Hlaine Larkin, also known as Mad Larkin, Mad Larks or simply Larks, was an Imperial Guard Sniper in the Tanith First and Only Imperial Guard Regiment. He served in this role almost from the inception of the regiment, swiftly becoming recognised as the regiment's pre-eminent marksman. As a result of his elite status, Larkin was regularly selected for special operations assignments and amassed a noteworthy service record as a result.
Appearance and Abilities
Larkin was a wiry, pale and generally unhealthy-looking man during his time in the Guard, which he joined in his late forties or early fifties. He wore three silver hoop earrings in his left ear and had a blue spiral wyrm tattoo on his right cheek.[1a] After the fracas on the ship en route to Menazoid Epsilon, he retained the bolt-action rifle he had taken from the Jantines' trophy hall as a "lucky charm," since he had used it to fell Inquisitor Heldane.[1h]
He is described by his friend Colm as having a marksman's eye and a brave heart but tempered with an unstable character.
|This page contains spoilers for:||First and Only (Novel)|
Hlaine Larkin served alongside Forgal and Colm Corbec in the Tanith Magna militia, before the initial founding. Larkin was part of the originally founded Tanith regiments, and shared a tent with Colm Corbec and Elim Rawne on the night before the regiment was to ship out.[2a] He survived the razing of Tanith and his sniper abilities quickly elevated him to an elite status within the regiment.
During the campaign on Fortis Binary Larkin was attached to the regiment's first squad as its sniper.[1a] In this role, he ended up attached to Colonel Corbec's company during the Tanith counter-attack that would act as the catalyst for Imperial victory (the regiment was heavily dispersed by shellfire at the onset of the attack, and it is unknown if Larkin's squad actually belonged to Corbec's company) and was soon after attached to an ad hoc scout team the Colonel created, led by Sergeant Grell.[1b] This scout team led the rest of the company into linking up with the bulk of the dispersed regiment, behind enemy lines. After achieving unit cohesion, the Tanith 1st, with the aid of the Vitrian Dragoons, penetrated the Shriven defences, in an attack in which Larkin used the Needle-pattern sniper rifle he was then issued with to seriously wound an Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marine, as well as slay a host of more human enemies.[1c]
In the rest and recuperation period afterwards, Larkin took time out to visit illegal gambling dens on the world of Pyrites in the company of Trooper Bragg, as well as get tangled up in an incident with the Jantine Patricians regiment that would lead to a blood-feud.[1d]
This feud developed murderously while both regiments were in-transit to their next combat theatre in the Menazoid Clasp, both because of the feud's natural ire and because it was the will of the Jantine's secret patron, Inquisitor Heldane. Larkin became directly involved when Major Rawne of the Tanith was kidnapped by the Jantine and delivered over to Heldane for torture. Larkin was assigned to the revenge squad sent to cause havoc and get Rawne back[1e]; during this successful rescue he shot Heldane (not knowing he was an Inquisitor at the time) in the throat with a bullet from the solid-round, bolt-action rifle he had recently gained as a spoil of war, critically wounding the radical Inquisitor.[1f]
Larkin then deployed onto Menazoid Epsilon with the rest of the regiment, being seconded once again to a special squad, this time the commando unit formed from hand-picked members of the Tanith and Navy Intelligence, which penetrated a secret underground complex upon the world and discovered a working Standard Template Constructor.[1g][1h] Ultimately, the STC was proven to be corrupted when it produced several tainted and hostile Men of Iron, which the survivors of the commando team - including Larkin - briefly engaged with in close quarters combat before retreating and blowing up the entire facility.[1i][1j]
- 1: First and Only (Novel) - Gaunt's Ghosts: The Founding (Omnibus) by Dan Abnett
- 1a: Part Two: Fortis Binary Forge World, Chapter One, pg. 28
- 1b: Part Three: Fortis Binary Forge World, Chapter Five, pg. 61
- 1c: Part Three: Fortis Binary Forge World, Chapter Nine, pgs. 77-78
- 1d: Part Four: Cracia City, Pyrites, Chapter Eight, pgs. 105-106
- 1e: Part Five: The Empyrean, Chapter Fifteen, pg. 153
- 1f: Part Five: The Empyrean, Chapter Nineteen, pg. 157
- 1g: Part Six: Menazoid Epsilon, Chapters Five-Six, pgs. 178-180
- 1h: Part Six: Menazoid Epsilon, Chapter Ten, pg. 186
- 1i: Part Six: Menazoid Epsilon, Chapter Twenty-Five, pgs. 220-221
- 1j: Part Six: Menazoid Epsilon, Chapters Twenty-Seven - Twenty-Nine, pgs. 222-230
- 2: Ghostmaker (Novel) - Gaunt's Ghosts: The Founding (Omnibus) by Dan Abnett