I have no idea what’s happening to Games Workshop these days but lately the universe which had stood still for ten years, started to experience great changes. The first of these change is the Abaddon’s Thirteenth Black Crusade happened. That’s a thing we were expecting for five years but to be honest I wasn’t expecting Cadia to fall and Magnus turning Fenris into a ball of ash. (Not that I blame him mind you…)
However, in the last month Roboute Guilliman who, as you know, was sitting under a statis field with a cut throat inflicted by his brother Fulgrim; neither dead nor living, resurrected and returned to Terra as told in “The Gathering Storm” campaign and took the mantle of “Lord Commander of the Imperium” and started to play an active role in the administration of the Imperium.
This article will focus on these changes, especially the resurrection of Roboute Guilliman. But first let me take you to 10000 years back and tell you how Fulgrim, the primarch of the Emperor’s Children chapter, fell to chaos because that event culminates into Roboute’s near-death experience.
If I let myself speak honestly, I like pre-fall Fulgrim more than the other primarchs, because in all those muscley adolescents he is the only one who show some reverence to the art and culture. Even though he is not that skilled in the art of sculpting, he is one of the few who doesn’t see rememberancers as a nuisance and supports them au contrarie. For this reason he is known as the phoenician. Even though it had led to his fall, his basic dictum is to be perfect in everything they are put through, war, art, science… anything and everything!
Anyhow, our calendars show the year 30000 and the Imperium of Man is crusading left and right through the space and connecting with the lost colonies which are long separated by the warp storms. One of those planets are called the Laer and inhabitants of this planet, called Laerans, are using genetic manipulation extensively to maximize their work efficiency. If human terms are used, if a laeran is going to be a singer, his/her vocal cords are shaped to its extremes before he is even born; or if he is going to be a fighter he’ll have rapid coagulating blood and hard carapace with genetic treatment. At first glance this very feature of Lareans seem parallel with Fulgrim’s ideals of perfection but he decides to exterminate them. His reasoning can be summed as thus: Only Humanity could be perfect. For xenos to be comparable was basely offensive, and the Laer deserved nothing less than annihilation. This battle of species is called the Cleansing of Laeran in the annals of the Imperium.
During the campaign, Fulgrim realizes that these creatures are defending an atoll in an insane ferocity and commits a surgical strike force to that place lead by himself, expecting a command center or an administratum faciliy. But contrary to their expectations this place turned out to be a temple which shocks them to no end. Because this is a temple where everything is designed to compel the five senses of man. And the creatures inside the temple are fucking each other to no end. For us, who are looking at these stories from the background of 40k, the only term explains this building is: Temple of Slaanesh.
Regardless of the act they are involved in, the space marines slay those filthy aliens and cleanse the temple. Fulgrim finds a silver sword in the center of this fane. As you probably guess from the start, this is a chaos artifact and carries a daemon within itself. This daemon slowly corrupts Fulgrim, makes him slay his brother Ferrus Manus, posesses him and finally sent back by an evil-er and insane-r Fulgrim. And in a way Games Workshop reiterates that a sword which is talking to you is never a good idea.
A lot of shit happens after this but the events that interest us are the post Terra siege acts of Fulgrim. In these days Fulgrim had already claimed the mantle of daemon prince (and funnily enough he became a larger Laeran – his lower body is like a snake, like Laerans, and his upper body is a man with multiple arms each carrying a poisoned blade). In this form he and Roboute Guilliman battle and he stabs him through his throat and escapes to the Eye of Terror, sure that he had slain his brother. Techpriests put him in a statis field and time passes for 10 millenia, which finally comes to our present in Warhammer 40k.
From which angle you are looking from, the resurrection of this primarch happened under unthinkable conditions, involving an uneasy alliance made by St. Celestine, Techpriest Belisarius Cawl and Eldar leaded by Yvraine who is sharing her body with Eldar Death God. This cabal escapes to webway during the desolation of Cadia and found themselves in the Macragge region. This Death God has a power to resurrect dead people by the way, which is a chekov’s gun of epic proportions. When they reach the Macragge, safe from the chaos forces, Cawl reveals that he is charged by Guilliman himself 10000 years ago with two responsibilities:
- Resurrect me if I am incapacitated
- Create the next generation of Space Marines with Sangprimus Portum
Let’s accept this from the get go, Belisarius Cawl is a plot device from head to toe. I don’t know about you but I have read nothing about Belisarius Cawl, and I am an avid reader of Black Library publications, and Horus Heresy doesn’t contain a grain of information about this character. Sangprimus Portum is even a bigger stinker. This artifact, hold on to your chairs, carries all the genetic material of the 20 primarchs (yes including the 2 lost ones too). And why hadn’t we hear about this before? Anyway this artifact plays a key role in creation of Primaris Space Marines which are better, bigger and badder than your run of the mill Space Marines. My speculation is Games Workshop already knows about these plotholes and logical inconsistencies and that’s the reason why those events happen not in a series of novels but in a campaign set. Because the moment you take the history of the universe so far and ask some questions, whole structure falls down… hard! Wish I could say it ended there but there’s even more.
Anyway, when they were busy resurrecting the primarch with the Eldar technology, Macragge was attacked by Black Crusade forces. Roboute shows them why a primarch can use space marines as a mop to clean the ground in practice without a delay and post-sleep problems. After that he probably had a bunch of cows when he saw what the hell happened to his father’s imperium in the 10000 years: Ecclesiarchy, Inquisition, Ritualistic belief on the God Emperor of Mankind, Singing technopriests while donning him of his armor?! He promptly convenes a war council on Macragge and decides to travel to Terra and speak with his Father. Needless to say Chaos vehemently opposes to this idea and throws everything they have in hand which results this travel be named as Terran Crusade. Even Magnus comes to this battle, which kind of confuses me to be honest. Because Magnus and Roboute had never a direct confrontation before – like Leman and he does. Anyway when the result seemed grim and the Terran Crusade seemed to end in a Black Fortress in failure, Eldar Harlequins and Cypher enter into the story to save the day. Yes, Cypher! “I-am-being-hunted-by-dark-angels and nobody knows whether I am a heretic or not” Cypher. Needless to say this cadre of unlikely allies save Roboute and after a brief webway journey, they find themselves on the shores of Luna.
Magnus follows them and both primarchs duke it out on the plains of Luna while a battle is raging around them. As you can guess, Magnus overpowers Roboute with his super enhanced psyker powers and about to kill him when a squad of Silent Sisters intervene and nullify his powers which led Roboute impale his brother and send him back to warp.
After surviving those battles, Roboute lands on Terra and meets with his father who is confined to Golden Throne for 10000 years, the details of that discussion are never disclosed but the end result was an unhappy Roboute. If I am to speculate, the character of unfeeling Emperor drawn in the Master of Mankind is used here and this being saw his sons only as tools, not using their names but their numbers which are written on their genetanks. After this unhappy reunion, Roboute meets with the High Lords of Terra and states that a reorganization of Imperium is coming and repositions himself as the Lord Commander of the Imperium. Then a warprift opens on the Terra and 8 khorne bloodthirsters and their forces try to force their way into the Golden Throne.
Then again Roboute defends himself and the palace with terrible costs. Even though Sisters of Silence, Adeptus Custodes and Primaris Space Marines are under his command it was a hard battle resulting in near decimation of Custodes but proved that Primaris Space Marines are a force to be reckoned with. Khorne had a bunch of cowfarms when he learned his elite force is destroyed. After this defence, Guilliman declares Indomitus Crusade which is aimed to retake the worlds separated from the Terra with the Great Rift, opened by the destruction of Cadia. And time stops for us at this time.
Now… I am flummoxed to find a beginning to list my criticism against this narrative. Never mind that Macraggean forces just let a cabal including xenos to their most holy site, their primarch’s throne and meddle with it. Never mind that Cypher and Eldar Harlequins pop up when they are most needed, when the plot demands, in the unlikely of places but I draw the line when you say “8 bloodthirsters materialize on the grounds of Terra”. What. The. Fuck? I mean in this universe Terra is the most guarded planet ever. Both physically and psychically it is THE most protected planed in the universe. There is a little thing called Astronomicon and an unimportant guy called The Emperor of Mankind there, y’know the guy who was called by the Chaos Gods as the “Anathema” and unified them to make him fall. And you somehow manage to pop up eight bloodthirsters on this planet. Really GW? Really? I mean this is done just to show how ballsy the new Primaris Marines are I get that but why do you not care about your own canon? I already am dreading for those writers who will be charged with telling of these events in novel form. God help them to manage the plotholes opened by this grand narrative. We’ll see how everything will turn out though.