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Marneus Calgar

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"We are the Ultramarines, the Sons of Guilliman. Whilst we draw breath, we stand. Whilst we stand, we fight. Whilst we fight, we prevail. Nothing shall stay our wrath."
— Marneus Calgar, Chapter Master of the Ultramarines Chapter
Marneus Calgar by Karl Kopinski

Chapter Master Marneus Calgar of the Ultramarines, the Lord of Macragge

Marneus Augustus Calgar is the current Chapter Master of the Ultramarines Space Marines Chapter and the Lord of Macragge, capital world of the Realm of Ultramar in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy. Some reports have stated that following a skirmish against the minor Tyranid Hive Fleet Perseus in 976.M41, Calgar lost all four limbs as well as large areas of body tissue and his left eye. Now fitted with bionic replacements, he is more machine than man. However, he remains in firm control of the Ultramarines Chapter and one of the greatest champions of the Emperor and the cause of Mankind who has ever lived.

History

"We follow in the footsteps of Guilliman. As it is written in the Codex, so shall it be."
— Marneus Calgar, Chapter Master of the Ultramarines Chapter

As one might expect from an embodiment of the Ultramarine's nobility, Calgar is immune to fear and is resolutely courageous under fire; where lesser men would dive for cover when being fired upon, Marneus Calgar takes quick stock of the situation, decides the best course of action, and will only leap into cover when there is no tactically viable alternative. The achievements and deeds of Calgar are recorded in 28 volumes stored within a vault in the Ultramarines' fortress-monastery known as the Fortress of Hera on Macragge, surpassed in number and magnitude only by the achievements of the Ultramarines' Primarch Roboute Guilliman. These achievements include: leading the breaching assault on the Tyranid Hive Ship Behemoth Primus, single-handedly holding the gate against an Ork horde for a night and a day at the Siege of Zalathrax, defeating an Eldar Avatar of Khaine in single combat, thus leading to the rout of Eldar forces at the Battle for Orar's Sepulchre in 888.M41, and recapturing the star fort Indomitable from the daemonic hordes of M'kar the Reborn, who he then supposedly cast back into the Warp with the help of the Inquisition. In truth, M'kar was not banished but only bound within the core of the star fort, and would return to plague Ultramar once more and offer Marneus Calgar his greatest challenge.

First Tyrannic War

The arrival of Hive Fleet Behemoth in the Eastern Fringe in 754.M41 would prove to be the single greatest threat to the realm of Ultramar since the darkness of the Horus Heresy. On Macragge, the ancient homeworld of the Ultramarines, would the future of the whole sector be decided. Once the Ultramarines learned of the imminent threat of Hive Fleet Behemoth, Marneus Calgar, Lord of the Ultramarines, ordered Macragge's formidable defences to be placed at a heightened state of readiness. Between a vast fleet of warships and the planet’s mighty orbital defence stations, everyone on Macragge readied themselves to face the Tyranid menace. Only a few scant solar weeks later, the Tyranids’ vanguard fleet attacked. Hundreds of bio-ships swept through the Ultramarines’ blockade and swarmed over Macragge, and thousands of alien beasts soon rampaged across the planet. Deeming the Tyranid threat too massive to oppose piecemeal, Calgar combined his ground forces into three armies. The first and second task forces garrisoned each of Macragge's polar fortresses. Taking the fight directly to the foe, Calgar himself led the third force in a series of rearguard actions in an attempt to slow the Tyranids' advance.

Cold Steel Ridge

Calgar Honour Guard vs. Behemoth

Chapter Master Marneus Calgar in Terminator Armour fighting valiantly alongside his Honour Guard against the hordes of Hive Fleet Behemoth

Using every ploy and tactic at his disposal, Calgar utilised the landscape of Macragge as a weapon, luring the swarm into valleys and onto ice-bridges where their superior numbers could not be bought to bear. Ultramarines' gunlines held back the tide whilst long-range barrages and enfilading fire reaped a bloody harvest. Tactical Squads launched daring attacks, diverting the swarm's attention whilst Assault Marines struck at the hive-control synaptic organisms and armoured transports carried Battle-Brothers to outflank the horde. Bike Squadrons and Scouts fought feigned withdrawals to draw the largest aliens into the fire of waiting battle tanks.

However, at Cold Steel Ridge, the Space Marines' fortunes changed for the worse, as the Tyranid advance refused to be halted. It was during this fateful battle that the Ultramarines faced the most dangerous Tyranid creature yet encountered; one whose instinctive grasp of warfare matched their own tactical acumen. Somehow this Hive Tyrant, this "Swarmlord," thwarted the Ultramarines' strategies, and the Tyranids under its psychic dominion began to overrun the Space Marines’ positions. Knowing that to remain planetside was to doom his warriors, Calgar ordered Thunderhawk gunships to extract the Ultramarines to the orbiting Battle Barge Octavius. Sensing its prey was about to escape, the Swarmlord plunged into the fray alongside a horde of elite hive-warriors, cutting a path straight towards Calgar. The Lord of Ultramar stood his ground, laying waste to xenos horrors with every swing of his fists. But the Tyranids were too many, and Calgar's body was rent and torn. When he came face-to-face with the Swarmlord, he was on the verge of death, yet still would not yield. Locked in a mortal duel, they fought like mythic gods, and though Calgar struck with his last ounce of strength, he was laid low by the monster's blades.

Before the Swarmlord could deliver the killing blow, Calgar's Honour Guard threw themselves in front of their lord, forming a shield with their own bodies. Slowly, they drove the Swarmlord back from their fallen commander, their Bolters roaring and blades flashing. With their courage and their lives, they held back the tide until the Thunderhawks arrived. As the rest of the Honour Guard got Calgar to safety, Brother Aloysius was hacked down by the Swarmlord's four crackling Bonesabres, as the Chapter Master's Thunderhawk gunship lifted off to safety. Thanks to the noble sacrifice of Aloysius and his fellow Ultramarines, Marneus Calgar would live to fight again, but Cold Steel Ridge was lost.

Macragge Besieged

"Remember the names of the honoured fallen, recall their deeds and know that their sacrifice honours the Chapter. No son of Guilliman could wish for a more glorious death."
Ortan Cassius, Ultramarines Master of Sanctity

Hours later, the main strength of the Tyranids arrived above Macragge. Refusing all but the most vital medical attention, Calgar quickly resumed command of the fleet and pressed the attack. Caught between the blistering firepower of Macragge's polar fortresses and the vengeful hammer blows of Calgar’s fleet, Tyranid vessels were destroyed in droves, but hundreds yet remained. As the battle raged, the remaining Tyranid ships unleashed thousands of Mycetic Spores above the beleaguered world's polar fortresses before retreating from orbit. Trusting to his Ultramarines to hold the vital strongholds, Calgar pursued the Hive Fleet, determined to prevent it from bringing ruin to any other Imperial worlds.

Meanwhile, on Macragge's surface, the valour of the Ultramarines was being sorely tested. The 1st Company's Veterans repeatedly led daring counterattacks to stymie the Tyranid advance before withdrawing to defend every wall and trench. The Titans of Legio Praetor stalked the ice fields and shot smoking furrows through the onrushing hordes with their apocalyptic weaponry. But the roiling swarm’s ferocity was relentless. At the northern fortress, they overran the walls by using the steaming piles of their own dead for cover. Even the towering god-machines were dragged down by sheer weight of numbers. Ammunition began to run low, though stockpiles had been established to hold out through months of siege. Still the Ultramarines fought on, not once giving thought to defeat. In space, Calgar pursued the Tyranid fleet towards the world of Circe, where the arrival of Battlefleet Bakka from the Imperial Navy stronghold of Bakka caught the xenos bio-ships in a vice between the two fleets. Though many Imperial Battleships and Cruisers were destroyed, the Hive Fleet was obliterated when the Emperor-class Battleship Dominus Astra sacrificed itself and detonated its Warp-Drive, sucking the Hive Fleet into a rift into the Immaterium where they met oblivion. Calgar's voidships then raced back to Macragge.

The Space Marines of the Ultramarines' 3rd Company, led by Captain Fabian and Chaplain Cassius, were the first to make planetfall, deploying amidst the corpse-strewn craters surrounding the northern pole by Drop Pod. Scenes of carnage awaited them below and the stench of death lay everywhere. The 3rd Company came under attack as soon as it landed. Hundreds of creatures emerged from tunnel mouths to assail the Astartes. Only staunch fire laid down by the Company's Devastator Squads kept the alien swarm at bay until Astartes gunships arrived to blast the Tyranids back into the darkness. Bolstered by the arrival of the 3rd Company's three Dreadnoughts, the Ultramarines proceeded into the fortress itself to search for survivors.

Through dank corridors and ichor-dripping passageways still swarming with the alien foe, the 3rd Company reached the lower generatorium, where the defenders had made their last stand. Tyranid bodies were piled deep and a circle of Terminators lay where they had fought back to back. Though they had slain Tyranids beyond counting and held onto the fortress for longer than any could have hoped, the Ultramarines' 1st Company had been wiped out to the last man. The Battle of Macragge thus remains a great source of both sorrow and pride for the Ultramarines. Hive Fleet Behemoth was defeated, but the cost had been great. Statues were raised to honour the courage and sacrifice of the fallen, and their names are commemorated each year at the Feast of Days, but their loss remains a bitter blow to the strength of the Ultramarines. It would be many years before the Chapter could properly replenish its ranks, but the sons of Guilliman would endure.

Since the Battle of Macragge, Marneus Calgar and his Ultramarines have become instrumental in the Imperium's wars against other Tyranid Hive Fleets. In response to the threat, and counter to the dictates of the Codex Astartes for the first time, the survivors of the Battle of Macragge were formed into elite, specially-trained anti-Tyranid squads. These Tyrannic War Veterans compose the powerful warriors of the Chapter's reformed 1st Company, and are second to no other warriors of the Imperium because of their experience, training and upgraded Power Armour.

War for Thrax

In 762.M41, Marneus Calgar lead the remnants of his Chapter against the daemon-corrupted Forge World of Thrax. Under Calgar's leadership, the Ultramarines banished thousands of daemons and recovered crucial data-records from the twisted manufactoria. With the mission complete, Calgar issued the order for Exterminatus.

Siege of Zalathras

In one of his most notable feats, in 797.M41, during the defence of the hive city of Zalathras, Marneus Calgar held the gates alone against an entire Ork horde for a night and a day.

Battle for Orar's Sepulchre

MarneusHonourGuard

Chapter Master Marneus Calgar of the Ultramarines with his Honour Guard

In 888.M41, an Eldar emissary from the Biel-tan Craftworld was sent to the Imperial world of Commrath to enter negotiations with its Planetary Governor for the return of an ancient eldritch artefact from the tomb of one of the Ultramarines' most-lauded heroes, Captain Orar, known as the Sceptre of Galaxian. When the Imperial noble refused his request, the Eldar emissary grew angry and soon his pleas turned to threats of violence. The Planetary Governor refused to be cowed by the arrogant xenos and had the Eldar executed on the spot. However, the Governor had the foresight to heed the Eldar's threats and requested aid from the Ultramarines. Eldar from the Alaitoc and Iyanden Craftworlds then proceeded to assault the planet Commrath to recover the Eldar artefact within Orar's Sepulchre. Orar was a great Ultramarines hero in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, and Chapter Master Marneus Calgar vowed not a single alien would breach the sanctity of his tomb. For the first time since the Battle of Macragge, Calgar lead his entire Chapter to war.

The Eldar descended upon Orar's Sepulchre to find it held against them by the Ultramarines. Eldar Aspect Warriors and Guardians darted towards the main gates of the great edifice that was Orar's tomb as grav-tanks and artillery engines battered the Imperial defenders. On Calgar's command, the Ultramarines emerged from cover and scoured the invaders from the Sepulchre's steps with disciplined Bolter volleys. The Eldar fell back, only to find their lines of retreat cut off by Assault Marines and Land Speeders. Eldar leaders emerged from cover and rallied the trapped first wave, only to fall to sniper fire as the Ultramarines' Scouts made their presence known. The initial Eldar assault faltered but, for an entire day and night, they continued to attack. Though they mustered every arcane science at their command, they could not overcome the tactical brilliance of Marneus Calgar and his Ultramarines.

The following day, a fresh assault swept onto the great stairs of the sepulchre, led by a colossal figure wreathed in flame -- an Avatar of Khaela Mensha Khaine, the Eldar god of war. Heavy weapons fire seemed only to anger the creature, and the Ultramarines' battle line buckled beneath its onslaught, so Calgar issued a challenge himself. The fiery god bellowed with fury, its first blow missing the Ultramarines' Chapter Master by a hair's breadth. The second tore plates from Calgar's armour. A third bit deep into his shoulder, driving the Chapter Master to one knee. But the fourth slammed into the armoured palm of Calgar's left hand. Rising up, Calgar struck with all his strength, bringing his other gauntlet around in a mighty arc that punched clean through the molten ichor of the Avatar's torso. With the fall of their war god, the Eldar lost all heart and retreated. Some fled without heed while others fell back in good order, but all of the xenos retreated into the darkness. Despite overwhelming odds, once again the Ultramarines had emerged victorious, but in his wisdom Calgar knew that the Eldar would return for the Sceptre of Galaxian. So it was that Calgar informed Commrath's Governor that the Galaxian Sceptre would be removed from Orar's Sepulchre to Macragge, where it could be properly defended.

The Darkhold Ambush

In 921.M41, Marneus Calgar was ambushed by a Night Lords Traitor Legion warband whilst en route to the Darkhold battle zone. The Chapter Master's crippled vessel made planetfall on the sparsely settled Imperial Feudal World of Barathred. Several hundred Night Lords Chaos Space Marines made landing shortly thereafter, but Calgar rallied the planet's feudal population to defeat them in heroic battle.

M'kar the Thrice-Born

M'kar, known also as the Thrice-Born, was a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided who had once been a Chaplain and then a Dark Apostle of the Word Bearers Traitor Legion named Maloq Kartho during the Horus Heresy. Following his mortal death and apotheosis into a fully-fledged Daemon Prince, M'kar eventually manifested in the Materium and in 878.M41, now as M'kat the Reborn, he led a Chaos pirate fleet and attacked Ultramar once again. This time, his fleet was destroyed by a force led by the Ultramarines 2nd Company and its Captain, Cato Sicarius. Captain Sicarius confronted M'kar in the Helamar Rift and destroyed much of his pirate fleet. M'kar himself managed to escape back into the Warp. In 935.M41, he reemerged from the Warp and led a Chaos force in seizing the star fort Indomitable in Ultramarran space, which was then boarded by the Ultramarines, led by their Chapter Master Marneus Calgar. Calgar defeated M'kar in single combat, but M'kar's hatred of the Imperium and Ultramar was so strong that it was not possible to banish him to the Warp, even with the help of the Inquisition. The best the Imperials could do was bind M'kar to the Warp core of the star fort; this ingenious bond meant that every time M'kar struggled to escape into the Materium, he would be pulled tighter within the core. The star fort, garrisoned with fully half the 5th Company of the Ultramarines, was then ordered to plot a secret course through the remote, uncharted areas of Ultramar. The fate of M'kar was kept secret; possibly fearing that someone might eventually seek to free him, the "official" Ultramarine version of the battle was that Chapter Master Calgar had torn M'kar "limb from limb" and sent him reeling back into the Warp.

The Kraken Attacks

In 993.M41, the Ultramarines quashed a rebellion on the Industrial World of Ichar IV, only to find themselves at the forefront of a desperate defence against Hive Fleet Kraken. Accompanied by Chaplain Cassius and Veterans from the First Tyrannic War, Calgar launches a daring assault that severs the Tyranids' synaptic control, a battle won in no small part due to the fury with which Cassius leads his brothers into the fray. In a replay of history, Marneus Calgar, having narrowly escaped death at the hands of the Swarmlord during their confrontation on Macragge, faces the reincarnation of the same beast on the blood-soaked fields. This time, however, Calgar triumphs, slaying the beast with his bare hands. Without the Swarmlord to counter Calgar's brilliant military strategy, the Ultramarines proceeded to dismantle the remaining xenos swarms piecemeal. However, the Space Marines' victory comes too late to save the planet itself, for the Tyranids had already reduced it to a smoking charnel house of death and destruction. Perhaps worse for the Imperium, the Hive Mind re-absorbed the Swarmlord's consciousness yet again, and having learned from its defeat, its next reincarnation would prove to be more cunning and dangerous than ever before.

Return of M'kar

Calgar's failure to banish M'kar came close to spelling disaster for Ultramar, as the daemon was freed by the Iron Warriors Warsmith Honsou in 997.M41, and then proceeded to ally with him in a campaign to destroy the Ultramarines and their stellar empire. In the end, Calgar met the Daemon Prince on the battlefield of the Ultramaran world of Talassar, and was finally able to "annihilate" him using a strange blade dating back to the ancient Battle of Calth during the Horus Heresy that was known as a Shard of Erebus. In the aftermath, a chastened Calgar is said to have become a person of greater humility. Yet, even though they were disappointed by their leader's previous misrepresentations regarding M'kar, the officers and ruling masters of the Ultramarines have undiminished love and respect for their heroic Chapter Master.

Wargear

Marneus Calgar UM - Lawrence Mann

Chapter Master Marneus Calgar arrayed in his fearsome panoply of war

  • Artificer Armour - Though Artificer Armour and Power Armour are similar in appearance, Artificer Armour is as far beyond standard Power Armour as Power Armour is beyond the Carapace Armour used by the soldiers of the Imperial Guard. Ingeniously designed damage control mechanisms and superdense materials allow most suits of Artificer Armour to offer a much greater degree of protection than standard Power Armour, even rivaling that offered by Terminator Armour in some cases. Artificer Armour cannot, however, make use of weapons as powerful as those available to Astartes in Terminator Armour.
  • Armour of Antilochus (Optional) - Calgar sometimes wears the master-crafted suit of Terminator Armour known as the Armour of Antilochus into combat, as well as  leading a unit of his personal Honour Guard. Crafted by the Tech-priests of Ademax Primus, the Armour of Antilochus is an exceptionally ornate suit of Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour that incorporates a compact Teleport Homer.
  • Gauntlets of Ultramar - The Gauntlets of Ultramar are an ancient pair of master-crafted Power Fists, accompanied by a set of ornate shoulder plates (compatible with both Artificer Power Armour and Terminator Armour) and a set of built-in Bolters that are as deadly as a Storm Bolter. The true origins of the Gauntlets are unknown; all that is known about these relics is that they were taken back from a fell Champion of Chaos by the Primarch Roboute Guilliman after the Gamalia Reclusiam Massacre, who afterwards often used them in combat. No Adeptus Mechanicus Magos of Chapter Artificer has ever succeeded in penetrating their armoured shell to examine the mechanism within. When not in use, the Gauntlets are stored within a crystal case at the Fortress of Hera, inside the Temple of Correction's Shrine of the Great Primarch.
  • Iron Halo - The Iron Halo is a halo-shaped ring that is positioned above the head of the wielder, usually mounted on the backpack of Space Marine Power Armour but sometimes mounted in the gorget. The Iron Halo is a prestigious honour that is granted only to the most exceptional of the Astartes within a Space Marine Chapter as a reward for uncommon initiative and valour. An Iron Halo also produces a protective effect using gravitic and now poorly-understood Conversion Field technology.

Sources

  • Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 26, 37, 46, 53-54, 57, 59-61, 63, 65, 141, 246-248
  • Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 16
  • Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 19, 52
  • Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pg. 72
  • White Dwarf 305 (US), "Purge the Alien"
  • White Dwarf 97 (US), "Ultramarines," by David Wise & Rick Priestly, pp. 39-49
  • Iron Warrior (Novella) by Graham McNeill
  • Chapter's Due (Novel) by Graham McNeill

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