Daemon World (Novel)
|This article is about the Novel by Ben Counter; for the classification, see Daemon World.|
|Adrian Smith (2003 edition)|
Daemon World is a Warhammer 40,000 novel by Ben Counter. It was first published in 2003 and was out of print for many years before a new edition of the novel was released in May 2008 to coincide with the release of Codex: Chaos Daemons (4th Edition). The 2008 edition includes an afterword by Ben Counter in which he briefly describes some of his thoughts on the novel and how some of his ideas developed.
On the daemon world of Torvendis, deep in the heart of the warp storm known as the Maelstrom, ancient rivalries threaten to shatter the delicate balance of power, currently held by the Lady Charybdia, daemon princess of Slaanesh. When the warriors of the Word Bearers arrive on the planet, hunting one of their own, the traitor Karnulon, monstrous forces are unleashed that could tear Torvendis apart.
|This page contains spoilers for:||Daemon World (Novel)|
On the Daemon World of Torvendis in the very centre of the Maelstrom, a barbarian named Golgoth sets out to restore the Emerald Sword tribe to its former glory by facing Grik, the current ruler who is weakening the tribe. On the way Golgoth and his warriors run across an old hermit calling himself Kron who offers to teach Golgoth the ways of sorcery and become stronger by tapping into his inner hate. They fight their way into Grik's tent, where Golgoth slays the degenerate ruler and takes leadership of the tribe for himself. Golgoth learns Grik had been sending warriors and newborns of the tribe as slaves and cattle to Lady Charybdia, the Slaaneshi Daemon ruler of Torvendis, in return for a guarantee of safety from her legions.
Meanwhile, Lady Charybdia senses a newly arrived spaceship bearing an intruder to Torvendis. Six Word Bearers also arrive on Torvendis to hunt and kill Karnulon, who has gone rogue and betrayed their legion. Kron, taking leave from Golgoth, uses sorcery to open an ancient underground city and releases Ss'll Sh'Karr, a fearsome Daemon Prince of Khorne. Even the planet itself seems to be afraid of this new threat.
Golgoth declares war against Lady Charybdia and forms an army united from many tribes who all share a great rage against Lady Charybdia. Golgoth's men attack the impenetrable walls of Charybdia City in full force, combating Charybdia's legions, led by their abe commander, Caduceia. Nonetheless, when the day of war ends the assault has failed. No section of the walls hold legionaries of any number any longer, but neither are there anywhere the barbarians can break through with impunity. As Golgoth's forces retreat something huge flies overhead. Ss'll Sh'Karr arrives and rips through the walls. Lesser daemons he summoned from the ground swarm into the gaps and slaughter Lady Charybdia's defenders. Golgoth and the barbarians charge in through the breath created by the daemons. Finding themselves with a common enemy, an alliance forms as the barbarians fight side-by-side with the daemons. Ss'll Sh'Karr decrees a truce as long as Lady Charybdia's forces draw breath. Word of the great war has spread through out Torvendis and more soldiers from around the planet arrive to join the invasion. Together, the invaders rampage through the city to attack the walls of Charybdia Keep located in the city centre. Ss'll Sh'Karr summons up an ocean of blood, flooding the keep. The barbarians attack via boat. The defenders had planned for any kind of invasion, except an amphibious assault. A hundred Violators Renegade Marines are sent after Ss'll Sh'Karr and come close to finishing him, but they are washed over and killed by a wall of daemons summoned by the howling of their prince. Lady Charybdia flees to the pinnacle of her keep and sees her city in agony as the enemy reaches her keep. Trapped, she is found by a Khorne daemon and killed. Death for her was meant to be the final ultimate sensation, but she failed Slaanesh and as punishment her death was merely pain followed by emptiness.
Karnulon, who had passed himself off to Golgoth as Kron, struggles through a hostile forest to find a one man saviour pod. The Word Bearers, observing the fall of Charydbia city from nearby, receive word that a vessel has been spotted leaving the planet. They track the trajectory of it as heading for the an ancient ship known as the Slaughtersong, which was believed to be a star of ill-omen by the people of Torvendis. The Word Bearers board the Slaughtersong and confront Karnulon, who declares that he is infact Arguleon Veq, a legendary Chaos champion who originally claimed Torvendis for Chaos by defeating a creature known as The Last. He summons his sword and attacks. The Word Bearers open fire but Arguleon Veq is faster than their bullets and has tens of thousands of years of battle experience. The Word Bearers flee throughout his ship but Arguleon Veq hunts them down. Amakyre, the Word Bearer captain, and another make it back to their shuttle but the Slaughtersong fires upon their ship before they can dock with it.
A messanger bird finds Golgoth in the keep and delivers instructions from Kron to go to the Hall of Elders in the forgotten Emerald Sword tribe stronghold. When Golgoth wakes after celebrations of the great victory, he finds Ss'll Sh'Karr and his deamons have broken the truce and are slaughtering his barbarians. Golgoth escapes and gets to the Hall of Elders where ghostly figures inform him they are the first of the Emerald Sword, placed here as guardians by Arguleon Veq to wait for a soul of pure hate. In him they see the loathing, violence, and betrayal he has gone through. They decide he is the one and give him the Emerald Sword, a weapon once used by Arguleon Veq. Golgoth flees the Hall of Elders as it starts to beat, like a giant stone heart.
The entire world shakes and breaks apart as Torvendis, also known as the Last, awakens. Torvendis is a sentient Eldar Maiden World that was corrupted into a Daemon World after being imprisoned by Arguleon Veq. The Slaughtersong and Arguleon Veq return to Torvendis and watch as the planet devours Chraybdia city, killing all the daemons and dragging Sh'Karr into the ground. An earthquake rips open beneath Golgoth and he falls in, never knowing what drawing the emerald sword meant or why he had died. Torvendis now spasms and screams, it had been suffering and was driven insane from being violated by Chaos for so long. Now it wants revenge against the Chaos gods, and Arguleon Veq had let it free to accomplish this. Only the loss of an planet of such significance to Chaos like Torvendis would be enough to harm the Chaos gods. The shock waves from the planet tearing itself apart vapourise Amakyre's shuttle, as well as finally killing Arguleon Veq who did not wish to serve Chaos any longer. Waves of unleashed anger lash across the Maelstrom, screeching into every living mind in the Maelstrom. Even the gods turn to see their prize disappearing as Arguleon Veq and Torvendis get their revenge.
Cover art by Clint Langley (2008 edition)