"All I ever wanted was the truth. Remember those words as you read the ones that follow. I never set out to topple my father's kingdom of lies from a sense of misplaced pride. I never wanted to bleed the species to its marrow, reaving half the galaxy clean of human life in this bitter crusade. I never desired any of this, though I know the reasons for which it must be done. But all I ever wanted was the truth."
- — Opening Lines of the Book of Lorgar, First Canticle of Chaos
Lorgar, also once called Lorgar Aurelian and the Urizen before the Horus Heresy, is a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided and the former Primarch of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion. Always determined to uplift humanity through a deep belief in the divine, once the Emperor of Mankind rejected his attempts at worship, Lorgar discovered new Gods, the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, more worthy of his devotion during his infamous Pilgrimage. He was the first Primarch of the Space Marine Legions to fall to the corruption of Chaos before the Horus Heresy and it was he who ordered the corruption of the Warmaster Horus. He and his large Traitor Legion of Word Bearers Chaos Space Marines can today be found on the Daemon World of Sicarus within the Eye of Terror.
The infant Primarch Lorgar vanished from the gene-laboratory beneath the Himalayan Mountains on Terra while still an infant, along with the other 19 Primarchs, who were all transported through the Warp and scattered to random human-inhabited worlds across the galaxy. After his spiriting away by the forces of Chaos he was found on a Feudal World named Colchis. The infant Lorgar was discovered by the followers of the predominant religion on the world, the Covenant, a faith dedicated to entities that were in fact the Chaos Gods in more benevolent guises, and Lorgar was raised amongst them. Studying within a temple of the Covenant, Lorgar quickly became a devout preacher, his skill in oratory and the power of his charisma winning him many followers. Perhaps Lorgar's staunchest ally and friend was the High Priest of the Covenant named Kor Phaeron. However, as Lorgar grew in standing amongst the people, the other members of the Covenant's ecclesiastical hierarchy began to grow jealous of his popularity.
Lorgar's youth was plagued by visions of a mighty warrior in gleaming bronze armour coming to Colchis, a cyclopean giant in blue robes standing beside him. At one point, the visions reached such intensity that Lorgar claimed that the prophesied return of Colchis' one, true God was soon to occur. He began to preach this news to the people of Colchis, causing disruptions to the rule of the Covenant as people converted to his dissident beliefs. Lorgar's enemies in the Covenant saw this as the opportunity they had been waiting for to remove the threat that Lorgar was to the status quo, declaring him a heretic.
Those who came forward to arrest Lorgar were killed by his followers. The Covenant split into two factions, and a holy war of immense proportions erupted, eventually forcing the entire population of the world to choose a side. This war lasted six years, ending when Lorgar and his supporters stormed the temple at which the Primarch had trained, killing the monks within and eliminating the heart of the religious resistance to his ideas.
The Coming of the Emperor
Less than a year after the victory of Lorgar's people, a landing craft carrying the Emperor of Mankind and the Primarch Magnus the Red, along with two Tactical Squads of Thousand Sons Space Marines, descended from orbit and landed near the temple. Lorgar was said to immediately recognise these people as the ones in his visions, and swore his fealty to his father and creator.
Every facet of the Covenant's belief structure was reorganised as the worship of the Emperor as the saviour of Mankind, and the people of Colchis united behind their new living god. The elaborate celebrations and displays of piety lasted for months, although it was said that the Emperor did not approve of this, wishing to rejoin the Great Crusade as soon as possible and being dismissive of organized religion in general. The Emperor had not begun the Great Crusade to reshackle humanity within the chains of superstition and ignorance but to spread the light of reason and science. At the conclusion of the celebrations, Lorgar was made commander of the XVII Space Marine Legion, which came to be known as the Word Bearers. Kor Phaeron survived the augmentation process to become an adult Space Marine and became Lorgar's chief adviser, lieutenant and the commander of the Word Bearers' elite First Company.
The Great Crusade
Lorgar led his Legion throughout the Great Crusade, as the Word Bearers sought to eliminate all blasphemy and heresy within the new Imperium of Man. Ancient texts and icons of other faiths were burned. The construction of vast monuments and cathedrals venerating the Emperor was supervised. The greatest Chaplains of the Word Bearers produced enormous works on the divinity and righteousness of the Emperor, and gave grand speeches and sermons to the masses. The progress of the Word Bearers was slow in bringing new worlds under Imperial Compliance, but domination of the defeated was complete. At some point during this period, Lorgar penned the work known as the Lectio Divinitatus, which laid out the case that the Emperor of Mankind was a divine being and was worthy of worship as the rightful God of humanity. This book would later, ironically considering the identitiy of its author, become instrumental in the founding of the Imperial Cult and the Ecclesiarchy.
A Legion Rebuked
During this period, the absolute loyalty of Lorgar and the Word Bearers Legion to the Emperor and his Imperium was unquestionable. Their Compliant worlds regularly delivered tithes in the Emperor’s name, and the orders of Terra were accepted without question throughout the worlds liberated by the Word Bearers. Lorgar and his Legion had successfully prosecuted the Emperor's Great Crusade for almost a century, and in that time the Emperor had never once admonished his zealous son or the Word Bearers Legion for their fervent worship of him even though such doctrine clashed with the Emperor's policy of spreading the Imperial Truth.
But the Emperor, for all his love of his son, was deeply disturbed. He had initially tolerated the beliefs of his deeply religious son, but as the Great Crusade reached its height, the Emperor found himself increasingly frustrated with the slow pace with which Lorgar conquered and then brought worlds into Compliance for the Imperium. The Emperor finally ordered the Word Bearers to cease their religious activities, as their mission was to reunify the galaxy under the banner of the secular Imperial Truth, not preach the word of the Emperor's personal divinity. The Emperor had long opposed the spread of organised religion and was determined to use the creation of the new Imperium of Man to enshrine reason and science, not religion, as the true guiding light of a new interstellar human civilisation. The Emperor was particularly troubled by any notion that he should be worshipped as a god and the actions of the Word Bearers Legion in slaughtering those who refused to accept the Emperor's divinity stank of the religious excesses that had so often poisoned human history.
The Emperor ordered a task force composed of the Ultramarines Legion and lead by their Primarch Roboute Guilliman and accompanied by a force of his elite personal bodyguards, the Legio Custodes and the Imperial Regent, Malcador the Sigillite, to raze the capital city of the planet Khur, a world dear to the Word Bearers, whom considered its capital, Monarchia, the "perfect city" because of the intense religious devotion of its citizens and the sheer number of cathedrals and monuments dedicated to the worship of the Emperor as a God. Following the city's destruction by the Ultramarines, the entire Word Bearers Legion, 100,000 Space Marines strong, were ordered to assemble on the planet's surface, within sight of the smoldering ruins of Monarchia, where its Astartes were humiliated and rebuked by the Emperor himself, who psychically forced everyone, including Lorgar, to kneel before him, and explained to them that they had failed both him and humanity. Lorgar was stunned by his father's reproach and refusal to accept his worship, and fell into a deep melancholy.
Feeling betrayed by the Emperor, he refused audience to all but Kor Phaeron, the Word Bearers' First Captain and Cardinal. Kor Phaeron was Lorgar's adoptive father and had raised him from infancy on Colchis as a member of the Covenant. Kor Phaeron had served as Lorgar's chief lieutenant and advisor since his time that he ruled as the theocrat of Colchis. Lorgar also called the the Legion's First Chaplain Erebus to his side, who had long been another trusted advisor. Kor Phaeron and Erebus sympathised with Lorgar's unrequited religious longings, and felt that the Word Bearers Legion should serve gods truly worthy of their worship. Kor Phaeron and Erebus explained that they knew of such gods, the divine beings once worshipped by the Old Faith of Colchis and thus, Lorgar learned of the existence of the Chaos Gods, who not only accepted the zealous worship he offered, but demanded it. Thus the seeds of the Horus Heresy were first sown amongst the Word Bearers. Intrigued, Lorgar demanded that the Legion find these gods, and Kor Phaeron and Erebus, both of whom had been secret devotees of Chaos for decades, proposed a pilgrimage.
The Pilgrimage of Lorgar
The idea of "the Pilgrimage," a journey to the legendary place where mortals could directly interact with the Gods, was an ancient mythological trope on many human-settled worlds of the Milky Way Galaxy, including Lorgar and the Word Bearers' homeworld of Colchis. Of course, such a place, the Warp, did exist, and one could discover the Primordial Truth of the universe there, i.e. that the Immaterium was dominated by the powerful spiritual entities known as the Chaos Gods.
Prompted Kor Paheron and Erebus, Lorgar journeyed with his Word Bearers Legion's Chapter of the Serrated Sun to what was then the fringes of known Imperial space as part of the 1301st Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade. At this time, Lorgar had not yet fallen to the corruption of Chaos, though he had turned against the Emperor of Mankind as a deity no longer worthy of his worship. Lorgar believed that the Emperor was wrong to condemn Mankind's natural instinct to seek out the divine as an unworthy superstition and he intended to discover if there were truly deities worthy of humanity's respect. To this end, though Lorgar no longer had any love or loyalty for the Emperor, he and his XVII Legion rejoined the Great Crusade but did so only as a front to mask their pursuit of the Pilgrimage.
The Word Bearers were also accompanied on this Pilgrimage by 5 members of the Legio Custodes who had been set by the Emperor to watch over everything the Word Bearers did to prevent them from falling back into error once more. The Word Bearers' pursuit of any scrap of information that could be found on the Primordial Truth or the nature of the place where Gods and mortals could mingle ultimately led the 1301st Expeditionary Fleet to the Cadia System near the largest Warp Storm in the universe, later known to the Imperium as the Eye of Terror. The Expedtionary Fleet's Master of Astropaths advised Lorgar that unusual "voices" in the Warp were heard in the vicinity of the great Warp rift, voices that spoke directly to the Primarch as well. These were the voices of the Chaos entities within the Immaterium. It would be in the Cadia System that Lorgar would learn that his suspicions had been correct and that all of the religions across the galaxy that possessed so many similarities to the Colchisian Old Faith were not coincidences, but expressions of worship in the universal truth that was the existence of Chaos.
The decision was made to hold orbit over Cadia and for the 1301st Fleet's elements to make planetfall on the unknown world, designated as 1301-12. The landing force was comprised of Imperial Army, Word Bearers, Legio Custodes and Legio Cybernetica elements. The landing party, led by Lorgar, was greeted by a large number of barbaric human tribes, tribes described as "dressed in rags and wielding spears tipped by flint blades...yet they showed little fear." Most notable were the barbarians' purple eyes, which reflected the colour of the Eye of Terror itself in the spectrum of visible light. Despite the Custodian Vendatha's protests and request to execute the heathens, the Word Bearers approached the natives. A strange woman emerged from the crowd and addressed the Primarch directly, calling him Lorgar Aurelian and welcoming him to Cadia. This woman, the Chaos priestess Ingethel, would ultimately lead the Primarch down a path of spiritual enlightenment that actually marked the beginning of Lorgar's fall to heresy and Chaos. Later, the Priestess Ingethel of Cadia would initiate a ritual that would see her transformed into the Daemon Prince known as Ingethel the Ascended, Viator of the Primordial Truth, and then lead the 1,301st Fleet's scout vessel Orfeo's Lament into the Eye of Terror.
Within the Eye of Terror, the Serrated Sun Chapter of the Word Bearers Legion witnessed the failure of the ancient Eldar empire first hand in the form of the Crone Worlds that had been scoured of all life that littered the Eye's region of space. Ingethel, of course, lied to the Word Bearers about how the Chaos God Slaanesh had truly been born and warned that the Eldar had failed as a species and suffered the Fall because at the moment of their ascension they were unable to accept the Primordial Truth, i.e. serve Chaos. They gave birth to a God of Pleasure, yet they had felt no joy at her coming. Their new God, Slaanesh, had awoken to consciousness in the 30th Millennium to find its worshippers abandoning it out of ignorance and fear, and from the Prince of Pleasure's grief was born the endless storm of the Great Eye (the Eye of Terror), an echo of the birth-screams of the Eldar's new and rejected God. The nature of the Primordial Truth was revealed to the Word Bearers in the ashes of the Eldar empire, and Ingethel warned them that in order for humanity as a species to survive they must not commit the same sins the Eldar did, and must instead accept the worship of Chaos.
The surviving Space Marines of the Word Bearers' Serrated Sun Chapter eventually returned to Cadia and related to Lorgar all that had happened and all that they had learned within the Eye, the place where mortals and Gods could meet. Following the visits into the Eye of Terror, Lorgar ordered a cyclonic bombardment of the planet, wiping out the Cadians and leaving the planet abandoned so that no others could stumble upon the secret of the Primordial Truth that had been entrusted to him alone by the Chaos Gods. However, the planet's extremely strategic location meant that it would prove useful to the Imperium and in the 32nd Millennium Imperial colonists were dispatched to resettle the world, becoming the ancestors of the present-day population of Cadians. Perhaps as a result of the Eye of Terror's proximity this later population of Cadians also soon developed the unusual violet-coloured eyes that had marked the first human inhabitants of the planet.
This "truth" changed Lorgar and the Word Bearers forever as they were exposed to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos and slowly corrupted, the first of the Legiones Astartes to worship the Chaos Gods and become Traitors to the Emperor in their hearts. Lorgar and the Word Bearers spent the remaining years of the Great Crusade attempting to enlighten humanity about the true spiritual nature of Creation, ultimately resorting to manipulation and deception to sway nine of the Primarchs to the cause of Chaos as their Gods demanded, the most notable being the Warmaster Horus. When it became clear that Mankind could not be enlightened by Chaos without first being forcibly weaned at a great price in blood from the Emperor's false Imperial Truth, Lorgar willingly helped orchestrate the terrible Battle of Istvaan III and the Drop Site Massacre at Istvaan V as well as the larger Horus Heresy itself. When Horus openly declared his rebellion against the Emperor, the Word Bearers were once of the first Legions to support him and his cause. The worlds they had conquered since their conversion to Chaos also joined the side of the Traitors, having been secretly corrupted to the worship of the Ruinous Powers in the final days of the Great Crusade.
It was this event, the Imperial reprimand, that ultimately turned the Word Bearers to Chaos. Whilst Lorgar brooded over the Emperor's reproach, Kor Phaeron, his trusted lieutenant and closest friend, whispered to Lorgar of the great Chaos Gods: beings that welcomed, even demanded zealous worship and devotion, unlike the Emperor, who clearly was not divine if he refused to accept rightful worship. Lorgar was slowly poisoned against the Emperor by Kor Phaeron, who was appointed Master of the Faith, and was tasked with converting the entire Legion to the worship of Chaos. The Word Bearers came to venerate the Gods of Chaos, but instead of throwing their support to one God, they worshipped Chaos Undivided, a pantheon composing the four Ruinous Powers.
It was Lorgar and the Word Bearers who ultimately converted the Warmaster Horus to the worship of Chaos, by introducing his Legion, the Luna Wolves, to the warrior lodges which were picked up from the world of Davin. Later, in a plot involving the Word Bearer Chaplain Erebus, Horus was manipulated to return to Davin, where he could be wounded, and in that poisoned state prove more malleable to corruption by the Chaos Gods.
The Legion kept their new devotion secret, until the Warmaster Horus declared his own faith in Chaos, and began the galactic civil war known as the Horus Heresy. The Word Bearers quickly joined the rebellion, and many of the worlds they had conquered since their conversion turned as well, having been corrupted by the Word Bearers to their new faith in Chaos during their conquest.
The majority of the Word Bearers Legion was ordered by Horus to see to the entanglement and possible destruction of the Ultramarines Legion, so that their vast forces could not be brought to bear against Horus' march on Terra. This was a task the Word Bearers took up with joy, for even as he chastised the Word Bearers for their faith, the Ultramarines had become the favoured Legion of the Emperor. The assault on Ultramar was led by Kor Phaeron, who swore to utterly destroy the Ultramarines. The Word Bearers ambushed the Ultramarines at the world of Calth, an attack which eventually turned to defeat when reinforcements from the Ultramarines homeworld of Macragge arrived, and the Word Bearers were routed from the system.
The rest of the Word Bearers were led by Lorgar to Terra, where Horus and his forces were repulsed and ultimately defeated after a fifty-five day siege of the Imperial Palace. The Legion took refuge within the Eye of Terror and the Maelstrom, vast wounds in space where the Immaterium leaked into reality, coming to rest on the daemon world of Sicarus.
Before Horus openly launched his rebellion to overthrow the Emperor, an opportunity presented itself that would enable him to get rid of the Loyalist elements within the Astartes Legions under his command. The Imperial Planetary Governor of Istvaan III, Vardus Praal, had been corrupted by the Chaos God Slaanesh whose cultists had long been active on the world even before it had been conquered by the Imperium. Praal had declared his independence from the Imperium, and had begun to practice forbidden Slaaneshi sorcery, so the Council of Terra charged Horus with the retaking of that world, primarily its capital, the Choral City. This order merely furthered Horus' plan to overthrow the Emperor. Although the four Legions under his direct command -- the Sons of Horus, World Eaters, Death Guard and the Emperor's Children -- had already turned Traitor and pledged themselves to Chaos, there were still some Loyalist elements within each of these Legions that approximated one-third of each force; many of these warriors were Terran-born Space Marines who had been directly recruited into the Astartes Legions by the Emperor Himself before being reunited with their Primarchs during the Great Crusade.
Horus, under the guise of putting down the rebellion against Imperial Compliance on the world of Istvaan III, amassed his troops in the Istvaan System. Horus had a plan by which he would destroy all of the remaining Loyalist elements of the Legions under his command. After a lengthy bombardment of Istvaan III, Horus despatched all of the known Loyalist Astartes down to the planet, under the pretence of bringing it back into the Imperial fold. At the moment of victory and the capture of the Choral City, the planetary capital of Istvaan III, these Astartes were betrayed when a cascade of terrible Life-Eater virus-bombs fell onto the world, launched by the Warmaster's orbiting fleet. The Loyalist Captain Saul Tarvitz of the Emperor's Children, however, was aboard the Strike Cruiser Andronius and had discovered the plot to wipe out the Loyalist Astartes of the Traitor Legions. He was able, with help from Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro of the Death Guard who was in command of the Death Guard Frigate Eisenstein, to reach the surface of Istvaan III despite pursuit and warn the Loyalist Space Marines he could find of all four Legions of their impending doom. Those that heard or passed on Tarvitz's warning took shelter before the virus-bombs struck.
The civilian population of Istvaan III received no such protection: 12 billion people died almost at once as the lethal flesh-dissolving virus called the Life-Eater carried by the bombs infected every living thing on the planet. The psychic shock of so many deaths at one time shrieked through the Warp, briefly obscuring even the glowing beacon of the Astronomican. The Primarch of the World Eaters, Angron, realising that the virus-bombs had not been fully effective at eliminating all the Loyalists, flew into a rage and hurled himself at the planet at the head of 50 companies of World Eaters Traitor Marines. Discarding tactics and strategy, the World Eaters Traitors worked themselves into a frenzy of mindless butchery fed by their growing allegiance to the Blood God Khorne. Horus was furious with Angron for delaying his plans, but Horus sought to turn the delay into a victory and was obliged to reinforce Angron with troops from the Sons of Horus, the Death Guard, and the Emperor's Children.
Fortunately, a contingent of Loyalists led by Battle-Captain Garro escaped Istvaan III aboard the damaged Imperial Frigate Eisenstein and fled to Terra to warn the Emperor that Horus had turned Traitor. On Istvaan III, the remaining Loyalists, under the command of Captains Tarvitz, Garviel Loken and Tarik Torgaddon, another Loyalist member of the Sons of Horus, fought bravely against their own traitorous brethren. Yet, despite some early successes that delayed Horus' plans for three full months while the battle on Istvaan III played out, their cause was ultimately doomed by their lack of air support and Titan firepower. During the battle, the Sons of Horus Captains Ezekyle Abaddon and Horus Aximand were sent to confront their former Mournival brothers, Loken and Torgaddon. Horus Aximand beheaded Torgaddon, but Abaddon failed to kill Loken when the building they were in collapsed. Loken somehow survived and witnessed the final orbital bombardment of Istvaan III that ended the Loyalists' desperate defence.
The few remaining Loyalists of the Emperor's Children Legion fought bravely on Istvaan III, led by Captains Saul Tarvitz and Solomon Demeter. To prove his worth and loyalty to Lord Commander Eidolon of the Emperor's Children -- and thus to his Primarch, Fulgrim -- Captain Lucius of the 13th Company of the Emperor's Children, the future Champion of Slaanesh known as Lucius the Eternal, turned against the Loyalists that he had fought beside because of his prior friendship with Saul Tarvitz. He wanted to punish Tarvitz for taking command of the defence, which had incited Lucius's fierce jealousy of his fellow captain. Lucius slew many of his former comrades personally, an act for which he was then accepted back into the III Legion on the side of the Traitors. In the end, the Loyalists retreated to their last bastion of defence, only a few hundred of their number remaining. Finally, tired of the conflict, Horus ordered his men to withdraw, and then had the remains of the Choral City bombarded into dust for a final time from orbit.
Drop Site Massacre
The Istvaan system’s third world, comfortably close enough to the sun to support human life, was a virus-soaked mass grave marking the anger of Horus Lupercal. The world’s population was nothing more than contaminated ash scattered over lifeless continents, while the bones of their cities remained as blackened smears of burnt stone – a civilisation reduced to memory in a single day. The orbital bombardment from the Warmaster’s fleet, payloads of incendiary shells and virus-laden biological warfare pods, had seemingly spared nothing and no one anywhere in the world. Isstvan III lingered now in silent orbit around its sun, almost grand in the extent of its absolute devastation, serving as the scarred tombstone for the death of an empire.
Ringing Isstvan V was one of the largest fleets ever gathered in the history of the human species. Without a doubt, it was the most impressive coalition of Astartes vessels, with the scouts, cruisers, destroyers and command ships of seven entire Legions. With a precision that required mass calculation, the fleets of seven Astartes Legions hung in the skies above Isstvan V. Shuttles and gunships ferried between the heaviest cruisers, while the decks of every warship made ready to deploy their warriors in an unprecedented, unified planetfall. Horus, traitorous son of the Emperor, was making his stand on the surface. The Imperium of Man had sent seven Legions to kill its wayward scion, little knowing four of them had already spat on their oaths of allegiance to the Throneworld.
Aboard the Fidelitas Lex, Lorgar's flagship played host to a gathering of rare significance. There were commanders from the Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors as well as three additional Primarchs; Nighthaunter, Alpharius Omegon and Perturabo. Lorgar strode to the centre of the gathering of Traitors. He then proceeded to impress upon the gathering of his sons, brothers and cousin Astartes of the importance of their cause, and of the significance this day would hold in history. The Word Bearers and their allies believed that the Imperium had failed them and by being flawed to its core, imperfect in its pursuit of a perfect culture, and in its weakness against the encroachment of xenos breeds that sought to twist humanity to alien ends. And it had failed them, most of all, by being founded upon lies. The Imperium was forged by a dangerous deceit, and had eroded them all by demanding they sacrifice truth on the altar of necessity. This was an empire, propagated by sin, that deserves to die. And here, on Isstvan V, they would begin the purge. From the ashes would rise the new kingdom of mankind: an Imperium of justice, faith and enlightenment. An Imperium heralded, commanded and protected by the avatars of the gods themselves. An empire strong enough to stand through a future of blood and fire. The Emperor believes them loyal. Their four Legions were ordered to Istvaan V on His misguided conviction alone. But their coalition here and now was the fruit of decades’ worth of planning. It was ordained, and brought about according to ancient prophecy. No more hiding in the shadows. No more manipulating fleet movements and falsifying expeditionary data. From this day forward, the Alpha Legion, the Word Bearers, the Iron Warriors and the Night Lords would stand together – bloodied but unbowed beneath the flag of Warmaster Horus, the second Emperor. The true Emperor. First Captain Sevatar of the Night Lords Legion uttered, 'Death to the False Emperor,' becoming the first living soul to utter the words that would echo through the millennia. The curse was taken up by other voices, and soon it was being cried in full-throated roars. Death to the False Emperor! Death to the False Emperor! Death! Death! Death!
Thousands of Drop Pods and Stormbirds were deployed for the initial assault. The first wave was under the overall command of the Primarch Ferrus Manus and besides his own X Legion, the Salamanders led by Vulkan, and the Raven Guard under the command of their Primarch Corax joined him. Vulkan's Legion assaulted the left flank of the Traitors' battle line while Ferrus Manus, the Iron Hands' First Captain Gabriel Santor, and 10 full companies of elite Morlock Terminators charged straight into the centre of the enemy lines. Meanwhile, Corax's Legion hit the right flank of the enemy's position. The odds were considered equal; 30,000 Traitor Marines against 40,000 Loyalists. Horus was aware of the location of the Loyalists' chosen drop site and his troops fell upon the Loyalist Legions.
The battlefield of Isstvan V was a slaughterhouse of epic proportions. Treacherous warriors twisted by hatred fought their former brothers-in-arms in a conflict unparalleled in its bitterness. The mighty Titan war engines of the Machine God walked the planet’s surface and death followed in their wake. The blood of heroes and traitors flowed in rivers, and the hooded Hereteks Adepts of the Dark Mechanicum unleashed perversions of ancient technology stolen from the Auretian Technocracy to wreak bloody havoc amongst the Loyalists. All across the Urgall Depression, hundreds died with every passing second, the promise of inevitable death a pall of darkness that hung over every warrior. The Traitor forces held, but their line was bending beneath the fury of the first Loyalist assault. It would take only the smallest twists of fate for it to break. The forces on the surface have been embattled for almost three hours with no clear victor emerging. Even now, the loyalists wait for the second wave of 'allies' to make planetfall, believing they would be reinforced for their final advance. The traitors all knew their parts to play in this performance. They are all aware of the blood they must shed to spare their species from destruction, and install Horus as the Master of Mankind.
Though the Iron Hands, Raven Guard and Salamanders had managed to make a full combat drop and secured the drop site, known as the Urgall Depression, they did so at a heavy cost. Overwhelmed with rage, the headstrong Ferrus Manus disregarded the counsel of his brothers Corax and Vulkan and hurled himself against the fleeing rebels, seeking to bring Fulgrim to personal combat. His veteran troops -- comprising the majority of the X Legion's Terminators and Dreadnoughts -- followed. What had begun as a massed strike against the Traitors’ position was rapidly turning into one of the largest engagements of the entire Great Crusade. All told, over 60,000 Astartes warriors clashed on the dusky plains of Isstvan V. For all the wrong reasons, this battle was soon to go down in the annals of Imperial history as one of the most epic confrontations ever fought.
The Urgall Depression was churned to ruination beneath the boots and tank treads of countless thousands of Astartes warriors and their Legion’s armour divisions. The loyal primarchs could be found where the fighting was thickest: Corax of the Raven Guard, borne aloft on black wings bound to a fire-breathing flight pack; Lord Ferrus of the Iron Hands at the heart of the battlefield, his silver hands crushing any traitors that came within reach, while he pursued and dragged back those who sought to withdraw; and lastly, Vulkan of the Salamanders, armoured in overlapping artificer plating, thunder clapping from his warhammer as it pounded into yielding armour, shattering it like porcelain.
The traitorous primarchs slew in mirror image to their brothers: Angron of the World Eaters hewing with wild abandon as he raked his chainblades left and right, barely cognizant of who fell before him; Fulgrim of the lamentably-named Emperor’s Children, laughing as he deflected the clumsy sweeps of Iron Hands warriors, never stopping in his graceful movements for even a moment; Mortarion of the Death Guard, in disgusting echo of ancient Terran myth, harvesting life with each reaving sweep of his scythe.
And Horus, Warmaster of the Imperium, the brightest star and greatest of the Emperor’s sons. He stood watching the destruction while his Legions took to the field, their liege lord content in his fortress rising from the far edge of the ravine. Shielded and unseen by his brothers still waging war in the Emperor’s name. At last, above this maelstrom of grinding ceramite, booming tank cannons and chattering bolters – the gunships, drop-pods and assault landers of the second wave burned through the atmosphere on screaming thrusters. The sky fell dark with the weak sun eclipsed by ten thousand avian shadows, and the cheering roar sent up by the loyalists was loud enough to shake the air itself. The traitors, the bloodied and battered Legions loyal to Horus, fell into a fighting withdrawal without hesitation.
The second wave of "Loyalist" Space Marine Legions descended upon the landing zone on the northern edge of the Urgall Depression. Hundreds of Stormbirds and Thunderhawks roared towards the surface, their armoured hulls gleaming as the power of another four Astartes Legions arrived on Isstvan V. Yet the Space Marine Legions of the reserve were no longer loyal to the Emperor, having already secretly sworn themselves to Chaos and the cause of Horus. The Night Lords of Konrad Curze, the Iron Warriors of Perturabo, the Word Bearers of Lorgar Aurelian, and the Alpha Legion of Alpharius represented a force larger than that which had first begun the assault on Istvaan V. The secret Traitor Legions mustered in the landing zone, armed and ready for battle, unbloodied and fresh.
The Iron Warriors had claimed the highest ground, taking the loyalist landing site with all the appearance of reinforcing it through the erection of prefabricated plasteel bunkers. Bulk landers dropped the battlefield architecture: dense metal frames fell from the cargo claws of carrier ships at low altitude, and as the platforms crashed and embedded themselves in the ground, the craftsmen-warriors of the IV Legion worked, affixed, bolted and constructed them into hastily-rising firebases. Turrets rose from their protective housing in the hundreds, while hordes of lobotomised servitors trundled from the holds of Iron Warriors troopships, single-minded in their intent to link with the weapons systems’ interfaces. The Word Bearers bolstered their brother Legions on one flank of the Urgall Depression while the Night Lords took positions on the opposite side. Down the line, past the mounting masses of Iron Warriors battle tanks and assembling Astartes, First Captain Sevatar of the Night Lords and his First Company elite, the Atramentar took up defensive positions. Both the Word Bearers and the Night Lords were to be the anvil, while the Iron Warriors would be the hammer yet to fall. The enemy would stagger back to them, exhausted, clutching empty bolters and broken blades, believing their presence to be a reprieve.
Dragging their wounded and dead behind them, Corax and Vulkan led their forces back to the drop site to regroup and to allow the warriors of their recently arrived brother Primarchs of the second wave a measure of the glory in defeating Horus. Though they voxed hails requesting medical aid and supply, the line of Astartes atop the northern ridge remained grimly silent as the exhausted warriors of the Raven Guard and Salamanders came to within a hundred metres of their allies. It was then that Horus revealed his perfidy and sprung his lethal trap. Inside the black fortress where Horus had made his lair, a lone flare shot skyward, exploding in a hellish red glow that lit the battlefield below. The fire of betrayal roared from the barrels of a thousand guns, as the second wave of Astartes revealed where their true loyalties now lay. The Loyalists' supposed "allies" opened fire upon the Salamanders and Raven Guard, killing hundreds in the fury of the first few moments, hundreds more in the seconds following, as volley after volley of Bolter fire and missiles scythed through their unsuspecting ranks. Even as terrifying carnage was being wreaked upon the Loyalists below, the retreating forces of the Warmaster turned and brought their weapons to bear on the enemy warriors within their midst. Hundreds of World Eaters, Sons of Horus and the Death Guard fell upon the veteran companies of the Iron Hands, and though the warriors of the X Legion continued to fight gallantly, they were hopelessly outnumbered and would soon be hacked to pieces. The Iron Hands had damned themselves by remaining in the field.
The Raven Guard front ranks went down as if scythed, harvested in a spilling line of detonating bolter shells, shattered armour and puffs of bloody mist. Black-armoured Astartes tumbled to their hands and knees, only to be cut down by the sustained volley, finishing those who fell beneath the initial storm of head- and chest-shots. Seconds after the first chatter of bolters, beams of achingly bright laser slashed from behind the Word Bearers as the cannon mounts of Land Raiders, Predators and defensive bastion turrets gouged through the Raven Guard and the ground they stood upon. The Iron Warriors and Word Bearers kept reloading, opening fire again, hurling grenades and prepared to fall back. The Word Bearers Legion had taken up landing positions on the west of the field, ready to sweep down and engage the Raven Guard from the flank. Three figures stood atop the roof of an ornate command tank, the Land Raider’s bronze and grey armour decked out with flapping banners and etched with fingernail-fine scripture over every visible surface. Kor Phaeron, Master of the Faith, watched the distant dropsite through a desperate squint. Erebus stood at his side..
Lorgar towered above both of them, but had no attention to spare for the treacherous opening salvoes against the warriors of the Raven Guard and Salamanders Legions. He stared into the battlefield’s heart, his eyes wide even in the wind, his lips gently parted as he watched his brothers killing each other. Fulgrim and Ferrus, the fading sunlight flaring from the edges of their swinging weapons. The wind stole the clash and clang of their parries, but even in silence the duel was beyond captivating. No senses but a primarch’s could have followed such instant, liquid movements. The perfection of it all almost brought a smile to Lorgar’s lips. As the Primarch watched his two brothers engaged in their furious duel, he recalled a time, long ago when Ferrus had presented him a weapon he had forged. He had crafted the fine crozius-maul, Illuminarum, as thanks for the reinforcement of the X Legion at Galadon Secondus. Snapping back to reality, the seed of doubt krept into Lorgar as he played witness to the slaughter around him. But with the prodding and reassurance of his adopted father Kor Phaeron, Lorgar ordered his Word Bearers to attack.
Amidst the carnage and the slaughter, the anger of a demigod was released -- beyond anger, beyond rage. It went beyond both, for it was wrath, in physical form. Lord Corax, Primarch of the Raven Guard charged into the ranks of the Traitorous Word Bearers, a blur of charcoal armour and black blades, butchering with an ease that belied his ferocity. Soon the voices of dying Word Bearers became a conflicting chorus over the vox as the screamed for help. Argel Tal, the Crimson Lord and leader of the Gal Vorbak, Lorgar's 'Blessed Sons', led his men leapt forward to meet their end at the hands of a demi-god. Meanwhile, Lorgar mirrored his brother Primarch's actions, and slaughtered Astartes with contemptuous ease. Just as the Word Bearers struggled to stand before Corax, so too did the Raven Guard fall back and die in droves. Suddenly, the Urizen halted his attack. He noticed across the battlefield, where Corax was wading through the Gal Vorbak, ripping his crimson warriors apart. Given a blessed respite from the primarch’s murderous advance, the Raven Guard were falling back from him in a black tide. They left their dead in a carpet at the primarch’s feet.
Despite protestations of both Kor Phaeron and Erebus, Lorgar disregarded their council and sprinted forwards across the churned earth and dead bodies of his brother's Legion, to engage in a battle he had no hope of winning. He saw his brother – a man he’d barely spoken to in two centuries of life, a man he barely knew – butchering his sons in a vicious rage. There was no thought of conversion. No hope of bringing Corax into the fold, or enlightening him enough to cease this murderous rampage. Lorgar’s own anger rose to the fore, burning away the passionless killing of only moments ago. As the Word Bearers primarch hammered his way through the Raven Guard to reach his brother, he felt power seethe within him, aching to rise out. Always, Lorgar had bitten back his psychic potential, hiding it and hating it in equal measure. It was unreliable, erratic, unstable and painful. It was never the gift it seemed to be for Magnus, and thus, he had swallowed it back, walling it up behind unyielding resolve. No more. A scream of release tore itself free, not from his mouth, but his mind. It echoed across the battlefield. It echoed into the void. Energy sparked from his armour, and a sixth sense unrestrained at last, with its purity perhaps coloured by Chaos, exhaled from his core. Lorgar felt the heat of his own fury made manifest. He felt his unchained power reaching out, not only to enhance his physical form, but reaching to his sons across the battlefield. And there he stood at the heart of the killing fields, winged and haloed by amorphous contrails of psychic fire, shouting his brother’s name into the storm. Corax answered with a shriek of his own – the call of the betrayer, the cry of the betrayed – and the raven met the heretic in a clash of crozius and claw.
In response, the Gal Vobak underwent their final metamorphosis, changing into their true Daemonic forms. Their ceramite armour had fused to flesh, layered by dense bone ridges and spines, as they sprouted all manner of razor sharp claws, talons and wings. They warped into new, bestial forms, marking them out as amongst the first Possessed Chaos Space Marines. Meanwhile, the Primarchs fought in furious combat -- Corax fighting to kill, while Loragar fought to stay alive. During their duel, Corax hurled insults and accusations at his former brother. He wanted to known why Lorgar and his Legion had committed such treachery? Lorgar shared with his brother of the future visions he had seen of their father -- a bloodless corpse, enthroned upon a throne of gold and screaming into the void forever. Angered by his brother's lies, Corax lashed out furiously with his pair of Lightning Claws across Lorgar's face, cutting the meat of his cheeks deeply. Even should Lorgar somehow manage to escape his ultimate fate this day, he would bear these scars until the day he died.
The two primarch traded vicious blows, but the Raven Lord had the advantage not only speed and finesse, but of also being a penultimate warrior with decades of fighting experience. Lorgar did not, for he had always been more of a scholar than a warrior, and his lack of experience cost him dearly as Corax impaled Lorgar through his stomach, the tips of his metre-long talons glinting to the side of his spine as they thrust out his back. Such a blow meant little to a primarch – only when Corax heaved upwards did Lorgar stagger. The claws bit and cut, sawing through the Word Bearer’s body. Illuminarum slipped from the impaled primarch’s fists. Those same hands wrapped around Corax’s throat even as the Raven Lord was carving his brother in half. Even as he tightened his grip on Corax's throat, the Raven Lord remained untroubled by his weaker brother's grip. Lorgar crashed his forehead against Corax’s face, shattering his brother’s nose, but still he couldn’t free himself. The Raven Lord gave no ground, even as a second, third and fourth head butt decimated his delicate features. The claws jerked, snagged against Lorgar’s enhanced bones. Corax tore them free, inflicting more damage than the first impaling had done. Blood hissed and popped as it evaporated on the force-fielded blades. Lorgar fell to his knees, hands clutched over the ruination of his stomach. As Corax stepped closer, he raised his one functioning claw to execute his brother. Lorgar screamed his defiance at Corax, lost in the irony that of all the sons of the Emperor, he was the one soul in twenty who'd never wished to be a soldier. And now here he would die, at the heart of a battlefield. As the claw fell, it struck opposing metal.
Corax looked to meet eyes as black as his, in a face as pale as his own. His claw strained against a mirroring weapon, both sets of blades scraping as they ground against each other. One claw seeking to fall and kill, the other unyielding in its rising defence. Where the Raven Guard primarch’s features were fierce with effort, the other face wore a grin. It was a smile both taut and mirthless – a dead man’s smile, once his lips surrendered to rigor mortis. It was Curze. Corax sought to wrench his claw free, but Curze’s second gauntlet closed on his brother’s wrist, so that Corax would be unable to fly away and escape his fate. Curze looked upon his prostrate brother and ordered him to rise from his knees, disgusted at his cowardice. Corax was not idle as this exchange took place. He fired his flight pack, burning his fuel reserves to escape Curze’s grip. The Raven Lord’s claw ripped free, and Corax soared skyward, carried on jet thrust away from Curze’s rising laughter. Curze then shoved Lorgar back towards his Word Bearers. Around them both, the grey Legion warred with the warriors in black. Lorgar thanked his brother for saving his life. But Curze warned him that he would let him die next time. As bit out another retort, his words halted as he took in the scene of the the transformed Gal Vorbak - their armour was crimsom and ridged bone. Great claws, both metallic weapons and fleshy, jointed talons, extended from bestial arms. Every helm was horned and every faceplate was split by a daemon's skullish leer. Disgusted by this horrific site, Curze turned his back on Lorgar and commented that he was so much more than merely foul, he was rancid with corruption. Though grievously wounded, Lorgar would live. The traitors had carried the day and dealt the Emperor and the Imperium a grievous blow. As the Horus Heresy began in earnest, Horus now possessed nine Space Marine Legions and had all but destroyed three of the remaining nine Loyalist ones. The path to Terra was now wide open, and the decisive Battle of Terra and the Siege of the Imperial Palace would follow after seven more years of blood and terror as the Traitor Legions penetrated to the very heart of the Imperium of Man.
Four days after the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, Horus Lupercal assembled those Primarchs who stood in opposition to the Imperium aboard his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit. They all knew the costs of the coming campaign, and their destinies within it. The Traitor fleets were underway. But after the "unpleasantness" of Isstvan, this was the first time they had gathered as a full fraternity. Eight Primarchs were present, though only half of them were physically in the room where the gathering took place. This included Fulgrim, Perturabo, Angron and Lorgar Aurelian. The absent four were nothing more than holographic projections: three of them -- Konrad Curze, Mortarion and Alpharius -- manifested around the table in the forms of flickering grey hololithic simulacra. The fourth of them appeared as a brighter image comprised of the silver radiance of brilliant witchfire. This last image was of Magnus the Red, who projected himself from afar by sorcerous means, from the Sorcerer's Planet where he was still licking his wounds from the recent Burning of Prospero by Leman Russ' Space Wolves.
As soon as Lorgar had taken his seat at the council table he could not take his eyes off his brother Fulgrim. The Warmaster grew ever more weary of his brother's inability to adhere to established planning and his lack of attention to the important gathering. Before the meeting could properly get underway, Lorgar slowly reached for the ornate Crozius mace on his back. As he drew the weapon in the company of his closest kin, his eyes remained locked on one of them, and all physically present felt the deepening chill of psychic frost riming along their armour. The Word Bearer Primarch accused the thing that mimicked his brother in physical appearance as not being who he purported to be. Before anyone could react, Lorgar's Crozius mace struck the supposed Emperor's Children Primarch. Fulgrim crashed into the back wall, his prostrate form crumpled to the ground. Turning his fierce eyes upon his other brothers he declared that this pretender was not Fulgrim. The other Primarchs that were present, advanced upon the changeling, drawing their own weapons. The Warmaster tried to placate the enraged Lorgar, his merest threat of a confrontation had usually been enough to quell Lorgar from any rash actions in the past. But as they faced Aurelian now, even Horus was wide-eyed in the changes wrought within him since Istvaan V. Clutching his mace in his crimson coloured gauntlets, defying his brothers, he warned them to stay back.
When Horus once again attempted to calm the enraged Primarch, Lorgar was surprised at the sudden realisation that the Warmaster already knew that Fulgrim was not whom he pretended to be. The Warmaster informed his fellow Primarchs that he would personally deal with the situation and dismissed them all from his chambers, with the exception of Lorgar. The Word Bearers Primarch could see the truth -- this creature was one of daemons of Chaos -- as whatever was wearing his brother's skin and armour had its soul hollowed out. Something nestled within, puppeteering the soulless body of their own brother. What Lorgar couldn't understand was how this had come to pass and why did Horus continue to protect such a dark secret? Horus explained to his brother that he had not orchestrated Fulgrim's demise; he was merely containing the aftermath.
Lorgar was perturbed that another sentience now rode within Fulgrim's body. Horus was annoyed at his brother's line of questioning, for Lorgar and Fulgrim had never been close. Why did it matter to him? Lorgar explained that it mattered because this vile intrusion was a perversion of the natural order. There was no harmony in such a joining. Not like his own blessed daemon-possessed sons, the Gal Vorbak. A living soul had been annihilated for its mortal shell to simply house a greedy, unborn wretch of a daemon. During Lorgar's Pilgrimage to the Eye of Terror years earlier, he had walked in the Warp itself. He had stood where the gods and mortals met. Lorgar knew this form of possession was weakness and corruption -- a perversion of what the Chaos Gods wished for Mankind. The Ruinous Powers wanted allies and willing followers, not soulless husks ridden by their daemons.
Using his powerful psychic abilities, Lorgar held the daemon at bay. The Warmaster cautioned that he was killing Fulgrim, but Lorgar replied that it was not their brother, but an "it" - - one that he could destroy if he so wished it. Lorgar threatened the daemon that he would learn its true name and banish it back into the Warp. The Daemon-Fulgrim was helpless against Lorgar's formidable psychic abilities. As the Warmaster attempted to restrain his brother by placing his hand on Lorgar's shoulder, the Primarch psychically commanded Horus to remove his hand. Unable to resist, Horus obeyed. His fingers shivered as they withdrew, and his grey eyes flickered with tension. As the enraged Lorgar strode away from the council chambers, Horus commented that his brother had changed since crossing blades with Corax on the surface of Istvaan V. Lorgar replied that everything had changed that night. He then took his leave and returned to his ship to contemplate what he perceived as utter foulness.
The Crimson King & The Urizen
Aboard Lorgar's flagship, Fidelitas Lex, he is visited by a projected phantasm composed of silver witchfire of his brother Magnus the Red. The Red Cyclops wished to discuss some urgent matters in private. The Thousand Sons Primarch was trying to gauge his brother's reactions in light of recent events as well as the skeins of fate that all seemed to intertwine and converge towards Lorgar, who stood at their nexus. Lorgar explained that he had seen the truth on the very Pilgrimage his brother had demanded that he never make. And after Istvaan V, a veil had been lifted from his eyes. There was no longer any need to hold back, for if they restrained themselves, they would lose the war, and humanity would lose its only chance at enlightenment. The Crimson King cautioned Lorgar against the careless and blatant use of his psychic abilities in such a primitive and brutal manner, for he was inviting the presence of dangerous warp entities into his midst. Lorgar brushed off his brother's advice and retorted that his opinion on the matter was mote, since he had delved too deeply in the powers of the Immaterium and brought down the wrath of the Wolves upon his homeworld. He was now a lord of a traitorous legion that had been damned in the eyes of their brother legions and only stood on the side of the Warmaster because they were now exiles.
Curious about references to his Legion, Magnus attempt to subtly probe his brother's mind, but is strongly rebuffed and warned by Lorgar never to seek to pry into his thoughts again. Magnus is astounded at Lorgar's powerful new abilities. Lorgar revealed to Magnus that since his abilities had grown more powerful, he has been able to delve deeply in the skeins of fate, both past and future. He forewarns Magnus that his Legion was not free of the 'flesh-change' his Legion had once so-feared. Lorgar warned him to beware those amongst his sons that failed to embrace it as the gift that it was. The Crimson King then decides to change the subject and begins speaking of their brother Fulgrim and the terrible fate that has befallen him.
Lorgar then chastised his brother Magnus for not telling him the truth five decades earlier and for trying to keep him from taking the Pilgrimage where he finally discovered the truth about the Primordial Annihilator and the other things he had discovered since then. Magnus claimed he had only done this to protect Lorgar from his own self-righteous certainty and arrogance in his beliefs. Lorgar tersely replied that he stood at the right hand of the new Emperor, commanding the second-large Legion in the Imperium, whilst Magnus was a broken soul, leading a shattered Legion. Perhaps he wasn't the one that needed protection, nor did his arrogance lead to his downfall. Magnus could not claim the same, for they both knew the truth, but only one of them had faced it. Lorgar grew angry, calling Magnus a coward for known the Primordial Truth yet failing to embrace it. Chaos was only grotesque because they had seen it with mortal eyes, but when they ascended, they would be chosen children of the gods. Magnus interrupted his brother's diatribe, lashing out angrily with his psychic abilities. The Crimson King had grown weary of Lorgar's petty banter. Magnus challenged his brother, that if he knew the truths behind their reality, then to show him. Tell him what he had seen at the end of his accursed Pilgrimage.
Lorgar informed his brother of everything that occurred many decades ago. The Crimson King knew that what his brother had spoken of was true, but one lingering question remained - would Lorgar face their brother Robout Guilliman at Calth? The Urizen's response was enigmatic, as he explained to Magnus that although some of his Word Bearers would indeed go to Calth, some would not. He would only reveal his plans to the Red Cyclops when he had committed himself fully to the Warmaster and his cause. Following their private exchange, Lorgar once again attended the Warmaster upon the Vengeful Spirit, this time in the company of Angron, Primarch of the World Eaters. When he inquired to Horus what was to befall their brother 'Fulgrim,' the Warmaster brushed off Lorgar's inquiry. Enraged, Lorgar refused to follow Horus's plans for his Legion, instead informing the Warmaster of his intentions to follow a plan he had concocted earlier -- to take the bulk of his Legion to the galactic east, to the realms of Ultramar. The Warmaster informed his brother that they had argued over this proposed plan many times, pointing out that if Lorgar split his forces as planned, they would not have enough Astartes to achieve what he proposed. Lorgar angrily retorted that his apostles were prepared to sail into Ultramar. They had made pacts with divine forces Horus still struggled to comprehend. Daemons of the warp would answer their summons. The Word Bearers cargo holds heaved with the bodies of faithful mortals, taken from the worlds the XVIIth Legion had conquered for they had not been idle these many years. The Warmaster pointed out that Lorgar needed Legionaries. Lorgar retorted that perhaps Horus should lend him a few of his companies, and he would take them with him to the east? Horus promised his brother that he would give him more than that. He would give him another Legion.
Lorgar confronts Fulgrim
Only one last order of business remained. Lorgar traveled down to the surface of Istvaan V to seek out and confront 'Fulgrim'. When the daemon-Fulgrim tries to forestall Lorgar, at a signal, his Legionaries of the XVIIth teleport aboard forty-nine Emperor's Children vessels, holding their commanders hostage at gunpoint. Now that Lorgar had made his point, he wished to speak to the daemon-Fulgrim alone. Following their conversation on the surface, the XVIIth Legion recalled their strike teams via teleportation. Fulgrim and Lorgar teleported from the surface as well. The Urizen wished to know of the fate of his brother Fulgrim and whether or not he was still alive. The daemon-Fulgrim took Lorgar aboard the III Legion's flagship Pride of the Emperor. Lorgar was escorted to 'La Fenice', the former lounge and theatre of the Remembrancers of the 28th Expeditionary Fleet, where the Emperor's Children had undergone their final apotheosis as true servants of Slaanesh during the performance of the Maraviglia. Lorgar regarded the devastated theatre. Whatever last performance had taken place here had been one of supreme decadence. Bodies, already gone to rags and bones, slumbered in cadaverous repose across the chairs and aisles. Discarded weapons and broken furniture lay strewn across the scene. Nothing was unmarked by the black stains of old blood. The daemon-Fulgrim led Lorgar to the stage and gestured behind a thin, silk curtain revealing an exquisite portrait of the Phoenician. The painting stole Lorgar's breath for a long moment, and he was complicit in his awe, glad to let it do so. Few works of art had moved him as this one did. Fulgrim, triumphant in this rendering, wore his most ostentatious suit of armour, as much Imperial gold as Third Legion purple. He stood before the immense Phoenix Gate leading into the Heliopolis chamber on board his flagship, a vision of gold against even richer gold. At his shoulders, reaching out in angelic symmetry, the great fiery pinions of a phoenix cast burning light against his armour, lighting the gold to flame-touched platinum and enriching the purple to a deep Tyrian hue.
The daemon-Fulgrim explained that he had upheld his end of the bargain, for Lorgar had now seen his wayward brother. Thinking himself being mocked, Lorgar reached for this crozius, threatening violence. The daemon-Fulgrim told the Word Bearers primarch to look closer at the painting and he would see the truth. This time, he let his eyes slip across the image, seeking no details, merely drifting until they rested where they may. He met the image’s soulfully-rendered eyes, and at last, Lorgar breathed through the faintest of smiles and greeted his brother. The daemon asked is Lorgar saw the truth? Lorgar replied that he saw more than the daemon realised. Facing his brother's captor he informed the Neverborn that if he thought to relish all of eternity while playing puppeteer to his brother's body, than he would find himself fatally disappointed one night. The daemon said that the Urizen spoke with lies of a desperate and foolish soul. Lorgar merely laughed and smiled at the daemon sincerely, replying that the creature's secret was safe with him and to enjoy his stewardship while it lasted.
Returning to the Fidelitas Lex, Lorgar convened the Council of Sanctity to speak once more of his plans for Calth. Then in the hours that followed, he summoned Argel Tal and his most trusted subcommanders, to speak of other, more secretive plans. For Lorgar's most trusted son, like him, had other wars to fight even as the Calth system burned.
After the Heresy
Eventually, the atrocities committed by the Word Bearers allowed for Lorgar's ascension to daemonhood, becoming the equal of a god in the eyes of his Legion. It is said his birth scream as a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided echoed across the Immaterium with triumphant vindication, his faith and devotion to Chaos rewarded with immortality and unbridled power. He has since isolated himself within the Templum Inficio on the Daemon World of Sicarus where he has remained for thousands of years, forbidding anyone to interrupt his meditation, thus allowing the Word Bearers to be taken over by a Dark Council of the Word Bearers' most powerful Dark Apostles (the Word Bearers' equivalent of Space Marine Chaplains). From the two primary bases of the Legion, Sicarus and the factory-world of Ghalmek which is located within the Maelstrom, the Word Bearers launch twisted Wars of Faith against the Imperium in the name of the Dark Gods. These conflicts' purpose is to "enlighten" humanity by replacing its worship of the Corpse Emperor with that of the only true divinities of the universe. That this requires the death of billions of people is a price that the Word Bearers are willing to pay to bring the truth first sought by Lorgar Aurelian to the rest of the galaxy.
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), p. 13
- Dark Creed (Novel), p. 9
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Index Astartes IV, "Dark Apostles - The Word Bearers Space Marine Legion"
- False Gods (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Tales of Heresy (Anthology) edited by Nick Kyme & Lindsey Preistley, "Scions of the Storm" by Anthony Reynolds
- A Thousand Sons (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- The First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Demski-Bowden
- Aurelian (Novella) by Aaron Demski-Bowden
- Know No Fear (Novel) by Dan Abnett