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The Thunder Warriors were the genetically-engineered warriors of Terra created by the Emperor of Mankind to unite the homeworld of humanity beneath his rule in the 30th Millennium. They were the first gene-enhanced warriors created by the Emperor and served as the precursors to the present-day Space Marines. Wrought to be living weapons, the Thunder Warriors were known to be physically stronger, more savage and more potent in combat than the later Astartes, though they were not as long-lived.
Thunder Warriors were the elite super soldiers that marched with the Emperor to conquer Terra in the Wars of Unification. The engineering that the Emperor used to create the Thunder Warriors, whilst creating superior fighters, was not as efficient as what was used later to create the Space Marines, nor was the technology as advanced or the geneticists as entirely willing.[5a] These proto-Astartes were organized in twenty regiments of no more than a few hundred warriors, each named by the Emperor himself.
The Thunder Warriors battled throughout the Unification Wars and united Terra for the first time in millennia under the rule of the Emperor. According to myth, they were all killed during the final battle of the Unification Wars, the Battle of Mount Ararat.
Appearance and Abilities
Thunder Warriors were large, greater in size than most Space Marines. Even the few that survived the end of the Unification Wars were easily more than a match for an Astartes and even the mighty Custodes in single combat. They were made highly resistant to psychic attack, perhaps because of the sorcery they would regularly face during the Age of Strife. They had tremendous upper body strength that, when coupled with their early model of power armor, made them virtually unbeatable in close combat.
Imperial history records that the Thunder Warriors had all died in the final battle of the Unification Wars, the Battle of Mount Ararat, and the Legiones Astartes were created to replace them. However, according to a surviving Thunder Warrior Arik Taranis the Emperor didn't replenish their numbers, or may have in fact massacred the hyper-violent and short-lived Thunder Warriors to make way for his stable, mass produced Astartes warriors, fabricating the tale of Mount Ararat as a cover-up, or using the battle to expend the last of the Thunder Warriors. The Thunder Warriors were suitable for conquering Terra, but did not fit the Emperor's vision of warriors who would take the entire Galaxy.
Early in the Great Crusade, a small group of surviving Thunder Warriors calling themselves the Dait'Tar were among the renegades of the Cerberus Insurrection. The Emperor dispatched the XII Legion (Later known as the World Eaters) to quell the uprising and punish the traitors. Despite being severely outnumbered by one of the greatest Space Marine legions, the Thunder Warriors managed to slaughter four to five times their number in Astartes. The Insurrection was eventually stopped however, after several hours of intense fighting .[5b]
At least one Thunder Warrior survived to the time of the Horus Heresy: Arik Taranis, who had taken many names in the interim, including Babu Dhakal. Taranis had learned some of the techniques the Emperor had used to create him and tried to make his own army. He suspected that the Emperor had deliberately engineered his kind with a limited lifespan, though he personally hoped it was simply defect; Thunder Warriors that did not die in battle suffered from cellular degeneration or mental instability, and often had relatively short lifespans.[5a]
Eventually after an encounter with a group of traitor Space Marines known as the Outcast Dead in which another Thunder Warrior, Ghota killed one of its members, Taranis was able to cure the genetic instability of the Thunder Warriors, though not before suffering considerable degeneration himself. This along with his knowledge of creating Thunder Warriors means that some of these elite and ancient warriors of the Imperium, may still exist in the current age.
Historic Thunder Warriors
- Arik Taranis The Throneslayer.
- 1: Tales of Heresy (Anthology), [Needs Citation]
- 2: The Outcast Dead (Novel) by Graham McNeill, [Needs Citation]
- 3: The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Chapter 17
- 4: Collected Visions, pg. 17
- 5: The Horus Heresy Book One - Betrayal
- 6: Games Workshop