"For the Khan and the Emperor!"
First Founding (30th Millennium)
Great Khan Jubal
White and Red
The White Scars are a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter and one of the First Founding Legions of the Adeptus Astartes. Known and feared throughout the Imperium of Man for their highly mobile way of war, the White Scars are considered the masters of the lightning strike and hit-and-run attack and are particularly adapted to the use of the Astartes Assault Bike as their mechanical steeds and their forces contain an unusually large number of Bike Squads compared to other Chapters. Bearing the ritual scars of bravery, these fierce warriors fight with all the tribal savagery that define the fierce steppe nomads of their homeworld Mundus Planus, bringing swift death to all of the enemies of the Imperium.
In the wake of the Long Night of the Age of Strife and the Unification Wars of Terra in the late 30th Millennium, the Emperor of Mankind sought to unite all of humanity under one banner and end inter-human conflict. The Emperor hoped to ensure human domination of the Milky Way Galaxy, a conquest He judged necessary if Mankind was to survive the never-ending threats to its existence embodied by Chaos, the myriad hostile xenos races and its own fragile human nature. In time, when the Emperor's eye first began to fall beyond Terra, He began to raise new armies to fight His Great Crusade. He drew these new troops in part from the forces that had already unified Terra during the Unification Wars of the late 30th Millennium. To carry out the Great Crusade and reunite all the scattered colony worlds of Mankind beneath the single banner of the Imperium of Man, the Emperor created the genetically-enhanced superhuman warriors of the Space Marine Legions. These forces would serve as the speartip of His Great Crusade that began in ca. 800.M30, bringing the light of the Imperial Truth and enforcing Imperial Compliance with the new regime on every human world encountered.
Lords of War
The origins of the White Scars Legion can be found during the Unification Wars, though much of their early history is unrecorded or obscured by the passage of time. The base human stock for the majority of the first Space Marine Legions raised came from Terra, and in the case of the Vth Legion the main bulk of the gene-recruits used were drawn from all racial and geographic origins, but these would account for the minority of members by the time of the Ullanor Crusade on the cusp of the 31st Millennium. According to ancient White Scars records, the Terrans who made up the Vth Legion possessed diverse origins, with "some having the flesh the colour of charred firewood, for others it was as pale as our armour." By the time of the Great Crusade, Terran Aspirants were brought to the training centres of Imamdo on Terra. Here they underwent the selection process, and if chosen, the physical conditioning necessary to determine whether or not they were fit to become Space Marine Legionaries. Each cadre was chosen by a prospective Space Marine Legion. If an Aspirant showed extreme promise they were often selected by the vaunted XVIth Legion (the Luna Wolves), but more often than not they would be reassigned to a Space Marine Legion based on the individual Legion's needs because of the ongoing Great Crusade. Those Aspirants who were reassigned would be transported to a training facility on Luna, where they would continue their training and study for another decade, until they were deemed worthy of becoming a fully-fledged Battle-Brother of their newly assigned Legion. Once transported to their new Legion, they would continue undergoing gene-therapy, psycho-conditioning, and then, finally, the gene-seed implants that would make them one with their new Legion.
In the days after the rediscovery of the White Scars Primarch Jaghatai Khan on the world of Chogoris (Mundus Planus in official Imperial records), Aspirants to service in the Vth Legion began their initial orientation in the Sol System. Then they would be moved out with the others to various off-world training facilities such as a decommissioned Imperial Battleship over Vhomarl, a Jetbike squadron billeted temporarily on the lead-hard plains of Yyem, specialist combat units deployed on the Ocean World of Kail IX or the gas giant Revelet Taredes. For those who performed well throughout, the Chogorian instructors were fulsome in their praise, unlike the grudging hard-men of the Luna Wolves who conducted their Space Marine Initiates' training back on Terra. The physical changes the Aspirants underwent were hard, and the surgeries often painful. For those selected to join the mystic savages of the Vth Legion the cultural ways of the barbarians of Chogoris were too different to be absorbed readily. These Aspirants had to learn Khorchin, the strange language of Chogoris. This alone tested many Aspirants -- despite their improved recall and mental agility, getting their tongue around such alien sounds remained a challenge. It was not just a matter of vocabulary and grammar; Khorchin had inflections and subtleties not shared by any Terran language. Their tutors had developed their own theory on the origin of the differences; the Chogorians were a poetic people. Their homeworld was an empty place. It loosened their imagination, so they filled their minds with words. They were prolix, and they did not learn Gothic well, hence all the fuss of learning their native language. The Aspirants eventually mastered the speech in the end, just like all the other Terrans who had been inducted into the Legion. The inductees studied together, poring over curved character-clusters and diacritics, rolling their eyes at the complexities and cementing friendships in the face of adversity.
Though initially most Legions took prospective Aspirants from the various geographic origins on Terra or other worlds, by the time the Great Crusade was in full swing, many of the Aspirants of the Vth Legion were taken from the Asiatic hive clusters on Terra. Those Aspirants of various other stocks disapproved of this practice. After Unity was achieved on Terra, the Imperium was meant to have moved beyond racial and ethnical stereotyping, so the fact that the Vth Legion remained mired in the physiognomic traits of their backwater world was an irritant to the other Legions. Much else about them was an irritant: their archaic customs, their introversion, their exceptionalism. They placed enormous importance on speed -- on being the first into combat, on being the first out, on movement, on shams and counterfeits. This was counter-intuitive to the mantra drilled into their heads on Terra, "No backward step." The Chogorian instructors instead drilled into them "Withdraw, then return" over and over again. When at last Ascension arrived, and the Aspirants were deemed worthy to become fully-fledged Battle-Brothers of the Vth Legion, their old life was no more. They would give up their old names and choose a new one from Talskar mythology or from one of the many Khorchin almanacs and lexicons.
Scattered across the galaxy through the Warp from the Emperor of Mankind's secret gene-laboratory beneath the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains of Terra along with the 19 other Primarchs by the machinations of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, the gestation capsule of the special child later known as Jaghatai Khan was deposited on the vast steppe-lands of the fertile Feudal World of Mundus Planus. The inhabitants of Mundus Planus, who knew the world as Chogoris rather than by its official High Gothic name, had managed to struggle back from the terrible destruction of the Age of Strife to a pre-industrial level of technology. The dominant Planan culture was technologically analogous to that of the Renaissance period of the 2nd Millennium in ancient Terran history by the time of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium, having just rediscovered how to incorporate gunpowder into the weapon systems of its armies. Most of Mundus Planus was under the rule of an organized feudal aristocracy, led by a monarch known as the Palatine.
Jaghatai was discovered just after his arrival on the world as an infant child by Ong Khan, the chieftain of a small Planan nomadic tribe called the Talskars, who adopted the extraordinarily beautiful infant into his family, foreseeing that he would one day become a great warrior unlike any other the steppe-lands had ever known. Jaghatai's adoptive family was later killed by another of the tribes inhabiting the Planan steppes, the Kurayed. Already the greatest warrior in the Talskar tribe, despite his young age, Jaghatai led many Talskar warriors in vengeance against the Kurayed. He razed the enemy village to the ground, killed every inhabitant, and took the Kurayed chieftain's head to mount above his own tent.
Following this victory, Jaghatai was elected as the Khan of the Talskars, in the process swearing to unite the tribes of the steppes and bring an end to the internecine tribal warfare that dominated their lives. Each tribe Jaghatai and his warriors defeated was integrated into the Talskar tribe. Jaghatai utilised his military talents and the sheer force of his superhumanly charismatic personality to win himself many followers. He made military service with his army mandatory among the Planan steppe tribes, and combined warriors of various tribes into mixed units, to break up previous associations and to create a common loyalty among them based in the foundation of their allegiance to him rather than their tribe.
Jaghatai's abilities enabled him to weld together a coalition of the steppe tribes to battle a Chaos Cult whose foul power was spreading throughout the main continent of Mundus Planus. In the final battle, he led 10,000 steppe warriors on horseback in a gallant charge against the cultists and their crude black powder cannons. Despite horrendous losses, the Planan tribes' charge smashed the enemy. The tribesmen pursued the cultists, butchering every one of them as they tried to flee. Jaghatai and his warriors went on to conquer most of the continent.
Ten standard years later, after having united the tribes of the steppe region known as the "Empty Quarter", Jaghatai was caught in an avalanche. He was discovered by the son of the Khagan, the ruling Emperor of the Planan nobility, a khan of khans (later known in Imperial historical archives as the Palatine), who like many Planan nobles had taken to the sport of capturing an Empty Quarter tribesman and hunting him through the mountains. The exact course of events is unknown, but it was said that a single man of the hunting party returned, bearing the head of the Khagan's son along with a message for that ruler. "The people of the steppes are yours no longer."
The enraged Khagan gathered his army and marched west, to engage the wild horse tribes of the Empty Quarter in combat, but was soundly defeated in a battle that lasted a day and a night. Heavily armoured in mail and plate armour, and accustomed to engaging in decisive melee combat with other heavy cavalry and heavy infantry forces supported by light infantry arquebusiers, the Khagan's pike-and-shot army was no match for the light cavalry and relentless bowfire of Jaghatai's forces. The Khagan barely escaped capture, but was eventually killed as Jaghatai's army flowed into the lands once held by the Planan aristocracy, either conquering or destroying everything in their path. Jaghatai's power now encompassed the planet's lone continent, a global empire forged across the breadth of Mundus Planus in less than twenty standard years.
Coming of the Emperor
Jaghatai's campaign ended less than six solar months before the Emperor of Mankind came to Mundus Planus as part of His Great Crusade. Recognising the Emperor as a man who embodied his own ideal of unity for all Mankind, though on a far broader stage than he had ever imagined, the Primarch swore fealty and bent the knee to his father. In return, he was given command of the Vth Space Marine Legion that had been created from his genome on Terra. The Vth Legion was quick to adopt the long honour scars of the Talskar tribesmen as a new Legion custom, and renamed themselves the White Scars after transferring their Fortress-Monastery to Mundus Planus. Many warriors of Jaghatai's nomadic army chose to follow their leader, becoming the first generation of White Scar Astartes recruited from their new Legion homeworld of Chogoris rather than Terra.
Relations with other Legions
Jaghatai's closest relationships with his brother Primarchs were with Horus Lupercal of the vaunted Luna Wolves Legion and Magnus the Red of the Thousand Sons. With Horus, the Khan shared a love of the rapid assault, as well as feeling understood and accepted by Horus. This understanding was also only truly shared by Magnus, who, like the Khan, was as much an outsider to the other Primarchs as Jaghatai. The close relationship of the White Scars Primarch to these two brothers was matched, somewhat, by the relationships between their respective Legions. Several White Scars Brotherhoods (or companies) would often be seconded to fight alongside their cousins from the Luna Wolves. These Brotherhoods would utilise a mix of both Vth and XVIth Legion tactics, including the latter's more consolidatory approach to rapid warfare and the more standardised manner of the Luna Wolves' military hierarchy. However, for some Chogorians these tactics could be difficult to understand. Similarly, the Thousand Sons were also known to be close to the Vth Legion for many reasons. The love of knowledge of the sons of Prospero, their enjoyment in the subtleties of the universe and each Legion's detachment from the rest of the Imperium would render a fruitful relationship between these two forces of Astartes.
In stark contrast, the Vth Legion seemed to have a very poor relationship with many of the other Space Marine Legions, most of all with the Death Guard and their equally mysterious Primarch Mortarion. It was also known that the White Scars did not get along well with the Space Wolves Legion. All Legions had reputations, and some of these overlapped. The Space Wolves were known to boast of theirs as the Emperor's executioners. When the White Scars fought alongside other Imperial forces they were often unfairly judged, due to their use of ritual marks and scars. People automatically assumed that they were savages, and were no better than the barbarous warriors of Leman Russ that hailed from the Death World of Fenris. The White Scars did not wish to be seen as savages, for they constantly strove to achieve the most noble of human pursuits. In addition, the comparison added salt to the wound of the Vth Legion's entrenched estrangement from the Imperium, suggesting how little others took to understand the Chogorians. Though the White Scars were not "executioners" like the Space Wolves or "world eaters" like Angron's berserk XIIth Legion's warriors or "the perfect" Astartes like Fulgrim's Emperor's Children, the White Scars were what they were. They never demanded respect from anyone, and if the other Legions knew nothing of them, then that was their loss, because the White Scars knew about them. The Vth Legion was faster -- they moved faster and they killed faster. Secretly, the White Scars resented the outsiders' disregard greatly, and yet they refused to change their ways or Legion culture.
A bolt of lightning in clear skies, a sudden gale from an unexpected quarter -- the White Scars Legion was war's sudden and merciless slaughter. Swift action and a joy for the rush of combat and clash of blades were the hallmarks of its battles, tempered by a quiet and hidden wisdom that few took the time to uncover. The White Scars thrived in the chaotic heart of battle, anticipating its vicissitudes and flowing with them, always to be found where the foe was weakest, where they were least expected, and leaving only cold corpses in their wake. They were the Great Crusade's pathfinders, the bleak wind that ran ahead of its serried armies culling the weak and harrying the strong that they might fall more easily to those who followed. There were many victories claimed by the Great Crusade that would not have been possible without the depredations caused by these warriors.
The lightning-fast style of mobile warfare that had served Jaghatai Khan so well on the steppes of his homeworld proved to be equally effective on the many different battlefields of the Great Crusade. The White Scars soon became involved in some of the bloodiest battles of the time after the rediscovery of their Primarch. The White Scars most famously took part in the historic Ullanor Crusade, the vast Imperial assault on the Ork empire of the Overlord Urrlak Urruk. The White Scars and Ultramarines Space Marine Legions, supported by the Imperial Army, the forces of the Mechanicum and the Collegia Titanica took part in the massive Imperial campaign against the largest concentration of Orks yet encountered by the burgeoning Imperium of Man. In the aftermath of this monumental victory, the Great Khan watched with approval as Horus Lupercal, greatest of the Primarchs and most favoured son of the Emperor, took up his new office as Warmaster of all the Imperium's military forces. The two of them, Horus and the Khan, liked one another. Of all his brothers, the Khan had only ever been close to two, and Horus was the first. Then they had parted. The grand gathering of Primarchs and commanders and Battleships and officials dispersed, setting course for a thousand destinations and making the Warp light up with the trails of their passage. The Great Crusade commenced again, though this time with a Warmaster at its apex, not an Emperor.
Council of Nikaea
Just before the White Scars were sent on another campaign to continue prosecuting the Great Crusade, a great Imperial conclave was called upon the world of Nikaea. This grand council, known to history as the Council of Nikaea was called by the Emperor of Mankind Himself, and was intended to determine whether or not the use of psychic powers represented a boon or a grave danger to both Mankind and the nascent Imperium of Man. There were three Primarchs who were primarily responsible for the creation of the Legiones Astartes Librarius. Two were quite well known within the official historical records; Magnus of the Thousand Sons and the angelic Sanguinius of the Blood Angels. Though Magnus was the figurehead, the most powerful and the most vocal in the use of psychic abilities, he was not the only voice. His brother Sanguinius was more subtle in his support. On this, though, Jhagatai always argued the same way. The Khagan had drawn up most of the rules for and formalised the structure of the Legions' Librarius, even though his name was never entered into the official datacores. Jaghatai's contribution to the development of the Space Marines psychic arts was never known by the other Legions or the rest of the Imperium.
The citizens of the Imperium at large were taught that humanity had moved beyond superstition. They believed this inherent Imperial Truth, just as they were meant to. There were no gods, they were told, and what looked like magic was just the growing power of the human mind. The Chogorians, on the other hand, never stopped believing. They understood, perhaps better than anyone, that the Warp could corrupt the finest -- the greater the strength, the greater the corruption. On Chogoris, the ability to wield the power of the psyker was called the Test of Heaven. The Chogorians had always known of the existence of the Warp and the dangerous entities that lurked within. It was how their Stormseers had become so powerful. Their cousins amongst the Space Wolves, the Rune Priests of Fenris, worked the same source for their elemental powers, though they would never openly admit it. The masses never learned about the Warp, and the vast majority did not even know of its existence. The Emperor kept those truths hidden, and for all anyone knew He had tried to stamp out those who still understood them. The Khan never agreed with this obfuscation of the truth, and father and son had often argued over the matter. This was the great question, the one they fell out over -- can you rest an empire on a lie? The Warp was not what the masses of Humanity thought it was. It was alive and dangerous, and could be used. The Imperium was wilfully blind, deliberately so. It had never wished to look at what held it together.
In the beginning, Magnus had not wanted the Librarius integrated into the Legions. He wanted every human psyker to unlock their full potential, to explore all they were safely capable of -- with no restraint, and no guidance. But his two brother Primarchs disagreed, for they felt that such potentially dangerous abilities needed to be curbed. So the Khan and the Angel agreed to create a strict structure for the use of psychic powers, a structure intended to limit what psykers were allowed to do. As already noted, on Chogoris the use of such esoteric abilities was known as walking the Path of Heaven. Psykers, the zadyin arga, were taught that if they strayed from this path, the Warp would eat away at their very souls. The Chogorians had always known that utilising the powers of the Warp was inherently dangerous. As the argument over the use of such abilities came to a head in the Imperium, there were those who understood that the survival of the Space Marine Legions' Librarius was balanced on a narrow ledge. But there were those who thought that Librarians were witches, ripe for burning, and those who thought they were still-forming gods. Neither side could be allowed to win their arguments if the Imperium was to prosper. But in the end, the witch-hunters largely carried the day.
When the Crimson King spoke in favour of psykers at the Council of Nikaea, as many proponents feared, he went too far. He never understood how much fear he caused. If he had managed to reign himself in, and acknowledge that his Legion needed to reform and that they understood that they needed to be more careful in their use of the Warp, then the outcome of the Council might have been very different. But instead he preached about knowledge and power and gave the impression that he was some kind of prophet. Finally, at the end of the conclave, Stormseer Targutai Yesugei, at the time a junior Librarian of the White Scars Legion, presented the Council of Nikaea a third option in regards to the use of psychic abilities and the maintenance or abolition of the established Legions' Librarius. He explained that there was nothing inherently evil about a Librarian. If such a gifted individual was properly trained in order to obtain the greatest results, like any weapon, he or she could still be used, but with respect and not indiscriminately. Yesugei argued that human psykers should be trained rigorously to take advantage of their innate abilities in order to assist the Imperium in completing its galaxy-spanning conquest. With such an elite cadre of trained psychic specialists utterly loyal to the Emperor, the galaxy could be brought into the Imperial fold with ease. Yesugei also argued that psychic sorcery should be strictly forbidden, since in dealing with the entities of the Warp, the ever-present risk of corruption was simply too great to be avoided.
The Emperor's judgement at the Council of Nikaea proved severe, largely as a result of His anger at Magnus for delving into forbidden sorcery in contravention of the Emperor's explicit warnings. The Emperor rejected the White Scars Librarians' compromise. With the exceptions of Navigators and Astropaths who were properly trained, controlled and sanctioned by the Imperium and were necessary to its continued existence, the Space Marine Legions were no longer to employ psykers within their ranks. He commanded that the Primarchs were to close their Legions' Librarius departments forthwith and not to indulge the undoubted psychic talents of those Legionaries who possessed the gift. All existing Space Marine Librarians were likewise forbidden to make use of their abilities. The Council's rulings also created a new position amongst the Space Marine Legions, the Space Marine Chaplain, to uphold the Imperial Truth and help maintain the purity of an Astartes Legion's dedication and fidelity to the Emperor's commands.
Afterwards, Jaghatai came to believe that the outcome of the Council of Nikaea should have never been left in the Crimson King's hands. The Khan should have been there, side-by-side with his two brothers, standing with the Angel and Magnus. No one could have accused him of being a sorcerer. It would have calmed the others, to see a warrior-Primarch making his case in support of the Librarius. He did not attend because he was sent away to the Chondax System, just as the Council was preparing to meet at Nikaea. He spoke to Stormseer Yesugei and considered rejecting the Warmaster Horus' command to leave for Chondax, for he could have done so, but both White Scars warriors believed that the campaign on Chondax would be over in a matter of solar weeks. The enemy infesting that system were only Greenskins, remnants of the Ork empire destroyed on Ullanor, the last slivers of the Warlord Urrlak Urruk's horde. Perhaps some of the Primarchs would have balked at being to hunt down the xenos -- it was not prestigious work -- but the Khan was happy enough. It was hunting, and in a way that he understood: cavalry charges across open spaces, going up against prey that had no concept of capitulation or self-pity. He had never complained. Nearly all of his Legion went with him, ranked in their various Brotherhoods, eager for the hunt. Scores of white starships cut the void, each crammed with warriors of the ordu, all desperate to get back in the chase.
The Vth Legion's legend was to grow with the events of the Horus Heresy, when the White Scars fought on hundreds of worlds for over 7 standard years against the Traitor Legions and the other Forces of Chaos. Unlike many of the other Primarchs, Jaghatai never even considered betraying the Emperor for the service of the Ruinous Powers. Such a course would have been dishonourable in the extreme since the Emperor had done no wrong to His sons and also because Jaghatai so deeply believed in the Emperor's goal of reunifying the entire human race under a single ruler so that it might claim final dominance over the Milky Way Galaxy. The White Scars Legion had already been engaged for several standard years in a punishing campaign against the Orks of the Chondax System where Jaghatai had recalled his entire Legion when the Heresy began. It was at Chondax that they first received the news of the Space Wolves Legion's actions during the Burning of Prospero. These reports said Russ had turned rebel, and driven by his hatred for Magnus, his Legion had utterly decimated the Thousand Sons Legion and their Primarch Magnus had died at the Wolf King's own hand. But due to the effects of the Ruinstorm, a monstrous Warp Storm unleashed by the Word Bearers during the Battle of Calth, astropathic communication was unreliable and vast tracts of the Imperium were made all but impassable. Furthermore, the White Scars' fleet Astropaths continued to interpret the astropathic messages they received in a contradictory manner.
Delay and Deception at Chondax
It had begun in the Chondax System, right towards the end of the campaign against the Greenskins -- the first inkling that all was not well. There had been no detail then, no authentication, just stray astropathic messages of dubious provenance. It should have been easy to dismiss, to put down to the warping power of the Empyrean. But it had worn on the Khan, unravelling his sleep. He felt that the Warmaster was standing upon a precipice. There were also conflicting reports received from the Imperial Fists Legion's Primarch Rogal Dorn that urged the White Scars to return to Terra to help defend the throneworld alongside Lord Dorn and Leman Russ, supposedly now a Traitor, as soon as possible. Everything had changed so quickly, garbled in a flurry of contradictory astropathy and secure comm-bursts: Russ of the Wolves had gone rogue; or the Warmaster had, taking several Legions with him; the White Scars were ordered to reinforce the Alpha Legion at Adraxxes; Ferrus Manus had killed the peacock Fulgrim; Mars was in open revolt. Some of the Warp-translated messages bore chrono-marks from many solar months previously; some had been sent, it seemed, only hours previously. Though the Warmaster had ordered the White Scars to bring judgement upon the Space Wolves, the Khan would not unleash his vengeance upon Russ and his get until he had more detailed information. The Khan had the strength of the Vth Legion arrayed before him, his ordu assembled and ready to strike, yet none could tell the Primarch who was the true enemy of the Imperium and all he held dear.
Jaghatai was next contacted by the Space Wolves' Leman Russ who had just returned from the Burning of Prospero and the assault against the Space Wolves' old rivals, the Thousand Sons Legion. The VIth Legion's fleet had mustered at the Adraxxes Nebula to lick its wounds after the recent campaign, when it was beset by the forces of the Alpha Legion. Horus had deployed the XXth Legion to launch a massive assault on Russ' battered and outnumbered Space Wolves. The Alpha Legion and its twin Primarchs, Alpharius Omegon, had long harboured deep grudges against the Space Wolves, and Russ in particular, for his criticism of their reliance upon trickery, manipulation and subterfuge to win battles rather than engaging in what the Space Wolves Primarch saw as honourable, open combat. The Alpha Legion relished the chance to prove their superiority against the arrogant Wolves of Fenris by delaying them long enough to keep them from contributing to the Imperial defence of Terra. Although the Khan sympathised with the Space Wolves' predicament, he refused to get involved until he was able to sort out the conflicting and often contradictory astropathic messages he had received. Until he knew, beyond a shadow of doubt, who was ally and who was an enemy, he refused to choose sides. Wishing his brother the best of luck, Jaghatai wished to seek his answers elsewhere.
As the White Scars fleet made preparations to depart the Chondax System, they encountered a massive Alpha Legion flotilla. The Alpha Legion were an unknown quantity to the White Scars. They did not respond to communication requests and had hung back on the edge of the system, quietly accumulating more warships across a wide sweep of local space. There was no response from the XXth Legion's command despite all queries. All White Scars vessels were ordered not to escalate the situation and not to fire upon the interlopers unless fired upon. The warriors of the Vth Legion were to maintain perimeter integrity and not to permit Alpha Legion spacecraft to penetrate within range of the core White Scars fleet. As the Khagan decided on his Legion's next move, the Alpha Legion cordon remained intact, its smooth unity broken only by minor adjustments to the twin defensive lines. Every move that the White Scars made was reflected by Alpha Legion warships in what had become a bizarre game of mirrors. Though the Alpha Legion had presented no threat, these were not the actions of a friend. This could not be denied, but despite that, the Khan still resisted giving the order to attack. Mere hours earlier, the shape of the reported rebellion within the Imperium had been simple: Russ and his savages defying orders once more. Now it had become complex, far more complex.
Things were further complicated when the White Scars Astropathic Choir received official messages directly from Terra, from Rogal Dorn himself -- the White Scars were commanded to make the swiftest possible passage to the throneworld where further instructions and further explanations would be given. The meaning was clear, its origin unambiguous. The Vth Legion had been ordered to ignore all other claims to their fealty, in particular those of the Warmaster Horus, who had been declared Traitor along with any Legion answering his summons. The Khan was not moved by these demands. He felt the old stirrings of resentment again, the chill anger of the unregarded son. A price had to be paid for his inclination to freedom, for skirting along the edges of communication. The White Scars were always the last to know. He saw the larger strategic picture -- the Alpha Legion did not wish to fight the White Scars, nor did they want to join them. They wanted to cause doubt, keeping the White Scars in the Chondax System to tie them up in questions, because they knew the veil was slowly lifting and that messages were only now getting through the aether of the Warp. The Sons of Alpharius were manipulators -- they wanted the White Scars to hear from Dorn. They had purposely kept the Vth Legion's fleet at Chondax until they could be sure the White Scars had picked up Dorn's message. The Alpha Legion desired them to return to Terra. The Khan would not take direction from anyone, not even from a throneworld that only now that its Legions were tearing one another to pieces, deigned to remember that it had his warriors at its service. His White Scars were nobody's slaves. They were the ordu of Jaghatai Khan and they took orders from no one. They would take no one's word, for they were on their own, just as they had always been, and if there was truth to be found in this, then they would find it themselves.
Jaghatai ordered his fleet to prepare for immediate departure. All across the vast battlefront, White Scars Escort craft moved as one, sweeping towards the encircling Alpha Legion forces in a unified screen. Inter-fleet communications were shut down and incoming bursts blocked -- the enemy had had their chance to make themselves understood. Anything that they said now would be disregarded. The White Scars coordinated to perform a standard zao (known in Low Gothic as "The Chisel") manoeuvre -- full-fleet, enacted on a single command from the Vth Legion's flagship Swordstorm. Every starship in the service of the Imperium was different. The secrets hidden within their reactor hearts were jealously guarded by the lords of the Red Planet and shared with no one outside the privileged circles of the elect. Every Primarch asserted various preferences during construction: Corax had worked obsessively to make his vessels as stealthy as possible, Vulkan to make them durable and Fulgrim to make them beautiful. Primarchs had ways of circumventing standard Imperial command structures -- they could bend rules, uncover hidden datacores and suborn Mechanicum magi. So it was, as the Great Crusade progressed, that each Legion fleet slowly took on the character of its master through an endless programme of refits, retrofits and base modifications. In the case of the White Scars, only one change was ever requested and only one metric was ever improved upon -- speed.
The Vth Legion's Techmarines spent decades boosting reactor power-feeds and finding ways to hone manoeuvrability far beyond the tolerances that each standard starship class had been designed for. The endless pursuit of velocity came with its costs: gunnery captains had been heard to complain of reduced Lance range, and it was well known that a White Scars warship would not carry as many troops or dropships as the equivalent vessel in a standard fleet, but such factors carried little weight in a Legion drenched in the wild-riding tradition of the Chogorian plains. Under standing orders from the Khagan, the Legion had never shown off its drives' modified capabilities outside of active warzones. Since so few of the other Legions had ever fought alongside the White Scars, this specialisation had not become widely known, except for a few speculative reports here and there of strangely elongated engine-housings, extravagant thruster formations and oversized fuel lines. It all made for a ferociously fast set of warships, from the largest behemoths to the most slender of system-runners.
As the White Scars' vessels began to move, the Alpha Legion reacted. They maintained the integrity of the cordon, warding the routes to the nearest suitable jump-points and keeping the White Scars corralled within the vicinity of Chondax. As they had done ever since arriving, each ship of the blockade matched the movements of its White Scars counterpart, maintaining a gigantic mirror-image across space. The gap between the fleets closed. The Alpha Legion formation reacted just as a blockade ought to react, maintaining a rigid web across the widest area of space, each node backed up by a second rank of warships held in reserve. Their movements remained cagey, as if they wished to do nothing more than hold the impasse for as long as possible. As the two vanguards closed to within Lance-range, for the first time the White Scars noticed incoming Vox-requests from the enemy on the sensorium array, and ignored them. The Alpha Legion had had its chance. It was then that the Alpha Legion opened fire on its former brothers. All along the front, White Scars ships probed the line and Alpha Legion ships resisted them. It was a classic containment pattern, designed to hem the Vth Legion formation in and prevent isolated warships from running the cordon. The standard breakout response was a full-scale assault on the containment net, aiming to drive it back through a massed volume of concentrated ship-to-ship fire. Such an order was not taken lightly -- the result would be ruinous for both sides, and only hotheads like Leman Russ or Angron enjoyed taking such risks. The Alpha Legion clearly judged that the Khan was not so cavalier. In this, of course, they were entirely correct.
The White Scars' vanguard began to drift spinwards, pulling clear of their jump-point trajectory and dragging the centre of the engagement back towards Chondax' gravity well. It looked almost careless, as if aimless commanders had launched a half-hearted breakout without the commitment to see it through. Soon the drift became more pronounced as the intensity of the las-fire picked up. For all that, the engagements were muted, probing, restrained. No torpedoes were launched, no gunship wings were unleashed. The two walls of minor warships grappled in a bizarre half-embrace of limited ferocity. All across the engagement zone, Vth Legion positions began to collapse, withering in the face of steady, professional pressure from the enemy. White Scars vessels dropped formation, protecting their own flanks and leaving holes in the offensive wall. As if fighting a strong headwind out on the Altak back on Chogoris, the vanguard's momentum faltered.
When the chrono reached 0, the White Scars vessels moved, every one of them, all at the same time, into full attack speed. Everything quickly changed as the Vth Legion's fleet formation morphed in an instant, suddenly switching from an aimless drift-pattern into an arrowhead shock assault of astonishing precision. The White Scars vessels were now in new trajectories and in perfect concert, suddenly leaping from semi-committed holding patterns into a single attack vector. The Alpha Legion most likely had never witnessed such ship mastery. The best Imperial naval officers could not have performed such a manoeuvre in less than five solar minutes, and it would have required hundreds of course-correction warnings and hours of preparation to bring off. The White Scars had done it, as one -– with no extraneous prompting -- in five seconds. The White Scars' deployment was now a single spearhead. Escorts shot out, pulling together into a single mass and punching a hole through the enemy cordon. Their sudden burst of speed and concentrated Lance-strikes wrong-footed the Alpha Legion vessels in their path, and three bronze-prowed destroyers were overwhelmed almost immediately, lost amidst a whirlwind of plasma and exploding torpedo trails. More White Scars destroyers screamed through the wreckage, corkscrewing and diving like plunging pods of cetaceans. Everything was aimed at a single point: the flanks were discarded, surrendered to the enemy as every Vth Legion asset in the battlesphere shot into close formation and boomed up to top velocity.
The encircling Alpha Legion cordon was now compromised and fractured, its constituents struggling to respond to the lone column of ships that burned its way through their heart. Their capital ships were even slower, unable to take advantage of modified engines or the White Scars' almost preternaturally skilled ship crews. The Swordstorm pulled up to the forefront of the Chisel formation, propelled by its monstrous, raging plasma engines and surrounded by a swarm of racing Escorts. Bulky vessels of the Alpha Legion's second rank tried to bar its path, sliding into a hurried defensive formation with what now looked like ponderous clumsiness. All around the flagship, other White Scars warships launched forward-facing barrages, vomiting las-beams and plasma bolts and torpedo salvoes in a vast, intense column of pure destruction. The Chisel had hammered its way through the cordon, breaking it open at its weakest point. The entire formation -- tightly-knit, long and slender like a throwing javelin -- raced out into open space. The Alpha Legion struggled to regroup in its wake, pulling warships from the far-flung cordon formation like an octopus clutching its many limbs back to itself. They had not lost critical numbers of ships, but the sudden attack run had blown their formation wide open and destroyed the cohesion that they had so painstakingly built. The White Scars' run did not slow. If anything, free of the need to maintain a barrage of las-fire, it accelerated. As the orb of Chondax fell rapidly away aft, it was mediated by the glowing corpses of a dozen burned-out Alpha Legion warships.
The White Scars understood that fate was against them. Somehow the Warp Storms around Chondax had been orchestrated by some mysterious outside force. Though it took enormous power, or devices of ancient and unknown origins, it could be done. To seek out the answers they sought, the Khagan ordered his Legion to head for the source, to find the architect of the chaos engulfing the Imperium. Yet, only one soul could see the Warp as it truly was, and that was Magnus the Red, the only one of his brothers that Jaghatai had ever truly trusted. If Magnus yet lived then everything could be salvaged. If he was dead, then the Imperium was finished. The White Scars set course for Prospero. As the Swordstorm broke free of the Warp on the Prospero System's outer limits, the warship's systems were brought online and began to run forward Augur sweeps. The results were not encouraging -- no Vox signals were detected and there were no transports nor energy-trails. A major star system like Prospero ought to have had thousands of ship-spores hanging in the void, the chemical residue of void engine release, but the routes inbound from the Mandeville Warp point were sterile.
Soon the Thousand Sons' homeworld swam into extreme forward sensor range. Blurry pict-feeds flickered into life, clarifying rapidly as Servitors adjusted the image gain logic engines. The planet was entirely dark. Prospero had once been a jewel of a world, a pale-orb the colour of a Terran dawn, banded with lilac and under-lit by glistening ice caps. From space it had been pristine, untouched by the industrial hyper-sprawl that had turned the throneworld of Terra into a grey-tinged ball of rockcrete and iron. Now it was mottled the colour of burned charcoal. Swirls of drifting cloud, as thick and dark as those that swept across Ullanor, covered the ravaged planet. As the White Scars fleet moved into orbit, the Khagan instructed the fleet to blockade, then prepare for planetfall. If his ships detected anything with a Fenrisian marker, they were ordered to kill it.
By the time Swordstorm reached geostationary orbit over the world's capital city of Tizca, there was no longer room for doubt. Atmospheric readings streamed in, adding to the visual evidence. There was substantial tectonic activity, atmospheric pollution levels were far in excess of mortal tolerances. These markers were indicators of a heavy bombardment consistent with mass drivers from orbit, followed by a secondary trauma. Toxins across a wide spectrum were present in lethal quantities, and extensive volcanism scarred the equatorial zone. Something in the upper atmosphere -- an aetheric field, a truly massive one -- was preventing the White Scars from sending landers or Drop Pods. The world was rapidly dying and the phenomenom was still growing, perhaps as a result of what had happened there. One did not kill an entire planet without aftershocks. Undeterred, the Khan opted to teleport to the surface. But it was made clear that the topographic interference might make it impossible for the flagship to extract the Primarch, or even make Vox-contact. Jaghatai and twelve of his Terminator-armoured bodyguard, the keshig, teleported down to the unstable surface of Prospero.
As the Primarch and his warriors explored the ruined capital city, they observed the scene of devastation stretching away under the darkened sky. The whole city reeked of burning metal. The Khan's armour sensors told him the surfaces around him were still warm from the afterglow of whatever apocalypse had overtaken Prospero. Everything was simply gone -- all the libraries, the repositories, the arcana. If the Space Wolves had truly done this, then perhaps their power did match their boasts. The Khan instructed his warriors to search for the caves that he knew were under the city. They would begin their search for the Crimson King there.
Some amongst the Khan's command were a part of the Warrior Lodges, a closed fraternity of warriors that existed outside of the Space Marine Legions' formal structure. It was common knowledge that the Emperor frowned on such institutions, claiming they were dangerously close to the cults of ancient superstition. Despite this, the proliferation of these Warrior Lodges quickly spread amongst the other Legions -- even into the White Scars Legion. Many of the Terran warriors of the Vth Legion as well as some of their erstwhile Chogorian brethren took part in the clandestine activities of the lodges. They felt that the Khagan was too slow in deciding which side the White Scars should choose in the coming conflict that had only begun to rage amongst the Legiones Astartes. These lodges had already made their choice. The moment had finally come, and so, they moved as one, silently and efficiently. Led by the esteemed Hasik Noyan-Khan, the Warrior Lodge members declared their allegiance to Horus. They had remained secretly in contact with Horus' constituents through arcane means at least since the campaign at Chondax.
In the absence of the Khagan on the surface of Prospero, Hasik Noyan-Khan was in command of the flagship and, by extension, the Vth Legion's fleet. Personnel began to move between the warships as the lodge members began to move themselves into position for their coup d'etat. Discovering the clandestine activities of Hasik and his co-conspirators, Shiban Khan, commander of the Brotherhood of the Storm, attempted to bring to the attention of Jemulan Noyan-Khan, that his ordu commander Hasik was a part of this cancer at the heart of their Legion, and informed him of their intended plans. Unable or unwilling to assist, Jemulan dismissed these accusations out of hand and ordered Shiban to return back to his ship until he had received further orders. It had been a slim hope -- Jemulan did not have quite the same reputation as Hasik and had not been with the Legion from the start. As a result, he was not as close to the Primarch. Perhaps it had been too much to expect. Back aboard his ship, the Kaljian, Shiban Khan was unable to sit idly by. He ordered the entirety of his Brotherhood to muster and prepare for action. They would seize the initiative and oppose this madness before it could seize hold of their entire Legion.
A New Threat
On Prospero, it was difficult to witness what had become of Magnus' iridescent city of glass and crystal. The Khan made his way through the layers of grey-silver dust, watching heavy skies scud across the blackened shells of old structures. The lightning never ceased, flickering away on the northern horizon. The Khan's keshig of Terminators fanned out around him. They went as warily as he, and their bone-white armour made them look like ghosts in the dark. Jhagatai had not wanted to believe it, not truly. His feelings about Leman Russ had always been mixed -- respect for the warrior; exasperation at the boasts, the self-appointed exceptionalism. It was another thing, though, to witness what he had done, to see the truth of the White Scars star-speakers' (astropaths) testimony. The Khan found that the truth, now that it was before him, was a bitter draught indeed. As the small landing party of warriors made their way deeper into the ruins of the city, they found themselves near the cult temples. As the Khan investigated the immediate area he heard an unmistakeable buzzing noise, like the drone of massed insect wings. Though there were no life signs detected, the Khan could not shake the feeling that he heard a distinct buzzing sound.
The Khan ordered his warriors to disable their auto-senses and to use their own eyes. Blink-dismissing the lattice of targeting reticules and environmental compensators hovering in their field of vision within their helmets, only then did the White Scars see them: shimmering in spectral blue-white, arthropodic, winged and massive. There were dozens, sliding up out of the ground like unquiet shades rising from the grave. They were ruined things, twisted and hunched, though still twice the size of the Terminators before them. Once free of the broken earth they swayed through the air jerkily, lurching as though blind and famished. The Khan recognised the vile creatures immediately -- Psychneuein -- vile Warp entities drawn to the mental emanations of unprotected, badly-injured or nascent psykers whose minds they attack for the obscene purpose of gestating their progeny. These creatures had been a blight on the otherwise benign world of Prospero for centuries, consuming the minds of mortals. The Thousand Sons had hunted them, driving them into the wilds and far from the glittering spires. Now, like everything else, they had been reduced to ghosts -- remnants of the living horrors they had been. Only, unlike all the other destroyed fauna, they had retained some vestige of their old wills.
The White Scars quickly found that their physical weapons had no effect on the spectral insects, their blades passing through their arthropedal forms harmlessly. Their only advantage was that the creatures were blind, yet they could still sense their prey. When the Psychneunin struck, they angled their swollen abdomens to sting. The glowing tips of their long proboscis passed through the Terminators' Ceramite with ease. Howls of agony filled the air as lumpy matter was sucked up the creatures' translucent proboscis. Unable to fight such fell creatures, the Khagan ordered his warriors to fall back. As Jaghatai fought the hideous creatures, the ground beneath his feet gave way, the flagstones damaged by the Space Wolves' relentless orbital bombardment. Falling for a long distance, the Primarch came to a sudden halt. Buried up to his chest in the fallen debris, the Khan attempted to contact his keshig on the surface. He received nothing but static for his trouble. Pulling himself free from the pile of rubble, Jaghatai found himself in a strange underground world of sink-holes and chasms that might open up into something bigger. He had come looking for caves. And he had found them.
The keshig master Qin Xa ordered his men to withdraw, for they could not fight this new threat. Staggering away from the creatures, the other warriors did not respond immediately. Despite their fearsome levels of discipline, leaving the site of the Khagan's fall was anathema. They surged back across the heaving terrain, lumbering away from the Psychneuein attacks as best they could, trying to reach the crumbling maw of the fissure that had swallowed their Primarch. It was a doomed attempt. The keshig pulled together and retreated towards a bombed-out terrace. The Psychneuein came after them. Soon the surviving keshig found themselves trapped, and so they formed a broken line, determined to face the enemy. Then suddenly, they all felt the static build-up of enormous power. A second later the entire chamber was filled with light as flames leapt up from underneath the Psychneuein. Caught up in the maelstrom of blazing, purple-tinged fire, the creatures simply burst apart.
Turning to investigate the source of the flames, Qin Xa felt a fresh surge of power just behind him. His arms went rigid, locked by some mysterious force. A huge weight pressed against his twin heart, slowing him down and deadening his movements. A Bolter was pressed against his chest and a figure stood before him in crimson armour. His faceplate was that of a suit of gold-crested Mark III Power Armour, archaic and festooned with Thousand Sons iconography. He introduced himself as Revuel Arvida, a Sergeant of the Thousand Sons Legion's 4th Fellowship and a member of its Corvidae Cult. He was the last surviving member of his squad. He led the keshig away from the danger of the ravenous Warp-spawned insects.
Arvida led the surviving keshig far through the empty city, until they found themselves within the ruins of a grand audience chamber. The White Scars inquired as to how the Thousand Sons Sergeant had come to be on Prospero and how long he had been there. Arvida informed them that he had arrived on Prospero after its destruction, and that he could give them no answers as to what had previously occurred. As for how long he had been there, he did not know, for his Power Armour's internal chronometre had been blown in battle. He understood that the White Scars were trying to find their missing Primarch, but their efforts were futile. Their gene-sire could fight the Psychneuein, for he was made to fight them. They needed to get away from the benighted planet, and that when they did, to take him with them. Qin Xa explained that they would make one more final attempt to find their Primarch. Arvida acquiesced to their wishes, but requested that they wait for a short time until he had fully recovered from his last encounter with the vile Warp-entities. They would need his psychic abilities if they wanted to survive the coming conflict.
The Warhawk and the Crimson King
Jaghatai Khan made his way through the newly discovered tunnels. He had only been able to go down, despite several attempts to find a route back to the surface. The Psychneuein had not followed him down, but the absence of any movement beyond his own was chilling. Eventually he made his way to a large chamber. The space was immense, and the upper reaches soared away into the darkness. The walls curved upwards steeply, terraced like an auditorium and striated with bands of metallic ore. Brass instruments lay about it, each one smashed or warped. There were bodies buried beneath the ash and metal: human bodies, mortal in stature. The keshig master had been right -- there was nothing left on Prospero. The Khan had been a fool to come, and a greater fool to come down to the surface in person. As he stared grimly at the macabre surroundings around him, he suddenly felt a restless, gentle movement in the dust. A ghostly outline of a figure flickered, burning coldly. He stood a little taller than the Khan, just as he had done in life. His face was the same, though the expression was infinitely weary, and a little distracted. His lone eye did not focus -- in the past, its focus had been remorseless.
Holding his ground, the Khan stood speechless, still gripping his blade. His defensive posture was unnecessary. When the figure spoke, the voice dispelled any trace of doubt. It was an apparition of his missing brother, Magnus the Red, the Crimson King. At first the Khan did not believe the evidence of his senses for a long time. The shade explained that it was merely a remnant of Magnus -- a dream of something destroyed. Though the Khan had doubts that it truly was his brother, the Magnus-ghost explained that it was not the Crimson King -- at least not entirely -- but they did share a soul. The shade explained to the Khan what had occurred recently on the devastated world, that it was their father's vengeance for his hubris, for daring to break the Emperor's edicts. Magnus confessed that Jaghatai had been right -- he should have restrained his sons in their explorations of the power of sorcery. However, Magnus added that the Khan had never had to make the bargains he had subscribed to, and the Vth Legion had never been compromised by the Warp as the Thousand Sons had been to ensure their survival against the threat of constant mutation. But the truth of the matter was that everyone in the Imperium had been deceived. The Great Ocean was never benign, and it was conspiring against Mankind even as they stepped into its shallows. The greater the soul, the greater the jeopardy. Horus was the greatest soul of them all, and so his was the furthest fall. Horus had been eaten by the Warp. His body was bursting with it, corroding him, gnawing at him from the inside. There were others -- First Chaplain Erebus, their brother Lorgar of the Word Bearers -- but it was always every mortal's decision in the end whether to reject or embrace the corrupt promises of the Empyrean.
Magnus had tried to warn the Emperor. That was his crime, and the destruction of his Legion and his homeworld was his punishment. It was pride, that was all. Pride that had swallowed Horus, as well. The Ruinous Powers waited and they watched, and they realised what the Primarchs had not -- that only the Primarchs could destroy the Primarchs. Only they could bring down the eternal Imperium, because everything else had been annihilated. That's what Lorgar called the Chaos Gods -- the Primordial Annihilator. Most of the Primarchs, without realising it, had already cast their lots in the great drama about to unfold, and only a few remained. They were being lined up, one by one, to tear at each other's throats. The Khan was one of the last. The Chaos Gods did not know which way the White Scars would go. None of them did, and that was why the White Scars had the eyes of the galaxy on them at last. Jaghatai Khan had never taken sides. He would take everyone on if he had to. But the shade of Magnus explained that there were but two paths to chose from -- he could hunker down in what remained of their father's Imperium and try to keep Horus from beating down the door, or he could choose to remember how Horus had once been, and stand at his side as he brought terror to the complacent. The first would be the more loyal course, but the other had its merits.
When Jaghatai pressed Magnus for where his allegiances lay, the shade explained that his choices were constrained. He now knew more than anyone what awaited those on the other side. It turned out to be the ruin the Crimson King had worked for centuries to avoid, but their father was not the forgiving sort. Magnus had burned his bridges with the Emperor. They were burned when he had broke the wards over the Emperor's secret Webway project after he had projected his astral form into the dungeons of the Imperial Palace to bring his father the dire warning of the corruption of Horus and his intentions for insurrection. Khan did not quite believe that the apparition that now stood before him was truly his brother. The Khagan had come to Proserpo to find a friend. Whatever else had happened, he thought he could come to Magnus for his counsel. Despite all this, Magnus still wanted to know whose side Jaghatai would choose. Jaghatai was ambiguous about his choice, for he believed that Horus was corrupted and that the Emperor was a tyrant. The Khan informed him that he could choose neither. But Magnus explained it did not work like this. Sooner or later, the Khan would have to choose between the two sides, and that the next time they met they would either be allies or enemies. Jaghatai still had a choice, and Magnus implored his brother to make the right one.
Jaghatai expressed his regret at not being there at the Council of Nikaea besides both Magnus and Sanguinius. The Khan explained that their brother Horus had purposely sent him away, for there were no accidents. But Magnus dismissed his misgiving, telling him instead to focus on the future. Jaghatai snapped at the aether-shade that there was no future. Khan and his brothers had all been working for something better than... this. Magnus countered that this was certainly true of Roboute Guilliman and perhaps Lorgar as well, in his own warped way. But Jaghatai had not -- he had only been a part of the Great Crusade for the hunt. Jaghatai countered that the hunt had kept his Legion pure. Magnus argued that it had kept his brother away. He had been so easy to keep out of the conversation. The Crimson King had been there the whole time -- he just did not hear the words being sibilantly whispered by the powers of the Warp. The Magnus-apparition explained that it was glad that the Khan had come to see him -- they had always seen eye-to-eye. Though he thought Jaghatai brittle, at least he always spoke the truth. When they finally concluded their conversation, the Khan informed Magnus that he had got what he had come for. He told Magnus that he had always been his friend. Magnus understood, and looked at the Khan for a moment. Jaghatai knew what he had to do. With a final parting word, Jaghatai swung his great bladed dao and struck Magnus' outline, and the ghost shell shattered, spilling a thousand pieces like broken glass. The Khan remained still. He felt as though moving, even by a fraction, might break what remained. Around him, the Reflecting Caves sighed with emptiness, their majesty in tatters. The Khan bowed his head. At least, amidst all the numbness, the truth was now known. The choice could be made, for the Traitor had been unmasked. Duty could now be done, the call to war could be given. But, for all that, still he could not stir. The dream had died.
A Legion Divided
As Shiban Khan secretly prepared his Brotherhood to storm the Vth Legion's flagship, the Terran commander Torghun Khan warned Hasik Noyan-Khan that their plan to suborn Shiban's loyalty to their cause had failed. Torghun informed him that the Brotherhood of the Storm's khan had been to see Jemulan Noyan-Khan. Things were now moving very quickly. Hasik had the Swordstorm and Torghun Khan would take the Tchin-Zar. As long as the Warrior Lodge brothers held onto the capital ships, the others would fall into line. When the Khagan returned he would see the wisdom of the actions of the lodge brothers. Horus and Jaghatai had always seen things the same way. What could the Khan do if his fleet was of one mind? He would recognise what they had done and see the justice in it. Torghun, like many of his erstwhile lodge brothers, had made their choice a long time ago, years back when the first stirrings of the lodges had come to their ears. It was the chance to mould the White Scars Legion into what it should have been -- a shock-attack force to rival the vaunted Speartip of the Sons of Horus, only shackled to a greater, more generous mind than that of the mighty Khan. This was the destiny of the Vth Legion. All the lodges had done was help the process along. Suddenly, every Warrior Lodge member within the Vth Legion received a relayed Augur-reading from the Swordstorm. They rejoiced, for they had called, and Horus had answered. Looking at the signals, still on the edge of the system but already moving in close -- three, then four vessels allied to Horus were moving towards the Prospero System.
Meanwhile, Shiban Khan had his ship, the Kalijan, slide close to his Legion's flagship. When they were in position, he led his Brotherhood in a daring orbital assault by launching specially modified Sojutsu Pattern voidbikes. They were more like one-man fighters than Jetbikes, and an armour-sealed White Scars Legionary could use them for short bursts in the void just as other Legions used their Land Speeders for atmospheric work. As Shiban and his men launched a lightning assault upon the massive flagship, the Swordstorm's weapon batteries buffeted them in a flurry of las-fire. As they pushed their bikes close to the flagship, scanning for an entry point, the Khan finally saw a single docking port, un-shielded and unbarred. Leading the way, Shiban and his warriors tore through the oncoming las-fire, jerking and ducking to avoid the beams, sweeping past a whole row of angled torpedo launchers and streaking towards the signalled port. Kicking the retros at the last moment, the voidbikes skidded around in zero-gravity then powered into the Swordstorm's inertia bubble. Their bike's grav-plates whined instantly, adjusting to the rapidly moving environment, before locking on the docking bay floor and righting themselves.
The Brotherhood of the Storm followed their commander into the corridors beyond. Hasik Noyan-Khan and his co-conspirators had been blindsided by Shiban Khan's daring assault. Reports streamed in -- there was disorder on many vessels now as both factions vied for control of their respective vessels. Hasik ordered a Vox-link to be opened with the flotilla, and to prevent any of their vessels from opening fire on them. This was their moment -- they would hold their position. Turning to the dozens of White Scars around him there were khans, captains, senior ship-officers and mortal commanders -- just a few of those who had been persuaded and who were now working to free the Legion from the hand of tyranny in service to Horus. They would remain resolute. They had no choice.
Suddenly, the bridge detected signs of a boarding party making their way towards the bridge. Hasik gave the order to repel boarders. A lone White Scars Brotherhood posed no real risk -- they had run the calculations. But still, he had hoped to avoid full-scale combat with his Battle-Brothers in persuading others to the honourable course. Perhaps that had always been a foolish hope. The Noyan-Khan did not understand why the flotilla of newly arrived Traitor vessels did not make contact. Why the silence? He assured his warriors that this was the test. This is what they had been working towards. It could not be halted now. For the sake of the Imperium, no backward step.
As Shiban led his Brotherhood further into the interior of the White Scars' flagship he encountered resistance from a rival Brotherhood commanded by his former comrade, the Terran commander Torghun Khan. Halfway up a staircase, on a colonnaded landing area, a line of White Scars waited. The Brotherhood of the Moon was well-established, already crouched in fire-positions and able to shelter behind the curve of the pillars around them. Beyond lay the approaches to the strategium and bridge. Torghun attempted to reason with his erstwhile brothers. He informed Shiban and his men that the bridge was sealed. Shiban inquired as to the whereabouts of the Khagan. Torghun calmly replied that Hasik Noyan-Khan spoke for the Khagan. Shiban felt his blood run hot. No one, not even the Emperor Himself, spoke for the Great Khan. Undeterred, the Brotherhood of the Storm burst out of cover and surged up the stairway, charging into the incoming torrent of bolt-shells as the hall exploded with light, sound and fury.
The loyalist Brotherhood of the Storm surged up against the hammering deluge, sprinting in loose formation. For every one knocked back, ten more gained ground. Brother locked blades with brother, and the echoing din of Bolter-fire was joined by the acrid snarl of energy weapons. The Loyalist White Scars fought in a flurry of vicious strokes, wrenching their blades deep into the flesh of their enemies. If the enemy had been Greenskins, they would have kept going -- carving into the organs, making sure -- but these were their brothers. They had no wish to kill if it could be avoided -- they immobilized, shattered bones, throttled and bludgeoned, then moved on, sprinting further up through the throng of warriors. The fighting was bizarre -- close-packed, confused and brutal, but strangely detached. No fighters whooped or cried out in battle-cant. They fought with cold-discipline, going through the movements with consummate skill but taking no joy in it.
It was poor fighting, cramped and bitter. None of them let loose with the flamboyance that they were used to. Shiban urged his brothers onwards, trying to instill the virtues of greater speed, greater power. Torghun did the same -- exhorting those about him into a typically dogged defence. Neither side relished the carnage. Shiban's forces pushed up through the narrowing space, gaining ground with every surge. Many fell to the concentrated volleys of covering fire, their armour pulverised in the withering barrage, but their momentum was not halted. Torghun's forces had lost too many warriors to hold the ground, and soon struggled to keep them back. Just as the arch of the observation deck soared away ahead of Shiban and his forces, Torghun had his forces fall back en masse. They all went quickly, decisively, as if the move had been long planned. Shiban's instinct was to charge after them, cutting them down as they broke. All around him his brothers did the same, sprinting ahead to run the enemy down. That was when Shiban realised they had been drawn into a trap.
Skidding to a halt, Shiban crouched down, just as the hurricane hit. From high up on the terraces on either side of the bridge, many metres up between the pillars and suspended platforms, massed Bolter-fire tore up the floor in a cloud of debris. Many of Shiban's warriors were caught in the conflagration and were ripped apart by the hail of Bolter-fire. The rest of them retreated to what cover they could. Just as they did so, the wave of Bolter-fire ceased. Scanning ahead, Shiban observed that Torghun's warriors had hunkered down in a long line across the Servitor pits bisecting the hall. Dozens of sharp-shooters were stationed above them on the terraces, holding fire for now but still primed. Beyond that, he saw more heavy infantry holding position around the epicentre of the bridge itself -- the command throne. Hasik's own keshig were amongst them, hulking in Terminator battle-plate. Other defending White Scars occupied strategic points in the observation deck beyond. The bridge was covered, locked down, utterly secure.
Hasik Noyan-Khan stood stoically, addressing the crouching intruders, trying to get them to stand down. Meanwhile, the four incoming Traitor warships drifted closer, utterly incautious, prowling through local space as though they owned it. Up close, their fleet-markings were now easily identifiable -- they were XIVth Legion, the Death Guard, not warships from the Sons of Horus. More Traitor starships soon entered the system. Two of them, burned through the outer system at high speed. No markers, no idents, just sub-Warp signatures and the telltale flicker of Void Shield activation. The White Scars fleet was paralysed. Their ships were not moving to counter either threat closing in on them. The Legion had turned upon itself, as the hidden divisions were suddenly exposed everywhere at once. Hasik explained that the Khagan would return. He and his men were not Traitors -- it would all be resolved. The stakes were too high to leave things hanging unresolved -- the invaders were going to charge again. This time it would not stop, not until only one faction remained on the bridge, Traitor or Loyalist, whichever was which.
As Shiban ordered his men to prepare to engage the enemy, a deafening roar suddenly boomed through the entire bridge. The blinding iridescence of a teleportation beam burned brightly for a few moments. When it finally cleared, the scene on the bridge looked entirely different. Now a hundred more White Scars Legionaries stood arrayed in ranks across the outer circle of the bridge, all aiming their Bolters at the command throne. Jemulan Noyan-Khan stood at the forefront in his master-crafted Terminator plate, with his retinue of Veterans at his back. He ordered Hasik to stand down, as the attempt to alter the Vth Legion's path had failed. The tension hung heavily, like a thunderhead about to break. A command was given, issued from the Vox-grill of one of the commanders. Shiban's elation at Jemulan's entrance had been short-lived. The forces were even now, each carrying devastating amounts of firepower. Every stage of the escalation had brought the ruin of the Vth Legion closer -- weapons that had been made to turn upon enemies were now opening up at one another.
Shiban leapt from cover and beckoned his warriors into the fray. Legionary fought Legionary, full-blooded and committed. The mortal crew of the flagship, unable to do anything in the face of such unleashed fury, cowered behind what defences they could find. All but one -- a grey-haired woman wearing a rumpled and torn Imperial Army general's uniform. She ran straight towards Shiban as he charged the Servitor pits, her arms waving frantically. Something in her eyes stopped him -- she was not desperate to survive but to get his attention. She informed Shiban that she had the Khagan's locus. She ordered Shiban to get her to the teleport platform. The frail woman explained to him that it was she that had opened the docking bay doors. She had a positive lock on the missing Primarch, and if Shiban did not want to watch his Legion destroy itself, then he would get her to the teleporter controls.
The Death Lord
Qin Xa and the surviving keshig made their way back towards the central part of the ruined city of Tizca where their Primarch had been swallowed up by the massive hole in the centre of a ruined square. As they approached their designated goal they could hear the first trace of buzzing. Psychneuein materialised over the Legionaries, coalescing instantly as if sucked from the atmosphere itself. The keshig prepared to face the ghostly insects, knowing full well their weapons were useless against the Warp-spawned creatures. Then the Thousand Sons Sergeant Arvida cried out, as he conjured lightning that slammed into the insectoid bodies of the creatures. The glowing exoskeleton of one of the creatures hardened, solidifying like freezing ice, allowing Qin Xa to strike the vile creature with his Power Sword. Positioned in the centre of the keshig, Arvida continued to unleash bolts of Warp-fire into the foul insectoids. When the bolts hit, the half-corporeal creatures crystallised into physicality. Once in this state, the White Scars could take them on. Soon more of the creatures materialised; first a few, then dozens. Ever stranger creatures emerged among them: giant scarabs, towering mantids and Vespid-like beasts. Arvida worked hard, throwing bolt after bolt at the emerging horrors. The White Scars kept fighting, hacking their way towards their intended goal. But the numbers began to tell. The spectres kept materialising, bursting into ghoulish life from all directions, spilling out of the air. Arvida worked frantically, lighting up the skies with his sorcery, but it was not quick enough. Still there was no signal -- no location reading for the Khan.
As the creatures began to overwhelm the Legionaries, pressing in from all sides, Qin Xa roared the Khan's name defiantly as he prepared to meet his death with both eyes open. Suddenly, one of the creatures blasted apart, spinning into a thousand fragments that sailed high across the ruins. A tall figure stood on the far side of the annihilated phantasms. His sword glowed with aetheric residue, as though dipped in molten iron. For a second, lost in shock, Qin Xa just stared at the newcomer, breathing heavily. Then the armoured figure spoke, and all became clear. It was the Khagan! The Primarch of the White Scars strode forth after the retreating horrors, his long dao power blade shimmering. Killing the creatures was straightforward enough. It was a matter of belief, as much as anything: attuning himself to the potential that existed within him, just as it did in all of his Primarch brothers. They were, every one of them, creatures of the Warp, whatever Malcador the Sigillite told the masses. The Warp ran through the minds of the Primarchs like blood in a vein.
Qin Xa and his surviving keshig warriors gathered around the Khagan. He inquired whether they had a fix on the Swordstorm. The keshig master replied that unfortunately they did not. The Khan turned back, and caught sight of the Thousand Sons Legionary among the others. For a terrible moment he thought it was Ahriman -- for he wore the same crimson armour and bore the same arcane sigils. After Arvida introduced himself, the Khan regarded him closely. He could see the vigour of the psychic soul glowing inside the Thousand Son Astartes like a candle-flame.
His warriors inquired of their gene-sire whether or not he had found the answers he was looking for. Jaghatai thought for a moment on that, for he did not know what to say. He replied that he now knew more than he had before they came to Prospero, and that everything they had been told was the truth. Prospero did indeed bear the kill-mark of Leman Russ, just as they had been told, but Magnus had already fallen, just as they were also told. Behind them all stood Horus, the Lord of Primarchs. They were all to blame -- there was no single traitor -- there was only a web, stretching back in time, clutching at them all. And now it came for them.
As the clouds above them began to glow, a vibrant shard of light speared down from the smog, crackling as it hit the stone below. The Terminators turned to face it, powering up their weapons. Qin Xa stepped in front of the Khan. Jaghatai told his warriors he had felt this new arrival's presence following them for a long time. He had been on the Khan's heels since Ullanor. At long last he had finally caught up. The keshig moved into a loose semicircle, poised to strike. None of them would move before the order was given, though; they were the extension of the Khan's will. The Khan ordered his warriors to stand down, for the stranger was beyond all of them. How could he not be? For it was his brother -- Mortarion, the Death Lord, Primarch of the Death Guard Legion. Watching the ash settle and the residual snags of aether-burn ripple into nothing, seven figures within the maelstrom emerged. Six of them were legionaries. They were clad in pale, thick-slabbed Terminator Armour and carried huge Power Scythes known as Manreapers. Their pauldrons were olive-green and the links between the plates were cold iron. They were massive, heavier-set than Qin Xa's retinue, hunched at the shoulder and leaking pale green vapour from the last of the teleportation beams. These were members of Mortarion's elite bodyguard, the Deathshroud.
The seventh figure occupied a different order of power. He towered over his fellows, clad in battle plate of bare brass and corpse-white Ceramite. A long cloak of dark green hung down from high-rimmed shoulder guards. Skulls dangled from chains around his belt, some human, some xenos. A long pistol nestled among them -- drum-barrelled, and studded with bronze kill-markers. His eyes were amber, glinting from under the deep shadow of a tattered cowl. An ornate rebreather covered the lower half of his face. Coils of oily gas spilled from the lining of his battle plate, dribbling down the skull-painted surfaces and hissing on contact with Prospero's death-dry soil. Mortarion planted the heel of his enormous scythe into the dust. The Khan looked up at the blade. It was known as Silence, the greatest of the XIVth Legion's infamous Manreapers.
Mortarion proceeded to explain the reason for his recent arrival; he told Jaghatai that he had sought him out, for things had changed. Jaghatai realised that his brother had come to persuade him to join the Traitors' cause. The Khan observed him guardedly, for Mortarion had always been hard to read. He left his blade unsheathed, holding it loosely at his side. Observing the physical changes in his brother, he noticed that Mortarion's power seemed to have grown. Something burned in him, dark like old embers. His flesh was somehow bleaker, his stance a little more crabbed, and yet the aura of intimidation around him had been augmented. Back on Ullanor, even at the height of triumph, he had not possessed quite the same heft. Jaghatai commanded his brother to say what he had come to the ruins of Prospero to say. The Khan correctly surmised that Horus had not sent Mortarion, he had come of his own accord, with his own agenda. Mortarion brushed off the Khan's reasoning, but Jaghatai pressed him. The Death Guard Primarch attempted to sway the Khan to Horus' cause, to imagine a galaxy of warriors, of hunters, where the strong were given their freedom to act as they would, unbound by the Emperor's demands. The Khan was no fool, of course this new galaxy would all be led by Horus. Mortarion merely shrugged -- Horus would be the start of the new order. He was the champion, the sacrificial king. He might burn himself out to get to Terra, he might not. Either way, there would be room for others to rise to power over the galaxy to come.
Mortarion told his brother that he should not have thrown in his lot with the Sanguinius, let alone Magnus. He hated to see the three of them getting dragged in deeper by the Emperor's hypocrisy. Their father had tried to pretend that it was not there, the Warp, as if He were not already up to his elbows in its soul-sucking filth. In Mortarion's opinion it should have been cordoned off, put away, forgotten about. But the Khan was not fooled by his brother's sincerity. He had seen what had happened. The Death Lord had never hidden what he wanted. Jaghatai could see how his brother thought it would all play out; first hobble the sorcerers. Silence the witches. Drive them out, and rule would pass to the uncorrupted, the healthy. This was Mortarion's great project. He had even told the Khan on Ullanor. The Khan had thought back then that they were empty threats, but he should have known better. Mortarion did not make empty threats. But it had all gone wrong. Though Mortarion had completed his great mission and the Emperor had handed down the Edicts of Nikaea forbidding the use of sorcery and the disbandment of the Legions' Librarius, there were now more sorcerers than ever amongst the ranks of the Traitors. Horus had sponsored them, Lorgar had shown them new tricks. If Magnus had not already made up his mind on which side of the conflict he would be on, then he soon would, and then Mortarion would be surrounded. He had destroyed the Librarius of the Legions only to find witches were now untrammelled amongst the Traitors.
The Khan had seen the overall picture perfectly. Magnus had shown him. Jaghatai warned his brother that though his Legion might be free of the Warp's corruption for now, the change would come, for Mortarion had made his pacts with the masters of the Empyrean, and now they would come to collect. But this was why Mortarion had come to find Jaghatai. Mortarion had run out of friends. Who would stand with him against the aether-weavers now? Most assuredly not their brother Angron, nor the half-mad Konrad Curze. The Khan gazed at Mortarion disdainfully. His brother had tasted the fruits of treachery and found them bitter. The Khan did not wish to be dragged into his brother's ruin -- Mortarion was on his own. Struggling to contain his anger, Mortarion warned the Khan that he had come to give his brother a choice -- half of the White Scars Legion had already declared for Horus, and the others would follow wherever the Khagan ordered them. Their father's time was over -- the Khan could either be a part of the new order that replaced him or be swept aside in its wake. The Khan merely smiled -- a cold smile, imperious in its contempt. He would not countenance a new Emperor -- neither himself or his brother. Jaghatai explained that the reason neither one of them would ever rule the galaxy is that both of them were never the empire-builders. They were the outriders. Mortarion had chafed at this role, while the Khan had embraced it. Enraged, Mortarion backed away, Silence crackled into life, sparking with green-tinged energy. The Deathshroud lowered their scythes in a combat posture. Behind the Khan, the keshig readied their blades. The Khan prepared to settle their argument once and for all.
The two Primarchs circled one another, prepared to finally engage in a deadly duel that would decide one another's fate -- speed against implacability. An interesting contest. Though the Khan was blindingly fast, Mortarion's raw strength was phenomenal. Facing it full-on, Jaghatai doubted that any of his brothers, save perhaps Ferrus Manus, could have matched it. The Death Lord absorbed every strike that connected, sucking the power out of the Khan's blows like a leech, taking the hits and coming back for more. The tenacity of the Death Guard was legendary, as was their ability to absorb punishment and just keep coming. The silent Deathshroud were just as implacable as their master, as they fought the White Scars keshig amidst the wreckage. Warriors of both sides had already fallen, their bodies caked in the drifting dust, but the fighting continued around them, bitter and unyielding. As the Primarchs continued to fight, the Khan actually felt himself begin to tire. Never in uncounted years of combat had he felt more than trivial stirrings of fatigue. He had never felt the bone-deep drag that Mortarion inspired. But the Khan knew that his brother suffered as well -- blood flecked his sallow cheeks and forehead, and his rebreather rattled as he hauled in thick breaths.
Mortarion barrelled into the Khan, using his scythe like a halberd and smashing the hilt into the Khan's midriff. The Khan lurched away, stumbling, and Mortarion lumbered after him. More blows came in -- hard, heavy, earth-shaking blows. The Khan was driven further, only barely able to weather the explosion of fury directed at him. When they slammed together again the impact was bone-jarring. They tore into one another, each strike powered by raw defiance. Fragments of armour flew like shrapnel. Gas exploded from Mortarion's store of vials as the glass shattered, nearly blinding them both. Blood flew in straggling splatters, trailing across both combatants and staining their armour. As they hacked and countered, neither giving up so much as a centimetre of ground, it mingled upon the blades' edges, as rich and dark as wine. Summoning up one last burst of energy, the Khan held position, panting hard, trying to drag up energy for the final clash. He held his dao poised, waiting for his enemy to move. One thrust, one perfect thrust, angled precisely -- he had the strength for that. But Mortarion did not move. He stood, rigid, as though suddenly listening for something. His scythe fell into guard. A thin coughing broke from his mask, which the Khan realised was an exhausted kind of chortle. "So the choice has been made."
Mortarion informed Jaghatai that their respective starships were at war. This was not what they had been promised by the White Scars Warrior Lodge brothers, but the Death Lord refused to lose a fleet for this fight. Feeling the dust stir around his feet, coils of marsh-green teleportation energy rippled down. He saluted the Khan mockingly, and spears of hard-edged light suddenly lanced down from above, bursting through the cloud cover and crashing through the heart of the ruined Tizca pyramid they had been fighting within. The Khan sprang forward, seeing too late what was happening. In an instant, the Death Lord and his retinue were snatched away, sucked into the vortex of the Warp. The world's wind howled in their empty wake, the ash stirred, the lightning forked. Jaghatai, carried by the momentum of his final thrust, staggered though the empty space where his enemy had been.
Qin Xa faced him, unblooded but for his blades. The Thousand Sons Legionary was still there, as were five of his keshig. The Khan was enraged -- the hunt had not been concluded, the kill had been ripped away. Qin Xa lowered his weapons. For a moment he said nothing, but faint clicks from his helm gave away the attempts he was making to contact the White Scars warships in orbit. The Khan turned to Arvida and ordered him to get him off of Prospero. Arvida warned them that it would be difficult. He could only manage the use of his powers for a short while, and hoped that someone would be watching carefully. Collecting himself, Arvida summoned silvery witch-light from his hands, the light blazing so intently that it was hard to look at. Then he extended his hands heavenwards, and released a column of coruscating luminescence, electric-white and searing hot. It shot out vertically, leaping up and bursting into the skies above. The Khan looked upwards, over to where Arvida's released energy still shot into the turbulent skies, and hoped someone saw their signal.
A Primarch's Wrath
Caught up in the maelstrom of the two opposing factions of White Scars aboard the bridge of their Legion's flagship, Shiban Khan had to make a decision -- fight and most likely die alongside his brothers or listen to the pleas of a mortal woman. The young Khan's first reaction was to shove her aside and get to the enemy. But the desperation in her eyes stopped him. Shiban glanced at the teleportation platform, and then looked back at the pleading grey-haired woman in the tattered Imperial Army uniform. Coming to a decision, he quickly scooped her up in his arms and sprinted towards the teleportation mechanism as fast as he could. As he ran across the bridge he was shot multiple times by stray bolt rounds. He kept going, gritting his teeth through the agony. As the platform's columns rose above them, he pushed the mortal clear before his falling body could crush her. The woman crawled free, darting into the relative safety of the chamber's inner mechanisms. As more bolts exploded against the circlet of columns, she frantically punched in a series of codes, and the apparatus began to hum with building power.
A second later, the space between Shiban and the mortal woman exploded with light. A hard bang shot out, radiating across the entire bridge. For a moment no one could see anything within the seething mass of energy. Then figures clarified within it -- White Scars in Terminator plate, and a Space Marine Legionary in red armour on his knees from exhaustion. Before them stood a greater silhouette, massive in ornate armour, his cloak shredded to ribbons, his face an armoured mask of burns and heavy cuts. Jaghatai strode out of the failing storm of light and cast a baleful gaze across the bridge. The hall was still in torment, with Battle-Brothers at each other's throats, lost in a maddened world of battle-cries and muzzle-flares. The Khan strode down from the platform, his keshig following him closely. Ahead of him, the command hall remained swamped in combat. Many of those close enough to the teleportation flare to hear it over the clamour of the fighting broke off in sudden confusion, but others remained committed, locked in the storm of bolt-shells that crisscrossed the entire space.
Witnessing in that terrible moment warriors of his own Legion at each other's throats, Mortarion's words rang in his head, as mocking as his final salute -- Half your Legion has already declared for Horus. He scanned over to the command throne, where the fighting was heaviest. With a lurch of recognition, he saw Hasik Noyan-Khan occupying the dais, fighting hard to repel a surge from Jemulan's warriors. The Khan's battered body carried him to the heart of the storm. His dao felt heavy in his grasp, still slick with Mortarion's blood. The keshig came with him, forming a protective cordon around their Primarch. As he swept through the heart of it, some of the fighting broke down. Warriors looked up from their duels, seeing the ravaged armour of their Primarch again as he strode up to the throne, as if realising only then the depths to which they had sunk in his absence. The echoing cacophony of Bolter-fire abated.
Hasik was waiting for him. The bridge fell silent. Warriors remained in position, their weapons still poised. Every eye was fixed upon the command dais. The Khan asked the Noyan-Khan what madness was unleashed here. Hasik replied that what he had done was for the good of the White Scars Legion. The Khan coldly replied that Hasik was aware that he would return. Or did he also plan to keep the Khagan away until the fleet was secure in his hands? The Noyan-Khan replied that he had only wished for his Primarch and Horus to be reunited once more. That was his only hope. The whispers of the faithless could not be allowed to prevail. The Khan was incredulous! How could Hasik call those who opposed him faithless, when it was he who had caused such madness? Hasik admitted that mistakes had been made, but nonetheless he and his Warrior Lodge brothers saw the truth. The Warmaster had called, and the White Scars must follow, for that had always been the way. The Khan informed Hasik that they had all been lied to. As the Noyan-Khan tried to explain the reasons for his actions the Khan roared in anger at his commander's treachery. As he did so, he raised his blade. Perhaps unconsciously, perhaps without meaning to, or perhaps through some misguided belief that his cause lent him the power to do so, Hasik lifted his own in response.
The Khan pounced, sweeping his dao hard and locking edges with Hasik's tulwar. With a twist, he wrenched the sword from the Noyan-Khan's gauntlet, then switched back and plunged the dao's point deep into Hasik's midriff. The strike was aimed with perfect precision, lancing through the Terminator plate with a hard crack of disruptor discharge. Hasik went rigid, impaled just below his hearts, unable to respond as searing energies rippled across his body and locked him in paralysis. Slowly, grindingly, Jaghatai Khan hefted Hasik off the ground one-handed, pulling him upwards until their faces were level. His blade kept Hasik in position, bearing his full weight and preventing him from responding. With every ounce of his post-human strength, the Khan reached for Hasik's helm with his free hand and wrenched it from his head, casting it to the ground in contempt. For a moment they stared into one another's eyes -- one face white with shock, the other rigid with anger.
The Khan told Hasik that he knew nothing of the truth. If he had done as commanded, Jaghatai would be telling him of it now. Instead he would only tell him this -- the Vth Legion was the ordu of Jaghatai, and none bore their blades in it save by his word. Thus it had been since they first fought together on the Altak, and no power of the universe, be it Horus or the Emperor, would ever change that. The Noyan-Khan had been given freedom that no other lord would countenance. But this was how Hasik repaid the Khan, with betrayal and fire, and so the impertinent warrior would be struck down for his hubris. The Khan flung Hasik's body aside. It flew free of the great power blade and crashed into the warship's command throne, cracking it lengthways, before rolling down the steps of the dais. Qin Xa strode over to him, his own weapons drawn, but Hasik did not get up.
Turning away, rage still pulsed through the Khan's veins, laced with the heavy grief of betrayal. For an instant his mind was filled with visions of lashing out further, of bringing punishment down on the entirety of his errant gene-progeny like some vengeful god of the forgotten past. But in the end, his eyes were drawn up to the observation arch, out through the enormous real-view portals towards Prospero's orbital space. Far out into the void, silent bursts of light flashed out. Mortarion had spoken the truth about that, at least -- warships had engaged, Lances were being fired, shields were buckling. There was no time. A reckoning would come, the Khan cried, addressing the hundreds who waited for guidance. But for now, battle called. He ordered the crew to Vox the rest of the White Scars' fleet. They would engage the Death Guard, guang-cha formation, full burn. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Death Guard formation quickly fell back into a defensive cordon. The White Scars went after them, harrying, strafing, hurling all their pent-up fury in a maelstrom of Lance-energy.
The Second Battle of Prospero did not match the horror of the first, for the Death Guard had come to hopefully oversee the incorporation of an ally, not embark upon a protracted void conflict. The two fleets grappled together as they pulled away from Prospero, locked in a web of broadsides and attack runs. Under Mortarion's leadership, the smaller XIVth Legion forces rallied enough to withdraw from the system intact, but they could match neither the speed nor the firepower of the renewed White Scars. The battle moved steadily out of the system until Mortarion finally gave the order to disengage and make for the jump-points. Leaving a trail of fire and plasma in their wake, the Death Guard entered the Warp, abandoning local space to the control of Jaghatai Khan. With the enemy driven from Prospero, the Vth Legion halted its pursuit. The fleet mustered once more, holding position in loose formation, just as it had done at Chondax. Some ships still ran with dissension, and the process of restoring order was neither quick nor without violence. The Khan visited every Battleship in person, stamping out the last traces of rebellion where he found them. Blood had been shed on many vessels, and some had been commandeered entirely by Warrior Lodge members still hoping to sway the Legion to the cause of Horus. Some took their own lives rather than endure the shame of surrender, though most recognised the authority of the Khagan and offered up their blades in contrition. A few smaller vessels never made it to the muster, either destroyed by the Death Guard during the engagement or disappearing quietly, presumed unwilling to accept the rejection of their planned accord with the Traitors. The seeds planted by the lodge were set deep, and not all of their growths were capable of being removed.
The wounded Hasik Noyan-Khan remained on the Swordstorm throughout the engagement. Only when Mortarion had been banished did Qin Xa come for him, removing his weapons and armour and escorting him to the confinement chambers. Hasik did not resist. His face gave away the soul of a man destroyed. Others went with him into confinement, among them Goghal, Hibou and Torghun Khan. There they awaited judgement, guarded by the Khagan's own retinue. No precedent existed in the Vth Legion for their actions, though under the old law of the Altak on Chogoris, the crime of treachery had only one punishment -- death.
The Thousand Sons Astartes Arvida remained with the White Scars Legion and was given quarters on board the Swordstorm. His health had been ravaged by the long sojourn on a dying world, and it took days for him to recover enough to speak of what he had seen. The Stormseer, Yesugei Targetei, had fought his way halfway across the galaxy aboard the frigate Sickle Moon in order to reunite with the Khan, and both the zadyin arga and Arvida spent many hours together after that, though what they discussed was not revealed to any but the Khan. It was known Yesugei asked after the fate of his friend Ahzek Ahriman, whom he had hoped to see again, but Arvida could give him no guidance. The Stormseer was forced to conclude that either Ahriman had been killed by the Space Wolves or had escaped into the Warp along with his master Magnus. In either case it seemed most likely that they would never meet again. Of the many links that had once existed between the White Scars and the Thousand Sons, only Arvida remained.
As for the Khan himself, once the violence of restoration had ebbed, he retreated to his chambers on the flagship and took counsel on the Legion's next move. Only Qin Xa and Yesugei stayed with him during that time, though it was known that a kurultai -- a summit of the Legion's khans -- would be convened to purge any remaining bad blood. It became quickly evident that the Warrior Lodge faction of the Vth Legion had not truly understood what they had been working towards, for the Horus they venerated no longer existed. The knowledge gleaned from Magnus needed to be propagated swiftly, ending the long period of uncertainty that had blighted the White Scars Legion. Such was the way of the old plains: grievances would be heard, penance would be meted, bonds restored. No chrono-mark was set for the gathering, but all the Brotherhood khans knew it would be soon. Now that the shape of the treachery was known, it would not be long before the Brotherhoods were ordered to war, unified once more and thirsting for vengeance. Until then, there was nothing to do but prepare, restore, and hope that the wounds of the Legion would heal before they faced the Traitors once more.
Battle of Terra
It is known in Imperial records that much of the White Scars Legion, including its Primarch, was present to defend the Imperial Palace during the climatic Battle of Terra alongside the Blood Angels and Imperial Fists Legions. Such was the ferocity of the attack by the Forces of Chaos that the besiegers forced the Imperial defenders back to the walls of the Imperial Palace, where thousands died slowing the assault. When the beleaguered forces faced a breach and potential collapse of the Imperial defences, Jaghatai decided on a change of plan. Rather than assaulting the almost-invincible flanks of the Chaos army, he redirected his highly mobile ordu and the surviving Loyalist tank divisions of the Imperial Army to the Lion's Gate Spaceport. At dawn, Jaghatai's lightning raid caught the Traitor garrison at the spaceport completely by surprise, and reclaimed the spaceport for the Emperor. The Khan ordered his troops to reactivate the spaceport's defence lasers to prevent the Traitor fleet from bringing down any more troops and equipment and form a defensive perimeter to hold their newly reconquered territory. Khan's troops repelled several frenzied counterattacks from the Traitors, and began firing on Horus' unprotected dropships. The Khan's plan worked perfectly: the flow of the Traitors' men and machines to the Imperial Palace had been cut in half at a single stroke. Inspired by this success, the Loyalists also tried to seize the Eternity Wall Spaceport, but were driven back by the Chaos forces without difficulty, as they had reinforced their garrison following the loss of the Lion's Gate.
History recorded little else of the Great Khan's actions during the Battle of Terra, but it is known that his Legion ranged the once-proud thoroughfares of Terra during the campaign, engaging the Traitors in punishing hit-and-run strikes. When the end finally came, when Horus died at the hands of the Emperor aboard his Battle Barge Vengeful Spirit in orbit above Mankind's homeworld, the White Scars emerged from the fires of galactic civil war bloodied, but alive. It was said that Jaghatai and his warriors fought many of the Chaos Space Marines that tried to retreat to Terra's spaceports and flee. The White Scars launched several highly-successful hit-and-run assaults against the Traitor forces and together with remnants of the Imperial Army's 1st Terran Tank Division and several infantry regiments they successfully harassed the enemy supply lines as the Chaotic armies fled to the Eternity Wall Spaceport to get off-world and escape Imperial vengeance. The White Scars Legion must surely have been at the forefront of the Legions that pursued the defeated Traitors to the Eye of Terror during the Great Scouring, for the White Scars rarely allow a defeated foe to slip away once their blood was up.
Disappearance of Jaghatai Khan
Though Jaghatai Khan survived the tumultuous battles of the Horus Heresy, like so many of his brother Primarchs he was cruelly taken from the service of Mankind in the years that followed. Seven standard years after the end of the Horus Heresy, during the period called the Reformation when the Imperium was largely guided by the Ultramarines' Primarch Roboute Guilliman, the White Scars adopted Guilliman's Codex Astartes and the Vth Legion allowed itself to be grudgingly divided into several different Successor Chapters. In order to contain the outlaws, Renegades and aliens that dwelled within the Maelstrom Warp rift and had taken advantage of the disruptions caused by the Heresy to run amok in the Ultima Segmentum, Roboute Guilliman ordered the surrounding star systems to be reinforced. The White Scars were tasked with the main responsibility for securing the area from their homeworld. Legends tell that while the Great Khan was engaged in the battles of the Emperor's Great Crusade, outcast Eldar had descended upon the tribes of Chogoris. Though the people fought as hard as they ever had during Jaghatai's wars of unification, their weapons were no match for those of the perfidious xenos. Thousands were cut down, and thousands more enslaved, carried off through the secret passages of the Webway to meet a fate no mortal man can imagine. It was only when the Great Khan and his companions returned to Chogoris after the Horus Heresy that he discovered what had befallen his people, and ordered what may have been the very first Hunt, the object of which was to recover the enslaved Chogorians or to avenge their deaths.
Only legends remain of the battles that followed, for all but a few that witnessed them first hand were lost at the same time as the Primarch himself. Jaghatai fought alongside his sons for another 70 standard years following the end of the Horus Heresy, eventually disappearing in 084.M31 when he traveled into a region of space known as the Maelstrom, a large Warp rift in the Ultima Segmentum that is a somewhat smaller counterpart of the Eye of Terror. Jaghatai is believed to have been in pursuit of the Dark Eldar who had savaged Mundus Planus following the Battle of Corusil V with his 1st Brotherhood when he went through a Warp Gate into the Dark Eldar portion of the Webway, ultimately vanishing forever. None can say what befell the Primarch -- if he was lost in the Warp or if he was slain or captured at the hands of an alien warlord -- but the White Scars believe he still hunts across the galaxy, and beyond, in pursuit of his greatest foes. The White Scars believe he is still alive somewhere within the Webway and will one day return to the Chapter and its Successors in a time of great need. Thus it is that the White Scars harbour a special hatred for the Dark Eldar, even their legendary discipline and judgement slipping occasionally when facing these vile foes in battle. None can say what befell the Primarch, or if he still hunts his prey through the labyrinthine tunnels of the Webway of the Eldar and the nightmare sub-realities in which their dark kin lurk. Perhaps, when his hunt is complete, Jaghatai Khan will return to his people, or maybe he is lost for all time. The White Scars thus continue to fight in Jaghatai's name, destroying the enemies of the Emperor in preparation for the day when the Great Khan completes his consummate hunt and returns to once again lead his chosen warriors and begin the next Great Crusade to unify the galaxy.
Ever since the Great Khan's hunt, it has passed into Chapter tradition that one Battle-Brother should be declared Master of the Hunt, and charged with tracking down those enemies of the Chapter who have somehow escaped its retribution. Every quarter century, the Chaplains preside over the Rites of Howling, where the names and deeds of each nemesis of the White Scars are recounted. The Chapter Master then announces which of these foes shall be punished next. The Master of the Hunt may be the captain of a Brotherhood, and in addition to his normal tasks he must make every effort to bring the object of the hunt to heel, to claim his head, and to return it to Chogoris. There, the skull is flensed and masked in silver. Accompanied by much feasting, the grim trophy is set upon a stake along the road that leads through the Khum Karta mountains towards the Palace of Quan Zhou, the mighty, marble-walled Fortress-Monastery of the proud and savage White Scars Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes.
- X173 Plural Xenocide (Unknown Date.M30) - This was an Imperial Compliance campaign of the Great Crusade that was carried out jointly between the White Scars Legion and the 40th Expeditionary Fleet's Imperial Army component made up of the genetically-enhanced soldiers of the G9K Division Kill upon the world designated X173 Plural. This campaign against unknown xenos was fought over a period of six months, in which the troops of the G9K came to admire the focus, dedication and mercilessness of the White Scars.
- Tyrade System Compliance (998.M30) - A White Scars detachment served alongside the Luna Wolves Legion during the Imperial Compliance action in the Tyrade System. This action occurred seven standard years before the Battle of Istvaan III and the start of the Horus Heresy.
- Ullanor Crusade (000.M31) - The Ullanor Crusade marked the high point of the Great Crusade's vast effort to reunite the scattered colony worlds of humanity. This vast Imperial campaign took place within the Ork empire of the notorious Ork Overlord Urrlak Urruk during the Great Crusade in the first year of the 31st Millennium. Ullanor, the capital world of this empire, and the site of the final assault, lay in the Ullanor System of the galaxy's Ullanor Sector. Horus employed the use of the now famous "Speartip" tactic to destroy the Ork Empire by removing its head. The White Scars and Ultramarines Space Marine Legions, supported by the Imperial Army and other forces such as the Titans of the Mechanicum, attacked the outer planets of the Ullanor System. This offensive was a decoy, though it proved quite effective. Many of the Orks' starships rushed to prevent the attacks on the outer planets, leaving the central world dangerously vulnerable and exposed to the waiting main body of the Imperial forces, led by the Astartes of the Luna Wolves Legion. The Luna Wolves' Legion fleet headed straight for this central world and more specifically for Urlakk's fortress-palace. At the height of the campaign, Horus and his Terminator-armoured elite Justaerin successfully confronted the Overlord and his retinue of Nobz. With the death of its leader, the Ork forces collapsed into infighting as was their wont and the battle for Ullanor soon became a massacre. The remainder of the Ullanor Sector was subdued by the forces of the Crusade and returned to Imperial rule within the year, as the Ork empire had completely fragmented upon hearing of its master's death once the various Nobz declared themselves the new Warlords and fought each other for control. With Urg's termination, the nascent Ork empire self-destructed, and the xenos that were not hounded into the mud of Ullanor's vast battlegrounds would be hunted down across hundreds of star systems, all the way to Chondax, the Kayvas Belt and beyond. Following this monumental victory, the Triumph of Ullanor was held, a massive Imperial gathering that payed homage to the monumental victory achieved by its commander Horus Lupercal. Here the favoured son of the Emperor was invested with the newly created title of Imperial Warmaster, supreme commander of all the Imperium's military forces. The Emperor also announced that He would be stepping down as the Great Crusade's direct military commander and returning to Terra to undertake an important project. He passed on the mantle of leadership of His military forces to the newly invested Warmaster. When the Great Crusade commenced again, it now had a Warmaster at its apex, not an Emperor.
- Chondax Campaign (000-007.M31) - Shortly after the Triumph of Ullanor, Jaghatai Khan and his Vth Legion were next sent to the worlds of the Chondax System. The system was comprised of the planets Epihelikon, Teras, Honderal, Laerteax and Phemus IV, the furthest of the outlying worlds. The culmination of this campaign took place upon the world of Chondax, labeled Chondax Primus EX5, 776 NC-X-S by Imperial cartographers, but named "The White World" by the White Scars due to its salt-like earth. The White World was the crucible of the whole campaign, the heart of those Greenskin forces that had chosen to go to ground in the system. The Khan was ordered by the newly-promoted Warmaster Horus to hunt the remnants of the Ork empire destroyed on Ullanor, the last slivers of the Warlord Urlakk Urruk's Greenskins. Perhaps some would have balked at such a campaign, for it was not prestigious work, but the Khan was happy enough. It was hunting, and in a way that he understood: cavalry charges across open spaces, going up against prey that had no concept of capitulation or self-pity. He had never complained. Nearly all of his Legion went with him, ranked in their various Brotherhoods, eager for the hunt. Scores of white starships cut the void, each crammed with warriors of the ordu, all desperate to get back in the chase. The brutal campaign lasted six long standard years as the White Scars hunted the remaining Greenskin forces to extinction. It was at Chondax that the White Scars would first learn of the outbreak of the Horus Heresy and the betrayal of Horus Lupercal. Delayed by the arrival of the fleet of the Alpha Legion, the White Scars would break-out from the Traitors' cordon and begin the long journey back to Terra in search of answers -- leaving multiple Alpha Legion warships as flaming wreckage in the bargain. The White Scars soon learned of the Warmaster's heresy when they established contact with Leman Russ in the aftermath of the Space Wolves' destruction of Prospero. Faced with the dilemma of aiding the weakened Space Wolves against a powerful force of Alpha Legion attackers, or returning to Terra as ordered by Rogal Dorn, Jaghatai Khan choose to go to Prospero to seek out the truth of the Heresy for himself. Satisfied, he eventually did his duty and returns to Terra.
- Battle of Terra (014.M31) - The White Scars were one of only three Loyalist Space Marine Legions present at the Battle of Terra during the defence of the Emperor's Imperial Palace, alongside the Blood Angels and the Imperial Fists. Before the final defence of the Imperial Palace began, the White Scars launched a counterattack to break through the encircling siege of the Traitor Legions of Horus. As part of this counteroffensive, the White Scars undertook a daring lightning raid to seize the Lion's Gate Spaceport from the enemy's hands. This enabled the Loyalists defending the Palace to receive fresh troops and supplies from orbit and boosted the morale of the Palace's defenders. A similar Loyalist assault on the second major starport near the Palace failed, largely due to the lack of the White Scars' expertise in mobile warfare. However, the White Scars did not participate in the Emperor of Mankind's final teleport assault upon Horus' flagship, the Battle Barge Vengeful Spirit.
- Disappearance of Jaghatai Khan (ca.084.M31) - The White Scars' Primarch Jaghatai Khan disappeared whilst fighting several Kabals of the Dark Eldar on the world of Corusil V, near the Warp Rift called the Maelstrom. Presumably, Jaghatai pursued a Dark Eldar Archon through an alien portal that led into a portion of the Eldar Webway occupied by the Dark Eldar, perhaps even reaching their Dark City of Commorragh itself. His fate is unknown.
- Sabbat Worlds Crusades (35th Millennium) and (754-775.M41) - The White Scars fought in both Imperial Crusades unleashed in the Sabbat Worlds Sector, first at the side of Saint Sabbat who led the Crusade that brought the sector into the Imperium of Man in the 35th Millennium, and later with the forces of the Imperial Warmasters Slaydo and Macaroth to retake the Sabbat Worlds from control by the Forces of Chaos. The White Scars also fought alongside four fellow Astartes Chapters which included the Iron Snakes, the Raven Guard, and the Silver Guard. The White Scars were present on many of the battlefields of both Sabbat Worlds Crusades. During the first Crusade when they fought alongside Saint Sabbat, an honour guard of 8 White Scars Space Marines were the ones who carried Saint Sabbat's fallen body back to her homeworld of Hagia and her final resting place. The Shrine of Saint Sabbat contains 8 ritual niches each filled with a life sized holographic projection of a White Scars Astartes in memory of the Chapter's service. Around the year 600.M41, the Sabbat Worlds Sector began to suffer once more from such large, sustained incursions of Chaotic forces that by the year 740.M41 the situation had become untenable, with the entire sector essentially having been lost to Imperial rule. The Imperium could not suffer the existence of such a large expanse of openly Chaotic space existing within its territory, acting as a staging ground from which to spread Chaotic corruption to the surrounding Imperial sectors. As such, the Administratum ordered the start of the second Sabbat Worlds Crusade to retake the sector for the Emperor. Overall operational command was given to Warmaster Slaydo who was charged with the liberation of the Sabbat Worlds. Slaydo developed an intense passion for the cause of Saint Sabbat, the original liberator of the Sabbat Worlds. He personally believed it to be a crime against the Imperium that her hard-won territories could be so callously discarded and left in the blasphemous hands of the servants of the Ruinous Powers.
- Lycanthos Drift Campaign (780.M41) - In the aftermath of the long-running and infamous Fourth Quadrant Rebellion, the White Scars answered a general call to arms among the Astartes of the region and despatched a powerful force in 780.M41, to undertake the Lycanthos Drift Campaign against one of the last major stronghold systems of the revolt located to the galactic south of the Maelstrom Zone. Astral Claws Chapter Master Lufgt Huron was elected battle leader of a number of Astartes contingents by common consent, comprising companies from the Astral Claws, Fire Hawks, Celestial Guard and White Scars Chapters, backed by the Death Korps of Krieg and Cal-Sec Imperial Guard regiments and the Titans of Legio Venator. The Fire Hawks' Chapter Master Stibor Lazaerek was noticeably bitter that he was not given command of the campaign, and is known to have born a grudge against the Astral Claws from this time forward. Under Huron's inspired command, the taskforce ruthlessly purged the heavily fortified star system of Traitor and Chaos forces in under a year, cementing his reputation as a masterful strategist amongst Space Marine commanders.
- Escape from Cano'var (813.M41) - At Nemesor Zahndrekh's instruction, the Necron armies of the Tomb World of Gidrim invade the Tau world of Cano'var, routing the planetary defenders after two standard weeks of campaigning. The Necron victory was short-lived however. A demi-company of White Scars, led by Kor'sarro Khan, arrived on Cano'var, pursuing a now-obsolete punitive mission against the previous Tau inhabitants. Overwhelming volley of Gauss fire destroyed the White Scars' Thunderhawks moments after their landing, leaving Khan and his Battle-Brothers to fight a bold, but doomed, series of hit-and-run battles. Almost all of the White Scars were slain on Uzme Plateau, but Zahndrekh commandws that Kor'sarro Khan be spared and imprisoned. So did Khan begin a peculiar period of captivity beneath the surface of Cano'var. Zahndrekh treated him with honour, though few of the other Necron Lords even acknowledged his presence. At a bizarre feast, where food was placed before Zahndrekh and his court but went uneaten, Khan learned that he was but one of a dozen prisoners. With the desire for freedom outweighing any ranklement or rivalry, Khan and the other captives conspired to escape. The Necrons were slow to react and so the breakout went well at first. Only when Vargard Obyron took command did things go badly for the escapees. Several of the fugitives were slain by Obyron's Warscythe, leaving only Kor'sarro and an Eldar Ranger by the name of Illic Nightspear to fight on, and the latter swiftly received a blow that send him sprawling from the fight. Thus did the battle devolve into a duel atop bleeding bodies and broken machines. Khan's sword was quicker and guided by a desperate fury, but Obyron's undying machine body repaired any damage within only moments. Little by little, Khan tired, and the sweeping Warscythe came closer to connecting with each swing. Finally, one of the Vargard's blows was too swift for Khan to evade -- the Warscythe sliced through his armour and deep into his flesh. Before Obyron could finish his foe, there was an intervention from an unexpected source. Unknown to either combatants, Zahndrekh had been watching the fight from afar and, impressed by Khan's skill and bravery, ordered Obyron to stand aside and let him leave. Dragging the crippled Nightspear behind, Khan finally escaped to the surface, found a still-functioning Tau spacecraft and left Cano'var far behind. Khan and Nightspear parted ways shortly after, the Eldar to his Craftworld and the White Scar to Chogoris. Shortly after Khan's return to his Chapter Planet, Nemesor Zahndrekh and Vargard Obyron were added to the Scrolls of Venegance, their names to be put forward as possible quarry for the next Great Hunt of the White Scars Chapter.
- The Diata Purge (858.M41) - Great Khan (Chapter Master) Kyublai Khan leads the combined might of the White Scars and the Marauders Chapters against a fell host of Chaos Space Marine Renegades.
- Assault on Zoran (859.M41) - The forces of the insidious Alpha Legion incited an uprising against the Imperium on the Ice World of Zoran. The Blood Angels' Captain Metraen led elements from that Chapter's 3rd and 8th Companies to that frigid planet to eliminate the rebellion and drive the Traitor Legion from the world. Metraen's bold tactical choice at first seemed to drive the enemy back but the assault stalls when the Alpha Legion's base of operations on the world was determined to be an ancient and long-lost Imperator-class Battle Titan left from the days of the Horus Heresy. Though still half-buried in the ice of Zoran, the monstrous war engine's Void Shield generators and weapons batteries proved to be operational with devastating consequences for the servants of the Emperor. Many Blood Angels Astartes fell in the first assault against the Titan and Captain Metraen feared that the only course open to him to end the threat would be an outright Exterminatus order against Zoran and its people. Fortunately for the innocents of that Ice World, aid arrived in the form of Kor'sarro Khan and the 3rd Brotherhood of the White Scars Chapter. Sent to claim the head of the Alpha Legion's infamous Daemon Prince Voldorius, the Khan joined his forces to the remains of the Blood Angels Astartes on the planet. As the White Scars launched their own attack on the Alpha Legion's bastion from below, the Blood Angels used their Stormravens to initiate a series of drop assaults against the secondary plasma reactors that powered the Titan's weapons. Metraen's Astartes neutralised the Titan's defences and the White Scars swarmed into the massive war machine's lower levels. Though Voldorius ultimately escaped once more, his followers were exterminated to the last Chaos Cultist and Alpha Legionary. Though Kor'sarro Khan was obliged to continue his hunt for the Daemon Prince, Zoran had been restored to the Emperor's light and the recovery of a battered but fully repairable Imperator Titan is no mean feat. Metraen eventually brought the Titan back to Baal, from which it was sent on to Mars, where Lord Commander Dante hoped that such a priceless gift might finally smooth over the conflicts between the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Blood Angels.
- Hunt for Voldorius (855-865.M41) - The Hunt for Voldorius was the search by Kor'sarro Khan, Captain of the 3rd Brotherhood of the White Scars, for the Daemon Prince Kernax Voldorius, the warleader of a particularly insidious Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines warband. In 865.M41 Kor'sarro Khan drove Voldorius from his foremost stronghold on the Hive World of Modanna. By 871.M41, Kor'sarro Khan tracked Kernax Voldorius to the planet Quintus. The White Scars discovered no mere warband, but a whole planet of Traitors and Renegades ready to stand against them, but Kor'sarro was not deterred. Upon making planetfall, Kor'sarro Khan found unexpected allies in the form of Shadow Captain Kayvaan Shrike and the Raven Guard's 3rd Company. Despite the millennia-old rivalry that exists between their two Chapters, the White Scars and Raven Guard put aside their differences and joined forces to defeat Voldorius' armies; Shrike and Kor'sarro slew the Daemon Prince in the streets of the planetary-capital of Mankarra. With the defeat of the Chaos forces and Voldorius dead by his hands, Kor'sarro Khan announced his sixteenth Great Hunt to be at an end. Claiming Voldorius' head as a gloried prize, Kor'sarro Khan left Quintus and returned to a hero's welcome at the White Scars' Fortress-Monastery on Chogoris where it was set on a pike on the road to the White Scars' fortress, so that all might know that no foe of the Chapter ever truly escapes the Emperor's justice.
- Battle for Grase Mesa (869.M41) - The Eldar Windrider Host of Yme-Loc Craftworld is all but annihilated at Grase Mesa when White Scars Bike and Land Speeder squadrons encircle their xenos foe and launch a devastating enfilade on their flanks.
- The Blackfist Scalping (882.M41) - The White Scars join forces with two of their Successor Chapters -- the Storm Lords and Solar Hawks -- to combat WAAAGH! Blackfist on the Agri-World of Lycelle. Competition between the three Chapters was fierce, with each trying to outdo the battlefield deeds of the others in the name of Jaghatai Khan.
- Quan Zhou's Wrath (890.M41) - A Necron Cairn-class Tombship enters orbit over Chogoris and begins the focussed bombardment of an unpopulated area on the planet's surface. The Battle Barge Jaghatai's Pride pierced the ship's shields even as the White Scars' Fortress-Monastery fired its massive Defence Laser, the Khan's Fury, destroying the Tombship in a single Lance strike.
- Battle for Fyre (898.M41) - Great Khan Kyublai joins forces with six other Space Marine Chapters to purge the Daemon World of Fyre of the daemonic legions of Mal'laf'mak the Bloodbringer. The daemon warlord was banished when Kyublai led a bold Drop Pod assault against Gorespire and Mal'laf'mak was caught between Kyublai's Honour Guard and the Chapter's Sternguard Veterans in a merciless cross-fire. The White Scars took heavy casualties escaping Gorespire before it, and all within, were dragged back into the Warp.
- Battle for Cardrim (926.M41) - Whilst combating the Ork WAAAGH! Skullkrumpa on the world of Cardrim, Joghaten Khan and the White Scars' 4th Brotherhood awaken the Necron forces of Overlord Tarekh. Isolated from reinforcements, the White Scars prosecuted a gruelling hit-and-run campaign lasting several standard years. Their lightning raids hamstrung much of the enemy's forces, and the last xenos were finally slain during the attack on Fellstorm Airfield.
- The Bloodswarm Crusade (936.M41) - The Bloodswarm Crusade is brought to a successful conclusion by the White Scars and Iron Hawks Chapters.
- A Lost Hero (943.M41) - The Kabal of the Bloodied Talon prey upon the people of Chogoris. Great Khan Kyublai Khan immediately set off after the attackers, but mysteriously vanished soon after and was presumed slain by the Dark Eldar. Jubal Khan was appointed as Great Khan of the White Scars following a lengthy ritual and immediately declared a Great Hunt to avenge his predecessor. In 945.M41, Kor'sarro Khan returned to Chogoris not only with the head of Archon Kirareq of the Kabal of the Bloodied Talon, but also those of one thousand of his Dark Eldar warriors.
- The Bloodskar Hunt (964.M41) - The White Scars' 5th Brotherhood reinforces the Imperial Guard's Cadian Shock Troops regiments in their ongoing struggle against the Ork WAAAGH! Bloodskar in the Lonnas System.
- Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - During the Third War for Armageddon against the largest Ork WAAAGH! seen since the Great Crusade, the White Scars deployed several Brotherhoods into the freezing wastes of the Hive World of Armageddon known as the Deadlands. Their highly mobile style of warfare proved perfect for lightning fast responses to attacks launched by the Ork Speed Kults in that region. The Battle of Dante's Canyon, fought in the opening days of the war, excellently displayed the power and style of combat favoured by the White Scars. The White Lightning Speed Kult, having learnt from its previous debacle, attacked again, this time using "kustomised" Warbikes and Wartrakks on skis. However, the Astartes defenders were ready for the Greenskins. The White Scars Tulwar Brotherhood, led by Suboden Khan, launched a counterattack on the Orks. Lightly armoured Bike Squadrons and Attack Bikes surged from a local drilling station being used as a forward command post and met the Orks halfway. A swirling, mounted melee of speeding vehicles skidding around the ice raged for many hours into the night. The following morning Ork Stormboyz dropped from the cliffs above the drilling station, only to be met by the determined and disciplined fire of White Scar Tactical Squads. Charges laid on the ice during the night were detonated, plunging yet more Orks under the frigid surface. At the same time, Orks attempting to cut the cables securing the drilling station to the canyon walls were attacked in the rear by Assault Squads led by Suboden Khan. The leader of this group of Orks was beheaded by Suboden and his broken body thrown from the cliffs. The remaining Orks were driven over the cliffs and their bodies swept below the freezing waters of the Tempest Ocean.
- 13th Black Crusade (999.M41) - During the 13th Black Crusade the first of the White Scars Brotherhoods to reach the Cadian Gate was the Brotherhood of Khajog Khan, a hero of Armageddon and many other campaigns. Khajog set about launching a series of devastatingly successful hit-and-run attacks across the bleak moors of Cadia. The attacks were so successful that the White Scars soon became a significant threat to Abaddon the Despoiler's plans and the sieges of Kasr Myrak, Soliq and Rantik were lifted as the Chaotic forces of the Great Despoiler redeployed to hunt down the elusive White Scars. Khajog's Brotherhood proved literally too effective, as their actions earned the direct attention of Abaddon, who ordered the Brotherhood immediately hunted down and exterminated by a full force deployment of the Chaos Space Marines under his command. Dispatching no less than the elite 1st Company of the Black Legion along with massive hordes of Chaos Cultists and slaves, Abaddon began the hunt through the bleak moors. Unknown to Khajog, Abaddon's chief Chaos Sorcerer Zaraphiston located the White Scars through his divinations, and Khajog's forces were ambushed as they attempted to assault a slave train west of Lake Terror. The first 4 White Scars Bike Squads that hit the slave train found themselves charging directly into the guns of Abaddon's Chosen. Realising that they were beaten, the White Scars continued their charge nonetheless, selling their lives as dearly as possible to give their brethren in the rest of the White Scars force time to break away. Reluctantly, Khajog retreated with the rest of his Brotherhood to regroup, swearing to return and wreak vengeance on Abaddon's forces. However, that was not to be. Khajog did not get an opportunity to return in the manner of his choosing, for every exit was blocked by the uncountable hordes of the Chaotic forces. Instead of trying to retreat further, Khajog determined to make his last stand at the base of a Cadian Pylon on the shores of the Caducades Sea. The White Scars crashed into the innumerable ranks of the Traitor forces, dragged from their Assault Bikes one by one until at last only Khajog remained. Khajog Khan was the last of the White Scars to fall that day, finally dragged down by the sheer weight of numbers arrayed against him. The Stormseers of the Chapter say that to this day, Khajog's spirit still roams the bleak moors of Cadia, unwilling to return until vengeance is meted out to those who slew him.
- The Maelstrom Threat (999.M41) - A vast Chaos Space Marine fleet under the command of Huron Blackheart emerges from the Maelstrom and besieges the Chogoris, Kaelas and Sessec Systems. Rumours report Huron's force is as large as the Space Marine Legions of old, and several Chapters are tasked with its destruction. The White Scars withdraw from their operations on Armageddon to meet this dire threat to their homeworld.
The predominant unit of social organisation among the nomadic people of the steppes of Mundus Planus is the tribe, a fact reflected in the organisation of the White Scars Chapter. Once a young warrior is selected from the feuding tribes of the steppes, loyalty to his tribe is replaced by loyalty to the Chapter and the Emperor of Mankind. As their Primarch did during his campaign to unite the steppes, recruits from different tribes are mixed together in the White Scars' squads. Each squad of White Scars Astartes becomes part of a Brotherhood, a type of unit that is roughly equivalent to a standard, 100-Astartes Space Marines company. Each Brotherhood is led by an officer known as a Khan, who is essentially the White Scars' version of a standard Space Marine company captain.
At the time of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium, the White Scars did not make use of standard Astartes rank designations, or ordered companies, and instead differentiated their companies as "Brotherhoods", such as the "Brotherhood of the Hawk" or "Brotherhood of the Spear". However, those White Scars Space Marines who were Terran-born often had a tendency to utilise the more common standard company designations. For example, the 64th Company (made up of Terran White Scars Legionaries) was also known by its Chogorian designation -- the Brotherhood of the Moon. It is not known whether the White Scars still utilise these Chogorian designations for their companies in the late 41st Millennium, though they always now refer to their companies as Brotherhoods.
The White Scars have a propensity to maintain a disproportionate number of Bike Squads and Land Speeder squadrons within their order of battle. This highly mobile lightning-attack fighting style means the White Scars do not make use of as many heavy weapons as other Chapters. For instance, the White Scars possess no Devastator Squads. Due to their reliance on fast-moving fire support, most of the tanks used by the Chapter have had their armour stripped down so that they are able to keep up with the majority of the fast-moving White Scars forces. Dreadnoughts are also not employed by the White Scars, as the cold, metal sarcophagi of these mighty cyborgs evoke a horror of eternal confinement and induce a feeling of extreme claustrophobia that is a result of the White Scars' cultural foundation as nomads who wander the open plains of Mundus Planus' steppelands.
Order of Battle
Though the White Scars maintain a different order of battle than most Codex Astartes-compliant Chapters, due to the style of warfare favoured by the Chapter which deemphasizes the use of heavy armour in favour of light, fast-moving mechanised and airborne infantry formations. The following represents the order of battle of the White Scars Chapter as it stands in 999.M41:
- Chapter Command: Jubal Khan, Great Khan of the White Scars
- Chapter Headquarters
- Chief Stormseer
- Chief Stormseer
- Voice of the Storm
- Chief Apothecary
- 1st Brotherhood (Veteran Company), "The Spearpoint Brotherhood": Jurga Khan, Master of the War Council
- 2nd Brotherhood (Battle Company), "The Firefist Brotherhood": Khajog Khan, Master of Lore
- 3rd Brotherhood (Battle Company), "The Eagle Brotherhood": Kor'sarro Khan, Master of the Hunt
- 6 Tactical Squads
- 2 Assault Squads
- 2 Devastator Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Unknown Number)
- 4th Brotherhood (Battle Company), "The Tulwar Brotherhood": Joghaten Khan, Master of Blades
- 6 Tactical Squads
- 2 Assault Squads
- 2 Devastator Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Unknown Number)
- 5th Brotherhood (Battle Company), "The Stormwrath Brotherhood": Suboden Khan, Master of Spirits
- 6 Tactical Squads
- 2 Assault Squads
- 2 Devastator Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Unknown Number)
- 6th Brotherhood (Reserve Tactical Company), "The Hawkseye Brotherhood": Seglei Khan, Master of Shields
- 10 Tactical Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Unknown Number)
- 7th Brotherhood (Reserve Tactical Company), "The Plainstalker Brotherhood": Dorghai Khan, Master of the Watch
- 10 Tactical Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Unknown Number)
- 8th Brotherhood (Reserve Assault Company), "The Bloodrider Brotherhood": Vorgha Khan, Master of Steeds
- 10 Assault Squads
- 9th Brotherhood (Reserve Devastator Company), "The Stormbolt Brotherhood": Khadajei Khan, Master of Bows
- 10 Devastator Squads
- Dreadnoughts (Unknown Number)
- 10th Brotherhood (Scout Company), "The Windspeaker Brotherhood": Jodagha Khan, Master of Braves
- 10 Scout Squads
- Khagan - In the Chogorian language known as Khorchin, Khagan literally means "Khan of Khans", a sacred title and rank solely reserved for and bestowed upon the White Scars Primarch, Jaghatai Khan.
- Noyan-Khan - A bygone rank within the White Scars Legion of old, these senior commanders were in charge of separate ordu; divisional-size formations within the ancient White Scars Legion, sometimes comprised of up to twenty Brotherhoods (companies). The Noyan-Khans had several Khans subordinate to their overall command, each of whom commanded the individual Brotherhoods of a given ordu. Each Noyan-Khan was charged with the command and control of these ordu, and like their genetic forebear, were allowed certain freedoms and the command autonomy required to conduct campaigns as they saw fit.
- Great Khan - In the present day late 41st Millennium, the title of Great Khan is the formal title given to the Chapter Master of the White Scars. He is chosen from amongst the commanding Khans of the Chapter's Brotherhoods by a secret process of physical, mental and spiritual trials overseen by the Chapter's Storm Seers.
- Khan - A Khan is the Space Marine officer who commands an entire White Scars Brotherhood (company), and is essentially the Chapter's version of a standard Space Marines company Captain. Like the Great Khan, the Chapter's Khans are chosen by its Stormseers, who oversee a series of physical, mental and spiritual trials when a vacancy opens to determine which of the White Scars' Battle-Brothers is worthy of being elevated to command the fellows of his Brotherhood.
- Master of the Hunt - The Master of the Hunt is an honourific title unique to the White Scars Chapter. The current Master of the Hunt is Kor'sarro Khan, Captain of the White Scars' 3rd Brotherhood and the 51st individual to hold the title. The Master of the Hunt is charged with tracking down those rare enemies of the Chapter who have managed to evade destruction at the hands of the White Scars. No enemy is allowed to escape and live and so the Master of the Hunt is charged with hunting those foes and bringing their heads back to the White Scars lands on their homeworld of Chogoris. The High Chaplain then brands the eyes from the head and it is masked in silver and stuck on a spear along the road to the White Scars' Fortress-Monastery. The White Scars are patient and while some enemies may elude death for centuries they will all eventually be hunted down and their heads brought back to Chogoris. Kor'sarro Khan has already proven himself quite proficient and has tracked down such foes as the Daemon Prince Kernax Voldorius and the Eldar pirate lord Varaliel. The Master of the Hunt incorporates ancient but potent symbols of his office; Moondrakkan and Moonfang. Moondrakkan is a master-crafted Assault Bike originally commissioned by the 4th Master of the Hunt, and has been lovingly maintained down through the centuries. The other item granted to the Master of the Hunt by the Chapter is the ancient Power Sword called Moonfang. This relic of the White Scars Chapter is currently wielded by Kor'sarro Khan and has slain the most terrible of foes no matter how mighty they may be.
- Keshig - The personal Honour Guard of the Great Khan and his subordinate commanders during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras was known as the Keshig. The Keshig were an elite cadre of warriors made up of the most veteran and skilled Legionaries to be found in the Vth Legion who all served as the Legion's elite Terminators. The Keshig was once described as "a whole phalanx of giants in bone-white Terminator plate".
- Stormseers - The Zadyin Arga or "Stormseers" of the White Scars perform the same functions as other Chapters' cadre of Librarians, though the Stormseers emerge from the deeply-ingrained mystical traditions of the tribal shamans and holy men who rode the plains of Chogoris with their Primarch Jaghatai Khan before the coming of the Emperor to Mundus Planus. Since the time before their Chapter's inception, when they were the shamans who first named Jaghatai Khan the Great Khan of the nomadic tribes, the Storm Seers have been called upon to continue to induct Neophytes and newly elevated Khans of their Chapter. Every 10 summers, the Storm Seers venture down into the steppes to observe the tribes and their battles, picking only the best and bravest warriors and returning them to Quan Zhou to become Space Marines. When a Great Khan is lost on the field of battle, it are the Storm Seers who are called upon to decide who his successor will be to lead the Chapter. The Storm Seers will then retreat to the caves of the steep peaks of the Khum Katra Mountains of Mundus Planus. There, Brotherhood Khans present themselves to be tested and scrutinised by the Storm Seers. The process and trials used by the Storm Seers to test and approve who the next Great Khan will be is unknown. Few candidates survive the arduous process, and those that do to become the next Great Khan will never speak of the trials they endured. The other responsibilities of the Storm Seer include teaching Aspirants the core beliefs of their Chapter. They firmly believe it is the manifest duty of the White Scars to destroy the enemies of the Imperium, awaiting the day that that Emperor will rise again, signaling the return of their lost Primarch and the beginning of the next Great Crusade to unify all of humanity. The Storm Seers believe that their powers are connected to the animistic spirits of the land and the air, and that as long as these natural forces fight alongside them, the White Scars will always be victorious. These elemental, animistic beliefs and the highly stylized Force Staffs used by Storm Seers tie these warrior-mystics to their shamanistic past on the steppes of Mundus Planus.
- Emchi - Emchi is the name given by the White Scars in the Chogorian dialect to their Chapter's Apoethecaries.
- Sagyar Mazan - The people of Chogoris are possessed of great wisdom and capable of deep compassion, but these characteristics are tempered by a fierce and uncompromising sense of justice that can lead them to acts of catastrophic failure which are rewarded with death, delivered by the hand of a warrior's superior. Occasionally however, this punishment might be commuted to exile by a merciful leader sympathetic of mitigating circumstances. Those exiled from their Brotherhood are known as penitents, or the "Sagyar Mazan", and it is their fate to seek out an honourable death and in so doing, wash away any stain of dishonour.
The White Scars gene-seed is known to be relatively stable, and the Vth Legion sired a number of Successors when it was split into Chapters. Most sources agree that these Chapters are the Rampagers, Marauders, Destroyers and Storm Lords, all of whom share the qualities of the ancient Vth Legion and adhere to the teachings of the Great Khan. Some have observed the occasional tendency to exceed the wild ferocity of Chogorian heritage and to cross the line into outright bloodlust. The teachings of Jaghatai Khan state that each warrior must face this trial at some point in his service, and learn to master the savagery within. Only when he has done so can a warrior truly know himself, and do his duty. What has been observed by some as a precursor to genetic instability is regarded by others as a positive trait, and one vital to the White Scars' countless battle honours.
The Chapter utilises a variety of trials to select Neophytes, many of which are intrinsic to the way of life of the warrior nomads of the steppes of Chogoris. The constant warring between tribes ensures that the bloodline remains strong, and the leaders of the various Chogorian nomad communities know that every generation one of the mighty ones descends from the mountains to observe their battles. Although the White Scars remain apart from the tribes of Mundus Planus, they do not hide their presence when observing a battle, for it inspires the combatants to fight all the harder in the knowledge that the living legends of their world are looking on and judging their conduct. Upon the completion of a battle, one or sometimes several warriors are led away by silent, grim-faced White Scars, never to be seen again unless they too one day return to witness the fight and choose the next generation of Space Marines.
The White Scars draw their recruits from amongst the nomadic steppe tribes of Chogoris, many of whom are engaged in fierce internecine blood feuds that date back countless generations. While psycho-conditioning during the gene-seed implantation process could be used to wipe such feuds from the Neophyte's mind, to do so would risk diluting much of what makes him a desirable candidate in the first place. In order to overcome the feuding, the White Scars ensure that Battle-Brothers from the same tribe serve in different squads, making each unit a product of many different tribes. Intermingled in such a manner, old feuds become largely irrelevant, and without squad mates from the same tribe to reinforce an ancient grudge, such matters are quickly forgotten. Nonetheless, the folk-memories of the tribes of Chogoris are long indeed, and occasionally some slight thought set aside long ago flares up and Battle-Brothers clash. While unruliness and brawling is unheard of amongst the White Scars, the Chapter's traditions make allowance for genuine instances of bad blood, and the aggrieved must submit their grievance to their Brotherhood's Khan, or if sufficiently dire, to the Chapter Master himself. So strong is their discipline and loyalty to the Khan that his word of judgement is invariably final. The nature of that judgement depends on circumstances, and may result in one or both brethren being punished in some way or, in the most extreme of cases, ordered to fight one another in ritual combat to settle the matter once and for all.
The White Scars often refer to their companies as "Brotherhoods", each of which is slightly smaller than the Codex Astartes dictates. Each Brotherhood maintains a large stock of vehicles, in particular transports and bikes, and every Battle-Brother is cross-trained in the operation of them all. It is said that the nomads of Chogoris are born in the saddle, and the White Scars are certainly most at ease fighting on, in, or from a mount of some kind. In the time of their Primarch, the Brotherhoods strove for the honour of being declared "First" in the attack, competing in every manner to lead the assault. This practise largely disappeared when the Codex Astartes was applied to the Chapter's organisation and the Vth Legion broken up into separate Chapters, but it does still resurface when several Brotherhoods fight together. In such instances, the Chapter Master declares which Brotherhood is called "First", as well as the order of attack of the rest of the force. The Brotherhoods keep tally of each battle in which they have been declared "First", for the Battle-Brothers know that their deeds will be recounted for all time and their names never forgotten. To be "First" is such an honour that all tribal feuds are forgotten, the bonds of Astartes brotherhood far stronger than those of mortal tribes.
White Scars Librarians
Like their fellow Astartes Chapters, the White Scars also maintain a Librarium of potent psykers who are highly talented and trained to master the power of the Warp at the highest levels, though they refer to these warriors as "Stormseers" according to the ancient Chogorian shamanistic tradition. Each Chapter selects its Librarians in its own way, either from seed worlds or the Chapter homeworld, as it does with the bulk of its Initiates, or from the ranks of gifted psykers brought to the Chapter by the Scholastica Psykana. Most Chapters train and test chosen psykers following the ancient ways laid out in the Codex Astartes. Librarians of the White Scars are chosen from those Initiates who display an aptitude for learning the Arts of Heaven. White Scars Stormseers have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter:
- Heart of the Khan - The Stormseer reaches deep into the legacy of Jaghatai Khan, and brings forth the legendary swiftness and ferocity of the White Scars' Primarch in himself and his Battle-Brothers.
- Spirit of the Steppes - The Stormseer calls upon the spirits of the land, air, and the souls of long-dead warriors to bring some fragment of the climate of the harsh steppes of Chogoris to the battlefield he walks upon, forcing the foe to contend with more difficult environmental conditions. It is said that so long as these forces of nature fight alongside them, the White Scars will always be victorious.
- Stormlance - The Stormseer calls upon the lightning that embodies his Chapter's way of war, and brings it to bear against his enemies. When he summons this ability he hurls a bolt of lightning in a straight line out to its maximum range, striking everything in its path.
- The Howling Wind - The Stormseer gathers the powerful winds of the Chogorian steppes, driving them forwards to cast aside the enemy.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The combat doctrines of the White Scars Chapter have been honed through over ten millennia of battle and bloodshed, but they still reflect those of the original Chogorian nomadic warrior-tribes. Though wild and savage, the warrior-nomads of the Chogorian steppes are highly intelligent tacticians and masters of field craft. Each Battle-Brother draws on the savagery of the steppes not as a mindless berserker, but as a finely-crafted hunting spear delivered with the focussed precision of a master predator. They specialise in hitting their enemy with a peerless impact and frightening speed, but they are never reckless. Time spent on preparations is vital to their strategy, as they reconnoitre each target in depth and formulate detailed plans and contingencies, coordinating their strike to ensure that maximum damage is done. Such methods have seen the White Scars emerge victorious from many of the bloodiest battles in the Imperium's history, including the Siege of Terra itself. In their many millennia of service since, they have hunted the Emperor's foes from one end of the galaxy to the other, meeting every threat with blades in their hands and battle cries on their lips, defeating rebellions and invasions unnumbered in the name of the Emperor and of the Great Khan.
The method of war taught to the steppe tribes of Chogoris by Jaghatai Khan has served the White Scars well in the millennia that followed. Their modus operandi consists of lightning-fast hit-and-run attacks conducted by highly mobile forces, destroying the enemy piece by piece and never allowing the enemy to force a decisive or static engagement. Evoking the mounted warriors of their heritage, each Brotherhood maintains a high proportion of Assault Bikes, Attack Bikes and Land Speeders, and their infantry squads are almost always borne to battle by fast moving vehicles or gunships. Indeed, it is often said that the White Scars are born in the saddle and are not at ease unless fighting on, in or from an armoured mount of some kind. They also make use of Jump Pack-equipped Assault Squads to harass the enemy, and then hit the foe with a full assault when they are at their weakest and most frazzled. The Chapter's combat doctrine is to deliver their forces to the battlefield in a single swift blow; thus, when Drop Pods are employed, the entire force of the Chapter committed to the assault deploys in them in order to avoid the possibility of parts of the force arriving in reserve.
Although preferring to keep the foe at arms-length, the White Scars are fully capable of engaging in bloody close assaults, and are rightly feared by the enemies of the Imperium. In contrast, few White Scars Space Marines have ever entered service as a Dreadnought, and only in the direst of circumstances. To the White Scars, the thought of spending an eternity sealed within the ceramite sarcophagus at the heart of a Dreadnought, of never again feeling the rush of the air whilst hurtling towards the foe with blade in hand, is a truly horrifying notion.
Also, the majority of heavy weapons normally used by Space Marine forces such as the Heavy Bolter, Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun or Heavy Flamer are frowned upon by the Chapter, and any main battle tank that cannot keep up with the rest of the army is avoided in the order of battle. For instance, the White Scars have no Devastator Squads, and their few Predator tanks may not carry sponson weapons. The White Scars also almost never field any Dreadnoughts, not only because of the slowness of those cyborgs, but also because every White Scars Astartes does not want to be crippled to the point that they must be entombed in a Dreadnought's cybernetic sarcophagus. Far better to die and allow their spirits to pass into the afterlife where they may roam freely.
Overall, the White Scars are considered a powerful and effective Chapter when undertaking direct, rapid assaults or carrying out surgical strikes intended to achieve specific operational objectives. However, their lack of units with a great deal of staying power such as heavy weapons-equipped Tactical Marines, Devastator Marines, Dreadnoughts or the heavier Astartes main battle tanks means that their detachments are more fragile if not used at a tactically appropriate moment or if forced to face prolonged, static combat, particularly against well-defended enemy strongholds. The White Scars are not a Chapter that would fare well undertaking sieges, for example.
Mundus Planus, better known to its people as Chogoris, is a fertile Feudal World of the Imperium that still exists in a semi-feudal, pre-industrial state. When Jaghatai Khan departed on the Great Crusade, the unified empire he had carved from the nomadic peoples of his world dissolved back into the feuding tribes of horsemen that had existed before his arrival. This was believed by some in the White Scars Legion to be the intention of the Primarch, as the restoration of conflict between the steppe tribes ensured that his Legion would have a supply of highly-skilled Neophytes to draw from the warring tribes in the future. The White Scars are every bit the product of the wild steppes of their Chogoris. As with many Space Marine homeworlds, the people there remain in the state that made them such a perfect recruitment source, and the warring tribes have never been properly united since the time of the Great Khan.
The tribes live exactly as they have for countless generations, roaming the steppes following great herds of gargantuan grazers as dictated by the cycle of the seasons. Prior to the coming of Jhagatai Khan, the Chogorians were a divided people, the planet subject to the oppressive rule of the city-dwellers. Though these were conquered by the young Primarch, he saw that to establish his people in those same cities would ultimately lead to the end of all that made them what they were. Instead, only one city was left standing -- Quan Zhou -- a glittering palace of marble high atop the Khum Karta mountains. This city-sized fortress-monastery, the ancient palace of the Khagan himself, is the abode of the White Scars, and is said that within its towering walls is an entire forest teeming with game. The winding valley pass that leads to the fortress-monastery's great adamantium gates is lined with the severed heads of countless defeated foes, and the feasting halls within its marbled walls are heavily hung with a great wealth of trophies taken by the White Scars' heroes from a thousand battlefields. Quan Zhou is the spiritual home of the White Scars Chapter, and it is truly a formidable and magnificent sight to behold.
Like all fortress monasteries, Quan Zhou is armoured and void-shielded to withstand any siege or bombardment that might befall it. Armed to repel attackers from land, air or space, its walls bristle with enough heavy ordnance to flatten a hive city. Every aerial approach to the fortress-monastery is overlooked by Icarus Pattern Lascannons, and a Macro-laser known to the White Scars as Khan's Fury stands like a spear of vengeance to lance space-borne enemies from the heavens. The fortress-monastery's Librarius is a lightning-wracked spire where the Chapter's Librarians, often referred to as Stormseers, study their lore and chronicle the deeds of the Khans. They also preside over the Chapter's Astropaths as they relay psychic messages throughout the void, communing with the greater Imperium and those White Scars Brotherhoods hunting across the galaxy.
The White Scars live apart from their people, descending down to the steppes only once a decade to observe the wars between the tribes and to choose potential recruits for the Chapter. The constant warring ensures that the people remain strong, though the White Scars have to be vigilant that such feuds are not retained as Aspirants become Neophytes and Neophytes Initiates. Another manner in which Aspirants are chosen is by way of the tradition of youngsters entering the mountains to pay homage at the tomb of a fallen White Scar. Such pilgrimages are perilous in the extreme, and simply surviving one is a great deed in itself that may, if the pilgrim is deemed worthy, grant a place in the ranks of the Chapter's Aspirants.
Because the tribes from which the White Scars recruit are so attuned to the land and the seasons of their world, the Chapter's Battle-Brothers have an intrinsic empathy with their environment. Wherever they go, they are able to read the soil beneath their feet and the air in their lungs and gain an instant understanding of how best to fight in such places. Though Chogoris is a land of wide-open steppes punctuated by mighty forests and towering mountains, the enhanced physiology of the Adeptus Astartes multiplies the Chogorians' deep-seated understanding of the land and turns it into an all but preternatural awareness. As a result, the White Scars can use every element of any natural environment as an ally, whether speeding over a sparse desert expanse or tracking a foe through the vine-choked glades of an alien Death World. It has been observed that many White Scars are ill at ease amongst entirely manufactured environments such as hive cities and space stations, yearning to breathe natural air and feel earth beneath their feet, but as Space Marines, this is simply a matter of preference and no detriment to their fearsome battlefield capabilities.
The White Scars share the beliefs of their Primarch, venerating the Emperor as the Ultimate Uniter of Mankind, but not as a God and so they do not hold the Imperial Creed as their faith and have little regard for the Ecclesiarchy. It is the White Scars' belief that it is their duty to destroy the enemies of the Emperor in preparation for the day when he will rise from the Golden Throne to begin a new Great Crusade to unify the galaxy. On that day, Jaghatai Khan will return from the void to lead the Chapter once more.
To the White Scars, the lightning bolt that serves as their Chapter badge is a potent and important symbol, representing both their style of warfare and echoing the warrior Honour Scars that they bear on their faces. It also represents the powers of the Storm Seers. The Chapter believes that as long as the elemental, animistic powers of air and land heed the call of the Storm Seers the White Scars will never falter on the field of battle. All White Scars bear the long, ritual facial scar that is called an Honour Scar and is the mark they receive when they are fully accepted into the Chapter as Neophytes.
As noted above, the White Scars refuse to deploy Dreadnoughts within their ranks as the thought of being entombed within the mighty cybernetic construction is anathema to the White Scars' beliefs that when a warrior dies, his soul should be free to travel to the afterlife and not be confined where it cannot freely roam the plains of the netherworld.
- "They are our brothers from the arch of heaven. We love them, and they fight for us, but they will never truly be Talskar. Not like we are Talskar. Observe the sear. It knows which flesh is of Chogoris."
- — Zadyin Arga Radja Beijin
Facial markings are widespread among the nomadic tribes of Mundus Planus, less so amongst the settled populations (the Khilan, Huanjan, etc.). It is said by some that the facial scars that give the White Scars their name are self-inflicted on initiation into the Chapter, a rite carried over from the days when the Talskar roamed the seas of grass on Chogoris. The Talskar nation of nomads is given to extensive modifications, reflective of warrior prowess, achievement, and ritual events. The Talskar pattern of scarification is now endemic to many of the plains nomad tribes of Chogoris and have been much emulated by other nations (especially the Haelun, Szechjiak, and High-Zuar) since the conquests of Jaghatai. Typical scarification patterns include those reminiscent of hunting fauna, in particular the native apex raptors (berkul). Permanent resin-based dyes have been added to prominent figures, producing hybrid scars and tattoo forms. Vivid results have been noted, yet their chemical composition is not yet fully understood by Imperial savants.
A distinctive local variation of the left cheek zig-zag pattern has also been noted. This pattern of scars is made with ritual daggers under the supervision of the tribal zadyin arga (translated loosely in Low Gothic as "seer of storms"). Scars run from under the left eye socket to the chin. Ash is then used to raise tissue and whiten the residual ridge (hence the term "white scar"). Shortly after being reunited with their Primarch during the Great Crusade, the Terran-born members of the Vth Legion quickly adopted the customs of the Mundus Planus natives who joined the Legion, though their results proved less pronounced. This was because these scarification techniques were most efficacious on the young, prior to the implantation of the Space Marine Progenoid Glands and the development of the basic Astartes bias towards rapid dermatological regeneration.
The gene-seed of the White Scars appears to be stable and initially displayed no aberrations or mutation. However, with the introduction of genetic material form the steppes tribesmen, the genome seems to have inherited their wild savagery and thirst for war. Despite the teachings of the Khans and Stormseers, it is not unheard of for tribal feuds to flare up between fellow squad members. In addition to this, there have been several recorded instances where White Scars Brotherhoods have bloodily exceeded their mission objectives, such as the infamous "Red Highway Massacre." Whether such incidents are as a result of some inherent flaw in the White Scars' genetic material or came about after the integration of the tribesmen is unknown, bu the Adeptus Mechanicus is eager to know which. The White Scars Successor Chapters are all equally ferocious and fine examples of the combat teachings of Jaghatai Khan.
This ferocity within their hearts and their blood that grants them great power, but which also threatens to consume all that they are and damn them. All White Scars are watchful for this necessary yet insidious savagery, and it is only with great discipline, humble introspection and often the watchfulness of their Battle-Brothers that they can hope to master themselves.
Notable White Scars
- Jaghatai Khan - Primarch of the White Scars. Jaghatai fought alongside his sons of the White Scars for another 70 standard years following the end of the Horus Heresy, eventually disappearing into a region of space known as the Maelstrom, a large Warp rift in the Ultima Segmentum that is a somewhat smaller counterpart of the Eye of Terror. Jaghatai is believed to have been in pursuit of the Dark Eldar who had savaged Mundus Planus following the Battle of Corusil V with his 1st Brotherhood when he went through a Warp Gate into the Dark Eldar portion of the Webway, ultimately vanishing forever. Jaghatai had been in pursuit of a mighty Dark Eldar lord, likely the Archon of the Kabal that had attacked Corusil V and perhaps even Mundus Planus itself. Jaghatai Khan has not been seen since, though the White Scars believe he is still alive somewhere within the Webway and will one day return to the Chapter in a time of great need. As a result of their Primarch's disappearance, the White Scars hold a particularly savage grudge against the Dark Eldar and will gladly seek out any opportunity to make war upon those savage and terrifying xenos.
- Hasik Noyan-Khan - A Chogoris-born warrior, Hasik fought alongside Jaghatai Khan in his youth and was one of the first to be inducted into the newly renamed White Scars Legion after the Emperor was reunited with his long-lost son. A senior member of the Great Khan's command staff, Hasik was granted the honour of being a Noyan-Khan, commanding one of the largest Ordus (divisions) of the Legion that consisted of 20 Brotherhoods during the Great Crusade and opening days of the Horus Heresy. Hasik was later to be revealed to be a secret member of the Warrior Lodges that permeated the entirety of the White Scars Legion, and played an instrumental role in seizing the Legion's flagship in order to sway the Primarch to join Horus' cause during the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Enraged at Hasik's betrayal, the Khagan drew his dao Power Sword and rammed it through Hasik's midsection, impaling him upon his blade and seriously wounding the commander. Afterwards Hasik was taken into confinement until the Khagan could determine a suitable punishment for the Noyan-Khan's perfidy. Hasik's ultimate fate is not known.
- Jemulan Noyan-Khan - A Terran-born White Scar, Jemulan had darker skin than most Terrans, the legacy of his roots in the Palatine's old domains of the Empty Quarter. He was a senior commander charged with leading one of the White Scars' Ordus (divisions) known as the Horde of the Earth, which consisted of many Brotherhoods during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. When Shiban Khan of the Brotherhood of the Storm first discovered the cancer of the Warrior Lodges at the heart of the Vth Legion, he brought this to the attention of Jemulan, who either was unwilling or unable to do anything about it, and dismissed the younger Khan's accusations out of hand. During the planned takeover of the Legion's fleet at Prospero, Jemulan and his Terminator-armoured keshig bodyguard teleported aboard the bridge of the Legion's flagship during a pivotal moment of the insurrection, and played an instrumental role in restoring order within the ranks. Jemulan's ultimate fate is not known.
- Goghal Khan - Goghal was a commander of Hasik Noyan-Khan's keshig bodyguard during the Great Crusade and the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Goghal was also a secret member of the traitorous Warrior Lodges within the White Scars Legion. He took part in the insurrection to take control of the Legion's vessels while Jaghatai Khan was searching for the whereabouts of his missing brother Magnus upon the recently devastated world of Prospero. When the Great Khan was returned to his flagship and his commander was struck down, Goghal willingly surrendered and went into confinement to await his deserved fate for the role he played in the internecine conflict. Goghal's ultimate fate is unknown.
- Hibou Khan - Hibou was a commander of an unnamed Brotherhood of the White Scars Legion during the Great Crusade and the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Hibou was also secretly a member of the Warrior Lodges within the White Scars Legion. He took part in the insurrection to take control of the Legion's vessels while the Great Khan was searching for the whereabouts of his missing brother Magnus upon the recently devastated world of Prospero. When the Great Khan returned to his flagship and his commander was struck down, Hibou willingly went into confinement to await the Great Khan's judgement and his deserved fate for the role he played in the internecine conflict. Hibou's ultimate fate is unknown.
- Jubal Khan - Jubal was a notable Khan of an unnamed Brotherhood of the White Scars Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Shang Khan - Shang Khan was the commander of the White Scars' 7th Chapter during the latter days of the Great Crusade. Shang Khan transferred stewardship of the world of Sarosh to the Dark Angels Legion shortly before the onset of the Horus Heresy.
- Shiban Khan - Shiban was the Chogoris-born Khan (Captain) of the Brotherhood of the Storm company during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. He is known to have served during the famous Chondax Campaign against the remnants of the notorious Ork Overlord Urrlak Urruk. During the opening days of the Horus Heresy, Shiban discovered a plot amongst the Warrior Lodge members within the Legion to take over the White Scars' fleet and ally themselves with cause of the traitorous Warmaster Horus. Shiban led his Brotherhood in the boarding action of their Legion's flagship and played an instrumental role in rescuing their Primarch Jaghatai Khan from the surface of the devastated world of Prospero during a pivotal point in the internecine fighting.
- Torghun Khan - Torghun was a Terran-born Khan (Captain) of the Brotherhood of the Moon company during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras, Torghun was known to have fought during the famous Chondax Campaign against the remnants of the notorious Ork Overlord Urrlak Urruk. His company fought alongside the Brotherhood of the Storm, commanded by Shiban Khan. The two Khans formed a bond of friendship in the heat of battle, both learning from one another's opposing styles of leadership. Torghun was known to be a secret member of the Warrior Lodges that permeated the entirety of the White Scars Legion. He was a co-conspirator in the plot to take control of the Legion's fleet and steer their Primarch towards their viewpoint that they should ally themselves with the Warmaster Horus and his cause. During the ensuing internecine conflict, Torghun surrendered when the Khagan was teleported back aboard his flagship and ended the infighting amongst his gene-progeny. He willingly went into confinement with his commander Hasik Noyan-Khan and his co-conspirators Hibou and Goghal Khan to await the judgement of the Great Khan. Torghun's ultimate fate is unknown.
- Targutai Yesugei - Yesugei was the chief of the White Scars Stormseers (Zadyin Arga) during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. Yesugei had fought alongside the Primarch in his youth upon the world of Chogoris. Yesugei was a junior Stormseer of the White Scars Legion when he presented the Council of Nikaea with a third option in regards to the use of psychic abilities and the maintenance or abolition of the established Space Marine Legions' Libraria. He explained that there was nothing inherently evil about a Librarian. If such a gifted individual was properly trained in order to obtain the greatest results, like any weapon, he could be still be used, but with respect and not indiscriminately. Yesugei argued that human psykers should be trained rigorously to take advantage of their innate abilities in order to assist the Imperium in completing its galaxy-wide spanning conquest. With such an elite cadre of trained psychic specialists utterly loyal to the Emperor, the galaxy could be brought back into the Imperial fold with ease. Yesugei also argued that psychic sorcery should be strictly forbidden, since in dealing with the entities of the Warp, the ever-present risk of corruption was simply too great to be avoided. This position would later be vindicated in the wake of the Horus Heresy and would become the default policy of the Imperium towards psykers during the later Age of the Imperium.
- Qin Xa - Qin Xa was a senior warrior of the White Scars and commander of the Primarch's personal elite Honour Guard of Terminators known as the Keshig. Qin Xa had fought alongside the Primarch in his youth on Chogoris. He was one of the first members to be inducted from Chogoris into the newly renamed White Scars Legion after Jaghatai Khan was reunited with the V Legion and his father the Emperor of Mankind.
- Jubal Khan (Great Khan) - Jubal Khan is the current Great Khan of the White Scars Chapter following the disappearance of Kyublai in 943.M41.
- Kyublai Khan (Great Khan) - Great Khan Kyublai, Jubal's predecessor, vanished while fighting against the Eldar xenos in 943.M41.
- Drago Khan - Drago Khan is one of the current Khans of the White Scars in the late 41st Millennium, though his Brotherhood command is unknown.
- Jurga Khan - Jurga Khan is the commander of an unnamed Brotherhood that participated in the liberation of the world of Tephra VII.
- Khajog Khan - Khajog Khan is the commander of the Brotherhood dispatched to Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade. Khajog proved such a pesky and dangerous opponent that Abaddon the Despoiler was forced to dispatch a significant number of his best troops to deal with the White Scars, and though Khajog and his men were eventually cornered and slaughtered, they undoubtedly bought the Cadians time and kept the forces of the Black Legion quite busy hunting them down before they were finally defeated. Nevertheless the Storm Seers say that Khajog's spirit still wanders the wastes of Cadia, unable to join the Emperor's side in the afterlife until his death is avenged.
- Kor'sarro Khan - Khan of the 3rd Brotherhood and the current Master of the Hunt for the Chapter. Kor'sarro's first hunt was completed on the third moon of the gas giant Mai IX. The Khan of the 3rd Brotherhood has faced many daunting foes and great challenges including facing an Alpha Level psyker on Delta Arbuthnot where the the entire planet's population of Ratling agri-serfs was mind-controlled and forced to raise arms against the Imperial landowners, using shovels against guards with autoguns. Another such battle was for the 3rd Moon of Woebetide where, as a Scout Marine many decades previously, Kor'sarro fought the Warp entities called Enslavers. Ten thousand mind-controlled Cadians were psychically forced to march across a minefield 100 kilometres wide under fire from the White Scars, Red Hunters and Celestial Lions Chapters. Kor'Sarro Khan was responsible for successfully bringing the Hunt for Voldorius to its conclusion.
- Jamuka Khan - Jamuka Khan was the predecessor and mentor of Kor'sarro Khan as the Khan of the 3rd Brotherhood and the skull of a vicious tusk drake that currently adorns the marble throne of Kor'sarro Khan was slain by his mentor Jamuka.
- Subodai Khan - Subodai was killed during the battle to retake Rynn's World from the Orks of WAAAGH! Snagrod.
- Suboden Khan - Suboden Khan was the commander of the Tulwar Brotherhood who fought to defend the water purification at St. Capilene and the Phaedra River.
- Hibou Khan - Hibou Khan was a member of a White Scars Kill-team sent to kill high-ranking members of the Sons of Horus on the planet Dwell during the Horus Heresy.
- Qan'karro - A Storm Seer and the senior psychic adept attached to Kor'sarro Khan's task force during the Hunt for Voldorius, Qan'karro is a renowned Veteran of the Chapter as well as a close adviser to the Master of the Hunt.
- Xia'ghan - Senior Chaplain attached to the 3rd Brotherhood during the Hunt for Voldorius.
- Subedei - Chaplain Subedei fought in the Tempestora Warzone during the Third War for Armageddon.
- Goju - Goju is a Techmarine attached to the Brotherhood of Jurga Khan.
- Sarik - Sarik is a Veteran Sergeant and the Force Commander of the White Scars detachment that served in the Damocles Gulf Crusade and the second-in-command of that Crusade's Astartes forces.
- Sar Af - White Scars Battle-Brother attached to the Imperial Guard regiment known as the Tanith First and Only during the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, along with two other Astartes from the Iron Snakes and Silver Guard, during the Imperial raid on Salvation's Reach.
- Balat - Balat is a venerable Scout Sergeant of the White Scars with over four centuries of service to the Chapter and the commander of a Scout Biker Squadron on Tephra VII.
- Ultas Kholka - A highly skilled veteran warrior, Scout Sergeant Kholka was one of the Chapter's best. A veteran of the Celebrated "422" Patrol, Kholka even survived stalking the extremely deadly Tyranid Lictors over the cobalt reefs of Ayria-12-Tsunami and survived extended operations on the Death World of Canak. Brother Kholka sacrificed himself to give Kor'sarro Khan the opening to face and defeat the dreaded Daemon Prince Voldorius, using a Flamer to destroy the last of the Blood Tide nanytes, engulfing himself in the process.
- The Banner of the Eagle - As a First Founding Chapter, the White Scars can trace their history back to the birth of the Imperium. The oldest relics of the Chapter date back to that ancient time, and the Banner of the Eagle is one such artefact. It is incredibly rare for this venerable standard to be brought forth into the crucible of war, though any wily commander knows the inspirational effect that such a sacred banner can have on those that fight in its fluttering shadow. At the crown of the banner sits the glorious adamantium eagle -- the symbol of the White Scars' bloody victory on Golgotha, from which the Banner of the Eagle takes its name.
- Chieftain Trophy Rack - Like the great khans of Chogoris of old, the White Scars of the Achilus Crusade took to wearing trophy racks to display their triumphs and prowess in battle. Like the more common back banners used by Astartes commanders, a trophy rack identifies a Battle-Brother as a leader and Captain of the Chapter.
- Duelling Tulwar - Reputed to have its origins from the mountain tribes of Chogoris, the Duelling Tulwar is a White Scars ritual weapon. Its short, curved blade makes it ideal for quick, short cuts, allowing the wielder greater speed in combat, switching between defensive and offensive stances with a flick of his wrist.
- The Glaive of Vengeance - The White Scars discovered this ancient relic during their conquest of the Bale-star Cluster, far beyond the Eastern Fringe. The Glaive of Vengeance was the very weapon once wielded by the great Kyublai Khan, before the Chapter Master was murdered by the Dark Eldar of the Bloodied Talon. A crackling energy field surrounds the fearsome curved blade that extends from the weapon's adamantium haft, enabling it to cut through any armour. Some among the White Scars claim that the spirit of Kyublai Khan still clings to the glaive, and that his endless thirst for revenge upon his killers is what makes this weapon seem to lunge at the foe with a will of its own.
- Guan Dao (Power Lance) - A signature weapon of the White Scars, the Guan Dao is a Chogorian glaive, a Power Lance. Considered blessed weapons, Guan Dao possess a two-metre long metal shaft with a single-edged, curved blade which is primarily used by White Scars Astartes to extend their reach or to increase angular momentum, and thus striking power, when the weapon is swung. This makes the Guan Do ideal for charging from the back of vehicles or striking at foes while beyond the reach of their weapons. When used in close combat on foot, its purpose is more to disarm an opponent and deflect their strikes.
- The Hunter's Eye - The tribes of Chogoris are famed throughout the Imperium for the consummate skill of their horse archers. It is written in the Scrolls of the Plains that the Hunter's Eye -- an ingeniously constructed bionic eye of great age and unrivalled quality -- was created in honour of this aspect of the White Scars' heritage. This device picks out augur-assessed weak spots in the quarry's defences, enabling its wearer to strike with uncanny accuracy, or to relay this information via dataghost to any other friendly forces engaging the target. The data gathered by this device allows the wearer even to see behind cover and makes sure that no prey escapes the hunter.
- The Mantle of the Stormseers - The ancient psychic hood known as the Mantle of the Stormseer crackles with barely contained elemental energies. None know who crafted this relic, but it is gifted to whichever Librarian demonstrates the greatest skill at communing with the spirits of the storm. Said to channel these entities, the mantle not only wreathes its wearer in a shroud of counter-psychic force, but allows him to wield the wrath of the storm itself. At such times the Stormseer's eyes glow with a harsh light, and corposant crawls across his armour as the enemy are plucked from the ground and hurled to their deaths by howling psychic gales.
- Moondrakkan - The Assault Bike Moondrakkan was originally commissioned for the Chapter's 4th Master of the Hunt. This ancient Astartes bike is a relic of the White Scars Chapter and has served as a versatile mechanical steed for numerous Masters of the Hunt over many millennia. Fitted with powerful engines, bulletproof tires and a formidable armament, Moondrakkan has been lovingly maintained by the Chapter's Techmarines and has served the Masters of the Hunt well in their never-ending quests to chase down their quarry in the midst of a hunt.
- Moonfang - This is an ancient Power Sword and revered relic of the White Scars Chapter. This formidable blade has spilled much blood and the ichor of numerous Apostates, Heretics and xenos since its forging. Currently, Kor'sarro Khan wields Moonfang.
- Scimitar of the Great Khan - One of the favoured weapons of the tribes of Chogoris is the scimitar -- a light, curved blade well-suited to their mounted style of warfare. It is little surprise that the armouries of the White Scars contain many power swords forged in the style of traditional Chogorian scimitars. Of these finely wrought weapons, the most singular and storied weapon is the masterwork blade known as the Scimitar of the Great Khan. Intricate filigree runs along the length of its blade, depicting many of the White Scars' greatest victories. Chapter lore holds that this weapon was blessed by the Great Khan himself during the purging of Daikeos. Soon after, his champion Ghorotei struck the head from the Ironwyrm King in single combat.
- Totem of Subetai - The Stormseers are the Librarians of the White Scars -- powerful figures within the Chapter who advise its commanders and keep its lore. Across the Jericho Reach, many Stormseers are held in veneration for their heroic acts and the vaults of Watch Fortress Erioch are filled with artefacts from countless Stormseers that have served the Deathwatch in aeons past. One such artefact is the Totem of Subetai -- a long staff adorned with a beast skull and a knot of course hair. No records still remain of Subetai or his accomplishments, but his staff has served other Stormseers through the millennia. The staff helps Stormseers in focusing their powers, channeling ancient spirits and casting their auguries for the great Khans.
- Wrath of the Heavens - The Space Marine bike known as Wrath of the Heavens was constructed to possess the speed of the storm itself, upon the orders of the former Master of the Hunt, Khantak Khan. Fitted with diatremite cylinder arrays and a short-burn grav impeller, Wrath of the Heavens can not only put on a turn of speed that would shame a Land Speeder, but can also perform jaw-dropping gravitic hops over the battlefield. Thus, a skilled rider can vault wrecked tanks and ferrocrete barricades at will, and even hurtle over the heads of the foe to strike them from behind.
The White Scars' Power Armour is predominantly white, with red trim. This has only varied slightly since the Pre-Heresy days of the Vth Legion. Apothecaries of the White Scars have their entire armour painted red save for the backpack, right shoulder and the helmet which are all white and have a red vertical stripe painted down the centre of the helmet. The White Scars base their Chapter iconography on the imagery used by the tribes from which they are recruited. This usually takes the form of jagged lightning bolt designs painted onto their armour and helms, echoing ritual scarification applied to the flesh beneath. In addition, the White Scars display their company and squad markings on their knees or greaves as opposed to showing them on their shoulder guards. The red-coloured squad specialty symbol (Tactical, Assault, Devastator, or Veteran) is indicated on the right shoulder guard while the Chapter iconography is painted on the left shoulder guard. Squad markings are displayed on the left knee plate. Sergeants also bear the company markings upon their armour's right greave. White Scars Bikers' helmets usually display Chogorian tribal markings.
The White Scars' Chapter badge is a stylized red thunderbolt with a horizontal yellow bar behind it, exemplifying their style of combat and echoing the facial Honour Scars all members of this Chapter bear. Members of the White Scars' Scout Marines Brotherhood are permitted to wear the thunderbolt on their shoulder plates, but an obscure piece of Chapter law states they may not have the horizontal bar, an honour only given to full Initiates.
The White Scars are known to have possessed the following vessels within their Legion fleet during the great Crusade and the Horus Heresy and as part of their Chapter fleet after the Second Founding:
- Swordstorm (Gloriana-class Battleship) - Flagship of the White Scars during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy era.
- Lance of Heaven (Unknown Class) - A mighty capital class warship that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Qo-Fian (Unknown Class) - A mighty capital class vessel that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Tchin-Zar (Unknown Class) - A mighty capital class vessel that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Constantius (Battle Barge) - Flagship of the White Scars Chapter fleet.
- Silent Horseman (Battle Barge) - Renamed from the Plainsmaster to honour the stealth running techniques developed by the Chapter during the Third War for Armageddon.
- Jaghatai's Pride (Battle Barge) - In 890.M41, a Necron Cairn-class Tombship entered orbit over Chogoris and began the focussed bombardment of an unpopulated area on the planet's surface. The Battle Barge Jaghatai's Pride pierced the xenos ship's shields even as the White Scars' fortress-monastery fired its massive Defence Laser, the Khan's Fury, destroying the Tombship in a single Lance strike.
- Soulspear (Battle Barge) - A vessel of the White Scars Legion that served during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Hawkstar (Strike Cruiser) - A vessel that served in the White Scars Legion fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy era.
- Kaljian (Strike Cruiser) - A vessel of the Brotherhood of the Storm, commanded by Shiban Khan during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Lord of Heavens (Strike Cruiser) - Warship of Kor'sarro Khan's 3rd Brotherhood during the Hunt for Voldorius.
- Swift Horseman (Strike Cruiser) - Originally part of the White Scars Legion's 4th Expeditionary Fleet during the Great Crusade, the Swift Horseman was later replaced by a Dark Angels fleet as the Swift Horseman was needed elsewhere.
- Uzan (Strike Cruiser) - A vessel that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy era.
- Warrior of the Plains (Strike Cruiser) - Strike Cruiser of Jurga Khan's Brotherhood.
- Xo-Jia (Strike Cruiser) - A vessel that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Sickle Moon (Frigate) - A vessel that served in the White Scars Legion's fleet during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Nomad (Frigate) - A small ship but a crafty and daring one, Sergeant Sarik commanded the Nomad with great success during the Damocles Gulf Crusade.
The White Scars' tactics and history are inspired by the real-life military tactics used by the Mongols during the creation of their continent-spanning medieval empire in the 13th Century AD and by the organisation and order of battle used by the Mongol army. Jaghatai Khan is inspired by the actual historical character of Genghis Khan (Temüjin) and some Turkic-Hunnic legends. The name Jaghatai means "white one" and "energetic one" in Mongolian and Turkish, and this name is still popular in Turkic-speaking countries in Central Asia. Rather than the Western portrayal of the Mongol Great Khan as a bloodthirsty conqueror, Jaghatai is more in line with how Genghis is still seen in his homeland of Mongolia -- a benevolent leader and masterful tactician.
- Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition), pg. 32
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 15
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pg. 25
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 7
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 8, 19, 34-39, 64, 73, 77, 111, 142-143
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 8, 28, 30, 42-43, 47, 49, 94
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition)
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 27-34
- Flames of Damnation (Comic Anthology), "The Pilgrim" by James Peaty & artwork by Shaun Thomas
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions (Artbook Series), pp. 344-345
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Forces of the Inquisition & the Space Marines
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 51
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 17, 108
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pg. 64
- Index Astartes I, "Lightning Attack - The White Scars Space Marines Chapter," pp. 40-47
- Rogue Trader Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (1st Edition), pp. 156, 168
- The Sabbat Worlds Crusade (Background Book)
- Warhammer 40,000 Compendium (1st Edition), pp. 31, 79
- White Scars 390 (US), "Army Project: White Scars vs. Orks", Steve Bowman and Duncan Rhodes, pg. 52-57
- White Dwarf 312 (US), "Silent Menace: Space Marine Scouts"
- White Dwarf 311 (US), "Index Astartes: Silent Menace" & "Behind Enemy Lines", pp. 84-88
- White Dwarf 300 (US), "Legends of the Space Marines", p. 118
- White Dwarf 286 (US), "The Eye of the Storm: Space Marine Chapters fighting in the Eye of Terror"
- White Dwarf 283 (US), "Eye of Terror Campaign"
- White Dwarf 257 (UK), "Index Astartes I: Index Astartes - Lightning Attack - The White Scars Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 256 (US), "Index Astartes I: Index Astartes - Lightning Attack - The White Scars Space Marine Chapter"
- White Dwarf 251 (US), "The Final Days of Armageddon", pp. 6-27
- White Dwarf 249 (US), "Emperor's Shield: Space Marine Chapters of the Armageddon War"
- White Dwarf 248 (US), "The Third War for Armageddon"
- White Dwarf 93 (UK), "Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader Edition Preview", pp. 33-44
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "Little Horus" by Dan Abnett
- Brotherhood of the Storm (Audio Drama) by Chris Wraight
- Descent of Angels (Novel) by Mitchel Scanlon
- Scars (Collector's Edition Novel) by Chris Wraight
- Brotherhood of the Moon (Novella) by Chris Wraight
- Grey Hunt (Audio) by Chris Wraight
- Hunt for Voldorius (Novel) by Andy Hoare
- Legends of the Space Marines (Anthology), "Cover of Darkness" by Mitchel Scanlon pg. 77
- Let the Galaxy Burn (Compilation), "Into the Maelstrom" by Chris Pramas
- Rogue Star (Rogue Trader Novel Series) by Andy Hoare
- Salvation's Reach (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- Savage Scars (Novel) by Andy Hoare
- Star of Damocles (Rogue Trader Novel Series) by Andy Hoare
- The Saint (Omnibus) by Dan Abnett
- Warriors of Ultramar (Ultramarines Novel Series) by Graham McNeill
- Epic Armageddon Resources, "Epic White Scars", Games Workshop Website