"That which causes us trials shall yield us triumph, and that which makes our hearts ache shall fill us with gladness. For the only true happiness is to learn, to advance and to improve. None of this could happen without rejecting error, ignorance and imperfection. We must pass out of the darkness to reach the light!"
- — Primarch Fulgrim, Attainment of Perfection
Fulgrim, also known in the time before the Horus Heresy as The Phoenician, is the Primarch of the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion. He possessed silvery-white hair and was quite vainglorious, as his entire life was dedicated to the pursuit of perfection in all things; physical, mental and spiritual. Today, Fulgrim is a four-armed, serpentine Daemon Prince of Slaanesh who is believed to reside on a Daemon World somewhere within the Eye of Terror.
Unknown to almost everyone, including his own remaining Chaos Space Marines, Fulgrim expressed remorse, repenting his corruption by the Ruinous Powers during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V during the opening days of the Horus Heresy nearly ten millennia ago. A Greater Daemon of Slaanesh took advantage of this weakness to possess his body for a time, but Fulgrim used his spiritual imprisonment to further explore the power of Chaos and eventually turned the tables on the daemon and forced it into an imprisonment of its own to regain control of his body.
Fulgrim emerged from that experience even more committed to the pursuit of the path of sensation offered by Slaanesh and Chaos, and before the Horus Heresy had ended he was rewarded for his devotion with ascension to become a Daemon Prince of the God of Pleasure. His current exact location remains unknown to the Imperium and the majority of the Heretic Astartes of the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion who still wander the galaxy in pursuit of their own pleasure and ascension.
Like all the Primarchs, Fulgrim was teleported away from Terra while still an infant in a Warp rift through the machinations of the Chaos Gods, who hoped to prevent the coming of the Age of the Imperium, or at least to corrupt it so that the spread of the Emperor's Order would not weaken their power or threaten their existence. After being snatched from the Emperor of Mankind's gene-laboratory deep beneath the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains on Terra, Fulgrim's gestation capsule came to rest on a resource-poor Mining World known as Chemos.
Chemos was a bleak, unforgiving planet warmed by a small binary star and surrounded by a thick nebula dust cloud. The result was a world that was a place forever shrouded in perpetual twilight. Chemos had been settled by humanity during the Dark Age of Technology as a Mining World but it was isolated from its neighbours by the great Warp Storms that marked the Age of Strife. The problem was that the resources of the planet were running out and its people were not producing enough food even for their own needs. Eventually, it fell to a group of fortress-factories to produce all the needed resources for Chemos. The entirety of the Chemosian people had to work every hour of the local day, maintaining the vapour mines and synthesisers.
Recreation, art and leisure were sacrificed for survival. Chemos was dependent upon interstellar commerce for the provision of food, but the world was buffeted by Warp Storms that made it difficult for traders to reach the planet, thus condemning the Chemosians to a slow death, despite their attempts to impose strict food rationing and improvise other solutions for providing nutrients. Scouts from the fortress-factory of Callax's branch of the planetary police force, the Caretakers, discovered the Primarch's gestation capsule after it plummeted to the surface of Chemos and were so impressed by the beauty of the infant within that they begged the leaders of Callax, its Executives, to spare his life, as orphans were routinely put to death so they would not further strain a settlement's resources. Fulgrim was spared and given into the hands of one of his rescuers, a member of the Caretakers, to raise as his own child.
Named after an ancient deity of the Chemosian people, Fulgrim in time became a new legend to the people of that suffering world. At half the age at which most of the other people of Callax went to work in the vapour mines and synthesisers, Fulgrim proved able to fulfill all the obligations of an adult labourer. He came to understand the ramshackle Chemosian mining technology with an intuitive ease that allowed him to begin to modify it with his extraordinary technical acumen, dramatically increasing its efficiency. By the time he was only 15 Terran years of age, Fulgrim had risen from the rank of a simple labourer to become one of the Executives who governed the fortress-factory of Callax. As a leader, Fulgrim learned of the terrible plight that faced Callax and all the other settlements of Chemos as their technology and population gradually declined in the face of their resource shortages.
Under Fulgrim's direction, teams of engineers travelled far from Callax and the other fortress-factories, reclaiming and repairing many of the most ancient and far-flung of the world's original mining outposts, many of which had not been used since before the start of the Age of Strife. Mining production skyrocketed, and as resources began to pour in large amounts into the treasuries of the fortress-factories of Chemos for the first time in millennia, Fulgrim supervised the construction of even more sophisticated and efficient extraction machinery. This industrial efficiency soon grew to the point that Chemos' mines were actually producing surpluses for the first time in decades, allowing the world to begin to purchase food and other needed materials in large quantities from passing interstellar traders. Fulgrim, now the recognised planetary leader, fostered the re-emergence of Chemosian art and culture, important aspects of human life that had long been sacrificed to Chemos' resource shortage and need for constant labour.
The Coming of the Emperor
Not long after this great triumph, the world's isolation came to an end. From the perpetually twilit sky emerged a flight of Stormbird dropships, heavily armoured and battle-scarred and bearing the Imperial Aquila, the badge of the Emperor of Mankind. When he learned of the Aquila, Fulgrim found his memories stirred. Chemos had no real military forces, but the Stormbirds' landing zone had been surrounded by the Caretakers, the planetary police force of the fortress-factories. Fulgrim ordered the Caretakers to welcome the strangers and take them to meet with him in Callax.
In his private quarters, Fulgrim met with the heavily armoured warriors from the stars, men who represented a true civilisation that possessed all the culture and refinement that Fulgrim longed to return to his homeworld. From amongst the Astartes stepped the shining figure of the Emperor of Mankind, and with one look upon him, Fulgrim said nothing and simply dropped to his knees before his father and offered his sword in service. Fulgrim swore from that moment forward to serve the Emperor and the needs of the Imperium of Man with all his heart. The Emperor taught his son of Terra and of the Great Crusade he had initiated to reunite all the scattered worlds of Mankind beneath a single rule so that humanity would no longer face possible extinction at the hands of the galaxy's hostile forces and could claim its rightful place as the dominant intelligent species in the Milky Way. Imperial records do not indicate the exact date of the meeting between Fulgrim and the Emperor; all that is known is that Fulgrim's vast flagship, the Battle Barge known as the Pride of the Emperor, was completed by the Adeptus Mechanicus of Mars 160 standard years before the start of the Horus Heresy, sometime in the late 30th or early 31st Millennium.
Fulgrim returned to Terra with the Emperor to meet the IIIrd Legion of Space Marines that had been created from his own genome. But Fulgrim learned to his horror that an accident had destroyed the majority of the gene-seed that had been cultivated from his DNA to implant the Astartes of the IIIrd Legion and that without their Primarch, replacing it had proven to be a slow and labourious process. Fulgrim addressed the mere 200 Astartes that had been created for the III Legion and his speech proved so inspiring to the Imperial cause that the Emperor named the III Legion the Emperor's Children on the spot, and determined that only they could carve the Imperial Aquila, the double-headed eagle that was his own personal badge, upon the Ceramite chestplates of their Power Armour.
Fulgrim was soon consumed by the idea that he and the Emperor's Children needed to live up to the extraordinary honour the Emperor had shown them by becoming shining paragons of the perfection inherent in both the Emperor's person and his vision for Imperial culture and civilisation. The drive for perfection soon consumed the Primarch and his Legion, from the military tactics they employed to the embrace of an unusually artistic Legionary culture and a concern for aesthetics and their personal appearances that was unsurpassed by any of the other Astartes. Fulgrim embodied this pursuit of physical beauty and perfection, for long silver hair flowed down his back, his wide eyes and melodic voice welcomed all who sought his counsel and his full lips often quirked into a wry smile. Fulgrim made sure that his Power Armour was of the finest quality that could be fabricated by Imperial technology and was intricately decorated in the purple and golden colours he had chosen for his Legion. Over it he usually wore a wide variety of intricately embroidered and high-collared cloaks.
The Phoenix and the Gorgon
The brotherhood shared by the Primarchs Fulgrim and Ferrus Manus, the Phoenician and the Gorgon, was well known in the Imperium at the time of the Great Crusade, as the two superhuman leaders formed an instant connection upon their first meeting. This initial encounter occurred on Terra, beneath Mount Narodnya, the greatest forge of the Urals, where Ferrus Manus was busy toiling with the forge-masters who had once served the Terrawatt Clan during the Unification Wars soon after his arrival from Medusa. The Primarch of the Iron Hands had been demonstrating his phenomenal skill and the miraculous powers of his liquid metal hands when Fulgrim, the Primarch of the IIIrd Legion, the Emperor's Children, and his elite Phoenix Guard, had descended upon the sprawling forge complex.
Neither Primarch had yet met the other, but each had felt the shared bonds of alchemy and science that had gone into their making. Both were like gods unto the terrified artisans, who prostrated themselves before these two mighty warriors as though fearing a terrible battle might ensure between them. Ferrus Manus later told the tale to the Astartes of the Xth Legion claiming that Fulgrim had declared that he had come to forge the most perfect weapon ever created, and that he would bear it in the coming Great Crusade. Of course the Primarch of the Iron Hands could not let such a boast go unanswered, and he had laughed in Fulgrim’s face, declaring that such pasty hands could never be the equal of his own living metal appendages. Fulgrim accepted the challenge with regal grace, and both Primarchs had stripped to the waist, working without pause for weeks on end, the forge ringing with the deafening pounding of hammers, the hiss of cooling metal, and the good natured insults of the two demigods as they sought to outdo one another.
At the end of three months' unceasing toil, both warriors had finished their weapons. Fulgrim had forged an exquisite warhammer -- Forgebreaker -- that could level a mountain with a single blow, and Ferrus Manus a golden bladed sword -- Fireblade -- that forever burned with the fire of the forge. Both weapons were unmatched by any yet crafted by Man, and upon seeing what the other had created, each Primarch declared that his opponent’s was the greater. Fulgrim declared the golden sword the equal of that borne by the legendary hero Nuada Silverhand, while Ferrus Manus had sworn that only the mighty thunder gods of Nordyc legend were fit to bear such a magnificent warhammer. Without another word spoken, both Primarchs had swapped weapons and sealed their eternal friendship with the craft of their hands.
The weight of the formidable warhammer Forgebreaker was enormous and unbearable for anyone but one of the Emperor’s Astartes. Its haft was the colour of ebony, elaborately worked with threads of gold and silver that formed the shape of a lightning bolt, and the head was carved into the shape of a mighty eagle, its barbed beak forming the striking face and its tapered wings the claw. Anyone who looked upon the mighty warhammer could feel the power radiating from within it and know instinctively that more than just skill had gone into its forging. Love and honour, loyalty and friendship, death and vengeance...all were embodied within its majestic form, and the thought that the Iron Hands Primarch’s sworn honour brother had created this weapon made it truly legendary.
According to legend, Ferrus Manus was commonly referred to as The Gorgon. Some on Terra said the name was in reference to an ancient legend of the Olympian Hegemony. The Gorgon was a beast of such incredible ugliness that its very gaze could turn a man to stone. Many would be outraged at the disrespect in the implication of such a term when referring to a Primarch, but those who knew him best believed that Ferrus Manus quite enjoyed the name, because in any case, that was not where the name originated. It was an old nickname Fulgrim had given his brother after their initial meeting. Unlike the Phoenician, Ferrus Manus had little time for art, music or any of the cultural pastimes the IIIrd Legion's Primarch so enjoyed. It is said that after the two Primarchs met at Mount Narodnya, they returned to the Imperial Palace where Primarch Sanguinius of the Blood Angels Legion had arrived bearing gifts for the Emperor, exquisite statues from the glowing rock of Baal, priceless gem-stones and wondrous artefacts of aragonite, opal and tourmaline. The lord of the Blood Angels had brought enough to fill a dozen wings of the Palace with the greatest wonders imaginable.
Of course, Fulgrim was enthralled, finding that another of his brothers shared his love of such incredible beauty, but Ferrus Manus was unimpressed and said that such things were a waste of their time when there was a galaxy to win back. Fulgrim laughed and declared Ferrus a "terrible gorgon," saying that if the Primarchs did not value beauty, then they would never appreciate the stars they were to win back for their father. After that time the name stuck, and forever after Ferrus Manus was often referred to as The Gorgon.
The Great Crusade
"My brothers, leave behind the betrayal of worlds broken to the wheel, scars of fire and blood carved across the face of the galaxy. I think - I know - that there is a better way, a more efficient way and together you and I will prove it. [...] We will bring Byzas into Compliance, but not through fire and blood. Six blades, and six blades alone will I carry into this battle."
- — Primarch Fulgrim, before the Compliance campaign of 28-1
Fulgrim was anxious from the start to make a substantial contribution to the Great Crusade like all of his brother Primarchs, but the small size of his Legion meant that the Emperor's Children were at first placed under the command of the Primarch Horus and were assigned to fight alongside his Luna Wolves Legion. Horus and Fulgrim soon grew personally close during their time together while their Legions participated in the conquest and pacification of the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy in the Ultima Segmentum.
Eventually, over the course of several Terran decades, the Emperor's Children's ranks were swelled by new Astartes who had been recruited from both Terra and Fulgrim's homeworld of Chemos, where the IIIrd Legion had established its fortress-monastery at the old fortress-factory of Callax. When the Emperor's Children were judged to have reached an appropriate size, Fulgrim was given command of the 28th Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade and set off on his own course of conquest, adding dozens of worlds to the rule of the Emperor. Among them was the advanced xenos world of Laeran, where Fulgrim's fate would be sealed.
"Pride Go'eth Before Abandon,
Vanity Go'eth Before Weakness,
Vainglory Go'eth Before
- — The Cantos of Proverbs from The Apocrypha Terra
Fulgrim first fell from the Emperor's grace on the xenos planet called Laeran, officially designated as Twenty-Eight-Three, being the third world the 28th Expedition had brought to Imperial Compliance. Unbeknownst to the III Legion, the serpentine Laer species were corrupted xenos worshippers of the Chaos God of Pleasure, Slaanesh. Though the resource-rich Ocean World of Laeran would be of immeasurable value to the Crusade of the Emperor, its alien inhabitants did not wish to share what blind fortune had blessed them with. They had refused to see the manifest destiny that guided Mankind through the stars and had made it abundantly clear that they held the Imperium in nothing but contempt. The IIIrd Legion's advance had been rebuffed with violence, and honour demanded that they answer in kind.
Fulgrim's 28th Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade conquered Laeran for the Imperium, exterminating its hostile native reptilian species, the Laer. Laeran was a water world, its continents having sunk beneath its oceans' waves centuries before when all of its ice caps and glaciers melted. The oceanic world was home to a native sentient species known as the Laer who were reptilian and serpentine in form but also engaged in extensive genetic engineering to perfect their species, creating a multitude of different castes who were genetically designed to best serve their intended function in Laer society. Having no land area, the Laer, whose technology equalled or even exceeded that of the Imperium in certain areas, had moved their entire society onto hundreds of floating coral islands that circled a central nexus in the planet's atmosphere. Each coral island was held aloft by an anti-gravity generator.
What Fulgrim and his Emperor's Children Legion did not know was that the Laer were also an entire civilisation that had been corrupted by Slaanesh, the Chaos God of Pleasure and Pain. The central nexus point that all of their coral islands orbited was actually a massive temple dedicated to the Prince of Pleasure at the heart of which lay a potent Chaos Artefact, a beautifully crafted, single-edged Daemonblade, that served as the physical vessel for a Greater Daemon of the Prince of Chaos. The Laer evinced all the signs of what later generations of the Imperium would recognise as Slaaneshi corruption, including a need for constant extreme sensory inputs, such as riotous colours and constant sound, and the deriving of pleasure from only the most extreme of sensations, including their own deaths.
Completely unaware of the real dangers he and his Astartes Legion faced on the Chaos-corrupted world, Fulgrim ordered the Emperor's Children and the other forces of the 28th Expeditionary Fleet to assault the planet and conquer it for the Imperium within a single Terran month, completely eradicating the Laer species in the process. The Council of Terra had decided that the subjugation of the Laer would cost too many Imperial lives and would take too long. Some estimates indicated that an attempted Imperial Compliance would take as long as ten standard years. There had even been talk of making Laeran a protectorate of the Imperium. Primarch Fulgrim would not countenance such talk, for by refusing the Emperor's beneficence, the Laer had effectively sealed their doom.
During the final slaughter of that serpentine xenos race, Fulgrim and his Astartes discovered the great temple dedicated to Slaanesh that lay on the central floating coral island of Laeran. The Imperium, ignorant of the existence of the Chaos Powers at this time and holding to the extreme rationalism and atheism of the Imperial Truth, did not realise the significance of such a find or what they had really discovered. The expedition led by Fulgrim began to be unwittingly corrupted by the temple's potent and malign influence. After defeating the temple's fanatical Laer defenders, Fulgrim discovered what the Laer were so fiercely protecting -- at the centre of the chamber of the unholy temple was a circular block of veined black stone, and embedded within was a tall silver sword with a gently-curved blade and a crude amethyst gem set in the pommel. This sword was not only a potent Slaaneshi artefact but also the physical vessel of a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh.
Once Fulgrim had claimed the blade as his own, the daemon within it began whispering in his mind and corrupting his soul towards the service of Slaanesh. He began to wield the daemonblade more often than his prior weapon, the great sword Fireblade that had been forged for him on Terra by his fellow Primarch and most favoured brother, Ferrus Manus. Thinking the whispers in his mind was only his own subconscious speaking to him, Fulgrim began listening to what it offered. Eventually, he discovered these were actually the whispers of the daemon that existed within the blade. After a lot of persuasion from his brother Horus, himself already corrupted by the Ruinous Powers after his injury on the moon of Davin, Fulgrim gave himself over to Chaos, and found his particular patron in the Prince of Pleasure, who offered the Primarch a route to the ultimate perfection he so craved for himself and his Astartes, free of all morality and dependent upon the pursuit of ultimate self-obsession.
The Diasporex Persecution
During the latter part of the Great Crusade, the Iron Hands Legion encountered a nomadic, fleet-based civilisation composed of both humans and xenos known as the Diasporex. The Iron Hands shared the Imperial Truth of the Emperor of Mankind and offered the human members of the Diasporex the opportunity to separate from their alien allies and to join the newly forged Imperium, but they declined the Astartes' offer. Their offer rejected, the Iron Hands passed judgement, and in the following months the Iron Hands fleet attempted to annihilate the Diasporex, but they proved to be highly skilled and experienced in the realm of naval warfare, and managed to easily evade crucial battles and even to severely damage the Iron Hands' Strike Cruiser Ferrum. The Emperor's Children of the 28th Expeditionary Fleet were called in as reinforcements, and so, a joint Imperial strike force composed of both the Iron Hands and forces from the Emperor's Children Legion launched an all-out assault against the willful Diasporex.
Though the Diasporex knew that a powerful fleet of warships was hunting them and sought their destruction, they refused to leave the sector and move on to someplace safer. The Iron Hands' scout ships soon discovered the truth -- the Diasporex used hidden solar collector arrays to collect fuel for their vessels from a star. This was the reason why the Diasporex remained within the sector. Attacking these vital fuel stations, the two Imperial Expeditionary Fleets drew the Diasporex fleet out into open battle as the human-alien alliance sought to avoid utter annihilation at the Imperials' hands.
During the massive naval battle that ensued Fulgrim's personal gunship, the Firebird, came under heavy attack and soon found itself in trouble. Rushing to his brother's side, Ferrus Manus' flagship, the Battle Barge Fist of Iron, came to the rescue of his beleaguered brother. To restore his wounded pride, Fulgrim led a brief shipboarding action where the Emperor's Children wreaked bloody havoc on the troops of the Diasporex. But ultimate victory was robbed from him when the enemy ship's bridge was taken by one of his subordinate commanders. For solar months thereafter, Fulgrim would resent The Gorgon's actions, unable to truly understand the altruism of Ferrus' deed and the loss of life his selfless act had incurred on his Legion.
Under the malignant influence of the daemon-possessed Laer blade that he wore at all times, Fulgrim could only see self-aggrandisement in his brother’s action, instead of the the heroic deed it had truly been. Ferrus' critical comments, the wounding darts that Fulgrim believed were meant to undermine him, were in actuality only jests designed to puncture Fulgrim's self-importance and restore his humility. What Fulgrim perceived as Ferrus' prideful boasts and rash actions had been deeds of courage that he spitefully dismissed as the influence of Chaos began to claim the Phoenician's soul.
The Horus Heresy
Certain members of the Inquisition who have studied the fragmentary Imperial records of this time now believe that the Laeran daemonsword began to exert a powerful Chaotic influence over Fulgrim, and that the Emperor's Children forces he had deployed against the Laer may also have been tainted by their exposure to the concentrated Chaotic corruption of that serpentine race, who had fully sworn themselves to the service of Slaanesh. Even while wrestling with his own Chaotic taint, the Primarch of the Emperor's Children soon found himself at the center of the events that would bring on the Horus Heresy.
Fulgrim met with the renowned Eldar Farseer Eldrad Ulthran of Craftworld Ulthwe on the Maiden World of Tarsus, in which the Farseer attempted to warn Fulgrim that Horus had been wounded by the Chaotic aretfact blade known as the Kinebrach Anathame at the hands of Eugen Temba, the Planetary Governor of Davin who had fallen to the influence of the Plague Lord Nurgle. The wounding had allowed the Chaos Gods to gain a purchase on the Warmaster's soul and he was already turning to their service as he recuperated from the nearly-mortal wound the Kinebrach blade had given him at the hands of Temba on the Nurgle-corrupted moon of Davin. Fulgrim reacted with violent outrage at the Farseer's accusations due to his close friendship with his brother Horus, as his bond with the Warmaster was second only to that he shared with Ferrus Manus, the Primarch of the Xth Legion.
This outrage was further enhanced by the influence of Fulgrim's daemonblade, which wanted the Primarch to reject the Eldar's truth and it led Fulgrim to launch an unprovoked and furious attack on Eldrad and his retinue alongside his Emperor's Children Captains and his personal Phoenix Guard. In the battle that ensued, the Emperor's Children slew both the revered Eldar Wraithlord Khiraen Goldhelm and a potent Avatar of Khaine, which forced the Farseer and the other Eldar troops to sorrowfully withdraw, as they realised that Chaos had already claimed yet another of the Mon-Keigh's Primarchs. Yet they had succeeded in killing all of Fulgrim's elite personal Phoenix Guard before their departure.
Believing the Eldar had proven themselves a treacherous race that sought to divide and conquer the Imperium by spreading such lies about its leaders, Fulgrim, again under the increasing influence of the daemonblade, ordered the destruction by the 28th Expeditionary Fleet of several other beautiful Eldar Maiden Worlds using hideous Virus Bombs.
Whilst the exact timing of this meeting remains unknown in Imperial records, it is known that Fulgrim soon met Horus in person after the Eldar had provided their warning about the Warmaster's turn to Chaos, and Fulgrim demanded a personal account of his actions. Instead, Horus, deploying every ounce of his immense charisma, proved able to sway Fulgrim to his cause and the service of the Ruinous Powers. Fulgrim's respect for Horus allowed Chaos to find its own way into Fulgrim's heart, destroying Fulgrim's once rock-solid loyalty to the Emperor, and replacing it with the burning desire to destroy the man who he now believed held humanity back from the perfection Fulgrim so craved and that Horus convinced him only the Chaos Gods could truly provide.
Only when Mankind had fully embraced Chaos could it know true perfection, Fulgrim came to believe, and the Emperor and his false Imperial Truth stood directly in the way of his and the rest of humanity's attainment of that perfection. In recognition of the trust that Horus put in his brother, he gifted him with the potent Chaotic blade known as the Kinebrach Anathame. Only the two brothers shared the secret of the poisoned blade's true power, as it was the weapon blessed by the Plague God Nurgle that had almost killed Horus on Davin's feral moon.
Fulgrim was next ordered by Horus to meet with Ferrus Manus, the Primarch of the Iron Hands Legion and Fulgrim's greatest friend amongst his brother Primarchs, aboard his flagship the Battle Barge Fist of Iron in the hope that he could be swayed to the side of Horus and the other Traitor Legions who now served Chaos. Fulgrim had sent the bulk of his Legion and the 28th Expeditionary Fleet on to meet Horus and the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet in the Istvaan System while he and a small force aided the Iron Hands' 52nd Expeditionary Fleet in retaking the world of Callinedes IV from Orks. Great bonds of friendship and brotherhood had long existed between them, and Fulgrim felt that he could convince Ferrus of the righteousness of Horus' cause. Fulgrim's hope proved disastrously wrong and the meeting of the two Primarchs in Ferrus' private inner sanctum in his flagship's Anvilarium did not go well, as Ferrus was outraged that his brothers would turn against their father the Emperor. The meeting ended in violence as The Gorgon made his difference of opinion over continued loyalty to the Emperor known to the Phoenician with his weapons, and he was determined to stop Fulgrim's betrayal of the Imperium before it could begin. Ferrus used his silvery necrodermis hands to destroy Fulgrim's Power Sword Fireblade, but the explosion knocked him out.
Fulgrim intended to kill his brother with his own weapon, the warhammer Forgebreaker, but proved unable to kill his oldest friend despite the promptings of the Slaaneshi daemon that now throttled his soul. When Fulgrim emerged from Ferrus' inner sanctum, he gave a signal to his Phoenix Guard who instantly beheaded all of the Iron Hands Morlocks Terminators who served as Ferrus Manus' bodyguard with their Power Halberds. The Emperor's Children also nearly slew the Iron Hands' First Captain Gabriel Santor. Fulgrim successfully fled the Iron Hands' expeditionary fleet in his personal assault craft, the Firebird, when he ordered his flagship, the Battle Barge Pride of the Emperor and its Escorts, to open fire upon the ships of the 52nd Expeditionary Fleet. This surprise attack crippled them and provided a distraction while Fulgrim and the forces of the IIIrd Legion fled into the Warp to rendezvous with the rest of their 28th Expeditionary Fleet in the Istvaan System.
With their allegiance now settled and their path forward determined, the Chaotic corruption of the Emperor's Children spread quickly throughout the IIIrd Legion, from Fulgrim to his chief lieutenants, the two Lord Commanders of the Legion, and then to its company captains and squad sergeants and finally to all but a small minority of Emperor's Children Astartes who followed the dictates of Slaanesh rather than remaining loyal to the Emperor. The IIIrd Legion's once-laudable quest for excellence and perfection had been corrupted into a desire to achieve perfect hedonism and constant, self-absorbed, sensual excess.
Before Horus openly launched his rebellion to overthrow the Emperor, an opportunity presented itself that would enable him to get rid of the Loyalist elements within the Astartes Legions under his command. 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, World Eaters, 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 despatched all of the known Loyalist Astartes down to the planet, under the pretence of bringing it back into the Imperial fold. 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. The Loyalist Captain Saul Tarvitz of the Emperor's Children, however, was aboard the Strike Cruiser Andronius and had 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 he could find of all four Legions of their impending doom. Those that heard or passed on Tarvitz's 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 somehow survived and witnessed the final orbital bombardment of Istvaan III that ended the Loyalists' desperate defence.
The few remaining Loyalists of the Emperor's Children Legion fought bravely on Istvaan III, led by Captains Saul Tarvitz and Solomon Demeter. 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. He wanted to punish Tarvitz for taking command of the defence, which had incited Lucius's fierce jealousy of his fellow captain. Lucius slew many of his former comrades personally, an act for which he was then accepted back into the III 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.
Lords of Pleasure
Throughout the final days of the Great Crusade, just before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, the famed composer Bequa Kynska of Terra had accompanied the Emperor's Children's 28th Expeditionary Fleet as a Remembrancer aboard Fulgrim's Battle Barge Pride of the Emperor. Kynska was a jaded musician always in search of further sensations to create more exhilarating and all-encompassing music, which made her an easy target for Slaaneshi corruption. After Kynska accompanied many of the 28th Expedition's Remembrancers to the temple dedicated to Slaanesh on the xenos world of Laeran, she was touched by the Chaotic corruption of that foul place and slowly sought to create the ultimate orchestral piece that she believed could capture the wondrous sounds she had heard within the Laer temple.
Her ultimate masterpiece was a symphony she named the Maraviglia and which she performed for Fulgrim and all the assembled Astartes of the Emperor's Children and their support personnel within the Remebrancers' lounge and theatre called La Fenice aboard the Pride of the Emperor. To recreate the sounds she had heard, Kynska created new musical instruments whose sonic powers could also be used for destruction when employed by an individual already corrupted by Slaanesh. As the Maraviglia began, the cachophony of sound unleashed by these instruments acted as a sorcerous ritual that opened a link between realspace and the Warp and allowed the power of Slaanesh to directly touch the audience. During the "performance" it was noted that the musical instruments were able to produce effects variously disorienting, stimulating and downright murderous.
Chaotic mutations ran rampant through the audience and Astartes and mortal humans alike were so overwhelmed by sensation and uncontrollable emotions that they unleashed an orgy of both sensual hedonism and the most base form of murder upon one another. Ultimately, the music summoned five Lesser Daemons of Slaanesh known as Daemonettes from the Warp who possessed the bodies of Kynska and several of her singers and joined in the slaughter. During this part of the concert, several Emperor's Children Astartes left their seats and took up the instruments to try and keep the Chaos-tainted music playing and in the course of their untrained fumblings with the instruments discovered that they could unleash waves of destructive sonic power filled with the psychic strength of Chaos.
These Astartes became the first Noise Marines, who would eventually take to the field on Istvaan V wielding this strange, new weaponry as a new unit of the III Legion called the Kakophoni under the command of First Captain Julius Kaesoron. It was during this performance in La Fenice that the Emperor's Children finally gave themselves wholly, both body and soul, to the Prince of Pleasure as his most dedicated servants.
Drop Site Massacre
When the Loyalist Salamanders, Raven Guard and Iron Hands Legions arrived in the Istvaan System to face Horus and the Traitor Legions on Istvaan V, the Emperor's Children eagerly took part in the fighting. Thousands of Drop Pods and Stormbirds were deployed for the drop. 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 Morlock 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 Isstvan 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 Heretek 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 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 Isstvan 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, and the Alpha Legion of Alpharius represented a force larger than that which had first begun the assault on Isstvan V. The secret Traitor Legions mustered in the landing zone, armed and ready for battle, unbloodied and fresh.
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 Dreadoughts -- 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 Isstvan 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.
Fulgrim smiled as his brother Ferrus Manus renewed his attack into the heart of the Traitors' defensive lines atop the Urgall Depression. Backlit by the flaring strobe of battle, his brother was a magnificent figure of vengeance, his silver hands and eyes reflecting the fires of slaughter with a brilliant gleam. For the briefest second, Fulgrim had been sure that Ferrus would pause to muster with the Raven Guard and Salamanders, but there would be no restraining his brother's aggrieved sense of honour. Around the Phoenician, the last of the Phoenix Guard awaited the blunt wedge of the Iron Hands, their golden halberds held low and aimed towards their foes.
Ferrus Manus and his Morlocks charged through the shattered ruin of the defences, his black armour and their burnished plates scarred and stained with the blood of enemies. Fulgrim's fixed smile faltered as he truly appreciated the depths of hatred his brother held for him and wondered again how they had come to this point, knowing that any chance for brotherhood was lost. Only in death would their rivalry end. The Iron Hands pushed through the defences, the bulky Terminators unstoppable in their relentless advance. Lightning crackled from the claws of their gauntlets and their red eyes shone with anger. The Phoenix Guard braced themselves to meet the charge, fully aware of the power of such mighty suits of armour, and answered with a terrible war cry.
They leapt to meet the Morlocks in a searing clash of blades. Electric fire leapt from the golden edges of the halberds and the Lightning Claws of the warriors, and a storm of light and sound flared from each life and death struggle. The battle engulfed the Primarch of the Emperor’s Children, but he stood above it, awaiting the dark armoured giant who strode untouched through the lightning shot carnage as brothers hacked at one another in hatred. Ferrus had long dreamt of this moment of reckoning, ever since Fulgrim had come to him with betrayal in his heart. Only one of them would walk away from their final confrontation.
Ferrus taunted Fulgrim for his betrayal of the Emperor and siding with the Traitor Horus. He thought his brother mad, for the Warmaster was defeated -- his forces routed and the power of another four Legions would soon be brought to bear to crush their attempt at rebellion utterly. Unable to contain himself any longer, Fulgrim shook his head, savouring the final act of betrayal to come, revealing to Ferrus that it was he who was naive. Horus would never be foolish enough to trap himself like this. He pointed out towards the northern edge of the Urgall Depression so that Ferrus could see that it was he and his fellow Loyalists who were undone. Ferrus looked and saw a force larger than that which had begun the assault during the first wave of attack, mustered in the landing zone, armed and ready for battle.
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 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 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. Ferrus Manus turned to face Fulgrim, his teeth bared with the volcanic fury of his homeworld. The two Primarchs leapt at one anther, Ferrus wielding Fireblade and Fulgrim holding Forgebreaker. Their weapons had been forged in brotherhood, but were now wielded in vengeance, meeting in a blazing plume of energy. The two Primarchs traded blows with their monstrously powerful weapons, Ferrus Manus wielded his flaming blade in fiery slashes, his every blow defeated by the ebony hafted hammer he had borne in countless campaigns. Both warriors fought with the hatred only brothers divided could muster, their armour dented, torn and blackened by their fury.
The two Primarchs traded terrible blows, wounding one another deeply during their fierce struggle. As Ferrus pushed himself to his feet and staggered towards the wounded Fulgrim, he cried out as he brought the flaming blade towards his brother's neck. But Fulgrim lashed out as he drew the single-edged, daemonically-possessed sword he had taken from the Laer temple and blocked the descending weapon. With the power of Chaos streaming from the blade, diabolical strength flooded Fulgrim's limbs as he pushed against the power of Ferrus Manus, feeling his brother's surprise at his resistance. Fulgrim managed to surge to his feet and lashed out, his silver blade biting deep into the breastplate of Ferrus' armour, and the Primarch of the Iron Hands cried out, falling to his knees once again. Fireblade slid from his grasp as he gasped in fierce agony. As Fulgrim raised the silver sword in preparation of delivering the deathblow to Ferrus Manus, he found that he did not possess the fortitude to deliver the killing blow. In an instant he saw what he had become and what monstrous betrayal he had allowed himself to be party to. He knew in that eternal moment that he had made a terrible mistake in drawing the sword from the Temple of the Laer, and he fought to release the damnable blade that had brought him so low.
His grip was locked onto the weapon and even as he recognised how far he had fallen, he knew that he had come too far to stop, the realisation coupled with the knowledge that everything he had striven for had been a lie. As though moving in slow motion, Fulgrim saw Ferrus Manus reaching for his fallen sword, his fingers closing around the wire-wound grip, the flames leaping once more to the blade at its creator's touch. Fulgrim's blade seemed to move with a life of its own as he swung the blade of his own volition. Fulgrim tried desperately to pull the blow, but his muscles were no longer his own to control. The daemonic blade sliced through the genetically-enhanced flesh and bone of one of the Emperor's sons. The Iron Hands' Primarch fell to the ground, his head decapitated. Ferrus Manus was dead by his brother's own hand.
Though Fulgrim had proved the victor, he discovered as he looked down at his battered brother's prostrate body that everything up until that moment had all been a lie. Fulgrim, as if awakened from a long sleep, was shocked by the death of Ferrus into thinking clearly about the situation for the first time since his expedition to Laeran, and he was horrified by what he had done and by the many betrayals that had led brother Astartes to slay one another. Overcome by his grief, he succumbed to a moment of weakness and foolishly agreed to the daemon's whispering suggestion that he could find release in oblivion. The Greater Daemon was then freed from the prison of the sword and fully possessed Fulgrim's body, claiming it for its own, trapping the real Fulgrim's consciousness away within a psychic prison formed within his own mind but symbolically represented by a painting of the Primarch that stood in the place of honour in La Fenice, the theatre of the IIIrd Legion's flagship, the Pride of the Emperor.
Fulgrim and the Warmaster
Following the Traitor's victory at Istvaan V, Fulgrim requested a private audience with the Warmaster. Horus was pleased as his brother presented the grisly trophy of the severed head of Ferrus Manus, as promised. Gloating at this great accomplishment, Horus wished to share this triumph with his fellow captains. But the Emperor's Children's Primarch informed Horus that Fulgrim did not possess the fortitude to fulfill his oath to his brother, so he had done it for him! The Warmaster suddenly realised that the creature that stood before him was not truly his brother Fulgrim, but some sort of doppelganger. Horus threatened harm against this false Fulgrim, informing the creature that he could break him like a straw. The false Fulgrim had no desire to test himself in such a wasteful and fruitless trial of combat. Horus glanced towards Fulgrim’s waist, and relaxed as he saw that this thing masquerading as his brother had come before him unarmed. Whatever its purpose in unveiling itself, it had not come with violence on its mind. For he had come to pledge his loyalty to Horus' cause. He then informed Horus that he was actually a creature of the Warp -- a humble servant of the great power that was the Dark Prince Slaanesh. The Greater Daemon explained to the horrified Horus that he had claimed Fulgrim's mortal shell as his own, and further explained how pleasing it was to him.
Horus inquired as to his brother's fate. The daemon who now inhabited Fulgrim's body explained to Horus that Fulgrim was quite safe, residing within the body now under the control of the Greater Daemon, utterly aware of all that transpired but unable to do anything to intervene. His cries of anguish were a great comfort to the malefic creature. Horus was appalled by this turn of events, and said nothing in response to the daemon's revelations. The Daemon-Fulgrim had pledged its allegiance to his cause and it was a patently powerful Warp entity. Horus thought it best to keep the creature as an ally, for he certainly could not do without the IIIrd Legion at this juncture. However, Horus resolved to destroy the daemon and rescue Fulgrim from his torment when the time was right, for no one deserved to endure such a terrible fate. But Horus wondered what power could unmake a daemon. Horus and the Daemon-Fulgrim agreed to keep its true nature to themselves. The daemon had no particular desire to reveal itself and Horus was convinced that such a revelation would create many problems for him with the other Primarchs dedicated to the Traitors' cause.
Four days after the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, Horus Lupercal assembled those Primarchs who stood in opposition to the Imperium aboard his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit. They all knew the costs of the coming campaign, and their destinies within it. The Traitor fleets were underway. But after the "unpleasantness" of Isstvan, this was the first time they had gathered as a full fraternity. Eight Primarchs were present, though only half of them were physically in the room where the gathering took place. This included Fulgrim, Perturabo, Angron and Lorgar Aurelian. The absent four were nothing more than holographic projections: three of them -- Konrad Curze, Mortarion and Alpharius -- manifested around the table in the forms of flickering grey hololithic simulacra. The fourth of them appeared as a brighter image comprised of the silver radiance of brilliant witchfire. This last image was of Magnus the Red, who projected himself from afar by sorcerous means, from the Sorcerer's Planet where he was still licking his wounds from the recent Burning of Prospero by Leman Russ' Space Wolves.
As soon as Lorgar had taken his seat at the council table he could not take his eyes off his brother Fulgrim. The Warmaster grew ever more weary of his brother's inability to adhere to established planning and his lack of attention to the important gathering. Before the meeting could properly get underway, Lorgar slowly reached for the ornate Crozius mace on his back. As he drew the weapon in the company of his closest kin, his eyes remained locked on one of them, and all physically present felt the deepening chill of psychic frost riming along their armour. The Word Bearer Primarch accused the thing that mimicked his brother in physical appearance as not being who he purported to be. Before anyone could react, Lorgar's Crozius mace struck the supposed Emperor's Children Primarch. Fulgrim crashed into the back wall, his prostrate form crumpled to the ground. Turning his fierce eyes upon his other brothers he declared that this pretender was not Fulgrim. The other Primarchs that were present, advanced upon the changeling, drawing their own weapons. The Warmaster tried to placate the enraged Lorgar, his merest threat of a confrontation had usually been enough to quell Lorgar from any rash actions in the past. But as they faced Aurelian now, even Horus was wide-eyed in the changes wrought within him since Istvaan V. Clutching his mace in his crimson coloured gauntlets, defying his brothers, he warned them to stay back.
When Horus once again attempted to calm the enraged Primarch, Lorgar was surprised at the sudden realisation that the Warmaster already knew that Fulgrim was not whom he pretended to be. The Warmaster informed his fellow Primarchs that he would personally deal with the situation and dismissed them all from his chambers, with the exception of Lorgar. The Word Bearers Primarch could see the truth -- this creature was one of daemons of Chaos -- as whatever was wearing his brother's skin and armour had its soul hollowed out. Something nestled within, puppeteering the soulless body of their own brother. What Lorgar couldn't understand was how this had come to pass and why did Horus continue to protect such a dark secret? Horus explained to his brother that he had not orchestrated Fulgrim's demise; he was merely containing the aftermath.
Lorgar was perturbed that another sentience now rode within Fulgrim's body. Horus was annoyed at his brother's line of questioning, for Lorgar and Fulgrim had never been close. Why did it matter to him? Lorgar explained that it mattered because this vile intrusion was a perversion of the natural order. There was no harmony in such a joining. Not like his own blessed daemon-possessed sons, the Gal Vorbak. A living soul had been annihilated for its mortal shell to simply house a greedy, unborn wretch of a daemon. During Lorgar's Pilgrimage to the Eye of Terror years earlier, he had walked in the Warp itself. He had stood where the gods and mortals met. Lorgar knew this form of possession was weakness and corruption -- a perversion of what the Chaos Gods wished for Mankind. The Ruinous Powers wanted allies and willing followers, not soulless husks ridden by their daemons.
Using his powerful psychic abilities, Lorgar held the daemon at bay. The Warmaster cautioned that he was killing Fulgrim, but Lorgar replied that it was not their brother, but an "it" -- one that he could destroy if he so wished it. Lorgar threatened the daemon that he would learn its true name and banish it back into the Warp. The Daemon-Fulgrim was helpless against Lorgar's formidable psychic abilities. As the Warmaster attempted to restrain his brother by placing his hand on Lorgar's shoulder, the Primarch psychically commanded Horus to remove his hand. Unable to resist, Horus obeyed. His fingers shivered as they withdrew, and his grey eyes flickered with tension. As the enraged Lorgar strode away from the council chambers, Horus commented that his brother had changed since crossing blades with Corax on the surface of Istvaan V. Lorgar replied that everything had changed that night. He then took his leave and returned to his ship to contemplate what he perceived as utter foulness.
Those that served in the IIIrd Legion had no idea that their beloved leader was clawing ineffectually at the bondage of his own mind in which he was held. Only the swordsman,Captain Lucius of the 13th Company, had appeared to realise that something was amiss with Fulgrim, but even he had said nothing. The Daemon-Fulgrim had sensed the burgeoning Warp touch upon the warrior and had presented him with the silver daemonblade within which the Laer had bound a fragment of its essence, as he now wielded the far more potent Kinebrach Anathame, a gift from Horus. Though the Laer Daemonsword was now bereft of its spirit, there was still power within the blade, power that would empower Lucius in the years of death to come.
After the conclave aboard Horus' flagship, the Daemon-Fulgrim and the Emperor's Children Legion were ordered to Mars to aid the coming civil war within the Adeptus Mechanicus by the Warmaster. But instead of following his brother's orders, the increasingly mercurial Primarch decided to disobey, and instead ordered his Legion to assault an Adeptus Mechanicus crystal Mining World called Prismatica V. Unable to deal with his lord's mercurial temperament as well as his fellow senior members of the Legion, Lord Commander Eidolon questioned the Primarch's orders.
This proved to be a tragic miscalculation on Eidolon's part. Unable to placate his angered lord, the few words he managed to speak on his own behalf inadvertently provoked the Primarch further. The paranoid Primarch believed that the Lord Commander was mocking him and planned to betray him. Quicker than the mind's eye could follow, the Primarch withdrew the Anathame from its scabbard and slew his once-favoured son. He then held the severed head of the slain Eidolon over the opened casks of victory wine, the viscous blood dripping from the grisly trophy and mixing with the potent drink which was then shared amongst the senior members of the IIIrd Legion's inner circle.
Far from upset at the death of the much-despised Eidolon, the ascendent champion of the Emperor's Children, Lucius, took note of yet another example of Fulgrim's increasingly capricious behaviour. Contemplating upon the change in his lord, Lucius was inspired to investigate further after receiving a series of dark dreams concerning the painting of the Primarch that hang in La Fenice, which had been cordoned off and sealed by a detachment of the Phoenix Guard after the Maraviglia had worked its corrupting influence upon the Legion. Already concerned by his lord's erratic behaviour and strange moods, Lucius proceeded to scrutinise the Primarch's every move.
His concerns grew even more when he noticed Fulgrim's lack of brotherly-camaraderie and observance of Legion rituals and tradition. But what truly aroused Lucius' suspicions was the realisation that Fulgrim's swordsmanship was suddenly inferior to his own superlative skills. His Primarch was not whom he appeared to be. His suspicions were further confirmed when he witnessed Fulgrim employing powerful psychic abilities in open combat against a Warhound-class Titan of the Adeptus Mechanicus during the IIIrd Legion's assault on Prismatica V.
Lucius continued to receive the strange dreams in his sleep, and began to follow the threads implanted by these prescient visions. Breaking a standing order, Lucius defied the Primarch and went to investigate La Fenice, the theatre located aboard the Emperor's Childrens' flagship Pride of the Emperor. This is where the Emperor's Children had truly fallen to the corrupting influence of Slaanesh, awakened by the operatic symphony known as the Maraviglia. Investigating the ruined chamber thoroughly, Lucius discovered above the stage that a great portrait hung above the smashed wreckage of the proscenium.
Even in the dying light, the portrait's magnificence was palpable. A glorious golden frame held the canvas trapped within its embrace, and the wondrous perfection of the painting was truly breathtaking. Clad in his wondrous armour of purple and gold, Fulgrim was portrayed before the great gates of the Heliopolis, the heart of the flagship, the flaming wings of a great phoenix sweeping up behind him. The firelight of the legendary bird shone upon his armour, each polished plate seeming to shimmer with the heat of the fire, his hair a cascade of gold. The Primarch of the Emperor's Children was lovingly portrayed in perfect detail, every nuance of his grandeur and the life that made Fulgrim such a vision of beauty captured in the exquisite brushwork. No finer figure of a warrior had ever existed or ever would again, and to even glimpse such a flawless example of the painter's art was to know that wonder still existed in the galaxy.
Gazing at the eyes of the painting, Lucius could see the horror within his Primarch's eyes, a horror that had not been rendered by the skill of a mortal painter. The perfect, exquisite agony burned in the portrait's gaze, and the dark pools of the painted eyes seemed to follow his every movement. Lucius came to the conclusion that somehow, his Primarch was trapped within the painting, and that the entity that paraded around as their Legion's lord was an imposter. Determined to free his Primarch by any means at his disposal, Lucius secretly convened the Brotherhood of the Phoenix -- the exclusive warrior lodge of the IIIrd Legion that only allowed warriors of officer rank to join because of the Legion's love of hierarchy.
This had to be done with the utmost secrecy, for by this time the corrupted senior officers had become powerful, volatile and self-obssessed with the pursuit of their individual pleasures. Also, many of these senior officers carried a loathing for Lucius, whom they viewed as a despised upstart. Through his skilled oratory, the swordsman was able to persuade his mercurial brothers that the Primarch was not himself. He further challenged their egos and stroked their vanity, tempting them into boldly capturing their Primarch. Shortly after, the Brotherhood of the Phoenix ambushed the Primarch, and despite taking several casualties, manage to subdue their lord by rendering him unconscious.
The Primarch was then taken to the Apothecarion of the IIIrd Legion's Chief Apothecary Fabius Bile, where he was strapped down to one of the examination tables. Here, Fabius, Lucius, Julius Kaesoron and Marius Vairosean attempted to drive forth the daemonic entity from their lord's mortal shell through a protracted torture session known as excruciation. Fulgrim willingly submitted himself to his tormentors' ministrations, and continuously spoke of his perceptions of reality, events that were currently taking place in the galaxy as Chaos grew in power and the envisioned path for his Legion. During the torture session, Lucius suddenly realised that they had been misled. Misinterpreting the situation, they had been duped by their lord. Lucius immediately bended his knee and prostrated himself before his Primarch as Fulgrim easily tore himself free from his restraints. His fellow conspirators all bowed to their lord and master. Content that his favoured sons had learned from the experience, the Primarch did not punish them for their transgressions, for he was not the daemon-possessed shell of the Phoenix as he had allowed his Astartes to believe, but the man himself.
Fulgrim decided to share with Lucius his motives for such an elaborate ruse. He revealed that he had indeed been possessed by a daemonic entity for quite some time, an entity that had trapped his disembodied spirit within the great portrait that had hung in La Fenice. Unwilling to accept his fate, the Primarch had bided his time and used the tormenting experience to learn of Warp-craft and the infallible ways of daemonkind. He eventually was able to use this newly acquired arcane knowledge to force the daemon out of his mortal body -- swapping places with the foul entity -- and trapping it within the portrait for all time.
Presumably, it was the daemon that had been sending Lucius the dark dreams in order to attempt to free itself from its prison. In an attempt to further educate his favoured champion in the unfathomable ways of Chaos, the Primarch's apparent inferiority in his sword techniques was merely a ploy to manipulate Lucius into challenging him. The Primarch went on to explain that his mercurial moods and lack of interest in camaraderie and the IIIrd Legion's rituals were a natural evolution of his nature to achieve perfection along the path laid out by Slaanesh.
Fulgrim announced that he intended to go further than anyone in the realms of sensual experience, intent on pushing the boundaries of reality to the extreme. Fulgrim didn't merely want to accomplish these things for the sole acquisition of power, but to experience the journey -- a journey he wanted his sons to undertake with him. He explained that he had ordered the assault on Prismatica V to claim the crystal the Mechanicus had been mining there so that it might be used to erect a wondrous new city of mirrors dedicated to the exploration of sensual pleasure and self-enlightenment through sensation. But the next step on the Emperor's Children's path towards enlightenment through Chaos, was to rendezvous with the Primarch Perturabo and his Iron Warriors Legion.
As Horus' rebellion ground on, the Iron Warriors took the time to humble their great enemies, the Imperial Fists, upon the isolated world of Hydra Cordatus that the Sons of Dorn had recently brought into Imperial Compliance. Following their victory, word reached Perturabo that Fulgrim and his Emperor's Children Legion, wished to rendezvous with him to discuss something of great import. Though the Phoenecian had yet to reveal the true purpose of his visit, he had promised Perturabo that it was "wondrous." Perturabo knew that his brother had a flair for the melodramatic, which only seemed to have gotten worse since the IIIrd Legion threw their lot in with the Warmaster. The Lord of Iron counted none of his fellow Primarchs as close, but the Phoenician's adherence to perfection in all things had once provided common ground between the two superhuman warriors and allowed them to talk as trusted comrades-in-arms if not beloved brothers. What the Emperor’s Children had sought with constant movement towards the attainment of perfection, the Iron Warriors earned with rigid discipline and methodical planning; two divergent paths to the same ultimate goal.
Perturabo believed Fulgrim's visit had something to do with the inevitable campaign to be conducted against Mars. The Warmaster needed the Martian theatre fully secured before they moved against Terra, and he believed that Fulgrim was there to seek the Iron Warriors' aid in breaking open the forge-cities of the Mechanicum. If he was right, Perturabo wanted his Legion to have a plan in place to achieve that objective. Until the Iron Warriors received further orders, Perturabo would humour his brother and listen to what Fulgrim had to say. While making plans for the upcoming campaign, Perturabo received word that the Emperor's Children had arrived, unannounced, on the surface of Hydra Cordatus. Over three hundred drop-craft had landed beyond the mouth of the valley where the Iron Warriors had made their encampment.
The IV Legion quickly gathered in formation to honour the IIIrd Legion with a vanguard to receive them. Battalions of Thorakitai Imperial Army troops stood ranked in their tens of thousands. Before them stood two hundred Grand Battalions of Iron Warriors, fifty thousand warriors in amberdust-burnished warplate. Such a display of might and magnificence had not been seen since the slaughter unleashed upon the black sands of Istvaan V. Yet Perturabo and his senior officers looked on in awe at the gaudy cavalcade of noise, colour and spectacle that emerged from the IIIrd Legion's drop site into the valley. Fulgrim and his Emperor’s Children were now completely unrecognisable from the honourable warriors that had once formed the IIIrd Legion. Perturabo knew something fundamental had changed within the Emperor’s Children, but could not imagine what purpose the disfigurements and degradations its warriors now sported could possibly serve.
Fulgrim met with his brother Primarch in the private inner sanctum of his command bunker with an enticing offer that Perturabo could not refuse; the means to make it so that the Lord of Iron's every desire could be made real and would never disappoint, never fail to live up to his fondest expectations, and never, ever be eclipsed. Fulgrim came with an offer to unite their mutual forces in battle on a glorious quest. One that might tip the balance of the Warmaster’s rebellion. Though Perturabo was suspicious of his brother's intentions, perhaps this joint venture would grant understanding through common cause. Fulgrim revealed his purpose; they were to venture to the Warp Storm that had plagued Perturabo's dreams all of his life. Within it was hidden an ancient and forbidden xenos weapon known as the Angel Exterminatus. It had been hidden in the grave of its doom, a weapon of such power that the stars themselves turned upon it rather than allow it to escape its prison.
Unknown to both the Emperor's Children and the Iron Warriors, they were being pursued by a ragtag group of Loyalist Astartes who were survivors of the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V and were determined to stop the Traitors at all costs. These Loyalist Space Marines were gathered from survivors that had fought their way out of the killing ground of the Urgall Depression on Istvaan V. They had managed to escape the Istvaan System aboard an Iron Hands Strike Cruiser known as the Sisypheum. Iron Hands Astartes and their mortal serfs formed the bulk of the warship's crew, but surviving warriors of the Salamanders and a single Raven Guard Astartes were also counted among their number. In the wake of the slaughter, escape from the Istvaan System had been a nerve shredding series of mad dashes under fire and silent runs through the Traitors' orbital blockade, culminating in a final sprint to the gravipause, the minimum safe distance between a star’s mass and a vessel’s ability to survive a Warp Jump. The Sisypheum had escaped the trap, but not without great cost.
The months that followed saw the Sisypheum embark on a series of hit-and-run attacks on Traitor forces on the northern frontiers of the galaxy, wreaking harm like a lone predator swimming in a dark ocean. Traitor forces seeking flanking routes through the Segmentum Obscurus were their prey; scout craft, cartographae ships, slow-moving supply hulks heavily laden with mortal troops, ammunition and weapons. Disruption and harassment were the Sisypheum's main objective until contact had been established with disparate groups of Loyalist forces that had also escaped the massacre, and a stratagem of sorts agreed upon. With the Xth Legion too scattered to function in a traditional battlefield role, its surviving commanders found their own way to fight back: as the thorns in the flanks of the leviathan that distract it from the swordthrust to the vitals.
At Cavor Sarta, an Iron Hand known as Sabak Wayland and the lone Raven Guard survivor Nykona Sharrowkyn had captured an Unlingual Cipher Host -- one of the so-called "Kryptos" -- a hybrid abomination creature of the Dark Mechanicum that had previously made the Traitors' code network a cryptographic impossibility to break. With the Kryptos, Loyalist commanders were able to finally access the Traitors’ coded communications. And with this knowledge, the Sisypheum's Captain, the Iron Hand Ulrach Branthan, had ordered the Sisypheum to make the circuitous journey to Hydra Cordatus and the meeting of the Traitor Primarchs that had been indicated by the cracked communications. After learning of Fulgrim's intentions to enter the Eye of Terror and recover the Angel Exterminatus, the crew of the Sisypheum made their way towards the Warp Rift, aided by a mysterious Eldar guide with the intention of thwarting the Traitors' plan to acquire the unknown xenos weapon.
The destination of the joint fleet of Iron Warriors and Emperor's Children vessels was the lost Eldar world of Iydris, a world said to have been favoured by the Eldar Goddess Lileath. Iydris was one of the legendary Crone Worlds, which once formed the heart of the lost Eldar empire before they were consumed by the creation of the vast Warp Rift that was the Eye of Terror following the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh. The lost world was located at the heart of the Eye of Terror, somehow remaining in a fixed position keeping it from destruction in the gravitational hellstorm of a supermassive black hole that lay at the centre of the eternal Warp Storm. It was from this epicentre that the galaxy vomited unnatural matter into the void, a dark doorway to an unknowable destination and an unimaginably powerful singularity whose gravity was so strong that it consumed light, matter, space and time in its destructive core.
Their ultimate goal was within the Primarchs' grasp; the Sepulchre of Isha's Doom, which sat at the centre of the citadel of Amon ny-shak Kaelis. The citadel stood astride the entrance to the prison tomb of the Angel Exterminatus. Before launching a full planetary assault, the Iron Warriors launched a preliminary orbital bombardment around the citadel, a standard practise when preparing to assault a potentially hostile environment. A cone of fire gouged the surface of Iydris, burning, pounding and flattening in the blink of an eye structures that had stood inviolate for tens of thousands of Terran years. A barren ring of pulverised earth encircled the citadel of Amon ny-shak Kaelis, leaving its walls, towers and temples an isolated island cut off from the rest of the planet’s structures by a billowing firestorm of planet-cracking force. In the wake of this orbital bombardment flocks of Thunderhawks, Stormbirds, Warhawks and heavy planetary landers launched from crammed embarkation decks. Bulk tenders descended to low orbit and disgorged thousands of troop carriers, armour lifters and supply barques. Titanic, gravity-cushioned mass-landers moved with majestic slowness as two Titans of the Legio Mortis took to the field, and this was but the first wave of the invasion. Another eight would follow before the martial power of two entire Space Marine Legions and their auxiliary Imperial Army forces had made planetfall.
Amon ny-shak Kaelis
The Traitors' assault began five hours later, despite the full circuit of fortifications still being incomplete. For all intents and purposes, the route into the citadel of Amon ny-shak Kaelis was undefended and their route unopposed. Ever mistrustful of the lack of defences, Perturabo had his Iron Warriors dug in, assuming a perfect formation outside the walls in a layered barbican that protected the Traitor Legions' line of retreat. Fulgrim’s host broke apart into individual warbands, ranging in size from around a hundred warriors to groups of nearly a thousand. Each of these autonomous groups appeared to be led by a captain, though such was the bizarre ornamentation and embellishment on each warrior’s armour, it was often impossible to discern specific rankings. Leaving the fortified bridgehead behind, Perturabo led his Iron Warriors and the Emperor’s Children contingent into the heart of Amon ny-shak Kaelis. The Sepulchre of Isha’s Doom was a monumental palace, sprawling and richly ornamented with bulbous mourn-towers and sweeping, ivory-roofed domes. As the column of Traitors pressed onwards towards the sepulchre, they were being silently and unknowingly observed by the Loyalist Astartes of the Sisypheum. Despite being outnumbered a thousand to one, the small force of Loyalist Legionaries devised a means to find another way into the massive sepulchre.
As the two Primarchs neared their ultimate goal, Fulgrim kept pressing his stern brother with curt impatience to not linger. Perturabo took the time to study Fulgrim and his assembled host. His brother was sheened in sweat, but it was not perspiration that beaded his brow, Fulgrim was sweating light. Though it was faint, it was visible to Perturabo's gene-enhanced sight that saw beyond what even Astartes eyes were capable of detecting. He wondered if Fulgrim was aware of the radiance bleeding from him and decided he must be. His brother’s armour strained against his body and his features were drawn and tired, as though only by an effort of will was he still standing. His captains looked no better, like hounds straining at the leash. A number of Fulgrim's Lord Commanders' flesh was also suffused with a light similar to that enveloping Fulgrim, a deathly radiance that had no place within a living being. Perturabo did not trust Fulgrim one bit, knowing that inevitably he would be betrayed by his brother. The Lord of Iron pressed on, intent on bringing their quest to completion. As they neared their final destination at the heart of the sepulchre, the power at the heart of Iydris spasmed in hateful recognition of the followers of Slaanesh, known to the Eldar as She Who Thirsts, and awoke its guardians from their slumber.
Thousands of crystalline statues threw off their previous immobility. They moved stiffly, like sleepers awoken from an aeons-long slumber, and the gems at the heart of their bulbous heads bled vibrant colour into glassy bodies that suddenly seemed significantly less fragile. This army of wraiths were the Eldar dead of Iydris. Soon both the Traitor forces outside the citadel as well as those inside were attacked from all sides by the revenant army. Like automata, but with a hideously organic feel to their movements, the Eldar constructs emerged in their thousands with every passing second. As Perturabo was busy fighting for his life, Fulgrim slipped away in the midst of the fighting. Realising where he had gone, the Lord of Iron stepped into the green glow emanating from the centre of the massive chamber. Perturabo understood that this was no elemental energy or mechanically generated motive force, but the distilled essence of all those who had died there.
Perturabo descended downwards on an unending spiral towards a point of light that grew no brighter no matter how far he descended. The journey downwards was never-ending, or so it seemed until it ended. Fulgrim stood at the origin of a slender bridge that arched out to the centre of a spherical chamber of incredible, sanity-defying proportions. The footings of the bridge were anchored on the equator, and a score of other bridges reached out to where a seething ball of numinous jade light blazed like a miniature sun. Iydris, it transpired, was a hollow world, its core this colossal void with the impossibly bright sun at its heart. Perturabo confronted his brother, realising that there was never an Angel Exterminatus. Fulgrim confirmed for Perturabo that there was no such weapon yet, for he was to be the Angel Exterminatus. Perturabo responded that his brother always did have an appetite for rampant narcissism, but this was the grandest delusion yet. Unamused at Fulgrim's explanation, Perturabo took a step towards his brother, Forgebreaker in his hand, intent on killing him. Fulgrim spoke a single word, its nightmare syllables tore at Perturabo's brain, causing him to stumble and drop to one knee. Fulgrim revealed the reason for his brother being drained of energy.
When Fulgrim had arrived on Hydra Cordatus he had presented the Lord of Iron with a gift; a folded cloak of softest ermine, trimmed with foxbat fur and embroidered with an endlessly repeating pattern of spirals in the golden proportion. A flattened skull of chromed steel acted as the fastener. Set in the skull’s forehead was a gemstone the size of a fist, black and veined with hair-fine threads of gold. As they had made their way towards the heart of the Eye of Terror, the large gemstone at the centre of the skull-carved cloak pin had changed from black to a solid gold colour and pulsed with its own internal heartbeat. This was the maugetar stone, known as the harvester, which had slowly been draining Perturabo's strength and life force. With the Lord of Iron's sacrifice, Fulgrim would finally be able to achieve apotheosis. The two Primarchs ascended upwards within the shaft of light, emerging into the chaos that was happening within the heart of the sepulchre.
Apotheosis of Fulgrim
The Primarch of the Emperor’s Children hurled his brother aside, and Perturabo fell in a languid arc to land with a crunch of metal and crystal at the edge of the shaft. Blood trailed the air in a streaming red arc from Perturabo’s chest. The Lord of Iron lay unmoving, his body broken and lifeless. The attention of every Astartes within the chamber was irrevocably drawn towards the Primarch, for they recognised that an event of great moment was in the offing. The Phoenician was no longer the same being as had descended into the planet. He floated in the air above the shaft, which no longer poured its green torrent up to the restless darkness above, but simply radiated a fading glow of dying light. Fulgrim’s armour was shimmering with vitality, as though the light of a thousand suns were contained within him and strained to break free. The Primarch’s dark, doll-like eyes were twin black holes, doorways to heights of experience and sensation the likes of which could only be dreamed by madmen and those willing to go to any lengths to taste them.
Just as Fulgrim was about to achieve his ultimate desire, Perturabo had regained enough of his former strength and rose to his feet, the maugetar stone in his hand. Perturabo walked towards Fulgrim, keeping the hand holding the maugetar stone extended over the shaft in the center of the chamber. Perturabo looked his brother in the eye for some hint of remorse, a sign that he regretted that things had come to this, something to show he felt even a moment of shame at plotting to murder his brother. He saw nothing, and his heart broke to know that the Fulgrim he had known long ago was gone, never to return. He had not thought it possible that anyone could plunge so far as to be beyond redemption. Perturabo knew that Fulgrim no longer wanted to be an angel, he wanted to be a god. He informed the Phoenician that Mankind had outgrown such beings a long time ago. Disgusted by Fulgrim's desires, Perturabo hurled the maugetar stone into the deep shaft.
Suddenly, a barrage of Bolter fire erupted and a handful of Emperor's Children Astartes were pitched from their feet. Black-armoured Space Marines bearing a mailed fist upon their shoulder guards charged towards the Traitors. It was the Astartes of the X Legion, the Iron Tenth -- the Iron Hands. Soon the battle was joined, as Loyalist fought Traitor within the expansive chamber. The noose of battle was closing on the two Primarchs at its centre -- Perturabo locked on his knees, and Fulgrim hovering in the air as though bound to his brother by ties not even the call of war could break. The Iron Hands were mired in battle with the Emperor’s Children and Iron Warriors, zipping streams of fire blasting back and forth between them. During the battle, one of the Loyalist Astartes, the Raven Guard named Sharrowkyn, had acquired the fallen maugetar stone. He instinctively knew that if this stone was desired by Fulgrim, then it had to be destroyed. Taking a Bolter from a fallen Emperor's Children Astartes, he aimed the muzzle at the strange gold and black stone and pulled the trigger.
The weakened Perturabo was renewed with the sudden release of his lifeforce from the Chaotic relic. Fulgrim’s body arched in sympathetic resonance, for the maugetar stone contained more than just the strength stolen from Perturabo by Fulgrim. It contained their mingled essences, a power greater than the sum of its parts, a power to fuel an ascent so brutal that only the combined life-force of two Primarchs could achieve it. Armour burned from Fulgrim’s body, flaking away like golden dust in a hurricane, leaving his monstrously swollen body naked and his flesh blazing with furnace heat. Spectral flames of shimmering pink and purple licked around his body, a hungry fire waiting to consume him the moment his focus slipped. As the Lord of Iron finally pushed himself upright and stood fully erect, he lifted Forgebreaker onto his shoulder. Fulgrim saw his death in Perturabo's eyes and grinned, knowing that his brother had to do it. Perturabo hefted Forgebreaker like a headsman at an execution and swung the mighty hammer in a wide arc, splitting the Phoenician's body wide open. It was done.
Fulgrim’s body exploded under the impact of Perturabo’s warhammer, and the cry of release was a shrieking birth scream. An explosion of pure force ripped from the Phoenician’s destroyed flesh, filling the chamber of towers with a blinding light that was too bright to look upon, too radiant to ignore. Like a newborn sun, the wondrous incandescence was the centre of all things, a rebirth in fire, new flesh crafted from the ashes of the old. Every eye in the chamber was turned to the light, though it would surely blind them or drive them to madness. Through slitted fingers and shimmering reflections, the survivors of the fighting bore witness to something magnificent and terrible, an agonising death and violent birth combined. A figure floated in the midst of the light, and it took a moment for Perturabo to recognise the impossibility of what he was seeing. It was Fulgrim, naked and pristine, his body unsullied by any of the mawkish ornamentations with which he had defaced his flesh, as perfect as the day the Emperor had first conceived him. Fulgrim’s back arched and his bones split with gunshot cracks. His flesh, once so perfect, now ran fluid and malleable, his form moulding and remoulding as though an invisible sculptor pressed and worked him like clay upon a wheel. Fulgrim’s legs, extended like the man of Vitruvius, ran and lengthened, fusing together in a writhing serpent’s tail, the skin thickening and sheening with reptilian scales and segmented plates of chitinous armour. Perturabo took a step towards this thing being born from the death of his brother, all the while despairing that this was his brother.
Perturabo had destroyed Fulgrim’s mortal shell. This was an immaterial avatar of light and energy, of soul and desire. What was being done here was an act of will, a creature birthing itself through its own desire to exist. Fulgrim’s face was a mask of agonised rapture, a pain endured for the pleasure it promised. Two obsidian horns erupted from Fulgrim’s brow, curling back over his skull, leaving his perfect face as unsullied as the most innocent child. Fulgrim ascended into Chaos, a prince of the Neverborn, a lord of the Ruinous Powers, the chosen and beloved Champion of Slaanesh. As the newborn Daemon Prince departed, the first of the Traitor Primarchs to achieve daemonic apotheosis, he left his brother with a cryptic message that they would one day meet again, and both brothers would yet renew their bonds. Lifting his hands into the air, a curtain of light rose up from the ground and Fulgrim and all of his Emperor's Children Chaos Space Marines disappeared in a flare of arcane teleportation energy.
With the disappearance of the Emperor's Children, the Crone World of Iydris began to tear itself apart. The force at the heart of the world was no more. The strength of the lifeforces of the dead Eldar that had kept it safe was failing, and soon this planet would be swallowed by the unimaginable force of the supermassive black hole that lay at the heart of the Eye of Terror. Across the chasm, the remaining Iron Hands gathered up their wounded and fell back from the spreading fissures and heaving ruptures opening in the floor. They looked upon Perturabo with hatred, but decided to make their way off-world from the doomed planet. They knew that they could not fight the Lord of Iron and live through the encounter. Perturabo let the Iron Hands depart. Then he led his warriors out of the crumbling citadel. Once aboard his flagship the Iron Blood, Perturabo watched the final death throes of the Eldar Crone World.
The Iron Blood strained to break orbit, but the force at the heart of the Eye of Terror was reasserting its grip on reality with a vengeance. Many of the smaller vessels of the Iron Warriors survivor fleet that had followed the Sisypheum had already been dragged within its embrace, swallowed by the black hole’s powerful energies. Only the capital ships had engines large enough to resist the inexorable pull, but even they were only delaying the inevitable. Perturabo's Triarchs stood patiently around their lord, awaiting his orders. The Lord of Iron informed them that he always moved forward, never backwards. They would go into the black hole. Though his senior commanders believed that it was suicide, the Lord of Iron informed them that Fulgrim had promised that the two brothers would meet again. The Iron Warriors were not meant to die within the Eye, and there was only one way onwards. His men moved to carry out his order, and the Iron Warriors fleet plunged deep into the heart of Terror.
Flames of Rebellion
Over the next seven years that followed the massacre on Istvaan V, Horus' rebellion spread across the galaxy, consuming the entire Imperium in the flames of the horrific civil war known to history as the Horus Heresy. By the time the final Battle of Terra began, the Emperor's Children had become only shadows of their former glorious selves, wholly consumed by the desires of Slaanesh, with every trace of decency long lost. While the other Traitor Legions assaulted the Imperial Palace, the Emperor's Children instead launched themselves upon the innocent citizens of Terra, engaging in a mad orgy of rape, terror and mutilation that only barely began to satiate their all-consuming, Slaanesh-inspired hunger for hedonistic pleasure, pain and sensation. Billions of Terrans were used as human guinea pigs or raw materials in the Emperor's Childrens' constant desire to create ever more powerful stimulants, as daemonic hosts to bring Slaaneshi Daemonic Legions to the fight from the Warp or were simply slain outright to allow a Traitor Marine the fleeting enjoyment brought on by the sensation of brutal murder.
After the Heresy
The history of the Emperor's Children in the period that followed the defeat of the Traitor Legions at the Siege of Terra is largely obscured from Imperial scholars, for obvious reasons. When Horus was finally defeated by the Emperor aboard his Battle Barge the Vengeful Spirit, the Emperor's Children left a trail of depopulated worlds in their wake as they fled alongside the other Traitor Legions into the Eye of Terror.
As their supply of slaves was exhausted by their constant abuse, the remains of the III Legion resorted to raiding the other Traitor Legions for fresh meat to feed their endless perversions and in the end were crushed by their angry brethren in a series of bloody conflicts known as the Legion Wars that tore the Traitor Legions apart as they lost the guiding and unifying hand of Horus. Finally, in the course of these conflicts, the Emperor's Children's unity as an Astartes Legion was shattered and they devolved into a series of small, competing warbands.
Because of the losses they suffered on Terra and in the period immediately after the Battle of Terra, warbands of the Emperor's Children are thankfully rare today in the 41st Millennium. This is a boon for the galaxy as the Emperor's Children love to take prisoners. There is perhaps no worse way to die than at the hands of these superhuman Slaaneshi fanatics -- save for perhaps facing the tender mercies of the Drukhari.
Perhaps the greatest mystery surrounds the fate of the Primarch Fulgrim, for it appears that he disappeared entirely. The Dark Prince of Chaos had granted him apotheosis during the events of the Heresy and he assumed the mantle of a Daemon Primarch -- his mortal shape transformed into a serpentine form with four arms and wings very similar to the appearance of the Laer xenos that Fulgrim and his Legion had exterminated when he began his fall to Chaos.
There are those that claim that Fulgrim has retreated to some Daemon World of his own creation, and rules there still, overseeing such debased extremes of sensation and experience as no mortal can imagine. Some of those who revere Slaanesh regard this mythical place as the holy of holies, and spend entire lifetimes obsessively questing after it.
To this day, many of the scattered surviving warbands of the Emperor's Children and the agents of the Inquisition's Ordo Malleus seek the location of this world, but none have yet returned with that information.
Battle of Thessala
Following the Horus Heresy, Fulgrim was last seen in realspace fighting Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines Chapter and its Successors. During their great duel at the Battle of Thessala in 121.M31, Fulgrim proved too crafty and guileful, slitting Guilliman's throat with a toxic blade, his Warp-infused senses allowing him to see the scar that had been left during the Battle of Calth by Kor Phaeron's Athame blade, the only weak point on the Ultramarines Primarch's body.
Guilliman was placed within a stasis field and returned to the Ultramarines' homeworld of Macragge to th Temople of Correction within the Ultramarines' fortress-monastery complex where his body became a focus for the devotion of countless generations of Imperial pilgrims until his resurrection in 999.M41, while Fulgrim retreated into the Warp.
The Second Death of Istvaan III
Thousands of Terran years after the Istvaan III Atrocity, Istvaan III had been reduced to a broken, Dead World. Yet a single one of the Loyalist Astartes who had been betrayed by Horus was still alive in a collapsed hangar deep beneath the Precentor's Palace -- Ancient Rylanor, a Venerable Dreadnought and the Ancient of Rites of the Emperor's Children Legion. Badly wounded in the final days of the battle against his Traitor brethren, Rylanor had taken refuge in the collapsed hangar because there he had discovered an unexploded Virus Bomb.
Driven mad by the passing centuries, the Dreadnought used the remains of the Traitor Emperor's Children Sonic Weapons to craft an interstellar beacon designed to lure his former Primarch, Fulgrim, back to Istvaan III in an attempt to slay him. While the beacon also drew a group of curious Thousand Sons Heretic Astartes from the Planet of the Sorcerers, it did succeed in ultimately drawing Fulgrim back to the long-dead world.
But Fulgrim was no longer just a Primarch, he was a serpentine Daemon Prince of Slaanesh, a walking embodiment of malice and pride. Rylanor detonated the bomb when the overconfident Daemon Primarch ripped the remains of his organic form from his cybernetic sarcophagus. One of the Thousand Sons Astartes, a member of the Raptora Cult, used a potent kine shield to contain the blast, but another of the Sorcerers, Vistario, utterly disgusted by what Fulgrim had become, killed his companion and allowed the psychic shield to drop.
Once more, all life burned on Istvaan III. It took much less time for the Life Eater virus to burn out on Istvaan III's second death. Yet, not long after, a shadow emerged from the undercity, a serpentine outline of cinders, held together by a web of daemonic energy.
Not even the viral toxins wrought by ancient science could unmake that which the darkest powers of the Warp had raised up. The Phoenician's form was already weaving itself anew, but his soul was broken. For no pain, no hurt and no injury could wound such a being as much as the denial of its magnificence. That simple truth was Ancient Rylanor's final victory.
At some point before the start of the 41st Millennium, Bile finally succeeded at cloning one of the Primarchs, in this case his own genetic parent, Fulgrim. This version of Fulgrim, unlike all of Bile's previous attempts at recreating his sire, was an exact copy, as pure as the original before his corruption by Slaanesh. Why this clone of Fulgrim was untainted remained a mystery even to Bile.
As the Primarchs had originally been created to do, the new incarnation of Fulgrim aged to maturity rapidly, and because the Emperor had gifted His sons with the capacity for genetic memory, this version of Fulgrim also remembered all the events of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
This version of Fulgrim expressed great regret for his actions during those conflicts and his eventual turn to Chaos, and he swore that he would do all that he could to atone for his sins, his murder of Ferrus Manus, and his betrayal of the Emperor's cause. Instead, before he could undertake any actions, Bile betrayed his creation into the hands of the Necron Overlord Trazyn the Infinite. The resurrected Primarch became a part of the Necron's collection of important historical figures on his Tomb World of Solemnace. Bile feared that for all the cloned Fulgrim's passionate condemnations of his daemonic counterpart's actions, this Fulgrim truly WAS the same man, and would end up making all the same mistakes and poor choices as before.
Before his corruption, Fulgrim was unusual among his fellow Primarchs because he believed that the skilled conduct of war was not enough; humanity was truly fighting during the Great Crusade to create a new interstellar civilisation that would pursue the finer things in life, including the arts, music, literature and drama. Fulgrim considered himself an artist and was a masterful sculptor who had created statues of his Legion's First Captains. But even then, Fulgrim felt his work was never quite perfect enough to be truly great art for all his technical mastery.
Fulgrim was noted for his quest for perfection in all aspects of life, a trait that the Astartes of his Legion also came to emulate. He believed that humanity represented the perfection of sentient life and that the Emperor was the most perfect human ever born, to be revered and used as an example for all others to aspire to. Fulgrim's dedication to humanity's perfection and manifest destiny to rule the galaxy alone was such that he could become enormously hostile to anything that might challenge this notion of humanity's perfection. An example of this was Fulgrim's refusal to consider allowing the Laer to continue to rule their own world as a protectorate of the Imperium. For Fulgrim, the galaxy belonged to humanity alone.
Of course, Fulgrim's desire for perfection actually was the result of his own insecurities. He secretly believed that there was something wrong in his creation which had been passed on to his Astartes of the III Legion, largely as a result of the unknown disaster that had destroyed so many of their number before the start of the Great Crusade. Playing upon this insecurity allowed others to manipulate Fulgrim. For instance, it was playing upon this character flaw that allowed Fabius Bile to receive permission to begin the genetic enhancement treatments upon the Emperor's Children that ultimately resulted in so many of the mutations that were pleasing to Slaanesh.
Fulgrim's closet relationship was with the Iron Hands Primarch Ferrus Manus. He was also close to Horus, having fought beside the Lupercal during the years when his Legion was still rebuilding its numbers.
The Phoenix Guard was the elite unit of Emperor's Children Space Marines who served as the Primarch Fulgrim's bodyguard during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. The members of the Phoenix Guard followed their beloved Phoenician wherever he went as part of their duties, even when he was travelling within the relative safety of the starships of the Imperial Navy and the vessels of the other Astartes Legions.
During the battle to conquer the xenos world of Laeran, the Phoenix Guard took part in the final extermination of the serpentine Laer species. The entire unit was slain on the world of Tarsus in the Perdus Region of the galaxy after Fulgrim, already under the influence of Chaos through the daemonsword he had captured on Laeran, took offence at the Eldar Farseer Eldrad Ulthran's warning about Horus' corruption by Chaos, and proceeded to open fire on the Farseer and his troops from the Ulthwé Craftworld.
A new Phoenix Guard was then recruited and accompanied Fulgrim during both his fateful meeting with Horus where he finally embraced Chaos and in his abortive attempt to recruit Ferrus Manus to the Traitors' cause where they successfully slaughtered the Morlock Terminators who served as Ferrus' own bodyguard unit. While the Phoenix Guard served Fulgrim through the Battle of Terra, it is unknown if the unit still exists and serves as the Daemon Prince's bodyguards on the Daemon World he now calls home.
- The Gilded Panoply - Fulgrim wore a suit of beautifully master-crafted Artificer Armour that was wrapped in purple and golden ornamentation.
- Blade of the Laer - Fulgrim wielded the slender, two-handed curved, single-edged Daemonblade he discovered on the xenos world of Laeran throughout the latter days of the Great Crusade until he slew his brother Primarch Ferrus Manus with it upon the sands of Istvaan V during the Drop Site Massacre. It was said that the Daemon-possessed quicksilver blade was able to slice stone and steel without mar. During that battle and for many months afterwards, Fulgrim's body was possessed by the Greater Daemon of Slaanesh that had been contained within the sword, and during this time he gave the sword, now bereft of its daemonic occupant, to Captain Lucius of the 13th Company, later known as Lucius the Eternal, the greatest swordsman within the III Legion. After Fulgrim met with the Warmaster Horus to go over his plan to overthrow the Emperor of Mankind, Horus gave the Chaos-tainted Kinebrach Anathame blade that had nearly killed him on the moon of Davin to Fulgrim, who used it throughout the rest of the Horus Heresy.
- Firebrand - One of a number of arms Fulgrim often carried as the mood took him was Firebrand, a master-crafted Volkite Charger.
The Index Astartes I originally claimed that Fulgrim was not raised to Daemon Prince status until after the end of the Horus Heresy. The novel Angel Exterminatus retconned this so that Fulgrim ascended to daemonhood before the Heresy came to a close.
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), pp. 15-16
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 79-80
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Index Astartes I, "Children of the Emperor - The Emperor's Children Space Marine Legion"
- The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal (Imperial Armour), pp. 29, 102-109, 114, 116-119, 257-258
- White Dwarf 255 (US), "Index Astartes First Founding: Children of the Emperor"
- White Dwarf 150 (US), "'Eavy Metal: Epic Daemons - Fulgrim: Primarch of Slaanesh", pp. 68-69
- False Gods (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Galaxy in Flames (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- A Thousand Sons (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- The First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Prospero Burns (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- The Primarchs (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "The Reflection Crack'd" by Graham McNeill
- Angel Exterminatus (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Death and Defiance (Anthology) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Guy Haley, Nick Kyme, Andy Smillie and James Swallow, "Imperfect" by Nick Kyme
- The Vengeful Spirit (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix (Novella) by Josh Reynolds
- Sons of the Emperor (Anthology), "The Ancient Awaits" by Graham McNeill, pp. 133-149
- Forge World - Fulgrim, Primarch of the Emperor's Children
- Forge World - Genesis of a Primarch: Fulgrim the Illuminator
- Fabius Bile: Clonelord (Novel) by Josh Reynolds, pp. 117, 129, 143, 246, 272 - 273
|Horus • Leman Russ • Lost Primarchs • Ferrus Manus • Fulgrim • Vulkan • Rogal Dorn • Roboute Guilliman • Magnus the Red • Sanguinius • Lion El'Jonson • Perturabo • Mortarion • Lorgar • Jaghatai Khan • Konrad Curze • Angron • Corvus Corax • Alpharius Omegon|