"Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne! Death to the False Emperor!"
First Founding (30th Millennium)
Red and Brass
- "Make war upon the Imperium of Man? What is it you think the Legions have been doing for the last ten thousand years? War does not end with a single victory or a single planet. It is an eternal creature that outlives men and their tiny triumphs."
- — Arzyn the Silencebringer, warrior of the World Eaters
The World Eaters are one of the Traitor Legions of Chaos Space Marines who now inhabit the Warp rift known as the Eye of Terror in the Imperium of Man's Segmentum Obscurus. The World Eaters, originally known as the War Hounds, were also once the XIIth Legion of the twenty First Founding Space Marine Legions, and one of the first to betray the Emperor of Mankind for the service of Chaos and the Warmaster Horus. This Legion was a collection of nearly inhuman monsters long before Horus became corrupted and monsters they would remain, only with what little remained of their restraint and their humanity stripped away after their fall to Chaos. The World Eaters are now the dedicated servants of the Blood God Khorne, the Chaos God of War and Murder, and live for nothing more than to spill blood in his name. The World Eaters' Primarch, Angron, was one of the first of the Space Marine Primarchs to join with Horus when he turned against the Emperor and began the Horus Heresy. The Legion is no longer united, having long ago surrendered to the pure bloodlust inspired by their patron Khorne and instead they now operate as separate warbands of Chaos Space Marines who seek to spread death and terror in the name of the Blood God across the galaxy.
- "Because we couldn't be trusted. The Emperor needed a weapon that would never obey its own desires before those of the Imperium. He needed a weapon that would never bite the hand that feeds. The World Eaters were not that weapon. We've all drawn blades purely for the sake of shedding blood, and we’ve all felt the exultation of winning a war that never even needed to happen. We are not the tame, reliable pets that the Emperor wanted. The Wolves obey, when we would not. The Wolves can be trusted, when we never could. They have a discipline we lack, because their passions are not aflame with the Butcher’s Nails buzzing in the back of their skulls. The Wolves will always come to heel when called. In that regard, it is a mystery why they name themselves wolves. They are tame, collared by the Emperor, obeying his every whim. But a wolf doesn’t behave that way. Only a dog does. That is why we are the Eaters of Worlds, and the War Hounds no longer."
- —Captain Khârn of the World Eaters Legion's 8th Assault Company, from his unpublished treatise The Eighteen Legions
Of all the Space Marine Legions created by the Emperor of Mankind during the First Founding, none were so savage and dreaded as were the World Eaters. For while others such as the Night Lords could justly claim to have brought worlds into Imperial Compliance through fear alone, and others such as the White Scars and the Space Wolves could descend without warning and leave a world burning in their wake, for the World Eaters to be assigned to a campaign meant only one thing for the enemy -- extermination. Extermination not by virus bomb or atomic firestorm, but by Chainaxe and Bolter, worlds drowned one-by-one in the blood of their inhabitants.
The Emperor of Mankind sought to unite all of humanity under one banner following the Long Night of the Age of Strife, and end inter-human conflict. Once united, the Emperor intended to begin the next stage of His great plan to ensure human domination of the Milky Way Galaxy, which He judged to be necessary if humanity was to survive the never-ceasing threats to its existence embodied by Chaos, myriad 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 known as the Legiones Astartes, the Space Marine Legions. These elite forces would serve as the speartip of His Great Crusade, bringing the light of the secular Imperial Truth and enforcing Imperial Compliance with the new regime on every human-settled world encountered.
Such sources that survived the later Battle of Terra at the height of the Horus Heresy regarding the origins and formation of the XIIth Legion of the Legiones Astartes are fragmentary at best, and in compiling their record Imperial scholars were forced to rely on second-hand accounts from those who fought alongside them, and the apocryphal accounts handed down by those many who had cause to fear and resent this most feared of Space Marine Legions. It appears that the Terran origins of the XIIth Legion showed no particular bias as to the techno-barbarian tribe or city-state from which the initial influx of recruits were taken as there was in the case of the other Legions. There has been some circumstantial evidence that there may have been psychological screening used to single out the most inherently aggressive and competitive recruits in an experimental pre-selection program. Whether this came to pass is merely supposition, for it is apparent from such records that survived that the XIIth Legion were from the outset deemed a highly aggressive force, its warriors hot-blooded and savage. One of its most ferocious and promising candidates, Ibram Ghreer, rose quickly within the ranks of the nascent Legion, and eventually assumed command of the XIIth as its first Legion Master.
During the Unification Wars the XIIth Legion's first recorded engagement was during the Sa'afrik Liberation where they served as a spearhead of shock troops, mounting direct annihilation assaults on enemy forces, both in open battle and fortified positions, and able to carry the attack despite their then relatively small numbers by sheer courage and the fury of the violence they could unleash. After its initial battles, however, the nascent Legion seems to have been largely held in reserve by the Emperor during the latter Unification Wars and right through the subsequent re-conquest of the Sol System. This may have been done in case of a sudden reversal of the fortunes of war, or as certain veiled evidence implies, as a weapon to be unleashed in case of disloyalty amongst the Emperor's own.
During this time the XIIth Legion was kept in a state of constant readiness, relentlessly training and steadily growing in numbers. On the occasions when it was unleashed into battle, the Legion's Astartes performed with almost gleeful savagery, tearing apart whatever enemy they were given to fight without mercy or falter, heedless of the risk and uncaring of the Legion's own losses. It is believed that during this period that the Emperor Himself dubbed the XIIth Legion his "War Hounds" as a tribute to the savage and tenacious way they fought to pacify the narco-sprawls of the Cephic Hives. The Emperor chose this name because the XIIth Legion reminded him of the white war hounds the Yeshk warriors of the north of Terra once used in battle. In remembrance of this campaign and the Emperor's praise, a red hound became the XIIth Legion's new badge of war.
As the early decades of the Great Crusade progressed after ca. 800.M30, and the first of the Primarchs were discovered across the galaxy where they had been dispersed by the Ruinous Powers, the XIIth Legion was broken up temporarily into a number of independent sub-commands, each several thousand Space Marines strong. The largest of these, at some 8,000 War Hounds, along with dedicated assault and fleet support elements, was designated the 13th Expeditionary Fleet, or the "Bloody 13th" as it became quickly known. These detachments were sent as a mobile reserve where the fighting was fiercest on the Great Crusade's frontlines. There they served as frontline assault troops in glorious campaigns alongside the Space Wolves, Iron Warriors and Dark Angels Legions. Elsewhere they would often provide the killing-strike for larger Imperial Army formations in war zones where an impasse had been reached, breaking a strategic deadlock in a single furious attack which sent an enemy reeling.
The War Hounds developed a reputation for victory, although at a cost, and it was said every assault they conducted ended in only one of two ways: victorious slaughter or simple slaughter, either of which left the foe in no condition to resist further. However effective the Legion was, there were many who fought alongside them who found them also to be unpredictable, intemperate and dangerous to anything that stood in their path, combatant, civilian or otherwise. Rumours soon began to circulate that the War Hounds would put to the sword human auxiliary regiments of the Imperial Army they saw as failing them in battle, and they kept a guarded distance from other Legions. It was noted by outsiders that the War Hounds' officers enforced an unusually harsh code of discipline in their ranks which was indeed needed, as the Astartes of this Legion often proved fractious, and bloodshed between Battle-Brothers was far from uncommon.
The XIIth Legion was increasingly deemed by the Imperial War Council as being more suitable for use against targets where annihilation was the goal rather than Imperial Compliance or liberation, a task to which they seemed eminently suited. The War Hounds were brought together again under the banner of the "Bloody 13th" alongside a variety of units who, like the War Hounds, had gained a dark reputation for unrestrained violence rather than military discipline, or who were otherwise deemed as unusable for actions where collateral damage was to be kept to a minimum and liberation rather than destruction was the goal. They mustered on the harsh, volcanic world of Bodt which had been taken by the War Hounds as a training ground some years before, included regiments of Feral World head-hunters inducted into the Imperial Army and brute Abhumans on the edge of the Imperium's tolerated genetic deviance. To these were added units such as the Titans of the Legio Audax around who a pall of suspicion had fallen ever since the Lorin Alpha Massacres, and the distrusted Numen Gun Clans -- nomadic techno-barbarians who had bitterly fought against Compliance for many standard years before their recent and grudging induction into the Imperium.
Primarch of Wrath
A very great deal about the finding of the Primarch Angron remains unknown to wider Imperial record. There is in fact evidence that this information, including the true name of the world he was found upon was known but was kept deliberately secret by command of the Emperor and those close to Him. That which is now known is a dark tale of the Primarch's brutal upbringing, murderous violence, and Angron's revolt against his cruel masters. After Angron came to be separated from the Emperor and Terra by the mysterious machinations of the Ruinous Powers he was deposited through the Warp on the world of Nuceria. Where this planet is located in the galaxy or if it even still exists is uncertain. Carpinus' Speculum Historiate tells of Nuceria that it was technologically advanced and ruled over by a wealthy noble caste who lived in decadent opulence while the populations of their cities lived in abject poverty in the huge slums surrounding their palaces and villas. To distract the populace from their poverty, the oligarchic rulers of Nuceria held regular gladiatorial deathmatches in massive arenas, using cybernetically-enhanced gladiators who battled to satisfy the endless bloodlust of the oppressed people. It was on this world that the Primarch Angron was eventually discovered, though little else about the circumstances of how he came to be there remains known.
What is known is that Angron was discovered by a slaver who chanced upon the battered and bleeding figure of the young Primarch, surrounded by scores of alien corpses, high in the northern mountains of the world. History does not record what species these aliens belonged to, but many Imperial scholars believe them to have been Eldar who attempted to kill the Primarch, due to some psychic foreknowledge of the plague upon the galaxy he would one day become. Angron had been badly wounded in the combat, but remained alive. Taken as a slave, the young boy was brought to the Palace Praxica, the seat of the Reksium Throne of the powerful Nucerian city-state of Desh'ea, where he was sold to the ruling clan, the Thal'kr. The youth's obvious potential as a gladiator was soon made apparent and he was bought by the largest and most popular arena in the capital. The young Primarch was given a name, Angron Thal'kyr, and nursed back to health. He then received the bio-neural cybernetic implants known to the savants of Nuceria as the Butcher's Nails. These were hammered into the Primarch's skull and surgically grafted to his cerebral cortex. Relic devices from the Dark Age of Technology, these cortical implants would boost a warrior's adrenaline, resulting in greater strength and aggression in battle. They bleached a warrior’s mind of all reason, all caution, all the instincts of mortality. The cells below the arena were home to several thousand gladiators, all implanted with the Butcher's Nails, and Angron took his place amongst them.
After only a few months, Angron had become a proud warrior of fearsome skill and an even stronger sense of honour. He killed hundreds of other gladiators, but those who fought well he always spared. Although Angron seemed to enjoy the life of a gladiator and the adulation of the Desh'ean crowds, he secretly resented his slavery, and was always plotting to escape. He proved to be a troublesome champion, prone to attempt escaping whenever he saw an occasion, but such efforts always failed. Within a few standard years Angron's fame had spread to every corner of his homeworld. Under his training, the gladiators of his arena soon became the greatest their world had ever seen and none could stand against them. Yet Angron also learned, following a final failed escape attempt, that he would never succeed alone. His unbending warrior's code and sheer combat skill had made him a well-respected leader among the other Desh'ean gladiators and when the largest death games ever held on Nuceria were announced, Angron planned his most daring escape attempt. For these new games, Angron was allowed to stage a vast combat that would involve every gladiator of his arena. As the Desh'ean crowd drowned out the sounds of battle, Angron's gladiators turned on their armed guards, butchering them and fighting their way to freedom. Against the guards armed with firearms, the gladiators' casualties were grievous, but nearly 2,000 survived to escape into the streets of Desh'ea, stealing what weapons and supplies they could before fleeing into the northern mountains where Angron had first been discovered. Over the next few years, the rulers of the world dispatched many armed forces to kill or recapture the rebel slaves, who soon named themses the "Eaters of Cities," but all were destroyed in turn by Angron's leadership, martial skill and the cybernetically-enhanced fury of the gladiators.
But attrition and hunger slowly took their toll on the slaves and eventually only 1,000 men and women remained, half the size of the original force of escapees. On a mountain named Fedan Mhor, on a bleak spit of land known as Desh'elika Ridge, Angron and his forces were finally surrounded by no less than five large Nucerian armies. Not even the Primarch could stand against such sheer numbers, yet it was at this time that the Emperor of Mankind came to this world, drawn by the psychic emanations of his gene-son the Primarch. The Emperor had observed Angron secretly from orbit for many months and had watched with pride as he had led his freed slaves in battle against the forces of tyranny. The Emperor descended to the world's surface and after the shock of the august meeting had worn off on the Primarch, the Emperor offered Angron the leadership of the XIIth Space Marines Legion, which had been created from Angron's own genetic material, and a place at his side in the Great Crusade. To the Emperor's disbelief, Angron refused, claiming that his place remained with his fellow slaves amongst the Eaters of Cities and he would die before deserting them. The Emperor retreated to His flagship, shocked at His son's refusal. Appraising the situation, the Emperor saw that for all of Angron's might as a Primarch and a leader, He would die in the coming battle. Losing one of His irreplaceable sons to the assault of rabble on a backwater planet soon to be brought into Imperial Compliance was simply unacceptable. Bringing His flagship into low orbit over the world, the Emperor teleported Angron away from the mountain of Fedan Mhor and the Battle of Desh'elika Ridge. Without their leader, the morale of the gladiators was destroyed and the next day they were slaughtered to the last man by the armies of the world's rulers. This was a deed for which Angron would never forgive the Emperor, and a stain upon the Primarch's honour that would never fade but fester into a soul-deep wound.
The exact records of the Emperor's intervention and Angron's acceptance of his new situation is a matter of shadowed rumour and conjecture, but what can be said with certainty is that Angron's first reaction to his new situation was rage. It was said with certainty that for some time any War Hound who came before him was met with a grisly death for their efforts. It is certain that at this time the Legion Master of the War Hounds, Ibram Ghreer, a respected general who had commanded the XIIth Legion for nearly three decades, disappeared without explanation from any record of the time and no explanation was given by his taciturn Legion for his absence. Apparently some sort of accommodation was reached and Angron swiftly took charge of his Legion. Angron renamed his Legion the World Eaters after he assumed command. Angron did this in part to honour the gladiator force he had led in rebellion on his homeworld whose warriors had been known as the "Eaters of Cities" for their wrath and violence. He chose the new name for his Legion when Dreagher, a Terran-born War Hounds Astartes who served as Captain of the Legion's 9th Company, promised Angron after meeting his Primarch for the first time that under his leadership the War Hounds would become "...the eaters of worlds."
Blood and Sand
Angron took charge of his Legion at the mustering grounds on their world of Bodt and swiftly worked many changes on his forces. He was given a surprisingly free hand for a newly invested Primarch, for he was not required a period of shadowing one of his Primarch brothers while he grew into command, or even time spent in his new-found father's company. Instead he was given license to simply take charge of his host and with bellicose energy he prepared it for war. The regime of discipline and training the XIIth Legion had abided by in the past would prove to be but a shadow of what came to pass under Angron's direction and reform. Conflict became the only measure and the only judge, and training beyond its most basic elements was as real as any war or battle a World Eaters Astartes would find themselves in. Blood, live rounds and bared blades, fighting pits and gladiatorial combat; these were the methods now used to test the mettle of the Primarch's sons, to make them more brutal and efficient killers, in the image of their genetic father. Each warrior soon bore scars by which to count the lessons learned amid heat and the bitter volcanic sands, and those that failed did not live long enough to try again.
Knowing how successful the cybernetic bio-neural implants could be at boosting a warrior's prowess in battle, Angron ordered his Apothecarion to insert the psycho-surgical Butcher's Nails implants within every Astartes of the World Eaters Legion to enhance aggression and pain tolerance far beyond that which even the gene-engineered flesh of a member of the Space Marine Legions was capable. But the drawbacks were that such surgical procedures left the individual devoid of joy or peace save for that found in battle. In this dark endeavour, Angron ordered the study of the implants he had been given by his slave masters, the infamous Butcher's Nails, to serve as a template. The Techmarines of the World Eaters attempted to duplicate the process using the Primarch's own implants as templates to reverse-engineer the devices. However, this proved difficult, for Angron's implants were a relic of a long-lost human technology, little understood by its makers, while removing them from Angron for close study would have proved fatal to the Primarch.
Early attempts to duplicate these implants by the combined efforts of the Legion's Techmarines and Apothecaries were far from successful, and resulted in high rates of mortality and irrecoverable homicidal frenzy on test recruits. However as time progressed, a viable form of the cortical implant technology was replicated and steadily improved, although it was never fully stable or constant between subjects, and entire newly-formed companies of recruits were implanted, as well as large numbers of existing World Eaters who volunteered for the dangerous operation. The majority of these Astartes were absorbed back into the Legion's line units, while those deemed perhaps too unstable for such tasks joined a growing number of near-berserker assault units known as Rampager Squads, and within these those too far gone to be anything but restrained as savages between battles became known as the Caedere or the "Butchers," a frightening portent of what was to come for the entirety of the XIIth Legion.
The Liber Malus speaks of whole star systems surrendering wholesale when the World Eaters' fleet was detected entering the system rather than face the wrath of Angron's Space Marines, so potent had their bloody legend grown. With this legend came dark tales of atrocity and wanton destruction that froze the blood of even hardened Imperial Commanders and caused concern even at the level of the War Council and the other Primarchs. Not least of the XIIth Legion's detractors was Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, who fought beside Angron and his Legion during the Cleansing of Arigatta and saw first hand the bloodbath they had left in the wake of their attack on the Basalt Citadel, where the last defenders of this non-Compliant human world had made their stand. Guilliman had seen the ramp of World Eaters corpses that had been used to finally mount a breach in the mighty fortress and the vengeful horror the Space Marines had wrought within and been sickened.
Yet it was not long before the Legion's use of cybernetic implants in its Neophytes became known in the wider Imperium. Following the infamous Ghenna Scouring, where an entire planet's population was butchered in a single night, the World Eaters were publicly censured by the Emperor and commanded to stop using the cybernetic cortical implants. Angron paid no heed to the Emperor's command and ordered his Techmarines to continue to use the technology until nearly every World Eater Space Marine had undergone the surgery. Blood rites like blood-drinking and vicious gladiatorial combats became an increasingly important part of the World Eaters' Legionary rituals and customs as they continued to slaughter their way across a broad swathe of the galaxy. It soon became common practice for World Eaters to compete in the number of skulls that they could take in battle. For some World Eaters Space Marines, the result was an uncontrollable thirst for slaughter even away from the battlefield. However, the results produced by the World Eaters on the frontlines were so effective that the Imperium was willing to turn a blind eye to the World Eaters’ savage practices for quite some time during the Great Crusade.
Eventually, as the World Eaters' vicious savagery only worsened, many of Angron's brother Primarchs voiced their concerns to the Emperor, yet the Master of Mankind proceeded to make a terrible error. He dispatched the Warmaster Horus, the Primarch He trusted over all others, to confront Angron and bring him back into the Imperial fold. Yet Horus was a master manipulator, and unknown to the Emperor, had already himself been corrupted by the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. In Angron, Horus saw a warrior consumed by bitterness and resentment towards the Emperor and it was simple for Horus to feed that bitterness and emphasize the Emperor's betrayal, feeding Angron's perception that the Emperor was a weakling in need of replacement by a stronger ruler -- a ruler like Horus. Horus had told Angron exactly what he wanted to hear and when the Horus Heresy began, plunging the galaxy into civil war, Angron's World Eaters joyfully marched beside the Sons of Horus. In an event that sealed the fate of the World Eaters, Scyrak the Slaughterer, a World Eater champion, slew the Loyalist Chief Librarian of the World Eaters – the last ward against the influences of Chaos. Thus, the World Eaters became one of Horus’ original four Traitor Legions, along with the Death Guard, the Word Bearers and Horus’ own Sons of Horus.
The ferocity once visited upon the Emperor's enemies now fell upon the Imperium of Man. The World Eaters fought in the vanguard of every battle, fighting in the bloodiest assaults, preferring to tear the enemy to pieces in melee combat rather than use long-range firepower. Angron's warriors cut a bloody swathe across the galaxy towards Terra, drinking the blood of their victims and taking their skulls to honour their new master, the Blood God Khorne. During the Horus Heresy, the World Eaters fought many bloody battles, their allegiance to Khorne growing ever stronger.
Istvaan III Atrocity
By the dawn of the 31st Millennium, as the World Eaters' vicious savagery only worsened, many of Angron's brother Primarchs voiced their concerns to the Emperor, yet the Master of Mankind proceeded to make a terrible error. He dispatched the Warmaster Horus, the Primarch He trusted over all others, to confront Angron and bring him back into the Imperial fold. Yet Horus was a master manipulator, and unknown to the Emperor, had already himself been corrupted by the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. In Angron, Horus saw a warrior consumed by bitterness and resentment towards the Emperor and it was simple for Horus to feed that bitterness and emphasise the Emperor's betrayal of him at Nuceria, feeding Angron's perception that the Emperor was a weakling in need of replacement by a stronger ruler -- a ruler like Horus. Horus had told Angron exactly what he wanted to hear and when the Horus Heresy began, plunging the galaxy into civil war, Angron's World Eaters joyfully marched beside the Sons of Horus into treachery. Thus, the World Eaters became one of Horus’ original four Traitor Legions, along with the Death Guard, the Word Bearers and Horus’ own Sons of Horus.
During the first battle of the Horus Heresy, also known as the Istvaan III Atrocity, the Warmaster Horus at last declared his traitorous hand and openly defied the Emperor. Angron led the World Eaters personally in the first surface assault on Istvaan III to destroy the remaining Loyalist Astartes of the four original Traitor Legions, including their own Loyalist World Eaters, who had survived the traitorous virus-bombing of Istvaan III's capital of Choral City by Horus' orbiting fleet. Horus had deceitfully launched this treacherous saturation bombardment of the planet after the four Traitor Legions' known Loyalists were already engaged against the Slaaneshi rebels who held the world. The deadly cargo which contained the deadly life-eater virus killed billions of innocents, whose psychic death scream was said to be louder than the holy beacon of the Astronomican. Much to the Traitors' surprise, nearly two-thirds of the Loyalists from the first wave survived the orbital bombardment, thanks in no small part to the timely warning of the Loyalist Emperor's Children Captain Saul Tarvitz.
Taking matters into his own hands, Angron defied Horus' plans and spearheaded a second Drop Pod wave after the bombardment failed to eliminate all of the Loyalists. The Warmaster and his allies could only look on in outrage as the Red Angel made planetfall at the head of a full 50 companies of his bloodthirsty Astartes, landing in the plaza areas to the west of the Precentor's Palace, hunting for their own kin with fratricide in their hearts. The World Eaters bloodily massacred most of their Loyalist Battle-Brothers, plunging into their former comrades' ranks like a white hot dagger. Incensed at his brother's disobedience, the Warmaster saw no choice but to support his ill-tempered and impulsive ally since the after effects of the global conflagration unleashed by the virus bombs made it impossible to carry out an immediate, accurate orbital bombardment. Horus ordered all of the Traitor forces to commence a ground attack to salvage victory from disorder. Nearly two full solar months passed on the Dead World of Istvaan III as the Loyalist survivors stalled the Warmaster's plans by tenaciously holding out against the Traitor forces. But their numbers quickly waned against the Traitors reinforcements and steady supply of munitions. Eventually, once the world's atmosphere had cleared enough to make accurate orbital fire once again possible, the Traitors leveraged their superiority of arms at last, and soon the slaughter swung decisively in the Warmaster's favour following another orbital bombardment of the Loyalist positions. The gauntlet had been thrown down and the Horus Heresy had begun.
Shadow Crusade and the Return to Nuceria
During the opening days of the Horus Heresy, Lorgar, Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion had ordered his two most trusted advisors, First Chaplain Erebus and the Dark Apostle Kor Phaeron, to unleash their wrath against the Realm of Ultramar. This was done in retaliation for the humiliation the XVIIth Legion had been forced to endure by being forced to kneel in disgrace before the Emperor and Roboute Guilliman and his Ultramarines on the world of Khur by the XIIIth Legion at the Emperor's orders during the Great Crusade. The Word Bearers proceeded to achieve a monumental victory at the Battle of Calth which ensued. The Ultramarines Legion was badly crippled and no longer presented a viable threat to Horus' plan to drive on Terra. Erebus had managed to complete his blasphemous ritual on Calth's surface, which summoned the beginnings of the sorcerous Ruinstorm to the galaxy's Eastern Fringe -- a monstrous Warp Storm larger and more destructive than anything space-faring humanity had witnessed since the days of the Age of Strife.
Simultaneous with the Word Bearers' assault on Calth, Lorgar and the more reliable Word Bearers under his command launched a second offensive, a joint Shadow Crusade with his brother Angron's World Eaters Legion into the rest of the Realm of Ultramar, laying waste to the Five Hundred Worlds with reckless abandon, slaughtering twenty-six worlds in rapid succession. This was to ensure the success of the sorcerous Ruinstorm, which would ultimately split the void asunder, dividing the galaxy in two and rendering vast tracts of the Imperium impassable for centuries, effectively cutting Ultramar off from the rest of the Imperium. This prodigious Warp Storm would deny needed reinforcements to the Loyalists as Horus drove on toward Terra in an attempt to overthrow the Emperor of Mankind. Nothing from Terra would get in and nothing would get out. Not even an astropathic whisper would be able to pierce this storm of Warp energy bleeding into realspace.
During this campaign of destruction, Lorgar had come to realise that over the course of their Shadow Crusade, Angron's temperament and mental stability had steadily grown worse. His cybernetic neural-implants known as the Butcher's Nails were killing him faster than Lorgar had originally imagined, faster than anyone realised. The rate of degeneration had accelerated very quickly in the months after the Battle of Calth. The implants had never been designed for the peculiar genetics of a Primarch's brain. Angron's physiology was trying to heal the damage produced by the implants as the Nails bit deeper. To save his life, Lorgar convinced the Lord of the World Eaters to go back to his homeworld of Nuceria. The overlords of the gladiatorial games on that world who had first hammered the foul device into Angron's skull would know more of the implant's function than the Traitor Legion's savants and the Dark Mechanicum. The two Primarchs would learn all that was known about the Nucerians' insidious cortical implant technology, and then they would burn that loathsome world until its surface was nothing but glass. Angron would finally take the vengeance he pretended to no longer desire. Whether Angron fought him, hated him or trusted him, mattered little to Lorgar, who intended to drag Angron into the immortality that he deserved before the Dark Gods whether he wanted it or not.
Guilliman's retribution fleet, which had been tracking the rest of the Word Bearers Legion in the wake of the Battle of Calth, finally caught up to the Traitors upon Angron's homeworld of Nuceria, which the World Eaters Legion were preoccupied with wiping clean of all life in vengeance for the treatment the Nucerians had merited out a century before to Angron. The XIIIth Legion warship Courage Above All, Guilliman's temporary flagship, broke Warp at the system’s edge, at the head of a large void armada consisting of 41 vessels. The Ultramarines armada looked wounded, cobbled together from separate fleets. It was not a dedicated interdiction war-fleet, but clearly a ragtag strike force, a lance thrust to the enemy’s heart. Guilliman himself had done the best he could with limited resources. The XIIIth Legion's Cruisers and Battleships ran abeam of the enemy fleet for repeated exchanges of broadsides, offering targets too big and powerful to ignore, while the rest of the Ultramarines fleet used calculated Lance strikes from safer range. The armada then divided its assault potential, doing its utmost to destroy Lorgar's flagship Fidelitas Lex, and attempted to take the World Eaters' flagship Conqueror in a boarding action.
But the Ultramarines' warships not only fought a void war, they also attempted to take the fight to the surface of Nuceria, for this attack was personal. The Ultramarines had come for revenge against Lorgar and the Word Bearers, just as they had pursued Kor Phaeron all the way to the Maelstrom on the other side of Ultramar. Several Ultramarines warships attempted to make a run on Nuceria, haemorrhaging Drop Pods, landers and gunships, forcing planetfall by any means necessary. The Ultramarines fleet swept over and against the Traitors like an insect horde. But the tenacious commander of the Conqueror, Lotara Sarrin, put up a difficult fight and destroyed a number of Ultramarines vessels that attempted to make a run for the surface. Though the World Eaters' flagship transformed a number of the smaller vessels into flaming wreckage, the Ultramarines eventually punched through her tenacious defence and managed to land troops on the surface of Nuceria.
Meanwhile, the Fidelitas Lex was already a ruin, its armour pitted and cracked, its shields a memory. The cathedrals and spinal fortresses barnacling along its back were gone, laid waste by the Ultramarines’ incendiary rage. The XIIIth Legion's armada attacked in strafing runs and protracted exchanges of broadsides, trading fire with the superior warship and accepting their own casualties at the cost of bleeding the bigger vessel dry. Each assault left the Lex weaker, firing fewer turrets and cannons, taking punishment on its increasingly fragile armour. But she fought on. Crawling with smaller ships, the Lex lashed back with its remaining Macro-cannons, rolling in the light of its own burning hull. Guilliman guided the battle from the command deck of Courage Above All, and had decided that the Lex would die first, killed in the death of a thousand cuts and swept from the game board, while the Conqueror would be boarded and killed from within. In the course of the battle in Nucerian orbit, the Conqueror could not rise to its sister-ship’s defence. Both Traitor Legion flagships fought alone, starved of support and suffering the endless attacks of the XIII Legion’s ragged armada. Salvation Pods streamed from the Lex’s sides and underbelly, along with heavier Mechanicum craft and bulk landers. With the Legionaries of the Word Bearers already on the surface, the ship’s human population fled in the vessel’s final minutes. And still the great vessel fought -- rolling, turning, raging. The Ultramarines Cruisers that drifted past burned as badly as the warship they were killing. This void battle was a form of dirty fighting between warships, too close for the neat calculations of ranged battery fire. Instead, it was an up close and personal slugfest.
The Ultramarines Battle Barge Armsman intercepted the Conqueror and came abeam, launching Assault Carriers and Boarding Torpedoes. While the World Eaters flagship was busy repelling boarders, a number of smaller XIIIth Legion vessels slipped past her defences and launched Drop Pods, gunships and troop carriers. The first Drop Pods hammered home on the planet's surface. Sealed doors unlocked and the first Ultramarines poured forth, Bolters raised, moving in perfect and well-trained unity. But the World Eaters were waiting for them. Those not lost to the Butcher's Nails at once had the presence of mind to note that these Ultramarines weren not the pristine cobalt-blue warriors they had previously faced on the War World of Armatura. These Legionaries of the XIIIth wore cracked Power Armour, still scarred and burn-washed from some horrendous battle weeks or months before. These were hardened veterans of the Calth Atrocity. They burned with a cold intensity to carry out the vengeance in their hearts, and were intent on getting to grips with the Word Bearers.
As was their way, the Ultramarines established footholds at defensible positions, clearing room for their reinforcements to land. For every position they held, another was overrun by the World Eaters in a storm of roaring axes, or lost to the Word Bearers' chanting, implacable advance. The XIIth Legion crashed against the XIIIth in rabid packs, showing why Imperial forces had feared to fight alongside them for decades. Uncontrolled, unbound, unrestrained, they butchered their way through Ultramarines strongpoints, enslaved to the joy of battle because of the Butcher's Nails cortical implants sandwiched within the meat of their minds. The XVIIth Legion also met their Loyalist cousins, replacing ferocity with spite and hate. The Ultramarines returned it in kind, hungry for vengeance against the vile Traitors who had defiled Calth and damaged its star. Word Bearers units marched, droning black hymns and chanting sermons from the Book of Lorgar, bearing corpse-strewn icons of befouled metal and bleached bones above their regiments.
As the fighting raged, the burning shell of the Fidelitas Lex cut through the clouds into the planet's atmosphere, shuddering on its way east, rolling ever downwards, achingly slow for something of such scale. The weight of the Lex's massive plasma engines dragged the stern down first, colliding with the Nucerian ocean's surface far from shore. In the meantime, the demigod in gold and blue had finally found the object of his obsession amidst the clamour of war. Guilliman confronted Lorgar, possessing the advantage of two weapons, but Lorgar's Crozius gave him a reach his brother lacked. When they first met, there was no furious trading of frantic blows, nor were there any melodramatic speeches of vengeance avowed. The two Primarchs came together once, Power Fists against War Maul, and backed away from the resulting flare of repelling energy fields. Their warriors killed each other around them both, and neither Primarch spared their sons a glance. Lorgar flicked the clinging lightning from the head of his Crozius, shaking his head in slow denial.
Both Primarchs fought without heeding their warriors, their godlike movements an inconceivable blur to the Space Marines fighting around them. None had ever imagined the heroes of this new age would take the field against each other, nor could they have predicted the wellsprings of spite between them. Guilliman confronted Lorgar for what his Legion had done across the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar. In his righteous anger the Ultramarines Primarch struck Lorgar with one of his fists, battering the Word Bearers Primarch's sternum. Lorgar repulsed him with a projected burst of telekinesis, weak and wavering, but enough to send his brother staggering. The Crozius followed, its power field trailing lightning as Lorgar hammered it into the side of Guilliman’s head with the force of a cannonball. Both Primarchs faced each other beneath the grey sky, one bleeding internally, the other with half of his face lost to blood sheeting from a fractured skull.
As the two Primarchs were locked in their furious life-and-death struggle, they were oblivious to the destruction being wrought around them. Suddenly, Angron burst forth from the Ultramarines ranks, his armour a shattered wreck, and both of his Chainswords spat gobbets of ceramite armour plating and scarlet gore. Angron was plastered with the blood of the slain after hours in the crush of the front lines of intense combat. On his chest hung a bandolier of skulls taken from the mass grave at Desh’elika Ridge. Blood painted them as surely as it marked Angron. Even through the constant pain generated by the Butcher's Nails, that pleased him. He wanted his deceased brothers and sisters to taste blood once more. He had carried them with him across Nuceria, letting their empty eyes witness the razing of his former, hated homeworld. The World Eater launched himself at Guilliman with murderous hatred. The two Primarchs fell into a seamless, roaring duel where Lorgar and Guilliman had abandoned theirs. Guilliman found himself forced back by the storm of Angron's blows.
Once on Nuceria, Angron had paid his respects to his fallen brothers and sisters amongst the Nucerian gladiators he had once fought beside, whose bones now lay exposed to the elements on the Desh'elika Ridge where they had died. The painful memories of that day, long ago, were too much for the Primarch to bear. After paying a visit to the city-state of Desh'ea to see who ruled the Nucerian city-state that had once claimed to own him, he became enraged when he was told the tale of how he had fled at the Battle of Desh'elika Ridge, and the subsequent massacre of the rebel army in the mountains. The rebels had died to a man in his absence. Enraged by the lies that had been told about him over the last century, Angron ordered his Legion to kill everyone in the city. Then they were to kill everyone on the planet. At the height of the final battle against the last city on Nuceria, Lorgar was confronted by his wrathful brother Roboute Guilliman, who had been chasing him and the XII Legion since the destruction of Calth. As the two Primarchs fought, Guilliman gravely wounded Lorgar and was about to deliver a killing stroke to his wretched brother. But Angron had seen Guilliman's assault upon Lorgar and intervened, facing the Lord of Ultramar in single combat.
On Angron's chest hung a bandolier of skulls taken from the mass grave at Desh’elika Ridge. Blood painted them as surely as it marked Angron. Even through the haze of pain created by the Butcher's Nails, that pleased him. He wanted his former brothers and sisters, the Eaters of Cities, to taste blood once more. He had carried them with him across Nuceria, letting their empty eyes witness the razing of the high-rider cities. As the two Primarchs fought, Guilliman landed a glancing blow, his fist pounding across Angron's breastplate. One of the skulls of Angron's fallen kinsman that hung from the chain worn across his breastplate was partially shattered and scattered across the ground. Guilliman stepped back, his boot crushing a skull's remnants to powder. Angron saw it, and threw himself at his brother, his howl of wrath defying mortal origins, impossibly ripe in its anguish.
Lorgar saw it, too. The moment Guilliman's boot broke the skull, he felt the Warp boil behind the veil. The Bearer of the Word started chanting in a language never before spoken by any living being, his words in faultless harmony with Angron's cry of torment. Lorgar enacted his dark plan to save his brother's life, summoning the Ruinstorm to the world of Nuceria, tearing the sky open and unleashing a crimson torrent, formed from the ghosts of a hundred murdered worlds, raining blood. Lorgar focused his concentration on the triumphant form of his mutilated brother, calling for the Neverborn, the entities men called daemons, to answer in kind. He locked Angron’s muscles, setting fire to the synapses in his brain. The first spasms wracked their way through Angron’s sinews, turning his blood to quicksilver, then to lava and at last to holy fire. His cries of thwarted rage were tainted by an agony beyond comprehension. His body started tearing itself apart, growing, rising. Perfecting, after a lifetime of broken torture. This was the moment of Angron's apotheosis into daemonhood.
The World Eaters Librarians, those few who had never received the deadly Butcher's Nails implants which were inimicable to psykers, sensed the fey powers summoned by Lorgar from the Warp. In an attempt to halt the Urizen's dark plans, the 19 remaining Librarians harnessed their collective psychic powers to manifest a psychic entity known as the Communion, the gestalt consciousness of 19 psychic minds. In the midst of Lorgar's incantations, the Communion pulled the soul of the Primarch from his body. The two psychic entities confronted one another within the Warp, locked in a deadly contest of wills, each convinced that they were the one responsible for saving Angron. But ultimately, the Communion failed, for Lorgar was just as powerful in the Warp as he was in the material universe. After Angron's completed metamorphosis into a new Daemon Prince, the Daemon Primarch turned his attention to the Librarians. The creatures that had pained him for decades. The warriors that had made the Butcher's Nails sing and his brain bleed just for the sin of standing near them. Now they moved against his brother, hurling their foulness at Lorgar, who crouched one-handed and wounded, down on his knees.
The Daemon Primarch's rage killed the remaining Libarians, each of them tasting a different doom. Angron killed the last of the Librarians, expunging his Legion of the weakness that had plagued his gene-sons since his reunification with them a century earlier. The Librarius of the World Eaters, the last fragment of the War Hounds within the XII Legion, was no more, a fact which greatly pleased the Blood God Khorne, who would not brook the existence of any psykers amongst his chosen servants. Lorgar had offered up the XIIth Legion to the whims of the Blood God as his loyal servants. Now there would only be blood, an ocean of blood carried on a tide of eternal slaughter.
The gravely wounded Guilliman escaped from Nuceria, unable to face or even fully comprehend what both of his brothers had become through their corruption by the Ruinous Powers. The World Eaters completed their purge of Nuceria until not one human life remained on the benighted world. Angron, now the very embodiment of the Blood God's Eight-Fold Path, shook the dust of the world from his feet and did not think of it again. Lorgar believed that he had "saved" his brother. In his mind it was the only way, for he alone had sought to save Angron from the implants that were killing him by degrees. Only Lorgar had found a way to free Angron from an existence of unrivalled agony, and he alone had acted to save his tormented brother. Now the Shadow Crusade could move on from Ultramar and rejoin Horus. The next target for the Traitors would be Terra itself.
Battle of Terra
The climax of the World Eaters’ glory came during the onslaught of the very heart of humanity: Terra. Newly blessed with daemonic gifts, Angron and his World Eaters first overtook the Loyalist defenders of the Eternity Wall Spaceport. Later, the World Eaters had the duty and privilege of leading the frontal assault on the Emperor’s Imperial Palace. The surviving video logs from the Siege of the Imperial Palace show the World Eaters breaching the walls of the Palace, the twisted, red form of Angron wielding his glowing runesword at their head. Among those first in was the World Eaters champion Khârn who helped to assault the Imperial Palace. Despite contrary claims by the Sons of Horus, World Eater records indicate that it was Angron’s daemonic runesword that was responsible for the downfall of the great gate of the Imperial Palace. The World Eaters reaped a true harvest of blood on Terra, but they were denied ultimate victory. With the Dark Angels and Space Wolves Legions on their way to Terra to reinforce the Loyalist defenders, Horus gambled everything in order to win the siege, lowering the void shields on his battle barge and daring the Emperor to come to him. The Master of Mankind rose to the challenge and faced his betrayer in the combat that decided the fate of the galaxy. The two fought a titanic battle that was both physical and psychic, until at last the Emperor had slain Horus and utterly obliterated even his soul from existence, but only at the cost of his own humanity and eternal internment in the Golden Throne. The mighty Chaos army then disintegrated and fled Terra. Angron was the last to leave, leading his World Eaters deep into the refuge of the great Warp storm that was the Eye of Terror in the northwestern reaches of the galaxy. He and his Chaos Space Marines would have all of eternity to seek revenge and more blood for the Blood God.
With the Horus Heresy ended, the World Eaters fled into the Eye of Terror to a Daemon World specially prepared for Angron by Khorne, though the Legion swiftly degenerated into roving warbands of Chaos Space Marines as the incessant and bloodthirsty demands of Khorne drove the World Eaters to turn in upon themselves. As such, even to the present time they have no particular homebase, with each band generally operating from whatever starship they could lay their bloodstained hands upon.
Battle of Skalathrax
Following the end of the Horus Heresy, the World Eaters Legion was finally sundered as a coherent military force during the Battle of Skalathrax on the Daemon World of the same name where the World Eaters faced off against the Emperor's Children Chaos Marines, the devoted servants of the Chaos God Slaanesh, the chief rival among the Ruinous Powers of the World Eaters' patron Khorne. The two armies of Traitor Marines clashed through the planet's storm lashed cities of black rock and ice. City after city fell to the berserker assaults of the World Eaters, as the chosen of Khorne hurled themselves at the Emperor's Children, slaughtering the hated Slaaneshi devotees until forced to halt their attack as the Daemon World's freezing night fell.
A Champion of Khorne named Khârn screamed his frustration as the Legion paused in its attack, demanding that he be allowed to continue killing. Furious with his comrades for taking shelter while there were still enemies left to slay, Khârn took up a flamer and turned its heat upon his fellow World Eaters Berserkers and those who tried to stop he cut down with great sweeps of his chainaxe. As the flames spread to the rest of the city, the World Eaters Legion tore itself apart, berserkers fighting both each other and the Emperor's Children for what little shelter remained. Khârn burned and hacked his way through the flaming ruinis of Skalathrax, having become the living incarnation of the Blood God himself. From that day forth, the World Eaters were broken as a Legion, becoming instead scattered warbands of berserk Chaos Marines, forever in search of more blood to spill. Khârn now stalks the Eye of Terror and only the most insane of Khornate warriors dare to fight alongside him, since few who do so ever survive.
The 41st Millennium
After Horus' death at the hands of the Emperor, the tide of the battle for Terra turned and the remaining forces of Chaos were scattered. Angron and his World Eaters fought their way across the galaxy to reach the Eye of Terror. Once inside the Warp rift, the bloody Chaos Space Marines chose a Daemon World to settle, which Khorne blessed and perverted into a realm of constant battle, bloodshed and pain where Angron, now a Daemon Prince of Khorne, ruled over all. However, following the Battle of Skalathrax with the Emperor's Children in the Eye of Terror, the raving blood thirst of the World Eaters broke down any form of organization and control. Units of World Eaters of varying sizes broke off from the main force to seek out glory and skulls for Khorne. Squads of ancient World Eater berzerkers can be found as parts of larger Chaos armies, in Khorne-sworn forces, or even in small teams called warbands – always seeking combat, blood and skulls.
- Sa'afrik Liberation (Unknown Date.M30) - The XIIth Legion's first recorded engagement was during the Sa'afrik Liberation of the Unification Wars where they served as a spearhead of shock troops, mounting direct annihilation assaults on enemy forces, both in open battle and fortified positions. They proved able to carry the attack despite their then-relatively small numbers by sheer courage and the fury of the violence they could unleash. After its initial battles in the conflict the nascent XIIth Legion seems to have been largely held in reserve by the Emperor during the later Unification Wars.
- Pacification of the Cephic Hives (Unknown Date.M30) - The Pacification of the Cephic Hives was another early campaign of the XIIth Legion during the latter days of the Unification Wars. The Emperor Himself dubbed the XII Legion his "War Hounds" at this time as a tribute to the savage and tenacious way they fought to pacify the narco-sprawls of the Cephic Hives.
- Cerberus Insurrection (Unknown Date.M30) - The newly dubbed War Hounds were tasked alongside the Terran XXIInd Dracos Regiment of the Imperial Army to subdue the asteroid prison colony of Cerberus which had risen up in anarchic revolt in a state of near continuous rioting and mob violence. Initial attempts to impose order by Terran troops had been thrown back in disarray as it became apparent that among the insurrectionists was a renegade cadre of outlawed Thunder Warriors, long believed dead, calling themselves the Dait'Tar. With many of the Space Marine Legions already assigned to the first Expeditionary Fleets of the Great Crusade and en route to the stars, the Emperor Himself dispatched his War Hounds to Cerberus with explicit instructions to reclaim Cerberus colony and carry the Emperor's wrath to those that had defied Him. Within five hours, a signal was received from Praetor-Commander Calyb Hax of the XIIth Legion that Cerberus-Primary had been returned to Imperial Compliance. When asked by the leader of the waiting second wave how many prisoners to expect to transfer into custody, Hax replied that he had not been ordered to take any. The second wave of Imperial Army troops were tasked with the bleak task of clear-up operations in the wake of the War Hounds' assault, hunting down any survivors hiding in the warren of tunnels and passageways, of which there proved to be precious few. There were multiple reports of more than once coming across the hulking carcass of an armoured Thunder Warrior, often with three or four of his number in Astartes dead around him, of choke-points and defence posts turned into blood-soaked charnel houses and of scores upon scores of insurgents cut down from behind while fleeing in blind panic, their weapons abandoned.
- Nove Shendak Campaign (Eight-Two-Seventeen) (Unknown Date.M30) - Nove Shendak was a world inhabited by worms; giant xenos creatures who were both intelligent as well as hateful. Their weapons were filaments, metal feathers that they embedded in themselves to conduct potent bioelectrical energies out of their bodies. The surface of the world would roil with these filaments before the worms broke out of it almost at the Imperial attackers' feet. The filaments were as thick as a man, and longer than a person was tall. The worms of Nove Shendak had three mouths in their faces, and a dozen crystalline teeth in their mouths. They spoke through the mud in sonic screams and psychic witch-whispers. Early in the Great Crusade, the War Hounds Legion had found three star systems under their thrall, and had proceeded to burn them out of their colony nests and chase them back towards their homeworld. But on their cradle-world of Nove Shendak the XIIth Legion had, to their immense surprise, discovered humans. Humans lost to the knowledge of Mankind for who knew how many millennia, crawling on the land while the worms slithered in the world's marsh seas, hunting the humans, and farming them for food. The War Hounds, alongside their fellow Astartes Legion the Iron Warriors, and a large contingent of Imperial Army soldiers were charged with exterminating the worms and liberating the humans of Nove Shendak. Fighting the worms was next to impossible as the lunar tides dragged the mud oceans to and fro across the jagged stone continents, making the ground very unstable. The Imperial forces had to use sentries with high-powered lasguns to read the movements of the mud and to hear the worms moving through it towards them. Explosives were seeded around newly-constructed earthworks and allowed to sink to where the worms burrowed. Perturabo had his Iron Warriors build the needed earthworks. They constructed trenches and dykes, penned in the mud seas and drained them. This allowed the Imperial forces to drive the worms back, and reclaim the land the wretched humans of Nove Shendak could build upon. And when the worms finally emerged to assault their attackers, they met the Emperor and his War Hounds. Though the casualties were horrendous, the War Hounds eventually emerged triumphant and the worms of Nove Shendak found only extinction. The people of that world inherited the planet and became fervent supporters of the Imperium.
- Golgothan Slaughter, Siege of Sarum (Unknown Date.M30) - The first known target to suffer the wrath of the World Eaters Legion after their Primarch Angron took command of the XIIth Legion sometime in the last two centuries of the 30th Millennium was the stellar wasteland of the Golgotha Sector. The Golgotha Sector was sited near the galactic core in the Segmentum Ultima close to the realspace Warp rift known simply as the Maelstrom. The breaking of the Siege of Sarum would soon become a cornerstone of the World Eaters' legend and serve as a portent of the dark path yet to come. Driving his Navigators perilously close to destruction in the Warp, Angron ordered his warships to form a single strike force aimed at the Sarum System. They came upon the besieged Adeptus Mechanicus station world of Sarum on the edge of the Maelstrom, founded during the Age of Strife and long cut off from aid. Sarum was being besieged by the Abhuman empire known as the Brotherhood of Ruin who wished to take the Mechanicum's technological secrets for themselves. The Tech-priests of the Mechanicus' Redjak Cult had endured alone for ages, subjected to the privations of raiders and enemies all around them, with only intermittent contact with distant Mars and the Forge World Anvilus, requesting aid that had never yet managed to reach them. The World Eaters arrived as their saviours, smashing into the heart of the besiegers. Though dramatically outnumbered and outgunned, the World Eaters drew into close formation and smashed through the enemy armada. Once the enemy line of defence was breached, the World Eaters' fleet unleashed swarms of gunships and Drop Pods upon the planet's surface. In the meantime, baying for blood, Angron and his World Eaters ravaged the enemy armada, plunging in close so that the wild fire of their foes struck their own ships as often as those of the Imperials. Boarding torpedoes and assault rams screamed out from the World Eaters' vessels and slammed into the hulls of terror ships and Abhuman vessels, disgorging the World Eaters in their unstoppable, inhuman rage, turning the enemy ships into charnel houses. Meanwhile, on the surface below, Abhuman cyborg troops and their Ork mercenary lackeys died by the thousands, unable to coordinate a defence against this unforeseen direction of attack. The battle raged on for hours, and the World Eaters took horrific casualties but fought on nevertheless. The Abhuman warlords sensed at last that the battle was turning in their favour and called upon reinforcements from across the planetoid's surface to aid them. It was then that a false dawn flared blood-red in the skies above. Seconds later, a Cyclonic Torpedo barrage smashed into the surface all around the World Eaters, who fought on. In their wake came hundreds of gunships and assault rams that represented the World Eaters' second wave, led by Angron himself. These warriors descended upon the Brotherhood of Ruin like a god of wrath. Behind them came 17 great black metallic cylinders which disgorged the towering Titans of the Legio Audax, which strode forth, weapons blazing. Seeing the shadow of the Omnissiah's wrath descending, the Redjak Mechanicum emerged from their fortifications and speared the fleeing enemy with barbed harpoons and dragged them back for their masters to rend. The Siege of Sarum had been broken and the Redjak Mechanicus swore to Angron and his Legion directly many oaths of fealty and entered pacts of mutual protection and support. This provided the World Eaters and their Techmarines with a ready source of resupply and armament far outside the Imperium's inner sphere. The campaign that was to follow would last eleven standard years and see no fewer than 48 worlds and outposts ravaged and destroyed by the World Eaters, and 7 separate dangerous xenos species, including a branch of the Lacrymole, rendered extinct as the XIIth Legion's fleet cut a swathe of destruction through the wastes of Golgotha, and even ventured into the perilous fringes of the Maelstrom itself. Of course, this campaign also destroyed the miniature stellar empire that the Crimson Priesthood of Sarum had established in the sector, but they were no longer in any position to gainsay the Imperium that had saved them from destruction. The hated Lacrymole had arrived in force in the sector sometime during the 30th Millennium, enslaving the highly regressed human population which was easily subdued and herded into camps to serve as livestock for the xenos.
- Liberation of Alpha Shalish (Unknown Date.M30) - It was during the XIIth Legion's campaign in the Golgotha Sector that the World Eaters' 203rd Expeditionary Fleet encountered the Lacrymole-infested world of Alpha Shalish. Remembrancers and Imperial artist-scribes of the 203rd Expeditionary Fleet recorded the auspicious events surrounding the liberation of the xenos-controlled world of Alpha Shalish. The Imperial forces, spearheaded by World Eaters Space Marines, burst into the mounded Lacrymole cities with righteous fury, cleansing the planet of their foul, man-eating kind with extreme prejudice.Thus was the shackle of alien rule thrown off and the Emperor's Imperial Truth brought to Alpha Shalish. Repopulation proved quick, aided by a restarting of the agri-machines and STC devices present on the world from the time of the Dark Age of Technology, many of which were found to still be in working order. Within four generations, hive cities were raised over the old ruins and the growing world of Alpha Shalish eventually became a part of the hub of what was later declared the Imperium's Segmentum Solar.
- Ghenna Scouring (Unknown Date.M30) - This was an infamous campaign conducted by the World Eaters against the world of Ghenna, where the entire planet's population was butchered in a single night of bloodshed. The World Eaters were censured by the Emperor and commanded to cease the implantation of the Butcher's Nails cortical implants. Angron paid little heed to the Emperor's dictates and ordered the work of his Legion's Techmarines to continue until all of his Astartes had been implanted.
- The Night of the Wolf (Unknown Date.M30) - Imperial records state that two Primarchs came to Angron, both claiming to have been sent by the Emperor. The first arrived soon after Angron joined his Legion after being unwillingly rescued from Nuceria. The second would not come until almost a century later. By then, it would be too late. The Night of the Wolf is a little known incident that occurred shortly after the massacre of the entire planetary population of Ghenna. The Primarch Leman Russ had been charged by the Emperor to take his Space Wolves Legion to Ghenna to bring the World Eaters to heel. The two Legions met at Malkoya, on the fields beyond the dead Ghennan city of that same name. The World Eaters, battered and bleeding from Ghenna’s Imperial Compliance campaign, formed ragged lines before the assembled Space Wolves Legion. The Primarchs stood before their hosts, armed and armoured – Angron awash with blood and carved up by fresh wounds; Leman Russ in resplendent battle-plate the colour of the storms on his tempestuous homeworld of Fenris. In these early years of the Great Crusade, Angron still carried his first axe, the precursor to all others. He called it Widowmaker. It would break this very day, never to be used again. Russ carried Krakenmaw, his immense Chainblade, toothed by some Fenrisian sea-devil from that blighted world’s many myths. Angron refused to recognise his brother's authority, and warned the Wolf King to depart before the situation became something that he would regret. But Russ refused to be cowed by the warlike Primarch. He informed Angron that the implantation surgeries must end, for the Emperor Himself had deemed it so. The massacres of newly discovered human worlds were to end with the fall of Ghenna. The World Eaters were to submit to the Space Wolves as their escorts for their Legion's return to Terra. Once they reached the Imperial Palace, everything would be done to remove the parasitic Butcher's Nails implants from the World Eaters' minds. Angron was not amused by Russ' implied threats. No one ever saw who fired the first shot. In the decades after, the World Eaters claimed it came from the Space Wolves' lines, and the Space Wolves claimed the same of the XIIth Legion. Without either Primarch giving an order, the two Space Marine Legions fought. The Night of the Wolf, it was later called. Imperial archives referred to it as the Ghenna Scouring, omitting the moment the World Eaters and Space Wolves drew blood. A source of pride for both Legions, and a source of secret shame. Both claimed victory. But both feared they had actually lost, and in truth, the battle proved bloody but inconclusive. But the World Eaters did not return to Terra, and Angron refused to stop the implantation of his Astartes.
- Destruction of the Auretian Technocracy (004.M31) - Shortly after Horus' miraculous recovery on the Feral World of Davin, the newly renamed Sons of Horus encountered the human civilisation of the Auretian Technocracy on the world of Aureus during the Great Crusade. This human society had been founded during Mankind's early exploration of the stars in the Dark Age of Technology and had evolved along lines very similar to that of the Imperium, and more particularly to that of the Mechanicus of Mars. Horus and a contingent of Sons of Horus Astartes met with the Technocracy's leader, the Fabricator Consul, who represented the human government in its diplomatic talks with the Imperium. During their initial discussion aboard the landing bay of the Vengeful Spirit, Horus learned that the Auretian Technocracy made use of highly-coveted, lost Standard Template Construct (STC) technology. Upon learning this, the Warmaster turned his Bolt Pistol upon the Fabricator Consul and summarily executed him. He then ordered his men to annihilate the Fabricator Consul's personal guard who were known as the Brotherhood and who made use of Power Armour and weapons very similar to those of the Space Marines. Unknown to most of the Astartes within the Legion, the rot of corruption had begun to spread throughout the XVI Legion shortly after Horus made his dark bargain with the Ruinous Powers. The official explanation for the Sons of Horus Legion's grievous actions against the Technocracy stated that the staff brought by the Fabricator Consul aboard the XVIth Legion's flagship possessed a weapon which he planned to use to assassinate the Warmaster. This prompted the resulting conflict with the Auretian Technocracy which lasted for over six bloody months. The World Eaters were finally called in and fought alongside the Sons of Horus on the Technocracy's homeworld of Aureus, and their Primarch Angron personally lead the final Imperial assault on the Iron Citadel held by the Brotherhood of the Auretian Technocracy. When the blood-maddened warriors of the World Eaters' Assault Companies stormed a breach in the walls, the Brotherhood detonated explosive charges that buried the warriors under thousands of tonnes of rubble. Angron tore his way free and butchered the remaining warriors of the Brotherhood with his monstrous Chainaxe Gorefather. Ephraim Guardia, the Senior Preceptor of the Brotherhood Chapter Command and Castellan of the Iron Citadel, died in the first seconds of Angron's attack. The campaign had been a brutal one, as the Brotherhood made use of highly advanced power armoured suits similar to those employed by the Legiones Astartes, but they were eventually defeated and their technology was requisitioned by the XVI Legion. Horus would later use the seized Auretian STC databases to entice a faction of the Adeptus Mechanicus led by the Fabricator-General of Mars, Kelbor-Hal, to turn against the Emperor and join his rebellion. These Traitors would eventually form the core of what became the Dark Mechanicus and their treachery would unleash the terrible civil war within the Mechanicus that became known as the Schism of Mars.
- Cleansing of Arrigata (004.M31) - Towards the end of the Great Crusade in the early 31st Millennium, Horus assembled three Space Marine Legions to take back the technologically advanced planet Arrigata from the Imperial separatists who controlled it; the the Sons of Horus, the World Eaters, and the Ultramarines. Most of the planet was quickly conquered, except for the massive fortress within which most of the leaders of the planet cowered. Eager to be on his way, Horus commanded Angron to take back the citadel and kill only the leaders. Eagerly, Angron led the assault. However, the fortress was heavily defended and the casualties were horrendous, a dozen World Eaters falling for a meter of land. Eventually, a ramp of corpses led up to a single breach in the wall, and the Astartes of the World Eaters Legion plunged in. Filled with rage over their fallen brothers, they were merciless. By the time the Ultramarines arrived, the battle was all but over. The inside of the fortress was filled with the dismembered and mangled corpses of the defenders, for not one soul had been spared the vengeful fury of the World Eaters. It was an absolute slaughter, the fortress having been transformed into an abattoir of human blood. The Ultramarines were disgusted by this savage behaviour and reported the World Eaters' growing barbarism to the Emperor. But Horus, already corrupted by the tempations of Chaos, knew that the World Eaters' savagery would make the service of Chaos a good fit for the Legion -- and particularly for its rage-fueled Primarch.
- Istvaan III Atrocity (005.M31) - During the first battle of the Horus Heresy, also known as the Istvaan III Atrocity, the Warmaster Horus at last declared his traitorous hand and openly defied the Emperor. But in breaking Angron's bonds of loyalty to the Emperor, such as they had been, Horus let slip a beast that, once unchained, was minded to heed no master's will, including that of the Warmaster. Even at this early stage, it became apparent that Angron, and his Legion with him, would prove a law unto themselves rather than loyal soldiers, prey to their own homicidal urges as much, if not more, than any tactical or strategic needs of the rebellion. Angron led the World Eaters personally in the first surface assault on Istvaan III to destroy the remaining Loyalist Astartes of the four original Traitor Legions, including their own Loyalist World Eaters, who had survived the traitorous virus-bombing of Istvaan III's capital of Choral City by Horus' orbiting fleet. Horus had deceitfully launched this treacherous saturation bombardment of the planet after the four Traitor Legions' known Loyalists were already engaged against the Slaaneshi rebels who held the world. The deadly cargo which contained the deadly life-eater virus killed millions of innocents, whose psychic death scream was said to be louder the holy beacon of the Astronomican. Much to the Traitors' surprise, nearly two-thirds of the Loyalists from the first wave survived the orbital bombardment, thanks in no small part to the timely warning of the Loyalist Emperor's Children Captain Saul Tarvitz. Taking matters into his own hands, Angron spearheaded a second Drop Pod wave after the bombardment failed to eliminate all of the Loyalists. The Warmaster and his allies could only look on in outrage as the Red Angel made planetfall at the head of a full 50 companies of his bloodthirsty Astartes, landing in the plaza areas to the west of the Precentor's Palace, hunting for their own kin with fratricide in their hearts. The World Eaters bloodily massacred most of their Loyalist Battle-Brothers, plunging into their former comrades' ranks like a white hot dagger. Incensed at his brother's disobedience, the Warmaster saw no choice but to support his ill-tempered and impulsive ally, and so Horus ordered all of the Traitor forces to commence a ground attack to salvage victory from disorder. Nearly two full solar months passed on the Dead World of Istvaan III as the Loyalist survivors stalled the Warmaster's plans by tenaciously holding out against the Traitor forces. But their numbers quickly waned against the Traitors reinforcements and steady supply of munitions. Eventually the Traitors leveraged their superiority of arms at last, and soon the slaughter swung decisively in the Warmaster's favour following another orbital bombardment of the Loyalist positions. The gauntlet had been thrown down and the Horus Heresy had begun.
- Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V (006.M31) - In response to Horus' betrayal of the Loyalist Astartes in the Sons of Horus, Emperor's Children, Death Guard and World Eaters Legions at Istvaan III, the Primarch of the Imperial Fists Legion, Rogal Dorn, on the direction of the Emperor who had learned of Horus' actions from the Loyalist survivors aboard the Eisenstein, ordered 7 Loyalist Space Marine Legions to Horus' base on the world of Istvaan V to challenge the rebellious Warmaster. They would attack in two waves and fall under the supreme command of the Iron Hands' Primarch Ferrus Manus. The Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V became one of the major turning points that occurred during the great galactic civil war that engulfed the Imperium of Man in the early 31st Millennium. During the massacre three Loyalist Space Marine Legions that comprised the first assault wave -- the Iron Hands, Raven Guard and the Salamanders -- were betrayed by 4 other Legions they believed were loyal to the Emperor of Mankind. The second assault wave was composed of the traitorous Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Night Lords, and a large contingent of Word Bearers that their Primarch Lorgar had stationed in the star system. Unknown to Dorn and Ferrus Manus, the Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Night Lords and Word Bearers had all repudiated their oaths to the Emperor and pledged their loyalty to Horus, and had been instructed to keep their new allegiance to Chaos a secret. The Iron Hands, Raven Guard and Salamanders deployed in the first wave of the assault and quickly secured the drop site. They were to have been followed by the arrival of the other four Legions in support. The first wave secured the drop site at heavy cost. Horus ordered his frontline troops to fall back, tempting Ferrus Manus to overstretch his already thin lines. Against the advice of Primarchs Corax and Vulkan, Manus led his veteran Terminators, the Morlocks, against the fleeing Traitor Marines unsupported. Manus then brought his brother Fulgrim to combat. As the two Primarchs drew their weapons, the Raven Guard and Salamanders fell back to regroup and allow the second wave's Legions to advance and earn glory. However, as they returned, they were mowed down by the four Traitor Legions that had landed to supposedly support them, thus revealing their new allegiance to Horus and to Chaos. The outnumbered Loyalists were then surrounded and brutally butchered. Refusing to surrender, the remaining Raven Guard and Salamanders Astartes stubbornly defended themselves, trying to hold off the inevitable slaughter for as long as possible. Though they suffered an atrocious number of casualties, the Loyalists managed to hold their own, until the Primarchs Mortarion of the Death Guard and Angron of the World Eaters joined the fray. The World Eaters fought a series of brutal counter-attacks against the Loyalists' landings, sallying out repeatedly from within the Traitors' fortress-line defences, each time halting only through sheer losses inflicted upon them or stymied by curtains of heavy ordnance fire, slashing deeply into the Raven Guard main assault force and the Avernii Clan forces of the Iron Hands, before erupting in a murderous tide as the Traitors' trap was sprung, caring not who they killed. Bolstered by the support of the infamous Imperator-class Titan Dies Irae, the Traitors killed tens of thousands of Loyalist Astartes. At the height of the massacre the Warmaster Horus entered the fray, at the head of the elite Sons of Horus Terminators known as the Justaerin, slaughtering the Loyalists in wrathful anger. Horus pressed the advantage, his attack sandwiching the Loyalists between the two Traitor forces, killing most of them. Barely a handful of Loyalist Space Marines escaped with their lives from Istvaan V to bring word of the further betrayal of 4 more Astartes Legions to the Emperor. The Salamanders, along with the Iron Hands and the Raven Guard, would spend the remainder of the Horus Heresy rebuilding their decimated Legions and were too weakened to play any further role in the great conflict.
- Shadow Crusade and the Purge of Nuceria (006.M31) - In the wake of the Battle of Calth, the Word Bearers Legion, led by the Primarch Lorgar, linked up with the World Eaters to launch a Shadow Crusade against the Realm of Ultramar's Five Hundred Worlds in an attempt to spread the massive Warp Storm known as the Ruinstorm that had been conjured by the Word Bearers at Calth across the Eastern Fringe. This would split the galaxy in half and deny needed reinforcements to the Loyalists as Horus drove on Terra in an attempt to overthrow the Emperor of Mankind. But Lorgar noticed that the mental stability of Angon, the Primarch of the World Eaters, was rapidly deteriorating because of the damage caused by the Butcher's Nails, the cortical implant that had been forced upon Angron by the slavemasters of his homeworld of Nuceria. With the savants of the Traitor Legions and the Dark Mechanicum unable to divine a way to either remove the implant without killing the Primarch or to prevent the escalating deterioration of Angron's mind, Lorgar suggested that the Word Bearers and the World Eaters return to Nuceria to gather knowledge about the implants and then raze the world to the ground. When Angron returned to his homeworld, he learned that in the Terran century since the Emperor had rescued him unwillingly from certain death beside the rebel band of gladiators he had led, the Nucerian slavemasters had concoted a story that he had cowardly run away from the rebels' last stand and left them to be slaughtered alone. Enraged by the lies that had been told about him over the last century, Angron ordered his Legion to kill everyone in the city of Desh'ea, the masters of which had once claimed to own him. Then they were to kill everyone on the planet. At the height of the final battle against the last city on Nuceria, Lorgar was confronted by his wrathful brother Roboute Guilliman, who had been chasing him and the XII Legion since the destruction of Calth. As the two Primarchs fought, Guilliman gravely wounded Lorgar and was about to deliver a killing stroke to his wretched brother. But Angron intervened, facing the Lord of Ultramar in single combat. As the two fought, Guilliman landed a glancing blow, his fist pounding across Angron's breastplate. One of the skulls of Angron's fallen kinsman that hung from the chain worn across his breastplate was partially shattered and scattered across the ground. Guilliman stepped back, his boot crushing a skull's remnants to powder. Angron saw it, and threw himself at his brother, his howl of wrath defying mortal origins, impossibly ripe in its anguish. Lorgar saw it, too. The moment Guilliman's boot broke the skull, he felt the Warp boil behind the veil. The Bearer of the Word started chanting in a language never before spoken by any living being, his words in faultless harmony with Angron's cry of torment. Lorgar enacted his dark plan to save his brother's life, summoning the Ruinstorm to the world of Nuceria, tearing the sky open and unleashing a crimson torrent, formed from the ghosts of a hundred murdered worlds, raining blood. Lorgar focused his concentration on the triumphant form of his mutilated brother, calling for the Neverborn, the entities men called daemons, to answer in kind. He locked Angron’s muscles, setting fire to the synapses in his brain. The first spasms wracked their way through Angron’s sinews, turning his blood to quicksilver, then to lava and at last to holy fire. His cries of thwarted rage were tainted by an agony beyond comprehension. His body started tearing itself apart, growing, rising. Perfecting, after a lifetime of broken torture. This was the moment of Angron's apotheosis into daemonhood. The remaining World Eaters Librarians sensed the fey powers summoned by Lorgar. In an attempt to halt the Urizen's dark plans, the 19 remaining Librarians harnessed their collective psychic powers to manifest a psychic entity known as the Communion, the gestalt consciousness of 19 psychic minds. In the midst of Lorgar's incantations, the Communion pulled the soul of the Primarch from his body. The two psychic entities confronted one another within the Warp, locked in a deadly contest of wills, each convinced that they were the one responsible for saving Angron. But ultimately, the Communion failed, for Lorgar was just as powerful in the Warp as he was in the material universe. After Angron's completed metamorphosis into a new Daemon Prince, the Daemon Primarch turned his attention to the Librarians. The Daemon Primarch's rage killed the remaining Libarians, each of them tasting a different doom. Angron killed the last of the Librarians, expunging his Legion of the mutant weakness that had plagued his gene-sons since his reunification with them a century earlier. The Librarius of the World Eaters, the last fragment of the War Hounds within the XII Legion, was no more. Now there would only be blood, an ocean of blood carried on a tide of eternal slaughter.
- Battle of Terra (014.M31) - The World Eaters took a leading role during the climactic battle of the Horus Heresy, the Battle of Terra. The walls of the Imperial Palace seemed to touch the very sky, so tall were they. Before the walls milled the combined forces of the Traitors, an army so vast and terrible that its like has never been seen before. Nor will its like be seen again until the end of times, and the final battle. All manner of corrupted mutants, all the Greater and Lesser Daemons of Chaos, and the Traitor Legions in their fell might surrounded this last bastion of the Loyalists on Terra. The walls of the Palace were ultimately breached by the Titans of the Death's Heads Legion. Into those breaches, at the forefront of each assault, went the World Eaters. They charged recklessly through the maelstrom, leaving heaps of their dead, consumed by madness and their lust for slaughter. It was here, in the desperate and close fighting in the breaches that a World Eater named Khârn became a bloody legend, butchering and carving his way toward the Emperor's inner sanctums. They moved into the corridors running through the mile thick walls, and the tunnels and chambers swam with blood. Even as the Emperor fought Horus above the ruins of Terra, Khârn fell at last before the Eternity Gate, atop a great pile of corpses. As the World Eaters withdrew with the other Legions after Horus' fall, some dark impulse or whispering from Khorne bade them take the bloodied carcass of Khârn with them, alone out of the millions of corpses left around the Imperial Palace. Khârn would be revived to life by the Blood God Khorne as his new Champion following the arrival of the World Eaters in the Eye of Terror.
- Slave Wars (Unknown Date. M31) - The first major conflict between the most powerful servants of the Dark Gods following the Horus Heresy was started by the Emperor's Children Legion, that Traitor Legion dedicated to the service of Slaanesh, whose excesses grew more wanton and uncontrollable in the days after the Heresy. As the supply of slaves the III Legion had acquired on Terra and other Imperial worlds as they fled to the Eye was exhausted, the Emperor's Children began to assault the positions of the other Traitor Legions within the Eye of Terror, plundering their own slave stocks for use in satisfying their perverse, hedonistic whims. It is for this reason that these campaigns are collectively called the Slave Wars. One of the actions known to the Imperium that occurred during these conflicts was the Battle of Skalathrax between the Emperor's Children and the World Eaters that saw the World Eaters finally shattered as a unified Space Marine Legion. The Emperor's Children also destroyed the fortress of the Sons of Horus Legion on the Daemon World of Maeleum, leading to a failed attempt by the corrupt Emperor's Children Apothecary Fabius Bile to clone Horus and provide a new leader for the Forces of Chaos. Abaddon the Despoiler led the Sons of Horus to reclaim Horus' corpse, and destroy the primary fortress of the Emperor's Children. Abaddon returned it to Maeleum where he had it destroyed so that no further attempts to clone Horus could ever be attempted. Following this triumph, Abaddon declared himself Horus' successor as the Warmaster of Chaos and the master of the XVI Legion. At the same time, he came to the epiphany that Horus was dead because Horus had been a weak fool, unable to complete his task of slaying the Emperor and taking control of the galaxy in the name of the Dark Gods. Abaddon swore that he would succeed where Horus had failed in overthrowing the "Corpse-Emperor" and proclaimed himself the new Warmaster of Chaos. He had the Sons of Horus repaint their viridian Power Armour black, the colour of mourning and of vengeance, and cast-off the XVI Legion's former moniker of the Sons of Horus. From then on, they became known as the Black Legion. The Black Legion then abandoned the ruins of the Sons of Horus' fortress and left Maeleum behind, choosing to become a fleet-based Legion with scattered holdings all across the Eye of Terror. Though long, terrible, and bloody, in the end the dwindling Emperor's Children Legion faced their inevitable defeat at the hands of their fellow Traitor Legions. The Emperor's Children, like the World Eaters before them, were finally shattered as an organised Space Marine Legion and broke up into hundreds of disparate and often opposed Chaos Space Marine warbands. It is said by the adversaries of those who serve Slaanesh that during the Slave Wars the Daemon Primarch Fulgrim was himself killed by Abaddon and the Black Legion, but the Emperor's Children counter that he was given lordship by Slaanesh over an unknown Daemon World of unending pleasure, its location unknown even to many of their own ranks.
- Battle of Skalathrax (Unknown Date.M31) - On the Daemon World of Skalathrax in the Eye of Terror during the Slave Wars that erupted shortly after the Horus Heresy, the World Eaters and the Emperor's Children fought. Amid the World Eaters was the Champion of Khorne named Khârn. After a full day of vicious fighting in what would become known as the infamous Battle of Skalathrax, the terriblly frigid Skalathrax night began. Horrified, Emperor's Children and World Eaters alike ran to their shelters, for the freezing night would kill even a Chaos Space Marine in a matter of moments. Khârn raged over being delayed from slaughter for even a single night. Filled with anger when he saw that his brother Chaos Marines were creeping back to the shelters, he took up a flamer and burned them down, slaying with his chainaxe Gorechild any who tried to stop him. The night was filled with the screams of the dying and the freezing as Khârn strode the streets of the dead city of black stone, killing Emperor's Children and World Eaters alike, burning any shelters he found. The night was lit by flames as the Emperor's Children and the World Eaters fought each other and themselves for the few remaining shelters. By morning, most of the World Eaters were dead, the survivors split into small warbands, the shattered remnants of the once great Companies of the Legion. The Legion would never reunite and would remain scattered in warbands for the next ten millennia.
- First War for Armageddon (474.M41) - The arrival of a massive and ancient Space Hulk at the outer edge of the Imperial Armageddon System in the Segmentum Solar in 474.M41 heralded the first of the terrible conflicts to plague this strategically vital Hive World. In this costly First War for Armageddon, the Daemon Primarch Angron led his World Eaters in a massive invasion of the planet. Imperial resistance on the continent of Armageddon Prime was swiftly crushed, and the defenders withdrew beyond the vast equatorial jungles dividing Armageddon Prime from the continent of Armageddon Secundus. Here, under the guidance of the Great Wolf Logan Grimnar of the Space Wolves Chapter of Space Marines, the Imperial forces established a new line of defence and awaited the renewed onslaught of the Forces of Chaos. Complacent, and believing the campaign to be all but won, Angron wasted weeks erecting great temples and monoliths to his patron Chaos God Khorne -- or so it seemed. In reality, the local Warp Storm which had allowed a large portion of his army to be summoned to the world by the minions of a Chaos Cult native to Armageddon was dissipating, and without its influence, much of his army, which was composed of Khornate daemons, was likely to be pulled back into the Warp. So Angron's hand was forced into erecting the monuments and temples in order to strengthen his daemonic forces' hold on realspace. This proved to be a strategic mistake. When Angron renewed his offensive, pushing through the sweltering jungles to reach Armageddon Secundus his host was met by a solid wall of defence. Nonetheless the World Eaters crashed recklessly into the Imperial line, and they were aided by the daemons of the Warp. The Imperial defences were almost overwhelmed by the sheer fury of the World Eaters assault. Angron himself led his bodyguard of Khornate Daemon Princes and the Khornate Greater Daemons known as Bloodthirsters against the centre of the line, held by the Space Wolves, hoping to come before the Great Wolf and slay him. It was at this point that Grimnar played his trump card; an entire company of Grey Knights teleported into the midst of Angron's daemonic Honour Guard. The titanic struggle that ensued saw earth rending energies unleashed, as the burning white light of the Emperor's most elite psychically-empowered Astartes came against the darkness of Khorne's dread daemonic servants. Angron's retinue was destroyed by the Grey Knights at a terrible cost, and the survivors now faced the corrupted Daemon Primarch. It was this combat that would decide the fate of the world of Armageddon. The Grey Knights, through a supreme sacrifice, summoned the energy for a massive psychic blast that completely annihilated Angron's corporeal form and banished his spirit to the Empryean, from whence it could not return for a hundred years. A great part of the Grey Knights Company, including a Grey Knights Grand Master, were destroyed in this action, for Angron was a Chaotic foe of nearly unparalleled strength not seen since the days of the Horus Heresy. With the destruction of the Primarch, the World Eaters fell into disarray and were routed. The Warp-summoned Daemons of Khorne vanished as swiftly as they had appeared, losing their fragile grip on the material plane. The survivors of the World Eaters Chaos Space Marine warbands gradually fell back into the Eye of Terror. It is said that the now-recovered Angron hungers for revenge against the Imperium and the Space Wolves in particular.
- Battle for Grand Al'gul (666.M41) - The warband of the World Eaters known as The Sanctified were intercepted by the Loyalist Fire Angels Space Marine Chapter amongst the Cemetery Worlds of the Grand Al'gul System in a series of brutal assaults and counter-assaults. The Fire Angels Chapter paid a heavy price before victory was achieved, including the martyrdom of its Chapter Master when he battled a powerful Lord of Change, a Greater Daemon of Tzeentch, and the self-immolation of their Chief Librarian in order to avoid daemonic Warp-possession.
- Siege of Vraks (813-830.M41) - The warband of the World Eaters called The Sanctified was one of the units of Chaos Space Marines that took part in the Siege of Vraks, a 17-year long, bloody campaign to take the strategically important Imperial Armoury World of Vraks Prime before the onset of the 13th Black Crusade. The mighty Chaos Lord Zhufor, of the Khornate warband the Skulltakers, was charged by his master Abaddon the Despoiler, to manage the war on Vraks to his satisfaction. Driven by his own ambition and desire to prolong the war, Lord Zhufor, commanding the largest Khornate warband, moved to subjugate the various Khornate warbands and unify them under his leadership. Death was his only motivation -- to continue the killing until the last drop of blood had been squeezed from Vraks. To acquire the services of the Sanctified, Zhufor made them a tantalising offer he knew they would not refuse. The Sanctified were accomplished daemonmancers, and they worked tirelessly to bring Khorne's daemons into realspace. They had the expertise, and Zhufor provided them with the tens of thousands of sacrificial victims needed in order to create a Warp portal through which daemon legions could pour out onto the surface of Vraks. The promise was that Zhufor would facilitate the summoning of the greatest daemon legion in Khorne's endless armies. At the head of this fiendish army would be the Guardian of the Throne of Skulls himself, the Lord of Bloodthirsters, An'ggrath the Unbound. The pact was too alluring to refuse. The Sanctified joined forces with Zhufor and performed their daemonic ritual, summoning forth the Greater Daemon to bring fresh slaughter. Though An'ggrath was eventually summoned at the height of the Vraks campaign, he was defeated by a force of Grey Knights led by Inquisitor Lord Hector Rex who banished him in personal combat with the artefact-sword Arias.
- Winter Assault on Lorn V (Unknown Date.M41) - The Ice World of Lorn V had been governed by the Imperium of Man for millennia until the sudden arrival of a warband of World Eaters and a WAAAGH! of Orks on its frigid surface. For many years a vicious struggle raged on the snowy fields of Lorn V between these Orks and the warband of the World Eaters called the Blood Legion of Khorne that was commanded by the Chaos Champion Lord Crull. It was a one-sided fight for much of that time, as the Orks were often too divided amongst themselves, as is the wont of that species, to pose any threat to the World Eaters. But after the arrival of the fierce Ork Warlord Gorgutz and his reinforcing WAAAGH!, the Orks of Lorn V suddenly became a real menace for the World Eaters and managed to successfully assault one of their primary bases on that world. As a result of Gorgutz's arrival the conflict between the two sides became even more savage. General Sturnn of the Imperial Guard, having learned that the salvageable remains of an Imperator-class Titan called the Dominatus that had been knocked out of action during the Horus Heresy were still on Lorn V, launched an Imperial invasion of the icy world with his 412th Cadian Shock Troopers Regiment to reclaim both the planet and the ancient Titan for the Imperium. The Eldar of Craftworld Biel-tan under Farseer Taldeer also secretly invaded the planet, which had long been a secret Necron Tomb World. The undying Necrons had slumbered away the millennia in their stasis tombs while the younger races had fought for control of the freezing world far above them. The Eldar of Biel-tan had foreseen that the conflict between the Orks and the human Traitors would stir the Necrons from their uneasy sleep and they were determined to stop the awakening of another Tomb World of their ancient foes at any cost. When the 412th Cadian Shock Troopers Regiment of the Imperial Guard arrived, Lord Crull and Gorgutz struck a brief and uneasy alliance that they named the Forces of Disorder against their common Imperial and Eldar foes and worked together to obtain the power of the ancient Titan. Imperial records are not entirely clear about the course of events during the campain but it is known that Farseer Taldeer and her Eldar was able to stop the Necrons from rising by destroying their Necron Lord, but lost one of her own Farseers to the Orks and many of her warriors to the allied Forces of Disorder. General Sturnn was killed by Gorgutz and his head was put on his "pointy stikk" along with that of the World Eaters' champion, Lord Crull, after the Orks broke their short alliance with the Traitor Marines, who were also driven from the planet and scattered after the loss of their leader. It is unknown what happened to the Titan Dominatus or the 412th Cadian Shock Troopers Regiment. Following these events, it seems that the Imperial Ultima Segmentum Command despatched Governor-Militant Lukas Alexander to the Civilised World of Kronus to track down and capture Farseer Taldeer after her actions on Lorn V. This began the campaign remembered in Imperial records as the Dark Crusade.
The name of the world on which Angron was raised has long since been lost to history. However, in the early days of the Horus Heresy, long before the Battle of Terra, the World Eaters Legion was diverted to crush a single world utterly by Angron. It is not known if this world was their Primarch's homeworld or not, but popular belief was that it was indeed the world on which Angron had been a slave. However, Angron also ordered the destruction of several other worlds, seemingly at random, during the Heresy. Unlike other Legions, the World Eaters at present are not known to hold any world as their own in the daemonic realm of the Eye of Terror that the Traitors now call home. This is speculated to be due to the fact the Legion is essentially no more since the World Eaters are actually comprised of multiple warbands of Khornate Berserkers who traverse the galaxy looking for slaughter and maintain no overall organisation or coordination between them.
At its creation, the XIIth Legion, like almost all the Space Marine Legions of the time, followed the so-called "Terran Pattern" of organisation as formulated by the Imperial Officio Militaris at the outset of the Great Crusade, but even in this earliest period the Legion's procurement and outfitting showed a considerable bias towards direct assault and operations within the close and deadly confines of the kinds of battlefields designated as "Zone Mortalis" in Imperial strategic doctrine. During Angron's transition of command, this would continue, and the Legion's organisational structures were kept largely intact but often further streamlined, with its echelons being biased in make-up towards line infantry formations. These formations were a hybrid of tactical/close assault troops for the main part, supported by dedicated heavy assault units such as Terminators and specialised units such as Land Speeder squadrons. This organisation lent itself well to a highly aggressive strategic posture and belligerent tactics, which while extremely costly in terms of casualties, were also highly effective. The rank structure of the World Eaters under Angron remained simple and direct, the Primarch having little but scorn for the trappings of elites and pointless accolades and titles. It is said that Angron refused even to be addressed as "Lord" by his Astartes, but he did see the virtue of a reliable and transparent chain-of-command in war.
The War Hounds Legion was also known for its harsh enforcement of internal discipline and the hot-blooded temper of its Legionaries. Command within the Legion was gained through a mixture of martial prowess on the battlefield and displays of leadership on the front line, with specialists singled out by aptitude early on. No rank or role within the Legion was exempt from the expectation that they would fight as hard as the rest, however, nor was the desire to grapple with the foe and cut them down by blade-stroke discouraged if the opportunity arose, be the Space Marine in question an Apothecary or Artillerist rather than a frontline fighter. Compared to many of the other Astartes Legions, order and discipline did not come as naturally to those of this gene-seed as might be expected. Tempers often seethed, slights perceived or real were met with anger and more often than not violence would result should a World Eater's sense of honour be impugned. Any officer of the Legion knew they were expected to back up their authority by force if needed, and the punishment of infractors by an officer's own hands was the Legion's way. To disobey an officer's order in battle was a death sentence to be carried out without delay. Trial by combat soon became the Legion's preferred route for settling disagreements within its ranks, and bloodletting by warriors in open discord was an honourable thing both in Angron's eyes and that of his Legion. Here also could one of higher rank be challenged for the right of command, although such rare contests were always to the death.
In the aftermath of the betrayal at Istvaan III, the World Eaters Legion, under their savage Primarch Angron, became ever more insular as a Legion and uncontrollable on the battlefield, proving a double-edged sword even to their allies. The psycho-surgery rife within the Legion became even more widespread and extreme in its use, and the Neophytes inducted with ever-increasing pace into the World Eaters' ranks to replace the fallen were cerebrally mutilated with the Butcher's Nails implants as a matter of course. All-out infantry assaults supported by fast moving armoure, with the aim of immediately closing into bloody melee with the foe, had always been a hallmark of the Legion, and now became often their goal; carnage for its own sake beyond any strategic objective to the contrary.
At the time of the Istvaan III Atrocity, a precise estimate of the World Eaters' fighting strength and disposition was impossible to make. Best estimates of their observed strength were around 150,000 Space Marines, placing the World Eaters in the middle to high levels of comparative strength amongst its contemporary fellow Space Marine Legions. The World Eaters were also well-supplied and supported by the Legio Audax (Ember Wolves) Titan Legion and a fleet of at least sixty capital class vessels. It is commonly estimated that of all the Traitor Legions that had fought at Istvaan III in the purge of the Loyalist faction within their ranks, it had been the World Eaters who had suffered the greatest casualties, with well over 35,000 World Eaters Legionaries believed to have met their deaths on both sides. Aside from the many wounded, it is recorded that a number had succumbed entirely during the protracted fighting to an insane bloodlust and had to be forcibly restrained and removed back to the World Eaters fleet for containment.
Specialised Ranks and Formations
- Devourers - The Devourers were the premier cadre within the World Eaters Legion that served as a dedicated bodyguard unit for their Primarch Angron (whether he needed one is another matter). In battle they fought encased in Terminator Armour and carried the most savage weapons the XIIth Legion possessed. This warrior band had only twelve members, and access to its ranks was only attained by defeating a Devourer in single combat to the death or, should one of its number fall in battle against an enemy, a successor was selected by a contest open to all Astartes in the XIIth Legion, only one of which would survive.
- Rampager Squads - Rampager Squads were near-berserker assault units composed of the most savage and bloodthirsty World Eaters Legionaries who had undergone the dangerous psycho-surgical procedure of having a cortical implant inserted within their brains and who were deemed too unstable to serve in a regular line unit. Within these units, a small minority of those Legionaries that were too far gone to be anything but restrained by force between battles became known as the Caedere or the "Butchers." Others focused their desire for berzerk slaughter through martial discipline, mastering a variety of macabre and savage weapons patterned from those used by Angron's fellow arena gladiators and found on the Feral Worlds from which the XII Legion primarily drew its recruits during the Great Crusade.
- Red Butchers - On the killing ground of Istvaan III, there were World Eaters on either side of the conflict who succumbed utterly, devolving into mindless frenzied savages that could not be controlled. Rather than euthanising such individuals as had happened in the past, the Apothecaries had the mad subdued and chained for a far darker fate. The Techmarines made customised Terminator suits from recovered wargear for them, fashioning them as both armour and as confinement; mechanised prison cells that could be immobilised with a remote signal. Hung in chains in the holds of the World Eaters' warships, foaming and screaming in impotent rage, the Red Butchers were born.
- Destroyer Squads - Considered dishonourable by some Legions who made little use of them or eschewed them altogether, the Destroyers were equipped with and expert in the use of otherwise proscribed and forbidden weaponry. Alongside certain factions of the Mechanicus, only Destroyer cadres had the license to use these weapons in the forces of the Imperium by the Emperor's command. Rad-weapons, bio-alchem munitions and the crawl-burning horror of Phospex were among the Destroyer Squads' dark arsenal, weapons which irrevocably tainted the ground upon which they were used. Marked by their fire-blackened and chem-scalded armour, Destroyers were often shunned and deemed somehow tainted by their Battle-Brothers in many Legions and were considered at best a necessary evil, although the effectiveness of their relic-weapons in cracking especially difficult enemy defences could not be denied.
- Triarii - The Triarii were 5 full companies of the XIIth Legion's finest shipboard warriors who excelled in void warfare and boarding actions, commanded by Centurion Delvarus, the undisputed pit fighting Champion of the World Eaters. These warriors were honour-bound to protect the World Eaters Legion's flagship, the Conqueror.
Recruitment and Training
Attrition rates within the World Eaters were high, and fatality levels on recruits during training are believed to have been the worst of any Space Marine Legion in the period, so unrelenting were the World Eaters' methods. Past a certain point in training, gladiatorial contests and battle-exercises became real life-and-death combat with live rounds and wetted blades, with the goal to raise the skill and strength of the warrior to the greatest extent before they would be deemed worthy of joining the World Eaters' ranks. In order to cope with the rigours of their training and the ceaseless campaigning, under Angron's direction recruitment processes were streamlined and accelerated, and recruits were drawn from a number of Feral and Feudal Worlds scattered across the Segmenta of the Imperium in order to meet the Legion's demands.
Under the World Eaters' regime, not only was individual combat skill their main focus, but the wider arts of warfare as well. Entire companies and even battalions fought one another in great matches and competitions to enforce unit tactics and coherent operations under their Primarch's eye and judgement, but it was always the battlefield that the World Eaters hungered for, and where its champions and officers were chosen.
World Eaters Librarius
Before they were known as the World Eaters, like many of their fellow Legions, the War Hounds once maintained a dedicated Librarius Division made up of potent psykers who were highly talented, and trained to master the power of the Warp. But this changed with the rediscovery of their Primarch upon the world of Nuceria. The use of psychic abilities within the Space Marine Legions had become a heated topic of debate within the Imperium as some Primarchs had accepted the idea that the use of psychic abilities was beneficial to the Great Crusade's war effort in their own Legions, while others like Leman Russ and Mortarion refused to deal with what they saw as dishonourable deception and unnatural witchery and outlawed the use of all psychic powers as simply sorcery by another name. In his wisdom, the Emperor of Mankind invited advocates of both sides of the debate to a great Imperial conclave on the world of Nikaea in the late 30th Millennium. This was known as the Council of Nikaea, which would determine whether or not the use of psychic abilities represented a boon or a grave danger to Mankind and the newborn Imperium of Man. Ultimately the existence of psykers in the Imperium such as Astropaths and Navigators was allowed but tightly restricted under centralised Imperial control, while the potent and unrestricted use of psychic abilities that was defined as sorcery was officially banned. Additionally, the Emperor ordered the Librariums of all the Space Marine Legions to disband and the Librarians to be restored to the general ranks of the Astartes, making them swear an oath to never again use their psychic abilities. In the wake of the Horus Heresy, even this ban would ultimately be overturned when the Loyalist Legions realised that the use of psykers was an essential weapon in the fight against Chaos.
The newly renamed World Eaters utterly refused to heed, or even to acknowledge, the Edict of Nikaea. This was because by the time of the Council of Nikaea, their psychic kindred had already become an afterthought, scarcely worthy of consideration. Soon after the coming of their Primarch Angron, the World Eaters' psychic brethren were avoided and ostracised by all of their fellow Battle-Brothers. Non-psychic World Eaters would depart instinctively from their presence and spit on the floor before them, to ward off ill fortune, a superstitious habit taken from Angron's homeworld, and one that had resonated throughout the XIIth Legion. Angron himself barely tolerated the psykers' presence. He instinctively mistrusted anything that was "unnatural," and hated psykers, feeling that his Legion would be clean only when the last of them finally died. This may have had something to do with the reality that when a psyker was in the Primarch's presence, Angron's neural implants would react badly, causing the Primarch extreme pain.
Knowing how successful his own cybernetic neural implants had been at boosting his prowess and the prowess of his fellow Nucerian gladiators in battle, Angron had ordered his Legion's savants to study the neural implants known as the Butcher's Nails that he had been implanted with by his Nucerian slave masters. He instructed the Techmarines of the World Eaters to attempt to duplicate the process using the Primarch's own implants as templates to reverse-engineer the devices. However, this proved difficult, for Angron's implants were a relic of a long-lost human technology and little understood. Early attempts to duplicate these implants by the combined efforts of the Legion's Techmarines and Apothecaries proved far from successful, and resulted in high rates of mortality and homicidal frenzies erupting from test recruits. The World Eaters' first experiments with implantation of the Butcher's Nails in other Astartes proved less than pleasant.
However, as time progressed, a viable form of the cortical implant technology was replicated and steadily improved, and soon the Butcher's Nails were implanted within the majority of the Battle-Brothers of the XII Legion. The Nails were not actually implants as Remembrancers and archeotechnicians understood the idea. The implants added nothing to a World Eater’s brain. Instead, they stole from it. They bleached a warrior’s mind of all reason, all caution, all of the instincts for survival that defined mortality. The Butcher's Nails rewarded rage with spurts of electrochemical pleasure, tingling synapses and deadening enjoyment of everything else. No better method for the pursuit of slaughter and murder had ever been contrived by the minds of men. But it soon became readily apparent that there was another problem with the Butcher's Nails implants. The first signs of unease came when implanted Librarians started causing their closest Battle-Brothers to suffer blinding migraines and debilitating facial bleeds. No Librarian could stand in Angron’s presence without enduring the same thing themselves; a reflection of the torment they inflicted on their implanted brothers.
But the depths of the flaws became truly obvious in battle. Librarians gifted with the Butcher's Nails lost the ability to control their psychic talents. One of them, a warrior attached to the 100th Company, had been lost to the madness created by the devices in his very first battle after implantation, and immolated three squads of the 100th Company when he could not cease projecting witch-lightning from his eyes. Several other implanted World Eaters Librarians had just...burst. They had combusted in pyres of flaming gore. More and more died -- none right away, but they never survived for long. In a single month, almost every Wold Eaters Librarian had been fitted with the Butcher's Nails. Mere weeks later, they all started dying.
Optimism, albeit cautious, had reigned for a while. After the first deaths, the psychically trained Legionaries had sought to master the implants, to balance their sixth sense with the bionics now altering their brains’ biochemistry. It was all just a matter of willpower they had said, and their Battle-Brothers had pretended not to notice the desperation in their eyes. It was all a matter of willpower -- yet the Librarians kept dying. The Librarians died in battle, in storms of fire or lightning, or -- in several incidents -- by pulsing hateful pain directed through the implants of nearby World Eaters warriors that forced their non-psychic kindred to suffer cerebrovascular blockages. Entire squads died of brain haemorrhages and strokes at their Codiciers’ boots.
Angron gave his psychic sons a choice between execution and the removal of their Butcher's Nails implants. The XIIth Legion learned, in those early years after their Primarch’s rediscovery, that they had mutilated themselves in the image of a man without mercy. The Butcher's Nails could not be safely removed; every World Eater knew it, for the Emperor’s own techno-mages had failed to remove the Primarch’s implants after his recovery from Nuceria. Even so, most Librarians submitted themselves for the attempt. Every one of them died, without exception. With their rewired brains misfiring and enslaved to altered impulses, none of them died easily, and none of them died well. Soon enough, the last Librarians of the XIIth Legion were those who had not yet received the Butcher's Nails in a Legion now defined by the implants. The Librarians of the XIIth Legion came to eke out an isolated existence in the near-empty halls of their Librarius aboard the World Eaters flagship Conqueror.
One by one these Librarians, too, began to die. Not from malfunction or misuse, but because they were World Eaters, and all World Eaters lived brief, violent lives. A hundred remained. Then fifty. Then twenty. No one mourned them. In a Legion that prized the bonds of front-line brotherhood above all else, the silent psychic Battle-Brothers died alone -- never forgotten, but always ignored. Their gene-seed rotted with their bodies, unharvested in case their genetic legacy resulted in the same psychic curse infecting a second generation.
Vorias, the eldest of the remaining Librarian coven and Lectio Primus of the XIIth Legion's Librarius Division had worked with the World Eaters Apothecarion and their senior attached Mechanicum Magos in trying to determine just why the Butcher's Nails reacted so poorly in the presence of psychic minds, but the line of research was abandoned when they had come to realise the context of their work: no one cared. No one but those cursed with a sixth sense. Besides, their efforts had always ended in vain, and killed too many "loyal" World Eaters who were unfortunate enough to be near the unstable Librarians. The Primarch brought few traditions from his homeworld into the XIIth Legion, but a mistrust of anything "unnatural" was one of them. Soon enough, all of the Butcher's Nails-bearing Legionaries were spitting onto the deck before their own Librarians, to ward off the "bad luck" of being near them.
What followed was the gradual deterioration of any sense of brotherhood. With the death of kinship often came the death of loyalty, but the remaining Librarians were gene-born into the XII Legion and they would be World Eaters until the day they died. For the most part, the Librarians of the World Eaters did not hate their non-psychic Battle-Brothers for the way they were scorned, nor did they resent them for the way they spurned their talents as something dangerously worthless. They understood, only too perfectly, that their very presence caused their Battle-Brothers pain, and the XIIth Legion had no need of their psychic gifts. Even before the Edicts of Nikaea, such powers had never been factored into Angron’s battle plans, as blunt and uncomplicated as those plans were. The Librarians had come to accept the truth beneath it all: they were not truly World Eaters. Their brothers were World Eaters, but they were still War Hounds. The XIIth Legion had moved on and left their psychic brothers behind to rot away within their ever-diminishing coven.
By the beginning of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium, there were only 19 Librarians left within the entirety of the XIIth Legion. The few Librarians still living among the World Eaters by this time made valuable Battle-Brothers. They had come together as a coterie-squad, sharing power and silent words between their linked minds, forming among themselves the very brotherhood they were denied by the rest of the Legion. They considered themselves War Hounds rather than World Eaters on account of their lack of the Butcher’s Nails. But their fate would soon be sealed upon the homeworld of Angron's youth.
Death of the World Eaters' Librarius
During the opening days of the Horus Heresy, Lorgar, Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion, had ordered his two most trusted advisors, First Chaplain Erebus and the Dark Apostle Kor Phaeron, to unleash their wrath against the Realm of Ultramar. This was done in retaliation for the humilation the XVIIth Legion had been forced to endure by being forced to kneel in disgrace before the Emperor and Roboute Guilliman and his Ultramarines on the world of Khur by the XIIIth Legion at the Emperor's orders during the Great Crusade. The Word Bearers proceeded to achieve a monumental victory at the Battle of Calth which ensued. The Ultramarines Legion was badly crippled and no longer presented a viable threat to Horus' plan to drive on Terra. Erebus had managed to complete his blasphemous ritual on Calth's surface, which summoned the beginnings of the sorcerous Ruinstorm to the galaxy's Eastern Fringe -- a monstrous Warp Storm larger and more destructive than anything space-faring humanity had witnessed since the days of the Age of Strife.
Simultaneously, Lorgar and the Word Bearers launched a joint Shadow Crusade with his brother Angron's World Eaters Legion into the rest of the Realm of Ultramar, laying waste to the Five Hundred Worlds with reckless abandon, slaughtering twenty-six worlds in rapid succession. This was to ensure the success of the sorcerous Ruinstorm, which would ultimately split the void asunder, dividing the galaxy in two and rendering vast tracts of the Imperium impassable for centuries, effectively cutting Ultramar off from the rest of the Imperium. Nothing from Terra would get in and nothing would get out. Not even an astropathic whisper would be able to pierce this storm of Warp energy bleeding into realspace.
During this campaign of destruction, Lorgar had come to realise that over the course of their Shadow Crusade, Angron's temperament and mental stability had steadily grown worse. The Butcher's Nails were killing him faster than Lorgar had originally imagined, faster than anyone realised. The rate of degeneration had accelerated very quickly in the months after the Battle of Calth. The implants had never been designed for the peculiar genetics of a Primarch's brain. Angron's physiology was trying to heal the damage produced by the implants as the Nails bit deeper. To save his life, Lorgar convinced the Lord of the World Eaters to go back to his homeworld of Nuceria. The overlords of the gladiatorial games on that world who had first hammered the foul device into Angron's skull would know more of the implant's function than the Traitor Legion's savants and the Dark Mechanicum. The two Primarchs would learn all that was known about the Nucerians' insidious cortical implant technology, and then they would burn that loathsome world until its surface was nothing but glass. Angron would finally take the vengeance he pretended to no longer desire. Whether Angron fought him, hated him or trusted him, mattered little to Lorgar, who intended to drag Angron into the immortality that he deserved before the Dark Gods whether he wanted it or not.
Angron paid his respects to his fallen brothers and sisters amongst the Nucerian gladiators he had once fought beside, whose bones now lay exposed to the elements on the Desh'elika Ridge where they had died. The painful memories of that day, long ago, were too much for the Primarch to bare. After paying a visit to the city-state of Desh'ea to see who ruled the Nucerian city-state that had once claimed to own him, he became enraged when he was told the tale of how he had fled at the Battle of Desh'elika Ridge, and the subsequent massacre of the rebel army in the mountains. The rebels had died to a man in his absence. Enraged by the lies that had been told about him over the last century, Angron ordered his Legion to kill everyone in the city. Then they were to kill everyone on the planet. At the height of the final battle against the last city on Nuceria, Lorgar was confronted by his wrathful brother Roboute Guilliman, who had been chasing him and the XII Legion since the destruction of Calth. As the two Primarchs fought, Guilliman gravely wounded Lorgar and was about to deliver a killing stroke to his wretched brother. But Angron intervened, facing the Lord of Ultramar in single combat. As the two fought, Guilliman landed a glancing blow, his fist pounding across Angron's breastplate. One of the skulls of Angron's fallen kinsman that hung from the chain worn across his breastplate was partially shattered and scattered across the ground. Guilliman stepped back, his boot crushing a skull's remnants to powder. Angron saw it, and threw himself at his brother, his howl of wrath defying mortal origins, impossibly ripe in its anguish.
Lorgar saw it, too. The moment Guilliman's boot broke the skull, he felt the Warp boil behind the veil. The Bearer of the Word started chanting in a language never before spoken by any living being, his words in faultless harmony with Angron's cry of torment. Lorgar enacted his dark plan to save his brother's life, summoning the Ruinstorm to the world of Nuceria, tearing the sky open and unleashing a crimson torrent, formed from the ghosts of a hundred murdered worlds, raining blood. Lorgar focused his concentration on the triumphant form of his mutilated brother, calling for the Neverborn, the entities men called daemons, to answer in kind. He locked Angron’s muscles, setting fire to the synapses in his brain. The first spasms wracked their way through Angron’s sinews, turning his blood to quicksilver, then to lava and at last to holy fire. His cries of thwarted rage were tainted by an agony beyond comprehension. His body started tearing itself apart, growing, rising. Perfecting, after a lifetime of broken torture. This was the moment of Angron's apotheosis into daemonhood.
The remaining World Eaters Librarians sensed the fey powers summoned by Lorgar. In an attempt to halt the Urizen's dark plans, the 19 remaining Librarians harnessed their collective psychic powers to manifest a psychic entity known as the Communion, the gestalt consciousness of 19 psychic minds. In the midst of Lorgar's incantations, the Communion pulled the soul of the Primarch from his body. The two psychic entities confronted one another within the Warp, locked in a deadly contest of wills, each convinced that they were the one responsible for saving Angron. But ultimately, the Communion failed, for Lorgar was just as powerful in the Warp as he was in the material universe. After Angron's completed metamorphosis into a new Daemon Prince, the Daemon Primarch turned his attention to the Librarians. Angron killed the last of his Librarians, expunging his Legion of the weakness that had plagued his gene-sons since his reunification with them a century earlier. The Librarius of the World Eaters, the last fragment of the War Hounds within the XIIth Legion, was no more, a fact which greatly pleased the Blood God Khorne, who would not brook the existence of any psykers amongst his chosen servants. Now there would only be blood, an ocean of blood carried on a tide of eternal slaughter.
Banished to the Eye of Terror and tied forever to the worship of Khorne, the blood rituals of the Legion became an even more important part of the World Eaters daily lives, mighty oceans of blood filled in his praise. The legendary tactical organisation of the Space Marines broke down, washed away by the years of slaughter that followed. As more and more of the Legion's officers and champions were possessed by daemons or became mighty Chaos champions, the last vestiges of discipline and organisation fell away, the once proud Space Marine Legion reduced to howling, berserk killers thirsting for death and bloodshed. After the Night of Madness on the daemon world of Skalathrax, when a champion named Khârn turned on his fellow World Eaters, the Legion tore itself apart in a day long slaughter, becoming nothing more than roving bands of renegades, endlessly questing for battle and death. Such bands vary enormously in size from single champions, small squads to company sized forces capable of untold destruction. The champions who lead these marauders will fight alongside almost any other Chaos Lord who is gathering his forces, asking for nothing more than the chance to spill blood in the name of Khorne. But even a Chaos Lord must be wary lest his head be added to the tally of skulls.
In keeping with the doctrine of the Blood God Khorne which holds the use of psychic abilities to be a dishonour in battle, the World Eaters maintain no Chaos Sorcerers amongst their ranks. During the Horus Heresy, Librarians in the other Space Marine Legions that dedicated themselves to the Ruinous Powers were granted new psychic abilities and malefic powers. The only exception were the Librarians of the World Eaters. As part of a bloody sacrifice to their new master, the Librarians of the World Eaters were hunted down and slaughtered by their brother Astartes, as Khorne despises all practitioners of the sorcerous arts. The killing came to a head when the World Eaters hero Scyrak the Slaughterer slew the Legion's Chief Librarian, thus removing the last obstacle to the Legion's bloody fall to the Eightfold-Path and their service to the Skull Throne.
Legion Combat Doctrine
Hand-to-hand combat was the XIIth Legion's preferred form of warfare, even before it took the Emperor-given name of the War Hounds for itself. This did not mean that the World Eaters lacked ability and competency in ranged engagements or armoured warfare and supporting artillery attack. Indeed, no lesser luminary in the arts of mechanised warfare than the Iron Hands' Primarch Ferrus Manus praised the War Hounds' armoured assault at Aldabaran Septus as the, "epitome of iron-clad rage given form," but for the War Hounds such things were a tactical means to an end. That end being successfully delivering the killing force of the Legion, its Space Marines, where they could inflict the most harm and come to grapple with their foe at close quarters. The War Hounds had a preponderance of close combat weaponry habitually carried by its rank-and-file. In addition to the use of the ubiquitous combat blades or gladius, even Legionaries attached to reconnaissance squads and vehicle crews commonly carried chainblades, flay-cutters and mono-serrated bayonets, back-up knives, hatchets and cleavers. In dedicated assault units this profusion of bloody killing tools was added to by a weapon that dated back to the techno-barbarian tribes of Terra, the broad-bladed Chainaxe.
With the coming of Angron as their commander, the XIIth Legion's predilections for hand-to-hand bloodletting reached even greater heights, as the master-gladiator taught his warriors new weapons and new ways to kill, and what can only be described as a cult of personal combat took hold of the Legion at a fundamental level. The Chainaxe was further refined under Angron's direction, and such was the reputation it gained, that its use spread to several other Legions. But in the abstract the weapon could be seen as a symbol of the World Eaters themselves -- brutal and savage, remorseless and unsubtle, a machine with but one purpose -- to kill.
The World Eaters now possess but a single desire in life -- to slay their enemies in savage melee combat and take their skulls for Khorne. To this end, the Legion has cast away their long-ranged weapons completely and have taken up the Chainaxe favoured by Khorne and the Bolt Pistol. Their thirst for blood and slaughter has become such an overpowering addiction that when battle is joined the World Eaters, now all transformed into Khornate Berserkers, rampage across the battlefield, roaring the name of Khorne, all strategy and tactics forgotten in their overpowering thirst for bloodshed. In combat, these frothing, psychotic berserkers are ferocious and will fight to the death, knowing that their own blood is as welcome to the Blood God as that of their enemies. The World Eaters are an army entirely dedicated to and specialised in close combat. Reflecting the breakdown of overall organisation and strategy in the Legion after the Horus Heresy, most World Eater combat consists of rushing a force of World Eater Berserkers towards the enemy line as quickly as possible so they can engage in melee combat. Once locked into close combat, few enemy units can persevere against the World Eaters’ Khornate Berserkers. World Eater armies feature little to no long-range weapons, but they balance this lack with their exceptional close combat and melee prowess. The World Eaters do, however, possess various artillery weapons gifted to them by Khorne.
Though the War Hounds had a reputation for ferocity in battle, they were also known to fight honourably and prided themselves on their fury and courage above all else. To the XIIth Legion, life itself was war, a conflict that never ended from cradle to grave and the Legiones Astartes was this concept in its purest form. Failure in battle was not tolerated, surrender was never countenanced and mercy was a quick death delivered to a foe that had fought with bravery. Cowards themselves deserved no more than savage butchery in reward for their fear. This simple but resolutely brutal code of war was the War Hounds' article of faith and they extended it to both their own number and their enemy.
When they were reunited with their Primarch, the War Hounds were soon influenced by Angron's cultural beliefs and blood rites that would become an important part of the World Eaters' core beliefs as the culture within the XIIth Legion shifted to ever more violent and bloodthirsty mores and values. These became quickly echoed in the shifting skein of the Legion's own rites and ceremonies, and the martial traditions of Old Terra, never strong in the War Hounds who had prided themselves on their fury and courage above all else, disappeared altogether and were replaced by Angron's own red code of butchery and savage competition. When the newly-dubbed World Eaters departed their training world of Bodt under their new master for the first time, it was under the new badge of a great fanged maw poised to crush a life-bearing world, an image that was to prove entirely fitting to describe what was to come.
The arrival of the Primarch Angron brought a primitive, almost tribal unity to the newly renamed World Eaters, and Angron quickly became the example of warriorhood to be aspired to by his Legion. His first and most dubious honour was to be the one Primarch to refuse the Emperor's benevolence and to turn his back on the Imperium's claims of conquest. Angron, master of his doomed slave army, cared nothing for a galaxy's worth of dreams and triumphs. He had wished only to die with those rebels who’d escaped the gladiator pits of Desh'ea with him. This ragged army of his brothers and sisters had been holed up in the mountains with carrion birds and snow bears for company, waiting to starve or fall in battle -- whichever death had come first. The XIIth Legion were told of Angron's refusal of the Emperor's offer when they had first met upon Nuceria. Their Primarch had defied the Emperor, and the War Hounds did not hate Angron for his choice. They worshipped him for it. No Primarch better understood the bonds of brotherhood than one who had turned his back on the Emperor, on the Imperium, on life itself -- so that he could die side by side with his brothers and sisters.
To the Legionaries of the World Eaters, the mutilated, bloody, reeking, wrathful figure that stalked amongst them as their master swiftly became a kind of savage messiah; a greater warrior than any they had known, an exemplar of a brutal ideal of honour and combat that sang to their souls. Angron became to them their first master, displacing for many the loyalty they had once only given to their Emperor, as Angron became their judge, their general and a conqueror whose banner they would follow into the depths of hell. Under his influence, the competitive, hot-blooded tension that had always roiled under the surface of the XIIth Legion's psyche was channelled and given form. Gladiatorial combat, never without blood spilled, and when taken to its extremes, fatal, became both the crux of the World Eaters' training, honing their individual battle skills to a razor's edge, and a vital outlet for the pent-up aggression and frustrated bloodlust of the Legion between war zones.
The World Eaters' thirst for battle was artificially amplified by the use of the surgically implanted Butcher's Nails devices that were similar to the technology that had been implanted within Angron's own skull during his Nucerian gladiator training. Bloodletting was a very common practice carried out by the Astartes of the World Eaters Legion. Angron and his World Eaters were known to cut their left hands and smear the blood on the visors of their helmets before going into a fight. As time went on, blood rites became more and more an important part of the XIIth Legion's rituals. This would eventually culminate in the corrupted Warmaster Horus turning the Legion's savage rituals towards the bloody-handed worship of Chaos, in particular the Blood God Khorne.
Like their fellow Astartes Legions, the XIIth Legion would often take an oath of moment, a final last act before embarking for combat. Each Legionnaire prepares their vows to their fellow brothers in the Legion. What they will do for their Emperor, their Legion and themselves. They witness one another's oaths. Some Legions write them and then decorate themselves with the written oaths on fluttering paper on their Power Armour. But with the coming of Angron, the Primarch introduced to his gene-sons the tradition of the "Triumph Rope." This was something that was shown to Captain Kharn by his Primarch. Angron explained that before a battle one would carve a line in one's body, and after said battle you would either let it heal normally, to show that you were victorious or you would rub some of the dirt from the battlefield into the wound, to show you were defeated. This would cause the scar to appear to be a "red twist" if victorious, or a "black twist" if defeated. Warriors could then keep track of their battle honours and gauge each others prowess. Angron had the longest 'Triumph Rope' within the Legion. A ridge of scar tissue began at the base of Angron’s spine. It traveled up his backbone, then veered to the left and around his body, riding over his hip and curving around to his front. The length of his continuous scar seemed to expand and thin again, ploughing and gouging the skin, in some places vanishing entirely where the Primarch’s healing powers had overcome it. The scar looped around and around Angron’s body, spiraling up over his belly, around his ribs, towards his chest. A little past the right of his sternum, it abruptly stopped. Angron, it was said, had no black twists. When the Emperor spirited Angron away from his world on the eve of battle where he was ready to give his life fighting side-by-side with his fellow slaves, he was denied the right to return to his world. He couldn't pick up the soil to make a black twist. Unable to wear his failure, he was bitter with the Emperor that he couldn't fight alongside them and even more so that he couldn't even commemorate them properly.
Such few honours that the XIIth Legion believed in were warrior-marks of brotherhood and the scars of battle, for these things transcended rank and spoke to the worth of the Space Marine beneath the armour. The sundered chains of one who had fought overwhelming odds and lived, an allusion that spoke to Angron's own bleak history, and the bloody handprint over the face or heart bestowed by a battle leader for a warrior whose fury had transcended that of his brothers, to the World Eaters these meant more than any mere bauble, title or trinket. Examples of such warrior-marks included:
- The use of several versions of the Legion badge of the fanged maw adorning an individual Space Marine's armour, which denoted long service.
- Red striations on a helm could be a personal decoration that echoed the psycho-surgical cortex implantation.
- Red "tears" (more likely blood drops) painted beneath the eye lenses on a helm were thought to denote an Astartes' ritual scarification.
- Kill tally marks were often incised into a vambrace or a warrior's individual weapon. A "crossed-chain" decoration on a vambrace accorded an individual warrior status as having killed a fellow World Eater of higher rank in a sanctioned arena duel.
Before the Horus Heresy, many of the World Eaters had adopted the snarling "Sarum"-pattern faceplace helmet, though by the time of the Heresy, many of the XIIth Legion warriors had begun modifying these distinctive helms with the twin mantles of the caedere remissum -- a dubious honour dating back to the gladiatorial traditions of the Primarch Angron's home world. When a warrior was judged too unstable or damaged to fight anything other than death matches, they would wear the bladed horns of the remissum as a warning to their foes. While Angron himself forbade them amongst his veteran companies, many World Eaters still risked his wrath and eventually the more stylised mantles became synonymous with the warriors of the Khorne Berzerker cults after the Primarch's ascension to daemonhood.
Before the Horus Heresy, the World Eaters' originally wore white Power Armour that was unadorned, save for the chains binding their weapon to their arms. The chains were a personal tradition of the XIIth Legion that had spread even amongst the other Legions from the fighting pits of the World Eaters where the practice had originated. World Eaters would chain themselves together in the fighting pits and duel to the cheers of their brothers. They entered without armour, naked but for loincloths to show they feared no wound, and to prove every warrior would fight on equal ground. For especially deserving legionaries, the XIIth even opened its pits to those born of other bloodlines.
Sigismund, the First Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion, had taken to the custom with his usual zeal, binding his weapons to his wrists on dense black chains. He made an impressive name for himself when he served with the World Eaters within the bowels of the Conqueror, dueling with the XIIth Legion’s finest warriors late in the Great Crusade. The "Black Knight" they had called him, in honour of his prowess, his nobility and his personal heraldry. Often he would be paired with Delvarus of the Triarii, and the two of them won every fight they entered -- always to first blood, never lasting more than half a minute. No one could keep up with them. No one even came close.
Nassir Ammit, a Captain of the Blood Angels Legion, known as the "Flesh Tearer," was another Astartes who earned great glory in the World Eaters’ pits in the days before the Horus Heresy, for he fought with the same savagery and brutality as his hosts, a trait that would later be passed on to the Flesh Tearers Chapter he led after the Heresy. Amit would often be paired with the Apothecary Kargos, and few ever wished to come up against the "Flesh Tearer" and the "Bloodspitter." They were known for always fighting past first blood, third blood and into sanguis extremis (to the death). No dirty trick seemed beyond them, and every one of their matches was a death bout.
One of the more bloody traditions of the World Eaters were gruesome contests of head-taking between members of individual squad members, various squads, and the Chapter's Companies and Captains. This may just have been an easy way to confirm kills, but it has been surmised by Imperial scholars that the World Eaters saw the head of a foe to be important. It is unknown if the totals of collected heads were kept for just single battles, wars, or the warrior's career.
Another ancient Legion tradition is known as a mortuus -- an official report made to the commanding officer of a Legion vessel, listing those Battle-Brothers who had fallen in battle, much as Apothecaries in the other Legions traditionally relayed them to their commanding officers. A mortuus was more than simply a casualty list, it was a remembrance -- a roll of honour, a relic for the Legion to treasure. This often took the form of names and ranks inked upon scrolls or names engraved in brass plaques, or chiseled into stone. These names would then be entered into the ship's Archive of the Fallen; other Legions used different names, such as the Thousand Sons' Dirge, or in the case of the Sons of Horus, the Lamentation. As the World Eaters fully fell into a permanent red haze of rage and blood-soaked madness, they came to care little for recording the names of the dead and the practice of composing a mortuus after every engagement was abandoned like so much else of the Legion's culture.
Now, there is only one thing the World Eaters believe in; the spilling of blood. The sole purpose of their existence is to kill and to shed blood in their god's name. Whether that blood comes from a foe, an ally or even their own veins, it matters not. All that matters is that the pile of bloody skulls laid at the brass throne of Khorne grows ever larger.
Many suspect that Angron's gene-seed was corrupt from the start and the World Eaters were damned the moment they were created. Others point to the known history of Angron and insist that his Legion could have been saved had the signs been noticed earlier. Whichever is correct, the Space Marines of the World Eaters have a physical need to shed blood and kill, a driving imperative that sends them into a berserk fury of unrestrained bloodthirsty psychosis. So strong is the desire to kill that the World Eaters will turn on one another to satisfy their bloodlust should no other foe present itself.
Notable World Eaters
- Angron - Sometimes called the Red Angel, Angron is the Primarch of the World Eaters Traitor Legion of Chaos Space Marines. He was the most bloody-handed and savage of the Primarchs. When Horus began his rebellion, Angron was quick to join in his treachery, but his only true master was the rage and bloodlust within him. He fell to Chaos during the Horus Heresy and was transformed into a Daemon Prince of the Blood God Khorne, through the machinations of his brother Primarch Lorgar, when the World Eaters moved to cleanse Angron's homeworld of Nuceria of all life in vengeance for the atrocities inflicted upon him in his youth.
- Ibram Ghreer (Deceased) - Ibram Ghreer, a Terran-borne Astartes, was a respected general and the Legion Master of the War Hounds who commanded the XIIth Legion for nearly three standard decades until he disappeared without explanation from his taciturn Legion. In truth, he was killed by Angron within the bowels of the flagship Conqueror so that the Primarch could assert his rightful command over the XIIth Legion whose Astartes had been created from his own genetic material. Ghreer was considered to be an axeman to stand with the best of the XIIth Legion's warriors. He had proved to be a poor strategic planner, yet had managed to transform bluntness into a virtue for the XII Legion alongside brutality.
- Kunnar (Deceased) - Kunnar was a War Hound and Champion of the 1st Company, killed by Angron after he assumed control of the XII Legion.
- Shinnargen (Deceased) - Shinnargen was a War Hound and Captain of the 2nd Company, killed by Angron after he assumed control of the XII Legion.
- Khârn the Betrayer - Khârn was once the Captain of the XIIth Legion's elite 8th Assault Company. When Angron was reunited with the XIIth Legion aboard their flagship, then known as the Adamant Resolve, he still raged at being taken by the Emperor and denied the opportunity to fight and die alongside his rebel gladiator comrades' sides during the Battle of Desh'elika. In his blind rage Angron brutally slaughtered, rended and dismembered any who dared come into his presence. Khârn ultimately took it upon himself to convince Angron to take his ordained place at the head of the XIIth Legion, though he took a severe beating in the process. Khârn's fortitude proved to Angron that the War Hounds were worthy successors of his genetic heritage. Angron promoted the man who had shaken him out of his despair to the position of his Equerry, a rank combining the roles of squire, councilor and personal confidante. Yet there were many, both amongst the World Eaters and outside it, who respected Angron's choice but doubted its wisdom: the Equerry's primary role was to serve as a counterpoint to the Primarch's personality and a foil for his decisions. For all his qualities as a warrior, Khârn was neither patient nor particularly subtle, nor a great orator, and instead of guiding and tempering Angron's words and decisions with wisdom, he often was second into the thickest of the fray right behind him. Khârn eventually became a Chaos Champion of Khorne soon after the World Eaters turned to the service of the Chaos Gods. Khârn stood in the forefront of the World Eaters' assault of the Imperial Palace at the Battle of Terra during the closing days of the Horus Heresy and was killed during the vicious, hand-to-hand fighting before the Palace's Eternity Gate. His battered body was discovered laying atop a large mound of Loyalist corpses. When the assault was broken by the defeat of Horus at the hands of the Emperor, his fellow World Eaters found Khârn's body and carried it away. Soon after, they found that Khârn had apparently been resurrected by his patron God, Khorne. After the World Eaters had been driven into the Eye of Terror the entire Legion was ultimately consumed by the bloodlust of Khorne and became his most potent mortal servants, often fighting his eternal battles against his hated rival Slaanesh and the Prince of Pleasure's favoured mortal servants, the Emperor's Children Legion. The Daemon World of Skalathrax in the Eye of Terror was one of the places contested by both Traitor Legions shortly after the end of the Horus Heresy in the 31st Millennium. After a full day of vicious fighting, the terribly frigid Skalathrax night began. Horrified, Emperor's Children and World Eaters alike ran to their shelters, for the freezing night would kill even a Chaos Space Marine in a matter of moments. Khârn raged over being delayed from slaughter for even a single night. Filled with anger when he saw that his brother Chaos Marines were creeping back to the shelters, he took up a flamer and burned them down, slaying with his Chain Axe Gorechild any who tried to stop him. The night was filled with the screams of the dying and the freezing as Khârn strode the streets of the dead city of black stone, killing Emperor's Children and World Eaters alike, burning any shelters he found. The night was lit by flames as the Emperor's Children and the World Eaters fought each other and themselves for the few remaining shelters. By morning, most of the World Eaters were dead, the survivors split into small warbands, the shattered remnants of the once great Companies of the XII Legion. The Legion would never reunite and would remain scattered in warbands for the next ten millennia.
- Dreagher - Dreagher was the Terran-born World Eaters Astartes who served as Captain of the XIIth Legion's 9th Company during the early days of the Great Crusade. After meeting his Primarch for the first time, he promised Angron that under his leadership the War Hounds Legion would become "...the eater of worlds." In this way, Dreagher inadvertently inspired Angron to rename the XIIth Legion the World Eaters.
- Gruner - Centurion Gruner was Terran-born veteran of the War Hounds Legion of Jermanic descent who had served in the Unification Wars. He was the XIIth Legion's grizzled Master of Neophytes and a formidable warrior within the XIIth Legion who prepared newly selected Neophytes for battle upon the training grounds of the War Hounds' vassal world of Bodt. Gruner's bare torso rippled with superhuman strength, sporting an elaborate tattoo of a canine predator tearing into its prey. He was responsible for training the future champion Khârn, and introduced him to "The Contest," the XIIth Legion's well-established tradition of taking 1,000 skulls in battle.
- Shabran Darr - Centurion Shabran Darr, known as "White Eyes," hailed from the Death World of Cuth'vasti. He was marked out as different from his fellow Astartes, possessing sallow stone-grey skin and the white-on-white eyes of its near-Abhuman natives. He was a relatively young World Eaters officer who had risen quickly in his Legions' ranks and distinguished himself in battle many times, earning himself a place in the 11th Assault Company and willingly accepted the Legion's Apothecaries' psycho-surgery to enhance his aggression. It is not known why such a loyal officer was selected for death on Istvaan III, but whatever the reason, Darr took part in the initial assault upon the planet's surface. When it became evident that he had been betrayed by his brothers he became almost insane with hatred, but managed to focus this into a cold, killing rage that allowed him to keep his wits. He was determined to live to kill his enemies rather than die in a blaze of violence as so many other of his Legion had. Darr soon became a leader of a Loyalist World Eaters guerrilla force that made the warren north of the Precentor's Palace in the Choral City their killing ground and there they fought to the bitterest end.
- Ehrlen (Deceased) - Ehrlen was a Loyalist Captain of the World Eaters who took part in the attack on Istvaan III. He led a division of World Eaters Loyalists towards the Precentor's Palace in the Choral City, meeting thousands of civilians who tried to stop them, and with his fellow World Eaters, slaughtered all of them. Ehrlen was encountered by the Emperor's Children Captain Saul Tarvitz, who warned the World Eaters to take cover as the Warmaster Horus was about to virus-bomb the planet. However, Tarvitz's warning came too late, as many World Eaters were too far away from bunkers or other air-tight shelters and were unable to survive the massive bombardment by biological weapons. Captain Ehrlen led the World Eaters' counter-attack on the forces of their Primarch Angron and their traitorous fellow Battle-Brothers, where he is believed to have died at the hands of his Traitor brethren. However, at the end of the fight, a few World Eaters managed to survive and link up with the remaining Loyalist forces on the planet, where they helped drag out the battle against the Traitor forces for a further three months before Horus finally unleashed an orbital bombardment that ended all Loyalist resistance.
- Jeddek - Jeddek was the Standard Bearer of the elite 8th Assault Company under the command of Captain Khârn. At the time of the Horus Heresy, Jeddek was one of the oldest living World Eaters. He’d crusaded across the stars from the Legion’s founding, long before they rediscovered the Primarch’s homeworld, or started recruiting from worlds beyond Terra. He was one of the first successful volunteers to undergo the implantation of the Butcher's Nails neural implants. Having worn the Nails longer than anyone, Jeddek felt nothing outside of slaughter -- no smiles, no tears, nothing. He possessed a dead-eyed glare, murmuring to himself in a low monotone between battles, until he was once again turned loose upon an enemy. Only then could he feel, experiencing a palette of emotions beyond staring at everything and nothing with his face twitching in pained distraction. Jeddek was eventually killed upon Angron's homeworld of Nuceria during the Shadow Crusade by the avenging Ultramarines Legion, who had been tracking Lorgar's whereabouts for the atrocity committed against the Imperial world of Calth.
- Delvarus - Delvarus was a Centurion of the World Eaters, commanding the 44th Company. Specifically he commanded the elite Triarii -- five full companies of the World Eaters' finest shipboard warriors that excelled in void warfare and boarding actions far beyond traditional Legion training. Five hundred of Angron’s best warriors, led by the Legion’s undisputed pit champion, all of whom were vowed and honour-bound to defend the flagship Conqueror. Delvarus had a bad reputation of taking part in planetary assaults with the rest of the XIIth Legion, "neglecting" to inform command of his intentions. Delvarus was one of the few World Eaters not to shave his head. The discomfort of hair in his helm was irrelevant; he’d never cut his long black locks. This may have been a habit from his former culture. In the pits, he wore it loose. His dark skin marked his genesis in the jungles of whatever world he once called home. Like many World Eaters, Delvarus was inducted from a planet conquered in the Legion’s earliest decades rather than from a specific homeworld. No Legion except the Ultramarines was as diverse, coloured by so many shades of skin from so many different worlds, reflecting a diversity of flesh overruled by the bonds of brotherhood.
- Skane - Skane was a Sergeant of the World Eaters, commanding the Destroyer Squad in the elite 8th Company under the command of Captain Khârn. Skaen's pale skin showed an unhealthy lightning-storm of veins and blood-bruises staining his flesh, from proximity to his own toxically lethal weaponry. He often spent many hours watching medical diagnostic hololiths picturing the exact radiation degeneration of his body from his long years of service. Offered the chance to leave the Destroyeres, he flatly refused. His neck was collared in dark metal, forming armour around his augmetic throat. An aggressive cancer had stolen his vocal chords, but the Apothecary Kargos had given him new ones.
- Kharad Huygan - Huygan was an Assault Legionary and a Terran Veteran of long-standing, deployed with the first wave sent to reconquer Istvaan III. He is recorded as being part of the assault force sent to take possession of a northern sector communications relay. His fate following the firestorm after the initial bombardment by the Life-eater virus remains unknown.
- Juljak Nul (Deceased) - Juljak Nul, known as "The Storm Walker," was a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought of the World Eaters Legion. Nul had the dual distinctions of being the first Master of Ordnance of the XIIth Legion -- later known as the War Hounds -- and being one of the first of the Legion's officers interned within a Dreadnought frame after being horribly mutilated by Slaugth murder-minds at Rangda. An Imperial Loyalist, he was betrayed to his death at Istvaan III and was finally destroyed during the great battle between his Legion's two factions following Angron's landing, carrying many of his former brothers with him into death's embrace.
- Lhorke, "The First" - Lhorke was a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought of the War Hounds Legion who was the former Legion Master of the XIIth Legion until he "died" on the world of Jeracau. But he was resurrected, honoured for his service and became the XIIth Legion's first Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought. He served as the leader of the first War Hounds to be interred within Dreadnoughts before the techniques for the creation of those cybernetic veterans had been perfected. Though they were unstable and volatile, his thirteen Dreadnought Battle-Brothers, interred within prototype Lucifer and Deredo Pattern Dreadnought chassis, variously abandoned or intentionally forgotten by the rest of the Legion, still listened to Lhorke as they had in life. Lhorke lived and died as a War Hound in the decades before the arrival of Angron, before the XIIth Legion took the name Eaters of Worlds to honour the Primarch's slain army of rebel gladiators, the Eaters of Cites. Lhorke's chassis still displayed the old Legion scratch kill-markings and on his breastplate he bore the armoured wolf's head, collared by a chain around its throat. He never received the kiss of the cortical implants known as the Butcher's Nails in his brain pan, though it would have been easy enough. Given his circumstances, beating the Butcher's Nails into his skull came with significant risk, and he was a relic by any virtue of the word. The World Eaters feared to risk him in the surgery, so he remained one of the few War Hounds among the rising ranks of the World Eaters. He was disgusted by the changes wrought upon his Legion by Angron, especially the forced mutilation of his Battle-Brothers' minds, which had turned his once noble warrior-brethren into half-lobotomised madmen who abandoned all notions of honour when they lost themselves to the berserker rage. Even so, Lhorke did not hate his brothers, but he did blame them. Every time he awoke from stasis, he was shocked by the continued degradation of his former Legion, particulalrly after Angron chose to betray the Emperor of Mankind. What tore at Lhorke most was the purge of the XIIth Legion conducted at the Istvaan III Atrocity, when the Traitor World Eaters had slaughtered their own brothers with impunity. During the culmination of the Shadow Crusade upon Angron's homeworld of Nuceria, the remaining Librarians of the XIIth Legion attempted to save their Primarch, who they perceived was falling prey to some type of unnatural sorcery at the hands of Lorgar, the Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion. Lhorke fought alongside Vorias' cabal of Librarians, killing the Ultramarines who battled like lions in the doomed hope of helping their Primarch Roboute Guilliman as he sought to slay Angron. Angered by Lorgar's attempts to corrupt his Primarch and his Battle-Brothers, Lhorke could no longer countenance what was happening to his Legion. The World Eaters had suffered enough. The madness wrought by the Butcher's Nails implants was already enough of a curse, and Lhorke was determined that his Legion would not endure corruption as well. Lhorke attacked Lorgar, his huge claw crashing against the Primarch's breastplate, throwing him from his feet. Seeing his brother in distress, the metamorphosising Angron roared with rage and came to his brother's aid. The metamorphosis of Angron into a Daemon Prince had not yet completed, and the Primarch's flesh blazed with eldritch fire. Beneath the fire, Lhorke saw a sliver of what was coming to be. Lhorke never saw the transformation complete. The Daemon Primarch's own claws crashed against his chassis, tearing the Contemptor Dreadnought's shell apart, and sending its wreckage tumbling across the ground. The biological revenant that was Lhorke himself -- a crippled and withered near-corpse -- broke against the rough earth, still trailing its life support cables and milky with amniotic fluid. It gave one breath, a sudden, sharp inhalation, and then Lhorke moved no more, a terrible monument to his failure to prevent the World Eaters from being consumed by Chaos.
- Hellesek - Hellesek was one of the first War Hounds to be interred as a Dreadnought before the techniques had been perfected. Though they were unstable and volatile, his thirteen early Dreadnought Battle-Brothers, interred within prototype Lucifer and Deredo Pattern Dreadnought chassis, variously abandoned or intentionally forgotten by the rest of the XIIth Legion, still listened to Lhorke as they had in life. Hellesek possessed two crushing Dreadnought-sized Power Fists as his primary weapons.
- Krydal - Krydal was one of the first War Hounds to be interred as a Dreadnought before the techniques had been perfected. Though they were unstable and volatile, his thirteen early Dreadnought Battle-Brothers, interred within prototype Lucifer and Deredeo Pattern Dreadnought chassis, variously abandoned or intentionally forgotten by the rest of the XIIth Legion, still listened to Lhorke as they had in life. Krydal's sarcophagus was bolted into his chassis, still damaged from battle, blessed and consecrated by holy oils but installed without his delicate vocabulator circuitry in place.
- Neras - Neras was one of the first War Hounds to be interred as a Dreadnought before the techniques had been perfected. Though they were unstable and volatile, his thirteen early Dreadnought Battle-Brothers, interred within prototype Lucifer and Deredeo Pattern Dreadnought chassis, variously abandoned or intentionally forgotten by the rest of the XIIth Legion, still listened to Lhorke as they had in life. Neras was the worst of his brothers, and often awoke from stasis enraged, forever lost to the madness of the Butcher's Nails implants, even while he slumbered in stasis. Between battles he had to have his chassis chained up, securing him in case he went on a bloody rampage with his massive Dreadnought-sized Chainswords when he was awoken. Once awoken, Neras was often still frantic and fierce, but always managed to come back from the mental precipice and function as a powerful addition to any assault by the XIIth Legion.
- Styvath the Berzerker - Styvath was a Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought of the World Eaters Legion who was barely controllable and subject to indiscriminate and savage bouts of rage thanks to the unpredictable interaction between his psycho-surgical implants and the Dreadnought's cybernetic control systems. Styvath was kept in a deep coma between battles. At Istvaan III he was unleashed by Drop Pod and rampaged across the battlefield, caring not who he killed.
- Mica Vulkov (Deceased) - Vulkov was a section leader for a World Eaters Tactical Squad attached to the first wave on Istvaan III, and he managed to survive the virus bombardment by virtue of being engaged against Istvaanian rebels in the depths of a manufactory unit during the initial attack. Incensed to the point of madness by his Legion's betrayal, he fought relentlessly against them, finally falling alongside Loyalist Death Guard forces in the northern zone of the Choral City.
- Dharkalon - Dharkalon, the self-proclaimed "Bone-King" of Cylena, is an ancient relic Contemptor Dreadnought who leads his own warband of World Eaters Chaos Space Marines. By 505.M40, the ancient warrior interred within this Dreadnought had ruled the Feral World of Cylena for over a millennium after his warband was stranded there at the outset of the Storm of Woe. Long dedicated to the Blood God Khorne, whose skull rune is repeated across his armour, Dharkalon eschews ranged weaponry in favour of a pair of mighty Power Claws, their serrated blades encrusted with the blood of countless defeated rivals and foes. It is said that Dharkalon delights in employing the claws' in-build Combi-Bolters to shred foes caught within his lethal grasp.
- Skraal - Skraal was a Loyalist Captain of the World Eaters who was most notable for his participation in the hunt for the traitorous Word Bearers' unique Battleship, the Furious Abyss. When the Ultramarines vessel Fist of Macragge was destroyed under mysterious circumstances, the Ultramarines Fleet Commander Lysimachus Cestus assembled an ad hoc strike force to investigate the warship's destruction. Skraal and his World Eaters worked alongside Battle-Brothers from the Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and the Ultramarines. Skraal led his World Eaters in a bold raid on the starport of Bakka Triumveron in an attempt to board the Word Bearers' vessel called the Wrathful. On that vessel the World Eaters valiantly fought against daemonic boarders. Those few World Eaters that survived were then led by Captain Skraal and an Ultramarines officer named Antiges during a daring sabotage mission aboard the Furious Abyss. Once on-board, the mission nearly ended in disaster when the Loyalist strike force was all but annihilated with the exception of Skraal. The World Eaters Captain managed to successfully avoid capture or being killed for several weeks, until he was finally able to link up with another Loyalist strike force under the command of Captain Cestus. Skraal willingly sacrificed himself to buy both Cestus and the Wolf Lord Brynngar Sturmdreng time to sabotage and destroy the Furious Abyss. The volatile World Eater savagely cleaved his way through the bodyguard of the Dark Apostle Zadkiel, suffering a score of mortal wounds until he was finally halted by a point-blank Bolt Pistol shot. Before collapsing from his wounds, Skraal managed one final fateful swing, cleaving Zadkiel's Bolt Pistol and hand. Enraged, the Dark Apostle impaled the World Eater Captain through the head with his Dark Crozius, killing him.
- Macer Varren - A Captain of the World Eaters Legion, Varren remained steadfastly loyal to the Emperor of Mankind when his Legion became corrupted by Chaos and threw in its lot with the Warmaster Horus during the Horus Heresy. He would later be recruited in the early 31st Millennium by Nathaniel Garro, a former Death Guard Battle-Captain, to become one of the seven Astartes who would form the core of what eventually evolved into the Grey Knights Space Marine Chapter. According to some legends, Varren was originally thought to have played a part in the seizing of the Death Guard Frigate Eisenstein during the virus bombing of Istvaan III, which was used by Garro to carry warning to the Emperor of the Warmaster Horus' betrayal.
- Secutor-Sergeant Zkorroth - Secutor-Sergeant Zkorroth was a senior squad leader within the Terminator Company of the World Eaters Legion's 3rd Chapter during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. He was known as something of a tyrant within the ranks of the 3rd Chapter, having clawed his way to senior squad command rank as much by the domination of his peers as by the blood he shed in the wars of the Great Crusade. He is known to have slain at least three of his own brother Legionaries as punishment for what he regarded as lack of respect or commitment to the Great Crusade. It is said that Zkorroth finally found his true calling upon the cratered killing grounds of Istvaan III during the Istvaan Atrocity, revelling in the opportunity to test his strength and courage against so mighty an enemy as his own fellow Astartes. Witnesses claim that later, as the Loyalist Drop Pods streaked through the clouded skies of Istvaan V during the Drop Site Massacre, Zkorroth strained and bayed as a beast on the leash, so eager was he to spill the blood of his foe. His status after the conclusion of the Horus Heresy is currently unknown.
- Vorias - Vorias was the Lectio Primus of the World Eaters' waning Librarius Division in the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Following the discovery of their Primarch Angron, it was not long before he introduced his own traditions upon his Legion, especially in regards to the use of the infamous neural implants known as the Butcher's Nails. Unfortunately, the Nails didn't take too well to those with psychic abilities, causing many within the Librarius to die horribly due to adverse reactions. Vorias worked in tandem with the World Eaters Apothecarion and the senior Magos of the XIIth Legion in trying to determine the reasons the Nails reacted so poorly in the presence of psychic minds. But this research was soon abandoned when the remaining Librarians realised that no one outside of their coterie cared about their well-being. Despite being ostracised and shunned by his non-psychic brethren, Vorias accepted his lot within the Legion, for he knew that his very presence caused them pain. Vorias was sanguine, accepting the truth beneath it all: he wasn’t one of them. They were World Eaters. He was a War Hound. During the culmination of the Shadow Crusade upon Angron's homeworld of Nuceria, the remaining Librarians attempted to save their Primarch, who they perceived was falling prey to some type of unnatural sorcery at the hands of Lorgar, the Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion. Seeing his brother in distress, the newly ascended Daemon Primarch turned upon the creatures which had caused him so much pain over many decades. Vorias died an agonising death due to Angron's overpowering rage.
- Esca - Esca was a Codicier of the World Eaters' waning Librarius Division in the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Like the few remaining Librarians within the Legion, Esca was not implanted with the neural implants known as the Butcher's Nails due to their adverse affects upon those with psychic abilities. He served in the elite 8th Assault Company as a part of Captain Khârn's command squad. Esca was the only man in the 8th Company to lack the Butcher's Nails, and therefore the only man who was shunned by his fellow warriors. Esca was brutally scarred, even by Legiones Astartes standards. His face was a smeared mess of pebbled scar tissue -- all part of the legacy of the Loyalist Death Guard Chainsword that had torn his features away during the brutal fighting that occurred during the Istvaan III Atrocity. Though a formidable warrior and powerful psyker, his innate abilities were looked upon as being useless. During the culmination of the Shadow Crusade upon Angron's homeworld of Nuceria, the remaining Librarians attempted to save their Primarch, who they perceived was falling prey to some type of unnatural sorcery at the hands of Lorgar, the Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion. Seeing his brother in distress, the newly ascended Daemon Primarch turned upon the creatures which had caused him so much pain over many decades. Esca was the last Librarian to be killed at the hands of Angron, a bloody offering which sealed the pact between the Blood God Khorne and the doomed World Eaters Legion.
- Damarkien - Damarkien was a Codicier of the World Eaters' waning Librarius Division in the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Like the few remaining Librarians within the Legion, Damarkien was not implanted with the neural implants known as the Butcher's Nails due to their adverse affects upon those with psychic abilities. Like his fellow Librarians, he was ostracised and shunned from the company of his fellow non-psychic battle-brothers. During the culmination of the Shadow Crusade upon Angron's homeworld of Nuceria, the remaining Librarians attempted to save their Primarch, who they perceived was falling prey to some type of unnatural sorcery at the hands of Lorgar, the Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion. Seeing his brother in distress, the newly ascended Daemon Primarch turned upon the creatures which had caused him so much pain over many decades and killed the remaining Librarians himself.
- Haskal - Haskal was a Codicier of the World Eaters' waning Librarius Division in the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Like the few remaining Librarians within the Legion, Haskal was not implanted with the neural implants known as the Butcher's Nails due to their adverse affects upon those with psychic abilities. Like his fellow Librarians, he was ostracised and shunned from the company of his fellow non-psychic battle-brothers. During the culmination of the Shadow Crusade upon Angron's homeworld of Nuceria, the remaining Librarians attempted to save their Primarch, who they perceived was falling prey to some type of unnatural sorcery at the hands of Lorgar, the Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion. Seeing his brother in distress, the newly ascended Daemon Primarch turned upon the creatures which had caused him so much pain over many decades. The Primarch's psychic rage caused the Codicier to die from a massive brain haemorrhage.
- Kheyan - Kheyan was a Codicier of the World Eaters' waning Librarius Division in the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Like the few remaining Librarians within the Legion, Kheyan was not implanted with the neural implants known as the Butcher's Nails due to their adverse affects upon those with psychic abilities. Like his fellow Librarians, he was ostracised and shunned from the company of his fellow non-psychic battle-brothers. During the culmination of the Shadow Crusade upon Angron's homeworld of Nuceria, the remaining Librarians attempted to save their Primarch, who they perceived was falling prey to some type of unnatural sorcery at the hands of Lorgar, the Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion. Seeing his brother in distress, the newly ascended Daemon Primarch turned upon the creatures which had caused him so much pain over many decades. When Kheyan attempted to flee, he ran into Angron's Equerry, Khârn. His former fellow-Legionaries gripped the fleeing Librarian and threw him to the ground before their Primarch's mercy. Angron brutally killed the Librarian with his own hands and devoured Kheyan's corpse whole down his now monstrous gullet.
- Ralakas - Ralakas was a Codicier of the World Eaters' waning Librarius Division in the opening days of the Horus Heresy. Like the few remaining Librarians within the Legion, Ralakas was not implanted with the neural implants known as the Butcher's Nails due to their adverse affects upon those with psychic abilities. Like his fellow Librarians, he was ostracised and shunned from the company of his fellow non-psychic battle-brothers. During the culmination of the Shadow Crusade upon Angron's homeworld of Nuceria, the remaining Librarians attempted to save their Primarch, who they perceived was falling prey to some type of unnatural sorcery at the hands of Lorgar, the Primarch of the Word Bearers Legion. Seeing his brother in distress, the newly ascended Daemon Primarch turned upon the creatures which had caused him so much pain over many decades. The Primarch's psychic rage caused the Codicier to die horribly, his skull detonating as though struck by a bolt shell, showering bone fragments and bloody-grey ooze across his last living brothers.
- Lord Crull - Crull was a Chaos Lord of Khorne who led a warband of World Eaters named the Blood Legion of Khorne during the battle for Lorn V.
- The Headsman - "The Headsman" is one of the most brutal of all of the World Eaters Chaos Space Marines known to be active in the Jericho Reach. This individual, whose true name is unknown, has earned the dire moniker "The Headsman" by the countless bloody deeds he has perpetrated across a hundred battlefields and more. First witnessed on the world of Khazant, The Headsman has been encountered leading a warband of his fellow Khornate Berserkers. Of all the bloodthirsty murderers fuelled by the savage essence of Khorne, The Headsman is feared as the most savage and unrelenting. He wields a mighty two-handed Chainaxe with which he beheads his foes, often a dozen with a single sweep. His features are obscured by an executioner’s hood, with little more than his baleful eyes visible. However, it is not just his appearance that has earned The Headsman his title, and it has been noted that his deeds are neither mindless nor random. Rather, The Headsman announces to his followers and all who will listen who his next target will be, and then sets out to slay them at any cost. Such targets are often the leaders or champions of the Imperium’s armies in the Reach, though on occasion they have been spiritual leaders or even high administrators or nobles. None can discern any pattern in The Headsman’s choice of target, but once the name is announced the victim’s doom is all but sealed. To date, The Headsman has announced the name of, and subsequently slain, three Space Marine Company Champions, a Chaplain, seven Imperial Guard Colonels, two Adeptus Titanicus Princeps, a Cardinal-Aquilus, and a Commissar-General.
- Kossolax the Foresworn - Kossolax was a Chaos Lord who supported the 13th Black Crusade and lead a large Khornate warband known as the Foresworn. One particular Chaos Rhino, belonging to the World Eaters Legion, was reportedly present at the Battle of Terra during the Siege of the Imperial Palace, and has been identified on numerous occasions over the millennia since as being the vehicle of Kossolax the Foresworn. The vehicle, identified as Barbarus by its nameplate, is covered in iron spikes, each adorned with the severed head of an Imperial warrior. The records of the Ordo Malleus state that Barbarus belonged to the squad of Sergeant Solax of the World Eaters' 3rd Assault Company before the Horus Heresy, and this individual is thought to be the beast now known as Kossolax the Foresworn. If this is indeed the case, Sergeant Solax has risen to the command of an entire company of Khornate Berserkers in the form of the Foresworn, and Barbarus has served with him and his warband across 10,000 standard years.
- Lord Zhufor - Zhufor, also called Zhufor the Impaler and the Butcher of Vraks, is an infamous Chaos Lord of Khorne who led a mighty warband of the World Eaters known as the Skulltakers during the Siege of Vraks. Millennia ago, he was known as Balzach, a former Sergeant of the Storm Lords Chapter. During the sacking of the hive cities of Paramar, Sergeant Balzach was severely wounded and taken captive by the Traitor Marines of the World Eaters Legion. Balzach was then drugged and subjected to torture and psycho-corrective surgery to alter his brainwave patterns in order to break his Imperial indoctrination. He was turned into a raging psychopathic killer, tall and muscular beyond even his normal Space Marine physique, and reborn as Zhufor.
- Fabrikus - Fabrikus is an infamous Apothecary of the World Eaters Traitor Legion. Fabrikus' name is a dark legend in the Apothecarion of every Space Marine Chapter. A brilliant man, he served with the elite 1st Company of the World Eaters, gaining distinction as a warrior and as a surgeon, before following his Primarch Angron into the service of the Ruinous Powers. In the centuries since the Horus Heresy, his name has become a byword for perverse experimentation. Some said he was even behind many of the mutations undergone by the Chaos Space Marines: the fusion of flesh to armour of the World Eaters, the hellish combination of near-dead warrior and implacable war machine that was a Chaos Dreadnought. His masters required more Space Marines, more than could be provided by the harvest of the gene-seed from those already serving their unholy purpose. Fabrikus had spent the centuries experimenting with the other intelligent races available to him, but the gene-seed refused to take, or else it produced mutations that were unhelpful. Therefore, he had decided to return to take up his earlier role as an Apothecary and harvest the Progenoid Glands from a more pure source, unaffected by the energies of the Warp -- that of captured Space Marines loyal to the Emperor. In this way, these new measures would help ensure his success in the creation of new types of Astartes loyal to the Ruinous Powers of the Warp and unstoppable in battle.
- Kargos, "Bloodspitter" - Kargos was an Apothecary of the elite 8th Assault Company as a part of Captain Khârn's command squad during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. He was known throughout the XIIth Legion by his pit-fighting name "Bloodspitter," earning the epithet for his habit of spitting blood into the eyes of his opponents, the oldest of tricks, when fighting in the World Eaters' fighting pits in the belly of their flagship Conqueror. When the World Eaters deemed those of other bloodlines worthy to fight within their fighting pits, Kargos was often paired with Ammit, a fierce Captain of the Blood Angels Legion, known as the "Flesh Tearer," for he fought with the same savagery and brutality as his hosts, a trait that would later be passed on to the Flesh Tearers Chapter he led after the Heresy. Few ever wished to come up against the "Bloodspitter" and the "Flesh Tearer." They were known for always fighting past first blood, third blood and into sanguis extremis (to the death). No dirty trick seemed beyond them, and every one of their matches was a death bout. Kargos was stalwart and ferocious warrior on the battlefields as well. He possessed a caustic wit and was never afraid to make light of a desperate situation through the use of dark humour, making his brothers laugh with great mirth.
- Akraghar, Berzerker Champion - It was Akraghar, Berzerker Champion of the World Eaters, who first harnessed a Defiler and bound it to his savage will. During the war for Eclipsion Prime, Akraghar leapt from the flames of a burning hivespire onto the legendary Defiler known as "Slaughterfiend" and forced the daemon within the hell engine to submit to his will. He rode the daemon-machine through the shattered hive city like a dark knight upon a hellish stallion, descending upon his foes in a vengeful maelstrom of fire and blade. To the present day, the most reckless Chaos Space Marine Berserkers will attempt to emulate Akraghar's deed and capture a Defiler and ride their own Slaughterfiend to war.
- Roghrax Bloodhand - This formidable Khornate Berserker has amassed more human skulls than he knows what to do with. He has sworn to collect a skull from every warrior species in the galaxy and offer them up to the Skull Throne of his master, Khorne. Bloodhand's masterwork took a dramatic turn when he was presented with a new opportunity to test his martial skills in 992.M41, with the coming of the Tyranid fleets. Hastening to the Eastern Fringe, the maniacal trophy collector led his Chaos warfleet directly into the path of Hive Fleet Kraken. Bloodhand was delighted at the prospect of collecting such large and impressive xenos skulls, and soon reaped a grisly bounty from the foul aliens.
- Scyrak the Slaughterer - During the Horus Heresy, Librarians in the other Space Marine Legions that dedicated themselves to the Ruinous Powers were granted new psychic abilities and malefic powers. The only exception were the Librarians of the World Eaters. As part of a bloody sacrifice to their new master, the Librarians of the World Eaters were hunted down and slaughtered by their brother Astartes, as Khorne despises all practitioners of the sorcerous arts. The killing came to a head when the World Eaters hero Scyrak the Slaughterer slew the Legion's Chief Librarian, thus removing the last obstacle to the Legion's bloody fall to the Eightfold-Path and their service to the Skull Throne. There is some dispute to Scyrak's odious claim that he slew the last Librarian, but since the truth of these events surrounding the eradication of the Legion's Librarians occurred ten millennia ago, only those who were there would be able to confirm the veracity of his claims.
During the Horus Heresy the World Eaters Legion fleet is known to have possessed the following vessels:
- Conqueror (Gloriana-class Battleship) - The Conqueror was the flagship of the Primarch Angron and the XIIth Legion during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy.
- Blood Shrike (Strike Cruiser)
- Dedicated Wrath (Capital Ship, Unknown Class)
- Gladiator (Capital Ship, Unknown Class)
- Gatts' Charge (Capital Ship, Unknown Class)
- Industrious (Capital Ship, Unknown Class)
- Justified Aggressor (Capital Ship, Unknown Class)
- Merciless (Battleship)
- Silent Fury (Strike Cruiser)
- Cardoc (Transport Ship)
First as the War Hounds and then in their new incarnation as the World Eaters, the XIIth Legion wore white coloured Power Armour with blue on the shoulder plates and parts of the power pack. The Astartes of this Legion often modified their armour by adding large spikes on the shoulder plates to not only evoke fear but also to turn the armour's surface into a weapon in its own right. A brazen coloured helm would denote Veteran status. When the World Eaters gave into their bloodlust and fell to the corrupting influence of the Blood God, their white and blue heraldry gave way to blood red and brass, the favored colours of Khorne, although one can often find some pieces of the World Eaters’ original heraldry in individual pieces of their armour. While most World Eaters retain their original Legion badge, the Mark of Khorne, as well as other Chaos icons and symbols like the Star of Chaos, often supplement it. In battle, the World Eaters almost exclusively employ Chainaxes and Chainswords to maximise blood spillage, although some of the most powerful warriors of the Legion use arcane power or daemonic Khornate weapons infused with the power of a daemon of the Blood God. Other Renegade Space Marines that have given in to the pull of Khorne since the end of the Horus Heresy have adopted the look of the World Eaters, but few can compare to the experience that thousands upon thousands of battles across some 10,000 standard years has brought to the original World Eaters. What was once the most effective shock assault force in the galaxy is now a terrifying collection of savage berserkers and insane, psychotic killing machines that live only to spill blood and take skulls for their master Khorne.
As the War Hounds Legion, the original XIIth Legion badge was that of a large red hound, rampant, centred on a field of white. This symbol was reminiscent of the epithet given to them by the Emperor Himself, for the XIIth Legion reminded him of the white war hounds the Yeshk warriors in the north of Terra once used. After their reunion with their Primarch Angron when they were redubbed the World Eaters, their Legion badge changed to that of a great red fanged maw poised to crush a life-bearing world, centred on a field of dark blue. This iconic image was to prove entirely fitting to describe what was to come for the World Eaters. The maw was a literal representation of their Legion's name, the World Eaters, as well as the brutal violence wrought on those enemies whom failed to comply with the tenets of the Imperial Truth and allow themselves to be brought into the folds of the burgeoning Imperium. After their corruption, many World Eaters Legionaries began incorporating Khorne's stylized skull-rune which is either painted or carved onto their Power Armour. The World Eaters' Khornate Berserkers are also sometimes seen wearing a variant of their original Legion iconography of the fanged maw engulfing a planet superimposed over the eight-pointed star of Chaos.
- Apocalypse (Game Supplement), pg. 171
- Apocalypse: Reload (Game Supplement), pg. 58
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Blood (RPG), pp. 16, 22, 25-26, 28-29
- Citadel Journal 20, "The Slaughterer of Khorne: Scyrak The Slaughterer, Chosen of Khorne, Slayer of Armies, Word Eaters Khorne Berzerker," pp. 91-96
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 9-10, 13, 23-24, 44, 52
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 12-13, 24, 36, 48-49, 67, 91
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pp. 5, 8, 29, 48-49
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex), pp. 26, 32
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), pp. 18, 21-22, 31, 40-41, 100-101
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition), pg. 16
- Dawn of War: Winter Assault (Video Game)
- Deathwatch: First Founding, pp. 82-83
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions, pp. 38, 195, 301, 376, 384
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, p. 26
- Index Astartes Volume III, "Chosen of Khorne - The World Eaters Space Marine Legion"
- Realms of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness, pp. 258-262
- Imperial Armour - The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal, pp. 40-41, 44-47, 49-54, 58-59, 84-101, 250-255
- The Sabbat Worlds Crusade (Background Book) by Dan Abnett, p. 65
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 183, 199, 228, 298, 386
- White Dwarf 313 (US), "Frenzy of the Blood God", pp. 126-129
- White Dwarf 286 (UK), "Index Astartes: the Eye of the Storm - Blood Angels", pp.68-69
- White Dwarf 275 (UK), "Index Astartes: Beasts of Steel - Chaos Space Marines tanks - The Rhino"
- White Dwarf 234 (US), "Red Rage - Khorne World Eaters Conversions", pp. 41-45
- White Dwarf 231 (US), "Don't Lose Your Head: World Eaters - Conversions, Painting, Tactics" & "Blood for the Blood God! - Bo Tolstrup's Khornate Chaos Army", pp. 14-21
- White Dwarf 230 (US), "WH40K 3rd: Bitter and Twisted - Khârn the Betrayer", p. 42
- White Dwarf 227 (US), "Chapter Approved: Chaos, Khârn the Betrayer", pp. 73-80
- White Dwarf 201 (US), "The Betrayer", pp. 87-90
- White Dwarf 153 (US), "The World Eaters: Chaos Space Marines", pp. 4-10
- Dark Imperium (Anthology), "The Wrath of Khârn" by William King
- False Gods (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Galaxy In Flames (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Battle for the Abyss (Novel) by Ben Counter
- Age of Darkness (Anthology) edited by Christian Dunn, "Rebirth" by Chris Wraight and "The Face of Treachery" by Gav Thorpe
- Tales of Heresy (Anthology) edited by Nick Kyme and Lindsey Priestley, "After Desh'ea" by Matthew Farrer
- Garro: Legion of One (Audio Book) by James Swallow
- Butcher's Nails (Audio Drama) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Betrayer (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- The Weakness of Others (Novella) by Laurie Goulding
- Chosen of Khorne (Audio Drama) by Anthony Reynolds
- Conquest of Armageddon (Novel) by Jonathan Green
- The Traitor's Hand (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
- The Talon of Horus (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Dark Imperium (Anthology), The Wrath of Khârn by William King
- Khârn - Eater of Worlds (Novella) by Anthony Reynolds