The Legio Vulcanum I ("Dark Fire") is a Traitor Titan Legion of the Dark Mechanicum that repudiated its oaths to the Emperor of Mankind and followed the Warmaster Horus into the service of the Ruinous Powers during the Horus Heresy. There is very little information in Imperial records about this Titan Legion's founding, though it is believed that it was founded before the Age of the Imperium during the Age of Strife.
The Legio Vulcanum I, alongside the Legio Vulcanum II, the "Lords of Ruin," hailed from within the Vulcanis System upon the Forge World of Stygies VIII in the Ultima Segmentum, a large moon orbiting a massive ringed gas giant on the outer fringes of the star system.
These two Legions once stood sentinel near the tear in reality known as the Eye of Terror, guarding against invaders from the galactic north. But when the Warmaster turned upon the Emperor, the majority of both of the Forge World's Titan Legions were fighting at Horus' side in the Great Crusade, and they quickly swore their allegiance to him, following the Arch-Traitor into damnation.
Stygies VIII was once home to two Titan Legions, both bearing the High Gothic name Legio Vulcanum -- the Legio Vulcanum I and Legio Vulcanum II -- but more commonly known by their respective Low Gothic names: the "Dark Fire" and the "Lords of Ruin."
Located close to the ruinous hole in reality known as the Eye of Terror, the Legions stood watch against invaders from the galactic north. While unusual for a single star system to support two full Titan Legions, it is far from unknown, as Mars itself supports three.
Stygies VIII was granted two Legions due to its close proximity to the Eye of Terror and the attendant risks of Chaos attack on this important Forge World. Most of the twin Legions' war engines were on crusade with the Warmaster Horus when the Horus Heresy began. In a series of bloody surprise attacks, a core of Chaos Cultists back on Stygies VIII seized control of the Forge World's manufactorum facilities.
Reduced to a small group of Loyalist Tech-priests, these valiant defenders protected the planet's Temple of Knowledge against the robed cultists and the hastily-improvised berserker machines that they had produced. Trapped and on their own, the Loyalists expected that death would eventually follow, but unanticipated liberation came on the thirty-first day of the siege in the form of the graceful Eldar Titans and hundreds of Jetbike-mounted warriors of the Saim-Hann Craftworld who smashed the servants of Chaos.
They had not come to help the Mon-Keigh, but to deny to the Forces of Chaos such a strategically potent manufacturing world so close to the Eye of Terror. When the Horus Heresy finally ended, both of the Traitor Titan Legions of Stygies VIII fled into exile within the Eye of Terror. The planet is now home to a third Titan Legion, the Legio Honorum, which was brought to restore the Forge World's honour in the eyes of the Emperor.
- Shi'Hu'Gal Purge (Unknown Date.M31) - The Legios Vulcanum I and II supported the Night Lords Legion during the infamous xenocidal purge of the Shi'Hu'Gal Dominion at the time of the Great Crusade.
- Battle of Molech (009.M31) - Molech was a Knight World ruled over by House Devine ever since the Emperor Himself led an expedition to bring it into the fledgling Imperium and left a significant garrison there. The planet thrived under the rule of Devine, the populace of its capital city of Lupercalia never knowing the true reason why the Emperor had taken it upon Himself to lead the force that claimed it. Unfortunately for the citizens of Molech, the Traitor Horus knew exactly what lay beneath the city that had been named in his honour -- a Warp Gate which, it was said, had allowed the Emperor to convene with the Ruinous Powers themselves. When Loyalist forces became aware of the Traitor fleet's approach, they mustered at Molech. As well as a trio of Titan Legions -- the Legio Gryphonicus, Legio Crucius, and Legio Fortidus -- there were elements of each of the Imperium's fighting forces, including nearly a dozen Knight Houses which owed fealty to Devine. The Traitor force was equally impressive, featuring no fewer than four Titan Legions: the Legio Vulpa, Legio Interfector, Legio Vulcanum I, and the infamous Legio Mortis. Maniples of god-engines began their march against Avadon, their orders to lay the city to waste. Refugees streamed from it, desperate to get ahead of the Traitors' advance.
- Siege of Vraks (813-830.M41) - The Siege of Vraks was an Imperial military campaign fought over the course of 17 standard years to retake the Imperial Armoury World of Vraks Prime from the heretical Forces of Chaos led by the Apostate Cardinal-Astra Xaphan of the Scarus Sector. Vraks was besieged by the forces of the Imperium of Man in 813.M41, after the attempted assassination by an agent of the Officio Assassinorum of the heretical and traitorous Xaphan. The Imperial Guard's 88th Siege Army was raised from line regiments of the Death Korps of Krieg to undertake the Siege of Vraks and bring the Renegade Cardinal down in a campaign of attrition that the Administratum's Adepts calculated would take 12 standard years to successfully conclude. At the conclusion of what became a 17-year-long campaign of attrition requiring 34 regiments of the Imperial Guard to re-take the planet for the Emperor of Mankind in 830.M41, 14 million Imperial Guardsmen had been lost and Vraks Prime's entire original population of 8 million souls had been consumed in the violence or exterminated after they fell to Chaos corruption. This campaign was, amongst other things, a prime example of the deployment of Traitor Titan Legions in support of Heretic forces in the 41st Millennium, as well as a clear display of their value to the Forces of Chaos. The Traitor Titans sought to arrive on Vraks along with the other Forces of Chaos on the transport vessel Aharon's Bane. Although the Imperial Navy managed to damage the ship, the vessel survived planetfall and crashed west of the Chaylia Plateau, tearing a great gouge into the surface of Vraks and leaving its remains scattered across kilometres of the planet's surface. The Imperial naval force's commanders had hoped that the damage inflicted would see the craft destroyed, but this was not to be. Although many died as a result of the landing, far more survived, and warbands disgorged from the ship's ravaged hull were soon preparing for battle -- amongst them the dreaded Titans of the Legio Vulcanum I. From there, the Chaotic reinforcements moved to engage the Imperial Guard corps besieging the defensive lines surrounding the Citadel of Vraks. The Titans soon proved their worth once they engaged the Imperial forces of the 101st Death Korps of Krieg Regiment, opening fire at long range and devastating the Krieg armoured columns sent to face the Traitor onslaught. Clouds of brown dust stirred by the advancing tanks turned to blue-black smoke as the vehicles were smitten by the fury of Turbo-Lasers, Gatling Blasters and Volcano Cannons mounted on the massive war machines. The attempts to retaliate were all for naught, as the armour-piercing shells deflected off the Titans' Void Shields with electric blue flashes. Even repeated blasts of an Imperial Shadowsword super-heavy tank's mighty ordnance flickered harmlessly off the Titans' shields. For all its efforts, in response the great tank was disarmed by a single shot of a Turbo-Laser, and its crew immolated by a successive blast. Ultimately, the Imperial force sent to halt the Heretics' reinforcements failed. The defeat of the 101st Krieg Regiment meant that the Death Korps could no longer maintain a ring surrounding the fortress. The 19th Krieg Regiment had been ordered to relocate and face this grim threat alone to buy the time needed by Imperial forces sieging the eastern side of the fortress to abandon posts and move to a defensible position. These manoeuvres would see the regiment cut off. In such circumstances, the 19th could not have hoped to last long, especially if the Archenemy made use of their Titans. Such desperate measures were required just to save the Imperial campaign from complete failure. These defeats prompted the commanding Lord Militant Obscurus to replace the 88th Siege Army's command staff. The Imperial Guard officer eventually chosen for this task was Marshal Arnim Kagori. His first action, after assembling his staff, was to gather help for the beleaguered Krieg regiments on Vraks. In addition to securing the aerial support of the Imperial Navy and more manpower from Krieg, Kagori sought to be able to counter enemy Titans, and to this end petitioned the Legio Astorum -- the Warp Runners -- for help. The venerable lords of Lucius, the Legio Astorum's home Forge World, agreed. A battlegroup of Titans was deployed to support the 88th Siege Army, as only they could hope to match the firepower of the Traitor Titans. After their rites of battle were complete, they embarked upon their transport vessels and set off for Vraks. Soon, Kagori's reinforcements arrived on the planet, and amongst them was the Legio Astorum battlegroup, comprising 10 Reaver-class Titans and 12 Warhound-class Titans led by the venerable High Princeps Rand Drauca, ready to face the Traitors on the battlefield and resume the war that had been ongoing for ten thousand standard years. The Warp Runners supported the Marshal's new offensive to great effect, and very soon the Legio Vulcanum I took to the field to face them. Both sides were initially evenly matched, and the Legio Astorum suffered its first loss of the campaign -- the Reaver-class Titan Invigila Alpha. The Vraksian Renegades were heavily battered by Kagori's fresh forces, and were only able to hold the tide owing to the assistance of the Traitor Titans. However, as the fighting progressed, the Legio Vulcanum I found itself outmatched by its Collegia Titanica counterparts, and was eventually forced to pull back and regroup after -- according to the Warp Runners -- losing 12 war machines, a feat for which the Legio Astorum paid with the disabling of 11 of its own Loyalist Titans. The Titans clashed once more at the Red Scorpions Space Marine Chapter's first landing site. The Space Marines arrived on Vraks heeding Marshal Kagori's plea for aid following the Departmento Munitorum's unfavourable review of the campaign and its subsequent downgrading in reinforcement and resupply priority. The Red Scorpions opted to descend upon the planet's surface into the breach located in Sector 57-44, where they deemed their assistance would be put to best effect. A plan was agreed upon, which would see a special battlegroup from the 88th Siege Army's 11th Assault Korps supported by Legio Astorum Titans exploiting the breach once the Red Scorpions succeeded in securing the area. The enemy had contingency plans for assaults on the breach, and moments after the Space Marines' arrived they were already fighting the forces of the swarming Heretics, including Traitor Titans. Guardsmen rushed to aid the beleaguered Red Scorpions and trailing behind them were the Warp Runners, who eagerly engaged the Legio Vulcanum I, seeking to repeat their previous success. The great war machines engaged in vicious duels as the fighting continued around them, and despite suffering the loss of even more machines, the Legio Astorum triumphed, forcing the Traitor Titans to retreat. High Princeps Rand Drauca could celebrate another victory over the despised Legio Vulcanum I on his Titan's honour banner. Imperial records bear no mention of further actions undertaken by the Traitor Titans on the battlefield, though, it can be presumed that they continued the fight, as they are known to have defended the Citadel of Vraks itself. The number of Titans deployed by the Traitors on Vraks is unknown, although the Legio Astorum claims to having destroyed fourteen, losing nine of theirs in the process. If this is true, then the Legio Vulcanum I paid a heavy price for their involvement. How the remaining Traitor war machines -- if there were any -- escaped from Vraks following the eventual Imperial victory is also unknown. Of the Legio Vulcanum I's actions during the campaign perhaps only one thing is certain -- they sowed destruction and terror wherever they went.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - When Abaddon the Despoiler led the largest Chaos incursion into Imperial space in 999.M41 since the Horus Heresy as part of the 13th Black Crusade, the Legio Vulcanum I was one of the Traitor Titan Legions that had a suspected presence in the campaign. There were four unconfirmed assaults led by the Dark Fire on the Imperial worlds of Belisar and Kromat.
The Dark Fire and the Lords of Ruin Legions had a long history of competition with each other. This was fuelled by the shared genetic ancestry of their Princeps, who were created using ancient cloning techniques, and saw in their brothers and sisters dark reflections of themselves.
Following their fall to Chaos, corrupted clone crews linked a Legio Vulcanum maniple together in a disturbing way mere technology could not, and each Titan that fell in battle was keenly felt by its brothers and sisters.
So interlinked were the two Legions that their command structure blended together, and in battle, Princeps Seniores could share tactical information and guide each other's battlegroup without fear of becoming subsumed by another Titan Legion.
Legion Specific Wargear
- Janus Pattern Missiles - Janus Pattern Missiles were not exclusive to Stygies VIII, though the Forge World had amassed great stores of these weapons before the Horus Heresy, and its Legions were always well-supplied with this specialised form of ordnance.
- Herald's Wrath (Warlord-class Titan) - The Herald's Wrath was a Warlord Titan that took part in the Battle of Molech but was destroyed by the valiant Loyalist defenders. This caused the Vengeance's Messenger, its paired Titan, to act erratically and engage in increasingly reckless manoeuvres, which led to its eventual destruction. This was due to the fact that the Princeps of both Titans were grown from a single clone batch, and the death of one of the clone brothers was keenly felt by the other.
- Vengeance's Messenger (Warlord-class Titan) - Warlord Titans of the Legio Vulcanum, such as Vengeance's Messenger, were often crewed by Princeps that reflected the nature of the Titan Legion themselves. Crewed by one half of a cloned pair, Vengeance's Messenger suffered catastrophic damage during the invasion of Molech after engaging in a series of increasingly reckless manoeuvres. Such illogical tactics were fuelled by the demise of its paired Titan, Herald of Wrath, both Princeps having been grown in a single clone batch.
- Encroaching Fury (Reaver-class Titan) - The Legio Vulcanum Reaver Titan, Encroaching Fury, carried a common configuration of the Legion seen during the latter years of the Horus Heresy. Competition between the Dark Fire and the Lords of Ruin grew fiercer as the war progressed. With Princeps from both Titan Legions fighting over every kill, the use of devastating close combat weapons became favoured to ensure the most valuable trophies could be claimed for all to see. These contests saw marked increase in god-engine loss, leaving only the hardiest and most skilled crews standing.
- Nightmaw (Reaver-class Titan) – The Nightmaw deployed as part of the Traitor Titan forces on Vraks during the Siege of Vraks, and was part of a Titan maniple that fought in the Battle of Shatter Ridge. It may have been the single Traitor Reaver Titan reported destroyed during the battle.
- World Burner (Reaver-class Titan) - The World Burner deployed as part of the Traitor Titan forces on Vraks during the Siege of Vraks, and was part of a Titan maniple that fought in the Battle of Shatter Ridge. It may have been the single Traitor Reaver Titan reported destroyed during the battle.
- Carnophage (Warhound-class Titan) – Carnophage deployed as part of the Traitor Titan forces on Vraks during the Siege of Vraks, and was part of a Titan maniple that fought in the Battle of Shatter Ridge. It may have been one of the the single Traitor Warhound Titan reported destroyed during the battle.
- Skathraus (Warhound-class Titan) – Skathraus deployed as part of the Traitor Titan forces on Vraks during the Siege of Vraks, and was part of a Titan maniple that fought in the Battle of Shatter Ridge. It may have been one of the Traitor Warhound Titans reported destroyed during the battle.
- Venataris Mori (Warhound-class Titan) - Perhaps the most infamous of the Dark Fire's Titans is the war engine identified by the Imperial Logos Tactica as the ancient and thrice-cursed machine named the Venataris Mori, a corrupted Warhound-class Titan of the Mars Pattern. The Venataris Mori’s history is known to date back to long before the Horus Heresy and it was said to have accompanied the Night Lords Space Marine Legion on their infamous xenocidal purge of the Shi'hu'gal Dominion; a campaign of such fury and viciousness it remains a legend of the Great Crusade, even after the Warmaster’s betrayal of the Emperor.
- Woe of Malcus (Warhound-class Titan) – A Warhound-class Titan deployed as part of the Traitor Titan forces on Vraks during the Siege of Vraks, and was part of a Titan maniple that fought in the Battle of Shatter Ridge. It may have been the single Traitor Warhound Titan reported destroyed during the battle.
None listed in current Imperial records.
Before their fall to Chaos, the Legio Vulcanum I primarily coloured their titans in black and teal, trimmed in yellowish brass trim. After their corruption, and time spent in the Warp over several millennia, the Titans of the Legio Vulcanum I seem to no longer follow any single colour scheme.
Some Titans of the Legion bear olive green colours with details in yellow and black, while others have graphite hulls with golden lining. Some war engines of the Legion, particularly those bearing the Mark of Khorne, have a red colour scheme.
The Legio Vulcanum I's Pre-Heresy badge was a black brazier with dark fire burning from it within a white circlet centred upon a black mountain, surrounded by gold laurels on a field of teal.
- Adeptus Titanicus - The Horus Heresy: Doom of Molech (Specialty Game), pp. 9-10, 23-25
- Titan Legions (2nd Edition), pg. 18
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition), pg. 16
- Imperial Armour Volume One, pg. 8
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pp. 11-12, 23, 26-27, 34-35, 42-43, 48, 78-79, 83-84, 182
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three, pp. 51, 88, 161
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse II, pp. 71, 88-89