Remus Ventanus was a Captain of the 4th Company, 1st Chapter of the Ultramarines Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras of the 30th and early 31st Millennia. He would go on to play a pivotal role during the Battle of Calth, the treacherous attack by the traitorous Word Bearers Legion on the Ultramarines during the opening years of the Warmaster Horus' rebellion.
His deeds would also earn him great renown during the subsequent Calth Underworld War as the Ultramarine survivors would continue rooting out their traitorous former kin of the XVIIth Legion for nearly another solar decade.
Captain of the 4th Company, 1st Chapter, of the Ultramarines during the Horus Heresy, Remus Ventanus was central to the Legion's counterattack on the surface of Calth during the Ultramarines' darkest moment. At the moment of the destruction of Calth's Veridian Anchor, Ventanus was inspecting loading operations at Numinus Port, and in the anarchic hours that followed, he rallied the 4th Company and warriors from other shattere Ultramarines formations into a force able to mount a fierce resistance against the Traitors. It was during this early phase that Ventanus linked up with Magos Analyticae Meer Edv Tawren, the most senior surviving Mechanicum Adept and the only Tech-priest able to perceive a means of regaining control of Calth's planetary defence grid. Thanks to Ventanus' leadership and courage, the Magos completed her crucial task.
The Captain's duties did not end with his victories at Leptius Numinus and the Lanshear Guildhall, for he fought on even as the bulk of the Ultramarines forces on the surface were evacuated at the order of their Primarch. Ventanus led the counterattack against the disordered remaining Word Bearers, and as the extent of the wounds to the Veridia star became evident, Ventanus led his forces and as many Calthian civilians as he could contact into the subterranean arcologies of the world. His deeds throughout the subsequent Calth Underworld War led to him become known as the "Saviour of Calth."
Following the actions of Captain Ventanus and the remaining Imperials on Calth, they were eventually rescued by the remaining forces of the Ultramarines. The "Saviour of Calth" became one of Primarch Roboute Guilliman's closest advisers. Led by their erstwhile Captain, the 4th Company, known in some circles as the "Troublesome Fourth," was a company known for its daredevil actions, heroic follies and the personal bravery of its individual warriors. They would become instrumental in helping to play out the strategies and military tactics devised by Primarch Guilliman in simulated battles -- the results of which would help lay the foundation of his greatest work -- the Codex Astartes.
It contained decades of accumulated wisdom, each chapter and verse a fragment of Guilliman's biologically encoded genius, each morsel of imparted knowledge a building block that would combine to form a work immeasurably greater than the sum of its parts. If the Primarch's work could be made to stick with the 4th Company, then it would stick anywhere. Where the 4th Company led, the other Battle Companies of the Legion followed.
During one of the simulated battles, Ventanus found a flaw in one of Guilliman's plans. The Primarch explained to Captain Ventanus that he was not infallible. The 4th Company's last engagement had shown that they had followed the Primarch's teachings without fail, yet, they had still been led to defeat. If Calth had taught the Ultramarines anything, it was that they must always be adaptable and never too hidebound in their thinking. As of yet, they were still flawed. No one, not even one such as Guilliman, could anticipate every possible outcome of every battle.
Guilliman felt that his words were not some holy writ that must be obeyed. There must always be room for personal initiative on the battlefield. Both warriors understood, perhaps better than anyone, how one spark of heroism could turn the tide of battle. That knowledge and personal experience could only be earned in blood, and the commander in the field must always be the ultimate arbiter of what course of action should be followed. Unfortunately, this was an understanding that the Ultramarines would lose in the centuries to come, as the Codex Astartes changed from manual to sacred scripture.
Following the end of the Horus Heresy, the Great Scouring occured -- a campaign of vengeance fought against the Heretic Traitor Legions and their allies still to be found across the galaxy. Loyalist forces, led by the Ultramarines and Space Wolves Legions, drove back those Traitors who survived Horus' fall at the Battle of Terra. The corrupted forces found refuge within the swirling Eye of Terror.
This time period also marked the grim realisation of just how many planets were lured into helping the Traitors. Some were corrupted, others merely misled or beguiled. Guilt and recrimination henceforth became rife in the new Imperium of Man. Captain Ventanus and the 4th Company were given the honour of leading the assault on the Word Bearers' former homeworld of Colchis, as a form of retribution and justice for all the fallen of Calth.
Before the final assault, Captain Ventanus performed one last futile measurement, merely symbolic, but symbolism was all the Ultramarines had left. Ventanus, battered by fortune and service, stood upon an outcrop of rock, looking out over the burning world's surface, devastated by the XIIIth Legion. As his warriors waited in anticipation, the veteran Captain held out a mailed hand, and his Colour Sergeant passed him a standard. It was old and battered, dented, with a slight twist or two in the haft. This was the same standard Ventanus had found on Calth many years earlier at the start of the battle.
Ventanus took it, honouring every mark upon it. He planted it upright in the burning rock of Colchis. The flickering firelight caught at the golden crest of the standard. The Sergeant declared that they would march for Macragge, but Captain Ventanus quickly corrected him -- on that day, the Ultramarines would march for Calth.
Following Captain Ventanus' death, hundreds of monuments and temple shrines were built in honour of his many heroic deeds and honourable legacy on the world he had helped save. On Calth, carved into the rugged slopes of the Mountains of Twilight, an entire flank of the mountain had been sculpted into a mighty gateway, a vertical chasm crafted into the rock with the inner faces carved with tens of thousands of statues, reliquaries, shrines and decorative arches.
Greatest of these was the golden statue of Captain Remus Ventanus, the Saviour of Calth, fully a hundred metres high. The gateway sat atop a wide causeway of polished granite that led up from the desolate wastelands of Calth's radiation-ravaged surface. Built two thousand metres high and the equal of any of the great gates of Terra, it was a monumental piece of defensive architecture. Ultramarines heroes stood atop ouslite plinths in heroic poses all along the length of the causeway with their shields and heads lifted towards the deadly sun.
The greatest of these shrines was Ventanus' elaborate tomb (suspected to have been designed by Primarch Guilliman himself) and constructed within the Four Valley Gorge within the Cavernas Draconi, a natural cavern system believed to be the oldest on Calth. Local legends told that the Cavernas Draconi caves were the first hewn by the mythical serpent said to have honeycombed the bedrock of Calth in ancient days.
Ventanus had been buried with one of the infamous Shards of Erebus, unique ritualistic daggers made from crude metal or flint that were blessed by the Dark Gods and possessed the ability to alter the very fabric of reality. This was the very weapon that Captain Ventanus had utilised during the Battle of Calth, at the fortress of Leptius Numinus, where Ventanus had unintentionally utilised the Athame taken from the Word Bearers' commander, Morpal Cxir, in an earlier skirmish. With no other weapon at hand, he used the corrupted dagger to defeat the daemon Samus.
In the millennia that followed, the location of the tomb of Ventanus would eventually be lost. It was not until the late 41st Millennium that the location of the tomb would be rediscovered by another hero of the Ultramarines, Uriel Ventris.
Uriel Ventris and the Tomb of Ventanus
As a young child, the future Captain of the Ultramarines 4th Company, Uriel Ventris, climbed an area known as the Dragon's Gullet on Calth -- an area where the children of that world would climb high in order to paint a picture of a dragon on the sheer cliff face. This was one of many games, dares and contests of strength, speed and endurance played by the boys and girls of Calth in preparation for the selection games when warriors from the Ultramarines would judge who was worthy to be taken to Macragge and inducted into the Chapter. Climbing higher than anyone before him (or since), after painting his dragon Ventris saw a cleft in the wall that led deeper into a cavern. He followed the lightless tunnel that twisted into the rock for hundreds of metres until it ended at a compartment hewn from the rock nearly ten thousand years earlier by artificers with great skill and even greater determination.
In the centre of the cavern was a building of pale, polished marble -- a magnificent structure, topped with a glittering dome apparently fashioned from a single vast sapphire. Each facade of the building was reached via a triumphal set of steps carved from the rock of the cavern floor, and entrance was gained through vast porticos supported by pillars as thick as the legs of the largest Mechanicus battle engine. Each pediment was carved with colourful murals that had survived the passage of centuries without the lustre of their imagery diminishing. The murals were broken up into panels, each depicting a noble Ultramarines Captain leading his warriors in battle against wicked, red-armoured foes. As a child, Ventris hadn't fully appreciated the significance of the hidden structure, for it was a tomb, the resting place of a great hero -- the lost tomb of Remus Ventanus. The Saviour of Calth.
Though a portion of its supporting facade had collapsed, the great gem of a dome remained intact, its roof unbowed. The interior floor plan of the tomb was circular, laid out like a grand amphitheatre or council hall. Though instead of steps or seats, the tiers around the central open space were for the dead. Hundreds of stone sarcophagi were laid out in concentric circles around the central floor of the tomb, each one a member of some lost Chapter of the Ultramarines back when they were organised as a full Space Marine Legion. In the centre of the tomb, directly beneath the dome's cupola was a gleaming sarcophagus of black marble, machine-finished and miraculously free of dust after centuries of isolation. Bare of ornamentation apart from a silver plaque bearing the name of the warrior entombed within -- the final resting place of Captain Ventanus of the Ultramarines Legion.
In 999.M41, the Iron Warriors Warsmith Honsou discovered the secret of the Daemon Prince M'kar's imprisonment, and after finding and conquering the star fort Indomitable, set the daemon free to serve as his ally in a new Chaos campaign against Ultramar. Possessing a desecrated Dreadnought shell to remain in the Materium, the newly rematerialised M'kar bound the Indomitable to a Warp Gate and called forth a huge army of daemons, who along with others under his command, he named the "Bloodborn".
During the Invasion of Ultramar, M'kar sent Honsou to Calth in order to destroy Ventanus' tomb. The daemon had not elaborated much when it had told Honsou that this shrine was to be cast to ruin, only that he was to ensure that the body of Ventanus and all his wargear were consumed utterly. Investigating the contents of Ventanus' sarcophagus, Honsou found the Shard of Erbus and took it, realising the real reason why M'kar had sent him to destroy it. He was deathly afraid of the vile weapon. As Honsou made to leave, he encountered his old nemesis, Uriel Ventris, and his token force of Ultramarines. The Iron Warriors and the Ultramarines had both waited a long time for this reckoning.
In the midst of the battle that followed, Ventris' life was saved by a spectre from the past -- a giant burning with azure light that spoke of ancient heroism and noble deeds of valour beyond anything Uriel could comprehend. His armour retained traces of its former allegiance, gold trims, a pale eagle on the shoulder and a faded, barely legible, inverted omega symbol. In the centre of the "U" was the symbol for a Space Marine Captain, but it was old, ancient even, a standard of rank insignia that had not been used for ten thousand standard years.
In that moment, Ventris realised this was none other than the spectre of Remus Ventanus himself. The figure leaned into him and with a ghostly whisper imparted a word or a name. Initially it meant nothing to him, but when the figure pressed the dagger into his hand, Uriel realised what he had been told. He understood, feeling a potent sense of duty discharged, a burden and a responsibility passed on, as though the shade had been waiting for this since the moment of its death.
Ventanus had imparted M'kar's true name -- Maloq Kartho. Chapter Master Marneus Calgar would use this crucial piece of information when he faced M'kar for the final time. In the battle, Captain Ventris tossed the Shard of Erebus to him at a critical moment, and the Chapter Master utilised the corrupted dagger to finally kill Maloq Kartho -- destroying the essence of the daemon utterly -- finishing what Captain Ventanus had begun ten millennia earlier.
The hallmark of Remus Ventanus' command was the phenomenal resolution with which he committed his will and blood to any strategy he had decided upon in battle, no matter the odds or the opposition, and his ability to inspire those in his service to do the same. During the murderous betrayal of the Battle of Calth, it was this factor, above all else, which allowed the forces under his command to endure and triumph.
In the opening chapter of the novel The Chapter's Due by Graham McNeill, it states that Captain Ventanus was known as "Ventanus of the lost 6th Chapter," while in the Horus Heresy novel Know No Fear by Dan Abnett and The Horus Heresy - Book Five: Tempest by Alan Bligh, it clearly states that Captain Ventanus is the commander of the 4th Company, 1st Chapter, under the senior command of First Chapter Master Marius Gage. In this case, it is assumed that these latter sources supersede previous canon.
- Power Armour (Mark V Heresy Pattern at time of Battle of Calth)
- Iron Halo
- Bolt Pistol
- Power Sword
- Melta Bombs
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Legion Standard
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions (Art Book), pg. 153
- The Horus Heresy - Book Five: Tempest (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 236
- Know No Fear (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "Rules of Engagement" by Graham McNeill, pp. 4-50
- The Chapter's Due (Novel) by Graham McNeill