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"My sons, the galaxy is burning. We all bear witness to a final truth -- our way is not the way of the Imperium. You have never stood in the Emperor's light. Never worn the Imperial eagle. And you never will. You shall stand in midnight clad, your claws forever red with the lifeblood of my father's failed empire, warring through the centuries as the talons of a murdered god. Rise, my sons, and take your wrath across the stars, in my name. In my memory. Rise, my Night Lords."

Primarch Konrad Curze, at the final gathering of the VIIIth Legion

The Night Lords were originally the VIIIth Legion of Space Marines created during the First Founding. They betrayed the trust of the Emperor of Mankind during the Horus Heresy of the 31st Millennium and became one of the 9 Traitor Legions of Chaos Space Marines.

The Night Lords do not worship any of the four major Chaos Gods individually, but acknowledge them equally in the form of Chaos Undivided as they ruthlessly spread terror and fear amongst the galaxy's inhabitants. The Night Lords are experts in the use of terror tactics to win battles and demoralise their foes before the main combat even begins.

The Night Lords are synonymous with terror and murder, for their favoured mode of warfare is the unfettered application of brutal, overwhelming force. They show no mercy whatsoever, eschewing all subtlety and guile for wanton bloodshed and destruction. While such an approach might appear mindless, at one time it was different.

Ten millennia ago, the Night Lords' Primarch Konrad Curze was driven to acts of extreme violence by a deep-rooted desire to punish the guilty and impose order upon the anarchy in which he grew up. Only later, when the doomed primarch surrendered his soul to the Ruinous Powers was his relentless drive for justice perverted into the form it now takes among his gene-sons.

While many of the primarchs were raised by those peoples they found themselves amongst after the Ruinous Powers scattered them to the corners of the galaxy, Konrad Curze grew to maturity in very different circumstances. The world of Nostramo was a lightless industrial waste, its cities teeming and anarchic and its main export the raw adamantium found beneath the surface. Curze survived as a wild thing, living in the lowest depths of the hive cities and competing for food with the vermin and scum of the sewers.

Like all of the primarchs, he matured quickly, bearing witness as he did so to the most horrific excesses of Nostromo's corrupt society. Murder was rife and the people lived in constant fear. No natural light lit the alleys and the depths, and all manner of fell criminals lurked within them. Soon, Curze began to prey upon these criminals, mounting their mutilated corpses where all could see and take heed. The terror that stalked the streets exacting vengeance upon the lawless soon became known as the "Night Haunter," and so fearful were the people of his judgement that soon all, not just the criminals, locked themselves inside their dwellings, and a peace of sorts was imposed upon the dark world.

As with most of the primarchs, by the time the Emperor found Konrad Curze he had risen to a position of dominance over his world. Curze's rule as Nostramo's "Dark King" was not one of beneficence, however, but one of fear and repression. The people of Nostromo had been entirely delivered from the predations of criminals, but not by way of enlightenment or the imposition of a new legal order. Rather, the people knew that even the slightest malfeasance would result in Curze himself visiting death upon the criminal. When the Emperor presented Himself to the primarch, the people believed that a new age had arrived. Yet, when the Emperor took Curze back to Terra, Nostromo was plunged back into anarchy, for no one was left to enforce order.

Despite the brutality of his methods, Konrad Curze's actions appear to have been motivated by a deep, if twisted, sense of justice. In the brutal underworld in which he had matured, the primarch had learned that only total dominance would suffice and that to show any sign of weakness was to invite treachery. Even when Curze joined his brothers in the glorious campaigns of the Great Crusade, he appeared to hold to such views, eschewing such notions as hope and optimism which drove others to instead believe in the dark realities of the natural order.

He remained sullen and introspective, and shunned the companionship of his brothers. He preferred the company of the warriors of his own Legion, the Night Lords whom he indoctrinated into his favoured methods of combat and fear-driven control.

Even before the outset of the Horus Heresy, the Night Lords were using methods most others would have denounced as brutally unnecessary, inhumane and cruel. The Night Lords conquered utterly those who did not welcome the coming of the Great Crusade, crushing all opposition to Imperial rule in such an overwhelming and brutal fashion that no others would dare resist.

NightLordsAstartes

A Night Lords Chaos Space Marine

As with so many of the primarchs who rebelled against the Emperor and all they had been created to stand for, Konrad Curze crossed a line from which there was no return before his betrayal. Having physically clashed before the start of the Horus Heresy with Rogal Dorn, he was censured by his brothers, who convened a council to consider the matter of their darkling brother's seeming mental instability. Curze however slew his guards on the world of Cheraut and fled, outrunning his pursuers and returning to Nostromo.

There, in 984.M30, he enacted his final revenge upon a society that had descended back into the corruption and criminality from which he had strived so hard to deliver it. The Night Lords' fleet targetted a weak point in the planet's crust and unleashed every weapon in their arsenal, destroying Nostromo and, some would say, damning Konrad Curze for all eternity.

When the Warmaster Horus revealed his treachery and plunged the galaxy into the fires of civil war, Curze embraced the Traitors' cause and threw himself into a bitter campaign of death and destruction, giving full vent to his most violent urges. It was never sufficient to simply defeat an enemy army. Curze taught his Legion to make an example of those who stood against them, to destroy their enemies' cities, slay their kin and display their broken corpses as a message to all others. His Legion wreaked bloody and savage murder across the galaxy, which continued even after Horus' defeat at the height of the Siege of Terra.

Curze did not fall to Chaos during the Horus Heresy, and neither did he receive the dark blessing of the Ruinous Powers in the form of apotheosis to Daemonhood like his Traitor brothers. Instead, he met his end at the hand of an assassin of the Callidus Temple.

It is known that throughout his life Curze was struck with powerful psychic visions of the worst of all possible futures, and that his last had been a foretelling that he would die at the hand of one such as she. These visions were part of Curze's genetic inheritance from the Emperor, allowing him to share in a limited and greatly skewed way the Master of Mankind's potent precognitive abilities.

Alone of all the primarchs, Curze welcomed his death, apparently allowing the Callidus Assassin M'Shen to take his life. It is said that in so doing he attained that which he had always craved -- vindication. The primarch's acceptance of his own fate confirmed his bleak worldview of a hypocritical Imperium of Man dedicated to immoral methods to achieve its idealistic goals, granting him a victory he could never attain under the rule of his father.

It is a view still held by the gene-sons who survived him to wreak an eternal campaign of blood and shadowed terror against the hated Imperium of the Corpse Emperor in their Long War.

Legion History

"It is neither the great deeds we perform in battle nor the wise words we utter in peace that shape us, but rather the hidden things we choose to undertake in the dark while none can see that define us."

—Attr. Konrad Curze, carved into the walls of his prison on Cheraut
Night Lords Livery

Night Lords Legion Badge

Since the dark days of the Horus Heresy Imperial scholars have pondered how the truest loyalty of many of the Legiones Astartes could have been turned to base treachery, purest devotion to hate, nobility to wickedness, but for the Night Lords perhaps their hearts always belonged to darkness. Created with a higher purpose, perhaps their end could have been different, but their history is one of poisoned ideology and atrocity.

Even when they were counted amongst the loyal Space Marine Legions, their nature and actions were ever questioned. Some argued that they were simply a function of necessity, the monsters needed to drag a barbaric age into the light. Some say that they were a mistake, a rare misjudgment of the Emperor compounded by circumstance.

A few wonder if they were damned from the moment they were born, that they were destined never to be part of the future they would help create. All such speculation is ultimately pointless; no matter the cause, the Night Lords are creatures of horror and always were.

NL Shoulder Plate2

Night Lords Pre-Heresy Legion Badge

Children of Misrule

The VIIIth Legion was soaked in blood from its birth. The Legion's first recruits came from the linked prison sinks of ancient Terra. In vast caverns filled with the half-crushed ruins of millennia there lived men and women who had transgressed against the laws of their masters. Condemned never to see the light again or breathe free air, they lived out their lives in fear and blind darkness.

There was no law in these lightless lands, and survival existed only by a blade's edge. Only the strongest and the most ruthless survived in the subterranean prison warrens, and those who did grew in cruelty and cunning. Fed by a constant influx from the Terran hive cities above, the prison sinks were an ever hungering gate to madness and murder.

ThraktarHexxNightLords

Night Lords Legion Colour Scheme as displayed by Thraktar Hexx, whose malevolence is so great that it darkens the air around him.

But of the millions who lived and died in the prison sinks, not all had been punished by the world above. Amongst the bloodshed and fear, children were born. Cradled in the dark, and raised amongst death, those who lived over a solar decade were pale, silent creatures who moved without a sound. "The night's children" the prisoners called them, and even the most savage killers would not seek them out by choice.

It was from these pale children that the Emperor of Mankind would create the first warriors of the VIIIth Legion. Dour, with skin so pale it resembled ash or powdered bone, they were far from their brother Legionaries in manner and appearance. The gene-seed of the VIIIth Legion had been well-paired with the Human stock of its first Terran recruits, and if anything it seemed as if one had been made with the other in mind.

Besides accentuating their paleness of skin, the gene-seed of their primarch gave the sons of the Terran underworld the ability to see through darkness to a degree that far exceeded that of the Astartes of other Legions. This gift was also a curse, forcing them to see the light of suns and stars through filters and flare buffers; even though they now walked in the light of the world above, the warriors of the VIIIth Legion already walked in eternal night.

Unification Wars

"Send the Eighth!"

—Attributed to the Emperor of Mankind when He heard of the rise of the reborn threat of the Crimson Walkers.

The first use that the Emperor found for His VIIIth Legion was to bring to heel those who believed that the sins of the past could live on in the newborn Imperium of Man. Several of those who had bent their knee to the Emperor had done so because they believed that it was the only choice. Others, having seen the empires of other techno-barbarian warlords rise and fall during Old Night, believed that they were simply part of yet another temporary arrangement.

NL Legionary Vosk

Night Lords Pre-Heresy Legion Colour Scheme

Crimes against the new order took many faces: from the Saragorn Enclave whose gene atrocities continued in secret, to the psy-breeding of the Court of Antius, and the March of Ten Million, all showed that even in the face of all of the Emperor's might, some would fall back into the forbidden ways of Old Night. When such crimes required not simply crushing but retribution so that an example might be made, the Emperor deployed the nascent VIIIth Legion.

Such actions seemed well-suited to the early VIIIth Legion. Whether as a consequence of their genetic inheritance, or the combination of their origins among the Terran prison sinks and Imperial indoctrination, the warriors of the VIIIth Legion seem to have tended towards moral absolution and a drive to enact retribution. There were no shades of grey in the VIIIth Legion's moral universe, no degrees of guilt or innocence.

Truth and falsehood was as day is to night, indivisible and unqualified. The dark was the realm of guilt, lies and monsters, and those who dwelt in the dark knew only the language of blood, the message of swift and merciless retribution for their actions. Justice brought the light to darkness, and justice was neither warm nor caring, but as indifferent and cold as the edge of a knife.

The warriors of the VIIIth Legion were creatures made to live in the dark, and to fight a war for a future of light. In their core, they were warriors for a future that would have no place for creatures of their kind. At least that is what those who knew the VIIIth Legion now said. Perhaps memory was too kind, perhaps many wished to believe that there was a nobility in such monsters, where in fact there was only horror. Perhaps many wished there to be a purpose behind atrocity, otherwise how could such creatures be suffered to live?

Nostramo: Realm of Eternal Night

It would be easy to say that the coming of Konrad Curze to the VIIIth Legion changed everything, that the fall of the Night Lords began at the moment the Emperor reunited His eighth primarch gene-son with the Legion created from his genome. But it would be truer to say that it was the dark world of Nostramo that set both Curze and the Night Lords on the path to treachery.

Curze was the gene-sire of the VIIIth Legion, but he had two fathers, two hands that shaped his nature and through him the fate of his Legion: the Emperor who spun the substance of Curze's life, and the planet Nostramo which had raised and taught him. What the Emperor originally intended for His gene-sons can never be known, but the nature of Nostramo can be.

Nostramo was a bleak, sunless Hive World of suffering, pain and corruption. At the heart of a string of planets in the Nostramo Sector which had kept the ability to cross the stars through the Age of Strife, it was a world of sprawling cities, of smoke, industry, and the sweat of millions. Nostramo's wealth, for wealth there was, lay in the seams of adamantine ore beneath its surface. Worlds far from Nostramo fed on its output, and the mines had long wormed deep into its flesh.

Nostramo was perpetually dark due to its pollution-clogged atmosphere and the fact that it circled a slowly dying star whose light was unable to penetrate this haze to reach the surface. The world was barely better lit at noon than at midnight. A shroud of perpetual darkness produced by the massive amounts of toxic smog kept the planet swathed in dull greys and deep blacks. Only the rich could afford the Nostraman idea of illumination, which was little more than dim blue illumination-strips that were placed in the ceilings of the ruling hierarchy's luxurious dwellings in the spires of the dark world's hive cities.

The world had five major hive cities that straddled the habitable hub of the planet, named in sequence from Nostramo Prime to Nostramo Quintus. Each hive city functioned as a self-contained industrial system. Due to the synchronicity in the orbit of Nostramo and Tenebor, the moon interposed between Nostramo and its dying sun, these cities experienced the equivalent of a Terran night even during the middle of a Nostraman summer.

Its hive cities were warrens of stone and iron. Kilometre-tall smoke stacks pointed up at the perpetual night. Bridges of black metal criss-crossed the narrow ravines of alleys and streets. Manses, cathedrals and factories grew from the forest of slums, their faces and roofs crawling with gargoyles.

Smog lay over everything like a cloak drawn around a dying man, turning what little light shone from windows or lamps into sickly haloes. Dust, smoke and the reek of toxic chemicals filled the air, and worked into the flesh of every man, woman and child, trimming away their years so that the best that life could offer was a slow decline in grinding servitude, never glimpsing the brightness of hope or the warmth of true happiness.

The physiology and genomes of the people that lived within the Nostraman hive cities remained mostly identical to that of the baseline Humans from the Segmentum Solar, with the exception that none of the planet's people possessed irises; the visible part of their eyes consisted entirely of their pupils. The people of Nostramo were pale, and most were thin and gaunt, given by turns to distrust, dark humour and callousness. This acute form of albinism, though a recessive mutation among baseline Humans, had become common in the Nostraman populace.

The vast majority of the planet's people lived in abject poverty as foundry labourers, whilst the rich grew in affluence, trampling down or simply killing outright any who dared oppose the status quo. Clinical depression and other mental illnesses were an inescapable way of life for most Nostramans, and overpopulation was prevented not by war, disease or legislation, but by the high suicide rate. Most of these unfortunate souls would die coughing up blood and black dust on a mouldering pallet, but death from lung blight, or having chemicals eat out their bones from the inside was not the worst end that could be found on Nostramo.

The dark owned Nostramo, body and soul, and its existence was a horror to equal any xenos enslavement or nightmare of the Dark Age of Technology. If there ever had been true laws, they had vanished long ago, eaten by the greed of a few and the desperation of many. Murder was the currency of life, and strength came from violence.

Every Human sin great and small had its home in Nostramo's endless night. It has been said by those Remembrancers who recorded its history after its reclamation by the Imperium that during this time weeping and pleading were the sounds carried eternally on the wind, and every Nostraman child grew to know that the only law was that of the knife, and the only right belonged to the strong to do with as they willed.

Corrupt and murderous criminal gangs, whether or not they were named as such, ruled every part of Nostramo. From the heights of the nobility to the lowest alley, every inch of Nostramo was someone's domain, someone's territory or hunting ground. In the slum habitation stacks, the gangs ruled by raw fear, killing and torturing as they pleased, fighting wars with the feral packs of outcasts who were closer to animals than Humans. It was said that many of these gangs ate the dead, treating their territories as a predator might a hunting ground.

In the mines and factories which still turned the planet's wheels of industry, the gangs went by names that echoes with a false authority: the Iron Overseers, the Hands of Coregado, the Sons of Toil. Slab muscled and furnace-scarred, they walked the streets clanking with weaponry and reeking of murder, enforcing order that was little more than a form of slavery. In the wealthier areas, the rakeheel sons and daughters of the corrupt Nostraman nobility gathered in packs, clad in costumes like strutting peacocks, as quick to kill with blade or gun as they were to cast an insult.

No matter what their station, almost all the Nostraman gangs owed fealty to one of the numberless barons, counts and lords, who in turn served still more powerful men and women, many of whom styled themselves with courtly titles that echoes a long-forgotten nobility. Though wrapped in the trappings of birth, blood and feudal right, there was no true division between the rulers of Nostramo and its lower born criminal overlords; they were one and the same, cruel monarchs of kingdoms built on sin.

The Night Haunter

"It is better by far to be an object of fear than of respect, for one is a truth of the soul and the other an illusion of the mind."

The Codex Hydra
Konrad Curze sketch

An ancient Remembrancer sketch of Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter, primarch of the Night Lords, from Carpinius' Speculum Historiale.

According to the heretical handwritten chronicle of his life, entitled simply The Dark, the Primarch Konrad Curze's earliest memory was of descending from the heavens in a crackling ball of light to the night-shrouded planet of Nostramo. His embryonic form's gestation capsule, cruelly ripped through the Warp from distant Terra by the machinations of the Chaos Gods, impacted on the dense cityscape of the planet's largest hive city of Nostramo Quintus, smashing though countless levels of urban debris and mouldering architecture, through the planet's crust and into its geosphere before finally coming to a halt near the highly unstable liquid core of the planet.

His descent left a scar in the virtually inviolable adamantium strata of Nostramo, the result of the supernaturally resilient primarch's violent birth into a world that knew no light. The cratered pit his descent had carved into the planet was closed over and later regarded with fear and suspicion. Theoretically, the only way the primarch could have reached the surface was to have swum through molten metal or had his gestation capsule borne upwards through volcanic vents to the surface.

Unlike the other primarchs, Curze was never adopted by a Human family, and was forced to fend for himself in the terrible underhive of Nostramo Quintus. He spent his early life surviving off his wits and determination, feeding himself by hunting the feral animals that roamed through the vast hive city. He was continually plagued by precognitive visions of the darkest possible future, horrifyingly potent waking dreams that would curse him throughout his life.

Uniquely among all the primarchs, Curze grew up completely alone, without other Human contact, surviving only thanks to his wits, ruthlessness, and courage as a child in the underhives of Nostramo Quintus. With his genetically-enhanced body and mind, Curze quickly established himself as a major power in the hive cities of Nostramo and thanks to countless atrocities committed by him against the world's criminal gangs and corrupt nobles, a semblance of law was eventually imposed upon first Nostramao Quintus and then the four other hive cities.

Within a standard year of his arrival in the hive city, the crime rate of Nostramo had fallen away to nothing. Nostraman society was transformed, and the ripples were felt all over the planet. Nostramo Quintus developed a self-imposed curfew; none dared to stray out later than the early evening. The midnight streets, previously buzzing with activity, were as silent as the grave. Mothers threatened disobedient children with the depraved attentions of the "Night Haunter."

Soon the name became more commonplace, used by the populace as a whole. Rumours of a hideous, dark creature that stalked the alleyways and tunnels, its filthy claws ever ready to disembowel those who strayed, abounded within the city. The citizens of Quintus lived a half-life of fear, silent lest their words should be taken as heresy. Nostramo was ripe for the rule of the Night Haunter.

Night Haunter 8th Ed

The Primarch Konrad Curze, the "Night Haunter".

Through the use of sheer brutality, Curze was eventually recognized as first his hive city's and eventually the entire planet's benevolent dictator. It is during this period that Konrad Curze earned the name "Night Haunter" for the vicious murders of literally hundreds, if not thousands, of Nostraman criminals and corrupt aristocrats. Curze later re-adopted the title after he turned to Chaos during the Horus Heresy.

Night Haunter became the first monarch or "Dark King" of Nostramo Quintus, absorbing accumulated knowledge with a diligence almost akin to greed. He ruled with temperance and reason unheard of until word came to him that some injustice had been done, whereupon he alone would hunt the offender through the hive cities' empty streets until exhaustion forced his quarry to collapse. He would then proceed to mutilate his prey, although not beyond recognition.

This unpredictable pattern of benevolent wisdom and hideous vengeance ushered the shocked Nostraman populace into new realms of efficiency and honesty. Exports of adamantium to their neighbouring worlds soon tripled. Nostraman society came to exist in a terrible balance maintained by shared wealth and shared fear. None dared to have more than their neighbour and under the shadow of the Night Haunter's rule, the capital city of Nostramo Quintus grew well-lit and prosperous. And as Nostramo Quintus led the way, the rest of the planet's population followed, anxious to keep the Night Haunter from their own doors.

Curze almost single-handedly rid Nostramo of its culture of crime and predation, using terror as a weapon to crush the planet's ruling criminal syndicates and their corrupt overseers. He then re-established the rule of law under his own draconian leadership, and was revered by the Nostraman people as a benevolent and just dictator.

Curze's hunter instincts, instinctive use of stealth, dependence upon the element of surprise, and extensive reliance upon a form of psychological warfare that devastated his opponents by using their own fear against them were also traits of the VIIIth Space Marine Legion that had been created from his genome. Even before the Horus Heresy, the Night Lords decorated their power armour with symbols of death, realising that fear was a weapon as effective as any bolter or chainsword.

Coming of the Emperor

Almost a standard century after the Great Crusade began, the Emperor and his fleet came to Nostramo in 896.M30. The coming of the Emperor of Mankind was an event that had been prophesied in Nostramo's history: an event that would lead to the planet's downfall. His arrival brought the light of the sun to the night-shrouded world for the first time. The Emperor landed on Nostramo, and led an Imperial delegation to the centre of Nostramo Quintus on foot.

The citizens of Nostramo, adapted to the near-constant darkness, could not bear to look upon the radiance of the Emperor. Most wept as the healing light He projected reflected off the rain-slicked streets into their faces. Those brave enough to look upon Him directly were blinded.

At the end of the broad road leading to the Night Haunter's royal palace, the primarch stood, waiting for the delegation to approach. As they did, he succumbed to a psychic vision of the future so potent and horrifying that he tried to claw his own eyes out, but was stopped by the Emperor. Night Haunter then looked at the Emperor, and the Master of Mankind said to his newfound son:

"Be at peace, Konrad Curze. I have arrived, and I intend to take you home."

"That is not my name, father. My people gave me a name, and I will bear it until my dying day. And I know full well what you intend for me."

Curze submitted to the Emperor's will as if he had already seen it, as if he was playing out a part he had long feared would fall to him. From that moment on, the fate of the VIIIth Legion was set on a dark path to damnation.

Great Crusade

"We have received your offer of surrender and reject it; we did not come to receive your supplication but to enact judgement. The time to surrender has long passed. The verdict is writ by your own hands. Now is the time to die."

— Night Lords multi-channel vox-broadcast, The Pacification of Listrantia IV
Culon Veterans

Culon Veterans of an unidentified Night Lords company and Claw bring another world into Imperial Compliance during the Great Crusade.

Night Haunter quickly adapted to the teachings of the Imperium, studying the complex doctrines of the Legiones Astartes under the Primarch Fulgrim's tutelage. Night Haunter was soon accepted as the leader of the VIIIth Space Marine Legion that had been created from his genome, which he named the Night Lords.

Although he and his Legion excelled in many theatres of war, a tendency soon became apparent. It never occurred to the Night Lords to use anything other than total, brutal and decisive force to achieve their goals. Over the first few standard years of his command, the Night Lords were molded by their primarch into an efficient, humourless force, possessing the fanatical thoroughness of Witch Hunters.

Night Haunter encouraged his Legion to decorate their power armour with images designed to inspire fear in the enemy, a tactic that proved incredibly effective. Soon, rumours of the impending presence of the Night Lords would cause a rebel star system to pay all outstanding Imperial tithes, cease all illegal activities and put to death any mutants and suspected Traitors.

The reuniting of primarch and Legion was the beginning of a spiral that would see the Night Lords descend further into horror and nihilism. After Curze's departure Nostramo shook off his enforced peace, returning to lawlessness. From this point Nostramo fed the VIIIth Legion not with the finest of its youth, but with gutter scum soaked in blood and cruelty. Some claim that this began to poison the Legion, twisting its purpose and making many Night Lords simple murderers gifted with the genetically-engineered strength of demi-gods. This thesis, though, willfully ignores a number of factors, no least of which was Curze's leadership of his Legion. That he came to despise his own gene-sons is likely, but he was still their lord.

Kon-Drayur Tactical Squad

Night Lords Battle-Brothers of the Kon-Drayur Tactical Squad rush into the fray.

Far from restraining the VIIIth Legion he drove it on, bringing peace through atrocity to planet after planet. Sometimes there seems to have been cause for such methods, but often the only explanations for the decimation of populations, for the skinning pits and crucified cities, seems to be that the Night Lords enjoyed it. They had become not necessary monsters, but simply monsters. Curze soon began to lose some of the control he held over his Legion's innate savagery, and the visions of a dark future that plagued him increased in both their lucidity and quantity.

During the time of the Great Crusade, the Night Lords were used by the Emperor as a tool of terror to pacify planets that had been recently conquered by the other Space Marine Legions. Their fearsome reputation caused any rogue planetary governor or uprising of rebels against Imperial Compliance to quickly pay any outstanding tithes or quell their uprisings, as the Night Lords had been known to issue an Exterminatus order on several worlds for the most petty of crimes against the Imperium.

That the Emperor had concerns about the actions of the VIIIth Legion, and the apparent mental instability of their primarch is clear, but what is not clear is what was done to restrain Curze or his sons. There were words, demands, perhaps even threats, but no action; no hand of judgement to throttle the Night Lord's crimes. Why this was so is a question that can never now be answered, and the Imperium was left only with the consequences.

The chain of atrocities grew ever longer in the solar decades before Curze finally turned against the Emperor, like a path spiralling ever downwards into inevitable darkness. Indeed, of all the Legions and their primarchs, the Night Lords were the most sinister and the most suspect, having been censured for the crimes and massacres carried out in the Emperor's service.

They were creatures of the dark, harnessed to the will of a father wracked by righteousness and foreboding; what else could have been their fate but to fall back into the night from whence they came?

Death of Nostramo

Destruction of Nostramo

The Destruction of Nostramo: the surface of the planet begins to tear itself apart after the precision Lance strikes of the Night Lords' fleet destabilised its volatile core.

Nostramo's death in 984.M30 came at the end of a long chain of events which saw the Night Lords relinquishing the last of their honour.

While much has long been made by historitors of the Drop Site Massacre being the first conflict between the Emperor's primarchs, this is not strictly true. There exists a single instance of a primarch turning upon one of his brothers and meting out grievous injury to them that predates both the conflicts in the Isstvan System and the Scouring of Prospero. That Konrad Curze sits at the heart of this incident, long concealed from historitors in the archives of the Imperial Palace, should elicit little surprise from those that know of the mental instability of the Night Haunter.

This incident occurred in the aftermath of the long and bloody Cheraut Compliance campaign, a conflict that saw elements of the Emperor's Children, Imperial Fists and the Night Lords Legions deployed to bring a particularly stubborn lost clade of Humanity under the rule of the Imperium. All three of those Legion's primarchs were present, a rare occurrence in those hectic days of conquest and expansion, with little common ground to be found between Rogal Dorn and Curze in the prosecution of the campaign. By the end of the fight, Curze's brutal methods and the indiscriminate slaughter he committed to pacify the defeated people of Cheraut had brought the relationship between those two disparate brothers to a razor's edge of bitterness.

The lack of moderation in the Night Lords' methods had long attracted scorn and hostility from the other Space Marine Legions. Even as the tally of disgust grew, Konrad Curze became increasingly plagued by visions and portents of ruin, calamity and betrayal. He saw everything he had striven for to be broken, the order and justice of the galaxy shattered and his gene-sons become monsters without cause or higher purpose. Curze became ever more withdrawn, what little had ever shone in his being guttering to nothing, and leaving him with nothing but darkness, deep depression and the constant screams of a lost future.

Learning that his homeworld had slipped back into corruption at the end of the Cheraut campaign, the Night Haunter tried to confide in his brother primarchs, but he had never been close to them, and their reaction was less than favourable to his claims. The scars left by his former life on Nostramo ran deep. Despite the fact that he spent much time with his less-dour peers at Cheraut, the Night Lords primarch kept himself at a distance, never able to join in their camaraderie or share their joy. He still fell into convulsions, plagued by prophetic visions of his own death, of his Night Lords fighting war after war against the other Legions. But despite the concern of his companions, he would not reveal any more than dark hints of the cause of his tormented spirit.

This feeling of isolation gradually grew into true paranoia, and the gulf between the Night Haunter and the brotherhood of the other primarchs only widened. Events reached a head following the end of the pacification of the Cheraut System.

After Curze confided in his mentor Fulgrim of the terrible things he had foreseen, the shocked primarch of the Emperor's Children repeated these grim tidings to his brother Rogal Dorn. Dorn, already angry with his brother over the Night Lords' conduct on Cheraut, took exception to the Night Haunter's slight of the Emperor's good name with such terrible deeds and confronted him. The exact events of what occurred between the two primarchs is not recorded in detail, but Dorn was found severely wounded and the Night Haunter's personal cadre of bodyguards slaughtered to a warrior.

Those warriors that had witnessed the event were sworn to silence, and the Night Haunter was placed under guard on Cheraut pending sentence by his brother primarchs. Yet there would be no secret trial nor penitent crusade for the Night Haunter, for the primarch of the Night Lords broke free of his confinement and left only more bloodied corpses in his wake in the course of his escape. Blood had been spilled between the Legions, a crack opened in what many had previously seen as a brotherhood to stand the test of time.

Once free of his confinement, Curze made haste and returned to Nostramo with his Legion and fulfilled one of his visions. Curze's judgement was simple and swift; the Night Lords destroyed Nostramo. A few Imperial pursuit craft arrived just in time to see the Night Lords' starships open their Lance batteries into the hole in the planet's surface that had been left by Night Haunter's arrival through the Warp solar decades earlier.

Nostramo's core destabilised and the world tore itself apart. As a primarch and a Lord of Crusades, it was Curze's right to liberate or destroy the world as he saw fit, but in the moment that Nostramo died, the Night Lords lost their last tether to restraint, though it would take the treachery of others to bring this change to light. Some believe that Curze's destruction of his homeworld was also as much a symbol of defiance to his brother primarchs as an act intended to return his former domain to some semblance of order.

Here accounts of Curze's next actions differ based on the sources. One account holds that in the wake of Nostramo's destruction, Curze and the Night Lords Legion were recalled to Terra to explain their behaviour, where they were then reprimanded by the Emperor and the Council of Terra. The last straw for the Emperor was when the Night Lords had unleashed an Exterminatus upon their own homeworld.

Curze explained his actions to the Emperor by pointing out that Nostramo, in the Legion's absence, had slid back into its old ways of cruel violence and crime. He and the Night Lords were embittered by what they saw as the Emperor's and the Council of Terra's hypocrisy when they were censured for their brutality even as the Emperor had unleashed a Great Crusade that used military power to forcibly reunite the scattered worlds of Humanity, regardless of those planets' own wishes.

The Night Lords thought that the Emperor would acknowledge that their actions had been in the right. They also felt that these actions were the direct consequence of the mission that the Imperium had always tasked them with, which was essentially that of "sanctioned" terrorism against all who opposed the expansion of the Imperium and its mission to reunite all the worlds of Mankind across the galaxy.

To Curze, it seemed that the Emperor had castigated him for carrying out the same actions that had once been deemed so vital to the Imperium's formation. Curze believed the Emperor to be a hypocrite who was unwilling to face the reality of the means that His dream of Human reunification actually required to be brought into being.

A different account claims that after the destruction of Nostramo, Curze and his Legion disappeared into the hinterlands of the ongoing Great Crusade rather than return to Terra to face judgement. In this account, no news of this quiet rebellion by one of the primarchs ever reached the wider Imperium, no writs of condemnation or denouncement issued from the Imperial court or Council of Terra or punitive fleets sent in search of the errant primarch. Elements of the Night Lords present in other expeditionary fleets faced no censure and the Night Haunter himself kept to the dark places beyond the borders of known Imperial space, killing and conquering as he always had in the Emperor's name.

In truth, the great and the wise of the Imperium placed a higher value on the unity of the Emperor's crusade across the stars than on the open punishment of a warlord who had erred, perhaps even fearing what they might unleash should they force Konrad Curze's hand. Instead they resorted to more subtle punishments, ending the shipments of supplies to the sectors held by the Night Lords and effectively banishing the Night Haunter from the ranks of the Great Crusade's vanguard.

By the early years of the 31st Millennium the Court of Terra deemed this punishment complete and issued an order for the Night Haunter's recall, granting him a place in the Loyalist fleet that assembled to meet the sudden betrayal of Horus Lupercal at Isstvan.

Horus Heresy

"Hatred is never so sweet, and vengeance never so pleasurable, than when it is applied to one once loved."

— Nostraman Proverb

Betrayal

History has often seen the Night Haunter as the most obvious example of evil within the ranks of the Traitor primarchs. After all, both his bloody proclivities and penchant for torture were well-known among his brothers long before the Horus Heresy began. Worse still was the matter of the brutal destruction of his own homeworld of Nostramo, and his assault on his brother Rogal Dorn and subsequent incarceration on Cheraut, which had not yet become common knowledge in the final years of the Great Crusade. Yet these are but small parts of the tragedy of Konrad Curze, whose true burden was to have been too much the son of his father.

Like several of his primarch brothers, Curze had inherited a fragment of the psychic precognitive abilities of the Emperor, a tiny shard of His vision that was flawed in its purpose. For where the Emperor could see all the many possible futures and chart a course through them, Curze saw only a single strand of the whole schema of possibilities, a dark path of failure and death that would sour his mind and cloud his purpose. No matter his successes or achievements, no matter how far he rose from the ignominy and horror of his childhood on the foul streets of the hive cities of Nostramo, his visions would never change, always showing him the same dark fate for himself and his Legion. It slowly drove him towards madness and produced constant mental instability.

By the final years of the Great Crusade, Curze stood on the very edge of sanity and none can know his true reasons for joining the Warmaster Horus' rebellion against the Emperor. Was it a desire to make one final attempt to break free of the fate he foresaw for himself and the Imperium, or simply a need to wash away the ever present visions with blood and death? All that is certain is that when he went to war in the later Thramas Crusade, he was but a shadow of the warrior and general he had once been.

The purpose he had torn from the ruin of Nostramo was overwhelmed by despair and anger, and his soul was left empty. Even as the gene-father of the VIIIth Legion searched for a new purpose, so too did his sons, now bereft of any guidance but their own bloody natures and terrible pasts. Some yet remembered the days of the Great Crusade when they had stood as a Legion, an army of brothers, and sought to build a better realm than that which they had been spawned from, while others sought only the red release of death and slaughter, an empire of corpses and blood.

With Curze lost to dark dreams and old obsessions, it would be his gene-sons who charted the course of the Legion, some seeking to restore their lord to his former dark splendour and others to plunge him into madness forever. The war for the Thramas Sector and the worlds of the Eastern Fringe that would so consume the Night Lords during the Horus Heresy would also be the war for the soul of a Space Marine Legion and the destiny of its primarch.

Acceptance of a Dark Future

Rad-Urzon Veterans

Rad-Urzon Veterans of the Night Lords Legion bring fear and death to another world.

By the end of the Great Crusade, the Night Lords were a Legion set upon a course that would lead them inevitably to their destruction, a course whose origin could be found on distant Terra and the inscrutable plans of the Emperor, but that would see its bitter end among the dim stars of the Eastern Fringe. As was fitting for a Legion of such ill-repute and terrible mien, it would not go meekly to meet this ordained fate nor accept without bloodshed an end to the path they hadchosen to walk.

Amid the turmoil and destruction of the Horus Heresy the first signs of that which awaited them would appear, heralded by the Night Haunter himself, and the Legion would turn upon itself in an orgy of violence in an effort to sever itself from the curse of its primarch. This was not the end that they stumbled ever closer too, that the Night Haunter had seen in a thousand cursed dreams, but merely a foretaste of the horror that was to come. For despite the grim fervour with which they struggled, the Night Lords sought the wrong foes for their rage, choosing to blame a corruption they saw within their own ranks as though it had been brought to them from the outside.

Instead, the curse they sought to end had ever lived at the heart of the Legion, a blight that had festered in the place that it had been set by the Emperor's own hand, in aid of plans incomprehensible to the minds of mere mortals -- the Night Haunter himself.

Afflicted by the curse of seeing but a fragment of the foresight that guided his gene-father, Konrad Curze had seen the grim possibility that waited for him and his sons on the far side of the Horus Heresy. Once he had sought to fight that possibility, to struggle against the future hoping that his dark dreams would clear, that the blood he shed and the lives he had claimed would be enough to shift the path of the future ever so slightly. That the dreams that had haunted his mind, the visions of a dark and terrible future would clear and be replaced, that he might find a place in the empire his father sought to build among the stars.

Yet even after Horus shattered the course of the Emperor's plans and remade the future of the Imperium itself, his vision remained constant and unchanging, a curse that he came to believe was inevitable and immovable. That all the struggle and death had been in vain, that it had meant nothing worked on the mind of the primarch in a manner more catastrophic than the cut of any blade, a wound that no chirurgeon could mend.

Thus, by the time of the Thramas Crusade he had come to embrace his doom, to revel in the futility of his existence and the bleak truth he thought he had discovered.

Angered by the Emperor's rejection of their methods of protecting and extending His realm, the Night Lords and their primarch willingly joined the Warmaster Horus in his rebellion against the Emperor of Mankind. When the Warmaster revealed his treachery during the Isstvan III Atrocity and plunged the galaxy into the fires of civil war, Konrad Curze would eventually throw himself into a bitter campaign of death and destruction, giving full vent to his most violent urges.

When Imperial forces were assembled to strike against Horus and the four turncoat Traitor Legions who had joined him in the Battle of Isstvan III, there were many who were surprised to learn that the Night Lords had answered the call. For years the VIIIth Legion had existed on the border between sanction and censure, fighting its own wars of terror like shadows within the forces of the Great Crusade.

Such was the desperate spirit of those times that few questioned Curze's aid, and those who did perhaps remembered the Night Lords' need to punish those who strayed from the light. As the treachery of the Drop Site Massacre would show, however, the Night Lords had not forsaken contact with all elements of the Great Crusade, and their need for retribution had led them to become the Traitors and criminals they had once loathed.

Once unfettered by Horus' need to drive on Terra and their tenuous allegiance with the powers of Chaos, the Night Lords went on to conduct a campaign of terror that continued to echo down the millennia to this day, wreaking bloody murder across the galaxy. The Night Lords would participate in the epic Siege of Terra and the Siege of the Imperial Palace by the forces of Chaos. Immediately after the death of Horus, the Night Lords went on a killing spree in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy that caused havoc for long Terran years after the Horus Heresy had ended.

Outriders of Rebellion

Outwardly, the Night Lords began the Horus Heresy as a strong force in the host of the Warmaster Horus, a Legion tempered by war and set in its own grudge against the Loyalist cause. The imprisonment of Konrad Curze on Ceraut prior to the destruction of Nostramo and the subsequent incident with Rogal Dorn were seen by many among the Traitors to grant the Night Haunter their trust. Knowing this, Horus sought to put the Night Lords to use in the vanguard of his plans and in the wake of the destruction of the Drop Site Massacre, Horus had set them to the tasks he had woven for the Emperor's demise.

For the Night Lords, the Warmaster set the task of running at the forefront of his host, inciting fear and unrest among those worlds yet undecided in their loyalties. By the point of the Night Lords' skinning knives would Horus show these worlds the cost of his animosity, and to those who chose to bend the knee before him, he would grant his protection and a relief from the predations of his servants.

As the harbingers of the Traitors and the emissaries of Horus' Dark Compliance, the Night Lords would usher dozens of star systems into the growing empire of Horus, each cowed by the knowledge of the horrors that had befallen those whorefused. Within the space of a few short solar months most of the northern reaches of the Imperium were under the Traitors' control, a stable base from which Horus could prepare his assault on the Imperium's heart and one that could not function with a blight like the Night Lords running rampant within its borders.

For in every minor drop in production and each misfortune that befell the newly-conquered worlds, the Night Haunter saw the most dire of treacheries and meted out the only punishment he knew: death in its most terrible form. Such a scourge soon proved more damaging to the amassing of munitions and arms than it was beneficial to the enforced loyalty of the conquered.

That which had begun on Terra as a force that shaped cruelty into a tool had become in some cases little more than an undisciplined mob that saw cruelty as the goal and not the means to a greater end. It was no longer the precise weapon that the Legions had been envisioned to be, but rather an indiscriminate scourge that sought to sate its thirst for instilling terror on any that crossed its path. Left to its own devices and the ever-darkening wishes of its master, the Night Lords would surely have proved a thorn in Horus' careful preparations, and so the Warmaster granted them a new task, one that would see their unique talents put to good use.

As they had in the north so would the Night Lords serve in the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy, as the harbingers of the dark empire and the will of Horus. They would bring new territories and new sources of power and resources into the fold of the Traitors, strengthening the growing armada that Horus intended to unleash upon Terra.

An Empire of Fear

Upon the dim stars of the Nostramo Sector, Horus would first unleash the Night Lords. Those worlds that had once bent the knee to the Night Haunter, before his sudden departure from Imperial space in the years after his imprisonment on Cheraut and the destruction of Nostramo in 984.M30, would once again face the judgement of the Night Haunter. Consisting of nearly a hundred inhabited star systems, many including long-established and heavily populated Hive Worlds, the Nostramo Sector remained a valuable recruiting and manufacturing hub for the Traitor forces, even after the destruction of its capital world.

Here could be found in abundance desperate and bitter souls to take up arms in the name of the Warmaster and prosecute his wars against a distant Terra that had long dictated their trials and misfortunes, and whose labour could be swiftly turned to the service of Horus' growing hosts. In form the sector was perfectly suited to the rebels and ripe for the taking, owing as it did little fealty or allegiance to any Loyalist faction or warlord. The Night Haunter and his Legion, seen from without, were the perfect tools for its conquest. This would be a rare error in judgement by Horus, for the Night Haunter would prove ill-suited to the task he was assigned.

Long had the worlds that surrounded now-dead Nostramo suffered under the rule of the Night Haunter. His stringent and unforgiving code of law had enforced a dreary life of suffering and toil upon those who served him, with any infraction, no matter how insignificant, punished by maiming or death. While it had maintained a brutal form of order, it had done so by means of a fear so ingrained that it had begun to eat away at the souls of those who dwelt under its burden, the suppressed sins of its people a threat overlooked by their old masters.

With the Night Haunter's absence during the final years of the Great Crusade this threat would come to the fore, with many of the worlds of that far sector overthrowing the tyrannical regimes forced upon them by the Night Lords and reverting to the anarchic ways of their past. Corrupt criminal syndicates and brutal gangs took control of cities and worlds, indulging in all that Konrad Curze had forbidden and bringing a more chaotic terror to the weak that dwelt on those benighted worlds.

The syndicates that rose up to take control would have proved just as capable of fulfilling Horus' needs as any more legitimate government, but to the Night Haunter they were an affront to all he stood for, a blight upon the realm he had killed so many to establish. Where others among the Traitors' ranks might have accepted the allegiance of the new overlords of the sector, co-opting their strength to serve the Warmaster, the Night Haunter sought a path of his own. As the Night Lords' main fleet arrived in the sector, the Syndarchs of the Blood Moon syndicate gathered on the isolated world of Kehdure IV to pledge their loyalty to Konrad Curze, expecting only to cede some measure of their wealth to his new rebellion, confident he would not wish their territories plunged into chaos when they could offer a ready bounty of troops and munitions.

Instead, they would find the Night Haunter descending upon them with the sole intent of ending their lives, without regard as to what tribute he might otherwise reap by accepting their pledge, and leaving Kehdure IV a broken and bloodied world, its few inhabitants little more than collateral damage to the slaughter of the guilty.

This would set the pattern for Konrad Curze's return to his adopted home sector, with even those worlds that had remained largely true to his draconian laws suffering a blight of gruesome punishments simply to ensure their continued loyalty. While the other Traitor Legions busied themselves with the initial assaults on the Warp channels leading to distant Terra, and the worlds of Paramar and Karadoc had been transformed into vast battlefields for the warlords fighting over the Imperium's corpse, the Night Lords set about waging a more private war. For the return of the Night Haunter was far more than the prosecution of the Warmaster's conquest, but also a piece of a vision that the Night Haunter had long dreaded, the next step on a path that had begun when Horus had first raised his banner at Isstvan III.

In the descent of Nostramo and its neighbours into madness and debauchery, and the setting of brother against brother, Curze saw the beginnings of his own demise and the eternal damnation of his Legion. It was a fate he still fought to deny, though his methods were ever more led by desperation before cunning, and he loosed the warriors of his Legion to eradicate all signs of that possibility, to wipe clean the stain of perfidy with blood and perhaps turn the course of fate itself.

Price of Infamy

Had perhaps Konrad Curze's tools been more finely-forged, his own will more honed and less brittle, then such desperate measures might have succeeded, but the Night Lords were no longer that which they had once been. The decay of the Nostramo Sector had run far deeper and for far longer than many had guessed, its tendrils spread not only among the worlds that were pledged to the Night Lords, but into the very Legion itself. Long had it been the custom of the Night Lords to take their recruits from but a small swathe of worlds, mostly those being in close proximity to Nostramo itself, and as those worlds had turned rotten so too had the youths sent to meet the Legion's tithe.

Though they made able killers, they had not the preexisting discipline and commitment to the cause of the Great Crusade that had marked the early Space Marine Legions whose complement was drawn from Terra, with many companies now filled entirely with such warriors, often to the chagrin of veteran Terran companies. These would be the tools by which Konrad Curze attempted to cut away the infection that had gripped his small empire.

These new Night Lords had been forged in the corrupt regimes that had gripped Nostramo and its neighbours, much different from the grim hardship that had moulded the Night Haunter and the gangs of Old Nostramo. These warriors paid little heed to the codes that had guided those brutal fighters, given instead to the wanton application of bloody violence -- the supremacy of the strong over the weak in all things. Where once the Night Haunter had taught his people that all actions must have their consequences, that blood must be repaid in blood, that creed had been corrupted so that those with the strength to seize power could do as they pleased, and even bloody-handed justice was no longer applied.

This was true of the rich and poor alike, with some showing their strength in the riches by which they bought and sold those beneath them and others by the skill with which they plied their blades. It would be the lowest dregs of this corrupt society that went to fill the ranks of the Night Lords, those for whom strength and power were measured in the fear of those around them.

Loosed by their master, the nature of the Night Lords was made clear by their actions, for given leave by the Night Haunter to hunt as they willed, they took to the worlds of the Nostramo Sector not as a disciplined whole, but as a throng of scattered warbands and raiding hosts. They bore little resemblance to the ordered ranks of the old VIIIth Legion, nor even to the savage but focused bands of the Raven Guard or White Scars who fought in their own style, but rather as a gleeful mob of killers. They did not lack in skill at arms, and where they met resistance it crumbled before their prowess with blade and gun, but in restraint they were sorely wanting.

Few worlds escaped the scourge of their brutal proclivities, with the greater part of them more concerned with the red spectacle of their raids than the order they were intended to enforce. Fear was the weapon they had been schooled in by their master, and it was one they wielded with abandon, one they plied until it cloaked the worlds about the corpse of Nostramo like a shroud. Yet, such was the terror they engendered that though none that felt their lash dared to transgress the laws of Curze, few remained able to fulfil the new tithes Horus demanded of him.

Those of the Night Lords that remembered the old ways fought on with the skill and pragmatic valour that had carried them through the Great Crusade, but found their efforts to re-establish the fiefdom that they had once ruled stymied by the Legion's more zealous recruits. Both those of Terran birth and the elder Nostraman recruits found themselves further and further from the counsel of the Night Haunter, whose prophetic visions spurred him to greater efforts of bloody retribution and gave the more vicious of his new gene-sons greater influence over him.

That the efforts of the veterans, measured but still bloody, brought the Legion more reward than the frenzied bloodletting of their juniors seemed unimportant to the primarch, whose dreams grew darker as Horus' rebellion itself gained in power and worlds all across the Imperium plunged into war and darkness. He began to listen less and less to the old veterans of the Great Crusade, those warriors whose efforts had so far failed to avert the disaster he foresaw, and instead began to heed the counsel of his newer officers. Both groups saw in the other a threat to that which to them made the Legion strong and, as the fleet marshalled for the assault on the Thramas Sector ordered by the Warmaster, they set plans for a different campaign.

Thramas Crusade

Strategic Purpose

Following the victory of the Drop Site Massacre, Horus called a meeting of the primarchs of 8 of the Traitor Legions (minus the participation of the Alpha Legion's Primarch Alpharius) aboard his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit. Five of the primarchs, including four who had fought at Istvaan V, met in person, including Horus, Fulgrim, Angron, Mortarion and Lorgar. Three appeared through the use of hololithic emitters that transmitted their signals through the Warp, including Perturabo, Night Haunter and Magnus the Red, who had only recently joined the Traitors after the Scouring of Prospero when the broken remains of his XVth Legion had been transported by Tzeentch into the Eye of Terror to the Planet of the Sorcerers. The Thousand Sons, bitter at what they perceived as their betrayal by the Emperor, now willingly became the ninth Traitor Legion.

The council of Traitor primarchs made their plans for the next step in their war against the Emperor and then each Legion went its way according to its assigned role. The Night Haunter's fleet had already departed, bound for the planet of Tsagualsa, a remote world in the Eastern Fringe that lay shrouded in the shadow of a great asteroid belt.

From there, the Night Lords' terror troops would begin a campaign of genocide against the Imperial strongholds of Heroldar and Thramas, star systems that, if not taken, would leave the flanks of the Warmaster's strike on Terra vulnerable to attack. This campaign was also more importantly intended to delay the Dark Angels Legion from reinforcing the Loyalists, for Horus knew that Lion El'Jonson would seek to stop the Night Lords' campaign of terror and genocide in the Eastern Fringe at all costs. The Thramas System was of particular importance, as it comprised a number of Mechanicum Forge Worlds whose loyalty was still to the Emperor.

Factionalism

Though seen by history as the battlefield that would pit the Night Lords against the Dark Angels, the Thramas Crusade would also be the field upon which another battle would be fought, a battle for the soul of Konrad Curze himself. Lost among the grand battles and terrible slaughters that formed the backdrop of the Traitor assault on the Thramas Sector, the Night Lords underwent their own quiet rebellion. The two faces of the Legion fought a sullen fratricidal struggle for control of their Legion and its primarch. There were those that yearned for the glory days -- when the Night Lords stood among the legends of the Imperium, a military force to be reckoned with, and those who sought only the bloody mandate to pillage and kill in the wild stars at the edge of Imperial space. Horus had offered them freedom in his rebellion and therein lay the heart of their tragedy, for in freedom they had found only despair, both in the decline of their primarch and in the decline of their Legion.

Those among the Night Lords that sought to fully grasp this new freedom Horus offered them were mostly those recruits taken in from the corrupted worlds about Nostramo, though they presented the least unified front. A collection of disparate warlords and warbands, they were united by a desire to kill and reave as they chose, without regard for the goals of the Great Crusade or the desires of distant generals. They sought to return to their origins, to re-imagine the Legion in the form of Nostramo's ancient criminal syndicates and street gangs, but with the power to control worlds instead of hive city blocks. They took the symbol of a cross of bone, its form varying between individual warbands, a mark derived from the traditions of worlds across that dark sector that had long stood for a conflict whose end could only be found in death. It was a signal of both their intent and their goal, to those who opposed them it promised a grisly end and to the Legion at large it offered a path that would allow them to fully exploit the gifts they had been given.

This faction of the Legion sought to carve out a kingdom of their own in Horus' new dominion, a realm where they could rule as befitted the warriors of the Night Lords and cared little for the often obscure goals of the Night Haunter. Nakrid Thole stood as a prominent member of this faction, recruited from the hive cities of Nostramo in its final years and schooled in war by the gang strife of his youth and the brutal purges of the Great Crusade's later campaigns.

To Thole and those like him, Curze was a distant figure, one enamoured of strange oracles and premonitions who kept them on a short leash. Were he to be kept away from the battlefield, left to obsess over his dreams and regrets then the warriors of the Night Lords could slip the leash and run wild across the stars. Thole and his allies saw a galaxy ripe for the plucking, one where those joined to the cause of Horus could take what had been denied them in the Great Crusade. No longer would it be the Ultramarines and Imperial Fists, the favourites of the Emperor, who would reap the rewards of the long war for the galaxy, but those who had once been forced to skulk in the shadows of the Emperor's great plan.

In opposition to them were the veterans of the old VIIIth Legion, both Terran and Nostraman, as well as those newer recruits who saw in their primarch something more than an omen watcher and madman. They were still pledged to the rebellion Horus had begun, determined to see the overthrow of the Emperor, but they retained the spark of honour that had once been at the heart of both the Legion and the ancient gangs of Nostramo. A harsh and unforgiving code that guided their actions, they killed in a manner that the other Legions found brutal and distasteful, but it served a purpose, it was not random slaughter but a necessary duty.

In their primarch these Night Lords warriors saw the pinnacle of this tradition, a warrior willing to sacrifice the appearance of honour for the fulfilment of duty, the one who had carved the code they followed into the very soul of those that lived among the worlds of the Nostramo Sector. They sought to stand amongst the other Legions with pride, no longer the Emperor's butchers or hidden knives, but at the forefront of a new regime for all to see. They needed a strong primarch, one that could guide the Legion and see them to their rightful position in Horus' new empire.

Foremost among these veterans stood the warrior Jago "Sevatar" Sevatarion, though he himself disdained such politics, he served as the icon of those that fought to empower their primarch. In honour of his devotion to Konrad Curze, the symbol of the red gauntlet which he bore, a death-mark in the old Nostraman code, became the symbol of those pledged to the primarch's side. It was an irony not lost on the Nostraman warriors of both of the Legion's factions that it was a mark of dishonour that stood for what some might interpret as the Loyalist faction within the Legion.

Sevatar himself worked tirelessly throughout the campaigns in both Nostramo and Thramas to support the goals of his primarch in war and to strengthen the resolve of the Night Haunter himself. He would commit more than his share of slaughters, but each for a purpose other than his own bloodlust, each for the glory of his Legion and the needs of his primarch. Yet, Sevatar cared not for the machinations of others within the Legion, and fought his own battles without heed for those who would be his allies. Others acted as leaders for the faction. Anrek Barbatos of the primarch's honour guard was one, for his dedication to the Night Haunter was legend within the Legion, and others too among the captains and praetors, these warriors would coordinate the secret war fought between the Night Lords.

This hidden war was not to be fought directly. There would be no pitting Night Lord against Night Lord in open battle, no grand confrontation that would settle the issue. Instead it was fought with sharp knives and bitter words, warriors brought low in honour duels and battlefield incidents or disgraced in council and isolated from the primarch. Even as they fought to control the worlds of the Tithe Road at the outskirts of the Thramas System they fought with each other, with commanders struck down over the right to lead invasions and others castigated for their failures in battle and exiled from the primarch's side.

As they pushed further into the Thramas Sector the battles would only intensify, both on and off the battlefield, with Nakrid Thole able to further leverage the death-tolls of both his own and his subordinates to claim ever more influence over the primarch. Brash words and bloody triumphs served to grant those Night Lords that fought under the Cross of Bone the influence they required to drown out their opponents, whose champions could do little to stem the tide of fervour that took hold of the rank-and-file of the Night Lords. It seemed that what little remained of the VIIIth Legion that had left Terra nearly two standard centuries before had been all but completely suppressed.

Night Haunter's Decline
NightHaunterNightLordsHorusHeresy

Konrad Curze and his Astartes during the Horus Heresy.

Even as his Legion fought for his attention, struggled to save or to damn him, Konrad Curze turned his face from his gene-sons and lapsed into a fugue that only exacerbated the Legion's internal conflict. Long had he battled against the dire future he had foreseen with that cursed fragment of his father's psychic gift that had passed to him.

In his youth he had imposed order with the blood of the wicked, under the guidance of the Emperor and his primarch brothers. He had tried to tame his precognitive gift and see past the terrors it showed him, and as he fought for Horus he tried to drown the visions in death. None had worked, whatever methods the Night Haunter employed, his nightmares remained unchanged and inescapable. Its first signs had already come to pass: corruption had taken root in his cities despite all the blood shed to chain them in fear, and as he had once tried to warn his brothers, the Imperium had fallen into civil war. To the narrow glimpse of the future that the Night Haunter could perceive, what was to follow seemed inevitable, 10,000 standard years of blood and death that would continue long after his own doom.

With the failure of his attempts in the Nostramo Sector and the initial stages of the Thramas Crusade to counter the fate he foresaw, Konrad Curze withdrew from the fighting and secluded himself in the half-finished Night Lords fortress on Tsagualsa. There he would spend much of the war imprisoned in a cage of his own despair, giving vent to his frustration in a series of ever-more deranged and violent displays, enough even to disquiet the Night Lords. The primarch wallowed for a time in despondency, raged at the futility of his struggle and etched his pain onto the hides of those unfortunate prisoners dragged to his lair.

In his absence, Nakrid Thole and his disciples who fought under the sign of the Cross of Bone threw the Night Lords into combat across the Thramas Sector, the count of dead foes deemed of more import than the strategic worth of their gains. For as the primarch shied further away from his duties as overlord of the Night Lords, the more power he ceded to Nakrid Thole and those like him. Jago Sevatarion and those others of the primarch's inner circle were tied to his side, unable to take to the vanguard of the war while he languished in his fugue, waiting for new orders and pleading for the Night Haunter to abandon his doldrums and take once again to battle.

Their efforts to stir the primarch would bear bitter fruit, raising him to action for a brief confrontation with Lion El'Jonson on Tsagualsa. In an apparent, unmoored attempt to sway his brother to Horus' cause, the Night Haunter left a deep-void beacon in the patrol path of one of the Dark Angels' outrider vessels. The beacon was set to transmit coordinates in advance, so that the two primarchs could meet and parley on the planet of Tsagualsa. Night Haunter wanted to break his former brother either mentally, physically or both to obtain his objectives.

The primarchs were accompanied by two warriors from their personal honour guards to the parley. The meeting began amicably enough between the two as they conversed with relative civility. This amity lasted only until the Night Haunter slandered El'Jonson, and in return the Lion struck his former brother. This melee further degenerated into an all-out brawl between the two sides.

As the Night Haunter strangled the life out of El'Jonson, one of the Dark Angels honour guardsmen ran his sword through the Night Haunter's back, saving his primarch's life. Eventually both Legions sent reinforcements in response to this incident. Each side dragged away their respective primarchs from the scene of the combat. Both primarchs survived this brutal confrontation and went on to continue the contest between their Legions for control of the Aegis Sub-sector of the Aegis Sector.

No living creature now knows what Curze truly hoped to gain from that battle, for in single combat there were few among the primarchs that could match Lion El'Jonson blade to blade. Perhaps he had hoped that in sharing his visions he might find answers, perhaps he sought to warn his brother of the horrors yet to come, perhaps he even hoped that the Lion would kill him, that he might escape the fate that haunted him in that simple fashion. Whatever the intentions of the Night Haunter, he would leave the battlefield bloodied and no more sane than when he had gone forth.

It was a pattern that would be repeated at Sheol, where once again Konrad Curze would throw himself at the primarch of the Dark Angels and force the most loyal of his gene-sons to sacrifice themselves so that his broken but still-breathing form could be recovered. Even as little more than a comatose and insensate burden, the primarch remained at the centre of his Legion's struggle. Those that had fought to free the Legion blamed him for their dire situation, while those that sought to return both the Legion and its primarch to glory struggled to preserve him in the face of his failure.

Shattering of the Night Lords Legion

Despite the apparent failure of the Night Haunter's plans, it would be his actions that finally tipped the balance of power within the Legion to those of his gene-sons that sought to free him from his visions. For in giving the more headstrong portions of his Legion their freedom he had allowed them to overextend their forces and commit themselves to a series of battles during the Dark Angels' Thramas Crusade that were now beyond their means to finish -- they were caught in the trap of their own hubris.

In the final solar months of the Thramas Campaign, many of those that bore the Cross of Bone were cut down, Nakrid Thole falling at Thramas, Vaeduc the Maimed at Sheol and Malithos and Cel Herec at the hands of Jago Sevatarion and his Atramentar. With their deaths, the more loyal sons of Curze finally took control of the Legion, with Sevatar assembling a new inner council, the Kyroptera of the Night Lords, filled with warriors he counted as loyal to his cause and the Legion's survival. This new council would lead while the primarch languished at the edge of death, setting a more pragmatic course than those that had taken the reins for the majority of the Thramas Campaign.

True to its desire to return the Legion to its former glory, the new Kyroptera commanded its warriors to take the shattered remains of the Legion to Horus' side, that they might fight in the manner of true warriors and cease skulking in the shadows of the grand rebellion that had overtaken the Imperium. Thramas and the strange madness it had inflicted upon their primarch were abandoned, his attempts to thwart fate set aside as he lay wounded, and the ragged remnants of the Night Lords fleet assembled to depart the Eastern Fringe and return to the heart of the war in the Segmentum Solar. The Night Lords would be free of the Nostramo Sector, the burden of guilt for their homeworld's destruction and the enforcement of the Night Haunter's failed regime. They would fight once more as a true Legion, wild conquerors and not bored wardens, and the fury of open battle would cleanse them of the taint that had taken hold of the Legion. This was Sevatar's final plan and the resolve of those that had aligned themselves with him, to free both their Legion and primarch from the slow degeneration that plagued them both.

Yet it was not to be. Even as the surviving warships of the Night Lords gathered, their commanders convinced by the power of Sevatar's arguments or by the blades of his allies to join their warriors to this new plan, the two nemeses that had plagued them since their arrival in the Thramas Sector intervened once more. The Dark Angels were the first, an incarnation of the Emperor's wrath given terrible form and power that could not be matched in open battle. The black ships of their fleet poured forth from the Warp, the blasts of their weapons a penance for the hubris of the Night Lords and the multitude of sins they had committed, cutting a path through the remnants of the Night Haunter's fleet.

This alone could not have ended the Night Lords' hopes of salvation, for the Lion and his gene-sons could wound them, wound them gravely, but not kill them before they could escape and begin the path back to glory. It would be the second nemesis, by far the most deadly of the two, that would seal their fate, a threat that they could never truly be free of. Even as the starships of the Night Lords fleet closed on the pre-set Warp-translation Mandeville Point that would take them to Horus' side, the Night Haunter suddenly stirred from his torpor and ordered his Legion to engage the Dark Angels.

Unable to ignore the orders of their gene-father and unwilling to abandon him to the mercies of the Loyalists, many among the Legion joined a last suicidal assault into the teeth of the Dark Angels. Perhaps this was a last attempt by the Night Haunter to find death at the hands of his brother and avoid the dire fate he foresaw, or nothing more than a last spiteful dart thrown at his enemies, but in either case the attack had no chance of stopping or delaying the Dark Angels. Instead, it sundered what little of the Night Lords Legion that remained as a coherent fighting force. Those Night Lords Astartes that managed to fight free of the battle disappeared into the Warp almost at random, scattered across the galaxy and unable to reform the Legion as it once was, while those who turned back to fight at the bidding of their cursed master were all but annihilated.

All of the death that had been wrought to restore the Night Lords, all of the hardships that had been endured by its warriors, had been in vain, thwarted by the actions of the Night Haunter. They had become a poison spread across the Imperium, sowing chaos and death wherever the scattered warbands had been deposited. It was the next stage of Konrad Curze's nightmares given form at last, but one step away from the oblivion of eternal damnation that awaited them, one step away from the Night Haunter's death at the order of his father in a future he had hoped never to see.

The last bitter sting of the lash, the last howl of despair that haunted Konrad Curze as he went into exile trapped aboard the Dark Angels flagship Invincible Reason, was the knowledge that it was he himself that had brought the curse to fruition. Here would be the end of Konrad Curze, the last remnants of the Emperor's troubled gene-son subsumed by the darkness that had come to dominate and control him. All that would remain was the Night Haunter and death.

Doom of Sotha

HHL NL Veteran Atramentar Squad

A Night Lords Atramentar armed with a Heavy Flamer during the Horus Heresy. Note the right artificer-wrought lion armourial, taken as a grim trophy from a fallen senior officer of the Dark Angels Legion during the Thramas Crusade.

In the latter days of 010.M31 the brutal storm of war engulfed the isolated system of Sotha. The ragged fleets of the Night Lords Legion, fresh from the murderous crucible of the Thramas Crusade, shattered the orbital defences of the Ultramarines and seized control of this remote corner of Ultramar. Such an act would swiftly draw the ire of the Lords of the Five Hundred Worlds, whose warships outnumbered those of the Night Lords, and seemed an ill-considered onslaught if the prize was no more than a Frontier World on the edge of the Imperium. Yet, Sotha held something more valuable than resources or conscripts -- an artefact known as the Pharos. This device was the key to the Ultramarines' defences and a prize that would allow the warlords of the Night Lords to claim the favour of Warmaster Horus.

One among these disparate warlords was chosen to lead the initial assault on the planet -- Claw Master Zaar Siakaar. A warrior whose ambition outstripped his caution, he boasted of the victory his troops would win at Sotha even as the assembled Night Lords looked on. Such a victory would see him rise high in the esteem of his leaderless Legion, with the Night Haunter missing since the final battle of the Thramas Crusade, and grant him a chance at true power. Yet, few of the more established captains of the VIIIth Legion cared for the braggadocio of such an upstart whelp. These grim veterans granted the claw master his opportunity, with several even offering their supply of warriors from the elite Atramentar to support his assault. Blinded by dreams of glory, Zaar Siakaar took them at their word and moved his ships to the vanguard of the fleet.

Claw Master Siakaar's planetfall was preceded by a barrage of macrocannon shells and incendiary munitions, indiscriminately dropped among the habitation zones to demolish buildings and ignite a conflagration that quickly spread through the city of Sothopolis. Waves of Drop Pods and planetary assault craft swiftly followed, carrying the bulk of seven companies -- with Siakaar's company and the Atramentar at the fore.

Thousands of missiles streaked up into the sky on trails of burning promethium, followed by volleys of laser fire from Sotha's anti-air batteries, turning the skies into a seething storm of fire. Yet, for every Drop Pod that perished, dozens more landed amid the outskirts of the city to disgorge their deadly cargo. Within a few short solar hours, the horizon was engulfed in black clouds of smoke as the Night Lords rampaged through the streets of the dying city, falling upon the hastily drawn up ranks of the Ultramarines' Aegida Company as it vainly tried to defend the city and its inhabitants.

Claw Master Zaar Siakaar presided over the assault from his personal command Spartan Assault Tank, co-ordinating the actions of his warriors as they swept through the city. Serving as his personal guard were a cadre of the elite Atramentar Terminators. These vicious killers were drawn from the missing Captain Sevatarion's 1st Company, now spread out amongst the warbands and companies of the fractious VIIIth Legion to act as enforcers for the other warlords of the Legion.

An armoured spearhead amassed around the command Spartan; Land Raider Proteus carriers and Deimos Pattern Rhinos carrying the Legion's assault troops, supported by swift Sabre Strike Tanks and heavily armed Sicaran Punishers. Siakaar sent a single coded vox-signal across all VIIIth Legion frequencies and the vehicle column surged forwards through the streets of Sothopolis towards the XIIIth Legion castellum defending the approaches that led to the mountain where the Pharos lay hidden.

The invasion quickly became a massacre, the Night Lords venting the rage of their defeat at Thramas on the defenders of Sotha. Proteus Pattern Land Speeders and Legion Outrider Squadrons ranged ahead of the main invasion force to herd Sotha's fleeing population down the capital's streets and into the waiting blades of the VIIIth Legion. The revving of chainblades and the roar of bolters combined with the screams of the terrified population to form a cacophony of misery that echoed across Sothopolis. The Ultramarines engaged the invaders in a fighting retreat, buying time with their lives holding makeshift roadblocks in a valiant effort to evacuate as many civilians from the city as possible.

The overwhelming enemy numbers began to tell and the Ultramarines rigged charges to send sections of buildings collapsing across the Night Lords' line of advance, crushing Legionaries and blocking the passage of armoured vehicles. Still, the VIIIth Legion came on, Siakaar and the Atramentar crushing all resistance beneath the treads of their mighty Spartan tank. Packs of Night Raptors ranged ahead of the tank formation, leaping over the wreckage using controlled bursts from their Jump Packs to land among the warriors of Ultramar and slice them apart with serrated swords and viciously hooked axes. One by one pockets of resistance across the city were surrounded and eliminated, with the wounded survivors often dragged away to suffer unspeakable torments in the torture pits of the VIIIth Legion.

The tattered remnants of the Ultramarines' garrison chose to make their stand at Attican Square, a natural choke point where all the roads leading to the castellum converged. Centurion Vieron Ekarr, the last of the Ultramarines officers left in the city, took the opportunity to rally the withdrawing forces of his Legion as the Night Lords paused their advance to terrorise and butcher the civilians trapped within the city. Despite the chaos of the retreat, the disciplined centurion managed to assemble a sizable force of defenders -- from battered phalanxes of Breachers to the grim ranks of his Suzerain bodyguard.

These vengeful warriors locked their shields together in front of a marble statue of Roboute Guilliman carrying the torch of Imperial Unity, determined to hold beneath the gaze of their primarch and delay the enemy long enough for those that had already evacuated the city to fortify the castellum against the Night Lords' assault. A pair of Deredeo Pattern Dreadnoughts took up position on either side of the monument, Ancients Menarrio and Argan training the barrels of their Anvilus Autocannon batteries to the skies, while alongside them, the few remaining Predator and Sicaran battle tanks of the Ultramarines blocked the enemy's advance towards the castellum.

The Night Lords responded in a fashion typical of their cruel nature, herding hundreds of captured civilians into the square, each with their eyelids sewn together or their eyeballs plucked from their skulls. Behind the throng of unfortunate Sothans came squadrons of Night Lords Land Raiders and Rhino armoured transports, speeding into the square with the still-living bodies of captured Ultramarine neophytes pinned to their hulls with their skin flayed in agonising and depraved parodies of the Emperor's Aquila. The XIIIth Legion's tanks belatedly opened fire, stunned into inaction for a brief but decisive moment, and though several of the enemy vehicles disappeared in a storm of explosive rounds and plasma blasts, most crossed the square unharmed.

The Night Lords assault group rolled over the stumbling civilians, leaving trails of broken bodies and rivers of blood behind them as they came to a grinding halt before the Ultramarines' position. Assault ramps dropped with a resounding crash and through the darkness of their interiors came the Despoiler and Terror Squads of the VIIIth Legion, scores of Renegade Legionaries charging towards the cobalt blue shieldwall with a murderous fury.

Vieron Ekarr positioned himself within the front rank, a wave of gold and blue armoured bodies surrounding the last surviving officer of the Ultramarines, the shields of his warriors overlapping against each other to form a protective barrier. The order ciringite frontem was given and the well-drilled Ultramarines Legionaries responded by lifting their shields higher, bracing for the charge.

The lead Night Lords lashed out with chainblades and Bolt Pistols, seeking an opening in the shieldwall that would break the formation. Many found themselves hurled from their feet by the press of their enemies' Boarding Shields slamming back as one. The shieldwall opened and the Suzerains cut the nearest Night Lords down with swift strikes of their legatine Power Axes before closing ranks again. The charge lost momentum and faltered, many Night Lords forced to defend themselves while others still pressed the attack.

The Ultramarines fought in the disciplined manner their Legion was renowned for, blocking and thrusting with their gladii power swords to kill or maim their opponents. The Night Lords fought as brawlers and murderers, using the bodies of their fallen as stepping stones to jump over the shieldwall where they dragged their enemies to the ground, hacking at soft armour joints and firing their Bolt Pistols point blank into eye lenses.

Xiphon Interceptors and Fire Raptors in the midnight-blue of the VIIIth Legion dived from the sky and flew through the streets to strafe the rear of the Ultramarines' positions with a hail of Avenger Bolt Cannon shells and Lascannon blasts, suicidally braving the castellum's anti-air batteries in an effort to drain their ammunition reserves out of pure murderous spite.

Dozens of Ultramarine Legionaries were torn to bloody shreds and Predator tanks were reduced to flaming wrecks before a stream of armour piercing rounds from the Ultramarines Deredeo Ancients sent the enemy aircraft crashing into the fire-blackened buildings of Sothopolis. The Ultramarines' and Night Lords' dead littered the ground, the XIIIth Legion's defensive formation now reduced to just a third of its original size.

The shieldwall reformed around the statue of Guilliman, its features now scarred by gunfire and stained with soot and blood; those injured Ultramarines fortunate enough to be dragged into the cover of the shieldwall by Legion Apothecaries fired their weapons over the shoulders of their brothers in the front. Time seemed to slow down to the warriors of the two Legions as they fought to a bitter standstill with both sides stubbornly refusing to yield.

With the battle stagnating, a lone Spartan Assault Tank sitting silent among the Night Lords vehicles powered up its engines. The metal behemoth moved ponderously at first and then picked up speed as it drove towards the swirling melee at the square's edge. Sensing the Loyalists were now weakened enough by his expendable troops, Claw Master Siakaar and his aloof Atramentar guard deemed it was time to enter the fray and claim an easy victory. The Spartan crashed into the close press of Ultramarines and Night Lords, indiscriminately grinding armoured bodies into bloody pulp under its mighty tracks.

The shieldwall broke and the Night Lords poured their numbers through the gap to swarm the beleaguered Ultramarines. The Spartan's hatches opened and out of them charged Siakaar and the Atramentar. Hulking warriors clad in debased midnight-blue Tartaros Pattern Terminator Armour, festooned with grisly trophies torn from Human bodies, the Atramentar lashed left and right with their Nostraman Chainglaives, butchering all in their path.

Ultramarines were hacked down like wheat before the scythe and even Night Lords Legionaries who strayed too close to the claw master were not spared their wrath, the Atramentar showing little trust to their perfidious brothers since the fracturing of their Legion. Two of the Atramentar singled out Centurion Vieron Ekarr among his brethren by his magnificently sculpted Artificer Armour and lashed out at him with their Nostraman Chainglaives, seeking to claim a kill that would seal the battle's outcome.

The Ultramarines centurion barely held his ground against the monstrous Terminators, his surviving three Suzerains rushing to their lord's defence. One of the Atramentar grabbed a nearby Night Lord and shoved him in the way of the charging Suzerains, delaying them long enough for him to shoot one of Ultramar's champions through the chest with his Plasma Blaster before crashing into the rest, wildly swinging his Chainglaive in wide arcs. Still engaged in combat with the other Atramentar, Vieron Ekarr failed to see the dark form of Siakaar step in behind him. The bladed fingers of a crackling Lightning Claw erupted from the Ultramarine officer's chest, tearing apart both of his hearts, before his helmet and head were ripped brutally from his body by the whirring teeth of a Chainglaive.

With the death of their commander, the remaining Ultramarines were truly broken and the last of their number fell amidst the shattered armour and buckled shields of their brethren. Only corpses and ash marked the Ultramarines' brief stand in Attican Square, and Claw Master Siakaar stood upon the verge of glory, his position among the new warlords of the VIIIth Legion all but guaranteed by this triumph.

As the claw master paused to cut his mark upon the bloodied, torn corpse of Centurion Ekarr, the Atramentar assigned to him by his allies closed about him, blades raised and bolters cycling. The hulking Terminators grimly followed the orders given to them in orbit, to eliminate the vainglorious claw master who had dared to step beyond his place. Siakaar had forgotten the strictures that the Night Haunter had instilled in his sons: glory and honour were worthless and victory was fleeting. It was only the will to wield the knife that mattered, that and the strength to direct where it fell.

Hunting the Night Haunter

The Dark Angels' meticulously planned ambush on the Night Lords' fleet while it was in transit across the Tsagualsa Sub-sector had seen the back of the Night Lords Legion broken and their primarch mortally wounded after having faced his brother Lion El'Jonson once again in a nearly-suicidal mortal combat.

Thanks to the skilled coordination and superb execution of the Lion, the Night Lords fleet was devastated, losing dozens of capital ships and approximately one-quarter of their Legion fleet to the Dark Angels' assault.

Unfortunately, the remainder of the Night Lords fleet fled the Dark Angels' wrath, taking their critically wounded primarch with them before the Lion could finally end his wretched life.

Later, after a period of recovery, Cruze, his First Captain Jago Sevatarion and the elite Night Lords Atramentar Terminators led a desperate boarding assault action upon the Dark Angels' flagship Invincible Reason. This resulted in the death of all but a dozen of the Atramentar and the capture of Sevatar and the remaining survivors.

Konrad Curze fled the Lion's wrath, evading the Dark Angels for solar months, stalking the shadows within the bowels of their flagship, and continued to wreak terror and chaos amongst the mortal crew.

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

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

Imperium Secundus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Curze on Macragge

Angels of caliban by raffetin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Standing in the chamber of the Tuchulcha Engine aboard the Invincible Reason, the Lion brooded over recent events. He questioned his actions over the course of the last few solar decades.

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

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

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

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

Escape of the Night Haunter

Konrad Curze remained a chained captive aboard the Invincible Reason thereafter, with Lion El'Jonson occasionally visiting him to try and use his precognitive visions to help the Loyalists' war effort. However, the Night Haunter, having since regenerated from the spinal injury he had suffered at the Lion's hands, rarely proved cooperative enough and continued to taunt his brother.

While imprisoned aboard the Invincible Reason, Curze travelled with the combined Ultramarines, Dark Angels and Blood Angels fleet of Roboute Guilliman, the Lion, and Sanguinius as they tried to breach the Ruinstorm and reach Terra to aid in its defence. Upon having a vision that his destiny would be found at Davin, Sanguinius went aboard the Invincible Reason and took the chained Curze with him, hoping to not only use the imprisoned primarch's precognitive insight into what he must do but also to try and show the Night Haunter that one's destiny was malleable and could yet be changed. Sanguinius was forced to defeat several Dark Angels guards through non-lethal force, enraging the Lion at the assault on his warriors and almost causing him to destroy Davin itself by unleashing Cyclonic Torpedoes.

However the Lion and Guilliman both eventually followed Sanguinius and Curze to the surface of the Chaos-corrupted world during what became known as the Second Battle of Davin, and together the four primarchs journeyed to the Temple of the Serpent Lodge on Davin where Horus had fallen. At the temple, Curze fell into a depressed rage as he realised he had foreseen none of this and that his view that destiny was set in stone was truly being tested as Sanguinius had explained.

When Sanguinius was swallowed up by the Daemon Madail's portal, Curze broke down and seemed genuinely concerned for the welfare of his brother primarch. Guilliman and the Lion attempted to get Curze to predict a way to save Sanguinius, but the Night Haunter in his despair declared he had no idea what to do, for he had foreseen none of these events. As Daemons erupted from the Warp onto the surface of Davin, Curze was dragged back aboard the Invincible Reason.

Following the battle, the Ruinstorm began to dissipate and a route through the Warp to Terra was finally clear, but remained blockaded by the fleets of Horus. Guilliman and the Lion agreed to distract the Traitor fleets maintaining the blockade while Sanguinius and the Blood Angels raced to Terra, where the Blood Angels primarch had foreseen his life would reach its climax.

Sanguinius took custody of Curze and brought him aboard the the Blood Angels' flagship Red Tear, declaring that Night Lords primarch would face the Emperor's judgement when they reached the Throneworld. However, once aboard the vessel, Sanguinius put Curze in a stasis coffin and said that just as he was about to meet his destiny on Terra, so must Curze follow his own path until the destiny he had foreseen came to pass.

Sanguinius declared that he would place Curze in the stasis coffin and jettison him into space. Though it might take millennia for the Imperial Assassin M'Shen Curze had foreseen would ultimately kill him to find the Night Haunter, destiny would eventually find him. The Night Haunter, still raging against this fate, was placed into stasis in the coffin and shot out into the void of space as the Blood Angels moved on to the Sol System.

Post-Heresy

Death of the Night Haunter

Within his stasis coffin Konrad Curze drifted through the void of space throughout the Horus Heresy and the coffin was eventually discovered by the Sheldroon, an Imperial salvage ship several standard years after it had ended. An Imperial Assassin named Gun who was hidden among the crew of the vessel broke the surface of the capsule, awakening Curze from his stasis. The Night Haunter, still enraged, proceeded to massacre everyone on board.

In the end only Curze, a crewman known as Elver, and the Callidus Temple Assassin Gun remained. Gun was able to alert his Temple to Curze's general location in the galaxy before meeting his end at the primarch's hands, while Elver was taken by Curze as a slave to navigate the bulk of the Sheldroon.

Since the vessel lacked a Warp-Drive, the trip to Curze's intended destination, the world of Tsagualsa, where the Night Lords had maintained their last fortress, would take 4 standard years. During that time Curze tormented Elver while also instructing his slave in his philosophies.

After several Terran years of travel the pair arrived at Tsagualsa and rendezvoused with a Night Lords force under the command of Talos Valcoran. However, Elver, after years with the primarch, had gained a perceptive glimpse into Curze's mind, and came to the realization that the Night Haunter in fact had doubts regarding the truth of his precognitive visions and the beliefs he had created around them. To keep this secret safe, Curze had the Night Lords kill his slave and then finally rejoined his Legion.

The Night Haunter never received the dark blessing of the Ruinous Powers in the form of apotheosis to Daemonhood. Instead, he met his end at the hand of an assassin of the Callidus Temple named M'Shen on Tsagualsa, where the VIIIth Legion had built its fortress after the destruction of Nostramo.

It is known that throughout his life Curze had possessed the gift (many would say curse) of psychic foresight; he was constantly struck with powerful visions of the worst of all possible futures, and that his last had been a foretelling that he would die at the hand of one such as M'Shen. This prophetic psychic ability was passed on to other Night Lords who shared their gene-sire's genetic heritage. This was a unique trait, as it is said to be unrelated to Warp taints or other known psychic properties.

It is believed that Curze let his assassination happen, in order to show his father, the Emperor of Mankind, that he stood by his beliefs as surely as the Emperor stood by His. While acknowledging his own crimes against Humanity, Curze also stated that his martyrdom would ultimately vindicate him and his methods. Curze ordered his Legion not to pursue his assassin, a last wish that was eventually disobeyed. The primarch's acceptance of his own fate confirmed his bleak worldview, granting him a victory he could never attain under the rule of his father.

Curze's death did not slow the Night Lords down, as they continued to apply themselves to his mantra and remain specialists in the application of terror and the tactics of fear to this day. Though they paid lip service to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos and certainly felt its insidious pull, in the end the Night Lords, like their primarch, truly served only their own twisted conception of justice.

Night Lords After Curze

After the Siege of Terra had failed, the Night Lords did not splinter and flee into the Eye of Terror like the rest of the Traitor Legions. Instead, they had continued to attack the Imperium and establish their own terrible dominion among the worlds of the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy.

However, their tactics had seemed to change, betraying a self-destructive desperation. The Night Haunter himself was still gradually losing his sanity and the sense of purpose that had earned the respect of his Legion, and in his last days would frequently erupt into fits of violence, incoherency, and sadism. Many in the primarch's closest circle, such as Jago Sevatarion, became disheartened at what their primarch had become. The Emperor Himself, wishing to disband the Night Lords forever, dispatched half the Callidus Temple of Assassins to terminate the renegade primarch, and one of them, M'Shen, finally succeeded as Curze had long foreseen.

After the assassination of Konrad Curze, the Legion splintered into multiple feuding warbands, as is the nature of all those who serve Chaos willingly or not, and eventually relocated to the Eye of Terror. By the 41st Millennium, the Legion had deteriorated in both its numbers and its capabilities.

There was also continued infighting within the Legion as there was no clear leadership, with several ranking Night Lords contending for the right to lead the entire Legion. Currently, the Night Lords hire themselves out as mercenaries and elite shock troops for the other forces of Chaos or even for pirates who raid Imperial worlds, such as Huron Blackheart.

The Night Lords have been known to assist the Warmaster of Chaos Abaddon the Despoiler in his Black Crusade campaigns when asked to do so, as the quest for their own vengeance against the Imperium continues.

Their most infamous post-Heresy raid in the Imperium was on the world of Scound's Fall, just a few hundred light years from Holy Terra. Nearly all of the Raptors in the service of Chaos originate from the Night Lords Legion.

Era Indomitus

The Night Lords welcomed the coming of the Great Rift at the dawn of the Era Indomitus with relish. Fully half of the Imperium, the Imperium Nihilus was wreathed in impenetrable darkness, cut off from the light of the Astronomican, while the other half, the Imperium Sanctus, was left in confusion and chaos, leaving the warbands of these piratical Heretic Astartes to indulge their every depraved whim.

Indeed, the remnant of the VIIIth Legion, who had been reduced to an existence of piracy and reaving in order to replenish their battle gear and numbers, prospered like never before.

Departmento Munitorum worlds were stripped bare by nightclad warriors. Several Space Marine fortress-monasteries were raided, gene-seed stolen and armouries emptied, the defenders mutilated and ritually slaughtered.

Worse still, the Legion's Chaos Sorcerers devised new methods of exploiting Humanity's weakened state. These methods were as cunning as they were unthinkably cruel; thousands of astropaths were abducted and subjected to agonising torment, for the sons of Konrad Curze had learnt how to use the combined psychic trauma of their victims to create siren signals that would divert or lure stranded Imperial vessels into their clutches.

The Night Lords learned to practice this dark art on a grand scale. Entire worlds were transformed into monuments to pain and terror, and the sons of Curze delighted in every gruesome atrocity.

Notable Campaigns

Across the aeons, the Night Lords have done more to traumatise the psyche of the Imperium than any other Traitor Legion. As the conflicts of the Era Indomitus intensify, the terror raids and cruel hunts of the Night Lords increase in frequency. Long scattered, they are uniting, warband by warband, in the name of some dire cause. It can spell only doom for the worlds of Mankind.

  • Castigation of Vhnori (Unknown Date.M30) - During the early years of the Great Crusade, alliances and oaths were still fresh, untested or half-formed. Even as the Imperium extended beyond the Sol System, the domains left in its wake were often of questionable stability and loyalty. Attempted rebellions and conspiracies were common. The Imperium usually put most of these insurrections down swiftly and without fanfare. However, occasionally a few rebellions required a different response; not simply subjugation but retribution. Vhnori was a naturally fortified Terran city enclave built into the walls of a series of chasms that had once been a part of the Pan-Pacific Empire. Vhnori had been one of the last of the tyrant Narthan Dume's domains to fall during the Wars of Unification. The people of Vhnori did not take easily to the Imperial yoke, as they submitted to the Emperor's rule in sullen silence. This changed, however, with the coming of the Crimson Walkers, a cabal of psykers, gene-splicers and warlords who had once served the last great Terran tyrants of the Age of Strife. Bit by bit they had gathered followers and resources, spreading a secret web across Terra. The centre of their resurgence was Vhnori. It seemed the Crimson Walkers were determined to pull a part of Terra back into the nightmare of the recent past. When the Emperor heard of the rise of this reborn threat, He is said to have spoken three words: "Send the Eighth!" The VIIIth Legion did not respond right away, as its force within the Sol System at that time only numbered a little over 500 warriors: a large force of Astartes but not one that could overwhelm a city of millions. When the VIIIth Legion began their campaign of fear, it started with an orbital bombardment falling from the night sky which lasted for six solar hours. Following the bombardment, the artificial darkness remained. Soon a heavy downpour thick with chemicals rained upon the millions of fearful inhabitants from the seeded clouds above. The VIIIth Legion arose from the abyss on jets of flame, butchering any who crossed their paths. The screams of terror and battle echoed through their drug-weakened minds. The Crimson Walkers responded by unleashing an army of mutant monstrosities, but still the VIIIth Legion came on, slicing abominations apart with lightning-sheathed claws. They screamed with the voices of the dead as they fought, their speaker grills shouting out the recorded sounds of suffering, pain and loss. When the chasms were blazing like the mouth of a mythical hell, the Drop Pods fell. The reinforcements converged on the chasms, cutting their way through the city sprawl, killing any they found. Soon, the remaining Crimson Walkers faced their doom fragmented, harrowed and cut-off from one another, until they were cornered by the figures in midnight-clad blue Power Armour. Those who reached the blasted border surrounding the city found themselves hunted by the VIIIth Legion's Seeker Squads. It is said that the VIIIth Legion allowed many to run, before hunting them down through the long hours of the artificial night, maiming but never killing, until dragging their broken quarry back to the chasm. With Vhnori screaming and burning, the VIIIth Legion performed their last duty. Alive, and healed so that they were conscious, they threw the Crimson Walkers into the chasm. Then they detonated charges along the cliff edge, severing the hanging city from the cliff face, the screams of the ten millions who had sheltered from the fighting in the cliff-bound buildings reaching up to the sky as they followed the Crimson Walkers into the black depths of the Earth. The VIIIth Legion left the decimated city before dawn came again, cementing their reputation for the use of fear and terror as effective weapons of Imperial retribution and control.
  • Early Great Crusade Campaigns (Unknown Date.M30) - Early in his career as a military commander during the Great Crusade, Night Haunter led his finest Astartes against a temple devoted to the worship of an unknown agricultural deity, burning the entire settlement to the ground. In another infamous incident, the Night Lords virus-bombed a continent because an emergent Chaos Cult devoted to the Pleasure God Slaanesh had been uncovered on a remote island. This particular incident was cited at the time by other Space Marine Legions as damning proof of the Night Lords' dangerous use of excessive force.
  • Hunting of the Ak'Hareth (Unknown.M30) - An alien menace known variously as the Ak'Haireth, or "Bone Drinkers" in the vernacular, were fungoid, predatory and parasitic life forms which acquired their sentience from operating as physically interwoven gestalt "blooms". Their existence was fuelled by the slow and agonisingly painful siphoning of nutrition from living animals, primarily human bone marrow. Given to no technological creativity of their own, the Ak'Haireth operated at the edge of the western Segmentum Solar, inhabiting the scavenged void ships of other species and raiding isolated colonies and Feral Worlds unable to resist their predations. Initially encountered in the early years of the Great Crusade, the Ak'Haireth had been subjected to extermination pogroms carried out by both the Luna Wolves and the VIIIth Legion (not then yet formally known as the Night Lords) which had been thought to have been successful. However, a cowardly species, the Ak'Haireth had been wont to flee if not cornered in battle, and over time it became apparent that some marrow-blooms of the foul xenos had hidden themselves and survived. By 986.M30, reports of attacks against isolated outposts and shipping in the region of the stellar wastes near Olmec indicated that the Ak'Haireth were again dangerously growing in strength and number. The Alpha Legion, only a handful of years previously united with their Primarch, were assigned the order for the xenocide of the species before it could spread further, and in a successful campaign that lasted three years, the Bone Drinkers were all but wiped out.
  • Shi'Hu'Gal Purge (Unknown Date.M30) - The Night Lords, supported by the Titan Legions Legio Vulcanum I (Dark Fire) and Legio Vulcanum II, carried out the infamous xenocidal purge of the Shi'Hu'Gal Dominion during the Great Crusade; this was a campaign of such fury and viciousness it remains a legend of this bygone era, even after the far greater death and destruction caused by Horus' betrayal of the Emperor.
  • Castigation of Terentius (Unknown Date.M30) - When the forces of the Great Crusade first entered the Ordoni Cluster, they encountered the formidable warlord Vatale Gerron Terentius. Observing the forces arrayed against him, Terentius was forced to take the path of survival and surrendered to the Imperium. For the next five decades he rose in power and reputation, conquering worlds around the Halo Stars in the name of the Emperor. At the height of his powers, he had the ear of Malcador the Sigillite and the countenance of several Primarchs. When he finally turned against the Imperium, many were shocked. He began a contra-Crusade to conquer already-Compliant worlds to add to his pocket empire. The Imperium responded by sending Horus and his Luna Wolves Legion to not only break the Renegade but to demonstrate to any others who harboured similar ideas within the Imperial forces the inevitability of a betrayer's defeat. Large support from the Night Lords, Iron Hands and the Alpha Legion, joined the might of the Luna Wolves. At the height of the campaign, Horus himself, with a cadre of 50 elite Justaerin Terminators, teleported aboard the bridge of Terentius' flagship, where the Commander slew the unrepentant traitor with his Talon. Soon the rebel forces were fragmented, driven by tales of culled worlds. The Night Lords decimated every world within Terentius' rebel empire. The power of the Iron Hands and elements of the Ordo Reductor were brought to bear on every structure on Terentius' bastion worlds. Soon the rebels of his realm were slaughtered, their cities smashed to dust, and his homeworld's very air laced with toxins. Once the castigation was complete, Horus sent the gold-dipped skull of Terentius to Terra with the ironic warning carried on the lips of the messenger who bore it, "So perish all traitors".
  • Compliance of Kharaatan, 154-6 (Unknown Date.M30) - During this campaign, the Night Lords participated in a joint Imperial Compliance action on the world known as Kharaatan. Designated 154-6, the Night Lords fought alongside the Primarch Vulkan and his Salamanders Legion as well as Mechanicum forces, the Legio Ignis Titan Legion and several Imperial Army regiments. During this campaign Vulkan became infuriated with his brother Konrad Curze and how his Legion conducted themselves so brutally. In one notable incident, the Night Lords slaughtered the inhabitants of an entire city in order to seed fear amongst the general population. When Vulkan confronted Curze about his Legion's actions, a brief fight ensued between the two demi-gods. After the successful conclusion of the campaign, Vulkan reported Curze's conduct to both the Warmaster Horus and his brother Primarch Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists Legion. The incident would later sow the seeds of animosity between Vulkan and Curze, causing a rift that would further widen as the Great Crusade wore on. The events on Kharaatan would have far-reaching effects that would mark Vulkan's fate after the tragedy of the Drop Site Massacre on Isstvan V.
  • Pacification of the Cheraut System (984.M30) - This was an Imperial Compliance action during the Great Crusade jointly conducted by Astartes from the Night Lords, Emperor's Children and Imperial Fists Legions. Suffering from one of his violent fits, Fulgrim rushed to Curze's aid. The Night Lords Primarch then confided in his brother of the dire visions that he had seen; his death at the hands of their father, that many of the Primarchs would die fighting amongst themselves, and that the light the Emperor brought to his homeworld of Nostromo would destroy it forever. Troubled by these dire portents, Fulgrim confided in his brother Rogal Dorn. Dorn took exception to this slight on the Emperor's name and confronted Curze. Shortly thereafter, Dorn was found unconscious and bleeding with great gouges of flesh ripped away from his torso. Crouching above his fallen brother was the pallid form of the Night Haunter, weeping. Wracked with self-loathing and guilt, Curze was taken into custody and exiled to his chambers, while his brother Primarchs discussed what actions to take against their deeply disturbed brother. Hours later, when the council of Primarchs finally disbanded, they found Night Haunter missing and the Imperial Fists' honour guard watching over him butchered. By the time the Primarchs gave chase, Night Haunter had already disappeared with his Legion into the Warp.
  • Destruction of Nostramo (984.M30) - The destruction of Nostramo was an Exterminatus action conducted by the now-rogue Night Lords Legion after the Night Haunter's attack on Rogal Dorn towards the end of the Great Crusade, after the pacification of Cheraut. The VIIIth Legion willingly destroyed their own homeworld of Nostramo on the order of their Primarch, concentrating deadly lance-strikes on the planet's unstable core which resulted in tumultuous seismic activity that eventually shattered the dark planet apart in a wave of destruction. This event fulfilled the Night Haunter's vision of seeing his planet being destroyed by beams of white light that erupted from the heavens. For this crime, Curze was recalled to Terra by the Emperor to be reprimanded for his brutal tactics, but instead he joined the Warmaster Horus in open rebellion during the Horus Heresy before he could stand before his father.
  • Drop Site Massacre of Isstvan V (566.006.M31) - After several months of hesitation, the Emperor ordered seven Legions of Astartes to assault the known Traitor Legions' base on the world of Isstvan V, where their objective was to defeat Horus and return him to Terra for judgment. They would attack in two waves and fall under the supreme command of the Iron Hands' Primarch Ferrus Manus. The Legions comprising the first wave were the Raven Guard, Iron Hands and Salamanders. The Legions comprising the second wave were the Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, and a large contingent of Word Bearers that their Primarch Lorgar had stationed in the star system. Unknown to Dorn and Ferrus Manus, the Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors and Word Bearers had all turned from their service to the Emperor and secretly pledged their loyalty to Horus, and been instructed to keep their new allegiance to Chaos a secret. The Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard were deployed in the first wave of the assault on the planet. After they secured the drop site, they were to have been followed by the arrival of the other four Legions. The first wave secured the drop site, known as the Urgall Depression, though at a heavy cost. Horus ordered his front line troops to fall back in a feint, tempting Ferrus Manus to overstretch his already thin lines. Against the advice of Corax and Vulkan, Manus led his Veterans against the fleeing Traitor Marines unsupported. Manus then brought his brother Fulgrim to combat. As the two Primarchs drew their weapons, the Raven Guard and Salamanders fell back to regroup and allow the second wave's Legions to advance and earn glory. However, as they returned they were mowed down by the four Traitor Legions that had landed to supposedly support them, thus revealing their new allegiance to Chaos. At the same time the apparent rout of the Sons of Horus, the World Eaters, Death Guard and Emperor's Children suddenly halted and the Traitors pressed their attack. As Horus pressed the counterattack he managed to sandwich the Loyalists between the two Traitor forces, killing most of them. As the black armoured Astartes of the Raven Guard Legion were cut down by the Traitors' sustained volley, the traitorous Primarch Lorgar ordered his Word Bearers Legion to attack the Raven Guards' unprotected flank. Lord Corax 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. Despite the protestations of both Kor Phaeron and Erebus, Lorgar disregarded their counsel 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. The two Primarchs fought in furious combat -- Corax fighting to kill, while Lorgar fought to stay alive. The two primarchs traded vicious blows, but the Raven Lord had the advantage of 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 and out of his back. As Corax stepped closer, he raised his one functioning Lightning Claw to execute his brother, but was thwarted by the timely intervention of the Night Lords' Primarch Konrad Curze. Weakened by his battle with Lorgar, Corax took advantage when the Night Haunter was momentarily distracted and fired his flight pack, burning his fuel reserves to escape Curze's grip, soaring skyward away from Curze's rising laughter. Meanwhile, the Iron Hands were cut off and slaughtered to a man -- the Veteran Morlocks Terminators cut down and their Primarch Ferrus Manus beheaded by Fulgrim. The Salamanders and Raven Guard could do nothing to help the Iron Hands, and were forced to make a costly break-out with precious few of their forces. Those Thunderhawk and Stormbird gunships that lifted off and escaped Isstvan V were far fewer than those that had landed. Corax, the Primarch of the Raven Guard, was badly wounded and Vulkan's fate was unknown for some time. The remainder of the Iron Hands Legion arrived to find their Veterans and Primarch dead while the Salamanders and Raven Guard had been reduced to a fraction of their full strength, with both Legions nearly wiped out.
Sevatar novella art

First Captain Sevatar leads the Atrementar assault on the Dark Angels' flagship, Invincible Reason

  • Thramas Crusade (ca. 007-009.M31) - During the Horus Heresy the Warmaster Horus sent Night Haunter and his VIIIth Legion on a campaign of genocide against the Imperial strongholds of Heroldar and Thramas in the Aegis Sub-sector of the Eastern Fringes, thus protecting Horus' flank and delaying the Dark Angels Legion from reinforcing the Loyalists. This bitterly contested campaign dragged on for nearly three standard years. In an attempt to sway his brother Lion El'Jonson to Horus' cause, the Night Haunter left a deep-void beacon in the patrol path of one of the Dark Angels' outrider vessels. The beacon was set to transmit coordinates in advance, so that the two Primarchs could meet and parley on the planet of Tsagualsa. Night Haunter wanted to break his former brother either mentally, physically or both to obtain his objectives. The Primarchs were accompanied by two warriors from their personal Honour Guards to the parley. The meeting began amicably enough between the two as they conversed with relative civility. This amity lasted only until the Night Haunter slandered El'Jonson, and in return the Lion struck his former brother. This melee further degenerated into an all-out brawl between the two sides. As the Night Haunter strangled the life out of El'Jonson, one of the Dark Angels Honour Guardsmen ran his sword through the Night Haunter's back, saving his Primarch's life. Eventually both Legions sent reinforcements in response to this incident. Each side dragged away their respective Primarchs from the scene of the combat. Both Primarchs survived this brutal confrontation and went on to continue the contest between their Legions for control of the Aegis Sub-sector.
  • Hunting the Night Haunter (009.M31) - When next they fought, the Dark Angels executed a meticulously planned ambush on the Night Lords' fleet while it was in transit across the sub-sector that saw the back of the Night Lords Legion broken and their Primarch mortally wounded after having faced his brother El'Jonson once again in mortal combat. Thanks to the skilled coordination and superb execution by the Lion, the Night Lords fleet was devastated, losing dozens of capital ships and approximately one-quarter of their Legion fleet to the Dark Angels' assault. Unfortunately, the remainder of the Night Lords fleet fled the Dark Angels' wrath. The recently recovered Night Haunter, First Captain Sevatarion and the elite Night Lords Atramentar Terminators led a desperate boarding assault action upon the Dark Angels' flagship. This resulted in the death of all but a dozen of the Atramentar and the capture of Sevatarion and the remaining survivors. Konrad Curze fled El'Jonson's wrath, evading the Dark Angels for months, stalking the shadows within the bowels of the mighty capital ship, wreaking terror and chaos amongst the mortal crew. He also killed every hunter-killer team sent by the Lion to hunt him down. After losing several squads of Dark Angels, the Lion himself took up the hunt for Curze, stalking him throughout the Invincible Reason for the next sixteen weeks. However, he could never find his elusive brother Primarch. Also, at some point, the remaining Night Lords managed to affect their escape and fled into the void.
  • Arrival to Ultramar and Imperium Secundus (009.M31) - With the torrential Ruinstorm raging, blocking out the light of the Astronomican and causing warp travel to be all but impossible, the Imperium was effectively cut in half. The Dark Angels came to the realisation that they were unable to return to Terra to assist in its defence, even with the advent of the Tuchulcha Engine. Miraculously, they locked onto the beacon of the strange alien device known as the Pharos, on the world of Sotha, which guided the Ist Legion fleet safely through the Warp and to Ultramar's capital world of Macragge. There, they were greeting by Roboute Guilliman and Sanguinius, whose Blood Angels Legion was also guided to the Realms of Ultramar by the Pharos. The three Primarchs were instrumental in the foundation of the "Imperium Secundus" as a means of continuing the fight against the Traitors and securing the Emperor's great work. Guilliman proclaimed Sanguinius as the rightful heir to the Emperor and declared him the new ruler of Imperium Secundus. Lion El'Jonson was made Lord Protector of this new empire of humanity and commander over all its military forces, a title that was similar to that of Warmaster. Unfortunately, the foundation of Imperium Secundus was marred when Curze escaped from the Invincible Reason and rampaged across Macragge, intent on spreading as much terror and chaos as he could. Eventually, both Guilliman and the Lion confronted the cornered Curze. Their attempts to kill him were unsuccessful as the Night Lords Primarch had laid a cunning trap. He brought down an entire chapel upon the two Primarchs through the use of planted explosives and fled the scene. Guilliman and the Lion were only saved through the direct intervention of the Loyalist Iron Warriors Warsmith Barabas Dantioch, who was communicating with Guilliman at the time of the attack, through a portal that was opened by the Pharos. On instinct, the Warsmith reached through the portal and pulled the two primarchs to safety on Sotha.
  • Battle of Sotha (009.M31) - The far-flung world of Sotha lay close to the edge of the galaxy's Eastern Fringe, almost at the limits of both the fiefdom of the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar and the span of all Imperial territory. Upon this world the Ultramarines had discovered beneath its tallest peak, named Mount Pharos, a massive aperture constructed by an unknown xenos species. This device functioned both as a beacon and route-finder, and it also permitted instantaneous communication across unimaginable distances, even penetrating the raging tumult of the Ruinstorm. Following their defeat at the hands of the Dark Angels at Tsagualsa, remnants of the Night Lords Legion followed this beacon in the warp, which guided them safely to the world of Sotha. Over many months, the Night Lords secretly gathered intelligence on the suspicious activities of the Ultramarines, and soon discovered the nature of the arcane device, named the Pharos, upon the restricted planet. The Night Lords launched a surprise assault upon the lightly garrisoned world, intent on seizing the Pharos in order to use it to determine the location of their flagship, the Nightfall, as well as the whereabouts of their missing Primarch Konrad Curze. In the ensuing battle, the loyalist Iron Warriors Warsmith Barabas Dantioch, sacrificed himself by overloading the Pharos, so that the Night Lords would be unable to utilise the device's powerful empathic abilities. What far reaching consequences this would have for the galaxy, would not come to pass for another ten millennia.
  • Capture & Trial of the Night Haunter (ca. 011.M31) - Continuing his obsessive hunt for the elusive Night Haunter, the Lion and Guilliman continuously clashed over policies, especially in regards to the security of Imperium Secundus, and how best to deal with rebels on Macragge, that the Lion was certain Curze had something to do with. Followng a suicide bombing of an Astartes convoy, the Lion used the I<sup<st Legion to establish martial law on Macragge. Certain that Curze was hiding within the rebellious Illyrium region, the Lion advocated the use of a massive orbital saturation bombardment of the region to ensure Curze's death. Facing resistance from both Emperor Sanguinius and Guilliman, the Lion instead, opted to deploy his Legion's Dreadwing in order to flush out Curze and the rebels. During an attack on the city of Alma Mons, the Lion finally cornered the elusive Night Lords Primarch and the two came to blows. After a brutal confrontation, the Lion eventually emerged victorious, and questioned his brother why he had turned away from the Emperor, to which Curze simply replied, "Why not?" Curze went on to explain that there was a monster in his head that he could not stop. Though he finally had Curze at his mercy, the Lion couldn't bring himself to kill his brother, and instead pummeled him again. He then ripped off Curze's backpack from his battle-plate and lifted him over his head, and then brutally brought him down across his knee, breaking Curze's spine and paralysing him. The Lion brought the grievously wounded Curze before Sanguiniun and Guilliman to stand trial. A Triumvirate was later held, where Curze defended his actions, but refused to admit his guilt. Since each of the Primarchs had been created to perform a specific function, Curze was merely acting according to his own nature, and therefore had committed no crimes. The Night Lords Primarch then further divided Guilliman and the Lion by accusing the latter of secretly ordering orbital bombardment in direct violation of Guilliman's orders. Enraged, the Lion sought to kill Curze, but was halted by the words of Sanguinius and Guilliman snatched El'Jonson's Lion Sword and broke the blade across his armoured thigh. El'Jonson was furious, but Sanguinius dismissed the Lord Protector, ending the Triumvirate. The Lion was then banished from Imperium Secundus. Taking his leave, the Dark Angels withdrew from Macragge only hours later. Standing in the chamber of the Tuchulcha Engine, the Lion brooded over recent events, he questioned his actions over the course of the last few decades -- the banishment of Luther, the death of Nemiel as well as other decisions he had come to regret. As the Dark Angels made their final preparations to depart back to Caliban, the Lion went back to the Tuchulcha Engine's chamber. He then ordered the device to teleport himself and Holguin, "Deathbringer", the voted-lieutenant of the Deathwing, back to Macragge. As Sanguinius prepared to execute Curze for his crimes, both the Lion and his lieutenant teleported directly into the chamber and told Sanguinius to stop. As troops entered the room, demanding the Lion to surrender, El'Jonson explained his reasons for the intrusion. He reasoned that Curze had the ability to see precognitive visions of potential futures, and repeated the Night Haunter's claim that his death would one day come at the hands of an assassin sent by the Emperor. If this was true, the Lion reasoned, than it was proof that the Emperor was still alive. Sanguinius knew the Lion's explanation rang true, as he recognised that his own precognitive visions of his inevitable death would also eventually come to pass. When Guilliman demanded to know what would become of Curze, the Lion knelt before his two brothers and promised that he would be Curze's gaoler.
Night Lords Assault

Night Lords assault during the Eastern Fringe Genocide

  • Eastern Fringe Genocide (Unknown Date.M31) - Following the death of Horus during the Siege of Terra, the Traitor Legions were driven into the Eye of Terror. Unlike the other Traitor Legions, after their defeat in the Thramas Crusade, the surviving Night Lords did not splinter into separate warbands and flee like the rest of their fellow Traitors. Instead, the Night Lords conducted a massive campaign of genocide and terror against the Imperium across the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy, the likes of which has never been seen before, or since. The Legion betrayed the growth of the increasing sense of self-destruction which drove its Astartes, much as it had long driven their primarch. The Night Lords' rampage is only stopped by the assassination of Konrad Curze, who had rejoined his Legion on Tsagualsa after being rescued from the stasis casket Sanguinius had placed him in by an Imperial salvage vessel, at the hands of the Callidus Assassin M'Shen.
  • Castile V Massacre (832.M33) - Periclitor, a Chaos Lord formerly of the Night Lords Legion seals a pact with the Ruinous Powers of the Warp to ascend to become a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided. A thousand Imperial souls are sacrificed to the Dark Gods, among which are Imperial Ministorum Missionaries and members of the Adeptus Sororitas. The sacrifice proves pleasing, and Periclitor achieves his dark apoetheosis.
  • Culling of Grendel's World (843.M34) - The Night Lords conducted a systematic extermination of the entire planetary populace of Grendel's World, a small isolated planet in the Ysobael Cloud near the Eastern Fringe.
  • Death of Howling Griffons Chapter Master Furioso (220.M38) - A Night Lords warband carries out an ambush of Chapter Master Orlando Furioso of the Howling Griffons at Arios Point. Periclitor and his Chosen board the Chapter Master's starship using Dreadclaw assault boats. The defenders are forced to abandon ship using their Thunderhawks and Drop Pods. The battle continues on the surface of the world of Arios Quintus, where the Howling Griffons' 1st Company and Chapter Master Furioso are slain in combat. The Night Lords mount the body of Furioso upon the prow of his Thunderhawk, and its transponders set to transmit the location system-wide. The remains are found one month later by other Howling Griffons Astartes.
  • False Saviours of Garagos (Unknown Date.M41) - Together with the Alpha Legion, the Night Lords save the algae-mining Garagos Entrenchment from being completely overrun by WAAAGH! Krushbakk. The members of this seemingly benevolent strike force are largely clad in the colours and insignia of Loyalist Space Marines, giving the populace of Garagos a few blissful days of hope. Only when the Orks are driven off-world do they realise they have merely exchanged one set of persecutors for another -- and that the second doom to befall them is far more malevolent.
  • Sons of Grendel (Unknown Date.M41) - In the 34th Millennium, the Imperial frigate Hand of Mercy answered a residual distress call from Grendel's World, only to find every single inhabitant had been hunted down and killed, the symbols cut into their corpses identified as those of the Night Lords. Though Grendel's World is resettled a Terran century later and the massacre of its people rendered into a folk tale, that exact same scene occurs seven millennia later in the 41st Millennium. This second incidence triggers a full-scale Crusade by the Mortifactors, who take the fastest ships in their fleet and set off in search of the perpetrators.
  • Twisted Justice (Unknown Date.M41) - After millennia of slaughter, the Night Lords warmonger Anvrex Rarth becomes disenchanted with indiscriminate violence. He vows to embody his Primarch's early days, punishing only those whom he believes deserve it -- but doing so with such grievous acts of retribution that none who hear of them dare stray from the path of righteousness. For a time, he finds a kind of peace, but his notions of morality are broken beyond repair. Within the standard year he is wreaking the most terrible of atrocities as a response to everything from the breaching of shipping contracts to the incorrect pronunciation of High Gothic.
  • The Claws Descend on Chokehold (Unknown Date.M41) - The Night Lords warband of Ghilus Venst mounts a series of crippling hit-and-run attacks, focusing on the orbital waystations and macrofibre space lifts that surround the infamously criminalised cargo world of Chokehold. They escape with not only copious amounts of ammunition and fully-charged power units, but also dozens of new recruits.
  • Search for Shadeblight (750.M41) - Whilst searching for the possessed Chaos Cruiser Shadeblight, Night Lords Chaos Space Marines wreak havoc throughout the Ango Sub-sector. The Night Lords are initially opposed only by Space Marines from the Red Wolves Chapter. Ultimately the Red Wolves succeed in denying the Night Lords their prize.
  • Khai-zan Uprisings (968.M41) - Led by Night Lords Chaos Space Marines, Traitor Planetary Defence Forces and numerous uprisings by Chaos Cultists, an attack is launched during a public holiday on the Imperial Agri-world of Khai-Zan, unleashing the Khai-Zan Uprisings. With over half of the Planetary Defence Force on leave, the beleagured planet soon finds itself beset on all sides by the Forces of Chaos. The cultists utilize summoned daemons but, due to the distance of Khai-Zan from the Eye of Terror and a lack of devotion from the Night Lords, the actual number of summoned daemons is very small. The Night Lords' Chaos Champion Gorsameth leads his troops in a clash against the men of the 122nd Cadian Shock Troopers, under Captain Fane. The Night Lords Chaos Sorcerer Asuramandos uses Warp magicks to redirect and mis-deploy the defenders, causing them to be overrun in the ensuing battle. Captain Fane as well as his entire company die in defence of an Adeptus Arbites Precinct House. The stranglehold of Chaos over Khai-zan is finally broken by the arrival of the Astartes of the Imperial Fists. Every Traitor is slain to a man.
  • Scound's Fall (Unknown Date.M41) - A small flotilla of Night Lords ships slip through the Cadian Gate and spend months in the Warp avoiding detection. Scound's Fall, a small planet located one-hundred light years from Terra is chosen as a target because of its large Schola Progenium Abbey -- a training ground for future Imperial military officers, Inquisitors, Commissars, Storm Troopers and Sisters of Battle. After seven days of fighting there were no survivors left from the Night Lords' attack and the butchered remains from both sides are laid out in talismanic patterns, to help with the summoning of a Daemonic horde. Daemons rampage across half the world while the Night Lords head for the Eye of Terror, eluding Imperial warships intent on their capture. The daring of the attack sends shock waves through the military organisation of the Segmentum Solar and results in the court martial and penitent exile of Lord Commander Solar Jaxon.
  • Fall of Vilamus (999.M41) - The infamous Red Corsairs, striking a deal with the Chaos Champion known as the The Exalted's large Night Lords warband to lead the spearhead of their attack, sacked the lightly defended fortress-monastery of the Marines Errant Chapter in order to steal its large cache of gene-seed. In the aftermath of the battle, the Night Lords and the Red Corsairs soon fell upon each other as the Night Lords tried to reclaim one of their Strike Cruisers, the Echo of Damnation, and lay claim to all of the recovered gene-seed.
  • 13th Black Crusade (ca. 999.M41) - The Warmaster of Chaos Abaddon launches his 13th Black Crusade in ca. 999.M41 which is intended to finally open the way for the forces of Chaos for a second invasion of Terra. As part of the united effort of the forces of Chaos to overwhelm the Imperial defences of the Cadian Gate, shock troops drawn from the warbands of the Night Lords sow terror across the Scarus Sector, cutting communications and hanging the corpses of their victims from every building within reach. The Night Lords perform innumerable acts of terror, carry out lightning raids and cunning feints intended to slowly batter down the Imperial forces present in the Scarus Sector. Even those Imperial defenders who are strongest in their faith in the God-Emperor find their confidence shattered when they are forced into an existence of solitude, darkness and confusion by the Night Lords' operations. Amongst the psychological warfare operations carried out by the Night Lords during the 13th Black Crusade are the transmissions of heretical communications claiming that the Dark Angels Chapter of Space Marines is in league with the Forces of Chaos. An Ordo Malleus Kill-team is despatched to destroy the source of the transmissions, but find only broken Night Lords bodies -- evidence of the Dark Angels' own wrath. During the 13th Black Crusade, however, the current Chapter Master of the Howling Griffons, Alvaro, diverted his Battle Barge Sword of Destiny from the war effort to pursue the Night Lords Daemon Prince Periclitor and earn vengeance for the death of Orlando Furioso millennia before. The Howling Griffons finally restored their honour when Periclitor was banished to the Warp at the height of a titanic space battle between the Howling Griffons' 1st Company and the Chosen warband of the Daemon Prince. Also during the 13th Black Crusade, the Night Lords' warleader, the Chaos Lord Tarraq Darkblood, has his Styx-class Heavy Cruiser crippled by the Imperial Navy in the Faberius Straits. A large force of Chaos warships eventually rescue the drifting starship and its enraged occupant.
  • Empire of Fiends (Unknown Date.M42) - Following the fall of Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade, the Great Rift spreads panic and madness across the Imperium. The Night Lords are in their element, with many establishing small stellar empires amongst those star systems cut off from the Emperor's light during the Noctis Aeterna.
  • An Ill-Fated Crossing (Unknown Date.M42) - The Navigator guilds identify a temporary channel of realspace near the Corinthe System that leads through the Cicatrix Maledictum to the Imperium Nihilus. With the need to travel between Segmentums so desperate, it is not long before several Imperial fleets are inbound, intending to make the crossing with all haste. They plunge deep into the Great Rift. Only then do the Night Lords, whose Daemonic pacts engineered the "safe" region of space, launch their attack. In a series of boarding actions, they capture dozens of Imperial vessels.
  • The Long Night (Unknown Date.M42) - With the light of the Astronomican cut off in the early days of the Noctis Aeterna after the birth of the Great Rift, thousands of star systems are plunged into blindness across the Imperium. The warbands of the Night Lords, seeing a gory harvest to be reaped, raid and pillage more than ever before.
  • Talledus War (Unknown Date.M42) - When the Dark Apostle Kor Phaeron of the Word Bearers Legion launched an assault upon the Talledus System and its sacred Shrine World of Benediction in the Segmentum Solar's Veritus Sub-sector, he enlisted the aid of the Night Lords warband commanded by the Chaos Lord Yharas Kine. Based on the battleship Nightmare of Celyx, the Night Lords joined the Word Bearers' dark War of Faith to fill their coffers with Imperial spoils and take pleasure in the suffering they could spread among the most pious servants of the Corpse Emperor. Even before the Word Bearers had fired their first shots upon the surface of Benediction, Yharas Kine and his Night Lords warband had drawn the first blood of the Talledus conflict. A Kill-team of Night Lords specialists had descended upon the astropathic relay at the world of Satrapol in the Talledus System, butchering its occupants before setting off a cyclonic charge at the heart of the complex. At the same time, the Nightmare of Celyx slipped from the Warp at the far edge of the Talledus System. Thiscursed vessel contained thousands upon thousands of captured astropaths, strapped into enginesof torment and watched over by sinister warriors of the Night Lords. The sons of Curze had performed the most horrific tortures upon these luckless souls, driving them into a state of constant pain-addled frenzy. Their combined psychic scream echoed out across the stars, interfering with long-range Vox communications and scrambling the minds of ship-borne Navigators. Imperial reinforcements were dragged out of the Warp into the killing fields of the Tears of the Emperor, the blazing asteroid field at the rimward edge of the Talledus System. There, the Night Lords' fleet waited, anticipating a feast of terror and plunder. Later, they faced off within that asteroid belt with a force of Vanguard Space Marines from the White Scars Chapter, who fought them to a stalemate in a constant campaign of hit-and-run terror against Imperial Navy shipping in the system.
  • Second Relief of Mordian (Iron Crusade) (Unknown Date.M42) - As Imperial forces withdrew from the Stygius Sector during the Invasion of the Stygius Sector, the Iron Hands refused to retreat and instead gathered on Mordian, itself under siege from Chaos forces. Alongside a mere dozen or so regiments of the Mordian Iron Guard, the Iron Hands sought to reforge themselves and purge the weakness they had displayed earlier in the campaign. During the siege the Iron Hands were joined by allies enraged by the defeatism of the Imperial forces, among them the Brazen Claws, Fire Lords, Silver Skulls, Sons of Medusa, and Iron Lords in what became known as the "Iron Crusade." They arrived on Mordian to find the planet terrorised by a Night Lords warband under the command of Ahrak Deathshriek and his Raptor hordes. Deathshriek planned to use the terror his Heretic Astartes created in the Mordian population to power a Chaos ritual that would plunge the entire world into the Warp. The Iron Hands and their allies struck with customary bluntness, emerging without warning from the Warp and engaging the Traitor fleet in orbit and launching a Drop Pod assault on Mordian's capital. Clan Avernii under [[[Captain|Iron Captain]] Caanok Var led the charge and Deathshriek drove his Chaos Cultists into the Iron Hands' guns. One by one, the remaining Iron Hands Clan Companies joined the battle and Deathshriek was wounded in single combat by Var. Even as the Iron Hands' drop zone came under fresh assault from the Benedictian Guard and the Cult of the Whispered Word, Renegade warlords from across the sector united in their realisation that the Iron Hands could be wholly destroyed. With the Loyalist assault faltering, Deathshriek claimed victory as he led his fleet against the Iron Hands in space, outnumbering their warships three to one. It was at this point that the Iron Hands Successor Chapters arrived. Deathshriek's armada was caught in disarray by the Loyalist reinforcements and crushed. The newly-arrived Loyalist warships rained obliteration below on the Mordian populace. The orbital bombardment seemed indiscriminate, but nothing could have been further from the truth. The tactical doctrine known as "Hammer and the Storm" had been pursued planetside as well as in the trackless void, the Iron Hands' assault calculated to stir the Renegades and Traitors into reckless deeds. What had seemed a faltering Loyalist advance had merely paused while the Iron Hands Techmarines laboured to erect void shields and reinforce the capital city's surviving bunkers. Thus the Iron Hands and those portions of the Mordian populace they deemed worthy of survival endured the orbital firestorm. Their foes, caught in the open and drunk on the prospect of their imminent victory, were not so fortunate. In a little over one solar hour's bombardment, the Chaos hold on Mordian was broken for the second time. Eventually other Imperial reinforcements arrived from Cypra Mundi and the Iron Crusade was able to not only push the Chaos forces off Mordian, but to counterattack Chaos garrisons on nearby worlds. The Iron Hands' governing Iron Council then unleashed a second phase of the campaign, with a plan to scour the surviving worlds of the Mordian System of their Chaos presence and wrest the refineries and orbital shipyards of the neighbouring Kharvos System from Chaos. At present, the campaign is ongoing.

Legion Organisation

Pre-Heresy

The inheritance of Nostramo coiled throughout the structure of the Night Lords. Outwardly they followed a pattern close to many other Space Marine Legions during the Great Crusade era, but behind this basic skeleton lay the courts of Nostramo, the gang traditions and the aesthetics of terror that infused every aspect of the VIIIth Legion. At the squad level, the Night Lords fielded a broad range of units, though taken as a whole the number of configured Breacher Siege Squads were proportionally rarer than in other Legions. The Night Lords also had a number of unique units: the infamous Terror Squads, whose sole purpose was to create and embody a state of horror in their enemies, and the Night Raptor Squads, who would soar above their enemies trailing the bloody remains of their kills while shrieking from modified Vox casters. Almost all squads within the VIIIth Legion had a name that they used in place of the simple designation. So it was that squads within a company might be referred to as "Claws", "Talons" or a number of other epithets often coupled with an indication of hierarchy or honorific: the Stygian Talon, the 10th Claw, the 5th Oathed, to name but a few amongst thousands.

The company was the basic strategic deployment unit within the Night Lords Legion and each squad belonged to a company which might number anywhere between 100 and 1,000 warriors. Most companies had a title in addition to their numeric designation. The 27th Company were (their names in translation from the Nostraman) "The Shattered Skull", the 104th Company "The Sable Brothers", the 71st Company "The Crimson Judges" and so on. Unlike many others, the Night Lords used battalions and Chapters as semi-permanent groupings of companies, rather than a universal structure favouring their own divisions. This seemingly byzantine complexity masked a surprisingly efficient and flexible approach to warfare which allowed the VIIIth Legion to operate with a high degree of fluidity and to be readily fractured into autonomous units or combined into ad hoc formations as their master dictated.

A notable example of one of these unique formations is the "Crimson Sons". This formation was formed from the remnants of the VIIIth Legion's 9th Company midway through the Terran Unification Wars, as their formation had suffered near total destruction during the pacification of the wasteland domain of Oxitania. The Emperor, in His beneficence, offered the King of Oxitania the rank of Rogue Trader in remission of his execution. The "Crimson Sons" would retain a degree of the VIIIth Legion's early heraldry before the return of Konrad Curze and fought as a coherent unit, serving alongside the Rogue Trader Gotha before returning to the VIIIth Legion's fold. The later status and whereabouts of the Crimson Sons is unknown, and it is possible they were slain during the many battles of the Horus Heresy which followed the Drop Site Massacre.

Legion Command Hierarchy

Konrad Curze was the Dark King of his Legion, a figure of fear for his sons as much as on object of loyalty. That many were genuinely loyal to him cannot be doubted, but as many seem to have been bound to him by fear rather than adoration, and some hated their gene-sire. Curze appeared not to have cared so long as when he commanded, all obeyed. Around him the Dark King maintained a court of his most useful sons. The members of this group, the Kyroptera, were drawn from senior officers across the VIIIth Legion and transcended rank. All had a quality that Curze found valuable, though in some cases that quality seems to have been little more than distilled bitterness and cruelty. Membership in the Kryoptera gave no absolute rank, but the fact remained that they were the ruling elite of the Night Lords, and so few others would openly disobey a command from one of them. Alongside these served the Atramaentar. A company-strength formation equipped with Terminator Armour and armed with the finest weapons, they were the personal command of the First Captain of the Night Lords and enforcers of order. Renowned for their cold brutality in battle and their unswerving loyalty to their commander and their Primarch, they seem to have acted as a check on the many fractious elements within the VIIIth Legion, and though this cannot now be confirmed, it is widely thought that they served as Curze's executioners when the need arose.

Beneath the Kyroptera were the many Captains of the companies. The few of these that had been graced with leading several companies under the banner of a battalion or Chapter went by a variety of inconsistent ranks including Commander, Master and Regent, amongst others. While these exalted leaders had clear command over the units placed under them, their authority in the VIIIth Legion as a whole seems to have been more malleable. A Regent might have a handful of Captains under his command, but be subject to the commands of a different Captain if that Captain were of the Kryoptera, or exalted in some other way. Just as squads and companies bore names to set them apart from each other, so too did the commanders of the Legion adorn their names with secondary monikers and titles. Many of these titles had echoes in the cursed nobility and gangs of Nostramo: "Talonmaster", the" Bloodless" or the "Sightless Revenant". A few were no doubt calculated insults that either stuck or were adopted by their bearers out of perversity.

At the time of the Drop Site Massacre in 005.M31, the Night Lords had been teetering on the edge of Renegade status for several years. Apparently fighting their own wars with little or no regard or contact with the rest of the Great Crusade's chain of command, it had been some time since an accurate survey of their strength had been made. Estimates of the strength of the Legion therefore vary wildly. Some put their numbers at a little over 90,000 Astartes, others at 120,000. The Legion was known to have been recruiting from subjugated worlds throughout the latter part of the Great Crusade, in some cases stealing away the youth of entire star systems as the base from which to winnow suitable Aspirants. The use of rapid psycho-conditioning and accelerated gene-seed implantation was also known to be widely practiced by the Night Lords, further supporting suggestions that their numbers were at least on par with many of the more numerous Space Marine Legions. It is also likely that a number of Night Lords elements were not at the Isstvan System, but were engaged in other self-selected actions in the unconquered corners of the galaxy at that time.

Specialist Ranks and Formations

HHC NL Atramentar Bodyguard

A Night Lords Atramentar Terminator assigned to the VIIIth Legion's elite 1st Company.

  • Atramentar - The Atramentar were an elite Terminator-armoured unit of battle-brothers drawn from the Night Lords' formidable 1st Company. They were led by the infamous First Captain Jago Sevatarion. These deadly warriors were outfitted in Tartaros Pattern Terminator Armour and armed with the finest weapons the Legion possessed, which they wielded with murderous talent. Along with this fearsome armament and formidable killing prowess, the Atramentar were also just as fractious and rebellious as the rest of their Legion. The task of commanding such a force was only possible for the strongest-willed leaders, those willing and capable of demonstrating what they asked of their charges on the countless battlefields of the Great Crusade. It was in these circumstances that the Atramentar excelled as shock troops, with all their irascibility and spite correctly channeled, ready to be unleashed in a crescendo of savagery against any that dared to stand before them. Following the death of Captain Sevatarion at the Siege of Terra, the leadership of the Atramentar passed to the Terran-born Night Lord Zso Sahaal. The Atramentar largely dissolved as a cohesive force like so much of the Legion in the wake of the Horus Heresy, and spread out amongst the successor warbands of the fractious VIIIth Legion, acting as bodyguards to various Night Lord Chaos Lords who led their own warbands of Chaos Space Marines.
HHL NL ContekarTerminator 2

Night Lords Contekar elite arrayed in formidable Tartaros Pattern Terminator Armour and armed with a chainsword and Volkite Culverin.

  • Contekar - The Contekar, also called the Contekar Elite, were elite Night Lords Terminators who were used as shock troops that were highly adept at sowing panic and dismay with their arrival. Their talents for steadfast prosecution of war was much vaunted amongst the Space Marine Legions during the Great Crusade. Contekar Terminators were in truth no more than butchers and murderers of a high order, to be called upon when the VIIIth Legion wished to bring more than terror but utter and abject despair and destruction upon a foe, to burn their armies, infrastructure and agriculture, and to topple the foundations of their civilisation. A haughty warrior class within the Night Lords Legion, the Contekar were made up of recruits taken from Nostramo's ruling elite, and in their blood lay the corruption and contempt held for the Imperial citizenry by those ignoble potentates. Obsessed with status and hierarchy like their mortal kin, the Contekar kept themselves aloof from the rest of their Legion, deigning only to fight for those leaders they deemed worthy or also possessed of noble Nostraman blood. The Contekar were often dispatched to wrest command from lesser Night Lords leaders whom their commanders deemed unfit to prosecute the Legion's objectives. Such cruel but pragmatic methods were favoured by warlords like First Captain Jago Sevatarion and others of both the old Terran Legion and the new Nostraman recruits, relying on the brutal skills of the Contekar to lay waste to the enemies of the Night Lords as an example to those of their brethren that might falter in their duties. Only Konrad Curze himself and First Captain Sevatarion could freely command the Contekar. Other Night Lord officers ran the risk of paying a mighty price for calling upon these elite killers' services, as the Contekar ever sought to further improve their own station in the Legion's hierarchy and interpreted any signs of weakness as an invitation to kill a rival and take their command.
NL Terror Squad Mk VI

A Night Lords Terror Squad Legionary

  • Terror Squad - Terror Squads were specialist squads of Space Marines utilised exclusively by the Night Lords during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. When the Legion desired to unleash maximum punishment and retribution against the enemy in the most visceral and personal way possible, the Terror Squads of the VIIIth Legion were unleashed. Head hunters and torturers, flayers and mutilators; within their ranks were found both the most coldly dispassionate and darkly imaginative of the Night Lords brethren, and where once the terrifying arts of murder and mayhem they perpetrated were a coldly calculated means to an end, as the decades of the Great Crusade progressed, the Terror Squads became a sink-hole for the most unstable and unsubtle elements within their Legion, many within them standing under their own sentences of death -- commuted so long as they proved useful to their macabre master.
Night Lords Saveth Raptors

Night Raptor Saveth

  • Night Raptors - Night Raptor squads were a caste apart from the Night Lords Legion -- not so much a martial elite as a bloody coterie of murderers wedded together by similar proclivities and chosen styles of warfare. The Night Raptors were equipped with Jump Packs and an array of close combat weapons, all of which they utilised to bring unfettered savagery down upon the heads of their foes in a single, overwhelming onslaught. Where the rest of the Legion was wielded as a weapon, the Night Raptors rejected all subtlety in favour of assaults as bloody and direct as a butcher's axe cleaving meat. This elite assault formation found bleak joy in soaring above the battlefield like screaming predators hunting for victims and savoured most the stark moment of clarity when a victim witnessed their death reflected back to them in the eyes of their killer. The Night Raptors were the ancient precursors in many ways of the later Chaos Space Marine Raptor assault troops found in all of the Traitor Legions after the end of the Horus Heresy.

Vehicles

The Night Lords had access to the full range of war machines utilised by the Emperor's armies during the Great Crusade, and even though the VIIIth Legion favoured terror tactics and infiltration over set piece battles, it still made use of such mighty vehicles.

Because each of the Legion's companies tended to operate independently, most of the Night Lords' vehicles were held at the company level, squadrons operating in direct support of the company's squads.

A small number of companies within the Legion choose to operate exclusively as armoured formations, often acting on the direct orders of the Primarch or the VIIIth Legion's command cadre when several companies were fielded together as a battalion or Chapter and more substantial armoured support was required.

NL Spartan Assault Tank

A Night Lords Spartan Assault Tank; the Night Lords' larger war engines often made extended use of terrifying symbols of death and woe, drawn from the bloody culture of Nostramo.

The Caradara Armour Claw is one such company-sized armoured unit whose reputation had spread beyond its Legion before their treachery. The formation's masters had perfected a form of armoured combat which mirrored that utilised by the VIIIth Legion as a whole. Striking when possible from the darkness of dusk or dawn, the Caradara assaulted the enemy where they were weakest, rampaging through rear zones in order to sever lines of communication, and resupply and isolate individual concentrations of enemy troops.

Having done so, the Caradara destroyed its targets at its leisure according to the proclivities of individual squadron or vehicle commanders. The Caradara were often noted to favour using prow-mounted dozer blades to bury enemy troops in their own trenches, while other gained unholy satisfaction from overrunning helpless defenders and grinding their bodies beneath the tracks of their armoured vehicles.

Needless to say, few defences stood long against such brutal assaults.

Legion Armoury

NL Storm Hawk

A Night Lords Legion Storm Eagle.

The Night Lords utilised a wide range of assets throughout the Great Crusade, finding that even the most standardised of weapons and armour could be adapted and utilised in their favoured manner of warfare.

Armoured troop transports of all classes were used by the VIIIth Legion to smash deep into the heart of the enemy's positions, with flanks clad in grotesque trophies to sow horror and dread in all who looked upon them. Aircraft were used to deliver death from the night sky, descending without warning to strike the enemy where he least expected it and ensuring that no foe could afford even a moment's rest or respite.

They also made more use of automated systems such as the Tarantula than many other Legions, preferring to assign mundane duties like static defence to such robotic weapons, as well as employing them as part of their offensive strategies cunningly concealed and programmed to funnel enemy refugees into killing grounds pre-registered by the Legion's artillery masters.

Post-Heresy

Night Lords Dreadnought

A Night Lords Chaos Dreadnought.

The Night Lords Chaos Space Marines have several unique genetic traits inherited from the gene-seed of the Night Haunter: they all possess very pale, white skin and haunting black-within-black eyes like their Primarch. They can see in absolute darkness, with a clarity that is above and beyond even the ability of normal Space Marine occular implants.

They also possess an innate "preysight"; the ability to see in the infrared spectrum to detect heat signatures. Finally, a Night Lords Astartes can emit abnormally loud shrieks and cries that cause immediate deafness and disorientation in those who hear them.

The Night Lords rarely use daemons in their armies largely due to their lack of faith in Chaos, with the exception of Furies, daemons of Chaos Undivided who share the Night Lords' fondness for brutal murder and psychological warfare. The Night Lords do not worship any individual power of Chaos as a Legion, instead venerating the concept of Chaos Undivided when they choose to pay any attention to Chaos at all.

Indeed, the Night Lords maintain a certain contempt for all of the Ruinous Powers, as well as for what they perceive as weakness of any sort, a mistrust they inherited from the Night Haunter, who was no more fond of the major Chaos Gods than he was of his father the Emperor. The Night Lords also mistrust psykers of all kinds, including Astropaths, although they may utilise them, as well as Navigators, when the situation demands it.

However, as of the late 41st Millennium, some Night Lords may be tainted by the touch of Chaos and have developed mutations, a fact that those so affected try to hide from their brethren, as the Night Lords are traditionally as disgusted by mutation as their Loyalist counterparts, seeing it as a form of physical and spiritual weakness.

Some of the original Traitor Legions have retained a degree of their old fraternal loyalty, in however twisted a fashion it may manifest. The Night Lords had little enough to begin with, however, and have only becomemore self-centred and cruel as the millennia have slipped past.

Each warrior amongst them vies with his comrades to claim the most glorious kills, to spread the most terror and adorn his wargear with the most baroque warrior trophies.

Specialist Ranks and Formations

Sons of Curze

Night Lords Chaos Terminators attack a doomed Imperial outpost.

The Night Lords Legion is organised into companies, each of which is led by a Captain, with each company composed of squads of ten Astartes called "Claws" led by a sergeant. There is also an elite Terminator unit known throughout the Legion as the "Atramentar", and at least one Dreadnought. When ready for combat, the Night Lords refer to themselves as "in midnight clad," reflecting both their heritage and their penchant for operations conducted under the cover of darkness.

  • Kyroptera - The Kyroptera were the Night Haunter's most trusted advisors and confidants within the Night Lords Legion. Consisting of seven chosen Captains of the Legion, the Kyroptera existed outside the rest of the VIIIth Legion's regular command structure. Together the Kyroptera functioned as the soul of the Night Lords, supporting their Primarch and steering the Legion's temperament and decisions.
  • Atramentar (Post-Heresy) - The Atramentar were the elite Terminators of the VIIIth Legion's formidable 1st Company led by the infamous First Captain Jago Sevetarion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. This elite cadre's numbers were chosen from amongst the standard ranks of the Night Lords Legion from Astartes who had been singled out and personally selected by their primarch for their ferocity and cruelty. Each member was known by name and reputation within and without the Night Lords Legion. Following the death of the Night Haunter at the hands of the Imperial Assassin M'Shen on Tsagualsa after the Heresy, the Atramentar scattered with the rest of the Legion and, by the time of the 41st Millennium, often served as bodyguards to the powerful Chaos Lords who commanded the various Night Lords warbands. While originally outfitted in Tartaros Pattern Terminator Armour, over the centuries many of the surviving Atramentar Chaos Terminators adapted other patterns of Terminator Armour captured from Loyalist Astartes as their own ancient armour was damaged or wore out with little chance for securing replacement parts.
Raptors

A Raptor of the Night Lords Legion attacks.

  • Raptors - Amongst the ranks of the Night Lords are the dreaded Chaos Space Marine assault troops known as Raptors. This elite group of egotistical and arrogant warriors believe themselves to be the betters amongst their allies and fellow Renegades. Many other Chaos Space Marines consider them to be preening, self-indulgent egotists. The origins of this particular specialty group can be traced to the bygone days of the Horus Heresy when they served in the important shock attack role of jump troops. At that time, Jump Packs were a comparatively rare technology amongst the Space Marine Legions, but such was the effectiveness of these assault troops that their commitment to battle often proved to be the turning point. Often times they were kept in reserve and then sent into action against the weakest points of the enemy line. This concept of preying on the vulnerable has led the Raptors to become vicious hunters who can strike anywhere, at any time. The Raptors have a tendency to modify their armour to give themselves a more terrifying appearance, mimicking the appearance of a vicious bird of prey or a swooping daemon. They often fit amplifiers and Voxcasters that emit piercing wails and screams to their helms, falling upon the enemy like a shrieking, furious gale, tearing their foes apart with Bolt Pistols and vicious Chainswords. In combat, the Night Lords always tend to deploy large numbers of Raptors.
  • Unguis Raptus - A gift from his master, the Legion's First Captain Zso Sahaal, the "Talonmaster", incorporated the use of archaic Lightning Claws which he had named the Unguis Raptus -- the "Raptor's Claws" -- into his Power Armour and in so doing also coined the name of the command company for his 1st Company. Before the Horus Heresy (known to the Night Lords only as the "Great War") Zho Sahaal's Unguis Raptus company of Night Lords Raptors became justly feared by the VIIIth Legion's enemies. First in the name of the Emperor, and then for the Night Haunter alone, they brought swift death from above to their foes.

Legion Combat Doctrine

"Surprise is an insubstantial blade, a sword worthless in war. It breaks when troops rally. It snaps when commanders hold the line. But fear never fades. Fear is a blade that sharpens with use. So let the enemy know we come. Let their fears defeat them as everything falls dark. As the world's sun sets... As the city is wreathed in its final night...Let ten-thousand howls promise ten-thousand claws. The Night Lords are coming, and no soul that stands against us shall see another dawn."

— The War-sage Malcharion, excerpted from The Tenebrous Path
Night Lords Sorceror and Terminator

An elite Chaos Terminator and Chaos Sorcerer of the Night Lords Legion.

The Night Lords adopted the modus operandi of their primarch without exception, and thrive in sowing fear and confusion among their enemies. It is common practice for Night Lords Chaos Space Marines to ensure that the communications of a target planet are shut down, broadcasting hideous messages and screams across the airwaves as they begin slaughtering the occupants at their leisure.

It is very rare that the Night Lords voluntarily fight a force able to withstand them; they much prefer to attack the weak and frightened. Repeated instances have shown that the Night Lords will not give quarter, and are entirely bereft of mercy. Any poor soul offering to surrender will have his pleas answered by mutilation and painful death.

Night Haunter's Legion has no holy crusade, no belief that causes them to spread murder and misery to the worlds they visit. Similarly, they have no martial creed, as all concept of martial honour has been eroded by their transformation into warbands of vicious killers.

The Night Lords are masters of stealth, able to infiltrate a position quickly and silently. These arts appear to be innate to the Legion, and are used most often during the sick games the Night Lords use to drive their prey into paroxysms of terror.

Once they have prepared themselves and found places to launch an assault that meets their standards, the Night Lords are capable of sudden, shockingly brutal ambushes or unconventional attacks intended to thin the enemy's ranks or simply sow chaos amongst the foe.

One such tactic designed to enhance fear that has been observed to be used by the Night Lords is when they unleash a fifteen-second-long Vox-augmented scream that ruptures any unprotected eardrums in the vicinity. Once their victims are hunched over in agony, stunned and deaf, the Night Lords unleash their wrath.

Even before they turned to Chaos, the Night Lords adorned their armour with the imagery of death; this is because they know that fear can be used as a weapon just as effectively as a Chainsword or Bolter. Given the Night Lords' predilection for assaulting weaker foes, a fully-armoured Night Lords Chaos Champion armed with a devastating array of weaponry is always more than a match for the foes he chooses to fight.

Since the Heresy, Night Lords warbands have tended to attract a greater proportion of Raptors than those of any other Traitor Legion. The swooping attacks once favoured by Konrad Curze are echoed by the diving, tearing assaults of the Night Lords Raptors, predators that strike from the sky amidst an ear-splitting chorus of shrieks that can force even the most stoic of veterans to cower at the critical moment.

Night Lords Names

Night Lords names are generally derived from those used by the people of ancient Nostramo, though they also sometimes include a name derived from a physical feature, personality quirk, past deed or other defining feature.

Examples of Night Lord names include Kharros Reeve, Drachos Nightblade, Myros Balicor, Jago Khade, Ravkos Souleater, Otho Nosferrus, Cel Terask, Garras Kavatar, Tovac the Agoniser, Naravesh Mercygiver and Malithos of the Midnight Claw.

Legion Beliefs

"Do you hear their cries? Can you taste their fear, their agony? Know this mortal: we are coming for you!"

— Salvaged Vox transmission from the dead colony of Nux Haven, Travonth VI

Pre-Heresy

Space Marine Legions often changed after the rediscovery of their Primarch and their surrogate homeworld. In the case of the VIIIth Legion, Nostramo and Curze doomed them, but at first they seemed the least changed of all of the Legions upon the return of their gene-sire. There were changes of course, but many of these were relatively small. Nostraman became the language of the VIIIth Legion, its curling runes and sibilant words spreading as Nostraman recruits began to include a dark and cruel sense of humour, and a snide fatalism.

New traditions, twisted reflections of Nostraman gang-rites and customs, were adopted within the Legion, such as marking condemned Legionaries' gauntlets red to show that a death sentence hung over them. The honorific titles sported by many of the VIII Legion's officers started to take on the form of those of the Nostraman noble courts. These changes, though noticeable, did not touch the heart of the VIIIth Legion's nature, for if anything, Curze's return saw the Legion's righteous drive to punish intensify.

Their ways and methods of war changed not at all, and the integration of Terran and Nostraman warriors was amongst the swiftest of any Legion. The old Legion and the new fitted together like two sides of a coin; both raised from darkness to create order and strife, both made of flesh born in shunned and lightless places.

Callous and brutal though they were, the Night Lords were not without pride, and the trappings and titles of aristocracy and dominion formed a key part of their identity, and rivalry, often violent, was endemic among the Astartes of the VIIIth Legion.

The gang traditions of their lightless homeworld were carried over to every aspect of their Legion. There were few amongst their ranks who did not bear some form of title, and the craftsmanship with which they embellished their weapons and armour was remarkable, if grotesque.

Furthermore, far more so than even the most barbarous members of the World Eaters or White Scars Legions, they habitually adorned their armour and vehicles with the brutalised and mutilated remains of those who had resisted them, and made an art of flaying and presenting the dead in order to sow fear in their foes. There was method in this madness, at least at first; such grisly displays were a clear signal saying, "This fate will be yours to share."

Post-Heresy

Nightlords in combatpg12

Night Lords assaulting an Imperial world.

There are many dread creatures that dwell in the swirling eddies of the Eye of Terror. Terrible daemons and horrific monsters vie with cruel pirates and vile xenos to spread death and destruction throughout the realm and nearby Imperial holdings. Yet few among these are as feared as the Chaos Space Marines of the Night Lords Traitor Legion. Since before the Horus Heresy, this Legion has perfected the craft of sowing terror, discord, and confusion among its victims and its corrupted Astartes have become even more sadistic and depraved as the long Terran centuries have passed.

The Night Lords are sadistic killers who delight in terrorising their foes before slaughtering them without mercy or restraint. They are cruel, ruthless, and opportunistic, frequently striking at vulnerable targets and toying with their unfortunate victims. When the Night Lords kill, they kill violently and slowly, savouring the pain and horror on their victim's faces as the last moments of life leave them. Such acts are not undertaken in honour of the Chaos Gods; rather, a Night Lord kills simply because he can. Certainly there may be other motives behind his actions, but more often than not that motive is only to wet his gauntlets in the blood of his victims.

The Night Lords are veterans of countless campaigns of terror and conquest. Each member of the Legion is highly trained and proficient in the use of terror tactics, psychological warfare, and lightning raids and ambushes intended to leave their opponents completely demoralised and easy targets for the depraved Heretic Astartes of this Legion. The Night Lords frequently operate as mercenaries for Renegade warbands and other pirate raiders, selling their skills to the highest bidder in return for plunder and the chance to pick and choose targets that most appeal to their sadistic tendencies.

However, the Night Lords harbour no true allegiance to any of the Ruinous Powers nor to the mightiest Chaos Lord. Their path is their own, and woe to any who assume otherwise. Above all, they desire to kill, taking great pleasure in slaying their victims and gunning down the defenceless and helpless. The thrill of battle does not concern them as they often bypass able foes, instead attacking prey too weak to resist and ruthlessly hunting down all before them. Afterwards, the Night Lords mutilate and butcher their victims, thereby providing grisly examples of what fate awaits those who fall prey to the Legion.

Night Lords Terror Campaign

The Night Lords committing atrocities against the weak and defenceless.

A few will even undertake raids on their own if it suits their needs, their abilities and tactics more than making up for any discrepancy in fighting strength. Indeed, there are tales of lone Night Lords terrorising entire hives and bringing these mighty cities to their knees in sprees of bloodshed and fear. However, the Night Lords have no concept of honour and may change sides during a battle, or treacherously attack their erstwhile allies in order to suit their own needs.

The Legion holds no true allegiance to any one of the four Ruinous Powers and views all religious devotion as a form of weakness. Instead of faith, it is their love of killing, especially of terrified, defenceless prey, that unites the Legion and has led them to serve the cause of Chaos. Though they do not serve a single Chaos God, the Night Lords regularly ally with other, far more devoted followers of Chaos.

Night Lords are exceptionally versatile in their use of the Forces of Chaos, employing the hell-spawned powers of each of the major Chaos deities with equal favour. It is just as likely that the Night Lords will be seen fighting alongside a group of foul Plague Marines as at the side of the undead warriors of the Thousand Sons. However, it has been ascertained that the Night Lords have nothing but scorn for faith in all its forms, whether it be the fanatical bloodlust of the Khornate Berserker or the devotion of the Imperial Creed. The only authority the Astartes of this Traitor Legion truly recognise is that of temporal power and material wealth.

Observational evidence would suggest that the only reason the Night Lords fight is for the love of killing and the material rewards this can bring. They take great pleasure in gunning down defenceless prey, especially those too young or sick to stand up to them. It is certainly not for the thrill of battle that they fight, as an army of Night Lords can be expected to try every underhand trick in the book before resorting to honest combat. This is possibly a vestige of their ancestry in the criminal classes of Nostramo where it was commonplace to ruthlessly force the will of the strong upon the weak.

Legion Gene-Seed

NightLordsCombat

The Night Lords in combat.

The gene-seed of the Night Lords seems surprisingly pure, bearing the least evidence of mutation. Before their fall to Chaos, the only notable physical abnormality was their jet black eyes and pale skin, which became even more prevalent with the introduction of the genetic material of the dour people of Nostramo.

Surprisingly, of all the Traitor Legions, the Night Lords seem to bear the least evidence of mutation. This is perhaps due to an unusually stable gene-seed stock, or perhaps due to the fact that they rarely associate themselves with a particular Chaos power for any length of time.

However, the real legacy of their mad Primarch may have been psychological, as there was a tendency for paranoia and self-destructive behaviour displayed by many within the Night Lords. They thrive in the use of psychological warfare and fear tactics, merely for the sheer, sick joy of it.

It is also said that their Chaos Sorcerers have a pronounced vulnerability that causes them to be wracked with painful seizures in which they experience visions, oblique or not, of the future. The Night Haunter was believed to have only been able to see the darkest path of all possible futures, a terrible curse, and the visions tended to be self-fulfilling.

It is hoped that the Night Lords' sorcerers suffer the same fate. This is as yet speculation. However, given their Primarch's susceptibility to such prophesies, it seems more than likely.

Notable Night Lords

Champions of the Night Lords

  • Konrad Curze - Konrad Curze, better known as the "Night Haunter," was the savage and authoritarian primarch of the VIIIth Legion. Kurze, disgusted with life as a result of his mental instability and intensely black-and-white views of personal morality and with the actions of his Legion, allowed himself to be killed by the Imperial Callidus Assassin M'Shen on the world of Tsagualsa in the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy in the years following the end of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium. His Legion, without his leadership, then broke up into competing warbands and fled into the Eye of Terror with the rest of the Traitor Legions.
  • Zso Sahaal, "The Talonmaster" - Zso Sahaal was the "Talonmaster", the first captain of the VIIIth Legion's elite 1st Company after his predecessor, Jago Sevatarion, was slain during the Siege of Terra. He was known as the Unguis Raptus, the "Raptor's Claws," for his incorporation of Lightning Claws into his power armour, and this name was also applied to the troops of the 1st Company's elite Command Squad under his leadership.
  • Shang - Shang was equerry to Konrad Curze and a member of Curze's personal honour guard. He held the rank of captain within the VIIIth Legion.
  • Koor Mass - A Night Lords captain and Champion who was encased in the sleek shell of a Chaos Dreadnought, its every surface decorated with flayed skin.
  • Malcharion, "The War-Sage" - Malcharion was the captain of the 10th Company. He is currently a Chaos Dreadnought.
  • Malithos Kuln - Kuln was the former captain of the 9th Company and a member of the Kyroptera during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Kuln was one of only three surviving Kyroptera Captains after the disastrous ambush carried out against the Night Lords Legion by the Dark Angels during the closing days of the Thramas Crusade. As the Night Haunter lay mortally wounded following a duel with his fellow Primarch Lion El'Jonson, Kuln and his fellow Captain Herec advocated the reorganisation of their scattered Legion to strike back at the upstart Loyalists, for blood demanded blood. First Captain Sevatar was disinclined to agree with this audacious plan, and instead enacted a plan of his own, having Captains Kuln and Herec murdered in cold blood by the First Captain's own Atramentar Terminators.
  • Vandred Anrathi, "The Exalted" - Vandred Anrathi was the captain of the 10th Company and Chaos Lord of the Night Lords warband of The Exalted. Vandred is also a Chaos Champion of Tzeentch. Allying himself with Abaddon the Despoiler, he allowed himself to be possessed by a Daemon. Before accepting the daemon which would come to dominate him, Vandred was an honored warrior, but his true forte was void combat. After his change into the Exalted, he became even more focused on void combat. He was a true master of it, understanding all the nuances of his ship's speed, mass, maneuverability and weaponry, and therefore willing to throw his vessel, the Covenant of Blood, into seemingly suicidal maneuvers. A shadow of his former self, it soon became apparent that the Exalted was the title of the daemon which possessed him, and it used his memories and knowledge to further its gains of power. Eventually First Claw was betrayed upon the Industrial World of Crythe by Abaddon's Black Legion. Talos decided that The Exalted was no longer fit to command. Vandred became disgusted with the behavior of the Black Legion and its attempts to use First Claw as expendable cannon fodder in the Warmaster's wars. Vandred's disgust helped him to temporarily overcome the Daemon within him and reassert his personality. Refusing to allow his warriors to fall to the whims of Abaddon, Vandred rescued his forces on Crythe and escaped the vengeful Blood Angels Chapter. When Vandred had his ship dock at Hell's Iris in order to repair and refit the battle-damaged vessel, First Claw sent ambassadors from their warband to meet with the station's lord, Huron Blackheart. He agreed to have the Night Lords' vessel repaired on the condition that The Exalted's warband would owe him a debt; to accompany the Lord of the Red Corsairs on a military campaign on the Imperial world of Vilamus, serving as its vanguard force. Vandred agreed, but for motives of his own, as the Night Lords recognised that one of the Red Corsairs' vessels was the ancient vessel Echo of Damnation, sister-ship to his own vessel, the Covenant. The Exalted plotted to steal the ex-Night Lords vessel back from the Red Corsairs immediately after the Fall of Vilamus. The Red Corsairs immediately pursued the theft, their fleet striking in overwhelming numbers. Vandred, in his prison of a body, immediately recognized that the fight was unwinnable for the Covenant, but the Echo of Damnation could escape. With a surge of willpower, he took control of his body again, and destroyed a half-dozen or so vessels of the Red Corsair fleet in a daring series of suicide maneuvers. Right before the Red Corsairs were able to make the kill, Vandred completely relinquished control, letting the Exalted's furious struggles burn Vandred away for good -- intentionally so, because it meant the Exalted, shortly thereafter, experienced the death-pain of its body alone and was banished back to the Warp.
  • Naraka, "The Bloodless" - Naraka was the Captain of the 13th Company during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy and a member of the Kyroptera. Known as "The Bloodless" by his Battle-Brothers, he earned his sobriquet during the Imperial Compliance of the world designated Eight-Hundred-and-Nine Five, the fifth conquest of the 809th Expeditionary Fleet. The 13th Company took an entire world without shedding a single drop of blood, through means few of the Legion's other commanders were allowed to know. When questioned on it, Naraka always refused to comment. His company swore an oath of secrecy about this campaign, which has remained inviolate and unbroken in the many years since.
  • Var Jahan - Var Jahan was the captain of the 27th Company and a member of the Kyroptera during the Horus Heresy. Jahan was Terran-born, like most of the original Legionaries of the Night Lords. He was an older warrior, famously cautious, more of a tactician than a murderer. He had served the VIIIth Legion since the earliest days of the Great Crusade, when the Night Lords first took to the stars. Var Jahan was one of only three surviving Kyroptera Captains after the disastrous ambush carried out against the Night Lords Legion by the Dark Angels during the closing days of the Thramas Crusade. As the Night Haunter lay mortally wounded following a duel with his fellow Primarch Lion El'Jonson, Var Jahan's fellow Captains Herec and Kuln advocated the reorganisation of their scattered Legion to launch a counter-strike at the upstart Loyalists, for blood demanded blood. First Captain Sevatar was disinclined to agree with the pair's audacious plan, and instead enacted a plan of his own, having Captains Herec and Kuln murdered in cold blood by the First Captain's own Atramentar Terminators. Var Jahan was spared, for he was smart enough to detect that something was wrong before the Atramentar teleported into the council chamber to carry out their bloody deed. For showing intuitive foresight, Sevatar let Jahan live and remain as a member of the Kyroptera.
  • Ophion - Ophion was the captain of the 39th Company and a member of the Kyroptera during the Horus Heresy, Ophion had failed to distinguish himself beyond the base level of honour inherent in a century of solid, trustworthy service. All of his records -- not that the VIIIth Legion was particularly meticulous in keeping them -- spoke of a veteran Nostraman officer best-served by front-line duty, leading his men from the vanguard, and given only moderate responsibility in a wider campaign. And yet, during the VIIIth Legion's disastrous encounter with the Dark Angels fleet during the closing days of the Thramas Crusade, Ophion had ordered his warship Shroud of Eventide to remain on-station, fighting the Dark Angels back from their ambush, aiding Sevatar and the Night Lords' flagship Nightfall as he fought to buy time for the weaker ships to flee. In a Legion that considered tactical cowardice one of the finer and most amusing virtues, a rare sign of bravery was always worth investigating -- and rewarding.
  • Cel Herec - Former Captain of the 43rd Company and a member of the Kyroptera during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Herec was one of only three surviving Kyroptera Captains after the disastrous ambush carried out against the Night Lords Legion by the Dark Angels during the closing days of the Thramas Crusade. As the Night Haunter lay mortally wounded following a duel with his fellow Primarch Lion El'Jonson, Herec and his fellow Captain Kuln advocating the reorganisation of their scattered Legion to strike back at the upstart Loyalists, for blood demanded blood. First Captain Sevatar was disinclined to agree with this audacious plan, and instead enacted a plan of his own, having Captains Herec and Kuln murdered in cold blood by the First Captain's own Atramentar Terminators.
  • Kasati Nuon - In a legion of thieves and murderers, few of the VIIIth Legion however dared to turn against the will of their Primarch, but some of them did and a few even survived. Kasati Nuon was one of them. One of the rare Night Lords who did not join their father and Horus in treachery but chose to remain loyal. Kasati Nuon led but a handful of warriors, fleeing the wrath of his Legion and those that had sided with the Warmaster, Kasati Nuon joined forces with the Raven Guard and participated in the great victory on Carandiru, the Day of Vengeance.
  • Krukesh - Captain of the 103rd Company and a member of the Kyroptera during the Horus Heresy, Krukesh was considered to be a member of the VIIIth Legion from blood to bone. Taken as a youth from Terra, he rose to his captaincy by a murder duel, taking his former commander's head. This barbarous custom had been adopted by the Night Lords from the hive-gangs of the Nostraman hive-city of Nostramo Quintus. Like his fellow Battle-Brothers whose skin had whitened and whose eyes had blackened after being implanted with their Primarch's gene-seed, Krukesh was gaunt to the point of emaciation. Known as "The Pale" by his brethren, his skin was pale past anything resembling ill-health, edging on the preternatural. He appeared as a starved cadaver in midnight ceramite, black-on-black eyes burning from sunken eye sockets. Krukesh and First Captain Sevatar shared a long history, as Sevatar owed the pale Astartes debts that made the First Captain uneasy.
  • Tovac Tor, "Lackhand" - Tor was Captain of the 114th Company. Known as "Lackhand", he had entered the VIIIth Legion at the same time as Sevatar; as children they had run together in the same Nostraman gang. Tor earned his epithet from a malformed birth, as he had been born with only one hand. Despite the deformity, he had passed the physical trials required to be accepted into the VIIIth Legion, and immediately been fitted with an augmetic graft. The cybernetic enhancement never behaved as reliably as a natural limb -- the Apothecaries had told Tovac that his malformed arm lacked a fully developed musculature, so his augmetic hand would always be a touch erratic.
  • Alastor Rushal, "The Raven" - Rushal was a Captain without a company to command and a member of the Kyroptera. Terran-born, but not born of VIIIth Legion gene-stock, Rushal still wore the Power Armour of the XIXth Legion, cast in cold black, edged in dented white trimming. The noble emblem of his former Legion, the Raven Guard, had been ritually broken by blows from a hammer, wielded by his own hand. A former Captain of the Raven Guard's 89th Company, he was known by the Night Lords as "The Raven". It is not clear whether Rushal joined the Night Lords of his own volition or was captured. But what is abundantly clear is that he became a part of the VIIIth Legion following the Drop Site Massacre of Isstvan V. Apparently, he also suffered torture at the hands of First Captain Sevatarion, who brutally marked the warrior with vicious scars across most of his body as well as removing his tongue. All trappings of rank were gone from his ebon-coloured armour, scratched away during the massacre unleashed on Isstvan V's Urgall Depression. Like the Night Lords, his face was pale and his eyes were dark. Unlike the warriors he stood amongst, his helm lacked the bat-winged crest sported by the VIIIth Legion's inner circle of captains.
  • Halasker - Halasker was a Captain of the VIIIth Legion, his company and fate unknown.
  • Quissax Kergai - Captain Kergai was the Night Lords Master of the Armoury, whose scouring of the Launeus Forge World during the Horus Heresy crippled the loyalists of the Trigonym sector.
  • Vyridium Silvadi - Captain Silvadi was the VIIIth Legion's Lord of the Fleet. He was responsible for routing the flotilla of Imperial Navy Admiral Ko'uch and for bombarding the Astartes of the Raven Guard at Isstvan V for five days before they could retreat, unsupported.
  • Fel Zharost - Fel Zharost was the former Chief Librarian of the VIIIth Legion. Within a few years after his legion's reunification with their Primarch on Nostramo, Zharost was one of the few ill-favoured and withering remnants of Terran Legionaries that still served in the VIIIth Legion. He was disgusted by the those who had come after him, the Nostraman criminals who now supplanted the original Terran-borne Legionaries, and now made up the majority of the Night Lords. A few centuries earlier, he had been born in the prison sinks beneath Albia, which was the realm of the banished and the condemned. He was raised from this night when the Great Crusade had already left the light of Sol, though only by a few decades. That made him old compared to most of the Legionaries of the VIIIth, but young compared to some. Zharost understood, better than anyone, that his Legion had become willing servants to terror, merely for the sheer joy of it. When the Emperor passed his Decree Absolute following the Council of Nikaea, he sought a private audience with First Captain Sevatarion, who had been left in temporary command in their Primarch's absence. He demanded that Sevatar render judgment against their Legion's Librarius -- and against him. Enraged by his demands, Sevatar leapt upon Zharost, and struck him in the chest with his deactivated chain-glaive, knocking the Chief Librarian to the chamber floor. He then rendered his judgement -- Zharost was cast out. He would no longer be of the Eighth -- his hands were to be stained red. The First Captain condemned Zharost to death, should they ever meet again. Somewhat satisfied, as he made to leave, he tried to argue the point with Sevatar, that their Legion had been about something once. The First Captain rolled his eyes, and dismissively waved the disgraced former Chief Librarian away. Before he could stop himself, Zharost's rage got the better of him, and he summoned forth his innate psychic abilities. Before he was even aware that he had lost control, he had used his powers to slam the First Captain with a wave of power into the Primarch's command throne. As he slammed Sevatar's head into the throne, he angrily accused the First Captain and his benighted Nostraman brethren of having murdered their Legion with their cruel and sadistic ways. But before he could continue his diatribe, Sevatar utilised his own innate, and hidden, psychic abilities to strike back at Zharost. Shocked at the unexpected attack, the Chief Librarian staggered back, blood pouring from his mouth. Sevatar did not rise from the throne to follow him, and with an effort, he warned Zharost to get out of his sight. The Chief Librarian returned to Terra, to the place of his birth, amongst the prison sinks beneath Albia. Eventually he was hunted by an unknown assailant, a Legionary clad in plain grey and unburnished armour, and captured. Zharost believed that his executioner should at least know the truth about whom he was punishing, and if he was going to die, he would do it on his terms. Facing his imminent execution, he utilised his psychic powers to show his would-be executioner his past. Zharost shared his past for an eye-blink of time, showing the Legionary every moment of his life. When he had finished, he requested that he be allowed to see the light of the sun one last time before his death. And so, Zharost used his powers to look into the Legionary's mind, but was stunned by what he saw -- betrayal, broken oaths, and the deaths of sons at the hands of their fathers. He saw what the vision of Imperial Truth and light had now become. Zharost finally knew why the Legionary had come for him. Once he recovered, the Knight-Errant of Malcador informed the former Chief Librarian, that he had not come to judge him. For that right belonged to another. Zharost's ultimate fate following this encounter, is currently unknown.
  • Flaymaster Mawdrym Llansahai, Fallen Medicae Primaris; "The Smiling One"; "Bloody Bones" - Among the Night Lords there were those who overstepped the bounds of even what that infamous Legion considered sane. One such was the Apothecary Mawdrym Llansahai, or "Bloody Bones" to give him the nickname granted him without irony by his Legion. A Nostraman by birth and a child of that benighted world's ruling class, Llansahai registered as both highly intelligent and psychologically stable, and showed great aptitude and ability for the VIIIth Legion's Apothecarion in which he was placed. The Night Lords Apothecaries were charged with other arts than mere healing; they were needed to oversee interrogations, contrive inventively malignant punishments and keep their "subjects" alive and lucid far longer than they wished to be. Having risen to become a Primus Medicae, Llansahai was master of these twisted surgical arts and those who wielded them, and slowly and surely they began to corrode his sanity. Soon it was discovered that he was performing numerous unsanctioned vivisections and surgical experiments. Dragged in chains to his Primarch for judgement, Llansahai was released under suspended sentence of death and was forced to bear the mark of his shame by having his gauntlets painted arterial red. A warrior's gauntlets were marked this way when he had failed the Primarch gravely enough to warrant death. He would wear the stain of failure on his hands until his execution, which would only come at the hour of the Primarch's choosing. Although afterwards a shunned and dreaded pariah amongst his Legion, Llansahai survived, a monster among monsters, and on Isstvan V he worked unspeakable horrors upon the Loyalist Legions' wounded and dying. Feared and mistrusted, even amongst his own Legion, Llansahai survived both enemy action and attempts on his life by his comrades, seemingly often by sheer chance alone. This only served to enhance the Primus Medicae 's dark renown. His ultimate fate following the Horus Heresy is not currently recorded.
  • Veteran Legionary Uros Kastax - At the time of the Night Lords' deployment to Isstvan V, Uros Kastax was the longest serving member of the 8th Company's Terminator Claw, the "Scions of the Bloody Ward". Kastax is known to have participated in the Scouring of Morenna, the Yoggoth Genocides, the Fall of the Lords of Ephrath and countless other campaigns of terror conducted by the Night Lords. He was the sole survivor of the Succoth Perfidy, a battle which cost the 8th Company a fearful toll, including the last of its Terran-born Legionaries. The exact circumstances of that battle remain unknown, though numerous dark rumours circulated in its aftermath. Kastax is thought to have fallen in battle soon after the Night Lords revealed their allegiance to the Warmaster Horus. The exact circumstances of his death remain a mystery, for so few of the 8th Company's Terminator Claws survived the Isstvan V battles. But some report his corpse lying amidst those of his erstwhile brothers, and that few of his wounds were to the fore.
  • Talon-master Vibius - Talon-master Vibius was a Terra-born Legionary who served in the Night Lords' 22nd Company (The "Night-Scythes") as an Assault Sergeant of the 12th Forlorn (12th Squad). He had only served scant months in the VIII Legion when they were united with their Primarch. His records indicate that Vibius found his dark nature compatible with that of the Night Haunter, and adapted well when the Primarch took command of the Legion. Vibius was quick to ascend to squad command, but here found his rise stymied as other, Nostramo-born, Legionaries were promoted above him. He is known to have engaged in a number of honour duels against other Talon-masters, hinting at a bloody and bitter feud simmering beneath the surface amongst the ranks of the 22nd Company. It is believed Talon-master Vibius suvived the Isstvan V battles, engaging in the pursuit of surviving Raven Guard in the aftermath of the Drop Site Massacre. He is known to have engaged in a number of honour duels against other Talon-masters throughout the pursuit operations and to have slain a number of them in a series of clashes which saw him wrest control of the entire 22nd Company.
  • Squad Sergeant Uritzon Tynok - Uritzen Tynok was a Squad Sergeant that served in the Night Lords' 77th Company ("Harbingers of Nocnitsa"). His Terror Squad, the "10th Blooded", is known to have been amongst the first of the Night Lords to have fired upon their erstwhile brother Legions at Isstvan V. Indeed, some have even suggested that the squad took great pains to insinuate itself into a deployment position from which they might be first to reveal their treachery, a perfidy compounded by accusations that the squad actually fired before they were ordered to do so by the 77th Company's Captain. As a Terror Squad, the members of the "10th Blooded" displayed a range of grisly adornments that would later become common throughout the entire VIII Legion. The hanging of bones and the application of death mask symbols to helmets lent these Legionaries a fearsome aspect, and one intended to deepen still further the utter terror they delighted in sowing in the hearts of their enemies.
  • Ancient Carrow, "The Reaper of Noval V" - Ancient Carrow was a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought who served in the 17th Company ("Lords of Tempest"). He was known to have favoured a brutal form of ritualised close combat inherited from the shredder-cults of Nostramo. He took part in the Drop Site Masscre on Isstvan V, gleefully reaping a heavy toll upon the Loyalist forces.
  • Ancient Reeve, "The Heedless" - Ancient Reeve was once a Talon-master of the 8th Company, which at the time of the Drop Site Masscre on Isstvan V was known as the "Circle of Inclemency". Known originally as Klemen, he fell in battle against Eldar raiders, but through sheer bloody-mindedness survived even though his entire central nervous system had been disassembled before his very eyes. Having been interred within the armoured sarcophagus of a Contemptor Dreadnought, Reeve disavowed his command rank and devoted himself solely to the glory of battle.
  • Ahrak Deathshriek - Ahrak Deathshirek was the Chaos Lord who alongside his Raptors claimed the Imperial world of Mordian as his own during the Invasion of the Stygian Sector in the Era Indomitus. Deathshriek planned to use the terror his Heretic Astartes unleashed in the Mordian population to power a Chaos ritual that would plunge the entire world into the Warp. Deathshirek's plans were upended by the intervention of the Iron Hands and many of their Successor Chapters who destroyed his armada in orbit of Mordian during what became known as the "Iron Crusade."

1st Claw, 10th Company

Talos - Soul Hunter

Talos the "Soul Hunter" leads a Night Lords retinue against the Red Corsairs

  • Talos Valcoran - Known as the "Soul Hunter", Talos is a former Night Lords Apothecary and now the de facto Sergeant of the 1st Claw of 10th Company. Talos was the first Night Lord who sought vengeance against the Imperial Callidus Assassin M'Shen following the death of the Legion's Primarch. This quest proved to be successful and Talos eventually slew the Assassin and earned his Legion's revenge. Upon his return to Tsagualsa, Talos died sacrificing himself to kill the Eldar Void Stalker. His gene-seed was later harvested by Variel and used to give birth to the new prophet of the Night Lords Legion.
  • Cyrion - Talos' unofficial second-in-command of the 1st Claw. Cyrion is a devotee of the Chaos God Slaanesh. Cyrion died after taking horrible wounds from the Void Stalker, and he was slain on Tsagualsa by the Eldar Phoenix Lord Jain Zar.
  • Mercution - Relatively new recruit of the 1st Claw, due to his old squad having been annihilated. Mercution died after he forced First Claw to leave him behind after he sustained horrendous wounds. He fought the Void Stalker in single combat, severing the Eldar's right leg. His last words were: "How are you going to run now?"
  • Uzas - The fifth member of 1st Claw who is a devoted follower of the Blood God Khorne and a Khornate Berserker, though this made him undisciplined and hard to control in combat. Uzas was slain on Tsagualsa by Talos Valcoran.
  • Xarl - A highly-disciplined Astartes of the 1st Claw. Unlike the rest of 1st Claw, Xarl died before their return to Tsagualsa, Xarl died aboard the Strike Cruiser Echo of Damnation after he slew Telemion, the 3rd Company Champion of the Genesis Chapter of Space Marines. Xarl died from the loss of blood after he killed Telemion.
  • Variel - The newest member of 1st Claw, Variel once served under the lordship of Huron Blackheart of the Red Corsairs as the star pupil of Garreon the Corpsemaster. Talos and the rest of The Exalted's warband asked Variel to aid them in taking back the Echo of Damnation, a Night Lords Strike Cruiser that had been taken by the Red Corsairs years before. Variel, who had made a pact with Talos years before, aided Talos in recovering the Echo, and soon afterwards joined the 1st Claw. Unlike the rest of 1st Claw, Variel survived the return to Tsagualsa. He harvested Talos Valcoran's gene-seed which was used to create the new prophet of the Night Lords Legion.

3rd Claw, 10th Company

  • Dal Karus - Former Sergeant of the 3rd Claw, 10th Company

9th Claw, 10th Company

  • Lucoryphus - Sergeant of the Bleeding Eyes Raptor Squad, later designated the 9th Claw of 10th Company. Lucoryphus leads 19 Night Lords Astartes. Lucoryphus' and his fellow Raptors' skeletal structures have mutated into a hunched, bestial form that makes it easy for them to walk (and climb) like quadrupeds. Most of the Bleeding Eyes degraded mentally as a result of this mutation and have become nearly feral, some only barely remembering how to speak. Lucoryphus alone retains his Astartes intelligence, patience, and forethought. With his new streak of animalistic instincts, Lucoryphus is both the wildest fighter and most cunning tactician of the Bleeding Eyes.
  • Vorasha (KIA) - Vorasha was Lucoryphus' second-in-command of the 9th Claw. He was killed in a failed ambush against the Salamanders Chapter of Loyalist Space Marines.
  • Shar Gan (KIA) - Shar Gan was a former squad member of the 9th Claw that was killed in a failed ambush against the Salamanders Chapter.
  • Zon La - Zon La was a squad member of the 9th Claw.

Legion Fleet

The Night Lords are known to have possessed the following vessels within their Legion fleet:

  • Nightmare of Celyx (Battleship, Unknown Class) - The Nightmare of Celyx was the Night Lords battleship that served under the command of the Chaos Lord Yharas Kine during the Talledus War. The Nightmare of Celyx remained on-station during that conflict within the Tears of the Emperor asteroid belt in the Talledus System. It used tortured astropaths to generate a psychic signal that interfered with Navigators whose voidships were translating into the system from the Warp. This threw Imperial shipping off-course so that the Night Lords could draw them into hit-and-run assaults.
  • Hunter's Premonition (Battle Barge) - Captain Halasker's Battle Barge.
  • Praxis Mundi (Battle Barge) - A Battle Barge of the Night Lords Legion active during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Destroyed fighting against the Dark Angels Legion during the Thramas Crusade.
  • Umbrea Insidior (Battle Barge) - Zso Sahaal's Battle Barge, assigned to the 1st Company of the Night Lords Legion.
  • Avenging Shadow (Strike Cruiser)
  • Covenant of Blood (Strike Cruiser) - The Covenant of Blood served as The Exalted's Strike Cruiser and the flagship of the Night Lords' 10th Company, and was active during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. The Covenant was destroyed in battle against the Red Corsairs, though it took approximately half-a-dozen Red Corsairs vessels with it.
  • Dusk's Daughter (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of the Night Lords Legion active during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
  • Echo of Damnation (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of Talos Valcoran's warband which was retaken from the Red Corsairs warband and restored to the Night Lords after decades under the Red Corsairs' control. The Echo of Damnation was the sister ship of the Covenant of Blood.
  • Excoriator (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser and sister ship to the Covenant of Blood
  • Nycton (Strike Cruiser) - The Nycton was the Strike Cruiser alloted to the Night Lords' 45th Company under Claw Master Gendor Skraivok during the early days of the Horus Heresy. Alledgedly crippled by the Ist Legion, the Dark Angels, during the Thramas Crusade, the Nycton did in fact escape destruction and given its desolate state, was sacrificed to allow the infiltration of the Sotha-system.
  • Obfuscate (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of the Night Lords Legion active during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Destroyed fighting against the Dark Angels Legion during the Thramas Crusade.
  • Quintus (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of the Night Lords Legion active during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
  • Throneless King (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of the Night Lords Legion active during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Destroyed fighting against the Dark Angels Legion during the Thramas Crusade.
  • Tenebraxis (Cruiser, Unknown Class) - The Tenebraxis was a vessel that belonged to the VIIIth Legion. It was destroyed in the first years of the Horus Heresy when it failed to ambush the famous Sisypheum.
  • Serpent of the Black Sea (Capital Ship, Unknown Class) - Vessel of the Night Lords Legion of an unknown class.

Legion Artefacts

  • Claws of the Black Hunt - These vicious, hooked Lightning Claws have spilt the blood of thousands of victims since their creation in the Forge of Souls of the Realm of Chaos. Worn by the master of the Black Hunt, a vicious ritual that precedes the greatest of Night Lords invasions, they are so encrusted with gore they are almost black. This congealed fluid is so thick it cannot even be seared away by the vicious energy field that runs about each claw. This is seen by some as a clear sign of a gory blessing from destructive gods, and the crackling field is so powerful it burns cloth at a yard's distance. Even when the wielder swipes the air near a foe, not quite making contact, the victim's armour and flesh part as if slashed open by a fierce and invisible beast.
  • Curze's Orb - Said to have sat upon the arm of Konrad Curze's throne, this orb was a gift from Magnus, primarch of the Thousand Sons. It was given to help Curze focus his precognitive visions, though in truth, the primogenitor of the Night Lords never felt the need to use it. Now it is his gene-sons that make use of the strange device, scrying possible futures in its depths even as they take battle to their enemies.
  • Flayer - When the Legion's frightful tendencies came to the fore, the Flayer was the tool that carved the skin to be hung in the Night Haunter's throne room. The foulest of deeds were done with this sword, and its reputation grew within the VIIIth Legion as a relic of dread. Only the most malevolent Legionaries can bear its heinous lineage.
  • Misery of the Meek - This elixir is crafted by one of the Legion's few remaining Apothecaries. He will hunt Legion slaves, scraping a life of meagre existence in the dark recesses of Night Lords vessels, and distil the fear and suffering of these unfortunate victims. Vials are then sold to the rest of the Legion for supplies, passage and power. When a son of Nostramo indulges in the sickening contents, they are imbued with new energy.
  • Scourging Chains - The Scourging Chains once jangled from the rafters of the Primarch Konrad Curze's throne room. Many a soul judged guilty by the Night Haunter has been hanged from their jagged spikes until death. Appearing taut as corded tendons as the wearer flies towards his chosen victims, these spiked chains loosen and loop at the last moment before impact. By lashing out to catch the wearer's prey and then contracting sharply, they bring the enemy close -- often onto an outstretched blade or crackling set of Lightning Claws.
  • Stormbolt Plate - This Artificer Armour was fashioned from a strange metal smelted in the darkest pits of long-dead Nostramo. It is not the war-plate's incredible durability, however, that has made it so prized amongst the Night Lords, for it is wreathed in a cloying darkness, an unnatural skein of midnight that perpetually shrouds the wearer. So it is that a warrior with the Stormbolt Plate pounces on their prey from the shadows.
  • Talons of the Night Terror - Worn over a pair of boots, these talons give the wielder the appearance of some eldritch raptor-beast that has evolved to better disembowel its prey. Should one sporting these bladed accoutrements descend feet-first into the ranks of his prey, the talons will clutch and rip, slicing and eviscerating all those too slow to evade. A heartbeat later, the crushing weight of the Chaos Space Marine wearer will be brought to bear with sickening, spine-breaking impact.
  • Vox Daemonicus - Emanating from the ornate winged helm in which it makes its home, a living susurrus haunts the airwaves, spreading lies and falsehoods across the vox networks of the Night Lords' enemies. The chill whispers of the Vox Daemonicus have unmanned brave commanders and undermined masterful strategies; many a well-laid plan has been torn to shreds by its baleful curse.

Legion Appearance

The gene-seed of the Night Lords seems to be surprisingly pure despite their allegiance to Chaos Undivided. Of all the Chaos Space Marine Traitor Legions, the Night Lords seem to be the least mutated.

Night Lords Chaos Space Marines have jet-black eyes and pale skin. Those Night Lords who date from the time of the Horus Heresy do not have irises, with the visible part of their eyes consisting entirely of jet-black pupils. Their skin, eyes, and even their senses of smell and hearing are all adapted for living in complete darkness.

Even before they turned to Chaos, the Night Lords adorned their armour with the imagery of death. They know fear can be used as a weapon just as effectively as a chainsword or bolter, and revel in the twisted anatomies that the powers of Chaos sometimes lavish upon them. It is common to see the Night Lords adorned with malefic symbols -- fanged skulls, bat-like wings and glowing red eyes all feature heavily upon the battle-plate of these murderous Traitors.

In the days before the Heresy, the Night Lords' midnight blue, lightning-streaked power armour lent them a sinister appearance at odds with the bold livery of Legions such as the Imperial Fists and Emperor's Children. There are still those amongst their ranks that wear the Mark IV Maximus Power Armour that was so common amongst the Legion during the Horus Heresy.

Many Night Lords incorporate Human bones into their wargear. Skull faceplates are laid over -- or even sorcerously melded into -- helms, femurs are inlaid along greaves, splayed ribcages adorn breastplates, and even compacted ground bonemeal is used to trim shoulder guards.

The bones themselves come from the most terrified of the Night Lords' victims, the Chaos Space Marines believing that their victims' last moments then radiate out from them as an aura of pure fear.

The Night Lords tend to be nomadic, and are hence sometimes forced to scavenge equipment and wargear from their fallen, or even from the fallen of Loyalist Space Marines. Mismatching armour elements are a common sight, although before long they are remade in the colours of the VIIIth Legion and bathed in so much blood and agony that any Machine Spirit they might possess is corrupted beyond recovery.

Since the Horus Heresy, the battle plate of the Night Lords has grown ever more baroque, in some cases growing to resemble the icons and motifs daubed upon it. For this reason, skull-like visages, jutting horns and winged helms are prevalent amongst the Night Lords' ranks -- often, the sinister silhouette of the wearer is the last thing their victims see.

Legion Colours

The Night Lords' power armour is not only commonly adorned in images of their Legion, and symbols of death such as trophy racks, spikes, spiked armour, and numerous skulls of all sizes, but also a peculiar form of imagery that occurs on each and every Night Lord Chaos Space Marine's armour.

The Night Lords' night blue armor is alive with a mysterious network of lightning bolts that constantly play across their battle-plate when in combat.

Whether artificial, a curse, or something else, this lightning is a signature of the imagery of the lords of night and terrorises their foes in the inky blackness of the night.

Legion Badge

The Night Lords' Legion badge is a bleached skull with red Chiropteran wings superimposed over a black Star of Chaos.

Videos

Sources

  • Black Crusade: The Tome of Blood (RPG), pp. 26-27, 30-31
  • Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 51
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 42
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 13, 21, 70
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 10, 12, 80
  • Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), pg. 14
  • Codex Heretic Astartes - Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 34-37
  • Codex Heretic Astartes - Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition) (Revised Codex), pp. 34-37
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  • Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 23
  • Codex Supplement: Iron Hands (8th Edition), pp. 32-33
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  • The Horus Heresy Book Four: Conquest (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 162
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  • The Watcher (Short Story) by C.Z. Dunn
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  • Hammer & Bolter 11, "Shadow Knight" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Soul Hunter (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Blood Reaver (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Void Stalker (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
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  • Throne of Lies (Audio Book)
  • Fear The Alien (Anthology), "The Core" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
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  • Ruinstorm (Novel) by David Annandale
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  • Treacheries of the Space Marines (Anthology), "The Masters, Bidding" by Matthew Farrer
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  • Psychic Awakening - Faith & Fury (8th Edition), pp. 12, 18-19, 66-71
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  • The Horus Heresy - Exemplary Battles of the Age of Darkness, Volume One (Expansion), "The Defence of Sotha," pp. 7-13
  • Warhammer Community - The Road to Thramas – Part 5: The Lion (Image)

Gallery

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