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Targetdrone.gif This article is about the Chaos Space Marine Legion. For other uses of Night Lords, see Night Lords (disambiguation).
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Night Lords

Legion Number VIII
Primarch Konrad Curze aka Night Haunter
Homeworld Nostramo (Destroyed)
Current Base Scattered, many in the Eye of Terror[2a]
Chaos Affiliation Most scorn all faith, but some worship Chaos Undivided or particular Chaos Gods[1a][2][3b]
Colours Blue-black with imagery of death
Specialty Infiltration, Psychological Warfare, Raptors
Battle Cry "We have come for you!" or "Ave Dominus Nox!"
Known Warbands

The Night Lords were the VIII Legion of the original twenty Space Marine Legions. Their Primarch was Konrad Curze, also called the Night Haunter. The Legion turned traitor during the Horus Heresy, after which it fought its way across Imperial space in a bloody campaign that culminated with the death of Konrad Curze at the hands of an Imperial Assassin. Since the loss of their primarch the Night Lords have based themselves in the Eye of Terror and now operate as a fragmented terror force who seem to go to war only to slaughter or acquire material possessions.[1a]

While most certainly Chaos Space Marines, the Night Lords scorn all forms of faith and respect only temporal and material power[1a]; indeed, many of them consider themselves free of the taint of Chaos and despise those they deem to be so corrupted.[2]


The homeworld of the Night Lords was Nostramo, a world of perpetual night.[1a] Plagued by both systematic corruption and endemic violence, Nostraman society was radically altered and pacified by the actions of the Night Haunter, at least for a time. Eventually however, conditions on the planet backslid to the point that the VIII Legion's Primarch, Konrad Curze, ordered its destruction.[1a] Nostramo has not existed as a world for ten thousand years, although traces of its once presence can still be found by those who know where to look.[2a]



Night Lords' Heresy shoulder symbol
Great Crusade era Night Lords Astartes

Originally known as the VIIIth Legion, the Night Lords first recruits were from the stinking ancient prisons of Terra. Here the children of prisoners were raised in the dark and among death. These pale "Night's Children" made perfect Astartes recruits. The Legion saw its first use when the Emperor deployed them against the Terran Saragorn Enclave, who despite having surrendered to the Imperium during the Unification Wars, still continued banned psy-breeding experiments. The Emperor's retribution on the Enclave was viciously carried out by the VIIIth Legion.[19a]

The Lord of the Night

After his discovery by the Emperor, Konrad Curze underwent a period of training under the tutelage of Fulgrim, primarch of the Emperor's Children, who introduced him to not only wider military strategems, but also Imperial culture, specifically that of Terra itself. Following this period, Curze was placed at the head of his legion, who are known to have adapted to his philosophies quickly and with diligence, as well as intelligently transforming the primarch's beliefs into military tactics. Curze's experiences upon Nostramo in his self-appointed role as the Night Haunter had instilled in him the philosophy of terror, whereby he had inspired obedience to the law by fear of extreme punishment. This societal philosophy translated into the military tactics of swift, sudden and decisive strikes often carried out to excess, as well as making sure the enemy knew who had hit them. The Night Lords therefore developed a practice of regularly using excessive force to defeat their enemies, as well as publicising these actions so that other potential transgressors would be well aware of what could happen to them should they break faith with the Imperium.[1a]

This approach made the Night Lords well-suited for dealing with worlds brought into the Imperium during the Crusade who were subsequently lax in achieving full compliance, or who even threatened to rebel. They were heavily utilized as a force that solidifed the Imperium's grip after initial pacification was achieved; as this sort of endeavor mirrored what Curze did as the Night Haunter on Nostramo, the Night Lords excelled at reinforcing the Emperor's will - through fear. To increase their effectiveness in this regard, Curze encouraged the Night Lords to decorate their power armour with death imagery. The legion soon gained a tremendously terrifying reputation, one that would cause many planetary rulers to immediately make good any outstanding tithes, make sure Imperial laws were being followed and sometimes would entirely stop an incipient rebellion at the mere rumour of Night Lord retaliation.[1a].

As the Great Crusade wore on and the Night Lords began to slowly receive replacement Marines from Nostramo (which had meantime fallen back to its pre-Night Haunter ways), the criminal element of Nostraman society, including murderers and rapists, began to fill the ranks[1a]. Much of this was due to the instability of Nostramo's and the return of the old nobility in the absence of Curze, who emptied their worlds jails for the Legion in order to keep the best warriors for their own interests.[27] This, in addition to Curze's probable insanity,[4] initiated a downward spiral for the Legion.


While it may be possible that the Emperor tacitly or even secretly authorized the Night Lords' excessive tactics,[3] the legion was eventually questioned over its increasingly extreme sanctioning of Imperial citizenry, especially by some of the other primarchs, a brotherhood that Curze had never felt a part of. Apart, that was, from Fulgrim. When his brothers began to turn on him, Curze turned to his tutor and supposed friend for counsel and confession. A sufferer of prophetic visions apparently all of his life, Curze told Fulgrim of his own great fear; that he had forseen the Emperor killing him and that the Legiones Astartes would endlessly battle each other in a perpetual civil war. Fulgrim, shocked and worried by Curze's behaviour and mental state, informed their brother Rogal Dorn (who was present in the same warzone as Curze and Fulgrim at the time) of these visions and claims. Dorn then confronted Curze over what he saw as this dishonourable besmirchment of the Emperor's name; the conversation came to blows, with Curze beating his brother bloody. Subsequently accepting being placed under arrest for this action, Curze entered confinement to await the judgement of the other Primarchs.[1a]

Such a verdict was never made, as before a conclave of the primarchs could be held Konrad Curze, after hearing that crime and corruption had returned to Nostramo in his absence, decided to refuse the entire process and escaped from detention, slaying members of the Imperial Fists and Emperor's Children in the process. He swiftly rejoined his legion[4] and took his fleet to Nostramo, the planet that had betrayed him, where he ordered all the ships in his fleet to fire upon the single weakness in the planet's adamantium crust, causing it to be destroyed.[1a][4]

Although the Night Lords had gone rogue, the Horus Heresy erupted before anything could be done about it.

The Horus Heresy

Konrad Curze and the Night Lords during the Horus Heresy[32]

Despite having gone rogue, the Night Lords were one of the seven Legions dispatched to destroy the gathered Sons of Horus, World Eaters, Death Guard, and Emperor's Children at the Isstvan system.[1] While records do not clearly explain why an apparent rogue legion was tasked to join the loyalist Astartes force charged with exterminating the traitors, at least one account puts forth the view that the Imperial justice system was both so slow and so unsure of how to deal with the Night Lords that the Imperial military commanders issued the order anyway, in their hurry to assemble a powerful force with which to crush Horus.[1a]

Upon Isstvan V, the Night Lords, alongside the Word Bearers, Iron Warriors, and the Alpha Legion, turned on the loyalist Legions who had arrived earlier and took part in the Dropsite Massacre.[1a] Upon decimating the Raven Guard, Iron Hands, and the Salamanders, the Night Lords returned to the galactic east and began an apparently unfocused genocidal campaign; most likely this was designed to stop any support from this area reaching Terra.[1a] Eventually, however, the Night Lords fleet was ambushed and badly mauled by the Dark Angels at the climax of the Thramas Crusade, with one fifth of the Legion confirmed destroyed. Worse still for the Night Lords, Curze himself had been badly injured and rendered comatose by Lion El'Jonson during the debacle, forcing Sevatar to take command of the Legion and organize a regrouping. Before his capture by the Dark Angels Sevatar would divide the fleet into six parts and order their commanders to scatter. Meanwhile, Curze was stranded aboard the Dark Angels flagship Invincible Reason, eluding capture and eventually escaping to Macragge.[16]

Meanwhile the splinter fleets of Night Lords forces scattered during Thramas continued to wreak havoc across Ultima Segmentum. One notable example was the Battle of Sotha, where Night Lords under the command of Krukesh and Gendor Skraivok attempted to secure the xenos device known as the Pharos from Imperium Secundus.[22] Later a renewed power struggle to determine the future of the Legion erupted aboard the Nightfall, with Curze's former Equerry Shang wanting to continue the search for the Primarch and become reaving warbands. However Shang was slain by Gendor Skraivok, who proclaimed that he intended to join with Horus and push on Terra.[23]

On Macragge, Curze became the target of a planet-wide hunt by the Dark Angels, whose primarch Lion El'Jonson had been placed in charge of military and security in Roboute Guilliman's Imperium Secundus. The Lion eventually tracked down and beat Curze into submission, after which he became a prisoner of the Lion, Guilliman and Sanguinius.[45] When the trio departed Imperium Secundus with their Legions to make a push for Terra, they took Curze with them, but Sanguinius eventually decided to dispose of him by freezing him in a stasis coffin and ejecting it into deep space.[46] Curze was consequently absent from the Battle of Terra. However, elements of the Night Lords scattered by Sevatar as well as those under Skraivok joined with Horus' main fleet and took part in the siege.

During the siege of the Imperial Palace, Gendor Skraivok unwisely challenged Raldoron, First Captain of the Blood Angels, to a duel atop the palace walls. Raldoron easily defeated Skraivok and hurled him from the walls. Crippled by the fall, Skraivok allowed a daemon to possess his body and instantly became a helpless prisoner in his own flesh.[47] )He would re-emerge millennia later a daemon prince). In his absence, a Night Lord named Krostovok took command, though the extent of his authority is unclear, as by this point the legion had devolved into individualistic killers caught up in the carnage.[31]

Horus Heresy Aftermath

Night Lords Space Marine[28]

Upon Horus's defeat, the Night Lords continued their bloody pogrom upon the Galactic East. While nearly every other Legion had been decimated in the fighting and all the other traitor Legions had begun retreating to the Eye of Terror, the Night Lords legion remained unified and retained the bulk of their pre-Heresy numbers. This heavily concerned the High Lords of Terra, who debated what could be done to cease their predations.[1a] Meanwhile the old base of the Night Lords, the Nostramo Sector, was scoured by an unknown enemy.

Night Lords shoulder symbol

This eventually led to Konrad Curze being assassinated by a Callidus Assassin. Curze had visions of this event all his life and therefore chose to allow the assassin to kill him on the world of Tsagualsa, where the Night Lords had built a fortress of living flesh. Curze felt that this assassination vindicated his philosophy of life and every action he had taken in enacting it.[1a] Before his death, Curze left strict orders that the assassin was to be allowed to carry out her mission and escape, as well as apparently passing leadership to the Talonmaster Zso Sahaal, First Captain of the legion. These orders were not fully carried out.[2]

Refusing to allow the assassin to escape, the Night Lord named the Soul Hunter, an apothecary of the 10th Company, pursued her with intent to kill - a solo pursuit that was joined by a significant portion of the legion's senior officers when it transpired that the assassin had also looted several of Curze's possessions believed bequeathed by him to the legion's command cadre.[2] Chief amongst these officers was the heir-apparent Zso Sahaal, who succeeded in boarding the assassin's vessel and retrieving the Corona Nox, a symbol of Curze's authority he believed was now to be his. However, Sahaal's own ship was attacked by Eldar raiders almost immediately, so he returned to it and vanished into the Warp, not to be seen again for almost ten thousand years.[3] As for the Soul Hunter, he slew the assassin in the manner of the Night Lords.[2]

Now without a leader, the Night Lords eventually fragmented into disparate warbands largely built around their original legion company structure and relocated to the Eye of Terror.[2] Though various individuals would try to claim leadership of the entire legion, such as Zso Sahaal and Decimus, none were ever able to reunite the broken legion.[2c][2d][3b][11]

In Midnight Clad

The Night Lords have operated as raiding forces ever since, conducting terror raids in much the same style as they did whilst under the Imperial banner, only now fueled by the hate and desperation brought on by the Long War, as well as the malign influences of Chaos. While the Warband of Krieg Acerbus is noted to be the largest and most chaotic in operation[3], many of the other warbands adhere more rigourously to the example set by their Primarch, deploying as organised Legiones Astartes and often with specific military goals[2].

A particular goal of the Night Lords ever since the death of their Primarch at the hands of the assassin M'Shen has been the recovery of her pict-log of the assassination. The investigations of the Soul Hunter, then an important member of the Exalted's Warband, led to the discovery of a copy of this recording, which allowed the Night Lords legion to witness their primarch - to all intents and purposes, their father - for the first time in ten millennia. A copy of it was ordered disseminated throughout the legion.[5]

The Great Rift

In the aftermath of the Great Rift's creation, the Night Lords' Warbands are in their element[24a] as they begin launching more raids than ever before, against an Imperium struck with fear and madness. They reap a gory harvest from the Imperium's worlds[24b] and soon establish small empires amgonst those Systems that have been cut off from the Emperor's Light[24a]. They strike an even more devastating blow against the Imperium, when the Warbands use Daemonic pacts to establish a safe passage through the Great Rift near the Corinthe System. The passage is soon discovered by the Navigator Guilds and several Imperium fleets are sent through it, in a desperate attempt to reach the worlds of the Imperium Nihilus. However, when the fleets enter the tunnel through the Great Rift, the Night Lords attack and capture dozens of Imperial vessels.[24c]

Only a small force of Night Lords under Ramaghan Savasdus aided Abaddon in the War of Beasts on Vigilus. The bulk of the Night Lords were instead attacking Ulthwe near the Eye of Terror.[25b]

Notable Engagements

A Raptor of the Night Lords

The Great Crusade

The Horus Heresy

Post Heresy


Night Lords (Post-Heresy)[17]


During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy, the Night Lords followed standard Space Marine Legion organization save a command council of Captains known as the Kyroptera.[16]

During this time the Night Lords would deploy "Pacification Battalions". These were formations of heavy armor and shock infantry, including the infamous Terror Squads. These would deploy to isolated worlds with the sole goal of breaking whatever limited defenses they could find, then promptly ravaging the planet and its population. This served as an example for others for the price of defiance. These units would first deploy their heavy armor en-masse and once the defenders were broken and scattered, infantry as well as Land Speeders and Bikers would hunt down the survivors. The purpose of these operations was to cull and cause as much collateral damage as possible. They rarely made any attempt to hold their ground, most often departing after their brief but vicious onslaught.[34b]

Among the few fully mechanized units of the Night Lords during this time was the 17th Chapter, known as the Bleak Cohort.[34b]


Since the death of their Primarch, Konrad Curze, the Night Lords have been shattered as an organized legion. Most have fled to the Eye of Terror and now operate as disparate warbands.[2a]


Post-Heresy Night Lord

The geneseed of the Night Lords apparently remains surprisingly pure, especially for a legion that has turned from service to the Emperor. It has been theorised that the Night Lords' avoidance of overt Chaos worship has spared their gene-seed from degradation[1], but even leaving this aside, the stability of it is notable even when compared to that of the loyalist First Founding Chapters.

Having said that, Curze's genetic legacy does have particular effects on those so altered. Firstly, all Night Lords sport jet black eyes and very pale skin (although quite how much of this comes from geneseed and how much from having a Nostraman background in those Night Lords from the doomed night-planet is unclear). Secondly, some of the Night Lords can sport varying degrees of Konrad Curze's precognition ability. In most, these are only momentary (or even subconscious) glimpses or intuitions about the future that can result in paranoid behaviour - for Curze and his children seem more inclined to forsee negative outcomes than any other type - but in the rare few full precogs amongst the Night Lords, these visions appear as painful, violent seizures that can last for many hours. These prophetic seizures can be quite detailed, as well as show many possible futures, allowing certain Night Lords warbands to pick and choose their next moves with advance information, although Imperial scholars hope that, like their gene-sire, the Night Lords precognitives are driven to choose to self-fulfill the negative futures they see due to the believed inherent mental instability possessed by the Curze line.[1] The most notable Night Lords precog is the aforementioned Soul Hunter, also known amongst his warband as The Prophet.[2]


Even during the Horus Heresy, the Night Lords were, and largely still are, misotheists. Possessed of no holy or unholy crusade, no unifying belief, martial creed or even bonds of honour, they exist merely to reap the spoils of their actions and terrify those they despise. Most of them, though far from all, have little to no interest in Chaos itself and shun the company of those that do. Their use of terror tactics and fondness for piracy and salvage operations are the only common themes found amongst their disparate warbands.[1]

The desire to cause fear is central to what philosophy the Night Lords have. This has become ritualised, to the extent that each Night Lord goes out of their way to affect a terrifying appearance, having their armour heavily artificed with symbols and imagery of death and nightmare such as skulls, skeletons, winged maws, lightning etc. Any edge gained over an opponent - including psychological ones - is important to the Night Lords. As a result, it is not uncommon for Night Lords to own a variety of personal weapons (some ornate, ancient and very deadly) and to prize them highly.[1,2] A key aspect of the Eighth Legion's terror tactics is that of dominance; the Night Lords believe in theoretically achieving it before beginning a combat action in the first place, and will go out of their way to gain a superior position over the enemy, using psychological warfare for some time before the attack, or stealth tactics in order to infiltrate the battlefield or set up in ambush. Night Lords, while not averse to enjoying the slaughter they cause, do not simply engage in battle for the enjoyment in brings; they only fight when they intend to win, and win easily and well. A Night Lord will attempt every underhanded trick he knows before engaging in a straightforward, stand-up fight.[1]


During the Great Crusade Konrad Curze originally intended for the best and brightest of Nostramo to join the Night Lords. Curze considered the likes of Sevatar to exemplify the type of warriors he wanted in his Legion. However the embittered noble families of Nostramo deliberately sabotaged the Tithe to the Imperium, emptying their worlds jails and sending Curze instead an army of killers and thugs. The nobility kept the best warriors for themselves for use in gang warfare on Nostramo.[27]

Since the Heresy, it is known the Night Lords recruit through a variety of methods. One such method is collecting children-survivors of worlds they attack.[15] Another is to pick up other Chaos Marines from other Warbands. However, they can also lose numbers the same way.[6] Night Lords have also been known to abduct infants to help replace fallen Astartes and choose recruits from conquered worlds.[8]

Noted Elements of the Night Lords

Night Lords Armoury & Artefacts

Main article: Night Lords Armoury




Notable Members

Heresy Era
Night Lords battle Dark Angels during the Horus Heresy
Unique Troops

See also