Dramatis Personae: Seneschal Var Terez

The Disgraced Lion

[//Allegiance: Firebreak/Partisan+]


'Brothers, today we have suffered a terrible tragedy. Our home has been ravaged by bandits and thieves who have the audacity to call themselves Astartes. From the moment they touched our sands, they lost that honour. 
'Those we swore to protect were dragged into their ships.

'We will not be found wanting.'

[//Seneschal Terez, Firebreak+] 


As with much of the War, the task of navigating the scant records, files and rumours regarding individuals  of the War of the False Primarch proves challenging even for the secret ranks of rubricists for whom its recovery was their life's work.

Such is the case of Seneschal Var Terez, Chapter Master of the Firebreak also known as the Disgraced Lion; an apparent key figure within this dark time. Blessed with a blade from the armouries of the Silver Stars, Var Terez would prove to be a valiant foe; first to enemies of the Imperium and later on a thorn to the Extinction Fleet until his capture then execution in the later years of the Conflict.

[//A Firebreak assault team storms a Red Talons cruiser+]

An isolated record of the Ordo Pacificus hints at a short xenocidal campaign conducted by the Firebreak,  supported by elements of the Argent Heralds and another group sometimes postulated to be Marines Saturnine. While the record bears no name – its anonymity presumably being the reason it was missed during exculcation – the date (278.M32) tallies with an otherwise empty record bearing the name 'Virddyan Insurgence'. The name bears similarities to a planet of the region, and also a minor xenos species.

Little is known of either planet or species due to earlier redactions by the Ordo Xenos. However, a monument known as the ‘Vigil of Vorn’ is noted to contain etchings – albeit in a mixture of dead dialects –of the names of those who served and/or perished on 'the dead world'. Several mentions point towards a 'Lieutenant Wern Ieres’ playing a part within the campaign. In conjunction with reports secured from the Tannbach Cluster and glottal drift, the archaeolinguist Paz believed the name is the earliest mention of Var Terez, who would go on to ascend to Seneschal rank – that is, Chapter Master – of the Firebreak.



Var Terez – or variations upon the name – went on to appear in several other campaigns afterwards. In fact, the trail of records suggests he led a wandering life of peregrination for more than a century. The Firebreak's far-ranging customs meant that he and his men were frequently abroad, and thus frequently mentioned in the records of individual planets. This doubtless owed to his regional fame, but it is perhaps owing more to the difficulty of rendering his name in Low Gothic that so many variations occur. It is to the peculiar tongue of Frith, then, that we can give thanks for what little information remains regarding this intriguing warrior. Such is the way of things.

[//Var Terez directing forces on Qorabbas+]

References to his dedication to both his brothers and to those outside the Chapter appear frequently. In particular, for a time he would be found in service to Forgeworld Avarice. Scattered records recovered from the now-pacified world indicate a number of expeditionary efforts on the part of Var Terez and a small detachment of the Firebreak. It is likely owing to this relationship – alas, otherwise left mysterious – that the Firebreak was able to expand their original arsenal of archaeological weapons before the First Reaping. More crucially, it is likely during this time that favours were traded between Var Terez and the Forge Tyrants of Avarice, leading to their involvement in Kadath.


“There was no other way.”

As soon as I heard the words I knew they would haunt me till the end of days. Not just the words but the face that uttered them to me. A friend, a confidant, a champion of the Chapter, a brother.

“The Sable Judges are in agreement and we take no pleasure in this. You are a good man, brother.”

A betrayer, I thought, ruefully.

“We cannot risk division. Duty calls and you know the rumours. If they are to be true, we will need all of our strength unified.” His voice had dropped to barely a whisper, close enough to reach – to grasp... Were it not for the stultifying effects of stasis. 
“And so, as always, there must be sacrifices.”

As he spoke the words, I saw a sheathed blade rested next to my armour; the tools and gifts of the First Legion, awarded to the first Seneschal centuries ago, long before the War of the Beast. 
“It is the way of things. Beyond that, I beg you to trust me. I know how this looks. I’ve thought long and hard about this. If there was any other way then I would have chosen it…don’t think I’ve forsaken my honour though. The title of Seneschal will fall to my shoulders, but ….”

[//Purported fragment of the – largely decried – Lay of Orion+] 


Early War

Bracketing the events of the War by a century, all records regarding Var Terez, along with the rest of the Chapter, run thin. What seems most likely is that Terez had ascended to the rank of Master some decades prior to the arrival of Volnoscere in the region. There are, however, suggestions that this figure had not taken the rank without struggle of some kind – though the nature of this is occluded.

Considering his rank at the time of the False Primarch, it is possible that a coup d'état occurred, with Var Terez himself leading the efforts – perhaps in an act he envisioned as saving his chapter from a slow death. The timings of this, should it have happened, are unclear – even by the standards of the broader War. 

From this point, we can surmise he made a display of loyalty to the Partisan cause, joining forces with the Jade Talons to launch an ambush upon Battlefleet Morqub. A confirmed sighting was found aboard the Litany of Resolve where Imperial Navy voidsmen attempted, and failed, to repel the Firebreak assault.


Var Terez would become a ghost after this point, raised as a target of interest for those who served the Rose of the Pentarchy. Many operations, particularly during the Sorrowful Years, would find themselves thwarted and challenged on the orders of the Seneschal. How compromised information would reach the ranks of the Partisans is uncertain; some believe a network had been set up within supposed allies centuries ago while others attain links to more 'equitable' forces. 

That, then, was the true danger that faced the High Lords – should Var Terez remain unopposed in his efforts then years or even decades would be added until the False Primarch could be brought to justice.




Terez’s character remains unclear and difficult to gauge. Even to his allies within the Partisan chapters, the reputation of the Unforgiven – that is, of the dread reputation of the First Legion's successors – hung over his head like a veil. While none would question his devotion to the cause, Riverhead of the Silver Stars is noted for saying the following: 
“…remorse in his actions, even regret in [...] his words. Mark my words, his face may resemble a son of [...] but his actions speak volumes.”



The ship was rocked as alarm bells shrieked distress to those within reach. Serfs were scattered like rag dolls across the bridge, and Vargen's stony grip upon the rail left indentations in the metal. The Elfr had been ambushed, having passed – perhaps foolishly closely – to an asteroid known as the Gottbraker to the locals. It was the mid- and most isolated point in an already notorious route, filled with pirates and buccaneers – but speed had been of the essence. Word had reached Navigator Nefir that Lucan burned. Vargen had to know the truth of the matter. The stowaway could wait till then.

“Damn pirates. You’ve really gotten us into a storm, whelp,” Yotunn growled as he marched onto the bridge, a new shriek echoing through the walls as a self cried out 'Scyldfall!' The crew was mired in confusion, and looked about for direction; swapping their gazes from one bristling Wolf to another.

“Now isn’t the time for challenges,” Vargen snarled back as he rested a hand on the hilt of his blade, “Have the pack re-”

“Teleport flares!” Cried one of the serfs – the same loud-mouthed one, Vargen half-noted, as the cry of “Boarders!” went up.

Vargen was steady on his feet when the blinding light focussed in the centre of the bridge. The smell gave it away immediately. Yotunn wasn’t far behind him – but he had long since passed his prime.

The crew of the
Elfr were long-time sailors of 'the Deep'. Generations had taken warrior-bands of the Vlka Lucana to face the enemies of Mankind. For centuries they had made the ship their home, spinning tales of pride and sorrow, spilt both blood and mead within these very halls. They were not just some greenhorns, they were veterans.

The crew, however, stood no chance.

Boltguns echoed out, punching holes in metal and flesh alike as the assailants gave no quarter. Only one force could produce such damage such carnage in a fraction of a time.

“Astartes!” Yotunn called over the vox bitterly, having taken what little cover could be used. An echo of a howl put a rueful grin on Vargen's face. His brothers were alive, at least. 
“We need to hit them as one!” continued the veteran.

“I’m hitting them now!” Vargen snarled back, his fiery spirit at the fore. He leapt and speared one of the marines with his sword. In a blink, he took in the armour. Mark IV, scavenged, coloured in steel and blood red with emerald shoulder pads, battle-worn.

Even if he had wanted to figure out the reasons for the assault, Vargen didn’t have the time as an ancient sword went for his throat. With a scream, Vargen managed to parry the strike away, stumbling away from the robed figure. It took all his strength and fury to hold him back as Vargen tried to buy himself time. That was until Yotunn perished.

To his credit, two Firebreak marines were laid out on the ground. Vargen half-saw, half-smelt their 
gory throats – but Yotunn had nevertheless been brought down by bolter fire. Still fighting, he felt a mournful twinge. Despite their differences, Vargen had always appreciated Yotunn's council and the stories he spun for the days of old. His shield and axe were held tightly in death, likely his armour locking up more than anything.

Another rumble. Despite the boarding parties now on board, the cruiser was still firing upon the
Elfr, “Why!?” Vargen spat towards this opponent as their blades locked together, “You’ll pay for this betrayal!”

Then Vargen felt his breath leave his throat as he found the sword in chest. It had moved impossibly fast, even for a superhuman like himself. He fell to his knees as he stared up towards his killer, the echo of vox chatter going dull for him as his lifeforce drained away onto the floor.

Almost respectfully, the figure knelt down next to Vargen, close enough to whisper a truth that would die with him.


[//Senseschal Var Terez. Note the mendicant cape and Silver Star honorific, marking him as one of the  mysterious Kapihe of Volnoscere. No mentioned or explanation is given of his missing arm – though some point to its appearance only after the fateful campaign alongside the Wormwood Sons against the Death Eagles.+]

[//Terez's armour incorporates Coldforge-pattern elements, including what we presume to be a temporary helm, as the Seneschal would traditionally bear the Firemaster's Coif. Buried in the ground behind him, his billowing cloak reveals Nameless, the ill-starred sword that marked the Master of the Firebreak.+]



“My Lord, with all due respect, this threat cannot be ignored. Every day we see increased reports of these emerald ghosts striking our Partisan allies. Every day they operate, they bleed Morqub of precious resources we need.”
“Several names, my lord. For now we are designating them Mortis Guardia.”
“I will see to it personally, [REDACTED].” 
“For the Imperium.”

As a footnote, any and all records pertaining to the Seneschal would end before the War of Ash and Flesh. His absence is noted within recovered logs from Partisan reports alongside records salvaged from Forgeworld Avarice. Around this time, mentions of 'Acting Master Gan Rhul' appear. Notably, the hesitant or brevet rank implies that the reduced survivors of the Firebreak believed that Var Terez still lived – though in what capacity, and on what evidence, remains unknown. Some draw links to the Testimony of the Disgraced Lion as having references and notes similar to those recovered of the Seneschal, though officials have made no comments on the matter.

Had Var Terez played a longer part, or a greater involvement in the War of Ash and Flesh, the effect might well have led to decades of war. It was decided – supposedly amongst the ranks of the Extinction Fleet, but most likely on the direct orders of Master Enoch – that he had to be removed from the board. In so doing, the assassination would degrade not only the effectiveness of the Firebreak but also counterintelligence capabilities from the Partisan war effort. 

Var Terez had proven to be a pivotal member in holding the Chapter together – but likewise their combat efficiency dropped markedly with his disappearance and the unity held would start to unravel.

In short, for the Firebreak, and the Partisan cause more generally, the loss of Var Terez would prove to be one of the final nails in the coffin