"Bring them iron and death!"
- — Warcry of First Captain Gabriel Santor
Gabriel Santor, also spelled Gabriel Santar, served as the Equerry to the Primarch Ferrus Manus as well as the First Captain of the Iron Hands Legion's elite 1st Company and Honour Guard, known as the Morlocks, during the Great Crusade and the opening days of the Horus Heresy. When the Emperor's Children were corrupted by the Warmaster Horus of the Sons of Horus Legion, they attempted to sway their fellow cousins, the Iron Hands, to the Warmaster's cause.
Gravely miscalculating Ferrus Manus' response to his offer, the Emperor's Children's Primarch Fulgrim callously attacked his brother, leaving him gravely wounded, as well as having ten of his elite praetorians cut down in a cowardly attack that left Gabriel Santor near death.
Enraged by this base betrayal, Ferrus Manus led his Honour Guard in the initial first wave assault during the tragic events of the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V. Overextended and cut-off by the Warmaster's treacherous trap, Gabriel Santor was confronted by the Chaos-corrupted Emperor's Children First Captain Julius Kaesoron, and was ultimately slain by that vile servant of Slaanesh, just as his Primarch Ferrus Manus was killed by his former brother Fulgrim.
Santor hailed from the Avernii Clan on the X Legion's homeworld of Medusa. He served as the First Captain of the elite 1st Company of the Iron Hands Legion during the majority of the Great Crusade in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. A stoic and devout warrior, Ferrus Manus valued the sage wisdom and advice of his favoured son Gabriel, who helped rein in his Primarch's fiery temper.
In this capacity, Santor had also been appointed to serve as Equerry to the Primarch. First Captain Santor did not possess the phenomenal temper of his Primarch but he was as harsh and unyielding as the bionics in his limbs. He also had the honour of leading Manus' personal bodyguard of staunch praetorians, the Morlocks. As with most things, Ferrus Manus did not have the time or inclination for patience. Santor was the only one who could make his volatile Primarch temperate. During his time in the X Legion, Santor took part in many of the Iron Hands' most notable Imperial Compliance actions during the Great Crusade.
The First Captain of the Iron Hands Legion was a warrior of many contradictions. Though he was Manus' most favoured son, enforcing the will of his Primarch upon the warriors of the X Legion, he did not necessarily adhere to the same beliefs as those of his fellow Iron Hands, especially in regards to the Legion's so-called Creed of Iron, which espoused the virtues of the technological over the biological. In principal, he agreed that flesh was weak, but he believed that as warriors of the Legiones Astartes it was their purpose to shoulder the burden and promote strength through the demonstration of strength to the mortal warriors of the Imperial Army that often fought alongside the Iron Hands during an Imperial Compliance action.
Santor also believed that as warriors, when the Great Crusade eventually came to an end, the Astartes would need to find new vocations or be put to use as little more than grand statues adorning the Imperial Palace on Terra. He postulated that perhaps they would form ceremonial honour guards for their defunct warlords. This sentiment was not shared amongst the majority of his fellow Morlock Clan Company Captains, as many of them believed that with an entire galaxy to bring to heel, and untold billions of weak and fragile men to reforge, they suspected it would be a long time before the Crusade was truly over. Many held that, in truth, the preservation of the newborn Imperium of Man would require constant war.
Shortly after Primarch Fulgrim's corruption by the Ruinous Powers, he was ordered by the Warmaster Horus to rendezvous with the Iron Hands' Primarch and attempt to sway his closest brother towards the Traitors' cause. The two Primarchs met aboard Ferrus Manus' flagship, the Gloriana-class Battleship Fist of Iron.
Great bonds of friendship and brotherhood had long existed between the two Primarchs, 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. Ferrus was outraged that his other 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, determined to stop Fulgrim's betrayal of the Imperium before it could begin.
Ferrus used his silvery Necrodermis hands to attempt to destroy Fulgrim's sword Fireblade, but the resultant 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. Instead he took the Gorgon's beloved warhammer, a reminder of the bond of friendship the two Primarchs had once shared.
When Fulgrim emerged from Ferrus' inner sanctum, Gabriel Santor knew that something was gravely wrong. As the Primarch exited Manus' private chamber he gave a signal to his personal Honour Guard, the Phoenix Guard, who instantly beheaded all of the Iron Hands' Morlock Terminators with their Power Halberds.
The Emperor's Children's First Captain Julius Kaesoron struck out against his Iron Hands counterpart and very nearly killed Santor with his Lightning Claws. Fulgrim successfully fled the Iron Hands' expeditionary fleet in his personal Assault Craft, the Firebird, when he ordered his flagship, the 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 Emperor's Children fled into the Warp to rendezvous with the rest of their 28th Expedition in the Istvaan System.
Drop Site Massacre
The rivalry between the Iron Hands and the Emperor's Children eventually came to a head at the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, when the two First Captains of the X and III Legions confronted one another once again. But Kaesoron no longer bore the proud countenance of a regal Astartes, for he had been recently transformed into one of the first Noise Marines.
Screaming like a madman, the insane Emperor's Children Space Marine leapt nimbly around the battlefield. In the ensuing battle the two Space Marines were mortally wounded and left in agony. Enthralled with the delicious feeling of agonising pain, Kaesoron thanked the Iron Hand as he lay bleeding in the dust of Istvaan V, "Thank you...that was exquisite..." These were the last words Gabriel Santor heard before he died, surrendering his soul in a moment of terrible loss for the Iron Hands.
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 119, 122, 300, 314, 334, 369, 379-380
- The Primarchs (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "Feat of Iron" by Nick Kyme, pp. 60, 64-65, 67-70, 76, 80, 83-85, 87, 94, 105