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Mundus Planus is the formal Imperial High Gothic name for the Feudal World its inhabitants call Chogoris, the homeworld of the White Scars Space Marine Chapter, which lies in the Yasan Sector of the Ultima Segmentum of the galaxy.

It is from the savage horse nomads of Chogoris that the White Scars raise their Neophytes, who are well-suited to the White Scars' highly mobile way of war.

History

Birthworld of the Khan

The ancient text known as the Liber Historica Vangelia records that the Primarch Jaghatai Khan arrived at a world in the Ultima Segmentum originally designated by Imperial cartographers by the High Gothic name Mundus Planus, but known to its own inhabitants as Chogoris.

Chogoris is a fertile world characterised by lush greenery, soaring mountains and azure seas, which, at the time of the Great Crusade in the early 31st Millennium, had achieved a level of technology commensurate with the Late Medieval or early Renaissance periods during Old Earth's Age of Progress in which black powder weapons had only recently been introduced.

A Census Imperialis of the day records that the dominant Chogorian empire at this time was an organised feudal aristocracy that had conquered most of the planet with well-equipped and highly disciplined pre-industrial armies. Armoured horsemen wearing full plate and densely packed blocks of infantry had won every campaign their ruler, the Palatine, had ever fought.

Chogoris Map

Galactic location of Chogoris

To the west of the Palatine's empire was a vast, wind-blown steppe, known as the "Empty Quarter," home to nomadic tribes of savage horsemen who for centuries had roamed the vast grasslands. The tribes of the steppes lived in tents and followed a cycle of seasonal migration from summer pastures to protected winter valleys in Chogoris' Khum Karta Mountains.

Consummate horsemen and archers, these disparate tribes frequently fought one another for control of ancestral pastureland or -- as their own ballads would have it -- the sheer joy of battle. Chogorian armies had never invaded the Empty Quarter as the dry and desolate lands were of no value to the Palatine's people. However, the feudal nobles of the Palatine's state would often lead hunting bands into the steppes and take whole tribes east as slaves or capture a lone tribesmen to hunt through the mountains for sport.

Many passages in the sacred text of the White Scars Chapter known as The Great Khan are devoted to detailing the full extent of Chogorian atrocities by the servants of the Palatine. The blood rituals and sacrifices described within these passages have led many Imperial scholars to postulate that the Palatine's empire may have been dedicated to the worship of the Dark Gods in one of their many guises across the galaxy.

The Legend of Jaghatai Khan

JaghataiKhanPencil

An ancient Remembrancer's sketch of the Primarch Jaghatai Khan

Jaghatai Khan's legend began near the Quonon River when Ong Khan, the leader of a small tribe known as the Talskars, first encountered the Primarch, who had arrived on Chogoris in his gestation capsule after being flung through the Warp like the other Primarchs from Terra through the intervention of the Ruinous Powers.

Ong Khan believed that the glowing child was a gift from the gods and took him into his family and named him Jaghatai. It was said of Jaghatai that since his early childhood he had a "fire in his eyes," a Talskari term applied to a man who was expected to become a great warrior. It was also said about the young Jaghatai that rival steppe tribes hated the child because he had the wisdom to see beyond the constant warfare that dominated life on the steppes of the Empty Quarter.

Legends recount that the most influential moment in Jaghatai's life was the slaying of his adopted father by the rival Kurayed tribe. Jaghatai, even as a young child, was the greatest warrior of the tribe and gathered Talaskar troops to avenge the death of his father.

They moved on the Kurayed tribe and razed its yurts to the ground, slaying every man, woman and child in a murderous, revenge-driven frenzy. Khan took the head of the enemy tribe leader and mounted it on his tent. This is what shaped him into a man of fierce honour, loyalty and ruthlessness. From then on, he swore to end the constant tribal in-fighting, unite all the people of the Empty Quarter and bring an end to the practice of brother fighting brother.

Primarch Jhagatai Khan

An ancient illustration from Carpinus' Speculum Historiale showing Jaghatai Khan, Primarch of the White Scars Legion in all his lethal glory

Khan fought hundreds of battles against other tribes and defeated hunting packs of nobles sent by the Palatine. Jaghatai's clear military talents and the sheer force of his personality won him many followers and soon his warriors were as numerous as the stars.

Jaghatai's army became known as the Mathuli, a Talskari word meaning "irresistible force." He made military service mandatory for all men within the Talskari confederacy and combined warriors of different tribes into the same units to break up their previous tribal associations and rivalries, fostering a fierce loyalty to the entirety of the Talskari people and ultimately to himself. He promoted men purely on the basis of ability and brought a feeling of shared purpose to everyone he came into contact with.

Ten summers after his arrival on Chogoris, as his tribe moved to their winter settlements, the Primarch was traveling on a mountainside with a group of his followers. A vast avalanche pushed him and his group back down the mountain, killing the normal men. Jaghatai survived, but could not get back up the mountain in time before the tribe moved on.

Khan was caught by one of the Palatine's aristocratic hunting bands led by the son of that emperor. All that returned of that band was one mutilated rider with the head of the son of the Palatine and a note saying that the people of the steppes were no longer his toys.

When the snows cleared that year, an enraged Palatine gathered a massive army and determined to march west to wipe the tribes of the Empty Quarter from the face of the planet. He had, however, underestimated the power and ability of Khan and brought his highly-disciplined army of heavily-armoured cavalry and arquebusiers. This proved to be his downfall as they could not catch the lightly armoured Talaskar tribesmen.

The constant rain of arrows from the tribesmen took their toll on the tight ranks of the Palatine's warriors. Eventually the tribesmen defeated the army of the Palatine, who escaped back to his capital with a select few bodyguards. The rest of his army was slaughtered, almost to the last man.

After the battle, all the tribal elders of the Empty Quarter gathered and announced that Jaghatai Khan was now the Khagan, the "Khan of Khans," of the Empty Quarter, the rightful ruler of all its people.

The Khagan now began the long process of conquering the rest of the planet, which possessed only a single continent. It was during this momentous time that Jaghatai would meet several lifelong comrades -- including Targutai Yesugei, Qin Xa and Hasik -- all of whom would fight alongside the Primarch during their conquest of Chogoris, and would eventually go on to serve the Khagan for many Terran centuries to come.

Jaghatai gave those cities of the Palatine he besieged two choices -- to surrender or die. Most surrendered, but many resisted and were destroyed, utterly wiped from the face of the planet. Eventually the armies of Jaghatai came to the Palace of the Palatine, where the Primarch demanded the head of the Palatine on a spike.

His request was obliged by the capital city's population, which turned on their ruler to save their own lives from the fierce tribesmen of the Empty Quarter. Jaghatai Khan adorned his tent with his greatest conquest's head, just as he had with his first enemy two solar decades before.

Brotherhood-of-the-storm

The Great Khan fighting against Orks on Chondax

The Khan's power eventually stretched from ocean to ocean, and became the largest empire the planet had ever known, conquered by a single man in less than twenty standard years. Though Jaghatai Khan dominated a vast area, he knew that his people had no desire to rule such a realm. His new empire had grown from his urge to unite the tribes of the Empty Quarter and exact vengeance upon their cruel enemies, not from any hunger to occupy or rule their lands.

Yet ultimate power had come to rest with the Khan and his generals. Although they were well organised militarily, the tribes had not developed the necessary political structures or cultural understandings required to rule settled populations.

As the ruler of his world, Jaghatai ended the wars that had wracked Chogoris, keeping the peace with the threat of utter ruin for those who transgressed his simple laws.

What the Khagan might have created in isolation from the embers of civilisation on Chogoris will never be known, for it was but a short while after his ascension to the throne that the Emperor of Mankind arrived to change his destiny forever.

Coming of the Emperor

Jaghatai's campaign of global conquest ended less than six solar months before the Emperor came to Chogoris in 865.M30 as part of His Great Crusade. Ironically, despite their role as pathfinders and discoverers, it was not a Pioneer Company of the Vth Legion that would discover lost Chogoris, but instead a fleet of the Luna Wolves Legion accompanied by both Horus and the Emperor.

On that long-isolated world, Jaghatai had prospered, binding together the fractured tribes of the hinterlands to conquer empires and subjugate the entire world to his will. It was an achievement to rival any of those of his brother-Primarchs in their foundling years, and the Emperor hailed him as a true son and inheritor of the legacy He had prepared for him.

The Great Khan, himself a builder of empires, was handed a destiny that saw him resigned to the role of servant and not master, bound to the ambitions of the Emperor. Such abasement did not come easily to such a conqueror as he, one who had slain kings and tyrants across the breadth of Chogoris, but still the Great Khan knelt before this Emperor.

Most historical accounts, such as that of the noted Imperial historian Carpinus, who compiled a detailed history of the Great Crusade in the so-called Speculum Historiale, indicate that Jaghatai was overawed by the Emperor of Mankind and submitted without question to his ideal of unity, but his own journals and writings show a more pragmatic reasoning behind the submission. Jaghatai, who had struggled long with the disunity of his adopted people, saw clearly the benefits of the Imperium and the Emperor's secular doctrine of the Imperial Truth, and in the ranks of the Luna Wolves he saw the dire cost of opposition.

It was the same choice he himself had once offered to the tribes and cities of Chogoris, and even when it was cloaked in pomp and ceremony, the Khan of Khans understood what the Emperor's offer meant: to live as His vassal or perish as His rival. So the Khagan bargained for his loyalty and that of those he ruled, taking from the Emperor those guarantees he deemed fair regarding the treatment of the people of Chogoris and of his role in the future empire.

He would fight once again for unity and in secret revelled in the new challenge before him, at last able to slip the bonds of duty that had kept him busy with the mundane realities of governorship on Chogoris.

Despite having already mastered the strategies of conquest in his own war against the petty empires of Chogoris, Jaghatai Khan was unfamiliar with the advanced weapons and war engines of the Imperium. With fighting across the galaxy reaching a fevered intensity, the forces of the Emperor could ill spare any Primarch for lengthy training in the etiquette of the Terran Court or the intricacies of Imperial history.

All were needed upon the front lines as the expanding Imperium began to encounter more and more powerful xenos realms and fallen kingdoms of Mankind hidden in the dark void. The conquest of Chogoris was, in the eyes of the Emperor and many of the Primarchs, more than proof of Jaghatai's skill at war.

Indeed, of all of his new brother Primarchs, only Roboute Guilliman and Rogal Dorn objected to the all too brief period of induction that Jaghatai received. Both felt that to leave the new Primarch bereft of a true understanding of the Imperium's foundation and culture would leave him ill-prepared to integrate properly with its factions and politics.

Despite these objections, whose foresight was to prove unfortunate, the full authority of Legion Master of the Vth Legion was invested in Jaghatai, known among his brothers as "the Khan" and among his own warriors as the Khagan, the Khan of Khans.

The Khan's Terran-born gene-sons adopted the practice of bearing the long facial scars of their Primarch's Talskar tribesmen that ran from forehead to chin to show that they were warriors, and renamed themselves the White Scars in honour of their Primarch's people.

The Great Khan ascended to the heavens with the Emperor, passing the Khanship of Chogoris and the Talskar to his general Ogedei. Many of Jaghatai's followers elected to join their Khan and became Space Marines within the Vth Legion. The White Scars' Legionary culture soon came to be dominated by the beliefs and practices of the nomadic tribes of Chogoris.

Chogoris at Present

Chogoris is a fertile world that still exists in a semi-feudal state. With the departure of the Great Khan, Ogedei became the new leader of the Talskar tribes and, while he was a great warrior, he was no Jaghatai Khan. Without the Primarch, the tribes soon returned to their warring ways and within the space of a few Terran years, the unified empire of the tribes created by Jaghatai had ceased to exist.

The tribes went back to their homelands in the steppes and life on Chogoris carried on much as it had before the arrival of the Great Khan. Some of the Primarch's biographers claim that the Khan must have known that this would happen and yet left anyway.

They suggest that perhaps he desired the restoration of the old inter-tribal warfare in order to keep his people strong enough to provide future recruits for his new Legion of Astartes. Indeed, in the millennia that followed, many men would rise to unite the tribes, but none would ever succeed as spectacularly as Jaghatai Khan.

To this day the Chapter Master of the White Scars is known as the Great Khan and dwells in Jaghatai's palace of Quan Zhou, atop the highest, most inaccessible peak in the Khum Karta Mountains. The marbled fortress-monastery of the White Scars is a magnificent sight, but few outsiders have ever been allowed within it. The mountain city and its savage beauty is famed throughout the Ultima Segmentum and its walls are said to contain rivers and forests running with game, which the Great Khan hunts for sport.

The winding valley-pass that leads up to the fortress-monastery's adamantium gates is lined with the severed heads of countless defeated foes, and the feasting halls within its marbled walls are heavily hung with a great wealth of trophies taken by the White Scars' greatest heroes from thousands of battlefields.

Like other fortress-monasteries, Quan Zhou is armoured and void-shielded to withstand any siege or bombardment from land, air or space, and its walls bristle with enough heavy ordnance to flatten a hive city. Every aerial approach to the monastery is protected by Icarus Pattern Lascannons and a macro-laser known as Khan's Fury, which stands a spear of vengeance to any space-borne enemies that dare attack the White Scars.

The fortress-monastery's Librarius is a lightning-wracked spire where the Chapter's Librarians, often referred to as Stormseers within the Chapter, study lore and chronicle the deeds of the Khans. They also preside over the Chapter's astropaths as they relay psychic messages throughout the void, communicating with the greater Imperium and those of the Chapter's Brotherhoods (companies) hunting the foes of the Emperor across the galaxy.

The Stormseers of the White Scars venture down into the steppes every ten summers to observe the Chogorian tribes and their battles, picking the best and bravest warriors amongst them and returning with them to Quan Zhou where they will undergo the process to become Space Marines.

The pyre-tombs of fallen White Scars in the Khum Karta (which means "The Mountains that Scrape the Stars" in the native Chogorian dialect of the Talskars) are places of great pilgrimage for young tribal warriors, and those that survive a journey through one of these dangerous valleys are considered especially courageous and worthy of becoming Aspirants to join the White Scars.

Post-Heresy Events

In 890.M41, a Necron Cairn-class Tomb Ship entered orbit over Chogoris and began an orbital bombardment of an unpopulated area on the planet's surface for unknown reasons. The White Scars Battle Barge Jaghatai's Pride pierced the Tomb Ship's defences as the great Defence Laser of the Quan Zhou fortress-monastery destroyed the Necron vessel with a single blast.

In 990.999.M41, Chogoris was among the star systems besieged by a Red Corsairs pirate fleet under the command of Huron Blackheart. The White Scars were forced to withdraw from their participation in the Third War for Armageddon and Second Agrellan Campaign to deal with the threat.

Following the fall of Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, the permanent Warp Storm known as the Maelstrom's wrath grew greater by the solar day. Like a storm cloud that raced swiftly from the distant horizon to darken the skies above, the Warp rift billowed and swelled until it seemed to blot out the stars from the surface of Chogoris.

The world writhed at its touch. Grasslands burned. Beasts ran wild, mutated into monstrous, deformed things. From the heart of the Maelstrom came the Red Corsairs, marching beneath the banners of the Tyrant of Badab, Huron Blackheart. The tribes of the plains suffered beneath their tainted claws. The Red Corsairs built mountains of the dead, ritual ziggurats of corpse flesh dedicated to the Dark Gods.

The White Scars did not know what goal they worked toward, but they were surely close to its completion, and the Astartes left on the world at their fortress-monastery remained too few to hunt them all. These White Scars sent astropathic transmissions across the galaxy to the scattered forces of the Chapter, calling for them to return to the homeworld and deal with the Renegades before whatever malefic ritual they had planned was completed.

Thankfully for the White Scars, the resurrected Roboute Guilliman's Indomitus Crusade eventually reached Chogoris during the Noctis Aeternum and managed to relieve the world and deliver new reinforcements of Primaris Space Marines to the Chapter.

Sources

  • Gathering Storm - Part Three - Rise of the Primarch (7th Edition), pg. 41 (sidebar)
  • Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 21, 34
  • Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 37, 38
  • Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 30-49, 50 (Map)
  • Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 27-34
  • Index Astartes I, "Lightning Attack - The White Scars Space Marines Chapter," pp. 40-47
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Eight: Malevolence (Forge World Series) by Neil Wylie and Anuj Malhotra, pp. 139-142
  • Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse
  • White Dwarf 257 (UK), "Index Astartes I: Index Astartes - Lightning Attack - The White Scars Space Marine Chapter"
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