The Imperial Palace is a vast edifice sprawling across a large part of the Asian continent on Terra, divided into the Inner and Outer Palaces. The Palace is built to truly monumental proportions; seen from orbit, it consists of connected kilometres-high monolithic and pyramidal structures, marked with landing pads and studded with defense weaponry. The palace itself is the seat of the Adeptus Terra, but is overseen by the Adeptus Custodes.
Construction of the Imperial Palace began after the Unification Wars as a symbol of the Emperor's might and a monument dedicated to mankind's new unification. Based around the Himalazia mountains, the Palace was designed by the most expert artisans of the many Masonic Guilds of Terra, but the defenses were overseen by Primarch Rogal Dorn, much to the frustration of Perturabo. Some construction of the Palace was still taking place by the end of the Great Crusade, meaning construction took at least 200 years.
The Imperial Palace has only come under major attack once, being the site of most of the fighting during the Siege of Terra at the climax of the Horus Heresy. As of the 41st Millennium, the Imperial Palace still bares the scares of that titanic battle. After the Heresy, the Imperial Palace also saw an Eldar raid and damage from falling debris during the War of the Beast.
Ten thousand years after the Heresy Terra faced its second major assault following the Thirteenth Black Crusade. Thanks to the formation of the Great Rift the Palace was assailed by the vast legions of Khorne, which were turned back by the newly reborn Roboute Guilliman before they could reach the Eternity Gate.
On the outskirts of the Palace rests the massive Titanoliths of the Investiary, monuments to the Primarchs and Space Marines.[4a] Due to ancient laws prohibiting construction too close to the walls, the area around the Outer Palace walls are empty which is an extreme rarity on Terra. Those that live close to the walls exist in both splendor and squalor.[18a]
The walls surrounding the Outer Palace are of gargantuan proportions. The walls are 30 meters wide and taller than the greatest structures of the rest of Terra. Defense towers consisting of massive gun-citadels run every hundred meters along the walls lengths. Inside the walls are endless amounts of power generators, ammunition trains, aircraft hangars, barracks, and void shield generators. Stretching for thousands of kilometers and with relatively few Custodes, much of this area are defended by regular Imperial Guard Regiments such as the Lucifer Blacks and Palatine Sentinels. Hundreds of thousands of men live and die within the walls of Terra, which in truth is more of a contiguous fortress than a simple barrier.[18a]
The Imperial Palace is as heavily urbanized and populated as any hive city. Adepts numbering in the billions work and reside within the Palace. The Outer Palace is also heavily urbanized by a population of destitute non-adepts. The Adeptus Custodes maintain a constant vigil over the Imperial Palace, and are among the few permitted to pass beyond the Eternity Gate into the Emperor's presence. The Adeptus Arbites are responsible for maintaining order and vigilance within the Outer Palace, especially outside official buildings which are often thronged with the queue lines of those seeking employment within the Administratum. Shock troops quickly put down the vicious queue riots that occasionally erupt.
The Palace is the heart of the Administratum. Countless souls labour in the immeasurable archives and headquarters of the Imperium, ordering and maintaining an empire that spans the galaxy. Without them, the Imperium would lose all access to its history and databanks. Also, it is the seat of the High Lords of Terra, who are charged with interpreting the Emperor's will. These twelve Lords are accounted the most powerful of all living men. They guide the overall strategy of the inexhaustible armies of the Imperium, and uphold the Emperor's might across a million worlds.
Entrance to the Outer Palace is achieved by several major gateways. The first is the Lion's Gate, home to a major spaceport and overlooking the Indian Subcontinent. The other major gateways are the Primus Gate and Ultimate Gate. A fourth major gate, the Annapurna Gate, existed prior to the Battle of Terra but was dismantled by Rogal Dorn for defensive reasons.
The Inner Palace, the Sanctum Imperialis, is the massive complex at the heart of the Palace built over the ruins of Kathmandu[16a]. Standing before the Inner Palace is the massive Eternity Gate, forged of the strongest materials. Two Titans from the Legio Ignatum stand guard over the Gate in its damasked beauty and immeasurable strength. In the halls before the Eternity Gate lay the Hall of Heroes, where the banners of every loyal Imperial Guard Regiment and Space Marine Chapter are hung in honor. In an arena before the Emperor himself, psykers are soul-bound for Imperial service as Astropaths.
Past the Eternity Gate is the Imperial Dungeon, built deep underground by the Emperor to be the linchpin of his grand ambition. After a long journey below the surface of Terra, one finally comes before the Throneroom of the Emperor himself. Here, the Master of Mankind is eternally seated upon Golden Throne and is accompanied by the 300-strong Hetaeron Guard. Behind the Golden Throne is a dormant Webway Gate, long ago part of the Emperor's ultimate ambition but dormant since being sealed 10,000 years ago. In truth, the Throneroom is itself a massive edifice rather than a simple chamber, for within lies the vast machinery that keep the Golden Throne functional. In the years since the Heresy, the machinery has grown more vast and complex as the requirements to maintain the Throne have increased. The mechanisms of the Golden Throne are like roots that spread all the way to the Astronomicon.
The Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus constantly maintain the Golden Throne, and they are the only ones besides the Adeptus Custodes and Sisters of Silence allowed to walk these halls. Along the walls of the Throneroom are thousands of outlets connected to the Golden Throne which are inserted with coffins holding a psyker. These serve to initiate the thousand daily sacrifices to keep the Golden Throne operational. Few can withstand to be before the Emperor's presence for very long without being overwhelmed. Even Custodes are are known to fall to their knees before the sight of Him.
When the Emperor walked among mortals before the Horus Heresy, his frequent residences included the Inner Gardens (a peaceful sanctuary of flora and fauna) and the Hall of Leng, a place of chronological distortion where it is said he measured the angles of space and time.
Also inside the Inner Palace is the Hall of Victories, a private museum of some of mankinds greatest technological accomplishments. It includes shards of the first clay pot made in antiquity, the Mars Rover, a circuit board from the first Warp Drive, and a tube with the "Mendelian Eukaryotic Genesis Formula", which allowed for the first cloned human.
Other areas of the Palace include the Great Chamber of the Senatorum Imperialis, the Tower of Heroes (which contains the Bell of Lost Souls), Bhab Bastion, Investiary, Great Observatory, Hall of Weapons, Hall of Glories, the Sigilite's Retreat, the Column of Glory, the Shrouds, City of Sight, the Pillar of Bone, and Tower of Hegemon.
- The Emperor's residence, known as the Hall of Leng, may be a reference to the infamous Leng Plateau from the H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, described as a place where realities merge.
- An abandoned area of the Imperial Palace where the Emperor may have developed the first Astartes is inscribed with the poem Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. After discovering the inscription Corax is perplexed by the poems meaning and thinks it may be a hidden conceit the Emperor wrote to himself.[9a]
- 1: Draco (Novel), by Ian Watson, [Needs Citation]
- 2: Harlequin (Novel) by Ian Watson, [Needs Citation]
- 3: Codex Imperialis, [Needs Citation]
- 4: Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook
- 5: A Thousand Sons (Novel) Chapter 5
- 6: Dark Heresy Rulebook, pg. 247
- 7: Shadows of Treachery - The Crimson Fist
- 8: The Lightning Tower
- 9: Deliverance Lost (Novel) - Chapter 6
- 9a: Chapter 7
- 10: Blood Games (Short Story)
- 11: The Outcast Dead (Novel)
- 12: Angel Exterminatus (Novel) Chapter 12
- 14: The Emperor Expects (Novel) Chapter 4
- 15: Watchers in Death (Novel) Chapters 6-9
- 16: Master of Mankind (Novel) - Part III, Choir
- 16a: Chapter 14
- 17: Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition Rulebook pg.50
- 18: Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor's Legion (Novel) - Chapter 5
- 18a: Chapter 8