The Sisypheum was an Iron Hands Strike Cruiser that played a crucial role at the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, evacuating loyalist Legionnaires from the surface of Istvaan V before escaping and beginning a series of raids and strike operations against the Traitor Legions and their Primarchs.
The Sisypheum was a highly modified Strike Cruiser. Compact and deadly, the vessel was up-armoured and fitted with a black, non-reflective hull that had been repaired and upgraded by its crew and the expertise of the Iron Hands Legionnaires themselves. It contained a laboratorium in the upper levels where Iron Father Frater Thamatica, Ironwrought of the Morlock veterans, conducted dangerous high energy experiments with advanced technology, in order to try and give the Loyalists an edge.
The Vessel was commanded by Captain Ulrach Branthan of the 65th Clan Company. Command passed to his Equerry Cadmus Tyro as Ulrach was mortally wounded and held in a Stasis field in the Apothacarion.
Istvaan V and Subsequent actions
The Sisypheum escaped the betrayal at Isstvan V, but was crucially able to evacuate a number of personnel off-planet recovering a large contingent of Morlocks and Iron Hands, along with the Raven Guard Legionnaire Nykona Sharrowkyn and Atesh Tarsa, an Apothecary of the Salamanders Legion.
The Death Guard, Sons of Horus, Word Bearers and Iron Warriors had all taken their best shot at destroying the Sisypheum at Isstvan V, but it had eluded them all enough to escape when the net was closing in. A Night Lords vessel had come closest to ending its defiance, but employing subtle tactics no one would have expected from an Iron Hands captain, the Sisypheum managed to outmanoeuvre the VIII Legion’s ship Tenebraxis. Its rear quarters raked with fire, leaving it wallowing and defenceless, the Tenebraxis was then boarded by kill teams of Iron Hands from the Sisypheum who took the fight to the enemy in their shadowed halls and darkened companionways, stripping it of anything potentially useful for refitting and repair work. Leaving the stricken ship burning in the ice floes of the Isstvan cometary belt, the Sisypheum fled the system. Using supplies and equipment liberated from the Tenebraxis the ship's Company was able to repair most of the battle damage and ensure they had adequate supplies.
It escaped the clutches of the Traitor Legions and began a hit and run campaign against the rear areas of Traitor Space, intercepting convoys and picking off individual naval ships and Traitor Legion ships. It began a campaign of intelligence gathering and surgical strikes and managed through the exploits of two members of its compliment - Nykona Sharrowkyn and Iron Father Sabik Wayland.
Once again the pair were inserted on to Hydra Cordatus by the ship's smaller craft, to intercept the meeting of the Traitor Primarchs, and after a failed assassination attempt on Fulgrim they returned to the Sisypheum. The decision was then made to intercede in the Traitors plans, taking the Ship to the dead Eldar world of Iydris.
En route to Iydris, One of Frater Thamatica's experiments went dreadfully wrong and compromised the vessel, exposing the ship to the sensors of both the Iron Warriors' and Emperor's Childrens' fleets. The two Primarchs argued over the course of action and the III Legion boarded the vessel; not to be outdone by his brother, Perturabo teleported directly across with the members of his bodyguard and his command Trident. The ship was dangerously unstable and only a last minute intervention by Thamatica prevented the ship's core from exploding. Sensing something was wrong, Perturabo evacuated and the Emperors Children followed. Suddenly due to Thamatica's actions, the Sisypheum underwent an incredible acceleration and cut directly through an Emperor's Children vessel, destroying it utterly and managing to escape from the traitor legions.
Later, the Sisypheum under Cadmus Tyro allied with Shadrak Meduson in raiding an Alpha Legion outpost. However, when it was revealed that Meduson had in fact been Alpharius in disguise and the entire battle was a manipulation, Tyro and his forces fled.
By the time of the Siege of Terra, the Sisypheum and its crew had reached the Sol System. During the final stages of the Solar War, the vessel was badly damaged destroying the Word Bearers Battleship Covenant of Truth. Shortly after, they received a distress signal on Luna from the Selenar Gene-Witch Ta'lab Vita-37. Ta'lab sought to safeguard the ancient gene artifact known as the Magna Mater from incoming traitor forces. The crew of the Sisypheum undertook a suicidal raid to acquire the important artifact, infiltrating traitor-occupied Luna and meeting up with Ta'lab. During the fighting, Dark Mechanicum forces managed to call for Sons of Horus reinforcements.[4b] Faced with Justaerin, the crew of the Sisypheum gave their lives one by one in order to secure the Magna Mater.[4c] In the end, only Sabik Wayland and Nykona Sharrowkyn remained alive and they only escaped thanks to the mysterious intervention of the Photep, the flagship of Magnus the Red. After escaping, a badly wounded Wayland dropped Sharrowkyn and the Magna Mater at an abandoned coaling station while he steered the Sisypheum into the void to draw off pursuing traitor vessels. Aboard the coaling station and with the Magna Mater, Sharrowkyn only had the Psyber-Eagle Garuda for company and put himself into suspended animation.[4d]
- Ulrach Branthan - Captain, Iron Hands 65th Clan-Company[4e]
- Cadmus Tyro - Iron Hands, Acting captain following the wounding of Branthan[4e]
- Frater Thamatica - Iron Hands, Avernii Veteran[4e]
- Ignatius Numen - Salamanders Battle-Brother[4e]
- Atesh Tarsa - Salamanders Apothecary[4e]
- Sabik Wayland - Iron Hands Iron Father[4e]
- Nykona Sharrowkyn - Raven Guard, 66th Company[4e]
- Garuda - Psyber-Eagle of Ulrach Branthan[4e]
- 1: Kryptos (Short Story)
- 2: Angel Exterminatus (Novel),[Needs Citation]
- 3: The Seventh Serpent (Novella),[Needs Citation]
- 4: Sons of Selenar (Novella)