|[//Abomination – or Last True Son?+]|
IV – Everything you have been told is a lie
It is the thirty-fourth Millennium. Or perhaps the thirty-third. Few now stand securely enough both to claim different; and to be heard.
All is unsure, all is uncertain. Under the benevolent eye of the High Lords of Terra, the Imperium basks in a golden age. The heretics of millennia past are extinguished or contained; the xenos empires that threatened mankind's manifest destiny broken or scattered. Humanity is united in the worship of the enthroned God-Emperor, whose words are revealed to the Ecclesiarch of the Imperial Church.This is one truth.Others say that the Emperor is dead, or as good-as; that His dream has grown rotten beneath the surface. Others claim oppression, or restriction, or loss. Tales of predation by aliens; of harrowings by pirates and heretics and monsters, emerge daily, and are suppressed by His Inquisition, for fear of disturbing the flock.In the galactic north-west (if such an antiquated system has meaning in a galaxy as vast and wondrous as this) tales emerge of another truth. Tales come of the return of a legend, so ancient that the High Lords believe the word all-but forgotten.Primarch.
|[//Occidental extent of Segmentum Pacificus. Rubricised area indicates extent of Annulus Quarantine Zone+]|
A personal note
What had been intended as a contained, year-long project has – to my delight – exploded and extended. Like a cottage garden, things have popped up that I never anticipated, new ideas have been brought in by far more imaginative souls than me, and the War has generally become as textured, nuanced and complex as I could have hoped. While we're entering the final stages, however, it's not yet over...
As the project has grown, I've become increasingly aware that it's become quite an intimidating task for hobbyists to start getting involved – and that's a shame! Rest assured that there is no hurdle to hop over to get involved, no permissions you need to ask, and no requirement to do anything formal. Whether you are an experienced hobbyist, an award-winning artist, or have just started, I want you to feel completely welcome to the War of the False Primarch.
This post is intended as a node to help gather and guide you to the various Index Astartes. I do, however, encourage you to explore the blog at your own pace – and remember, just because it's written here, it's not necessarily true. All the reportage should be taken as in-universe reports, and as biased and unreliable as that implies. If you want to adapt or rewrite sections, that's entirely up to you – and quite fitting for a project whose key theme is the nature of truth and lies in the Warhammer 40,000 setting.
Whether new to the project or a veteran, then, this post (and the other Stage posts) has the aim of helping you get into the project – but feel free to join the discussion in the places above if you want any particular questions answered. In short, you have the entirety of the 34th Millennium to inspire and guide you; and you should feel entirely free to help construct the future history of the Silver Stars, along with the Partisan Chapters following the mysterious figure claiming to be a Primarch – or perhaps you feel more drawn to the Pentarchy of Blood and want to uphold the High Lords of Terra's Orthodoxy and strike down the imposter abomination. All the paint schemes and background are shown and linked below
Perhaps you want to investigate – and prosecute – the Shadow War of the Inquisition raging behind the scenes; or you want to bring the coterie of a High Lord of Terra to life. In short, paint whatever inspires you about this period. We want this project to be as free and open as possible.
As we move onto Stage IV, then, I'd like to give a brief – and entirely insufficient – thank-you to all the contributors; artists, writers and enthusiasts who have thus far contributed, interacted, or simply clicked 'like'. It's very much appreciated.
The aim of this blog and the broader project is to inspire you to paint or write – and if you simply want to use this material as a starting point for your own private campaigns and stories, then please feel free. There's no reason that your contributions to this secret, hidden war need be made public...
For those new to the project, this is how you get involved in deciding the events of the War of the False Primarch: simply build, paint and post your models on Instagram with the #somethingsarebestleftforgotten and #warofthefalseprimarch tags. I will comb through all contributions that use these tags and, where possible, use them here on the blog to illustrate the stories and colour text that emerge, crediting your images with your Instagram username. Do feel free to get in contact with me there with any questions by messaging @death_of_a_rubricist.
- Narrative: The False Primarch makes his appearance.
- Lore: We look at conflicting reports of the Primarch; and encourage readers to submit their own models/theories/lore.
- Tag: #everythinglie
The tags for this stage of the project are:
If you would like to contribute in a more formal or longform manner, then please search for the the Facebook group '+Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten+' and let me know. We're looking for stories and colour text that illustrate the battles, conflicts and events in the region. If you can provide images, all the better.
New to the project?
Given the complexity and scale of the War of the False Primarch, the records here are largely limited to an overview of the key forces – which perforce means the Astartes – but suffice to say that the 11(ish) Partisan Chapters and 5(ish) Chapters of the Pentarchy of Blood are simply the more visible and dramatic parts of the conflict. We therefore focus on the fate of each in these closing stages.
Below are the names and icons of the principle Chapters, along with a link to their respective Index Astartes, and their creator. I encourage you to follow all of the existing contributors on Instagram. Their names and Instagram aliases are below each image on the blog.
|[//Eaters of Flesh – late war Pentarchy forces arrayed in Coldforge-pattern Corvus plate+]|
|+ Icons of the Partisans +|
- Index Astartes Inheritors – [//firstname.lastname@example.org+]
- Index Astartes Red Fish – [//mike_f/@eatdrinkdeath+]
- Index Astartes Riven Lords – [//cole_c/@sharkamanderminis+]
- Index Astartes Void Barons – [//simon_v@HeresyHobbyHeadquarters+]
- Index Astartes Star Wardens – [//dan_j/@dark_isles+]
- Index Astartes Iron Guard – [//michael_m-r/@studio_fatfingers+]
- Index Astartes Storm Tyrants – [//jorge_p/@adeptus_avocado+]
- Index Astartes Wormwood Sons – [//nick_t/@k0rdhal+]
- Index Astartes Firebreak – [//email@example.com+]
- Index Astartes Marines Saturnine – [//tom_k/@ghostys_neon_rust+]
- Index Astartes Argent Heralds – [matt_s/@sonofnemeton+]
- Index Astartes Jade Talons – [//adam_s/@adam_james_creates+]
The Pentarchy of Blood
|+ Icons of the Pentarchy of Blood +|
Stage IV of V
The Late part of the War of the False Primarch brought the struggle to its full height, as the figure purporting to be a returned Primarch became more directly visible and involved in the conflict, alongside the strange pseudolegion of the Silver Stars.
|[//Storm Tyrants move up to the front through their well-prepared bunker complexes+[|
It was this period that saw the conflict spread beyond Morqub and Heliopolis, and become a truly Segementum-wide crisis as the regions was depopulated of its Astartes' garrisons. More and more Astartes Chapters and Naval fleets were drawn from their locales to join the Annulus Umbra – the great astrolabe-like picket line that girdled Morqub and Heliopolis in an attempt to prevent any Partisan forces escaping.
|[//Warfare becomes more static and decisive as weaknesses are sought and exposed+]|
[//Sector Heliopolis, Segmentum Pacificus+]
This period saw the estimated loss of between thirty and seventy thousand Space Marines, the deaths of six of the Partisan Chapters and the destruction of half a dozen Imperial worlds.
|[//War returns to Morqub in Stage IV, as the Partisans splinter and Pentarchy pursue+]|
[//Sctor Morqub, Segmentum Pacificus+]
At this point, however, the balance of fate was as-yet undecided. As the Primarch walked, whole new populations and armies came to serve at the side of the Last True Son and his Partisans – and conversely, rumours of a new Heresy brought the deployment of hundreds more Orthodox regiments to assist the swollen Pentarchy of Blood in destroying this Abomination.
Strategic Disposition of the Partisans
Operation Gauntlet, the 'Primarch's' attempt to claim – or liberate – Heliopolis from those loyal to the High Lords of Terra, had failed. Despite the seemingly complete deployment of the immense Silver Stars Pseudolegion alongside the bulk of the Partisans, the swollen numbers of the Pentarchy had successfully slowed the advance to a crawl – and then began to push them back.
The drive down the central Mourn Expanse to claim the key Myrean League region had been a success, and the False Primarch was now using the heavily-fortified Shieldworlds here to anchor and attempt a second push.
The strength of the Partisan cause was beginning to fail, just as the Pentarchy and their Orthodox allies were reaching breaking point. It was a time of pain, and suffering – and also miracles...
The Inheritors, proud to call themselves the first of the Partisans, had thrown themselves headlong into each battle, keen to prove themselves worthy of the Primarch, and had been all but subsumed into the Silver Stars, their ships and warriors mingling freely. In essence, Solarion had become a Chapter Master of the wider Legion.
For the Marines Orcinus – better known as the Red Fish – the rebellion had been costly, and painful. Their homeworld had been raided, and the expansive and carefully-husbanded Delphurnean League, pride of the region, had been squandered and burned. While still nominally loyal to the Partisan cause, the formerly disciplined and dedicated Astartes of the Red Fish were acting increasingly erratically. While their comrades hunkered down and prepared the Myrean League for the inevitable siege, the bulk of the Red Fish attempted to run the gauntlet back to their homeworld of Ishim.
|[//Sergeant Menerio Ageios+]|
Discipline had likewise degraded amongst the Riven Lords, with vengeful and desperate Officers designating themselves 'Polemarchs', and attempting to replicate and use the Pentarchy's own hyper-induction techniques against them. The Chapter was beginning to fracture, and would fail entirely with Chapter Master Lord Commander Toth's death. The bulk of their remaining semi-organised forces moved to the region near Tarentus, alongside the Marines Saturnine.
Battered and bruised by the unceasing war, the Void Barons remained admirably loyal and reliable to the Primarch, and he called them to his side for the critical assault on Coldforge. Here the Chapter was heavily degraded – but triumphant. Under Kastor Drak, the Bastard of Siklon, their attritional way of war proved costly but effective. Alas, Drak himself was lost during the final battle, attempting to reclaim the Chapter's Caputmori from the triumphant Death Eagles. He was last recorded in combat, alive, and his ultimate fate remains unknown.
Not all were as convinced of the Primarch's credentials, and despite being deployed to Coldforge alongside the loyal Void Barons, the Star Wardens were the first to suffer a crisis of confidence. A schism inside the Chapter, between the Gilded Hand faction, who believed Volnoscere to be their long-sought Primarch, and the Red-Marked, who favoured a return to their pre-War philosophies, began to splinter the Chapter. At the end, the Gilded Hand led an attempted break-out at the word of Volnoscere, and drew the ire of the Chapters of the Annulus Vow.
Newly-brought into the rebellion, the Storm Tyrants proved critical in fortifying the Primarch's holdfasts, their intimate knowledge of the Myrean League ensured that the advancing Pentarchy and Orthodoxy were matched and stymied at every turn. It was their strength and preparedness that arguably proved the greatest impediment to the Orthodox forces – for every month that the Shieldworlds stood unbroken, the difficulty of keeping the existence of the 'Primarch' from the rest of the Segmentum – and the wider Imperium – increased.
The 'Shield of the Primarch', the Iron Guard lived up to their name during the battles of the Myrean League. The Chapter continued a bitter rivalry with the Flesh Eaters throughout the period, to the extent of abandoning picket lines to pursue suspected Flesh Eater vessels.
Battered and bruised by a harrowing series of campaigns, the Wormwood Sons – always reluctant members of the Partisan cause – left a token force in Helipolis at the request of Vox Volnoscere, but the bulk of the Chapter returned to Sector Morqub, where they began to fortify their homeworld of Chernobog against what they felt was an inevitable assault. The force left alongside Volnoscere became infamous as the 'Witch-Ridden Forty'. This small group, with a preponderance of the Chapter's peculiar librarian-analogues, were undoubtedly involved in some way with the Spear of Atom – an artefact that claimed the lives of three Chapter Masters during the war.
All but destroyed even prior to the outbreak of the War of the False Primarch, under the auspices of Volnoscere and protection of the Silver Stars, the Firebreak proved to remain a formidable foe. The survivors were seeded in amongst squads of Silver Stars and Inheritors, allowing the Chapter to bring its formidable fighting techniques and expertise to bear on the Pentarchy.
Mercurial and near-incommunicado, the Jade Talons had spent the early decades of the War of the False Primarch in an unheralded and largely hidden war with the Carcharadons, the two Chapters savagely ripping into each other as they searched the void. As the War calcified and settled down, the rivals found such tactics less and less viable, and the Jade Talons were drawn into the Myrean League struggle. Here their tactics proved less useful, until Kapihe Riverhead of the Silver Stars petitioned that they be sent to break through the Annulus Umbra, arguing bluntly that their skills would be better but to use in the endeavour.
Seemingly always one step ahead of their enemies, the Marines Saturnine once more divided their forces, a small portion remaining with the 'Primarch' in the Shieldworlds, another part moving to Somnos in Sector Morqub for unclear reasons, and the remainder to the Pythinia subector, where they supported the roving Void Barons Polemarchs in a dreadful guerilla war against the vicious Carcharadons that left whole regions depopulated and ruined.
Staunch, reliable, and honourable, the Argent Heralds proved themselves the heroes of the hour during the battles of the Agreum/Saphrax front; where they held back a combined force of Red Talons, Charnel Guard and Flesh Eaters. Such fighting was not without cost, of course, and the Chapter haemorrhaged more than half its remaining strength as the Pentarchy eventually sent its crack forces against them to claim the critical Interlude Quay Naval system.
Hitherto mysterious, the intimate proximity of the Silver Stars to the Orthodox lines made their tactics, strategy, wargear and fleet disposition clearer than ever – though that must be taken in context of how little had been gleaned before they staked the Caputmori Occludens banner of the 'Legion' into the Shieldworlds of Heliopolis. Their full, terrible strength, previously only hinted at, also became clear, as the Pseudolegion was able to garrison not just the Shieldworlds, but also those worlds that had declared for the Primarch.
Strategic Disposition of the Pentarchy
The late stages of the War would see the Flesh Eaters in Heliopolis deployed in counter-assaults against entrenched Partisan forces, typically far from the front lines of Astartes-on-Astartes combat. In Morqub, however, they were besides the Red Talons at the forefront of the Pentarchy assault. Despite problems with command – Velghor's place had been taken by Lord Gorm of the Charnel Guard by this point, and the Flesh Eaters themselves were under the guardianship of their council, they remained a key part of the Pentarchy; and – having once tasted Firebreak blood, became their de facto nemeses on Frith.
The Carcharadons had been conspicuously absent from high-level plans in the Orthodox camp, instead pursuing their own aims and vendettas, with little beyond curt reassurances to their 'superiors'. By this stage in the war, they had stopped operating as a large-scale nomad predation fleet, and instead were broadly spread across both Heliopolis and Morqub, raiding targets of opportunity and acting to prevent meaningful gatherings of non-Astartes forces. Divided in this way, they were thus also present in some token form in a huge number of counter-Astartes conflicts, too.
Clearly struggling with correlating their beliefs with the charge placed upon them, the Death Eagles I under Tywin Dwimmerlock found their newly-enlarged forces deployed rimwards of the Myrean League and to the Coreward reaches of Morqub. As a result, they came into substantial conflict with a number of the Partisan Chapters, notably the Red Fish, Wormwood Sons and Firebreak as the Partisans attempted to move back upstream through the Mourn Expanse. They were also instrumental in pinning the Marines Saturnine and Void Barons in the Pythinia Subsector.
Conversely, the Death Eagles II were moved under Master Enoch's direct orders to the Corewards reached of Morqub. Having taken huge casualties, and clearly being less willing (or able) than the other Pentarchy of Blood Chapters to expand quickly, the Death Eagles II found themselves operating as a reserve force in all but name. It was fortunate – or disastrous, depending on your point of view – that they were used in such a manner, for their presence here meant they were poised to interdict both the Jade Talons' and Star Wardens' breakout attempts.
It was at this point that the possibly apocryphal Chapter known as Death Eagles III begin to crop up. With the Death Eagles II unable to keep up with the recruitment demanded of them, and the Death Eagles I clearly having a form of spiritual crisis over expansion, warriors bearing a combination of their heraldries began to be seen. Initially believed to be intentional misdirection or Codex-adherent variation, a force clad in purple but bearing a winged bird-skull device was repeatedly reported. In particular, they clashed with the Inheritors and Argent Heralds – battlefield analysis suggesting that the Chapter was entirely made up of Morqubi natives.
Without doubt the most active members of the Pentarchy at this stage were the infamous Red Talons under Autek Mor, who – like Solarion, his Inheritors counterpart – endured a quite literal rebirth in this confusing and miraculous period. However they had achieved it, the Red Talons had swollen to a colossal size. Held back during the earlier parts of the war, and swifter to return to combat than their comrades, the Red Talons were able to deploy colossal infantry forces on a number of key worlds. Utterly driven and ruthless, the Red Talons untiring prosecution of the Inheritors and Riven Lords was instrumental in the practical destruction of these two Chapters.
Gorn, Master of the Charnel Guard had officially assumed command of the Pentarchy, inheriting the title from Velghor of the Flesh Eaters at the start of this period. His forces were deployed conservatively, trying to close gaps opened up by the more impulsive forces under his command. Working closely with the Master of Lethe, Gaius Gnæius Titanus of the Death Eagles II, the Charnel Guard acted to inexorably close down and contain the region around the Myrean League. It was Gorn that stood at the Death of Three; and wielded – albeit briefly – the dread Spear of Atom.
'Mighty Ursus and I have stood in his very presence along with the rest of the Eighth, our sins washed away with Volnoscere's mere words. As he walked among us he spoke, telling us that he has returned to save us, to lead us, to redeem us! The Emperor's very son walks among us once again! If only the whole Imperium could see him. They will soon, brother.'[//Leonid, Scapadomii of the Benedictor+]
|[//Marines Saturnine Hnoured Immortals were used to counter the Death Eagles I defences on Cmit Black+]|
|[//Silver Stars prior to the first Claiming of Coldforge +]|
|[//Argent Heralds remained dutiful and focussed – even when facing down the might of the Pentarchy on the killing grounds of Saphrax. +]|
What can be said of the Primarchs that any Imperial citizen or peon – wherever they might be found – would recognise?Few now live that could attest to their existence at all. Indeed, a number of highly influential worlds – including the politically important worlds of Nova Constantium and Kar Duniash – reject the existence of the Primarchs altogether, insisting that tales of 'magical beings twice the height of a man' do not stand up to scrutiny. Where such worlds admit to Primarchs existing, they regard them as little more than Astartes Commanders that, after long years of tacitly-sanctioned mythologising, have been attributed supernatural powers.In its early days, the Imperial Church – the Ecclesiarchy – famously posed this question when attempting the seeming impossible: to develop clear articles of faith for the Imperium. In the great Conclaves, the Primarchs' importance was gradually winnowed away to almost nothing, their importance to the Imperial creation being eroded by the Imperial Cult in order that nothing might draw attention or power away from the Emperor Enthroned himself. They remain, then, mostly in the shadows – and in the minds of men.Where the Primarchs are concerned, long centuries, rote-led recording and political interference has led to iterative decline in common knowledge – but, by and large, not complete loss. It is true that many worlds of the Imperium are almost entirely unaware of the Primarchs, except perhaps as partly-forgotten folktales or fragments of history lost following the coming of the Imperium. Nor is this restricted to a particular type of world – pre-literate feral and feudal worlds frequently possess oral history that have outlasted more sophisticated methods of storage and transmission, so the variety is colossal.Where they are known, the characteristics, descriptions and names of the Primarchs are highly varied according to the nuances of the local culture. They are variously regarded as intercessionary figures; worshipped as part of a subsidary pantheon; as mythic metaphorical heroes; or stern warding figures, used to scare children into line. Such is the complexity and variety of the human imagination – stunted and downtrodden as it has long been by the oppressive rule of the High Lords of Terra – that almost any interpretation can be drawn from such stories.At root, then, we have little that can be said of the Primarchs that would be universally agreed beyond the following:The masses are told of the Emperor's nine sons, demi-gods who conquered the galaxy and went on to eternal glory at his side.Those who need to know are told instead of the Emperor's eighteen sons – gene-wrought generals who conquered the galaxy before turning on themselves.Few indeed know of the existence of others.