Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Warhammer 30,000: The Imperator Crisis - Part 1: Legiones Astartes

There have been many alternate takes on the Horus Heresy by now, both good and bad ones. Some are highly detailed while others are simple guidelines to excuse a concept, but they have this issue of repeating the same cliches or events. On the one hand, this offers the benefit of seeing how a similar conflict could play out if the pieces were re-arranged, but on the other it can become very repetitive if not downright predictable. So, this is an experiment to create a new narrative. One which both defies the common alternate Heresy takes and opens up Warhammer 40,000 for a very different setting, even with a few general similarities.

So, before we get the ball rolling on the events thus far, here's a list of the various forces involved and what has changed from the traditional timeline leading up to Ullanor. A few remain unchanged at the time of the Great Crusade - and don't worry, their fun stuff comes later on - but others might not be quite as you imagine them...

Dark Angels - Lion El'Jonson:

The origins and nature of the Legio I remains largely unchanged in this timeline. They were the first founded, among the largest and felt pride in that history. Even in the face of the late discovery of their primarch, they were well decorated for their actions. However, the legion utilized their history and accomplishments to claim several worlds for themselves as recruitment grounds. This permitted them to create a group of systems which was seemingly independently governed but ultimately beholden to the Legion Master's will, albeit unwillingly.

El'Jonson himself likewise shared a similar origin as his legion but with a very different outcome. While he was found amid the forests of Caliban by one of the world's knightly Orders, he was an adult at the time, having made a living among the forests. While curious enough to follow other humans, he was nevertheless constantly distrustful of them, and even remained distant while in the presence of his mentor, Luther. While controlled and focused in the presence of others, El'Jonson was disturbed by a deep-seated paranoia, brought on by the Watchers which seemed to shadow his every step from his childhood onward.

If given a choice between peace and combat, El'Jonson would perpetually favour warfare in order to permanently bring a foe to heel and ensure that they would remain under his control. A mentality which brought him into conflict with other Orders even as he united them to scourge Caliban of its corrupted life, and later even the Emperor upon his arrival. Even after submitting to the Emperor and agreeing to follow his vision, he would constantly clash with his brothers, seemingly viewing everything as a test of strength or competition; a point which made his placement in command of the Dark Angels a difficult matter to be sure.

Along with initiating a number of sweeping reforms among the legion's structure during his ascension, he constantly watched his officers for signs of possible betrayal or dissent. While his command proved to be nothing short of exemplary, he forever sought more control over the astartes under his command. A move which would push him into openly backing the Nikea Reforms and embracing Lorgar's suggested Chaplaincy implementation; even going so far as to use the latter as his eyes and ears among the various expeditions.

Emperor's Children - Fulgrim:

Unchanged - See official lore.

Iron Warriors - Perturabo:

Unchanged - See official lore.

White Scars - Jaghatai Khan:

Perhaps the most curious element surrounding the White Scars was their contrasting nature. Joyful in war and jovial in peace, they were a force which was as easy in taking a man's head as conversing with the more respected human officers within their fleet. For all their unrelenting savagery and emphasis upon sheer speed, many of their number could be remarkably personable and vastly more reasonable than many of their kindred. This was a quality which they shared with their primarch, and something which brought them to near annihilation upon his discovery.

Having landed among the horse tribes of Chogoris, Khan was raised as a plains rider and taught their ways of war. Capable of launching lightning fast assaults and rapid retreats, under Khan's eventual leadership the tribes were slowly reworked into a singular fighting force to overcome the heavy infantry and slow moving formations of the ruling civilizations. Within a matter of years Khan had overwhelmed the ruling elite and claimed the throne for himself, and yet he did not press his advantage. Rather than annihilating all ways of life there, he instead sought to form an alliance of the various factions and populations of his world. To completely destroy all they had built, to erase their cultures, would have been as much a crime in his eyes as the attempts to drive his own people to near extinction in the Empty Quarter.

While Khan was far from the most deft of diplomats, he was able to force a tenuous peace among the various factions vying for power and unite the planet under his singular rule. Yet, more impressively, his ambitions stretched beyond this as he sought to uplift the people to the stars. Older texts had depicted warriors riding horses of iron throughout the stars and making their homes among distant worlds, and Khan wished to return his people to such a state. To this end, he was able to negotiate several pacts with the Demiurg Brotherhoods of the local sectors; xenos miners and traders who were willing to exchange raw materials and technology for a more stable supply of food and a safe harbor.

Unfortunately for the Khan, while this did indeed allow him to return to the stars, it drew the attention of a Raven Guard expeditionary fleet. The astartes descended upon their alien allies in a fury, threatening to even burn the world beneath it in their drive to claim it in the name of the Imperium. Only Khan's presence saved it from annihilation, and even then he was questioned and tried over his collaboration with an alien race infamous for engaging and raiding Imperial convoys. Rogal Dorn eventually spoke out in his defense, and volunteered to take his erstwhile brother into his custody until he fully understood the Emperor's vision and the threat xenos races posed to humanity.

Dorn was seemingly successful, and Khan later took command of his legion within a year, but the memory of the violent introduction to his kindred was never fully forgotten by him.

Space Wolves - Leman Russ:

Even among a group of brothers whose exploits were legendary, Leman Russ is regarded as one of the greatest conquerors of the primarchs. While many would be required to overcome or remake their worlds entirely from the broken ashes of past civilizations, few of those were ever forced to contend with a world so bellicose or violent as Fenris.

Discovered by a small raiding tribe shortly after crashing onto the near eternally winter-locked world, Leman was exposed to warfare from his infancy. Constantly hounded and assaulted from all sides by rival forces, one of his earliest memories was of the a desperate longship chase across kraken infested waters. The sight of humans slaughtering one another even as the world's vicious predators slaughtered them was forever burned into his vision and ultimately would push him into enacting a violent and bloody unity among his kindred.

As soon as he was old enough to carry a spear, Russ began to launch counter-raids against those who threatened them. Many were crippled by the brutality of his lightning assaults, while others were subjugated entirely and forcibly unified under his banner. While this initially started as little more than a series of massed raids and assaults, Russ' relentless onslaught rapidly allowed him to swell the ranks of his makeshift army and by the time his father passed away, tens of thousands of warriors had been absorbed into his tribe, until they dominated swathes of the Savage Sea.

Eventually laying claim to the entirety of Asaheim, Russ spoke with his warriors of establishing a true kingdom and a lasting dominion over their planet. He spoke of a vision where they were the rulers of Fenris, not merely survivors of its ravages and challenged them to follow his leadership. While many would have called him insane, Russ' constant victories emboldened those at his back, and few denied his challenge. Using tens of thousands of slaves, those who had sought to fight him rather than bow before him, Russ constructed various blockages and gullies to divert the annual lava flows away from the most stable ground. This came at great cost to the slaves, as did the warriors who guarded them, as they were forced to relentlessly contend with the most ferocious beasts of their world. Russ himself would earn his long standing title of Great Wolf by cleaving the head off of a massive she-beast and claiming its pelt as his cloak.

By the time the Emperor found his lost son, Russ had built a fledgling kingdom of walled cities to constantly guard against invaders. Approaching him openly, Russ was easily swayed to the Emperor's side upon learning that his father planned to overcome the stars as Russ had Fenris. He bent the knee before him within a day's talk, and was granted command of his legion.

(Author's note - This is someone who is less Wulf Sternhammer than he is Eddard Stark in this retelling.)

Imperial Fists - Rogal Dorn:

Unchanged - See official lore.

Night Lords - Konrad Curze:

Few would ever call Curze a ruler, nor his legion true soldiers. Rather than combat opponents on the open field of battle or govern worlds, the Legio VIII are known as avengers and judges, hunting down and slaying all those who would wrong humanity.

Butchering the corrupt leadership and hostile gangs of his world, Curze operated from the shadows, killing any and all he saw as tyrants. Those who dared to claim governorship of Nostromo did so with a sword constantly hanging over their head, ready to strike at a moment's notice, while only the most desperate of rapists and murderers came to leave their homes. However, Curze did not act alone in this matter. While never revealing himself to them, he constantly pushed for others to uphold his justice; pushing others to defend themselves and retake the crime-ridden hives of scum and villainy from the worst humanity had to offer. It was his hope that by doing so he would push others into shattering the chains of fate he was tied to, and ultimately avert the annihilation of Nostromo which had long haunted his dreams.

The Emperor's arrival changed little in his mission, as Curze had long foreseen his coming, and that of the winged figure at his side, Sanguinius. He knew it was his fate to follow them, as he had known from his birth, yet their meeting would prove to be surprisingly beneficial to the Lord of the Night. Sangiuinus was in many ways a kindred spirit, understanding the need for brutality and annihilation in the name of a better cause. Under his tutelage Sanguinius eventually learned of the fits which afflicted Curze and his visions of fire and blood and, upon realising the other primarch's greater potential, taught him to focus them into a coherent image. This permitted Curze to predict and counter several impending disasters among the nearby systems, including Nostromo's eventual corruption following his departure.

Realising that even his own fate was not bound to single future, Curze began to work to reshape his legion to act as a hidden vanguard for the Imperium's forces. Secretly crippling hostile worlds through fear of the warriors which stalked the night, and forcing the Emperor's subjects to remain loyal to his will out of fear of reprisal, the Night Lords became closely associated with retribution. 

Taking the title of Lord Justicar, Curze acted as a necessary evil for the Imperium, guarding it from threats both within and without.

Blood Angels - Sanguinius:

Like so many of his bothers, Sangiunius' cradle was the ashes of a failed world. Untamed, hostile and heavily irradiated, Baal was anathema to human life, and had driven the few remaining unmutated humans to near extinction. Monstrous lifeforms prowled the wastes, and the handful of strongholds left to the world's original populace were slowly being overrun. Men and resources were forever pushed to the limit, which made the risks taken to recover Sanguinius all the stranger.

His pod had crashed deep into the hostile wildlands, and in the hope of finding lost relics to repair their failing equipment a number of armoured humans had set out to recover what laid within. Only one would return, heavily wounded and near death, carrying a winged child in his arms. While certainly mutated the infant Sanguinius lacked the ferocity or insanity evident in so many of his kindred, and the man's dying words requested that he be raised as one of them. Something within the pod had convinced him to spare the mutant's life and recover him. but his heart beat to a stop before his discovery could be passed on. Many men had died for Sangiunius' sake, and they would not be the last.

Growing up amid the stronghold, the primarch was forever exposed to the horrors of near annihilation, seemingly without hope of rescue or survival. Often the nights were filled with the sound of gunfire or mutants hammering on the outer airlock doors, and the faces of those present blurred in his mind. So many had died in his first few years alone that he was raised by no single parent, and by the time he was old enough to wield a weapon he had been filled with a grim fatalistic resolve. Extinction seemed certain, and yet he would be damned if he would allow those who had harried and threatened them to claim this world as their own.

Day after day, the primarch would fly through the irradiated clouds and dust storms, single-handedly hunting down and massacring any threat he found. More than one stronghold came to repeat sightings of a seemingly immortal figure decapitating mutants hundreds of feet tall or ripping fire scorpions limb from limb. Not knowing his true name or presence, those he rescued in his efforts came to call him the Blood Angel, a figure of pure annihilation who slaked his wrath upon those he faced. 

Sanguinus' efforts were not futile however, and what had initially been viewed by he and his people as a last gasp of defiance started to turn the tide. Panicked hordes of mutants began to avoid their bunker, opening the way for trade with others and even to safely reclaim areas long lost to them. Realising that they stood a chance, and glimpsing visions of a burning light descending upon a distant ruin half the planet away, Sanguinius began to rally the scattered populace in a crusade against the mutants. Slowly but surely, in a series of bloody conflicts, the primarch's small army groups began to make their way to the place seen in his vision, culling anything which stood in their path. Once there, the primarch was greeted by the Emperor himself, descending from his flagship to the irradiated earth.

Within one year, with the Emperor himself and his elite bodyguard at their side, every mutant had been purged from Baal Secundus. This opened the way for humanity to reclaim the planet, and at long last to begin the slow process of rebuilding what had been lost to them. In return for his assistance, Sanguinius pledged his eternal loyalty and his sword to the Emperor's service, becoming the master of the Legio IX.

Storm Walkers - Ferrus Manus:

Every legion, every primarch and soldier is shaped by their world. To some this readied them for a life of relentless conflict, to others it brought them into the role of leader. To Ferrus Manus, the world of Medusa readied him for a life as a monster. Having fallen amid the barren mountains of his home, the young primarch's life was spent hunting for food amid the broken remnants of ancient machines. Hiding or fighting the metal guardians who still prowled the wastes, his life was a perpetual challenge to prove only the strongest lived. Yet, rather than hate such strange creations, he almost came to respect them in a bizarre way. Their prowess, their constant unrelenting stamina and incredible strength marked them as a worthy foe to test himself against.

For years he remained among the machines, fighting each one in turn and constantly testing his personal strength. The few times he did truly encounter humans, Ferrus showed little interested in them, regarding even the best among them as weak and flawed to the point of failure. Feeling little kinship for such beings, his interest with the automata which stalked the wastes drove him to range deeper into the lost deserts avoided by the various clan crawlers.

The true changing point during Ferrus' years among these wastes was his encounter with a steel mountain, a lost complex or bunker hidden away towards the planet's far north. His personal accounts cite that he traveled there, delving deep into the planet's core itself and emerging with a new comprehension of what the universe required of him: To judge those worthy of survival, and rebuild them accordingly.

Taking the weak, the failed and the forgotten from the crawlers, Ferrus began to turn them into his chosen. Each he would personally see that was reborn to his will, stripping them of their flesh in his experiments and rebuilding them in skins of iron. Little would often be left of the original man or child he had taken, and often even their memories were claimed from them. This personal experimentation would continue for years and, while Ferrus gladly joined and followed the Emperor upon his emergence, his apparent obsession with remaking humanity in his image would extend to his legion.

Many reports cite astartes among the Storm Walkers being utterly reworked into near inhuman beings, or turned into living tanks. Many carried wielded multiple weapon tipped limbs and others even became built into the very vehicles they guided into combat. While bionic enhancements were hardly unheard of among the astartes, Ferrus pushed the capabilities of what an astartes could withstand to their limit, and his ideas often bordered upon heresy. Such acts strained even the Emperor's leniency, and more than once over the Crusade he was asked to account for his actions.

War Hounds - Angron:

Growing up in bloody fighting pits of Nuceria, Angron was perhaps doomed to failure from the beginning. His pod was discovered by a group of high-riders and the wounded infant within was taken by the local lord as his chosen captive, to be enslaved to the Butcher's Nails and thrown into relentless combat. Blinded by their constant pain and driven into a near relentless berserker fury, for the first several years he was treated as little more than a murderous beast. Only strange visions of a golden figure granted him moments of peace from the bloodshed, focusing his thoughts for a few precious moments at a time.

While Angron initially believed that such images were little more than hallucinations of his damaged mind, they began to offer him messages. Glimpses of how to combat his foes, how to exploit their failings and even messages on the nature of the guards who defended the pits. It repeatedly urged him to be more than a simple monster killing others at the whims of his lords, and to claim the world as his own. While it hardly broke the bloody haze gripping his mind, such messages were enough clarity for him to organize the gladiatorial slave into a force and stage a revolt. In a single night, the city-state which had chained him was burned, razed to the ground and its populace butchered, freeing others who had been driven into a life of servitude.

While retaining little more than a semblance of control over his force, Angron was able to marshal them into a semi-organised assault force of brutal killers. To each he swore that the slavers would fall and by their hands Nuceria's slaves would claim the world for themselves. City after city fell before them, picked off one at a time by his relentless fury and careful strikes. Always making certain to disguise their true numbers and exploit their bitter rivalries to isolate one state from another, he picked them apart one after the next. By the time summer had turned to bleak winter, every fiefdom of the continent burned and Angron had begun to create his own nomadic state.

It was at this point that the Emperor revealed himself. Having watched in secret for years, using his psychic powers to push Angron into acting against his oppressors, he had been quietly judging the primarch's progress. While he would have favoured leaving each of his sons to their own devices, conquering their worlds by themselves, Angron was one of the first he had uncovered and the Emperor knew the Nails were hindering his potential. Unwilling initially to accept another lord so soon after overthrowing his previous masters, it took both an honour duel and a reminder of his visions for the Red Angel to accept his father's commands.

Re-organizing the War Hounds into a more bloody fighting force capable of rending entire systems asunder with little more than a pistol and chain-axe in each warrior's hand, Angron accepted his role as a butcher. However, as the years wore on, it became clear even to him that the curse of the Nails was more damaging than first realised. It did not rob him of clarity, but was slowly eroding his sanity, and the near murder of his brother Corax during a training bout eventually drove Angron to the only solution he knew. Gathering his Devourers, the warriors of his legion who had taken it upon themselves to emulate their primarch's implants, Angron entered stasis. Promoting his Equerry, Kharn, to the rank of Legion Master, he commanded that they leave them to slumber through the centuries undisturbed. At least until the day the Nails could be safely removed or a situation were so dire they required his strength once more.

Ultramarines - Robute Guilliman:

Most primarchs were warriors, generals or annihilators. Their forte lied in their capacity to murder others, or even to wipe away whole species at a time. Yet Guilliman was different. While certainly a skilled warrior, his true talent lay in his ability to unite vying factions under a single banner, and to unite them under a single purpose. This, in many regards, made him closer to the Emperor than many of his kin in his ambitions, and yet he rarely sought to dominate as his father did.

The Macragge of Guilliman's childhood was one of the more fortunate worlds to have endured the fall of humanity, retaining both advanced technology and space flight. Contact and travel between nearby worlds had been retained, and although skirmishes and disputes among the various nations of the planet were common, full scale war was unheard of. Guilliman's childhood was spent in the halls of one such leader, Konor, Consul of the Valley of Laponis and its surrounding lands. As one of the many senators and leaders who met to decide the fate of the planet on a monthly basis, he sought to raise and teach the young Guilliman the ways of politics and manipulation as much as warfare. Guilliman took these in stride until, when the time came for Konor himself to step down, his skill as a diplomat and politician had already become a legend among his lands.

Through his words, Guilliman was able to unite and direct the various forces throughout Macragge coercing others into willingly following his vision and uniting the various states under his direction. While never officially taking control away from them, he was nevertheless able to ensure that each would be bound to his will or obey his commands as he slowly came to take control of the planet. It was perhaps for this reason that, by using Macragge's remaining voidships, he was able to make contact with several rivaling worlds and gradually bring them into his fold; guiding them until they were operating to provide resources and men to invade and subjugate the few resisting planets beyond their range.

By the time the Emperor arrived, Guilliman had conquered the dissenting planets and established his small realm of Ultramar, transforming a splintered series of conflicting nations into a singular goal of improvement and conquest. Guilliman quite happily joined with the Emperor upon seeing just what the Imperium could offer his people, and with the Ultramarines legion under his command he began using them to expand his sphere of influence. Developing and creating a small empire within the Imperium which was nevertheless directly bound to his control, Guilliman pushed to reclaim world after world and personally took control of them in the Emperor's name.

Death Guard - Mortarion:

Mortarion infamously stands as the last of the primarchs to be found by the Emperor and united with his legion. Having found his way to the obscure and forgotten world of Barbarus, the young child was claimed by a xenos sorcerer curious to know how this human resisted the toxic clouds of his home. Though young, Mortarion came to despise the creature and its magicks, viewing them as some perverse and twisted mockery of life and the peace owed to the dead. 

Soon breaking free from his father's stronghold following a failed attempt to assassinate the sorcerer, Mortarion descended to the lowest regions of the world and found the miserable populace who cowered there. Constantly harried by legions of the dead and hunted for sport by the world's warlords, Mortarion sought to turn them into a force to be reckoned with. Turning their farming scythes into reaping weapons of war, Mortarion began to halt the assaults and even lay siege to the strongholds of each warlord, burning them to the ground one by one. By the end of ten years, the rabble of brave peasants who followed him had been reorganized into a pale skinned elite fighting force the primarch named his Death Guard. Outfitted with stolen technologies from the xenos forces, and reverse engineered equipment allowing them to brave the clouds, they soon destroyed all but one stronghold - that of Mortarion's adopted father.

The siege was grueling and costly to both sides, as the Death Guard were felled by both the corrosive mists and psychic energies conjured against them. By the time they reached the peak, each was close to collapse and almost overcome by the poisons, with even Mortarion himself suffering. With the last of his strength overcome, Mortarion collapsed as his father emerged, ready to end the primarch's life as he choked to near death before him. Only the sacrifice of the last of his troops brought Mortarion the few moments he needed to recover, and the distraction required to decapitate the foul creature. There was no celebration in his victory, no moment of triumph due to the staggering cost of this final battle, and as Mortarion descended the slopes with the burning mansion at his back, he swore to honour their memory.

By the time the Emperor found Barbarus, Mortarion was gradually expanding the few settlements left into fledgling towns and homesteads. While initially resistant to the presence of the stranger in plated gold, and resenting the power he represented thanks to its abuse by the world's sorcerers, Mortarion challenged him to single combat; decreeing that those who lost would serve the other's will. For almost a full week the two battled, until finally Mortarion submitted to his father. Without his guidance or sheer endurance to brave the mists, the towns he was forming were suffering, and he was not willing to allow them to fall to satisfy his pride. He asked only that, in return for his service, the Emperor would ensure that Barbarus' people would have a future free from the oppression of outsiders. This seemed to satisfy his father. As Mortarion departed to lead the Dusk Raiders into war and reshape them as his new army, the Emperor tasked the Mechanicum with terraforming Barbarus to the primarch's specifications.

Thousand Sons - Magnus the Red:

Unchanged - See official lore. 

Word Bearers - Lorgar:

Unchanged - See official lore. 

Salamanders - Vulkan:

Among the legions, few are so closely related with annihilation as Vulkan and his forces. Rarely leaving more than charred corpses and blackened ground in their wake, the Salamanders embody their primarch's sheer rage and hunger to crush all who oppose humanity's destiny. Such a drive was born both from the firestorm of the wars on Terra, leaving little save for a few bitter veterans to make up their ranks, but it was only further enhanced by the primarch himself.

Often a favoured hunting ground for eldar corsairs, Nocturne's populace faced death on a near daily basis. Those who did not meet an early end at the hands of the lava flows or tectonic instability were often hunted down and dragged back to the slave pens of the alien raiders. Upon his discovery and adoption into one of the villages barely managing to survive against the relentless assaults, Vulkan's childhood was spent trying to ease the burden of his people. His natural talent with the forge was put to work rebuilding destroyed huts or building farming tools, and yet it was never enough to truly make a difference. The primarch was finally pushed to breaking point when one such eldar assault resulted in the death of his adopted father and he began putting his mind to weapons of war.

Day and night, without end, the primarch crafted weapons of war designed to breach the advanced armour of his foes. While technologically basic and undeniably rustic, when put in even the hands on an untrained warrior they were able to shatter the weapons of their foes and rend their flesh asunder. Vulkan himself claimed to have placed something of himself in every weapon, and soon the raids began to break against his village. He garrisoned others against similar attacks, forcibly uniting others alongside him under threat of turning his makeshift armies against them, until they located the ancient Webway portals used for such attacks. 

Rather than closing off the device however, Vulkan instead led his warriors in a massed assault into the Webway itself, disappearing within there for months on end. Eventually, after almost a full year of silence Vulkan emerged alone, covered in alien blood, and announcing that the threat was ended. Yet, to ensure that his people were ready to face whatever else would follow, he continued to build weapons and even began to unite the villages in a series of gladiatorial games to improve their discipline and martial prowess. Those who failed to meet his standards were left to the fire drakes to consume, and the few who succeeded were taken by himself to form a personal guard.

When the Emperor uncovered Nocturne, Vulkan did not easily accept his rule and the two fought many times before his father finally settled the matter with a display of his psychic potential. Learning that there was yet another power he had yet to master, something he could devote to improving his craftsmanship if given the right disciplines, Vulkan submitted himself before his father and his rightful place at the head of the Salamanders legion.

Raven Guard - Corvus Corax:

Unchanged - See official lore.

Alpha Legion - Alpharius:

While most primarchs found their place on worlds forgotten to time, Alpharius was an exception. No one wholly knew when or how he was discovered, yet supposedly his pod was uncovered floating deep in space by the survivors of Old Night. Not all had fully succumbed to the ravages of Chaos and the Scarlet Fleet was one of the few true successors to the old states. Piloting a fleet of pre-heresy transports and warships, they were a band of nomads, pirates and privateers who made their living by taking what they could from others. Loyal only to themselves, their king initially took the young primarch as his personal slave, naming him Alpharius - The first among servants. It was not long, however, before he realised the boy's potential and instead opted to raise him first as a successor. Taught the ways of void combat, lightning boarding actions, atmospheric raids, and how to use secrecy to overwhelm superior foes, Alpharius eventually claimed his position at the head of the fleet through an honour duel.

For several decades Alpharius led his ships in constant raids across the galaxy, recovering lost wrecks and stations abandoned by long dead crewmen; leading the Scarlet Fleet into a seemingly a new golden age. It was perhaps inevitable then that his lifestyle would lead him into a bloody first contact with the Imperium, where he successfully captured a battle barge of the Luna Wolves legion. Thinking of the astartes at first as little more than another small relic, Alpharius was surprised to find full Explorator fleets slowly infringing upon his hunting grounds, and a massive battle fleet led by Horus himself searching for the lost vessel. Over the course of several months, Alpharius was slowly driven to ground as other primarchs joined in the chase and, despite several victories, cornered in a forgotten system on the galactic rim.

In a bitter but one-sided fight, Alpharius was taken captive by Fulgrim and brought before Horus in chains, each understanding that they had found another of the lost primarchs. While Alpharius would need to answer for his crimes, only the Emperor could truly decide his fate. Thankfully, the Emperor himself was willing to forgive his son of his actions upon swearing loyalty to him and, under the watchful gaze of Corax, would take the Alpha Legion and retrain them to his ways of war. Still using the Scarlet Fleet as his personal recruiting grounds and homeworld in all but name, the Legio XX soon became masters of void warfare. Using their natural talent for subterfuge to cripple the naval capabilities of one foe after the next, earning a rapid string of victories against seemingly impossible odds.

Curiously, when the time came to rename his legion, Alpharius ignored the offer. Instead he stated that he did not care what his bothers called his forces, so long as they respected his victories. 

Horus Lupercal - Luna Wolves:

Unchanged - See official lore.


  1. I'm confused as to how you want to create a very different setting, yet almost one-third of your Primarchs are exactly the same as before. Though, I do grant you the changes you have implemented are subtle and significant.

    Still, compared to the likes of Twisthammer and Brotherhood of the Lost who replace the original 18 Primarchs, I'm curious how you'll defy the cliches and open up a new narrative, especially with the same Chaos gods.

    1. That's sort of because half of them I wanted to stick to their histories and general starting points, and then promptly go off of the rails. The ideas I have for the Thousand Sons, Luna Wolves and Emperor's Children in particular largely work only if they stick to the established canon to a point. Equally though, i'm going to be working from a few pointers dropped from the old Index Astartes series with certain ones, such as the Imperial Fists.

    2. Fair enough, I'll keep an eye out for the next post.

      On a personal note, I'm extremely amused how much like Alexandros (a BOTL Primarch) your Guilliman has become.

  2. I'll follow this closely.

    I'm still waiting for your retelling of the events on the Gatherng Storm though. You had two or three forays into what-might-have-beens that were very interesting, much more than what we got from GW. I remember your version of the Ynnari storyline lively and very gripping.

    1. Many thanks for the interest on both those points then, I appreciate the fact you took the time to ask after it. Truth be told, I had been planning to finally get that over and done with last month along with a few long overdue reviews, but life unfortunately found a way to disrupt things in the worst way imaginable. I'm hoping to free up some time to return to that point early next month, and offer a few distinct storylines for each one. Perhaps at least enough to give some idea of how the lore's scope could have been enhanced and the narrative improved overall.

    2. where can I find that reimagining? Sounds interesting.

    3. where IS your version of gathering storm

    4. Read the comment you are responding to, it has the answer you seek.

  3. Of course, first things first. Thanks for the answer!