- "The warrior who acts out of honour cannot fail. His duty is honour itself. Even his death - if it is honourable - is a reward and can be no failure, for it has come through duty. Seek honour as you act, therefore, and you will know no fear."
- — Primarch Roboute Guilliman
Roboute Guilliman, sometimes referred to as the Avenging Son, The Victorious, The Master of Ultramar and The Blade of Unity, is the Primarch of the Ultramarines Space Marine Legion and its myriad subsequent Second Founding Successor Chapters. Held by some as a paragon among the Emperor's sons, Roboute Guilliman was as much a patrician statesman as he was an indefatigable warrior. A being of preternatural intelligence, cold reason and indomitable will, Guilliman forged his Legion into a vast force of conquest and control, a weapon by which he made himself the master of a domain, the Realms of Ultramar, which spanned five hundred worlds. Guilliman is the Primarch who single-handedly reshaped the Imperium of Man after the Horus Heresy during the Reformation, taking the lead role in reforming the administrative and military apparatus of the Imperium following the internment of the Emperor of Mankind within the Golden Throne on Terra. Guilliman is perhaps best remembered for being the author of the Codex Astartes, a key volume that laid out the proper tactics and military organisation for the majority of Loyalist Space Marine Chapters now in existence. Roboute Guilliman is also one of the few Loyalist Primarchs still alive. Following the Horus Heresy, Guilliman and his Ultramarines met the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion and the Daemon Primarch Fulgrim upon the field of battle where Guilliman was poisoned by a wound to his neck made by his traitorous fellow Primarch's Chaos-tainted blades. The Primarch was put into temporal stasis on the verge of death and his body was placed upon the throne that lies in the Temple of Correction on the Ultramarines' homeworld of Macragge. Many pilgrims of the Imperial Cult travel across the galaxy every year to visit the temple and see the body of a Primarch, a blessed son of the God-Emperor himself. Some pilgrims claim that the grievous wound is slowly healing, though such an action should be physically impossible within an activated stasis field. Yet some believe that the Imperium and Mankind are entering the End Times and that the Emperor is using his divine will to enact a miracle and resurrect his son to serve as Mankind's champion in its most desperate hour.
The Son of Macragge
Thanks to the widely distributed efforts of numerous Imperial Iterators, the story of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman, his early life and his finding is widely known and well accounted for, in stark contrast to certain others of the Primarchs. Much of these accounts have of course served the role of edification for the masses and the demands of propaganda, but between the accounts, variously embellished, a number of consistent facts and themes emerge. According to Imperial legend, the Emperor of Mankind created the Primarchs from artificially-engineered genes using his own genome as a template, carefully imbuing each of them with unique superhuman powers. Imperial doctrine goes on to tell how the Ruinous Powers of Chaos spirited away the Primarchs within their gestation capsules, scattering them widely across the galaxy through the Warp. More than one of the capsules was breached whilst it drifted through Warpspace - the forces of the Immaterium leaked in, wreaking havoc on the gestating being inside the capsule. Undoubtedly damage was done and Chaotic corruption affected several of the Primarchs, although the nature of that corruption would not become apparent until the Horus Heresy.
After drifting for decades, or in some cases even hundreds of years, the twenty gestation capsules came to rest on human-settled worlds throughout the Milky Way Galaxy - distant planets inhabited by a variety of human cultures, and whether by fickle fate or cruel design, each world would provide a crucible which would temper the child into the Primarch they would become, be that hero or monster, tyrant or liberator. The capsule containing the developing form of one Primarch fell upon the world of Macragge in the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy. Macragge was a bleak but no inhospitable world, part of a decayed star empire of ages past that Mankind had inhabited for many centuries since the time of the Dark Age of Technology. Its industries had survived intact, and its people had retained an authoritarian but cohesive society. It had remarkably preserved a number of antiquated short range Warp-capable craft which could be utilised for near-stellar transit -- conditions permitting -- and its people continued to build sub-light spacecraft even during the time of the most intense Warp Storms. This had allowed the people of Macragge to maintain contact with several neighbouring human-settled star systems, despite the storms' fury, and so retain a tenuous link to the rest of human space and the knowledge that it was not alone in the darkness.
So it was that when the Primarch's fallen capsule was discovered by a group of magnates who were on a hunt in a local forest, they knew it immediately for a device of advanced technology rather than a thing of superstition and magic. The magnates broke the capsule's seal and discovered a strikingly beautiful and perfectly formed child within it who was surrounded by a glowing nimbus of power. The child was brought before Konor Guilliman, one of a pair of nobles who bore the title "consul", whose authority governed the most civilised and powerful region of Macragge, and Konor adopted the infant as his own son in a manner not uncommon to his culture, naming him Roboute.
The young Primarch grew unnaturally quickly and as he did so, his unique physical and mental powers became obvious to all. It is recorded that by the time of his tenth birthday, Guilliman had mastered everything the wisest tutors of Macragge could teach him. His insight into matters of history, philosophy and science astonished his teachers, while his recall was absolute and his ability to extrapolate accurate conclusions from fragmentary information was said to border on the inexplicable. His greatest talent, however, lay in the art of war, which was itself treated as a high and lauded science in Macragge's culture. As soon as he had attended his legal majority, Roboute's foster-father Konor immediately granted him command over an expeditionary force sent to pacify the far northern lands of Macragge. Named Illyrium, it was a barbarous land of outcasts and petty, warring micro-states that had long harboured brigands and mercenaries who raided more civilised lands as often as they hired themselves as foot soldiers to fight their neighbours' wars. Roboute fought a brilliant campaign and won both the submission and the respect of the fierce Illyrium warrior bands, but when he returned to his home from the northern frontier, Roboute found the capital of Macragge Civitas in turmoil.
The Death of Konor
During Robout's absence, Konor Guilliman's co-consul, a man name Gallan, had unleashed a coup d'etat against Konor -- a development far from unknown historically, if in this instance a surprise. Gallan, it transpired, had long harboured designs on undiluted rulership and had conspired with those amongst the wealthy nobility of Macragge who were jealous of Konor's political power and popularity, and also increasingly afraid of his preternaturally precocious foster child's future. These malcontents represented Macragge's ancient regime, an aristocracy whose wealth was manifested by vast estates which were supported by the toiling of a multitude of impoverished vassals. Konor, backed by Macragge's industrial magnates -- rivals to the old regime -- had moved to challenge this balance of power, forcing the aristocracy of Macragge to provide their vassals with increased living standards and rights before the law, weakening the aristocracy's stranglehold on the polity. Konor had also passed legislation that obliged the nobility of Macragge to begin an ambitious programme of improving the long neglected infrastructure of their nation and enlarging the capital city at their own expense. These reforms made Konor Guilliman all but unassailable in the common people's eyes, but were highly unpopular among all but a few of the more far-sighted aristocrats.
As Roboute Guilliman and his triumphant army approached the city of Macragge Civitas, they saw the smoke form a multitude of fires and encountered citizens fleeing from the city in anarchy, and Roboute learned that Gallan's private army had attacked the senate house while Konor and his loyal bodyguard troops had been inside. The refugees each told the same story; that rebel soldiers had attacked the senate, whilst a drunken mob, instigated by Gallan but now out of anybody's control, roamed the city burning, looting and murdering. Roboute hurried to his foster father's rescue. Leaving his own troops to deal with the drunken rioters without quarter, Roboute personally fought his way towards the centre of the city, passing the bloody work of rebel firing squads everywhere in the government district, but at the senate house, found himself too late. All was a bullet-ridden and blasted ruin, and even the rebels it seemed had fled the scene to join the looting. There, in the half-collapsed shelters beneath the building, he found his father dying. For three days the wounded Counsul had directed the defence of the besieged senate house, even as surgeons fought for his life following a botched assassination attempt on the senate floor which had touched off the conspiracy's chaotic attack. It is apocryphally said that as he gasped out his last breath, Konor detailed the extent of Gallan's betrayal to his beloved foster son and named those whose hands were stained with his blood.
Roboute Guilliman's cold rage at his foster father's death was unstoppable. With the full backing of his army and the beleaguered citizens of Macragge Civitas, Roboute crushed the aristocratic rebels, scattering their hireling armies and lined the streets with the hanging bodies of the rioters, thereby quickly restoring order to the capital city and the surrounding lands. Thousands of citizens flocked to the senate house and amidst a wave of popular acclaim, Roboute assumed the mantle of the sole and now all-powerful Consul of Macragge. The new ruler broke the old, aristocratic order and stripped from them their lands and titles. Gallan and his fellow conspirators were seized, the ring leaders publicly executed and the rest sentenced to hard labour rebuilding the city they had ruined, stone by stone, by hand. It was not a sentence they would long survive. In the new order, loyal soldiers and hardworking settlers were granted rights where the oppressive aristocracy had once held sway. With super-human energy and the singularity of vision only a Primarch was capable of executing, the new Consul reorganised the social order of Macragge, creating a ruthlessly enforced meritocracy where the hardworking prospered and the honourable received positions of high office, and those who shirked the law or worked against the good of the whole faced draconian, but faultlessly even-handed punishment. The stagnated and uneven economy was re-ordered, technology disseminated rather than horded by the elite, and the armed forces were transformed into a powerful and well-equipped force. Macragge flourished as never before -- one people and one order, united under the people and one order, united under the unchallengeable rule of Roboute Guilliman.
Around the time that the young Roboute Guilliman waged war in Illyria, the Emperor's fleet had reached the planet of Espandor at the outer edge of the network of worlds with which Macragge had maintained tenebrous contact. From the Espandorians the Emperor learned of the existence of Macragge and the extraordinary son of the Consul Konor Guilliman, and from what he learned he knew that this child could be none other than a missing Primarch. There have been some who have suggested that the Emperor's arrival at Espandor and the isolated region so far from the frontline of the Great Crusade's main spur of progress was no accident, and that by some arts He had perceived or had foreknowledge of what He would find. Regardless, what followed was certainly not foreseen. As the Emperor's fleet quickly moved on to Macragge, it was almost immediately deflected by violent warp squalls which had risen up to separate Macragge and a handful of nearby systems from approach. Thwarted by a power even the Emperor could not readily ignore, it would be something in the region of five standard years before contact could be successfully attempted.
In the years that intervened, Macragge had undergone a striking transformation. It was now a world of uniformity and order, prosperous and productive. Its cities had been rebuilt in glittering marble and shining steel, and the serried ranks of its armies were well armed and well equipped, and outfitting themselves now for operations beyond their own world. For even before the Emperor's arrival, Roboute Guilliman, it is said, had dwelt much on the ancient histories contained from his world's deposed aristocracy, and the fragments he found there telling of the ancient domains of Mankind, and he had begun to dream of new horizons and new worlds to conquer, of a domain "beyond the seas of night" or to use the ancient scholarly form found in the text -- "Ultramar". By his will, he made it so and within their warp-sealed enclave, vessels from Macragge now plied regular and well-patrolled trade routes with local star systems, bringing raw materials and people to the flourishing world, while against some of its neighbours, short, victorious conflicts had already been waged to pacify the strife they had found there. It is said that when the Emperor saw what his lost son had wrought, He was indeed pleased, and that he met with Roboute Guilliman without the dissembling that had been needed with those Primarchs He had found of more savage timbre. It is further more recorded that once Guilliman learned the truth of his origins, he immediately swore his fealty to the Emperor, who he knew was his true father, for he had already theorised correctly the purpose for which he had not been born so much as deliberately created. It was immediately apparent to Imperial observers that Roboute Guilliman possessed a powerful analytical intelligence, even when compared to the superhuman cognitive abilities of his peers, as well as talent for statecraft and macro-organisation of staggering potential. Yet few could then guess what such talents harnessed to the Great Crusade would go on to achieve.
The Unification of Body and Soul
The XIII Legion of Space Mairnes was assigned to Guilliman in short order, for the Primarch needed little urging or aid in the assimilation of knowledge of the wider galaxy, the Great Crusade and the many technological wonders of the new-born Imperium of Man. It was a development greeted by the XIII Legion with great rejoicing and pride in the honour that Roboute Guilliamn paid them in accepting their fealty. The oratory and vision with which their new-found Primarch expounded to them his designs for the future and the righteousness of the Great Crusade filled the Legiones Astartes with a renewed vigiour and dispelled any shadows of doubt in their minds, and made Guilliman's takeover, according to official records, all but seamless.
Roboute Guilliman did far more than merely take command of the XIII Legion, he set about transforming it. His vision was for a Legion that was more than simply one army among many, however exceptional, but a self-sustaining power for conquest, order and expansion; the strength of the body and blood of the Imperium made manifest by the will of the Emperor through His servant Roboute Guilliman. To him, a military force was more than the warriors who wielded arms -- it was their chain of supply, the ships which carried them between, the manufactora which supplied their munitions and the worlds which bred their recruits; they were indivisible and equally vital. To Guilliman's mind, all of these things made a Space Marine Legion, and he meant to control them all so that his own would prosper and the Emperor's will be done.
In accordance with his grand design, he planned to not merely take the world of his fosterage as his headquarters and recruiting ground as his peers had done and would continue to do, but from the start set it up as merely the fulcrum of a far larger network of provender and support. The basis of this network would be the worlds Macragge had long maintained links with, but they would merely be its first components, not its fullest extent. This would be the start of Robout Guilliman's "Ultramar" and it would be a project of decades, and continue to expand right up to the first treacherous blow of the Horus Heresy.
The Eagle of the East
As swiftly as he put his plans for Ultramar into action, he embarked on the root and branch reorganisation of his Legion. Adopting an extraordinarily detailed plan which drew from both the military doctrines and political philosophies of his surrogate home world, a detailed study of the history of the XIII and each and every other Legion and armed force under the Emperor's banner in their then current form, he remade the organisational structure and tactical doctrines of his Legion accordingly.
The result was an elegantly structured but elaborate and highly meritocratic force. It unsurprisingly built on much that had already been evident in the character of the XIII Legion, as their Primarch's gene-seed had already partly shaped them, however unconsciously, and through the application of analysis and reason sought to purge any weaknesses or deficiencies to achieve the optimal military outcome. This, as with so much of the Legion's affairs, was considered by the Primarch an ongoing project, and it evolved quickly into a dual doctrine which embraced in parallel on one hand what were the ancient and deterministic values of the warrior: courage, discipline, skill and adaptability, defined as that which was "practical", and on the other: planning, precedent, analysis and assessment, defined as that which was "theoretical". Both were of equal weight and value, one complementing and informing the other, blending together as the metals which made a fine blade. This became the Legion's doctrine and creed. As with the society Roboute Guilliman had built on Macragge, the XIII Legion under his mastery would be as ruthlessly even-handed as it was efficient, with the needs of the individual sublimated to the greater whole, but the life of the individual never spent wantonly or without purpose; for the doctrine stated that each Legionary lost weakened those who remained. Within the Legion, the valour and the achievement of the individual were rewarded with honour and responsibility, but the obedience to hierarchy and order it demanded of its members was to be unquestioning and unchallenged. The outward signs of this transformation were striking, the livery of the XIII was altered to a deep blue, chased with gold, while the symbol of the ancient "Ultima" glyph found in the pre-isolation stellar charts of the region was adopted as its icon and seal to tie them to the newfound realm which they embodied, and with it the cognomen "Ultramarines", perhaps as one monography attributed to Remembrancer L. Amphidal suggested, "Roboute Guilliman and his Legion would vow to take the Great Crusade beyond the stars themselves if needed to see it completion."
With its forward base relocated to Macragge, Guilliman was granted independent Crusade command for the region, and quickly set about a series of fresh conquests. His 12th Expeditionary Fleet reformed under his command and supplied with warships of the latest designs from Mars as a boon of the Emperor. Fresh conquests were immediate, as the newly named Ultramarines rapidly expanded their range out from Macragge, identifying suitable targets for Compliance and singling out xenos holds for eradication. Interrupted only when called upon to join larger campaigns by the will of the Emperor, for nearly a century the 12th Expeditionary Fleet ranged as far to the galactic north as the dead expanse where the Dominion of Storms ended and as far to the galactic east and south as the point of Ultima Thule, where the stars paled and emptied out into the limitless darkness of the exo-galactic void.
During this period, the Ultramarines, by some records, succeeded in liberating more worlds than any other single Primarch's forces, and the planets Roboute Guilliman brought within the Imperium always benefitted from his intense passion for efficient and ordered government. Whenever Guilliman and the Ultramarines made a world Compliant, his forces spent as much effort in establishing it afresh, setting up self-supporting defences, and ensuring that in his wake, the agents of the Imperial Truth and industry would firmly seal the world's place in the fabric of the Imperium. This spread of cohesive civilisation in the Legion's path served both to solidify and expand supply lines for its advance, facilitating in no small part the great speed and range of the Ultramarines' conquests.
Within months of the Legion's establishment on Macragge, the first influx of new recruits had arrived at the Fortress of Hera, the Legion's fortress-monastery and new headquarters, and the process of renewal and increase in the XIII Legion's fighting strength had begun and never since had ceased. Wave after wave of recruits were taken in and processed, not simply from Macragge and the surrounding worlds of the slowly expanding Ultramar, as numerous as they were, but from scores of worlds and colony outposts where the conquering fleets of Roboute Guilliman had gone. By the time Horus was appointed Warmaster, the Ultramarines were by any official assessment the largest single Space Marine Legion by number of Legionaries with a considerable margin. Owing to this expansion, the now massive 12th Expeditionary Fleet was sub-divided into a score of smaller Expeditionary and Persecution fleets, allowing the Legion to range further, each still numbering scores of vessels and thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of Legionaries. The numeric strength of the Ultramarines Legion, in excess of 250,000 Astartes, would be an achievement that would not be surpassed, though in secrecy the late expansion of the Word Bearers, who originally numbered approximately 100,000 Astartes, would come to rival them by some assessments, while the wilder claims as to the strength of the Alpha Legion also have them run closer than official records would indicate.
This scale of military force and the near autonomous "empire within an empire" that maintained it, Ultramar having reached a dominion popularly ascribed as the Five Hundred Worlds before the outbreak of war, would have dire and unforeseen consequences for the Ultramarines and their Primarch. Separate and inviolate in the east, and a great power within their own right, the Legion's very existence made them a threat to the Traitor's conspiracy that could not be ignored, and on Calth would the Warmaster's plan and the Word Bearer's desire for revenge see that threat destroyed.
Triumph of Ullanor
In the latter years of the 30th Millennium, force of the Imperium undertook the Ullanor Crusade, a vast Imperial assault on the Ork empire of the Overlord Urrlak Urruk. The capital world of this Greenskin stellar empire, and the site of the final assault by the Space Marine Legions, lay in the central Ullanor System of the galaxy's Ullanor Sector. The Crusade included the deployment of 100,000 Space Marines, 8,000,000 Imperial Army troops, and thousands of Imperial starships and their support personnel. The Ullanor Crusade marked the high point of the Great Crusade's vast effort to reunite the scattered colony worlds of humanity. The Orks of Ullanor represented the largest concentration of Greenskins ever defeated by the military forces of the Imperium of Man before the Third War for Armageddon began during the late 41st Millennium. Following the defeat of the Orks of Ullanor, the Emperor of Mankind was to return to Terra to begin work on his vast project to open up the Eldar Webway for Mankind's use. In his place to command the vast forces of the Great Crusade he left Horus. In the aftermath of the Ullanor Crusade, Horus was granted the newly-created title of "Warmaster", the commander-in-chief of all the Emperor’s armies who possessed command authority over all of the other Primarchs and every Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade. When the Emperor proclaimed Horus, Warmaster of the Imperium, Guilliman accepted the news without resentment, and Horus continued to seek his counsel. However, Horus believed that Guilliman felt that he had deserved the honour of being named Warmaster just as much, if not more. Before returning to Terra to oversee the next phase of the creation of his stellar empire, the Emperor suggested to Horus that he rename the XVI Legion the "Sons of Horus", in honour of their Primarch and to show his preeminent place amongst the other Primarchs. Horus initially declined this honour, not wishing to be set above his brothers, and so his Legion continued as the Luna Wolves for a little while longer. But Horus and the other Primarchs never came to terms with the Emperor's absence. Their hurt feelings over his seeming abandonment of the Great Crusade to pursue a secret project whose purpose he chose not to reveal to his sons laid the seeds of jealousy and resentment that would ultimately blossom into the corruption that begat the Horus Heresy.
Battle of Calth
- "Space Marines excel at warfare because they were designed to excel at everything. Each of you will become a leader, a ruler, the master of your world and when there is no more fighting to be done, you will bend your talents to order, governance and culture so that the Imperium will stand eternal."
When the Warmaster Horus turned his back on the Imperium, swore his allegiance to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, and began the Horus Heresy, his first act before making his break with the Emperor of Mankind open was to lure away as many Loyalist Legions from Terra as possible. Horus ordered Guilliman to lead an expeditionary force to the world of Calth in the Veridian System in the Realm of Ultramar to prepare for a campaign in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy, where, Horus claimed, an Ork WAAAGH! was massing. Horus expected the Ultramarines to await the arrival of the Word Bearers who would join with the XIII Legion in prosecuting a campaign against the Ork menace. Unknown to Guilliman, the XVII Legion had long before turned Traitor in service to the Chaos Gods, and its Primarch, Lorgar, gleefully accepted Horus' orders to close the trap on his Legion's long-hated rivals. The Word Bearers' sudden attack decimated Guilliman's Legion fleet, and the Ultramarines' ground troops quickly found themselves impossibly outnumbered by their former allies as the infamous Battle of Calth erupted. The Word Bearers slew their Loyalist foes in droves in the early stages of their surprise attack and pushed them back over huge stretches of territory. The Traitors rejoiced at the terrible blows they were inflicting upon the Legion that had once aided the Emperor in humiliating them upon the world of Khur decades before the start of the Heresy when they had been taken to task for repeated violations of the atheistic philosophy known as the Imperial Truth. Unknown to them, Guilliman's flagship, which had survived the initial Word Bearers' attack on the Ultramarines fleet, effected emergency repairs and regrouped with the other surviving Ultramarine starships in space. Having taken stock of his remaining forces, Guilliman sent an immediate astropathic distress call to Macragge.
The Loyalist Marines on Calth, Ultramarines all, had been forced into a fighting retreat, but soon occupied fortified positions. Many Ultramarines had been born on Calth, and proved more resolute than the Word Bearers anticipated. In space, Guilliman's vessels began hit-and-run attacks on their over-confident enemy. Guilliman assessed his ground troops' positions and broadcast clear, concise orders to each pocket of defence, coordinating them into a cohesive force. One Ultramarine force led by Captain Ventanus led a breakout and retook Calth's Defence Laser silos, aiding the sorely-pressed Ultramarines fleet from the surface of Calth. Guilliman's depleted forces slowed the Word Bearers down long enough for the remainder of the Ultramarines Legion to arrive and rout the Traitor Marines from the system, though at a heavy cost. The Word Bearers turned Calth's own orbital defence platforms on the Veridian star, stripping away the outer layers of its photosphere and destabilising it, ultimately rendering the surface of Calth uninhabitable. At the same time, the Word Bearers had used the battle taking place on Calth to summon a massive Warp Storm called the Ruinstorm, that was intended to cut off Ultramar from the rest of the galaxy and prevent the Ultramarines from providing any reinforcements to Terra as Horus made his assault upon humanity's homeworld. The eruption of the Ruinstorm cut off Calth from the main body of the Ultramarines Legion and left the Astartes of the XIII Legion trapped on Calth locked in a brutal subterranean war with those Word Bearers units that had also been left behind when their Legion retreated from the Viridian System. Yet Roboute Guilliman and a large portion of his Legion had remained off-world as a result of the Word Bearers' devious assault upon the Ultramarines fleet. Bloodied but unbowed, the Ultramarines received the orders of Malcador the Sigillite, the Emperor's Regent, while he was indisposed pursuing the secret Imperial Webway Project, and prepared to meet the needs of the Imperium's defence against the Traitor Legions as best they could.
In his wrath, the Lord of Ultramar had gathered what vessels he could spare after Kor Phaeron's ambush, drawn additional numbers from the first Ultramarines relief fleet bound for Calth after the massacre above that world, and tracked Lorgar directly through the use of the XIII Legion’s own astropathic choirs. In the wake of the Battle of Calth, the Word Bearers Legion, led by Lorgar, linked up with Angron and his World Eaters Legion to launch a Shadow Crusade against the Realm of Ultramar's Five Hundred Worlds in an attempt to spread the massive Warp Storm known as the Ruinstorm that had been conjured by the Word Bearers' First Chaplain Erebus at Calth across the Eastern Fringe. This prodigious Warp Storm would effectively split the galaxy in half and deny needed reinforcements to the Loyalists as Horus drove on Terra in an attempt to overthrow the Emperor of Mankind.
The Shadow Crusade laid waste to 26 worlds until Guilliman's retribution fleet finally caught up to the Traitors upon Angron's homeworld of Nuceria, which the World Eaters Legion were preoccupied with wiping clean of all life in vengeance for the treatment the Nucerians had merited out a century before to Angron. The XIII Legion warship Courage Above All, Guilliman's temporary flagship, broke Warp at the system’s edge, at the head of a large void armada consisting of 41 vessels. The Ultramarines armada looked wounded, cobbled together from separate fleets. It was not a dedicated interdiction war-fleet, but clearly a ragtag strike force, a lance thrust to the enemy’s heart. Guilliman himself had done the best he could with limited resources. The XIII Legion's Cruisers and Battleships ran abeam of the enemy fleet for repeated exchange of broadsides, offering targets too big and powerful to ignore, while the rest of the Ultramarines fleet used calculated Lance strikes from safer range. The armada then divided its assault potential, doing its utmost to destroy Lorgar's flagship Fidelitas Lex, and attempted to take the World Eaters' flagship Conqueror in a boarding action.
But the Ultramarines' warships not only fought a void war, they also attempted to take the fight to the surface of Nuceria, for this attack was personal. The Ultramarines had come for revenge against Lorgar and the Word Bearers, just as they had pursued Kor Phaeron all the way to the Maelstrom on the other side of Ultramar. Several Ultramarines warships attempted to make a run on Nuceria, haemorrhaging Drop Pods, landers and gunships, forcing planetfall by any means necessary. The Ultramarines fleet swept over and against the Traitors like an insect horde. But the tenacious commander of the Conqueror, Lotara Sarrin, put up a difficult fight and destroyed a number of Ultramarines vessels that attempted to make a run for the surface. Though the World Eaters' flagship transformed a number of the smaller vessels into flaming wreckage, the Ultramarines eventually punched through her tenacious defence and managed to land troops on the surface of Nuceria.
Meanwhile, the Fidelitas Lex was already a ruin, its armour pitted and cracked, its shields a memory. The cathedrals and spinal fortresses barnacling along its back were gone, laid waste by the Ultramarines’ incendiary rage. The XIII Legion's armada attacked in strafing runs and protracted exchanges of broadsides, trading fire with the superior warship and accepting their own casualties as the cost of bleeding the bigger vessel dry. Each assault left the Lex weaker, firing fewer turrets and cannons, taking punishment on its increasingly fragile armour. But she fought on. Crawling with smaller ships, the Lex lashed back with its remaining Macro-cannons, rolling in the light of its own burning hull. Guilliman guided the battle from the command deck of Courage Above All, and had decided that the Lex would die first, killed in the death of a thousand cuts and swept from the game board, while the Conqueror would be boarded and killed from within. In the course of the battle in Nucerian orbit, the Conqueror could not rise to its sister-ship's defence. Both Traitor Legion flagships fought alone, starved of support and suffering the endless attacks of the XIII Legion’s ragged armada. Salvation Pods streamed from the Lex’s sides and underbelly, along with heavier Mechanicum craft and bulk landers. With the Legionaries of the Word Bearers already on the surface, the ship’s human population fled in the vessel’s final minutes. And still the great vessel fought -- rolling, turning, raging. The Ultramarines Cruisers that drifted past burned as badly as the warship they were killing. This void battle was a form of dirty fighting between warships, too close for the neat calculations of ranged battery fire. Instead, it was an up close and personal slugfest.
The Ultramarines Battle Barge Armsman intercepted the Conqueror and came abeam, launching Assault Carriers and Boarding Torpedoes. While the World Eaters flagship was busy repelling boarders, a number of smaller XIII Legion vessels slipped past her defences and launched Drop Pods, gunships and troop carriers. The first Drop Pods hammered home on the planet's surface. Sealed doors unlocked and the first Ultramarines poured forth, Bolters raised, moving in perfect and well-trained unity. But the World Eaters were waiting for them. Those not lost to the Butcher's Nails at once had the presence of mind to note that these Ultramarines were not the pristine cobalt-blue warriors they had previously faced on the War World of Armatura. These Legionaries of the XIII wore cracked Power Armour, still scarred and burnwashed from some horrendous battle weeks or months before. These were hardened veterans of the Calth Atrocity. They burned with a cold intensity to carry out the vengeance in their hearts, and were intent on getting to grips with the Word Bearers.
As was their way, the Ultramarines established footholds at defensible positions, clearing room for their reinforcements to land. For every position they held, another was overrun by the World Eaters in a storm of roaring axes, or lost to the Word Bearers' chanting, implacable advance. The XII Legion crashed against the XIII in rabid packs, showing why Imperial forces had feared to fight alongside them for decades. Uncontrolled, unbound, unrestrained, they butchered their way through Ultramarines strongpoints, enslaved to the joy of battle because of the Butcher's Nails cortical implants sandwiched within the meat of their minds. The XVII Legion also met their Loyalist cousins, replacing ferocity with spite and hate. The Ultramarines returned it in kind, hungry for vengeance against the vile Traitors who had defiled Calth and damaged its star. Word Bearers units marched, droning black hymns and chanting sermons from the Book of Lorgar, bearing corpse-strewn icons of befouled metal and bleached bones above their regiments.
As the fighting raged, the burning shell of the Fidelitas Lex cut through the clouds into the planet's atmosphere, shuddering on its way east, rolling ever downwards, achingly slow for something of such scale. The weight of the Lex's massive plasma engines dragged the stern down first, colliding with the Nucerian ocean's surface far from shore. In the meantime, the demigod in gold and blue had finally found the object of his obsession amidst the clamour of war. Guilliman confronted Lorgar, possessing the advantage of two weapons, but Lorgar's Crozius gave him a reach his brother lacked. When they first met, there was no furious trading of frantic blows, nor were there any melodramatic speeches of vengeance avowed. The two Primarchs came together once, Power Fist against War Maul, and backed away from the resulting flare of repelling energy fields. Their warriors killed each other around them both, and neither Primarch spared their sons a glance. Lorgar flicked the clinging lightning from the head of his Crozius, shaking his head in slow denial.
Both Primarchs fought without heeding their warriors, their godlike movements an inconceivable blur to the Space Marines fighting around them. None had ever imagined the heroes of this new age would take the field against each other, nor could they have predicted the wellsprings of spite between them. Guilliman confronted Lorgar for what his Legion had done across the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar. In his righteous anger the Ultramarines Primarch struck Lorgar with one of his fists, battering the Word Bearers Primarch's sternum. Lorgar repulsed him with a projected burst of telekinesis, weak and wavering, but enough to send his brother staggering. The Crozius followed, its power field trailing lightning as Lorgar hammered it into the side of Guilliman’s head with the force of a cannonball. Both Primarchs faced each other beneath the grey sky, one bleeding internally, the other with half of his face lost to blood sheeting from a fractured skull.
As the two Primarchs were locked in their furious life-and-death struggle, they were oblivious to the destruction being wrought around them. Suddenly, Angron burst forth from the Ultramarines ranks, his armour a shattered wreck, and both of his Chainswords spat gobbets of ceramite armour plating and scarlet gore. Angron was plastered with the blood of the slain after hours in the crush of the front lines of intense combat. On his chest hung a bandolier of skulls taken from the mass grave at Desh'elika Ridge. Blood painted them as surely as it marked Angron. Even through the constant pain generated by the Butcher's Nails, that pleased him. He wanted his deceased brothers and sisters to taste blood once more. He had carried them with him across Nuceria, letting their empty eyes witness the razing of his former, hated homeworld. The World Eater launched himself at Guilliman with murderous hatred. The two Primarchs fell into a seamless, roaring duel where Lorgar and Guilliman had abandoned theirs. Guilliman was forced back by the storm of Angron's blows.
As the two Primarchs fought, Guilliman landed a glancing blow, his fist pounding across Angron's breastplate. One of the skulls of Angron's fallen kinsman that hung from the chain worn across his breastplate was partially shattered and scattered across the ground. Guilliman stepped back, his boot crushing a skull's remnants to powder. Angron saw it, and threw himself at his brother, his howl of wrath defying mortal origins, impossibly ripe in its anguish. Lorgar saw it, too. The moment Guilliman's boot broke the skull, he felt the Warp boil behind the veil. The Bearer of the Word started chanting in a language never before spoken by any living being, his words in faultless harmony with Angron's cry of torment. Lorgar enacted his dark plan to save his brother's life, summoning the Ruinstorm to the world of Nuceria, tearing the sky open and unleashing a crimson torrent, formed from the ghosts of a hundred murdered worlds, raining blood. Guilliman had been holding his own against both Traitor Primarchs, until Lorgar ceased his attack and started his achingly resonant chant. Angron and Roboute still fought, with the Lord of the Ultramarines giving ground each time Angron landed a blow. Angron plunged his Chainsword up under Guilliman’s breastplate -- a shallow stab, but a telling one. The Ultramarines Primarch crushed the impaling sword in one fist and staggered back, truly bleeding now.
Despite the maelstrom of combat and sorcery raging around them, Angron still fought Guilliman, standing above the kneeling Ultramarine Primarch. He had not even noticed the storm of blood streaming from the sky in a red torrent. Sparks sprayed from Roboute’s raised gauntlets as he struggled to ward off blow after blow. He was beaten and down. His wounds bled profusely, a palette of proud defeat. His warriors fought desperately to retrieve him. Fortunately they were granted a brief reprieve, as Lorgar's incantation locked up Angron's muscles, and began to transform the Red Angel into a new form as a Daemon Prince of Khorne. Guilliman took the opportunity to escape into his sons' defiant phalanxes, retreating in enviable unity. Lorgar saw the expression of disgusted awe on his brother's face as the wounded Ultramarine stared at Angron's metamorphosis atop the mound of dead sons from all three bloodlines of Space Marines. The XIII Legion continued to fire even in retreat, leaving the world of Nuceria battered and bloody. Their campaign against the two Traitor Legions was over..for now.
Roboute Guilliman escaped from Nuceria, unable to face or even fully comprehend what both of his brothers had become through their corruption by the Ruinous Powers. The World Eaters completed their purge of Nuceria until not one human life remained on the benighted world. Angron, now the very embodiment of the Blood God's Eight-Fold Path, shook the dust of the world from his feet and did not think of it again.
Battle of Terra
As the long and bloody years of the Horus Heresy passed, the Traitor Legions under the command of the Warmaster Horus finally closed on the homeworld of Mankind and launched their great assault against the Imperial Palace while they believed a good portion of the Loyalist Space Marine Legions remained occupied in other regions of the galaxy. While the Forces of Chaos came close to battering down the gates of the Palace, the Loyalists' stout defence managed to hold the line long enough for Loyalist reinforcements to drop from the Warp on the edges of the Sol System. Salvation was coming. In orbit of Terra, Horus' allies delivered the fateful news to the Warmaster while he sat directing the battle for the Imperial Palace. The Ultramarines, Dark Angels and Space Wolves Legions were only hours away from reinforcing the Emperor and his Loyalist defenders. Horus knew that his gamble had failed. What happened next is disputed, some believe Horus disabled his shields as he experienced one last moment of regret, and some believe it was a personal challenge to the Emperor. Nevertheless, Horus lowered the shields of his flagship Battle Barge Vengeful Spirit, allowing the Emperor, the Blood Angels' Primarch Sanguinius and a company of Imperial Fists to teleport aboard and slay him, ending the Horus Heresy. The Emperor was mortally wounded in the exchange and interred in the Golden Throne immediately afterwards by the Primarch Rogal Dorn, leaving a dangerous void of power and authority in the Imperium.
The Ultramarines did not arrive until after Horus' defeat, and they found Terra and the Imperium in ruins. Guilliman steadfastly refused to allow the Imperium to fall, and began dispatching elements of his Legion to all corners of the galaxy to stem the tide of invasion and unrest as the other Loyalist forces recovered and rearmed. After a decade of intense fighting, stability was restored. To prevent a single commander having as many superhuman Astartes at his command as Horus had, Guilliman reformulated the sizes of all of the Loyalist Space Marine Legions into thousand-man Chapters, breaking apart the 9 original Loyalist First Founding Legions into the much smaller Second Founding Chapters. Never again would one man, no matter how noble and unblemished his motives, wield the power of an entire Space Marine Legion. The rationale and proper organisation of Space Marine Chapters are the main topic in Guilliman's masterwork of strategy, the Codex Astartes.
Whilst the Horus Heresy plunged the Imperium into savagery and civil war, the Ultramarines were engaged on the southern edge of the galaxy. Their very success had carried them far from Terra and isolated them from the conquering Traitor Legions of the Warmaster Horus which had been concentrated in the galactic northeast. News of Horus' treachery did not reach the Ultramarines until the attack on Earth was underway. Thanks to the speed of Horus' attack there was little that Roboute Guilliman could do in support of his Emperor during the crucial Battle of Terra. None of the worlds already liberated by the Ultramarines were in serious danger from the Forces of Chaos. Consequently, the Ultramarines were poorly placed to contribute during the early stages of the Horus Heresy.
Post-Heresy Imperial Reformation
The Loyalist Space Marine Legions had lost tens of thousands of troops during the fighting of the Heresy, and half of the original 18 Legions had sided with Horus and been corrupted by Chaos. As a result, the number of Astartes left to the Imperium after the end of the Heresy was very few, yet never were they more needed.
The confusion and disorder following the Horus Heresy had left the Imperium weak and vulnerable. Everywhere the enemies of mankind prepared to attack. Many worlds remained in the grip of Chaos. Into this breach stepped Roboute Guilliman and the Ultramarines. Always the largest of the Astartes Legions, the Ultramarines found themselves divided and dispatched all over the Imperium in a desperate effort to stem the tide of invasion and unrest. The Ultramarines successfully held the Imperium together during a time of intense danger. Macragge was able to supply new recruits at such a rate that before long the Ultramarines alone accounted for more than half the total number of Space Marines, and few were the star systems where their heroism went unnoticed. Within a decade, order was restored to the Imperium. Even as the Ultramarines reconquered, a new theory of warfare was emerging. Under the guidance of the Ultramarines' Primarch, the Codex Astartes was taking shape. Its doctrines would reshape the future of all Space Marines and forevermore dictate the foundation for the Imperium's military strength and the ultimate survival of Mankind.
The Second Founding of the Space Marines was decreed seven years after the death of Horus and the end of his Heresy. Most of the old Loyalist Legions divided into fewer than 5 Successor Chapters, but the Ultramarines were divided many times. The exact number of Successor Chapters created from the Ultramarines is uncertain: the number listed in the oldest copy of the Codex Astartes gives the total as 23, but does not name them. With the Second Founding, the size of the Ultramarines force was much reduced. Most of the Space Marines left Macragge to establish new Chapters elsewhere. The Ultramarines' fortress-monastery was built to accommodate more than ten times as many Space Marines as now remained on their homeworld. As a result its arsenals and weapon shops were partially dismantled and taken by the new Chapters to found their own bases. The genetic banks of the Ultramarines, and the huge recruitment organisation, were similarly reduced. As a result of the Second Founding, the Ultramarines' gene-seed became pre-eminent across the Imperium. The new Chapters created from the Ultramarines during the Second Founding are often referred to as the Primogenitors, or "first-born". The lasting heritage of Guilliman was not only genetic, but spiritual. Even to this day, 10,000 standard years later, all the Primogenitor Chapters venerate Roboute Guilliman as their own founding father and patron, and hold the ruler of Ultramar, whoever he be, as the exemplar of all that it means to be a Space Marine. So did the Ultramarines rise to become preeminent amongst their brother Chapters.
Death of the Avenging Son
Roboute Guilliman continued to serve with the Ultramarines Chapter, leading them for a hundred years after the Second Founding. It was said that during those years, Guilliman led several incursions alongside his brother Primarchs against the remaining Chaos Space Marines. During one incursion, Guilliman faced his former brother Primarch Alpharius of the Alpha Legion, and slew him in single combat (though the precise details of this event remain in doubt, even to the Ultramarines). The Ultramarines, however, were forced to withdraw from the combat, as to their shock the Alpha Legion's Traitor Marines fought on despite the apparent loss of their Primarch. Guilliman would meet eventually his ultimate fate during the Battle of Thessala in 121.M31, when he was laid low by the Traitor Daemon Primarch, Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children, who had become a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh. During this encounter with his former brother, Fulgrim managed to fatally injure Guilliman in the neck with his poisonous blade (which was remarkably similar to the Anathame sword that was used by Dark Apostle Erebus to fatally wound Horus on Davin's moon).
Fatally poisoned by his one-time brother, Roboute was transported back to Macragge in a stasis field, and has remained entombed in the field for 10,000 years, frozen in time. Although physically impossible within the null-time of a stasis field, it is believed by many pilgrims to his shrine that his wounds are healing, and that one day he will awaken again when the Imperium needs him most. The Shrine of Guilliman built to contain his body is one of the most holy places in the entire Imperium, and one which welcomes millions of pilgrims every year. It lies within the Temple of Correction, a vaulted sepulchre forming a small part of the Ultramarines' vast northern polar fortress on Macragge. The temple is a miracle of construction and typical of the attention to detail to which the Ultramarines apply themselves. Its proportions defy the human mind by the scope and grandeur of its design. The multi-coloured glass dome that forms the roof is the largest of its kind. Even the Techno-magi of the Adeptus Mechanicus come to marvel at the structure said to have been designed by Roboute Guilliman himself. According to the Ultramarines there is enough marble within the temple to build a mountain, and sufficient adamantium and shining plasteel to construct a sizable Imperial warfleet.
Within this edifice is the great marble throne of Roboute Guilliman, and upon that throne sits a regal corpse. Though the best part of 10,000 years have passed since his death, the Primarch's body is perfectly preserved. Even his death wounds from Fulgrim's blade are visible upon his throat. His mortal remains are preserved from the ravages of time by means of a stasis field that isolates the Primarch from the time-stream of normal four-dimensional space-time. Everything encompassed by the field is trapped in time and can neither change nor decay. There are some, however, who claim the Primarch's wounds do change. They say that Guilliman's body is slowly recovering and that his wounds show mysterious signs of healing. Others deny the phenomena, and point out the sheer scientific impossibility of change within the stasis field. Yet enough believe the stories to come and witness for themselves the miracle of the Primarch, generation after generation.
An Age of Legends
For 10,000 years the Emperor of Mankind has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Terra, His withered body little more than a husk of the great man that he once was. His grand vision, the Imperium of Man, endures -- yet it does not prosper, for it lingers under a pall of misery and persecution, suspicion and mistrust. It is assailed on all sides and from within by heretics, witches and aliens, and only by the continual sacrifices of countless citizens does the Imperium continue to exist. Yet now, at the close of the 41st Millennium, the people of the Imperium face their greatest trial. Orks wreak havoc across the galaxy, the Tau Empire expands in the east, the Tyranids send vast alien swarms from beyond the stars to consume all in their path, and the Necrons awaken to reclaim what was once theirs. And above all, more deadly than any other foe, the Forces of Chaos choose this moment to begin their most concerted invasion of the Imperium. Under the eye of Abaddon the Despoiler and his 13th Black Crusade countless worlds have already fallen. Madness and heresy are rife and violent Warp storms tear great rents in the galaxy. Blind in their ignorance, the High Lords of Terra send billions to their deaths in a bid to save the Imperium. Yet it takes the Eldar, a more far-sighted race, to realise that what the Imperium needs now is a hero, a symbol of the Emperor's will made manifest. The Imperium needs a Primarch.
The full might of the 13th Black Crusade assailed the Fortress World of Cadia, which stood as the lone sentinel of the Cadian Gate, the only predictably stable way out of the maelstrom known as the Eye of Terror. Though severely outnumbered and assailed on all sides, the Imperial defenders held their ground, mounting a valiant defence under the superlative leadership of Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed. As the conflict became increasingly desperate, heroes of the Imperium gathered on Cadia. Space Marines from multiple Chapters lent their strength to the defence, including the Black Templars of Marshal Marius Amalrich, and the Imperial Fists of Captain Tor Garadon, who brought the star fort Phalanx into the war. Saint Celestine swept down upon Cadia in its darkest hour, her miracles instilling faith in its ragged protectors. Inquisitor Katarinya Greyfax, long a prisoner of Trazyn the Infinite, was released from captivity to lend her prodigious will and talents to the cause. Yet the key to victory upon Cadia was discovered by the ancient Martian priest, Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Urged on by the Harlequin Sylandri Veilwalker, he had unlocked the secrets of the black pylons that studded the surface of Cadia and other worlds throughout the Cadian system. Abaddon had long sought out these ancient and mysterious structures to destroy them during his many Black Crusades, which weakened the veil between reality and the Immaterium. In truth, Cawl had been enroute to honour an ancient pact made with the Lord of Ultramar many millennia ago, but on Cadia he saw a chance to reverse the Despoiler's work and perhaps close the Eye of Terror forever. But it was not to be.
Though the servants of the Emperor fought with dogged determination and courageousness, Cawl's works were undone when the pylons were destroyed and Cadia was dealt a final death blow. Those few Imperial defenders that were left alive were forced to flee before the flood of the Forces of Chaos that assailed the doomed world. As they did so a terrible Warp rift yawned in their wake. Yet there was still one chance of salvation that remained - Cawl's ancient pact and the mysterious artefact that he transported within an armoured auto-reliquary. Declaring themselves the Celestinian Crusade in honour of the Living Saint who still lit their way through the darkness, the surviving warriors of the Imperium made for the Macragge System, with the forces of the Despoiler hot on their heels.
At the same time, the Eldar race had been rocked to their very foundation by a cosmic upheaval of great significance. Ynnead, the God of the Dead, had awoken in the æther and chosen a former Eldar of Biel-Tan to be his prophet. Yvraine had walked many paths during her long life, from that of dancer to Warlock to warrior. She eventually had become a famed Corsair leader until a mutiny forced her to flee into the Webway, where she ended up in Commorragh, the primary home of the Dark Eldar. Fighting as a gladiatrix in the dark city's arena, she defeated many foes before having fallen to a Priestess of Morai-Heg, however, while she lay between life and death, she was resurrected by Ynnead and chosen to act his emissary in the material realm. Her rebirth caused a great Dysjunction within Commorragh, and the Dark City was beset by the daemonic servants of Slaanesh. Fleeing the Dark Eldar forces of Asdrubael Vect, Yvraine, aided by the mysterious warrior known as the Visarch, and followed by some of the Dark Eldar who believed in her cause, successfully brought word of the Whispering God's awakening to Craftworld Biel-Tan. While there, the craftworld underwent a great shattering, as Biel-Tan suffered a swift and terrible cycle of death and rebirth that brought forth the Yncarne, the avatar of Ynnead, into being. Some amongst the Eldar embraced Yvraine's belief that the cycle of death and rebirth would be their salvation, and became her followers, known as the Ynnari. Others rejected this upstart's teachings as arrogance and dangerous in the extreme. But Yvraine pressed on, and departed Biel-Tan in search of time-lost artefacts known as the Crone Worlds and formulated a desperate plan to turn back the tides of Cadia.
It was this mission that brought Yvraine through the Webway to the frozen moon of Klaisus, leading her army of Aeldari. They emerged from the moon's webway gate just in time to rescue the Celestinian Crusade from their pursuers. Driving off the Heretic Astartes of the Black Legion, the Ynnari negotiated common cause with the Celestinians, agreeing to aid them in reaching the Realm of Ultramar. Thus, as Warp storms billowed and spread across the galaxy, the assembled pilgrims hastened through the webway, bearing a thin sliver of hope between them.
A Realm at War
High in the mountains of Laphis, a Shrine World in the Macragge System, Black Legionnaires prowl the aftermath of a bloody battle against some Ultramar Defense Auxilia. War has come to Realm of Ultramar. Not all is quiet though as the Chaos Marines soon detect a build-up of ætheric energy, but before they can make sense of it, a massive blast of energy hurls them about. A Webway Gate reveals itself and Ynnari and Celestinian forces burst forth, quickly cutting down the surprised Black Legion Traitor Marine. Despite their alliance, the Eldar and Imperial forces remain uneasy of each other, especially Marshal Amalrich and Inquisitor Greyfax most of all. Saint Celestine smooths things over as debate over their next move gets as tension builds between the Imperial forces and their xenos allies, as it becomes apparent they will need the assistance of the Ultramarines to get to Macragge itself.
Soon, vox intercepts indicate a massive Chaos invasion of the Realm of Ultramar has begun -- reports of Black Legion, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Emperor's Children and other notorious Chaos warbands are heard. The Eldar and Celestinian force sets off towards a nearby Ultramarines fortress, only to see it come under assault from Heldrake hunting packs. The Knights of House Taranis manage to shoot them down and, recognising the authority of both an Inquisitor and the Living Saint herself, the Ultramarine defenders let them into the confines of their fortress. Celestine explains their sacred mission, that Archagos Dominus Cawl must be given audience with the Lord of Ultramar, and smiles expectantly as a flight of Stormraven gunships arrive. They were meant to be utilised as air-support for the fortress, but the Ultramarines eventually agree to take the Ynnari and Celestinian 'pilgrims' to a waiting Strike Cruiser in orbit. But they will not take everyone, as the only Eldar that will be allowed to go to Macragge are Yvraine and the Visarch, with the rest of the Ynnari heading back into the Webway to spread word of the rebirth of Ynnead. The bulk of the Battle-Sisters, as well as the House Taranis Knights, stay behind on Laphis to help with the defence of the besieged planet.
The Ultramarines remain cautious, as they keep the 'pilgrim's under close guard as the Strike Cruiser makes the short journey to Macragge and their meeting with Marneus Calgar, the Lord of Ultramar. After they finally arrive at their destination, they find a pitch battle taking place between the Ultramar Defence Fleet and a massive Chaos fleet. The capital world of Macragge is under a full-scale invasion by the Despoiler's forces. Braving the deadly firepower of the ships of the Black Legion, Iron Warriors, The Purge and the Night Lords, the Ynnari and Celestinians take Stormraven gunships down to the surface of the planet.
Informed of their arrival, Marneus Calgar has received their urgent request to meet with the Lord of Ultramar, and awaits the unusual delegation with interest. As battle rages around the Fortress of Hera, the Ultramarines escorts the 'pilgrims' to the fortress' strategium, where they are granted audience with Marneus Calgar. He in turn, is attended by his most senior members of the Chapter, including: First Captain Agemman, Chief Librarian Varro Tigurius and Grand Master Aldrik Voldus, the newly promoted Grand Master of the Grey Knights and former Captain of the 3rd Brotherhood. Marshal Almarich, Inquisitor Greyfax and Saint Celestine respectfully bow before the Chapter Master while the Eldar and Archmagos Dominus Cawl stand by impassively. Finally, Calgar said that he had no notion of who Belisarius Cawl might be, nor had he ever made any sort of pact with any priest of Mars. On Saint Celestine’s face there dawned a look of calm revelation, but the rest of the Celestinians turned their horrified expressions upon the Archmagos in their midst. Yet Cawl's next words caused greater consternation still, for he stated flatly that he had not come to see Marneus Calgar. Cawl had travelled across the galaxy to attend the Lord of Ultramar, and now demanded to be taken to him at once. The auto-reliquary, he stated, must be delivered to the Shrine of Roboute Guilliman.
The outcry that followed Cawl's demand was immediate and intense. Marneus Calgar's expression grew thunderous as his advisors and serfs cried out in shock. The pilgrims exclaimed in anger and confusion, Greyfax turning upon Cawl and squaring up to the looming Magos as she barked a demand for immediate explanation. The boom of Captain Agemman's vox-amplified voice cut through the tumult of voices, urging those around him to remember where they stood and the conduct that was expected of them. As quiet was restored, Agemman turned to Calgar and said in no uncertain terms that he did not trust these newcomers, nor the mysterious device they brought with them. The First Captain counselled that, with such immediate danger all around and a furious battle to win, there was only one viable solution at this time. The pilgrims should be put into confinement, and their mysterious package locked down in a stasis vault until its contents could be safely examined. As for the xenos, Agemman counselled that they be swiftly destroyed lest they pose a threat to the safety of the Chapter Master or the Fortress of Hera.
Saint Celestine spoke up then, attempting to explain the divine nature of her mission and the revelations she had received from the Emperor. She found herself staring into the muzzles of several Honour Guard boltguns – not to mention the condemnor stake launcher of Inquisitor Greyfax, whose puritan suspicions had been bred anew – a clear indication that now was the time for the rulers of Ultramar to speak, and not their visitors. All eyes rested upon Calgar as he looked to Chief Librarian Tigurius for further counsel. The Librarian remained silent for several long heartbeats, and then finally spoke. He reminded his Chapter Master that he had experienced troubling visions in the days leading up to the attack upon Macragge. The Chief Librarian had believed that his visions concerned the fall of Cadia and the subsequent attack by the Black Legion upon Ultramar. Now, though, Tigurius declared himself convinced that the visions pertained also to these travellers. The Chief Librarian said that he was willing to vouch for their presence, even that of the mysterious Eldar, and that he believed their arrival to be the Emperor's will made manifest.
Hushed whispers ran through the strategium at this pronouncement, and Calgar nodded solemnly. Without further comment, the Chapter Master bade the Celestinians speak, and explain their presence in their own words. Between them, Inquisitor Greyfax, Marshal Amalrich and Saint Celestine did as they were asked, relaying the bloody tale of Cadia’s fall and their subsequent flight. Even Yvraine of the Ynnari deigned to speak a little, providing a few, scant details that went some way toward explaining the aliens' presence amongst the group. The only one who refused to divulge further information was Belisarius Cawl; despite Marneus Calgar's repeated questioning, the Archmagos would not elaborate upon what his auto-reliquary contained, or what he expected to occur within the shrine. Marneus Calgar absorbed them all even as he listened to the pilgrims, issuing curt orders where required and keeping one eye always fixed upon the ever-shifting holomap that hung overhead. The Chapter Master wished to understand these strange visitors and the supposed pact they served, but he would not neglect the defence of his fortress while he did so.
Finally, Calgar solemnly pronounced his verdict. He would permit the Celestinians to bring their auto-reliquary to the Shrine of Guilliman, though they would do so under heavy Ultramarines guard. Inquisitor Greyfax shared a glance with Marshal Amalrich -- the Ultramarines would not be the only ones to exact swift vengeance if Cawl or the Ynnari stepped out of line with any more unexpected revelations.
Revelation and Rebirth
While First Captain Agemman stayed behind to oversee the defence of the fortress, Chapter Master Calgar, Chief Librarian Tigurius, Grand Master Voldus, a detachment of warriors from the 1st and 3rd Companies, and Calgar's Honour Guard escorted the Archmagos and his compatriots to the Shrine of Guilliman located in the Hall of Correction. Despite the grandeur of the shrine, the pilgrims' eyes were drawn to the splendid figure enthroned within a pool of stark white illumination at one end of the chamber. There, upon a throne of marble, gold and finely worked adamantium, sat Roboute Guilliman. Esoteric machineries loomed over the Primarch's throne, thrumming and whispering as they fed remarkable energies through ribbed cables to enfold him in a rippling stasis field. Guilliman sat as though in repose, his eyes closed and his blood glinting jewel-like in a delicate necklace about his throat. Guilliman wore his finely crafted battle armour, still marred by the damage it had sustained during his final duel with the Daemon Primarch Fulgrim. Across his knees was laid a grand blade of prodigious size, the sword of the Emperor himself. Though the Primarch sat peacefully upon his throne, the force of his presence was palpable. The pilgrims approached the throne in reverent silence, their Ultramarines escort marching alongside them and Cawl's auto-reliquary at their rear. The group drew to a halt near the foot of the steps that led up to the Primarch, where countless Ultramarines had knelt in communion over the millennia. Marneus Calgar moved forward to stand at the very base of the steps, bowing his head reverently to his Primarch for a moment before turning to face the assembled pilgrims. Calgar drew a deep breath, and then asked once more for Belisarius Cawl to state his business were. The Chapter Master had indulged his visitors thus far, but with a desperate battle raging outside his fortress' walls, he could offer them no more time or patience.
Magos Cawl inclined his head, and told an incredible tale. Cawl explained that, in the years before Guilliman was mortally wounded, the Primarch had summoned him into his confidence. Cawl's mem-engrams of that meeting were eroded and incomplete, but he believed that Guilliman had seen in him the potential for great things. The Magos had been charged with a great labour by Roboute Guilliman, one for which he would be richly rewarded with information that only a Primarch could provide. Cawl stated that he was not at liberty to reveal the nature of his task, forestalling Calgar's angry response by explaining that his labours had been divided into two distinct parts, and that he was here to deliver on the first of those. He brought a magnificent new suit of armour fit for the Ultramarines Primarch, one whose ancillary systems possessed the power to heal Guilliman's grievous wounds. Stunned silence reigned at this announcement. To bring back a living, breathing Primarch, to restore one of the Emperor’s greatest sons to the Imperium in its hour of need; such a notion filled the Imperial warriors with awed wonderment.
Yvraine spoke up, explaining her presence at this seminal moment. She was the Emissary of Ynnead, the God of the Dead, and her powers would be vital to Guilliman's restoration. Reading the puzzlement on her audience’s features, Yvraine explained with sharp impatience that such a miracle could not be brought about without sacrifice. Cawl had laboured long and hard to fulfill the Primarch's request, but without Ynnead's aid, the fruits of that labour would not be enough. In order for Roboute Guilliman to live once more, first he must die. This raises the immediate ire of the Ultramarines again, who raise their bolters at the mixed delegation and the auto-reliquary itself, awaiting their Chapter Master's orders to open-fire. Calgar declared that no witch would ever lay hands on the Primarch. Grand Master Voldus, Inquisitor Greyfax and Marshal Amalrich stand with Calgar. But Chief Librarian Tigurius moves to stand with Cawl and the Ynnari. Celestine implores everyone to have faith; that this is the will of the Emperor. Weapons are raised yet again, and tensions are about to boil over, when suddenly, when the Temple of Correction itself, came under attack by the Forces of Chaos.
Calgar receives a priority vox, and he's barely able to shout a warning as an Ultramarines Thunderhawk gunship comes crashing down into the cavernous shrine. Spilling out from its holds come a host of Chaos Raptors, wearing the colours of the Black Legion. They fan out quickly, attaching spiked icons to the floor. Teleportation flares thunder out, and Black Legion Chaos Terminator elites teleport into the shrine and begin to lay down a devastating barrage into the ranks of the Ultramarines. Marneus Calgar looked about himself aghast. The Shrine of Guilliman, the sacred heart of the Ultramarines Chapter, had been profaned by the minions of Chaos. It was clear to all that the enemy were driving for the fallen Primarch. Putting aside his deep suspicions of both Cawl and the Ynnari, the Chapter Master strode into battle with the Chaos Space Marines. The Ultramarines and the pilgrims stand their ground, despite being increasingly outnumbered. At the height of the battle, Greyfax's psyocculum chimed a warning as Warp energies built amidst the battle. As she followed the device's needle to the source of this energy build-up, she observed a trio of Chaos Sorcerers attempting to launch a devastating assault on the valiant Imperial defenders, but successfully thwarts their attempts. As the pitched battle continued, she noticed Cawl hunched, spider-like over the controls of his auto-reliquary while the Ynnari and Skitarii stood guard over him. Chief Librarian Tigurius also defended the Archmagos from an attack of a trio of Khorne Berzerkers with his formidable psychic powers. As the battle raged all around him, Calgar caught sight of movement at the base of Guilliman's throne, and cold horror clenched in his chest.
Calgar saw the Martian priest step back from his auto-reliquary with the air of one completing a satisfying task. The dome-shaped device hummed forward, unfurling like the petals of some huge, carnivorous flower. The watching Chapter Master was at the wrong angle to see inside the machine, but he had a fleeting impression of glowing energies, unfurling mechadendrites, clamping pincer-limbs and whirring bone-drills that filled him with revulsion. The auto-reliquary was rising and stretching out, enfolding the Primarch's form in its metallic embrace. At the same moment, the xenos witch-priestess lunged with preternatural grace, evading whistling bolt shells as she raised her blade high. Calgar called out to the Chief Librarian to stop them, but Tigurius looked straight at him, and shook his head. He warned the pair, that if Yvraine had played him false that he would end her. In desperation, Calgar raised his bolters and prepared to fire at the Eldar witch, but Yvraine's blade fell lightning fast, hacking through the cabling that fed power to Guilliman's stasis field. Energies flared, and from within the closing arms of the auto-reliquary, Calgar heard a rattling sigh that would haunt him until his dying day. Filled with rage and despair, Calgar turned upon the traitors that had forced this terrible tragedy to come to pass and waded back into the fight with unstoppable fury. The auto-reliquary engulfed Roboute Guilliman and his throne entirely, runic designators and auto-lumen flickering in mesmerising patterns across its surface. As though spurred by the sight, the Black Legionnaires redoubled the intensity of their attack.
Bellowing war cries, the Black Legion Terminators let fly with a hail of bolter fire, intent upon destroying the archaic device, but they exploded harmlessly against the hardened void shielding, unable to punch through the Archmagos' data-wards to damage the device beyond. A ferocious, final assault by the Forces of Chaos, attempts to halt the inevitable, as the last of the Chaos Sorcerers attempted to cast a spell to bring down one end of the shrine crashing down upon Guilliman's throne. But the sorcerer's attack was thwarted by the interventions of the Ynnari, fighting alongside Tigurius. For a moment the battle hung in the balance. Then a second flight of Dreadclaw Drop Pods began their descent upon the shrine, fires billowing around their hulls as they fell. No scattered handful of reinforcements was this, but a pinpoint attack wave of ten armoured pods, held in reserve by the masters of the Chaos invasion and hurled in to strike the killing blow. An entire traitor warband surged into battle, the Talons of the Despoiler deployed en masse to sweep away all resistance in the shrine. Ultramarines Veterans and Honour Guard fell as they were riddled with overwhelming bolt fire. Marshal Amalrich and his brothers charged down the mound of corpses rather than be caught in the open by the foe's massed firepower, determined to hack down as many of their tainted kin as they could before they were slain. Saint Celestine, too, swooped down upon the mass of foes, determined to meet death with words of purity and hope on her lips.
Not a single defender took a step backward, but it was clear that their lives could now be measured in minutes at most.
The Avenging Son
Things look their bleakest for the Imperials, as the foremost of the Black Legionnaires were mere yards from the foot of Guilliman's throne, the rune-panels on Cawl's auto-reliquary flickered from red to green. A single chime sounded, a clear, pure note that cut through the clamour like a knife. The Archmagos himself, fighting back to back with the Ynnari and Chief Librarian Tigurius, emitted an uncharacteristic blurt of binaric triumph. The next moment, the outstretched armatures of the auto-reliquary folded back with a gaseous hiss to reveal a sight of breathtaking splendour. Where before Roboute Guilliman had sat, a pale, stasis-locked revenant, now the Primarch stood awake, alert and very much alive. His presence was immense, dominant as a thunderhead suddenly filling the shrine with its crushing pressure. Guilliman was clad in a magnificent new suit of armour, an ornate masterwork that had travelled all the way from the forges of Mars within Cawl's auto-reliquary. In one hand the Ultramarines Primarch held the blade of the Emperor, lit now from hilt to tip with leaping flames, and in his eyes was a look of such murderous intensity that even the loyalists within the shrine quailed to see it.
A stunned silence sweeps over the battlefield for a few moments as the presence of a Primarch seems to fill the massive room. It's only broken by the crazed charge of a lone Bezerker, who charges headlong into the resurrected Primarch. But, with a speed that even the Ynnari would struggle to match, Guilliman neatly swings the burning blade and bisects the Bezerker at the waist and hurling his severed halves to the ground. As the Chaos woshipper's armoured corpse crashed to the floor the moment is broken, and with a hateful cry the Black Legion forces charge at the Primarch. Wordlessly, the noble demigod strode forth to meet them. Storming through the hail of bolts and shells unleashed by the Black Legionnaires, he utilised his mighty gauntlet, the Hand of Dominion, and the blessed blade of the Emperor, reducing the Traitor Marines into so much smashed ceramite and pulped meat. As the Black Legion hurled themselves towards the towering warrior in their midst, so the pressure lessened upon the surviving loyalists in the shrine. Full of vengeance, inspired by the spectacle of the Primarch, the last of the Celestinians and their allies threw themselves back into the fight with renewed vigour.
With every blow, the Primarch of the Ultramarines sent mutated corpses tumbling through the air. His expression was graven granite and frozen hate, a mask of vengeful anger that had endured millennia. For Guilliman, his last memory was a desperate battle against a tainted brother, a fraternal contest of godlike strength and barbed, hateful taunts – then poison and pain beyond endurance. Now he found himself in strange surroundings, facing a twisted horde of creatures that were nightmarish parodies of the Adeptus Astartes ideal. Not that his apparent allies struck Guilliman as much more familiar, but he could at least detect who in this vast sepulchre was tainted by Chaos and who was not. For now, that was enough. The Primarch compartmentalised his questions for later, and concentrated solely on the battle at hand.
The Black Legionnaires continued to hurl themselves at the reborn Lord of Ultramar, clearly willing to sustain any amount of casualties if it meant bringing the resurrected Guilliman down. Yet they were laughably outmatched in almost every regard, as the Primarch reaped a blood tally as he drove the traitors back. As they retreated, he came upon the prone form of Marneus Calgar, his armour cracked and his face beaten bloody. Guilliman paused for a moment in his rampage, looking down upon this fallen son with an unreadable expression on his face. Calgar is badly injured, but he's alive, and he looks up into the face of his Primarch in disbelief as Guilliman checks he still lives before moving on to continue his route of the Chaos Marines. Leaderless, reaped like corn by the seemingly unstoppable Primarch and his allies, the last of the Black Legionnaires turned and fled. Not a single one of them would escape the Fortress of Hera alive.
By the time reinforcements reached the Temple of Correction, the fighting was done. Every single Ultramarine who rushed into that vaulted space dropped to their knees in worshipful awe at the sight of their Primarch reborn. Calm now, Roboute Guilliman took charge of his warriors. He asked no questions, save those of a purely strategic nature. He made no reference to the circumstances of his rebirth, his long repose, or the strangers that he found himself surrounded by, and none dared raise such matters with him. The Primarch would doubtless seek answers, but caught between wonder and a kind of overawed fear, the Ultramarines, the Celestinians, and even the Ynnari kept their own counsel. Besides, war still raged outside the shrine.
News of the Primarch's rise spreads through the fortress like wildfire, proclamations blaring from every vox speaker and shouted from every rampart. Guilliman ensured that it was so, for he understood well that his living presence would embolden his armies and cow his enemies. Ultramarines and Ultramar Defense Auxilia alike manning the battlements knew first bewilderment, then newfound strength in the words they hear as they processed this incredible news. In contrast, the Chaos forces arrayed against them faltered in their attack. Even the most feared of their champions were eclipsed by the martial glory of a living, breathing Primarch, and ripples of unease spread through the heretic throng at the thought of facing him in battle.
Guilliman makes for the fortress' strategium, and - in a dramatically charged moment that would become enshrined in statuary - formally accepted command of the defence from First Captain Agemman. Lord Calgar stood at his Primarch's side during this exchange, sorely wounded and supported by two Honour Guards, yet determined to be present all the same. Guilliman showed his nobility by humbly requesting the Chapter Master's leave to assume full command of the Ultramarines at that time. Calgar shrugged off his battle-brothers and, grimacing in pain, knelt before his gene-sire. He matched Guilliman's solemnity as he offered unending fealty to the Primarch, and bequeathed full control of the Chapter to him in perpetuity. Like an impresario settling before his instrument, Guilliman spread his hands upon the strategium table and took a deep breath before beginning to command. With his every utterance, the invaders' plight became more apparent. The Primarch's strategic acumen, his tactical genius and miraculous mental acuity were unmatched. The leaders of the Ultramarines looked on in amazement as Guilliman marshalled the defenders like regicide pieces, drinking in reams of strategic data and issuing a steady stream of orders that turned one fight after another in the defenders' favour. Calgar and his lieutenants had executed a superhuman campaign of defiance against the invaders, but the Primarch was operating on a different mental plane.
By the time the Primarch and his coterie strode out to lead the fight in person, the Chaos attackers were reeling in disarray. The attack led by Guilliman into the heart of their lines was like a final bolt round placed between the eyes of a wounded enemy. Black Legionnaires, Iron Warriors, Alpha Legion and Night Lords – all were hurled back from the walls. Traitor Titans toppled like vast, flaming trees to smash down in ruin. Just three hours after his resurrection, Roboute Guilliman concluded the wholesale purge of Chaos invaders from the Fortress of Hera, and confidently proclaimed the Ultramarines' stronghold secure. Guilliman then summoned a select company to attend him in the Chapter Master's sanctum. This had long been the domain and throne room of Marneus Calgar. Now it would become the sanctum of the Primarch himself, and it was here that he was formally invested as Lord of Ultramar and master of the Ultramarines once more. Calgar, Tigurius, Agemman and their closest lieutenants were present for Guilliman's elevation, as were representative brothers from every company of the Chapter. The Celestinians, too, attended Guilliman's formal coronation, the Saint herself ceremonially bestowing her blessings upon the Primarch. Even the Ynnari watched from the sidelines as this momentous event occurred; they lurked amongst the shadows, a silent and staunchly unremarked-upon presence whose expressions remained cold and watchful.
As the ceremony concluded, Guilliman rose and addressed the assembly. There was much to be done, and countless questions to which the Primarch required answers. Before he could act further, Roboute Guilliman needed to know everything that had occurred during his long absence.
One by one, the champions of the Dark Gods of Chaos became aware of the returned Primarch. Each of the Daemon Primarchs vowed to either try to mislead, despoil or kill their erstwhile brother. Other dark lords, too, saw the glowing beacon of Guilliman’s rebirth from afar and began to marshal their forces accordingly. Forewarned by the prophetic visions of Zaraphiston, Abaddon the Despoiler had fashioned a loose alliance of traitor warbands to strike Guilliman down before his resurrection could occur. It was this that had spurred the sudden, frenzied invasion of Ultramar, but - even with the aid of a sizeable force of Black Legionnaires – Abaddon’s vassal warlords had failed in their initial gambit. Furious, Abaddon summoned and bound the Lord of Change Kairos Fateweaver, sending him winging his way across the galaxy to gather fresh forces against the Primarch.
Swathes of the galaxy were already riven with Warp storms that had spilled through the Cadian Gate with all the ferocity of Old Night, or been unleashed by the shattering of Biel-Tan. Now those tempests spread further, as the Primordial Annihilator turned its full attentions upon realspace. As for the Primarch himself, Guilliman was, as yet, unaware of the daemonic madness that his return had spurred. This was a mercy, for the Lord of Ultramar already had a crushing weight of questions and shock to deal with. Everything Guilliman knew was gone, replaced by the madness and horror of a future he had tried so desperately to prevent.
Self-Doubts & Resolutions
- "Why do I still live? What more do you want from me? I gave everything I had to you, to them. Look what they've made of our dream. This bloated, rotting carcass of an empire is driven not by reason and hope but by fear, hate and ignorance. Better that we had all burned in the fires of Horus' ambition than live to see this."
- — Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, reflecting upon the modern era-Imperium
Within his private sanctum, Guilliman let his mask drop with a sigh of relief. At last he could allow a little of his sorrow, trauma and pain to show. Whatever had been done to him to bring him back from the clutches of death, it had left the Primarch with a constant, gnawing ache that radiated from deep within. He suspected that pain would never leave him. But physical hurts were the least of Guilliman's troubles. Over several days he had spoken with each of the Celestinians, the lords of Ultramarines, and even Yvraine of the Ynnari, digesting all the new information he received, and hid his reactions to their words. Though he had no shown it, each fresh revelation struck the Primarch to his very core. He was exhausted from staving off bewilderment and horror, hollowed out by pain. He found it difficult to come to terms with the fact millennia had passed. Not for the first time since his return, Guilliman wished for one of his brothers to speak with. They, at least, might have understood how he felt. The Imperium had become rife with idolatry, ignorance, suffering and squalor, in the name of a god who never desired the title.
Though he wrestled with despair, the Primarch knew that he could not let his weakness show. His gene-sons looked at him as though he were the Emperor himself. Painfully aware of his symbolic quality, Guilliman had become all too aware of how dark the hour had become. Though he was angry at what the Emperor's dream had become, he realised that despite the darkness and woe that surrounded him in this new era, that the flame of hope still endured within himself. The Ultramarines stood proud and determined even though they had been born into this dark millennium, and had known nothing but hardship, suffering and despair of unending conflict. Yet still they struggled on unbowed, despite the countless enemies ranged against them. The Primarch had seen a better age, one of hope and triumph. He questioned what right had he, one of the superhuman sons of the Emperor Himself, to show any less strength and courage than his followers born in darkness? Guilliman had seen what Humanity could achieve. Moreover, he knew what fruits Cawl's labours had borne beneath the surface of Mars. He believed that a better future for the Imperium was still possible. But only if those who tormented Mankind were first defeated. Guilliman lamented to himself - all of the misery, all the suffering and pain. It was not the doing of Humanity, but of those who had betrayed them. Too long had the pawns of Chaos dictated Mankind's fate. That had to end. Now was the time to fight, and to make his father's enemies pay for every horror they had inflicted upon the Imperium.
Battle for Macragge
Four days and nights after his coronation, Roboute Guilliman emerged from seclusion. In his absence, Lord Calgar had continued to lead the fight, ignoring his injuries as he coordinated the Ultramarines war effort. Now, though, Calgar willingly ceded control of the campaign to his gene-sire. Recognising the vastly capable Chapter Master for the asset he was, Guilliman kept Calgar close at hand in the battles that followed, and asked his counsel constantly. Brother Librarian Tigurius, too, swiftly became a trusted advisor, the Primarch accepting that in this darker age, the trappings and powers of the Librarius had - by necessity - also become darker. In a move that surprised many, Guilliman also included Voldus, Cawl, Celestine and Inquisitor Greyfax amongst his coterie of lieutenants. The Primarch sought the insights of every arm of the Imperial war machine, recognising that in unity lay strength. With his advisors at his side, and the unbowed might of the Ultramarines at his disposal, Guilliman began the reconquest of his homeworld. Wider galactic matters would have to wait; Macragge was still beset from every side, and if the Chapter planet fell, then even the resurrected Primarch would surely be dragged down by the tide of foes.
The war for Macragge lasted a little over a month, and its pace was blistering. Roboute Guilliman was a force of nature, an unstoppable avatar of the Emperor's will who drove his enemies before him like cattle. Though the Heretic Astartes fought furiously, and inflicted sore losses upon the loyalists, they simply could not match the strategic acumen of Roboute Guilliman, and one Chaos warband after another was defeated. Even those who fled Macragge found no haven in the void, for their invasion craft had been surrounded and reduced to burning scrap by the Ultramar Defence Fleet. Finally, after long weeks of vicious battle and a vast toll of the dead, the world of Macragge was liberated once more.
The Crown of Glories
The first steps had been taken upon the road of reconquest. Macragge was free of Chaos taint. Guilliman wished to press on, consumed by his desire to drive the Ruinous Powers from Ultramar. However, those he led needed time to regroup and consolidate. Countless wounded required attention. Hundreds of war machines needed repair. Guilliman was wise enough to give his followers the time they needed. Meanwhile, Imperial reinforcements gathered around Macragge. Braving the Warp storms raging through local space, Space Marine craft by the dozen assembled above the Ultramarines home world. Delegations from many Primogenitor Chapters had ploughed through the empyrean, risking terrible danger to see for themselves that the Primarch had returned. Novamarines, Sons of Orar, Genesis Chapter and countless others joined the growing throng, kneeling before the Primarch and swearing allegiance to him.
While the armies of the Ultramar Reconquest were gathering, a further opportunity presented itself. It was the Arch-Consul of Magna Civitas -- the closest Ultramar had to a conventional Governor -- who suggested that a grand victory parade could be held, and its majesty recorded on pict casts to be sent far and wide through the Imperium. The Consul said that people needed the light of hope in this dark hour, a shining example of victory to renew their faith not just in the Emperor, but in Guilliman reborn. The Primarch acceded to this demand, though it sat ill with his bleak inner mood. Guilliman saw the wisdom in it, but he accepted such aggrandisement only grudgingly. Mere days after victory was declared, a grand triumph swept up from the Titan Gate to the very steps of the Fortress of Hera. Thousands of war engines and millions of warriors presented their colours and raised cheers and horn blasts to the skies. A seething sea of the city's residents packed the crater-pocked processionals and plazas to watch the proceedings, and voices beyond count rang out as one to cry Guilliman's praise in a single deafening roar.
Stood upon a marble-columned platform with his closest lieutenants at his side, the Primarch dutifully presented the most magnificent spectacle he could for the assembled masses. The Arch-Consul himself presented Guilliman with a stunningly wrought laurel wreath crafted in gold, urging the Primarch to don the gilded crown at once. The moment Guilliman did so, he found his mind filled with thoughts of future glories. This paltry triumph would be nothing compared to the breathtaking spectacle of his galactic conquest. The Primarch's armies would be beyond number, their adoration for their heroic lord so great that they would die for him gladly. Planets, systems, whole segmentums would be renamed in honour of he who had liberated them, and the whipped dogs of Chaos would flee before him like the curs they were. Statues would be raised to commemorate Guilliman's majesty, and eventually even the Golden Throne of Terra itself would be his to mount. The Emperor's most loyal son deserved no less an inheritance, and he would have his due.
It was this last thought that wrenched Guilliman from the wreath's insidious curse. With a gasp, he tore the gilded crown from his head and bellowed a command for the Arch-Consul to be restrained. It was Grand Master Voldus who grabbed the robed dignitary, and as his blessed gauntlets touched the man's flesh it sizzled and crisped. The din of the triumph was colossal, an ocean swell of noise that hid the Arch-Consul's shrieks as the illusions that veiled him were unmade. Guilliman and his lieutenants recoiled at the misshapen mutant thing that was revealed. Bulbous and deformed, the keening, fleshy abomination wore a glowing amulet about its neck on a thong of human skin. As Guilliman stared in disgust at this cursed fetish, he heard a susurration hissing within his mind that he had not heard since that fateful encounter on Thessala. In mocking tones, Fulgrim welcomed Guilliman back to his beloved Imperium. The Daemon Primarch revealed that he had concealed a fragment of his own animus in the amulet that his servant wore, and confessed disappointment that Guilliman had rejected his gift, the Crown of Glories. Many heroes great and pure had fallen to the trinket's blandishments, and Fulgrim had hoped that he could corrupt Guilliman in the same fashion. Yet the Slaaneshi Prince assured his brother that this was but the first of endless temptations that Guilliman would have to face. Laughing cruelly, he taunted that the Lord of Ultramar would never be able to trust any feeling of triumph or self-satisfaction again.
Disgusted, Guilliman drove his sword through the amulet and into the hideous creature that bore it, silencing the voice of the damned brother who had laid him low millennia past. Yet as the triumph rumbled on, Fulgrim's words continued to echo in Guilliman's mind. They would do so for many days to come.
War Zone Ultramar
As the armies of reconquest gathered upon Macragge, so ever more Imperial forces came seeking the Primarch. Some, like the Dark Angels and the Raven Guard, sent small delegations to determine the veracity of this miracle. Others came in hope and celebration, bands of Space Wolves, White Scars, Black Templars and others hastening to the Primarch’s side. A glorious moment came to pass when the Black Templars made planetfall, for they were reunited with Marshal Amalrich, who alone of his brotherhood had survived the battle in Guilliman's shrine. Taking one look at the zealous light in Amalrich's eyes, the Black Templars Chaplains declared him touched by the hand of the Emperor. The Marshal was brought aboard the Strike Cruiser Scourge of Heretics, and girded with the armour and the Black Blade of the Emperor's Champion. Others, too, came to Ultramar upon the insistence of their seers, Astropaths, soothsayers and lords. Battleships of the Imperial Navy, regal Barons of Imperial-aligned Knight Worlds, fleets of warships from the Adeptus Mechanicus and their Titan Legions, processions from the Adeptus Administratum; all came to offer fealty to the Primarch. A delegation of Adeptus Ministorum priests arrive, intent on confirming, and then proclaiming, Guilliman's alleged divinity. Guilliman was not at all keen on this, and only relented to such beatification only after Celestine and Inquisitor Greyfax point out just how powerful the Ecclesiarchy were. Better to have them as a firebrand ally than a obstreperous foe.
Before his departure from the fortress, Guilliman had one more order of business. He decreed that now was an age of wrath and war, in which learning and lore must be set aside. The Primarch shocked his Chapter by ordering the great Library of Ptolemy barred to all comers on pain of death. Every last tome, every lingering, dangerous secret contained within that ancient repository was locked behind adamantium bulkheads and servitor guns. At the same time a new war room was built. This was the Strategium Ultra, from where Guilliman's reconquest could be plotted, tracked and coordinated. When finally the armies of reconquest were ready to set out, Roboute Guilliman led them into battle with something akin to relief. After the endless infighting and bureaucracy of this turgid new Imperium, the thought of a battlefield seemed almost welcoming.
The War for Ultramar raged on as the Imperial Forces began to reclaim the Five Hundred Worlds. It was a long and arduous process though. Seven months in, saw the spread of a mysterious new sickness throughout the conquest forces, causing endless streams of viscous stinking tears that eventually infected the eyeballs of its victims and left them in agonising blindness. It becomes known as the Weeping Plague. The cause of this plague was eventually traced to swarms of mites that had found their way into food supplies, ammunition packs, bundles of clothing and even amongst the pages of Imperial Primers. Nothing seems to halt its spread, as it began to cripple the human elements of the Imperial Forces. The transhuman Astartes were unaffected, but curiously the Battle-Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas also proved strongly resistant despite them being humans also. But then something amazing occurred -- when Guilliman came to inspect the sick, his mere presence seemed to drive back the disease. Auxilia soldiers rose from their hospital beds, their sight restored and their sickness vanished. No one could explain the cause, but wherever Guilliman walked the sick were cured. The Ecclesiarchy were quick to declare this a bonafide miracle, and their sermons rang loud with proclamations of the Primarch's divinity. Guilliman couldn't explain the veracity of this so-called 'miracle' either, but he could not just let the soldiers under his command die while he could do something about it. So he travelled everywhere the sick were found, for days and weeks on end, curing them. But soon his absence from the war efforts were felt, as the Forces of Chaos were able to regroup and launch effective counter-assaults. Worse still, the plague had begun to pop back up in places Guilliman had already visited and where the afflicted had been cured. He was running around in circles trying to cure everyone. Grand Master Voldus eventually confronted the Primarch with the what he saw as the truth – this plague bore the mark of Nurgle. In actuality, Guilliman was not curing anyone, but rather it was an insidious plan to keep the Primarch distracted and contained within the Realm of Ultramar.
Guilliman realised he had been played by the Plague God. In his desire to reclaim Ultramar and turn it into a bastion of order, he was making mistakes he'd made in the distant past. There was only one real course of action -- he had to make for Terra. The fact that both Slaanesh and Nurgle had already attempted to keep him trapped in Ultramar proved that he was needed elsewhere. So, and not without some reluctance, he left the reconquest of Ultramar in the capable hands of Marneus Calgar, Tigurius and Agemman. With him would travel elements of the Ultramarines 1st, 2nd and 3rd Companies with Captain Cato Sicarius in command, as well as the 3rd Brotherhood of Grey Knights led by Grand Master Voldus. The various Ultramarine Successor Chapters that were present also gave their support, as did Emperor's Champion Amalrich and his Black Templars. Inquistor Greyfax, Saint Celestine and Archmagos Cawl would also accompany Guilliman to the Throneworld. It was at this point that Yvraine and the Visarch bade their farewell, with a promise that they would fight together again in the future (so long as it suited their needs Guilliman remarks to himself). The Celestinian Crusade had come to its end. In its place, the Terran Crusade would begin. Mere days after Guilliman made known his intentions, the Imperial fleet set out, engines burning hot as they began the long journey to the cradle of Mankind.
Across the Void
The Warp churned with chaotic turbulence, and the Navigators could only manage short jumps through the warp. Even then, a number of Imperial Ships suffered Gellar Field breaches and swarms of Demons would sweep through their decks before they could be cleansed with holy fire. Guilliman travelled upon his ancient flagship, Macragge's Honour, its familiar hallways a welcome haven. He had hoped that the storms would abate the further he travelled from Ultramar, but there seemed no end in sight to the storms. And every time the fleet dropped back into realspace, the Astropaths would pick up garbled messages of a galaxy in chaos. Morale dropped across the fleet as the weeks dragged on, until eventually the fleet came suddenly on the edge of the Warp anomaly known as the Maelstrom, which had swelled with power, catching everyone by surprise. Fearing the worst, the fleet performed an emergency translation back into realspace, but instead they ended up right in the path of a devastating broadsides of a Chaos fleet's ambush. Numerous ships were lost before the Imperial's were even aware of whom, or where, the current threat they faced, lay -- a vast fleet of Thousand Sons warships. They surrounded the Imperial fleet, deployed as though they had known precisely where and when the Imperial forces would emerge from the Warp. At the centre of the ambush fleet was an immense craft that Guilliman recognised as vast silver facsimile of the Great Pyramid of Tizca, the Tizca's Revenge. From its observation gallery, the Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red watched his ambush play out with amusement, the chanting of his sorcerers ringing out around him. He had no desire to kill his brother just yet and, judging when his ambush had wrought enough devastation on the Imperial fleet, he completed the incantation that was being weaved. Giant empyric tendrils of the Maelstrom whipped out and clamped tight around the ships of the Terran Crusade and, with a vast convulsive wrench, dragged them deep into the raging heart of the Maelstrom.
Into the Maelstrom
By the time Magnus’ spell ran its course, the ships of the Terran Crusade had been cast deep into the Maelstrom. Guilliman's fleet had, at least, been spat from the maw of the Warp once more, but the region they now found themselves in was a cursed one. Within the Maelstrom, reality and the Immaterium melted together in a strange morass. The stars were lost behind drifting veils of unnatural energy, and twisted worlds hung amidst the shimmering gloom. The Terran Crusade had been reduced to a shadow of its former military strength. Not one warship had survived the ambush unscathed, and many were sorely damaged. Crushing though the sudden losses were, they were still not Roboute Guilliman's greatest worry. Meeting in his strategium with the assembled Imperial and Space Marine leaders, Guilliman expressed his belief that the Thousand Sons must have known, by some infernal means, where and when the crusade would break from the Warp. Guilliman's fleet had been surrounded. Why not strike the killing blow? The Primarch knew all too well that Magnus did nothing without a plan, so why had he allowed his erstwhile brother to survive? It was a question that returned to torture the leaders of the crusade again and again in the dark days that followed.
Amidst fluctuating time streams and reality-warping energy storms, the damaged ships of the crusade struggled on. Within the Maelstrom lurked countless foes, for this was a region that had long harboured the warring minions of Chaos. More than once, the Imperial ships were forced to fight off opportunist raids by sleek hunting packs of traitor warships. So it went on for an indeterminate and bewildering span of time that felt like impossible centuries. As the crusade fleet forged on, their supplies running low and their crews exhausted by constant battle, Roboute Guilliman became ever angrier and more distracted. Unbeknownst to all, the Primarch was bedevilled by horrific visions. Guilliman wrestled internally with each passing day, yet he showed no sign of his struggle to those who looked to him for leadership and hope. The Primarch maintained his veneer of strength and continued to pursue his goal of escape, determined that he would not believe the lies of any entity that inhabited that hellish place. Still, the Primarch's resolve eroded slowly, as a cliff washed away by the endless ocean waves.
Upon a world of black marble and blood, the Imperial forces struck hard and fast against several Red Corsairs strongholds, eliminating outlying enclaves before finally laying siege to a fortified palace upon a claw-shaped headland above booming, gory waves. While Archmagos Cawl coordinated the siege, Greyfax and Sicarius led a daring raiding party that threw open the palace’s main gates and sealed the heretics' doom. Within a chamber of crystal statues, Guilliman received instructions from a mysterious figure with willowy limbs and billowing cloth, a curving alien helm and a long stave, before the figure spoke. Though wary of trickery, he sensed no taint of Chaos in this manifestation, for the energies given off by the shimmering vision was more akin to those of the Eldar that had aided in his resurrection. Within his mind, Guilliman was able to to decipher instructions from the figure's words before it finally vanished. At last, the Primarch was left with a new sense of purpose and, perhaps, even a sliver of hope. Here, at last, was a heading, and Guilliman meant to follow it.
Through the Storm
- "You are a relic of a bygone age, a footnote to your father's failures. You should have stated in the past where you belonged, Primarch, for you have no place in this future!"
Upon leaving the world of black marble and blood, the remnants of the crusade fleet set out with new determination. The crusade now numbered a third of the ships that had departed Ultramar, but they were still led by Guilliman's flagship, Macragge's Honour, and they still stood ready for battle at any moment. They had a heading at last, albeit one derived from the omen-laden whispering of an unknown figure. A promised navigational marker was reached, and then another and soon enough they had reached the final stretch of their journey out of the Maelstrom. But before them lay a massive graveyard of derelict ships from untold number of factions - all linked together in a massive web of chains. There was no way around it, for the graveyard seemed to stretch to infinity in all directions, which meant the only way was to go through. Progress was slow, and unnerving, as wreckage was pushed away to make room. But eventually the Navigators began to see the light of the Astronomican seeping through - they had finally found a way out. Guilliman was extra cautious though, for this was the most vulnerable leg of the journey and his caution proved correct, for suddenly they were beset by Red Corsair ships, which blazed out of their hiding spots amongst the wreckage of ruined vessel and attacked. The Imperial Fleet was outflanked, and the Red Corsair ships fired a brutal barrage to disable their targets in order to seize and salvage them. Guilliman ordered his ships to prepare for boarders, even wishing the Emperor's Blessings upon the defenders (much to his own distaste).
The Chaos Renegades struck the Macragge's Honour hard, aiming to swiftly overrun the defender's position on the bridge. The defence of the bridge held at first, but began to give. As Red Corsairs Chaos Terminators pushed through, waves of Horros and Flamers poured in behind them, along with the Lord of Change, Kairos Fateweaver himself, wrecking havoc through the Imperial defences. Guilliman roared a challenged, and charged at Fateweaver with Sicarius, Greyfax and Celestine covering his flanks, but this was the moment Kairos had planned for. Nine Heralds of Tzeentch suddenly revealed themselves during the height of the battle, and began chanting a Chaotic incantation. Sicarius attempted to direct fire on the spellcasters, but waves of expendable Horrors jumped in front of the Captain's bolter fire to provide a flesh shield for their dark masters. Kairos raised his staff for the final part of the spell. Ever since Guilliman had entered the Maelstrom, Kairos had been implanting subtle traps in the Primarch's mind to wear down his mental defences. It had not been easy, for the mind of a Primarch possessed formidable defences and the intervention of the Eldar had forced his hand earlier than Kairos would have liked. Finally, with the spell completed, Guilliman suddenly stumbled, as if struck by an invisible force. Streams of incandescent energy poured from Guilliman's mouth and eyes, and forced him to his knees. All the negative emotions, doubts and madness that Kairos had been seeding in Guilliman's mind burst forth and wrapped around him in a heavy crystal chain, paralysing him. Fateweaver then commanded the Imperials to surrender, lest they watch their Primarch be crushed before their eyes. With no other choice, the Imperial's lowered their weapons. Kairos stood gloating before them, victorious.
With Guilliman's capture, the battle of the starship graveyard was lost. Those Imperial warriors who did not surrender under threat of the Primarch's death were killed, or forced to capitulate. Champion Amalrich was amongst the latter, wrestled down and beaten unconscious by a mob of Red Corsairs as he single-handedly held the breach into his ship's enginarium. The loyalists and their stolen warships were taken under heavy guard to the nearest Red Corsairs stronghold. To their shock, this turned out to be one of the ancient Blackstone Fortresses. Six Blackstone Fortresses had been discovered early in the Imperium's history, scattered across the void. Seemingly ancient even at that time, the dormant structures were cyclopean in scale and utterly mysterious. The Imperium claimed the Blackstone Fortresses for its own. It was during the horrors of the Gothic War - one of Abaddon the Despoiler's notorious Black Crusades - that the Blackstone Fortresses were awoken. By the end of that tumultuous naval conflict, several fortresses were in the hands of the Black Legion, and at least one more had been destroyed. It was one of these legendary battle stations that was given as a gift by the Despoiler to Huron Blackheart in the wake of his rebellion against the Imperium. Such a kingly offering not only bought the loyalty of the Red Corsairs for Abaddon's great galactic endeavour, but also demonstrated the sheer incredible might of the Despoiler. After all, a warlord who could afford to give away even one such preeminent weapon must be supremely confident in their own power. How such a mighty structure had found its way onto the tides of the Maelstrom, none of the Imperial warriors knew. Ultimately it mattered little.
The Imperials were thrown into cells inside the massive space fortress, Guilliman held fast in the chains Kairos had forged from Guilliman's own mind. He would rot in the prison for a time -- Kairos didn't want to simply kill Guilliman, for a chained Primarch was far too good of a source of power to simple throw away, and already Kairos was plotting in ways to make use of him. The Red Corsairs would act as gaolers, content with the boons that Fateweaver could grant them. But perhaps Kairos was distracted and failed to see the future somehow, for he missed the massive Chaos fleet that was descending on the fortress -- Skarbrand the Exiled One had come for the skull of Guilliman.
The Khornate hordes fell upon the Blackstone Fortress. Surprised at first, then outraged, the Red Corsairs quickly rallied, forming firing ranks and pouring fire into the charging Khornate forces. Kairos howled in dismay at the unforeseen events, summoning masses of Tzeentchian daemons to fight back, as more and more Khornate daemons joined the slaughter. Meanwhile Guilliman, still trapped in his gaol, listened to the distant sounds of battle and prepared himself for any potential opportunities to escape. As the fighting raged many levels above, deep within the fortresses' core, a portal that had long lay dormant flickered to life. A band of shadowed figures, accompanied by a larger robed figure, slipped unseen into the Blackstone. Through the twisting maze of hallways they went, long-dormant systems coming to life to allow them access as they passed. Eventually they reached the cells that Guilliman and the Ultramarines were being held in, guarded by a full squad of Red Corsairs with guns trained at the only door into the gaol. At least the only door the Red Corsairs knew about. Silently and unseen, a door slid open at the back of the room and the Harlequins of the Masque of the Veiled Path, and the larger robed figure, moved soundlessly up behind the Red Corsairs and cut them down before they could even react. The robed figure grabbed the key to the cells off one of the guards as the Shadowseer, Sylandri Veilwalker, pointed him in the direction of a specific cell.
Guilliman watched the robed figure approach. The Primarch did not recognise this cowled Space Marine, but he knew that he was one of the I Legion, by the colours that he wore.
"You are Roboute Guilliman," said the mysterious Space Marine as he stopped outside the Primarch's cell.
"And you are one of the Lion's sons," replied Guilliman. "You keep questionable company, Dark Angel. Who are you, and why are you here?"
"I can free you," replied the hooded figure, deigning not to answer the Primarch's questions.
Realising that no further explanation was forthcoming, Guilliman frowned.
"Can," he rumbled. "Not will. What do you want in return?"
"You will take me to Terra," replied the Dark Angel. "To the Throne."
"It seems that my choices are to rot here, or accede to your demand," said the Primarch slowly.
"Very well," the Primarch replied, "But know this Dark Angel. If you seek to trick or manipulate me, nothing in this galaxy can save you." One side of Cypher's mouth lifts in a bitter smile.
"As you say," Cypher muttered as he unlocked all the cells.
Sylandri Veilwalker stepped forwards at this point, and Guilliman's eyes widened as he recognised her as the mysterious Eldar that guided them through the Maelstrom. But was she guiding them to freedom or had she deliberately sent them into a trap? Veilwalker began a dance as she focused her energy on the chains around Guilliman, unbinding them. Guilliman, Sicarius and the rest of the Ultramarines, several hundred strong, were free. They still had their armour, but no weapons. Veilwalker revealed that the loyalists' weapons, their vehicles and their allies had been locked inside a string of stasis vaults some distance from their cells, but that she could lead them there. Guilliman gestured for his mysterious benefactor to lead on. The Primarch did not trust the Eldar, nor the shadowy Space Marine who had come with them, but while his brilliant mind worked out the angles of their involvement, he would allow them to lead him to the rest of his forces. After all, Guilliman would never abandon his father' s sword within this den of snakes, nor the courageous allies who had accompanied him upon his quest. They moved quickly, for their escape would not go unnoticed for long. On the way they found the first stasis chamber and freed Celestine and her Geminae Superia, then a second, where they released Cawl and ranks of Skitarii forces and Battle Servitors. Then a third, which contained Inquisitor Greyfax and finally Grand Master Voldus and his Grey Knights which also contained their Dreadknights as well all the other Space Marines of the crusade, as well as dozens of tanks and Dreadnought brothers they had brought with them in their war ships. Captain Sicarius suggested they strike fast to their ships to escape, but Veilwalker informed them that the docks were thick with fighting. At any rate, the human crews of the ships were all dead and their Navigators have been taken away. The only way off was the route Cypher and the Harelquins had utilised to reach Guilliman, and the route they would use to lead him to Terra. At the fortress' heart, trammelled by ancient technology and still operational after millennia, was a stabilised route into the webway. The pathways it led into were huge, arterial routes that even starships could navigate -- they would accommodate the Imperial war machines with ease.
As the Imperial army and their guides made for the lower tunnels, they awakening of the fortress' deeper chambers had not gone unnoticed. As they made their way deeper into the ancient structure, they encountered stiffening resistance from bands of Red Corsairs and daemons sent to cut them off. As their advance slowed to a crawl, they found themselves assailed from all sides. Matters looked grim, but it was in that moment that spectral flames leapt amidst the foe, as ghostly voices whispered and hissed through the vox networks as shadow figures stepped from the inferno and opened fire. Clad in black and bone, wreathed in ætheric fire, the Legion of the Damned had arrived in the crusade's hour of need. Their thunderous volleys swept the Chaos forces from the bridges to Guilliman’s fore, and, with Veilwalker whirling and leaping at his side, the Primarch led the advance once again. Eventually the Imperial forces reached the heart of the Blackstone Fortress, a huge chamber a hundred miles across with bridges cutting across it, connecting various doorways. The Webway Portal is at the far side, but from the multitude of doorways stream endless waves of enemies -- Khornate Demons from one side, Tzeentchian Daemons from the other. As the Imperials cross the bridges towards the Webway Portal, a three-way fights break out between the Khorne, Tzeentch and Crusade forces. Guilliman catches sight of Kairos Fateweaver, exhorting his followers into battle and hurling bolts of sorcery at the loyalists from afar. Yet the Lord of Change clearly did not care to face Guilliman's resurgent wrath, for he stayed far removed from the white heat of the battle.
Not so Skarbrand, who violently hacked his way through a gaping portal in the chamber's wall, the Bloodthirster blazed like a furious pyre. Under Skarbrand's influence, Guilliman’s battle-brothers became more reckless and aggressive by the moment. Contaminated by the Daemon's fury, Amalrich and the last of the Black Templars turned aside from their route and hurled themselves into an onrushing mass of Khornate Daemons. Blood sprayed as a savage melee broke out. Guilliman barked orders through the vox, steadying the Ultramarines and their Primogenitors with the sheer force of his will. Bellowing, Amalrich hurled himself into battle with mighty Skarbrand, his black blade clashing with the Bloodthirster's axes again and again. With Voldus and his Dreadknights leading, and the relentless spectres of the Legion of the Damned fighting a silent rearguard, the crusade closed on the webway entrance. Cawl and his Skitarri are mowing down demons, Novamarine Vindicators are blasting away bridges to stop the demons flanking and Celestine and Greyfax are fighting side by side as they hack their way through demons.
But then Skarbrand lets loose a deafening roar, and leaps across the gap towards the Imperials. Guilliman’s eyes go wide as he see's Amalrich's Black Blade buried in the chest of Skarbrand, the only remaining sign of Amalrich himself, a bloody atonement for his failings on Cadia. Skarbrand lands amongst the Legion of the Dammed, sending them tumbling down the chasm into the darkness. The rearmost of the Imperial forces begin to turn back, already succumbing to Skarbrand's infectious bloodlust, and Guilliman realises he's about to lose control. He orders all Imperials to make fast across the last bridge to the Webway Portal and he turns back to confront Skarbrand, holding at the head of the bridge. All the Imperials, and the Harlequins, are through the portal by now with just Sicarius and Celestine remaining outside. Skarbrand had come for Guilliman's skull, that he might honour Khorne with it, and the Daemon did not intend to allow his quarry to escape now. In Guilliman's mind, hellish fires rose up on every side, full of the leering faces of his brothers who had fallen to Chaos. Unable to stop himself, the Primarch bellowed a war cry and leapt to meet Skarbrand's charge. The Emperor's burning blade met Slaughter with a dolorous clang, while Carnage whistled over the Primarch's head by a hair's breadth. Guilliman drove his shoulder guard into his opponent's midriff, then span on his heel and backfisted Skarbrand with the Hand of Dominion. The blow would have punched straight through a tank hull, yet the Bloodthirster merely rocked back on his heels before launching himself forward again. Hellforged axes hacked and lashed in huge, haymaker arcs, Guilliman barely blocking or evading each blow.
With a titanic effort of will, Roboute Guilliman forced down the supernatural rage that was drowning his rational mind. Gasping with effort, the Primarch trapped the furious fires in a ring of cold, mental steel. Even as he continued to fight his monstrous foe in reality, he fought a second battle in his mind. Step by step, he pushed back against his rage. With a final scream of mental anguish, Guilliman forced down all his fury and hatred, and locked them away behind impenetrable fortifications. As he did so, the fires that he perceived around him died away, and the bridge to safety swam back into focus. Beyond it, Sicarius and Saint Celestine were exhorting him to move before it was too late. Unwilling to let his enemy escape, Skarbrand hurled himself in a wild lunge with axes raised high. Guilliman coolly assessed the threat, raising the Hand of Dominion and blasting the Daemon backwards. Skarbrand bellowed in anger as explosive shells tore into his cranium and blew fleshy gobbets across the platform. Step by step, the Daemon was driven back, yet still he did not fall. Gritting his teeth at the sight of the enemy drawing close, Guilliman fired the last shells from his magazine, aiming for Amalrich's black blade. A single bolt struck the weapon and blew the black sword apart in a storm of deadly shards. Skarbrand's torso was shredded, and he toppled backwards off the platform with a final, furious roar. Immediately, Guilliman turned and sprinted across the bridge, hurling himself into the webway after Sicarius and the Living Saint. Behind him, the portal's warding runes sealed with a sharp crack, denying the surging tide of Daemons at the very last second.
The Hunter's Labyrinth
Guilliman finds himself standing amongst the survivors of the Terran Crusade. About two thirds of the warriors who escaped the cells remain alive, and Voldus and his Grey Knights have remained relatively unscathed. He notices Cypher standing with a group of similar armoured marines, and realises they must have been waiting for Cypher in the webway. Sylandri Veilwalker shares a loaded glance with Belisarius Cawl, before speaking to Guilliman -- they have to move quickly. She has Skyweaver Jetbikes scouting this area of the webway, warning of heavily armed intruders wearing ornate armour of blue and gold. The warriors had the stench of Chaos sorcery on them, and the unmistakable mark of Tzeentch. Guilliman's mind raced, weaving fragments of fact and glimpses of information with his peerless strategist's intuition. It was Magnus, realised the Primarch. His manipulative brother – who must have somehow known precisely how matters would play out for Guilliman - had sent his cursed sons to intercept the Imperials. The Crimson King had propelled the Lord of Ultramar onto a particular path of fate that Magnus had either hoped or known would lead him to his capture, incarceration within that very specific gaol, and eventual escape into this section of the webway. Guilliman could not know that the Crimson King had called upon his greatest champion, Ahriman, to aid him with his stolen knowledge of the webway's paths, but otherwise the Primarch's conclusions were entirely correct.
Swiftly and earnestly, Guilliman sought the counsel of his closest lieutenants. They had to determine what Magnus planned, and quickly, before they stepped straight into the Daemon Primarch's trap. It was Voldus who -- drawing upon his knowledge of Titan's ancient libraries -- made the intuitive leap. There was a warded entrance to the webway within the Emperor's Imperial Palace. Voldus believed it to be heavily defended, bound shut with the most potent abjurations that the Imperium could muster, but still it existed. Perhaps Magnus knew of that gate, and sought to follow them to it? Guilliman's strategic mind leapt ahead again, tracing patterns within patterns and perceiving the truth. Magnus already knew where the gate lay, he realised. There had been whispers that the Crimson King had passed that way before, and in so doing unleashed the catastrophe that fell upon him and his Legion. Magnus did not need them to lead him to the gate. He sought instead to follow them through it, clearly hoping that the gate's defences would be deactivated to allow for Guilliman's arrival. The Daemon Primarch wanted to strike at Terra, at the very Golden Throne of the Emperor of Mankind, and he hoped to launch his attack as the gate was thrown open to permit the Ultramarines Primarch passage.
Amidst the Sea of Storms
The crusade could not emerge at Terra, Guilliman realised with something like despair, not if it meant allowing Magnus to strike at the cradle of Humanity. Yet Sylandri Veilwalker had never intended for them to take that road. Instead, the Shadowseer revealed a secret that the Eldar had long guarded. Lying dormant for millennia, hidden behind a veil of wards that even Humanity's greatest psykers could not pierce, a lonely spar of the webway stretched out upon the border between realspace and the Warp to connect to Luna, Terra's only natural moon. It was to that illusion-veiled gate that the Crusade must now make haste. With their path chosen, the survivors of the Terran Crusade set out at once. Already they had crossed great gulfs of space, and fought their way through hellish environs, yet they began this new and arduous leg of their journey without complaint. Travelling fast, the Harlequins of the Veiled Path lead the way. Its not long before they come under attack by the Thousand Sons, with Rubricae and Tzaangors hounding them at every turn. Saint Celestine managed to cut a path through the traitorous throng, and the Imperials continued their fighting advance until eventually they reached the portal. Donning helms and rebreathers, they stepped through the portal onto the surface of Luna. The transition was a harsh one as they stepped through, from the relatively comfortable environment of the Webway to the harsh vacuum of space. The crusade emerged into a deep crater and, with rays of Sol itself spilling over the lip, bound their way up the sides of the pit. Veilwalker began a ritual incantation to seal the gate, but before she could finish it, the gate exploded outwards with a rush of blue energy as Rubric Marines step out of the gate. They began pouring salvos of sorcerous fire into the exposed Space Marines clambering up out of the crater. Guilliman halted the retreat at the top of the crater, as he stood amongst a graveyard of old decommissioned and junked starships. Above them was Terra itself, hanging stark against the blackness above. There was the destination that Guilliman sought, the end of his journey at last. Yet a deadly foe still chased at the Primarch's heels, and could not be allowed to work his malefic will within sight of the throneworld. Guilliman knew that the Warp phenomena currently erupting in the crater's depths must surely have triggered every alarm and emergency augur within a dozen terra-sols. It would not be long before overwhelming Imperial forces raced to investigate, but there was no telling what irrevocable havoc Magnus could cause before they arrived. He and his followers must hold the enemy here, driving the Thousand Sons back, or -- at the least -- keeping them suppressed until aid could arrive.
The Thousand Sons continued spilling from the webway gate in increasing numbers, threatening to overwhelm the Imperial forces. But Guilliman spread his warriors, walkers and tanks around its lip and commanded them to pour fire down into the advancing Thousand Sons. For a time, it appeared as though the Thousand Sons would be bottled up in the crater. Though their return fire caused slow attrition amongst the loyalists, the traitors were losing far more warriors than they slew. Then a fresh pulse of dark power surged through the webway gate, its energies whirling faster and faster until they formed a flaming vortex. A wave of supernatural dread swept over the loyalist Space Marines as a huge, horn-headed figure stepped through onto the surface of Luna. Spreading his wings wide, Magnus the Red looked up at Guilliman with an evil smile.
Gods of War
With the arrival of the Daemon Primarch, the Thousand Sons begin to turn the tide as their genesire launches a devastating sorcerous attack. This enables his warriors to fight their way clear of the crater, protected by a powerful kine shield erected by the Crimson King. Seeing his position at the top of the crater about to be overrun, Guilliman orders his forces to pull back to the wrecks of the spaceships for cover. The Thousand Sons rise over the lip and begin advancing again, Magnus floating up behind them, wreaking havoc with his psychic powers. Guilliman realises Magnus will tear through his army if left free, and launches into a charge, jumping off the edge of the crater to strike at him in the air. Magnus saw his brother coming and began an incantation of pain, but before he could finish it the Lord of Ultramar struck. Magnus managed to parry his brother's arcing blade with his glaive, but the battering ram impact of Guilliman's leap carried the Crimson King backward, away from the fight. The two Primarchs tumbled across the Luna surface, dust billowing around them, and smashed into the rusted wreck of an Imperial frigate. Slabs of metal and corroded ironwork crashed down around them, burying the fighting brothers in an avalanche of wreckage. Meanwhile, the battle around the crater raged on, the last remnants of the Terran Crusade fighting furiously to survive.
Guilliman rises from amongst the wreckage and looks around for Magnus, challenging the Daemon Primarch to face him. A deadly duel takes place between the embattled brothers, with the daemonic Crimson King slowly gaining an edge. Though in the martial realm, Guilliman is superior, Magnus is a master sorcerer, who utilises his malefic abilities to quickly gain an edge over the Avenging Son, by entombing Guilliman in an avalanche of crushing metal. Guilliman managed to rip his way up through the tumbled mountain of wreckage, refusing to let one of his degenerate brothers keep him from his responsibilities - not again. When Guilliman stepped forth, bloodied but unbroken, from beneath the pile of wreckage, Magnus arched an eyebrow in surprise, and braced his glaive to hurl another spell. It was then that the void lit with fire.
The Emperor's Wrath
The Terran Defence Fleet has arrived, and soon gilt-chased fighter craft screamed down over the Luna landscape as rippling lines of fire exploded amidst the Rubricae and Horrors alike. At the same time, vast leviathans of adamantium and plasteel rumbled in overhead. Naval system monitors of the Terran Defence Fleet hove into low orbit, their enormous forms swamping the battlefield in shadow as they came. Aided by triangulatory targeting data transmitted by Archmagos Cawl, the ships rained pinpoint-accurate fire upon the foe. On the battlefield, teleportation flares lit up as the golden armoured giants of the Adeptus Custodes arrived, their Guardian Spears levelled at the enemy. Hails of bolt fire ripped into the Rubricae. Cursing, the Sorcerers ordered their golem warriors to turn and address these new foes, but to no avail. Moving with breathtaking speed and skill, the Custodians hacked their way into the Heretic Astartes. Each fought like a hero born, their blades splitting power armour like firewood and sending empty helms spinning lazily away across the Luna surface. Rallying as aid appeared, the last enclaves of those warriors who set out from Macragge fought back with renewed fury.
The muffled boom of engines sounded overhead, heralding the arrival of further Imperial forces. Stark yellow Drop Pods slammed down, thrusters flaring. Their hatches opened and squads of Imperial Fists Space Marines emerged from within, bolters blazing at the enemy. Gunships rumbled overhead, yellow-hulled Stormravens and Stormtalons whose weapons tore through the Thousand Sons. Amongst these craft new a trio of Valkyries with hulls of crimson and black, the sigil of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica emblazoned upon their flanks. Arcing through the explosions and mayhem above the battlefield, the gunships made for the point some way distant where Guilliman still battled his monstrous brother. As their side doors slid open, they revealed a deadly force not seen on the battlefields of the Imperium in over nine-thousand years - the Sisters of Silence. Two squads of helmed Sisters of Silence dropped from the gunships. They landed near Guilliman in fighting crouches. Soon, the Crimson King finds his psychic edge over Guilliman completely nullified by the empyric dread zone around the warrior nulls. Seeing a strategic advantage at last, Guilliman leapt down from the mound of wreckage and landed amidst the Sisters of Silence. They would shield him from his brother's fell powers. Together, the Primarch and the sisters charged towards Magnus with their blades at the ready. Beneath the dark Luna sky, with Terra hanging, ancient and hallowed above them, the two Primarchs crashed together once again.
Meanwhile, Sylandri Veilwalker sees Guilliman and Magnus locked in their challenge, the two Primarchs trading hate-filled blows, their weapons crashing together with titanic force. The nulls were doing what they could to aid the fight, stabbing blades at the Daemon in their midst or pouring bolter fire into him. Veilwalker realised at that moment that the Final Act has arrived. Their drama had been played out, as the brother's enmity burned anew. Using her in-built communications inlay in her helm, Sylandri communed with the Death Jester known as the Hollow Prince. She informed Guilliman of her plan as she sprinted for the webway portal that they had arrived through, and took out the Sorcerers guarding it. She hastily prepares a ritual as Guilliman, was informed of the plan, and the Sisters of Silence continued to drive Magnus back down the crater towards the gate. The Lord of Ultramar drove Magnus back with hammer blows from the Emperor’s blade, then slammed his shoulder into his brother's chest and sent the Crimson King crashing down the steep slope. Guilliman leapt after him, not giving Magnus a chance to recover. The Primarch's onslaught was punishing, the wounded Guilliman visibly pouring everything he had into this last storm of blows. Magnus conjured a deadly sphere of Warp energies and hurled it at his brother with all his might. Guilliman's Iron Halo absorbed the worst of the blast, but still he was sent staggering back. With his back to the gate, the Primarch of the Thousand Sons conjured a wave of telekinetic fury and used it to firing a mass of Space Marine corpses – loyalist and traitor – at the last few nulls.
The Shadowseer started forward, fearing for the fate of the Final Act. Then, with a roar of hate and rage, Guilliman struck. The Lord of Ultramar lunged at his brother. The burning blade drove in, under the Daemon Primarch's guard, and sank deep into his chest. Golden flames leapt, and Magnus howled in agony as they chewed hungrily at his flesh. He unleashed his powers in an uncontrolled sorcerous blast, its shock wave racing out across the crater and throwing Sylandri from her feet. The burst of power hurled Guilliman onto his back, blade in hand, and sent Magnus staggering free, back through the pulsating webway gate. Sylandri had one chance, a single moment in which to alter fate. With a final word, she shattered the runestone that glowed hot in her palm, and severed the webway gate forever. Power surged, Magnus roared his fury, and then was cut off from Luna, his warriors and his brother, banished to the depths of the Labyrinth Dimension. The Primarch cast about for Sylandri Veilwalker, but found that she too had disappeared. A swiftly voxed question to his warriors revealed that the remainder of the Veiled Path had vanished with her, though none could say how. If it had all been a trick, Guilliman could not fathom its intent, but for now at least, Magnus was gone.
The battle was as good as won. Bolstered by the sudden arrival of the Adeptus Custodes and the Imperial Fists, the crusade had driven the Thousand Sons back. The remainder of the Thousand Sons were quickly mopped up by the Imperial forces. The final Rubricae, leaderless and without direction, were cut swiftly to pieces. The whirling storm of moon dust settled as the battle’s fury abated. With his loyal warriors kneeling around him and his foes destroyed, Guilliman allowed himself to lean for a moment upon his blade, and to feel the pain of both body and soul.
After the battle of Luna, matters moved swiftly. Fresh waves of craft descended to scour away the traitor corpses that littered the region. Inquisitorial agents and teams of Magos Xenotechnologis swarmed the battlefield, the former seeing to matters of containment and secrecy while the latter fell upon the deactivated webway gate like vultures. Guilliman ignored them all. He allowed the senior Apothecary amongst the Imperial Fists to tend to his most immediate hurts, and then insisted that he and his companions be allowed to press on. None was foolish enough to gainsay a living Primarch -- indeed, few save the Custodes could stop staring in wonderment long enough to communicate with him -- and so Guilliman's demands were soon met. An enormous golden craft resembling the two-headed Imperial aquila touches down upon Luna's surface. More warriors of the Adeptus Custodes strode down the ship's boarding ramp, joining their battle-scarred comrades and lining the route on board. Guilliman and his surviving warriors passed between them with their heads held high, Space Marines, Grey Knights, and the once-leaders of the Celestinian Crusade marching into the capacious hold of the aquila craft. Only once the ramp had whined shut behind them, and oxygen flowed back into the chamber, did the Custodes remove their helms and bow low to Guilliman. As the craft shuddered and lifted off, the Shield-Captain who led them introduced himself as Ty Adronitus, and explained that Guilliman and his warriors would be borne to Terra with all haste. They were to put down at the Eternity Wall spaceport, and from there would travel as part of a triumphant parade to the Emperor's Palace. The High Lords had anticipated the Primarch's desire to stand before the Golden Throne, explained Shield-Captain Adronitus. They would do everything they could to facilitate it, and to fete the living Primarch's return to the throneworld.
Finally, Guilliman's transport swung in to dock on a dedicated platform set into the flanks of the Eternity Wall spaceport. Robed figures were gathered on every side to witness and honour the Primarch's arrival. Servo-choirs sung out hymns to the Emperor while auto-scribes scribbled with eagle-feather quills in iron tomes borne by chained slaves. Dignitaries of the Administratum and the Adeptus Terra flocked close, mingling with bombastic priests of the Ministorum and nobles garbed in outrageous finery. All bowed to Guilliman as he emerged from the transport, forming the sign of the aquila with their hands and vying to cry out their devotion the loudest. The Primarch did his best to smile, and to acknowledge the clamouring masses with dignity and respect. His mind was a whirl -- the last time Guilliman had seen Terra was many thousands of years before, and where once there had been industrious glory, now all was buried in grotesque layers of gothic over-construction, industrial sprawl and macabre religious ornamentation. The Primarch's sense of dislocation and sorrow only increased as he and his followers were led through the masses as men and women, young and old, called out their devotion and wept for joy to see the Primarch pass, yet even his presence could not draw them from their places in queues that their ancestors had first joined, and that their progeny one day aspired to reach the front of. At last they finally passed into the palace proper, by way of a dizzyingly tall gate graven with warring angels and Daemons. There they dismounted their lumbering transports, and Guilliman was glad to proceed on foot through the precincts of the inner palace. More gates and splendour flowed past, so much that it all blurred into an impossible assault upon the senses. At last, feeling more exhausted by his homecoming than he ever had by any battle, Guilliman came before the final gate. Beyond that expansive arch lay the Emperor's throne room, and there, the Golden Throne of the Master of Mankind.
Before the Golden Throne
It would take several more days until finally, the remnants of the Terra Crusade reached the glory of the Eternity Gate itself - the final gateway into the symbolic heart of the Realm of Man, the Sanctum Imperialis, the most sacred place for humanity in the whole of the galaxy. Beyond this massive portal was where the Emperor of Mankind resided within the live-giving prosthetic device known as the Golden Throne. The doorway itself was beautifully worked in gold, bronze and precious stones, though it had the look of ancient, faded grandeur. It stood fifty feet high within an arch of black marble, atop a flight of stone steps into which deep grooves had been worn by the passage of countless feet. The edges of each step were piled with petitioners' bones. Atop the steps stood twenty of the Adeptus Custodes - part of the elite cadre known as the Companions - 300 of the most skilled and highly trained warriors in the Imperium, who guarded the Sanctum Imperialis. They were accompanied by a Martian priest, and led by a regal warrior in a high-plumed helm, golden armour and an ermine-trimmed cloak. Roboute Guilliman strode up the processional, through masses of pilgrims and petitioners who reached out quivering hands to touch his armour as he passed. With him walked Captain Sicarius, Grand Master Voldus, Shield-Captain Adronitus, and the mysterious Cypher and his battle-brothers, along with Belisarius Cawl, Katarinya Greyfax and Saint Celestine. This last figure was scarcely less adored by the crowds than Guilliman himself, and she turned aside before the steps to offer her blessings to all. Behind them marched the last battle-brothers of the Terran Crusade, footfalls crashing and weapons held at parade ground readiness. Despite all they had endured, the Space Marines and Grey Knights made for a magnificent sight.
Guilliman halted at the foot of the stairs, and looked up into the steely eyes of the Custodians. Their leader stepped forward, rapping his ornate spear thrice against the top step and announcing himself as Aquila Commander Kalim Varanor. In formal high gothic, Varanor asked who came before the throne room of the Emperor of Mankind. Equally formal, Shield-Captain Adronitus announced the leaders of the Terran Crusade, one by one. Further words were exchanged, ancient forms repeated by rote, but lent gravitas by the arrival of a living Primarch. Guilliman's purpose was demanded and given: to gain an audience with his father, the Emperor. The air thickened with tension, millions of onlookers holding their collective breaths as the Aquila Commander held the gaze of the returned Primarch. The Aquila Commander looked to the Martian priest hunched at Guilliman's side. The robed figure inclined its head in assent, and Varanor announced his verdict. The Primarch would be permitted to pass, alone, into the throne room. All others would wait outside.
At this, Cypher stiffened, his hands straying towards his holstered pistols. Guilliman had expected this moment, and had planned for it accordingly. The hooded Dark Angel and his men had upheld their end of the bargain, granting Guilliman his freedom on the Blackstone Fortress. Yet the Primarch was not fool enough to trust such an ominous figure blindly. He might not have recognised Cypher, but he knew the blade on the Dark Angel's back. The sight of it made him shudder with dread. He would not permit such a thing into his father's presence. Stepping aside, Guilliman commanded the Custodian Guards to apprehend Cypher and his warriors. Their presence was a riddle, one that could be solved once more pressing matters had been attended to. Cypher responded with the first show of emotion any there had seen from him. He snarled in anger, ripping his pistols from their holsters before hesitating for one crucial moment, visibly torn between attempting escape and making a doomed lunge for the doorway above. In that second, the Custodians closed in with their guardian spears levelled. Cypher and his followers found themselves surrounded in a ring of crackling blades. Slowly, his half-seen expression grim, Cypher holstered his weapons, and he and his brothers knelt in submission before their captors. Wrists bound with electrocuffs, they were led away by stern Custodians and locked away within a warded prison block that, for thousands of years, not a single inmate had escaped. In just a few short hours, however, Cypher would do just that, and in doing so leave no trace of his passing. For the moment, though, Guilliman knew only that the sinister figures were dealt with, and more pressing matters could be attended to. Face solemn, blade sheathed and helm tucked under one arm, the Primarch ascended to his father's throne room.
At the top of the steps, the Custodian Guards parted to allow the Primarch passage. The Tech-Priest stepped forward, however, emitting a blurt of binharic cant and bowing before Guilliman. With skittering haste, Archmagos Cawl swayed up the steps behind the Primarch and came to his side. Guilliman waited, impatient, as the two Martian priests exchanged encoded binharic blurts, then Cawl turned to him and spoke cryptic words. Only the Custodes heard what was said, of secret pacts on Mars, and long works drawing at last to their conclusions, but -- as with so many dark secrets exchanged over the millennia upon these very steps -- they affected deafness and ignorance. Their exchange concluded, Cawl turned without comment and swept down the steps, his acolyte in tow. The priests vanished through the crowd and thence from Terra entirely, for they had matters of significant import to attend to upon the red planet.
Guilliman was left standing alone before the ornate doorway, dwarfed by its immensity. A single, booming chime rang through the cathedrum processional, and a collective sigh of wonder and fear escaped the pilgrims gathered there as the doorway cracked open. Slowly, silently, the tall doors swung inwards to reveal only darkness and drifting mists beyond. The vapours twined about Guilliman's limbs like serpents, and spilled down the steps behind him amidst the faint echo of sorrowful, ghostly voices. Noble features set in an implacable mask, Guilliman took a slow, deep breath and stepped into the Emperor’s throne room. As silently as they had opened, the doors swept closed behind him, and Roboute Guilliman was lost to sight. Only after two days had passed, did the doors finally swing open. Glowing mist spilled from within, silver now like the cold shimmer of moonlight on bones, and from the cold radiance stepped Roboute Guilliman. The Primarch's expression was unreadable as he strode down the steps to rejoin his warriors. The crowds cried out in awe and dread, begging the Primarch for enlightenment. Instead, Guilliman gathered his soldiers around him, and bade Aquila Commander Varanor to attend him also. Guilliman demanded an immediate assembly of the High Lords of Terra, stating that he intended to resume his seat upon that august council. Roboute Guilliman would become the Lord Commander of the Imperium of Mankind once more. Of his meeting with the Emperor, Guilliman would say only that he had received all the enlightenment that he required.
In the days that followed, the Primarch became the centre of a whirlwind of activity. He addressed the High Lords, claiming the Emperor's personal mandate as he forcibly removed several of them from office and replaced them with individuals of his own choosing. Guilliman warned the High Lords of an encroaching darkness, a terrible Warp phenomenon that was even now manifesting itself across the galaxy from end to end. The war against the Dark Gods was entering a new phase, more desperate and doom-laden than ever before. The Great Rift was opening. New Warp rifts were splitting the void in terrifying number, while existing phenomena roiled outwards like the pyroclastic clouds of volcanic eruptions. Witch-lights swam between the stars, and monstrous things moved behind the veil of reality, all gnashing fangs and glaring eyes. Whole sectors of the Imperium were going dark, while others reported the onslaught of rabid greenskin hordes, aggressive Tau fleets or deathless Necron hosts, seemingly driven to conquest in the face of the expanding storm fronts. Heretic cults and rogue psykers rose up in their billions, and every Imperial world seemed set to burn in the fires of galactic war.
For all these disturbing omens and disastrous losses, Guilliman urged Humanity's leaders not to give up hope. The Emperor of the Imperium was not blind to their plight, and neither was its Lord Commander. New armies would be raised, in breathtaking numbers. From Belisarius Cawl's forges on Mars, Guilliman planned to bring forth new and terrible weapons whose fury even the worshippers of the Chaos Gods would be unable to withstand. Fresh fleets would be built, grand war engines consecrated in the Emperor's holy name. The manufactorums would labour like never before, and every single servant of the Emperor would do their part. The Imperium faced total war on a galactic scale; with Warp storms spreading and intensifying, no world was safe. Yet Humanity would not drown in this tide of warfare, but instead would ride upon the crest of a bloody wave to triumph against the darkness.
Roboute Guilliman vowed that he would not cower behind Terra's walls and wait for Mankind's oppressors to bring death to his door. He would stride out amongst the stars and meet the enemy in the Emperor's name, as he always had. The Imperium would unite as one in the face of mutual annihilation, and take the battle to the mutant, the traitor, the alien and the heretic. So commanded Roboute Guilliman and thus, even as the Warp storms raged and the Astronomican itself strove to pierce their ever-blackening clouds, vast armies and armadas were raised in numbers not seen since the Great Crusade. A dark new age called from amidst the fires of endless war, and the Imperium would answer.
- Armour of Reason - Known in the legends of his Legion as the "ever-reforged" armour, it was said that Roboute Guilliman himself had this set of Artificer Armour remade and adapted countless times if ever a flaw or weakness was discovered in battle, and at various times the artisanship both of Mars and his fellow Primarchs Vulkan and Perturabo influenced its design in the days before the sundering of the Imperium.
- Gladius Incandor & the Hand of Dominion - As with many of his brother Primarchs, Roboute Guilliman possessed a vast selection of weapons and wargear, both to wield on the battlefield as desire and need dictated, and in Guilliman's case also to study and contemplate, so that his arts of war and that of his Legion could be continuously honed and improved. Perhaps the most iconic of these arms were the power gauntlet known as the Hand of Dominion and the glittering master-crafted blade known as the Gladius Incandor. These were not merely weapons of surpassing quality, but symbols for the Ultramarines Legions of their master's might and authority.
- The Arbitrator - One of Roboute Guilliman's favoured side arms when in open battle was a heavily customised Combi-Bolter which he was able to wield as deftly as one of is Legionaries might handle a pistol. Dubbed by him the "Arbitrator" for the matters it settled, it was tooled to tolerances beyond any but the archmagos of the Mechanicum to fathom, while its bolt shells were hand-crafted by the finest ordnancer-wrights of the Legion's forges and fitted with micro-atomantic compression warheads.
- Cognis Signum
- Frag Grenades
- Armour of Fate - Crafted by the armourers of the Adeptus Mechanicus, its inner workings enhanced with advanced life-sustaining technologies, this glorious suit of armour fits Guilliman perfectly, and protects him from even the most dolorous blows.
- The Emperor's Sword - This famed sword was wielded by the Emperor Himself during the Great Crusade and was passed on to Guilliman after he assumed the mantle of Lord Protector of the Imperium. Touched by the Emperor's own psychic might, this finely wrought, master-crafted blade is lit from hilt to tip with leaping flames. When it is swung, the burning blade draws pyrotechnic arcs through the air, able to slice through the stoutest of armour with ease.
- Hand of Dominion - An advancement of the mighty gauntlet worn by Guilliman during the Horus Heresy, this godly Power Fist not only allows the Primarch to crush the life from his foes, but to annihilate them in storms of armour piercing gunfire with its in-built bolter.
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 7-9, 12-15, 24, 84
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pg. 36
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pp. 4, 7-9, 11-13, 15
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 53-54, 200
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 67-73
- Horus Heresy – Volume II: Visions of Darkness
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Index Astartes III, "Warriors of Ultramar - The Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter"
- Insignium Astartes: The Uniforms and Regalia of the Space Marines
- The Horus Heresy - Book Five: Tempest by Alan Bligh, pp. 70-82, 96-99, 238-239
- Warhammer 40,000 - Gathering Storm III: Rise of the Primarch (Campaign Supplement)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 161, 187, 403
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 134
- White Dwarf 264 (AU), "Index Astartes – Ultramarines"
- White Dwarf 263 (US), "Index Astartes - First Founding: Warriors of Ultramar - The Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter", pp. 18-25
- White Dwarf 97 (US), "Index Astartes - Ultramarines" by David Wise & Rick Priestley, pp. 39-49
- Defenders of Ultramar (Graphic Novel) by Graham McNeill, Issue 1, pg. 5
- The First Hertic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, 'Rules of Engagement' by Graham McNeill
- Know No Fear (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Betrayer (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Roboute Guilliman: Lord of Ultramar (The Horus Heresy: Primarchs, Book 1) - David Annandale
- Forge World - Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines
|Horus • Leman Russ • Lost Primarchs • Ferrus Manus • Fulgrim • Vulkan • Rogal Dorn • Roboute Guilliman • Magnus the Red • Sanguinius • Lion El'Jonson • Perturabo • Mortarion • Lorgar • Jaghatai Khan • Konrad Curze • Angron • Corvus Corax • Alpharius Omegon|