"All is Dust!"
First Founding (30th Millennium)
The Blades of Magnus, Brotherhood of Dust, Brothers of Retaliation, Crimson Sons, Grand Order of Hermetic Blades, Prodigal Sons, The Prism of Fate, Red Echo, The Sectai Prosperine, The Silver Sons, The Tizcan Host, Warband of Sektoth, Warp Gheists
Azure, Yellow and Gold
- "The minds of gods are not for mortals to know, or to judge. Accept that Tzeentch has a place for all of us in his grand scheme, and be happy in the part you have to play."
- — Proclamation of Magnus the Red
The Thousand Sons are one of the Traitor Legions of Chaos Space Marines who are sworn solely to the service of Tzeentch, the Chaos God of Change, Intrigue and Sorcery, though they were once the Imperium of Man's XV Legion of Space Marines. The main feature that distinguishes the Thousand Sons from the other Traitor Legions is the sheer number of psyker mutations that have always existed amongst the Space Marines in this Legion. Every current member of the Legion possesses psychic abilities and they prefer to use Chaos Sorcerers and guile in combat, relying on their psychic powers and sorcerous knowledge to earn them victory. As a result of an ancient spell known as the Rubric of Ahriman that was cast soon after the Thousand Sons fell from their homeworld of Prospero during the early days of the Horus Heresy, every Thousand Sons Astartes that lacked psychic powers had his soul fused directly into his Power Armour. The Thousand Sons have become living embodiments of sorcery animated by the power of Chaos and the will of the Lord of Change.
The Thousand Sons are the scions of the Primarch Magnus the Red, the copper-skinned cyclops whose thirst for knowledge in all its forms led ultimately to damnation and an eternity of servitude to Tzeentch, the Chaos God known as the Changer of the Ways. When the Primarchs were scattered throughout the galaxy, Magnus found himself coming to rest upon the distant, isolated colony world of Prospero. It was perhaps fortunate that a being that many societies would have denounced as a mutant came to such a place. Prospero's only inhabitants were a population of outcast scholars and mystics, who had long since ﬂed the galaxy at large to establish a refuge where they could practise the arts of the psyker. Raised by such scholars, Magnus learned and mastered every one of their arts, soon surpassing them in every regard. The Primarch turned from pupil to master, his fearsomely powerful mind able to manipulate the raw power of the Warp in ways no others could. By the time the Emperor located His long lost son, Magnus was privy to every secret the libraries of Prospero could offer. He yearned to learn more, and in his sire found the only being with more psychic potential than he. Accepting command of the Space Marine Legion created using his own gene-stock, Magnus took his place in the Great Crusade, and utilised his puissant skills for the good of all Mankind.
But all was not well with this state of affairs, for the Imperium had been envisaged as an end to the superstitions that had benighted the isolated worlds of Mankind for so many long millennia. The worship of deities and fallacious spiritual doctrines was denounced by the Emperor's Iterators, who preached a new age of reason fuelled by the potential of humanity itself and the doctrines of the Imperial Truth. Sorcery had no place in such a society, yet was not the Emperor the greatest of all psykers? A great debate raged in the upper echelons of the nascent Imperium, driven by the need to explain and harness the phenomenon of psychic power whilst putting an end to sorcery and superstition. While still comparatively rare, the number of humans being born with latent psychic powers was increasing, though it was nowhere near so prevalent as it is in the late 41st Millennium. The phenomenon proved all but impossible to explain using the empirical reasoning on which the Imperium was being built, and eventually, a great convocation of the highest ranked and wisest counsellors in the Imperium was called.
At this Council of Nikaea, those who denounced the use of psychic powers stated their case, the Emperor Himself enthroned in judgement. At length, Magnus came before the council, and gifted as he was of the intellect and charisma of a Primarch, he refuted each of their points. Furthermore, Magnus stated convincingly his belief that no knowledge was in itself forbidden, so long as the scholar used it wisely. Both parties having made their cases and the judgement appearing to hang in the balance, the Emperor made his decision. The pursuit of psychic powers would be severely limited and strictly controlled, and any incarnation of ritual, superstition or incantation outlawed entirely. Magnus was furious, for the Emperor's pronouncement severely curtailed his Legion's activities, and denied them the use of their most potent weapons of war. And so the Great Crusade continued onwards, but it later became apparent that Magnus had not ceased the pursuit of the forbidden arts at all, but rather had continued it beyond the sight of his peers. Most opposed of all his Brother Primarchs was Leman Russ, who regarded any form of guile used to defeat an enemy as a form of cowardice, and even after the pronouncements of Nikaea, a bitter resentment smouldered between the Legions. It was during the opening phase of the Horus Heresy that this resentment exploded into something far worse, with tragic consequences for the Imperium.
On the eve of the Warmaster Horus' treachery, Magnus is said to have experienced a vision in which he saw as no others could the full extent of the galactic civil war to come, and the part each Primarch would come to play in it. He saw brother slaying brother and pacts being sealed with unspeakable beings. He saw the Ultramarines being unknowingly steered far beyond any hope of intervening, and worst of all, he saw what fate awaited the Emperor Himself. Yet, the one thing Magnus could not see was his own role in the coming war, but he determined to intervene nonetheless. Magnus knew that in warning his sire of the coming treachery he would be admitting that he had disobeyed the edicts of Nikaea, yet he knew he had no choice. Furthermore, he saw that with events unfolding so fast, the only sure way of warning the Emperor was to project his consciousness across the void, breaching the psychic defences of the Imperial Palace, and to appear before his sire in spirit form. The Primarch of the Thousand Sons issued his warning, but in so doing revealed his crime. To make matters worse, attending the Emperor at that moment was Leman Russ, whose rage at such blatant disobedience was second only to that of the Emperor Himself.
In a stroke, Magnus was condemned. The Space Wolves were despatched to Prospero to call the Thousand Sons to account, yet what followed must surely have been far more destructive than any, even Magnus, could have foreseen. The Space Wolves fell upon Prospero as savage barbarians, unleashing their bestial anger on the Thousand Sons and all of their works. The delicate silver towers of the so-called City of Light, Tizca, were cast down as brother fought brother, savage fought scholar and warrior fought mystic. At the height of the destruction, Russ and Magnus met one another in bitter conﬂict, and ultimately, Russ proved the stronger of the brother Primarchs. Yet, at the very moment of Russ' triumph, Magnus uttered a word of power and caused himself, and the City of Light, to vanish from the surface of Prospero, disappearing into the Warp to reappear later within the depths of the Eye of Terror on what would come to be known as the Planet of the Sorcerers.
Given the heritage of their Primarch, it can be no surprise that the Thousand Sons Legion was always prone to mutation. Prior to the Heresy, stringent purity checks and relentless discipline had kept mutation at bay whilst simultaneously developing psychic power. Having steeped themselves in the raw power of Chaos, however, the Thousand Sons fell prey to rampant and uncontrolled mutation, to such an extent that a cabal of the Legion's senior Librarians, led by their chief, Ahriman, determined that something drastic must be done to save the Legion from complete dissolution. With Magnus retired to the highest tower of the City of Light, his mystic, all-seeing gaze cast bitterly upon the dimensions without, Ahriman and his cabal set about enacting a mighty spell that would purge the Legion of mutation and impurity, and leave behind a body of utterly purified warriors. Ahriman cast his rubric, and the skies over the Planet of Sorcerers erupted in an etheric storm of unprecedented proportions. Bolts of power formed from the raw stuff of the Warp arced from the roiling clouds, each striking a Battle-Brother of the Thousand Sons, until all but Magnus in his tower and the cabal of Sorcerers had been scoured by the mighty rubric.
But when the storm receded, Ahriman saw the awful truth of what he had wrought. Instead of purging the ﬂesh of ravening mutations, each of the Thousand Sons who lacked psychic power had been transformed. The seals and joints of their Power Armour had been welded shut, and the body within turned to ashes. What remained was a suit of animated armour, devoid of mutation, but of all independent will as well. When Magnus the Red saw what Ahriman had done, he turned his back, ascended his tower and turned his gaze upon the Imperium. In that moment he knew that everything he had ever striven towards was now, quite literally, ashes. Some say that Magnus resides in his Silver Tower still, his baleful gaze sweeping the domains of Mankind in search of the means of enacting his final vengeance. While their Daemon Primarch broods upon the total annihilation of his enemies, the Sorcerers of the Thousand Sons lead their automaton warriors, their Rubricae, the length and breadth of the galaxy, wielding the power of Tzeentch and enacting the schemes of their master upon the Imperium.
- "The knowledge of sorcery is like sea water, the more that is drunk, the thirstier the drinker becomes, and the more surely they are poisoned."
- — Attributed to Kva 'He who is Divided', Caster of Runes, Space Wolves Legion
The Space Marines of the Emperor's Legiones Astartes were genetically engineered, psycho-indoctrinated warriors with superhuman abilities and minds and souls for war. In addition, each individual Legion had its own idiosyncrasies and character -- the product of their gene-seed and unique warrior culture. The Thousand Sons were a Space Marine Legion bound up with occult lore, mysticism and the otherworldly powers of the psyker. It was these esoteric arts of war that made them one of the most formidable Legions, but also one of the most distrusted, and would eventually see them subjected to the Emperor's judgement against them.
Creation of the XV Legion
Like all of their predecessors among the Legiones Astartes, the XV Space Marine Legion was first forged on Terra by the Emperor of Mankind and its original members were recruited from the Terran population. Their gene-seed was first derived from samples of the psychically-gifted DNA of their genetic father Magnus the Red and then implanted into the first Thousand Sons Astartes in the gene-laboratories of Luna during a brief resurgence of Warp Storms within the boundaries of the Sol System. This brief surge of Warp activity generated psychic convergences all across the globe, resulting in spontaneous outbreaks of psychotic violence. This unusual activity likely did not have any additional mutational effect on the Legion's gene-seed. However, upon learning of these ominous events years later after he was given command of the Legion following his discovery by the Emperor on the world of Prospero, Primarch Magnus considered these portents as boding ill for his Legion.
The initial corps of Thousand Sons Legionaries, the Student-Aspirants, had been chosen from psychically-gifted individuals who had been citizens of the former Achaemenid Empire that had existed on Terra and had been ruled by the Emperor for nearly a standard century. Because they had been under Imperial rule for so long, the Achaemenids had not suffered as greatly as other regions of the planet during the Emperor's Unification Wars to reunite all the various techno-barbarian tribes and nation-states of the Earth under His rule.
The Student-Aspirants of the XV Legion had been chosen from among those Achaemenid families the Emperor Himself had determined showed potential and were suitable for the gene-seed implantation process. These young men were taken from the territory of the Achaemenid Empire to the Emperor's secret gene-laboratories beneath the Himalayan Mountains, where He first had begun His experiments in human enhancement and created the Primarchs, to begin the Student-Aspirants' transformation into Space Marines. One of these first Student-Aspirants was Ahzek Ahriman and his twin brother, Ohrmuzd Ahriman. Once it had been raised, the XV Legion was deployed by the Emperor to gain experience through the suppression of the few remaining pockets of techno-barbarian resistance on Terra to Imperial rule. Having proved themselves in this first campaign, the XV Legion was formally named the Thousand Sons by the Emperor and given their own expeditionary fleet so that they might begin to make contributions to the Great Crusade the Emperor had unleashed to reunify all of humanity within the newborn Imperium of Man.
Magnus the Red
The world of Prospero was, as records report, originally a place of pure desolation. It was a desolate, dark planet and was chosen by its original inhabitants because of its sheer distance from Terra. Mutants and psykers lived in reclusion and study on the world, safe from the prejudice and hatred of their fellow humans.
In the end, the only good thing about Prospero was its galactic position as a backwater and the reality that it was an easy world to hide on. It had one major city, Tizca, the City of Light, a gleaming metropolis of white marble, with spires reaching into the sky. Tizca was situated on the most central of the many mountains of the planet and it was nourished by underground hydroponics and techno-psychic collectible arrays that provided sustainable energy. All of its towers were gleaming works of architectural grace defined by soaring obelisks and towering pyramids.
Within Tizca, the mutant psychic outcasts of human society devoted themselves completely to the study of their psychic abilities in order to master their powers. Thus Magnus could freely develop his own full psychic potential far from the sight of other men. Time passed and Magnus went from student to adept and from adept to master. When he reached adulthood, someone whose coming he had long foreseen finally arrived on Prospero: the Emperor of Mankind. As legend tells, the two recognized each other immediately. The Emperor, of course, acknowledged the psychic giant to be one of His long-lost sons and granted Magnus the command of the Thousand Sons Space Marine Legion that had been created from his own genetic profile. Bearing Magnus' gene-seed, the XV Legion had a strong predisposition towards psychic mutation and a considerable number of Thousand Sons Astartes inherited their Primarch's potent psychic capabilities.
The Great Crusade
Approximately 5 standard years after the Thousand Sons began the Great Crusade to reclaim and reunify the human-settled galaxy, the Thousand Sons' began to display powerful psychic abilities, which was a welcome development for its Astartes as they sought to further emulate the Emperor. This development was reluctantly tolerated by the Emperor, who was greatly wary of psychic abilities wielded by anyone other than Himself or Malcador the Sigillite, because the Thousand Sons' abilities proved to be a powerful weapon for the Imperium during the Great Crusade. Throughout that long campaign, the Thousand Sons made extensive use of sorcerers, and their Warp-derived powers would leave whole populations in thrall to their will rather than carrying out a planetary conquest through a costly full frontal assault like the other Space Marine Legions. This tactic earned the ire of Leman Russ of the Space Wolves Legion who saw anything less then a frontal assault as dishonourable and cowardly. But soon, the Legion's joy at their psychic gifts turned to revulsion and horror as a wave of ghastly, degenerative mutations began to affect large portions of the battle-brothers of the XV Legion. These mutagenic changes began to be called the "Flesh-Change" by the Legionaries, and were much feared, as the spiral of degenerative mutation ultimately reduced a proud Thousand Sons Astartes into a mindless mutant abomination that would later be recognised by the Imperium as a gibbering Chaos Spawn. The majority of those afflicted by the Flesh-Change were put into stasis by the Legion in the hope that someday in the future a cure would be able to be found to reverse the onset of these crippling mutations. The number of active Astartes within the XV Legion soon began to dwindle to dangerously low levels as a result of the ravages of the Flesh-Change.
Fortunately, for the XV Legion the Emperor's Great Crusade finally arrived at the isolated world of Prospero and the Thousand Sons were reunited with their Primarch Magnus. The Flesh-Change had become a pandemic at this point, but the entire Legion was transported to the newly discovered world to meet their gene-father. After the initial reunion with one of His lost sons and the celebrations that followed, the Emperor and the vast majority of the Great Crusade's large fleet departed Prospero, leaving the Thousand Sons behind. By then the rampant mutations within the Legion had spontaneously gone out of control after the departure of the Emperor. The Thousand Sons Primarch Magnus intervened to save his genetic children, and through mysterious means was able to save those that had been the least affected by the rampant mutations. In the end, the XV Legion only numbered a thousand battle-brothers that had managed to be saved.
The Thousand Sons gene-seed had been stabilised and the recruitment of potential Initiates from Prospero began to replenish the Legion's severely depleted ranks. The XV Legion was eventually able to rebuild its numbers (though the Thousand Sons Legion would never become as large as its fellow Legions) and return to the Great Crusade, led by their Primarch Magnus. Using their psychic gifts, the resurgent Thousand Sons Legion brought a number of worlds into Imperial Compliance, bringing them into the Imperial fold. Their primary methods of victory included the use of diplomatic guile and trickery, a modus operandi that was not questioned by the rest of the Imperium. But these methods grew less effective as the XV Legion's Expeditionary Fleet entered more dangerous regions of unknown space where extensive hostile forces were encountered. Many of these new enemies of Mankind employed psychic powers similar to those that the Thousand Sons wielded. The XV Legion used their own potent psychic gifts and sorcerous abilities to bring these enemies of Mankind into Compliance or to exterminate them altogether. Over the following decades some of the Primarchs voiced their dissent that these so-called "psyker" Legionaries were allowed to exist and be a part of the Emperor's righteous Great Crusade.
The Imperial Compliance of the world of Aghoru (officially codified in Imperial records as 28-16) was an action carried out by units of the Thousand Sons Legion that was achieved through diplomacy and was considered a success. Interestingly, the human population possessed ancient legends of a race of elder beings known as the "Elohim" (which might be analogous to the Eldar). According to their mythology, a perverted and corrupt daemonic force, known as the "Daiesthai", who had succumbed to the corruption of the Elohim's self-obsession, and hedonistic excesses, were imprisoned within the massive, artificially constructed peak, designated by the Thousand Sons as "The Mountain". The Thousand Sons Primarch Magnus was enthralled by the planet's mountain and the tomb of the dormant Daiesthai. Upon further investigation within the artificial mountain, Magnus discovered that it was some kind of gateway with a web-like network of conceptual conduits, containing billions of pathways between worlds. Unfortunately, Aghoru's link to the network had become corrupted by the warp and was ultimately sealed. Yet somehow, these daemonic forces were inadvertently released from their imprisonment and took over the massive Revenant Titan guardians that stood sentinel over "The Mountain", and began to attack Magnus and his Thousand Sons. These daemons were only defeated by the combined efforts of the Crimson King, his Thousand Sons and a contingent of the Space Wolves 5th Great Company, led by Jarl Amlodhi Skarssen Skarssensson, who had recently arrived to from the campaign in the Ark Reach Cluster. The Primarch had initially bristled at the Jarl's cursory and demanding manner that was typical of the VI Legion, and thus, had held off in giving the deputation a timely reply. After the conclusion of the battle, the Crimson King appreciated his cousin Legion's efforts, and deigned to give the Jarl his assent. Magnus then gathered his Legion and made all due haste towards the Ark Reach Cluster.
Ark Reach Cluster Campaign
- "This is not over. Blood of Fenris is on your hands, and there will be a reckoning between us, Magnus. This I swear upon the blade of Mjalnar"
The Ark Reach Cluster had been discovered by the Word Bearers Legion's 47th Expeditionary Fleet; it was a group of binary stars occupied by a number of belligerent planetary empires that rejected the Imperium's offer to become part of the Emperor's growing demesne. When negotiations broke down between Imperial representatives and the Phoenix Court, a representative body of six systems of the Ark Reach Cluster, hostilities commenced. The first four systems easily fell to the combined efforts of the Space Wolves and the Word Bearers. The Rout waged a genocidal campaign that laid waste to the intransigent worlds while the Word Bearers' Ashen Circle destroyed much of the culture of the Ark Reach Cluster, hunting down works of false doctrine and those who purveyed it, and consigning both to destruction and eradicating flame. The two Legions continued the prosecution of this campaign for the next two years until only two worlds still resisted Imperial efforts, thanks in no small part to the Avenians, who lived in silver towers on top of the tallest mountain peaks of Ark Reach Secundus, which was known to the local inhabitants as Heliosa.
It was soon decided that in order to ensure a successful Compliance, a greater Imperial presence must be felt. To this end, Leman Russ decided that he would send for assistance from Thousand Sons in the nearby Aghoru System, to help bring the sixth and final world, Shrike, into Imperial Compliance. When the XV Legion finally arrived they found themselves deployed at a more frantic war pace than what they were accustomed to. The Space Wolves Compliance operations were conducted swiftly, and over the next six months the Rout continued to spearhead the efforts on Shrike. The Imperial ground forces found themselves being viciously attacked by varied and hostile avian creatures almost incessantly, which forced the Imperials to modify their weapons for point-defence in order to clear the skies around them. These vicious avians were known by the local inhabitants as snow-shrikes (razor-beaked birds) that made short work of the Imperial forces during multiple assaults. This earned the planet the sobriquet, "Shrike" by Imperial forces.
Despite the punishing pace of the campaign, the Thousand Sons helped play an instrumental role in the final defeat over the Avenians when they took the objective named Raven's Aerie 93. This final battle was won in a matter of hours, with only a fraction of casualties incurred by Imperial forces. The Avenians surviving leaders and military forces withdrew and retreated to their capital world of Heliosa. With the precognitive abilities of the Thousand Sons' Corvidae Cult members, they were able to determine the location of hidden enemy forces, whom the Space Wolves savagely killed with their warriors, while the Word Bearers burned their fortresses with purifying flame.
Even after achieving victory, tensions between the Space Wolves and the Thousand Sons continued to boil over, until it finally came to a head during the battle for Phoenix Crag, Shrike's capital city. The Crimson King had become disgusted by what he saw as the wanton destruction and near-genocide committed by the Space Wolves of the planet's population. The Space Wolves pointed out to their cousin Legion that the Avenians were an unrepentant and degenerate society who refused to accept the Imperial Truth. Soon tensions flared, and several of the Space Wolves charged the Thousand Sons. The warriors of the XV Legion utilised their deadly psychic abilities and slew several Fenrisian Wolves as well as disabling the bodies of the Space Wolves themselves.
In the midst of the fighting, disaster struck, in the form of one of the Thousand Sons, a Pavoni Cult member known as Hastur, when he succumbed to the dreaded "flesh-change" after over-exerting his psychic powers. This caused his body to spontaneously mutate uncontrollably, which caused panic within the ranks of the Thousand Sons, and resulted in further mutations amongst some of its members. A surging wave of power erupted as Magnus the Red came forth and stepped towards the hideously transformed Hastur, who seemed to reach out to Magnus, as though to embrace him, and the Primarch opened his arms to receive him with forgiveness and mercy. Suddenly, a thunderous bang sounded and Hastar's body exploded as a single, explosive round detonated within his chest. Silence ascended, as the heavy tink sound of a monstrous expended brass casing struck the ground. It was the Wolf King himself who had ended Hastur's suffering.
The Wolf King walked calmly towards his brother Primarch, as both sides readied themselves to make war upon one another. Total war between the two Legions seemed imminent. Fortunately, disaster was just barely averted when Primarch Lorgar interposed himself between his brothers, and through his masterful oratory, managed to calm the tense situation. Magnus refused to stand by as the Wolves ravaged Heliosa. But Russ retorted that this world was discovered by his Legion, and therefore, it was his to do with as he saw fit. The people of this world had chosen to fight the Imperium, and therefore had chosen death. As the Wolf King departed, he turned to face Magnus once more, and swore a blood oath against the Crimson King, promising that one day soon, there would be a reckoning between both of them. The Wolf King then slashed his blade across his palm, and let his blood spill to the ground. He then threw his head back and howled, and his warriors added their voices to their master's cry -- a lament for the dead and grim warning of things to come.
The Council of Nikaea
Rumours and condemnations began to spread about the Thousand Sons Legion amongst the other Expeditionary Fleets. The most vocal of these detractors were the Primarchs of the Death Guard, Imperial Fists and Raven Guard Legions. The majority of the Legionaries of the XV Legion had been afflicted by the rampant genetic mutation within their ranks. Those that still remained unafflicted had seen their psychic abilities increase dramatically in power level. Soon the Thousands Sons' detractors raised their objections to the Emperor Himself, calling for the XV Legion's disbandment and for the Legion to be expunged from the Imperial records like the II and XI Legions.
The Emperor was also displeased by the Thousand Sons' dabblings in manipulating the corrupting powers of the Warp. Serious suspicions began to surround Magnus as the hatred towards mutants and psykers spread through the Imperium as the Crusade progressed and the Legions learned how dangerous the use of psychic abilities could be on world after world that had been ravaged by them during the Age of Strife. After much debate in the Imperium over the use of psykers, the Emperor called an Imperial Conclave of all the Primarchs and chief Imperial officials at the remote and volatile planet of Nikaea to deal with the issue once and for all. The highest authorities in the young Imperium were present or were represented, including the Emperor and His Sigillite and Regent Malcador, who officiated over the council. At the forefront of the debate was Magnus, who argued very passionately for his cause and the important contributions that psykers and the use of sorcery could make to the improvement of the Imperium and to speeding up the successful conclusion of the Great Crusade. The main opponents to the use of psykers were the Space Wolves who shared their Primarch Leman Russ' hatred of sorcery as unclean and cowardly and the Death Guard, whose Primarch Mortarion testified in person against the use of psychic powers.
When a consensus emerged among the Council's participants that psykers and their powers represented a potential danger to the people of the Imperium, the Emperor's edicts were that in the interest of unity, no one was to be censured for prior actions involving the use of psychic abilities. Use of psychic abilities by the Imperium's military forces was banned (except the use of Astropaths, Navigators, and very strictly sanctioned and controlled psykers who were authorised to carry out Imperial business, like the Sisters of Silence). All Astartes Legion Librarians were to be disbanded, and their members returned to conventional combat duty.
In effect, Magnus and the Thousand Sons were banned from practicing "sorcery" or using the psychic abilities and knowledge they so coveted. However while fighting in the Great Crusade the Thousand Sons would secretly gather the sacred texts and forbidden research into psychic phenomena of several thousand conquered worlds and compile them into the infamous tome of sorcery known as the Book of Magnus.
The Fall of Prospero
When Magnus the Red learned of Horus' betrayal of the Imperium and his decision to give his loyalty to the Ruinous Powers, he used his own psychic abilities to get a message to the Imperial Palace on Terra by directly contacting the Emperor mind-to-mind, though this ruptured the Palace's considerable psychic defenses and killed thousands of people whose minds were unable to handle Magnus' potent psychic call. But the Emperor refused to believe that His favorite son Horus would ever betray His trust and so He assumed that it was Magnus who had been corrupted by the Chaos Gods since he was once again using the sorcerous powers that had been banned by the Council of Nikaea. Believing that Magnus sought to sow dissension in the Imperium to serve his masters in the Warp, the Emperor ordered the Space Wolves Legion to go to Prospero and bring back Magnus to Terra, so he could give account for his actions. But this was not to be, as the corrupted Warmaster Horus had intercepted the Emperor's communique with Russ' Legion and subtly manipulated their orders. Instead of just arresting the offending Primarch Magnus for his transgressions and bringing him back to the Emperor for censure and punishment for breaking his oath never to use his psychic powers again, Horus changed their orders to read that the Space Wolves were to assault the Thousand Sons' homeworld of Prospero. Magnus had psychically foreseen the Loyalist Marines' attack on Prospero, which was eventually carried out by the Space Wolves Legion, elements of the Emperor's Adeptus Custodes, and millions of Imperial Army troops, all assisted by the Sisters of Silence acting as psychic "blanks" in order to nullify the Thousand Sons' psychic abilities.
Magnus had finally understood, after his forced psychic entry into the Hall of the Golden Throne and his direct mental communication with the Emperor, that he had been manipulated by Tzeentch, with whom he had apparently unknowingly consorted with while desperately looking for a way to stop the emergence of the psychic mutations that were threatening to destroy his Legion. In an act of repentance and sacrifice, and to show his father that he and his Legion were loyal to the end, he did not warn the defenders of the planet or his Legion of the coming Imperial attack, on the contrary, he imposed a psychic veil on the planet so the Thousand Sons would have no clue of the impending assault. He also dispersed the Thousand Sons' Legion fleet far away from Prospero. He knew that Tzeentch wanted the Thousand Sons and Space Wolves to slaughter each other, and he wanted to stop these plans, even if it meant the sacrifice of his Legion and homeworld. Therefore, the Space Wolves' attack on the Thousand Sons' homeworld of Prospero came as a complete surprise. Because there was no warning, the invading fleet translated from the Warp into realspace practically on top of the planet, and quickly destroyed its orbital defences, initiating the great campaign of the Horus Heresy known as the Fall of Prospero to Imperial historians.
Then, a tremendous orbital bombardment reduced Prospero to cinders, except its capital, Tizca, a beautiful city and the seat of Magnus and the Legion, that was at all times protected by a psychic void shield. This shield was maintained by one of the Thousand Sons' cults, and Magnus did not disable it, knowing that such action would alert his Legion. Because of the shield, an Imperial invasion of Tizca had to take place. A huge force of landing vehicles and support craft descended on the city, whose defenses had been left mostly unmanned. Establishing a beachhead in the spaceport area, the Space Wolves began slaughtering thousands of Prosperans and burning everything in sight. Yet the Thousand Sons' rank-and-file did not share Magnus' acceptance of defeat and punishment, so they took up arms against the Loyalist invaders. The Thousand Sons managed to hold Tizca (the only surviving city on the planet) for a period of time before they were eventually pushed back. Magnus eventually, reluctantly, took to the battle against the Loyalist forces when Leman Russ and his Wulfen were unleashed on the last standing Pyramid of Tizca. Magnus and Leman Russ took part in a devastating duel in which Russ was ultimately victorious. Magnus invoked ancient sorceries in order to escape Prospero by opening a gateway through the Warp into the Eye of Terror where a Daemon World had been prepared for Magnus and the remnants of his Legion by their new patron, Tzeentch. Magnus was subsequently "rewarded" by Tzeentch by being transformed into a Daemon Prince.
Following the siege of Prospero, the Thousand Sons have been the arch-enemies of the Space Wolves Chapter. They have tried several times to uproot and destroy the Space Wolves, including establishing a Chaos temple in a mountain spire on the Space Wolves' homeworld of Fenris, a temple to Tzeentch known as the Daemonspire whose creation was ordered by Madox, a high-ranking Chaos Space Marine in Magnus' service. The Thousand Sons tried again on the world of Garm by stealing the Space Wolves artefact known as the Spear of Russ to perform a sorcerous ritual that would transform the planet into another Daemon World of the Warp. Even though the Spear was lost, the world was saved from Chaos and retaken for the Emperor by the Imperial Guard. In this instance, Ragnar Blackmane defeated Madox and cast the Spear into a partially manifested Magnus, losing the Spear but banishing Magnus back to the Warp.
Magnus' Vengeance on the Space Wolves
Revenge for the Thousand Sons finally came against the Space Wolves in the 32nd Millennium, even though most of those Loyalist Astartes of that Chapter who had originally fought against them had died and passed on long centuries before. The Thousand Sons began raiding worlds around Fenris, attempting to bait Great Wolf Harek Ironhelm away from his homeworld, because he wanted nothing more than to bring the Thousand Sons to battle. Magnus even taunted him in his dreams, showing Harek the smoldering remains of conquered cities which Magnus was walking through. Eventually Harek found what he believed to be the Thousand Sons' secret base on Gangava and launched a full scale attack against it. This allowed the Thousand Sons to assault Fenris itself. For forty days and nights, the Thousand Sons assaulted the Fang Citadel, and the defending Space Wolves were forced to awaken Bjorn the Fell Handed, now a Venerable Dreadnought. The remaining Space Wolves troops retreated deep into the Fang, while sending scouts out to escape and inform Harek. Harek returned to Fenris and brought the battle to Magnus. Magnus, now a Daemon Prince, was too powerful for Harek however, and slew him on the slopes of the Fang but not before taking a terrible wound himself. When the Space Wolf Chapter fleet returned, the Thousand Sons withdrew from Fenris back into the Warp, but were pleased at the death of the Space Wolves' Chapter Master.
The Rubric of Ahriman
Some time later, the surviving Thousand Sons Marines began to suffer severely once more from the constant mutations of their genomes that were always a result of time exposed to the Chaos energies of the Eye of Terror. In addition, the Thousand Sons' patron Chaos power Tzeentch was the very embodiment of Change, and he often gave mutational "gifts" to those who served him. Soon after their arrival in the Eye of Terror, several of the Thousand Sons' Battle-Brothers were mutating out of control into mindless Chaos Spawn. All their medical efforts to staunch the spread of mutation were for naught. The Thousand Sons were losing the only thing they had left after the Horus Heresy and the destruction of Prospero -- their humanity.
When Ahzek Ahriman, the Chief Librarian of the Thousand Sons and long-time friend and adviser of Mangus the Red saw the gene-curse, known as the "Flesh-Change," of his fellow Thousand Sons manifest at the dawn of the Great Crusade, he vowed to find a way to halt its hideous rampage. When he witnessed his twin brother Ohrmuzd mutate into a mewling abomination, the vow to save his brethren became the defining core of Ahriman's being. The Chief Librarian turned his every waking moment to finding a solution to the Flesh-Change. Ultimately, his single-minded crusade led to a kind of success, but also a terrible failure. During the Thousand Sons' exile to the Planet of the Sorcerers, when they began to fall back into rampant mutation, Ahriman devised a way to prevent further mutation in the form of a powerful spell known as the Rubric of Ahriman. However, the rest of the Sorcerer Librarians of the Thousand Sons did not agree or see eye-to-eye on the matter. It was only when Magnus was finally elevated to the status of Daemon Prince of Tzeentch that the Legion's Sorcerers banded together to create a Cabal. They agreed to cooperate and unleash the Rubric.
The following sorcerous cataclysm unleashed lightning strikes that hit each and every Thousand Sons Chaos Marine. Those that had little or no psychic power were disintegrated outright, their bodies turning to ash within their armour. Those that possessed psychic power found those abilities greatly augmented, becoming among the most powerful Sorcerers in the galaxy, yet their souls were fused with the very essence of their Power Armour as a result, creating a horrific, undying hybrid of man and machine.
The Cabal of Ahriman
Magnus was about to destroy Ahriman and his Cabal for what they had done to his Legion, but just as he was about to strike, the Cabal was saved by Tzeentch who revealed: "You destroy my pawns too easily." Ahriman's Cabal were instead exiled from the Thousand Sons' Planet of Sorcery for their actions by the Daemon Prince Magnus the Red. Magnus cursed Ahriman to wander the galaxy in search of the true meaning of Chaos. Instead, Ahriman now seeks out sacred artefacts and talented psykers to corrupt them to Chaos and add them to the arsenal of the Ruinous Powers; the threat presented to the Imperium by the Cabal of Ahriman is so great that the Inquisition will sooner destroy a precious artefact than allow it to fall into Ahriman's hands. Despite the Inquisition's opposition, Ahriman has successfully wandered the galaxy gathering up promising new cult members and artefacts on thousands of worlds for the last several millennia.
Ahriman's Current Dealings
Every since casting that darkest and most powerful of spells, Ahriman has roamed the galaxy in search of eldritch power enough to make good his mistake. For the last few decades, he has been embroiled in a quest to locate and plunder the fabled Black Library of the Eldar, where the sum total of that ancient race's learnings about the Forces of Chaos are sealed away.
During Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade, Ahriman sought entry into the Black Library in a hidden branch of the Webway, the Labyrinthine Dimension that lies between reality and the Warp. He was finally able to achieve this goal and gained access to the Webway by using the captured Inquisitor Czevak and a long-forgotten Webway portal on the world of Etiamnum III. It is rumoured that if Ahriman was able to secure entry to the Black Library, he could use the information inside to become a new and powerful Chaos God. But truth, often times, is much more mundane than one would want to believe. To achieve his aims, Ahriman fought through the Black Library's protectors and was able to get near enough to his destination, enabling him to project his astral form inside it, avoiding its strange guardians long enough to transcribe the fabled Tome Labyrinthus onto hermetic parchments of his own making. With this priceless manuscript at his command, Ahriman can now navigate long-lost sections of the Webway.
After summoning "Leviathan", a giant flying Warp Beast wreathed in flame, a cyclopean daemonic monstrosity with Screamers that follow in its wake, disrupting not only the Warp but the Webway as well, and causing horrendous casualties on both sides of the conflict, Ahriman was ejected from the Webway. At the time, it was believed that his goal was unattained. Inquisitor Czevak was captured by the Eldar's Harlequins and is believed to be still held in the Webway. The Webway gate Ahriman used was later sealed by the Eldar, never to be opened again.
With his ill-gotten copy of the Tome Labyrinthus in his hands, Ahriman can navigate his way through the Webway at will, and reopen the many portals that are situated on worlds settled by the Imperium. Amongst these are ancient cairn-gateweays that lead onto the Death World of Fenris, the home planet of the Space Wolves Chapter, the ancient enemies of the Thousand Sons. With this knowledge, Ahriman has made himself vital to Magnus' plans once more -- and vice versa. With Magnus the Red in Ahriman's debt, the Arch-Sorcerer would likely be able to invade the Black Library in earnest in search of the arcane cure he desires, to reverse the effects of the Rubric, and turn his brothers back into beings of flesh, blood and limitless mental potential.
Ahriman himself believes to this day that Chaos can be controlled and used effectively with enough strength of will to master its willful eddies and a powerful mind to focus its demands. While often portrayed as the Hero of Tzeentch, he instead believes he is serving his own goals, despite being just a pawn of that mercurial god. He does not openly recognise the Changer of Ways as his master, though all his machinations by definition empower the Lord of Change.
- Unification Wars, Pacification of the Boetian Lowlands (ca. 798.M30) - When the XV Legion was created they were used to quell the few pockets of isolated resistance to the Emperor's rule that remained on Terra during the Wars of Unification. Boetia was a nation that had existed since the Age of Strife and was chiefly known for holding out against the Unification for a considerable period of time until it was finally forcibly incorporated in the newborn Imperium. The ruling family, the Yeselti, attempted to stubbornly cling to power, forcing Imperial Army forces to invade their province the Astartes of the XV Legion were sent in to finally crush any further resistance in a brilliant campaign that lasted only six weeks. Shortly after achieving this objective, the XV Legion was formally named the Thousand Sons by the Emperor Himself and was sent out into the galaxy as part of His Great Crusade. This particular conflict holds the distinction of being the final campaign of the Unification Wars that took place during the Great Crusade.
- Xenocide of Kamenka Troika (ca. 900s.M30) - This was a campaign of extermination waged in the middle years of the Great Crusade against the barbaric Greenskins (Orks) of the Kamenka Troika system. The Emperor had issued the writs of war, commanding the Thousand Sons, the Legio Astorum Titan Legion and a Lifehost of PanPac Eugenians of the Imperial Army to drive that savage race of xenos from the three satellite planets of Kamenka Ulizarna, a world claimed by the Mechanicum of Mars. The savagery of that war, the slaughter and relentless, grinding attrition had left tens of thousands of dead in its wake. The Imperial forces proved victorious after two standard years of fighting and earned a score of honours for their war banners. Victory had been won, but the cost had been high. The Thousand Sons sustained severe losses of 873 Battle-Brothers of the 5th Fellowship, effectively wiping the 5th out as a functioning unit. This forced Magnus the Red to reduce his Legion from ten Fellowships to the Pesedjet, the nine classic Fellowships of Prosperine antiquity.
- Aghoru Campaign (ca. 999.M30) - The world of Aghoru was the fifth planet in a system of otherwise dead worlds, discovered by the Thousand Sons' 28th Expeditionary Fleet at the height of the Great Crusade. This world soon proved to be home to an underdeveloped culture of human inhabitants, also known as the Aghoru, who possessed little to no knowledge of science. The Imperial Compliance of the world of Aghoru (officially codified in Imperial records as 28-16) was an action carried out by units of the Thousand Sons Legion that was achieved through diplomacy and was considered a success. Interestingly, the human population possessed ancient legends of a race of elder beings known as the "Elohim" (which might be analogous to the Eldar). According to their mythology, a perverted and corrupt daemonic force, known as the "Daiesthai", who had succumbed to the corruption of the Elohim's self-obsession, and hedonistic excesses, was imprisoned within the massive, artificially constructed peak, designated by the Thousand Sons as "The Mountain". This titanic peak was set in a salt plain at the edge of a valley and rose larger than the tallest peak of Olympus Mons on Mars. Surrounding the base of the Mountain were scattered circles of raised stones, designated as "deadstones", each rose taller than three men. These so-called "deadstones" served as a tool to blunt the psychic forces surrounding the artificial peak. The Thousand Sons Primarch Magnus was enthralled by the planet's mountain and the tomb of the dormant Daiesthai. Upon further investigation within the artificial mountain, Magnus discovered that it was some kind of gateway with a web-like network of conceptual conduits, containing billions of pathways between worlds. Unfortunately, Aghoru's link to the network had become corrupted by the warp and was ultimately sealed. During the Thousand Sons time on Aghoru, somehow Khalophis, a Captain of the Thousand Sons 6th Fellowship (Company), seemingly awoke the mysterious force when he struck the base of one of the mountain's guardian Titans (which resembled Eldar Titans, though this has not been implicitly confirmed). Roused from their millennia long slumber by the corrupt force of the Mountain, the valley's guardian Titans awoke and began to attack. The Titans were only defeated through the combined efforts of the Crimson King, his Thousand Sons and a contingent of Space Wolves, who had recently arrived to support the campaign in the Ark Reach Cluster. In the battle's aftermath, Magnus explained that these encountered warp denizens were in reality, daemons, one of the denizens of the "Great Ocean".
- Ark Reach Cluster (ca. 000.M31) - The Ark Reach Cluster had been discovered by the Word Bearers Legion's 47th Expeditionary Fleet; it was a group of binary stars occupied by a number of belligerent planetary empires that rejected the Imperium's offer to become part of the Emperor's growing demesne. This Imperial Compliance action of the Great Crusade was carried out through the combined efforts of the Thousand Sons working in concert with elements from the Space Wolves and the Word Bearers Legions. The first four star systems fell to the Word Bearers and Space Wolves. But the fifth and sixth world, known as Shrike, required the assistance of the Thousand Sons. The return to the XV Legion of the dreaded mutational Flesh-Change occurred at the conclusion of this campaign and helped to bring on the eternal enmity between the Space Wolves and the Thousand Sons whom their cousins regarded as "impure".
- Fall of Prospero (004.M31) - The Fall of Prospero was the name given by later Imperial scholars to the sanctioned Imperial military reprisal against the XV Legion's homeworld of Prospero at the start of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium. The Thousand Sons had looked too deeply into the tides of the daemonic warp when the Emperor Himself demanded the Thousand Sons stay blind, in accordance with His edicts laid down during the Council of Nikaea. And so, judgement fell upon the XV Legion. That judgement came in the form of the VI Legion -- also known as the Einherjar, the Vlka Fenryka, the Rout; and by their basely literal Low Gothic name, the Space Wolves. They were also accompanied by elements of of the Legio Custodes and the Sisters of Silence. The VI Legion descended upon Prospero, not on the Emperor's orders but those of Warmaster Horus. The Emperor had demanded the Thousand Sons be returned to Terra under shameful arrest. It was Horus, manipulating the tides of war before it was even truly declared, who arranged for the Thousand Sons' censure to become their execution. He wanted the XIV Legion to despise the Imperium. The Warmaster wanted them -- those who survived -- to stand with him against the Emperor when they had nowhere else to turn. And the Wolves obliged him. In their ignorance, as tragic as the Thousand Sons' own, they fell upon their cousin Legion. The Space Wolves' only sin was to be betrayed by those they trusted, for they had no reason to doubt the Warmaster's words. Later on, the newly-dubbed Black Legion would devise their own name for the Wolves -- Thulgarach, "the Deceived". The word itself places emphasis on the cunning of the deceiver, rather than the foolishness of the deceived. The destruction of Prospero would inevitably be Horus' triumph, not the Wolves'. Though the Thousand Sons' Primarch Magnus the Red was aware of the impending assault and the vulnerability of orbital attack, he chose not act, as he felt that his sins warranted the Emperor's sanctions against him. The Space Wolves viciously bombarded the surface of planet and then launched a massive orbital strike with devastating results, slaughtering all life on the surface of Prospero. The battle finally concluded with Magnus and Leman Russ facing one another in personal combat, which resulted in the Red Cyclops being cast down and his back broken. Seeing his imminent demise near at hand, Magnus cast a mighty spell that took the great city of Tizca, his remaining Astartes and what precious archives of forbidden lore they could save, to their new homeworld known as the Planet of the Sorcerers, prepared by their patron Chaos God Tzeentch somewhere within the Eye of Terror.
- First Battle of Garm (Unknown Date.M31) - In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, the Thousand Sons attacked the Space Wolves' Shrine World of Garm, which was named for a famous Wolf Lord from the earliest days of the Space Wolves Legion who had given his life defending the Primarch Leman Russ from an attack by Magnus the Red. Leman Russ raised a cairn to Garm upon the place of his death and placed the Spear of Russ, the mighty weapon gifted to him by the Emperor Himself which had wounded the Traitor Magnus, atop Garm's tomb. The Space Wolves were able to fight off the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion and drive them from the world.
- First Battle of The Fang (Unknown Date.M32) - During the 32nd Millennium, Harek Ironhelm had risen to command the mighty Space Wolves Chapter as its Great Wolf. After the end of the Horus Heresy, Magnus the Red was determined to have his revenge for the devastation of his homeworld of Prospero at the hands of his former brother Leman Russ and his Legion. He devised a cunning plan to lure the Space Wolves into a trap in order to enact his final vengeance against them. Despite the grievous damage Russ had inflicted on them, the Thousand Sons still had the potential to launch raids into protected space, and the knowledge of that burned within Ironhelm. It had burned within him for decades, until nothing else seemed important. Despite all the resources he devoted to hunting Magnus, the chase had always come up short. There were always signs left behind for them to find, mocking hints, challenges to catch the originator of the ruin. After many fruitless efforts to catch up with the Thousand Sons, Harek became obsessed, and took to searching worlds along the edge of the Eye of Terror itself. Eventually he found what he believed to be the Thousand Sons' secret base on the world of Gangava and launched a full-scale planetary assault against it. In this he was deceived, for though Gangava was held by a strong garrison of the Forces of Chaos allied to Magnus, they were but a distraction. Even as Harek attacked Gangava, the fleet of the Thousand Sons and their Chaotic levies appeared in orbit over Fenris. The Fang, the Space Wolves' fortress-monastery, was held only by a skeleton force of Space Wolves and their feudal thralls. For forty days and forty nights the Thousand Sons assaulted the mighty citadel. Bjorn the Fell-Handed, the most ancient of the Space Wolves' Dreadnoughts, was awoken from his long slumber and took charge of the Chapter's defences. Under Bjorn's direction, the Space Wolves fell back to the innermost chambers of The Fang, collapsing the tunnels as they went. Simultaneously, a force of Scout Marines, under Haakon Blackwing, managed to escape from the citadel and take ship to Gangava, bringing word of the siege to Harek. Overcome with fury and shame at his folly, the Great Wolf immediately took ship to Fenris, bringing the might of the Space Wolves with him. Finally, on the upper slopes of The Fang itself, the Great Wolf met Magnus in battle on the final day of the siege. Ironhelm's assault against the Sorcerer Primarch was stoked by rage, the rage he had cultivated ever since leaving Gangava. The Daemon Primarch proved to be too powerful and slew Harek, but not before taking a terrible wound himself. Before dying, the Great Wolf took solace knowing that his Wolves had already penetrated The Fang. His Wolves would hunt down every invader in those halls, one by one, driven by the remorseless focus that had always been their badge of honour. The Thousand Sons withdrew before the blood-maddened Space Wolves. It was not known by what means the Traitor Marines escaped vengeance. Many did not and were killed in the tunnels. But others, including most of the Traitor Legion's Chaos Sorcerers, disappeared from Fenris at the same time their fleet achieved the in-system Warp jump-points. The Wolf Priests speculated that Magnus himself departed in the same sorcerous manner, though there were no witnesses to his leaving.
- Second Battle of Garm (Unknown Date.M41) - During the 41st Millennium, the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion once again assailed the Shrine World of Garm. Led by the foul Thousand Sons Chaos Sorcerer Madox, a Chaos Cult uprising on a planetary scale provided the necessary cover for the sorcerer to steal the sacred Spear of Russ. Soon a great portion of the Space Wolves Chapter was deployed to Garm to help quell these massive uprisings. During a climatic battle between the Chaos Sorcerer and Ragnar Blackmane, the young Space Wolf hurled the sacred Spear of Russ into a Warp portal to prevent the summoned Daemon Prince Magnus the Red from entering realspace and turning the tide of battle. Though even the Space Wolves' Great Wolf Logan Grimnar believed that Ragnar's actions had saved the Chapter from a potential disaster, many Space Wolves believed Ragnar had dishonoured himself and his fellow Battle-Brothers by losing one of the Space Wolves' greatest relics.
- Arcadia (Unknown Date.M41) - The infamous Chaos Sorcerer Ahriman lead his Chaos Space Marine warband known as the Prodigal Sons to the Eldar Harlequin world of Arcadia to plunder the Arcadian Librarium, one of the most extensive repositories of knowledge in existence. Astartes under the command of Captain Gabriel Angelos of the Blood Ravens Space Marine Chapter, alongside a loose alliance of Harlequins, fought against Ahriman and his minions in order to foil their attempts to gain knowledge from the library. Ahriman was attempting to steal certain texts in order to gain access to the Webway, but the Harlequins deceived Ahriman about where the entrance of the Webway Gate lead, preventing him from achieving his ultimate goal.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - The Thousand Sons Traitor Legion fought alongside Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade, and were highly active in the Cadian and Prospero Sectors. Ahriman attempted to lead his Prodigal Sons warband into the Eldar Webway in order to discover and gain access to the forbidden Eldar Black Library. Ahriman was able to gain access to the Eldar Webway using knowledge extracted from the captured Inquisitor Czevak. Czevak had been the only human ever invited by the Eldar to be a "guest" of the hidden Eldar Craftworld that is the Black Library -- in reality he had been used by the Eldar as bait and a foil for Ahriman. Ahriman subsequently entered the Webway through a long forgotten portal that was discovered by his minions on the world of Etiamnum III, a planet bequeathed to the care of the Imperium by the Eldar of Craftworld Altansar before that Craftworld had been lost in the Eye of Terror millennia before. This intrusion was considered a major setback by the Eldar Farseers who had failed to foresee it, and none other than Eldrad Ulthran himself, the greatest of the Eldar Farseers, had to be summoned from Ulthwé to lead the Eldar defence against the breach. Ahriman was eventually repulsed, and the Webway gate he had used to gain entry was sealed, never to be opened again. The secretive Order Psykana, which consists exclusively of Blood Ravens Librarians, was also called to help defeat the Traitors but arrived too late, and they subsequently took over the protection of the Reclusium that housed the portal.
Prospero was chosen by its original settlers for one reason: its remoteness. Isolated from the most common Imperial travel lanes and boasting virtually no independent resources of any value, Prospero had only one redeeming quality: it was a good place to hide. In the end, it was not even that. Today it is a blasted ruin, declared Purgatus by the Inquisition.
Through the millennia of endless raiding since, it has been discerned the City of Light survived its transit through the Immaterium intact. It came to rest within the Eye of Terror, upon a world that has come to be known as the Planet of the Sorcerers. That daemonic place is a seething cauldron of magical power, reflected across its breadth in the form of infernal volcanism and tempestuous skies saturated with magical vapour. Towers jut from craggy fists of rock thrust up from plains of lava, twisted and obscene mockeries of the spires and pyramids of learning which were the hallmarks of the City of Light before its fall. Mightiest of them all is the obsidian monolith that is the Tower of the Cyclops, said to be so massive it can be discerned from space with the naked eye. More obscenely, the Tower of the Cyclops looks back, as the pinnacle of the obelisk is a glowing warp eye, through which Magnus watches the paths of the future. The Silver Towers of the City of Light have been transfigured by the sorcerous might of the Thousand Sons into space-faring fortresses in which psyker lords set out from the Planet of Sorcerers to traverse the cosmos, launching vengeful assaults upon the Imperium of Man.
The organisation of the Thousand Sons before the coming of Magnus is not currently known but it is recorded that they were not considered particularly different from the organisation of a typical Astartes Legion apart from their unusually high number of battle-brothers that possessed psychic abilities which resulted in the Legion possessing the most powerful Librarians during that era. When Magnus took over command of the Thousand Sons, he instituted organisational and hierarchical changes within his Legion. Units known as Chapters in some of the other Legions which contained approximately 1,000 Astartes were now referred to as "Fellowships" within the Thousand Sons. The highest number of Fellowships the Legion was able to field when they rebuilt the Legion was ten.
However, at the conclusion of the particularly bloody Kamenka Troika Campaign where the Thousand Sons had lost nearly nine hundred Astartes, this effectively wiped out an entire Fellowship. Rather than rebuild the decimated Fellowship, Magnus decided to reorganise and maintain the Legion with only nine Fellowships. This organisation was referred to as the Pesedjet. The legion's command structure was adapted in accordance with Prosperine philosophy and were now known as the Rehati (or the coven of Magnus) a secondary command-track in which the Legion's senior officers were ranked according to psychic ability and influence.
As part of their training, all Captains of a Fellowship undertook a secondment to another Space Marine Legion to learn its ways and further the Thousand Sons' understanding of the galaxy and pursuit of knowledge. Khalophis had served with the Iron Warriors, a Legion he admired and ranked second only to the Thousand Sons. Phosis T'kar fought alongside the Luna Wolves, and never tired of regaling his brothers with tales of meeting Horus Lupercal, or boasting of his close friendship with Hastur Sejanus and Ezekyle Abaddon, the First Primarch's closest lieutenants. Hathor Maat's secondment had seen him serving with the Emperor's Children in their earliest days as they fought alongside the Luna Wolves. As Hathor Maat told of his experience to his fellow Captains, he had caught the Phoenician's eye with his perfectly moulded features, and had fought within his sight on many an occasion. Maat's proudest possession was an Oath of Moment carved by Fulgrim, and fixed to his breastplate as he took his leave to return to Prospero. Uthizzar's secondment had been amongst the shortest ever served, lasting a little less than a Terran year with the Space Wolves. Ahriman had spent five years with the Word Bearers, learning much of their Legion and methods of war.
Magnus placed great faith in his subordinates, believing he had taught them well, that their powerful sorceries gave them the necessary tools to function independently of him. Before the Heresy, individual Thousand Sons squads were not led by Veteran sergeants but by those who showed the most psychic promise. These "thrall-wizards" were apprenticed to more experienced Sorcerers for their cabalistic training, but at the same time gained experience leading men in small units. While this practice meant it was rare for a Thousand Sons Astartes who did not possess some measure of psychic talent to become a ranking officer, it also meant those Sorcerers who did gain prominence had considerable combat experience. As a result, the Thousand Sons, a numerically small Legion to begin with, rarely took to the field en masse. Instead they campaigned in smaller detachments under the command of Sorcerers who often acted with much more authority independent of their Primarch than the officers of other Legions. This command experience has stood them in good stead as independent leaders of Chaos Space Marine warbands since the Heresy, to the Imperium's considerable and continuing misfortune.
When Magnus the Red reorganised the hierarchy and organisational structure of the Legion he had three specialist units created -- the Rehati, the elite Scarab Occult Terminators and the Hidden Ones of the Scout Auxillia.
- Rehati - The Rehati was the XV Legion's inner coven of advisors and was comprised of the most trusted confidants to Magnus the Red throughout the Great Crusade until the start of the Horus Heresy. The Rehati were drawn from the ranks of the elite Captains of the Thousand Sons' Fellowships to address whatever issues were currently concerning the XV Legion. Its members were ever-changing, and inclusion within the Rehati was dependent on many things, not least of which was an Astartes' standing within the Legion. The Cults of the Thousand Sons vied for prominence and a place in the Primarch's inner circle, knowing that to bask in his radiance would only enhance their powers. As the power of the Empyrean waxed and waned, so too did the mystical abilities of the Cults. The Rehati served a similar position for the Thousand Sons that was comparable to the Mournival of the Sons of Horus Legion.
- Scarab Occult (Sekhmet) - The specialist unit known as the Scarab Occult were also sometimes called the Sekhmet or Magnus' Veterans. They were made up of the best and brightest of the the Thousand Sons Legion and equipped with crimson-coloured Tactical Dreadnought Armour. The Sekhmet were active throughout the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. The Scarab Occult were all members of the elite 1st Fellowship, under the command of 1st Fellowship Captain Ahzek Ahriman. These proud and extremely devoted warriors were both combat Veterans and highly-ranked members of the psychic mastery cult system of the Thousand Sons. None of the Sekhmet were below the Cult grade of Philosophus, the final Cult rank a warrior could hold before facing the Dominus Liminus. Each warrior was able to mentally transcend their physical and emotional weaknesses; achieving a form of emotional purity that resulted in warriors who were both fearless and willing to follow orders immediately and unquestioningly. This extraordinary level of discipline was commented on by some of the other Primarchs who witnessed the Sekhmet in action during the Great Crusade. The Great Khan of the White Scars Legion, Jaghatai Khan, commented that they were no better than automata, whilst, in a similar vein, Ferrus Manus of the Iron Hands Legion likened them to robots, though some within the Thousand Sons suspected that knowing the Iron Hands' affinity for technology, this comment may have been meant as a form of compliment. Leman Russ, the Great Wolf of the Space Wolves Legion, showed disdain for what he perceived as the Sekhmet's perceived "lack" of fighting spirit and espirit d'corps due to their taciturn natures. The Sekhmet's status following the Thousand Sons Legion's transformation into a Chaotic Traitor Legion devoted to Tzeentch and the enactment of the Rubric of Ahriman is unknown.
- Hidden Ones (Scout Auxilia) - The Hidden Ones were a specialist unit of the Thousand Sons that served as the Legion's Scout Auxilia. There is very little in the way of information of how this mysterious unit was deployed or what kind of operations it undertook. Imperial historical accounts show that there is the distinct possibility that these specialised reconnaissance troops served a far more sinister role for the XV Legion that was more akin to espionage agents than a unit of typical Scout Marines composed of Astartes Neophytes engaged in reconaissance-in-force and combat infiltration missions, though the Hidden Ones also carried out those types of missions. An operative of the Hidden Ones would infiltrate a target organisation of interest to gather intelligence while operating under a cover so deep that they never even realised that they had been psychically-reprogrammed to act as a sleeper agent for the Thousand Sons. The Hidden One's status following the Thousand Sons Legion's transformation into a Chaotic Traitor Legion devoted to Tzeentch and the enactment of the Rubric of Ahriman is unknown.
Legio Auxilia Forces
The Thousand Sons maintained a number of Imperial Army regiments raised from the population of their homeworld of Prospero. These regiments aided in the defence of that world like traditional Planetary Defence Forces, while also providing support for the Thousand Sons Expeditionary Fleets during the campaigns of the Great Crusade. All of these forces were lost to the Loyalist assault during the Burning of Prospero:
- The Prosperine Guard - Comprising three distinct bodies; the Spireguard, Airguard and Expeditionary regiments. The Prosperine Guard regiments were outfitted to various standards, but in all cases were considered well-trained and equipped. Estimates place some 85,000 soldiers within the various barracks and training facilities of the Prosperine capital of Tizca and smaller outposts scattered across Prospero at the time of the Fall of Prospero.
- Prosperine Spireguard - The primary Imperial Army regiment tasked with the defence of Prospero. There were some survivors of the Spireguard who were present at the Pyramid of Photep at the conclusion of the battle. Their fates remain unknown.
- Skyguard Air Command - Prospero's primary air force. They launched every squadron of their two-man anti-gravity skimmers from their hangars to the south of Tizca. Armed with Heat Lances and Missile Pods, their disc-like aircraft duelled for supremacy with the Loyalist forces above the skies of Tizca. It is assumed that they were annihilated in the ensuing conflict.
- Palatine Guards
- Northern Palatine Guard - This Imperial Army regiment, under the command of Colonel Katon Aphea, was deployed on the edges of the burning port of Old Tizca, which occupied the high parapets of the overlooking libraries and galleries of the Nephrate District. The Northern Palatine Guard were overran by Leman Russ and his Space Wolves in less than two solar minutes.
- 15th Prosperine Assault Infantry - The 15th Prosperine Assault Infantry was an Imperial Army regiment under the command of Captain Sokhem Vithara. They defended the old eastern quarter of the capital city, known as Old Tizca, from the initial ground attack of the Space Wolves Legion.
- Prospero Assault Pioneers - An Imperial Army regiment that rallied in defence of their homeworld after the majority of their regiment was wiped out when three of their four barracks were destroyed in the initial orbital bombardment. It is assumed that they were slain to a man during the battle.
- Zhao-Arkhad Taghmata - The defence forces of the autonomous Zhao-Arkhad collective were present within their enclave in the wilderness of Prospero as part of a treaty for the supply of the Legion. Consisting mainly of various combat-automata and other mechanised units, numbering perhaps 8,000 warriors and automata. Almost none of these were present within the city of Tizca and dwelt within the subterranean Geller-barrier screened fane.
- Legio Xestobiax - A full Vigil of the Legio Xestobiax Titan Legion was stationed within the Zhao-Arkhad enclave, comprising some twelve Titans of varying marks. As with their Zhao-Arkhad overlords, the Prospero Vigil of the Legio Xestobiax was stationed outside the city of Tizca and ensconced in vast underground bunkers in their enclave.
- Citizen Militia Regiments - In theory, a large percentage of the adult population of Tizca could be marshalled for war and issued weapons from the reserve armouries scattered throughout the city, creating a force of men-at-arms numbering in the millions. However, in practice such a force was of negligible strategic value considering its lack of training and effective leadership.
The Cult Arcana
The Cults of the Thousand Sons represented sub-formations composed of potent psykers within the XV Legion who specialised in certain psychic and sorcerous disciplines during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. The Thousand Sons, like some of their fellow independent-minded Astartes Legions, employed a non-standard organisation within the XV Legion that were known as Cults and into which every Astartes was placed based upon their level of psychic ability.
Though some Thousand Sons Astartes never developed any measurable amount of psychic ability after being implanted with the XV Legion's gene-seed, the majority did develop some form of psychic ability just like their Primarch Magnus the Red soon after competing the transformation process. The Legion used five different Cults to develop and improve the abilities of the often powerful psykers found amidst this Legion's ranks. Membership within these Cults was determined regardless of the Fellowship (Chapter) to which each Astartes belonged within the Legion since Cult membership was based upon the psychic ability for which a Thousand Sons Astartes displayed the most affinity. Each Fellowship of the Thousand Sons was usually made up of Astartes coming from all five of the Cults within the XV Legion, though it was not unheard of for a Fellowship's membership to be dominated by the members of just one of the Cults.
These five Cults had been founded within the Legion by the nine original members of Magnus the Red's inner circle or cabal who were collectively known as the Rehati. The Rehati had each earned mastery in one of the five psychic disciplines recognised by the Legion and most other scholars of sorcery. Each Cult was formed to further the development of one of the recognised psychic aptitudes: the Athanaeans focused on telepathy, the Corvidae sought to develop their precognitive abilities, the Pavoni learned to make use of physiokinesis, the mental manipulation of one's own physiological processes, the Pyrae plumbed the secrets of fire, a discipline called pyrokinesis, and the Raptora mastered the potent power of telekinesis. The leader of each Cult bore the rank of Magister Templi. The leader of all the Cults was known as the Magus and this was a rank exclusively held by the XV Legion's Primarch, Magnus the Red. The highest rank within the Cult system was that of Ipissumus, a grade which represented a being free from limitations, who lives in balance with the corporeal and incorporeal universe. For all intents and purposes, the Ipissumus was the most perfect being in the universe. This esteemed rank was represented by the most powerful human psyker in existence -- the Emperor of Mankind.
On the Thousand Sons' lost homeworld of Prospero, in the capital city of Tizca, each Cult maintained its own pyramidal headquarters, which served as both a repository of the arcane knowledge that they had collected about their chosen psychic disciplines from across the galaxy as well as training facilities specifically geared towards enhancing psykers who displayed strength in one of the five recognised psychic disciplines. Each of these pyramids' front gates was topped by the great golden icon that represented the Cult, save for the pyramid of the Pyrae Cult, which was topped by an ever-burning flame and whose gate was guarded by Canis Vertex, a Warlord-class Battle Titan of the Legio Astorum that would see action during the Burning of Prospero.
To further represent the distinctiveness of the Cults' members, the Astartes from each Cult would display the Cult's insignia upon the shoulder plates of their Power Armour, with the Cult's distinctive icon placed within the centre of the XV Legion's Pre-Heresy Legion badge as displayed above.
It is currently unknown what happened to the Cults of the Thousand Sons Legion in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy and their transformation into a Traitor Legion of Tzeentch, as well as the vast changes wrought in the XV Legion by the Rubric of Ahriman. It can be assumed that the same range of basic psychic powers not only still exists among the Thousand Sons but has probably been greatly enhanced by their residence within the Eye of Terror and their innate connection to the Lord of Change.
The five Cults of the Thousand Sons Legion were as follows:
- Athanaean - The Athanaean Cult's members were practiced masters of the discipline of telepathy, and were able to transmit their thoughts and read the thoughts of others. They often acted as the Legion's communications officers since their communications were secure from all but other psykers and they assisted the Corvidae in conducting intelligence operations based on psychically-gleaned knowledge. While the Corvidae could provide an overall strategic direction based on their reading of the likely probabilities of future events occurring, the Athanaeans could use their ability to read the minds of the enemy to shape the Legion's battlefield tactics more directly, through weapon choice, the types of troops to be deployed and where, and the choice of the most advantageous terrain.
- Corvidae - The Corvidae were skilled in the psychic discipline of precognition and divination, determining the likely probabilities of future events. They served as the Legion's seers, warning their Battle-Brothers of dangers before they materialised. The Corvidae Cult also helped guide the Thousand Sons Legion along the lines of Fate during times of conflict and in pursuit of their overall psychic and material growth as a Legion. The Corvidae were responsible for much of the Legion's strategic planning. Corvidae could determine events that were not only far in the future but were immediately about to happen, which allowed them, for example, to navigate a minefield before it exploded or to know the exact sequence in which a series of enemy soldiers would fire at a particular target. For centuries, the Corvidae had been pre-eminent within the ranks of the Thousand Sons, but in the Legion's final decades within the Imperium, their power to read the twisting paths of the future had diminished until their seers could barely penetrate the shallows of things to come. The Cult badge of the Corvidae was a black raven's head.
- Pavoni - The Pavoni Cult tended to be the most egocentric of the known Cults within the Thousand Sons Legion, as they had developed the psychic discipline known as physiokinesis, a unique form of biomancy. Physiokinesis allowed the Pavoni to manipulate body chemistry and physiology within themselves as well as others, a very useful trait for a group of already superhuman warriors. Skilled practitioners of physiokinesis were able to alter their physical appearance by manipulating the physical characteristics of their facial features at will as well as making themselves immune to the harmful effects of dehydration and other physical ailments. On the field of battle, the Pavoni were able to generate lightning by unleashing the inherent bioelectricity of their own nervous systems and focus it offensively, as well as cause the hearts of enemy warriors to explode by literally boiling the blood within their veins. When using these abilities against their foes, the Pavoni had a reputation for venality and spite which bordered on the sickening. The Pavoni were also the designated healers of the Legion, as they were capable of accelerating cellular growth and protein synthesis, which made them extraordinary medics who saved the lives of countless Astartes when even the Apothecaries could not.
- Pyrae - The Pyrae were pyrokinetics, meaning that they had developed the ability to both generate and control fire, the power for which was drawn from the Warp. As masters of the arts of pyromancy the Pyrae could both generate lethal bursts of fire from their bodies that they could shape into a number of different forms, including projectiles fired from their hands as well as fire shields that could hold back foes and melt away incoming weapons fire. The Pyrae could manipulate existing or standing sources of fire and with their connection to the Warp could lower the temperature of flames striking their own bodies or the bodies of others, effectively making them immune to the effects of fire or great heat. The Pyrae also developed secondary psychic abilities that allowed them to control and manipulate mechanical automata like the robots of the Legio Cybernetica and even the massive Titans of the Collegia Titanica. These secondary abilities were known as technopathy. At the time of the closing years of the Great Crusade, the Pyrae Cult was in the ascendence within the XV Legion's hierarchy, while the Corvidae Cult was at its lowest ebb for nearly fifty standard years. The Cult badge of the Pyrae was a phoenix wreathed in flames.
- Raptora - The members of the Raptora Cult were gifted practitioners of the psychic discipline called telekinesis, and were known as telekines. In battle, a Raptora Cult member could psychically fling physical objects at their enemies or rip their enemies bodies' apart through the application of immense telekinetic power drawn from the Immaterium. When used defensively, telekines could generate barriers of invisible kinetic force known as "Kine-Shields" to block physical attacks on themselves or others. During the Burning of Prospero, the massed members of the Raptora Cult generated a massive kine shield over the whole of the city of Tizca intended to protect it from an orbital assault by the Space Wolves. The shield eventually failed when the sheer power unleashed by the Loyalists' assault upon the kine-shield proved to be more than the individual Raptora Astartes could mentally bear. They fell exhausted to the terrible mental strain, one by one, until the psionic shield collapsed.
- Ammitara Occult Intercession Cabal - The very existence of the sect known as the Ammitara Occult was in some cases doubted, such was the group's secrecy and shadowed reputation beyond the confines of its Legion. Even within the ranks of the Thousand Sons, it was spoken of obliquely, if acknowledged at all, as evidence collected from the wreckage of Prospero was later to attest. The Ammitara was the striking fangs of the Order of the Blind, perhaps the most hidden and obscure division of the Thousand Sons, dedicated to misdirection, reconnaissance and some claimed even espionage beyond the Legion, with the Intercession Cabals of the Ammitara specialising in another dark art of war -- assassination. The psychic talents of the Ammitara were more subtle and honed than those of the greater adepts of the Thousand Sons, and encompassed a number of forces touching on the purview of the different Cults, but with a single goal in mind -- the precise and efficient dealing of death. So it was that one Ammitara might use delicate precognition to predict where their target would be when they fired with preternatural accuracy, while another might psychokinetically accelerate a shell towards its target with shattering force, or cause a foe's blood to evacuate their wound with horrifying speed. These myriad esoteric agencies of death were manifested as a single unique psychic power -- the "Mind Killer."
- Khenetai Occult Blade Cabal - The Khenetai Occult were a mystical sect within the Thousand Sons Order of the Jackal who served as the guardians of the Prosperine Cults as well as their reliquaries and sanctums. Bound together by oath and ritually-forged psychic bonds, each of the elite were all initiates of the Cults' inner secrets and adepts in their techniques, philosophies and arts. The foremost warriorrs of the Khenetai formed cabals of "Blades," sublimely skilled warriors who had honed their psychic powers to be at one with their sword mastery. Their dual Force Swords were shaped from single sheets of psycho-crytalline-infused ceramite and gilt, with sigils said to correspond to the wielder's secret name and the deeds they had performed. In battle they wore armour forged and shaped by the Legion's blind artificers using fire and the force of their minds alone, and fought with a unified precision that made them seem a single warrior manifested many times, rather than a group of individual fighters.
Proper hierarchical structure within the XV Legion's squads and Fellowships (companies) disintegrated, as was common in most of the Traitor Legions as the more deleterious effects of Chaos manifested themselves with the end of the unity between the Forces of Chaos after the end of the Heresy. In the wake of the fall of Prospero, the organisation of the Thousand Sons Legion is based around the number nine, the sacred number of Tzeentch. The nine cults of the Thousand Sons are each ruled by a powerful Daemon Prince or Exalted Sorcerer who bears the ancient rank of Magister Templi. Together with their most powerful sorcerous followers, they form a group known as the Rehati. Within each cult are a number of arcane ranks. A fundamental principle of the Thousand Sons' organisation remains the arrangment of nine lesser Sorcerers beneath a psychic potentate. This practice has its roots in the first cabal of Magnus.
At the core of the war assemblies of the Thousand Sons are the thrallbands. These primarily consist of a Chaos Champion known as a Magister and up to nine thralls, each a lesser Sorcerer-Champion of Tzeentch. This cabalistic gathering usually manifests as an Exalted Sorcerer and nine Aspiring Sorcerers -- or Scarab Occult Sorcerers -- who lead the Rubric Marines and Scarab Occult Terminators into battle. In the rarest of thrallbands, the thralls might instead be powerful Sorcerers or Exalted Sorcerers themselves. Whatever the individual might of the thralls, the conjunction of nine lesser Champions of Tzeentch bolsters the sorcerous powers of their Magister to truly inhuman levels. The Exalted Sorcerers and Daemon Princes who rule the Silver Towers each command many of these thrallbands, which may be gathered together into hundreds-strong task forces called Exalted Thrallbands. Their followers comprise the raiding forces through which Tzeentch enacts some of his most violent schemes upon the galaxy.
While the warbands of Tzeentch's Champions manifest in countless ways, the sorcerous thrallbands of the Thousand Sons are the most favoured by the Changer of the Ways. Each thrallband is bolstered by the mutated warrior auxiliaries of the Planet of Sorcerers, or by Chaos Cultist forces drawn from the Imperium. In addition, the Legion maintains a small number of battle tanks and Daemon Engines. Some Adeptus Astartes equipment is captured during their raids, but as very few of those weapons or vehicles are properly maintained, they rarely last for long and so are never numerous.
Those Thousand Sons who took their Legion's fate unbidden and helped work the arcane Rubric of Ahriman earned their Primarch's wrath and were banished forevermore to the far reaches of the galaxy. These Exiles formed into sorcerous warbands of Chaos Space Marines of varying size and composition, led by Exalted Sorcerers -- those exiles who have stalked the galaxy for ten millennia -- whose lips uttered the dread spell that doomed so many of the Thousand Sons to an eternity of dust.
- Exalted Sorcerers - Exalted Sorcerers are twisted arcanists, wicked of intent and strange of form. Each has an encyclopedic knowledge of complex spells, and is able to shape reality to his desire. Amongst their number are warrior-mystics who have stalked the galaxy for ten millennia, those exiles of Prospero whose lips uttered the spell that doomed so many of the Thousand Sons to an eternity of undeath. To these masters of the esoteric, matters of war are a crass distraction, but these visionaries bring a terrible focus to bear when battle rages.
- Scarab Occult Terminators - The Scarab Occult Terminators were once the finest psykers in the Thousand Sons Legion and bodyguards to Magnus the Red himself. Reduced to dust along with their brethren, they now possess only an echo of their once-vaunted intellect. They go into battle at the behest of their sorcerous masters, advancing with eerie and unhurried calm. Their ornate armour -- derived from ancient Tartaros Pattern Terminator war-plate -- ripples with arcane force, sending solid shot ricocheting away and even turning aside the beams of high-technology directed energy weaponry. At close quarters, the Scarab Occult Terminators bat away their assailants' blows with contemptuous sweeps of powered khopesh blades, before delivering devastating ripostes against those who insult the warriors of Prospero with their resistance.
- Rubric Marines - The Rubric Marines are the remnants of those Astartes warriors of the Thousand Sons Legion who were inadvertently created when the Chaos Sorcerer Ahriman cast an incredibly potent spell called the Rubric of Ahriman to halt the process of degeneration and mutation caused by the energy of the Empyrean that afflicted his Battle-Brothers after they had escaped to the Eye of Terror and were exiled to the Planet of the Sorcerers. Though their corruption was halted by the spell and they were now devoid of mutation, they were all but stripped of independent will as well. Rubric Marines are basically living suits of armour which still move and function, and can respond to orders just like a sentient man, though they are little more than automatons. They quickly fall into inactivity unless a Thousand Sons Chaos Sorcerer is nearby to direct them, although in the fire of combat something of their former battle hunger returns and they move with greater clarity and purpose. The Thousand Sons' Chaos Sorcerers use their Rubric Marine brethren as bodyguards and enforcers as well as guardians for the great libraries of grimoires and vaults of ancient scrolls held by the Sorcerers of the XV Legion. The Rubric Marines are particularly excellent in this role, for they have no spark of curiosity left and are utterly loyal to their psychic masters.
- Tzaangors - Tzaangor Beastmen are bright of colouration and sharp of intellect. Their beaks clack as they chant blasphemous refrains in their dark tongue, grimlet eyes glowing in their aquiline skulls. Their hunger for knowledge stems from a desire for power, and even in battle they look to transcend their base existences by seeking out arcane artefacts and priceless relics. In serving sorcerous masters, they may earn the chance to elevate themselves above their earthly stations, but in truth such occasions are rare, for a streak of cruelty lurks within the warlike soul of every Tzaangor. When given the opportunity, they will take their ire out on those who oppose them in inventive displays of blade-work -- or, when they put aside their artistic pretensions for the gratification of raw brutality -- a gory display of violence.
- Rehati War Sect - Magisterial, masterful and unparalleled in psychic supremacy, the royal court of Magnus floats ethereally across the land. None can match this assemblage's prowess in the arcane arts, for the patronage of a Daemon Primarch confers power of such magnitude that the laws of physics are reduced to mere playthings. Name the Rehati in remembrance of Magnus' original bodyguard, this collection of psykers is comprised of the most favoured entities from the Planet of Sorcerers. Some may be warrior mystics from the Primarch's original Legion, others ascendant glory-seekers that have achieved immortality by becoming Daemon Princes under Magnus' rule. The air shimmers with raw Warp energy as the sect advances, the deaths of their enemies assured by the dominating malice of the Rehati and their master.
- War Coven - For the sorcerers of the Thousand Sons, open battle is a chance to revel in the power they have marshalled over long millennia. War Covens, however, have a greater purpose than the gratifying thrill of magical potency. There are spells that can only be wrought when the tang of spilt blood is in the air and the screams of the dying echo in every ear, just as some magic is empowered by the passage of souls into the Warp. When a luminary of the Thousand Sons musters his kin in the seething cauldron of battle, the fabric of destiny can be undone and shaped anew. Such gatherings are treated with a wary respect even by the Grand Masters of the Grey Knights, for the War Covens are immensely dangerous in their pursuit of arcane secrets and the favour of their patron that it represents.
- War Cabal - An army of warrior mages and eldritch automatons, a War Cabal fights not only on the material plane, but also in the dimensions of the mind. These hosts are twisted reflections of Prospero's once-great Legion, which brought order to Humanity and the bedlam of battle to empires of aliens and fiends. Now, the War Cabals march against the very civilisations they once protected. The Rubric Marines and Scarab Occult Terminators advance relentlessly, their salvoes of hellfire burning enemy infantry to glittering ash. Amongst them chant the psykers who condemned the Thousand Sons to their twilight existence, their scholarly intellects turned from enlightenment to destruction. Those unlucky or foolish enough to resist them find their minds assailed, ripped apart by invisible claws even as their bodies are blasted asunder.
- Sekhmet Conclave - The Sekhmet Conclave is a concentration of magical force like no other. The air around these timeless warriors shimmers with Warp energy as the sigil-wards of the Scarab Occult magnify their protective powers to new heights. Gathered around their psyker masters, these massively armoured warriors walk in thudding lockstep, the beat of their heavy tread a deathly drum that speaks of impending doom. Inferno Combi-bolters are raised at a silent command, a blistering slavo of bolts hammering out to send transmorphic flame billowing in all directions. The arcane syllables uttered by their lords echo across the battlefield -- though the Scarab Occult were once counted amongst the most powerful mortals in existence, their independence is long gone, and now they serve only the sorcerous fiends in their midst.
- Tzaangor Warherd - A Tzaangor Warherd is comprised of mutated Beastmen who loyally serve their sorcerer master tirelessly. Some of these fell creatures have even fallen to a cursed spawn-change in the process, becoming bestial in mind as well as body. Tzaangor Warherds are given the spoils of the corpse-harvest -- cadavers to make into grotesque puppets, body parts for the stewing of vile witch's brews, and sparkling jewels with which to adorn their jutting horns and feathered anatomies. Avarice glints in every eye of the Tzaangor Warherd as they lope into a howling, shrieking sprint, tearing those apart who would be foolish enough to stand against them, and are later made into trophies by day's end.
- Ahriman's Exiles - After casting the great Rubric that damned his Legion, Ahriman and his psyker elite were banished from the Planet of Sorcerers. Long did these warrior mystics roam the galaxy in search of knowledge, power and redemption. Now, Ahriman has united those of the cabal that are still alive, calling upon remnants of fealty and lingering traces of brotherhood to better cast down their mutual enemies. Where the Exiles walk, long-harboured ambitions of vengeance are made real. The air around this sorcerous brotherhood seethes with bitterness and hatred, an aura of menace so strong it saps the will to resist from those mortal souls nearby. To embrace the act of vengeance is intoxicating, and each sorcerer tries to outdo his fellows with the scale of his arcane attacks.
Thrallbands form the core of the Thousand Sons war assemblies, led by a Magister Templi (a minor Chaos Sorcerer) or in rarer cases, a more powerful Sorcerer or even an Exalted Sorcerer. The following list contains the known thrallbands of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion, as of 999.M41:
- The Blades of Magnus
- Brothers of Retaliation
- The Prism of Fate
- The Sectai Prosperine
- The Tizcan Host
- Warband of Sektoth
The Exiled and Estranged
When Ahriman and his allies worked the dread spell known as the Rubric of Ahriman, they took the Legion's fate unbidden into their hands, and shattered it forever. In doing so they earned their Primarch's ire, and were banished to the far corners of the galaxy. Since that dark day the Exiles have gathered unto them a variety of ad hoc armies, thrallbands and psyker hosts, and some of these have gone on to propagate more sects and enclaves in their turn. Where once there stood a Legion united by a single vision and the heraldry of an ancient empire, now there are a thousand shattered shards of that dynasty, each as bitter and twisted as their cyclopean founder, including:
- Brotherhood of Dust
- Crimson Sons
- Grand Order of Hermetic Blades
- Prodigal Sons
- Red Echo
- The Silver Sons
- Warp Gheists
The XV Legion was initially created from Terran stock. After his genetic-sons of the XV Legion were reunited with their Primarch, Magnus the Red's pact with Tzeentch was sealed; only one in a thousand Battle-Brothers were spared from the further corruption of the Flesh-Change. Throughout the rest of the Great Crusade, the Legion recruited exclusively from Prospero, despite the fact that the isolated world possessed only a small population with low genetic diversity. Though new recruits were only culled for the Legion in small numbers, many of them were psychically gifted. This resulted in the Thousand Sons being a smaller Legion than was common amongst their fellow Astartes.
Currently it is unknown how the Legion is able to maintain its current strength. It was once observed that the Legion has performed what appeared to be some sort of resurrection ritual for a slain Thousand Son Astartes. This magical conjuration allowed the XV Legion's Chaos Sorcerers to summon the spirits of deceased Thousand Sons from the Warp so they could possess a mortal body. The Sorcerers were able to use either a living body or a deceased shell for the embodiment of the dead souls. It made no particular difference for the ritual which was used, as both were effective. These newly possessed bodies then transformed into reborn Thousand Sons Battle-Brothers, maintaining the always small numbers of the XV Legion even after their fall to Chaos.
Legion Combat Doctrine
The Thousand Sons were known to dislike close combat, instead relying on strategy and their psychic abilities. Deceit and guile were their hallmarks, and the legion was commonly criticized for its ways, particularly by Leman Russ, who thought that any battle won by means other than strength and courage was dishonourable. Magnus was confident that he had taught his officers well enough for them to act independently and indeed the legion could function very efficiently without the presence of their Primarch. Following the casting of the Rubric of Ahriman, the Thousand Sons' tactics have changed somewhat to compensate for the effects of the spell, and as a result they now make extensive use of Sorcerers and Aspiring Sorcerers leading squads of slow yet unrelenting Rubric Marines into battle.
Disciplines of Tzeentch
Those who dabble with the stuff of change seek to master the psychic essence empowering Tzeentch himself. Such individuals skirt the edge of sanity as they wield the forces of madness and mutation, blessing their allies and cursing their foes unto death. Tzeentch lends immense power to those who win his favour with such displays, but always at a cost.
- Tzeentch's Firestorm - The Sorcerer conjures a storm of pink and blue fire that mutates his foes, leaving capering daemons that claw and bite in its wake.
- Boon of Mutation - The Sorcerer lays hands upon a warrior marked for glory, channelling the warping power of Chaos into his body until his flesh wrenches and flows.
- Doombolt - The Sorcerer hurls a bolt of roiling Warp energy that blasts its target into terrifying new shapes. Anything caught in the explosion is hurled across the field with horrific force.
- Siphon Magic - The Sorcerer opens his arms wide, embracing the invisible gales of arcane force that rage around the battlefield. By chanting backwards in the Dark Tongue, he can steal the power of other psychic emanations and use them to bolster the strength of his own spells.
- Breath of Chaos - The Sorcerer exhales a mutagenic cloud of negative Warp energies that leave his victims' physical forms running like wax.
- Baleful Devolution - With a shout, the pysker channels transmutative forces into his adversaries. Their bodies soon devolve into horrendous new forms.
- Treasons of Tzeentch - The Sorcerer whispers into the minds of the enemy. Brother turns upon brother before the pall of confusion dissipates to leave the aggressors staring in horror at the treachery they have wrought.
- Gaze of Magnus - To fall under the monocular gaze of Magnus is to be utterly destroyed by the power of Tzeentch.
- Fury of the Gods - The Sorcerer conjures a shimmering sphere of dark Warp energy, pouring his hate and spite into the crackling orb before hurling it through his foes with sledgehammer force.
- Warp Fate - Ripping aside the veil of time and space, the Sorcerer grasps the strands of fate and wrenches them into new configurations. Every pluck and twist changes fate in the Sorcerer's favour.
- Armour of Hatred - The Sorcerer turns his mind inwards, to the boundless hatred and vitriol that fester in his soul. Drawing upon that dark wellspring, he fashions a jagged psychic shield against his foes' powers.
- Diabolic Strength - The unholy energies of Chaos flow through the Sorcerer, swelling his frame with the strength to tear a tank in two.
- Warp Lure - The Sorcerer focuses his energies upon the soul of a psychic foe, ripping away his enemy's defences and illuminating their presence in the Warp to draw down a lethal daemonic feeding frenzy.
- Death Hex - Chanting unholy curses, the Sorcerer places a dire hex upon his enemies. Defensive wards and energised protective shields flicker and fail, leaving the foe exposed to the grasping claws of death.
- Corrupt Machine - Like a virus entering the blood stream of a living creature, the Sorcerer invades the Machine Spirit of an enemy war engine, reversing energy flows and hijacking vital systems.
- Boon of the Iron Beast - The Sorcerer sketches dark sigils in the air, drawing forth gibbering cacodaemons from the Warp. These swarming entities flow into the Sorcerer's chosen vehicle, lending it frantic energy and unnatural vitality for a short time.
- Scrapcode Curse - The Sorcerer opens his mouth wide and vomits a screaming, whining barrage of viral scrapcode. The barrage of corrupting digital code explodes electronic systems and drives the Machine Spirit of the target vehicle to insanity.
- Dark Invigoration - Disgusted by the weakness of nearby damaged vehicles, the Sorcerer pours a tide of fresh Warp energy into the stricken machine, causing it to shudder and spark as it is forcibly repaired.
- Fleshmetal Hide - Flowing from the Sorcerer's hands comes a revolting tide of biomechanical ooze. The foul substance slithers across its target, hardening into a second skin that protects them from harm.
- Electromortis - The Sorcerer hurls out crackling tendrils of Warp energy, winding them around the beating furnace heart of the enemy war machine and crushing it slowly to death.
- Flayerstorm - A rust-laden tempest howls form the depths of the Warp at the Sorcerer's command. It screams across the hull of an enemy vehicle, shaking the machine like a dog shakes a bone as it rips away great splinters of its hull and hurls them as spears into the foe.
- Warpshock - At the Sorcerer's arrogant gesture, the raw power of the Warp boils forth and races along his limbs, before leaping out with explosive force to obliterate his enemies.
- Empyric Shield - An awful, keening whine cuts through the air as the Sorcerer charges the air around him with Warp power to form a shield that repels attacks on a molecular level.
- Daemonshriek - Throwing back his head, the Sorcerer lets loose a hypersonic banshee howl that causes generators to overload and weapon systems to short out in eruptions of blood-red sparks.
- Coruscating Blaze - The Sorcerer draws Warp energies to him until he burns with dark power. Roaring with the effort, he hurls the energies forth in a searing tide that blasts its victims to ash and leaps from soul to soul with malicious glee.
- Infernal Blaze - The Sorcerer calls forth crackling claws that sheathe his arms in dark Warp lightning. When he strikes, his foes are blasted back as foul energy spears from their bodies, striking their hapless comrades.
- Ghost Storm - The Sorcerer summons a whirling mass of ectoplasmic entities from the Warp. In a jabbering, shrieking mass the half-seen gargoyles pluck the Sorcerer's allies from the battlefield and bear them swiftly -- and roughly -- to their destination.
- Soulswitch - Disregarding the laws of realspace, the Sorcerer gathers up the soul energies of himself and his comrades before switching them in the Warp with those of nearby warriors. Amidst crackling arcs of empyric energy, those units' corporeal forms follow suit, switching places as they are reunited with their ghosts in the Warp.
- Rockmaw - Booming out a ground-shaking curse, the Sorcerer transmutes bedrock, soil and boulders into a ragged, stone-fanged maw that yawns wide to swallow the enemy from below.
- Ley Leach - Like a foul parasite, the Sorcerer siphons away the vital energies of the world upon which he fights, channelling the stolen geo-animus into invigorating waves that heal his traitorous allies.
- Rupture - The Sorcerer focuses his Warp-spawned powers upon a single point on the battlefield, forcing an unnatural build-up of geothermal energies. The land buckles and bulges until, unable to hold on any longer, it bursts like a vast boil and obliterates the enemy in a spewing tide of tainted lava and screaming steam.
- Torturer of Worlds - Sinking his psychic barbs deep into the bedrock of the world, the Sorcerer torments the ground upon which his foe stands until it buckles and churns with wordless agony.
- Earthly Anathema - Vomitting the words of a twisted world curse, the Sorcerer taints his very being with such monstrous psychic energies that the world around him recoils, clearing the Heretic psyker's path rather than endure his loathsome touch.
- Profane Ruination - Uttering the seven forbidden truths of the last ruination, the Sorcerer causes his enemies' walls to crumble and collapse, with even their mightiest fortifications crashing down.
- Worldwrithe - Screaming with maniacal laughter, the Sorcerer rips madly at the bedrock beneath his enemies' feet with vast psychic claws. Boulders are torn from the ground, fortifications and forests flung skyward and sent crashing down upon the broken bodies of the foe as the damned psyker reshapes the world around him.
For the Primarch Magnus, knowledge was power. He believed there was no discipline his intellect could not master, no secret he could not unlock and make serve his purpose. For the Thousand Sons, knowledge was salvation, the means to controlling the psychic legacy of their Primarch's gene. Every book was sacred, every writing worthy of study, every document a resource to be drained. The ultimate knowledge was sorcery, the way to final enlightenment, the key to the universe. Before the Heresy, the Thousand Sons were publicly dogmatic, swearing oaths of loyalty and singing the Imperial hymns. They fought for the expansion of the Emperor's realm with diligence, but as their oath-breaking illustrated, their final loyalty rested not with the Emperor, but with their Primarch. When Magnus's reach for intellectual mastery exceeded his grasp, Tzeentch was waiting for him, and the Space Marines who believed as he did could do nothing but fall with him.
Magnus was unquestionably the most profoundly mutated of the Emperor's Primarchs, both physically and psychically, and the Legion imprinted with his gene-seed reflected that with a high percentage of Thousand Sons manifesting some level of psychic ability. Early in the Legion's history a small, but significant percentage were prone to physical mutation, but in the wake of falling thrall to Tzeentch that percentage escalated wildly. The Rubric ended that forever for the battle brothers of the Thousand Sons, but the sorcerers who command those armoured shells still carry the gene-seed of their Daemon Prince, and wear their grotesque mutations proudly as tokens of their mercurial patron's favour.
Notable Legion Members
- Magnus the Red - Magnus the Red is the Primarch of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion and is currently an extremely powerful Daemon Prince of the Chaos God Tzeentch. He was also known during the early years of the Imperium as the Crimson King and the Red Cyclops. A giant in both physical and mental terms whilst still an inhabitant of the Materium, the copper-skinned Magnus possessed tremendous innate psychic ability, and constantly sought to understand the nature of the Warp, becoming a Sorcerer of formidable power. Magnus thought he would be able to control the Great Ocean of psychic energy that was the Warp; however, his prodigious and careless application of his psychic gifts eventually caused him to fall out of favour with his father, the Emperor of Mankind, as well as with the majority of his brother Primarchs. His psychic immaturity, recklessness, and arrogance also caused his own undoing, as it eventually brought about his own damnation and servitude to the Dark God of Change Tzeentch. In the end, Magnus lead his XV Legion to the banner of Horus and fought on the Arch-Heretic's side during the Great Betrayal of the Horus Heresy. He survived those events and ascended to the position of a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch as a reward for his service to the Lord of Change.
- Ahzek Ahriman - Ahriman is the former Chief Librarian of the Thousand Sons, Captain of its 1st Fellowship and the Magister Templi of its Corvidae Cult. He was banished from the Legion after casting the Rubric of Ahriman using the knowledge of the Book of Magnus, which halted his Legion's corrupting mutations which plagued it after their fall to Chaos, but resulted in the creation of the Rubric Marines. During his banishment, Ahriman has continuously sought out knowledge across the galaxy to bring him closer to an understanding of Tzeentch and Chaos itself and led a warband of similarly exiled Chaos Sorcerers and Chaos Space Marines known as the Prodigal Sons. His actions have recently healed the breach between him and Magnus the Red that was opened by his casting of the Rubric of Ahriman.
- Phosis T'Kar - Captain of the 2nd Fellowship during the latter days of the Great Crusade and the beginning of the Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. As one of the most powerful telekines of the XV Legion, he served as the Magister Templi of its Raptora Cult. Phosis T'Kar met his ultimate fate during the Burning of Prospero, when the Space Wolves Legion, accompanied by elements of the Legio Custodes and Sisters of Silence, were sanctioned by the Emperor of Mankind to punish the Thousand Sons Primarch Magnus the Red for his blatant violations of His Decree Absolute rendered during the Council of Nikaea forbidding the use of psychic powers and the pursuit of sorcery. During the height of the battle, Phosis T'Kar was physically corrupted by the Flesh-Change and surrendered to death at the hands of the Legio Custodes commander Constantin Valdor.
- Hathor Maat - Hathor Maat was the Captain of the 3rd Fellowship of the Thousand Sons Space Marine Legion during the latter days of the Great Crusade and the beginning of the Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. He also served as the Magister Templi of the XV Legion's Pavoni Cult. Hathor Maat was present during the Burning of Prospero, when the Space Wolves Legion, accompanied by elements of the Legio Custodes and Sisters of Silence, were sanctioned by the Emperor of Mankind to punish the Thousand Sons Primarch Magnus the Red for his blatant violations of the Imperial Decree Absolute rendered during the Council of Nikaea forbidding the use of psychic powers and the pursuit of sorcery. He was one of the few survivors of the massacre who escaped when their mortally wounded Primarch Magnus the Red teleported them to the Planet of the Sorcerers within the Eye of Terror. He would later join Ahzek Ahriman's secret cabal and take part in casting the Rubric of Ahriman in order to stop the mutational Flesh-Change that ravaged the remainder of their Legion within the Eye. Following the casting of the Rubric, Ahriman and his cabal of Chaos Sorcerers were banished by their angry Primarch. Maat's current whereabouts are unknown.
- Menes Kalliston - Captain of the 4th fellowship and an Athanaean Cult member. Six months after the sanctioned Scouring of Prospero, Captain Kalliston lead a squad of Thousand Sons Battle-Brothers to the ravaged surface of their homeworld to seek for any signs of survivors or their Primarch. Instead, the squad of Thousand Sons was taken by surprise when they encountered a much larger force of Traitor World Eaters who were also on Prospero for their own nefarious reasons. In the ensuing conflagration, the majority of the squad was killed, and Kalliston was captured by none other than the infamous Captain Khârn of the World Eaters' 8th Assault Company who was the Equerry to Primarch Angron of the World Eaters. Kalliston was subsequently tortured and later killed in a confrontation with Khârn. Only Revuel Arvida, a Sergeant of the 4th Fellowship and a member of the Corvidae Cult, managed to survive.
- Baleq Uthizzar - Baleq Uthizzar was the Captain of the 5th Fellowship of the Thousand Sons Space Marine Legion during the latter days of the Great Crusade and the beginning of the Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. He obtained his rank following the death of Captain Apophis during the bloody Kamenka Troika Campaign against the Orks. Uthizzar also served as the XV Legion's Magister Templi of its Athanaean Cult. Following the Council of Nikaea where the Emperor proclaimed a Decree Absolute against the use of psychic powers and the study of the arcane, Magnus continued to dabble with forbidden knowledge despite his father's decree. When the Thousand Sons' Primarch failed to save the Warmaster Horus' soul from being corrupted by the Ruinous Powers, he utilised his own psychic abilities to get a message to the Imperial Palace on Terra by directly contacting the Emperor mind-to-mind, though this ruptured the Palace's considerable psychic defenses and killed thousands of people whose minds were unable to handle Magnus' potent psychic call. But the Emperor refused to believe that His favorite son Horus would ever betray his trust and so he assumed that it was Magnus who had been corrupted by the Chaos Gods since he was once again using the sorcerous powers that had been banned by the Council of Nikaea. Believing that Magnus sought to sow dissension in the Imperium to serve his masters in the Warp, the Emperor ordered the Space Wolves Legion to go to Prospero and bring back Magnus to Terra. When Uthizzar accidentally discovered the inevitable attack by the Space Wolves by inadvertently reading his Primarch's thoughts, he was shocked that his gene-sire would withhold such information from his sons. Remorseful at his actions and resigned to his fate, Magnus could not allow Uthizzar to reveal the truth, and so killed him with his powerful psychic abilities.
- Apophis - Captain of the 5th Fellowship and Ahriman's oldest friend. Apophis, along with the 5th Fellowship, were wiped out during the bloody Kamenka Troika Campaign against the Orks.
- Khalophis - Khalophis was the Captain of the 6th Fellowship during the latter days of the Great Crusade and the beginning of the Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. He also served as the Magister Templi of the Pyrae Cult. Khalophis was present during the Burning of Prospero, when the Space Wolves Legion, accompanied by elements of the Legio Custodes and Sisters of Silence, were sanctioned by the Emperor of Mankind to punish the Thousand Sons Primarch Magnus the Red for his blatant violations of the Imperial Decree Absolute rendered during the Council of Nikaea forbidding the use of psychic powers and the pursuit of sorcery. During the defence of his homeworld, Khalophis sent his consciousness into the inert Battle Titan Canis Vertex, that stood sentinel before the Pyramid of the Pyrae Cult. Initially, the now-living Titan seemed to turn the tide of the battle, but ultimately, Khalophis' victory was short-lived as he was caught in the tremendous explosion of pent-up aetheric energy released by the dying Phael Toron. Khalophis fought to sever his connection to the doomed war engine, but the aetheric feedback lashed back upon him, the fire consuming him utterly, and the entire pyramid of the Pyrae exploded in a searing fireball of glass and steel.
- Phael Toron - Phael Toron was the Captain of the 7th Fellowship during the latter days of the Great Crusade and the beginning of the Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. He also served as the Magister Templi of the Raptora Cult. Toron was present during the Burning of Prospero, when the Space Wolves Legion, accompanied by elements of the Legio Custodes and Sisters of Silence, were sanctioned by the Emperor of Mankind to punish the Thousand Sons Primarch Magnus the Red for his blatant violations of the Imperial Decree Absolute rendered during the Council of Nikaea forbidding the use of psychic powers and the pursuit of sorcery. During the defence of his homeworld, Toron, like many of his fellow Battle-Brothers, lost control of his Tutelary (Familiar) Dtoaa, who became his devourer and filled him with more power than the greatest master of the Warp could contain. Unable to control the pent-up Warp energy within his body, Toron died spectacularly when his body exploded with the violence of a newborn star.
- Auramagma - Captain of the 8th Fellowship and a member of the Pyrae Cult. During the Scouring of Prospero, Captain Auramagma attempted to halt the Primarch Leman Russ' destructive rampage, and targeted the Lord of the Space Wolves directly with the full might of his sorcerous powers. Alas for him, Russ' indomitable will and the protections of the Rune Priests proved too strong, and while Auramagma managed to forcibly halt the Primarch, the backblast of his psychic assault incinerated him on the spot.
- Amon - Amon served as Magnus' tutor before the arrival of the XV Legion on Prospero, and he became one of the Legion's first Prosperine Astartes at the direct invitation of Magnus. Amon eventually rose through the ranks to become Captain of the 9th Fellowship. He became the founder of the Corvidae Cult and its first Magister Templi. He also served as Equerry to Magnus, responsible for the Primarch's security and for officiating certain sorcerous rituals, amongst other duties. Amon would not only survive the battles of the Great Crusade, but those of the Horus Heresy as well, eventually becoming a member of the Cabal of Ahriman. Alongside Ahriman he was exiled. Whereas Ahriman vanished, Amon would grow to lead a strong force of exiled Legionnaires and other warbands by the end of M32, aiming to conquer the Planet of Sorcerors and break the Rubric. But before this, Amon directed his followers to find Ahriman, so as to punish him for having turned the majority of the Legion into soulless automatons. Amon was ultimately successful, however Ahriman succeeded in defeating Amon using the Rubric against his capturer, turning him into dust and stealing Amon's armour, including his dual-horned helmet. Ahriman subsequently took over Amon's warband, replacing him as the strongest Thousand Sons warlord away from the Planet of Sorcerers.
- Phanek - Founder of the Athanaean Cult.
- Thothmes - Co-founder of the Athanaean Cult along with Phanek. It is unclear whether one or both of the founders were considered the cult's Magister Templi.
- Ahtep - Founder of the Raptora Cult.
- Luxan-htep - Co-founder of the Rapora Cult along with Ahtep. It is unclear whether one or both of the founders were considered the cult's Magister Templi.
- Cythega - One of the 2 founders of the Pyrae Cult. It is unclear whether one or both of the founders were considered Magister Templi of the Pyrae.
- Memphia - Co-founder of the Pyrae Cult.
- Imhoden - Co-founder of the Pavoni Cult along with Hastar. It is unclear whether one or both of the founders were considered the cult's Magister Templi.
- Ankhu Anen - Guardian of the Great Library of Prospero and member of the Corvidae Cult at the close of the Great Crusade.
- Mhotep - Mhotep was the Fleet Captain of the Thousand Sons' Strike Cruiser Waning Moon during the Great Crusade; he was killed in action while attempting to destroy the traitorous Word Bearers Legion's massive Battleship Furious Abyss before it could take part in the Battle of Calth. This occurred before the fall of the Thousand Sons to Tzeentch.
- Sanakht - Sanakht was a formidable sorcerer and the Thousand Sons' Legion most accomplished swordsman. Sanakht had devoted his attentions to the study of the ancient arts of swordsmanship, having become a proficient fighter with his two weapons of choice -- a black-headed jackal kopesh (a simple energy blade) and its white-owl pommelled conterpart (a crystalline blade shrouded in witch-fire). Though initially a disciple of the Athanaeans, Sanakht also became a member of the Cabal of Ahriman after Ahriman had saved his life during his duel with the Emperor's Children swordsman known as Lucius. Sanakht would then save Ahriman's life from Khayon, when the latter attempted to interrupt the Rubric. In late M32 or early M33, after Ahriman took charge of Amon's warband, the sorcerer-lord sought out Sanakht to join him. Sanakht had once been a great sorcerer, but he had lost his powers because of Khayon. Instead, Sanakht's abilities were in his swordsmanship as he wielded his pair of blades with extraordinary skill. Whilst loyal at first to Ahriman, he was extremely disturbed by the former First Captain's fanatical attitude to find the Athenaeum of Kalimakus at the cost of the other surviving sorcerer-Legionaries' lives. He conspired with Ignis to kill Ahriman for the Legion's greater good, and nearly succeeded in the attempt. However Ahriman had foreseen this betrayal and had recruited Ignis to entrap Sanakht. Ahriman later revealed this to Sanakht, robbing him of his will -- then he had the Athenaeum installed in Sanakht, whilst he thanked him for saving his life.
- Sobek - Practicus to Ahriman and Corvidae Cult member at the close of the Great Crusade.
- Hastar - Hastar was an Astartes of the 1st Fellowship; Hastar is particularly notable for being the first member of the Legion to fall victim to the Flesh-Change after the coming of Magnus. He was eventually euthanised by Leman Russ. This is one of the first ever recorded acts of violence of an Astartes killing another and the first known time a member of the Thousand Sons Legion was killed by a member of the Space Wolves Legion. The founder of the Pavoni Cult was also named Hastar but it remains unclear whether or not these Astartes are one and the same.
- Revuel Arvida - Revuel Arvida was a 4th Fellowship Sergeant and a member of the Corvidae Cult. Six months after the sanctioned Scouring of Prospero, Captain Menes Kalliston of the 4th Fellowship led a squad of Battle-Brothers to the ravaged surface of their homeworld to seek for any signs of survivors or their Primarch. Instead, this squad was taken by surprise when they encountered a much larger force of Traitor World Eaters who were also on Prospero for their own nefarious reasons. In the ensuing conflagration, the majority of the squad were killed and their captain was captured. Like all members of the Corvidae Cult, Arvida was skilled in the psychic discipline of precognition and the determination of the likely probabilities of future events. Despite his bleak circumstances as a captive of the World Eaters, Arvida knew -- as only a Corvidae could be certain -- that death would not find him on Prospero. That was no consolation for all that had been lost, but at least it lent the task of planning his next move a certain urgency. He would survive and live to discover the true causes of his Legion's destruction, and live to fight them. He would neither pause nor stumble until everything had been revealed to him, everything that would give him a weapon to employ. He is quoted as saying "knowledge is power", suggesting another connection between the Thousand Sons and the Blood Ravens Space Marines Chapter. Ironically, the symbol of the Corvidae Cult is that of a black raven's head. Sergeant Arvida's ultimate fate remains currently unknown.
- Astyanax - Astyanax was one of the two Thousand Sons captured some time after the Siege of Terra by the IX Legion, the Blood Angels. Imprisoned on a secret level on the Battle Barge Victus of the Chapter that had become the Flesh Tearers, Astyanax became a trophy, the last Traitor to be killed by Chapter Master Nassir Amit. However a short failure in the Victus' Geller Field allowed a daemon to take possession of Astyanax's body, despite the powerful wards that had been placed to prevent him from using his powers. Trying to goad the Flesh Tearer Chaplain Zophal into releasing it, the taciturn Chaplain rather executed Astyanax with his Bolt Pistol, denying the daemon its host and Amit his final prize.
- Atharva - Atharva was a member of the Athanaean Cult. As one of the XV Legion's Adept Exemptus, he had attained supreme summits of mastery, aetheric flight, connection with a Tutelary, and the rites of evocation and invocation. He had the distinct honour of serving as part of an Astartes Honour Guard known as the Crusader Host based on Terra in the days just before the start of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium. The Crusader Host was comprised of members drawn from all 18 of the Space Marine Legions. When news of the Warmaster Horus' betrayal during the Istvaan III Atrocity reached the ears of the Emperor of Mankind, the loyalty of all members of those Legions that had sided with Horus was considered suspect by the warriors of the Legio Custodes. The Custodes imprisoned these Astartes within Khangba Marwu, a vast, underground Imperial prison complex deep beneath the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains also known as "The Vault". Atharva was instrumental in affecting an escape, along with several other Astartes of the Crusader Host who became known as the Outcast Dead. Atharva was eventually confronted and executed by the Primarch Rogal Dorn in the Petitioner's City outside the Imperial Palace.
- Ctesias - Ctesias was a Chaos Sorcerer of the Thousand Sons, who specialised in the conjuration and entrapment of daemons. He became a member of the Circle of Ahriman at the end of M32, after being released from imprisonment under Amon.
- Atum Sum - A Chaos Sorcerer of prodigious ability, Atum Sum is known to the Inquisition as an acolyte of Ahriman, Chief Librarian of the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion. He is steeped in the power of the Warp, and a known master of the daemonic. It is said that the daemonic servants of Tzeentch attend him as lesser men command the loyalty of stooping servants, though the veracity of this claim seems unlikely to those versed in the ways of the God of Change. Furthermore, he appeared to have an uncanny mastery of the ebb and flow of possibility, manipulating the shifting tides of the Warp to appear at any time and place he desires. It is doubtless true that Atum Sum is a dire threat to the Imperium, for his appearance is often seen to precipitate daemonic incursions of the most destructive kind. Needless to say, Atum Sum's appearance in the Jericho Reach is a cause for dread, and several groups within the Inquisition have already set plans in motion to discern his purpose and if possible, oppose it. To date, Atum Sum has been encountered in the warzones surrounding the Hadex Anomaly, leading some to suspect that he is involved in some grand scheme to utilise the weird Warp energies streaming from it. Some have even claimed that Atum Sum has conversed with the Anomaly, or with some vast, unknowable intelligence deep inside and beyond it. Whatever the truth, several Inquisitor Lords of the Ordo Chronos were known to be mustering a coalition to stymie his plans when they disappeared, suggesting that his powers are an order of magnitude greater than any had dared believe.
- Ignis, "Master of Ruin" - Circa M32-M33, Ignis joined the former warband of Amon, now under the leadership of Ahzhek Ahriman. A lone figure, fascinated by and skilled in the manipulation of figures and geometry, Ignis was an expert in siege and space combat. Marked by the Ruinous Powers, tattooed circles and lines shifted between designs on his exposed skin. Most other surviving Legionnaires found Ignis a disturbing figure -- supposedly a characteristic shared by other Masters of Ruin. Ignis wore orange and black coloured Terminator Armour, and was accompanied solely by a single battle automaton, which he called Credence. Sanakht would attempt to recruit him to subvert Ahriman, but surprisingly Ignis was loyal to the sorceror-lord and used the turncoat to entrap other disloyal members.
- Karlsen - After his Legion's fall to Chaos following the Scouring of Prospero, Karlsen became a formidable Chaos Sorcerer and Chaos Champion of Tzeentch. A veteran of the Long War, Karlsen has fought with the Thousand Sons throughout many of its significant moments in history, including the razing of his homeworld by the Space Wolves Legion, the Battle of Terra and countless other campaigns over the last ten millennia. His lifespan has been unnaturally extended by the dark blessings of his patron Chaos God. Over the long millennia, Karlsen has gone completely insane on multiple occasions due to the burden of his cursed, unending existence, though he has been able to perform the blasphemous ritual known as the Dark Communion in order to safely store his memories. As a follower of Tzeentch, he has been "blessed" with noticeable mutations, which include one of his hands fusing with his archaic Bolter, which he is able to operate with his mind. Another mutation he possesses are the unnaturally lengthened, tentacle-like fingers on his opposite hand.
- Madox - Madox was a notable Chaos Sorcerer of the Thousand Sons who led several plots to destroy his Legion's ancient foes, the Space Wolves Chapter. He reserved a special hatred for the Wolf Lord Ragnar Blackmane, who foiled several plots when they confronted one another across several decades of the late 41st Millennium. It is presumed that he was finally killed on the world of Charys, where Madox hoped to enact a Chaotic ritual to fully corrupt the gene-seed of the Space Wolves and set them on the path of damnation. The ritual used to enact the Chaos Sorcerer's blasphemous ritual was interrupted by the timely intervention of Ragnar Blackmane and his fellow Space Wolves. During their final confrontation, Blackmane managed to wrest the Spear of Russ from Madox and used that sacred artefact of his Chapter to impale Madox through the faceplate of his armour, apparently killing him. Many decades later, while suppressing a Chaos rebellion on an unnamed world, Ragnar Blackmane heard rumours that the sorcerer Madox was still alive and leading the Forces of Chaos. Though unsure if the rumours were true, it could be likely that Madox had indeed been resurrected through malefic means, as he has done so in the past by using the body of a Chaos Cultist. If this is indeed true, then Madox may truly never die, and eventually he could once again return to the material realm.
- Mordeghai - High Magister Mordeghai, a gifted Chaos Sorcerer, was a Tribune Senioris to Magnus the Red at the Siege of the Imperial Palace during the Battle of Terra. Sometime during the 41st Millennium, Mordeghai had foreseen that if his Death Guard arch-rival Festardius gained control of the world of Mekenna VII, the Plague Lord would use his new influence to turn Mortarion's Legion against Mordeghai's cabal. The best way to prevent this from happening was to wrest control from Festardius once the Warmaster Davroth had departed. Mordeghai believed he had more than enough Thousand Sons Rubric Marines at his disposal to accomplish this.
- Mordant Hex - Hex is one of the Sorcerer Chaos Lords of the Thousand Sons.
- Omari - Like Astyanax, Omari was a prisoner to the Flesh Tearers Chapter but in stark opposition to Astyanax, Omari had not joined the Thousand Sons in treachery and still vehemently claimed his loyalty to the Emperor. While imprisoned on the Battle Barge Victus, Omari came to the attention of Chaplain Zophal which gave him the benefit of the doubt. As the Victus' Machine Spirit became possessed by a daemon of Khorne, Omari was released by the desperate Chaplain Zophal, knowing that Omari's psychic abilities were the best weapon against this denizen of the Warp. To ensure Omari's cooperation, Chaplain Zophal offered him freedom and promised him that no harm would come to him from any Flesh Tearer still aboard the ship. This however let the very real possibility to be slain by one of the Victus complement of battle-servitors which the daemon now controlled through the possessed Shipmistress Ronja Nokkan. Omari accepted the Chaplain's deal, fighting at his side and banishing the daemon after a gruelling fight on the Victus' bridge. Having proven his true allegiance, Omari wanted to be released, but would be eventually convinced by Chaplain Zophal to return to his cell and await Amit's judgement: when the time would come, Zophal would confront Amit with Omari's deeds, thus confirming his loyalty to the Golden Throne. Both the Chaplain and Omari himself hoped that this revelation would convince the Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers to release Omari from his own accord. Omari's ultimate fate remains unknown.
- Tolbek - Tolbek was an Adept of the Pyrae Cult in the sorcerous traditions of Prospero. After his Legion's fall to Chaos following the Scouring of Prospero, Tolbek became a formidable Chaos Sorcerer and Chaos Champion of Tzeentch. Due to the warping influence of the Eye of Terror, the Thousand Sons Legion soon fell to inevitable corruption and mutation. Tolbek was one of the first of the Legion to join Ahriman's secret cabal, intended to find a way to stop the Thousand Sons' genetic degeneration. Tolbek played his part in the casting of the Rubric of Ahriman that destroyed much of the XV Legion and led to the creation of the Rubric Marines, and also shared in the banishment and exile of Ahriman and his followers from the Planet of the Sorcerers on the orders of Magnus the Red. Since that time Ahriman's former cabal, known as the Brotherhood of Dust, had been seeking out the whereabouts of their former mentor, who had gone missing. At some unknown point, the Brotherhood of Dust tracked down the psychic spoor of Ahriman to a warband of Chaos Space Marines known as The Harrowing. Tolbek, escorted by a pair of Rubric Marines, went over to the warband's vessel, the Blood Crescent, to entreat with the warband's leader. During the subsequent audience aboard The Harrowing's ship, Tolbek devised the true identity of Ahriman, who had been masquerading as a lowly sorcerous initiate named Horkos. Recognising Tolbek, and realising his identity had been comprimised, Ahriman unleashed his suppressed sorcerous abilities against both his allies and the Thousand Sons Sorcerer. After killing the majority of The Harrowing warband's leaders, Ahriman was confronted by Tolbek. Ahriman telepathically invaded Tolbek's mind, attempting to devise why he had been sought out. But the cunning Sorcerer immolated his own mind, attempting to destroy Ahriman's mind as well, and Ahriman barely managed to escape Tolbek's insidious trap. Tolbek died as his body erupted into flames, quickly being rendered down to a pile of ash.
- Mahavastu Kallimakus - Mahavastu Kallimakus hailed from Prospero, from the subcontinent of Indoi, and was a meticulous recorder of data and a fastidious observer of details. He had scribed much of the events of the earliest days of the Great Crusade and had been one of the first Remembrancers to be chosen by the Thousand Sons. His reputation had preceded him, and he was immediately assigned to Magnus the Red. He was at Magnus' side from the time the restored XV Legion had departed Prospero to take part in the Great Crusade. Kallimakus served as Scrivener Extraordinary and the personal scribe of Magnus. He was responsible for transcribing the Primarch's own words into a massive tome known as the Book of Magnus. This tome is one of the most complete treatises on psykers, witchcraft and sorcery in the galaxy, a compilation of all the knowledge and experiments gathered by Magnus during the conquests the Thousand Sons made for the Imperium on the Great Crusade. When the Horus Heresy began, Kallimakus realised his records were a collection of mystic rites now forbidden by the edicts of the Council of Nikaea. Fearing for his safety, he fled with his works before the arrival of the Space Wolves Legion during the Burning of Prospero. Following this Kallimakus was imprisoned by the nascent Inquisition, as he continued to maintain a psychic connection to Magnus' gestalt and continued writing the Book of Magnus, now known as the Athenaeum of Kallimakus. This psychic connection was transferred by the Inquisition to successive hosts after each died. The location of the Athenaeum, Apollonia, was one of the Inquisition's most treasured secrets, but Ahriman, who sought a way to reverse his Rubric, ultimately learned of it in M32 from an Inquisitor, Iobel. He kidnapped her, stole the knowledge from her mind, and led the former warband of Amon to assault a moon in-system in which the object was held. Pursued by the Ordo Malleus and its Grey Knights and a rogue fleet of 13th Company Space Wolves, Ahriman arranged his enemies to fight one another and had the Athenaeum of Kallimakus installed in the body of his friend and betrayer, Sanakht.
- Photep (Gloriana-class Battleship) - The Photep served as both the Primarch Magnus the Red's and the XV Legion's flagship during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy era.
- Ankhtowe (Battle Barge)
- Kymmeru (Battle Barge)
- Scion of Prospero (Battle Barge)
- Sekhemra (Battle Barge)
- Sycorax (Battle Barge) - An ancient Battle Barge from the Great Crusade era and flagship of the Renegade warfleet commanded by the Chaos Sorcerer Amon in his exile during his hunt for Ahriman, and his planned destruction of the Planet of Sorcerers. This vessel was commandeered by Ahriman and ultimately lost in orbit over Apollonia in late M32 or early M33.
- Geometric (Destroyer) - Commanded by Brother-Captain Menes Kalliston
- Herumon (Flagship, Unknown Class)
- Phosis T'Kar (Planet Scourer, Unique Class)
- Silver Towers of Tzeentch (Capital Ship, Unknown Class)
- Waning Moon (Strike Cruiser) - Commanded by Fleet Captain Mhotep
- Inferno Weapons - The weapons of the Thousand Sons are shaped by the craft of artificers and Sorcerers alike. When their guns roar, they fire not only explosive bolts that tear flesh, but uncanny arcane energies that can melt even ceramite. In such a fashion is the Long War waged anew. Variants of this type of weapon include: the Inferno Bolt Pistol, Inferno Bolt Gun, Inferno Combi-Bolter and Soulreaper Cannon.
- Hellfyre Missile Pack - Mounted atop the shoulders of Sekhmet Scarab Occult Terminators, the Hellfyre Missile Rack fires compact but deadly warheads that detonate in explosions of ætheric light.
- Warpflame Weapons - In the hands of the Thousand Sons, Flame Weapons hurl gouts of transmorphic fire that mutate those touched by them. Variants of this type of weapon include: the Warpflame Pistol, Warpflamer and Heavy Warpflamer.
- Icon of Flame - Coruscating energies surround the icon, swathing the weapons of the devout in mutagenic flames.
- Æther-fire Cannon - A latter developement of the Pyrae Cult Techmarine artificers of the Thousand Sons Legion, these modified Plasma Weapons utilised both occult lore and the unique techno-arcana of the Forge World of Zhao-Arkhad in their construction.
- Asphyx Shells - Tainted with psycho-reactive toxin of unknown origins, the Thousand Sons were able to arm their elites with these unusual and highly lethal munitions. These shells were first believed to have been developed on Prospero for use with relatively primitive projectile weapons made to defend against the Psychneuein, but the difficulties of mass production and scaling of their effect limited their deployment.
- Astral Grimoire - The Astral Grimoire contains the magic of the stars, its hermetically inscribed constellations and cosmic diagrams imbuing it with so much astrological energy it must be bound with chains to stop it from orbiting its owner as a moon orbits its planet. One in command of this powerful relic can escape the quotidian shackles of gravity; the powers of levitation and even flight are his to command.
- Athenaean Scrolls - The Arch-sorcerer Ahriman consumed the knowledge contained in the Athenaeum of Kallimakus long ago. However, not all of the Athenaeum's founders were slain when their repository of knowledge was destroyed. Some of their Apollonian disciplines have since been transcribed on sanctified papyrus in order to keep an echo of that great library in existence. One who possesses the so-called Athenaean Scrolls has access to advanced psychic techniques that make his spells all but unstoppable.
- Coruscator - Of all the Warp-forged weapons carried to battle by the Thousand Sons, Coruscator is the most revered. Since the time of the Horus Heresy, it has taken the lives of countless Loyalist Space Marines, and its daemonic spirit will take any chance to stoke the fires of hatred that eat away at the Imperium from within. When the trigger is pulled, Coruscator fires not bolts, but blinding helices of magical energy that punch a smoking hole through a target's torso -- the edges of that grievous wound will glitter and burn until there is nothing left to consume.
- Helm of the Third Eye - Many of the Thousand Sons' sorcerous disciplines teach of a mystical third eye that stares out from the forehead, seeing with far more than sight alone and even staring into the souls of men. This helm incorporates a crystalline eyeball that allows the wearer to perceive the intent of those around him, giving him a chance to react even before they have committed to their next action.
- Seer's Bane - The Seer's Bane is a Daemon Weapon, quenched in the blood of a grand vizier and bound tight with a thousand curses. Its magic-infused alloys form the prison for the disgraced Lord of Change Malach'raccatax, who once uttered an unvarnished truth in the presence of Lord Tzeentch. It is said this ensorcelled weapon is the bane of learned men, and that it can cut through the minds of those that earn its master's ire as easily as it slices apart their flesh.
- Staff of Arcane Compulsion - This long-hafted weapon is bound with hypnotic rune-forms. Created by the Arch-seneschal Tazariq to keep the oppressed masses of the world of Cataractis from his door, it can repel a distant throng of enemy warriors with a simple horizontal motion. When the Long War erupts on a battlefield, the time bought by the staff's protective magic can be the difference between life and death.
The Thousand Sons' pre-Heresy Power Armour colour scheme was red, in honour of their Primarch Magnus the Red. Following the Horus Heresy, the Thousand Sons Legion adopted blue and yellow as their livery when they converted to the service of Tzeentch, but they possess no fixed uniform. Some Sorcerers and their attached warriors bear variations on these standard hues, such as azure and gold, whereas others add a third colour to reflect their own personal heraldry. Many Thousand Sons Chaos Marines began wearing ornate crests on their helmets similar to the striped cloth Nemes crowns of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs of Old Terra. Perhaps this is a symbol of those who have been affected by the Rubric of Ahriman.
The pre-Prosperine panoply of the original XV legion cannot be more in contrast to that which it was later to take on, its colouration and armourials echoing that of both the Achaemenid Empire and the Noe'hion "Witch-Mark" of Old Terra centered above a lapis-blue coloured "M". The "M" most likely represented the ancient Romanii numeral that stands for the numeral for one-thousand, which is the source of the Legion's name. This also was reflected by the number of Magnus' gene-sons who survived the horrible "Flesh Change" when they finally reunited with their Primarch on the world of Prospero. Others were eventually recruited during the course of the Great Crusade, swelling the ranks of the Thousands Sons well beyond their eponymous number. Space Marine Legions were usually comprised at a minimum of ten thousand active Astartes. Like many of their contemporaries whose numbers grow over the centuries of the Great Crusade, the Thousand Sons were no different, eventually swelling to 80,000-90,000 Astartes at the height of the Imperium's expansion before the Horus Heresy.
Just before the Heresy began, the badge of the XV Legion was altered into a solar glyph, which would would become the Thousand Sons' official armourial icon and the precursor to the Traitor Legion's post-Heresy badge.
Following the Horus Heresy the Thousand Sons iconography changed to that of the Ouroboros, an ancient Terran symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. The Ouroboros often represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end.
A Thousand Sons thrallband's icons are commonly worn on the right pauldron, whilst the left bears the sigil of the Thousand Sons Legion as a whole. Regardless of their thrallband, almost all Thousand Sons bear the sigil of the flaming wyrm devouring its own tail, a corrupted version of their original Legion icon that is rich in symbolism. It is common practice to use combinations of runes to further identify thrallbands, squads and even individual Battle-Brothers. The housing that frames each identifying pauldron image also has meaning, further identifying the squads within a thrallband. To one schooled in symbology, the history and allegiance of each warrior becomes clear at a glance.
Runes and Iconography
Icons commonly used by the Thousand Sons include variations of their corrupted Legion icon and runes associated with the Chaos God Tzeentch. Representations of the numbers one to ten are also employed, inscribed in inks made from rare and often magically potent ingredients by the sorcerous masters of each Rubricae squad. The colour of each Rubricae's tabard often identifies his squad, but may also tie him to his thrallband. Each Rubricae within a thrallband will bear one or more recognition runes upon his tabard. Battle-Brothers might bear additional runes, signifying enchantments, curses, or the spirit-warrior's name. Squads of Scarab Occult Terminators carry the same runes as the Rubricae squads of their thrallbands. A Sorcerer may mark out his direct servants with symbols or adornments upon their pauldrons.
The complex geometric symbols worn by the seers and scholars of Tizca live on in the iconography of the Thousand Sons. Each sigil has many potential meanings; though their forms remain the same as the original rune, the intent behind them has changed. For instance, a fire-symbol that was once borne to represent Sunrise would now be interpreted as the Killing Flame. The Dark Tongue is a ritual language, and its phonetic runes are the only manner in which the mysteries of Chaos can be truly expressed. It is the language of daemons and Chaos creatures with the power of speech. The Thousand Sons strive to learn this arcane language for the conjuration of Chaos entities and to bargain with daemons when they are summoned.
The vehicles utilised by the Thousand Sons often bear mystical symbols. Some of these merely echo the thrallband-specific heraldry of those inside. Others bind daemonic entities into the metallic fabric of the vehicles, entrapping them in its mystical urn. Such armoured assets have an aggressive spirit that drives it to ram, grind and crush.
- Black Crusade: Tome of Fate (RPG), pp. 20-21, 27-28, 30-31, 43, 52
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex)
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition)
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition)
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition)
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition)
- Traitor Legions: (Codex: Chaos Space Marines Supplement) (7th Edition), pg. 111
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 86-88
- Index Astartes III, "Masters of Forbidden Knowledge - The Thousand Sons Space Marine Legion", pp. 62-69
- Realms of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, pp. 267-268, 277
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pp. 78-80
- War Zone: Fenris - Wrath of Magnus (7th Edition)
- White Dwarf 326 (US), "Psykana Librarius", pg. 76
- White Dwarf 306 (US), "Chapter Approved", pp. 74-81
- White Dwarf 267 (US), "Index Astartes First Founding: Masters of Forbidden Knowledge, The Thousand Sons Space Marine Legion"
- White Dwarf 230 (US), "Bitter and Twisted: Ahriman" and "Chapter Approved: Thousand Sons Terminators", pp. 39-43, 71-79
- Battle of the Fang (Novel) by Chris Wraight
- Blood Ravens: The Dawn of War (Omnibus)
- Space Wolves Novel Series:
- Space Wolf (Novel) by William King
- Grey Hunter (Novel) by William King
- Sons of Fenris (Novel) by Lee Lightner
- Wolf's Honour (Novel) by Lee Lightner
- A Thousand Sons (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Prospero Burns (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Age of Darkness (Anthology), "Rebirth" by Chris Wraight
- The Outcast Dead (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Aurelian (Novella) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Ahriman: Exile (Novel) by John French
- Ahriman: The Dead Oracle (Short Story) by John French
- Ahriman: The First Prince (Audio Drama) by John French
- The Talon of Horus (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Ahriman: Sorcerer (Novel) by John French
- Ahriman: Hand of Dust (Short Story) by John French
- Ahriman: Gates of Ruin (Short Story) by John French
- Lucius, the Eternal Blade (Short Story) by Graham McNeill in Legacies of Betrayal, pp. 361-368
- Sons of Wrath (Novella) by Andy Smillie