The Primarchs (Anthology)
|This article is about the The Primarchs (Anthology), for the Space Marine Primarchs see Primarch|
It is the seventh volume in the Horus Heresy series to make the New York Times bestseller list, and the second such anthology, after Age of Darkness. It was later included in "The Novels: Volume 4" eBook collection.
Gathered within this anthology are four novellas focusing on some of the mightiest warriors and leaders that mankind has ever known – Fulgrim, Lion El'Jonson, Ferrus Manus and Alpharius Omegon – and the roles that they may have yet to play in a war which threatens to change the face of the Imperium forever.
|This page contains spoilers for:||The Primarchs (Anthology)|
The Reflection Crack'd
In the aftermath of the Drop Site Massacre, Fulgrim and his Emperor's Children Legion are ordered to Mars by the Warmaster Horus Lupercal. The increasingly capricious Fulgrim however, decides to assault a Mechanicus resource world instead, in order to further his own designs. When this change of plan is questioned by Lord Commander Eidolon, the Primarch reacts to this perceived slight against his judgement by slaying his once-favoured subordinate on the spot.
While far from upset at the death of Eidolon, the ascendant Emperor's Children champion, Lucius, takes note of the event as yet another concerning example of Fulgrim's increasingly erratic behaviour. Inspired by dark dreams, Lucius becomes suspicious of his primarch, and proceeds to study him closely. Already concerned by his random mood swings, unconvincing attempts at legion camaraderie and remembrance, and above all by the realisation that Fulgrim's sword-fighting technique is suddenly inferior to his own, Lucius finally decides that Fulgrim is not who he appears to be after witnessing him employing sorcerous powers in open combat. Following the threads planted by his dreams, he breaks a standing order aboard the legion flagship, The Pride of the Emperor, to stay out of La Fenice, the opera chamber where the Emperor's Children were awakened by the discord and potential of Chaos. Investigating the chamber, he encounters the portrait of the Primarch hung there, a portrait that has been appearing in his dreams, and gazing at the eyes of the painting, he comes to the conclusion that his Primarch is somehow trapped within and that the entity walking around as Fulgrim is an imposter.
Determined to free Fulgrim, Lucius convenes the Brotherhood of the Phoenix, the senior members of the Legion. Such an action is not without risks in the chaotic Emperor's Children, as by this time of the Legion's (de)evolution each surviving senior officer is a powerful, mercurial and above all, self-obsessed individual, and all of them carry a loathing of the upstart Lucius. However, when he makes his accusation, the swordsman learns that he is not without allies: First Captain Julius Kaesoron reveals that he already had suspicions that Fulgrim was not who he said he was, and Chief Apothecary Fabius reveals that his tests of Fulgrim's blood indicate that the Primarch is upon the verge of some strange transformation. With this knowledge, Lucius is able to convince them that Fulgrim is not himself, and tempt them into the experience of attempting to capture a Primarch. Shortly afterward, they ambush Fulgrim and, despite taking casualties, the phoenix conspirators manage to render their primarch unconscious.
Strapping him down upon a table in the Apothecarion Lucius, Fabius, Kaesoron and Marius Vairosean attempt to drive the entity possessing their master out of his body by means of excruciation. A protracted torture session takes place, with Fulgrim submitting to all the works inflicted upon him, talking all the while of his perception of reality, current events, and the path he envisages for the Legion. Eventually, Lucius comes to another shocked realisation; that he has been both misled and miscalculated the situation. Suddenly believing that the person under torture is indeed his Primarch, Lucius bows his knee as Fulgrim easily frees himself from the torture rack, contented that the game is over and that his favoured sons have learned from the experience.
Fulgrim then deigns to explain just why Lucius thought him an imposter in the first place, revealing that he had indeed been possessed by a daemonic entity for some time, an entity that had trapped his disembodied spirit in the painting in La Fenice. However, Fulgrim was able to use the experience to learn of warpcraft and the ways of daemonkind, eventually being able to use this newly gained knowledge to forcibly swap places with the daemon, trapping it in the painting in his stead. It was presumably the daemon that was sending Lucius the dreams and clues in an attempt to be freed. Fulgrim's apparent inferiority in swordsmanship was just a ploy to tease Lucius into challenging him, in an attempt to further educate the swordsman in the powers of Chaos, and his mood swings and lack of interest in Legion history and camaraderie were simply an honest evolution of his nature. Fulgrim announces that he intends to go further than anyone ever before in experience and learning, pushing the limits to their extremes, not just to gain power, but for the journey; a journey he wants his Legion to take also. The next step on the journey? To link up with Perturabo and the Iron Warriors as part of a scheme to further this goal.
- The Pride of the Emperor - the flagship of the Emperor's Children, now much changed since its days flying under the Imperial banner.
- Prismatica V - Mechanicum processing outpost raided by the Emperor's Children for raw materials.
- Fulgrim - Primarch of the Emperor's Children
- Eidolon - Lord Commander
- Julius Kaesoron - First Captain
- Marius Vairosean - Captain
- Lucius - Captain
- Fabius - Chief Apothecary
Feat of Iron
The campaign on One-Five-Four Four is not going well for the Imperial forces, and especially not for Ferrus Manus, primarch of the Iron Hands Legiones Astartes, who is troubled not only by the existence of the weaknesses within, but by the hinderances without as well; the terrain and fluid savagery of the Eldar enemies are taking a toll on his battle-group and placing him behind schedule. Even the latest victory, a battle commanded by his determined First Captain, Gabriel Santar, does not satisfy him, and neither does the proving correct of the Iron Hands' creed; the flesh is weak, at least out in the desert and at least where the attached regiments of the Imperial Army are concerned. Not only is Manus concerned with being behind schedule, and losing face in front of his brothers Mortarion and Vulkan, but the possibility that Eldar witchcraft could be causing his Astartes to under-perform fills him with ire.
Confessing his unease to Santar, Manus reveals that he has had strange dreams of late. What he does not reveal is that the sooner he gets the campaign finished and off the world, the better he'll feel. Deciding to abandon the Army if they cannot keep up, Ferrus Manus leads his forces deeper into the desert. Bion Henricos, acting as a liason between the legion and the soldiery, communicates this intention to their colonel, feeling a surprising twinge of remorse as he does so.
Unbeknownst to Ferrus Manus, two Eldar discuss his fate; one decides to intervene, to make sure that Manus walks along the more positive of the two possible paths leading to his future. The other warns against it, telling him that "stone cannot bend, it can only break."
The Iron Hands arrive at a suspicious valley; Ferrus Manus feels that it is important somehow, but is loathe to investigate it without a scout unit, something his current legion force is lacking. Henricos suggests waiting for the Army units to catch up and using their scouts - thus reinvigorating them by making them feel valued - but is shot down by his superior officers. Unwilling to wait any longer and not interested in using weaker units, Manus orders the Iron Hands to descend into the valley. Not long after the bulk of them reach the valley floor, a mysterious darkness engulfs them, followed by wind, storm and ambush. Eldar warriors engage the disorientated Iron Hands at close quarters, deploying a weapon which over-rode their controls of their bionics, robbing those with bionic eyes of sight, and turning the weapons held in bionic hands against each other...or their owners. The Iron Hands assault force is saved by the actions of Bion Henricos' rearguard, who're able to pick off the Eldar witches causing the sorcerous attacks. The Eldar retreat, leaving the Iron Hands to recover from the virtues of their own creed being turned against them...and notice that Ferrus Manus is missing...
Manus finds himself in a cavern system, assaulted by various visions and other sensory perceptions of death; that of his legion, his colleagues and even his own. He also comes across metaphorical representations of his brothers, and is momentarily puzzled by the feelings of betrayal looking at the statue of Fulgrim engenders. Combined with all this, he feels pursued by a malignant, serpentine entity. Irritated by such witchery, he presses onwards in exploring the caverns.
Gabriel Santar details fifty Terminators to assist him in the search, and assigns legion command to Shadrak Meduson, who is to continue their mission. Meduson and the straggling Army units eventually locate the enemy node complex they've been seeking to destroy, while Santar's team discover signs that Ferrus Manus actually vanished. Realising that he has been taken and they cannot do anything to get him back, Santar and his fifty troops decide to link up with the main force. The main assault is stymied by an energy shield of some sort that keeps out firepower, with Eldar defenders managing to hold back the Space Marines themselves for some time. Santar arrives, and comes up with a plan.
In the cavernous depths, Ferrus Manus is finally attacked by the serpentine monster that has been trailing him, the giant silver wyrm proving a vicious and poisonous foe. Nearly slaying him several times, Ferrus Manus is distracted by deja vu and a vague feeling of prophecy concerning the words "Angel Exterminatus", which appear in his mind as if from nowhere. Inspired by a memory of his brother Vulkan, he eventually wounds the serpent enough so that it retreats. Elsewhere, the two Eldar responsible for Ferrus Manus' predicament lament their allowing of an aspect of the Primordial Annihilator to sneak into their domain when they kidnapped the primarch.
On the surface, Santar's planned combined-arms assault goes well at first, with the Iron Hands penetrating the shield...until the return of the witchery that afflicts their bionics forces them to retreat. Once again, Henricos suggests an unusual plan; detaching his only bionic - his symbolic iron hand - he volunteers to lead the Imperial Army forces into the breached shield, and eliminate the Eldar threat. Initially hostile to this plan, which goes against their credo, the Iron Hands senior officers eventually relent.
Ferrus Manus continues onward, eventually reaching a bizarre, decrepit throne room, complete with rotting corpse on a throne. Coiled around it is the serpent, a great wyrm that Manus has come to believe is the spirit of Asirnoth, the dread wyrm of Medusa Manus thought he had slain long before. Wrestling with it and calling it out, he is shocked when the serpent begins to shapeshift into a familiar form, and with a familiar voice tells him that it is not Asirnoth. Recovering from this latest trick, Ferrus Manus angrily slays the half-primarch, half-scaled serpent beast, before tearing the corpse-king from the throne and opening the doorway concealed behind it. Confronting his Eldar kidnappers, he brushes aside their claims to be warning him against a likely future, attacking them and demanding his release. In desperation, the Eldar grant his request.
Bion Henricos' force of non-augmented humans takes horrendous casualties, and he himself is wounded, but they strike a solid blow against the Eldar. Before they can be wiped out, Ferrus Manus suddenly appears in the midst of the battle, turning the tide. The arrival of Santar and reinforcements secures the day. In a show of respect, the surviving humans are inducted as the first members of the Iron Hands valued mortal auxiliary; the Chainveil. Adopted Sons of Medusa, their purpose is to stand as a living reminder that not all flesh is weak.
Ferrus Manus refuses to answer questions of his experience, claiming that nothing happened that matters. He leads his forces into the jungle, in response to a request from help from Vulkan. In another place entirely, the two Eldar rue their failure, but take solace in the fact that even if the Gorgon falls, there is another who will suit their purpose...
- One-Five-Four Four - an Eldar-controlled world, the Iron Hands fight to pacify the desert regions. The story takes place after the Emperor's quitting of the Great Crusade.
- Ferrus Manus - Primarch of the Iron Hands
- Gabriel Santar - First Captain
- Vaakal Desaan - Captain, 9th Clan Company
- Shadrak Meduson - Captain, 10th Clan Company
- Bion Henricos - 7th Sergeant, 10th Clan Company
- Erasmus Ruuman - Ironwrought, 13th Clan Company
Part I: 82 days following the his battle with Konrad Curze at Tsagualsa, a recovering Lion El'Jonson, Primarch of the Dark Angels, sits aboard the Invincible Reason pondering Curze's claims that some of the Dark Angels turned traitor. This concerned the Lion because communication with Caliban had been stopped for two years due to the warp. He could not trust anyone, even his own legion, and he believed it was possible that the Thramas Crusade was a distraction while Horus converted the other Dark Angels. Curze's unwillingness to fight a direct battle concerned the Lion further, and he wanted to leave the battle and return home as soon as possible. Corswain (newly appointed Seneschal) interrupted the primarch's meditation with Captain Stenius (captain of the ship) and Captain Tragan of the Ninth Order.
Tragan mentions the Night Lords's unwillingness to fight their legion at Parthac, and Stenius reports that three major docks were destroyed over a six month period. The Lion questions why the Night Lords were trying to keep the Dark Angels from resupplying because the actions hurt even Curze's own men. Among the reports was an astropathic message mentioning the appearance of a small fleet of Death Guard and some members of the Iron Hands appearing at a small research facility in Perditus (part of Thramas). The location was known to the Lion, and it was he and the Death Guard that originally claimed it. The facility was researching a secret technology, and he ordered that a task form be formed at Balaam that could defeat any Death Guard or Iron Hands. Corswain responded with worry that this would leave their other forces un-protected, but the Lion was willing to risk it.
Part II: Navigator Theralyn Fiana guided the Invincible Reason from Balaam but noticed that she could no longer see the Astronomican. Instead, she relied on small warp-beacons, which the Night Lords did not destroy because they too relied on them. Perditus did not have a beacon, but it was 114 light years from Balaam, and she could triangulate the position with its distance from the Drebbel and Nemo systems. Fiana was concerned by the growing tempestuous nature of the warp, and reflected on the daemons that dwell there that were never discussed. After translating, she joined the Lion for an audience, of which she normally complained about the warp to explain the slow progress they made. This time, she and Stenius brought word that a ship was following after them, which was an almost impossible feat, especially in that they changed streams in the warp multiple times. This concerned the Lion, and he thought of the warp-monster nephilla that he experienced in his youth on Caliban.
The Lion told them to assume that they were followed by the Night Lords and that they should take evasive measures. He gave them two days, and ordered that weapons be ready for an attack. After trying for two days, they could not shake the other ship. After rejoining the primarch, Fiana mentioned that in 3 days they could risk diving into the Morican Gulf, surrounded by a maelstrom, where they could ride around the edge and mask their route. The negative possibility was a becalming. The Lion then questioned the possibility of dropping from the warp, which would be easy to spot and could cause a collision. The gave the Lion a plan to try to maneuver and surprise the enemy, and they were ordered to act on it. He then told Corswain privately his suspicions of Stenius's loyalty, and Corswain said he would send Nemiel to speak to the primarch.
Part III: The navigators gathered to enact the Lion's difficult plan. Fiana took direct control of the ship and maneuvered it into position, which caused the navigators distress and the youngest, Kiafan, to vomit. They translated back into real space, and the Lion waited on the bridge. The Lion watched Stenius throughout the translation, which concerned Corswain that he either missed a flaw with Corswain or that the Lion was becoming paranoid and brooding. As soon as they entered reality, the Lion had all sensors scanning for a ship. After seven minutes, the Night Lords Avenging Shadow, a eclipse-class light cruiser, appeared. The Lion ordered torpedoes to be launched and for boarding action to seize whatever device the Night Lords were using. As torpedoes launched, Fiana contacted the bridge to report that she could see something happening to the enemy warp engines, as if there was warp space within them.
The enemy ship came about and hailed the Dark Angels. The message was praise of the maneuver and they would meet in their equivalent of hell (Slathissin). Nemiel denied the existence of hell, and the Night Lord responded that it does exist, revealing that he could hear within the Dark Angels ship. The enemy then tried to activate its warp engines while the shields were on, causing a warp breach. The torpedoes hit the warp energy surrounding the ship, and a breach expanded. The breach then caused the Night Lords vessel to implode, and that they were forced to translate into the warp.
Part IV: The Lion ordered calm as they entered the warp and that all Dark Angels maintain discipline. The warp affected the ship, and reports of fighting came quickly. They could not raise the Geller field because they did not fully translate, and Corswain was sent to investigate the fighting. The Lion ordered that they try to get fully back into the warp, and Nemiel ordered 15 Terminators to guard the bridge. On gun deck nine, Corswain, with 10 legionaries, followed the sound of bolter fire and saw crew fleeing. Eventually, they came upon a creature with a head in its torso and spewing fire. Corswain tried to fire at them, but the bolts exploded early, and he had no choice but to hit the emergency release for bulkhead that separated them from the daemons. This only slowed the flamers, which burned through the door.
The monsters greatly affected the Dark Angels, and Brother Alartes pointed out a warp rift forming. Corswain ordered a retreat and to seal the gun deck as monstrous dogs began to appear. Corswain tried to lead a defense but it proved fruitless. In the Navigator's chamber, Fiana watched creatures trying to attack the ship as Coiden stood guard. Fiana ordered Kiafan to go with Coiden and for Aneis to stay with her before she used her third eye to attack a slug like creature before Coiden and Aneis blasted gargoyle like beasts that were attacking Kiafan. They left as a cyclopean creature began to form, heading to the bridge. As they traveled, they were escorted by Sergeant Ammael and met with Corswain on the way. The bridge was clear of fighting but Nemiel's forces held a brother at gunpoint.
Corswain entered alone, and the Lion explained he had a dilemma. Nemiel said that the former Librarius, Brother Asmodeus, needed to be punished for breaking the Edict of Nikaea and using psychic powers to battle the daemons. The Lion said that he did not yet decide if the act was sorcery, but Nemiel was firm that it was. Corswain asked if the use of psychic powers worked, and Asmodeus nodded. Corswain explained how powerful the daemons were, and Fiana explained that they were from the warp so they were harmed by their third eye because it relies on powers of the warp. Nemiel insisted that it was still a grave crime, and he criticized the idea that the librarians would be used to battle the daemons. The Lion stated that he issued an order, and Nemiel said he could not follow it. The Lion attacked Nemiel, beheading him with ease, before saying that the Edict of Nikaea was no longer in effect.
Part V: 8 groups went through the ship, 4 led by navigators, 3 led by librarians, and the last by the Lion. The Lion went to his arming chamber and chose the calibanite swords Hope and Despair, edged in a crystalline compound. He then led his men to the reactor room where fighting was fierce, and he was soon joined by 250 of his legionaries. Eight horned and dog legged monsters attacked, and the Lion quickly destroyed them. The Lion then ordered the engineers to return to the warp chamber so they could finish entering the warp, and he ran off to meet them. Corswain was approaching the warp chamber and his group was assaulted by all manner of daemons. His force of 200 men was down to half, with 28 slain or injured and the rest set to guard. As he neared the chamber, he could see corpses strewn about but no source of the attack.
Outside the warp core, Fiana could feel a presence, and there were many dead legionaries and techmarines in the chamber. The group was beet by pink and blue creatures, with Fiana having the only real effect. Corswain contacted the Lion, who said he was near, and Corswain proceeded forward to find the pink and blue creatures trying to breach the core. Before they could attack, a large two-headed bird-like creature blasted them with lightning. The daemon killed legionaries before Fiana blasted it. However, the creature managed to stop the beam with its hand only to turn it back on her and knock her unconscious. The creature turned to Corswain, immobilizing him before forcing his body forward then forced him to contact the Lion to speak with him. The Lion arrived, and the creature spoke directly into his mind, threatening to kill Corswain if attacked.
The Lion said that the creature had no place here, and it responded that it devoted a great effort to find him just as it came to the primarch before. The two continued to talk, and the creature offered the Lion freedom and said it has seen that Chaos always wins in the end. The Lion responded that the Emperor has given a new way, and the creature mocked the Emperor as an ambitious impostor. This only provided hope within the Lion as it meant that the Emperor still lived. The Lion then used a small distraction to attack the creature, grabbing one of its necks and stabbing it with Despair. The Lion mocked it as he attacked further, causing it to burst and return to the warp.
Part VI: The last of the daemons were defeated once they entered the warp and the Geller field denied them power. Over 300 legionaries and more than 600 serfs were killed in the attack, while many were treated, including Fiana. 8 more days passed before they reached Perditus, and Fiana met with the Lion with Stenius and Corswain; there was something wrong with the location because of how calm the warp was in the area. The Lion admitted that it was to be expected and dismissed them. When the Invincible Reason arrived, they found four of their fleet already there but a dozen others not yet arrived. The Lion ordered them to proceed without waiting and approached the Iron Hands and Death Guard ships. Coming closer, they were able to detect forces on the services, battling. The Dark Angels moved between the two fleets and force a peace. Captain Masurabael of the frigate Intervention questioned the risk but the Lion said that his intent was to let both sides know that they mean business. Corswain questioned why not to destroy the Death Guard outright, and the Lion said that they needed to establish the loyalty of both legions before proceeding. The Lion expressed his intent to land, and then spoke on the nature of loyalty, and how there was a third option to be loyal to a legion and to save themselves.
The Lion's forces interrupted the ground battle between the forces of Iron Hands Iron Father Lasko Midoa and Death Guard Captain Calas Typhon. The battle lasted 38 days on the planet before the Iron Hands spotted the Dark Angels making orbit, but they were not able to directly contact them through the comm-dampening. The Iron Hands then prepared to intercept the Death Guard ships in orbit while makinga n assault to take advantage of the situation, breaching the Death Guard ground defenses and taking one of their positions. This provoked Typhon, forcing them into acting while attempting to free Tuchulcha. As the fighting began to intense, they were stopped by the command of the Lion who declared the planet under his protection and for everyone to leave; both sides responded immediately and started to retreat. However, Typhon knew that there had to be a reason for the Lion to arrive so he tapped into the warp and the powers of his patron, the Father. Using psychic powers, he determined that the Dark Angels were using their librarians to cower the forces and so he used his own to protect the minds of his Grave Wardens. The Lion responded by ordering torpedoes to be launched.
Part VII: As Typhon led the charge against the Iron Hands, he was informed that torpedoes were launched. This prompted Typhon to order a withdrawal then contacted the Dark Angels via vox. The Lion responded by ordering the Death Guard to pull back except for Typhon and his guards and await a parlay. The Lion landed with 1,000 of his men and he spoke with Midoa, Typhon, and the Mechanicum directly. The Lion came to High Magos Khir Doth Iaxis, Overseer of Magellix and Custodian of Tuchulcha, a man of only a meter in height, who then welcomed the Lion to the planet and asked the primarch to follow him into the facility. The Lion had Midoa and Typhon escorted elsewhere then proceeded to Tuchulcha's chamber.
The Lion was taken to Tuchulcha deep beneath the surface, and he remembered when he slaughtered machine cultists who worshiped Tuchulcha the last time he was there. On the way, the Lion noticed that Iaxis had an electoo of a Ouraboros dragon eating its own tail, which Iaxis said was for the Order of the Dragon, a now defunct organization. Inside the chamber, the Lion found an orb 10.7 meters in diameter of an unknown material, Tuchulcha, and that it was watching him. Unlike before, the orb now had two protrusions, only a few centimeters in length, from each pole. A small boy servitor laid before the device with pipes connecting him to the machine, and through it Tuchulcha spoke. The Lion questioned it, surprised at its ability to communicate through the puppet and that it recognized him. The machine said that he was "the everything," was "everywhere," and "once Servant of the Deadly Seas" before becoming "Friend of the Mechanicum." The Lion responded that the machine was dangerous, but was told by Tuchulcha that he could not be destroyed because he did not truly desire to destroy the machine.
Tuchulcha then explained that the Lion caused him to be afraid. The Lion questioned how the machine knew of the battles above, and the it responded that his mind was able to touch theirs before saying that the Lion's mind touched him but it carried a heavy burden of guilt. The Lion questioned Iaxis as to the machine's use and why it was spared. Tuchulcha then demonstrated its teleportation power, shifting in to the throne room of the Invincible Reason and translated the whole ship into the warp. This prompted alarms to go off, and the act both appalled and surprised the Lion. The Lion questioned Tuchulcha how translation was possible being so close to the system's star, and Iaxis responded that the machine didn't have to worry about such concerns. The Lion decided that he had to be friends with the machine, and asked it politely to return them to real space around the planet.
Part VIII: Corswain and the Lion discussed the nature of the situation and the parlay in his chambers. The Lion could not tell what Typhon's full agenda was, and he was unsure why the Iron Hands arrived and their legion was not as inconsequential as he once assumed. The primarch then met with the two commanders, where Typhon immediately verbally lashed out and was chastised. The Lion did not yet decide what to do and questioned them as to their purpose. Typhon responded that he came for the warp device to give to Horus, and then stated that it was expected that the Dark Angels would battle the Night Lords but would eventually come to Horus. The Lion responds by pointing out that Typhon does not mention Mortarion, and that Typhon served his own ambition. Additionally, it was not Horus who ordered Typhon there, and that Horus would not wish direct war with the Dark Angels.
The Lion then turned to Midoa and questioned his purpose. Midoa explained that he was part of the 406th Expedition Fleet and was not part of the Drop Site Massacre. 6 months ago, they met with Ultramarines at Ojanus then dispatched by Guilliman to protect Perditus and the device from traitors. Midoa then said that he believed it should be taken to Macragge to be safe. Hearing both sides, the Lion then ordered that the planet be destroyed, which brought protest from both commanders. The Lion then pointed out that he too received a summon from Guilliman but that he did not trust the other primarch before sending the commanders off.
Part IX: Midoa left for the Fastidious Prosecutor and Typhon for the Terminus Est. Fiana contacted the primarch to say they felt something burrowing through the warp to the planet. At the same time, the Invincible Reason prepared for combat as Typhon warped from the Terminus Est down to Tuchulcha's chamber. Once there, Typhon slaughtered the adepts and skitarii but was slowly feeling the effects of warp rotting his insides. Calming it, he entered the chamber and was about to kill a robed adept when the puppet asked him not to do so. The boy then told Typhon that there wasn't much time as the Lion arrived. Typhon offered Tuchulcha freedom but was laughed at in response, saying he was waiting for the Lion's return before forcing Typhon to be teleported back to the Terminus Est with his remaining men.
Later, when Typhon was alone, he reflected that he failed in his mission, but realized that he did succeed when he noticed that he received a 3 blister mark of favor. On the Iron Hands's ship, Midoa told Lorramech that the Lion had a message for Guilliman: "I am coming." On the Invincible Reason, Tuchulchas and Iaxis were aboard and the planet destroyed. He knew that he had a power that would turn the Thramas Crusade and that Curze would soon be his with some careful planning, and he spoke to a shadow that could not be heard in response. He also expressed his concern that Guilliman was either misguided or a traitor, and that none could inherit the title Emperor. Ultimately, only mutual annihilation could prevent further war. The small, robed creature appeared from the shadow, and the Lion told it that it was too important to stop the conflict instead of fixing what was taking place on Caliban.
The story takes place 82 days after the Battle of Tsagualsa, as described in Savage Weapons (Short Story), and more than 2 years since the beginning of the Thramas Crusade. The events precede the continuation/end of the Thramas Crusade as described in Prince of Crows (Novella).
- Lion El'Jonson - Primarch
- Corswain - Primarch's Seneschal
- Stenius - Captain of the Invincible Reason
- Tragan - Captain of the Ninth Order
- Nemiel - Brother-Redemptor
- Lasko Midoa - Iron Father
- Casalir Lorramech - Captain of the 98th Company
- Theralyn Fiana - Navigator of House Ne'iocene
- Khir Doth Iaxis - High Magos of the Mechanicum
The Serpent Beneath
Omegon, one of the twin primarchs of the Alpha Legion, questions Legion Librarian Ursinus Echion on the status of a high-security Alpha Legion base named Tenebrae Station that is able to manipulate the Warp through a pylon array and that the Alpha Legion have used to keep the White Scars contained and ignorant on Chondax. After ending their conversation Omegon turns to Sheed Ranko, hidden from Echion's sight in the shadows, who helps him form a plan to neutralise a security leak by destroying the base.
Sigma Squad of the Alpha Legion Third Company, led by Sergeant Goran Setebos, are operating on Phemus IV to delay the White Scars conquest of the planet by manipulating Ork movements when they are recruited by Omegon for the mission. Xalmagundi, a rogue psyker with telekinetic powers, flees an attack by the Silent Sisters in an Imperial hive-city and is rescued by Sheed Ranko and Sigma Squad, who recruit her. Omegon tracks down Mechanicum adept and Alpha Legion operative Volkern Auguramus on a trading world and brings him on board. Together, the team plan to infiltrate and destroy Tenebrae base.
Omegon and Sigma Squad infiltrate the Tenebrae asteroid through tunnels in its core and lose one of their members to a gravity effect that crushes him. Carefully bypassing demiurg mining machines that are operating undetected in the asteroid's core and planting explosives they infiltrate the station, killing anyone who notices them. Aided by Auguramus who has taken over the station's security system they split up, Setebos and most of his squad going to neutralise the station's Alpha Legion garrison while Omegon takes two legionnaires to the prison level where captured psykers are used to fuel the pylon array. They free Xalmagundi, who was captured as part of the plan, and Omegon executes Echion for failing to prevent the security leak, but both teams fall into ambushes set up by the garrison's Astartes security officer Arvus Janic. Xalmagundi uses her powers to free the other psykers imprisoned at the facility and create chaos before Omegon sends her to the hangars with a marine to guard her so she can destroy the station's ships, while he goes to kill its Astropathic choir. Setebos's team take casualties and fall back to the hangars. Omegon finds Auguramus's corpse in the security hub after vengeful garrison members broke in, his survival never part of the plan and his last action to sow confusion by telling the station's Mechanicum forces that the Alpha Legion garrison had fallen under the control of the escaped psykers. The explosives the team placed within the asteroid are detonated, aggravating the demiurg mining machines that tunnel up into the facility and cause further chaos. Omegon kills the astropathic choir, preventing them from sending a distress message, but is ambushed by Arvus Janic and takes three bolter rounds to the gut. Revealing his true nature in order to confuse Janic, he escapes when the demiurg machines' attack breaches the station's atmosphere and causes mass decompression. Linking up with the others in the hangar they fall back onto the asteroid's surface, where Xalmagundi is using her power to send the whole asteroid hurtling towards the system's sun. Her job done, Omegon executes her. Squad Sigma ask why Sheed Ranko has not arrived to evacuate them as planned, and Omegon then removes his helmet, revealing that he is Sheed Ranko, sent by Omegon to impersonate him, and that they have all been on a suicide mission since the start. Faced with the hopelessness of the situation, Squad Sigma accept their fate.
On the bridge of the Beta, the real Omegon confers with Alpharius. Their conversation reveals that Alpharius is unaware that Tenebrae station, gifted to the Alpha Legion by the Cabal, has been destroyed, and Omegon lies to imply that the 'security breach' may remain unresolved, having made it up in the first place as a pretext for the station's destruction. Therefore, it can be deduced that Omegon is acting against Alpharius to secretly thwart his actions against the loyalists, destroying the station without his knowledge to rob their Legion of a powerful resource, and is therefore a secret loyalist himself. Retiring to his chamber he views his 'other', seemingly unadorned set of armour, and contemplates his Legion's secretive nature.
Tenebrae station, a top-secret facility capable of manipulating the Warp built into a remote asteroid.
- Alpharius Omegon - Primarch of the Alpha Legion
- Sheed Ranko - Captain
- Ursinus Echion - Librarian, overseer of Tenebrae station
- Arvus Janic - Captain of security at Tenebrae station
- Goran Setebos - Sergeant, Sigma Squad
- Zantine - Legionnaire, Sigma Squad
- Tarquiss - Legionnaire, Sigma Squad
- Charmian - Legionnaire, Sigma Squad
- Volion - Legionnaire, Sigma Squad
- Vermes - Legionnaire, Sigma Squad
- Braxus - Legionnaire, Sigma Squad
- Isidor - Legionnaire, Sigma Squad
- Krait - Legionnaire, Sigma Squad
- Arkan - Legionnaire, Sigma Squad
- Volkern Auguramus - Mechanicum Adept and Alpha Legion operative
- Xalmagundi - Telekinetic psyker
- 1: http://www.blacklibrary.com/all-products/the-primarchs.html
- 2: http://www.blacklibrary.com/horus-heresy/the-primarchs-audio.html