An original member of the regiment, Varl started out as a "dog-trooper," before being promoted to Sergeant in recognition of his ability and popularity. A grifter and a joker, Varl is one of the more notorious members of a regiment whose members are known to regularly skirt the edge of adherence to regulations, but his roguish popularity belies the fact that he is also a hardened veteran who has been at the forefront of many of the Tanith First's most difficult missions.[Needs Citation]
Varl's presence in the thick of the Tanith counter-attack during the Fortis Binary campaign led to him receiving a serious wound to the shoulder; a lasbolt nearly atomised it, leaving his arm barely attached.[1a] He was fitted with an extensive cybernetic replacement for his entire shoulder joint at the campaign's conclusion.[1b] After his convalescence, Varl was promoted by the regiment's commander Ibram Gaunt to the rank of Sergeant.[1c] His first action thereafter was as part of the picked-man revenge squad put together to cause havoc amidst the Jantine Patricians regiment and recover Major Rawne, whom the Jantine had kidnapped.[1d]
During the Siege of Vervunhive, Varl's platoon was stationed on the Hass East bastion at the eastern end of the city wall, which had, thus far, remained untouched by the fighting. He was among the first to notice the Zoican sappers that had infiltrated the city behind the Guard lines and fought desperately alongside the Vervun Primary troopers to repel them.[2a] After the assault was repulsed, he remembered, with his usual quick thinking, that the invaders' uniforms and vehicles had fuel residue on them.[2b] He sent a report to Gaunt which, coupled with other evidence, eventually led to the arrest of a civilian businessman, Worlin, who had secretly disobeyed the city's order to seal the promethium pipelines leading into the city, inadvertently allowing the Zoican saboteurs in.[2b][2c]
During the Imperial attempt to recapture Phantine, Varl was chosen for Operation Larisel, a risky insertion/assassination mission which targeted Sagittar Slaith, right-hand of the Archenemy's overall commander, Urlock Gaur. Despite the difficulty he experienced training for high-altitude deployment Varl lead the operation's first team, Larisel 1, which encountered problems from the start but made it to Ouranberg's Alpha Dome before being captured. Thankfully, Varl and most of Larisel 1 were freed before they could be executed and survived the chaotic battle which followed as the Astra Militarum retook Ouranberg. The experience Varl gained during Operation Larisel later made him a good candidate for the EZ-level mission to Gereon, which while successful resulted in Varl and the rest of the team spending almost two years on the enemy-occupied planet. Following his return to the Imperium, Varl like the rest of the team was detained on suspicion of Chaos taint and only narrowly escaped summary execution, and though Varl was eventually able to rejoin the regiment his experiences on Gereon had left him changed, distant even from his once-close friend, Gol Kolea.
During the siege of Hinzerhaus on Jago, Varl ended up in the thickest fighting and witnessed Gaunt's capture by Blood Pact commandos. He was later discovered among the piles of bodies, completely covered in blood, and told the regiment that he had seen Gaunt fall to his apparent death while escaping. Thankfully, Gaunt survived the fall which Varl had witnessed and Varl's story led indirectly to Gaunt's rescue by Mkoll and Eszrah ap Niht.
During the regiment's year of sabbatical on Balhaut, the ever-mischievous Varl joined Rawne's criminal gang in robbing an illicit gaming parlour. Captured by the Inquisition, the gang escaped when a Blood Pact strike team attacked Section and later came to Gaunt's aid as he protected a high-level enemy defector with whom Varl would become unlikely friends, Mabbon Etogaur. During the mission to Salvation's Reach, Varl and his fellow 'Suicide Kings' (First Squadron, B Company) won the right to act as Mabbon's jailers, and Varl came to like Mabbon despite their many differences. Varl was thus unhappy when Mabbon was handed back to the Inquisition on Urdesh, though they would unexpectedly see one another again after the Suicide Kings were tasked with rescuing Mabbon during Anakwanar Sek's counter-attack. Sadly, Mabbon and most of the Suicide Kings died during the skirmish with enemy Qimurah which followed, with Varl, Rawne and Oysten being the only survivors.
Appearance and Abilities
Varl sports a distinctive bionic shoulder implant (variously referred to as an augmetic or cybernetic) which has given him somewhat greater than normal strength in that arm.[1b] Given Varl's quick-thinking as a trooper and confidence as a sergeant, Gaunt mused that he should have noticed and promoted Varl sooner.[1c]
- 1: First and Only (Novel) - Gaunt's Ghosts: The Founding (Omnibus)
- 2: Necropolis (Novel) - Gaunt's Ghosts: The Founding (Omnibus)