- "Unless you are capable of enduring whatever hurt your foe can inflict, there will come a time when you will fail, and by failing you will have made useless the sacrifice of millions. We are the Salamanders and we will endure, for no sacrifice made in the name of this great empire we seek to build shall be made in vain."
Xiaphas Jurr, known as "The Prophet of Fire", was a member of the Salamanders Legion during the latter years of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. He served as a member of the Igniax, the formation that preceded the Reclusiam inside the Salamanders Legion. He was trained as a Chaplain by the great Nomus Rhy'tan himself. The Keeper of Nocturne charged Xiaphas with the important task of going to Istvaan V to investigate and determine the fate of their lost Primarch Vulkan. After visiting the war-scoured ruins of Istvaan V, he left that benighted world with his faith renewed. A strange power had taken root in the once benign rituals he practised. Where once he sought desperately for answers, now his prophesies held the power to define the future; it was this power that would ultimately lead Xiaphas Jurr and his Disciples of the Flames down a dark path to an end long since hidden within the Salamander's sealed vaults.
Taken as a tithe from the scaver tribes of ancient Proximal -- the same fierce Feral Worlders that had once dubbed the Salamanders as Devils from the Outer Dark when the XVIII Legion had brought their world to Imperial Compliance -- Xiaphas Jurr was raised to the ranks of the Igniax and trained as a Chaplain in the final years before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, never seeing battle as part of the Emperor's Crusade. Reckoned amongst the most promising of the officer-recruits who remained on Nocturne in the wake of the muster in the Istvaan System, he was later chosen by the Keeper of Nocturne, Nomus Rhy'tan, to lead the mission to investigate the Primarch's fate. Carrying the rank of Chaplain-Lieutenant, Jurr was awarded the command of the brand new Ebon Drake -- a revolutionary design said to have had its plans laid down by Vulkan himself. The Ebon Drake would be crewed by a full company of those Neophytes recently promoted to the rank of Legionaries, Chaplain Nomus Rhy'tan going to great lengths to assure that every Realm of Nocturne and even all the off-world domains of the XVIII Legion were represented amongst the Ebon Drake’s crew. Additionally, Rhy'tan assigned a core of thirty Veterans of the Legion's Firedrakes to further augment the company's strength.
Given to superstition and obscure ritual, as were many among the tribes of Proximal, whose unpredictable, rad-scoured surface had little pity for those that lived upon it, Xiaphas Jurr accepted his mission with much zeal, seeing it as the first step towards a grand destiny. It was this fervour, verging as it did on religious fanaticism, which drew the men of the Nocturne garrison to him, dispirited as they were in the wake of dire rumours of the fighting at Istvaan V, and bound them to him in the dark odyssey that was to follow. Xiaphas Jurr proved a capable commander, leading the Ebon Drake in a number of naval battles, planetary invasions and defensive actions. Most tellingly, he put the largely inexperienced crew of the Ebon Drake under a punishing regime of combat drills the moment their vessel left Nocturne. Through the rising tumult in the Warp, the Ebon Drake’s journey took solar months to complete, forced as they were to take a circuitous route and to conduct only brief Warp-jumps as to not lose their bearings. After many clashes with the enemy, the Ebon Drake finally reached the bleak system of Istvaan only to witness the desolation left by the Warmaster Horus' betrayal.
The sight of the silent, lifeless and brutalised orb of Istvaan V was almost enough to extinguish the last embers of hope in the hearts of the company. Yet they had to be sure, and after many solar hours of hesitation, the Ebon Drake launched dropcraft to investigate the planet's surface. Heavily-armed search-parties landed on the world, wary of an ambush, and roaming the dust plains, deep canyons and debris fields almost at random. For three solar days the search continued, the Ebon Drake’s sensors sweeping the surface in endless cycles of search-configurations, but they only reported ruins, wrecks and the silent corpses of the dead. Of the three missing Primarchs, Ferrus Manus,Corvus Corax and their own lord Vulkan, they found no trace at all, neither dead nor alive. For these three days, Xiaphas Jurr busied himself casting augury after augury by using the ritual of Drakken-Asca, until on the third day his feverish half-dreams directed the search parties to a part of the now glass plain that had once been the Urgall Depression. The glass plain marked the location where the Traitors had resorted to the use of atomic weaponry to complete the massacre, and beneath it the Ebon Drake’s sensors finally detected a sizeable object of unknown composition which was broadcasting an almost undetectable signal on an exotic wavelength known to have been used by certain strata of the Salamanders' command echelons.
Using their bare hands and Combat Blades to dig the black sands of Istvaan, the Salamanders and their allies rejoiced as they unearthed the unmistakable form of a Legion Mark IV Dreadnought, its ornate yet blackened and scoured sarcophagus still proclaiming the machine's identity: Cassian Vaughn, the Dracos Revenant and former Master of the XVIII Legion. With trembling hands, Jurr connected the sarcophagus to an external Vox unit and the haunting, hypnotic voice of a man twice dead rumbled forth over the assembled warriors of the Ebon Drake's company:
"You come seeking our father, but he is not here.
I searched for him on the field of battle until they struck me down with a sword of flame that scorched the very heavens, and yet I did not die.
I searched for him in the endless vaults of the dead where the crushing blackness tore at my very soul, and yet I endured. I was tested once again through the crucible, and I tell you this:
Vulkan does not walk among the dead!"
The return of Cassian Dracos had a dramatic effect on everyone on board the Ebon Drake and particularly amongst the Salamanders, who developed their own idiosyncrasies and became increasingly known as the Disciples of the Flame, with Xiaphas Jurr as their self-proclaimed "Prophet of Fire". Seemingly overnight, command passed from Jurr to Vaughn, and none questioned it. Having apparently found a figure worthy of his religious zeal, Jurr began the redaction of what would later become known as The Prophecies of the Flame, compiling Cassian Vaughn's words and prophecies from the Ebon Drake's own Vox systems and the personal logs of many of its crew. From this instance, Jurr would act as loyal lieutenant to Vaughn, leading the Disciples of the Flame in the defence of the beleaguered Forge World of Mezoa, and even facing Autilon Skorr, a notoriously ambitious and ruthless Consul-Legatus of the Alpha Legion, during the Third Siege of Mezoa, breaking the Traitor's arm before he could make good his escape.
As with everything touching the ultimate fate of the Disciple of the Flames, Xiaphas Jurr's destiny remains a mystery. During the Great Scouring, Jurr's magna opus -- The Prophecies of the Flame -- was deemed both highly seditious and of extreme moral danger, and what few copies remained have been sealed away deep in the libraries of Terra, only to be consulted under the highest of authorities; whilst the Salamanders Chapter has always refused to shed any light on the matter.
- Artificer Armour
- The Burning Halo - Bestowed upon Xiaphas Jurr by Nomas Rhy'tan, the Seneschal of Nocturne, upon the departure of his mission to Istvaan V, the Burning Halo is a force field projector created by Vulkan himself. More intricately wrought than the devices of lesser artificers, the Burning Halo projects a powerful defensive barrier against harm, and when struck converts kinetic energy into an explosion of searing flame, directed back at the attacker.
- Bolt Pistol
- Master-Crafted Power Maul
- Dragonscale Storm Shield
- Frag & Krak Grenades
- The Horus Heresy - Book Six: Retribution by Alan Bligh, pp. 34-53, 255