Hektor Solarion, the Dawnstar
"From the dark void, salvation came in the guise of argent stars. Progeny of He-on-Earth at their head: the saviour of the sons of Hyperborya, and rekindler of our manifest destiny."
[//Jarnail Solarion of the Inheritors on the emergence of the Silver Stars after the battle of Hong-Qi+]
|[//ident: Jarnail Solarion+]|
A veteran of the Horus Heresy, Hektor Solarion was slain and raised as an Honoured Ancient in the brief period between his selection as Chapter Master and deployment following the Great Scouring. The freshly-entombed warrior stoically endured the scepticism of the Senatorum Imperialis' representatives, proving himself capable of leading in death as well as life. That whispers from within own Chapter were in favour of selecting another after his near-death was undoubtedly more troubling for him.
Any resentment he felt at his former brothers perhaps inculcated in Solarion a desire to ignore his past and forge his new Chapter into something different; forward-looking and free of the back-biting and suspicion that had sprung up since the Emperor's enthronement. That he harboured bitterness and resentment towards what the Imperium had become since the Great Crusade was clear. Having been ensconced in the spirit and faith of the great crusade, he had never abandoned the Emperor's ideals of a manifest destiny for mankind, and therefore felt a stranger in his own empire, as it descended into a tyrannical, oppressive bureaucracy. This would later be used to explain why he so easily fell under the influence of the False Primarch.
Becoming invaluable to the Partisan cause, Solarion, amongst the brightest and best of the Legions of old, would be met with increasing suspicion within supposedly allied ranks. Personally irreproachable, his reputation was smeared with the stain of hubris and arrogance – particularly after the events of the Year of Miracles.
Death and elevation
‘Lost, now found… blind; now I see.’
[//Devotional fragment, Ancient Terra+]
Specifics of the Inheritors' Jarnail – the Chapter's term for Chapter Master – are now either encoded or, more likely, long lost. What little is known suggest that an Astartes of the XIXth Legion, known as Hektor Solarion, survived the Horus Heresy, as a Lieutenant and later Captain of a formation named the ‘Death Eagles’. In the aftermath of the Imperium's greatest and most terrible conflict, these sons of the Raven were granted the honour of becoming one of the Chapters of the second Founding.
Peerless in combat, a brilliant tactician, and beloved as a leader, it was no surprise that Solarion was named First Captain of a newly created Chapter designated the Inheritors. On these points at least we have the direct evidence of the Raven Guard’s own records – but beyond this point, verifiable details become scanty.
A lone source suggests that Solarion was mortally wounded, on a world whose name is now lost, in the brief period between being granted the rank of Commander and the Chapter being formalised. It was seemingly only after his internment in the cold adamantine coffin of a Dreadnought that he would first address his newly-forged battle brothers as Commander of his very own Chapter.
|[//Solarion at the outset of the War of the False Primarch+]|
+ Dreadnought command +
|+ Autek Mor of the Red Talons +|
At the time of Solarion's ascension, however, the choice of proceeding with the elevation was undoubtedly viewed with askance by many within the Senatorum Imperialis as unorthodox; even suspect. Some even protested Solarion's elevation, but his allies within the Death Eagles – and, perhaps more pointedly, the Primarch Corvus Corax – never relented and chose to stand by his appointment, citing the ancient warrior's long roll of honour, wisdom, and ability to foster greatness in his brothers.
‘First is to stay true to the laws of man. Thou shalt not take the life of another unwarranted – to always seek the road of lesser violence. For the world is but ice and death, uncaring and unforgiving. Seek not to assist in its grim task, but instead offer aid to your fellow. Have no care for kith, kin or clan, for we are all of one people, one soul, and help given will always repay itself.’
As the Chapter Master of the newly founded Inheritors, Solarion wasted no time in leading his Chapter into the wider galaxy, as eager to earn renown and honour in the name of the Chapter as to protect the Imperial populace from the depredations of xenos and traitors.
The Argent Star
“For the Emperor, Beloved by all! For Volnoscere and for humanity!”
[//Solarion's address to the crowds during the Inauguration of Morgetheon+]
After the sanction, Solarion – and the chapter more broadly – grew dark of mind. Undersupplied and unsupported they fought what seemed like an endless war, doomed to a slow and prolonged death.
|+ Solarion pictured during the fighting on Null, during the Machinedeath +|
Eventually, the disastrous Amritsar crusade was launched. Unprepared and deceived – in the eyes of Solarion, at least – the Chapter suffered heavy losses to the Eldar of Craftworld Dain-Mir, which in turn worsened the spiritual malaise of the Chapter master and his sons. During a conversation with the chief Aghori, Solarion expressed his feelings of melancholy regarding the situation.
'Against all odds, I survived the hell that was the Great Heresy. Am I – are we? – to die here, forgotten and downtrodden?'
Despite the profound spiritual malaise that lay over the Chapter, he vowed to fight to the bitter end, knowing that he had always upheld his oaths and had always strived to protect mankind.
And then salvation came in the form of a silver star.
The appearance of the Silver Stars was the catalyst that would change both the Inheritors and Solarion forever. To them, a Primarch had returned from the deep void, just as the Imperium needed it most. Solarion saw the Last True Son as a messianic figure, a saviour for not only the Inheritors, but for all of mankind. As such, he became almost fanatical in his dedication to Volnoscere, blindly following the teachings of the Primarch and evangelising the changes he would enact for the betterment of the Imperium. His devotion was rewarded, seeing his Chapter invested as part of the Quadrargenta – and First amongst the Followers, as he and his forces proudly proclaimed.
Rumoured to have acted as an advisor and enforcer of the Primarch's will, and to have been incorporated into the 'Primarch's' inner circle – the Kapihe – Solarion came to revel in his role, regarding himself as a Partisan leader; exerting influence and occasionally direct control over many of the other Partisan forces.
Brighter stars cast darker shadows
Balanced and considered in person, Solarion was generally well-respected by his intimates, but his whole-hearted zeal was also the subject of rumour and gossip. There was a suggestion that Volnoscere had exerted some form of malign influence over the Inheritors, some form of subtle corruption that broke down their resistance. That the Inheritors became increasingly close to the Silver Stars was undeniable. Like the Firebreak before them, by the middle period of the war, the Inheritors had so closely adopted the Silver Stars behaviours that many regarded them as little more than an appendix; an honorary Chapter of the pseudolegion. Indeed, by the late war, the use of Silver Stars' honorifics and markings were nearly as common amongst the surviving Inheritors as their sponsors.
|+ Pict-capture showing Inheritors liasing with a Silver Stars officer. Note, however, the intermingling of colours. Judging by the scabbard, the foreground figure is a Silver Star bearing a gifted honour blade. Behind him, however, is an Inheritor – as denoted by his Chapter sigil and visible backpack and elbow in the Inheritor's sea-green. Perhaps a current or former member of the Marines Mendicant, this is an object lesson that all is not as it seems. +|
Such rumours were eagerly seized upon and disseminated by the Orthodox Inquisition and Administratum, for words can be as divisive as weapons in grand strategy. The eternal and nameless fear of forced homogenisation – of being absorbed and one's identity over-written – was doubtless the cause of numerous worlds and factions that might otherwise have gone over to the 'Primarch' remaining independent, such as the Umathron Void Clans. Besides outright scepticism and fear, such concerns were amongst the most common objection to the promises of the 'Returned Primarch' as the frontier of the New Imperium expanded.
Worse for the Partisans was the corrosive effect such rumours had on recruitment. By the point the war had stretched for five decades, numberless worlds had been devastated. The words of the Primarch were becoming tested, for the 'liberated' Partisan worlds were only supplied by virtue of further planets being stripped as the line advanced. As the war had ground down into a stalemate, and the advances won through Operation Gauntlet had stalled, a number of Partisan worlds recanted as their ruined cities remained unbuilt and bellies remained unfilled.
Solarion's stainless reputation as champion of the common man became strained as his duties to the Primarch drew him further away, and speed forced him to leave ruined worlds un-reconstructed, and populations crying out for succour. Amongst the Partisans, divisions began to appear.
Solarion would eventually fall defending the civilians of Calydon from the murderous assaults of the Carcharodons. Felled by Shadelord Moro Oihi and his coterie, the mortally wounded Solarion clung to life by a monofilament thread, and was evacuated to the Burden of Wrath as the Inheritors, maddened by grief, enacted a fighting retreat that normally should not have prevailed. This fighting withdrawal was well-recorded, as it formed the central part of the famous 'Year of Miracles' sermon by the Anti-Ecclesiarch Morgetheon. Copies of the sermon were widely distributed across Partisan space to shore up flagging support for the 'Primarch', and a copy was recovered in its entirety in M37, quite by chance, when a furniture maker working on re-upholstering a recliner stumbled upon old newspaper being used as supplementary padding.
'Aboard the leviathan flagship of the Inheritors, the fallen hero was hastily moved to the Hall of Remembrance where Chief Apothecary Brys Chanty and Forgemaster Agnee concluded that the Old Eagle was beyond their abilities to save, and that he would pass within days.'
[//Morgetheon, A Year of Miracles+]
While the objectivity of such records must be treated with suspicion, this fortuitous find proved remarkably forthcoming on aspects of the Silver Stars and nature of their relationship with the Inheritors and, to a lesser extent, other Partisan groups. The recovered papers suggest a figure (an otherwise murky figure known as Decurion Kamakanei, presumably a Silver Stars liaison to the Inheritors), came forth and revealed that there was a way to save Solarion.
'Desperate to not lose their guiding light, the bereft Inheritors passed their fallen Master over to the Shrouded Esdras and Tho ben Baruch; that he might be borne with all haste to Myrean League space, and given over to the ministrations of the Last True Son.'
The figures of the 'Shrouded Esdras' are mentioned by name in no other records. While claims to their identity cannot be made with any certainty, by implication they may be the 'Astartes-sized figures completely shrouded in decorated cloaks' mentioned in a remaining epistle tentatively attributed to Alexander Hale. The little reconstructed information about Tho ben Baruch is likewise described elsewhere in this record; but it is notable that they are only mentioned in such extreme circumstance. Whether they are members of the pseudolegion or some other agency is unclear, but the Inheritors were either willing to trust them, or were in such straits of desperation that no other path seemed possible.
'For seven terran cycles the Inheritors, confined to their own flagship, waited. Anticipation turned to dread as the hours went past, for there was only silence from the Nostoi. However, at the seventh hour of the seventh day the communication channels went live again, hailing the Burden of Wrath and informing of an incoming Stormbird transport. And as the Brothers of the Inheritors flooded the embankment hall, the flier gently landed on the ancient adamantium floor and revealed a luminous sun. The Dawnstar had returned. To the amazement to all present what strode onto the Burden of Wrath was not the metal sarcophagus they all knew, but a Solarion reborn in flesh and blood, resplendent in white and gold. '
|[//The Dawnstar Reborn+]|
Inquisitorial agents would later speculate on what methods the Silver Stars had used to revive – or possibly transform – the dying Chapter Master of the Inheritors. For not only was the Master of the Inheritors returned from the grasp of death; his rebirth had left him seemingly more vital than ever, larger, faster and deadlier than most Astartes, and – as he himself joked – incapable of dying.
Seven times Solarion was reported or witnessed dying (on different occasions and fronts) returning to life shortly after falling. No conclusive evidence could ever be gathered beyond vid- and pict-captures, but speculations and theories would run rampant, ranging from the esoteric – forbidden Dark Age alchaemical science; psyarkana, or profane sorcery, to the relatively mundane: a Marines Mendicant deception; impersonation; or perhaps a blank servitor-golem imprinted with engramatically-enforced personality and memories. Whatever the truth, Solarion would from this point onwards, never be seen without a peculiar servitor-like construct in his presence – a fact underplayed by the Partisans and emphasised by the Orthodoxy.
With Solarion reborn as the Dawnstar, the Inheritors were emboldened and fought harder and more fiercely than ever; their efforts becoming critical in the defence of the Myrean Leagues. During the second battle of Orlando, Tywin Dwimmerlock of the Death Eagles (I) begrudgingly commented that he had not seen such a fighting spirit and dedication since the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. He stopped short of openly praising Solarion; but such was the gloss placed on the quote by the agents of Morgetheon, eager to suggest even the Masters of the Pentarchy of Blood were beginning to see the light, and sow discord amongst them.
As a mark of the esteem in which Solarion was held, after his apparent resurrection, he was granted overall theatre command of the critical Coldforge system, over which three quite separate major campaigns are believed to have raged.
Protectors. Saviours. Lightbringers. Such are the titles given to the Astartes, despite the inevitable results of their actions. For the Inheritors, however, such titles could perhaps be said with sincerity. The stainless quality of their character was, doubtless due in part to their culture of their brutal homeworld, but much of their reputation as paladins of light could be attributed to the influence of one man: Solarion.
[//Inquisitor Mahapat Zoon, Ordo Propter+]
‘I am your shield, I am your sword, I am your light against the darkness.’
[//The Sacramentum Callax, trad. Hyperborean+]