legion, albeit at tremendous cost.
  • Not So Different: When confronted by Leman Russ regarding his legion's brutality and barbarity, Angron explains that he is just as loyal as Russ to the ideals of the Imperium; he is simply more honest about the true nature of those ideals.
  • Paint the Town Red: During his days amongst humanity, Angron's pearly white armor got completely covered in red so often that it earned him the name "the Red Angel", and he was often told he should just paint it red. After the Heresy, the World Eaters do just that, though there are rumors that the red color is from many of them never neither actually getting around to it nor cleaning their armor.
  • Pet the Dog: A very dark version of this trope, if an in-universe theory about his behavior at Istvaan III is correct; namely, that the reason why he defied Horus' orders and descended onto the planet with 50 companies of World Eaters was to grant an honorable death in battle to his loyalist gene-sons, rather than let them be destroyed by conventional orbital bombardment, as Horus had intended.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Angron actually pursues the point of feeding into the Nails until the rage drive him insensate and practically catatonic from emotional overload. It's the only actual moments of peace he has.
  • Red Baron: The Red Angel, the Broken One.
  • Refusal of the Call: Angron refused to go with the Emperor's summons to join him, preferring to fight and die alongside his comrades. The Emperor made him answer.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Upon returning to Nuceria with the Word Bearers (as part of an Evil Plan of Lorgar's), Angron is outraged to see that the planet's population (particularly the powerful elite who enslaved him and his old comrades) has demonized him as a murderer and coward who left his slave army to die. Hearing this (on top of the continuing humiliation of the Emperor having stolen him away from the Last Stand he wanted with his fellow slaves) pushes Angron over the edge: he murders several of the gathered nobility with his bare hands, then orders the entirety of both the World Eaters and Word Bearers to first kill everyone in Nuceria's capital city Desh'ea, then kill every last person on the planet. Given that a single Legion can pacify an entire system in a matter of days, it only takes both Legions a few hours to massacre every human on Nuceria.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: To wit, after the Emperor abducts him and has him put in control of a Space Marine Legion, he's simply furious and uninterested. The Emperor has the Legion's Captains talk him down without laying a hand on Angron, resulting in their successive deaths...until Kharn succeeded.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives Guilliman a brutal one:
    "What would you know of struggle, Perfect Son? When have you fought against the mutilation of your mind? When have you had to do anything more than tally compliances and polish your armour?" [...] "The people of your world named you Great One. The people of mine called me Slave. Which one of us landed on a paradise of civilization to be raised by a foster father, Roboute? Which one of us was given armies to lead after training in the halls of the Macraggian high-riders? Which one of us inherited a strong, cultured kingdom? And which one of us had to rise up against a kingdom with nothing but a horde of starving slaves? Which one of us was a child enslaved on a world of monsters, with his brain cut up by carving knives? Listen to your blue-clad wretches yelling of courage and honour, courage and honour, courage and honour. Do you even know the meaning of those words? Courage is fighting the kingdom which enslaves you, no matter that their armies outnumber yours by ten-thousand to one. You know nothing of courage. Honour is resisting a tyrant when all others suckle and grow fat on the hypocrisy he feeds them. You know nothing of honour."
    • And receives a small but just as effective one in return:
    "You’re still a slave, Angron. Enslaved by your past, blind to the future. Too hateful to learn. Too spiteful to prosper."
    • Likewise receives an effective one from Perturabo, which echoes that of Guilliman, during their battle on Deluge:
    "You think I am weak. But you have grown weaker, Angron. I have learnt. I have remade my strength. While you have sold yours out of despair. You are weak. You are a slave. You were born a slave and a slave you remain."
  • That Man Is Dead: Angron considers himself to have died on Nuceria with his fellow gladiators. On Nuceria he was a wild but also honorable gladiator who led his brothers and sisters to freedom, but he's since then become apathetic to everyone around him afterward, especially his Legion's fall from grace.
  • Unstoppable Rage: To give you an idea of how batshit furious this guy is, put this into perspective: Kharn The Betrayer, aka the guy who single-handedly destroyed two entire legions of chaos marines by himself just because they refused to fight for a few hours, was once considered to be his Blue Oni in comparison.
    • To be technical though, this constant part of his character can be blamed on him having Nails implanted in his brain that amplify his aggression and fury.

I'm not so much angry, as I am seething with rage.
Captain of the 8th Assault Company of the World Eaters and Angron's equerry, he's one of the few people to manage keeping his Nails in check.
  • Ax-Crazy: Subverted. Because of the Butcher's Nails, he's often prone to this, but he's also known for being one of the few that can actually keep others from the Legion (including Angron) from going all out to a point of utter stupidity (most of the time, anyway). As the Heresy continues, he is also one of the few World Eaters who can keep himself relatively sane.
  • Berserk Button: Pity. A captive Thousand Son offers to help removes his implants and undo the damage. Khârn beats him to death.
  • The Berserker: Interestingly enough, he resents it. It's very hard to face an entire force of highly trained and professional Astartes when your Legion is literally running everywhere without communicating with each other.
  • Blood Is the New Black: By the time the Iron Warriors come to round up the World Eaters and bring them to Ullanor, Kharn is slathered from head to toe in gore.
  • The Captain: Commands the Eighth Assault Company, though he's on par with the First Captains of the other Legions.
  • The Consigliere: The first captain not to get killed by Angron after the latter's reunited with the Legion and try to quench his lord's fury to more productive work. Not that it helps, but at least he tries.
  • Cyborg: Like all World Eaters, he has the Butcher's Nails driven into his brain.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His internal monologue sometimes has shades of this, coupled with copious amounts of Black Humour, presumably as a way of dealing with harsh reality.
  • Does Not Like Magic: While he's unusually civil to his own Librarians, he despises the Word Bearers' invocations and the Thousand Sons.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Ends up being the body in question when he tries to speak with Angron for the first time.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Argel Tal. When he dies, Kharn goes into a very uncharacteristic Tranquil Fury and beats the hell out of Erebus.
  • Missing Time: Suffers from this whenever the Nails overwhelm him, with implication being that the time he doesn't remember is spent slaughtering things. His fellow World Eaters are understanding of this, as it happens to them too.
  • Number Two: Got the position by being the first Captain to survive his first meeting with Angron.
  • Odd Friendship: With Argel Tal. An atheistic warrior and a religious zealot.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: He's unusually nasty on Prospero, which is most likely a result of the planet's immersion in the Warp. He ends up snapping and murdering the person he's trying to interrogate.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Tries to be this for the World Eaters, as Angron isn't eager to take the place.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: He tries to be Blue Oni to his gene-sire, but has troubles with it.
  • Tranquil Fury: In this state he duels Erebus. Erebus notes that there's no angry look, no accusations, or anything betraying anger, just a bored expression as Kharn tries to kill him.
    Kharn: (after flattening Erebus again) "Get. Up."
  • Unstoppable Rage: Inflicted on himself like most the Legion did to get close to his genetic father. It only helped in developing a degree of resentment towards Angron.
  • White Sheep:
    • Played with. Kharn is one of the few genuinely nice and caring World Eaters, and is typically calm and rational to a degree that's a little disturbing considering those he's surrounded by.
    • Then again, when he goes into battle, he becomes as furious and berserk as any other world eater. Possibly more so.
    • On Prospero he sets out to torture a Thousand Son and bludgeons him to death. Being on a world soaked in the Warp and up close with a psyker probably didn't help, though.


The undisputed champion of the World Eaters' fighting pits. He leads the Triarii, a company intended to guard their flagship.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: In stark contrast with Khârn, Delvarus is very competitive and proud of it.
  • Ax-Crazy: His response to a quite trivial shot to the face (it's a mortal's laspistol) is to try and gun down the shooter, who is actually his superior officer.
  • Cruel Mercy: Is served some by Kargos.
  • Epic Flail: Wields a "meteor hammer".
  • Failsafe Failure: The leader of the company that guards the Conqueror, but he leads them to fight on the surface while the Conqueror gets boarded.
  • Gladiator Games: He's the best of the World Eaters at these.
  • Go to Your Room!!: Hilariously, Lotara does this to him.
  • Humiliation Conga: Is served one for abandoning the Conqueror to go fight. First Lotara shoots him in the face, then Esca intervenes when he tries to retaliate. Then Kargos openly mocks him before Lotara delivers a "Reason You Suck" Speech and confines him to his quarters. And then in the fighting pits he is challenged again and again until he is beaten in a death match, and his opponent refuses to kill him.
  • Jerkass: Abandons his post and gets thousands of people killed, and shows no contrition over it.
  • Saved by Canon: He ends up as part of the Black Legion.
  • Token Minority: Perhaps not within his Legion, but black Astartes characters are pretty rare.
  • Wild Hair: In stark contrast to the rest of the World Eaters, who keep theirs short or even shave it so as not to tangle it up with the Nails. Delvarus keeps it long as a point of pride.

Macer Varren
Even mangy attack dogs have their loyalties.
Captain of the 12th Company of the World Eaters. Varren defects from the Legion after Istvaan III, commandeers the frigate Daggerline and flees to Terra, where he's recruited by Nathaniel Garro to become one of the first Knight-Errants of Malcador, the basis of the future Grey Knights and the Inquisition.
  • BFS: Varren's weapon of choice is a two-handed power sword.
  • Big "NO!": Varren delivers one upon learning that the traitor Hakim has had the rest of his fellow loyalist World Eaters murdered.
  • Brutal Honesty: Most agree that Varren must be loyal because he's too straightforward to keep secrets.
    "I believe Macer Varren is an honest soul. He's too blunt and forthright to hide any stripe of duplicity".
  • Continuity Nod: Characters note the similarity between Varren's flight from Istvaan III aboard the Daggerline to Garro's own escape aboard the Eisenstein.
  • Deadpan Snarker: And how...
  • Death Seeker: After learning that his erstwhile ally Captain Hakim of the White Scars and his men are in league with Horus and have used his trust to get close enough to infiltrate Terra, as well as having murdered the remainder of Varren's men as well as their compatriot, Captain Rakatio of the Emperor's Children and his men, and that he dismissed what was Chaotic corruption as merely company traditions from Chogoris, Varren decides the only way to make amends for his mistake is to hunt down and kill every last one of the White Scars, even if it costs his life in the process.
    Garro: I know your pain, I know you want vengeance, but we must pass on the truth of what is happening here!
    Varren: Then you go; take the psyker and flee. I will stalk the halls of this ship until I've found and murdered every last one of these bastards!
    Rubio: You won't last long on your own; they outnumber us three to one! And if Hakim has rallied the Daggerline crew to their side, told them we are the traitors-!
    Varren: I care nothing for odds! I am the Eater of World's gladiator son! I will stand, and fight, and avenge!
    Garro: And DIE?!
    Varren: Without hesitation!
  • Dying as Yourself: Having been killed and possessed by the daemonic Lord of Flies, Varren regains enough control over his body to grab and detonate a belt of grenades, choosing to die rather than let the daemon keep using him as a puppet.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Varren's feelings on the Warrior Lodges within the Legions. He makes it plain he thought it folly even before it became clear the Traitor Legions were using such organisations to determine who would side with Horus and weed out those loyal to the Emperor. He was very right about this.
    Garro: What do you know of the lodges?
    Varren: That idiocy with the Davinites?! A pointless thing; I forbade my men to participate in them. Secretive meetings in shadowed alcoves are for the fops of the Imperial court, not Space Marines!
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Well, he is a World Eater.
  • Killed Off for Real: Dies from a Neck Snap at the hands of the Lord of Flies.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Varren takes leadership of the Daggerline refugee flotilla, but feels completely unsuited to leading it, given the knowledge that thousands of lives are hinging on his decisions.
    Varren: I was not cut out to lead like this, Garro; I am a killer, a meat-cutter, not a broodmare struggling to protect a clutch of weak and feeble-minded runts! I lead warriors, not common folk!
  • Roaring Rampageof Revenge: After Hakim taunts Varren with the knowledge his men are dead and orders a squad of his White Scars to kill Varren, Garro and Rubio, Varren goes berserk and hurls himself into the middle of the squad. By the time Garro and Rubio react to support him, Varren has already killed almost half the enemy squad by himself.
  • Taking You with Me: In Sword of Truth, Varren makes it plain he's willing to die, as long as he can take down the traitors who murdered his men with him.
    Varren: You may have my life, traitor; I give it freely! You need only meet the price!
    Hakim: Name it!
    Varren: You die FIRST!
  • The Berserker: Like all World Eaters, he has it as his hat.
  • Token Good Teammate: Given that most of the other Legions regard the World Eaters as Ax-Crazy lunatics whose only concept of strategy is to just hurl themselves at the enemy and who are infamous for killing any- and everything that gets in their path, it says quite a lot that many (including Nathaniel Garro, Saul Tarvitz and Garviel Loken) consider Varren an honourable man amongst a legion of blood-frenzied butchers.
    Khorarinn: You know him?
    Garro: Yes sir, by reputation. A company captain with a fearsome battle record. A frequent victor in the gladiatorial pits; a hard fighter, but said to be honourable with it.
    Rubio: A rare accolade for one of Angron's berzerkers.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Touched on, mixed with a bit of Worthy Opponent, in Sword of Truth regarding Varren's partnership with Captain Rakatio, a Captain of the Emperor's Children who flees with him rather than side with the rest of his Traitor Legion. When Garro (who has been fed information that Rakatio is working as a spy for Fulgrim and Horus) questions Varren about Rakatio's loyalties, despite the fact the pair comes from two diametrically opposed Legions, Varren makes clear his thoughts on the matter:
    Garro: What of Rakatio? Does he share that sentiment?
    Varren: Do I trust him, you mean? Like all of the Emperor's Children, he's a peacock, but put a sword in his hand and he becomes a hurricane of blades. I would be dead at least a dozen times over if not for Rakatio; he found us a way out from Istvaan, lost plenty of his men doing it too. Yes, he shed blood for me- I trust him.
  • Worth Living For: Garro and Rubio break Varren out of his Death Seeker moment after the murders of his men aboard the Daggerline by traitor White Scars by offering him the chance to fulfil a greater revenge on those responsible for the Heresy and the destruction of his world.
    Rubio: Hakim will have to face his crimes.
    Varren: He'll do that at the tip of my sword!
    Garro: And will it be enough, Varren?! Your life for his?! I can offer you the chance to carry your vengeance forward, to Horus, to Angron! But you must live for it!


The former Legion Master (the rank that the Primarchs replaced upon their rediscovery) of the XII Legion, now entombed in a Dreadnought.
  • Defector from Decadence: Reaches out to the Librarians and attacks Lorgar in a bid to disrupt Angron's ascension.
  • Hates Being Touched: He is not at all happy with Vel Kheredur's attentions to his ironform. Vel Kheredur's use of pronouns probably doesn't help matters.
  • Man in the Machine: As is to be expected.
  • Only Sane Man: Having "died" before Angron was found, he was neither killed by him nor had the Butcher's Nails implanted.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Was stored in what was essentially a closet aboard the Conqueror.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: He has spent most of the last several decades slumbering in the depths of the Conqueror.
  • The Stoic: His coping mechanism as he watches his Legion degenerate.
  • That Man Is Dead: He's quite blunt about it.
  • Tranquil Fury: This dominates his manner when fighting, in stark contrast to his brothers both living and interred.

     XIV Legion: Death Guard 

The Legion
Number: XIV
Original Name: Dusk Raiders
Primarch: Mortarion

Formerly known as the Dusk Raiders, the Death Guard are the grim Fourteenth Legion. The Legion was built on recruits from the tough tribes of Albia and adopted the role of heavy infantry, taking on operations in the most inhospitable theaters of war because they were exceptionally tough. When Mortarion was found on Barbarus, the Primarch renamed them the Death Guard and went on to join his brothers in the Great Crusade.

When the Horus Heresy broke out, Mortarion sided with Horus because he personally hated the Emperor and believed him to be a hypocritical tyrant. The Death Guard were purged of loyalist elements on Isstvan III, then participated in the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V. The Death Guard most notably had to fight the White Scars after Jaghatai Khan met Mortarion and rejected his proposal to join Horus. The Death Guard was subsequently assigned to chase down the White Scars and though they almost cornered their target, the Fifth Legion managed to flee through the Webway. When Horus launched his final assault on the Sol System, the Death Guard went toward the capital world as a single fleet, but were trapped in the Warp by Captain Calas Typhon, who had already sworn himself to Nurgle. The Death Guard had to pledge themselves to the god of decay to escape. The Legion thus participates in the Siege of Terra as Plague Marines.

The Death Guard were originally defenders of humanity, but their contempt for ordinary humans grew as the Great Crusade progressed. The Legion is made up of dour, professional Legionaries who pride themselves on being the toughest of Space Marines. Being so tough, the Death Guard were good at fighting in hazardous environments, and used slow, inexorable waves of heavy infantry to grind the enemy down. On the other hand, they can be outmaneuvered and their simple stratagems turned against them. The Death Guard typically wear marble-white armor with olive-green pauldrons.

  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Thanks to their homeworld, they're even more resistant to poisons and toxic gasses than other Astartes.
  • Color Motif: Muddy green.
  • Deadly Gas: Well-known for proudly using this, whereas other legions consider it shameful.
  • Deal with the Devil: They make one with Nurgle to stop their torture.
  • Does Not Like Magic: They're one of the most vehemently anti-psyker chapters, with only The Rout hating magic more.
  • Evil Counterpart: They're like dark mirrors of the Salamanders. Both legions have Primarchs that are notoriously hard to kill, both have slow yet hard-hitting styles of combat and they both have green colouring to boot. The difference is that while the Death Guard are prejudiced towards Terrans and don't give a shit about people in general, the Salamanders are the legion most dedicated to protecting humanity. Another difference is whereas the Death Guard are the legion which is most well-known for using Destroyer squads, the Salamanders are the legion which banned them outright, replacing them with Pyroclasts.
  • Fantastic Racism: After Mortarion's arrival and the Legion starting to recruit from Barbarus, a lot of prejudice against Terrans cropped up, to the point that Throneworld-born form the majority of loyalist Death Guards.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Their iconic appearance is that of Astartes in helmets modified to look more like gas masks.
  • Kill It with Fire: The big difference between them and the Salamanders in this respect is that the Salamanders use regular fire, while the Death Guard use significantly less pleasant chemicals; in the Horus Heresy tabletop, they have access to Chem-Munitions for their flamers.
  • Mighty Glacier: Their hat - they're unstoppable and able to soak up a lot of damage, but slow. They also had a lot of Terminator armour, making them especially suited to high-risk boarding and close-quarter operations such as space hulk clearance.
  • Out of Focus: While other Legions on both sides have entire story arcs dedicated to them, the Death Guard is usually just an addition to someone else's story, to the point that fans call them under-characterized. They get the beginning of The Flight of the Eisenstein (which is more about the Knights-Errant/Terra characters) and part of Scars (which stars the White Scars), as well as Path of Heaven.
    • Back for the Finale: The very last book in the series before the Siege of Terra, The Buried Dagger, put them into focus. Fitting, since it details the voyage to Terra that led them into Nurgle's grasp.
  • Sinister Scythe: Their signature weapon, despite not being used as often as you might think. On the tabletop, a Deathshroud power scythe is a surprisingly scary weapon capable of ripping open a Terminator's armour with relative ease.
  • The Unfettered: The Death Guard was extremely ruthless under Mortarion's leadership, and they were noted for easily using extreme weapons from cyclonic torpedoes to virus bombs on worlds who wouldn't comply.
  • Victory by Endurance: Death Guard wage war by taking hit after hit after hit. Of note, in the tabletop game, both of their special units are heavily armoured Terminator variants.

Rest assured, you do not want to smoke what he smokes.
The Primarch of the Death Guard Legion. Stranded on Barbarus, Mortarion became a "son" to a local lord, acting as his enforcer but then turning against him when he discovered he oppressed fellow humans. Mortarion led a successful campaign against the Overlords of Barbarus, destroying nearly all of them except for his "father". The Emperor arrived on Barbarus at that point and offered him a challenge: kill Necare himself, and Barbarus would remain free. If Mortarion failed, he would have to pledge his services to the Imperium. Mortarion took the challenge immediately, and very nearly succeeded, but the toxic atmosphere surrounding Necare's fortress overwhelmed him and the Emperor stole the kill. This caused him to resent the Emperor with a passion. Mortarion was among the strongest and toughest of the Primarchs physically, was a stealth expert and hated psykers, campaigning against their use among the Legions. At the onset of the Heresy, Mortarion quickly joins with Horus for political gains but his plan is soon overshadowed by Nurgle's influence.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Barbarus being always covered in toxic mists, Mortarion ended up adapting, to the point that he can't manage without the poisonous gases of his homeworld.
    • He can be in the same room with the Exterminatus-class life-eater virus, only finding it annoying.
  • Archnemesis Dad: In his youth, he ended up leading a rebellion against his monstrous foster father Necare. He almost succeeded, till the Emperor had to do it for him when he faltered at the last hurdle.
  • Bald of Evil: He's completely hairless.
  • Beneath the Mask: It's said that the fact that he wasn't able to kill his foster father and the Emperor had to help him out has left him with a serious sense of insecurity.
  • Deal with the Devil: Makes one with Nurgle to make the pain stop.
  • Didn't Think This Through: His anti-psyker campaign leaves something to be desired.
    • He successfully argues for the Edict of Nikaea, prohibiting the use of psykers in the Legiones Astartes, only to join the side that encourages them to use their powers and worse.
    • Really thinks that Jaghatai Khan - the co-founder of the Librarian program - would join him in killing all psykers. Somewhat explained by the fact that no-one's sure which side Jaghatai will actually take in the war. Mortarion is there to either turn the White Scars over to Horus's side or kill him, being one of the few that can match the Khan's blinding speed with sheer resilience.
  • Does Not Like Magic: In fact, the biggest opponent to the Librarius program. Gradually ends up embracing warp sorcery, first as means to counteract it, and then abandoning all pretense and using it proactively. His hatred for warp sorcery harkens back to the fact that Barbarus' Overlords used sorcery as well so he fully knows how horrible sorcery can be.
    • "It's not for us. It's a cancer, a blight."
  • The Dragon: Becomes one of sorts to Horus as the Heresy drags on. As Horus explains to him, the other Traitor Primarchs are all too unreliable: Angron is now an insane rage monster, Lorgar is worshipping Chaos for its own sake, Fulgrim and his legion are too obsessed with their own goals, Perturabo is too inflexible for independent operations, Alpharius is off doing his own thing (maybe), Magnus hasn't even comitted any forces to the Heresy (yet) and the Night Haunter is trapped behind the Ruinstorm along with his very fragmented legion. Mortarion, on the other hand, kept his Legion together and actually does what Horus says. However, both of them also know that Mortarion is pretty much the only one available - Horus doesn't have a choice. Despite appearing to appease Horus, Mortarion considers him to be an abomination.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For all of his faults, he cared for the people of Barbarus and loved his gene-sons. This is the primary reason why he made the deal with Nurgle. Enduring pain was one thing, but seieng his gene-sons in endless torment was too much.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite being a ruthless traitor who will bombard planets with biological weapons without hesitation, he still recognizes when a legionary is suffering agony and tries to Mercy Kill him.
  • Freudian Excuse: He was raised on a planet with rulers that were masters of Chaos sorcery. Because of the suffering they caused, he despises all psykers.
  • Gradual Grinder: Exemplifies the endurance-based warfare espoused by his Legion, which leads to an interesting duel with the Khan. The Khan is more precise, but Mortarion just won't quit.
  • The Grim Reaper: He sure loves this look.
  • Interspecies Adoption: The Overlords of Barbarus were a Xenos breed that had been corrupted by Chaos to some degree. Necare was the greatest of them. A large part of Mortarion's activities during the post-heresy to the present day was hunting down the soul of his "father" in the warp and then imprisoning it inside a clock.
  • It's All About Me: Exhibits this in Scars. Jaghatai Khan calls him out on it.
    Jaghatai Khan: I am no tyrant.
    Mortarion: We are all tyrants. Do not fool yourself. We were bred for nothing else.
    Jaghatai Khan: Not I. I care nothing for dominion. Never have. You on the other hand... you yearn for it.
    Mortarion: I deserve it. I always deserved it.
    • It also ties in to his belief that he had the hardest upbringing of the Primarchs. Whilst strong cases could be made for both Angron and Curze having the worst upbringings, Mortarion firmly believes that he suffered the most and deserves to have that recognised. After the Heresy begins, he still thinks that he has the biggest reason to want to confront the Emperor.
  • Lean and Mean: Noted to be lean under his armour, and his burning and poisoning of worlds certainly qualifies him as mean.
  • My Greatest Failure: Considers his failure to properly kill his adoptive Overlord father, Necare, to be this. After years of rebellion, Mortarion privately considers that he failed his most crucial test in life by succumbing before Necare and having to be saved by the Emperor. His self-loathing made him blame everyone else for their weakness and hate the Emperor.
  • Plaguemaster: Who he becomes as he falls to Chaos.
  • Puny Earthlings: Mortarion holds unaugmented humans in contempt, disdaining their weakness. He initially didn't harbor this sentiment but his frustration at the human comrades who were holding him back grew into a full-blown contempt.
  • Made of Iron: One of, if not the toughest of the primarchs.
  • Minor Major Character: Despite being a Primarch and general of the traitor forces, Mortarion had the least influence on the outcome of the Heresy save for the Khan. He's also one of the few Primarchs with a minimal degree of characterization and spotlight time.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: He didn't manage to kill his foster father, and the Emperor had to do it for him.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: After Jaghatai Khan defeats him in Scars, Mortarion spends a great deal of The Path of Heaven obsessing with this trope, both to settle the score and prove his value to Horus.
  • Rebel Leader: Mortarion once led the humans of Barbarus in a years long rebellion against the Overlords, ambiguously human creatures who used to oppress the population. He managed to topple and kill all of them save Necare his adoptive father, who was killed by the Emperor.
  • Red Baron: Lord of Death, Dread Liberator of Barbarus.
  • Sinister Scythe: Mortarion's weapon of choice, a Manreaper called Silence.
  • The Social Darwinist: Mortarion is noted to hate weakness and vulnerability. This comes into play when the Emperor had to save him from his adopted father, and came up again when he was forced to beg Nurgle for succor against the Destroyer Plague.
  • Stronger Than They Look: Physically he's less impressive than his brethren: his spine is curved, he often leans on his scythe and his breath rattles, but there's no doubting his strength.
    • Fighting him, the Khan reckons that only Ferrus could have matched Mortarion's sheer physical power.
  • Walking Wasteland: After dedicating himself to Nurgle, Mortarion becomes a living vector of desease and during Lost and the Damned several traitor astartes become immediately ill once he comes even remotely close to them.
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: Uses the language of daemons to banish one.
  • Younger Than They Look: While still over two centuries old, he certainly looks older than his brothers, probably due to the toxic gases of his homeworld.

Calas Typhon
I'm a bad friend. A really bad friend.
1st Captain of the Death Guard, advisor to the Primarch Mortarion and secretly a follower of Chaos.
  • Continuity Nod: Typhon will go on to become Typhus, Herald of Nurgle.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: While Typhon appears to serve Mortarion's will, in truth he has long been a follower of Chaos and has been steadily manipulating his Primarch into doing the same.
  • Evil Chancellor: Manipulates his sire into falling to Chaos.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Typhon has always been a psyker, but had to keep such powers hidden for years because of his Primarch's dislike for their kind.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Calas is a half-breed between his human mother and an Overlord father. He suffered from a good deal of prejudice from the human people of Barbarus but this has become irrelevant when he became a Legionary.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Anybody that knows about his 40k incarnation, Typhus the Herald, will also know that Typhon betrayed his father and Legion to Nurgle before the Heresy reached its high point. In the Heresy, it's still yet to occur and Typhus's betrayal is something the authors are being coy about because the plot demands his subtlety.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: Typhon has been a long-time friend of First Chaplain Erebus of the Word Bearers. It's implied Erebus was the one who introduced Typhon to the concept of Chaos and convinced him that worshipping the Chaos Gods was a road to power.
  • One-Winged Angel: Typhon's transformation into Typhus and host of the Destroyer Hive.
  • Number Two: Mortarion's chief advisor.
  • Sinister Scythe: Wields a power scythe, in imitation of his master.
  • The Corrupter: Turns Mortarion to Chaos.
  • The Dragon: To Mortarion. As a rebel leader, he used to be The Lancer to Mortarion instead.
  • The Starscream: In Flight of the Eisenstein, it's indicated that Typhon resents having to pander to Mortarion's growing understanding of Chaos, when he and others like Erebus and Kor Phaeron have known about the Ruinous Powers for years and have to act like they are learning from their Primarchs when in truth their knowledge of Chaos is far greater. Later in the Heresy, he takes a significant chunk of the Death Guard fleet and ditches Mortarion to do his own thing, mightily pissing off the Death Lord.

Nathaniel Garro
The Knight In Shining Armour. The first of what will eventually be many.
A loyalist Death Guard, he eventually becomes one of the first Knight-Errants of Malcador, the basis of the future Grey Knights and the Inquisition.
  • All the Other Reindeer: Him being Terran-born has caused some tensions with the Barbarusian portion of Death Guard.
  • Badass Boast: Gives one to Malcador while demanding that he be given a purpose in the war against Horus:
    Garro: I am an Astartes, but now I am a brother without a Legion. Alone, I stand unbroken amid all the oaths that lie shattered around me. I am the Emperor's will, but I am nothing if He will not task me!
  • BFS: Garro's weapon of choice is his two-handed power sword Libertas. It's huge even by Astarte standards.
  • Bring News Back: He's the one to tell the loyalists what is happening.
  • Cool Sword: A Paragon Blade that's even older than him.
  • Crisis of Faith: Undergoes one because of the strain his Legion's betrayal and Malcador's underhanded tactics put him through, and it takes a visit to Keeler to pull him out and return a sense of purpose to him.
  • Defector from Decadence: Like most loyalists in the Traitor Legions. He was one of the few Terran-born Astartes in the Death Guard by the time the Heresy happened, which causes him to defect.
  • Herald:
    • He's the one to bring the news of Horus' treachery to Terra.
    • Later, collecting Knights Errant for Malcador, he brings the Call to Adventure to several Astartes.
  • Humble Hero: His accomplishments are due to the Emperor, not himself.
  • Knight Errant: Not only is he the first, but he eventually goes through the galaxy to find others, such as Tylos Rubio and Macer Varren.
  • Odd Friendship: With the Emperor's Children captain Saul Tarvitz, a friendship which is strong enough for Garro to believe Saul when he tells him of the traitors' plans for Istvaan III.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: During his command aboard the Eisenstein during the battle of Istvaan III and the subsequent journey to Terra, he makes many difficult and controversial decisions. Some of his own men openly question or criticize his judgement, his apothecary even drawing a bolter on him, but Garro quickly forgives his detractors after a stern word. Most ranking Astartes would at the very least censure a subordinate for merely muttering out of turn, and drawing a weapon on any other captain would likely end in discharge if not death. Garro understands the intense stress and confusion his men are under, and is lenient with them panicking or losing their temper.
    • He also handles the news that men in his own company are lodge members very well. He is staunchly opposed to the lodges, and enraged that his men would go behind his back to join them, but says he will not force anyone to leave the lodge. He only warns them that it will be difficult them to regain his trust, should they wish to stay in his company.
  • Religious Bruiser: Converts to Emperor-worship as the Heresy goes on, although he keeps it secret from his fellow Knights.
  • The Captain: His technical rank in the Legiones Astartes (though his rank is not that of a company captain by closer to a Lord Commander), and his function when he takes over Eisenstein.
  • Token Good Teammate: One of the very few Death Guard officers to remain loyal.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He calls out Rogal Dorn for being blind to the truth about Horus out of brotherly love and nearly gets himself killed for it.

Ignatius Grulgor
Don't get too close. I think I've caught a bug or something.
Captain of the Death Guard's 2nd Company, Grulgor sides with the majority of the Death Guard when they rise up with Horus against the Emperor. He goes on to become one of the Death Guard's most powerful champions as one of the first Plague Marines.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Nathaniel Garro. Both men hate each other; Garro sees Grulgor as a glory-hunting braggart, while Grulgor considers Garro a Holier Than Thou martinet who looks down on the rest of the Legion because he came from Terra and had fought in the Death Guard (as the Dusk Raiders) before the Legion was reunited with its Primarch.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Gets a promotion to a Daemon Prince.
  • Back from the Dead: Twice; once due to Nurgle's blessing, the other time when Mortarion sacrifices the Deathshroud to Nurgle.
  • Came Back Strong: How Grulgor regards his resurrection by Nurgle as one of the first Plague Marines.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: During a firefight between Garro's loyalists and Grulgor's traitors aboard the gunnery decks of the Eisenstein, a stray bullet damages one of the stored bio-weapons intended for the virus bombing of Istvaan III. Garro and most of his men manage to escape, but Grulgor and his followers die as the Life-Eater virus begins to instantly decompose them, before being exposed to the vacuum of space when Garro orders to the deck vented to purge the virus. Unfortunately for Garro, that is not the end of it...
  • The Dragon: To Calas Typhon. Typhon has no great regard for him, but recognises Grulgor's use as an attack dog.
  • I Lied: In The Buried Dagger, Mortarion orders Grulgor to kill Typhon for leaving the Death Guard stranded in the Warp, but Grulgor refuses, despite having previously claimed he was compelled to follow Mortarion's orders, stating that his loyalty to Nurgle supercedes his Primarch's commands. Granted, Grulgor actually did kill Typhon, only for Nurgle's power to resurrect the latter almost instantaneously.
  • Jerkass: There's pretty much nothing nice in this guy.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While Typhon doesn't care for Grulgor, he recognises Grulgor's point that Garro is too loyal to the Emperor to be turned.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: After Typhon orders Grulgor to commence the virus bombing of Istvaan III and to kill Garro and his men if they try to interfere, the Eisenstein goes silent for hours without firing a shot, giving only very basic explanations of weapon and engine malfunctions for its actions. This is the first sign to Typhon that something is wrong, since he knows that had Grulgor succeeded in murdering Garro, he would not cease bragging about it.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: The main reason Typhon is able to get Grulgor on his side is by letting him fulfil, when the time comes, his long-held desire to kill Garro.
  • Red Baron: Eater of Lives.
  • Walking Wasteland: As a champion of Nurgle, he has this as something of a basic skill, as the people of Molech find out the hard way.

Crysos Morturg

Once, he was a leader of Destroyer squads in the Death Guard. After Istvaan III, he is... something else.
  • All the Other Reindeer: If you thought the Terran Death Guard had it bad, Morturg isn't even from there, let alone Barbarus. Once his psyker powers manifested, his Legion's Fantastic Racism saw him shunted out of his prestigious command into the Destroyer squads, which was both an insult and a death sentence.
  • Armour-Piercing Question: He stops Khorak in his tracks when he shows that he recognises the other warrior as a former member of the Deathshroud.
    Morturg: "You wear the armor and you carry the scythe. Has your master given you leave to have a mind of your own, then?"
  • Biomanipulation: He was brought back from the dead thanks to this, and it lets him survive a bolter round to the face.
  • Came Back Wrong: he's the product of both forbidden technology and the sorcery his Legion once abhorred.
  • Canon Immigrant: Of sorts. He appeared in the very first Forge World book on the Heresy, and more recently appeared in a Black Library short story.
  • Cyborg: He's been put back together by a Mechanicum tech-priest.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: After killing Khorak and the other renegade Deathshroud, he loses the feeling that fighting his former brothers has any real meaning. This leads him to set a course for Terra.
  • Improvised Armour: As a Blackshield, he has to make do, and in any case, he's mostly made of bionics.
  • Made of Iron: Quite literally, and most of his body at that.
    • He also retains the Death Guard resistance to toxins. This tips off Khorak that Morturg is a former battle-brother of his.
  • Paint It Black: A heroic example; he has repainted his armor to signal that he has cut ties with the Death Guard.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Once his psychic abilities had manifested, he was immediately shunted into the XIV Legion's Destroyer corps, which was effectively a death sentence given the toxicity of their weapons.
  • Rebel Leader: Commands a warband of Astartes assembled from Death Guard loyalists, survivors of the Drop Site Massacre, and others with no clear origin.
  • Token Good Teammate: He is one of the few Death Guard who remain resolutely committed to fighting for the Throne.
  • Undying Loyalty: Literally.
  • Wham Line: subverted. When Khorak wonders how Morturg survived Istvaan III, Morturg responds: "Do not be foolish. No one survived." Khorak fails to realise that Morturg is speaking literally.


A former Deathshroud Terminator, Khorak breaks with his master after Molech and strikes out alone.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Of a sort. He abandons Mortarion when the primarch uses sorcery on Molech, regarding this as a greater betrayal than what he saw on Istvaan III.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Even more than Mortarion. When Mortarion turns to using sorcery, Khorak defects.
  • Honour Before Reason: He chooses to attack Morturg for being a psyker, even though he's abandoned the master who taught him to hate such beings. As he's surrounded by Morturg's vigilant comrades, it gets him shredded by massed bolter fire.
  • Large and in Charge: His Terminator armour means he's larger than any of his fellow renegades.
  • Made of Iron: Spends much of Blackshield hiking across a toxic world, pondering how only his kind could endure such a hostile environment. When [[he dies, it takes dozens of Space Marines unloading their guns into him at close range, and he still musters a parting verbal shot at Morturg.]]
  • Sinister Scythe: He might have abandoned his Deathshroud oaths, but he kept the traditional scythe.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Morturg regards his death as this.
  • Take Away Their Name: As part of the Deathshroud, he gave up his name. Taking back his name is the capstone on abandoning Mortarion.
  • The Voiceless: Formerly. As with his name, he gave up his voice to join the Deathshroud, and took it back when deserting.

     XV Legion: Thousand Sons 

The Legion
Number: XV
Original Name: Unknown
Primarch: Magnus
The Thousand Sons are the psychically gifted Fifteenth Legion. Originally, the Thousand Sons weren't particularly distinct from the other Legions, except that warp-storms occurred at the moment of their geneseed's conception. Shortly after their first deployments, a great part of the Thousand Sons developed psychic abilities which made them extremely powerful. This gift, however, came with a nasty downside: a curse known as the Flesh Change, which caused afflicted legionaries to mutate into Chaos Spawn. Reduced to a mere thousand by the time Magnus was found on Prospero, the Emperor renamed them the Thousand Sons and Magnus cured his Legion through a secret procedure. Now in control of their psychic abilities and taught new tricks by Magnus, the Thousand Son became a powerful Legion despite their reduced number. At the same time, many in the Imperium began to distrust psykers and moved to censure the Legion. After the Edict of Nikaea, all psykers were forbidden to practice their powers and the Thousand Sons were stuck on Prospero.

Magnus learned early of Horus' rebellion. He first attempted to stop Erebus from corrupting Horus on Davin. When that failed, Magnus tried to warn the Emperor, but his psychic projection spell destroyed the Emperor's Webway project, causing the Emperor to dismiss him and order Leman Russ and the Space Wolves to arrest him and bring him to Terra. Horus took the opportunity to get rid of him by modifying the Vlka Fenryka's orders to have the Thousand Sons exterminated. Prospero was burned, the Legion almost exterminated, and Magnus's soul was split into several shards, dispersed across the galaxy and even through time. Most of the survivors were transported to a daemon world, the future "Planet of Sorcerers". The Thousand Sons participated little in the Horus Heresy as they tried to remake their Primarch. However, the Thousand Sons eventually joined Horus' forces in time for the Siege of Terra.

The Thousand Sons can be seen as a Legion of scholar warriors, as deadly as they were enlightened. Influenced by Prospero's obsession with preserving knowledge and being confident in their psychic abilities, the Thousand Sons lived and fought to learn more, developing highly mystical habits to master their powers. At the same time, they were confident that they could enlighten their fellow citizens even further. However, they were also confident, openly dealing with daemons while believing them to be harmless. In battle, the Legion's strength is concentrated in their high number of powerful psykers whose abilities alone can influence the tide of a battle, compensating for their small number. The Thousand Sons wear bright red armour with gold trim.
  • Animal Motifs: Their cults use birds as symbols. For instance, the Corvidae is symbolized by crows, while the Pyrae is symbolized by a fiery phoenix.
  • Balkanize Me: After the Burning of Prospero, they split into many different groups, with some remaining neutral with Magnus on Sortarius, but many lending their services to the traitors and some even remaining loyal to the Imperium.
  • Color Motif: Their armour during this point of their history is red, which could have been chozen to signify their passion and optimism towards the Imperium and their craft. After Prospero, they would take to painting their armor blue to symbolize the complete change in temperament or their melancholy at their betrayal and lost home. This also mirrors the change in Horrors of Tzeentch, which start out as an upbeat and enthusiastic pink horrors, but when cut down change into two blue horrors, which are grumpy and sullen.
  • Cosmic Plaything: In the events leading up to the Fall of Prospero, they just couldn't catch a break. That's what happens when the god of schemers takes an interest in you.
  • Cultured Badass: They're philosophers, study psykery as an academic subject, and can have long debates as part of their training. They're also into artistic pursuits, and Ahriman even makes his own wine.
  • Dark Secret: The same flaw that turns many of them into psykers brings on the so-called Flesh Change, turning the Sons into mutated monsters.
  • Doomed by Canon: Thanks to the Rubric of Ahriman, in the future all non-psychic members of the Legion will turn into mindless Rubric Marines.
  • Doomed Hometown: Prospero, thanks to the Wolves being somewhat too... eager in fulfilling their assignment.
  • Fallen Hero: In a slightly different way to the other Traitor Legions that could have honestly been called heroic at one point. Magnus was one of the Emperor's most loyal sons, but he was forced into a situation where he would have had to choose to die loyally or survive as a traitor. For the sake of his legion, he chose the latter.
  • Familiar: Each senior legionary had a daemon known as a "tutelary" that followed them around and acted as a focus for their powers. It is unknown if these were daemons of Tzeentch manipulating the legion or if the legionaries had somehow created daemons of themselves. The tutelaries never actually betray any of the Thousand Sons, they just exaggerate the orders that they are given to the point of insanity.
  • Fatal Flaw: Hubris. The Sons' main downfall comes from the fact that they were so certain they knew better and had more valid information than anybody else meant they were blind to their own blind spots and dangerously naive in certain respects. They believed that the warp, though powerful and wild, was a force that was utterly agnostic to good and evil and could be controlled by a sufficiently disciplined mind, making them overly hopeful and optimistic towards its nature.
    • Magnus's Icarus moment came when he used ritual sorcery to warn the Emperor of Horus's betrayal from Prospero, right up until he found a capillary of the Webway blocking his path. Magnus (with a little help from Tzeentch) used so much power to break through that the psychic backlash caused extensive damage on Earth, to the point that it wrecked the Emperor's Webway project.note  Immediately realizing what he had done, Magnus fled from the Emperor out of shame without having delivered his warning, earning him the wrath of both Horus and Emperor. The Wolves were as much a pawn of a plan of Tzeentch's, enacted by Horus, as much as Magnus was.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: They claim to have mastery over Warp and to understand it better than anyone else... but for Emperor's sake, they keep daemons as familiars and don't know about it.
  • Magic Knight: The psykers of the Legion are still trained in the use of bolters and other close-quarter weapons. Their relative lack of training is compensated by their psychic powers who give them an edge that no amount of training can match.
  • Meaningful Name/Non-Indicative Name: After the Primarchs were snatched away and the Emperor decided to found the Legions without them, he named the Thousand Sons although there were many more of them. Over time, attrition from battle and the flesh change reduced them to a thousand when they were reunited with Magnus. They would rebuild and build out their numbers, though they remained one of the least numerous Legions. However, the Rout would reduce them a similar number again, and they would secretly build up their numbers again.
  • Not So Different: With their rivals, the Vlka Fenryka. Among others, they both use psychic powers despite the ban on them, and they both have random mutations they keep secret from the Imperium at large.
  • Psychic Powers: The Legion's most recognizable characteristic is the unusual amount of psykers among their ranks.
  • Rival Turned Evil: For the Rout, and that's in no small part the Rout's fault.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Opt out of being slaughtered by the Wolves via teleporting to another planet, and are yet to return as a coherent fighting force.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Prospero itself is described as having achieved a reasonable degree of utopia, with clean and wide streets, psychic powers being understood and implemented in everyday life (precog waiters, for example), and the Legion being so well-meshed with the populace that they train in psychic meditation together and Ahriman makes a hobby of winemaking. This survives for about half of a single book before crashing down.
  • Tragic Hero: The Sons and Magnus were among the most loyal of the Emperor's servants, but their overconfidence led them to take actions which would cause them to have to choose between being loyal and extinct, or survival and damnation. Magnus chose the latter.
  • Training the Gift of Magic: To help the psykers of his legions, Magnus has created five cults running parallel to the official military ranks in order to divide psykers in the different disciplines in which they are the most gifted, train them, and make them work together. He even selected specific remembrancers who were secretly psykers to have his legionaries train them. However, since the Legion consorted with daemons, they weren't as safe in their training as they thought they were. These five cults were the Corvidae, which specialized in precognition; the warp-fire wielding Pyrae; the Pavoni specialized in Biomancy; the telepathic Athanaeans; and the Raptora, which trained in telekinesis.
  • Transformation Horror: The Thousand Sons are cursed with the flesh-change, an affliction that gives uncontrollable mutation to their members should they use their psychic powers carelessly. Plus, the psychic resonance of the mutation can trigger other mutations among nearby brothers which threatened to annihilate the Legion at one point.
  • Witch Species: Prospero and by extension the Thousand Sons were an entirely psychic society, something that's practically unheard of outside of the Eldar. The fact that their society nearly collapsed before Magnus's arrival not being due to mutation, madness, or daemons, but to psychneuein, a malignant fauna, was an enormous achievement for a human society.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The victim of one. Tzeentch manipulated the outcome of the Council of Nikaea, making Magnus determined to prove the usefulness of psychic powers and sorcery. This determination lead him to trying to warn the Emperor of Horus through sorcerous means, causing him to destroy the Emperor's secret, and arguably most important project and opening Earth up to potential invasion. The Emperor sent a message to the Rout to apprehend Magnus and his Legion to be returned to Earth to answer for their crime, but the message was intercepted by Horus and altered the order for the Wolves to destroy the Sons. The Wolves and and the Sons would fight it out to the end and eliminate two of the greater threats to Horus, Or the Sons would submit to Tzeentch and gain him a wounded, but very potent set of servants in the process. Each step was set up and organized by Tzeentch.

Magnus The Red
The Primarch of the Thousand Sons Legion. Stranded on Prospero who fatefully had a population of peaceful psykers, Magnus quickly became the best of them and used his powers to reconquer Prospero from the terrible beasts that threatened the population. Initially loyal to the Emperor, he tries to warn his father about the impending betrayal of Horus, but his use of recently banned psychic powers causes the Emperor to send Leman Russ to arrest him, which Horus alters into termination orders. Cast out, Magnus sides with Horus.
  • An Axe to Grind: When he's not using his psyker powers, he wields a single power axe.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: He's called "The Red" for a reason.
  • The Big Guy: Some depictions have him as tall as 5 metres, which is more than twice the size of a normal Space Marine (and this is before his turn to Chaos). Recent material seems to have him sized much closer to his peers.
    • All of this is complicated by the fact that Magnus could alter his appearance (and therefore height) with his powers but also shared his father's trait of being seen differently depending on who was looking at him. For context, Vulkan has been described several times as being the tallest primarch, which could be interpreted as meaning the naturally tallest.
  • The Cassandra: Magnus' visions are almost never wrong, and almost never believed. The galaxy could have avoided a great deal of trouble if the Emperor and other Primarchs heeded Magnus' advice more often.
  • Cyclops: Played with. Magnus only has one eye. While early on, how it was depicted was a case of Depending on the Author, either being one eye on the middle of the forehead, or with his right eye being an empty socket, scarred, or just smooth skin. The novel A Thousand Sons showed that he had a degree of Voluntary Shapeshifting from his psychic power, something he had inherited from the Emperor. It has been hinted a few times that he originally had two eyes and gave one to Tzeentch as collateral, in return he got a stop to the rampant mutations of his Legion. It's reflected in his Daemon Prince model, which comes with several options for how it appears.
  • Damaged Soul: When he was defeated by Russ, Magnus' soul was split in several shards and cast all across the Immaterium. Depending on the shard, the soul could be melancholic, benevolent, or be the incarnation of his resentment. All of the souls bound themselves to places that were significant to Magnus, sometimes in more subtle ways than most people would think.
  • Deal with the Devil: It's hinted that Magnus made some sort of bargain with the Chaos Gods that gave him access to, or control over, his incredible psychic powers.
    • He did this with Tzeentch in exchange for his eye. The price was the eye and the (supposed) inevitability of the Space Wolves and his Legion killing each other.
  • The Dreaded: It doesn't come up often, but Magnus and his Legion provoke suspicion and fear even among fellow Astartes for their power and mastery of sorcery. Sanguinius acknowledges this in Fear to Tread when asked if there are any devils among the Primarchs, remarking they should meet his brother Magnus. This superstition directly led to the Council of Nikaea, an informal sanction of the Thousand Sons.
  • Foil: To Leman Russ. Russ is a savage from the iron age world of Fenris, yet has the clearest understanding of Chaos of all the Primarchs due to practical experience. Magnus hails from the civilized, highly intellectual Prospero, but falls straight into Tzeentch's trap due to relying purely in theory and disdaining Leman's words as the superstitions of a barbarian.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Not to the level of Angron or Curze, but Magnus is generally seen as untrustworthy by many of his fellow Primarchs, due to the fact that he and his legion openly wield their psychic powers with impunity. The Primarchs who hate psykers - Leman Russ and Mortarion chief among them - look down on and despise Magnus.
  • Genius Bruiser: All of the Primarchs are superhumanly strong and intelligent, but Magnus is particularly fond of intellectual and cultural pursuits. He's also easily among the largest of his brothers, with strength lauded as rivaling Leman Russ's.
  • Informed Ability: Said to be one of the most unpopular primarchs. That said, he is the favourite brother of Khan, Lorgar, Perturabo, and gets along well with Fulgrim, Sanguinius and Horus. Add all of that up and he is actually among the most popular primarchs.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: He tries to do this when Russ comes calling, deciding that he can't save Prospero by fighting, so he'll save it by giving up. Ahriman and his fellow Sons call him out on this and the rest is history.
  • Mood Ring Eyes: Well, Eye, singular. Magnus's remaining eye constantly changes colours, depending on his mood. Some of those colours don't exist in the mortal universe, having been drawn from the Warp.
  • Morton's Fork: Either accept Tzeentch's offer and sacrifice the Legion to serve him, thereby aiding in the Imperium's destruction, or don't accept it and let the Wolves finish the job, thereby aiding in wiping the Sons out. What a sweet choice indeed.
  • Odd Friendship: Magnus is perhaps one of the few that truly connected with two primarchs that were known for not being the most beloved: Jaghatai and Lorgar.
    • Jaghatai and Magnus liked each other specially for the mutual respect that each showed the other; the White Scar was not afraid of psykers and was willing to help the formation of the Librarius (alongside Sanguinius), while Magnus actively tried to understand the sons of Chogoris instead of treating them like simple barbarians (which is one of the main reasons the White Scars stay away from the Imperium).
    • Lorgar was the most pious of all primarchs, and showed some contempt for war in general. Magnus took pride in his warcraft and he eternally sought knowledge. What is interesting is that though Magnus himself did not believe in gods, the fact that he tried to understand cultures and also answer the questions of the universe only helped Lorgar become fond of him, since both of them sought the same thing, but their answers came from different places. They would spend time together discussing philosphy after their first meeting.
    • Magnus also is implied to have also enjoyed a good relationship with Perturabo, based on their shared desire for knowledge and scholarly pursuits outside of warfare.
  • Out-Gambitted: Trying to out-scheme the universe's greatest Chess Master is generally a bad idea, as Magnus eventually finds out.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: All of the Primarchs can slaughter countless Space Marines in combat and even take on vehicles and win. Magnus can incinerate enormous Titans with psyflame, raze the surface of planets, and bring nightmares to entire worlds as a side-effect of his power.
  • Psychic Powers: He's an enormously powerful psyker, second only to the Emperor.
  • Red Baron: The Red Cyclops.
  • The Rival: To Leman Russ. Their life philosophies, their stance on psykers and their characters ensured the two of them would never get along.
  • Thicker Than Water: The reasoning he gives behind help he gives the Salamanders - essentially, he believes that in a galaxy torn by fratricidal war, some values should be held up, and he wants to do something for Vulkan one last time.
  • Tragic Villain: He's never wanted the galaxy given over to Chaos, but circumstances and actions of others force him to side with Horus.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: He manages to teleport himself and all the Thousand Sons to the Planet of the Sorcerers within the Eye of Terror before Russ can kill them all.
  • Warrior Poet: His ultimate ambition is to bring intellectual enlightenment to the galaxy through military conquest.
  • Wild Hair: His hair is almost always referred to as a "mane", which can be seen by looking at any picture of him.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: He's said to have inherited this trait from the Emperor - for example, in Betrayer his features shift and change constantly to whoever is looking at him. In A Thousand Sons his size constantly changes, from normal to Titan-sized.

Ahzek Ahriman
Click to see him after his fall 
One of the oldest Space Marines out there, hailing from Terra, he serves as Magnus' advisor and captain of First Company of the Thousand Sons. He's the Magister of the Corvidae who divine the future.
  • Alliterative Name: Ahzek Ahriman.
  • Blade on a Stick: His main non-psychic weapon is this, although he later switches it for a sorcerer's "heqa" staff.
  • Defiant to the End: Refuses to roll over and die when Russ and the Wolves come knocking.
  • Evil Sorcerer: While capable of delivering impressive physical beatdown, he excels at magic and sorcerous rituals.
  • Genius Bruiser: Like his Primarch, he's not just an excellent warrior, but also an accomplished academic.
  • Meaningful Name: In Zoroastrianism, Ahriman is the leader of evil spirits, just as in Horus Heresy he leads sorcerers who want to fight the Rout. For an added bonus, he used to have a brother named Ohrmuzd, which is one of the names for Zoroastrianism's god.
  • Number Two: Magnus' second-in-command in the Sons.
  • Only Sane Man: One of the few people to realise that the Imperium is not going to turn out as nice and utopian as it is planned to be.
  • Psychic Powers: The second most powerful psyker in the Thousand Sons after Magnus.
  • Religious Bruiser: Averted; despite his Legion falling to Tzeentch, he doesn't consider himself a follower of the Chaos gods and rejects Chaos altogether.
  • Seeker Archetype: In the 41st Millennium he spends his time searching for the Black Library, the Eldar repository of all Warp knowledge.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Breaks Magnus' direct order to not fight the Wolves, because he believes that it's wrong and the right thing is to fight until the very end.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Both with Ignis and the Word Bearers. Ahriman especially dislikes their methods of sorcery.
  • The Captain: Commands the XV Legion's First Company, as well as the Corvidae Cult, the most powerful sorcerer coven.
  • The Consigliere: Magnus' chief advisor.
  • Übermensch: He has little use of regular human morals, as evidenced by this quote:
    The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.

Hathor Maat

The captain of the 3rd fellowship of the Thousand Sons and Magister Templi of the Pavoni. He is a secondary character in all books featuring the Thousand Sons and notably accompanies Ahriman in his quest to find the shards of Magnus' soul.
  • Biomanipulation: As a Pavoni, Hathor Maat is extremely adept at biomancy, the art of affecting the body through the powers of the warp, which he primarily used for healing.
  • Demonic Possession: Hathor is finally possessed by the daemon Aforgomon when Ahriman decides to give it the soul it requested in exchange for its help.


A member of the Athaneans and an extremely skilled swordsman, Sanakht is a supporting character in The Crimson King where he accompanies Ahriman in his quest to find the shards of Magnus' soul.
  • Master Swordsman: Sanakht is the best swordsman of his legion and is enough of a match for Lucius that the crazed Emperor's Child is eager to have a rematch with him even though Lucius beat him.

Revuel Arvida

"Knowledge is power."

A sergeant in the 4th Fellowship of the Thousand Sons, Revuel is absent from Prospero during the Burning, as he was among those Magnus ordered away from the planet before the arrival of the Space Wolves. He later returns to the planet with his brothers in search of answers, only for them to be butchered by scavengers from the World Eaters. Revuel escapes and is later saved by the White Scars.

  • Animal Motifs: The raven.
  • Arc Symbol: Revuel's appearances have a tendency to linger on the raven skull emblem of the Corvidae on his shoulder pad.
  • Body Horror: He has to fight the Flesh Change, a mutation that threatens to overcome him the more he uses his powers. At the end of Path of Heaven, it gets bad enough that his armour fuses to his body. By the end of that book it's flexing from Arvida swelling with mutation. In the following story it takes hours to cut away, and that reveals... let's just say that sweated fat is involved. This is negated however after Malcador fuses him with a shard of Magnus found within the Palace.
  • Brass Balls: When he holds Qin Xa at gunpoint, he probably knows he can't kill the other warrior because Xa's armour is so massive. Even if he doesn't, it takes some nerve considering that he's surrounded by the other Terminators - though by this point he could just be taking Refuge in Audacity.
  • Call-Forward: Several elements of his character call ahead to the Blood Ravens, in particular the colors of his armor, the raven skull emblem he has on one shoulder pad, and his use of the phrase "Knowledge is power". Ultimately it's a Red Herring.
  • Came Back Wrong: Not so much wrong as different. In The Last Son of Prospero, Malcador attempts to get a loyal Magnus back by fusing a shard of him (later noted to be Magnus's good qualities) with a dying Arvida; the result is neither exactly Arvida, nor Magnus, but one heavily implied to be the future founding Supreme Grand Master of the Grey Knights.
    "Know me by the name I always had," he said. "Call me Ianius."
  • Chekhov's Skill: Two skills leading to one application. Early in Path of Heaven, he notes that the Thousand Sons often didn't use Navigators, preferring to guide their ships themselves. In the short story that introduces him, he's revealed to be able to see all paths into the future. Both skills come in handy when someone has to guide the fleet through the Webway.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Arvida's psychic abilities are primarily clairvoyance. To others, his movements in battle seem to come out of nowhere.
  • Dream Spying: He learns that his Primarch and Legion are still alive via dreams and visions.
  • Elemental Powers: He prefers to use fire in combat. His force sword burns with fire when he wields it.
  • Fish out of Water: How he feels among the White Scars, as he's declined an offer of joining the Legion and stands out both when it comes to his philosophy and powers.
  • Heroic BSoD: Has a brief one after discovering his Legion and Primarch still live. Even worse, he's seen the future that waits for the Imperium, a vision so horrific that it helped drive Horus into rebellion.
  • Heroic Resolve: He staves off the Flesh Change by sheer willpower and meditation.
  • Heroic RRoD: Days under heavy psychic stress and nigh-constant future-seeing, combined with the Flesh Change attacking him viciously, lead to him collapsing completely at the end of Path of Heaven.
  • I Choose to Stay: When guiding the White Scars through the Webway, he realizes that he could get to Sortarius and reunite with his Legion, but in the end, decides to remain with the Scars.
  • Internal Reveal: He's shocked to find out what the readers knew since Prospero Burns - that Magnus and his Legion were not wiped out, but transported to another planet.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: His reaction to Yesugei's sacrifice.
  • Red Herring: His plot seemed to be setting him up as Azariah Vidya, the legendary founder of the Blood Ravens, only for him to become what is heavily suggested to be Janus, the first Supreme Grand Master of the Grey Knights.
  • Red Is Heroic: He wears the red armor of Heresy-era Thousand Sons and is loyal to the core.
  • Seeker Archetype: After seeing the ruins of Prospero, he resolves to find out what was behind the planet's destruction.
  • The Navigator: For the White Scars when they have to cross the Webway.
  • Wham Line: One of the Internal Reveal variety.
    They are alive... they are all alive.
  • White Sheep: Unlike most of his legion, Revuel remains loyal to the Imperium, in part due to not having absolute faith in Magnus.

     XVI Legion: Sons of Horus 

The Legion
Click here to see their symbol as Luna Wolves 
Number: XVI
Original Name: Luna Wolves
Primarch: Horus Lupercal

The Sons of Horus, formerly the Luna Wolves, are Horus' personal Legion. Already noted to be excellent shock troops in their first campaigns, the Legion earned its first name in the conquest of Luna, when the Selenar gene-cults pleaded for the Emperor to "call off his wolves." At the outset of the Great Crusade, the Sixteenth Legion had the luck to be the first ones reunited with their primarch, when Horus was recovered from the technobarbarian world of Cthonia. The Legion's long history with Horus made them extremely devoted to him. Under his leadership, the Luna Wolves amassed the highest amount of honors among the Legions during the Great Crusade, all the while remaining popular everywhere they went thanks to Horus' charisma and friendship. All went well until Horus was made Warmaster, commander of the Imperium's forces, in the aftermath of the Ullanor Crusade where Horus and Emperor smashed the greatest Ork empire known to man. Horus performed well at first, but the responsibility and loss of his father stressed him considerably. Shortly after, the Luna Wolves were renamed the Sons of Horus.

The Word Bearers enacted a plan to corrupt Horus, having a corrupted planetary governor wound him with a powerful warp-blade known as the Anathame, then manipulating his captains into taking him to a Chaos cult for healing. Shown the future of the Imperium, Horus became convinced that he needed to betray the Emperor before he could be betrayed and kickstarted the Horus Heresy. Horus purged the loyalists of his Legion on Isstvan III, then decimated the Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard on Isstvan V. From that point on, Horus oversaw the entirety of the civil war, eventually empowering himself with the power of Chaos. After getting rid of the many obstacles on his path set by the Imperium, Horus has now summoned the bulk of his armies to the Sol System to besiege Terra and kill his father.

The Sixteenth Legion is defined by their loyalty to their Primarch. All the Luna Wolves are utterly devoted to Horus, as he was both a charismatic and friendly leader. As the recruits come from the gang-infested Cthonia, many of them carry on their gang culture, being warriors eager to fight and boast, as well as practicing specific rituals from the planet. The Legion also had secret Warrior Lodges, informal congregations where legionaries could interact as equals, out of the chain of command. Through these lodges spread corruption, and the lodges became Chaos cults after the Heresy started. The Legion is renowned for its excellence in all aspects of war, particularly in planetary assaults aimed at enemy leadership. As the Luna Wolves, they wear silver-white armor. When they rename themselves to the Sons of Horus, they repaint their armor in a shade of dark green.

  • The Ace: During the Great Crusade, the 16th Legion had a stunning battle record, were famed for their brilliant tactics, and feared for their ferocity. Their Primarch was the Warmaster and the first to be recovered, and they had earned the Emperor's praise while serving him directly, making them the envy of all Astartes.
  • Animal Motifs: Wolf, even after their rename. After the rename they add snakes as well. Green colouring, Horus' "Serpent scales" armour, betrayal etc.
  • Blood Knight: Another one of those "close combat monster" Legions, although in contrast with World Eaters, they're clearly enjoying themselves and don't let it get better of them.
  • Catch Phrase: In their Luna Wolves days they liked to chant "Lupercal", in honor of their Primarch, as a warcry. More formally, it was customary for Luna Wolves to say "kill for the living, kill for the dead" before battle, sometimes as parting words between friends, other times split in half as a call-and-response among companies or squads.
  • Color Motif: White, then green after their rename.
  • Evil Costume Switch: As mentioned above, after they're renamed "Sons of Horus" and start on their path to Face–Heel Turn, they repaint their armour from shining, noble white to a dark, dirty green.
  • Fantastic Racism: Underplayed, but people who are "true sons of Horus" (i.e. those who bear a close resemblance to their primarch) are more present among the higher ranks and have made up the entirety of the Mournival up until its last incarnation.
  • A House Divided: Twice. The first time, the Mournival is split over whether to hand the wounded Horus over to the Davinite priests.
    • When Horus' wound by Russ reopens on Beta Garmon, the power vacuum creates a divide at the top of the Legion.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: As noted by Hastur, despite being super-soldiers fighting a high-tech war, they still retain many "tribal" behaviours, such as pre-battle rituals and scratching tribal marks onto their armour.
  • Meaningful Rename: From Luna Wolves to Sons of Horus, signifying an initially-small, but then increasingly important shift in their loyalties. In-universe, they do it to mark their Primarch's ascension to rank of Warmaster.
  • Pride: They're quite proud of being the Legion with the first Primarch to be found, the Legion of the Warmaster and generally one of the most successful Legions of the Crusade.
  • Samurai Ponytail: A Cthonian topknot is very popular among them.
  • Savage Wolves: Their reputation.
  • Scavenger World: Cthonia. It used to be a mining world, but when everything was mined out, it all went downhill until the entire planet was controlled by one technobarbaric gang or anothernote .
  • Start of Darkness: The war against the Interex. Everyone's bitter and things start to go downhill after it.
  • Straight for the Commander: Their hat is this tactic. They refer to it as the speartip.
  • The Consigliere: The Mournival, a four-man advisory body based on the classical Four-Temperament Ensemble.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: The so-called "true sons", who have been altered by the Astartes-making process into looking much like carbon-copies of their Primarch.
  • Undying Loyalty: Seeing how they serve under the most charismatic of Primarchs, how could they not have this?

Horus Lupercal

The Primarch of the Sons of Horus, formerly known as the Luna Wolves. Stranded on Cthonia, Horus was found quickly by the Emperor and was raised by Him, with Horus developing a particular father-son relationship with Him. Once the Emperor's most favoured son, he was named Warmaster of the Great Crusade, but after being injured with a Chaos weapon and healed with a Chaos ritual in which he was tricked into believing the Emperor would betray him, he turns against the Emperor and launches the Horus Heresy, taking half the Legiones Astartes with him.

  • A Father to His Men: Most primarchs embody this trope, but Horus endeavored to speak openly and listen attentively to his men, in particular the Mournival, though lesser Astartes, Imperial Guard officers and even civilian personnel were also given due respect and kindness. Many among his legion knew the Warmaster as disarmingly warm, generously patient and remarkably forgiving. By the time the Heresy was underway, he had grown harsher and less welcoming.
  • Ambition Is Evil: He was driven to be the best Primarch and to acquire greater successes. After his fall, his ambition becomes to destroy the Emperor.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: The short story Warmaster implies that Horus thinks this about the other Primarchs on his side of the war, regretting that the ones he would really want on his side are arrayed against him and he is left with the very worst.
    "Strange is it not, that so many I wish beside me stand against me, while at my back are only the flawed and damaged. I am a master of broken monsters".
  • Bald of Evil: Used to be Bald of Awesome, but then he changes sides.
  • Big Bad: Of the Horus Heresy.
  • Broken Pedestal: Horus was hailed as one of the Imperium's greatest heroes, second only to the Emperor. Quite a few Primarchs also looked up to him. After his betrayal, Horus became a subject of loathing for Rogal Dorn, Roboute Guilliman, Sanguinius and Jaghaitai Khan, all of whom admired his prowess.
  • Came Back Wrong: After his resurrection by Davinite priests, he turns into an Emperor-hating Chaos worshipper.
  • Chewing the Scenery: He clearly has a love for theatrics.
  • Drop the Hammer: Worldbreaker, a power maul forged by the Emperor and presented to Horus as a gift.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to Sanguinus' Abel, and he'll eventually end up killing him, too.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Before his Start of Darkness. He made a point of discouraging formality and fanfare, both as the primarch of the Luna Wolves and the Warmaster of the crusade, preferring to speak with his officers and advisors as equals. It's suggested that this may simply be an image he cultivates.
  • Doomed by Canon: Horus instigated a civil war to usurp the Emperor, preventing an era of darkness and chaos by placing himself on the throne. By the 40k era, it's common knowledge in-universe and to players that Horus is long-dead, the Emperor is in a coma, and the failed war is actually what brought the galaxy to the iconic state of disarray and despair that Horus had sought to prevent.
    • According to the Cabal's farseers, even had Horus initially triumphed, his remaining honor would drive him to deep guilt and shame over killing the Emperor and consorting with Chaos. He would have sought to unmake his empire, his allies would have turned on him and the ensuing bloodshed would have fed Chaos the most power they had ever possessed. The entire human race would have been snuffed out in a matter of centuries, causing Chaos to be starved without a host that they became fully invested in. So, either way, Horus' rebellion was doomed from the start, though it's worth noting that destroying the entire human race would have actually weakened Chaos severely and ultimately saved the rest of the galaxy. Farseer Eldrad, however, implies that the Cabal's vision is wrong.
  • Evil Former Friend: To Sanguinus. The two used to be best friends and could count on each other at all times, but after Horus switches sides, they become bitter enemies.
  • Evil Wears Black: His pact with Kelbor-Hal is sealed with a massive suit of black Terminator armour.
  • Eye Motifs: His symbol is a stylized eye called Eye of Horus. It also doubles as the series' logo.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride and ambition.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The brightest hope of all humanity since the Emperor, beloved by all of mankind, a peerless warrior and sublime statesman. The very best that humanity could ever be... is almost killed and shown Scrooge-like visions of a future where he is forgotten and his Father is worshipped as a God across a million worlds. Cue instant patricidal hatred and the beginnings of a rebellion that eventually damns the Galaxy into a slow decay of labyrinthine bureaucracy, neverending bloodshed, and, perhaps most tragically, no future for mankind. In other words...exactly what he saw.
  • Fallen Hero: Used to be the best Mankind had to offer before his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Fantastic Racism: Surprisingly averted; when he meets the Interex he's willing to negotiate and work out a deal with them rather than simply purge them like Fulgrim or Ferrus did with the Diasporex. When asked about this he says it's because humanity is in a stronger position and thus can be more flexible. He goes so far as to say that it's admirable that the Interex have managed to form a peaceful mixed alien-human federation that has friendly relations with other aliens (like the Eldar). His lieutenants are split between understanding his reasoning and being horrified that he would stray so far from the Emperor's stated policy. Apparently he always thought that the Imperium's genocide policy was merely a cruel necessity that would be dropped later, rather than something to stick to even when dealing with potential allies.
    Horus: We annihilate, they find a means around such drastic measures. Which of us is the most humane? It has brought them to book, and learned to live in sympathy. It has trained the kinebrach to-
    Aximand: And that’s the best example I can offer! The kinebrach. It embraces them as part of its culture!
    Horus: I will not make another rash or premature decision. I have made too many, and my Warmastery is threatened by my mistakes. I will understand the interex, and learn from it, and parlay with it, and only then will I decide if it has strayed too far. They are a fine people. Perhaps we can learn from them for a change.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: In his early appearances he wields a sword fashioned by Ferrus Manus. Tellingly it's put aside when he turns traitor.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: When talking with Sanguinus in Fear To Tread's flashback, he admits that he considers himself unworthy to lead the Great Crusade and believes his brother to be more suited to the task.
  • Humanoid Abomination: He gains aspects of this late in the Heresy. He grows physically, fusing to his armour, and his eyes become bottomless black pits.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Once humanity's greatest son, now he's the Chaos Gods' puppet, whether he realizes this or not.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: For all his pride, he's always believed that Sanguinus would make a better Warmaster than he could ever be.
  • It's All My Fault: He tends to blame everything on himself, both before and after his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's excellent at manipulating events and people to do his bidding.
  • Memetic Badass: Whenever Primarchs are compared, Horus will be mentioned as the greatest.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, he shares a name with his friend and lieutenant Horus Aximand.
  • Parental Favoritism: On the receiving end of this. The first one to be found by the Emperor and the one most beloved by his father.
  • Pride: In spades. He was charismatic, a military genius, a genuine people-person, and the only one who could get along with all the other Primarchs. He was the first Primarch to be discovered, and was the Emperor's favourite. Many called him the Heir to the Emperor, and he had the most experience out of all the Primarchs. He was eventually appointed Warmaster by the Emperor, given full command of the Imperium's forces in the Emperor's stead. This leads him to develop a massive ego and the Gods of Chaos appeal to it to turn him to their side.
  • Satanic Archetype: Horus is the favorite son of the Emperor, who rebels against him and takes half of the Space Marines with him. Sounds familiar?
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Horus rebels against the Emperor because he had a vision of a dystopic future where the Emperor is venerated as a god. His rebellion results in exactly this.
  • Shrouded in Myth: In contrast to other Primarchs, whose backstory is meticulously fleshed out, his childhood on Cthonia has been largely left to the reader's imagination.
  • Straight for the Commander: His favourite tactic is to cut the head off the serpent.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: As the Heresy continues to progress not according to plan, Horus begins to exhibit this feeling about his underlings.
    Horus: Istvaan was supposed to burn in silence so our war could be won before it ever truly began. The Angel's wings were meant to be broken at my feet. And still failures keep tumbling one over the other.
    • He openly states this in The Path of Heaven when Mortarion asks why Horus is assigning him to kill Jaghatai Khan. Horus makes it plain that compared to some of the other Traitor Primarchs he has to rely on, Mortarion is perhaps the only one he can trust to get the job done.
    Horus: ...I can trust you... Angron has made himself mad- I cannot charge him with the simplest tasks. Perturabo- by the gods, Perturabo. He would be left standing as the Khan's savages ran rings around his trenches, and the Scars have no fortresses for him to lay low. Alpharius is silent, and ties himself up in knots of his own devising.
  • The Chains of Commanding: He starts to break down under the weight of his position as a Warmaster and the responsibilities that come with it.
  • The Paragon: Horus was held to be the Paragon by the other Primarchs, but Horus actually believed that the real Paragon was Sanguinius.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Even when they empower him, he still doesn't consider himself Chaos' servant, believing fully that the Heresy is his idea and his alone.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: By 40k standards, anyway. Prior to his fall he genuinely believed that the Emperor only committed cruel actions out of necessity and would come to accept aliens and non-Imperium humans after the state of emergency was over (unlikely to say the least, though he might have agreed if Horus argued it well enough). He admired that the Interex could get along with aliens and wanted to mimic them in the long term. Of course, his idealism went downhill fast once Chaos get involved.
    Horus: The crusade was born out of the Age of Strife, Ezekyle. Born out of war. Our ruthless approach of conquest and cleansing was formulated in a time when every alien form we met was hostile, every fragment of humanity that was not with us was profoundly opposed to us. War was the only answer. There was no room for subtlety, but two centuries have passed, and different problems face us. The bulk of war is over. That is why the Emperor returned to Terra and left us to finish the work. Ezekyle, the people of the interex are clearly not monsters, nor resolute foes. I believe that if the Emperor were with us today, he would immediately embrace the need for adaptation. He would not want us to wantonly destroy that which there is no good reason to destroy. It is precisely to make such choices that he has placed his trust in me.
  • Wolverine Claws: The Talon of Horus, a massive Lightning Claw made as a gift by the Mechanicum to Horus, and the most famous of its kind in-universe.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: What begins his fall to Chaos is getting one such wound. As a Primarch, he should be able to heal from a blade cut within minutes, if not seconds, but instead the wound festers and eventually takes him down.

Garviel Loken
He goes through a lot.

Captain of the 10th Company of the Luna Wolves, Loken is one of the few to see the dark path his Legion is taking as they are renamed and Horus falls to Chaos. He is one of the loyalists who fights at the Battle of Istvaan III, seeming to fall after a battle with Abaddon and the last orbital bombardment, but later turns out to be alive and is recruited as one of Malcador's Knights-Errant.

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Upon his return to the Sol system after Istvaan III, he spends some time refusing to answer Malcador's summons and tending to a garden left behind by a Sister of Silence. It seems to put his mind at ease, but finally what may be Tarik's ghost reminds him that he still has a job to be done.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Known to his friends, including Tarik Torgaddon, Nero Vipus, Saul Tarvitz, Ezekyle Abaddon, and Horus Aximand as Garvi.
  • Bash Brothers: With Tarik Torgaddon and Nero Vipus, his best friends. Also with Nathaniel Garro and Saul Tarvitz.
  • Break the Badass: His ordeal at and after Istvaan III.
  • Brutal Honesty: Advised to speak his mind by Dorn and gives the same advice to Karkasy.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He knows perfectly well that real fight isn't about finesse and technique. In fact, he wins his duel with Lucius by breaking his nose.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has his moments.
    Abaddon: Do this right, Garviel.
    Loken: I'm glad you told me that, I'd been considering making a mess of it.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Has one with Torgaddon and believes him to be just a figment of his insanity, but there are clues that it truly is Tarik's ghost.
  • Death Seeker: As Cerberus, but being as he is an Astartes, he has hard time dying.
  • Defector from Decadence: One of the few loyalists in the Sons of Horus.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The fact that he survives while Tarik didn't, combined with his Identity Amnesia, leads to this.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Becomes part of one in the Mournival, as the phlegmatic, personal and introverted.
  • Freak Out: Istvaan III breaks him pretty thoroughly, to say the least.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: When Garro finds him on Istvaan III, Loken is little more than an insane, raging beast believing himself the only loyalist left alive. He finds his sanity again with Garro's help.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: He usually uses a chainsword or power sword.
  • I Choose to Stay: At the end of "The Buried Dagger", Loken refuses Malcador's offer to become one of the first Grey Knights, choosing instead to depart with Nathaniel Garro and fight against Horus's impending invasion of Terra.
  • Identity Amnesia: After Istvaan III, he spends a long time unable - and not for lack of trying - to remember who he is, having only shreds of impressions of memories to work with. Garro eventually manages to bring him back.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: In a funny moment near the start of the series, he admits a female remembrancer into his room while stripped down to nothing but a loincloth. She's clearly pleased with the sight. As an Astartes, he is of course clueless about this.
  • Made of Iron: Here's a man who goes through orbital bombardment, three Legions making war at him and then a Zombie Apocalypse... and survives. That's some Primarch-level resilience right here.
  • Meaningful Rename: During his madness at Istvaan III, he calls himself Cerberus, the guardian of the underworld - fittingly, as the planet has turned into a land of the dead and he watches over them.
  • My Art, My Memory: During his retirement to a garden on Luna, he unwittingly arranges it to look like the place where he was sworn into the Mournival. He realizes this only when Tarik's ghost points it out to him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: It's quite likely that his and Qruze's actions on Caliban are what pushes Luther into treachery.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: With Tarik. While Torgaddon is cheerful and sanguine, Loken is more phlegmatic and introspective.
  • Refusal of the Call: In The Buried Dagger, it's revealed Loken was chosen to be one of the first Grand Masters of the Grey Knights, but he ultimately chose to stay on Terra to battle Horus one last time.
  • Shirtless Scene: His first interaction with Mersadie has him shirtless, a fact she notices immediately.
  • Survivor's Guilt: He seems to be suffering this when it comes to Torgaddon's death.
  • The Captain: Commands the Tenth Company.
  • The Consigliere: Forms a quarter of Horus' advisory body known as the Mournival.
  • The Heart: The reason Rogal Dorn vouches for Loken to be part of the Mournival was that he hopes Loken's humanity would balance out Abaddon's anger.
  • The Hero: He's this for the first three novels in the series.
  • The Idealist: At the start of the story, he believes that Legion's actions are for the best, that mankind's cause is right and that one day, the Great Crusade will be over and humanity will live in peace.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Even after Garro manages to talk him back to his senses, he still has problems remembering things like the wars during the Great Crusade or faces and voices of people he knew.
  • White Sheep: One of the few Luna Wolves to remain loyal to the Emperor.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Sigismund believes him to be this, and it may be a factor in Loken's insanity after Istvaan III.

Ezekyle Abaddon
Even his official Remembrancer portrait has him pissed off.
First Captain of Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus and part of the Mournival. Follows his gene-sire into treachery.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: He begins as one of the Imperium's most celebrated heroes, wearing black. Then he becomes a case of Evil Wears Black.
  • Depending on the Author: He's considerably more level-headed when written by Abnett or French, while with Mc Neill his choleric side absolutely dominates his character.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Abaddon doesn't care much for Chaos, and really hates how Zardu Layak has turned his own brothers into slaves.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: In the Mournival, he's the choleric. Task-bound, aggressive, and extroverted.
  • Generation Xerox: His similarities to Horus are so great, he's often suspected of being his gene-sire's clone.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He's not hard to rile up. In fact, he's almost always angry.
  • Hidden Depths: Arguably something of an Informed Attribute in the Black Library books, but he has the strategic nous to carry out large-scale campaigns alone (such as the Wolf Cull at Yarant and the Conquest of Manachea in Conquest by Forge World), and has won more victories than anyone in the Legion except for Horus.
  • Hot-Blooded: Tied with the above, he has a clearly choleric temperament.
  • Largeandin Charge: First Captain of the most powerful Legion, and he's big even by Space Marine standards.
  • Lightning Bruiser: As well as being huge and immensely strong, Abaddon is also inordinately fast.
  • Looming Silhouette of Rage: He tends to do this, as evidenced by Wolf Of Ash And Fire:
    Ezekyle loomed, that was his thing, and he tried to loom over Sejanus as though he actually thought he could intimidate him. Ridiculous, it was only topknot that made him taller.
  • Memetic Badass: His and Sigismund's are the two names guaranteed to be dropped when the subject of best fighters in the Legions are mentioned.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: If he and Little Horus hadn't listened to Erebus and taken Horus to the Serpent Lodge, it's likely the Heresy wouldn't have happened.
  • Number Two: As the First Captain, he's Horus' second-in-command, even more so than the Primarch's formal equerry.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: There's a certain amont of Depending on the Author, but Horus Rising plays him this way to a surprising degree.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • He's the Red to pretty much the entire Mournival and his Primarch, surpassing them all in hot bloodedness.
    • Back when Hastur Sejanus was still alive, he was the Red to Hastur's Blue and the two of them provided more balanced advice to Horus.
  • Samurai Ponytail: He wears his hair in a tall topknot.
  • Self-Made Orphan: In a flashback, Abaddon guts his own father rather than murder his "oath-companions" as part of a coming-of-age ritual. In subsequent flashbacks, it's made clear that in his subsequent exile, he has polished off the rest of his clan.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He's willing to work with Layak, but only grudgingly.
  • The Captain: Commands the First Company, and is clearly the most senior in the relatively informal Mournival.
  • The Consigliere: While in theory all members of the Mournival are equal, after Horus' wounding he becomes his chief advisor, for better or worse.
  • Undying Loyalty: He's unflinchingly loyal to Horus.
  • Villainous Breakdown: During the Siege of Terra, after he leads his most elite and trusted Justaerin into a trap that results in him being the Sole Survivor and coming within a hair's breadth of being killed by Loken, he's left bleeding and weeping, begging the Mechanicum adepts who teleported him out to let him go back to die with his brothers.
    "Let me go back..." Abaddon whispered. He was weeping. "Let me go back..."
  • Violence Is the Only Option: His life philosophy, to the point that Horus has to intervene to quench his bloodthirst.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Abaddon averts this trope spectacularly in Wolfsbane: rather than waste time fighting Bror Tyrfinger's squad of Space Wolves, Abaddon just orders his Justaerin Terminators to gun the Wolves down.

Tarik Torgaddon
The Tormaggeddon!

Second Captain of Luna Wolves, one of Mournival members and Garviel's good friend, he remains on loyalist side and dies on Istvaan III - not that this ends his part in the story.

  • Alliterative Name: Tarik Torgaddon.
  • Bash Brothers: With Garviel Loken, Nero Vipus, and Saul Tarvitz.
  • Brutal Honesty: While coloured slightly with jest, he always speaks openly.
  • Came Back Wrong: Erebus brings him back as a daemonhost, albeit seemingly without Tarik's soul.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Loves this.
    Tarik: Well, what would I know? I had my head cut off, don't you remember?
  • Dead Person Conversation: Has a short chat with Loken over a year after he dies, possibly as a result of Erebus bringing his body back.
  • Defector from Decadence: Like Loken, he refuses to partake in treachery.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: In the Mournival, he's the sanguine, personal and extroverted.
  • Herald: To Garviel, twice.
    • Brings Loken into the Mournival, kickstarting his arc in the first several books.
    • What may be his ghost visits Loken on Luna, bringing Garviel out of his 10-Minute Retirement.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Tarik, unlike the other members of the Mournival, doesn't have his appearance discussed much, and he's always depicted with his helmet on. However, on Davin, Euphrati Keeler mentions that she thinks he's the most handsome of the Mournival.
  • Meaningful Rename: After he's brought back, daemon his body hosts calls itself "Tormageddon", which, inasmuch as it is meaningful, can be somewhat Narmy.
  • Morality Chain: Post-mortem. If it wasn't for memories of him, Loken/Cerberus would probably degenerate into total, irrevocable madness.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When Tarik starts acting seriously, it's time to be worried.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: His role in-universe. Members of the Mournival are chosen not just for their experience and wisdom but also their temperament. Ideally, the four members will complement and contrast each other to give Horus a balanced counsel. Tarik is famous for his quick wit and warm nature, and is usually the one to defuse tension with humor or say what others won't in the form of a joke.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Loken's blue. He's the cheerful one, Loken's the thoughtful one.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: He's part of the Legion's warrior lodges, albeit he doesn't let this rule his life.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: On those rare occasions when he and Sejanus share "screen time", they riff off each other with gusto.
  • Spirit Advisor: Serves this way to Loken in Luna Mendax.
  • The Captain: Commands the Second Company.
  • The Ghost: While he dies in Galaxy In Flames, Loken often thinks about him.
  • The Jester: He's certainly the most wise-cracking member of the Mournival, and his riffs keep Abaddon's choler and Aximan's melancholia from souring the mood.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Dies in book three out of 54. May be subverted in that he's still showing up.
  • White Sheep: While the warrior lodges are initially benign, Tarik and Nero are the only members portrayed in a positive light after Horus Rising.

"Little" Horus Aximand

Captain of the Luna Wolves 5th Company and a member of the Mournival. Sides with the Warmaster when Horus rises against the Emperor, but unlike his fellow Mournival Abaddon, Aximand appears to have reservations (albeit buried deeply) about killing his former brethren.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Comes away from his fight against Sigismund minus a hand.
  • Combat Pragmatism: When he goes to take down Sigismund, he first sics a bunch of his best warriors on him. When a wounded Sigismund gets into range, Aximand wastes no time with taunts or posturing and goes straight for the kill. If not for The Cavalry rocking up just in time, he might well have succeeded.
  • Cool Sword: Wields a custom-made longsword called Mourn-it-all.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Like the rest of the Mournival.
  • The Dreaded: Considers Garviel Loken to be this after learning he survived Istvaan III.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Within the Mournival, the melancholic one. Especially so after Istvaan III, where he becomes quiet and reserved as he emotionally withdraws into himself after killing his two of his closest brothers.
  • Hero Killer: So far he's taken down one of his former Mournival brothers, a champion of the Iron Hands and the First Lieutenant of the Imperial Fists' Templar elite.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Like all the members of the Warrior Lodge, Aximand considers giving the terminally ill Horus to the care of the Serpent Lodge on Davin to be this, though he is somewhat strong-armed into the descision by the likes of Abaddon and Erebus.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Aximand favours a combat shield when he gets into melee range.
    • On a meta note, when Henricos ambushes him, it's only by luck that he attacks from Aximand's shield-bearing side, allowing him to catch the blow.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Reacts this way somewhat after personally killing Torgaddon on Istvaan III.
  • Off with His Head!: Kills Torgaddon this way. And in turn is killed this way by Loken on Terra.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, he shares his first name with his primarch and close friend, Horus Lupercal.
    • He seems to be an exception to the rule in-universe. Lots of Cthonians and therefore lots of Luna Wolves have the name, but only Little Horus uses it openly.
  • Red Baron: Referred to as "Little Horus" because of his close physical resemblance to the Warmaster.
  • Religion of Evil: A prominent member of the warrior lodges, the primary corrupting influence in turning the Traitor Legions to Chaos.
  • Skull for a Head: After his injury, this becomes the dress code for his warrior clan: skull-masked helmets dipped in gold.
  • Tear Off Your Face: Suffers this at the hands of Hibou Khan of the White Scars in a ambush. It's reattached, but people note that the process increases his physical resemblance to his Primarch.
  • Villainous BSoD: Goes through this after Istvaan III, his actions apparently gaining "a mechanical, emotionless quality that was quite at odds with his once jovial personality. This behaviour indicated that he had been forced to bury his doubts about the Warmaster and his Legion's actions deep and his own personality even deeper, perhaps in a place from which it could not return". In Little Horus he throws this off after having his face reattached: all he looks like after this is "angry" and "invincible".
  • We Can Rule Together: Offers this to Tarik Torgaddon in the final battle of Galaxy in Flames, noting that while Horus ordered them to kill Loken, he said nothing about Tarik and that he can still rejoin the Legion.

Maloghurst the Twisted

Horus' equerry, and the XVI Legion's best political operator.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Horus consistently calls him 'Mal.'
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Laid up in bed and injured, he's still busy plotting the Expeditionary Fleet's next move.
  • Career-Ending Injury: He's unable to wear armour for some time after his craft is shot down, and even after that his combat days are clearly behind him.
  • The Consigliere: He serves as one to Horus.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He learns daemonology and sorcery to deal with the daemonic influences around him. In Twisted he uses it to foil the Davinites who themselves are steeped in sorcery.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Up until his introduction in Horus Rising he was this: serving Horus in a political capacity meant that he took a lot of flack on his behalf.
  • Genius Cripple: Politically brilliant and severely injured.
  • The Grotesque: His deformities aren't nice to look at, even for another Astartes.
  • Meaningful Name: Doubly so. It begins as a snide remark about his methods, and takes on an additional, unpleasant meaning when he is disfigured.
  • Mouth of Sauron: He speaks with the Warmaster's voice and carries his full authority. Indeed, he deals with much of the administrative work involved in the Traitors' campaigns.
  • Staff of Authority: His is topped with the Eye of Horus, designating him as the voice of the Warmaster.
  • Undying Loyalty: His fealty to Horus is absolute, and is even lampshaded by a daemon.
  • Villainous Valor: He risks death and indeed dies to restore Horus in Slaves to Darkness.

Iacton Qruze

Captain of the Luna Wolves 3rd Company, Iacton is a Terran-born legionnaire from the Unification Wars. He sides with the Loyalists, rescues Mersadie Oliton, Euphrati Keeler and Kyril Sindermann, and accompanies Nathaniel Garro to Terra.
  • The Artifact: Is viewed as a relic by the rest of the Luna Wolves, who regarded him with equal measures of affection and frustration.
  • Cool Old Guy: Being a Captain during the Unification Wars, he is old by Astartes standards, and he refuses to follow Horus's rebellion, instead rescuing two remembrancers and an iterator, each of whom would go on to be some of the most important figures in the early Imperium.
    • Subverted in how his Legion views him, however. By the time of Horus Rising, he's something of an embarrassment and the leaders of the Legion are trying to politely move him offstage. Even Maloghurst, who Qruze personally selected to join the Legion, doesn't remember him with much fondness.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Is regarded as an old fogey (and in fairness, lives up to it somewhat) in the first three books. But when it's time to put cards on the table, Qruze proves he can still throw down with the best of them.
  • Defector from Decadence: Like Torgaddon and Loken, he refuses to partake in treachery.
  • In the Back: How he dies: Horus drives the Talon through his spine, ripping out both his hearts in the process.
  • Living Relic: From before Horus was united with his legion.
  • Obsolete Mentor: He could not accept that the Legion had matured and advanced without him.
  • Old Soldier: Had been a captain in the Unification Wars and could remember when the XVI Legion did not have Horus in command.
  • The Quiet One: Was known as "the Half Heard". Subverted in that his nickname didn't mean he spoke quietly; it meant that it was best only to half-listen to whatever he said.
  • Rambling Old Man Monologue: Was noted for giving particularly long-winded and extraneous opinions.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Was accused of being this by Rogal Dorn, and considered to be this by his own brothers. All of them turned out to be wrong.
  • When I Was Your Age...: The above rambles are apt to be this sort of thing. Case in point when he reflects on how the Emperor's Children used to fight alongside the Luna Wolves.

Hastur Sejanus

Captain of the Fourth Company and Horus' best friend. He's Mournival's phlegmatic member until his death at the start of the series, whereupon he's replaced by Gavriel Loken.
  • All-Loving Hero: Inverted; it's said that there's no-one in the Luna Wolves or any other Legion who wouldn't like Sejanus.
  • Color-Coded Eyes: His eyes are described as silver. He's a dangerous warrior, but also part of Legion's innocent past.
  • Cultured Badass: As well as a warrior, he's a skilled diplomat.
  • Deadpan Snarker: More than matches Torgaddon.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Before his death, his part in Mournival is the phlegmatic.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Whether Horus realizes this or not, Hastur's this for him. It's likely his demise hastens Horus' breakdown.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • In Real Life, Sejanus was a close friend to Roman Emperor Tiberius.
    • His first name is quite similar to Hathor who in Egyptian Mythology is the wife of Horus. Recall that Hastur's best friend's name is also Horus.
  • Muggle Best Friend: For a given value of "muggle", but Hastur's Horus' best friend and not a Primarch.
  • Number Two: Shares the job with Abaddon.
  • Pretty Boy: Loken emphatically calls San beautiful every time
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: He and Tarik seem to love engaging in this.
  • Spirit Advisor: Appears to Horus during Primarch's healing in Serpent Lodge. Subverted in that it's actually Erebus impersonating him to push him towards Heresy.
  • The Captain: Of the Fourth Company.
  • The Heart: While a fierce warrior, his greatest impact seems to be emotional one.
    • In Abaddon's flashback to his "interview" with Sejanus and Syrakul, Sejanus is the one who really interrogates Abaddon's character.
  • The Jester: Contesting for the position along with Tarik.
  • Token Minority: He turns out to be a rare black Space Marine.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Adjusted for him being an Astartes, but he'd be wildly out of place in the Crapsack World the galaxy's turning into.
  • Undying Loyalty: He'd go through hell for Horus.
  • Villainous Valour: However dark he gets, there's no doubting his courage.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: His death pretty much opens the entire series and afterwards, he appears only in one short story, The Wolf Of Ash And Fire, along with cameo appearances in Warhawk of Chogoris and The Solar War.

Nero Vipus

The senior sergeant of Garviel Loken's company.

     XVII Legion: Word Bearers 

The Legion
Number: XVII
Original Name: Imperial Heralds
Primarch: Lorgar Aurelian

The Word Bearers are the zealot Seventeenth Legion, led by Lorgar Aurelian. Once known as the Imperial Heralds, made to deliver ultimatums and devastation to those who did not comply, the Seventeenth Legion changed greatly after they met Lorgar on Colchis. The Primarch turned them into a legion of believers who worshipped the Emperor as a god. Influenced by Lorgar's charisma and peace-minded soul, the Legion changed tack: rather than conquer and burn, they began negotiating compliances, then remained behind to convert the local population to Emperor worship rather than performing quick conquests. The Emperor was exasperated by their worship and lack of results and thus punished them on the planet of Khur. The Emperor targeted what could be considered the Word Bearers's greatest triumph, the shrine-city of Monarchia, and had it razed by the Ultramarines, all the while chastising the Word Bearers and psychically forcing them to kneel. A horrified and broken Lorgar subsequently suffered a crisis of faith.

However, his foster father Kor Phaeron reconnected Lorgar to Colchis' Old Faith, in truth worship of the Chaos Gods. Lorgar worked to learn about Chaos and accepted this awful truth, becoming the architect of a future civil war. His agents spread the worship of Chaos and tricked half the Legions into corruption, culminating with them corrupting Horus. When Horus gathered his forces and started the civil war, the Word Bearers departed for the realm of Ultramar, where they burned dozens of planets in the Shadow Crusade alongside the World Eaters, then backstabbed the Ultramarines at the planet of Calth, killing approximately 150,000 Ultramarines and destroying the majority of their fleet. As Horus mustered his forces on Ullanor, Lorgar tried to usurp Horus but failed. He was banished, but left some Word Bearers to participate in the Siege of Terra.

When they were loyal, the Word Bearers were known as peaceful and enlightened Legionaries, more preoccupied with worship than the Great Crusade. However, Lorgar's new faith completely changed them into the most devout Chaos worshippers, learning about Chaos and enacting rituals and horrible sacrifices to seek favour from the Ruinous Powers. The Word Bearers operate like a standard Legion when in battle, but have then added to their arsenal a plethora of foul rituals, chaos weapons and possessed Space Marines to bolster their ranks. The Word Bearers wear grey armour during the Great Crusade, then repaint it to blood-red at the onset of the Heresy.

  • Ambition Is Evil: Seems like there's a ton of rivalry within the Legion fueled by this sentiment, with people scheming to backstab Erebus, gain Demonic Possession and other such pleasantries, all in name of advancement in the ranks.
  • Black Magic: They specialize in Chaos rituals and are the first to codify the rules of daemonology. They manage to compensate their relative weakness as Legionaries by performing tricks with sorcery and summoning Daemons to their aid.
  • Blind Obedience: It's implied that there's something more than just mere loyalty binding them to their Primarch and that they have an instinctual need to believe in something.
  • Blood Is the New Black: To mark their change in allegiance, they paint their armour red. Guess what's the paint.
  • Church Militant: Had this as their hat in their loyalist days, thanks to being the one Legion that venerated the Emperor as a god.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The Emperor burning Monarchia, their most successful city, to the ground was a dumb, dumb move.
  • Crisis of Faith: Have this after the razing of Monarchia, ultimately leading to them embracing Chaos.
  • Demonic Possession: They venerate the symbiosis of man and daemon as the highest form of communion between them and gods, and the possessed are seen as demigods. The Word Bearers even have a special unit of Possessed Marines, the Gal Vorbak.
  • The Dreaded Dreadnought: The Word Bearers have among their fleets the most enormous battleships of the Imperium, the Abyss-class battleships that dwarf even the Gloriana-class flagships of the Primarchs and can match fleets alone. They also double as The Battlestar and can launch whole armadas of fighters. The first of these ships, the Furious Abyss, was destroyed before it could be deployed but Lorgar revealed the existence of two more, the Blessed Lady and the Trisagion, during the Shadow Crusade.
  • Evil Costume Switch: They mark their Face–Heel Turn by changing their armour colours from grey to red.
  • Faith–Heel Turn: They used to worship the Emperor as a god, then turned away from this after he publicly humiliated them. Then inverted (Face-Faith Turn?) when they turn to worship of Chaos Gods.
  • Human Resources: They use tons of slaves and prisoners for their rituals and armour paint.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: What their rebellion against the Emperor essentially is, as they now accuse him of being a false god.
  • Religious Bruiser: Their hat, both before and after their betrayal.
  • Start of Darkness: The burning of Monarchia, which causes their Crisis of Faith, pilgrimage to the Eye of Terror and ultimately the betrayal.
  • The Corrupter: They have a habit of pushing other Legions into betrayal, most notably turning Sons of Horus and, rumouredly, Iron Warriorsnote .
  • The Man Behind the Man: They've been manipulating events for the last fifty years and continue to pull the strings of most major players.
  • The Mole: Chaos' mole in the Imperium for fifty years before the Heresy begins.
  • The Resenter: They resent the Ultramarines for the part they played in the razing of Monarchia, and get psychopathic when given the chance to exact their revenge.

Lorgar Aurelian
Hello! I humbly ask for a few minutes of your time to tell you the good word of Chaos Undivided.
The Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion. Stranded on Colchis who worshipped the Old Faith (a chaos cult in disguise), Lorgar became one of its most important preacher but then had visions of the Emperor, converting the world to His cult instead. For a time, Lorgar was religiously devoted to the Emperor but after the Legion had to witness one of their greatest work, the city of Monarchia, being razed to the ground while being forced to kneel to Him, Lorgar lost his Faith and studied the Old Faith further, uncovering the truth of Chaos. He then became the initial architect of the Heresy.
  • Activist Fundamentalist Antics: Lorgar desperately wants to believe, even if his god tells him to knock it off. The first line of the Book of Lorgar, "All I ever wanted was the truth," is itself a lie: the Emperor told him the truth at Monarchia, and it broke Lorgar's mind. What Lorgar really wanted was certainty and validation of his belief in the existence of a divine order, which the Chaos Gods were only too glad to deliver.
  • Affably Evil: When written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Lorgar is pleasant, thoughtful, and compassionate; he genuinely comes off as being a good person despite being The Corrupter and the Satanic Archetype. He also knows exactly what he's falling into by throwing his lot in with the Chaos Gods, and isn't terribly discouraging of the antics of Erebus and Kor Phaeron unless they do more harm that is necessary, though he does regret that their actions don't leave them in control of their own fates any more.
    • Faux Affably Evil: ...And yet not so much when written by other authors. For example, in Dan Abnett's Know No Fear, Lorgar has a much harder time when it comes to staying pleasant with Guilliman, and eventually turns out to be a much more enthusiastic villain when it came time to collect for his humiliation so long ago.
  • Badass Preacher: During the Great Crusade, he converted whole worlds to the worship of the Emperor. During the Horus Heresy, he does the same for the gods of Chaos.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Before the Heresy, he was widely considered to be the least of all the Primarchs. Though he was acknowledged to be a master statesman, diplomat, and (to his detriment) evangelist, his brothers saw him as being the weakest physically, and his tendency to make a time-consuming full indoctrination of new worlds rather than a relatively quick conquest was one of the reasons he was seen as a mediocre general, especially due to having one of the largest and most devoted Legions. When divinely inspired and boosted by his patrons, he puts his old skills to work in a decades-long secret plan which turns half of the Legions, and he shows that he's both a strong combatant and warlord, and he's now a powerful psychic.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Pay no heed to Lorgar's claims to the contrary: from the very beginning there was something deeply wrong with him beneath his pleasant personality. Even before outright falling to Chaos, Lorgar has a violent temper that manifests with little warning, even going so far as Neck Lifting Kor Phaeron when he found out his adoptive father had been keeping secrets from him. He often insults people outright without ever dropping his genial attitude, as shown when he mocks and threatens a Custodes sent to watch over his legion before they depart on the Pilgrimage.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Illuminarum, Lorgar's crozius that was crafted by Ferrus Manus.
  • The Corrupter: While Erebus and Kor Phaeron corrupt him, he's the one to bring the rest of his Legion over to Chaos and to plan the Heresy.
  • Crisis of Faith: Lorgar has such a massive one following the Emperor's rebuke of his worship that he starts worshiping the Chaos Gods. It should be noted that he's not the first Astartes to worship the Chaos Gods. That was Kor Phaeron and Erebus, who actually convince him after suffering the same Crisis themselves.
  • Dissonant Serenity: He's incredibly blasé about the horrors Chaos inflicts on mortals.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: While Horus seeks to rule the Galaxy, Lorgar is serving him out of his religious zealotry. Later on they are increasingly at cross purposes, turning Lorgar into The Starscream.
  • Dueling Scar: Receives three of these courtesy of Corax's lightning claws on Istvaan V. He either can't or refuses to have them healed, though some Primarchs like Angron and Fulgrim claim they suit him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He seems to genuinely care for Angron, and is probably the only Primarch that Angron considers to be anything resembling a friend. He is also, like most of his Space Marines, quite respectful and even affectionate towards Cyrene.
    • Before all of that this trope crops up in the prequel, The First Heretic. Lorgar had a pang of regret after seeing what Argel Tal and his company had to do to survive their sojourn in the Eye of Terror by his orders of wanting to know the truth about Chaos, and sympathized with him while he was telling his tale, despite the disgust the rest of the Word Bearers felt from him. By the time Argel Tal reveals the truth of Erebus & Kor Phaeron's claim of other gods worthy of worship than the Emperor, Lorgar was so distressed that he called for Erebus and Kor Phaeron and stopped mid way before he could complete his name, to comfort him. Argel Tal, who hates Kor Phaeron & Erebus tried to tell Lorgar for what they really are: egotistical power hungry Manipulative Bastards, from almost breaking down and crying, Lorgar lifted Argel Tal and nearly chokes him to death for his slander against his mentors, and believing it's not his son talking but the daemon.
    • However this trope was averted in the sequel. Apparently Lorgar partly realises the extent of Argel Tal's accusations by the events of Betrayer. By this time, Lorgar was seeing the true faces of Erebus and Kor Phaeron despite him trying to enlighten them and was rather pissed that they disobeyed his orders and screwed up their mission on Calth; because of this, it's implied he shifted his affections towards Argel Tal. When Lorgar found out that Erebus had murdered Argel Tal, in the epilogue when Kharn visits Lorgar in an attempt to get answers of what happened to Angron. Lorgar tells him to visit his Primarch, and when he was about to leave Lorgar asked him if he wanted to know who killed his best friend. Kharn who spent the majority of the book hanging out with Argel Tal, challenged Erebus to a gladiator match and Curb Stomped him as his ego shattered. Inverse and Outverse this further cemented the two as everybody's Unfavorite.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In Aurelian, Lorgar is so disgusted by the fact Fulgrim's body has been possessed by a Slaaneshi daemon, he smashes Fulgrim to the floor before the rest of his brothers can draw their weapons, subjects Fulgrim to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, lambastes Horus for trying to cover it up and then promises the daemon he will find a way to permanently destroy it. When Horus counters that Lorgar didn't even like Fulgrim, Lorgar retorts that he's angry because this type of daemonic possession is an abomination.
  • The Exile: Becomes this after his failed coup on Ullanor.
  • Faith–Heel Turn: He was raised into a mild, cultural Chaos cult on Colchis, but visions of the Emperor lead him to founding a new religion. Decades later the object of worship of his faith decided enough was enough, and publicly and heavyhandedly punished Lorgar for his practices, leading Lorgar to take up with the old religion's gods again.
  • Fantastic Racism: He is openly hostile and contemptuous of the Adeptus Custodes, considering them lab-bred freaks and lesser beings than the Adeptus Astartes.
    Vendetha: Surrender now!
    Lorgar: You dare threaten me?! You murdered my sons, you worthless, soulless husk of genetic overspill!
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He started off as the Butt-Monkey of the primarchs, the runt of the litter. Then he ends up becoming the architect of the Horus Heresy and one of the deadliest primarchs of the traitor legions.
  • Human Notepad: His head, and presumably much of his body, is tattooed with holy texts.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Horus/Fulgrim: You've changed, Lorgar.
    Lorgar: Yes, I know.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Lorgar considers himself a priest and intellectual more than a warrior, and the other Primarchs agree and considered him unworthy of being one of them. The only real friend he had among the Primarchs before the Heresy was Magnus, who shared his intellectual and philosophical pursuits. There was a lot of talk behind Lorgar's back of having him and his legion censured, and possibly even removed.
    • This extends to a degree into the Horus Heresy. By this time, Lorgar has become far more confident and self-assured, and his knowledge of Chaos makes him invaluable to the cause. Many of the other primarchs are still very suspicious of him because of his whole-hearted embrace of Chaos.
  • The Fundamentalist: First to the Emperor, then to Chaos.
  • It's Personal: Notes in Know No Fear that while the attack on Calth is mainly to cripple the Ultramarines and keep them from interfering with Horus's plans, Lorgar admits his actions are also partly revenge for Guilliman's part in his humiliation and the destruction of Monarchia.
  • Meaningful Name: Meaningful Nickname, actually; in mythos of William Blake, Urizen an entity that believes itself holy and serves as Satanic Archetype in the Orc cycle.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Really, really loves Daddy Emperor (as described in The First Heretic), so much so he worshiped him as a deity, slowly convinced entire populations to accept the Imperium and his God, ignored the taunts of his brothers, tried to be as diplomatic as possible during disputes and wanting nothing more but to be a priest. Sadly Daddy was an atheist and didn't approve, sensibly telling Lorgar that he was a disappointment and everything he did (including destroying the Chaos cults in his home planet) was all for naught. It took the goading of his evil step dad and mentor during his darkest hour to sucker him to worship the Chaos Gods.
  • Odd Friendship: With Leman Russ. Though you never see the two interact Leman has spoken fondly of Lorgar, especially in Betrayer when he quotes something Lorgar once told him to Angron. What makes it odd is that they are polar opposites; Leman is a civilisation destroyer and Lorgar is a civilisation builder. It is also revealed that Russ had argued in Lorgar's defense when he and the Word Bearers were under threat of censure.
  • Old Shame: invokedHe seems to consider the Lectitio Divinitatus, his Imperial Cult Bible-expy, this way after his fall.
  • The Philosopher: He was raised as a priest, and he was apparently very gifted at philosophy and was not afraid to ask questions. This led him to unusual and unorthodox (for his time) beliefs and practices, which doesn't endear him to the very warlike and militant Primarchs.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: As another Primarch explains:
    Roboute Guilliman: He is so... changeable. He is so prone to extremes. Eager to please, so quick to take offence. He's so keen to be your best friend, and then, at the slightest hint of an insult, he's angry with you. Furious. Offended. Like a child.
  • Red Baron: The Urizen.
  • Religious Bruiser: Obviously, as he's the chief preacher of Chaos.
  • Rousing Speech: His specialty (implied to have been acquired from his youth in the priesthood). The below example is a speech he gives to the Traitor Legions of the "loyal" second wave that will complete the Dropsite Massacre. By the time he has finished speaking, Lorgar has gotten the cynical Night Lords, stoic Iron Warriors and emotionless Alpha Legion fired up and howling for blood, as well as getting the aforementioned Legions and the Word Bearers, none of whom have been close to each other, shaking hands and swearing oaths of brotherhood and comradeship for the coming battle.note 
  • Satanic Archetype: Manipulator behind the scenes, an "angel" rebelling against his creator, as well as The Corrupter.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: He doesn't have the raw psychic power of Magnus, but he's a master of Ritual magic. His in-depth knowledge and devotion to the Warp and the powers of Chaos make him far more able to wield warpcraft in a profitable way without being totally screwed over (unlike Magnus).
  • The Starscream: In the wake of Beta Garmon, he concludes that Horus' refusal to submit and become a vessel for the Ruinous Powers will lead to his defeat by the Emperor. Consequently he tries to engineer a coup against him only for Horus to catch him out and banish him.
  • Start of Darkness: His Legion's censure at Monarchia is what starts him on the path to Chaos.
  • Thicker Than Water: He's willing to go straight into crossfire and ignore the enemy to save Angron.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Lorgar really comes into his own after turning to Chaos, much to the dismay of his fellow Primarchs who realise they no longer have him as their whipping boy.
    Lorgar: [to Horus] I am who I was born to be. You seek to punish me for no longer being the weakling, the lost one, the Primarch with no purpose.
    • A large chunk of the novella Aurelian is given over to demonstrating just how far Lorgar has come thanks to this trope. Examples include battering Fulgrim to a pulp before the latter can even draw his sword and psychically commanding Horus to remove his hand from Lorgar's shoulder when he tries to calm him down, going toe-to-toe with An'ggrath the Unbound, the most powerful Bloodthirster of Khorne in existence, in single combat and winning, and finally, after confronting the daemon-possessed Fulgrim and growing tired of Fulgrim's playing dumb about what he truly is, Lorgar has Argel Tal and numerous Word Bearer strike teams teleport aboard the bridges of forty-nine Emperor's Children ships and hold their crews at gunpoint to force Fulgrim to start talking straight.
  • Troll: Has fun mocking Guilliman over Calth.
  • Turbulent Priest: Back in his childhood, his visions of the future had his fellow priest angry and worried, eventually sparking a civil war.
  • Unknown Rival: To Guilliman, who until Calth has no idea just how much Lorgar hates him for Monarchia.
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: Uses it to shut Angron up, at the expense of several precious books.

I love it when a plan comes together.
First Chaplain of the Legion, Erebus is ultimately responsible for the entire Heresy and what the galaxy becomes as the one who tempts Lorgar into worship of the Chaos Gods. He sets in motion the plan which corrupts Horus, and currently maintains his position in the Legion's Dark Council.
  • Badass Preacher: As a Chaplain, he's supposed to be one, but falls somewhat short of the mark.
  • Bald of Evil: All the better to show off his tattoos.
  • Butt-Monkey: As time goes on, he becomes less a champion of Chaos and more of a champion wannabe, mostly because of how everyone starts to consider him The Unfavorite.
  • Co-Dragons: Like Kor Phaeron, Erebus is a member of the Dark Council, and is constantly engaged in a low-key battle with Kor Phaeron for power over the Council.
  • The Corrupter: Steals a Daemon Weapon from an Interex museum to spark a war with them, and manipulates Horus into attacking a Nurgle-corrupted moon. This ends up getting him killed and resurrected as the Chaos God's new favourite toy.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Pretends to be Hastur Sejanus to push Horus further towards Chaos.
  • Dirty Coward: Erebus is not above cheating or leaving behind those under his command to die in order to save his own skin.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Lorgar invokes this trope with Erebus when trying to explain why his plan to corrupt Sanguinius and the Blood Angels to their cause won't work.
  • Evil Chancellor: Acts much like one to Horus, to the point that Loken begins to worry about how much influence he has over the Warmaster.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He enacts huge rituals and uses sorcery even more than physical force.
  • Flaying Alive: He gets his face ripped off by Horus. The readers cheered, as did many onlookers.
  • Human Notepad: Like his Primarch, he's tattooed his head with holy stanzas.
  • It's All About Me: Less than pleasing Chaos Gods, he's about his own profits.
  • Karma Houdini: You might think that the one ultimately responsible for the Heresy would get some comeuppance, but you'd be wrong: In the 41st millenium, Erebus is part of the Dark Council in the post-Heresy Word Bearers, alive and well. Subverted as the series progresses however, as he falls into Butt-Monkey, Flaying Alive, No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, The Unfavorite, and Villainous Breakdown situations as a result of his actions.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Ladies and gentlemen, we give you: The Architect of the Horus Heresy.
  • Meaningful Name: In Greek Mythology, Erebus is the son of Chaos. Moreover, his name means "deep darkness", "shadow", or "covered".
  • Necromancer: Among others, he brings Cyrene and Tarik (albeit not entirely) back to life, although his creations have an alarming tendency for Came Back Wrong.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Erebus is ironically very cordial to the serfs he interacts with, seeing no need to be anything other than nice to someone who is a devout follower of the Ruinous Powers anyway.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Erebus is on the receiving end of one of these at Kharn's hands. After having been told by Lorgar Erebus was responsible for Argel Tal's death, Kharn challenges Erebus to a fight to the death in the World Eaters' gladiatorial pits. Erebus confidently expects to win; instead, Kharn puts him on his arse and draws first blood in the fight's opening seconds, cuts his hand off and nearly severs Erebus's spine with his chainaxe- Erebus only survives because he cheats and uses sorcery to escape.
  • Obviously Evil: And yet only Loken notices that something's wrong.
  • Religious Bruiser: Like all Word Bearers, he lives to serve Chaos.
  • Sinister Minister: As a priest of the Chaos Gods.
  • Summon Magic: He can use rituals to summon dozens of daemons.
  • The Corrupter: To Lorgar and Horus foremost, bringing them over to Chaos.
  • The Mole: He's pretty much Lorgar's spy in Sons of Horus.
  • The Unfavorite: Gradually becomes this as the series goes on. Horus and many members of Sons of Horus start to dislike him more as he tries to influence Horus. Even Lorgar, who previously saw him as one of two closest advisors, basically hangs him out to dry after telling Kharn that Erebus was responsible for killing Argel Tal.
  • Villainous Breakdown: A short story that picks up immediately after the events of Betrayer shows Erebus having one, following the combined humiliations of Horus reaming him out for failing to kill Sanguinius and then getting his ass handed to him by Kharn for murdering Argel Tal. As of the lastest releases, he's yet to fully recover from it.

Kor Phaeron

First Captain of the Word Bearers, Kor Phaeron was Lorgar's mentor and surrogate father during his youth on Colchis. A long-time worshipper of the Ruinous Powers even before the Heresy, he, along with Erebus, is instrumental in his Primarch and Legion's fall to Chaos.
  • Abusive Parents: He was viciously abusive to his adopted son, in great part because Lorgar believed in one unique god whereas there were four.
  • Badass Preacher: Even his detractors recognise his oratory skill.
  • Bald of Evil: As befitting an aged Evil Chancellor.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: During the Battle of Calth, Kor Phaeron actually had an opportunity to kill Roboute Guilliman, but instead decided to try corrupting the Primarch with an anathame blade. This led to Guilliman ripping out the Black Cardinal's primary heart while he was busy gloating.
  • Co-Dragons: Kor Phaeron is a member of the Dark Council, the band of Dark Apostles that rules the Word Bearers in Lorgar's stead, and is engaged in a low-key battle with Erebus for power over the Council.
  • Continuity Nod: Escapes the Ultramarines at the end of "Macragge's Honor" by transporting his forces to Sicarus, the daemon world within the Eye of Terror that will become the Legion's new homeworld after the Heresy.
  • The Corrupter: Serves as this, along with Erebus, to Lorgar.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Genuinely considers Lorgar his son and reacts with horror when Lorgar charges into battle with Corax on Istvaan V to save the Gal Vorbak, knowing that his protege has no chance of defeating the Raven Guard's Primarch.
    • Averted slightly in Aurelian where Ingethel reveals to Lorgar that in one potential future, Kor Phaeron would poison Lorgar at the end of the religious wars on Colchis because he feared he could no longer control him.
  • Evil Gloating: Is quite fond of this. It comes back to bite him on Calth when he spends so long gloating over a prone Guilliman about how he plans to corrupt him to the service of Chaos, that he is caught completely offguard when Guilliman rips out one of hearts.
  • Evil Old Folks: Kor Phaeron was too old when the Emperor arrived at Colchis to become a full Space Marine, but went through extensive surgery and genetic modification to make him fit for battle alongside other Astartes.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Kor Phaeron was born in an orphanage in Colchis, only to become a priest of the Covenant of Colchis then expelled for his radical views. He managed a dramatic return and ascension to power within the Covenant after he adopted Lorgar, following him to reap all the rewards he could. He then rose in the ranks of the Word Bearers and became one of the Traitor Legions' most infamous members.
  • Improvised Armour: His armor is a piecemealed suit of Terminator armor, modified to compensate for his not having the strength needed to move or use its weapons like a full Astartes would.
  • Nepotism: His becoming a sort of-Astartes did not go over well, as roughly half the Legion felt it was only because he was Lorgar's foster father.
  • Religion of Evil: Kor Phaeron was the High Priest of the Covenant, the priesthood whose theocratic rule was the chief power on Colchis, worshipping a Pantheon of deities that were in truth the Chaos Gods in more benevolent forms. After the end of the religious wars between Lorgar's monotheistic sect worshipping the Emperor and those who kept to the Old Faith, Kor Phaeron told his pupil while he still worshipped the Pantheon still, he thought the Emperor the mightiest of them. This would sow the seeds for the Heresy to come.
  • Transhuman: Notably less so than other Astartes, as Kor Phaeron was inducted into the Legion at an age that was frankly unorthodox. He received Astartes bio-implants, but he was already far too old for his body to fully adapt to them. He's effectively an old man kept in a state of relative youth.
  • The Un-Favourite: After completely screwing up on Calth ( namely by disobeying his orders to kill Guilliman and leaving the Word Bearers under his command to die in a hopeless war of attrition), Lorgar hangs Kor Phaeron out to dry, refusing to send him aid against the Ultramarines who have pursued him into the Maelstrom.
  • You Have Failed Me: In Betrayer, Lorgar flatly refuses to send reinforcements to help Kor Phaeron escape the Ultramarines hunting him down in the Maelstrom, remarking that his mentor forfeited any sympathy from his Primarch when he so spectacularly screwed up the attack on Calth.

Argel Tal
When he's human... ...and when he's not 
Captain of the 7th Company of the Serrated Sun Chapter during the Great Crusade, he becomes a Crimson Lord of the Gal Vorbak, the so-called "Blessed Sons", after going through a pilgrimage in the future Eye of Terror. He later dies at the hands of Erebus.
  • Arc Words: "We die in the shadow of great wings".
  • Apologetic Attacker: In the seconds before the Dropsite Massacre commences, Argel Tal asks an approaching Raven Guard captain pulling back to the second wave's position to forgive him before ordering his men to open fire.
  • Back Stab: A victim of this (both literally and figuratively) at the hands of his old mentor Erebus.
  • BFS: After killing Aquillon, he takes to using his massive sword.
  • Blade on a Stick: Also takes to using another Custodian's halberd.
  • Body Horror: When taken over by Raum, his body literally fuses with his armour.
  • Brass Balls: In Betrayer, when Angron starts mouthing off about Cyrene, Argel Tal bluntly says Angron is not worthy to speak of her. That's right, he told the Primarch of the World Eaters to essentially shut his piehole to his face! And when Angron continues pushing his Berserk Button, Argel Tal goes for his weapons. Granted, Angron stops him, but the Primarch is amused more than anything that Tal had the nerve to try.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments. The example below is an exchange between Argel Tal and Jago "Sevetar" Sevetarion, 1st Captain of the Night Lords:
    Sevetar: You are late.
    Argel Tal: How perceptive. You can read a chronometer.
  • Demonic Possession: Is possessed by a being called Raum during the Pilgrimage. Raum considers the two of them Blood Brothers (in his own twisted way).
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: To an extent, his death is this. Having expected (like most of the readers) to die fighting the Blood Angels Primarch Sanguinius at the Siege of Terra, he is instead murdered by his old mentor on a backwater world in a far-flung corner of Ultramar.
  • Dual Wielding: He fought with twin swords of red iron, passed down to him from the previous company captain, before breaking them.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Kharn. They're fighing partners in World Eaters' gladiator games and as close as it's possible for Astartes from two different Legions to be.
  • Just Following Orders: With a combination of Undying Loyalty. He explains that only cowards would say that his own acts were based on simple orders, thing is, he is part of the Word Bearers Legion that have a strange connection to Lorgar, and seemly cannot deny any command of their gene-father.
  • Morality Pet: Cyrene and, to an extent, Kharn are this for him, helping the daemonhost keep his humanity.
  • Odd Friendship: Him and Kharn, a Word Bearer and World Eater.
  • Painful Transformation: It's bad enough before Isstvan, when his flesh fuses to his armour. During the battle, the two meld completely, and the pain is so severe that this Space Marine tries to kill himself.
  • Partial Transformation: He can transform part of himself, like turn his arms into knives or mouth into maw.
  • Prophecy Twist: It is prophesised in The First Heretic that Argel Tal would "die in the shadow of great wings". This prediction (along with a vision seen by Lorgar in Aurelian) leads him and others to assume he would die in battle with Sanguinius. His actual death fulfils the prophecy's wording, but in a way no one expected...
  • Religious Bruiser: Like all Word Bearers, he's fiercely devoted to his faith.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: As time goes on, it becomes harder for him to return to his human form. By Betrayer, he's pretty much always in some stage of transformation.
  • Talking to Themself: The way he communicates with Raum.
  • The Captain: Of the Second Company, as well as of the Gal Vorbak.
  • This Cannot Be!: Argel Tal invokes this trope when Erebus fatally stabs him at the end of Betrayer. Argel Tal (along with Lorgar and most of the readership) insists he couldn't die there, as he had assumed the prophecy regarding his death meant he would die fighting the Primarch Sanguinius. Erebus however points out that the murder is being committed in the shadow of an Imperial Aquila atop a downed Titan, fulfilling the prophecy's condition that Argel Tal would "die in the shadow of great wings".
  • Token Good Teammate: Sort of. He's fully aware that everything he's doing damns him, the Imperium and his Legion to eternity. He considered himself a coward in the sense he never once tries to stop these events, all because he's Just Following Orders.
    • To a point that of all Word Bearers the only one Aquillion, who was responsible for watching the Legion's atonement, trusted at all was him. The other Custodes and many soldiers were somewhat fond of him as well.
    • Not only that, but he also made friendship with Kharn of all people (though the World Eaters captain is far more benign during the Heresy).
    • This is why Erebus kills him and Raum. His nature would somehow cost the Traitors the Battle of Terra in every timeline where he survives.
  • Tragic Villain: He goes through a Crisis of Faith that shakes his entire world, complies (or is forced) to make a Pilgrimage through the warp, gets fused with a demon, has to kill his brothers to survive, goes on to witness Cyrene's death, sees her seemingly die a second time as the ship she's on gets shot down, and then is killed by Erebus.
  • Transformation Horror: His changes between human form and Raum-form don't seem pleasant.
  • Undying Loyalty: He would never disobey Lorgar.
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: When an Ultramarine resists him for longer than he can be bothered with, Argel Tal uses this to disarm his opponent.
  • White Sheep: One of the few honestly good Word Bearers. To the extent that he recognises the harm he inflicts.


Chaplain of Argel Tal's company.
  • The Corrupter: Becomes this as the Word Bearers sow the seeds of the Heresy. In particular he is sent to work on the Iron Warriors.
  • Daemonic Possession: Experiences this along with the rest of the Serrated Sun.
  • Evil Wears Black: Even among the Word Bearers, this marks him out.
  • Foil: To Argel Tal, embracing the new way of the Word Bearers as Argel Tal is dragged into it.
  • The Fundamentalist: He absolutely embraces the Legion's new creed.
    • Standing by his tomb, Argel Tal reflects that Xaphan was the most zealous Chaplain the Legion ever had.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: So hard his ribcage is blown inside-out.
  • Sinister Minister: One of the first Dark Apostles.
  • Torture Technician: He refines the method by which the Word Bearers block the Custodians'astropath (torturing other astropaths and binding daemons into their bodies).

Zardu Layak

Master of the Unspeaking Chapter.
  • Blood Is the New Black: He ritually douses his armour with "scalding blood."
  • Canon Immigrant: In a way, as his first appearance is not in a Black Library book but in the Forge World book Tempest.
  • Crisis of Faith: He experiences a low-key one, growing uncertain about just what the Ruinous Powers really want.
  • Evil Mask: With horns, three pairs of eyes, hooks that attach to his face and strange daemonic properties.
  • Face–Heel Turn: On Ullanor he abandons Lorgar, pledging the Unspeaking to Horus.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Only his blade-slave bodyguards are permitted to look upon his face, by the will of the gods.
  • Identity Amnesia: His memory of his past has progressively diminished, resulting in a Loss of Identity.
  • Leave No Survivors: It's noted that Layak's Chapter carried out some of the worst civilian massacres during the Betrayal at Calth.
  • Magic Staff: He wields a force staff.
  • The Red Baron: The Crimson Apostle.

Barthusa Narek
The one that's trying to help.
Once a Vigilator of the Word Bearers, Barthusa Narek gets wounded at Istvaan V by the Raven Guard and reassigned to the command of Dark Apostle Valdrekk Elias. Less fanatical than his brethren and not as certain about the recent religious revelations in the Legion's ranks, Narek keeps himself apart from the worship of the Chaos Gods until events force him to choose a side.

Due to his character arc taking a lot of twists and turns, this is likely to be spoilerrific even if you don't highlight spoilers.

  • Army Scout: "Vigilator" is a fancy name for a ranger.
  • Badass Boast: Combined with "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Narek gives an epic one to two Possessed Word Bearers who help him reach Macragge without realizing exactly why Narek wants to go there:
    Narek: I believe in the Word of our Primarch and I believe that Word makes us loyal to the Emperor. We are of the Word, and thus we are of the Emperor. It was ever thus. I despise the steps my Legion-kin have taken to embrace the Outer Dark. Too many steps, too far.
    Barbos Kha: What are you saying, Narek?
    [Blows Barbos Kha's head clean off with a few pistol shots, and kills Ulkas Tul at close range with a sniper rifle.]
  • Cold Sniper: Narek lives this trope. He is one of the best shots in the entire series, with plenty of evidence in each of his appearances, and openly admits that he prefers to kill quietly and from a distance. He's also a cold unfeeling Knight Templar bastard.
  • Defector from Decadence: He refuses to partake in his Legion's fall to Chaos, making him the only known loyalist Word Bearer in the entire series.
  • Friendly Sniper: Averted. Narek is cold and unfriendly to those who he actually speaks to, which isn't many people.
  • Good Is Not Nice: At times, you have to work hard to convince yourself that he is, indeed, a good guy.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: Malcador infuses him with a soul of a Librarian to create an artificial identity of "Kaspar Hecht" for him, convincing Narek that he's a Knight Errant. It works for a time.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Switches sides partway through Vulkan Lives.
  • Heel Realization: Has two of them. The first time comes on Traoris and has him defect from the Word Bearers. The second time comes after he has touched the Emperor's Fulgurite and has him affirm his ultimate belief that the Emperor is God and he is on a mission from him.
  • Identity Amnesia: He briefly forgets who he is at the start of Deathfire. It's more than partially engineered.
  • Just Following Orders: Averted. Narek defies the theory that the Word Bearers cannot disobey orders from Lorgar by keeping himself apart from worship of the Dark Gods and later turning on his Legion.
  • Knight Templar: Do not stand in Narek's way or he will kill you. Even if you are a Primarch who serves the same Emperor that Narek worships, he will end you if you get in his way.
  • Manly Tears: Cried these when he saw Monarchia destroyed by the Emperor.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: He's arrested and set for execution for Vulkan's murder, even though it's John Grammaticus who does the deed.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Rejects his Primarch and defects from his Legion.
  • Plot Armor: Sometimes you can't help but wonder if there isn't some truth to his claims.
  • Religious Bruiser: Turns into downright fanatical, albeit for the Emperor rather than Chaos.
  • Split Personality: In Deathfire he spends a long time believing himself to be Knight Errant named Kasper Hecht, and after the lie is revealed, he spends some time wrestling with two personalities before finally reasetting himself as Narek.
  • Token Good Teammate: Both played straight and averted. By dint of what he wants to achieve, Narek can be called a good guy. But he does not associate with the Loyalists and is willing to murder them and innocent civilians, both of which he does multiple times, to get closer to his goal of killing Lorgar.
  • Walking Spoiler: Well, duh.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: What he wants, Lorgar's death, is something that no Loyalist can argue against. What he'll do to get it, take part in an attempt to murder Vulkan in exchange for a weapon capable of killing Lorgar, is where other characters take exception.
  • White Sheep: So far, the only Word Bearer not to fall to Chaos.
  • Wild Card: Even when his and your goals are the same, you can never be sure if he's really on your side and how long he'll remain on it.

     XX Legion: Alpha Legion 

The Legion
Number: XX
Original Name: Alpha Legion
Primarch(s): Alpharius and Omegon

The Alpha Legion is the extremely secretive and inscrutable Twentieth Legion. The history of the Legion is shrouded in secrecy and what is known about them is usually contradictory. Probably formed in secret to perform unusual operations such as counter-espionage, assassination and sabotage, the Alpha Legion was reunited with Alpharius and Omegon at an undisclosed point of their history. The twin Primarchs increased the Legion's specialization in subterfuge and special operations to weaken the enemy to the point the final assault would be comparatively effortless, perhaps as a way to compensate for their Legion's short history. Alpharius was contacted by the Cabal at one point and preemptively learned of the Horus Heresy, choosing to side with Horus so that at the end, the traitors would win but Horus would destroy the Imperium in the process, saving the galaxy from Chaos.

The Alpha Legion joined Horus at the start of the civil war, participating in the Dropsite Massacre on Isstvan V. They then performed a number of secret operations to keep a delicate balance between the loyalists and the traitors. This double play ended when Alpharius led an assault on Pluto and was killed by Rogal Dorn, at least apparently.

The Alpha Legion is a force of consummate professionals who prefer to operate in the shadows rather than performing straightforward assaults. The Legion behaves more like an army of spies and commandos rathers than soldiers as they infiltrate enemy organizations, perform surgical strikes against critical targets, cause civil unrest, and deploy many stratagems to confuses their targets. Their secrecy goes to the point all the Legionaries of the Twentieth claim to be Alpharius. The Alpha Legion's standard color scheme is teal with silver trim, but they are also known to wear black, blue, purple, and the colors of both traitor and loyalist legions.

  • Adaptational Dumbass: For some reason, Dawn of War used the Alpha Legion as The Usual Adversaries, rather than the mysterious schemers they are in the tabletop game.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: Pretty much everything, from the Primarchs to ships to battle lingo, is named with the letters of Greek (or "Grecon") alphabet.
  • Agent Provocateur: They are fond of using human operatives to incite rebellion and unrest on a target planet and then swoop in and take it.
  • Animal Motifs: The hydra, symbolizing the fact that their Primarch Alpharius is actually several people (several heads), and their abilities to strike from the most unexpected angles.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "Hydra Dominatus!"
    • "I am Alpharius!"
    • "For the Emperor!" note 
  • Balkanize Me: It's implied that their decentralized command structure worked against the Alpha Legion after the Heresy ended. It has apparently splintered into many disparate groups with very different goals and ideologies, to an even extent greater than other Legions that splintered into warbands.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: During the Drop Site Massacre, the Alpha Legion planted sleeper agents within the Salamanders, Raven Guard, and Iron Hands by impersonating dead legionaries. The Alpha Legion selected corpses, grafted their faces into agents, and had the agents eat the dead's brain matter to absorb their memories.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: They join Horus, but in reality stay loyal to the Emperor, but actually work for the Cabal, while in fact they work only for their Primarchs. Or they might truly work for any of the above. Add to that the fact that many don't know who they really work for, one or both siblings might've fallen to Chaos, or one might be working against the other and pulling part of the Legion with him, and the true loyalties of the Legionnaires are pretty much impossible to discern.
  • False Flag Operation: Pretty much their hat; it's implied they've been masquerading as other Legions for decades prior to Alpharius' arrival.
  • Hidden Army Reveal: They've never been heard of until Alpharius arrived, whereupon they showed up all battle-ready and clearly experienced.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Inverted. While their teal and silver armor is hardly inconspicuous, they rarely operate without covering it up with disguise or camouflage.
  • I Am Spartacus: They identify themselves with the phrase "I am Alpharius" when asked who they are.
  • Knife Nut: Alpha Legion training highlights knife combat. One of the "Alpharius"es infiltrating the Raven Guard almost screws his cover when he uses a knife trick involving switching hands during a sparring session. In the actual game, the Alpha Legion has access to power knives, which are rather weak for an Astartes weapon, but have the potential to punch right through power armor with a skilled strike.
  • Master of Disguise:
    • The Alpha Legion has mastered the art of impersonation. Internally, Legionnaires resemble Alpharius and vice versa, and they even have a ritual where drinking their Primarchs' blood and a little psychic manipulation can cause them to actually believe they are Alpharius, and Alpharius on one occaision does the reverse to infiltrate into the Sol system as one of his Legionnaires, already infultrating in on a covert mission.
    • Externally, they have been known to use plastic surgery or full face transplants to Kill and Replace members of other legions, both traitor and loyalist.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • After a fashion. In Imperial terminology, "alpha legion" is one that's going through first-tier tests at the momentnote , which implies that they've been taken out of regular Legion-creation process after its very first stage.
    • As the XX Legion, their designation is a Historical In-Joke which alludes to the UK's Double-Cross System (or XX System), which was an operation overseen by {=MI-5=} dedicated to rooting out and flipping Nazi spies on UK soil.
  • The Mole:
    • They specialize in subverting personnel, creating usefully-placed operatives and spy networks, even amongst their allies. Their future iteration heavily relies on founding entire networks of Chaos cults to create ally forces out of loyal Imperial citizens.
    • Even with nominal enemies in their back pockets, the Alpha Legion are not shy about sending Legionnaire's into the thick of it to lay groundwork for operations or preparing a battleground.
    • They even send Legionaires into the ranks of their allies to better serve the Alpha Legion's interests.
  • Motive Decay: As the Heresy goes on, their motives become more and more fuzzy.
  • Open Secret: Within the Legion, it's well-known there are two Primarchs.
  • The Resenter: They resent the attention and honours the other Legions receive, while they're forced to work in shadows.
  • Secret Keeper: They keep up the pretense of having only one Primarchs in front of everyone else.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Nothing's known of where they come from, what they're actually doing and what their true loyalties are. Even where they recruit from is a secret.
  • Shrug of God: Prior to Alpha Legion members, including Alpharius and Omegon taking on narrative perspectives in the Horus Heresy, the Alpha Legion's signature was covert actions and secrecy to the point that the writers deliberately fleshed out very little about them. As the series rolls on, this is becoming less and less the case as we learn more about them, though much of the 'verse still remains ignorant about them.
  • Unknown Rival: To Ultramarines, thanks to Roboute Guilliman criticising their tactics and the Thirteenth being much more accomplished and rubbing this fact in the Legionnaires' faces.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The Alpha Legion's double play becomes so intricate that they may even perform attacks on each other, as Omegon orders a strike on a special Alpha Legion facility.
  • Youngest Child Wins: They're the ones to get two Primarchs.

Alpharius and Omegon
Ehh. Your guess is as good as ours.
The Twin Primarchs of the Alpha Legion. Little is known about them, but the twins both hide the fact that there are two of them and both are masters of lies, manipulation and the likes. Despite a reputation for trickery and deception, the twins are initially loyal to the Emperor, but upon learning that Chaos could be destroyed by allowing Horus to win, they side with Horus "for the Emperor".

It's the Alpha Legion, so here there be spoilers.

  • Ace Custom: Pythian Scales, a highly conspicuous and ornate suit of power armour one of the twins puts on when they want to signal that the Primarch is entering the battle. It can easily turn aside any kind of blade.
  • Always Someone Better: Alpharius seems to feel this way about Roboutte Guilliman. Guilliman's boast of having more victories than Alpharius would ever be able to achieve appears to rankle Alpharius's pride.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Omegon has a minor breakdown when he realizes he's alone now, and is forced to assume Alpharius' role as Horus' lackey against his own desire to return to the Imperium's fold.
  • Animal Motifs: The Hydra, in appearance, motto and tactics.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reasoning Alpharius gives Horus to justify his Face–Heel Turn. Reality is much more complex.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Pale Spear, which may or may not be a Necron weapon and has some disturbing proprieties.
  • Can't Catch Up: Found almost 200 years after the start of the Great Crusade, Alpharius soon found that he could never hope to match the victory tally of some of his more accomplished brothers like Horus, Guilliman, or Jonson. Given that the Great Crusade was running out of planets to conquer, it seemed unlikely the Alpha Legion would ever match the accomplishments of the other legions.
    • Complicated further with the Horus Heresy Rulebooks. It's implied that the Alpha Legion was in covert operation for about as long as all the other legions, but always worked in isolation and was never officially acknowledged by the rest of the Imperium.
  • Chessmaster: Alpharius and Omegon are privy to the higher stakes of the Horus Heresy, namely the threat of Chaos. As a result, they begin to manipulate both sides of the war through secret agents, infiltrators, and performing special operations from sabotage to assassination attempts to make it so Horus wins, but only slightly.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Alpharius' preferred subtlety and flexibility to his strategies and tactics. His first mission for the Imperium was taking back a planet which threw off Imperial rule. He delayed his attack, leaving the planet to heavily fortify with this time. When his forces did openly fight, they cut the power off the central hive, equipped Imperium-loyal citizens, aided them in diversionary attacks that drew in defenders which were then cut off by series of bombings, and took the entire planet in a week and less than three dozen fatalities to the Legion.
  • Complexity Addiction: After Alpharius' combat doctrine was displayed to his brothers (with many decrying them), he and his Legion threw themselves into ever more grandiose schemes of stealth and misdirection for taking worlds. They once drove a planet to surrender after receiving over 90% casualties in a week from suffering countless mishaps and ambushes from the designs of the Alpha Legion...instead of just forcing the planet's surrender by taking its capital. Alpharius is reported to have said "it would have been too easy."
    • At the end of another campaign, Rogal Dorn scolds him for fighting a war in parallel with the Imperial Fists instead of using the Alpha Legion's talents to support them. He outlines how this could have been done and implies that Alpharius only sought a victory on his own terms.
    Mortarion: day his own intrigues will throttle him.
    Phocron to Silonius (in reality, Alpharius): We can't help ourselves, can we?
    • It gets worse than that. In the end, they decide to that the Emperor's main goal is to destroy Chaos and when the Cabal shows them the two possible futures, they make an odd choice. See, if the Emperor "wins" then Chaos will thrive and grow (which is what happens canonically) whereas if Horus wins, eventually humanity will turn on itself and destroy itself while the Eldar will die out as expected. Therefore, without the two main races fueling Chaos gone, the Great Enemy will die. There's two problems with this plan. One: while the Emperor's goal is to destroy Chaos, that isn't his main goal. His main goal is a unified and happy and healthy humanity so he doesn't want humanity destroyed. Two: destroying humanity and the Eldar won't kill Chaos at least no entirely. Chaos will just be feed by whatever races take control over later on. It may not be the same four gods who rule, but as long as there's war, the Realm of Souls will be corrupted into the Warp. Since there are still a great many races that know of Chaos, worship Chaos, and/or fight, murder, and partake in excesses, there will also be new demons being created. The Alpha Legion's goal to betray the Emperor to make his vision come true is fundamentally wrong since they don't know how Chaos works in the first place even IF they didn't already misjudge the Emperor's end goals.
  • Continuity Snarl: Perhaps fitting, given his/their penchant for screwing with people's heads, Alpharius became the subject of a number of these when Legion significantly rewrote his backstory, motivations, and gave him a twin in the form of Omegon.
    • He also has shades of this regarding his personal feelings when compared to his brothers, though this seems also to depend on the writer. At times he appears to feel underappreciated for his strategy of insurgency and covert ops (given his brothers' vocal disdain in favor of overt military action) and feels the burden of living up to the successes of his brothers. Other times he appears to be pragmatically indifferent, knowing that he has ideological differences and difficulty living up to the accolades of larger Legions that are more open and traditionally militant in a galaxy running out of worlds to conquer; and he simply relishes fighting from the shadows. Perhaps he's internally consistent, and just using some subtle misdirection to create the image he wants others to see?
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: At this point, it's honestly hard to tell whose side they're really on.
  • Failure Gambit: A weird version of this. Alpharius defects to Chaos, though still secretly works against them as a Reverse Mole, because he is told that the Emperor's defeat would save the universe, whereas the Emperor's victory would ultimately hand the galaxy over to Chaos.
  • Fake Twin Gambit: Inverted. They pretend to be one person.
  • Highly Conspicuous Uniform: The Pythian Scales, their Ace Custom power armour, albeit this is the point.
  • Hydra Problem: Their tactics and Animal Motif invokes this. You kill someone you believe to be Alpharius and suddenly two other take the dead man's place, both declaring "I am Alpharius!". It's even in their motto, Hydra Dominatus.
  • IKEA Weaponry: Bordering on Scaramanga Special; the Pale Spear can be broken down into a bunch of innocuous cylinders and shards, letting eveyone carry it around.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Alpharius and his legion are driven by a constant need to prove themselves to his brother Primarchs. Famously, Alpharius occasionally made missions more challenging by giving up tactical advantages (such as the element of surprise) in order to make his eventual victory that much more impressive.
  • Killed Off for Real: Rogal Dorn manages to kill Alpharius when the latter's massive gambit fails at the last moment, leaving Omegon alone.
  • Know When to Fold Them: Retreats from battle with Leman Russ when his fleet is imperilled.
  • Long-Lost Relative: For the Primarchs, Horus in particular. It took almost two hundred years for them to appear.
  • Meaningful Name: Alphard is the brightest star in the Hydra constellation. It has a smaller, much less bright star hiding behind it.
  • Motive Decay: Played with. Over time, they seem to become both less and more involved in Horus' and Cabal's cause.
  • Mysterious Past: Alpharius was discovered attacking Horus' flagship as a pirate. All else of his past is unknown as he refused to ever talk about it.
    • In a similar vein, the Alpha Legion (as we would currently know them) only appeared after their primarch had been found, surprising many people that a fully trained, equipped, and apparently experienced Legion was ready so quickly. The Horus Heresy rulebooks show that they had in fact been in operation as long as every other legion, but either acting covertly or under false colours.
    • In the Forge World book Extermination multiple stories are given about Alpharius' youth. Each is pronounced a lie.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Relative to the other Primarchs at least. Whereas the "average" Primarch is roughly twice the size of a normal Space Marine, Alpharius and Omegon are only nominally larger, to the point where they can pass for normal marines (and have larger members of their legion pass for them).
  • Praetorian Guard: Omegon's "public face" is the head of Alpharius' honour guard.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: As mysterious as their personalities and motivations are, Legion suggests this dynamic between them. Alpharius is subtle and diplomatic when speaking to others, while Omegon is blunt and often harsh. Where Alpharius inquires, Omegon demands. Where Alpharius warns, Omegon threatens. When the Cabal explains and presents their visions of heresy and civil war, Alpharius is quietly sceptical and disturbed, while Omegon is openly offended and horrified. Of course, given their manipulative nature, Alpharius may just be reigning in his own temper to give off a calm, controlled aura, and/or Omegon may be playing up his brusqueness to complement his twin's demeanour, as an officer can be frank where a primarch must be formal. Ultimately, it's difficult to determine how much of these traits are their true personalities and how much are the personalities of the roles of 'Alpharius' the primarch and 'Omegon' the soldier, as they switch the roles with each other and other Astartes as the situation demands.
  • Reverse Mole: Alpharius is supposedly one of these, joining Chaos because he believes Horus's victory would doom humanity and save the rest of the universe, whereas the Emperor's victory would keep humanity around longer, but also allow Chaos to grow in power to the point of it consuming everything. Why the Alpha Legion is still pledged to Chaos after Horus's ultimate failure and death is anyone's guess. It's possible there are still uncorrupted Alpha Legion trying to fulfill their plan.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The only really concrete thing known about Alpharius and Omegon are their combat doctrine - everything else, including their whereabouts and whether or not either of them is still alive, is up for debate.
  • Sibling Rivalry: A the Heresy goes on, it starts to become apparent that Alpharius and Omegon are not single-minded, and in fact, the two of them are starting to work against each other, if not in their ultimate goals, then in their methods of achieving it.
  • Sibling Team: Most of the time, they're two pieces of a smoothly-working machine, although Heresy puts a toll on this.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Everyone who knows about them considers them this, including each other, but ultimately subverted as the Horus Heresy goes on.
  • Space Pirate: What Alpharius is alleged to have been before Horus found them. In The First Heretic, his pod is shown to have possibly ended up on a ship (it was too dark in the vision to tell). Whether he even has a homeworld or not is unknown, but his Legion was quickly bolstered from somewhere (it turns out they had been around since the beginning of the Crusade but operating in secret).
  • Surgical Impersonation: They have altered many of their legionaries' faces to look like them, in addition to using this as their tactic against other Legions.
  • The Dividual: They act as one person, with Alpharius being the "official" face.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Alpha and Omega.
  • The Starscream: Omegon starts working against Alpharius, and clearly has some plan for an Opt Out.
  • The Unfavorite: Alpharius, not that it actually bothered him any; especially when personally trained under Horus' wing.
  • Trigger Phrase: In Praetorians of Dorn, it is revealed that Alpharius took on the identity of one of his Headhunters, Silonius, purposefully wiped his memories and deployed himself in the Sol system. From there he acted as Silonius himself. Each time he met another agent, there would be an exchange of passwords that also served as triggers to unlock his memory, just in time to fight Dorn.
  • Twin Switch: With each other and their entire Legion.
  • Twin Telepathy: A mild example; Omegon and Alpharius share a psychic mind link that always lets them know that the other one is out there. Alpharius' death basically severs this, leaving Omegon alone for the first time in his life and causing him a minor breakdown.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In the moment after he gets both arms carved off and his chest split open, but before the finishing blow lands, Alpharius is left stammering in disbelief, unable to comprehend that it was Dorn who actually managed to beat him in the end.
  • Unknown Rival: To Guilliman, whom they try to assassinate more than once. They seem to hold a grudge after Roboute's cold treatment of their tactics.
  • Wild Card: Sometimes they aid Horus, sometimes they lend a hand to the loyalists.
    • In Praetorian of Dorn dialogue between Horus and Maloghurst makes it clear that they're getting as much use out of the XX as they can while they remain a viable asset.

Sheed Ranko

Captain of the Lernaeans, the elite force of the Alpha Legion. Also a trusted agent of Omegon's, performing operations that require absolute secrecy and advising his lord(s) whenever necessary.

  • The Captain: His rank among the Alpha Legion.
  • Easy Impersonation: All he needs to do is to drink some of Omegon's blood and keep his helmet on.
  • Elite Army: The Lernaean are this, as are the task forces he usually works with.
  • False Flag Operation: Specializes in those.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Takes Omegon's place in mission to Tenebrae, knowing that nobody's coming back from it.
  • Lightning Bruiser: While one may suppose Terminator armour doesn't allow it, when out of it he can be lightning fast.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Wears his helmet at all times when pretending to be Omegon.
  • Number Two: Pretty much serves this way to Alpharius and Omegon, especially the latter.
  • Suicide Mission: His last mission turns out to be this. He knew about it from the start.
  • Take Me Instead: Switches places with Omegon on a suicide mission.
  • The Infiltration: Another of his specialities.
  • The Reliable One: He's known to be the man to go to when something covert and secretive has to be done, and Omegon trusts him a great deal.
  • Walking Spoiler: The details of his demise via heroic sacrifice are a huge spoiler for The Serpent Beneath, one of the most Mind Screwey stories in the entire Horus Heresy.
  • Willing Channeler: He willingly accepts Omegon's memories and behavioral patterns to imitate him better.
  • Undying Loyalty: There's nothing he wouldn't do for his Primarchs.


One of the many, many agents the twins send among the Raven Guard to ensure the Legion remains incapable of contributing to Imperium's defense. He doesn't remember his true name - like with all other moles, it was erased and replaced with "Alpharius".

  • All the Other Reindeer: He certainly feels like an outsider among the Raven Guard, thanks to his unique perspective and the fact that, well, he's an Alpha Legionnaire. The fact that this feels wrong to him is a source of some distress to him.
  • Anti-Villain: Sympathethic in his motifs, and kind of sorry for what he has to do, but nevertheless committed to his goals.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Impersonates a dead Raven Guard to infiltrate the Legion.
  • Eat Brain for Memories: How he acquires memories of the man he impersonates - for an Astartes, human brains possess memories that can be extracted by eating them.
  • False Flag Operation: Does his covert assignment by pretending to be his enemy.
  • Friendly Enemy: He grows fond of the aspirants he has under his care as Raven Guard instructor and pities the fact that in the end, they must all die.
  • Glamour Failure:
    • He doesn't know everything and sometimes has to think on his feet to keep this from happening.
    • Inasmuch as he can alter his appearance, his gene-seed is that of Alpharius, not Corax, which means that a cursory DNA test can out him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Gives up his identity and memories for the good of the universe.
  • I Am Spartacus: He's one of several dozen Legionnaires with identity of "Alpharius" implanted into his mind.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: Inverted; he starts off having no idea which one of his fellow legionaries is another covert operative, but they find each other by the end.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: He has his memories and identity of an Alpha Legionnaire completely erased save for the part where he knows who he truly is, what the stakes are and whom he serves and why.
  • Lost in Character: He has moments of forgetting he's an Alpha Legionnaire and immersing himself a bit too much in his role as a Raven Guard. He finds it troubling.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: He's one of very few "grunt" P.O.V. characters in the stories.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: His mission is to do this to the entire Raven Guard Legion by spilling daemon blood into their gene-seed and thus causing them to self-destruct.
  • No Name Given: Neither the name he had before becoming "Alpharius" nor the one he assumed as a fake Raven Guard are given in narrative.
  • Surgical Impersonation: Apart from memory-eating, his disguise hinges on the fact that he has taken a Guard's face via surgery.
  • The Mole: Legion's mole in the Raven Guard.
  • The Resenter: He sometimes shows shades of this, noting that while other Primarchs were welcomed with open arms and great celebrations to their honour, Alpharius-Omegon's arrival was more of "there you are at last, now get down to work", and the Legion was never given a proper "rebirth", as if rather than the apex if the Crusade, finding the last Primarch was just an afterthought.
  • The Quiet One: The personality he's assumed was known to be rather introvertic and he's more than happy to continue with this image, as it reduces the chance of Glamour Failure.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He wholeheartedly believes that Alpha Legion's cause is right.

Kel Silonius

Harrowmaster of the Legion.

  • The Captain: Harrowmaster is as close as the Legion gets to a formal rank.
  • Dual Wielding: Hangs on to the two blades he awakens with. They turn out to be parts of the disassembled Pale Spear.

Armillus Dynat

A Harrowmaster of the Alpha Legion

  • The Dreaded: He's said to be one of the most feared commanders of the Alpha Legion, based primarily on his successful invasion of a forge world defended by a Titan legion and an entire grand company of loyalist Iron Warriors.
  • Drop the Hammer: He uses a thunder hammer as one of his primary weapons.
  • Dual Wielding: He dual wields a power sword and thunder hammer in battle.
  • Facial Markings: His official illustration and Forge World model both depict him with a hydra tattooed across the right side of his face.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: He's known as the "Griefbringer", and his name is said to be a construct from several old Terran languages which translates roughly to "the fallen prince/false prophet who destroys with power".
  • The Red Baron: The Griefbringer.
  • Shock and Awe: This is his preferred battle style; he uses armored assaults backed up by close air support to shatter enemy formations before destroying them in detail.


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