The Unification Wars, also known as the Wars of Unification, the Unity Wars, The Unification or just The Unity, were a series of conflicts fought on Terra beginning in the 29th Millennium at the end of the Age of Strife and lasting into the middle centuries of the 30th Millennium. It was during these campaigns that the Emperor of Mankind first publicly revealed Himself to a desperate humanity and began His conquest of Terra to unify the techno-barbarian nations that dominated the sacred homeworld of Mankind and forge the foundation of the Imperium of Man.
By the time of the 30th Millennium, it has been three hundred Terran centuries since Mankind first left the polluted, used-up carcass of what was once known as Earth for the unknown bounties and perils of the stars beyond the world of our birth. In those forgotten early days of the Age of Technology it is now unknown what enemies and trials humanity had to overcome but overcome them we did, and in doing so human colonies spread across our galaxy so that humanity was scattered across a million worlds and found treasures and horrors uncounted. In the heights of those times, lost now to all but supposition and myth, humanity made themselves as unto gods -- their sciences and arts able to remake planets in the image of remembered Ancient Earth, harness the power of the stars, and fashion servants from clay and iron and give them counterfeit-life to do their bidding. Thus was the Dark Age of Technology forged and for millennia it reigned, until almost at a stroke the dominion of humanity fell and was undone in a maelstrom of brutality and ignorance and untold billions died, their screams unanswered and unheard.
During the turbulent era known as the Age of Strife or by some as Old Night, the Sol System and Old Earth, or Terra as it is now known, and the nearby star systems that had been colonised by humanity during the Dark Age of Technology were effectively cut off from interstellar travel or communication with each other due to the massive Warp Storms that swept the galaxy as the Immaterium was roiled by the millennia-long gestation of the Chaos God Slaanesh and the turbulence that marked the decay of the Aeldari Empire before the Fall. During this dark time, Terra sometimes held sway over the Sol System, while at other times the rulers of Mars or Luna were dominant. The different worlds found themselves constantly at war. During this long, 5,000-year-period of anarchy, fear and violence, Old Earth's once unified planetary government had completely broken down and been divided into dozens of warring states of so-called "techno-barbarians." Continuous warfare raged across the surface of Terra for 2500 standard years, beginning in the middle centuries of the 27th Millennium.
Across the galaxy things were little better, as the human colony worlds, bereft of central authority or protection, and with the web of support and supply that had maintained the threads of civilisation cut, fell into anarchy and war. Human civilisation was torn apart as local factions and pocket empires fought for control in the shattered realm while others, utterly cut off from aid, succumbed to the horrors of planet-wide famine, insanity and worse -- the perils of the Warp.
The existence of Warp creatures and the dangers they posed to the human mind were then barely understood. On worlds with large concentrations of emergent psykers the entities from beyond were able to breach the barrier between the Immaterium and corporeal reality and it cannot be known or guessed how many worlds were ravaged or swallowed whole by their incursions. As human civilisation fragmented, hundreds of alien races and enemies unknown seized their chance for revenge on humanity for its past conquests, or to plunder unprotected worlds and enslave their populations. Hundreds of human-inhabited star systems were sacked and ravaged, their peoples slaughtered, mutilated or stolen. Those that survived the alien onslaught rapidly reverted to barbarism, stripped of civilisation, knowledge and culture in the raw battle to simply endure.
Humanity, standing on the brink of total annihilation and endless night, gathered round its children. Alone and beset by internal strife, famine and plague, under incessant attack by aliens and facing the peril of Warp incursions, the human worlds that survived were pitiable shadows of what they had once been in an age when Mankind's dead far outnumbered its living. For those few with time to spare thought to such matters it seemed as if there were no hope and no help -- the end times were at hand -- a slow bitter decay into destruction was all that any could see as humanity's future, and no force imaginable could save Mankind and free it from its hellish bondage. But they would be proved wrong.
During the Age of Strife, Terra, the birthworld of humanity, had descended into savagery and horror the equal of any. Little remained of the once sophisticated civilisation of Old Earth's glorious past as the centre of a growing human interstellar civilisation marked by advanced science, high culture and wondrous technologies. Techno-barbarian warlords and their warrior hordes continuously fought over the planet, which had become little more than a massive battleground for their wars of attrition. They made use of chemical, biological and even thermonuclear weapons of mass destruction, and slowly transformed the cradle of Mankind into a battered, post-apocalyptic wasteland across most of its scarred surface.
Long before left parlous and polluted, generations of war made the planet a wasteland punctuated by fortified holdfasts built amid the wreckage of lost civilisations, and its inhabitants a mass of degenerate, feral nomads. Insane prophets, cyber-augmented burcher-kings, vivisecror-warlords and religious demagogues led the warring tribes of Ancient Earth, and the world was wracked by never-ending conflict as one tyrant displaced another. Petty empires rose and disintegrated; tribes formed, were destroyed and re-formed as diminishing, brutalised shadows of lost glories and forgotten triumphs. Uncounted billions died unknown and unremembered, while whispered names such as the Unspeakable King and the Seven Neverborn left legends to terrify generations to come. Anarchy and bloodshed was lord over all.
It was against this backdrop of oppression, violence and casual brutality that the Emperor of Mankind first revealed Himself to the people of Terra beginning in the 29th Millennium as a warlord more powerful than any other. In secret, He had been planning for this moment in history for millennia, ever since the Age of Strife had fractured what remained of the ancient human federation which had once stretched across the galaxy. With His massive army of genetically-enhanced warriors who comprised the first units of the Imperial Army and would serve as the prototypes for the later development of the Space Marines, the Emperor began His conquest of Terra with the intent to reunite the warring nations into a unified planetary government.
But the Emperor's true power lay in his rationality and foresight, and his mastery of science was as unequalled as his might as a warrior, although few suspected the true range of his powers and abilities. The Emperor conquered great swathes of Old Earth and those that would not join Him He destroyed, but His was a conquest not merely born of blood and ambition, His was a higher calling. Where His dominion reigned the idols of fear and blind faith were cast down, and order and rationality were raised up in their place.
He intended to use the unified Terra as the springboard from which to begin His reconquest of the galaxy under the aegis of an Imperium of Man dedicated to the Imperial Truth of progress and reason. Brutal rulers such as the warlord Kalagann of Ursh, Cardinal Tang of the Yndonesic Bloc, and the most infamous of all, the half-mad, half-genius Narthan Dume, the Tyrant of the Pan-Pacific Empire, would all fall by the wayside. Once unleashed, the armies of the Emperor swept all before them like wheat before the harvester's scythe until all the techno-barbarian warlords had either been conquered outright or had agreed through diplomacy to become subservient to the Emperor's will.
During this time the Emperor created a number of military organisations, such as the Imperial Army, which would become the nucleus of the armed forces that would support his Legiones Astartes and his reconquest of the human-settled galaxy. Amongst the early Imperial Army units that saw action during the Unification Wars were such venerable regiments as the Geno Five-Two Chiliad, which would become one of the oldest and most respected regiments within the later Imperial Army.
Like many of these early regiments, the geno-soldiers were created through the use of some of the Emperor's sophisticated genetic engineering techniques, developed in His laboratories beneath the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains and among the gene-wrights on Luna. The most elite of this first generation of genetically-engineered supersoldiers were known as the Thunder Warriors, men who were physically stronger and more formidable in combat than even the later Space Marines, though they were engineered to be vicious killers and lacked many of the more noble aspects of the later Astartes as well as their tremendously long lifespans. The Thunder Warriors were engineered to be the means to an end and were never intended to be integrated into the Emperor's new realm after Unity had been achieved.
Through genetic engineering and selection the standard geno-soldiers displayed many of the characteristics of the perfect human warrior -- they were physically more resilient, stronger and capable of taking more damage than any of their unaltered techno-barbarian foes. These early genetically-engineered Imperial Army regiments would go on to continue serving the Emperor after the conclusion of the Unification Wars. These regiments would eventually be referred to as the "Old Hundred," and would form the core of the initial military force that embarked upon the Emperor's galaxy-spanning Great Crusade in ca. 798.M30 beside His newly-created Space Marine Legions.
The Emperor accepted the deaths of the many innocents that resulted from the conquest of Terra with great remorse in order to achieve the greater good of unifying humanity and protecting it from the manifest predations of the Warp and predatory xenos of the galaxy. Unimaginably large, full-scale battles during the Unity campaign would last for solar weeks on end, with body counts in the millions that sundered mountains and split entire continents. Future Imperial scholars would later dismiss these victories as lurid hyperbole, refusing to believe that such clashes of arms could possibly have been fought, but indeed they were.
The Imperial historical chronicles tell of the last battle of the Unification Wars, known as the Battle of Mount Ararat, which was fought in the Kingdom of Urartu. During this final battle the remaining Thunder Warriors were slain to a man. The chronicles recorded that the famed Thunder Warrior Arik Taranis, known as the "Lightning Bearer," raised the Banner of Lightning at the final declaration of Unity which established the rule of the Emperor of Mankind over the entirety of Terra before dying of his wounds. It was a measure of the Thunder Warriors' heroic sacrifice that they had all died to win the last and greatest victory for the Emperor.
Unfortunately, this heroic version of events was completely false. The Thunder Warriors had not died to a man during the final battle of the Unification Wars. They had been brutally culled from existence by the Emperor's own servants on His orders. The Thunder Warriors had been betrayed by their own creator, a terrible secret skillfully concealed from the people of the Imperium for more than 10,000 Terran years.
By the time the Unification Wars began, the human homeworld's population had suffered through the horrors of the Age of Strife, a period punctuated by constant warfare and the use of weapons of mass destruction that had badly damaged the environment of Old Earth. Under the Emperor's rulership, humanity would be restored, intellectually, spiritually and physically to the heights it had once known, and the shackles of darkness cast aside. The war continued without relent until finally all of Old Earth's techno-barbarian factions, nations and fractured city-states pledged the Emperor fealty and at last Terra was unified for the first time in many millennia.
It was not enough merely to secure military victory, however -- the betterment and restoration of humanity required more. So it was that even before victory on Terra had been achieved the Emperor and those learned souls He had gathered to Him started to experiment with genetics. This was done first and foremost to stabilise the extant population of Terra and to recreate the race of Mankind as it was before the radiation storms and generations of viral and alchemical weapons had wracked the planet. Secondly, the creation of genetically augmented transhuman fighters that had begun with the Thunder Warriors who had fought in the Emperor's armies continued apace into newer, more powerful creations, ultimately leading to the genesis of what would later become known as the Space Marine Legions. But in truth, the Emperor's greatest work was nothing less than the purging of Mankind's own genome, and its restoration to a baseline of what could be considered truly "human" as that term had been defined before the Age of Strife. The galaxy would belong to humanity, but it would be the same humanity that the Emperor had loved and served for most of His long life.
Alongside this ascendancy would come a rebirth of civilisation and government on Terra with the Emperor founding an all-embracing civil administration to order and rebuild His world, and concentrate such learning and knowledge that could be salvaged from the dust of ages in houses of learning and education. And the unification of Terra would only be the start.
Once the Unification Wars were complete in the middle centuries of the 30th Millennium, the Emperor forged a new unified planetary government under His leadership. He next journeyed to Mars and met with the Adepts of the Cult Mechanicus. In return for the use of the Mechanicum's vast manufactoria, the deployment of its Titan Legions and the orbital shipyards to construct the weaponry and starships He would need for the Great Crusade to reunite Mankind under the banner of the Imperial Truth, the Emperor agreed to grant the Mechanicum complete autonomy on Mars and its other Forge Worlds as well as an exemption to the atheism required by the Imperial Truth. This agreement, known as the Treaty of Mars (the Treaty of Olympus to the Mechanicum), marks the true foundation of the Imperium of Man in the alliance between Terra and Mars.
The following is a list of the known pre-Unification states that existed on Terra during the Unification Wars and their locations in regard to Old Earth's geography:
- Achaemenid Empire (Southwest Asia) - The Achaemenid Empire was a techno-barbarian state situated in the Middle East in the area of the pre-1st Millennium Persian Empire, centred roughly in the ancient nation-state of Iran. The Achaemenid Empire is noted as being made up of "wealthy tribes" who were quick to ally with the Emperor's nascent Imperium of Man during the Unification, and therefore avoided the horrors of atomic war and invasion by the Emperor's superior armies of genetically-engineered soldiers. In addition, their genomes were uncontaminated by the inherited flaws and viral defects of other tribes caused by centuries of exposure to lingering radiation and biological warfare vectors, making them good candidates for recruitment into the newborn Space Marine Legions after the Unification was completed. Many early candidates were recruited from this state to become the first Astartes of the Thousand Sons Legion. The Achaemenids possessed a superstitious belief in the mystical power of their ancestors; emblems of Dhul-Qarnayn, the greatest of the Achaemenid kings, were often used as charms against harm by the population.
- Albia - Albia, sometimes called Old Albia, was a techno-barbarian state of Old Earth during the Unification Wars. Bordering Northern Atlan and known for its ancient warlike clans, the regions of Albia consisted of towering, soot-blackened castram-cities. Albia is known to have clashed frequently with the Panpacific Empire under the rule of the Unspeakable King and was aided by the forces of the Emperor in this conflict. However, the Albians eventually refused to kneel before the Emperor and met His Thunder Warriors with their own proto-Dreadnoughts and armored Ironside Clan soldiers. In battle after battle, the Albians managed to hold back the Emperor's forces but only at staggering cost for the defenders. As a result, this state presented a considerable challenge for the forces of the Emperor during the Unification, so much so that the Emperor, impressed by the determined brutal resistance of the state's defenders, decided to end the fighting and take Albia through negotiations. Admitting the martial temper and indomitable spirit of His foe, the Emperor called for a ceasefire and sought a diplomatic solution. The Emperor appeared before the Albian Clan Lords unarmed and clothed in white and crimson, speaking of His vision for a unified Mankind. He offered them glory among the stars and redemption. To the shock of many, the warlords of Albia, seeing the Emperor as different from past tyrants, accepted His terms and soon became one of the most zealous supporters of Unification. Once Albia was under His sovereignty the Emperor saw the Albians as suitable gene-recruits for the nascent XIV Legion (the Dusk Raiders). Indeed, such was the suitability of the warriors of these ancient clans for induction into the ranks of the Space Marines that recruits drawn from their castram-cities and Ironside Clans were also incorporated into the ranks of the First Founding VIII and X Legions, the Night Lords and the Iron Hands, respectively. However, these Legions made use of Albian recruits to a lesser degree than the XIV Legion, who were by blood and culture shaped by the traditions of the warlords of Albia as well as the hand of the Emperor.
- Albyon (British Isles) - Albyon was a polity on Old Earth during the Age of Strife and the Unification Wars, presumably located in what had once been the British Isles, and was known in ancient times as Albion. Its ruler, the tyrannical Uilleam the Red, was defeated by the Emperor's forces and imprisoned in the dungeon of Khangba Marwu in the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains.
- Boeotia - Boeotia was an area of Terra mentioned in ancient Imperial records as having held out against full Unification for a considerable time. While the government of Boeotia tacitly recognised the Emperor's dominance over the rest of Terra, the ruling monarchy of Boeotia used all manner of diplomacy in order to avoid losing power. In a show of great patience and benevolence, the Emperor allowed the ruling dynasty of Boeotia -- the Yeselti -- to carry on in a semi-autonomous state for over 150 standard years, with the intention that they would integrate themselves into the government of Imperial Terra at their own speed and with as much dignity as possible. Instead, House Yeselti clung to their independence until the Imperial Army was forced to invade the province and the Thousand Sons Space Marine Legion was ordered to crush the rebellious state. Boeotia was known both for the presence of a relatively heavy concentration of industry within its borders and the existence of an ancient buried shrine to the gods of an earlier age.
- Britonnica (British Isles) - Britonnica was a small island state located in what was once known as the British Isles.
- Caucasus Wastes (Caucasus Peninsula) - The Caucasus Wastes was a techno-barbarian state located in the Caucasus Peninsula of Europe. Its ruler, known as the Ethnarch of the Caucasus Wastes, was defeated by the forces of the Emperor and imprisoned in the Imperial prison in the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains known as Khangba Marwu, The Vault. The primary Imperial force responsible for this outcome was the early XVIII Legion of Space Marines, later known to history as the Salamanders. Although it is entirely likely that the transhuman warriors of the XVIII Legion saw action before their assault on the Caucasus Wastes, the records of these engagements being either deliberately lost, deleted or sealed at the highest level, the first open battle honour recorded for the then-as yet unmatched XVIII Legion was the Assault of the Tempest Galleries during the overthrow of the Ethnarch of the Caucasus Wastes on Terra. It would also prove to be one of the most famous early campaigns for the Legion. Even though it occurred long before the XVIII Legion's reunification with their Primarch Vulkan on Nocturne, this conflict set its seal upon the nature of the Legion and had a profound influence that remains to this day. The conquest of the Caucasus Wastes was one of the last great battles of the Unification Wars that would see the Emperor as the undisputed master of Terra, but victory did not prove easy. The mutated eugenicist-oligarchs who ruled the Caucasus Wastes presented the Emperor's forces with one of the most difficult challenges they faced in open warfare. While few in number compared to the zealots of the Yndonesic Bloc or the savage warbands of Ursh, the Caucasus Ethnarchy's power was based on scores of relic-technologies and the terrible weapons in their possession which dated back to before the Age of Strife, while its military forces ranged from the armoured, gene-augmented "Ur-Khasis" troops, roughly analogous to the Emperor's Thunder Warriors, to narcotically-enslaved covens of psykers. The Ethnarchy's strongholds were concealed kilometres deep beneath the hollowed-out mountains of the Wastes and shielded from attack from above by near-impregnable power-filed webs. An attempt by the Imperial forces to take the Ethnarchy's mountain-strongholds by storm earlier in the Unification Wars had met with bloody defeat, with the loss of almost 10,000 Thunder Warriors and more than a million other casualties, but had seen the Caucasus Wastes contained and isolated thereafter. So it was that when the hour of the Emperor's vengeance came around, nothing was to be left to chance. The forces of six entire proto-Legions of the Legiones Astartes were mustered for the final assault on the Caucasus Wastes, along with the massed forces of the Legio Custodes, with the Emperor Himself to lead them, and countless other tributary armies, mechanised battalions and warrior bands beneath the eagle-and-lightning Raptor Imperialis banner of Unification. But, of all of these, the first thrust upon which all else would depend the Emperor entrusted to the nascent XVIII Legion. Although the decision to utilise what they considered to be a largely unknown and untested unit in so vital a role was questioned by many within the Imperial command, the Emperor's will was obeyed. The XVIII would carry the assault, utilising scores of freshly created gigantic "Termite" subterranean boring machines fitted with recently acquired technology from Mars. The full force of the proto-Legion, some 20,000 Astartes strong at this juncture, was committed to what was widely believed to be a suicide mission to destroy the vast geo-thermal furnaces which provided power for the Ethnarchy's impregnable defences. These were housed far below even the subterranean strongholds, and known of only through ancient legend, in a hundred-kilometre-long string of vast, artificially-created caverns known as the Tempest Galleries for the incessant storms of flame and electromagnetic force which bled from the ancient and little-understood relic machineries. The XVIII Legion's Power Armour had been specially-modified for the extreme conditions they were to face, and was camouflaged in striated patterns of sulphur yellow and sable black. Once they were ready, the XVIII saluted their Emperor and calmly mounted the untested Martian war engines of the Mechanicum and pierced the dark earth and rock at the edge of the Wastes, disappearing into a deadly and unknown world. Soon all signals were lost, and not even the power of the Imperial psykers could penetrate the turbulent depths to maintain contact with the Space Marine assault forces. Hours stretched into days and days became weeks, and nothing was heard from the assault force while the vast army of the Emperor waited in immediate readiness for the grand attack, and no sign or signal came. Pressed by His commanders, it is said the Emperor silenced them and replied; "They shall not fail me, they will return from the fire, thus it shall ever be." Reports claim that moments after the Emperor spoke, great tremors shook the region, their turbulence felt as far away as Gorodak and the Jade Citadel of Hangol. In their wake, the power-webs that had for so long shielded the Caucasus Wastes failed and the full force of the Emperor's wrath fell upon them to their utter destruction. The last Ethnarch of the Caucasus was dragged in chains to the Imperial prison of Khangba Marwu and the buried secrets that had been his strength were taken by the new, now uncontested Master of Terra. Of the fate of the XVIII Legion nothing was known until the closing days of the campaign when, far from the Wastes, a long-dormant volcano near Klostzatz shattered and one of the Termite machines hauled itself from the rubble carrying just over a thousand survivors from the XVIII Legion.
- Europa (South Central Europe) - Europa was a powerful techno-barbarian state composed of the territory of much of south central Continental Europe, including the Mediterranean Sea lands.
- Franc (France) - The lands of the Franc were based in the territory of Western Europe, largely in the territory of the ancient nation-state once called France. The people of Franc were known as the Frank, a fractious people before the Unification that did not take kindly to invaders. Havuleq D'agross was the last independent ruler of the Franc, leading a rebellion against Imperial rule and killing the Emperor's appointed territorial governor. His rebellion began in the city of Avelroi, but rapidly spread until he could muster a force of 50,000 rebels, which was largely composed of unskilled militia. They eventually fought the Emperor's forces at the Battle of Gaduare, a line of high hills by the ruins of Guaduare Bastion. There, they were wiped out by a force of less than 5,000 Imperial troops, including an early generation of Space Marines from the Dusk Raiders Legion (the name of the Death Guard Legion before the rediscovery of the Primarch Mortarion).
- Gyptus (Egypt) - Gyptus was a small techno-barbarian state located in the northeastern portion of the continent of Afrik (North Africa) in the territory of the ancient nation of Egypt.
- Himalazia (Himalayan Mountains) - The great mountains of Himalazia served as the Emperor of Mankind's original base on Terra. Deep beneath these mountains, the Emperor established the gene-laboratories where He would create the Primarchs and then the gene-seed of the Space Marine Legions. Eventually, the entire chain of great peaks was transformed into the massive complex known as the Imperial Palace.
- Hy Brasil (Brazil) - Hy Brasil was a powerful techno-barbarian state centred in the former territory of ancient Brazil on the continent of Sud Merica (South America). Hy Brasil was considered the most powerful of all the Sud Merican cantons. During the Unification Wars it was ruled by the despot Dalmoth Kyn, "one of the last tyrants to hold out against the Emperor's forces." Once he was defeated by the Imperial Army, rule of Hy Brasil passed to Lord Pherom Sichar, a direct descendant of Kyn. Through the direct intervention of Malcador the Sigillite, it was determined that Sichar would never have a seat on the Council of Terra that preceded the establishment of the Senatorum Imperialis as the rulers of a united Terra and the Imperium. Hy Brasil was ruled from the Planalto, a massive hive city cluster or conurbation. Its government was based in the hive city of Sao Paol. The hives of the Planalto drew their power from a series of massive Plasma Reactors buried in the heart of the main conurbation, whose heat exchange processes mean that the reactor district is caked in thick sheet-ice all year round, forming a gigantic frost park 30 kilometres square. This area was known as the "Winter Fields" and was used for recreation by local inhabitants. Although controlled by the Lord of Hy Brasil, the area (at least following the Unification) also possessed a bicameral parliament. The parliament was divided into upper and lower chambers and was located at the Parliament House on the edge of the Winter Fields in Sao Paol. The building was described as "a splendid structure built from filaments of silvered steel and pylons of a pale stone." The military forces of Hy Brasil were known as "the Dracos" and were allowed to maintain their existence even after the establishment of the Imperial government. The Dracos were known to wear green scaled armour. Elements drawn from the Dracos may well have made up the regiment called the "Ouranti Draks," an Imperial Army regiment that campaigned with the Word Bearers Legion during the Great Crusade. They are described as "swarthy-skinned fighters exclusively recruited from the desiccated jungle regions of Sud Merica" and wore scaled cloaks and reptilian helmets.
- Jermani (Germany) - Jermani was a small techno-barbarian state composed of the territory of the ancient Central European nation of Germany.
- Merica (North America) - Merica was a massive and powerful techno-barbarian state composed of the hive cities located on the Nord Merican continent (North America).
- Nordafrik Conclaves (North Africa) - The Nordafrik Conclaves were comprised of the territory of much of the northern portion of the continent of Afrik (Africa) and thrived during the Age of Strife. The Chronicles of Ursh, an ancient volume dating back to the millennia before the Unification Wars, describes the long and brutal conflict fought between the Nordafrik Conclave and the state of Ursh (Central Asia). The Conclave was eventually defeated by their erstwhile rivals. The Chronicles also described the use of the dark powers of the Warp by both sides.
- Nordyc (Scandinavia) - Nordyc was a techno-barbarian state located in the lands of what had once been Scandinavia. According to detailed extant records preserved in the Trans-Nordyc Akashic archives, a few thousand proto-Astartes of the newly created Thunder Legion and a companion guard of thirty Custodians bearing Guardian Spears, clad in augment-armour and personally led by the Emperor Himself, participated in the assault against the formidable Maullan Sen Confederacy. Despite being outnumbered seven-to-one and suffering several thousand casualties, the Emperor's forces ultimately triumphed over the horde of genetically-altered warriors, witch-marked men and zealots that followed the Priest-King of Maulland Sen. The Priest-King was captured by the Custodians, and after the battle the Emperor carried out his execution and held aloft his severed head to the baying cheers of His Thunder Warriors. In the aftermath of this campaign's climactic ending, it came to be known as the "Battle of the Red Frost." Crushing the last resistance within this region, Nordyc was soon brought into Imperial Compliance.
- Orioc (Antarctica) - Orioc was a city-state of Old Earth. Buried in a hollowed-out mountain in Ancient Terra's ice-bound south, it stood throughout the darkness of Old Night, weathering the storms of strife for thousands of standard years. The people of Orioc believed they were the chosen of Ancient Terra's blighted children, and that they alone would outlast the anarchy that had broken so much else. This certainty came from their faith in protection from the spirits of death and life, an ancient pantheon of gods worshiped by the people of Orioc. During the Unification Wars, when the Emperor's eye finally turned to the mountain city, He seemed to have known that soft words and diplomatic overtures would be of little use. The XVII Legion, the Imperial Heralds, came to the city and gave it a choice -- kneel and accept the Imperial Truth, or be destroyed. The Priest Kings of Orioc did not even hear the message before they gave their answer. Fire met the Imperial Heralds' transport and as it fell to the ice plains, the XVII Legion began their attack. Macro bombers came out of the snow-filled sky and the mountain cracked under a rain of seismic charges. On the mountain's flanks, siege tanks coughed shell after shell into fractures in the rock, breaking them wide open. Behind the wind came the grey armoured warriors advancing in a relentless drum roll of gun fire and the hiss of flame. After three solar hours of battle, the remaining populace was a huddled flock, crammed intro the central cavern. With every other tunnel and cavern district wiped clean of life, the XVII Legion halted, sealing the ways in and out of the central cavern. As the survivors waited in fretful silence, they wondered what fate awaited them. Their answer came in a rain of shattered stone and red fire, as the elite Iconoclasts of the Imperial Heralds, the Astartes of the merciless special formation known as the Ashen Circle, descended on the last idolators like comets flung from a destroyed heaven. All burned, none were spared, and when it was done, the XVII Legion overloaded the geothermal power plants beneath the mountain, causing lava to fill the caverns, swallowing the stone idols, and exploding the city-state from the wounds in the mountain's flanks. So fell Orioc, and the message of its death carried across Ancient Terra and beyond: faith in false gods would bring only ruin and ashes.
- Pan-Pacific Empire (East Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands) - The Pan-Pacific Empire was a techno-barbarian state composed of the Pacific Islands and what had once been the territories of parts of East Asia, Australia and the Japanese islands that flourished during the Age of Strife. Narthan Dume, the Tyrant of the Pan-Pacific Empire, is described in ancient sources as being "half-mad/half-genius" and is considered the most infamous of all the tyrannical rulers who dominated Terra during this dark period. He was eventually defeated by the forces of the Emperor during the Unification Wars, removed from power and imprisoned within the great Imperial prison of Khangba Marwu, releasing his people from their oppression.
- Vhnori - During the early years of the Great Crusade after ca. 800.M30, alliances and oaths were still fresh, untested or half-formed. Even as the Imperium of Man extended beyond the Sol System for the first time, the domains left in its wake were often of questionable stability and loyalty. Attempted rebellions and conspiracies were common. The Imperium usually put most of these insurrections down swiftly and without fanfare. However, occasionally a few rebellions required a different response; not simply subjugation but retribution. Vhnori was a Terran city enclave, a natural fortification built into the walls of a series of chasms for easy defence that had once been a part of the Pan-Pacific Empire. Vhnori had been one of the last of the tyrant Narthan Dume's domains to fall during the Unification Wars. The people of Vhnori did not take easily to the Imperial yoke, as they submitted to the Emperor's rule in sullen silence. This changed, however, with the coming of the Crimson Walkers, a cabal of psykers, gene-splicers and warlords who had once served the last great Terran tyrants of the Age of Strife. Bit by bit they had gathered followers and resources, spreading a secret web across Terra. The centre of their resurgence was Vhnori. It seemed the Crimson Walkers were determined to pull a part of Terra back into the nightmare of the recent past. When the Emperor heard of the rise of this reborn threat, He is said to have spoken three words: "Send in the Eighth!" The VIII Legion did not respond right away, as its force within the Sol System at that time only numbered a little over 500 warriors: a large force of Astartes but not one that could overwhelm a city of millions. When the VIII Legion began their campaign of fear, it started with an orbital bombardment falling from the night sky which lasted for six solar hours. Following the bombardment, the artificial darkness remained. Soon a heavy downpour thick with chemicals rained upon the millions of fearful inhabitants from the seeded clouds above. The VIII Legion arose from the abyss on jets of flame, butchering any who crossed their paths. The screams of terror and battle echoed through their drug-weakened minds. The Crimson Walkers responded by unleashing an army of mutant monstrosities, but still the VIII Legion came on, slicing abominations apart with lightning-sheathed claws. They screamed with the voices of the dead as they fought, their speaker grills shouting out the recorded sounds of suffering, pain and loss. When the chasms were blazing like the mouth of a mythical hell, the Drop Pods fell. The reinforcements converged on the chasms, cutting their way through the city sprawl, killing any they found. Soon, the remaining Crimson Walkers faced their doom fragmented, harrowed and cut-off from one another, until they were cornered by the figures in midnight blue Power Armour. Those who reached the blasted border surrounding the city found themselves hunted by the VIII Legion's Seeker Squads. It is said that the VIII Legion allowed many to run, before hunting them down through the long hours of the artificial night, maiming but never killing, until dragging their broken quarry back to the chasm. With Vhnori screaming and burning, the VIII Legion performed their last duty. Alive, and healed so that they were conscious, they threw the Crimson Walkers into the chasm. Then they detonated charges along the cliff edge, severing the hanging city from the cliff face, the screams of the ten millions who had sheltered from the fighting in the cliff-bound buildings reaching up to the sky as they followed the Crimson Walkers into the black depths of the Earth. The VIII Legion left the decimated city before dawn came again, cementing their reputation for the use of fear and terror as effective weapons of Imperial retribution and control.
- Skandians - The Skandians were known to be raiders who often attacked the other regions of the continent of Europa in pursuit of plunder. They refused to accept Unification under the Emperor's rule and were exterminated by His forces as a result.
- Urals/Terrawatt Clan (Ural Mountains) - The Urals/Terrawatt Clan territory was a small techno-barbarian state located in the territories surrounding the Ural Mountains of Europa that flourished during the Age of Strife. Beneath Mount Narodnya was the greatest forge of the Urals, where the toiling forge-masters once served the Terrawatt Clan during the Unification Wars. It was here that the Primarchs Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children and Ferrus Manus first met.
- Urartu (Asia Minor) - The Kingdom of Urartu was the last of the techno-barbarian states to be conquered militarily by the Emperor's forces and its conquest marked the end of the Unification Wars and the birth of the Imperium of Man. The Imperial historical chronicles tell that the last battle of the Unification Wars, known as the Battle of Mount Ararat, was fought within the territory of Urartu atop a mountain that had once been flooded and lay underwater. During this final battle the chronicles say that the remaining Imperial Thunder Warriors were slain to a man. The chronicles recorded that the famed Thunder Warrior Arik Taranis, known as the "Lightning Bearer," raised the Banner of Lightning at the final declaration of Unity which established the rule of the Emperor of Mankind over the entirety of Terra before dying of his wounds. In truth, the Thunder Warriors were all secretly culled from existence on the Emperor's own orders after the Battle of Mount Ararat by His other servants because they were no longer necessary to His grand design and He wished to replace them with a more advanced genetic template for His genetically-engineered supersoldiers who would become the Space Marines.
- Ursh (Central Asia/Russia) - Ursh was a techno-barbarian state that was located in the steppes of what had once been Russia and Central Asia. Ursh was the mightiest of the techno-barbarian empires on Terra before the Unification Wars and was therefore the largest and strongest enemy the Emperor's forces had to face during that long conflict. Though Ursh was a strong empire, it was not as technologically advanced as several of the other techno-barbarian states. For example, the acquisition of superior military machines from the Nordafrik Conclaves was the main reason cited in the Chronicles of Ursh for Ursh's decision to launch that infamous ancient war against its southern neighbour. Ursh was ruled by the despot and warlord named Kalagann at the time of the Unification Wars. Kalagann was described as being of cruel character, and commanding vast armies of techno-barbarians. Kalagann was known for wearing a distinctive suit of Artificer Armour known as the Armour of Pearl, which by the time of the Horus Heresy was kept as a trophy in the atrium of the Eternity Gate of the Imperial Palace. Other high positions within the government of Ursh were all filled by military warlords including Lurtois, Sheng Khal (also known as Shang Khal) and Quallodon. Kalagann's infamous exploits were documented in the ancient manuscript called the Chronicles of Ursh, which would later be considered by Imperial scholars as a classic work of human literature that provided valuable insight into this pre-Unification state's rise and the wars of the Ursh against the Nordafrik Conclaves. The Chronicles of Ursh mentions the influence of "primordial gods" upon Kalagann and the Ursh. Also, the sorcerous powers of Kalagann mentioned in the Chronicles of Ursh formed the main part of Ursh's military power. As such, it is highly likely that the Chaos Gods were the true lords of Ursh, and Kalagann was merely one of their puppets, manipulated to do their bidding. Despite their influence and favour, the Dark Gods failed to save Kalagann when he faced the forces of the Emperor of Mankind, which eventually resulted in the defeat of Ursh and Kalagann's death. The armies of Ursh consisted mostly of unaltered human soldiers. Kalagann also employed powerful psykers within his armies, using their arcane abilities to unleash the foul powers of the Warp upon his enemies, including the Imperial Army. Some of Ursh's troops are known by name including:
- The Roma - The Roma were organised mercenary fliers who fought for the forces of Ursh. Highly-skilled pilots, they were said to never touch the earth beneath them. They were trained to carry out pinpoint aerial attacks, and were therefore of great value to the generals of Ursh.
- The Red Engines - Both the Red Engines and the Tupelov Lancers followed the command of the warlord Sheng Khal. The Red Engines were masters of the siege, and possessed siege engines able to raze whole fortresses or hive cities to the ground.
- The Tupelov Lancers - The Lancers are described as screaming berserkers. These warriors were trained for close-combat action, and proved ruthless and deadly. In many ways they were a model for the later tactics of the World Eaters Legion of Space Marines.
- Oneirocriticks - The Oneirocriticks were the personal counsellors of the Ursh warlord Sheng Khal. Their name means "interpreters of dreams," in the ancient Urshian dialect of Low Gothic, but it is likely that they used some kind of Warp sorcery to guide Shang Khal in his actions.
- Wrathsingers - This specialised unit was likely comprised of practitioners of sorcery that bent the powers of the Warp to their will. They were able to use their psychic abilities or "magic" as the Chronicles of Ursh names their abilities, to change the environment to their advantage or to kill men from afar with their "spells."
- Yndonesic Bloc (Indonesia) - The Yndonesic Bloc was a techno-barbarian state located in what was once Southeast Asia. As late as the time of the Horus Heresy in the 31st Millennium, the Yndonesic Bloc, though an integral part of the Imperium of Man, still retained a distinct regional identity on Terra. The Yndonesic Bloc was ruled by a man named Cardinal Tang, the tyrannical "Ethnarch," during the closing years of the Age of Strife before the Unification. He wished to "return the world to a pre-technological age," burning "scientists, mathematicians and philosophers" who opposed his church's views. Tang imposed a genocidal policy that consisted of forced breeding between only "genetically compatible" citizens of the Bloc, combined with a eugenics program that aimed for the pursuit of racial hygiene through the use of compulsory sterilizations and the genocidal extermination of "undesirables." Those that defied these enforced edicts were punished brutally. Imperial history would later characterise Tang's rule as one of "bloody pogroms, death camps and genocides." Tang was eventually overthrown by his own people during the rise of the nascent Imperium and was imprisoned in the notorious penal colony of Nusa Kambagan (which would later become a productive Imperial hive city). Tang tried to conceal his true identity and hide amongst the general population. But only a few days after his arrival, Tang's fellow inmates learned of his true identity and murdered the former despot. The military unit known as the Stormbird was developed by the Yndonesic Bloc and used against the Pan-Pacific Tribes during the Unification Wars. No information is available in Imperial records to identify what the Stormbird was, though it was likely a weapon used against those techno-barbarian states that allied with the Emperor's growing forces.
Oceans of Terra
By the time of the Unification Wars there was only one remaining ocean on Terra -- the so-called Great Ocean -- which was the ancient Pacific Ocean. The size of the Pacific was vastly smaller than it once was, due to the vaporisation of a massive stretch of the ocean during the nuclear wars that had consumed much of Old Earth in the lost years of the Age of Strife. This missing portion of the Pacific stretched from the Marianas Trench down past Australia and all the way to the frozen continent of Antarctica. The Atlantic Ocean had also been largely vaporised as that great body of water that had once been near Europe was now mostly gone, particularly to the south of what had been the Iberian Peninsula. Other, smaller, bodies of water may still have remained during this time, as a great body of water is recorded to have been present in the region of Eurasia where the Caspian Sea had lain in ages past. These seas and oceans still existed at the start of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium, but by the time of the 41st Millennium, Terra had no free-standing bodies of water, having become a true ecumenopolis, a world completely covered by the dense urban areas of massive hive cities. Within these human hives toiled the tens of billions of Adeptus Terra bureaucrats and serfs required to keep the decaying heart of the Imperium of Man pumping.
- Realms of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned (1st Edition), pp. 175-180
- The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 14-15, 16, 21, 26
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 92, 132
- The Horus Heresy - Book Seven: Inferno (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pg. 113
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium, "History of Space Marine Armour"
- Warhammer 40,000: Compilation (1st Edition), pp. 19-20
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition)
- Horus Rising (Novel) by Dan Abnett, pp. 69, 118, 194, 261-264
- False Gods (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 7, 9, 39, 59, 68, 127, 320
- Galaxy In Flames (Novel) by Ben Counter, pp. 20, 39-40, 68, 77
- Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow, pp. 20, 92, 283
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 8-9, 48, 101, 147, 164, 183-184, 193, 216, 307
- Legion (Novel) by Dan Abnett, pp. 10, 89
- Mechanicum (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 35, 43, 58, 75, 110, 119, 182-183
- A Thousand Sons (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 11, 30, 34, 40, 66, 101, 111, 117, 180, 198, 216
- Prospero Burns (Novel) by Dan Abnett, pp. 12, 23-28, 31-41, 57-58, 85, 193-194, 293
- Tales of Heresy (Anthology), "Blood Games" by Dan Abnett and "The Last Church" by Graham McNeill, pp. 21-28, 30, 33-35, 39, 237, 248-249, 253-255, 261, 263-264
- The Outcast Dead (Novel) by Graham McNeill, pp. 17, 56-57, 67, 94, 183-184, 208, 387, 391, 420
- The Death of a Silversmith (Short Story) by Graham McNeill, pp. 5, 8
- Master of Mankind (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Ch. 6
- Vengeful Spirit (Novel) by Graham McNeill