Corvus Corax[2a] is the Primarch of the Raven Guard Space Marine Legion. Growing up to become a revolutionary for the workers of Lycaeus, Corax became a master of guerrilla warfare and hit-and-run tactics. He remained true to the Emperor during the Horus Heresy, and as such his Legion took some of the heaviest losses of the war during the Drop Site Massacre.
Corvus Corax was separated from the Emperor while still an infant by the four Chaos gods. He was discovered on Lycaeus, the desolate moon of the planet Kiavahr. At this time the planet was a technologically advanced Forge World, providing its city-size factories with minerals extracted from the non-atmospheric moon by legions of mine-slaves.[2b]
Under the iron watch of heavily armed guards, the inhabitants of Lycaeus; criminals, political opponents and workers who had failed to meet their quotas, had long provided the rulers of Kiavahr a free and unlimited source of manpower. After the slave-girl Nasturi Ephrenia discovered the white skinned child who became Corax, "The Deliverer" in their tongue, they kept him from their masters, training him in the various skills they believe a leader and warrior needed: urban warfare, close combat and demolitions as well as political and philosophical matters. Ultimately, his abnormally fast maturation comforted the slaves and they became fixed in their belief that he was the savior they waited for.[2c]
Educated to be a leader as well as a rebel, he rapidly began his task by organizing the workers into fight teams, promoting the best of the men as squad leaders. He began building huge stockpiles of weapons, concealing them in numerous secret caches. He ordered a campaign of psychological warfare, launching riots and strikes to build up followers in the worker's rebellion and to stretch the garrison strength and morale to breaking point. Waiting for the opportune time to strike, Corax's forces launched their attack, taking key security points and destroying them by crude force or sabotage, killing every man of the Lycaeus defense forces.[2d]
When Kiavahr's rulers struck back, Corax was ready for them. He outmanoeuvred and ambushed their forces on Lycaeus with his battle hardened warriors, crushing their supply lines and striking the five biggest cities in Kiavahr with one atomic mining charge each. The charges were embarked on small transport shuttles and reached the surface via a supply gravity well. Soon, their forces nearly destroyed, their vast factories unable to produce anything due to the minerals shortages, the Tech-Guilds collapsed in civil war. While thousands had died in the nuclear bombardment of Kiavahr, millions of its people had been freed. Celebrating their victory, the inhabitants of Lycaeus renamed their home "Deliverance".[2e]
It is said that the Emperor appeared on Deliverance that day and, after a day and a night with his son, appointed him Primarch of the Raven Guard Legion. Nothing is said of their conversation but one condition of Corax's acceptance was the help of the Emperor in the task of bringing peace on Kiavahr. Soon the Adeptus Mechanicus stepped in and the world was rebuilt to the benefit of the Imperium while the black tower which once housed the guards of the moon became the Ravenspire, the fortress of the Legion.[Needs Citation]
During the Great Crusade, Corax's talents for planning and sabotage were of great effect and the Raven Guard, fighting frequently under the orders of Horus, became renowned for an unmatched ability with covert ops, sabotage, infiltration and lightning strikes. But the pair never saw eye-to-eye, and after an argument, the two Primarchs nearly fought each other. Corax left Horus's command.[Needs Citation] Corax also began to display great ill-favor and mistrust towards Terran-born warriors within his Legion as opposed to those from Deliverance. This was due to Corax's disgust with the Terrans for their use of terror tactics, which reminded him of the Night Lords. Corax instead sought to transform the Legion into a force for liberation of the oppressed. While Corax bitterly opposed Horus violently sacrificing Terran-born recruits in the Battle of Gate 42, he nonetheless began to "purge" Terrans by sending them on forgotten Crusades to the galactic rim and unexplored space.
During the Crusade Corax was frequently compared to Konrad Curze, Primarch of the Night Lords. The two were not only physically similar but also alike in their childhoods and even how they waged war. However unlike Curze, Corax retained a degree of humanity and did not engage in the mass slaughter that the Night Haunter was known for. Corax himself was disturbed by the comparisons to Curze, while the Night Lords Primarch himself came to hate the Ravenlord for the constant comparisons. During the Carinae Retribution tensions between the two came to a head, with Corax confronting Curze over his mass slaughter of civilians. The two nearly came to blows, but Corax was able to convince Sevatar to pressure Curze to withdraw.
|This page contains spoilers for:||Deliverance Lost (Novel)|
The Raven Guard primarch only met Horus again on Isstvan V.[Needs Citation] During the Drop Site Massacre, Corax was among the Primarchs leading the loyalist effort against Horus' betrayal. In the battle he personally engaged Word Bearers Primarch Lorgar in combat, impaling him with his Lightning Claws. Just as he was about to finish Lorgar, Konrad Curze intervened and forced Corax to retreat.
Though grievously wounded and forced to fight a guerrilla war on Isstvan V for the next 98 days he escaped the slaughter with a handful of loyal Space Marines thanks to the arrival of a small Raven Guard navy led by Captain Branne Nev. Captain Branne had been left as reserve on Deliverance and he departed the moon only due to strange dreams haunting the nights of Praefector Marcus Valerius, the commander of Therion Cohort, a loyalist Imperial Army Regiment. Unbeknownst to both sides, the Alpha Legion had allowed Corax's escape to further the plans of Alpharius. On quitting the Isstvan System, Corax sent back to Deliverance all the remaining ships while he himself headed to Terra to seek the counsel of The Emperor. The Primarch was desperate as the Imperium was collapsing, his Emperor needed warriors that Corax could not provide. Moreover, Corax was not granted permission to see The Emperor due to his workings on the man-made corridor to the Eldar Webway.[2f]
The Emperor, sensing his son's desperation, was somehow able to divert part of his psychic might in order to grant Corax what he was looking for. Through a psychic vision Corax asked for a rapid and effective solution to restore his legion's might. The Emperor, feeling the righteous intent behind his son's question, implanted in his brain some selected memories concerning the project for the creation of the Primarchs and the exact place where the ancient laboratory was to be found. However, stated The Emperor, the laboratory was well guarded by a complex system called "The Labyrinth"[2g] and it was up to Corax himself to find a way to pass through it. Corax was successful in this task and what he obtained was the common genome all primarchs shared. From this genome, through tough selection, The Emperor created each of the twenty granting each of them some particular and well defined traits (such as psychic powers or increased strength) along with a number of commonly shared feats (increased growing rate, regenerative powers, intellectual acumen and so on).[Needs Citation]
Once back on Deliverance, Corax tasked his Chief Apothecary Vincente Sixx of retrieving the correct Raven Guard genome and start the direct implantation on fresh recruits. With the assistance of the loyalist Mechanicum Genetor Nexin Orlandriaz, Sixx actually accomplished the task and went so far as to approach complete removal of the progenoid glands. From the correct genome, in fact, the whole Space Marine would have grown directly, all his enhanced organs already present. The only exception would have been the Black Carapace due to its synthetic nature. The carapace permits the interface to the power armor and it is not a real organ itself. In this way, the progenoids would have been useless for future generations.[2h]
With this knowledge, around 500 new, war-ready space marines were created in few weeks. It is at this point that an infamous treachery took place. Some Astartes of the Alpha Legion, in a plan orchestrated by the primarch Alpharius Omegon themselves, infiltrated the Raven Guard after the Drop Site Massacre. To obtain this, Alpha Legion apothecaries grafted the facial traits of some dead Raven Guards over the face of their own legionaries. The objective was to hinder the Raven Guard using their obtained knowledge as "this would have displaced the balance against Horus' forces" said the Cabal emissaries. Of course, since free to act as best suited, Alpharius Omegon had in mind also to recover the secret knowledge in order to expand their legion too. With the help of renegade Mechanicum magos Unithrax and his forces on Kiavahr, the Alpha Legion tainted the original genome recovered from the laboratories of The Emperor on Terra. This was accomplished introducing a virus-vectored mutagen based on daemonic blood. Thus, the successive implantation's resulted in still operational but deeply-mutated Astartes exhibiting scales, horns, fangs, tails, overgrown muscles and similar features. However while the plan to corrupt the new Astartes were successful, the attempt by the Alpha Legion to Destroy the legion's gene-seed was not.[2i] After this outburst of mutations and the discovery of the Alpha Legion infiltrators, Corax decided to stop the rebuilding of the Raven Guard and led his warriors, along with all the war capable mutated marines, with small squads striking like lightning on the enemy weak spots.
Following the Battle on Ravendelve, Corax still was committed to combating the forces of Horus. Compensating for his devastated legion's small numbers, he conducted raids, hit-and-run attacks, and instigated uprisings on traitor controlled worlds. These included actions on Constanix II, Scarato, and Carandiru.
Eventually, Corax reassembled the entirety of his surviving Legion at the Dexius System. There he contemplated on the future of the Raven Guard, with many of his legion wishing to return to Terra to aid the Emperor against Horus' offensive. After evading a Night Lords attack, Corax was again influenced by the visions of Marcus Valerius who saw that the Space Wolves were on the verge of destruction. Corax led the Raven Guard in the Battle of Yarant to aid the Space Wolves against traitor forces. During the battle, Corax led a suicidal last stand alongside Bjorn, but after witnessing the arrogance and vanity of Horus' forces realized that it was not up to him to determine when he would die. He was a servant of the Emperor, and would continue to aid him against the traitors until he met his end. Thus Corax led an evacuation from Yarant and expressed his intent to continue resisting the traitorous Warmaster from the shadows.
Corax and Russ made for Deliverance, eventually meeting up with Lion El'Jonson at the Raven Guard's Fortress-Monastery. The Lion is quick to question the Raven Lord's absence from major fronts of the war, but is ire is put to rest by Russ, who points at the survival of his own legion as evidence of their worth. Russ declares he will join The Lion's Crusade of Vengeance, including warriors equipped with new Mark VI Power Armour produced on Kiavahr. Corax however is cautious to commit his bloodied Legion to what he sees as a needlessly spiteful waste, and only assigns a small expeditionary force of his Raven Guard to The Lion's forces. Even in this role, Corax's forces will be used to eliminate key enemy targets ahead of the main Dark Angels fleet in order to spare entire worlds from annihilation. Raven Guard forces later took part in the Siege of Barbarus, assailing the homeworld of the Death Guard alongside the Dark Angels and Space Wolves.
By the time Corax had managed to rebuild his Legion, the Horus Heresy had ended and Roboute Guilliman's Codex edicts decreed that the Legion had to be split in smaller Chapters. Knowing that Guilliman's vision was true, Corax split his forces but remained unable to forget the growling monsters that he had personally created. After pondering for hours as to what should be done he decided to administer the Emperor's peace to the ones who remained, praying for their souls and his. Then wracked with guilt he locked himself in his chamber in the Ravenspire begging for the Emperor's mercy.[Needs Citation]
Nobody knows if he received the absolution he required but a year to the day after he had locked himself in, he left the tower and Deliverance on a course toward the Eye of Terror, never to be seen by the Imperium again. His last recorded words were "Never more."[Needs Citation]
Corax went on to hunt the traitor Primarchs, seeking revenge for the Drop Site Massacre. At some point he became mutated by the powers of the Warp, turning into a creature made of darkness and shadow itself. Using his new abilities, Corax wreaked havoc on a Word Bearers Daemon World in the Eye of Terror. Far beyond the abilities of average Word Bearers, the Daemon Primarch Lorgar himself appeared before Corax and the two engaged in a vicious duel. Corax managed to dominate the battle, forcing Lorgar to retreat and close the portal he had arrived from. As Lorgar vanished, Corax vowed that he would hunt down and slay the Daemon Primarch.
Wargear and Abilities
In battle, Corax favoured a Heavy Bolter for long-range killing, which he hefted and aimed as easily as an ordinary man would lift a battle rifle. He wielded two Archeotech pistols as additional firepower. For close quarters fighting he carried a three-headed power whip specially crafted for him by the Adeptus Mechanicus as well as a pair of Lightning Claws known as the Raven's Talons. In the absence of these weapons, he was more than able to tear apart enemies with his bare hands. Corax wore a jet-black suit of Power Armour known as The Sable Armour which incorporated an advanced Jump Pack known as the Korvidine Pinions. The Sable Armour was also capable of masking his energy signature and could be used to jam nearby enemy communications.
Corax's most potent ability, however, was his "wraith-slip", also called a Shadow-Slip or Shadow-Walk. This allowed him to seemingly meld with the shadows around him, disappearing from the view of his foes before striking unseen. Following his reappearance sometime after the Heresy, Corax became empowered by the Warp itself. Able to contend with the Daemon Primarch Lorgar, Corax is now capable of transforming himself into shadows, darkness, and unkindnesses of ravens.
- Corvus Corax is Latin for "Raven Heart".
- Corax's name comes from the Greek word Corax, which means Raven and is also the species name for the Common Raven (Corvus corax).
- Corax's last words are taken from the poem "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe.
- 1: Black Library Blog (08.03.2011)
- 2: Deliverance Lost (Novel),[Needs Citation]
- 3: Index Astartes IV [Needs Citation]
- 4: Horus Heresy: Visions of War, [Needs Citation]
- 5: The First Heretic (Novel), Chapter 27
- 6: Raven's Flight (Audio Book)
- 7: The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal, pgs. 38–39
- 8: The Shadowmasters (Short Story)
- 9: Ravenlord (Novella)
- 10: The Horus Heresy Book Six - Retribution, pgs. 137–145
- 11: Corax (Anthology) — The Weregeld
- 12: The Horus Heresy Book Three - Extermination, pg. 133
- 13: Shadow of the Past (Short Story) — Sons of the Emperor (Anthology)
- 14: Corax: Lord of Shadows (Novel) — Chapter 4
- 15: Konrad Curze: The Night Haunter (Novel) - Chapters 5 & 6
- 16: The First Wall (Novel) - Limited Edition Artwork
- 17: White Dwarf 478, pgs. 107-109
- 18: First Founding (Background Book), pg. 301