"The hotter the forge, the finer the blade, or so they say. The forge of war in which we now find ourselves blazes hotter than anything the Imperium has seen in ten millennia. We of the Adeptus Custodes were built to endure these fires. They will not be our end. Instead, we will be honed to the finest cutting edge, that we may be the bane of even the foulest heretics."
- —Captain-General Trajann Valoris
Trajann Valoris is the current Chief Custodian and 17th Captain-General of the Adeptus Custodes, the elite bodyguard of the Emperor of Mankind, and perhaps the deadliest individual warrior in the entire Imperium. Valoris' name is spoken of with nothing short of reverence, for many consider the Captain-General to be the personal representative of the Emperor Himself. Even the High Lords of Terra might be mocked, when in wine or in anger, but to do so with the Captain-General was simply beyond imagination. For to mock Valoris was to mock the Emperor Himself. Such blasphemy would not go unpunished, and would inevitably result in a transgressor's untimely death.
While the two Tribunes of the Adeptus Custodes are generally occupied with the many ritual purposes of the order, the Captain-General has no set remit, but governs the forces under his command with complete freedom, to the extent that if the Ten Thousand had dealings with any part of the Adeptus Terra, they are carried out through him.
"A wise man draws his swords when the time is right to wield them. A fool dies with blades still sheathed, fearing that there might yet come a time of greater need. For the sake of Emperor and Imperium both, we must take the fight to our enemies."
The office of Captain-General is one of the most powerful military appointments in the Imperium of Man. It confers full responsibility for the overall defence of the Sol System, Terra, the Imperial Palace and -- ultimately -- the Golden Throne and the Emperor Himself. The Captain-General is the master of the Adeptus Custodes, and, on many occasions during Imperial history, has stood amongst the ranks of the High Lords of Terra. He is further charged with leading the greatest military campaigns fought by the Ten Thousand, and must display a degree of warrior prowess that approaches that of the Primarchs of old.
In the millennia since the Great Crusade, there have been just seventeen incumbents of this weighty mantle. Most have died in battle, either on the holy soil of Terra or whilst leading crucial campaigns amidst the stars. Several have become Eyes of the Emperor, while three -- including Constantin Valdor himself, the first and greatest of their number -- simply vanished, their disappearances wreathed in mystery even amongst their own comrades.
The current Captain-General is Trajann Valoris. Many claim that he is the greatest warrior to hold the title since the Emperor bestrode the stars. Within his first solar decade of service, Valoris ran not just one, but two successful Blood Games, a record that remains unbroken. With his remarkable grasp of battlefield strategy and his naturally aggressive streak he earned a place for himself amongst the Allarus Custodians. There, Valoris won many names from deeds such as the destruction of the Space Hulk Mournful Siren, the defeat of the Genestealer Cult of the Emperor's Writhing Shadow, and his spearheading of the preemptive strike against WAAAGH! Krushfist.
If Valoris showed a weakness, it was his reluctance to stand back and wait for his enemies to come to him. He lasted only twenty-two Terran years amongst the Companions before his desire to participate in a more proactive strategy of defence saw him reassigned. He gained the rank of Shield-Captain soon afterwards, and spent several standard centuries leading sorties against emergent threats throughout the Sol System and beyond. Valoris became well known for his tendency to observe his enemies carefully, predict their movements, then deliver a sudden and decisive blow. He cultivated networks of agents and informers across the Segmentum Solar, and even further out into the wider Imperium. Valoris recognised his own proclivity for aggressive action, and took constant steps to temper it with comprehensive foreknowledge. Thus his strikes always fell where they should, and no comrade was ever lost to reckless commands.
Though the Captain-General of the Adeptus Custodes traditionally served among the High Lords of Terra only under the most dire of circumstances, such as during the War of the Beast in the mid-32nd Millennium, it was only the persistence of Lev Tieron, the Chancellor of the Senatorum Imperialis at the time of the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, that persuaded Valoris to assume the seat among the High Lords that had been left vacant for some time following the death of Lord Brach, the Chancellor of the Estate Imperium. It was the Chancellor's hope that Valoris would agree to serve as one of the High Lords, which would swing the vote to abolish the Lex Imperialis -- the binding legal code of the Imperium -- and allow for the Adeptus Custodes to finally leave Terra en masse, in order to take the fight to the Forces of Chaos.
Trajann Valoris has proven a dynamic and effective Captain-General. Under his rule the number of Blood Games has increased tenfold, the defences of the stable Warp routes into the Sol System have been strengthened, and long-hidden cults have been purged from the Terran underhives. Little escapes the eyes of his ever expanding spy network and, armed with the certainty of the truly righteous, his covert strikes have annihilated dozens of threats to the Golden Throne. It was as if Valoris had foreseen Primarch Roboute Guilliman's return and the formation of the Great Rift long before they came, and laid all the groundwork required for the Adeptus Custodes to adapt to the new Imperium. Perhaps, some whispered, the half-understood power of the Moment Shackle, the unusual artefact of the Age of Technology that he wore at his belt, allowed him to do just that. Whatever the case, the Captain-General's many qualities make him ideally suited to lead in this age of unprecedented aggression.
Following the destruction of the Fortress World of Cadia and the formation of the galaxy-wide Warp rift known as the Great Rift, a bow wave of the Immaterium swept over the worlds of the Sol System, including the Throneworld itself. This allowed a large host of Khornate daemons to burst through the skein of reality to assail Terra itself, in a conflict that came to be known as the Battle of Lion's Gate or informally as the Second Battle of Terra.
Enacting their Catastrophe Protocols, Valoris acted as the overall commander of the Imperial forces charged with the defence of the Imperial Palace. The Captain-General personally lead a charge of four-thousand Custodians from the Lion's Gate to meet the invaders. They fought alongside the resurrected Primarch Guilliman and his forces, newly arrived from Luna in the wake of the Terran Crusade, and successfully managed to blunt the Blood God's attempts at striking the heart of the Imperium. Following this dire campaign, the High Lords voted to suspend the dictates of the Lex Imperialis, which allowed the Adeptus Custodes to sally forth from the Throneworld, to take part in Guilliman's subsequent Indomitus Crusade, and to take the fight directly to the servants of the Ruinous Powers.
At the Battle of Gathalamor during the Crusade, Valoris led a combined force of Custodians and Grey Knights under the command of Grand Master Aldrik Voldus against the Word Bearers Heretic Astartes and their summoned daemon allies to cleanse that sacred Cardinal World of the Ecclesiarchy of the Chaos taint.
- The Years of Madness (Unknown Date.M41) - During the so-called "Years of Madness," a time of strange omens and ominous whispers engulfs Terra, beginning with the disappearance of the notoriously conservative Captain-General Galahoth. Battling the stagnation of Galahoth's rule, the Adeptus Custodes find themselves facing a shocking increase in cult activity -- both heretical and xenophile -- throughout the Sol System. Worse is to follow as possession is revealed amongst a sub-sect of the doomscryers themselves, though not until the false predictions of the fallen psykers send Captain-General Launceddre to his death at the Battle of the Gilded Pyre (later known as the Battle of Black Pyre). It is amidst this climate of spiralling paranoia and danger that Captain-General Trajann Valoris is elevated to command the Ten Thousand, and he wastes no time in taking steps to regain ironclad control of Terra's defences.
- To Stand Against the Storm (999.M41) - In the wake of Valoris' rise to power, the Adeptus Custodes enjoy their most proactive century of martial and covert action since the fall of Goge Vandire. They annihilate dozens of hidden cults, purge the polar underhives, eliminate a vermillion-classified xenos threat amidst the Plutonian void-fortresses, and launch thirty-two separate extra-solar interdiction strikes. Several, it is rumoured, even utilise shattered spars of the Webway to reach their targets. As word reaches Terra of ever increasing Warp Storm activity, and cries for help sweep in from every corner of the galaxy, Valoris assembles the High Lords of Terra to discuss their response to this gathering storm. Yet it is at that moment that word reaches their closed session of an incredible disturbance on the surface of Luna, of demigods battling through the airless void at the head of great armies, and of a Primarch restored by the strangest of roads. Roboute Guilliman has returned at the end of his successful Terran Crusade, and Valoris knows that nothing will be the same ever again.
- The Battle of Lion Gate (Second Battle of Terra) (ca. 999.M41) - Barely has Roboute Guilliman returned to Terra when the empyric bow waves of the Great Rift's birth sweep over the Sol System. Riding their boiling crests comes a horde of Khornate daemons, who burst through the skin of reality to assail Terra itself. Though this is the Adeptus Custodes' nightmare scenario, they enact their Catastrophe Protocols with unshakeable calm and self-assurance. Storming out to meet the invaders alongside Guilliman's Ultramarines and a sizeable complement of the Sisters of Silence, the Custodians successfully deflect the Blood God's attempt to behead the Imperium with a single strike. Victory is bought at a steep price in irreplaceable lives, but it is victory nonetheless.
- Battle of Gathalamor (Unknown Date.M42) - The Gathalamor System comes under sustained attack from the Heretic Astartes of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion. As their Dark Apostles summon creatures from beyond the veil, the fight turns viciously against the Imperial defenders. The Mordian 84th Regiment of the Astra Militarum and the Sisters of the Order of the Argent Shroud dig in to stage their last stand in the grim ruins of Gathalamor Prime's macro-cathedrum, their prayers for salvation ringing out to the screaming skies above. Sure enough, even as hordes of Traitors and abominations mobilise to attack, the Emperor answers the cries of His followers. Teleport flares erupt through the Heretic lines, gold and silver lightning leaping as a combined force of Custodians and Grey Knights storm into battle. Bolters roar and crackling blades tear through Heretic flesh, Trajann Valoris and Grand Master Aldrik Voldus leading an assault that sees the Traitor army shattered into battling warbands. Inpsired by the sudden arrival of vertible demigods, the Mordians and Sisters of Battle advance, hymnals rising from their ranks over the roar of Flamers and the scream of massed Lasgun fire. After three solar days and nights of unremitting savagery, the Chaos host is broken in the Battle for the Statue Steps. With fresh Imperial reinforcements flooding in to the wider Gathalomor war zone, the Custodians set course for Terra, leaving the Grey Knights to conduct a grim purge of the unfortunates that they rescued from the macro-cathedrum, for they had seen too much of Chaos to be trusted.
When Captain-General Andros Launceddre fell at the Battle of the Black Pyre, Valoris was named his successor. As tradition dictated, he took up the armour and weapons of his former lord. These masterfully crafted artefacts were fashioned in the wake of Constantin Valdor's disappearance and passed on to each new Captain-General ever since:
- Watcher's Axe - Watcher's Axe is a master-crafted, relic Castellan Axe that takes the form of a huge polearm blade that crackles with golden lightning and can bisect the sarcophagus of a Chaos Helbrute with a single swing. The axe's haft incorporates a master-crafted Bolter known as the Eagle's Scream, which fires adamantium-tipped penetrator bolts at a ferocious rate.
- Castellan Plate -The Castellan Plate is an elaborate suit of powered armour which incorporates a heraldic tilting shield, an auramite halo, and a magnificent cloak woven with adamantium thread so that it flows like cloth but yields to neither blade nor blast.
- Moment Shackle - At the belt of the Captain-General, he carries a strange device known as the Moment Shackle. A relic of the Dark Age Technology released from the vaults beneath the Imperial Palace, this artefact allows Valoris to trap fragments of temporal energy and turn them to his use, excising split-second events from history or slowing the localised temporal flow enough to tip a desperate fight in his favour.
- Misericordia - The Misericordia (High Gothic: "blade of mercy") is a long dagger or short sword that was carried by the Custodians of first the Legio Custodes and after the Horus Heresy, the Adeptus Custodes. The blade was symbolic, intended to represent that the Custodes were beneficiaries of the Magisterium Lex Ultima which placed them above the reach of all Imperial Law save for the commandments of the Emperor of Mankind Himself. The Misericordia was designed to deliver a single, mortal blow, and despite their symbolic nature, were sometimes used by individual Custodians to carry out a death sentence or offer the Emperor's Peace to a mortally wounded and grievously suffering warrior.
- Codex: Adeptus Custodes (8th Edition), pp. 19, 24, 31-33, 36, 44, 58
- Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor's Legion (Novel) by Chris Wraight, Chs. 3-4, 10, 22-24
- Warhammer 40,000 Community: Adeptus Custodes Preview - Part 1: The Heroes
- Games Workshop Online Webstore: Captain-General Trajann Valoris