Macragge's Honour was an Imperial Gloriana-class Battleship that served as the flagship of Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. The Macragge's Honour was twenty-six kilometres of polished ceramite and steel armour, and was believed to be the largest of the Gloriana-class Battleships used by the Primarchs as their flagships. This flagship led the flotilla of the Ultramarines' warships which comprised the XIIIth Legion's 12th Expeditionary Fleet. It was from this flagship that Robout Guilliman coordinated and prepared his forces before and during the infamous Battle of Calth at the beginning of the Horus Heresy.
Striking a Blow for HorusEdit
During the opening days of the terrible conflict that would become known as the Horus Heresy in later years, the Warmaster Horus launched his treacherous attack on the world of Istvaan III against the Loyalist elements within four of the Space Marine Legions under his command, including the Sons of Horus, the Emperor's Children, the World Eaters and the Death Guard. The Ultramarines remained ignorant of this fact. While Horus made his plans for what would become the infamous Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, the Warmaster sent word to the XVIIth Legion's Primarch Lorgar that the time had come for his Astartes, the Word Bearers, to strike against the Imperium. The Warmaster was keenly aware of the bitter hatred that Lorgar had for his Primarch brother Roboute Guilliman and his XIIIth Legion, the Ultramarines, who had once humiliated the Word Bearers by destroying their "Perfect City" of Monarchia on the world of Khur on the Emperor's direct orders during the early years of the Great Crusade. The Ultramarines had taken no pleasure in this act, which was intended to teach Lorgar and his Astartes to adhere to the atheistic doctrines of the Imperial Truth rather than spread the false belief that the Emperor was divine to all the worlds that they conquered. Yet Lorgar and the Word Bearers had never forgiven the Ultramarines for this action and they longed for vengeance against the XIIIth Legion.
Horus told Lorgar that he had fed Guilliman false intelligence in regard to a possible threat within the Segmentum Tempestus, far to the galactic south of Terra. This supposed threat stemmed from the Orks of the Ghaslakh Empire. Horus had ordered the XIIIth and the XVIIth Legions to muster and meet at the world of Calth in the Ultramarines' Realm of Ultramar, in order to conduct a massive joint campaign of extermination against the Ghaslakh xenohold, a common mission for the Astartes during the final days of the Great Crusade.
It would be at Calth that Lorgar would launch a surprise attack on the Ultramarines whilst they were gathered for the campaign against the Orks of Ghaslakh. The XIIIth Legion would be caught completely unaware while the Word Bearers would use the advantage of surprise to annihilate their hated rivals. The assault at Calth would also allow the Word Bearers to reveal that they, too, now served the Ruinous Powers. Calth was not chosen as the site of the confrontation between the Word Bearers and the Ultramarines by chance, for the Word Bearers intended to destroy one of the jewels in the Ultramarines' Realm of Ultramar (then known as the Ultramar Coalition), just as the XIIIth Legion had destroyed one of the Word Bearers' greatest achievements, the sacred city of Monarchia, four decades earlier.
Horus ordered the majority of the XVIIth Legion to Ultramar, and the Dark Powers of the Warp gave them sure and swift passage across the increasingly restless Immaterium.
As the Word Bearers entered Ultramarran space, Lorgar prepared his Legion for the inevitable slaughter that would follow. Command of the main assault force was given to Kor Phaeron, the First Captain of the XVIIth Legion and one of Lorgar's most favoured champions. Calth was to be Kor Phaeron's operation to execute, far more than it was Lorgar's. Kor Phaeron had planned the assault of Calth for his Primarch meticulously, and executed it with the aid of the Dark Apostle Erebus. The punishment and annihilation of the XIIIth Legion was the campaign's principal aim; the humiliation and execution of Lorgar's hated rival Roboute Guilliman was a secondary objective. But for Lorgar, the assault would also mark his first opportunity to gain true favour in the eyes of the Dark Gods he now served; to prove to them that he had earned his place as their Chosen One.
The first phase of the Word Bearers' attack plan involved the capture of a vessel of the Ultramarines' fleet. The Word Bearers waylaid the fleet tender Campanile which was at the outer rim of the Viridian System which was home to Calth, boarded it and seized control. The Traitors intended to use the captured vessel to strike a crippling surprise blow against the Ultramarines' massed fleet in orbit of Calth that would mark the start of their vicious assault.
Battle of CalthEdit
The Battle of Calth, also referred as the Calth Atrocity, was the name given by later Imperial scholars to the treacherous campaign conducted during the early stages of the Horus Heresy by the traitorous XVIIth Space Marine Legion, the Word Bearers, on behalf of the Warmaster Horus against their hated rivals, the Ultramarines. The campaign was launched by the Word Bearers' Primarch Lorgar Aurelian with the goal of exterminating the XIIIth Space Marine Legion outright. The purpose of the Word Bearers' invasion of the Ultramarines' Realm of Ultramar in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy was to tie down the XIIIth Legion and prevent them from reinforcing their fellow Loyalists as the Traitor Legions marched relentlessly on Terra itself.
The Macragge's Hounor would go on to play a rather substantial role during the Battle of Calth, as it was the command headquarters of Roboute Guilliman and the entire Ultramarines Legion, and it helped to coordinate the surviving Ultramarine forces in orbit as well as those on the surface of Calth during and after the battle. Shortly after the battle started, Robute Guilliman held another conference with his brother, Lorgar. The Bearer of the Word revealed his treacherous intentions to his disbelieving brother as the conversation ended when several daemons invaded the Ultramarine flagship and caused the central command bridge to explode, which led Guilliman to be missing for most of the battle. Shortly after this incident, the majority of the Macragge's Honour was infested by a horde of daemons of Chaos Undivided, and several of the Word Bearers' warships attempted to board the Ultramarines' flagship. However, a team of surviving Ultramarines were able to fight through the vessel and retake the flagship for the servants of the Emperor.
During a fight on the outer hull of the flagship in an attempt to disconnect the Word Bearers boarding ships from the Macragge's Honour, Roboute Guilliman was found to have survived the destruction of the command bridge and to have been flung out into the void, surviving only due to his superhuman Primarch anatomy. Guilliman was quickly rescued and taken back inside the flagship by his Astartes.
Afterwards, Guilliman and several of his commanding officers led an Ultramarines' Kill-squad into the Zetsun Verid orbital shipyard in an attempt to seize control of Calth's orbital defensive weapons grid. Though successful in their efforts, they were unable to stop the Veridian System's blue sun from going nova and permanently poisoning Calth's atmosphere as a result of the use of the Calthian orbital weapons system on the Veridian star by the Word Bearers.
Sensing that the battle was turning in the Ultramarines' favour, Kor Phaeron and his surviving Astartes retreated to the Word Bearers' flagship Infidus Imperator, and attempted to flee the Calth System. Guilliman ordered the Ultramarines Chapter Master Marius Gage to take command of the Macragge's Honour and give chase, which would lead to one of the most infamous starship duels in Imperial naval history.
Pursuit of the Infidus ImperatorEdit
Following the orders of his Primarch, Marius Gage gave immediate pursuit to the Infidus Imperator. While giving chase, three Word Bearers Cruisers turned to intercept the Ultramarines flagship to buy time for the Infidus Imperator to escape. Chapter Master Gage, assisted by Acting Shipmaster Ouon Hommed, opened fire upon the three Cruisers, destroying two of them in the first volley and crippling the third in the second. Kor Phaeron, having survived the confrontation with Guilliman, awoke from his grievous wounds and immediately ordered the Infidus Imperator to come about and face the Ultramarines' flagship. Sensing an opportunity to end the duel, Gage ordered the Ultramarines to prepare boarding parties to capture and destroy the Infidus Imperator from the inside. Leading the assault was Captain Aerion Mersaror and a cadre of Veterans in Cataphractii Pattern Terminator Armour. The two warships met, coming alongside each other. Both vessels unleashed a simultaneous broadside into the other. Gage ordered Boarding Torpedoes fired and docking claws and siege bridges extended, disgorging thousands of Ultramarine Legionaries into the Infidus Imperator.
The Ultramarine assault initially went well, quickly gaining ground aboard the Word Bearers vessel, when a build-up of unknown energy was suddenly detected by the sensorum on the Macragge's Honour's bridge. Seeing Chaos Cultists conlcuding a dark ritual, the Ultramarines realised they had fallen for the Word Bearers' ruse. When the ritual was completed, a large burst of Warp energy wracked both warships, causing severe damage throughout the Macragge's Honour. The ritual also conjured Word Bearers Legionaries and Daemons, which materialised within the bowels of the Macragge's Honour, and caused fighting to break out aboard the Loyalist warship. While leading squads of Ultramarines to repel the boarders, Chapter Master Gage came across a Greater Daemon. Realising that they must purge the flagship of the malefic intruders at all costs, Gage and a squad of Ultramarines charged the Greater Daemon in desperation. While the Ultramarines fought to regain control of their vessel, the Infidus Imperator began to break away, shredding the bridges between the two warships. Once he had regained control of his ship, Gage ordered that power be diverted from both the weapons and Void Shields to the flagship's engines in order to pursue the fleeing Word Bearers vessel. Gage reasoned that the Infidus Imperator had neither the time to calculate a Warp jump nor the required distance from the gravity field of Calth to safely translate into the Immaterium. However, Kor Phaeron had another trick up his sleeve.
Using the Shard of Erebus, Kor Phaeron sliced a hole in realspace in front of the Infidus Imperator, allowing it to unexpectedly enter the Warp by arcane rather than technological means. At the protest of Hommed, Gage ordered pursuit of the Infidus Imperator, throwing caution to the wind. Following in the aetheric wake of the Infidus Imperator, Macragge's Honour translated into the Warp. Having successfully jumped into Warpspace, the Ultramarines quickly made a visual identification of the fleeing Infidus Imperator, despite the Navigator of the Ultramarines vessel proving unable to detect the Traitor warship. Once he realised that the Ultramarines' flagship would be unable to track its quarry if it could not maintain a visual on the Infidus Imperator, Kor Phaeron ordered his ship through a shoal of dead suns to try to lose the pursuing Ultramarines. In the course of it spursuit, the Macragge's Honour was suddenly stopped in its tracks by a collision with a Warp anomaly, which resulted in millions of Warp entities attacking the beleaguered Ultramarines vessel. Quickly realising that the Warp anomalies were penetrating the ship's protective Gellar Field, Gage ordered the Ultramarines to the voidlocks to cleanse the daemonic intruders on the hull.
In the process of clearing the flagship's hull of daemons, Macragge's Honour lost its visual sighting of the Infidus Imperator. Kor Phaeron then launched a vicious counterstrike, which resulted in severe damage to the Macragge's Honour. Gage ordered the Loyalist starship's weapon batteries charged and loaded, and he fired a broad spread to hopefully hit the Word Bearers' ship. However, at the last moment, a contact was detected. Captain Mersaror, having survived the Word Bearers' summoning ritual, activated his homing tracer, providing the Macragge's Honour with a signal that allowed it to finally lock on to the Traitor vessel. Diverting all remaining power to weapons, the Macragge's Honour fired upon the Word Bearers warship, stunning Kor Phaeron and diverting his attack run. In order to ensure that the Infidus Imperator did not survive, Gage ordered a second volley, utterly annihilating the Word Bearers vessel and ending the pursuit. As a result, having suffered tremendous damage during the battle, the Macragge's Honour was left stranded in the Warp. Gage realised that it might take many standard years, even multiple lifetimes, to return to the Realms of Ultramar.
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions (Artbook), pg. 195
- Know No Fear (Novel) by Dan Abnett, pp. 31, 39, 42, 61, 88, 101, 143, 154, 208, 237, 248-249, 253-254, 267, 281, 290, 302, 304
- Macragge's Honour (Graphic Novel) by Dan Abnett