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Olympia was the original homeworld of the Primarch Perturabo and his Iron Warriors Traitor Legion before they turned to Chaos during the Horus Heresy. Olympia was an Imperial Civilised World before it was destroyed following the Heresy by the Imperium because of its irrevocable Chaotic taint.
Ten thousand standard years ago, Olympia was a rugged and mountainous world divided into constantly warring city-states. The young adolescent Primarch Perturabo was discovered climbing the sheer cliffs below the city-state of Lochos. Aware that this was no ordinary child, Perturabo was brought before Dammekos, the so-called Tyrant of Lochos, and raised him as his own. Intrigued by the strange, dark child, Dammekos took him into his household as if he were his own family. Perturabo never trusted the Olympians and, although Dammekos took time and trouble to win the trust and affection of the boy, Perturabo did not respond with any warmth. Many saw him as a cold youth, but when one considers that he had been cast alone into a strange world with no clue as to his own origins or the reason for his unusual abilities, this is perhaps an overly harsh judgment.
The plentiful quantities of quarried stone and the mountainous terrain of the planet had made siege warfare between the various city-states endemic on Olympia. Despite his aloof nature, Perturabo learned from the culture in which he found himself the arts of the siege, for Olympia's warring city-states afforded plenty of opportunity to study both the theory and the practise of this highly specialised branch of warfare. Hence, the development of Perturabo's extraordinary skill at assaulting heavily fortified positions, a specialty he passed on to his Space Marine Legion, the Iron Warriors, once he pledged his allegiance to the fledgling Imperium of Man after being re-discovered by his true father, the Emperor of Mankind, during the course of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium.
The Great CrusadeEdit
After assuming the mantle of the Primarch of the IV Legion, according to established practise, Perturabo was declared lord of the world on which he had been raised, effectively deposing his adopted father, and the Legion began the process of inducting new recruits from the most able candidates amongst its people. The deposed Tyrant of Lochos spent the last few years of his life trying to marshal support to reclaim Olympia. He failed, but created an undercurrent of unrest on the world against Imperial rule that was to be harnessed many years later.
In the campaigns of the Great Crusade that followed the re-discovery of their Primarch, the Iron Warriors proved themselves amongst the most able siege troops in the Emperor's armies. Perturabo led his Iron Warriors in their first operation of the Great Crusade under his command: a lightning assault against the world of Justice Rock and its ruling Black Judges which lay near to Olympia. They succeeded in bringing the world into Imperial Compliance. The new recruits of the IV Legion drawn from Olympia served well and their triumphant return was celebrated in the Palimodes Fresco, now known only through fragmented holo-recordings.
Perturabo proved to possess a keen, cold, and calculating mind well–suited to the highly technical aspects of such a style of warfare. Furthermore, he was gifted with an affinity for technology, and able to debate the finer points of the most esoteric arts with the highest placed Adepts of the Mechanicum. The Iron Warriors received cross training on Mars, further refining their specialisation in siegecraft, until only the Imperial Fists of Rogal Dorn could equal their expertise. World after world that rejected the future espoused by the Emperor's Iterators capitulated when confronted with the prospect of a protracted siege by the Iron Warriors, and countless worlds were brought to Imperial Compliance that would otherwise have been devastated in bitter, and ultimately pointless wars if not for the IV Legion's brutal reputation. There are apocryphal accounts that it might well have been the Warmaster Horus who kept the IV Legion in this role in the last days of the Great Crusade. Horus knew that the strains and frustrations engendered by constant siege warfare would allow him to more easily sway the mind of Perturabo towards his cause and the service of Chaos as the Iron Warriors' Primarch grew increasingly resentful of his Legion's assigned duties.
As the tragic outbreak of the Horus Heresy grew closer, it appears that Perturabo was put under ever-increasing pressure, and as a result the fires of his bitterness were stoked to a raging inferno. Some Imperial historians have postulated that it was Horus himself who, time after time, engineered events and adjusted deployments to the detriment of Perturabo's psyche. Whatever the truth, events came to a head when, leading his Iron Warriors on a campaign to cleanse the Hrud Warrens on the world of Gugann, the Primarch received news that his own homeworld, Olympia, had risen up in rebellion against the Imperium. The tyrant Dammekos had died and the population, incited by demagogues, had taken up arms. Perturabo was by this time tired of repeatedly having to prove his worth and now, after all his battles, the thought of being the only Legion unable to hold its own homeworld appalled him. Horus made the most of the opportunity. Through Horus' gift of the hammer Forgebreaker, an unspoken pact was signed between the two brothers and Perturabo left with his Iron Warriors to quell this rebellion. It is possible that the weapon acted as a daemonic conduit through which the Forces of Chaos could manipulate the Iron Warriors Primarch.
Massacre of OlympiaEdit
Perturabo and the IV Legion returned to their homeworld and brutally purged Olympia of its rebels city by city, overrunning the fortresses he had built and sparing no one who stood against him. By the time the massacre was over, five million Olympians had been killed and the rest put into vicious slavery to the Iron Warriors. Perturabo looked on at the remains of his homeworld in cold silence. Only once the great pyres were burning to cleanse the world of the heaps of corpses created by the IV Legion's assault did Perturabo fully realise what he had done. The Iron Warriors were no longer the saviours of the Imperium; they had been destroying the alien Hrud one moment and yet, in the next, they were committing genocide against their own people. With the cooling of Olympia's mass funeral pyres had come the realisation that nothing the Lord of Iron could ever do from that moment on would ever atone for the commission of a worldwide genocide. His father would never forgive him so grievous a sin, but Horus had chosen not only to forgive it, but to laud his brother’s thoroughness and dedication. Horus had sworn Perturabo never to feel guilt over what he had done to Olympia, but that was an oath easier to make than to live by.
It was at this time that disturbing news of the outbreak of the Horus Heresy on the world of Istvaan III reached Olympia and new orders for the Iron Warriors came from Terra. Leman Russ and the Space Wolves had attacked Magnus the Red and his Thousand Sons Legion on their homeworld of Prospero at the direction of the Emperor and as a result of the deceit of Horus. Confused bewilderment gave way to the realisation that, with the entire Imperium in flames, their excesses were irrelevant. Horus had turned Traitor with his XVI Legion, the Sons of Horus, alongside some other allied Legions such as the Death Guard, the Emperor's Children and the World Eaters. The whole of the Imperium was on the brink of an outright civil war. The new orders from the Emperor ordered the Iron Warriors to join with six other Loyalist Space Marine Legions to face Horus and his Traitor Legions on the world of Istvaan V. During the battle that followed the Iron Warriors, Night Lords, Word Bearers and Alpha Legion all went over to the side of Horus and almost completely destroyed the three remaining Loyalist Legions of the Imperial assault force -- the Iron Hands, the Salamanders and the Raven Guard -- at the infamous Drop Site Massacre on that world. In truth, Perturabo and the other Primarchs who turned Traitor on Istvaan V had already been seduced by the Warmaster and made their decision to stand with him against the Emperor, guaranteeing that the Traitors would field nine full Space Marine Legions against the forces of the Loyalists.
In the wake of the Drop Site Massacre, to celebrate Perturabo's decision to join his side in the conflict, Horus presented Perturabo with a massive Power Hammer called Forgebreaker that had been the personal weapon of the Loyalist Primarch Ferrus Manus of the Iron Hands, who the Traitor Primarch Fulgrim had beheaded during the campaign on Istvaan V. The granting of this boon was the embodiment of a new pact between the Warmaster and the Iron Warriors' Primarch, a gift from Horus to Perturabo intended to symbolise Perturabo and the Iron Warriors' newfound allegiance to the Warmaster rather than the Emperor. Fools claimed that Forgebreaker had sealed the pact between Horus and the Iron Warriors, but only Perturabo knew it was the gift of forgiveness that truly bound the Iron Warriors to Horus Lupercal.
Towards the end of the Heresy, a strong contingent of the Iron Warriors Legion accompanied Perturabo to Terra during the Battle of Terra, where he supervised the siege of the Emperor's Palace. Here his skills were invaluable and the Iron Warriors found a sublime pleasure in tearing the edifices of the Imperium down. The end was near for the defenders when the Emperor confronted Horus on his flagship and defeated him. Like many of Horus' followers, the Iron Warriors fled to the Eye of Terror, securing a new home world where they could brood on the turn of events and plot vengeance.
The rest of the Iron Warriors defended their small empire based on Olympia, but there was no refuge from the retribution of the Loyalist Legions. The Imperial Fists supported the Ultramarines in a decade-long campaign to liberate the subjugated worlds from the control of the Traitor Legions. They discovered the Iron Warriors to be like a barbed hook that, once embedded into a victim, could only be removed with great risk of injuring the patient further. The Iron Warriors' Olympia garrison held out for two standard years during the campaigns of the Great Scouring, eventually triggering their missile stockpiles when defeat was unavoidable. They left a blasted wasteland that, like the other Traitor Legion homeworlds, was declared Perdita by the Inquisition.
After the end of the Horus Heresy, the Iron Warriors retreated into the Eye of Terror with the other Traitor Legions and took a Daemon World for themselves called Medrengard. Nothing is known for certain to the Imperium about what this world truly looks like, as the realm of Chaos is constantly shifting. Reports of the Inquisitor Maul describes it as a world that is one great fortress, the entire world transformed into a tremendous fortified position with impossibly high towers and Chaos warships hovering everywhere above it.
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pg. 92
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions, pp. 70, 226
- Index Astartes I, "Bitter and Twisted - The Iron Warriors Space Marine Legion" pp. 32-36
- White Dwarf 274 (US), "Iron Within, Iron Without"
- White Dwarf 257 (AUS), "Index Astartes – Iron Warriors"
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 327, 355
- The First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pg. 320
- Angel Exterminatus (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 19, 37, 39, 54, 56-57, 118, 206, 238, 264-266