"The Emperor needed a weapon that would never obey its own desires before those of the Imperium. He needed a weapon that would never bite the hand that feeds. The World Eaters were not that weapon. We've all drawn blades purely for the sake of shedding blood, and we've all felt the exultation of winning a war that never even needed to happen. We are not the tame, reliable pets that the Emperor wanted. The Wolves obey, when we would not. The Wolves can be trusted, when we never could. They have a discipline we lack, because their passions are not aflame with the Butcher's Nails buzzing in the back of their skulls. The Wolves will always come to heel when called. In that regard, it is a mystery why they name themselves wolves. They are tame, collared by the Emperor, obeying his every whim. But a wolf doesn't behave that way. Only a dog does. That is why we are the Eaters of Worlds, and the War Hounds no longer."
Khârn the Betrayer is a member of the World Eaters Traitor Legion of Chaos Space Marines, and the greatest mortal Champion of Khorne. He currently leads his own World Eaters warband called the Butcherhorde.
In battle Khârn is always where the fighting is at its thickest, wielding his heavy chainaxe Gorechild (which, along with its twin Gorefather, was wielded by Angron during the Horus Heresy). Rimmed with the unbreakable teeth of a Mica Dragon, this fell weapon continually rises and falls as it severs heads and claims skulls. He is the avatar of Khorne, embodying the Blood God's indiscriminate rage and bloodlust in the realm of mortals.
Like his World Eaters comrades, he emerged from the gruesome psycho-surgery experiments of Angron, having underwent ritual lobotomisation with the implantation of the Butcher's Nails cranial implants, with all sense of fear and danger removed so that the rush he experienced in combat was greatly enhanced. His love of murder was so great that Khârn actually had an ancient death-counter installed in his helmet which registers the number of kills he has made in the helm's eye lenses.
Khârn has dedicated his millennia-long existence to unleashing bloody carnage upon anyone and anything within reach. He is drawn by the scent of war as a hungering hound is drawn by fresh meat, and it has become impossible to tally his slaying. Even during the Great Crusade, when he fought in the vanguard of the World Eaters Legion's assault companies, Khârn was known to be a brilliant warrior.
When the Horus Heresy came, Khârn gladly led his warriors against his brother Space Marines, and his number of kills reached shocking new levels as he followed his master Angron along the road to the attack on Terra itself. During the Siege of Terra, Khârn was at the forefront of the assault.
When Horus was defeated, Khârn already lay horribly mangled upon a mound of corpses. His fellow World Eaters carried away his lifeless remains and fought their way back to their dropships. Once aboard, they discovered that Khârn still lived. Whether Khorne had breathed life back into his Berzerker Champion or Khârn's own relentless spirit simply refused to leave, it is impossible to say, but he benefits from the supernatural protection of his murderous deity to this day.
Since the end of the Horus Heresy, Khârn has been an unstoppable and bloody avatar of Khorne. Khârn is called the Betrayer because of an incident on the Daemon World of Skalathrax. Fighting against the Emperor's Children, the World Eaters needed just one more victory over Fulgrim's warriors before the planet could be claimed in Khorne's name. The battle had to be won before Skalathrax's long, frozen night drew in and killed victor and vanquished alike.
Yet the World Eaters could gain no ground against their foes and were hurled back time after time by the devastating Sonic Weapons of the Noise Marines. Khârn cursed his fellow warriors for failing in the attack and, seizing a Flamer, he torched the nearest buildings in a gesture of contempt. He cut down those who tried to stop him and marched into the gloom, consuming the city in flames as he went and slaughtering all that he found, friend or foe.
Anarchy engulfed the World Eaters as they fell upon each other, and the Legion was irrevocably split into hundreds of individual warbands. Since that bloody day, Khârn has been Khorne's most ardent warrior, hunting the Eye of Terror as the head of a World Eaters warband, slaughtering any worthy enough to be killed in Khorne's name.
Ten millennia later, during the 13th Black Crusade in ca. 999.M41, Khârn's wrath was unleashed upon the Imperium of Man once more, as Khârn joined a few of the most insane of the Khornate Berserkers in battling those legions of the Emperor's warriors flocking to the defence of Cadia.
"I have slain many enemies, and won many battles and I tell you there is no great secret to success in war, no subtle trick of strategy that has saved my foes -- I seek out the enemy, attack as soon as I am able and with all the force at my command, rend his soldiers and smash his fortresses, leave only corpses behind me and then move on -- thus my primarch has taught me, and I find his wisdom has proved worthy on a hundred battlefields."
Khârn's legend began thousands of Terran years ago during the Emperor's Great Crusade. He had been a member of the XII Legion when it was still known as the War Hounds, the precursor to the World Eaters.
He was born upon Terra, the cradle of Humanity, and was one of the first neophytes to be recruited, becoming a part of the nascent War Hounds Legion. After his selection, he was trained under the scrutiny of Centurion Gruner upon the training grounds of the War Hounds' vassal world of Bodt, along with the other neophytes assigned to his instruction.
A Terran-born veteran of Jermanic descent of the Unification Wars, the grizzled Master of Neophytes was a formidable warrior within the Legion. Gruner's torso rippled with superhuman strength, sporting an elaborate tattoo of a canine predator tearing into its prey. Though the Neophytes' own enhancement surgery scars were still fresh, they were deemed ready to begin their Legionary training. Gruner introduced Khârn to "The Contest," an ancient and already well-established tradition of the XII Legion.
All War Hounds were expected to compete in The Contest and the rules were simple: the first Astartes to reach 1,000 skulls won. When one of Khârn's fellow Neophytes inquired about the prize, Gruner merely shrugged his shoulders in response, for he did not know. No one had ever come close. When Khârn tentatively inquired where they were supposed to acquire the skulls from, the tattooed giant roared with laughter, drawing the attention of those other battle-brothers and neophytes close enough to witness Khârn's first humiliation. It would be a lesson he would carry with him for the rest of his days.
This event did not prevent Khârn from surviving the trials to become a full Astartes, and he swiftly rose in rank. His impressive talents for close quarters assault and hand-to-hand combat made him stand out amongst a Legion composed of the most savage, efficient and ruthless killers in the nascent Imperium of Man, and by the time the Great Crusade rediscovered the Primarch Angron, Khârn was Centurion of the XII Legion's elite 8th Assault Company. At that time he was described as a deeply bronzed warrior, with a long and noble face.
Reunion with a Primarch
The War Hounds' reunion with their primarch was far from a joyous event for the XII Legion, however. Angron, enraged at his "rescue" at the hands of the Emperor of Mankind which he perceived as the basest of betrayals toward his fellow gladiators, had been sealed within a cargo hold after being brought aboard the XII Legion's flagship Adamant Resolve.
Convinced that they could change the primarch's mind the captains and commanders of the War Hounds entered the hold to make their case. One by one Angron killed them all, until Khârn –- as one of the few remaining officers of his rank –- was the only one brave enough to face the homicidal giant.
Into a chamber spattered with the blood of his brothers Khârn walked, calm and composed, never flinching even as the looming shadow of Angron rose up from where he sat upon a pile of power armoured corpses. Angron immediately fell upon him, and both warriors engaged in a brutal hand-to-hand brawl. Khârn, who like the other officers had sworn before the Emperor they would not fight against their primarch no matter how provoked or ordered, did not resist and was severely brutalised by his gene-father.
And yet, for all his inactivity, Khârn fought, perhaps the hardest battle of his entire life; against his own body that wanted to give in to the pain and surrender to oblivion; against his training that urged him to defend himself; and against his very nature that demanded he bow down to his gene-sire's will and accept his fate.
In the end he found himself supine, battered and broken at Angron's feet. Despite this, Khârn remained defiant, neither yielding nor begging mercy, but talking about the battles he'd fought, about the War Hounds, about the other Legions and about the Emperor. With this show of courage, he managed to reach out to Angron, who stayed his hand, realising that the Space Marines of the XII Legion were not the honourless rabble of worthless warriors he believed them to be.
In the end it was this calm bravery that won him Angron's respect, and allowed him to convince the primarch that mastery over the Legion was not a collar to be worn around his neck, but a mantle of power to be worn on his mighty shoulders -– a mantle that would grant him the freedom to stalk across the stars in an endless war of glorious bloodshed.
Khârn's already impressive reputation became legendary when Angron promoted the man who had shaken him out of his despair to the position of Equerry, a rank combining the roles of squire, councilor and personal confidante to the primarch. Yet there were many, both amongst the World Eaters and outside it, that, while they respected Angron's choice, doubted its wisdom: the Equerry's primary role was to serve as a counterpoint to the Primarch's personality and a foil for his decisions.
For all his qualities as a warrior, Khârn was neither patient nor particularly subtle, nor a great orator, and, instead of guiding and tempering his primarch's words and decisions with wisdom, he often was second into the thickest of the fray right behind Angron, slaying anything which had escaped Angron's twin chainaxes.
Any words of tempering he might have uttered were quickly forgotten in the rush of battle. In the shadow of Angron, Khârn began to change, becoming more aggressive and unstable, reckless traits he had long kept in check rising to the surface. Angron's use of the Butcher's Nails, cybernetic skull implants designed to heighten aggression, only accelerated Khârn's descent into madness.
Lost in his thirst for battle, Khârn and his brothers were easy prey for the Dark Gods, and were among the first to side with Horus in his war against the Emperor. Khârn fought with a renewed fury during the Heresy, finally finding a foe worthy of his skills in the Loyalist Space Marines. It seemed that Khorne had a plan for the World Eater's captain, every gore-drenched warzone bringing Khârn closer to complete servitude to the Blood God.
Isstvan III Atrocity
"The moment Angron was given mastery over us, we stopped being what the Emperor wanted, and became what our father wanted instead. How could He have not foreseen the madness to come when it was He who made it happen? Or did He even care, so long as we spilt the blood that He needed spilled to expand His realm? If you desire to cast fault for the path that the XII Legion embarked upon, the true blame could be placed nowhere other than at the Throne of Terra, at His feet."
- — Eighth Captain Khârn, from his unpublished treatise The Eighteen Legions
Before the Horus Heresy, Khârn rose to the esteemed position of Captain of the 8th Assault Company of the World Eaters Legion, and also served as the personal Equerry of Angron -- where he was supposed to play the role of "cool head" who tempered his primarch's bloody rages. Despite this, Khârn was known even before the Horus Heresy as a brilliant but unstable warrior. The first depiction of Khârn as a follower of Chaos came during the massacre of the Loyalists on Isstvan III where the infamous World Eater was described as a man swamped by "dark madness" during a battle with Garviel Loken, a Loyalist Sons of Horus captain.
The process of his corruption is not detailed -- "I am the Eight-fold Path," he told Loken, a description of the Khornate philosophy dedicated to freeing the individual from attachments and delusions ending in an understanding of the truth of all things (eight being the sacred number of Khorne). This was the only explanation offered by Khârn for his sudden transformation.
During the fray, Khârn was believed killed in action while fighting Loken, a Loyalist determined to stop Horus from attacking Terra by preventing his former Legion from completing its massacre of its own Loyalists on Isstvan III. Khârn engaged in close combat with Loken, only to be horrifically wounded when he was thrown onto the teeth of a tank's dozerblade, impaling his chest. However, Khârn proved his resilience, and the favour of Khorne, as he clawed his way back to life.
Last Chance for Redemption
Six solar months after the Emperor sanctioned the Scouring of Prospero, Thousand Sons Captain Menes Kalliston led a squad of his battle-brothers to the ravaged surface of their homeworld to search for any signs of survivors or of their Primarch Magnus the Red. Instead, the squad of Thousand Sons was taken by surprise when they encountered a much larger force of Traitor World Eaters who were also on Prospero for their own nefarious reasons.
In the ensuing conflagration, the majority of the squad was killed, and an unconscious Kalliston was captured by Khârn. When Kalliston finally came to, he discovered that he had been shackled to a chair, his innate psychic abilities severely weakened. He was interrogated by an individual who remained in shadow. Catching furtive glimpses of his tormentor, through bleary eyes Kalliston thought he made out grey-coloured Power Armour, and assumed that his captor was one of the hated Space Wolves Astartes who had destroyed his homeworld. Kalliston's tormentor desired to know the Thousand Sons captain's purpose for returning to Prospero.
Kalliston eventually realised that his tormentor's armour, which he had thought to be grey in the near-total dark, was actually a dirty white. The shoulder-guards were once a bright blue, though every exposed surface on the battle-plate was covered by a translucent layer of brown-red filth. His captor was a War Hound of the XII Legion, or, as he believed they had started calling themselves, a World Eater.
To Kalliston the new name was ludicrous, a perversion of everything the Legiones Astartes stood for. As Kalliston's clarity returned to him, he slowly realised that his interrogator stood on the brink of madness. As he scrutinised his tormentor further, he could make out a series of iron studs implanted under the flesh, further up on the scalp. These neural implants had been forbidden by the Emperor to be used by Astartes and had been prohibited for good reason. They accelerated an Astartes' aggression and stoked it, amplifying an already testosterone-charged superhuman killer into a truly savage murderer.
Kalliston realised he was in the presence of the savage Khârn, the Captain of the World Eaters' 8th Assault Company and Equerry to Angron himself. Withdrawing an iron pendant from his armour it was fashioned in the shape of a wolf's head howling against a crescent moon. Khârn explained to his captive that the World Eaters had come to Prospero on behalf of Horus to collect this item, known as the Moon Wolf. Once a part of the Warmaster's Power Armour, it had been used as part of a sorcerous ritual by the Thousands Sons' Primarch Magnus the Red to make contact with Horus, and could be used to do so again. But Kalliston quickly realised that there was another reason that the World Eater had come to Prospero for Khârn seemed to burn with agony. An agony that could only be discharged by murder.
Biding his time, Kalliston goaded Khârn into revealing his true intentions. As the Thousand Sons captain pressed the agitated World Eater for answers, his psychic powers slowly began to return to him. Kalliston attempted to manipulate the situation by subtly swaying Khârn with his words and his innate psychic abilities. Kalliston realised that the World Eater had come to Prospero seeking certain arcane devices that might be able help him find a cure for his affliction.
Kalliston explained to Khârn that there was still time. For though the sorcerous devices once used by the Thousand Sons had all been destroyed, he possessed the necessary knowledge to replicate their functions. He could help heal the World Eater's broken mind, remove the neural implants and restore his ebbing Humanity. Kalliston could help take away the fire that drove him onwards, goading Khârn on to the acts of random violence he abhorred.
Kalliston knew that the World Eater was lost in a universe of pain, one that was only temporarily forgotten during the act of killing, a common affliction for those who fell to the corruption of the Blood God Khorne. He knew that his words had reached the sliver of Khârn's old self that still endured. But suddenly, the rage took over and Khârn snapped back to the reality of his painful existence. He attacked the Thousand Son captive with a roar, intent on rending him limb from limb.
Kalliston desperately called upon his remaining psychic reserves of power and managed to free himself from his bonds and launched a series of mental attacks against the enraged World Eaters officer. But it was all for naught, for the berserk Khârn possessed little of his remaining sanity and would not be persuaded by any means to stand aside from his intended kill. As Kalliston was being pummeled to death, he reflected that he had given Khârn every opportunity to choose his path, and that when the murder and madness had finally subsided, he would have the leisure to reflect on this choice -- he could have turned back.
Kalliston foresaw that in the near-future, Khârn would be uncontainable, and would turn on whatever force had sought to channel his rage for their own purposes. None would ever master him, for he had lost mastery over himself and become a true mortal embodiment of the Blood God's unending and unthinking thirst for death.
The Shadow Crusade
At some point during the Horus Heresy while taking part in the Traitor Legions' Shadow Crusade against the Realm of Ultramar, fighting alongside the Word Bearers Legion, the World Eaters fought in a campaign against the Ultramarines Legion upon the War World of Armatura. During the brutal assault, the Ultramarines managed to lure the enraged World Eaters into a trap as they assaulted the main quarter of the ruined capital city, collapsing buildings and burying many of the World Eaters and their Primarch Angron in tons of rubble.
The primarch's twin chainaxes were ruined, as they had lost their teeth during the brutal fighting. After Angron managed to crawl from the strewn rubble, he threw his axe Gorechild away, for it would never function again. In the aftermath of the battle Khârn found the discarded weapon and picked it up. He knew he risked his primarch's wrath by violating Angron's superstition of inherited weapons bringing ill luck. This was a gladiatorial conceit taken from Nuceria.
Khârn ignored his battle-brothers' protests and gave the discarded weapon to the Dark Mechanicum detachment attached to the XII Legion's fleet, and ordered the senior magi to restore the weapon to its former glory. He also ordered the Mechanicum's menials to have the area on Armatura excavated to find the chainsaw teeth made from the fangs of the Mica Dragons of the world of Luther Mcintyre, in order to resurrect Gorechild as the formidable weapon that it had always been.
Not all of the teeth were found, as the planet was terminated in cleansing fire before the excavation was completed. Khârn improvised, most likely taking a hammer to the skulls of the Mica Dragons housed in the Legion's Museum of Conquest aboard the XII Legion's flagship Conqueror, no doubt stealing the teeth for use in the weapon's resurrection. Since that bygone era, Khârn has used the mighty weapon ever since, and his fearsome skill at butchering any who dare stand in his path has grown legendary amongst all the servants of the Ruinous Powers.
Siege of Terra
When the Horus Heresy finally culminated at the Siege of the Imperial Palace during the Siege of Terra, Khârn was at the forefront of every assault made by the World Eaters. He was the first of his Legion to breach the walls of the Imperial Palace, and claimed more skulls for Khorne than any other World Eater.
His fellow World Eaters carried his corpse away with them as they fought their way back to their landing ships. For a long time Khârn lay unconscious and upon the edge of death in the hold of the World Eater's flagship, as the Legion's captains argued about who should lead.
Only when one captain murdered another, arguing over Khârn's body, did he rise back to life, revived by the freshly-spilled blood spattered over his flesh.
His battle-brothers discovered that by some dark miracle of the Blood God, Khârn still lived. Whether Khorne himself breathed life back into the Berserker's body or whether the relentless clamour of battle revived his blood-lusting spirit remains a mystery, but since the end of the Heresy, Khârn has survived the bloodiest battles across ten millennia and has never come so close to death again.
Khârn vowed that the sons of Angron would never again know defeat, for he would not allow it. Their foes would fall, or they would offer themselves to Khorne in their stead.
"Only a fool takes Khârn for a mindless brute or rabid dog. Under that blood-soaked helm lurks an intelligence and cunning that makes him a masterful killer - trust me when I say that there is a dark purpose in his madness."
The story of the World Eaters' search for a homeworld in the Eye of Terror is a defining point in the history of Khârn. It was during this time that the former Equerry would become both legendary and infamous amongst the berserk warriors of his Legion. After the Siege of Terra, many looked to Khârn to lead the World Eaters, now that Angron had ascended to daemonhood and once again spurned his Legion.
The first thing the World Eaters required was a home within the Eye of Terror, a place from which to build their strength and strike back at the hated Imperium. It was a search that would lead them to the Daemon World of Skalathrax. A cursed place once inhabited by the Aeldari before the Fall, it was also coveted by the Emperor's Children, who desired the ancient xenos' Soul Stones for their debased god to feed upon. It was not long before the two Traitor Legions were engaged in bitter and bloody war for control of the world, with Khârn at the forefront of the fighting. However, the presence of the Legions had broken the ancient equilibrium of Skalathrax, and as they struggled an unnatural cold crept in from the void.
Horrified by the conditions that affected even their superhuman metabolisms, the Traitor Astartes of the Emperor's Children and the World Eaters agreed to a temporary ceasefire, and both sides took to their shelters, for the freezing night brought conditions so severe that they could kill even a Chaos Space Marine in a matter of mere moments during the deepest portion of the night.
Khârn fell into a terrible rage over the idea of being delayed from his slaughter for even a single night. Enraged when he saw his fellow Legionaries creeping back to their shelters like cowards, he took up a Flamer and used it to destroy the shelters, starting a fire that soon burned out of control, and he rampaged through the dying world killing both World Eaters and Emperor's Children with equal fury. His Flamer burned many Legionaries to ash as his chainaxe Gorechild slayed those who tried to stand against him.
During the ensuing chaos, Khârn was assaulted by three unknown assailants. Undeterred, the berserker leapt at his foes. A stray Bolter round struck Khârn in his breastplate, sending his leap wide, forcing him to dispatch the concealed warrior with an improvised backhand strike of his chainaxe. He then whirled around and clove through the Bolter of the third assailant before slamming him insensible to the ground. Khârn quickly hurled Gorechild to his left. The chainaxe bit deep into the throat of the last Astartes, arterial blood spraying into the air. Standing over the prone warrior as he attempted to scrabble for his weapon, Khârn recognised the face of his assailant -- it was his old Centurion Gruner.
Backed into a corner amongst the bodies of their fallen brethren, Gruner spoke of madness and betrayal, cursing Khârn for daring to strike down the battle-brothers of his own Legion. But Khârn merely laughed at his words: as the foremost berserker champion of the XII Legion, Khârn had stood upon the walls of the Imperial Palace. He was the last to be borne away from Terra, his body broken after he had slain one million of the False Emperor's lackeys through the breach at the Lion's Gate.
None would ever surpass his tally of kills. The Contest was finally over, and he had been its victor. Khârn believed that the weakness of his fellow Heretic Astartes was the reason that they were defeated during the Siege of Terra -- the weakness of the other Traitor Legions as well as that to be found amongst the World Eaters.
Filled with disgust for his fellow Astartes' weakness, the Chosen of Khorne beheaded his former training officer and continued to slay Emperor's Children and World Eaters alike throughout Skalathrax's murderous night, earning him the title of "the Betrayer," single-handedly shattering his Legion's unity and reducing it to scattered, individual war bands of Khornate Berserkers. These shattered remnants of the Great Companies of the XII Legion would never reunite and fight as one again until the time of the First War for Armageddon, and would remain divided for the next ten millennia.
Blood for the Blood God
In the aftermath of the massacre at Skalathrax the World Eaters were scattered into wandering warbands, Khârn himself disappearing into the Eye of Terror to seek new foes to kill for his god. During this time, Khârn the Betrayer would become foremost among the Champions of Khorne, no other able even to come close to his kill count. It is whispered on the Warp-winds of the Eye that there is a pile of skulls beside the Blood God's throne for Khârn's offerings alone; a pile that grows higher every day. Though Khorne enjoys all forms of murder and violence, none are as precious to him as those inflicted in close quarters, as it is the truest test of a warrior's abilities, unsullied by advanced technology or psychic trickery.
In this way Khârn is exemplary in the eyes of the Blood God -- almost all his killing is committed with Gorechild, his armour bathed in the blood of the vanquished as their heads are parted from their bodies. At times Khârn has resorted to other means of killing, like in the manufactorums of Ulsa during the Bloodtorrent War, when Gorechild became jammed in the hull of a Mechanicum war machine and his Plasma Pistol fractured from overuse. The Betrayer turned the sharp edges and hard surfaces of the factorum to his own violent ends, impaling screaming Imperial Guardsmen soldiers on grinding gears or flaying the skin from their faces by pressing them on howling conveyers. Such was the carnage that the vast manufactorum ground to a halt, its workings clogged with the mangled remains of over a thousand pulverised corpses.
Khârn has cultivated a well-earned reputation as the first to enter a fight and the last to leave, mirroring his battle long ago at the siege of the Imperial Palace. During the mayhem and carnage of the 7th Black Crusade in 811.M37, Khârn was the first to board the Blood Angels Strike Cruiser Sanguine Tear, smashing his way through the void-lock when his own ship became embedded in its hull.
For several bloody solar minutes the Betrayer fought alone against a dozen Blood Angels Terminators, until the rest of his warband flooded onto the Space Marine vessel. Khârn was also the last to leave, after the Sanguine Tear had been reduced to a charnel house of corpses and fire, returning to his own cruiser and ordering its captain to blast them free from the wreck. During the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, his wrath was unleashed upon the Imperium of Man once more, as Khârn joined a few of the most insane of the Khornate Berserkers, battling those legions of the Emperor's warriors flocking to the defence of Cadia.
In his long life as a servant of the Blood God, Khârn has travelled the breadth of the galaxy, staining the ground of a thousand, thousand worlds red in honour of his murderous master. Though the Betrayer yearns for the destruction of the Imperium -- an obsession that Abaddon the Despoiler has used more than once to lure him into his army -- it is the taking of skulls that truly drives Khârn.
Human heads are the most desirable, but any able opponent is a worthy offering to Khorne. Khârn has taken the lives of almost every kind of Human, alien and Daemon to walk the stars or dwell beneath them. Tyranid Hive Tyrants, Necron Overlords, Aeldari Autarchs and Ork Warbosses have all tasted the bite of Gorechild's teeth. Khârn knows that Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows, only that it does.
It is a brave Chaos warlord that enlists Khârn's aid, calling upon the Betrayer being often a measure of equal parts folly and desperation. Khârn's allies can never be sure that he will not turn upon them, should the enemy prove unworthy of his axe or the tide of war leave him no adversaries nearby. More than one warband of Chaos Space Marine Renegades have followed their foes into the grave, Khârn savagely decapitating them once there were no more enemies for him to kill.
The only warriors that freely fight at Khârn's side are other World Eaters, Khorne Berserkers drawn to the Betrayer by tales of his bloody deeds. These crazed butchers live only to murder and kill, the taking of life for the Blood God the singular meaning of their existence. If it should come to pass that Khorne calls for their skull, they give it willingly, offering their necks while screaming out his name. It has been speculated by more than one Heretic scholar that Khârn has killed more warriors of the World Eaters Legion than all its enemies combined.
Khârn the Betrayer will never stop killing. Whether it is the blood madness he learnt from Angron during the Horus Heresy, or the Chaos taint that has corrupted his soul since Khorne's gaze fell upon him, Khârn's mind burns with an unquenchable rage. So long as he draws breath he will offer up lives to the Blood God, until at last he gives his own.
"Emperor's Teeth! One man did all this?"
- — Viscount Hurlon, upon discovering Khârn’s murder of all 12,000 inhabitants of the Mirrored Spire of Vorlanthus IV
Before the Horus Heresy, Khârn was a loyal servant of the Emperor of Mankind, who warily believed that the excessive means the World Eaters employed in battle were necessary for the ultimate success of the Great Crusade. A taciturn warrior with a straightforward approach to battle, Khârn nevertheless was recognised as one of the finest combatants amongst the World Eaters, earning himself a fearsome reputation both on the battlefield and in the duelling pits.
Following the Heresy, Khârn became a devoted Khornate Berzerker, surrendering himself in whole to the Blood God's Eight-fold Path, easily enraged by others' perceived weakness, and eager to kill others for Khorne, irrespective of whether or not they were also his allies.
Khârn is one of the most deadly yet unstable melee fighters in the galaxy and he is just as likely to attack his own allies in a berserk fury as he is the enemy.
Armed with a Plasma Pistol and his ancient chainaxe Gorechild, he is able to tear through armour, flesh and bone with ease.
Such is Khârn's fury and dedication to Khorne that, in battle (and often outside it), he ceases to make a distinction between friend and foe, and slays anything that comes in range of Gorechild's murderous whirling teeth.
Khorne cares not where the blood flows from, only that it flows; and neither does his champion.
- Gorechild - Massive and ancient; Gorechild is an artefact chainaxe from the time of the Great Crusade, an inheritance to Khârn from his Primarch Angron. Its haft is forged of adamantium and its head is a full three spans across. Far more than merely a weapon crafted by the hand of a primarch, Gorechild was seen by many as a symbol of the right to rule the XII Legion. Once paired with the larger Gorefather, the mighty chainaxe was borne in battle by Angron throughout the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, but when the Shadow Crusade fell upon the War World of Armatura while fighting against the Ultramarines Legion, it was damaged and discarded without a second thought. Khârn could not bear to let such a prize go to waste, and enlisted one of the most skilled artisans of the Dark Mechanicum to restore its blade assembly and razor-sharp Mica-dragon teeth. So it was that Gorechild was reborn in the hands of its new master. Gorechild's jagged whirling teeth were torn from the jaws of Mica Dragons on the Death World of Luther Mcintyre and its shaft is forged of adamantium. Even in the hands of an unskilled user (which Khârn is clearly not) the axe can split an armoured Space Marine from head to crotch. In the hands of the Betrayer, it can deliver devastating blows with deadly accuracy. In all the years afterwards, Khârn would keep the chainaxe bound to his wrist with chains when the fighting was at its thickest. Upon the walls of the Imperial Palace, legends say that he slew over a million of the Loyalist defenders before Gorechild fell from his grasp -- however, like so much of the mythology surrounding Khârn, this is difficult to verify in the light of cold fact. Nonetheless, Gorechild remains a potent reminder that some of the sons of Angron will always be more favoured than others.
- Death-counter - Khârn's helm incorporates an archaic device known as a death-counter. The ancient High Gothic lettering of the digital death-counter is superimposed on Khârn's field of vision and tallies the number of the crazed berserker's kills per campaign as he makes them. Khârn was proud of this archaic device, presented to him by the Warmaster Horus himself in ancient times. Its like could not be made in the current degenerate age due to the Imperium's slow loss of technical and scientific acumen. Perhaps once this archaic device aided him in the collection of trophies for his Legion's secretive "contest," though now it would seem to others to be little more than the obsessive tally of a madman.
- Power Armour - Khârn is clad in an antique and battered suit of Power Armour from which the left pauldron and arm plate is missing, for reasons unknown. Khârn's battleplate is a testament to the craft of mortals and the iconography of Chaos. Among the first to adopt the red and brass of the Eightfold Path, Khârn and his warriors scoured themselves of all Imperial iconography during the latter days of the Horus Heresy, instead festooning themselves with bloody skulls and gladiatorial chains. The skulls of Khârn's most memorable opponents dangle from chains attached to his belt and arm.
- Archaic Plasma Pistol - The Plasma Pistol has long been Khârn's sidearm of choice, able to bring down even a heavily armoured foe at range with a single well-placed shot. The weapon he carried at the Siege of Terra is a dark and twisted thing, equal parts tried and tested ancient Mechanicum technology and the uncanny blessings of the Warp.
- Blessing of the Blood God - Khârn is the most favoured mortal servant of Khorne, and is accordingly granted protection against witchery by his patron. Such is Khorne's contempt for "witching tricksters" that psykers will find their power nullified when attempting to target Khârn, and Force Weapons will not function should they manage to score a hit upon the frenzied Khornate Berzerker.
- Codex Heretic Astartes - Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 81, 120
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 59
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 48
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 49
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pg. 26
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), pp. 100-101
- Index Astartes III, "Chosen of Khorne - The World Eaters Space Marine Legion"
- Warlords of the Dark Millennium - Champions of Chaos (Digital Edition), pp. 122-123, 125-129, 136-140
- White Dwarf 230 (US), "WH40K 3rd: Bitter and Twisted - Khârn the Betrayer", pg. 42
- White Dwarf 227 (US), "Chapter Approved: Chaos, Khârn the Betrayer", pp. 73-80
- White Dwarf 201 (US), "The Betrayer", pp. 87-90
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- Tales of Heresy (Anthology) edited by Nick Kyme and Lindsey Priestley, After Desh'ea by Matthew Farrer
- Butcher's Nails (Audio Drama) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Betrayer (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Dark Imperium (Anthology), The Wrath of Khârn by William King
- The Weakness of Others (Novella) by Laurie Goulding
- Chosen of Khorne (Audio Drama) by Anthony Reynolds
- Khârn - Eater of Worlds (Novella) by Anthony Reynolds
- Forge World - Khârn the Bloody
- The Weakness of Others (Short Story) by Laurie Goulding