"I will not pretend to understand the reasons that drove my brothers down the path to ruin; that is for others to tell. Instead here I will seek to remind my lords of what these warriors once were, and so show the height from which they fell."

— From the testimony of Crysos Morturg, Blackshield, formerly of the Death Guard Legion, survivor of the Istvaan III Atrocity
Cysos Morturg

Crysos Morturg during the Horus Heresy.

Crysos Morturg was a Section Leader of the Death Guard Legion and staunch Loyalist of the Emperor of Mankind and the ideals of the Great Crusade. He would be betrayed upon the world of Istvaan III alongside one-third of the forces of the first Traitor Legions when the Warmaster Horus attempted to cull the Legions under his command of Loyalist elements during the Istvaan III Atrocity.

Morturg would survive the initial viral bombardment of the planet and live to fight a protracted guerrilla campaign against the Traitor forces. Despite the odds stacked against him, Morturg miraculously survived, thanks to the actions of Caleb Decima of the Ordo Reductor, and was a part of only a handful of survivors that would later tell the Terran War Council their first-hand accounts of the events of the Warmaster's perfidy that had transpired on Istvaan III.


Crysos Morturg was a bitter warrior, morbid and given to introspection. He was disliked by his Battle-Brothers despite his evident talents as a warrior and field commander. He was neither Terran nor Barbaran by birth, having been inducted into the XIVth Legion during an emergency influx of recruits from the induction pool of the 18th Expeditionary Fleet after the Death Guard suffered near-catastrophic losses during the Rangda Xenocide Campaign.

Years after his induction, after he rose to the rank of Lieutenant, his latent psyker talents manifested. This only served to further isolate him from his fellow Astartes, and he had barely begun his training within the Legion Librarius when Primarch Mortarion had it disbanded and ordered such "witchcraft" be suppressed.

Morturg was reassigned to the Legion's Destroyer Corps and was frequently given command of Legionaries judged to be fractious or unstable, and his units were tasked to the brunt of the worst fighting the Death Guard endured. Progression through the ranks as he might otherwise have earned was however barred to him, and he was clearly marked for death on Istvaan III for his loyalist sympathies.

But Morturg did not die and instead endured, rising to become one of the most deadly commanders of the Loyalist resistance. Despite all the odds, Morturg survived the savage internecine fighting on Istvaan III, and he and the few remnants of the slaughtered Loyalists he had gathered to him, formed a deadly and highly effective ad-hoc formation of Blackshields, who would live to avenge themselves upon their former brethren.

The exact actions undertaken by Crysos Morturg, like many of his Blackshield contemporaries during the chaotic age of the Heresy, went mostly unrecorded and unheralded. All that is known is that Morturg managed to survive the calamitous events of the galaxy-wide conflict, and was eventually promoted to the senior rank of Captain.

He was given command of the 108th Independent Company and stationed at Far Rim Monitoring Station Occludus, along the outer edges of the restricted sectors of the Ghoul Stars, located in the galactic north-eastern rim.

In 063.M31, nearly five solar decades after the end of the Heresy, a squadron of strike craft under his command conducting a routine sweep, would intercept a mysterious Astropathic message bearing Imperial code-memes of ancient provenance. The transmission was originally believed to be some kind of warp echo, perhaps dating back to the days of the Great Crusade, although it showed none of the signs of the degradation that usually accompanied such echoes.

This mysterious message indicated the last known possible whereabouts of the notorious Blackshield force known as the Ashen Claws, and implied that they still thrived within the forbidden reaches of the Ghoul Stars, undertaking their own Second Crusade to continue forging a human empire within this foreboding region of the galaxy.



  • The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 38, 47, 54, 58, 266
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Six: Retribution (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 144
  • The Horus Heresy: Legions (Mobile Game) (Picture)
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.