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- "Death to the False Emperor! Death to the False Emperor! Death! Death! DEATH!"
The Long War is a term used by Chaos Space Marines of the Traitor Legions and Renegade Space Marine warbands to refer to their fight to overthrow the Emperor of Mankind and seize control of the Imperium of Man for themselves and for the Chaos Gods. They intend to achieve the final victory that was denied the Warmaster Horus over ten thousand standard years before at the end of the Horus Heresy. The events of the Heresy are nothing more than myth and legends to the people of the Imperium in the late 41st Millennium, but for many of the Chaos Space Marines who dwell within the Eye of Terror where the flow of time moves slower, the terrible passions of that era are still very much alive. The Chaos Space Marines are merciless and brutal warriors -- accursed by man and god alike. Twisted beyond recognition by the fell powers they worship, their hatred of all they once held dear is writ large, corrupting their bodies just as it does their souls. In a gala full of horrors, the taint of Chaos is the most insidious threat of all. It can infect even the strongest mind and blacken the most innocent soul. The Space Marines are no exception to its lure, and those who are seduced by it fall often further than mortal men. Scarred beyond redemption the terrors of constant war, they devolve into bitter, selfish champions of the Chaos Gods. They have become mockeries of their former glory, the ultimate foils to the Adeptus Astartes, who they once called brothers. For ten thousand years, Traitor Legions and Renegade Chapters have ransacked and razed the worlds of the Emperor. The scale of their slaughter and conquest is a well guarded secret of the Inquisition, lest awareness of the heretic's existence tempt others to the service of Chaos. For ten millennia, the Long War has raged unseen and unheard by the vast majority of the Imperium, fought on countless battlefields where loyalists and rebels wage war for the future of humanity itself. Across hundreds of worlds the banners of traitors are held aloft and the galaxy burns in their wake. A single cry of defiance echoes across the Imperium: "Death to the false Emperor!"
The Primarch ProjectEdit
The Imperium is mighty and its reach is long, but the infinite Realm of Chaos is greater still. Even in the material universe the Emperor's followers only control islands of light in a sea of darkness. There are many who do not want the protection of the Imperium, who defy its laws and seek to undermine its works. Even inside the Imperium itself rebels and secessionists struggle constantly to throw off the chains of oppression, particularly among the lowliest underclasses created by the priesthood of Terra. These people have not forgotten the taste of freedom; they would rather give their fealty to the uncaring Ruinous Powers than grovel before the corpse-god of distant Terra. Some seek to escape from bondage and go to any lengths to secure their release; others resist the power of the Imperium without truly knowing why they do so, motivated simply by a conviction that they must fight against the tyranny it represents. All of these are the servants of Chaos and knowingly or unknowingly they continue to fight in the Long War begun by the Arch-Traitor Horus ten millennia past.
Following the end of the Age of Strife, the powerful being known only as the Emperor created the Primarchs -- twenty genetically-superior super-beings created from His own rich genetic code with the strength of a dozen men and intelligence almost equal to that of the Emperor himself. These gods amongst men were masterpieces of arcane science, destined to reunite the scattered realms of Mankind. At the Emperor's moment of triumph, disaster struck: A mysterious Warp vortex swept up the infant Primarchs and flung them through the Immaterium far from Terra, eventually depositing them upon distant human worlds. Perhaps it was during this cosmic voyage that Chaos fitrst touched the Primarchs, whispering in their dreams and sowing the seeds of future tyrannies as they slept. Not all was lost for the Emperor's ambitions with the disappearance of the Primarchs. He had gleaned much invaluable knowledge and data from the experiment. Using the genetic structure of the Primarchs, or "gene-seed" as it would come to be known, the Master of Mankind created the first Space Marines.
The Space Marine LegionsEdit
The Emperor formed twenty Legions, each using the gene-seed of one of the Primarchs. Numbering hundreds of thousands of genetically enhanced warriors and boasting fearsome weapons and starships that could carry them to battle, each Space Marine Legion were powerful enough to conquer whole worlds. First, the proto-Astartes known as the Thunder Warriors conquered Mankind's birthworld of Terra during the War of Unification; then, with the death of the proto-Astartes and the Legions of newly created Astartes under His command, the Emperor stepped out into the turbulent galaxy and set about claiming it once more. It was the beginning of the campaign to be known as the Great Crusade. World after world was brought into the Imperial fold, some rejoicing at being found by the warriors of Terra, others not so willing to bow down before the might of the Emperor. It mattered not, for there was no force capable of resisting the Space Marine Legions for long. As the Great Crusade spread out from Terra, the Space Marines rediscovered the first of the lost Primarchs, and as the Legions reclaimed ever more worlds, eventually all of the Primarchs were found. Reunited with the Emperor, the Primarchs became Mankind's paramount warriors and generals.
Each Primarch was given a Legion to command, one created from his own genetic material. With joyous vigour and unequalled martial prowess, the Primarchs and their Legions pushed back the boundaries of the wild galaxy, claiming many thousands of worlds in the Emperor's name and reconnecting the distant reaches of space in an ever expanding empire. The deeds of each Legion are uncountable, as are those of the Primarchs themselves, but suffice to say, this was a golden time for the armies and servants of the Emperor of Mankind. Yet even at the pinnacle of the Emperor's might there arose an enemy that would almost destroy His growing Imperium. Although none of the many alien foes could match the power of the Space Marine Legions, the insidious Forces of Chaos had set into motion the events of their near-destruction many decades earlier. The most dire threat to the Imperium was not to come from the xenos filth that infested the galaxy, but from amongst the ranks of the Space Marines themselves. The leader of this rebellion, after whom the first great heresy is named, was none other than the most praised and respected of all the Primarchs -- Horus.
The Horus HeresyEdit
When the rebellion against the Emperor came, its leader was the Primarch least suspected of any treachery: the great and noble Warmaster, Horus. Horus had always loved and respected the Emperor as a young man looks up to a strong father, and had faithfully remained at the Emperor's side throughout the Great Crusade. After Horus' stunning victories against the Orks during the Ullanor Crusade, the Emperor announced that he was returning to Terra, elevating Horus to the ultimate rank of Warmaster in his stead and giving him free rein to prosecute the Great Crusade as he saw fit. The Emperor renamed Horus' Legion, the Luna Wolves as the Sons of Horus in honour of their mighty Primarch. Yet the announcement bred jealousy and confusion in many of the Primarchs. Did their father really intend to abandon them at this most critical time? Without explanation, the Emperor left for Terra in order to further his mysterious agenda, leaving Horus to deal with the Crusade in his wake.
Horus strove to carry out the Emperor's will to the best of his ability, and, either by chance or fate or sinister design, came to lead the Sons of Horus to the haunted swamps of Davin's moon , hoping to bring the Emperor's light to that benighted orb. There, beset on all sides, Horus fell to a grievous blow from an eldritch sword, the Anathame. The tainted wound festered, plunging Horus into a fugue state from which he could not be awoken. The Sons of Horus were desolate at the loss of their founding father. Under the advice of Erebus, a well-respected Chaplain of the Word Bearers, the most senior members of the Legion took their Primarch to one of the Davinite moon's Warrior Lodges for healing. Unbeknownst to the Space Marines, the Ruinous Powers restored Horus to his full strength, while cementing their grip upon the Warmaster's soul in the process. Awed by the "miracle" worked by the Davinite priests, the Warmaster spread the new-found cult and the practices of its warrior lodges throughout the Sons of Horus and beyond, infesting the Legions with heretical notions disguised as beneficence.
Initially, even the mighty Primarchs had little idea that they had fallen to Chaos. When they rebelled, their good intentions and just causes began to fall away as their souls became saturated with the energies of the Warp. The Space Marine Legions that they led inevitably followed the fall of their commanders, blind to the faults of their genetic fathers and hungry for more conquest. The corrupting force of Chaos spread into the Imperial Army and the Mechanicum, and soon enough, the rot had seeped through to the core of the Emperor's new domain. As a new Age of Darkness began, hundreds of worlds burned in the name of the Dark Gods, and a terror unlike any seen before was unleashed across the galaxy during the seven dark standard years that the Heresy raged. Much of the truth of these times has been lost, obscured by the mists of time or embellished to the point where giants bestrode worlds with thunderous steps and the planets themselves cracked and split at their tread. The Traitor forces of Horus drove all before them, until those Astartes Legions still loyal to the Master of Mankind stood at bay upon the fortified walls of the Imperial Palace during the climactic Battle of Terra. The forces of darkness pressed in around the guttering flame of humanity, but desperate times called for desperate solutions. Sanguinius of the Blood Angels and Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists, together with their bravest warriors, would accompany the Emperor and take the fight to Horus upon his Battle Barge the Vengeful Spirit, a mighty warship in orbit above Terra.
The Emperor and his warriors teleported onto Horus' Battle Barge but found themselves separated and scattered throughout the corrupt vessel by means of the Warmaster's dark sorcery. The Emperor fought his way to the Warmaster but was too late to save Sanguinius, who Horus slew when the angelic Primarch refused to turn to Chaos. Yet, some maintain that Sanguinius inflicted a wound, however small, upon his erstwhile brother. Horus and the Emperor clashed in a battle of both flesh and spirit. Horus was filled with the power of the Ruinous Powers and dealt the Emperor a mortal blow, but in the end, the Emperor's will was the greater, and Horus was struck down with the last ounce of the Emperor's strength. The traitor was destroyed utterly, in body and soul and, with his death, the power of the Traitor Legions was broken. When Dorn and his warriors finally fought their way into the rebel Warmaster’s sanctum, they found the Emperor’s broken and ruined body, and it is said that their cries of woe were heard far below on Terra itself. Rogal Dorn, most determined and unbending of the Primarchs, bore his master's body back to Terra and, under the direction of the crippled Emperor, bound him within the strange psychic augmentation device known as the Golden Throne to sustain his existence for all eternity with constant sacrifice and baroque machineries. The followers of the Ruinous Powers were defeated, but it was victory won at a terrible cost. The brotherhood of the Primarchs was sundered, and the Emperor's vision for the Imperium and all of Mankind lay in ruins—the last, best hope of its fulfillment lost forever.
The Great ScouringEdit
In the wake of the Horus Heresy, the Imperium was a dismal, shattered thing. As the beauty and grandeur of the Imperial Palace had been burned black in the flames of betrayal, so great swathes of the Emperor's star-spanning realm had suffered a similar fate. The Master of Mankind was a broken husk, and his dream of unity erased forever- yet for all this, the Imperium retained might enough to exact a bloody revenge upon its foes. There could be no forgiveness for the crimes of the Traitor Legions -- those who now ruled in the Emperor's name had neither the ability nor the desire to prevent a war of reciprocity. So began the time known in the histories of the Imperium as the Great Scouring. Before actually being confined for all time within the life support mechanisms of the Golden Throne, the Emperor had pronounced judgement on the Traitors: he declared them Excommunicate Traitoris, and determined that they were to be driven into the hellish region of the Warp rift called the Eye of Terror, which would hold them for all eternity. All records and memory of the Traitor Legions were to be expunged from the Imperial archives. The Traitor Legions' associated troops from the Dark Mechanicus, the Titan Legions or the regiments and starships of the Imperial Army that had turned to Chaos were to be destroyed or driven into the Eye. It would be as if the Traitor Legions had never existed to sully the Imperium with their betrayal.
This was a period of monumental violence, of confusion and darkness. Though the newly founded Imperium fought to root out corruption and expose wrong-doers to the cold light of Imperial justice, the galaxy's scope and dark, shadowed reaches worked against them. With new betrayals and cries for vengeance emerging daily, a great many bloody-handed deeds went unseen. The ravaged Space Marine Legions were no exception to this, with many striving to cover up their own misdemeanours or exact their pound of flesh from those who wronged them. The Dark Angels, the Space Wolves, Iron Hands and even the Ultramarines, all followed their own agendas as the wars of the Great Scouring gathered pace. Fighting continued for another seven standard years after the Heresy had ended with Horus' death on the bridge of his great flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, before the Traitor forces were wholly destroyed or exiled into the Eye of Terror. Many Chaos-corrupted star systems were cleansed and placed under the watch of the newborn Inquisition. Horus' death had not ended the fighting, but it had renewed the resolve of the Loyalists to destroy the Traitors. Many Imperial worlds during the Heresy had refused to commit their forces to either side, or seceded entirely from the Imperium to regain their independence. Such indecision was punished by Loyalist and Traitor forces alike. These forces were often bled white attacking the rebel strongholds of worlds that only wanted to be free of the Imperium entirely, whether it swore allegiance to the Emperor or to the Dark Gods.
Within the Eye, the traitor Primarchs and their Legions found sanctuary amongst the nightmarish Daemon Worlds. They warred amongst themselves for dominance and territory, while factions split from the Legions to found other warbands and armies, but they have never stopped fighting against the Emperor. This struggle has lasted for ten thousand years and even now besets the Imperium. The Horus Heresy is a distant memory, but the taint of Chaos still threatens to corrupt -- the Long War continues.
The centuries after the end of the Heresy have seen the Traitor Legions tear themselves apart in the fractious in-fighting that is so common amongst the servants of Chaos. Others have become factional warlords, murder-obsessed berserkers, pleasure-seeking hedonists, Daemonhosts or potent servants of the Dark Gods who are more devoted to achieving ascendance in the Great Game played between the major Chaos Gods in the Realm of Chaos than the struggle against the Corpse Emperor. This is most true of the Primarchs of the Traitor Legions who survived the Heresy, many of whom have become Daemon Princes and given up day-to-day control over their former Legions.
That minority of Chaos Space Marines, including individuals like Abaddon the Despoiler, who have managed to retain their full faculties and kept the corrupting influences of the Warp to a minimum, have done so only by maintaining a sense of purpose dedicated to the final overthrow of the Emperor. In truth, the Long War is the only activity that is capable of reuniting all of the disparate warbands of Chaos Space Marines into a fighting force capable of taking on the forces of the Imperium. It is Abaddon, Horus' successor as the Warmaster of Chaos Undivided, who is most capable of forging this unity, usually so that the Forces of Chaos may unleash yet another one of their Black Crusades out of the Eye of Terror into Imperial space. It should be noted that the Long War is now closer to its end than ever before since the end of the Horus Heresy, due to the limited success won by Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41, which for the first time won control of Imperial space outside of the Eye on the Fortress World of Cadia.
It should be noted that many of those Chaos Space Marines who have managed to maintain themselves relatively free of Chaotic corruption consider that their surviving Primarchs have essentially chosen to forget about the goals of the Long War, preferring instead to pursue the more inscrutable goals of the Great Game. For these Traitor Marines, it is Abaddon, rather than their Daemon Primarchs, who are truly worthy of their loyalty, for in ten thousand years, he has never wavered in his determination to achieve the final victory that eluded Horus.
Chaos Gods and the Long WarEdit
- "Your death shall slake my axe's thirst!"
None of the Gods of Chaos benefit as much from the continued conflict generated by the Long War as Khorne does. Many of his champions were forged in the flames of the battles of the Horus Heresy, and while some have been elevated to the ranks of Daemon Princes, and others have fallen in battle, many of those champions live and fight to this day. They remember with furious anger the great betrayal by the "Corpse God" and his followers. This anger still smoulders in their hearts, ready at any time to fully reignite and burst through the plates of their Chaos armour, consuming their one-time brothers in flames of undying hatred. These are veterans of hundreds, even thousands, of campaigns. Their bases on Daemon Worlds deep with Warpstorms, such as the Screaming Vortex, exist outside of the normal strictures of time. The disparity between what might be thought of as real-time and time as they experience it allows them to wage endless wars and accumulate the experiences of many lifetimes, giving them an enormous advantage over their weaker loyalist brothers. It also gives them a perspective unique among Khorne's champions and other minions. Because they begin as mortals but taste immortality, they develop what vaguely resembles patience.
Khorne may not have patience of his own, but he knows the value of it in these champions. He allows them to bide their time and hone their skills on the battlefields of the Daemon Worlds, waiting for opportunities to unleash them upon the Imperial weaklings who refused to embrace Khorne's blessings. When these crusades are launched, the inhabitants of the galaxy are almost never prepared. There is no warning. No scouts or Astropaths are able to adequately pierce the veil that obscures the activities of these forsaken domains and, even if they could, the distortion of time and vagaries of the Warp would make any knowledge gained nearly useless. Reports of assaults being launched could easily be delayed by hundreds of years, reaching panicked ears after they have already been in the grave for generations. Thus the continuance of the Long War gives the Blood God an unmatched and incredibly useful capability. Sitting upon the Throne of Skulls, Khorne can see new worlds ready to burn, civilisations ripe for conquest, populations ready to be bled into his rivers, or warzones where fighting is abating. In his Chaos Space Marines, he has warriors ready to eagerly serve him and feed the flames of conflict. With hearts full of hate, they strike without warning to unleash devastation upon the enemies of Khorne. The galaxy is but a parched, sun-baked field to them, and they, the flamer ready to ignite. All the Blood God has to do is pull the trigger and let the galaxy burn.
- "The Imperium drew its last breath long ago. We are merely awaiting its death rattle, and then entropy shall claim its long-awaited victory. We are patient. We have waited ten thousand years. We will wait ten thousand more, if necessary. But I do not think it will be."
- — Lethrax the Blighted Hand
For a Plague Marine or other Chaos Space Marine in the service of Nurgle, the timeless nature of existence within the Warp is a gift beyond measure. Many of the lessons and experiences that lesser mortals are unable to fully appreciate, let alone comprehend in any significant way, are theirs to explore. It gives these warriors an eternity to ponder the grandeur of their master's plan for ultimate corruption. The many diseases they have within them are given time to percolate and properly evolve into ever more deadly forms. Perhaps best of all, it may allow them to live long enough to see rot claim the body and soul of the False Emperor as he withers away to nothing on his Golden Throne. While the unfocused followers of Tzeentch waste time in futile attempts to find new ways to breach the Imperial Palace, the patient Chaos Space Marines of Nurgle know that inevitability is their ally. They have but to wait for the great victory, for nothing is eternal -- not even the Emperor and his domain. For these enlightened and blighted warriors, the Long War does not seem as long as it does to others.
This is not to say they do not harbour the same righteous hatred for their former brothers that all Legions share. While they know they could simply wait for victory to come to them, they choose to follow the example of Nurgle himself and take a more active role in the downfall and renewal of the galaxy. Eternity offers them many ways to revel in the joy of living and to gain satisfaction from the death they can bring to their enemies. There are a thousand worlds ripe for virus bombing. Billions of souls wait to be tormented by plagues of the spirit. The flesh and bones of entire Space Marine chapters are there to be harvested and used as experimental subjects for Nurgle's constantly mutating catalogue of diseases. It is the duty and privilege of the veterans of the Long War to see to it that no opportunity to further the great cycle through acts of vengeance upon the Emperor's lapdogs passes by.
The betrayals committed against the Legions in the days of Horus' war against the bonds of undeserved servitude are fresh in the minds of all who fought in those days. Let Khorne's brainless savages mutilate the warriors of the Adeptus Astartes. Such violence has a place. If the appetites of Slaanesh's brain-addled devotees get lost in the pleasures of the kill, so be it. Even the erratic, misguided actions of Tzeentch's minions can, at times, create diversions that force the enemies of the Ruinous Powers to weaken. None of this can compare to the all-encompassing totality of the Plaguelord's grand design. As empires crumble, stars collapse upon themselves and each and every pathetic Space Marine chapter fades from memory, Grandfather Nurgle and his chosen servants will have the last laugh. The galaxy will die, and from its death throes a new existence shall come into being, with Nurgle ruling as lord over it all. Not a single one of the Emperor's loyal, wretched offspring shall persist to sully it.
- "Our Father denied us such pleasures. It is only fitting we share them with his deluded followers."
Perfection is normally an impossible goal to achieve. Life is finite, and there is only so much that can be done through its course. Time pushes ever onward, stealing opportunities and exchanging them for failures and regrets. This is the truth of existence for all creatures in the mortal realm. There are, however, places where the rules that govern reality are suspended, where time can be slowed, stopped, or even reversed. Warp Storms such as the Eye of Terror and the Screaming Vortex are such places. Within these treacherous domains, the ancient veterans of the Long War experience time differently than those who fear to enter. Time is theirs to do with as they please. They can spend it honing their skills, plotting vengeance, and practicing their deadly arts—and as it is said, practice makes perfect. The Emperor's Children and other Space Marines whom the Dark Prince released from the shackles of Imperial dogma have had thousands of years to revel in their freedom. Like all the warriors who fought the Emperor's tyranny, these Chaos Space Marines have a burning hatred of the Emperor and his simple minions smouldering within them. Unlike those others, they have found pleasure in the intensity of this hatred, and this has shown them the value of an existence in the borders between realspace and the Realm of Chaos. There they are free to linger over an emotion, to savour the sensations of the passions they feel. They can expose themselves to delightful torments, immerse themselves in debauched distractions, and experiment with new and gratifying ways to pursue their desire for revenge. Let Khorne be content with simply killing, or Tzeentch with his black schemes. A warrior of Slaanesh has much more interesting things to do to his enemies than merely ending their lives, and within the timeless realms he and his subjects can experience and experiment with them all.
- "When I saw that there was no truth, freedom came easily. When I saw that freedom was an illusion, madness came easily. When I saw that madness was nothing but an epithet, truth came easily."
- — Cire Rilsan, Disciple of Tzeentch and Betrayer of Hive World Orar
Tzeentch has long been associated with the struggle against the hated Imperium. Some dare whisper that it was his schemes that led to the Heresy itself, with his invisible tendrils guiding such small events such as the discovery of a blade able to mortally wound even a Warmaster, the rivalry that led Legion to fight Legion, or the hubris that led a Primarch to disobey his Father and His edicts. Such suppositions must remain merely that, for it is also possible they are all mere rumours designed to ensnare the weak-minded with further evidence of the power of Tzeentch. It is clear, though, that the Changer of Ways has been an active force in the Long War for untold ages. It may be that he required the Emperor to be brought low, lest mankind perhaps escape his grasp-- or that he cares not which faction emerges the victor and views the endless conspiracies and plots as part of an amusing game. Such motivations would be far removed from rational thought, but the ways of Tzeentch are beyond mere sanity and no mortal mind can possibly encompass even a fraction of his roiling will. Like the Great Ocean he was created from, Tzeentch is perhaps more a force that must be respected and endured than controlled and harnessed. The Impossible Realm is littered with the gibbering, drooling spawn that had thought themselves ready to bind or comprehend the smallest shard of the Changer of Ways, but there are always more who will join them in time.
In the end, Heretics must remember that Tzeentch is the Father of Lies and Deceit. As such, Heretics may choose to accept the accounts they have read or experienced at face value or assume that, when it comes to Tzeentch, there is no true dogma. All is Change, even what most would consider to be incontrovertible facts that established empires. Anything xenos species or human followers of the "Corpse God" believe and perpetuate regarding the Great Conspirator may have also been influenced by his distortions. For those who would follow the Changer of Ways, manipulating fact and affirming myth are but a small part of the Great Game.
Notable Events of the Long WarEdit
The Long War has raged for ten thousand years. The bitterness and spite of the Chaos Space Marines has spread throughout the galaxy, spilling from the Warp and bleeding back again for time immemorial. Though the Inquisition takes great pains to quell reports of Chaos incursions in order to spare the common populace from unconventional thought, the legends and records persist across the galaxy, handed down through the generations by the foolish and the brave:
- The Long War Begins (ca. 014.M31) - Following the death of the Arch-Traitor Horus, and the retreat of the Traitor Legions into the great Warp Rift known as the Eye of Terror, the surviving Chaos Space Marines, thirsty for revenge, strike out against the Imperium from the depths of the Eye. The Adepts of the Administratum are horrified to find that the number of their invasions consistently increases with every passing decade.
- 1st Black Crusade (781.M31) - Abaddon the Despoiler made many blood pacts with the Dark Gods in the wake of Horus' defeat during the Horus Heresy. In 781.M31, Abaddon made his first attempt to launch a new offensive against the Imperium of Man following the Horus Heresy and initiated the 1st Black Crusade, also known as the First Battle of Cadia. The 1st Black Crusade marked the first assault by the Forces of Chaos upon that Fortress World. Following the relative success of this deadly incursion across the Segmentum Obscurus, the Ruinous Powers grant Abaddon the means to further increase his already formidable power. On the world of Uralan, by the will of the Dark Gods, Abaddon recovered the Daemonsword Drach'nyen after battling his way through a haunted labyrinth to the great inner chamber where the blade had languished in stasis for millennia. The howling sword contained the bound essence of a dangerous Warp entity who had the power to rend reality apart wherever the weapon strikes. After the recovery of the malefic sword, Abaddon's power swelled to inhuman proportions and he was recognised as Horus Lupercal's true successor amongst the Traitor Legions, the new Warmaster of Chaos Undivided.
- Perturabo's Plague (ca. 400.M32) - The Daemon Primarch Perturabo perverts the eight rituals of possession, turning them against his enemies. Invoking Nurgle, Perturabo imbues his curse with extreme contagion and releases it into the mechanical systems of Toil, a vassal Forge World. The raw Chaos spreads through the machines, and the hidden manufactorums begin to change. On the eighth day, giant cables burst from the earth, daemonic machines hunt the living, and many-legged cathedrals of industry prowl the wastes. The planet is ultimately scoured of all native flesh.
- 2nd Black Crusade (597.M32) - Abaddon places a terrible curse upon the worlds of the Belis Corona Sector, infusing them with the touch of the Warp. Meanwhile, his fleet attacks the sector's Imperial shipyards, destroying dozens of Imperial Cruisers being constructed or repaired. Before the Imperium can muster its strength to fight back, the Despoiler retreats into the Eye of Terror, his works complete.
- The Feral War (ca. 112.M33) - Whilst mining the Feral World of Aggaros, the Adeptus Mechanicus engage in what at first seems like an embarrassingly one-sided battle -- that is until the primitives bring their flame-tongued shamans into the fray. The armies of the Adeptus Mechanicus find themselves burnt from the inside or crushed flat by invisible forces. The retreating Tech-Priests call in an old debt from the Relictors Chapter in order to renew the attack. Four days later, the Relictors' 3rd Company fights its way through psychic pyrotechnics of bewildering force to reach the hidden city of the primitive tribes. Lining every road are dust-caked statues of the Thousand Sons, each facing a colossal effigy of Ahriman atop a pyramid of obsidian. Captain Excorius orders the statue of Ahriman tom down. As it topples, every one of the Thousand Sons comes to life, shrugging off the dust of centuries and opening fire on the Relictors with a hail of coruscating bolts. Not one of the Adeptus Mechanicus, nor their Relictors allies, survive.
- 3rd Black Crusade (909.M32) - The Despoiler sends the Daemon Prince Tallomin against the Cadian Gate in a reckless and bloody frontal assault. The daemonic horde that follows in Tallomin's wake accounts for the destruction of millions of lives and draws in Imperial Guard regiments and Space Marine Chapters from across the Segmentum Obscurus. Eventually, warriors of the Space Wolves manage to send Tallomin howling back into the Warp. Under the cover of the attack, Abaddon leads a dedicated strike force to desecrate the Shrine World of Gerstahl, breaking the ancient seal on the Imperial saint's tomb and utterly destroying his remains whilst the Imperium's attention is elsewhere.
- 4th Black Crusade (001.M34) - Also known as the El'Phanor War, during this Black Crusade the Black Legion besieges the great Citadel of Kromarch. Abaddon leads the charge against the adamantium gates of the famously unbreachable citadel upon the world of El'Phanor. Only one in ten of Abaddon's spearhead reach the gates before they are trapped by Heavy Bolter fire. Utilising his Daemon Sword Drach'nyen, the gates of the citadel prove harder than diamond, but they split apart like cordwood before Abaddon's dolorous blow. In an orgy of violence, the Traitor Legions and their daemonic allies fall upon Kromarch and his kin, extinguishing their ancient line forever.
- The Shattering (764.M34) - The Eldar Craftworld Lugganath comes under vicious attack from a psychically shielded fleet of Emperor's Children. The Eldar vessels destroy the first wave of fighters, but the sheer number of Chaos Space Marine dropships forces a breach in the craftworld's defences. After a bitterly fought boarding action, a teleport relay is established in the Plaza of Reflection and the Emperor's Children begin to deploy en masse. The Eldar seal off the breach with surgical precision, but they realise their foe's true intent too late. At the heart of the plaza, several hundred Noise Marines combine their sonic weapons into a psychic explosion that thrums louder and louder throughout Lugganath's psychoplastic architecture until the air fills with screams. Cracks appear across the craftworld's sweeping arches, and the thin spires crumble down onto the raging battle below.
- The Red Dawn of Iriad IV (437.M35) - lriad IV, a fortified industrial world on the cusp of the Eye of Terror, is invaded by a tide of World Eaters. Captain Revellion, of the Ebon Knights Chapter, leads his men against his Traitor cousins in a bitterly fought war that sees the corpse count rise spectacularly quickly. The battle tears across the planet until less than a company of warriors remains on either side. Whilst the World Eaters do not care that so many of their number have fallen, Captain Revellion is driven to desperation by the loss of so many of his men and mutters a prayer into the night. Hours later, covered head to toe in blood, Revellion stalks out from the shadows with a dripping Chainsword in either hand. His men shout in fierce joy as the last of the World Eaters falls, though their victory soon turns to ashes. Unstoppable, Captain Revellion hacks a swathe through the remaining Ebon Knights. He does not stop the there. The rampaging Captain attacks anything that moves, including his own reflection. District after district is depopulated as Revellion's pact with Khorne bears slow but terrible fruit. Iriad IV's remaining population is evacuated and the planet is declared Perditas.
- The Green Death (437.M36) - The infected Ork warbands invading the Ecclesiarchy world of Sanctia evince a terrible new barbarism. They fall upon the planet's defenders and consume them bodily, devouring the living and the dead alike, as if compelled by a daemonic hunger. Bloating and swelling, the Orks become obese monstrosities that can move only at a snail's pace. Puzzled by this strange reprieve, the Adepta Sororitas systematically purge the Orks with flame and bolter. It is then that Mortarion and his Death Guard make planetfall. The skeletally thin Daemon Primarch looms over the bodies of the Orks as he stalks to the front lines. At his passing, each Ork bursts apart in a shower of foul fluids, and dozens of Nurglings spill out from their remains to follow their master. Sanctia falls to the Green Death within twenty hours of Mortarion's arrival, and the plague spreads across the Ecclesiarchy-held system at an unstoppable pace.
- 5th Black Crusade (723.M36) - Abaddon scours the Elysia Sector, raiding hundreds of worlds and causing untold death and destruction. On Tarinth, the Despoiler lures the Warhawks and Venerators Chapters into the ruins of Kasyr Lutein where he traps them between the daemonic hordes of Khorne and the forces of the Black Legion. In a bitter last stand, both Loyalist Chapters are utterly destroyed, their skulls taken by the ancient Daemon Prince Doombreed, whose existence precedes that of the Imperium itself, to be mounted upon the mighty throne of Khorne.
- The Great Degeneration (836.M36) - After the unremitting violence of the xenocidal Quietus Campaign, the Annihilators Chapter finally succumbs to blood psychosis. Those of the Chapter still able to act rationally gather at their fortress-monastery in the hope of finding absolution. Instead of redeeming their sins, however, their corrupted Chaplains lead them in an ancient ritual, leaving their souls wide open to daemonic influence. Every member of the Chapter is possessed over the course of a single moonlit night, shifting form and devolving into armoured half-Daemon monstrosities. Calling themselves the Beasts of Annihilation, the brethren go to war again, though this time it is the Imperium that feels their wrath.
- 6th Black Crusade (901.M36) - The Sons of the Eye were a splinter warband of the Black Legion, founded and commanded by the infamous Chaos Lord Drecarth the Sightless, the Blind Butcher of Irridous VII. Drecarth was a former Battle-Brother of the Sons of Horus who had fought alongside Abaddon during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy that followed. Always jealous of the Primarch Horus' favour for the Despoiler, the Sons of the Eye considered Abaddon a usurper. During the 6th Black Crusade launched in 901.M36, Abaddon visited his wrath upon Drecarth the Sightless and his treacherous warband. Abaddon aided the Sons of the Eye in an assault on the Forge World of Arkreach, fighting side-by-side with them until the Adeptus Mechanicus defenders were finally crushed. The triumphant Abaddon then slowly killed Drecarth, impaling him with the Talon of Horus, even as the Despoiler made him watch every member of the Sons of the Eye bow before their new master.
- The Abyssal Crusade (321.M37-112.M38) - Warpstorm Dionys ripples across the galaxy, its ghastly energies polluting a wide swathe of star systems. In addition to billions of Imperial citizens, no less than thirty Space Marine Chapters are judged by the charismatic Saint Basillius to be tainted. The Ecclesiarchal lord gives a choice to those so judged -- seek redemption in the Eye of Terror or be exterminated. Without exception, the Judged Chapters choose to embark upon a redemptive crusade aimed at purging the Daemon Worlds of the Eye of Terror. Within that great Warp rift, some of the Chapters are lost forever or destroyed, and a few turn renegade in order to survive. The most resolute return to the Imperium nearly 800 years later, and discover that their accuser, Saint Basillius himself, is a servant of Chaos. The corrupted saint's demise is swift and bloody.
- Molochai's Folly (772.M37) - Lured by promises of power, Sevastos Molochai, the power-hungry Planetary Governor of Urskas Sol Tetra, makes long-range contact with a coven of Word Bearers Chaos Space Marines. Within eight weeks, his planet is turned from a thriving industrial world into a Daemon-infested nightmare.
- 7th Black Crusade (ca. 811.M37) - During the course of the Ghost War, the Blood Angels join in battle against Abaddon's horde upon the world of Mackan. The Despoiler mercilessly singles out the Sons of Sanguinius, personally leading a band of Khorne Berzerkers in a gore-spattered assault against the Blood Angels' Devastator positions. Though only a handful of the traitors survive the teeth of the loyalists' guns, the Blood Angels' Assault troops are unable to reclaim the bodies of their fallen brothers which are desecrated by the Despoiler's frenzied warband.
- 8th Black Crusade (999.M37) - Abaddon the Despoiler completes a complex ritual of death in the name of Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways. On worlds throughout the Segmentum Obscurus, Imperial citizens are slaughtered in precise numbers and esoteric rituals. Only when the Inquisition finally breaks the code of damnation is the Imperium able to bring an end to the Black Legion's rampage across the Segmentum in time with these mysterious attacks, but not before countless worlds have been saturated in death.
- 9th Black Crusade (537.M38) - The 9th Black Crusade was a campaign led by the infamous Chaos Lord Abaddon the Despoiler and his Black Legion, launched out of the Eye of Terror in 537.M38. Intending to bring about the demise of the naval fortress of Cancephalus, Abaddon lead his forces against the heaving populations of the nearby world of Antecanis. Monarchhive, the hive city that served as the seat of Antecanis' Imperial Commander, was besieged by Abaddon's vanguard. The Black Legionaries burned and butchered their way through the lower levels, whilst Abaddon himself stormed its inner sanctums. The hive populations were slowly destroyed by the slaughter. By the time the forces of the Imperial Guard arrived from Cancephalus to reinforce the desperate survivors, Abaddon and his favoured Legionaries had already left orbit, dropping a dozen Cyclonic Warheads onto the ruins of Monarchhive in a last gesture of contempt. The seventeen-year-long war that ensued robbed both Antecanis and Cancephalus of their most precious resource -- manpower. Without the fleets of Cancephalus to stop him, Abaddon is able to ravage the rest of the sector at will. During this time, the Lamenters Chapter is recalled along with a number of other Crusading Chapters by the High Lords of Terra to help deal with the rising threat of incursions from the Eye of Terror. But the Lamenters' fell reputation for suffering bitter reversals and dark turns of fate worked against them during their defence of the Hive World of Corillia from a Chaotic attack. The superstition-bound Mortifactors Chapter refused to fight alongside the Lamenters, abandoning the planet rather than serve besides fellow Astartes they consider cursed. Unwilling to desert the Hive World's population, the Lamenters held out alone against the Black Legion's onslaught for six standard weeks, suffering horrendous losses until the Ultramarines and White Scars led a battle group that broke though the Chaos warfleet to relieve Corillia. Reduced to barely 200 surviving Battle-Brothers by their sacrifice, the Lamenters were deemed lost when their fleet disappeared into a Warp Storm soon afterwards, only to reappear more than a standard century later on the edge of the Segmentum Solar, having slowly battled their way back from the outer void.
- 10th Black Crusade (001.M39) - This Black Crusade is also known as the Conflict of Helica, and was a joint campaign carried out by Abaddon and the Daemon Primarch Perturabo. Both the Black Legion and the Iron Warriors struck against the worlds of the Scarus Sector's Helican Sub-sector. While the Black Legion attacked the capital world of the sub-sector, the Hive World of Thracian Primaris, the Iron Warriors focused their own assault against the Iron Hands Chapter to fulfil an old blood debt. In a series of bitter sieges, the Iron Warriors burned the Medusa System's outlying worlds and pushed the Iron Hands to the brink of destruction. Only when the Loyalist Chapter receives heavy Imperial reinforcements did Abaddon and the Iron Warriors retreat back to the Eye of Terror, taking with them valuable information about Medusa's defences for use at a later date.
- 11th Black Crusade (301.M39) - In 301.M39, Abaddon the Despoiler launched his 11th Black Crusade out of the Eye of Terror. In an attempt to break through the cordon of Warp Storms surrounding the Eye into Imperial space, he employed a captured daemon to navigate. The effort proved fruitless, and instead the daemon warped the Black Fleet directly into the path of the Orks of WAAAGH! Murgor. In the ruins of the Cardinal World of Relorria, the Black Legion brought the Orks to battle, Bolter rounds and Chainswords tearing into the green-skinned xenos. After months of bloody warfare, Abaddon decided to leave Relorria to its fate and the Black Legion returned to the nightmare realm of the Eye of Terror -- but not before the Warmaster of Chaos filled the holds of his Black Fleet with a multitude of captured Orkoid specimens for later experimentation.
- Double-Edge Swords (198-485.M40) - For more than a dozen generations, agents of the Alpha Legion infiltrate the hive slums of Ghorstangrad, homeworld of the Emperor's Swords. Through subtle manipulation of the dominant sects and gangs, the Alpha Legion seed potential future Space Marines with all manner of deviant philosophies and subconscious triggers. Though many of these brainwashed youths are rejected by Librarians and Chaplains, some are recruited into the Chapter nonetheless -- a lurking threat unknown even to the recruits themselves. Almost three centuries later, the Alpha Legion mounts a full-scale invasion of Ghorstangrad. They are met in open battle by the Emperor's Swords. The Alpha Legion employ hypnotic and disorienting psychic attacks, releasing the nascent personalities of their unknowing infiltrators amongst the defending battle-brothers. Within hours, the Chapter disintegrates into a morass of battling factions, some of which join forces with the invaders. The loyalist Emperor's Swords are entirely destroyed, Ghorstangrad is razed and the gene-seed stores of the Chapter are stolen. The Alpha Legion withdraws to the Eastern Fringe, its numbers swollen with new renegades still covered in the blood of their brethren.
- 12th Black Crusade (139.M41) - Better known as the Gothic War, this Black Crusade was fought for control of the Gothic Sector in the Segmentum Obscurus between the Chaotic forces of Abaddon the Despoiler and the defenders of the Imperium. Abaddon lead his great fleet into the Gothic Sector, capturing two of the prehistoric xenos-built star forts known as the Blackstone Fortresses. Under Abaddon's control, the might of the Blackstone Fortresses is used to destroy entire worlds in the Gothic Sector during this campaign. The Despoiler's fleet is driven back at great cost, though Abaddon escapes with the Blackstone Fortresses into the Eye of Terror. The vast engines of destruction emerge once more into the material universe during Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade over eight hundred standard years later.
- The First War for Armageddon (444.M41) - Imperial forces upon the strategically vital world of Armageddon struggle to contain an armed rebellion that spontaneously breaks out across both Armageddon Prime and Armageddon Secundus. At the height of the civil war, a Space Hulk enters the system and disgorges a horde from the Daemon Worlds of the Eye of Terror, led by Angron and accompanied by massed warbands of World Eaters. Angron and his Daemon armies carry a red path across Armageddon Prime and the conquest of the planet appears inevitable until the Daemon Primarch is delayed drawing chaotic energy to the planet. During the reprieve, the Imperial forces are reinforced not only by Space Wolves from nearby Fenris, but also by a company of one hundred Grey Knights Terminators. Though it cost the lives of all but a handful of the Grey Knights, Angron and his daemonic honour guard of Blood Thirsters are finally driven back into the Warp.
- The Constantinus Iconoclasm (746.M41) - The Sons of Guilliman free Nova Terra from a Tyranid attack. Aftenwards, Squad Constantinus hunts down remnants of the Hive Fleet, finding Genestealer cults within the noble families of the capital. The entire ruling class is executed. The outraged population rises up against their Space Marine liberators. His patience gone, Sergeant Constantinus blames the Imperium for making him a monstrous killer and denounces the Emperor. He swears to lead the populace to a better future, and his conviction is infectious. The old order is thrown down and statues of Constantin us the Liberator arc raised in their place. Other servants of the Ruinous Powers soon arrive, drawn by the anarchy and bloodshed. The rebel sergeant's megalomania escalates until it plunges the whole sector into open war. The mass rebellion ends only when Constantinus is killed by the Officio Assassinorum.
- The Plague that Walks (757.M41) - The first outbreak of the Zombie Plague occurs on Hydra Minoris after Typhus, and his Death Guard foot soldiers penetrate to the heart of its capital hive. As the living begin to fall prey to the painful disease, its true horror is revealed; the dead victims begin to rise up and attack the living. The resultant Imperial quarantine traps 23 billion uninfected citizens alongside a rising tide of the undead.
- The Badab War (901-912.M41) - Lugft Huron, Chapter Master of the Astral Claws, declares himself the Tyrant of Badab and secedes from the Imperium. Eleven years of inter-system war follows, embroiling more than a dozen Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. Huron's reign is eventually brought to an end, but despite suffering grievous wounds, he escapes into the Warp rift known as the Maelstrom, vowing revenge.
- The Blood Tithe (920.M41) - The Tau Empire expands into uncharted territory, hoping to bring new populations into their fold. The Tau diplomats forge an uneasy peace upon the planet of Ur-Clemait, a world that has been consumed with civil war for centuries, simply by supplying one side of the warring factions with hi-tech pulse weaponry. Though most of the remaining population seems content with the Tau's enforced pacification, the elders and priests of the old faith are distraught, insisting that the Blood Tithe must continue to be met. While most of the wizened priests to incite rebellion against the xenos, several attack the Tau directly, clawing feebly at their battlesuits or even taking their own lives in messy displays of martyrdom. The puzzled Tau continue their mission of absorption and assimilation, but before the year is out, the Word Bearers arrive to enforce the neglected Blood Tithe. They attack the newly prosperous world of Ur-Ciemait in terrible force, chanting prayers of appeasement to the Dark Gods as they em down human and xenos alike. The Tau Fire Caste meet the invasion head-on, and the world is plunged into an ongoing war far more terrible than the ritual struggles of old that had once provided payment.
- The Vaxhallian Genocides (926.M41) - The vile Chaos renegades known as the Purge seek to vent their hatred of all living things, and choose the verdant Imperial world of Vaxhallia as their victim. The planet's surface is soon riddled the consumptive disease and crippling famine. Over the course of a single month, the Purge engineer the destruction of no fewer than fourteen billion Imperial citizens.
- The Wolf at Bay (937.M41) - Mustering five companies of Space Wolves, as well as the Cadian 30lst and the Tallarn 14th, the decorated Inquisitor Pranix attempts to reclaim the nine Hollow Worlds of Lastrati from the traitorous Red Corsairs. The Drop Pods of the Space Wolves crash straight through the Hollow Worlds' algae-encrusted surface, and war soon rages throughout the catacombs beneath. Huron Blackheart collapses pre-selected portions of his tunnel networks with cold precision and timing, isolating and destroying much of the Imperial army sent against him. The invading forces are forced to withdraw.
- The Terminus Est (969.M41) - The plagueship Terminus Est is sighted in the Cando System. It disappears soon after, but it is already too late. The zombie plague ravages all of the planets in the system over the following months, exposing the worst in human nature and brother turns against brother in their desperation to survive.
- Skulls of the Skull Throne (992.M41) - Having long ago amassed more human skulls than he knew what to do with, Roghrax Bloodhand, of the World Eaters, swears to collect a skull from every warrior species in the galaxy and offer them up for the throne of his master, Khorne. Bloodhand's masterwork takes a dramatic new turn with the coming of the Tyranid fleets into the galaxy. Making havoc for the Eastern Fringe, the maniacal trophy collector leads his fleet directly into the path of Hive Fleet Kraken. Delighted at the prospect of collecting such large and impressive skulls, he reaps a grisly bounty from the Tyranids, which become more varied after every battle.
- The Night of the Steel Daemon (995.M41) - Unbeknownst to the settlers that make their home upon its crust, the dormant volcanic planet of Abheilüng is honeycombed with subterranean forge-vaults where the Dark Mechanicum lurk. As protein farms and hab-blocks are established high above, the Warpsmiths below use the livid heat of the planet's core to bind Daemons unto their allies' strange machines. The surface settlers continue to expand, until one night, all the volcanoes across Abheilüng erupt spectacularly, incinerating millions in an immense pyroclastic cloud. Out from the molten depths climb great hosts of Daemon Engines, magma-clad horrors that spill like insects from each volcano's caldera. The mechanical horde depopulates Abheilüng in less than a month.
- The Tyrant and the Wolf (995.M41) - Huron Blackheart stages a counter-assault upon Parenxes, a world defended by the Death Hawks and Space Wolves. During the engagement, a series of Red Corsairs strike forces manage to board, disable and capture the Space Wolf Strike Cruiser, the Wolf of Fenris.
- The Sons of the Maelstrom (980999.M41) - A massive Chaos Space Marine fleet emerges from the Maelstrom with three dozen Daemon-infested space hulks. The massed fleet brings the Chogoris, Kaelas and Sessec systems to their knees, establishing a stranglehold over their space lanes.
- The Great Awakening (982999.M41) - A ripple of psychic activity passes through the Imperium awakening the dormant powers of latent psykers across the galaxy. The resultant backlash creates innumerable Warp rifts, and countless worlds are lost to daemonic incursions. The Thousand Sons are seen in unprecedented numbers as the psychic apocalypse runs its course.
- The Night of a Thousand Rebellions (992.999.M41) - Carefully seeded rebellions sown across Segmentum Pacificus all bear their bloody fruit upon the same night. Uprisings and discord strike at the heart of hundred of worlds, including the supposedly secure Imperial strongholds of Enceladus, Darkhold and Minisotira. Contact is lost with large swathes of the segmentum as the Chaos Space Marines move in, revealing themselves as the orchestrators of the insurrection.
- The Fall of Villamus (994999.M41) - After a series of daring raids leaves the titanic fortress-monastery of the Marines Errant garrisoned only by a single company of Space Marines, Huron Blackheart sends his Night Lords allies to infiltrate the fastness and bring down its power shields and defence lasers. Teleporting in from low orbit, Chaos Terminators launch a sledgehammer assault upon the fortress' apothecarion as Huron Blackheart simultaneously moves in to steal the Chapter's relics. Caught in the horns of a dilemma, the outnumbered and outmanoeuvred Space Marines fail to repel the invasion. The Red Corsairs withdraw with nearly all of the Chapter's gene-seed, dooming the Marines Errant to a slow demise.
- 13th Black Crusade (995999.M41) - The greatest of the Champions of Chaos, Abaddon the Despoiler, launches an all-out attack by the Forces of Chaos upon the Fortress World of Cadia and the strategic Cadian Gate, the route by which the servants of the Ruinous Powers may once more strike towards sacred Terra. The Traitor Legions pour forth from the Eye of Terror, emptying a hundred Daemon Worlds and bursting into realspace in hitherto unforeseen numbers. Rumours persist that the Daemon Primarchs ride at the head of the armies, returned to the mortal realm to usher in the End Times. Imperial forces counter-attack, but there is no end to the forces of the Dark Gods. The Forces of Chaos succeed in gaining a foothold on the surface of Cadia, but these Heretics become trapped there when their fleet is driven back into the Eye of Terror by the Imperial Navy. A bloody stalemate ensues within the confines of the Cadian Gate, though this represents the most significant penetration by the Forces of Chaos into Imperial space since the Horus Heresy. Many fear that with all the threats the Imperium is facing simultaneously, the End Times have indeed arrived for Mankind.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 30
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Blood (RPG), pp. 21-22
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Decay (RPG), pg. 21
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Excess (RPG), pg. 22
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Fate (RPG), pg. 24
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 3, 5, 13, 22-25, 30, 32
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 17
- Blood Reaver (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pg. 257