Cyrene Valantion, known as the Blessed Lady, served as a Confessor to the Word Bearers Legion commanders, including their Primarch Lorgar Aurelian himself, during the latter years of the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras during the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. Her formidable oratory skills were such, that she could stir the emotions of transhuman Legionaries, leading them to confess personal heresies, reveal their darkest secrets and betray their comrades as psykers or other untrustworthy deviants in the eyes of their Primarch. She also heard their professions of faith in the Primordial Truth.
Though Cyrene Valantion would ultimately rise to such a highly influential position within the XVIIth Legion, she came from humble origins. She was born in Monarchia, the so-called "Perfect City," a city-shrine built by the people of Khur at the direction and exhortation of the XVIIth Legion to demonstrate their faith and devotion to the God-Emperor of Mankind, whose faith was brought to them by the Word Bearers' Primarch Lorgar. While born into the faith, Cyrene confessed to never truly feeling a stirring of real faith in the burgeoning Imperial Cult. Six decades after being brought into Compliance and approximately 40 standard years before the start of the Horus Heresy, everything would change.
The Emperor, for all his love for his son, was deeply disturbed. He had initially tolerated the beliefs of his deeply religious son, but as the Great Crusade reached its height, the Emperor found himself increasingly frustrated with the slow pace with which Lorgar conquered and then brought worlds into Compliance for the Imperium. The Emperor finally ordered the Word Bearers to cease their religious activities, as their mission was to reunify the galaxy under the banner of the secular Imperial Truth, not preach the word of the Emperor's personal divinity. The Emperor had long opposed the spread of organised religion and was determined to use the creation of the new Imperium of Man to bring the light of the Imperial Truth -- to enshrine reason and science, not religion, as the true guiding light of a new interstellar human civilisation. The Emperor was particularly troubled by any notion that he should be worshipped as a god and the actions of the Word Bearers Legion in slaughtering those who refused to accept the Emperor's divinity stank of the religious excesses that had so often poisoned human history.
A Legion RebukedEdit
The Emperor ordered a task force composed of the entire Ultramarines Legion and lead by their Primarch Roboute Guilliman and accompanied by a force of his elite personal bodyguards, the Legio Custodes and the Imperial Regent, Malcador the Sigillite, to raze the capital city of Khur, a world dear to the Word Bearers, whom considered it the "Perfect City" due to the intense religious devotion of its citizens and the sheer number of cathedrals and monuments dedicated to the worship of the Emperor as the God of Mankind. After being given six days to evacuate the city, on the morning of the seventh day, the Ultramarines commenced an orbital bombardment of the Perfect City. In mute terror, Cyrene witnessed the destruction of her home. She stood close enough to the site that the light of the orbital Lance strikes blinded her. Following the capital's destruction by the XIIIth Legion, the entire Word Bearers Legion, 100,000 Space Marines strong, were ordered to assemble on the planet's surface, within sight of the smoldering ruins of Monarchia, where its Astartes were humiliated and rebuked by the Emperor Himself, who psychically forced everyone, including Lorgar himself, to kneel before him, and explained to them that they had failed both him and humanity. Lorgar was stunned by his father's reproach and refusal to accept his worship, and fell into a deep melancholy.
The Blessed LadyEdit
In the aftermath of the stinging rebuke, Cyrene was rescued from the outskirts of the former city by Argel Tal, Captain of the 7th Assault Company of the Serrated Sun. As the sole survivor of Monarchia's destruction, she was taken aboard Lorgar's flagship, the Fidelitas Lex, and eventually accompanied the XVIIth during the Pilgrimage of Lorgar into the hellish realm that would later be known as the Eye of Terror, to seek the Primordial Truth. At first she was simply a passenger, blind and alone, aboard a Legiones Astartes crusading ship with no knowledge of what was happening. But she was often visited by Argel Tal and others of his chapter who took pity on her and spoke to her of what happened.
As a blind, naive, mortal woman she was seen as the perfect vessel for the Legion to unburden themselves to, with no understanding of any of the things that she was privy to. Her unbelief in the Emperor was believed to be a sign of prescience or insight and she became something akin to a saint to the Word Bearers, known throughout their fleet as the "Blessed Lady." Thereafter, she was appointed as Confessor by Lorgar himself. She would serve as Confessor for many years, diligently listening to the "sins" of many of the XVIIth Legion's senior commanders as they began to worship the Ruinous Powers. She remained closest to Argel Tal, and guided him on the path towards becoming the first Gal Vorbak -- the "Blessed Sons" of Colchis -- who shared their bodies with daemons.
As the Horus Heresy began to take shape and the Word Bearers began to earnestly worship the Ruinous Powers, Cyrene was killed by a party of Legio Custodes, who had been left to accompany the Word Bearers Legion, and to observe and report to the Emperor should they once again start deviating from the Imperial Truth. Cyrene was, sadly, simply in the Custodians' way, as they fought to send word to the Emperor of the Word Bearer's heresy. Argel Tal swore vengeance on them and slew the Custodes on the sands of Istvaan V, taking a unique Power Sword and a Guardian Spear from their bodies, which would become his preferred weapons. Lorgar held the Confessor in such high esteem that he even named one of his three secretly-built Abyss-class Battleships The Blessed Lady in her honor.
As the XVIIth Legion became more fragmented as they fell further into the throes of the malign influence of the Ruinous Powers, the Legion's senior commanders began to scheme against one other. During this time a feud between Dark Apostle Erebus and Argel Tal had developed, and so, the scheming Chaplain sought to use Cyrene as a pawn in his plot to manipulate Argel Tal. He promised that he could return Cyrene to life, something that he hoped would push Argel Tal towards his eventual death. After Cyrene's death, the crew serfs of the Fidelitas Lex, which had become a large rabble of Chaos Cultists, broke into her coffin and took her bones as relics. They even formed a minor cult around her. Argel Tal went to the bowels of the Fidelitis Lex, slaughtering dozens of cultists to recover Cyrene's bones, and presented them to Erebus who, true to his word, performed the Chaos ritual to return her to life.
The Shadow CrusadeEdit
Although brought back to life once again, Cyrene's time in the warp had left her soul-scarred. She recovered slowly, but being plunged into the Warp and having her soul torn apart by daemons, would leave an indelible mark on her psyche. After her return to the material realm, she was seen as proof of the power of the Chaos Gods, and was hailed as a literal Living Saint, returned from the abyss to bless their actions. She remained on board the Fidelitas Lex as the Word Bearers and World Eaters undertook the Shadow Crusade against the worlds of Ultramar, in retribution for the destruction of Monarchia decades earlier. Their combined fleet cut a swathe through the mostly undefended worlds of the Eastern Fringes, as Lorgar sought the right circumstances to allow Angron to ascend to deamonhood, and thus save him from a slow death caused by his cybernetic implants, known as the Butcher's Nails.
While this was ultimately successful, the combined fleets attack on Angron's former homeworld of Nuceria was extremely costly as an Ultramarine strike fleet arrived and attacked them. The Fidelitas Lex was slowly but surely destroyed by dozens of attack runs, taking most of her crew along with her. But fate had another path in mind for Cyrene. In the days leading up to the battle of Nuceria, Cyrene was approached by Damon Prytanis, an immortal Perpetual and an agent of the Cabal, a secret organisation comprised of various alien races that were dedicated to the eradication of Chaos. He informed her that, unbeknownst to Erebus, her return from death had made her like him -- a human who could not die. While initially skeptical, Prytanis eventually won her trust, and rescued her from the flagship's destruction.
Her life after leaving the Word Bearers is unknown at this time, although as a Perpetual she likely lived an extremely long time, but what actions she took -- whether she ultimately joined the Cabal or struck out on her own -- is as of yet, unrevealed.