The Ghoul Stars, also known as the Ghost Stars, is a mysterious region of space that is a part of the Halo Stars located beyond the furthest reaches of known space, northeast of the Segmentum Ultima beyond the Eastern Fringe. This vast tract of relatively unexplored wilderness space was once home to a number of human inhabited worlds. However, some ancient threat is believed to have been responsible for the destruction of these worlds, which accounts for the large number of Dead Worlds found within the region.
This region of space lies almost entirely beyond the light of the Astronomican, which is used by Imperial Navigators to guide vessels while travelling in the Warp. With the guidance of this vital beacon severely weakened, Navigators have a difficult time sensing its guiding light and are often forced to resort to navigating blindly. Navigators often refuse to travel into this region for this very reason, for it is extremely hazardous to do so.
Within this dire realm of Dead Worlds lit by the cold rays of dying suns, tread creatures out of a primal nightmare such as the bat-like humanoids known as the Cythor Fiends, the Togoran Bloodreeks and other creatures so alien as to be seemingly born out of legendary nightmares of Mankind. Yet there is a horror that far outpaces even these fiendish creatures -- the Bone Kingdom of Drazak. This desolate realm is a haunt of the cursed Necrons known as Flayed Ones who are blighted by a hunger for flesh. They stalk through the desolate streets of the Dead World of Drazak fighting over gobbets of rotting meat and shards of bone. They are ruled by the only one amongst their number who has proven to be immune from this realm's pervading madness, the cyclopean Necron Lord Valgûl, the Fallen Lord. Every few solar months, when no more meat remains, Valgûl announces a new Time of Bounty, and despatches the Drazak fleets of Flayed Ones to raid nearby inhabited worlds for tithes of gore and cooling blood.
During the dark and terrible times known to later historians as the Nova Terra Interregnum, when the Imperium fractured into warrior factions during the 34th Millennium, there exist in what records remain from this era scattered and veiled references to a great threat arising from the Ghoul Stars known as the Pale Wasting. Much of the extant evidence relating to this threat has been censored or purposely destroyed, but there are contradictory indications which describe the nature of the threat as both a "Star-spawned plague" that swept away scores of worlds and as "Nightmare engines" slaughtering whole sectors. The Novamarines Space Marine Chapter took part in the campaign to quell the threat of the Pale Wasting, and though this is one of the Chapter's earliest recorded battle honours, the Chapter's own chronicles are curiously empty of any reference to this conflict. Stationed beyond the frontiers of the Imperium, the Death Spectres Space Marine Chapter currently maintains a constant vigil to ensure that the inhabitants of the Ghoul Stars never again threaten the galaxy.
At the very edge of the Iquathan Deeps in the northern Ultima Segmentum, near the border of the Ghoul Stars sits the Sentinel World of Orask. In recent times, a most terrible assault occurred in 977.M41, when a splinter of the Eastern Hive Fleets of the Tyranid menace appeared, disoriented and twisted by its passage through the Ghoul Stars, and fell on the Orask System like a ravenous beast. A great battle ensued that proved brief but bloody. The stoic defenders of Orask were backed by a full company of the Red Talons Space Marine Chapter and a Titan maniple from the Legio Magna. Despite horrific casualties that reached into the tens of thousands sustained within a mere matter of days, the valiant defenders were able to push back their monstrous attackers. Eventually they contained the threat and purged the vile xenos from Orask's blasted surface. Evidence persists that some harbinger organisms escaped to the outer systems.
- The Covenant of Ecale (390.M38-433.M38) - In 390.M38, the Marines Errant Space Marine Chapter entered into the Covenant of Ecale with the legendary Sia'hadn Ecale of the great Rogue Trader House of Ecale. The exact cause and full nature of this pact remains a secret that has always been kept inviolate by both parties. What is known to Imperial chroniclers is that the entire weight of the Chapter was added to the Rogue Trader's own substantial army in a perilous voyage of war and exploration into the Ghoul Stars that lasted more than forty Terran years until 433.M38.
- Ghoul Stars Crusade (990.M41) - High Marshal Helbrecht of the Black Templars Space Marine Chapter declared a Crusade against the Cythor Fiends of the Ghoul Stars in 990.M41, taking the fight into this desolate region of space. Within eight years, the xenos population of the outlying systems had been exterminated and the Crusade pushed onwards to the aliens' homeworld, but upon reaching the core systems, they were found to be eerily empty. No trace could be found of the aliens, but before the mystery could be fully explored, a desperate call for help came from the besieged world of Armageddon telling of the return of the Ork Warlord, Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, during the Third War for Armageddon in 998.M41.
Bone Kingdom of Drazak
On worlds lit by the cold rays of dying suns, located in the extreme northeast of the known galaxy, lie the Ghoul Stars, a realm where creatures tread out of a primal nightmare. Within this loathsome part of the galaxy are creatures so alien they seem to be born out of the supernatural. Yet even here, one horror outpaces all others; the Bone Kingdom of the world of Drazak, the haunt of Necron Flayed Ones. These fiendish creatures stalk through Drazak's desolate streets, fighting over gobbets of rotting meat and shards of bone, desperate to sate their deluded senses. Only one amongst the planet's entire population has stood apart from the pervading madness of its denizens -- the Necron Lord Valgûl, called the Fallen Lord amongst his own kind. From his throne of splintered bone and tanned skin, Valgûl rules over this charnel kingdom, his one good eye ever fixed upon retaining what small measure of order he can. Valgûl seemingly remains untouched by the Flayer virus that has consumed his people, but no truly sane creature would willingly live amongst the gibbering Flayed Ones. It is not known if Valgûl remains out of a sense of duty, or maybe he is afflicted by a personal madness which has taken another, more subtle, form.
Whatever his reasons, Valgûl's rule is not founded on reason, for the devolved nature of his subjects makes such notions laughable. He maintains their allegiance through his ability to provide the gory bounty in which his subjects delight. Every few solar months, when no more meat remains, whether because it has been torn into fragments too tiny to scrabble over or simply due to inexorable rot, Valgûl announces a new "Time of Bounty," and dispatches the Necron fleets of Drazak to raid nearby worlds. These reavers of Drazak seek not riches nor conventional plunder, only tithes of gore and congealing blood.
- Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition), pg. 44
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pp. 15, 37
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 26
- Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition)
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG), pp. 136-137
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse II, pg. 79
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War, Part One, pp. 76, 118