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Zardu Layak, better known by his epithet, the "Crimson Apostle", was the ambitious commander of the Unspeaking Chapter, of the Word Bearers Legion, during the latter years of the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. During the Battle of Calth, the "Crimson Apostle" Zardu Layak and his Ashen Circle destroyer units, were charged with enacting some of the worst civilian massacres of the opening hours of the battle. This chapter was known to have largely retreated from the planet's surface during the final hours of the war, and would go onto further infamy in the Shadow Crusade. Zardu Layak's current whereabouts are unknown.
Known as the "Thrice-Born," "The Binder of Souls," and "The Voice of the Unspeaking," Zardu Layak's true name is now lost, but it is recorded in his Legion's lore that he was once an officer of the Ashen Circle, a Terran by birth, and a devout destroyer of all that pertained to false superstition and errant creed. He oversaw the burning of a hundred temples and countless tomes of lies in the Emperor's service. That was until the Word Bearer's brutal censure by their ultimate master. As Primarch Lorgar led his Legion into the wilderness after their punishment on Monarchia, Layak was contrite and ashamed, soul-sick and lost, and quickly a fervent convert to Erebus' and Lorgar's new teachings in which he sought solace, but even this did not fill the terrible void within him. So it was that when he began to receive visions in which he believed his Primarch spoke to him directly, he concealed them from others for fear his shame had driven him mad. In those visions the golden-skinned apparition of Lorgar bade him to reconsider his work, not to burn the books and lore he encountered, but to read them, covet them, to search in them for the hidden truths that the Emperor had not wished his sons to know. Word upon word, rune upon rune, glyph upon glyph was a new creature born, a creature who named himself from the Book of Lorgar, using the ancient practice of Sortilege, as Zardu Layak, "Eater of Wisdom", but who came to be known more swiftly by his Legion as the "Crimson Apostle" for his fiery raiment and the scalding blood in which he daily daubed his armour.
Assigned to the Chapter of the Ochre Gate as its apostle by Erebus, who sought to channel his fervour, Zardu Layak quickly proved more than a mere voice of the First Chaplain. Soon the chapter began to seek missions of its own, away from its parent Legion for long stretches, and each time it returned it was further changed. Like a cancer, Zardu Layak had embedded himself deeper into its carcass, so that after a time, the Ochre Gate was no more and now the Chapter of the Unspeaking stood in its place, with Zardu Layak its de facto master. Though First Captain Kor Phaeron was disquieted by the Crimson Apostle's growing power, much of which he would keep hidden until the atrocity on Calth, Lorgar pronounced himself pleased by Zardu Layak and his devotion to the word of the Primordial Truth, assigning the Unspeaking and their master to command a key assault at Calth, though so changed had they become that complete concealment was needed for them until the hour came to strike.
Following the events of the Horus Heresy, the whereabouts of Zardu Layak and the Chapter of the Unspeaking, is currently, unknown.
- Artificer Armour
- The Azurda Char'is - This weapon is Zardu Layak's force stave. Not a member of his Legion's Librarius, it is unknown how the Crimson Apostle acquired this potent artefact, or by what hidden lore he has modified it to his usage.
- Panoply of Flame - An inheritance of his days as a Centurion-Iconoclast of the Ashen Circle of the XVIIth Legion, the Panoply of Flame serves both as a war banner to invigorate those under his command and as a weapon to turn on his enemies -- Zardu Layak's warp-gifts allowing him to mould the unclean flame the Panoply now produces by will alone.
- Bolt Pistol
- Frag & Krak Grenades
- The Horus Heresy - Book Five: Tempest, by Alan Bligh, pp. 105, 250-251
- Forge World - Zardu Layak & Anakatis Kul Blade-Slaves