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Noches Sturm

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Lord General Noches Sturm was the commanding officer of the Royal Volpone Imperial Guard regiments and an Imperial traitor.

Character History

This page contains spoilers for: Ghostmaker (Novel)

A member of one of the noble Houses of Volpone, Noches Sturm eventually rose to the rank of Lord General, holding command over several Volpone regiments, as well as often being placed in command of various multi-regimental battlegroups that were not entirely Volpone in nature. He was decorated for a victory he won on the world of Grimoyr.[2a]

The later stages of Sturm's career are notable for his repeated interactions with the commander of the Tanith 1st regiment, Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt. The pair first met when Sturm requested that the Tanith regiment reinforce his battlegroup, then deployed on the world of Voltemand. He specifically requested the Tanith in order to make use of their superior stealth infiltration skills and tasked them with breaking open Voltis City, strongpoint of the enemy resistance on the planet. Despite his acknowledgement of the Tanith's military value and usefulness to him, his pride was unable to handle that the Tanith had succeeded where his own "elite" Volpone troops had not. In fact, he felt antipathy towards Gaunt due to the latter's status as one of Slaydo's favourites.[1a] Theorising that Warmaster Macaroth would prefer Gaunt, and the rest of the "holdovers" from Slaydo's time to disappear, Sturm ordered an artillery bombardment upon the Ghost's position, masking the incident as a tragic act of "friendly fire."[1a] When Gaunt survived the incident, and subsequently struck the commanding officer of the artillery unit involved, Sturm tried to have Gaunt brought up on charges, intending to shoot him. This proved impossible when the artillery commander, Colonel Ortiz, refused to corroborate the story. Sturm was forced to let Gaunt go, and in fact commended the Tanith regiment in his after-action report.[1b]

During the campaign on Nacedon, Sturm left a group of wounded members of the Volpone 50th behind when ordered to evacuate his position. The majority of these men were subsequently saved by a group of soldiers from the Tanith 1st.[1c]

Vervunhive controversy

This page contains spoilers for: Necropolis (Novel)

The end of Sturm's career as an Imperial officer came in the year 769.M41 on the world of Verghast, during the Siege of Vervunhive. Sturm led his 1st, 2nd and 4th regiments of the Royal Volpone, as well as an element of the elite 10th Brigade, into the city. Assuming the position of senior Guard officer in the theatre, Sturm aided in planning the defence of the Hive.[2b] Sturm proved adept at liasing with the Vervun Primary officers as well as the Vervunhive Noble Houses, as well as dealing with certain logistical issues.[2d] His overall strategy, however, was thought flawed by all of the other Guard senior officers present.[2c]

As the campaign progressed, Sturm began to show signs of fatigue and nervousness; he was visibly dismayed to learn that his opponent was the infamous Magister, Heritor Asphodel. When Asphodel unleashed an all-out attack on the city, Sturm was at a complete loss for a tactical response, except to timidly suggest that the Imperial forces should retreat and evacuate. A short time later, during a confrontation with a grotesquely-designed Combat-Servitor, Sturm fled, effectively deserting his post.[2h]

He was eventually found and brought to Gaunt, who had by now assumed commanded of the Imperial forces in the theatre. Sturm was stripped of his rank and charged with desertion. At first, Sturm tried to claim that he had ordered a retreat, and the order must have gone astray, but Gaunt saw through him. Sturm summoned his dignity and requested the right to take his own life instead of facing military execution. Gaunt agreed and handed over his own bolt pistol. Instead of shooting himself, Sturm tried to shoot Gaunt, who promptly cut Sturm's hand off. Sturm was taken away and imprisoned for trial.[2e]

Exile on Gereon

This page contains spoilers for: Traitor General (Novel)

After the campaign was over, a mindlock was placed on Sturm by the Commissariat, to prevent him from divulging any secrets until the time of the trial. However, during 774.M41, the ship carrying him to trial was attacked by the forces of Chaos, and he was captured. As Chaos forces tried to return his memory to gain access to critical information about the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, Gaunt followed him to Gereon, accompanied by some other Ghosts, in an attempt to assassinate the general before the mindlock could be cracked.[3a] The forces of Chaos succeeded in partially dismantling the mindlock, allowing parts of Sturm's memories and personality to slowly return. Partly in gratitude, partly in response to memories of hatred and humiliation associated with Gaunt, Sturm allied himself with his Chaos 'captors'. However, as the Ghosts stormed his hiding place, the last critical pieces of his memory, the ones of what happened at certain moments at Vervunhive, were returned to him. Sturm once again faced Gaunt one on one and again asked for the right to commit suicide. Gaunt cautiously granted his request and finally regaining some of his honour, Sturm blew his own head off.[3b]


Sturm once told Gaunt that he could almost respect him and wished he had a few men in his regiments as passionate... however, he followed this up with a barrage of contemptuous insults.[2f]

An impressive-looking man, Sturm was interested in military splendour, taking care to ensure that his appearance befitted his idea of an Imperial staff officer, and always seeking out suitably impressive billets for himself and his headquarters unit. This habit appeared somewhat vainglorious: On Voltemand he took over a noble estate, and referred to it as his "Supreme Headquarters."[1a] He was also somewhat self-protective even before his cowardly display of desertion; when touring the walls of Vervunhive he would have extra protection erected to maximise his safety, even though it resulted in the cessation of the firing of the wall-guns.[2g]