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Primarch

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2drones.gif This article is about the Space Marine Primarchs, for the Anthology see The Primarchs (Anthology)
An assembly of the Primarchs during the great Triumph after the Ullanor Crusade. Left to right: Sanguinius, Mortarion, Magnus the Red, Angron, Jaghatai Khan, Lorgar Aurelian, Rogal Dorn, Horus Lupercal, and Fulgrim.[15][16]

The Primarchs were the twenty genetically-engineered "sons" of the Emperor. The Emperor used his own DNA in their creation, and they were designed to be far superior to the average human: immensely larger, stronger, hardier, faster, and more intelligent. They were also incredibly charismatic, as their main role was to be generals and leaders of the Imperial military.

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Creation of the Primarchs

They were created in a secret underground laboratory on Luna under the tightest security. According to Ingethel the Ascended, the Primarchs were created by the Emperor with the aid of forbidden sciences and arcane lore derived from the Warp.[14a] However, the Gods of Chaos somehow managed to spirit them away just prior to their maturation with a great Warp vortex[9a] and it is speculated that they also managed to tamper with the infant Primarchs. Scattered across the galaxy, beyond the Emperor's reach, and all landed on different worlds vastly separated from their Father. The Emperor could sense that the infant Primarchs were alive, but was unable to reach them. Therefore he used their previously collected DNA samples to create the Space Marines. The genetic material of each one of the Primarchs was used to found a single Space Marine Legion, twenty in total.

The new homeworlds of the infant Primarchs and subsequent experiences on those worlds would influence and mold them to a large extent. There they quickly grew to adulthood and often rose to power, ruling, leading, and helping the inhabitants. As the Emperor found them, he was generally pleased by their actions, and quickly gave them the leadership of their respective legion.

Rediscovery

The first Primarch to be found was Horus, who became the Emperor's favourite. Most Primarchs somehow recognised the Emperor on sight, and immediately pledged their allegiance on the spot. A few, (Leman Russ, Ferrus Manus and Vulkan) only followed him after being bested in contests. Angron refused, and was abducted from his homeworld, something he never really accepted. The last to be found was Alpharius.

The overall order of the rediscovery of each Primarch by the Emperor is as follows[17]

At the end of the Great Crusade Warmaster Horus fell to Chaos, and eight of his fellow Primarchs followed him against the Emperor, resulting in a full-scale civil war known as the Horus Heresy. Each Primarch chose his side, loyalists against traitors, leading their legions against their former comrades.


Legion Number Name Alternate Name Homeworld Name of the Legion Allegiance Current Status
I Lion El'Jonson The Lion Caliban Dark Angels Loyal Alive, asleep within a secret chamber on the Rock.
II Deleted from Imperial records, authorization unknown.
III Fulgrim The Phoenician Chemos Emperor's Children Traitor Daemon Prince.
IV Perturabo The Lord of Iron Olympia Iron Warriors Traitor Daemon Prince, ruler of Medrengard.
V Jaghatai Khan The Great Khan, The Warhawk Mundus Planus White Scars Loyal Unknown, disappeared into the Webway.
VI Leman Russ The Wolf King, The Great Wolf Fenris Space Wolves Loyal Unknown, disappeared into the Eye of Terror.
VII Rogal Dorn The Emperor's Champion, The Praetorian of Terra Inwit Imperial Fists Loyal Died in a Black Crusade.
VIII Konrad Curze The Night Haunter, The Lord of the Night Nostramo Night Lords Traitor Dead, assassinated by Callidus assassin M'Shen.
IX Sanguinius The Great Angel Baal Blood Angels Loyal Dead, slain by Horus.
X Ferrus Manus The Gorgon Medusa Iron Hands Loyal Dead, slain by Fulgrim and his head offered to Horus.
XI Deleted from Imperial records, authorisation unknown.
XII Angron The Red Angel, The Lord of the Red Sands Nuceria World Eaters Traitor Daemon Prince.
XIII Roboute Guilliman The Battle King, The Avenging Son Macragge Ultramarines Loyal Mortally wounded by Fulgrim currently held in stasis, rumoured to be healing.
XIV Mortarion The Death Lord Barbarus Death Guard Traitor Daemon Prince, ruler of the Plague Planet.
XV Magnus the Red The Crimson King, The Red Cyclops Prospero Thousand Sons Traitor Daemon Prince, ruler of the Planet of Sorcerers.
XVI Horus Lupercal The Warmaster, The First Primarch Cthonia Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus Traitor Dead, slain by the Emperor.
XVII Lorgar Aurelian The Urizen, The Golden One Colchis Word Bearers Traitor Daemon Prince, ruler of Sicarus.
XVIII Vulkan The Lord of Drakes Nocturne Salamanders Loyal Unknown, disappeared.
XIX Corvus Corax The Raven-Lord Deliverance Raven Guard Loyal Unknown, disappeared, last seen heading for the Eye of Terror.
XX Alpharius Omegon The Last Primarch Unknown Alpha Legion Traitor One may be dead, slain by Roboute Guilliman. (It is not known which of the twins was killed. The reliability of this information is disputed, therefore it is possible that both Alpharius and Omegon are still alive.)

Fate of the Primarchs

Traitors

Loyalists

  • Ferrus Manus was killed at the Drop Site massacre at the start of the Horus Heresy by Fulgrim who presented his head to Horus.
  • Sanguinius was slain by Horus after refusing to join him during the Battle of Terra.
  • Lion El'Jonson returned to his homeworld of Caliban only to discover that his friend and second-in command Luther and the Dark Angel garrison had turned against him[2]. He led a strike force of his own loyal Dark Angels against the traitors. He disappeared in the resulting inferno as the world was blasted apart by a Warp Storm and a bombardment from his ships in orbit. He sleeps deep within the Rock, the biggest piece of Caliban and current home base of the Dark Angels[1,2]. Only the Emperor and the Watchers in the Dark know of this secret.[1-p14]
  • Jaghatai Khan disappeared while pursuing the Dark Eldar into a Webway portal after they had managed to raid Mundus Planus. There are rumours that he fights there still, lost in the twisting paths of the Webway. After nine thousand years it seems highly unlikely, but not impossible.
  • Leman Russ disappeared in the Eye of Terror. The Space Wolves hold a legend that says Russ went on a quest to find a means to cure the Emperor. His final words before his disappearance is that he would return for the 'Wolftime' (the final battle). It is also said that Leman Russ led the 13th Company into the Eye of Terror and ordered them to hunt down the Traitor Legions which had fled to the Eye of Terror, particularly the Thousand Sons.
  • Rogal Dorn boarded a Chaos cruiser during a Black Crusade alongside a company of his sons and died fighting. Today, his hand is housed in the holiest shrine of the Imperial Fists chapter, and his dead body encased in amber and put in Phalanx [11].
  • Roboute Guilliman was struck down with an envenomed blade by his former brother Fulgrim. His body is perfectly preserved in a stasis field at the heart of the Temple of Correction[3]. It is rumoured that he is still alive and that his wound is slowly healing, something normally impossible in a stasis field. The truth of this rumour is unknown but this is seen by many (including Captain Uriel Ventris) as mere optimistic thinking.
  • Vulkan disappeared. The position of Chapter Master, filled by the Captain of the First Company, is considered to be a regency as the Salamanders believe that Vulkan will one day return and lead them on a great crusade against Chaos.
  • Corax was racked by guilt and shame. In order to rebuild quickly the strength of his legion from the dropsite massacre on Isstvan V, Corax accelerated the growth of the gene-seed organs, producing more Space Marines, but this process also deteriorated the Gene-seed, causing many to become hulking monsters. Riddled with guilt over what he had done, Corax administered euthanasia to all of them and then locked himself away within his sanctum, the Raven's Tower. Exactly one year later he left his tower, haggard and gaunt, and took a small shuttle craft with the words Never more. It was last monitored setting a course for the Eye of Terror.

Two unknown Primarchs

Almost nothing is known about the two unknown primarchs.

References to the second and eleventh Primarchs are made in the short story, The Lighting Tower[12], in which Rogal Dorn describes the plinths on which their statues stand should be vacant and says that 'no one ever spoke of those two absent brothers. Their separate tragedies had seemed like aberrations. Had they, in fact, been warnings that no one had heeded?' Also in The First Heretic, Lorgar makes several references saying that the Emperor ordered them to be forgotten. During the time five Word Bearer captains spent being shown secrets of the galaxy by the daemon Ingethel they are shown the Emperor's gene-labs where he is creating the Primarchs and the moment that they were scattered by Chaos. During their time wandering the labs as insubstantial ghosts undetectable as long as they don't touch anything they speak of the two lost legions, mentioning how they were erased from Imperial records and how Roboute Guilliman's Ultramarines legion mysteriously swelled in numbers each time one of the two legions was "erased." The implication seems clear that at least part of the fighting force of the "lost" legions was entrusted to Roboute Guilliman and incorporated into the Ultramarines.[14]

Note: If this is true then perhaps entire chapters descended from the original Ultramarines legion are in fact part of the gene-seed of the two lost legions. At the time of the Heresy remarks made by the five Word Bearers captains Argel Tal, Xaphen, Torgal, Malnor and Dagotal suggest that the fate of the lost legions is relatively common knowledge though kept hushed up. In the intervening ten millennia between the Heresy and the current age of the 41st millennium it is likely this information was forgotten. It is an interesting side-note that the lost legions were numbers two and eleven. Two plus eleven equals thirteen-the number of the Ultramarines legion.[14]

The traitor Primarchs in this story are covered with a shroud, so the fate of the second and eleventh is undetermined. They may have been found and befell a tragedy as it implies they were spoken about previously.

In the novel Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett, it is suggested that Leman Russ and his Space Wolves legion had been used by the Emperor in the past to cull/pacify the two legions and that the Emperor had created the Wolves for just an event, utilizing their barbaric, untamed nature as a sort of insurance policy for use against other Space Marine Legions. This is further demonstrated by the unleashing of the Wolves on the Thousand Sons Legion in the same novel.[18]

Canon Conflicts

Gregor Eisenhorn refers to the "Primarch" of the White Consuls Space Marine Chapter, when stating that he made it a point to commend a heroic Sergeant who saved his life, at the cost of the Sergeant's own, on Thracian Primaris. Since the White Consuls are a Successor Chapter, and because there are no living or active primarchs within the Imperium, he seems to be using the term "Primarch" interchangeably with that of Chapter Master.[5]

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