Drach'nyen is the name of a powerful daemon that has been known by many names in the history of Mankind, amongst them the "Echo of the First Murder" and the "End of Empires". Although its existence is closely linked to the shedding of blood, Drach'nyen has no ties to the Blood God, being powerful enough to be an independent Chaos entity. The daemon currently resides within a Daemon Sword of the same name wielded by the Chaos Lord Abaddon the Despoiler, master of the Black Legion, former gene-son of the Primarch Horus, and most favoured servant of the Ruinous Powers. The arcane blade borne by Abaddon is so powerful that it can rend reality apart where the weapon strikes. Drach'nyen can rip through armour, flesh and bone without resistance. The daemonic spirit animating this fell weapon can alter the blade's appearance, revealing the skulls and faces of the souls it has devoured.
The origins of Drach'nyen are closely entwined with the fate of humankind, as it is currently believed that Drach'nyen's "birth" occurred when the first human willingly murdered one of his own kind. This single act of evil was the original seed that would grow to become one of the most powerful entities of the Warp, for every life taken by human hand, every word of hatred spoken in the ears of the dying, every thought of killing another to willingly further one's own goals made the daemon stronger. Whilst it was still free, Drach'nyen took a great interest in a being called the Anathema, more commonly known as the Emperor of Mankind, which it sought to destroy. Having gained enough power and with the tacit agreement of the Gods of Chaos, Drach'nyen sought a suitable host for itself. It roamed the battlefields of the Great Crusade and especially the Horus Heresy before it found an alternative. Following the will of the Emperor, humanity had ventured inside the Eldar Webway in what had secretly become known as the Imperial Webway Project. As a realm both physical yet in the Warp, Drach'nyen could roam its tunnels without taking an organic being as host, but the daemon soon discovered that its true form left it vulnerable to physical attacks. Seeking to slay the daemon, the Emperor had tasked His most powerful and loyal warriors, the Legio Custodes and the Sisters of Silence to kill Drach'nyen before it could truly become a menace. Wounded, Drach'nyen hid amongst its lesser kin and reverted to its original plan: find a suitable host for daemonic possession. The first suitable host the daemon found was a man named Enkir Morava, Princeps of the Reaver-class Battle Titan Black Sky. Invading Enkir's mind, Drach'nyen forced the Princeps to assassinate both his Moderatii, while keeping control over Black Sky. The destructive power it commanded let the daemon rejoice, yet it had failed to consider that it was not the only Titan prowling the battlefield. Whilst its corrupting influence began to alter Morava's body, Black Sky encountered other Titans, Titans fighting in the name of the Warmaster Horus. A towering Warlord-class Titan identifying itself as Lexarak opened fire on Drach'nyen, for Black Sky was an engine of the Legio Ignatum, a Loyalist Titan Legion.
Severely damaged, Black Sky retreated, followed by Lexarak and a Warhound-class Scout Titan. Drach'nyen tried to retaliate, but it lacked the crew's mastery of their God-engine and he would surely have been destroyed, if fate did not intervene in the form of Scion of Vigilant Light, a Legio Ignatum Warlord Titan. Engaging both enemy God-engines, Scion of Vigilant Light saved Drach'nyen from destruction, forcing the daemon to realise that a weapon it did not master would not be able to kill the Anathema. Drach'nyen kept control of Black Sky just long enough to betray its saviour, executing the stricken Scion of Vigilant Light at point-blank range before leaving Black Sky behind it, searching for a more suitable host. Quickly its otherwordly senses picked up the scent of an entity that had known much, much bloodshed and destruction -- the Mechanicum construct known as the Archimandrite. Bristling with terrible weaponry, its augmented chassis was still controlled by a living being, a human female Drach'nyen could possess. This would be the body in which Drach'nyen would try to kill the Anathema, for His warriors were few and exhausted. Taking control of its new body, Drach'nyen became the End of Empires, annihilating Sisters of Silence with its relic weapons. None was able to stand before it. In short order, Drach'nyen destroyed an Imperial Knight, squashing its pilot before defeating a second Knight and even a Legio Custodes Dreadnought before its physical body was blown apart with a bandolier of Krak Grenades. Yet still Drach'nyen was not truly dead. Shedding its host's skin, Drach'nyen retreated once again when the Emperor of Mankind intervened.
Notably absent from the fighting, the Emperor returned to the battlefield, His psychic powers increased by the very first activation of the Golden Throne. The Emperor's power was such that a new dawn illuminated the tunnels of the Webway, His anger made manifest in an army of golden spectres bearing the insignia of those Legions betrayed during the Drop Site Massacre. One spectre in particular was said to have borne a strong resemblance to the deceased Ferrus Manus, Primarch of the Iron Hands Legion. The daemons screamed as they were burned by the golden light or killed by the vengeful spectres and even Drach'nyen fled before the Emperor's wrath. "Show yourself," the Master of Mankind commanded the foul Neverborn, and Drach'nyen felt compelled to obey. Drach'nyen faced the Emperor, having taken the form of the very man that had given it birth, a fur-wearing savage bearing jewelry made of bones and wielding a primitive spear. The daemon bled from hundreds of cuts, yet found the energy to hurl itself at the Emperor, like a cornered predator launching itself at its hunter. Likewise, the Emperor charged the abomination. Both opponents struck at the same time, five long, sword-like talons piercing the Master of Mankind's golden armour. The Emperor bled profusely, but His will could not be broken. Letting go of His fiery sword, the Emperor seized the daemon with both hands and in a blinding golden radiance forced Drach'nyen to adopt a new form, a fine sword that pierced His body in its rage. The sword's blade bore hundreds of tiny mouths which hungrily lapped at the divine blood running from the Emperor's wounds, before the Master of Mankind pulled the sword from His gut. Quickly he ordered one of his loyal Custodes forward, and rammed the sword now also named Drach'nyen into his bodyguard's torso, careful not to hit any vital organ, binding the daemon to the flesh of his favoured gene-son. The sword vanished, leaving Drach'nyen trapped inside the Custodian's body. Still bleeding, the Emperor conjured a new beam of burning radiance and cleared the tunnel before him. "Run," ordered the Emperor, and the faithful guardian turned on his heels and vanished into the Webway, never to be seen again.
Daemons speak of the blade in fear, for many of them are but a reflection of Drach'nyen 's might, calling it the "Thorn in Reality" or the "Shard of Madness". Alive with dark intelligence, Drach'nyen has the power to sunder the material universe with its edge, cutting through matter as a mundane blade moves through smoke. In battle, Drach'nyen has been witnessed to destroy a Space Marine Land Raider and flay the souls from those it struck with a single touch. Even the hardened skin of daemons or armour sealed with the power of the Warp is little proof against its assault, as it drinks in the energy of the Immaterium like water, consuming all in its path utterly. The dark spirit that inhabits this fell weapon can alter the blade's appearance, revealing the skulls and faces of the souls it has devoured.
During the 1st Black Crusade in 781.M31, Abaddon the Despoiler made many blood pacts with the Dark Gods in the wake of Horus' defeat over seven standard centuries earlier during the Horus Heresy. In the crypts below the Tower of Silence on the world of Uralan, Abaddon recovered the potent Daemon Sword after battling his way through a haunted labyrinth to the great inner chamber where the blade had languished in stasis for millennia. After the recovery of the malefic sword, Abaddon's power swelled to inhuman proportions and the new Warmaster of Chaos become nigh unstoppable. Whole cities were burned in sacrifice to the ever-hungry daemons of Chaos, and entire armies were torn apart by gibbering Warp entities. Abaddon's power swelled to inhuman proportions as the gods of Chaos rewarded him lavishly and he undertook acts of fiendish bravery which horrified those who stood against him.
On the world of El'Phanor he led the charge against the gates of the Citadel of Kromarch. The Kromarch had built his fortress well. It had only one gate and that was composed of solid adamantium, fully three metres thick. Only one in ten of those that followed Abaddon through the barrage of fire from the walls reached the fortress' gates, and there they were trapped by Heavy Bolters to left and right. But Abaddon held aloft his Daemon Sword, black fires burning along its edges, and swept it down with a deafening bellow of fury. The gates were harder than diamond and stronger than steel but they split like cordwood before that blow and daemons feasted on the Kromarch and his kin that night.
It is said Drach'nyen can take many forms, and it only appears as a great blade in the hands of Abaddon because that is how the Warmaster of Chaos chooses it to be. In truth, the sword has no real shape or size, at least nothing that could be understood by the mind of Man. Why it chose to let Abaddon take it from its resting place beneath the Tower of Silence is also a mystery, though since that day only Abaddon has been able to wield it. If another warrior were brave enough to try and lift Drach'nyen, it would fall from his hands as if made of air, though not before rending the thief apart with Warp energy. As to why Drach'nyen fights for Abaddon, none can say for sure, though such a pact can mean nothing but woe for the forces of the Emperor and all Mankind.
- Black Legion: A Codex Chaos Space Marine Supplement (Digital Edition), pp. 28-30
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), pp. 98-99
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 57
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Codex), pg. 46
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 44
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pg. 22
- Warlords of the Dark Millennium: Abaddon The Despoiler (Digital Edition), pp. 9, 12, 27-28
- The Master of Mankind (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden