|Battle Cry||"We have are returned! Death to the False Emperor!"
"Kill for the living, kill for the dead!" or "Lupercal!"
Sons of Horus:
"For the Warmaster!"
|Original Name||Luna Wolves, later Sons of Horus|
|Current Homeworld||None; operate out of the Vengeful Spirit|
|Strength||Larger now than it was during the Horus Heresy, that's like 100,000+.|
|Specialty||Flexible organization, Veteran Elites, Destroying Enemy Leadership in decapitation strikes|
|Colours||Black with gold trim (Pale green as the Sons of Horus, grey as the Luna Wolves)|
"I recognize in thieves, traitors and murderers, in the ruthless and the cunning, a deep beauty - a sunken beauty."
- – Jean Genet
"Just because I'm a murdering, thieving, cowardly, traitorous sort doesn't mean I can't do my job properly."
- – James A. Owen
The Black Legion (Legion XVI) are one of the nine Space Marine legions which betrayed the Emperor during the Heresy. Their Primarch was Horus. Originally called themselves the Luna Wolves before changing their name to The Sons of Horus. After the HH they changed their name to The Black Legion, possibly due to being ashamed to carry the name of one who failed to conquer the Imperium, or as a sign of mourning, together with the black armor. Opinion likely differs between warbands. Canon has now been muddled further with the new ADB novel series, where Abaddon officially dissolved the Sons of Horus, and merged its old forces in with Abby's friends from the other Legions into an entirely new Legion. This narrative making it clear that anybody who joins the Black Legion is NOT just changing the name of the guy who is signing the paycheck, but rejecting their previous Legion or Chapter identities and committing to fighting the Long War.
The Black Legion, despite not being on the cover of the Codex, are often depicted as the "vanilla" Chaos Space Marine legion, similar to how the Ultramarines are with the loyalists. They, like their Blue counterparts, tend to place an emphasis on being the baseline for other Legions, diverging in that they place a greater focus on elite units (ie, Possessed, Chosen, and Terminators). However, for a long time they were mostly overlooked fluff-wise, because, like the Ultramarines, they weren't that interesting being the 'middle-of-the-road' Chaos Marines. They had their own Codex Supplement in 7th Edition.
When they were still loyalists, they were known as the greatest and most powerful Legion during the Great Crusade, the Luna Wolves. This epithet they earned during the pacification of Luna, the first battle of the Great Crusade, against the local gene-cults, as when the cults conceded defeat they asked the Emperor to "call off his wolves." They won many victories and brought many worlds into compliance. After Horus won the Ullanor Crusade, he was given the title "Warmaster" by the Emperor. This gave him almost complete control of all the Space Marine Legions and the Imperial Forces. He renamed his Legion the Sons of Horus, and ordered them to repaint their armour from grey-white to to a green, or maybe green-grey, colour scheme that no one seems to know how to paint properly. Forge World paint theirs a deep teal colour, but there are examples of green-grey, jade, and Wehrmacht-style feldgrau out there too. Some older art even takes the lazy approach and uses straight grey or steel, making them look like Iron Warriors with a fetish for eyes instead of chevrons.
After Horus was severely wounded on Davin, he received visions from the Chaos Gods who told him that the Emperor would cast him and his brother Primarchs aside once he attained full God-hood. After seemingly being easily convinced by them, Horus turned traitor. He corrupted half of his brother Primarchs, the majority of the Imperial army and half of the Adeptus Mechanicus to his side. This civil war lasted seven years and basically turned the majority of Imperial Space into a meat grinder. The Sons of Horus at this point were openly worshiping Horus and had big plans on ruling the galaxy. After Horus' defeat during the siege of Holy Terra, the Traitor Legions and their followers fled to the Eye of Terror. Why did they do this instead of, you know, saying "Well Horus is dead but so is your Emperor" and continuing to attack the Imperial Palace where they might have won? Because Rowboat Girlyman, the Lion and Wolf tag team, and the Blood Angels going through the Black Rage were hot on their heels (while the Iron Hands, Corvus Corax and Vulkan were too busy dealing with their fucked legions, Rogal was attempting to suicide into the Iron Cage, the Khan was dealing with attacks on his home and the Lion would get diverted to a whole another mess of his own); the whole reason Horus wanted to finish it decisively was to avoid this exact scenario. It of course didn’t help that many of their Daemonic allies were banished back to the Warp, leaving them akin to a small, weedy child that had their trousers pulled down on the school playground.
When the Traitors fled to the Eye of Terror, the blame game for the failure at Terra began. The Sons of Horus, being... well, the Sons of Horus took the brunt of this blame, proceeding to retreat to the world of Maeleum, where they built a fancy tomb for Horus's body and sat around feeling sorry for themselves. They didn’t even bothering to select a new commander - after all, who could possibly succeed where Daddy failed?
The bitterness between the Legions broke out into war once the Emperor's Children decided they needed more slaves for their Slaaneshi-related shenanigans. Being the Legion that had suffered the least at Terra (due to being occupied with the aforementioned shenanigans), the Children began to raid other warbands for their slaves and resources, culminating with sacking Maeleum and taking the body of Horus (and Worldbreaker) for Fabius Bile's genetic experiments.
The former Justaerin captain Falkus Kibre, with the assistance of several other Chaos warbands, eventually managed to track down Abaddon and the Vengeful Spirit deep within the Eye of Terror, and told him about the theft and cloning of Horus. He knew all this allegedly in a "you found me because I wanted to be found" kind of way. Abaddon was planning on taking command of the Sons of Horus at this point, returning from his self-imposed exile of hunting monsters and thinking about who he is. His ultimate vision: creating a pan-Traitor Legions army with himself and the Cthonians as the head. Welcome to any traitor Marines, regardless of previous rivalries or Chaotic alignments, Slaanesh dude and Khorne dude calling each other bro, etc. Chaos Messiah then used the Vengeful Spirit to crush the Emperor's Children at the Battle of Harmony, with Abaddon personally killing the clone of Horus with his own Talon in an act of symbolism and such.
Abaddon unified the Sons of Horus soon after and dubbed them the Black Legion. The black either to show mourning for Horus, or segregation from him. Either way is fine. Possessed became huge in the Legion, although not without a rocky start, as daemons were pissed when Astartes would switch gods. Unaligned daemon beasts are probably the best way to go. The Sorcerers got a hold of this quickly enough and formed a regulated possessed guild known as The Tormented, not so open market anymore. Next they began boosting their numbers like crazy, made friends with other cool dudes that liked black armor and hated the Imperium, and curb stomped a Death Guard upstart company that was pirating Abbadon's intellectual property and graphic design work, largely ending the Slave Wars.
The new ADB novels indicate that the Black Legion is an open institution for anyone who is serious about waging the Long War against the Imperium (and not just raiding / pillaging / winning favour with the Chaos Gods / feeling sad about it) and is strong enough to prosper. The founding members came from a variety of different legions.
The Black Legion was the first to "come out" of the Eye of Terror (not counting those of the Night Lords, Word Bearers and the Alpha Legion who never went inside Slaanesh's pink folds) to assail the Imperium after the Great Scourging. In their first Black Crusade they killed Dorn allegedly, picked up goth Excalibur, and caused a number of the High Lords of Terra to get hemorrhoids from the butt clenching. After the Crusade the Black Legion broke up and the warbands did their own shit. Until the Second Black Crusade. Abaddon knows that his forces are not large enough or organized enough to break through the massive quantities of Imperial forces that stand between him and Terra, and thus plans to cause enough chaos (heh) to allow legions of daemons to enter realspace and overwhelm the defenders of the Imperium. This has received a mixed reception among the fanbase.
Prior to Talon, there had only ever been five awesome members of the Black Legion: Horus Lupercal, Araghast the Pillager, Neroth, Kain, and Eliphas (who wasn't even originally from the Black Legion). And the middle two are kind of iffy on the cool factor. Neroth is a whiny bitch, but he makes up for it by shitting free doombolts. Kain knows better than to speak given most of Chaos' shitty Abaddon admiring script, which makes him cool. With the new fluff we've gained an impressive cast in the Black Legion's founders, taking in a former Thousand Sons sorcerer, a World Eaters Havoc, an Emperor's Children swordmaster and a Fallen Angel.
Due to his massive fail factor, it was thought to be only a matter of time before someone overthrows Abaddon. We betted on Eliphas, a revived Araghast, or Huron Blackheart...probably Eliphas (it's in his name after all, Eliphas, the Inheritor of the Black Legion)...but still...BRING ARAGHAST BACK!
The Luna Wolves had a culture that was based primarily on that of the hive gangs of their home planet, Cthonia.
There are two informal institutions of note in the Luna Wolves: the Mournival and the Warrior Lodges. The Mournival was a group of four captains who acted as advisers to Horus. They were selected based on their temperaments, each of them supposedly embodying one of the Four Humors, bodily fluids that in ancient times were said to govern the emotions of men. The aggressive Abaddon embodied the Choleric temperament, the light-hearted Tarik Torgaddon the Sanguine, the rational Garviel Loken the Phlegmatic, and the morose "Little" Horus Aximand the Melancholic. The Warrior Lodges were based off the totem-animal cults of the planet Davin, which was conquered by the Luna Wolves and the Word Bearers (who would later create similar societies in other Legions as a means of spreading Chaos corruption). They were secret societies where the Luna Wolves could associate outside of the chains of command and speak freely without fear of reprisal. Several in the Legion, such as Garviel Loken, disapproved of their secrecy, a suspicion that turned out to be justified when Traitor Marines started using them to conspire in secret.
The Black Legion, however, has no overarching culture, being a collection of whatever warbands from whatever Legions pledge their loyalty to Abaddon and paint their armor black (“From shame and shadow recast, in black and gold reborn.”). This is as Abaddon intends, as he believes that Chaos Space Marines should have the freedom to follow the traditions of their forefathers or defy them as they please. As of the First Black Crusade, Astartes from every Traitor Legion served in their ranks along with a number of Fallen Angels, and a Dark Mechanicum Magos held a place on Abaddon's council. The only thing that unites them is a dedicated conviction to the Long War. Several Sons of Horus warbands refused to join the Black Legion and continued to wear their original colors. The Black Legion refers to these
remnants (FAIL) Warbands as the "Thrice-Cursed Traitors" and destroyed or absorbed several after killing their leaders, though some, like the True Sons, continue to exist independently as Sons of Horus Warbands. It is possible that Abaddon barely tolerates them so that a stable source of Horus derived geneseed exists.
While Abaddon is the undisputed Master of the Black Legion, even he has lieutenants that assist him in leading its disparate factions.
Beneath Abaddon is the Ezekarion, the co-founders and senior warlords of the Black Legion. They are Abaddon's closest brothers and advisers, providing him counsel in the Long War and are the only ones allowed to call him by his first name. They've also gathered some hanger-ons over the years. Known members include:
- Falkus Kibre: Former Brother-Captain of the Justaerin Terminator Squads in the Sons of Horus's First Company, now the leader of the Aphotic Blade/Bringers of Despair. He's essentially the First Captain of the Black Legion.
- Sargon Eregesh: Former Chaplain of the Word Bearers Brazenhead Chapter, now the Lord-Prelate of the Black Legion. He's essentially the Chief Dark Apostle of the Black Legion. He was captured at some point prior to the 13th Black Crusade, where he went insane from captivity (well, more insane).
- Iskandar Khayon: Former Captain of a line Company in the Thousand Sons First Fellowship under First Captain Ahzek Ahriman, now the Lord-Vigilator of the Black Legion. Basically, he's Abaddon's premier hitman, eliminating those who threaten the Warmaster's plans but refuse to face him in open battle. He surrendered to the Inquisition just before the 13th Black Crusade, to deliver a message to the Emperor: the Long War is about to end.
- Telemachon Lyras: Former Captain of the Emperor's Children's 51st Company, now Herald of the Warmaster and commander of the Shrieking Masquerade, a warband of Chaos Raptors. His former company abandoned Khayon's at Terra, and Khayon took vengeance by making Lyras dependent on Khayon's presence to feel anything. Though Khayon freed him later, the two formed a rivalry which threatened the Black Legion's stability at one point.
- Lheorvine Ukris: Former Captain of the World Eaters 50th Company and commander of the War God's Maw. Probably the closest thing to a friend that Khayon had, he was killed by the Blood Angels under Thalastian Jorus on Mackan during the 7th Black Crusade, but no shame on that because that group almost got Abaddon.
- Ashur-Kai Qezremah: Former Librarian of Khayon's company and former mentor, later the void-seer of the Vengeful Spirit, the Chaos equivalent of a Navigator. He was taken by the Warp Ghosts (one of which was Qezremah's future self, it's complicated) as payment for leading the Black Legion through a Warp storm to launch the First Black Crusade.
- Ceraxia: A Magos of the Dark Mechanicus who was made Mistress of the Armoury.
Yes, a woman has a position of leadership among the largest coalition of Chaos Space Marine Warbands. Impressive.Ceraxia is a giant scorpion-taur cyborg with multiple arms à la a Shokan who dwarfs the frames of her CSM allies (such was her grandeur that upon meeting, Iskandar compared her to a certain ancient multi-armed goddess with golden faceplate and all). Mere woman she is not. Just like mere men the others are not.
- Valicar Hyne: A former Captain of the Iron Warriors, later Master of the Black Fleet.
- Vortigern: A Fallen Angel who was Captain of the cruiser With Blade Drawn, leader of the Black Lions and the most cheerless of the Ezekarion bar none. Yes, one of the Fallen is part of the Black Legion's leadership. Oh, to see the reaction of the Dark Angels.
- Amurael Enka: Former Medicae Quintus of the Sons of Horus, later the de facto Chief Apothecary of the Black Legion. Some wild daemons of Khorne sliced him in half, forcing Abaddon to place him in a Chaos Dreadnought.
- Ilyaster Faylech: Former Apothecary of the Death Guard who defected from the Legion Host and helped Khayon try to kill its warlord, Thagus Daravek.
- Moriana: A former Inquisitor who helped found the resurrectionist faction of the Inquisition and spread the Cult of the Saviour Emperor after the Horus Heresy. After succumbing to the temptation of trying to harness Chaos as a means of resurrecting the Emperor and founding the Horusian faction, she became a dedicated servant of the Chaos Gods and a powerful seer Abaddon occasionally consulted, telling him of Drach'nyen and the Blackstone Fortresses. A member in name alone, as she answers only to the Chaos Gods themselves. Moriana is divisive among the Ezekarion, with some (Iskandar, Amurael, and Lheorvine) openly mistrusting her, while others welcome her for their own reasons (Sargon and Ashur-Kai valuing her prophetic visions, while Telemachon allies with her as a means of advancing his own ambitions and also to piss off Khayon). Everyone else doesn't care enough to voice their own opinions.
Chosen of Abaddon
The Chosen of Abbadon are the top four generals of the Black Legion. It's a title that Abbadon bestows on his top lieutenants. The roles of the Chosen are complementary to one another, ensuring the synergy of the Black Legion command. The Chosen of Abbadon have a lot of political power in the Legion and usually a chosen general of Slaanesh, for example, will claim command over all Slaaneshi Astartes in the Black Legion. Not necessarily a part of the Ezekarion but definitely another branch of the Black Legion government. The current four are:
- Devram Korda: Lord Ravager. Serving as the vanguard general that first makes landfall on a planet about to be curb stomped. Previously a senior sergeant in the Sons of Horus 13th Company, under Luc Sedirae. Leads the invasion fleets and is the captain of Abbadon's chosen elite bodyguard. He has a very, very impressive resume.
- Ygethmor the Deceiver: Lord Deceiver. Serving as a Chaos fortune teller and all things esoteric. Looks through the Warp and decides where to attack next and such. A lot of people tried to kill him, some people said they killed him, further complicated by the fact that Ygethmor is a title, not a name, so there are several Ygethmors out there. Jokes aside he is very powerful.
- Threxos Hellbreed: Lord Purgator. The guy that scrapes the bottom of the barrel after a planet has been conquered for every single resource and every drop of blood. Dragging Imperials in chains and erecting Chaos shit. Also functions as the admiral of the Black Fleet and usually as the head of the Khorne Marines of the Black Legion known as the Hounds of Abbadon. Role was formerly held by Urkanthos the Black, who ascended to a Daemon Prince during the Fall of Cadia and was killed by Celestine.
- Skyrak Slaughterborn: Lord Corruptor. The propaganda guy. Keeps Chaos Lords in line. Kind of like Abaddon's hype man at times. Skyrak is very Nurgle.
Other Important Figures
Important figures in the Black Legion who aren't part of the Ezekarion or Chosen. May just be members of the Ezekarion who had yet to join by the time the Black Legion books were taking place.
- Zaraphiston: Abaddon's favorite sorcerer and a former Thousand Son. Isn't Iskandar Khayon.
- Haarken Worldclaimer: Herald of Abaddon. Chaos Raptor Lord who arrives at a planet to announce that Abaddon's coming and the world will be conquered in eighty days. Definitely not a Night Lord, oh no no no.
- Obsidius Mallex: Leader of the Black Legionnaires in the tabletop game Blackstone Fortress. Looks like a discount bargain bin Abaddon with a Thunder Hammer.
- Delvarus: Former World Eater and Possessed Marine, who was charged with the defence of the Vengeful Spirit up until Thagus Daravek tore him several new ones.
- Lord Zeid: A Lord-Discordant of the Black Legion. Makes use of Deamon Engines and fights more carefully. Currently he is helping Typhus with his Invasion of Charadon. He has mostly had the God bothering Chaos forces take the brunt of damage while he reaps the rewards. He maybe a Chosen of Abbadon but it is not clear. He also fights Imperial Knights while on his Hellstalker.
On the Tabletop
The Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus are an aggressive legion based on hitting hard, hitting fast and keeping up the pressure on the opponent. They have 3 special rules, Edge of the Spear letting you re-roll 1's for reserve rolls, Death Dealers increasing the Ballistic skill of a unit shooting at an enemy unit within 12" and Merciless fighters where if your unit outnumbers your opponents in, you get an extra attack at Initiative stage 1. These rules create a very clear, but effective strategy of dropping units down into your opponents front lines, shooting them, and the tearing the survivors to ribbons. You can also take a Dreadclaw Drop Pod as dedicated transport, just for shits and giggles.
The Black Legion had their own 7th Edition supplement, which was essentially the same as the base Chaos 'dex with the exception that everything that can must take "Veterans of the Long War." The book gave them some formations, relics, and a few unique missions. It should be noted that this book offered the only way that Chaos can get an Eternal Warrior character without incredibly lucky rolling on the Chaos Boon Table. The rules from said supplement, however, have since been recollected and expanded upon in the "Traitor Legions" supplement. This retains the usual elite-focused army by making Terminators and Chosen troops, while giving them permanent hatred against Loyalist scum. And their decurion gives them first turn deep strike!
With the changes of 8th, the Black Legion has become a bit more of a bland legion, becoming even more the Ultramarines of Chaos. Their Legion trait Black Crusaders gives them a small bonus to leadership and the ability to treat rapid fire weapons as assault weapons if they advance, being a more aggressive mirror of the Ultramarines tactic. They've lost the ability to take Chosen or Terminators troop choices (even if Abaddon is taken) and their trait leaves much to be desired. They got a bunch of new things in Vigilus ablaze, like new warlord traits and stratagems which has given them a nice bonus, but the other traitor legions also got their own update with the Psychic Awakening supplements. The primary reason to play Black Legion is for the big man himself, Abaddon, as he is the single best non Primarch character in the game. PERIOD. He can re-roll all hit rolls for Black Legion units, has a 12" Fearless bubble around him, has a Strength and Toughness of 5, reduces all damage to him by half (rounding up) and has every Mark of Chaos, so can benefit from every God specific stratagem and psychic power so you can buff him to unbelievably strong levels. Most Black Legion strategies can be summed up as "Abaddon gets juiced on chaos magic, steam rolls through the enemy army, and has his back up dancers finish off any units he missed".
Daily Rituals of the Black Legion
04:00 - The Black Legionnaires rise up from their spiked beds.
04:30 - Mutation Checks. Each Black Legionnaire is checked on their mutation levels.
04:50 - Morning Meal. A light meal is made by the Legion's serfs. The meals are triple-portioned and laced with weed to honor Slaanesh, seasoned with some blood from the serfs themselves to honor Khorne, prepared via complicated and overly-intricate recipes to honor Tzeentch, and lovingly healthy for one's gut flora to honor Nurgle. Failure to cook properly will result in said serf being flayed alive and his/her skinless body forced to walk for a hundred miles until they die of exhaustion, pain, shock and blood loss. Their dead bodies are promptly used as sex toys by any Slaanesh worshipers.
05:00 - Morning Prayer. A prayer is done for each Chaos God, thus it is extra long.
09:00 - Morning Firing Rites. The Black Legion hone in on their shooting skills upon captured Imperial citizens.
10:00 - Battle Practice. The Black Legion fight and train within gladiatorial rounds.
12:00 - Tactical Indoctrination. The Black Legion are tasked on which planet to invade
Cadia, it's Cadia, who to kill, who to take prisoner, and for what end.
14:50 - Midday Break. A short break is accompanied with cookies made from the remains of puppies and beverages distilled from the tears of crying children.
15:00 - Evening Firing Rites. The marines gather in the shooting range to practice on the skinless Serfs who somehow survived this long, captured Inquisitors, and cardboard cutouts of Sigismund
16:00 - Battle Practice. The marines grab their melee weapons of choice and proceed to slash, bash, and beat the shit out of captive loyalists and xenos alike. Each marine is forced to fight in four different ways, first they must do over-da-top flourishes to honor Slaanesh, then they must massacre their opponents as brutally as possible followed by eating their heart to honor Khorne, outsmart their opponent while causing an aneurysm to honor Tzeentch, and finally to befriend their opponent and indoctrinate then to honor Papa Nurgle.
17:00 - Evening Prayer. A prayer is held which is just as long, although more varied depending on each Marine's preference, so it generally resembles a massive just as planned brawl and orgy disease fest.
21:00 - Evening Meal. A feast is made by the Legion's serfs. Chaos Burgers are ordered in the dozen. Occasionally they’ll receive 5 million pizzas which the Angry Marines has prank delivered to them and then they’ll either have to kill the delivery boy or pay up.
22:00 - Bitch at the Emperor. A special one hour period is held exclusively for the Black Legion to bitch at the Emperor and why he stinks. Big E just laughs at this and gives them the (psionic) middle finger.
23:00 - Bitch at Abaddon. A secret special one hour period is held by fellow Black Legionnaires to bitch at Abaddon's failures and incompetence. Publicly called 'Free Time' to avoid Abaddon's wrath. Some Marines will put on performances where they pretend to have their arms drop off.
24:00 - Rest Period. The Black Legionnaires rest in their spiked beds.
- Abaddon the Despoiler
- Araghast the Pillager
- Ygethmor the Deceiver
- Hastur Sejanus
- Haarken Worldclaimer
- Iskandar Khayon
- Lheorvine Ukris
|The Traitor Legions and Warbands of Chaos|
|Alpha Legion - Black Legion - Death Guard |
Emperor's Children - Iron Warriors - Night Lords
Thousand Sons - Word Bearers - World Eaters
|Apostles of Contagion - Bloodborn - Broken Aquila |
Foresworn - Plague Fleet - Prodigal Sons
The Consortium - Warband of Subsector Aurelia
|Adharon's Reavers - Blood Gorgons - Company of Misery |
Corpus Brethren - Crimson Slaughter - Deathmongers
Death Shadows - Invocators - Lords of Decay
Oracles of Change - Red Corsairs - Shriven
The Brazen Beasts - The Flawless Host - The Scourged
Skyrar's Dark Wolves - Steel Cobras - Voidrippers
|Disciples of Destruction - Dragon Warriors - Extinction Angels |
Punishers - The Cleaved - The Purge
The Pyre - Sons of Malice - Sons of Vengeance
The Reborn - Violators - Warp Ghosts - Bleak Brotherhood