- "And thus, driven from Holy Terra and resigning forevermore in the underworld, the Sons of Horus, the treacherous Sixteenth, became the Black Legion. From shame and shadow recast. In black and gold reborn."
- — Scripture of Scryer Dianthon
The Black Legion is a Traitor Legion of Chaos Space Marines that is the first in infamy, if not in treachery, whose name resounds as a curse throughout the scattered and war-torn realms of humanity. The Black Legion was once one of the 9 First Founding Legions of Space Marines who turned Traitor to the Imperium during the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium.
The Black Legion, at that time still known as the Sons of Horus, became the primary instrument of its Primarch, the Warmaster Horus, to overthrow the Emperor of Mankind and seize control of the Imperium in the name of Chaos. Such are the crimes of the Black Legion that it is easy to forget that the past was very different, and that there was a time when its Astartes and their perfidious master Horus were lauded above all of the other warriors of the Legiones Astartes, and were considered the most favoured servants of the Emperor of Mankind.
Born as the XVIth Space Marine Legion on Terra, the Black Legion would first rise to greatness under the name of the Luna Wolves. Before the dark days of the Horus Heresy they fought at the Emperor's side on Terra and through the early years of the Great Crusade. They were as stalwart and indefatigable as any of the servants of the Emperor and their actions exemplified what it meant to be a warrior of the Space Marine Legions. Brutal, ruthless and unwavering but also honourable, and once loyal beyond question, the history of the Black Legion is the history of the ambition of the Imperium itself, and the flaws that broke its founder's dreams of unification and glory for all Mankind asunder.
The Black Legion is now one of the Traitor Legions of Chaos Space Marines who are united in the pursuit of the single purpose of overthrowing the Imperium. They oppose the infighting that consumes so many of their brethren amongst the other Traitor Legions, for the Astartes of the Black Legion are the greatest servants of Chaos Undivided. They are always brought together in great numbers to work the will of their Warmaster of Chaos, Abaddon the Despoiler, the heir of Horus. Whenever the entirety of the Black Legion is called to battle, it marks the beginning of another one of Abaddon's Black Crusades against the Imperium of Man.
The Black Legion is the only one of the Traitor Legions to have changed its name following the Horus Heresy. The XVIth Legion was originally known as the Luna Wolves during the Great Crusade. In honour of Horus' great achievements during the latter years of that era after the Imperial victory over the Orks during the Ullanor Crusade, the Emperor suggested that the Legion be renamed the Sons of Horus.
Horus eventually instituted this change following his conversion to the service of the Dark Gods of Chaos on the world of Davin. After Horus' treachery and final defeat at the Battle of Terra during the Horus Heresy, however, the Legion was renamed the "Black Legion" by its new Warmaster, Abaddon the Despoiler. The new name was chosen after the Astartes of the Sons of Horus painted their Power Armour black in grief at the death of their Primarch Horus and shame at their failure to overthrow the False Emperor and seize control of the galaxy in the name of the Ruinous Powers.
The Black Legion are at once the inheritors of the most glorious legacies of the Great Crusade, and the vilest treacheries of the Horus Heresy. Their Primarch was the Warmaster Horus himself, once celebrated as the greatest of the sons of the Emperor, and later despised as the basest of Traitors. Of all the infant Primarchs scattered to the corners of the galaxy before the process of their creation was completed, Horus grew up closest to Terra.
The world of Cthonia had been settled in the very earliest days of Mankind’s exploration of the stars, its hugely rich natural resources ruthlessly exploited until they were all but played out. Thus, Horus grew to maturity amongst the anarchic gangers that populated the post-industrial nightmare of a world honeycombed with long-extinct mines and dominated by decaying hive city spires. It was from the hyper violent gang-scum of Cthonia that many of the earliest inductees into the Space Marine Legions were taken, and it was there that the Emperor found the first and most beloved of His lost sons.
For thirty standard years, the Emperor and Horus fought the opening campaigns of the Great Crusade side by side, the Primarch learning at the foot of his sire. When at length the Emperor detected that another of the Primarchs was close at hand and departed to locate him, Horus was left at the head of his master's hosts, entrusted with the command of the conquering Imperial armies. Horus was well-suited to the task, and the lessons he had learned in the previous three Terran decades served him well. As one by one the Primarchs were united with their sire and their brothers, Horus came increasingly to be regarded as the greatest of their number, the first among equals.
While many of his brothers and the Legions created in their image were gifted in particular fields of military endeavour, Horus was a natural leader, his greatest genius his ability to meld seemingly divergent allies into a coherent whole. This skill was not only of use on the battlefeld, for it carried over into contacts with the peoples the Great Crusade met. It was Horus' way to treat with the populations of newly-contacted worlds according to the traditions of each, and this highly successful doctrine was repeated in each of the Expeditionary Fleets. Tragically, it might also have been the cause of the Primarch's fall, and with him fully half of the Space Marine Legions.
In the aftermath of the greatest of the nascent Imperium's victories to date, the defeat of the largest Ork empire ever encountered, Horus was granted the title "Warmaster," commander-in-chief of all the Emperor's armies. So great was the victory that his Legion, originally called the Luna Wolves, was renamed the Sons of Horus.
The Emperor returned to Terra to oversee the next phase of the creation of his interstellar empire, but on the Feral World of Davin, Horus was struck down by some malady sufficiently virulent to affect even a superhumanly resilient Primarch. At some point during his treatment or recovery, Horus was inducted into one of Davin's Warrior Lodges, the Temple of the Serpent Lodge, and it is likely that during that process, he was corrupted in some manner that would lead to his eventual downfall. Horus emerged from his illness changed, and the practise of establishing Warrior Lodges spread throughout the Legions. With it, apparently, spread whatever Chaos taint had corrupted the Warmaster, and the fate of the galaxy was sealed.
As the pre-eminent Primarch, Horus had always enjoyed the confidence of his brothers, even when internecine rivalries had caused disputes. It appears that through a masterful series of manipulations and deceptions, Horus subverted the loyalties of those Primarchs personally closest to him, whilst simultaneously diverting or undermining those others, such as Rogal Dorn, Roboute Guilliman and Sanguinius, who would oppose his treachery. The Warmaster's plans were impossibly well-coordinated, each of the Primarchs experiencing a turn of fate or a precipitating incident that determined which side they would take in the ensuing galactic civil war.
Imperial scholars have long debated how many and which of these events were directly brought about by Horus' machinations and which were sheer coincidence. Others still must surely have been the work of the Ruinous Powers themselves, turning their unknowable attentions upon the domains beyond the Empyrean and exerting their will upon them. Whatever the case, events reached a head according to the Warmaster's strategy when he virus-bombed the remaining Loyalists in the nascent Traitor Legions on the world of Istvaan III, an act so dire that five entire Astartes Legions were despatched to call him to account for his apparent rejection of all the Great Crusade stood for.
It was at Istvaan V that the Warmaster finally revealed his true colours. The first wave of the Legions sent to confront Horus made planetfall, only to discover themselves in the midst of treachery. Faced with overwhelming odds, the Salamanders, Raven Guard and Iron Hands -- later known as the Shattered Legions -- attempted to link up with the second wave, only for the true extent of the Warmaster's treachery to be fully realised. The second wave, consisting of the Word Bearers, Iron Warriors, Alpha Legion, and World Eaters turned upon their embattled brothers, and the result was the infamous Drop Site Massacre, one of the darkest moments not only of the Horus Heresy, but of the entire history of Mankind.
The ensuing civil war pitched the whole Imperium into anarchy and chaos. It was not only the Legions aligned to Horus that rebelled, for the Warrior Lodges and the Chaotic taint in general had spread far and wide by the time of the Drop Site Massacre. The Imperial Army was split almost in half, regiment fighting regiment and ﬂeet fighting ﬂeet. The Titan Legions of the Mechanicum, the ancestors of the Adeptus Mechanicus, were equally affected, and soon fully half of the Emperor's hosts were engaged in bitter conﬂict with the other. Barely a single world was untouched by a war that accounted for countless billions of lives and that culminated in the Warmaster's assault on Terra itself.
As events neared their tragic conclusion, those Legions not committed to the defence of Terra raced through the Warp, converging on the homeworld of Mankind in such numbers that the Traitors, massed to assault the Imperial Palace, would be defeated. At the last, Horus lowered the shields of his Battle Barge, effectively inviting the Emperor to teleport aboard and confront His treacherous gene-son. In the battle that followed, Horus was slain at the hand of his sire, his soul psychically annihilated so that not a shred of its essence remained. But in defeating the Primarch, the Emperor had suffered such wounds that only His ascension to the life-sustaining Golden Throne could keep death at bay.
Even as Rogal Dorn carried the Emperor's body from the Warmaster's Battle Barge, the Traitor hosts began their fighting withdrawal, and in the anarchy and confusion Horus' body was recovered by his Legion. Having fought their way clear of the Sol System and ﬂed for the Eye of Terror, the Sons of Horus established a world that was at once the tomb of their lost Primarch and a fortress, from which they would launch further attacks both upon their fellow Traitor Legions and against the smouldering Imperium. Bereft of their glorious Primarch, the Legion ﬂoundered, and in desperation turned to each of the Chaos Gods in turn in their search for renewed power, inviting daemonic possession and the ever more costly blessings of the Warp.
All the while, the Legion suffered the jealous attacks of their former allies during the so-called Legion War. At length one such rival, the remnants of the Emperor's Children, stole the body of the slain Primarch from the heart of its tomb and spirited it away, some say with the purpose of cloning it in order to create a new and still greater Warmaster. The salvation of the Sons of Horus came when one of its greatest captains, Ezekyle Abaddon, led an attack on the Emperor's Children that destroyed the body of the Primarch and in so doing ushered in a new age for the Legion.
The Traitors changed their name once more, this time in reference to the fact that their armour was now adorned black, calling themselves the Black Legion. Through his actions, Abaddon re-invigorated the Legion, reviving the old notion that none could stand in their way and that they would one day inherit the galaxy itself. When the warbands of the Black Legion gather under the wrathful banner of Abaddon the Despoiler, the words of Horus are ever heard upon their lips -- let the galaxy burn.
- "You will try. But today you face the Emperor's sons and His warriors.
We are the Luna Wolves, and this Legion is the anvil upon which you will be broken.
We are the anvil..now behold the hammer."
- —Commander Horus Lupercal during the Compliance of Melchior
The Wolves of Terra
In the time when the Emperor's eye first began to fall beyond Terra, He raised new armies to fight His Great Crusade. He drew these new troops in part from the forces that had already unified Terra during the Unification Wars of the late 30th Millennium, from willing Terran volunteers like those who comprised the XVIth Space Marine Legion who were implanted with the gene-seed of their missing Primarch Horus like all the Astartes of the First Founding.
These recruits were also drawn in part from the Emperor's subjugated enemies, and together they represented the first generation of Space Marines. Like most of the embryonic Space Marine Legions, the XVIth Legion drew all of its first recruits from the Terran population. Though it is difficult to be certain based on the existing Imperial records from this lost time, there are indications that many of the XVIth Legion's early intake came from the hunter clans of the Jutigran Bowl and the Samsatian sub-plate slums. Perpetual conflict and the harshness of life on the desolate margins of Terran society had given these people the hard edge of ruthlessness and independence that would serve a Space Marine well.
The XVIth Legion made war with abrasive aggression. Perhaps through the influence of their genetic heritage or the use the Emperor put them to, the Space Marines of the XVIth Legion became synonymous with sudden and overwhelming shock assaults. To the XVIth Legion fell the swift prosecution of battle and the bloody termination of campaigns.
Their attacks were preemptive as often as they were part of an existing conflict, their forces either the first deadly threat unleashed by the Imperium or preserved to enact a final, killing blow. The First Pacification of Luna was perhaps the most famous of these early victories for the XVIth Legion, but the breaking of the Coriolis Enclaves and the Five Winter left scars in the collective consciousness of Terran society that persist even now. In the Capridian Sinks, it is still common for traders and gamblers to refer to the Legion's ancient number of sixteen as "the counting of the wolf."
It is said that the Astartes of the XVIth Legion were unleashed to begin and end wars their enemies did not even know they were fighting. They would come out of the night or in the dawn, carried in the holds of Stormbirds and Storm Eagles, flanked by squadrons of escorting Lightning Crows. Those who witnessed such attacks say that the XVIth Legion were fighting eye-to-eye with the enemy before the thunder of their first volley of missiles and shell-strikes had faded.
The warriors who fought these battles were of a character wholly in keeping with their reputation. Proud, little given to humour or empathy, nor to mysticism or even the ritual of the military elite, they were a breed apart from the true human forces that had fought at their side. Their aggression was clear in their every action, but so was the strength of the control that held it in check, and the needs of that ancient age easily accommodated such a belligerent and cantankerous attitude.
At some time the notion of the Emperor sending His "wolves" to break intractable or potential enemies took root in the consciousness of the new-born Imperium of Man, with the Pacification of Luna in the late 30th Millennium -- considered by many the first battle of the Great Crusade -- its apocryphal source.
The XVIth Legion embraced the epithet "Luna Wolves" they earned after this first campaign with relish. The wolf's head became a common icon for the Astartes of the XVIth Legion, the link being somewhat abstract, as the Terran animals once called wolves had been almost extinct for millennia, largely relegated to existence as gene-stock for engineered bio-weapon beasts on Terra itself, though the name remained synonymous in most Terran dialects with controlled savagery.
The wearing of pelts of such augmented canid predators increasingly marked out the field commanders and officers of the Luna Wolves. The XVIth would not be the only Space Marine Legion to bear such a title and embrace this imagery as their own, but they were the first.
The Luna Wolves were the first Space Marine Legion to begin recruiting from another world beyond Terra. In this case, the new pool of Aspirants was found amongst the adolescent human males drawn from the violent hive city gangs inhabiting an ancient former Mining World that had devolved into a Feral World called Cthonia.
Cthonia was located in one of Terra's closest neighbouring star systems in the Segmentum Solar and was within reach of spacecraft that could travel at only sublight velocities before the invention of the Warp-Drive. As a result, Cthonia had been colonised, built upon, tunnelled and mined since the dawn of human interstellar space travel millennia before the beginning of the Dark Age of Technology.
Due to this unusually long period of exploitation by Mankind, all of the world's natural resources had been stripped away and used up centuries before, and the ancient mining technology had long since been rediscovered and removed by the Tech-adepts of Mars. The planet that remained was largely useless and abandoned, completely riddled with catacombs, crumbling industrial plant and exhausted mine-workings.
Horus, the true Primarch of the Luna Wolves, was the first of the Primarchs to be recovered by the Emperor, having been cast in his gestation capsule through the Warp much closer to Terra on Cthonia than the others by the Ruinous Powers, and he was found at a much younger age. Whereas the early history of many Primarchs is extensively if unevenly documented, the same cannot be said of Horus.
Contradiction and omission tarnishes all accounts of Horus' formative years. It is clear that the Emperor did find Horus and also that he took command of the XVIth Legion early in the Great Crusade. Beyond these manifest facts, agreement between the early Imperial sources is decidedly lacking, some even placing Horus on Cthonia as a foundling. Like many of his superhuman brethren, these sources say that the young Primarch thrived in Cthonia's harsh environment, learning his first lessons in war and killing from Cthonia's tech-barbarian kill-gangs.
Another source claims that Horus returned to Terra itself. It is said that Horus grew at the Emperor's side, learning from his father even as they took back the Sol System and forged the alliances between the techno-barbarian nations of Terra and with the Mechanicum of Mars that created the Imperium of Man.
Other highly creditable claims state that the Emperor found Horus, the first of His lost sons, but neither source specifies where, or the location of this finding. Surrounded in millennia of myths and allegory, the truth of Horus' origins will more than likely never be known.
As a result, however it came to pass, Horus was for many standard years the Emperor's only son, and there was a great affinity between them. The Emperor spent much time with His protege, teaching and encouraging him. Horus was soon placed in command of the XVIth Legion, which had already come to be known as the Luna Wolves -- 10,000 Astartes created from his own genetic code.
With these superhuman warriors to lead, Horus accompanied the Emperor for the first thirty standard years of the Great Crusade that had begun in ca. 800.M30, and together they forged the initial interstellar expansion of the young Imperium of Man.
A Human Harvest
By the time the Great Crusade began in 798.M30, Cthonia's mines were long spent, but it had a resource that the new Imperium needed more than metals and jewels: hardened fighters and born survivors in their millions; a lean and hungry race of killers with no illusions about the horrors of the universe. Cthonia, relatively close to Terra in the void, and with whom some minor intermittent contact had been maintained even through the Age of Strife, had its murderous and strife-torn population marked by one of the first Expeditionary Fleets to leave the Sol System.
To fuel the growth of the early Space Marine Legions, the Imperium took full advantage of the bounty that Cthonia provided. At the time of the First Founding, Cthonia already helped provide the necessary flesh for the Selenar gene-wrights of Luna to fuel the growth of the early Legiones Astartes. One report talks of so-called Imperial "recruitment squads" harvesting tens of thousands of Cthonian gangers and shipping them away, chained together in the holds of prison-shuttles, to the geno-laboratories of Luna's Selenar gene-wrights.
The majority were impressed as troopers for the Great Crusade's Imperial Army regiments, but the finest specimens were taken for induction into Space Marine Legions. On Luna these chosen sons of Cthonia were reborn as the superhuman Astartes of the XVIth Legion.
It was more common for the first Space Marine Aspirants to be adolescent volunteers from Terra, and later in the Crusade, after the rediscovery of the Primarchs, from Feral or Feudal Worlds discovered along the way. Yet, after the usual psycho-hypnotic indoctrination and mental conditioning process, the Luna Wolves created from the men of Cthonia emerged as excellent and ferociously powerful Space Marines.
A Legion Reborn
With the induction of the genestock from Cthonia, the XVIth Legion was remade. For the Terran Space Marines who already constituted the core of the Legion, their new brothers brought with them their own customs, attitudes and modes of thought, the ingrained inheritances of a thousand generations of callous violence and the ruthless pursuit of survival that the indoctrination practices of that time could modify and perhaps suppress but not entirely erase. In truth, this was perhaps the point for the Cthonians' inclusion within the Legion.
As the Terran Legionaries fell in battle, their voices and the more ordered military traditions they had been trained in became fewer and fainter within the XVIth Legion. The marks of change were many and subtle, not overwriting the Legion's culture entirely but bringing a unique character to what had gone before. Examples of this change came slowly.
The topknots and mohawks commonly sported by Cthonian ganger head-hunters became common throughout the ranks of the Luna Wolves as both additions to their armour and as personal decoration. After being wounded in battle by a worthy foe it was common for a Luna Wolf Astartes to honour the valour of his fallen enemy by making a deep scratch in the ceramite across his helm's eye socket. Perhaps most tellingly, the Cthonian word for cutting the throat of an enemy gang-killer in single combat -- "aebathan" -- became a common term in the ranks to describe the completion of a campaign.
The personal charisma and reputation of a commander within the Legion came to apply to the Astartes under his command, as if the ways of the Cthonian gang lords now informed the Luna Wolves' own understanding of leadership. This applied particularly to the Luna Wolves' Primarch Horus after his rediscovery by the Emperor, as his cult of personality was universal within the Legion and all Luna Wolves came to revere the Lupercal to an extent that would ultimately prove their undoing.
The strength of the Luna Wolves in battle did not change or weaken after the inclusion of the Cthonians; if anything the Legion seemed to become even more potent over time. The Legion strove to maintain the required flexibility needed to allow them to fight any war or enemy they might encounter on their own terms, but where possible the application of sudden and overwhelming force was usually their favoured form of attack, and that of their Primarch.
As a doctrine this became bound up with the Legion's savage ferocity that was born of Cthonian blood, and wielded with ferocious intelligence and the matchless tactical instinct of Horus. A star system targeted for Imperial Compliance would often fall to the Legion in a single engagement: Luna Wolves warships would cut in from the system's edge, forming a spear formation that would break into many smaller blade tips to strike at the target system's planets, moons and space stations.
Orbital bombardment and simultaneous mass orbital drops would break the enemy's strength and will to resist. Tactical threats were systematically identified, isolated, outflanked, encircled and destroyed with merciless precision and close-quarter savagery which spoke of apex pack predators splitting a herd and gutting its members with lightning fury. The Imperial Army troops that followed in the Luna Wolves' wake often had little to do but scrape suddenly Compliant worlds clean of the leavings of battle.
Sons of Victory
The Luna Wolves' approach to the Great Crusade was direct and brutal, and their results were often inelegant if unmistakably effective. Though it proved bloody, the XVIth Legion's progress was undoubtedly swift and laurels of victory were heaped upon the Luna Wolves and above all upon their Primarch Horus, the most beloved son of the Emperor.
Time and again, the Luna Wolves would break resistance on a world and move on to the next campaign with barely a backward glance. The character of the Luna Wolves' tenacity and ruthlessness was displayed during the initial Imperial conquest of the Sol System. They prosecuted battles with the same savage mentality and ferocity displayed during the gang-wars of Cthonia where prisoners were simply unwanted mouths to feed.
War was a matter of identifying the strength and leadership of the enemy, isolating it and then obliterating it. In the same way that a gang leader's eyes would find a rival and their knife would quickly follow, so the Luna Wolves conquered entire star systems. Brutal it might have been, but to the Space Marines of the Luna Wolves it was a matter of necessity; wars were either brutal and short or they became long and wasteful. Driven by the energy of the Great Crusade, the XVIth Legion's methods fitted the needs of the early Imperium's rapid expansion.
The Luna Wolves waged war during the Great Crusade for over 200 standard years until the dawn of the 31st Millennium, pushing back the darkness which had swallowed Mankind during the Age of Strife with fire and blood. Their victories were manifold and Horus' generalship was legend, and so it was that the respect of their brother Legions rose to almost unrivalled heights.
Across tens of thousands of battles the Luna Wolves were rarely defeated. In every mode of deployment they excelled, whether as the spearhead of a star cluster-sized assault or as an individual squad supporting a grand formation of the Imperial Army. Other Legions, sometimes hostile to the interference of their fellow Space Marines, would request campaign placement amongst the Luna Wolves and welcome it in return.
Much of the Luna Wolves' reputation was the reflection of the qualities of their Primarch. Horus' charisma and unequalled record of victories, as well as his known closeness to the Emperor, lent him a measure of respect unrivalled among his brother Primarchs.
Horus demonstrated an almost preternatural talent for wielding the relative strengths of the other Legions to their best advantage on a strategic level. Horus was said by some to be without peer as a commander and a ruler within the Imperium, surpassed only by the Emperor Himself. Certainly he was rare amongst the Primarchs in that Horus commanded the respect and the loyalty of all, and backed it up with strategic and tactical genius.
Others commanded larger Legions, saw more deeply, excelled beyond Horus in certain crafts of warfare and lore, or perhaps drew greater fraternal affection from his Astartes, but only Horus could hold every view and ideal of Mankind in his mind simultaneously. Even the most personally difficult and aggressive of Primarchs like Angron and Konrad Curze are known to have deferred to Horus on many matters.
Triumph of Ullanor
- "You are like a son and together we have all but conquered the galaxy. Now the time has come for me to retire to Terra. My work as a soldier is done and now passes to you for I have great tasks to perform in my earthly sanctum. I name you Warmaster and from this day forth all of my armies and generals shall take orders from you as if the words came from mine own mouth. But words of caution I have for you, for your brother Primarchs are strong of will, of thought and of action. Do not seek to change them, but use their particular strengths well. You have much work to do, for there are still many words to liberate, many peoples to rescue. My trust is with you. Hail Horus! Hail the Warmaster!"
- —The Emperor of Mankind, during the Triumph of Ullanor
Though the Luna Wolves had won many victories in their years of ceaseless conflict, one would eclipse all others and see them reborn once again. The greatest of the nascent Imperium's victories during the high point of the Great Crusade came in the form of the defeat of the largest Ork empire ever encountered.
The Ullanor Crusade was a vast Imperial assault on the Ork Empire of the Overlord Urrlak Urruk. The capital world of this Greenskin stellar empire, and the site of the final assault by the Space Marine Legions, lay in the central Ullanor System of the galaxy's Ullanor Sector. The Crusade included the deployment of 100,000 Space Marines, 8,000,000 Imperial Army troops, and thousands of Imperial starships and their support personnel.
The Ullanor Crusade marked the high point of the Great Crusade's vast effort to reunite the scattered colony worlds of humanity. The Orks of Ullanor represented the largest concentration of Greenskins ever defeated by the military forces of the Imperium of Man before the Third War for Armageddon began during the late 41st Millennium. Following the defeat of the Orks of Ullanor due to the strategic brilliance of Horus, the Emperor of Mankind returned to Terra to begin work on His vast project to open up the Aeldari Webway for Mankind's use.
In His place to command the vast forces of the Great Crusade He left Horus. In the aftermath of this Ullanor Crusade, Horus was granted the newly-created title of "Warmaster," the commander-in-chief of all the Emperor's armies who possessed command authority over all of the other Primarchs and every Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade. Before returning to Terra to oversee the next phase of the creation of His stellar empire, the Emperor suggested to Horus that he rename the XVIth Legion the "Sons of Horus", in honour of their Primarch and to show his preeminent place amongst the other Primarchs.
Horus initially declined this honour, not wishing to be set above his brothers, and so his Legion continued as the Luna Wolves for a little while longer. But Horus and the other Primarchs never came to terms with the Emperor's absence. Their hurt feelings over His seeming abandonment of the Great Crusade to pursue a secret project whose purpose He chose not to reveal to His sons laid the seeds of jealousy and resentment that would ultimately blossom into the corruption that began the Horus Heresy.
- "Sanguinius. It should have been him. He has the vision and strength to carry us to victory, and the wisdom to rule once victory is won. For all his aloof coolness, he alone has the Emperor's soul in his blood. Each of us carries part of our father within us, whether it is His hunger for battle, His psychic talent or His determination to succeed. Sanguinius holds it all. It should have been his..."
- — Warmaster Horus Lupercal's private thoughts on who should've been granted the title 'Warmaster'
During the Great Crusade, it became apparent that the Primarchs were far from the perfect specimens of Humanity they were intended to be. Although each Primarch was physically and mentally god-like compared to a baseline mortal human being, they harboured the flaws of vanity, egotism, hunger for power, jealousy, arrogance, insecurity and all the other sins of the human character. As the Imperial Warmaster, Horus took over command of the Great Crusade, and accepted his new duties with earnest dedication.
However, there was much dissension in the ranks of the Primarchs and other parties in the Imperium over the Emperor's decision to withdraw from the campaign and return to Terra as well as to reorganise the political administration of the Imperium under the control of a Council of Terra headed by His regent, Malcador the Sigillite. Only a handful of the Primarchs, amongst them a scheming Lorgar, remained steadfast beside the Warmaster during this period of conflict.
Horus also disagreed with many of the decrees passed by the newly established Council of Terra, a ruling body of Imperial nobles and bureaucrats, which were intended to shift the burden of taxation and administration onto the newly-conquered Imperial Compliant worlds.
Even worse, Horus came to believe in his heart that he was failing his father, and was deeply wounded that the Emperor had revealed to none of the Primarchs, not even His most favoured son, why He had secluded Himself upon Terra and the truth behind His secret Imperial Webway Project. These seeds of bitterness, resentment and frustration grew, and would soon bear deadly fruit.
Fall to Chaos
It was on the moon of the world of Davin that Horus' fate was sealed. This was the second time his Legion had been posted to this world; after the previous visit sixty standard years earlier the Luna Wolves had adopted the native Davinite institution of Warrior Lodges. Though these lodges had begun as simple fraternities of warriors, their secretive nature handed Lorgar, the Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion and his First Chaplain Erebus, the tool they needed to manipulate Horus towards the service of the Chaos Gods.
Lorgar and his Word Bearers originally came from Colchis, a world defined by religious fanaticism. They had long worshiped the Emperor as a god. The Word Bearers had sought to spread their Cult of the Emperor to every world they added to the Imperium. But the Emperor deeply disliked and mistrusted organised human religion, blaming it for much of the darkness that had plagued humanity's history.
The Emperor openly and publicly refuted His alleged divinity and banned religious worship in His empire, and demanded that His subjects accept the "Imperial Truth" -- that science, reason and logic alone presented the tools required to create a better human future. Lorgar did not suffer the Emperor's reprimand or views on religion well after his XVIIth Legion had been humilated by the Ultramarines Legion on the direct orders of the Emperor at the world of Khur.
Angered and wounded that the Emperor would not accept his devotion and worship, Lorgar began what became known as the Pilgrimage of Lorgar to discover the truth of divinity in the universe. This quest ultimately culminated in Lorgar turning to the service of the Ruinous Powers of the Warp -- Dark Gods who were all too willing to accept the devotion of one of humanity's Primarchs. Before long, the Word Bearers Legion had been almost entirely corrupted by the Chaos Gods, and Lorgar and the XVIIth Legion's First Chaplain Erebus were tasked by the Ruinous Powers with corrupting all of their fellow Space Marines -- starting with the greatest of them all, the Warmaster Horus.
During a battle against Chaos-spawned undead on Davin's moon, whose Planetary Governor, Eugen Temba, a former Imperial Army commander, had been corrupted by the forces of the Chaos God Nurgle, Horus was poisoned by a xenos blade dedicated to Nurgle known as a Kinebrach Anathame that had been stolen from the human civilisation of the Interex by Erebus after Horus and the Luna Wolves of the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet had made a disastrous first contact with them.
Erebus gifted the weapon to the Chaos-corrupted form of Temba who the Warmaster had left behind on the Feral World of Davin sixty Terran years before. Temba had turned to the worship of Nurgle in the interim, being transformed into a bloated mutant and killing off most of his Imperial Army garrison in the process, transforming them into undead Plague Zombies that the Luna Wolves were forced to mow down in waves.
Horus personally faced off with the Nurglite mutant that had been Temba aboard the grounded ruins of his Imperial Cruiser. In the course of that battle, the potent living metal of the Chaos blade wielded by that plague-infused monstrosity left Horus with a bleeding, toxic wound in his shoulder that his Legion's Apothecaries could not heal despite all the advanced technology available to them.
Sixty standard years earlier, when the Luna Wolves had brought about the successful Imperial Compliance of Davin, they had entrusted a detachment of the Word Bearers, under the command of its First Captain Kor Phaeron, to shepherd the people of Davin into the light of the Imperial Truth. At the suggestion of First Chaplain Erebus, the XVIth Legion had adopted the native Davinite institution of "Warrior Lodges".
Though these lodges had begun as simple fraternities of warriors, their secretive nature handed Lorgar and Erebus the tool they needed to manipulate Horus. Once formally introduced, these Warrior Lodges would infiltrate and eventually corrupt the various Space Marine Legions into turning against the Emperor.
After the Warmaster was struck down on Davin's moon, Erebus saw his chance to further the designs of Chaos. The First Chaplain persuaded the Sons of Horus' Warrior Lodge to allow a group of Davinite shamans to heal Horus. In truth, these shamans were secretly a coven of Chaos Cultists known as the Serpent Lodge that had long been active on Davin at the temple dedicated to the Chaos Gods they called the Delphos. Desperate to save their beloved Primarch, the Warrior Lodge brothers acquiesced to Erebus's suggestions.
During the dark rituals that followed within the temple, Horus' spirit was transferred from his body into the Immaterium. There, he bore witness to a nightmare vision of the future. He saw the Imperium of Man as a repressive, violent theocracy, where the Emperor and several of His Primarchs (but not Horus) were worshipped as Gods by the masses. While this vision of the Imperial future granted by the Chaos Gods was a true one, it was ironically an outcome largely created by the Warmaster's own actions. The Dark Gods portrayed themselves as victims of the Emperor's psychic might, and claimed that they had no real interest in the happenings of the material world.
Magnus the Red, the sorcerous Primarch of the Thousand Sons Legion, had also travelled into the Warp via sorcery to try and stop Horus from turning to Chaos. Magnus explained that the Warmaster's vision was only one among many possible futures, but one that Horus alone could prevent. Horus, already jealous and resentful of the Emperor, proved all too receptive to the Ruinous Powers' false vision.
The Chaos Gods' pact with Horus was simple: "Give us the Emperor and we will give you the galaxy." Driven by his jealousy, desire for status and power and anger at what he saw as his father's abandonment of him, Horus accepted the Ruinous Powers' offer. They healed his grievous wound and filled him with the powers of the Warp.
Renouncing his oath to the Emperor, Horus led his Legion, renamed the Sons of Horus, into worship of the Chaos Gods in the form of Chaos Undivided. He then sought to turn many of his fellow Primarchs to the service of Chaos, and succeeded with Angron of the World Eaters, Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children and Mortarion of the Death Guard, who were the first of many to follow, along with many regiments of the Imperial Army and several Titan Legions of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Magnus the Red, the Primarch of the Thousand Sons Legion, foresaw Horus' actions through his Legion's own use of forbidden psychic sorcery. Magnus then attempted to forewarn the Emperor of the impending betrayal of His favourite son. However, knowing that he would have to find a means of quickly warning the Emperor, Magnus used sorcery to send his message to the Emperor. The message penetrated the potent psychic defences of the Imperial Palace on Terra, shattering all the psychic wards the Emperor had placed on the Palace -- including those within His secret project in the Imperial Dungeons, where He was proceeding with the creation of a human extension into the Webway.
Refusing to believe that Horus, His most beloved and trusted son, would actually betray Him, the Emperor instead mistakenly perceived the traitor to the Imperium to be Magnus and his Thousand Sons, who had long suffered from a near-debilitating run of mutations because of the instability of Magnus' own genome and were known to have practiced the sorcery that had been expressly outlawed in the Imperium by the Council of Nikaea.
The Emperor ordered the Primarch Leman Russ, Magnus' greatest rival, to mobilise his Space Wolves Legion and the witch hunters known as the Sisters of Silence and take Magnus into custody to be returned to Terra to stand trial for violating the Council of Nikaea's prohibitions against the use of psychic powers within the Imperium. While en route to the Thousand Sons Legion's homeworld of Prospero, Horus convinced Russ, who had always been repelled by Magnus' reliance on psychic powers, to launch a full assault on Prospero instead, even though Magnus had been entirely willing to face the Emperor's judgment once he realised he was being manipulated by the entities that called the Immaterium home.
Betrayal at Istvaan III
In the days that followed his miraculous recovery, Horus' officers detected a change in his character. The Warmaster proceeded to use the Warrior Lodge present in the XVIth Legion to begin to subvert his officers and their Astartes to the service of the Dark Gods and to build support for his plan of rebellion against the Emperor.
He had already taken up the Emperor's old offer made at the Ullanor Triumph on the advice of Sanguinius and renamed the XVIth Legion the Sons of Horus to subtly hint at his position as the first-among-equals among the Primarchs. He now moved to further consolidate his authority.
Horus was now allied body and soul to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, and he had a new vision for the Imperium with himself rather than the Emperor at its head. Renouncing his oath to the Emperor, Horus led his Legion into worship of the Chaos Gods. He then sought to turn many of his fellow Primarchs to Chaos.
Horus was master diplomat and manipulator, and he knew exactly which psychological buttons to push in some of his brothers to get them to agree to his idea of rebellion against the Emperor. His first efforts succeeded masterfully with Angron, Fulgrim and Mortarion, who were the first of the 8 other Primarchs and Space Marine Legions that would follow Horus and his Astartes into betrayal.
The majority of the Sons of Horus, already fiercely loyal and proud of Horus, had no hesitation in following their Primarch's lead wherever he chose to go. They secretly renounced their oaths to the Emperor and supported Horus' ambitions and his new gods of the Warp. The Chaos corruption spread to every Imperial Adepta with which Horus had dealings, including a portion of the Mechanicum, and from there to the Adeptus Titanica and the Legio Cybernetica, eventually creating the splinter-faction of the ancient Mechanicum called the Dark Mechanicum and unleashing the terrible civil war between Loyalist and Traitor Mechanicum factions known as the Schism of Mars.
The other Primarchs Horus knew as well as any men since they were his gene-brothers, and he was already well practiced at motivating them. Appealing to their pride, martial prowess, and courage, whilst playing upon past grudges and favours against the Emperor and the other Primarchs, the Warmaster ultimately gained the loyalty of fully half the Primarchs and their Space Marine Legions.
He convinced them to first rid their Legions of any remaining Loyalists during the Battle of Istvaan III and next nearly destroyed three full Loyalist Legions during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V.
The Horus Heresy
The terrible galactic civil war that followed and lasted for nine Terran years of genocidal death and destruction on a scale never before witnessed by Mankind, called the Horus Heresy by later generations, was the most terrible conflict in the history of the Imperium, and came close to shattering it forever. This conflict quickly became a terrible war of escalation and retaliation. The Legions struck desperate blows against each other across the length and breadth of the nascent Imperium.
By the time Horus had carved a bloody path to Terra, the Sons of Horus stood at the head of a vast army of Traitor Space Marines. In a battle the likes which the Imperium has never seen since, Horus' armies fell upon the Emperor's Imperial Palace and Abaddon was granted the honour of leading them into battle. This was to be the zenith of the Sons of Horus' power. Never again would the Legion gather in such strength or grandeur on the field of battle.
In the cauldron of war, Abaddon led the 1st Company and the hulking, black-armoured Terminators of the Justaerin into the Emperor's Palace, smashing through the loyalist defenders. Their Chainfists and Power Swords dripped with gore, any who dared stand against them were torn apart. Everywhere, the fires of the Heresy burned out of control; Titans traded blows over the ruined walls of the palace and great warships filled the sky with dazzling lance fire, raining bombardments upon friend and foe alike.
Horus watched the battle unfolding below from the shrouded bridge of his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit. On flickering holo-charts, the Warmaster saw his armies trapped against the inner walls of the Emperor's palace, Loyalist reinforcements arriving with every passing solar hour. Through the vista panes of his bridge, he could see that the battle in Terra's orbit was also turning against his fleet. Horus knew time was running out.
In his arrogance and anger, the Warmaster made one last gambit, lowering his ship's Void Shields so that Emperor could teleport aboard and face him personally. He was not to be disappointed. In an incandescent blast of light, the Emperor teleported onto the Vengeful Spirit seeking out His traitorous son. The battle between the two great warriors exchanging titanic ringing blows even as their psychic selves struggled in the Warp. For all his rage and anger, Horus could not win -- though before the Emperor obliterated His son's soul, Horus delivered a mortal blow to his gene-father.
Abaddon was climbing over the heaped corpses of broken Imperial soldiers when he felt the psychic howl heralding the death of his Primarch. Every Son of Horus knew at once that their Warmaster had fallen, thousands of warriors pausing in battle to look up into the burning sky. The news spread like a contagion through the Traitor Legions, and the assault that had come so close to success began to collapse.
Abaddon immediately teleported back onto the flagship and arrived at his master's side in time to rescue Horus' body. With a cry of deepest pain and anguish, Abaddon vowed vengeance against his father's killer. Tearing free the Lightning Claw from Horus' arm, he fixed it to his own, symbolically taking up his Primarch's debt of blood against the Emperor.
Realising the battle for Terra was lost, Abaddon moved to save the XVIth Legion from annihilation. He fought his way through the remaining loyalists aboard the Vengeful Spirit and cleared the ancient vessel of resistance, the mortally wounded Emperor already borne back to Terra by the Imperial Fists' Primarch Rogal Dorn. Laying claim to the Vengeful Spirit, Abaddon and the Sons of Horus broke orbit and fought their way free of the battle and escaped into the void.
Rise of the Black Legion
- "Horus was weak. Horus was a fool. He had the whole galaxy within his grasp and he let it slip away."
Following the dire events of the Horus Heresy during the final epic Battle of Terra and the death of the Warmaster Horus aboard his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, First Captain Abaddon and the surviving Sons of Horus broke orbit over Terra and fought their way free of the battle and escaped into the void.
A time of Imperial reprisal and retribution known as the Great Scouring followed, and countless worlds were put to death by the Loyalists for siding with Horus, their corpses left as a warning to others. Those Traitor Legions that remained in the Imperium were hunted mercilessly and hounded across the stars by pitiless Loyalists. Abaddon and the remaining Sons of Horus took refuge in the Eye of Terror, choosing to plunge into that maelstrom of madness rather than face extinction at the hands of the Emperor's vengeful warriors.
The Sons of Horus managed to reach the Eye of Terror with the bloodied survivors of the Scouring, but the once mighty XVIth Legion was reduced to a fraction of its former size. Led by only a few remaining captains, the Legion struggled with its loyalty to their fallen Primarch and the cold reality of their defeat at the hands of the Emperor and His lackeys.
Bereft of their glorious Primarch, the Legion floundered, and in desperation turned to each of the Chaos Gods in turn in their search for renewed power, inviting daemonic possession and the ever more costly blessings of the Warp. All the while, the Legion suffered the jealous attacks of their former allies. As the Traitor Legions turned upon one another, the Dark Gods subverted and manipulated their new playthings, reshaping the Legions for their own ends and the never-ending war between the gods.
Ezekyle Abaddon abandoned the Legion; broken by the death of Horus and sick of war, he wandered alone into the Eye of Terror. Meanwhile the Sons of Horus carried the body of their Primarch, preserved in stasis, further into the Eye, ignoring the wars that raged around them. On the Daemon World of Maeleum, a graveyard world of steel and rust, the Sons of Horus raised a fortress, Lupercalios, fashioning a mighty citadel from the wrecks of decaying vessels lost to the Warp with the aid of the thousands of slaves they had taken from the worlds of the Imperium. Surrounded by living darkness and the bones of dead Warp-dragons, it was fashioned from the wrecks of decaying vessels long lost to the Warp, with each spire and tower made from the jagged prow of an ancient voidship. The Legion interred Horus' body within a great tomb, where many fell into worship of their fallen demigod.
Horus' body hung suspended in a spiralling chamber of bone-white stone, bathed in flickering golden light, his perfect form looking down upon his sons. Reaching up as far as the eye could see, the deeds of Horus were carved into the arching crypt walls, each one depicting a great battle or glorious victory. Each day, the worshippers would gather in the shadow of their Primarch and offer up their oaths anew, unable and unwilling to find a new leader. With their Primarch dead and their Legion on the verge of extinction, the Sons of Horus stagnated. Like many of the other Traitor Legions, the Sons of Horus suffered from incessant daemonic attacks during the early years within the Eye of Terror. There was a never-ending supply of daemons to fight off, and many fell to the uncontrollable influence of Chaos, losing their mind and bodies to possession by these insidious Warp entities.
Some within the Legion argued that the Sons of Horus should offer their allegiance to a single power rather than deal with the daemons of many gods. Most, however, warned that the XVIth Legion should never bow to an outside power again; they remembered too well the yoke that the Emperor had placed around the neck of their Legion, and were wary of letting another master hold such power over them again. The martial pride of the XVIth Legion also meant that they would never completely accept a master who did not come from their own ranks, be it the Emperor of Mankind or even a God of Chaos.
Lupercalios, the Monument, was a mausoleum to the XVIth Legion as much as a stronghold. It was where the body of their Primarch had been interred after the Terran Breaking. Few of the other Legions were permitted anywhere near the Sons' last bastion. It also served as a fortress from which they would launch further attacks upon both the Imperium and their fellow Traitor Legions. All the while, the XVIth Legion suffered the jealous attacks of their former allies amongst the Forces of Chaos as the brief unity between the Dark Gods and their servants during the Heresy once more broke down into the normal state of internecine rivalry, unleashing the Legion Wars.
Some captains suspected that it would be but a matter of time before they and their Battle-Brothers were drawn into the wars between the Traitor Legions, and so they pushed for the Sons of Horus to replace its losses by increasing the Legion's gene-seed stocks. These same captains knew that any fortress, no matter how grand, could not hope to hold back a determined Space Marine assault, and called for more warriors to be found. Unfortunately, the majority of surviving captains were convinced that the Warp would provide all the power they needed, if only they could master the methods of merging daemon and Space Marine.
The wars between the other Legions who had sided with Horus during the Horus Heresy raged across the Eye of Terror even as the Sons of Horus ignored the events happening around them, and continued to raise their fortress ever higher, worshipping the corpse of their Primarch. The Sons of Horus had remained largely apart from these conflicts; however, jealous eyes now turned their way. Traitorous forces gathered against them and conspired to rob them of the remains of Horus to further vile and selfish ambitions.
The Primarch Horus' body, with its potent genetic information and biological secrets, was a great prize indeed. In a sudden assault, the remnants of the debased Emperor's Children, having grown vastly in power after firmly cementing their terrible pacts with Slaanesh, easily smashed their way through the defences of Maeleum and into the central chambers of the Sons of Horus' stronghold. They stole the body of the slain Primarch from the heart of its tomb and spirited it away, some say with the purpose of handing it over to the dark Apothecary Fabius Bile who intended to clone it in order to create a new and still greater Warmaster of Chaos to restore the Traitor Legions' unity and fortunes.
Their fortress in ruins and their Legion decimated, the Sons of Horus stood on the brink of vanishing forever from the galaxy and fading into cursed memory. The XVIth Legion devolved into in-fighting amongst themselves, giving in to dark despair or uncontrolled rage. The divisions between the Legion's captains turned into bitter bloodshed and murder, as order completely collapsed.
The salvation of the Sons of Horus came when one of its greatest captains, Ezekyle Abaddon, returned from his Dark Pilgrimage in time to watch the battle from afar. It was in that moment that he saw, with cold clarity, that it was Horus' failure that had led the Legion here, to them tearing each other apart in the blood-soaked ruins of Maeleum.
Abaddon swore that he would succeed where Horus had failed in overthrowing the "Corpse-Emperor" and proclaimed himself the new Warmaster of Chaos. Finally, sickened by how far the Legion had fallen, he stalked through the ruins hunting down his fellow captains, cooling his rage with their final screams. In the end, Abaddon alone remained of the Legion's leaders, demanding obedience from his brothers.
Some saw Abaddon as Horus' rightful and legitimate successor and fell at his feet willingly, while others simply recognised his raw strength and bowed their heads to his might. A few turned their back on Abaddon, and were either cut down by their brothers or managed to escape into the Warp. With his Legion brought to heel, Abaddon turned his attention to the clones of Horus; he commanded his warriors to extinguish all trace of their former Primarch and free themselves from his shadow.
He then personally led an attack on the Emperor's Children that destroyed the body of the Primarch Horus and all his clones, and in so doing, ushered in a new age for the XVIth Legion. He had the Sons of Horus repainted their viridian Power Armour black, the colour of mourning and of vengeance, and cast-off the XVIth Legion's former moniker of the Sons of Horus.
From then on, they became known as the "Black Legion." Through his actions, the Despoiler had reinvigorated the Legion, reviving the old notion that none could stand in their way and that they stood first amongst the Traitor Legions, destined by the will of the Dark Gods to one day inherit the galaxy itself.
When the warbands of the Black Legion and the other Forces of Chaos gather under the wrathful banner of Abaddon the Despoiler to unleash yet another of their Black Crusades to overthrow the False Emperor, the words of Horus are heard upon their lips -- let the galaxy burn. The Long War for control of the galaxy by Chaos and the Black Legion had begun.
A New Champion
- "Who pledged his loyalty?
Whom did we serve in faith?
From whom did we take our name?
Who was denied to us?
But whom shall we remake?
And who shall lead us to victory?
- — Black Legion Catechism
His control of the Legion secured, Abaddon started expanding the ranks of the Black Legion, consumed by the desire to launch an assault against the Imperium. Word spread across the Eye of Terror that any Space Marine who bowed before the Despoiler would be granted a place in his Black Legion and a part in his grand plan for revenge against the False Emperor.
Many of the other Traitors mocked and derided Abaddon for his arrogance. However, the endless wars and corruption of the Warp had sown disillusion in the hearts of others and the promise of a place in a Legion led by a warlord determined to continue the war against the Imperium with its greater purpose appealed to a great number. The insulting defeat at the hands of the Loyalist Space Marine Legions was still fresh in the minds of many of the Chaos Space Marines, and they hungered for a chance to spill the blood of their former brothers.
Other Traitor Legionaries cared not whose blood they spilled, only that Abaddon could lead them to worlds where they could tear piteous screams from the dying and crush the corpses of their foes underfoot. The legend of Abaddon was also spreading, and those Traitor Marines who respected only strength, cruelty and dark majesty already marked him out as a Chaos warlord to rule all others.
Abaddon soon earned an enduring reputation among the Traitor Legions for the terrifying vengeance he visited upon those who betrayed him. Some Traitor Legionaries and daemonic warlords attempted to use the Black Legion for their own ends, infiltrating its ranks with false promises of loyalty. Others attempted to whisper promises in the ears of those that had sworn fealty to the Black Legion and tried to turn them against the Despoiler. In the end, the heads of all those Chaos Champions and Chaos Lords adorned Abaddon's trophy rack, their warbands destroyed and their fortresses torn down stone by stone. Eventually, only the very foolish or terminally insane would break their oath to Abaddon the Despoiler.
The new Warmaster was a master of manipulation and knew just what combination of fear, greed and vanity would sway the minds of both men and daemons. Warlords would come before Abaddon merely to verify this Champion of Chaos and his Black Legion for themselves, but found themselves scorching their armour black and joining his cause. As the numbers of the Black Legion swelled, Abaddon ravaged the worlds of the Eye of Terror with his fleet, claiming more warriors and slaves for his cause. This time, the Despoiler was careful not to create such an easy target for his foes, and the Black Legion remained a fleet-based formation, slipping like shadows across the Warp. Aboard the Vengeful Spirit Abaddon led his war against the other Traitor Legions, their allies and their enemies, creating an army to rival any force in the galaxy.
Such is the nature of the Traitor Legions that no individual warlord could ever rule over all of them, but Abaddon hoped to one day unite them toward a single goal as Horus had done before him. The Black Legion could only hope to destroy the Emperor and His Imperium with the help of the other Traitor Legions, combining to brush aside the armies ranged against them and launch a single massive assault on Terra. This was Abaddon's dark dream and the path that would shape his destiny for centuries to come.
The Black Crusades
In 781.M31, five standard centuries after his retreat from Terra, Abaddon returned to Imperial space at the head of a host of Traitors and daemons. It was the Imperium's first encounter with the newly founded Black Legion and the return of a brutal and bitter enemy many had thought lost to the graveyard of history.
Since the Great Scouring, Abaddon had remained within the Eye of Terror, rebuilding the Black Legion as a vengeful reflection of its former glory. At last, the Black Legion and the other Traitors returned to realspace, the first chapter in their Long War against the Emperor ready to be written in the blood of Imperial worlds.
Through alliance, threats and promises, Abaddon was able to muster the largest force of Traitor Legions seen since the Horus Heresy and took the Imperium by surprise. Worlds close to the Eye of Terror fell into mayhem and chaos as Legions descended from the sky and daemons tore their way into reality. Only Cadia, with its formidable defences, stood firm, its brave regiments fighting from the towering gates and bastions of their cities.
To counter the invasion, the Imperium was forced to divert many of the newly-formed Space Marine Chapters of the Second Founding from war zones across the Segmentum Obscurus. The Traitor Legions basked in their return from the Eye of Terror, bathing in the blood of innocent worlds and filling the holds of their voidships with slaves. On a dozen planets, the Black Legion proved worthy of their fallen Primarch and the martial prowess of the ancient Luna Wolves.
Abaddon had chosen his generals well, and each competed for glory as the Legion tore a bloody gouge across the stars. Zagthean the Broken led his Black Legion warband in an orgy of violence and excess on the Agri-World of Valesia. For his own dark pleasure, the warlord constructed a vast maze of thorns from the world's blood-rose orchards, blinding his prisoners and loosing them within its twisting tunnels, before hunting them down at his leisure. Countless inhabitants spent their final terrifying hours listening desperately for the sounds of pursuit, their flesh bleeding from dozens of thorn cuts and their lungs filled with the sickly sweet scent of the blood-rose.
Not to be outdone, Eralak and his company of Raptors brought a bloody nightmare to the floating hive cities of Melphia. Killing millions in their rampage, Eralak's warband sent dozen of cities falling from the sky as he tore out their complex suspensor arrays and vented their plasma reactors onto the farms and fields below. Fashioning giant floating gallows from the remaining, ruined cities, the warlord hanged millions of Imperial citizens, their swaying corpses forever doomed to drift across the skies of Melphia, a terrible reminder of the power of the Black Legion.
The Black Legion's greatest achievement was not only its brutal victories, but also the unity it had managed to forge among the Traitors and their daemonic allies. Even though the Traitor Space Marines, daemons and Heretics turned on each other once Imperial resistance had been crushed, in the presence of the Black Legion, they gave grudging respect. This was the Legion of fear and domination Abaddon had wrought, and it was to be an ominous sign of things to come for the Imperium.
In what would become a festering thorn in the side of the Imperium, the Traitor Legions, often led by the Black Legion or even Abaddon himself, would repeatedly spill out of the Eye of Terror to burn and pillage entire sectors. In the light of dying stars and flaming cities, the Black Legion would indulge their hatred of the Imperium, indiscriminately killing the servants of the False Emperor and tearing down anything they saw as a symbol of the Corpse-God.
During these so-called "Black Crusades", whole star systems would be destroyed in conflicts that would drag on for standard decades or centuries until, as suddenly as they had appeared, the Black Legion would retreat into the Eye of Terror, their holds filled with slaves and plunder. The Segmentum Obscurus suffered terribly in these endless wars against the fallen Space Marine Legions, but in truth nowhere was safe from their treacherous reach. This was something the Black Legion proved time and again as it cemented its infamous reputation among the armies of the Imperium as a pitiless foe.
The Folly of Drecarth
When Abaddon ascended to command of the Sons of Horus, not every warrior of the XVIth Legion swore allegiance to him. Many of the Traitors clung to their worship of Horus as a god, believing that he would one day return to lead them and punish those who had forsaken their oaths.
Others considered the Horus Heresy to be the end of their subservience to gods and masters; the Emperor and their Primarch were the last overlords they would ever bow down to and they saw no reason to make an exception for Abaddon. Most of these Renegades were gradually lost to the Warp, disappearing into the Eye and vanishing from record, though some prospered and would return to be a thorn in the side of Abaddon.
One of these splinter warbands was the Sons of the Eye, led by Drecarth the Sightless. A former Battle-Brother of Abaddon's, Drecarth had been one of Horus' captains, escaping in the chaos after Maeleum fell. Abaddon had heard whispers of Drecarth's escape and treachery from his cabal of Chaos Sorcerers, who also claimed that an old ally would one day rise to subvert the Black Legion, twisting its loyalty with the memory of the dead Primarch. So, under the guise of truce, Abaddon made a pact with the Sons of the Eye and allied with them during the 6th Black Crusade in 901.M36. Abaddon wanted to make an example of the Sons of the Eye, a dire warning to anyone who would consider challenging his power, but he needed to set the stage for his vengeance just right so that none would ever doubt his resolve.
During the 6th Black Crusade, Abaddon besieged the Imperial Forge World of Arkreach, offering Drecarth and his Sons of the Eye an equal share of the plunder. For solar months, the two forces of Chaos Space Marines fought side-by-side against the defences of the Adeptus Mechanicus, bombarding their great forge cities from space.
Finally, the Traitors stood triumphant in the smouldering ruins of the great manufactoria, dead littering the ground. As Drecarth extended his hand in greeting, Abaddon grasped it with his own, only to thrust the claws of the Talon of Horus into his fellow Chaos Space Marine's gut. Drecarth lived long enough to see the Sons of the Eye bow to Abaddon and be reabsorbed into the Black Legion before the Warmaster of Chaos tore out his skull and spine. Thus did Abaddon deliver a dire warning to any who dared challenge his power.
The Tower of Silence
As the bloodshed of the 1st Black Crusade reached its frenzied heights, cities burned and worlds were stripped of people to feed the dark desires of the Traitor Legions. Leaving his Black Legion to continue their brutal reprisals and raids against Imperial worlds, Abaddon pursued his own plans. Using the howling souls unleashed into the Warp by so much death and destruction, he made a secret daemonic bargain. In payment for the feast of despair, pain and anguish Abaddon had created with his Black Crusade, the Dark Gods gifted him with knowledge of the secret location of the Tower of Silence on the world of Uralan.
Cloaked in the shadow of the Eye of Terror, Uralan was whispered of in daemonic lore as a place where the gods themselves locked away their secrets. Following strands of fate unravelled by his cabal of Chaos Sorcerers, Abaddon had discovered a concealed path through the Warp and across the shifting sea of worlds beyond to reach Uralan without needing to breach the Cadian Gate. With a cadre of the Black Legion's elite warriors, each one a brutal veteran of a thousand battles, Abaddon set foot on Uralan and entered the Tower of Silence. Almost at once, the tower's guardians set upon them, ancient constructs of dark energy that shifted and flickered, their claws tearing at the ragged edges of his warriors' souls.
After the bitter battle, Abaddon climbed down into the mirrored heart of Uralan. There, Abaddon wandered the massive haunted labyrinth for what seemed an age, fighting off the spirits of the dead that threatened to add him to their ranks. Eventually, Abaddon made his way towards the centre of the labyrinth where a shard of shifting darkness hung suspended in the air.
Reaching out into the void, Abaddon felt the cold hilt of a blade meet his palm and he pulled it into reality; the Daemonsword Drach'nyen took terrible shape before his eyes. After the recovery of the malefic sword, Abaddon's power swelled to inhuman proportions and the new Warmaster of Chaos become nigh unstoppable. Whole cities were burned in sacrifice to the every-hungry daemons of Chaos, and entire armies were torn apart by gibbering Warp entities. Abaddon's power swelled to inhuman proportions as the Gods of Chaos rewarded him lavishly and he undertook acts of fiendish bravery which horrified those who stood against him.
Black Legion Ascendant
Infused with the might of Chaos, the Black Legion grew in power and glory during the 1st Black Crusade. Under the command of Abaddon, they seized ever more victories and triumphs. It was a glorious time for the XVIth Legion, as the bloodshed and death of the Crusade washed away some of the memories of the Horus Heresy and their great defeat before the gates of the Emperor's Palace. However, despite the reckless carnage and terrible destruction it caused, eventually, the 1st Black Crusade ended.
Responding to the deadly peril, the Imperium had gathered its newly founded Space Marine Chapters and Titan Legions and sent them against the Traitors. Even so, scores of worlds had been silenced forever and millions of slaves were dragged screaming back into the Eye of Terror. Abaddon had tested the defences of his enemies and vastly increased his power with his newly acquired Daemonsword Drach'nyen. He also took to using the title of Warmaster of Chaos, rising to claim all that Horus had once possessed. None within the Black Legion argued Abaddon's right to the title, the 1st Black Crusade proof of his right to lead.
For the Black Legion, their first foray out of the Eye of Terror had done much to restore their position among the Traitor Legions, fostering a new grudging respect for the black armoured warriors and their self-proclaimed Warmaster. If nothing else, Abaddon had proven that the Dark Gods favoured him, something not even the Daemon Primarchs could ignore. Conflict still sputtered and flared between the Traitor Legions, but they now had a new purpose, something they had almost forgotten in the half millennia since the fall of Horus.
In the wake of the 1st Black Crusade, a time of constant raiding of Imperial space began. Abaddon was content to give a Black Legion warlord and his warband of Chaos Space Marines the chance to make a name for themselves, allowing them the freedom to strike where and when they would. He fostered this independence on one condition: the atrocities they committed must be done in the name of the Black Legion and at cost to the Emperor.
Starting with the 1st Black Crusade, thirteen times has Abaddon the Despoiler led the Black Legion in a grand assault against the Imperium. Every time, the Despoiler and his hordes have achieved a great victory, slain millions of Loyalists or completed some obscure objective before vanishing back into the Eye of Terror. At the close of the 41st Millennium, Abaddon led his 13th Black Crusade in the final conquest of Cadia, emerging stronger than ever before at the head of a vast army of Traitors, Heretics and daemons.
Age of Betrayal, M30-M31
- First Pacification of Luna (ca. 790.M30) - This early Imperial campaign was the first operation mounted by elements of the early Space Marine Legions beyond the skies of Terra. The Unification Wars were still raging across the surface of Mankind's birth world. Luna was the bastion of a conglomeration of resurrectionist gene-cults whose members believed that human nature was both fractal, fractured and transcendent. Each of these Selenar gene-cults clung to a different set of archetypes. Every cult member was a product of creation by the Selenar gene-wrights according to formulae crafted in the Dark Age of Technology. Resurrected in body time and time again they sought to distill the true personification of a single human archetype. In their subterranean complexes the cults were powerful, insular and resistant to the Imperial Truth. The Imperials would have normally dealt with these insular cults in the usual matter they handled all of the other Terran factions and techno-barbarian states that refused to accept the rule of the Emperor of Mankind -- by obliteration. The fact that the Selenar gene-cults had something that the growing Imperium needed complicated that position. The Selenar returned the Imperial entreaties for alliance with silence. As the threats of the Imperium soon began to outnumber its offers, the Selenar cults began to gird themselves for war. So it was that the Emperor finally ordered Luna to be pacified by the sword, their superstitious beliefs cast down before the Imperial Truth and their gene-craft yoked to the needs of the Imperium. To this task the Emperor set the three of His newborn Space Marine Legions most suited to this purpose on what some Imperial chroniclers name as the first true battle of the Great Crusade. The combined force of the VIIth, XIIIth and XVIth Legions (later named the Imperial Fists, Ultramarines and Luna Wolves) lifted from the surface of Terra in a scattering of rocket flame. The as yet unnamed XVIth Legion had been chosen to serve as the Space Marine force's vanguard, and had brought its full strength to bear. Cutting power to their assault craft, the Astartes of the XVIth Legion drifted silently towards Luna through the void like arrows fired into the night. As the smaller wave of assault craft belonging to the VIIth and XIIIth Legions approached the airless world, the Selenar defensive weapon systems embedded in Luna's surface lashed the oncoming Imperial force. The XVIth Legion's assault craft, unlooked for and unseen, struck their targets like a dagger in the night. Within six hours of the first shot being fired, Luna had been pacified and brought into Imperial Compliance, the first off-world conquest of the Imperium of Man. Faced with annihilation, the surviving Selenar cultists bent the knee instead, their surrender communique transmitted to Terra calling for the Emperor to "call off his wolves". Broken and humbled, the enslaved gene-wrights of Luna would help forge the next generation of Space Marine who would carry out Mankind's conquest of the stars. As for the XVIth Legion, they had earned their name -- the Luna Wolves.
- The Hunting of the Ak'Haireth (Unknown Date.M30) - An alien menace known variously as the Ak'Haireth, or "Bone Drinkers" in the vernacular, were fungoid, predatory and parasitic life forms which acquired their sentience from operating as physically interwoven gestalt "blooms". Their existence was fuelled by the slow and agonisingly painful siphoning of nutrition from living animals, primarily human bone marrow. Given to no technological creativity of their own, the Ak'Haireth operated at the edge of the western Segmentum Solar, inhabiting the scavenged void ships of other species and raiding isolated colonies and Feral Worlds unable to resist their predations. Initially encountered in the early years of the Great Crusade, the Ak'Haireth had been subjected to extermination pogroms carried out both the Luna Wolves and the VIIIth Legion (not then yet formally known as the Night Lords) which had been thought to have been successful. However, a cowardly species, the Ak'Haireth had been wont to flee if not cornered in battle, and over time it became apparent that some marrow-blooms of the foul xenos had hidden themselves and survived. By 986.M30, reports of attacks against isolated outposts and shipping in the region of the stellar wastes near Olmec indicated that the Ak'Haireth were again dangerously growing in strength and number. The Alpha Legion, only a handful of years previously united with their Primarch, was assigned the order for the xenocide of the species before it could spread further, and in a successful campaign that lasted three years, the Bone Drinkers were all but wiped out.
- Fall of Reillis (Unknown Date.M30) - For the first thirty years after his discovery, Horus Lupercal and the Emperor had many occasions to fight alongside one another. At the fortified city of Reillis, a human settlement unwilling to accept the Imperial Truth, the defenders used secret tunnels to infiltrate behind the besieging Imperial army and hundreds of enemy shock troops swamped the Imperial command encampment. Unprepared and unarmoured, the Emperor and Horus fought back-to-back until a plasma blast stunned the young Primarch and sent him staggering to the ground. The Emperor stood over His fallen son and refused to give ground until reinforcements arrived to drive their attackers back.
- The Gorro Hollowing (Unknown Date.M30) - Within the Telon Reach was an Ork empire that rivalled that centred on Ullanor, and at its heart was the scrap world of Gorro. The Ork tech-caste, the Mekboyz, dominated the Orks of Gorro and had made the world their own. The dominant tech-caste on Gorro seemed to be fascinated by a form of plasma technology never encountered before or since. Capable of generating destructive yields of terrifying potency, these plasma weapons had done much to blunt the Great Crusade's advance across the Telon Reach. The Emperor decreed that Gorro must be destroyed. When a thousand-strong fleet of warships dropped out of the Warp above Gorro it was the Emperor Himself who gave the order to begin the assault. Horus, ever the dutiful and favoured son, stood at the Emperor's side and watched as tens of thousands of assault craft spread out from the fleet. The Luna Wolves teleported into the scrap layers beneath the planet's surface, forced to hollow out Gorro from within due to the planet's high resistance to orbital bombardment. In the vanguard was the Emperor and by His side was Horus and a guard of black-armoured Justaerin Terminators from the Luna Wolves' 1st Company as well as the golden-clad warriors of the Legiones Custodes. As the Space Marines attacked, the Ork resistance they faced was nearly overwhelming. The Orks of Gorro were huge and augmented with scavenged bionics. Some stood taller than Dreadnoughts and their weaponry burned through Power Armour easily. At the height of the battle, the fury of the Orks split the Emperor from His guards. Alone He slew hundreds of them until a blast from an Ork plasma weapon weakened His defences and one of the Ork leaders seized Him. The creature's strength was so great that it took hold of the Emperor and buckled His armour. As the creature's grasp closed to throttle the Master of Mankind, Horus stormed through the press of battle and cut the Ork's arms from its body with a single blow. Together father and son led their forces deeper into the vast sphere of scrap until they reached the centre of Gorro. The Emperor worked to collapse the self-sustaining plasma sphere that powered much of the world's scavenged Ork technology and that contained a Warp-fold envelope, so that Gorro would implode into the Warp. The Emperor proved successful, and without its power source, the scrap world collapsed in on itself. A hollow skin of rusted metal around an empty void was all that remained to mark the death of the great Ork empire of Gorro. Horus had returned the favour of the Emperor saving his life on Reillis. This incident helped to forge an unusually close bond between the Emperor and His gene-son, closer than that between any of the other Primarchs and their father.
- War in the Shedim Drifts (Unknown Date.M30) - During the war in the Shedim Drifts against the marauding Eldar of Craftworld Mór-ríoh'i, a vast Imperial force comprised of no less than four Titan Legions which consisted of the Legio Atarus, Legio Mortis, Legio Fureans & Legio Osedax, was assembled and placed under the overall command of Commander Horus Lupercal and his Luna Wolves Legion. The apocalyptic battle which raged upon the planet's surface saw a full demi-Legio of the Legio Atarus encircled and all but destroyed. The Lupercal had cruelly used them, without their foreknowledge or consent, as a ruse to divert the strength of the enemy away from the direct defence of their craftworld while his Legion undertook a surprise assault against it. The war of the Shedirn Drifts was a great victory for Horus and all those of the Imperium who fought in the campaign gained glory because of it, but at the expense of the Legio Atarus, an injury that the Firebrands would not forget.
- Castigation of Terentius (Unknown Date.M30) - When the forces of the Great Crusade first entered the Ordoni Cluster, they encountered the formidable warlord Vatale Gerron Terentius. Observing the forces arrayed against him, Terentius was forced to take the path of survival and surrendered to the Imperium. The Imperium had need of men like Terentius, and the Great Crusade gave him opportunities and riches such as he had never dreamed. Given a small fleet of warships and a handful of Imperial Army regiments, Terentius grew his forces by conquest. For five decades he rose in power and reputation, conquering worlds around the Halo Stars in the name of the Emperor. At the height of his powers, he had the ear of Malcador the Sigillite and the countenance of several Primarchs. When he finally turned against the Imperium, many were shocked. Terentius began to conquer already Compliant planets, his contra-Crusade conquering system after system in his own name, rather than for the sake of all Mankind. Soon he had entire fleets of warships, tens of millions of soldiers and the loyalty of a hundred human-settled worlds. Ringed by fortress worlds, this rebel human empire began to eat up Imperial worlds around the Halo Stars. The Imperium responded by sending Horus and his Luna Wolves Legion to not only break the Renegade but to demonstrate to any others who harboured similar ideas within the Imperial forces the inevitability of a betrayer's defeat. Horus elected to not only use his Legion to complete the task at hand but sent personal requests to his brother Primarchs for support which saw substantial strength from the Night Lords, Iron Hands, and the Alpha Legion joined to the might of the Luna Wolves. Soon the rebel forces were fragmented, driven by tales of culled worlds. It is said that it was at the very moment that Terentius realised he could not win that the Luna Wolves came for him. As they dropped from the Warp within weapons' range of Terentius' warships they annihilated half of his command fleet in one fell swoop. Horus himself teleported onto the bridge of Terentius' flagship along with 50 of the Luna Wolves 1st Company's elite Justaerin Terminators and slaughtered all they found there. Terentius died unrepentant, ending his life impaled upon Horus' Talon. With Terentius dead, his rebellion crumbled as the castigation continued with renewed fury. Horus, his pride slighted by Terentius' decision to betray the trust the Primarchs and the Emperor had once put in him, is said to have ordered the Night Lords to decimate every world within Terentius' rebel empire. The power of the Iron Hands and elements of the Ordo Reductor were brought to bear on every structure on Terentius' bastion worlds. Soon the rebels of his realm were slaughtered, their cities smashed to dust, and his homeworld's very air laced with toxins. Once the castigation was complete, Horus sent the gold-dipped skull of Terentius to Terra with the ironic warning carried on the lips of the messenger who bore it, "So perish all traitors".
- Compliance of Molech (869.M30) - The Luna Wolves took part in the massive Imperial Compliance campaign on the newly discovered Knight World of Molech, which was led by the Emperor Himself, and included multiple Legiones Astartes, including the Dark Angels, Emperor's Children and the White Scars, as well as thousands of troops of the Imperialis Auxilia and assets from the Mechanicum and Legio Titanicus. After achieving victory, Cyprian Devine of House Devine was named Planetary Governor of Molech. In the presence of several of His Primarch sons, the Emperor led them to a Warp portal hidden underground, where He proceeded to enter into the Realm of Chaos to parley with the Ruinous Powers. When He finally returned, the Emperor appeared aged, but much more powerful. He then suppressed His sons' memories of Molech and stationed a large garrison force comprised of nearly 100 Imperialis Auxilia regiments, three Legio Titanicus cohorts, and detachments from two Space Marine Legions to protect the secrets of the Warp portal on Molech.
- The Keylek Genocide (921.M30) - Early in the Great Crusade the Luna Wolves encountered the hostile alien reptilian race known as the Keylekid on the world of Keylek. The grotesque Keylekid were greatly skilled in the arts of combat, and rose against the XVIth Legion angrily the moment the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet made contact. This genocidal campaign proved to be a long, bloody, and miserable affair for the Luna Wolves. At this time Horus was referred to simply as "The Commander" by the Astartes of his Legion.
- Compliance of 63-8 (Davin) (941.M30) - The Feral World of Davin, codified as Sixty-Three Eight (63-8), was the eighth world brought into Imperial Compliance by the XVIth Legion's 63rd Expeditionary Fleet some 60 standard years before the start of the Horus Heresy. The indigenous feral warriors of this world briefly attempted to resist being conquered by the Imperium, but were forced to surrender as they were overwhelmingly outmatched militarily by the Astartes. The warrior tribes were allowed to remain mostly intact as they had impressed Horus with their courage on the battlefield and their willingness to learn to adapt to Imperial culture. The military campaign was brief, and the Luna Wolves departed after the surrender of the Davinites, taking with them their concept of the Warrior Lodge, which was quickly adopted throughout the Luna Wolves fleet. A detachment of the XVIIth Legion, the Word Bearers (then known as the Imperial Heralds), under the command of First Captain Kor Phaeron was left to shepherd the people of Davin into the light of the Imperial Truth. The Imperial governorship of the planet was given to Commander Eugen Temba of the Imperial Army, a close friend and confidante of Horus. Long after the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet departed the star system, the new Planetary Governor soon found that the inhabitants of Davin's moon refused to comply with Imperial rule. This would eventually result in Governor Temba and his Imperial garrison force being struck down by a sorcerous attack unleashed by Davinite shamans of Chaos on Davin's moon, an attack that would twist their perceptions away from their oaths of fealty to the Imperium, succumbing to the corrupting influence of the Plague God, Nurgle. Unknown to the Imperials, the entire population of Davin had long been servants of the Dark Gods of the Warp. The corruption of Temba and his Imperial Army garrison forces would ultimately necessitate the return of the Luna Wolves Legion 60 years later, and lead to the eventual corruption of Horus.
- Compliance of Darrowmar (Unknown Date.M30) - The Luna Wolves fought alongside the Night Lords Legion in bringing the world of Darrowmar into Imperial Compliance.
- Compliance of Tethonus (Unknown Date.M30) - The Luna Wolves fought against a xenos-adversary whose identity is not recorded in existing Imperial records while bringing the world of Tethonus into Imperial Compliance. This Compliance action was a long siege of the xenos fortress-states on Tethonus. Horus had tasked the masters of the Forge World of Diamat to create continental siege machines; vast artillery pieces that could devastate the most powerful fortifications. But the war machines took much longer for the forge masters to complete than planned. By the time they were finished, the campaign on Tehonus had been over for more than a standard year and a half, and Horus had moved on to other conquests. So the weapons were put into a depot on Diamat for the day when he would come to claim them. Fifty standard years later, Horus would reveal his perfidy at Istvaan III, and would send raiding forces to claim these siege engines for later use in his attempt to overthrow the Emperor of Mankind.
- Assault on Dahinta (Unknown Date.M30) - On the world of Dahinta, the Luna Wolves fought against a race of self-aware machines called the Overseers, who were led by the artificial intelligence known as the Archdroid. One of the Emperor's longest-standing commands was that no sentient machines could be allowed to exist, for they had nearly caused the extinction of Mankind when they had rebelled against their human overseers during the Dark Age of Technology. Despite heavy casualties amongst themselves, the thinking machines were wiped from the face of Dahinta by the savagery of the Astartes. Only after the campaign had ended was the full truth learned: the Overseers had been created by a vanished offshoot of humanity that had settled Dahinta, perhaps during the Age of Technology. The Overseers had cared for their lost masters' crumbling cities long after they had become extinct or left their homeworld behind.
- Battle of Gyros-Thravian (Unknown Date.M30) - The Battle of Gyros-Thravian was a massive joint Imperial Compliance action carried out by three Space Marine Legions, composed of the Luna Wolves, Death Guard and Imperial Fists against the extremely powerful Ork Warboss Gharkul Blackfang, one of the most powerful Ork warlords ever encountered up until that time. Despite the strength arrayed against the vile Greenskin, it were the Imperial forces who were soon on the verge of defeat. It was then that the Emperor Himself, aboard His flagship Bucephelus, came to the aid of His sons. He personally led a force composed of 1,000 Legio Custodes into the heart of the mighty Ork horde. Blackfang was confronted by the Emperor and killed atop his Gargant while the Custodians proceeded to lay waste to the rest of the Greenskin horde. The Custodians accounted for the slaughter of the Orks, slaying over 100,000 of the savage xenos, with the loss of only three Custodians. Following their momentous victory, the Emperor commemorated the Custodians' sacrifice by engraving the names of the three fallen Custodians into His own personal Power Armour.
- Pacification of Schravaan (Unknown Date.M30) - This was a joint Imperial Compliance conducted by the Luna Wolves, Iron Warriors, Imperial Fists, and the Emperor's Children Legions against the xenos Badoon on the world of Schravaan. The Iron Warriors won a great victory when they stormed the final refuge of the Badoon. They breached the defences and held while the other Legions carried the city beyond. During the following victory feast, Horus proclaimed Perturabo the greatest master of siege warfare in the Great Crusade. Fulgrim, the Primarch of the Emperor's Children then inquired to his brother Dorn whether he thought even the defences of the Imperial Palace could resist the Iron Warriors, in which Dorn replied that he regarded the defences as being proof against any assault if well-planned. Perturabo flew into a rage and unleashed unfounded accusations against his brother. After this the two rarely spoke, and neither Legion would serve again in the same campaign for the remainder of the Great Crusade.
- Compliance of Krypt (Unknown Date.M30) - The Compliance of Krypt was a relatively short campaign conducted during the Great Crusade by both the Luna Wolves and the Death Guard Legions against the Orks upon the frozen plains of the world of Krypt. Fighting together for more than a week across the frozen surface of the planet, the Space Marine Legions turned the blue ice dark with xenos blood. The Luna Wolves' Captain Garviel Loken and his 10th Company are known to have fought alongside Death Guard Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro and his 7th Great Company at this time.
- Pacification of Zaramund (970.M30) - A joint-Compliance campaign that was conducted by the Luna Wolves and a contingent of Death Guard led by First Captain Calas Typhon and a contingent of Dark Angels led by Luther, the acting Regent of Caliban. Following their victory, a celebration was held, but soon the festivities were marred when an enraged Lion El'Jonson arrived to rebuke Luther for disobeying his orders to remain on Caliban.
- Disovery of Primarch Alpharius Omegon (ca. Late-970s.M30) - Extant accounts state that Alpha Legion Primarch Alpharius was discovered accidentally by the Luna Wolves when they were lured into a trap after receiving a distress beacon from one of their own battleships. When they went to assist, Horus' own flagship came under attack by an unknown enemy, and a single assassin broke into the flagship and fought his way clear to Horus' command chamber. Horus himself was forced to confront him, but thankfully, did not slay his attacker but recognised him instead as his lost brother; Alpharius. Unfortunately, the validity of this account is considered highly suspect.
- Tyrade System Compliance (ca. 998.M30) - The Luna Wolves served alongside a detachment of the Vth Legion, the White Scars, during the Imperial Compliance of the Tyrade System. This action occurred seven years before the Battle of Istvaan III and the start of the Horus Heresy.
- Compliance of Melchior (ca. 999.M31) - The Imperial Compliance of Melchior was a joint campaign that was carried out by both the XVIth Legion and the Blood Angels Legion. The world was the last bastion of the xenos known as the Nephilim -- hulking entities of roughly humanoid shape who were smooth like carvings of soapstone, with abstract shapes approximating arms and legs. Their dome heads emerged from their shoulders without a neck, and an array of olfactory slits and eye-spots ringed the surface of their skulls. In the light, the Nephilim looked like objects crafted of blown glass, their semi-transparent flesh glowing in the bright day. The Nephilim possessed an unhurried, careful agility like that of sea-going creatures seen through the walls of a glass tank. They moved deceptively slowly through air as if they were swimming in water, but they could move fast if they wished, darting and spinning, becoming difficult to hit. The alien giants, mocking humanity's great dream of peace and unity, had left a trail of destruction behind them that had claimed a hundred worlds before they had come to rest upon Melchior. Sagan, the DeCora Spine, Orpheo Minoris, Beta Rigel II; each of these planets had been denuded of all human life, populations herded into empath-chapels as big as mountains and then slowly consumed. Even their name, Nephilim, the name of the fallen seraphs, was a name taken from ancient human mythology -- that of Terra, Caliban and Barac. The true horror of it was that the Nephilim used those they preyed upon to do their soldiering for them, snaring the pliant, the lonely, the sorrowful with their ideal of an attainable godhood. They plied their victims with stories of eternal existence for the faithful, of endless sorrow for the agnostic; and they were very good at it. Perhaps the xenos really believed that what they were doing was somehow taking their victims closer to a form beyond flesh, to an afterlife in an eternal heaven-state; it did not matter. With their advanced technology they implanted bits of themselves into their thralls to further their communion. They cut their own flesh and made living masks to mark their devotees. The Nephilim controlled minds, either through the transmitted power of their will or through the weak character of those they chose. They were an affront to the Emperor's hope for the creation of the rationalist, secular galaxy outlined by the Imperial Truth. They represented not only an offence to the purity of a precious human ideal but in their insidious cuckoo-nest displacement of those who foolishly gave them fealty. For what the aliens fed upon, what the Scout Marines of the Blood Angels and Luna Wolves had seen and reported back, were the very lives of those who cherished them. The empty chapels were piled high with stacks of desiccated corpses, bodies that had been aged years in only hours as all living essence was siphoned from them. The Primarchs of the Legions were disgusted as the true understanding of the enemy they faced was revealed. The Nephilim fed on adulation. In the strategium of his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, Horus showed his brother Sanguinius, the Primarch of the Blood Angels, the plan that he had conceived to break the will of the Nephilim. Horus wanted the Blood Angels to march shoulder-to-shoulder with their cousins, cowing the aliens with the sight of an army of thousands of powerful Astartes rolling without pause to the gates of their last bastion. And then through those gates, over the battlements, not stopping, not pausing to parley or hesitate. "Like the ocean these things sprang from", Horus had said, "we will roll over the aliens, drag them down and drown them." The sheer bombast of the plan was its greatest strength, but Sanguinius had not been easily swayed to it. This blunt, brute-force approach was better suited to their more intemperate brother Primarchs, to Leman Russ or to Angron. Sanguinius felt that neither he nor Horus were so artless, so focused upon the target to the detriment of all else, but in the end he agreed. When the time came to enact their audacious plan, Horus and his Luna Wolves met the xenos army on the sparkling white plains of the Silver Desert. Before open hostilities began, Horus attempted to parlay with the Nephilim one final time, but the overconfident xenos refused to capitulate, casually informing the humans that they could not win. Horus informed the xenos commander that it had made a grave error, for it would be the Nephilim who would fall. The Luna Wolves would be the anvil upon which the xenos would break, and the Blood Angels would be the hammer. With lightning speed, the heavens screamed as a rain of ceramite Drop Pods tore through the outer atmosphere of Melchior and fell like flaming meteors towards the Silver Desert. Falling with them were Stormbird and Thunderhawk assault gunships that turned and wheeled through the air towards the gargantuan Nephilim encampment, carrying company upon company of the IXth Legion. The speed of their assault was the key to victory; the alien invaders and their zealots had successfully been drawn out to confront the massed forces of the Luna Wolves, leaving the defences on their flanks thinned and permeable. But the xenos giants were not slow in their thinking, and the moment they understood that they had been duped, they would attempt to regroup and fortify. The Blood Angels did not allow that to happen. The Nephilim were broken and cut down, their cohesion shattered by the brutal deep strike. Caught between the brutal fury of two Space Marine Legions on Melchior's shining sands, the Nephilim were finally put to the sword.
- Ullanor Crusade (ca. 999.M30-000.M31) - The Ullanor Crusade was a vast Imperial assault on the Ork empire of the Overlord Urrlak Urruk during the Great Crusade of the early 31st Millennium. The capital world of this empire, and the site of the final assault, lay in the Ullanor System of the Ullanor Sector, which had long been under the dominion of Urrlak Urruk's Greenskin pocket empire. The Crusade included the deployment of 100,000 Space Marines, 8,000,000 Imperial Army troops, and thousands of Imperial starships and their support personnel. The Luna Wolves spearheaded the assault into the heart of Urlakk's fortress-palace. During the height of the assault, Horus and a retinue of Luna Wolves Terminators from the elite 1st Company came face to face with the massive Ork Warlord and a retinue of 40 Ork Nobs. Horus charged into the Nobs, hacking them apart with his Lightning Claws until he finally faced the Ork Overlord himself. Urlakk was simply no match for the Primarch's skill and unnatural power. First crippling his enemy, Horus hefted Urlakk's broken body out onto the roof of the Greenskin's palace and threw it screaming from the battlements to fall far below amongst the horde of Orks still assaulting the lower levels. Seeing their leader defeated sent a panic through the Greenskin forces, which started to fall back from the Terminators. But the fleeing mobs found they had nowhere to run, as the outer walls had been breached by the attacking Luna Wolves, and the day turned into a slaughter. In the Overlord's chamber, Horus found every Ork and Terminator dead, apart from the gore-drenched First Captain of the 1st Company, Ezekyle Abaddon, who was surrounded by crushed Ork bodies. The Ullanor Crusade marked the high point of the Great Crusade's vast effort to reunite the scattered colony worlds of humanity. The Orks of Ullanor represented the largest concentration of Orks ever defeated by the military forces of the Imperium of Man before the Third War for Armageddon began during the late 41st Millennium. Following the defeat of the Orks of Ullanor, the Emperor of Mankind returned to Terra to begin work on His vast project to open up the Eldar Webway for Mankind's use. In His place to command the vast forces of the Great Crusade He left Horus. Horus was raised to the rank of Imperial Warmaster and given command authority over all of his fellow Primarchs and every Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade. But the Primarchs never came to terms with the Emperor's absence. Their hurt feelings over His seeming abandonment of the Great Crusade to pursue a secret project whose purpose He chose not to reveal to His sons laid the seeds of corruption that would ultimately blossom into the Horus Heresy. Yet the Emperor sent word from Terra that in honour of the great victory at Ullanor, the Luna Wolves should henceforth be known as the Sons of Horus, in honour of their Primarch's singular deeds, though Horus, with typical humility, chose not to rename his Legion at this time.
- Subjugation of the Akum-Sothos Cluster (ca. 000.M31) - The Aukum-Sothos Cluster, which had been brought into Compliance by the Luna Wolves early in the Great Crusade, mysteriously rebelled against Imperial rule due to the actions of controlling xenos. Horus had formulated a plan to cast down these so-called Unsighted Kings, the xenos-possessed leaders of the insurrection, in a lightning war that would purge the afflicted population while retaining the cluster's highly developed infrastructure for future re-population. The Warmaster's plan called for the bulk of four Legions -- the Luna Wolves, Space Wolves, Iron Warriors and Raven Guard -- to converge on the heavily fortified lair of the Unsighted Kings before a final, overwhelming assault was launched. Despite his misgivings, Corax complied, and assigned the majority of his Terran-borne veterans of the old XIXth Legion, especially those who readily agreed to the Warmaster's plans, as the assault's vanguard element. At the height of the battle, with the assault companies decimated and the attack faltering in the face of overwhelming fire, Corax himself led the forlorn hope, his battle cry firing the Legion to such efforts that the breach was carried and Gate Forty-Two taken. The honour of slaying the Unsighted Kings was claimed by Horus as Warmaster and at the moment of their execution, the xenos' hold over the population was dispelled. The Akum-Sothos Cluster was delivered and Horus' prize was reclaimed. The cost was terrible however, thousands of Raven Guard, the bulk of them Terran-born, had given their lives before the shattered walls of Gate Forty-Two.
- Compliance of 63-19 (001.M31) - The Imperial Compliance action of the world codified as Sixty-Three Nineteen (63-19) took place in the 203rd year of the Great Crusade. Forced off course by a Warp Storm, the Luna Wolves' 63rd Expeditionary Fleet discovered a system of 9 planets orbiting a yellow sun quite by accident. After entering the system they were contacted by a technologically-advanced human society based on the third planet. This world was ruled by a self-appointed "Emperor of Mankind" who claimed to be the predestined ruler of all the scattered remnants of humanity across the galaxy. He invited a delegation from the Imperial fleet to treat and pay fealty to him. The Warmaster sent his most favoured commander, Captain Hastur Sejanus and his Glory Squad to meet with this supposed "Emperor". Though initial negotiations appeared to proceed smoothly, they irrevocably broke down when the Astartes Captain dared to suggest that there was another, true Emperor of Mankind. Perceived as an insult, Captain Sejanus and his men were taken by surprise during a diplomatic parley and cut down. The death of Horus' favourite son and Mournival member would open an emotional chink in the Primarch's psyche that would later be exploited by First Chaplain Erebus of the Word Bearers Legion upon the Feral World of Davin during Horus' corruption by Chaos in the Temple of the Serpent Lodge. Though intensely grieved by Sejanus' death, Horus miraculously did not order an immediate retaliatory strike. Instead, he mobilised an Astartes "speartip" unit to stand by and prepare for a planetary assault. Horus then attempted to negotiate a second time by despatching Maloghurst and another contingent of Luna Wolves, but this mission also ended in disaster when Maloghurst's Stormbird was shot down and presumed lost. A great fleet of over 600 warships rose up from the planet's atmosphere to meet the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet, throwing down a challenge. The Warmaster responded in kind. The great naval battle that ensued is not recorded in detail in the existing Imperial records of this time, but eventually the Imperial fleet ultimately prevailed. The massive ground assault spearheaded by the Luna Wolves was led by First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon, as well as a half-dozen Titans which provided ground support while Assault Craft provided close-air support. The Luna Wolves were eventually able to close and penetrate the capital city's defences. The Luna Wolves fought their way inside the Imperial Palace until they came face-to-face with the supposed "Emperor". The false Emperor offered to surrender to the Imperial forces, but only to their overall acting commander, not his subordinate captains. The request was transmitted to the fleet, but Captain Garviel Loken of the 10th Company quickly realised that this was merely a ruse to draw Horus down to the Throne Room to be assassinated. 1st Company Captain Kalus Ekaddon, commander of the Catulan Reaver Squad, swiftly killed the man he believed to be the false Emperor. Then the true false Emperor revealed himself, striking with deadly force against those Luna Wolves that were present, and nearly succeeded in neutralising both Loken, Ekaddon and the other members of the Catulan Squad. He was only stopped by the timely intervention of the Luna Wolves' Primarch, as Horus teleported directly into the Throne Room and slew the false Emperor with a single, well-aimed Combi-Bolter shot to the head. The main part of the campaign was concluded with the death of the false Emperor. With the death of their leader, the main resistance on 63-19 collapsed, although there were some elements of the world's military forces that continued to wage a guerrilla war around the planet as well as three other worlds within the system. These resistance elements were eventually expunged through the efforts of the 63rd Expedition's attached Byzant Janizars Imperial Army regiment over the next few months. The last pocket of serious resistance to Imperial Compliance occurred in the Whisperhead Mountains located in the southern hemisphere. This last pocket of resistance would eventually be excised by Captain Garviel Loken's 10th Company over a period of three months. These hold-outs made their final stand within a formidable fortress carved out of the rock of one of the range's highest peaks. When the 10th Company fought their way inside the mountain fortress they discovered what appeared to be several primitive religious fanes or shrines. The Luna Wolves presumed that they were somehow connected to this region's superstitious worship of a being referred to as Samus. This being turned out to be a minor daemonic Warp-entity who had dwelled on and interacted with the inhabitants of 63-19 for many millennia. During the ensuing battle Samus possessed the body of one of the 10th Company's sergeants and was able to eliminate over a dozen Astartes and a number of Remembrancers that had accompanied the Luna Wolves before being cut down by the combined Bolter fire of Captain Loken and Sergeant Nero Vipus. The two Luna Wolves fired over 90 Bolter rounds into the possessed sergeant's body and then incinerated the remains with a Flamer. This was the first recorded incident in Imperial history of its military forces encountering the malefic powers of Chaos. The entire course of events was classified on the orders of the Warmaster, in order to hide the fact that an Astartes had turned on his fellow Battle-Brothers and that it was possible for the supposedly invincible Astartes to be corrupted by the malignant powers of Warp-entities, who were themselves a well-kept secret of the Imperium. Overall governorship of the world after it was brought into Imperial Compliance was given to General Rakris of the Byzant Janizars, while the adaptation of the cities and infrastructure of the world to Imperial standards was given over to Peeter Egon Momus. 63-19 was the first world that the newly-arrived Remembrancers of the 63rd Expedition added to their own records of the Luna Wolves' exploits.
- Compliance of 140-20 (Urisarach/"Murder") (ca. 001.M31) - The Death World of Urisarach (officially codified as One-Forty-Twenty but unofficially dubbed "Murder" by the Astartes who fought there) was the twentieth world encountered by the 140th Expeditionary Fleet, a contingent of the IXth Legiones Astartes, the Blood Angels, commanded by Captain Khitas Frome. Unable to translate the warnings from the orbiting satellite beacons placed in orbit of the world by the advanced human civilisation known as the Interex that warned approaching starships to stay away from Urisarach as a dangerous xenos species had been quarantined there, Captain Frome ordered his fleet's entire contingent of three companies of Space Marines to begin landing operations to investigate and bring the planet into Imperial Compliance. Due to the extreme atmospheric turbulence present on the world, all of the Blood Angels' assault craft attempting to land on the planet became scattered and were thrown far off-course, leaving the Imperial landing parties isolated from one another. The turbulent atmosphere also affected Vox (radio) communications and made it difficult for the Imperial forces to coordinate their movements. Ground teams soon started sending garbled transmissions to the fleet's vessels in orbit, reporting that the planet was inhabited by an extremely hostile intelligent arachnoid species, later dubbed the Megarachnids. The Megarachnids were an old enemy of the Interex civilisation, who had exiled the surviving members of the species to the world they called Urisarach as an act of mercy rather than committing xenocide as was standard policy for the Imperium. The Interex stripped the Megarachnids of their interstellar travel capabilities. To keep the aliens isolated on their new homeworld, the Interex constructed weather control devices that created powerful atmospheric disturbances and interfered with radio communications in the shape of large "trees" across the planet to deter vessels from landing on the Death World. As reports of horrific combat from the surface continued, the xenos were described as too numerous and formidable to defeat without reinforcements. Not long afterwards, the Blood Angels made urgent distress calls requesting immediate reinforcements and extraction. The last transmission received by the fleet of the 140th Expedition came from Captain Khitas Frome himself, who noted through clenched teeth, "This. World. Is. Murder." This name stuck, becoming the Imperium's informal appellation for Urisarach. A company of Astartes from the IIIrd Legion, the Emperor's Children, arrived in response to the Blood Angels' distress calls. They made the same mistakes during the initial assault as the Blood Angels, and their landing parties were scattered by the planet's powerful atmospheric disturbances. The company took heavy casualties but just as the Emperor's Children were about to be overwhelmed, a relief force of newly-arrived Luna Wolves Astartes from the Warmaster Horus' own 63rd Expeditionary Fleet began to land through the breach in the atmosphere. The Megarachnids assaulting the Emperor's Children were scattered and a full-scale Space Marine assault on the hostile xenos of Murder began in earnest. Ten companies of Luna Wolves, the remnants of the Emperor's Children's company, tens of thousands of Imperial soldiers drawn from the Imperial Army's Byzant Janizars, and several Legio Mortis Titans proceeded to level entire swathes of the grass stalk forests and destroy every one of the atmosphere-altering "trees" they encountered, which steadily eroded Murder's atmospheric barrier. The Warmaster Horus, who commanded the Imperial assault from his flagship Vengeful Spirit in orbit, was very pleased with the progress being made. Some consideration had been paid to initiating a withdrawal from Murder now that a proper landing zone was available to allow an easy extraction of the troops, when an unexpected visitor suddenly arrived. The Primarch Sanguinius had come to Murder to inspect the dead of his original Blood Angels landing force that had been wiped out early in the campaign. With tears in his eyes Sanguinius asked his brother Horus if he would join him in a campaign of vengeance against the foul xenos. The Warmaster replied: "Yes, let us murder Murder." Adding 5 companies of Blood Angels to the Imperial invasion force, Sanguinius fought alongside the Warmaster against the aliens. Thousands of Megarachnids poured out of the forests and canyons of Murder in an endless wave. Despite never retreating from the Imperial assault, the Megarachnids only continued to lose ground. By the sixth month of the campaign it seemed the Megarachnids would soon face extinction, when a fleet deployed by the Interex arrived in-system to determine who had assaulted the Megarachnids' reservation world. Finding contact with the highly-advanced humans of the Interex to be a more pressing issue that needed to be dealt with, the Warmaster ended the campaign against the xenos of Murder. The Megarachnids had been saved from extinction for a second time by their old enemy. Imperial records do not indicate the final fate of this savage species once the Horus Heresy began.
- Interex Compliance (ca. 002.M31) - The Interex were a highly advanced civilisation of humans that maintained a close alliance with various xenos races, including the ape-like Kinebrach. In many ways their technology was even more highly advanced than the technology employed by the Imperium at its height. Their world of Xenobia was first encountered by the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade. The Interex were devoted to fighting the menace of Chaos (referred to by them as "Kaos") and were therefore highly suspicious of the Imperium's intentions, as they believed that the interlopers from Terra might be servants of the Ruinous Powers. While Horus and his Mournival were treating with the leaders of the Interex, First Chaplain Erebus of the Word Bearers, who had been accompanying the Warmaster as part of his entourage and who was already a secret follower of the Chaos Gods like most members of his XVIIth Legion, infiltrated the Hall of Devices on Xenobia, a museum that contained various artefacts and weapons drawn from the history of the Interex and their allied alien species. His objective was to steal a highly valuable and deadly Kinebrach blade known as an Anathame, a Chaotic artefact sacred to the Plague God Nurgle. After claiming the blade, Erebus rigged the building to explode to make good his escape. Feeling betrayed by the Imperials, who they took for agents of Chaos for stealing a known Chaotic artefact, the Interex's troops immediately attacked the bewildered forces of Horus, sparking a deadly confrontation. The Warmaster was evacuated off-planet by his Astartes as the Luna Wolves unleashed their full might upon the Interex. The Anathame would later play a pivotal role in the corruption of Horus by the Dark Gods upon Davin's moon. The Interex were later destroyed by an Imperial campaign and all of their worlds were brought into Imperial Compliance.
- Battle of Davin's Moon (004.M31) - Sixty Terran years after the world of Davin was brought into Imperial Compliance, Horus was influenced by the Word Bearers' First Chaplain Erebus to return to the feral planet. He informed the Primarch that the Imperial Governor of the world, Eugen Temba, had turned from the light of the Emperor, and foresworn his oaths of fealty to the Imperium. According to Erebus, Temba had found the inhabitants of Davin's moon unwilling to comply with Imperial rule, and so the Planetary Governor had led an occupying force to the moon in an attempt to bring the wild tribes of the moon into the light of the Imperial Truth. But during the parley with the tribesmen, Temba and his men were struck down by a sorcerous attack that twisted their perceptions away from their loyalty to the Imperium, and they succumbed to the temptations of power and immortality offered by Chaos and more specifically by the Plague God Nurgle, who claimed Davin's moon -- and Temba -- for his own. Horus personally led a combined assault force of Luna Wolves, an Imperial Army regiment of Byzant Janizars, and a detachment of Titans of the Legio Mortis onto the moon's surface. They soon discovered the wreck of Temba's flagship, the Glory of Terra, which was now a ruined derelict. The mass grave of rotting bodies of the Imperial Army garrison left on Davin were found in the nearby swamp, wearing the remnants of the uniforms of the 63rd Expeditionary Force. They seemed to confirm that Temba and all his men had perished, but this was not the case. The corpses of the Imperial Army troops were reanimated through the power of Nurgle as Plague Zombies that emerged from the swamps and attacked the Imperial forces en masse. The Luna Wolves and Byzant Janizars cut down the reanimated corpses. After this confrontation, the Warmaster led a speartip assault of Astartes into the derelict flagship. The bloated, mutant form of the Nurgle-corrupted Imperial Governor was discovered deep within the rotting vessel by Captain Verulam Moy of the 19th Company. Temba attempted to convert the Luna Wolves captain to Chaos, but Moy refused, and so the corrupted Planetary Governor cut him down. Horus arrived shortly thereafter to confront the Chaos-corrupted Temba, whose long-deceased body was now grossly enlarged, swollen with the corpulent putrescence of Nurgle. During their confrontation, the Warmaster discovered that Temba's corrupted form was immune to most forms of conventional injury. Horus also noted that Temba seemed to posses preternatural swiftness for a being so bloated and bulky, as well as formidable skill in swordsmanship. Horus fought like never before, his every move needed to parry and defend. Eugan Temba had never been a swordsman, so where his sudden, horrifying skill came from Horus had no idea. This was most likely due to Temba being armed with the stolen Kinebrach Anathame, the xenos chaotic weapon that had been secretly stolen only scant weeks earlier from the Interex's Hall of Devices on Xenobia by the scheming Word Bearers First Chaplain Erebus. The Anathame was a tailored weapon, a blade of sentient metal dedicated to Nurgle that had been crafted by the Kinebrach metallurgists, using a technique now utterly forbidden by the Kinebrach's Interex allies. When such a blade was selected for use against a specific target, it became that target's nemesis, utterly inimical to the very molecular being of the chosen target. During the vicious battle, Temba stabbed the fell blade into the Warmaster's shoulder where his Power Armour had been torn away. Though in agony, Horus managed to finally subdue his foe and mortally wound him. As the corrupting power of Nurgle fled his ravaged and decaying body, Temba was wracked with guilt over what he had done. Before dying, he attempted to warn Horus against the power of the entities that lived in the Warp. Temba prophesised that only Horus could avert a grim future of never-ending war, where the Emperor was trapped in living death and Mankind was held in bondage to a nightmarish hell of bureaucracy and superstition. The spark of life finally fled Eugen Temba and he died, his soul consumed by the Warp. The wounded Horus was found by his Astartes and taken back to his flagship in orbit of Davin. Soon the Warmaster fell ill from the effects of the Anathame and was struck down by a mysterious malady sufficiently virulent to affect even his superhumanly resilient immune system. His mysterious illness was even beyond the skills of the Legion's Apothecaries to cure, and so, in desperation, Horus was brought to the surface of Davin to be "healed" in the Temple of the Serpent Lodge. First Chaplain Erebus had convinced the Sons of Horus to bring their Primarch to the Davinite priests, in direct violation of the Imperial Truth. The secret sect on Davin was really a Chaos Cult, and using sorcery (which had been outlawed by the Emperor at Nikaea) the cultists managed to warp the mind of the Warmaster against the Emperor by playing on the seed of jealousy and resentment that he felt for his father after the Emperor had left the Great Crusade behind to return to Terra. Magnus the Red, the Primarch of the Thousand Sons Legion, used his own potent command of sorcery to intervene and unmask Erebus, revealing his manipulations, but Horus' corruption by the power of Chaos Undivided could not be stopped as he gave in to his feelings of jealousy, egotism and bitterness. The Warmaster emerged from the Temple of the Serpent Lodge fully healed, but subtly changed in both mind and body, as he was now infused with the power of Chaos. Once Horus fully recovered, he finally took up the Emperor's offer to rename the Luna Wolves after himself as the Sons of Horus. He then schemed with the Astartes of his Legion's Warrior Lodge, aided and abetted by Erebus, to overthrow the Emperor and purge the XVIth Legion of its remaining Loyalist elements. Horus intended to unleash the greatest betrayal in human history in pursuit of his own mad ambition.
- Destruction of the Auretian Technocracy (004.M31) - Shortly after Horus' miraculous recovery on the Feral World of Davin, the newly renamed Sons of Horus encountered the human civilisation of the Auretian Technocracy on the world of Aureus during the Great Crusade. This human society had been founded during Mankind's early exploration of the stars during the Dark Age of Technology and had evolved along lines very similar to that of the Imperium, and more particularly to that of the Mechanicus of Mars. Horus and a contingent of Sons of Horus Astartes met with the Technocracy's leader, the Fabricator Consul, who represented the human government in its diplomatic talks with the Imperium. During their initial discussion aboard the landing bay of the Vengeful Spirit, Horus learned that the Auretian Technocracy made use of highly-coveted, lost Standard Template Construct (STC) technology. Upon learning this, the Warmaster turned his Combi-Bolter upon the Fabricator Consul and summarily executed him. He then ordered his men to annihilate the Fabricator Consul's personal guard who were known as the Brotherhood and who made use of Power Armour and weapons very similar to those of the Space Marines. Unknown to most of the Astartes within the Legion, the rot of corruption had begun to spread throughout the Legion shortly after Horus made his dark bargain with the Ruinous Powers. The official explanation for the Sons of Horus Legion's grievous actions against the Technocracy stated that the staff brought by the Fabricator Consul aboard the XVIth Legion's flagship possessed a weapon which he planned to use to assassinate the Warmaster. This prompted the resulting conflict with the Auretian Technocracy which lasted for over six bloody months. The World Eaters fought alongside the Sons of Horus on the Technocracy's homeworld of Aureus, and their Primarch Angron personally lead the final Imperial assault on the Iron Citadel held by the Brotherhood of the Auretian Technocracy. When the blood-maddened warriors of the World Eaters' Assault Companies stormed a breach in the walls, the Brotherhood detonated explosive charges that buried the warriors under thousands of tonnes of rubble. Angron tore his way free and butchered the remaining warriors of the Brotherhood with his monstrous chain-glaive. Ephraim Guardia, the Senior Preceptor of the Brotherhood Chapter Command and Castellan of the Iron Citadel, died in the first seconds of Angron's attack. The campaign had been a brutal one, as the Brotherhood made use of highly advanced power armoured suits similar to those employed by Legiones Astartes, but they were eventually defeated and their technology was requisitioned by the XVIth Legion. Horus would use the seized Auretian STC databases to entice a faction of the Adeptus Mechanicus to turn against the Emperor and join his rebellion. These Traitors would eventually form the core of what became the Dark Mechanicus and their treachery would unleash the terrible civil war within the Mechanicus that became known as the Schism of Mars.
- Cleansing of Ariggata (004.M31) - This was an Imperial Compliance action that was carried out jointly by the Luna Wolves, the Ultramarines and the World Eaters Legions against the world of Ariggata. A technologically advanced world, Ariggata had been isolated from the rest of humanity for many centuries, and when Imperial envoys arrived bearing word of the Emperor and the Imperial Truth, they were executed in a bloody gesture of independence. The military might of Ariggata was formidable, and thus the honour of its pacification fell to the Warmaster Horus and two other Space Marine Legions under his command. Most of the planet was quickly conquered, except for the massive fortress within which most of the leaders of the planet cowered. Eager to be on his way, Horus commanded Angron, the Primarch of the World Eaters, to take back the citadel and kill only the leaders. Eagerly, Angron led the assault. However, the fortress was heavily defended and the casualties were horrendous, a dozen World Eaters falling for a meter of land. Eventually, a ramp of corpses led up to a single breach in the wall, and the Astartes of the World Eaters Legion plunged in. Filled with rage over their fallen brothers, they were merciless. By the time the Ultramarines arrived, the battle was all but over. The inside of the fortress was filled with the dismembered and mangled corpses of the defenders, for not one soul had been spared the vengeful fury of the World Eaters. It was an absolute slaughter, the fortress having been transformed into an abattoir of human blood. The Ultramarines were disgusted by this savage behaviour and reported the World Eaters' growing barbarism to the Emperor. But Horus, already corrupted by the tempations of Chaos, knew that the World Eaters' savagery would make service to Khorne a good fit for the Legion -- and particularly for its rage-fueled Primarch.
- Istvaan III Atrocity (005.M31) - The Imperial Planetary Governor of Istvaan III, Vardus Praal, had been corrupted by the Chaos God Slaanesh whose cultists had long been active on the world even before it had been conquered by the Imperium. Praal had declared his independence from the Imperium, and had begun to practice forbidden Slaaneshi sorcery, so the Council of Terra charged Horus with the retaking of that world, primarily its capital, the Choral City. This order merely furthered Horus' plan to overthrow the Emperor. Although the four Legions under his direct command -- the Sons of Horus, the World Eaters, the Death Guard and the Emperor's Children -- had already turned Traitor and pledged themselves to Chaos, there were still some Loyalist elements within each of these Legions that approximated one-third of each force; many of these warriors were Terran-born Space Marines who had been directly recruited into the Astartes Legions by the Emperor Himself before being reunited with their Primarchs during the Great Crusade. Horus, under the guise of putting down the rebellion against Imperial Compliance on the world of Istvaan III, amassed his troops in the Istvaan System. Horus had a plan by which he would destroy all of the remaining Loyalist elements of the Legions under his command. After a lengthy bombardment of Istvaan III, Horus dispatched all of the known Loyalist Astartes down to the planet, under the pretence of bringing it back into the Imperium. At the moment of victory and the capture of the Choral City, the planetary capital of Istvaan III, these Astartes were betrayed when a cascade of terrible Life-Eater virus-bombs fell onto the world, launched by the Warmaster's orbiting fleet, unleasing the event known later as the Istvaan III Atrocity. Captain Saul Tarvitz of the Emperor's Children, however, was aboard his Legion's flagship Andronius and discovered the plot to wipe out the Loyalist Astartes of the Traitor Legions. He was able, with help from Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro of the Death Guard who was in command of the Death Guard frigate Eisenstein, to reach the surface of Istvaan III despite pursuit and warn the Loyalist Space Marines of all four Legions he could find of their impending doom. Those that heard or passed on Tarvitz' warning took shelter before the virus-bombs struck. The civilian population of Istvaan III received no such protection: 12 billion people died almost at once as the lethal flesh-dissolving virus called the Life-Eater carried by the bombs infected every living thing on the planet. The psychic shock of so many deaths at one time shrieked through the Warp, briefly obscuring even the glowing beacon of the Astronomican. The Primarch of the World Eaters, Angron, realising that the virus-bombs had not been fully effective at eliminating all the Loyalists, flew into a rage and hurled himself at the planet at the head of 50 companies of World Eaters Traitor Marines. Discarding tactics and strategy, the World Eaters Traitors worked themselves into a frenzy of mindless butchery fed by their growing allegiance to the Blood God Khorne. Horus was furious with Angron for delaying his plans, but Horus sought to turn the delay into a victory and was obliged to reinforce Angron with troops from the Sons of Horus, the Death Guard, and the Emperor's Children. Fortunately, a contingent of Loyalists led by Battle-Captain Garro escaped Istvaan III aboard the damaged Imperial frigate Eisenstein and fled to Terra to warn the Emperor that Horus had turned Traitor. On Istvaan III, the remaining Loyalists, under the command of Captains Tarvitz, Garviel Loken and Tarik Torgaddon, another Loyalist member of the Sons of Horus, fought bravely against their own traitorous brethren. Yet, despite some early successes that delayed Horus' plans for three full months while the battle on Istvaan III played out, their cause was ultimately doomed by their lack of air support and Titan firepower. During the battle the Sons of Horus Captains Ezekyle Abaddon and Horus Aximand were sent to confront their former Mournival brothers, Loken and Torgaddon. Horus Aximand beheaded Torgaddon, but Abaddon failed to kill Loken when the building they were in collapsed. Loken survived and witnessed the final orbital bombardment of Istvaan III that ended the Loyalists' desperate defence. To prove his worth and loyalty to Lord Commander Eidolon of the Emperor's Children -- and thus to his Primarch, Fulgrim -- Captain Lucius of the 13th Company of the Emperor's Children, the future Champion of Slaanesh known as Lucius the Eternal, turned against the Loyalists that he had fought beside because of his prior friendship with Saul Tarvitz. Lucius slew many of them personally, an act for which he was then accepted back into the Emperor's Children Legion on the side of the Traitors. In the end, the Loyalists retreated to their last bastion of defence, only a few hundred of their number remaining. Finally, tired of the conflict, Horus ordered his men to withdraw, and then had the remains of the Choral City bombarded into dust for a final time from orbit.
- Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V (566006.M31) - The world of Istvaan V was the location of the infamous Drop Site Massacre where the Traitor Legions of the Warmaster Horus redeployed following the virus-bombing of the Traitor Legions' own Loyalist members at Istvaan III at the start of the Horus Heresy. Upon learning of the terrible atrocity Horus had committed, the Emperor deployed seven Loyalist Legions of Space Marines to bring Horus to account for his actions. The Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard made up the first wave of the attack, but were pushed back by the superior tactics of Horus' maddened Chaos Space Marines. During the course of the first wave of the attack, the Sons of Horus contingent fought on the defensive, limiting themselves to the core and most heavily defended bastions, and driving the Imperial Army before them into the Loyalists' guns. There was, however, one notable exception to this; their Reaver and Assault companies who deployed to counter the strike units of the Raven Guard in the maze of ravines and rock falls that flanked the walls of the Urgall Depression. The Loyalist reserves were called in during the second attack wave, but the four Space Marine Legions comprising them -- the Iron Warriors, the Alpha Legion, the Word Bearers and the Night Lords -- had also secretly betrayed the Emperor and were prepared to follow Horus and swear themselves to Chaos. Once the tide of the battle turned, the Sons of Horus attacked in force against the reeling and wounded Loyalists, with Horus himself taking to the field to lead them. The three Loyalist Legions were almost annihilated in the resulting crossfire but several thousand survivors from each Legion managed to escape off-world, though they were too decimated to play much of a further role in the defence of the Imperium from Horus' betrayal. The ensuing civil war pitched the whole Imperium into anarchy and chaos. It was not only the Legions aligned to Horus that rebelled, for the Warrior Lodges and the taint in general had spread far and wide by the time of the Drop Site Massacre. The Imperial Army was split almost in half, regiment fighting regiment and fleet fighting fleet. The Titan Legions of the Mechanicus, were equally affected, and soon fully half of the Emperor's hosts were engaged in bitter conflict with the other. Barely a single world in the Imperium was untouched by a war that lasted for seven standard years and cost countless billions of lives before finally culminating in Horus' assault on Terra itself.
- The Manachean War and the Dark Compliances (007-009.M31) - His treachery revealed at last, the Warmaster began his relentless advance on Terra, forcing his Dark Compliance of countless regions across the northern Imperium to provide his forces with a resource base to fight what would now become a protracted and relentless war. Foremost among his targets were the Manachean Commonwealth, the Coronid Deeps and their surrounding regions, where a particularly savage campaign was conducted by the Sons of Horus and Death Guard which brought the economically vital worlds of the Manachean Commonwealth to fuel the Traitors' cause. This wider campaign also placed the fleet anchorage of Port Maw under the Warmaster's talon and saw the stubbornly Loyalist Forge Worlds of Lucius and Mezoa isolated and besieged, while the Traitor-aligned Forge World of Cyclothrathe began to carve out its own pocket empire in the region.
- The Burning of Ohmn-Mat (008.M31) - The Forge World of Ohmn-Mat in the Ultima Segmentum fell into a state of civil war as its Synod Magos were split in their support for Loyalist and Traitor causes, drawing in contingents of Sons of Horus Dark Compliance forces and Iron Hands Istvaan survivors as the conflict escalated. Ohmn-Mat was destroyed in the conflagration and its fires still rage till the present.
- The Dagonet Incident (008.M31) - The hidden clade-masters of Terra, with the direct approval of Malcador the Sigillite, despatched their most potent assassins as the first Execution Force to the recently fallen world of Dagonet in an attempt to strike down the Warmaster. They were unsuccessful, but from their failure Terra learned much of the new and dreadful powers wielded by its foe.
- The Battle of Arissak (009.M31) - Having pursued the numerous attack cells made up of Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard survivors of Istvaan V, Captain Tybalt Marr of the Sons of Horus finally brought them to battle, destroying the massed fleet of Shadrak Meduson's so-called "Shattered Legions" force at Arissak.
- Destruction of Dwell (009.M31) - Horus arrived upon the world of Dwell, a world settled during the Dark Age of Technology by settlers from the nearby Knight World of Molech. The Warmaster was intent upon utilising the ancient repository on Dwell that contained information that would lead him in search of the Emperor's power back to Molech, where he had unknowingly taken part in that planet's Imperial Compliance campaign decades earlier, and had his memories suppressed by the Emperor. Shortly after the infamous campaign on Istvaan V, the Sons of Horus were also forced to recoup their losses. Another change, forced on the XVIth Legion, was the loss of the Mournival. With the deaths of two of their former brothers, the Loyalists Garviel Loken and Tarik Torgaddon on Istvaan III, there were openings available to those that might be deemed worthy. Captain Horus Aximand approached First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon with the proposition to select two new members to fill the vacancies. They argued over who they thought would be worthy to join a newly reconstituted Mournival. After much debate, they both finally came to an accord, agreeing on suitable replacements. These would be Falkus Kibre, the commander of the Catulan Reaver Squad and Sergeant Grael Noctua. With rumours of the infamy of Horus' actions in the Istvaan System spreading across the nearby systems, a series of ferocious repercussive combats had flared through the Momed, Instar and Oqueth Sectors. The instigator was a leader of the Iron Hands Legion's "Iron Tenth", a warleader of the Sorrgol Clan named Shadrak Meduson. He had marshalled the Loyalists against the approaching Traitors of the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet. The Iron Hands warleader and his formations had come too late to stand with his Primarch Ferrus Manus at Istvaan V. He had gathered 58 full battalions of the Imperial Army about him -- warhosts from the Momed Voidhives, along with a flotilla of siege hulks from Nahan Instar, a half-broken cadre of Salamanders Astartes, some Mechanicus claves, and a White Scars raid-force rerouted from a return voyage to the Chondax war front. The world of Dwell, with its fortified cities, orbital batteries, ship schools, and eight million pinnacle-grade fighting men, would be the cornerstone of Meduson's defensive line. The Iron Hands warleader positioned himself at the Mausolytic Precinct which was situated on a high plateau overlooking Tyjun and the Sea of Enna. The Sons of Horus launched a planetary assault against Dwell, butchering the regular human Loyalist defenders, but were caught by surprise when they encountered the ad hoc Loyalist Astartes force that had secretly fortified the system. When the Sons of Horus assault units breached the fortifications, Horus Aximand slew Meduson's second-in-command, the Iron Hands Lieutenant Bion Henricos, but "Little Horus" was then attacked by a White Scars kill-formation disguised as statues. Meduson's co-commander, Captain Hibou Khan of the White Scars, led the Loyalist counterattack against the Traitors, but they were quickly driven off with the arrival of Sons of Horus reinforcements. One of the White Scars managed to gravely wound Aximand by slicing off his face. The XVIth Legion's Apothecaries managed to reattach Aximand's severed face, but the muscle grafting left a wicked scar which made him look more brutal. It set the character of the face differently, altered the seating of the muscles so that his appearance now matched the growing corruption within his heart. Somehow, the wrongness, the imperfection, made him seem even more like Horus, not less. Having escaped death at Arissak, one of Shadrak Meduson's surviving Shattered Legion attack cells launched a daring assassination attempt on Warmaster Horus at Dwell. With his brother-Primarchs Fulgrim and Mortarion at his side, Horus prevailed, but having had the true threat revealed to him, he granted Tybalt Marr permission to take any action he deemed appropriate to eradicate the so-called "Shattered Legions".
- Battle of Molech (009.M31) - Horus led both the Sons of Horus and the Death Guard Legions in the invasion of the Fortress World of Molech. Having recovered some of his memories in regards to the earlier campaign that took place decades earlier, Horus uncovered the truth about the hidden subterranean Warp portal that led into the Realm of Chaos. Wanting this power for himself, he launched a massive strike on the unsuspecting world. During the height of the conflict, the Knight House Devine turned against the Imperium and joined the invading forces, betraying the defenders to their deaths. A force of the elite Knights-Errant, a secretly founded Order of Loyalist agents, was dispatched to Molech by Malcador the Sigillite to prepare the way for a direct assault by the Space Wolves against the Warmaster's flagship. After his sojourn through the portal into the Realm of Chaos, and winning the full blessings of the Ruinous Powers, Horus was nigh unstoppable, and only a handful of Knights-Errant managed to effect their escape to bring news of his redoubled strength back to Terra.
- Battle of Terra (014.M31) - As the events of the Horus Heresy neared their tragic conclusion seven years after the fateful betrayal at Istvaan III, those Loyalist Legions not committed to the defence of Terra raced through the Warp, converging on the homeworld of Mankind. The Traitor Legions also massed above Terra to assault the Imperial Palace. The Battle of Terra was the final confrontation of the Horus Heresy that raged on Terra itself between the Forces of Chaos led by the Warmaster Horus and the Loyalist armies of the Imperium of Man led by the Emperor of Mankind Himself. The Loyalist forces ultimately proved victorious in their defence of the Imperial Palace, though only just barely, and Horus was ultimately slain by the full psychic powers unleashed by the Emperor on the deck of his massive Battle Barge the Vengeful Spirit, though the Master of Mankind was mortally wounded and had to be interred within the cybernetic life support mechanisms of the advanced psychic augmentation technology known as the Golden Throne. The outcome of the Battle of Terra shaped the destiny of humanity for the next 10,000 standard years. The Traitor hosts began their fighting withdrawal, and in the anarchy and confusion Horus' body was recovered by his Legion from his flagship. Having fought their way clear of the Sol System the XVIth Legion fled for the Eye of Terror where the Sons of Horus established a world that was at once the tomb of their lost Primarch and a fortress from which they would launch further attacks both upon their fellow Traitor Legions and against the smouldering Imperium. Thus began the Long War of the Forces of Chaos to overthrow the Corpse Emperor. With Horus slain, First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon emerged as the Warmaster's heir, commanding both the Sons of Horus and what remained of the splintering Forces of Chaos. Soon known as Abaddon the Despoiler, he renamed the Sons of Horus the "Black Legion" and declares himself the new Warmaster of Chaos Undivided. Highly favoured by the Chaos Gods, Abaddon intends to complete the task begun by Horus and see the Emperor slain and the Imperium ground beneath the boots of the XVIth Legion.
- Slave Wars/The Legion War (Unknown Date.M31) - Using slaves captured from their campaigns against the Imperium during the Heresy, the XVIth Legion was able to build a massive fortress on the Daemon World of Maeleum and entombed the corpse of their slain Warmaster Horus within it. However, not long after, the Eye of Terror Slave Wars erupted and the Emperor's Children Legion launched a devastating surprise assault on Maeleum, devastating the Sons of Horus' fortress and stealing Horus' corpse in an attempt by the corrupted Apothecary Fabius Bile to clone the dead Warmaster of Chaos and restore the fortunes of the Forces of Chaos in the wake of the Imperium's victory. It was at this time that Abaddon the Despoiler returned to lead his forces to recover Horus' corpse. Following the successful defeat of the Emperor's Children and the shattering of that once-proud Space Marine Legion into gibbering, hedonistic warbands, the Sons of Horus recovered the corpse of their former leader. Abaddon returned it to Maeleum where he had it destroyed so that no further attempts to clone Horus could ever be attempted. At the same time, he came to the epiphany that Horus was dead because Horus had been a weak fool, unable to complete his task of slaying the Emperor and taking control of the galaxy in the name of the Dark Gods. Abaddon swore that he would succeed where Horus had failed in overthrowing the "Corpse-Emperor" and proclaimed himself the new Warmaster of Chaos. He had the Sons of Horus repaint their viridian Power Armour black, the colour of mourning and of vengeance, and cast-off the XVIth Legion's former moniker of the Sons of Horus. From then on, they became known as the Black Legion. The Black Legion then abandoned the ruins of the Sons of Horus' fortress and left Maeleum behind, choosing to become a fleet-based Legion with scattered holdings all across the Eye of Terror.
- The Black Legion Rises (Unknown Date.M31) - Ascending to dominion of the Sons of Horus, Abaddon embarks on a quest to slay the clones Fabius Bile has crafted from Horus' remains. Destroying the Primogenitor's hidden laboratories and the abominations he created, Abaddon leaves behind no trace of his gene-father. With the final and utter destruction of Horus, Abaddon renames his Legion the Black Legion.
Age of Retribution, M32-M39
- The Long War Begins (ca. early M31) - Swearing to succeed where his forefather Horus failed, Abaddon takes up the mantle of the Warmaster of Chaos and begins the Long War anew. Thirsty for revenge, the Chaos Space Marines strike out against the Imperium from the depths of the Eye of Terror. The Adepts of the Administratum are horrified to find that the number of their invasions consistently increases with every passing solar decade.
- 1st Black Crusade (ca.781.M31) - Abaddon the Despoiler, the self-appointed heir of Horus and the new Warmaster of Chaos Undivided after Horus' death, makes his first attempt to launch a new offensive against the Imperium of Man following the Horus Heresy when his forces initiate 1st Black Crusade and the First Battle of Cadia. This attempt fails and the Forces of Chaos are unable to penetrate the Cadian Gate that will allow them to take control of the only truly navigable pathway out of the Eye of Terror and into Imperial space. For the next 10,000 standard years, Abaddon will bend all of his efforts to finding a way to complete what Horus began and launch a Chaotic war that will conquer Terra and eliminate the Corpse Emperor. These massive assaults become known as "Black Crusades" to the people of the Imperium. However, on Uralan, Abaddon recovers the Daemon Sword Drach'nyen after battling his way through the haunted labyrinth to the great inner chamber where the blade has languished in stasis for many Terran centuries. The howling blade contains the bound essence of a dangerous Warp entity who has the power to rend reality apart wherever the weapon strikes. After the recovery of the malefic sword, Abaddon's power swells to inhuman proportions.
- The Tormented Mine (027.M32) - Faenroc the Forgotten of the Black Legion discovers a world formed from Warp-infused iron ore. He constructs a vast mine to harvest its wealth for Abaddon, the Warmaster of Chaos. Slaves prove too fragile to work the mine as the ore mutates them uncontrollably, while some mine shafts secrete fluids that dissolve the workers within. Faenroc remedies this problem by binding daemonic entities to his mining machines in a ritual that involves the mass sacrifice of the entire mortal workforce.
- 2nd Black Crusade (597.M32) - During the 2nd Black Crusade, Abaddon places a terrible curse upon the worlds of the Belis Corona Sector, infusing them with the touch of the Warp. Meanwhile, his fleet attacks the sector's Imperial shipyards, destroying dozens of Imperial Cruisers being constructed or repaired. Before the Imperium can muster its strength to fight back, the Despoiler retreats into the Eye of Terror, his works complete. The Imperium, focusing on the war in space, musters a naval force to fight back. Entrusting his flagship to his Sorcerers, the Despoiler then teleports to the Inquisitorial stronghold of Nemesis Tessera. He topples its hexagrammic "Eldritch Needles," ravaging the black stone with sustained Melta fire before withdrawing. The Inquisition later find that a critical vault cell has been opened and its daemonic prisoner -- the legendary nemesis for which the planet is named -- is missing.
- The Traitorous Eye (Unknown Date.M32) - Drecarth the Sightless forms the Sons of the Eye out of those Sons of Horus who refused to join Abaddon after the Heresy. In the Battle of the Keening Deep, the Sons defeat Voslok and his World Eaters, claiming their fortress and hurling their skulls into the soulfires that rage beneath the planet's crust. Drecarth personally wrests Voslok's daemonic axe from his grip during the battle, turning the weapon upon its former owner.
- 3rd Black Crusade (909.M32) - The Despoiler sends the Daemon Prince Tallomin against the Cadian Gate in a reckless and bloody frontal assault during the 3rd Black Crusade. The daemonic horde that follows in Tallomin's wake accounts for the destruction of millions of lives and draws in Imperial Guard regiments and Space Marine Chapters from across the Segmentum Obscurus. Eventually, warriors of the Space Wolves manage to send Tallomin howling back into the Warp. Under the cover provided by the attack, Abaddon leads a strike force to desecrate the Shrine World of Gerstahl, breaking the ancient seals on the eponymous Imperial Saint's tomb and destroying his remains while the Imperium's attention is directed elsewhere. This act of supreme violation banishes the saint's spirit, thwarting the prophecy that he would one day rise again as a Living Saint whilst weakening the planet's psychic defences.
- Zaraphiston's Penance (Unknown Date.M32) - The Thousand Sons Sorcerer Zaraphiston travels deep into the heart of the Eye of Terror at the behest of Tzeentch, where he is granted the power of prophecy. Gifted with a profound understanding of the millennia to come, Zaraphiston pledges his loyalty to Abaddon the Despoiler.
- 4th Black Crusade (001.M34) - Also known as the El'Phanor War, during the 4th Black Crusade the Black Legion besieges the great Citadel of Kromarch. Abaddon leads the charge against the adamantium gates of the famously unbreachable citadel upon the world of El'Phanor. Only one in ten of Abaddon's spearhead reach the gates before they are trapped by Heavy Bolter fire. Utilising his Daemon Sword Drach'nyen, the gates of the citadel prove harder than diamond, but they split apart like cordwood before Abaddon's dolorous blow. In an orgy of violence, the Traitor Legions and their daemonic allies fall upon Kromarch and his kin, extinguishing their ancient line forever.
- The Nightmare Well (Unknown Date) - Zagthean the Broken pillages Helosian in the Agripinaa Sector. Taking the Convent of Alabaster Maidens prisoner, he exposes them to the energies of the Warp, triggering their latent psychic gifts. Zagthean then uses Warp-tech to fuse the maidens into a single entity, before using the resultant abomination as a living Warp portal to unleash a daemonic invasion.
- The Ragged King (Unknown Date) - Imperial Cruisers orbiting the Feral World of Skyrro destroy the Traitor vessel Talon of Rage. A single Black Legionary escapes the ship's destruction and makes his way down to the surface of the world. Skyrro's indigenous populace come to worship the Chaos Space Marine as a god whom they hail as the "Ragged King," and are gradually turned to the service of the Ruinous Powers through his influence. It takes the Imperial Guard more than a solar decade to destroy the Legionary's Chaos Cultist armies and reclaim the world for the Emperor.
- 5th Black Crusade (723.M36) - During the 5th Black Crusade Abaddon scours the Elysia Sector, ordering the destruction of specific cities, shrines and temples across dozens its worlds. Each act of violation shatters the Warp-seals that had held psychic mutation stable in that region of space. On Tarinth, the Despoiler lures the Warhawks and Venerators Chapters into the ruins of Kasyr Lutien where he traps them between the daemonic hordes of Khorne and the Black Legion. In a bitter last stand, both Loyalist Chapters are completely destroyed, their skulls taken by the Daemon Prince Doombreed to be mounted upon Khorne's throne.
- 6th Black Crusade (901.M36) - The Sons of the Eye were a splinter warband of the Black Legion, founded and commanded by the infamous Chaos Lord Drecarth the Sightless, the Blind Butcher of Irridous VII. Drecarth was a former Battle-Brother of the Sons of Horus who had fought alongside Abaddon during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy that followed. Always jealous of the Primarch Horus' favour for the Despoiler, the Sons of the Eye considered Abaddon a usurper. During the 6th Black Crusade, launched in 901.M36, Abaddon visited his wrath upon Drecarth the Sightless and his treacherous warband. Abaddon aided the Sons of the Eye in an assault on the Forge World of Arkreach, fighting side-by-side with them until the Adeptus Mechanicus defenders were finally crushed. The triumphant Abaddon then slowly killed Drecarth, impaling him with the Talon of Horus, even as the Despoiler made him watch every member of the Sons of the Eye bow before their new master.
- Antecanis Massacre (165.M37) - The Black Legion is known to have participated in the Antecanis Massacre alongside other Chaos Space Marine warbands, most notably The Purge.
- The Tournament of Blood (Unknown Date.M37) - Displeased with his Chosen, Abaddon pits them against each other. For eight solar days, the Chosen fight in the gore-spattered holds of the Vengeful Spirit until only one of them remains. Impaling the victor on the Talon of Horus, Abaddon seals a pact with Khorne, gaining a powerful daemonic ally in the form of the Bloodthirster Hakk'an'graah.
- The Prison of Madness (Unknown Date.M37) - Abaddon conducts experiments on captured Loyalist Space Marines, torturing them with repeated visions of a future in which the Imperium falls to Chaos. Despite the psycho-indoctrinated mental resilience of the Adeptus Astartes, such is the ring of truth in these prophecies that those who do not take their own lives are left as soul-blasted husks that eventually swear allegiance to the Despoiler.
- 7th Black Crusade (811.M37) - The 7th Black Crusade was a Black Crusade launched against the forces of the Imperium of Man, led by the infamous Chaos Champion Abaddon the Despoiler and his Black Legion, which emerged out of the Eye of Terror in 811.M37. At this time, the Forces of Chaos spewed forth from the Eye of Terror past Cadia and then disappeared. This event is what earned this conflict its informal name of the Ghost War. The following years saw a game of hide-and-seek played between the Forces of Chaos and the Imperium of Man which spread confusion, paranoia, disinformation and deceit across the galaxy. Raids became commonplace in far-flung areas but eventually the servants of the Dark Gods returned to the Eye of Terror, having caused great difficulty for the Emperor's Loyalists but having been proven unable to significantly degrade Imperial defensive capabilities at that time. During this conflict, when the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter battled against the Forces of Chaos at Midian, Abaddon singled them out with implacable fury. He led a band of Khornate Berserkers into the teeth of the Blood Angels' Devastator positions. Even the Blood Angels' own Assault troops could not dislodge the frenzied warband and recapture the bodies of their comrades. But there is an obscure reference to the Blood Angels being saved by an unidentified Space Marine Chapter of mysterious origin. Written within the The Canticle of Cassandria Lev - Vol. CVI, the eponymous Sainted Sisters' highly mythologised and oblique account of the wars of the 7th Black Crusade, is found mention of a "grey-clad" Space Marines Chapter who came from "The outer night" to aid the Imperium, and whose "Jagged maw did swallow the stars ... and whose ... black gaze did mirror the void of oblivion." In the course of the canticle this Chapter's ships set upon Abaddon's forces following the disastrous defeat and routing of the Blood Angels at Midian and attacked the pursuing forces as Saint Lev writes: "...fell upon the servants of the skulled-one with great fury from the darkness, unseen as the beast that lurks beneath the black waters, death for death, blood for blood...thus were the Sons of Sanguinius bought respite, and did turn back upon their pursuers and so were the damned traitors of the false gods driven unto their ruin." Images of these events can be found upon the walls of the Cemetery World of Hypasitis created to house the honoured dead of that war, depicted in repeated fresco and bar relief. Curiously, the faces of the intervening Space Marines depicted there are obscured with featureless disks of black obsidian. Given the largely unknown history of the star-faring Carcharodons Chapter, accounts of their activities can only be constructed from recorded historical incidents and fragmentary records that are believed to have involved the Carcharodons on balance of evidence. This notable engagement is listed by Imperial savants as a "[Special] Probable Encounter/Recorded Sighting" of this notorious and mysterious Space Marine Chapter. After their rescue at Midian, the full might of the Blood Angels Chapter fell upon a vast Black Legion warband on the world of Mackan. Although the conflict ultimately ends in the near-extinction of the Blood Angels at the hands of Abaddon the Despoiler and his primary lieutenants -- the Sorcerer-Lord Iskandar Khayon and the swordmaster Telemachon Lyras -- the Blood Angels Reclusiarch Thalastian Jorus becomes one of the few Imperial heroes to ever land a blow against the Warmaster of Chaos. With his Chapter devastated, the Chaplain endures solar weeks of hardship in the wilderness and the constant trials of keeping his crazed warriors undetected on Mackan. When the time is right, Jorus leads his Death Company in a lightning raid behind enemy lines, butchering the unprepared sworn warriors of the Despoiler's honour guard, and allowing the Reclusiarch to lock blades with Abaddon himself. It is said the Chaos Warmaster still bears the scars of that battle, even three standard millennia later. Whatever the truth of the matter, it is known that the Despoiler honoured Jorus once the war was over -- perhaps in mockery, or perhaps with nothing but sincerity. After Mackan, thousands of Blood Angels corpses were desecrated, their gene-seed ruined beyond recovery. Of all the Chapter, only a handful of bodies were left undefiled: Reclusiarch Jorus and his Death Company, clad in their battered and broken black ceramite, seated in makeshift thrones made from the armour of those Black Legion warriors they had killed on that fateful night.
- 8th Black Crusade (999.M37) - Abaddon the Despoiler completes a complex ritual of death in the name of Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways. On worlds throughout the Segmentum Obscurus, Imperial citizens are slaughtered in precise numbers and esoteric rituals. Only when the Inquisition finally breaks the code of damnation is the Imperium able to bring an end to the Black Legion's rampage across the Segmentum in time with these mysterious attacks, but not before countless worlds have been saturated in death.
- The Ark of Damnation (Unknown Date.M38) - Flesh Tearers Terminators board the Space Hulk Soul of Damnation as it drifts dangerously close to the core worlds of the Scelus Sub-sector. In the depths of the hulk, they uncover a stasis chamber containing a single casket. Inside is an ancient warrior of the Luna Wolves dating from the time of the Great Crusade. When told of his Legion's fate, the ancient Space Marine is filled with rage and takes one of the Flesh Tearers' craft before disappearing into the void.
- The Feast of Daemons (Unknown Date.M38) - The Black Legion ravages the Desert World of Sanisor, staining its dune oceans red with blood. In the Warpwind Canyons, the Chaos Space Marines erect a towering steel-framed device with a sail-like membrane of flayed skin. The creatures of the Immaterium are drawn to the world to feed on the soul-stuff caught in the nightmarish construction. When the Cadian 232nd Expeditionary Force land on Sanisor, they find it crawling with daemons like flies on a corpse.
- 9th Black Crusade (537.M38) - As part of a wider strategy to disable the naval fortress of Cancephalus, Abaddon leads his 9th Black Crusade against the heaving population of nearby Antecanis. The seat of the world's Imperial Commander, Monarchive, is besieged by Abaddon's vanguard. Black Legionaries butcher their way through the lower levels of the hive, whilst the Despoiler himself storms its inner sanctums. By the time Astra Militarum from Cancephalus arrive to reinforce the surviving defenders, Abaddon and his forces have already left the planet's surface. As a gesture of contempt, the Black Legion drop a dozen Cyclonic warheads onto the ruins of Monarchive. The seventeen-year-long war that ensues eventually robs both Antecanis and Cancephalus of their most precious resource -- manpower. Without the fleets of the naval fortress to stop him, Abaddon is able to ravage the sector at will, and his Sorcerers are free to conduct the rituals required to weaken the walls of reality in that region of space with impunity.
- The Forgotten Company (Unknown Date.M38) - Almost eight standard millennia after it was sent, an astropathic distress signal reaches the Black Legion's Sorcerers from a lost company of Luna Wolves. Abaddon travels to the planet located at the coordinates in the message to find his ancient brothers have become a twisted parody of his original Legion, perverting their own gene-seed with primitive rituals and dwelling among the native inhabitants. Expecting no mercy from Abaddon's forces for their transgressions, the debased Luna Wolves are surprised when he welcomes them into the Black Legion as long-lost brothers.
- 10th Black Crusade (001.M39) - The 10th Black Crusade is also known as the Conflict of Helica, and was a joint campaign carried out by Abaddon and the Daemon Primarch Perturabo. Both the Black Legion and the Iron Warriors struck against the Helica Sector. While the Black Legion attacked the capital, Thracian Primaris, the Iron Warriors focused their own assault against the Iron Hands Chapter to fulfil an old blood debt. In a series of bitter sieges, the Iron Warriors burn the Medusa System's worlds and push the Iron Hands to the brink of destruction. Only when the Loyalist Chapter receives heavy reinforcements do Abaddon and the Iron Warriors retreat, taking with them valuable information about Medusa's defences.
- The Daemonic Shipyard (Unknown Date.M39) - Deep within the Eye of Terror, Abaddon discovers an ancient shipyard drifting through the Warp. Amongst its rusting gantries and crumbling manufactorum towers, the Warmaster of Chaos finds a half-constructed vessel, vast in scale and terrible in its design. His Warpsmiths examine the ship, marvelling at its dark majesty, and promise that, when complete, it will be the doom of worlds, a true Planet Killer, the Krukal'Righ in the ancient tongue of the Black Legion's lost homeworld of Cthonia.
- 11th Black Crusade (301.M39) - The Despoiler's fleet becomes lost in the Warp while seeking to use a daemonic guide to pass through the Warp Storms blocking access to Imperial space, finally returning to realspace in the path of WAAAGH! Murgor. In the ruins of the Cardinal World of Relorria, the Black Legion brings the Orks to battle, Bolter rounds and Chainswords tearing into the green-skinned xenos. After solar months of bloody warfare, Abaddon decides to leave Relorria to its fate and the Black Legion returns to the Eye of Terror -- but not before the Warmaster of Chaos fills the holds of his fleet with captured Ork Weirdboyz. In conjunction with a coven of his most powerful Sorcerers, he uses the volatile psychic energies of the Greenskin abductees in a daemonic hybridisation ritual that weakens the fabric of reality across the Relorrian System.
- Fall of the Savage Swords (Unknown Date.M39) - The Chapter Master of the Savage Swords mistakenly believes the Imperial Planetary Governor of Hyboras has stolen an ancient relic blade belonging to his Chapter. Caught up in their wrath and righteous retribution, his Space Marines commit a series of atrocities on the world. Only when their Chapter Master sits on the governor's gore-stained throne does he realise the extent of his folly, but by then it is too late. When the Black Legion arrive to push the world over the brink of disaster, the Savage Swords have already fallen to the worship of Khorne. It does not take much for Abaddon to persuade them to join him.
Age of Apotheosis, M40-M42
- The Hungering Prince (Unknown Date.M40) - Glutgora, a Daemon Prince of Nurgle, invades the Agri-world of Pilentos with a massive force of Black Legionaries. While the Chaos Space Marines crush every vestige of Imperial resistance, Glutgora gorges itself on the weave-worms of the planet's sprawling silk farms. Insatiable in its hunger, the Daemon Prince consumes everything and everyone in its path, swelling to immense proportions with the meat of worm and man. Eventually, Glutgora bursts in a tide of festering organs and rancid effluvia, and a million Nurglings crawl out from its corpse. The planet is declared Perditas by the Inquisition and quarantined indefinitely.
- The Penumbra Prophecy (Unknown Date.M40) - Abaddon is guided by the visions of Zaraphiston to an Eldar Crone World. In the ruins of an ancient Wraithbone city littered with skeletons, the Sorcerer leads the Warmaster of Chaos to a room where a tapestry of flayed skin covers the walls from floor to ceiling. Upon its surface Abaddon reads a prophecy that reveals the secrets of six weapons of immense power.
- 12th Black Crusade (139.M41) - Better known as the Gothic War in Imperial space, the 12th Black Crusade was fought for control of the Gothic Sector in the Segmentum Obscurus between the Chaotic forces of Abaddon the Despoiler and the defenders of the Imperium. Abaddon lead his great fleet into the Gothic Sector, capturing two of the prehistoric xenos-built star forts known as the Blackstone Fortresses. Under Abaddon's control, the might of the Blackstone Fortresses is used to destroy the star Tarantis, consuming several of the system's closest worlds in the process and ravaging the Imperial fleets sent against the Black Legion. The Despoiler's fleet is driven back at great cost, though Abaddon escapes with the Blackstone Fortresses into the Eye of Terror. The vast engines of destruction emerge once more into the material universe during Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade over eight hundred standard years later, one of which is responsible for the destruction of the Fortress World of Cadia.
- The Iron Labyrinth (777.M41) - A Chaos fleet spearheaded by the Black Legion cuts a path into the worlds of the Cadian System. With the aid of the Imperial Fists, the Astra Militarum manage to break the Chaos forces at the Battle of the Iron Labyrinth, driving them back to the Eye of Terror. However, what their enemy's seemingly reckless thrust so far in-system achieved remains a mystery to the Imperial commanders.
- The Skull of Ker'ngar (Unknown Date.M41) - Abaddon travels to the Maiden World of Ildanira, seeking the artefact known as the Skull of Ker'ngar. Though initially confounded on the planet's surface by Eldar snipers from Craftworld Alaitoc, he orders all cover around his position to be levelled by orbital bombardment. Eldar reinforcements react swiftly to drive the Despoiler back, but not before he secures his prize.
- The Pilgrimage of Dark Lament (Unknown Date.M41) - Struck by a vision of Abaddon, millions of Imperial pilgrims abandon their worship of the God-Emperor and turn their voidships toward the Eye of Terror. After a long and perilous journey in which thousands perish, the pilgrims finally reach worlds held by the Black Legion, where they are immediately enslaved. Even as they fall beneath the lash of their new masters, the pilgrims give thanks to the Warmaster of Chaos.
- Pandorax Campaign (959-961.M41) - In the Demeter Sector, Abaddon led an alliance of Traitor Legions, including his own Black Legion and the Death Guard, in an invasion of the Imperial Death World of Pythos in the Pandorax System, the location of an ancient hidden gateway to the Warp. Another piece in his dark design to bring an end to the Long War, the Warmaster of Chaos fell upon the world with a small force of Daemon Engines and infernal war machines. In the space of a few bloody solar days the major hive cities were overrun and the local Planetary Defence Forces crushed beneath the might of the combined Traitor Legions. Only a small contingent of Catachan Jungle Fighters, the CLXXXIIIth Catachan Regiment of the Imperial Guard, managed to escape the destruction, trekking through the world's inhospitable jungle to the relative safety of the nearest mountain range. Abaddon commenced the complex rituals and sacrifices that would open the Damnation Cache, a portal between realspace and the Warp, breaking open seals that had remained untouched since the time of the Horus Heresy. Heeding the impassioned cries for salvation from Pythos, the entire Dark Angels Chapter, led by Supreme Grand Master Azrael himself, came to the defenders' aid. Supporting these Space Marines were Grey Knights dispatched from Titan to deal with the escalating daemonic incursion and the dire peril that the Damnation Cache posed. Both Imperial forces smashed through the Traitor Legion blockade around Pythos, in an epic void battle that pitted the finest warships of the Imperium supported by The Rock, the Dark Angels' mobile Fortress-Monastery, against the ancient vessels of the Traitor Legions. After the Chaos warfleet was finally driven from orbit and back into the void, the Space Marines were able to send their troops down through the atmosphere, bringing war to its ruined hives and hostile jungles. Failing to allow this distraction to draw him away from the awakening of the Damnation Cache, Abaddon sent an alliance of Legions to hold the Loyalists at bay. Before either the Dark Angels or the Grey Knights could stop him, Abaddon finally opened the portal to the Warp, daemons spilling out across Pythos. The ensuing conflict devastated the world as reality itself bent and buckled under the raw power of the Empyrean. The unleashed energies created rampant psychic phenomena, and Space Marines fought under boiling skies of blood and in rolling clouds of keening spirits. All across the Demeter Sector, latent psykers were awakened to full and terrible awareness and rebellions sprung up like cancerous boils on dozens of Imperial worlds in the region. After a long and bitter struggle, a squad of Grey Knights managed to reach the Damnation Cache and close the Warp portal. Starved of their daemonic allies, the Traitor Legions were forced onto the defensive and finally into retreat. Abaddon's forces left Pythos, escaping the vengeance of the Imperium once again, but the world had been irrevocably tainted by the touch of the Warp, its once proud cities and vast wilds twisted into a nightmarish hellscape. Before the portal was closed, however, Abaddon took with him a rogue psyker, rumoured to be of prodigious strength and the bearer of a unique gift that would aid the Warmaster of Chaos in his forthcoming 13th Black Crusade. This conflict is remembered in Imperial records as the Pandorax Campaign.
- Second Aurelian Crusade (Unknown Date. M41) - Just when all seemed to be returning to normal in the Sub-sector Aurelia of the Korianis Sector, the Warp opened up and spat out the former capital world of the Sub-sector and ancient homeworld of the Blood Ravens Chapter of Space Marines, the Ice World of Aurelia. Home to the Blood Ravens' ancient Fortress-Monastery of Selenon and many loyal citizens of the Imperium, the planet was corrupted by a Great Unclean One, a Greater Daemon of Nurgle, known as Ulkair. Former Chapter Master Moriah had attempted to destroy the daemon but failed, and the weakened daemon was imprisoned in the depths of Keep Selenon by Azariah Kyras, at that time a Librarian of the Blood Ravens. Yet the daemon's influence proved too strong and eventually the shaken Kyras fell to the taint of Chaos. Aurelia itself was swallowed by the Warp and its existence in the sub-sector that had been named after it was all but forgotten. Yet the ice-encased world returned to realspace in the late 41st Millennium bearing the foul hordes of Chaos, a warband of Chaos Space Marines from the Black Legion led by the Chaos Lord Araghast the Pillager and the former Word Bearers Dark Apostle Eliphas the Inheritor, who had been resurrected by the will of the Dark Gods so that he might seek the destruction of the Blood Ravens, now as a member of the Black Legion. Captain Gabriel Angelos and Force Commander Aramus rallied the Blood Ravens Astartes of the 3rd and 4th Company to face this threat, but no sooner did they join combat than the Eldar and the ever present Orks rose up to cause trouble along with the heretical soldiery of the Hive World of Meridian's noble House Vandis. Before long the entire Sub-sector was embroiled in fresh combat against multiple foes with the Forces of Chaos causing havoc at will. As the Blood Ravens scrambled to respond to these threats even more dire circumstances came to light as the Space Hulk Judgment of Carrion returned to the Sub-sector. Determined to recover valuable intelligence and ancient advanced technology from the Space Hulk to aid them against the foul servants of Chaos, the Blood Ravens under the command of Sergeant Aramus assaulted the Judgment of Carrion only to discover the bodies of fallen Blood Ravens from the 4th Company, formerly members of an expedition led aboard the Space Hulk by Apothecary Galan. As the forces of Sergeant Aramus investigated the Hulk they were shocked to find evidence of Galan's corruption by the powers of Chaos, but the truth of the matter was far more insidious. As Sergeant Aramus and Captain Angelos desperately fought to keep control of the Sub-sector and unlock the secrets of both the Judgment of Carrion and the lost planet Aurelia, they were interrupted by the arrival of Apollo Diomedes, the Captain of the Blood Ravens Honour Guard and the right hand of the Blood Ravens' Chapter Master and Chief Librarian Azariah Kyras. Diomedes ordered all Blood Ravens forces to stand down, an order both Angelos and Aramus promptly ignored. As Diomedes got increasingly sterner in his orders Aramus and Angelos continued to resist the forces of the Black Legion, with whom the Chapter had recently avoided open conflict for an unknown reason. Eventually Sergeant Aramus discovered the Chaotic corruption of Sergeant Avitus. As the Devastator Sergeant became a lackey of the tainted Apothecary Galan and his patrons within the Chapter. As his investigations continued, Sergeant Aramus discovered to his horror that the source of corruption was none other than Chapter Master Kyras himself, who had fallen under the sway of the Greater Daemon Ulkair on Aurelia and spread his taint to Galan aboard the Space Hulk Judgment of Carrion. Kyras escaped the doomed planet Aurelia aboard the Space Hulk and had returned to the Chapter with his dark seed of corruption when he met with Galan's expedition. Daring open conflict with Captain Diomedes' forces in their base-camp on Calderis, Sergeant Aramus attacked Apothecary Galan, slaying the Traitor and his tainted bodyguard of Terminators, a battle which ended in a confrontation with Captain Diomedes himself. Reluctant to accept the corruption of his political patron within the Chapter, Diomedes found himself torn but let Sergeant Aramus and his comrades leave Calderis and continue their operations against the Black Legion warband of Araghast the Pillager. The Battle of Aurelia culminated in the death of Eliphas the Inheritor, who seized control of the warband by betraying Araghast and leaving him to the mercies of the Blood Ravens earlier in the fighting. Despite Eliphas' machinations, Sergeant Aramus was able to re-seal the Daemon Ulkair in its icy tomb within Keep Selenon on Aurelia. Even with this victory, Chapter Master Kyras declared Captain Gabriel Angelos a Renegade and Traitor to the Chapter and Sergeant Aramus found himself faced with the knowledge that the Chapter Master was a corrupt agent of the Chaos Gods. Diomedes and Aramus returned to the Chapter to bide their time while Angelos fled Kyras' wrath. When the time was right the 3rd Company was determined to return and join with Aramus and Diomedes to cleanse the Chapter of the insidious taint that lay like a malignant cancer at its core.
- The Promethean War (980.M41) - The Salamanders fight an urban war against the Black Legion on Heletine. The Order of the Ebon Chalice arrives to reinforce the Space Marines, and together they push forward, but their advance is halted by the Daemon Prince Gralastyx. Saint Celestine appears suddenly, storming through the Chaos hordes and slaying Gralastyx, before vanishing once more.
- Raid on the Moons of Drathorian (998.M41) - Chaos Space Marines belonging to the Black Legion attack and pillage a space refinery used to extract Promethium from ore mined on the moons of Drathorian in the Acteron Sector. The refinery is completely destroyed in the attack. How the Black Legion came to be so far from the Eye of Terror and the purpose of the Chaos Space Marines' raid continues to be the subject of Inquisitorial investigation.
- Diamor Campaign (999.M41) - The Chaos Lord Xorphas of the Black Legion invades the planet Amethal alongside the World Eaters of Khârn the Betrayer and the Crimson Slaughter. An alliance of Blood Angels and Adeptus Mechanicus forces repels the invaders, but as the planet is consumed in a rising tide of carnage, the ancient "daemon cage" that forms the planet's interior has its structural integrity breached. The Chaos invaders are driven off, but the damage has been done. Within the solar year, a nearby Warp Storm breaks the daemon cage entirely, plunging the system into Warp-haunted mayhem and adding to the empyric tempest raging across the galaxy.
- Siege of the Fenris System (999.M41) - With the aid of the Tzeentchian trickster known as the Changeling, the Daemon Primarch of the Thousand Sons, Magnus the Red, gathers his Sorcerers and, at the head of several war sects of Rubricae, visits his revenge upon the beleaguered world of Fenris, homeworld of the Space Wolves. At the same time, through the use of a sorcerous ritual, Magnus succeeds in transporting his Daemon World of Sortiarius out of the Eye of Terror and into orbit above the husk of his ancient homeworld of Prospero.
- The 13th Black Crusade (995.999.M41) - The armies of Chaos invade Cadia and its many surrounding worlds of the Cadian Gate. The forces of the Dark Gods read like a roll call from epic battles of the ages. Always in the vanguard are the Black Legion, followed by the Death Guard, World Eaters, Alpha Legion, Thousand Sons, Night Lords and other Legions from the annals of the blackest days. Renegade Space Marine Chapters long thought extinct renew their assaults on the Imperium of Man. Before them run scabrous Chaos Cultists, deranged mutants and traitorous scum in numbers too great to count. Behind them march daemons of all the Ruinous Powers, the nightmares of mortals made real, led by their infernal overlords. After a gruelling campaign with a death toll that spirals into the trillions across the Segmentum Obscurus, Abaddon the Despoiler succeeds in tearing down the strange xenos-built pylons that for thousands of Terran years had held the Cadian Gate as a stable region of space. Cadia falls soon thereafter, and a wave of Warp Storms roars into being across the length of the galaxy. Astropaths everywhere fear to open their minds to receive or broadcast messages, for the Immaterium rings with mind-splitting peals, possibly the sound of the myriad tears ripping open in the barrier between the material universe and the Warp, or perhaps the laughter of the Dark Gods...
- Guilliman Awakes (ca. 999.M41) - Strange events, the appearance of the ancient Archmagos Belisarius Cawl and a cryptic alliance with a mysterious Aeldari faction known as the Ynnari conspire to awaken the Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman from his millennia-long slumber in a stasis chamber during the Ultramar Campaign of the 13th Black Crusade. The Primarch is immediately embroiled in battle as a Chaos assault by the Black Legion attacks Macragge as Abaddon attempts to prevent his return.
- The Great Rift Opens (ca. 999.M41) - Reality tears itself apart from the Hadex Anomaly at the core of the Jericho Reach in the Eastern Fringe, to the furthest star system of the Segmentum Obscurus. From that hole come Warp Storms not seen since the Age of Strife, cutting off the galactic north from Terra. The initial period, known as the Noctis Aeterna -- or the Blackness -- is terrible indeed. For a time, all Warp travel is impossible and the far-spread planets of the Imperium are isolated, with no travel or astropathic communication between them. A chain reaction of Warp cataclysms rips across the Imperium, plunging its worlds into disaster and awakening the dormant powers of latent psykers across the galaxy. Worlds in their hundreds fall before the ensuing Chaos onslaught. The pulsing Cicatrix Maledictum -- the Great Rift -- spreads like an impenetrable curtain, robbing entire systems of the holy light of Terra. Countless civilisations are lost to daemonic incursions as the galaxy burns.
- Crippling Terror (Unknown Date.M42) - Thousands of Imperial planets lying along the edge of the Great Rift are evacuated as the tapestry of Warp Storms threatens to consume them. On the Forge World of Raeddon, the Adeptus Mechanicus Tech-priests gather their most sacred manufacturing relics in preparation of shipping them off-world. But before the frigates are loaded and launched, an armada of Black Legion warships emerges from the Warp, forming an impenetrable blockade around the planet. Before long, hordes of Chaos Space Marine shock troops descend upon the Forge World. The bulk of its Skitarii defenders are deployed to guard the basilica logisticum where the Mechanicus have stored their invaluable archeotech. However, the Chaos forces do not even attempt to lay siege to this complex. Instead, they conduct a series of devastating orbital bombardments on the planet's spaceports, obliterating their static Lascannon arrays before sending in waves of ground troops to mop up the remaining Skitarii. With Raeddon stripped of its transport capabilities, the Black Legion armada recedes, leaving the Tech-priests and their precious relics untouched as the Warp Storms envelop them.
- Blacker Pastures (Unknown Date.M42) - The rampant advance of the Hounds of Abaddon through the Bellicose Stars comes to a grinding halt when they are met by the Imperial Fists on Gandor's Providence. The sons of Rogal Dorn deploy numerous squads of Primaris Space Marine Intercessors, creating a series of heavily defended redoubts across the surface of the Agri-world. Rather than allowing themselves to become bogged down in a prolonged siege, the Hounds of Abaddon withdraw to wreak destruction elsewhere.
- Gods from the Warp (Unknown Date.M42) - After a solar months-long battle in the Aralest System, the forces of the Imperial Navy are all but wiped out by a massive war fleet comprising several Black Legion warbands. The few remaining Imperial forces retreat to Everwatch Stanchion, the heavily-fortified orbital docking platform above Aralest VII, to consolidate their strength. Meanwhile, on the planet's surface, Imperial Governor Melachron Indis marshals his Planetary Defence Forces and prepares for invasion. As the Black Legion ships approach, dozens of Chaos Cults emerge from amongst the indentured populace of Aralest VII. These deluded fanatics do not see the Chaos Space Marines as invaders, but rather as saviours who have emerged from the Great Rift that burns across the sky day and night. Indis is forced to expend his troops in bloody fights deep inside the hive cities to prevent the planet from falling to the savage cultists before the Black Legion even arrive. These battles do not go in the governor's favour, for with each passing solar hour, more and more members of the citizenry join in the anarchic uprising. Indis and the remaining fragments of his armies barricade themselves inside the spire of Aralest VII's capital hive and pray to the Emperor that the naval garrison on Everwatch will soon be able to send them aid. Their prayers are not answered. The Black Legion, having captured Everwatch Stanchion several solar days earlier, dislodge the platform from its orbit and send it plummeting down to the planet's surface, directly towards the capital city. The explosion created by the colossal impact leaves only a crater where the hive city once stood, and the ensuing quake is felt across the planet. This display of raw power is the final proof the Chaos Cults need. No one on Aralest VII now doubts that the warriors of the Black Legion are indeed gods.
First as the Luna Wolves and later as the Sons of Horus, the XVIth Legion maintained much of their Legion structure as it had existed since the wars for Terra and Solar Unity, which had adhered closely to the Terran pattern laid down by the Imperial Officio Militaris before the Space Marine Legions' unification with their Primarchs.
The smallest formation within the Logos Terra Militia, and therefore within the Luna Wolves, was the squad. This consisted of a group of Luna Wolves under the command of a Sergeant. Squads varied widely in both size and specialisation, with the majority of the units ranging between 10 to 20 Space Marines within the XVIth Legion. Conversely, very specialised squads such as reconnaissance units or those that might have suffered heavy casualties, might only consist of a handful of Space Marines in active service.
The specialties and wargear of squads in the Luna Wolves included all of those generally found in other Legions, including those designated Destroyer and Seeker units, who were shunned by some and existed in lesser quantities. The Luna Wolves also maintained considerable resources in terms of armour and vehicles, with tithed industrial worlds they had brought into Imperial Compliance and good relations with the Mechanicum ensuring a steady supply of munitions and materials for the XVIth Legion, which spent such political coin readily.
Even Horus, a generalist and a pragmatist, upon being given command of his Legion is thought to have adopted new squad formations after having seen their effectiveness in other Legions. For example, it is noticeable that until the Lactrical Onslaught the number of Storm Shield-equipped Breacher Squads was relatively low in the XVIth Legion. The contributions of such units amongst the forces of the Imperial Fists cannot have escaped his notice.
After the annihilation of the Lactrical, the number of such squads in the ranks of the Luna Wolves rose noticeably. Other anecdotal evidence of this adaptability and willingness to embrace new weapons of warfare can be found in Horus' vocal backing of the Tactical Dreadnought Armour project, with the result that his Legion was one of the first and most widely equipped with Terminator Armour and at the forefront of the development of tactics for its use in assaults.
The XVIth Legion showed a preference for the use of Tactical Squads. Squads configured in this form within the Luna Wolves and later the Sons of Horus outnumbered all other squad types combined throughout the Great Crusade. Horus remarked on several occasions that there were few challenges of war that could not be met by, or did not require, the use of such units.
The presence of Tactical Squads designed to be held in reserve and unleashed once a weakness in an enemy line had been identified, trained in fire saturation and carrying additional close combat weaponry for use in overrunning enemy positions -- the so-called Despoiler Squads -- shows again the dominance of the place of the Tactical Squad in Horus' tactical thinking. Such was the effectiveness of this tactic that its use was copied by several different Legions, such as the White Scars and Iron Warriors, who field Despoiler Squads of their own.
The heart of the Sons of Horus Legion was the company, which served as the Legion's principal military division. Made up of a grouping of squads under the leadership of an officer with the rank of Captain, the company was the base currency of campaigns and battles. There was no fixed strength for a company within the Luna Wolves and the Sons of Horus.
While other Legions codified and enforced strict limits on the size of similar formations, this was not the case amongst the Sons of Horus, which had begun in more regimented form, but had become increasingly ad hoc in structure and disposition over time. Company strengths as small as 36 and as large 972 Astartes were recorded by datafactors during the XVIth Legion's action against the Dasim Patrimony, for example.
The configuration of squad types within a company varied as widely as its strength. Some were comprised almost exclusively of Tactical Squads with a few Support Squads. Others were an eclectic mix based on the varied requirements of different campaigns and the will of Horus. By way of example, the 17th Company, known as the Hesperus Guard, had a standard strength of 205 Space Marines at the time of the virus-bombing of Istvaan III. Tactical Squads made up half this strength numerically, with the Legion placing in general great importance on the use of Tactical Squads in every deployment.
The rest consisted of two veteran units, three reconnaissance units, a heavy support squad and multiple batteries of support weaponry. The elite 1st Company showed even greater variation. Small in number, it contained two distinct sub-formations: the Justaerin Terminator Squads and the Catulan Reaver Assault Squads. Both sported the black armour worn only by this elite company and each was led by a Captain under the overall command of the Legion's First Captain, Ezekyle Abaddon. Used in combination, the 1st Company exemplified Horus' predilection for precise and overwhelming attacks against strategic targets.
In other Space Marine Legions a company would form part of further layers of hierarchical military organisation, variously referred to as battalions, cohorts, chapters, regiments or by any number of other titles. Horus seems to have preferred to avoid this extra layer of fixed organisation, which eroded over time in the Legion and was largely academic by the time of their transition to become the Sons of Horus.
Instead of a formal structure, Horus would group companies and individual units together as required for the execution of a particular campaign. The commander of such a formation would usually be a senior Captain. If the formation was especially large, then other Captains would take on the role of lieutenants to the overall force commander until the completion of the campaign. These formations rarely had formal titles, but the Sons of Horus commonly referred to formations intended to prosecute a rapid assault as "Speartips."
In eschewing formality and fixed structure above the basic level of the company, Horus demonstrated his pragmatism and his preference for waging war with careful precision. Within the Luna Wolves and the Sons of Horus, squads also commonly had their own honorific or epithetic titles rather than simple numerations: the Illuminators Prime, Death Makers, Jerrok's Reavers, the First Sons, and similar appelations, while some were named for the Sergeant or Chieftain that led them if their leader's own reputation was strong enough alone.
Many of these titles betrayed the culture of Cthonian gang honours and the tradition of reputation and internecine warfare from which they had sprung. This culture had grown steadily stronger over the years within the rank and file of the XVIth Legion's intake of Neophytes.
The exact disposition of the Sons of Horus at the time of the Istvaan III Atrocity is uncertain. Given the accounts of the battle on Istvaan III following Horus' treacherous bombardment from those that survived it, it would seem likely that the culled Loyalist elements of the XVIth Legion represented something approaching a third of the Sons of Horus' entire force.
Records, tainted as they may be, place the Sons of Horus at a fighting strength of approximately 130,000-170,000 Space Marines in the period leading up to the Istvaan III Atrocity. Although the figure may have been higher, this estimate would also tally with more general assessments of the Sons of Horus Legion being in the upper quarter of the Legions in terms of the Space Marine manpower available to them.
The XVIth Legion's Great Crusade fleet was likewise accorded to be among the greatest under any single commander's flag, with in excess of one hundred capital ships and perhaps three times that figure in smaller Cruisers and Escorts under Horus' direct command. Taking into account likely losses from the ground war that followed the virus-bombing of Istvaan III, and elements of the Sons of Horus Legion not in the Istvaan System at the time, it would follow that Horus began his war of betrayal with around 70,000-110,000 Space Marines of his own Legion at his disposal, with considerable evidence present in Imperial records that the latter figure is the more accurate.
Heavily engaged on the surface of Istvaan III during the Istvaan Atrocity, it is estimated that some 30,000 of the Sons of Horus' Legionaries were dead or unaccounted for in the aftermath of that battle. It has been theorised by some analysts that as a consequence of the initial difficulties encountered with the purging of the Terrans from the Legion's ranks, and the unexpected cost in lives and materiel the battle had entailed, Horus was deliberately cautious with the use of his Legion during the later Drop Site Massacre.
In this it is thought that he hoped perhaps to preserve as much of the Sons of Horus' strength as possible for the intended push on Terra that was planned to follow, or perhaps he simply meant to have others blood themselves in his cause while destroying the Loyalists.
Sons of Horus Armoured Formations
At the time of the Warmaster's advance on the Coronid Deeps, his Legion's armoured forces had been replenished substantially, having been severely depleted during the conflicts at Istvaan III and Istvaan V. In part this was because the Sons of Horus, and to some degree all of the Traitor Legions, had been able to salvage a treasure trove of war machines and materiel from the wreckage laid out upon the sands of the Urgall Depression in the wake of the Istvaan V Dropsite Massacre.
It was also because the Warmaster's lieutenants ensured that, as the Traitor armies progressed, the efforts of the Dark Mechanicum and the brutal tithe extracted from the worlds they subjugated were first set to the supply of Horus' own above all others. This ensured that the latest and most powerful Legiones Astartes war machines, such as the Falchion and Sicaran, quickly replaced lost or damaged war machines of older patterns still in the Legion's service.
Legion Command Hierarchy
As with all of the Space Marine Legions, Horus' command as Primarch over his own Legion was absolute. Beneath Horus were his Captains, beneath them were the squad Sergeants, and where a formation of squads came together for a purpose, the informal rank of "Chieftain" was given to the Sergeant granted field command authority, a matter not always of seniority, but rather selection of the best or most suited Astartes for the task at hand; an approach which fitted well within the Legion's pragmatic and sometimes impulsive approach to warfare.
Beneath these non-commissioned officers were the rank-and-file Battle-Brothers of the Luna Wolves and the Sons of Horus. This simple hierarchy belied the truth of matters when applied in practice within the XVIth Legion. Within each rank, prestige and personal reputation counted for much within the brotherhood of Space Marines.
There were distinctions between those who fought with the Legion for longer, between those who had fought in different campaigns, between those who had received certain honours, and between ordinary squads and those who formed a Captain's Honour Guard. Beneath the surface of this simmered other divisions, not easily visible to the outsider, divisions of blood and origin, divisions that the mere act of becoming a Space Marine should have washed away, but for the Sons of Horus did not in many cases. These hidden divisions would eventually bear bitter fruit.
The rank of Captain within the Legion also held subtle variations of authority. Generally those in command of a lower numbered company outranked those in a higher numbered company, while those who had once had overall command of a campaign were considered superior to those officers he had commanded during that action. At the top of this informal but very real hierarchy of Legion officers were those Captains who served as Horus' closest advisors and in particular the First Captain of the Legion who commanded the elite 1st Company and also served as his Primarch's principal field officer and second-in-command.
The senior-most Captains comprised the Legion's Mournival, the quartet of Astartes who served as Horus' closest advisors and companions within the XVIth Legion and who existed outside the regular command structure. Before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, the final Mournival of the Sons of Horus included Captains Garviel Loken, Horus Aximand, Tarik Torgaddon and Ezekyle Abaddon. The Mournival served as an advisory body to Horus in both military and political matters, but in truth its members held no formal power above that of the other company Captains.
Held together by Horus' personal charisma and brilliance as a leader, the command structure of the Luna Wolves and then the Sons of Horus proved highly effective, adaptable and resilient. Combined with the XVIth Legion's skill in rapidly concluding campaigns, it allowed the Legion to flow from one victory to another, forming and reforming to meet each new challenge.
Each Son of Horus knew his capabilities and the capabilities of those around him, both by given rank and personal repute, capabilities that were enshrined in a hierarchy determined by deeds rather than the demands of military or ceremonial formality. Effective as it was, one cannot help but notice the importance of personal prestige and the pack-like sorting of authority as a hallmark of the XVIth Legion, and upon occasion the source of some conflict and vendetta within the ranks, a seed of the terrible division to come.
As the character of the Legion was an echo of its Primarch, so one can perhaps see the flaw of the father in the pride of his sons. So it was that when Horus fell from grace, so too did his gene-sons, and their faults, long-sleeping, multiplied and grew to consume them: pride, ambition, the desire to be greater than any other and the savagery and merciless will to make such dark dreams manifest.
Specialist Ranks and Formations
- The Mournival - The Mournival were Horus' most trusted advisors and confidants. Consisting of four chosen Captains of the Legion, the Mournival existed outside the rest of the XVIth Legion's regular command structure. Together the Mournival functioned as the soul of the Luna Wolves, and later the Sons of Horus, supporting their Primarch and steering the Legion's temperament and decisions. The Mournival had many important responsibilities, which included making sure that the Legion and its Primarch lived up to their standards of moral excellence and the Emperor's vision of the Imperial Truth in prosecuting its duties and helping the Primarch devise strategies for more effectively carrying forth the Great Crusade. The Mournival on occasion even provided Horus the means to posture politically as a means to save face or present a certain united front when in the presence of the XVIth Legion's Imperial allies and enemies alike. Horus relied on the Mournival to balance his decisions with questions and different perspectives. In this way the four Captains served as a combination of counsellors, confidants and naysmiths. It is known that there was an element of ritual to the bond between the Mournival brothers: meetings of the Mournival took place in moonlight, a different phase of the moon was graven on the helm of each brother, and its oaths of brotherhood were made over the reflected image of a moon. The origins of the Mournival are unclear, although there are parallels with the rites of brotherhood amongst the Jutigran clans of Terra and the ritual practice of the Selenar gene-cults of Luna, who were integral to the early integration of many Cthonian Neophytes into the XVIth Legion. Whatever the Mournival's origins, its existence within the Legion certainly lies in in the early decades of the Luna Wolves' history, and it is known to have persisted for a time even after the Istvaan III Atrocity, though by then it had lost any meaningful check upon the actions of Horus and continued to exist solely due to tradition. The last members of the Mournival before the XVIth Legion fell to Chaos included Captain Horus "Little Horus" Aximand (Half Moon), First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon (Full Moon), Captain Garviel Loken (New Moon) and Captain Tarik Torgaddon (Gibbous Moon).
- Justaerin Terminator Squads - The Justaerin Terminator Squads were one of two distinct sub-formations found within the XVIth Legion's elite 1st Company. Led by the Legion's First Captain, the black-armoured Justaerin were the pride of the XVIth Legion. Tasked with forming the "point of the spear" of the Legion, they went where the fighting was thickest, their attack directed usually at destroying the heart of an opposing target or conducting the decapitation strike of an enemy force. Early proponents of the use of Tactical Dreadnought Armour, many of the Justaerin entered combat as Terminators, relying on the resilience this gave them to smash aside any resistance and close in for the kill.
- Catulan Reaver Assault Squads - The Catulan Reaver Assault Squads were the other sub-formation present in the XVIth Legion's elite 1st Company. They too, sported the signature black armour which denoted their specialisation in harrowing actions and hit-and-run tactics. They were led by a Captain under the overall command of the Legion and the 1st Company's commanding First Captain. They also made extensive use of Terminator Armour, taking advantage of its additional protection and ability to smash aside any opposition. Used in combination, these two elite sub-formations of the 1st Company exemplified Horus' predilection for precise and overwhelming attacks against strategic targets.
- Reaver Attack Squads - Reaver Attack Squads were an evolution of the Despoiler and Assault Squads found in the order of battle of the Luna Wolves, epitomising in many ways the Sons of Horus' way of warfare. Heavily influenced by the tactics of the seething and incessant tribal warfare of Cthonia, Reaver units specialised in lightning-swift assaults which maimed and disabled a foe, striking down leaders, mercilessly cutting down any who were weak or isolated, and sowing panic and disorder in any who remained.
- Despoiler Squads - The Tactical Squads known as Despoiler Squads were designed to be held in reserve and unleashed once a weakness in an enemy line had been identified. Trained in fire saturation techniques and carrying additional close combat weaponry for use in overrunning enemy positions, the so-called Despoiler Squads showed the dominance of the Tactical Squad in Horus' tactical thinking. Such was the effectiveness of this tactic that its use was copied in several different Legions.
- Destroyer Squads - Considered dishonourable by some Legions who made little use of them or eschewed them altogether, Destroyers were equipped with and expert in the use of otherwise proscribed and forbidden weaponry. Alongside certain factions of the Adeptus Mechanicus, only Destroyer cadres had the license to use these weapons in the forces of the Imperium by the Emperor's command. Rad-weapons, bio-alchem munitions and the burning horror of Phosphex were amongst the forbidden weapons in a Destroyer Squad's dark arsenal, weapons which irrevocably tainted the ground upon which they were used. Marked by their fire-blackened and chem-scalded armour, Destroyers were often shunned and deemed somehow tainted by their fellow Battle-Brothers in many Legions and were considered at best a necessary evil, although the effectiveness of their relic-weapons in cracking especially difficult enemy defences could not be denied.
- Seeker Squads - Seeker Squads were comprised of a specialised force of Space Marines whose principal task on the battlefield was to identify an enemy's command structure, its warlords, officers, priests, demagogues, whatever form they took, and slay them with a well-placed bolt round while the battle raged round them. The Alpha Legion is said to have first crystallised the use of this tactic and squad configuration, which had with the Emperor's approval spread to the other Legions, although its use sat poorly within the combat doctrine and martial culture of some like the Space Wolves. Equipped with special issue ammunition to assist their efforts, Seeker Squads were primarily composed of the finest shots within the Legion, as a Seeker strike force often only had a small window of opportunity to take down its targets at close range, rather than enjoying the luxury of distance.
- 28th Armoured Assault Company ("The Back Breakers") - During the Warmaster's invasion of the Coronid Deeps, the armoured formations of the Sons of Horus were deployed across multiple war zones. In particular, the 28th Armoured Assault Company (known by the informal cognomen of the "Back Breakers" for their use as a heavy assault attrition unit) claimed battle honours at Lascal and Tara canis, broken up into smaller, ship-based battlegroups, before taking part en masse in the final destruction of Hive Ilium on Manachea. In this conflict, the Sons of Horus deployed an enormous range and variety of armoured formations, maintaining a fluid command structure that allowed them to operate as a highly mobile reserve capable of reinforcing successful breakthroughs and delivering the final, crushing blow to a collapsing enemy defence. In particular, as the bulk of the Legion committed to the assault on Hive Ilium penetrated the hive city's dense environs, it split fluidly into multiple smaller strike groups. Each of these was assigned a squadron of tanks or an individual super-heavy tank to force a way through the heavier choke points and city nexuses, crushing defended positions and engaging enemy armour even as the Sons of Horus infantry counter-attacked any enemy that attempted to outflank the war engines and bring melta weaponry to bear. At some point during the Great Scouring, the 28th Armoured Assault Company ceased to exist in its established form, but from its remnants the Sarissan Iron Pact arose. This Renegade Warband is still heavily mechanised and consists of Spartan Assault Tanks, Land Raiders and a small number of Land Raider Achilles. Much of their infantry consists of Chaos Terminators.
- Luperci - The Luperci (or "Brothers of the Wolf" in Cthonian) was a special formation of Sons of Horus that consisted of Possessed Chaos Space Marines. Formed with the assistance of the Word Bearers, the Luperci were essentially a mirror formation of the Word Bearers' formation of the Gal Vorbak possessed Chaos Space Marines. The Luperci were created following the events of the Dropsite Massacre on Istvaan V, and were first deployed during the Battle of Molech.
- "From shame and shadow recast. In black and gold reborn."
After the death of Horus at the Battle of Terra, proper hierarchical structure within the XVIth Legion's squads and companies disintegrated, as was common in most of the Traitor Legions as the more deleterious effects of Chaos manifested themselves with the end of the unity between the Forces of Chaos. Those Sons of Horus who survived the Heresy formed into warbands of Chaos Space Marines of varying size and composition, led by individuals known as Chaos Champions.
These Champions were either ranking officers of the Sons of Horus during the time of the Heresy, or newly emerged leaders who had won great favour with the Ruinous Powers through their violent and blasphemous deeds. When circumstances dictated, several warbands would rally together under the banner of a greater Chaos Champion, or even Abaddon himself as the Warmaster of Chaos Undivided, usually in preparation for a major raid or incursion into the Imperium. The entirety of what remains of the Black Legion only gathers when Abaddon has managed to successfully unleash a new Black Crusade.
The overriding belief of the XVIth Legion's Astartes prior to the Warmaster's demise was in the ultimate superiority of Horus over all other beings in the Imperium and, by association, themselves as his genetic progeny. In continually seeking to prove themselves as the greatest of the Space Marine Legions, they did indeed achieve the most in terms of the sheer numbers of worlds brought into the Imperial fold during the Great Crusade, although much effort had to be expended by other Imperial forces to completely pacify these new worlds after the XVIth Legion had moved on to the next target.
The Sons of Horus' defeat and exile dealt a crushing blow to the collective ego of the Legion. This has fuelled the current Black Legion's almost fanatical intensity to restore unity amongst the Forces of Chaos in the Long War and drive on Terra to eliminate the Corpse Emperor and regain their place of primacy -- no matter the cost.
The Black Legion has recruited countless warbands of every stripe to their cause over the past 10,000 standard years -- though some of these still claim autonomy, they have all bent the knee to Abaddon the Despoiler as the Warmaster of Chaos, and all wear some variant of gold and black in honour of their adopted faction.
Many Black Legion warbands worship one of the Chaos Gods above the others, adorning their black battle-plate with icons, trophies and the favoured colours of their patron in the hope of attracting more divine favour -- and perhaps ascending beyond the Black Legion to claim mastery of their own fate as Daemon Princes. Many Traitor Legionaries are counted amongst these hosts, for Abaddon's strength as a leader is impossible to deny.
- Aphotic Blade - After he assumed control of the XVIth Legion, Abaddon formed from the Black Legion's ranks a personal bodyguard called the Aphotic Blade and known as the "Bringers of Despair" by their enemies, among other dark titles. Selected from the strongest and most vicious of his Terminator elite, these fearsome warriors are a terrifying sight, their arrival announcing the presence of the Despoiler himself.
- Hounds of Abaddon - The Hounds of Abaddon are a special formation of Chaos Space Marines found within the Black Legion who are wholly dedicated to the service of Khorne. Within the ranks of the Black Legion, the greatest of the Traitor Legions which serves Chaos Undivided, there still exist thousands of devotees of the Blood God Khorne. These Khornate Berserkers are always at the forefront of the Legion's assaults, charging and howling into the fray. These formations are known as the Hounds of Abaddon, who revel in close combat, where they can spill the greatest volume of blood for their god, using razor-toothed Chainaxes, wicked Lightning Claws or even their own mutant fangs. Though the Hounds are not a single unified warband within the Black Legion, they are led by Urkrathos, the current Lord Purgator of the Chosen of Abaddon and commander of the Legion's Black Fleet. Urkrathos claims all followers of Khorne within the Legion as his own and directs them according to the will of Abaddon the Despoiler, the Legion's Warmaster.
- Bringers of Decay - The Bringers of Decay are a special formation of Chaos Space Marines found within the Black Legion who are wholly dedicated to Nurgle. The Plague God has a strong following within the Black Legion; his putrid touch is evident throughout the ranks of its warriors. Under the dominance of the Chosen of Abaddon lieutenant Skyrak Slaughterborn, the current Lord Corruptor, the Nurglites have converted many to their cause. In battle, the Bringers of Decay are Abaddon's plague carriers and heralds of contagion, often appearing before other warbands of the Legion to sow infection and sickness amongst the foe. This could also be why many other warbands of the Black Legion will have little to do with the Bringers of Decay, repelled by the blessings of the Plague God they bear, and the pervasive stench that follows them.
- Children of Torment - The Children of Torment are a special formation of Chaos Space Marines found within the Black Legion who are wholly dedicated to the service of Slaanesh. Hundreds of followers of the Pleasure God have sworn their allegiance to Abaddon the Despoiler and joined the ranks of the Black Legion. Under the guidance of warlords such as Devram Korda, they are comprised of multiple powerful warbands which comprise this hedonistic collective. These devotees of the Prince of Pleasure bow to Abaddon, for he grants them unending opportunities to wallow in the pleasure provided by the anguish of his mortal victims, and feed upon their gushing lifeblood. Even though they are devotees of Slaanesh, the Children of Torment are despised by members of the Emperor's Children, who see them as traitors to the Daemon Primarch Fulgrim and lapdogs of a lesser Warmaster.
- Sons of the Cyclops - The Sons of the Cyclops are a special formation of Chaos Space Marines found within the Black Legion who are wholly dedicated to the service of Tzeentch. The Sons of the Cyclops are the smallest of the formations dedicated to a single Chaos God within the Black Legion. Consisting of the followers of the Lord of Change, including Chaos Sorcerers and their attending Rubricae, the Sons of the Cyclops hold an amount of power completely disproportionate to their diminutive numbers within the Black Legion. This is because of the many favours Abaddon the Despoiler lavishes upon the Sons of the Cyclops' leaders; powerful psykers and sorcerers like Zaraphiston and Ygethmor the Deceiver. Gifted seers and diviners, they make up the core of Abaddon's closest and most trusted advisors, peering into the future and guiding the multiple components of a Black Crusade toward Abaddon's ultimate goals.
- The Tormented - The warband known as The Tormented regroups all the Possessed Chaos Space Marines counted amongst the Black Legion's ranks into one formation. Those members of the Black Legion who take further steps on the road to power and merge their soul with a daemon, inviting a Warp-entity into their flesh and drinking deep of the Neverborn's corrupted power, forsake their allegiance to their former warband and join the ranks of The Tormented. Since their cataclysmal inception during the defence of the corpse of Horus on the Daemon World of Maeleum, the ranks of the Tormented have swollen and their influence grown. Each Battle-Brother of The Tormented has a dark reflection in the Warp, the twinned sentience of the daemon sharing the corrupted Astartes' mind. These daemons, unsurprisingly, have their own agendas and will act upon those when the opportunity arises, making the warband as a whole a rather unstable and unpredictable tool of war, yet none can deny their horrific visciousness in battle. The most powerful of the Possessed Legionaries are granted the honour of serving as Navigators on the Black Legion's warships, as the blasphemous mingling of Materium- and Immaterium-born minds grants a Possessed the perspective to guide a ship through the Warp with a speed and precision no other can hope to match.
- The Oath-Broken - Those that dare betray the Warmaster seldom live long enough to regret their mistake, and those who do quickly come to regret their folly bitterly as their bodies and souls are subjected to the most abject of agonies. The Oath-Broken are no true traitors to Abaddon, but merely those who failed in their assigned tasks, or got badly mauled on the battlefield and crippled by horrendous wounds. Failures and cripples invariably lose the fickle attention of their mortal and immortal masters alike, and without the blessings of the Powers of the Warp to mend their limbs or knit their broken bodies together with mutations, the Oath-Broken are forced to fashion their own crude replacements: blades sutured to stumps, xenos appendages crudely grafted into empty sockets and ragged armour patched with whatever material the Eye of Terror deems to provide. And yet, woe to the fool who underestimates these dregs of the Black Legion, for an Oath-Broken's desire to again bask in the glories that only Chaos can provide is only equal to his hatred of any who still do.
- Sarissan Iron Pact - The Sarissan Iron Pact is a large sub-faction within the inner circle of the Black Legion that operates directly under the command of Abaddon the Despoiler. The Iron Pact can trace its origins to the Sons of Horus and the Luna Wolves before them, when they served as the 28th Armoured Assault Company in the Legion of the Primarch Horus himself. Ordo Malleus archives state that this company was present throughout many of the Warmaster's campaigns during the Horus Heresy, and was particularly active in the northern war zones of the Segmentum Obscurus. The 28th Comprised a core of squads including Terminators and Breacher Squads, all mounted in a variety of tanks, including a speartip of Spart Heavy Assault Transports. At some point during the Scouring, the 28th Armoured Assault Company was dissolved or ceased to exist in its established form, but from its remnants arose the Sarissan Iron Pact. This group sided with Abaddon in the conflicts that sundered his Legion and by its end had been rendered down to a kernel of Spartans and Land Raiders, supported by a small number of surviving Land Raider Achilles'. The squads that were once part of the 28th fractured and split during the Scouring, leaving the Iron Pact as a cadre of highly experienced vehicle crew in command of several dozen of the heaviest assault transports ever constructed. The Despoiler calls upon the services of the Sarissan Iron Pact when his inner circle of Chosen Terminator squads are tasked with launching all-out assaults upon the most heavily defended positions. They are also highly effective in operating in the most hazardous of environments, for the Spartan in particular was constructed to transport infantry through war zones alight with ravening plasma. Thus, no world is immune from the wrath of Abaddon the Despoiler.
In the long, dark solar decades after the death of their Primarch, the Sons of Horus fragmented. When Ezekyle Abaddon proclaimed himself the new master of the XVIth Legion in the ruins of Maeleum, there were those who turned their back on the Despoiler.
These Legionaries either remained true to the memory of Horus or forsook all masters, before vanishing into the depths of the Eye of Terror. Most would disappear from history forever, but some returned to challenge the Black Legion, or in time rejoin its ranks. They are known to the Black Legion as the Thrice-Cursed Traitors:
- Sons of the Eye - The Sons of the Eye were a splinter warband of the Black Legion. They were led by the infamous Chaos Lord Drecarth the Sightless, the Blind Butcher of Irridous VII. Drecarth was a former Battle-Brother of the Sons of Horus who had fought alongside Abaddon during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy that followed. Always jealous of his Primarch Horus' favour for the Despoiler, the Sons of the Eye considered Abaddon a usurper. When Drecarth broke from Abaddon he had his warriors make a cut across the Eye of Horus sigils they wore on their armour, a symbol of the blindness of Horus that had led his Legion to destruction. During the 6th Black Crusade launched in 901.M36, Abaddon visited his wrath upon Drecarth the Sightless and his treacherous warband. Abaddon aided the Sons of the Eye in an assault on the Forge World of Arkreach, fighting side-by-side until the defenders were finally crushed. The triumphant Abaddon then slowly killed Drecarth, impaling him with the Talon of Horus. As Drecarth died painfully, the Despoiler made him watch every member of the Sons of the Eye bow before their new master.
- Wolves of Horus - The death of Horus left many veteran Legionaries of the Sons of Horus craving a return to the halcyon days when the XVIth Legion was known as the Luna Wolves. The Wolves of Horus chose to relive those early times, and venerate their dead Primarch by bearing his name.
- True Sons - Even after Horus' death, his Legion worshipped him as a god, bowing down to his tomb on Maeleum and making daily oaths of loyalty. The warband known as the True Sons never broke with these traditions, even after the destruction of the Primarch's body in the wake of the Slave Wars. Covering their armour in the symbol of the Eye of Horus, the True Sons build effigies of Horus wherever they go, bowing down to them before symbolically burning them.
The Chosen of Abaddon
- "Each of Abaddon's chosen have might enough to crush armies, conquer worlds and shake the very foundations of the stars. And yet every time we slay one of their number another warlord of equal strength takes his place. What hope is there in opposing such foes?"
- — The Betrayer of Kaldonia
Rather than a single force with a single leader, the Black Legion would become a mighty host of many warbands and warlords. Within this host, all would swear complete allegiance to Abaddon, and through an inner circle, he would lead them with absolute dominion. These favoured lieutenants became known as the Chosen of Abaddon. The Chosen were his favoured generals, standing above all others and enacting his dark will; a warped shadow of the Luna Wolves' Mournival in which he had once served.
Nowhere in the galaxy can a more feared and merciless collection of tyrants be found, always eager to put entire worlds to the sword in the name of Chaos. The last recorded deployment of a full Officio Assassinorum Execution Force was against the so-called Chosen of Abaddon. These four individuals were so hated by the Imperium of Man that an entire team of Assassins infiltrated Abaddon's flagship.
This was an extraordinary event, for it is rare for even one Assassin to be sent to deal with a threat. Abaddon learned of the impending attack and laid a trap for the Assassins, slaying all four and protecting his Chosen. The Chosen bear an assortment of titles, reflecting their role in a past Black Crusade or honouring particular acts of cruelty for which they are infamous. Their numbers are ever-changing, for Abaddon has little tolerance for failure amongst those who serve him. These four titles include:
The Lord Ravager leads the invasion fleets of the Black Crusade. It is he who first makes landfall on the surface of an Imperial world about to be ravaged by the Black Legion. The Lord Ravager leads Abaddon's ground forces and is always found in the vanguard of the assault.
- Devram Korda - Devram Korda, also known as "The Tyrant of Sarora", is a servant of the Chaos God Slaanesh, the Prince of Pleasure. A former Veteran Sergeant of the Sons of Horus Legion, after the events of the Horus Heresy, he rose to prominence and became a Chaos Lord. He became infamous for his blasphemous actions on the doomed world of Sarora, where he distilled the life essence of the citizens of the planet's largest hive city for a single vial of a sorcerous elixir which made him virtually invincible. He eventually became the current Lord Ravager, the individual who leads the invasion fleets of the Black Crusade in the name of Abaddon the Despoiler. It is Korda who first makes landfall on the surface of a world about to be assaulted by the Forces of Chaos. Korda also commands the personal retinue of the Despoiler, known as the Chosen of Abaddon. In the closing days of the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, Devram Korda returned to his master's side, bringing with him two individuals (later identified as Skyrak Slaughterborn and Urkrathos) who had journeyed to the centre of the Eye of Terror. Together with the Chaos Sorcerer Ygethmor the Deceiver, they presented Abaddon with the Heart of Chaos, a powerful artefact that Zaraphiston, a Chaos Sorcerer and rival Chaos Lord of the Despoiler, had long claimed could not exist.
The Lord Deceiver is a powerful Chaos Sorcerer whose esoteric visions of the Warp guide the Black Crusade from star system to star system, so that they might always find their prey, no matter where they hide.
- Ygethmor the Deceiver - Ygethmor the Deceiver, known also as the "Twice Damned" and the "Purgator of Corrialis", is a formidable Sorcerer Lord of the Black Legion. He currently serves as one of Abaddon the Despoiler's lieutenants and a member of his personal retinue, the Chosen of Abaddon. Ygethmor is the current Lord Deceiver, whose visions of the Warp lead the Black Crusade from star system to star system. During the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, the Officio Assassinorum sanctioned the deployment of an assassin team to eliminate Ygethmor, amongst other notable targets in service to the Archenemy. Whilst scrutiny of their field records is impossible, at least seven Assassinorum agents are known to have failed in the attempt to take the life of the Deceiver. Ygethmor led the assault of the Forces of Chaos during the campaign known as the Fall of Medusa V in an attempt to become a Daemon Prince. This effort failed and Ygethmor was slain by the blade of the Eldar Autarch Elarique Swiftblade of Craftworld Alaitoc, and those Champions of the Dark Gods who had followed him were left to their fates on the dying world as Medusa V was consumed by an onrushing Warp Storm. However, death rarely represents an end to the service of a Chaos Lord, if the Dark Gods still have use for him. The galaxy may yet suffer the tread of Ygethmor the Deceiver once more.
The Lord Corruptor is tasked with instilling fear and hatred amongst the Chaos Space Marines of the Black Legion. It is he who spreads fear and corruption before the Black Fleet, and also keeps the lesser warlords of the Legion in line through brutality and terror. His trophy rack is adorned with the skulls of failed servants.
- Skyrak Slaughterborn - The Chosen of Abaddon lieutenant named Skyrak Slaughterborn, the current Lord Corruptor, leads the warbands of Nurgle within the Black Legion into battle. Collectively known as the Bringers of Decay, they spread their disease and corruption throughout the Realms of Man. Skyrak is known to have led the large warband of Chaos Space Marines known as the Slaughterkin in the assault on Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade.
It falls to the Lord Purgator to ensure that every man, woman and child left alive on a world conquered by the Black Legion is dragged in chains into the hold of the Legion's starships, and that no edifice remains undedicated to the Dark Gods.
- Urkrathos - Within the ranks of the Black Legion are those who are bloody-handed servants of Khorne. Though not a single unified warband within the Black Legion, they are collectively known as the Hounds of Abaddon. Urkrathos, the current Lord Purgator of the Chosen of Abaddon and commander of the Legion's Black Fleet, claims all followers of Khorne within the Legion as his own and directs them according to the will of Abaddon.
Legion Combat Doctrine
The Space Marines of the Emperor's Legiones Astartes, like their modern counterparts, were genetically-engineered, psycho-indoctrinated warriors with superhuman abilities and minds and souls tempered for war. In addition, each individual Legion had its own idiosyncrasies and character -- the product of their gene-seed and unique warrior culture.
In the case of the Sons of Horus, the combat doctrines of this most aggressive Legion were those of the application of overwhelming force directed to where the foe was weakest. These shattering blows were used to utterly destroy enemy command cadres, vital strategic support structures and wreak terrible slaughter on the pride of an enemy's forces, often turning the tide of an entire conflict with a single, well-placed and savage attack.
Even on a personal level, the Sons of Horus took this merciless doctrine to heart and like the wolves they were once named for, were swift to exploit a foe's weakness, surrounding, and brutally tearing apart an outnumbered or exposed enemy before they could recover from the shock of an assault.
The XVIth Legion was a truly flexible fighting force, able to adapt to almost any combat situation. With the treachery of Horus, their gene-father, the Sons of Horus Legion grew ever more savage and proud. Freed of the last remaining shackles imposed on them by the distant rule of the Emperor and the dim remembrance of Terra's martial traditions, they fought with callous, calculated fury, born both of the darkness in their hearts and shadowed powers which Horus had found communion with. Their battle tactics became ever more predatory, while the Warmaster himself saw to it that as the rebellion burned on, his own Legion lacked neither for recruits nor the finest weapons and wargear his enthralled Dark Mechanicum allies could supply.
The Legion possessed an efficient chain of command, which fell into disarray after its Primarch, Horus, was killed during the Battle of Terra. In the years immediately following the end of the Horus Heresy, the Sons of Horus' discipline broke down completely, as the Legion dissolved into a number of competing warbands of Chaos Space Marines, each led by a different Chaos Champion who maintained his rule through the favour of the Dark Gods and often lethal discipline.
First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon ultimately managed to restore a measure of discipline to the XVIth Legion and to bring its disparate warbands under his control after he assumed Horus' place as the Warmaster of Chaos, mainly through exercising a level of fear and violence that could cow even the greatest of the Legion's Chaos Champions. At present, the Black Legion shows more unity of purpose and structural integrity than many of the other Traitor Legions, and only the Word Bearers Legion has managed to maintain its complete Imperial military hierarchy intact amongst the forces of Chaos.
The Black Legion generally favours close combat over ranged firefights, and Horus' tactic of "ripping the throat out of the enemy," the annihilation of the enemy's command apparatus through the use of a small force referred to as the "speartip," is still a favoured method of attack.
Black Legion commanders seek to apply constant pressure on the enemy in a number of lightning fast strikes. These sharp but limited assaults are meant to disrupt the enemy and secure positions that can be used for fire support. This in turn keeps the pressure on while new attacks are being prepared.
The time-lapse between each assault decreases with each advance, and the Black Legion commander will usually wait until the pressure reaches its highest point. When this occurs, the commander will lead the best Astartes amongst his warband, usually Aspiring Champions, in a final, devastating assault; an attack in which teleport-capable Terminators often feature. Hordes of daemons summoned from the Empyrean by the Black Legion's Chaos Sorcerers are also used for frontal assaults, and to pin the enemy in place while the Legion whittles them down.
The XVIth Legion's homeworld, the ancient Mining World of Cthonia, no longer exists, having apparently lost geo-structural integrity and broken apart into asteroids and debris during the centuries following the Horus Heresy. Certainly the once ore-rich planet was riddled with mine workings right through to its dead core as the numerous gangers that formed the majority of the world's population may originally have been imported as work teams to maintain the crumbling tunnels.
However there is some conjecture amongst Imperial savants that Cthonia was destroyed deliberately by the Imperium following the end of the Horus Heresy, when the Loyalist Astartes Legions moved to purge the homeworlds of each of the Traitor Legions during the Great Scouring to remove their Chaos corruption.
Since the destruction of their fortress on the Daemon World of Maeleum in the Eye of Terror by an alliance of Chaos Space Marines seeking to capture the body of the Warmaster Horus at the insistence of the former Emperor's Children Apothecary Fabius Bile, the Black Legion is no longer based on any particular planet, and is instead stationed permanently on various spacecraft within their large Legion fleet within the Eye of Terror.
The Black Legion possesses a single ancient Battle Barge from their original fleet, Horus' own flagship the Vengeful Spirit, as well as other vessels commandeered or captured from the Imperium over the millennia. In particular, many of the oldest Imperial Army starships that rebelled against the Imperium during the Horus Heresy now seem to be under Abaddon's command, along with newer vessels, such as the Planet Killer, he has ordered constructed within the Eye of Terror over the last 10 millennia.
- "This is our galaxy. Ours to corrupt. Ours to enslave. The gods will not be denied."
- — Xereth of the Black Legion
The overriding belief that animated the Astartes of the XVIth Legion prior to Horus' demise was in the ultimate superiority of Horus and themselves over all other beings in the galaxy. In continually seeking to prove themselves as the greatest of the Space Marine Legions, they did indeed achieve more than their fellow Astartes in terms of the sheer numbers of worlds brought into the Imperial fold prior to the Heresy.
The Sons of Horus' defeat at the Battle of Terra and exile to the Eye of Terror was a crushing blow to the collective ego of the Legion. It took all the strength of character of their new commander, Abaddon the Despoiler, to restore the Legion's sense of pride and refocus its Astartes on their ultimate goal -- to destroy everything that the Emperor of Mankind created and raise themselves up as the new rulers of the galaxy in the names of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos.
The Black Legion's gene-seed, prior to the incident on the Feral World of Davin where Horus was brought back from the brink of death through the power of the the Serpent Temple's Chaos Sorcerers and the corruptive touch of the Ruinous Powers, was perfectly pure and unusually potent, since it was derived from Horus' genome, who was generally considered the greatest of the Primarchs.
However, following their corruption by Chaos, the Black Legion's Space Marines started to exhibit random genetic mutations, and it is likely that this taint now affects their gene-seed as it has almost all of the Traitor Legions. The regular practice among the Legion's Astartes of seeking daemonic possession may also have accelerated the effect. However, such mutations are seen as a mark of favour from the Chaos Gods and are generally displayed with pride by Black Legion Astartes.
However, it also means that the Legion can no longer produce new Astartes from its own gene-seed to replenish its ranks since the Astartes organs will not properly cultivate or will be so genetically warped as to kill any human male they are implanted within. This inability to replace losses is a problem that afflicts all of the Traitor Legions and drives them to seek out uncorrupted Imperial Space Marine gene-seed stores whenever possible.
Notable Legion Members
- Horus - Horus, also known as Horus Lupercal, was the Primarch of the XVIth Legion and served as the first Imperial Warmaster during the Great Crusade. Once the most favoured son of the Emperor of Mankind, he ultimately became the greatest Arch-Traitor in the history of Mankind when he turned from the Emperor's light and led half the Legiones Astartes in a galaxy-wide rebellion known as the Horus Heresy. Ultimately, this rebellion failed when the Emperor confronted Horus at the climactic Battle of Terra aboard his flagship Vengeful Spirit in mortal combat and killed him, which left the Emperor gravely wounded. This would result in His ten millennia internment within the life-sustaining prosthetic device known as the Golden Throne.
- Ezekyle Abaddon - Abaddon was the First Captain of the XVIth Legion's elite 1st Company, known as the Justaerin, and was recognised as the greatest warrior of that Legion after its Primarch Horus himself. He was also the leader of the Legion's unofficial advisory council composed of four senior Captains, called the Mournival. Rumours indicate that Abaddon may have been the result of early experiments to clone Horus. Abaddon eventually became the heir of Horus as the leader of the Black Legion after Horus' death at the end of the Horus Heresy and rose to become the new Warmaster of Chaos Undivided. Abaddon, often called Abaddon the Despoiler in the Imperium, is now one of the most powerful Chaos Lords, if not the most powerful, in the galaxy. He alone possesses the power to unite all the warbands of the Black Legion as well as the other Traitor Legions into a powerful army of Chaos in preparation for one last Black Crusade against the Imperium, to finally end the Long War that began ten millennia ago.
- Maloghurst, "The Twisted" - Maloghurst served as Horus' Equerry, public voice and political enforcer, and during the Horus Heresy he became the Warmaster's unofficial secret police chief. Maloghurst was known as 'The Twisted' for being a shrewd manipulator and the way in which his brilliant mind schemed up complex machinations. Known as a formidable warrior within the Legion there was some speculation that Maloghurst was a serious contender for the First Captaincy of the Luna Wolves which was held by Ezekyle Abaddon before the Warmaster made him his Equerry. During the campaign to bring the world designated as 63-19 into Imperial Compliance in the last days of the Great Crusade, Maloghurst was despatched by the Warmaster to the planet's surface to parlay with the false leader of this world who ironically called himself the "Emperor of Mankind". Unfortunately, Maloghurst met his fate when his Stormbird was shot down and he was horribly wounded after crash-landing on the planet's surface. His body was mangled and his spine horribly twisted. His body was now as physically twisted as his mind, which had long been given to deception and manipulation in a way that was unusual for the usually straight-forward Astartes. Though physically unable to remain on active combat duty as an Astartes, when selected by his Primarch to serve as his closest aide, Maloghurst proved more than willing. After Horus' corruption by Chaos on Davin, he conspired to overthrow the Emperor and install himself as the new ruler of the Imperium. It became Maloghurst's duty to ensure that the Warmaster's orders were carried out, in his new capacity as the chief enforcer of Horus' will. During the initial phases of Horus' plan to conquer the Imperium, he first needed to rid the various Traitor Legions of their remaining Loyalist Astartes on Istvaan III. Once he learned of the plan to exterminate the Loyalists while they were fighting in the Choral City on the planet below, the Loyalist Death Guard Captain Nathaniel Garro seized the Frigate Eisenstein in orbit of Istvaan III in order to flee to Terra and warn the Emperor of the Warmaster's treachery. It was Maloghurst who directed the Death Guard's First Captain Calas Typhon aboard his warship, the Terminus Est, to intercept and prevent the Eisenstein from escaping. Typhon failed at this task, and the Eisenstein escaped, badly damaged, into the Warp. Over the seven years of the Horus Heresy that followed, Maloghurst would become a dark, feared figure amongst his fellow Astartes and mortals alike, and would be responsible for ordering some of the most heinous crimes carried out by the Traitor Legions against civilian populations during the course of the great galactic civil war.
- Argonis, "The Unscarred" - Argonis was a member of the Sons of Horus Legion during the Horus Heresy who received his byname because his body was covered in scars and tatoos, but his face remained smooth and unmarked. Agonis was an emissary of the Warmaster Horus who served under Maloghurst during the Horus Heresy. He also served as a Chieftain of the Isidis Flight which was oathbonded to his Legion's elite 1st Company. He was sent by the Warmaster to investigate the progress of the Iron Warriors during the Battle of Tallarn.
- Falkus Kibre, "Widowmaker" - Falkus Kibre was a Captain of the elite 1st Company who led the black-armoured Terminator Squad known as the "Widowmakers" of the elite Justaerin, Horus' personal honour guard. Following the Warmaster's fall to Chaos and turn from the light of the Emperor, Kibre willingly followed his Primarch into damnation during the Horus Heresy. He led the Justaerin during some of the most infamous campaigns during this period of upheaval and rebellion, including the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V and the Battle of Terra. Following the dissolution of the Mournival with the losses of Captains Loken and Torgaddon on Istvaan III during the conflict between the Traitors and Loyalists within the Sons of Horus, Horus Aximand suggested the reformation of the Mournival, proposing to First Captain Abaddon that Kibre be one of its members. Kibre was eventually recommended to become a member of the Mournival by First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon following the Battle of the Mausolytic Precinct on the planet Dwell to replace the Mournival members who had been lost. Ten millennia later, Kibre still serves Abaddon, the new Warmaster of Chaos, as part of the Black Legion's Terminator elite.
- Kalus Ekaddon - Captain of the Catulan Reaver Assault Squads of the elite 1st Company.
- Raxhal Koraddon - Raxhal Koraddon was a Chieftain of the Catulan Reavers raised to captaincy for his bloody endeavours during scouring of the Sons of Horus Legion of its Loyalists on the ash-strewn ruins of Istvaan III. Koraddon had gained a fierce reputation in the years of war that followed Istvaan III, first during the Dropsite Massacre and later in leading a score of Dark Compliance actions for his Primarch across the northern reaches of the Segmentum Obscurus. In 009.M31, he was entrusted as Horus' proxy, to treat with the Mechanicum of the Forge World of Xana II in order to secure a trio of deadly Ordinatii, a class of the most powerful and acrane mobile weapons platforms in the Mechanicum's arsenal. However, his plans were foiled when a large Blackshield irregular force and a small force of Dark Angels attacked during the Xana Incursion, and seized two Ordinatii and evacuated from the surface of Xana-Tisiphone. Enraged, Koraddon executed his host, Archmagos Gilim Raijan, before taking his leave. His ultimate fate following this incident, is unknown.
- Tarik Torgaddon (Deceased) - Tarik Torgaddon was the Captain of the 2nd Company and a member of the Mournival who remained loyal to the Emperor when the Sons of Horus turned to Chaos. Torgaddon was killed during the Battle of Istvaan III when he was beheaded by his fellow Mournival member Horus Aximand. His headless body was often used as an imaginary interlocutor in the mad ravings of Garviel Loken, the only survivor of the battle on Istvaan III who would later be recovered by the former Death Guard Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro to serve in the secret organisation that would become the Imperial Inquisition.
- Iacton Qruze, "The Half-Heard" - Qruze was the Captain of the 3rd Company, a very old Space Marine who was a native of Cthonia. By the time of the Horus Heresy he was one of the only Cthonian Astartes still serving in the XVIth Legion who remembered what it was like when the Luna Wolves had served only the Emperor before Horus had been rediscovered by his father. Qruze had been a captain of the Luna Wolves since the Legion's inception and was even a veteran of the Unification Wars on Terra. Considered ancient by dint of his length of service to the Legion as well as his continued die-hard loyalty to habits of the Legion from the time of its Terran past that he could not seem to break. Qruze, like most Terran Astartes in the Traitor Legions, remained loyal to the Emperor when Horus turned to the service of Chaos in pursuit of his own ambitions. Recognising that the Sons of Horus no longer represented the Astartes he had once known, Qruze rescued the civilian Remembrancers Mersadie Oliton and Euphrati Keeler as well as the Senior Iterator Kyril Sindermann from Horus' massacre of civilians on his flagship the Vengeful Spirit and fled with them to the Frigate Eisenstein during the virus-bombing of Istvaan III. During the flight of the Eisenstein to Terra, Qruze formed a firm bond with the former Death Guard Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro, the pair were told by Malcador the Sigillite, the Regent of Terra, that they, along with the Sister of Silence Amendera Kendel, were to form the beginnings of an organisation that would utilise "men and women of an inquisitive nature, hunters who might seek the witch, the traitor, the mutant, the xenos" -- later known as the Imperial Inquisition.
- Hastur Sejanus (Deceased) - Sejanus had been the Captain of the 4th Company and a member of the Mournival during the Great Crusade. Sejanus was sent as an ambassador of the Luna Wolves to greet the leader of the world of 63-19 who styled himself the "Emperor of Mankind" and whose planet had not yet been brought into Imperial Compliance, and was brutally murdered. Horus had loved Sejanus like a son and felt towards him the way he believed that his own father, the Emperor, loved him. Garviel Loken replaced Sejanus on the Mournival following the Imperial Compliance of the world designated 63-19.
- Horus "Little Horus" Aximand - Horus Aximand, known as "Little Horus" because of his uncanny resemblance to his Primarch, was the Captain of the 5th Company and also a member of the Mournival. Aximand was originally very loyal to the Emperor and the Imperium's ideals, but reluctantly turned to the service of the Ruinous Powers when the Warmaster took ill on the Feral World of Davin and his Astartes desperately agreed to let him be cured by the Chaos Cult known as the Temple of the Serpent Lodge in direct violation of the Imperial Truth. Aximand's loyalty to Horus ran so deep that, in the end, it overrode his own better judgment and fealty to the Emperor. Aximand beheaded Tarik Torgaddon during the fighting against the Traitor Legions' Loyalists on Istvaan III, but was later overcome with regret for his actions. Both Horus and First Captain Abaddon took notice of this unexpected weakness in their comrade, but took no actions against Aximand as long as he presented no hindrance to their plans.
- Yade Durso - Yade Durso served as the second Captain to command the 5th Company during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
- Zeb Zenonius - Sergeant of the Bale Tactical Squad of the 5th Company during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
- Serghar Targost - Captain of the 7th Company and the Lodge Master of the Sons of Horus' Warrior Lodge, the heart of the Legion's growing allegiance to the Chaos Gods.
- Kergath the Flame - Kergath was originally the Captain of the 9th Company during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. He would survive the galaxy-wide civil war and go on to serve Abaddon the Despoiler and his Black Legion as a powerful war leader of the remnants of his original company, which was now a Renegade warband. During the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, while attacking the vital Astropath listening post on the Mining World of Ormantep, located on the outskirts of the Cadian Gate, the Black Legionaries were soon set upon by an unexpected foe -- the returned Wulfen warriors of the Space Wolves' lost 13th Great Company. Within minutes, all of the Black Legionaries were savagely killed by the lupine creatures, who mysteriously vanished, as quickly as they had arrived.
- Garviel Loken - Loken was the Captain of the 10th Company and was made a member of the Mournival after the death of Hastur Sejanus. Loken possessed one of the most analytical and perceptive minds amongst the Astartes of the XVIth Legion. Loken remained firmly loyal to the Emperor and His vision of a new Golden Age for Mankind and was one of the first amongst the Sons of Horus to realize that the Warmaster had changed after his miraculous healing in the Temple of the Serpent Lodge on Davin and that he was subsequently leading the XVIth Legion down a dark and dangerous path. Loken, along with his friends Captain Tarik Torgaddon and Sergeant Nero Vipus, were selected by Horus to lead the Sons of Horus' participation in the campaign on the world of Istvaan III, which had recently rebelled against the Emperor and declared itself an independent principality. However, shortly after the liberation of the planet's capital, Choral City, from the Slaaneshi rebels, Horus betrayed the Loyalist Astartes he had deliberately sent to the planet below, and bombarded its surface from orbit with Life-Eater virus bombs. However, because of the heroic actions of Captain Saul Tarvitz of the Emperor's Children, many of the Loyalists manage to survive the initial bombardment. Captains Loken, Torgaddon, and Tarvitz took command of the Loyalist elements that remained and fought a three-month-long holding campaign against the Traitors that delayed their plans to move on Terra. Finally, when Horus had had enough, he sent Loken and Torgaddon's traitorous former Mournival brothers, Ezekyle Abaddon and Horus Aximand, to the planet's surface to kill Loken and Torgaddon while he prepared to wipe out the remaining Loyalists with an orbital bombardment. In the ensuing fight, Torgaddon was beheaded by Aximand, but before Loken could be similarly slain by Abaddon, the ruins they had been fighting in were crushed by the Imperator-class Titan Dies Irae. Loken somehow managed to survive the collapse of the ruins upon him but was left badly wounded in both body and spirit, having been driven partially insane by his Legion's betrayal. He was presumed killed by the XVIth Legion following the final bombardment of the Choral City, but survived and took to wandering the ruins of the Choral City, slaying the groups of wandering Plague Zombies who were raised from the corpses scattered across the dead world by the taint of Nurgle whose influence had grown on the world as a result of the use of the Life-Eater virus to kill its population. Several years later, Loken was found alive and partially insane in the ruins of the Choral City on Istvaan III by the former Death Guard Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro, who had been sent to find Loken so that he could become one of the first Astartes to join what would become the Imperial Inquisition. Garro engaged Loken in a duel and managed to restore his sanity by reminding him of who he was and that he possessed a duty to fight the Emperor's enemies for so long as he still drew breath.
- Luc Sedirae - Sedirae was the Captain of the 13th Company following the events of the Istvaan III Atrocity. An exceptional warrior, Sedirae's martial exploits were considered not far behind those of First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon. Sedirae was even considered at one point worthy of elevation into the esteemed ranks of the XVIth Legion's elite Mournival, but was passed over in favour of Garviel Loken. The rumoured reason for this was that he was considered too ruthless in battle and too eager an advocate of unleashing warfare to bring worlds into Imperial Compliance when diplomacy would prove to be just as effective. Sedirae was later present on the planet Dagonet in the Segmentum Ultima during the early days of the Horus Heresy after the Sons of Horus had turned to the service of Chaos. Dagonet had been the site of one of Horus' first conquests of the Great Crusade, in which he claimed the planet for the Imperium with only a single Bolter shot. A lengthy civil war ensued between the Loyalist and Traitor factions on the world, with the pro-Horus aristocracy emerging as the dominant rulers of the planet. At the beginning of the Horus Heresy, Dagonet declared their allegiance to the Warmaster and invited him to attend a ceremony in his honour. But by this time, there had been a number of assassination attempts on the Warmaster's life by Loyalist Assassins. Therefore, Sedirae, acting as a body-double, wore Horus' Power Armour and descended to the planet's surface in the Warmaster's place. Upon removing his helm, a team of Imperial Assassins killed the false "Horus". The Sons of Horus were roused to a murderous rage and killed Dagonet's entire aristocracy, and then proceeded to vent their anger by exterminating the rest of the world's remaining population.
- Jerrod - Replacement Captain of the 13th Company after Luc Sedirae was killed on the world of Dagonet while he was fulfilling his role as a body double for the real Horus and was assassinated by a special Officio Assassinorum strike team.
- Tybalt Marr, "The Either" & Verulam Moy, "The Or" - Captains of the 18th and 19th Companies, respectively. Marr and Moy had an unusually close friendship with one another. They were amongst those Luna Wolves Battle-Brothers who looked very similar in physical appearance to their Primarch Horus, and were colloquially known as "Sons of Horus". Though notable for their striking resemblance to their Primarch, the similarities between the two were such (both physical and in the way in which they interacted with one another, and the similar styles in which they led their respective companies) that most within the Legion considered them almost as identical twins. Therefore, they were respectively referred to as the "The Either" and "The Or". Their companies often fought together in concert when circumstances permitted. It is interesting to note that Captain Moy was often placed in the speartip, the term used by the original Luna Wolves Legion as the initial assault element in any attack, while Captain Marr was not. It would be on Davin's moon that Captain Moy would meet his fate. Already a member of the Warrior Lodge and a capable line officer, Moy still hungered for the opportunity to distinguish himself as one of the elite Astartes of his Legion. When he was selected by the Warmaster to lead a speartip into the crashed flagship of the renegade Planetary Governor Eugen Temba, it appeared his opportunity for glory had finally arrived. Unfortunately, he was killed when he encountered the now Chaos-corrupted Temba after refusing his offer to submit to the corrupting influence of the Plague Lord Nurgle. The death of Moy affected Marr greatly, as he became sullen and withdrawn after visiting the scene of his friend's death. With Moy's death, Marr changed his mind about joining the XVIth Legion's Warrior Lodge and so, on the eve of the Horus Heresy, he was inducted by Horus himself and followed his Legion to its eventual damnation.
- Grael Noctua "The Warlocked" - Successor of the fallen Lev Goshen, Grael Noctua was originally a Sergeant in the 25th Company. Not long after the events of the Dropsite Massacre at Istvaan V, Sergeant Noctua was recommended by Horus Aximand to fill one of the missing positions within the elite Mournival following the Battle of Dwell, where he had performed admirably. He would later take part in the Battle of Molech, both on the planet's surface fighting Imperial forces, as well as above in orbit, against a Knights-Errant strike team that had infiltrated the Sons of Horus' flagship, Vengeful Spirit, in a failed attempt to assassinate the Warmaster and pave the way for a Space Wolves strike force. While fighting against the Knights-Errant, Noctua was stabbed by the former Luna Wolve named Severian. Following the Knights-Errants' escape, the Daemon known as Tormageddon possessed the body of Noctua, as it's former host, had been destroyed during the fighting. Noctua's ultimate fate is unknown.
- Lev Goshen - Lev Goshen was the Captain of the 25th Company.
- Ekron Fal - Veteran-Justaerin Ekron Fal was a warrior of enormous renown within the ranks of the 1st Company, 12th Chapter of the Sons of Horus. He gained prominence in the later battles of the Ullanor Crusade and was admitted to the ranks of the Justaerin at its conclusion. According to later cult-material captured in the Sack of Hybarix, he also covertly held high rank in several tiers of the Warrior Lodges operating within the XVIth Legion. Veteran-Justaerin Fal led his Justaerin Terminator Squad, known as the Seventh Occluded, as a part of the Umbra Sons Terminator Cohort throughout the opening defensive phase of the Drop Site Massacre, repelling attacks on the fortress-line by the Loyalist Astartes of the Salamanders, Iron Hands and Raven Guard, before leading a decisive counter-charge in the battle's final act. Shortly thereafter, Ekron Fal was promoted to the rank of Centurion by Horus himself.
- Chieftain K'lathall - According to a stele, recovered on Goth after the war, dedicated to the war leader Chieftain K'lathall, he served in a Despoiler squad at Istvaan III, proving by the exceptional savagery of his deeds that he was deserving of a more honoured appointment. Being placed in command of a Reaver Attack Squad of the 7th Assault Company, he participated in the final assault on the gates of the Palace of Light at Hive Ilium on Manachea. To Chieftain K'lathall fell the honour of being the first to breach the palace's inner bounds. This was merely the beginning of this Sons of Horus Legionary's rise within his Legion, as the Stele of Goth attest. K'lathall's ultimate fate following the Heresy is unknown.
- Guljuk Ygethddon - Sergeant Ygethddon commanded a Despoiler Squad of the 9th Battle Company, 2nd Battalion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Nero Vipus - Locasta Tactical Squad Sergeant assigned to the 10th Company who fought on Istvaan III and remained loyal to the Emperor.
- Xavyer Jubal - Xayver Jubal was the sergeant of the Hellbore Tactical Squad of the 10th Company. He was angered when Captain Garviel Loken chose to promote Nero Vipus to the position of senior sergeant of the 10th Company, after Garviel had been accepted into the Mournival. Jubal felt that the promotion should have gone to him, since he was of a higher rank and had served longer as a sergeant than Vipus. It was his resentment for Loken and his jealousy of Vipus that allowed a daemonic Warp-entity known as "Samus" to corrupt and possess him deep beneath the Whisperhead Mountains on the world of 63-19. Jubal killed his entire squad before attacking Loken and the accompanying members of Brakespur Squad. Loken restrained Jubal, but only after several members of Brakespur Squad were killed by their former Battle-Brother. The insipid powers of the Warp then mutated Jubal into the visage of a slobbering, raging Daemonhost. Jubal killed two Remembrancers who had arrived beneath the Whisperhead Mountains to document the Luna Wolves' latest victory before being torn apart by the Bolters of Loken and Vipus. Jubal was a member of the XVIth Legion's Warrior Lodge, but had not attended any meetings in years at the time of his death, though Loken learned of the lodge's existence within his Legion when he went through Jubal's effects and found a Lodge Medal.
- Talonus - Talonus was the Sergeant of the Pithraes Tactical Squad of the 10th Company.
- Rassek - Rassek was a Terminator Squad Sergeant attached to the 10th Company. He was possibly a member of the elite Justaerin Terminator Squad of the 1st Company.
- Kairus - Sergeant of the Walkure Tactical Squad of the 10th Company.
- Ghrastak (Deceased) - Ghrastak was a Cthonian by origin and a former Captain of the 13th Battle Company until he fell in battle during the purgation campaign against the Khrave of Morduna. Though interred within the admantium sarcophagus of a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought, he remained a staunch devotee of the Emperor and of the ideals of Unification. As a result of his Loyalist sympathies, he became a victim of Horus' conspiracy. Deployed via Drop Pod with the Loyalist Sons of Horus' first wave on Istvaan III, he was ultimately betrayed unto death fighting against the follow-on Traitor forces that ultimately culled the few remaining Loyalists after a two-month-long siege during the Istvaan III Atrocity.
- Amurael - Amurael, known also as "Amurael the Corrupted", was a Chaos Dreadnought of the Black Legion. He was once a warleader of a Black Legion warband until he was cleft in two by a Khornate Daemon. His shattered remains were entombed witin a Dreadnought chassis, allowing him to continue to fight the Long War. He would later take part in multiple battles against the Crimson Fists Chapter.
- Master-Driver Ummaos Ludarch - Ummaos Ludarch served for over a decade as a squad leader in 13th Company under Luc Sedirae, and he took part in the conquest of several dozen worlds, culminating in the Dark Compliance of the world of Dagonet. It was during that operation that Ludarch's commander was slain, it is believed by a clade of assassins dispatched from Terra, and in the aftermath the Sons of Horus launched a vengeance campaign during which many thousands were punished, regardless of their complicity in the assassination. It was during this period of brutality and punishment that Ummaos Ludarch excelled himself in the eyes of his superiors, leading to him being detached from the 13th Company and assigned command over a Traitor muster of several thousand slave-troops in future campaigns. Ludarch's ultimate fate is unknown.
- Grael Noctua - Noctua was a Tactical Squad Sergeant assigned to the 25th Company during the Horus Heresy. Noctua was recommended to become a member of the Mournival by Captain Horus Aximand following the Battle of the Mausolytic Precinct on the planet Dwell to replace the Mournival members who had been lost on Istvaan III during the conflict between the Traitors and Loyalists within the Sons of Horus.
- Kloros Endall - Lieutenant Endall was a Terran-born veteran of the XVIth Legion. He was a part of the first wave of Loyalists during the assault on Istvaan III's Choral City, and was presumably slain during the subsequent betrayal.
- Dastruak Judd - Section-Leader Judd was a part of the Traitor attack forces unleashed against the Siren-Hold defences in the latter stages of the Istvaan III Atrocity, where he was slain by the Loyalist Sons of Horus Contemptor Dreadnought Ghrastak.
- Avakhol Hurr - Hurr was a part of the XVIth Legion's Rukal Breacher Battalion, which was primarily employed as a support assault contingent during boarding actions and siege operations. The Rukal customarily practised the macabre preservation of any blood spray from their previous engagements on their armour as a visible sign of their destructive intent.
- Severian - Severian was an Astartes of the 28th Company who was incarcerated in the prison of Khangba Marwu on Terra after the outbreak of the Horus Heresy. Severian escaped from the prison along with several other Astartes of the Crusader Host. Severian was last sighted in the Petitioner's City on Terra and his ultimate fate remains unknown.
- Devram Korda - Also known as "The Tyrant of Sarora", Devram Korda is a servant of the Chaos God Slaanesh, the Prince of Pleasure. During the Great Crusade and the opening days of the Horus Heresy, Korda served within the vaunted Sons of Horus Legion under the command of the Warmaster Horus. When the Warmaster fell to the corrupting influence of the Chaos Gods and began the terrible galactic civil war known as the Horus Heresy, Devram Korda willingly followed his Primarch into damnation. By the opening days of the conflict, Korda served as a Veteran Sergeant of the 13th Company, of the XVIth Legion and as one of the seconds of Captain Luc Sedirae. Korda was present on the Legion's flagship Vengeful Spirit when Captain Sedirae and First Chaplain Erebus of the Word Bearers Legion were able to unmask the Clade Venenum Assassin known as Tobeld. Korda slew the assassin himself. Following the events of the Horus Heresy, he rose to prominence and became a Chaos Lord. He became infamous for his blasphemous actions on the doomed world of Sarora, where he distilled the life essence of the citizens of the planet's largest hive city for a single vial of a sorcerous elixir which made him virtually invincible. He eventually became the current Lord Ravager, the individual who leads the invasion fleets of the Black Crusade in the name of Abaddon the Despoiler. It is Korda who first makes landfall on the surface of a world about to be assaulted by the Forces of Chaos. Korda also commands the personal retinue of the Despoiler, known as the Chosen of Abaddon. In the closing days of the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, Devram Korda returned to his master's side, bringing with him two individuals (later identified as Skyrak Slaughterborn and Urkrathos) who had journeyed to the centre of the Eye of Terror. Together with the Chaos Sorcerer Ygethmor the Deceiver, they presented Abaddon with the Heart of Chaos, a powerful artefact that Zaraphiston, a Tzeentchian Chaos Sorcerer and rival Chaos Lord of the Despoiler, had long claimed could not exist.
- Zaraphiston - Zaraphiston is a Chaos Sorcerer of the Black Legion and the most senior advisor to Abaddon. Originally, he was a Legionary of the Thousand Sons, and following the Scouring of Prospero and their extrication to the Planet of the Sorcerers, at the behest of his patron god Tzeentch, he traveled deep into the Eye of Terror. On a Daemon World made of brass cogs and ticking chronometres, Zaraphiston was gifted with a terrible understanding of precognition. Thereafter, he joined the Black Legion and pledged his service to the Warmaster. He would later play a pivotal role in the construction of the massive Planet Killer, and often utilises divination to predict the plans of Abaddon's enemies.
- Ygethmor the Deceiver - Ygethmor the Deceiver, known also as the "Twice Damned" and the "Purgator of Corrialis", is a formidable Sorcerer Lord of the Black Legion. He currently serves as one of Abaddon the Despoiler's lieutenants and a member of his personal retinue, the Chosen of Abaddon. Ygethmor is the current Lord Deceiver, whose visions of the Warp lead the Black Crusade from star system to star system. During the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, the Officio Assassinorum sanctioned the deployment of an assassin team to eliminate Ygethmor, amongst other notable targets in service to the Archenemy. Whilst scrutiny of their field records is impossible, at least seven Assassinorum agents are known to have failed in the attempt to take the life of the Deceiver.
- Iskandar Khayon - Iskandar Khayon, also known as the "Kingbreaker" and "Khayon the Black", is a Chaos Sorcerer and Lord Vigilator of the Black Legion. He is one of Warmaster Abaddon's most trusted and valued lieutenants and a member of the Ezekarion, the elite brotherhood within the legion. As of now, Khayon remains a prisoner of the Imperial Inquisition, to which he had surrendered willingly, as a part of Abbadon's plans.
- Telemachon Lyras - Telemachon Lyras, known originally as Telemachon Lyral, was a Terran-born Legionary of the Emperor's Children. In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy and his Legion's fall to the corrupting influence of the Pleasure God, Slaanesh, Lyras became the second-in-command of a warband led by Kadalus Orlantir, which consisted of the Emperor's Children's 16th, 40th and 51st Companies. Commanding his own warship, the Threat of Rapture, Lyras took part in an assault by Kadalus on the forces of Falkus Kibre, Lheorvine Ukris, and Iskandar Khayon. During the battle, Lyras was badly wounded by Khayon and captured as the trio attempted to escape. Afterwards, aboard the Thousand Sons' vessel Tlaloc, Lyras was healed by Khayon's Dark Eldar bloodward, Nefertari, whom he quickly fell in love with, despite the fact that Khayon intended to use the Dark Eldar maiden to viciously torture him. Instead, the torture only furthered the love of the smitten Lyras for his torturer. Ultimately, Lyras defected to Abaddon's side and aided his forces during the Battle of Harmony. Though Nefertari was killed during the battle by a clone of the dead Horus, Lyras would continue to serve as one of Abaddon's lieutenants. Much later, during the 7th Black Crusade, Lyras served as a key commander alongside both Khayon and Abaddon himself, and took part in the near destruction of the Blood Angels Chapter on the planet Mackan.
- Ashur-Kai Qezremah, "White Seer" - Ashur-Kai was a potent Psyker of the Thousand Sons Legion who commanded the warship Tlaloc. This potent warship possessed a partly-daemonic Machine Spirit known as Anamnesis. He had eventually found himself in service to the Thousand Sons' Sorcerer Iskandar Khayon, and became a part of his Kha'Sherhan warband. Along with his Chaos Lord and his fellow Chaos Space Marines, Ashur-Kai also swore his service to Abaddon the Despoiler and his Black Legion, and later took part in their first engagement, known as the Battle of Harmony. Though his vessel was destroyed during the vicious battle, Ashur-Kai had been aboard the Vengeful Spirit and would continue to serve the Warmaster.
- Skyrak Slaughterborn - Skyrak Slaughterborn is a Chaos Lord of the Black Legion of Chaos Space Marines and the current Lord Corruptor of the Chosen of Abaddon. Skyrak Slaughterborn leads the warbands of Nurgle within the Black Legion into battle. Collectively known as the Bringers of Decay, they spread their disease and corruption throughout the Realms of Man. Skyrak is known to have led the large warband of Chaos Space Marines known as the Slaughterkin in the assault on Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade. The Lord Corruptor is tasked with instilling fear and hatred amongst the Chaos Space Marines of the Black Legion. His trophy rack is adorned with the skulls of failed servants.
- Urkrathos - Urkrathos is a Chaos Lord of the Black Legion of Chaos Space Marines and the current Lord Purgator of the Chosen of Abaddon. Within the ranks of the Black Legion are those who are bloody-handed servants of Khorne. Though not a single unified warband within the Black Legion, they are collectively known as the Hounds of Abaddon. Urkrathos, the current Lord Purgator and commander of the Legion's Black Fleet, claims all followers of Khorne within the Legion as his own and directs them according to the will of Abaddon the Despoiler, the Warmaster of Chaos and master of the Black Legion. It falls to the Lord Purgator to ensure that every man, woman and child left alive on a world conquered by the Black Legion is dragged in chains into the hold of the Legion's starships, and that no edifice remains undedicated to the Dark Gods.
- Araghast the Pillager - Araghast the Pillager was a powerful Chaos Lord who commanded the Chaos Space Marine warband of the Black Legion that assaulted the Sub-sector Aurelia during the Second Aurelian Crusade. Araghast was betrayed by his second-in-command, the former Dark Apostle Eliphas the Inheritor, and subsequently killed by a Blood Ravens Chapter strike force led by Force Commander Aramus.
- Zagthean the Broken - Zagthean is a Chaos Lord of the Black Legion who led his Black Legion warband in a fury of violence and excess on the Agri-world of Valesia. For his own satisfaction, the Chaos warlord constructed a vast maze of thorns from the world's rose orchards, blinding his prisoners and loosing them within its tunnels, before hunting them down at his leisure. Countless inhabitants spent their final terrifying hours listening desperately for the sounds of pursuit, their flesh bleeding from dozens of thorn cuts. Sometime after the 4th Black Crusade, Zagthean pillaged the world of Helosian in the Agripinaa Sector. Taking the Convent of Alabaster Maidens prisoner, he exposed them to the energies of the Warp, triggering their latent psychic gifts. Zagthean then uses Warp-tech to fuse the maidens into a single entity, before using the resultant abomination as a living Warp portal to unleash a daemonic invasion. Zagthean also served as one of the Black Legion's commanders during the 13th Black Crusade to destroy Cadia.
- Corpulax - Corpulax was originally a member of the Consecrators Chapter, who was infected with the Zombie Plague while battling the plague-ridden forces of Typhus. Left for dead, Corpulax awoke as a reanimated corpse. However, unlike other plague victims, Corpulax retained his intelligence and cognitive abilities. He eventually became a willing servant of the Plague God Nurgle and for the last three centuries, has orchestrated an inexorable rise to power, until finally, he became one of Abaddon's most trusted warlords. Fighting in dozens of battles besides his lord's side, or carrying out the Warmaster's bidding, Corpulax continues to spread the terrible plague that he was infected with. He is single-handedly responsible for disseminating the virulent plague that wiped out every inhabitant of the city of Atika during the Pandorax Campaign.
- Drecarth the Sightless - The Sons of the Eye were a splinter warband of the Black Legion that was founded and commanded by the infamous Chaos Lord Drecarth the Sightless, the Blind Butcher of Irridous VII, a former Battle-Brother of the Sons of Horus who had fought alongside Abaddon during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy that followed. Always jealous of the Primarch Horus' favour for the Despoiler, the Sons of the Eye considered Abaddon a usurper. During the 6th Black Crusade, launched in 901.M36, Abaddon visited his wrath upon Drecarth the Sightless and his treacherous warband. Abaddon aided the Sons of the Eye in an assault on the Forge World of Arkreach, fighting side-by-side until the defenders were finally crushed. The triumphant Abaddon then slowly killed Drecarth, even as he made him watch every member of the Sons of the Eye bow before their new master.
- Eliphas the Inheritor - Eliphas was a former Dark Apostle of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion and leader of the XVIIth Legion's forces deployed for the Dark Crusade on the world of Kronus in the late 41st Millennium. On Kronus, Eliphas and his forces were defeated and slain by three companies of the Blood Ravens Space Marine Chapter under the command of Captain Davian Thule. After his soul suffered much torment in the Empyrean for his failure, he was resurrected by the will of the Chaos Gods to gain his revenge upon the Blood Ravens and left the Word Bearers behind to ally himself with the Black Legion and Abaddon the Despoiler following his return to life. He pledged to Abaddon that the destruction or corruption to Chaos of the Blood Ravens would be his only goal in life following his resurrection.
- Eralak - Eralak was a Chaos Space Marine Raptor commander within the Black Legion, whose forces brought about bloody terror to the floating hives of Melphia. During their rampage, his Raptor warband killed millions, and sent dozens of cities falling out of the sky after he tore out their complex suspensor arrays and vented their plasma reactors onto the farms and fields below. He then had giant floating makeshift gallows fashioned from the remaining ruined cities and had millions of Imperial citizens hanged. Their corpses would forever more sway in the breeze as the gallows drifted across the skies of Melphia.
- Faenroc the Forgotten - A powerful Black Legion Chaos Lord, in 027.M32, he discovered a Daemon World formed from Warp-infused iron ore. To harvest this valuable ore, he drilled to the planet's core, and built a vast mine to harvest its wealth for his forces using slave labour. When the ore proved poisonous to his slave labour force, causing them to mutate or killing them, Faenroc remedied the problem by having Daemons bound to his mining machines, to continue the harvesting of the ore.
- Malagar Irongrasp - A former notable Master of the Fleet of the White Consuls Chapter known as Malgar Eringrasp, he saw many engagements over four centuries of service to the Chapter. Eventually, he was overcome in battle around Cadia by the Black Legion and swore fealty to Abaddon the Despoiler, and after slaying the leader of the Traitor fleet, became it's ruling admiral. Now known as Malagar Irongrasp, he served the Despoiler without fail for centuries, that is, until the Fourth Battle of the Sunward Gap in 959.M41. His ship, the Merciless Death was crippled by allied Red Corsairs and abandoned by his fleet to the opposing Dark Angels Chapter and Grey Knights forces. Irongrasp went down with his ship as the loyalist forces destroyed it in a hail of gunfire.
- Ragged King - The Ragged King was the name given to a Legionary of the Black Legion who was the sole surviving member of a space battle against the Imperium in 117.M35. In the battle's aftermath, he sought shelter on the nearby Feral World of Skyrro, and soon became worshipped as a god by the local population. It took the Imperial Guard more than a decade to destroy the Ragged King's savage armies to reclaim Skyrro.
- Voidheart - Voidheart was a powerful Chaos Lord of the Black Legion and one of Abaddon's favorite lieutenants. During the so-called War of the Wolf, which took place in 612.M41 upon the frozen world of Lumerius against the feral Space Wolves Chapter, he was wounded by Ranulf Ironfang, one of Great Wolf Logan Grimnar's Kingsguard, but managed to escape.
- Dhar'leth - Dhar'leth was a former Black Legion member who was elevated to a Daemon Prince, as a sign of the Chaos Gods' favour. He later pledged his loyalty to Abaddon the Despoiler. In 165.M37, he formed the vanguard of Abaddon's attack, leading his Black Legionaries against Monarchive, which was the seat of the Imperial Commander on Antecanis IV. Within Imperial annals this infamous slaughter came to be known as the Antecanis Massacre.
- Xyn'Goran - Xyn'Goran is a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch, whom Abaddon sought out upon his Daemon World within the Warp. This mind-altering world was a place where time flowed backwards and in the world's center, the Daemon Prince sat around its core, counting back from the end of days. Wanting this power for his own, Abaddon clawed his way towards the Daemon Prince, and finally arrived at the creature's feet, demanding servitude. Amused, Xyn'Goran asked why he shouldn't just slay him outright for his temerity? In reply, Abaddon challenged the Daemon Prince -- to guess his true name. Should he guess correctly, the Daemon Prince would pledge his allegiance to him; but should he fail, then Abaddon would surrender the artefacts he carried with him, but the daemon had to tell him his true name to prove that he wasn't cheating. Unable to resist, the Great Daemon acquiesced and agreed to the game's conditions. Unknown to the Great Daemon, this was actually the second time that Abaddon stood before him. For he had already lost this game the first time, but had learned the Greater Daemon's true name as proof. Surrendering his artefacts, Abaddon had then stepped back into the tides of time and returned to the Warp years earlier, before he had come to this world, and left his future self a message with the daemon's true name. Thus, it came to pass, that Abaddon enslaved Xyn'Goran, the fractured Daemon of Time, and acquired the daemon's future memories, which allowed the Warmaster the abilities to perceive the fates and shape his own destiny.
The XVIth Legion's Great Crusade fleet was accorded to be among the greatest under any single commander's flag, with in excess of one hundred capital ships and perhaps three times that figure in smaller Cruisers and Escorts under Horus' direct command. Abaddon's grand fleet after the Heresy has comprised many thousands of cursed and Chaos-mutated vessels.
Amongst them are gigantic Space Hulks, grand Battle Barges, rebel strike fleets, weaponised asteroid chains, Repulsive-class Grand Cruisers, Desolator-class Battleships, Despoiler-class Battleships named in his honour, Hades, Styx and Lethe-class Heavy Cruisers and a thousand other warships besides.
One of his most powerful warships, the Planet Killer, boasts a weapon of such extreme power it can depopulate a world in a single night. Yet the true jewels in the crown of this insane armada are the Blackstone Fortresses, ancient and alien starbases so large they once anchored entire sub-sectors of the galaxy. Each possessed power beyond mortal imagination, being both an immovable object and irresistible force combined.
Yet when Abaddon combined the might of three Blackstone Fortresses at Tarantis, during the climactic events of the Gothic War, the resultant bow wave of raw energy inflamed the system's star to such an extent it consumed the two worlds in closest orbit before going supernova. The cataclysm wiped out everything for many trillions of miles in every direction in a storm of gas and plasma.
With the power to destroy entire star systems at his fingertips, Abaddon inadvertently forced the Imperium and the Eldar to ally against him, and he was driven into retreat at the Battle of Schindlegeist. It is whispered that two of the Blackstone Fortresses exist yet at the heart of the Despoiler's fleet, and that Abaddon has other such weapons of annihilation waiting to be deployed when the time is right.
During the 13th Black Crusade, Abaddon deployed one of these Blackstone Fortresses, the Will of Eternity, to Cadia. The fortress was damaged in battle with the Imperial Fists' star fortress Phalanx, but ultimately served its purpose when it was used as a giant projectile and slammed into the surface of that Imperial Fortress World to finally claim victory for Chaos. The second Blackstone Fortress was handed over to the service of the Red Corasirs warband of Heretic Astartes in the Maelstorm, who had become important allies of the Black Legion. It would serve an important role in trying to stop the resurrected Primarch Roboute Guilliman from reaching Terra during the Terran Crusade.
The following starships are known to have been a part of the Black Legion's large armada in the Eye of Terror, which has been known as the "Black Fleet" since Abaddon gained control over the Legion:
- Vengeful Spirit (Gloriana-class Battleship) - The Vengeful Spirit was the infamous flagship of the XVIth Legion and the Warmaster Horus during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. It was upon this vessel that the final battle of the Heresy between the Emperor of Mankind and Horus played out and where the Warmaster's life and soul were finally extinguished by the unmatched psychic power of the Emperor. The Sons of Horus were able to recover their fallen Primarch's body before they fled the Sol System for the Eye of Terror and the Vengeful Spirit was taken by Horus' successor, Abaddon the Despoiler, as his own flagship. It still often serves in that function at present.
- Planet Killer (Unique Battleship) - The Planet Killer is a massive Chaos starship that served as flagship of Abaddon the Despoiler during the Gothic War and the 13th Black Crusade. The vessel owes its power to its main weapon, the Armageddon Gun, which can destroy an entire planet.
- Merciless Death (Despoiler-class Battleship) - One of the three original ships of her class that defected to Chaos, it plagued the Imperium for nigh on six millennia until it was destroyed in the course of the Pandorax Campaign in 959.M41 during the Fourth Battle of the Sunward Gap by a combined task force of Dark Angels, Grey Knights and the Imperial Navy.
- Harbinger of Doom (Battle Barge) - Formerly known as the Magna Tyrannis, this ancient Battle Barge has served the XVIth Legion since the start of the Great Crusade until the end of the 41st Millenium. It has on multiple occasions served as the flagship of Abaddon the Despoiler.
- Chariot of the Gods (Battleship, Unknown Class)
- Forinox (Avenger-class Grand Cruiser)
- Leonis (Avenger-class Grand Cruiser)
- Blade of Damnation (Repulsive-class Grand Cruiser)
- Castigator (Vengeance-class Grand Cruiser)
- Promise of Absolution (Unknown Class) - The Promise of Absolution carried a complement of almost 2000 Heretic Astartes, as well as several tens of thousands of mortals, Beastmen and other servants of the Dark Gods. It was lost with all hands during the 1st Black Crusade.
- Scarred Crown (Troop Transport) - This troop transport was destroyed with all hands by the fleet of Thagus Daravek the Death Guard Sorcerer Lord who opposed the Sons of Horus during the Legion Wars.
- Oath of Knives (Cruiser) - The Oath of Knives was a cruiser that was destroyed by the attack of the Death Guard Sorcerer Thagus Daravek during the Legion Wars.
- Skies of Wroth (Frigate) - Black Legion frigate that participated in the 1st Black Crusade.
- Crucible of Lies - It is impossible to describe the Crucible of Lies, for its image is unique to the beholder. One gifted with the witch-sight may perceive it as a rippling cloak saturated with Warp energy; a warrior may see it as an archaic amulet wreathed in baleful psychic flame. Regardless of its appearance, the Crucible of Lies defies natural law to distort the blows of the wearer's enemies, but such power does not come without a price.
- Eye of Night - One of the artefacts used by Abaddon to take command of the dreaded Blackstone Fortresses, the Eye of Night is a multifaceted obsidian crystal of unknown origin. The slightest caress of the ebon beam it can unleash causes machines to suffer massive power failure or catastrophic internal damage. Not even the thickest armour can resist its malignant touch.
- Hand of Darkness - An ancient device infused with the atrophying power of the Warp, the Hand of Darkness decays all and everything that its wielder touches. Flesh sloughs from bones and armour is reduced to little more than pools of liquid slag. It was with this fabled artefact that Abaddon finally gained access to the inner workings of the Blackstone Fortresses, before later surrendering it to the Daemon Primarch Mortarion to secure the allegiance of the Death Guard for his Thirteenth Black Crusade.
- Last Memory of Yuranthos - Mk'ell was a psyker who was responsible for the annihilation of his species, the Yuranthos. The psyker's power was so great that he was torn apart by the Warp energies he wielded, even as his planet's populace was immolated by the resultant firestorm. Unwilling to waste the power of such a talented student, Tzeentch bound the essence of the dying race into a small crystal. One who carries this azure gem can access a fragment of Mk'ell's power and unleash it upon his foes, though not without risk.
- Skull of Ker'ngar - Ker'ngar was a mighty champion of the Dark Gods long before the Horus Heresy and the rise of the Chaos Space Marines. So masterful was this ancient warrior that he once boasted he could not be killed in battle. Sadly for Ker'ngar, his claim was proven false when Khorne sent forth Skulltaker to challenge the haughty warrior and take his skull. It adorned Skulltaker's cloak for centuries before being replaced. It is said that, despite his defeat, Ker'ngar's indomitable spirit is still bound within the skull and it protects the one who carries it from harm, be it physical or arcane.
- Spineshard Blade - Believed to have been forged from the spinal column of a mighty Keeper of Secrets, K'alith the Prurient, the Spineshard Blade reverberates with the quivering essence of the daemon's final, lascivious death throes.
As if to mark a break from the wars of the past, the armour that the first warriors of the Space Marine Legions went to war in was cast in storm cloud grey, and bore only the thunderbolt and lightning marks of Imperial Unity. Over time the different Legions gained their own marks of distinction and character, as well as iconic names. When the XVIth Legion was given the epithet of the "Luna Wolves" following the successful First Pacification of Luna campaign, they began to wear pale, off-white ivory coloured Power Armour with black trim.
The two renowned squads of the elite 1st Company, the Justaerin and Catulan Reavers, wore black Power Armour, in sharp contrast to the white and later pale green of the rest of the Legion. During this time, the then-Luna Wolves Legion utilised more standardised tactical markings than the later Legion iteration of the Sons of Horus. By the time of the conquest of the Coronid Deeps during the early years of the Horus Heresy, the wolf and moon icons were a rare sight.
One avatar of the increasing influence of the Legion's Cthonian brothers was the late reemergence of Cthonian gang-sigils graven into a given Space Marine's armour that recorded his notable kills and deeds, as well as to which company of the Legion they belonged. This was a practice which accelerated rapidly after the XVIth Legion had transitioned into its new identity as the Sons of Horus following the elevation of Horus to the rank of Warmaster.
This transition marked not so much a new open brutality in the Legion, but a factor that had always been there and had become more visible as the Legion's panoply finally began to shrug off the influence of Mother Terra. The white of the Luna Wolves turned sea-green, then darkened further to a murky verdigris green-black as the Sons of Horus further cast off the discipline of the Terran traditions of warfare and erred in pride and growling malice towards the dark heart of Cthonia, and its traditions of gang-fiefdom, blood-pride and merciless, incessant conflict.
Tactical Markings and Heraldry
- Shoulder Plate Heraldry - The earlier, white-armoured iteration of the XVIth Legion used more standardised tactical markings than the later Sons of Horus. By the time of the conquest of the Coronid Deeps, its wolf and moon icons were a rare sight.
- Helm Markings - Helm markings were often applied by the bearer and followed formal tactical schemes far less often than amongst other Legions. Cthonian glyphs applied by hand indicated the Legionary had been "blooded" in combat according to the kill-rites of the Cthonian head-hunter gangs.
- Honourium Armouria - A wide variation of idiosyncratic battle plate was used. Many Legionaries of the Luna Wolves and then the Sons of Horus practiced the Cthonian gang-derived tradition of decapitating defeated enemy champions and dipping the flensed skull in liquid gold as a personal trophy.
- Battle Plate Armourial Icons - Officers in the Sons of Horus used relatively few markings of rank and when they were required, they tended to be derived from the personal glyphs of senior leaders or an individual company's Captain or Chieftain in line with the traditions of the Cthonian gangs.
- Dreadnought Armourial Icons - As veterans of numerous campaigns, Dreadnoughts often displayed mementos of their greatest deeds.
This colour scheme was retained until Abaddon the Despoiler took command of the Legion's remnants after the end of the Heresy and the Great Scouring. When Abaddon took control of the Sons of Horus he set about making a break with their previous history.
Firstly, he cast off the name of their Primarch, rechristening the Sons of Horus as the "Black Legion," so that they could move beyond the failures of the Horus Heresy and repair their tarnished reputation. While he kept the image of the Eye of Horus as the sole reminder of their origins, he ordered his warriors to paint their armour black and strike all other symbols of their past allegiances.
This was to serve as both a mark of their shame and their devotion. An ancient symbol of mourning, the black colour honoured their dead Primarch without speaking his name. Equally, it ensured that the former Sons of Horus would never forget their Primarch had failed, and his failure must be drowned in the blood of his foes.
More important than a mark of shame, the black of the Legion's armour was part of Abaddon's plan to unify the Traitor Legions for his great war against the Imperium. So potent a symbol has it become that few other warbands of Chaos Space Marines ever wear black armour. It was a clear message that told of a Heretic Astartes' devotion to Abaddon and that he had forsaken all other oaths.
The XVIth Legion's badge was a wolf's head imposed over an inverted crescent moon when they were known as the Luna Wolves.
The Legion badge changed to become a stylised eye over a cross -- the so-called "Eye of Terra," which would later be known as the infamous "Eye of Horus" in the Imperium after the XVIth Legion was renamed the Sons of Horus by the corrupted Warmaster.
After the Sons of Horus were reconstituted following the Horus Heresy as the Black Legion, the symbol of the Eye of Horus was retained, however it was now superimposed over the eight-pointed Star of Chaos.
- Apocalypse: Reload (4th Edition), pg. 55
- Battle Missions, pg. 9
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 30
- Black Legion - Codex: Chaos Space Marines Supplement (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 9, 55-63
- Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 18-19
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 9, 12, 57, 74-76, 82
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 12-15, 22, 46-47, 66, 74, 78-80
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pp. 5, 8-11, 44-45, 66-69, 77
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pp. 22-23, 32, 34
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), pp. 5, 19-20, 38, 51, 98-99
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition)
- Codex Heretic Astartes - Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition) (Revised Codex), pp. 17-25
- Codex Heretic Astartes - Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 17-25
- Traitor Legions: (Codex: Chaos Space Marines Supplement) (7th Edition), pg. 75
- Dark Adeptus: The Grey Knights (Omnibus)
- Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising (PC Game)
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 90-91
- Realms of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness (1st Edition)
- The Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pg. 53
- Imperial Armour Volume Thirteen - War Machines of the Lost & The Damned, pp. 68-69
- Index Astartes IV, "Sons of Horus - The Black Legion Space Marine Legion"
- The Fall of Medusa V (Booklet), pp. 16-17
- The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal by Alan Bligh, pp. 64-83, 244-249
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre by Alan Bligh, pp. 12, 16, 18-19, 56-59, 208-213
- The Horus Heresy - Book Three: Extermination by Alan Bligh, pp. 14, 20, 34, 38, 64, 90, 146, 259
- The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest by Alan Bligh, pp. 16, 19, 23-24, 30, 34-35, 41, 43, 48-51, 53-54, 63, 131-133, 146, 148-152, 160, 182, 189, 198, 227
- The Horus Heresy - Book Five: Tempest by Alan Bligh, pp. 15, 140, 145
- Thirteenth Black Crusade (Background Book)
- Warlords of the Dark Millennium: Abaddon The Despoiler (Digital Edition)
- White Dwarf 332 (US), "Chaos Space Marines", pg. 16
- White Dwarf 287 (UK), "Death by a Thousand Cuts", pg. 36
- White Dwarf 274 (US), "Chapter Approved: Chaos Space Marine Legions"
- White Dwarf 268 (US), "Assault on Holy Terra", "Abaddon the Despoiler" & "Index Astartes First Founding: Sons of Horus, The Black Legion Space Marine Chapter"
- Horus Rising (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- False Gods (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Galaxy in Flames (Novel) by Ben Counter
- The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by Ben Counter
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