|Ambiguous Term? This article is about the the Space Marine Captain. For other uses of Garro, see Garro (disambiguation).|
Nathaniel Garro was the Captain of the 7th Great Company of the Death Guard Space Marine Legion. A veteran Space Marine warrior who would remain loyal to the Emperor at the outset of the Horus Heresy, Garro is most notable for commanding the frigate Eisenstein through several perils in a successful attempt to escape the Isstvan system and bring warning of the Great Betrayal to Terra. He became the first true martyr of the Church of the God-Emperor.
Born on Terra, in the region of that world known as Albia, Garro enlisted in the Dusk Raiders Legion, as the Death Guard was known before its reunion with its Primarch, Mortarion, and its relocation to its new base on Barbarus.[1d] By the time of the Horus Heresy, Garro was one of the few originally Terran Marines still serving in the Legion, which caused a rift between him and his fellow Captains, who often called him "Straight-Arrow Garro."[1c]
As Captain of the 7th Great Company, Garro was entitled to the honorific title "Battle-Captain", a tradition of the Legion dating back to the Unification Wars on Terra, when an officer of the XIV Legion distinguished himself in front of the Emperor, who bestowed the title on him as reward. Garro was proud to bear the title and approved of upholding the traditions of the legion, including the use of a housecarl, Kaleb Arin, to act as his equerry.[1a] Despite the pride at he took in bearing these honours and occasionally having the favour of his Primarch Mortarion, Garro did not believe in looking for glory or further honour in battle, and did not go out of his way to impress. He believed above all in simply doing his duty to the Emperor.[1b]
A veteran of many campaigns, Garro had great experience of both enemy forces and his fellow Legions. He served alongside the Luna Wolves under Captain Garviel Loken in the Krypt campaign against Orks[1c] and the Emperor's Children under Captain Saul Tarvitz in the Preaxior campaign. He and Tarvitz were sworn honour-brothers after saving each other's lives, carving small eagle emblems on the vambraces of their armour in such a way that, were they to clasp hands, the eagles would meet.[1d]
During the Battle of Iota Horologi Garro distinguished himself when fighting alongside a detachment of Sisters of Silence. Their leader, Amendera Kendel promised to present his name to Malcador the Sigillite in recognition of his dutiful service. Similarly, she spoke well of him to Mortarion, who rewarded his Battle-Captain by selecting him for the tradition of sharing his cups. Mortarion also chose this moment to subtly sound Garro out about where he and his men might position themselves in the face of rebellion against the Emperor. Upon learning that Garro was unwilling to join the warrior-lodge within the Death Guard, Mortarion decided to take Garro to the meeting with Warmaster Horus at the initiation of the Isstvan campaign as his equerry, in an attempt to ensure Garro's loyalty.[1b]
The 7th Great Company were part of the taskforce assigned to secure Isstvan Extremis, the outermost world of the Isstvan system, ahead of the Isstvan III massacre. During this battle, Garro was wounded by the enemy leader and lost most of his right leg, necessitating an augmetic replacement. The wound might have killed him, especially when his own company's Apothecary, Meric Voyen, was too far away, but Garro's life was saved by Apothecary Fabius of the Emperor's Children.[1e]
The Flight of the Eisenstein
The wound meant that Garro could not be declared fit for combat duty, and he was instead posted to the Death Guard frigate Eisenstein alongside Commander Ignatius Grulgor. It came to pass that Garro was in command when Saul Tarvitz made his desperate attempt to reach the surface of Isstvan III and warn the legions there of Horus' betrayal. Garro aided his honour-brother in reaching the surface and so learned of the beginning of the Horus Heresy.[1f]
With the betrayal on the planet came also betrayal in the stars, as Commander Grulgor and his detachment of Marines attempted to kill Garro and the men of the 7th attending him. Mainly thanks to the sacrifice of Kaleb Arin, Grulgor and his men were defeated. Not long after, the Eisenstein took aboard other victims of the betrayal, including Iacton Qruze from the Sons of Horus and Remembrancer Euphrati Keeler, whose conversations with Garro in the time afterwards strengthened his belief in the Emperor's divinity.[1g]
Attempting to flee the system and warn the Emperor of Horus' betrayal, the Eisenstein was crippled by the Death Guard battleship Terminus Est and barely made the jump into the Warp.[1h] Once there, she attracted the predations of the Chaos God Nurgle. The Chaos power resurrected Grulgor, his dead Marines and the ship's crew who had sided with him, creating some of the first Plague Marines. The ensuing battle between infected Warp creatures and Loyalist Marines resulted in the death of the ship's navigator and forced the Eisenstein to make an emergency exit from the Warp.[1i] Stranded hundreds of light years from inhabited space, Garro ordered the Eisensteins captain to overload her warp engines and jettison them into space. The ensuing explosion echoed across the warp and acted as a beacon for Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists' fleet, which had been becalmed by Warp Storms.[1j] Dorn rescued Garro and his men and took him back to Luna aboard the Phalanx.[1k] Even upon reaching Luna, and with the news of the betrayal delivered, Garro was still not safe, as one of his marines, Solun Decius, had become infected with Nurgle's Rot and fell to Chaos. Garro was forced to battle him throughout a Sister of Silence keep and out onto the surface of Luna itself. He eventually bested the daemonic ruin of his comrade and banished the entity he had become.[1l]
Afterwards, Garro, Qruze and Amendera Kendel were approached by Malcador the Sigillite and told that they would be needed to form the beginnings of an organisation which would utilise "men and women of inquisitive nature, hunters who might seek the witch, the traitor, the mutant, the xenos".[1m] Garro was infuriated to be kept on Luna, a virtual prisoner, while the greater war was raging throughout the galaxy, accepting a new role as Agentia Primus to Malcador the Sigillite. His first mission was to gather a group of Astartes warriors from across the galaxy and bring them to Terra, for un unspecified future purpose.[4a]
Garro accepted, and his armour was stripped of its old Death Guard colours and insignia, and re-inscribed with Malcador's personal sigil. The first journey of Garro's quest took him to Calth, in the midst of the Word Bearers' surprise attack on the Ultramarines. There, he recruited Tylos Rubio, a powerful Codicier.[4b] Shortly after returning to Terra with Rubio, Garro was ordered by Khorarinn of the Legio Custodes to accompany him to deal with a ragtag fleet of vessels led by the Daggerline that had arrived on the edge of the Sol System.[4c] Aboard were members of the Emperor's Children and White Scars led by Captain Macer Varren of the World Eaters, who had also abandoned his legion after refusing to turn against the Emperor.[4d] After the White Scars proved to be traitors, the Daggerline was destroyed[4e] and Varren joined the Knights-Errant.[4h]
While in the Sol System, Garro infiltrated the Phalanx in an attempt to recruits the Codicier Yored Massak, who had been sealed in a vault with the other Librarians of the Imperial Fists. Massak refused the offer, and Dorn warned Garro to be wary of the Sigillite's orders.[4f] Dorn's warning led Garro to discover that Voyen had recovered the remains of Decius was taking them to Io. Garro intercepted the ship, diverting its course towards Sol to jettison the tainted remains into the sun.[4g]
Garro resumed his recruitment mission, working his way down a list compiled by Malcador and Severian. In 017008.M31 he arrived in the Pale Stars aboard the warp-sprinter Eusebeian Herald, accompanied by Rubio and Callion Zaven, and sent out a coded signal from Optera IV. Captain Serron of the Blood Angels, Nirun of the White Scars, and the Nemean Reaver of the Dark Brotherhood answered his summons, but the conclave was interrupted by an Alpha Legion ambush. The Knights-Errant teleported aboard the Herald, taking the Nemean Reaver - their originally intended recruit - with them.[3a]
The last warrior Garro was ordered to recruit was Garviel Loken of the Luna Wolves, who was still alive on the surface of Isstvan III. Although Loken had been driven nearly mad by the horrors of the massacre, Garro managed to bring him back to himself, and returned with his other brothers to Terra to learn Malcador's true purpose in gathering them together.[4i]
Search for the Saint
Between his missions for the Sigillite, Garro would follow rumours of Euphrati Keeler, now hailed as a Saint. While searching for her on the Riga Orbital Plate, he came across Katanoh Tallery, an Adminstratum scribe who discovered that ships and supplies were quietly siphoned off other projects and covertly sent to Titan under the code name Othrys. She believed that they represented a Horus-backed plot to undermine the Imperium via the Departmento Munitorum, and Garro was willing to believe her due to her devotion to the Lectito Devinatus.[4j] Together, they slipped aboard a derelict ship sent to be used as material to build a fortress monastery on Titan, and they managed to navigate through various construction sites as they discovered esoteric weapons being shipped in and the arrival of the Mertiol wounded arriving. After fighting their way to the top of the newly constructed fortress, they found Malcador awaiting them. Upon discovery, Malcador revealed that it was not a traitorous plot but one that would ensure humanity would be able to fight the growing threat of Chaos after the Horus Heresy came to an end. However, Tallery could not live with the knowledge, and Malcador ordered Garro to execute her. Garro rebelled against the order, and Malcador relented, taking Tallery into confidence and putting her to use in completing the facility as Curator-Adepta Primus.[4k]
His next mission took him away from Terra to Nolec Trimus, where he battled a dragon-like daemon that fed on blood. Faced with Garro alone, the daemon would not be lured to fully inhabit its flesh vessel without more prey. Garro waited until reinforcements came to him, killing the beast alongside former Death Guard Helig Gallor when it took the bait.
Garro returned to Terra and continued his quest to discover the location of Saint Keeler. He discovered the site of a Church massacre and encountered Sigismund of the Imperial Fists, who had his own experience of revelation with Keeler, while investigating the site.[4l] In the end he tracked Keeler down, saving her from the Chaos-corrupted Vindicare Assassin Eristede Kell and the Alpha Legion operative Haln.[4m] Keeler was taken into custody by Vardas Ison, but she told Garro that his hand would set her free when the time came.[4n]
Shortly before the Siege of Terra, Garro and his Knights-Errant were busy fighting Chaos Cultists and Daemonic infestations across the planet. This included a brutal fight against the Lord of the Flies in which his friend Macer Varren was killed. However when Malcador chose his nine Titans to form the Grey Knights, Garro was not among them. Malcador stated that Garro's fate was not tied to Titan, but to Terra. Garro was set free by Malcador, absolved of his role as a Knights-Errant. Along with Helig Gallor and Garviel Loken, Garro stated that they would instead fight Horus when he arrived.
Martyrdom and Rumoured Fates
Despite this, conflicting testimonies claim that Garro variously remained imprisoned with the Seventy until his death, went on to serve at the Master Apothecariate seeking a cure to Nurgle's Rot (a path followed by fellow Eisenstein survivor Meric Voyen[1m]), still lives in command of an elite task force clad in the colours of the pre-Heresy Death Guard (not unlike the Knights-Errant), or became the Lord of Flies (who was, in fact, Solun Decius[1l]).
Appearance and Wargear
Nathaniel Garro was completely bald, his head covered with light battle scars. He had a patrician aspect inheritted from the warrior dynasties of ancient Terra. His eyes looked older than the rest of his face, and his skin was extremely pale, although not as pallid as some Death Guard complexions could be, due to his Terran origins.[1a]
Garro wore Mark IV Power Armour,[1a] his position as Battle-Captain entitling him to wear the Aquila Imperator, a ceremonial cuirass with a brass eagle spreading its wings as if to take flight across the breatplate and another rising from the backplate as a headguard. Unlike the eagle-heads of the Aquila both eagles on the cuirass were sighted, giving rise to a rumour among the more superstitious helots and servants of the Death Guard that they gave the wearer foresight, or acted as a charm against oncoming dangers.[1a]
As his primary weapon, Garro carried a power sword called Libertas fashioned in the style of a broadsword with a heavy monosteel blade. An old Terran weapon, elements of it existed before the birth of its wielder and even predated Old Night.
After entering Malcador's service, Garro was given a suit of Mark VI power armour[4h] (retaining the Aquila Imperator) and a Paragon Bolter — a master-crafted bolter with an increased rate of fire. He was also equipped with a variant of a Falsehood that projected a psycho-luminal sphere around him that distorted his appearance, allowing Garro to infiltrate the battlefield unseen and, even once detected, made it difficult for an enemy to target him.
- 1: The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel)
- 2: Index Astartes III, The Lost and the Damned: The Death Guard Space Marine Legion
- 3: The Horus Heresy Book Six - Retribution, pgs. 208–209
- 3a: pgs. 88–91
- 4: Garro (Novel), Epilogue
- 5: Patience (Short Story)
- 6: The Buried Dagger (Novel) — Chapters 6–7