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|Space Wolves 13th Company|
The Howl of the Wulfen: mortal ears had not heard it for more than 10,000 standard years until the start of the 13th Black Crusade; eyewitnesses report that the effect is devastating to enemy morale, and often equally unnerving for friendly troops.
First Founding (30th Millennium)
- "The Bear shall take up the mantle of Gatekeeper, and the Lost Kin return to the Realms of Man. Brother shall slay brother, as at the Dawn of Time, but the Were-kin stand aloof. Their task set in stone before them. The Son of the Traitor shall lay waste - First the Gate, then the Palace. The Children of Russ shall oppose him or perish, their names reviled for all time. Now is the time, mighty Wolf. Your hunt is nearing its end. Your quarry is set before you. Your saga shall be sung for all time."
- — Prophecy of Frode
The 13th Great Company was one of the original Great Companies of the Space Wolves Space Marine Legion. The Great Company disappeared during the Horus Heresy, only to re-emerge from the Eye of Terror during the 13th Black Crusade. They vanished from Imperial records, and their loss is honoured by a black stone in the Grand Annulus (the record of Space Wolf Great Companies).
- "Guard your tongue, whelp, lest I cut it out. I care not for your moon-touched ramblings, nor for the tales of your grandmother. Mark this well - of the 13th Company we do not speak."
- —Ulfric Hoodclaw
The origins of the 13th Great Company lie in the dawn of the Age of the Imperium, when the Primarchs were reunited with the Emperor and his Space Marine Legions. The 13th Great Company was formed from the followers of Leman Russ from his days on Fenris, before the coming of the All-Father (the Emperor). They were all old men by the standards of the Astartes, having been reavers and sword-brothers to Leman, King of the Russ. When the truth of Leman’s heritage was finally revealed, every warrior in the king's mead-hall had drawn their iron blades and clamoured to fight at his side, as sword-brothers ought. But they were all too old, the Emperor had told them; not a man among them was younger than twenty years. The trials they would have to endure would very likely kill them, no matter how courageous and strong-willed they were. Yet the men of Leman's mead-hall were mighty warriors, each man a hero in his own right, and they would not be dissuaded by thoughts of suffering or death. Leman, the king, was moved by their devotion, and could not find it in his heart to refuse them. And so his loyal thanes undertook the Trials of the Wolf, and true to the Emperor's word, the vast majority of them died. Out of hundreds, only two score survived, a number that still amazed even the Emperor himself. In honour of their courage, Leman –- no longer king now, but Primarch and rightful lord of the VIth Legion –- formed a new, elite company of Astartes around the survivors. Ever since, the other warriors of the Legion referred to the 13th Company as the "Greybeards". The members of the company, however, called themselves the Wolf Brothers. Immediately preceding the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, the 13th Company was led by Wolf Lord Bulveye.
Being the genetic progeny of Leman Russ, the Space Wolves carry within them a unique gift inherited from his gene-seed: the genetic traits collectively called the Canis Helix, the Mark of the Wolf that sets the Space Wolves apart from the Astartes of other Chapters. The Canis Helix invests the Space Wolves with the acute predatory senses of the semi-sentient wolves native to their homeworld of Fenris, but this gift comes at a price: the Curse of the Wulfen. Those Space Wolves Astartes who succumb to the curse degenerate into savage, malformed, werewolf-like parodies of their brethren, in most cases during their training, but in others many years later in the heat of battle. The Space Wolves' harsh induction regime generally ensures that these vulnerable individuals perish at an early stage in the process of being transformed into an Astartes. However, at the time of the Great Crusade, when the Emperor of Mankind and his Legions were conquering vast swathes of the galaxy in the name of humanity, those Space Wolves touched by the curse were banded together into the 13th Great Company, where their feral ferocity could be brought to bear en masse, as well as contained for the safety of the whole Legion.
That the 13th Company accompanied Russ on the Great Crusade is for certain, although the details of the campaigns in which they fought are lost to antiquity. Only the names of actions, long since forgotten, appear in the Imperial archives, battles such as the First Siege of Methrix and the Battle of the Plains of Mo-Shan, the Fall of the Paramours of the Morpheus Rift, and the Crossing of Hangman's Void. The fate of the 13th Company is a subject of numerous myths, and the Space Wolves themselves will not be drawn as to which holds the true account. In truth, it is probable that an element of veracity exists within each, and that none are wholly inaccurate. There are some sagas which outsiders are never permitted to hear, ones told by the Rune Priests on only the most sacred of occasions. Though some sagas have been set to record by strangers, and the Space Wolves have spoken, some would say bragged, at length regarding certain aspects of their long and glorious history, there are certain passages that mean death should outsiders overhear them.
The Fall of Prospero
The saga known as The War of the Giants purports to be a record of the fall of Prospero. In the opening days of the Horus Heresy, the Space Wolves were treacherously ordered by the corrupt Warmaster Horus to assault their brother Legion, the Thousand Sons, and to call them to account for the sorcerous actions of their Primarch, Magnus the Red. The Emperor had desired only that Magnus be brought peacefully to Terra by the Space Wolves to account for his violations of the precepts of the Council of Nikaea, but Horus sought to force Magnus and the Thousand Sons into the arms of Chaos and so deceived Leman Russ into thinking that the Emperor had ordered an all-out assault on the Thousand Sons' homeworld. The saga states that the 13th Company was at the head of the assault on the Thousand Sons' Legion's homeworld of Prospero, and that the sheer ferocity of their attack smashed a hole in the traitor lines through which the remainder of the Space Wolves could penetrate. At the height of the battle, it is told that Magnus opened a portal, a means of escaping the destruction wrought by the Space Wolves. Magnus and the remnants of his Legion fled, but it is said that Russ ordered the 13th Company to give chase, and in so doing they left the realm of Man, never to return.
It is said that the members of the 13th Company swore terrible-binding oaths; to hunt their implacable foes down until every last one of the cursed Traitor marines was slain, no matter how long it took, nor where they fled. Wolf Lord Bulveye himself casts small doubt over the veracity of these legends with his guarded response to Ragnar Blackmane's historical account of their mission.
The Battle of Terra
Fragments of other records suggest that the disappearance of the 13th Company did not occur until after the Siege of the Emperor's Palace during the Battle of Terra, which saw the rebel Warmaster Horus finally defeated and the Traitor Legions of the Chaos Space Marines routed to the Eye of Terror. In the wake of the galaxy-spanning civil war, which saw the Imperium brought to its knees by Horus's treachery. Some of the Loyalist legions sought to consolidate the forces of Mankind. But Leman Russ, ever headstrong and proud, demanded that the Traitors not be allowed to establish a foothold within the Eye of Terror, and that the Imperium should strike immediately. Though Primarchs Guilliman and Dorn overrode their erstwhile brother Primarch, it has been suggested that Russ may have dispatched the 13th Company with orders to hunt down Ezekyle Abaddon, the Warmaster's Lieutenant, and bring his head as a trophy to set before the Emperor. Other, more dubious theories suggest that the Wulfen gave chase of their own accord, some even whispering that the 13th Company was tainted by Chaos all along, and were seeking to join the ranks of the Traitors. This legend bears up well to the little evidence that exists to support it; the Wulfen did embark upon some form of pursuit, which has been given credence by the timing of their emergence from the Eye of Terror ten millennia later during the 13th Black Crusade.
A further legend speaks of the disappearance of a Space Wolves force through an Eldar Webway portal, though in this particular case the story relates to the so-called "Wolf Brothers". Little information as to the true identity of this group survives, though what scraps of data have been recovered suggest that the Wolf Brothers were in fact a successor Chapter of the Space Wolves that was disbanded due to some form of genetic instability. A passage in The Calleria (ca. M37) cites the Wolf Brothers as pursuing an Eldar force through a mystical portal, from which they never returned:
"...And ranging 'cross Yahals plain
The Eldar turned at bay.
They stood and fought, shed blood
And burned A thousand men that day."
"Then Wolf Brothers came
To slay them all,
Bloody swords raised, howling,
Answering the warriors' call."
"No alien could stand against
So fierce a foe.
No trick would turn them aside.
On they came, unstoppable
To strike a deadly blow."
"Turning, fleeing the Eldar ran
Through their portal
Beyond the reach of man.
Undaunted the Wolf Brothers
Pursued them unto realms immortal"
"Though aliens were defeated,
Their fury tamed,
The ill-fated Wolf Brothers
Were lost, mourned
Never seen again..."
The similarity between this and other legends suggests that a kernel of truth lies at the heart of the matter, though the exact details will likely never be known.
An excerpt from Dionerius' Rise of Man, authored sometime in the 31st Millennium that is entitled, "The Wulfen" speaks of these legends even further:
The Return of the 13th Company
What is established fact is that the 13th Company eventually vanished from Imperial records. To this day, a place is reserved at the feasts held in the Hall of the Chapter's Great Wolf in The Fang for a Wolf Lord who has not attended his liege since the time when Russ himself led his sons into battle. Their loss is honoured by a black stone set in the Grand Annulus (the record of the Space Wolves Great Companies). Yet, somehow, these hardy Sons of Russ survived their journey through the Eye of Terror and emerged back into realspace, long after they should have perished, in pursuit of Abaddon the Despoiler. Given that they vanished before the Emperor was interred within the Golden Throne in the early 31st Millennium, they have been missing for approximately 10,000 standard years. Their reappearance at the beginning of Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41 has brought them back into the light of the Emperor's grace. They appear to still be in pursuit of the goal their Primarch Russ set out for them. It was believed that Leman Russ himself was their leader, although this was never proven.
The first reported instance of direct contact between Imperial forces and a 13th Company warband was during the raid on the Ormantep Listening Post. One of only a handful of survivors, a Sanctioned Psyker stationed with the post's Kasrkin defenders reported that she was almost decapitated by a Wulfen with whom she tried to communicate, and it was only on the orders of another 13th Company leader that the beast spared her. That the Wulfen are highly effective in close quarters combat is evident, but it is also clear that they are potentially as dangerous to Imperial troops as they are to the enemy.
Company Combat Doctrine
To date, only a handful of reports have been logged regarding actions in which the newly emerged 13th Company have taken a hand. In each of these battles, the company has attacked without warning, penetrating deep into enemy lines before launching a devastating close-range assault. It has been observed that 13th Company warbands prefer to attack during the hours of darkness, where the element of surprise can be used to greatest effect, but even in the daylight hours, its ambushes and infiltrations have proven decisive in a number of early engagements in Abaddon's latest 13th Black Crusade.
In terms of equipment, the warriors of a 13th Company warband fight, and travel, light. They have never been observed to use transports of any type. It is of course entirely possible that the 13th Company were never issued any vehicles in the first place, as their superior infiltration skills would make the use of front line vehicles undesirable and unnecessary. The equipment carried by the Company appears basic, and even debased compared to a conventional Space Wolves force. Each Space Marine carries a variety of weapons, from Bolter to primitive Combat Blade, and many of these weapons appear to have been scavenged from Chaos forces, or have been adorned in such a manner as to appear that way. There is no doubt that some of the men of the Company wear Power Armour stripped from the bodies of fallen Traitors, and this is a matter that the Ordo Malleus will no doubt wish to pursue when the current crisis has been resolved. Indeed, a number of Inquisitors have already expressed a desire to call them to account: amongst them Radicals who see the Company as successfully having turned the weapons of Chaos upon itself, and Puritans for the very same reason.
The 13th Company's organisation departs heavily from the Space Wolves' norms, due to the lack of reinforcements resupplying the company, the inability to train members in specialist roles, the lack of heavy equipment and new armoured vehicles, and the effect of having to exist within the heart of the Eye of Terror for 10,000 standard years while still remaining uncorrupted by Chaos (though time does pass differently within the Immaterium). The core of a 13th Company warband are the Grey Slayers. Similar to Grey Hunters, they fulfill the same role as their Grey Hunters counterparts within a standard Space Wolves Great Company, but each Slayer is far and away a superior fighter to his Grey Hunter equivalent. This is no surprise to Imperial observers, as the normal flow of new recruits into a Great Company has been cut off, making the progression from Grey Hunter to Wolf Guard impossible. The 13th Company has adopted an ad hoc structure, often separating men into specialised units that support one another, in the manner of a pack of wolves on the hunt. The core of this force remains the equal of the elite elements of many other armies.
As the Grey Hunters are unable to advance to the traditional post of Wolf Guard, it can be noted that there are no Blood Claws within the Company. It can be expected that any Blood Claws that disappeared with the Company would have either died in action, or long since progressed up the ranks, and that no replacements would have been forthcoming within the Eye of Terror with which to replenish them.
The Company's assault specialists are the Storm Claws. They are equally experienced, but still more hot-headed and aggressive than their kinsman in the Gray Slayers. Some of the senior ranks found within the Space Wolves are also absent from the 13th Company. Other than the Wolf Lord himself, the only leaders to be found operating outside of the Packs are the Rune Priests and Wolf Priests. It is assumed that this is due to the fact that casualties amongst the other ranks could not be replaced due to the lack of specialised training and resources. This poses some interesting questions regarding the Rune Priests, as the Company appears to have had no trouble maintaining a cadre of these psychically-gifted individuals. Evidently, the Eye of Terror has had some effect on the men of the Company, apparently unlocking previously untapped psychic ability within its ranks.
The use of the Wulfen by the Company represent the most drastic departure from the order of battle of a normal Space Wolves force. The Wulfen are consummate predators, who throw themselves at their foe as soon as he is scented. Whether the Wulfen packs are standing formations, or are formed on a temporary basis as men succumb to the Curse of the Wulfen is, at this stage, unknown. The Space Marines who mutate into Wulfen are similar to the mythological creatures known as "werewolves" in the same way that those Blood Angels who are cursed with the gene-seed flaw known as the Red Thirst resemble the legendary monsters called "vampires." Any Space Wolf to suffer as a Wulfen becomes a half-man, half-wolf creature with a feral mind. The mutation, a result of the gentic instability inherent within the genetic sequence of the Space Wolves' gene-seed known as the Canis Helix, normally manifests itself in the Neophyte stage and Space Wolves must spend time in their training in a scenario designed to out those who have become Wulfen.
Though normal Space Wolves sometimes use individual Wulfen in battle, the 13th Company uses entire packs. Each and every member of the 13th Company carries the Curse, and it manifests itself in the Space Wolves at different times. Thus even the Wulfen packs do not stay the same. It has manifested itself so strongly and so late because it reacts to the influence of Chaos; because of this side of their nature acting as a kind of spiritual defence mechanism, Space Wolves are exceptionally resistant to the malign influence of Chaos. It is believed that the 13th Company have only been able to survive living as Loyalist Space Marines in the Eye of Terror so long precisely because of this trait.
It has been noted by Inquisitor Asmorales that the numbers of the Wulfen-kind that disappeared 10,000 Terran years ago must have been equivalent to a contemporary Space Marine Chapter, based on the far larger size of the First Founding Legions. To date, only a handful of men of the 13th Company have been observed, and so the Inquisitor believes that the majority of the Company remains within the Eye of Terror, slain, or engaged upon a mission only they know the nature of. It is also likely that a number of separate contingents of Wulfen-kind are at large, each harrying the forces of Chaos and each led by a Lord who is vassal to an individual yet to reveal his hand in the conflict.
The 13th Company has reappeared at a time of great peril for the Imperium, and is mercilessly hounding Abaddon in a campaign of ambushes and infiltrations. That they are engaged upon a pursuit is evident, and is entirely consistent with the legend that Leman Russ despatched the Wulfen-kind to hunt down the Despoiler. That they must have been engaged upon their hunt for 10,000 standard years is testament to their persistence, though none can tell how many solar years have passed for them within the warped dimensions of the Eye of Terror.
One question that remains to be answered is just how the current Space Wolves Great Wolf Logan Grimnar will receive the returned Wulfen-kind. Will they disappear once more when some unknown short-term goal is met, or will they seek to return to their Chapter? Some say that the Wulfen have spent too long within the Realm of Chaos, expressly against Inquisitorial dictate, and this alone should preclude their return to the Imperium. Of course, the Space Wolves, known for their strident independence from the institutions of the Imperium, may welt oppose any and all censure of their erstwhile brothers. With Abaddon's invasion at full height the Imperium can ill-afford internecine conflict.
That the Canis Helix is responsible for the condition of the Wulfen is known, and it has been suggested that it is this savage force of nature that resides within each Space Wolf that has allowed the 13th Company to survive the long millennia of corruption by the power of Chaos. One other thing that sets the warriors of the 13th Company apart from the rest of their Space Wolf brethren is the large percentage of warriors who have succumbed to the animal nature that is part of the genetic legacy of their Primarch: the Mark of the Wulfen. This genetic mutation causes their canine nature to manifest itself more fully and, amongst other things, thick hair to grow over all the body and claws to sprout from the hands. These warriors gather together in packs, surrendering themselves to their animalistic nature, rushing headlong at their foes, eager to use their sharp claws and teeth in close combat.
What is not known, and remains to be seen, is whether their presence within the Eye of Terror has tainted the gene-seed of the 13th Company in any way. Many simply point to the bestial appearance of the Wulfen-kind, and their use of scavenged Traitor Marine wargear as all the evidence needed to condemn them, but others defend their methods as pure necessity. Wulfen packs are often led into battle by Wolf Priests, and it is theorised that these individuals play a vital rote in controlling the excesses of the Wulfens' curse. Wolf Priests of the Space Wolves are the keepers of the genetic lore passed down to them in a direct line from Leman Russ, and appear to be the only men able to control a Space Wolf when the Were is upon him. The Wolf Priests are obviously acting as guardians, leading packs of Wulfen in combat, and ministering to their charges between conflicts.
The Adeptus Mechanicus undoubtedly wish to analyse the gene-seed of slain 13th Company Space Wolves, though to date they have not succeeded in doing so. Should they find any impurities then the scale of the Imperium's response, and what side the Space Wolves take, could only be imagined.
Notable Members of the Space Wolves' 13th Great Company
- Wolf Lord Bulveye - Since the dawn of the Imperium, Bulveye has been the Company's Wolf Lord, leading the 13th Great Company from the Fall of Prospero, to the untold horrors of the Eye of Terror, and back into the present age of the late 41st Millennium against the vile forces of Abaddon the Despoiler and his 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41. Bulveye was originally the commander of the Space Wolves Legion's 954th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade.
- Wolf Lord Jorin Bloodfang - Ancient contradictory accounts state that it was Jorin Bloodfang who led the fabled 13th Great Company -- given command by none other than the Space Wolves' Primarch, Leman Russ himself. Whether or not this is fact, the truth remains unknown due to the passage of time, missing accounts and and contradictory accounts. Though Jorin Bloodfang may well be a Wolf Lord of the 13th Great Company, it is unknown if he is the senior Wolf Lord, and therefore the true leader of this Great Company.
- Wolf Lord Hirkon Grail - Ancient contradictory accounts also state that it was Hirkon Grail who led the fabled 13th Great Company. But once again, the truth cannot be ascertained with any certainty. He is more than likely one of the remaining Wolf Lords of the original 13th Great Company, when it was at its original Chapter-sized strength.
- Dagmar - One of Bulveye's Pack leaders in the 13th Company.
- Halvdan Bale-eye - In the early days of the Great Crusade, Halvdan was Bulveye's chief lieutenant. He was a grim, brooding figure even at the best of times. Halvdan's left eye socket was seamed and uneven, the bone broken by a sword stroke that had put out the eye as well. He survived the terrible wound and had disdained an eye-patch afterwards, using the empty socket to unnerve foes and shipmates alike during his raiding days on Fenris. When he became a Space Marine he had it replaced with the unblinking lens of an augmetic eye. It is not known if he lived past the days of the Horus Heresy or not.
- Sternhammer, Warden of the Lost - A Wolf Priest known only as Sternhammer to the defenders of the Cadian Gate came to represent all the actions of the Space Wolves' lost 13th Company during the 13th Black Crusade in 999.M41. Sternhammer often fell on the foul Forces of Chaos mercilessly and then withdrew before any Imperial force could make successful contact. Sternhammer was reported to have been in a great many different war zones light years apart from each other, leading a band of bestial warriors that he would unleash like giant hunting hounds upon the foe. He was reported to have saved the 143rd Cadian Regiment at Cadmus Binary. Alongside a powerful Wolf Lord, this Wulfen Guard slew the Night Lords' Chaos Lord Sinax. Only a few solar days later and five light years away, Sternhammer was reportedly sighted once more, leading a boarding action aboard an Imperial Navy vessel that resulted in the scuttling of the Light of Fatidicus, so that the enemy would not capture it. More than a hundred victories were attributed to Sternhammer and his warbands. Whether they were the same band, or many, and whether Sternhammer led them all himself is unknown, but the Defenders of the Cadian Gate remain both heartened and terrified at the memory of the mournful howls of the Wulfen he led into combat.
- Torvald - Torvald is a Rune Priest of the 13th Great Company, he was also known as Torvald the Reaver of Red Kraken Hold. This mighty Son of Russ was one of the Space Wolves' first Rune Priests. He fought by the side of Russ himself during the Great Crusade and has been Wolf Lord Bulveye's lieutenant since that bygone era.
- Jurgen - Jurgen was a lean and rangy wolf brother. He wore his black hair cropped short and had adopted the Terran tradition of shaving his chin, earning no small amount of jibes from his pack-mates.
- Lars – One of Bulveye's Wolf Guard, he is described as a fearsome warrior. He was decapitated by a Dark Eldar lord whilst fighting on the world of Antimon during the Great Crusade.
- Ranulf – Ranulf is a Space Wolves Stormbird pilot, and one of Bulveye's pack-mates.
- Johann – Johann was an unaugmented Fenrisian and personal Huscarl to Wolf Lord Bulveye. He is described as a wiry, older man who wore the dark grey tunic of a Space Wolves Legion bondsman.
- Ironwolf - Battle Barge - The Ironwolf was Wolf Lord Bulveye's personnel starship and the flagship of the 954th Expeditionary Fleet during the early years of the Great Crusade. This mighty vessel saw hard fighting for seven years during the Great Crusade. Her honour rolls bore testament to the battles she’d fought and the wayward worlds she’d reclaimed in the name of the Emperor of Man.
The 13th Company is distinguished by maintaining the dark grey Pre-Heresy colour scheme of the Space Wolves Legion, and what little remains of their original equipment at the time of the start of the Heresy. Much of their ancient Power Armour and weaponry has been replaced with material scavenged from their fallen Chaos foes. Not surprisingly, the 13th Company has almost no heavy equipment remaining, such as tanks, Terminators or Dreadnoughts. The 13th Company is also distinguished by a Company badge that is distinctive from the Space Wolves' Chapter badge.
Bulveye may not be the actual ranking Wolf Lord of the 13th Great Company, as he only appears in Lee Lightner's novels, which are not fully accepted as canon (and clash with the current depiction of the Vlka Fenryka in recent Black Library novels). It may be the case, however, that due to their extended great hunt in the Eye of Terror, the 13th Great Company became fragmented to the degree that it was forced to promote several of its remaining Wolf Guard to the position of Jarl (Wolf Lord) in order to maintain several independent task forces. In this case, Bulveye may well be a Wolf Lord of the 13th Great Company, but perhaps not the Wolf Lord.
The 13th Company was introduced into play in the Eye of Terror world-wide campaign. The 13th Company cannot be used with the "normal" Space Wolves, but this is only the result of a game balance issue. The short story "Engage the Enemy" by Lee Lightner (published in Inferno! 45 and republished on the Black Library website on March 11, 2013) shows the Space Wolves going so far as to lie to the Imperial Guard to protect the existence of the 13th Company.
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition)
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 9, 15, 17, 21
- White Dwarf 283, (UK), "Index Astartes: Children of the Night, the 13th Great Company" by Andy Hoare, "Mark of the Wulfen" and "Night of the Wulfen" (Campaigns), pp. 58-61
- White Dwarf 282 (US), "Mark of the Wulfen: Matt Hutson's Wulfen force"
- White Dwarf 245, (UK), "Lone Wolves'" article, pp.38-39
- Wolf's Honor (Novel) by Lee Lightner
- Tales of Heresy (Anthology), "Wolf at the Door" by Mike Lee
- Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Twelve Wolves" by Ben Counter
- Inferno! 45, "Engage the Enemy" (Short Story) by Lee Lightner