Ollanius Persson was born as one of the mysterious Perpetuals, and has lived so many lives that he has forgotten his true age. However he estimates that as of the Horus Heresy he was roughly 45,000 years old "give or take", which would place his birth around 15,000 B.C. in the city of Nineveh. If this is to be believed, it would make him even older than the Emperor, who according to older sources was born around 8,000 B.C.. He is said to be the oldest Perpetual. He explicitly said he is older than the Emperor. [9h]
In Terra's ancient past, Ollanius acted as the Warmaster of the Emperor's armies. During a war in East Phoenicia against a Chaos Cult said to be the proto-Cognitae, the Emperor and Ollanius' armies besieged a massive tower etched in Enuncia that was being erected. After emerging victorious, Ollanius sought to destroy the tower and all the dark knowledge it contained. However the Emperor refused, instead wishing to preserve the knowledge for use against future threats. Disenchanted with the Emperor, Ollanius stabbed him with a dagger before using Enuncia to destroy the tower and escape.[6a]
Having lived through all of recorded human history, he makes first-hand reference to historical and mythological events such as being one of the Argonauts, participating in the Battle of Austerlitz (during the Napoleonic Wars), the Siege of Verdun (during the First World War), and the Battle of 73 Easting (during the Gulf War), amongst others.
Battle of Calth
By the 31st Millennium Ollanius Persson had become known as 'Pious' Oll Persson because of his devout belief in the Catheric religion and was a civilian farmer of Calth in the Ultramar system. Before this, he had been a private soldier in the Imperial Army who earned the right to retire; being gifted with service-shares for a plot of land proportionate to his years served (rounded down - the Army always rounded down), he decided to cash them in on Calth, taking on twenty hectares. He chose Calth for two main reasons; the first was that if service-shares were used to buy land on a world newly-opened for colonisation, travel-fares to that world were paid for. The second was that, out in the farther reaches of the Imperium, under the banner of the "New Empire" being forged by Roboute Guilliman and his Ultramarines, Persson felt that it would be easier to practice his faith without incident; religious faith was widely looked down upon in the Imperium as unscientific nonsense. Persson settled down on Calth, living comfortably enough for eighteen years. The only indicators of his past as a soldier were the fading tattoo on his arm, the battered lasrifle mounted on his wall, and the company of an ex-Army loader servitor named Graft, that could not be dissuaded from referring to Oll as 'Trooper Persson'. To others, including his neighbours and several employees, he was just old 'Pious Oll'.[1a]
Oll was present on Calth when the Word Bearers Space Marine Legion attacked the Ultramarines during the Great Betrayal. The initial strikes from impacting orbital debris (once ship yards and vessels of the Ultramarine fleet) reminded him, terrifyingly, of his last campaign in the Army, upon the world of Chrysophar. Oll turned to his faith to help him survive during this time, and was knocked unconscious shortly after uttering a prayer to his god. During this unconscious period, Oll appeared to dream of being visited by an old friend of his; John Grammaticus. Unwilling to converse with Grammaticus, Oll attempted to carry on preparing breakfast for his wife; Grammaticus was forced to remind him that his wife died long before he joined the Army. Long before the last time he joined the Army, to be exact. Oll also refused to listen to John's attempts to remind him of their old brotherhood-in-arms in such conflicts as those that took place at Anatol Hive and the Panpacific on Terra, "several lifetimes ago". Finally, Grammaticus used Oll's status as one of the few remaining Perpetuals in existence and the onus that came with it to somewhat reluctantly guilt him into paying attention.
Grammaticus delivered the news that without their intervention, "he" was going to lose the war, and that if "he" lost, the human race would lose. Grammaticus urged his old friend to leave Calth via "Immaterium sidestep" and gain an object for him. When Persson asked where he was supposed to go, Grammaticus replied that he would show him:[1b]
Persson then found himself transported from his comfortable dream-environment to one of horror; aboard a space vessel at war, but a vessel that was unnatural and disturbing, orbiting a burning Terra. Entering a massive chamber, he encountered a dead angel lying upon the floor, his brutal killer standing nearby. Taken aback by the unholy appearance of the angel's murderer, he raised his Catheric symbol and audibly renounced the Evil One that stood before him. The killer took a step towards Oll, but stopped, his attention caught by something held in Persson's hand. At that moment, a golden light coming from behind Oll flooded the chamber, a light Oll recognised as one he used to know... but weaker, and sullied. Announcing that he had seen enough, he heard Grammaticus speak as if bringing him to wakefulness.[1b]
Waking up in what was left of his lands, Persson resolved to escape from the ongoing Battle of Calth, aiding a number of other survivors on the way, many of whom banded together with him and accompanied him off-world. Before leaving, he managed to acquire an athame ritual blade from a Chaos Cultist that he believed may be the item he was supposed to fetch, to be used for something utterly important. Persson and his survivors consisting of Graft, Dogent Krank, Bale Rane, Hebet Zybes, and Katt left Calth by use of apparent sorcerous techniques; he used the athame to open what appeared to be a form of warp-gate and stepped through.[1c]
Journey to Terra
For the next six years Persson and his small band wandered through both space and time using the Athame and a warp-sensitive compass, attempting to reach Terra at the behest of Grammaticus. They were hunted by a variety of foes: the Word Bearers, Alpha Legion, Daemons, and assassins of the Cabal bent on seeing Horus victorious. On the world of Andrioch they emerged shortly after the end of the revolt of the Iron Men and became stranded for two years. There, Persson speculated on what to do next but was confronted by John Grammaticus who urged him to go back. However Persson saw through the deception and killed Grammaticus with his Athame, revealing that his friend was a shape-shifting impostor of the Alpha Legion. With few options left, Persson led his band through a cosmic void left behind by the Iron Men that he would have preferred to avoid.
Later in a meeting with Erda on Terra, John Grammaticus was shocked to find that Persson had not rendezvoused with him as planned. Erda suspected that Persson had arrived in the wrong time, perhaps before or after the agreed period. She consulted the stars and her tarot cards to determine that Persson had arrived on Terra two weeks later than Grammaticus.[4a]
After a seeming eternity of travels throughout space and time, Ollanius and his group finally emerged on Terra. However they found themselves in the Hatay-Antakya Hive region, now occupied by the Emperor's Children and transformed into a horrific dream garden known as "paradise". Within paradise, desperate civilians seeking escape from the horrors of the Siege of Terra were entrapped within in vines and had their dreams harvested by the Emperor's Children, who consumed them.[6b] Oll and his group were only saved from Paradise and the Emperor's Children by John Grammaticus and Leetu. During the struggle to escape paradise, Bale Rane was slain by Slaaneshi Daemons, and the group was nearly again overcome before being saved by Actae and a Space Marine identifying himself as Alpharius. Despite the pleas of John, Ollanius agreed to have the duo aid them in their quest.[6c] Together, the group, now known affectionately by Grammaticus as the "Argonauts", acquired an Arvus Lighter and flew to the Imperial Palace across Terra's ravaged landscape.[7a] However as they crossed the frontline, they were shot down and crashed into the Inner Palace. Oll and others were guided by "Alpharius" into hidden passages with the intent to reach the Sanctum Imperialis.[7b]
Within the Palace, the "Argonauts" were deliberately detained by Custodes and Malcador's Chosen for interrogation.[8a] Using his knowledge of the Emperor's past and ability to sneak into the Imperial Dungeon undetected as evidence that he was someone of great significance, the Custodes eventually agreed to his request to take them before the Emperor. However by this point, the Emperor had already left to fight Horus aboard the Vengeful Spirit and the group was instead met by Vulkan. Despite pleading his mission to a sympathetic Vulkan, Ollanius despaired that he had apparently failed in his quest.[8b]
Ollanius was ultimately convinced by his companions and a mysterious spool of string to continue their quest, believing the string had been sent by them from the future as a way to mark their path.[9a] However the group eventually encountered Erebus, who had been hunting them since Calth. During the ensuing struggle Erebus slew all of Oll's companions save Leetu and John, while Actae was buried under rubble.[9b] Again falling into despair, Ollanius was only convinced to move forward by John and Leetu. Along the way, they were nearly killed by a group of maddened Word Bearers until being rescued by the presence of the Emperor, who by now was swelling into a proto-god dubbed the Dark King.[9c]
Persson confronted his own friend, talking him down from the abyss of corruption by reminding Him of His humanity. Shocked that He had encountered Persson for the first time in millennia at this specific place at this specific time, Persson convinced the Emperor to have faith and give up the power He had built up even if it meant gambling humanity's future in a battle He was likely not to win. This ultimately convinced the Emperor to shed the mantle of the evolving Dark King, causing a blast of power to sweep across both Terra and the Vengeful Spirit that banished much of the Warp-madness spread by the traitors.[9d][9e] The Emperor then let out an announcement across the Vengeful Spirit for all remaining companions to come join Him in the final battle to kill Horus, a battle He was no longer certain to win.[9f] However, the Emperor forbid Oll and John from following Him and instead gave back the spool of thread they had initially followed, ordering them to retrace their steps and leave it in order for them to close the time loop they had created.[9g]
However while they undertook their task, Oll discovered that their shattered Athame blade had since been restored by the Emperor. Feeling that they needed to return to the Emperor's side immediately to give him the weapon, Oll ordered Actae to teleport he and John to Lupercal's Court.[10a] The act proved difficult, but the duo eventually emerged directly at the feet of Horus just as he stood over the defeated Emperor. Horrified by the monster before them, John spoke a word of Enucia, sending Horus across the room and briefly incapacitating him. Oll convinced John to flee by demanding he see travel into the past to finish their task. Oll then rushed to the Emperor's side and begged him to wake up, handing him the Athame blade. However, the Emperor would not stir. Oll then saw two of the Emperor's tarot cards next to him: The Guardsman and the Lantern, side by side. Oll recognized this as the Emperor speaking to him, the two friends finally reunited in that moment. Oll then realized Horus was recovering and soon approaching them. Oll again started begging the Emperor to get up, before turning to defend him. Proclaiming that he would not allow Horus to touch the Emperor, Oll unloaded his Lasgun into the chest of the monstrous entity before him. Horus contemptuously reduced Ollanius Persson into red mist with his talon.[10b]
The significance of Oll's actions cannot be understated. His efforts would help buy the Emperor enough time to recover, and crucially, by placing the Athame blade into the unconscious hands of his old friend, provide a means for the Master of Mankind to finally bring about the end and the death of his fallen son.[10c]
Ollanius Persson is said to belong to the old "Catheric" faith and wears what appears to be a crucifix around his neck. This is obviously inspired by the real life Catholic religion M31.
- 1: Know No Fear (Novel)
- 2: Unmarked (Short Story)
- 3: Perpetual (Audio Drama)
- 4: Saturnine (Novel) Part 2 Chapter 2
- 5: Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, pg. 174
- 6: Mortis (Novel)
- 7: Warhawk (Novel)
- 8: The End and the Death: Volume I (Novel)
- 9: The End and the Death: Volume II (Novel)
- 10: The End and the Death: Volume III (Novel)