Zahariel, born Zahariel El'Zurias, was a native born on the Death World of Caliban during the period of history before the arrival of the Emperor and the Imperial Compliance of his home world during the Great Crusade. Zahariel left his home at the age of seven to journey to the great fortress-monastery of Aldurukh, home of "The Order," one of the most prominent knightly orders of warrior-aristocrats created to defend Caliban's people from the predations of the Great Beasts that roamed the world's forests. These knights maintained a few aspects of Caliban's ancient technology from before the Age of Strife and wielded primitive Bolt Pistols and wore suits of simple Power Armour very similar to that later used by the Astartes that were handed down from knight to knight. Despite these technological trappings, however, Caliban remained very much a pre-industrial society whose warriors rode to war on horseback. One of the most prominent knightly organisations was known as The Order, and was made up of commoners and nobles alike, whereas the other knightly orders were drawn by tradition only from the Calibanite nobility. During that time, The Order was led by two formidable warriors that were proclaimed to be the greatest of the age -- Sars Luther and Lion El'Jonson. Accompanied by his cousin, Nemiel, Zahariel succeeded in becoming a supplicant to The Order, and began his intense training, in earnest, that would occupy his every waking moment for the next two years of his young life. When he was finally judged to be suitable by his Master, Remiel, he was formally initiated by a panel that consisted of Lion El'Jonson, Sars Luther and the Lord Cypher, and became a full member of The Order.
Years passed, and Zahariel's standing within the Order grew. His first fight with one of the Great Beasts during a routine training patrol had almost cost him his life, but it had been the making of him. The senior masters of the Order knew his name, and though the monster had been slain by Zahariel's hero and mentor, Brother Amadis, the knight had ensured that every member of the Order knew of Zahariel's bravery in fighting it. Not long after, Zahariel would undertake a Beast Quest, a daunting undertaking to slay one of Caliban's many dangerous Great Beasts that were indigenous to their world. Upon the successful completion of this quest, he would be guaranteed a promotion as a fully-fledged Knight of The Order. But Zahariel's quest was not just a simple hunt, his was a quest for vengeance, as Brother Amadis had been slain by a Great Beast the locals referred to as the "Beast of Endriago." The town of Endriago was the place of Amadis' birth, and it had suffered nearly two hundred dead at the hands of this ferocious beast. Amadis had declared a quest against the fell creature, but was mortally wounded. Somehow, the older Knight had managed to ride back to the Order's fortress-monastery with the last reserves of his strength. Before dying, he called forth Zahariel, to give his final valediction. With his ebbing strength, he carefully reached for his rotary barrelled pistol and painfully slid it from its leather holster. Lifting the pistol towards the young man, he ordered Zahariel to take it. It was his wish for the young man to carry it with him -- his legacy -- so that he would always remember him when he fired it. As the great Knight died, Zahariel gripped the pistol Amadis had given him in both hands, and hot anger filled him at the thought of the knight's killer still alive and roaming the dark forests. Vehemently, Zahariel declared a quest against the Beast of Endriago.
During his quest to the Northwilds, Zahariel encountered the Watchers in the Dark, a strange race of humanoid creatures of small stature, who warned him of venturing into the forests in the Northwilds, for they were corrupted -- but corrupted by what -- the Watchers would not say. They warned the young Knight of an evil that was the bane of all humanity -- an evil that could not be defeated, but could be held at bay for a time -- but so long as there were humans, it would exist. In hindsight, the Watchers' referral to an ancient evil that was the, "bane of all humanity," was most likely in reference to the inherent evil of the Ruinous Powers. Emboldened by this new knowledge, Zahariel vowed he would do everything in his power to stand against the same evil the Watchers stood against. Sensing the truth in the Knight's words, the Watchers accepted Zahariel's oath. With their warning given, the Watchers made their leave. Continuing his quest, Zahariel sought and eventually found the Beast of Endriago, a great Calibinite Lion, the most feared of all Great Beasts. It was thought that there had been only one in Caliban's history that existed, and that Lion El'Jonson had slain it. Now Zahariel faced the dreaded and greatly feared creature.
While fighting for his life, Zahariel's latent psychic powers manifested -- known as "Terrorsight" -- this ability allowed Zahariel to gain a preternatural awareness of the world around him. His time perception slowed down, which helped him gain impressions of future events, granting him uncanny accuracy in anticipating them. This form of divination allowed him to see through the Great Beast's defenses and to find an opening. Using a secondary ability, Zahariel was able to phase his arm and rotary barrelled pistol through the lion's ghostly outline of its translucent flesh as though it were no more substantial than smoke. Pressing the pistol against the monster's heart, within the ghostly outline of the beast's body, he pulled the trigger. As reality reasserted itself, the beast died in a spectacular fashion. He then removed the lion's head -- as it was customary for a supplicant to take some portion of his quest-creature as a trophy to bring back to Aldurukh. He had proved his ability. He had proved his commitment to the Order's creed of excellence, and he had proved that he was worthy to be a knight.
Recongising his astounding feat of bravery and perseverance, Zahariel became a full-fledged Knight of The Order. He also garnered the respect and friendship of the Lion himself, for they both now shared a singular brotherhood that no others on Caliban could lay claim -- they were the only two in the Order's history have slain a Calibanite Lion. At the Lion's behest, the Order's artificers had taken one of the sabre-like fangs of the lion that Zahariel had slain and fashioned it into a sword for him. Its sheen was a pearlescent white, like a tusk, and its edge was lethally sharp, able to part metal or timber at a single stroke. As long as Zahariel's forearm, it was shorter than a normal sword, but its added potency more than made up for his reduced reach. The Grand Master of the Order presented this "lion-sword" to the newly promoted knight, which would prove to be more potent in battle than any standard blade.
Knights of LupusEdit
Soon after his ascension to knighthood, the Order declared war on the Knights of Lupus, a rival knightly order that had protested against Lion El'Jonson's genocidal campaign against the Great Beasts of Caliban. Led by Lord Sartana, the Knights of Lupus rebelled against the rapid change of their world, as Jonson continued to prosecute his campaign against the great beasts that had long plagued Caliban. Unknown to any outside their order, the Knights of Lupus were capturing and training the beasts. Afraid of what the future held for them, in a world without these fell creatures, the Knights of Lupus wanted to maintain the status quo of their rapidly changing civilisation. The Order marshaled the bulk of their forces and made for the enemy castle stronghold of the Knights of Lupus. While the Order lay siege to the castle, the Lion launched a diversionary assault on the northern gate, while the bulk of the main assault was led by Sar Luther against another gate. The fighting was brutal and relentless, with both sides taking horrendous casualties. But this was as nothing, compared to the horror that the Knights of the Order discovered once they breached the walls of the castle.
The Knights of the Order soon found themselves in a life-and-death struggle as a menagerie of caged beasts roared as they were released from their imprisonment, and charged the Knights of The Order. Sar Zahariel bravely fought as a member of the Order's swordline, and came out of the campaign both blooded as a warrior and recognised as a rising star within the Order. The Knights of Lupus retreated within their keep, content to leave the beasts to do their work for them. The Knights of the Order had nothing but contempt for the knights who had fallen so far from the ideals of honour and virtue that they would stoop to such a base tactic. After defeating the final creature the Knights of the Order assaulted the keep where the Knights of Lupus were cowering. They had forfeited their right to mercy and were to be granted no clemency. When Lord Sartana was confronted, he took the cowards way out and plunged a hunting knife into his own heart. With the death of Lord Sartana, the Knights of Lupus ceased to exist. The last remnants of their order were hunted down in the corridors of their shattered keep and slain.
Descent of AngelsEdit
Six months after his ascension as a Knight of The Order, Zahariel's destiny would change once again. Shortly after the success of the campaign, the Emperor of Mankind and his Astartes scouts arrived on Caliban after they detected the psychic emanations of one of the Primarchs. From the moment the Emperor landed, El'Jonson felt the deep connection between himself and the Master of Mankind, and swore his fealty. In return, the Emperor made the Lion the commander of the Ist Legion of Space Marines that had been created from his genome. The Imperials brought with them all of the advanced technology that was hailed by the people of Caliban as miraculous. Soon, the Astartes of the Ist Legion were putting potential Astartes Aspirants from The Order and the other knightly organisations through myriad martial trials and competitions to gauge their level of martial prowess and character. Only the strongest and most dedicated were allowed to pass to the next stage. Zahariel and Nemiel both took part in this arduous trials, and during one of these formidable tests of endurance, Zahariel's innate psychic powers manifested once again, an unknown third ability -- which granted him the ability to boost his own reserves of stamina and energy. His unusual abilities brought Zahariel the attention of Brother-Librarian Israfael, who, after interrogating the young Knight, quickly deduced that Zahariel possessed an extremely rare psychic ability known as "Terrorsight." Zahariel had possessed no instruction in the use of these abilities and had manifested them instinctively, though in an unfocused manner. Zahariel next drew the attention of someone even greater than that of the Brother-Librarian -- that of the Emperor Himself -- when he was able to foil an assassination attempt intended to be carried out by rogue elements within the Order's Inner Circle. In the aftermath of these events, Zahariel was personally examined by the Emperor, but his memory of this was psychically occluded by the Emperor's powerful psychic abilities. The attempted treason that had occurred within the ranks of The Order was suppressed.
Finally, the day arrived when those individuals whose courage had been proven beyond doubt, whose stamina, endurance and strength had seen them through the Astartes trials were ready to be added to the ranks of the Ist Legion. Word had come from Sar Luther that the Astartes had made their final selection for advanced training and the gen-hancement required to join their ranks. Zahariel had successfully proven his worth and was chosen. Through the application of Imperial science and the marvels of the gene-seed, these Aspirants were transformed over the next several years into Battle-Brothers of the Ist Legion, newly renamed the "Dark Angels" by the Lion after an ancient Calibanite fable.
The newly trained Librarian Zahariel was assigned to the 22nd Chapter of the Dark Angels. Shortly after their entry into the Great Crusade the 4th Expeditionary Fleet of the Dark Angels reached the orbit of the planet Sarosh, which had formerly been commanded by Shang Khan of the White Scars Legion. For whatever reason the Saroshi appeared to intentionally put off compliance. The Imperials believed that these peaceful people seemed to possess the same secular beliefs as they did in the Imperial Truth. But the Saroshi (without mentioning it to the Imperial expedition) secretly worshipped Chaotic entities in the Warp they called the Melachim, and saw the anti-religious stance of the Pre-Heresy Imperium's "Imperial Truth" as unsuppressed evil. Later on, a Sorishi delegation came aboard the Lion's flaghsip, the Invincible Reason. Led by the Lord High Exalter, the leader of the Saroshi bureaucracy, they had agreed to discuss the issue of compliance with the Primarch. The Lord High Exalter then proceeded to formally denounce the Emperor.
Meanwhile, Luther and Librarian Zahariel waited in the embarkation deck to deploy to the surface of Sarosh. Out of curiosity, Luther suggested to his battle-brother to investigate the Saroshi shuttle. The commander's interest was piqued, for the shuttle was thousands of years old -- a functioning relic of an earlier age. Upon further investigation, the Legion's second-in-command went utterly pale. Zahariel noticed the change in Luther, who appeared pallid and had a strange expression. The commander dismissed Zahariel, telling him to rejoin his Company until he was called for. He left the Legion’s second-in-command at the door to the embarkation deck, watching as Luther stared in fascination at the Saroshi shuttle. But the young Librarian's prescience nagged at him with the feeling that something was terribly wrong, and so he rushed back to the embarkation deck. Upon closer inspection of the shuttle he discovered a dark device that had been hidden in a secret compartment of the shuttle's nose.
Luther informed the Librarian that it was some kind of atomic weapon. The Saroshi were obviously intent on assassinating the Dark Angels' entire command hierarchy, including the Primarch. Zahariel was confused by this startling revelation. Why had the commander not revealed this truth earlier? Luther informed the confused Astartes that he had wanted to, but then he thought of what could be his if he didn't: the Legion, command, Caliban. It would all be his, and he would no longer have to share it with someone whose shadow obscured everything that he did. Zahariel argued that the Lion's deeds were great, as were Luther's. Luther countered his argument, explaining that his deeds might have been great in another age, one in which he did not share the span of time as a man like the Lion. In any other age, the glory of leading Caliban from the darkness would have been Luther's, but instead it had gone to his brother. He told Zahariel that he had no idea how galling it was to be the greatest man of the age and have that taken from you in an instant.
After a decade or more, the feelings that had been contained within a dam of honour and restraint was finally crumbling, and Luther's true feelings spilled out. Zahariel had no idea that Luther felt this way. The commander told him that no one did, not even he: not fully, not until he saw the Saroshi shuttle. All he had to do was not lift a finger and walk away, and everything that he had ever wanted would be his. Luther had ordered everyone out of the embarkation deck and walked away, but he hadn't gone more than a few steps before he knew that he couldn't do it. Luther had come to realise that it was an honour to serve a warrior as great as the Lion, and that he was the luckiest man alive to be allowed to call him brother. With the help of the Librarian Zahariel, the two Dark Angels managed to open the embarkation deck's outer doors, blasting the makeshift bomb hurling into the void of space as the deck decompressed. The blast wave from the warhead's detonation only caused minor damage to the flagship. They had managed to save the Lion's life.
During the uprising that followed, the Lion led his Dark Angels to Sarosh's surface. They soon encountered one of the dread Warp entities summoned by the Saroshi. They Melachim threatened to overwhelm the Dark Angels force, including their Primarch, with a powerful psychic assault. Libararian Zahariel would prove instrumental in defeating the fell creature, when he used his bolt pistol to slay the host body so that the vile warp entity could not translate into their reality. The senior Librarian, Israfael, activated the device and a wave of psychic force erupted from the warhead. Seizing on the moment, Zahariel added his psyche, focusing his innate abilities on the foul creature. The powerful psychic attack banished the creature from whence it came.
The Lion's JudgementEdit
No sooner had the Dark Angels returned to the Invincible Reason than they had been issued with new deployment orders. A declaration from the Lion announced that the flow of new recruits from Caliban was not proceeding as swiftly as was hoped. Therefore, experienced Astartes were to return to the homeworld with all speed to ensure that the recruitment of new warriors was put back on track. The Great Crusade was entering a new and vigorous stage, and the Dark Angels needed fresh warriors to take the light of the Imperium onwards. As to the pacification of Sarosh, word had quickly spread of the knowledge that the Saroshi's god had met its demise at the hands of the Emperor's angels of death. Imperial Army units from nearby expedition fleets, as well as a demi-legion of Titans from the Legio Ignatum, were sent to crush any last resistance.
The deployment order was given, as hundreds of loyal warriors were earmarked to return home, including Librarian Zahariel. The sense of crushing dejection was total, and though there was no outward stigma attached to their departure from the fleet, every warrior knew the truth of the matter in their hearts. Their Primarch had rejected them. The Lion did not want them with him for the remainder of the Great Crusade. Those that were to be sent back to Caliban had only made a minor contribution to the cause, so insignificant in the scale of what was to come, that many of their number doubted that the chroniclers would even bother to record the short war on Sarosh. The Great Crusade would continue, though it would continue without Luther.
Fifty years later, following the great success in the recruitment, training, and equipping of new Astartes for the Dark Angels, Luther and his lieutenants were faced by a widespread rebellion on Caliban. Following Librarian Zahariel's investigations, it was revealed that Caliban was plagued by a resurgence of the Great Beasts that once ran amok across their homeworld. This dire threat was further compounded by the insurgency raised against them which included former Knights of the Order who felt that the Lion had betrayed them. At the center of this conspiracy was a mysterious cabal of Terran sorcerers that were somehow linked to the reemergence of the warp-spawned beasts and hordes of undead corpses. Learning of Warmaster Horus' rebellion against the Emperor, Luther decided that in the best of interests of Caliban, he was compelled to declare their world's independence in opposition to both Terra and their Primarch alike.
The Dark Angels had been posted to the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy when word reached them of Horus' treachery against the Imperium. It is known that the Warmaster ordered the Night Lords Traitor Legion to intercept the Dark Angels and prevent them from aiding the Emperor on Terra, but without success. As the Dark Angels were in transit to Terra alongside the Space Wolves Legion, so too was the Ultramarines Legion, who had also thwarted Horus' best efforts to keep them from Terra after the Battle of Calth. The three Legions arrived too late; Horus had been defeated and the Emperor grievously wounded, his shattered body placed within the life-support mechanisms of the arcane Golden Throne. Grief-stricken, Jonson returned to Caliban. Upon the Dark Angels' arrival in orbit, they were fired upon from the surface. Pulling back the fleet, El'Jonson tried to find out what had happened, and discovered that Luther -- who had become embittered by what he perceived as El'Jonson always taking all the glory -- had poisoned the minds of the Dark Angels garrison and the new recruits that had been left on the planet against their Primarch. Correctly believing that Luther and the planet-side Dark Angels had actually been tainted by Chaos, an infuriated Jonson ordered that Caliban be bombarded from orbit, destroying the planet's defences.
In the ensuing apocalyptic battle between the Lion and the Arch-Heretic Luther, the Fallen Angels (including Zahariel) were scattered throughout space and time, and Caliban tore itself apart under the strain of the Ruinous Powers' assault. The only portion of the planet remaining intact was the rock on which stood the fortress-monastery in which Luther and the Lion had dueled. The Dark Angels entered the shattered monastery and captured the broken Luther; of El'Jonson himself, however, there was no sign.
Zahariel's ultimate fate following the events of the Horus Heresy are unknown.