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Tallarn: Ironclad (Novel)

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Tallarn: Ironclad
Cover art by Neil Roberts.
Author John French
Performer Jonathan Keeble
Publisher Black Library
Series Horus Heresy
Released February 2015
Length 7 hours 26 minutes (audio version)
Collected in Tallarn
Editions 2015 hardcover:
ISBN 9781849703741

Tallarn: Ironclad is a limited-release and later e-book exclusive novel written by John French and part of the Horus Heresy series. It was published in February 2015. The novel describes the concluding events of the Battle of Tallarn.

Cover Description

The battle for Tallarn rages between the traitor Iron Warriors and the Imperial Army. A carpet of armour covers the surface of the toxic planet: Dreadnoughts versus tanks versus Titans. But what secret purpose drives the Iron Warriors onwards to war?[2]


This page contains spoilers for: Tallarn: Ironclad (Novel)

The Sons of Horus emissary, Argonis, was dispatched by Maloghurst on behalf of Horus, and he traveled on the storm eagle Sickle Blade. He was accompanied by Prophesius the astropath and Sota-Nul of the Dark Mechanicum, and he sought audience with Perturabo on the Iron Blood to demand why he invaded Tallarn. Perturabo, after revealing his irritation, stated that Tallarn was a valuable route to Terra. Argonis was dismissed, but he did not trust the primarch's word and contacted the Alpha Legion to investigate. After 12 days, the Alpha Legion agent and psyker, Jalen, posed as a serf and met with Argonis. Jalen stated that he did not know why the Iron Warriors were present at Tallarn, but he admitted that the Alpha Legion was on the planet before they arrived. Argonis leaves for the Sightless Warren, not trusting the Alpha Legion forces. During this time, Imperial Infocyte agent Iaeo, of Clade Vanus, follows Argonis and the Alpha Legion agents, interfering when she can to set Horus's forces against each other.[1a]

The Imperial forces tried to assault the Iron Warrior stronghold, the Sightless Warren, three times. The Sightless Warren was once the shelter beneath the Sapphire City, but it was transformed with a network of tunnels that connected it with other shelters that the Iron Warriors captured. It was massive in size and extended to the Crescent Ocean. The third assault failed like the others, with orbital bombardments unable to penetrate the shelter. The Iron Warriors tried to destroy the crushed Imperial assault force, but the Imperial grand cruiser Memloch sacrificed itself to fend off orbital attacks. Following the attack, Imperial forces experienced more setbacks: 400 war machines were inexplicably lost from Cobalack Shelter, the Cassildian Mountains bunker fell due to atmospheric contamination, and the newly arrived Legio Krytos was able to land Titans and Knights from House Caesarean onto the southern hemisphere. Governor Militant Dellasarius kept the forces united and pushed them to attack. Forces on both sides continued to pour into the system, and the battle was ultimately a stalemate. His strategy the "the depth of cutting edge," the belief that one great attack could overwhelm the Iron Warriors and drive them from the planet.[1a]

Following the failed third assault on the Sightless Warren, a massive storm covered the land and began to change everything. The Tallarn named the new land "Yathan," which means "land of lost pilgrims." After the change, the Golden Fleet arrived, being led by the Eagle Claw. The fleet was led by Rogue Trader Sangrea and once traveled ahead of the Great Crusade. It was made up of mercenaries and ships gained through conquest, including the Sacristan Geneo-het warriors, Knights of House Klaze, 300 Ultramarines. The fleet arrived back in Tallarn 10 years after it left the planet to explore the Morai Veil. Once entering the system the Golden Fleet sent message to the Iron Warrior ships that they were allies to Horus before taking them by surprise. Upon reaching the planet, the Golden Fleet refused any messages from the Imperials and instead launched attacks on any attempt to land supplies and troops upon the surface. Battlecruisers with nova cannons were brought forward, running down fueling ships and set the sky on fire with their attack, an act that would later be known as "The Inferno Tide." With that, the Golden fleet left, leaving the planet free from orbital interference.[1b]

Perturabo sent the Contemptor Dreadnought Hrend with the corrupted navigator Hes-Thal and a strike force to search for the Black Occulus on the surface of the planet. At the same time, Argonis was getting nowhere in the Sightless Warren, and he called upon Volk, Iron Warrior Commander of Core Reach One, the Sightless Warren, who he served with before at Carmeline and Reddus Cluster. The interview was cut short without any new information being retrieved when the surface above the shelter began to be bombarded in preparation for an attack. Argonis broke from the Iron Warrior's guards and made his way to the data stacks of the shelter where Sota-Nul discovered the name Black Oculus. The group made their way to a new location Sota-Nul found, and Argonis was forced to kill an Iron Warrior. At their destination, they found many bound and sedated navigators. Reviving one, she explained their transformation within the Eye of Terror and the gateway of the Black Oculus. Upon leaving the chamber, alarms went off and the group was soon captured and imprisoned.[1b]

Dellasarius was killed right after the Inferno Tide ceased; after traveling with a convoy from the Rachab to the Crescent Shelter, an assassin fired on his baneblade from one of the company's Vanquishers as they approached the Khedive Plaines.[1b] The forces were fractured until General Gorn seized command and said that their only strategy to victory is to attack. Eventually, the Imperial forces launched an all out strike at the Khedive Plains, drawing Iron Warriors out of the Sightless Warrens for an all out battle. The battle began with a fight in space, with Iron Warrior positions above the Sightless Warren smashed by long-range torpedo strikes and followed by a massive attack by Strike Force Indomitable. This gave them time to launch a strike on the service before a counter attack could be made.[1c]

It was revealed by the work of Alpha Legion spies, including their operative Jalen, that Perturabo invaded Tallarn in search of the Black Oculus to gain some unknown advantage over his brothers. In space, the Alpha Legion freed Horus's emissary, Argonis, in order to force Perturabo to stop his pursuit of power. Argonis killed the Alpha Legion operatives because they were keeping secrets then demanded audience with Perturabo aboard the Iron Blood. At the same time Hrend discovered that the Black Oculus was a portal that would allow the Iron Warriors to make a pact with daemons and gain power. Perturabo had told the dreadnought that the portal was also called the Cursus of Alganar, and that it existed long before humanity. Asking what the object would do, Hrend was told that it would transform the Iron Warriors and grant them power to destroy any who oppose them. Hrend found the location gate, but he was joined by Alpha Legionares, of which Hrend and his fellows were able to kill but left only Hrend barely surviving. He ordered his servitors to kill his navigator, and used them as a dig team, tunneling to the Black Oculus and meeting with a daemon at the gate.[1c]

Once Argonis was admitted to the primarch's presence, he fruitlessly demanded that the Iron Warriors abandon their campaign before being forced to released the bindings upon the altered astropath Prophesius, a metatron. Once unbound, warp smoke filtered out of the astropath's body and manifested as Horus, who threatened and chastised the wayward Iron Warriors. Horus ordered Perturabo to kneel before him then withdraw from the Tallarn campaign. On the surface Hrend failed in his mission to gain daemonic power for his legion; he refused to succumb to temptation because he believed that it would corrupt who they were and become slaves to chaos. Instead, he set himself to self-destruct, and the Black Oculus was buried from sight. Iaeo used the last of her strength to ensure that no transmissions from the location made their way to others to protect the site from discovery.[1c]

Notable Characters

Imperial Army

  • Silas Kord, Colonel Commander, 001 Malcador assault tank War Anvil, officer commanding Tallarn 71st
  • Mori, Driver, 001 Malcador assault tank War Anvil
  • Zade, 1st Gunner, 001 Malcador assault tank War Anvil
  • Sach, 1st Loader, 001 Malcador assault tank War Anvil
  • Saul, Forward Gunner, 001 Malcador assault tank War Anvil
  • Kogetsu, Sponson Gunner, 001 Malcador assault tank War Anvil
  • Abbas, Lieutenant, Vanquisher Mourner, commander, No. 1 Sqdn, Tallarn 71st
  • Zekenilla, Lieutenant, Vanquisher Mourner, commander, No. 2 Sqdn, Tallarn 71st
  • Origo, Lieutenant, lead scout Razor
  • Augustus Fask, Colonel, Crescent Shelter command staff
  • Elo Sussabarka, Brigadier-Elite, commander of the Rachab fortress

Officio Assassinorum

  • Iaeo, Unbound Infocyte, Omego Tabulation, Clade Vanus

Dark Mechanicum

Adeptus Astra Telepathica

  • Prophesius, Metatron


  • Hes-Thal, Black Oculus Navigator

Iron Warriors

  • Perturabo, Primarch of the Iron Warriors
  • Forrix, 'The Breaker', First Captain, triarch
  • Hrend, 'The Iron Clad', Contemptor-class Dreadnought, commander of the 'Cyllaros' armored assault group
  • Jarvak, Commander, Sicaran '78/5', lieutenant of 'Cyllaros' group
  • Orun, Castraferrum-class Dreadnought - Mortis Pattern, 'Cyllaros' group
  • Gortun, Contemptor-class Dreadnought, 'Cyllaros' group
  • Volk, Commander of Sightless Warren - Core Reach 1, Master of the 786th Grand Flight armada
  • Taldak, Warrior of the 17th Grand Battalion elite

Iron Hands

  • Menoetius, Commander, Predator Cretatogram

Sons of Horus

  • Argonis, 'The Unscarred', emissary of the Warmaster, Chieftain of the Isidis Flight

Alpha Legion

  • Thetacron, Commander, Harrow Group Arcadus
  • Jalen, Operative


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