Shadrak Meduson, born Shadrak Smyth and also known as Shadrak 'Bloody' Meduson, was Captain of the Iron Hands Legion's Tenth Clan Company, Sorrgol Clan, during at least the latter part of the Great Crusade and the early stages of the Horus Heresy. After the Drop Site Massacre, Meduson achieved further prominence as a Warleader of his legion (and forces from other legions who allied under his command), his many deeds including an almost-successful assassination attempt upon no less than three of the traitor Primarchs at once. He was ultimately captured and slain by Sons of Horus Captain Tybalt Marr.
Shadrak Smyth was a Terran hailing from Old Albia, inducted into the Xth Legion, his service of at least 240 years beginning in the later period of the Wars of Unification on Terra. His first actions as a legionary were as part of the Tenth's deployments in the Afrik and Panpacific regions, serving under Lord Commander Amadeus DuCaine. DuCaine would be Smyth's commander on several occasions, most notably at the Battle of Rust, and by the time of the Drop Site Massacre, the 10th Company Captain would consider the original Legion Master one of his oldest friends.
Smyth readily embraced the change that came upon the legion when Ferrus Manus, their Primarch, was discovered and placed in command. He cast aside his Terran surname (as did many of the original Terran legionaries) and took up the name Meduson to demonstrate his firm allegiance to his new homeworld.
Meduson took part in the Iron Hands' battles of the Great Crusade, achieving such prominence that, for example, he was the officer assigned battlefield command of the Legion forces upon the world of One-Five-Four-Four whilst both Ferrus Manus and First Captain Gabriel Santar were absent from the line of battle. During this campaign - one of pacification against the inhabitants and hostile lifeforms of a world under the dominance of the Eldar — Meduson commanded the right flank of the legion, his men being used both as an anchor point and as an assault force. As commander of the 10th company, he acted as a mediator between his senior sergeant, Bion Henricos, and the other officers of the Primarch's command council when Sergeant Henricos suggested using their attached Imperial Army units as forward scouts, to the disdain of the others.
Meduson's temporary command of the Legion forces was successful; he was eventually able to locate the Eldar enemy's node complex that was the target of the mission, and come up with a battle-plan that would ultimately prove victorious. Meduson's pre-battle organisation was so well in hand that, when First Captain Santar returned to the line, he refused to take command and instead left Meduson to enact his strategy, offering himself and his Morlocks as additional line troops for the assault.
Meduson was present during the Battle of Istvaan V, but never set foot upon the world. Stationed aboard the Ironside, he was assigned to the obital reserve (once again under the command of DuCaine), ready to drop as part of the Iron Hands' second wave. That moment never came, and instead Shadrak and his fellows watched in horror from above as the massacre took place. The situation quickly and clearly becoming untenable, the orbiting Iron Hands attempted to recover their ground forces, but were swiftly forced to defend themselves from ship-to-ship assaults and boarding actions launched by the Death Guard and Sons of Horus vessels. The Ironside was boarded in these moments, and Meduson led the defence. He and his crew were victorious, although Meduson himself was wounded by a stray plasma blast that made the later amputation of his left hand necessary. Returning to the bridge, he was in time to receive the last transmission from Amadeus DuCaine, informing him of the death of Ferrus Manus. His old commander, referring to Shadrak as "...one of my Storm Walkers from the very start! Emperor's bloody own!" urged Meduson to "...tell the Tenth to raise the storm and take every last one of the bastards to hell!" DuCaine's vessel then catastrophically exploded. Meduson's own ship was able to light its drives and power free from the orbital battlezone.
With the deaths of Ferrus Manus, Gabriel Santar and Amadeus DuCaine, amongst others, as well as the scattering effect of multiple battlegroups making different escape vectors from the Istvaan system, the Iron Hands as a legion were leaderless and demoralised. Shadrak Meduson found himself in one of the larger, if not largest, groups of Iron Hands, which had with it nearly all of the Clan Fathers of the legion. In the absence of a senior officer, the Clan Fathers announced that they would temporarily take collective command. Meduson was not the lone voice, but was the loudest, that decried this move as pointless, being in favour of singular leadership with a clear vision. Nevertheless, he acquiesced to the decision, following the lead of the senior member of his own clan present, Iron Father Jebez Aug.
The Clan Fathers determined to reorganise the legion along strictly traditional clan lines, although the rag-tag nature of their forces resulted in one particular change. Clan Avernii was barely represented in the force, the majority of them being wiped out alongside the Primarch on the surface of Istvaan V, and could not form their own unit. Additionally, small units of Raven Guard and Salamanders survivors had also been picked up during the escape, who needed to be fitted into the order of battle somewhere. The Fathers decided - perhaps in response to Shadrak's admonition that the legion should work closely with their cousin legionaries into developing new ways of war instead of turning to old traditions - to fold the outsiders and the disgraced Avernii into Clan Sorrgol. To make up for making Sorrgol a 'mongrel clan', the Fathers also made Jebez Aug the Warleader of the entire battlegroup. Aug, in his turn, made Shadrak Meduson his Hand Elect; his second-in-command.
Not long after, the fleet received message from another group of Iron Hands, and altered course to meet them. Unfortunately, the meeting proved to be a trap laid by the Sons of Horus. In the naval battle that followed, the battlegroup flagship Crown of Flame was destroyed, taking the Clan Fathers with it. A vox-signal was broadcast from the enemy's own flagship by their commander, Tybalt Marr, offering surrender terms. Aug's response was to take his own vessel, the Iron Heart, into close range with the enemy flagship and to order Meduson to board it and return with Marr's head. Meduson led his mixed legion and clan force for the first time, in a teleport assault onto the Sons of Horus flagship, but despite fighting valiantly and causing much damage, his hybrid forces were forced to retreat before encountering Marr, as the Iron Heart itself took serious damage and Jebez Aug was injured beyond capability to command. Fleeing the area with a reduced force, Meduson found himself given the role of Warleader by the incapacitated Aug. Without the Clan Fathers, this resulted in Meduson suddenly gaining command over the whole force. Conferring with his comrades and the liaisons from the other legion forces, Shadrak Meduson determined that the Iron Hands would need to become flexible in order to not break under the pressures they found themselves in.
As his first act as Warleader, Meduson announced his Hand Elect. Breaking with tradition, he assigned the role to four individuals, not one; a representative each from Sorgol, Avernii, the Salamanders and the Raven Guard. His second pronouncement was to send out a wide-band message, promising to Tybalt Marr that one day, Shadrak Medsuson would have his head. When questioned as to why he was attaching his name to the threat, Meduson outlined that, currently, the traitors did not fear the Istvaan survivors. By using one name again and again when striking and harassing them, he believed he would create an effect like to that of a 'boogeyman', a morale blow that would aid their efforts and hamper the effectiveness of the enemy. Meduson then proposed a strategy that was a combination, an alloying of the legion tactics of all those present; they would fight a guerilla-war, hit and run, but also seek to gather strength to their banner, and save what other survivors of the Massacre and the rebellion that they could.
Meduson's next confirmed appearance occurred not too long after the schism of the White Scars legion. In the aftermath of that event, the surviving White Scars marines that had moved against their Primarch were sent out as penitent warriors, grouping as kill-teams, to atone for their previous choice in righteous battle. One of these penitent kill-teams was berthed aboard the captured Sons of Horus ship Grey Talon, captained by the aforementioned Bion Henricos, once Meduson's senior Sergeant, and who had himself escaped Istvaan V, but separated from his company Captain. Henricos and the White Scars kill-team - led by Hibou Khan — ambushed another Sons of Horus vessel and attempted to capture it by boarding action. They met stiffer than expected resistance however, and were only saved from death by the sudden appearance of Meduson and his own contingent of boarding troops. Meduson had been tracking Henricos' ship for some time, confused as to why a vessel that ostensibly appeared to belong to the Sons of Horus was operating according to an Iron Hands search-pattern. The two colleagues appraised each other of events, and Meduson added Henricos and Hibou Khan's unit to his ever-growing own.
Indeed, by such time as the Battle of Dwell, Shadrak Meduson was reckoned to have assembled quite a significant force. Believed attached to his 'mongrel clan' of original Istvaan V survivors were additional marine elements from the Salamanders and White Scars, numerous naval vessels and apparently enough soldiery to total fifty-eight full battalions of the Imperial Army. The Battle of Dwell occurred mainly because Horus Lupercal wanted the planet for his own purposes, but also in some small part in order to deny its 8 million armed troopers from allying with Meduson's forces in the sector. Several Sons of Horus officers, notably 'Little' Horus Aximand, suspected that Meduson may have already embedded men onto the planet, and this would prove to be true; at the culmination of the battle, a legionary kill-team who had been awaiting to assassinate Lupercal found themselves out of position, and so settled for attempting to eliminate Horus Aximand and his command element instead. The resultant combat saw Bion Henricos perish, and Little Horus severely wounded.
This was not the only assassination attempt masterminded by Shadrak Meduson on Dwell, however. In the aftermath of the battle, when the primarchs Horus, Mortarion and Fulgrim met to discuss their next moves, their conclave was attacked by a trio of Iron Hands Fire Raptor gunships, heretofore hidden from detection and deployed likewise. This attempt was similarly unsuccessful, with the loss of all three of Meduson's birds, but all of the primarchs and several of the other marines present were wounded to some degree, some seriously. It is perhaps the closest currently known of attempt to eliminate Horus, and all the more impressive for nearly removing multiple other essential personnel from the board as well.[5a]
Following this event, and the baiting and destruction of an Iron Hands ambush vessel further out in the Dwell system, Horus decided to detach a portion of his legion resources and assign them to hunting down and destroying Meduson and his own band. This force was placed under the command of Captain Tybalt Marr, who felt he had a personal score to settle with the Iron Hands warleader.
No sightings of Meduson can be confirmed for the period immediately after the Battle of Dwell and the launching of Marr's hunter-killer force. The 'shadow network' used by the Shattered Legions became filled with conflicting tales, either that he fought on still, or that he had died either on Dwell or someplace else, caught by the Sons of Horus.
Shadrak Meduson's identity was at some point taken by none other than Alpharius, Primarch of the Alpha Legion himself. Assuming the mantle of Meduson and garbing a unit of his own marines in Iron Hand battlegear, Alpharius' disguise was completely undetectable by the members of the Iron Hands legion he met. Travelling in a vessel that appeared to be the Iron Heart, Meduson's own flagship, Alpharius fell in with a seperate unit of mixed Istvaan survivor marines under the command of Cadmus Tyro and convinced them, in his guise as Meduson, to aid him in an action against other members of the Alpha Legion. His deception was revealed towards the end of the affair, and the survivors of Tyro's force escaped with the knowledge that Alpharius had been impersonating Meduson. 
The real Shadrak Meduson still endured elsewhere in the galaxy, and was waging his guerrilla war against Horus with increasing brutality. However Meduson's authority was usurped by the increasing madness and desperation in the Iron Hands. A coup by the Cult of the Gorgon attempted to take control of Meduson's sizable Shattered Legion forces, proclaiming they were led by the reborn Ferrus Manus himself. However Vulkan, accompanying the fleet on his journey to Terra, quickly saw through the charade and revealed that the "reborn" Ferrus Manus to only be a mechanical puppet with one of the Primarch's metallic arms attached. Vulkan shattered the puppet in anger, and with that the Cult of the Gorgon crumbled. Despite their treachery, Meduson pardoned all of the Iron Fathers involved in the Cult of the Gorgon including his second-in-command, Jebez Aug.[8a]
Now in control of his forces once more but refused help from Vulkan, Meduson continued his war against Horus. He became engaged in an increasingly bitter struggle with Captain Tybalt Marr, who goaded him into open confrontation. Despite the advice of his Iron Fathers to avoid direct combat, Meduson openly fought Marr's larger fleet at the Battle of the Aragna Chain. As the losses mounted, Meduson led a boarding action against Marr's flagship Lupercal Pursuivant but was ambushed and captured as Jebez Aug abandoned him to his fate and withdrew with the remainder of the loyalist fleet. Taken before Tybalt Marr, Meduson declared that the Iron Tenth would never be broken before he was decapitated by the Sons of Horus captain.[8b]
- 1: Meduson (Short Story) by Dan Abnett
- 2: Feat of Iron (Novella) by Nick Kyme
- 3: Grey Talon (Short Story) by Chris Wraight
- 4: Little Horus (Short Story) by Dan Abnett
- 5: Vengeful Spirit (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 5a: Chapter Two
- 6: The Either (Short Story) by Graham McNeill
- 7: The Seventh Serpent (Novella) by Graham McNeill
- 8: Old Earth (Novel)