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Ernst Stavros Killian

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Ernst Stavros Killian was a Radical[4] Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus.


This page contains spoilers for: Duty Calls (Novel)

In the 920's M41, Killian learned of the existence of the Shadowlight, an ancient Xenos artifact being studied on Perlia by a joint team of the Ordo Xenos and the Adeptus Mechanicus, which had the power to tap into the energies of the Warp and transform latent psykers into extremely powerful active ones. Killian believed that with the artifact, he could create an army of psykers, powerful enough to finally overthrow and destroy the forces of Chaos[2b]. Commissar Ciaphas Cain, who witnessed the destructive abilities of these enhanced psykers firsthand, later likened Killian's scheme to "burning down the house to kill the termites."[3]

Working with Tech Priest Metheius, Killian recruited a force of over-zealous battle-sisters from the Adepta Sororitas, stormed the Shrine on Perlia, killed the researchers and stole the Shadowlight[1][2a]

Killian and Methius continued to study the Shadowlight inside a Sororitas convent on Periremunda, recruiting members of a local Chaos cult to serve as "test subjects." Killian saw nothing hypocritical in using servants of Chaos for his schemes; on the contrary, he found it deliciously ironic to dupe these cultists into serving a cause he believed would eventually annihilate the Imperium's Great Enemy[2b].

When Commissar Cain arrived on Periremunda with the Valhallan 597th, to combat an incoming Tyranid invasion, Killian became fascinated with him. Thanks to Cain's well-publicised (and, according to Cain himself, wholly undeserved) reputation as a Hero of the Imperium, Killian saw in Cain a man with the potential to be either a nemesis or a perfect ally[2b]. Several of his cultist dupes attempted to assassinate Cain, but when he confronted Killian in person, he tried to win Cain over to his side, believing that Cain could convince Killian's hunters among the Inquisition and the Mechanicus that he was doing the right thing. Cain did not see things this way, and a fight erupted. Inquisitor Amberley Vail arrived and informed Killian that he had been declared Excommunicate Diabolus by the Consilium Ravus of the Inquisition, and was under arrest for treason and heresy[2c].

During the fight, Cain's aide, Ferik Jurgen, a blank, was able to grab the Shadowlight while remaining immune to its effects. Seeing this, Killian and Metheius wrongly believed that Cain's Mechanicus allies had devised some technological means of deactivating it. Under this mistaken belief, Killian grabbed the Shadowlight and tried to make a run for it. As soon as he got out of range of Jurgen, he was exposed to the Shadowlight's effects, and died, quickly and messily[2c].


  • Ernst Stavro Blofeld (no "s" in "Stavro") is a recurring villain in the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, and later the films.
  • There are strong similarities between Killian and the radical Inquisitor Quixos from Dan Abnett's novel Malleus; both believe that by recruiting rogue psykers, they can harness xenos technology that will ultimately eradicate the forces of Chaos, and both seem unaware of the destructive, potentially apocalyptic consequences of their actions.