"I know not whether Cypher is the greatest threat, or the greatest hope for the Imperium. I only pray we can stop him before we find out."
Cypher is a mysterious figure associated with the Dark Angels. Taking a pre-heresy title of office in The Order, his role was that of keeper of secrets and traditions. The current Cypher is said to be one of The Fallen.
It is not even possible to deduce whether Cypher is for or against the Imperium, an ally or enemy to those who betrayed the Dark Angels. Cypher does not always work alone, at times seeming to ally or associate himself with others. His presence upon a planet draws dangerous elements to him from across the galaxy. Whether this is through his bidding is unclear, but it is too recurrent to be mere happenstance. Ultimately, no matter if he is surrounded by others: Cypher is a loner, a rogue agent whose true intentions are unknown to those he has served alongside. Cypher’s targets and destinations are as inscrutable as everything else about him. Among his confirmed kills have been planetary governors, Chaos Lords, Space Marine Chapter Masters, sorcerous covens, cult leaders and high ranking Inquisitors. He has fought alongside both Chaos Terminators and Daemon Princes as well as Imperial Guardsmen and Space Marines. The one thing they all have in common is that they serve the purpose in his mysterious grand plan.
|This page contains spoilers for:||Malediction (Audio Book)|
Cypher itself was originally a title within the Order of Caliban. To ensure their proud traditions were maintained, the ruling Masters secretly selected a single member to become the Lord Cypher. Upon taking the title, the Lord Cypher renounced his own name, enshrouding his very appearance beneath cloak and hood. It was forbidden for any others to recognise his old self, for the Lord Cypher was to forsake his very personality, and from that day onwards was to instead embody the laws, customs and strict disciplines of the Order. He was tasked the responsibility of ensuring the traditions of the Order were upheld, and that the recruits and Masters alike were never allowed to degenerate from their lofty ideals. The Lord Cypher advised the Masters on all matters of protocol and officiated at many important ceremonies. The Lord Cypher was a lofty position, one which the Order took extremely seriously, for it was known that it was the nature of the galaxy to recede and structures to collapse. The Cypher that appears in the fortieth millennium embodies many of these ancient tenets, although there has never been any absolute connection.
At least three Lord Cyphers have appeared in canon material:
- An elderly human Lord Cypher, who advised Luther and the Lion during the campaign against the Great Beasts. He passed away a few years after the coming of the Imperium to Caliban.
- A young Lord Cypher, who was one of Luther's advisors during the first stages of his rebellion. He came to his position as a mortal human, but became a Dark Angels Space Marine during the recruitment period that followed the Imperium's discovery of Caliban. This Lord Cypher was rumoured to be the last surviving Knight of Lupus, who escaped his order's destruction and somehow made his way into the ranks of the Order. However, the novel Angels of Caliban makes this unlikely, as it portrays this Lord Cypher as an ally of the Watchers in the Dark and an enemy of Chaos, whereas the Knights of Lupus sought to preserve the Chaos-tainted Great Beasts of Caliban and books from their library contributed to Luther's fall to Chaos. Furthermore, Zahariel recognised this Lord Cypher after removing his helm, which would be improbable if he was a former Knight of Lupus.
- Zahariel El'Zurias, who ordered the former Lord Cypher's death after he attempted to kill him during a coup and was promoted to his place by Luther. It is not known if Zahariel is the Lord Cypher that is active in the fortieth millenium, but this would go some way towards explaining his enigmatic behaviour and allegiances, as Zahariel was a powerful Chaos sorcerer who joined a rebellion against the Imperium but was not aligned with Horus or the other traitor legions. Furthermore, the current Lord Cypher is said to be one of the Fallen, which Zahariel was.
At the end of the Horus Heresy, Lion El'Jonson returned to Caliban to find Luther turned to the forces of Chaos. El'Jonson landed and took up the fight against Luther while the Dark Angels fleet bombarded the planet from above. When Luther defeated El'Jonson, he realised his mistakes and collapsed, unwilling to fight any more. The Chaos Gods realised their chosen had failed and sent a vast Warp Storm to suck up the traitor Dark Angels and spread them across time and space.
The Lord Cypher, or perhaps someone impersonating him, was one of these Fallen Angels, but no one actually knows his true name. Two members of The Order, Sar Daviel and Master Remial, claimed that he was a survivor of the Knight of Lupus and joined The Order under a false name after Lion El'Jonson destroyed them.
Cypher is believed to have first been identified acting an enemy of the Dark Angels during the Forgotten Wars. Since then, he appears randomly throughout the galaxy, but is rumoured to be slowly moving towards Terra. He is famous for his pistol abilities, being able to fire precisely with every shot, even when using two weapons, no matter the chaos of the battle around him. His characteristic combination of Bolt Pistol and Plasma Pistol are known throughout the galaxy as rumours fill every Segmentum of the presence of a white-robed man in power armour.
Cypher may be attempting to rewrite the history of the Dark Angels and Fallen. In M41 he turned himself in to the Inner Circle and with the help of the Watchers in the Dark managed to convince them to use Tuchulcha and its brother engines to open up a time rift over the ruins of Caliban ostensibly to prevent Astelan and Typhus from doing the same. The rift was ultimately destroyed by Azrael, creating the same warp storm that originally scattered the Fallen. After the battle, Cypher vanishes.
- Involvement in the Forgotten Wars (First Contact).
- Instigating the Septius VII Uprising
- Killing the Ork Warboss who killed Dark Angels Supreme Grand Master Alloken during the Red Stars Campaign. His intervention prevents the Master's artifacts from being stolen by Greenskins.
- Potentially acting as the Saviour of Praxus during the Nova Terra Interregnum.
- Raiding the world of Voss Prime with the Black Legion to steal STC documents
- Aiding the Silver Skulls against the Cult of the Red Heresy in the Plague of Unbelief
- Saving Cadian soldiers on Monarch Prime and leading them against Cultists.
- Becoming leader of the Zargosoan Smuggler Fleet and attacking the Black Gulf Mines, which it turns out may have been one of The Fallen.
- Replacing Inquisitor Arnuldus to instigate the collapse of the Hive World of Septius VII
- Involvement in the Hundred Planet Rebellion
- Cypher was present at the final battle of the liberation of Amadis, rallying the overwhelmed defenders in the face of Chaos cultist artillery and human wave assaults. Regan Antigone, the only trooper of the Procell 1st Irregulars who survived, swore an oath to Cypher not to reveal his presence, taking the credit for Cypher's actions. Decades later, 6th Company Master Tigrane learned the truth from now-Colonel Antigone at a social function. Master Tigrane declared Colonel Antigone a traitor for associating with Cypher and summarily executed him.
- During several bloody battles during the Escovan Campaign of 989.M41, the Red Corsairs vow to slay Cypher.
- Under the guise of the Voice of the Emperor, spreading the Second Plague of Unbelief. All attempts by the Officio Assassinorum to kill him are failures, and he later escapes Black Templars captivity.
- Escaping Belial on three separate occasions.
- Killing Inquisitor Rasputin when he learned too much about the history of the Dark Angels.
He wears robes over his Power Armour in an attempt to hide himself, but this look has made him obvious. Perhaps this was the point, but he does seem to attract other members of the Fallen Angels to his side. It is unknown how they communicate and why they are drawn to him.
The final distinguishing feature of Cypher is his sword. It is a mysterious weapon that he has never been seen to draw on the battlefield, though rumours surround it: it is an artifacts of the Dark Angels; it is the Lion Sword; it is broken; Cypher seeks to reforge it and present it to the Emperor of Mankind, obtaining absolution and forgiveness.
Cypher has been seen carrying a C’tan phase knife – a weapon similar to the C’tan phase sword used by the Callidus Assassins. The knife was at some point lost in battle with the C’tan known as the Deceiver in the opening stages of the 13th Black Crusade. However, the battle occurred in the Warp and seems to have been subject to a strange loop in either the time continuum or reality itself. Cypher is most often seen without the blade.
- The Voice of the Emperor
- The Saviour of Praxus
- Inquisitor Arnuldus
- A member of the Ur-Council of Nova Terra
- 1: Fallen Angels (Novel) by Mike Lee, Chapter 18, pg. 331.
- 2: Image found here
- 3: Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pgs. 36-37
- 4: Malediction (Audio Book) by C.Z. Dunn
- 5: Dataslate: Cypher - Lord of the Fallen
- 6: Unforgiven (Novel)
- 7: Angels of Caliban (Novel) Chapter 33
- 8: Descent of Angels (Novel) by Mitchel Scanlon