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Talos Valcoran, carrying the Blood Angels' relic sword Aurum.

Talos Valcoran, called the Soul Hunter, was a former Apothecary who became the sergeant of the 1st Claw (squad) of the 10th Company of the Night Lords Traitor Legion.

Talos suffered from prophetic visions, much like his "martyred" Primarch Konrad Curze. The visions were supposedly more accurate than most, and independent of Warp activity, unlike most seers who had a difficult time interpreting prophetic visions clearly due to the unpredictability and often turbulent Immaterium.

These visions were debilitating and occurred randomly and without warning, but they were a great boon to his Night Lords warband and a sought-after commodity amongst those who seek power. His dark gift made him valuable to both the leader of his warband, who was known as The Exalted, and to the Warmaster of Chaos Abaddon, the leader of the fractious forces of the Chaos Space Marines within the Eye of Terror.

Talos was subject to the manipulations of his immediate superior, as well as those of the powerful Abaddon, which placed him and his warriors in mortal danger time and again.

Talos met his end on Tsagualsa in the 41st Millennium just before the start of the 13th Black Crusade, slain in single combat with the Phoenix Lord Jain Zar and the Asuryani forces of Craftworld Ulthwé, who viewed Talos as a potential future threat to the survival of their people. However, his gene-seed remained viable, and was used by the surviving Night Lords to eventually create a new prescient prophet to guide what remained of their fractured Legion.

History

Talos Valcoran during the Horus Heresy.

Shortly after the Night Haunter had reunited with the Emperor of Mankind and departed his homeworld of Nostramo to take part in the Emperor's galaxy-wide Great Crusade, Talos Valcoran was recruited into the VIIIth Legion from Nostramo along with his future squadmate Xarl.

Talos served the Night Lords Legion as an Apothecary within the Night Lords' 10th Company throughout the Great Crusade and during the dark days of the Horus Heresy, willingly following his gene-father into treason against the Emperor. Talos' meteoric rise within the ranks of the Legion eventually allowed him to claim a place within the Night Haunter's inner-circle.

Following the murder of Konrad Curze at the hands of the female Callidus Assassin known as M'Shen after the death of Horus, Talos disobeyed his primarch's last order and was the first to hunt the Imperial Assassin in the name of righteous vengeance. This is how he earned his sobriquet the "Soul Hunter" as had been prophesied by his primarch before his death:

"One soul. You will hunt one shining soul while all others turn their backs on vengeance."

Talos ignored his primarch's last orders to leave his Assassin be and began the relentless pursuit of M'Shen, whilst the rest of his fellow Night Lords wept for their gene-father, following his final orders and not pursuing his killer. Though his fellow Legionaries tried to dissuade Talos from his chosen path, he remained committed to his revenge.

It was only after the discovery that the Imperial Assassin had stolen several of the primarch's possessions, including the Corona Nox, the "Crown of Night", a symbol of leadership for the Night Lords Legion, that the rest of the Legion eventually joined in the hunt.

But Talos had no care for the Night Lords' stolen relics, he only burned for vengeance for his gene-father's death. The Soul Hunter pursued the Assassin from the Night Lords' base of operations on Tsagualsa across the galaxy. Eventually, Talos achieved his oath of vengeance and brutally disemboweled and mutilated M'Shen.

Following the shattering of the Night Lords as an organised Traitor Legion into multiple competing warbands after the death of their primarch, Talos would follow Vandred Anrathi, "The Exalted," as part of his warband for many millennia.

On the world of Crythe, Talos would refuse servitude to Abaddon the Despoiler, the Warmaster of Chaos, and his Dark Gods, and later abandoned the Black Legion forces after the Despoiler attempted to use 1st Claw as a way to shield his own forces against an Imperial warfleet.

Later, Talos and The Exalted would play a key role in the Fall of Vilamus, allied with Huron Blackheart and the piratical Heretic Astartes known as the Red Corsairs. This alliance collapsed soon after it was initiated, with the Night Lords stealing the Red Corsairs' battle barge Echo of Damnation -- a former Night Lords Legion vessel the Red Corsairs had appropriated -- as the battle raged. As the Red Corsairs fleet pursued, Vandred would give his life to allow the escape of Talos and 1st Claw. Talos was thus left in sole command of 1st Claw and its allies.

Death

Talos' prescient visions would eventually guide he and his warriors back to Tsagualsa, the place where their primarch had fallen so many millennia earlier, in an attempt to rebuild their Legion's depleted numbers. Here, they laid waste to the planet's new population of Imperial colonists but found themselves ambushed by the Asuryani of Craftworld Ulthwé who were looking to again kill the Soul Hunter before he could become a future threat to their dwindling species.

In the ensuing battle, nearly every member of Talos' warband was slain and he himself became embroiled in a desperate single battle with the Phoenix Lord Jain Zar, an entity the Night Lords only knew as "Void Stalker." Talos allowed himself to take the Phoenix Lord's spear through his chest, and then detonated a Krak Grenade to kill them both. However the blast stopped short of killing the Phoenix Lord, whose crippled body was finished off by Malcharion.

In the wake of his death, Talos' sacrifice was deeply respected amongst the members of the VIIIth Legion. His gene-seed somehow remained intact despite the damage done to his body by the explosion, and his comrade Variel the Flayer harvested Talos' gene-seed to ultimately create the new prophet of the Night Lords.

Named Decimus, he would become the foretold prophet some solar decades afterwards and would begin to unite the VIIIth Legion in preparation for the 13th Black Crusade. This prophet advocated assaulting the Ulthwé Asuryani to keep them from offering their assistance to the Imperium during Abaddon the Despoiler's great assault, thus bringing to fruition the Asuryani's fear that Talos Valcoran would in some way represent a threat to their people.

Personality

"It is not enough. We stand in the dust at the end of centuries of useless sin and endless failure. The Legion was poisoned and we sacrificed an entire world to cleanse it. We failed. We are the sons of the only Primarch to hate his own legion. There, again, we failed. We swore vengeance on the Imperium, yet we run from every battle where we don't possess overwhelming force over a crippled enemy. We fail, again and again and again. Have you ever fought a battle you'd struggle to win, with no hope of running away? Have any of us? Have you ever, since the Siege of Terra itself, drawn a weapon with the knowledge you might die? I will not see my life whored away without meaning. Do you hear me? Do you understand me, prince of cowards? I want vengeance against a galaxy that hates us. I want Imperial worlds to cower when we draw near. I want the weeping of this Empire's souls to reach all the way to Holy Terra, and the sound of suffering will choke the corpse-god on his throne of gold. I will cast a shadow across this world. I will burn every man, woman and child so the smoke from the funeral pyres eclipses the sun. With the dust that remains, I will take the Echo of Damnation into the sacred skies above Terra, and rain the ashes of twenty million mortals down onto the Emperor's palace. Then they will remember us. Then they will remember the Legion they once feared."

—Talos Valcoran addressing the 1st Claw

Talos on the bridge of the Echo of Damnation, chained to the command throne and speaking to the ghost of Ruven.

Talos, like his Primarch Konrad Curze, sincerely believed that the only way to keep Human society orderly and peaceful was through the fear of terrible punishment, and that the Night Lords' actions were important to the overall project of building the Imperium of Man in the years before the Horus Heresy, before the Emperor turned on them for the brutality of their methods.

Even after the Heresy, Talos thought more about the justification and rightness of his actions than most Night Lords or other Astartes in general, and claimed that he fought to tear down the Imperium because he helped build it, and its current state was far less than what it should have been. His idealistic views of the Legion's past earned him a great deal of derision and a modicum of respect from his brothers. He maintained something of nobility and loyalty to Night Lords not even of the 1st Claw, and essentially only fought against his brethren when they started a conflict.

Talos was wracked by periodic visions that sent him into seizures; he hated the visions and the accompanying weakness, but used and relayed the information. His visions typically centred on what he would be seeing and doing in the future -- narrow in scope, but clear, objectively descriptive, and as such more useful than that provided by an ordinary Warp-seer's, which garnered the notice of Abaddon the Despoiler. He was notorious in the VIIIth Legion for these visions, and equally notorious for his primarch-bestowed title of "Soul Hunter."

Talos' view of the Chaos Gods is very similar to that held by many of the other members of the Night Lords Legion. Quite simply, Talos does not accept the Chaos Gods as his own, nor does he think highly of those that accept their corrupting power.

This is exemplified by his interaction with his superior, a Chaos-mutated Heretic Astartes named The Exalted and his slavering, Khorne-worshipping comrade, and the disdain with which he approached them.

Finally, Talos had a fond if rough affection for his Legion Chapter serfs that was quite unexpected and unusual for a Chaos Space Marine, but then nothing about the Night Lords ever fit the preconceived stereotypes of the Heretic Astartes among Loyalists.

Wargear

Talos Valcoran of the Night Lords Legion, the Soul Hunter

  • Artificer Armour - Talos' power armour is an amalgamation of scavenged pieces won in battle or taken from the bodies of fallen brothers of the Night Lords Legion. He has chosen to maintain some Imperial insignia -- most notably an Aquila on his breastplate -- but desecrates them with partial removal or damage. His helmet is painted white with a purple Nostraman insignia -- the Nostraman acronym of his primarch-bestowed name, "Soul Hunter" -- painted above the helmet's eyes. His Narthecium was lost in a battle long ago, but he keeps some cryo-tubes on his person for storing harvested gene-seed.
  • Archaic Pattern Bolter - Talos makes use of the bolter once carried by his Brother-Captain Malcharion, the former captain of the Night Lords' 10th Company, who is now a Chaos Dreadnought.
  • Aurum - Talos wields an ancient power sword named Aurum, a holy relic that once belonged to the Blood Angels Chapter. Forged during the Emperor's Great Crusade when it had barely taken its first tentative steps into the stars, this venerable blade was crafted for one of the Blood Angels Legion's first heroes. The sword later came into Talos' possession several standard centuries later after he slew Aurum's heir, Captain Dumah. By possessing such a sacred relic, Talos and his company of fellow Night Lords are constantly harassed by the Blood Angels who have attempted to reclaim this sacred relic of the Chapter from the traitorous Night Lord. Talos finds the Blood Angels' attempts to reclaim the sword highly amusing, but has become disillusioned by the number of times that he has had to slay those amongst his fellow Night Lords who wished to possess this mighty blade.
  • Legion Gladius

Sources

  • Lord of the Night (Novel) by Simon Spurrier
  • Hammer & Bolter 11, "Shadow Knight" (Short Story) 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
  • Fear The Alien (Anthology), "The Core" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • Throne of Lies (Audio Book)
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