- "They are not my hands. This fact is forgotten by my brothers -- inexplicably, it has always seemed to me. The hands are strong, to be sure, and have created great things for us all, but they are not mine. And that counts for something. They forget that the silver on my arms comes from a beast that I vanquished. It is the mark of a great evil that I ended, and yet it persists within me... I would struggle to remove it now... I will not remove the silver from my flesh because I have learned to depend on it. The fault is with my mind. I rely on the augmentation given to me by my metal gauntlets, so much so that the flesh beneath them is now little more than a distant memory... A day will come when I will strip it from me, lest I lose the power to master myself forever. Already my Legion's warriors replace their shield hands with metal in my honour, and so they too are learning to doubt the natural strength of their bodies. They must be weaned off this practice before it becomes a mania for them. Hatred of what is natural, of what is human, is the first and greatest of the corruptions. So I record it here: when the time comes, I will strip my hands of their unnatural silver. I will instruct my Legion to recant their distrust of the flesh. I will turn then away from the gifts of the machine and bid them relearn the mysteries of flesh, bone and blood. When my father's Crusade is over, this shall be my sacred task. When the fighting is done, I shall cure my Legion and myself. For if fighting is all there is, if we may never pause to reflect on what such devotion to strength is doing to us, then our compulsion will only grow."
- —The Neimerel Scrolls attributed to the Primarch Ferrus Manus
Ferrus Manus, also known as The Gorgon, was the Primarch of the Iron Hands Space Marine Legion, a master smith known for creating weapons that were able to inspire awe in any who saw them, such as the sword he created for Fulgrim, Primarch of the Emperor's Children Legion or a Bolter he crafted for Vulkan, the Primarch of the Salamanders Legion, said to have a barrel designed to look like the gaping mouth of a dragon. Ferrus' hands were covered in the metallic substance known as necrodermis and he needed no hammer or flame to create beauty through metallurgy, using only his exceptionally powerful hands to mold and shape molten metal. Ferrus forged his closest bond with his brother Fulgrim, but this relationship ultimately ended in tragedy after Fulgrim fell to Chaos during the Horus Heresy. During the Drop Site Massacre on the world of Istvaan V at the start of the Heresy, Fulgrim decapitated Ferrus with a daemonic sword, an action that ultimately cemented his slavery to a Greater Daemon of the Chaos God Slaanesh.
Ferrus Manus was stolen away through the Warp from the Emperor's gene-laboratories beneath the Himalaya Mountains on Terra by the Chaos Gods along with the rest of his brother Primarchs, who were scattered across the galaxy. Ferrus spent his first years on the planet Medusa. Medusa was a harsh, unwelcoming planet inhabited by a tough and stoic people. Ferrus would not join these tribes, as many of his brothers did. Rather he would seek out physical challenges, to make himself stronger and more resilient. These tests ended with his battle against Asirnoth, the Great Silver Wyrm, a being that Imperial savants now hypothesize may have been a Necron construct impervious to harm. Ferrus had to drown the creature in magma to kill it. The melted flesh of what may have been the wyrm's exoskeletal Necrodermis fused into Ferrus' flesh, giving him the truly metallic hands his Space Marine Legion would later choose as its name. Ferrus now returned to the Medusan tribes and started lecturing to them on technology. The clans advanced at a stunning pace and Medusa prospered. But Ferrus took care to leave the inter-clan rivalry and fighting by never taking sides, as he saw the competition between them as healthy and good. The Emperor eventually came to Medusa, and Ferrus Manus tested himself on him as well, in a cataclysmic battle that is said to have laid waste to entire mountains. Finally having found someone who was his equal, Ferrus accepted the Emperor of Mankind as his master and took command of a Legion of Space Marines and embarked upon the Great Crusade.
It was said that there was no closer bond during the Great Crusade than that between the Primarchs Fulgrim and Ferrus Manus, and thus between their chapters. They often fought side-by-side during the crusade, both styles of combat used by each chapter complimenting each others weaknesses. This ended tragically when Fulgrim fell to the poisoned whispers of Chaos and Horus, and failed to talk his brother into open rebellion. The first resulting combat between them left Ferrus Manus unconscious and his battlefleet crippled, however Fulgrim was not able to bring himself to strike down his brother.
Fulgrim approached Ferrus Manus before the Heresy and tried to lure him to join Chaos. Ferrus Manus was so enraged at this proposal that he attacked and engaged in a titanic duel with Fulgrim but was ultimately beaten and nearly killed by Fulgrim. Fulgrim left disheartened that his closest brother would not join him with Horus against the Emperor. Fulgrim ordered his fleet to cripple the Iron Hands' fleet but not destroy it perhaps hoping to keep Ferrus alive but out of the conflict. The Iron Hands were one of the Loyalist Space Marine Legions the Emperor called to defeat the Traitor Legions on the world of Istvaan V. Having repaired his fleet, Ferrus Manus took the Legion's fastest starships and departed for Istvaan V With only his Veterans, who almost all died during the battle following the loss of their Primarch they were struck down by the traitor legions, caught between the hammer of the Emperor's Children and upon the Anvil of the Iron Warriors and support from the other three legions of the second wave. Some say Ferrus survived Istvaan V and now resides on Mars, but the Iron Hands strongly refute this. The truth of the matter was that Fulgrim personally decapitated Ferrus during the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V, using the Chaos-infected daemonic blade that he had found in the Slaaneshi temple on the world of Laeran (indeed, the blade was ultimately responsible for Fulgrim's own fall to Chaos). Fulgrim was distraught with the sudden epiphany that he had just killed his closest brother, at his own hands, eventually giving into the whispers of Chaos, who spoke promises to ease his pain, to send him into an oblivion of which nothing existed. Sadly he gave into the request of the Daemon inside the blade, which repossessed his body trapping Fulgrim within in his own mind to watch the daemon do the evil will of Slaanesh, turning him into the Daemon Prince he is now, and thus it was this daemon that brought the mutilated head of Ferrus Manus before Horus.
Ferrus Manus was killed during the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V at the hands of his brother and fellow Primarch Fulgrim, beheaded with the daemonsword Fulgrim had taken from a Slaaneshi temple on the world of Laeran. His death shocked Fulgrim out of the depths of his betrayal of the Emperor, but his anguish made him ripe for possession at the hands of the very same daemon-tainted sword he picked up during his own battles during the Great Crusade, essentially ending the existence of Fulgrim as an independent personality. Thereafter, Fulgrim was possessed by a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh that had resided within the blade that controlled all his actions while he remained a horrified prisoner within his own body as it transformed into a Daemon Prince.
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 6-13
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Index Astartes III, "Hand of Justice - The Iron Hands Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 290 (US), "The Flesh Is Weak"
- White Dwarf 286 (US), "The Eye of the Storm: Space Marine Chapters fighting in the Eye of Terror", pp. 66-71
- White Dwarf 281 (US), "Codex Eye of Terror: The 13th Black Crusade"
- White Dwarf 263 (AUS), "Index Astartes – Iron Hands"
- White Dwarf 262 (US), "Index Astartes First Founding: Hand of Justice, The Iron Hands Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 197 (US), "For They Shall Know No Fear", pp. 22-29
- The First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Innocence Proves Nothing (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
- Iron Hands (Novel) by Jonathan Green
- Mechanicum (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Rogue Star (Novel) by Andy Hoare
- Scourge the Heretic (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
- Star of Damocles (Novel) by Andy Hoare
- The Primarchs (Anthology), "Feat of Iron" by Nick Kymes
- Wrath of Iron (Novel) by Chris Wraight