- "My sons, the galaxy is burning. We all bear witness to a final truth -- our way is not the way of the Imperium. You have never stood in the Emperor's light. Never worn the Imperial eagle. And you never will. You shall stand in midnight clad, your claws forever red with the lifeblood of my father's failed empire, warring through the centuries as the talons of a murdered god. Rise, my sons, and take your wrath across the stars, in my name. In my memory. Rise, my Night Lords."
The Night Lords were originally the VIIIth Legion of Space Marines created during the First Founding and became one of the 9 Traitor Legions of Chaos Space Marines that betrayed the Emperor of Mankind during the Horus Heresy of the 31st Millennium. They do not worship any of the four Chaos Gods individually, but acknowledge them equally in the form of Chaos Undivided as they ruthlessly spread terror and fear amongst the galaxy's inhabitants. The Night Lords are experts in the use of terror tactics to win battles and demoralise their foes before the main combat even begins.
The Night Lords are synonymous with terror and murder, for their favoured mode of warfare is the unfettered application of brutal, overwhelming force. They show no mercy whatsoever, eschewing all subtlety and guile for wanton bloodshed and destruction. While such an approach might appear mindless, at one time it was different. Ten millennia ago, the Night Lords' Primarch Konrad Curze was driven to acts of extreme violence by a deep-rooted desire to punish the guilty and impose order upon the anarchy in which he grew up. Only later, when the doomed Primarch surrendered his soul to the Ruinous Powers was his relentless drive for justice perverted into the form it now takes. While many of the Primarchs were raised by those peoples they found themselves amongst after the Ruinous Powers scattered them to the corners of the galaxy, Konrad Curze grew to maturity in very different circumstances. The world of Nostramo was a lightless industrial waste, its cities teeming and anarchic and its main export the raw adamantium found beneath the surface. Curze survived as a wild thing, living in the lowest depths of the hive cities and competing for food with the vermin and scum of the sewers. Like all of the Primarchs, he matured quickly, bearing witness as he did so to the most horrifc excesses of Nostromo's corrupt society. Murder was rife and the people lived in constant fear. No natural light lit the alleys and the depths, and all manner of fell criminals lurked within them. Soon, Curze began to prey upon these criminals, mounting their mutilated corpses where all could see and take heed. The terror that stalked the streets exacting vengeance upon the lawless soon became known as the Night Haunter, and so fearful were the people of his judgement that soon all, not just the criminals, locked themselves inside their dwellings, and a peace of sorts was imposed.
As with most of the Primarchs, by the time the Emperor found Konrad Curze he had risen to a position of dominance over his world. Curze's rule was not one of beneficence, however, but one of fear and repression. The people of Nostromo had been entirely delivered from the predations of criminals, but not by way of enlightenment or order. Rather, the people knew that even the slightest malfeasance would result in Curze himself visiting death upon the criminal. When the Emperor presented Himself to the Primarch, the people believed that a new age had arrived. Yet, when the Emperor took Curze back to Terra, Nostromo was plunged back into anarchy, for no one was left to enforce order.
Despite the brutality of his methods, Konrad Curze's actions appear to have been motivated by a deep, if twisted, sense of justice. In the brutal underworld in which he had matured, the Primarch had learned that only total dominance would suffice and that to show any sign of weakness was to invite treachery. Even when Curze joined his brothers in the glorious campaigns of the Great Crusade, he appeared to hold to such views, eschewing such notions of hope and optimism which drove others for a believe in the dark realities of the natural order. He remained sullen and introspective, and shunned the companionship of his brothers. He preferred the company of the warriors of his own Legion, the Night Lords whom he indoctrinated into his favoured methods. Even before the outset of the Horus Heresy, the Night Lords were using methods most others would have denounced as brutally unnecessary and cruel. The Night Lords conquered utterly those who did not welcome the coming of the Great Crusade, crushing all opposition in such an overwhelming and brutal fashion that no others would dare resist.
As with so many of the Primarchs who rebelled against the Emperor and all they had been created to stand for, Konrad Curze crossed a line from which there was no return. Having clashed with Rogal Dorn, he was censured by his brothers, who convened a council to consider the matter of their darkling brother. Curze however slew his guards and ﬂed, outrunning his pursuers and returning to Nostromo. There, he enacted his final revenge upon a society that had descended back into the corruption from which he had strived so hard to deliver it. The Night Lords ﬂeet targetted a weak point in the planet's crust and unleashed every weapon in their arsenal, destroying Nostromo and, some would say, damning Konrad Curze for all eternity.
When the Warmaster Horus revealed his treachery and plunged the galaxy into the fires of civil war, Konrad Curze threw himself into a bitter campaign of death and destruction, giving full vent to his most violent urges. It was never suffcient to simply defeat an enemy army. Curze taught his Legion to make an example of those who stood against them, to destroy their enemies' cities, slay their kin and display their broken corpses as a message to all others. His Legion wreaked bloody murder across the galaxy, which continued even after Horus' defeat at the height of the Battle of Terra. Konrad did not fall during the Horus Heresy, and neither did he receive the dark blessing of the Ruinous Powers in the form of apotheosis to daemonhood. Instead, he met his end at the hand of an assassin of the Callidus Temple. It is known that throughout his life Curze was struck with powerful visions of the worst of all possible futures, and that his last had been a foretelling that he would die at the hand of one such as she. Alone of all the Primarchs, Curze welcomed his death, apparently allowing the assassin to take his life. It is said that in so doing he attained that which he had always craved -- vindication. The Primarch's acceptance of his own fate confirmed his bleak worldview, granting him a victory he could never attain under the rule of his father. It is a view still held by the sons who survived him to wreak an eternal campaign of blood and shadowed terror against the Imperium of the Corpse Emperor.
Since the dark days of the Horus Heresy Imperial scholars have pondered how the truest loyalty of many of the Legiones Astartes could have been turned to base treachery, purest devotion to hate, nobility to wickedness, but for the Night Lords perhaps their hearts always belonged to darkness. Created with a higher purpose, perhaps their end could have been different, but their history is one of poisoned ideology and atrocity. Even when they were counted amongst the loyal Space Marine Legions, their nature and actions were ever questioned. Some argued that they were simply a function of necessity, the monsters needed to drag a barbaric age into the light. Some say that they were a mistake, a misjudgment compounded by circumstance. A few wonder if they were damned from the moment they were born, that they were destined never to be part of the future they would help create. All such speculation is ultimately pointless; no matter the cause, the Night Lords are creatures of horror and always were.
Children of Misrule
The VIIIth Legion was soaked in blood from its birth. The Legion's first recruits came from the linked prison sinks of ancient Terra. In vast caverns filled with the half-crushed ruins of millennia there lived men and women who had transgressed against the laws of their masters. Condemned never to see the light again or breathe free air, they lived out their lives in fear and blind darkness. There was no law in these lightless lands, and survival existed only by a blade's edge. Only the strongest and the most ruthless survived in the subterranean warrens, and those who did grew in cruelty and cunning. Fed by a constant influx from the hive cities above, the prison sinks were an ever hungering gate to madness and murder. But of the millions who lived and died in the sinks, not all had been punished by the world above. Amongst the bloodshed and fear, children were born. Cradled in the dark, and raised amongst death, those who lived over a standard decade were pale, silent creatures who moved without a sound. "The night's children" the prisoners called them, and even the most savage killers would not seek them out by choice.
It was from these pale children that the Emperor of Mankind would create the first warriors of the VIIIth Legion. Dour, with skin so pale it resembled ash or powdered bone, they were far from their brother Legionaries in manner and appearance. The gene-seed of the VIIIth Legion had been well-paired with the human stock of its first recruits, and if anything it seemed as if one had been made with the other in mind. Besides accentuating their paleness of skin, the gene-seed gave the sons of the underworld the ability to see through darkness to a degree that far exceeded that of the Astartes of other Legions. This gift was also a curse, forcing them to see the light of suns and stars through filters and flare buffers; even though they now walked in the light of the world above, the warriors of the VIIIth Legion always walked in the night.
The Unification Wars
- "Send the Eighth!"
- — Attributed to the Emperor of Mankind when He heard of the rise of the reborn threat of the Crimson Walkers
The first use that the Emperor found for His VIIIth Legion was to bring to heel those who believed that the sins of the past could live on in the newborn Imperium of Man. Several of those who had bent their knee to the Emperor had done so because they believed that it was the only choice. Others, having seen the empires of techno-barbarian warlords rise and fall, believed that they were simply part of a temporary arrangement. Crimes against the new order took many faces: from the Saragorn Enclave whose gene atrocities continued in secret, to the psy-breeding of the Court of Antius, and the March of Ten Million, all showed that even in the face of all of the Emperor's might, some would fall back into the ways of Old Night. When such crimes required not simply crushing but retribution, the Emperor deployed the VIIIth Legion.
Such actions seemed well suited to the VIIIth Legion. Whether as a consequence of their genetic inheritance, or the combination of their origins and indoctrination, the warriors of the VIIIth Legion seem to have tended towards moral absolution and a drive to enact retribution. There were no shades of grey in the VIIIth Legion's moral universe, no degrees of guilt or innocence. Truth and falsehood was as day is to night, indivisible and unqualified. The dark was the realm of guilt, lies and monsters, and those who dwelt in the dark knew only the language of blood, the message of swift and merciless retribution for their actions. Justice brought the light to darkness, and justice was neither warm nor caring, but as indifferent and cold as the edge of a knife. The warriors of the VIIIth Legion were creatures made to live in the dark, and to fight a war for a future of light. In their core, they were warriors for a future that would have no place for creatures of their kind. At least that is what those who knew the VIIIth Legion now said. Perhaps memory was too kind, perhaps many wished to believe that here was a nobility in such monsters, where in fact there was only horror. Perhaps many wished there to be a purpose behind atrocity, otherwise how could such creatures be suffered to live?
Nostramo: Realm of Eternal Night
It would be easy to say that the coming of Konrad Curze to the VIIIth Legion changed everything, that the fall of the Night Lords began at the moment the Emperor reunited His eighth son with the Legion created from his genome. But it would be truer to say that it was Nostramo that set both Curze and the Night Lords on the path to treachery. Curze was the gene-sire of the VIIIth Legion, but he had two fathers, two hands that shaped his nature and through him the fate of his Legion: the Emperor who spun the substance of Curze's life, and the planet Nostramo which had raised and taught him. What the Emperor intended for his sons can never be known, but the nature of Nostramo can be.
Nostramo was a bleak, sunless Hive World of suffering, pain and corruption. At the heart of a string of planets which had kept the ability to cross the stars through the Age of Strife, it was a world of sprawling cities, of smoke, industry, and the sweat of millions. Nostramo's wealth, for wealth there was, lay in the seams of adamantine ore beneath its surface. Worlds far from Nostramo fed on its output, and the mines had long wormed deep into its flesh. Nostramo was perpetually dark due to its pollution-clogged atmosphere and the fact that it circled a slowly dying star whose light was unable to penetrate this haze to reach the surface. The world was barely better lit at noon than at midnight. A shroud of perpetual darkness produced by the massive amounts of toxic smog kept the planet swathed in dull greys and deep blacks. Only the rich could afford the Nostraman idea of illumination, which was little more than dim blue illumination-strips that were placed in the ceilings of the ruling hierarchy's luxurious dwellings in the spires of the dark world's hive cities.
The world had five major hive cities that straddled the habitable hub of the planet, named in sequence from Nostramo Prime to Nostramo Quintus. Each hive city functioned as a self-contained industrial system. Due to the synchronicity in the orbit of Nostramo and Tenebor, the moon interposed between Nostramo and its dying sun, these cities experienced the equivalent of a Terran night even during the middle of a Nostraman summer. Its cities were warrens of stone and iron. Kilometre-tall smoke stacks pointed up at the perpetual night. Bridges of black metal criss-crossed the narrow ravines of alleys and streets. Manses, cathedrals and factories grew from the forest of slums, their faces and roofs crawling with gargoyles. Smog lay over everything like a cloak drawn around a dying man, turning what little light shone from windows or lamps into sickly haloes. Dust, smoke and the reek of chemicals filled the air, and worked into the flesh of every man, woman and child, trimming away their years so that the best that life could offer was a slow decline in grinding servitude, never glimpsing the brightness of hope or the warmth of true happiness.
The physiology and genomes of the people that lived within the Nostraman hive cities remained mostly identical to that of the baseline humans from the Segmentum Solar, with the exception that none of the planet's people possessed irises; the visible part of their eyes consisted entirely of their pupils. The people of Nostramo were pale, and most were thin and gaunt, given by turns to distrust, dark humour and callousness. This acute form of albinism, though a recessive mutation, had become common in the Nostraman populace. The vast majority of the planet's people lived in abject poverty as foundry labourers, whilst the rich grew in affluence, trampling down or simply killing outright any who dared oppose the status quo. Depression was an inescapable way of life for most Nostramans, and overpopulation was prevented not by war, disease or legislation, but by the suicide rate. Most of these unfortunate souls would die coughing up blood and black dust on a mouldering pallet, but death from lung blight, or having chemicals eat out their bones from the inside was not the worst end that could be found on Nostramo.
The dark owned Nostramo, body and soul, and its existence was a horror to equal any xenos enslavement or nightmare of the Dark Age of Technology. If there ever had been true laws, they had vanished long ago, eaten by the greed of a few and the desperation of many. Murder was the currency of life, and strength came from violence. Every sin great and small had its home in Nostramo's endless night. It has been said by those Remembrancers who recorded its history after its reclamation that during this time weeping and pleading were the sounds carried eternally on the wind, and every child grew to know that the only law was that of the knife, and the only right belonged to the strong to do with as they willed. Corrupt and murderous gangs, whether or not they were named as such, ruled every part of Nostramo. From the heights of nobility to the lowest alley, every inch of Nostramo was someone's domain, someone's territory or hunting ground. In the slum habitation stacks, the gangs ruled by raw fear, killing and torturing as they pleased, fighting wars with the feral packs of outcasts who were closer to animals than men. It was said that many of these gangs ate the dead, treating their territories as a predator might a hunting ground. In the mines and factories which still turned the planet's wheels of industry, the gangs went by names that echoes with a false authority: the Iron Overseers, the Hands of Coregado, the Sons of Toil. Slab muscled and furnace-scarred, they walked the streets clanking with weaponry and reeking of murder, enforcing order that was little more than slavery. In the wealthier areas, the rakeheel sons and daughters of the corrupt nobility gathered in packs, clad in costumes like strutting peacocks, as quick to kill with blade or gun as they were to cast an insult.
No matter what their station, almost all gangs owed fealty to one of the numberless barons, counts and lords, who in turn served still more powerful men and women, many of whom styled themselves with courtly titles that echoes a long forgotten nobility. Though wrapped in the trappings of birth, blood and feudal right, there was no division between the rulers of Nostramo and its criminal overlords; they were one and the same, cruel monarchs of kingdoms built on sin.
- "It is better by far to be an object of fear than of respect, for one is a truth of the soul and the other an illusion of the mind."
- — The Codex Hydra
According to the heretical handwritten chronicle of his life, entitled simply The Dark, the Primarch Konrad Curze's earliest memory was of descending from the heavens in a crackling ball of light to the night-shrouded planet of Nostramo. His embryonic form's gestation capsule, cruelly ripped through the Warp from distant Terra by the machinations of the Chaos Gods, impacted on the dense cityscape of the planet's largest hive city of Nostramo Quintus, smashing though countless levels of urban debris and mouldering architecture, through the planet's crust and into its geosphere before finally coming to a halt near the highly unstable liquid core of the planet. His descent left a scar in the virtually inviolable adamantium strata of Nostramo, the result of the supernaturally resilient Primarch's violent birth into a world that knew no light. The cratered pit his descent had carved into the planet was closed over and later regarded with fear and suspicion. Theoretically, the only way the Primarch could have reached the surface was to have swum through molten metal or had his gestation capsule borne upwards through volcanic vents to the surface.
Unlike the other Primarchs, Curze was never adopted by a human family, and was forced to fend for himself in the terrible underhive of Nostramo Quintus. He spent his early life surviving off his wits and determination, feeding himself by hunting the feral animals that roamed through the vast hive city. He was continually plagued by visions of the darkest possible future, horrifyingly potent waking dreams that would curse him throughout his life. Uniquely among all the Primarchs, Curze grew up completely alone, surviving only thanks to his wits, ruthlessness, and courage as a child in the underhives of Nostramo Quintus. With his genetically-enhanced body and mind, Curze quickly established himself as a major power in the cities of Nostramo and thanks to countless atrocities committed by him against the world's criminal gangs and corrupt nobles, a semblance of law was eventually imposed upon first Nostramao Quintus and then the other hive cities.
Within a year of his arrival in the hive city, the crime rate of Nostramo had fallen away to nothing. Nostraman society was transformed, and the ripples were felt all over the planet. Nostramo Quintus developed a self-imposed curfew; none dared to stray out later than the early evening. The midnight streets, previously buzzing with activity, were as silent as the grave. Mothers threatened disobedient children with the depraved attentions of the Night Haunter. Soon the name became more commonplace, used by the populace as a whole. Rumours of a hideous, dark creature that stalked the alleyways and tunnels, its filthy claws ever ready to disembowel those who strayed, abounded within the city. The citizens of Quintus lived a half-life of fear, silent lest their words should be taken as heresy. Nostramo was ripe for the rule of the Night Haunter.
Through the use of sheer brutality, Curze was eventually recognized as the planet's benevolent dictator. It is during this period that Konrad Curze earned the name "Night Haunter" for the vicious murders of literally hundreds, if not thousands, of Nostraman criminals and corrupt aristocrats. Curze later re-adopted the title after he turned to Chaos during the Horus Heresy.
Night Haunter became the first monarch of Nostramo Quintus, absorbing accumulated knowledge with a diligence almost akin to greed. He ruled with temperance and reason unheard of until word came to him that some injustice had been done, whereupon he alone would hunt the offender through the hive cities' empty streets until exhaustion forced his quarry to collapse. He would then proceed to mutilate his prey, although not beyond recognition. This unpredictable pattern of benevolent wisdom and hideous vengeance ushered the shocked Nostraman populace into new realms of efficiency and honesty. Exports of adamantium to their neighbouring worlds soon tripled. Nostraman society came to exist in a terrible balance maintained by shared wealth and shared fear. None dared to have more than his neighbour and under the shadow of Night Haunter's rule, the city grew well-lit and prosperous. And as Nostramo Quintus led the way, the rest of the planet's population followed, anxious to keep the Night Haunter from their own doors.
He almost single-handedly rid Nostramo of its culture of crime and predation, using terror as a weapon to crush the planet's ruling criminal syndicates and their corrupt overseers. He then re-established the rule of law under his own draconian leadership, and was revered by the Nostraman people as a benevolent and just dictator. Curze's hunter instincts, instinctive use of stealth, dependence upon the element of surprise, and extensive reliance upon a form of psychological warfare that devastated his opponents by using their own fear against them were also traits of the VIII Space Marine Legion that had been created from his genome. Even before the Horus Heresy, the Night Lords decorated their Power Armour with symbols of death, realizing that fear was a weapon as effective as any Bolter or Chainsword.
Coming of the Emperor
Almost a standard century after the Great Crusade began, the Emperor came to Nostramo. The coming of the Emperor of Mankind was an event that had been prophesied in Nostramo's history: an event that would lead to the planet's downfall. His arrival brought the light of the sun to the night-shrouded world for the first time. The Emperor landed on Nostramo, and led an Imperial delegation to the centre of Nostramo Quintus on foot. The citizens of Nostramo, adapted to the near-constant darkness, could not bear to look upon the radiance of the Emperor. Most wept as the healing light He projected reflected off the rain slicked streets into their faces. Those brave enough to look upon Him directly were blinded. At the end of the broad road leading to the Night Haunter's royal palace, the Primarch stood, waiting for the delegation to approach. As they did, he succumbed to a psychic vision of the future so potent and horrifying that he tried to claw his own eyes out, but was stopped by the Emperor. Night Haunter then looked at the Emperor, and the Master of Mankind said to his newfound son:
"Be at peace, Konrad Curze. I have arrived, and I intend to take you home."
"That is not my name, father. My people gave me a name, and I will bear it until my dying day. And I know full well what you intend for me."
Curze submitted to the Emperor's will as if he had already seen it, as if he was playing out a part he had long feared would fall to him. From that moment on, the fate of the VIIIth Legion was set on dark path to damnation.
- "We have received your offer of surrender and reject it; we did not come to receive your supplication but to enact judgement. The time to surrender has long passed. The verdict is writ by your own hands. Now is the time to die."
- — Night Lords multi-channel vox-broadcast, The Pacification of Listrantia IV
Night Haunter quickly adapted to the teachings of the Imperium, studying the complex doctrines of the Adeptus Astartes under the Primarch Fulgrim's tutelage. Night Haunter was soon accepted as the leader of the VIII Space Marine Legion that had been created from his genome, which he named the Night Lords. Although he and his Legion excelled in many theatres of war, a tendency soon became apparent. It never occurred to the Night Lords to use anything other than total, brutal and decisive force to achieve their goals. Over the first few years, the Night Lords were molded by their Primarch into an efficient, humourless force, possessing the fanatical thoroughness of Witch Hunters. Night Haunter encouraged his Legion to decorate their Power Armour with images designed to inspire fear in the enemy, a tactic that proved incredibly effective. Soon, rumours of the impending presence of the Night Lords would cause a rebel star system to pay all outstanding Imperial tithes, cease all illegal activities and put to death any mutants and suspected Traitors.
The reuniting of Primarch and Legion was the beginning of a spiral that would see the Night Lords descend further into horror and nihilism. After Curze's departure Nostramo shook off his enforced peace, returning to lawlessness. From this point Nostramo fed the VIIIth Legion not with the finest of its youth, but with gutter scum soaked in blood and cruelty. Some claim that this began to poison the Legion, twisting its purpose and making many Night Lords simple murderers gifted with the strength of demi-gods. This thesis, though, willfully ignores a number of factors, no least of which was Curze's leadership of his Legion. That he came to despise his own sons is likely, but he was still their lord. Far from restraining the VIIIth Legion he drove it on, bringing peace through atrocity to planet after planet. Sometimes there seems to have been cause for such methods, but often the only explanations for the decimation of populations, for the skinning pits and crucified cities, seems to be that the Night Lords enjoyed it. They had become not necessary monsters, but simply monsters. Curze quickly began to lose some of the control he held over his Legion's innate savagery, and the visions of a dark future that plagued him increased in both their lucidity and quantity.
During the time of the Great Crusade, the Night Lords were used by the Emperor as a tool of terror to pacify planets that had been recently conquered by the other Space Marine Legions. Their fearsome reputation caused any rogue Planetary Governor or uprising of rebels against Imperial Compliance to quickly pay any outstanding tithes or quell their uprisings, as the Night Lords had been known to issue an Exterminatus order on several worlds for the most petty of crimes against the Imperium. That the Emperor had concerns about the actions of the VIII Legion, and the apparent instability of their Primarch is clear, but what is not clear is what was done to restrain Curze or his sons. There were words, demands, perhaps even threats, but no action; no hand of judgement to throttle the Night Lord's crimes. Why this was so is a question that can never now be answered, and the Imperium was left only with the consequences. The chain of atrocities grew ever longer in the decades before Curze finally turned against the Emperor, like a path spiralling ever downwards into inevitable darkness. Indeed, of all the Legions and their Primarchs, the Night Lords were the most sinister and the most suspect, having been censured for the enormities and massacres carried out in the Emperor's service. They were creatures of the dark, harnessed to the will of a father wracked by righteousness and foreboding; what else could have been their fate but to fall back into the night from whence they came?
The Death of Nostramo
Nostramo's death came at the end of a long chain of events which saw the Night Lords relinquishing the last of their honour. The lack of moderation in the Night Lords' methods had attracted scorn and hostility from other Legions. Even as the tally of disgust grew, Curze became increasingly plagued by visions and portents of ruin, calamity and betrayal. He saw everything he had striven for to be broken, the order and justice of the galaxy shattered and his sons become monsters without cause or higher purpose. Curze became ever more withdrawn, what little shone in his being guttering to nothing, and leaving him with nothing but darkness and the screams of a lost future. Learning that his homeworld had slipped back into corruption, Night Haunter tried to confide in his brother Primarchs, but he had never been close to them, and their reaction was less than favourable to his claims. The scars left by his former life on Nostramo ran deep. Despite the fact that he spent much time with his less-dour peers, the Night Lords Primarch kept himself at a distance, never able to join in their camaraderie or share their joy. He still fell into convulsions, plagued by prophetic visions of his own death, of his Night Lords fighting war after war with the other Legions. But despite the concern of his companions, he would not reveal any more than dark hints of the cause of his tormented spirit.
This feeling of isolation gradually grew into true paranoia, and the gulf between Night Haunter and the brotherhood of the other Primarchs only widened. Events reached a head following the pacification of the Cheraut System, a joint-Imperial Compliance action conducted by the Night Lords, Emperor's Children and Imperial Fists Legions. After confiding in his mentor Fulgrim of the terrible things he had foreseen, the shocked Primarch of the Emperor's Children repeated these grim tidings to his brother Rogal Dorn. Dorn took exception to the Night Haunter's slight of the Emperor's good name with such terrible deeds and confronted him. The exact events of what occurred between the two Primarchs is not recorded in detail, but Dorn was found severely wounded and the Night Haunter's personal cadre of bodyguards slaughtered to a man. Curze then returned to Nostramo with his Legion and fulfilled one of his visions. Curze's judgement was simple and swift; the Night Lords destroyed Nostramo. A few Imperial pursuit craft arrived just in time to see the Night Lords' starships open their laser batteries into the hole in the planet's surface that had been left by Night Haunter's arrival through the Warp decades earlier. Nostramo's core destabilised and the world tore itself apart. As a Primarch and a Lord of Crusades, it was his right to liberate or destroy the world as he saw fit, but in the moment that Nostramo died, the Night Lords lost their last tether to restraint, though it would take the treachery of others to bring this change to light.
This ruthless behaviour did not sit well with some of the other Primarchs and Astartes Legions. Finally, Curze and the Night Lords Legion were recalled to Terra to explain their behaviour, where they were then reprimanded by the Emperor and the Council of Terra. The last straw for the Emperor was when the Night Lords had unleashed an Exterminatus upon their own homeworld. Curze explained his actions to the Emperor by pointing out that Nostramo, in the Legion's absence, had slid back into its old ways of cruel violence and crime. He and the Night Lords were embittered by what they saw as the Emperor's and the Council of Terra's hypocrisy when they were censured for their brutality even as the Emperor had unleashed a Great Crusade that used military power to forcibly reunite the scattered worlds of humanity. The Night Lords thought that the Emperor would acknowledge that their actions had been in the right. They also felt that these actions were the direct consequence of the mission that the Imperium had always tasked them with, which was essentially that of "sanctioned" terrorism against all who opposed the expansion of the Imperium and its mission to reunite all the worlds of Mankind across the galaxy. To Curze, it seemed that the Emperor had castigated him for carrying out the same actions that had once been deemed so vital to the Imperium's formation. Curze believed the Emperor to be a hypocrite who was unwilling to face the reality of the means that His dream of human reunification actually required to be brought into being.
- "Hatred is never so sweet, and vengeance never so pleasurable, than when it is applied to one once loved."
- — Nostraman Proverb
Angered by the Emperor's rejection of their methods of protecting and extending His realm, the Night Lords and their Primarch willingly joined the Warmaster Horus in his rebellion against the Emperor of Mankind. When the Warmaster revealed his treachery during the Istvaan III Atrocity and plunged the galaxy into the fires of civil war, Konrad Curze would eventually throw himself into a bitter campaign of death and destruction, giving full vent to his most violent urges. When Imperial forces were assembled to strike against Horus and the four turncoat Legions, there were many who were surprised to learn that the Night Lords had answered the call. For years the VIIIth Legion had existed on the border between sanction and censure, fighting its own wars of terror like shadows within the forces of the Great Crusade. Such was the desperate spirit of those times that few questioned Curze's aid, and those who did perhaps remembered the Night Lords' need to punish those who strayed from the light. As the treachery of the Drop Site Massacre would show, however, the Night Lords had not forsaken contact with all elements of the Great Crusade, and their need for retribution had led them to become the Traitors and criminals they had once loathed.
Once unfettered by Horus' need to drive on Terra and their tenuous allegiance with the powers of Chaos, the Night Lords went on to conduct a campaign of terror that continued to echo down the millennia to this day, wreaking bloody murder across the galaxy. The Night Lords would participate in the epic Battle of Terra and the Siege of the Imperial Palace by the Forces of Chaos. Immediately after the death of Horus, the Night Lords went on a killing spree in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy that caused havoc for long years after the Horus Heresy had ended. The Night Haunter did not fall during the Horus Heresy, and neither did he receive the dark blessing of the Ruinous Powers in the form of apotheosis to daemonhood. Instead, he met his end at the hand of an assassin of the Callidus Temple named M'Shen on the planet Tsagualsa, where the VIIIth Legion had built its fortress after the destruction of Nostramo. It is known that throughout his life Curze had possessed the gift (many would say curse) of foresight; he was constantly struck with powerful visions of the worst of all possible futures, and that his last had been a foretelling that he would die at the hand of one such as M'Shen. This prophetic psychic ability was passed on to other Night Lords who share their gene-sire's genetic heritage. This was a unique trait, as it is said to be unrelated to Warp taints or other known psychic properties. It is believed that Curze let his assassination happen, in order to show his father, the Emperor of Mankind, that he stood by his beliefs as surely as the Emperor stood by His. While acknowledging his own crimes against humanity, Curze also stated that his martyrdom would ultimately vindicate him and his methods. Curze ordered his Legion not to pursue his assassin, a last wish that was eventually disobeyed. The Primarch's acceptance of his own fate confirmed his bleak worldview, granting him a victory he could never attain under the rule of his father. His death did not slow the Night Lords down, as they continued to apply themselves to his mantra and are specialists in the application of terror and the tactics of fear to this day. Though they paid lip service to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos and certainly felt its insidious pull, in the end the Night Lords, like their Primarch, served only their own twisted conception of justice.
After the Horus Heresy, the Night Lords did not flee into the Eye of Terror like the other Traitor Legions, instead they retained their Pre-Heresy numbers and sought to conquer their own terrible dominion from the worlds of the Imperium's Eastern Fringe. However, after the assassination of Konrad Curze, the Legion splintered into multiple feuding warbands, as is the nature of those who serve Chaos, and eventually relocated to the Eye of Terror. By the late 41st Millennium, the Legion has deteriorated in both its numbers and its capabilities. There was also continued infighting within the Legion as there was no clear leadership, with several ranking Night Lords contending for the right to lead the entire Legion. Currently, the Night Lords hire themselves out as mercenaries and elite shock troops for the other Forces of Chaos or even for pirates who raid Imperial worlds, such as Huron Blackheart. They have been known to assist Chaos Warmaster Abaddon the Despoiler in his Black Crusade campaigns when asked to do so, as the quest for their own vengeance against the Imperium continues. Their most infamous post-Heresy raid in the Imperium was on the world of Scound's Fall, just a few hundred light years from holy Terra. Nearly all of the Raptors in the service of Chaos originate from the Night Lords Legion.
Across the aeons, the Night Lords have done more to traumatise the psyche of the Imperium than any other Traitor Legion. As the Time of Ending intensifies, the terror raids and cruel hunts of the Night Lords increase in frequency. Long scattered, they are uniting, warband by warband, in the name of some dire cause. It can spell only doom for the worlds of Mankind.
- Castigation of Vhnori (Unknown Date.M30) - During the early years of the Great Crusade, alliances and oaths were still fresh, untested or half-formed. Even as the Imperium extended beyond the Sol System, the domains left in its wake were often of questionable stability and loyalty. Attempted rebellions and conspiracies were common. The Imperium usually put most of these insurrections down swiftly and without fanfare. However, occasionally a few rebellions required a different response; not simply subjugation but retribution. Vhnori was a naturally fortified Terran city enclave built into the walls of a series of chasms that had once been a part of the Pan-Pacific Empire. Vhnori had been one of the last of the tyrant Narthan Dume's domains to fall during the Wars of Unification. The people of Vhnori did not take easily to the Imperial yoke, as they submitted to the Emperor's rule in sullen silence. This changed, however, with the coming of the Crimson Walkers, a cabal of psykers, gene-splicers and warlords who had once served the last great Terran tyrants of the Age of Strife. Bit by bit they had gathered followers and resources, spreading a secret web across Terra. The centre of their resurgence was Vhnori. It seemed the Crimson Walkers were determined to pull a part of Terra back into the nightmare of the recent past. When the Emperor heard of the rise of this reborn threat, He is said to have spoken three words: "Send the Eighth!" The VIIIth Legion did not respond right away, as its force within the Sol System at that time only numbered a little over 500 warriors: a large force of Astartes but not one that could overwhelm a city of millions. When the VIIIth Legion began their campaign of fear, it started with an orbital bombardment falling from the night sky which lasted for six solar hours. Following the bombardment, the artificial darkness remained. Soon a heavy downpour thick with chemicals rained upon the millions of fearful inhabitants from the seeded clouds above. The VIIIth Legion arose from the abyss on jets of flame, butchering any who crossed their paths. The screams of terror and battle echoed through their drug-weakened minds. The Crimson Walkers responded by unleashing an army of mutant monstrosities, but still the VIIIth Legion came on, slicing abominations apart with lightning-sheathed claws. They screamed with the voices of the dead as they fought, their speaker grills shouting out the recorded sounds of suffering, pain and loss. When the chasms were blazing like the mouth of a mythical hell, the Drop Pods fell. The reinforcements converged on the chasms, cutting their way through the city sprawl, killing any they found. Soon, the remaining Crimson Walkers faced their doom fragmented, harrowed and cut-off from one another, until they were cornered by the figures in midnight-clad blue Power Armour. Those who reached the blasted border surrounding the city found themselves hunted by the VIIIth Legion's Seeker Squads. It is said that the VIIIth Legion allowed many to run, before hunting them down through the long hours of the artificial night, maiming but never killing, until dragging their broken quarry back to the chasm. With Vhnori screaming and burning, the VIIIth Legion performed their last duty. Alive, and healed so that they were conscious, they threw the Crimson Walkers into the chasm. Then they detonated charges along the cliff edge, severing the hanging city from the cliff face, the screams of the ten millions who had sheltered from the fighting in the cliff-bound buildings reaching up to the sky as they followed the Crimson Walkers into the black depths of the Earth. The VIIIth Legion left the decimated city before dawn came again, cementing their reputation for the use of fear and terror as effective weapons of Imperial retribution and control.
- Early Great Crusade Campaigns (Unknown Date.M30) - Early in his career as a military commander during the Great Crusade, Night Haunter led his finest Astartes against a temple devoted to the worship of an unknown agricultural deity, burning the entire settlement to the ground. In another infamous incident, the Night Lords virus-bombed a continent because an emergent Chaos Cult devoted to the Pleasure God Slaanesh had been uncovered on a remote island. This particular incident was cited at the time by other Space Marine Legions as damning proof of the Night Lords' dangerous use of excessive force.
- The Hunting of the Ak'Hareth (Unknown.M30) - An alien menace known variously as the Ak'Haireth, or "Bone Drinkers" in the vernacular, were fungoid, predatory and parasitic life forms which acquired their sentience from operating as physically interwoven gestalt "blooms". Their existence was fuelled by the slow and agonisingly painful siphoning of nutrition from living animals, primarily human bone marrow. Given to no technological creativity of their own, the Ak'Haireth operated at the edge of the western Segmentum Solar, inhabiting the scavenged void ships of other species and raiding isolated colonies and Feral Worlds unable to resist their predations. Initially encountered in the early years of the Great Crusade, the Ak'Haireth had been subjected to extermination pogroms carried out by both the Luna Wolves and the VIIIth Legion (not then yet formally known as the Night Lords) which had been thought to have been successful. However, a cowardly species, the Ak'Haireth had been wont to flee if not cornered in battle, and over time it became apparent that some marrow-blooms of the foul xenos had hidden themselves and survived. By 986.M30, reports of attacks against isolated outposts and shipping in the region of the stellar wastes near Olmec indicated that the Ak'Haireth were again dangerously growing in strength and number. The Alpha Legion, only a handful of years previously united with their Primarch, were assigned the order for the xenocide of the species before it could spread further, and in a successful campaign that lasted three years, the Bone Drinkers were all but wiped out.
- Compliance of Darrowmar (Unknown Date.M30) - The Night Lords fought alongside the Luna Wolves Legion in bringing the world of Darrowmar into Imperial Compliance.
- Shi'Hu'Gal Purge (Unknown Date.M30) - The Night Lords, supported by the Titan Legions Legio Vulcanum I (Dark Fire) and Legio Vulcanum II, carried out the infamous xenocidal purge of the Shi'Hu'Gal Dominion during the Great Crusade; this was a campaign of such fury and viciousness it remains a legend of this bygone era, even after the far greater death and destruction caused by Horus' betrayal of the Emperor.
- Castigation of Terentius (Unknown Date.M30) - When the forces of the Great Crusade first entered the Ordoni Cluster, they encountered the formidable warlord Vatale Gerron Terentius. Observing the forces arrayed against him, Terentius was forced to take the path of survival and surrendered to the Imperium. For the next five decades he rose in power and reputation, conquering worlds around the Halo Stars in the name of the Emperor. At the height of his powers, he had the ear of Malcador the Sigillite and the countenance of several Primarchs. When he finally turned against the Imperium, many were shocked. He began a contra-Crusade to conquer already-Compliant worlds to add to his pocket empire. The Imperium responded by sending Horus and his Luna Wolves Legion to not only break the Renegade but to demonstrate to any others who harboured similar ideas within the Imperial forces the inevitability of a betrayer's defeat. Large support from the Night Lords, Iron Hands and the Alpha Legion, joined the might of the Luna Wolves. At the height of the campaign, Horus himself, with a cadre of 50 elite Justaerin Terminators, teleported aboard the bridge of Terentius' flagship, where the Commander slew the unrepentant traitor with his Talon. Soon the rebel forces were fragmented, driven by tales of culled worlds. The Night Lords decimated every world within Terentius' rebel empire. The power of the Iron Hands and elements of the Ordo Reductor were brought to bear on every structure on Terentius' bastion worlds. Soon the rebels of his realm were slaughtered, their cities smashed to dust, and his homeworld's very air laced with toxins. Once the castigation was complete, Horus sent the gold-dipped skull of Terentius to Terra with the ironic warning carried on the lips of the messenger who bore it, "So perish all traitors".
- Compliance of Kharaatan, 154-6 (Unknown Date.M30) - During this campaign, the Night Lords participated in a joint Imperial Compliance action on the world known as Kharaatan. Designated 154-6, the Night Lords fought alongside the Primarch Vulkan and his Salamanders Legion as well as Mechanicum forces, the Legio Ignis Titan Legion and several Imperial Army regiments. During this campaign Vulkan became infuriated with his brother Konrad Curze and how his Legion conducted themselves so brutally. In one notable incident, the Night Lords slaughtered the inhabitants of an entire city in order to seed fear amongst the general population. When Vulkan confronted Curze about his Legion's actions, a brief fight ensued between the two demi-gods. After the successful conclusion of the campaign, Vulkan reported Curze's conduct to both the Warmaster Horus and his brother Primarch Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists Legion. The incident would later sow the seeds of animosity between Vulkan and Curze, causing a rift that would further widen as the Great Crusade wore on. The events on Kharaatan would have far-reaching effects that would mark Vulkan's fate after the tragedy of the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V.
- The Farinatus Extermination (972.M30) - This was a joint Imperial Compliance action carried out by both the Night Lords and Raven Guard Legions. <RECORDS NOT AVAILABLE>
- Pacification of the Cheraut System (984.M30) - This was an Imperial Compliance action during the Great Crusade jointly conducted by Astartes from the Night Lords, Emperor's Children and Imperial Fists Legions. Suffering from one of his violent fits, Fulgrim rushed to Curze's aid. The Night Lords Primarch then confided in his brother of the dire visions that he had seen; his death at the hands of their father, that many of the Primarchs would die fighting amongst themselves, and that the light the Emperor brought to his homeworld of Nostromo would destroy it forever. Troubled by these dire portents, Fulgrim confided in his brother Rogal Dorn. Dorn took exception to this slight on the Emperor's name and confronted Curze. Shortly thereafter, Dorn was found unconscious and bleeding with great gouges of flesh ripped away from his torso. Crouching above his fallen brother was the pallid form of the Night Haunter, weeping. Wracked with self-loathing and guilt, Curze was taken into custody and exiled to his chambers, while his brother Primarchs discussed what actions to take against their deeply disturbed brother. Hours later, when the council of Primarchs finally disbanded, they found Night Haunter missing and the Imperial Fists' honour guard watching over him butchered. By the time the Primarchs gave chase, Night Haunter had already disappeared with his Legion into the Warp.
- Destruction of Nostramo (984.M30) - The destruction of Nostramo was an Exterminatus action conducted by the now-rogue Night Lords Legion after the Night Haunter's attack on Rogal Dorn towards the end of the Great Crusade, after the pacification of Cheraut. The VIIIth Legion willingly destroyed their own homeworld of Nostramo on the order of their Primarch, concentrating deadly lance-strikes on the planet's unstable core which resulted in tumultuous seismic activity that eventually shattered the dark planet apart in a wave of destruction. This event fulfilled the Night Haunter's vision of seeing his planet being destroyed by beams of white light that erupted from the heavens. For this crime, Curze was recalled to Terra by the Emperor to be reprimanded for his brutal tactics, but instead he joined the Warmaster Horus in open rebellion during the Horus Heresy before he could stand before his father.
- Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V (566.006.M31) - After several months of hesitation, the Emperor ordered seven Legions of Astartes to assault the known Traitor Legions' base on the world of Istvaan V, where their objective was to defeat Horus and return him to Terra for judgment. They would attack in two waves and fall under the supreme command of the Iron Hands' Primarch Ferrus Manus. The Legions comprising the first wave were the Raven Guard, Iron Hands and Salamanders. The Legions comprising the second wave were the Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, and a large contingent of Word Bearers that their Primarch Lorgar had stationed in the star system. Unknown to Dorn and Ferrus Manus, the Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors and Word Bearers had all turned from their service to the Emperor and secretly pledged their loyalty to Horus, and been instructed to keep their new allegiance to Chaos a secret. The Iron Hands, Salamanders and Raven Guard were deployed in the first wave of the assault on the planet. After they secured the drop site, they were to have been followed by the arrival of the other four Legions. The first wave secured the drop site, known as the Urgall Depression, though at a heavy cost. Horus ordered his front line troops to fall back in a feint, tempting Ferrus Manus to overstretch his already thin lines. Against the advice of Corax and Vulkan, Manus led his Veterans against the fleeing Traitor Marines unsupported. Manus then brought his brother Fulgrim to combat. As the two Primarchs drew their weapons, the Raven Guard and Salamanders fell back to regroup and allow the second wave's Legions to advance and earn glory. However, as they returned they were mowed down by the four Traitor Legions that had landed to supposedly support them, thus revealing their new allegiance to Chaos. At the same time the apparent rout of the Sons of Horus, the World Eaters, Death Guard and Emperor's Children suddenly halted and the Traitors pressed their attack. As Horus pressed the counterattack he managed to sandwich the Loyalists between the two Traitor forces, killing most of them. As the black armoured Astartes of the Raven Guard Legion were cut down by the Traitors' sustained volley, the traitorous Primarch Lorgar ordered his Word Bearers Legion to attack the Raven Guards' unprotected flank. Lord Corax charged into the ranks of the Traitorous Word Bearers, a blur of charcoal armour and black blades, butchering with an ease that belied his ferocity. Despite the protestations of both Kor Phaeron and Erebus, Lorgar disregarded their counsel and sprinted forwards across the churned earth and dead bodies of his brother's Legion to engage in a battle he had no hope of winning. The two Primarchs fought in furious combat -- Corax fighting to kill, while Lorgar fought to stay alive. The two primarchs traded vicious blows, but the Raven Lord had the advantage of not only speed and finesse, but of also being a penultimate warrior with decades of fighting experience. Lorgar did not, for he had always been more of a scholar than a warrior, and his lack of experience cost him dearly as Corax impaled Lorgar through his stomach and out of his back. As Corax stepped closer, he raised his one functioning Lightning Claw to execute his brother, but was thwarted by the timely intervention of the Night Lords' Primarch Konrad Curze. Weakened by his battle with Lorgar, Corax took advantage when the Night Haunter was momentarily distracted and fired his flight pack, burning his fuel reserves to escape Curze's grip, soaring skyward away from Curze's rising laughter. Meanwhile, the Iron Hands were cut off and slaughtered to a man -- the Veteran Morlocks Terminators cut down and their Primarch Ferrus Manus beheaded by Fulgrim. The Salamanders and Raven Guard could do nothing to help the Iron Hands, and were forced to make a costly break-out with precious few of their forces. Those Thunderhawk and Stormbird gunships that lifted off and escaped Istvaan V were far fewer than those that had landed. Corax, the Primarch of the Raven Guard, was badly wounded and Vulkan's fate was unknown for some time. The remainder of the Iron Hands Legion arrived to find their Veterans and Primarch dead while the Salamanders and Raven Guard had been reduced to a fraction of their full strength, with both Legions nearly wiped out.
- Thramas Crusade (ca. 007-009.M31) - During the Horus Heresy the Warmaster Horus sent Night Haunter and his VIIIth Legion on a campaign of genocide against the Imperial strongholds of Heroldar and Thramas in the Aegis Sub-sector of the Eastern Fringes, thus protecting Horus' flank and delaying the Dark Angels Legion from reinforcing the Loyalists. This bitterly contested campaign dragged on for nearly three standard years. In an attempt to sway his brother Lion El'Jonson to Horus' cause, the Night Haunter left a deep-void beacon in the patrol path of one of the Dark Angels' outrider vessels. The beacon was set to transmit coordinates in advance, so that the two Primarchs could meet and parley on the planet of Tsagualsa. Night Haunter wanted to break his former brother either mentally, physically or both to obtain his objectives. The Primarchs were accompanied by two warriors from their personal Honour Guards to the parley. The meeting began amicably enough between the two as they conversed with relative civility. This amity lasted only until the Night Haunter slandered El'Jonson, and in return the Lion struck his former brother. This melee further degenerated into an all-out brawl between the two sides. As the Night Haunter strangled the life out of El'Jonson, one of the Dark Angels Honour Guardsmen ran his sword through the Night Haunter's back, saving his Primarch's life. Eventually both Legions sent reinforcements in response to this incident. Each side dragged away their respective Primarchs from the scene of the combat. Both Primarchs survived this brutal confrontation and went on to continue the contest between their Legions for control of the Aegis Sub-sector.
- Hunting the Night Haunter (009.M31) - When next they fought, the Dark Angels executed a meticulously planned ambush on the Night Lords' fleet while it was in transit across the sub-sector that saw the back of the Night Lords Legion broken and their Primarch mortally wounded after having faced his brother El'Jonson once again in mortal combat. Thanks to the skilled coordination and superb execution by the Lion, the Night Lords fleet was devastated, losing dozens of capital ships and approximately one-quarter of their Legion fleet to the Dark Angels' assault. Unfortunately, the remainder of the Night Lords fleet fled the Dark Angels' wrath. The recently recovered Night Haunter, First Captain Sevatarion and the elite Night Lords Atramentar Terminators led a desperate boarding assault action upon the Dark Angels' flagship. This resulted in the death of all but a dozen of the Atramentar and the capture of Sevatarion and the remaining survivors. Konrad Curze fled El'Jonson's wrath, evading the Dark Angels for months, stalking the shadows within the bowels of the mighty capital ship, wreaking terror and chaos amongst the mortal crew. He also killed every hunter-killer team sent by the Lion to hunt him down. After losing several squads of Dark Angels, the Lion himself took up the hunt for Curze, stalking him throughout the Invincible Reason for the next sixteen weeks. However, he could never find his elusive brother Primarch. Also, at some point, the remaining Night Lords managed to affect their escape and fled into the void.
- Arrival to Ultramar and Imperium Secundus (009.M31) - With the torrential Ruinstorm raging, blocking out the light of the Astronomican and causing warp travel to be all but impossible, the Imperium was effectively cut in half. The Dark Angels came to the realisation that they were unable to return to Terra to assist in its defence, even with the advent of the Tuchulcha Engine. Miraculously, they locked onto the beacon of the strange alien device known as the Pharos, on the world of Sotha, which guided the Ist Legion fleet safely through the Warp and to Ultramar's capital world of Macragge. There, they were greeting by Roboute Guilliman and Sanguinius, whose Blood Angels Legion was also guided to the Realms of Ultramar by the Pharos. The three Primarchs were instrumental in the foundation of the "Imperium Secundus" as a means of continuing the fight against the Traitors and securing the Emperor's great work. Guilliman proclaimed Sanguinius as the rightful heir to the Emperor and declared him the new ruler of Imperium Secundus. Lion El'Jonson was made Lord Protector of this new empire of humanity and commander over all its military forces, a title that was similar to that of Warmaster. Unfortunately, the foundation of Imperium Secundus was marred when Curze escaped from the Invincible Reason and rampaged across Macragge, intent on spreading as much terror and chaos as he could. Eventually, both Guilliman and the Lion confronted the cornered Curze. Their attempts to kill him were unsuccessful as the Night Lords Primarch had laid a cunning trap. He brought down an entire chapel upon the two Primarchs through the use of planted explosives and fled the scene. Guilliman and the Lion were only saved through the direct intervention of the Loyalist Iron Warriors Warsmith Barabas Dantioch, who was communicating with Guilliman at the time of the attack, through a portal that was opened by the Pharos. On instinct, the Warsmith reached through the portal and pulled the two Primarchs to safety on Sotha.
- Battle of Sotha (009.M31) - The far-flung world of Sotha lay close to the edge of the galaxy's Eastern Fringe, almost at the limits of both the fiefdom of the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar and the span of all Imperial territory. Upon this world the Ultramarines had discovered beneath its tallest peak, named Mount Pharos, a massive aperture constructed by an unknown xenos species. This device functioned both as a beacon and route-finder, and it also permitted instantaneous communication across unimaginable distances, even penetrating the raging tumult of the Ruinstorm. Following their defeat at the hands of the Dark Angels at Tsagualsa, remnants of the Night Lords Legion followed this beacon in the warp, which guided them safely to the world of Sotha. Over many months, the Night Lords secretly gathered intelligence on the suspicious activities of the Ultramarines, and soon discovered the nature of the arcane device, named the Pharos, upon the restricted planet. The Night Lords launched a surprise assault upon the lightly garrisoned world, intent on seizing the Pharos in order to use it to determine the location of their flagship, the Nightfall, as well as the whereabouts of their missing Primarch Konrad Curze. In the ensuing battle, the loyalist Iron Warriors Warsmith Barabas Dantioch, sacrificed himself by overloading the Pharos, so that the Night Lords would be unable to utilise the device's powerful empathic abilities. What far reaching consequences this would have for the galaxy, would not come to pass for another ten millennia.
- Capture & Trial of the Night Haunter (ca. 011.M31) - Continuing his obsessive hunt for the elusive Night Haunter, the Lion and Guilliman continuously clashed over policies, especially in regards to the security of Imperium Secundus, and how best to deal with rebels on Macragge, that the Lion was certain Curze had something to do with. Followng a suicide bombing of an Astartes convoy, the Lion used the I<sup<st</sup> Legion to establish martial law on Macragge. Certain that Curze was hiding within the rebellious Illyrium region, the Lion advocated the use of a massive orbital saturation bombardment of the region to ensure Curze's death. Facing resistance from both Emperor Sanguinius and Guilliman, the Lion instead, opted to deploy his Legion's Dreadwing in order to flush out Curze and the rebels. During an attack on the city of Alma Mons, the Lion finally cornered the elusive Night Lords Primarch and the two came to blows. After a brutal confrontation, the Lion eventually emerged victorious, and questioned his brother why he had turned away from the Emperor, in which Curze simply replied, "why not?".Curze went on to explain that there was a monster in his head that he could not stop. Though he finally had Curze at his mercy, the Lion couldn't bring himself to kill his brother, and instead pummeled him again. He then ripped off Curze's backpack from his battle-plate and lifted him over his head, and then brutally brought him down across his knee, breaking Curze's spine and paralysing him. The Lion brought the grievously wounded Curze before Sanguiniun and Guilliman to stand trial. A Triumvirate was later held, where Curze defended his actions, but refused to admit his guilt. Since each of the Primarchs had been created to perform a specific function, Curze was merely acting according to his own nature, and therefore had committed no crimes. The Night Lords Primarch then further divided Guilliman and the Lion by accusing the latter of secretly ordering orbital bombardment in direct violation of Guilliman's orders. Enraged, the Lion sought to kill Curze, but was halted by the words of Sanguinius and Guilliman snatched El'Jonson's Lion Sword and broke the blade across his armoured thigh. El'Jonson was furious, but Sanguinius dismissed the Lord Protector, ending the Triumvirate. The Lion was then banished from Imperium Secundus. Taking his leave, the Dark Angels withdrew from Macragge only hours later. Standing in the chamber of the Tuchulcha Engine, the Lion brooded over recent events, he questioned his actions over the course of the last few decades -- the banishment of Luther, the death of Nemiel as well as other decisions he had come to regret. As the Dark Angels made their final preparations to depart back to Caliban, the Lion went back to the Tuchulcha Engine's chamber. He then ordered the device to teleport himself and Holguin, "Deathbringer", the voted-lieutenant of the Deathwing, back to Macragge. As Sanguinius prepared to execute Curze for his crimes, both the Lion and his lieutenant teleported directly into the chamber and told Sanguinius to stop. As troops entered the room, demanding the Lion to surrender, El'Jonson explained his reasons for the intrusion. He reasoned that Curze had the ability to see precognitive visions of potential futures, and repeated the Night Haunter's claim that his death would one day come at the hands of an assassin sent by the Emperor. If this was true, the Lion reasoned, than it was proof that the Emperor was still alive. Sanguinius knew the Lion's explanation rang true, as he recognised that his own precognitive visions of his inevitable death would also eventually come to pass. When Guilliman demanded to know what would become of Curze, the Lion knelt before his two brothers and promised that he would be Curze's gaoler.
- Eastern Fringe Genocide (Unknown Date.M31) - Following the death of Horus during the Battle of Terra, the Traitor Legions were driven into the Eye of Terror. Unlike the other Traitor Legions, after their defeat in the Thramas Crusade, the Night Lords did not splinter into separate warbands and flee like the rest of their fellow Traitors. Instead, the Night Lords conducted a massive campaign of genocide and terror against the Imperium across the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy, the likes of which has never been seen before, or since. The Legion betrays the growth of the increasing sense of self-destruction which drives its Astartes, much as it drives their Primarch. The Night Lords' rampage is only stopped by the assassination of Konrad Curze at the hands of the Callidus Assassin M'Shen.
- Castile V Massacre (832.M33) - Periclitor, a Chaos Lord formerly of the Night Lords Legion seals a pact with the Ruinous Powers of the Warp to ascend to become a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided. A thousand Imperial souls are sacrificed to the Dark Gods, among which are Imperial Ministorum Missionaries and members of the Adeptus Sororitas. The sacrifice proves pleasing, and Periclitor achieves his dark apoetheosis.
- Culling of Grendel's World (843.M34) - The Night Lords conducted a systematic extermination of the entire planetary populace of Grendel's World, a small isolated planet in the Ysobael Cloud near the Eastern Fringe.
- Death of Howling Griffons Chapter Master Furioso (220.M38) - A Night Lords warband carries out an ambush of Chapter Master Orlando Furioso of the Howling Griffons at Arios Point. Periclitor and his Chosen board the Chapter Master's starship using Dreadclaw assault boats. The defenders are forced to abandon ship using their Thunderhawks and Drop Pods. The battle continues on the surface of the world of Arios Quintus, where the Howling Griffons' 1st Company and Chapter Master Furioso are slain in combat. The Night Lords mount the body of Furioso upon the prow of his Thunderhawk, and its transponders set to transmit the location system-wide. The remains are found one month later by other Howling Griffons Astartes.
- False Saviours of Garagos (Unknown Date.M41) - Together with the Alpha Legion, the Night Lords save the algae-mining Garagos Entrenchment from being completely overrun by WAAAGH! Krushbakk. The members of this seemingly benevolent strike force are largely clad in the colours and insignia of Loyalist Space Marines, giving the populace of Garagos a few blissful days of hope. Only when the Orks are driven off-world do they realise they have merely exchanged one set of persecutors for another -- and that the second doom to befall them is far more malevolent.
- The Sons of Grendel (Unknown Date.M41) - In the 34th Millennium, the Imperial frigate Hand of Mercy answered a residual distress call from Grendel's World, only to find every single inhabitant had been hunted down and killed, the symbols cut into their corpses identified as those of the Night Lords. Though Grendel's World is resettled a Terran century later and the massacre of its people rendered into a folk tale, that exact same scene occurs seven millennia later in the 41st Millennium. This second incidence triggers a full-scale Crusade by the Mortifactors, who take the fastest ships in their fleet and set off in search of the perpetrators.
- Twisted Justice (Unknown Date.M41) - After millennia of slaughter, the Night Lords warmonger Anvrex Rarth becomes disenchanted with indiscriminate violence. He vows to embody his Primarch's early days, punishing only those whom he believes deserve it -- but doing so with such grievous acts of retribution that none who hear of them dare stray from the path of righteousness. For a time, he finds a kind of peace, but his notions of morality are broken beyond repair. Within the standard year he is wreaking the most terrible of atrocities as a response to everything from the breaching of shipping contracts to the incorrect pronunciation of High Gothic.
- The Claws Descend on Chokehold (Unknown Date.M41) - The Night Lords warband of Ghilus Venst mounts a series of crippling hit-and-run attacks, focusing on the orbital waystations and macrofibre space lifts that surround the infamously criminalised cargo world of Chokehold. They escape with not only copious amounts of ammunition and fully-charged power units, but also dozens of new recruits.
- Search for Shadeblight (750.M41) - Whilst searching for the possessed Chaos Cruiser Shadeblight, Night Lords Chaos Space Marines wreak havoc throughout the Ango Sub-sector. The Night Lords are initially opposed only by Space Marines from the Red Wolves Chapter. Ultimately the Red Wolves succeed in denying the Night Lords their prize.
- Khai-zan Uprisings (968.M41) - Led by Night Lords Chaos Space Marines, Traitor Planetary Defence Forces and numerous uprisings by Chaos Cultists, an attack is launched during a public holiday on the Imperial Agri-world of Khai-Zan, unleashing the Khai-Zan Uprisings. With over half of the Planetary Defence Force on leave, the beleagured planet soon finds itself beset on all sides by the Forces of Chaos. The cultists utilize summoned daemons but, due to the distance of Khai-Zan from the Eye of Terror and a lack of devotion from the Night Lords, the actual number of summoned daemons is very small. The Night Lords' Chaos Champion Gorsameth leads his troops in a clash against the men of the 122nd Cadian Shock Troopers, under Captain Fane. The Night Lords Chaos Sorcerer Asuramandos uses Warp magicks to redirect and mis-deploy the defenders, causing them to be overrun in the ensuing battle. Captain Fane as well as his entire company die in defence of an Adeptus Arbites Precinct House. The stranglehold of Chaos over Khai-zan is finally broken by the arrival of the Astartes of the Imperial Fists. Every Traitor is slain to a man.
- Scound's Fall (Unknown Date.M41) - A small flotilla of Night Lords ships slip through the Cadian Gate and spend months in the Warp avoiding detection. Scound's Fall, a small planet located one-hundred light years from Terra is chosen as a target because of its large Schola Progenium Abbey -- a training ground for future Imperial military officers, Inquisitors, Commissars, Storm Troopers and Sisters of Battle. After seven days of fighting there were no survivors left from the Night Lords' attack and the butchered remains from both sides are laid out in talismanic patterns, to help with the summoning of a daemonic horde. Daemons rampage across half the world while the Night Lords head for the Eye of Terror, eluding Imperial warships intent on their capture. The daring of the attack sends shock waves through the military organisation of the Segmentum Solar and results in the court martial and penitent exile of Lord Commander Solar Jaxon.
- Fall of Vilamus (999.M41) - The infamous Red Corsairs, striking a deal with the Chaos Champion known as the The Exalted's large Night Lords warband to lead the spearhead of their attack, sacked the lightly defended fortress-monastery of the Marines Errant Chapter in order to steal its large cache of gene-seed. In the aftermath of the battle, the Night Lords and the Red Corsairs soon fell upon each other as the Night Lords tried to reclaim one of their Strike Cruisers, the Echo of Damnation, and lay claim to all of the recovered gene-seed.
- The 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - The Warmaster Abaddon launches his 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41 which is intended to finally open the way for the Forces of Chaos for a second invasion of Terra. As part of the united effort of the Forces of Chaos to overwhelm the Imperial defences of the Cadian Gate, shock troops drawn from the warbands of the Night Lords sow terror across the Scarus Sector, cutting communications and hanging the corpses of their victims from every building within reach. The Night Lords perform innumerable acts of terror, carry out lightning raids and cunning feints intended to slowly batter down the Imperial forces present in the Scarus Sector. Even those Imperial defenders who are strongest in their faith in the God-Emperor find their confidence shattered when they are forced into an existence of solitude, darkness and confusion by the Night Lords' operations. Amongst the psychological warfare operations carried out by the Night Lords during the 13th Black Crusade are the transmissions of heretical communications claiming that the Dark Angels Chapter of Space Marines is in league with the Forces of Chaos. An Ordo Malleus Kill-team is despatched to destroy the source of the transmissions, but find only broken Night Lords bodies -- evidence of the Dark Angels' own wrath. During the 13th Black Crusade, however, the current Chapter Master of the Howling Griffons, Alvaro, diverted his Battle Barge Sword of Destiny from the war effort to pursue the Night Lords Daemon Prince Periclitor and earn vengeance for the death of Orlando Furioso millennia before. The Howling Griffons finally restored their honour when Periclitor was banished to the Warp at the height of a titanic space battle between the Howling Griffons' 1st Company and the Chosen warband of the Daemon Prince. Also during the 13th Black Crusade, the Night Lords' warleader, the Chaos Lord Tarraq Darkblood, has his Styx-class Heavy Cruiser crippled by the Imperial Navy in the Faberius Straits. A large force of Chaos warships eventually rescue the drifting starship and its enraged occupant.
- Empire of Fiends (Unknown Date.M42) - Following the fall of Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade, the Great Rift spreads panic and madness across the Imperium. The Night Lords are in their element, with many establishing small stellar empires amongst those star systems cut off from the Emperor's light during the Noctis Aeterna.
- An Ill-Fated Crossing (Unknown Date.M42) - The Navigator Guilds identify a temporary channel of realspace near the Corinthe System that leads through the Cicatrix Maledictum to the Imperium Nihilus. With the need to travel between Segmentums so desperate, it is not long before several Imperial fleets are inbound, intending to make the crossing with all haste. They plunge deep into the Great Rift. Only then do the Night Lords, whose daemonic pacts engineered the "safe" region of space, launch their attack. In a series of boarding actions, they capture dozens of Imperial vessels.
- The Long Night (Unknown Date.M42) - With the light of the Astronomican cut off in the early days of the Noctis Aeterna after the birth of the Great Rift, thousands of star systems are plunged into blindness across the Imperium. The warbands of the Night Lords, seeing a gory harvest to be reaped, raid and pillage more than ever before.
The inheritance of Nostramo coiled throughout the structure of the Night Lords. Outwardly they followed a pattern close to many other Space Marine Legions during the Great Crusade era, but behind this basic skeleton lay the courts of Nostramo, the gang traditions and the aesthetics of terror that infused every aspect of the VIIIth Legion. At the squad level, the Night Lords fielded a broad range of units, though taken as a whole the number of configured Breacher Siege Squads were proportionally rarer than in other Legions. The Night Lords also had a number of unique units: the infamous Terror Squads, whose sole purpose was to create and embody a state of horror in their enemies, and the Night Raptor Squads, who would soar above their enemies trailing the bloody remains of their kills while shrieking from modified Vox casters. Almost all squads within the VIIIth Legion had a name that they used in place of the simple designation. So it was that squads within a company might be referred to as "Claws", "Talons" or a number of other epithets often coupled with an indication of hierarchy or honorific: the Stygian Talon, the 10th Claw, the 5th Oathed, to name but a few amongst thousands.
The company was the basic strategic deployment unit within the Night Lords Legion and each squad belonged to a company which might number anywhere between 100 and 1,000 warriors. Most companies had a title in addition to their numeric designation. The 27th Company were (their names in translation from the Nostraman) "The Shattered Skull", the 104th Company "The Sable Brothers", the 71st Company "The Crimson Judges" and so on. Unlike many others, the Night Lords used battalions and Chapters as semi-permanent groupings of companies, rather than a universal structure favouring their own divisions. This seemingly byzantine complexity masked a surprisingly efficient and flexible approach to warfare which allowed the VIIIth Legion to operate with a high degree of fluidity and to be readily fractured into autonomous units or combined into ad hoc formations as their master dictated.
A notable example of one of these unique formations is the "Crimson Sons". This formation was formed from the remnants of the VIIIth Legion's 9th Company midway through the Terran Unification Wars, as their formation had suffered near total destruction during the pacification of the wasteland domain of Oxitania. The Emperor, in His beneficence, offered the King of Oxitania the rank of Rogue Trader in remission of his execution. The "Crimson Sons" would retain a degree of the VIIIth Legion's early heraldry before the return of Konrad Curze and fought as a coherent unit, serving alongside the Rogue Trader Gotha before returning to the VIIIth Legion's fold. The later status and whereabouts of the Crimson Sons is unknown, and it is possible they were slain during the many battles of the Horus Heresy which followed the Drop Site Massacre.
Legion Command Hierarchy
Konrad Curze was the Dark King of his Legion, a figure of fear for his sons as much as on object of loyalty. That many were genuinely loyal to him cannot be doubted, but as many seem to have been bound to him by fear rather than adoration, and some hated their gene-sire. Curze appeared not to have cared so long as when he commanded, all obeyed. Around him the Dark King maintained a court of his most useful sons. The members of this group, the Kyroptera, were drawn from senior officers across the VIIIth Legion and transcended rank. All had a quality that Curze found valuable, though in some cases that quality seems to have been little more than distilled bitterness and cruelty. Membership in the Kryoptera gave no absolute rank, but the fact remained that they were the ruling elite of the Night Lords, and so few others would openly disobey a command from one of them. Alongside these served the Atramaentar. A company-strength formation equipped with Terminator Armour and armed with the finest weapons, they were the personal command of the First Captain of the Night Lords and enforcers of order. Renowned for their cold brutality in battle and their unswerving loyalty to their commander and their Primarch, they seem to have acted as a check on the many fractious elements within the VIIIth Legion, and though this cannot now be confirmed, it is widely thought that they served as Curze's executioners when the need arose.
Beneath the Kyroptera were the many Captains of the companies. The few of these that had been graced with leading several companies under the banner of a battalion or Chapter went by a variety of inconsistent ranks including Commander, Master and Regent, amongst others. While these exalted leaders had clear command over the units placed under them, their authority in the VIIIth Legion as a whole seems to have been more malleable. A Regent might have a handful of Captains under his command, but be subject to the commands of a different Captain if that Captain were of the Kryoptera, or exalted in some other way. Just as squads and companies bore names to set them apart from each other, so too did the commanders of the Legion adorn their names with secondary monikers and titles. Many of these titles had echoes in the cursed nobility and gangs of Nostramo: "Talonmaster", the" Bloodless" or the "Sightless Revenant". A few were no doubt calculated insults that either stuck or were adopted by their bearers out of perversity.
At the time of the Drop Site Massacre in 005.M31, the Night Lords had been teetering on the edge of Renegade status for several years. Apparently fighting their own wars with little or no regard or contact with the rest of the Great Crusade's chain of command, it had been some time since an accurate survey of their strength had been made. Estimates of the strength of the Legion therefore vary wildly. Some put their numbers at a little over 90,000 Astartes, others at 120,000. The Legion was known to have been recruiting from subjugated worlds throughout the latter part of the Great Crusade, in some cases stealing away the youth of entire star systems as the base from which to winnow suitable Aspirants. The use of rapid psycho-conditioning and accelerated gene-seed implantation was also known to be widely practiced by the Night Lords, further supporting suggestions that their numbers were at least on par with many of the more numerous Space Marine Legions. It is also likely that a number of Night Lords elements were not at the Istvaan System, but were engaged in other self-selected actions in the unconquered corners of the galaxy at that time.
Specialist Ranks and Formations
- Terror Squad - Terror Squads were specialist squads of Space Marines utilised exclusively by the Night Lords during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. When the Legion desired to unleash maximum punishment and retribution against the enemy in the most visceral and personal way possible, the Terror Squads of the VIIIth Legion were unleashed. Head hunters and torturers, flayers and mutilators; within their ranks were found both the most coldly dispassionate and darkly imaginative of the Night Lords brethren, and where once the terrifying arts of murder and mayhem they perpetrated were a coldly calculated means to an end, as the decades of the Great Crusade progressed, the Terror Squads became a sink-hole for the most unstable and unsubtle elements within their Legion, many within them standing under their own sentences of death -- commuted so long as they proved useful to their macabre master.
- Night Raptors - Night Raptor squads were a caste apart from the Night Lords Legion -- not so much a martial elite as a bloody coterie of murderers wedded together by similar proclivities and chosen styles of warfare. The Night Raptors were equipped with Jump Packs and an array of close combat weapons, all of which they utilised to bring unfettered savagery down upon the heads of their foes in a single, overwhelming onslaught. The Night Raptors were the ancient precursors in many ways of the later Chaos Space Marine Raptor assault troops found in all of the Traitor Legions after the end of the Horus Heresy.
The Night Lords had access to the full range of war machines utilised by the Emperor's armies during the Great Crusade, and even though the VIIIth Legion favoured terror tactics and infiltration over set piece battles, it still made use of such mighty vehicles. Because each of the Legion's companies tended to operate independently, most of the Night Lords' vehicles were held at the company level, squadrons operating in direct support of the company's squads. A small number of companies within the Legion choose to operate exclusively as armoured formations, often acting on the direct orders of the Primarch or the VIIIth Legion's command cadre when several companies were fielded together as a battalion or Chapter and more substantial armoured support was required.
The Caradara Armour Claw is one such company-sized armoured unit whose reputation had spread beyond its Legion before their treachery. The formation's masters had perfected a form of armoured combat which mirrored that utilised by the VIIIth Legion as a whole. Striking when possible from the darkness of dusk or dawn, the Caradara assaulted the enemy where they were weakest, rampaging through rear zones in order to sever lines of communication, and resupply and isolate individual concentrations of enemy troops. Having done so, the Caradara destroyed its targets at its leisure according to the proclivities of individual squadron or vehicle commanders. The Caradara were often noted to favour using prow-mounted dozer blades to bury enemy troops in their own trenches, while other gained unholy satisfaction from overrunning helpless defenders and grinding their bodies beneath the tracks of their armoured vehicles. Needless to say, few defences stood long against such brutal assaults.
The Night Lords utilised a wide range of assets throughout the Great Crusade, finding that even the most standardised of weapons and armour could be adapted and utilised in their favoured manner of warfare. Armoured troop transports of all classes were used by the VIIIth Legion to smash deep into the heart of the enemy's positions, with flanks clad in grotesque trophies to sow horror and dread in all who looked upon them. Aircraft were used to deliver death from the night sky, descending without warning to strike the enemy where he least expected it and ensuring that no foe could afford even a moment's rest or respite. They also made more use of automated systems such as the Tarantula than many other Legions, preferring to assign mundane duties as static defence to such robotic weapons, as well as employing them as part of their offensive strategies cunningly concealed and programmed to funnel enemy refugees into killing grounds pre-registered by the Legion's artillery masters.
The Night Lords Chaos Space Marines have several unique genetic traits inherited from the gene-seed of the Night Haunter: they all possess very pale, white skin and haunting black-within-black eyes like their Primarch. They can see in absolute darkness, with a clarity that is above and beyond even the ability of normal Space Marine occular implants. They also possess an innate "preysight"; the ability to see in the infrared spectrum to detect heat signatures. Finally, a Night Lords Astartes can emit abnormally loud shrieks and cries that cause immediate deafness and disorientation in those who hear them.
The Night Lords rarely use daemons in their armies largely due to their lack of faith in Chaos, with the exception of Furies, daemons of Chaos Undivided who share the Night Lords' fondness for brutal murder and psychological warfare. The Night Lords do not worship any individual power of Chaos as a Legion, instead venerating the concept of Chaos Undivided when they choose to pay any attention to Chaos at all. Indeed, the Night Lords maintain a certain contempt for all of the Ruinous Powers, as well as for what they perceive as weakness of any sort, a mistrust they inherited from the Night Haunter, who was no more fond of the major Chaos Gods than he was of his father the Emperor. The Night Lords also mistrust psykers of all kinds, including Astropaths, although they may utilise them, as well as Navigators, when the situation demands it. However, as of the late 41st Millennium, some Night Lords may be tainted by the touch of Chaos and have developed mutations, a fact that those so affected try to hide from their brethren, as the Night Lords are traditionally as disgusted by mutation as their Loyalist counterparts, seeing it as a form of physical and spiritual weakness.
Specialist Ranks and Formations
The Night Lords Legion is organised into companies, each of which is led by a Captain, with each company composed of squads of ten Astartes called "Claws" led by a Sergeant. There is also an elite Terminator unit known throughout the Legion as the "Atramentar", and at least one Dreadnought. When ready for combat, the Night Lords refer to themselves as "in midnight clad", reflecting both their heritage and their penchant for operations conducted under the cover of darkness.
- Kyroptera - The Kyroptera were the Night Haunter's most trusted advisors and confidants within the Night Lords Legion. Consisting of seven chosen Captains of the Legion, the Kyroptera existed outside the rest of the VIIIth Legion's regular command structure. Together the Kyroptera functioned as the soul of the Night Lords, supporting their Primarch and steering the Legion's temperament and decisions.
- Atramentar - The Atramentar are the elite Terminator-armoured unit of Battle-Brothers from the VIIIth Legion's formidable 1st Company led by the infamous First Captain Sevetar. This elite cadre's numbers were chosen from amongst the standard ranks of the Night Lords Legion from Astartes who had been singled out and personally selected by their Primarch for their ferocity and cruelty. Each member was known by name and reputation within and without the Night Lords Legion. Following the death of the Night Haunter at the hands of the Imperial Assassin M'Shen, the Atramentar scattered with the rest of the Legion and, by the time of the late 41st Millennium, often served as bodyguards to the powerful Chaos Lords who commanded the various Night Lords warbands.
- Raptors - Amongst the ranks of the Night Lords are the dreaded Chaos Space Marine assault troops known as Raptors. This elite group of egotistical and arrogant warriors believe themselves to be the betters amongst their allies and fellow renegades. Many other Chaos Space Marines consider them to be preening, self-indulgent egotists. The origins of this particular specialty group can be traced to the bygone days of the Horus Heresy when they served in the important shock attack role of jump troops. At that time, Jump Packs were a comparatively rare technology amongst the Space Marine Legions, but such was the effectiveness of these assault troops that their commitment to battle often proved to be the turning point. Often times they were kept in reserve and then sent into action against the weakest points of the enemy line. This concept of preying on the vulnerable has led the Raptors to become vicious hunters who can strike anywhere, at any time. The Raptors have a tendency to modify their armour to give themselves a more terrifying appearance, mimicking the appearance of a vicious bird of prey or a swooping daemon. They often fit amplifiers and Voxcasters that emit piercing wails and screams to their helms, falling upon the enemy like a shrieking, furious gale, tearing their foes apart with Bolt Pistols and vicious Chainswords. In combat, the Night Lords always tend to deploy large numbers of Raptors.
- Unguis Raptus - A gift from his master, the Legion's First Captain Zso Sahaal, the "Talonmaster", incorporated the use of archaic Lightning Claws which he had named the Unguis Raptus -- the "Raptor's Claws" -- into his Power Armour and in so doing also coined the name of the command company for his 1st Company. Before the Horus Heresy (known to the Night Lords only as the "Great War") Zho Sahaal's Unguis Raptus company of Night Lords Raptors became justly feared by the VIIIth Legion's enemies. First in the name of the Emperor, and then for the Night Haunter alone, they brought swift death from above to their foes.
Legion Combat Doctrine
- "Surprise is an insubstantial blade, a sword worthless in war. It breaks when troops rally. It snaps when commanders hold the line. But fear never fades. Fear is a blade that sharpens with use. So let the enemy know we come. Let their fears defeat them as everything falls dark. As the world's sun sets... As the city is wreathed in its final night...Let ten-thousand howls promise ten-thousand claws. The Night Lords are coming, and no soul that stands against us shall see another dawn."
- — The War-sage Malcharion, excerpted from The Tenebrous Path
The Night Lords adopted the modus operandi of their Primarch without exception, and thrive in sowing fear and confusion among their enemies. It is common practice for Night Lords Chaos Space Marines to ensure that the communications of a target planet are shut down, broadcasting hideous messages and screams across the airwaves as they begin slaughtering the occupants at their leisure. It is very rare that the Night Lords voluntarily fight a force able to withstand them; they much prefer to attack the weak and frightened. Repeated instances have shown that the Night Lords will not give quarter, and are entirely bereft of mercy. Any poor soul offering to surrender will have his pleas answered by mutilation and painful death.
Night Haunter's Legion has no holy crusade, no belief that causes them to spread murder and misery to the worlds they visit. Similarly, they have no martial creed, as all concept of martial honour has been eroded by their transformation into warbands of vicious killers.
The Night Lords are masters of stealth, able to infiltrate a position quickly and silently. These arts appear to be innate to the Legion, and are used most often during the sick games the Night Lords use to drive their prey into paroxysms of terror. Once they have prepared themselves and found places to launch an assault that meets their standards, the Night Lords are capable of sudden, shockingly brutal ambushes or unconventional attacks intended to thin the enemy's ranks or simply sow chaos amongst the foe. One such tactic designed to enhance fear that has been observed to be used by the Night Lords is when they unleash a fifteen-second-long Vox-augmented scream that ruptures any unprotected eardrums in the vicinity. Once their victims are hunched over in agony, stunned and deaf, the Night Lords unleash their wrath.
Even before they turned to Chaos, the Night Lords adorned their armour with the imagery of death; this is because they know that fear can be used as a weapon just as effectively as a Chainsword or Bolter. Given the Night Lords' predilection for assaulting weaker foes, a fully-armoured Night Lords Chaos Champion armed with a devastating array of weaponry is always more than a match for the foes he chooses to fight.
Since the Heresy, Night Lords warbands have tended to attract a greater proportion of Raptors than those of any other Traitor Legion. The swooping attacks once favoured by Konrad Curze are echoed by the diving, tearing assaults of the Night Lords Raptors, predators that strike from the sky amidst an ear-splitting chorus of shrieks that can force even the most stoic of veterans to cower at the critical moment.
- "Do you hear their cries? Can you taste their fear, their agony? Know this mortal: we are coming for you!"
- — Salvaged Vox transmission from the dead colony of Nux Haven, Travonth VI
Space Marine Legions often changed after the rediscovery of their Primarch and their surrogate homeworld. In the case of the VIIIth Legion, Nostramo and Curze doomed them, but at first they seemed the least changed of all of the Legions upon the return of their gene-sire. There were changes of course, but many of these were relatively small. Nostraman became the language of the VIIIth Legion, its curling runes and sibilant words spreading as Nostraman recruits began to include a dark and cruel sense of humour, and a snide fatalism. New traditions, twisted reflections of Nostraman gang-rites and customs, were adopted within the Legion, such as marking condemned Legionaries' gauntlets red to show that a death sentence hung over them. The honorific titles sported by many of the VIII Legion's officers started to take on the form of those of the Nostraman noble courts. These changes, though noticeable, did not touch the heart of the VIIIth Legion's nature, for if anything, Curze's return saw the Legion's righteous drive to punish intensify. Their ways and methods of war changed not at all, and the integration of Terran and Nostraman warriors was amongst the swiftest of any Legion. The old Legion and the new fitted together like two sides of a coin; both raised from darkness to create order and strife, both made of flesh born in shunned and lightless places.
Callous and brutal though they were, the Night Lords were not without pride, and the trappings and titles of aristocracy and dominion formed a key part of their identity, and rivalry, often violent, was endemic among the Astartes of the VIIIth Legion. The gang traditions of their lightless homeworld were carried over to every aspect of their Legion. There were few amongst their ranks who did not bear some form of title, and the craftsmanship with which they embellished their weapons and armour was remarkable, if grotesque. Furthermore, far more so than even the most barbarous members of the World Eaters or White Scars Legions, they habitually adorned their armour and vehicles with the brutalised and mutilated remains of those who had resisted them, and made an art of flaying and presenting the dead in order to sow fear in their foes. There was method in this madness, at least at first; such grisly displays were a clear signal saying, "This fate will be yours to share."
There are many dread creatures that dwell in the swirling eddies of the Eye of Terror. Terrible daemons and horrific monsters vie with cruel pirates and vile xenos to spread death and destruction throughout the realm and nearby Imperial holdings. Yet few among these are as feared as the Chaos Space Marines of the Night Lords Traitor Legion. Since before the Horus Heresy, this Legion has perfected the craft of sowing terror, discord, and confusion among its victims and its corrupted Astartes have become even more sadistic and depraved as the long Terran centuries have passed. The Night Lords are sadistic killers who delight in terrorising their foes before slaughtering them without mercy or restraint. They are cruel, ruthless, and opportunistic, frequently striking at vulnerable targets and toying with their unfortunate victims. When the Night Lords kill, they kill violently and slowly, savouring the pain and horror on their victim's faces as the last moments of life leave them. Such acts are not undertaken in honour of the Chaos Gods; rather, a Night Lord kills simply because he can. Certainly there may be other motives behind his actions, but more often than not that motive is only to wet his gauntlets in the blood of his victims.
The Night Lords are veterans of countless campaigns of terror and conquest. Each member of the Legion is highly trained and proficient in the use of terror tactics, psychological warfare, and lightning raids and ambushes intended to leave their opponents completely demoralised and easy targets for the depraved Chaos Space Marines of this Legion. The Night Lords frequently operate as mercenaries for Renegade warbands and other pirate raiders, selling their skills to the highest bidder in return for plunder and the chance to pick and choose targets that most appeal to their sadistic tendencies. However, the Night Lords harbour no true allegiance to any of the Ruinous Powers nor to the mightiest Chaos Lord. Their path is their own, and woe to any who assume otherwise. Above all, they desire to kill, taking great pleasure in slaying their victims and gunning down the defenceless and helpless. The thrill of battle does not concern them as they often bypass able foes, instead attacking prey too weak to resist and ruthlessly hunting down all before them. Afterwards, the Night Lords mutilate and butcher their victims, thereby providing grisly examples of what fate awaits those who fall prey to the Legion.
A few will even undertake raids on their own if it suits their needs, their abilities and tactics more than making up for any discrepancy in fighting strength. Indeed, there are tales of lone Night Lords terrorising entire hives and bringing these mighty cities to their knees in sprees of bloodshed and fear. However, the Night Lords have no concept of honour and may change sides during a battle, or treacherously attack their erstwhile allies in order to suit their own needs. The Legion holds no true allegiance to any one of the four Ruinous Powers and views all religious devotion as a form of weakness. Instead of faith, it is their love of killing, especially of terrified, defenceless prey, that unites the Legion and has led them to serve the cause of Chaos. Though they do not serve a single Chaos God, the Night Lords regularly ally with other, far more devoted followers of Chaos.
Night Lords are exceptionally versatile in their use of the Forces of Chaos, employing the hell-spawned powers of each of the major Chaos deities with equal favour. It is just as likely that the Night Lords will be seen fighting alongside a group of foul Plague Marines as at the side of the undead warriors of the Thousand Sons. However, it has been ascertained that the Night Lords have nothing but scorn for faith in all its forms, whether it be the fanatical bloodlust of the Khornate Berserker or the devotion of the Imperial Creed. The only authority the Astartes of this Traitor Legion truly recognise is that of temporal power and material wealth.
Observational evidence would suggest that the only reason the Night Lords fight is for the love of killing and the material rewards this can bring. They take great pleasure in gunning down defenceless prey, especially those too young or sick to stand up to them. It is certainly not for the thrill of battle that they fight, as an army of Night Lords can be expected to try every underhand trick in the book before resorting to honest combat. This is possibly a vestige of their ancestry in the criminal classes of Nostramo where it was commonplace to ruthlessly force the will of the strong upon the weak.
The gene-seed of the Night Lords seems surprisingly pure, bearing the least evidence of mutation. Before their fall to Chaos, the only notable physical abnormality was their jet black eyes and pale skin, which became even more prevalent with the introduction of the genetic material of the dour people of Nostramo. Surprisingly, of all the Traitor Legions, the Night Lords seem to bear the least evidence of mutation. This is perhaps due to a stable gene-seed stock, or perhaps due to the fact that they rarely associate themselves with a particular Chaos power for any length of time. However, the real legacy of their mad Primarch may have been psychological, as there was a tendency for paranoia and self-destructive behaviour displayed by many within the Night Lords. They thrive in the use of psychological warfare and fear tactics, merely for the sheer, sick joy of it. It is also said that their Chaos Sorcerers have a pronounced vulnerability that causes them to be wracked with painful seizures in which they experience visions, oblique or not, of the future. The Night Haunter was believed to have only been able to see the darkest path of all possible futures, a terrible curse, and the visions tended to be self-fulfilling. It is hoped that the Night Lords' sorcerers suffer the same fate. This is as yet speculation. However, given their Primarch's susceptibility to such prophesies, it seems more than likely.
Notable Night Lords
- Konrad Curze - Konrad Curze, better known as the Night Haunter was the savage and authoritarian Primarch of the VIIIth Legion. Kurze, disgusted with life and his Legion, allowed himself to be killed by the Imperial Callidus Assassin M'Shen on the world of Tsagualsa in the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy immediately following the end of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium. His Legion, without his leadership, then broke up into competing warbands and fled into the Eye of Terror with the rest of the Traitor Legions.
- Jago "Sevatar" Sevatarion - Jago Sevatarion, known also as "the Condemned" and the "Prince of Crows", was the First Captain of the Night Lords Legion. He was also the Commander of the Atramentar, the elite Terminator-armoured unit of the VIIIth Legion's formidable 1st Company and officer of the Kyroptera, the Night Haunter's most trusted advisors and confidants within the Night Lords Legion, during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy in the 30th and early 31st Millennia. A native of Nostramo, Sevatar served as Equerry to the Primarch Konrad Curze and was known as one of the most lethal warriors of the entire Legiones Astartes, his name and skill as well known as those of Ezykyle Abaddon of the Sons of Horus, Corswain of the Dark Angels, Chapter Master Raldoron of the Blood Angels or Lord Commander Eidolon of the Emperor's Children. Sevatar was killed during the Battle of Terra.
- Zso Sahaal, "The Talonmaster" - Zso Sahaal was the "Talonmaster", the First Captain of the VIIIth Legion's elite 1st Company after his predecessor, Jago Sevatarion, was slain during the Battle of Terra. He was known as the Unguis Raptus, the "Raptor's Claws", for his incorporation of Lightning Claws into his Power Armour, and this name was also applied to the troops of the 1st Company's elite command squad.
- Shang - Equerry to Konrad Curze and a member of Curze's personal Honour Guard. He held the rank of Captain within the VIIIth Legion. His current status is unknown.
- Krieg Acerbus, "The Axemaster" - Acerbus was a former Captain of the Legion and is now the leader of the largest Night Lords warband of Chaos Space Marines in the galaxy. Later, he became a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided.
- Koor Mass - A Night Lords Captain and Champion who was encased in the sleek shell of a Chaos Dreadnought, its every surface decorated with flayed skin.
- Malcharion, "The War-Sage" - Malcharion was the Captain of the 10th Company. He is currently a Chaos Dreadnought.
- Malithos Kuln - Former Captain of the 9th Company and a member of the Kyroptera during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Kuln was one of only three surviving Kyroptera Captains after the disastrous ambush carried out against the Night Lords Legion by the Dark Angels during the closing days of the Thramas Crusade. As the Night Haunter lay mortally wounded following a duel with his fellow Primarch Lion El'Jonson, Kuln and his fellow Captain Herec advocated the reorganisation of their scattered Legion to strike back at the upstart Loyalists, for blood demanded blood. First Captain Sevatar was disinclined to agree with this audacious plan, and instead enacted a plan of his own, having Captains Kuln and Herec murdered in cold blood by the First Captain's own Atramentar Terminators.
- Vandred Anrathi, "The Exalted" - Vandred Anrathi, Captain of the 10th Company and Chaos Lord of the Night Lords warband of The Exalted. Vandred, is a Chaos Champion of Tzeentch. Allying himself with Abaddon the Despoiler, he allowed himself to be possessed by a Daemon. Before accepting the daemon which would come to dominate him, Vandred was an honored warrior, but his true forte was void combat. After his change into the Exalted, he became even more focused on void combat. He was a true master of it, understanding all the nuances of his ship's speed, mass, maneuverability and weaponry, and therefore willing to throw his vessel, the Covenant of Blood, into seemingly suicidal maneuvers. A shadow of his former self, it soon became apparent that the Exalted was the title of the daemon which possessed him, and it used his memories and knowledge to further its gains of power. Eventually First Claw was betrayed upon the Industrial World of Crythe by Abaddon's Black Legion. Talos decided that The Exalted was no longer fit to command. Vandred became disgusted with the behavior of the Black Legion and its attempts to use First Claw as expendable cannon fodder in the Warmaster's wars. Vandred's disgust helped him to temporarily overcome the Daemon within him and reassert his personality. Refusing to allow his warriors to fall to the whims of Abaddon, Vandred rescued his forces on Crythe and escaped the vengeful Blood Angels Chapter. When Vandred had his ship dock at Hell's Iris in order to repair and refit the battle-damaged vessel, First Claw sent ambassadors from their warband to meet with the station's lord, Huron Blackheart. He agreed to have the Night Lords' vessel repaired on the condition that The Exalted's warband would owe him a debt; to accompany the Lord of the Red Corsairs on a military campaign on the Imperial world of Vilamus, serving as its vanguard force. Vandred agreed, but for motives of his own, as the Night Lords recognised that one of the Red Corsairs' vessels was the ancient vessel Echo of Damnation, sister-ship to his own vessel, the Covenant. The Exalted plotted to steal the ex-Night Lords vessel back from the Red Corsairs immediately after the Fall of Vilamus. The Red Corsairs immediately pursued the theft, their fleet striking in overwhelming numbers. Vandred, in his prison of a body, immediately recognized that the fight was unwinnable for the Covenant, but the Echo of Damnation could escape. With a surge of willpower, he took control of his body again, and destroyed a half-dozen or so vessels of the Red Corsair fleet in a daring series of suicide maneuvers. Right before the Red Corsairs were able to make the kill, Vandred completely relinquished control, letting the Exalted's furious struggles burn Vandred away for good -- intentionally so, because it meant the Exalted, shortly thereafter, experienced the death-pain of its body alone and was banished back to the Warp.
- Naraka, "The Bloodless" - Naraka was the Captain of the 13th Company during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy and a member of the Kyroptera. Known as "The Bloodless" by his Battle-Brothers, he earned his sobriquet during the Imperial Compliance of the world designated Eight-Hundred-and-Nine Five, the fifth conquest of the 809th Expeditionary Fleet. The 13th Company took an entire world without shedding a single drop of blood, through means few of the Legion's other commanders were allowed to know. When questioned on it, Naraka always refused to comment. His company swore an oath of secrecy about this campaign, which has remained inviolate and unbroken in the many years since.
- Var Jahan - Var Jahan was the Captain of the 27th Company and a member of the Kyroptera during the Horus Heresy. Jahan was Terran-born, like most of the original Legionaries of the Night Lords. He was an older warrior, famously cautious, more of a tactician than a murderer. He had served the VIIIth Legion since the earliest days of the Great Crusade, when the Night Lords first took to the stars. Var Jahan was one of only three surviving Kyroptera Captains after the disastrous ambush carried out against the Night Lords Legion by the Dark Angels during the closing days of the Thramas Crusade. As the Night Haunter lay mortally wounded following a duel with his fellow Primarch Lion El'Jonson, Var Jahan's fellow Captains Herec and Kuln advocated the reorganisation of their scattered Legion to launch a counter-strike at the upstart Loyalists, for blood demanded blood. First Captain Sevatar was disinclined to agree with the pair's audacious plan, and instead enacted a plan of his own, having Captains Herec and Kuln murdered in cold blood by the First Captain's own Atramentar Terminators. Var Jahan was spared, for he was smart enough to detect that something was wrong before the Atramentar teleported into the council chamber to carry out their bloody deed. For showing intuitive foresight, Sevatar let Jahan live and remain as a member of the Kyroptera.
- Ophion - Captain of the 39th Company and a member of the Kyroptera during the Horus Heresy, Ophion had failed to distinguish himself beyond the base level of honour inherent in a century of solid, trustworthy service. All of his records -- not that the VIIIth Legion was particularly meticulous in keeping them -- spoke of a veteran Nostraman officer best-served by front-line duty, leading his men from the vanguard, and given only moderate responsibility in a wider campaign. And yet, during the VIIIth Legion's disastrous encounter with the Dark Angels fleet during the closing days of the Thramas Crusade, Ophion had ordered his warship Shroud of Eventide to remain on-station, fighting the Dark Angels back from their ambush, aiding Sevatar and the Night Lords' flagship Nightfall as he fought to buy time for the weaker ships to flee. In a Legion that considered tactical cowardice one of the finer and most amusing virtues, a rare sign of bravery was always worth investigating -- and rewarding.
- Cel Herec - Former Captain of the 43rd Company and a member of the Kyroptera during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Herec was one of only three surviving Kyroptera Captains after the disastrous ambush carried out against the Night Lords Legion by the Dark Angels during the closing days of the Thramas Crusade. As the Night Haunter lay mortally wounded following a duel with his fellow Primarch Lion El'Jonson, Herec and his fellow Captain Kuln advocating the reorganisation of their scattered Legion to strike back at the upstart Loyalists, for blood demanded blood. First Captain Sevatar was disinclined to agree with this audacious plan, and instead enacted a plan of his own, having Captains Herec and Kuln murdered in cold blood by the First Captain's own Atramentar Terminators.
- Kasati Nuon - In a legion of thieves and murderers, few of the VIIIth Legion however dared to turn against the will of their Primarch, but some of them did and a few even survived. Kasati Nuon was one of them. One of the rare Night Lords who did not join their father and Horus in treachery but chose to remain loyal. Kasati Nuon led but a handful of warriors, fleeing the wrath of his Legion and those that had sided with the Warmaster, Kasati Nuon joined forces with the Raven Guard and participated in the great victory on Carandiru, the Day of Vengeance.
- Krukesh - Captain of the 103rd Company and a member of the Kyroptera during the Horus Heresy, Krukesh was considered to be a member of the VIIIth Legion from blood to bone. Taken as a youth from Terra, he rose to his captaincy by a murder duel, taking his former commander's head. This barbarous custom had been adopted by the Night Lords from the hive-gangs of the Nostraman hive-city of Nostramo Quintus. Like his fellow Battle-Brothers whose skin had whitened and whose eyes had blackened after being implanted with their Primarch's gene-seed, Krukesh was gaunt to the point of emaciation. Known as "The Pale" by his brethren, his skin was pale past anything resembling ill-health, edging on the preternatural. He appeared as a starved cadaver in midnight ceramite, black-on-black eyes burning from sunken eye sockets. Krukesh and First Captain Sevatar shared a long history, as Sevatar owed the pale Astartes debts that made the First Captain uneasy.
- Tovac Tor, "Lackhand" - Tor was Captain of the 114th Company. Known as "Lackhand", he had entered the VIIIth Legion at the same time as Sevatar; as children they had run together in the same Nostraman gang. Tor earned his epithet from a malformed birth, as he had been born with only one hand. Despite the deformity, he had passed the physical trials required to be accepted into the VIIIth Legion, and immediately been fitted with an augmetic graft. The cybernetic enhancement never behaved as reliably as a natural limb -- the Apothecaries had told Tovac that his malformed arm lacked a fully developed musculature, so his augmetic hand would always be a touch erratic.
- Alastor Rushal, "The Raven" - Rushal was a Captain without a company to command and a member of the Kyroptera. Terran-born, but not born of VIIIth Legion gene-stock, Rushal still wore the Power Armour of the XIXth Legion, cast in cold black, edged in dented white trimming. The noble emblem of his former Legion, the Raven Guard, had been ritually broken by blows from a hammer, wielded by his own hand. A former Captain of the Raven Guard's 89th Company, he was known by the Night Lords as "The Raven". It is not clear whether Rushal joined the Night Lords of his own volition or was captured. But what is abundantly clear is that he became a part of the VIIIth Legion following the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V. Apparently he also suffered torture at the hands of First Captain Sevatarion, who brutally marked the warrior with vicious scars across most of his body as well as removing his tongue. All trappings of rank were gone from his ebon coloured armour, scratched away during the massacre unleashed on Istvaan V's Urgall Depression. Like the Night Lords, his face was pale and his eyes were dark. Unlike the warriors he stood amongst, his helm lacked the bat-winged crest sported by the VIIIth Legion's inner circle of Captains.
- Halasker - Halasker was a Captain of the VIIIth Legion, his company and fate unknown.
- Morgaris - Morgaris was a Chaos Terminator Champion of the VIIIth Legion.
- Quissax Kergai - Captain Kergai was the Night Lords Master of the Armoury, whose scouring of the Launeus Forge World during the Horus Heresy crippled the loyalists of the Trigonym sector.
- Vyridium Silvadi - Captain Silvadi was the VIIIth Legion's Lord of the Fleet. He was responsible for routing the flotilla of Imperial Navy Admiral Ko'uch and for bombarding the Astartes of the Raven Guard at Istvaan V for five days before they could retreat, unsupported.
- Fel Zharost - Fel Zharost was the former Chief Librarian of the VIIIth Legion. Within a few years after his legion's reunification with their Primarch on Nostramo, Zharost was one of the few ill-favoured and withering remnants of Terran Legionaries that still served in the VIIIth Legion. He was disgusted by the those who had come after him, the Nostraman criminals who now supplanted the original Terran-borne Legionaries, and now made up the majority of the Night Lords. A few centuries earlier, he had been born in the prison sinks beneath Albia, which was the realm of the banished and the condemned. He was raised from this night when the Great Crusade had already left the light of Sol, though only by a few decades. That made him old compared to most of the Legionaries of the VIIIth, but young compared to some. Zharost understood, better than anyone, that his Legion had become willing servants to terror, merely for the sheer joy of it. When the Emperor passed his Decree Absolute following the Council of Nikaea, he sought a private audience with First Captain Sevatarion, who had been left in temporary command in their Primarch's absence. He demanded that Sevatar render judgment against their Legion's Librarius -- and against him. Enraged by his demands, Sevatar leapt upon Zharost, and struck him in the chest with his deactivated chain-glaive, knocking the Chief Librarian to the chamber floor. He then rendered his judgement -- Zharost was cast out. He would no longer be of the Eighth -- his hands were to be stained red. The First Captain condemned Zharost to death, should they ever meet again. Somewhat satisfied, as he made to leave, he tried to argue the point with Sevatar, that their Legion had been about something once. The First Captain rolled his eyes, and dismissively waved the disgraced former Chief Librarian away. Before he could stop himself, Zharost's rage got the better of him, and he summoned forth his innate psychic abilities. Before he was even aware that he had lost control, he had used his powers to slam the First Captain with a wave of power into the Primarch's command throne. As he slammed Sevatar's head into the throne, he angrily accused the First Captain and his benighted Nostraman brethren of having murdered their Legion with their cruel and sadistic ways. But before he could continue his diatribe, Sevatar utilised his own innate, and hidden, psychic abilities to strike back at Zharost. Shocked at the unexpected attack, the Chief Librarian staggered back, blood pouring from his mouth. Sevatar did not rise from the throne to follow him, and with an effort, he warned Zharost to get out of his sight. The Chief Librarian returned to Terra, to the place of his birth, amongst the prison sinks beneath Albia. Eventually he was hunted by an unknown assailant, a Legionary clad in plain grey and unburnished armour, and captured. Zharost believed that his executioner should at least know the truth about whom he was punishing, and if he was going to die, he would do it on his terms. Facing his imminent execution, he utilised his psychic powers to show his would-be executioner his past. Zharost shared his past for an eye-blink of time, showing the Legionary every moment of his life. When he had finished, he requested that he be allowed to see the light of the sun one last time before his death. And so, Zharost used his powers to look into the Legionary's mind, but was stunned by what he saw -- betrayal, broken oaths, and the deaths of sons at the hands of their fathers. He saw what the vision of Imperial Truth and light had now become. Zharost finally knew why the Legionary had come for him. Once he recovered, the Knight-Errant of Malcador informed the former Chief Librarian, that he had not come to judge him. For that right belonged to another. Zharost's ultimate fate following this encounter, is currently unknown.
- Flaymaster Mawdrym Llansahai, Fallen Medicae Primaris; "The Smiling One"; "Bloody Bones" - Among the Night Lords there were those who overstepped the bounds of even what that infamous Legion considered sane. One such was the Apothecary Mawdrym Llansahai, or "Bloody Bones" to give him the nickname granted him without irony by his Legion. A Nostraman by birth and a child of that benighted world's ruling class, Llansahai registered as both highly intelligent and psychologically stable, and showed great aptitude and ability for the VIIIth Legion's Apothecarion in which he was placed. The Night Lords Apothecaries were charged with other arts than mere healing; they were needed to oversee interrogations, contrive inventively malignant punishments and keep their "subjects" alive and lucid far longer than they wished to be. Having risen to become a Primus Medicae, Llansahai was master of these twisted surgical arts and those who wielded them, and slowly and surely they began to corrode his sanity. Soon it was discovered that he was performing numerous unsanctioned vivisections and surgical experiments. Dragged in chains to his Primarch for judgement, Llansahai was released under suspended sentence of death and was forced to bear the mark of his shame by having his gauntlets painted arterial red. A warrior's gauntlets were marked this way when he had failed the Primarch gravely enough to warrant death. He would wear the stain of failure on his hands until his execution, which would only come at the hour of the Primarch's choosing. Although afterwards a shunned and dreaded pariah amongst his Legion, Llansahai survived, a monster among monsters, and on Istvaan V he worked unspeakable horrors upon the Loyalist Legions' wounded and dying. Feared and mistrusted, even amongst his own Legion, Llansahai survived both enemy action and attempts on his life by his comrades, seemingly often by sheer chance alone. This only served to enhance the Primus Medicae 's dark renown. His ultimate fate following the Horus Heresy is not currently recorded.
- Veteran Legionary Uros Kastax - At the time of the Night Lords' deployment to Istvaan V, Uros Kastax was the longest serving member of the 8th Company's Terminator Claw, the "Scions of the Bloody Ward". Kastax is known to have participated in the Scouring of Morenna, the Yoggoth Genocides, the Fall of the Lords of Ephrath and countless other campaigns of terror conducted by the Night Lords. He was the sole survivor of the Succoth Perfidy, a battle which cost the 8th Company a fearful toll, including the last of its Terran-born Legionaries. The exact circumstances of that battle remain unknown, though numerous dark rumours circulated in its aftermath. Kastax is thought to have fallen in battle soon after the Night Lords revealed their allegiance to the Warmaster Horus. The exact circumstances of his death remain a mystery, for so few of the 8th Company's Terminator Claws survived the Istvaan V battles. But some report his corpse lying amidst those of his erstwhile brothers, and that few of his wounds were to the fore.
- Talon-master Vibius - Talon-master Vibius was a Terra-born Legionary who served in the Night Lords' 22nd Company (The "Night-Scythes") as an Assault Sergeant of the 12th Forlorn (12th Squad). He had only served scant months in the VIII Legion when they were united with their Primarch. His records indicate that Vibius found his dark nature compatible with that of the Night Haunter, and adapted well when the Primarch took command of the Legion. Vibius was quick to ascend to squad command, but here found his rise stymied as other, Nostramo-born, Legionaries were promoted above him. He is known to have engaged in a number of honour duels against other Talon-masters, hinting at a bloody and bitter feud simmering beneath the surface amongst the ranks of the 22nd Company. It is believed Talon-master Vibius suvived the Istvaan V battles, engaging in the pursuit of surviving Raven Guard in the aftermath of the Drop Site Massacre. He is known to have engaged in a number of honour duels against other Talon-masters throughout the pursuit operations and to have slain a number of them in a series of clashes which saw him wrest control of the entire 22nd Company.
- Squad Sergeant Uritzon Tynok - Uritzen Tynok was a Squad Sergeant that served in the Night Lords' 77th Company ("Harbingers of Nocnitsa"). His Terror Squad, the "10th Blooded", is known to have been amongst the first of the Night Lords to have fired upon their erstwhile brother Legions at Istvaan V. Indeed, some have even suggested that the squad took great pains to insinuate itself into a deployment position from which they might be first to reveal their treachery, a perfidy compounded by accusations that the squad actually fired before they were ordered to do so by the 77th Company's Captain. As a Terror Squad, the members of the "10th Blooded" displayed a range of grisly adornments that would later become common throughout the entire VIII Legion. The hanging of bones and the application of death mask symbols to helmets lent these Legionaries a fearsome aspect, and one intended to deepen still further the utter terror they delighted in sowing in the hearts of their enemies.
- Ancient Carrow, "The Reaper of Noval V" - Ancient Carrow was a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought who served in the 17th Company ("Lords of Tempest"). He was known to have favoured a brutal form of ritualised close combat inherited from the shredder-cults of Nostramo. He took part in the Drop Site Masscre on Istvaan V, gleefully reaping a heavy toll upon the Loyalist forces.
- Ancient Reeve, "The Heedless" - Ancient Reeve was once a Talon-master of the 8th Company, which at the time of the Drop Site Masscre on Istvaan V was known as the "Circle of Inclemency". Known originally as Klemen, he fell in battle against Eldar raiders, but through sheer bloody-mindedness survived even though his entire central nervous system had been disassembled before his very eyes. Having been interred within the armoured sarcophagus of a Contemptor Dreadnought, Reeve disavowed his command rank and devoted himself solely to the glory of battle.
1st Claw, 10th Company
- Talos Valcoran - Known as the "Soul Hunter", Talos is a former Night Lords Apothecary and now the de facto Sergeant of the 1st Claw of 10th Company. Talos was the first Night Lord who sought vengeance against the Imperial Callidus Assassin M'Shen following the death of the Legion's Primarch. This quest proved to be successful and Talos eventually slew the Assassin and earned his Legion's revenge. Upon his return to Tsagualsa, Talos died sacrificing himself to kill the Eldar Void Stalker. His gene-seed was later harvested by Variel and used to give birth to the new prophet of the Night Lords Legion.
- Cyrion - Talos' unofficial second-in-command of the 1st Claw. Cyrion is a devotee of the Chaos God Slaanesh. Cyrion died after taking horrible wounds from the Void Stalker, and he was slain on Tsagualsa by the Eldar Phoenix Lord Jain Zar.
- Mercution - Relatively new recruit of the 1st Claw, due to his old squad having been annihilated. Mercution died after he forced First Claw to leave him behind after he sustained horrendous wounds. He fought the Void Stalker in single combat, severing the Eldar's right leg. His last words were: "How are you going to run now?"
- Uzas - The fifth member of 1st Claw who is a devoted follower of the Blood God Khorne and a Khornate Berserker, though this made him undisciplined and hard to control in combat. Uzas was slain on Tsagualsa by Talos Valcoran.
- Xarl - A highly-disciplined Astartes of the 1st Claw. Unlike the rest of 1st Claw, Xarl died before their return to Tsagualsa, Xarl died aboard the Strike Cruiser Echo of Damnation after he slew Telemion, the 3rd Company Champion of the Genesis Chapter of Space Marines. Xarl died from the loss of blood after he killed Telemion.
- Variel - The newest member of 1st Claw, Variel once served under the lordship of Huron Blackheart of the Red Corsairs as the star pupil of Garreon the Corpsemaster. Talos and the rest of The Exalted's warband asked Variel to aid them in taking back the Echo of Damnation, a Night Lords Strike Cruiser that had been taken by the Red Corsairs years before. Variel, who had made a pact with Talos years before, aided Talos in recovering the Echo, and soon afterwards joined the 1st Claw. Unlike the rest of 1st Claw, Variel survived the return to Tsagualsa. He harvested Talos Valcoran's gene-seed which was used to create the new prophet of the Night Lords Legion.
3rd Claw, 10th Company
- Dal Karus - Former Sergeant of the 3rd Claw, 10th Company
9th Claw, 10th Company
- Lucoryphus - Sergeant of the Bleeding Eyes Raptor Squad, later designated the 9th Claw of 10th Company. Lucoryphus leads 19 Night Lords Astartes. Lucoryphus' and his fellow Raptors' skeletal structures have mutated into a hunched, bestial form that makes it easy for them to walk (and climb) like quadrupeds. Most of the Bleeding Eyes degraded mentally as a result of this mutation and have become nearly feral, some only barely remembering how to speak. Lucoryphus alone retains his Astartes intelligence, patience, and forethought. With his new streak of animalistic instincts, Lucoryphus is both the wildest fighter and most cunning tactician of the Bleeding Eyes.
- Vorasha (Deceased) - Vorasha was Lucoryphus' second-in-command of the 9th Claw. He was killed in a failed ambush against the Salamanders Chapter of Loyalist Space Marines.
- Shar Gan (Deceased) - Shar Gan was a former squad member of the 9th Claw that was killed in a failed ambush against the Salamanders Chapter.
- Zon La - Zon La was a squad member of the 9th Claw. His fate remains unknown.
The Night Lords are known to have possessed the following vessels within their Legion fleet:
- Nightfall (Gloriana-class Battleship) - Flagship of the Night Lords Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Hunter's Premonition (Battle Barge) - Captain Halasker's Battle Barge.
- Praxis Mundi (Battle Barge) - A Battle Barge of the Night Lords Legion active during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Destroyed fighting against the Dark Angels Legion during the Thramas Crusade.
- Umbrea Insidior (Battle Barge) - Zso Sahaal's Battle Barge, assigned to the 1st Company of the Night Lords Legion.
- Terrorclaw (Battle Barge) - Assaulted by the Blood Angels and The Sanguinor.
- Aeternum Dread (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of the Night Lords Legion active during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Destroyed fighting against the Dark Angels Legion during the Thramas Crusade.
- Avenging Shadow (Strike Cruiser)
- Covenant of Blood (Strike Cruiser) - The Covenant of Blood served as The Exalted's Strike Cruiser and the flagship of the Night Lords' 10th Company, and was active during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. The Covenant was destroyed in battle against the Red Corsairs, though it took approximately half-a-dozen Red Corsairs vessels with it.
- Dusk's Daughter (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of the Night Lords Legion active during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
- Echo of Damnation (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of Talos Valcoran's warband which was retaken from the Red Corsairs warband and restored to the Night Lords after decades under the Red Corsairs' control. The Echo of Damnation was the sister ship of the Covenant of Blood.
- Excoriator (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser and sister ship to the Covenant of Blood
- Nycton (Strike Cruiser) - The Nycton was the Strike Cruiser alloted to the Night Lords' 45th Company under Claw Master Gendor Skraivok during the early days of the Horus Heresy. Alledgedly crippled by the Ist Legion, the Dark Angels, during the Thramas Crusade, the Nycton did in fact escape destruction and given its desolate state, was sacrificed to allow the infiltration of the Sotha-system.
- Obfuscate (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of the Night Lords Legion active during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Destroyed fighting against the Dark Angels Legion during the Thramas Crusade.
- Quintus (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of the Night Lords Legion active during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
- Throneless King (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of the Night Lords Legion active during the Great Crusade and the early days of the Horus Heresy. Destroyed fighting against the Dark Angels Legion during the Thramas Crusade.
- Tenebraxis (Cruiser, Unknown Class) - The Tenebraxis was a vessel that belonged to the VIIIth Legion. It was destroyed in the first years of the Horus Heresy when it failed to ambush the famous Sisypheum.
- Warlock (Cruiser, Unknown Class) - The Warlock was boarded and captured by Loyalist Istvaan V survivors in the aftermath of the Dropsite Massacre. Survivors aboard the Salamanders Thunderhawk Gunship Ohidoran succesfully captured the Warlock and escaped pursuit to rejoin the Imperium at the Hive World of Agathon in the Agathean Domain within the Coronid Reach sub-sector of the Coronid Deeps after an odyssey of nine months. The Warlock would continue to function amongst the ad-hoc battle-group Revenant and would participate in such battles as the Liberation of Numinal. The Warlock’s ultimate fate remains unknown.
- Faithless Song (Endeavour-class Light Cruiser) - A former Light Cruiser that belonged to the Imperial Navy that was captured by the Night Lords near Uriah III.
- Serpent of the Black Sea (Capital Ship, Unknown Class) - Vessel of the Night Lords Legion of an unknown class.
- Claws of the Black Hunt - These vicious hooked talons have spilt the blood of thousands of victims since their creation in the Soul Forges of the Realm of Chaos. Worn by the master of the Black Hunt, a vicious ritual that precedes the greatest of Night Lords invasions, they are so encrusted with gore they are almost black. This congealed fluid is so thick it cannot even be seared away by the vicious energy field that runs about each claw. This is seen by some as a clear sign of a gory blessing from destructive gods, and the crackling field is so powerful it burns cloth at a yard's distance. Even when the wielder swipes the air near a foe, not quite making contact, the victim's armour and flesh part as if slashed open by a fierce and invisible beast.
- Curze's Orb - Said to have sat upon the arm of Konrad Curze's throne, this orb was a gift from Magnus, Primarch of the Thousand Sons. It was given to help Curze focus his precognitive visions, though in truth, the primogenitor of the Night Lords never felt the need to use it. Now it is his sons that make use of the strange device, scrying possible futures in its depths even as they take battle to their enemies.
- Scourging Chains - The Scourging Chains once jangled from the rafters of the Primarch Konrad Curze's throne room. Many a soul judged guilty by the Night Haunter has been hanged from their jagged spikes until death. Appearing taut as corded tendons as the wearer flies towards his chosen victims, these spiked chains loosen and loop at the last moment before impact. By lashing out to catch the wearer's prey and then contracting sharply, they bring the enemy close -- often onto an outstretched blade or crackling set of Lightning Claws.
- Stormbolt Plate - This Artificer Armour was fashioned from a strange metal smelted in the darkest pits of long-dead Nostramo. It is not the war-plate's incredible durability, however, that has made it so prized amongst the Night Lords, for it is wreathed in a cloying darkness, an unnatural skein of midnight that perpetually shrouds the wearer. So it is that a warrior with the Stormbolt Plate pounces on their prey from the shadows.
- Talons of the Night Terror - Worn over a pair of boots, these talons give the wielder the appearance of some eldritch raptor-beast that has evolved to better disembowel its prey. Should one sporting these bladed accoutrements descend feet-first into the ranks of his prey, the talons will clutch and rip, slicing and eviscerating all those too slow to evade. A heartbeat later, the crushing weight of the Chaos Space Marine wearer will be brought to bear with sickening, spine-breaking impact.
- Vox Daemonicus - Emanating from the ornate winged helm in which it makes its home, a living susurrus haunts the airwaves, spreading lies and falsehoods across the Vox networks of the Night Lords' enemies. The chill whispers of the Vox Daemonicus have unmanned brave commanders and undermined masterful strategies; many a well-laid plan has been torn to shreds by its baleful curse.
The gene-seed of the Night Lords seems to be surprisingly pure despite their allegiance to Chaos Undivided. Of all the Chaos Space Marine Traitor Legions, the Night Lords seem to be the least mutated. Night Lords Chaos Space Marines have jet-black eyes and pale skin. Those Night Lords who date from the time of the Horus Heresy do not have irises, with the visible part of their eyes consisting entirely of jet-black pupils. Their skin, eyes, and even their senses of smell and hearing are all adapted for living in complete darkness.
Even before they turned to Chaos, the Night Lords adorned their armour with the imagery of death. They know fear can be used as a weapon just as effectively as a Chainsword or Bolter, and revel in the twisted anatomies that the powers of Chaos sometimes lavish upon them. It is common to see the Night Lords adorned with malefic symbols -- fanged skulls, bat-like wings and glowing red eyes all feature heavily upon the battle-plate of these murderous Traitors.
In the days before the Heresy, the Night Lords' midnight blue, lightning-streaked Power Armour lent them a sinister appearance at odds with the bold livery of Legions such as the Imperial Fists and Emperor's Children. There are still those amongst their ranks that wear the Mark IV Maximus Power Armour that was so common amongst the Legion during the Horus Heresy.
The Night Lords tend to be nomadic, and are hence sometimes forced to scavenge equipment from their fallen, or even from the fallen of Loyalist Space Marines. Mismatching armour elements are a common sight, although before long they are remade in the colours of the VIII Legion and bathed in so much blood and agony that any Machine Spirit they might possess is corrupted beyond recovery.
Since the Horus Heresy, the battle plate of the Night Lords has grown ever more baroque, in some cases growing to resemble the icons and motifs daubed upon it. For this reason, skull-like visages, jutting horns and winged helms are prevalent amongst the Night Lords' ranks -- often, the sinister silhouette of the wearer is the last thing their victims see.
The Night Lords' Power Armour is not only commonly adorned in images of their Legion, and symbols of death such as trophy racks, spikes, spiked armor, and numerous skulls of all sizes, but also a peculiar form of imagery that occurs on each and every Night Lord Chaos Space Marine's armour. The Night Lords' night blue armor is alive with a mysterious network of lightning bolts that constantly play across their armour when in combat. Whether artificial, a curse, or something else, this lightning is a signature of the imagery of the lords of night and terrorises their foes in the ink blackness of the night.
The Night Lords' Legion badge is a bleached skull with red coloured Chiropteran wings superimposed over a black Star of Chaos.
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Blood (RPG), pp. 26-27, 30-31
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 51
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 10, 12, 80
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 13, 21, 70
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 42
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), pg. 14
- Codex Heretic Astartes - Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 34-37
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition), pp. 13, 17
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 23
- Traitor Legions: (Codex: Chaos Space Marines Supplement) (7th Edition), pg. 93
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 80-81
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pg. 126
- Index Astartes II, "Bringers of Darkness - The Night Lords Space Marine Legion", pp. 20-27
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre by Alan Bligh, pp. 92-113
- The Horus Heresy - Book Four: Conquest by Alan Bligh, pg. 162
- White Dwarf 332 (US), "Chaos Space Marines Design Notes - Night Lords", pp. 16-29
- White Dwarf 261 (US), "Lords of the Night: Cityfight, Night Lords vs. Imperial Guard"
- White Dwarf 260 (US), "Index Astartes First Founding: Bringers of Darkness, The Night Lords Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 200 (US), "'Eavy Metal: WH40K Chaos", pg. 8
- First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Angel Exterminatus (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pg. 148
- Age of Darkness (Anthology), "Savage Weapons" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- The Watcher (Short Story) by C.Z. Dunn
- The Primarchs (Anthology), "The Lion" by Gav Thorpe
- Shadows of Treachery (Anthology), "Prince of Crows" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pp. 130-187
- Pharos (Novel) by Guy Haley
- Child of Night (Novella) by John French
- Lord of the Night (Novel) by Simon Spurrier
- Night Lords Series:
- Hammer & Bolter 11, "Shadow Knight" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Soul Hunter (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Blood Reaver (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Void Stalker (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- The Dark King (Audio Book)
- Throne of Lies (Audio Book)
- Fear The Alien (Anthology), "The Core" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Sons of Fenris (Novel) by Lee Lightner
- Treacheries of the Space Marines (Anthology), "The Masters, Bidding" by Matthew Farrer