The Emperor's Children were Legion III of the twenty original Space Marine Legions. Their Primarch is Fulgrim. One of the nine legions that betrayed the Emperor during the Horus Heresy, they became Chaos Space Marines. They worship the Chaos god Slaanesh and are hedonistic psychopaths who live for experiences of excess.
|Marine||Basic Data||Current Symbol|
The earliest recruits to the Emperor's Children, then known as III Legion, were recruits gathered from Europa during the Unification Wars. Noble houses, such as House Loculus of Komarg, selected the finest of their youth and gave them to the Emperor following their defeat by his Thunder Warriors as tribute for their previous defiance. Following the Houses of Europa's lead, other noble Terran dynasties also sent their children to fight in the III Legion. This was rumoured to be the source of the Legion's adopted name, the Emperor's Children, a name that was re-affirmed later following Fulgrim's rediscovery.[13a]
One distinction with the early days of the Emperor's Children was that they willingly cooperated with and even led the young Imperial Army into battle, something other Legions saw as disdainful. Perfectionists even before having been reunified with their Primarch, the III Legion became known to efficiently execute and exceed the Emperor's own expectations. The Legion was frequently given diplomatic and emissary-protection missions by the Emperor, the marines painting their armour imperial purple to signify their mission. The right to bear the Emperor's personal standard, the Palatine Aquilla, was granted following the Legion's defense of the wounded Emperor during the Proximan Betrayal.[13a]
Despite this status, the Legion was struck with disaster in its earliest days when much of its gene-seed stock was mysteriously lost while en-route to Luna. The Legion never recovered from this incident, and thus were always among the smallest of the Legio Astartes despite imperfect replacement methods being used, such as salvaging Progenoid Glands from its dead warriors. While other legions such as the Ultramarines, Imperial Fists, and Luna Wolves all exceeded the 100,000 mark, the III Legion numbered only in the hundreds.[13a]
The Legion's history with their Primarch Fulgrim begins with the descent of their gene-father to the resource-poor world of Chemos, where strict rationing and improvisation were necessary to sustain life. It was decided to spare the infant and when Fulgrim grew to manhood he set about reviving his dying world. Old technology was restored, lost areas reclaimed, and the people of Chemos were able to spend time on art and culture. Fulgrim took pride in this, as he harboured a love of perfection in all things.
When the Emperor first arrived on Chemos, Fulgrim swore fealty to him instantly, and was placed at the head of his Legion. An accident had destroyed nearly all of the Emperor's Children's gene-seed, leaving only a tiny force of 200 Marines. Fulgrim addressed them upon their first meeting, stating that they would go out into the Galaxy and spread the wisdom of the Emperor. "We are His children," the Book of Primarchs relates he told them, "Let all who look upon us know this. Only by imperfection can we fail him. We will not fail!" The III Legion were named the Emperor's Children from that day, and the Emperor also bestowed on them the right to bear the Imperial Eagle upon their armour, the only Legion allowed to do so. As they were so few in number, the Emperor's Children were placed under the command of the Primarch Horus of the Luna Wolves until they were a large enough formation to crusade independently. Horus and Fulgrim grew close to one another, with eventual dire consequences for the Imperium.
Swollen by new recruits drawn from Chemos and Terra, the Emperor's Children finally mustered the strength to undertake a crusade alone, and Fulgrim proudly led his warriors into the unknown. To many worlds he brought the rule of the Emperor, crushing any resistance in the certain knowledge that any who fought against the Emperor fought against humanity itself. From the growing ranks of his Legion, Fulgrim selected a few individuals, the bravest, strongest and noblest, to become Lord Commanders, each given authority over the Company commanders. Fulgrim taught the Lord Commanders personally, taking care that they were worthy of the honour of being the representatives of the Emperor. In turn the Lord Commanders passed Fulgrim's words on to the officers under their command, and they to their squads. In this way, through their leaders, each Space Marine of the Emperor's Children Legion followed the Emperor himself. To honour the Emperor, they strove for perfection in all things: battlefield doctrine was obeyed to the letter, tactics and strategy were studied in minute detail and perfected, and the Emperor's decrees were memorised by every Space Marine, adhered to in every way. While the Emperor's Children, like most legions, considered the Emperor a man, not a god, their reverence and adoration for him bordered on the fanatical.
This wish to achieve perfection met its martial zenith during the Cleansing of Laeran, where the Emperor's Children met an alien foe that offensively echoed their ideals. The Laer were judged so formidable by the Adeptus Administratum that it was feared any attempt to subjugate them would take over a decade. The Emperor's Children scoured them from their home-system in a month. This titanic effort was a notable feat of arms perhaps achievable only by Fulgrim's legion. However, it cost them dear; 700 marines perished with over 4,200 being injured.
The Horus Heresy
When the events that led to the Horus Heresy erupted, Fulgrim rushed to the Warmaster's side, attempting to reason with his old friend. Instead, Horus seduced him, playing upon his love of flawlessness to weaken Fulgrim's loyalty to the Emperor. Although Fulgrim initially resisted and wanted to speak out against Horus, the weapon he had taken from the Laer temple actually contained a daemon of Slaanesh. This daemon had been whispering to Fulgrim since he picked it up and weakened his resolve to the point where Horus was able to sway him.
The rot spread from Fulgrim to his Lord Commanders, then to company and squad leaders, and finally all but a bare handful of Marines followed Slaanesh rather than the Emperor. The remaining loyalists, led by Saul Tarvitz, a Captain of the Emperors Children, fought bravely on Isstvan III but were eventually overwhelmed as Horus, and the three Primarchs who had already declared for him wiped out those forces they believed would remain loyal to the Emperor. The Legion then gleefully proceeded to aid in the destruction of the arriving loyalist legions. After the fighting on Istvaan III, Fulgrim entered the Heresy proper with approximately 50,000 marines.[13b]
All trace of decency amongst the Emperor's Children had vanished by the time they partook in the Siege of Terra. While other Traitor Legions assaulted the Imperial Palace, the Emperor's Children embarked upon a spree of terror and gratification amongst the helpless citizenry of Earth. Millions of defenceless civilians were slaughtered and rendered down to create endless varieties of drugs and stimulants, countless thousands more dying to provide the Legionnaires with more direct and cruder pleasure.
When Horus was defeated, the Emperor's Children left a trail of depopulated worlds in their wake as they fled to the Eye of Terror. They were the first of Legions to begin raiding Imperial worlds for captives and plunder. Their excesses knew no limits and raiding alone could not fuel their ever more boundless depravities. In their unrestrained fervour, they soon took to capturing the slaves and servants of the other Traitor Legions, triggering a series of wars within the Eye of Terror. The wars culminated in the destruction of the fortress of the Sons of Horus, after which the body of Horus was taken and cloned by the Emperor's Children. Ezekyle Abaddon (himself a rumoured clone of Horus) led the Sons in a lightning attack against the Emperor's Children, destroying the body of Horus and his clone. As the wars against the other Traitor Legions intensified, the Emperors Children soon exhausted their supply of slaves and began to prey upon the only victims they had ready access to: each other. The ensuing bloodshed shattered the Emperor's Children as a unified Legion and today they are broken up into many warbands.[1a]
After this, all the Legions resumed their raids on the Imperium, with the Emperor's Children proving the most successful in this pursuit.
As to Fulgrim himself, his fate is uncertain. Some believe he was killed, others maintain that he was elevated by Slaanesh to the rank of Daemon Prince and rules over a planet of unending, unlimited pleasure. To this day, warbands of Emperor's Children seek this world.
Notable Engagements Post-Heresy
- The Eye of Terror Slave Wars.[1a]
- The Shattering
- The Black Crusade of Jihar the Lacerator.
- The 13th Black Crusade
From its perilous beginning, the Emperor's Children Legion continued to grow until it met its eventual end in the Eye of Terror.
The Emperor's Children developed a very rigid combat methodology that was reflected in their order of battle. By the time Fulgrim led them into rebellion his Legion comprised 11,000 marines organized into 30 Millennials, the first ten of which were led by a Lord Commander called by Sanguinius the 'Princes of War'. As each Space Marine looked to his superior officer for guidance, each Company inherited its manner and practices from its Commander. Though this was the case with many Legions, the Emperor's Children had a strength of devotion to their leaders that was almost unmatched.
The Legion strove for perfection in all their endeavours, and worked continuously to perfect their military operations. Each and every Space Marine trained almost ceaselessly for his assigned task, whether it be foot soldier, driver, gunner, scout or sniper. The Legion employed no Librarians, as the genetic mutation that allowed a psyker to access the warp was considered a flaw, a nothing considered a flaw would be allowed in the Legion.
Every aspect of battle was analysed and used to the Emperor's Children's advantage, from terrain and weather to deployment or reserves. As well as standard formations the Emperor's Children also fielded many specialized units, such as the lascannon equipped 'Sun-Killers', the duelist 'Brotherhoods of the Palatine Blades' and the Primarch's 200 strong 'Phoenix Guard'.[13b]
In combat the Emperor's Children were as brave as any Space Marine who ever lived. Sustained not merely by the example of their peers but by a deep individual belief in their duty to their superiors and the Legion as a whole, they fought to the best of their abilities in all conditions, whether the battle was a massive attack or a simple patrol. It was widely believed that no Space Marine of the Emperor's Children had ever been routed in battle. Similarly, the Legion was highly demanding of forces allied with it - signs of hesitation or inefficiency within the Imperial Guard or even their brother Space Marines were not tolerated. The principle of leading by example was ingrained into every fibre of the Emperor's Children, and they had little patience for any other approach. Fulgrim embodied these principles, and when he entered combat he would lead his Legion from the very front.
The Legion had a highly restrained tactical 'rulebook' that they attempted to apply to all combat situations. For example, ground assaults were to be accompanied with both heavy weapon and air cover; the Emperor's Children looked to Land Speeders for the latter purpose. When a particular aspect of their textbook approach to war broke down (again for example, no air cover being available), the Legion would still fight with determination, while an alternate tactic was selected from their repertoire by the commanding officer. Fast attack was seen as a preferred style by the Legion however, and the Legion made heavy use of high speed vehicles such as the jetbike, both for its swift and elegant style, as well as the practical consideration that the Legion could not sustain the same levels of attrition that some others could.[13b]
The Emperor's Children also entertained a warrior-lodge. Like everything in the Legion it was highly formalised and as a result was only open to the Primarch and his senior officers.
After running out of slave and playthings, the Emperor's Children quickly raided the supplies of the other Traitor Legions within the Eye of Terror. The resulting wars were terrible and bloody, but eventually the Legion of the Emperor's Children were shattered as an organized fighting force. Without the guidance of their Primarch, they have since been fractured into individual warbands and have lost any semblance of unity.[1a]
The only focus of admiration for the Emperor's Children now is senseless indulgence. This makes them the most violent, sadistic, and debauched creatures imaginable. Having abandoned most of their old traditions, the Legion still maintains their original name, taking pleasure in the grievous insult to the grandeur of the 'false' Emperor and his Imperium. Their armour has been corrupted into sensuous and grotesque designs, and bears dazzling, pastel colours, silks and golden chains.
Most Emperor's Children Space Marines have become Noise Marines, twisted creatures addicted to fury and tempest, only satisfied by the roar of explosions and the screams of the dying. A Noise Marine's hearing is a thousand times more sensitive than even that of a normal Space Marine, and can distinguish between even the subtlest differences in pitch and volume. A Noise Marine's enhanced hearing affects his whole mind, causing extreme emotional reactions that make all other sensations seem pale and worthless. The louder and more discordant the noise, the more extreme the emotional reaction provoked. Eventually only the clamour of battle and heightened screams of fear stir a Noise Marine.
The name comes from their preference for weapons that use sound, such as the Blastmaster - a rifle-like weapon that fires different frequencies that overpower senses and destroy flesh; and the Doom Siren, a loudspeaker melded into the Marine's body that enhances his screams to violent torrents that can knock the largest enemy back. Noise Marines also possess an ability called the 'Warp Scream'. This screech shocks and dulls the reactions of all in close vicinity to them. Some have risen to become warlords in their own right. Warbands of the Emperor's Children are rare in general, however.
Warbands and Sub-factions
- The Warhost of Lucius the Eternal
- The Forces of Fabius Bile
- The Warband of Jihar the Lacerator
Noted Elements of the Emperor's Children
During the Horus Heresy the Emperor's Children are known to have possessed the following vessels:
- Pride of the Emperor - Flagship
- Firebird[4a] - Fulgrim's Assault Ship
- Stealth - Fulgrim's Cruiser
- Longinus - Capital Ship
- Erewhon - Battleship
- The Agony and the Ecstasy - Battle Barge
- Callidora - Battle Barge
- Andronius - Strike Craft
- Fulgrim's Virtue - Escort
Interceptor craft launched from Emperor's Children vessels were known as Raptores.
Notable Members of the Emperor's Children
- Fulgrim - Primarch
- Eidolon - Lord Commander
- Vespasian - Lord Commander
- Fabius - Chief Apothecary and Lieutenant Commander
- Rylanor - Ancient of Rites
- Julius Kaesoron - First Captain, 1st Company
- Solomon Demeter - Captain, 2nd Company[2a]
- Marius Vairosean - Captain, 3rd Company
- Saul Tarvitz - Captain, 10th Company
- Lucius - Captain, 13th Company
- Odovocar - Captain, liaison officer to Eidolon
- Fulgrim - Daemon Primarch
- Eidolon - Champion of Chaos
- Emmesh-Aiye - Noise Marine and Chaos Lord
- Fabius Bile - Champion of Chaos
- Jihar the Lacerator - Chaos Lord
- Julius Kaesoron - Daemon Prince
- Lucius the Eternal - Champion of Chaos
- Zarghan Ironfist - Champion of Chaos
|Loyalist||I - Dark Angels · V - White Scars
VI- Space Wolves · VII- Imperial Fists
IX- Blood Angels · X- Iron Hands
XIII- Ultramarines · XVIII- Salamanders
XIX- Raven Guard
|Traitor||III- Emperor's Children · IV- Iron Warriors|
VIII- Night Lords · XII- World Eaters
XIV- Death Guard · XV- Thousand Sons
XVI- Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus · XVII- Word Bearers
XX- Alpha Legion
- 1: Index Astartes I
- 1a: p. 30
- 2: Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 3: Horus Heresy: Visions of Death by Alan Merrett
- 4: The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow
- 4a: Chapter Four, pg. 97
- 5: Galaxy In Flames by Ben Counter
- 6: Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1988), p. 263
- 7: The Reflection Crack'd by Graham McNeill – The Primarchs (Anthology): Chapter Twelve, p. 86
- 8: Tactica Imperialis pg.72
- 9: Codex: Eye of Terror pg.9
- 10: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition) pg.52-54
- 11: The Masters, Bidding (Short Story) by Matthew Farrer
- 12: Wrath of Iron (Novel), by Chris Wraight, chapter 21
- 13: The Horus Heresy Book One - Betrayal
- 14: Farseer (Novel) by William King