- "Without the light of Chaos, the universe would stagnate and collapse. Only through this struggle, can any advancement occur."
- — From the Book of Magnus
Magnus the Red, the Primarch of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion, is one of the few surviving Primarchs and is currently an extremely powerful Daemon Prince of the Chaos God Tzeentch. He was also known during the early years of the Imperium as the "Crimson King" and the "Red Cyclops." A giant in both physical and mental terms whilst still an inhabitant of the Materium, the copper-skinned Magnus possessed tremendous innate psychic ability, and constantly sought to understand the nature of the Warp, becoming a Sorcerer of formidable power.
Magnus thought he would be able to control the Great Ocean of psychic energy that was the Warp; however, his prodigious and careless application of his psychic gifts eventually caused him to fall out of favour with his father, the Emperor of Mankind, as well as with the majority of his brother Primarchs. His psychic immaturity, recklessness, and arrogance also caused his own undoing, as it eventually brought about his own damnation and eternal servitude to the Dark God of Change, Tzeentch.
In the end, Magnus lead his XVth Legion to the banner of Horus and fought on the Arch-Heretic's side during the Great Betrayal of the Horus Heresy. He survived those events and ascended to the position of a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch as a reward for his service to the Changer of Ways. He has spent the majority of the ten millennia since the end of the Horus Heresy ensconced atop his tower upon the Planet of the Sorcerers within the Eye of Terror, planning the ultimate destruction of the Imperium he believes betrayed him and his Legion. Magnus' greatest grudge, however, is with the Space Marines of the Space Wolves, who he holds accountable for the destruction of his homeworld of Prospero and the corruption of his Legion during the early days of the Horus Heresy.
- "There is no sin but ignorance."
- —Attributed to Magnus the Red
Magnus the Red, known also as the "Sorcerer of Prospero," "The Logos Maxima," "The Cyclopean Giant," and "The Crimson King," was unique among the Primarchs. While all the Emperor's sons were transcendent beings, forged not just of physical matter but of psychic force, in some this quality channelled into superhuman physicality, but others held the power to manipulate the Warp either directly or subconsciously as prophetic foresight, preternatural stealth or an aura of majesty beyond the mere mortal. But above all his brothers, Magnus the Red was the most numinous, a psyker of prodigious power. It is said that alone amongst the Primarchs, Magnus met the Emperor in the Realm Beyond long before they met in the flesh.
Magnus' very essence boiled with psychic potential, to the extent that his physical form seems likely to be more matter of will, or a reflection of a deep spiritual imprint than a mere physical constraint, and those who fell under his cyclopean gaze would feel their thoughts and substance to be no more opaque than glass, and their innermost secrets laid open beneath the Crimson King's stare. In battle, Magnus the Red fought like a mythical god; fire wreathed him and followed in his wake like a burning cloak, and solid matter was unmade with a gesture. Armies of mere mortals, powerless before him, would fall to their knees, weeping as their nightmares danced before their eyes. It was said that the paths of the future were laid bare before him and no artifice or subtlety of warcraft could deceive the Primarch of the Thousand Sons. Such power, though, came at the price of suspicion and fear, even by those who called him brother.
But destruction and war was only a means to an end for Magnus. Possessed of a supreme intelligence and a hunger for knowledge, he saw himself and his Astartes Legion as creators of the future. Others might think of themselves as working for the betterment of Mankind, even of being bearers of the Imperium's ideals, however Magnus saw another path. To him the Great Crusade, and each step on its bloody path, was a step from the darkness of ignorance into the light of reason and knowledge. Beyond this he also saw a second ascension, that from the mundane confines of the human mind to the transcendent potential of a psychic race. It was his obsession and belief which drove him to achieve all that he did, and also that which would claim him and his Legion for a future of damnation.
Magnus was unique among the Primarchs in that he remembered his origin and creation as a gene-son of the Emperor -- and possessed a form of psychic communication with his father even during his gestation. Magnus' development of tremendous psychic talent may thus have been planned by the Emperor, as an intentional attribute engineered within his genetic structure. After the Ruinous Powers intervened to scatter the Primarchs, still in their gestation capsules, across the galaxy through the Warp, Magnus found himself on the remote colony world of Prospero. Prospero was a planet that had been settled by a large population of human psykers who possessed the mutant ability to wield the potent psychic energies of the Warp. They had chosen Prospero for its inaccessibility, as they were generally shunned, feared, and often persecuted by "normal" humans on many worlds across the galaxy since the last days of the Dark Age of Technology. When the gestation capsule bearing the infant Magnus fell from the skies, it was like a portentous comet. His capsule landed in the central plaza of the planet's only settlement of note, Tizca, the City of Light.
Magnus became a ward of the psychic scholars and leaders of Prospero, and quickly developed psychic powers similar to their own. Within only a few years of his arrival Magnus surpassed his primary master in the psychic arts, Amon, perhaps the greatest Sorcerer and psyker on Prospero at the time. Magnus mastered every psychic training program and voraciously went through the arcane volumes concerning sorcery and the Warp contained in Prospero's Librarium. By that time he had mastered his psychic powers, he was by far the most powerful psyker on the planet. Eventually he lead a campaign to rid Prospero of the Psychneuein, terrible psychic predator-beasts that roamed the countryside and the many empty cities present on the world, which had been ruined in a mysterious, psychic-related catastrophe decades before Magnus' arrival on the world.
Elevated as the leader of Prospero due to his psychic gifts, Magnus unified its sometimes squabbling Cults of Sorcerers, and set about rebuilding Prospero's civilisation. Tizca, the capital, was transformed into a city of breathtaking beauty. Beautifully designed buildings in the form of pyramids and towers composed of glass and marble, wide boulevards, paradise-like parks, and a constant pleasing psychic background, resulted in immediate bliss for all visitors. This period of peace, prosperity and psychic well-being reflected on the world's population of powerful psykers, and Prospero became known as a planet of physically and spiritually beautiful humans. Magnus also set himself the task of consolidating and expanding the Prosperans' knowledge of the Great Ocean (the Prosperan name for the Immaterium) and of the Primordial Creator (Chaos), the unseen but immensely powerful energy that powered its currents. To further this goal, Magnus built in the center of Tizca a Great Library within a magnificent pyramid where all of the knowledge the Prosperans gained about both sorcery and the nature of the Warp was kept. Brushing aside the warnings of his wise teacher Amon about the dangers of delving too deeply into the Immaterium (later repeated by the Emperor of Mankind, and similarly ignored), Magnus undertook long and far-reaching psychic journeys into the furthest reaches of the Warp.
Discovery by the Emperor
With such a potent mind within the Warp, it was not long until the Emperor of Mankind noticed Magnus' presence and directed his Great Crusade expeditionary fleets to make for Prospero. When his fleet arrived at Prospero and the Emperor set foot within the grand precincts of Tizca, he and Magnus immediately embraced and conversed as if the two had known each other for years. Following his discovery, Magnus and the Emperor engaged in decades-long joint travels and study of the Immaterium, with the Emperor imparting further knowledge to his son, along with multiple warnings about the dangers inherent in overindulging the gifts of the psyker due to the dark entities that existed within the Warp and sought to manipulate mortals for their own benefit.
The XVth Legion, the Thousand Sons, had inherited Magnus' psychic talents, as their gene-seed had been created from samples of Magnus' own psychically-potent genes. However, the XVth Legion's gene-seed was genetically unstable, often resulting in rampant and unwanted mutations, Space Marine-organ rejections, and mental instability. The Legion was dramatically under-strength because of these problems and its eventual survival was questionable. It was said the Legion owed its name to the fact that only about a thousand stable Astartes remained functional within it by the time Magnus was found on Prospero by the Emperor. The Thousand Sons Legion was not allowed to join the Great Crusade at its beginning, with some in the young Imperium advocating its disbanding and the euthanising of its members; however Magnus pleaded with the Emperor to give him a chance to find a way to stop the rampant mutations after he accepted his rightful position of leadership over the Legion. The Emperor agreed to this, and after several decades of often desperate effort, Magnus was finally successful: the aberrant mutations decimating his Legion stopped. This effort had a visible cost, and a hidden one: Magnus lost his right eye, the skin becoming smooth where the eye had previously been. To stop the mutations, Magnus had willingly consorted with entities from the Warp whose true nature he did not at the time understand. He was unknowingly fooled by the Chaos God Tzeentch into believing he had bested the Warp entities and that he had genuinely found the "cure" for his Legion though in fact he had only made a devil's bargain for the sorcerous power required to stop the mutations. All of this was a ruse crafted by Tzeentch to make Magnus even more arrogantly beholden to his psyker's gift to drive him to pursue more corrupting forms of sorcery that would eventually lead to his corruption by Chaos.
Because of the setbacks that had befallen the Thousand Sons and the continuing suspicion of many in the Imperium towards the Thousand Sons' use of psychic abilities and the flaws in their gene-seed, the Primarch and his Astartes developed an extremely close emotional bond. Approximately 100 Terran years after it had begun, the Thousand Sons Legion was finally permitted to join the great effort as the 28th Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade.
The Great Crusade
When the XVth Legion had first been created, its Astartes were used to quell the last few pockets of isolated resistance to the Emperor's rule that remained on Terra following the Wars of Unification. Boetia was a nation that had existed since the Age of Strife and was chiefly known for holding out against the Unification for a considerable period of time until it was finally forcibly incorporated in the newborn Imperium. The ruling family, the Yeselti, attempted to stubbornly cling to power, forcing Imperial Army forces to invade their province. The Astartes of the newborn XVth Legion were sent in to finally crush any further resistance in a brilliant campaign that lasted only six weeks. Shortly after achieving this objective, the XVth Legion was formally named the Thousand Sons by the Emperor Himself and was sent out into the galaxy as part of his Great Crusade. This particular conflict holds the distinction of being the final campaign of the Unification Wars that took place during the Great Crusade.
Approximately 5 standard years after the Thousand Sons began the Great Crusade to reclaim and reunify the human-settled galaxy, the Thousand Sons began to display powerful psychic abilities, which was a welcome development for its Astartes as they sought to further emulate the Emperor. This development was reluctantly tolerated by the Emperor, who was greatly wary of psychic abilities wielded by anyone other than Himself or Malcador the Sigillite, but the Thousand Sons' abilities proved to be a powerful weapon for the Imperium during the Great Crusade. Throughout that long campaign, the Thousand Sons made extensive use of Sorcerers, and their Warp-derived powers would leave whole populations in thrall to their will rather than carrying out a planetary conquest through a costly full frontal assault like the other Space Marine Legions. This tactic earned the ire of the Primarch Leman Russ of the Space Wolves Legion who saw anything less than a frontal assault as dishonourable and cowardly. But soon, the XVth Legion's joy at their psychic gifts turned to revulsion and horror as a wave of ghastly, degenerative mutations once more manifested across a wide swathe of the Battle-Brothers of the XVth Legion. These mutagenic changes were known as the "Flesh-Change" amongst the Astartes of the Thousand Sons, and were much feared, as the spiral of degenerative mutation ultimately reduced a proud Astartes into a mindless mutant abomination that would later be recognised by the Imperium as a gibbering Chaos Spawn. The majority of those afflicted by the Flesh-Change were put into stasis by the Legion in the hope that someday in the future a cure could be found to reverse the onset of these crippling mutations. The number of active Astartes within the XVth Legion soon began to dwindle to dangerously low levels as a result of the ravages of the Flesh-Change.
Fortunately for the XVth Legion the Emperor's Great Crusade finally arrived at the isolated world of Prospero and the Thousand Sons were reunited with their Primarch Magnus at this time. The flesh-change had become a pandemic in the Legion at this point, but the entire Legion was transported to the newly discovered world to meet their gene-father. After the initial joyous reunion with one of His lost sons and the celebrations that followed, the Emperor and the vast majority of the Great Crusade's large fleet departed Prospero, leaving the Thousand Sons behind. Unfortunately, the rampant mutations within the Legion only increased after the departure of the Emperor. It was then that Magnus intervened to save his genetic children, and through mysterious sorcerous means was able to save those Astartes that had been the least affected by the rampant mutations. In the end, only a thousand Battle-Brothers of the XV Legion had been saved. As mentioned above, Magnus then moved to rebuild the Legion, and approximately 100 standard years into the Great Crusade, the Thousand Sons were granted permission to form the 28th Expeditionary Fleet and begin bring new worlds into Imperial Compliance for the Emperor.
Council of Nikea
Magnus fought bravely and successfully during the Great Crusade, but he was always a wild and impetuous commander. Magnus had an inherent affinity for the Warp and the secrets hidden within its fabric. Throughout the Crusade he came into contact with long-isolated human cultures scattered on worlds across the galaxy where psykers had been allowed to flourish. Although warned by the Emperor to shun such matters, Magnus began to gather arcane lore about the practice of sorcery from other cultures across the galaxy. From this material he compiled the monumental tome of sorcery and psychic practice known as the Book of Magnus. The book, whose simmering covers, inscribed with strange wards, were made from the psychically-active hide of a slain psychneuein, was always fastened to Magnus' armour with a heavy gold chain, kept closed by a lock made of lead.
One of the things Magnus discovered during his 28th Expeditionary Fleet's conquests was the existence and nature of the Eldar Webway and of the realspace portals into it. However, his knowledge of the Webway's geography and functions was incomplete and fragmented -- a fact that later cost him dearly. Nevertheless, he managed to enter its star-spanning corridors by brute psychic force.
The further from Terra the Great Crusade's fleets travelled, the more strange Warp-influenced creatures they came across. This naturally made Magnus look suspicious to his fellow Primarchs, as his control over the Warp and the sorcerous powers he derived from its chaotic energies were very similar to the abilities displayed by these malevolent creatures. The Space Wolves' Primarch Leman Russ and the Death Guard Primarch Mortarion both distrusted Magnus due to his and his Legion's use of the powers of the Warp and because of his mastery of deceit in warfare where they preferred a more straightforward use of physical strength and brute force. Another point of contention between the Primarchs was the Thousand Sons' love of knowledge in general; they always sought to preserve and study the knowledge of newly Compliant worlds, carrying libraries' worth of material on the 28th Expedition's starships for eventual archiving on Prospero. The other Astartes Legions found this obsession with the collection of knowledge -- whatever the source -- counterproductive to the goals of the Great Crusade which sought to spread the specifically Imperial strain of human civilization across the galaxy. They also believed it to be dangerous because of the malevolent nature of so many of the beings that lived within the Immaterium.
During a joint mission between the Thousand Sons and the Space Wolves Magnus and Leman Russ came close to blows over this issue, and over the use of psychic powers in general. Bloodshed was avoided only thanks to the last minute intervention of Lorgar, the Primarch of the Word Bearers. Over the following decades, other Primarchs voiced their displeasure that these so-called psyker Astartes were allowed to exist and serve the Emperor's righteous Great Crusade. Rumours and condemnations began to spread about the Thousand Sons Legion amongst the other Expeditionary Fleets. The most vocal of these detractors were the Primarchs of the Death Guard, Imperial Fists and Raven Guard Legions. Soon the Thousands Sons' detractors raised their objections to the Emperor himself, calling for the XVth Legion's disbandment and for the Legion to be expunged from Imperial records like the IInd and XIth Legions.
However, serious suspicion began to surround Magnus as the hatred towards mutants and psykers spread through the Imperium as the Crusade progressed and the Legions learned how dangerous the use of psychic abilities could be on world after world that had been ravaged by them during the Age of Strife. After much debate in the Imperium over the use of psykers, the Emperor called an Imperial Conclave of all the Primarchs and chief Imperial officials at the remote and volatile planet of Nikaea to deal with the issue once and for all. The highest authorities in the young Imperium were present or were represented, including the Emperor and his Sigillite and Regent Malcador, who officiated over what became known as the Council of Nikaea. At the forefront of the debate was Magnus, who argued very passionately for his cause and the important contributions that psykers and the use of sorcery could make to the improvement of the Imperium and to speeding up the successful conclusion of the Great Crusade. The main opponents to the use of psykers were the Space Wolves who shared their Primarch Leman Russ' hatred of sorcery as unclean and cowardly and the Death Guard, whose Primarch Mortarion testified in person against the use of psychic powers because of his experience with the psychic warlords who had ruled his own homeworld of Barbarus.
When a consensus emerged amongst the Council's participants that psykers and their powers represented a potential danger to the people of the Imperium, the Emperor ordered that in the interest of unity, no one was to be censured for prior actions involving the use of psychic abilities. Use of psychic abilities by the Imperium's military forces was banned (except for Astropaths, Navigators, and very strictly sanctioned and controlled psykers who were authorised to carry out Imperial business). All the Librariums employed by the Astartes Legions were to be disbanded, and their members returned to conventional combat duty, enjoined from ever again using their psychic gifts.
In effect, Magnus and the Thousand Sons were banned from practicing "sorcery" or using the psychic abilities and knowledge they so coveted. The edicts of the Council of Nikaea also created a new position amongst the Space Marine Legions, the Space Marine Chaplain, to uphold the Imperial Truth and help maintain the purity of an Astartes Legion's dedication to the Emperor's commands. Disappointed and unhappy with the decision, Magnus was forced to accept the new prohibitions on sorcery in the Imperium, but he soon tried to find rationalisations and justifications to circumvent it.
Following the great Imperial victory during the Ullanor Crusade against the Orks, the Emperor gave overall command of the Great Crusade to Horus of the Luna Wolves Legion, awarding him the title of Warmaster over all Imperial armies, including the Legions of his brother Primarchs. The Emperor then departed the Crusade and returned to Terra to pursue his secret project to expand the Eldar Webway for human use beneath the Imperial Palace. Magnus, meditating on Prospero, psychically foresaw Horus being corrupted by the malign influence of the Ruinous Powers and the future events of the Horus Heresy: the betrayal of the Emperor by half the Space Marine Legions, and the sundering of the Imperium by a tumultuous and costly civil war. The only fate the vision did not reveal to Magnus was his own. Burdened with this volatile information by this precognitive vision, Magnus decided upon a course that would seal his fate. First, Magnus attempted to psychically contact his brother Horus, but to his dismay, found out that he was too late, and that the Warmaster had already been nigh mortally wounded by a stab from the Kinebrach Anathame.
Despairing, Magnus then decided to utilise the power of his Legion's greatest sorcerers to convey the news of the impending civil war to the Emperor Himself on Terra via sorcery, rather than using the far slower, but legal means of astrotelepathy. Using an astral projection spell, the spirit of Magnus the Red hurtled towards Terra through the Warp. While in the Immaterium, Magnus came across a Webway corridor that led to Terra but found the barrier impenetrable. But then an anonymous entity within the Warp whispered sibilantly to him, offering to provide the Primarch with additional power in order to breach the Webway. Magnus seized upon the entity's offer, breaching the barrier and bursting into the Emperor's throne room. This act penetrated the powerful psychic wards the Emperor had raised around the Imperial Palace and allowed Warp entities to penetrate the human extension of the Webway and launch an assault against Terra itself, killing thousands of the Mechanicus Adepts who had been labouring with the Emperor on his great work. With this breach, the Emperor's work was undone. Horrified, the Primarch's spirit returned to his corporeal body on Prospero. There, he received a vision from Tzeentch, the mysterious entity that had enabled him to breach the Webway. The Architect of Fate informed Magnus that it was his destiny to serve the will of the Ruinous Powers.
The Emperor was furious at Magnus' willful violation of the proscriptions against the use of sorcery set by the Council of Nikaea, especially because Magnus had used the Webway to reach Terra in time, and his actions had damaged the secret Webway Project, a centuries-long attempt to use this Eldar construct to render dangerous Warp travel obsolete and physically connect all the worlds of the Imperium of Man together using human versions of the Eldar's Webway portals. The Emperor saw Magnus as the traitor to the Imperium's ideals, not his beloved son Horus, whom he did not believe was capable of betraying him. Leman Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves Legion, who had always been averse to sorcery and had a general antipathy to Magnus as a result, was ordered to bring Magnus swiftly to Terra to account for his actions before the Emperor. During his voyage to Prospero, Leman Russ was instead ordered by an already corrupted Horus to destroy Magnus' Thousand Sons Legion rather than simply bring them to account. Horus, as the Imperial Warmaster, carried the authority of the Emperor Himself, and was therefore able to fool Russ into believing this was the Emperor's will as if the Emperor had thought about his decision and changed his mind. Accompanying the Space Wolves were a full contingent of Adeptus Custodes, millions of Imperial Army troops, and the elite Imperial anti-psyker (Pariah Gene-bearing) witch hunters known as the Sisters of Silence.
Fall of Prospero
In the meantime, Magnus had finally come to realise that he had been used as a pawn by Tzeentch -- and he also understood that the forthcoming clash between the Space Wolves and the Thousand Sons was also part of a Chaotic plan to destroy two Loyalist Space Marine Legions. He decided to sacrifice the Thousand Sons and himself, rather than be the unwilling puppet of Chaos yet again. For this reason he did not forewarn the people of Prospero or his own Astartes of the coming Imperial assault. He actually placed a psychic veil over the planet so his Legion would have no knowledge of the approaching invasion fleet, did not order the manning of the planetary defences, and sent the Legion fleet of the Thousand Sons away from their home star system.
As a result of their Primarch's actions, the Imperial assault on the world, remembered as the Fall of Prospero, took the Thousand Sons by total surprise. Raining death down from orbit, the invading force reduced the unprotected planet to a burned-out slab of rock. Because the Prosperan capital city of Tizca was always protected by an impenetrable psychic shield generated by the Sorcerers of the XVth Legion, an invasion of the city was staged. In the brutal fighting that followed, Prosperan combatants and civilians were ruthlessly exterminated, and the city was utterly destroyed, along with its libraries and all their hard-won psychic knowledge, which sent Magnus into a deep melancholy. Even as Prospero burned, Magnus was convinced that he had done nothing wrong to merit such a retaliation from his father, and that nothing he had done warranted such destruction. Changing his mind about his inaction, he took to the battlefield and broke the Space Wolves' assault with his great psychic powers, eventually meeting his brother Leman Russ in melee combat. At the climax of the battle, Magnus shattered Russ' breastplate with a mighty punch, puncturing one of his hearts, but Leman clung onto his opponent's arm and when close enough, kicked Magnus in his single eye. With Magnus blinded, Russ seized his opportunity to lift Magnus into the air and break Magnus' back over his knee. In this moment of greatest need, Tzeentch came to Magnus and offered to save all that he had wrought if Magnus offered his eternal fealty to the Changer of Ways. To save himself, his Legion, his world, and all the knowledge he had accumulated, Magnus pledged his soul to the service of the Chaos God of Change and Sorcery.
The response of Magnus' new patron was immediate. The City of Light was transported into the Eye of Terror to a new Daemon World that had already been prepared for its new occupants. Prospero was destroyed that day, but Magnus and his Legion survived. By the time the Thousand Sons were seen next, they had joined up with Horus' force of Traitor Legions on their way to lay siege to Terra, and Magnus the Red had become the most powerful of all Tzeentch's daemonic servants, a Daemon Primarch.
After the Heresy
After the Emperor defeated Horus on his flagship the Vengeful Spirit at the end of the Battle of Terra and the Traitor Legions fled from Terra, the Thousand Sons returned to the Daemon World that Tzeentch had prepared for them within the Eye of Terror called the Planet of the Sorcerers, that was complete with a twisted, Chaotic caricature of the city of Tizca. Tzeentch had another "gift" for the Thousand Sons, namely the full return of their aberrant genetic mutations, which threatened to turn all of the surviving Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marines into mindless Chaos Spawn.
A number of high-ranking officers of the Traitor Legion, lead by the Sorcerer Azhek Ahriman, who had been Magnus' closest advisor since their Legion's earliest days, established a secret Council of Sorcerers to find ways of stopping the mutations. With Ahriman at the fore, these sorcerers eventually invoked a powerful sorcerous incantation that backfired, killing all those Astares of the Legion who lacked psychic abilities and transforming them into living automatons: their organic bodies turned to ash, while their unknowing spirits were trapped within their suits of Power Armour, which were hermetically sealed and fully animated by their trapped souls. Every joint of the armour was magically sealed, and the only way for the soul to escape this prison was for the armour to be destroyed. The minority of Thousand Sons Astartes who did not succumb to the spell later known as the Rubric of Ahriman found their psychic Warp powers increased to a tremendous degree. The ritual also accomplished its goal, for the mutations stopped, both in the surviving Sorcerers and their undead brethren. Magnus was enraged by the outcome of the spell and what it had done to his Astartes and became determined to gain vengeance upon Ahriman and his cabal of rogue Sorcerers.
Thanks to the very close bond Magnus still had with his sons, he keenly felt their unforeseen suffering at the hands of Ahriman. Consumed with grief and anger but also proud of the level of sorcerous knowledge the Legion had attained through their metamorphosis, he assaulted the Council of Sorcerers and Ahriman, until the Daemon Primarch finally caught up with his sorcerer and former adviser and bested him in a duel. However, Tzeentch personally intervened and saved Ahriman's life as the Sorcerer was a useful pawn for furthering the Changer of Ways' byzantine plans. So Magnus, now a potent Daemon Prince himself, exiled Ahriman and his remaining collaborators from the Planet of the Sorcerers and ordered them to forever roam the galaxy in search of understanding and knowledge of the true meaning of Chaos.
At present, Magnus' ever-changing form resides on the Planet of the Sorcerers within the Eye of Terror. Magnus dwells atop the tallest of the towers in his mockery of lost Tizca, the Tower of the Cyclops, and its vast sorcerous eye surveys the entire planet as he plots the destruction of the Imperium of Man and the Emperor he believes betrayed him so long ago.
First Battle of The Fang
- "Do you remember what you said to me, brother? Do you remember what you said to me as we fought before the Pyramid of Photep? Do you remember the words you used? I do. As I recall, your face was tortured. Imagine that - the Master of the Wolves, his ferocity twisted into grief. And yet you still carried out your duty. You always did what was asked of you. So loyal. So tenacious. Truly you were the attack dog of the Emperor. You took no pleasure in what you did. I knew that then, and I know it now. But all things change, my brother. I'm not the same as I was, and you're... well, let us not mention where you are now."
- — Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red to a statue of Leman Russ, during the Battle of The Fang
During the 32nd Millennium, Magnus the Red was determined to have his revenge for the devastation of his homeworld of Prospero at the hands of his former brother-Primarch Leman Russ and his Legion. He devised a cunning plan to lure the Space Wolves into a trap in what became known as the Battle of The Fang in order to enact his final vengeance against them. Returning from exile in the Eye of Terror at various times over the centuries following the end of the Horus Heresy, the Thousand Sons left devastation in their wake. Precision strikes on Imperial worlds had continued, each aimed at retrieving some valuable piece of knowledge or sorcerous esoterica. Despite the grievous damage Russ had inflicted on them, the Thousand Sons still had the potential to launch raids into protected Imperial space, and the knowledge of that burned within the Great Wolf Harek Ironhelm until nothing else seemed important. Despite all the resources he devoted to hunting Magnus, the chase always come up short. On Pravia, on Daggaegghan, on Vreole, on Hromor the Space Wolves always found their quarry to be elusive. The Daemon Primarch left his calling cards behind on each of these worlds, taunting the Wolves who snapped at his heels. After many fruitless efforts to catch up with the Thousand Sons, Harek became obsessed, and took to searching worlds along the edge of the Eye of Terror itself. Eventually he found what he believed to be the Thousand Sons' secret base on the world of Gangava and launched a full-scale attack against it.
In this he was deceived, for though Gangava was held by a strong garrison of the Forces of Chaos allied to Magnus, they were but a distraction. Even as Harek attacked Gangava, the Legion fleet of the Thousand Sons and their Chaotic levies appeared in orbit over Fenris. The bulk of the Thousand Sons were prepared to descend upon the Space Wolves' homeworld and level The Fang itself, ostensibly in retaliation for the Burning of Prospero. The real reason behind this retaliatory strike was not to simply strike at the Space Wolves out of revenge -- although most of Magnus' Legion were lead to believe this -- but to prevent the Space Wolves from successfully creating any Successor Chapters. To the Daemon Primarch, preventing the creation of new successors of Leman Russ was a goal without price, and so what remained of his Thousand Sons Legion would be sacrificed if need be to put an end to the Space Wolves' dream. The Fang was held by only a skeleton force of Space Wolves and their feudal thralls. For forty days and forty nights the Thousand Sons assaulted the mighty citadel. Bjorn the Fell-Handed, most ancient of the Space Wolves' Dreadnoughts, was awoken from his long slumber and took charge of the Chapter's defences. Under Bjorn's direction the Space Wolves fell back to the innermost chambers of The Fang, collapsing the tunnels as they went. Simultaneously, a force of Scout Marines, under Haakon Blackwing, managed to escape from the citadel and take ship to Gangava, bringing word of the siege to Harek.
Overcome with fury and shame at his folly, the Great Wolf immediately took ship to Fenris, bringing the might of the Space Wolves with him. Finally, on the upper slopes of The Fang itself, the Great Wolf met Magnus in battle on the final day of the siege. The Great Wolf's violence against the Sorcerer was stoked by rage, the rage he had cultivated ever since leaving Gangava. The faces of the slain on Fenris appeared in his mind, growling in accusation. These dead had been sacrificed on the altar of his hubris, and now they demanded retribution. Ironhelm intended to deliver it. The Great Wolf pummelled the injured Daemon Primarch with his Power Fist, hitting him again, and again, smashing him against the rocks of The Fang’s flanks. Magnus cried out then, a cry of pain that had not been heard since Leman Russ had mortally wounded his first body on Prospero a thousand years before.
For a moment, it looked like Magnus had lost the will to fight. He absorbed the punishment, his back arching against the cliffs. But then, he began to remember himself. Even now, even after enduring so much, having absorbed so much pain, his essential strength, the core of fire that fuelled him, remained inviolate. The Great Wolf was driven back toward the edge and beaten down to his knees. The Daemon Primarch had proved to be too powerful for him and slew Harek, but not before taking a terrible wound himself. Before dying, the Great Wolf took solace knowing that his Wolves had already penetrated The Fang. The Astartes of the Space Wolves would hunt down every invader in those halls, one by one, driven by the remorseless focus that had always been their badge of honour. The fact that they would come too late to save him was unimportant. Magnus had failed and The Fang would endure.
But Magnus took some small consolation in his Legion's defeat, for ultimately, he had achieved his primary objective. Magnus the Red personally destroyed the Space Wolves' gene-laboratories within The Fang. He shattered the birthing tubes and trampled and tore apart the experimental Sons of Russ who had been freed from the genetic curse of the Wulfen. The vials of altered Space Wolves gene-seed were all destroyed, broken into glistening shards of glass and the Cogitators were consumed by flames. Irreplaceable genetic engineering equipment, some of it dating back to the days of the Unification on Terra, had been devastated beyond repair, its priceless inner mechanics now nothing more than useless wreckage. During the Daemon Primarch's rampage in The Fang's fleshchambers he was confronted by the Wolf Priest Hraldir. Though the valiant Space Wolf faced the Primarch, he proved no match for the might of one of the sons of the Emperor, and was slain. With his death, his program to create Successor Chapters of the Space Wolves could not be completed. None now lived within the Chapter who understood Hraldir’s work, and the necessary genetic alteration equipment had been utterly destroyed. After this, the Space Wolves would forever remain alone, the sole inheritors of the legacy of Leman Russ. Magnus had gained his revenge for the loss of Prospero's promise.
Plotting Against the Space Wolves
More recently, in the late 41st Millennium, Magnus plotted yet more schemes to rid himself of Leman Russ' get, using one of his best apprentices, the Chaos Sorcerer Madox. Madox' task was to foster unrest and corrupt the rulers of the planet Garm, to make the theft of the ancient Space Wolves artefact known as the Spear of Russ possible. Magnus ultimately planned to use the artefact to resurrect some of his fallen Thousand Sons, and, if possible, to manifest himself in the Materium to lead yet another assault on the Space Wolves' homeworld. To blind the Space Wolves to his true objective, Madox fomented a Cult of Tzeentch on Fenris itself. He was thwarted there by Ragnar Blackmane, but, with the Space Wolves busy with scouring their homeworld of the Chaotic taint, Magnus' Chaos Cultists on Garm managed to instigate a planetary revolt, overwhelm the small garrison of Space Wolves guarding the Spear, and initiate the Chaotic ritual. It almost succeeded, but the ritual was disrupted in the nick of time by Ragnar Blackmane, who managed to slay the lead cultist, and then, in desperation, seized the Spear and hurled it into Magnus' cyclopean eye as the Daemon Primarch sought to emerge through the open Warp Gate. This disrupted Magnus' concentration, and ultimately made the whole ritual fail.
However, Magnus is nothing if adaptive, and now in possession of the Spear of Russ, he devised yet another scheme to rid the galaxy of the hated Space Wolves. Sending Madox forth once more, Magnus ordered him to foment troubles on multiple planets in the sector around Fenris, and use the cover provided by these uprisings to perform very specific sorcerous rituals on those planets. The plan would then culminate in a cataclysmic ritual using the alignment of the planets and the Spear of Russ to corrupt every Space Wolf's Canis Helix, and transform them all into Wulfen. This would cause massive slaughter on an unprecedented scale as the Space Wolves devolved into madness, and would see the Imperium ultimately declare them Excommunicate Traitoris, to Magnus' great delight.
This plan nearly succeeded, but was again thwarted by Ragnar Blackmane, who, with the help of the 13th Great Company, managed to finally slay Madox and recover the Spear of Russ. However, the combination of the sector-wide uprisings and isolated eruptions of the Wulfen curse did manage to maul the Space Wolves, with few losses for Magnus and the Thousand Sons. The mighty Daemon Primarch still seeks vengeance against the Get of Russ for the destruction of Prospero and the corruption of the Thousand Sons, and he will never rest until the Chapter has been wiped from the face of the galaxy...
Siege of the Fenris System
Magnus would make his return to realspace in 999.M41 upon the snows of Fenris, homeworld of his greatest enemy the Space Wolves, during the Chaos invasion remembered as the Siege of the Fenris System. Magnus had been preparing for the invasion for many Terran centuries: seeding the corruption of the Wulfen across the Chapter, tainting the Space Wolves' gene-seed in the Battle of The Fang during the 32nd Millennium, and using the Horror of Tzeentch called the Changeling to manipulate the Imperium of Man itself into launching an attack on the world to weaken the Space Wolves for the blow to come. Magnus' invasion was ultimately defeated by an alliance of Imperial factions and he was banished back to the Warp by the Great Wolf Logan Grimnar wielding the artefact called the Axe of Morkai.
But this was only a minor victory for the servants of the Emperor as Magnus had succeeded in his ultimate goal for the invasion. He had used the sacrifice of the population of the Death World of Midgardia in the Fenris System -- destroyed by an Exterminatus action ordered by Grimnar after its people were infected with a hideous plague engineered by the Daemon Primarch Mortarion of the Death Guard -- to fuel the teleportation of the Planet of the Sorcerers from the Eye of Terror to a new orbit above the remains of the Thousand Sons' lost homeworld of Prospero. Not only did this ritual restore Magnus and the Thousand Sons to the Materium, but it created a gigantic new Warp rift in the region that began to spew forth daemons that would make up Magnus' new army.
The Terran Crusade
The Warp is, in many ways, a mirror of our reality. Like a dark and fathomless pool, its surface ripples with the impact of momentous events, or great outbursts of passion and emotion. The resurrection of Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, during the Ultramar Campaign in 999.M41 sent bow waves of psychic energy rolling outward through the Immaterium, racing tsunamis of turmoil that did not go unnoticed.
One by one, the Champions of the Dark Gods of Chaos became aware of the resurrected Primarch. Upon far-flung hell worlds, Magnus the Red and the Death Lord Mortarion received word of their brother's awakening. Their reactions were as different as fire and ice. Mortarion raged, a cold and virulent storm of anger whirling around him until its echoes in realspace seeded seven new and terrible plagues upon luckless Imperial worlds. Mired amid plans that were nearing fruition, the Daemon Primarch of the Death Guard Traitor Legion could not yet act to strike at Guilliman. Instead, as he stared with glowing eyes across the mist-wreathed parade grounds of his Plague Planet, and the massed ranks of Death Guard there assembled, Mortarion vowed that he would render Guilliman and his empire to rot soon enough.
Magnus, by comparison, gave a booming laugh of utter delight. Like a fortune teller who flips their final tarot card and gains sudden insight, the Crimson King saw now before him paths of glorious fate, where before had been a wilderness of confusion. Magnus began to issue orders, his words bursting forth as swarms of crystalline insects. They flitted away to marshal the thrall-bands of his once proud Space Marine Legion, the Thousand Sons. Already, the cyclopean Daemon Primarch had revenged himself upon one hated foe of old, setting the Fenris System of the Space Wolves alight in the fires of retribution. Now, he saw a chance to punish another.
That chance came after Guilliman had thrown back Abaddon the Despoiler's assault upon Ultramar. Guilliman had assembled a vast fleet, with the intention of travelling through the growing instability of the Warp in the wake of the 13th Black Crusade to Terra, to meet with his father the Emperor of Mankind for the first time in 10,000 standard years and determine how best to save the Imperium from the growing threats all around it. Magnus saw the chance to strike against this so-called Terran Crusade when Guilliman's fleet had reached the trailing edges of the permanent Warp rift known as the Maelstrom, which was swollen with fearsome new power. The fleet's Navigators moaned and screamed, describing something akin to an endless, impossibly immense tornado thundering in the Warp. Where safe channels should have existed, the billowing fringes of the Maelstrom had consumed all. Even the light of the Astronomican became faltering and nigh impossible to see.
Fearing for the safety of their brutalised craft, the fleet's captains ordered immediate translation to realspace. One by one, the Imperial warships tore through the meniscus of reality, streamers of glowing ectoplasm trailing from their hulls as they plunged back into the cold darkness of the void. Yet the thunderous shuddering on board each voidcraft continued, intensifying violently as impacts flared upon Void Shields and smashed through armoured hulls.
The Hawk Lords frigate Wings of Glory was ripped apart by a string of punishing explosions before its crew even knew who or what was attacking them. The Ultramarines Strike Cruiser, Primarch's Wrath, sustained crippling damage after colliding with the White Consuls Cruiser Hope and Fire as both voidships attempted blind evasive manoeuvres.
Frantic orders filled the Vox net and echoed through cavernous ships' bridges as furious captains attempted to establish the nature of the threat. Had the fleet dropped out of the Warp and straight into an asteroid field? Had they, by some horrible chance, emerged into the midst of a hostile foe?
As Auspexes awoke and observation decks were unshrouded, the bleak truth became clear. The scattered ships of the Terran Crusade had indeed exited the Immaterium straight into the thundering guns of an enemy armada, but it looked as though this was no accident of chance.
Arrayed in perfect ambush formations were dozens of Traitor warships bearing baroque and ancient markings upon their hulls. The Loyalists realised that a vast fleet of the Thousand Sons surrounded them, deployed as though they had known precisely where and when the Imperial forces would emerge from the Warp.
At the heart of the enemy hung a strange craft of surpassing immensity. Only Guilliman truly understood its appearance, recognising a vast silver facsimile of the Great Pyramid of Tizca. That cyclopean crystal structure had once stood as the crowning glory in the Thousand Sons Legion's capital city of the same name, upon their lost homeworld of Prospero. Now it was resurrected in this monstrously magnified new form.
Vast as a planetoid, bristling with gun decks of baffling shape and function, and boasting an immense red crystal eye upon one flank, the insane structure was clearly both flagship and star fort for the enemy fleet. Guilliman knew his brothers well, and here, in this grandiose war engine, he saw all the hallmarks of the Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red.
To the Loyalist fleet's rear loomed the squirming spiral arms of the Maelstrom, a towering wall of unnatural energies and whirling psychic sorcery that promised madness and death. To their fore was the titanic pyramid of Magnus, its attendant warships already pummelling Guilliman's armada.
With little choice, the Imperials fought as best they could in their scattered dispersal. Torpedoes fired from launch tubes, streaking through the void to blast ragged holes in Heretic warships. Fighter squadrons scrambled, jetting out into the darkness like swarming insects. Lance arrays spat ruby light, and gun decks thundered as the Imperial ships frantically attempted to fight free of their ambushing foes.
Yet the Imperial spacecraft were taking a terrible hammering, Void Shields collapsing and ruptured decks venting screaming crewmen into space. Engines flared out and died under volley after volley of macro shells, while rune-inscribed torpedoes swept in to fill Loyalist bridges and magazines with Warpflame.
Guilliman issued a steady stream of orders to his captains, doing everything in his power to gather his ships and fight back. Inwardly he raged, both at his fallen brother's deviousness and his own failure to foresee the ambush. By comparison, Magnus watched with amused satisfaction from the grand observation gallery aboard his pyramidal flagship.
He had fashioned the vast voidcraft, named Tizca's Revenge, using the plundered resources of an Imperial world and the nameless energies of the Warp. Now he conjured those empyric powers again, for an altogether different purpose. A cabal of powerful Chaos Sorcerers stood around Magnus, chanting ominous words as he raised his arms high and cried out in stentorian tones.
The Crimson King called and the Warp answered, coiling tendrils of power coalescing to surround Guilliman's battered fleet. Magnus judged the damage done to be sufficient. He had no desire to kill his resurrected brother. Not yet, anyway. Thus, with a final booming incantation, Magnus completed his spell. The empyric tendrils clamped tight around the starships of the Terran Crusade and, with a vast convulsive wrench, dragged them deep into the raging heart of the Maelstrom.
Guilliman's fleet remained trapped in the Maelstrom, unable to find its way out, for an indeterminate amount of time, as reality flows very differently within the Immaterium. Only with the aid of the Eldar Farseer Eldrad Ulthran were the Imperials at last able to follow a series of landmarks that led to an exit from the Warp rift back into realspace -- and the path led through a vast graveyard of voidships that had not been nearly as lucky.
Unfortunately, the way was blocked by a fleet of the Red Corsairs Renegade Space Marines...led by the Greater Daemon of Tzeentch Kairos Fateweaver. The Chaos forces successfully assaulted the Terran Crusade fleet, ultimately forcing the Imperials to surrender when Fateweaver used his command of sorcery to immobilise Guilliman with psychic chains formed from his own guilt and rage at being unable to lead his people out of the Maelstrom for so long. Guilliman and his forces were imprisoned aboard a Blackstone Fortress hidden within the Maelstrom that had been given to the Red Corsairs by Abaddon the Despoiler. But the Imperials were freed from their cells aboard the massive alien star fort by the intervention of the Harlequin Shadowseer Sylandri Veilwalker and the Fallen Angel Cypher, in return for Guilliman's promise to allow Cypher an audience before the Emperor once they reached Terra. The Imperials were led into the bowels of the Blackstone Fortress, which housed a massive Webway Gate. Guilliman defeated the Bloodthirster Skarbrand, allowing his people to escape into the Webway before the gate was sealed behind them. However, this was all part of a plan on the part of Magnus, who had foreseen the path Guilliman would take to return to the Imperial Throneworld.
Once the surviving Imperials were safely within the confines of the Webway and were warned by Veilwalker's Harlequin scouts that the Thousand Sons were tracking them within its labyrinthine corridors, Guilliman became suspicious of his sorcerer brother's motives.
Guilliman's mind raced, weaving fragments of fact and glimpses of information with his peerless strategist's intuition. It was Magnus, realised the Primarch. His manipulative brother -- who must have somehow known precisely how matters would play out for Guilliman -- had sent his cursed sons to intercept the Imperials.
Events began to fall into place in Guilliman's mind. Magnus had hurled Guilliman's Crusade into the Maelstrom not to destroy it, but to weaken it. He had propelled the Lord of Ultramar onto a particular path of fate that Magnus had either hoped or known would lead him to his capture, incarceration within that very specific gaol, and eventual escape into this section of the Webway. Guilliman could not know that the Crimson King had called upon his greatest champion, Ahriman, to aid him with his stolen knowledge of the Webway's paths, but otherwise the Primarch's conclusions were entirely correct.
Swiftly and earnestly, Guilliman sought the counsel of his closest lieutenants. They had to determine what Magnus planned, and quickly, before they stepped straight into the Daemon Primarch's trap. It was Aldrik Voldus who -- drawing upon his knowledge of Titan's ancient libraries -- made the intuitive leap. There was a warded entrance to the Webway within the Imperial Palace. Voldus believed it to be heavily defended, bound shut with the most potent abjurations that the Imperium could muster, but still it existed. Perhaps Magnus knew of that gate, and sought to follow them to it?
Guilliman's strategic brilliance leapt ahead again, tracing patterns within patterns and perceiving the truth. Magnus already knew where the gate lay, he realised. There had been whispers that the Crimson King had passed that way before just before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, and in so doing unleashed the catastrophe that fell upon him and his XV Legion.
Magnus did not need them to lead him to the gate. He sought instead to follow them through it, clearly hoping that the gate's defences would be deactivated to allow for Guilliman's arrival. The Daemon Primarch wanted to strike at Terra, at the very Golden Throne of the Emperor of Mankind, and he hoped to launch his attack as the gate was thrown open to permit the Ultramarines Primarch passage.
The Terran Crusade, ironically, could not emerge at Terra, Guilliman realised with something like despair, not if it meant allowing Magnus to strike at the cradle of Humanity. Yet Sylandri Veilwalker had never intended for them to take that road. Instead, the Shadowseer revealed a secret that the Eldar had long guarded.
Lying dormant for millennia, hidden behind a veil of wards that even Humanity's greatest psykers could not pierce, a lonely spar of the Webway stretched out upon the border between realspace and the Warp to connect to Luna, Terra's only natural moon. It was to that illusion-veiled gate that the Crusade must now make haste.
With their path chosen, the survivors of the Terran Crusade set out at once. Already they had crossed great gulfs of space, and fought their way through hellish environs, yet they began this new and arduous leg of their journey without complaint. All who had set forth from Ultramar had been prepared to give their lives for this cause, and to endure any hardship they must in order to see the reborn Roboute Guilliman safely to Terra. Nothing had changed.
Travelling fast, the Harlequins of the Veiled Path lead the way. They progressed now through territory that was theirs alone, moving with ever greater speed and confidence as a result. Bands of Harlequins split away into half-glimpsed side passages, or slipped through hollow archways graven from stone. Others returned in similar fashion, filtering in before or behind the massed Imperial tanks and foot troops. Harlequin Jetbikes sped overhead from time to time, hurtling down the wider passageways in polychromatic blurs. All the while, Guilliman and his followers kept up a relentless pace, their tanks moving in the vanguard while loping infantry and stalking Onager Dunecrawlers brought up the rear.
The Webway changed and shifted around them, from misty passages to dark and echoing tunnels, brightly lit expanses of polyhedral crystal to weirdly fleshy spirals that pulsed with peristaltic motion. The Loyalists surely would have been lost within solar minutes, had they travelled alone, or else set upon by the predatory entities that haunted the Labyrinth Dimension. Yet with the Harlequins as both guides and escorts, the Imperial forces were able to proceed unchallenged.
All that changed when frantic reports reached Sylandri Veilwalker of familiars that had espied the Loyalists and eluded the pursuing Jetbikes. At the Shadowseer's urging, the punishing pace increased still further, until the slowest Servitors were abandoned altogether. As Guilliman and his warriors thundered across a hazy, crystal-studded cavern, sudden volleys of firepower scythed into them from the flanks.
Fifteen warriors fell to that first volley, punched off their feet by bolt shells wreathed in coruscating flame. Rhinos exploded amidst leaping blasts of psychic sorcery, while Skitarii degenerated into howling mutant flesh as the fires of change washed over them.
Guilliman barked his orders and the Loyalists fanned out as one, dropping into firing crouches amidst the crystal outcroppings. From all around, swimming into focus through the veiling mists, came the plodding automata of Thousand Sons Rubricae. The armoured golems played their Bolters right and left as they advanced, laying down a steady hail of ensorcelled bolts. Hordes of shrieking Tzaangors moved amongst them, brandishing silvered blades.
Guilliman's warriors fired back, sending many of their ambushers reeling as their armour was rent and the dust that animated it spilled onto the ground. Cypher span and dove through the mayhem, evading every shot fired his way and reaping a tally of the foe with his blazing pistols. Aldrik Voldus, too, wrought havoc as he led a counterattack against the Thousand Sons. His warhammer swung in lightning fast arcs, battering Rubricae to the ground amid clouds of glittering dust.
Still more Rubricae closed in, their sorcerous masters upon their flying discs hurling their spells into the Loyalist ranks. Guilliman realised that to stay here was to fight an impossible battle, and to be lost with his goal in sight. It infuriated the Primarch to run yet again, for it seemed to him that, since leaving Ultramar, he had done little else. Yet the greater goal was of more importance, and he knew that he would not aid his father's Imperium by dying here.
Blade raised high, Guilliman led the movement to break out of the Thousand Sons ambush. Not all of his Battle-Brothers could extract themselves from the fight safely, and more precious lives were lost -- along with the gene-seed within them -- as Space Marines were cut down by the enemy's fire. Yet with the winged Living Saint Saint Celestine cutting a path at their head, the Loyalists broke away from their attackers and fled deeper into the Webway.
They found themselves beset at every turn, Rubricae and braying Tzaangors bursting from side passages or holding junctions against them. Still the Loyalists pressed on, smashing headlong through every ambush and blockade with Guilliman, Voldus, Greyfax, Celestine and Cypher at their head. At last, the Imperials reached a rune-sealed portal, fixing helms and rebreather cowls in place. Then, led by the Shadowseer, they stepped from the Webway and onto the surface of Luna.
Guilliman stepped through the shimmering lights of the Webway gate, enduring the unsettling doubling of reality that it created. He passed from soft illumination into harsh black shadow and searing glare, from air and gentle warmth into the frozen, airless lethality of near-vacuum. Gravity bled away around him, and with a single step, Guilliman launched himself away from the Webway gate into the billowing moon dust beyond.
The Terran Crusade had emerged into a deep crater, much of which was immersed in inky blackness. Shafts of stark illumination fell from above, where the rays of Sol itself spilled over the lip of the deep pit. Conscious of the foes following close on their heels, the Loyalists climbed quickly up the pit's sides. Space Marines sprang upwards hand over fist in the low gravity, only one-sixteenth that of Terra.
Tanks threw up drifting fans of moon dust as they powered up the rocky slope. Skitarii marched relentlessly upward, ignoring their blackening and freezing organic components. These latter soldiers would not last long on the lunar surface, but they would endure long enough to serve the Omnissiah's needs.
Above them, Celestine soared upward into the dark skies -- her Geminae Superia had donned their helms, but the Living Saint had no need of such apparel. Behind them, Veilwalker and her Harlequins lingered by the Webway gate. The Shadowseer gathered her powers, levelling her staff towards the Webway portal and beginning a whispering chant. The runes upon the structure's flanks glowed fiercely with a searing light.
Before Veilwalker could finish her ritual, the gate pulsed with dark energies. Blue fire billowed, its roar sounding as a dull rumble in the airless conditions. Veilwalker span clear at the last moment, but many of her Harlequin followers were not so fortunate. Their lithe bodies were engulfed in flame and, as their dathedi suits burned away, so their bodies melted like wax or froze and died.
From near the lip of the crater, Guilliman looked back to see the corrupted Webway gate glowing with dark fire. Streamers of energy leapt and coiled, dancing across the walls of the pit and blasting the Eldar corpses to ash. Out from that crackling storm stepped the first Rubric Marines, their footfalls muffled as they advanced across the crater floor. They raised their Bolters and opened fire, cursed shells roaring up from below to slam into the Imperials.
Armour ruptured and souls burned. Bulky bodies in the colours of the Novamarines and Mortifactors tumbled in slow motion down the slopes, clouds of chalky dust cascading around them. A Dreadknight toppled backwards, its pilot slain. The remaining Loyalists kept moving, over the lip of the crater and out of the Thousand Sons' line of fire.
Here, the retreat stopped at last. Guilliman and his surviving followers stood upon the surface of Luna itself, near the heart of the Mare Tempestus. On every side loomed the rusted hulks of old and broken Imperial voidships, a graveyard of junked and decommissioned spacecraft left there to moulder. Overhead, the blackness of space was speckled with stars while closer to hand, huge orbital docks and defence platforms filled the sky. Gothic leviathans swarming with voidcraft and covered in glaring lights, the grandeur of the Luna docks still faded against the breathtaking sight of Terra itself, hanging stark against the blackness above. There was the destination that Guilliman sought, the end of his journey at last.
Yet a deadly foe still chased at the Primarch's heels, and could not be allowed to work his malefic will within sight of the Throneworld. Guilliman knew that the Warp phenomena currently erupting in the crater's depths must surely have triggered every alarm and emergency Augur within a dozen terra-sols.
It would not be long before overwhelming Imperial forces raced to investigate, but there was no telling what irrevocable havoc Magnus could cause before they arrived. Guilliman saw again the visions Kairos had sent him, of a shattered world crashing down upon a fire-blackened Terra, and shuddered. He and his followers must hold the enemy here, driving the Thousand Sons back or -- at the least -- keeping them suppressed until aid could arrive.
The Thousand Sons were spilling from the Webway gate in increasing numbers, Scarab Occult and Rubricae driven forward by Chaos Sorcerers on their flying discs. Their advance was steady but unstoppable, pushing up the crater walls with their guns blazing. Recognising that the crater itself offered the best chance of containing the foe, Guilliman spread his warriors, combat walkers and tanks around its lip and commanded them to pour fire down into the advancing Thousand Sons.
Space Marines, Skitarii, Dreadnoughts, Land Raiders, Vindicators, Dunecrawlers, Kataphron Battle Servitors and more opened fire. Using the lip of the crater for cover, and making the most of the higher ground, the Loyalists sent volley after volley ripping down into the Heretic Astartes. Striding automata were knocked back into the crater by devastating explosions. Glittering dust drifted from rents in ancient, ornate armour, floating free in the low gravity and leaving once-animate undead armour suits to crumple and collapse.
Sergeants barked orders through the Vox, coordinating volleys of Lascannon blasts and Demolisher shells to rain down upon the Rubricae. Cypher and his shadowy companions rained fire down upon the Thousand Sons. Greyfax slammed silver stakes through one Rubricae after another from her Condemnor Bolter. Aldrik Voldus tore Traitors apart with the potent powers of his mind.
Armoured corpses piled in heaps at the bottom of the crater, surrounding the Webway gate with carrion remains. From cracks and rocky outcroppings around the crater's edge, the last of the Harlequins added their own fire to the fusillade, hails of monofilament discs cutting through Power Armour and the flesh of living, daemonic discs.
For a time, it appeared as though the Thousand Sons would be bottled up in the crater. Though their return fire caused slow attrition amongst the Loyalists, the Traitors were losing far more warriors than they slew.
Then a fresh pulse of dark power surged through the Webway gate, its energies whirling faster and faster until they formed a flaming vortex. A wave of supernatural dread swept over the loyalist Space Marines as a huge, hornheaded figure stepped through onto the surface of Luna. Spreading his wings wide, Magnus the Red looked up at Guilliman with a mocking smile.
Drawing himself up to his full height, Magnus the Red raised his ensorcelled glaive and spoke dolorous words of power that rang out in defiance of all natural law. Purple flames leapt, forming shimmering shields and warding the Thousand Sons from harm. Suddenly, the Rubricae and Scarab Occult could advance unharmed, striding upwards as their foes' shots exploded upon Magnus' psychic shields. The Thousand Sons suffered no such obstruction, and dozens of Loyalists were sent tumbling back from the crater's lip, blood and shattered bone spraying.
Seeing the sudden shift in the situation, and knowing that they must hold out no matter the cost, Guilliman ordered his surviving warriors back. Moments later, the first ranks of Rubricae crested the lip of the crater and strode out with their gun muzzles flaring. More Thousand Sons marched behind them, and the surviving Loyalists fell back to voidship wrecks and rocky craters to gain cover while their tanks backed steadily away with their guns thundering.
Magnus rose from the crater. With a word, the Daemon Primarch unmade a trio of Dreadknights, burning out their psychic wards and crushing their armour. With a gesture, he telekinetically plucked an Ultramarines Land Raider from the ground and slammed it through ranks of Skitarii like a cannonball. Magnus brandished his staff and reality rent apart, a tide of cackling Tzeentchian daemons boiling from the Warp to join the battle.
Recognising that the Daemon Primarch would swiftly destroy his army if allowed free reign, Guilliman broke into a headlong charge. Giving vent to a booming war cry, the Primarch of the Ultramarines smashed a path through the Rubricae before him and launched himself into a heroic leap from the lip of the crater.
Guilliman soared, burning blade leaving a trail of flame behind him. Magnus saw his brother coming and began an incantation of pain, but before he could finish it the Lord of Ultramar struck. Magnus managed to parry his brother's arcing blade with his glaive, but the battering ram impact of Guilliman's leap carried the Crimson King backward, away from the fight. The two Primarchs tumbled across the lunar surface, dust billowing around them, and smashed into the rusted wreck of an Imperial frigate. Slabs of metal and corroded ironwork crashed down around them, burying the fighting brothers in an avalanche of wreckage. Meanwhile, the battle around the crater raged on, the last remnants of the Terran Crusade fighting furiously to survive.
Guilliman fought his way to freedom, hurling aside a slab of rusted metal and ignoring the alarms ringing within his helm. His armour was compromised, its air supply venting and the cold of the void leaking in. Were it not for his god-like constitution, and Cawl's life-sustaining technology, Guilliman would likely have been dead.
Instead, he raised his blade and kicked his way clear of the scattered wreckage.
"Magnus", he shouted through his Vox grill, searching around him. The Primarch knew his dubiously gifted brother could hear his words, even in the void of space. "I know better than to think you dead. Face me!"
Deep laughter rolled around Guilliman, a sound redolent with ancient malice. As he watched, Magnus' ethereal form rose from the wreckage and drifted down to loom over him. The Daemon Primarch solidified once more, huge and menacing.
"Very well, Roboute", laughed Magnus, and his words conjured crystalline showers that rained down upon the pale ground. "Here I am, in the flesh. And -- somehow -- there you are." Magnus cocked his head to one side and smirked. "I don't remember you seeming so ... insignifcant."
"Ten millennia have made you no less arrogant, then?" asked Guilliman, warily circling his towering foe. Inside his helm, a look of disgust twisted his patrician features as he regarded the monstrous form of the Crimson King. "Certainly those years have done you no other kindness."
Magnus sighed. "How you can have such grand plans and yet such scant vision has always eluded me. This", the Daemon Primarch said, empyric energies stirring as they gathered around his levelled glaive, "is what true power looks like."
"I see no power here," said Guilliman, shaking his head in dismay. "I see corruption, and enslavement to monsters that are worshipped as gods."
"On that, Roboute," Magnus laughed, sparing a glance at the Loyalists fighting nearby, "perhaps we can finally agree."
The cyclopean Sorcerer's smile turned into a sneer when he noticed his brother glance to the skies above. "Hoping to keep my sons and I occupied until the remnants of this palsied Imperium come to save you? I may not reach our father's throne room today, but I promise that you won't either. You will be dead long before help arrives. That alone will be worth all this trouble."
With that, Magnus attacked. The giant moved far faster than even Guilliman could have believed, his ensorcelled glaive lashing out to split the Lord of Ultramar in two.
Guilliman leapt backward, pulling his midriff in as he did so. Magnus' weapon drew sparks from his armour as it whistled past, and Guilliman landed atop the crumpled prow of a nearby frigate.
Before he could take stock, Magnus was hurling balls of blue psychic flame at him. Guilliman threw himself out of their path, sliding down the prow's rusted flank and dropping into a crouch at its feet. He broke into a charge, bursting from the drifting cloud of dust raised by his landing and weaving skillfully around his brother's sorcerous projectiles.
The ammunition in the Hand of Dominion was spent, but it was still a phenomenally powerful weapon. Sidestepping a downward cut from Magnus' glaive, Guilliman slid inside his brother's guard and delivered a thunderous uppercut. The impact lifted Magnus from his feet and sent him tumbling upward into the inky blackness. Fiery blood drifted in strings from Magnus' shattered jaw, causing kaleidoscopic fungi to sprout from where it spattered on Luna's surface, the power of change embedded even in the Daemon Primarch's blood.
Roiling psychic energy wrapped around Magnus, arresting his motion and righting him as he howled in anger. The Daemon Primarch stared hatefully down with his single eye, and Guilliman knew fresh sorrow as he realised how truly mad and lost his sibling had become.
"Arrogance", shouted Guilliman. "It was always your undoing, brother. You thought this would be an easy fight, that the gifts of your so-called gods would render me impotent. Perhaps those you serve are not all you believed them to be?"
Magnus' rage vanished in an eye-blink, and he laughed scornfully in response to Guilliman's jibe.
"You would like to believe that, wouldn't you? That the dutiful Roboute Guilliman was justified in his loyalty? That, now the ramifications of our choices have become clear, you can look down on me as you always did?"
With sudden violence, Magnus jabbed downward with his glaive. Multicoloured flames exploded from its blade, engulfing Guilliman and the bedrock upon which he stood. Moon dust exploded upwards in crackling clouds. Fire danced across scrap iron, and Roboute cried out as agony wracked his body.
Crackling with raw power, Magnus descended, still pouring Warp fire into his brother. Guilliman screamed again, dropping to one knee as his armour blazed with searing energy. Sparks burst from the overloaded systems of his Power Armour, and the smell of his own, cooking flesh filled his nostrils.
Desperate, Guilliman drove himself backwards in a graceless leap. He flew in an arc to smash down amidst a tumbled heap of enginarium debris, armour still flickering with flames.
Magnus landed, chuckling cruelly. Sprawled amidst the tangle of wreckage, Guilliman tried to push himself to his feet. The Primarch's body was a mass of pain, and his armour responded sluggishly, a number of its servomotors burned out.
"No, brother", said Magnus. "You stay where you are."
The Daemon Primarch gestured, and spectral claws tore several hundred tons of machinery loose from a nearby wreck. Guilliman had time to brace himself before the ungainly mass impacted like a comet, burying him completely beneath an avalanche of crushing metal.
Guilliman was entombed. Alarms chimed in his ears, red warning signs flashing in his peripheral vision. The pain of lacerated organs and shattered bones dragged at him, and for a moment the Lord of Ultramar was tempted simply to give in. Then he thought again of his long-suffering sons, fighting so hard for the ideals of an Imperium they had never even known. He would not betray them. He would not let one of his degenerate brothers keep him from his responsibilities -- not again.
Muscles tensing, strength surging, Guilliman ripped his way up through the tumbled mountain of wreckage. He roared as he hurled aside a capacitor unit the size of a Land Raider, and stepped, bloodied but unbroken, into the hard light of Luna. Magnus arched an eyebrow at the sight, and braced his glaive to hurl another spell.
And then the void lit with fire.
Grand Master Aldrik Voldus looked up and gave thanks as the Emperor's deliverance rained down upon the battlefield. The Terran Crusade forces had broken into small islands of resistance, some hunkered down amidst spacecraft wreckage, others crouching behind jutting Luna rocks. The Thousand Sons had surrounded them, relentlessly pouring fire into the Loyalist positions while Tzeentchian daemons hurtled overhead on golden discs to rain Warpflame upon them.
Now, though, help had arrived. Gilt-chased fighter craft screamed down over the lunar landscape. As they did so, rippling lines of fire exploded amidst Rubricae and Horrors alike. Las blasts and hails of explosive shells tore the Tzeentchian footsoldiers apart. Bombs fell amongst them, sundering armour and flesh.
At the same time, vast leviathans of adamantium and plasteel rumbled in overhead. Naval system monitors of the Imperial Navy's Terran Defence Fleet hove into low orbit, their enormous forms swamping the battlefield in shadow as they came. Aided by triangulatory targeting data transmitted by Archmagos Belisarius Cawl, the voidships rained pinpoint-accurate fire upon the foe.
Lunar dust whirled in sudden vortices as teleport energies snatched it up. Bright light flared, and the golden giants of the Adeptus Custodes stepped from it with their Guardian Spears levelled. Hails of bolt fire ripped into the Rubricae. Cursing, the Sorcerers ordered their undead golem warriors to turn and address these new foes, but to no avail. Moving with breathtaking speed and skill, the Custodians hacked their way into the Heretic Astartes. Each fought like a hero born, their blades splitting ancient Power Armour like firewood and sending empty helms spinning lazily away across the lunar surface.
Rallying as aid appeared, the last enclaves of those warriors who had set out from Macragge fought back with renewed fury. Aldrik Voldus stepped out from the wreckage of a bulk carrier, leading his remaining Grey Knights and Dreadknights in a valiant charge. His hammer smashed apart ceramite wherever it connected, and psychic lightning danced about him despite the Chaos Sorcerers' best efforts to banish it. Inquisitor Katarinya Greyfax fought alongside him, her iron will bringing Tzeentchian conjurers to their knees before she struck off their heads with her masterwork blade.
Seizing the moment, Saint Celestine swept through the enemy ranks, the Ardent Blade slashing left and right as her Geminae Superia raked the daemons with bolt fire. Captain Cato Sicarius followed in her wake, rallying Ultramarines and their Primogenitors behind him as they cut a path towards the Adeptus Custodes.
The muffled boom of engines sounded overhead, heralding the arrival of further Imperial forces. Stark yellow Drop Pods slammed down, thrusters flaring. Their hatches opened and squads of Imperial Fists Space Marines emerged from within, Bolters blazing at the enemy. Gunships rumbled overhead, yellow-hulled Stormravens and Stormtalons whose weapons tore through the Thousand Sons. Several were swatted by bolts of sorcery and hails of rotary cannon fire, flames belching from ruptured hulls as they span down to crash amidst the wreckage of starships.
Amongst these craft flew a trio of Valkyries with hulls of crimson and black, the sigil of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica emblazoned upon their flanks. Arcing through the explosions and mayhem above the battlefield, the gunships made for the point some way distant where Guilliman still battled his monstrous brother.
Purple fire speared upwards, ripping the wing from the leading craft and sending it rolling to a halt in a blazing fireball. The other two swept on towards their quarry, and as they came in low, their side doors slid open.
While their brave pilots blitzed fire at Magnus the Red, two squads of helmed Sisters of Silence dropped from the gunships. They landed near Guilliman in fighting crouches. Angrily, Magnus swept his clawed hand through the air, dragging one gunship sideways with telekinetic power and smashing it into the other. Both Valkyries exploded and tumbled downwards, but the Sisters of Silence leapt nimbly aside. Magnus glowered, jabbing with his glaive and sending tendrils of green and yellow psychic flame spiralling in their direction. The sorcery sputtered and died before it reached them, undone by the empyric dead zone around the warrior Nulls.
Seeing a strategic advantage at last, Guilliman leapt down from the mound of wreckage and landed amidst the Sisters of Silence. They would shield him from his brother's fell powers. Together, the Primarch and the Sisters charged towards Magnus with their blades at the ready.
The Daemon Primarch hurled another volley of psychic destruction, growling in frustration as it flickered out like the first. Angrily, Magnus hefted his glaive and swooped forward to meet his enemies at close quarters. If he could not destroy them with the powers of the Warp, he would hack and crush their mortal bodies until nothing remained but meat.
Beneath the dark lunar sky, with Terra hanging, ancient and hallowed above them, the two Primarchs crashed together once again.
Syndri Veilwalker bounded into the air. She drove one foot into the side of a Rubricae's helm, ripping it free with the force of her kick. The Shadowseer pushed off from her first victim, spinning through the thin air to hurl a bewildering glamour into the face of a nearby Sorcerer. The Tzeentch worshipper howled in panic, clawing at his helm and ripping it free. His flesh froze in solar seconds, his eyes bursting as bloody puffs and gore squirted from his nose, mouth and ears. The Shadowseer trilled a mocking laugh as she landed, spinning her stave low to sweep the legs from two more Rubricae, before sketching an elaborate bow to their fellows.
Amidst a hail of ensorcelled bolts, Veilwalker sprang away, as her kin cartwheeled into the enemy's midst from another direction. In such low gravity conditions, the Harlequins could achieve feats of agility and grace beyond even their normal blinding skill, and Veilwalker laughed again as she saw the Rubricae rendered clumsy by comparison.
Bounding in a high pirouette over the battle, Veilwalker sought he who wore the Armour of Fate. There he was, amidst the wrecks of crude human spacecraft, battling his monstrous brother alongside a band of warriors. Even from here, the mere presence of the psychic Nulls made Sylandri shudder.
Guilliman and Magnus were trading hate-filled blows, their weapons crashing together with titanic force. The Nulls were doing what they could to aid the fight, stabbing blades at the daemon in their midst or pouring Bolter fire into him. Already, several lay as broken corpses for their troubles, but the rest were doing an effective job of deadening Magnus' sorcerous powers.
Veilwalker landed gracefully, ignoring a storm of magical flames that exploded away to her left. Daemons, befuddled by her Domino Field, cast their spells at where they believed her to be. With a thought, Veilwalker activated the communications inlay in her helm, communing with her Death Jester, the Hollow Prince.
"The moment has arrived", she said. "Our drama has played out, and the brothers' enmity burns anew."
"Now the final curtain, then?" whispered the voice of the Hollow Prince, rich with wicked mirth. "Indignation. Outrage. Vendetta."
"It must be thus", agreed Veilwalker. "I shall ready the gate, for truth this time. You deliver your lines, and let matters play out."
Without waiting for an answer, Veilwalker cut her communications. She sprinted for the crater from which they had all emerged. She wove and sprang, dodged and tumbled through the raging battle, finally throwing herself into a feet-first slide over the crater's lip. Veilwalker arced gracefully down, moon dust falling about her like snow, and landed in a crouch amid the mounds of armoured corpses. Across the crater floor, the darkness was lit by the whirling storm of purple light that spat from the corrupted Webway gate. Magnus had done that, cursing the portal to permit his unnatural passage. Veilwalker smirked coldly behind her mask; he would pay for that hubris.
Across the field of battle, she knew that the Hollow Prince would be communicating with Guilliman, explaining their plan to the Primarch. The Death Jester would be telling the Primarch that Magnus could be destroyed only by casting his body into the corrupted Webway gate. If Veilwalker's visions were correct, Guilliman would believe him.
Meanwhile, she had to prepare the gateway, which was currently guarded by a pair of Chaos Sorcerers. Ghosting closer through the bodies with illusions flickering about her, Veilwalker drew her Shuriken Pistol. A gentle squeeze of its trigger, a flick of her wrist, and several more gentle depressions; frst one Sorcerer and then the other staggered as rounds struck them, perfectly placed to puncture their gorget seals and open their jugular arteries.
The two Sorcerers crumpled, and Veilwalker hurriedly began her incantations. The energies around the Webway gateway pulsed and shuddered, the runes on its sides glowing brighter as a keening vibration shook the dark pit.
At that moment, battling demigods appeared upon the crater's edge. Guilliman and Magnus, both bleeding from the wounds they had dealt one another, still flanked by a last handful of the Null warriors. Magnus bisected another of the women with a brutal swing of his glaive, which lashed around to hack a chunk from Guilliman's breastplate.
In return, the Lord of Ultramar drove Magnus back with hammer blows from the Emperor's blade, then slammed his shoulder into his brother's chest and sent the Crimson King crashing down the steep slope.
Guilliman leapt after him, not giving Magnus a chance to recover. The Primarch's onslaught was punishing, the wounded Guilliman visibly pouring everything he had into this last storm of blows. Veilwalker melted away into the shadows as the warring brothers neared the Webway gate, still muttering her incantations and weaving her staff back and forth.
Magnus conjured a deadly sphere of Warp energies and hurled it at his brother with all his might. Guilliman's Iron Halo absorbed the worst of the blast, but still he was sent staggering back. With his back to the gate, the Primarch of the Thousand Sons conjured a wave of telekinetic fury and used it to fling a mass of Space Marine corpses -- Loyalist and Traitor alike -- at the last few Nulls. They vanished from Sylandri's sight, their contra-empyric drag blinking out as they were buried beneath a macabre heap of the dead.
The Shadowseer started forward, fearing for the fate of the Final Act. Then, with a roar of hate and rage, Guilliman struck. The Lord of Ultramar lunged at his brother. The burning blade drove in, under the Daemon Primarch's guard, and sank deep into his chest. Golden flames leapt, and Magnus howled in agony as they chewed hungrily at his flesh. He unleashed his powers in an uncontrolled sorcerous blast, its shock wave racing out across the crater and throwing Sylandri from her feet.
The burst of power hurled Guilliman onto his back, blade in hand, and sent Magnus staggering free, back through the pulsating Webway gate. Sylandri had one chance, a single moment in which to alter fate. With a final word, she shattered the runestone that glowed hot in her palm, and severed the Webway gate to Luna forever. Power surged, Magnus roared his fury, and then was cut off from Luna, his warriors and his brother, banished to the depths of the Labyrinth Dimension.
Though his plan to strike at the heart of the Imperium of Man in one fell swoop had failed, Magnus the Red always had another scheme in place. With his Planet of the Sorcerers, Sortiarius, restored to realspace, the Crimson King knew that he would soon have another opportunity to lay low the Imperium that had betrayed him and destroyed all he had once loved.
The Invasion of the Stygius Sector
Magnus the Red led the Thousand Sons alongside other daemonic forces of the Changer of Ways in the Invasion of the Stygius Sector some time after the opening of the Great Rift. The invasion began when Tzeentch grew jealous of his brother Nurgle's newly acquired realspace domain in the Scourge Stars. While Tzeentch began to undermine Nurgle's control of the Scourge Stars, the Chaos God also wished to corrupt a realm of the Materium for himself and selected the Imperium's Stygius Sector as his target. This was because the Stygius Sector was still awash with Warp Storms created by the Great Rift's birth and the light of the Astronomican was no longer strong enough there to weaken the power of Chaos. This made the sector a ripe target for the Architect of Fate's forces.
Power and Abilities
Where once Magnus stood as a paragon of Humanity, he is now a monstrous creature of Chaos, a Daemon Primarch bound to the sinister and subtle will of the Great Conspirator. His skin, ever red, crackles and glows with the Warp-matter it has absorbed, and from his back sprout enormous wings emblazoned with runes of Tzeentchian power. With his single eye he sees through the Immaterium and realspace alike, weaving the strands of manifold futures and winding them to form a noose with which he can ensnare his enemies. Though he once sought knowledge for its own purpose, he now seeks only that which will ensure the Imperium burns for its crimes against him and his Thousand Sons.
In a galaxy riven by war, there are few things more terrifying to behold on the battlefield than a Daemon Primarch. Where Magnus strides, the fabric of reality strains and breaks, time and space wrenching violently apart to allow his passage. The very sight of him sears the mind with shifting, paradoxical images, glimpses of the Warp incomprehensible to mortal thought. Those over whom his shadow falls are plunged into darkness, their egos collapsed into a dense singularity as Magnus' daemonic presence encroaches upon their psyches. Even dauntless warriors who have braved countless horrific conflicts find their courage torn to shreds when the Lord of the Thousand Sons is stoked to fury.
From the glowing fires of Magnus' eye come blasts of raw psychic energy. With each earth-shattering bolt Titans and armoured columns are torn from reality, their very substance reduced to clouds of screaming atoms. As the Daemon Primarch draws near to his foes they are caught in a field of fluctuating energy, an aura of malefic sentience that twists existence to suit Magnus' will. The most impenetrable defences are laid bare by this warping influence, leaving the enemy open to slaughter.
Magnus directs entire cults of Thousand Sons warriors in battle. With these armies he shares a small fraction of his indomitable might, giving to the soulless Rubricae and Scarab Occult Terminators a portion of violent vitality, and bolstering the already ravenous ambitions of the still-living Sorcerers. They are his greatest weapon, guided by coercion and fate to do his fell bidding, and through them he visits his wrath upon the galaxy.
Shards of Magnus
Following his near-death at the hands of Leman Russ during the Fall of Prospero at the start of the Horus Heresy, at least a part of Magnus' psyche was scattered into several "shards." These psychic phantoms have their own personality and ideals. They seemingly act independent of each other and what is recognised as the "primary" form of Magnus the Red which is the Daemon Primarch who bases himself on the Planet of the Sorcerers. Known shards include:
- The Shard of Prospero, destroyed by the Primarch Jaghatai Khan of the White Scars during the Second Battle of Prospero. This shard urged the Khan to choose a side in the interstellar civil war and seemed neutral to both Horus and the Emperor.
- The Shard of Kallista Eris, found in the urn of Kallista Eris' ashes carried by Lemuel Gaumon while imprisoned in Kamiti Sona.
- The Shard of Aghoru, embodying Magnus' warrior aspect, found on the world of Aghoru.
- The Shard of Kadmus, embodying Magnus' quest for lost knowledge, found on Terra deep within Mount Cithaeron in the past. Ahriman had to travel into the past to reclaim the shard. This shard came to the aid of the Salamanders First Captain Artellus Numeon aboard the Fire Ark and guided the vessel, which was carrying the remains of Vulkan, through the Ruinstorm and to Nocturne during the Horus Heresy.
- The Shard of Nikaea, embodying Magnus' feelings of betrayal, found on the world of Nikaea which hosted the great council that forbid the use of sorcery within the Imperium.
- The Shard of Terra, representing Magnus' noblest virtues, was created when Magnus sought to breach the psychic wards of the Imperial Webway extension to warn the Emperor of Horus' betrayal, was kept by Malcador the Sigillite on Terra, and the corrupted Magnus declared that the Thousand Sons Legion would aid Horus' assault on Terra to recover it. Meanwhile this shard stalked the Imperial Dungeons and was eventually sealed into the body of Revuel Arvida by Malcador. The ritual did not go as planned and a new being emerged, neither Arvida or Magnus, known as Ianius, later Janus, the first Supreme Grand Master of the Grey Knights.
- The Shard of the Athenaeum of Kallimakus, embodying Magnus' penchant towards manipulation, secrets, and change, which attached itself to the Athenaeum to plant the seed of a second Rubric spell in Ahriman's mind.
- The Shard of Ahriman, which unbeknownst to its host, the Thousand Sons Sorcerer Ahzek Ahriman, dwelled within his own psyche's mind palace.
- The Horned Raiment - Magnus' unique suit of Power Armour was believed to be as much a thing of tangible psychic force and Empyreal energy as it was a physical construction, shifting form and appearance as he willed, and the means by which it protected him was proof against the most savage ranged and melee weapons despite its often primitive appearance.
- The Blade of Ahn-Nunura - Taking the distinctive shape of the khopesh-like sickle-sword weapon of the Prosperine war god of ancient myth, Ahn-Nunura, this Force Weapon combined ancient lore and Imperial weapons technology and was lethal to living creatures and battle engines alike.
- Arcane Litanies - The bearer of Arcane Litanies was protected from the powers of the Warp and the denizens that dwelled within.
- Psyfire Serpenta - A hand gun of prodigious size seemingly conjured to his grasp at need, there was always some debate even among Magnus' Legion whether this powerful Plasma Weapon was truly a device or simply a manifestation of his psychic powers in physical form.
- The Horned Raiment - The Horned Raiment is the name still given to the unique and ancient suit of Power Armour worn by the Crimson King since the days of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy ten millennia ago. This plate armour covering Magnus' daemonic body is embellished with Tzeentchian runes, their profane symbology creating a tapestry of madness.
- The Blade of Magnus - Formerly known as The Blade of Ahn-Nunura before the Primarch's fall to Chaos, this ancient weapon changes form according to Magnus' will, and its mutagenic powers extend to his victims. With this he carves through the enemy's ranks, bisecting tank hulls and torsos, severing souls from their corporeal bodies. For those not instantly reduced to a pool of gore or puff of flame an even worse fate awaits -- the ensorcelled sword mutates the riven flesh of its victims, infusing them with empyric power to birth writhing Chaos Spawn.
- Crown of the Crimson King - The blazing halo of psychic power that plays around Magnus' horns protects both his mind and body from harm. This great horned crown that adorns the Crimson King's head exudes an aura of protective energy, shielding his physical and mental essence. The futility of defying Magnus' wrath becomes clear when enemy fire dissipates harmlessly before striking him; psychic bolts fizzle into innocuous sparks and gargantuan chainblades grind to a halt against this aetheric barrier.
In Magnus the Red: Master of Prospero, Magnus puts his date of discovery by the Emperor at 840.M30. This is contradictory to another account. A Thousand Sons Astartes describes the Thousand Sons Legion as having their Primarch for less than half of the duration of the Great Crusade by the time that campaign reaches its two-hundred year point, which would put his rediscovery after 900.M30.
Older lore describes the pre-Heresy Magnus as actually akin in apperance to a mythological cyclops -- naturally possessed of only one eye, set in the middle of his forehead. A later ret-con established that Magnus once possessed two normal eyes and lost the right one as part of his dealings with Tzeentch.
The Word Bearers Primarch Lorgar remarks that the truth of how Magnus lost his eye and indeed his entire physical appearance as a red-skinned giant is meant to be deliberately ambiguous, though Magnus himself states that his favorite version of the story is where he lost his eye to gain ultimate knowledge.
In Norse mythology, the king of the pantheon of the Aesir, Odin, is said to have traded one of his eyes for ultimate knowledge of the universe, just as one of the stories surrounding Magnus states that he sacrificed one eye to Tzeentch to gain a deeper understanding of the Warp.
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), pp. 17, 46
- Codex Heretic Astartes - Thousand Sons (8th Edition), pp. 34-35, 88
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 86-88
- Gathering Storm - Part Three - Rise of the Primarch (7th Edition), pp. 49, 72-85
- Index Astartes III, "Masters of Forbidden Knowledge - The Thousand Sons Space Marine Legion", pp. 62-69
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned (1st Edition), pg. 267
- The Horus Heresy - Book Seven: Inferno (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 9-67
- The Horus Heresy: Collected Visions (Art Book), pg. 24
- White Dwarf 326 (US), "Psykana Librarius," pg. 76
- White Dwarf 267 (US), "Index Astartes First Founding: Masters of Forbidden Knowledge, The Thousand Sons Space Marine Legion"
- White Dwarf 263 (US), "Runes of Forging - Aaron Dill's Crazy Conversion Competition Finale: Magnus the Red, Demon Lord of Tzeentch", pp. 28-29
- White Dwarf 230 (US), "Bitter and Twisted: Ahriman" and "Chapter Approved: Thousand Sons Terminators", pp. 39-43, 71-79
- White Dwarf 150 (US), "'Eavy Metal: Epic Daemons - Magnus the Red: Primarch of Tzeentch", pp. 68-69
- War Zone Fenris: Wrath of Magnus, (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "The Serpent and the Wolk," "Echoes in Time," pg. 147
- False Gods (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- A Thousand Sons (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- The First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Prospero Burns (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Aurelian (Novella) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- The Outcast Dead (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "Rebirth" by Chris Wraight
- The Space Wolf Omnibus (Novel) by William King
- Space Wolf: The Second Omnibus (Novel) by William King and Lee Lightner
- Battle of the Fang (Novel) by Chris Wraight
- The Hunt for Magnus (Novel) by Chris Wraight
- The Crimson King (Novel) by Chris Wraight, Chs. 9,15, 17, 23
- Magnus the Red: Master of Prospero (Novel) by Graham McNeill, Ch. 2
|Horus • Leman Russ • Lost Primarchs • Ferrus Manus • Fulgrim • Vulkan • Rogal Dorn • Roboute Guilliman • Magnus the Red • Sanguinius • Lion El'Jonson • Perturabo • Mortarion • Lorgar • Jaghatai Khan • Konrad Curze • Angron • Corvus Corax • Alpharius Omegon|