Horus Lupercal was one of the twenty Primarchs created by the Emperor in the earliest days of the Imperium, just after the end of the Age of Strife. Like the other Primarchs, Horus was sucked from Terra by the Gods of Chaos and was placed on a far-away world in an attempt to prevent the coming of the Age of the Imperium. Horus was the first Primarch to be rediscovered, fighting alongside his father in the Great Crusade. Becoming the favored son of the Emperor and beloved by most of his brother Primarchs, Horus eventually rose to become Warmaster of the Great Crusade and was seen as second only to the Emperor himself in power and prestige. But in spite of all of this, he was eventually corrupted by the powers of Chaos and initiated the Horus Heresy against the very Imperium he helped create.
When Horus was scattered, his pod landed on the world of Cthonia, a planet close to the Sol System. While he spent some time being among the techno-barbarian Hive gangs of the barbaric planet, he was quickly rediscovered by the Emperor early in the Great Crusade and spent his formative years at his father's side. This account however is sometimes disputed, with others claiming Horus returned to Terra itself.
Because of this early discovery, Horus grew to be the most powerful among the Primarchs as he had grown up from a child to an adult at the side of the Emperor. For a thirty years he was the only Primarch to have been discovered. Friendship between the Emperor and Horus grew rapidly and the Emperor eventually trusted him enough to give him command of the entire force of the Imperium. The Emperor had saved Horus's life at the Siege of Reillis as they fought back to back. At another battle, Horus repaid this debt when he hacked the arm off a frenzied Ork as it tried to choke the life out of the Emperor on the planet of Gorro.
The first of his brother Primarch's Horus was reunited with was Leman Russ, who he regretted as a savage and with a degree of hidden jealousy. Despite this, he fervently followed the Emperor's wish to have him get along with Russ and the other Primarchs that will soon be rediscovered.
The Great Crusade
As the Emperor and the Great Crusade marched on, Horus proved himself to be a tactical genius. He knew precisely which force to send and where to send it, showing no mercy to those that opposed the Emperor but sparing the innocent from unnecessary bloodshed. As the Emperor departed to find and meet with rediscovered Primarchs, Horus was left in temporary command of the Legiones Astartes and this helped prepare him for the role of Warmaster.
After the Ullanor Crusade, in which an Ork empire was defeated, the Emperor, considering the crusade to be Horus' greatest victory yet, saw fit to partially transfer control of the Great Crusade to Horus, raising him to the rank of Warmaster, the highest official beneath the Emperor himself, and granting him command over any and all Imperial forces, as well as other rights and honours. This strained Horus' relationship with several Primarch's, most notably Angron, Perturabo, and Konrad Curze, who felt either they deserved the title or simply didn't want to take orders from their brother. Leman Russ and Lion El'Jonson meanwhile openly accepted the decision but were clearly embittered by it, Roboute Guilliman, Jaghatai Khan, and Ferrus Manus supported the decision simply because of duty. But Fulgrim, Mortarion, Sanguinius, Lorgar, and Rogal Dorn all supported Horus' ascension to the point where they bowed their heads and meant it, and Horus grew closest to these brothers.[2b]
In these, the last years of the Great Crusade, Horus would encourage the other Primarchs to compete against each other in order to discover the strongest and most able of his companions and to improve their fighting abilities, as well as lead his own personal forces into several notable campaigns. It was after one of these campaigns - the first contact with the Interex - that Horus chose to exercise his right, granted by the Emperor, to rename his personal legion: The Luna Wolves were renamed the Sons of Horus. But despite these accomplishments, the formation of the Council of Terra and his Father's return to Terra created a deeply buried resentment in Horus that, before the Heresy, not even he truly seemed to realize existed.[2b]
Unknown to Horus, his brother Lorgar, along with his entire legion of Word Bearers, had secretly fallen to Chaos and conspired to make Horus the Ruinous Powers champion against the Emepror. For many years before acting openly, the Word Bearers usurped loyalist hold on their Legions by establishing Warrior Lodges. The full conspiracy finally manifested during a mission on the Feral World Davin, Horus was wounded in battle by a blade of Nurgle wielded by the Chaos-corrupted Eugen Temba. Falling unconscious, under the advice of Word Bearers First Chaplain Erebus, the natives of the world helped to heal him. However, unknown to the desperate Mournival, the healers and Erebus himself, had all since become corrupted by Chaos and were orchestrating the entire series of events. Having his dying body moved to the Serpent Lodge, Horus was soon subjected to an ancient Chaos ritual by the Davin priests, while Erebus entered his mind disguised as the deceased Hastur Sejanus. This image of Sejanus showed Horus horrifying visions of the future, where the Emperor ruled as a god and had discarded the Primarchs once they had outlived their usefulness. Erebus also told Horus that the Gods of Chaos were peaceful beings with little interest in the Materium, and it was the Emperor that was intent on destroying their realm on his quest for godhood. Most disturbing for Horus, he was told that the Emperor had used the powers of the Warp to create the Primarchs. Horus was shown a vision of the past where all the Primarchs, himself included, were scattered across the Galaxy into a warp vortex. The scattering of the Primarchs, despite being orchestrated by Chaos instead of the Emperor, seemingly confirmed to Horus that the Emperor had used foul Warp-magics in his sons creations. Horus saw the Emperor, who had banned any research into the Warp, as a hypocrite.[2a]
Despite realizing early on that this Sejanus was but an impostor, Horus nonetheless accepted these revelations and his bitterness towards the Emperor, already growing from his fathers isolation and Secret Project on Terra as well as the formation of the Council of Terra (essentially subordinating the Primarchs to mortal humans), finally manifested in outright hostility. The only attempt to stop the conversion of Horus came from his brother Magnus the Red, who entered Horus' mind but was unable to interfere with the powerful rituals of the Davin Cultists or convince Horus to remain loyal to the Emperor.[2a] Horus dealt with Magnus afterwards by manipulating Leman Russ into launching an all-out purge of Prospero.[2c]
After his experience on Davin, Horus agreed to align with the powers of Chaos in order to overthrow the Emperor, which he had become convinced was a corrupt dictator bent on achieving godhood and forsaking his sons in favor of mortal rulers. The Warmaster soon introduced the taint to the Legions under his direct command, converting Angron of the World Eaters, Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children, and Mortarion of the Death Guard to his cause. Eventually, Horus was also able to secretly recruit Konrad Curze of the Night Lords, Alpharius Omegon of the Alpha Legion, and Perturabo of the Iron Warriors. Horus also converted Fabricator-General of the Adeptus Mechanicus Kelbor-Hal, founding the Dark Mechanicum, as well as many units of the Imperial Army.
Horus moved, along with several other secretly traitor legions, to Isstvan III, seemingly in order to suppress a rebellion and reinstate Imperial control. Once he arrived however, he sent down specially selected troops from all four of the legions with him, sending down all those he knew would never join him in open rebellion. Once they were on the planet he proceeded to virus bomb the entire world and killed billions of inhabitants in seconds, along with hundreds of space marines, and a ground war eliminated the remainder. The psychic shock wave from this event was said to be louder than the Astronomican. Horus then redeployed his forces to Isstvan V where he was met by seven Space Marine legions sent to bring him to Terra to face an inquest into his actions on Isstvan III. Four of these seven legions proceeded to rebel against the Emperor. It now became obvious that Horus had massive power as he hunted down the three legions that had stayed loyal. Only a few Space Marines managed to escape his forces and make it back to Terra, and among those killed was Ferrus Manus, Primarch of the Iron Hands. Eventually Horus would mount the skull of Ferrus Manus in his throne room, where he began talking to it in private and lamenting that he must rely on psychotic generals and daemons instead of true, effective strategists like Ferrus had been.
Following a failed assassination attempt by Shadrak Meduson after the Battle of Dwell, Horus regained a lost memory that the Emperor had erased, that of the Emperor's unlocking of dark powers on Molech. Horus invaded the planet hoping to gain the same abilities as his father. Horus eventually managed to enter the gate, and after an unspecified but extremely long period of time exited the Warp with his powers greatly increased. While time in the Materium had only been mere moments, Horus had been within the Warp for so long he had visibly aged. Inside the Warp for what seemed like an eternity, Horus had won a thousand kingdoms, amassed billions of Daemonic followers, and defied Gods. Eventually Horus forcibly acquired the same power the Emperor had gotten, but with his own force of will and without deception like his Father had. However he had refused a place within the Warp, choosing instead to reenter the Materium with his new power to make war on the Emperor. Aboard the Vengeful Spirit, Horus then survives an infiltration by the Knights-Errant led by his former Mournival adviser Garviel Loken. The attempt failed and Horus killed Iacton Qruze before the Knights-Errant escaped.[12a]
Now with the powers of a god and maintaining his previously youthful appearance with his new-found abilities, Horus then set a course to fight his way through the Imperium in an attempt to reach Terra and, ultimately, to kill the Emperor and place himself on the throne. However at the Trisolian, he was confronted by Leman Russ and his Space Wolves, who had tracked the Vengeful Spirit thanks to runes planted by the Knights-Errant during the Battle of Molech. Russ and a large force of Space Wolves were able to board the Venegeful Spirit, and the two Primarch's came face to face. Russ was disgusted by what had become of his brother. Nonetheless Horus pleaded with Russ to join him and help in his quest to overthrow the Emperor and expose his lies. Surprising none, Russ rejected Horus and the two engaged in a titanic battle. Despite Horus' sorcerous powers, Russ was protected thanks to the Spear of Russ he wielded. It thus came down to a battle of sheer power, one Horus was dominating despite Russ' speed. Horus caught Russ upon his Talon, but Russ broke free of his armor and impaled flesh to plunge the Spear of Russ into the Warmaster's side. However Russ hesitated at the final second to deliver the killing blow, and instead only partially pierced Horus' side. The wound was still devastating, and more importantly the power of the Spear cleansed Horus of the corruption that had befallen him since Molech. For the first time in the battle, Russ saw Horus Lupercal before him, not a creature of Chaos.[17a]
Despite the effects of the Spear, Horus still remained committed to the Emperor's destruction and rejected Russ' offer to return to Terra and allow the Emperor to heal him. The two Primarch's again came to blows, and this time Russ was badly mauled by Horus' talon. As Horus stood over Russ and was about to deliver the final blow with Worldbreaker, a single Space Wolf rushed to his Primarch's aid and was swatted aside by Horus. Soon more came, and then hundreds, until Horus was swarmed by a desperate mob of Space Wolves piling upon him. The distraction gave Bjorn enough time to drag Russ back to his flagship Hrafnkel and escape. After the battle, Horus ordered Abaddon to pursue the Wolves to Yarant, but secretly expressed regrets that so much blood had been spilled in his war.[17a]
The wound Russ gave Horus proved far more enduring than any could imagine. Constantly plaguing by the Warmaster, at the Battle of Beta-Garmon the wound reopened and Horus collapsed into a coma-like state. Before he passed out, Horus demanded that Maloghurst issue a general summons of all the Traitor Primarch's to Ullanor in preparation of moving on Terra. Despite the best efforts of Maloghurst to hold the traitor war effort together, without Horus' power things began to fall apart. Fulgrim and Angron refused the summons entirely while Mortarion stated he would only take a summons from Horus himself. With Abaddon busy chasing the Wolves in the Battle of Yarant, Horus Aximand and Falkus Kibre vyed for leadership and undermined Maloghurst's authority. Maloghurst in desperation turned to Lorgar and Zardu Layak to revive the Warmaster. The Word Bearers revealed that part of Horus' soul was still trapped within the gate of Molech, and the Chaos Gods were literally tearing it apart in their squabbles over such a valuable prize. The majority of Horus' spirit refused to submit to the Dark Gods, and this combined with the doubt created by the power of the Spear of Russ had created his comatose state.
With the Sons of Horus facing destruction at Heta-Gladius under the leadership of Aximand, Maloghurst conducted a blood ritual with the bound Daemon Amarok to journey into the Warp and attempt to recover the lost piece of Horus' soul. Inside he found Horus on an eternal battlefield, waging a never-ending struggle against enemies and creatures from across time and space. This Horus thought he was still on Molech, and was unaware of what had transpired since. Maloghurst revealed the truth, and bade Horus go with him. Horus refused to submit to the Gods and free his soul from this realm, but Maloghurst attempted the ritual a second time. This time the two found themselves on Ullanor on the eve of the Triumph. Maloghurst begged Horus to submit to the Gods, but the Warmaster refused to be a slave. Maloghurst noted that Horus had chose this path and was no slave, and it was far too late to turn back now, the Warmaster must settle things with the Emperor and end the war. This time Maloghurst understood what must be done, and plunged a knife into Horus' wound. With Maloghurst giving his own life to awaken the Warmaster, Horus awoke and immediately took command of the Legion once more.
With Horus renewed, he traveled to the surface of Ullanor to meet with the Traitor Primarch's that had already arrived. On the surface, he met Fulgrim and Lorgar. In truth, Lorgar had planned to usurp Horus as Warmaster as he viewed him as weak and undeserving of the title. Before Lorgar's coup could be enacted, Horus revealed that he knew of his treachery thanks to the efforts of Actaea. With the previously enslaved Fulgrim being freed by Zardu Layak, Lorgar's plan fell apart completely. Horus beat Logar viciously and exiled him, ordering that he never enter his sight again but retaining command over the Word Bearers of Zardu Layak. Before leaving Lorgar revealed his sadness for Horus, he had become such a slave to Chaos that even he pitied him. According to Layak, by this point Horus' form was consistently shifting between various states. His pure Luna Wolf form, that of the Warmaster, that of the empowered being on Molech, and finally his "new" form that was simply a dark maw of Chaotic energy. Horus had finally thrown away the last of Lupercal, all that existed was a Slave to Darkness.
Horus then met with the other Primarch's that arrived on Ullanor: Perturabo, Angron, Alpharius, and Magnus. A second, darker triumph on Ullanor was held as the traitors arrayed their forces. After sacrificing 1/10th of their slaves to the Gods, Horus ordered all move on Terra at last.
Horus' war came to its climax during the Siege of Terra. After much fighting, death and betrayal, Horus realised he would have to hurry his attacks in order to secure Terra in time for him to set up the defences sufficiently to prevent the arrival of two loyal Space Marine legions which could potentially turn the balance back in the favour of the Emperor. To this end, Horus ordered the void shields of his flagship dropped to entice the Emperor aboard for one final conflict. Somehow, the loyalist forces arrived scattered throughout the ship, and Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels, appeared before Horus, who offered him riches and power if he denounced his allegiance to the Emperor. Sanguinius refused and attacked. Horus killed him and was found standing over his broken body when the Emperor entered the chamber[Needs Citation].
The Emperor and Horus fought with a power that would have eviscerated any mortal man dozens of times over with each blow. The Emperor held back for much of the battle, remembering Horus as his beloved son and not wishing to believe that he had turned so utterly to Chaos. This allowed Horus to inflict crippling mortal wounds on the Emperor, since nothing short of the Emperor's full power would be sufficient to defeat him. At the critical point in the battle, a lone Adeptus Custode guard entered the room (while others state the lone warrior to be Ollanius Pius, an Imperial Army soldier). Horus flayed him alive with but a look and in that instant the Emperor realised how far his favoured son had fallen. The sacrifice of the Custodian bought the Emperor time to deliver a finishing blow to Horus. With iron resolve, he gathered his full strength and delivered a massive psychic blow that killed Horus almost instantly and obliterated his very soul. In his final moments, the powers of Chaos were driven from him and the Emperor sensed his favoured son's return to sanity for a fraction of a second before he finally died[Needs Citation].
After the battle, the warship was won back by the forces of Chaos led by Ezekyle Abaddon, Captain of the 1st Company. Abaddon found Horus's body and ordered the retreat into the Eye of Terror. The body of Horus is said to have been put on display in a temple, the Sons of Horus revering the Warmaster even in death. At the end of a series of inter-traitor wars, the fortress of the Sons on Maleum was destroyed, and the body of Horus stolen by the Emperor's Children. To the disgust of the Sons, the body was used by Fabius Bile to create at least one clone of Horus.
Ultimately, Abaddon returned to lead forces to destroy the Emperor Children's fortress and the clone of Horus with it. At the climax of the battle, Abaddon, wielding the Talon of Horus, confronted the clone of Horus who was armed with Worldbreaker. After killing scores of Abaddon's allies, the clone of Horus caught sight of the Talon of Horus being worn by another. Horus' clone lashed out at Abaddon with Worldbreaker, but the First Captain caught it with the Talon. Worldbreaker was crushed and Horus' clone impaled by Abaddon. In its dying moments, the clone of Horus remembered who Abaddon was and acknowledged him as his son.
By the time of the Heresy, Horus was equipped with the gigantic Power Maul Worldbreaker, said to be constructed by the Emperor's own hands. His right arm wielded the Talon of Horus, a monstrous Power Claw constructed for him as a gift by the Dark Mechanicum's Fabricator-General Kelbor-Hal. Originally, he fought with a Power Sword and Twin-Linked Bolter. Horus wore an enormous suit of Terminator Armour known as the Serpent's Scales.
A converted diorama of Horus and the Emperor face off over the Angel's corpse.
|I - Lion El'Jonson · II - Unknown · III - Fulgrim · IV - Perturabo · V - Jaghatai Khan · VI - Leman Russ · VII - Rogal Dorn · VIII - Konrad Curze · IX - Sanguinius · X - Ferrus Manus · XI - Unknown · XII - Angron · XIII - Roboute Guilliman · XIV - Mortarion · XV - Magnus · XVI - Horus · XVII - Lorgar · XVIII - Vulkan · XIX - Corvus Corax · XX - Alpharius Omegon|
- 1: Horus Rising (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- 2: False Gods (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 3: Galaxy In Flames (Novel) by Ben Counter
- 4: Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 5: Index Astartes IV
- 6: Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned
- 7: Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1988), pp. 243, 263, 268
- 8: Translation of the German Horus article
- 9: Collected Visions Visions of Darkness
- 10: Forge World (last accessed 28 May 2015)
- 11: The First Heretic (Novel)
- 12: Vengeful Spirit (Novel) Chapter 23
- 12a: Chapter 25
- 13: Warmaster (Audio Book)
- 14: The Horus Heresy Book One - Betrayal pg.67
- 15: Talon of Horus (Novel)
- 16: The Wolf of Ash and Fire (Short Story)
- 17: Wolfsbane (Novel) Chapter 1
- 17a: Chapters 15-27
- 18: Slaves to Darkness (Novel) Chapters 17-Epilogue