Rylanor, known as Ancient Rylanor and Rylanor the Unyielding, was a venerated Dreadnought and hero of the Emperor's Children Legion. He served as the III Legion's "Ancient of Rites," and had been mortally wounded battling the Eldar in the late 30th Millennium, decades before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy. Following his wounding, Rylanor was interred within the adamantium shell of a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought. Rylanor was only part of the Primarch Fulgrim's Honour Guard by tradition, though he was increasingly troubled by the direction the III Legion moved in after the assault on the xenos world of Laeran. At the last minute, he traded places for the combat drop onto Istvaan III with Captain Saul Tarvitz of the 10th Company, who was supposed to go instead as one of the Emperor's Children Loyalists marked for betrayal and death. Betrayed unto his own death by the duplicitous actions of the Warmaster Horus, Rylanor rallied the surviving Loyalist Emperor's Children and fought against the Traitors during the Battle of Istvaan III, but it is unknown whether he met his ultimate fate at the hands of his former brothers.
The III Legion was created alongside its brother Space Marine Legions during the latter phases of the Unification Wars on Terra, with many of its finest warriors drawn from the courts and blood vassal populations of Europa, the moon of Saturn. In later decades, other Terran dynasties followed the example of Europa, filling the ranks of the III Legion with the flower of Terran youth who seemed well-matched with the aristocratic blood of its Initiates, forming a martial brotherhood whose ancestry in war stretched back into the lost ages of human history. Rylanor hailed from this first, Terran generation of the Emperor's Children. Rylanor had the singular honour of fighting beside the Emperor of Mankind during the Unification Wars, with the battle honours Roma and Thule etched into his armour. His history was the history of the III Legion, and he had been the first to carry the Palatine standard into battle alongside his newfound Primarch. When he fell grievously wounded in battle against the Eldar, his salvation was internment in a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought of his Legion.
Rylanor became the Emperor's Children's Ancient of Rites, presiding over the III Legion's Ceremonials of Induction aboard the Emperor's Children capital ship Andronicus, as well as lending his might to the line of battle for many decades until the treachery of the Warmaster Horus tore his Legion apart from within. When the atrocity on Istvaan III came, Rylanor's unshakeable loyalty to the Emperor marked him for death in his Primarch's eyes and he was assigned to the first wave assault, but instead survived the first murderous blow of betrayal. While serving aboard the Adronicus, Tenth Captain Saul Tarvitz had discovered something amiss in the changing character of his Legion. Though he had the honour of leading the speartip of the initial Imperial assault upon Istvaan III, he made an unusual request of Ancient Rylanor, and expressed his desire to remain aboard the Andronicus to function as Lord Commander Eidolon's senior staff officer.
Tarvitz was supicious of Eidolon's motives, for it was highly irregular for one of Fulgrim's favoured Lord Commanders not to take part in the speartip. Eidolon normally never passed up the opportunity to flaunt his martial prowess and for him to appoint another in his stead was unheard of. Though an unusual request, Rylanor honoured Tarvitz's request and took the captain's place in the assault. Once the Warmaster revealed his treacherous intentions and the fighting began in earnest, Rylanor soon became a priority target for the Traitors, his power dooming scores of his former Battle-Brothers to their deaths wherever he fought, while his mere presence became a rallying cry for those loyal Emperor’s Children battling out to the bitter end. To the Loyalists on Istvaan III Rylanor was a living icon of the Legion’s glory and the perfection and righteousness of their loyalty to the Emperor. Reported destroyed by the Traitors several times during the fighting, Rylanor, increasingly damaged, somehow managed to endure for much of the fighting on Istvaan III, but his final fate remains unknown.
Ancient Rylanor's ultimate fate following the events on Istvaan III are unknown. After the final orbital bombardment of the planetary capital of Istvaan III, Choral City, the Venerable Dreadnought took himself off into the depths of the Precentor's Palace, never to be seen again. It was not like Rylanor to run from a fight, though the Traitor Lucius, who initially fought on the side of the Loyalists before turning against them to reclaim his position in the III Legion, overheard Captain Tarvitz mention something about the honoured Ancient guarding something, though he did not know what it was. Rumour was that he had found some kind of underground hangar, but if that were the case, then why did not the Renegade Imperial Planetary Governor Vardus Praal utilise it to escape when the Legions arrived? Rylanor's fate ultimately did not matter to his traitorous former kin, for whatever Rylanor's purpose, they believed that it was doomed to failure, and that he had been buried beneath thousands of tonnes of radioactive slag like all the other Loyalists on Istvaan III.
- Smoke Launchers
- Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon - The Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon is an ancient pattern of the weapon that was commonly deployed on Contemptor Pattern Dreadnoughts during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. It maintains a higher rate of fire than the standard pattern Assault Cannons used in the late 41st Millennium.
- Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon - This weapon consisted of a large Dreadnought Power Fist with inbuilt Heavy Flamer.
- Atomantic Shielding – One of the ancient Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought’s most distinctive features is a series of defensive field generators mounted inside its armour plating and powered by the enhanced Atomantic power core within.
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions, pg. 23
- Galaxy In Flames (Novel) by Ben Counter, pp. 24, 109-112, 120, 123, 129-131, 154-155, 182
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 73, 75, 297, 346-347