Belisarius Cawl is a ten-thousand-standard-years-old Archmagos Dominus of the Adeptus Mechanicus, one of the ruling lords of the Priesthood of Mars. He played a pivotal role in the events of the 13th Black Crusade, the Celestinian Crusade and the Terran Crusade, and shared responsibility with the Ynnari for the resurrection of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman as the Lord Commander of the Imperium.
Cawl was also responsible for the creation of the Primaris Space Marines, a variety of new Imperial weapons technologies, and his help proved invaluable to the triumphant resolution of the Indomitus Crusade.
Skittering into battle on a multitude of metal legs, Belisarius Cawl is a nightmarish amalgam of ﬂesh and machine swathed in robes of Martian red. Millennia of tinkering and obsessive self-improvement have left Cawl as a grotesque, and his lumpen form towers to several times the height of a grown man.
The Archmagos Dominus can unleash tank-busting firepower upon his foes, even as their panicked return-fire rebounds from his thrumming defensive force field. His many mechanical limbs terminate in glowing energy weapons, piston-claws and vicious combat armaments capable of peeling open a tank like a ration tin.
Clustered eyelenses glow beneath his heavy cowl, their gaze insectile and utterly remorseless as it cooly dissects his victims' every weakness. A master of the manifold binharic cants of the Lingua-technis, Cawl can reinvigorate a Machine Spirit or stop its reactor heart with but a single phrase. No secret is safe from his acquisitive grasp, and those who seek to keep Cawl from his prize are soon nothing but glowing ashes upon the wind.
Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl has been alive since the time of the Horus Heresy, though how he managed to maintain his life over more than ten thousand years is unknown. Even the most advanced Rejuvenat and augmetic systems cannot normally maintain an organic human mind for such a long period.
During that span of ages the Tech-priest has served Mars and the Machine God as a Forge Lord and a Lexico Arcanus, but it is in his role as Magos Biologis that Cawl's greatest mastery lies. It is rightfully said that the aged Archmagos Dominus has forgotten more knowledge, particularly about genetics, than all but the most studious could ever hope to learn.
Cawl was born on Mars, created in the birthing facilities of Xanthe Terra controlled by Magos Biologis Hammareth at some point during the early 31st Millennium. Like most Martian children he was vat-born and at the time of his birth already was physically and mentally a young adolescent. However, unlike most Martian children, he was able to speak normally at the time of his birth, a result of absorbing more fully the data uploaded into all Mechanicum fetuses while he was gestating.
Cawl's first confirmed appearance in Imperial history came during the Horus Heresy, where he was a Tech-acolyte on the Mechanicum world of Trisolian-A4 in the Trisolian System. He was trained under the Magos Domina Hester Aspertia Sigma-Sigma, herself a master of the art of "soul-merging," essentially the digital duplication of another being's mind and psyche and the ability to merge it with another using cybernetic implants. His greatest friend and companion at this time was his fellow Tech-priest Friedisch Adum Ship Qvo.
Cawl, the last remaining disciple of this technology, maintained that the Emperor was the Omnissiah, which was the theological position of the orthodox Mechanicum, but disagreed with a great deal of the rest of Mechanicum dogma as he felt the true Quest for Knowledge was to pursue technological innovation rather than ritualistically and mindlessly maintain the Imperium's existing technology base.
Cawl believed in the superiority of the human form as the Emperor had taught and refused many of the more visible cybernetic modifications commonly utilised by other Tech-priests. However, at the same time, the young Cawl secretly performed illegal brain enhancement surgeries on himself in order to increase his own intelligence.
When the Trisolian System was assaulted by Traitor forces led by Horus himself Cawl was betrayed when his mistress Hester Aspertia Sigma-Sigma defected to the service of the Warmaster. Cawl was disgusted at the sight of the Chaos-corrupted Horus, but feigned submission to the servants of the Ruinous Powers to survive.
Later during the battle to take control of Trisolian-A4, Cawl, alongside Friedisch Adum Ship Qvo, were able to kill Aspertia Sigma-Sigma for her betrayal and escape the Trisolian System -- but not before Cawl first merged his own mind with Aspertia Sigma-Sigma's own intelligence core and gained her mastery of soul-merging and cloning.
Cawl and Friedisch successfully fled the Trisolian System and sought refuge on Terra, where Cawl had been recalled under a pretext by Ezekiel Sedayne, the brilliant geneticist and the second director of the Biotechnical Division whose main task was creating and improving the genetic lines of the Legiones Astartes.
In truth, Sedayne had grown so old that even rejuvenat treatments were no longer enough to keep him alive. Desperate to achieve immortality so that he could continue his work for the Emperor, Sedayne simply wanted Cawl's knowledge of cloning and soul-merging in the belief that if his psyche was added to Cawl's mind, his personality would reemerge as the dominant one. To achieve his end, Sedayne had his servant Altrix Herminia shoot Friedisch. The geneticist promised to restore Cawl's companion to life only if the Tech-priest agreed to use his soul-merging technology to combine their psyches together within Cawl's own body so that Sedayne could live forever.
However, after the merger was completed, Sedayne's personality within their merged gestalt consciousness was overwhelmed by Cawl's own. Upon awakening following the procedure, Cawl relived an old memory of Sedayne when he had first met the Emperor of Mankind early in the Unification Wars. When the Emperor first saw Sedayne, He addressed the scientist as Belisarius Cawl rather than by his own name, for with His potent psychic prescience, the Emperor had foreseen Sedayne's ultimate fate hundreds of years in the future.
The Emperor explained to the future Cawl in the memory that it would be his responsibility to continue His work, and must continue to do so even on the day that Cawl came to believed that he had betrayed all that the Emperor stood for. The very idea of betraying the Emperor horrified the young Cawl.
After the end of the Horus Heresy, Cawl was charged by Roboute Guilliman, then the first Lord Commander of the Imperium, to oversee two responsibilities should the Primarch fall, one of which was the construction of the life-sustaining suit of Artificer Armour known as the Armour of Fate. The other was the preservation of the Emperor's Sword, the blade given to Guilliman by the Master of Mankind Himself and which contained a fragment of His divine power.
Cawl's knowledge of genetics gained from his soul-merger with Sedayne, along with the potent genetic material contained within the device known as the Sangprimus Portum, allowed Cawl to successfully complete the creation of the Primaris Space Marines and implement the Ultima Founding in 999.M41. This was the culmination of ten millennia of work intended to perfect the Emperor's creation.
But over the course of his ten thousand Terran years of work, Cawl changed dramatically. Once a Tech-priest who had disdained the extensive cybernetic augmentation used by other Tech-adepts, Cawl slowly transformed his body until he was far more machine than man.
He began to combine more psyches within his own cybernetic intelligence core using the soul-merging technology. Over the centuries, the archmagos was slowly transformed into a gestalt being who is now best described as a mesh of souls rather than a combination of minds. As the millennia passed, Cawl also began to lose much of his memory as he was forced to dump data from his intelligence core's limited storage capacity approximately every 500 standard years.
Prime Conduit of the Omnissiah
Despite his own memories being stolen -- twice has Cawl also suffered mindwiping as well as his periodic memory dumps -- he remains a tech-savant, a genius at the forefront of whatever field to which he turns his mind. Even amongst the ranks of the Adeptus Mechanicus -- where artificial devices increase brain capacity and extend life beyond measure -- such an accumulation of knowledge in multiple disciplines is exceedingly rare. The Priesthood of Mars titles such beings as Prime Conduits of the Omnissiah, or as Dominatus Dominus -- "Master of Masters" -- and of those few that still survive, Cawl is by far the most active.
Cawl dedicates himself to a multitude of projects, his mind leaping from the construction of Mars' largest Macromag-cannon, to perfecting his stasis field work, or to the endless experiments he conducts within his city-sized laboratories housed in Mars' extensive underground complexes.
The majority of these obsessive undertakings are done in secret. Cawl has so many projects running simultaneously that he has added multiple, independent consciousnesses to track them and employed furtive measures to keep them hidden from his many rivals. Deep in sealed vaults, countless experiments await Cawl's multi-faceted servo-eyes.
Since reloading a portion of his stored memories, the ancient Tech-priest has become forgetful, prone to spending recuperative solar decades within his own stasis crypts. Yet such prolonged periods offline inspire Cawl to once more take to the field in his hunt for knowledge.
It is during such times that Cawl dons the mantle of Archmagos Dominus, gathering about him Skitarii Legions and maniples of the Legio Cybernetica. Although Mars is his homeworld, other Forge Worlds often place troops beneath Cawl's command, asking only that he shares any knowledge accumulated.
On the battlefield Cawl is a force to be reckoned with, and he fearlessly scuttles into the thick of the fighting. Most enemy weapons fire is thwarted by Cawl's force field, however, even when parts of his mechanised body are blasted off, cables snake out to effect immediate repairs or swarm any foes that come close.
The hunched figure is a whir of activity as Cogitators adjust firing angles and broadcast orders to his troops. Amidst the maelstrom of combat, the Tech-priest himself remains calm, his mind assessing threats, predicting enemy attacks, and calculating victory probabilities.
Deeds of Ages
Belisarius Cawl has invented dozens of weapons, uncovered scores of STC databases, and quested for knowledge across the galaxy, even once venturing into the Eye of Terror. Malfunctions, erasures, and jumbled bibelots have left vast holes in Cawl's ancient memories, but what remains fills vaulted halls the size of a Battle Cruiser.
There, in binharic code stacks, are mountains of information -- from the hundreds of xenos races that he helped drive to extinction, to the schematic details of wonder-engines lost since the Age of Technology.
So vast is this information stockpile, that after ten millennia, Cawl can no longer recall how large portions of it were obtained.
Even with his most recent glorious achievement -- the successful creation of the Primaris Space Marines and the subsequent Ultima Founding -- Archmagos Cawl believes he has even greater experiments currently in development.
13th Black Crusade
At the time of the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, Cawl, in command of the Ark Mechanicus Iron Revenant and a large Mechanicus fleet including Skitarii troops and powerful Kataphron Battle Servitors, was guided by the Aeldari Harlequin Shadowseer Sylandri Veilwalker to the world of Eriad VI, a former Imperial Navy base which had been abandoned during the 4th Black Crusade in the 32nd Millennium. Unknown to the Imperials, Eriad VI had also been a Necron Tomb World.
After battling Orks who had been drawn to combat on the empty world with the powerful Mechanicus fleet, he recovered an ancient Necron artefact. He also learned more about the nature of the Cadian Pylons originally built by the Necrons that were tasked with restraining the eruptions of the Immaterium -- especially the Eye of Terror -- into realspace.
Cawl uneasily accepted Veilwalker's enigmatic instructions to make his way to Cadia, already under siege by Abaddon the Despoiler's massed Forces of Chaos, where his timely arrival provided desperately needed reinforcements for Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed's embattled Imperial forces.
While on Cadia, Cawl began his investigation of the local xenos pylons with the knowledge recovered from Eriad VI. During his investigation, the Necron Lord Trazyn the Infinite, who had decided to intervene to aid Humanity against their mutual enemy in the Warp, made his presence known. Though wary of the Necron's motivations, Cawl's fascination with the highly advanced Necron technology of the pylons overcame his hostility to xenos and he accepted the Necron's aid.
With Trazyn's knowledge, Cawl was able to determine how to use the pylons to cut off the local area of space-time from contact with the Immaterium. As the ground battle between the Despoiler's invaders and Ursarkar E. Creed's defenders reached its climax, Cawl activated the pylons. The Necron technology operated precisely as had been expected, cutting off Cadia from the Warp, banishing the daemons of Chaos, actually shrinking the Eye of Terror and giving Cadia's defenders a chance for yet another unlikely victory.
Unfortunately, the Despoiler would not be denied the prize he had sought for millennia so easily. Foreseeing the need for a fail-safe, Abaddon had the damaged bulk of the Blackstone Fortress Will of Eternity, its systems disabled by an assault from the Imperial Fists' star fort Phalanx, hurled from orbit as an artificial meteor into the surface of Cadia. The massive kinetic strike destroyed what remained of the world's defences, ensuring its envelopment by the now rapidly-expanding Eye of Terror.
Lord Castellan Creed ordered an evacuation of the dying world, and the Imperial survivors of Cadia -- led by Cawl, Saint Celestine, Inquisitor Katarinya Greyfax and Marshal Marius Amalrich of the Black Templars -- now calling themselves the Celestinian Crusade -- used every voidship at their disposal, including the Iron Revenant, to ferry the three million survivors off Cadia. Unable to enter the Warp because of the roiling instability of the Immaterium near the Cadian Gate, the Imperial fleet was forced to flee through the Cadia System at sub-light speed, and the Chaos warfleets gave chase.
The largest and most powerful remaining Imperial capital ship, Cawl's Iron Revenant, heroically sacrificed itself in battle against Abaddon's flagship the Vengeful Spirit so that the Celestinian Crusade could escape to Klaisus, the nearby ice moon of the world of Kasr Holn.
The Iron Revenant's loss was not in vain, for the surviving Celestinians were rescued from Chaos attacks and the unforgiving arctic environment at the last by the arrival of the Ynnari through Klaisus' hidden Webway gate. Though his flagship was lost, Belisarius Cawl had rescued its most precious cargo -- the Armour of Fate, key to the resurrection of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman.
The Reborn Aeldari guided the Celestinians through the Webway to the Realm of Ultramar in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy, now also under ferocious assault by the forces of the Despoiler. After some initial distrust, the Celestinians were ultimately taken by the Ultramarines who called Ultramar home to the realm's capital world of Macragge.
Once in the Ultramarines' Fortress of Hera, Cawl revealed the identity of the artefacts in his accompanying auto-reliquary. He declared that they were intended to resurrect Primarch Roboute Guilliman from the mortal wound that had seen him trapped in stasis in the Temple of Correction for the last ten millennia.
While under potent assault by the forces of Chaos within the Primarch's final resting place, Cawl worked with Yvraine, the Daughter of Shades and priestess of Ynnead, the Aeldari God of the Dead, to restore the Primarch's life force while Cawl's technology healed his grievous wound.
With Guilliman resurrected, the Primarch drove the invaders from Ultramar before deciding to make his way to Terra through the Warp anomalies roiling the galaxy to an extent not seen since the Horus Heresy. Cawl joined the Primarch on this Terran Crusade, his technological acumen and combat prowess aiding the Imperial forces of the Crusade in all their trials and tribulations in the Warp rift known as the Maelstrom.
The survivors of the Terran Crusade finally arrived in the Sol System at Luna through the Webway after being freed from imprisonment in another Blackstone Fortress belonging to the Red Corsairs. Following the Crusade's rescue by the Fallen Angel Cypher and a troupe of Harlequins, Cawl was one of the few Imperials present at the fall of Cadia to survive both the Celestinian and Terran Crusades.
After aiding in the defeat of the forces of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion and the Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red on Luna, Cawl and his allies were finally ferried to the Imperial Palace on Terra. There, before the Eternity Gate of the Inner Palace leading to the throne room of the Emperor where Guilliman would meet his father for the first time in ten standard millennia, Cawl spoke with his Mechanicus fellows and with the Primarch himself.
His words were cryptic, mentioning secret pacts forged on the Red Planet and long works at last drawing to their conclusion. Satisfied, Cawl took his leave of the Primarch and returned to his forge on Mars to oversee these projects to completion.
The Indomitus Crusade and the Ultima Founding
In fact, Cawl's work on Mars had been nothing less than an attempt to approve upon the Emperor's own works of creation.
For ten standard millennia, the Archmagos Dominus had been working on another task set for him by the Primarch Roboute Guilliman before he was mortally wounded by the Daemon Primarch Fulgrim in the days after the Horus Heresy: a new legion of transhuman warriors.
In the days after the Terran Crusade, though the Imperium was poised on the brink of annihilation at the hands of Chaos, his task was at last completed. The Primaris Space Marines were a new generation of transhuman warriors developed across the span of ten standard millennia by Cawl on Mars. Cawl used the genetic template of the original Space Marines created by the Emperor for His Great Crusade as the starting point for the development of the new Astartes. Primaris Space Marines are bigger, more physically powerful and possess faster reaction times than their original Astartes counterparts.
The Primaris Space Marines raised in the so-called Ultima Founding of 999.M41 are a new breed of hero for this, the darkest age in the Imperium of Man's history. These new warriors were the next step in the evolution of the Emperor's Angels of Death, and timely reinforcements for the Imperium's armies as their enemies closed in for the kill in the wake of Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade and the birth of the Great Rift dividing the Imperium in two.
To aid them in battle, these gene-forged warriors were equipped with new arms and armour forged on Mars itself at Cawl's direction, such as the Mark X Tacticus Pattern Power Armour worn by the Primaris Space Marine Intercessors, which combined the most effective elements of ancestral Horus Heresy patterns of battle-plate with more recent developments in Power Armour technology; the Mark II Cawl Pattern Bolt Rifle, the archetypal firearm of the Adeptus Astartes, now re-engineered, re-crafted and perfected; the Mark III Belisarius Pattern Plasma Incinerator, a new refined Plasma Gun; Redemptor Dreadnoughts, the Overlord gunship, and Repulsor grav-tanks.
At the dawn of the Indomitus Crusade called by Guilliman to throw back the Forces of Chaos, these phenomenal new warriors joined the Lord Commander of the Imperium as he fought to liberate the scattered bastions of Imperial space. Some, Guilliman has forged into new Space Marine Chapters, whole brotherhoods comprised only of these new transhuman warriors. Others he has offered to the existing Space Marine Chapters. Many Chapter Masters have welcomed their Primaris brethren into their ranks, accepting the new reinforcements gladly. Others, though, view these new creations with suspicion or outright hostility, claiming that the Emperor's work should never have been meddled with by mere mortals.
Though they are a step removed from their brothers, the Primaris Space Marines still bear the gene-seed of their Primarchs, and some dissenting voices worry how this new type of warrior will react with the known genetic quirks and flaws of some of the more unusual Chapters, such as the Blood Angels and the Space Wolves. The Primaris Space Marines offer new hope to a besieged Imperium, but the future remains a dark and uncertain place.
A little over a standard century into the 42nd Millennium, as the Indomitus Crusade appeared to reach its inevitable conclusion, Cawl was given free reign to unleash technological innovation to help the forces of the Imperium finally throw back the tides of Chaos.
Cawl was authorised to utilise new technology and new configurations of ancient devices to refit Guilliman's flagship, the Macragge's Honour. The ancient Archmagos had proven to the Imperium's only source of technological innovation across the century-long span of the Indomitus Crusade, creating several new vehicles and weapons to outfit the formidable legions of Primaris Space Marines and the original Chapters of the standard Adeptus Astartes.
During the first century of the 42nd Millennium, Cawl became increasingly detached from the wider galaxy, instead focusing on his quest to create and perfect the Primaris Space Marines. As part of that initiative, he sought to persuade Guilliman to allow him to utilise gene-seed from the forbidden genetic lines of the Traitor Legions and even the long-lost II and XI Legions.
But Guilliman emphatically refused, and ordered the Archmagos to not progress any further with this research, even as he knew that Cawl would most likely take it upon himself to pursue such heretekal lines of inquiry on his own. Guilliman was no fool, for he knew that all magi of the Adeptus Mechanicus hungered for knowledge. When they had it, they could rarely refrain from using it. On this particular matter, he did not trust Cawl one whit.
Cawl had also requested, on multiple occasions, for Guilliman to instill him as the Fabricator-General of Mars. As the acting Lord Commander of the Imperium, Guilliman had replaced five of the Hive Twelve upon assumption of the regency of the Imperium, and hundreds of the lesser high lords.
What would be the difference if he replaced one more lord? But Guilliman argued that the Imperium did not exert so much political control over Mars, in accordance to the tenets of the ancient Treaty of Mars, that the Primarch could appoint his own Fabricator-General, and the other Tech-priests would never accept it even if he could.
Cawl countered this argument with all that he had accomplished on behalf of the Primarch for the last ten millennia, for he alone had been able to unlock, understand and improve upon the work of the Emperor. He alone was the master of a hundred fields of technology and was unafraid of innovation.
The ancient Archmagos felt that he was the best candidate to rule Mars. Guilliman had considered this course of action, but the result would be outright civil war in the Adeptus Mechanicus' sub-empire of Forge Worlds.
Many of Cawl's colleagues would disagree with such a decision. Especially since Cawl had committed numerous egregious offences that ran counter to the tenets of the Cult Mechanicus -- trafficking with xenos and the usage of forbidden technology -- Cawl's peers within the Cult Mechanicus would not take kindly to this if they knew the whole truth of the Archmagos' actions.
In fact, many Tech-priests hated Belisarius Cawl. Cawl believed that envy motivated them if they knew the extent to which his knowledge outreached theirs. Some would move to destroy Cawl and his creations.
By the end of the Indomitus Crusade, a small faction of devoted Mechanicus Tech-priests had formed around the Archmagos. They served as his obedient servants, eager to aid him in the pursuit of this radical new course called "innovation."
But such a dramatic rejection of the Adeptus Mechanicus' dogma and beliefs also created many enemies for Cawl among the Mechanicus' traditionalists and conservatives. Such growing political resistance also caused Guilliman to worry about his ally, knowing that Cawl's desire for innovation could lead him to walk the same path that had led the original Dark Mechanicum into damnation over ten thousand standard years before.
The Primarch knew that Cawl's thirst for advancement could eventually become a problem for the Imperium, and at that time, he would have to deal harshly with his old ally.
The Cawl Inferior
As the ancient Archmagos is dedicated to a multitude of projects that are running simultaneously, he has added multiple, independent consciousnesses to track them all. In order to facilitate his objectives and to allow him to focus further on his research and the re-discovery of lost technology, Cawl constructed an Artificial Intelligence device known as the "Cawl Inferior."
Located aboard Guilliman's ancient flagship Macragge's Honour, this arcane device was secreted deep within the bowels of the mighty vessel, hidden within a chamber where none were allowed to go but the Primarch himself, and by invitation only.
This massive device was operated by a lone Master Astropath, and was often used by Cawl to communicate with Lord Commander Guilliman from across vast distances. Their communications suffered no corruption of the like that had plagued astrotelepathy since the opening of the Great Rift.
Cawl's blasphemous device was comprised of a being made up of hundreds of Servitor heads, psychic circuitry and parts of obvious alien origin. When communicating with the Lord Commander of the Imperium, it could perfectly mimick Cawl, though it insisted it was an all-together different entity entirely.
When communicating with Guilliman, the Cawl Inferior claimed that it sought to seek to emulate human interaction to make the Primarch comfortable with its aberrant existence. This preamble was to ease tension and re-establish bonds between Belisarius Cawl and the Imperial Regent.
Though he had lived ten thousand years, the changes Cawl had wrought upon his body to support his mind through it had stripped most of his humanity away. His emotions had become ghosts in the great mechanism of the Cawl Inferior that his mind now inhabited, and mediated through this device, they should have been practically absent.
But surprisingly, the Cawl Inferior's emotionless pronouncements often contained elements of sardonic humour from time to time, even in this soulless facsimile.
The information conveyed through the Cawl Inferior to Guilliman was, in fact, innate to the device's construction. An encoded message unlocked the appropriate responses. The Cawl Inferior's creator supplied the machine with multiple scenarios that he, in his great wisdom and genius, mathematically extrapolated.
The messages the Cawl Inferior received merely modified these prognostications to fit the actuality of current circumstances. The Cawl Inferior's programming was pre-loaded. The linked brains and the logic engines in the greater portion of the vessel's chamber contained all eventualities relevant to the task undertaken by Guilliman and Cawl. All probable futures were contained within the Cawl Inferior.
Despite its protestations, Guilliman did not entirely trust the device, nor its creator. The Cawl Inferior claimed to be no Abominable Intelligence device. The machine's responses were not spontaneously generated, but predetermined. The Servitors that made up the Cawl Inferior's being were sanctioned for use.
They were not truly machines, and they were not a unique, independent creation but a limited expression of Belisarius Cawl's own entirely human mind. By these means, the Cawl Inferior was supposedly free of the wickedness of the forbidden science of artificial general intelligence.
Guilliman believed that it was probable that the Cawl Inferior was a real machine intelligence masquerading as a non-intelligent device as a pretence. Guilliman was no technologist of the ability demonstrated by his brothers Perturabo, Vulkan or Ferrus Manus, but he doubted that the Archmagos was telling him the complete truth about how the machinery worked.
It was clearly partly psychic in nature, a blend of various xenos and Imperial technologies, which made it heretical by the tenets of the Adeptus Mechanicus in several regards, whether it could actually think for itself or not. Its existence, no matter how useful, was just another indicator that Cawl needed to be watched more closely lest he fall into true heresy.
Necron Assault on the Adeptus Mechanicus
The infamous Technomandrites of Magistrakh, struck down by the Necrontyr eons before, returned to seek vengeance and their lost dominion over the other Necron dynasties.
Although there are many theories, none understands the reason for the Necron attacks upon Forge World territories as well as Archmagos Belisarius Cawl.
Panic rose amongst the Tech-priests, for they were already besieged from without by the Chaos and alien forces that came in the wake of the rift's creation, and the Necron threat was now coming from within.
Both sides were seeking deposits of the strange Warp-manipulating material -- blackstone -- from which the Cadian Pylons were fashioned in the wake of the fall of Cadia. Many Mechanicus strongholds had been erected upon sites containing this precious resource, and were thus often present on Necron Tomb Worlds as their hibernating inhabitants awoke.
Belisarius Cawl, charged with finding a way to close the Great Rift, sent his own agents -- armies of Mars and House Taranis -- across the stars in an effort to combat the growing danger, and hundreds of battles were fought as more and more Forge Worlds were drawn into the conflict to aid their beleaguered brethren.
Even those Tech-priests that began to understand the reality of the dire situation were loath to call upon their Imperial allies for aid against the Necrons for fear of being branded Hereteks.
Expedition to Sotha
The birth of the Great Rift that had bisected the galaxy at the start of the Era Indomitus reactivated the ancient Necron Warp beacon called the Pharos located on the world of Sotha in the Ultima Segmentum.
This was discovered by the Scythes of the Emperor, who still guarded the ruins of Sotha after the planet's destruction by a Genestealer Cult infestation and Hive Fleet Kraken during the Second Tyrannic War.
Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl led an expedition to Sotha with the aid of the Ultramarines and the remaining Firstborn Space Marines of the Scythes of the Emperor to study and perhaps use the Pharos' technology to close the Great Rift and defeat Chaos.
The expedition came under assault by Genestealer Cultists who had infiltrated the Chapter Serfs of the Scythes of the Emperor. Ultimately all of that Chapter's remaining Firstborn Marines were slain alongside their Chapter Master Thracius in combat with the Genestealer Patriarch whose cult had first called Hive Fleet Kraken to destroy Sotha during the Second Tyrannic War.
After reaching the Pharos, Cawl discovered that a shard of the C'tan Zarhulash the Potentate had provided the power source for the ancient Pharos. He forged a deal with the alien star god, in which Zarhulash agreed to destroy the device by removing its heart, creating a destructive miniature singularity.
In exchange, Cawl agreed to remove the shackles of necrodermis that kept the C'tan Shard captive and create a portal with the Pharos to allow him to finally escape from Sotha. Cawl seemingly agreed, but this was only a ruse as he actually teleported Zarhulash to a far region of the galaxy where the C'tan Shard was surrounded by hostile Necron Tomb Worlds. Zarhulash swore revenge on Cawl for this betrayal.
Cawl was able to escape from Sotha and gathered much data from an examination of the Pharos' heart, including the location of other Pharos devices and large deposits of the strategic material known as blackstone across the galaxy.
Cawl hoped to use this information to eventually find a way to build a technological solution that would seal the Great Rift once and for all.
- Arc Scourge - The raw might of the motive force dances between the splayed claws of the Arc Scourge. A potent weapon of technobanishment, this weapon is designed to target Heretic war engines and exorcise their Machine Spirits with jolts of agonising lightning, disrupting their electronic and mechanical systems.
- Master Crafted Mechanicus Power Axe - A Power Axe is a Power Weapon taking the form of a single or double-edged battle axe. Power Axes vary in length and design, and have been known to be crafted from one of any number of different materials, though usually Adamantium. As with all Power Weapons, when its power field is activated, usually by operating a control located on the hilt, the blade is sheathed in a lethal corona of disruptive energy. This energy field allows the blade to carve through flesh, bone and most forms of armour plate alike, making a Power Axe a highly effective close combat weapon.
- Mechadendrite Hive - Hissing and slithering like a nest of mechanical snakes, the Mechadendrite Hive engulfs the foe in dozens of steel tendrils. Lashing, stabbing and throttling, the mass of Mechadendrites bloodily disassembles its victims with horrific speed.
- Scryerskull - The Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus take the assessment and exploitation of battlefield resources very seriously indeed -- so much so that many of them continue their work in this role beyond the point of death as Servo-skulls dedicated to tactical analysis, transmitting a torrent of binharic code outlining battlefield strengths and weaknesses back to their masters.
- Refractor Field - Considered essential by many lesser Tech-priests, the Refractor Field distorts the image of the wearer with a shimmering cloak of gravitic energy. Incoming attacks that strike the field will be refracted into multispectral electromagnetic bursts that dissipate harmlessly. The field, although less reliable than that generated by a Rosarius, can stop even the most powerful directed energy attacks, such as Lascannon and Plasma Gun fire.
- Cawl Inferior - Cawl Inferior was a digital construct that Cawl used to carry out a variety of tasks so that he could remain focused on what he deemed more important. Among the labours carried out by Cawl Inferior was the Archmagos' communications with others, including Roboute Guilliman. The Primarch worried that the construct was actually a form of forbidden Artificial Intelligence, and was indicative of Cawl's increasing willingness to dabble in tech-heresy.
- Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work (Novel) by Guy Haley, Chs. 2-3, 5-8, 15-27
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 10-11, 19-21, 30, 41, 45, 53, 87, 98, 105
- Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus (8th Edition), pp. 32, 35, 39, 60, 70-71, 74
- Gathering Storm - Book One - Fall of Cadia (7th Edition), pp. 6-88, 132-133
- Gathering Storm - Book Three - Rise of the Primarch (7th Edition), pp. 4-93
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pp. 47, 58, 60, 86
- Dark Imperium (Novel) by Guy Haley
- Wolfsbane (Novel) by Guy Haley, Chs. 3, 5, 15-27
- Warhammer Community - A New Breed of Hero
- Warhammer Community - Primaris Space Marines: FAQ
- Games Workshop Webstore - Belisarius Cawl