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Arthius is an opportunistic Xenos shape-shifter from a nearly extinct race which, sometime after the Great Rift's creation, has begun causing mayhem across the Hive World Gilead and its moons. By using his shape-shifting abilities Arthius can infiltrate any settlement or Hive and once he finds dissidents against the Imperium's rule, he uses his natural leadership skills to gain their confidence. Once they are in his grasp, Arthius uses fiery anti-Imperial rhetoric, and the dissidents' fear to turn them against the Imperium authorities on Gilead. Under several pseudonyms and guises, he has built a rag-tag[1a] Cult[1b] army of Mutants, mine workers, menials, and rebels, who are loyal to the Xenos' own twisted ideals and use Chaos rituals to carry out his plans.[1a]

Arthius actions have drawn the Imperium's authorities notice, and his various guises are wanted for questioning by Gilead's Arbites, the enforcers of Gilead's Planetary Governor and even the Inquisition. However none of them, are aware of Arthius' true nature, nor the large force he commands.[1a] Recently, the Inquisition defeated Arthius and his Cult when they attempted to sacrifice an imprisoned Deathwatch Space Marine, in a Chaos ritual that would cause a Daemonic incursion. Though the ritual was stopped and the Deathwatch Marine was freed, Arthius was able to escape the Inqusition's grasp.[1b]