- "Our fraternity represents divine change. On ancient Colchis, a billion souls were released from earthly flesh in the Brotherhood's purge of the Covenant, and great was the rejoicing; and stronger did Colchis become. The second cleansing saw the Legion’s ranks purified of Terran taint; and stronger did the Legion become, its chaff cast aside. Change is inevitable; the Brotherhood's return is inevitable. And so shall the Legion be strengthened once more!"
The Brotherhood was a clandestine, internal sect within the Word Bearers Traitor Legion that has been formed at three different periods of the Legion's history to maintain the Word Bearers' theological purity.
The Great Purge
Primarch Lorgar had ordered the initial formation of The Brotherhood during the days of The Great Purge; a time of blood and faith, where the holy wars waged between the factions of the Covenant, the ruling theocracy of Lorgar's feudal homeworld of Colchis, saw 1 in 3 men, women and children burned at the stake for heresy or lost to the slaughter of holy war. In their arrogance, there had been those amongst the Covenant who had sought to defame the new religious teachings that Lorgar brought after he arrived on their world, blinded as they were by their jealousy and desire to hold onto power. They led their devoted, ignorant flock against Lorgar, who wept as he was forced into conflict with those who should have been his brothers. With great reluctance he created The Brotherhood, warrior-monks handpicked from his faction of the Covenant and indoctrinated by Lorgar himself, to act as his foot soldiers in cleansing all remnants of the Old Faith from Colchis.Thus began the first great cleansing of the Covenant that would later form the core of the Word Bearers Legion. Over a billion Colchisian souls perished in that terrible religious conflict. This purge occurred before the coming of the Emperor of Mankind to Colchis and the reunification of Lorgar with the XVII Legion, but it would set the tone for all that was to come.
The Second Purge
The second iteration of The Brotherhood came a century later, after Lorgar had been reunited with the Space Marine Legion created from his genetic code. As the Great Crusade reached its height, the Emperor found himself increasingly frustrated with the slow pace with which the Word Bearers brought new worlds into Imperial Compliance and with his spread of the religious belief that the Emperor was a divine being worthy of worship, a direct violation of the atheistic doctrines of the Imperial Truth. The Emperor finally ordered the Word Bearers to cease their religious activities, as their mission was to reunify the galaxy under the banner of the Imperial Truth, not preach the word of the Emperor's personal divinity. The Emperor ordered a task force composed of the Ultramarines Legion a force of his elite personal bodyguards, the Legio Custodes and the Imperial Regent, Malcador the Sigillite, to raze the capital city of the planet Khur. This was a world dear to the Word Bearers, who considered its capital, Monarchia, the "Perfect City" because of the intense religious devotion of its citizens and the sheer number of cathedrals and monuments dedicated to the worship of the Emperor as a God. The Emperor psychically forced the entirety of the Word Bearers Legion, 100,000 Astartes in all, to kneel in shame in the ashes of the monument of their failure to understand his purpose. Though the Primarch railed against his father, the Emperor would not be swayed by his fierce oratory. In the ultimate act of shame, Lorgar was also forced to kneel to his father, the first time a Primarch had been so humiliated. The Legion was formally rebuked by the Emperor for their laxity and their failure in discharging their duties as Astartes.
Shamed by his chastisement, Lorgar returned to his flagship, the Gloriana-class Battleship, Fidelitas Lex, to meditate on his place within the galaxy. When he finally emerged, he once again possessed the fires of zeal within his eyes. His Legion would undergo a sacred pilgrimage to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. If the Emperor did not want their worship, then they would seek out deities worthy of the Word Bearers' faith. This would come to be known as the Pilgrimage of Lorgar and its outcome would open the Primarch's eyes to the truth of Chaos' existence. Lorgar also came to understand that the Old Faith, the ancient religious beliefs of the people of Colchis that he had swept away during the Great Purge, were true. The Old Gods, not the flawed Emperor, were the only powers that Lorgar believed were worthy of Mankind's faith and worship.
Lorgar once more formed The Brotherhood, again with great mourning and remorse. There were those amongst the XVII Legion that would not have understood these truths, brainwashed and conditioned as they had been in their formative years. With the second reformation of the Brotherhood, the ranks of the XVIIth Legion were purged of all Terran-born Loyalists, leaving only those Astartes of Colchisian blood -- and thus loyal solely to Lorgar -- behind. Though the Urizen lamented their loss, for they were warriors of his own gene-code, it was a necessary sacrifice. Raised in isolation from him upon Terra, they had been utterly subverted and corrupted by the lies of the golden-tongued "False Emperor," thus closing their souls off to the great truth.
The Third Purge
In the latter part of the 41st Millennium, the Word Bearers' First Captain and Black Cardinal Kor Phaeron ordered The Brotherhood's formation a third time in order to overthrow the Dark Apostle Erebus, whom the First Captain felt had come to wield too much power within the XVII Legion and was moulding the Word Bearers according to his will rather than the will of the Dark Gods. He also held too much sway with ruling body of the Legion, known as the Dark Council, who had also become subservient to his will. This third iteration of The Brotherhood was secretly led by the Grand Apostle Ekodas of the 7th Host, one of the senior ranking Dark Apostles that sat upon the Dark Council. But this third purge never occurred, as it was halted by Erebus and the Dark Apostle Marduk during their Dark Crusade to take the Boros Gate, a star system of great strategic value to the Imperium. Unknown to the Brotherhood, Erebus had already discovered the rot within the ranks of the Legion and Dark Apostle Marduk was able to identify those that were the leaders of this traitorous cabal. The Dark Council moved swiftly and annihilated those co-conspirators that were members of the Brotherhood, but Kor Phaeron could not be brought to account, as he had felt that discretion was the better part of valour, and so he had severed all ties with the Brotherhood when the cabal had been compromised. Though Kor Phaeron often engaged in power struggles with Erebus over the millennia they were common, and so Erebus treated these struggles as if they were nothing to him and he was unwilling to challenge Kor Phaeron further on the matter. The only likelihood was that at some point, The Brotherhood would rise again.
Notable Members of The Brotherhood
- Ekodas - Grand Apostle of the 7th Host.
- Ankh-Heloth - Dark Apostle of the 11th Host.
- Ashkanez - First Acolyte of the 34th Host.
- Burias Drak'Shal - Possessed Daemonic Champion and Icon Bearer of the 34th Host.
- Dark Apostle (Novel) by Anthony Reynolds
- Dark Disciple (Novel) by Anthony Reynolds
- Dark Creed (Novel) by Anthony Reynolds