AN : And here it is. I have worked on it for weeks, and it is finally complete : the first chapter of the Roboutian Heresy, depicting the different timeline into which Roboute Guilliman rises against his father the Emperor with half of the Legiones Astartes siding with him. There might be a bit of delay concerning the next chapter of the Forsaken Sons, as I have spent the last three days finalising this.
I was inspired to write this when I read the excellent Dornian Heresy, by Aurelius Rex. While he did a wonderful job (if you haven't read it yet, hurry up, it really is very good) one thing that did not sit well with me is the fact that the Ultramarines aren't traitors in his continuity but were instead deceived by Dorn and are simply independant from the Imperium instead of corrupted by Chaos. I thought : 'well, even fans consider the sons of Maccrage to be uncorruptible.' And then I realized that, for all I have read of stories in the WH40K universe, there is only one Ultramarine I rebember that ever turned to Chaos. It was in an old short story, and even then, the Ultramarine didn't so much turn as he was mind-raped by a Daemon Prince of Nurgle into serving him, and at the end of the story, he turned back from Chaos and sacrificed himself to defeat the daemon. So basically, there is little difference between the Ultramarines' corruption ratio and that of the Grey Knights themselves.
Which I don't like. The recent works of the Horus Heresy have made an enormous effort into making the Primarch of the Ultramarines a more human, flawed character, and if there is flaw in something then Chaos can corrupt it. Thus was born the idea of the Roboutian Heresy. The original concept belongs to Games Workshop, the twist to Aurelius Rex, the corruption of Guilliman ... well, as far as I know, that one is mine. If you have ideas for the next chapters (who will describe each Legion in detail, Index Astartes-style), send them to me. If you have a specific Legion you would want to see described first, tell me. If no one asks, I will simply do them in numerical order.
Read ! Enjoy ! Review, whether to tell me what you liked or to scream at what you didn't !
The Roboutian Heresy
Marcus charged the daemon of the Changer of Ways, his sacred blade risen and ready to bit into the abomination's flesh. The winged creature was covered in the fire of his battle-brothers' bolters, but what would have rent even a Terminator Armor to shrapnel was barely enough to hold the daemon in place.
As the venerated Primarch had written in the Codex Astartes : the warp-born could only be truly defeated either by the blade wielded by a champion of the Imperium, or the fire of their flamers. Other weapons were threat only to the weakest of them, and mere hindrance to those such as the Duke of Change that had plunged the entire system into civil war and now stood before him. Marcus was chosen champion of the Fifth Company of the Heralds of Ultramar, and now, the foul beast before him would fall by his blade.
'You fool,' hissed the daemon as he closed in. 'You think you can defeat Chaos ? You are nothing, Marcus.'
The Space Marine kept on charging, ignoring the sudden discomfort filling him as the daemon spoke his name.
'You think yourself so pure, so high. You believe yourself to be above all others, to be the incarnation of all that your dying Imperium value so highly. Such arrogance. You are no different from all those of your brethren that now fight under the glorious banner of Chaos. Your blood is no purer than their was before they turned against the lies of your Corpse-Emperor.'
The sword plunged in the daemon's chest. Despite the flow of energy caused by the wound, the Duke of Change ignored it, focusing its unholy attention on Marcus himself. The Herald spat at the daemon's face, watching the acid biting into its flesh with unnatural vapor.
'Your words are lies, powerless against the armor my faith, daemon. The Primarch Guilliman was the greatest of all his kindred, and the one whose loyalty to the Emperor could never be shaken by the Ruinous Powers !'
'Is that what you believe ?'
As the Greater Daemon's physical form started to die, a storm of warp energy formed around it and its killer. Marcus heard the alarmed cries of his brothers over the vox, but he didn't retreat, instead pushing his blade even further within the daemon's breast.
'Then let me show you, Marcus of the Heralds of Ultramar.'
The strings of time began to unwind before Marcus' eyes. In the currents of the Warp, he saw the stars turn back, the flow of History change as events unfolded in a different way ...
Pre-Heresy : The Threat in the Dark
In the glorious days of the thirty-first millenium, the Imperium's Great Crusade conquered the stars. The great Legione Astartes, led by the very sons of the Emperor, brought the wrath of the Lord of Mankind upon its foes. Behind them came the might of the Imperial Guard in its seemingly endless numbers, the power of the Titans of Mars in all of their god-like majesty, and the silent blades of the Assassin Temples, cloaked in shadows to purge all who would oppose the rise of the new age. The countless worlds claimed by Mankind during the Scattering were brought back under the rule of Terra, either embracing their lost heritage or forced into compliance. The Old Night was over, and the light of the Astronomican reached across the galaxy, bringing with it the promise of a better future.
At Ullanor, the Emperor announced that He would retire from command of the Great Crusade and return to Terra to work on a secret project that would change the face of the galaxy forever. He named his favourite and most acclaimed son, Horus Lupercal, Primarch of the Luna Wolves, Warmaster of the Imperium, to command the Great Crusade in his name. To mark the honor that was made to him, the Legion Horus commanded was renamed, stopping to be the Luna Wolves to become known as the Sons of Horus.
Another of His sons, Magnus, was to come with Him on Terra with the elite of his Legion to help Him in His project, the rest of the Thousand Sons placed under the command of Horus to help him in his tremendous task.
Centuries later, historians would look back at the events of that fateful day, and hindsight would show them that the signs were already here : the first cracks in the dream of Humanity had already started to appear. Jealousy spread amidst the Primarchs. While several of them supported Horus' right to the title of Warmaster, others, such as the Lion, Dorn and Guilliman, felt that they would have been a better choice.
After Ullanor, the Great Crusade resumed, with the newly appointed Warmaster ready to prove to the rest of the Imperium that he was worth such a title. For a time, the Great Crusade continued unabated, then whispers of disquiet came. Several of the Primarchs had never hidden their distrust of all things of the Warp, and rejected the use of psychic powers amidst their Legions. They called for sanction against the Thousand Sons, calling their power sorcery and fearing that they would re-ignite the cataclysmic events that had led to the Age of Strife.
On Nikea, the Emperor made his final judgment, declaring that psykers were to be trained and controlled in tightly regulated Librarius, such as had already been established in some Legions. Magnus, who had mysteriously stayed silent during the debate despite the obvious stake he and his sons had in the result, tried to appease his brothers who disagreed with the judgment, only to be nearly struck down by Leman Russ. The Great Wolf believed that the Thousand Sons' research into the aetheric was dangerous, no matter how much more restrained it had become since they had come under Horus Lupercal's command. He warned the rest of the Primarchs that this was a terrible mistake, and left with his Legion, returning to the frontlines of the Great Crusade.
The rest of the Primarchs did the same, though the Emperor profited of the gathering to demand Perturabo come back with Him and Magnus on Terra. The Lord of Mankind wanted the Iron Warriors to fortify the Imperial Palace and act as the defenders of Terra, as they had proved their talent at such duties during the rest of the Great Crusade. Perturabo was elated to see his Legion's abilities at least given the recognition they deserved, and to be given a chance to be reunited with his brother on Terra. The two Primarchs had been close since their first days on the Throneworld, when they had just been found by their father, and this opportunity to renew their bonds was greatly appreciated. That decision, to make Perturabo the Emperor's Praetorian, didn't go without causing anger either, with Rogal Dorn's own bitterness being first amongst the reactions.
Other events occurred in the two centuries that followed, with the tension between the Legions growing. On Kharataan, the Night Lords fought besides the Salamanders, only for the guardians of law to be horrified by the ruthless actions of the sons of Nocturne. A similar event occurred in the Cheraut System, when, fighting alongside the Imperial Fists and the Emperor's Children, Konrad Curze almost killed Rogal Dorn after the violent Primarch of the VIIth Legion butchered thousand of civilians. Only Fulgrim's intervention prevented the Night Haunter from killing his brother there and then. Those were signs that corruption was beginning to spread across the Legions, as the Savior of Nostramo, the staunchest defender of humanity, began to challenge his most ruthless brothers' methods. But the true horror still waited in the future.
In his own pursuit of the Great Crusade, the Warmaster came in contact with a human civilisation that had endured the Old Night : the Interex. Its rulers had taken several alien races under their dominion, and while this was not conform to the Emperor's decree that all xenos were enemies of Man, Horus tried to bring the Interex within the Imperium pacifically. However, during the negotiations, the Warmaster was attacked with a blade stolen in one of the meeting planet's museums. The kinebrach weapon brought Horus down with a poison of terrible potency, one that the Apothecaries of both the Sons of Horus and the Thousand Sons were unable to cure.
While their father was dying, the Sons of Horus, enraged, nearly turned against the Interex, ready to rend the entire world asunder. The invasion force was prepared, and ready to strike at the other humans. A terrible tragedy had already taken place, and it seemed more was to come.
Only the conjoint intervention of Garviel Loken, captain of the XVIth Legion, and Ahzek Ahriman, commander of the Thousand Sons under Horus' command, calmed the fury of Ezekyle Abaddon and the rest of the Legion. The culprit had, after all, killed many of the Interex' own warriors in his break, and escaped aboard a stolen ship of the Imperium. The members of the Interex claimed that the responsible must have been tainted by Kaos, as only one such madman would see the point in slaying the mighty and honorable Warmaster.
«'Kaos' ?» asked Garviel. «What are you talking about ?»
The soldier looked back at the Space Marine, incredulity filling his eyes.
«You mean that you don't know about it ?!»
«I know what 'chaos' is, but I do not think we are referring to the same thing. How could the concept of disorder cause harm to a Primarch ?»
«It isn't a concept ! It is the Primordial Annihilator, the scourge of all beings living in the galaxy ! It is the dark shadow of all things, projected in the Empyrean ! It is madness personified ! How could you travel through the Warp and not know of it ?!»
The words brought back some of the foulest of Garviel's memories. Could this be about the powers that had driven Jubal mad back on Sixty-Three-Nineteenth ?
«You must tell me more about this 'Kaos','» he ordered. «But first, let's find Ahzek. I think we will need his advice on this.»
The existence of Chaos as the Interex knew it set a new light upon various events that the Legions had encountered in the past. It also helped the Thousand Sons identify what was happening to Horus. With this new insight, they were able to purge the Warmaster of what, fault of a better way to describe it, the Mournival came to call a 'daemonic possession'. They sent their souls into the Warp, and there found the Warmaster's own psychic self beset on all front, attacked by creatures of the Empyrean that wanted to destroy him. He had fought them for weeks, but was weakening, and his body was reflecting his soul's weariness. They saved him, and the Primarch rose from his deathbed filled with righteous anger. The daemons had taunted him while they fought, with half-whispered lies about how soon, everything he had fought for would be destroyed. Reporting the negotiations with the Interex to a later time, he took all his forces with him and set course for Terra, to converse with his father on the terrible things that had been revealed to him.
After months of tumultuous journey, the fleet of the Sons of Horus emerged from the Warp near Terra. Communications had been cut off during the transit, with only screams piercing the veil of the Warp. Horus had thought that his survival had thrown the plans of his newly discovered enemies in disarray, that whatever they had planned obviously hadn't accounted for the possibility of his , once they returned in real-space, the Sons of Horus received messages from the panicked Imperium that told them dire news indeed.
The First Treachery
News had reached the Imperium that Roboute Guilliman had turned his back on the Imperium. He claimed that the Emperor had abandoned Humanity and given up the empire conquered for Him by the blood of His warriors to the hands of base politicians and bureaucrats, and declared the whole of the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar were no longer part of the Imperium. He had also vowed to throw down his father to punish Him for His so-called 'betrayal'. Worse, three of his brothers had sided with him. Sanguinius, Ferrus Mannus and Rogal Dorn had been part of this treachery, and, alongside with Roboute, had purged their own Legions of those who would have remained true to their oaths on the killing grounds of Isstvan. If not for a single ship that had escaped the slaughter, the Imperium might not have known of the rebellion before the traitors' next strike. As it was, the Imperium still had a chance to strike back, to destroy that rebellion and bring the Traitor Legions to heel before the poison of Guilliman's treachery could spread.
«Roboute … Wise Roboute … Roboute with his scratching quills and his plans and his hope ! Too understanding … Too strong … Too damn perfect … I wish I had seen it before it was too late !»
Horus met his father within the newly fortified walls of the Imperial Palace, and they agreed that this bore the mark of Chaos, though the Primarch of the Sons of Horus still felt bitter about the Emperor hiding such a threat from him. Magnus, who had himself been taught the true scope of the Warp's danger upon returning to Terra, explained to him the reason behind their father's decision : He had feared that knowledge of the Ruinous Powers would only have helped spread their influence, and the events had proved He had been right, if not thorough enough.
The Dark Gods had waited long to strike against the Emperor, and had done so by turning His greatest generals into His mightiest foes. Rumors and heretical writings pretend that Horus was once the target of their dark plots, but that the presence of the Thousand Sons at his side forced them to reconsider. Seeking a new champion in the material realm, their choice settled on Roboute Guilliman. The Primarch of the Ultramarines commanded the most numerous Legion, and ruled over hundreds of world already. They fanned the embers of his anger at not having been chosen as Warmaster and twisted his vision of the Imperium's influence on the kingdom he had built. They manipulated the populations of the worlds he was conquering, forcing him into bloody campaigns of extermination that made his faith in his father's Imperial Truth weaken. Trying to exorcise his doubts, Roboute had led his Legion ever further into the galaxy, trying to find something, anything that would prove his father right. None amongst the Imperium know what happened, but when he returned, he was already the chosen agent of Chaos Undivided, champion of the Primordial Annihilator in its war against the Emperor of Mankind.
Horus was too far from Isstvan to react in time to stop whatever Guilliman and his cohorts had planned next, but the Imperium had other warriors under its command. Using both his authority as Warmaster and that of Malcador the Sigillite, Regent of Terra, Lupercal sent a message to the remaining loyalist Legions, ordering them to sail toward the Isstvan system, destroy the Traitor Legions and bring retribution to the faithless sons of the Emperor that led them. To two of his brothers, Lorgar Aurelian and Angron, he gave specific orders : they were to travel with their fleets to Ultramar, where the bulk of the XIIIth Legion remained, and bring retribution upon the traitor's kingdom. The cold, martial mind of Angron was judged to be the perfect balance for Lorgar's own overzealous tendencies, while Lorgar's fierce passion for the Imperial Truth would ensure that his brother remained steadfast in the front of Chaos. Together, they were to purge the Five Hundred Worlds of Guilliman's influence.
Just as the messages were sent, a new fleet appeared near Terra. It carried the traumatized survivors of Prospero, the homeworld of the Thousand Sons. The planet had been attacked by the Space Wolves, led by their terrifying Primarch Leman Russ. Put under the observation of five Custodes after his violent departure from Nikea, the Wolf King had thrown down his allegiance to the Imperium and slain his observers before sailing for Prospero. The sons of Fenris had claimed that the planet was a den of black sorcery that needed to be put to the torch, and that the Emperor was a fool to allow it to continue existing. With only a few Legionaries remaining on garrison and the mortal troops the Thousand Sons used as auxiliaries, the Prosperians had fought a desperate battle against the full might of an entire Legion to evacuate as many civilians and priceless tomes of ancient lore as possible. It is said that when he heard the news, Magnus cried a single tear of blood. Regardless of the truth of the matter, it is certain that Horus began to fear that the situation was direr than he had first thought at that moment, though the true scope of it remained to be discovered.
Perturabo, who had been absent when Horus had arrived, returned to Terra at that time. He had left the Throneworld with a cadre of his best warriors to deal with an invasion of Olympia, the homeworld he had crafted into a wonder of peace and harmony such as had too rarely existed in the galaxy long history. After having crushed the xeno invasion, he had discovered signs that the Thirteenth Legion had somehow been involved in the attack. At first, the Lord of Iron had dismissed such claims, seeing them as attempts from the xenos to seed dissension in the Imperium. Once he arrived on Terra and learned of Guilliman's treachery, however, the truth was revealed : the whole thing had been a ploy to keep him from going to Isstvan, perhaps even to kill him. But the assassination attempts that had targeted Perturabo during the campaign had all failed, and doubtlessly the Legions who had been able to go to Isstvan would be enough to destroy the traitors.
Seven Legions arrived at Isstvan. First came the dreaded warriors of the Death Guard in their full strength, led by their Primarch Mortarion. Next came the ships of the Night Lords, with Konrad Curze himself leading them. The Primarch of the VIIIth Legion was in a dark mood, as the visions that had plagued him since childhood finally came true, albeit in a different fashion that what he had expected. The Night Lords hadn't brought all of their forces : Konrad claimed that most of his troops had been already engaged when the order to muster for Isstvan had come, and he hadn't wanted to wait, instead gathering a quarter of his Legion and bringing them with him.
After them arrived the fleet of the Dark Angels of Lion El'Jonson, returned from their mysterious wars in the Ghoul stars, followed by Vulkan and his army of red-eyed devils. The XIXth Legion, the Raven Guard, arrived after them, its ships filled to the brink with the numbers of the second most numerous Legions after the Ultramarines, thanks to the genetic expertise of the rulers of Kiavahr, Corax's homeworld. There had been whispers that the work of the Ravenlord upon his own gene-seed bordered on the heretical, but in the face of Guilliman's treachery, those accusations were put aside.
From the void, its arrival unexpected even by the countless astropaths and navigators already in the system, the Alpha Legion appeared, joining the rest of the fleet. Alpharius, the secretive Primarch of the Twentieth Legion, met his brother Konrad aboard the labyrithic dephts of his battle-barge, the Beta. None know what words they exchanged in that meeting, the first between the two brothers since Alpharius had first been found by Horus.
The White Scars arrived last, having sailed at full speed from the distant stars of the Chondax System. The Khan had apparently been wounded in battle against the orks, and didn't meet his brothers in person, though he promised he would be part of the assault by the intermediary of his representative, Hasik Noyan-Khan.
When the loyal Legions emerged from the Warp, they discovered that the fleet of the traitors had mysteriously vanished, while communications from the surface of the system's fifth planet made clear that the traitor Primarchs and their forces were still on Isstvan V. Fearing an attack in their backs while they were occupied on the planet, they spread their combined fleets across the system while gathering their forces on the main vessels. It was decided that three of the Legions would strike first, securing a landing zone for the rest of the loyalists. Mortarion, Konrad Curze and Alpharius volunteered for this task. Mortarion claimed that his Death Guard were best suited for such brutal fighting as was expected on Isstvan V, while Konrad Curze said nothing of his motivations. Alpharius didn't need to explain while he wanted to go first : all knew the old rivalry that had existed between him and Guilliman.
The three Primarchs made planetfall with their troops first, the skies of Isstvan V burning with drop-pods and artillery fire. Hundred of Legionaries died before even touching the ground. Then they deployed, engaged the foe, and the slaughter begun. The warriors they had once called brothers were hideously deformed, twisted parodies of the paragons of honor and virtue they had once been.
The Ultramarines had debased their armor with sigils that made the eyes of those pure of heart want to scream in agony, and walked to war with unholy monsters at their side – creatures that, to the loyalists' horror, were wearing fragments of armor bearing the insignia of the Thirteenth Legion.
The Imperial Fists fought with reckless fury, barely maintaining any form of cohesion. At the vanguard of the traitors, they reveled in the butchery, laughing as they killed just as much as when they were finally slain. Their Primarch, Rogal Dorn, bellowed his rage at the loyalists as he cut them apart with his chainsword Storm's Teeth while commanding his troops into complex maneuvers that nearly broke the loyalists' formation.
The Iron Hands were rotting shapes oozing putrefaction and contamination, their metallic parts impossibly rusted and yet still functionning. Ferrus Manus, carrying the hammer that had been given to him by his brother Fulgrim, Forgebreaker, fought amongst his sons, his once glorious form reduced to a walking nightmare. Only his two hands remained pure, untouched by the rot that consumed him.
Sanguinius and his Blood Angels were those who appeared to have remained the most similar to their former selves. They fought with the fury and cold discipline of a Legion, and yet all who faced them could feel that there was something profoundly wrong with them, though the Space Marines were unable to tell what.
Quickly, the loyalists secured an area for their reinforcements to land, and destroyed the heavy artillery that had caused them such damage during their own descent, taking many losses in return. With the way cleared, the four Legions still in orbit made planetfall, establishing lines of defences in the blink of an eye. Battered from hours of battle, the three Legions started to withdraw toward their allies defensive positions.
And then, the Dark Angels, White Scars, Salamanders and Raven Guard opened fire on them.
Mortarion was running, moving faster than he had in all of his life. All around him, his sons were dying under the Ultramarines' fire. Before him, the lines of the Dark Angels were waiting for them. He opened a vox-channel, trying to contact his brother's troops :
«This is Mortarion of the Death Guard ! Dark Angels, give us covering fire ! Damn you, help us, you cowardly ...»
The words died on the lips of the Primarch when the Dark Angels did open fire. To his horror, however, that fire wasn't aimed at the traitors behind him. It was targeting his own sons ...
The treachery of the four Legions of the second wave was devastating. Thousands of Astartes were slain, and the Primarch of the Eighth Legion, Konrad Curze, died in battle against his brother Vulkan. The few Night Lords who escaped the carnage told that their father killed Vulkan many times, but that the black-skinned Primarch kept on rising, his wounds healing as if under the action of some sorcery. Regardless of the truth of that story, the Night Haunter's sacrifice bought time for the broken forces of the three Legions to reach their own transports and escape. While some records indicate that Alpharius was slain during the battle, the Primarch was seen again in the next stages of the Heresy.
In orbit, the fleet of the first four Traitor Legions emerged from the Warp, and, with the help of its treacherous ilk, slaughtered the loyalist fleet. Only the sacrifice of the Death Guard vessel Terminus Est, under the command of First Captain Typhon, allowed the remnants of the three shattered Legions, led by Mortarion, to escape Isstvan. They sailed into the terrible warp storms that had started to engulf the galaxy, making warp-travel almost impossible to all but those loyal to the Arch-Traitor.
«When the hand of the traitor strikes, it strikes with the strength of a Legion.»
Horus Lupercal, Warmaster of the Imperium, upon receiving word of the Drop Site Massacre
While the news of the Drop Site Massacre spread through the Warp on tides of screams, the death of a Primarch and the near destruction of three Legions resonated through the Empyrean, reaching Ultramar. At the moment of Lorgar and Angron's arrival into the system of Calth, the trap laid out by Guilliman sprang closed. A Warp Storm of unimaginable scale engulfed the Five Hundred Worlds, turning every single planet within its grasp into a Daemon World. This Ruinstorm, as it came to be known, was the result of years of planning, the careful spreading of Chaos cults and the culling of those of the Ultramar denizens who refused the new faith brought by Guilliman. Worse, there were no Ultramarines within its confines, safe a token force left as a sacrifice to activate the spell. The true strength of the Thirteenth legion was elsewhere, hidden in the Warp, and already returning to their Primarch to help his march to Terra.
A last message from the two Primarchs pierced the veil of darkness, claiming that they would return. No matter what, Lorgar and Angron swore, they would come to their father's help. The astropathic message they sent carried the will of two sons of the Emperor with it, and it passed through the increasing Warp storms.
With three Legions broken at Isstvan and two stranded at Ultramar, the fate of the Imperium seemed dire indeed. Then, to make matters worst, word came that the Lemman Russ had cast his lot with Roboute, as only him would forgive Lemman's attack of Prospero. The Wolf King had scattered his Legion into thirteen Great Companies and placed twelve of them under the command of his most trusted sons, while he followed is brother Lion El'Jonson to some unknown destination with the thirteenth.
Guilliman led the bulk of his forces to Terra, conquering or destroying each system in his path so as to avoid being struck in the back at the crucial moment, while the rest of the Traitor Primarchs spread to pursue secondary objectives, waiting for the time to reunite with their leader.
The three Primarchs on Terra, Horus, Perturabo and Magnus, knew that their treacherous kind would attack the Throneworld eventually, and prepared for the inevitable. They called for the rest of their Legions that had been spread across the galaxy and the countless millions of human soldiers that still remained true to their oaths, and prepared to fight to the last man. All knew that the war had to come to Terra eventually, for only from the Throneworld could the Imperium be directed.
The March to Terra
As Guilliman advanced toward the Sol system, battle unfolded across the galaxy. Entire systems had to decide whether to stay true to the Emperor or turn to the side of the Ultramarines. Facing the might of the Thirteenth Legion and its allies, many chose the way of cowards and bowed before Roboute's armada. But many other stayed loyal, and prepared to fight to the end. They weren't alone in this endeavour : Night Lords' splinter fleets appeared to strike at the traitors, coming apparently out of nowhere before returning to the shadows. The Eighth Legion led a long, grueling campaign of guerilla. It appeared to the traitors' commanders that Curze had foreseen part of the events of Isstvan, and prepared his Legion to the eventuality of his own death. Under the command of Sevatar, First Captain of the Night Lords, they had separated in hundreds of warbands that inflicted untold damage upon the traitors' war effort. Acting independently, they crippled entire fleets and helped turn the tide of many battles, slowing the advance of Guilliman.
Mortarion led the survivors of Isstvan V straight to Terra. On the way, warriors from the Alpha Legion hid on worlds that were sure to be targeted by Guilliman's forces in order to help the soldiers of the Imperium with their unconventional tactics, which had proved efficient on many battlefields and utterly incomprehensible to the Ultramarines' minds.
The Traitor Legions each pursued their own objectives. The White Scars, whose Primarch hadn't been seen since his fight at Isstvan, waged a shadow war against the Night Lords and Alpha Legion aries, hunting them down with their superior numbers, but taking heavy casualties for each outpost of the Shadow Legions that they destroyed. The Blood Angels hit heavily populated worlds, leaving no survivors behind them. No word escaped from these doomed planets after the Angels' arrival, and what occured on their soil was only revealed later in the Heresy. The Imperial Fists attacked fortified world after fortified world, basing their choice of target not on their strategic value but on the challenge they would represent, seeking to ever increase their level of martial and tactical prowess. The Salamanders brought dozens of worlds to heel, forcing them into submission to Vulkan and through him to Guilliman. The sons of Nocturne were especially targeted by the Night Lords, in revenge for the murder of Konrad Curze, but despite the best efforts of the Eighth Legion, many billions were forced to pledge fealty to the Black Dragon. Corax led his forces back to his own homeworld and destroyed it, slaughtering the techno-lords of Kiavahr who had experienced on the Primarch when he was still an infant, before the Emperor found him and rescued him from their claws. From his fortress on the moon, he rained bombs on the loyalist factories below, before attacking at the head of his bestial Legionaries to annihilate the survivors himself.
Of the Dark Angels and Space Wolves' activities during that somber period, almost nothing is known. The companies unleashed by Leman Russ found their way to the side of other forces, or raided Imperial settlements with little cohesion in their actions.
When Lion El'Jonson reappeared, he stood alone, without his brother, the fate of which he refused to reveal to any safe Guilliman himself. The Primarch of the Dark Angels had been greatly changed by whatever ordeal he had been through : he was now a prince of the Warp, crowned by one of the Dark Gods themselves as its champion and herald upon the material plane. He was first seen after that transformation on a planet whose name has been lost to the ages. When Magnus received the reports from the terrified imperial forces, he claimed that their brother was dead, and that in his place lived a creature of Tzeentch, the Chaos God of Change.
After that first conquest, the Dark Angels sailed toward Caliban, homeworld of their Primarch. No records exist of what happened there, but it reduced the once verdant planet to a barren core of rock.
Magnus could see it with his unique eye. It was a giant surrounded by fire, wielding two blades : the Lion Sword with which he had fought during the Great Crusade, and a sword of xenos origin that was imbued with the power of death over all whose name it knew. He could see the myriad futures open to it, and the one path it would choose.
«Luther», breathed the Cyclops as the terrible vision faded. «We have to warn him.»
Guilliman sent many agents looking for signs of the Emperor's Children. The Third Legion had vanished from the stars, and even the dark allies of the Arch-Traitor in the Warp couldn't trace them. That lack of information slowed the Ultramarines even further, as they began to see Fulgrim and his warriors in every shadow in addition to the Night Lords. But, despite the unceasing search for any sign of the Phoenician, Guilliman's spies found nothing. Even his most secret contacts among the loyalists didn't know anything. It was as if the Emperor's Children were simply gone.
In the system of Sol itself, war raged as well. Mars was torn by conflict between the Tech-Lords, the different forges of the Red Planet choosing their side in the civil war. Perturabo sent one of his most trusted Warsmith, the Triarch Barban Falk, on Mars. His mission was to secure the weapons and armor the loyalists would need. By the time he arrived, however, the Red Planet was a ruin, with loyalists and traitors fighting amidst the wreckage of Mankind's greatest industrial success. Supplies would be impossible to secure until the traitors had been defeated, and Barban Falk proceeded to do exactly that. The horrors of the Martian War are little documented, for the survivors of it refused to speak of the terrible things that happened there.
As the Heresy neared Terra, the Ultramarines found a fortress of the Alpha Legion upon the world of Eskrador, commanded by Alpharius himself. So close was that planet from the Five Hundred Worlds that Guilliman temporarily abandoned his command of the rebellion's spearhead to travel there with a full quarter of his Legion, determined to crush his brother once and for all. While Guilliman later claimed to have slain Alpharius in personal combat, the exact events that occurred on the surface of Eskrador are uncertain, and it is said that the Primarch of the Alpha Legion reappeared later on Terra, asking the Emperor's help in rebuilding his decimated Legion.
Regardless of the truth, with the possibility of the Alpha Legion coming to the aid of the two Legions trapped within the Ruinstorm taken care of, the Ultramarines reunited with the Iron Hands, who had directed the advance toward Terra in Guilliman's absence. With two full Legions once more gathered, the loyalist planets fell one by one, until nothing remained to stop the advance of the traitors toward Terra.
The Siege of Terra
Four Primarchs stood on Terra with their sons at their side, ready to meet the traitors and send them into oblivion. As the fleet of the traitors emerged, the final battle for the fate of Mankind began.
Thousands of ships had been gathered by both side, but even as they exchanged fire with weapons powerful enough to break a planet apart, the commanders of the vessels knew that the true battle would be decided upon the world below. The Traitor Legions descended upon the soil of Terra in all of their numbers, ready to crush the loyalist defenders.
The traitors laid siege to the Imperial Palace, while the rest of the world burned. Imperial Fists assaulted the high walls of the greatest fortress ever built with reckless abandon, ignoring the traps set up by Perturabo's construction teams.
The billions of Terrans died horrific deaths at the hands of the most depraved of the traitors : the Blood Angels. Once the noblest of all the Space Marines, the sons of Sanguinius had changed beyond recognition. The rumors that had once been dismissed as superstitious slander were revealed true as the Blood Angels fed upon the populace, drinking the blood of millions in debased orgies of sensations and slaughter. The warriors of the Ninth Legion had overcome the flaw in their gene-seed by indulging their bloodthirst before it overwhelmed them : they had become vampires whose beauty hid the rot beneath them as their sanity was consumed by the sensations brought by the reliving of the memories of those whose blood they drank.
Horus' fury at the sight was terrible. He marched to the gates of the Imperial Palace and began massacring traitors, giving the loyalists a respite while calling for the one who had once been his closest brother to come and face him if he dared.
Sanguinius answered his brother's challenge. The Angel fought against the Warmaster, and the tremors of their battle are said to have echoed from the walls of the Palace to the solitary fortresses of Antartica. Finally, with his mighty mace Worldbreaker, Horus shattered Sanguinius' sword and brought his brother down. As he was about to deal the final blow, however, the face of his brother cleared, the madness that had tainted him since the beginning of the battle banished. For a moment, Sanguinius was once again the perfect being he had once been. Seeing the visage of his brother, Horus faltered, and Sanguinius seized the opportunity. Raising from the wreckage his fall had caused, he bit down Horus' neck and emptied him of blood. The Warmaster of the Imperium died, his life stolen from him by the one he had called brother and friend. At that moment, the Primarch of the Blood Angels walked the same path Lion El'Jonson had walked before him, and became a creature of the Warp, an immortal prince of the damned. From the other side of the Palace, Magnus felt his two brothers' death and the dark rebirth of one of them, and knew that Slaanesh, the Lord of Pain and Pleasure, had found a new champion.
With Horus' death and the coming of dusk, the loyalists began to falter. The Sons of Horus tried to recover their father's body, but only managed to recover some of his relics before they were slaughtered and the corpse of the Warmaster stolen by the traitors. That final indignity enraged the members of the Sixteenth Legion, but there was nothing they could do against the armies of traitors that stood between them and their beloved father's remains.
The Blood Angels, screaming in ecstasy as the sensations of their Primarch spread to all of them by the bounds of blood, stopped their tormenting of Terra's civilians and rushed toward the Imperial Palace, eager to taste the same pleasure their father had just experienced in murdering his brother. As it seemed that the traitors were finally going to overcome them, two fleets appeared from the Warp. The Night Lords and the Emperor's Children had returned to Terra in full strength.
'You may think you have won the day, traitors, but we own the night !'
Transmission from First Captain and Legion Master Sevatar, before the Night Lords' planetfall.
The Emperor's Children had been stranded in a long campaign against eldar raiders, the xenos trying to destroy the Legion with incomprehensible, desperate fury. Sevatar had learned of their plight, and called the Eighth Legion to aid them. The Third Legion mounted a devastating strike against the traitor ships, boarding them and preventing them from bombarding the surface further. Their newly gained expertise in boarding actions, paid for in the blood and pain of those who had fought the Dark Eldars, proved invaluable, and they effectively crippled most of the traitors' fleet.
Meanwhile, the Night Lords descended upon Terra. The forces of the Eighth Legion came to the aid of the terrified population, butchering the Blood Angels who were using them for their debased pleasures. The champions of both Legions clashed in several duels, and to this day, the enmity between the sons of Nostramo and the fallen Angels is still strong, though it nothing compared to the undying hatred of the Sons of Horus.
The news of the two Legions' arrival renewed the loyalists' strength. The Mournival, the four sons of Horus who had been the closest advisors of their fallen Primarch, led a counter-attack against the Blood Angels. Clad in Terminator Armor, the vengeful sons fought against a Daemon Primarch and won. They crushed his perfect form, destroyed his glamour and revealed him for the monster he was. The beauty of the Angel vanished, and the ugliness of the egoistic, narcissistic beast he had become was exposed. Then, as his brothers held their quarry down, the First Captain of the Sons of Horus, Ezekyle Abaddon, ripped out the traitor's twin hearts with the Talon of Horus, the weapon he had recovered upon his father's corpse before being forced to retreat before the traitors' onslaught.
The Confrontation of the Throneroom
When Sanguinius fell, his essence released into the Empyrean, Guilliman saw that the tide of the battle was turning against him. The Blood Angels were worthless to him, fallen on the ground and twisting in a mixture of pleasure and agony as they keenly felt the destruction of their Primarch's physical form. Worse, his allies in the Warp whispered to him that Lorgar and Angron had found a way out of the Ruinstorm, and were even now rushing to Terra, pushing the engines of their ships and the Navigators that had survived the hellish realm to their utmost limits. Time was running out, and only a decisive strike could yet save Guilliman's rebellion from ruin.
The Arch-Traitor gathered his most powerful warriors, calling his brothers to join him for a massive attack against the Throneroom of the Imperial Palace, where the Emperor had stayed since the traitors had first emerged in the Sol System. Rogal Dorn and Lion El'Jonson rejoined him, while Ferrus Manus stayed on the frontlines to keep the forces of the Night Lords from assaulting the strike force in the back. The plague-stricken Primarch fought against the combined armies of two Legions, holding the line while his treacherous ilk forced their way through the defenders, who were powerless to stop the three Primarchs. They broke the Titan-high Gates and found their way to the Imperial Sanctuary.
But the Palace was no mere fortress. Its insides had been rebuilt by Perturabo's himself, and the Lord of Iron had spared no effort in the construction of Mankind's greatest bastion. He had replicated and adapted to a larger scale the design of his own portable fortress, the Cavea Ferrum. In its labyrinthine depths, the traitors were unable to navigate, and were soon separated. Even the favorite of the God of Sorcery, Lion El'Jonson, fell to Perturabo's trap's non-Euclidian geometries. The Daemon Primarch of the Dark Angels came to face the one being on Terra besides the Emperor that stood a chance against his foul powers : Magnus the Red. The details of what occurred then, in the dark tunnels of Perturabo's trap, are not known to any soul in the Imperium, but Magnus emerged victor, and Lion El'Jonson was cast back into the Seal of Souls.
Similarly misguided, Rogal Dorn came to face the one brother he hated beyond all others : the architect of the Cavea Ferrum himself. Perturabo and Dorn fought while their sons battled around them, and though it is said that a battle between hammer and blade doesn't last long, such rules do not apply to a duel between two sons of the Emperor. Their battle lasted for hours on end, without any of them gaining the upper hand even as they spilled each other blood.
Meanwhile, guided by the whispers of his dark patrons, Roboute found his way to the Emperor himself. The Lord of Mankind stood before the Golden Throne, surrounded by his Custodians. One last time, he attempted to make his wayward son see the error of his way, and repent. But the claws of Chaos were too deeply entrenched within Guilliman's soul, and nothing could save him.
The Emperor and Guilliman clashed, the Gauntlets of Ultramar, terrible weapons infused with the power of the Dark Gods, opposing the fiery sword of the Lord of Mankind. As the two avatars fought in the plane of matter, so too did they battle in the Sea of Souls : the divine power of the Emperor's mind confronted the psychic gifts of Guilliman, awakened by the Dark Gods and strengthened by them to the point where the Arch-Traitor was the equal of the Emperor.
In fact, Guilliman was stronger. There was a reason the Emperor had stayed in the Throneroom since the beginning of the siege : His grand work, the Webway of Mankind, had been attacked from the Warp by hordes of daemons. He had needed to stay on the Golden Throne to keep them from opening a portal in the heart of the Palace and overcoming the defenders. Though that task now rested upon the shoulders of His most trusted servant Malcador, the burden of keeping legions of warp-born at bay for weeks had taken a toll upon Him that Guilliman was now using to his advantage.
Roboute finally brought his father low, and prepared to deal the final blow. But as he reveled in his imminent victory, there was a flash of light, and Fulgrim, Primarch of the Emperor's Children, appeared, teleported from his flagship the Andronicus. Gone was the perfect face that had once been the Phoenician's pride : now Fulgrim's visage was marred by scars caused by eldar weapons. But in that loss of the pristine perfection he had once sought, Fulgrim had gained a cold fury that could rival even the fires deep within Perturabo's own. Wielding the blade that had been forged for him by his brother Manus in an brighter era, he struck at his corrupted brother. Guilliman screamed in pain, and his focus slipped, allowing the crippled Emperor to strike at him from the Sea of Souls. The combined might of Fulgrim's blow and the Emperor's desperate attack were finally enough to overcome his Primarch physiology and kill the Arch-Traitor.
The Ultramarines were struck terribly by the fall of their liege. They retreated, taking his body with them, and ran. They fled Terra, abandoning the other Legions that had pledged themselves to Guilliman's cause. These, seeing their erstwhile allies flee, were forced to do the same. Taking considerable damage from the loyalist pursuit, the traitors escaped. The Ultramarines ran back to the Ruinstorm, while the rest of the Traitor Legions sailed toward the Eye of Terror, knowing that the Imperium's retribution couldn't follow them in its hellish depths.
The Emperor, however, was dying. The wounds He had suffered while fighting Guilliman were too much, and the damage caused to His mind by His final confrontation with the champion of the Dark Gods was preventing Him from using His powers to heal. Moreover, Malcador the Sigillite had finally succumbed to his duty, and the portal within the Golden Throne was threatening to open again. Magnus communed with his father, and, with heavy heart, placed His body upon the Golden Throne before Perturabo activated the stasis field that would preserve the Emperor's physical shell while His soul kept fighting the Dark Gods for the rest of eternity. The Lord of Mankind became one with the Light of the Astronomicon, and a thousand souls are sacrificed to Him each day so that He may continue His endless vigil.
The Roboutian Heresy was over. Now, the long war to purge the galaxy of the traitors' foul presence could begin.
The Long War
With the Emperor now lost to His subjects, His heir Horus dead and His most precious aid the Sigillite reduced to thin dust by his ordeal on the Golden Throne, a new order was needed if the Imperium was to survive the fallout of Guilliman's madness.
The four members of the Mournival, seeing the very real possibility of the Imperium collapsing under its own weight, rose to bring back together its fragmented pieces. Possessing together the same gift for diplomacy and tactics their father had been so gifted for, they were able to create a new Council of Terra, with men and women who had proved their worth during the Heresy. With the guidance of the Primarchs, they set about rebuilding the Imperium and its armies. The pursuit of the traitors was a priority, and mighty fleets were sent against the Traitor Legions, but they were untouchable within the confines of the Warp storms where they had made their lair. Unable to pursue, the Imperium built great fortresses and lines of defences around these pits of damnation, and while it wasn't enough to stop small groups from going in or out, it was enough to stop any massive incursion. Perturabo himself supervised both of these rings of survey, and called them the 'Iron Cages'.
Despite the cowardly retreat of the Traitor Legions, countless worlds remained in rebellion, with isolated Chaos Marines amongst their ranks. One by one, these planets were reclaimed for the Imperium, with those who had been the homeworld of the traitor Primarchs often utterly destroyed, or, at the very least, every trace of their past erased. The purge of the Imperium lasted for several decades, a long and grueling conflict that was made all the more painful by the inner tensions remaining within the Imperium. The humans who had once worshipped the Space Marines as paragons of virtue and loyalty now looked upon them with fear that they, too, may one day turn against the Imperium. To ensure that nothing like the Heresy could ever happen again, the Astartes gave up much of their authority over the mortal components of the Imperium's armies, collaborating with them instead of ordering them around. From now on, the meaning of the title of Warmaster wasn't the same, a fact that irked the Sons of Horus to no end, but even the proud members of the Sixteenth Legion admitted that none of them could bear the same mantle their dead father had anyway. The new Warmasters would not be given control of the entirety of the Imperium's forces, but instead be named for specific theatres of operation, and would relinquish that title when their objectives were achieved. Only an individual such as Horus Lupercal could be trusted to bear such a burden without end, and in his absence, it fell to lesser men to guide the Imperium toward glory and victory.
To continue the fight against the corrupting influence of Chaos, the Ecclesiarchy and the Inquisition were formed. While the Ecclesiarchy initially rose as an unofficial organisation, it soon acquired so much support that unifying it and giving it an official existence was the only way to prevent the return of the wars of religion that the Emperor had fought so hard to banish to the darkest parts of Mankind's history. Despite the opposition of Lorgar, the new religion worshipping the Emperor became the official faith of the Imperium, as it was judged better for the people of the Imperium to worship Him rather than fall to the worship of other divinities.
The Inquisition was a much more planned existence. It had been first thought of by Malcador when news of the Heresy had reached Terra. The Sigillite had gathered men and women of valor and unwavering loyalty, who would hunt down and destroy the seeds of treachery in the Emperor's name. Since this organisation had been founded with the Emperor's blessing, the Legions accepted its rise to power with much more grace that they had the Ecclesiarchy, even when some Inquisitors started to watch the Astartes for signs of corruption. As unsettling as it was for the Space Marines to be under suspicion, they understood that they too were fallible, as Guilliman had proved, and needed to be watched. A special order of Astartes was founded, owing its allegiance to the Inquisition only : the Grey Knights, of whom very little is known outside the walls of their fortress on Titan.
Besides the heretics who rose from within its own ranks, the Traitor Legions also remained a constant threat to the Imperium. Two of them, the Space Wolves and the White Scars, scattered across the galaxy in hundreds of warbands, intending to raid the worlds of Humanity for spoil and sport. There is little reason behind these two Legions actions beyond that of vengeance and survival, and the fact that their Primarch have not been heard of in ten thousand years continue to torment archivists and tacticians alike, for if they were to return, there is no doubt that Leman Russ and Jaghatai Khan would be able to unite these disparate elements into truly fearsome forces.
Without the lead of their Primarch, the Ultramarines broke apart within the Ruinstorm. Dozens of warbands calling themselves Chapters rose from the breaking of the Legion, each claiming part of the former Five Hundred Worlds as its domain. Interrogation of prisoners from this region of space indicates that the members of the Thirteenth Legion endlessly fight against each other. Even more interesting, they were so stricken by the loss of their spiritual liege that they placed Guilliman's body within a stasis field, and waited for the day of his return with abject devotion.
In the Eye of Terror, the Legions of the Dark Angels, Imperial Fists, Blood Angels, Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard wage endless wars for supremacy, unable to put aside their divisions to unite against the Imperium. Each of them has broken in factions that pursue their own agenda in the material plane, while their Daemon Primarchs play their own games with the denizens of the Warp.
The Dark Angels have made their home on a planet of shadows and mist, where the will of Lion El'Jonson, Daemon Primarch of Tzeentch, is supreme. The sons of the Lion often leave their lair by secret ways, and perform missions that puzzle the Imperium's tacticians to no end. They will strike at targets that are well-defended or ignore obvious weaknesses in order to conquer a seemingly useless position that they will abandon soon after. Other times, they will perform actions that will reveal decades later that they have had a terrible impact, and cause the ruin of entire planets. With no way to know which of their raids belongs to which category, the Imperial commanders are forced to oppose them with all their strength at every opportunity. Any soldier facing the Dark Angels in war knows that he must do all he can to avoid being captured, even if it means taking his own life. The reason is that the fearsome Interrogator-Chaplains of that Traitor Legions can break even the most faithful of the Emperor's subjects and force him either to spill all he knows, or worse, turn him entirely to their heretic views through tortures that would make even a citizen of dark Commoragh recoil in horror.
The Imperial Fists, according to the analysis of the Thousand Sons, have aligned themselves with the Dark Power known as Khorne, the Blood God. While the billions of deluded mortals who have pledged their souls to this God of Chaos are often little more than mindless berserkers, the Imperial Fists have retained their minds, though their discipline and respect for their superiors is a thing of the past. Each Imperial Fist focuses on his own prowess before all else, trusting no one and betraying any stupid enough to trust him. According to the visions of Imperial seers, Rogal Dorn, their Primarch, rages endlessly on a world of ashes and bones against the treason of his favorite son, Sigismund, who broke apart the Legion when he turned against his father to lead his own warband, the Black Templars. On the battlefield, the dreaded Sword Brethren of the Seventh Legion are a terrible sight to behold, as each of them is a pinnacle of martial might dedicated to the cause of endless slaughter in the Blood God's name.
The Blood Angels, the most debased and monstrous of the Traitor Legions, have made their home on the Daemon World where their father rose from his destruction at the Mournival's hands. From here, they launch attacks against both their kin, the Imperium, and xeno planets, reveling in the new sensations they experience with each drop of blood they drink from their victims as they devote themselves even more to the twisted ways of Slaanesh. They are still fiercely hated by the Sons of Horus, who have sworn an oath to see every bastard son of Sanguinius dead. The terrible vampires have caused such trauma upon the population of Terra that to this day, Terrans remain untrusting of the Astartes – the very soul of the world still feeling the taint of the Ninth Legion's deeds. In battle, the blood-sucking Sanguinary Marines are some of the most fearsome foes an unfortunate Imperial soldier may encounter.
The plague-stricken warriors of the Iron Hands have made their home in a jungle-infested Daemon World, and turned the life of this planet to ruin and rot. Each of them is now a walking abomination of rotting flesh and rusted metal, whose mere presence can drag a world into damnation. The touch of Nurgle, Lord of Decay, is on them, and each of them is doomed to slowly die as his body finally shuts down under one too many pathogen's attacks. Those who fall to Nurgle's touch, however, rise again from the dead as the terrible Plague Marines, now nearly immortal and impossible to slay. These putrescent beings have become the state of being to which all Iron Hands aspire, and they prove their devotion to the Lord of Decay by spreading his gift across the galaxy in the hope that they, too, will one day be seen as worth of such a transformation. Ferrus Manus himself has become a Daemon Prince of Nurgle, and has not left the homeworld of his Legion in a long time. His last recorded sighting claimed that the silver metal of his two hands was impossibly still untouched by rot, as pristine and pure as it had been when the Emperor first found him.
The Salamanders' Primarch, Vulkan, led a succession of raids during his retreat to the Eye of Terror. Allegedly, the Eighteenth Legion plundered a thousand worlds on its way, taking riches and slaves with them. As a reward for such an act, Vulkan ascended to become a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided. The few psykers who can manage to scry his domain in the Eye of Terror without going insane tell that he has become a giant black dragon, sitting atop a mountain of plunder brought to him by his Legion. He hasn't left his Daemon World in ten thousand years, either because he cannot due to his sheer size, but more probably because he has no inclination too – for the laws of physic hold no sway within the Eye. Some of the Salamanders have mutated to resemble their Primarch's appearance, becoming winged figures able, against all laws of aerodynamics, to fly for short periods of time. These Dragon Warriors are generally even crueller than the rest of their Legion, and take great pleasure in hunting defenceless prey for hours before finally going in for the kill.
The Raven Guard have made their home in a Daemon World covered in towers, where the mightiest of their numbers rule over their own warbands, occasionnaly leading a raid against a rival in the Eye of Terror or against the Imperium. Corax, Primarch of the Raven Guard, is reported to have become a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided, and was last seen on a raid upon the Imperial World of Hydra Cordatus, where he faced forces of the Iron Warriors and Alpha Legion. The knowledge this Legion possess about the Astartes genetics allow them to create vat-grown clones that can receive the gene-seed, which make the Nineteenth Legion the one with the greatest numbers within the Eye. These clones, however, are inferior Space Marines, little more than cannon fodder for the 'true-born', as the Raven Guards who were once human call themselves. Regardless, the Spawn Marines are a force to reckon with on the battlefield, as their numbers more than make up for their deficiencies.
It is now the dusk of the forty-first millenium, and things are darker than ever for Humanity. The Orks are once more on the rise in their great Waaaagh!, the Taus foolishly attack the Iron Cages from without, unable to see that by their actions they may very well also doom themselves, and the Tyrannids, after losing an entire hive-fleet within the Ruinstorm, are now on the very threshold of Holy Terra itself. Worse, planets long thought secure are mysteriously lost, no sign of life remaining on their soil.
As more and more enemies rise across the galaxy, and the final hour seems to draw ever closer, so too do the Traitor Legions. Alarming reports from the Iron Cages indicate that the Chaos Marines seem to have put aside their grudges, and for the first time in ten thousand years, a united force of the Traitor Legions may rise to attack the Imperium. While the loyal servants of Terra have repelled many a Black Crusade in the past, led by some warlord who had managed to unite several factions of the ever-warring Chaotic forces, such a thing could very well bring the doom of the Imperium, and finish what Guilliman started so long ago.