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Horst

Inquisitor Phaedus Falconet Horst at the time of the Gothic War

Horst, whose full given name was Phaedus Falconet Horst, was an Inquisitor of the Ordo Malleus who played major supporting roles in the Gothic War, the First and Second War for Armageddon and Inquisitor Katarinya Greyfax's quest to find the artefact known as the Eye of Night. This device had originally assisted Abaddon the Despoiler in gaining control of the Blackstone Fortresses during the Gothic War, and was sought by Greyfax after 999.M41 in an attempt to aid Primarch Roboute Guilliman in learning how to seal the Great Rift created across the Imperium in the wake of the 13th Black Crusade. Horst was known to be a psyker of some power.

History

Origins

Horst was born on a human-settled world of the Imperium that had come to be ruled by a terrible tyrant known as the Overlord whose true name was Alaine de Briant. As a teenager, he joined a group of rebels who were fighting for the people's freedom from the Overlord. His extraordinary skill in battle and overall strategic acumen saw him rise quickly through their ranks until he had become the acknowledged leader of the resistance. Horst's skill was not just martial, but was the result of his surprisingly powerful motivating rhetoric and personal charisma, traits that allowed him to unify the often fractious opposition groups into an effective military force against the government of Overlord de Briant. Against all the odds, Horst's rebels eventually succeeded in overthrowing the cruel rule of the Overlord, though the conflict lasted for almost thirty standard years. When news of this unusual success finally reached the Administratum, obviating the need for a bureaucratic Imperial response that might have taken solar decades longer to materialise, Horst's talents as a problem-solver were recognised. Even with its immense inefficiencies and everyday cruelties, the Imperium still seeks to exploit the most important resource available to it -- the talents of its people. Despite his age, lack of formal training and obvious possession of potent psychic powers, Horst was inducted into the Inquisition, becoming a full Inquisitor as a reward for the extraordinary skill and talents he had already displayed as a leader of men and women. He took to the service of the Emperor with relish, showing a particularly keen talent for investigation.

The Gothic War

While the vast majority of the Imperium of Man's defences around the Eye of Terror Warp rift in the northwestern reaches of the galaxy are based in the area known as the Cadian Gate, there are many Imperial monitoring stations scattered throughout the Segmentum Obscurus. These outposts are constantly raided and attacked by the various forces of the Chaos Gods, but during the second century of the 41st Millennium the number of these assaults dramatically increased. The most important of these attacks that served as a prelude to the horrors that were soon to come was the assault on the Imperial watch station on the world of Arx. Due to its low strategic importance, Arx was inhabited by only a small garrison of the Astra Militarum which was tasked with protecting the few Tech-Adepts of the Adeptus Mechanicus who were needed to maintain and operate the station's observation equipment.

Early in 139.M41, the Imperial Navy scout frigate Ascendance received a telepathic plea for help from the Arx station's elderly Astropath. The identity of the attackers was unknown and when reinforcements arrived a full four solar months later, there was no sign of the raiders. The Imperial Guardsmen stationed on the planet had been wiped out and their bodies had been horribly mutilated and left to be devoured by the wild dogs that were Arx's only real predators. The Inquisition sent one of its most experienced agents, Inquisitor Horst, to Arx to investigate the matter, but there was little evidence left for him to sift through.

If Arx had been the only outpost so attacked at this time, the raid would have become just another unknown in a galaxy filled to bursting with enigmas. Yet, over the next three standard years a number of similar attacks were reported throughout the neighbouring star systems and then spread into the adjacent sectors. Inquisitor Horst suspected that some larger plot against the Imperium was in motion, yet he could find no evidence to support his well-honed instincts or identify the nature of the attackers, so he decided to watch and wait for this canny enemy of the Emperor to make their next move.

In 140.M41, several Imperial patrol vessels made grisly discoveries in the Athena Sector. A number of Imperial merchant starships and warships, one of them an Emperor-class Battleship, were discovered to be drifting through the void uncontrolled. Upon being boarded, it was learned that the crews of all these starships were dead, their stinking, disease-ridden corpses strewn along corridors and control panels, some still manning their stations. Each starship also bore the scars of weapons fire and a brief space battle, as well as signs of being boarded, though none of the enemy dead could be found. Inquisitor Horst puzzled over these developments while his Acolytes and spies brought him more news. A rumour had spread among the vessels of the Imperial Navy in the Segmentum that the attacks were being carried out by an ancient Chaos warship called the Plagueclaw, a vessel whose diseased followers were dedicated body and soul to Nurgle, the Plague Lord, and had been attacking Imperial shipping for close to 4,000 Terran years. The infection of the decimated ships' crews and the reappearance of the Plagueclaw were no coincidences, a reality which became all the clearer when the Death Guard Traitor Legion, the Chaos Space Marines dedicated to Nurgle, sacked the Hive World of Morganghast. Horst became convinced that the Forces of Chaos were planning another massive incursion against the Imperium united as Chaos Undivided. The watchposts around the Cadian Gate were put on high alert and Imperial Navy warships from all over the Segmentum Obscurus were ordered to defend the space around Cadia.

Whilst Inquisitor Horst investigated the Chaotic activity around Arx and its neighbouring star systems, events turned even more sinister in the Gothic Sector of the Segmentum Obscuras, 2,500 light years from Arx. The Navigators of the Navis Nobilite reported greater disturbances than usual within the Warp of the Gothic Sector with the incidence of Warp Storms increasing as the sidereal year wore on. On many worlds in the sector, this news was received with panic, a situation made even more precarious by several religious fanatics declaring that the Emperor was displeased and was sending Warp Storms to purge the sinful. A number of new hard-line religious sects formed, their adherents stricken with feelings of impending apocalypse. They were desperate for the Emperor's forgiveness and began to flagellate themselves and demand that their friends and neighbours purge themselves of all their sins and inequities in the sight of the God-Emperor. On many planets in the Gothic Sector these cults became very politically powerful, swelled by popular support to such a degree that the Ecclesiarchy (and often the planetary governments) could do nothing to stop the rampaging mobs of hysterical flagellants. As the religious hysteria spread, lynch mobs roamed hive cities and mining colonies alike seeking the allegedly impure. Impromptu burnings and hangings became common as the desperately fearful citizens threw themselves into a fervour of eschatological abandon, scouring their friends and loved ones to atone for real or imagined sins against the Emperor. Yet all was to no avail as the Warp continued to become more active, the frequency of Warp Storms and their intensity continuing to grow.

Under the cover of this widespread paranoia and religious excess, secret cults and covens insinuated themselves into positions of power, subverting ever more people to their dark causes. Misguided followers of the Ruinous Powers openly proclaimed that Chaos would save humanity when the Emperor had turned from them. Thousands, even millions of desperate Imperial citizens were deluded by these false promises, flocking to these cults, and the Inquisition's Ordo Hereticus was hard-pressed to root out every Chaos Cultist, deviant, mutant and Heretic. To make matters worse, several Imperial Navy vessels were destroyed in dock by Plasma Reactor overloads and magazine explosions. Though official reports declared the incidents to be accidents, many believed the tales of sabotage and rebellion within the Navy's own ranks.

While the Gothic Sector was being engulfed in anarchy, religious strife and confusion, Inquisitor Horst was searching for more clues to the plans of the Heretics. When he heard of a Chaotic attack on the Imperial world of Purgatory, he chose to accompany the investigating Imperial fleet. There was one thing which made Purgatory different from dozens of other Chaotic raids in the region -- the device known as the Hand of Darkness. Its existence was known only to a few of the most trusted members of the Inquisition, for the Hand of Darkness was an incredibly ancient alien artefact located deep beneath the planetary surface of Purgatory. All attempts by the Adeptus Mechanicus to discern its purpose had failed, yet the legends of other, older races like the Eldar spoke of the Hand of Darkness with horror and revulsion. It was widely believed to be a weapon of immense power. When Horst arrived on Purgatory, the Inquisitor's deepest fears had come true -- the Hand of Darkness had been taken. If the followers of Chaos learned how to activate the alien weapon, they would be able to unleash incredible destruction upon the defenders of the Imperium.

HorstEyeofNight

Inquisitor Horst handles the Eye of Night during the Gothic War

Horst knew of another artefact connected to the Hand of Darkness in the old xenos myths. Called the Eye of Night, it was located on the Ratling planet of Ornsworld. As Horst sped towards that world on the fastest vessel he could commandeer, a report came in by astropathic message of an attack upon the Ratlings. A small force of Chaos Renegades had landed close to where the Eye was embedded in an ancient statue, worshipped as a God by the Ratlings in pre-Imperial times. After a brief skirmish, an Imperial Guard recruiting force stationed near to the Chaos forces' landing site had driven off the raid. However, a solar month later Chaos starships blockaded Ornsworld and a full-scale invasion began. The defenceless Ratlings stood no chance against the depraved Chaos Space Marines and the death toll reached into the millions as the hills and mountains of the world were scoured with fire and shells by the most potent followers of the Dark Gods. Tens of thousands of Ratlings were simply murdered outright as the Forces of Chaos carried out a purge genocidal in its intent and scale. Among the carnage, the Eye of Night was torn from its mounting and the thief slipped away from the planet. The Forces of Chaos now possessed both the Hand of Darkness and the Eye of Night and thus the potential power to overthrow the Imperium of Man. Inquisitor Horst desired only to know where the Forces of Chaos would strike next.

Horst did not know at the time that the Despoiler had learned of the existence of the means to control the Blackstone Fortresses -- the Hand of Darkness and the Eye of Night -- from the ancient crone Moriana, once an intimate of the Emperor Himself during the Great Crusade and an ally of the founders of the Inquisition. Determined to resurrect the Emperor in His mortal form after the end of the Horus Heresy, she had fallen to darkness over the millennia, and now acted for reasons known only to her.

The old Inquisitor began compiling scattered reports of unusual activity in an ever-widening area and learned of the Warp disruptions plaguing the Gothic Sector. As he headed for the region, more reports came in of sightings of Chaotic starships in the region, reinforcing the notion that the Gothic Sector was the target of Chaos' next incursion. A solar month after Horst arrived in the sector in 142.M41, a cataclysmic shockwave passed through the Warp. The resulting massive Warp Storm engulfed the Gothic Sector in swirling tempests of Warp energy, cutting the sector off from trade or astropathic communication with the rest of the Imperium. The defenders of the Gothic Sector would face the darkness that was to come utterly alone -- the Gothic War had begun.

Soon after, as the Forces of Chaos under the command of the Warmaster of Chaos, Abaddon the Despoiler, launched the massive offensive that was the Despoiler's 12th Black Crusade upon the worlds of the Gothic Sector, Abaddon unleashed the power of his Planet Killer for the first time upon the Cardinal World of Savaven. The planet and all of its 14 billion souls were destroyed in but an instant, as well as the secret Inquisitorial fortress that had existed beneath the many cathedrals of the Ecclesiarchy world -- a fortress that had served as host to Horst while he was present in the sector. Centuries later, the resurrected Primarch Roboute Guilliman would muse that Abaddon's choice of Savaven for the demonstration of his doomsday weapon's power had been no accident -- he had known of the existence of the Inquisition's fortress and of Horst's determination to stop him from using the stolen artefacts to claim the Blackstone Fortresses.

Later in the war, the Imperials once more proved able to blunt Abaddon's offensive and forced him to retreat into the Eye of Terror, but not before he was able to take two of the Blackstone Fortresses with him. After the Battle of Schindelgheist, the Blackstone Fortresses in Abaddon's possession had been rendered all but ineffective, their power systems drained. Abaddon managed to escape into the Warp with two of them, after a lengthy chase to the edges of the Schindelgheist System and a jump into Warpspace dangerously near to the gravity well. The Imperial fleet closed in on the third, unleashing all of their weapons, although still to little effect. Finally, two Strike Cruisers from the Angels of Redemption Space Marine Chapter, combined with Shark Assault Boats from the Divine Right, boarded the isolated Blackstone in an attempt to recapture it. Ensign Goldwyn was part of the Imperial Navy's boarding party during this mission and he was the source of the reports which described what they discovered. There was no crew aboard the Fortress. The interior of the Fortress bore little resemblance to what the Imperial forces recognised and there was no sign at all of the modifications made by the Tech-priests, as if their intrusion had been totally expunged. The walls pulsed with energy, the surface of which had become a deep, veined black, the opposite of the harsh white-painted walls and corridors that had marked out the Fortress' interior during the time of Imperial control. The Imperials had been aboard for only an hour when a high-pitched whine filled the air and the walls became reddish in colour. The Imperials had no sooner left than, without warning, the Fortress suddenly began to break up and slowly shattered into thousands of fragments.

At about the same time as the recaptured Blackstone Fortress destroyed itself, the other Fortresses across the Gothic Sector also self-destructed. We know now that the Fortresses under Abaddon's did not destroy themselves in a similar fashion, as the events of the 13th Black Crusade and the Terran Crusade would prove that the Chaos Warmaster had managed to maintain his grip upon the ancient engines of destruction. How or why the other remaining Blackstone Fortresses were obliterated remains a mystery. Inquisitor Horst believed that some things were just too dangerous to be allowed to exist and someone or something had decided that the Blackstone Fortresses were counted amongst that number.

The Wars for Armageddon

What happened to Horst after the events of the Gothic War remains unrecorded. His next appearance in the Imperial historical record comes during the First War for Armageddon of 444.M41. Horst had been present on one of the Squat homeworlds when the war began. He was able to convince the Squat Overlord of the world he was on to send forces to aid the Imperial defenders, which he led into battle against the Forces of Chaos during that conflict.

Horst was also said to be present at the Second War for Armageddon between 941 and 943.M41, though there is some dispute as to whether the man named Horst who was active during this conflict was actually the same Phaedus Falconet Horst who had been involved in the events of the Gothic War some eight hundred standard years before. Recent events seem to indicate the original Horst had already been forced into undead stasis in the ruins of the world of Savaven by this time (see below). In any event, the Inquisitor who called himself Horst during the second great conflict fought by the Imperium on the Hive World of Armageddon was one of the leaders of the Imperial forces on the sub-continent of Armageddon Prime where they proved successful in pushing the Greenskins back on the defensive. After the defeat of the Orks at Hive Tartarus, Horst helped lead a massive Imperial counteroffensive, forcing the remaining Orks back into the equatorial jungle region that connected the two sub-continents of Armageddon Prime and Armageddon Secundus.

The Quest for the Eye of Night

Horst Undying

Not long after his installation as Lord Commander of the Imperium, Roboute Guilliman summoned Katarinya Greyfax to the Hall of Glories in the Imperial Palace. She found him studying the records of the Inquisition, and he explained that there was much that was not yet understood about the Great Rift, the massive Warp rift that had cut the Imperium in half in the wake of the 13th Black Crusade. The Primarch noted that it was very similar to the Ruinstorm that had been summoned by his brother Lorgar Aurelian during the time of the Horus Heresy, though the Great Rift eclipsed the size and scope of the Ruinstorm by several orders of magnitude.

Guilliman explained that in the birth of the Great Rift he had seen a pattern. It was similar to that of the workings of the ancient servants of Chaos such as the priests of Davin, the world where Horus had first been turned to the service of the Dark Gods. The Primarch explained that he had followed the spoor of this pattern back through the Inquisition's records, and though he had found no solution to the problem of the Great Rift, he had discovered where to begin looking -- to the era of the Gothic War, almost a thousand standard years before. One of Greyfax's counterparts from that time, Inquisitor Horst, believed that two xenos artefacts were taken from worlds of the Gothic Sector just before the start of the Gothic War to aid Abaddon -- the Hand of Darkness and the Eye of Night. Greyfax recognised the names, but cautioned the Lord Commander that Horst was considered a maverick within the Inquisition and that these suppositions were nothing more than undocumented speculation. Guilliman countered, somewhat pointedly, that Horst's speculation was the only real clue they possessed as to how Abaddon seized control of the Blackstone Fortresses in the Gothic Sector during his 12th Black Crusade. The Primarch explained that he needed to know more about what Horst had found.

Guilliman ordered Greyfax to go to the Gothic Sector, to the remains of the Cardinal World of Savaven which had been destroyed along with its 14 billion inhabitants by Abaddon's Planet Killer during the Gothic War. Greyfax protested that the secret Inquisitorial fortress that had lain below the cathedrals of Savaven had been destroyed along with the planet and it was unlikely any records remained. But Guilliman believed that Savaven's destruction had been no random accident. It was likely that the Despoiler had learned of the existence of the Inquisition base on that world and that he had deliberately destroyed it to prevent Horst from moving against his plans in the sector. The Lord Commander cautioned Greyfax that he was not sending her to Savaven to recover Horst's records -- she was to bring him the Eye of Night. When she asked about the Hand of Darkness, the Primarch responded only that he had other plans in motion to secure its recovery.

Greyfax arrived in the Gothic Sector over the fractured ruins of what had once been the Cardinal World of Savaven in the Imperial warship Malleus Rex. The vessel was commanded by the Justicar Genhain and his accompanying squad of Grey Knights, a necessary honour guard for the Inquisitor as the Gothic Sector had been almost swallowed by the Great Rift. From the moment they took up position over the planetary fragments, Greyfax sensed the presence of an old psychic beacon among the shattered rock fragments of Savaven. Opening her mind to Genhain to boost her already potent psychic abilities with those of the Justicar, Greyfax determined that the psychic trace had indeed been left by Horst, though it contained no message other than an old taste of great haste and fear.

Just as Greyfax broke her contact with the beacon, another voidship, a frigate, burst into realspace from the Warp above the fragments of Savaven. Greyfax ordered the Malleus Rex to attack the much less powerful newcomer and destroy it, while she, Genhain and the rest of his squad of Grey Knights teleported down into the ruins of an Ecclesiarchy cathedral on a mosaic-covered rock approximately a half-kilometer across. As soon as the landing party appeared on the fragment of the lost Cardinal World -- the Grey Knights sealed in their Aegis Armour and Greyfax in an armoured void suit -- the Inquisitor sensed that Horst's psychic beacon was stronger and that its source was located somewhere beneath her feet.

But the Imperials were not alone. The ruins of the cathedral were also being investigated by Chaos Cultists who had teleported down from the frigate, and whose void suits were outfitted with imagery intended to mimic the forms of daemons who were known to be servants of Tzeentch, the Lord of Change. Greyfax, seeing no point to negotiation, ordered the Grey Knights to eliminate the cultists, who quickly fell to their Storm Bolters and Nemesis Force Halberds and to Greyfax's use of her potent Aura of Oppression ability. The few remaining cultists were ultimately purged by the flames of one Grey Knight Battle-Brother's Incinerator.

With the cultists eliminated as competition for whatever lay beneath the ruined portion of the cathedral, Greyfax and her Grey Knights proceeded down a flight of winding stairs into the devastated structure's undercroft, where they discovered that a portion of it was protected by a force field that sealed in a breathable atmosphere. Within the breathable bubble of the undercroft was a mausoleum dedicated to the Imperial Saint Carthage, but a sudden psychic pulse from within its walls matching the beacon convinced Greyfax to have the Grey Knights force an entryway through the stone.

Within the mausoleum, the Imperials discovered an ornate sarcophagus inscribed with the symbol of the Inquisition on one end. The crypt was otherwise bare. Within the sarcophagus lay an armoured suit, the battle-plate of a Grey Knight Paladin. As soon as the sarcophagus was opened, a psychic blast overwhelmed Greyfax, and to her utter astonishment, the armour within sat up, introducing itself telepathically as Inquisitor Phaedus Falconet Horst! But Horst was no longer alive; he removed the Paladin armour's helmet to reveal an undead, fleshless skull with glowing eyes, the jaw working silently as he communicated mind-to-mind.

Despite her distrust of Horst's undead form, Greyfax explained to him how the galaxy had been divided by the Great Rift and that the Imperium was under assault by the Forces of Chaos and the xenos as never before. She explained their mission was to recover the Eye of Night as one small step on the road to defeating the foes of the Emperor. Horst proved vague as to exactly how he had come to his present state, claiming no memory of what had happened or for how long he had been trapped in the sarcophagus, though it had been at least several standard centuries. Horst also didn't know the location of the Eye of Night, but he did know who did -- Moriana the Crone, an ancient human seer of the Chaos Gods who saw all that transpired in the Realm of Chaos from her lair within the Eye of Terror. It was Moriana, Horst claimed, who had guided Abaddon to the Eye of Night before the Gothic War and would also know its current location. As Horst finished his explanation, Justicar Genhain recognised the armour Horst was inhabiting as originally belonging to Paladin Bellicus, a Grey Knight known to him. The undead Inquisitor hastily dismissed the Justicar's observation as they had more important matters to attend to, and Greyfax agreed. They had a journey into the Eye of Terror to undertake.

The Crone

Horst lead Greyfax and her Grey Knights escort aboard the Malleus Rex to a swamp-covered world on the edge of the Eye of Terror. As they trudged through the stinking decay of the marsh, Horst explained that Moriana served the Chaos Gods directly, and possessed no mortal ambitions of her own, which left her untrusted even by Abaddon and the other Forces of Chaos. Greyfax noted that it was rumoured amongst the Holy Ordos that Moriana was once of the Ordo Malleus, but Horst shook his skeletal head. He explained that Moriana was older than any of the Ordos of the Inquisition, and dated back to the time of the Horus Heresy.

The Imperial party suddenly came under assault from Moriana's daemonic guardians, who had taken on physical forms shaped from the stone and plant matter of the swamp itself. The daemons proved little hindrance to the Inquisitors and Grey Knights, though Horst cautioned that the entire Daemon World they now walked upon was nothing more than an artificial reality sculpted by Moriana's whim from the frothing psychic energies of the Warp. Suddenly, from the miasma of the swamp ahead of them rose something that looked much like a giant stalagmite decorated around its circumference with many of the symbols of the Traitor Legions, all given to Moriana as tribute by those warbands of Chaos Space Marines seeking the crone's guidance from the Dark Gods. A gash-like opening a few metres above the swamp water provided a wary entryway for the servants of the Emperor.

Within the small cave created by the opening, they found Moriana, a wizened crone dressed in ragged green robes who was busy scrimshawing a wand made of two entwined Eldar figures whose mouths were open in frozen terror. The Chaos seer promised to tell the "servants of the Corpse-Emperor" whatever they wished to know. Greyfax, as was her way, immediately threatened the ancient priestess with death, but Moriana replied that she did not possess the Eye of Night, but could tell the Imperials where it could be found. When Greyfax suspiciously asked why the crone, a servant of the Ruinous Powers, would help the servants of the Emperor, Moriana replied that she did so for the obvious reason -- it served her own purposes. Mischieviously, the old priestess noted that she was surprised to see the undead Inquisitor Horst, expressing disbelief that the servants of the Corpse Emperor had become prone to taking up necromancy! Greyfax was incensed by the accusation and promised Moriana in a fit of pique that it was not a question of whether she was going to die, only of how.

Justicar Genhain found Greyfax's increasing threats of death to be counterproductive for their mission. Through the Vox, Genhain argued with Greyfax, telling her the crone would quite willingly die before she gave up the necessary information, and that she should stop wasting their time with threats. Instead, Greyfax should simply ask what the priestess wanted from them in return for her cooperation. When Moriana slyly responded that she would only answer the Imperials' questions if Greyfax asked nicely, the Puritan Inquisitor nearly killed her on the spot before Horst telepathically reminded her that her duty to the Emperor came before her own righteousness, and that if she acted otherwise she would be a disgrace to her Ordo. Greyfax responded that she was disgusted by the idea of sacrificing the ideas that held the Imperium together and kept its people pure for the sake of momentary gain, but Horst only mocked her self-righteous pretension in turn. The undead Inquisitor explained cynically that nothing now held the Imperium together; it was but the tattered remnants of what the Master of Mankind had forcibly welded into a single entity ten thousand standard years before. It was their purpose, as His servants and Inquisitors, to seek to build something better, rather than just prop up the Imperium's rotting corpse.

Somewhat chastised by her fellow Inquisitor, Greyfax realised that Moriana wanted her to attack to give the hag a reason not to cooperate. So Greyfax swallowed her pride and asked Moriana, very politely, to tell her where the Eye of Night was located. The crone responded that her companion, Horst, had already recovered the Eye of Night while he was still alive!

Horst immediately denied the allegation, and Moriana realised from his denials that the undead Horst did not remember a prior encounter between them several Terran centuries earlier. Greyfax interjected, somewhat gleefully, that if Horst truly held the Eye of Night, then she no longer needed Moriana alive. Horst was confused by the crone's accusation, however; he finally confessed that he had no recollection of how or when he had died. Moriana proved more forthcoming in the wake of this revelation. The crone explained that she needed Greyfax and the Imperials to reclaim the Eye of Night, for a Daemon Prince guarded the tower where the artefact now resided. A Daemon Prince who had taken from Moriana but had not settled his debt, and she now intended to use the servants of the Emperor as her personal executioners.

With her every instinct screaming not to, Greyfax reluctantly accepted the crone's bargain, and asked for the location of the tower. Instead, fearing that once she gave up the information Greyfax would kill her, Moriana decided to instead conjure up a guide to lead the Imperials to where the Eye of Night lay. Horst explained that while he had no memory of how he had died, he must have met Moriana before and cut the same bargain. But in that case, he had obviously failed to complete the mission and claim the Eye. As they prepared to leave, Greyfax promised to return and slay Moriana no matter what the outcome of their quest, but the old seer promised that if the Inquisitor tried, she would be the one to fall. Disgusted, Greyfax left Moriana's cave behind, realising that she had already crossed a line that had left a blot upon her once pristine soul.

The Pillar of Spite Fulfilled

Aboard a Thunderhawk gunship requisitioned from the Malleus Rex, Greyfax, Horst and the Grey Knights made their way to an unknown Daemon World. They were protected from the daemonic forces of the Eye of Terror by an Aegis bubble created by their own potent psyker minds, and were guided all the way by Moriana's daemonic familiar, an impish blob of green and blue flame. Greyfax found herself tortured by the idea that she was going into battle alongside a servant of the Archenemy, and could not think of a way to adequately purge her soul of the sin.

Once the Imperials passed through the upper atmosphere of the Daemon World their guide had directed them to, they discovered that its surface was dominated by a great, black thorn of a tower that seemed to briefly shimmer like crystal. The imp of flame called it Vastiagard, the Pillar of Spite Fulfilled, along with several other equally welcoming names.

The Thunderhawk moved toward a spire lower on the tower, and the gunship came under attack by a mass of flying daemons clearly in service to Tzeentch. Moriana's imp directed the Thunderhawk through the horde of Neverborn to a parapet wide enough for the gunship to land. The rounds of the Grey Knight transport's Heavy Bolters had been anointed with the blood of Imperial Saints, which proved anathema to the daemons, blasting their flaming bodies into empyreal mist.

Once the Thunderhawk had touched down, Greyfax led the undead Inquisitor and the fully-armoured Grey Knights out into the waiting daemonic horde, bringing down Neverborn with each blast of her Condemnor Bolter and slash of her Power Sword. After carving their way through the daemons, Greyfax and her companions entered the tower through a nearby portcullis, led by Moriana's chattering familiar. The remaining daemons were happy to leave them be, as what lay within the tower promised a fate far worse than whatever their tender mercies could deliver. The interior of the Pillar proved to be a twisting labyrinth, the only reality within that which the Imperials brought with them and protected within their ever-present Aegis bubble of psychic energy. Horst confessed he had a vague familiarity with the tower, but could remember nothing concrete about it.

But the undead Inquisitor's memory was jogged as they entered a region of the Pillar that encompassed a vast space, a hall with a floor, walls and ceiling, yet clouds impossibly circled the countless pillars on high while purple grass lay underfoot. Horst finally remembered coming to the tower with Paladin Bellicus, the man whose armour he now wore, after his own squad of Grey Knights had fallen because Moriana had refused to give them any aid. At that moment, the vista of a hall sloughed off to reveal a hellish scene of human figures writhing in agony, tortured by horned daemons upon every device ever designed by the human mind to inflict pain. Upon closer inspection of the gruesome vision, Greyfax realised that her own image was among the agonised multitude.

Then they met the ruling daemon of the dark tower. And he was dressed in the armour of an Imperial Inquisitor.

There was one small difference, however. In place of his eyes, there were only black, festering pits.

The undead Horst, finally regaining the full range of his memories, explained that the Daemon Prince had possessed his body at their last encounter, and in desperation, the Inquisitor had projected his own soul into his accompanying Paladin's body to cast himself back to the psychic beacon he had left behind on Savaven. But the Daemon Prince claimed the undead Inquisitor was a liar, and that Horst was the true creature of darkness who had fooled Greyfax.

Moriana's fiery familiar suddenly danced above the Daemon Prince, egging the Imperials on to destroy Horst's eyeless, possessed body. The undead Inquisitor pleaded with them not to, claiming that if his companions destroyed the daemon, they would also destroy his mortal shell, condemning him to undeath forever.

Instead, Horst believed there was another way. By combining the powers of their minds, the Imperials, psykers all, could drive the Daemon Prince from the body it was using as a shield and allow his essence to reclaim it.

Agreeing to Horst's ploy, the Imperials cast their minds out beyond their bubble of reality into the Immaterium, the Grey Knights merging their life energies into one as they faced the daemon purely on the psychic plane. Behind them came Greyfax, maintaining the potent Aegis shield around their souls, while the spectral Horst confronted the powerful Daemon Prince who had stolen his mortal shell.

But Horst proved unable to defeat his opponent and reclaim his body. He was cast, alongside the other Imperials, back into their bubble of reality, forced to become corporeal once more. The daemon still inhabited the corpse of Horst, while the Inquisitor remained trapped in the armour of paladin Bellicus. Defeated, Horst gave Greyfax permission to destroy his body and end the fight. Greyfax wasted no time in unleashing her Condemnor Bolter upon the Daemon Prince, even as it promised them endless secrets of power if they allowed it to live. Greyfax finally used her Power Sword to behead it and silence its insulting offers. At the same moment, Horst's own animate war-plate also collapsed to the ground, his soul apparently fled to the Warp at last with the loss of his tie to the physical realm. But within its broken skull, Greyfax discovered a black gem the size of her fist, surrounded by a haze of darkness -- the Eye of Night.

Moriana had been right, in her own scheming way. Horst had indeed carried the artefact with him all along.

Greyfax placed the Eye within a psychically-warded casket on her belt and left with the Grey Knights to return to the Imperium and present her prize to the Primarch. Moriana's daemonic familiar had already departed, and though the Inquisitor briefly felt a sense of victory despite Horst's sacrifice, it was quickly squelched by the knowledge of the choices she had made. There was a blot upon her soul that could never be erased, but she would continue to place her faith and hope of salvation in the Emperor despite her sins -- for the Emperor protects.

Canon Conflict

There is a potential canon conflict in Horst's appearance in both the Second War for Armageddon and as the undead Inquisitor who aided Katarinya Greyfax's search for the Eye of Night in 999.M41. Horst explains that he began his own search for the Eye of Night several centuries before, which ended in his possession of Paladin Bellicus' body and entombment in the sarcophagus beneath the ruins of the cathedral among the fragments of Savaven. Thus, it is unlikely that he was also present for the Second War of Armageddon in his own former body in 941.M41 when the second Armageddon conflict began. This is likely the result of a canon mix-up between the creators of the PC and mobile real-time strategy game Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon and Gav Thorpe who wrote the Eye of Night audiobook. The game was completed in 2014, the audiobook in 2017. No explanation has yet been given for how Inquisitor Horst could be in two places at the same time, unless his own belief that he had been trapped in the sarcophagus in Bellicus' corpse for centuries was an exaggeration. Nor has it been made clear which version of the Inquisitor's story may be considered the actual canon.

Sources

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