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Guilliman had been hoping to find a solution to the Imperium's tortured dating system; he had instead found there was none. It was something else that would ultimately require his personal attention to repair.
As a result, all dates mentioned below in the millennia after the Horus Heresy should be considered only approximations, and for many, the 41st Millennium has not yet come to a close. Pre-History Birth of the Star Gods The birth of the entities known as the Star Gods occurred at the same time as the moment of Creation itself, as they formed from the vast, insensate energies first unleashed by that churning mass of cataclysmic force.
In that anarchic interweaving of matter and energy, the sea of stars began to swirl into existence and for an eon the universe was nothing more than hot hydrogen gas and light elemental dust ruled over by the gravitic force of billions of newborn suns. Long before the first planets had formed and cooled, the very first truly self-aware beings emerged, their thoughts encased within the lines of force produced by the plasma and electromagnetic flares of the stars themselves.
In later times, these entities would become known as the C'tanbut early in their existence they were nothing like the malevolent beings they would eventually become. They were little more than monstrous energy parasites that suckled upon the solar energies of the stars that had brought them into existence, shortening the lives of otherwise main-sequence stars by millions of standard years.
In time, these star vampires learned to move on the diaphanous wings of the universe's electromagnetic flux, leaving their birthplaces to drift through the cosmic ether to new stellar feeding grounds and begin their cycle of stellar destruction once more.
Beings of pure energy, they paid no mind to the hunks of solid matter they passed in the vacuum of space, the blazing geothermal fires and weak geomagnetic fields of these nascent planets insufficient to be worth feeding even their ravenous hunger.
The Old Ones Just as the stars gave birth to their children so the planets of the newborn galaxy eventually gave birth to lifeforms composed of matter which began the long evolutionary climb to self-awareness.
The first sentient beings of the Milky Way Galaxy known to have developed a civilisation technologically advanced enough to cross the stars was a reptilian race of beings called the Old Ones by the Eldarwho knew them best. They possessed a slow, cold-blooded, but still deep wisdom, having long studied the stars and raised astronomy and physics to such a level that their science and technology appear to humanity like an arcane art.
Their understanding of the workings of the universe were such that they could manipulate alternate dimensions and undertake great works of psychic engineering. Their science allowed them to cross the vast gulfs of space with only a single step through the myriad Warp Gates they built to connect the worlds of the galaxy in a vast network much like the Eldar Webway of today, though on a much larger scale.
The Old Ones spread their spawn to many places in the galaxy, but they also knew that all life was precious. Where they passed, they seeded new intelligent species and reshaped thousands of worlds to make them their own according to their predetermined environmental and geographic criteria.
It is believed by some in the Adeptus Mechanicus that even Terra felt the Old Ones' touch long before humanity's rise to self-awareness, though this notion is considered heretical at best by the Ecclesiarchyas the Imperial Creed teaches that Mankind was made in the image of the God-Emperor before his spirit was incarnated in physical flesh millennia ago.
The Old Ones' civilisation reached its height in excess of 60 million years ago. The Old Ones were responsible for the creation or genetic advancement of most of the currently active intelligent species of the galaxy, including the Eldarthe Krork the Orks ' precursorsthe Slann and the Jokaerothough it is unknown if they played any role in the evolution of humanity.
The Old Ones were potent psychics who routinely used the powers of the Warp for a wide variety of technological applications. The Old Ones constructed a system of instantaneous faster-than-light portals through Warpspace that were ultimately adapted to create the Eldar's Webway and was its more advanced precursor.
These portals connected all of the Old Ones' colony worlds across vast swathes of interstellar space. The Necrontyr and the Wars of Secession The humanoid species that would become the Necrons began their existence under a fearsome, scourging star in the far reaches of the galaxy known as the Halo Stars region, billions of standard years before Mankind evolved on Terra.
Assailed at every moment by ionising solar winds and intense radiation storms, the flesh and blood Necrontyr became a morbid people whose precarious life spans were riven by constant loss. What little information the Imperium of Man has recovered on the Necrontyr tells that their lives were short and uncertain, their bodies blighted and consumed at an early age by the terrible cancers and other illnesses linked to the high levels of ionising radiation given off by their sun.
Necrontyr cities were built in anticipation of their inhabitants' early demise, as the living were only brief residents living in the shadow of the vast sepulchres and tombs of their ancestors.
Likewise, their ruling dynasties were founded on the anticipation of demise, and the living were thought of as no more than temporary residents hurrying through the more permanent and lasting structures raised to honour the dead.
On the Necrontyr homeworld, the greatest monuments were always built for the dead, never the living. Driven by necessity, the Necrontyr escaped their crucible-prison and struck out for the stars, hopeful of carving an empire in which they could realise their species' potential free from the lethal energies of their birth star. Unable to find peace on their own world, the Necrontyr blindly groped outward into the universe to explore other stars.
Using stasis crypts and slow-moving antimatter-powered torch-ships that were clad in the living metal known as necrodermis to resist the millennia-long journeys through the void, the Necrontyr began to colonise distant worlds.
Little by little, the Necrontyr dynasties spread ever further, until much of the ancient galaxy answered to their rule. From the earliest days, the rulers of individual Necrontyr dynasties were themselves governed by the Triarch, a council composed of three Phaerons.
The head of the Triarch was known as the Silent King, for he addressed his subjects only through the other two Phaerons who ruled alongside him. Nominally a hereditary position, the uncertain life spans of the Necrontyr ensured that the title of Silent King nonetheless passed from one royal dynasty to another many times.
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The final days of the Necrontyr Empire occurred in the reign of Szarekhthe last of the Silent Kings. Sometime during their slow expansion, the Necrontyr encountered an ancient species far older than any other in existence in the known galaxy.
Collectively, these beings were known as the Old Onesand they were absolute masters of forms of energy the Necrontyr could not even conceive of, yet alone wield. The Old Ones had long ago conquered the secrets of immortality, yet they refused to share the gift of eternal life with the Necrontyr, who yet bore the curse of the bitter star they had been born under.
That, and the Old Ones' incredibly long, if not downright immortal lifespans, kindled a burning, jealous rage in the Necrontyr, which ate at their culture spiritually as much as their physical cancers consumed their bodies. The Necrontyr were astonished to learn that another intelligent species enjoyed such long lives while their own were cut so brutally short.
But as time wore on, further strife came to the Necrontyr. Each dynasty of the Necrontyr sought to claim its own destiny and soon the great houses were engaged in all-out conflicts known as the Wars of Secession. Had circumstances remained as they were for but a generation more, it is possible that the Necrontyr would have wiped themselves out, as so many species had before them and shall do in the future. As their territory grew ever wider and more diverse, the unity that had made them strong was eroded, and bitter wars were waged as entire realms fought to win independence.
Ultimately, the Triach -- the ruling council of the Necrontyr Empire-- realised that the only hope of unity lay in conflict with an external enemy, but there were few who could prove a credible threat.
Only the Old Ones, the first of all the galaxy's known sentient species, were a prospective foe powerful enough to bind the feuding Necrontyr dynasties to a common cause. Such a war was simplicity itself to justify, for the Necrontyr had ever rankled at the Old Ones' refusal to share the secrets of eternal life.
So did the Triarch declare war on the Old Ones. At the same time, they offered amnesty to any secessionist dynasties who willingly returned to the fold. It was the last of the Silent Kings who headed the Triarch of the Necrontyr Empire, Szarekh, who formulated the plan that would change everything forever and have consequences that would echo through history for countless millions of years. In a typically bitter act of jealousy and resentment for the Necrontyr race, it was the Silent King who used the Old Ones' refusal to share the secret of immortality as a pretext for war, forcibly uniting the entire Necrontyr species beneath the rule of the Triarch against their common foe.
War erupted across the stars, yet while the Silent King succeeded in uniting his hateful people, it was a war the Necrontyr could not win. Not on their own. The War in Heaven The mechanical horror of the Necrons The terrible wars between the Old Ones and the Necrontyr that followed, known later in Eldar myth as the War in Heaven, would fill a library in their own right, but the Necrontyr could never win.
Their superior technology was consistently outmanoeuvred by the Old Ones thanks to their mastery of the Webway portals and Warp Gates. The Necrontyr were pushed back until they were little more than an irritation to the Old Ones' dominance of the galaxy, a quiescent threat clinging to their irradiated world among the Halo Starsexiled and forgotten. The Necrontyr's fury was cooled by their long millennia of imprisonment on their homeworld, slowly transforming into an utter hatred towards all other forms of intelligent life and an implacable determination to avenge themselves upon their seemingly invincible enemies.
But in the face of defeat, the always fragile unity of the Necrontyr began to fracture once more. No longer did the prospect of a common enemy have any hold over the disparate dynasties. Scores of generations had now lived and died in the service of an unwinnable war, and many Necrontyr dynasties would have gladly sued for peace with the Old Ones if the ruling Triarch had permitted it. Thus began the second iteration of the Wars of Secession, more widespread and ruinous than any that had come before.
So fractured had the Necrontyr dynasties become by then that, had the Old Ones been so inclined, they could have wiped out their foes with ease. Faced with the total collapse of their rule, the Triarch searched desperately for a means of restoring order. In this, their prayers were answered, though the price for their species would be incalculably high. It was during the reign of the Silent King Szarekh that the godlike energy beings known as the C'tan first blighted the Necrontyr.
It is impossible to say for certain how the Necrontyr first made contact with the C'tan though many misleading, contradictory and one-sided accounts of these events exist. The Book of Mournful Night, held under close guard in the Black Library 's innermost sanctum, tells rather that the raw hatred that the Necrontyr held as a race for the Old Ones sang out across space, acting as a beacon that the C'tan could not ignore.
Another account claims that from the earliest days of their civilisation, Necrontyr scientists had been deeply engaged in stellar studies to try to understand and protect themselves from their own sun's baleful energies. After long, bitter centuries of searching for some power to unleash upon the Old Ones, the Necrontyr researchers used stellar probes to discover unusual electrodynamic anomalies in the oldest, dying stars of the galaxy.
In the complex skeins of the energetic plasma of these suns, the Necrontyr found a sentience that was more ancient than that of any of the corporeal species in Creation, including the Old Ones, entities of pure energy that had spawned during the birth of the stars eons before. These entities had little conception of what the rest of the universe entailed when the Necrontyr first found them, feeding upon the solar flares and magnetic storms of these bloated red giants.
Here was the weapon the Necrontyr had long sought to bring about the downfall of the Old Ones, beings they believed were the progeny of the death-god they worshipped. Howsoever first contact occurred, the shadow of the C'tan fell over the oldest Necrontyr dynasties first. The power of these star-born creatures was incredible, the raw energy of the stars made animate, and the Necrontyr called them the C'tan or "Star Gods" in their own tongue.
The C'tan were dispersed across areas larger than whole planets, their consciousnesses too vast for humanoids to comprehend. How the Necrontyr ever managed to communicate with them is unknown to the Adeptus Mechanicus. Understanding that such diffuse minds could never perceive the material universe without manifesting themselves in a material form, some Necrontyr actively sought the C'tan's favour and oversaw the forging of physical shells for the C'tan to occupy, cast from the living metal called necrodermis that they had once used for their colony torch-ships.
Fragmentary Eldar legends tell of translucent streamers of electromagnetic force shifting across space as the star vampires coiled into their new bodies in the physical realm across an incorporeal bridge of starlight. Thus clad, the C'tan took the shapes of the Necrontyr's half-forgotten gods, hiding their own desires beneath cloaks of obsequious subservience.
Incomprehensible forces were compressed into the living metal of the necrodermis bodies which the Necrontyr had forged as the full power of the C'tan at last found form. As the C'tan focused their consciousnesses and became ever more aware of their new mode of existence, they came to appreciate the pleasures available to beings of matter and the other realities of corporeal life.
The deliciously focused trickles of electromagnetic energy given off by the physical bodies of the Necrontyr all about them awakened a new hunger in the C'tan very unlike the one they had once sated using the nourishing but essentially tasteless energies of the stars.
So it was that one of the C'tan came before the Silent King Szarekhacting as forerunner to the coming of his brothers.
Amongst its own kind, this C'tan was known as the Deceiverfor it was willfully treacherous. Yet the Silent King knew not the C'tan's true nature, and instead granted the creature an audience. The Deceiver spoke of a war, fought long before the birth of the Necrontyr, between the C'tan and the Old Ones. It was a war, he said, that the C'tan had lost. In the aftermath, and fearing the vengeance of the Old Ones, he and his brothers had hidden themselves away, hoping one day to find allies with whom they could finally bring the Old Ones to account.
In return for this aid, the Deceiver assured, he and his brothers would deliver everything that the Necrontyr craved. Unity could be theirs once again, and the immortality that they had sought for so long would finally be within their grasp. No price would there be for these great gifts, the Deceiver insisted, for they were but boons to be bestowed upon valued allies.
Thus did the Deceiver speak, and who can say how much of his tale was truth? It is doubtful whether even the Deceiver knew, for trickery had become so much a part of his existence that even he could no longer divine its root. Yet his words held sway over Szarekh who, like his ancestors before him, despaired of the divisions that were tearing his people apart. For long months he debated the matter with the other two Phaerons of the Triarch and the nobles of his Royal Court.
Through it all, the only dissenting voice was that of Orikanthe court astrologer, who foretold that the alliance between the Necrontyr and the C'tan would bring about a renaissance of glory, but destroy forever the soul of the Necrontyr people. Yet desire and ambition swiftly overrode caution, and Orikan's prophecy was dismissed. A Necrontyr year after the Deceiver had presented his proposition, the Triarch agreed to the alliance, and so forever doomed their race.
For their part, the Necrontyr soon fell into awe of their discoveries and the C'tan moved to take control over their benefactors. The powers of the C'tan manifested in the physical world were indeed almost god-like and it was not long before the C'tan were being worshiped as the Star Gods the Necrontyr had named them. Perhaps they had been tainted by the material universe they had become a part of, or perhaps this had always been their nature even when they were bound to the suns they fed upon, but the C'tan proved to be as cruel and capricious as the stars from which they had been born.
They soon revelled in the worship of the Necrontyr and feasted upon the life energies of countless mortal slaves. Biotransference and the Rise of the Necrons "When the Silent King saw what had been done, he knew at last the true nature of the C'tan, and of the doom they had wrought in his name.
But the C'tan had another gift for their mortal subjects. They offered the Necrontyr a path to immortality and the physical stability their race had always craved. Their diseased flesh would be replaced with the living metal of necrodermis that made up their Star Gods' own physical forms. Their discarded organic husks would be consumed and their cold, metal forms would then be free to pursue their great vengeance against the Old Ones and the rest of a hateful universe, freed forever from the weaknesses of their hated flesh.
With the pact between Necrontyr and C'tan sealed, the Star Gods revealed the form that immortality would take for the Necrontyr, and the great biotransference process began.
Colossal bio-furnaces built by Necrontyr artifice roared day and night, consuming weak-bodied flesh and replacing it with enduring machine forms of living metal, much like the C'tan themselves. As the cyclopean machines clamoured, the C'tan swarmed about the biotransference sites, drinking in the torrent of cast-off life energy and growing ever stronger. Whether the Necrontyr actually realised the price they would actually pay for accepting this pact with the C'tan is not known.
The immortality the C'tan promised would be delivered unto the Necrontyr by way of the arcane and terrible process of bio-transference. Vast bio-foundries were constructed, and into these the Silent King's peoples marched according to the terms of the pact he had made with the C'tan.
What blasphemous procedures the Necrontyr were subjected to within the raging bio-furnaces cannot be known, but certainly, each was stripped of flesh and of soul, his body replaced by a shell of living metal animated by what remained of his guttering self. Above each furnace swooped and dove the ethereal true-forms of the C'tan as they glutted themselves on the spiritual detritus of an entire species.
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It was only when the Silent King himself emerged from the bio-transference process and looked upon what had become of his people that he saw the awful truth of the pact he had made. Though immortality and nigh godlike strength and vigour were his, it had come at the cost of his soul, the effluvial remains of which had already been sucked down the gullet of a circling C'tan.
As Szarekh watched the C'tan feast on the life essence of his people, he realised the terrible depth of his mistake. In many ways he felt better than he had in decades, the countless aches and uncertainties of organic life now behind him. His new machine body was far mightier than the frail form he had tolerated for so long, and his thoughts were swifter and clearer than they had ever been. Yet there was an emptiness gnawing at his mind, an inexpressible hollowness of spirit that defied rational explanation.
In that moment, he knew with cold certainty that the price of physical immortality had been the loss of his soul. With great sorrow the Silent King beheld the fate he had brought upon his people: Yet if the price had been steep, biotransference had fulfilled all of the promises that the C'tan had made.
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Even the lowliest of the Necrontyr was now blessed with immortality -- age and hard radiation could little erode their new mechanical bodies, and only the most terrible of injuries could destroy them utterly.
Likewise, the Necrons now enjoyed a unity that the Necrontyr had never known, though it was achieved through tyranny and the complete loss of individuality and emotion rather than by consent. The biotransference process had embedded command protocols in every Necron mind, granting Szarekh the unswerving loyalty of his subjects. At first, the Silent King embraced this unanimity, for it was a welcome reprieve from the chaos that had consumed the Necrontyr Empire in recent years.
However, as time wore on he grew weary of his burden but dared not sever the command protocols, lest his subjects turn on him seeking vengeance for the terrible curse he had visited upon them. Thus the Necrontyr became the Necrons, cursed to the eternal servitude of their Star Gods.
The C'tan feasted upon the entire Necrontyr race's life energies even as they made the transfers, leaving behind only the ghostly echoes of the Necrontyr's consciousnesses. Only a few of the most strong-willed Necrontyr retained their intellect and self-awareness and even they were but shadows of their former selves. They had been purged of so much of what had made them unique individuals. The Necrons cared not at all for their loss; all that mattered to them was that they would live forever without disease or death as their Star Gods had promised.
Nevertheless, the Necrontyr species was united as never before. The process imbued in every one of the Silent King's subjects the command protocols with which he would rule over them with an iron hand.
The entire species was his to command, and so it fell upon the Necrons to honour their side of their terrible bargain. Renewed by their devouring of the souls of an entire species, the C'tan were unstoppable, and with the legions of the Necrons marching in their wake, the Old Ones were doomed. Only one thing truly remained of the old Necrontyr -- their burning hatred for all the other living, intelligent species of the universe.
Legions of the undying living metal warriors set out into the galaxy in their Tomb Ships and the stars burned in their wake. The Old Ones' mastery of the Warp was now countered by the C'tan's supremacy over the physical universe and the ancient enemies of the Necrons suffered greatly in the interstellar slaughter that followed.
Glutted on the life force of the Necrontyr, the empowered C'tan were nigh unstoppable and unleashed forces beyond comprehension. Planets were razed, suns extinguished and whole star systems devoured by black holes called into being by the reality-warping powers of the Star Gods.
Necron legions finally breached the Webway and assailed the Old Ones in every corner of the galaxy. They brought under siege the fortresses of the Old Ones' many allies amongst the younger intelligent races of the galaxy, harvesting the life force of the defenders to feed their voracious C'tan masters. In the closing years of the War in Heaven, one of the primary factors that led to the Necrons' ascendancy was their ability to finally gain access to the Old Ones' Webway.
The C'tan known as Nyadra'zath, the Burning One, had long desired to carry his eldritch fires into that space beyond space, and so showed the Necrons how to breach its boundaries. Through a series of living stone portals known as the Dolmen Gatesthe Necrons were finally able to turn the Old Ones' greatest weapon against them, vastly accelerating the ultimate end of the War in Heaven.
The portals offered by the Dolmen Gates are neither so stable, nor so controllable as the naturally occurring entrances to the Webway scattered across the galaxy. Indeed, in some curious fashion, the Webway can detect when its environs have been breached by a Dolmen Gate and its arcane mechanisms swiftly attempt to seal off the infected spur from the rest of the Labyrinthine Dimension until the danger to its integrity has passed.
The next step was beyond. The Great Crusade marked the beginning of the period that would later be known as the Age of the Imperium. This campaign was a mammoth operation on an inconceivable scale and complexity that involved billions of troops and tens of thousands of voidships, and it is perhaps true that only a mind such as the Emperor's could have had a hope of successfully comprehending and executing it.
In order to manifest this conquest the Imperium's forces were divided up into an expanding and frequently reconfigured series of Imperial Expeditionary Fleets -- semi-autonomous battle groups assigned to voyage the stars and make war in the Emperor's name. The paths of these fleets were dictated both in general by the Emperor and His War Council, but also by the will of their commanders who were entrusted to seek out the enslaved and destroy the alien under their own sway.
Ancient Departmento Cartigraphicae Map of the Imperium Dominatus which displays the extent of the Imperial demesne in the final year of the Great Crusadeca. M31 During the standard years that the Great Crusade spread the Imperium across the galaxy, the Emperor slowly made contact once more with all of His scattered gene-sons, the Primarchs, and to each He gave command of the Space Marine Legion that had been created from that Primarch's genome.
Horus was the first of the Primarchs to be rediscovered, on the barren Mining World of Cthonia only a few light years from Terra itself. Horus campaigned with the Emperor for 30 Terran years before the next of the Primarchs was recovered, and during that time the two developed a special bond, the deep affection between a father and His favoured son. The Astartes Legionscombined with the might of the Imperial Army which was later separated into the Astra Militarum and the Imperial Navy after the Horus Heresyreunited thousands upon thousands of human-settled worlds into one interstellar civilisation, in the name, and under the rule of, the Emperor and the Imperium of Man.
But the Great Crusade was ended abruptly by the corruption and treachery of the Imperial Warmaster Horuswho was both the Primarch of the Sons of Horus Legion and the overall military commander of the Great Crusade in its last days. This was an honour that had been granted to him by the Emperor, who had sought to leave the campaign so that He might return to Terra and oversee a highly-secret project intended to open up the Eldar Webway to human use.
But Horus and many of the other Primarchs deeply resented the Emperor's absence from the Great Crusade and were even more disturbed by His attempts to replace the direct rule of the Imperium by the Emperor and His Primarchs with a bureaucracy of normal humans. Having established the Council of Terrathe new governing body of the Imperium to carry out the day-to-day work of ruling tens of thousands of worlds and trillions of human beings, the Emperor took refuge in His vast laboratories and workshops beneath the Imperial Palace.
He began work in earnest on his new project to secretly extend the Eldar Webway to Terra, an enterprise that the Emperor hoped would be His greatest gift to Mankind. While the Emperor was locked away in His subterranean factories, trouble was brewing. The formation of the Council of Terra proved to be a contentious decision with the distant Primarchs, who were appalled when news of the formation of the Council finally reached them on the frontiers of the Great Crusade.
Some of the Primarchs took great exception to being ruled by those mortals that they deemed less worthy and capable of such an honour than themselves. The less stable Primarchs felt that this was a betrayal of all they had fought and won in the Emperor's name and that their victories now counted for nothing.
They, and many of their Astartes, felt that it was they who had suffered and sacrificed the most to build the Imperium and thus it was they who should have the greatest say in how it was ruled, not a council composed of effete Terran nobles and faceless mortal bureaucrats.
This was one of many growing resentments that allowed the Ruinous Powers to infect and corrupt several of the Primarchs. Riven by jealousy and ambition, Horus proved to be easy prey for the temptations of the Chaos Gods and the machinations of his own brother Lorgarthe Primarch of the Word Bearers Legionwho had come into the secret service of Chaos during the course of the Great Crusade.
Given the opportunity, the Dark Gods falsely convinced the arrogant Warmaster that the Emperor had intended all along to simply use the Primarchs and the rest of humanity to transform Himself into a God. Enraged at this notion, the Ruinous Powers then promised Horus their support in his bid to seize the Imperium for himself. Horus ultimately convinced 9 other Primarchs and their Space Marine Legions to join his cause and serve the designs of Chaos.
He instigated the terrible Horus Heresy -- a galaxy-wide rebellion against the Emperor -- and eventually one-half of the Imperium's vast military forces, as well as elements of the Mechanicumrallied to the Traitors' cause, unleashing the greatest conflict Mankind had ever known upon an unsuspecting galaxy. Horus sought to achieve a swift and decisive victory over the Emperor after pledging his soul to the service of the Ruinous Powers of the Warp, leading his Traitor forces directly to Terra over the next nine standard years, slaughtering tens of billions of people and destroying much of what the Emperor had built over the last two centuries.
In a final decisive battle between the Emperor and Horus at the end of the great Battle of Terrathe Warmaster was slain, leading to the end of the rebellion when the Forces of Chaos naturally began to turn on one another without Horus' ambition, titanic charisma and influence to keep them united in pursuit of a single goal. Over the next several years, the Traitor Legions and their Chaos allies slowly withdrew from human space, eventually fleeing Imperial pursuit into the great Warp rift in the Segmentum Obscurus known as the Eye of Terror.
The Emperor's body was recovered by the Primarch Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists Legion and according to His last instructions, the Emperor was placed on the life-preserving Golden Thronean arcane artefact dating from the Dark Age of Technology that served as both a psychic amplifier and a potent cybernetic life-support system that the Emperor had originally intended to use to create his portal into the Webway. For over 10, Terran years now, the Emperor has remained immobile on the Golden Throne.
Though physically a broken, dying carcass incapable of movement and unable to communicate normally with the outside world save through the rare telepathic contact and the Emperor's Tarotthe Emperor's psychic will, almost omnipotent, extends through the Immaterium across the million worlds of the Imperium. It produces the psychic beacon of the Astronomican that is used by all Imperial starships to travel through the Warp, soul-binds weaker psychic humans to make them useful Sanctioned Psykers of the Imperium while leeching the lives from 1, other psykers every solar day to sustain His psychic presence, and struggles against the encroaching daemons of the Warp, protecting Mankind from their realspace predations.
In all this, the Emperor endures the constant agony of His dying body only through a sheer exercise of will, and the sustenance that the life forces of the sacrificed psykers provide.
Yet the masses of humanity worship the Emperor as both a god and their only saviour. It is an article of faith in the Imperial Cult that against all the threats faced by the human race, only the Emperor protects As the beauty and grandeur of the Imperial Palace had been burned black in the flames of betrayal, so great swathes of the Emperor's star-spanning realm had suffered a similar fate. The Master of Mankind was a broken husk, and His dream of unity erased forever.
Yet for all this, the Imperium retained might enough to exact a bloody revenge upon its foes. There could be no forgiveness for the crimes of the Traitor Legions -- those who now ruled in the Emperor's name had neither the ability nor the desire to prevent a war of reciprocity.
So began the time known in the histories of the Imperium as the Great Scouring. Before actually being confined for all time within the life-support mechanisms of the Golden Throne, the Emperor had pronounced judgment on the Traitors: All records and memory of the Traitor Legions were to be expunged from the Imperial archives.
Worlds such as Istvaan Vthe Traitor Legion homeworlds and Davin would be scoured clean of all life because of their corruption by Chaos. The Traitor Legions' associated troops from the Dark Mechanicusthe Titan Legions or the regiments and starships of the Imperial Army that had turned to Chaos were to be destroyed or also driven into the Eye of Terror.
It would be as if the Traitor Legions had never existed to sully the Imperium with their betrayal. This was a period of monumental violence, of confusion and darkness. Though the newly founded Imperium fought to root out corruption and expose wrong-doers to the cold light of Imperial justice, the galaxy's sheer scope and dark, shadowed reaches worked against them.
With new betrayals and cries for vengeance emerging daily, a great many bloody-handed deeds went unseen. The ravaged Space Marine Legions were no exception to this, with many striving to cover up their own misdemeanours or exact their pound of flesh from those who had wronged them. Fighting continued for another seven standard years after the Heresy had ended with Horus' death on the bridge of his great flagship before the Traitor forces were wholly destroyed or exiled into the Eye of Terror.
Many Chaos-corrupted star systems were cleansed and placed under the watch of the newborn Inquisition. Horus' death had not ended the fighting, but it had renewed the resolve of the Loyalists to destroy the Traitors.
Many Imperial worlds during the Heresy had refused to commit their forces to either side, or seceded entirely from the Imperium to regain their independence. Such indecision was punished by Loyalist and Traitor forces alike. These forces were often bled white attacking the rebel strongholds of worlds that only wanted to be free of the Imperium entirely, whether it swore allegiance to the Emperor or to the Dark Gods. Changes swept both the Imperial military and the offices of government.
The Space Marine Legions, the vast fighting formations so instrumental in Mankind's victories during the Great Crusade, were broken down into many smaller Chapters comprised of 1, Astartes. Overseen by Roboute Guillimanthe Primarch of the Ultramarines Legion and the Lord Commander of the Imperium in the wake of the Emperor's "ascension," he penned his magnum opus, the Codex Astartes -- a great and sacred tome which covered every conceivable topic of military organisation, strategy and tactics.
This transition allowed for greater tactical flexibility without placing the command of an entire Space Marine Legion into the hands of one individual -- never again would the awesome power of one hundred thousand Space Marines be misused.
The original First Founding Space Marine Legions were divided into smaller Successor Chapters -- one Chapter maintained their parent Legion's original name, badge and colours, while the remaining Chapters took new names and heraldry. These original Chapters are known as the Second Founding Chapters, an event which occurred in the early 31st Millennium and coincided with the beginning of what was known as the Reformation of the Imperium.
Another vast change wrought upon the Imperium's mighty military redefined the nature of the Imperial Army. Once including both the great battleships that plied the stars and the countless mortal soldiers that landed to fight planetside, now the two were divided into the Imperial Navy and Astra Militarumcolloquially known as the " Imperial Guard.
Many of the countless branches within the sprawling Adeptus Administratum were spawned at this time. With the instigation of these changes, it was not unusual for two separate organisations, each unaware of the other, to be tasked with the same jobs, such as verificator scribes and tithe enumerators poring over the same data, each producing the same reports.
These byzantine systems were put in place as fail-safe measures, which have since spiralled out of control into administrative excess. Beyond any such bureaucracies, and standing watch over all, was the newly formed Inquisitiona secretive paramilitary police organisation outside the established hierarchies. Ever vigilant, its role was to question everything in the constant search for threats to humanity.
None save the Emperor Himself escape the Inquisition's uncompromising and watchful gaze. Imperial Stagnation "Mankind stands upon the brink; on the one hand lies a realm of unimaginable power, on the other awaits darkness, death and utter damnation. Only those that follow the guiding light of the Emperor may save their souls.
The unexpected horrors of the Horus Heresy fatally weakened the nascent Imperium, but more importantly, starting with the Emperor Himself, claimed some of its best warriors, technocrats, administrators and diplomats -- who fell either in battle with the Traitor Legions or were corrupted by Chaos themselves. But perhaps the most significant consequence seems to have been that like the Emperor, the Imperium itself entered a slowly decaying stasis, while Chaos and the Imperium's myriad xenos enemies are ascendant.
It is known that the period immediately following the Heresy was one of near-anarchy, and that the continuity of the Imperium was not assured. Roboute Guillimanthe Primarch of the Ultramarineswas one of those credited with taking decisive action that kept the Imperium together as its ruling Lord Commander, possibly with the help of other Loyalist forces and of new Imperial organisations such as the Inquisition and the Officio Assassinorum the Assassin Temples had been secretly established during the Great Crusade by Malcador the Sigillite, and a Callidus Assassin had successfully assassinated Konrad Curzethe Primarch of the Night Lords Traitor Legion.
Ironically, while the Imperium survived its first time of testing, it also seems to be fulfilling predictions or prophesies made about its future by a variety of Chaos enemies, Traitors, and more neutral or potentially sympathetic observers like the Eldar. Supreme among such ironic twists is the deification of the Emperor and the attendant creation of the Ecclesiarchythe galaxy-wide state church dedicated to the Imperial Creed that teaches that the Emperor is the God of Mankind. The Emperor's express purpose and one of the pillars of the pre-Heresy Imperial doctrine known as the Imperial Truth that was spread by the Imperial forces during the Great Crusade was the elimination of superstition and of belief in supernatural powers, gods, and religion and the promotion of reason and science.
It is worth noting that among the ploys used by the Ruinous Powers to turn Horus to their service were uncannily accurate visions of the post-Heresy Imperium in which the Emperor and His Loyalist Primarchs were worshiped by the Imperial masses as a god and his saints, respectively.
Of course, unknown to Horus, this was a future caused by his actions, not prevented by them. Another measure of the Imperium's stagnation has been the lack of real technological progress over the last 10, Terran years and a fear of unknown or ancient technology that sometimes borders on irrational superstition. It seems that the last era of major human technological advancement was the era of discoveries and technological applications made during the planning and execution of the Great Crusade.
In short, the Imperium has become a repressive regime marked by extreme levels of superstition, political repression, religious intolerance, bureaucratisation, economic stagnation, technological regression and inequality. Corruption and injustice are rampant and human life is increasingly worth very little in a galaxy teeming with literally trillions of people.If the Emperor had a Text-to-Speech Device - Episode 26 Part 2: Fear and Loathing in Commorragh
But though the Imperium is repressive and stagnant, it is also the only thing holding the enemies of Mankind at bay. Many in the highest levels of the Imperium know that it must reform if it is to survive, but they fear that the cure might very well kill the patient.
And in small pockets of the Imperium there are men and women willing to shoulder the burden of making their small corner of the universe a better place for all by shouldering the responsibilities and the burdens of heroes.
The Great Rift is a massive Warp Storm that now stretches across the galaxy from the Eye of Terror in the galactic west to the Hadex Anomaly in the east. No one fully understands the origins of the Great Rift, though there are many theories: Its emergence was a literal galaxy-shattering event, which threw the Imperium of Man into chaos and ushered in new wars across nearly every world in the Emperor 's domain.
So powerful and far-reaching was this Warp rift that the very laws of physics fray at its edges as the inconsistencies of temporal fluctuations, once largely localised to larger Warp Storms such as the Eye of Terror, spread across the galaxy.
Some worlds felt standard centuries go by in an instant while others were all but frozen in time, and still others have suffered constant temporal shifts.
On the far side of the galaxy-spanning Warp rift from Holy Terra, things have quite literally gone to Hell. There, the light of the Astronomican is obscured behind a psychic maelstrom of nightmares and the entire region has been dubbed the Imperium Nihilusor the Dark Imperium. Many of those planets in the vicinity of the Great Rift have disappeared entirely, or been so corrupted that they are now labelled as Daemon Worlds.