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Fanfic / Return of the Primarchs

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Imagine what would happen if the Primarchs, both those that stood loyal to the Emperor, as well as those who fell to Chaos, returned, the traitors being pulled from alternate timelines where they resisted the call of the Dark Gods? What if the missing Primarchs have been found?

Return of the Primarchs is a series of What If? stories (written by a small gang of writers on 4chan's /tg/ board), centered around the efforts of the Primarchs as they return thanks to the machinations of the Emperor, Malal, and Cegorach. Filled with badassery and awesome that transcends space and time, these stories depict how the Primarchs see the 41st Millenium, and how those Primarchs whose counterparts turned traitor take oaths to fix that what went wrong in the past, as well to atone for what they did.


A collection of the Works as well as links to the threads can be found here.

Return of the Primarchs contains examples of:

  • And I Must Scream: Implied to be the eventual fate of Shas'O Kais. The Lord of Change that cursed him specifically mentions that his body and mind will wither, but he will never die, no matter how badly he wants it.
    • What's more, Word of God points out how, as O'Kais' battlesuit lacks the autosenses of a Space Marine's armour, he cannot even feel the outside world anymore.
    • A paragraph goes into detail about how difficult walking is for him, now that he cannot judge how much force he is applying to the ground with his feet.
  • Animated Armor: The unfortunate fate of Shas'O Kais.
  • Animorphism: One of Shrike's special abilities involves transforming into a monstrous crow-like form. From what is known, it is implied that this is due to the same psychic field that allows much of the Orks' technology to function, only working against them this time.
  • The Atoner: Both Horus and Magnus want to atone for what they did during the Horus Heresy, and Leman has spent the last ten thousand years trying to atone for what he did to Magnus.
  • Badass Family: The Primarchs, or course. They tend to range between Bash Brothers and Fire-Forged Friends depending on their prior relations.
    • Governor-General Vance Stubbs, who spent his time after Soulstorm marrying a Cadian girl whose father is implied to be General Sturnn and has two children who accidentally take out Trazyn the Infinite with a single EMP Grenade. The two children later protect a bunker full of civilians by blowing up a group of cultists with booby traps.
  • Blind Seer: Magnus the Red and the Thousand Sons after their Soul-Binding. However, their blindness is offset by their ability to sense things with their warp-powers.
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: The general theming of the XI Legion, the Sons of Thunder and their Primarch, Taimak. Considering he was inspired by Chief Thunder, it is pretty obvious.
  • Broken Tears: Leman Russ lashes out when he meets Magnus, as Magnus is chastising him for the death of Prospero. Turns out Russ really felt crummy about it once he learned that Horus used him and forces Magnus to swear to not fall again.
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  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Prioress Abiah Cereles of the Order of the Eternal Icon. As a Sister of Battle, she's an intermediary of the Adeptus Astartes and the Ecclesiarchy by their existence, (Her order was founded by those who personally met with Lorgar at Monarchia) and slayer of heretics. However, she's also a very clingy and affectionate girl around PDF Colonel Phell, the closest thing she has to a childhood friend. It's this separation between the two that drives her own personal conflict.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Second and Eleventh legions are back, as is everyone else, given the premise of a What If? story where all of the Primarchs came back.
  • Canon Welding: One of the lesser goals of this work was to tie together the plots of Dawn of War and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine to the general canon.
    • Titus' Captaincy of the Second Company gets placed at least circa 500-600.M41 (So that Severus Agemman could still be the canonical Captain of the Second Company during the First Tyrannic War).
    • Meanwhile, the saga of the Blood Ravens is placed near the beginning of M42, though the Canon deviates quite considerably (With the survival of Borale being chief among them, as well as Gabriel Angelos leaving for Terra to discover the Primarchs).
  • Crossover: Downplayed. According to Word of God Heretek Mercer apparently found the Blacklight virus as a form of archaeotech.
    • Alternatively he may have found a Maerorus Assassin pod left by the long dead Legienstrasse (the first and last member of the Maerorus, which are the 40K version of the original Mercer) and managed to turn himself into a new Maerorus.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Blacksun doesn't know his mother (Commander Shadowsun), but her fate is far more certainly confirmed as dead. Then again, it wasn't like she had much choice... Despite this, Blacksun is raised to be a very honorable commander of the Tau with a very straight morality.
  • Defiant to the End: Kais is lying on his back, horrifically burned, trapped in his mangled battlesuit, and bleeding to death. A Lord of Change appears, and starts delivering a "Reason You Suck" Speech about how fed up of him it is. Kais spits in its face and tells it to go to hell.
  • Disappeared Dad: Commander Blacksun never really knew his father (O'Kais, who vanished from history), and was instead raised by Commander Farsight.
  • The Empath: Chief Taimak's main psychic power is empathy, meaning that he can see the pain that people have gone through and make others feel the pain that others go through. It's one of the main reason he's able to make people get along - he shows them that everyone is Not So Different.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Asdrubael Vect forces a temporary alliance between all the various Dark Eldar kabal's, wych cults, and haemonculous covens (knowing the Dark Eldar, a bunch of which are at war with each other) because the servants of Malal are trying to destroy the Webway.
    • The temporary alliance with Malal was this since it is still a Chaos God and would've been an enemy at most other times. Its forces turned on everyone rather shortly after the Primarchs were returned.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Iyarsith (and presumably Orafal as well) doesn't understand why Jaghatai Khan doesn't kill them after they got forced to help him take over a fortress.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: When Fulgim sees his demonic future self, he's absolutely terrified and Ferrus has to bring him to his senses.
  • Expy:
    • Taimak, whose original beta name was actually Chief Thunder, with his appearance very nearly mirroring the latter's redesigned appearance.
    • Fulgrim's first fight was against a heretek by the name of Mercer.
    • An Ultramarines story involves Robutte Guilliman and Marneus Calgar meeting a Captain Mathaius Ward and then having said captain pass out. Matthew Ward is a Codex Writer for the 40K universe who is universally known (and reviled) for his blatant fanboyism for the Ultramarines.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Taimak's main defining trait, as he tries to reason with aliens before blowing their brains out. Pretty much the reason why the Emperor didn't like him. However, he is a practical person, as even he realizes that the Tyranids are not going to go away because he insists on it.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Horus is terrified of what he did in the future, Magnus freaks out about his future self, and Fulgrim has a full-blown Heroic BSoD when facing his Daemon Primarch version.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Ferrus to Fulgrim as the latter bemoans the fact that he's a daemon prince in this timeline.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Tau Empire modified their Eugenics program after gathering more information about the Warp from the Imperium in order to increase the Tau's warp reflection. It caused most of the empire to fall to Chaos in a similar manner to the Horus Heresy.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bray'Arth Ashmantle's death.
  • Hypocrite:
    • A one-shot character, a Necron Lord Destroyer claims that the decay of all into nothingness moves at its own pace as an excuse for being late. The Inquisitor it's speaking to mutters that this doesn't stop it from helping it happen.
    • The Blood Ravens also engage in this since they are trying to punish the Dark Angels for various acts of treason against the Imperium, yet are also thieves as Azrael points out. Though to be fair, stealing things from the Imperium is much different from openly firing on Imperial forces.
  • Interspecies Romance: Depending on your definition on Astartes as humans, there is one between Shrike of the Raven Guard and Persephone, one of the Chapter serfs, which tries to define Shrike's attempts at claiming his humanity. It's also noted that some of Shrike's company also disapprove of it, considering the distraction it causes.
  • Irony:
    • Firaeveus Carron, hater of METAL BAWKSES, nearly died in Kaurava, forcing him to get shoved into a Contemptor Dreadnought chassis, which is in itself a metal box. The irony is not lost on him.
    • Captain Boreale's Cruiser is called the Words of Clear Understanding. The man's Speech Impediment is almost indecipherable.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Trazyn the Infinite (who's personally responsible for reviving Vulkan and returning the Artefacts back to the Salamanders) tried to loot the Baneblades from Kaurava I, only to be blown out by wooden decoys.
    • The Blood Ravens might also be guilty of this, if Boreale's stolen Black Templar power mace is anything...
  • Knife Nut: Shrike has a massive Bowie Knife, which he reveals to be made from a piece of the Wailing Doom.
  • Lame Comeback: In between Azrael and Boreale's war of insults, Azrael mocks the Blood Ravens for their thievery. Insulted, Boreale calls Azrael's hat stupid. The insult managed to work so well that Azrael literally stopped in the middle of battle.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Inverted in a way, as Archon Lord Tengu who is actually Jaghatai Khan has his press-ganged Dark Eldar minion Iyarsith act as his public face, as he is too big to be identified as a legitimate Dark Eldar.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Depends on one's definition of magic, but after Fulgrim presents himself to locals on a planet he crashed on, the civilians' leader says that either he is Fulgrim reborn, or he's a Space Marine who's gone crazy and convinced himself of it.
  • Mirror Match: One of the more popular ideas: Each Primarch has to face their Daemonic double. The same with some of the more important officers like Kharn and Abaddon.
    • Averted in the case of Magnus and Ahriman, who both want to save their Legion above all else, and somewhat less so Lorgar, who debates with his duplicate instead of straight combat.
    • Subverted with Mortarion and Kharn, who both decide their counterparts are Not Worth Killing and flee the field.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The return of the Primarchs required that Cadia be taken by Chaos. After that Abaddon had the Pylon network - which was keeping the Eye of Terror from expanding (no one except the Necrons knew that) - destroyed. In order to help amend this, Trazyn is sent to Kaurava in order to find a power core that was stored in the crypts of the Necrons of Kaurava III.
  • No Social Skills: Kharn makes this commentary about his double, claiming that his constant urges to kill are just a social crutch because he was incapable of interacting without murder, much less act on his own.
  • Not Big Enough for the Two of Us: Sanguinius and the Sanguinor, who is technically the original timeline's Sanguinius in Azakellon's body. The Sanguinor accepts this rather calmly though, knowing that in the Blood Angels will be safer in the living Primarch's hands.
  • Not Worth Killing: Mortarion's excuse for not killing his own Daemon Prince double. Abandoning him actually did more harm in the long run.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Malal, the Chaos god of destruction and anarchy. He very openly accepts the self-defeatist nature of Chaos, if his disciples have anything to say.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: Well, 40,0000 years. The II Legion, the Void Reavers and their Primarch, Captain Ironbeard. Not only was Ironbeard himself originally a pirate captain before the Emperor found him, but his Legion also has members that uphold this similar doctrine.
  • Put on a Bus: The Second and Eleventh Legions and their Primarchs, though their banishment was somewhat of a blessing as they never got to see Horus' temper tantrum. In this story, however, The Bus Came Back.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sanguinus makes one to Angels Resplendent after he finds out what they have done to themselves. On most of them, it works.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Rak'gol have had most of the capabilities of their species locked away in a planet and a Chaos Sorcerer tries to release it. He succeeds, but is killed in the process.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The way Mortarion and Kharn defeated their doubles. Difference was that Mortarion blasted the place his daemonic double was at after leaving, while Kharn just escaped through an unexpected exit in the Warp.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • The backstory to this setting explains that the return of the Primarchs was organized in part by the Cabal, who realized how badly they botched things up by letting the Emperor of Mankind nearly die. There were other factors who planned this event as well, including Omegon, the Cryptek Orikan the Diviner, and Cegorach the Laughing God.
    • In a smaller scale, the Primarchs who turned traitor make their own personal oaths to make amends for the crimes they committed.
  • Shout-Out: A rather lengthy list...
    • Vance Stubbs employs elite troopers Duke and Stone to help Vulkan re-activate Trazyn and find the MacGuffin. They also have a team comprised of stormtroopers Kane, Chief, and Fenix.
    • The Void Reavers have members named after infamous pirates like Black Bartolomeo and Calico Jacques. Captain Ironbeard himself has a first name of Morgan and originally called himself Ishmael.
    • The Sons of Thunder are something of an in-universe shout out to the Thunder Warriors, the Flawed Prototype to the Space Marines, who were left for dead after their uses ran out.
    • The Black Dragons who landed at Kaurava I were led by a Captain Barak.
    • The story Arise, Black Master, Arise! has a scene that pretty blatantly mirrors the introduction to the G.I. Joe: The Movie, with Chaos Lord Serhius acting as Serpentor, while the Cobra King represented the Cobra Commander. However, unlike the movie, the Cobra King gets killed fairly quickly after everyone agrees that he's a nuisance.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Farseer Elsandar gets rather entranced by the calculations of Orikan the Diviner, thinking that there is possibly some chance that he can rescue his mentor, Eldrad Ulthran. However, one of his Warlocks keeps telling him that there's not a way he could do that, and that dwelling upon it will only cause further harm. Eventually, the Farseer is talked out of his idealism after being convinced that the calculations had nothing to do with Eldrad, but still tries to hold onto the hope that he could find his mentor.
  • Speech Impediment: Commander Boreale is alive in this timeline and his narmtastic dialogue has been exaggerated into a full Speech Impediment. Word of God states that he believes that he has a beautiful voice due to everyone constantly lying to him about it, up to the point where he straps a loudspeaker and Astropath to his back so that everyone on the planet can hear him speak.
  • A Taste of Defeat: There is one tale where Shrike gets overconfident in his skill and tries to rescue a botched Ultramarine operation with only a small team. It fails, and one of his closest friends dies, shocking the Captain to the core.
  • Token Evil Teammate:
    • Malal had its own motives for helping the others. It siphoned a lot of Warp Energy for itself and is now strong enough to have just as big a role in the universe as the rest of the Chaos gods.
    • To a lesser extent, Trazyn the Infinite to Vulkan due to his kleptomania.
  • Took a Level in Badass: A couple of characters took levels in this:
    • O'Shovah during the Farsight Enclaves ten year long isolation in the Warp. Due to the nature of the place, he kept fighting Daemons for about nine hundred years. Thanks to this he became an even more fearsome warrior. Added that Nanomachines were also involved with keeping him alive, making him really old...with emphasis on old.
    • After the demise of both pre- and post-heresy versions of both Kor Phaeron and Erebus, Eliphas The Inheritor, having become a Daemon Prince, takes over the Chaos worshipping Word Bearers as the Dark Council's new leader.
    • Malal has gained enough power to have just as big a role in the universe as the rest of the Chaos gods.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Fulgrim is becoming this. He's still arrogant, but he's becoming nicer.
  • Unperson:
    • Obviously, the Two Missing Legions, who intentionally seceded from the Imperium for their own reasons. Any record of them was obliterated and any Astartes left in their Legions got mind-wiped and placed into another Legion, never to remember their true lineage.
    • A more personal example is Captain Titus, who returns from a crusade alongside Inquisitor Thrax from the end of Space Marine to find that his name and his entire history was erased and his position replaced.


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