Iacton Qruze, "The Half-Heard", was the Captain of the 3rd Company of the Luna Wolves (and later, Sons of Horus) Legion during the Great Crusade and the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Qruze was a very old Space Marine and a native of Cthonia.
By the time of the Horus Heresy he was one of the only Astartes still serving in the XVIth Legion who remembered what it was like when the Luna Wolves had served only the Emperor, before their Primarch Horus had been rediscovered by his father. Qruze had been a Captain of the Luna Wolves since the Legion's inception and was even a Veteran of the Unification Wars on Terra despite his Cthonian birth.
He was considered ancient by dint of his length of service to the Legion as well as his continued die-hard loyalty to habits of the Legion from the time of its Terran past that he could not seem to break. Qruze remained loyal to the Emperor when Horus turned to the service of Chaos in pursuit of his own ambitions and fled with other Loyalists aboard the Death Guard frigate Eisenstein to bring the news of Horus' betrayal to the Emperor.
Qruze was eventually chosen to personally serve Malcador the Sigillite, the Regent of Terra, as one of his Knights-Errant. Iacton Qruze was slain by his corrupted gene-father, the Primarch Horus, during a mission by the Knights-Errant to infiltrate the Arch-traitor's flagship, the Vengeful Spirit.
Iacton Qruze was a venerable Astartes who had long served within the ranks of the Luna Wolves Legion. He stood as an anachronism amongst the ranks of his younger Battle-Brothers. Ancient and rather tiresome, he had been a Captain in the XVIth Legion since its inception on Terra after the Unification Wars, his once prominent position within the Legion entirely eclipsed once Horus had been discovered on Cthonia, repatriated and given command of the Luna Wolves by the Emperor. He had been a Captain for so long that he was as old as an Astartes could be and still count himself a warrior. Qruze could still recall fighting without Horus in command. He was the product of another era, stubborn and slightly cantankerous, a vestigial trace of the way the Legion had gone about things in its earliest days.
When Qruze greeted his fellow Battle-Brothers he still had a habit, perhaps unconsciously, of making the old pre-Unity salute of the single clenched fist against his breast, rather than the sign of the Imperial Aquila, the double-handed eagle. He had a long, tanned face, deeply lined with creases and folds, and his hair was white. This venerable Astartes was an example of just how little even the Legion's Apothecaries knew about an Astartes' enhanced physiology. His face was as battered and gnarled as ancient oak, but his body was as wolf-tough, honed by years of fighting and not yet made weary by age.
Qruze spoke softly, expecting others to make the effort to listen, and believed that it was his quiet tone that had, over the years, earned him the nickname "the Half-Heard." But his fellow Battle-Brothers knew that this was not so. Qruze's wits were not as sharp as they had once been, and he often appeared tired or inappropriate in his commentary or advice. He was known as "the Half-Heard" because his pronouncements were not listened to too closely. Despite their perceptions of him, Qruze was not ignorant to this fact. In truth, he knew full well why he was called "the Half-Heard," and it was not because he spoke softly. Qruze knew he was a relic of a time long passed for his beloved Legion. But he would never take his brothers to task for he was honourable and cared not for petty insults.
Qruze believed he stood as a wise father-figure to the XVIth Legion, and no one had the spite to inform him otherwise. There had been several quiet attempts to deprive him of company command, just as Qruze had made several attempts to become elected to the First Captaincy of the Legion. By duration of service, he should have earned that position many times over. Captain Garviel Loken believed that Horus regarded Qruze with some pity and could not abide the idea of retiring him. Qruze was an irksome relic, regarded by the rest of his fellow Astartes with equal measures of affection and frustration, who could not accept that the Legion had matured and advanced without him. Despite his stubborn, tiresome ways, he continually proved that there was mettle in him still.
Iacton Qruze followed a somewhat outdated, personal code of honour. Despite his years of combat experience the venerable Captain approached warfare with a neutral, sober approach, and was known for chastising those who attempted to interject levity into discussions upon this subject, such as Captain Tarik Torgaddon. Notable for giving particularly long-winded and extraneous opinions, Qruze also had a habit of loudly proclaiming his agreement with Horus' plans, which greatly annoyed many of his fellow Battle-Brothers. After witnessing this behaviour, Primarch Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists Legion once said Qruze was a sycophant willing to say anything in order to retain the favour of his Primarch.
After Horus was mortally wounded on Davin's moon and his apparent "miraculous" resurrection in the Temple of the Serpent Lodge, many of the Legion's officers, including Iacton Qruze, detected a change in his character. Though he could not quite put his finger on it, Qruze knew in his twin-hearts that the XVIth Legion had "lost its way." The Warmaster proceeded to use the warrior lodge present in the XVIth Legion to begin to subvert his officers and their Astartes to the service of the Dark Gods and to build support for his plan of rebellion against the Emperor. He took up the Emperor's old offer and renamed his Legion the Sons of Horus. Horus was now allied body and soul to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, and he had a new vision for the Imperium with himself rather than the Emperor at its head. Renouncing his oath to the Emperor, Horus led his Legion into worship of the myriad Chaos Gods.
All too soon, Qruze found himself not placed in the order of battle for his Legion's pacification forces and was forced to watch his Battle-Brothers with undisguised envy as they made preparations for war. Captain Garviel Loken felt a stab of sympathy for the venerable warrior. Approaching Qruze before a campaign against the Sirenhold, Loken asked the old officer for a personal favour: to watch over the Remembrancers Mersadie Oliton, Euphrati Keeler and senior Iterator Kyril Sindermann. When Qruze inquired as to why, Loken informed him that they were personal friends of his and that they kept him honest, reminding him of everything they ought to be as Astartes. This was a good enough reason for Qruze, for he knew deep in his bones that there was something big just over the horizon that the Space Marines could not see.
During the Battle of Istvaan III, where Horus planned to purge all the remaining Loyalist elements of the Traitor Legions under his command, he had the entirety of the Remembrancers within the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet brought aboard his flagship Vengeful Spirit to witness his greatest triumph. Within the flagship's audience chamber the Remembrancers looked on in horror, clinging to one another as they wept, and witnessed such a monstrous genocide perpetuated upon Istvaan III that they were unable to comprehend the scale of slaughter that had just been enacted in the name of the Imperium.
Led by Euphrati Keeler, Mersaide Oliton and Kyril Sindermann approached a lone Astartes warrior who stood apart from his fellows. Qruze's body language spoke of the horror that he was witnessing as the deadly events of Istvaan III played out. The Remembrancer approached the old Astartes and explained who they were. Euphrati explained to Qruze that he was the only one that still clung to the honour and the valor from which the Luna Wolves were forged. He was the only one who remembered, for he was the only one left that still embodied what it was to be an Astartes. Conflict raged within the old Captain's soul -- loyalty to his Legion vied with loyalty to the ideals that had forged it. Finally, he came to a fateful decision and decided to get the Remembrancers to safety. It was not until that moment that he fully understood why Loken had requested that he keep them safe.
Fleeing the Sons of Horus' flagship aboard a stolen Thunderhawk, the small group of Loyalists were guided towards the Death Guard frigate Eisenstein by Keeler, which was under the command of the Loyalist Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro of the Death Guard's 7th Great Company. The frigate picked up the Thunderhawk on an intercept vector with their ship. The pilot identified himself as Third Captain Iacton Qruze, formerly of the Sons of Horus. He claimed to be no longer part of his Legion as he could no longer be a party to what Horus was doing.
Garro let the Thunderhawk land upon the Frigate. It bore three refugees from the slaughter of civilians that Horus had unleashed upon his flagship. Garro immediately granted them sanctuary. Escaping with his fellow Loyalists, Qruze endured all the horrors the crew of that vessel encountered during their harrowing journey to reach Terra to bring warning to the Emperor of Horus' betrayal. Qruze formed a strong bond with Nathaniel Garro during the flight of the Eisenstein.
After arriving in the Sol System with the terrible news of the betrayal, Garro, his fellow Death Guard Astartes, Euphrati Keeler and Iacton Qruze were all placed in a fortress on Luna that belonged to the Sisters of Silence while the Emperor determined whether they were truthful or were simply further pawns of the Chaos Gods.
Garro, Qruze and the Sister of Silence Amendera Kendel were approached by Malcador the Sigillite, the Regent of Terra, and told that the Emperor needed them to form a new Imperial organisation, outside the boundaries of the existing Imperial bureaucracy, which would utilise "...men and women of inquisitive nature, hunters who might seek the witch, the traitor, the mutant, the xenos." The Emperor had foreseen that the end of the Horus Heresy would cost Him greatly, so much so that He would no longer be able to take an active hand in Mankind's survival.
Yet He also knew that the threat of Chaos would not see defeat with Horus, but would continue to haunt humanity. The very nature of the Horus Heresy had proven that the Space Marines were not immune to corruption as the Emperor had once hoped. So the Emperor set His hand to plans that would win a wider victory from the ashes of a most personal defeat.
Malcador the Sigillite, the closest of the Emperor's servants and the Regent of Terra, was ordered to scour the galaxy for those who would be found worthy to help save the future of humanity. This was a monumental task made all the more difficult by the anarchy created by Horus' insurrection. That is how the Sigillite came to be on Luna, and the fate of these three individuals became inextricably intertwined with the future survival of all Mankind.
The Last Remembrancer
After arriving on Terra at Malcador the Sigillite's invitation to begin his quest, Qruze's Power Armour had all of its Luna Wolves regalia removed and replaced with the personal sigil of Malcador, a stylised letter "I" with three horizontal lines through its centre, the icon that would later become infamous across the galaxy after the Heresy as the Rosette of the Inquisition. Qruze's armour was now grey and unadorned, without mark or rank, save the ghost of a sigil on the grey of his shoulder guard, the mark of the Sigillite.
Qruze was later sent to a nameless fortress hidden from the sun on the dark side of Saturn's moon of Titan (the future fortress-monastery of the Grey Knights Space Marine Chapter). He, alongside Primarch Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists, were to act as investigators in the matter of a recently captured Remembrancer named Solomon Voss who had been allowed to leave the Sons of Horus' fleet by Horus after chronicling all of the dark deeds of the Traitors that he had witnessed. Unable to come to terms with the reason why Horus had rebelled against the Emperor, Voss had sought to see the truth with his own eyes; to witness it and make sense of what he saw and give these events some sort of context. After being captured by the Sons of Horus and being forced to record every vile deed and dark words uttered by Horus, Voss was eventually released by his captors and was sent away from Horus' fleet to be captured by the Imperial authorities.
Horus wanted the Imperium to know that the Imperial Truth was dead. The Remembrancer was brought to the nameless fortress on Titan and placed within one of the multitude of anonymous cells, newly constructed to serve as a place for the interrogation of turncoats and the execution of Traitors. Voss was questioned by none other than the Imperial Fists' Primarch, Rogal Dorn, with the former Luna Wolf Iacton Qruze acting on behalf of Malcador the Sigillite as a silent witness and executioner.
The truth learned by Voss and revealed to Dorn was that the Imperium would never regain its former glory because there was no longer any trust between its peoples. Voss argued that the ideals of truth, reason and illumination were dead and that if the Imperium truly had nothing to fear from Horus and the Traitors' cause, his final work on what he witnessed amongst the Traitors should be revealed to all within the Emperor's realm. The truth of what Voss had revealed about the political, cultural and even religious rifts emerging in the Imperium enraged the Primarch. Dorn exited the chamber cell and clad himself in his Power Armour.
Returning to Voss' cell, Qruze pulled his large Power Sword Tisiphone from its scabbard. But instead of Qruze carrying out the execution, Dorn took the sword from Qruze and executed the Remembrancer himself. All of Voss' work was burned by Imperial decree and he was declared a Traitor to the Imperium posthumously, essentially marking the first time that the Imperium had imposed true censorship on one of its own. It would not be the last.
Not long after, Iacton Qruze was sent on a vital mission by Malcador the Sigillite alongside his fellow Knights-Errant -- led by none other than his fellow Luna Wolves brother, Garviel Loken. They were tasked with the vital but suicidal mission of infiltrating the Sons of Horus flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, in order to plant targetting beacons and mark safe routes throughout the massive vessel for the planned assault of the Primarch Leman Russ and his Space Wolves Legion.
During the mission, things went terribly awry, as their small party was surrounded by a large force of Traitors and captured. Brought before their former gene-father Horus within the throne room known as the Lupercal's Court, Iacton Qruze was brutally murdered by his former Primarch, who impaled the venerable Astartes through his chest with his massive Lightning Claw, and ripped out his twin hearts. Iacton Qruze died, and in that instant, the last link with what the XVIth Legion had once been was broken forever. And with it, any last shred of belief by the Loyalist Astartes that the Warmaster Horus possessed any nobility or trace of the great man he had once been.
Qruze had a long, lined face, white hair and a grey goatee. His voice was soft, yet deep. He believed that others should make the effort to listen to him, so did not raise his voice. He was also said to believe that his softly spoken style was the reason for his 'Half-Heard' nickname, when in reality it was of course given to him because his fellow Astartes no longer paid attention to half of what he said. During a conversation with Garviel Loken he made his fellow Luna Wolf aware that he knew the real reason for the nick-name but chose not to let on.
By the time he became one of Malcador's agents, Qruze had taken to wearing plain grey Power Armour, completely bare of any Legion iconography. He wielded a great Power Sword, fashioned on the orders of the Regent of Terra. It was double-edged and as tall as an ordinary man. Known as Tisiphone, the blade was etched with serpents, screaming faces and shed blood. The sword was later wielded by Rogal Dorn, who used it to execute Solomon Voss.
- Horus Rising (Novel) by Dan Abnett, pp. 2, 7, 113, 146, 184, 259, 288
- False Gods (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 2, 251, 311, 318
- Galaxy in Flames (Novel) by Ben Counter, pp. 2, 105-106, 179, 191, 202, 214, 232
- Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow, pp. 2, 176-177, 197, 243, 256, 272, 297, 316, 319
- Age of Darkness (Anthology), "The Last Remembrancer," by John French, pp. 154-155, 159-160, 165, 170-171
- Grey Angel (Audio Book) by John French
- Black Library Anthology (2013-2014), "Luna Mendax" (Short Story) by Graham McNeill
- Vengeful Spirit (Novel) by Graham McNeill