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The Warmaster knew that the Emperor would respond with all the force He had available. Jonson believed that the Dark Angels' deployment to the Shield Worlds on Horus' orders was part of an effort to scatter the Imperium's most loyal servants as far as possible in order to minimise the number of Legions Horus would have to face at any given time.
Even so, the strike force of seven full Space Marine Legions ordered to the Istvaan System in response to the Warmaster's treachery posed a dire threat to Horus' survival, as they made their way towards Istvaan V. Jonson's forces were too deeply enmeshed in the Shield Worlds to respond quickly to Horus' betrayal; the best estimates of the primarch's staff indicated that it would take them nearly eight solar months to conclude their offensive operations, even on an emergency basis, and reposition themselves for a strike against Istvaan V.
Even if they could move more quickly, Horus' agents would be able to alert the Warmaster in time to organise a counter-strike. However, Jonson believed that a small, hand-picked force might accomplish what an entire Legion could not. The primarch issued orders for many of the Dark Angels' reserve squadrons to resupply and prepare for immediate deployment to the Tanagra System. Their primary target was to secure the Forge World of Diamat.
They could not afford to let the Warmaster acquire the substantial supplies and ordnance needed to fortify the world of Istvaan V against the approaching Loyalist strike force. Jonson would personally lead the expedition to Diamat, with a battle group of fifteen warships. Secrecy was vital, as the primarch was aware that the Warmaster's agents were more than likely tracking the Dark Angels' movements. Jonson went to Diamat in order to secure several powerful continental siege machines; vast artillery pieces that could devastate the most powerful fortifications.
The small fleet of Dark Angels vessels arrived in the Tanagra System just five solar days after the destruction of Horus' landing force at the Xanthus star port. With no way to secure the siege machines held in storage in Diamat's depots from Jonson's Astartes, the admiral of the raiding fleet had little choice but to withdraw back to Istvaan. The Warmaster's final gambit had failed. Following this small victory at the Battle of Diamat , Jonson met with his fellow brother primarch, Perturabo of the Iron Warriors Legion aboard his flagship Invincible Reason.
Ferrus Manus and the Iron Hands Legion had hastened ahead of them, hungry to claim the Emperor's vengeance against Horus. Perturabo lied to Jonson, explaining that he had hoped that his Legion could provision his vessels at the Xanthus star port above Diamat before continuing to the combat zone.
Of course, they were now unable to, as the I st Legion had destroyed the orbital port. Perturabo inquired of Jonson how he had learned of the existence of the siege engines. Jonson explained that he had discovered them fifty Terran years earlier when he was studying the history of the Great Crusade and saw a reference to them in a despatch from Horus that had been sent to the Emperor. Horus had commissioned the colossal siege machines from the masters of Diamat during the long siege of the xenos fortress-states on Tethonus.
The war machines took much longer for the forge masters to complete than planned. By the time they were finished, the campaign on Tethonus had been over for a year and a half, and Horus had moved on to other conquests. So the weapons were put into a depot on Diamat against the day when the Warmaster would come to claim them.
When Jonson had received word of Horus' perfidy, he knew that ultimately the Warmaster's path would lead to Terra. Even if he were somehow to prevail against Perturabo and the other Legions sent to confront him in the Istvaan System, the Warmaster couldn't claim total victory so long as the Emperor was safe in his palace.
For Horus to triumph, the Emperor had to die. And that meant a long and costly siege of Terra. Therefore, the Warmaster would come to claim the siege engines of Diamat. Jonson informed his brother that he would be unable to accompany the Loyalist fleet to Diamat, as he had to make all haste to the Shield Worlds and prepare the rest of the I st Legion for the trip to Terra. In fact, he thought it best if no one outside Perturabo, himself and the other primarchs ever knew that the Lion was there.
He didn't want the Emperor to believe he did anything at Diamat with an ulterior motive in mind. Perturabo agreed that it was both a prudent choice, and a very humble one. Jonson explained that his actions were done for the good of the Imperium, not for accolades, nor for power.
But Jonson confessed to his brother a certain jealousy. He believed Horus had become the Emperor's favourite son for no other reason than fate. Had he been the first of the primarchs to be found, Jonson believed he would have been the Warmaster instead. The Lion also believed that Horus would inevitably be defeated and that the Emperor would need to choose a new Warmaster very quickly if the Great Crusade was to continue. He asked for Perturabo's support. The two primarchs ultimately reached an understanding -- Jonson granted permission for the Iron Warriors to take possession of the siege guns at their convenience -- on one condition.
Jonson made his brother promise that the siege weapons would be put to good use. Perturabo assured his brother that they would be, never letting on that he had already sworn himself to Horus' rebellion and would participate only solar months later at the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V where three Loyalist legions were almost completely destroyed. Following the victory of the Drop Site Massacre , Horus called a meeting of the primarchs of 8 of the Traitor Legions minus the participation of the Alpha Legion 's Primarch Alpharius aboard his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit.
Five of the primarchs, including four who had fought at Istvaan V, met in person, including Horus, Fulgrim , Angron , Mortarion and Lorgar. Three appeared through the use of hololithic emitters that transmitted their signals through the Warp, including Perturabo , Konrad Curze and Magnus the Red , who had only recently joined the Traitors after the Scouring of Prospero when the broken remains of his XV th Legion had been transported by Tzeentch into the Eye of Terror to the Planet of the Sorcerers.
The Thousand Sons , bitter at what they perceived as their betrayal by the Emperor, now willingly became the ninth Traitor Legion. The council of Traitor primarchs made their plans for the next step in their war against the Emperor and then each Legion went its way according to its assigned role.
In M31, Konrad Curze's fleet departed, bound for the planet of Tsagualsa , a remote world in the Eastern Fringe that lay shrouded in the shadow of a great asteroid belt. From there, the Night Lords Legion 's terror troops would begin a campaign of genocide against the Imperial strongholds of Heroldar and Thramas, star systems that, if not taken, would leave the flanks of the Warmaster's strike on Terra vulnerable to attack.
This campaign would also delay the Dark Angels Legion from reinforcing the Loyalists. The Thramas System was of particular importance, as it comprised a number of Mechanicum Forge Worlds whose loyalty was still to the Emperor. This bitterly contested campaign, known as the Thramas Crusade , dragged on for nearly three standard years.
In an attempt to sway his brother Lion El'Jonson to Horus' cause, the Night Haunter left a deep-void beacon in the patrol path of one of the Dark Angels' outrider vessels. The beacon was set to transmit coordinates in advance, so that the two primarchs could meet and parley on the planet of Tsagualsa. Night Haunter wanted to break his former brother either mentally, physically or both to obtain his objectives. The primarchs were accompanied by two warriors from their personal Honour Guards to the parley.
The meeting began amicably enough between the two as they conversed with relative civility. This amity lasted only until the Night Haunter slandered El'Jonson, and in return the Lion struck his former brother.
This melee further degenerated into an all-out brawl between the two sides. Eventually both Legions sent reinforcements in response to this incident. Each side dragged away their respective primarchs from the scene of the combat. Both primarchs survived this brutal confrontation and went on to continue the contest between their Legions for control of the Aegis Sub-sector. M31, the Dark Angels received intelligence from an astropathic message from the nearby Perditus System about Traitor movements.
They immediately moved to intercept. Both sides had been fighting over an ancient sentient device, known as the Tuchulcha Engine. This device was part of a triumvirate of similar sentient devices another being the Ouroboros and a third, unnamed engine which when combined could create temporal rifts that bridge space and time.
On its own, the Tuchulcha was capable of precise and extremely efficient Warp jumps. Faced with the prospect of fighting the entirety of the much larger I st Legion fleet, both sides retreated from the planet's surface at the Lion's request. Wary of both sides' motives, especially those of the Death Guard's First Captain Calas Typhon , the Lion prevented the device from falling into the Death Guard's hands.
Jonson proceeded to serve his own ambitions and requisitioned the device for his own use. The Lion ordered the destruction of Perditus, much to the consternation of both commanders. He used the Tuchulcha Engine to make a Warp jump, but during their sojourn through the Immaterium, the Dark Angels were beset by daemons.
The Lion reinstituted his Legion's Librarian corps to fight these nefarious Warp-spawned creatures. As this was in direct violation of the Emperor's Decree Absolute at the Council of Nikaea , this caused a dispute within the Legion that eventually came to a head when the enraged Lion slew Chaplain Nemiel. During the height of the Battle of Perditus , the Lion encountered the Greater Daemon of Tzeentch known as Kairos Fateweaver , who attempted to convert the primarch to the cause of the Ruinous Powers , but failed miserably, as he had nothing to sway the Lion to their cause.
The Lion told the foul creature that absolute loyalty to the Emperor was reward enough, and impaled the Lord of Change through its black heart. At the same time, he mockingly asked the daemon if he had "foreseen" his defeat.
Utlising the Tuchulcha Engine a second time, the Dark Angels were able to execute a meticulously planned ambush on the Night Lords' fleet while it was in transit across the Tsagualsa Sub-sector that saw the back of the Night Lords Legion broken and their primarch mortally wounded after having faced his brother El'Jonson once again in mortal combat. Thanks to the skilled coordination and superb execution of the Lion, the Night Lords fleet was devastated, losing dozens of capital ships and approximately one-quarter of their Legion fleet to the Dark Angels' assault.
Unfortunately, the remainder of the Night Lords fleet fled the Dark Angels' wrath, taking their critically wounded primarch with them before the Lion could finally end his wretched life. This resulted in the death of all but a dozen of the Atramentar and the capture of Sevatar and the remaining survivors.
Konrad Curze fled El'Jonson's wrath, evading the Dark Angels for solar months, stalking the shadows within the bowels of their flagship, and continued to wreak terror and chaos amongst the mortal crew. The Night Lords primarch also killed every hunter-killer team sent by the Lion to hunt him down.
After losing several squads of Dark Angels, the Lion himself took up the hunt for Curze, stalking him throughout the Invincible Reason for the next sixteen solar weeks. However, he could never find his elusive brother primarch. At some point, the remaining Night Lords captives somehow managed to affect their escape and fled into the void. With the torrential Ruinstorm raging, blocking out the light of the Astronomican and causing Warp travel to be all but impossible, the Imperium was effectively cut in half during much of the Horus Heresy following the Battle of Calth.
The Dark Angels came to the realisation that they were unable to return to Terra to assist in its defence, even with the use of the Tuchulcha Engine. Miraculously, they managed to lock onto the beacon of the strange alien device known as the Pharos , on the world of Sotha , which guided the I st Legion fleet safely through the Warp and to the Realm of Ultramar 's capital world of Macragge.
The three primarchs were instrumental in the foundation of the " Imperium Secundus " as a means of continuing the fight against the Traitors and securing the Emperor's great work. Guilliman proclaimed Sanguinius as the rightful heir to the Emperor and declared him the new ruler of Imperium Secundus.
Lion El'Jonson was made the Lord Protector of this new empire of Humanity and supreme commander over all its military forces, a title that was similar to that of Warmaster. Unfortunately, the foundation of Imperium Secundus was marred when Curze escaped from the Invincible Reason and rampaged across Macragge, intent on spreading as much terror and chaos as he could. Eventually, both Guilliman and the Lion confronted the cornered Curze.
Their attempts to kill him were unsuccessful as the Night Lords primarch had laid a cunning trap. He brought down an entire chapel upon the two primarchs through the use of planted explosives and fled the scene. Guilliman and the Lion were only saved through the direct intervention of the Loyalist Iron Warriors Warsmith Barabas Dantioch , who was communicating with Guilliman at the time of the attack through a portal that was opened by the Pharos.
On instinct, the Warsmith reached through the portal and pulled the two primarchs to safety on Sotha. Feeling directly responsible for the Night Haunter's rampage on Macragge, the Lion continued to obsessively hunt his wayward former brother for the next two Terran years. The Dark Angels quickly uncovered the horrors perpetrated by the Word Bearers for their dark rituals on that planet.
Eventually, the Dark Angels took part in multiple engagements against the forces of both Traitor Legions, which culminated in the capital city of Numentis. The Traitor forces were utterly annihilated by the victorious Dark Angels and the world was left in the care of its surviving population. While continuing his obsessive hunt for the elusive Night Haunter, the Lion and Guilliman continuously clashed over policy, especially in regards to the security of Imperium Secundus.
They were particularly vexed with how best to deal with the emergence of rebels on Macragge that the Lion was certain Curze had instigated. Following a suicide bombing of an Astartes convoy, the Lion used the I st Legion to establish martial law on Macragge.
Certain that Curze was hiding within the rebellious Illyrium region, the Lion advocated the use of a massive orbital saturation bombardment of the region to ensure Curze's death. Facing resistance from both Emperor Sanguinius and Guilliman, the Lion instead, opted to deploy his Legion's Dreadwing in order to flush out Curze and the rebels.
During an attack on the city of Alma Mons, the Lion finally cornered the elusive Night Lords primarch and the two came to blows. After a brutal confrontation, the Lion eventually emerged victorious, and questioned his brother why he had turned away from the Emperor, to which Curze simply replied: "Why not?
Curze went on to explain that there was a monster in his head that he could not stop. Though he finally had Curze at his mercy, the Lion couldn't bring himself to kill his brother, and instead pummeled him again. He then ripped off Curze's backpack from his battle-plate, lifted him over his head, and brutally brought the Night Haunter down across his knee, breaking Curze's spine and paralysing him.
A Triumvirate was later held where Curze defended his actions, but refused to admit his guilt. Since each of the primarchs had been created to perform a specific function, Curze argued he was merely acting according to his own nature, and therefore had committed no crimes. The Night Lords primarch further divided Guilliman and the Lion by accusing the latter of secretly ordering orbital bombardment in direct violation of Guilliman's orders to prevent civilian casualties.
Enraged, the Lion sought to kill Curze, but was halted by the words of Sanguinius as Guilliman snatched El'Jonson's Lion Sword and broke the blade across his armoured thigh in his fury. The Lion was then banished from Imperium Secundus. Taking his leave, the Dark Angels withdrew from Macragge only hours later. Standing in the chamber of the Tuchulcha Engine aboard the Invincible Reason , the Lion brooded over recent events. He questioned his actions over the course of the last few decades -- the banishment of Luther, the death of Nemiel as well as other decisions he had come to regret.
As the Dark Angels made their final preparations to depart back to Caliban, the Lion went back to the Tuchulcha Engine's chamber. He ordered the device to teleport himself and Holguin, "Deathbringer", the voted-lieutenant of the Deathwing , back to Macragge. As Sanguinius prepared to execute Curze for his crimes, both the Lion and his lieutenant teleported directly into the chamber and told Sanguinius to stop.
As troops entered the room, demanding the Lion surrender, El'Jonson explained his reasons for the intrusion. He reasoned that Curze had the ability to see precognitive visions of potential futures, and repeated the Night Haunter's claim that his death would one day come at the hands of an assassin sent by the Emperor. If this was true, the Lion reasoned, then it was proof that the Emperor was still alive beyond the barrier of the Ruinstorm.
Sanguinius knew the Lion's explanation rang true, as he recognised that his own precognitive visions of his inevitable death would also eventually come to pass. When Guilliman demanded to know what would become of Curze, the Lion knelt before his two brothers and promised that he would be Curze's gaoler. In the wake of these revelations, Imperium Secundus was abolished by the three primarchs as an unfortunate mistake. The three primarchs led their Legions in an attempt to breach the Ruinstorm and reach Terra to defend the Emperor.
Through an arduous journey, they eventually reached Davin , the nexus of the Ruinstorm, and engaged a vast daemonic host. After the Second Battle of Davin and the destruction of that foul planet, a way to Terra through the Ruinstorm was made clear as the great Warp Storm began to slowly subside. But in the Legions' way stood multiple Traitor fleets intended to serve as blocking forces as Horus had foreseen that this route to Terra might open for the Loyalists.
Sanguinius and the Blood Angels raced directly for Terra through the opening, as was their destiny in Sanguinius' precognitive visions, while Guilliman and Lion El'Jonson led the Ultramarines and Dark Angels Legions in diversionary attacks against the Traitor fleets that allowed the Blood Angels to slip through the cordon.
By the time the Siege of Terra began, the Lion hoped to draw Traitor forces away from the throneworld by striking at their own Legion homeworlds. Luther , the Great Betrayer and leader of the Fallen Angels. In the aftermath of the Siege of Terra , the surviving Loyalists rallied the reeling Imperium. The Dark Angels took a significant part in these battles, which later came to be called the Great Scouring. As they pursued the rebels, the I st Legion diverted to nearby Caliban, which had been enshrouded by the Ruinstorm and other Warp Storms since Horus' betrayal.
For Lion El'Jonson, one final act of treachery remained to be discovered. Upon the Dark Angels' arrival in orbit, they were fired upon from the surface. Pulling back the Legion fleet, El'Jonson tried to find out what had happened, and discovered that Luther -- who had become embittered by what he perceived as El'Jonson always taking all the glory -- had poisoned the minds of the Dark Angels garrison and the new recruits that had been left on the planet against their primarch.
Correctly believing that Luther and the planet-side Dark Angels had actually been tainted by Chaos , an infuriated Jonson ordered that Caliban be bombarded from orbit, destroying the planet's defences. El'Jonson then led his forces to the surface and assaulted the Order's fortress-monastery , where he confronted Luther in single combat. Luther, transformed into a Chaos Champion by the power of the Chaos Gods , was now evenly matched in strength with the enraged primarch.
The battle between the two levelled The Order's fortress-monastery as the planet was coming apart around them, the orbital bombardment taking a heavy toll on the surface. El'Jonson managed to wound Luther, but could not bring himself to kill the man who had been his brother and mentor.
Luther lashed out with a powerful sorcerous attack that mortally wounded the primarch. As he saw what he had done, Luther felt a veil lift from his eyes, and the Chaos Gods -- seeing that once again their chosen Champion had failed to defeat the lackeys of the Emperor of Mankind -- lashed out with the powers of the Warp.
The Fallen Angels were scattered throughout space and time, and Caliban tore itself apart under the strain of the Ruinous Powers ' assault. The only portion of the planet remaining intact was the rock on which stood the fortress-monastery in which Luther and the Lion had duelled. The Dark Angels entered the shattered monastery and captured the broken Luther; of El'Jonson himself, however, there was no sign.
It was believed that Jonson was thrown into the maelstrom of space and time by the Chaos Gods along with the Fallen. The truth was that the Lion still lived, though he had been placed into a coma and had reemerged into realspace with the aid of the Watchers in the Dark in a secret chamber deep beneath the fortress-monastery which even his brethren did not know existed.
Only the Emperor of Mankind , sitting silent on the Golden Throne from which He sees all, and the Watchers themselves, know this greatest secret of the Dark Angels. Even the Supreme Grand Master of the Chapter is not privy to this truth. However, legends soon spread throughout the Chapter that the Lion would find his way back to the Dark Angels on that grim day when they went to war in defence of the Imperium for the final time.
Ten standard millennia later, a captured Fallen Angel named Merir Astelan would tell a different version of these events. According to Astelan, Lion El'Jonson was late in arriving to the defence of Terra not due to being too far away, but because he was waiting to see whether it was Horus or the Emperor who won the great conflict between them.
Astelan, believing that those who were with Jonson would not forgive them for turning on their brothers, ordered the defensive batteries of Caliban to fire upon the returning Dark Angels' fleet. The difference between the Dark Angels' view of the fall of Caliban and that of the Fallen Angel Astelan is considered to be due to Astelan's literally warped perception of these events, but some aspects of this story may ring with truth after all, and Lion El'Jonson might have betrayed the Emperor in his heart, if not in his mind, when he was most needed.
With their primarch missing and their battle-brothers on Caliban having betrayed them to Chaos , the Dark Angels swore to redeem themselves in the eyes of the Emperor and force the Fallen Angels to repent or die.
They decided the true story of treachery behind the destruction of Caliban must remain secret; no outsider must learn of the schism that had split the I st Legion, or that any Dark Angels had ever turned to the service of the Ruinous Powers. Should the truth be revealed, the Dark Angels believed that they would be labelled Excommunicate Traitoris and never given a chance to redeem themselves.
The senior members of the Legion formed a secret conclave -- an Inner Circle of the Legion's Masters. They created an overlapping system to watch over their own Brothers, and also themselves. Everyone must be scrutinised for signs of corruption. Thus started a spiral of mistrust and secrecy that continues to this day. Such was the scale of the disaster of the Fall of Caliban that there could be no hiding it.
Psykers across the galaxy had sensed the Warp Storm that ripped the world apart, and the titanic flash of the tempest meeting the indomitable force field surrounding the Dark Angels' fortress-monastery had blazed like a supernova.
However, the Dark Angels erected a systematic cover-up of the truth, for each remaining battle-brother of the I st Legion had taken stringent vows of unspeakable binding to never reveal what really took place on Caliban. Their story might not have held up under an intense inquiry, but it was a time of great upheaval in the Imperium and the retreating Traitor Legions were bolder near the Eye of Terror : the Night Lords , in particular, laid many ambushes that took a high toll on their Imperial pursuers.
That a Warp Storm had claimed the Dark Angels' homeworld, and so many of their brethren, was but another tragedy in a deluge of grim tidings. Inquiries found the Dark Angels battered, grief-stricken and bereft of reinforcements, but there was little time for any succour, for war called. Across the galaxy, Traitor strongholds remained and many rebellious planets had yet to be shown the error of their judgement, but most ominous of all was the rise of the xenos threat.
Much of the Imperium's strength had been siphoned off in the civil war and so countless planets found themselves at the mercy of a new wave of xenos attacks. Leaving only those necessary to oversee the work being done on the reconstruction of what would become The Rock , the Dark Angels split their remaining Legion fleet in an attempt to answer the many distress calls that reached them. Together, like vengeful angels, they drove the Traitors and daemons alike into exile.
On Seption Prime, Dark Angels Terminator companies arrived just in time to provide a rearguard action, allowing the Ultramarines to extract their forces before that Plague Planet lost to the pestilential whims of Nurgle was destroyed by Exterminatus.
All who fought alongside the Dark Angels at this time lauded them as steadfast warriors, utterly dedicated to the destruction of the Emperor's enemies. Upon their return to The Rock, the much-depleted Dark Angels found disturbing news. At the time of the Fall of Caliban, the Dark Angels thought their traitorous brethren had all been destroyed, vanquished in the Warp Storm that blossomed in the death throes of their homeworld. The Fallen Angels had been swept into the vortex of that horrific rent in the galaxy, but the fury of the Dark Gods had not slain them.
The scryings of the Legion's Librarians searched long and hard for their missing primarch and of him they could read no signs. They did, however, pick up traces of the Fallen and determined that the Traitors yet lived, although what remained of their psychic signatures were widespread, and the connections were already fading out of mindsight.
The Masters of the I st Legion greeted this new shock with typical stoicism, despite the inner turmoil it created. On the one hand, they feared their nightmare would be revealed -- that while the Fallen lived, knowledge of their Legion's treachery against the Emperor might be spread throughout the galaxy. On the other hand, the continued existence of the Traitors offered hope, for if the Renegades could be tracked down and forced to repent, then the sins of the Legion might be absolved, washed away in the blood of the Fallen.
The Grand Masters of the nascent Inner Circle swore that so long as even one of the Fallen remained alive and unrepentant, the Dark Angels would be Unforgiven , cursed by their brothers to atone for all eternity. So began the secret mission that would prove the driving force behind the Dark Angels' and their successors' actions for millennia to come.
To this day, the Dark Angels and their Successor Chapters of the Unforgiven continue to wage a war of repentance to wipe this secret stain from the honour of the old I st Legion. They can never truly rest until every one of the Fallen has been eliminated. Dark Angels hold the duty of capturing or killing the Fallen as their most important duty, superseding all other necessities. There have been cases where the Dark Angels have literally left the battlefield in the middle of combat against the Emperor's foes in order to chase down a suspected sighting of a Fallen Angel.
M41, the return of the heavily mutated Space Wolves 13th Company prompted Supreme Grand Master Azrael to launch a crusade to the Fenris System , which upon arrival was found to be in the throes of a daemonic invasion. Seeing no other recourse, Azrael ordered the bombardment of one of the most infested of the system's worlds, Midgardia , even as the shape-shifting Changeling was detected aboard The Rock.
It was revealed that the daemon had been responsible for manipulating events, setting the Dark Angels against their long-time rivals the Space Wolves as part of a larger scheme orchestrated by Magnus the Red , Daemon Primarch of the Thousand Sons. A full-blown daemonic invasion of the Rock followed, and through the combined efforts of the two rival Chapters, as well as a detachment of Grey Knights who had followed their own scryings to the system, it was repelled.
Despite their brief alliance, however, the Dark Angels' relationship with the Space Wolves was left more frayed than ever by their confrontation. In late Detecting many Fallen amongst the horde, the Dark Angels risked all by ordering the Unforgiven to join them in a headlong assault against the Renegade forces.
Their forces split across the Cadian Sector , the Dark Angels were involved in many battles, including heroic defensive actions against a daemonic warhost led by the Greater Daemon Kharhnok. Increasing Warp Storm activity ensured the different forces could not reunite. Only the 4 th Company under Master Korahael arrived on Cadia itself, where they and their Strike Cruiser , Sword of Defiance , were lost during the final battles as that Fortress World at last fell to Chaos, consumed by the growing tides of the Warp.
As the 13th Black Crusade consumed Cadia, even protected by the psychic shielding of The Rock, the Librarians of the Dark Angels were struck down by a shock wave of terror and fell portents. Most of these visions were too fragmentary and fleeting to be recalled in detail, but the revelation experienced by Ezekiel , the Grand Master of Librarians , seared itself into his mind.
He saw the Fallen in their entirety, and their numbers were far greater than the worst fears of the Inner Circle had suggested. Luther had rebuilt the entire I Legion while on Caliban, and a vast proportion of them had survived the planet's destruction, trapped within the Warp. Ezekiel's vision ended with an image of the galaxy in turmoil, and another truth became apparent: a great doom was coming. That doom became apparent soon after the fall of Cadia at the triumphal climax of Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade in At first, all was utter blackness and the stars faded from the skies, but as the time of the Noctis Aeterna passed, the Imperium gazed out awestruck upon a new horror.
The Cicatrix Maledictum -- commonly called the Great Rift -- split reality across the galaxy, a hole in realspace hundreds of times greater than the Eye of Terror. The Rock was caught within the Imperium Nihilus , the galactic north that was wholly cut off from the light of the Emperor's Astronomican. Even as the isolation of the Noctis Aeterna passed, The Rock was invaded. Fighting took place along the docks, within the grand halls, and even in the labyrinthine sub-levels and dungeons that burrowed deep into The Rock.
As the conflict reached its climactic point, the invaders disappeared with the same suddenness with which they had manifested, having ultimately achieved little beyond mindless slaughter and destruction There was one, however, who knew otherwise. In the deepest dungeon, a secret prisoner known only to the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels -- the Arch-betrayer Luther -- was set free. Azrael suspected the entire battle had been merely a diversion so that nefarious agents of the Fallen could accomplish their true task -- yet it is a theory that he must keep to himself, for none else must know of Luther's imprisonment for so long Elements of half a dozen Unforgiven Chapters descended upon the Shrine World of Darkmor , including multiple companies from the Angels of Vengeance , the Consecrators and the Guardians of the Covenant.
All had followed their Librarians' scryings to the planet, searching for the newly materialised Fallen. It was not long before they discovered that they were not the hunters, however, but the hunted. The Warp Storms that subsided to allow their armies into Darkmor's orbit returned in force.
On the planet's surface, the Unforgiven found the world's vast cathedrals in ruins and its populace slaughtered. Awaiting in ambush are armies of daemons , Chaos Space Marines and Renegades. What followed was the worst single incident of losses suffered by the Unforgiven since the Forgotten Wars. Less than a hundred Space Marines from an original contingent of a thousand managed to escape, and they did so only because they pursued Cypher , who, in his attempt to flee, led them to a secret teleportation device.
In the wake of the recent catastrophic events, Supreme Grand Master Azrael decided to convene an emergency council of the Unforgiven's other Supreme Grand Masters, several of whom were still nearby following the Darkmor Massacre. The Dark Angels' Librarians succeeded in piercing the veil of the Great Rift and sending out a scattered astropathic summons -- though several died to achieve the feat -- and soon every loyal son of the Lion was preparing to embark on a perilous journey to The Rock.
Not all found their way to that last fragment of their ancestral home. Entire Successor Chapters became lost in the Warp, while others found themselves bogged down in one of the galaxy's many raging conflicts. It is when Azrael finally decided he could wait no longer for the remaining successors to arrive that he was informed of a new fleet transitioning into orbit around The Rock; it was not a waylaid Chapter of the Unforgiven that it bore, however, but the resurrected Lord Commander of the Imperium.
Azrael, his forces depleted and his Chapter's stronghold battered, feared the worst -- that the newly returned primarch of the Ultramarines , Roboute Guilliman , knew the truth of the Dark Angels' hidden past, and brought judgement with him. Debating whether to order the withdrawal of the assembled Unforgiven Chapters, or to make a stand and take up arms against the primarch's delegation, at last the Supreme Grand Master decided upon neither, allowing Guilliman's fleets to dock without incident.
It soon became clear that the Lord Commander and the remaining ships of the Indomitus Crusade fleet came not to deliver censure, but much needed reinforcements. At a brief war council, Guilliman outlined the threats facing the Imperium and his plans to continue the Indomitus Crusade. He also spoke of the updated Codex Astartes , and how his brother El'Jonson's descendants had earned the right to maintain their specialised wings and unique order of battle, as long as they continued to serve the Emperor well.
In the wake of their Primaris reinforcement, the Dark Angels moved into the darkest reaches of the galaxy, now shorn from the light of the Emperor. There Azrael could more easily coordinate the Inner Circle, responding to the myriad distress calls that flooded in from the isolated and Warp Storm -battered worlds of the galactic north.
In addition to breaking sieges and rescuing beleaguered populations, the Dark Angels and their successors continued the eternal hunt for the Fallen, especially pursuing any signs of Cypher and the Daemon Prince Marbas -- which only Azrael knows may be the key to locating Luther.
The Changeling instigated uprisings all across the Warp Storm-wracked Imperium Nihilus , leaving entire star systems ripe for invasion. Although tensions between the Dark Angels and Space Wolves are as high as always, the situation is so dire that there are no conflicts between them save only the expected ritual combat between champions. Initial losses were swiftly recuperated, but it soon became apparent that they could no longer achieve victory.
I have fought in almost a hundred engagements since joining my brethren on The Rock, leading Squad Grellius to complete every mission assigned, yet not a word of praise have I heard. And rightly so -- for such duty were we created and trained. Yet against the cultist waves and daemon tides invading Hive Trall, our squad alone held a crucial hab-complex against the enemy.
When Grand Master Belial arrived to retake the area and recover the gene-seed of the dead, he was surprised to find we had held the line. I think I even saw him smile. In that moment, I believed our acceptance amongst our brethren was complete. Master Lazarus , captain of the 5th Company and the first Firstborn Dark Angel to cross the Rubicon Primaris and become a Primaris Marine , wielding a power sword against the foe.
Immediate concerns over the integration of the Primaris Space Marines among the Unforgiven were soon assuaged as the new warriors adapted to the Unforgiven's ways of war and performed well alongside their battle-brothers. Yet, mistrusting of others by nature, the Dark Angels and the Unforgiven were not quick to assimilate these new arrivals. The Primaris Marines of the Ultima Founding had not heard the apocryphal tales or gone through the long indoctrinations like those of the Unforgiven.
They were not tested in battle. Their loyalty to their parent Chapters had not been ascertained in the painstakingly detailed way the Firstborn Dark Angels preferred. But those who had suffered most at the Darkmor Massacre, the Angels of Vengeance, Consecrators, and Guardians of the Covenant, were more eager than others to use the Primaris. Thus began a great period of intensive testing and scrutiny.
The Primaris were found to adapt well to the Unforgiven's ways of war and fight competently alongside their battle-brothers. In addition, their various squad types, weapons, and vehicles proved useful assets for those commanding Dark Angels strike forces across numerous war zones.
Bonds were forged in battle, and many observed that their Primaris brethren's temperament and tendencies were very much like their own, presumably as a result of shared gene-seed. The Dark Angels hastened to induct more Primaris Space Marines from scratch after observing their battlefield capabilities, indoctrinating these Neophytes as they would any other recruits. Thus were more Primaris added to the Chapter's ranks, moulded in exactly the manner the Chapter desired.
Some of the Firstborn Dark Angels chose to cross the Rubicon Primaris , impressed by the physical feats that their new brethren could achieve. Some traditionalists refused to go through such a process. Others advised against this course of action; with a high risk of death during the procedure, the Chapter could lose many of its warriors.
Some crossed without choice, returned to battle readiness after suffering grievous injuries only through the intervention of the new Primaris organs. The Inner Circle decreed that the Apothecarion would carry this out with seriously wounded battle-brothers to ensure that the Chapter had more Primaris Space Marines who could be fully trusted. The Primaris were undoubtedly powerful and useful, but many of the Inner Circle retained misgivings over the former Greyshields of the Unnumbered Sons who had reinforced the Unforgiven.
Inevitably, questions arose around whether Primaris Space Marines formerly of the Greyshields and of the Ultima Founding Chapters should be inducted into the Inner Circle. Some Firstborn argued that it simply could not be allowed to happen. Others stated that as inheritors of the Lion's genetic legacy, they should have the mental fortitude to handle the secrets they might learn, and indeed a responsibility to play their part in the eventual defeat of the Fallen.
Some took a more pragmatic view, their stance being that battlefield attrition alone might require it. The debate moved from a purely theoretical one as some members of the Inner Circle personally vouched for certain individuals or reported incidents where the Fallen had been observed by those who should not have seen them.
One such example was Interrogator-Chaplain Zaeroph, who had been serving alongside the 3rd Company in the Chalnath Expanse. His testimony was of particular significance, given his previous hostility to the reinforcements brought to The Rock by Roboute Guilliman. All of these arguments informed Supreme Grand Master Azrael's thinking on this most important of questions. His knowledge of the Dark Angels' secrets surpassed all others, and he alone knew the full risks and opportunities in any course of action.
All of this information bore upon his thinking, as did his own experience of seeing the Greyshields' impressive skills in battle. He thought long on the matter. Luther's escape weighed heavily on his mind. This burden was only made heavier when rumours reached him of a mustering of the Fallen beginning in the Somnium Stars.
He doubted little that Luther himself was in some way responsible. Should these rumours hold any truth, potentially every one of the Unforgiven would have to be ready to meet the threat. No doubt this played a significant role in his decision to permit the induction of the former Greyshields and warriors of the Ultima Founding into the Inner Circle, should they be deemed worthy of such an honour and indeed judged capable of withstanding the shock of the truth.
When Azrael made his decision known, many of the company Masters and Chapter Masters were incensed. Knowing that he could not tell them of Luther's escape, Azrael faced the prospect of causing a second schism amongst the sons of the Lion. The gravest threat the Dark Angels and their successors had faced in ten thousand Terran years brewed in the Somnium Stars, and he risked making more of his brothers Renegade.
Employing all of his diplomatic skill and appealing to the successors' unimpeachable sense of duty, he persuaded all to consider another test. The Deathwing had petitioned him with one Brother Apharan. The former Greyshield had earned their attention, and the Deathwing believed he might be worthy of joining their number.
Azrael put to the Chapter Masters and Masters that he had confidence that Apharan would pass the trials, hear the truth, and succeed as any Dark Angel might. Azrael staked his Chapter's entire reputation on a single warrior. Many of those sceptical were moved by Azrael's conviction and humility before them, despite his superior rank. Many were persuaded by this act alone, knowing that Azrael would never make such a choice without total confidence in future success.
Azrael personally oversaw Apharan's trials, which the former Greyshield passed. Whilst some of the successor Masters remained sceptical, they still conformed, their loyalty to and trust in Azrael outweighing their doubts. With this matter resolved, the Dark Angels and the Unforgiven ply the stars with renewed vigour and unity of purpose just as the Lion and his knights swept old Caliban, purging the galaxy of the Traitor, mutant, Heretic, and alien wherever they find them.
For the Unforgiven, the slaying of every foe is an act of repentance. They break sieges, crush rebellions, and stymie invasions. All the while their Inner Circles remain ever vigilant for signs of the Fallen, following leads wherever they are found. Those Primaris Marines formerly of the Greyshields have knowledge of Mars and the returned primarch beyond the wildest dreams of the Librarius and Interrogator-Chaplains and provide vital intelligence that the Dark Angels never had access to before.
Despite their eventual embrace of their Primaris brethren, the Dark Angels were less accepting of the Martian magi who accompanied them when Guilliman reached The Rock. These senior Tech-priests are essential to the induction and creation of new Primaris Space Marines, a state of affairs the Chapter finds extremely irksome. Many pains have been taken to give them as little access to The Rock as possible and keep them under heavy surveillance.
At the same time the Dark Angels' Techmarines and Apothecaries strive to learn all they can from the magi, in the hopes that they can render the Martian priests redundant. The Unforgiven operate with great coordination in these most trying of times.
Accusations of "Legion building" are spoken louder than ever before in some Inquisitorial circles, but the counter-arguments in defence of the Dark Angels and their successors are now made just as loudly. The Unforgiven's martial might is beyond question, their tally of victories now beyond count.
Some make the argument that such a force acts as an essential counterweight to the growing political power of Ultramar in the Imperium following Guilliman's resurrection. The ferocity of this debate has grown such that internecine conflict has broken out among some Inquisitors , each participant believing they are doing what is best for the Imperium. Rumours, psychic signatures and the torture-wrought confessions of captured prisoners tell of a mustering of the Archenemy within the darkest recesses of the Warp-shrouded Imperium Nihilus.
They speak of a gathering of many of the Fallen Angels in the Somnium Stars, a corrupted Dark Angels Legion reassembling in numbers enough to bring the entire galaxy to heel. Using The Rock as their mobile fortress, the Dark Angels have crisscrossed the galaxy bringing war to the Emperor's enemies. Few other Space Marine Chapters can match their roll call of victories -- for they have fought in the forefront of many of the most crucial battles in the Imperium's history.
For the Dark Angels, however, no action ever is enough to atone for the sins of their ancestors -- they remain the Unforgiven until every last Fallen Angel has been captured, repented and accepted the Emperor's Peace. When the Dark Angels achieve a battlefield objective, they immediately leave to seek their next engagement.
They are not a Chapter who rebuilds shattered Imperial worlds or performs humanitarian missions -- they are the Emperor's warriors, bred solely for battle. At the core of this game is a realistic simulation of all billion star systems in the Milky Way galaxy.
The secret is the so-called Stellar Forge, a procedural system that developer Frontier Developments used to realistically simulate the formation of our galaxy. Using the best available astronomical data, the studio sort of threw all of creation into a digital rock tumbler and then continued to polish what fell out as an MMO. A recent effort to put new Fleet Carriers in every corner of the galaxy has contributed to a massive uptick in players, including all-time high player counts on Steam.
Get it here: Frontier Steam. It warrants new words. Imagine someone using tracing paper to re-create a favorite painting, adding their own flourishes and revisions. Once again, you begin in a cave full of spiders, skeletons, bats, and golden idols that egg you on to set to set off their lethal traps. Except now, things are ever so different.
Yellow lizards roll across the room like that big ball chasing Indy, and agitated moles cut through the ground like the graboids in Tremors. Your muscle memory is weaponized against you —Chris Plante. Listen: When the original version of Fortnite launched, I hated it. There were zombies in it. You collected characters in the form of trading cards, and unlocked abilities from a skill tree. There was so much mindless clicking in the original version that my wrist would hurt after every each session.
That original mode, called Save the World, is still in the game. It even has a small, but devoted, ongoing fan base. Fortnite is arguably the biggest game in the world thanks to Battle Royale. Get it here: Epic Games Store. The original Half-Life tells the story of the MIT-educated theoretical physicist Gordon Freeman and a transdimensional rift that may someday kill us all. As far as PC shooters go, Half-Life represents an inflection point for the entire genre, threading a nearly uninterrupted narrative through a seamless and carefully paced action spectacle.
While the gameplay itself more than holds up, the look and feel of the original leaves something to be desired. Thankfully, the team at Crowbar Collective — themselves a bunch of modders — have created Black Mesa. Whether you want to play the classic version or the updated Black Mesa is up to you, but every PC enthusiast should at least try one or the other at least once. Get Half-Life here: Steam. Get Black Mesa here: Steam. Half-Life: Alyx gave VR something it desperately needed: a brand-new entry into a huge series, long-awaited by fans, and designed specifically for VR.
If you want to know what happens next in the story of Half-Life, you have to buy or borrow a VR headset and play through one of the most polished games ever released for virtual reality. Get Half-Life: Alyx here: Steam. Kentucky Route Zero is one of the most fascinating narrative experiments in all of video games. The brainchild of the small team of artists at Cardboard Computer, it uses magical realism to tell a bizarre tale set in rural America.
The game, which began as a Kickstarter campaign, has been released episodically over the past seven years. Cardboard Computer has also released a series of experiences it calls interludes , which are freely available online. The game offers a less traditional leveling-up system, in which players need to use items to increase their affinity with a particular stat.
If you want to increase your blocking stat, then you will have to block attacks, or even punches from friends, in order to increase the efficiency of your shield blocking. Players can also increase their health and stamina stats using food items or potions. I mostly spent time cooking and foraging for food, not interested in engaging in combat unless absolutely necessary. If anything, Valheim managed to scratch the itch for me that titles like Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley could otherwise no longer reach.
While my friends fought packs of wolves and found krakens swimming between vast expanses of ocean, I practiced animal husbandry and farming. Oceans and rivers look lovely, while even the dreariest of environments somehow stand out.
Particle effects bloom and blossom in snowy locales, with dense fog sometimes permeating endless meadows of yellowing grass. It made me stop and appreciate the environmental design and procedurally generated scenery. This approach also allows for those even with fairly low-end machines to run the game. Outside of the world actively fighting back against your intrusion and destruction, you can see the environment begin to change due to your work. This is in itself a depiction of colonialism and environmental degradation as you pillage a continent unknown to you for valuable materials to move elsewhere and do the exact same thing over and over again, until there is nothing left.
Before Minecraft was the cultural force it is today, it was a survival game. Minecraft drops players on a procedurally generated map eight times larger than the surface of the Earth. Get it here: Microsoft Mojang Amazon. Why this is happening, and what the player must do to set things right, make up one of the most intriguing mysteries in all of gaming.
Just like an old-fashioned murder story, Return of the Obra Dinn poses a complex mystery, layered with personalities, motives, secrets, and lies. But it supercharges whodunit conventions by infusing misdirection into every nook and cranny of its intricate, gorgeous murder scenes. The story is set aboard an earlyth-century merchant ship that shows up in port five years after it was reported missing, presumed lost at sea.
The ship is bereft of human life. My job is to board the ship and figure out what happened. Skeletons, exploded cannons, and destroyed rigging all add up to As the player, you inhabit an insurance adjuster from the Age of Sail who gains limited control over time and space. The game demands attention to detail and cleverness on the part of the player to get to the bottom of what happened to each character, while delighting them at every turn with a story and design that gradually reveals itself with surprising bursts of sound and violence.
Supergiant Games expects the player to fail during most runs of Hades. This science fiction fantasy shooter blends third-person action and Vanquish -style acrobatics with tried-and-true MMO systems to create a vibrant community of players.
Luckily, my Warframe gets me through the conflict, and I am aided by the benevolent Lotus. Confused at all the proper nouns? Most of it is pretty standard sci-fi stuff — an ancient empire crumbled, the factions of that empire are now at war, and I am a powerful card put into play. What that effectively means is that I unlock a host of missions with variable objectives and I get to jump around and be a ninja. Movement is fast, fluid, and beautifully lethal.
Melee attacks are accompanied with a satisfying sound effect and bright flash, along with a snappy animation. Get it here: Digital Extremes Steam. Years after its release, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt still stands as a towering achievement in modern video game design. But where The Witcher 3 truly shines on PC is in providing a glorious spectacle for the eyes. Among Us is as welcoming as it is ubiquitous. Meanwhile, the impostors attempt to kill everyone else on the ship, without exposing their own identities.
Every task is simple to perform on a touchscreen or a computer. Even killing someone as the impostor is as easy as tapping one button. If you happen to stumble upon the body of a fellow crew member, alerting the rest of the crew takes just one button as well. Any time a dead body is discovered, the entire crew convenes for a meeting where they have the chance to vote out one player. When he finally did speak up, it was just to agree with someone who leveled accusations toward the player that was suspicious of him.
It was all a dead giveaway to the fact that he was the impostor. And we did vote him out … too bad I was the impostor that round. Get it here: Among Us. A high-fantasy massively multiplayer online game standing on the shoulders of giants like Ultima and EverQuest , World of Warcraft has continually reinvented itself for more than 15 years, and has recently even moved back to the past to try to rekindle the interest of players who may have left the game.
And WoW continues to have a thriving community, even if the total number of players sometimes goes up and down with the times. Whether you land in Azeroth solo or with a close group of friends, you should never need to adventure alone. Get it here: Walmart Blizza r d. Microsoft Flight Simulator is the latest entry in a series that began in
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