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Master of the First (Audio Drama)

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Master of the First
Author Gav Thorpe
Performer Gareth Armstrong, Tim Bentinck, Jane Collingwood, Jonathan Keeble
Publisher Black Library
Series Horus Heresy Series
Released 24th October 2014
Collected in Eye of Terra
Length 36 minutes

Master of the First is an audio drama in the Horus Heresy series. It was written by Gav Thorpe and performed by Gareth Armstrong, Tim Bentinck, Jane Collingwood and Jonathan Keeble. It was first released on the 24th of October, 2014. It was released in a box set with The Long Night (Audio Drama). A prose version was released as part of "The Horus Heresy Quick Reads Subscription" week on 24 February 2016, which was renamed the "Legions Divided Quick Read Collection". The story was also included in the anthology Eye of Terra.

Taking place during the Horus Heresy, Master of the First describes Luther's taking over of Caliban and the response by former Chapter Master Merir Astelan.

Cover Description

The Dark Angels and the Night Lords fought one another to a bloody stalemate during the Thramas Crusade, leaving the First Legion scattered and under-strength. Back on Caliban, those Dark Angels loyal to Luther begin to grow impatient for a return to past glories, allowing the corruption at the world's heart to spread.[2]


This page contains spoilers for: Master of the First (Audio Drama)

After Luther had completed his subsequent effective complete takeover of Caliban, Astelan was contacted by one of his company commanders, Captain Melian, with concerns about the direction things were heading in on the planet, particularly that the new Legionaries swore to defend Caliban instead of swearing allegiance to the Emperor. Astelan expressed ambivalence about Luther's changes, pointing out that that as a force ordered to remain on one world, without naval elements and apparently forgotten about, the Calibanite Dark Angels were effectively irrelevant to the progress of the Great Crusade and so may as well take as much pride as possible in just being Caliban's planetary defense force. Astelan also noted, in reviewing logs provided by Melian, that Luther ordered Zahariel El'Zurias to join Cypher on a secret mission.[1]

However, on learning that Captain Melian spoke for a group of officers and veterans, including Chapter Masters Neriedes and Temure, who were preparing to take militant action against Luther in order for their concerns to be recognised, Astelan agreed to aid them in planning a more legal and bloodless move against the planetary commander. With the aide of Marchesa-Colonel Bethalin Tylain, commander of the Imperial planetary defense forces, he provided his plan to the conspirators. They suggested commandeering a secondary communications spire at Redevakh and sending messages to Terra and the Lion requesting restoration of the original Legion protocols and command structure until the Lion could assay the situation personally. Until the Lion returned, they would simply detain Luther.[1]

The conspirators agreed with the plan, though not without them slightly warily noting that, under old Legion protocols, Astelan would become the legion commander. Astelan assuaged their concerns by stating that a committee would be formed to decide who the new legion commander would be. Regardless, the plan was carried out; the bulk of the conspirators would head to the spire on a "live ammunition training exercise," while most of the ringleaders - including Astelan - would confront and arrest Luther. Luther when the conspirators burst into his chamber and held him under arrest. Astelan used a hololith projector to show the forces attacking the communication spire.[1]

Astelan then contacted Tylaine, the commander of the Army forces garrisoning the tower, and ordered her to proceed with their previously agreed plan; the Army forces and a company of Dark Angels under the command of Astelan's subordinate, Captain Galedan, suddenly attacked the conspirator's column. Realisation dawning, Luther joined Astelan in turning upon the ringleaders, and, with him, defeated them all. Most of the conspirators surrendered rather than fight other Space Marines, and the little rebellion was quickly over before it could truly begin. In fact, there were so many prisoners that there wasn't enough space for them all in the dungeons of Aldurukh; Astelan counselled that Luther simply carve out new ones.[1]

Luther also questioned why Astelan had allowed the conspiracy to get so far along, rather than just reveal it to him immediately, suspecting that Astelan may have truly wished it to work and only switched sides to curry favour; after all, according to Luther, Astelan's dislike of Caliban and Calibanite ways was "well known". Astelan stated that he considered the Lion a taint, that in his opinion everything had gone wrong in the First Legion since discovering him, and that he would rather serve a more worthy lord, especially one whom he suspected also wished to rid the legion of the Lion. Astelan dared Luther to say that he intended otherwise, and Luther remained silent.[1]

Luther's first act afterwards was to agree to promote Astelan's lieutenant, Galedan, to Chapter Master. Galedan confessed to his former commander that he was pleased that their previous comrade, the conspirator, Melian, had survived, intimating that he would be useful to them when Astelan inevitably attempted to depose Luther as Master of the First Legion. Astelan protested that he had no such plans...for the moment.[1]

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Horus Heresy Series
Novels I Horus RisingII False GodsIII Galaxy in FlamesIV The Flight of the EisensteinV FulgrimVI Descent of AngelsVII LegionVIII Battle for the AbyssIX MechanicumX Tales of HeresyXI Fallen AngelsXII A Thousand SonsXIII NemesisXIV The First HereticXV Prospero BurnsXVI Age of DarknessXVII The Outcast DeadXVIII Deliverance LostXIX Know No FearXX The PrimarchsXXI Fear to TreadXXII Shadows of TreacheryXXIII Angel ExterminatusXXIV BetrayerXXV Mark of CalthXXVI Vulkan LivesXXVII The Unremembered EmpireXXVIII ScarsXXIX Vengeful SpiritXXX The Damnation of PythosXXXI Legacies of BetrayalXXXII DeathfireXXXIII War Without EndXXXIV PharosXXXV Eye of TerraXXXVI The Path of HeavenXXXVII The Silent WarXXXVIII Angels of CalibanXXXIX Praetorian of DornXL CoraxXLI The Master of MankindXLII GarroXLIII Shattered LegionsXLIV The Crimson KingXLV TallarnXLVI RuinstormXLVII Old EarthXLVIII The Burden of LoyaltyXLIX WolfsbaneL Born of FlameLI Slaves to DarknessLII Heralds of the SiegeLIII TitandeathLIV The Buried Dagger
Siege of Terra I The Solar WarII The Lost and the DamnedIII The First WallSons of the SelenarIV SaturnineFury of MagnusV MortisVI WarhawkVII Echoes of EternityGarro: Knight of GreyVIII The End and the Death (Volume IVolume IIVolume III)
The Primarchs Roboute Guilliman: Lord of UltramarLeman Russ: The Great WolfMagnus the Red: Master of ProsperoPerturabo: The Hammer of OlympiaLorgar: Bearer of the WordFulgrim: The Palatine PhoenixFerrus Manus: Gorgon of MedusaGrandfather's GiftPerturabo: Stone and IronMalcador: First Lord of the ImperiumKonrad Curze: A Lesson in DarknessJaghatai Khan: Warhawk of ChogorisVulkan: Lord of DrakesSons of the EmperorCorax: Lord of ShadowsAngron: Slave of NuceriaScions of the Emperor Konrad Curze: The Night HaunterGhost of NuceriaThe Passing of AngelsThe Abyssal EdgeMercy of the DragonLion El'Jonson: Lord of the FirstIllyriumThe Revelation of the WordMorningstarWill of the LegionEmbers of ExtinctionAlpharius: Head of the HydraBlood of the EmperorLoyal SonsMortarion: The Pale KingRogal Dorn: The Emperor's CrusaderSanguinius: The Great AngelHeirs of The Emperor
Horus Heresy Characters Valdor: Birth of the ImperiumLuther: First of the FallenSigismund: The Eternal CrusaderEidolon: The Auric Hammer
Novellas Promethean SunAurelianBrotherhood of the StormThe Reflection Crack'dFeat of IronThe LionThe Serpent BeneathCorax: SoulforgeScorched EarthTallarn: ExecutionerPrince of CrowsThe Crimson FistThe PurgeRavenlordThe Seventh SerpentTallarn: IroncladCyberneticaWolf KingThe HonouredThe UnburdenedGarro: Vow of FaithSons of the ForgeDreadwingSpear of Ultramar
Collections AngronThe Imperial TruthSedition's GateEchoes of RuinDeath and DefianceBlades of the TraitorMedusonBetrayal at CalthEchoes of the ImperiumVirtues of the Sons/Sins of the FatherEchoes of RevelationLupercal's WarCthonia's Reckoning
Short Stories The Lightning TowerThe Dark KingArmy of OneKryptosDistant Echoes of Old NightLost SonsDeath of a SilversmithThe Divine WordThe Kaban ProjectThe Gates of TerraLord of the Red SandsSerpentLuna MendaxRivenBjorn: Lone WolfThe Wolf of Ash and FireHeart of the ConquerorChild of NightThe ShadowmastersThe Devine AdoratriceDaemonologySins of the FatherThe Final Compliance of Sixty-Three FourteenVoraxThe Value of FearBrotherhood of the MoonVirtues of the SonsImperfectHowl of the HearthworldA Safe and Shadowed PlaceGunsightBlack OculusWolf MotherTwistedChirurgeonTallarn: WitnessIronfireHands of the EmperorBy the Lion's CommandAll That RemainsThe PhoenicianArtefactsGhosts Speak NotPatienceInheritorTallarn: SirenBlackshieldMyriadInto ExileThe Grey RavenThe Painted CountExocytosisThe Last Son of ProsperoOrdo SinisterThe Ember WolvesRestorerThe Laurel of DefianceImmortal DutyDuty WaitsMagisteriumNow Peals MidnightDreams of UnityThe Board is SetThe Atonement of FireA Lesson in IronMassacreTwo Metaphysical BladesPrologue to NikaeaOld Wounds, New ScarsAbyssalThe Last CouncilA Rose Watered with BloodBringer of SorrowLantern's LightThe Serpent's DanceThe Lightning HallEater of DreamsBloodhowlAmor FatiThe Fields of AbundanceThe Shel'tain AffairPrimacyThe NineVisageThe Last Loyalist
Audio Dramas Raven's FlightGarro: Oath of MomentGarro: Legion of OneButcher's NailsGrey AngelBurden of DutyGarro: Sword of TruthWarmasterStrike and FadeVeritas FerrumThe SigilliteHonour to the DeadWolf HuntCensureThief of RevelationsKhârn: The Eightfold PathLucius: The Eternal BlademasterCypher: Guardian of OrderHunter's MoonWolf's ClawTemplarGarro: Shield of LiesMaster of the FirstThe Long NightStratagemHerald of SanguiniusThe WatcherThe Eagle's TalonIron CorpsesGarro: Ashes of FealtyRaptorGrey TalonRed-MarkedThe EitherThe Heart of the PharosThe Thirteenth WolfChildren of SicarusPerpetualThe Soul, SeveredValeriusThe Binary SuccessionDark ComplianceBlackshields: The False WarBlackshields: The Red FiefHubris of MonarchiaNightfaneBlackshields: The Broken Chain
Artbooks Visions of Heresy (2013)Visions of Heresy (2018)Art of the Horus Heresy
Script Books Horus Heresy: The Scripts: Volume IHorus Heresy: The Scripts: Volume II
Graphic Novels Macragge's Honour