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Ciaphas Cain

Ciaphas Cain is the 40th millennium reincarnation of Edmund Blackadder.

Cain is Blackadder and Jurgen is Baldrick. It makes a ridiculous amount of sense if you think about it. This also means that Blackadder itself is set in the past of the 40k universe...which is probably a poison oak epileptic tree if you think about it.

  • Like everything else in the galaxy, Baldrick has clear taken several levels in badass. Also Blackadder respects him an whole lot more now.
    • At some point the bloodlines of the Blackadders and the Flashhearts intermingled, creating a cunning magnificent bastard who is suddenly capable of superhuman acts of bravery when the time is right.

Ciaphas Cain knows exactly what he's doing; he really is Just That Good.
What, you think he's a reliable narrator? He is very aware that he lives in a Crapsack World, so if he were to acknowledge heroics, especially to the Inquisition, he'd die very, very quickly. Or worse. He's also aware the only way to counter GRIMDARK is the Rule of Funny. No, no. Anything that he does that is heroic is actually self-serving cowardice and/or sneakiness. Really! So he fills his "true" biography that he knows will fall into the hands of the Inquisition with lies that don't matter; and his lover, Inquisitor Vail, debunks said non-politically dangerous lies. All the while hiding in plain view the fact that everything he does is Just as Planned.
  • He really is the Divine Will of the Emperor, by the way, but he tries not to think about that.
    • He isn't, but he convinced the universe he is. His faked death was a plan to defeat Tzeentch.
    • Did you really think that he's listed on active duty despite his own funeral for reasons of paperwork? No, this is a sign to the faithful to have hope.
  • I think he downplays his heroics not because he's modest (or just modest), but because he's desperately trying (and failing) to downplay his abilities so that he doesn't get sent to the front lines of the crapsackiest of Crapsack Worlds all the time.
  • Possibly he is himself convinced that courage means total foolhardiness, and that his evident prudence is not a virtue but actually cowardice.
    • This is hardly inconsistent with the prevailing culture of the Imperium. The Guard encourages its troops to view themselves as expendable because they plan to expend them in human wave attacks; the Inquisition places practically no value on human life and the official line of propaganda is that any amount of death is worth it if the mission is accomplished. The church goes on and on about death in the service of the Emperor. Most of the major institutions of the Imperium do tell the average Imperial citizen to take loyalty to the Emperor to the point of near-suicidal foolhardiness; why should Cain be any different?
  • I find that Cain's narratives are often filled with examples of 'he doth protest too much.' Think about it, every time Cain takes actions that are pretty obviously going to put him at risk or are genuinely heroic, he goes out of his way to justify it with some way overly elaborate excuse as to why it was a good decision from the coward's point of view Every. Single. Time. As someone else previously noted, Cain just has a strong sense of self-preservation, for both him and the people he's leading, which leads to some serious Values Dissonance in the WH40K universe. The only other explanations are that Cain's judgment as far as keeping himself from danger is ridiculously poor, or that he's trying so hard to avoid danger that his efforts actually end up as counterproductive, putting him in more danger than he would be in otherwise, neither of which seem to jive with just how competent Cain is when the chips are down. Adding to this is the fact that in spite of how he describes his actions in his character defining monologue (enshrined on the Fake Ultimate Hero page), when we get direct descriptions of Cain in action, he always seems to be in the thick of it, going toe to toe with the enemies of the Emperor, occasionally in close combat, and is rarely ever found hiding behind cover, just waiting for the shooting to stop, although he always seems to go out of his way to find or invent extenuating circumstances that justify why he wasn't engaging in his "favorite tactic."
    • Whatever goes on in his head Cain's reflexes are heroic. When the ice gives way under Penlan he grips her wrist more tightly and ends up getting pulled down with her. When a cave-in seals him off from his Guards he tries to dig through the rubble to them. His unthinking reactions are as selfless as his reputation.

The techpriest Logash hasn't seen the last of the Necrons.
  • Consider: Logash goes insane upon seeing the Necrons. At first he's giddy, viewing them as religious guardians of sacred mysteries, but his tune changes once they slaughter the rest of his cogboy companions. So far, so good. After the trauma, he leaves the ice planet and quietly rises a bit in the ranks. He eventually ends up on serving on Mars. But not just anywhere. Oh no, his last known assignment is in the Noctis Labyrinthus. For those who know Warhammer 40k lore, it's a bit obvious where it goes from there, but I'll spell it out. The techpriests worship the Omnissiah, a machine god who they claim is an aspect of the Emperor. However, there is evidence that the Omnissiah is in fact one of the C'Tan called the Void Dragon. The C'Tan are the masters and creators of the Necrons. Even better, the Void Dragon is said to rest - where else - on Mars in the Noctis Labyrinthus. In other words, Logash ends up in the best place in the universe to get more acquainted with the Necrons and get more intimate with the man downstairs.
    • Further guess: this is exactly what the author wanted us to deduce from that footnote... Heck, it's practically canon.
    • Amberly probably doesn't know this (or any Inquisitor in fact) or all the tech-priests would probably killed for worshiping what is basically a Necron god. Still, Mitchell couldn't have written this without knowing the lore. Still very odd. It is odd how Amberly thinks she can judge how Tech-Priests preform in their order what with Inquisitors limited access to tech-priest knowledge.

Perlia is a dumping ground for former members of Inquisitorial retinues.
Or at least it is by the time of Cain's Last Stand. Amongst the people we see working at the Schola progentium are a pragmatic former Celestian, a possible former Inquisitorial Storm Trooper, a former Naval Admiral and a bonafide HERO OF THE IMPERIUM! whom we know served the Ordo Xenos on occasion. Even outside the Schola, we have an elderly Imperial Guard veteran who claims to be from Cadia. Who lets loose the battlecry of the Tanith First and Only. Gaunt's Ghosts is set more than two hundred years prior to the novel in question, and Cain references receiving treatments from the Inquisition to keep him at his physical prime despite pushing somewhere in the range of a hundred. Bit too much for coincidence, no?
  • don't forget to mention the guardsman in question just so happens to live withing spitting distance of the Shadowlights hiding place.
  • It fits within Inquisitorial reasoning, too. Not only do their prized veterans get a comfortable retirement, but their presence adds additional security if the Shadowlight is threatened.

Gunner Jurgen's status as a blank is directly or at least partly responsible for his apparent ugliness and lack of hygiene.
Canonically, most humans are at least mildly warp-sensitive; this is why Pariahs cause such mind-numbing terror and loathing in anyone they meet. Intuitive traits such as being a good "judge of character" are often ascribed to this warp-sense. Even blanks are often described as being naturally disliked by others - probably because the psychic-sense that humans normally use to form intuitive judgments about others don't work as well, so the blank always feels off to humans. On one occasion in Death Or Glory Jurgen is described as already looking as dirty as he ever does, almost immediately after bathing. It's possible that the reason others perceive him as dirtier than them (in a desert, immediately after bathing) is because he is a Blank and thus lacks the normal filters on how people perceive each other. For that matter, his lack of apparent education and his seeming disregard for hygeine are probably related as well; Jurgen presumably realized at an early age that people would never care for him, and simply decided to neglect normal courtesies as worthless in his case. Also, he pretty much destroys anything.
  • I've always assumed that to be the source of some of his issues, mostly the smell. There is also the fact that Jurgen's effect only works on Cain when he can smell him.
  • This theory seems quite possible. Similarily, in the Ravenor series, Wystan Frauka is a deeply unpleasant (not evil, just rude, boorish, and arrogant) person. But he has his blank limiter, so that may well shoot this one.
  • Alizabeth Bequin, despite being a very attractive woman, has similar (but somewhat more mild) problems to Jurgen in the Eisenhorn trilogy. So yes, I think the blank status has something to do with it.
  • This is confirmed by the rules for the blank character trait in the 40K tabletop RPG Dark Heresy. Characters with this trait, along with their blank aspects, receive a penalty to their Fellowship characteristic. This is similar to the Charisma stat from Dungeons & Dragons, as it affects social skills. Hence why Jurgan is the way he is.
  • Also confirmed from Bequin's POV.

Jurgen is actually the Chaos God Nurgle in disguise.
His odor, multiple skin diseases, and lack of personal hygiene are trademark Nurgle signs. Furthermore, his being a blank is actually just his psychic powers nullifying other psykers. He travels around with Cain to battle his enemies. The times they do fight against Chaos, its either Slaanesh or Khorne, and one time they actually encounter Nurgle troops, they end up killing their Slaanesh enemies.
  • If Dead in the Water is considered canon, this one is sorta-Jossed — Cain and Jurgen kill a squad of Nurglite-corrupted troopers and blow an ancient temple to Nurgle to the Golden Throne.
  • Cain and Jurgen fought against Nurglites in The Beguiling as well, though the primary threat of that short story was a Slaaneshi witch.
  • Old Soldiers Never Die involved a fight against a Nurgle cult.

Ciaphas Cain and Jurgen are the Chosen Ones. . . of the C'Tan Deceiver.
The very existence of Jurgen's blank status is a result of things going Exactly as Planned by the Deceiver. Two of Cain's three encounters with the Necrons involved them opening up second fronts on an enemy that was otherwise seconds away from punching his ticket. In retrospect, the Deceiver's strategy would seem obvious: pump up an intelligent coward as a hero, then attach one of the fruits of his eons-long master plan for fighting Chaos to him. Cain will have to act to defend the reputation that the Deceiver built for him, dragging Jurgen with him because he knows a blank provides his single best chance for survival. As a result, Jurgen is turned into a perpetual Spanner in the Works, constantly being thrust into situations where he'll do maximum damage to whatever master plan Chaos has come up with this week.

The loss of Simia Orchalchae was considered acceptable by the Deceiver. He had all the pieces in place, and was willing to bank on the future potential of his strategic pawns. Moreover, giving Cain the win there would cement the legend that was being created around him. The defenses of Adumbria and of the Shadowlight bear out this assessment. At this point, the cycle has become self-sustaining and requires only minimal upkeep from the Deceiver himself. Cain will defend his reputation and drag Jurgen along to defend his life simply out of habit. There was only one crucial situation, in Cain's Last Stand, where the situation was too urgent for subtlety and the Deceiver tipped his hand with the too-timely Necron counteroffensive. It's part of the Deceiver's plan to keep Cain and Jurgen alive as long as reasonably possible. As long as they exist, they'll keep getting thrown into situations where they can royally gum up the works for Chaos.

Basically, Cain is an Unwitting Pawn in the best way. It's the point of the exercise for him to be the primary beneficiary of this grand scheme, despite the fact that Jurgen is it's primary enabler. By building up the figure of the dashing, heroic Commissar Cain, Deceiver uses him as a smoke screen to draw attention away from Jurgen.

Ciaphas Cain and Co are from the less GRIMDARK part of the Galaxy.
It's a galaxy; bloody immense place. Ciaphas Cain is from the normal part, and they think the guys from the GRIMDARK part are crazy.
  • Actually, not terribly unlikely. Cain encounters some (stereotypical) Sisters of Battle during Duty Calls and he is clearly not particularly impressed. Nor is Amberley Vail, who frequently makes snarky digs at the expense of excessive and blundering, kill-em-all-and-let-the-Emperor-sort-'em-out style Inquisitors.
  • Objectively, the depiction of the setting is just as GRIMDARK as any other. Servitors are mentioned causally, war, destruction and death are constants, there is always a new enemy lurking around the corner and almost always a second one just behind them, fanaticism and relentless propaganda are the norm (Vail casually comments once about a children's book she read that depicts heretics being immolated with flamethrowers) and entire planets are regularly on the brink of destruction. Basically the only thing that is different is Cain himself, both his humourous narrative and preternatural skill and competence, both preventing the more devastating aspects common to the setting from occuring and shielding the reader from the ones that do. In effect, Cain creates his own bubble that temporarily nullifies the GRIMDARK (as if we needed more evidence that he truly is the Hero of the Imperium).
  • Really, the comments here are both true. It's definitely a Crapsack World matching that of a lot of other novels, but unlike some of the more overheated descriptions in game materials, the Guard units and planets Cain deals with are neither mismanaged into the ground nor exploited to the point that Chaos starts looking preferable.

Ciaphas Cain is the embodiment of the Emperor's will.
Praise be to our most beneficent God-Emperor, who has sent his prophet, Ciaphas Cain, to be a leader of heroes against the most evil of the ruinous powers. It would be a great theological boon if we were able to study his writings in detail.
  • Speaking as an out-of-universe observer who has read his writings...That's not that much of an impossibility.
  • He's certainly got a behavioral resemblance to Gideon.
  • Technically canon. Amberly mentions a sect that worships Cain as prophet of the Emperor. Note that she specifically calls them a sect, not a group of heretics or a cult. Meaning that they've been endorsed by the Ecclesiarchy as a legitimate, and legal, form of worship.

Ferik Jurgen is the Anti-Haruhi.
Consider: Haruhi Suzumiya is arrogant, short-tempered, very controlling, and capable of altering reality to suit her will. Gunner Jurgen is selfless, laid-back, willing to take orders without question, and capable of nullifying Warp powers (i.e. those that would allow one to alter reality).
  • Alternately, Jurgen is not only the Anti-Haruhi, but Kyon as well. Both are laid back, natural followers, similarly bland features, and share the astonishing ability to secure something that at least resembles normality despite the chaotic worlds they live in. And you can just go wild from there...

Jurgen is the Emperor.
The Throne doesn't work so well as the priests think, it merely slowed his reincarnation. His surface traits are merely a disguise, and his Blank status is merely a cover for the use of much more powerful but subtle Psyker abilities. Being Cain's right-hand man is merely a convenient way to get around and de-emphasize his own actions— all the focus is on the HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, who notices his slovenly dogsbody? Jurgen secretly protects and guides Cain, accounting for Cain's extremes of good and bad luck; he gets Cain (and thus himself) to wherever the greatest threat to Humanity is, and helps him overcome it (or overcomes the real threat behind the scenes while Cain deals with the more obvious physical danger).
  • From The Last Ditch.

    Ciaphas Cain (to Jurgen): "I doubt the Emperor Himself could have slowed that one down."
    Jurgen: "Probably not, sir, ..."

    A bit of dry humor there from the Emperor Himself?

  • Alternatively, Jurgen is one of the Missing Primarchs; his jaunt through the Warp not only resulted in him becoming a Blank but shrunk him considerably, though keeping his skill and resilience intact. Being a Blank, not even the Emperor could detect him and he remained undiscovered, the Legion derived from him collapsing due to lack of geneseed and he only learns about the Imperium and the Emperor long after the Horus Heresy. He thus decides to join the Imperial Guard and fight against the enemies of humanity in the Emperor's name, devoted totally to Him and His doctrine (not knowing that Imperial Doctrine and the Emperor's Doctrine are not quite the same thing). Eventually he endeavours to locate promising individuals and assist them in any way he can, protecting them and bolstering their reputation to ensure that they can fight and lead unhindered, from Thor to Macharius to maybe even Creed, Cain one of a long line of Heroes of the Imperium he has served without notice.

  • Stuck on the Golden Throne, immobile, for 10000 years... no wonder he has such a fascination for porno slates.
  • When you consider the number of hairbreadth escapes and remarkable coincidences that regularly befall both Cain and Jurgen this theory seems quite believable.

Ciaphas Cain is the reincarnation of Big Boss.
Cain is considered the greatest soldier of his time, so was Big Boss. Both were considered awesome leaders who fought side by side and often ahead of their soldiers. Both look and fight like far younger men. Should I go on? Apparently, Big Boss was so awesome, he was reincarnated as the HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, to fight in the toughest battles of the universe. The God Emperor only wishes Cain was the embodiment of his will.
  • Presumably the experiences of Big Boss's other incarnations in the intervening centuries enabled him to work the Blood Knight out of his system.
    • It's presumable that this is also shaped by their different experiences within the military. Boss was betrayed by his government, and grew kinda bitter. Ciaphas was treated with (tanna) tea, dumplings, and insane battlefields. But they definately have the same fighting spirit, and fairly similar tactics (Boss's M1911A1 and CQC knife is comparable to Cain's Laspistol and Chainsword combination, both tend to try to be sneaky before starting to blow stuff up.

The God Emperor is the reincarnation of Ciaphas Cain.
Following Cain's death, he outruns the Warp demons sent to claim his soul. Then, without any physical body to slow him down, he keeps running, eventually escaping from the Warp and passing into a welcoming-and strongly psychic human mind on earth almost 50000 years before his death. He waits out the centuries, waiting for the Imperium to emerge at the end of the Age of Strife. But, when the Age shows no signs of ending, he creates it himself out of a desire to survive. Remembering the many soldiers who died valiantly, but uselessly, in his campaigns, he seeks to create soldiers who are virtually immortal-the Space Marines. However, because he also knows how this all turns out, he provides himself with a few reinforcements for when things get really bad: the two missing Space Marine legions, hidden only Cain-knows-where. In fact, the only thing he didn't plan for was the psychic dissonance caused by his souls occupying two places at the same time. But there will come a day, following Cain's first "death", when the Golden Throne fails, and, with his spirit free once more, Ciaphas Cain, IMMORTAL GOD-EMPEROR OF MANKIND, will return to the mortal realm, call upon the missing legions. Then, he will stand against the forces that seek to tear the Imperium apart on every side, and do the only thing he knows how to do: he'll win.

Cain isn't dead.
He's in a secret location under Amberley's supervision.
  • More probably, he's just finally got his long overdue promotion, and doesn't have to hide the rosette anymore. ;) His "death" was just a cover that allowed the newly baked member of His Divine Majesty's Most Holy Ordo Xenos to continue his service to his Eternal Lord.
  • Inquisitor Ciaphas Cain... Emperor help us. Emperor help us all.
    • This makes a suspiciously large amount of sense. To take it further, firstly it means they've got an inquisitor who has his head screwed on for a change and wants a more peaceful, safer empire (for himself at least). Add in that Amberley laments in the footnotes of Caves of Ice that the Adeptus Mechanicus is up to something on Mars and wants to know why someone isn't asking the pointed questions; well who do we know that has long and terrifying history of surviving Necrons and mechanical menaces, that isn't intimidated by the mecha-loonies, who can never resist poking his nose in even when he knows he shouldn't, and is bloody cheeky to boot?
      • Well, nobody. Cain is intimidated, and his problem isn't "inability to resist poking his nose in," it's "inability to avoid getting his nose poked in." Still, that's quibbling...
  • Alternatively, Vail finally snapped from Cain's ever broadening experience of women. Her Clingy Jealous Girl tendencies manifested fully, so she keeps Cain in a gilded prison cell somewhere so she can have him all to herself (and Jurgen on her team).
    • The problem with that theory is that if you put the books in chronological order they don't mention any other lovers after he met Amberly. Of course that doesn't mean that there weren't any (Amberly is editing the books after all) but it does kind of argue against the theory.

Sulla has a distinct crush on Cain.
Not much of a guess, I know, but look at the evidence. The main page notes she goes from appearing to hate his guts to determined to prove herself to him. It looks to me, from the evidence, as a mix of a crush and hero worship.
  • Hero worship, yes, but there's no evidence of a crush— more like she sees him as a father figure.
    • Subtle indication that she is- think of any female character who is interested in Ciaphas Cain and vice versa who is not Amberley Vail. They are all negatively portrayed (Ms Tayber is a Genki Girl Geek, etc.) Who's editing the papers with the power of changing the characterization of certain characters? And is also a little jealous?
      • A better point on the theory that Amberley is editing the details of Cain's love life in his memoirs is the fact that every single story in which Cain has a lover who is not Amberley takes place before they meet. Then the question is whether this is because Cain became monogamous after meeting Amberley, whether Amberley has edited out all scenes where he sleeps with other women after their meeting, or whether she just refuses to publish the stories in which he arguably cheats on her.
      • Wait, a genki girl geek is a negative portrayal?
      • The person editing the memoirs is not a Genki Girl, she would see it as a negative trait.
    • In The Last Ditch Cain describes Sulla's habit of looking at him with slightly glazed eyes and a faint smile... undressing him in her mind?
    • One of Vail's footnotes in Choose Your Enemies consists of Vail herself wondering if Sulla had a crush on Cain.

The whole series is a Self-Insert Fic by Amberley Vail.
I can't be the first to think of this, can I?
  • This would be horrible.
    • But hilariously in tune with the grimdark universe.
      • Hahaha, yes, this is the best theory. Next time I read the novels I'll see how it works with that reading/textual backing.
  • And their first meeting now resembles how a fangirl would write her favorite character's reaction to her Mary Sue self-insert. Goddammit, you ruined for me!
  • Proven wrong because the sexual relationship is implied and its obvious where confirmations were cut out but any self insert fic would imply it would outwright state the events.
    • Not conclusive disproof; she could just be an exceptionally subtle and self-restrained Self-Insert Fic author. Note that, although the sexual part of the relationship between her and Cain is never made explicit, the cut outs are timed in such a way that the existence of their sexual relationship is quite unambiguous. In other words, she's doing the literary equivalent of the Sexy Discretion Shot version of Fade to Black.
  • Perhaps something like this?
  • See, as the original creator of this theory (and a little cheerfully baffled by its apparent popularity), I think it's actually a lot funnier if Amberley is an Inquisitor, not a teenager. Come on, you can't tell me that the idea of an Inquisitor writing self-insert fanfic with her favorite hero isn't absolutely hilarious.
    • Also, her character is what you'd expect from that: beautiful, completely badass, wears a suit of golden power armour, has the authority to do pretty what she likes and even has her own starship. Plus, the canon protagonist is love with her and she saves his life a few times. Total Mary Sue self-insert, right?
      • Needs a talking animal though.
      • Gunner Jurgen, the sidekick that doesn't seem to show up in any other account of Cain's life other than the one Amberly disseminates, doesn't count?
  • It's a clever theory and all, but it suffers from one serious flaw: Vail isn't a major character in most of the stories. A lot of the books take place before she and Cain met, and she only plays a major role in a couple of the ones that are set after they met, and a minor role in one or two more. She's present in all the books as the editor, of course, but not as a major character in the plots of most. So why would a fangirl write a series of self-insert fics into which she does not insert herself?
    • Go read Embers, How I Became Yours, or just about any Twilight fic, for that matter. Better yet, DON'T. The creepiest Fan Dumb writers don't immediately write lemons about screwing their favorite characters — or if they do, they don't immediately post them. The earlier books are just her Squeeing about him, before she worked up the courage to write herself in.
      • Yes, but then she isn't present in many of the later books as well. She just doesn't seem particularly concerned with writing herself into the story. Also, she's hardly squeeing about him at all. Quite the contrary, she depicts him as a selfish coward. Granted, that portrayal is ambiguous, insofar as it's possible, even likely, in my view, that he's just not giving himself enough credit. Nevertheless, it doesn't seem like the way an obsessed fangirl would portray her idol.

Ciaphas Cain is actually Rincewind
Seriously, with as long as Rincewind has lived, and the fact that he's been shunted into various dimensions, including ours... the cunning, and the cowardlines, and the heroism, that can't be a coincidence.
  • You could build this out to Discworld actually being in the 40k universe. Dangerous Wizards feared and untrusted by all -> Psykers, Dungeon Dimensions inhabited by indescribably unpleasant chittering things -> The Warp with its assorted daemons.
    • DEATH must be extremely busy, then.
      • He's only the DEATH of the Disc.
    • But still an aspect of Azrael; DEATH could have asked a... 'coworker'... to keep an eye out.

Cain's original memoirs included intimate details of his relationship with Amberley Vail.
These have been edited out by Amberley. Not that she's too concerned about concealing their relationship from the Inquisition (any Inquisitor who can't figure it out from what's in there should be fired), but she doesn't feel comfortable with anyone else reading the details of exactly how good Cain's first night with her was. Her personal copy contains these details, and she peruses them from time to time, especially if she hasn't seen Ciaphas in a while.
  • Likely points for editing include the ends of For The Emperor and Caves Of Ice, and the midpoint of Duty Calls (page 174 in the paperback).

Cain, not Abaddon, is the true Champion of Chaos Undivided.
How does this work? Simple. Look at Cain - honor, martial strength, obscene kill count, best chainsword user in the entire Imperial Guard... Looks like the work of Khorne. Ability to appear in precise to spot to ruin almost any plot of the enemy, no matter how convoluted it is? That, and his huge (for a Commissar, that is) knowledge about Chaos and his apparent invulnerability? Tzeentch. Now, for Jurgen - he shows markings of being chosen both by Nurgle (really, it's Jurgen) and Slaanesh (his holo-picts with you-know-what, plus suggestions of what he does with them). Together, they battle the enemies of the Imperium - but only to stave off suspicions. After all, who will suspect heroic Commissar? But look at what Cain actually does - every place he walks through ends up wrecked. He kills Orks/Necrons/Tyrannids that are threat to Chaos, too. On the rare occasions he ends up battling Chaos, Imperium wins... by killing off a few useless pawns. Really, every victory Cain makes saps Imperium's strength bit by bit, both by losses it incurred, and by overstretch, as it still has to guard/reinforce all places Cain had "saved". Thus, in a thousand years, when God Emperor will finally awake... he will lose, as all tiny dents made by Cain will undermine Imperium's strength in critical moment. Just as planned. Thus, Abaddon is just a loser making loud Black Crusades that are designed (from the start) to accomplish nothing but divert Imperium's eyes. Now, if only Amberley was from Malleus, not Xenos, the Imperium might have spotted that treachery...
  • By this standard, anyone could be a champion of Chaos Undivided... I mean come on, "owns a porn collection" is a mark of being chosen by Slaanesh?
    • I would say more his ability to seduce any woman he sees.
      • I think we've got some pronoun confusion here — Jurgen is the one with the Porn Stash, Cain is the one with the knack of finding willing bedmates wherever he goes.
  • Explain "The Last Stand"...
    • If you were the true champion of Chaos, would you want some pathetic little Hitler Expy to steal your thunder and muck up your plans?

Cain, Jurgen, and possibly Amberly, are spiral beings.
  • In a universe where nearly everyone is tainted by one force or another, these three have managed to remain hopeful, brave, loyal, and basically the nicest people in the Imperium. Cain was even able to resist a Chaos temptation WITHOUT Jurgen's help on a couple of occasions. Amberly attracts and takes in a ragtag group of misfits and actually values them. There is no Warp, WAAGH, or Emperor's Will within those three, but Spiral energy and that's what has saved them all this time.
  • Don't believe in Cain! Believe in Jurgen who believes in Cain!
  • The weird part is where you decide to apply the parallels:
    • Ciaphas is Kamina. Natural talent and an inspiring badass public persona to conceal the fact that he's essentially terrified all the time, ultimately Becoming the Mask.
    • Shimon is split between two characters.
      • Jurgen is essentially a Shimon who never grew into his own niche. Extraordinary supernatural talent, intense loyalty to his friend, and surprising combat effectiveness mingled with poor social skills and little intellectual cultivation.
      • The other half of Shimon, post-timeskip Shimon specifically, goes to Jenit Sulla. Inspiring, capable leader with a penchant for aggressive, damn-the-risk tactics that nonetheless tend to work out anyways.
    • Amberley is harder to assign a parallel to.

Commissar Ciaphas Cain is a missing Primarch.

No one knows where he is from, who his parents are and how the hell he got into the Scholarium to become a Commissar in the first place. He is probably from a Hive World, but no one knows which one. He has an excellent grasp of tactics (think of all those subtle ways he shields himself with troopers!). He is one of the best swordsmen in the Guard, if not the very best. He always, always knows when a bad situations is about to occur. He has an instinctive caring for his subordinates, even though he pretends he doesn't. He's saved worlds from Orks, from Tyranids, often single-handedly. And he has never lost to anyone he had the slimmest chance to win of.

  • As much as that idea is terribly appealing, he developed too slowly for that to work. The Primarchs had a freakishly quick progression to physical maturity, where as Cain seems to have grown at a normal rate. Unless his Warp mutation was comparatively delayed growth the connections aren't strong enough. It would be wonderful to have such a gleefully amoral Primarch however.
    • How do we know he didn't grow up freakishly fast? Amberly notes frequently how extremely little is known about his childhood before his commissarial training, and even that isn't commented on much; all we know is that in all probability he was raised on a hive world. Plus, he's about as far from amoral as you can get, he just has self-doubts that have convinced him otherwise. Read what he says he does in his journals, not what he says he is in his journal, since he's such an Unreliable Narrator- he's one of the most moral people in the Imperium, based on those actions. As Amberly notes, it never even occurs to him to shoot through his subordinates, for example.

Jurgen and Corporal Nobbs are somehow related
If only because their levels of grungy-ness are too astronomical for them not to be connected.
  • It follows, given that the sense of grungyness is magnified by Jurgen's nature as a Blank, that Corporal Nobbs is also a Blank. Thank goodness none of the Wizards at Unseen University have ever tried casting a spell on him.

Cain will become a Warp Entity after his death
Think about it, belief has a strong influence in the 40kverse. Not only is he a HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, but he has his own cult among the Tallarns. Once he passes on all that Belief will coalasce, and instead of joining the Emperor Cain will find himself as a warp entity/angel in the Immaterium. (and probably highly annoyed to as he'd likely be summoned to aid Imperial forces in even MORE perilous situations...)
  • And he will actually be quite terrifying, because 1.) Jurgen WILL eventually follow him, somehow, and make him proof against other Warp Entities & 2.) because he has spent so much time with Jurgen he will have built up an immunity to regular Blanks rendering them useless to use against him.
  • Might as well be canon. Living Saints are a thing, after all.

Jenit Sulla is Cain's younger sister.
Or possibly daughter. Either way, she's basically his Distaff Counterpart and secret blood relation.

Fact: we don't know anything about Cain's parents. The part about being orphaned is true, as is the part about growing up on a hive world. So is the part about his parents being Guardsmen. However, he didn't grow up with them. They served in a mixed unit — much like the 597th — and Cain was a mistake that they covered up by abandoning him to the underhive. Eventually, they retired and settled down on Valhalla, at last having a child that they kept. A daughter they named "Jenit".

Flash forward centuries later. Both Cain and Sulla have wildly improbable careers, accompanied by poorly-written but wildly popular public memoirs... that completely cover up the real truth that both of them spent all their years of service scared witless and desperately trying to avoid danger, building up Big Damn Hero personae both to cover up the truth and as a means of ensuring a constant supply of cannon fodder willing to leap to their defense.

Somewhere out there is another Inquisitor who carried on a decades-long romance with Sulla, uncovering her secret memoirs and editing them for circulation among his Inquisitorial comrades after his death.

  • Given that Cain apparently went through quite a few mistresses in his early years as a Commissar (This appears to have tapered off in the years after he met Amberley, unless she has deliberately chosen to not publish the stories where he sleeps with other women after their first meeting), leaving them behind as his deployments took him away from whatever planet or ship the women in question lived on, it's entirely possible that he had children that he never knowingly met. Sulla couldn't be one of those, however: Even if Cain had fathered her shortly after becoming a Commissar, she would have been ten or eleven when he was assigned to the 296th/301st.
    • Well it's acknowledged in series that all the time Cain's spend travelling in the warp's made his age rather ambiguous, and given he has no known home (until he settled on Perlia anyway) he hasn't any real reference point. It's entirely possible he fathered a child and spent a large chunk of his or her lifetime in the warp, or said child travelled through the warp and aged differently herself (if we assume it was one of his younger, more risky liasons with other military figures it's possible young Sulla could have spent time travelling through the warp with her mother and ended up a few years older). Hell, for all we know he's the Lord General's dad.
  • If anyone knows a way to contact Sandy Mitchel, send him this WMG. I am pretty sure this would make his day!
  • Point in favour of the Cain's sister theory. In Caves Of Ice, notorious Blood Knight bordering on Leeroy Jenkins Sulla had her squad evacuated on the first shuttle out of there in the face of advancing orks and necrons. Something Cain himself was planning on doing if he hadn't felt the need to shore up his reputation. Sulla probably spent the rest of the journey home very loudly and publicly lamenting being safely evacuated, thus convincing Cain of her own bloodthirsty rep so he didn't notice she'd outdone him in the run-like-hell stakes.
  • Further points in favour of this theory - Jenit Sulla is the namesake of a famous Roman General, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, whose nickname was "The Lucky," also grew up from rather humble beginnings to high office, was remarkably bloodthirsty... and who was a master of propaganda. Cornelius Sulla rose to the highest office in Rome through an excellent political sense, good generalship (including looking out for his men), and a flair for the dramatic, with no need for the manly heroics of other Roman Generals. We just haven't seen the clever manipulator side of her yet...

Following on from the previous WMG; Commissar Donnal was Cain's son
Mainly the same reasoning; Cain Really Gets Around and he's pretty similar.

The Kryptmann Gambit is going to end badly
The Kryptmann Gambit was a scheme to weaken the latest Tyranid Hive Fleet by luring it into Ork-held territory, and hopefully getting the Orks to thin out the Tyranid ranks a little without any damage being done to Imperium worlds. It seems a sensible idea, so long as the Tyranids don't manage to take and consume the Ork planets.

But there's a problem with this scheme. In The Emperor's Finest, Cain encountered a brood of Genestealers on the Spawn of Damnation that were implanting the Ork raiding party living on the same hulk with Genestealer implants, with the intent that the Orks would turn some of the people they end up fighting on the next planet they raid into Genestealers, with the defenders being unaware that their attackers weren't ordinary Orks. Sending a Hive Fleet through Ork territory creates the very real possibility that this will happen with any planet the Tyranids don't manage to consume outright. This will cause a lot of problems for the Imperium worlds bordering the Ork-held territories in the generations to come.

  • I thought that was canon in the larger 40K materials anyway?
    • This is actually addressed in The Last Ditch. Vail comments that Kryptmann's "attempt to pull off [his] trick on a galactic scale left an unholy mess for the Ordo Xenos to sort out."
    • Pretty much. Biovores are generally considered to be a Tyranid creature incorporating Ork DNA.

Jurgen's blank aura makes those in his vicinity knurd.
Discworld establishes the idea that relatively few people truly see the world as it actually is. In Warhammer 40000, things like a good sense of intution or being a good judge of character are actually manifestations of humans' natural psychic potential, explaining why blanks are inherently unlikable on first impression- humans see them as they truly are from an abstract perspective, without the sense of kinship and common humanity.

The shadowlight can turn psykers off as well as on.
That's why the necrons want it so much. Indeed, the reason why there are psykers in the future but not now is that something happened to the shadowlight — it's the source of all psykers in the galaxy.

Jurgen is a Ratling/Ogryn hybrid.
Smelly, blindly loyal, focused and blunt to the point of near stupidity, good at combat with big weapons. Check. Excellent scavenger, sneaky when he has to be, obsession with porn slates, good marksman, good cook. Check. Just tell me a meltagun isn't the kind of thing you'd expect an Ogryn "sniper" or a Ratling demolitions expert to use.

Try not to think about the implications surrounding his conception.

  • He did get hit on by an Ogryn once...
  • Has physical characteristics that indicate he is Ratling or Ogryn, nope. From a planet with Ratlings or Ogryn, nope. All the traits listed are also ones that manifest in humans.

"Jinxie" is decended from an Afriel Strain guardsman
Apart from the obvious supernatural bad luck, the Afriel Strain's main feature is albinism; something that wouldn't be as visible among the pale, blonde Valhalyns. Maybe one of them settled down and managed to have a family on a planet where they could hide their origins with nothing but a pair of coloured contacts...
  • Add in that the other train of Afriel Strain is being stupidly skilled, and that luck is technically subconscious psyker powers, and you get a good explanation. Mixing in normal human partly canceled out whatever causes the horrible luck, changing it to weird luck that her enhanced skills can exploit.

Amberley is editing Cain's memoirs more than she lets on
Particularly about the parts concerning Cain's love life. Every non-Amberley love interest that actually contributes to the plot of a novel tends to have a pronounced character flaw, and there is absolutely no mention of Cain having any lovers other than Amberley in the years after they first meet.

Cain, and not Amberley, is self-editing Cain's memoirs
Come'on, he has an Inquisitor as a girlfriend. A person who's very job description is to sniff out secrets. The warp hath no fury than an Inquisitor scorned, after all.

Amberley is more hung up on Cain's death than she lets on
The Cain Archives, as Amberley puts it, is a mess. It is in no chronological order, and there are no chapters or indicators of any kind. Deciphering that work is probably a massive undertaking... but the Imperium is full of people well suited to the task (Amberley even drags around a scribe who could have easily done the deed). Why then does a Inquisitor, a rare resource better suited to sniff out heretics and enemies of the Imperium, be stuck editing some dead guy's words? Unless...
  • I always figured she did it in her spare time between cases. In particular Warp Travel between planets can take quite a long time and there isn't a whole lot she could be doing during that time anyway.
  • Cain's dead? When did that happen?
    • The entire premise of the series is that they're Cain's memoirs being edited and published (to inquisiters only) after his death. It's been stated outright that he's been buried with full military honours.
      • It has also been stated he is still on payroll. Just in case.

Cain is being used in a minor embezzlement scheme
Due to the numerous times that Cain was erroneously declared KIA only to turn up alive later, the military decided to keep him listed as alive and on active duty at all times. This has continued past his confirmed death and burial with full military honors. Because of this, that means he is still on the payroll even though he is no longer able to collect his pension. Somewhere in the system, some accountant has realized that there's a highly decorated Commissar with over a century's seniority who stopped claiming his pay, and then decided that since Cain doesn't appear to want it anymore, he might as well take it for himself.
  • Alternatively, Amberley is claiming Cain's pay for herself — for the betterment of the Inquisition, of course...

Jurgen is much smarter and more important than even Cain realizes
He knows Cain better than almost anyone in the galaxy, possibly even better than Amberley. He's subtly manipulating Cain towards an unknown goal while appearing simple, helpful, unassuming, and incapable of anything other than literal interpretation of orders. He controls who gets to speak to or see Cain during regular business hours. He may even have realized his status as a blank years earlier and been using it to help Cain without the commissar ever realizing it.

Maybe the Tallarns have it wrong, and Jurgen is the true incarnation of the Emperor's will.

Because Cain is forever listed as Active Duty, Cain IS on Active Duty.

Even being dead is not a problem in a Universe where Faith can shape reality, Caipahs Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM! will live on forever as a legendary figure whose fame and tales of ever more dangerous exploits guarantee that wherever the fighting is heaviest, whenever the dangers are most dire, whatever the threat to the Imperium itself! Ciaphas Cain! HERO OF THE IMPERIUM! will be there to turn the tide!

  • "I couldn't say no to an Inquisitor. Now I've got the fraking Emperor asking me to do stuff."
    • Considering that the Orcish WAAAGH! has made Comissar Yarrick immortal, this has some canon support.

Ciaphas Cain is actually (unintentionally?) achieving (technically heretical) Sainthood status via his exploits right under the Inquisition's (this means YOU Amberly) nose!

Much like the pure zealous belief of the Sisters of Battle can summon Holy Living Saints of the Imperium to fight by their side, enough Guardsmen have heard of Cain and actually incorporate him in their traditions like Cain's Round, the Prophet Spoke: Frak This!, and more over time.

It will probably only be AFTER odd things start manifesting in battlefields across the Imperium that the Inquisition will take notice.

Fleeing troops chanting Cain's name will inexplicably find a tall man with a chainsword appear from no where to cover their retreat.

When leading a hopeless charge against a foul stronghold of heresy, screaming FRAK THIS! as a war cry can call forth a vision of the Prophet whose every las shot is the wrath of the Emperor against which no enemy can stand!

Even when deep in the heart of enemy territory, surrounded on all side, running out of everything., save one last cup of tea as an offering and know that you will find your way home.

And the reason why this happens to Cain and no other Hero of the Imperium?


Cain actually CARES enough about survival (especially his own) and goes to great lengths to ensure that casualties are as few as possible, so not only does his fame spread as a Commissar who Cares, but he has sense enough to not lead his men into the meat grinder time and again, leading to him having more believers in the HERO of the IMPERIUM than there are Sisters of Battle.

Guardsmen may lack the pure zeal of a Sister of Battle, but as always, what they lack in quality, they make up for in quantity.

So a round of tea for Ciaphas Cain! HERO of the IMPERIUM!

  • Isn't the tradition of Cain's Round the belief that if you are diligent and train hard, Commissar Cain will see to it that you get extra beer? A more likely belief would be based on his comment on Perlia about the fact that the nearest mug of tanna was on the other side of an army of Orks and he was thirsty enough to go and get it - If some of your men are trapped behind enemy lines, prepare a mug of tea for the Commissar at your base. No matter how many kloms and how many enemies are between your trapped men and safety, Cain will see to it that they get home.
  • Alternatively, when a small group of guardsmen have been detached for a last ditch one-in-a-million chance sometimes they will be approached by a tall figure wearing the uniform of an Imperial Commissar who accompanies them to ensure that their mission is a success.
  • Technically canon, except that it's not heretical. Amberly mentions a sect that worships Cain as prophet of the Emperor. Note that she specifically calls them a sect, not a group of heretics or a cult. Meaning that they've been endorsed by the Ecclesiarchy as a legitimate, and legal, form of worship.

Cain's exploits are part of a plot by Tzeentch.

Because, come on, what isn't?

The ninth volume will concern the Tyrannic Wars
The second three books all concerned the Shadowlight to some extent. The seventh book concerned genestealers on a 5,000+ year old space hulk, while the eighth involved Tyrannids that had been dormant for at least 5,000 years (Well before the first confirmed sighting of a Tyranid). Since Cain mentioned being pulled from retirement to fight Tyranids in book six, given the Tyranid-centric nature of the last two books, this seems a logical theme for the next book.
  • Confirmed

In the ninth book, Mira will return.

She will also introduce her husband's heir (who's middle name will be Ciaphas, for the prestige mostly...or so she says). Said heir may or may not be rather tall and muscled, despite the governer and his mother's bulk, and pragmatigally cowardly.... The main reason for this WMG is that it follows the pattern of the last lot of books where a character/Love Interest appears again and introduces what is essentially younger version of Cain. Bonus points if Vail has a physical presence this time.

  • Since in the previous three book sets Amberley was a major character in one book, an extremely minor character in the second, and not present whatsoever in the third, and the current set has already had a book where she wasn't present and one where she was a minor character only appearing in person in the last chapter, she's due for a major role in the next book.
    • Jossed. Mira is not mentioned at all, and Amberley only has a cameo (Which is actually from one of her additions to Cain's text).

In any other universe Cain would be more of a traditional hero.

On this site we have collected more than enough evidence that Cain is a hero and will act heroically even when he has other options available to him. The reason he spends so much time denying his own heroism is because thanks to the 40K culture he believes that being afraid or having a sense self preservation makes you a coward. Because he has these things he believes that he is a coward therefore nothing he does is heroic. Most universes don't have this point of view, at least to this degree. If he was in another universe he would still act just as heroic, he just would not hate himself.

  • Succintly stated here;
    Zap Rowsdower: The crux of the problem, I think is that he IS a coward... by 40k standards. In that he shows long-term tactics, common sense, and has an intact concept of self-preservation. Which makes him perfectly normal for the real world, but cowardly by the standards of a culture where non-astartes military men are expected to run headlong into a wheat thresher until it clogs itself on dead bodies, and be happy and/or accepting of it.

Cain is the reincarnation of Horatio Hornblower
Smart, talented, believes his reputation for heroism is undeserved despite the awesome things he does, encourages it anyway, has a habit of saying dramatic things for the sake of morale. The biggest differences are that Cain is a good deal more selfish and self-centered than Horatio, and he doesn't read briefings.
  • No, that would be Horatio Bugler, who has fought in some of the same campaigns as Cain, but has never actually met him.

At some point in life, Cain had a brother (adopted or genetic) who he either killed or allowed to die
The author's said that his name was a biblical reference and both parts of his name are biblical; Ciaphus is obviously refering to him being a hypocrite, or considering himself one. And what was Cain known for? Killing his brother (he grew up on a hive world, so it's fair to assume that his life was harsh enough for this to have happened). It's possible that causing (or failing to prevent) his brother's death is what makes him consider himself a coward in the first place. It also has paralels in that Cain simply won't die (the biblical Cain's mark was to remind people that God would be rather angry with anyone who killed Cain and perpetuated the Cycle of Revenge).

The Cain "Hero Myth" is going to Backfire on the Imperium.

Mainly because this is Warhammer 40K and NOTHING ever goes right for anybody, Cain's legacy will be used to inspire others to do things Cain wouldn't do for all tanna the Imperium. Suicidal assaults, never retreating, tying to fight Chaos Abominations with nothing more than a chainsword (which in 40K, is comedically inadequate) and zeal.

The losses would be staggering, Cain's legacy would have to be suppressed and may go as far as being declared Heretical.

  • Ah, but the Imperium's losses are already staggering (they're just so damn big the guard never run out of recruits). Plus this way only the very best (or most pragmatic) would survive.

The real reason for Cain's fame is that he keeps his men alive.
There are plenty of other members of the guard or commissarate who get results, but they do it by throwing wave after wave of men at it. Cain's habit of pretending(?) to put The Men First is what leads to stories of his prowess spreading so quickly by virtue of there being so many witnesses. The result is; tales of his heroism are spread widely, spread by people who like him (because they think he saved their arse) and spread by enough eye witnesses that they sound too plausable to dismiss. This also has the effect of preventing rivals playing politics (since he has such good PR from the soldiers that anyone who tries to make anything up will probably be called out), as Commissar Beije found out.

When Cain's TRUE Death was announced, no one mourned.

Mostly it was because Cain has been declared dead so many times, that no one BELIEVED he was dead, and perhaps never did. They just thought he was being a HERO OF THE IMPERIUM elsewhere.

Even the burial with full military honors might have been seen as a "cover" by those who think they are in the know.

Or does it only seem that way? Hmmm.

  • So you're saying it's just like Elvis. Possibly that he IS ELVIS!?

Jurgen's absence from published accounts of Cain's exploits is no accident.

A major component of Jurgen's effectiveness is that nobody seems to look past the surface impression of a grimy, noxious, not-too-bright aide tagging along after the HERO OF THE IMPERIUM and really notice that he's got enough power in his own way to neutralize the worst horrors that the Grimdark universe can throw at Cain. But at the peak of his career, Cain is a well-known, much-written-about hero, as are many of the people he associates with ... except for Jurgen.

And Amberly.

Amberly's probably got the clout to get any official histories edited to wipe out her own involvement; there's no reason not to do the same for Jurgen ... and a lot of reasons to do exactly that. Jurgen's her secret weapon, after all; if he were known as a constant companion of the great Ciaphas Cain, then Cain's enemies might see Jurgen as a target that would hurt Cain even if they didn't know Jurgen was a blank.

Cain's annoyance that Jurgen never gets his due in the official stories is a small price to pay for keeping Jurgen alive ... which, after all, helps keep Cain himself alive.

  • It's quite possible that the Inquisition routinely censors information about still-living Inquisitors in archives. After all, if people learn who they are and/or what they look like, it becomes easier for their enemies to identify them, making it harder for those Inquisitors who prefer not to operate openly. Possible proof of this is that the one history Amberley has shown that mentions her existence at all simply states that Governor Grice was killed by a agent of the Inquisition without providing any further detail about said member. But since Jurgen was with Cain for over a decade before Amberly knew about him, including during the campaign that truly kicked off Cain's reputation as a hero, there was plenty of time for historians to have mentioned his existence before it occurred to Amberley to need to conceal his existence as well (Some of the books about the First Siege of Perlia that were referenced in Death or Glory were written before Cain and Jurgen even met her).
The Emperor really does have it in for Cain
Unfortunatly Cain's luck is too much for him to overcome, so every disaster he throws at him backfires.
  • Alternately the Emperor is using said disasters to have Cain in the right place at the right time for whatever feat of stunning heroism the Imperium needs right now. Just as planned...

Cain's parents were in the Tanith First-and-Only
The main reason Vail doubts Cain's stated backstory is that she couldn't find any records of mixed regiments from Hive Worlds, she does note the Tanith First as one of the few mixed gender regiments in history but fails to note that it only had women because some of the Underhive gangers they recruited on Verghast were female.
  • In addition one of the few points she notes in favor of Cain's supposed Hiver background is an uncanny sense of direction, which is also a Tanith trait.
  • Yes, there's a couple centuries difference but there is such thing as Warp incidents.
    • This would also explain why he recognised the cabinet in Duty Calls as being made of naalwood.
    • The timeline actually fits quite well - the Sabbat worlds campaign took place in the 8th century of the 41st, and probably ended somewhere about 780.M41. Cain was known to be over two centuries old when recalled to fight in the Thirteenth Black Crusade, which is 999.M41 and onwards. This means he was born somewhere around the late 700s, so it does fit.
  • This is a Very good suggestion. The obvious explanation for the obscurity of Cain's origins is somebody has deliberately obscured them - who better than Ciaphas himself? He resents his parents for both dying and pitching him into the Scola Progenium and Commissariat but he also feels unworthy of them. I mean seriously, Tanith First-And-Only is about as heroic and self sacrificing as you can get. NOT an example our Ciaphas is eager to follow.

Cain's parents were exactly as he described them.
Amberley mentions that if they were indeed mere troopers, their child would not have been sent to the Schola barring an exceptional Heroic Sacrifice on their part, and very unlikely if they were the sort he describes them as. Now: what commissar is well-known for feats of incredible heroism that stem from an act of selfish cowardice? They were simply less lucky than he is.

Cain's ancestors include Nathan Drake.
At times, they seem to have the exact same combination of bad luck and good luck...

Cain is going to have to team up with the Necrons.
You know its going to happen, most likely an Harbinger of Despair.
  • Highly unlikely as Sandy Mitchell doesn't seem too willing to buy into the retooling of the Necrons as "Tomb Kings IN SPACE", preferring to keep them as incomprehensible, inhuman and absolutely terrifying abominations that Cain fears above all other things. Hopefully he keeps it that way.

Cain was adopted at some point.
Losing two sets of parents would explain how his parents could be cowards and yet how he could be put on track to become a Commissar. One pair of parents were a couple of hiveworld Con Artists who taught him how to be (or maybe just gave him the genes for being) a Manipulative Bastard. Then he was adopted by guardsmen (possibly guardsmen who killed his biological parents for whatever reason) who later died heroic and pointless deaths fighting some Kroot (the fact they were looking after him was enough for the bureaucracy of the administrium to decide he was the son of heroic troopers). Thus earning him a place in the schola and securing his cynicism over dying in the name of the emperor.

Felicia Tayber was a Cat Girl
She has green eyes (unless I misremembered) the tail and the personality. Technically you could argue a simian theme, but "Felicia" suggests a cat. This puts the image of her augmentations when she appears again in Cain's Last Stand in a completly different light....

The next trilogy will feature the Eldar
In the prologue of the first novel, Amberley notes that Cain has fought against and defeated forces of every major foe of the Imperium at least once. The list she gives includes Eldar and Dark Eldar, two races which so far Cain has not encountered at all in any of his published adventures, much less gone to war against. It's time for that to be remedied, especially with the multiple references to him once being taken prisoner by Dark Eldar corsairs.

  • The Amberley Vail story "Hidden Depths" ends on a cliffhanger, with Amberley and her retinue jumping into an Eldar webway portal to Emperor knows where. Since Amberley isn't an idiot, she's got some sort of "if I don't return" arrangement made. Who's the obvious person to come look for her? Especially since the story started out with her investigating an underhive?

  • Too early to say about "trilogy", but Choose Your Enemies starts off with Cain and the 597th battling Eldar pirates. (And resolves the cliffhanger from "Hidden Depths" as well, if not the way I suggested above.)

Cain never existed.
In short, Amberley has been playing a long con on everyone. She decided that the Imperium needed a new hero and began assembling the "Ciaphas Cain" persona from different incidents and different men she's known in her career as an Inquisitor. After a point she and her allies in the Inquisition started spreading the tales of the miraculous Commissar Cain and took measures to make sure they took hold. Some people she bribed or convinced to perpetuate the story, others were swayed by doctored reports and videos, perhaps even some psykers were used to inject false memories of Cain. Sulla is in on it, and Amberley's dislike of her prose and behavior is part of the cover between them.

The end result was an inspiring hero, a mere mortal who could yet measure up to the enemies of mankind and always escape to be injected into a new disaster later. If "Cain" needed to put in an appearance, then fakes could be arranged. His repeated MIAs and KIAs came from attempts to let the character go out on a high note and encourage people to emulate his Heroic Sacrifice, only to be retconned out later when they decided to circulate a new Cain story (and made it all the more dramatic and inspiring). Amberley's "behind the scenes" edited account for the Inquisition is another layer of the story as she hopes to perpetuate him into the future by maintaining the story even in the secret account, along with passing on important details for dealing with the enemies "Cain" faces.

Jurgen? He's real. He served the man who was Amberley's root inspiration for Cain, but when that man died in the line of duty she took Jurgen on in her retinue. Going along with her, he often ended up on hand for many of the other events that she used to build the fake Cain accounts, editing herself out of the real course of events.

  • Some of the Cain stories and videos predate Amberley meeting Cain by a decade.
    • That just means Amberley decided not to include herself in the early "official" accounts. She only brought herself into the tale after the Cain stories took off and he was established as a viable tool.

The Ruinous Powers view Cain as light amusement
  • When they're feeling bored or depressed, they manipulate events to put Cain in some ridiculously dangerous scenario, then watch and laugh as he finds some improbable and heroically cowardly way out of it. Sort of a cross between bullfighting and putting a rat in those little mazes it has to run to get cheese.

Ciaphas Cain became a hero due to his reputation as one.
  • When we first encounter Cain, he is pretty much the coward he claims to be, running away from the Tyrannids and leaving Jurgen for dead. But throughout his stories he grows gradually more and more heroic, until by Second Perlia he isn't really pretending even to himself. During the same timeframe, more and more people are becoming convinced that he is a HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!!!! and, in at least one case, an incarnation of the Emperor's Will. This is not a coincidence. The collective Warp pressure of all those people believing that Cain is a hero turned him into one.

Ciaphas Cain is a Lightweaver.
  • He has demonstrated the supreme manipulative abilities, regularly shifts personae, and has a tendency to inspire devotion among his followers and allies. He displays impressive physical abilities, particularly in close combat, which could easily be explained by him siphoning trace amounts of energy from the Warp (Word Of Brandon confirms that all forms of Investiture are interchangeable to a degree). He doesn't use the illusionary or Soulcasting forms of his power because he doesn't know he has them.
    • Addendum: At some point, he'll summon a Shardchainsword. And it will be AWESOME.

Cain is every bit the hero he's reputed to be, his death was faked, and Jurgen doesn't exist.
  • The Cain Archive is an in-universe deception. Inquisitors have a tendency to swoop in and steal valuable assets from each other, especially if they're from rival factions. What asset would be more useful than a Hero of the Imperium whose skill and faith allow him to defeat pretty much anything? So, Amberly either wrote the Cain Archive herself or had Cain write it.

Cain actually can resist the power of the warp through sheer faith, and never had (or needed) a blank like Jurgen to protect him. In fact, Jurgen was invented for the sole purpose of distracting other Inquisitors. Instead of trying to steal away the "cowardly" commissar who sometimes helps Vail out, they're looking for a non-existent Blank to steal instead. That's the entire reason why Vail distributes these writings to her colleagues.

Meanwhile, the actually heroic Cain is free to continue serving in her retinue, while all the other Inquisitors dismiss him as a dead coward.

There is at least one more encounter with Necrons in the "Cain Archive".
  • Jurgen was not present for Cain's little trip to Interitus Prime. But when he, Cain, and the Valhallan fire-team first see Necrons on Simia Orichalcae, Jurgen's only comment is "So that's what they look like up close". Clearly, he's seen Necrons at a distance sometime between "Echoes of the Tomb" and the beginning of Caves of Ice.

The Necrons who showed up for the Shadowlight were from Solemnace.
Seriously, Necrons just happen to show up completely at random and steal a one-of-a-kind artifact? Definitely sounds like Trazyn's kind of thing to me.

Metternich is the reincarnation of Ciaphas Cain.
  • Both are charistmatic leaders who try to avoid battle but always get sent to the worst of it.
  • Both manage to turn defeat into victory.

Cain's parents weren't Guardsmen...they were part of an Inquisitor's retinue.
  • As pointed out in the books, mixed-gender Guard regiments are rare to begin with and Guardsmen would have had to do something extremely heroic for their child to end up in a Schola. There's also the fact that Amberley is apparently unable to find any clear records. True, this is the Imperium, which occasionally loses entire planets to rounding errors, but still...Amberley has the resources of the Inquisition to work with, and a thorough "background check" of somebody she's working (and otherwise engaging...) with so closely would have had to be pretty high on her list of priorities.
    So this is a bit weird....unless the records had been actively expunged by somebody with access to the same resources.
    Here's one way the story could have gone:
    • Cain's parents are petty criminals on some hive world. At some point, a con goes spectacularly bad and they're up in front of the local authorities. Deportation to the slag mines is imminent, when a passing Inquisitor recognizes useful talent (maybe it was them trying to scam the undercover Inquisitor that landed them in hot water?) and conscripts them on the spot. The Inquisitor presents a big stick (fail to serve the Inquisition faithfully and the slag mines will seem like a pleasure resort by comparison) and a small carrot (serve faithfully and your little son will be taken care of). Cain's parents, knowing an offer-you-can't-refuse when they see it, accept and become part of the retinue. Their son, left behind, is only told that they went to fight the Emperor's enemies. A few years later, a mission (possibly involving kroot, if -and that's a BIG if- we can trust Cain there) goes ploin-shaped and they both die. However, they've done well enough for the Inquisitor to honor their earlier promise. Cain is plucked from the hive city he was born in, his records are sanitized by the Inquisition and he's dropped into a Schola and thus into the career that'd end up bringing him into contact with the Inquisition yet again...

Cain is totally honest in the archives, but ...
... the contradiction about what he says about his parents and what Amberly is able to dig up about them doesn't result from him telling lies. Rather, it comes from him having been lied to. At some point, someone that he trusted told him the story about his parents (Guardsmen, killed by kroot) and he assumed, incorrectly, that whoever it was wasn't lying to him. It's possible that this was the same early tutor who convinced him that because he experienced concern for his own well-being, he was a terrible selfish coward, a judgement that he accepted and internalized but which was not completely true.

Someone will try to break up the 597th in a future book
It's explicitly mentioned that even though the Munitorum agreed to renaming the 296th/301st amalgamated regiment into the 597th, some records still think that they are two separate regiments, resulting in their receiving twice the amount of supplies and reinforcements that they should. This is an error that Cain, Kasteen and Broklaw never got around to resolving, because it's working in their favor. But sooner or later those records will cause the 296th and the 301st to be given separate assignments, which means that Cain will have to have to work fast to get things fixed before they have to split the regiment in half and send the halves to different worlds.

The 597th is a powerhouse in the Grey Market of the Imperium Guard
Thanks to the Munitorum mixup over whether the 597th is one regiment or two, they get twice the supplies of any other infantry regiment. That means they have twice the amount of stuff available for grey market trading with other regiments. Cain is naturally aware of this, but he probably doesn't care so long as the quartermasters don't buy or sell anything that could get the regiment as a whole in trouble.

Cain will fight an Avatar of Khaine
Just so he can get caught in a "Who's On First" situation in the middle of a battlefield.
  • He encounters one in "Choose Your Enemies", though he doesn't hear the name Khaine, only the description of it as an Avatar. They are also allies in a fight against a Slaaneshi daemon rather than enemies.

The shadowlight ended up on Solemnance.
Trazyn the Infinite would love to add something that interesting to his collection, and given The Gathering Storm, he's not exactly averse to meddling in the Imperium's affairs to their benefit.
  • And yes, he would have had to oversee that fight and been helping out on Cadia at the same time. He is an Overlord, though so he would presumably have competent minions he could entrust with what amounted to a minor out-of-the-way skirmish.

In-universe, the Show Within a Show Arbitor Foreboding's titular character is too soft.
He's exactly like the Judge Dredd in our fiction, although more violent because he's following Imperium Law. But his Tragic Flaw is that when Imperium Law does allow mercy, he'll take it. The Inquisition makes sure that Arbitor Foreboding is always a lawful Good Guy by Imperium Standards. But if he doesn't immediately exterminate even the appearance of heresy but incarcerates it, or banishes it, the plot will show how Chaos seeps in and makes the situation worse. Arbitor Foreboding's Character Development is learning that the Law is best when it follows the Emperor absolutely and should be bent or broken until it does.
  • This is all a careful Propaganda Piece by the Inquisition to discourage being "reasonable."

Cain's (real) memoirs are meant to record the names and actions of everyone he met
Cain sometimes thinks about all the people he outlived and that his memories will be the only evidence of their existence, so he preserved their memory by writing about them. Whether it's accessible to the general public doesn't matter as long as it's there. He's apparently annoyed that Jurgen was left out of Cain's Heroes, the in-universe drama about Death or Glory, and Amberley snarks about how Sulla's memoirs claim that the noble sacrifices will not be forgotten despite Sulla not including names. Sulla not remembering after hundreds of years is understandable, and Cain remembering is incredible.
Adding on to the theory that his memoirs are a sort of confessional, it's a way to acknowledge the people whose help he couldn't have done without.