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The History of the Traitor Legions

Submitted By: Date: August 22, 2004, 04:59:48 PM Views: 2699

Following is a brief summary of the histories of the Traitor Legions.

Emperor’s Children
Primarch- Fulgrim
Homeworld- Chemos
First Founding Legion# 3

The Emperor’s Children were initially a very small Legion, due to an accident that cost them most of their geneseed. Without Fulgrim, they were unable to build their ranks to the numbers of the other legions, so when their Primarch was finally found, they were first assigned to join Horus on one of his crusades. Fulgrim and his Legion were obsessed by the idea of perfection- they believed that the Emperor would lead all of humanity to ultimate perfection, and that it was their duty to help by destroying all who stood in the way. However, their loyalty to the Emperor, while intense and dedicated, was strictly codified. They believed that the Emperor’s perfection was first embodied in the Primarchs, then their officers, etc… This meant that the Legion could easily turned if Fulgrim and his officers were corrupted. Horus was aware of that fact, and used it to his advantage. The Emperor’s Children were the first to arrive at Istvaan V to face Horus, but Fulgrim first attempted to talk his brother Primarch out of rebellion. However, Horus used Fulgrim’s respect for him to lure the other Primarch away from the Emperor. Fulgrim grew to believe that the Emperor was holding humanity back from the perfection that it was capable of, and vowed himself to Slaanesh when the Chaos God promised him perfection in all things. He returned with his Lord Commanders and spread the worship of Slaanesh to his Marines. The Emperor’s Children journeyed with Horus to Terra, but rather than helping in the siege of the Imperial Palace, they instead massacred roughly 4 times their number of innocent humans, believing they were setting them free from the oppression of the False Emperor. They fled with the other Traitor Legions to the Eye of Terror after Horus’s death, but later fell to fighting with the other Legions when they began stealing their slaves to utilize in their worship of Slaanesh. The resulting wars led to the dismantling of the Emperor’s Children and the disappearance of Fulgrim. Although many maintain he was killed in the war, no traces of him were found and many believe he became a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh and rules a world of pleasure somewhere in the Eye of Terror. The Emperor’s Children were never able to pull together and now fight as various separate warbands or as parts of a larger force.

Iron Warriors
Primarch- Perturabo
Homeworld- Olympia
First Founding Legion# 4

The Iron Warriors and their Primarch, Perturabo, are masters of all kinds of siege craft. However, their specialization was an unfortunate one as siege warfare is the most brutal kind of all. Also, the Warriors were never shown very much respect or friendship from the other Space Marine Legions, and Perturabo was kept at a distance by his fellow Primarchs- why is uncertain, but it could have been because of his engineering and technical genius, which was far superior to any of the others. Due to their specialization, the Iron Warriors were kept in action throughout most of the Great Crusade, and were rarely, if ever, given a chance to reorganize. The brutalizing nature of their chosen specialty, which consisted of long, grueling work in the siege trenches followed by bitter, ferocious fighting, began to take its toll on the humanity of the Iron Warriors, and campaign after campaign saw them become more wanton and merciless, preferring to slaughter their besieged opponents rather than accept surrender. Also, resentment began to build in the Legion and Perturabo himself as contingents of Iron Warriors were sent off to garrison fortresses, separating the Legion and giving those assigned to do so the role of ‘guards’, not warriors or heroes of the Imperium. This bitterness reached the breaking point when Horus broke the news to Perturabo that the Iron Warriors’ homeworld of Olympia was in revolt. The idea that they were the only Legion unable to hold their own world was horrifying to Perturabo, and he immediately returned and mercilessly put down the rebellion, killing over 4 million civilians in the brutal, but short war. However, Perturabo and his men came to their senses afterwards, realizing with horror that the Emperor would never forgive their crimes. They were not given much time to think about it, though, as news came that Horus and his Traitor Legions were in revolt. The Warriors were ordered to join 6 other Legions and put down the rebellion with force, if necessary. Instead of obeying, however, the Warriors chose to join the rebellion, helping the Night Lords, Word Bearers, and Alpha Legion destroy the other 3 Legions in the task force that remained loyal. Afterwards, the Warriors split into two main groups: one that conquered and fortified a small empire around Olympia, and one that accompanied Perturabo to Terra to aid in the siege of the Imperial Palace. They were foiled in both, however, as the Emperor defeated Horus before they could finish breaching the innermost areas of the Palace and their empire was dismantled by the Imperial Fists (who are the Iron Warriors’ archenemies, due to a feud between their Primarchs) and the Ultramarines, albeit with a great loss of life for the loyalists. The remainder retreated to the Eye of Terror with Perturabo, who was later elevated to the role of Daemon Prince. From their new homeworld of Medrengard, they continue their strikes against the Imperium and anyone else whom they wish to fight, and are often called upon to use their expertise in breaching the Imperium’s defenses.

Night Lords
Primarch- Konrad Curze, a.k.a. Night Haunter
Homeworld- Nostramo
First Founding Legion# 8

The Night Lords’ homeworld of Nostramo was a world of eternal darkness, a perpetual nighttime without daylight. This darkness led to the world falling under the control of various crime lords, who ruled the streets with an iron fist. The Primarch of the Night Lords, Konrad Curze, decided to rebel and destroy the criminal syndicates that oppressed his home. Taking on the name ‘Night Haunter’ to strike fear into his foes, the Primarch waged a one-man guerilla war against the syndicates, fighting with ruthless, terrorist tactics. He eventually prevailed and took control, naming himself the ruler and acting as judge, jury and executioner, severely punishing anyone who broke his laws. He held on to his way of fighting when he was granted command of the Space Marine Legion bearing his geneseed, leading his Night Lords in vicious nighttime raids and wantonly killing anyone who happened to get in the way. The Night Lords soon received such a reputation for massacre and savagery that the Emperor himself recalled Night Haunter to Terra to answer for his crimes. There was compelling evidence that he was planning to disband the Legion before the Horus Heresy broke out. Night Haunter and his Marines were ordered to help in defeating the traitor forces, but Curze took the opportunity to abandon the side of the Emperor, who he was beginning to consider a weakling, and join with Horus, helping in the massacre of loyal Space Marines at Istvaan and moving on in a campaign of terror and genocide that has rarely, if ever been equaled at all. They retreated from Terra with the death of Horus and returned to their world, deep within the area of wilderness known as the Eastern Fringes. From there they continued attacking Imperial worlds, although with less and less planning or tactical motivation as the attacks went on, leaving little doubt as to their simple motive of murder and death. The Imperial assassin M’Shen was able to infiltrate their base and kill Night Haunter, throwing the Night Lords into disarray and ending the organized threat they posed to the Imperium. The remainders of the Legion made their way to the Eye of Terror, where they remain to this day. The contemporary Night Lords do not worship the Gods of Chaos but rather fight simply for the enjoyment of battle and the material rewards victory brought. Many became pirates or mercenaries. Their materialistic attitude caused the development of an attitude of contempt towards their more faithful brethren, be they zealous loyal Space Marines like the Dark Angels or fanatical Chaos Space Marines like Khorne Berzerkers.

World Eaters
Primarch: Angron
Homeworld: No record
First Founding Legion# 12

The World Eaters were the most vicious assault troops of the entire Great Crusade, fighting at the forefront of all the greatest campaigns. Their savagery and bloodthirsty attitude was tempered by their commitment to the Emperor and to humanity, but even these were not enough to prevent the World Eaters from falling into the thrall of Chaos. They were censured for the practice of utilizing psycho-surgery on new recruits to turn them into vicious, insane madmen, but even this did not curb their violent nature or the brutal way that they fought. Their Legion rituals of worship and pre-and after- battle rituals were bloody in the extreme, and allowed Khorne to slowly make his way into the Legion, which was not difficult because of their aggressiveness. When Horus declared his rebellion, the World Eaters eagerly joined his cause, hoping for a chance for bloody combat. They received their wish and fought in every one of the major battles of the Heresy, and their records show that it was they, and not the Sons of Horus, who first breached the walls of the Imperial Palace. After Horus’ death, they retreated only grudgingly from Terra and proceeded to carve a way to the Eye of Terror, where they made their new residence. However, the Legion was split up due to two major incidents: the first was at the Daemon world of Skalathrax, where they fought against the Emperor’s Children for possession of the planet. The World Eaters finally pushed the enemy back to their final citadel, and sensing victory at hand, the Khornate Marines attacked until only a few pockets of enemy resistance remained. Here the attack was halted when darkness fell, but Kharn the Betrayer, one of the most famous and bloodthirsty of Khorne’s champions, cursed his brethren for trying to find shelter from the cold night while their enemies still lived. He burned the city and slaughtered all that he found there, friend or foe. The World Eaters were scattered without leadership, especially when their Daemon Primarch Angron was defeated and banished to the Warp by a company of Gray Knights during the Second War for Armageddon. These events left the World Eaters shattered into small warbands and separate companies, all of which continue to fight on heedlessly of their separation, seeking to add to the glory of Khorne.

Death Guard
Primarch: Mortarion
Homeworld: Barbarus
First Founding Legion# 14

The Death Guard and their Primarch Mortarion joined the forces of Warmaster Horus upon the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, but were marooned in the Warp. While they were caught, a mysterious plague swept from ship to ship, infecting the Space Marines and causing them to bloat and sprout boils and pustules. Eventually, Mortarion himself was infected and in delirium caused by his sickness, he called upon the Gods of Chaos to aid them. Nurgle heeded his plea and the Death Guard became his Plague Marines. They arrived in time to aid in the siege of the Imperial Palace on Terra, but retreated with the rest of the Traitor Legions when Horus was slain by the Emperor. After arriving in the Eye of Terror, Mortarion was elevated to the ran of Daemon Prince by Nurgle. He now rules over a Plague world that serves as a base for the Death Guard for their attacks on the Imperium.

Thousand Sons
Primarch: Magnus the Red
Homeworld: Prospero
First Founding Legion# 15

The path to damnation for the Thousand Sons was longer than most. Their Primarch, Magnus the Red was a gigantic man with fiery red hair and one large eye. His Legion first numbered only 1000 members, hence his giving them the name the Thousand Sons. Although they stayed loyal to the Emperor, the Thousand Sons showed a keen interest in the occult, namely arcane sorcery and forbidden lore. The Emperor warned them to stay away from anything related to Chaos, but they continued on anyway, searching for more power. At the start of the Horus Heresy, the Sons first tried to warn the Emperor with their sorcery. However, the Emperor was mistrustful of anything tinged by Chaos and ordered the Space Wolves of Leman Russ to lay waste on the Thousand Sons’ home planet of Prospero. After being driven from the planet, the Thousand Sons fled into the Eye of Terror, where they sought out the patronage of Tzeentch, the greatest wielder of magic among the Chaos Gods. Tzeentch accepted their service and favored them well, and the Thousand Sons settled down on a world known as the Planet of the Sorcerers, where Magnus, who became a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch, kept watch over his Legion from a massive tower mounted with a living eye. However, things did not go well for the Legion, as Tzeentch’s corrupting power of change began to mutate the Space Marines, twisting them into things inhuman. The Sorcerers became increasingly disturbed by the corruption of their brethren until they gathered under the leadership of Ahriman, the former Chief Librarian of the Thousand Sons in casting a powerful, dire spell known as the Rubric of Ahriman upon the mutated Marines. The spell reduced their physical bodies to dust that was sealed into their armor, creating the robotic Thousand Sons Marines seen today. The damage was already done, but Magnus was furious at Ahriman’s interfering and usurping of power and banished him and all the other members of his cabal into the Warp, dividing the Thousand Sons Legion for what appears to be eternity.

Lunar Wolves/ Sons of Horus/ Black Legion
Primarch: Horus
Homeworld: Cthonia
First Founding Legion# 16

The Lunar Wolves are the only Traitor Legion to have ever changed their name in ten thousand years of exile. They were led by the greatest of the Emperor’s Primarchs, the brilliant and powerful Warmaster Horus. Horus was by far the greatest leader of the Imperial armies except perhaps for the Emperor himself, and his Marines possessed a fanatical loyalty to him- even more than their loyalty to the Emperor. In reward for Horus’ achievements during the Crusade, the Emperor changed the name of his Legion to the Sons of Horus, and it was under this name that the Legion joined Horus in his rebellion. They served as his bodyguards and elite troops throughout the campaign, and it was they who first began the rout at the Imperial Palace by retreating into Warp space with the body of their beloved Warmaster, leaving his legions leaderless below. Many scholars theorized that if the Sons had not fled, the Imperial Palace’s defenses could still be overwhelmed. After entering the Eye of Terror, the Sons attempted to reestablish themselves as the prime Legion- with disastrous consequences. Their fortresses were overwhelmed one by one until their final stronghold, the place where they stored Horus’ body, was overrun and destroyed by a combined force of the other Traitor Legions. The Warmaster’s body was removed and cloned, much to the disgust of the remaining Sons. Lacking a leader, they pledged their allegiance to Abaddon the Despoiler, Captain of the First Company and rumored clone-son of Horus himself. Abaddon ordered the Sons to paint their armor black and renamed them the Black Legion- why is unknown, although some suggest that it is because they failed Horus, while others say that Abaddon was contemptuous of the fallen Warmaster. The Black Legion attacked and destroyed the facility where the clones of Horus were kept, and then retreated into the Warp. The Black Legion now fights from Abaddon’s battle barge, having lost all their planets. From there they launch attacks against the Imperium and raids upon other Chaos worlds in the Eye of Terror.

Word Bearers
Primarch: Lorgar
Homeworld: Colchis
First Founding Legion# 17

The Word Bearers were quite possibly the most devout of the original Space Marine Legions. They had an intense, fanatical zeal that was unrivalled among the other Legions. In fact, they were so religious that their Primarch, Lorgar, spent more time spreading the Imperial Cult to conquered worlds than fighting in the Crusade. It was his belief that he would gain favor over the other Primarchs by spreading the worship of the Emperor. He was rudely awakened from his dreams when the Emperor instead reprimanded him for preaching instead of fighting, as the Space Marines were meant to do. Angry and resentful, Lorgar’s respect and devotion to the Emperor waned greatly. He believed the Ruler of Mankind was foolish to ignore the power and guidance of religion. To fill the gap in his ideology, he turned to worship of the Chaos Gods, spreading it to his Legion as well. It is believed that Lorgar worshipped the Gods of Chaos before Horus was ever possessed. At any rate, he joined Horus’ rebellion and then retreated with the rest of the Legions to the Eye of Terror when it failed. The Word Bearers are now the most fanatical Legion among the Chaos Space Marines, and they are the only Legion that still has Chaplains, or Dark Apostates, who enforce upon their brethren strict regimes of worship and sacrifice to the Chaos Gods. Word Bearer armies are quite diverse, as they utilize and join forces with worshippers of all the Chaos Gods.

Alpha Legion
Primarch: Alpharius
Homeworld: No record
First Founding Legion# 20

The Alpha Legion was the last of the Space Marine Legions created in the First Founding, and despite this, or perhaps because of it, they sought to outshine the others in all things, perhaps to prove that they belonged with the older legions. Their fierce martial pride led to clashes with other Legions, notably the Imperial Fists. They were also noted for excellent discipline born from rigorous training, a sign of how hard they pushed themselves to excel in battle. Their martial pride was a weakness that immediately led to their joining with Horus in rebellion, where they delighted in battling their brother Space Marines, possibly with the goal of  proving that they were superior. Even with their retreat to the Eye of Terror, the Alpha Legion continue to raid and harass the Imperium whenever possible, launching attacks on small outposts and fleets, as well as directing rebellion and cultist insurgency in several areas. The Alpha Legion has the best connections to Chaos Cultists of all the Traitor Legions.

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