Initially, Meros was a simple line-Astartes of solid, if unremarkable service. But later on, during the opening days of the Heresy, his fate would become inextricably intertwined with that of his Legion and his Primarch Sanguinius during the Signus Campaign.
Meros was a line Astartes of the IXth Legion who served as a junior squad medicae under the command of Captain Furio’s 9th Company. After successfully concluding the campaign on the world of Melchior against the vile xenos known as the Nephilim, Meros was summoned by Chapter Master Raldoron, the First Captain of the Blood Angels and Equerry to the Primarch Sanguinius.
Entering a fallen chapel once dedicated to the worship of the Nephilim by their human thralls, the Apothecary was ordered to extract the Progenoid Glands of a fallen Blood Angel by the name of Brother Alotros. Unknown to Meros, Alotros had been afflicted by an unknown malady which he had succumbed to during the throes of battle. This affliction would later be known as the genetic flaw called the Red Thirst. The Apothecary reverently placed Alotros’s gene-seed in a hermetic capsule, but before he could drop it into a seal-pouch at his hip, Captain Raldoron reached out and took it from him.
The First Captain then asked the Apothecary for his name and unit. Meros obeyed, and immediately identified himself. He then received a strange set of orders from the esteemed commander -- Meros was ordered never to speak of this moment and to understand that both he and the First Captain had never been in the chapel. Then Raldoron held up the capsule and informed Meros that this particular item also did not exist. Not quite understanding the Chapter Master’s meaning, Meros was forced to repeat what Raldoron had just said to him.
Obediently, Meros acquiesced to the senior commander’s wishes and saluted. As he backed away, he witnessed another curious occurrence. He saw Raldoron remove an object from his belt pack, a slab of inkstone from the deserts of Baal Primus. With quick motions, Raldoron passed it over the dead warrior’s armour, obscuring the crimson colour of his Power Armour with a layer of glistening, smoky black. The action had a strange, ritual quality to it. Without question, Meros returned to his company, and the strange incident passed from his memory.
Many standard years later, Meros was assigned to take part in a campaign against the Dark Eldar on the world of Nartaba Octus. He had been assigned to a Blood Angels flotilla that was responsible for overseeing the evacuation of the human scientific colony in place on that Imperial world before it was subjected to an Exterminatus. The sadistic xenos had infested the planet, and despite the Blood Angels' best efforts, a horde of Dark Eldar had defied full extermination on the ground. Meros was a part of the rearguard, the last group to evacuate the doomed world.
While attending to an injured civilian, the Apothecary was shot in the back by one of the xenos by a deadly Soul-Seeker round. The dart was the war-shot from a Dark Eldar Splinter Gun, the venomous shard poisoned by conventional means, but doubly so by some monstrous form of psychic impregnation. The toxin it exuded would not only destroy flesh, but also disintegrate a man's very soul. Any attempt to dig out the round would shatter it, driving the toxins even deeper into the wounded victim's tissues.
Gravely wounded, Meros slipped into the deep torpor of a recovery sleep, his Sus-an Membrane automatically activating. In a desperate attempt to save the mortally injured Apothecary, he was placed by Sergeant Cassiel and Brother Sarga into one of the specially constructed golden sarcophagi of the Blood Angels. These life-giving marvels of arcane technology were master-crafted pieces of machinery, so advanced that even a Techmarine could not fully fathom the intricacies of its workings. These sarcophagi were used in the IX Legion's ritual of transforming an Aspirant from a stunted, radioactive Baal tribesman into a Blood Angel Astartes; their restructured bodies and features taking on a beauty in the course of their metamorphosis that echoed that of their angelic forebear.
Meros' Battle-Brothers believed that by placing their comrade in the sarcophagus it would help purge the poisoned blood from his system, replacing it with fresh, clean vitae. During his time spent in the sarcophagus, Meros met Brother Rafen in a maddened psychic fever-dream, a Blood Angel from the far distant future of the late 41st Millennium. They both shared a genetic link through their shared experience in the same sarcophagus, despite being separated by ten standard millennia.
Soon, both Blood Angels realised they were not alone as they both encountered in their visions the golden guardian of vengeance known as the Sanguinor. The stories that Rafen had been told was that this being was an avatar of all that was good and noble in the character of his Chapter; an undying force of pure will that would give its blessing to Blood Angels warriors fighting against the most hopeless of odds. The Sanguinor was the golden angel of vengeance who would descend from the skies in the Blood Angels' moment of greatest need.
Not trusting his own eyes, Rafen reflexively pulled his Bolter from its holster and trained the weapon on the mysterious entity. Rafen had never truly believed the stories, for he had fought at the speartip of wars that shook the pillars of his Chapter's history, and he had never seen the face of this legend; and to see it now, in this place, brought a sudden fury to the Blood Angel.
Meros saw Rafen draw his pistol upon the golden warrior. The figure in gold could only be one thing, one being -- for the strictures of the IXth Legion forbade any but the Primarch himself and the warriors of his personal Sanguinary Guard from donning such armour. It could only be Sanguinius himself; and here before Meros the warrior Rafen was bringing a weapon to bear upon him. Assuming that the Sanguinor could only be their beloved Primarch, Meros attempted to stop Rafen. Brother Rafen informed Meros that Sanguinius had been long dead for over ten thousand Terran years and that the Blood Angels no longer existed as a Legion.
Refusing to believe such blasphemies, Meros became enraged and attacked Rafen. But before the two Blood Angels could kill one another, they were soon beset on all sides by phantasms. Putting aside their differences, the two Blood Angels fought side-by-side, managing to vanquish their phantom enemies. Both Blood Angels had found a sense of camaraderie through their shared genetic heritage.
Rafen soon realised the dire portents of such a meeting. Before being medically awoken from their parallel, yet separate comas separated by vast distances of time and history, Rafen attempted to communicate with his genetic forebear. With all his might, with every last moment of his strength, Rafen fought to utter a warning. From his mouth came a single, strangled word. A curse. "Horus—." The Sanguinor quickly intervened before Rafen could finish his warning of Horus' betrayal and placed a golden gauntlet over the silent lips of its unmoving mask, indicating to the Blood Angel to be silent. At that particular moment, both Blood Angels were pulled back into their respective timelines.
Upon awakening from the sarcophagus, miraculously healed from near-death, Meros was surprised to see the Sanguinary Guard's Commander Azkaellon checking on his progress. Though he had thought the Apothecary would surely die from his grievous wounds, the usually stern Blood Angels honour guard commander was actually impressed by Meros’ resilience. Azkaellon then informed the assembled Blood Angels that were present that they had received new orders from the Warmaster Horus. The entirety of the IXth Legion was to gather for battle and new glory. Such an assemblage of the Sons of Sanguinius was unprecedented. For the Primarch to gather them all for war, the deed would have to be of great import. The Blood Angels Legion's destination was the Signus Cluster.
Meros served aboard the Blood Angels’ flagship Red Tear during the beginning of the Imperial campaign into the Signus System. Not long after arriving in-system, the Blood Angels discovered wrecked spacecraft drifting beyond the edges of the Signus Cluster. The IX Legion's scouts had found the wreckage of more than a dozen different craft drifting in the gravity shadow of the world known as Phoros. Civilian haulers, defence force monitors, and shuttles. Many of these spacecraft were not even Warp-capable. Their trajectory suggested that they were fleeing from the inner worlds of the system.
Soon the Imperial fleet was rife with rumour, as stories began to circulate about something unusual that had been discovered by the Blood Angels’ scout vessel Numitor. Docking with the Red Tear, the frigate Numitor had the docking cylinder to itself, and as a precaution all auxiliaries and non-combatant mortal crewmen were dismissed to other duties. Meros and a complement of fellow Astartes Apothecaries were summoned by a brisk summons with little explanation as to the reason. Meros wondered why armed Battle-Brothers were needed to escort a medical party on the deck of the Primarch’s own flagship, but no explanations were forthcoming.
Each medicae had an assigned number of bodies to examine, and were then to pool their findings. Donning their full suits of Power Armour, the Apothecaries were to observe all biohazard procedures and report anything anomalous immediately. Meros followed his comrades out on to the service deck and found the four coffins set aside for him to examine. He wondered why the corpses had been brought aboard the Red Tear, but it was standard operating procedure.
The Red Tear had the most advanced medicae labs and technical facilities of any starship in the IX Legion's fleet. As he opened the container and examined each body in turn, Meros quickly discovered heaps of clothing, curiously laid out in the shape of a person. Taking a sample of blood he discovered that the blood had somehow been altered. The vial of vitae, when held up to the light, showed that instead of crimson fluid, the matter within the crystal tube was thick and sluggish, an oily paste almost purple in colour.
Upon closer scrutiny of the corpses, Meros quickly discovered that the bodies lacked rigidity as they were sunken and shriveled in a way that suggested a peculiar form of decay. Much to his shock, he discovered that that there were no bones within the corpses. They were little more than bags of skin and meat in the shape of a human being, misshapen under the weight of their own mass. Even more strangely, the Apothecaries could not figure out how the bones had been removed. The assembled Apothecaries were ordered by First Captain Raldoron to not discuss what they had seen without permission from their commanding officers.
As the Blood Angels continued their investigation of the scattered fleet of wrecked vessels, they could not figure out why these craft were even in that particular zone of space. The people of these ships had been obviously so afraid that they willingly sought out the embrace of deep space in order to escape whatever horror they had witnessed. By order of the Primarch, a task force of Blood Angels Astartes were to travel ahead to Signus VI, the Hive World known as Holst by its people, to discern the fate of the people of that planet.
Meros and a squad of Blood Angels, accompanied by three Word Bearers Astartes, were sent down to the surface of the planet to investigate. But en route, their mortal pilot was overcome by the nightmarish visions that continued to plague him and all of the unaugmented humans aboard the IX Legion's fleet since it had entered the Signus System. The pilot succumbed to madness and shot the Servitors, the rest of the mortal crew and himself, forcing Meros to pilot the Stormbird and make a crash landing.
Once they arrived on the surface of the planet, the Astartes quickly realised they had no communication with their fleet and would not be missed for at least ten hours. They decided to go ahead and explore the planet’s surface, investigating the outer wards of Holst-Prime Hive. During their investigation, the small detachment of Space Marines heard the sounds of gunfire. The Space Marine on point, Brother Xagan of the Blood Angels, had somehow mysteriously disappeared down some ragged sink-hole within one of the habitat buildings.
The only sign of his passing was a discarded Umbra Ferrox Pattern Bolter, vapour still curling from its muzzle. As they continued their investigation, the Blood Angels became separated from the three Word Bearers that had been accompanying them, just as they encountered enemy contact from unknown vectors. When Meros and the Blood Angels caught up to their compatriots, they discovered a dead Word Bearer Space Marine.
Dark, oily fluid stained the slate-coloured Power Armour of the dead Astartes. With a start, Meros realised that the purple fluid was the Space Marine's blood -- the strange vitae filled his thoughts, his senses. It was the same strange blood he had discovered in the boneless corpses aboard the Red Tear. Suddenly, and without warning, the Word Bearers' Captain immediately interposed himself between the Apothecary and the mutilated remains of his Battle-Brother.
As Meros and the contingent of Space Marines attempted to escape from the outer wards of Holst-Prime, the hive city itself came alive, attacking the Astartes in the form of living metallic constructs formed from fragments of wreckage. Surrounded and outnumbered, the small task force was only saved by the timely intervention of Captain Nassir Amit and the Blood Angels' 5th Company.
Receiving the strange, but unbelievable reports from the survivors that had been on the planet’s surface, Sanguinius ordered the destruction of the cursed planet. Priming their cyclonic torpedoes and megaweapon systems, the entirety of the Blood Angels fleet bombarded Holst, subjecting it to the rarely used punishment of Exterminatus. Like a tormented animal, the planet ended with a tortured scream that even the void could not silence.
Meros would later be a part of a detachment from the 24th Company that set down on the surface of the Agri-World of Scoltrum to investigate whether or not they were any survivors aboard a Signusi frigate called the Stark Dagger, which had attempted to flee from the core worlds of the system. The Stark Dagger had been a part of the Signus Cluster’s outer defence squadron. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful in their attempt to flee and crash-landed upon the surface of the doomed planet. The Blood Angels managed to rescue a small band of survivors which included a Pariah amongst their number.
Upon the blighted Signusi capital world of Signus Prime, Apothecary Meros met his ultimate fate. It was there that the Blood Angels Legion finally confronted the true enemy that now controlled the Signus System, the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. Upon the Plains of the Damned the ferocious Space Marines confronted the vast, nightmarish horde of Chaos Cultists and packs of monstrous daemons.
Sanguinius swore to personally confront and vanquish Kyriss the Perverse, the Keeper of Secrets and Greater Daemon of Slaanesh who controlled the Signus System, leading his elite companies to besiege the daemons' defiled palace that was known as the Cathedral of the Mark. Awash in blood, the Blood Angels valiantly fought the Forces of Chaos, cutting them down in their corrupted thousands. The ash wastes of Signus Prime, later known as the Plains of the Damned, became a charnel house as the Blood Angels forced their way into the very heart of the Greater Daemon's realm. On the battlefield that was Signus Prime, Sanguinius was confronted by the infamous Bloodthirster Ka'bandha, a Greater Daemon of Khorne.
The Angel and the Daemon fought a titanic battle amidst the blood and carnage all around them. At the height of this confrontation, as the Primarch prepared to strike a killing blow against the fallen Bloodthirster, Ka'bandha struck a dishonourable blow with its massive barbed whip around the Primarch's legs, smashing the Angel to the ground. The Greater Daemon then summoned forth the malefic powers known as the Ragefire, and cut a huge swathe through the ranks of the Sons of Baal with his great axe, killing 500 Blood Angels in an instant. The psychic backlash of so many of his sons dying so suddenly blasted Sanguinius into unconsciousness.
Leaderless, the Blood Angels' fury was unfettered. The brutal violence of the Bloodthirster Ka'bandha unleashed something dark within the psyche of the Blood Angels, a thirst for blood that would not be slaked until the taint of Chaos had been wiped away from the planet. The Sons of Sanguinius lost themselves in the riot of killing. Careful, drilled lines of company and Chapter became broken and mixed, and from hour to hour, the IXth Legion slowly transformed into something wild.
Its Astartes became a red hurricane that tore across Signus Prime leaving nothing in its wake. The Blood Angels fought as they had never fought before, not with cool reason and righteous might as their guides, but with hearts beating for vengeance, a berserker’s blood-thirst on their lips. Unstoppable, all that stood in their path was obliterated. The foe had gravely miscalculated the will of the Angels. Far from being broken by the vicious, brutal attack upon their beloved Sanguinius, they had been cut loose by it.
The bonds that held them in check were slipped, and a darkness previously hidden was fully unleashed. Each of them bayed for the blood of their enemy, but it was a thirst that could not be slaked -- only given respite for a brief interval. The red tide broke upon the walls of the great cathedral with unspeakable violence and the clash of a hundred thousand weapons. Leaderless and out of control, the Blood Angels acted on lethal instinct, converging at the towers of bone with only one impulse powering them forward. Hate drove them into the cohorts of Bloodletters and Succubae defending the approaches to the temple, and they tore the daemonic creatures into shreds. The Sons of Sanguinius were no longer a Space Marine Legion, but a force of nature laying waste to everything that stood in their way.
Miraculously unaffected by the Red Thirst, Chapter Master Raldoron, Meros and a small strike force of Blood Angels assaulted the Cathedral of the Mark. As the majority of their Legion was gripped in the bloody throes of their genetic curse, Meros and his Battle-Brothers fought through hordes of daemons in order to infiltrate the profane basilica. In the meantime, Raldoron's Adjutant, Brother Mkani Kano, gathered his fellow former Librarians who had been forbidden to use their psychic abilities since the Emperor's Decree Absolute during the Council of Nikaea, in an attempt to use their combined psychic abilities to wake their Primarch from his dark torpor.
Using their combined psychic might, the Librarians sacrificed themselves with the exception of Kano, and miraculously awoke their Primarch, bringing him back from the edge of the abyss. The Angel arrived to confront both Kyriss and Ka'bandha. The Bloodthirster and the Angel fought once more, but ultimately, Sanguinius prevailed and cast the Greater Daemon back into the Warp. The Blood Angels discovered the source of the rage that infected their entire Legion. The Dark Apostle Erebus had created a fell device, a psychic construct known as the Ragefire, which contained and was powered by the half-dead body of Captain Tagas, the former Captain of the Blood Angels' 111th Company, who had been presumed killed in action on the world of One-Forty-Twenty, the planet called Murder by all the Space Marines who had fought there several standard years earlier.
Through the use of the dark sorceries of Chaos, the Word Bearers had created a conduit of undiluted rage that consumed nearly the entirety of the Blood Angels Legion. Driven to uncontrollable rage over their fallen Primarch, the Forces of Chaos hoped that the Blood Angels would lose control of their noble aspect, and willingly give themselves over to the Scarlet Path and the worship of the Blood God Khorne.
The Red Angel
In bloody defeat, Kyriss the Perverse offered Sanguinius a foul deal: if the Primarch would willingly take the place of the half-dead Tagas within the psychic construct and give himself fully to the Ragefire, he would ensure that his sons would never again be affected by the genetic curse of the Red Thirst.
The Primarch seriously contemplated the daemon's offer and finally came to the conclusion that this sacrifice was worth it to save his beloved sons. But before Sanguinius could enter the construct, Meros made the decision for him, and leapt into the suspended crystal lattice. Sanguinius threw himself into the air in an effort to save his errant son, but was too late. The Apothecary committed the act without uncertainty, for he knew it was right. The Angel could not fall.
When Meros had met the future Blood Angels Sergeant Rafen of the late 41st Millennium in the dreamscape of their joint healing blood-sleep, he had said a name, a warning. Only at that moment did Meros fully understand. Sanguinius had to live, in order to meet the Arch-Traitor Horus on equal footing. When the terrible confrontation finally came, the Angel had to be there to face him, brother against brother.
Before Meros stepped into the swirling vortex of undiluted rage, he forcibly and painfully forced his cutter to open a jagged tear through the layers of ceramite and flesh beneath. Using the Reductor on his gauntlet's Narthecium, he guided the device as it bore through his skin, and removed his own Progenoid Glands. The device sucked the nodules of gene-rich tissue into a reservoir pod, sealed within for preservation. Meros' bequest to his Legion now lay secured. Detaching the medicae module from his armour he tossed it towards his Primarch, who snatched it out of the air, and requested that Sanguinius take it, so that something of him would live on.
The Angel vowed to honour his son's final request. With this final act, Meros stepped into the whirling vortex. Meros transformed, writhing in the grip of an infernal glow as the burning power merged with every atom of his being. The flesh of his face distorted into a hollow mask far beyond the guise of pain. His armour became dark and disfigured, joints steaming, the shell of it trembling as it fought to contain energies never meant to be bound to this reality. In the Warp's shadow, a pair of ghostly, blood-drenched wings briefly unfolded from the wounded Apothecary's back, anointing the ruined bones beneath with a rain of phantasmal blood; then they were gone as Meros' body was possessed by a daemon of the Blood God. Brother Meros was gone, and in his place was the daemonic Red Angel.
Confronting the daemon-possessed Blood Angel, Sanguinius demanded that the avatar of hate release its hold on his son. The Red Angel flatly refused. When the Primarch inquired if there was any small part of Meros that remained, the Red Angel responded that there was a small trace of the former Apothecary. The Primarch told the vile creature to heed his words; whatever Ruinous Powers it served, whatever irrational choice Horus had made to seek a pact with them, they stood defeated this day upon the cusp of victory.
Sanguinius vowed that Meros' sacrifice would not be in vain, and that one day, he would find a way to free him from the daemon that now possessed his mortal shell. The Red Angel then took its leave from the Cathedral of the Mark and disappeared into a Warp Gate that it had conjured.
The Blood Angels then completed their purge of the daemons on Signus Prime and even Kyriss the Perverse was sent screaming back to the Warp at the end of Sanguinius' sacred blade.
As for the daemonic entity known as the Red Angel, it presented itself to Horus aboard his flagship, the Battleship Vengeful Spirit. The Red Angel revealed itself as the Fallen Son of Baal, the Cruor Angelus, the Willing Slave. The Red Angel was a weapon to be used at Horus and the Traitor Legions' disposal, a weapon intended to seize Terra and throw down the False Emperor.
- Bloodline (Chapterbook) by James Swallow
- Fear to Tread (Novel) by James Swallow
- Vengeful Spirit (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions, pp. 265-266