Dreagher was a member of the World Eaters Space Marine Legion during the Great Crusade, Horus Heresy and post-Heresy era. Ranked as Captain and commander of the 9th Company during these periods,[2a] he is chiefly notable for being indirectly responsible for the renaming of the War Hounds legion as the "World Eaters".
The Great Crusade
Dreagher first appears in historical records during the confused reports of the events that took place around the discovery of the Primarch, Angron. In the record that features Dreagher, it is said that Angron, upon being placed into the care of his genetic sons - the Emperor's War Hounds legion - became murderously violent when the officers of the legion attempted to speak to him. As the War Hounds officers attempted to speak to Angron in order of seniority, it was not long before the ranking officer was but the 8th Captain; Kharn. Dreagher, ranking beneath Kharn, urged the 8th Captain not to attempt to speak to the Primarch in turn as the others had done. He and Horzt, commander of the 9th Company Stormbird squadron, hesitantly pointed out that if the situation with Angron could not be resolved, someone would need to be left to command the legion, and that someone, the implication went, should be Kharn. Kharn dismissed their concerns and went into his fateful meeting with the Primarch.
Dreagher was present when Kharn emerged, not only alive, but with Angron in tow, ready and willing to assume command of his legion. When Kharn finished introducing Angron to his officers with the phrase "Salute the one whose soldiers were named the Eaters of Cities", Dreagher's response would result in an unforeseen occurrence.
The Horus Heresy
Dreagher survived the Battle of Terra, gathering as many of his own company (the 9th), and that of the 17th (under Argus Brond), as he could find and escaping with them aboard the 9th's assigned vessel, the Defiant, before linking up with the survivor fleet of the legion as a whole. Also aboard the Defiant were Egil Galerius, Palatine Blade of the Emperor's Children, whom Dreagher had dragged to safety during the retreat, and the comatose body of Captain Kharn, who was believed to have died at the battle and since returned to life, and who had become something of a touchstone and person of veneration to the surviving World Eaters in the interim.[2a]
Almost all that is known of Dreagher in this period revolves around his desire to wake Kharn, in the belief that the worshipped legion champion, once equerry to Angron, would be the only marine able to assume command of the legion and steer it away from the increasingly-likely descent into slaughter-obsessed barbarism. The few personal details of his nature available indicate that he was deeply resentful of the fate of the War Hounds legion he had once belonged to, but did not blame Angron, nor the inventors of the Nucerian Butcher's Nails pain engines the Primarch ordered implanted into the legionaries, but in fact blamed the Emperor for starting it all with his initial treatment of Angron. Additionally, Dreagher had little interest in the growing worship of Kharanath that was building in the legion, thinking that prayer was weak. His battleplate - and that of much of his company - remained in the blue and white colours of the legion, instead of being repainted the red and brass of the Brazen Lord. [2a]
Dreagher banned the customary gladiatorial duelling rituals of the legion aboard his vessel, pointing out that without new recruits, all his warriors were doing were bleeding the echelon to death. He also went out of his way to ensure that he had an apothecary of some kind at all times - stooping so low as to train a human crew-member in the role after the company apothecary was killed - so that wounds could be dealt with and gene-seed recovered.[2b]
Once Kharn awoke - as Dreagher had believed he would - the 9th Captain urged him to assume command of the legion and begin to rebuild and unify it, claiming he would do anything to see it happen. While Kharn considered what to do, Dreagher stood at his side. Dreagher, then - as well as around 300 or so other members of the legion handpicked for the mission - was present at the parley between the World Eaters survivor fleet and a similar one of the Emperor's Children, when both met in the same stable system, in a realspace pocket inside the Warp. As the parley progressed, Kharn ultimately turned to Dreagher, and once again, fateful words were spoken.[2c]
Kharn's reply to Dreagher was to turn and antagonise Emperor's Children emissary Tiberius Angellus Anteus, prompting the 3rd Legion officer to complain incredulously that, should his behaviour continue, Kharn would be starting a pointless war. Distracted by Kharn's behaviour, no-one noticed until too late that Dreagher had drawn his sidearm. Putting two bolt pistol rounds into the head of the Emperor's Children officer, Dreagher stated: "Nothing unifies like a war."[2c] This move started the infamous Battle of Skalathrax. After shooting Anteus, Dreagher was lost to the nails for a time, eventually regaining his senses after joining Khârn in boarding the Emperor's Children warship Golden Absolute. Together, they hijacked the ship's bridge and set it on a collision course with Skalathrax before fleeing onto the planet's surface in escape pods.[2d]
The last currently known record of Captain Dreagher puts him amongst the forces involved in the following warfare on Skalathrax's surface.[2d]
- 1: After Desh'ea (Short Story) - Tales of Heresy (Anthology)
- 2: Kharn: Eater of Worlds (Novel)