"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."
The Night Lords were originally the VIII Legion of Space Marines created during the First Founding and became one of the 9 Traitor Legions of Chaos Space Marines that betrayed the Emperor of Mankind during the Horus Heresy of the 31st Millennium. They do not worship any of the four 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.
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.
Nostramo was a bleak Hive World that was perpetually dark due to its pollution-clogged atmosphere and that 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 adamantium that riddled the planet's crust, Nostramo's chief export to its neighbouring worlds, was the reason for the thousands of metalworks and chemical plants that scarred the Nostraman landscape and choked the air with noxious filth. 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. Murder, theft and extortion were rife in Nostraman society. Crime ran unchecked, and the merest gesture towards law enforcement was the horrific brutality meted out by the ruling hierarchy's hired underhive thugs upon those who dared to oppose them. The vast majority of Nostramo's citizens lived in abject poverty, preyed upon by rampant criminal gangs and a corrupt governing aristocracy. Depression was an inescapable way of life for most Nostramans, and overpopulation was prevented not by war, disease or legislation, but by the suicide rate.
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. The physiology and genomes of the people that lived within the hive cities remained mostly identical to that of 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. Their skin was very pale, and an acute form of albinism, though a recessive mutation, had become common in the Nostraman populace.
The geology of Nostramo was nothing short of priceless, as the world's unusual crust had unprecedented amounts of naturally-occurring adamantium. The presence of such abundant quantities of this valuable metal meant that the cities of Nostramo enjoyed a very profitable commerce with their neighbouring worlds, although it is well-known that these worlds sold the metal on at a much higher price to the traders of the Imperium of Man, who were just beginning to enter this region of the galaxy.
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 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, 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 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 other hive cities.
Within a 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.
Through the use of sheer brutality, Curze was eventually recognized as the 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 of Nostramo Quintus, absorbing accumulated knowledge with a diligence almost akin to greed. Night Haunter 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 his neighbour and under the shadow of Night Haunter's rule, the city 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.
He almost singlehandedly 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 VIII Space Marine Legion that had been created from his genome. Even before the Heresy, the Night Lords decorated their Power Armour with symbols of death, realizing that fear was a weapon as effective as any Bolter or Chainsword.
Coming of the Emperor
A short time into the reign of Night Haunter as Nostramo's benevolent dictator, the Emperor's Great Crusade reached the outskirts of the Nostramo star system. 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. 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 following dialogue ensued:
"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."
Night Haunter quickly adapted to the teachings of the Imperium, studying the complex doctrines of the Adeptus Astartes under the Primarch Fulgrim's tutelage. Night Haunter was soon accepted as the leader of the VIII 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 years, 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. Reinforcements to replace those Night Lords that fell in battle were selected from the population of Nostramo, but in Night Haunter's absence, the population of the planet collapsed back into the corrupt and decadent criminal ways that had prevailed before his arrival. The ruthless criminals were the only ones to remain healthy and strong, so it was these men who were recruited for the Legion. Night Haunter 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.
Learning that his homeworld had slipped back into corruption, 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. In the wider galaxy, as the Great Crusade wore on, Night Haunter's erratic behaviour was looked upon with more and more suspicion by his brother Primarchs. The scars left by his former life on Nostramo ran deep. Despite the fact that he spent much time with his less dour peers, the 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 with the other Legions of Astartes. 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 Night Haunter and the brotherhood of the Primarchs only widened. Events reached a head following the pacification of the Cheraut System, a joint-Imperial Compliance action conducted by the Night Lords, Emperor's Children and Imperial Fists Legions. After confiding 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 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 man. Curze then returned to Nostramo with his Legion and fulfilled one of his visions. A few Imperial pursuit craft arrived just in time to see the Night Lords' starships open their laser batteries into the hole in the planet's surface that had been left by Night Haunter's arrival through the Warp decades earlier. Nostramo's core destabilised and the world tore itself apart.
This ruthless behaviour did not sit well with some of the other Primarchs and Astartes Legions. Finally, 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 unleashed the orbital bombardment that destroyed 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. The Night Lords thought 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 unification actually required to be brought into being.
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 and participated in the Drop Site Massacre of the Loyalist Space Marine Legions at Istvaan V, as well as the invasion 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 years after the Horus Heresy had ended. It was during this chaotic time that Konrad Curze was assassinated by a Callidus Assassin named M'Shen on the planet Tsagualsa, where the VIII Legion had built its fortress after the destruction of Nostramo. Curze had foreseen his assassination, as he possessed the gift (or curse) of foreknowledge, a prophetic psychic ability that other Night Lords who share their primarch's genetic heritage also may possess at present. This is 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. His death did not slow the Night Lords down, as they continued to apply themselves to his mantra and are 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, served only their own twisted conception of justice.
After the Horus Heresy, the Night Lords did not flee into the Eye of Terror like the other Traitor Legions, instead they retained their Pre-Heresy numbers and sought to conquer their own terrible dominion from the worlds of the Imperium's Eastern Fringe. However, after the assassination of Konrad Curze, the Legion splintered into multiple feuding warbands, as is the nature of those who serve Chaos, and eventually relocated to the Eye of Terror. By the late 41st Millennium, the Legion has 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. They have been known to assist Chaos Warmaster 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.
- 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.
- Compliance of Darrowmar (Unknown Date.M30) - The Night Lords fought alongside the Luna Wolves Legion in bringing the world of Darrowmar into Imperial Compliance.
- 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.
- Pacification of the Cheraut System (Unknown Date.M31) - 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 (Unknown Date.M31) - 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 at the start of the Horus Heresy after the pacification of Cheraut. The VIII 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 Istvaan V (Unknown Date.M31) - After several months of hesitation, the Emperor ordered seven Legions of Astartes to assault the known Traitor Legions' base on the world of Istvaan 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 primarch traded vicious blows, but the Raven Lord had the advantage not only speed and finesse, but of also being a penultimate warrior with decades of fighting experience. Lorgar did not, for he had always been more of a scholar than a warrior, and his lack of experience cost him dearly as Corax impaled Lorgar through his stomach and out 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 Istvaan 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.
- Thramas Crusade (ca. 005-008.M31) - During the Horus Heresy the Warmaster Horus sent Night Haunter and his VIII 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. 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, while 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. Somehow, the remaining Night Lords managed to affect their escape and fled into the void.
- Eastern Fringe Genocide (Unknown Date.M31) - Following the death of Horus during the Battle of Terra, the Traitor Legions were driven into the Eye of Terror. Unlike the other Traitor Legions, after their defeat in the Thramas Crisade, the 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 betrays the growth of the increasing sense of self-destruction which drives its Astartes, much as it drives their Primarch. The Night Lords' rampage is only stopped by the assassination of Konrad Curze 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.
- 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 (999.M41) - The Warmaster Abaddon launches his 13th Black Crusade in 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 transmission 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.
"Sons of our father, stand in midnight clad. We bring the night."
- —Night Lords code to prepare to for battle, roughly translated from Nostraman
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.
Specialist Ranks and Formations
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 Kryoptera were the Night Haunter's most trusted advisors and confidants within the Night Lords Legion. Consisting of seven chosen Captains of the Legion, the Kryoptera existed outside the rest of the VIII 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 - The Atramentar are the elite Terminator-armoured unit of Battle-Brothers from the VIII Legion's formidable 1st Company led by the infamous First Captain Sevetar. 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, the Atramentar scattered with the rest of the Legion and, by the time of the late 41st Millennium, often served as bodyguards to the powerful Chaos Lords who commanded the various Night Lords warbands.
- 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 VIII 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 his work, The Tenebrous Path
The Night Lords adopted the modus operandi of their Primarch without exception, and thrive in sowing fear and confusion among their enemy. 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.
"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
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 Chaos Space Marines 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.
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 it is 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.
Notable Night Lords
- Konrad Curze - Konrad Curze, better known as the Night Haunter was the savage and authoritarian Primarch of the VIII Legion. Kurze, disgusted with life and 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 immediately 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.
- Jago "Sevatar" Sevatarion - Also known as "The Condemned" and the "Prince of Crows", Jago "Sevatar" Sevatarion served as the First Captain of the Night Lords' elite 1st Company prior to Zso Sahaal, during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. Sevatar was killed during the Battle of Terra.
- Zso Sahaal, "The Talonmaster"- Zso Sahaal was the "Talonmaster", the First Captain of the VIII Legion's elite 1st Company after his predecessor, Jago Sevatarion, was slain during the Battle 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.
- Sheng - Equerry to Konrad Curze.
- Krieg Acerbus, "The Axemaster" - Acerbus was a former Captain of the Legion and is now the leader of the largest Night Lords warband of Chaos Space Marines in the galaxy. Later, he became a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided.
- 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 - Former Captain of the 9th Company and a member of the Kryoptera during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Kuln was one of only three surviving Kryoptera 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 - Captain of the 10th Company/Chaos Lord of the Night Lords warband of The Exalted. Vandred is a Chaos Champion of Tzeentch.
- Naraka, "The Bloodless" - Naraka was the Captain of the 13th Company during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy and a member of the Kryoptera. 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 Kryoptera 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 VIII 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 Kryoptera 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 Kryoptera.
- Ophion - Captain of the 39th Company and a member of the Kryoptera 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 VIII 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 VIII 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 Kryoptera during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Herec was one of only three surviving Kryoptera 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.
- Krukesh - Captain of the 103rd Company and a member of the Kryoptera during the Horus Heresy, Krukesh was considered to be a member of the VIII 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 VIII 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 VIII 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 Kryoptera. Terran-born, but not born of VIII Legion gene-stock, Rushal still wore the Power Armour of the XIX 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 VIII Legion following the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan 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 Istvaan 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 VIII Legion's inner circle of Captains.
- Halasker - Halasker was a Captain of the VII Legion, his company and fate unknown.
- Morgaris - Morgaris was a Chaos Terminator Champion of the VIII Legion.
- 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 VIII 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 Istvaan V for five days before they could retreat, unsupported.
1st Claw, 10th Company
- 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.
- Vorasha (Deceased) - 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 (Deceased) - 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. His fate remains unknown.
The Night Lords are known to have possessed the following vessels within their Legion fleet:
- Nightfall (Gloriana-class Battleship) - Flagship of the Night Lords Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- 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.
- Terrorclaw (Battle Barge) - Assaulted by the Blood Angels and The Sanguinor.
- Umbrea Insidor (Battle Barge)
- Aeternum Dread (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.
- Avenging Shadow' (Strike Cruiser)
- Covenant of Blood (Strike Cruiser) - The Exalted's Strike Cruiser and the flagship of the Night Lords' 10th Company, active during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, destroyed in battle.
- 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
- 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.
- Faithless Song (Endeavour-class Light Cruiser) - A former Light Cruiser that belonged to the Imperial Navy that was captured by the Night Lords near Uriah III.
- Serpent of the Black Sea (Capital Ship, Unknown Class) - Vessel of the Night Lords Legion of an unknown class.
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.
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 armor, 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 armour 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 ink blackness of the night.
The Night Lords' Legion badge is a bleached skull with red coloured Chiropteran wings superimposed over a black Star of Chaos.
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Blood (RPG), pp. 26-27, 30-31
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 51
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 10, 12, 80
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 13, 21, 70
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 42
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), pg. 14
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition), pp. 13, 17
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 23
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 80-81
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pg. 126
- Index Astartes II, "Bringers of Darkness - The Night Lords Space Marine Legion," pp. 20-27
- White Dwarf 332 (US), "Chaos Space Marines Design Notes - Night Lords", pp. 16-29
- White Dwarf 261 (US), "Lords of the Night: Cityfight, Night Lords vs. Imperial Guard"
- White Dwarf 260 (US), "Index Astartes First Founding: Bringers of Darkness, The Night Lords Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 200 (US), "'Eavy Metal: WH40K Chaos", p. 8
- First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Age of Darkness (Anthology), "Savage Weapons" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- The Primarchs (Anthology), "The Lion" by Gav Thorpe
- Shadows of Treachery (Anthology), "Prince of Crows" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pp. 130-187
- Lord of the Night (Novel) by Simon Spurrier
- Night Lords Series:
- 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
- The Dark King (Audio Book)
- Throne of Lies (Audio Book)
- Fear The Alien (Anthology), "The Core" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Sons of Fenris (Novel) by Lee Lightner
- Treacheries of the Space Marines (Anthology), "The Masters, Bidding" by Matthew Farrer