Uriel Ventris is the young Captain of the 4th Company of the Ultramarines Chapter of Space Marines and the main protagonist of the Ultramarines series of novels. Captain Uriel Ventris was born on a subterranean Imperial Mining World called Calth in the Realm of Ultramar and chose to become an Ultramarines Aspirant when he came of age for the trials. He succeeded in the trials and became an Ultramarines Neophyte and then earned his way into the ranks of the Ultramarines' officers through his bravery and devotion to the ideals of the Ultramarines Primarch, Roboute Guilliman. However, some of his Battle-Brothers, like Sergeant Learchus, questioned Uriel's commitment to the Codex Astartes because his friend, mentor, and predecessor Captain Idaeus, though a hero of the Chapter, was known to break the Codex 's teachings regularly. Uriel's distant ancestor, Lucian Ventris, had been a hero of the Chapter and was a Terminator in the 1st Company who was killed during the defense of Macragge from the Tyranids.
Uriel Ventris is a flexible military commander who due to the efforts of his mentor, Captain Idaeus, learned to think outside the confines of the Codex Astartes, the masterpiece of Roboute Guilliman and the manual of war that most Space Marine Chapters base their tactics, strategy and organisation upon. Ventris appears to be a tenacious and honourable Space Marine who genuinely cares about the well-being of the average Imperial citizen. A notable example of this can be found when he saved Pavul, a member of the Erebus Defence Legion, during the Battle of Tarsis Ultra, from a swarm of attacking Hormagaunts after he had previously had his life saved from a rampaging Carnifex by this particular Imperial soldier, as well as striking up friendships with members of the 44th Lavrentian Hussars (particularly their commander, Colonel Nathaniel Winterborne) and the Pavonis PDF during their efforts to repulse a Tau invasion of the planet.
Uriel Ventris became Captain of the Fourth Company of the Ultramarines Chapter, once one of the twenty original Space Marine Legions of the First Founding, when its former captain, Idaeus, sacrificed himself during the Battle of Thracia, in a desperate last-ditch attempt to stop a Night Lords Chaos Space Marine offensive. Despite his initial disquiet at Idaeus' unorthodox methods, Ventris saw merit in them, and in time would become just as unconventional as his mentor.
Uriel's first mission was to Pavonis, a deeply troubled Imperial industrial world on the Eastern Fringes of the Imperium of Man. He was tasked with escorting an Adept of the Administratum, Ario Barzano, who was later revealed to be an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos in disguise, and ensuring his safety as the Adept attempted to restore order to an increasingly troubled and incompetent planetary government led by Governor Mykola Shonai. The troubles came from both humans and xenos alike. The Church of Ancient Ways, a secret and heretical organization, had plagued the planet by planting bombs in the world's manufactorums. In addition, a series of raids by the Dark Eldar had been on-going for six years. Ventris successfully handled both problems, defeating a civil insurrection by disgruntled Pavonis nobles and crushing the Dark Eldar and their human collaborator in the tomb of the C'tan known as the Nightbringer. Unfortunately for all the intelligent races of the galaxy, the Nightbringer escaped into the cosmos.
Ventris' next task was the defence of Tarsis Ultra, a world threatened by a splinter of the Tyranid Hive Fleet Leviathan. In order to boost the strength of this system, Captain Ventris secured the aid of a Space Marine company from the Mortifactors, a Successor Chapter of the Ultramarines that was formed during the Second Founding. Despite the best efforts of the Ultramarines, the Mortifactors and Inquisitor Kryptman of the Ordo Xenos, the outlying worlds of the system were lost and Tarsis Ultra itself almost overrun by the Tyranid swarms. Only the destruction of the Hive Fleet's controlling Norn-Queen at the hands of Ventris and a Deathwatch Kill-team saved the planet from destruction. But in destroying the Norn-Queen, Ventris had deserted his men, and upon returning to Macragge, a furious Sergeant Learchus reported this breach of the Codex Astartes to the Chapter's leaders.
Captain Ventris was spared the expected execution for his breach of Ultramarine doctrine and instead given a Death Oath by Marneus Calgar: he and his faithful companion, Sergeant Pasanius Lysane, were to seek out "a place of dark iron" where twisted reflections of the Space Marines were being wrought. Shortly after departing Macragge, Ventris' starship was attacked by Warp entities directed by a daemon imprisoned inside a daemonengine called the Omphalos Daemonium. This daemonengine resembled a huge, grotesque steam locomotive, which could travel between the Warp and realspace. The two Space Marines were seized and taken deep within the Eye of Terror to Medrengard, the Daemon World that was the home of the Iron Warriors Traitor Marines. The pair soon linked up with a band of Renegade Space Marines and two surviving former Imperial Guardsmen, who were escaped slaves of the Iron Warriors. The group became a self-styled guerilla band, engaging in hit-and-run attacks against the Iron Warriors. Ventris, Pasanius and the band of guerillas were eventually captured by Warsmith Honsou of the Iron Warriors, and after defying him, Ventris was "implanted" in the womb of a Daemonculaba, a genetically-modified woman whose womb had been amplified with Imperial Fists gene-seed the Iron Warriors had stolen during the 13th Black Crusade from the world of Hydra Cordatus and which was intended to turn normal adolescents into new Chaos Space Marines. This twisted technology was a mechanism intended to accelerate the development of new Traitor Marines in the laboratories under Honsou's fortress. These new Chaos Space Marines were intended to refill the ranks of the Iron Warriors Legion, which had been unable to replace its losses over the 10 millennia since the Horus Heresy. The Daemonculaba were also the mutated creatures that Uriel and Pasanius had been tasked with destroying in the first place. At the same time, Honsou was under siege by rival Iron Warriors Warsmiths for refusing to hand over their share of the untainted Imperial Fists gene-stock taken after the invasion of an Imperial facility on Hydra Cordatus. As the fighting raged, Ventris and Pasanius managed to get free and succeeded in destroying Honsou's labs and his fortress, although in order for this to happen they had to release a captive Khornate Daemon Prince. The Daemon Prince then annihilated the rival daemon it had previously imprisoned in the Omphalos Daemonium, destroyed Honsou's fortress and minions, and attacked Honsou's rivals, driving them away. Later, Uriel, Pasanius, and a group of the so-called Unfleshed, who were the mutant rejects of the Iron Warriors' experiments to make new Space Marines using the Daemonculaba, escaped from the Eye of Terror on the Omphalos Daemonium, which had reverted to a normal starship.
However, the former Daemon Engine brought them through the Warp to a troubled world called Salinas, and more specifically to a forbidden zone on that world's surface that reeked of death. Ventris and Pasanius were then confronted by the veteran Imperial Guard Regiment that ruled the planet as a gift of conquest, and Leto Barbaden, the suspicious and ruthless Planetary Governor and the regiment's ex-commander. They requested help in reaching Macragge, but their astropathic transmission was intercepted by the Grey Knights, who were monitoring Salinas for other reasons. A squad of them arrived on the planet, arrested Ventris and Pasanius, and after grueling physical, mental and spiritual trials declared them untainted by their exposure to Chaos during the events on Medrengard. In the meantime, it was revealed that a powerful psyker had likely brought the Omphalos Daemonium to Salinas in order to use the freed Unfleshed as an instrument of revenge against the governor and his former regiment. This was vengeance for the regiment's murder of tens of thousands of civilians, including the entire population of a town that was the birthplace of many of the leaders of a small-scale guerilla campaign that now operated on Salinas. The campaign itself had been caused by the brutality and heavy-handedness of the Imperial Governor. This ravished town was the forbidden zone the Ultramarines had first found themselves in when they arrived on Salinas. After being possessed by the psyker, the Unfleshed went on a killing rampage, but they were eventually killed by Uriel, Pasanius, and the Grey Knights, who after appeasing the vengeful psyker and exacting justice on the overthrown Governor Barbaden, subsequently returned the Ultramarines to Macragge.
Return to Pavonis
Having successfully completed their Death Oath, Uriel and Pasanius were welcomed back to the homeworld of their Chapter but were subjected to interrogation and tests by the Ultramarines' Chief Librarian Varro Tigurius to ensure they had not been tainted by their time on the Daemon World of Medrengard. After both Uriel and Pasanius were deemed free of Chaotic taint, Uriel was reinstated as Captain of the Ultramarines' 4th Company and given the opportunity to prove himself in the eyes of those who still doubted him by returning to the world of Pavonis and defending it from Tau invaders, who had taken advantage of economic turmoil in Pavonis to offer diplomatic overtures to the planet's rulers with the intention of incorporating Pavonis into the Tau Empire, launching a full scale invasion when their offers were rebuffed. After tense fighting over key cities pivotal to control of the planet, the Tau invasion was ultimately thwarted when Uriel and the entirety of the Ultramarines 4th Company assaulted the Tau command centre and overcame the Ethereal commanding the Tau forces. Uriel pointed out that even if the Tau succeeded in conquering Pavonis, their forces would be insufficient to hold it against an inevitable Imperial counter-attack. Uriel delivered an ultimatum to the Tau; either their forces withdrew unharmed, or he would have the 4th Company Strike Cruiser Vae Victus perform an Exterminatus on Pavonis to deny the planet to the Tau: realising Ventris's threats were not empty, the Tau reluctantly retreated. Pasanius was not so fortunate, as he was demoted in rank and forced into one hundred days of isolation from the Chapter. This harsh treatment was a punishment for hiding the unusual regenerative abilities of his bionic arm, which he had gotten after the C'tan called the Nightbringer had scythed off his biological arm during the earlier Ultramarines mission to Pavonis. Apparently because of this contact with the C'tan, the bionic arm had become infused with the Necron's living metal, the substance called necrodermis. After one hundred days he was reinstated as a Battle-Brother of the 4th Company and rejoined his captain.
In the meantime, the Warsmith Honsou was consumed by hate for Ventris and the Ultramarines following the events on Medrengard and the destruction of his Chaos Space Marine incubation experiments. He hatched a plan to annihilate the Ultramarines, and especially Uriel Ventris. As bait, he used a stolen Mechanicus virus to turn Tarsis Ultra, the world the Ultramarines had vowed to protect, into a Dead World. He had assembled a large invasion force, which apart from his Iron Warrior warband, included Chaos Cultists, Traitor Marines and Traitor Guardsmen, Dark Eldar pirates, Kroot and other alien and human mercenaries, a Dark Mechanicus force led by the Traitor Magos Cycerin, and a multitude of criminals, psychopaths and killers. Honsou managed to find and board a star fort hidden for the previous 60 years in the depths of uncharted space in the Ultramar Sub-sector, guarded by an Ultramarines contingent. He slaughtered the star fort's Ultramarines garrison and then freed the powerful Daemon Prince M'kar, secretly held captive within the fort. The daemon, who had once been the Word Bearers Dark Apostle named Maloq Kartho who had originally attacked Ultramar during the Horus Heresy, was imprisoned by Marneus Calgar, the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines, with the help of the Inquisition. M'kar hated the Ultramarines Chapter and the Imperium of Man with a passion. Aligning with the Warsmith Honsou, the Daemon Prince possessed a desecrated Ultramarine Dreadnought shell so that he could interact with the material universe, turned the star fort into a Chaos abomination linked directly to the Warp, and called forth a huge daemon army to join in attacking the worlds of the Realm of Ultramar.
Honsou had managed to acquire a clone of Uriel Ventris, known as the "Newborn", who had been created from the genetic material left behind while Uriel was in the womb of the Daemonculaba on Medrengard. The Newborn was a psychic as well as physical clone of Uriel. As such, he had fragments of Uriel's knowledge and memories, including the defence protocols of Ultramar, which Honsou first used to attack the star fort, and then the entire Realm of Ultramar. The whole Chapter rose in defense of the realm, aided by an Adeptus Mechanicus contingent under Magos Locard, the warband of the system-based Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Suzaku, a squad of Raven Guard Space Marines, the mobilized Ultramaran Planetary Defense Force regiments, and many civilians. The war expanded to encompass several Ultramar worlds, at least one of which was destroyed. Finally, Uriel confronted the Newborn (and Honsou), on Calth, his planet of birth. Honsou had gone there at the request of M'kar, to the Tomb of Ventanus (an ancient Ultramarine hero of the 4th Company known as "the Savior of Calth") to destroy Ventanus' sarcophagus and his wargear. Uriel killed the Newborn using a blade that was part of Ventanus' wargear, and in the battle that followed Honsou's more numerous force was defeated thanks to the sudden appearance of spectral guardian-warriors. Honsou, faced with capture or death, detonated the explosives the Iron Warriors had previously placed around the Tomb, collapsing the grand edifice of the Tomb on top of himself and his opponents. Uriel and some of his fellow warriors survived and headed to Talassar, an Ultramaran world where M'kar and his daemon army were close to overrunning Chapter Master Calgar and his dwindling forces. Uriel and other friendly reinforcements arrived in the midst of the final, climactic battle for the world. Ventris tossed the powerful anti-daemonic Blade of Ventanus to Calgar as the Chapter Master was duelling with M'kar, and Calgar used it to completely annihilate the Daemon Prince.
With the daemon army and Honsou's forces defeated in all the theatres of the war, the Imperial forces proceeded to engage in mopping-up operations, and within six months, the Realm of Ultramar was declared free of the touch of Chaos. Ominously, while the ruins of the Tomb of Ventanus were searched thoroughly, the body of Warsmith Honsou was never recovered.
- The sight of the Blade of Ventanus terrified M'kar, who called it the Shard of Erebus. It is not known whether this blade is related to the Kinebrach Anathame, the sentient xenos weapon First Chaplain Erebus of the Word Bearers had stolen and then utilized in the plot to poison Horus, eventually turning him into an agent of Chaos.
- The Ultramarines series of novels:
- McNeill, Graham (2005). Nightbringer. Nottingham: Black Library.
- McNeill, Graham (2004b). Warriors of Ultramar. Nottingham: Black Library.
- McNeill, Graham (2004a). Dead Sky, Black Sun. Nottingham: Black Library.
- McNeill, Graham (2008). The Killing Ground. Nottingham: Black Library.
- McNeill, Graham (2010a). Courage and Honour. Nottingham: Black Library.
- McNeill, Graham (2010b). The Chapter's Due. Nottingham: Black Library.