Hello everyone and welcome back to the Primarch Profile series. Last part covered the first 6 legions, Dark Angels, Emperor's Children, Iron Warriors, White Scars, Space Wolves, and the Imperial Fists. Each of the primarchs had pretty basic "rags to riches" stories that ended with them becoming ruler of their planet. Of those six, two turned to Chaos and sided with Horus, Fulgrim fell due to pride and vanity, while Perturabo fell from a lack of hugs. Neither one particularly had a great reason for denouncing their father and throwing the universe into war, but hey, families, amirite? This week is going to be a little different as some of our characters today have reasons. Lets start with my favourite...
VIII - Night Lords - Konrad Curze
Konrad's capsule landed smack dab in the middle of Nostramo Quintus, the largest city of the planet Nostramo. Smashing through multiple levels of urban construct and the planet's crust to finally stop near the planet's liquid core, the hole that was made was covered over and forgotten. Unlike his brothers, Curze was not found and raised by a family or mentor, he was alone until the Emperor arrived. Now to describe Nostramo, it's basically Gotham City at it's worst, rife with corruption, crime, gangs, and all of the violence that comes with it turned up to 11. To say that Konrad rose to the occasion to become the hero the innocent wanted would be a complete fabrication, he became something so much worse, the hero they deserved. That was fun to say, but he really did become a Jeffery Dahmer version of Batman, given the name Night Haunter by the populace he haunted. Except replace the money and gadgets with inhuman strength, stamina, and agility. He brought the city to it's knees through fear by tortured and mutilated bodies of "bad guys" he displayed throughout the city. While his methods may be a little gruesome, his moral compass was relatively intact, exacting punishment only on those who were guilty of some crime. I could go on and on about how interesting this is because he had no one raise him, no code of honour handed down to him, no "father figure" or idol, his morale code was his own and it was not clouded by responsibility, greed, or devotion to any individual, but I really need to move on. Within a year crime had nearly ceased to exist and Curze presented himself to the political council and gave them an ultimatum, join him or die. This made Curze the first planetary ruler Nostramo had ever seen. For ten years he ruled Nostramo, brutally torturing and killing any who sinned and broadcasting the acts of "justice" across the planet enforcing his rule of fear and he accomplished what Batman couldn't, peace and prosperity.
It would be a horrible oversight of mine if I did not talk about Curze's visions, which showed him the future. They were never particularly pleasant visions, and they usually came in the form of a seizure or "fit" or sometimes a flash, but they ALWAYS came true. To him, they were visions of fate, not of possible futures, this is a very important distinction as it's the crux of his character. When the Emperor arrived he showed up with 4 other Primarchs, Dorn, Lorgar, Ferrus, and Fulgrim, and Curze saw each of their futures. Dorn he saw die in a dark tunnel stabbed by hundreds of blades, we know that Dorn will eventually die on a Chaos Space Marine ship. Lorgar was screaming at a burning sky wreathed in psychic power and as we will soon find out, he gains incredible gifts from the Chaos gods. Ferrus Manus is just an eyeless head thanks to Fulgrim at Istvaan IV. Lastly he sees Fulgrim as an ethereal snakelike being, and we know he ascends to Daemon Princehood. When the Emperor stepped up Curze was rocked by a vision so powerful it brought him to his knees. We don't know what it was but when the Emperor called him by name (which he had never heard before) and said he was bringing Curze home, Curze renounced the name and said "My people gave me a name, and I will bear it until my dying day. And I know full well what you intend for me." After Curze left, Nostramo eventually returned to it's former ways and began enlisting criminals for the ranks of the Astartes instead of the best and brightest. Curze would drive his Legion to further acts of violence and butchery using fear to conquer planets as only he knew how. Yet the Emperor did not openly punish him as he had with several other legions and Primarchs. All the while Curze is having visions of his own death at the hands of the Emperor and Astartes fighting Astartes, which is yet unheard of. When he reveals that last vision to Fulgrim and Dorn, Dorn rebuffs Curze which results in a fight leaving Dorn badly injured. It doesn't take much to convince Curze to go against the Emperor. After the battle of the Imperial Palace, Curze takes his Legion to Tsagualsa where he waits for the assassin to take his head which, of course, happens. He tells his Legion to let it happen, and they do. The thing to remember is that Curze saw all of this shit before it happened, and he just sort of dared the Emperor to let it happen, and was devastated when it did.
The Legion was not much better, half full of Astartes created using the dregs of human society, the downward spiral was a tight corkscrew. Once Curze realized that his Legion wasn't being stocked by the finest specimen he returned home and utterly destroyed the entire planet with lance strikes, but not before running amok on the surface first, making sure the populace remembered the rule of the Night Haunter before they died. Not all of the Legion were keen on this direction, but they also knew Curze's temperament toward people who didn't abide by his rules, so they went along, watching in despair as their "father" went deeper into madness. Many of them detested what the Legion had become, but could also see their effectiveness, for while they would decimate a whole city in the most gruesome and violent ways imaginable, it would scare the rest of the world into submission. Often times this would result in far fewer overall deaths and faster compliance. Much of this hatred wasn't entirely directed at Curze though, as it was believed that this must have been the Emperor's plan all along.
One final note on Konrad Curze, I like him as a character more than any other Primarch because he such a flawed and pathetic creature. His inner turmoil is clearly visible and he is one of the few Primarchs that I see as having a legitimate reason to turn from the Emperor. The Emperor made him what he was, and would eventually kill him for living up to his potential.
IX - Blood Angles - Sanguinius
Landing on the planet Baal, Sanguinius had an upbringing similar to Dorn's in that he was good at everything and became the leader of the world. Phrases like "perfect leadership" and "total mastery of physical combat" are used to describe his war against the mutant horde that formed in the radioactive desert wastelands on Baal. He also had giant, white, feathery wings, so he was essentially an angel. If any of the Primarchs could be called a "good guy", it would be Sanguinius and many of these accolades could be indicative of his own form of foresight, much like that of Curze's. Yet unlike Curze, Sanguinius believed his visions were only possible futures and he could use them to change the outcomes he foresaw. The Emperor could feel the psychic power of Sanguinius and followed it to Baal where he bestowed upon him he Legion of Astartes, the Blood Angels.
Leading up to the Heresy Sanguinius's story is pretty much like most of the others. Until Horus sent him to Signus Prime where he met a great Khorne Daemon who killed hundreds of Blood Angels hoping that the forces of Chaos could infuse such a bloodlust into an already fairly bloodlusty Primarch and Legion and they would turn to Chaos. While that didn't work to plan, it did kill thousands of Blood Angels and delay Sanguinius from returning to Terra to defend it. He did make it back in time and during the final battle on Horus's ship, Sanguinius came face to face with Horus and came out on the losing end of that fight. Yet it is said that Sanguinius was able to crack the armour of Horus and the Emperor was able to use it to kill the traitor Primarch.
It might seem odd that Horus would have sent the Blood Angels to try and stoke their bloodlust as it seems that Sanguinius is the most noble and honourable of all the Primarchs, but Horus knew of a secret defect in Sanguinius's geneseed that reveals itself as a thirst for blood. It's typically seen as a particular bloodlust in battle, yet can also manifest as an insatiable, actual thirst for blood. Known as the Red Thirst, these warriors are generally "disposed" of quickly and quietly, at least as quietly as a giant semi-human genetically enhanced engine of war can be. This isn't the only flaw they have, since Sanguinius was slain there has been a psychic backlash that has occurred through the legion, and somehow continues to manifest today, where it makes the Astartes believe that they are back at the battle for Terra. This is called the Black Rage and these warriors are rounded up into the Death Company, who are then led to the front of the battle and thrown at the enemy in order to either dispose of them, or kill the enemy. Either way, this Legion has seen some ups and downs.
X - Iron Hands - Ferrus Manus
Ferrus Manus landed on Medusa, so violently that it shook mountains to the ground. Now there are several "meteorite hits the world and destroys everything" movies that really put a damper on my understanding of what happens when something hits a planet so hard it shakes down mountains, but lets put that aside. Ferrus spends the entirety of his formative years on the world in the mountains alone, fighting beasts and ancient robots and becoming Big Foot, Paul Bunyan, and Thor all wrapped up in one. One of these mechanical beasts is possibly a Necron construct whom he leads to the planets core and tosses into the liquid hot magma, only to get some of the liquid metal on him that then covers his arms, and he can't get it off. Now he has metal arms like Jax from Mortal Combat. He emerges from the mountains a fully grown man and fights his way to become ruler of the planet. He then leads the faithful followers to open a bunch of lost vaults and reclaim a bunch of ancient technology that people forgot existed and how to use it. This is probably the reason that he is a great artisan and blacksmith, all of his weapons being works of art and cause people to be inspired and yada yada yada.
When Ferrus was picked up by the Emperor, he quickly formed a bond with Fulgrim that started out as a rivalry. Through a contest of crafting a weapon they earned each others respect and fell in love, but it was a romance that was doomed to fail as Fulgrim ended up falling to Chaos and decapitating the love of his life and starting him on his path to Daemon Princedom.
The death of their Primarch broke the Iron Hands Legion, and in their despair they took to heart something that Ferrus said sometimes. "The flesh is weak." They took this to mean remove as many aspects of humanity as possible and replace it with robot bits. There isn't really much more to say about them, they like robot stuff.
XI - Unknown Legion
Yep, the second one.
XII - World Eaters - Angron
Ok, ok, ok, check this out, Angron's original name is Angronius of Nuceria. Yeah, I'd be fucking pissed about that too. Nuceria being the planet he landed on, he was found as a young boy and immediately stuck into the gladiatorial pits. The "High Riders" were the rich ruling class, and the gladiator games were a way to appease the lower class, not unlike Ancient Rome. Now Angron wasn't entirely without some sort of mentor, and an older gladiator named Oenomaus took a liking to him. At this stage Angron is not very angry, and he almost even enjoys his time as a gladiator although does make the attempt several time to escape, none of which succeed. Now you might wonder what kind of civilization can contain the might of a Primarch and, as it turns out, the answer is a technologically advanced one. This is were we are introduced to the "Butcher's Nails" which is a device that is implanted into the skull and enhances aggression, adrenaline, and gives the subject a sense of euphoria while he is in battle while deadening the enjoyment of all else and causing pain when not killing. The device is from the Dark Age of Technology, so it is a wonder that this world still knows of it's use and how to use it. With these implants in place Angron, blinded by the induced rage of the "Nails", tore Oenomaus apart, and this is where Angron gets angry. He plots an escape Spartacus style and with 2000 other gladiators manages a daring escape into the mountains.
At this point the Emperor shows up and hangs out in orbit for months watching Angron slowly lose a war of attrition, with the only supplies being the ones they can pillage from the cities they raze. Yeah, Angron and his band of merry men would attack full cities and burn them to the ground. They were called the Eater of Cities for crying out loud. With half of his war band of gladiators left, Angron is finally surrounded by seven full armies and this is when the Emperor decides to show up. Oh, but not to help. He tells Angron it's time to go and Angron says "Next goal wins!" so Big E just teleports the both of them back up his ship in space and lets all of Angron's war band die. Of all the Primarch that turn traitor, I think Angron probably has the most legitimate reason to hate the Emperor. He becomes a giant Daemon Prince of Khorne and is part of the assault on the Imperial Palace.
The Legion, originally named the War Hounds, are in a really weird spot. First off, Angron is one of the last Primarchs to be found, so they were a little behind in their compliant world quota making them eager to please Angron. This made it easy to convince them to get the Butcher's Nails implanted, making them ravaging monsters on the battlefield. The World Eaters were not like most of the other legions, when they landed on a world they did not bring it to compliance, they razed it to the ground, as their name suggests. As with the Night Lords, the World Eaters hated the Emperor as Angron was his creation, and with his powers of foresight he must have know this would be the outcome.
XIII - Ultramarines - Roboute Guilliman
Every Primarch has their "thing", Perturabo knocks down buildings, Dorn builds them up, Curze is scary, and Manus makes things. Well Guilliman thinks. He is that guy you went to collage with who's always making lists, and has a tiny orgasm when he completes a "To Do" list. The choices he makes in life are usually the right ones but are also always the safe choice, the one with the lowest risk even if it means a low reward. This makes him a very efficient and successful leader. Otherwise his upbringing is that same old song and dance we see with many of the other Primarchs. Birth capsule lands on planet, infant Primarch found by person and raised to be awesome, became awesome and ruled the world.
When the Emperor showed up Guilliman fell in step conquering the galaxy. However one of the things that made Guilliman a little different that many of his brothers is that he often had a plan for the world after it was brought into the fold, and his plans often resulted in a more content and loyal planet. So much so that Guilliman had his own little empire called Ultramar, which he fell back to when he was cut off from Terra when the Heresy started. He didn't know whether or not the Emperor had been killed due to a Chaos infused warp storm that popped up around Ultramar so he did the safe thing and just stayed put. It turns out that that was the wrong thing to do as he did not make it back to Terra in time to help defend it when he found out that it hadn't been overrun. I feel it's important to mention that the worlds of Ultramar really feel like they were treated differently that many of the other planets. For example, when Caliban was "assimilated" into the fold huge machines were brought in to level the forests and turn the planet into the typical grim dark hive city taking advantage and abusing it's population. However any time they talk of any of the worlds of Ultramar they have beautiful landscapes, people are happy, and everything is full of unicorns and rainbows. After the Heresy Guilliman joined in the hunt and chased the Chaos Legions back to the Eye of Terror, but not before being mortally wounded by Fulgrim in his freaky deaky snake form. To keep him alive, the Ultramarines put Guilliman in a stasis field until a "God-of-the-dead-loving Eldar Priestess" managed to fix him, as long as he doesn't take off his new armour that Cawl made for him. I should also note that he is not happy with how the Imperium turned out, you know, with the whole worshiping the Emperor as a God business. That was kinda looked down on, and we will get into that more when we talk about the Word Bearers.
I've read a couple books with Ultramarine characters, and it is shit to read. They are so boring as they talk through theoretical and practical ideas ad nauseam. Every Legion has it's black sheep though, and there was one who was so deep in the theoretical thinking that he thought it a good idea to devise a tactical plan for fighting against another Astartes Legion before the Heresy began, and he was censured for that. Little did they know... Anyway, they read like they are all tactical geniuses and can play 4D chess with a blindfold on without a board or pieces, against 4 opponents at once. Boring.
XIV - Death Guard - Mortarion
Mortarion's story starts off fairly similar to many of the other Primarch's, he lands on some death planet and is found by a member of the ruling class who then raises him as an heir to their throne. Except the planet Barbarus was covered in a deadly poison fog and the ruling class preyed on the innocent population they used in their evil necromancy warp fueled experiments. As you got higher in altitude the fog got more poisonous, so the local human population lived in valleys while the Overlords lived among the mountains, able to withstand the poison. Necare, the Overlord that found Morty and raised him in a mid level tower, which was as high as Mortarion could go, while Necare lived on the top of the highest mountain. Morty learned all the typical things an heir who would eventually rule the planet would need to learn, except about the pitiful creatures in the valleys. Of course his curiosity got the better of him and Mortarion went to see what these little soft creatures were all about and he realized that they were humans, kinda sorta just like him. Well that didn't sit right so he traveled the valleys teaching the humans how to fight back which included special powered armour that allowed them all to travel into the poison fog where the Overlords lived. Soon there was only one Overlord left, Necare, but unfortunately the armour just wasn't strong enough to reach his sanctuary..
Here is where the Emperor shows up and we have another atypical meeting as he portrays himself as a humble "Stranger". The "Stranger" offers to help Mortarion and his lot to which Morty says "Stuff it, we don't need help from any outsider!" With those words in the air the "Stranger" offers up a challenge, if Mortarion can kill Necare the "Stranger" will leave, if not then Mortarion must swear fealty to the "Stranger". Of course the poison is too poisonous and just before he blacks out he hears Papa Nurgel call to him, promising him things, then he sees the "Stranger" stop Necare from delivering the death blow by delivering his own death blow with that awesome flaming sword. The "Stranger" reveals that he is the Emperor and Mortarion's dad. Morty honours the wager and swears to serve, but holds a grudge that's tied to an inferiority complex that stems from not being able to finish the job of killing Necare. Now the ironic part is that while Mortarion fought to free humans on other worlds from those who would shackle and enslave humanity, this is the very thing that pushed him away from the Emperor and right into the arms of Horus whom he was already quite close with. His ascendance to daemon princedom came at the hands of Typhon, who used his psychic powers to lead the Death Guard legion into the warp which infected them with the Destroyer Plague and Nurgle's Rot. Their bodies slowly rotted in their armour and it wasn't until they dedicated their souls to Nurgle that they were granted relief of the pain and the blessing of Papa Nurgle, although not of the affliction as their bodies remained bloated and decaying. He got some gnarly wings out of it though.
The Legion of the Death Guard are know for their durability and resistance to poisons due to their harsh upbringing on their home planet Barbarus. This made them an ideal infantry based army and on top of this Mortarion would have them train in multiple roles ensuring that a warrior was as self reliant as could be on the battlefield. This limited their need for specialist units, as most units could deal with any situation they could come up against. Their durability only increased after their fall to Chaos as nothing short of complete annihilations could put a Plague Marine down for good. The Death Guard played an integral role in the assault of the Imperial Palace being the unwavering rock in the center of the vortex of war. When Horus fell the Death Guard made an orderly retreat, falling back and giving supporting fire while the rest of the Chaos Legions made a mad dash to the Eye of Terror like the last one at the table had to pick up the bill. They hung out on their new Plague Planet for 10,000 years until they decided they wanted to come out and shit all over Ultramar, starting the Plague Wars which wrapped up recently.
This concludes the second part of Primarch Profile, where three of the demigod-like beings turn traitor. Now only two of them have any real reason to turn traitor, Curze and Angron, due to their brutality which was secretly welcomed yet publicly shamed, among other things. Mortarion was just pissed he lost a bet. This one took me a long time to finish but boy was it fun, I hope you enjoyed reading it. Keep your eyes open for Part 3.
Until next time, keep them dice rollin.