The tide of the battle in the tunnels began to swing again when Space Wolves reinforcements including Wulfen arrived while Celestine and her twin guardians assailed Abaddon directly. It was then that the pylons began to activate, Trazyn and Cawl’s modifications had been successful. The activation caused Celestine and the Legion of the Damned to become de-powered, Daemons and Psykers combatants to lose their power , and causing the Immaterium to recede, even shrinking the Eye of Terror itself. Soon only those without Warp-modification are still standing, and it is in this setting that the traitor Astartes of the Black Legion gain the advantage. Just on Abaddon was able to finish the weakened Celestine, he was stopped by Inquisitor Greyfax who leads a counterattack of Cadian and Vostroyans. Creed himself was able to arrive in the fray, briefing battling Abaddon himself and losing an arm in the process. Just as Abaddon was about to finish his hated adversary Creed, Celestine was able to get back on her feet and impale the Chaos Warmaster with her sword
Why a daemon primarch has not become the warmaster of chaos. Like if mortarion/magnus/angron demanded he give them control of the Black Legion I don’t think he’d be in a place to argue. Or if the gods wouldn’t want their rival to have more influence in the BL why not have Lorgar or Perturabo do it?
Traitor Primarch Analysis Grand Finale: Horus Lupercal, Warmaster of the Imperium and Chaos, and his Luna Wolves.
Horus’s story is one that has been told countless times through countless cultures. The son rebelling against the father, the corruption of the hero into the villain, these are all powerful storytelling themes.
Horus is ultimately a story on the ruin of pride, on the terrifying
nature of disregarding everything for the self. The fears and
insecurities led to the belief that only he was worthy, and this is the
ultimate end of pride: everyone else is simply secondary and plays a
supporting role, at best, to the story of you: the main character of the
Horus Rising gives us a view of Horus almost a 180 from the man in Galaxy in Flames. This was a man who gave a dignified funeral to an Emperor who murdered one of his favored captains, simply because showing the man some respect would make the conquered systems easier to incorporate into the Imperium. This knack for diplomacy extended to his brothers as well, Horus was quite capable of identifying his brothers’ unique skills and personality quirks in order to get them to be part of a whole. While the Emperor’s tremendous psychic might and force of personality indeed kept much of the early Imperium together, Horus formed the vital glue that could keep eighteen of the most titanic egos mostly in check. Horus was also incredibly humble, refusing the honor of naming his Legion ‘the Sons of Horus’ as he did not wish to elevate himself over his brothers, though he did accept the title of Warmaster. Given that the Emperor was leaving for Terra to complete his secret Webway project, the title Warmaster was necessary, there needed to be a chain of command in place in the Emperor’s absence, and Horus was the man to fill it.
Yet while Horus was exceptional in a lot of ways, he had his own flaws, chief among them pride. This does seem odd in light of the previous mention of humility, and it is indeed one of the issues to wrangle with pre-Davin Horus. Was his acceptance of the position of Warmaster truly as he said, simply for the pragmatic necessity of having a senior leader in the Emperor’s absence, because that does keep in line with refusing the honor of Sons of Horus title, but can’t be the same thing seen in False Gods. In the Emperor’s declaration on Ullanor and the establishment of the High Lords of Terra, Horus saw a future without him in it. The Imperium would be ruled by petty human bureaucrats whose contribution to the war effort was paperwork, not the gene-crafted sweat and blood of the Astartes, and they would preen and pat themselves on the back as the rulers of the galaxy while the Astartes were shunned, their toils and sacrifices forgotten. The future was in sight and Horus wasn’t in it. Worse still, the Emperor left, taking the credit but not putting in the effort as he had in the earlier eras. The Imperium was taking the efforts of Horus and his fellow Primarchs, and the Astartes they led into battle after battle, and claiming the fruits of them as their own without sowing the seed, and this is Horus’s first chink in his psychological armor.
This notion of the unappreciative bureaucrats and politicians back home claiming the soldiers’ victories as their own is a strong one both in real-life military culture and in military fiction. Leon Silverburg in Suikoden II even said that strategists are forgotten in peacetime and only sought after in war, only to be forgotten again when peace comes. The same concept applies to soldiers and this cut Horus deep. What was he to do when peace came, and did he have to give this peace to those who put forth no effort to earn it? This shook Horus’s confidence to the very core, making him doubt himself, his legions, his brothers, and his father and the Imperium as well. Of course, by Istvaan, Horus cared nothing for the soldiers, only for the grand mission. Thus, Horus became what he hated and feared, a common motif for fallen hero stories.
Of course, Horus did not simply fear at the future. We see into his mind that he believed that Sanguinius was the better choice for the Warmaster, that he embodied all the traits of their shared father and was the greater general, warrior, and man. This even factors into his strategic decision-making, as he attempts to have the Angel killed rather than converted to the worship of Chaos, as Sanguinius might even become the true Warmaster of Chaos. This is given to us second-hand, who knows how true it is, though given that Chaos tries to convert him on Signus and on Davin, it might be true indeed.
His resolve is what led him to be susceptible to the vision on Davin. The vision shows the length to which Chaos worked to needle him, and pressed upon all his pain points. His fear of having no place was exemplified by showing Horus the future where the Emperor was worshiped as a deity and some of his sons were venerated as grand demigod heroes, but Horus was forgotten. Favored son Sanguinius had a holiday in his name, where Horus was nothing. The Emperor retreated and became a god, sacrificing his sons for the sake of ultimate power (or so the Chaos gods led Horus to believe), and this confirmed what Horus was feeling. Magnus couldn’t offer a compelling counterargument to Erebus and the Ruinious Powers. By stating it was only one potential future, Magnus couldn’t give Horus the assurances needed to overcome his fears borne of insecurity. Even worse, given what we see with Eldrad and other seers and prophecies (to say nothing of Magnus entombed upon the Golden Throne), they are hardly ironclad. Magnus is completely right when he tells Horus about the future, but even being right is hardly convincing when the other side is saying exactly what wants to be heard. Pride became Horus after that. During the vision, the Chaos Gods offered the galaxy to Horus in exchange for the Emperor. This seems like a complete 180 and symptomatic of the Chaos corruption, but Chaos never looks far to corrupt. The galaxy is the natural extension of Horus’s fear of being forgotten; he can hardly be forgotten when he runs the place.
As might be expected of the Warmaster, Horus attacked the Imperium with vigor, winning loyalists over with his interpersonal relationships with his brothers and needling on their weaknesses the same way Chaos needled upon his. Fulgrim was already susceptible thanks to the Laer Blade, Lorgar worshiped Chaos already, and Angron and Mortarion could be lured away with their hatred of the Emperor with Perturabo being won over by his rivalry with Rogal Dorn and his snubbing. Curze is a fascinating case, tormented by his visions and so willingly turning in his belief of predestination along with his nature to attack all those he perceived to be corrupt to include the Emperor. Alpharius, as mentioned before, had his own motivations for joining, and so Horus built a mighty coalition. He then distracted loyalists with traps and false information, had Leman Russ attack Magnus, all to cement his plan. Eliminate the loyalists in his own legion at Istvaan, then strike a devastating blow against the loyalists and given himself numerical advantage.
Yet, for all Horus’s strategic brilliance, Chaos does not lend itself well to strategic planning. Slaanesh is all about sensation and the Emperor’s Children abandoned their plans to seek out greater thrills. Khorne cared only about bloodshed and so the World Eaters sought out more blood to shed. Hence, despite Horus’s commanding advantages, he could not capitalize due to the nature of Chaotic corruption.
Interesting to note in this entire thing is Horus’s excursion to Molech, where the power that the Emperor gained was sought by Horus in order to properly challenge him. This continues the son fighting the father thematic motif, but it is interesting to see what it was that Horus acquired. The Emperor had been powerful long before, the tales of him conquering the Void Dragon and other feats mean that the Emperor did not have to go to Molech to transcend human limitations, but clearly there was something on Molech, and Horus needed the same might to challenge the Emperor on his own terms. Given the Siege of Terra, Horus at least had something crazy in the tank, able to kill Sanguinius with barely any damage (previously, Sanguinius and Horus were considered the most powerful and roughly evenly-marched) and mortally wound the Emperor.
Also fascinating to consider is whether the Chaos Gods wanted Horus to win, or if he was a sacrifice meant to enact the horrifying future that the Cabal saw. Horus would be a pawn, meant to wound the Emperor and die, so that the misery of the rotting and dying Imperium would feed the Ruinous Powers the way the hedonism of the lost Eldar Empire birthed Slaanesh. This is the belief of Abaddon and why he views Horus as a fool and the Chaos Gods as snake oil salesmen offering poisonous gifts. It would certainly fit them to use their pawns for their own purposes, and it would fit Horus, blinded by pride to not see the noose around his neck.
The Luna Wolves exemplify what it means to be Astartes, excellent in tactics and strategy, exceptional in leadership and spirit, whether loyalist or traitor. Loken fought with ferocity on Istvaan, but the same Luna Wolves, and even the Black Legion now, emphasize the brotherhood of the Astartes and the overall excellence given to them by their gene-crafted lineage and training in all aspects of war. Whether it’s Torgaddon or Abaddon, the Luna Wolf/Son of Horus/Black Legionnaire chooses what they want and pursues it with a physical and mental zeal the likes of which no mortal can hope to muster.
Thanks for the question, Necro. These were a lot of fun to explore. Hopefully this allows people to see characters like Angron or Horus in a new light.
The invasion begun approximately a week after Orelius’s warning, with the first wave of Chaos vessels emerging from the Warp too close to the planet, blundering into the orbital minefields carefully placed according to Visiter’s instructions; the explosions threw them into disarray, and Visiter’s few ships reaped a heavy tally from them; only a hundred or so assault shuttles managed to make to the planet’s surface, where they were quickly set upon by the PDF and the civilian militia. The second wave emerged more cautiously, and with more success.
By the following morning, the Perlian defenders were holding back the invaders, but at the cost of fully committing their strength, while Varan had troops to spare. As the invaders re-focused their efforts on Havendown, Cain rushed to the city to evacuate the Governor.
Cain, his cadets and Trevellyan were ambushed in the Governor’s palace by members of their own PDF, turned to Chaos by Varan’s arrival, in person, on the planet. The Governor and one of Cain’s commissar-cadets were seriously wounded in the attack and were prepared to fend off the coming giants to save the lives of their comrades - a selfless act that inspired Cain to bestow his own crimson sash, the commissar’s badge of office, to his young student. But both Trevellyan and the newly-minted commissar were captured and nursed back to health by Varan’s forces, and Varan was able to turn both of them. Trevellyan appeared on the pictcasts himself, calling for the planet to surrender to the “liberating forces”. Commander-in-Chief Rorkins acted swiftly, sending stormtroopers to locate Trevellyan’s niece Illyria and install her as governor of Perlia, and Cain appeared on the pictcasts himself denouncing her tainted uncle as a traitor.
After the capital fell, Cain and the commanders relocated their resources to the dam at the Valley of Daemons, where he had already prepared for such an eventuality with the skitarii contingent guarding the shrine. After an experiment in the capabilities of the Shadowlight opened a portal that summoned a daemon (which Cain and his ever-present loyal aide, Ferik Jurgen, subsequently dispatched), Cain and Tayber realized that Varan now knew where they were.
Making a desperate gambit, Cain contacted Varan and informed him that he was preparing to discuss terms of surrender. The Warmaster, thinking that Cain was preparing to surrender his forces, had decided to record the meeting between himself and the commissar, and was incensed when Cain demanded that Varan surrender to him. Shielded from Varan’s mental persuasion by Jurgen’s null abilities, Cain duelled the Chaos Warmaster in what seemed to be a recreation of his duel with Korbul eighty years earlier - once again, it was recorded for all to see, and once again, Cain was victorious, kicking “the Undefeatable” warlord from the roof of the shrine to his death. The Second Siege was effectively over.