They are a vectorium of the 4th Plague Company, favouring viral bombardment and sorcerous saturation before the battle begins.
They march from amidst billowing clouds of corrosive spores and infectious vapours, their enemies screaming and putrefying even as they struggle to fight back.
As the Apostles chant the praise of Nurgle, packs of daemons rise from the organic slurry to join the fight, overrunning the enemy with a tide of bloated bodies.
The Apostles of Contagion can trace their origins back to the dark days of the Horus Heresy that occurred in the early 31st Millennium. They were once Space Marines of the resilient Death Guard Legion.
When their Legion fell to the vile temptations of Nurgle, Necrosius, a former Death Guard Apothecary, cast aside his former profession as a healer and gave himself over whole-heartedly to the predations of the Plague Lord. He soon discovered that he excelled at the daemonic arts.
As a zealous convert of Nurgle, Necrosius rapidly gathered a loyal following amongst his fellows who had followed their dark master into corruption.
Believing in the promise of eternal "life" brought to Mankind through the agency of Nurgle, these disciples would become the first Apostles of Contagion.
Bending his knee to no master save for Grandfather Nurgle, Necrosius' resentment of the Death Guard's First Captain Typhus, whose betrayal sent the Death Guard to its final damnation, festered into a bitter rivalry and open conflict down the years between Necrosius' Apostles and the Death Guard warband led by Typhus, now the Herald of Nurgle and the host of the Plague Lord's Destroyer Hive.
Parting company from their fellows in the Death Guard, the Apostles of Contagion chose to go their own way, spreading disease and Nurgle's greatest "gift," the Zombie Plague of walking death, wherever they went.
The Apostles were heedless to whom they brought this unholy blight, whether they were the loyal servants of the Corpse Emperor or even followers of the other Ruinous Powers. As a result of their actions, Necrosius and his Apostles have made many enemies and participated in a number of great atrocities over the millennia since the Heresy.
- Siege of Vraks (813.M41) - When Necrosius and his warband arrived on the Imperial Armoury World of Vraks as part of the counter-assault of the Forces of Chaos against the Imperial besiegers, his presence was at first unsuspected and unlooked for by ally and foe alike. Although he would accept no master, least of all the Apostate Cardinal Xaphan nor indeed the mighty Lord Zhufor who garnered the allegiance of the bulk of the Chaos Space Marines operating on Vraks, Necrosius and his followers soon busied themselves with their own nightmarish work. The Apostles of Contagion passed among the ranks of the heretics of Vraks, spreading their bleak and unholy creed and raising legions of the walking dead to unleash on friend and foe alike.
- Third Battle for Tarran's Pass (Unknown Date.M42) - When the Scourge Stars arose, Death Guard vectoriums, including the Apostles of Contagion, launched strikes against nearby worlds, ensuring that no enemy was in a position to disrupt Mortarion's muster for the Ultramar invasion. On the planet of Daxar, the Apostles of Contagion met stiff resistance from an Astra Militarum force built around the 56th Cadian Heavy Infantry. Though the Death Guard drove the Cadians back from the defences of Haldyon City before harrying them across the sulphur deserts beyond, at the mouth of Tarran's Pass the Imperial Guard dug in and resisted all conventional attacks. Conscious that his enemies were mustering their reserves for a concerted counter-strike, and that the will remained upon Daxar to disrupt Mortarion's plans, Death Guard Lord Thelugh Poxmaw commanded that a mighty summoning ritual be performed. As dark clouds spiralled overhead and the moons crawled backwards in the sky, several hundred Beasts of Nurgle were conjured into being and sent gambolling towards the Imperial defence lines. Dozens were blown apart by Cadian fire, dozens more hacked and blasted apart at close range, but the remaining Beasts ploughed on regardless, and the depleted Death Guard followed in their wake. With the barricades smashed, the pass ran red with Imperial blood, and Daxar fell soon after.
The Apostles of Contagion are a small but powerful vectorium, and number among their host not only the rotting and corpulent Plague Marines, but Nurgle-devoted heretics of uncertain origin and dark acolytes, apostate preachers and lesser Death Guard Sorcerers, each an apprentice to Necrosius' own mastery of the necromantic arts.
Warband Combat Doctrine
Like viral infections, the Apostles of Contagion embrace the ranks of Renegades and heretics to the Imperium like rotting spectres, preaching their poisoned words with their unholy dogma, converting the despairing masses to their dark cause.
Necrosius and his vile Plague Marine Sorcerers travel among the battlefields of the Imperium, conducting rites of the darkest sorcery over the killing grounds, mass graves and the unburied dead, preparing the way for the horror of undeath to come. The corpses of the fallen soon begin to stir in the blood-soaked earth, as Nurgle's dance of the dead awakens them once more, with Necrosius calling the tune.
The Apostles of Contagion wear brass-coloured Power Armour which appears rusty and is marred by decay and putrescence.
The Apostles of Contagion's badge is a crimson-coloured carrion fly, another of the nearly infinite variations on the Mark of Nurgle.
Notable Apostles of Contagion
- Necrosius the Undying - Necrosius is a former Death Guard Apothecary who became a powerful Death Guard Sorcerer dedicated to spreading the glory of Nurgle throughout the galaxy. He is the leader of the Apostles of Contagion and is one of the most powerful servants of the Plague Lord in the known universe. His most common modus operandi is to infiltrate a battlefield where the Forces of Chaos and the Imperium are contending and unleash the horrific Zombie Plague upon all sides by raising the fallen as undead horrors sacred to Nurgle.
- Codex Heretic Astartes - Death Guard (8th Edition), pp. 16, 54
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pp. 14, 142-143