- "Look upon me and know that I can slay you at will. You have no defence save one: to look into the darkness at the back of your own mind. There, you will find Father Nurgle waiting to offer you life in return for your submission. Deny him, and you are mine."
- — Typhus the Traveller, Herald of Nurgle
Typhus, also known as Typhus the Traveller, originally the Space Marine named Calas Typhon of the world of Barbarus, is the Herald of Nurgle, the Lord of the Death Guard's 1st Plague Company, and the host of the terrible plague known as the Destroyer Hive. He is a Champion of Chaos and the former First Captain of the Death Guard Traitor Legion. Typhus is also the most feared of all Chaos Lords to command one of the legendary Plague Fleets.
That Typhus has been truly blessed by Nurgle is indisputable. When the Death Guard were adrift in the Warp during the Horus Heresy, dying from the Destroyer Plague, Calas Typhon, First Captain of the XIV Legion, absorbed the full power of the disease, becoming a vessel for this ultimate corruption. Swelling in size, his skin and armour bonded. Great pestilential funnels grew from his body, spewing forth a miasma of destruction. Calas Typhon has been transformed into Typhus, Host of the Destroyer Hive.
When the Death Guard retreated to the Eye of Terror after the Horus Heresy, Typhus was disgusted by Mortarion's shaping of the Plague Planet in the image of their homeworld, Barbarus. Believing his master had given in to sentimentality, Typhus departed at the head of a sepsis cohort to spread Nurgle's gifts to the undeserving Imperium of Man. In a rare display of tolerance, Mortarion let his ever-insubordinate son depart to forge his own legacy, for he would not repeat the mistakes that the Emperor had made with him. Since that day the two have settled into a tense but tolerable arrangement, Typhus fighting at Mortarion's behest when the cause is suitably great, but otherwise remaining free to maraud throughout the Imperium at will.
For ten thousand standard years Typhus has been a blight upon Imperial worlds. He unleashed Nurgle's Rot upon Carandinis VII and Protheus, instigated the Jonah's World pandemic, and has killed millions with the Destroyer Hive. In the wake of Typhus' fleet a virulent plague spreads, causing its victims to suffer a long, agonising demise. Those who fall to this Warp disease do not stay dead, however; their bodies are soon reanimated by the Chaos infection, creating Plague Zombies whose bites carry the disease to new victims. Billions have died and been returned to undeath. Worse still, since the opening of the Great Rift during the 13th Black Crusade, the proliferating energies of Chaos have mutated countless strains of the original Zombie Plague. Boasting infection vectors as esoteric as nightmares, groans of misery and the surrender to despair, they have created many new types of Plague Zombie to bedevil the Imperium, of which the most common by far are the leering, moaning Poxwalkers.
Typhus rules the greater portion of the Death Guard's decaying armada from the bridge of his flagship, the Terminus Est, a warship encrusted with the filth of aeons that was ancient even when the Horus Heresy began some ten thousand standard years ago. His skill in ship-to-ship combat has been honed over many millennia of war, and when he broods in his command throne upon his starship's bridge, he and the titanic war machine become one. Though the warship exists on the cusp of Imperial legend, its three-pronged pict-sign is dreaded by admirals and Planetary Governors alike across the Segmentum Obscurus. Wherever Typhus' flagship appears, it heralds plague, death and misery on a system-wide scale. Even whispers of its coming can cause panicked evacuations from worlds in its path, for wherever Typhus goes, pain and despair blossom in his wake.
Typhus' original name was Calas Typhon, and he hailed from the Death Guard's toxic homeworld of Barbarus. Typhon possessed the blood of the mutant psyker warlords that had ruled the planet before being defeated by Mortarion, the Death Guard's Primarch, who had been exiled to Barbarus through the Warp from Terra by the Dark Gods. As a child upon the toxic planet of Barbarus, Calas Typhon was troubled by nightly phenomena over which he believed he had no control. Objects would shudder and smash around him whenever he was frightened or angered, and plants would wither and die under his gaze. These phantom powers troubled him greatly, but he resolved to turn them to his advantage. By the time Typhon reached maturity, he had learned to master the psychic energies that resonated within him each night; a feat of will that impressed his elders mightily. With this act, Typhon became stronger in his resolve to succeed than any of his peers.
When the Emperor reclaimed His lost son Mortarion from the poisonous mists of Barbarus, and reunited him with the the superhuman warriors born from his gene-seed, Typhon was amongst those chosen to join their ranks. His clan's citadel had been visited by the Apothecaries of Mortarion’s new Space Marine Legion, and during their assessments, Typhon's inner strength had shone through. The esoteric processes by which Typhon became a member of the Death Guard are lost to even his memory, but when he learned that his Legion spurned the use of mental powers, Typhon quickly learned to suppress his psychic potential. His Primarch Mortarion frowned on the use of such arcane tactics, seeing them as a crutch unbecoming of true warriors. Instead, Typhon fell back on the iron will and rugged stamina that had seen him ride out the events of his tumultuous childhood. This, in itself, was a remarkable resource -- Typhon outlasted all others in the toxin-trials and marathon endurance contests staged by his nascent Legion.
Such was his strength of mind and body that Mortarion soon favoured Typhon above all others, elevating him to First Captain of the Death Guard Legion. Such an honour was not lost on the stoic warrior. If Calas Typhon could win such a glorious post without even making use of his hidden abilities, he was truly destined for greatness should circumstances change. As the errant worlds of the galaxy were brought to compliance, Typhon distinguished himself again and again. He became first a knight and then a warrior king who contributed greatly to his Legion's success in the Great Crusade. Typhon's ability to shrug off the baleful effects of hostile war zones and enemy weapons alike became an oft-discussed legend. During the Tribewars of Rothric IX, he lost his weapon and took a mace blow to the side of the head that would have killed a lesser man, but it merely drove Typhon into a cold rage that saw him kill every tribal warrior in the vicinity using only a short iron bar. He selflessly saved the lives of a squad of Sisters of Silence upon Madrighoul by throwing himself on a malfunctioning Krak Grenade and, after less than a week in the Apothecarium, discharged himself for active duty once more. Even the brotherhood of the Deathshroud, the forty-nine handpicked warriors who served as Mortarion's elite Honour Guard, were in awe of Typhon's uncanny fortitude. Though none spoke openly of it, the warriors of the Death Guard obeyed Typhon out of a lingering sense of fear as well as respect.
The Making of a Monster
It was whilst on crusade with the Word Bearers Legion that Typhon learned of a different path for the Legiones Astartes to follow, a future where his hard-won psychic abilities would be a source of greatness instead of a taboo to be hidden from sight. The foremost Chaplain of the Word Bearers, Erebus, inducted Typhon into the secrets of the Seven Pillared Lodge, one of the Warrior Lodges that had begun to spread throughout the Space Marine Legions in the later days of the Great Crusade. It was during this time that Typhon caught a glimpse of what the Space Marines could truly become if they shrugged off the yoke of the Emperor's ambitions.
Perhaps Typhon's revelation was instrumental in Mortarion's own fall to the Ruinous Powers; perhaps Mortarion would have walked a dark path on his own. Either way, the troubled Death Guard Primarch saw a worthy master in Horus, whereas in the Emperor he saw only a self-serving and pompous pretender who had stolen Mortarion's hard-won kingship in a single day. With the Primarch of the XIV Legion and its First Captain united in their hidden rebellion, it did not take long for most of the Death Guard's officers to become infected by mutinous thoughts. The most important exception was the 7th Great Company's Battle-Captain, Nathaniel Garro, whose refusal to allow the honour of his Legion to die out changed the course of the entire Horus Heresy.
Istvaan III Atrocity
The corruption spreading throughout the Legiones Astartes was to come to a head at Istvaan III, where Mortarion ordered those Loyalists in his Legion's ranks to destroy the heretical Warsingers of that planet. While they fought planetside, the corrupted elements of the Death Guard virus-bombed the entire world. As their earthbound brothers' flesh sloughed from bone, Horus ignited the planet's atmosphere in a firestorm that burned thousands of Loyalist Space Marines to ash. Despite the ground offensive launched by the Traitor Legions under the command of the rebel Primarchs, a core of Loyalists still survived. Stationed aboard the frigate Eisenstein, Battle-Captain Garro and a core group of Loyalists had discovered the treachery of the Warmaster before he ordered the Exterminatus. Mortarion hoped to sway Garro, and thus moved to spare him from the cull. Typhon, however, regarded this as a mistake and, whilst following the Primarch's orders to the letter, ensured that Ignatius Grulgor, Garro's rival, to the same ship. Grulgor was easily won to Horus' banner, and would eagerly murder Garro if the Terran captain refused to betray his Emperor. However, the traitors' plot was unmasked, and Grulgor killed in the ensuing struggle. Garro was determined to flee the Istvaan System and make for Terra. Realising something was amiss, First-Captain Typhon, aboard the massive Death Guard Battleship Terminus Est, moved to intercept the small frigate when he had received no word from his usually boisterous subordinate Commander Grulgor. He gave chase as the Eisenstein attempted to evade the guns of his ship. The frigate sustained severe damage from the Terminus Est 's massive gun batteries as it sped past. Garro and a handful of fellow Death Guard Legionaries managed to escape, taking word of the rebellion to Terra.
As the heresy that Horus initiated slowly but surely escalated into galactic war, Mortarion ordered his fleet to head for Terra with all haste, intending for the Death Guard to join the other Traitor Legions in the destruction of the False Emperor. By this point, Typhon served one master alone, and it was not his Primarch. Typhon had seen to it that the fleet's Navigators were killed to a man, but reassured Mortarion that the Warp-gift he possessed would see them through their journey in the Empyrean safe enough. Though he hated the concept of relying on witchery, Mortarion was left with little choice. The Death Guard fleet made transition into the Warp, and in the process damned themselves to an eternity of war as the puppets of a foul and ancient god.
A Legion Reborn
In leading the Death Guard into the Warp, Typhon had delivered them into the clutches of his new master, Nurgle, the Lord of Decay. The strange tides of the Empyrean are notoriously fickle, and during their voyage the entire fleet was becalmed. As their warships lingered, directionless and without hope, the cloying influence of Father Nurgle began to take hold. The Death Guard were subjected to the terrible infection of the Destroyer Plague and Nurgle's Rot, as Nurgle's power managed to infiltrate the vessels of the XIV Legion. It polluted the vessels themselves as easily as it did the warriors within. Before long, fat devil-flies buzzed through the thickening miasma inside each warship. Where they bit at the desperate warriors trapped within, flesh turned to suppurating jelly. The daemon-venom of their stings caused flesh to blossom into hard new growths. Bellies distended and eyes ran like cracked eggs; even Power Armour melded and flowed into strange new shapes. Here, the superhuman resilience of the Death Guard proved their enemy, for they could not simply die. Instead, they were slowly, sickeningly transformed into Plague Marines, their souls claimed by Nurgle in exchange for a permanent release from their pain. Typhon, having orchestrated this grand corruption, was rewarded most of all.
Swelling in size, his skin and armour became one. Great funnels of pestilential bone burst from his body. Into these poured thousands of Nurgle's daemon-flies, gnawing him from the inside out until his rotten shell teemed and heaved with squirming life. Typhon became a great hollow colony of disease-carrying insects. The bone funnels that sprouted from his back coughed black decay as Nurgle's servants regurgitated the psychic energies pulsing through what was left of his herald's body. Typhus, Host of the Destroyer Hive, had been born, most blessed and most cursed of all his repugnant kin.
A New Beginning
Though the heresy of Horus was eventually defeated, the Traitor Legions claimed by the Chaos Gods were changed forever. After the Warmaster's death at the hands of the Emperor, the Traitor Legionaries fled Terra and burned their way across the Segmentum Solar towards the Eye of Terror. They were pursued by those Legions still loyal to the Emperor. As the retributive war known to Imperial scholars as the Great Scouring blazed across the stars, the Traitor Legions made new homes within the trackless reaches of the Eye. Typhus found himself fighting against the most surreal creatures he had ever seen. Wyrms of living crystal were shattered by his great scythed blade, eight-armed minotaurs were reduced to biological sludge by his psychic blasts, and shapely sirens met their end on the mutant horn of bone that had sprouted from his forehead. Just as before, he survived.
Mortarion, by this point a Daemon Prince of Nurgle, eventually claimed a distant Daemon World, known as the Plague Planet, as his demesne. There, he ruled as king of daemons and corrupt Space Marines alike. The Daemon Primarch shaped his Daemon World to resemble Barbarus, his former homeworld. Typhus was sickened by the sentimentality. His loyalty was to Nurgle and Nurgle waxed strong when mortals feared death. By this point, Typhus was an unholy legend in his own right, and was not content with a sedentary existence as his Primarch's right hand. Instead, he marshalled those whose bitter enmity for the Imperium still burned fiercely, forming a Plague Fleet that took to the tides of the Warp once more. At their head flew the Terminus Est, the spear that Typhus intended to plunge deep into the heart of the Imperium. With the blessing of the Father of Plagues, he would deal a festering wound that would never heal.
Typhus the Traveller
Since that day, Typhus has visited a hundred thousand diseases upon the Imperium of Man. The Destroyer Plague is without doubt the most virulent of all, though its vector of daemonic insects means that it is of limited use when infecting entire star systems. Typhus was always an ambitious man, and his tireless search for the perfect plague has led to the destruction of nations, worlds, and even star systems. Typhus has even walked in the Garden of Nurgle itself, in the Realm of Chaos, learning of a great many ways to turn order and structure into chaotic decay. It is whispered that he followed a humanoid emissary composed entirely of his own Destroyer Daemon-flies to the outskirts of the Garden, lulling its sentient fungus with his deep bass voice and bewitching its guardians with tales of entropy and despair visited upon the mortal realm. When the crimson legions of Khorne invaded the Garden and cut down every living thing they could find, it was Typhus who coordinated the Garden's defence, leading the final charge of buzzing Plague Drones and slug-like Beasts at Bubbling Gully.
At the climax of the battle, Typhus overcame the gigantic Daemon Prince that led the Khornate Legions, slowly but surely crippling the dog-headed monstrosity with ever more virulent plagues until he was able to best him in single combat and take his guts as a gift for Nurgle's cauldron. Such was the resultant favour of the Lord of Decay that Typhus was allowed to reach the throne of Nurgle himself, presenting his offering before dipping his battle scythe into the filth that pooled around its base and withdrawing quickly before death finally found him.
Tales such as these spring up wherever Typhus treads, for his ambition is as fierce as ever. As his journeys across the Imperium bring system after system to ruin, Typhus becomes ever more convinced that he is the true son of Nurgle. Mortarion has proved his own lack of worth by failing to wage the Long War against the Imperium; to Typhus, the Primarch was purely the vector by which the Plague Marines were birthed into the universe. By comparison, Typhus has been tireless in his prosecution of his true master's goals. He unleashed Nurgle's Rot upon Carandinis VII and Protheus, turning billions of ailing souls into Plaguebearers that tirelessly catalogued the lesser diseases springing up in Typhus' wake. On Ligeta, he loosed a plague-song that forced the infected to chant a hymn to Nurgle even as they slowly wasted away. He wiped out the entire male population of Florins with the dreaded Red Flux, and engineered the Jonah's World pandemic, reducing a once-proud Shrine World to a global necropolis of rot-filled tombs. Yet the crowning glory of Typhus' achievements is the introduction of the Zombie Plague into the Segmentum Obscurus. With this terrible new curse, Typhus has fused the cycles of life and death together, an act that has pleased his master greatly.
The Zombie Plague is a Warp-disease, and it can only infect those who have no hope or faith in their hearts. In the uncaring grind of Imperial life, the vast majority of the populace can be counted amongst that number. The unfortunate victims of this horrendous malady rot from the inside out, coughing themselves to death over a long, painful period. That is merely the beginning of their suffering. Those that fall do not stay dead -- their bodies are reanimated by the uncanny power of the arcane infection, and they lurch after the living, desperate to gnaw upon warm, supple flesh. Even a single bite can transfer the infection to a new host, and so the process begins anew.
When he is not reaping a bloody harvest for Nurgle with his Manreaper on the field of battle, Typhus sits immobile on the Terminus Est 's command throne, his mind fusing with the mighty voidship's senses to search for its next destination amongst the eddies and currents of the Warp. His ceaseless travels to find yet more places to spread Nurgle's blessings have earned him the half-reverent, half-mocking title of "The Traveller" amongst the other servants of the Ruinous Powers.
The Terminus Est
The Terminus Est is arguably the most powerful warship in the Plague Fleets of the Death Guard. It is a befouled abomination, a swathe of Nurgle's realm given license to sail the stars and bring contagion and misery to all in its path.
Originally, the Terminus Est was a powerful assault carrier that dated back to the era of the Great Crusade, or -- some whispered -- even earlier. It was one of the most powerful warships in the arsenal of the pre-Heresy Death Guard Legion, and it was the voidcraft that destroyed the Raven Guard flagship Shadow of the Emperor during the betrayal on Istvaan V. When Nurgle placed his mark upon the Death Guard, so too did he bless their warships and vehicles with his foul gifts. Thus, this once proud warship is now a seething abomination, a diseased leviathan encrusted with filth and twisted beyond recognition by biomechanical growths and pustulant buboes. A miasma of filth and plague flies spills from its innards to pollute the void around it, and it is said that the very sight of the Terminus Est is enough to cause mortals to sicken and die.
Typhus is a formidable psyker who has been favoured by Nurgle, and is able to call forth both Nurgle's Rot and the Wind of Chaos psychic powers. In addition to his formidable psychic abilities he also employs an array of malefic weapons and wargear, gifted to him by the Lord of Decay. These include:
- Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour - Typhus wears an ancient suit of Cataphractii Terminator Armour which encloses his corpulent, Nurgle-blessed body. This archaic battle-plate dates back to the time of the Horus Heresy.
- Manreaper - Manreaper is a daemonic Power Scythe. It is said that even the smell of the pitted scythe can lay a mortal man low for weeks. Though Typhus has never confirmed the rumours that he dipped his weapon in Nurgle's own brew of filth, any mortal being that is touched by its blade quickly collapses into a pile of festering bone.
- Hand Flamer - As Calas Typhon, Typhus often utilised a Hand Flamer with Chem-munitions in conjunction with his Master-crafted Deathshroud Power Scythe.
- The Destroyer Hive - Typhus' mighty Terminator Armour has become as much a part of him as the daemonic insects that thrive inside. Fused chimneys of bone sprout from his torso, and in the thick of battle, these tubes will belch out great clouds of daemonic flies. Each buzzes into the cracks and gaps they find in the armour of Typhus' opponents, stinging their victims with daemon-poison until there is nothing left but a pile of plague-riddled corpses.
- Daemon Flies - The grotesque daemonic flies that infest the Destroyer Hive are truly disgusting creatures, though in the eyes of Typhus, and of Father Nurgle himself, each is a diminuitive angel of decay just waiting to pass on the blessings of rot and entropy to all they touch.
- Blight Grenades - The Death Guard's Plague Marines long ago perfected the grisly practice of using their enemies' decapitated heads as crude grenades. Hacked from the neck, filled with maggot-laden toxic goop and sealed with wax, these projectiles burst apart on impact to spray liquid disease and biting, stinging flies in all directions.
- Wind of Chaos - Typhus is a Death Guard Sorcerer who can call forth the corruption from within his soul, unleashing waves of psychic energy that are subtly different for each Sorcerer: a sheet of iridescent Warp fire for the followers of Tzeentch, a golden cloud of rapturous agony or a rain of hypnotic light for the worshipers of Slaanesh, a stream of bilious filth for those devoted to Nurgle like Typhus.
- Nuncio Vox
- Rad Grenades - Rad Grenades detonate in a shower of tiny, radioactively-contaminated fragments. Each particle's radioactive emissions have a millisecond half-life, ensuring that the user can charge in without exposing himself to radiological contamination. Nevertheless, those foes caught in the initial blast will feel the Rad Grenade's debilitating influence for some time afterwards, and may be permanently affected by long-term radiation sickness.
- Codex Heretic Astartes - Death Guard (8th Edition), pp. 29, 71
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 61
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 55
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 53
- Index Chaotica: Terminus Est (Digital Edition)
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 228-229
- Warhammer 40,000: Warlords of the Dark Millennium - Typhus, pp. 3, 5-11, 13-16, 22-29
- White Dwarf 282 (UK), "Heroes & Villains of the 41st Millennium - Typhus the Traveller"
- The Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow
- The Primarchs (Anthology), "The Lion," by Gav Thorpe
- Cadian Blood (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Forge World - Calas Typhon, First Captain of the Death Guard Legion