Sebastian Yarrick (known as The Old Man by the people of Armageddon and as Old Bale Eye by the Orks) is an Imperial Guard Commissar famous for his participation in the Second and Third Wars for Armageddon, in which he twice fought against the Ork forces of Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka. His leadership and bravery during these conflicts have made him one of the greatest heroes of the Imperium.[1a]
The Second War for Armageddon
In his youth, Yarrick had learned the Ork language from a captured raider, and became an expert in the way the Ork mind worked. Before the Second War for Armageddon began, in 941.M41, he had already served in a dozen campaigns as a commissar with Armageddon's Planetary Defence Forces and gained a reputation for unswerving loyalty to the Emperor. In fact, he was already of advanced age at the time of the War and was scheduled to retire on the day the Orks landed.[Needs Citation]
When the first warnings of the Ork landing came, Yarrick was on Armageddon to assist in the founding of the 4th Armageddon Regiment.[1b] Yarrick swiftly observed that Ghazghkull was a more cunning and tenacious warlord than previously encountered among Orks, and Yarrick ordered the planet's astropaths to send a call for help. Herman von Strab, the inept Overlord of Armageddon, insisted that Armageddon could deal with the Ork threat on its own, and banished Yarrick to Hades Hive as punishment for circumventing von Strab's authority.[Needs Citation]
Von Strab was grievously mistaken. Under his incompetent leadership, the planet fell bit by bit until the Orks reached Hades Hive. Here, Commissar Yarrick commanded the defending forces, inspiring them to a fanatical degree of bravery and resolve. Not a single soldier was executed for cowardice during the fighting at Hades Hive, even in the face of the overwhelming Ork numbers. Yarrick himself was always on the front lines during the fighting, receiving many battle wounds.[1a]
Frustrated about defiance of Hive Hades, Ghazghkull sent one of his strongest Warbosses, Ugulhard, to deal with Yarrick's resistance. As the monsterous Ork and his followers overran the hive's outer defense, the Commissar stepped forward to challenge the warboss. He was grievously wounded in this duel, as Ugulhard severed Yarrick's right arm with a swipe from his Power Klaw. Such a wound would have killed a lesser man, but Yarrick's iron will allowed him to not only survive, but to decapitate Ugulhard with his chainsword and then pull the Power Klaw from his corpse and hold it aloft for all to see. The sight caused the Orks to flee in terror, while simultaneously causing the human defenders to charge forward with renewed vigour. Only after the Orks had been routed did Yarrick allow himself the luxury of passing out.[1a]
The Imperial defence of Hades Hive was so implacable that eventually Ghazghkull himself joined the attack, leading his forces from the front. He tried to take the Hive by every strategy he could imagine, but Yarrick countered them all. Eventually, Hades Hive became a personal battle between the two warriors. When Ghazghkull fell upon the hive, Yarrick realised they could not hold their position. In a series of daring shuttle runs, the remaining forces managed to escape. Yarrick himself received a near-fatal wound in combat with Ghazgkull, and hovered near death during the final stage of the evacuation[1b].
Eventually, the war ended with the arrival of Commander Dante of the Blood Angels, whom the defenders of Armageddon turned to for leadership. Although the Space Marines' offensive pushed the Orks off the planet, Yarrick's defense of Hades Hive was recognized as the turning point of the war, and he was hailed as the Saviour of Armageddon.[1b]
In 944.M41, three years after the end of the Second War, Yarrick formally came out of retirement and requested a military expedition to thoroughly cleanse the surrounding worlds of Ork raiders, his particular goal being to hunt down Ghazghkull. One such planet, Golgotha, was to be where this purge would end for the Imperials in a crushing defeat by the Ork defences. Yarrick's personal Baneblade, the Fortress of Arrogance was abandoned and Yarrick himself was captured by Ghazghkull. After grueling torture and forced labor with other captured Humans, Yarrick led a slave revolt aboard Ghazghkull's Space Hulk. However the uprising failed, and Yarrick once again found himself in Greenskin captivity. Yarrick was then brought before Ghazghkull much more, and much to the Commissar's surprise the Warboss gave him a shuttle and let him go. Ghazghkull stated that good enemies were hard to come by and felt that the Warboss' planned re-invasion of Armageddon would be much more fun with Yarrick on the other side.
However, Yarrick would later vengefully return to Golgotha at the head of an army of Mechanicum which included Titans, Skitarii, and an Ordinatus engine to scour the world of Orks. The Orks later counter-attacked, retaking the planet.
The Third War for Armageddon
The Third War for Armageddon would prove to be a much harder battle than the Second. Yarrick arrived back on the planet two weeks before the invasion began. By overwhelming vote, he was offered supreme command of all Imperial forces on the planet, and he accepted.[Needs Citation]
Ghazhkull opened the conflict by obliterating Hades Hive from orbit, effectively throwing down the gauntlet to his old adversary.[1b] Fortunately, Yarrick had foreseen this attack; where another commander might have diverted resources and men to protecting the city he had so ferociously defended before, Yarrick acted out of cold military logic and without a trace of sentimentality. Seeing that Hades Hive could not be defended, he had it evacuated before the Orks attacked, and concentrated his forces elsewhere.
His first order was to send all remaining Imperial aircraft to destroy as many of the Orks as possible before they could touch the ground. Eventually, the Orks landed their Roks, providing them with prebuilt fortresses. Yarrick personally led the assault on one of these with a force of Cadian Shock Troopers. Eventually the Third War for Armageddon degenerated into a grueling war of attrition, thwarting Ghazghkull's hopes for a clear victory[1b]. When Ghazghkull fled Armageddon and the Black Templars prepared to give chase, Yarrick petitioned High Marshal Helbrecht to allow him to join their quest; Helbrecht agreed, and Yarrick immediately set off, determined to rid the galaxy of Ghazghkull for good[1a].
After much pursuit Yarrick and Helbrecht were able to finally catch up to Ghazghkull. However while they were able to corner his flagship Kill Wrecka in the ensuing Battle of the Haunted Gulf, Ghazghkull was able to escape into the Warp and begin his Great Waaagh!. When Yarrick saw the Ork Warlord vanish, he slumped and knew that his escape meant ill for the galaxy.
Recently, it has been rumored that Yarrick is dead. The Bell of Lost Souls on Terra is said to have rung for him, but the exact details of his fate are unclear. Death at the hands of Ghazghkull or a returned Angron have been proposed. There is also speculation that he is not dead at all.
Yarrick's weaponry reflects both his iron will and his keen understanding of the Ork mind, which respects only strength and is also highly superstitious[1a].
After hearing rumors from the Orks that he could kill with a glance, he had his missing eye replaced with a bionic replacement, the Bale Eye, that can fire a laser beam, similar in effect to a laspistol at close range[1a].
Yarrick atop the Fortress of Arrogance.
- "Heroes of Armageddon! You have withstood the evil savagery of the Orks, and they having nothing left for you to fear. So raise high the black banners of vengeance - now is our time."—during the Third War for Armageddon[1c]
- 1: Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition)
- 2: Gunheads (Novel) [Needs Citation]
- 3 Games Workshop
- 4: Helsreach (Novel) - Armageddon (Anthology), Chapter II
- 5: Waaagh! Ghazghkull - A Codex: Orks Supplement (7th Edition) [Needs Citation]
- 6: White Dwarf #191, pg. 51
- 7: Hammer and Bolter (Anthology Series) - Old Bale Eye
- 8: Warhammer Community: Warhammer Community Investigates – Could Commissar Yarrick Actually Be Dead? (posted 15/11/2022) (last accessed 15/11/2022)
- Battle for Armageddon (Game)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 1st Codex)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex)
- Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition)
- Armageddon Website (accessed 27-05-07)