|This article is about the Chaos Space Marine; for the other uses of Khârn, see Khârn (disambiguation). For the other uses of Betrayer, see Betrayer (disambiguation).|
Khârn, also known as Khârn the Betrayer is a Chaos Space Marine of the World Eaters Legion. Khârn is the greatest of all the Champions of Khorne, second only to the Daemon Prince Angron in power. He is the avatar of Khorne, embodying that god's indiscriminate rage and bloodlust.
Kharn was born on Terra and was inducted into the War Hounds Legion. Trained on Bodt by the War Hounds Master of Neophytes Gruner, Kharn eventually rose to become Captain of the Eighth Assault Company.
When the War Hounds' primarch, Angron, was found, the entire Legion rejoiced, but their elation turned to horror when their progenitor rejected them and disavowed any interest in joining the Emperor's forces. After forcibly teleporting the primarch aboard their Battle Barge, as the Emperor had ordered, the War Hounds were forced to keep him imprisoned in a cargo hold, where he killed every Marine officer who attempted to treat with him. While the rest of the battle-barge's command staff hovered in indecision, Khârn - the next ranking officer - was the only one who volunteered to try next.
Angron attacked Khârn as soon as he entered, and came dangerously close to killing him, but Khârn kept his composure, in such contrast to the previous officers that Angron was reluctantly impressed. Khârn swore to Angron that his refusal to fight back was not cowardice, but rather the complete awe and obedience which all of the War Hounds held for their primarch. He also managed to convince Angron that, if Angron was hungry for war, then the entire Legion was at his command, and the Crusade offered a whole galaxy worth of enemies to slaughter.
Khârn succeeded where the other Captains had failed, and led his primarch to the bridge of the ship to assume command of his Legion. Becoming Angron's Equerry, Kharn was able to find and convince Angron to rejoin the Legion after he abandoned them for nearly two years. Seeking to gain his fathers respect and emulate his strength Kharn later volunteered to have the Butcher's Nails installed into his brain, which at the time had a 100% fatality rate. However Kharn survived the process, being the very first World Eater to endure the Nails and earn Angron's acknowledgment as his son. During the subsequent Ghenna Massacre, Kharn and Butchers Nail's-equipped World Eaters put down a revolt by his old comrade Mago. After a duel, Kharn slew Mago who before his death declared that Angron's path would lead the World Eaters to damnation.[19a]
Crusade with the World Eaters
During the Crusade, Khârn served as Angron's equerry, often acting as a voice of reason that cooled his primarch's bloody rages (a surprising contrast with the person Khârn was destined to become). Like the other World Eaters, he underwent extensive surgery, increasing his aggression such that he now finds joy only in killing the enemy. His love of killing is so great that he has actually had a kill counter installed in the lens of his helmet. This kill counter was made from arcane technology and was a gift from the Warmaster Horus himself.
Shortly before the Battle of Isstvan III, Khârn had gained a reputation as a brilliant, but unstable warrior. Encountering him aboard the Vengeful Spirit, Nathaniel Garro reflected that some of the rumors surrounding the World Eater involved atrocities that even the most battle-hardened Death Guards found hard to stomach. Through his dueling matches and joint campaigning with other Astartes, Kharn established friendships with Argel Tal, Garviel Loken, Sigismund, and Nassir Amit.
The Heresy Begins
During the infighting on Isstvan III, Khârn was believed killed in action while fighting Garviel Loken of the Luna Wolves, a loyalist determined to stop Horus. Khârn engaged in close combat with Loken, only to be thrown against the dozer blades of a nearby vehicle, impaling his chest. It was believed that the blow was fatal, but this proved false.
Khârn, and a squadron of World Eaters, were later dispatched to Prospero to retrieve the Moon Wolf, a sigil gifted to Magnus The Red by Horus, to prevent any other Psykers from using it to contact him, as Magnus had done in his attempt to prevent the Heresy. As an aside, Kharn also had a personal objective of locating 'mind-healing' devices of the Thousand Sons. While there he interrogated Captain Menes Kalliston of the Thousand Sons, captured after a brief battle with the World Eaters. Captain Kalliston admitted that the devices Kharn was searching for had all been destroyed but offered to use his Athanean Psyker powers to salve the guilt and pain of Kharn's mind. Decrying himself as beyond saving, Kharn rebuked Kalliston's offer and, after a brief struggle, beat the Thousand Sons Captain to death.
Kharn later takes part in the Shadow Crusade, forming a friendship with Word Bearer Captain Argel Tal. Tal even proved able to calm Kharn, which led to Erebus becoming worried that his destiny as the Betrayer would be foiled. After Erebus arranged the death of Tal, an enraged Kharn nearly slew the Word Bearer Chaplain. Following the events on Nuceria and the transformation of Angron into a Daemonic entity, Kharn was the first one whom the Primarch spoke to. Angron ordered Kharn to massacre the slaves on the lower decks of the Conqueror and build him a skull throne. Kharn and Lotara Sarrin later put down a mutiny by members of the World Eaters and Serfs who wished to escape the increasingly corrupted Conqueror.
Following the transformation of Angron, the World Eaters went on to mindlessly slaughter any world they came across. Kharn accompanied Angron throughout this, and continued to insist that the Primarch was dying. Angron and his Legion refused all summons by Horus to muster at Ullanor in preparation for the drive on Terra. This eventually caused the Iron Warriors under Perturabo himself to track the World Eaters to Deluge. On the world, they found the population butchered and erected into a giant mound. At the top of it stood Kharn, who pleaded with Pertuarbo and his forces to leave before it was too late. Soon enough, Angron led an attack of World Eaters and Khornate Daemons against the Iron Warriors. Eventually the two sides came to an agreement to leave for Ullanor following the arrival of the Ultramarines. Kharn accompanied Angron to Ullanor and then to Terra.
The Battle of Terra
By the time of the Siege of Terra, Khârn was barely able to hold back the urge to murder anything around him, even valued comrades such as Lotara Sarrin. After hearing that Mortarion's Death Guard would instead be the first to assault Terra, Angron fell into a rage and massacred all he came across within the bowels of the The Conqueror. Lotara Sarrin feared that he would murder the Tech-Priest's attending to the vessels reactor, risking a catastrophic meltdown. This forced Kharn to confront Angron within the ship, where the Primarch revealed he knew of the 8th Captain's ultimate destiny and wished to supplant him as the Chosen of Khorne. The two battled, with Kharn being little match for his gene-father. However before Angron could finish him, Kharn placed a teleport homer on the Primarch which transported him to the shifting maze within the nearby Night Lords flagship Nightfall within, Angron became trapped and spent his time battling the many traps within the maze.
Kharn next appeared leading an attack from a Spartan Assault Tank on the Lion's Gate Spaceport, though the attack faltered in the face of the Emperor's psychic shield of the Imperial Palace. During the renewed assault on the Spaceport, Kharn fought alongside Abaddon, Kroeger, and Zardu Layak. Almost completely feral from the Butcher's Nails and influence of Khorne, Kharn penetrated deep into the Imperial lines in order to battle Sigismund. The two former allies dueled, and while Sigismund was the superior swordsman he could not match the Khornate power swelling through Kharn. Sigismund was only saved thanks to Rogal Dorn, who swatted away the berserk Kharn like an insect. Kharn was only saved from death due to a rescue launched by Abaddon.[22a] Later Kharn and Angron both led a massive World Eaters assault on the Eternity Wall Spaceport. As the Port fell, Kharn slew Sisters of Silence Commander Jenetia Krole.
During the culmination of the siege of the Imperial Palace, Khârn was at the forefront of every assault. When the battle ended with the loyalist forces victorious, Khârn lay dead upon a mound of corpses at the walls of the Inner Palace. His fellow World Eaters carried his corpse away with them as they fought their way back to their ships. Once on board they discovered that by some dark miracle, he still lived.[1a] Whether Khorne himself breathed life back into the berserker's body or whether the relentless clamour of battle revived his blood-lusting spirit remains a mystery, but since the Heresy Khârn has survived the bloodiest battles to the current age and never came so close to death again.[1a]
At the Battle of Skalathrax, between the Emperor's Children and the World Eaters, Khârn became both legendary and infamous amongst his legion. When the World Eaters' advance stalled, even though they were close to victory, Khârn became disgusted at their weakness and flew into a berserk rage, slaughtering friend and foe alike. Because of this, the World Eaters were completely scattered into small, individual war bands, and have seldom, if ever, fought as a unified Legion since then. Khârn's actions at Skalathrax earned him the sobriquet "The Betrayer", which he has carried ever since.[1a]
Since Skalathrax, Khârn has become the unstoppable and bloody avatar of Khorne.[1a] He hunted through the Eye of Terror, slaughtering any worthy enough to be killed in Khorne's name. One of the famous battles at this time was his fighting with Zarghan Ironfist. However Kharn has taken countless lives and while Human skulls are the most desirable he is known to have slain every almost every kind of xenos and daemon. Hive Tyrants, Necron Overlords, Autarchs, and Warbosses have all met their end at Kharn's hand. Despite his crazed nature, Kharn will still offer his services to brave Chaos warlords. However many are reluctant to call upon him, for his allies are often as at much risk as his enemies.
During the Thirteenth Black Crusade his wrath was unleashed upon the Imperium as Khârn, alongside a few of the most insane of Khorne Berserkers were loosed on the Emperor's warriors flocking to the defence of Cadia.[Needs Citation] During the Crusade he was a key Chaos commander during the Diamor Campaign, where he led his Butcherhorde against the Blood Angels, Adeptus Mechanicus and Imperial Titans on the planet of Amethal.
After the opening of the Great Rift, Khârn senses the presence of Saint Celestine on the planet of Tsadrekha and he heads there to claim her skull for Khorne. After carving a path in the Imperial defences, the berserker finds and fights the Living Saint, killing her in a duel.
Weapons and Abilities
Khârn is one of the most deadly yet unstable close combat fighters in the galaxy. He is just as likely to attack his own allies in a berserk fury as he is the enemy.[1a] He wields a Plasma pistol and the ancient chainaxe known as Gorechild[1a] (which, along with its twin Gorefather, was wielded by Angron himself during the Heresy), rimmed with the teeth of a Mica Dragon[1a]. Gorechild is able to tear through armour, flesh and bone with ease.[Needs Citation]
As Khorne's greatest champion, Khârn enjoys the Blessing of the Blood God, which renders him immune to the effects of psychic powers.[1a] In addition, since he has become Daemonically corrupted Kharn exudes a blood mist wherever he walks. This mist allows for the manifestation of Daemonic creatures and can drive lesser foes to madness.[16a]
- 1: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition)
- 2: After Desh'ea (Short Story) by Matthew Farrer
- 3: Galaxy In Flames (Novel) by Ben Counter, [Needs Citation]
- 4: The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow: Chapter Four, pg. 103
- 5: Battle for the Abyss (Novel) by Ben Counter: Chapter Thirteen, pg. 266
- 6: The Wrath of Khârn (Short Story) by William King
- 7: Chosen of Khorne (Audio Book): Cover Illustration by Hardy Fowler
- 8: Horus Heresy (Artbook Series) Page 250
- 9: Rebirth (Short Story) by Chris Wraight
- 10: Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition) pg. 59
- 11: Farseer (Novel) by William King, Chapter 19
- 12: Betrayer (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, [Needs Citation]
- 13: Warlords of the Dark Millennium: Kharn the Betrayer (Background Book)[Needs Citation]
- 14: Butcher's Nails (Audio Book)
- 15: Black Crusade: Traitor's Hate — Kharn's Butcherhorde
- 16: Shroud of Night (Novel),[Needs Citation]
- 16a: chapter 13
- 17: Slaves to Darkness (Novel) — Chapters 17–19
- 18: A Rose Watered with Blood (Short Story)
- 19: Angron: Slave of Nuceria (Novel) - Chapter 22
- 19a: Chapters 26-28
- 20: The Lost and the Damned (Novel) - Chapter 17
- 21: The Weakness of Others (Short Story)
- 22: The First Wall (Novel) Chapter 8
- 22a: Chapter 30
- 23: Saturnine (Novel) Part 3 Chapter 4
|Gods of Chaos||Khorne • Tzeentch • Slaanesh • Nurgle • Malice|
|Chaos Space Marines||Daemonkin • Armoury • Warbands|
|Daemons||Daemon Prince • Greater Daemon • Lesser Daemon • Daemonic Beasts • Daemon Engines • Daemonic Herald • Daemon Weapons • Daemonic Gifts|
|The Lost and the Damned||Chaos Cult • Traitor Guard • Mutants • Beastmen • Rogue Psyker • Gellerpox Infected • Armoury|
|The Traitor Primarchs||Alpharius/Omegon • Angron • Fulgrim • Horus • Lorgar • Konrad Curze • Magnus the Red • Mortarion • Perturabo|
|Notable Characters||Abaddon • Ahriman • Blue Scribes • Changeling • Epidemius • Fabius Bile • Horticulous Slimux • Kairos Fateweaver • Ku'Gath • Typhus • Khârn • Lucius • Lufgt Huron • Be'lakor • M'kar • The Masque • Rotigus • Shalaxi Helbane • Skarbrand • Skulltaker • Syll'Esske|
|Other||Traitor Titan Legions • Daemon Knights • Dark Mechanicum • Chaos Space Fleet • Chaos Vehicles • Chaos Artefacts • Eye of Terror • Maelstrom • Warp|