Arkio, known as Arkio the Blessed and the Reborn Angel, was a Space Marine of the Blood Angels Chapter who became the unwitting pawn of the Chaos God Tzeentch and one of his servants, the vile Lord of Change Malfallax.
Arkio was mutated through the power of Chaos to possess a pair of angel wings in order that he might resemble the Blood Angels' Primarch Sanguinius as part of a Chaos plot to take control of the Blood Angels Chapter for the Lord of Change.
Arkio was eventually confronted and killed by his biological brother and fellow Blood Angel Sergeant Rafen at the Battle of Sabien, saving the Blood Angels from the outbreak of an internecine war within their Chapter.
Arkio was the biological brother of Rafen, two Space Marines who served within the Blood Angels Chapter. They were a rarity, for it was most uncommon to have two siblings from a single generation found suitable for Astartes recruitment to a single Chapter. Due to their continued sibling rivalry, Arkio attempted to strike out on his own and forge his own destiny within the Chapter's annals.
He eventually took a posting aboard the Battle Barge Bellus. To great fanfare and good omens among the Chapter faithful, Bellus had been sent on its way a solar decade earlier by Lord Commander Dante himself, the Chapter Master of the Blood Angels. Crewed with a hand‐picked force of warriors on an assignment to recover an artefact of the Chapter that dated back to the Horus Heresy, the Bellus ' quest was to recover the archeotech device known as the Spear of Telesto, an object thought lost in the confusion of those dark times ten millennia before.
It was only through the chance discovery of a storehouse of documents on the world of Evangelion that the Chapter had learned that the artefact still existed, and under the command of Ramius Stele -- a Puritan Inquisitor of a most rigid nature trusted by both the Chapter and the highest levels of the Ecclesiarchy -- Dante sent the Bellus to the Ork‐held worlds on the borders of the Segmentum Obscurus.
Every Blood Angel had seen the Tapestries of Riga that hung in the silent cloister of their fortress-monastery on Baal. They depicted the ancient depictions of Sanguinius and the Spear of Telesto in action against the Slaughter‐Lord Mor‐roga. The great battle was rendered in threads dyed a million shades of red, every strand coloured in the blood of a fallen brother.
And across the vast, heavy landscapes of dull ruby, the golden archangel Sanguinius who was their Chapter's founder was shown -- his beautiful face in its most terrible aspect, driving back the tide of Chaos. In every panel, the holy spear blazed like a shard of the sun. Many Battle-Brothers often found themselves wondering what it would be like to hold the haft of a weapon that once belonged to their eternal liege.
It had been a challenging campaign, but the Blood Angels had been blessed. The Bellus had successfully recovered the sacred Chapter artefact and word of their imminent return had been spoken throughout the Chapter for many solar months. During this expedition, Arkio had been promoted to the position of honour guard for the Sanguinary Priest Sachiel. But unknown to Arkio, he had also unwittingly been chosen as a pawn of the Chaos-corrupted Inquisitor Stele, to be manipulated and corrupted, part of a scheme intended to ultimately plunge the Blood Angels Chapter into a civil war which would result in their inevitable destruction.
Stele had somehow managed to plant a Warp-spawned "egg" (magically crafted by the Lord of Change Mallafax himself) into the spinal column of Arkio, which would slowly mutate the unsuspecting Arkio into the very visage of the Blood Angels' long-dead Primarch.
The Bellus had traveled to the Cemetery World of Cybele to help assist the beleaguered Blood Angels force that guarded the planet that was being besieged by a large force of Word Bearers Chaos Space Marines led by the Dark Apostle Iskavan the Hated. Arkio led a daring raid to infiltrate the enemy-held spaceport, turning its ordnance on the Chaos Grand Cruiser Ogre Lord which hung low in Cybele's orbit.
The missiles launched from the spaceport destroyed the Chaotic warship. During the Blodo Angels' assault on the planet's surface, Arkio helped save the life of the Sanguinary Priest Sachiel from a rampaging daemon. Despite the forces arrayed against them, the Blood Angels rallied behind the valiant Arkio, managing to successfully turn the tide against their attackers and carry the day. Later on, aboard the Bellus, Rafen was reunited with his sibling.
The Bellus pursued the apparently fleeing Word Bearers to their base on the world of Shenlong, against Lord Commander Dante's explicit orders to remain on Cybele. En route to Shenglong aboard the Bellus, the Blood Angels honoured their brothers who had fallen on Cybele. As reward for his valiant deeds, Iniquisitor Stele had Arkio come forward and presented him with a lengthy case of solid titanium, its surface intricately worked with the symbols of the Chapter, the Imperium and the Ordo Hereticus.
In recognition of his daring, Arkio was chosen to present the Spear of Telesto to his Chapter. As he laid his hands upon the sacred artefact, the radiance of the weapon swept across the length of the grand chamber in a wave of pale golden light. Caught up in the moment, unbidden, Arkio broke protocol and touched the ageless lance, lifting it from its case. A pulse of white light flared, and all the Blood Angels present witnessed a miracle, as the light seemed to make Arkio appear as if he were Sanguinius himself.
Soon word of the "miracle" within the grand chamber spread throughout the decks of the Bellus. Arkios' presentation of the Spear rekindled the bright fury of the Blood Angels and for the survivors on Cybele it became a rallying point. Men who had stood with Rafen and been ready to welcome death with open arms changed overnight. Suddenly they became fierce and blood‐hungry. During firing rites and maintenance duties, even in the midst of daily battle drills, conversations turned towards the Battle‐Brother the men had come to call "the Blessed", and the burning need for vengeance on the denizens of Shenlong, where the surviving Word Bearer Traitor Marines had fled.
During the assault on Shenlong, Rafen's closest friend, Sergeant Koris, was afflicted by visions of the Blood Angels' Primarch at the time of his death. Succumbing to the Black Rage, the valiant Blood Angel fought alongside his fellow Battle-Brothers of the Death Company like a Space Marine possessed, taking horrific wounds for his efforts. As he lay dying, the agony of his grave wounds granted him a moment of lucidity. He warned his friend Rafen to beware of Inquisitor Stele and to be wary of his sibling Arkio, for he had been cursed with the powers to destroy the Blood Angels.
Whilst assaulting the Ikari fortress on Shenlong, Inquisitor Stele, Arkio and seven of the Inquisitor's honour guard teleported into the midst of the Word Bearers. Arkio carried the Spear of Telesto into battle, summoning forth the righteous power of the sacred artefact. The unleashed energy from the mighty weapon vapourised the traitorous Chaos Space Marines, leaving the Blood Angels unscathed.
Those that witnessed this second "miracle" were led to believe that Arkio was truly blessed, and could be none other than the Primarch Sanguinius Reborn. Despite being a witness to such miraculous events, there were still lingering doubts in Rafen's mind. Word of Arkios' miraculous deeds quickly spread amongst the the Shenlongi people. Soon they began to make pilgrimages to see Arkio the Blessed, the Reborn Angel. Believing that he had grown beyond the servitude of an average, line Astartes, Arkio had his loyal Space Marine followers forge for him a set of golden Artificer Armour like that once worn by the Blood Angels' beloved Primarch.
As Arkio continued to be manipulated by the events set in motion by Stele, a large gathering of Shenlongi pilgrims took place before the fortress. Arkio informed the people of Shenlong that their battle had not yet ended, and that the corrupted still concealed themselves in their cities. They would not be free until every last Chaos adherent was found. Confused, the flowing crowd hesitated. Arkio warned them that if they did not answer him that harsh measures would be taken. Without warning, a dozen Shenlongi surged to their feet and raced forwards in a strange madness, begging to be punished.
On pure reflex, the Blood Angels opened fire into the crowds, gunning down the people who rushed at them. To Rafen's horror, the Shenlongi welcomed the Bolter rounds with open arms. Later, Arkio finally confronted the hated Dark Apostle Iskavan in personal combat. During their titanic struggle, large white seraphic wings emerged from Arkio's back, destroying the rear portion of his armour. Appearing as a living avatar of the blessed Primarch, Arkio summoned the Spear to his hand and proceeded to kill the Traitor Marine.
Following this miraculous transformation, Arkio now believed he truly was Sanguinius Reborn. He moved to quickly assume the Imperial governorship of the planet and began to raise a thousands-strong army known as the "Warriors of the Reborn" from the ranks of the Shenlongi people. Together, they would begin a mighty Blood Crusade in which Arkio the Blessed would reunite all the Blood Angels under his banner, taking stewardship of the Chapter from Lord Commander Dante.
The doubting Rafen managed to to send a Vox-signal to the Blood Angels homeworld of Baal, informing them of the events that had occurred on Cybele and Shenlong. Dante received the clandestine transmission and decided to have Chief Librarian Mephiston send Epistolary Vode and Captain Gallio aboard the Cruiser Amareo to Shenlong to determine the full extent of the events that had transpired. Dante felt that the use of the relic so blatantly and without his sanction was troubling.
Upon arriving at Shenlong, the Epistolary Vode was permitted to have an audience with Arkio. Sensing the evil that lurked within him, and enraged at the audacity of Arkio daring to usurp their Primarch's blessed name, he attacked the upstart with his Force Axe. In the fighting that ensued, Vode and Captain Gallio were both killed. Arkio then ordered the Bellus to fire upon the Amareo, destroying it. Sanguinary Priest Sachiel, Arkio's emissary, sent word to Dante on Baal, requesting his personal audience on the Shrine World of Sabien in 9 solar days.
But instead, Chief Librarian Mephiston went in his stead aboard the Battle Barge Europae. While waiting for the Chief Librarian to arrive, Arkio spent too much time in the chapel in the presence of the Spear of Telesto. The sacred relic somehow managed to trigger rampant mutations all over Arkio's body, causing the Spear to reject him.
Arkio also experienced a prescient vision of his brother Rafen impaling him through the heart with the Spear. These mutations were barely halted by Inquisitor Stele's latent psychic abilities, who convinced Arkio that this dire vision had been granted by Sanguinius himself, and that it would only come to pass if they failed in their endeavours.
Mephiston soon arrived upon the Shrine World to judge the so-called "Reborn Angel." Turning his powerful witch-sight upon the upstart, the Librarian quickly discerned the carefully hidden Chaos corruption that had been implanted within Arkio's body. He was surprised when Arkio was still able to hold the sacred artefact. Unconvinced by his supposed "divinity," Mephiston denounced Arkio as being false and Inquisitor Stele as a Heretic.
The Chief Librarian then proceeded to challenge Arkio to a duel, for if he truly was the re-manifestation of the Angel himself, he would be able to best any warrior that lived, or so it was written in the Book of Lords. Having survived the attempts on his life by the Warriors of the Reborn, Rafen managed to arrive just before the duel took place, and offered to fight in Mephiston's stead.
The Lord of Death granted Rafen the honour of facing his sibling. Though Arkio had the advantage of inhuman strength granted by his mutations, Rafen was still the more experienced warrior. During the resulting battle, Arkio attempted to use the power of the Spear against his brother, but the relic refused to respond to Arkio's attempts as it would not harm a true Son of Baal.
During their struggle, Rafen managed to severely wound Arkio when he cut one of his wings, which bled foul black ichor, revealing the true corruption within. Shocked by this revelation, Arkio fled the field of battle. Suddenly the Warriors of the Reborn and Mephiston's forces turned upon one another when the corrupted Inquisitor Stele killed the Sanguinary Priest Sachiel and blamed the deed upon Mephiston. In the midst of this internecine conflict the Word Bearers suddenly arrived.
Mephiston informed Rafen that if he failed in his mission, he had ordered the Europae to destroy Sabien with a barrage of Cyclonic Torpedoes. Rafen insisted that he would end his brother's threat to the Chapter. He was given a Jump Pack in order for him to be able to fight Arkio on equal footing in the air. Rafen confronted his erstwhile brother in the ruins of an old Imperial cathedral. Fueled by his irrational hate for his sibling during the confrontation, Arkio's mutations were fully revealed in all their dark glory.
The Spear of Telesto finally rejected him, as Arkio was now a minion of Chaos, burning white-hot until he was forced to drop the sacred weapon. Arkio's visage took on a horrible aspect as a bloody-handed, vampiric red angel. Arkio then attempted to kill Rafen with tooth and claw but Rafen managed to fend off his sibling's attack with his Combat Knife.
Rafen struck violently, bringing his weapon about and thrusting upward between his brother's ribs. Screaming in agony, Arkio tumbled away from Rafen, and fell to the ground. The upright Spear twitched and jerked of its own accord, shifting and turning about its axis until the teardrop blade was brought to meet him. Arkio plunged into the blade, which punctured between his shoulder blades, bisecting his primary heart and exploding through his sternum.
Rafen eventually came upon the prostrate form of his fallen brother. With regret, Arkio begged his sibling's forgiveness, and Rafen gave it. Picking up his brother's fallen form, Rafen carried it towards the internecine battle which still raged between Mephiston's and Arkio's followers. From atop a gutted tower of a long-fallen cathedral of the Imperial Cult, Rafen informed his Battle-Brothers of their folly; they had been betrayed and led blindly by the false hand of Chaos.
He tipped Arkio's corpse over the ledge and let gravity take the winged body from him. The dead man tumbled end over end, ruined wings flapping, to land in a broken heap upon the cathedral steps. Realising their error, Arkio's former followers renounced the Reborn, and with renewed vigour fell upon their true enemies, the Word Bearers.
In the aftermath, the Blood Angels conducted the necessary rituals of purgation, and the body of Arkio was burned on a great funeral pyre by Rafen as a last sign of respect for a Blood Angel who had been duped into heresy. Rafen was offered the captaincy of the 6th Company by Lord Commander Dante, but he declined respectfully. Rafen felt that he had not yet earned the right to hold such an esteemed rank. He would earn it on his own. Instead he asked Mephiston to grant clemency and compassion for those of his Battle-Brothers who had strayed.
- Deus Encarmine (Novel) by James Swallow
- Deus Sanguinius (Novel) by James Swallow