|This article is about the Chaos warlord; for the World Eaters Space Marine, see Macer Varren.|
|This page contains spoilers for:||Cain's Last Stand (Novel)|
Based on picts from his earlier conquests, recovered from Chaos soldiers captured in the early stages of the siege, Varan was a man of average build, wearing an austere military uniform with Chaos sigils on his coat and cap. His face was unremarkable, except for two extravagant mustaches. He spoke with a voice that was grating and somewhat whining in its timbre, and also made frequent use of theatrical hand gestures[1c]. Despite his less-than-intimidating appearance, Varan was also a powerful psyker, who laced his seemingly uninspiring speeches with mental dominance to sway his audience to Chaos, including an Adepta Sororitas convent on the planet Madasa, as well as members of the PDF of Madasa and Perlia[1b][1c][1d][1e][1f].
Why Varan's force was dispatched to Perlia, while the majority of forces during the Black Crusade concentrated on the Cadian Gate and its surrounding systems, is not certain. It was speculated that Varan had discovered the existence of an artifact called the Shadowlight, which could awaken latent psychic powers in humans. Varan may have pledged to recover it, in an attempt to curry favor with his dark master, Abaddon the Despoiler [1a].
Upon landing on Perlia and laying siege to the planetary capital of Havensdown, Varan assembled his prisoners, including Planetary Governor Lio Trevellyan, into the scrumball stadium and began to speak, swaying the entire assemblage into swearing fealty to him with his powerful psychic influence[1e][1f]. In a desperate gambit, Commissar Ciaphas Cain, aiding in the defense of the planet, contacted Varan's forces and summoned him to the defense headquarters, based at the Adeptus Mechanicus shrine at the Valley of Daemons, to discuss terms of surrender. But when Varan arrived, Cain (protected from Varan's psychic dominance by his blank aide, Ferik Jurgen) stated that he had summoned Varan so that the Warmaster would surrender to him[1g].
With his psychic talents rendered unexpectedly useless, and his mind-controlled Sororitas bodyguards temporarily disoriented by Jurgen's presence, Varan unleashed the other "gifts" received from his foul gods, including talons that protruded from his fingers and some form of sub-dermal carapace armour. Despite these, Varan was defeated in single combat with Cain, who kicked the "self-styled invincible warlord" from the roof of the shrine to his death. The event was recorded via a servo-skull that Varan had brought along to record what he had thought was Cain's surrender to the forces of Chaos, further boosting Cain's already-legendary reputation as a Hero of the Imperium[1g][1h].
After Varan's death, his entourage was destroyed by a necron scouting force, which then claimed the Shadowlight for themselves before vanishing with their prize[1g]. The rest of his army, without his influence, splintered into feuding groups, which were defeated in detail by arriving Imperial reinforcements[1h].
- "Well, that was unexpected..." - last words
In The Traitor's Hand, Varan's last words are given as, "Well, that was unexpected...", presumably referring to his own defeat and death. This quote was purportedly taken from Cain's own book of common sayings which he occasionally peppers into his lectures at the Schola Progenium.
It is possible that Cain misattributed the quote in his common book, or dressed it up slightly for the purpose of repeating it to his students.
At the 2012 Black Library Weekender, author Sandy Mitchell admitted that Varan was intended as a parody of Adolf Hitler — a short, buffoonish man with ridiculous moustaches, a habit of orating theatrically to a stadium of onlookers, and an insatiable need for an audience.
- 1: Cain's Last Stand (Novel) — Ciaphas Cain: Defender of the Imperium (Omnibus) by Sandy Mitchell
- 2: The Traitor's Hand (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell, Chapter Eighteen, pg. 329