John Grammaticus

A rare pict-capture of John Grammaticus during the Horus Heresy, wielding his Digital-Weapon, which is disguised as a ring

John Grammaticus was a human operative of the mysterious xenos organisation known as the Cabal, and had been genetically altered by them to become what they referred to as a "Perpetual", a being who was capable of reincarnation and therefore was effectively immortal, much like the Emperor of Mankind. Also like the Emperor, Grammaticus was a natural psyker whose main psychic power allowed him to act as a powerful logokine, a psyker who is able to understand any language, no matter its form or origin, and unleash the innate power of words.



Grammaticus was born on Terra at the close of the 29th Millennium, in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. He had served as a line officer in the Caucasian Levvies, a Unification Wars-era military force that had allied with the Emperor during that great conflict. During a victory ceremony after the Imperial forces defeated the Panpacific Empire, he met the Emperor, who recognised that Grammaticus was a man somewhat like him, and who said that they should have a discussion about the paths open to men with their particular "talents." This second meeting never transpired, however, as Grammaticus lost his life when he was hit by a groundcar at Anatol Hive shortly after.

The Cabal

Instead of oblivion, Grammaticus was reanimated by the Eldar Autarch Slau Dha, an agent of the Cabal. The mysterious organisation had somehow become aware of Grammaticus and his psychic abilities, and had decided he could be of use. They offered him immortality as a reincarnating "Perpetual" in exchange for his service, a deal to which Grammaticus agreed.

Grammaticus was eventually shown the Acuity, the Cabal's deep, psychic vision of the future of the galaxy, and came to share the Cabal's "long view" of galactic history. Although fond of humanity, and wishing to help in fending off the growing threat of Chaos, he was appalled by what he saw as the Emperor's "bloodthirsty" nature, whose Great Crusade had unleashed the terrifying killing machines that were the Space Marine Legions upon the galaxy. Grammaticus eventually proved to be a successful long-term agent of the Cabal, which was very rare for the Cabal's few human agents.

The Alpha Legion Mission

Grammaticus was over a thousand standard years old and one of the Cabal's few human agents when he was asked, in the early 31st Millennium, just before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, to convince the Primarch of the Alpha Legion, Alpharius Omegon, to meet with the Cabal. The organisation wanted to recruit the Legion in their war against Chaos -- a matter of some urgency due to the imminent corruption of Horus by the Dark Gods at the Temple of the Serpent Lodge on Davin. To this end, Grammaticus travelled to the rebellious planet of Nurth and infiltrated the Geno Five-Two Chiliad, an Imperial Army regiment serving with the 670th Expeditionary Fleet and tasked with subduing the rebels. The Imperial forces were being assisted in this campaign by the Alpha Legion. Grammaticus, who often borrowed identities from dead Imperial Army officers as needed in order to avert suspicion, used the guise of intelligence officer Konig Heniker to infiltrate the Imperial foothold on the world.

Grammaticus finally succeeded in arranging a meeting between the manipulative Alpharius and the Cabal. However, Alpharius had used a "honey trap", the beautiful Rukhsana Saiid, an Uxor (officer of the command staff) of the Geno Five-Two Chiliad, to manipulate Grammaticus in order to gain the upper hand in his dealings with the Cabal and deal with the enigmatic xenos from a position of strength.

Alpharius followed Grammaticus' advice to abandon the field on the rebellious world of Nurth, which was shortly after consumed by a Black Cube, an ancient Chaotic weapon of planetary destruction created eons before by the first intelligent races of the galaxy. He then brought his Expeditionary Fleet to the world of 42 Hydra Tertius, known to the Cabal as "Eolith", to meet with Grammaticus' masters. On Eolith, Alpharius and his twin Omegon saw the portion of the Acuity concerning the Horus Heresy that Grammaticus had already been made privy to; if Horus was allowed to win the Heresy, the fragment of nobility in his soul would eventually lead to extinction for the human race through the outbreak of a bloody civil war. The war between the victorious Forces of Chaos would wipe out Mankind in only two to three generations. However, the destruction of the human race would also have the effect of wiping out the Dark Gods as well, as their own existence was heavily invested in the darker psychic emanations of humanity. In this way, Mankind's extinction would preserve the galaxy and bring an end to the threat posed by Chaos to all life.

If the Emperor was successful and defeated Horus, technological and cultural stagnation would consume the Imperium. Unable to progress, within ten to twenty thousand Terran years, the Forces of Chaos would ultimately consume the entire galaxy. Faced with this choice, Alpharius Omegon decided to take the radical path they thought the Emperor himself would have chosen -- join the side of Chaos and aid Horus' victory in the hope of destroying Chaos once and for all. The start of the Horus Heresy was a scant 18 standard months away at that point.

Having completed his mission, Grammaticus discovered that Rukhsana Saiid was a secret human operative of the Alpha Legion and had only pretended to love him to aid her masters in the XX Legion. His mission was successful, but Grammaticus was emotionally distraught after his love had proven to be a lie, and he found himself mired in despair because he believed himself responsible for setting in motion events that would render humanity extinct one way or the other. He walked out of an airlock on a Cabal spacecraft without a spacesuit, hoping to end his immortality once and for all. Unfortunately, Grammaticus quickly discovered that he truly was Perpetual.

Oll Persson

Approximately two years later, after the Horus Heresy had begun in earnest, Grammaticus was tasked by the Cabal with re-activating Oll Persson, another human Cabal agent and his old friend who was also a Perpetual -- though Persson's immortality was the result of a true congenital genetic mutation rather than the product of the Cabal's genetic tampering. Grammaticus psychically contacted Persson, who had retired to the Agri-world of Calth in the Realm of Ultramar, just before the Word Bearers legion unleashed the infamous Calth Atrocity. Persson eventually heeded the call and left Calth, to meet with Grammaticus and learn what new designs the Cabal sought to bring to fruition.


Disguised as the frontier archaeologist Caeren Sebaton, Grammaticus had been tasked to come to Traoris to obtain a relic from the ancient ruins of a fortress built by Chaos Cultists millennia ago. Within the fortress was buried a spear, though not truly a spear as such. It was in fact a piece of fulgurite, a fork of lightning crystallised in rock. The sublime artefact had been formed from the infinite power of the Emperor when he annihilated the servants of the Ruinous Powers in millennia past. The Dark Apostle Vaddrek Elias hoped to obtain the relic in order to utilise the divine power within to ascend to daemonhood. Realising that he was out of time, Grammaticus knew he had been tracked by the Word Bearers and attempted to flee. He was only saved through the intervention of First Captain Artellus Numeon, the commander of the Salamanders Legion's Pyre Guard and his rag-tag group of Loyalist survivors of the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V. Informing the Salamander Captain of his true identity and nature, he also informed Numeon that the mysterious relic was somehow tied to the Salamanders' missing Primarch Vulkan, but as to how, he could not say. Though initially distrustful of the mortal, Numeon relented, and attempted to help Grammaticus escape off-world.

The remaining Loyalists were being hunted by the relentless Word Bearers Huntsman, Barthusa Narek, a servant of the Dark Apostle Elias, as well as the Chaos Cultists of Traoris. Over the course of making their way towards Traoris' lone spaceport, many of the surviving Legionaries were killed. The Raven Guard had hidden their Thunderhawk gunship within the lightning fields located on the high peaks that surrounded the spaceport. While some of the surviving Loyalists futilely attacked the spaceport in order to draw the bulk of the encroaching Word Bearers away, Numeon, Grammaticus and Codicier Hriak made their way towards the hidden gunship. Unfortunately, Narek and two of his fellow Word Bearers followed them, having tracked the Raven Guard's psychic spoor. The Raven Guard willingly sacrificed himself as he confronted the encroaching Traitor Marines. As Numeon went to assist Grammitcus, the mortal utilised a laser Digital Weapon and fired it into one of Numeon's retinal lens, burning out his eye and searing his face beneath. The trauma of it put him on his knees.

Half-blind, he snatched for the human. Grammaticus took the fulgurite artefact from Numeon's scabbard, deftly avoiding the Salamander's grab. Before the human departed, he wanted to know only one thing, did Vulkan truly live? The mortal believed that he did. Suddenly, the Pyre Captain convulsed as he was shot by a Bolt Pistol from behind. Grammaticus froze in place as he was confronted by the Dark Apostle Elias himself, who stood on the lowered ramp of the gunship. Without warning, a tear in reality appeared before them, the form of the Word Bearers First Chaplain Erebus stepping forth through the Warp gate. Elias thought that his master had come to help him achieve his ascension. Handing over the fulgurite relic, Erebus lashed out instead with the lightning spear and slit his fellow Dark Apostle's throat. Elias sank to his knees, dying, unable to staunch the grievous wound from the god-weapon. Erebus had killed his former servant for attempting to betray him. Erebus then ordered Grammaticus to take the relic, making no attempt to stop him. Cautiously, the human took the proffered relic and departed Traoris in the lone gunship. Following his successful flight from Traoris, the Cabal once again contacted Grammaticus and gave him new orders. He was to take the relic and head to Macragge. When he reached the capital planet of Ultramar he was to make contact with one of the Primarchs who had recently gathered there. Then Grammaticus was to take the relic and give it to Konrad Curze who would use it to kill Vulkan, so that the Salamanders Primarch would not live to become "the keeper of the gate." If he successfully accomplished this monumental task, Grammaticus was informed that his pact with the Cabal would be ended, and his destiny would be his own to choose once more. John Grammaticus' ultimate fate following the Horus Heresy is unknown.


As could be expected from a thousand-year-old field agent, Grammaticus had experience with an extensive array of personal weapons, both ranged and melee, and was masterfully skilled in the use of several. Among his exotic arsenal was a Digital Weapon incorporated within a ring, that he called an "Old Kind" weapon. It was a gift from a high-ranking Cabal member, and shot energy beams on command that were equally effective against both physical and Warp entities. Grammaticus was a lethal close-quarters melee fighter and an expert in both human and xenos martial arts. He wore a bodyglove with embedded Adamantium strips placed at strategic points, and had undergone some form sort of tissue-strengthening genetic enhancement to fortify his physical resilience beyond the human norm. Grammaticus often used his psychic powers as a logokine as a weapon, and was a master of stealth, subterfuge, disguise, and deception, making him a dangerous individual indeed.


The name Grammaticus comes from the Greek, meaning "scribe", or someone "learned in language(s)."


  • Legion (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • Know No Fear (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • Vulkan Lives (Novel) by Nick Kyme
  • The Unremembered Empire (Novel) by Dan Abnett
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