Marius Amalrich was a Marshal of the Black Templars Chapter of Space Marines who played a significant role in the final days of the 13th Black Crusade before the fall of Cadia, in the Celestinian Crusade that resurrected the Primarch Roboute Guilliman, and in the Terran Crusade Guilliman led to meet with his father the Emperor of Mankind on Holy Terra.
After Guilliman's resurrection and the arrival of a new Black Templars Crusade at Macragge to support the efforts of the revived Primarch, Amalrich was recognised for his contributions and was named the Emperor's Champion by his Chapter's Chaplains. During a critical moment of the Terran Crusade aboard a Blackstone Fortress in the Warp rift called the Maelstrom, Amalrich stabbed the Bloodthirster Skarbrand the Exiled One through the chest with the Black Sword of the Emperor's Champion.
Though this effort cost Amalrich his life, Guilliman exploited the wound to defeat the Greater Daemon of Khorne, escape from the trap set in the Maelstrom by Kairos Fateweaver and make his way to Terra.
The 13th Black Crusade and the Fall of Cadia
Marshal Marius Amalrich was in command of the Cruxis Crusade when he diverted that force of the Adeptus Astartes to Cadia to aid in the defence of that crucial Fortress World in the final stage of Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade. Amalrich deployed his Crusade forces amongst the Imperial Guardsmen holding the Loyalist line to the south of Kasr Kraf, as he had little faith that the mortals would prove equal to the task.
When the southernmost spur of Kasr Kraf's Martyr's Rampart collapsed, only Amalrich's Black Templars held the line as the Astra Militarum fell back before the Chaos onslaught. Marshal Amalrich's Black Templars had sworn to defend the Martyr's Rampart, and defend it they did, with every iota of the zeal and fury for which their Chapter was known.
Though the walls were little more than rubble, they fought on -- an island of stalwart steel amidst the shifting tides of Chaos. Black Legion, Word Bearers and more sought to overwhelm Amalrich's outnumbered band with Chainsword and hellfire. Battle-Brothers perished in ones and twos, and their Crusade banner many times toppled from the crest. But the living found fresh strength in the sacrifice of the dead, and each time the banner fell it was raised higher than before.
Yet, when the force of the Chaos assault shifted northwards to the fortress city's Kriegan Gates, the Marshal acknowledged what had been obvious to his peers from the first -- that the Black Templars' strength would have been better employed upon the walls of the fortress than at the Martyr's Rampart. Even generations after the fact, the stubbornness of Rogal Dorn still haunted his inheritors. Yet there remained time to make amends for the error.
One of the Cruxis Crusade's Thunderhawks had been destroyed during the opening bombardment, but the other endured, untouched in a subterranean hangar. Swallowing the last of his pride, Amalrich gave the orders to abandon the Martyr's Rampart. Their Thunderhawk, hull smouldering and crippled engines belching smoke, ploughed into the muster field adjacent to Kasr Kraf's Kriegan Gates, disgorging the vengeful warriors of the Cruxis Crusade into the heart of the heretical foe.
Each blow struck by a Son of Dorn that day was one of penance as much as fury, and was all the mightier for it. But during this fight, Amalrich and his Astartes would have been slain by the Traitor Baneblade Vicanthrus if the Necron Lord Trazyn the Infinite, covertly aiding the defenders of Cadia against their common foe, had not unleashed a stream of nano-machines that reprogrammed the massive super-heavy tank's Machine Spirit to target its own fellow servants of the Dark Gods.
After Kasr Kraf ultimately held against the Chaos assault due to the arrival of the Living Saint Celestine and defeat of the Daemon Prince Urkanthos, Amalrich and his Black Templars were redeployed to the defence of the Cadian Pylons of the Elysion Fields. They defended the southern perimeter alongside Captain Tor Garadon of the Imperial Fists' 3rd Company against the Chosen of Abaddon and the Black Legion. Unfortunately, the Sons of Dorn proved too few despite their valour, and the Chaos Space Marines simply swept around them to assault the pylon fields.
After the Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl successfully activated the Cadian Pylons with the aid of Trazyn and cut the local area of space-time off from the Warp, Abaddon, who had come to Cadia personally to see the world finally fall, was forced to retreat. As he and his forces left Cadia behind in their dropships to return to his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, Amalrich and his Astartes slaughtered many of the Traitor Marines before they could flee off-planet.
But the Loyalists' victory proved all-too-short-lived. The Despoiler would not be denied the prize he had sought for millennia so easily. Foreseeing the need for a fail-safe, Abaddon had the damaged bulk of the Blackstone Fortress Will of Eternity, its systems disabled by an assault from the Imperial Fists' star fort Phalanx, hurled from orbit as an artificial meteor into the surface of Cadia.
The massive kinetic strike destroyed what remained of the world's defences, ensuring its envelopment by the now rapidly-expanding Eye of Terror. Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed, badly wounded at the hands of the Despoiler himself, ordered an evacuation of the dying world. As Cadia crumbled to pieces around them, the Battle-Sisters of the Order of Our Martyred Lady and Marshal Amalrich's Black Templars were the last to depart, their bloodied survivors crowding aboard transports sent from Archmagos Cawl's Ark Mechanicus Iron Revenant to reclaim the Imperial Knights of House Taranis.
The Imperial survivors of Cadia -- led by Cawl, Saint Celestine, Inquisitor Katarinya Greyfax of the Ordo Hereticus and Amalrich -- now calling themselves the Celestinian Crusade -- used every voidship at their disposal, including the Iron Revenant, to ferry the three million survivors off Cadia. Unable to enter the Warp because of the roiling instability of the Immaterium near the Cadian Gate, the Imperial fleet was forced to flee through the Cadian System at sub-light speed, and the Chaos warfleets gave chase.
The largest and most powerful remaining Imperial capital ship, Cawl's Iron Revenant, heroically sacrificed itself in battle against the Vengeful Spirit so that the Celestinian Crusade could escape to Klaisus, the nearby ice moon of the world of Kasr Holn. It was Celestine who explained that she had experienced a precognitive vision that their salvation -- and that of the Imperium itself -- lay on that barren, frigid planetoid.
Celestine's vision proved prophetic, for the surviving Celestinians were rescued from Chaos attacks and the unforgiving arctic environment at the last by the arrival of the Eldar Ynnari through Klaisus' hidden Webway gate. Though his flagship was lost, Belisarius Cawl had rescued its most precious cargo -- the Armour of Fate, key to the resurrection of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman.
The Terran Crusade
The Reborn Eldar guided the Celestinians through the Webway to the Realm of Ultramar in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy, now also under ferocious assault by the forces of the Despoiler. Though, like all his brethren, Amalrich was deeply suspicious of xenos like the Eldar, he proved willing to overlook his prejudice and distrust for the sake of their common cause against the Archenemy. After some initial distrust, the Celestinians were ultimately taken by the Ultramarines who called Ultramar home to the realm's capital world of Macragge. Amalrich and his surviving Black Templars' presence went far in reassuring the Ultramarines Chapter Master Marneus Calgar that the Celestinians were true servants of the Emperor's cause, though even the Black Templars could not fully overcome his inherent distrust of their alliance with the Eldar.
Once in the Ultramarines' Fortress of Hera, Cawl revealed the identity of the artefacts in his accompanying auto-reliquary. He declared that they were intended to resurrect Primarch Roboute Guilliman from the mortal wound that had seen him trapped in stasis in the Temple of Correction for the last ten millennia. The Ultramarines were deeply skeptical of any attempt to tinker with the life support systems of their hibernating Primarch, and the Black Templars joined them in this suspicion, taking up positions in the temple from which they could strike at the Eldar and the Tech-priest if their motives proved corrupt.
However, before there could be further debate, the Celestinians and the Ultramarines came under potent assault by the Forces of Chaos within the Primarch's final resting place. Cawl worked with Yvraine, the Daughter of Shades and priestess of Ynnead, the Eldar God of the Dead, to successfully restore the Primarch's life force while Cawl's technology healed his grievous wound. Amalrich played an important role in holding the Chaos assault back until the Primarch was awakened and able to end the fight on his own terms. But Amalrich paid a high price for his valour -- he was the only one of the original Black Templars contingent who fought on Cadia to survive the battle in the Primarch's shrine.
With Guilliman resurrected, he drove the invaders from Ultramar before deciding to make his way to Terra through the Warp anomalies roiling the galaxy to an extent not seen since the Horus Heresy. As news of the Primarch's resurrection spread across the gaalxy, ever more Imperial forces came seeking the Primarch. Some, like the Dark Angels and the Raven Guard, sent small delegations to determine the veracity of this miracle. Others came in hope and celebration, bands of Space Wolves, White Scars, Black Templars and others hastening to the Primarch's side. A glorious moment came to pass when the Black Templars made planetfall, for they were reunited with Marshal Amalrich. Taking one look at the zealous light in Amalrich's eyes, the Black Templars Chaplains declared him touched by the hand of the Emperor. The Marshal was brought aboard the Strike Cruiser Scourge of Heretics, and girded with the Armour of Faith and the Black Sword of the Emperor's Champion.
Amalrich and his newly arrived brethren gladly joined the Primarch on his Terran Crusade to reach the Throneworld and meet with his father the Emperor for the first time in ten thousand standard years. His combat prowess and unwavering faith aided the Imperial forces of the Crusade in all their trials and tribulations in the Warp rift known as the Maelstrom. But when the Lord of Change Kairos Fateweaver successfully captured the Primarch aboard the bridge of his flagship the Macragge's Honour while it sought to escape a starship graveyard at the very edge of the Maelstrom, those Imperial warriors who did not surrender under threat of the Primarch's death were killed, or forced to capitulate. Emperor's Champion Marius Amalrich was amongst the latter, wrestled down and beaten unconscious by a mob of Red Corsairs Traitor Marines as he single-handedly held the breach into his ship's enginarium.
The Loyalists and their stolen warships were taken under heavy guard to the nearest Red Corsairs stronghold. To their shock, this turned out to be one of the ancient Blackstone Fortresses, gifted to the Corsairs by Abaddon the Despoiler. Stripped of their weapons and their honour, Guilliman and his surviving followers -- a force that included hundreds of Space Marines, Grey Knights and Skitarii, along with their engines of war -- were dragged into the depths of the Traitor fortress and hurled into psychic spell-shielded cells.
But fate smiled upon them, for the Harlequin Shadowseer Sylandri Veilwalker made her way into the fortress through the Webway and brought with her the enigmatic Fallen Angel named Cypher, who promised to free Guilliman and all of his remaining forces with the aid of the Shadowseer if the Primarch would allow him to also visit with the Emperor once they reached Terra. With little choice in the matter, the Primarch agreed, and Veilwalker led the Imperials deep into the heart of the Blackstone Fortress. She knew another way to escape -- the route Cypher and the Harlequins of the Masque of the Veiled Path had used to reach Guilliman, and the route they would use to lead him on towards Terra. At the fortress' heart, trammelled by ancient technology and still operational after many standard millennia, was a stabilised route into the Webway. The pathways it led into were huge, arterial routes that even starships could navigate -- they would accommodate the Imperial war machines with ease.
Bursting from the armoury, the Imperial army and their guides made for the lower tunnels. The awakening of the fortress' deeper chambers had not gone unnoticed, however. As they hastened further into the ancient structure, the Loyalists encountered stiffening resistance from bands of Red Corsairs and daemons sent to cut them off.
Long, bloody solar minutes of battle followed, gunfire ﬂashing back and forth in the gloom. Though both sides raced as fast as they could to beat the other to the prize, Guilliman and his army reached the heart of the Blackstone Fortress at the same time as their foes. The chamber itself was vast, easily a hundred Terran miles across. Both its ceiling and its ﬂoor were lost in shadow. Entrancing patterns of shimmering lights crawled across the walls, and ﬂickered up and down the titanic black column that rose at the chamber's heart. Out from that column, like the distorted branches of some dark arboreal deity, radiated hundreds of bridges, stairways, platforms and gantries, all shimmering with the same, vaguely bioluminescent lights that danced across the walls.
Countless dark doorways opened onto the Blackstone Fortress' heart, huge portals that seemed wrought for giants. From some spilled daemons of Tzeentch, fires ﬂaring amidst the darkness. Others vomited the daemons of Khorne, loping in snarling packs across soaring bridges wide enough for Titans to cross.
Many of the massing daemons were still distant, small figures rendered insectile by the scale of the chamber, but great hosts of them would still intercept Guilliman's forces before they could reach the heart of the chamber. That was where they must go, however -- Veilwalker indicated a distant platform set into the black column's ﬂank. Upon it, Guilliman could see the faint shimmer of esoteric energies dancing, and knew that this was the Webway entrance of which the Shadowseer spoke.
Guilliman ordered the advance. His forces ﬂowed out across the nearest bridges, guided through the labyrinth of interconnected platforms and arc-bridges by the Troupes of the Veiled Path. Loping Dreadknights and roaring Space Marine tanks led the way, squads of Adeptus Astartes, Grey Knights and Skitarii advancing behind them.
The crossing became more dangerous as firepower whipped across the yawning gulfs to tear at the Loyalist ranks. Fights broke out as Red Corsairs let ﬂy from higher walkways and Cannons of Khorne spat screaming skulls. Platforms as broad as parade grounds played host to crashing battles as packs of Daemon Engines clashed with squadrons of Ultramarine main battle tanks. The Loyalists fired as they moved, blasting paths through the massing foe. At the same time, the forces of Khorne and Tzeentch fell upon one another, Bloodletters hacking their way down ichor-slick stairways while Horrors scoured platforms clear with shimmering ﬂame.
Far away across the chamber, Guilliman caught sight of Kairos Fateweaver, exhorting his followers into battle and hurling bolts of psychic sorcery at the Loyalists from afar. Yet the Lord of Change clearly did not care to face Guilliman's resurgent wrath, for he stayed far removed from the white heat of the battle.
Not so Skarbrand the Exiled One. Hacking his way through a gaping portal in the chamber's wall, the Bloodthirster blazed like a furious pyre. His bellows echoed through the cavernous space, primal roars of bloodlust that infected the minds of all who heard them.
Under Skarbrand's inﬂuence, Guilliman's Battle-Brothers became more reckless and aggressive by the moment. Contaminated by the daemon's psychic fury, Marius Amalrich and the last of the Black Templars turned aside from their route and hurled themselves into an onrushing mass of Khornate daemons. Blood sprayed as a savage melee broke out. For a moment the Primarch considered diverting his own forces to help Amalrich's, but with Skarbrand storming closer and daemons swarming on every front, there was no time. With a heavy heart, Guilliman barked orders through the Vox, steadying the Ultramarines and their Primogenitor allies with the sheer force of his will. Bellowing, Amalrich hurled himself into battle with mighty Skarbrand, his Black Sword clashing with the Bloodthirster's twin axes again and again.
With Aldrik Voldus and his Dreadknights leading, and the relentless spectres of the Legion of the Damned fighting a silent rearguard, the remains of the Terran Crusade closed on the Webway entrance. Belisarius Cawl and his Skitarii mowed down rank after rank of daemons. Novamarines Vindicators blasted a trio of bridges that the enemy were using in an attempt to outﬂank, sending ﬂailing Horrors plunging into the void. Inquisitor Greyfax and Saint Celestine fought side by side, hacking down a trio of Tzeentchian Heralds in as many solar minutes. The Harlequins were everywhere at once, sprinting along walkways, bounding between bridges, hacking and slashing with breathtaking skill as they wove a dance of battle around the Loyalists.
That was when Skarbrand gave a deafening bellow of fury and took a running leap. The cursed Bloodthirster sailed across the gulf, trailing boiling ichor from a terrible wound in his chest. Guilliman's eyes widened as he saw Amalrich's black blade, driven into the Bloodthirster's breast. It was the only remaining sign of the Emperor's Champion, bloody atonement for his failings on lost Cadia.
But it would prove to be enough.
Unable to stop himself, the Primarch bellowed a war cry and leapt to meet Skarbrand's charge. The Emperor's Sword met the daemon's axe Slaughter with a dolorous clang, while the other, Carnage, whistled over the Primarch's head by a hair's breadth. Guilliman drove his shoulder guard into his opponent's midriff, then span on his heel and backfisted Skarbrand with the Hand of Dominion. The blow would have punched straight through a tank hull, yet the Bloodthirster merely rocked back on his heels before launching himself forward again. Hellforged axes hacked and lashed in huge, haymaker arcs, Guilliman barely blocking or evading each blow.
The Primarch could feel his hate and rage building to new heights, eclipsing his strategic sense altogether. Dimly he realised that, soon, he would hurl himself at Skarbrand, hacking madly until his head was struck from his shoulders.
With a titanic effort of will, Roboute Guilliman forced down the supernaturally-created rage that was drowning his rational mind. Gasping with effort, the Primarch trapped the furious fires in a ring of cold, mental steel. Even as he continued to fight his monstrous foe in reality, he fought a second battle in his mind. Step by step, he pushed back against his blazing rage.
With a final scream of mental anguish, Guilliman forced down all his fury and hatred, and locked them away behind impenetrable mental fortifcations. As he did so, the fires that he perceived around him died away, and the bridge to safety swam back into focus. Beyond it, Captain Cato Sicarius and Saint Celestine were exhorting him to move before it was too late.
Unwilling to let his enemy escape, Skarbrand hurled himself in a wild lunge with axes raised high. Guilliman coolly assessed the threat, raising the Hand of Dominion and blasting the daemon backwards.
Skarbrand bellowed in anger as explosive shells tore into his cranium and blew ﬂeshy gobbets across the platform. Step by step, the daemon was driven back, yet still he did not fall. Gritting his teeth at the sight of the enemy drawing close, Guilliman fired the last shells from his magazine, aiming for Amalrich's Black Sword. A single bolt struck the weapon and blew the ebony blade apart in a storm of deadly shards. Skarbrand's torso was shredded, and he toppled backwards off the platform with a final, furious roar.
Immediately, Guilliman turned and sprinted across the bridge, hurling himself into the Webway after Captain Sicarius and the Living Saint. Behind him, the portal's warding runes sealed with a sharp crack, denying the surging tide of daemons at the very last second.
The Primarch was free of Fateweaver's trap and on his way to Terra. Amalrich's soul would rest in peace, knowing that his sacrifice had made all the difference.
After the resurrection of Roboute Guilliman, when the Black Templars returned to Macragge to join the Terran Crusade, they realised that Marius Amalrich had been touched by the Emperor. They made him the Emperor's Champion, and like all such champions of the Astartes, he made use of the traditional wargear, which includes the following:
- Armour of Faith - The Armour of Faith is the traditional name given to the Artificer Power Armour gifted to the Emperor’s Champion. Chosen from the finest artificer armour available to the Chapter and then inscribed with sacred wards and catechisms of hatred, the armour offers greater protection than any ordinary suit of power armour could, allowing the Emperor’s Champion to complete his holy duty. Such is the protection of its wards that some blows and rounds are simply turned aside or flash to nothing in a blaze of divine power.
- The Black Sword - Paired with the Armour of Faith, the traditional weapon of the Emperor’s Champion is the Black Sword. A massive two-handed Power Sword, blessed by the Chapter Chaplains, it becomes a deadly weapon in the hands of the chosen of the Black Templars. The Black Sword is one of the most exquisitely master-crafted weapons in the whole of the Imperium. It is perfectly balanced to allow it to be used either with a one-handed or two-handed grip. This allows the Emperor's Champion to either deliver a flurry of fast slashes and stabs or slower but much more damaging hacking blows to his opponents. The Black Templars Chapter possesses only ten of these sacred weapons in its armoury.
- Gathering Storm - Part One - Fall of Cadia (7th Edition), pp. 6-88, 96
- Gathering Storm - Part Three - Rise of the Primarch (7th Edition), pp. 4-70
- Index Astartes: Emperor's Champion (Digital Edition)