|This article is about the Primarch; for the novel by Graham McNeill, see Fulgrim (Novel).|
|The Phoenician redirects here. For short story, see The Phoenician (Short Story).|
Fulgrim (also known as the Phoenician, the Illuminator, the Prefector of Chemos)[6a] is the Primarch of the Emperor's Children, one of the twenty Primarchs created by the Emperor in the earliest days of the Imperium, just after the end of the Age of Strife. Fulgrim, like the other Primarchs, was sucked from Terra by the Gods of Chaos and placed on a faraway world in an attempt to prevent the coming of the Age of the Imperium. Constantly seeking to emulate the Emperor by perfecting himself, Fulgrim's obsession bred a hubris that drove him to eventually become consumed by the Chaos God Slaanesh.
Tullea, Corrin, and Sullax were labourers of the resource-poor world of Chemos sent to investigate a meteorite impact. Sent without transport, the three had to take shelter from a wire-storm in an abandoned factory. When they reached the impact site, they didn't find a fallen satellite or spacecraft, they found an ever-shifting mass of light. Sullax was wary, but Corrin felt that it was harmless. Corrin watched the light take shape and it touched his mind, learning everything he did, before it took the shape of a perfectly-formed baby boy. Sullax wanted to kill the child, seeing it as a burden on their resources, but the child had entranced Corrin and refused. Tullea shot Sullax and neither of them felt any guilt over killing him to save the perfect baby. Noticing that a stream of pure water had formed where the baby had landed, Corrin decided to name the child after the water-bringer of Chemos's creation myth, Fulgrim.
Fulgrim spent his early years as a humble factory worker, but soon became a legend in his own right. At half the age of his fellow workers, he was able to fulfill his obligations to the continual running of the fortress-factory of Callax with ease. He quickly grew to understand the technology he had to work with and began to modify it, increasing efficiency dramatically. By the time he was fifteen years of age, Fulgrim had risen from the rank of worker to become one of the executives ruling the settlement. Learning of the gradual deterioration of both Callax and all the other settlements of Chemos, Fulgrim decided that he would save his world.[Needs Citation]
Under Fulgrim's leadership, teams of engineers traveled far from their factory-fortress, reclaiming and repairing many of the far-flung mining outposts. As minerals poured back into Callax, Fulgrim supervised the construction of more sophisticated and energy efficient machinery. As recycling efficiency grew to the point where Chemos was producing a surplus for the first time in years, Fulgrim began to foster a re-emergence of art and culture, aspects of humanity sacrificed in the struggle for survival. The other settlements allied themselves with Callax and, fifty years after arriving on Chemos, Fulgrim was its sole leader. Fulgrim battled many foes during this time, most notably the sword-dancers of Sulpha.[12a] He also engaged in many political marriages to secure the loyalty of other factory-cities, marrying several times but quickly outliving his spouses. According to Fulgrim, he loved some of these spouses at first but after a while stopped caring.[12b]
The Great Crusade
It was not long after this that the planet's isolation came to an end. From the grey sky came a flight of dropships, armoured and battle-scarred, each bearing the same symbol, a two-headed eagle. On hearing of this, some fragment of memory stirred in Fulgrim. Chemos had no formal army, but the dropships' landing zone had been surrounded by the Caretakers, the police-soldiers responsible for maintaining order in the factory-fortresses. Fulgrim sent word to the Caretakers to stand down and allow the visitors from above into Callax.[Needs Citation]
In his spartan quarters, Fulgrim was faced by armoured warriors from the stars. Their faces bore the scars of many battles, and from their shoulders hung scrolls listing their achievements. Their armour and weapons were finely-worked, and their banners and pennants were works of art. Fulgrim recognised that these men were not merely advanced, but civilised — his lost brothers from the stars had preserved the arts he had longed to return to Chemos. From the midst of these warriors stepped their leader, the Emperor of Humanity. Fulgrim surveyed him and, without a word, knelt and offered his sword. On that day Fulgrim swore to serve the Imperium with all his heart. From the Emperor, Fulgrim learned of the distant world of Terra, of the Great Crusade to reclaim the sundered galaxy, and of his own origins. It is unknown when exactly this event occurred; however, it is recorded that the construction of a starship for the Primarch of the III Legion was completed around 160 years before the beginning of the Horus Heresy.
Traveling to Terra to meet his new Legion, Fulgrim learned that an accident had destroyed the majority of the gene-seed designated for his legion, and without their Primarch, replacing it was a slow and laborious process. Fulgrim came to address the two hundred Space Marines of his legion, and the words he spoke were said to inspire the Emperor so much that he named the legion the Emperor's Children, and allowed them to bear the sign of the Aquila, the double-headed eagle that was the Emperor's personal symbol, on their Power Armour.
Fulgrim became driven by the notion that his Legion should strive to live up to this honour and the perfection of the Emperor and his vision of Imperial culture. This drive to achieve perfection soon applied to all things the Primarch and his Legion became concerned with, from military tactics to the embrace of artistic culture that didn't exist on Chemos to their very appearances. Fulgrim was a particularly imposing sight, with shimmering white shoulder-length hair, large, friendly-seeming eyes and a mouth that was never far from a smile. His armour was of the finest quality, and intricately decorated. Over it he often wore one of a variety of high-collared cloaks.
Fulgrim was anxious to make his contribution to the Great Crusade, but the comparatively small size of his Legion meant that the Emperor's Children were placed under the command of Horus and his Luna Wolves. Horus and Fulgrim grew close to one another while pacifying the Eastern Fringe. Eventually, swelled by recruits from both Chemos and Terra, Fulgrim was soon able to lead a crusade of his own, bringing countless worlds into the light of the Imperium. Fulgrim sought perfection and spectacle in these campaigns, as demonstrated when he took the world of Byzas with only seven men, despite nearly dying in the process. Fulgrim also established a close friendship with his brother Ferrus Manus, who also attempted to purge imperfection from himself. Ferrus and Fulgrim eventually came to each try to build the perfect weapon, resulting in Fulgrim crafting Forgebreaker and Ferrus Fireblade. The two exchanged weapons and they became synonymous with their respective Primarch's thereafter. In the later stages of the Crusade the Emperor's Children soon made a name for themselves during the Crusade, battling fearsome enemies such as the Megarachnids and Diasporex.[Needs Citation]
During this time, the Emperor's Children initiated the Cleansing of Laeran, a campaign that required great effort, dedication and sacrifice from the Imperial forces. At the conclusion of this campaign, Fulgrim acquired a trophy from the field of battle; a xenos-manufactured sword recovered from a Laeran temple known as the Silver Blade of Laer. He would begin to wield this sword more often than Fireblade, his customary personal weapon. With the benefit of hindsight, it can be recognised that the Laeran sword was a Daemon Weapon.
It is now believed that this daemonsword began to exert a strong chaotic influence over Fulgrim, and that the forces he had deployed against the Laer may have become tainted by the Chaos power Slaanesh. It was in this perilous spiritual condition that Fulgrim found himself at the centre of the emerging Horus Heresy.
Fulgrim himself met with the renowned Farseer Eldrad Ulthran of Ulthwé on the Maiden World Tarsus, in which the Farseer attempted to warn Fulgrim of Horus's grievous wounding at the hands of Eugen Temba and his Anathame, and how he was slowly beginning to turn to Chaos as he recuperated. Fulgrim reacted with outrage at the Farseer's accusations due to his close friendship with Horus, second only to his bond with Ferrus Manus. This was spurred on by the influence of Fulgrim's Laeran blade, which was infused with a Slaaneshi entity. Fulgrim furiously attacked Eldrad alongside his captains and the Phoenix Guard, destroying both Khiraen Goldhelm, an ancient and revered Wraithlord, and an Avatar of Khaine in the process, forcing Eldrad and his beleaguered forces to withdraw. This victory led to Fulgrim's subsequent destruction of various Eldar maiden worlds using virus bombs as a means to end the supposed treachery of the Eldar.
Whilst the exact timing and placement of it varies between versions of the story, it is clear that Fulgrim soon met Horus in person, demanding a personal account of his actions. Instead, Horus was able to sway Fulgrim to his cause. Fulgrim's respect for Horus allowed Chaos to find its way into Fulgrim's heart, destroying Fulgrim's loyalty to Terra, and replacing it with a burning desire to destroy the man who held humanity back from the perfection Fulgrim desired. Fulgrim was immediately sent to meet with Ferrus Manus, Primarch of the Iron Hands. Great bonds of friendship and brotherhood existed between them, and Fulgrim felt that he could convince Ferrus of the righteousness of Horus' cause. He was wrong however, and their meeting did not go well, and concluded in violence. When next the brothers met, it would be as enemies. Their path chosen, the chaotic rot spread quickly, from Fulgrim to his lieutenants, the Lord Commanders of the Legion, then to company and squad leaders, and finally all but a bare handful of Marines followed Slaanesh rather than the Emperor. Perfection became perfect hedonism. Fulgrim's mental state quickly deteriorated, he began talking to a painting by Serena D'Angelus and killed the Sculptor Ostian Delafour after he inadvertently slighted the Primarch.
When the loyalist legions arrived in the Isstvan system, the Emperor's Children were at the forefront of the fighting, aiding in the massacre of their former brethren. During the infamous Drop Site Massacre, Fulgim and Ferrus Manus met once again, and had their final and fateful duel. Fulgrim wielded the weapon he had made for his brother, the Thunder Hammer Forgebreaker, while Ferrus did the same with the sword Fireblade. Though both weapons were shattered Fulgrim proved the victor after taking up his Silver Blade, but discovered he could not bring himself to kill his brother. It was at this point that the daemon bound within the Laeran blade fully exerted itself, and Ferrus Manus was struck dead. Fulgrim was shocked into clear-thinking by the death of his brother, aghast at what he had done and at the horrific betrayal and carnage around him. In a further moment of weakness he agreed to the daemon's offer to send him to oblivion and allowed the Warp-creature to escape from the sword. It took but a moment for it to possess him body and soul, trapping his consciousness in a tiny corner of his mind. From that moment on, Fulgrim became a prisoner in his own form, his existence fully controlled by the Slaaneshi daemon. Fulgrim's soul was later trapped in the twisted painting of Serena D'Angelus. The only person aware of the fate of Fulgrim was Horus, who recognized the Daemonic possession almost immediately during their next meeting but considered Fulgrim too valuable an asset to lose. Lorgar and Magnus also became aware of the true nature of Fulgrim upon encountering him.
However, in the months afterward Fulgrim was able to regain his body by unknown means, trapping the daemon's essence in the same painting he had been trapped in. This was only revealed to his Legion when a group of captains led by Lucius realised what had happened to their Primarch and took Fulgrim captive; he allowed them to do this to prove he was no longer possessed, as they tried to make the daemon release its hold over him through extreme torture. Fulgrim revealed that he had forced the daemon out and had been himself for some time, and had chosen to devote himself to Slaanesh fully and of his own free will for reasons he did not deign to explain.
Fulgrim soon joined forces with Perturabo, Primarch of the Iron Warriors, on the world of Hydra Cordatus. Promising the Lord of Iron perfection, the two embarked on a quest to tip the balance of the rebellion in Horus' favor by journeying into the Eye of Terror and retrieve a weapon known as the Angel Exterminatus. Shortly before they were to leave, Fulgrim was hit by a direct headshot from the vengeful Sisypheum crew member Nykona Sharrowkyn. Fulgrim survived the wound however thanks to the efforts of Fabius Bile. After a brief boarding battle with the Sisypheum that saw the ship escape yet again, the two Primarchs arrived in the Eye and quickly landed on the Crone World of Iydris. Entering an ancient Eldar citadel known as the Amon ny'shak Kaelis, the Emperor's Children and Iron Warriors had to contend with an army of Wraithguard and Wraithlords that had awoken from their slumber. At the height of the vicious battle Fulgrim attempted to betray his brother and slip away, but was pursued by Perturabo. Both soon arrived in a massive spherical chamber, and Fulgrim revealed to his brother that there was no Angel Exterminatus, but he rather was destined to become such a weapon on this world. Furious, Perturabo attempted to attack Fulgrim but was drained of his power when Fulgrim activated the Maugetar stone that Perturabo had previously received under the guise of a gift. Now with the Iron Warriors Primarchs' power in hand, Fulgrim revealed the purpose of his plan: to achieve Apotheosis, better known as Daemonhood.
However just as Fulgrim was about to complete his ritual and achieve Daemonhood, Perturabo gathered enough strength to charge at his brother but were interrupted by an ambush of Salamanders, Iron Hands, and Raven Guard who had been stalking the traitor fleet in search of vengeance since the Drop Site Massacre. One of the loyalist Astartes during the battle shattered the Maugetar stone, freeing some of Perturabo's energy and giving him the ability to strike down Fulgrim with his Thunder Hammer. However Perturabo only managed to destroy the Primarchs mortal skin and was reborn as a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh. Now a massive but elegant serpentine creature, Fulgrim told his brother that they would meet again then vanished in a burst of Warp energy along with his Emperor's Children. Fulgrim next appeared answering Horus' summons in the Battle of Dwell, where he was tasked to lead the Emperor's Children to the Halikarnaxes Stars. Before he could depart, Fulgrim survived another Iron Hands assassination attempt, this time by Shadrak Meduson and a trio of Fire Raptors. Fulgrim displayed his potent new abilities in the fight, destroying one of the loyalist aircraft with his psychic powers. Afterwards Fulgrim was tasked by Horus to secretly corrupt the Knight House of Devine in preparations for the Battle of Molech. Following these tasks, Fulgrim largely vanished as he became more concerned with the matters of the Warp and his Legion disintegrated into various warbands. However Horus and Eidolon were both confident that he would ultimately return when they reached Terra. In 012.M31, his followers summoned Fulgrim during the Pale Stars campaign so that he could amuse himself in witnessing horribly mutated Inductii battle Salamanders. After taking some enjoyment in personally killing the local Salamanders commander, Brant Hesioth, Fulgrim vanished in a supernova-like explosion.
After Horus issued his muster for the traitor primarch's to gather at Ullanor in preparation for the march to Terra, Fulgrim still could not be found. Thus Lorgar volunteered to find Fulgrim and bring him back to Horus' war effort. By accessing the Webway, Lorgar and his entourage eventually arrived inside the Eye of Terror and then the Palace of Slaanesh itself. Inside, they found Fulgrim engaged in debauchery and degeneracy with his new consort, N'Kari. Fulgrim refused Lorgar's demand to come to Ullanor with him, stating that he simply did not care about the war anymore. Lorgar refused to back down, and the two sides came to battle. As Fulgrim was about to strike Lorgar, the Dark Apostle Zardu Layak uttered the secret True Name of Fulgrim's newly elevated Daemonic form. Fulgrim was bound to the will of Layak, and forced to come with Lorgar. With a cry across the Warp, Fulgrim gathered the Emperor's Children back to himself and by the time the Word Bearers reached Ullanor, the Legion was whole once more.
In truth, Lorgar intended to use the enslaved Fulgrim as part of a plan for him to kill Horus and take his place as Warmaster. However when Lorgar's coup quickly unraveled when the oracle Actaea revealed his plans to Horus, and Zardu Layak freed Fulgrim from his binding instead of ordering him to attack Horus as originally intended. Fulgrim urged Horus to kill Lorgar, but instead the Primarch was banished from the Warmaster's sight after a vicious beating. Fulgrim licked the blood from Lorgar's taste, enjoying the sweet taste of revenge upon his former jailer. Fulgrim stayed by Horus' side during the muster at Ullanor and he and the Emperor's Children pledged themselves to the march on Terra. During the final stages of the Solar War, Fulgrim appeared aboard the Pride of the Emperor as part of the massive traitor fleet.
All trace of decency amongst the Emperor's Children had vanished by the time they partook in the Siege of Terra. During the early stages of the Siege Fulgrim did little, goading Angron into fits of fury for his own amusement and constantly requesting that Horus let him be unleashed upon Terra. He oversaw a major attack on the southeastern region of the walls of the Palace, but failed to penetrate the Emperor's psychic shield. During a meeting of the traitor leaders, he mocked Perturabo for refusing the delights Chaos had to offer.[21a] While other Traitor Legions assaulted the Imperial Palace, the Emperor's Children embarked upon a spree of terror and gratification amongst the helpless citizenry of Terra. Even by the early stages of the battle they simply launched attacks to drag away prisoners for their own amusement. However Abaddon was able to get Eidolon to somehow convince Fulgrim to lead the whole of the Emperor's Children against the Saturnine Gate in a bid to quickly end the battle. During the assault on Saturnine Fulgrim massacred his way across Imperial Fists until he encountered Sigismund, battling the First Captain. Fulgrim was impressed with Sigismund's abilities but quickly overmatched the Imperial Fists champion. As he was about to finish Sigismund, Fulgrim was then confronted Rogal Dorn himself. The two Primarchs did battle, with Fulgrim constantly goading and taunting his brother. Dorn refused to respond to Fulgrim's taunts, and seemed to have the advantage against the traitorous Primarch, who was transformed into his standard Primarch form as opposed to that of a Daemon Prince. Dorn managed to counter every attack and impale Fulgrim, but the Phoenician laughed off the damage as he rapidly regenerated and declared he can't die. It was then that Fulgrim learned that Abaddon's attack beneath Saturnine had failed, dooming the assault on the walls with it. No longer interested in the battle and annoyed with his allies, Fulgrim transformed into his Daemonic visage and abandoned the fight. However before he left, he gave Dorn a parting gift by summoning his elite guard led by Eidolon to assassinate his brother.
Under Fulgrim, billions of defenceless civilians were used as experimental subjects in the effort to create ever-more powerful stimulants and pleasure-inducing chemicals, used to suffer daemons, or were simply killed to sate the bloodlust of the Legion.
When Horus was defeated by the Emperor, the Emperor's Children left a trail of depopulated worlds in their wake as they fled towards the Eye of Terror. As their supply of slaves was exhausted, they resorted to raiding the other Traitor Legions for fresh meat, leading to a series of conflicts known as the Legion War. Fulgrim was seen in combat a century after the Heresy at the Battle of Thessala with Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines, where he slashed his brother's throat and laid him low with a fatal poison, before disappearing from records for many centuries.
The Emperor's Children claimed that Fulgrim was gifted by Slaanesh with a hidden world of unlimited pleasure for him to rule. Several centuries after the Heresy, he was said to be asleep on this world and not active in guiding the Emperor's Children.[15f] Warbands of Emperor's Children, other Slaanesh-worshiping Chaos Space Marines and Cultists, and the Imperial Inquisition have sought out this world, but none have returned. Abaddon the Despoiler was also able to somehow find Fulgrim and was able to gain the favor of Slaanesh by trading an unblemished Pythosian Psyker with the Primarch.
Fulgrim made another appearance at the conclusion of the Ultramar Campaign in the closing days of M41. Through the efforts of the Mechanicum and Eldar Roboute Guilliman was healed from the wounds inflicted by Fulgrim. Fulgrim sensed his brother's revival and took the time to possess the Arch-Consul of Macragge in order to gloat to Guilliman during his first public appearance in ten thousand years. Through the body of the Arch-Consul, Fulgrim announces that Guilliman would have many temptations to resist and that any feeling of self-satisfaction would be his doom. Later he appeared during the Sabbyst Planetstrike where he slew the Iron Hands Captain Sind Grolvoch.
At some point in the 41st Millennium, Fulgrim was lured back to Isstvan III by a sonic beacon. There he was confronted by the sole surviving loyalist Emperor's Child, the Dreadnought Rylanor. As Fulgrim tore the Dreadnought apart, an unexploded Virus Bomb was detonated and engulfed the planet. Though Fulgrim's form survived, his pride was wounded.
Sometime before M41, Fabius Bile managed to create a perfect clone of Fulgrim.[15a] Unlike all previous attempts, this clone was pure and uncorrupted, with not even a hint of the warp affecting him. Why this one had succeeded was unknown, even to Fabius.[15b] The clone aged to adulthood quickly, his Primarch genetic memory allowing him to learn quickly, as well as remember the events of the Horus Heresy.[15c] Expressing regret for his actions and downfall, he swore to wipe away the sins of his past and atone for his treason.[15d] Fulgrim was taken by Trazyn the Infinite when Fabius betrayed him, fearing the clone would go down the same route as the original.[15e]
Before the Heresy, Fulgrim was a warrior that enjoyed the finer arts of civilisation and culture of his people such as art, music and celebration. He believed that there was little point in conquering the galaxy if they did not indulge in these civilised traits. Fulgrim himself also engaged in the arts and created marble statues of his two three first captains though he felt that his work was not perfect.[Needs Citation]
One of Fulgrim's noted character traits which was adopted by his Legion was the quest for perfection. He believed that Mankind was the perfect creation and that they must strive to emulate his father, the Emperor. As such, he was greatly angered whenever this goal was challenged. He demonstrated this in his hostility to adopting the Laer as a protectorate and believed that only Humanity had the right to rule. There was, however, a flaw here as he secretly believed that there was something wrong with him and his Legion due to the near disaster that claimed half their number before the start of the Great Crusade. This allowed others to exploit him and was the reason why he accepted Fabius Bile's genetic treatments of the Legion.[Needs Citation]
Among his fellow Primarchs, Fulgrim's friendships were deepest with Ferrus Manus and Horus though the former was a stronger bond.
Fulgrim wielded many weapons throughout the Heresy. He is perhaps most famous for the Silver Blade of Laer, the daemonic weapon that drove him to corruption. However, before wielding this weapon, his primary weapon was Fireblade, a power sword built for him by Ferrus Manus. After the Battle of Isstvan III, Fulgrim also came into the possession of the Anathame. During the Drop Site Massacre, Fulgrim effectively wielded Manus's thunderhammer Forgebreaker for a time. Fulgrim's personal firearm was the volkite charger Firebrand, while his power armour was an ornate artistically-crafted suit known as the Gilded Panoply.
Epic Scale Fulgrim miniature
Fulgrim's name may derive from the Latin word Fulgur, meaning electrifying, flashing, or dazzling. His title Phoenician is a term that can mean of the civilisation of Phoenicia, the mythical Phoenix, or the colour purple depending on the context.
According to the Index Astartes, Fulgrim did not attain the status of Daemon Prince until after the Horus Heresy. However, the novel Angel Exterminatus has him achieving Daemonhood during the Heresy.
- 1: Index Astartes I, Children of the Emperor
- 2: Fulgrim (Novel) [Needs Citation]
- 3: White Dwarf 150 [Needs Citation]
- 4: The Reflection Crack'd (Novella) [Needs Citation]
- 5: Angel Exterminatus (Novel) [Needs Citation]
- 6: The Horus Heresy Book One - Betrayal [Needs Citation]
- 6a: pg. 258
- 7: Black Legion - A Codex: Chaos Space Marines Supplement, pg. 50
- 8: Aurelian (Novella) [Needs Citation]
- 9: Vengeful Spirit (Novel) [Needs Citation]
- 10: The Path of Heaven (Novel) [Needs Citation]
- 11: Gathering Storm: Rise of the Primarch, Part 1
- 12: Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix (Novel) [Needs Citation]
- 13: Gathering Storm: Fracture of Biel-Tan, Chapter 3: War in the Labyrinth - +++Opticon Solo+++
- 14: Index Astartes III, Warriors of Ultramar
- 15: Fabius Bile: Clonelord (Novel), Chapter 9
- 16: Slaves to Darkness (Novel) — Chapters 15–19
- 17: Sons of the Emperor (Anthology) — The Ancient Awaits
- 18: The Solar War (Novel) - Chapter 19
- 19: The Lost and the Damned (Novel) - Chapters 4-5
- 20: Codex Supplement: Iron Hands (8th Edition), pg. 14
- 21: The First Wall (Novel) Chapter 8
- 21a: Chapter 10
- 22: Saturnine (Novel) Part 3 Chapters 3-4
- 23: Fabius Bile: Manflayer (Novel) - Prologue
- 24: Fear to Tread (Novel) - Melchior
- 25: White Dwarf 287 - Horus Heresy Collectible Card Games preview
- 26: Mortis (Novel) Limited Edition artwork
- 27: Warhammer Community: NOVA Open Previews – The Phoenecian Transformed (posted 30/8/2023) (last accessed 31/8/2023)
- 28: Exemplary Battles of the Age of Darkness: Volume One, Chapter "Purging of the Invocastus Sector"