Urlock Gaur was the Gaur of the Blood Pact and the Archon or Overlord of the Forces of Chaos within the Sabbat Worlds Sector following the death of his predecessor Archon Nadzybar in 765.M41 during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade at the hands of the Imperial Warmaster Slaydo.
The Imperial Sabbat Worlds Crusade had achieved a decisive victory on the world of Balhaut and was ready to move forward with their plans to push into the Cabal Systems in 770.M41. Unfortunately, the rise of this new Chaotic Overlord coincided with the Crusade's advance into this volatile region of space. Initially, the Imperial forces had achieved several victories in 770.M41, but by 771.M41 the entire Imperial offensive into the Cabal Systems came to a halt as the Crusade encountered not only stiff resistance, but hostile counter-strikes from Chaotic forces. Despite the death of their leader, and the dynastic infighting that followed, it was inevitable that the Chaotic host would eventually select a new Archon from amongst the Paters and Magisters surviving the carnage on Balhaut. At Balhaut, the Crusade had destroyed Nadzybar, who had been the Archon of the Chaos host. Broken in retreat, the archenemy forces had been riven by a succession struggle as Chaos factions warred to elect a new Archon. Evidently, this internecine warfare between the tribal septs and clans may have contributed greatly to the lack of unified resistance encountered by the Crusade as it advanced into the Cabal Systems. Many worlds encountered by the Crusade were discovered to be littered with the aftermath of great battles in which no Imperial had taken part.
Many of the notorious warlords of the Chaotic forces known as Magisters had been in contention to become the new Archon, including Nokad the Blighted, Sholen Skara, Qux of the Eyeless, Heritor Asphodel, and Enok Innokenti. Rumour had it that more of the Chaotic forces troops were killed in an internecine war of succession than had been lost to the Crusade armada. Of all the contenders, Nokad had the charisma, Asphodel the temperament, and Qux the sheer weight of loyal servants. But Anakwanar Sek should have been the obvious choice. No other Magister was quite so brilliant a battlefield tactician. Sek’s command of tactics and his capacity to inspire his troops was peerless. But Urlock Gaur ("Gaur" being his rank as Master of the Blood Pact), an obscure warlord from the fringes of the Sabbat Worlds, became the new Archon, simply because he possessed the one thing that all the other Magisters lacked, even Sek. The other Magisters commanded vast legions of zealous cultists and insane Chaos worshippers. But Urlock Gaur commanded a refined, trained and disciplined military host known as the Blood Pact. They were sworn to him, utterly loyal, their bodies ritually scarred by the serrated edges of Gaur’s own armour. They had discipline, armour, tactical ability and great combat skill. They were, in fact, an army, not a gibbering host of fanatics like most of the other Chaos warbands in the Sabbat Worlds. The Blood Pact's troops could meet with and defeat the Imperial Guard on its own terms.
As Archon, Gaur injected a new motivation into the Archenemy's forces. Gifted in the application of military strategy, Gaur was able to centralise his tactics and properly orchestrate his forces' efforts against the encroaching Crusade forces. The new Archon proved to be a formidable opponent, as he was robust and savage, and unimaginatively brutal in his tactics and approach to warfare. The impetus of Archon Gaur's strength was the Blood Pact, whose tactical methodology was ultimately modelled on that of the Imperial Guard itself. Myths spoke of the rise of the Blood Pact order on an outworld called Ghourra or Gaurra in the Sanguiniary Worlds on the edge of the disputed Sabbat territories many thousands of Terran years before. The dynastic, tribal society of Ghourra was ruled by a feudal overlord, or Gaur (alternatively referred to as a "Ghour" or "Gour"). The Gaur was surrounded by an elite cadre of warrior-priests, who conducted the ritual observances while the Gaur made bloody tributes to his daemon-god. This warrior priesthood evolved over time into the Gaur's personal bodyguard, practising its martial skills as strictly and diligently as it had conducted its necromantic rites. As the Gaur's strength grew, so too did his influence, which soon spread to neighbouring worlds. It was this elite force which spearheaded his conquering armies in the Sabbat Worlds Sector. It soon became a mark of respect for a warrior to be "bloody pacted" to the ruling Gaur. The ranks of the Gaur's elite personal guard soon swelled with recruits from Ghourra's vassal worlds, becoming an army in its own right. In this way was the Blood Pact originally spawned.
The first notice of Urlock Gaur by Imperial forces came when he led a series of lightning raids along the coreward fringe of the Khan Group in the middle of 771.M41. Within the Cabal System itself, more strenuous resistance was encountered from the Archenemy defenders, along with the first reports of the emerging forces of the Blood Pact. A more profound Chaotic attack took place less than a month later. The Imperial forces initially believed that the forces of the enemy were being led by a particularly militant Magister, but it soon became painfully clear that they were dealing with someone who was far more dangerous and deadly. This unidentified leader had the ability to call upon vast reserves of Archenemy troops, and mobilise other, potent Magisters under his command. There was no doubt by 772.M41 that Urlock Gaur was the new Archon of the Forces of Chaos in the Sabbat Worlds. Within a drastically short period, three key dangers had manifested, haunting Macaroth's carefully laid plans: a new Archon had risen to unify the enemy, he had mounted a wounding counter-strike against the Crusade battlefleet's flank, and that overstretched flank was now woefully exposed. Macaroth's overreaching push had left the Sabbat Worlds Crusade painfully vulnerable on three sides, which the new Archon attempted to exploit to the fullest.
Warmaster Macaroth quickly redeployed a significant portion of his own troops to protect his force's vulnerable flanks in a last ditch effort to reopen Imperial supply lines. Between the end of 771.M41 and the middle part of 772.M41, Imperial commanders conducted multiple desperate, ad hoc operations to secure a myriad of target worlds in an effort to keep the Crusade from grinding to a halt. Only at the world of Ariadne did any of these attempts fail. As these worlds were reconquered, Macaroth attempted to renew his forward thrust into the Cabal Systems. The Archon had withdrawn into the Carcaradon Cluster to the Fortress World of Morlond to mass his forces for a large-scale counter-attack. The Warmaster wanted to desperately break past Morlond to confront Gaur directly but knew that he was still obligated to defend the Cabal Salient. The Archon left his most capable Magisters in charge of his forces to continue prosecuting their attack on the Crusade's coreward flank. These vile lieutenants included the likes of Anakwanar Sek, Shebol Red-Hand and Enok Innokenti.
Urlock Gaur would go on to stubbornly resist the Imperial Crusade's push into the Cabal Systems, proving to be a constant thorn in Macaroth's side. The campaign on the world of Herodor was an important turning point for the fortunes of the Crusade. Herodor was of no great tactical significance, yet one of Archon Gaur's lieutenants, the Magister Enok Innokenti, chose to lead the assault there personally, perhaps in an effort to prevent the miracle that was to occur. Herodor's only claim to fame was that it was one of the "Holy Worlds" originally visited by Saint Sabbat during her original Crusade to claim the region for the Emperor millennia earlier.
Commanded by Lord General Lugo, an Imperial Guard force supported by the local troops of the Herodor Planetary Defence Force occupied the sacred balneary shrine and religious centre of the principle city of Civitas Beati in order to defend it from attack. Information in regards to what occurred during the attack remains unclear with the exception of the early stages of the assault. A young raven-haired woman emerged from the Imperial citizenry claiming to be the reincarnation of Saint Sabbat. The validity of this claim was called into question by Lugo's later detractors as some claimed she was merely an actress selected to play the part by Lugo in order to boost Imperial morale. Whatever her mysterious origins, this unidentified girl took on the mantle of the saint, and for all intents and purposes became the beloved Saint Sabbat to the people and defenders of Herodor.
Exhibiting powers and abilities beyond the ken of average mortals, this Living Saint inspired the Imperial forces, stirring their resolve with her holy presence. The beloved Saint Sabbat had been reborn on Herodor close to the end of 773.M41, to the eternal glory of the Emperor of Mankind. Some suggest that through some arcane means, Innokenti had foreseen this and may have attempted to prevent it from occurring with his assault upon the world.
The Imperial forces rallied around the Living Saint, engaging Innokenti's foul host at the Civitas Beati. A vicious battle ensued as the Saint and her army routed the Archenemy forces and slew the wicked Magister. This coincided with the Warmaster Macaroth's own victory in late 773.M41 which had led to the Imperial capture of Morlond. This enabled Macaroth to deploy part of his forces in support of the Khan Group's beleaguered second front. Had Innokenti not been halted by the fight on Herodor, his advance would have most likely pushed forwards and eventually have finished the job of fatally decapitating the Sabbat Worlds Crusade's line of advance. The timing of the victory on Herodor could not have been more perfect.
The forces of the Archenemy faltered following this loss, their morale shattered and their spirit broken. The Magisters had ultimately failed as the calamitous effect of their defeats spoiled their carefully strategised manoeuvre. Soon the news of the rebirth of Saint Sabbat spread amongst the ranks of the Crusade, inspiring their impetus to drive forwards and defeat the remainder of the Archon's minions. Only the forces of Magister Sek managed to maintain any type of solid cohesion in the face of these Imperial victories. The newly established Second Front soon began its thrust to protect the vulnerable flanks of the Crusade's advance. As of 775.M41, an Imperial victory within the Sabbat Worlds Sector appeared to be inevitable.
- Sabbat Worlds Crusade (Background Book) by Dan Abnett
- White Dwarf Magazine 293 (UK), "Index Malleus - The Blood Pact," by Dan Abnett, pg. 96-97
- Traitor General (Novel) by Dan Abnett