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"The First Axiom of Victory is to be other than where the enemy desire you to be. The First Axiom of Stealth is to be other than where the enemy believes you to be. The First Axiom of Freedom is that justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyranny."

— Corvus Corax, Axioms of the Legiones Astartes, Raven Guard Legion
Corvus Corax

Primarch Corvus Corax leading his Raven Guard Legion against the Traitor Legion of the World Eaters during the Horus Heresy.

Corvus Corax, also known as the "Raven Lord," "The Liberator," "The Deliverer," "Chooser of the Slain" and the "Shadowed Lord," is the currently missing primarch of the Raven Guard Chapter of Space Marines and its Successor Chapters.

Corax presented a striking countenance, at least when he wished to be seen. His skin was alabaster white and he was possessed of shoulder length hair as black as the feathers of his namesake, the raven.

Most remarkable and unsettling were his eyes, which appeared as entirely black shards of solid shadow. His sable power armour was edged with fine, golden figures and upon his back was mounted a jetpack formed into a pair of articulated, raven-like pinions that he wielded as a murderous, blood-edged weapon of war.

Like most of the primarchs, Corax was blessed with an extensive armoury of artificer-wrought weapons, but he most often bore to war a pair of metre-long Lightning Claws and a coiled whip at his belt. The latter was carried as a reminder of the cruelty enacted upon the people of his homeworld of Lycaeus by the tyrannical guild of Kiavahr and with it countless enemies were laid low.

Though few even amongst his gene-sons know of it, Corax is blessed with the ability to pass unnoticed should he will it, this preternatural ability allowing him to slip from the perception of his enemies even when he was in plain view.

After the near-destruction of his XIXth Legion during the Drop Site Massacre on Isstvan V at the start of the Horus Heresy, Corax was desperate to rebuild his Legion. With the Emperor's permission, he and his Astartes delved deep beneath the Imperial Palace to recover the advanced genetic knowledge that the Emperor had used to create the primarchs.

Corax then made use of these techniques and a recovered, undifferentiated primarch genetic template to accelerate the development of new Raven Guard Astartes. The repercussions of those actions came back to haunt him, leading Corax to eventually grant the Emperor's Peace to all the twisted, mutant spawn who emerged as the result of his experiments.

In the wake of the Horus Heresy, Corax vanished into the Eye of Terror in search of penance for his shame. His current whereabouts and status remain unknown to the Raven Guard, their successors and the Imperium, yet their primarch remains alive within the Immaterium, though continuous exposure to the Warp has wrought multiple mutations upon him, revealing the truth of the being that lies beneath the facade of every primarch's Emperor-given flesh.


Youth on Lycaeus

Corax HH3

An ancient Remembrancer sketch from Carpinius' Speculum Historiale depicting Primarch Corvus Corax.

Like all the primarchs, Corax was separated from the Emperor while still an infant in the Emperor's gene-laboratory beneath the Himalazian (Himalaya) Mountains on Terra by the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. The Chaos Gods snatched the infant primarch's gestation chamber and flung it through the Warp, half-way across the galaxy.

Corax was eventually discovered in a lightless chamber far beneath the surface of a barren moon called Lycaeus, the desolated but inhabitable moon of the planet Kiavahr. At this time, Kiavahr was a technologically advanced Forge World, providing its city-sized manufactoria with minerals extracted from the non-atmospheric moon by legions of mine slaves. Above the cavern was a mighty glacier, and the primarch might never have been discovered at all were it not for the arrival of a team of Lycaean miners pursuing a mineral seam.

To some, the appearance of the miners within solar minutes of the young primarch attaining consciousness speaks of greater powers at work. Whatever the truth, the primarch was taken in by the slaves and hidden from the mine's cruel overseers. Under the iron watch of heavily armed guards, the enslaved inhabitants of Lycaeus, who included criminals, political opponents and workers who had simply failed to meet their quotas, had long provided the rulers of Kiavahr with a free and unlimited source of manpower. As with many of the primarchs, Corax matured in a preternaturally short span of time, the phenomenon serving to confirm the slaves' belief that he represented a great gift to their people. It was they who named him, using their word for "saviour" or "deliverer" in anticipation of future deeds.

Created with a wealth of knowledge already imprinted into his mind, the young primarch nonetheless had much to learn from his protectors. Many of the prisoners were radicals condemned for holding views contrary to the interests of the tech guilds that ruled Kiavahr, the planet about which Lycaeus orbited, notions of justice and Human dignity that had no place in their brutal regime. Corax swore to his protectors that he would liberate them from their cruel existence. Fortunately for Corax and the Imperium at large, the young primarch's mentors counselled caution against overt signs of defiance or precipitous quests for vengeance. From these brave, wise men and women, Corax learned to bide his time and to observe his foes, to use his superhuman, gen-hanced faculties to plan far ahead towards the day he would lead the uprising and overthrow the hated slave lords of Lycaeus.

It was during this time that Corax came to learn something of the abilities he had been invested with. Always moving one step ahead of the cold-hearted and bloody-handed wardens, he was never discovered. Even when directly in the line of sight of an enemy, by willing an observer not to see him, the primarch somehow avoided detection. At length, Corax could utilise this uncanny ability to go where no other slave in the prison could go, moving about unseen beneath the hard gaze of the guards. There were limits to this ability, as Corax discovered to his cost; auspexes and other artificial methods of detection remained able to see him. It appeared to be the mind of the observer that was somehow tricked into disregarding the primarch's presence should he will it.

Corax Sketch

Another ancient Remembrancer sketch from Carpinius' Speculum Historiale depicting the Raven Lord in his full panoply of war.

As Corax reached maturity, so the rule of the tech guilds drew to an end, though the overseers would not know of it until it was too late to avert their doom. Corax led a masterfully conceived campaign that bled the prison authorities dry, taking small cells of freedom fighters on a range of missions, some to steal weapons, others ammunition, still more to sabotage key systems so that they would fail at the moment of his choosing.

Eventually, that moment came and Corax led the slave uprising that would cast off the shackles of Terran centuries of oppression. In a necessarily bloody battle, Corax and his fellow freedom fighters took the prison. The bloodshed was great, for not all of the slave-prisoners had been imprisoned for their radical ideals; many were convicted killers and worse. The primarch was forced by necessity to utilise their fighting abilities and overlook their previous crimes, on condition they never repeat them after their bondage was cast off.

In yet another convergence of great events, it was in the immediate aftermath of the liberation of the prison moon Lycaeus and the opening salvoes of the atomic bombardment of Kiavahr that the Emperor arrived in 922.M30 to reclaim His lost gene-son. Unlike events surrounding so many other such meetings, however, the Emperor came alone, without an expeditionary fleet of the Great Crusade, and the next solar day left alone. While it is known that the Master of Mankind and the XIXth Legion's primarch spoke for long solar hours, what passed between them remains a matter of conjecture. With the benefit of hindsight, some have claimed that the Emperor spoke to Corax of things mortal Humans, even some other primarchs, were not yet ready to hear; of the truth of those inhuman powers that seethe within the Warp and the darkness soon to come.

Certainly, it appears that when the full horror of the Warmaster Horus' treachery unfolded solar decades later there were elements of it Corax seemed to have been forewarned of, though he only ever passed such knowledge on to his forces as and when they needed and were ready to assimilate it. Whatever the truth, one thing is known to have passed between father and gene-son that night. The Emperor would leave Corax to complete his mission and to defeat the tech guilds of Kiavahr. Only later would he be ready to assume command of his Legion.

It was as if in leaving Corax to liberate Kiavahr on his own, the Emperor was ensuring the primarch learned and assimilated the most vital lessons of war. The Emperor departed, leaving His son to complete his task using only those weapons he had to hand. Those weapons turned out to be a stockpile of atomic barrages and mining charges the masters of Kiavahr had secreted on Lycaeus, believing them safe from the multitudes they ruled over. In their hubris the guilds never imagined that the slave-miners might one day cast off their shackles and claim those weapons as their own.

Even as the guilds sought to launch a counterattack against the massively outnumbered freedom fighters, Corax knew the terrible order he must give. Using the steep gravity well that tethered Kiavahr and its moon, the primarch committed to a full-scale atomic bombardment of the vast manufactory cities below. Even as the atomic fires blossomed on the face of Kiavahr, Corax demonstrated that by slaying thousands, millions would be saved. This, some would later claim, was the lesson the Emperor meant Corax to learn, and one that would temper his nature against the numerous challenges few but the primarchs of the Legiones Astartes can fully comprehend.

Their greatest cities decimated, the Kiavahran guilds had no option but to capitulate. Kiavahr was liberated and Lycaeus renamed Deliverance. The primarch had confronted that most terrible lesson of war -- oft times, the innocent must suffer for the sake of all. It was a truth the Emperor knew well, and one that Humanity as a whole would experience on an unprecedented scale within a single standard century of Corax's reunification with the Emperor.

Soon the Mechanicum stepped in to retake control over their ancient colony world and the planet was rebuilt to the benefit of the Imperium while the black tower which had once housed the Kiavahran garrison of Lycaeus became the Ravenspire, the fortress-monastery of the Raven Guard Legion.

Great Crusade

Under the Raven's Banner

SoT First Wall Corax Mauro Belfiore

Primarch Corax on Kiavahr after receiving command of the XIX Legion.

By the time the Raven Lord took command of his Legion, the Great Crusade was over a Terran century old. Corax was quick to impose the style of war he had perfected on Lycaeus over that which had come to define the XIXth Legion, melding stealth and guile with vigilance and swiftness. It was during these early years that much of the native demeanour of the old XIXth Legion, particularly the more cold-blooded ways of the Xeric tribes who had formed its original, Terran intake of Astartes, was purged.

The Legion had so often served in oppression, repression and occupation forces that Corax saw in some of the Terrans of his XIXth Legion something akin to the slavers of Lycaeus. Several of the Legion's highest-ranking officers were displaced or reassigned to non-command roles, including Arkhas Fal, who had commanded the XIXth Legion as its Legion Master for three solar decades before the coming of the Raven Lord.

Under the Primarch's guidance, distilled into a series of battle-mantras, the Raven Guard developed their skills to preternatural levels. Corax is even known to have bested Roboute Guilliman in his brother-Primarch's notoriously testing strategio-simulacra, making use of several unconventional troop types his brother-Primarch had never before faced, including the forerunners of the Moritat. Corax only bested his brother three times in this manner, and once the master of the Ultramarines heeded the lesson and adjusted his tactics, the Raven Lord would never beat him again.

Deliverance-lost-2 - Primarch Corax

Primarch Corax of the Raven Guard Legion leading an aerial assault during an Imperial Compliance campaign during the Great Crusade.

During its restructuring, the XIXth Legion commissioned several innovations from the forges of Mars, all of them cunningly wrought to further its master of the arts of stealth and speed. As the Thunderhawk gunship entered widespread service, the Raven Guard secured for themselves a variant known as the Shadowhawk, sporting all manner of technologies that made it invisible to all but the most sensitive of augurs.

In addition, the Legion gained access to the Whispercutter, an open airframe flyer constructed about a gravitic impellor and capable of dropping ten Legionaries into a war zone in utter silence and with practically no chance of detection. Such technology was created not by the Martian Mechanicum nor any of the Forge Worlds, but by those master artificers of Kiavahr who formerly served the tech guilds.

Utilising strands of machine canon unknown to the mainstream of the Mechanicum, the Kiavahran guild artificers created all manner of systems at the behest of the Raven Guard and in time the Legion's Techmarines were inducted into these mysteries, although it has been speculated that the Kiavahrans might have been declared outcast by the jealous lords of Mars, were it not for the patronage of so august a body as the Legiones Astartes and the Primarch Corax.

As the Great Crusade ground ever onwards, Kiavahr assumed its position in the Emperor's Imperium of worlds. While its output was not equal to that of a fully-fledged Forge World of the Mechanicum, with the aid of the Tech-priests of Mars, its forges and manufactories produced and exported vast quantities of matériel as well as a number of the more specialised machines and weapons required by the Raven Guard Legion.

The guild artificers attempted to retain their closest secrets from the Mechanicum with some small measure of success, and clung on to their independence from Mars. Having remained self-sufficient throughout the lonely dark ages, Kiavahr remained unwilling to cede its secrets to outsiders, the only authority it recognised being that of the Raven Guard.

Of all of the Mechanicum's subsidiary domains, Kiavahr maintained relations with only one -- Gryphonne IV. The terms of this relationship remain unclear, but because the Legio Gryphonicus fought alongside the Raven Guard throughout several of its larger scale campaigns, it can be assumed that some manner of reciprocal pact was, and perhaps still, remains in place.

Istvaan Compliance Action

Corax Horus Heresy

The Primarch Corax during the Great Crusade

One of the more notable campaigns carried out by Corax and his Raven Guard Legion during the Great Crusade was the Imperial Compliance of the Istvaan System, located in the northern reaches of the Ultima Segmentum, far beyond the established heartlands of the Imperium. Though cut off, scout vessels ranging ahead of Corax's 27th Expeditionary Fleet had found evidence that human life on Istvaan III had managed to maintain a largely cohesive industrialised society that had endured the millennia intact, making it a high priority for contact and absorption into the Imperium.

A long-standing autochthonic culture was prevalent on Istvaan III, which included endemic local mysticism and religious practice. This, coupled with a history of independence, meant that once contacted by the forerunners of the Great Crusade, the Istvaanians had first demurred and then denied Compliance with the Imperial Truth. Given the strategic importance of gaining the life-sustaining and industrialised star system with its large human population for the Imperium, a priority was given to achieving the Compliance of the Istvaan System. The War Council had one caveat when issuing this order that precluded the use of overwhelming force in order to avoid excessive collateral damage that would spoil this valuable prize.

The task of bringing the Istvaan System into Imperial Compliance fell to Corax and his Raven Guard Legion as the warriors of the XIXth Legion had a reputation for the use of surgical strikes and precision in such matters. The black-hulled Strike Cruisers and gunships of the Raven Guard attacked without warning, systematically destroying Istvaan III's military infrastructure and taking charge of its seats of governance. The military forces of the indigenous Istvaanians were professional soldiers who did not break easily, even when confronted with the might of Space Marines. There was some resistance, but the last elements of the aggressive faction were destroyed by the Raven Guard at the Redarth Valley on Istvaan III. An Istvaanian delegation formally surrendered before the Primarch Corax and the 800 companies of Raven Guard Space Marines that comprised his XIXth Legion.

The Istvaanians kneeled before the sable-armoured conquerors as a defeated foe but were welcomed into the fold as men of the Imperium. Though they had waged war against one another, the Imperial Truth had prevailed and the Istvaanians had sworn to accept its teachings. By proving themselves men of wisdom and civilisation, they were deemed fitting partners for the many other worlds of the nascent Imperium. The Remembrancer Order had not yet been foisted upon the Space Marine Legions by the Council of Terra at this time, but a substantial civilian contingent was left behind to begin the integration of the Istvaanian population with the Imperial Truth. Vardus Praal was left behind as the world's Imperial Planetary Governor to command Istvaan III in the name of the Imperium, to ensure continued Compliance and manage the dismantling of the traditional religious structures that defined the planet's autochthonous society.

The established capital located at the sprawling proto-hive of Khry Vanak -- Istvaan III's political and cultural capital ("Choral City" in translation) -- was chosen as the site of Imperial power. Unbeknownst to Corax and his Raven Guard, they would return fifteen standard years later to the Istvaan System, to the world of Istvaan V, to bring the rebel Horus to account.

The Battle of Gate Forty-Two

RG Assualt Gate Forty-Two

The Raven Guard Legion assault on Gate Forty-Two.

It was the need to conduct war in a more conventional manner that led to one of the greatest setbacks in the XIXth Legion's history, and one that would foreshadow the terrible events at Istvaan V only a few years later. Soon after Horus was declared the Imperial Warmaster, the Raven Guard was recalled from operations along the coreward edge of the Ghoul Stars and ordered to take its place in the line alongside several other Legions under the Warmaster's direct command. The Aukum-Sothos Cluster had been brought to Imperial Compliance by the Luna Wolves in the opening years of the Great Crusade, but its people had fallen to a form of mass-psychosis and violently rejected unity with Terra. This unheralded secession was later determined to have been caused by xenos parasites which matured within the eye sockets of their hosts, in this case the unfortunate population of the cluster. As they matured, the parasites gained rudimentary control over their hosts and formed what amounted to a wholly alien, gestalt consciousness focused on a cabal of primary hosts dubbed the "Unsighted Kings". The newly ascended Warmaster Horus refused to see the cluster of worlds he himself had brought to Compliance slip from the Imperium's grip and so he vowed an Oath of Moment to reclaim its worlds no matter the cost.

Horus had formulated a plan to cast down the Unsighted Kings in a lightning war that would purge the afflicted population while retaining the cluster's highly developed infrastructure for future re-population. Furthermore, a rapid victory would demonstrate to Horus' brother-Primarchs that the Emperor had been correct to elevate him so high a rank. 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. Having brought the outer worlds of the cluster to heel in a matter of solar weeks, the Warmaster called a council of his brother-Primarchs, one part of his plan calling for the Raven Guard to make a frontal assault directly into the guns of the defenders of Gate Forty-Two. Corax argued against what he denounced as a waste of resources and a needless squandering of his warriors' lives, countering with a strategy of his own. The Raven Lord proposed that his Legion should draw off the enemy forces in a series of feints, allowing the three other Legions to overwhelm what defenders remained at the walls with comparative ease.

In answer, Perturabo accused Corax of seeking to avoid battle, a crime verging on dereliction for a Primarch of the Legiones Astartes. The two very nearly came to blows, with only the intervention of Leman Russ staying bloodshed. The Wolf King counselled Corax to heed the words of the Primarch who the Emperor had set above his brothers. Russ urged Corax to smother his bitterness, but not to extinguish it, and allow that guttering flame to kindle the fire necessary to carry the battle through. Taking his leave of the council, Corax mustered the Raven Guard before Gate Forty-Two. Knowing their particular demeanour would carry them forward, Corax assigned many of his Terran-dominated companies to the van, in particular those whose captains appeared the most willing to play their part in the Warmaster's plan. The assault that followed was hailed as the Legion's darkest hour, a grim honour that, tragically, would be displaced just a few years later at Istvaan V. At the height of the battle, 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 XIXth 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 Aukum-Sothos Cluster was delivered and the Warmaster's prize was reclaimed. The cost was terrible however, for not only had countless millions of hosts been crippled in mind and body, but thousands of Raven Guard, the bulk of them Terran-born, had given their lives before the shattered walls.

Though the Battle of Gate Forty-Two was counted a victory by (and indeed for) Horus, its effects were far-reaching. The XIXth Legion was sorely depleted, leaving only 80,000 Legionaries under the Primarch's command and making it the smallest of the Legiones Astartes. Corax removed himself and his Legion from his brother's command, swearing bitterly never to serve alongside Horus again. One last consequence of the Battle of Gate Forty-Two lingers still. In its aftermath, those line officers who, before the coming of the Primarch, had served for so long under Horus' command were gone, and so the Warmaster was able to exert little in the way of influence over the Raven Lord's Legion. Many of these Terrans had been inducted into the Warrior Lodges, and with their deaths these unseen bodies all but vanished from the Raven Guard. It has been claimed by his detractors that in assigning the Terran-born Legionaries to the assault wave that would suffer the greatest losses, Corax did his Legion a service, consolidating his power and paving the way for a future more in line with his own vision. As a result, the Legion was largely spared the wave of insurrection that was transmitted through so many of the Legions by the hidden auspices of the lodges.

The Scouring of the Scalland Sector

RG Mk VI Corvus Suit

A Raven Guard Legionary wearing Mark VI Corvus Pattern Power Armour

A two year engagement through a sector of space claimed by the remnants of the broken Eldar race, the Scalland Campaign was to serve as the original field test for the first thousand sets of prototype Power Armour that would later come to be designated as Mark VI; though at the time it bore the provisional designation Mark V. Small numbers of the Mark V armour had already been submitted to the Iron Warriors and Salamanders Legions, and both had expressed reservations about the lack of heavy plating when compared to earlier marks, pushing for the Mark V to be revised for a heavy assault role. It was deemed that a mass combat trial was required to determine the effectiveness of the original design before potentially abandoning it. Internal politics within the various Legion commands saw this honour bestowed upon the Raven Guard, depleted in number after the bloody fighting in the Aukum-Sothos Cluster. Speculation at the time suggest that a faction amongst the Primarchs and Legion commanders, led by Perturabo, intended this assignment to an under-strength Legion to be the death-knell of the Mark VI armour, leading to its replacement by a sturdier design.

If this was so then the plan was to backfire spectacularly, for the Raven Guard performed admirably in the verdant Eldar seed worlds of the Scalland Sector, utilising the advanced auto-senses and agility of the new armour to hound the Eldar in a series of strike-and-fade attacks that decimated their already battered military forces. Such was the success of the fighting in the sector, which eventually saw the expulsion of the Eldar and the Imperium claim its rich worlds, that not only was the Mark VI armour approved for final deployment, but the majority of the improvements suggested by the Raven Guard were adopted. The new armour, later dubbed "Corvus" Pattern Power Armour in honour of the Raven Guard, was placed into full scale production only a few solar months before the outbreak of Horus' rebellion against the Emperor, re-designated as Mark VI from Mark V by the Mechanicum to account for the inclusion of the many stop-gap field modifications and repairs into the Legiones Astartes order of battle.

Horus Heresy

Drop Site Massacre

Raven Guard MKVI Armor

Captain Gherith Arendi, personal bodyguard of the Raven Lord, leading the elite Shadow Wardens during the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V.

During the Horus Heresy the Drop Site Massacre occurred on the planet Istvaan V when the Emperor dispatched a large force of what he believed were seven Loyalist Space Marine Legions to the Istvaan System to end the rebellion unleashed by the Warmaster Horus and the other known Traitor Legions who had turned to the worship of Chaos, including the World Eaters, the Emperor's Children and the Death Guard. The Loyalist Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard Legions were deployed in the first wave of the assault. Thousands of Drop Pods and Stormbirds were deployed for the initial assault. The first wave was under the overall command of the Primarch Ferrus Manus and besides his own Xth Legion, the Salamanders led by Vulkan, and the Raven Guard under the command of their Primarch Corax joined him. Vulkan's Legion assaulted the left flank of the Traitors' battle line while Ferrus Manus, the Iron Hands' First Captain Gabriel Santor, and 10 full companies of elite Morlocks Terminators charged straight into the centre of the enemy lines. Meanwhile, Corax's Legion hit the right flank of the enemy's position. The odds were considered equal; 30,000 Traitor Marines against 40,000 Loyalists. Horus was aware of the location of the Loyalists' chosen drop site and his troops fell upon the Loyalist Legions.

The battlefield of Istvaan V was a slaughterhouse of epic proportions. Treacherous warriors twisted by hatred fought their former brothers-in-arms in a conflict unparalleled in its bitterness. The mighty Titan war engines of the Machine God walked the planet’s surface and death followed in their wake. The blood of heroes and traitors flowed in rivers, and the hooded Hereteks Adepts of the Dark Mechanicum unleashed perversions of ancient technology stolen from the Auretian Technocracy to wreak bloody havoc amongst the Loyalists. All across the Urgall Depression, hundreds died with every passing second, the promise of inevitable death a pall of darkness that hung over every warrior. The Traitor forces held, but their line was bending beneath the fury of the first Loyalist assault. It would take only the smallest twists of fate for it to break. The forces on the surface have been embattled for almost three hours with no clear victor emerging. Even now, the Loyalists wait for the second wave of 'allies' to make planetfall, believing they would be reinforced for their final advance. The Traitors all knew their parts to play in this performance. They were all aware of the blood they must shed to spare their species from destruction, and install Horus as the new Master of Mankind.

Though the Iron Hands, Raven Guard and Salamanders had managed to make a full combat drop and secured the drop site, known as the Urgall Depression, they did so at a heavy cost. Overwhelmed with rage, the headstrong Ferrus Manus disregarded the counsel of his brothers Corax and Vulkan and hurled himself against the fleeing rebels, seeking to bring Fulgrim to personal combat. His veteran troops -- comprising the majority of the Xth Legion's Terminators and Dreadnoughts -- followed. What had begun as a massed strike against the Traitors' position was rapidly turning into one of the largest engagements of the entire Great Crusade. All told, over 60,000 Astartes warriors clashed on the dusky plains of Istvaan V. For all the wrong reasons, this battle was soon to go down in the annals of Imperial history as one of the most epic confrontations ever fought.

The Urgall Depression was churned to ruination beneath the boots and tank treads of countless thousands of Astartes warriors and their Legion’s armour divisions. The loyal Primarchs could be found where the fighting was thickest: Corax of the Raven Guard, borne aloft on black wings bound to a fire-breathing flight pack; Lord Ferrus of the Iron Hands at the heart of the battlefield, his silver hands crushing any traitors that came within reach, while he pursued and dragged back those who sought to withdraw; and lastly, Vulkan of the Salamanders, armoured in overlapping artificer plating, thunder clapping from his warhammer as it pounded into yielding armour, shattering it like porcelain.

The traitorous Primarchs slew in mirror image to their brothers: Angron of the World Eaters hewing with wild abandon as he raked his chainblades left and right, barely cognizant of who fell before him; Fulgrim of the lamentably-named Emperor’s Children, laughing as he deflected the clumsy sweeps of Iron Hands warriors, never stopping in his graceful movements for even a moment; Mortarion of the Death Guard, in disgusting echo of ancient Terran myth, harvesting life with each reaving sweep of his scythe.

And Horus, Warmaster of the Imperium, the brightest star and greatest of the Emperor's sons. He stood watching the destruction while his Legions took to the field, their liege lord content in his fortress rising from the far edge of the ravine. Shielded and unseen by his brothers still waging war in the Emperor’s name. At last, above this maelstrom of grinding ceramite, booming tank cannons and chattering bolters -- the gunships, drop-pods and assault landers of the second wave burned through the atmosphere on screaming thrusters. The sky fell dark with the weak sun eclipsed by ten thousand avian shadows, and the cheering roar sent up by the Loyalists was loud enough to shake the air itself. The traitors, the bloodied and battered Legions loyal to Horus, fell into a fighting withdrawal without hesitation.

The second wave of "Loyalist" Space Marine Legions descended upon the landing zone on the northern edge of the Urgall Depression. Hundreds of Stormbirds and Thunderhawks roared towards the surface, their armoured hulls gleaming as the power of another four Astartes Legions arrived on Istvaan V. Yet the Space Marine Legions of the reserve were no longer loyal to the Emperor, having already secretly sworn themselves to Chaos and the cause of Horus. The Night Lords of Konrad Curze, the Iron Warriors of Perturabo, the Word Bearers of Lorgar Aurelian, and the Alpha Legion of Alpharius represented a force larger than that which had first begun the assault on Istvaan V. The secret Traitor Legions mustered in the landing zone, armed and ready for battle, unbloodied and fresh.

The Iron Warriors had claimed the highest ground, taking the loyalist landing site with all the appearance of reinforcing it through the erection of prefabricated plasteel bunkers. Bulk landers dropped the battlefield architecture: dense metal frames fell from the cargo claws of carrier ships at low altitude, and as the platforms crashed and embedded themselves in the ground, the craftsmen-warriors of the IVth Legion worked, affixed, bolted and constructed them into hastily-rising firebases. Turrets rose from their protective housing in the hundreds, while hordes of lobotomised servitors trundled from the holds of Iron Warriors troopships, single-minded in their intent to link with the weapons systems' interfaces. The Word Bearers bolstered their brother Legions on one flank of the Urgall Depression while the Night Lords took positions on the opposite side. Down the line, past the mounting masses of Iron Warriors battle tanks and assembling Astartes, First Captain Sevatar of the Night Lords and his 1st Company elite, the Atramentar took up defensive positions. Both the Word Bearers and the Night Lords were to be the anvil, while the Iron Warriors would be the hammer yet to fall. The enemy would stagger back to them, exhausted, clutching empty bolters and broken blades, believing their presence to be a reprieve.

WB Heavy Support Squad

Word Bearers heavy support squad opens fire on the Loyalists during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V

Grigin Tactical Squad

Death Guard Tactical Squad opens fire on the Loyalists

Dragging their wounded and dead behind them, Corax and Vulkan led their forces back to the drop site to regroup and to allow the warriors of their recently arrived brother Primarchs of the second wave a measure of the glory in defeating Horus. Though they voxed hails requesting medical aid and supply, the line of Astartes atop the northern ridge remained grimly silent as the exhausted warriors of the Raven Guard and Salamanders came to within a hundred metres of their allies. It was then that Horus revealed his perfidy and sprung his lethal trap. Inside the black fortress where Horus had made his lair, a lone flare shot skyward, exploding in a hellish red glow that lit the battlefield below. The fire of betrayal roared from the barrels of a thousand guns, as the second wave of Astartes revealed where their true loyalties now lay.

Ferrus Manus looked on in stunned horror as Fulgrim laughed at the look on his brother's face as the forces of his "allies" opened fire upon the Salamanders and Raven Guard, killing hundreds in the fury of the first few moments, hundreds more in the seconds following, as volley after volley of Bolter fire and missiles scythed through their unsuspecting ranks. Even as terrifying carnage was being wreaked upon the Loyalists below, the retreating forces of the Warmaster turned and brought their weapons to bear on the enemy warriors within their midst. Hundreds of World Eaters, Sons of Horus and the Death Guard fell upon the veteran companies of the Iron Hands, and though the warriors of the Xth Legion continued to fight gallantly, they were hopelessly outnumbered and would soon be hacked to pieces. The Iron Hands had damned themselves by remaining in the field.

The Raven Guard front ranks went down as if scythed, harvested in a spilling line of detonating bolter shells, shattered armour and puffs of bloody mist. Black-armoured Astartes tumbled to their hands and knees, only to be cut down by the sustained volley, finishing those who fell beneath the initial storm of head- and chest-shots. Seconds after the first chatter of bolters, beams of achingly bright laser slashed from behind the Word Bearers as the cannon mounts of Land Raiders, Predators and defensive bastion turrets gouged through the Raven Guard and the ground they stood upon. The Iron Warriors and Word Bearers kept reloading, opening fire again, hurling grenades and prepared to fall back. The Word Bearers Legion had taken up landing positions on the west of the field, ready to sweep down and engage the Raven Guard from the flank.

The Raven and the Urizen Clash


Corvus Corax, the Raven Lord, faces off against the hideous creatures of Chaos.

The Raven Guard were confronted by the treacherous Word Bearers, with their Primarch Lorgar, the First Captain Kor Phaeron and the First Chaplain Erebus at their vanguard. The two Legions fought one another in bitter combat. Amidst the carnage and the slaughter, the anger of a demigod was released -- beyond anger, beyond rage. It went beyond both, for it was wrath, in physical form. Lord Corax, Primarch of the Raven Guard charged into the ranks of the Traitorous Word Bearers, a blur of charcoal armour and black blades, butchering with an ease that belied his ferocity. Soon the voices of dying Word Bearers became a conflicting chorus over the Vox as they screamed for help. Argel Tal, the Crimson Lord and leader of the daemon-possessed Astartes known as the Gal Vorbak, Lorgar's "Blessed Sons," led the Possessed Chaos Space Marines forward to meet their end at the hands of a demi-god. Meanwhile, Lorgar mirrored his brother Primarch's actions, and slaughtered enemy Astartes with contemptuous ease. Just as the Word Bearers struggled to stand before Corax, so too did the Raven Guard fall back and die in droves. Suddenly, the Urizen halted his attack. He noticed that Corax was wading through the Gal Vorbak, ripping his daemon-possessed crimson warriors apart. Given a blessed respite from the Primarch’s murderous advance, the Raven Guard were falling back from him in a black tide. They left their dead in a carpet at the Primarch’s feet.

Despite the protestations of both Kor Phaeron and Erebus, Lorgar disregarded their counsel and sprinted forwards across the churned earth and dead bodies of his brother's Legion to engage in a battle he had no hope of winning. He saw his brother -- a man he had barely spoken to in two centuries of life, a man he barely knew – butchering his sons in a vicious rage. There was no thought of conversion. No hope of bringing Corax into the fold, or enlightening him enough to cease this murderous rampage. Lorgar’s own anger rose to the fore, burning away the passionless killing of only moments ago. As the Word Bearers Primarch hammered his way through the Raven Guard to reach his brother, he felt power seethe within him, aching to rise out. He felt his unchained power reaching out, not only to enhance his physical form, but reaching to his sons across the battlefield. And there he stood at the heart of the killing fields, winged and haloed by amorphous contrails of psychic fire, shouting his brother’s name into the storm. Corax answered with a shriek of his own – the call of the betrayer, the cry of the betrayed – and the raven met the heretic in a clash of crozius and claw.

The Primarchs fought in furious combat -- Corax fighting to kill, while Lorgar fought to stay alive. During their duel, Corax hurled insults and accusations at his former brother. He wanted to know why Lorgar and his Legion had committed such treachery? Lorgar shared with his brother of the future visions he had seen of their father -- a bloodless corpse, enthroned upon a throne of gold and screaming into the void forever. Angered by his brother's lies, Corax lashed out furiously with his pair of Lightning Claws across Lorgar's face, cutting the meat of his cheeks deeply. Even should Lorgar somehow manage to escape his ultimate fate this day, he would bear these scars until the day he died. The two Primarchs traded vicious blows, but the Raven Lord had the advantage not only speed and finesse, but of also being a penultimate warrior with decades of fighting experience. Lorgar did not, for he had always been more of a scholar than a warrior, and his lack of experience cost him dearly as Corax impaled Lorgar through his stomach, the tips of his metre-long talons glinting to the side of his spine as they thrust out his back. Such a blow meant little to a Primarch – only when Corax heaved upwards did Lorgar stagger.

The claws bit and cut, sawing through the Word Bearer’s body. Illuminarum slipped from the impaled Primarch’s fists. Those same hands wrapped around Corax’s throat even as the Raven Lord was carving his brother in half. Even as he tightened his grip on Corax's throat, the Raven Lord remained untroubled by his weaker brother's grip. Lorgar crashed his forehead against Corax’s face, shattering his brother’s nose, but still he couldn’t free himself. The Raven Lord gave no ground, even as a second, third and fourth head butt decimated his delicate features. The claws jerked, snagged against Lorgar’s enhanced bones. Corax tore them free, inflicting more damage than the first impaling had done. Blood hissed and popped as it evaporated on the force-fielded blades. Lorgar fell to his knees, hands clutched over the ruination of his stomach. As Corax stepped closer, he raised his one functioning claw to execute his brother. Lorgar screamed his defiance at Corax, lost in the irony that of all the sons of the Emperor, he was the one soul in twenty who'd never wished to be a soldier. And now here he would die, at the heart of a battlefield. As the claw fell, it struck opposing metal.

Corax looked to meet eyes as black as his, in a face as pale as his own. His claw strained against a mirroring weapon, both sets of blades scraping as they ground against each other. One claw seeking to fall and kill, the other unyielding in its rising defence. Where the Raven Guard Primarch’s features were fierce with effort, the other face wore a grin. It was a smile both taut and mirthless – a dead man’s smile, once his lips surrendered to rigor mortis. It was Konrad Curze. Corax sought to wrench his claw free, but the Night Haunter’s second gauntlet closed on his brother’s wrist, so that Corax would be unable to fly away and escape his fate. Curze looked upon his prostrate brother and ordered him to rise from his knees, disgusted at his cowardice. Corax was not idle as this exchange took place. He fired his flight pack, burning his fuel reserves to escape Curze’s grip. The Raven Lord’s claw ripped free, and Corax soared skyward, carried on jet thrust away from Curze’s rising laughter. Curze then shoved Lorgar back towards his Word Bearers. Around them both, the grey Legion warred with the warriors in black.

Lorgar thanked his brother for saving his life. But Curze warned him that he would let him die next time. As he bit out another retort, his words halted as he took in the scene of the transformed Gal Vorbak - their armour was crimson and ridged bone. Great claws, both metallic weapons and fleshy, jointed talons, extended from bestial arms. Every helm was horned and every faceplate was split by a daemon's skullish leer. Disgusted by this horrific sight, Curze turned his back on Lorgar and commented that he was so much more than merely foul, he was rancid with corruption. Though grievously wounded, Lorgar would live. The traitors had carried the day and dealt the Emperor and the Imperium a grievous blow. As the Horus Heresy began in earnest, Horus now possessed nine Space Marine Legions and had all but destroyed three of the remaining nine Loyalist ones. The path to Terra was now wide open, and the decisive Battle of Terra and the Siege of the Imperial Palace would follow after seven more years of blood and terror as the Traitor Legions penetrated to the very heart of the Imperium of Man.

Inevitable Slaughter

The outnumbered Loyalists were then surrounded and brutally butchered. Refusing to surrender, the remaining Raven Guard and Salamanders Astartes stubbornly defended themselves, trying to hold off the inevitable slaughter for as long as possible. Though they suffered an atrocious number of casualties, the Loyalists managed to hold their own, until the Primarchs Mortarion of the Death Guard and Angron of the World Eaters joined the fray. Bolstered by the support of the infamous Imperator-class Titan Dies Irae, the Traitors killed tens of thousands of Loyalist Astartes. At the height of the massacre the Warmaster Horus entered the fray, at the head of the elite Sons of Horus Terminators known as the Justaerin, slaughtering the Loyalists in wrathful anger.

Any hope for escape for the Loyalists was quickly crushed when the traitorous Iron Warriors destroyed the first wave's drop ships. The Loyalist starships still orbiting the embattled planet were also largely annihilated by the vastly superior numbers of the Traitor's fleet. Despite the odds arrayed against them, some of the Loyalists on the ground managed to survive against these odds — they miraculously escaped through the tightening cordon of Traitors that surrounded their position. The Raven Guard fared better than the Salamanders in escaping the brutal massacre. But the Salamanders managed to assist a few surviving Astartes from the decimated Iron Hands Legion to also escape the slaughter. Imperial history does not record the fate of these surviving Salamanders or their missing Primarch Vulkan. The Raven Guard's Primarch just barely managed to board a fleeing Thunderhawk gunship to make good his escape, but was thwarted in the attempt when it was shot down almost immediately by the gunfire of the Traitors. The badly damaged ship crashed on the outskirts of the Urgall Plateau.

Raven's Flight

Aloni Falcons

Astartes of the Raven Guard fight for their lives on Istvaan V

Corax had survived the crash and quickly ordered the remaining warriors of his Legion to regroup. He learned to his shock that a large percentage of his Legion had been utterly annihilated during the ensuing slaughter. They took to the highlands of the surrounding hills and took to the shadows, hiding from their relentless pursuers. During their flight, their position was nearly discovered by a roving armour column of traitorous Iron Warriors, but they were destroyed in a Raven Guard ambush and wiped out before they could report what they had learned.

Thirty days after the initial planetary assault, the future looked grim for the fleeing Raven Guard survivors. They had received no word from either the surviving Iron Hands or Salamanders Legions. Corax ordered his warriors to dig-in and hold position at Lurgan Ridge while he undertook a lone reconnaissance of their original drop site to determine their options. Utilising his innate psi-abilities to escape detection, Corax successfully conducted a reconnaissance of the Traitor Legions' positions around the heavily fortified drop site. Though the Primarch informed his men that his mission was to reconnoiter the drop site, his primary objective was to scour the Urgall Plateau for the bodies of his fallen sons, but he failed to find them.

After 98 days of relentless pursuit, the Raven Guard survivors were finally backed into a literal corner. Caught upon the windswept mountainside, Corax's Legion remained resolute. Behind the peak stretched the great salt plains that had forced them into this last, defiant stand. Ahead of them massed the might of the World Eaters, the rage-driven Astartes Legion of Angron, who strode at their head roaring for the blood of his brother. A sea of white and blue World Eaters Astartes spattered with the red of gore swept up from the valley intent on the destruction of the Raven Guard. Maddened by their neural implants and driven into a battle-frenzy by inhuman cocktails of stimulants, the berserk warriors of the World Eaters pounded up the sloping mountainside while their tanks and guns provided covering fire; every warrior bellowed his eagerness to fulfill the blood oaths he had sworn to his Primarch.

But before they could utterly eradicate the surviving Raven Guard Astartes, the World Eaters were attacked from an unexpected quarter. Broad-winged aircraft plunged down from the scattering of clouds, missile pods rippling with fire. A swathe of detonations cut through the ranks of the World Eaters, ripping through their advance companies. Incendiary bombs blossomed in the heart of the approaching army, scattering white-hot Promethium over the steep slopes. Corax looked on with incredulity as blistering pulses of plasma descended from orbit, cutting great gouges into Angron’s Legion.

The roar of jets became deafening as drop ships descended on pillars of fire: black drop ships emblazoned with the badge of the Raven Guard. The Legionaries scattered to give the landing craft space to make planetfall. As soon as their thick hydraulic legs touched the ground, their ramps whined down and boarding gateways opened. The Raven Guard met their rescuers in stunned disbelief. These drop ships were part of a desperate rescue mission that had been devised by Commander Branne, a Raven Guard Captain who had been left in charge of the Legion’s homeworld of Deliverance. Without further delay the Raven Guard survivors quickly prepared for embarkation and escaped aboard the drop ships, breaking for orbit and leaving behind the frothing berserkers of the World Eaters, their angry Primarch futilely baying for blood.

Corax's Act of Desperation

HeraldsofSiege Corax

Primarch Corax leading a Moritat and a Dark Fury Assault Squad against Traitor forces during the Horus Heresy.

With his Legion severely depleted from the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V and the Imperium teetering on the brink of destruction, a critically wounded Corax was brought back to Terra in a stasis tube. Healed in body but not in soul, Corax eventually returned to his homeworld of Deliverance to rebuild what remained of his Legion. While traveling from Istvaan V, Corax dwelt upon why he had fled from the confrontation with Konrad Curze and Lorgar, and realised that he had felt fear when facing the Night Haunter. Not fear of death, but the realisation that but for a twist of fate, Corax could have landed upon Nostramo instead of Lycaeus, and become a monster as savage as Curze. Consumed by the loss of over 75,000 of his Legion's Astartes, his flight from the Night Haunter, and obsessed with thoughts of revenge against Horus, Corax ordered his survivors to return to Terra, where he intended to ask the Emperor for help in rebuilding his devastated Legion. Following a number of delays and setbacks, and despite the disagreement and displeasure of Rogal Dorn and Malcador the Sigillite, Corax psychically communed with the Emperor, who was devoting all his time battling Chaos within the Warp and what remained of the secret Imperial extension into the Webway in the aftermath of Magnus the Red's catastrophic psychic intrusion into the Imperial Palace. The Emperor revealed certain truths to Corax: the existence of the Imperial project to control portions of the Webway, the nature of Chaos, and the truth behind the outbreak of the so-called Heresy—which in reality was an all-out campaign by the Chaos Gods to defeat the Emperor and enslave Mankind, using Horus and the Traitor Legions as their pawns.

The Emperor decided to help Corax, and had another, astonishing revelation to make: the Primarch Project's genetic assets had not been destroyed, as everybody thought, but still existed and were dormant—including living samples of the original gene-stock the Emperor had used to create the 20 Primarchs. The Emperor, who offered no explanation as to why such facilities and the gene-stock still existed, demanded only one thing: this genetic material could never be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. Accompanied by several Raven Guard squads, a contingent of Adeptus Mechanicus specialists, and a number of Custodians to serve as the Emperor's "overseers", Corax managed to locate and enter the Emperor's well-protected gene-laboratories deep beneath the Imperial Palace in the Himalazian Mountains. Corax's strike force suffered a number of casualties due to the numerous traps that the Emperor had put in place in order to protect the pure gene-stock from unwanted visitors. The Primarch gene-stock and related technical information was secured, and Corax and his Raven Guard warriors returned to Deliverance to begin remaking the Legion.

After several weeks of effort by Corax, Chief Apothecary Vincente Sixx, and Magos Genetor Nexin Orlandriaz, a breakthrough was achieved, and a new reservoir of stable Astartes gene-seed was extracted from the Primarch DNA. The gene-seed was more pure than "normal" Raven Guard gene stock as it came from undiluted Primarch DNA before it was broken down to the 20 different recombinant strands that gave birth to the Primarchs. It was implanted using an extremely accelerated development schedule within 500 Aspirants, with excellent results. The resulting Astartes, though lacking combat experience, were even more capable than typical Raven Guard Space Marines. They were assigned the name "Raptors", and placed under overall command of Captain Branne, who served as the Legion's Master of Recruits. Following a baptism by fire in a successful attack against a Word Bearers intelligence outpost/listening station, the prospects for the reconstruction of the XIXth Legion looked bright indeed.

The Alpha Legion had other plans. Patiently waiting until the Raven Guard had achieved the genetic breakthrough, they were fomenting rebellion among the old tech-guilds of Kiavahr, the Forge World that the moon of Deliverance circled, while assembling an Alpha Legion force nearby, and simultaneously misleading both their nominal allies among the other Traitor Legions and their supposed allies in the Cabal about their true purpose. With the help of Adepts from the Dark Mechanicus the Alpha Legion operatives within the Raven Guard contaminated the pure Primarch gene-stock held by the Raven Guard with a virus that was tainted with daemonic essence. The nature of the virus was unknown to the Alpha Legionaries until after the gene-stock had been contaminated, as their Dark Mechanicus allies had insisted the virus could be easily extracted once the Primarch gene-stock came into their possession.

The next cadre of 2,000 Raven Guard Astartes was predictably a disaster. All manifested hideous Warp-related mutations after they were implanted with their gene-seed organs, and many had to be kept imprisoned. Corax announced that mutation or not, he considered them as much a part of the Raven Guard as the rest of his Astartes, and vowed to find a way to reverse the mutations. At the same time, the Alpha Legion's plans were reaching their climax. As the Legion fought in isolation against Horus' forces during this period, isolated from the other Imperial forces, nothing is known for sure of the initial results of Corax's program, but an element of truth is found in the Space Wolves' Saga of the Weregeld, which tells of ferocious monsters lead to combat by their Raven Guard Battle Brothers.


Corax leads his Astartes in a raid upon the prison colony of Carandiru

The Kiavahr rebellion was well under way, supported by the newly arrived Alpha Legion force, who were camouflaged as Raven Guard, bearing the XIXth Legion's badges, insignia, and armour. These tactics were only diversions intended to allow the Alpha Legion operatives already within the XIXth Legion to steal the Primarch gene-stock and to completely destroy the original Raven Guard gene-seed, crippling the Loyalist Legion. The first objective was successful: the Primarch DNA and all information about it was secured by Omegon, who had been secretly on Kiavahr all this time, manipulating events as needed. To save the gene-seed, Corax intended to go to Ravendelve himself, but Commander Branne begged him not to, saying that he was prepared to destroy Ravendelve to prevent the guilders from gaining the gene-seed, but Corax's presence would prevent him from doing so. Branne's voice cut through the anger in Corax's heart, and listening to a voice he had trusted for so long, Corax realised that he was seeing the face of Konrad Curze, and could not allow his obsession with rebuilding the XIXth Legion to consume him as utterly as hatred had consumed the Night Haunter. Recognising that he must live for the good of his warriors, Corax agreed to remain at Ravenspire while the Legion moved on Ravendelve. Yet the destruction of the Raven Guard's gene-seed was prevented by the Raven Guard Mutants, who were tasked by the dying Chief Apothecary Vincente Sixx to save the future of the XIXth Legion. Corax subsequently allowed the Mutants who were able to fight to join the Legion's Raptor Squads. They participated with the rest of the Raven Guard, a small force of Imperial Fists, and the reconstituted Therion Cohort in the first counterattack against the Traitors, and the Raven Guard's successful campaign against the garrison of an Emperor's Children-held planet near the Kiavahr System.

Corax Soulforge cover art

Primarch Corax leads his Raven Guard against a Dark Mechanicum-held Forge World

Unfortunately the attempt to rebuilt the XIXth Legion's strength was now in ruins. With a heavy heart, Corax decided that his attempt to use a shortcut to refill his Legion's ranks had been a mistake. He determined that the XIXth Legion would rebuild its ranks in the traditional way, slowly and painstakingly transforming human Aspirants into Space Marines over many years of genetic alteration and training. But the price would be that the Raven Guard would not be able to participate in a meaningful way in defending the Imperium against the Traitor Legions.

Following the later reorganisation of the Space Marine Legions into the Second Founding Chapters after the end of the Horus Heresy, the Raven Guard was left largely inoperable as a combat unit and was forced to spend decades recruiting new members and rebuilding itself. Finding itself woefully undermanned and under-equipped following the massacre on Istvaan V, the Raven Guard honed and perfected the use of covert small-unit, guerrilla tactics that utilised little fire support, armoured support or other heavy equipment that the Chapter and its Successors lacked. Even today, the Raven Guard's lack of Predators, Land Raiders, and the latest patterns of Power Armour reflect these conditions of the Chapter's past.



After the Horus Heresy, Corax remained unable to forget the growling, monstrous aberrations of Humanity that he had personally created. By the time Corax finally managed to rebuild his Legion to anywhere near its pre-Heresy strength, the Horus Heresy had ended and Roboute Guilliman's Codex Astartes required that the Legion be split into smaller, more flexible 1000-Astartes units known as Chapters. Never again would one man wield the power of an entire Space Marine Legion.

Knowing that Guilliman's vision was true and necessary, Corax grudgingly split his remaining forces into the new Second Founding Successor Chapters, but after pondering for solar hours as to what should be done to atone for his sins, he decided to administer the Emperor's Peace to the remaining aberrant Raven Guard mutants personally, praying for both their souls and his.

Wracked with guilt following the executions, Corax locked himself in his personal chamber in the Ravenspire, the Raven's Tower, begging for the recently-ascended Emperor's mercy.

Nobody knows if Corax received the absolution he prayed for, but a standard year to the day after he had locked himself in the Ravenspire, he left the tower and the world of Deliverance itself on a course toward the Eye of Terror, never to be seen again within Imperial space. His last recorded words were "never more."

Hunt for Lorgar

Unbeknownst to all within the Imperium, after his disappearance, Corax took up his prior role as the Emperor's justice made manifest. He had resolved during his time in the Ravenspire to enter the Eye of Terror in pursuit of the Traitor Legions following the Siege of Terra and hunt down his traitorous brother primarchs. He began with the architect of the Imperium's ruin, Lorgar of the Word Bearers.

Within the Eye of Terror, on the Daemon World of Sicarus that the Word Bearers had claimed for their own in the wake of the Great Scouring, the Dark Apostle Kalta-Ar sought to raise a huge edifice to the glory of his gene-father Lorgar and his Dark Gods, but his work was derailed when something began killing the Word Bearers under his command. His slaves told him that it was a shadow, a shadow that rose up and tore the Heretic Astartes to shreds.

When the shadow finally came for Kalta-Ar, he could not hope to fight it, so he took the Word Bearer survivors and withdrew to Lorgar's sanctum, desperate for the Urizen's aid. The Lorgar that emerged was immensely different from the man Corax had bested on the killing fields of Isstvan V. A golden-skinned giant wrapped in a cloak of throbbing Chaos runes and holding a vicious spiked mace, Corax's prey now radiated power and cruelty.

But Corax had changed as well. Constant exposure to the energies of the Warp within the Eye of Terror had stripped away the mortal facade the Emperor had bestowed upon His gene-sons, and revealed the true Warp-formed consciousness that lived beneath the surface of every primarch.

Now a humanoid creature of blades and living shadow that could transform into an enormous flock of ravens, the being that was Corax hurled himself at Lorgar. Trading immense blows that would fell a Space Marine many times over, the two demigods battled back and forth across the massive temple to the Ruinous Powers. But, as before, the Ravenlord gained the utter hand.

Summoning a nimbus of power, Lorgar forced back his black-eyed tormentor and staggered into the Templum Inficio. At the tower in the heart of everything, Lorgar plunged into a hidden chamber and slammed the obsidian doors behind him.

Screaming his rage and frustration, Corax swore to Lorgar that even if it took millennia, he would hunt down the Urizen and tear him limb from limb. On the black door blocking the Ravenlord from his prey, two runes flared into being spelling out a simple message: Deny Fate.


Corax War Panoply

Corvus Corax, arrayed in his fearsome panoply of war.

The following represents the wargear possessed by Corvus Corax during the late Great Crusade and Horus Heresy.

  • The Sable Armour - Fashioned for the master of the Raven Guard by the Emperor's own artificers, this suit of highly sophisticated Power Armour not only offered the Primarch defence against outside attack, it also masked its sensor signature and could be used to disrupt enemy sensors and transmissions in his immediate vicinity.
  • Panoply of the Raven Lord - Corax carried a number of personal weapons of formidable power with which had made for a frighteningly deadly opponent in personal combat. These included artificer-crafted Lightning Talons able to shred the heaviest armour with ease, and an energised whip -- a symbol of the overthrow of the tyrannical powers that once held him captive -- with which he could lash out or ensnare with blinding speed.
  • Frag Grenade - A Frag Grenade is an anti-personnel grenade commonly used by the military forces of the Imperium of Man. It produces a blast of shrapnel that can shred unarmoured troops. The blast has the tactical advantage of forcing the enemy to duck into cover to avoid damage. In effect, the blast of a Frag Grenade neutralises any movement advantage held by an opposing force by pinning them to their position.
  • The Korvidine Pinions - Corax's flight pack was a miracle from the Dark Age of Technology modified to suit the Primarch's own exacting needs.



The Latin word corvus means "raven," while corax also translates to "Raven" in Ancient Greek. Corvus corax is the Linnaean binomial species name for the common raven.

Corax's last word before he departed for the Eye of Terror, "nevermore," is a reference to the well-known poem of Edgar Allen Poe, "The Raven," of which the last line is, "Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'"


  • Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 8
  • Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 8
  • Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 14-15, 37
  • Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
  • Horus Heresy: Visions of War
  • Index Astartes IV, "Claws of the Raven - The Raven Guard Space Marine Chapter"
  • The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal, by Alan Bligh, pp. 38-39
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Three: Extermination, by Alan Bligh
  • Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
  • The First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "The Face of Treachery" by Gav Thorpe
  • Deliverance Lost (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
  • Corax: Soulforge (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
  • Raven's Flight (Audio Book)
  • Raven Lord (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
  • Shadow of the Past (Short Story) by Gav Thorpe
  • The First Wall (Novel) by Gav Thorpe, Limited Edition Artwork
  • Forge World - Corvus Corax, Primarch of the Raven Guard
  • Warhammer Community Online - Black Library Live: The Big Reveals

The Primarchs
Loyalist Primarchs Lion El'JonsonJaghatai KhanLeman RussRogal DornSanguiniusFerrus ManusRoboute GuillimanVulkanCorvus CoraxLost Primarchs
Traitor Primarchs FulgrimPerturaboKonrad CurzeAngronMortarionMagnus the RedHorusLorgarAlpharius Omegon
Raven Rock Videos
Warhammer 40,000 Overview Grim Dark Lore Teaser TrailerPart 1: ExodusPart 2: The Golden AgePart 3: Old NightPart 4: Rise of the EmperorPart 5: UnityPart 6: Lords of MarsPart 7: The Machine GodPart 8: ImperiumPart 9: The Fall of the AeldariPart 10: Gods and DaemonsPart 11: Great Crusade BeginsPart 12: The Son of StrifePart 13: Lost and FoundPart 14: A Thousand SonsPart 15: Bearer of the WordPart 16: The Perfect CityPart 17: Triumph at UllanorPart 18: Return to TerraPart 19: Council of NikaeaPart 20: Serpent in the GardenPart 21: Horus FallingPart 22: TraitorsPart 23: Folly of MagnusPart 24: Dark GambitsPart 25: HeresyPart 26: Flight of the EisensteinPart 27: MassacrePart 28: Requiem for a DreamPart 29: The SiegePart 30: Imperium InvictusPart 31: The Age of RebirthPart 32: The Rise of AbaddonPart 33: Saints and BeastsPart 34: InterregnumPart 35: Age of ApostasyPart 36: The Great DevourerPart 37: The Time of EndingPart 38: The 13th Black CrusadePart 39: ResurrectionPart 40: Indomitus