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"In warfare, preparation is the key. Determine that which your foe prizes the most. Then site your heavy weapons so that they overlook it. In this way, you may be quite sure that you shall never want for targets."

— Lion El'Jonson, Tenets of Strategy and Supremacy

A sketch of the Primarch Lion El'Jonson of the Dark Angels Legion made during the Great Crusade.

Lion El'Jonson, often times referred to as "the Lion" during his lifetime, known also by the cognomen "The First," and the honourific "Primaris Angelus Mortis," was the primarch of the Ist Legion of Space Marines, the Dark Angels.

Following the events of the Horus Heresy, El'Jonson and his crusading fleet returned to his homeworld of Caliban. Inexplicably, they were fired upon by the Dark Angel forces garrisoned there under the command of his once-trusted mentor and surrogate father, Luther, who had been entrusted with the custodianship of Caliban in the Lion's absence.

Luther would eventually betray the Lion after allowing himself to be seduced by the offers of Chaos, rallying a good portion of the Dark Angels who had been left behind by their fellows to garrison the Legion's homeworld to his cause and attacking the Lion's fleet as he returned to Caliban.

The titanic struggle between the two former friends resulted in the destruction of Caliban and the loss of the Dark Angels' primarch, as well as the escape of Luther's allies who had sided with the Ruinous Powers.


Lion El'Jonson, primarch of the Dark Angels Legion, during the Great Crusade.

Known as the Fallen Angels amongst their former battle-brothers of the Ist Legion, it became the overriding goal of the Dark Angels and all of their Successor Chapters (collectively known as the Unforgiven) after the Second Founding to hunt down every one of the Fallen and get them to repent their betrayal of the Emperor and the Lion.

Perhaps one of the greatest secrets of the Imperium of Man, known only to the Emperor Himself, was that the Lion was still alive and resting in stasis, buried deep within the Dark Angels' mobile fortress-monastery, The Rock.

There he waited, fully healed from the wounds he received during the fall of Caliban, to be awakened to lead the Dark Angels in one final crusade to save Mankind from all the enemies who threaten it with extinction.

And in the Era Indomitus, during the Arks of Omen Campaign, that day came at last. The Lion now roams the galaxy once more...


Early Life

"Of all the primarchs, save perhaps Mortarion, Lion El'Jonson stands apart. Partially this is due to his taciturn nature -- a brooding silence hangs over him at all times. Yet there is something more...something buried beneath his noble exterior. Perhaps this is a result of his upbringing, growing to maturity alone in the monster-ridden forests of Caliban. Even at a council of war, the Lion moves like an apex predator. He is always watching, always planning, always hunting. He unnerves even his brothers."

— Remembrances of Malcador the Sigillite

Primarch Lion El'Jonson as a young knight of The Order on Caliban before the Great Crusade.

As with much knowledge regarding the Ist Legion and its master, there was a vast body of rumour and little fact regarding the earliest years of the Primarch Lion El'Jonson.

Before the start of the Great Crusade, the gestation pod containing the infant primarch that had been mysteriously teleported through the Warp from the Emperor's subterranean gene-laboratory beneath the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains landed on the feudal Death World of Caliban in what would become the Segmentum Obscurus.

Caliban was a planet whose surface was largely covered by immense forests inhabited by terrible, monstrous beasts mutated by the touch of Chaos in the centuries after the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh due to the planet's proximity to the nearby Eye of Terror. El'Jonson managed to survive in the forests alone, living as a wild man far from civilisation.

Caliban was home to many knightly orders of warrior-aristocrats created to defend its people and the massive fortress-monasteries they lived within to defend themselves from the Great Beasts. These knights maintained a few aspects of Caliban's ancient technology from before the Age of Strife and wielded primitive Bolt Pistols and wore suits of simple power armour, very similar to that later used by the Legiones Astartes, that were handed down from knight to knight.

Despite these technological trappings, however, Caliban remained very much a pre-industrial society whose warriors rode to war on horseback. One of the most prominent knightly organisations was known simply as "The Order," and was made up of commoners and nobles alike, whereas the other knightly orders were drawn by tradition only from the Calibanite nobility.

Over 150 Terran years later, the young Lion would be discovered by a hunting party of the knights of The Order in the depths of Caliban's forests. Within these forests dwelt a breed of creature now unknown in the galaxy, monstrous chimaeric weapons left over from the Age of Strife, driven by a hunger that could not be slaked and fully capable of rendering an armoured warrior into a ruin of blood and flesh in seconds.

How long the young primarch had survived alone in the green deeps cannot be known for certain, for the Lion himself seldom spoke of those times. The knights that found him assumed from his stature and bearing that he could not have spent more than a solar decade alone, but the growth and development of the primarchs does not follow the pattern of mortal Humans, and they do not age as do those untouched by the Emperor's genius.

The span of standard years in which the Lion prowled Caliban's sea of trees may well have been far longer than can be easily comprehended. Indeed, the legends of those fortified towns that bordered the stretch of forest where the primarch was discovered spoke of a forest spirit that haunted the depths, a spirit of small stature but whose form was that of a man who was known only by the mysterious marks he left in his wake and had existed for nearly a standard century before the discovery of El'Jonson.

Regardless of whether the Lion had stalked the world-forest of Caliban for a Terran decade or a century, that time had left its mark upon him. The lightless depths beneath the forest canopy teemed with horrors, rapacious killers that often emerged from the deeps to hunt among the towns and villages of Caliban's slowly-dwindling Human population. There, amongst the most foul monstrosities imaginable, the Lion spent his childhood.

He learned to keep silent, lest he grant advantage to those that stalked him, he learned to fight only when he could win, lest he be wounded too gravely to survive, and he learned that once battle was joined it could end only in death, that the strong would survive and the weak would fall. He fought for his life with nothing but his bare hands and a determination so inhumanly strong that it served him better than any iron-forged blade.

The Lion was no feral berserker, but rather a calculating hunter ruled by logic and not simple rage. When he was discovered at last by the knights of Caliban, he was judged so dangerous that it might be best to have him slain, treated as one of the Great Beasts of the forest, so akin to them was he. It was the judgement of one man that would see him brought into the realm of Mankind and away from that of beasts, and that man was named Luther.

As a champion among the warriors that had defended Caliban through the long years of Old Night, Luther named his new charge Lion El'Jonson, which meant "the Lion, Son of the Forest" in the Calibanite dialect of Low Gothic, and raised him as a knight of The Order. Luther taught El'Jonson the laws and strictures of The Order, to mete out justice as a man rather than as a beast, and gave him something that the young primarch had never before had -- a reason to fight beyond simple survival.

Caliban was a dying world, its people besieged by the Great Beasts that thronged in the hidden depths of the forest and slowly driven to extinction. The Order, which built and manned the great fortresses at the borders of the wild, had vainly tried to stem the tide but had succeeded only at slowing the pace of their people's destruction, for they were too few to do more than defend their fastnesses from the constant assaults.

El'Jonson was taken to The Order's chief fortress-monastery of Aldurukh and taught Human ways. The Lion learned to speak incredibly quickly and soon mastered all of the necessary aspects of Calibanite culture faster than anyone, including Luther, his mentor, foster father and best friend, believed possible.

Before long, El'Jonson had become a fierce warrior in The Order's ranks -- though of his years living alone in Caliban's forests, he said nothing, then or later. With Luther at his side, El'Jonson ultimately rose into the highest ranks of The Order.

At the height of his reputation, El'Jonson made clear his extraordinary ambition: he called for a grand crusade to exterminate the Great Beasts of Caliban so that the people of his world could finally know peace and live free from fear.

This was received with great enthusiasm by the other members of The Order and even the other knightly orders, but it proved to be a time-consuming process that took nearly a solar decade of constant warfare against the terrible dangers of the deep forests.

Pre heresy lion el johnson

Supreme Grand Master Lion El'Jonson as a knight of The Order on Caliban.

El'Jonson would quickly prove not only a superlative warrior and strategist, but also a leader whose quiet confidence and iron will drew recruits to The Order in numbers never before seen. With each victory against the Great Beasts of the forest, each fell head planted upon the walls of The Order's fortresses, more warriors took up arms with hope in more than simple survival.

Lion El'Jonson stood at the forefront of this new crusade, not by choice, for he had ever been taciturn and prone to seek solitude, but by action, always to be found at the fore of any battle and unafraid to speak his mind or act when others might hesitate. By his order the old traditions that allowed only the nobility to fight among the knightly orders of Caliban were dropped, swelling The Order's ranks further at the cost of some dissent within the ranks of the more traditional knights.

Any Calibanite knightly order that did not follow El'Jonson's lead, such as the Knights of Lupus of the northern forests which feared like many that the destruction of the Great Beasts would up-end Caliban's traditional social order, was destroyed to the last man.

Within the space of a solar decade, The Order's ranks had grown to the point that they were able to take the war for their survival ever-deeper into the world-forest itself. With Lion El'Jonson and Luther at their head, they unleashed their crusade to rid Caliban of its curse, bringing flame and steel to the lair of the monsters that had hunted them for generations beyond count.

The war was long and bloody, with hundreds slain for each monstrous nest put to the torch, and many grew weary of the slaughter -- all save the grim knight, El'Jonson. The Lion knew that mercy had no place in war, to leave with their task unfinished and with any of the foe yet alive would be to waste all of the lives spent in its pursuit. There could be only one end and that was the total annihilation of the enemy by whatever means was needed.

El'Jonson set the knights to ambush the Great Beasts as they came to feed, poisoned the pools at which the creatures drank and set ablaze vast tracts of the forest to set them to flight. He gave the foe no respite and hunted them till no more could be found, and when his warriors spoke of his prowess and victories, it was fear that coloured their words as much as awe.

Some of Caliban's aristocracy, following in the wake of the Knights of Lupus, feared his new methods and determination enough to declare open rebellion, some fearing the changes he had wrought upon the tradition-bound people of Caliban and others simply seeking to claim the power Lion El'Jonson had come to wield. These traitors to the cause of Caliban's salvation were put down without mercy, the ranks of their knights and soldiers culled in their entirety and their fastnesses torn down as a warning to others.

At the end of the crusade against the Great Beasts, with both the Lion and Luther exhausted by the terrible cost the fighting had exacted, it was El'Jonson that received the battle honours and the title of Grand Master of The Order. He accepted the accolade without fanfare, for such Human eccentricities still seemed less worthwhile to the youth that had grown to manhood among monsters. He understood little the value some placed upon titles and rewards, for his grim and solitary habits had always kept him distant from others, and he saw not the change his rise had wrought in Luther.

For where they had once competed as equals for honour and victory, the primarch had now eclipsed his mentor and brother, leaving him behind as he grudgingly accepted the people's adulation and offer to rule over all of Caliban. It was a wound dealt in ignorance, for El'Jonson did not see the spark of fierce pride that burned within his brother ignite to jealousy in the face of his triumphs, a wound that would fester in the years to follow.

Had the Emperor not arrived shortly after this victory, descending from the heavens to claim His lost son, then perhaps this wound might have healed in Caliban's new peace, but this was not to be. The Emperor came to heap new glories upon the Lion, granting him command of the Ist Legion, whom He renamed the "Dark Angels" after an ancient Calibanite myth that spoke to their grim mien, and making him a general within the vast Imperial army that sought to conquer the galaxy.

Lion El'Jonson would soon leave for distant Terra and his new destiny, bringing his uncompromising and remorseless style of warfare to the ranks of the Imperial forces. To him would fall the role of watchman at the edge of the Emperor's domain, the bane of monsters and beasts and the bearer of weapons too terrible to entrust to any other.

He would be the cold and inevitable destroyer, the doom that once unleashed could not be recalled, subverted or delayed; taught by the black depths of the forest of Caliban the value of cold, ruthless tenacity. Lion El'Jonson was the first of all the primarchs, war distilled into its rawest and most fundamental essence, death that walked like a man, and the galaxy would be forever changed by his return.

Coming of the Emperor

"And the Angels of Darkness descended on pinions of fire and light... the great and terrible dark angels."

— Ancient Calibanite Fable

Shortly after the success of the campaign against the Great Beasts, in 846.M30 the Emperor of Mankind and a small band of His Legiones Astartes scouts drawn from the Ist Legion arrived on Caliban after they detected the psychic emanations of one of the primarchs. From the moment the Emperor first landed, El'Jonson felt the deep connection between himself and the Master of Mankind, and swore his fealty. In return, the Emperor made the Lion the commander of the Ist Legion of Space Marines that had been created from his genome.

The Emperor had launched His Great Crusade after the end of Old Night to reunite all the lost colonies of Humanity and restore Mankind's birthright as the rulers of the galaxy. The Emperor's Space Marine Legions purged entire star systems of Humanity's xenos oppressors. As the Imperium's wave of conquest advanced across the galaxy, Imperial scouts brought word that they had rediscovered the isolated world of Caliban in the Segmentum Obscurus and that it was home to a man who was likely one of the missing primarchs.

Only a small honour guard of the Ist Legion would accompany the Emperor to Caliban, for the Legion was still scattered to war zones across the front lines of the Great Crusade. A mere 500, mostly veterans of the Host of Death, would precede the Master of Mankind as He journeyed to greet His lost son, the Knight of Caliban known as "The Lion." Arrayed in the jet black power armour and mortuary symbols that had come to be their mark, it seemed as if the old tales of Calibanite legend and myth had come to life, a host of dark angels mustering before the stronghold of The Order and kneeling before Lion El'Jonson.

In that initial, fateful encounter the Legion would earn a new title from the first of the primarchs, for he saw fit to test the mettle of his new followers by personally duelling the captain of the company. The Lion stood against the Cataphractii-armoured warrior and matched his Calibanite steel to the power field-wreathed blade of his opponent and left him wounded in the dust; the Lion took their measure and they his and both learned a respect for the other. From that day forth the primarch would call the Astartes of the Ist Legion his "Dark Angels," a title that soon spread throughout the Legion.

Within a short span of time, the Emperor arrived at The Order's fortress-monastery to reclaim His lost gene-son in person and induct Caliban formally into the Imperium of Man, its vast forests to be cleared for industry and the first tithes of recruits claimed from among its population to replenish the depleted ranks of the Ist Legion.

The day of the Emperor's arrival was one that would live on for centuries in Calibanite legend. His great vessel descended from the heavens and He welcomed His lost son back into the Imperial fold.

The event was slightly marred by an attempt against the Emperor's life made by certain conservative knights of The Order who feared the changes that would be wrought to their world by the Imperium and its advanced science and culture, but these malcontents were swiftly and mercilessly executed as traitors by the Astartes.

The Ist Legion's governing Council of Masters on distant Gramarye would soon hear of Lion El'Jonson, the man who was their primarch, and once more they were riven by dissension. Though none would doubt the word of the Emperor that this knight of Caliban was their true lord, they were split by shame and pride. Some were stricken by remorse at the state of the Legion their primarch would inherit, while others wished to set forth and bring a suitable victory as a trophy to set at the feet of their new master.

All across the galaxy, the dispersed units of the Ist Legion reacted much the same, some detachments redoubling their efforts and throwing themselves into combat with renewed zeal to bring honour to the Legion, while others sought to extricate themselves from their campaigns so they might travel to Caliban and ask forgiveness of their returned primarch. The Lion himself was brought to Terra by the Emperor, that he might learn of the war the Master of Mankind wished him to prosecute and of the role he would play for the Imperium in the years yet to come.

Soon, the Space Marines of the Ist Legion who had accompanied the Emperor to Caliban were putting potential Astartes aspirants from The Order and the other knightly organisations through myriad martial trials and competitions to gauge their level of martial prowess and character. Only the strongest and most dedicated were allowed to pass to the next stage.

Many within The Order whispered that they were competing for a place within the ranks of the Astartes. But these trials also served the secondary purpose of determining if the Human strain on Caliban was genetically pure enough to warrant its status as a world that the Ist Legion could recruit from in the coming years.

While the Calibanite knightly orders revelled in their differences and often resorted to combat to settle their feuds, the Space Marine Legions were united in purpose and will. Such division could not be tolerated, and at the behest of the Lion and the Dark Angels, the individual knightly orders were disbanded and brought under the control of the Ist Legion.

Such a drastic move did not happen overnight, and could not pass without dissenting voices, but when the Lion spoke in favour of the union of knights and the glory that would be theirs for the taking in the service of the Emperor, most such voices were stilled -- most, but not all.

More objections were raised when the soldiers of the Imperial Army descended to the surface of Caliban. The Ist Legion's aspirant trials had already identified the likely candidates for recruitment into that august body, but the vast majority of the planet's population would still be able to serve the Emperor as troops of the Imperial Army.

Within an unimaginably short period of time, the surface of Caliban was transformed from a world of sprawling wilderness and castles to one of martial industry that rang to the beat of factory hammers and the tramp of booted feet as its populace girded itself for interstellar war.

The Emperor's servants had descended to Caliban with enormous earth-moving machines that cleared dozens of kilometres of forest a solar day and left flat, lifeless soil in their wake, ready to be planted or built upon. Mines, refineries and manufactoria followed, ready to transform the planet's abundant resources into vital war materiel for the Emperor's crusade.

Cities were built to supply the sprawling industrial sites, growing upwards and outwards with each passing Terran year as the traditional villages and towns surrounding the fortress-monasteries were emptied and their citizens relocated to better serve the Imperium.

Finally, the day arrived when those individuals whose courage had been proven beyond doubt, whose stamina, endurance and strength had seen them through the Astartes trials were ready to be added to the ranks of the Ist Legion.

Word had come from Luther that the Astartes had made their final selection for advanced training and the genhancement required to join their ranks. Through the application of Imperial science and the marvels of the gene-seed, these aspirants were transformed over the next several standard years into battle-brothers of the Ist Legion, the newly renamed "Dark Angels."

Luther had also been chosen to join the Ist Legion by the Astartes, but in common with a large proportion of that initial intake from The Order and the other Calibanite knightly orders, he had been too old to benefit from the implantation of gene-seed.

In its place, Luther, and others like him, had undergone an extensive series of genetic, surgical and biochemical enhancement procedures designed to increase their strength, stamina and reflexes to superhuman levels. They were taller, stronger and quicker than mortal men, but for all that they were still not true Astartes.

It was difficult for Luther and the others to come to terms with that fact, knowing that they were surrounded by those who had once served under them as squires and junior knights, but were now far more powerful than they could ever hope to become.

Luther still served as the Lion's second within the Legion, earning his position based on merit and fuelled with a desire to prove himself by his devotion to the Imperial ideal. But despite his successes, he could not escape his own inner conviction that he was somehow being looked down upon because he was not a full Astartes.

As for Lion El'Jonson, his brother primarchs would come to call him dour and morose, given to dark moods and heedless of the counsel of others, but he saw things simply and starkly. He learned on Terra that the war he had fought in Caliban's monster-haunted forests had not been ended, but only begun -- for the galaxy teemed with monsters to be slain. He dedicated himself to one task: killing.

He had no time for Sanguinius' chivalric ideals, for Mortarion's arbitrary hatreds or Fulgrim's obsession with beauty, such passion only obfuscated the true goal: that the enemies of Mankind should be destroyed. As the first of all the primarchs created by the Emperor, he was both more and less than his brothers: a primal force of destruction whose single-minded focus wrought him more inhuman than even Magnus the Red.

The Lion could stand against any of his kin, match blades with Fulgrim and stalemate the strategies of Roboute Guilliman and, though some might exceed him in the details of some tasks there were none that were his equal in the grander scope of battle, none whose will could match the bloody-minded determination of the Lion. His talents and resolute confidence, which some might have called arrogance, won him few friends but saw him placed at the head of his Legion faster than any of the primarchs to be rediscovered before him.

And the Legion he inherited was in sore need of its primarch and in need of a new beginning. Scattered and fractured, the Ist Legion remained a powerful fighting force but one whose purpose had become lost in the long years of the Great Crusade. Before the coming of the primarch they had been mentors and guides for the younger Legions, but their students had long since found their own wisdom. Now Lion El'Jonson would grant them a new purpose, one in keeping with the primarch's own methods and the vision he had for the Emperor's Great Crusade.

His first acts were to merge many of the teachings of Caliban's techno-feudal aristocracy with those of the Ist Legion Hexagrammaton, fusing the best of Terra and Caliban to create something new and more refined, and to gather the scattered fragments of his Legion together. With the first generations of recruits taken from the ranks of the worthy among the knights of Caliban still undergoing implantation of gene-seed, hypnogogic indoctrination and live-fire training, the Lion prepared to embark on a crusade of his own.

With him were to be found the original 500 warriors that had first arrived at Caliban as well as those chapters and battle groups that had sought him out to pledge their allegiance, as well as auxilia companies raised from the stock of Caliban to serve the Imperial Army, and a small retinue of Mechanicum magi from the Forge World of Xana II, eager to court favour with the new primarch. In full they numbered 20,000 warriors, perhaps a third of the Legion, each marked by the new beginning they were pledged to, adorned with the winged sword of Lion El'Jonson's Dark Angels instead of the grim marks of an age now ended.

Lion El'Jonson led this host forth, seeking out those companies of his gene-sons that had not yet found their way to his side. To find those scattered warriors amid the chaos of the Great Crusade, a war waged across a galaxy by ten billion warriors under arms, was no small feat and made possible only by the genius of the Lion himself and the arts of the tech-adepts of Xana, who quickly parsed the data banks of the Divisio Militaris to discern in which campaigns the Ist Legion bled and died.

For any other Legion the arrival of their newly-rediscovered primarch might have been the cause for raucous celebration or ostentatious parades, but not so for the grim Ist. News of Lion El'Jonson's approach most often spurred the warriors of the Ist Legion to redouble their efforts in battle, throwing themselves upon the foe without care for their survival so that when they stood before their gene-father they might offer him the blood-soaked laurels of victory.

Each battle-worn company received their new master with the same stoic reserve, with silent courtesy and brief but solemn vows of allegiance, and each was tested in battle by the primarch himself before they joined the ranks of his growing entourage. As was the way of the Lion, he demonstrated his worth by his actions and skill rather than with words and vague promises, allowing those who might doubt him to match their blades against his in honest combat. None among the Legion could question his right to lead after such a trial, though some few within the Legion harboured misgivings at the sudden changes the primarch brought to the centuries-old doctrines of the Legion and the shift in authority he represented.

Within a few short standard years, the Lion had gathered the vast majority of his Legion together, near 100,000 warriors, and led them to the ancient stronghold of the Ist Legion on Gramarye. There the gathered Council of Masters and Preceptor's Conclave awaited him amid the many glories of the Ist Legion's long and glorious history and the amassed wisdom distilled from its battles. Here, surrounded by the dusty trophies of the past, Lion El'Jonson made his Legion whole once again; he faced the ceremonial champion of the Council of Masters in the ring of honour, battling Pyrhus Calagat, the master of the Host of Fire, in an hour-long duel that has since become legend. This final trial ended, the primarch accepted the titles of Grandmaster of the Ist Legion, the six wings of the Hexagrammaton and High Preceptor of the Orders Militant of the Ist Legion, the first warrior to consolidate the leadership of the entire Legion under one banner.

To the gathered warriors of the Dark Angels, whose oaths had now been sworn in blood and sacrifice, the new primarch swore an oath of his own, an oath to seal the pact between them. This oath is recorded in the books of the Council of Masters: "We are the Angels of Darkness, for us there is no peace, no end but war and death. We shall not walk in the golden halls of Mankind's future, but stand resolute in the shadows beyond. While we yet draw breath, this Imperium will not fall and we will not know defeat, for I pledge every warrior, every drop of blood in the Legion in the name of victory, no matter the cost."

Reorganisation of the Ist Legion

With his oath to his Legion sworn, Lion El'Jonson saw the rise of his Dark Angels, placing new masters over each of the wings he had created from the bones of the Legion's old hosts and formalising the Dark Angels' various informal orders in the style of Caliban's knightly orders.

With the first influx of new recruits from Caliban now ready to join the Ist Legion, comprising those older warriors like Luther that had opted to undergo the painful and unreliable cybernetic and genetic augmetic enhancement process that allowed them to reach levels of ability comparable to true Space Marines, Lion El'Jonson swiftly incorporated them within this new structure, taking care to assign posts and commands based only on merit and not due to origin or the simple virtue of time in service.

A number of the Lion's old companions from The Order found positions within his inner circle, and despite the stringent trials the Lion insisted upon, some of the oldest veterans were less than pleased to yield their authority to these comparative newcomers. The old grand Legion chantry on Gramarye was torn down, replaced with a more modest fortress to secure the industrial sprawl of that world, for though the Legion would maintain a great fortress-monastery on Caliban, its true heart and seat of power would be the sanctum of its primarch aboard his flagship, the ancient Gloriana-class Battleship Invincible Reason.

For many, this reinvigoration of the Legion served to dispel the malaise that had long lain over the First, discarding the vainglory that had sapped the worth from victory and embracing the purity of the primarch's vision; though for a silent minority of veterans the sudden and jarring dissolution of old traditions and the introduction of new Calibanite blood left a lingering sense of doubt.

The Lion chose to confront any intransigence with the stoic indifference that was his hallmark, choosing to immerse the Legion in war and trust that his example would dispel any doubt. Dispersed under the masters and knight-commanders of the Legion he set the Dark Angels to their task, while the primarch led his own fleet to answer a call for aid received only recently by the newly-installed astropathic choir at Caliban. His destination was the distant world of Karkasam, where the Ultramarines garrison there had resisted siege for over eight solar months after a sudden uprising against Imperial rule among the population living within the ruined halls of the shattered world-fortress.

The desperate rebels had opened hidden vaults deep beneath the surface of the planet and set loose a biogenic phage that had reshaped the broken people of their world into twisted, blood-hungry ghouls whose minds were burned clean of all thought except the need to hunt and kill. These monstrous mutant creations then fell upon the unsuspecting warriors of the XIIIth Legion with a ferocity that gave pause to even the warriors of the Legiones Astartes.

With much of the Great Crusade's strength concentrated to the galactic east, there were few forces available to relieve the beleaguered Ultramarines and, given the history of Karkasam, few expected the Dark Angels to return. So, when the Invincible Reason broke through the Immaterium andentered realspace, its drop bays already open and primed for launch, Praetor Artaeon of the XIIIth, the commander of the all-but-overrun Astartes garrison, lost for a moment the famous stoic reserve of the Ultramarines and cried out for joy at the sight.

The Lion himself was at the forefront of the relief force, cutting a path through the teeming hordes of flesh-ghola that threatened to overrun the Ultramarines. At the head of 1,000 ebon-armoured Veterans of the Dreadwing, the new master of the Ist Legion made swift work of the foe, a curtain of superheated plasma scouring clean the walls and bunkers of the Ultramarines' fortress. At his heels came the full force of the fleet, 10,000 transhuman warriors of the Dark Angels, and by their blades was the enemy put to rout and then annihilated as they cowered in their boltholes.

When the Ultramarines sallied forth from their fortifications to meet them among the sea of corpses and ash they did so with some trepidation, perhaps expecting some measure of retribution for the last meeting between their Legions at Karkasarn or a demand to cede the world to the Ist Legion in return for their aid. Yet the Lion had no interest in old grudges or the tawdry business of accolades and honours, and with the killing complete he left without fanfare, leaving behind only an empty banner to mark the Dark Angels' debt to the Ultramarines paid. That this was among his first battles was no accident, but a statement of his intent. He was not to play at politics, not to build empires, nor monuments, he was pledged to war and death -- to kill the enemies of the Emperor and nothing else.

And so it was with this doctrine in mind that Lion El'Jonson and his Dark Angels took up their duties in the latter days of the Great Crusade.

Great Crusade

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures."

— Attrib. the Emperor of Mankind, to the Six Hosts at their embarkation upon the expeditionary fleets during the outset of the Great Crusade, ca. 798.M30
Lion El'Jonson Sarosh

Primarch Lion El'Jonson during the Great Crusade.

Twenty Legions of Space Marines were created by the Emperor during the Great Crusade to join and lead His quest to unite all of Humanity under the aegis of the Imperium of Man. The nascent proto-Legion, known as the Primus or Ist Legion (later renamed after a series of cognomens including "The First," the "Angels of Death" and the "Uncrowned Princes" as the Angelis Tenebraium or Dark Angels) was the very first of those original "First Founding" Legions to be created at the beginning of the Great Crusade.

The Ist Legion was raised first to active service in a staged process of testing and trials before the full active force was created through mass recruitment. Each stage of creation resulted in an expansion of the gene-seed implantation on progressively larger groups of neophytes.

During the Unification Wars on Terra, they were the first of the Space Marine Legions to be created and were therefore originally under the command of the Emperor Himself.

Once the Emperor discovered Lion El'Jonson on Caliban, however, the primarch took command of the Dark Angels Legion that had been created from his genetic stock, and he was granted command of the 4th Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade.

Compliance of Molech

One of Lion El'Jonson's earliest campaigns as commander of the newly-dubbed Dark Angels Legion, was the Imperial Compliance of the newly discovered Knight World of Molech. This was a massive joint-Compliance operation between multiple Legiones Astartes, including the Dark Angels, Luna Wolves, Emperor's Children, White Scars and thousands of Imperialis Auxilia soldiers and various Mechanicum and Legio Titanicus assets.

Cyprian Devine of House Devine was named Planetary Governor of Molech. In the presence of several of His primarch sons, the Emperor led them to a Warp Gate hidden underground, where He proceeded to utilise it to enter into the Realm of Chaos to parley with the Ruinous Powers.

When He finally returned, the Emperor appeared aged, but much more powerful. He then psychically suppressed His sons' memories of Molech and stationed a large garrison force comprised of nearly 100 Imperialis Auxilia regiments, three Legio Titanicus cohorts, along with detachments from two Space Marine Legions to protect the secrets of the Warp Gate on Molech.

Second and Third Rangdan Xenocides

Next, the Dark Angels took part in the vital campaigns of the final Rangdan Xenocides. They fought alongside Titans from the Legio Gryphonicus, Legio Vulturum and Legio Kydianos as well as other Xanite Mechanicum forces from the Forge World of Xana II.

The conflict began in 862.M30 when the Rangda, that xenos terror long thought extinguished in the earlier First Rangdan Xenocide, fell upon the northern reaches of the Imperium in numbers that defied belief. For almost a solar decade the veterans of the Ist Legion, now the Dark Angels, fought to hold at bay an enemy that threatened to consume all the worlds of Mankind.

The Lion wrought his own legend in those dark times, a grim figure of death and vengeance that descended upon the Rangda in a cold fury: In the first dire standard years of the conflict, when the Imperium seemed lost in a tide of xenos fiends and their slaves, the Lion stood tall amid the carnage. He was no golden hero like his brother Sanguinius, nor a black-humoured figurehead like Horus Lupercal, but rather a silent rock, unyielding in the storm. He did not inspire loyalty, nor any other virtue. Rather he went forth where the foe was strongest, armoured by his pride and confidence and drew others along with him for the simple honour of standing by his side.

For near a solar decade the battles would rage, some nine Space Marine Legions taking part in the fighting, and ravaging Human colonies across the northern sectors of the Imperium. Of those Legions caught up in the fighting many would suffer serious losses, the Space Wolves marking the loss of some 5,000 Astartes breaking the siege of Xana alone and the Dark Angels, gathered once again in almost their full number, bore a toll of their own.

The Dark Angels hurled themselves at their enemies and broke their greater strength in countless battles against the vile xenos on the edge of the Halo Stars. This campaign culminated in the Third Rangdan Xenocide around 890.M30, which resulted in the loss of the lives of 50,000 Dark Angels Space Marines, spent in preventing the destruction of perhaps the entire northern Imperium by the alien menace from the outer darkness.

At the breaking of the great citadel of Vorksag, during the vast clash of void ships over Morcar and the seven-solar-week-long Battle of Morro, where three companies of the Dark Angels held against more than a million Rangdan neuro-shackled servitors, victory was bought at the cost of their lives, and with the blood of the old Legion, for when victory was at last proclaimed and the Rangdan menace vanquished for the final time, the Dark Angels were but a tenth of their old number.

Some say the old Legion fought to prove themselves worthy of their new master, others that they bled to make right their failure to destroy the Rangda when first they met at the Battle of Advex-mors, and a few whispered that the Lion sent them into slaughter so he might replace them with more tractable, Calibanite warriors.

Whether true or not, it was to Caliban that the Lion turned to replenish the ranks of his Legion. With the Rangdan plague driven back, the first new influx of true Calibanite Space Marines entered the ranks of the Legion, where once they had been but the few older companions of the primarch, now they were dispersed across all the wings and orders of the Legion.

They were a new breed of warrior for the Ist Legion, guided more by tradition and ritual than their forebears and unburdened by the weight of pride that had been the lodestone of the Terran veterans. In the wake of the Second Rangdan Xenocide, it was this changed Legion that went forth to continue its works and to bring war to the most fell of foes.

From Caliban they spread out across the stars, for unlike many of their brethren they took few strongholds, save for the lonely chantry-holds that held the knowledge of the Legion. Each of their expeditionary fleets was bound to a different corner of the Imperium, to patrol the dark places where monsters were still to be found. The Lion took command of one such fleet, no larger or more grand than any other for he expected each to be an engine of death capable of defeating any foe, and set course for the world known to Imperial cartographers as Sarosh.

Due to the extensive losses suffered by the Ist Legion during the Rangdan Xenocides, by 899.M30, the Ultramarines Legion were on the cusp of becoming the largest Space Marine Legion, standing at around 166,000 Legionaries.

Feud of Dulan

Brother Titus of the Dark Angels Legion

Brother Titus, honoured Dreadnought of the Dark Angels Legion during the campaign on Dulan.

As the Space Marine Legions pushed back the frontiers of the Imperium, each primarch strove to excel in the eyes of the Emperor and none more so than Leman Russ, primarch of the Space Wolves. Only Horus Lupercal and Lion El'Jonson could claim more victories than Russ and this was a constant frustration for him.

It was on the world of Dulan in 870.M30 where the Space Wolves were fighting alongside the Dark Angels that matters came to a head. This incident would start the millennia-long rivalry between the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves. The planetary governor of Dulan, Durath, had denounced the Space Wolf Primarch Leman Russ as "the Emperor's lap-dog" and swore to feed his heart to his pet Grox. Russ, enraged, swore to kill Durath himself and demanded the satisfaction of leading the assault. Jonson, however, had meticulously planned the attack and was not about to let his brother's hot-headedness foil his plans.

Jonson led the assault, leaving Russ to watch helplessly as the Lion killed Durath. After the battle, Russ stormed into the fortress and struck Jonson across the room. A brawl ensued that lasted a full solar day and night, the two combatants being said to be equally matched: while Russ was slightly stronger, the Lion was slightly quicker.

Russ eventually ceased and started laughing, realising how foolish their fight was and how he had allowed his pride and temper to get the better of him. Jonson, however, still angry at what he considered the treachery of Russ' first punch, knocked the laughing Space Wolf out cold with one final blow.

By the time Russ regained consciousness, the Dark Angels had departed for new fields of battle in the Great Crusade. It has since been customary for selected champions from both Chapters to engage in a non-lethal duel whenever they meet so that honour may be satisfied.

The Battle of Dulan and the infamous feud between the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves is a tale told many times. In essence it is always recounted as a simple tale, yet one that has seen a number of tellings each of which has had its own agenda, and rarely has that agenda been the simple truth. The details of the battle are well known as noted in the most common retelling above.

Leman Russ and Lion El'Jonson were both assigned to the conquest of the world of Dulan and, while the Space Wolves waited and lay siege, the Dark Angels staged a sudden assault that allowed them to claim the honour of the final victory. On hearing of this it is most often claimed as above that Leman Russ flew into a rage and assaulted his brother, leading to the legendary duel between them that their Legions' Successor Chapters are rumoured to reenact whenever they meet. This has led to the popular assumption of a bitter grudge between the Space Wolves and the Dark Angels, a sense of lasting ill will brought about by this single isolated incident that has been accepted by history as fact.

Yet, those two Legions and their later Successor Chapter fought together on a number of occasions, both before and after the Battle of Dulan, without rancour and in many cases with a noted sense of shared camaraderie. Indeed, it has often been noted that the two primarchs, Lion El'Jonson and Leman Russ, were of much the same character, though they oft expressed it differently. Both were practical to their core, with little time for frivolity or the excesses of civilisation. Both valued plain speaking over political necessity and judged men and women by the actions they took rather than the words they spoke. But above all, the two primarchs placed the utmost value on loyalty, holding their oaths as iron bonds and reserving the deepest hate for those who would forsake a vow.

This being true, it throws the events on Dulan, and the grudge they are supposed to have given birth to, into a strange light. That the two fought is not in doubt, for too many sources agree on it; that either came to hold a grudge is implausible. If anything, the record of the two primarchs suggests a deep bond of trust and mutual respect.

Together they had seen the end of the Rangdan empire, had conquered a thousand worlds and vanquished some of the most terrible foes to stand against the Imperium. Dulan would seem to have represented one of many tests; a test that allowed the two to take a measure of each other and a test oft repeated when they or their warriors met -- but one repeated without the rancour often attributed to it. There exists no greater symbol of the loyalty held between the two Legions, the Wolves of Fenris and the Knights of Caliban, than in the final days of the rebellion against the Emperor, when Horus himself trembled as the two Legions re-united as brothers-in-arms, ready to test themselves against the forces that lay siege to Terra.

Subjugation of Sarosh

The Descent of Angels

The Dark Angels descend upon the world of Sarosh to cleanse it.

The Dark Angels' 4th Expeditionary Fleet under the command of Lion El'Jonson took part in the continued Compliance of Sarosh (officially codified as Sigma Five-One Seven but known to the Dark Angels as Four-Three, the third world brought to Compliance by the 4th Expeditionary Fleet), which had formerly been commanded by an officer of the White Scars Legion.

Lion El'Jonson went in answer to a call for aid from his brother, Jaghatai Khan. Of all the primarchs, the Khan stood closest to the Lion, for despite their differences each appreciated the honest and forthright nature of the other, and so the Lion was ill-disposed to ignore his call.

The Sarosi -- ruled by a planetary bureaucracy -- had recently expressed their interest in becoming part of the Imperium, and the Imperials were eager to allow them in, believing that these people seemed to possess the same secular beliefs as they did in the Imperial Truth. But over a standard year had passed and the Sarosi were as yet no closer to attaining Compliance, constantly apologising to the Imperial planetary governor chosen for their world, Harlad Furst, that their bureaucracy was slowing the process.

Sar Luther Master of Caliban

Luther, after being sent back to Caliban.

But the Sarosi (without mentioning it to the Imperial expedition) secretly worshipped Chaos entities in the Warp they called the "Melachim", and saw the anti-religious stance of the Pre-Heresy Imperium's Imperial Truth as unsuppressed evil.

After the Dark Angels fleet arrived in orbit to accelerate the Compliance process, the Lord High Exacter, the leader of the Sarosi bureaucracy, who had been invited aboard the Invincible Reason to meet the primarch, denounced El'Jonson and the Emperor to the primarch's face aboard the Dark Angels' flagship, and El'Jonson responded by ramming his power sword through the fanatical Sarosi leader's body.

But the Sarosi delegation had also brought a hidden nucleonic device aboard their shuttle, intending to assassinate the fleet's entire command structure, including El'Jonson, in one fell swoop; however, Luther and a junior Librarian named Zahariel El'Zurias managed to eject the shuttle into space, causing only minor damage to the flagship. Luther admitted to Zahariel that he had discovered the device earlier and had briefly considered allowing it to kill his oldest friend, largely because of the jealousy that had begun to grow in his soul.

The rebels on Sarosh would be crushed for their treachery, brought to heel swiftly by the might of the Dark Angels and the Imperium's armies, but the victory would leave a bitter taste for many. In the aftermath of the fighting, some questioned the ease with which the Sarosi had infiltrated the Ist Legion's defences, and though none would call what had occurred treachery, there were those whose devotion to the Legion's new path was questioned.

Luther, Zahariel and five hundred other Dark Angels drawn from among the veterans of both Terra and Caliban were to find themselves returned to Caliban, not in exile, but neither in triumph.

There they were to serve as a garrison force, the overseers of the Lion's sanctuary and to continue the recruitment of new Space Marines into the Legion from the Calibanite population. They were required to leave the Great Crusade behind, regardless of their legacy of standard years in service in either the Calibanite forest or among the stars.

This was the determination of the Lion, that he would set aside even those whom he held dearest in the name of duty. Some would name it arrogance and others, with the benefit of hindsight, would call it foolhardy, but it was ever the way of the Lion. It was not the cold logic of battle favoured by some among the primarchs, but the proud imperative of duty and excellence -- that those who faltered be set aside, no matter how justified or small the failing, and the worthy grow stronger through the trials they faced.

Final Days of the Crusade

By this creed of strength and excellence the Ist Legion, the Dark Angels, lived and died, continuing the work of the Emperor in the last days of the Great Crusade. Wherever the tide of Imperial conquest slowed they were to be found, bright swords and grim resolve against the worst horrors of the galaxy. Lion El'Jonson, now long parted from the forests of Caliban and a staunch believer in the dream of Human empire embodied in his gene-father, fought with every moment given to him.

He spent no time on parades, fortress-building or in petty squabbles with his kin, but went stoically from battle to battle. He and his Legion began to shun the gatherings of the Great Crusade and the fellowship of their brothers among the Legiones Astartes, scorning those who would fret over such frivolities while there remained enemies of power and strength to test their mettle against. As the years and wars wore on, a distance grew between the Dark Angels and the other Legions of the Imperium; few of the primarchs cared to take the time to seek out their reclusive brother as he and his Legion continued to whet their blades to a keen edge.

They began to forget the deeds he and his warriors had performed, for he rarely spoke of them. All except one.

Horus Lupercal, ever watchful, paid much heed to his brother and the actions of his Legion. Once he had tried to bind the Ist Legion to him, only to find the cipher of their ways a shield against his influence and their pride a foil to his manipulation. His and Lorgar's warrior lodges would find no purchase within the ranks of the Dark Angels, as they were shunned by the preceptors of the Orders Militant and the proctors of the wings of the Hexagrammaton as worthless and beneath them. The Dark Angels were not and never could be Horus' to command.

The Dark Angels' master was as his Legion, a rock in which Horus Lupercal could find no crack or chink in which to fix his barbs, no psychological leash by which he could lead him along paths of his own choosing. The Lion was not well-liked among the brotherhood of the primarchs, but he had the respect of each and every one of his brothers, and more than that he had the trust of his father, the Emperor, and the keys to the hidden and ancient arsenals of Terra.

Were the Emperor to choose a single one among his primarchs to lead, to stand at the head of the Great Crusade, then Lion El'Jonson was a choice easily understood, and this troubled the master of the Luna Wolves. So, when the conquest of Ullanor Prime loomed before Horus in 000.M30, he was sure to see the Lion and the Ist Legion diverted to far battlefields and tendered him no invitation to the great Triumph of Ullanor that followed.

So it was that when Horus was crowned as the Warmaster of the Imperium the Lion was not present, a victory to the covetous mind of the new Warmaster. Yet this was one of the few miscalculations made by the shrewd intellect of the Warmaster. He counted all men of power to think as he did, yet while the Lion and the Wolf of Luna shared many traits, they were not the same.

When news of Horus' new rank reached Lion El'Jonson he did not pause in his campaigns, nor did he offer congratulations or lament his own fortune and this, more than the reaction of any of his other brother primarchs, gave the Warmaster pause. When Horus' thoughts later turned to rebellion and treachery after his fall to Chaos in the Temple of the Serpent Lodge on Davin, it is likely that it was the Lion he marked as among the greatest of threats to his plans.

The Dark Angels were both numerous and skilled in all the arts of war, with access to the armouries of Terra and psyarkana forbidden to all others, and their primarch was as inflexible as iron, loyal beyond doubt to the Emperor and resolute enough to rise up against any threat to his father's grand dream of Human unity.

As with all of the primarchs, the Warmaster did not feel fear as did lesser mortals, but the thought of facing Lion El'Jonson in open battle gave him pause, and if he would not be turned to the Traitors' cause, then he must be removed.

There were three Space Marine Legions Horus sought to remove from the path of his heresy before it began. The White Scars he hoped to preserve for his own use, the Blood Angels he hoped to destroy or corrupt -- but the Dark Angels he hoped to banish, to send far enough away that by the time they could return, his grim business would be complete.

This was not to be, for the Lion would return to the Imperium as the sun returns to the horizon each morning, blinding and implacable, and he would reach for the heart of his fallen brother. Horus had loosed a beast the equal of any that lurked in the world-straddling forests of Caliban or the silent dark between the stars, one that would tear apart the Imperium if only to grasp a victory of ashes and blood.

Horus Heresy

Unyielding, technologically capable, ruthless and insular, the Dark Angels at the time of the Horus Heresy would once again be a powerful and highly independent Legion, used to operating on their own to conduct large-scale campaigns and Compliance actions.

Because of this, the fear of the Ist Legion's intervention led the machinations of the Warmaster Horus to ensure that when his treacherous plans came to fruition, the Dark Angels had been despatched to the outer edges of the Imperium where they would be unable to interfere, at least for a time.

As the Horus Heresy progressed however, the power of this Legion would make itself known, savaging the Night Lords at Thramas and going on to unleash destruction on an unprecedented scale during the later years of the Heresy when they crushed Traitor world after Traitor world across the southern galactic zone.

Suppression of the Gordian League

During the 200th year of the Great Crusade, 998.M30, the Dark Angels Legion was carrying out an Imperial Compliance campaign against the Shield Worlds of the so-called Gordian League -- a confederation of Human worlds who were allied with degenerate xenos.

During the seven-Terran-year-long campaign, in 005.M31, the Dark Angels' high command received word that the Warmaster Horus and his XVIth Legion had renounced their oaths of allegiance to the Emperor, along with the Primarch Angron's World Eaters, Mortarion's Death Guard and Fulgrim's Emperor's Children. They also received word of the atrocity committed against the doomed world of Isstvan III, when Horus ordered it to be virus-bombed to eliminate the remaining Loyalist Astartes from those four Traitor Legions still active upon it, rendering it a lifeless Dead World.

The Warmaster knew that the Emperor would respond with all the force He had available. Jonson believed that the Dark Angels' deployment to the Shield Worlds on Horus' orders was part of an effort to scatter the Imperium's most loyal servants as far as possible in order to minimise the number of Legions Horus would have to face at any given time.

Even so, the strike force of seven full Space Marine Legions ordered to the Isstvan System in response to the Warmaster's treachery posed a dire threat to Horus' survival, as they made their way towards his forward operating base on the world of Isstvan V.

Battle of Diamat

El'Jonson's forces were too deeply enmeshed in the Shield Worlds of the Gordian League to respond quickly to Horus' betrayal; the best estimates of the primarch's staff indicated that it would take them nearly eight solar months to conclude their offensive operations, even on an emergency basis, and reposition themselves for a strike against Isstvan V.

Even if they could move more quickly, Horus' agents would be able to alert the Warmaster in time to organise a counter-strike. However, Jonson believed that a small, hand-picked force might accomplish what an entire Legion could not.

The primarch issued orders for many of the Dark Angels' reserve squadrons to resupply and prepare for immediate deployment to the Tanagra System. Their primary target was to secure the Forge World of Diamat.

They could not afford to let the Warmaster acquire the substantial supplies and ordnance needed to fortify the world of Isstvan V against the approaching Loyalist strike force.

El'Jonson would personally lead the expedition to Diamat, with a battle group of fifteen warships. Secrecy was vital, as the primarch was aware that the Warmaster's agents were more than likely tracking the Dark Angels' movements. El'Jonson went to Diamat in order to secure several powerful continental siege machines known as Ordinatii; vast artillery pieces that could devastate the most powerful fortifications.

The small fleet of Dark Angels vessels arrived in the Tanagra System just five solar days after the destruction of Horus' landing force at the Xanthus star port. With no way to secure the siege machines held in storage in Diamat's depots from El'Jonson's Astartes, the admiral of the raiding fleet had little choice but to withdraw back to the Isstvan System. The Warmaster's final gambit had failed.

Following this small victory at the Battle of Diamat, El'Jonson met with his fellow brother primarch, Perturabo of the Iron Warriors Legion, aboard his flagship Invincible Reason. Perturabo informed Jonson that the IVth Legion was en route to the Isstvan System, to face the Warmaster and his Traitor Legions upon the black sands of Isstvan V.

Ferrus Manus and the Iron Hands Legion had hastened ahead of them, hungry to claim the Emperor's vengeance against Horus. Perturabo lied to El'Jonson, explaining that he had hoped that his Legion could provision his vessels at the Xanthus star port above Diamat before continuing to the combat zone. Of course, they were now unable to, as the Ist Legion had destroyed the orbital port.

Perturabo inquired of El'Jonson how he had learned of the existence of the Ordinatii siege engines. Jonson explained that he had discovered them fifty Terran years earlier when he was studying the history of the Great Crusade and saw a reference to them in a despatch from Horus that had been sent to the Emperor.

Horus had commissioned the colossal siege machines from the masters of Diamat during the long siege of the xenos fortress-states on Tethonus. The war machines took much longer for the forge masters to complete than planned. By the time they were finished, the campaign on Tethonus had been over for a standard year and a half, and Horus had moved on to other conquests.

So the weapons were put into a depot on Diamat against the day when the Warmaster would come to claim them. But then the Isstvan III Atrocity occurred. When Jonson had received word of Horus' perfidy, he knew that ultimately the Warmaster's path would lead to Terra.

Even if he were somehow to prevail against Perturabo and the other Legions sent to confront him in the Isstvan System, the Warmaster couldn't claim total victory so long as the Emperor was safe in His palace. For Horus to triumph, the Emperor had to die. And that meant a long and costly siege of Terra. Therefore, the Warmaster would come to claim the siege engines of Diamat.

El'Jonson informed his brother that he would be unable to accompany the Loyalist fleet to Diamat, as he had to make all haste to the Shield Worlds of the Gordian League and prepare the rest of the Ist Legion for the trip to Terra. In fact, he thought it best if no one outside Perturabo, himself and the other primarchs ever knew that the Lion was there. He didn't want the Emperor to believe he did anything at Diamat with an ulterior motive in mind.

Perturabo agreed that it was both a prudent choice, and a very humble one. El'Jonson explained that his actions were done for the good of the Imperium, not for accolades, nor for power.

But El'Jonson confessed to his brother a certain jealousy. He believed Horus had become the Emperor's favourite son for no other reason than fate. Had he been the first of the primarchs to be found, El'Jonson believed he would have been the Warmaster instead.

The Lion also believed that Horus would inevitably be defeated and that the Emperor would need to choose a new Warmaster very quickly if the Great Crusade was to continue. He asked for Perturabo's support.

The two primarchs ultimately reached an understanding -- El'Jonson granted permission for the Iron Warriors to take possession of the siege engines at their convenience -- on one condition. El'Jonson made his brother promise that the Ordinatii would be put to good use.

Perturabo assured his brother that they would be, never letting on that he had already sworn himself to Horus' rebellion and would participate only solar months later at the Drop Site Massacre on Isstvan V where three Loyalist Legions were almost completely destroyed.

Thramas Crusade

Following the victory of the Drop Site Massacre, Horus called a meeting of the primarchs of 8 of the Traitor Legions (minus the participation of the Alpha Legion's Primarch Alpharius) aboard his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit.

Five of the primarchs, including four who had fought at Isstvan V, met in person, including Horus, Fulgrim, Angron, Mortarion and Lorgar. Three appeared through the use of hololithic emitters that transmitted their signals through the Warp, including Perturabo, Konrad Curze and Magnus the Red, who had only recently joined the Traitors after the Scouring of Prospero when the broken remains of his XVth Legion had been transported by Tzeentch into the Eye of Terror to the Planet of the Sorcerers.

The Thousand Sons, bitter at what they perceived as their betrayal by the Emperor, now willingly became the ninth Traitor Legion. The council of Traitor primarchs made their plans for the next step in their war against the Emperor and then each Legion went its way according to its assigned role.

In 007.M31, Konrad Curze's fleet departed, bound for the planet of Tsagualsa, a remote world in the Eastern Fringe that lay shrouded in the shadow of a great asteroid belt. From there, the Night Lords Legion's terror troops would begin a campaign of genocide against the Imperial strongholds of Heroldar and Thramas, star systems that, if not taken, would leave the flanks of the Warmaster's strike on Terra vulnerable to attack.

This campaign would also delay the Dark Angels Legion from reinforcing the Loyalists. The Thramas System was of particular importance, as it comprised a number of Mechanicum Forge Worlds whose loyalty was still to the Emperor.

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. 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 Curze strangled the life out of El'Jonson, one of the Dark Angels honour guardsmen 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.

Battle of Perditus

In 008.M31, the Dark Angels received intelligence from an astropathic message from the nearby Perditus System about Traitor movements. They immediately moved to intercept. Upon arrival, they interrupted the month-long conflict between the Iron Hands 98th Clan-Company, led by Casalir Lorramech and a large Death Guard contingent, led by First Captain Calas Typhon.

Both sides had been fighting over an ancient sentient device, known as the Tuchulcha Engine. This device was part of a triumvirate of similar sentient devices (another being the Ouroboros and a third, unnamed engine) which when combined could create temporal rifts that bridge space and time.

On its own, the Tuchulcha was capable of precise and extremely efficient Warp jumps. Faced with the prospect of fighting the entirety of the much larger Ist Legion fleet, both sides retreated from the planet's surface at the Lion's request.

Wary of both sides' motives, especially those of the Death Guard's First Captain Calas Typhon, the Lion prevented the device from falling into the Death Guard's hands. Jonson proceeded to serve his own ambitions and requisitioned the device for his own use.

The Lion ordered the destruction of Perditus, much to the consternation of both commanders. He used the Tuchulcha Engine to make a Warp jump, but during their sojourn through the Immaterium, the Dark Angels were beset by daemons.

The Lion reinstituted his Legion's Librarian corps to fight these nefarious Warp-spawned creatures. As this was in direct violation of the Emperor's Decree Absolute at the Council of Nikaea, this caused a dispute within the Legion that eventually came to a head when the enraged Lion slew Chaplain Nemiel.

During the height of the Battle of Perditus, the Lion encountered the Greater Daemon of Tzeentch known as Kairos Fateweaver, who attempted to convert the primarch to the cause of the Ruinous Powers, but failed miserably, as he had nothing to sway the Lion to their cause.

The Lion told the foul creature that absolute loyalty to the Emperor was reward enough, and impaled the Lord of Change through its black heart. At the same time, he mockingly asked the daemon if he had "foreseen" his defeat.

Hunting the Night Haunter

Utlising the Tuchulcha Engine a second time, the Dark Angels were able to execute a meticulously planned ambush on the Night Lords' fleet while it was in transit across the Tsagualsa 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 of 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.

Later, after a period of recovery, Cruze, his First Captain Sevatar and the elite Night Lords Atramentar Terminators led a desperate boarding assault action upon the Dark Angels' flagship Invincible Reason. 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 solar months, stalking the shadows within the bowels of their flagship, and continued to wreak terror and chaos amongst the mortal crew.

The Night Lords primarch also killed every hunter-killer team sent by the Lion to hunt him down. After losing several squads of Dark Angels, the Lion himself took up the hunt for Curze, stalking him throughout the Invincible Reason for the next sixteen solar weeks.

However, he could never find his elusive brother primarch. At some point, the remaining Night Lords captives somehow managed to affect their escape and fled into the void.

Imperium Secundus

With the torrential Ruinstorm raging, blocking out the light of the Astronomican and causing Warp travel to be all but impossible, the Imperium was effectively cut in half during much of the Horus Heresy following the Battle of Calth. The Dark Angels came to the realisation that they were unable to return to Terra to assist in its defence, even with the use of the Tuchulcha Engine.

Miraculously, they managed to lock onto the beacon of the strange alien device known as the Pharos, on the world of Sotha, which guided the Ist Legion fleet safely through the Warp and to the Realm of Ultramar's capital world of Macragge.

There, they were greeted by Roboute Guilliman and Sanguinius, whose Blood Angels Legion was also guided to the Realm of Ultramar by the Pharos.

The three primarchs were instrumental in the foundation of the "Imperium Secundus" as a means of continuing the fight against the Traitors and securing the Emperor's great work. Guilliman proclaimed Sanguinius as the rightful heir to the Emperor and declared him the new ruler of Imperium Secundus.

Lion El'Jonson was made the Lord Protector of this new empire of Humanity and supreme commander over all its military forces, a title that was similar to that of Warmaster. Unfortunately, the foundation of Imperium Secundus was marred when Curze escaped from the Invincible Reason and rampaged across Macragge, intent on spreading as much terror and chaos as he could.

Eventually, both Guilliman and the Lion confronted the cornered Curze. Their attempts to kill him were unsuccessful as the Night Lords primarch had laid a cunning trap. He brought down an entire chapel upon the two primarchs through the use of planted explosives and fled the scene.

Guilliman and the Lion were only saved through the direct intervention of the Loyalist Iron Warriors Warsmith Barabas Dantioch, who was communicating with Guilliman at the time of the attack through a portal that was opened by the Pharos. On instinct, the Warsmith reached through the portal and pulled the two primarchs to safety on Sotha.

Battle of Zepath

Feeling directly responsible for the Night Haunter's rampage on Macragge, the Lion continued to obsessively hunt his wayward former brother for the next two Terran years. In 011.M31, El'Jonson eventually was able to trace a slim lead on Curze's whereabouts to the Zepath System, which had since fallen to the Word Bearers and World Eaters forces during their Shadow Crusade.

Farith Redloss, the Lieutenant-elect of the Dark Angels' Dreadwing, was charged with leading the hunt for Konrad Curze upon the world of Zepath. The Dark Angels quickly uncovered the horrors perpetrated by the Word Bearers for their dark rituals on that planet.

Eventually, the Dark Angels took part in multiple engagements against the forces of both Traitor Legions, which culminated in the capital city of Numentis. The Traitor forces were utterly annihilated by the victorious Dark Angels and the world was left in the care of its surviving population.

Meanwhile, another detachment of Dark Angels under Captain Ormand reinforced the Space Wolves against the Alpha Legion at the Alaxxes Nebula while another under Corswain was tasked by the Lion with hunting down Calas Typhon following the Battle of Perditus.

Exile of the Lion

Angels of caliban by raffetin

As the city of Alma Mons burns around them, Lion El'Jonson confronts Konrad Curze in an epic duel.

While continuing his obsessive hunt for the elusive Night Haunter, the Lion and Guilliman continuously clashed over policy, especially in regards to the security of Imperium Secundus. They were particularly vexed with how best to deal with the emergence of rebels on Macragge that the Lion was certain Curze had instigated.

Following a suicide bombing of an Astartes convoy, the Lion used the Ist Legion to establish martial law on Macragge. Certain that Curze was hiding within the rebellious Illyrium region, the Lion advocated the use of a massive orbital saturation bombardment of the region to ensure Curze's death.

Facing resistance from both Emperor Sanguinius and Guilliman, the Lion instead, opted to deploy his Legion's Dreadwing in order to flush out Curze and the rebels.

During an attack on the city of Alma Mons, the Lion finally cornered the elusive Night Lords primarch and the two came to blows. After a brutal confrontation, the Lion eventually emerged victorious, and questioned his brother why he had turned away from the Emperor, to which Curze simply replied: "Why not?"

Curze went on to explain that there was a monster in his head that he could not stop. Though he finally had Curze at his mercy, the Lion couldn't bring himself to kill his brother, and instead pummeled him again.

He then ripped off Curze's backpack from his battle-plate, lifted him over his head, and brutally brought the Night Haunter down across his knee, breaking Curze's spine and paralysing him. The Lion brought the grievously wounded Konrad Curze before Sanguinius and Guilliman to stand trial.

A Triumvirate was later held where Curze defended his actions, but refused to admit his guilt. Since each of the primarchs had been created to perform a specific function, Curze argued he was merely acting according to his own nature, and therefore had committed no crimes.

The Night Lords primarch further divided Guilliman and the Lion by accusing the latter of secretly ordering orbital bombardment in direct violation of Guilliman's orders to prevent civilian casualties. Enraged, the Lion sought to kill Curze, but was halted by the words of Sanguinius as Guilliman snatched El'Jonson's Lion Sword and broke the blade across his armoured thigh in his fury.

El'Jonson was furious, but Sanguinius dismissed the Lord Protector, ending the Triumvirate. The Lion was then banished from Imperium Secundus. Taking his leave, the Dark Angels withdrew from Macragge only hours later.

Standing in the chamber of the Tuchulcha Engine aboard the Invincible Reason, the Lion brooded over recent events. He questioned his actions over the course of the last few decades -- the banishment of Luther, the death of Nemiel as well as other decisions he had come to regret.

As the Dark Angels made their final preparations to depart back to Caliban, the Lion went back to the Tuchulcha Engine's chamber. He ordered the device to teleport himself and Holguin, "Deathbringer", the voted-lieutenant of the Deathwing, back to Macragge.

As Sanguinius prepared to execute Curze for his crimes, both the Lion and his lieutenant teleported directly into the chamber and told Sanguinius to stop. As troops entered the room, demanding the Lion surrender, El'Jonson explained his reasons for the intrusion.

He reasoned that Curze had the ability to see precognitive visions of potential futures, and repeated the Night Haunter's claim that his death would one day come at the hands of an assassin sent by the Emperor. If this was true, the Lion reasoned, then it was proof that the Emperor was still alive beyond the barrier of the Ruinstorm.

Sanguinius knew the Lion's explanation rang true, as he recognised that his own precognitive visions of his inevitable death would also eventually come to pass. When Guilliman demanded to know what would become of Curze, the Lion knelt before his two brothers and promised that he would be Curze's gaoler.

Curze remained captive aboard the Invincible Reason and occasionally the Lion would visit to speak with him in an attempt to gather information from his prophetic visions, but the Night Haunter rarely proved cooperative.

Second Battle of Davin

Redemption-Lion El'Jonson

Lion El'Jonson and a loyal Calibanite Dark Angels battle-brother

In the wake of these revelations, Imperium Secundus was abolished by the three primarchs as an unfortunate mistake. The three primarchs led their Legions in an attempt to breach the Ruinstorm and reach Terra to defend the Emperor now that they knew He still lived.

Once in the Ruinstorm, the combined Loyalist fleet came across a variety of Warp-borne horrors and word of an entity spreading destruction known as the "Pilgrim". Not even the Tuchulcha Engine proved capable of navigating the Ruinstorm, which frustrated the Lion. During the Battle of Pyrrhan, El'Jonson commanded Dark Angels Astartes as Sanguinius received a vision and realised that he needed to go where the Horus Heresy had truly begun, the world of Davin.

Through an arduous journey, they eventually reached Davin, the nexus of the continuing Ruinstorm in realspace, and engaged a vast Daemonic host on and above the world in what would be remembered as the Second Battle of Davin.

Reluctantly, Roboute Guilliman and the Lion agreed to trust in Sanguinius but both had thought to simply destroy the hated world upon arriving from orbit. After the fleet emerged over Davin, Sanguinius shocked El'Jonson by boarding the Invincible Reason and taking the still-captive Konrad Curze with him.

Sanguinius hoped to use Curze's prophetic abilities to determine what he was meant to do upon Davin that could helpt to save the Emperor. Sanguinius commanded a mass ground assault on the world, and the enraged Lion nearly ordered that Davin be subjected to an Exterminatus action regardless of Sanguinius' presence upon it. At the last moment El'Jonson relented, and was immediately horrified by what he had nearly done. He realised that some external power was attempting to force the primarchs down the path to damnation, and he followed Sanguinius down to the surface of Davin.

On that dusty world, Sanguinius was trapped within a portal to the Warp and did battle with the Daemon Madail while Guilliman and the Lion desperately tried to reach him. A vicious battle erupted both on Davin and above it in the void, where Guilliman's acting flagship Samothrace was destroyed in orbit by the Daemonship Veritas Ferrum.

During the ground battle at Davin's infamous Temple of the Serpent Lodge, where Horus had first been corrupted by Chaos, Guilliman and El'Jonson managed to finally fight as partners and brothers. Together they brought down a massive Soul Grinder Daemon Engine.

Eventually, Sanguinius was able to escape and the Space Marine forces evacuated the world to orbit. Davin was destroyed by Cyclonic Torpedoes, and with its anchor in realspace gone, the Daemonic fleet vanished back into the Empyrean and where Davin had once been, a breach in the Ruinstorm was now visible. The path though led directly to Terra, but upon further study it became apparent that Horus had foreseen that this route to Terra might open for the Loyalists and had blocked it with a gauntlet of multiple Traitor fleets. Guilliman and the Lion agreed to distract the blockade while Sanguinius and the Blood Angels fleet made directly for Terra, for that was their destiny.

Sanguinius and the Blood Angels fleet then raced directly for Terra through the opening, as was their destiny in Sanguinius' precognitive visions, while Guilliman and Lion El'Jonson led the Ultramarines and Dark Angels Legions in diversionary attacks against the Traitor fleets that allowed the Blood Angels to slip through the cordon.

By the time the Siege of Terra began, the Lion hoped to draw Traitor forces away from the Throneworld by striking at their own Legion homeworlds. As a result, the Dark Angels destroyed several Traitor homeworlds such as Chemos of the Emperor's Children and Barbarus of the Death Guard, acts that the Lion would come to relish.

Passage of the Angels and the Crusade of Vengeance

At some point before or during the Siege of Terra, the Astronomican went dark for the Dark Angels fleet. Fearing that Terra had fallen to Horus, El'Jonson became nihilistic and instead of moving towards Terra pledged himself to vengeance through the destruction of as much of the Traitors' territory as he could. Using the rationalization of attacking the traitor homeworlds in hopes of drawing reinforcements away from Terra to his troops, El'Jonson oversaw the destruction of Chemos and Barbarus in a spiteful purge dubbed the "Passage of the Angels." Without the Astronomican, the Dark Angels continued to rely on the Tuchulcha Engine for guidance through the Warp.

The Lion eventually ordered the Dark Angels fleet to head to Deliverance, the homeworld of the Raven Guard Legion where Corvus Corax and Leman Russ of the Space Wolves Legion were currently mustering their forces. The Lion was quick to question Corax's absence from the major fronts of the war, but his wrath was quickly extinguished by Russ, who pointed out that the Space Wolves' own survival was still an asset of great worth even if Terra remained beyond their reach.

Russ declared he would join El'Jonson's so-called "Crusade of Vengeance," including with Space Wolves warriors equipped with the new suits of Mark VI Corvus Power Armour produced on Kiavahr. Yet Corax was cautious to commit his badly mauled Legion to what he saw as a needlessly spiteful waste of resources for a purely emotional gain, and only assigned a small expeditionary force of the Raven Guard to accompany the Space Wolves and the Dark Angels.

Eventually, the Dark Angels made course for Terra on the Lion's command, but arrived too late to influence the outcome of the Siege of Terra or prevent the Emperor from being mortally wounded by Horus and interred on the Golden Throne.

Return to Caliban

Luther Coverart Leszek Woźniak

Luther, the Great Betrayer and leader of the Fallen Angels.

El'Jonson, wracked with grief over the inability of his Dark Angels to reach Terra in time to prevent the fall of the Emperor during the Siege of Terra at the end of the Horus Heresy, returned to Caliban soon after the end of the siege for the first time in many standard years to reinforce his Dark Angels and recover from the shock of the Heresy. Caliban had long been cut off from the main body of the Legion due to the effects of the Ruinstorm and the other tempests that had roiled the Immaterium during the worst days of the Horus Heresy.

When the Dark Angels' voidships arrived in Calibanite orbit, they were fired upon by a savage salvo of defensive fire from the surface. The fleet pulled back and the Lion tried to find out what was happening. He learned from a passing merchant ship that Luther had poisoned the minds of the Space Marine garrison on the world and taken control. It could only be seen by El'Jonson as the taint of Chaos once more woking its corruption, now upon the soul of his oldest friend and former mentor. The Lion's fury was let loose and the planet suffered. He ordered a systematic orbital bombardment of the planet, to rid the world of Chaos for all time.

The planet burned and its defences were whittled down to nothing. Jonson led his forces personally against the defenders who had taken refuge in The Order's fortress-monastery. The Lion found Luther and saw him to be completely corrupted by Chaos, and almost nothing of his old friend had survived.

Luther, now a Chaos Champion, had been elevated to a strength equal to that of the primarch through the "gifts" of the Chaos Gods and the two met in a combat the likes of which would not be seen again. They levelled the monastery around them but the planet was also taking a heavy toll. The sustained bombardment began to crack the surface of the planet's crust, the Dark Angels in orbit unable to see the damage they were wreaking upon their homeworld.

Final Battle

Destruction of Caliban

Caliban is destroyed in a great conflagration during the final battle between El'Jonson and the Arch-traitor Luther.

The battle between Luther and the Lion was titanic, but ended with a psychic attack which appeared to mortally wound El'Jonson. Luther then realised what he had done in his jealousy and anger, as if a veil of deceit had suddenly been lifted from in front of his eyes. He fell to the floor, unwilling to fight any more, but it was too late for El'Jonson.

The enraged Ruinous Powers of Chaos realised they had lost control of yet another of their pawns, and sent a massive Warp storm to wrack the surface of the planet. It then broke apart under the strain, destroyed all but for the monastery of The Order which had been protected by potent defensive force fields.

The rest of the Dark Angels who had been converted by Luther to the worship of Chaos were sucked into the Warp and scattered across the galaxy. From that time forward they were named the "Fallen Angels" or simply "the Fallen." The Fallen Angels were scattered throughout space and time, and Caliban tore itself apart under the strain of the Ruinous Powers' assault.

When the Dark Angels descended to what remained of Caliban, now little more than an asteroid upon which stood The Order's fortress-monastery, they searched the ruins and found Luther mumbling that El'Jonson had been taken by the Watchers in the Dark and would return one day and forgive Luther for his sins. The Dark Angels could not find any trace of their primarch.

The rest of the Dark Angels who had been converted by Luther to the worship of Chaos were sucked into the Warp and scattered across the galaxy. From that time forward they were named the "Fallen Angels" or simply "the Fallen."

Post Heresy

Fate of the Lion

During his duel with Luther on Caliban, Lion El'Jonson suffered a severe psychic blow which left him mortally wounded. He was then briefly pulled into the raging Warp vortex. Luther survived the contest, but proved mentally unhinged and was taken prisoner by the Dark Angels.

He was placed into a stasis cell deep within the bowels of The Rock (the remains of The Order's mightiest fortress-monastery and all that was left of their world Caliban), to contemplate his crimes against the Chapter's primarch, his continued existence a secret known only to each successive Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels, whose cell can only be accessed through the use of the Sword of Secrets, the Chapter artefact which is the mark of the Supreme Grand Master's office.

El'Jonson, who had been briefly spirited away into the Warp during the destruction of Caliban, eventually emerged and was taken into a hidden and unreachable chamber deep within the heart of The Rock by the Watchers in the Dark and also placed into a dreamless sleep to keep him alive. This is a secret known only to the Emperor of Mankind Himself who, despite His living death, still sees all upon the Golden Throne.

Even the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels was not privy to this last and greatest secret of the Dark Angels. Yet, some amongst the Dark Angels long whispered that one day the Lion would return to lead one final crusade intended to achieve the Dark Angels' greatest victory for Mankind and finally bring justice and redemption to the remaining Fallen Angels. None knew that this legend had more truth to it than they realised, or that their lost primarch long slept peacefully at the heart of their own fortress-monastery.

Era Indomius

"I will teach them to fear the darkness in which they dwell, and to dread the shadows they believe their allies, for there is no greater terror hunting the stygian void than the Lion of Caliban."

—Lion El'Jonson after his awakening in the Era Indomitus of the 41st Millennium



Lion El'Jonson after his awakening in the Era Indomitus of the 41st Millennium. After ten thousand standard years, even a primarch begins to show signs of physical aging.

In the Era Indomitus, during the Arks of Omen Campaign, Lion El'Jonson awoke at last from his ten-thousand-year long sleep within the very heart of The Rock. While his brother primarch Roboute Guilliman's forté lies in matters of command and administration -- a task he accomplishes with aplomb -- Lion El'Jonson was ever a warrior, a hunter and killer, first and foremost. Now awakened into a galaxy of darkness and insanity, he strides between the stars on a mission of vengeance.

Yet, somehow, long before his return reached the ears of the wider galaxy, the Lion's legend had begun to spread from planet to planet within Imperial space -- disconnected worlds united by a mysterious figure who stalked from mist-wreathed passageways to cut down fearsome monsters like chaff. Some knew him as the "Cowled Giant" or the "Unforgiving Knight," or even mistakenly as the "Emperor Incarnate," and his arrival was always heralded by an apparition of ancient forests fading from the aether.

The true nature of this empyric travel is known only to the primarch himself, but as he lay slumbering beneath The Rock his dreams often returned to the Calibanite forests of his youth. Could he have been borne in his restless sleep to other worlds by the ghosts of that same arboreal realm, slain in the destruction of Caliban? He's certainly not telling, but the practical applications of this ability to appear as if from nowhere through the Warp are not lost on him.


Great Crusade and Horus Heresy


Primarch Lion El'Jonson in his Lion Panopoly Artificer Armour wielding the Lion Sword during the Horus Heresy.

  • Leonine Panopoly - The Lion wore a suit of Artificer Armour made to his exacting specifications known as the Lion Panopoly.
  • Lion Sword - The Lion Sword is the great sword of the primarch of the Dark Angels, Lion El'Jonson. The sword was broken in antiquity and lost. It is now rumoured to be carried by the mysterious Fallen Angel Cypher who seeks to reforge it and present it to the Emperor, obtaining absolution and forgiveness for all of the Fallen who wish it.
  • Wolf Blade - The Lion sometimes chose to wield a great, two-handed chainsword known as an Eviscerator that he named the Wolf Blade.

Primarch Lion El'Jonson, accompanied by two Watchers in the Dark, after his reawakening during the Era Indomitus of the 41st Millennium.

41st Millennium (Era Indomitus)

  • Fealty - This great, primarch-sized Power Sword crafted in the traditional style of the arming swords of the knights of lost Caliban greatly enhances the Lion's ability to engage in mass butchery.
  • Emperor's Shield - What truly marks Lion El'Jonson out as a warrior of truly singular provenance isn't even his sword, but rather the Emperor's Shield. This auramite shield was once wielded by the Emperor Himself, and aside from its indomitable protective powers it reflects the force of any incoming attacks right back at the Lion's foe with a sonorous boom.



  • Citadel Journal 47, "Angels of Death", pp. 21–25
  • Citadel Journal 37, "Tacticus Dark Angels", pp. 78–85
  • Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition)
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex)
  • Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pg. 20
  • Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pg. 38
  • Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 44–46, 197
  • Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 236
  • Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 46–53
  • Deathwing: Rules & Mission (1st Edition)
  • Dreadwing (Novella) by David Guymer
  • Hammer & Bolter 17 & 18, "The Lion" (Novella) Parts 1 and 2 by Gav Thorpe
  • Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
  • Horus Heresy Vol. 1: Visions of War, pp. 13, 273, 278-279
  • Index Astartes I, "The Unforgiven," pp. 4, 13, 18-23
  • Index Astartes II, "For the Emperor!: Space Marine Chaplains," pp. 19, 56, 58-59
  • The Horus Heresy Book Nine: Crusade (Forge World Series), pp. 82-127
  • White Dwarf 478 (July 2022), pg. 107
  • Descent of Angels (Novel) by Mitchel Scalon
  • Fallen Angels (Novel) by Mike Lee, pp. 31, 411-412
  • Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "Savage Weapons" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Shadows of Treachery (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn & Nick Kyme, "Prince of Crows" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • The Primarchs (Anthology), "The Lion," (Short Story) by Gav Thorpe
  • Angels of Caliban (Novel) by Gav Thorpe, Chs. 4, 21, 28, 35
  • Angels of Darkness (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
  • The Unremembered Empire (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • Lion El'Jonson: Lord of the First (Novel) by David Guymer (Cover)
  • Luther: First of the Fallen (Novel) by Gav Thorpe, "Tale of the Lion," "Tale of the Book"
  • Warhammer Community - Lion El'Jonson, Primarch of the Dark Angels, Returns to Warhammer 40,000
  • Warhammer Community - Lion El'Jonson Rules Revealed - 10,000 Years of Rest Haven’t Dulled His Epic Combat Skills


The Primarchs
Loyalist Primarchs Lion El'JonsonJaghatai KhanLeman RussRogal DornSanguiniusFerrus ManusRoboute GuillimanVulkanCorvus CoraxLost Primarchs
Traitor Primarchs FulgrimPerturaboKonrad CurzeAngronMortarionMagnus the RedHorusLorgarAlpharius Omegon
Raven Rock Videos
Warhammer 40,000 Overview Grim Dark Lore Teaser TrailerPart 1: ExodusPart 2: The Golden AgePart 3: Old NightPart 4: Rise of the EmperorPart 5: UnityPart 6: Lords of MarsPart 7: The Machine GodPart 8: ImperiumPart 9: The Fall of the AeldariPart 10: Gods and DaemonsPart 11: Great Crusade BeginsPart 12: The Son of StrifePart 13: Lost and FoundPart 14: A Thousand SonsPart 15: Bearer of the WordPart 16: The Perfect CityPart 17: Triumph at UllanorPart 18: Return to TerraPart 19: Council of NikaeaPart 20: Serpent in the GardenPart 21: Horus FallingPart 22: TraitorsPart 23: Folly of MagnusPart 24: Dark GambitsPart 25: HeresyPart 26: Flight of the EisensteinPart 27: MassacrePart 28: Requiem for a DreamPart 29: The SiegePart 30: Imperium InvictusPart 31: The Age of RebirthPart 32: The Rise of AbaddonPart 33: Saints and BeastsPart 34: InterregnumPart 35: Age of ApostasyPart 36: The Great DevourerPart 37: The Time of EndingPart 38: The 13th Black CrusadePart 39: ResurrectionPart 40: Indomitus