- "Though my guards may sleep and my ships may lay at anchor, our foes know full well that the big guns never tire."
- — Lufgt Huron, the Tyrant of Badab, 909.M41
Lufgt Huron, the Tyrant of Badab, was the Chapter Master of the Astral Claws Space Marine Chapter and the Imperial Governor of the world of Badab Primaris in the Maelstrom Zone of the Ultima Segmentum. Huron Blackheart, as he became known, ultimately turned to Chaos in his ambitious pursuit of power and corrupted most of his Chapter as well, leading them in a rebellion against the Imperium of Man that was known as the Badab War (901-912.M41). At present he is the Chaos Lord known as Huron Blackheart, who leads the surviving Astral Claws as a warband of piratical Chaos Space Marines called the Red Corsairs. They dwell within the swirling madness of the Maelstrom. Blackheart has slowly built an empire amongst the Renegades and Heretics of that great Warp Rift that will soon rival the strength of the Forces of Chaos that call the Eye of Terror home.
The Rise of Lufgt Huron
Most of the Imperial records pertaining to the Astral Claws have been lost or purged following the Edict of Obliteration that was issued by the Inquisition following the conclusion of the Badab War. But there is evidence that Lufgt Huron first came to prominence within his Chapter as a Scout Novitiate during the later stages of the Ribos Crusade. He first displayed his valour during the campaign to conquer the outcast Eldar Exodite world of Lylogir, where he fought through a psychic assault and killed an Eldar Warlock with his bare hands, saving his squad. He was later reassigned to his Chapter's Devastator reserve upon becoming a full Initiate of the Astral Claws. He soon proved that he was a natural leader and insightful tactician in a number of battles.
As time progressed, Huron proved to be an unusually skilled master of the tactical application of firepower. His rise was meteoric from this point on, as he ascended first to the Chapter's 3rd Battle Company and then joined the Veterans of the Astral Claws' elite 1st Company, where his superlative combat skills saw him raised to command other Space Marine Veterans with far more practical experience than he. Huron excelled as a warrior and a leader, and was soon named the Captain of the 3rd Battle Company. In this role he displayed his true strategic prowess and unleashed innovative tactics that saw his Battle-Brothers defeat enemy forces several times their size and power. But within the ranks of the Astral Claws, there were those who saw Huron's rapid ascension and the fanatical devotion of those that served him as a threat, for they feared that the growing loyalty to Huron was greater than their fellow Battle-Brothers' love for either their Chapter or the Emperor.
Hand of Destiny
In 587.M41, the High Lords of Terra pronounced an Edict Imperialis in response to these dire predations, ordering several Space Marine Chapters to permanently base themselves in the Maelstrom Zone in order to protect the Imperium's interests and pacify the region. In recognition of their past glorious service to the Imperium, the Astral Claws Chapter was given the high honour of the senior role in commanding the newly formed Maelstrom Warders. Once this force was put in place, the Astral Claws Chapter took over an orbital battle station in the strategically vital Badab System, which became their fortress-monastery and base of operations. Soon the wealth of the Maelstrom Zone once again began to flow into the coffers of the Imperium.
Disaster soon struck, as a series of Ork raids originating within the Maelstrom struck deep into the Badab Sector. The Astral Claws' Chapter Master Rovik Blake went against his own doctrine to never enter the great Warp Rift and pursued the Orks back into the Maelstrom itself. Having led the Astral Claws for the last two centuries, he fell in single combat with the Ork Warboss Vorg Manburna, a defeat which forced the Astral Claws to retreat.
On return to the Badab System, Captain Lufgt Huron was appointed as the Astral Claws' new Chapter Master by popular acclaim of his peers in 715.M41. He became the youngest warrior in the Chapter's history to attain this esteemed rank. Imperial historians now point out that such a man of flawed character should never have been allowed to rise to the command of a Space Marine Chapter. But Lufgt Huron had already proven to be an exceptional warrior as well as a skilled tactician and charismatic leader. He quickly reorganised the Chapter's strategic deployments and established a policy of expanding his Chapter's fleet which had been badly depleted, including within its ranks captured corsair vessels in aggressive raids. He also established the questionable scorched-planet policy against their enemies and increased his Chapter's stockpile of Exterminatus-class weapons. This resulted in several fringe worlds that harboured renegade ships in the past being turned into lifeless husks. Chapter Master Huron's had stamped his mark on the Astral Claws Chapter in an almost unprecedented manner, wielding the power of the Maelstrom Warder Chapter as none had done before. Delivering victory after victory despite the direst circumstances and against fearful odds, Huron swiftly silenced his detractors.
Rise of a Tyrant
In 718.M1, a failed coup on the Hive World of Badab Primaris led to an abortive civil war, and the Astral Claws stepped in and brutally crushed the conflict. In the aftermath, the elements behind the coup were brought forth to Lufgt Huron for judgement. Mindful of the lesson of Cygnax, the Chapter Master personally took matters into his own hands, swiftly reimposing order once more. This time he employed the Astral Claws much more brutally as they executed much of the planet's ruling class as well as purging those they perceived as morally recidivist. Taking upon himself the mantle of planetary ruler, Lufgt Huron stylised himself the 'Tyrant of Badab', claiming the inhabited worlds in proximity to the hospitable region of the void around the Badab System as his Chapter's fiefdom. In his subsequent pronouncement, he echoed the example and precedents of the sovereign realm of Ultramar and the Warder's charter. The nearby system was soon purged wholesale of the ruling elites and in the decades afterward, a number of Astral Claws 'watch bastions' were established. The Tyrant's chosen servants and political allies were placed in positions of power, turning the Badab Sector into a pocket empire, commanded by the Astral Claws.
To further cement his power, in a massive reorganisation of the uneven and often isolationist native planetary defence forces in the region into what would become known as the "Tyrant's Legion". Following a unified command structure these forces now followed a standard dictated by Huron. The Astral Claws assigned detachments to further train the Tyrant's Legion in order to purge them of weak elements. Soon the Tyrant's Legion proved their worth as they repulsed numerous corsair raids, freeing the Astral Claws from their defensive stance. The Chapter was able to conduct a series of lightning raids into outlying areas to harass and destroy heretic and xenos controlled areas. With the increase of Huron's tally of victories, and the curtailing of corsair activity and the increase of production never before reached, the fame of the Astral Claws 'Tyrant' grew beyond the Maelstrom Zone.
The formation of the Legion was far from Huron's only deliberate move to concentrate all military power within the Badab Sector in his own hands and that of his Chapter, as through a system of patronage, charisma, might and political skill he also inveigled the noble houses and commercial interest of those worlds he protected under his direct control, and even suborned the local officers of the Maelstrom Fleet squadron under his personal authority.
Spurred by this success, Huron had his servants deliver a formal and lengthy petition to Terra, making a detailed case for completely subduing the Maelstrom and the surrounding area, which would greatly benefit the Imperium in the long term. In order to achieve this, Huron advocated the deployment of several more Space Marine Chapters to the Warder's ranks, suggesting even that a new Founding might even be warranted to meet the needs of his plan. Unfortunately, Huron's petition was dismissed without full hearing on the grounds that the requirements of the Imperium were better met elsewhere.
During the mid 700s.M41, the Astral Claws submission of required Gene-Seed tithes to the Magos Inviglia of the Adeptus Mechanicus became infrequent and incomplete. Although initially a cause for concern, such matters were not uncommon, particularly those Space Marine Chapters deployed to border areas or on crusade, simply because the Chapter itself might have a temporary need to retain the gene-seed itself to sustain battlefield losses. But as the omission persisted, this signaled to the Mechanicus that there was some darker motive at work. This would later prove to be true with the Astral Claws, as evidence later indicated that this first great sin against the traditions of the Astartes would arguably result in the Chapter's fall into heresy. Repeatedly denied the reinforcements he had requested to aid him and the Maelstrom Warders in carrying out their tasks, in his arrogance and pride, the Tyrant sought to expand his forces into a force equal to a Space Marine Legion of old. Further covert investigation would later uncover that the Astral Claws Apothecarion were conducting heretical experiments in rapid zygote cultivation. Though largely unsuccessful, the Astral Claws eventually stood at around an estimated 3,500 battle-brothers strong.
In protest, Huron also withheld Badab Primaris' planetary tithe to the Administratum and further blocked the passage of trade through his realms in protest over the Adepta's failure to provide him and his allies sufficient resources to police the Maelstrom. Refusing the Astral Claws' role as defenders of the Maelstrom Zone, the Tyrant soon diverted the industrial resources and manpower to directly supplement the Badab Sector's defences as well as augmenting the Maelstrom fleet detachment and fortification of key worlds under his command. These space-based defences encircling the outer and inner spheres of the Badab Sector came to be known as the 'Ring of Steel.' On Badab Primaris, the Tyrant ordered the demolition of the ancient citadel of the ruling dominars and instead erected the legendary, hugely fortified 'Palace of Thorns' to his own specifications and design. The clashing entitlement of the Administratum's Imperial tithe and the ancient rights of the Astartes commanders to defend the Imperium by any means necessary swiftly came to be known as the Badab Schism and would last for more than a century and a half, during which the Astral Claws and the Maelstrom Warders would continue to carry on military operations as usual, against a volatile backdrop of worsening tensions with the Administratum and Segmentum authorities.
The Badab War
Huron's charmed record did not last however, and when conditions in the Maelstrom Zone worsened and the self-proclaimed Tyrant's plans were thwarted by causes beyond his control, he became increasingly dictatorial and paranoid. He soon embarked upon a dark course that would eventually lead to the lamentable conflict known as the Badab War from 901.M41 until 912.M41. Not only his own Chapter, but those blinded by their past relationships and allied to the Astral Claws, also followed Lufgt Huron into heresy. In the face of wanton heresy and deceit, the Inquisitor-Legate charged with prosecuting the crusade against the Secessionist forces of the Badab Sector condemned the entire Astral Claws Chapter as Excommunicate Traitoris, and placed their allies under official suspicion of heresy and treason.
The Tyrant of Badab, as Lufgt Huron became known in Imperial histories, was a power-hungry and ambitious individual who should never have risen to power within a Space Marine Chapter. Huron's megalomania became apparent as he steadily distanced himself from the Imperium, hoarding Badab's planetary tithes for himself. He was plainly a dangerous individual, able in many respects but lacking the absolute dedication to humanity vital in a Lord of the Imperium. It will never be known for sure, but current hypotheses suggest that Huron was either an alien shapechanger, or otherwise subject to alien domination of a most unnatural kind. A sudden and unexpected manifestation of psychic powers may lie at the heart of the matter.
Though Lufgt Huron became an increasingly unstable commander, throughout the Badab War he remained a brilliant tactician who favoured strategies of stalwart defence married to high-speed counter attack and subtle flanking actions. He often turned his enemies' reliance on the Codex Astartes to his advantage in outwitting his fellow Space Marines. He also led many of his strike forces from the frontline where he could, inspiring the warriors that followed him and assuring them of the righteousness of their cause.
The Tyrant's Fall
The uprising came to an end in early 913.M41 with the fall of Badab Primaris and the final defeat of the Astral Claws. Lufgt Huron eventually fell during the final assault for the Palace of Thorns, Huron's seat of power on the world of Badab Primaris, although whether he survived or was truly slain remained shrouded in mystery, as his body was borne away by his closest followers. Only a contingent of about two hundred of the renegade Astral Claws, now devotees of Chaos Undivided, managed to fight their way through the Exorcists' blockade and escaped into deep space, taking refuge in the hellish realm known as the Maelstrom, joining the horde of aliens, renegades and heretics that made the Maelstrom their lair.
Though badly maimed by a Multi-Melta blast, the Tyrant yet lived, though one side of his body was entirely reconstructed with bionics, the Techmarines and Apothecaries of his former Chapter standing long vigil over him. On the eighth day, the Tyrant could speak again and ordered his fleet to seek a new to world to conquer. By the twelfth day Huron could stand and don his power armour once more. His fanatical followers hailed his recovery as a miracle, but if it was any kind of miracle, it was a dark one.
Huron's limited forces easily overwhelmed the first pirate stronghold they found, slaughtering all the corsairs within. The survivors swore allegiance to the Tyrant and became his slaves, soon learning to fear his fury. Lufgt Huron had been reborn as Huron Blackheart - Master of the Red Corsiars, Lord of the Maelstrom, the Blood Reaver. Now that he had acquire more ships and men, the Blackheart embarked upon building an empire worthy of his rule. Soon Huron forged a potent Chaotic empire, rivaling that of the Eye of Terror, as his power spread quickly throughout the realm.
His dreaded Astral Claws followers then became the Red Corsairs, after the blood-red colour they used to obliterate their old Imperial iconography and symbols, becoming a corsair Renegade Warband of Chaos Space Marines that established a potent Chaotic empire within the Maelstrom to rival that of the Eye of Terror. To this day, many of those few Space Marines who have tragically fallen to the lure of Chaos are inevitably found within the ranks of the Red Corsairs, embittered and twisted by the evil power of Chaos that reigns supreme within this hellish realm. The artifice chosen by his followers pleased Huron greatly and all of the renegade Space Marines who have since joined hm have taken these colours as their own to show their new allegiance.
In the aftermath of the death of Badab Primaris, in 913.M41 the remaining Secessionists from the Astral Claws, Executioners, Mantis Warriors and Lamenters were put on trial before a specially convened Consistorial Court of their peers with their very existence at stake. The Consistorial Court also found all of those Chapters who had taken part in the Badab Secession guilty in breaking with both the Codex Astartes and the ancient covenant it represented. In punishment, all the Astral Claws in custody were blindfolded and shackled in dishonour and then put to the sword. It was further judged that the other surviving Secessionist Chapters -- the Executioners, Lamenters, and Mantis Warriors would have to each undertake a 100-year-long Penitent Crusade to atone for their transgressions, and would have to do so without the right to recruit new brethren to replace their losses during this time of punishment. Their future survival would therefore be left to their own hands and the grace and benevolence of the Emperor.
In addition, the Mantis Warriors would henceforth lose all rights to their ancient domains in the Endymion Cluster, with their goods and chattels given over to the Fire Hawks in perpetuity, and likewise the Lamenters Chapter were condemned to surrender reparations in ships and wargear to the Minotaurs Chapter (this in essence being no more than a rubber-stamp approval of actions already taken place). The Executioners Chapter in contrast were granted a measure of comparable clemency, and their twin Chapter worlds were given over in trust to the Salamanders Chapter and their own successors rather than forfeited entirely, to be returned to them should they endure their hundred year act of contrition and survive.
In recognition for their efforts in the war's brutal final assault, the badly mauled Star Phantoms Chapter were given the somewhat pyrrhic reward of dominion over the once proud Badab Sector, along with the task of policing its survivors. They were also granted the pick of any world within the sector to settle as their new homeworld. Long a fleet-based Chapter after the destruction of their former homeworld, the Star Phantoms finally brought their severely damaged Battle-Barge Memento Mori down to the surface of the Ice World of Jahga in the Archaea System to serve as their core for a new Fortress-Monastery and slowly began the process of rebuilding their Chapter.
In 915.M41, upon returning to Terra, the Inquistor Legate carried out his last act by ordering an Edict of Obliteration to be carried out under the auspices of the Adeptus Terra in regards to the Astral Claws, the Tiger Claws and their master Lufgt Huron -- the Tyrant of Badab -- wiping their accursed names and their sins from the pages of Imperial history. Entered into the official record would be sanitised and altered versions of the events of the Badab War for the protection of the Emperor's honour and the moral safety of Imperial citizens.
- Terminator Armour - As former master of a well-resourced and equipped Space Marine Chapter, Lugft Huron had access to a plethora of arms and wargear of the highest quality, included among which were a number of suits of armour of various types. Perhaps most famous of these was what was known as his Armour of Pride - a heavily customised set of Terminator armour adapted and augmented for him by the Astral Claws Master Artificer Armenneus Valthex. Since his fall to Chaos, his armour has changed due to long exposure to the warp as well as displaying the usual Chaos iconography and fetishes.
- The Tyrant's Claw - The Tyrant's Claw is the monstrous, bear-like bionic arm and shoulder that was built to replace Huron's own arm. The Claw is a Power Fist that incorporates a built-in Heavy Flamer. The Tyrant's Claw was built from the remnants of a relic known as the 'Ghost Razors', which fragmentary evidence suggests, was gifted to Lufgt Huron by the remnants of the Tiger Claws Chapter in gratitude to their saviour. Like its predecessor, the Tyrant's Claw is a heavily armoured gauntlet that houses a number of articulated blades. In close combat, the Tyrant's Claws is an all but unmatched weapon, the unidentified phase-frequency disruption fields imparted to their cutting edges prove able to slice though solid matter at a sub-molecular level, parting ceramite and adamantine plate effortlessly and sundering energy fields and force barriers they encounter. The Heavy Flamer incorporated into the Tyrant's Claw, is commonly employed as a squad support weapon by Terminator units deployed into closely confined battle zones. The use of such a weapon by a Space Marine commander was an unorthodox choice, but one that clearly reflects Huron Blackheart's preference for participating at the forefront of battle and heavy assaults. The heavy flamer's specific pattern remains unknown, and it was likely a direct creation of Armenneus Valthex in his capacity as the Tyrant's personal armourer and weaponsmith.
- Iron Halo - The Iron Halo on Blackheart's armour emits a very strong gravitic Conversion Field around its wearer, which makes his armour even harder to pierce with enemy weapons. In addition it also provides its wearer with immense resilience to even the most potent weapons on the battlefield such as Lascannons and missiles of all varieties. The shield stands a good chance of deflecting many deadly projectiles that would normally slay a Space Marine with ease.
- The Hamadrya - Huron Blackheart has a pet creature of unknown nature, which he calls his Hamadrya. The beast appears semi-intelligent and stays with him at all times, perching on his shoulder or hiding behind him if things get too dangerous. The creature never fights or tries to help its master directly, but it seems to manifest curious psychic powers, which Huron uses to his advantage.
- Cities of Death, "The Palace of Thorns", pp. 58-59
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 58
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 56-57
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), pp. 23, 105-106
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two
- Warhammer 40,000 Compendium, "The Badab War" by Rick Priestley, pp. 33-35
- White Dwarf 101 (UK) "Index Astartes: The Badab Uprising" by Rick Priestley
- Into the Maelstrom (Anthology), "Into the Maelstrom by Chris Pramas
- The Gildar Rift (Novel) by Sarah Cawkwell
- Blood Reaver (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden