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The Purge (Novella)

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2drones.gif This article is about the novella in the Horus Heresy Series; for the Chaos Space Marine warband, see The Purge
The Purge
The-Purge A5dustjacket.jpg
Cover art by Neil Roberts.
Author Anthony Reynolds
Performer Jonathan Keeble
Publisher Black Library
Series Horus Heresy
Released July 2014
Collected in The Silent War
Editions 2014 hardcover:
ISBN 9781849707725

The Purge is a limited-release novella written by Anthony Reynolds and part of the Horus Heresy series. It was released July 2014 as a limited edition with 3350 copies. Later, it was released in both e-book and MP3 format with a run time of 3 hours and 40 minutes and read by Jonathan Keeble.

The novella tells the story of Sor Talgron and the 34th Chapter of Word Bearers from their leaving their station on Terra to join the Retribution Fleet to their joining with Lorgar in the Shadow Crusade. He and the Dark Apostle Jaruleth take the fight to Percepton Primus, Percepton System of Ultramar, and battle against the forces of Ultramarines 17th Chapter Master Aecus Decimus.

Cover Description

The Shadow Crusade spreads across Ultramar, with the Word Bearers 34th Company falling upon the isolated world of Percepton Primus. As the fighting draws out into a programme of extermination, embittered commander Sor Talgron begins to question his part in Lorgar’s grander scheme – for one who stood beside primarchs and high lords in the grand halls of the Imperial Palace, what glory can there now be in punishing Guilliman’s upstart sons? But the price of doubt is known all too well, and if the Word Bearers are ever to return to Terra in triumph then they must purge the last remnants of such unbelief from the face of the galaxy...[2]

Story

Captain Sor Talgron and the 34th Company were members of the Word Bearer Perpetual Spiral Chapter. After successes on the world Thoth, although outnumbered by a lot, they held together in defense under Chapter Master Balas Silak and then counter-attacked the world of Anjur where the attack came from. The Chapter was used to garrison worlds, which bothered the Chapter Master. While assigned to the 47th Expedition and winning at 47-16, Primarch Lorgar began to favor Talgron, which upset the Chapter Master. To prevent anything happening, Lorgar then split the force and used the 34th Company to garrison Terra. Silak later died on Isstvan V, possibly sent to die by order of Lorgar.[1g]

On Terra, at 132006.M31, the Talgron was transported with other legionaries to the Imperial Palace as it was being fortified.[1b] He was taken from the shuttle unarmed and escorted by 4 Custodians, and Talgron could see that security was far tighter than before. Opening a gate, they were met by another Custodian, Tiber Acanthus of 139 names, and a squad of the Imperial Fist. Acanthus grasped Talgron's wrist as a brother, then explained that they were at war but would require Primarch Dorn to explain the rest.[1c] Coming before Dorn while he was meeting with advisers, Talgron could only remark on how massive he was, even larger than his own primarch, Lorgar Aurelian.[1d]

Terra

Dorn dismissed the advisers, and all but his huscarl Archamus and Knight-Erant Nathaniel Garro left. The primarch explained the nature of what happened on Isstvan III and Horus's betrayal. Talgron then asked how the news came, because his own astropaths were blinded from warp storms, and Dorn explained that news came from Garro.[1d] Talgron felt the need to defend the loyalty of his legion, and Archamus questioned why Talgron's ships were patrolling the Solar System, especially Mars and the shipyards. Archamus then questioned as to where he was for two months, which caused Talgron to look to Dorn and question the interrogation. Dorn dismissed Garro before pushing Talgron for answers. Talgron responded that he was at the Shrine of Unity (a comet) to "set things right" and correct his legion's previous errors by removing tokens of worship.[1e]

Dorn expressed frustration towards the betrayal of Horus and that he was especially arrogant and capable of falling. Then, he told Talgron that the Word Bearer was the perfect pick because he favored pragmatism over faith. Talgron professed that the legion accepted that its veneration of the Emperor was wrong, but Dorn pushed him to admit if he ever did it himself, with Dorn saying that Talgron clearly did not. Then Dorn clarified that it was not an interrogation and that he did not think the Word Bearers were disloyal. Instead, he locked down Talgron's men as to not show favortism, and that he also imprisoned the Crusader Host except for the members of the Imperial Fist.[1e]

Talgron pointed out the hypocrisy in it, but Dorn was obstinate on the matter. Then Talgron questioned the Space Wolves sent to watch over the legions, and Dorn said that they operated under the orders of the Sigillite and beyond his command. Dorn then admitted that it was a political matter, but that the Word Bearers would sent away from Terra to return to Lorgar's forces to battle the Warmaster with the Retribution Fleet. Talgron points out that if he took the 34th Company it would leave Ttera vulnerable, but Dorn would not back down. Talgron then argued that if he was a traitor then he would be able to join the others, and Dorn pointed out that he already had too many prisoners. The Word Bearer's member of the Crusader Host, Predicant Volkhar Wreth, would also be sent with him but without letting the others of the Crusader Host know.[1e]

Talgron travelled to The Vault, using the materials provided by Dorn, and he way was open and free of guards. Even the pict capturers were turned so that his approach would not be recorded. He passed through bioscan before coming to a room with a circular cell with clear walls. He then released Wreth, who said that he foresaw it. The two were able to leave without a problem, with Wreth cloaked so no one would recognize him, and, as they left, Wreth asked for what was happening.[1h] Instead of leading Wreth to the shuttle to leave, Talgron took him to an old, abandon part of the palace and revealed that Lorgar had a special mission for him. This impressed Wreth, and Wreth expressed that he had faith in the God-Emperor that he would be freed. They came to a chamber that was recently opened with a lit candle and 8 opened burial niches, with 8 corpses of long dead Thunder Warriors laying on the ground.[1i]

Jarulek was waiting for them, which confused Wreth. Wreth then looked to the caskets where the corpses once rested, realizing that there there were life signs among them. He asked who they were, and Jarulek explained that they served as a battery for psychic power. Wreth noticed they were all mutilated, and Jarulek asked if Wreth was Terran before asking if he was willing to give even his life if Lorgar wished it. Wreth agreed before realizing the trap, and Talgron began to strangle him with a chain. Jarulek went to stab Wreth, but Wreth fought back, knowing Jarulek to the ground. He was able to free himself and smash Jarulek into a wall. Talgron recovered and blocked Wreth's escape, and Wreth questioned what was happening. Jarulek explained that Lorgar had turned from the Emperor, which caused Wreth to be disgusted. Talgron then explained the purges and that Wreth was the last Terran born left in the legion.[1j]

Eventually, Talgron won out after repeatedly smashing Wreth before pinning him in place and stabbing him in the spine with an athame. Talgron also threatened Jarulek as to if it would cause unnecessary suffering, because he still respected Wreth for once being his mentor and a worthy warrior.[1k] They removed Wreth's primary heart while Jarulek lamented that they would not be able to stay in system to bring destruction directly to Terra. As they carved Wreth, Talgron admitted that he did not finish his job upon the comet but left the Word Bearer Ibarix behind to finish, knowing he would die in the process. Wreth was still alive, and Talgron explained that he did not care for the ritual but it was necessary for the war. Jarulek then took a flask with a demon inside and placed it within Wreth's passed out and slowly dying body. Wreth awakened, looking to Talgron but was given no aid. They then left Wreth and the demon in the chamber until years would pass when it would be unleashed.[1l]

Recon Sergeant Loth was sent by Talgron to establish what was necessary for his plan on Terra, including planting charges that would overload the psychic levees and cause mayhem.[1l] Loth was rare among the Word Bearers, having a cog mark showing training on Mars, one bionic eye, and augmented sensors on his helm, and he almost became a Techmarine but became a permanent recon member due to his independence. He also refused to paint his armor due to his need for concealment.[1f] In the Word Bearers' final moments on Terra, Talgron and Jarulek made their way to their shuttle to leave, they were stopped by 3 Custodians. One was Acanthus, and Talgron explained that Dorn ordered them away. Acanthus wished them a well and said it was an honor to serve with him. The two shook hands, Talgron truly respecting him, and then Talgron told him that they would certainly meet again.[1m]

Percepton Primus

At Percepton Primus[1l] of the Percepton System of Ultramar, the Word Bearers managed to cripple the Ultramarine forces in 27 minutes at the beginning of the Shadow Crusade, but the fight continued 163 days. As part of the attack on Ultramar, the Word Bearers repainted their armor to red, marking their new ways but it unsettled Talgron. Before the battle, Dark Apostle Jarulek said that Erebus ordered the Ultramarines to be taken alive to be sacrificed, but Talgron refused to listen and would kill them outright because it was his fight to command.[1b] Talgron also did not like the desperate faith of his brothers and saw it as a weakness, blaming Lorgar for the problem although he was loyal to his primarch. However, he did not tell anyone because he knew he would be killed as part of another purge.[1e] Talgron especially loathed Erebus and believed that he was a cancer upon the legion, and any brother he thought was too faithful or trusted Erebus was sent to Calth.[1f]

The opening attack destroyed more than half of the Ultramarine ships.[1b] On the surface of the planet, the fight began with tank battles and assaults, but it broke down into hand to hand combat.[1c] In the city of Massilea, Talgron fought on the surface along side of his standard bearer Ahraneth and master of signal Dal Ahk.[1b] The city was held by the 174th Company.[1c] The Word Bearers bombarded the city, attacking from the air with Thunderhawks and Stormbirds and from the ground with Rhinos, Land Raiders, Vindicators, Fellblades, and Typhons. The legionaries went from building to building to clear the Ultramarines, slowly progressing through the ruins. Other Ultramarine forces were battling in a plain 50km away from Massilea, and Talgron diverted half of his forces to assault them.[1d]

They fought against Ultramarines who fell back to a former librarium building, unused after Nikaea. 6 of his men were killed in the fire fight, and all of the Ultramarines left were either killed outright or killed while wounded, leaving none for dark rituals. Coming upon a bisected Ultramarine Captain, the captain asked Talgron why he fought. Talgron killed the captain, but he explained anyway that he did so under orders.[1b] The city was held by the 174th Company.[1c] Ahraneth was killed by a sniper in an area Talgron thought was clear, which infuriated him.[1d]

While the Ultramarines 17th Chapter Master Aecus Decimus led his men in the disordered battle ground. His Techmarine Naxor was previously killed and veteran Vaul Agregius ("Victor of Staxus") was gunned down. Champion Tillus Victorius fought quietly with sword and shield, killing many but was too brought down by a bolter shot, and the ignoble nature of the battle filled Decimus with hatred. The conflict ruined his artificer armor and forced him to go without his broken helmet, and he was tired and wounded. The battle went poorly, with enemy Titans cutting down his men and vox communication killed by daemonic whispers.[1c]

Above the battle, five of the Ultramarines marked warriors, censured, were given another task to redeem them. Each had a different background and were chosen because of their status. They watched as Word Bearers left the taken city of Massilea to flood their position while landing craft came up from the south. Of the number, the youngest, Sio, wanted to wait to act because Ultramarines could be coming from out of system to aid them, but Romus silences him with duty and explaining that it was probably a wide scale conflict across Ultramar. They finally unified and joined a group of human army veterans at a shuttle.[1c] Talgron received word from the third echelon of the docking action, and instead of blasting it from orbit decided to have his ship take him to the location because he would kill them with honor.[1d]

The Marked

Eventually, the Word Bearers were able to flank Decimus's position, but his men were able to use autocannons to bring down many. The Word Bearers in turn brought assault marines and they quickly stopped the heavy weapons. Decimus charged the assault marines, but he was almost overcome by one in the attack.[1c] Talgron boarded a stormbird and it took him, Dal Ahk, and two squads, to the position the Word Bearers spotted the shuttle used by the marked. They flew over a battle field, and Talgron was able to see the remains of 6 loyalist Titans, including (Reaver, Warhound, and Nemesis-class) destroyed by orbital barrage, leaving only the fastest Warhounds to escape. The continued further east, spotting Word Bearer tank forces boarding orbital before passing over 3 Deathdealer Night Gaunts Titans of Legio Mordaxis marching to their own lifters.[1e]

The outpost they were traveling to was hidden from scans, shielded. It was only discovered by recon officer Loth, one of the Word Bearer's best. It was built into a mountain and had a landing pad, and another Word Bearer lander was already present when they arrived. Dal Ahk questioned Talgron as to why the Ultramarines would go to such a place, and Talgron pointed out that there must be a reason. However, this did not ease his concerns.[1e] Inside the outpost, Talgron was met by Loth above a deep shaft that was sealed behind a blast door. The recon squad was then sent down to retrieve a conveyor for the others to descend the shaft while a third transport brought a siege squad led by Sergeant Telakhas and joined by Jarulek. Talgron took a siege shield for himself to join the descent, and ordered Dal Ahk to remain behind.[1f]

As the conveyor with the Word Bearers descended, Korolos waited and reflected on his own history. He was the champion of the 178th Company but marked by censure over 100 years before. He won his right to return after Senosia IV by Chapter Master Levianus's orders, but he refused to release the burden. Even under Levianus's successor, Decimus, he would wear the red until death.[1g] During the Great Crusade, he battled against Eldar with 200 of his legionaries and Harkon Geno troops, who were easily cut down. They were cut off, and over 170 of his own men and over 318 other legionaries coming to support them, died in the battle, which cost his captaincy. It was 17 years until he was redeemed at Senosia IV. After defeating his enemies there, he fell, thinking he would die, but he was reborn from being Brother Aventine Koriol into Korolos the Contemptor Dreadnought.[1h]

Korolos felt divided from the others (2 of his fellow legionaries, a group of human soldiers, and servitor turrets), but they all fought together when the Word Bearers arrived. The siege shields were highly effective, but one Word Bearer was brought down by a lucky shot. Toth and his recon squad was able to fire from a position of the conveyor, able to destroy one of the servitors. The other servitor was able to use a beam weapon that tore apart 3 of the shield bearers and one of the recon squad while 2 more legionaries were cut down by bolter fire.[1g] Korolos took the moment to charge, easily cutting the Word Bearers down. Many Word Bearers were cut down before Korols turned on Talgron, hearing the Word Bearer giving orders to others. The two fought, but Telakhas was able to use a thunder hammer partially to destroy the Contemptor's knee before being killed by the dreadnought.[1h]

However, Telakhas's death bought the Word Bearers enough time for a squad of 5 Cataphractii terminators to teleport in.[1h] While the battle continued, Octavion watched as time counted down, having just over a minute and a half left. He was hoping to communicate with the ruined Righteous Fury in orbit, crippled but still semi-functioning and approaching orbit to the correct location. Korolos still fought the Word Bearers, killing some of the terminators but they destroyed one of his arms. However, it bought enough time for Octavion to key a sequence to the ship, reaching Admiral Solontine, giving her the order and targeting coordinates but would need seven minutes to launch an attack and requiring the channel to stay open to have a frame of reference for it.[1i]

Eventually, only Korolos was left defending the chamber, killing three of the terminators before falling though still trying to fight. Talgorn used the thunder hammer to bash at the dreadnought, removing the helm to blind it then having the other two terminators destroy the remaining arm. In his final moments, Korolos asked for death, wanting to be released, and Talgron obeyed the wish. The loss prompted Octavion to leave the room without a weapon to buy more time. This caused Talgron to stop, and, before he could react, Octavion released psychic power into the room, blasting the soldiers before him. Power flowed out, causing him to rise. Talgron laughed, accusing Octavion of being a traitor too for violating the decree, provoking Octavion to focus on him. However, Jarulek was able to use his own powers, tapping into the warp and summoning shadows to attack the librarian.[1j]

Octavion used his power to smash the wrecked dreadnought into Jarulek before he was taken by the shadows, which caused them to de-materialized. However, Loth was able to take a shot and kill the librarian. Jarulek survived, and Loth pointed Talgron to the communication screen just as the ship began to fire upon the planet.[lj] On the surface, Decimus was still battling but the battle was going poorly. He was severely wounded, though he continued to fight. Thousands of the enemy fought them, with dreadnoughts and tanks, but then the attack from orbit began to strike. The Ultramarines besides Decimus thought it could be reinforcements, but Decimus was shamed that he did not tell of his final contingency plan. Decimus told his men that the planet was lost, but they would take the traitors with them. In their final moments, he rallied his troops, and they were filled with pride and anger as he called for a final charge as death swept the planet.[1k]

Conclusion

The Ultramarines used Phosphex, a world killing weapon, upon the planet, which was a weapon Guilliman believed as the worst weapon to ever use. It was able to burn without oxygen and almost no fuel. It was powerful enough to burn water, rock, and metal. It was only sanctioned for Ultramarine use twice before, and the amount of phosphex release was far more than ever used: 24 mortalis-class atmospheric missiles each targeted to a specific location.[1l] As the Word Bearers took the conveyor back to the surface, the phosphex was starting to eat through the doors of the outpost. Talgorn was impressed that the Ultramarines were willing to do such a thing, and knew that only few of his men would be able to evacuate. Chemicals already threatened them, and Jarulek expressed anger at what was happening. Talgron threatened Jarulek, pointing out that the warp didn't reveal it happening, and Talgron was filled with disgust by what the Word Bearers became. Jarulek offered to use his powers to help them escape, and Talgron refused, which provoked Jarulek to leave him behind.[1k]

3 minutes and 27 seconds after releasing the missiles, the Word Bearers destroyed the Righteous Fury, with the cruiser Sanctified taking credit.[1l] The surviving men of Talgron's squad tried to exit the outpost but fell back when one was overcome by the phosphex. Outside, the three Word Bearer crafts were gone and the Ultramarines lander was destroyed. They were trapped and had no other option, and before they could act a missile crashed near by. As he watched death coming, Tolgron believed that the Word Bearers, and not the Ultramarines, would be blamed for the events, and he thought it was probably deserved.[1l] When the blast came, it threw them back, killing the recon squad first then the other legionaries. In what he thought was his final moments, Tolgron wished to have a quick death then a fate like Wreth's.[1m]

The last Ultramarine was killed at 454008.M31.[1b] Death covered the planet, but a Stormbird, AT-394, was able to descend to the outpost. Two terminators were able to make their way through the phosphex to the Stormbird with Talgorn's body, but one collapsed and only the other made it aboard with the body. Only void could end the phosphex burning, and the Stormbird opened itself to snuff what remained on the terminator and Talgorn. They were taken to the Infidus Diabolus, and it was Dal Ahk who was in the cockpit. Dal Ahk ordered an apothecarion, and he was initially rebuffed until he told them he had the captain.[1m]

At 456008.M31 in the Percepton System, a fleshless legionary was freed of his Mark III plate while many other wounded lay around him in the apothecary of Urhlan. Unable to use medicine to save him, Jarulek took over.[1a] Mentally, Talgron found himself back on Terra trapped in the hole they hid Wreth's body. Talgron could see the daemons infesting the host and apologized to Wreth for what happened. Talgron believed he was being punished, and reached his hand into Wreth's chest and felt the daemon crawling into his burned flesh and bonded with him before dragging Talgron into their host's body because they were not yet ready. At the same time, he could feel his limbs being cut away, and his body being replaced with synthetics. He was pulled further into the warp, and he could feel the gods and daemons there, realizing that he was wrong in his denial. Before he could be trapped there, Lorgar appeared, taking him into the primarch's light.[1n]

After Urhlan pronounced Talgron dead, he noticed that the terminator who rescued Talgron was recovering. It was Cataphractii Sergeant Kol Badar. As everyone left, Jarulek noticed a warp presence within Talgron, and he called everyone back. With weakness, Talgron told them that he saw Lorgar and witnessed the gods. After recovering, they built a robotic body for him instead of interring him within a dreadnought. He wore the Book of Lorgar from then on, and he was given a crozius as part of his new duties with the legion. In all, 2/3rds of the 34th Company was killed, but he considered it was a weak victory and focused on what would happen with Wreth in the future.[1n]

Notable Characters

The XVII Legion 'Word Bearers'

The XIII Legion 'Ultramarines'

  • Aecus Decimus, Chapter Master, 17th Chapter
  • Connor, Sergeant, 170th Company
  • Naxor, Techmarine, 170th Company
  • Tillus Victorius, 171st Company champion
  • Vaul Agregius, Veteran battle-brother, 171st Company
  • Freia Solontine, Admiral, commander of the Righteous Fury
  • Romus, Veteran battle-brother, 170th Company [marked]
  • Paulus, Sky Hunter, 172nd Company [marked]
  • Xion Octavion, Battle-brother, 174 Company [marked]
  • Sio, Battle-brother, 175th Company [marked]
  • Korolos, Former captain, 178th Company [marked]

The Defenders of Terra

Sources

  • 1: The Purge
    • 1a: Prologue
    • 1b: Chapter 1
    • 1c: Chapter 2
    • 1d: Chapter 3
    • 1e: Chapter 4
    • 1f: Chapter 5
    • 1g: Chapter 6
    • 1h: Chapter 7
    • 1i: Chapter 8
    • 1j: Chapter 9
    • 1k: Chapter 10
    • 1l: Chapter 11
    • 1m: Chapter 12
    • 1n: Chapter 13 and Epilogue
  • 2: Black Library (last accessed August 2014)

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