"He is not many, he is one, he is the first. A creature as old as Creation itself, he has moved unseen between the stars for millennia, twisting the fates of many races and feeding upon their misery. But I have found him, I have learnt his name!"
- — Tech-Magos Kyber Arbastri to the Council of Chalice
Ancient beyond imagining, the Daemon Prince Be'lakor, also called the "Dark Master" and the "First-Damned," was the very first of his kind. Raised up from mortality by the combined will of the Chaos Gods as Chaos Undivided, he was given a portion of each of their power. Be'lakor's fate has ever been influenced by the endless struggle between the gods, as he is beholden to each of the Dark Gods equally.
At first, Be'lakor used the jealousy of the Ruinous Powers to gain their favours, never completely swearing his allegiance to any one of them. For a time, the gods fought over Be'lakor as children might squabble over a favoured toy. However, they soon realised the folly of combining their might into a single vessel, as Be'lakor proved nearly uncontrollable.
They soon began to raise up new Daemon Princes, each god choosing only Champions that would be loyal to them, and them alone. Be'lakor remained the strongest of the Daemon Princes, though his might was diminished as the gods spread their power among their other servants. Nevertheless, Be'lakor remains a master of shadows, moving behind the veil of history to exert the will of the Chaos Gods upon the universe.
In battle, Be'lakor strikes with his mighty claws and wields the Blade of Shadows, a massive sword that shifts in and out of focus, slipping from shape to shadow. As the weapon blinks between solidity and mere silhouette it slices through armour, scale, flesh or ferrocrete with ease. Whether the blade is a part of the daemon itself, or perhaps an ancient gift bestowed upon him by the Dark Gods that Be'lakor somehow retained in spite of his fall from favour, none can truly say.
Be'lakor flickers across the battlefield like smoke and shadow given form. His is an ominous and foreboding presence, a formless terror in the minds of men that saps resolve and spawns unreasoning panic. This terrible entity takes great pleasure in manipulating others to their eventual ruin, insinuating and manipulating from amid veils of secrecy and shadow. Only when the moment is right does Be'lakor manifest his true and terrible form, striking down his enemies with the Blade of Shadows even as he rakes claws of psychic energy through the meat of their minds.
The most powerful and greatest of all Daemon Princes, Be'lakor has ruled as a demigod over galactic empires beyond count. He is a being of infinite cunning and absolute cruelty who destroys all that he touches, and jealously covets the favour of the Ruinous Powers. All these qualities make Be'lakor a capricious being, whose only constants are the malice with which he destroys those who oppose him, and his endless jealousy towards those who successfully court the favour of the Gods of Chaos.
"Hark well, as I tell you the tale of Be'lakor First-Damned, may his forgotten true-name be forever cursed. In his arrogance, he drew the gaze of the Chaos Gods to this world, bringing damnation upon us all."
- — Frederich Weirde, Chronicler of the End Times
The origins of Be'lakor are spoken of only as legends and rumour; tales torn from the tongues of captive daemons or forbidden lore recorded on ancient crypt walls. Crude pictographs found in the caves of dry, dead worlds or primitive statues hidden in the sunken depths of Death World oceans speak to Be'lakor's immortal reign within the galaxy.
Scholars have been driven mad looking for hints of the Daemon Prince's presence woven into the history of the universe, always lurking in the shadows behind the rise and expansion of the mortal races. Even the secretive Grey Knights Chapter of Space Marines, created by the Emperor to combat the daemonic forces of the Warp, know little of Be'lakor's true history, only conflicting lies and impossible fabrications.
Legends tell of Be'lakor ruling over mortal empires since the dawn of time, the Daemon Prince conquering a world and subjugating its people, forcing them to worship him as a god. When the race would fall into decline, ruined by Be'lakor's greed and malevolence, the Daemon Prince would move on, finding a new burgeoning sentient species to be his playthings. Several times, the Daemon Prince is said to have been the lord of sector-spanning stellar empires, a dark, daemon-god ruling over a thousand worlds and billions of loyal followers.
Relics and the ruins of Dead Worlds still exist that suggest there may be some truth to these legends; whether their source was Be'lakor or not is more difficult to say. The Adeptus Mechanicus Tech-Magos Kyber has spent his life piecing together the history of Be'lakor in his exploration of the galactic wilderness, hunting down ancient relics of the Dark Age of Technology.
Following the faint trail left by Be'lakor's passage through history, Magos Kyber has found winged statues carved from the fossilised bones of psykers, crumbling scrolls of human skin that show thousands of tiny figures bowing down before a dark winged shape and stygian horn-fragments sealed in sacred caskets. Unaware of Be'lakor's true nature, Kyber has become convinced that all these objects are linked to one alien overlord, an ancient creature that has existed for millions of Terran years in various guises and is behind countless vile deeds.
Unknown to Kyber, he is being manipulated by Be'lakor. The Daemon Prince placed the first clues to his existence in Kyber's path, leading the Magos to the ruins of a world he once ruled. From this seed of curiosity, Kyber has discovered new star systems, planets and ruined empires long forgotten by Be'lakor.
While the Daemon Prince helps Kyber from the shadows, the Magos gathers up the hidden and forgotten legacy Be'lakor has left behind, ultimately returning to the Daemon Prince his lost objects of power, while also erasing his existence from history.
Herald of the End Times
"Only a fool trusts a Daemon. They are made of the very stuff of change, the raw madness of the Warp made manifest. However, like men, Daemons are creatures of greed, pride and arrogance, and these are things I trust completely."
Like a petulant firstborn son, Be'lakor has always had a bitter jealousy toward anything or anyone that wins the favour of the Dark Gods. For millennia, the Daemon Prince undermined the plots and schemes of the daemonic and mortal servants of Chaos. However, what Be'lakor mistook for free will, and a measure of revenge against those that have usurped his power, was merely the Great Game between the Chaos Gods.
When the Daemon Prince brought down a Champion of Nurgle, invariably he was doing Tzeentch's bidding, and while laying a warrior of the Blood God low he was fulfilling the will of Slaanesh. Be'lakor remains blind to these manipulations of the Chaos Gods. His own thirst for power and the pleasure of proving his mastery over rival Champions of Chaos seems enough to make him forget the sorcerous tethers the Dark Gods continually try to wind tightly around his neck.
In more recent times, rumours say Be'lakor has begun shadowing a new Champion of the Dark Gods: the Warmaster of Chaos, Abaddon the Despoiler. Supposedly, the Daemon Prince has spent centuries watching over him and influencing events as they ebb and flow around Abaddon, knowing on some level that their fates were bound. During each of Abaddon's Black Crusades, the Master of Shadows has been lurking in the background.
During the 3rd Black Crusade, legends say that it was Be'lakor who manipulated the Daemon Prince Tallomin into aiding the Despoiler and ultimately assaulting Cadia. Be'lakor was also reputed to be the one who told Abaddon of the treachery of Drecarth the Sightless, leading to the destruction of the Sons of the Eye during the 6th Black Crusade.
In both instances, Be'lakor's actions seem to have aided Abaddon's rise to power, though closer examination exposes possible darker motives at work. Though Tallomin exacted a terrible toll upon the armies of Cadia, he did so at the cost of numerous Black Legion warbands, much to Abaddon's ire, while Drecarth the Sightless could in time have proven a powerful ally for the Despoiler, had not Be'lakor fanned the embers of vengeance burning in Abaddon's heart.
Hidden behind a veil of secrets and lies, it is impossible to know for sure if Be'lakor is doing the bidding of the Chaos Gods or working against them. However, his plots and plans have ultimately been instrumental in Abaddon's ascendance to power. As the End Times hurtle towards their terrible conclusion, Be'lakor once again stands in Abaddon's shadow. As the Warmaster of Chaos embarked upon his 13th Black Crusade against the Imperium, the Daemon Prince marched with him.
With hatred and jealousy guiding his hand, the Daemon Prince worked his way close to the Warmaster of Chaos, earning a place in Abaddon's inner circle and making him believe he is the herald of the Ruinous Powers. Be'lakor is surely plotting against Abaddon in some way, seeking to undermine the victory intended for the Warmaster of Chaos by the Dark Gods and claim the power and glory of conquest for himself. Where and when this treachery will reveal itself is known only to Be'lakor himself.
From the Ashes to the Fire
As the 13th Black Crusade unfolded in 999.M41, the Iron Warriors Warsmith Shon'tu and the Daemon Prince Be'lakor, united in their desire to see Abaddon's Black Crusade upstaged, launched an attack on Terra itself. Emerging from a Warp rift that appeared in the centre of the Imperial Fists Chapter's flagship Phalanx, the unholy allies aimed to corrupt that mighty vessel to their purposes and use it to bombard the Emperor's Imperial Palace.
The newly-reformed Imperial Fists 3rd Company, under the command of recently promoted Captain Garadon, fought with a determination that belied their inexperience, and the accessways and halls of the great starship were soon choked with the broken corpses of myriad daemons in what became known as the Battle of the Phalanx.
Ultimately, Garadon delayed the daemonic incursion long enough for Phalanx to rouse its engines and enter the Warp, thus ending the immediate threat to Terra. The mighty vessel hurtled through the Immaterium, and neither side proved able to contact their allies in realspace. Garadon and his company gathered beneath the Banner of Staganda's tattered folds for one last effort, and Phalanx 's lower decks were consumed with raging fire as the spectral warriors of the Legion of the Damned suddenly joined the battle.
Taking their arrival as a sign that victory might yet be theirs, the 3rd Company counter-attacked, and retook control of the mobile star fortress. Afterwards, they brought Phalanx through the Warp to aid in the defence of Cadia, including mortally wounding the Blackstone Fortress Will of Eternity. Despite all their efforts, that crucial Fortress World still fell to the Despoiler. However, Phalanx escaped the fall and helped Cadia's survivors flee the destruction of their world.
An opportunist, Be'lakor has been sighted fighting alongside the daemon legions of each of the gods since the opening of the Great Rift in ca. 999.M41.
He has pledged aid to several Renegade Chapters, even fighting in the company of Abaddon the Despoiler and his Black Legion once more. Exactly what his winding plots seek to achieve is, like so much about the shadowy Daemon Prince, unknown.
- Blade of Shadows - Be'lakor wields a unique etherblade, its ghostly form in eternal transience between shape and shadow; solidarity and silhouette. Mastery of this weapon enables Be'lakor to scythe through armour, scale, flesh and bone without resistance, its essence changing in an instant from formless shadow to murderous edge at its master's whim.
- Malefic Talons
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (8th Edition), pp. 71, 102
- Codex: Chaos Daemons Daemonic Incursion Edition (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 116
- Battlescroll: Be'lakor - The First Daemon Prince
- Dataslate: Be'lakor The Dark Master
- Sentinels of Terra - A Codex: Space Marines Supplement (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 82-83
- Games Workshop Online Catalogue - Be'lakor, Daemon Prince