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Two unknown legions

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Malcador the Sigillite sitting on a throne with skulls marked with the numbers of the two lost Primarchs[Needs Citation]

Precious little is known about two of the twenty Space Marine Legions, numbered II and XI, and their respective Primarchs, as their records are simply noted as having been "expunged" or "destroyed" in Imperial listings of the 20 Legions.

However, nothing is known for sure about the names of the Legions, their Primarchs, homeworlds and their ultimate fate. There are conflicting reports as to whether the two unknown Legions met their fate prior to or after the Horus Heresy and which side they joined in the Heresy, if they participated in it.[5][9]


Currently, all that is stated about this issue is:

  • The Emperor created 20 (21) Primarchs, who were snatched from Terra by a Chaos vortex and scattered around the galaxy.[1]
  • The 20 (21) incubation capsules drifted through the warp for decades or even centuries, until finally coming to rest on human-inhabited worlds throughout the galaxy,[4] "where they were variously adopted by human parents."[7]
    • The only exception to this is the Primarch Konrad Curze, who survived utterly alone (and whose background, in any case, was only described in later material).
  • In the listings of the 20 Legions in Imperial records, Legions II and XI are stated as having "all records expunged from the library". Earlier background (Codex Imperialis and second edition's Ultramarines Codex) less ambivalently states that the records for these two Legions were deleted following the Heresy. Considering that the Traitor Legions are simply listed as excommunicate traitoris but still included in these same lists, this suggests that the records were deleted deliberately and for a reason only known by those who perpetrated the action.
  • The Emperor met each Primarch in turn, and each Primarch had risen to a position of authority within the cultures in which they had found themselves.[1]
  • 20 Legions took part in the Great Crusade, each led by their own Primarch.[8]
  • Alpharius was known to be the last Primarch to be found, a fact which even earned him the nickname "The Last". This suggests that all the other Primarchs had been found already.
  • 20 statues of the Primarchs were erected in the Imperial Palace on Terra. By the time of the Horus Heresy, plinths II and XI "[...] had been vacant for a long time. No-one ever spoke of those two absent brothers [and] their separate tragedies."[9]
    • This suggests that the two unknown Primarchs had been found previously and that something tragic had happened. The two Primarchs were "absent" but not referred to as "dead".
    • Prior to sending Sigismund and his Imperial Fists to Mars during the Heresy, Dorn mused to Malcador on the loyalist support of two Legions, possibly the two unknown Legions, during the Heresy. Malcador quelled the Primarch's thoughts, stating that "They are lost to us forever."[15]
  • Horus convinced "no less than 9" Space Marine Legions to side with him at the onset of the Heresy,[2] a number also referred to as "fully half" of the Legions.[6] When he assaulted Terra, this number was given as 9.[10]
    • This also implies, but does not categorically state, that the 9 known Traitor Legions are all of the Legions that followed him into rebellion and that 18 Legions were the total number of Legions active at the time. A passage detailing Horus's plans for the various Legions at the outset of the Heresy mentions by name all 18 known Legions[11].
  • "Of the original 20 Primarchs, only 9 survived the Horus Heresy. The remainder were either killed in the fighting (like Horus) or fled with their [Legions] into the Eye of Terror. The survivors helped [to rebuild] the Imperium."[7]
    • It is currently accepted that 3 Primarchs died during the Heresy (Ferrus Manus, Sanguinius, and Horus) and 6 are known to have fled into the Eye of Terror (Fulgrim, Perturabo, Angron, Mortarion, Magnus, and Lorgar). The fates of the other 11 are open to multiple interpretations. However, Roboute Guilliman was held in stasis (as his throat was cut) until his resurrection at the end of M41 and Lion El Johnson has now also returned, at the climax of the Arks Of Omen campaign.
    • Two traitors, Konrad Curze and Alpharius, did not flee into the Eye of Terror and were killed later on. 7 loyal Primarchs seem to have survived. It is possible that Curze and Alpharius were counted as part of the 9 survivors. However, in the novel Betrayer it mentions the "18 Legions", a clear statement that the unknown Legions disappeared before the Heresy, and played no part in them.

Other Information

Ultramarines Codex

Second Edition's Ultramarines Codex states that it seems likely that Legions II and XI fought for Horus at least during the beginning of the Heresy. It also refers to the records as being destroyed following the Heresy.[8] However, this conflicts with more recent information in the novel The First Heretic where Magnus and Lorgar discuss the two unknown Primarchs and the death of them and their Legions 43 years before the Drop Site Massacre. [18]

False Gods

As Horus lay in coma inside the Davinite temple after being wounded by Eugen Temba, Erebus gave him visions that showed him events from various points in time. In one of these experiences, Horus found himself in the geno-vault where he was created, and looked down upon the genetor-tanks containing the infant Primarchs. At one point he stopped before tank XI and reflected upon the "untapped glories that lay within, knowing they would never come to pass". This referred to one of the unknown Primarchs. Later on, Horus' anger took control and he smashed his fist upon tank XI, damaging it. Shortly after, a vortex swooped up all the genetor-tanks and scattered them across the galaxy.[14]

The truth of this vision is unclear; it should be noted that the whole experience was orchestrated by the Chaos powers, in other words Horus saw what the Chaos Gods wanted him to see.[14]

Red Fury

When Dante asked the Blood Angels' Successor Chapters for men to bring the Blood Angels back to full strength, having suffered heavy casualties during Arkio's heresy, Gabriel Seth, Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers, made a counter to this demand: disband the Blood Angels and spread them amongst the Successors. When Orloc (Chapter Master of the Blood Drinkers) protested that there was no way a First Founding Chapter could end like this, Seth retorted that, actually, it has happened before.[16]

This statement is no definite indicator, as the two Unknown Legions were Legions and not Chapters. Additionally, James Swallow is known for taking certain liberties with the way he depicts the Blood Angels. Technically, there are no First Founding Chapters, as Chapters in that sense did not come into existence before the Second Founding (which Swallow might be referring to as "First").

The Crimson Fist

In the short story The Crimson Fist, Sigismund looks at the shrouded statues of the Traitor Primarchs, and says that they are traitors and should be torn down. This could be a hint saying that the two missing statues were torn down because the unknown Primarch(s) were traitors as well. But using information from Betrayer, this would mean they were traitorous before the Heresy.[41]

The First Heretic

The First Heretic (Novel) sheds more light on the subject of the two unknown Primarchs:

  • The Lost Primarchs were erased from Imperial records at least 43 years prior to the events of Isstvan V, as only eighteen Legions are referenced during the events at Monarchia. This could be a precursor to the Horus Heresy, the belligerents serving the Chaos Gods. However, this seems unlikely as the Primarchs would be aware of Chaos, yet are easily seduced by it.[18]
  • It is implied that the Emperor personally cast aside the two lost Primarchs: "I fear the Emperor will break the Word Bearers - and break me. We would be cast alongside the brothers we no longer speak of."[18b]
  • In response to the previous quote, Magnus the Red mentions that, prior to the events at Monarchia, the Emperor had considered expunging Lorgar and the Word Bearers in the same manner as the II and XI Legions, due to their religiosity. He was talked out of doing so by several other Primarchs, including Leman Russ, Horus, and Magnus himself, with Russ arguing that he did not wish to lose a third brother (although Magnus believed he was motivated more by his own spirituality). This implies that Lorgar's religiosity was on par with what they had done in some way, even if they were not necessarily purged for the same reason.[18b]
  • Throughout the remainder of the Great Crusade, the remaining Primarchs swore an oath not to even talk about the lost Primarchs.[18b]
  • The lost Primarchs/Legions are referred to as 'the forgotten and the purged'. This could simply be a way of describing traitors, or they are references to the individual Legions (i.e. one Legion "the forgotten" and the other "the purged").[18b]
  • Magnus confirms that the Emperor personally purged the two lost Primarchs/Legions from history.[18b]
  • During the vision of the Gal Vorbak, the eleventh Primarch is referenced as still being innocent and pure prior to the scattering of the Primarchs. This implies that the eleventh Primarch either becomes corrupted or is guilty of some degree of transgression against the Emperor/Imperium, or both. One of the Gal Vorbak also says that killing the eleventh Primarch in the past would, "save them a lot of trouble", which could be interpreted as saying the Word Bearers had some connection with "dealing" with the Legion.[18c]
  • Both lost Legions are said to have been expunged from Imperial records for 'good reason'. Argel Tal notes specifically that killing the eleventh Primarch in his infancy would 'unwrite a shameful future'.[18d]
  • A rumour is revealed that could explain what ultimately became of the II and XI Legions. Around the time that the II and XI Legions were expunged from Imperial records, the Ultramarines Legion swelled in Astartes numbers to eclipse all other Legions. It could merely be a rumour, or it could actually be the case that the II and XI Legions' Astartes were inducted into the XIII Legion after they were officially expunged from Imperial records. If this were true, it would suggest that the legionnaires of the II and/or the XI had not committed any offence; the crime therefore residing with the Primarch(s), and possibly a minority of the Legion(s). This rumour, however, still does not explain what actually happened to the II and XI Primarchs. Furthermore, multiple people express scepticism about the idea when it is brought up, with Ingethel referring to it as 'insipid conjecture'.[18d]

Prospero Burns

  • In the novel Prospero Burns, on an assault run into a new war zone, a group of Space Wolves were growling over the announcement of Horus as Warmaster. When asked if they were angry over the announcement, and whether they thought that Leman Russ should have been given leadership, the Rune Priest, leading the pack, said that they were really just angry that they could not be present for the announcement, since this was the last time the Emperor would fight with His Legions. He went on to explain that all the Primarchs, and their Legions, were created with a purpose or "Wyrd". One was destined to be the Emperor's statesman, one to be His storm trooper, one to lead His armies, and so on. Horus was always destined to be Warmaster, the priest said. When the Rune Priest was asked what Leman Russ' wyrd was, the priest stated simply "He is the Emperor's executioner". This gives the reason why it was the Space Wolves that were sent to destroy the Thousand Sons.
  • In a conversation near the end of the novel, Leman Russ discussed the coming destruction of the Thousand Sons Legion. When asked if he was concerned over the fact that Space Marines were fighting other Space Marines, he commented that this was not the first time the Wolves had been called on to perform this task. This might be a reference to the possible destruction of the Legion II and/or XI. However, Leman Russ could be referring to when he and his Legion battled the World Eaters during the Great Crusade, or when he fought against Lion 'el Johnson and the Dark Angels.
  • All of these events happen just prior to Horus openly turning against the Emperor. This seems to corroborate that both the II and XI Legions had been destroyed or expunged prior to the start of the Horus Heresy, and as such, neither one of these Legions took part in the events of the Heresy itself.
  • Kasper Hawser, during his narrative in the 13th chapter of the book, states: "The fortress homes of the All-father's eighteen Legions Astartes are the most formidable and impregnable sites in the new Imperium." This appears to clearly indicate that the missing Legions were gone prior to the Burning of Prospero, thus prior to the Horus Heresy.

Deliverance Lost

In the novel Deliverance Lost, in Corax's reflection on his first meeting with the Emperor, the Emperor mentions that there are seventeen other Primarchs. When Corax asks how this can be possible, as he is the nineteenth, the Emperor's face becomes "bleak, filled with deep sorrow", and He says that it is "... a conversation for another day."[20] This indicates that the II and XI Legions were already lost, and possibly expunged, by the time that Corax was reunited with the Emperor. It also suggests that they were lost in the earlier years of the Crusade, as the Emperor mentions that most of the other Primarchs had already been discovered by the time that He came to Lycaeus.

The Outcast Dead

In the novel The Outcast Dead, Evander Gregoras, the Master of the Cryptaesthesians, states that the "Wolves will be loosed again", this time to make an example of Magnus who used forbidden powers to contact the Emperor. Assuming that the Space Wolves are meant, this implies that there are people apart from the Emperor and the Primarchs who are aware of what had happened and confirms the role of the Space Wolves as an instrument to sanction other Legions and Primarchs.[21]

A Thousand Sons

In the novel A Thousand Sons, during the Ullanor Triumph, Magnus the Red mentions missing Primarchs in the conversation with Mortarion.

"Brother," said Magnus, ignoring Mortarion's words. "A great day is it not? Nine sons of the Emperor gathered together on one world, such a thing has not happened since..."

"I know well when it was, Magnus," said Mortarion, his voice robust and resolute in contrast to his pallid features. "And the Emperor forbade us to speak of it again. Do you disobey that command?"[22]

Fear to Tread

In the prologue of Fear to Tread, Sanguinius is called to deal with one of his Blood Angels, Alatros, who has succumbed to the Red Thirst. Horus witnesses his brother kill Alatros and asks why he did it. The Angel initially refuses to answer, but then reveals the existence of the Red Thirst, a flaw in the Blood Angels gene-seed that turns his Legionnaires into mindless, bloodthirsty killers, kept secret from his entire Legion save a select few. When Horus asks Sanguinius why he never talked about that with his Primarch brothers and, above all, why he never asked for help from their creator, the Emperor, Sanguinius replies he feared the most radical solution his father could propose:

"You know the reason! [...] I will not be responsible for the erasure of the Blood Angels from Imperial history. I will not have a third empty plinth beneath the roof of the Hegemon as my Legion's only memorial!"[23]

This response implies that the Legions were purged because of an inherent flaw in their gene-seed and Sanguinius fears the same fate.

The Horus Heresy Book One - Betrayal

In the Forge World book The Horus Heresy Book One - Betrayal, the Primarchs and their Legions are listed in a table with the names of the II and XI Legions and Primarchs blacked out only as far as the text concealed. The length of these black lines indicates that the name of the II Legion is quite long, only just shorter than "Emperor's Children" and the name of the XI Legion is about the same length as "Thousand Sons". The name of the II Primarch is approximately as long as "Alpharius" (also suggesting just a single name) and the name of the XI Primarch is about the same length as "Magnus the Red" (suggesting either two names or one with a title). On the same page, the book also states that "Of these twenty Legions, steadily expanding in numbers over time, eighteen would survive to grow into vast forces by the end of the Great Crusade - as to those that did not, nothing can be said in this record."[24c]

Also, in a section of the book discussing the Primarchs, the author notes that

Over the course of the Great Crusade the Emperor was reunited with each Primarch in turn and, save two whose secrets are far beyond this record, each was sooner or later placed in command of one of the Emperor's Space Marine Legions as its master, second only in authority to the Emperor itself.[24b]

This suggests that the two lost Primarchs never led their respective Legions before being purged from Imperial records. However, this seemingly contradicts the story The Chamber at the End of Memory, where Malcador the Sigillite, one of the few who still remembers what happened to the Primarchs, states that whatever fate befell them left their Legions' Space Marines adrift and leaderless, implying that this event (or events) had stripped them of their leadership.[36] It also contradicts the novel Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix, where Fulgrim explicitly refers to the Primarch of the II Legion, his "quiet brother", as the "Master of the Second".[42]

The book also includes is a Galactic Map of the Great Crusade era Imperium, circa 892.005.M31. All the important planets, Calth, Terra, Fenris, Prospero, Baal, Inwit, Hellion, etc... are listed. Every known Primarchs' homeworld is shown in its respective location. However, in the Segmentum Pacificus there's a spot known as the "Finding of the Lost Son". This could be a reference to Alpharius as he was the last to be found and his homeworld never revealed, or it could reference where one of the lost Primarchs were originally found.[24a]

The Sigillite

During the course of the audio-drama The Sigillite, Malcador and his covert agent Caleb travel to the deepest dungeons of the Emperor's Palace. They pass through the many halls of Malcador's collection, including the original suit of Power armor and bolter, a set of ancient armor, a copy of an ancient holy book, a legendary stone, an ancient probe from Terras early days, and hundreds of thousands of others. At one point they pass a massive door and Malcador stopped to dwell a moment. He told Caleb that beyond the door was the original Primarch lab from before a separate location was built. Caleb approached the door and noticed it was covered in symbols, many of them he recognized; an angel, a wolf's head, a snake, etc. Then Caleb noticed 'it looked like two of the symbols had been scratched out, or had worn away.' When pressed for answers, Malcador simply stated that no one went in that room anymore, and walked away.[25]

Descent of Angels

When Brother-Librarian Israfael tells initiate Zahariel El'Zurias the history of Old Night, he says that Lion El'Jonson has nineteen brothers. Since Descent of Angels takes place around the discovery of Caliban and the Lion, this indicates that the unknown Primarchs were not removed from Imperial records before this time[26].

The Horus Heresy Book Two - Massacre

A timeline in The Horus Heresy Book Two - Massacre lists two events as <ALL DATA REDACTED>, with the Space Wolves Legion listed as taking part, in 965 and 969.M30.[27] These could be the destructions of the two unknown Legions at the hands of the Wolves.

However, the dialogue between Lorgar and Magnus in Chapter 10 of The First Heretic, which takes place no more than seven months after the razing of Monarchia (listed in the timeline as happening in 964.M30), infers that the unknown Legions had been stricken from the records for some time.[18b][27] If both sources are correct, this would infer that the Legions were still active in some fashion before the Wolves destroyed them.

Vulkan Lives

In a dialogue between the Primarch Vulkan and his equery Artellus Numeon on Kharaatan during the Great Crusade, the Drakelord confesses to the Captain that he has seen darkness in the heart of his fellow Primarch Konrad Curze. At a direct question of Numeon asking if it was not wise to discuss the matter with Horus or Rogal Dorn, Vulkan replies:

"I am [troubled] Artellus. Very much so. None of us wants another sanction, another empty pillar in the great investiary, another brother's name excised from all record. It is shame enough to bear the grief for two. I have no wish to add to it, but what choice do I have?"[28]

This response implies that the Legions were sanctioned and purged for some reason.

The Horus Heresy Book Three - Extermination

In the creation history of the Alpha Legion, some names were REDACTED three times. One suggests to us about the failed Legion created from the source of potentially tainted population. The other suggests the Emperor had wiped them as a failed experiment, and didn't pass the proto-Legion state (the time when the Legion grows from the 1000-2000 proto-Marines and expands to a full grown Legion of tens of thousands). And another suggests that like the XX Legion, one of the destroyed Legions have something to do with the Legion Custodes experiment and the Labrik Polaris incident.[29]

The Primarchs

In the novel The Primarchs (Anthology) when Primarch Ferrus Manus stumbles upon twenty statues of Primarchs (with their faces covered in masks) he states that some are familiar to him, while others are less familiar. Only two of them were unfamiliar to him, their masks were split and almost destroyed.

The Unremembered Empire

In the novel The Unremembered Empire, on Macragge there is a table and 21 chairs, built by the Primarch Roboute Guilliman himself for his brothers and the Emperor of Mankind. The chair backs were draped with banners, while the great seat, at the head of the long table, was draped with the pennant of Terra. Two of the other pennants were plain and made of bleached, un-dyed cloth. The other eighteen were the banners of Legiones Astartes. Primarch Lion El'Jonson also says that two of the Primarchs will never come, to which Guilliman replies:

"Yet their absence must be marked. Places must be left for them. That is simply honor."[31]

The Horus Heresy Book Seven - Inferno

In The Horus Heresy Book Seven, it is hinted that one or perhaps both of the missing Legions were lost during the Rangdan Xenocides. However, much of the account is left deliberately redacted.[32]

Dark Imperium (2021 Second Edition)

In the revised edition of the novel Dark Imperium, released in 2021, Roboute Guilliman briefly mentions and discusses the two unknown Primarchs during a conversation with the priest Frater Mathieu:

'I was one of twenty. Two failed. Half the rest turned on my father. The Emperor is not infallible, nor am I.' The blasphemy was intended to provoke the priest. A cheap tactic. Mathieu was thankfully unmoved.

‘Twenty?’ The priest arched an eyebrow.

‘Yes,’ said Guilliman.

‘Not eighteen? Nine holy primarchs, nine fallen devils? That is what the scriptures say.’

‘No. Twenty. Your Church is ignorant of many things.’ As most people weren’t aware that Horus and his followers had been loyal once, that his two failed siblings were not known of in the 41st millennium was hardly surprising. More information deliberately hidden. More myths.[33a]

While this does not explain what happened to these Primarchs, it implies that they were deleted from history for some reason other than betraying the Emperor, as their failure(s) and the actions of the Traitor Legion Primarchs are mentioned separately. It also suggests that the Ecclesiarchy deliberately covered up knowledge that the two purged Primarchs had even existed.[33a]

Also, later in the book, it is revealed that Belisarius Cawl has been experimenting on the use of gene-seed from not only the nine Traitor Legions, but also the Second and Eleventh, in the creation of Primaris Space Marines, confirming that gene-seed stocks or data for the unknown Legions still exist. When Guilliman refuses to allow Cawl to place the Primaris gene-lines derived from these eleven Legions into mass-production, Cawl's proxy-machine, the Cawl Inferior, says

"The warriors were not at fault. The science is not at fault. Their Primarchs were. Chapters from your gene-line have also fallen in the past millennia, lord regent, and we do not censor them."[33b]

While the Inferior may have just been referring to the traitor Primarchs, this could mean that the Primarchs of the lost Legions were to blame for their respective disappearances, rather than their Space Marines. This is consistent with Malcador the Sigillite's testimony in The Chamber at the End of Memory, where he claims that the Space Marines of the two Legions were mind-wiped and put to use elsewhere instead of sharing their Primarchs' respective fates; he specifically describes this as an act of mercy.[42] This might suggest that Cawl has some knowledge of what happened to the two Legions.


In the novel Scars, Jaghatai Khan mentions missing Primarchs in his thoughts, confirming their absence:

"Has this much power ever been concentrated in so few pairs of hands, he wondered? The entire galaxy entrusted to twen– no, eighteen brothers. The peril of it is obvious."[34a]

Later in the novel, Stormseer Targutai Yesugei thinks the following to himself, after coming out of a dream where he saw the downfall of Jaghatai Khan:

"The rumour had always persisted, fuelled by whispers of past atrocities, that only a primarch could kill another primarch. Perhaps it was even true."[34b]

This suggests that one, or both, of the missing Primarchs may have been slain by another Primarch, although Yesugei notes that it is only a rumour.[34b]

The idea of one or more Primarchs being dead is echoed later in Jaghatai Khan's reflections, as he sees the ruins of Tizca in the aftermath of the Burning of Prospero:

Even primarchs had died, so it was whispered. Even gods.[34c]

Lost Sons

In the short story Lost Sons, when Tylos Rubio is about to give orders to the Blood Angels to be disbanded, and their fleet and armory distributed to other Loyalist Space Marine Legions, due to the news of Sanguinius and the majority of the Blood Angels Legion lost or dead in the Signus Cluster, it is mentioned that twice in the history such orders were delivered to the home world of a Legiones Astartes. This information implies that both of the missing Primarchs and their Legions had their home worlds, just like the other Primarchs, and possibly had a garrison there, to whom these orders were delivered.[35]

Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix

In the pre-Horus Heresy Primarch series novel Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix, Fulgrim describes how his seven rediscovered brothers had all doubted that the Emperor's Children were ready to function as an independent Legion, due to them only having 200 Marines at the time Fulgrim took command. While reflecting on this encounter, he mentions how even the "normally contemplative master of the Second" had broken his silence to join the others and accuse him of hubris. Fulgrim claims that he was a hypocrite for saying this, and describes him as a quiet, and apparently humourless, man.[36]

Fulgrim appears to refer to the Second Primarch as if he were still around when commenting on his personality, so it is likely that he was still active at the time of the Emperor's Children's conquest of Byzas.[36]

Magnus the Red: Master of Prospero

In the pre-Horus Heresy Primarch series novel Magnus the Red: Master of Prospero, Legionary Atharva states that it is hard to comprehend the notion that his gene-sire had a brother, let alone that he was one of the twenty. Both this information, and information from the novel Descent of Angels, clearly indicates that both of the missing Primarchs were still active and were not removed from Imperial Records by the time both Lion El'Jonson and Magnus the Red were found and reunited with their Legions.[37]

Fabius Bile: Clonelord

In the novel Fabius Bile: Clonelord, when the expedition of Emperor's Children led by Fabius Bile ventures into the Eastern Fringe finally locates the Necron device, known only as the "Ymga Monolith", two Legionnaires of the Emperor's Children mention the missing Primarchs:

"Fulgrim made mention of it, once. Apparently one of the two Forgotten Ones was said to have led an expedition to its black heart, in the early centuries of the Great Crusade. Though why he was out this far, and what he might've found, was never recorded." He frowned. "Probably for the best. The galaxy has devils enough without letting out whatever resides there."[38]

This apparently refers to the Second Primarch, as the Primarch rediscovery timeline indicates that one of the lost Primarchs was found third, only 23 years after the start of the Crusade (the other being found over halfway through, at 129 years in)[57], and the novel Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix confirms that the Second was among the first eight found[36].

Field Dressing a Lasgun Wound

In The Regimental Standard, a copy of the The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer section of medical treatment of a lasgun wound was mistakenly replaced with a concise history of the Rangdan Xenocides, including direct mention of the unknown Legions fighting alongside the Solar Auxilia during the campaign. This also showed that not all details of their existence were erased from Imperial Records.[39] The usage of the title "Warmaster" implies that this document was printed during the 3rd Rangdan Xenocides of the 890s.M30, as the concept of a "Warmaster" was not even brought up until the involvement of the Dark Angels.[46] However, as showcased in Prospero Burns, the two unknown legions were already lost by the time of Horus' appointment as Warmaster.[19] Accordingly, this suggests that before Horus became the official "first" Warmaster, the title had actually already been used by an individual. Possibly, this person was also connected to the lost legions and expunged from records.

The Last Council

In the short story The Last Council, Horus, Alpharius, and Jaghatai Khan attempt to stop Malcador the Sigillite from destroying one of the Lost Primarchs' statues outside the Imperial Palace. This Lost Primarch's actions had led to his "fall" and disgrace during the Great Crusade, and because of this, Malcador claimed he was no longer worthy of having a statue that bore his face. Horus and his brothers disagreed and stated that the Lost Primarch deserved to be remembered for the glory he had earned the Imperium. Horus then claimed that Malcador had overstepped his authority and was trying to amend the Imperium's early history, so that future generations would never know of the Lost Primarch. Despite their arguments, Malcador refused to listen, and angrily used his psychic powers to attack Horus, who began to utter the name of the Lost Primarch. While being psychically strangled by Malcador, Horus attempted to speak, but only managed to say "M..Mal...al". While, it is unknown if this is the name of the Lost Primarch, or if Horus was just trying to say Malcador's name, the former is more likely as Malchador "felt the old, familiar rage" start to surface within him upon hearing Horus speak that name, and Horus never stopped his attempt to defy Malcador.[40]

He forced Horus down onto his knees.

‘ Mal… ’ the stricken primarch choked. ‘ M-Mal… al… ’

The Sigillite’s face twisted into a vengeful rictus. He felt the old, familiar rage beginning to stir, deep in his undying soul.

‘Enough. You will be silent, or I will unmake you, here and now.’

Horus’ windpipe closed with a sickly crackle. His right eye bloomed red as a blood vessel burst in the sclera.

But still he would not relent.

So defiant. So… So… ungrateful…

The Chamber at the End of Memory

In the short story The Chamber at the End of Memory, a work crew involved in the fortification of the Imperial Palace is killed after breaking into a tower and triggering a series of psychic traps. Upon investigating, Rogal Dorn discovers a pair of doors marked with the numerals Two and Eleven, and assumes that they are those Primarchs' personal quarters, even though those rooms are meant to be on the other side of the Palace. He is soon confronted by Malcador the Sigillite, who reveals that Dorn and Roboute Guilliman had previously told him to suppress the surviving Primarchs' memories of their two lost brothers, including their names and titles, as knowledge of their loss would have threatened the core ideals of the Great Crusade. He also reveals that the Space Marines of the two lost Legions did not share their Primarchs' fates, but were instead mind-wiped and "attuned to new circumstances" at Dorn and Guilliman's request, as they were too useful to be discarded. He then temporarily lifts the memory block on Dorn, in order to show him why the two Primarchs and their fates must remain a mystery.

Later, as the memories start to fade from his mind, Dorn reflects on the fact that the two Primarchs are "gone", and notes that it is for the best. He thinks to himself that

"What came to pass could overshadow everything ... The raw, hateful truth is clear to me. If they were here with us now... This war would already have been lost."[42]

As the memories completely fade, he gives the order for the tower to be buried, and says that it is "only a tomb now".[42]

Additionally, when talking with Malcador, Dorn recalls that, while not all of the extant Primarchs had met the Second and Eleventh, he had known them, if only briefly.[42]

Angron: Slave of Nuceria

In the pre-Horus Heresy Primarch series novel Angron: Slave of Nuceria, Lhorke, a former Legion Master of the World Eaters who's now entombed in a Contemptor Dreadnought, states that two Primarchs had been purged by the Emperor, alongside all Space Marines who had followed them. He goes on suggesting to Angron that if the World Eaters rebel, they may share the same fate of the two unknown legions.[43]


In Wolfsbane, Malcador the Sigillite briefly mentions the lost Primarchs during a discussion with Leman Russ, stating that they (unlike Russ) were disappointments:

"Your purpose is singular, and [the Emperor] relies on you to perform it. So many of the others have been disappointments, first those we do not name, then Horus and the rest, but not you. He trusts you, Leman. I need to know I can too."[47a]

Later in the novel, Leman Russ talks with Kva about the Emperor discovering the Primarchs. When he talks of the discovery of the "third brother" the dialog suddenly cuts off due to Warp interference. When the conversation is seen resuming Leman Russ calls the tale a tragic one. He then notes that Ferrus Manus was then found next, followed by the rest.[47b] As the Primarch rediscovery timeline apparently confirms that the other lost Primarch was found nineteenth (along with backing up Russ' claim that one was found third), and the Second Primarch is noted as one of the first eight found in Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix, it can be concluded that Russ is referring to the Second.[36][57]

In the same chapter, Russ also recalls the ceremony the Emperor held after Ferrus' rediscovery:

'There was a ceremony. The Allfather is cunning in His use of those. For the seeming of it, I don't think He enjoys them, if He enjoys anything. Ferrus was there, and so was Horus. Ferrus had recently been found ... That parade was so calculated. The Allfather's chance to show the world His third son, while He lauded His second."[47b]

As Russ mentions that the Emperor was revealing Ferrus Manus as his 'third son', but referred to Ferrus implicitly as fourth elsewhere, this implies that the Primarch actually found third (the Second) was not present. As the Second Primarch was actively leading his legion later on, by the time eight Primarchs had been found[36], this may just mean that the Emperor had chosen not to reveal his rediscovery to the Imperium. This would not be unprecedented, as he is also thought to have kept Vulkan's rediscovery a secret from the general public for several years.[27b]

Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work

During a mission into the Pharos beacon on Sotha, a team of Primaris Astartes and Alpha Primus encounter a dimensional mirror. This artefact displayed a possible reality that could have existed if things had been slightly different. Within the image of the mirror, Alpha Primus was replaced with twenty Astartes in grey armour. Three of these astartes approached their side of the mirror, appearing to be arguing, followed then by two more. These last two manifested psychic powers and approached further.[44]

Soul Drinker

In the first novel of the Soul Drinkers series, it is stated in the annals of the Soul Drinkers Chapter that "There had been twenty Primarchs created by the Emperor as templates for the superhumans that would conquer the Galaxy in His name...Fully half would be revealed as traitors in the fires of the Horus Heresy." This would imply that one of the unknown Primarchs fell to Chaos and the other remained loyal to the Emperor.[45]

Council of Truth

In the short story Council of Truth, from the Blood of the Emperor (Anthology), the Alpha Legion Primarch Omegon, while disguised as his brother Alpharius, claimed the Emperor viewed the Primarchs as tools. The Great Crusade therefore, was a way for Him to test their abilities - to the point of destruction if need be. Omegon believed this was why the Lost Primarchs were discarded, as flawed tools, by the Emperor.[48]


In the novel Penitent, Beta Bequin discovers that the number '119' may be a key to decrypting a written cipher, and help reveal the identity of the King in Yellow. An astronomer named Frederik Dance reveals to her that, while the number 119 bears many meanings, one of its component numbers, 19, is most commonly used among hermetics to refer to either the Second or Eleventh Primarch (although a number of other possible candidates are mentioned). He takes this to mean that the King in Yellow is one of the missing Primarchs.[49a]

Beta later asks herself how severe the two Primarchs' transgressions must have been for them to be removed from history, when even Horus Lupercal was still remembered, despite his crimes. She concludes that whatever happened must have had involved the Warp, and that it must have been even worse than Horus' sins.[49b]

Eventually, Beta discovers that the King is apparently one of the other candidates identified by Dance, Constantin Valdor of the Adeptus Custodes, rather than one of the lost Primarchs.[49c]

Visions of Heresy (2013 artbook)

In the first volume of the 2013 edition of the Visions of Heresy artbook, there is a pictorial list of the twenty Space Marine Legions, with each represented by an example of a Space Marine from that Legion. The Second and Eleventh Legions are merely represented by grey silhouettes of Space Marines, which are stamped with the word 'Classified'. The Second Legion's silhouette is accompanied by the text '-ERROR #CDIV- file not found' where its name and Primarch would be listed, while the Eleventh's is accompanied by '-CENSORED- by Imperial decree'. This may suggest that records of the Second were deleted or lost entirely, while the Eleventh's were merely suppressed, at least by the time of the Heresy.[50]


In the novella Daenyathos (Novella), the Soul Drinkers Chaplain Daenyathos tells a story about the origins of Space Marine gene-seed. He claims that Space Marine gene-seed is made from the flesh of the lost Primarchs, who were despised by their brothers. According to this tale, these two Primarchs were murdered by the other eighteen, and their bodies cut into thousands of pieces, each of which was implanted into a warrior to create one of the first Space Marines. As Daenyatos was trying to tell as dramatic a story as possible in order to distract his captor, the heretical Missionary Croivas Ascenian, it is unlikely there was any truth to it, literal or otherwise.[51]

Alpharius: Head of the Hydra

In the Alpharius: Head of the Hydra (Novel), the Primarch Alpharius suspects that since Leman Russ was the Emperor's executioner, he was likely responsible for at least one of the Unknown Primarchs' disappearances, during the Great Crusade. However, he notes that he has no evidence to support this.[52a]

Later in the novel, after Alpharius is reunited with Omegon and hears his rediscovered brother's life story, he begins to tell his own story. While doing so, he starts telling Omegon his observations regarding the XI legion, but is interrupted by an assault from the Slaugth.[52b]

The Wolftime

In the Dawn of Fire novel The Wolftime, as Maldovar Colquan and Hastius Vychellan of the Adeptus Custodes are discussing the Space Wolves' resistance against their new Primaris Space Marine reinforcements, Vychellan notes that

"If Guilliman was to turn on the Emperor then the Space Wolves would be one of his first opponents. The history of the Ten Thousand with the Eleventh Legion is a reminder of that. Why would Guilliman be so keen to arm and expand such an obstacle to his ambition?"[53]

Colquan then says, among other things, that

"And, as the history you refer to proves more than anything, loyalty to the Emperor can be directed to ill ends by manipulation and lies."[53]

Going by this exchange, it is possible that least part of the Eleventh Legion was unwittingly manipulated into betraying the Emperor, and that the Space Wolves were among the first respondents to the betrayal. It also seems that the Custodes (the Ten Thousand) were involved, as Vychellan refers to it as part of their history with the Eleventh. However, Vychellan does not explicitly confirm that the Eleventh were the traitors, only that they were involved.[53]

This exchange also confirms that the Adeptus Custodes are still aware of at least some of the Eleventh Legion's history by the time of the Indomitus Crusade, despite them being expunged from other Imperial records.[53]

Codex: Adeptus Custodes (9th Edition)

In Codex: Adeptus Custodes (9th Edition), a being known as Subject XI is stated to be held in the deepest vaults of the Imperial Palace. This correlates to one of the numbers of the missing Primarchs.[54]

Legions of the Horus Heresy – The Space Wolves

In the Warhammer Community's Horus Heresy article on the Space Wolves Legion, it states that they would be dispatched to deal with other Legions who went off the rails. According to the article, some Remembrancers might claim this is why there are now only 18 Legions, instead of 20.[55]

Fury of Magnus (Novella)

In the novella Fury of Magnus, Alivia Sureka recalls, during her meeting with Magnus the Red, how she had previously met four other Primarchs: Horus Lupercal, Roboute Guilliman, Corvus Corax, and "one whose name she had sworn never to speak".[56] The latter may have been one of the two lost Primarchs, as various other people had also been ordered to never speak their names, or to discuss them and their Legions, after they were expunged from Imperial records.[18b][40][42]

Timeline of the 31st Millenium

On the official Horus Heresy website, there is a timeline listing a series of events occurring in the late 30th and early 31st millennia, including the rediscovery dates of the various Primarchs. This includes two events, labelled "Discovery of [REDACTED]", dated to the years 821.M30 (third in the Primarch discovery sequence) and 927.M30 (nineteenth in the sequence). These are presumably the discovery dates of the two lost Primarchs.[57] If this is the case, then the first of these two events would be the II Legion Primarch's discovery, as Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix (Novel) confirms that the he was among the first eight found.[36]

Horus Heresy: Age Of Darkness Rulebook (2022)

In the Horus Heresy: Age Of Darkness Rulebook (2022), it is said that while eighteen Space Marine Legions' names and numbers are mentioned in Imperial records, twenty Primarchs had been created by the Emperor, and twenty Legions had set out from Terra at the start of the Great Crusade. The two lost Legions are said to have been all but forgotten by the time of the Horus Heresy, with their (and their Primarchs') names having been purged not only from Imperial records, but also from the memories of many who must have fought alongside them at some point. It also notes that no one can be sure what their impact on the Heresy would have been, had one or both of the Legions been around to participate in it.[58]

Angron: The Red Angel

In Chapter 6 of the Angron: The Red Angel (Novel), the Grey Knights Epistolary Graucis Telomane claimed that the Emperor engineered the elimination of both of the Lost Primarchs. Telomane wished that the Emperor had done the same for Angron during the Great Crusade, once He realized how damaged the Primarch was.[59]