"I am a son of the sunless world, and Eighth Legion to my core."
- — Attributed to First Captain Sevatar
Jago Sevatarion, known also as Sevatar, "the Condemned," and the "Prince of Crows," was the First Captain of the Night Lords Legion and commander of the Atramentar, the elite Terminators of the VIIIth Legion's formidable 1st Company during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy eras of the late 30th and early 31st Millennia.
He was also an officer of the Kyroptera, the most trusted advisors and confidants of the Primarch Konrad Curze within the Night Lords Legion. A native of Nostramo, Sevatar served as Equerry to the Night Haunter and was one of the most lethal warriors in the Space Marine Legions of old.
Sevatarion's name and skill were as well known as other luminaries of that era, including Ezekyle Abaddon of the Sons of Horus, Corswain of the Dark Angels, Chapter Master Raldoron of the Blood Angels or Lord Commander Eidolon of the Emperor's Children.
Jago Sevatarion is said to hold the dark honour of being the first Traitor to utter the words, "Death to the false Emperor," although in truth this was but one in a long line of crimes and blasphemies committed by the First Captain of the Night Lords over many Terran years. The Night Lord known as Sevatar was born in City's Edge in Nostramo Quintus, the capital city of the sunless Hive World of Nostramo, a little more than a century before the end of the Horus Heresy.
At an early age he displayed innate psychic abilities, though he attempted to suppress them for the remainder of his life. An arrogant individual, Sevatar sometimes had great difficulty understanding the point of view of his Terran Battle-Brothers or regular humans. Part of the problem was that he was so rarely wrong. It made it hard to take other people's opinions and observations seriously. He had always been that way, even as a child. His mother had told him that he would grow out of it, that he would become better with people.
Following his induction into the VIIIth Legion, though arrogant, he proved an extremely gifted and supremely ruthless, even dishonourable, combatant. His meteoric rise through the ranks of the Night Lords soon earned him a place at his Primarch's side as his First Captain and Equerry.
This demeanour was carried through to his appearance, which was contrived to inspire fear in all who looked upon him. His midnight blue Power Armour was wreathed in flayed flesh and his helm was wrought in the form of a leering skull. Beneath that deathly visage lay not just the soul of a murderer, but one gifted with latent, if repressed psychic powers which, although unwelcome, served to increase Sevatar's already fearsome capabilities to preternatural levels.
Sevatar long repressed these abilities, which were more often in use subconsciously rather than by direct will. His powers made him different as an Astartes as well, especially in battle. He did not quite understand how it was possible, but he was able to run faster, kill quicker and tired more slowly than his enemies. He had duelled Sigismund of the Imperial Fists once -- the only warrior ever to beat him to a deadlock in over a hundred standard years of warfare. The duel had lasted almost thirty long, long solar hours of sweat, swearing, and the crash-clash of iron against iron.
Sevatar had cheated, in the end. He finished the duel, as hundreds of warriors from both Legions looked on, by headbutting the Templar and disqualifying himself. It broke the rules, as well as Sigismund's winning streak. True to his nature, Sigismund had done nothing but laugh. The proud stoicism the First Captain of the Imperial Fists was so famous for did not bleach all humanity from his humour. Sevatar had always envied him that, for he found it very difficult to laugh, to joke, to bond effortlessly with his brothers-in-arms.
The Horus Heresy
Drop Site Massacre
"Because the Wolves kill cleanly, and we do not. They also kill quickly, and we have never done that, either. They fight, they win, and they stalk back to their ships with their tails held high. If they were ever ordered to destroy another Legion, they would do it by hurling warrior against warrior, seeking to grind their enemies down with the admirable delusions of the 'noble savage'. If we were ever ordered to assault another Legion, we would virus bomb their recruitment worlds; slaughter their serfs and slaves; poison their gene-seed repositories and spend the next dozen decades watching them die slow, humiliating deaths. Night after night, raid after raid, we'd overwhelm stragglers from their fleets and bleach their skulls to hang from our armour, until none remained. But that isn't the quick execution the Emperor needs, is it? The Wolves go for the throat. We go for the eyes. Then the tongue. Then the hands. Then the feet. Then we skin the crippled remains, and offer it up as an example to any still bearing witness. The Wolves were warriors before they became soldiers. We were murderers first, last, and always!"
- —Jago Sevatarion, speaking about his VIIIth Legion
During the opening days of the Horus Heresy, after the news of the Istvaan III Atrocity was brought to the Emperor of Mankind by the Loyalists aboard the Death Guard Frigate Eisenstein, He ordered the combined forces of seven Space Marine Legions to assault the positions of Horus and his Traitor Legions in the Istvaan System. The Loyalist forces would attack in two waves and fall under the supreme command of the Iron Hands' Primarch Ferrus Manus.
The Legions comprising the first wave were the Iron Hands, Salamanders, and the Raven Guard. The Legions comprising the second wave, who would arrive at Istvaan V after the first wave, were the Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, and a large contingent of Word Bearers that their Primarch Lorgar had stationed in the star system. Unknown to Rogal Dorn and Ferrus Manus, the Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors and Word Bearers had all turned from their service to the Emperor and secretly pledged their loyalty to Horus, and been instructed to keep their new allegiance a secret.
Ringing Istvaan V was one of the largest fleets ever gathered in the history of the human species. Without a doubt, it was the most impressive coalition of Astartes vessels ever gathered, with the Scouts, Cruisers, Destroyers and command ships of seven entire Legions present. The Imperium of Man had sent seven Legions to kill its wayward scion, little knowing that four of them had already spat on their oaths of allegiance to the Imperial Throneworld and its master.
The Fidelitas Lex, Lorgar's flagship, played host to a gathering of rare significance. There were commanders from the Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors as well as three additional Primarchs: Konrad Curze, Alpharius Omegon and Perturabo. Lorgar strode to the centre of the gathering of Traitors. He proceeded to impress upon the gathering of his sons, brothers and cousin Astartes the importance of their cause, and of the significance this day would hold in history.
The Word Bearers and their allies believed that the Imperium had failed them by being flawed to its core, imperfect in its pursuit of a perfect culture, and in its weakness against the encroachment of xenos breeds that sought to twist humanity to alien ends. And it had failed them, most of all, by being founded upon the lies of rationalism and atheism that defined the Imperial Truth.
The Imperium had been forged under the aegis of a dangerous deceit, demanding that its citizens and their defenders sacrifice truth on the altar of necessity. This was an empire that deserved to die. And on Istvaan V the purge would begin.
From the ashes Lorgar promised would rise the new kingdom of Mankind: an Imperium of justice, faith and enlightenment. An Imperium heralded, commanded and protected by the avatars of the Dark Gods themselves. An empire strong enough to stand through a future of blood and fire. At Istvaan V, the Traitors would declare their intentions openly. There would be no more manipulating fleet movements and falsifying Great Crusade expeditionary data. Now the Alpha Legion, the Word Bearers, the Iron Warriors and the Night Lords would stand together with their comrades in the Sons of Horus, World Eaters, Emperor's Children and Death Guard Legions -- bloodied but unbowed beneath the flag of the Warmaster Horus, the rightful second Emperor of Mankind, the true Emperor.
When Lorgar had finished speaking, First Captain Sevatar was the first to declare, "Death to the False Emperor!" In so doing, he became the first living soul to utter those words that would echo from the throats of countless others through the millennia of the Long War that was to come. The cry was taken up by other voices, and soon it was cried in full-throated roars, "Death to the False Emperor! Death to the False Emperor! Death! Death! Death!"
First Captain Sevatar had led his 1st Company elite, the Atramentar, to the surface of Istvaan V. Bronze chains wrapped their armour, leashing weapons to fists, as the Night Lords made ready for the coming signal. Following the first wave of attack and the bloodying of the three Loyalist Legions, the second wave of "reinforcements" eagerly awaited the withdrawing mass of Loyalists on the slopes of the Urgall Depression.
The battered black armour of the Raven Guard warriors came towards the unified Night Lords and Word Bearers force. Both the Word Bearers and the Night Lords were to be the anvil, while the Iron Warriors would be the hammer yet to fall. The enemy staggered back to them, exhausted, clutching empty Bolters and broken blades, believing their "brothers' " presence to be a reprieve. 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 newly-arrived 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 alien 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.
During the ensuing chaos of battle, the Gal Vorbak, (Colchisian dialect for "the Blessed Sons") of the Word Bearers Legion, revealed that they were Daemonhosts for the denizens of the Warp. Their flesh and ceramite fused and warped into a new, bestial form, marking them out as amongst the first of the Possessed Chaos Space Marines.
To the Night Lords, the Gal Vorbak were so much more than merely foul, they were rancid with corruption. After the battle, when Lorgar's favoured son Argel Tal approached Sevatar to congratulate him on their victory, the First Captain removed his helm and spat on the ground by the Word Bearer's feet. Sevatar's attitude towards his erstwhile cousins had changed, and henceforth became openly hostile to the Word Bearers.
"Because we are brothers. We've seen primarchs die to blade and fire, and we've seen our actions set the galaxy aflame. We've betrayed others and been betrayed in kind. We're bleeding for an uncertain future, fighting a war for the lies our lords tell us. What do we have left, if not blood's loyalty? I am here because you are here. Because we are brothers."
- — Jago Sevatarion, "Sevatar," the Prince of Crows. As quoted in The Tenebrous Path, Chapter VI: Unity
Following the massacre on Istvaan V, the Warmaster sent Night Haunter and his Night Lords Legion on a campaign of genocide against the Imperial strongholds of Heroldar and Thramas in the Aegis Sub-sector of the Eastern Fringes, thus protecting Horus' flank and delaying the Dark Angels Legion from reinforcing the Loyalists. This bitterly contested campaign, known as the Thramas Crusade, dragged on for nearly three standard years. In an attempt to sway his brother Lion El'Jonson to Horus' cause, the Night Haunter left a deep-void beacon in the patrol path of one of the Dark Angels' outrider vessels. The beacon was set to transmit coordinates in advance, so that the two Primarchs could meet and parley on the planet of Tsagualsa. Night Haunter wanted to break his former brother either mentally, physically or both to obtain his objectives.
The Primarchs were accompanied by two warriors from their personal Honour Guards to the parley. Sevatar was one of the representatives from the Night Lords along with the Night Haunter's Huscarl, Shang. The Lion arrived to the meeting site with two members of his own Honour Guard, Master Alajos and Paladin Corswain of the Ninth Order. When the Honour Guards had gathered, the pair of Night Lords proceeded to goad and insult their counterparts from the Dark Angels. During their unpleasant conversation, Corsawin noticed Sevatar's gauntlets. The gauntlets were at odds with his midnight armour -- where the war plate was deep, dark blue and marked by streaks of lightning, his gauntlets were painted arterial red. Sevatar explained that it was a mark of shame within the VIII Legion. A warrior's gauntlets were marked this way when he had failed the Primarch gravely enough to warrant death. He would wear the stain of failure on his hands until his execution, at the hour of the Primarch's choosing. This was a Nostraman gang tradition. The hands of traitors and fools were tattooed red by their families to show them as deathmarked. A sign that no gang or family would tolerate grave failure, but that the condemned still had labours to perform before they were allowed to die. Corsawin inquired which one Sevatar was, a traitor or a fool, to which the Night Lords' First Captain replied that he was both. Sevatar did not reveal the circumstances behind the failure that warranted such punishment.
The meeting began amicably enough between the two as they conversed with relative civility. This amity lasted only until the Night Haunter slandered El'Jonson, and in return the Lion struck his former brother. This melee further degenerated into an all-out brawl between the two sides. As the Night Haunter strangled the life out of El'Jonson, one of the Dark Angels' Honour Guardsman ran his sword through the Night Haunter's back, saving his Primarch's life. Eventually both Legions sent reinforcements in response to this incident. Each side dragged away their respective Primarchs from the scene of the combat. Both Primarchs survived this brutal confrontation and went on to continue the contest between their Legions for control of the Aegis Sub-sector.
When next they fought, the Dark Angels executed a meticulously planned ambush on the Night Lords' fleet while it was in transit across the sub-sector that saw the back of the Night Lords Legion broken and their Primarch mortally wounded after having faced his brother El'Jonson once again in mortal combat. Thanks to the skilled coordination and superb execution by the Lion, the Night Lords fleet was devastated, losing dozens of capital ships and approximately one-quarter of their Legion fleet to the Dark Angels' assault. Unfortunately, the remainder of the Night Lords fleet fled the Dark Angels' wrath, taking their critically wounded Primarch with them before the Lion could finally end his wretched life. This resulted in the death of all but a dozen of the Atramentar and the capture of Sevatar and the remaining survivors. Konrad Curze fled El'Jonson's wrath, evading the Dark Angels for months, stalking the shadows within the bowels of the mighty capital ship. Somehow, the remaining Night Lords managed to affect their escape and fled into the void.
Some believe Sevatar met his ultimate fate at the final epic battle of the Horus Heresy during the Battle of Terra. He was eventually succeeded by Zso Sahaal, a Terran-born Night Lord. Following the death of Sevatar, the Atramentar largely dissolved, which some, like the Apothecary Talos Valcoran, believed was due to Sevatar's successor being a non-Nostraman. Though they respected Sevatar's successor, they had no affection for him. When the Atramentar disbanded after Sevatar's death, their resistance to Zso Sahaal was born from something more than simple prejudice. Some of the 1st Company were Terrans, the oldest warriors in the VIIIth Legion. There was more to it than Sahaal's birth world. Being Terran, Nostraman, or born of any other world had never mattered to most of the Night Lords. They were divided because with the Primarch gone, this was every Traitor Legion's fate over time.
Centuries later, when a member of the Atramentar was questioned by Mercutian, a squad member of First Claw, 10th Company, he replied that the 1st Company had dissolved mostly because they felt that no one could live up the dark reputation of their former First Captain. The Atramentar would serve no other leader after Sevatar died; he'd made them into what they were, a brotherhood that couldn't be broken any other way, just as the members of the VIIIth Legion had refused to serve no single captain after their Primarch died. It was not their way, just as most of the Traitor Legions ultimately fragmented into hundreds of different warbands. Allegiance to Chaos ultimately bred division and fractious internecine conflict.
After the Battle of Terra, on the Daemon World Tsagualsa, the new homeworld of the Night Lords, during council meetings of his Chosen, the Night Haunter would often demand the presence of his former First Captain, only to be reminded that Sevatar had died long ago during the Heresy. This revelation would greatly agitate the already emotionally disturbed Primarch. The Night Lord Mercutian would later confide to the human Navigator of the Echo of Damnation, Octavia, that he personally believed that Sevatar yet lived. Talos Valcoran would dismiss this claim as an entertaining fiction. Every Legion had its conspiracies and myths.
Following the end of the Horus Heresy, the Night Lords Legion broke down into companies and warbands, following individual Chaos Lords like most of the other Traitor Legions. It was only their Primarch's presence that had inspired unity within the VIIIth Legion. Following his death at the hands of the infamous Imperial Callidus Assassin M'Shen, the Night Lords raiding parties sailed farther from Tsagualsa, staying away for longer periods. As the years passed, many stopped returning at all. Many captains and Chaos Lords claimed they were the Night Haunter's heir, but each claim was refuted by the others. No one soul could bind a Traitor Legion together. It was simply the way of things for those in thrall to the Ruinous Powers. Talos believed that Sevatar was the only one who could have held the title of Master of the VIIIth Legion without his brothers betraying him. At least, he was the only one who would have survived his brothers' betrayals, but even he would have struggled to hold the Legion together. There had developed too many ideologies, too many conflicting desires and drives. Such was the legacy of betrayal.
- The Horus Heresy - Book 2: Massacre by Alan Bligh, pg. 245
- The First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pp. 5, 363, 366, 368, 375, 404, 413
- Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "Savage Weapons," by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pp. 321, 324, 330-331, 334, 338-340, 343-345
- Shadows of Treachery (Anthology), "Prince of Crows," by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pp. 131, 134-147, 149-154, 165-170, 172-187
- Blood Reaver (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pp. 79, 81
- Void Stalker (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pp. 10, 25, 57, 77-78
- Forge World - Jago Sevatar