"It remains a sad truth of the Imperium that virtually no veteran ever comes back from fighting its wars intact. Combat alone shreds nerves and shatters bodies. But the horrors of the warp, and of foul Xenos forms like the Tyranid, steal sanity forever, and leave veterans fearing the shadows, and the night and, sometimes, the nature of their friends and neighbors, for the rest of their lives."
- – The boy himself
Gregor Eisenhorn is an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos operating out of the Scarus Sector, and the hero of the eponymous Eisenhorn novels by Dan Abnett. He is essentially the Grimdark James Bond, or Sherlock Holmes; or if you actually read books he's basically just Glen Cook's Garrett P.I.... IN SPACEEEEE. He is responsible for training the equally awesome Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor, who was incredibly similar to his master in terms of efficiency, though Ravenor did things with a much more angsty monologue.
Eisenhorn is a psyker, for whatever it's worth. He is definitely not the strongest, but his meager abilities serve his duties well, in that he can sense disturbances in the warp, communicate with people over distances without producing noise, and he can also rape your mind. This comes in handy several times, as he frequently uses psychic weapons and items. The one distinct problem brought up by his psychic abilities is the fact that his one true love, Alizabeth Bequin, is an Untouchable, making physical proximity painful for him, let alone physical contact. She wound up eating shit and was placed in a cryo-tube after falling comatose, before Eisenhorn could finally suck it up and admit his feelings after a century of working with her, and thus he is now so ronery. He does, however, occasionally visit her tube and talk to her.
In addition to his psychic abilities, later in his career he also delved into Chaos sorcery, allowing him to perform such acts as creating and binding Daemonhosts, possessing a corpse as a surrogate body, and causing said corpse to self-destruct in a warp-vortex capable of destroying a hive block. By his old age, he had gained a limited ability to use Enuncia, a language capable of warping reality.
Eisenhorn likes to keep a small profile and work within the regular power structures of the imperium. This means that he tries to keep the local and imperial laws and tries to ask for help rather than demand it. He does not own a space ship but rents rogue traders or other ships for his travels. His only notable way of transportation is an imperial gun cutter which is unable to travel trough the warp by its own. At the beginning of his career Eisenhorn keeps only a relatively small retinue (for an Inquisitor) which is armed with relatively normal weaponry. For Eisenhorn himself this means usually a (power) sword and a bolt- or las-pistol, in addition to some stub pistols earlier in his career. No digi-weapons, never malfunctioning plasma pistols or other impossible plot devices. The rest of his crew is armed with equipment that can be found in any well stocked Imperial Guard base or weapons from their home world. As he ages he not only acquires more pimped out weaponry but has also the brains to build himself a cabal of untouchables in order to fight psykers, deamons and generally everything an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor should never encounter.
Speaking of which, while being an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos he encounters nearly no aliens during his quest. Most of his time is taken up with imperial dissidents, heretics, cults and even daemons. So judged by his work he could be an member of the Ordo Malleus or Ordo Hereticus. Not that he gives a fuck about jurisdiction.
He suffered a terrible amount of torture under a real psycho's intense care, permanently damaging some of his facial muscles, rendering him unable to smile for the rest of his life. In the novels, however, him being so charming and witty, he sometimes forgets his disability and has "forced a smile" or he "had to smile" or sometimes even "can't help but smile". This is how space James Bond rolls. Or fucking reality with his mind subconsciously. After events detailed in Magos he regains his ability to smile, implying that he is now either powerful enough to warp reality intentionally or permanently fixed the damage.
Greg is set to be the star of a show called Eisenhorn from the guy behind The Man in the High Castle. How they'll pull off anything past Imperial Guard on a TV budget remains to be seen. Don't get your hopes up either, Man in the High Castle was garbage and nothing like the book.
- Eisenhorn: Xenos: Eisenhorn loses a member of his retinue and gains an extra two, Godwyn Fischig and Alizabeth Bequin. Investigates House Glaw and learns of a plot for a chaos cult to purchase a book written in chaos script from a xenos species called the Saruthi (A Chaos tainted xeno species who (according to the mobile game) looks like a gigantic ugly mess walking on 4 giant chopsticks). Destroys both copies of the book and meets a friendly daemon named Cherubael.
- Eisenhorn: Malleus: Gideon Ravenor is wounded while he and Eisenhorn are attending a military parade. Hijinks ensue resulting in Eisenhorn tracking down a rogue inquisitor named Quixos who was trying to use Cadian pylons to close the eye of terror (looking at you Belisarius Cawl). After killing the rogue inquisitor, he and Cherubael decide to become bonded soul mates, and Cherubael moves in. Yes, he killed a rogue Inquisitor trying to close the Eye of Terror using a technology that was capable of achieving such a feat. What a hero. (To be fair, the guy was hinted to be a daemonhost too and was completely insane to boot.)
- Eisenhorn: Hereticus: Pontius Glaw tricks a Magos to build him a body made of knives. He then launches a pre-emptive strike on Eisenhorn that wipes out almost his entire retinue. Eisenhorn proceeds to counter attack and the day is saved. Oh and Eisenhorn reveals that he trumps a Warlord Titan using Cherubael.
- Eisenhorn: The Magos:
- Pestilence: Through good detective work, an Administratum adept named Lemual Sark discovers the source of an unnatural plague to be from chaos itself.
- Master Imus's Transgression: An accountant reports the appearance of chaotic numbers in the books of the business he works for. Interrogator Eisenhorn burns down the whole business and thanks the accountant for his due diligence, leaving him to his newly unemployed life in a hive city.
- Regia Occulta: Eisenhorn ends up in a rural town. Tracking what appears to be a serial killer he discovers that it's just two confused Orks who wandered through a warp tear.
- Missing in Action: A truly heartwrenching tale, Eisenhorn has to put down a group of loyal imperial veterans who are killing citizens suspected of chaos taint, but without the proper permits for cleansing.
- Backcloth For A Crown Additional: Clients of a photographer spontaneously die of fright shortly after having their picture taken. Photographer doesn't think it is strange that a bottle of special chemicals never runs out and is always full. A daemon in the chemicals grabs the photographer into all his pictures and Eisenhorn burns down the photographers caravan. A good example of how scary daemons can really be in 40K.
- The Strange Demise of Titus Endor: A former pal of Eisenhorn succumbs to brain worms which ate up the brain of Eisenhorn's mentor. He still believes he's an Inquisitor and hallucinates his own death by a Chaos predator.
- The Curiosity: The Magos Valentin Drusher finds out he somehow missed an apex predator during his mission to catalog all the species on the planet Gershom. He and his girlfriend Germaine Macks eventually track it down and it is revealed to be a Tyranid remote controlled by the planetary Bishop who wants to strike fear into his flock. Drusher is subsequently permanently marooned on the planet.
- Playing Patience: Inquisitor Ravenor saves Patience Kys from a couple of rich guys running a gladiator pit. Everyone in the retinue gets to act cool except the computer nerd who shits his pants.
- Thorn Wishes Talon: Ravenor and his retinue are attempting to reach a location while being hampered by a cultist army hunting them down. There's even a chaos dreadnaught. They meet Eisenhorn and he warns Ravenor about a demonic manifestation in his future. Eisenhorn and Cherubael proceed to wipe out the entire army.
- Gardens of Tycho: Magos Drusher is called out of retirement to help Macks locate a predator terrorizing a city. Initially thought to be a lion but revealed to be just a combat servitor somebody forgot to turn off. The turn it off and he and Macks get married after the story.
- The Keeler Image: Eisenhorn tracks down a document and picture of uncorrupted Horus, with the document explaining how the Emperor denied his divinity. Destroys the clearly heretical document, but is left confused due to the heretical nature of disobeying the Emperor's will. Slaughters an inquisitorial stormtrooper battalion with Cherubael if you're still confused about his loyalty to the throne.
- Perihelion: Eisenhorn is at a conference of inquisitors, and during a distraction caused by a psyker assassin, meets up with Ravenor to catch up on how Ravenor's feeling locked in a grav chair.
- The Magos: Eisenhorn enters a pocket dimension with the help of Magos Drusher and Macks, is captured and plugged into a chaos warp focusing device. Its supercharges him into an alpha class psyker with a built in dictionary of Enuncia, even Cherubael is terrified of him, and after cleaning everything up proceeds to hunt down a new nemesis: The King in Yellow. Leaves Drusher with a big payout which he can choose to either escape his planet (which he's been trying to the whole time since being marooned there) or try to win back the love of Macks (who divorced him since he was always bitching about being stuck on her planet).
- Bequin Trilogy: Eisenhorn vs Ravenor:
- Pariah: Bequin is alive! Or at least has been cloned by the cognitae. Turns out the cognitae setup an academy for Pariahs in a big city, training the pariahs to infiltrate every strata of imperial society, combat & wetwork included. All while telling the candidates that they serve the Holy Inquisition. Which can be a big shock when she has to help one of her mentors kill an interrogator working for Ravenor. Ravenor airstrikes/storm trooper kill teams the cognitae academy and Beta finds herself on the run from the real Inquisition (believing Ravenor to be the cognitae), chaos cult aristocracy (including a descendant of the Glaw family), the Ecclesiarchy (who are trying to build a dictionary of enuncia), Word Bearer marines (assisting the Ecclesiarchy, who else are you going to call to learn about the divine emperor?), Inquisitor Eisenhorn (a real who am I running from moment), an Ecclesiarchy penitent monk (whose life mission is to protect her after being hired by Patience Kys), and an Emperor's Children marine (who was trying to infiltrate the King in Yellow's warp space domain for Fulgrim). She eventually realizes that the Cognitae were turning Pariahs into vessels for warp spiders working for the King in Yellow, and decides to work with Eisenhorn, gets captured by Ravenor at the end who tells her Eisenhorn is a heretic who works with demons, and is promptly busted out of her jail cell by Cherubael, immediately proving Ravenor correct. Oh and SPOILER ALERT! the king in yellow's true name is Constantin Valdor. I wish we were joking.
Ideology and Its Development
Eisenhorn started off his career as a Puritan Inquisitor, meaning that he was fucking hardcore. He went around with high-bar morals, shooting other Inquisitors for being radical pricks, gaining him cool points with the rest of the Inquisition. However, shit hit the fan and he ultimately found himself chasing a daemonhost named Cherubael across Scarus while picking up more and more HERESY as he went along. He became obsessed with screwing that prick Cherubael over, and stumbled on a HERESY so big it cost him his high and mighty Puritan status to be able to clean it up. He wound up taking advice from a major, imprisoned heretic on how to deal with heresy, and in the process set himself down the road of becoming a Radical Inquisitor. He saved the galaxy, imprisoned Cherubael using an extra HERETICAL book and then went along his merry way.
The heretic who Eisenhorn got advice from was Pontius Glaw, an arch-heretic who was thought to have been dead after causing mass havoc in the sector years before Eisenhorn's time; in reality he escaped the Inquisition by having his mind placed in a little box. Glaw had a distinct problem with Eisenhorn, as the Inquisitor had cheated him out of returning to a physical form. Life gets lonely inside a small box, and so Eisenhorn managed to convince him to give him information in exchange for being able to wander around in a servitor body. Eisenhorn left Glaw's box to be attended to by a Tech-Priest friend, which was probably the biggest mistake he ever made, as Tech-Priests have a tendency to make everything dangerous. Rather than simply give him a normal servitor chassis like Eisenhorn asked, the Tech-Priest apparently gave Glaw a body that would make General Grievous envious, complete with a cloak made of knives. Glaw killed the poor guy then escaped, in order to take vengeance on Eisenhorn. It was ultimately due to Glaw's assault that Eisenhorn became a full-blown radical. He began implementing more and more heretical means to figure out Glaw's plans, estranging himself from his remaining colleagues in the process. He went as far as to, with the help of his student Ravenor, enlist the aid of the eldar Farseer. After completely falling from grace, being named a rogue by his peers, and losing his friends, Eisenhorn disappeared, followed close by Cherubael, who he has bound into his servitude. He came back for one last gig trying to protect the daughter of Alizabeth Bequin and take down one last uber bad guy before going off the deep end.
Besides Ravenor, Bequin, and Cherubael, Eisenhorn maintained a retinue of individuals hired for their skills:
- Godwyn Fischig: Former chastener in the Adeptus Arbites, he joined Eisenhorn around the same time as Bequin. A person of strong morals and faith in the God-Emperor, Fischig basically served as Eisenhorn's conscience. When he learned about Cherubael, Fischig went to some of Eisenhorn's rivals in the Ordo Malleus, mostly out of a desperate attempt to save Eisenhorn's soul. Medea Betancore was forced to shoot him in the back, and Aemos later bound Cherubael to his dead body. If a good man serving as a conscience to his friends, struggling to do the right thing, ending up getting killed by said friends and made a daemonhost doesn't show you that that 40k is grimdark to the max, we don't know what will. (Also, his name means "fishy" in German.)
- Uber Aemos: Savant and Eisenhorn's longest serving friend. He acquired a meme-virus where he became addicted to information (it's 40k, don't think too hard). He stayed by Eisenhorn's side when he went full radical, eventually reading the aforementioned heretical book to help Eisenhorn figure out what Glaw was after. Chaos tomes being what they are, Aemos went insane, with the knowledge eventually killing him. Fond of the phrase "most perturbatory".
- Midas and Medea Betancore: Midas served as the pilot of Eisenhorn's personal gun-cutter, and was one of the best pilots Eisenhorn ever had. He was killed by a heretic (the same one that ended up causing Bequin's death) one month before the birth of his daughter Medea (lol, Greek mythology reference). Medea eventually became the pilot for Eisenhorn's gun-cutter, giving up a potentially wealthy life for service in the Inquisition. Spent 20 years raising "Beta" Bequin, which didn't help Beta's trust issues when she learned that her nun wasn't really a nun.
- Harlon Nayl: Former mercenary who Eisenhorn hired on as extra muscle. Probably the second-most badass member of the retinue after Eisenhorn. Later went to work for Ravenor, but returned to mercenary after Ravenor was "retired" by the Inquisition. As of "The Magos" he is back in Eisenhorn's employ.
- Kara Swole: A former circus acrobat who was hired by Eisenhorn. Constantly described as "voluptuous" (a term Dan Abnett insists on using, even though voluptuous wouldn't be good for acrobatics. This is, however, pointed out more than once.). Remained as part of Ravenor's staff in retirement.
- Alpharius: A fuckhuge warrior who took down a warp boosted emperor's children marine in blade combat. Beta literally thinks he's a space marine but disregards that because that would be crazy. Eisenhorn refers to him as one of his "specialists". If you are still confused about Eisenhorn's heretical status.
"I am truly irredeemable!"
Eisenhorn understandably has quite a few things to feel guilty about. However, some of those that have affected him the most took place while he was still at the Elementary Scholam.
-"I colored outside the lines on my Emprah coloring book. I feel like such a heathen."
-"I smoked Lho sticks in the restroom. May the Emperor have mercy on my soul."
-"Once, I failed to properly answer a history problem. I fasted for 3 days in penance for my failures."
-"I neglected to knot my footwear in a manner pleasing to Our Schola. I can hardly live for my shame."
-"I hid porno slates underneath my cot. I am truly irredeemable."
-"My best friend Billy kept beating me at Rock-Paper-Scissors, so I had him publicly accused of Heresy and he was executed by being bathed in holy promethium in front of the Schola. I shed a single tear. I was never more ashamed. I should not have cried."
-"Once, I cut in line when the class was being served their daily rations. Truly, I am beyond redemption."
-"I missed a step learning how to perform The Emperor's Sacred Ballroom Dance. Why they did not execute me on the spot, I will never know."
-"On a rainy day on which recess was held indoors, I cheated at Go-Fish. I am the scum of the Imperium."
-"In my executions class, it took me longer than one of the other students to learn proper execution format with Bolt-pistols. I must pray for forgiveness."
-"I allowed three of my pawns to be taken in regicide today. I am a failure in life."
-"God-Emperor, how was I supposed to know all those initiates were Orders Famulous."
-"I showed weakness by blushing in front of this girl, Marcy, in my basic arithmatics class. I flagellated myself for an hour. Blushing is a sin."
-"How was I supposed to know the cheerleader was a guy? Emperor help me."'
-"I once had heretical thoughts about my young female instructor in basic combat training. I must be impure."
-"I missed a line in my recital of the hymns of the Emperor. I wore an Imperial Fist pain glove for a day without stopping to atone for my sins.
-"I misspelled a word on a spelling test in my basic Low Gothic class. I am no better than the arch-traitor Horus."
-"I once chuckled at a joke disparaging the Schola headmaster. They should throw me from the top of the hive."
Okay, but really
Is Eisenhorn a heretic? He's a radical Inquisitor condemned by the Inquisition and is being chased by his old student. He uses a daemonhost, uses enuncia, kills loyal stormtroopers, works with the Alpha Legion, and he is going after Constantin Valdor himself. All signs point to heretic.
Yet there's several things to remember. First of all, daemonhosts don't necessary corrupt those around them. They are bound with very specific runes and rituals and are basically controlled nukes. Eisenhorn has his tied up as tight as he possibly can, locking its trickster personality behind huge barriers meaning it can't tempt him in any meaningful way.
Second, despite the protests of Oll Persson, the Emperor himself tried to learn and control enuncia. The language itself is not inherently corrupted by chaos, nor does it corrupt by you knowing it. It's kinda like a Blackstone Fortress in a way. It can be used for incredible evil by Chaos, but itself is not a corrupting influence.
Thirdly, Inquisitors kill loyal servants of the Imperium all the time. In this case, every citizen in the Imperium is brainwashed from birth to see Heresy everywhere, especially stormtroopers. In no uncertain terms, the stormtroopers Eisenhorn met were a liability to him and could be used to take him down. They would never understand him or his methods and would never agree with them anyways. In order to keep operating, he had to kill them.
As for the Alpha Legion, while it is hinted many of them went off the deep end and fell to chaos, we know several of them who didn't. For example Omegon always stayed loyal to the Imperium and worked against his brother Alpharius and Horus. Several Alpha Legionaires in modern 40K are still loyal. It is implied that the "Alpharius" that works with Eisenhorn is one of those. No one anywhere in the Imperium would understand this key difference, not even his protege Ravenor. The Alpha Legion is just that untrustworthy.
The only thing we might not be able to excuse is his grudge against Constantin Valdor. It can be argued, however, that Valdor is a huge extremist. The man has a stick so far up his ass that an Imperial Fist would tell him to calm down. This is a man that has conditioned his men to become such fanatics that they shot loyal Primaris Marines whose chapter they were sent to reinforce rebelled. These Primaris were traveling to the planet with the Custodes and, thus, couldn't possibly have been involved with the Heresy, but were instantly declared heretics by guilt of association. If anyone is going to want to take down a loyal, but radical Inquisitor, it's going to be Valdor. If anything, it wouldn't be surprising if Valdor was the one who started the grudge match to begin with - he actually has no idea who the king in Yellow is until the last sentence of the book. Killing a Captain general to avoid and all out war with all the Eldar and chaos (and we have no idea what he's actually going to get either) might be exactly what a radical would do.
Finally, Eisenhorn swept in and helped subvert and destroy a chaos corrupted cult of Ecclesiastical morons who worked directly with an offshoot of cognitae heretics. This was a group who were good enough to infiltrate the fucking Inquisition after FOUR generations of their teachings being diluted. These dudes were Alpha Legion levels of scary. No one is denying that Eisenhorn is radical. A traitor however? Unlikely (no matter how much Dan Abnett tries messing with us).
Eisenhorn is a total fucking badass. An angsty badass, but a badass nonetheless. Extra bonus points for having carried the most fuckawesome power sword in existence, a literal lightsaber.
New model announced
The TV Series
Way, way back, in the year 2019, a live-action TV adaptation was announced. And that was it. No actors named, number of episodes, run length, or even what platform it will be on, is known. We don't even have an estimated release date. So... forget about it and be pleasantly surprised in the future?
On the tabletop
Based purely on his statline and wargear, Eisenhorn isn't much. He has an artificer bolt pistol, which gains +1 AP and +1 Damage, and electrobane grenades, which are just eldar plasma grenades that do a mortal wound to a VEHICLE on a wound roll of 4+ (or D3 mortal wounds on a 6+). In the fight phase, he can hit with his sword Barbarisater (force sword which hits on a 2+) or his runestaff (force staff which has Strength +3 instead of +2). He can ignore wounds on a 6+, but on the surface, he's not much better than any of the other named inquisitors.
What sets him above other named inquisitors, though, is his Malus Codicium ability. If you want Eisenhorn to embrace his radical side, he can summon Cherubael to come wreck some shit! Cherubael is treated as a Daemonhost with Strength/Toughness 6, 6 wounds, and 5 attacks! And, unlike other daemonhosts, Cherubael actually has the CHARACTER keyword! On top of all of this, Cherubael adds 1 to his hit, wound, and invulnerable saving throws as long as he remains within 6" of Eisenhorn. This 25 point upgrade is a must-bring, turning Eisenhorn from an okay-inquisitor to a regular MEQ-killer!
|Famous members of the Emperor's Holy Inquisition|
|Ordo Xenos:||Amberley Vail - Bronislaw Czevak - Kyria Draxus - Gregor Eisenhorn - Kryptman |
Solomon Lok - Jena Orechiel - Gideon Ravenor - Velayne Ramaeus - Helynna Valeria - Emil Darkhammer
|Ordo Hereticus:||Adrastia - Katarinya Greyfax - Fyodor Karamazov - Anton Zerbe|
|Ordo Malleus:||Hector Rex - Mordecai Toth - Torquemada Coteaz - Jaq Draco |
Thadus Valconet Horst - Covenant - Ivixia Dannica - Ghankus Dhar