"Power and speed be hands and feet."
- – Ralph Waldo Emerson
"I heard from a contact on Mars, Jaghatai, that you do strange things to your ships."
The Khan shot him a heavy-lidded stare. "I heard that you do strange things to your warriors."
Jaghatai Khan, otherwise known as the Great Khan, the Warhawk, Master of the Ice-Blue Heavens or the Khagan is the missing Primarch of the White Scars Space Marines Legion/Chapter, who's name nobody in BL audiobooks can pronounce (protip: "CHUGH-TIE HAAN"). He went missing with the entire First Brotherhood of the White Scars while chasing after a Kabal of Dark Eldar near the Warp rift called the Maelstrom.
Contrary to popular belief, he is not named after Genghis Khan, but his second son Chagatai, who was known for his hot-headed attitude; upon the death of Genghis Khan, he inherited the territory that is now the countries of Turkmenistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan and southern Uzbekistan, southern Kazakhstan, Western China, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. And this was one of the smallest Khanates! It should also be noted that the name in the original Mongol is Tsagadai Haan, with the more commonly known spelling given to the character deriving from the Iranian transliteration.
It is said that after being mysteriously transported from Terra through the Warp by the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, Khan landed on a planet in the Segmentum Pacificus named Mundus Planus by the Imperium, or as the native population called it, Chogoris. It is a fertile world with wide, open, green plains and tall, white mountains and blue seas. At the time of the Great Crusade, the Chogoran people had managed to restore their technological level to one similar to the pike-and-shot level of the late Renaissance on ancient Terra. The dominant empire was a well organized feudal aristocracy which had conquered most of the planet with well equipped and highly disciplined armies, maintaining armored horsemen and tight blocks of pike and arquebus-armed infantry. Their leader was the Palatine, and he won all of his battles with this great army.
To the west of the Palatine's empire was the Empty Quarter, a barren grassland with few resources, and as such it was never invaded by the Palatine's armies. It was home to wandering tribes of vicious horsemen who fought each other for their ancestral lands. The Palatine would sometimes lead forces into the Empty Quarter to capture slaves or merely to hunt the tribesmen for fun. Khan's legacy began here. He was found by Ong Khan, leader of a small tribe called the Talaskars, who saw the young Primarch as a gift from the gods. It is said he had a fire in his eyes, the sign of a great warrior. He was hated by the other tribes because of his ability to see beyond the constant warfare on the steppes to a vision of unity for all the downtrodden peoples of the Empty Quarter.
It is said the most influential moment in Jaghatai's life was the slaying of his adopted father by the rival Kurayed tribe. Khan, even as a young child, was the greatest warrior of the tribe and gathered Talaskar troops to avenge the death of his father. They moved on the Kurayed tribe and razed it to the ground, killing every man, woman and child in a killing frenzy. Khan took the head of the enemy tribe leader and mounted it on his tent. This is what shaped him into a man of fierce honor, loyalty and ruthlessness. From then on, he swore to end the fighting, unite all the people of the steppes and bring an end to their practice of brother fighting brother.
Khan fought hundreds of battles against other tribes and defeated hunting packs sent by the Palatine. Each tribe the Talaskars conquered was absorbed into the Talaskar confederacy and Jaghatai made military service mandatory while splitting tribes up and merging them with others to remove and ameliorate tribal differences and long-standing feuds. His warriors were fiercely loyal and Khan promoted from the ranks based on merit and ability. Ten summers after his arrival on the world, as the tribe moved to their winter settlements, the Primarch was traveling on a mountainside with a group of his followers. A vast avalanche pushed him and his group back down the mountain, killing the normal men. Jaghatai survived, but could not get back up the mountain in time before the tribe moved on. Khan was caught by one of the Palatine's hunting bands, led by the son of that ruler. All that returned of that band was one mutilated rider with the head of the son of Palatine and a note saying that the people of the steppes were no longer his toys.
When the snows cleared, an enraged Palatine gathered a massive army and determined to march west to wipe the tribes from the face of the planet. He had, however, underestimated the power and ability of Khan and brought his highly-disciplined army of heavily armored warriors and arquebusiers. This proved to be his downfall as they could not catch the lightly armored Talaskar tribesmen. The constant rain of arrows from the tribesmen took their toll on the tight ranks of the Palatine's warriors. Eventually the tribesmen defeated the army of the Palatine, who escaped back to his capital with a select few bodyguards. The rest of the army was slaughtered, almost to the last man. After the battle, the tribal elders gathered and announced that Jaghatai Khan was now Great Khan of the Empty Quarter .
Khan now began the long process of conquering the rest of the planet, which possessed only a single continent. He gave those cities he besieged two choices, to surrender or be wiped out. Most surrendered, but many were destroyed, utterly wiped from the face of the planet. Eventually they came to the Palace of the Palatine, where he demanded the head of the Palatine on a spike. His request was obliged by the capital city's population, which turned on its own ruler to save their own lives from the fierce tribesmen. Jaghatai Khan adorned his tent with his greatest conquest's head, just as he had with his first enemy two decades before.
In only twenty years he had conquered the largest empire in his world's history. He now had the problems of ruling that empire, not something he had originally expected. His nomadic people had no wish to rule these new, settled lands, only to carry on living in their old ways. The Talaskar people dispersed back to a tribal existence and Khan ruled over them all with his generals by his side.
During this time the Khan revealed his fear to one of his generals (actually a psyker-shaman who became his closest companion and one of the most important Stormseers of the Vth legion.), to be trapped in what he called the greatest lie, the notion of: You are the strongest, there is nobody left to oppose you all you can do now is build bigger walls.
Six months later, the Emperor of Mankind arrived on the world as part of the Great Crusade and Khan knew at once that this man could fulfill his dream, to unite all of the stars above them and all of humanity in one mighty empire. In front of all of his generals, he dropped to one knee and pledged his service to the Emperor. He was given command of the V Legion of the Space Marines, the White Scars, who had been created from his own genetic material. Khan eventually grew close to Lion El'Jonson, the Primarch of the Dark Angels (
presumably surely bonding over a shared fetish for jet bikes and being mysterious) and his Marines would work in conjunction with the Dark Angels on many occasions.
Jaghatai Khan, like so many of his fellow Primarchs, shaped his legion into adopting the same strategy as the people of his home world (because GW are firm believers in the Planet of Hats trope). So the White Scars became a legion that favoured speed above all and their strategy would usually involve lightning fast mobile assault. As such, the legion was renowned for their skill with the jetbikes that they often used in their campaigns.
Jaghatai was also not content with the usual ships the rest of the legions would use, and ordered the Mechanicum of Mars to remodel the White Scars' ships to be some of the fastest ships among his fellow brother's legions. The legion's Techmarines further refined these modifications in secret, allowing the legion's fleet to maneuver far more effectively than any other ship in human space. This resulted in the only occasion where the Alpha Legion faced off with someone and the encounter ended with Alpharius saying "now that I did not expect."
As with all of the Primarchs, Jaghatai would form close(ish) friendships with some of his brothers while avoiding others. Unlike many of the Primarchs, the Khan always felt like an outsider and would keep mostly to himself. Some have suspected he had the Assburgers or never learned anything else than his native language (presumably because they never spoke to him). Truth is, Jaghatai came to understand pretty quickly that his legion weren't meant to be central to the Crusade the way that the Luna Wolves, Ultrasmurfs or Imperial Fists were. The White Scars embraced their role as outriders, perfecting their particular way of fighting and developing a distinctive legion culture.
As such, the Khan had few friends amongst his fellow Primarchs, and since he had few friends, the same went for his legion. Amongst the friends he had were Horus and the Luna Wolves (everyone loved Horus so it would have been more a surprise if he didn't like him) with whom he shared a love of the rapid assault, as well as feeling understood and accepted by Horus. He also counted Magnus the Red and his Thousand Sons amongst his closest friends. Magnus, like the Khan, had also always felt like an outsider. Mostly due to his nature and the nature of his legion, both also shared a love for knowledge and the enjoyment in the subtleties of the universe. Aside from the brothers he flat-out didn't get on with, Jaghatai preferred to campaign way ahead of the Crusade's main frontline, so he barely got to know them.
Alongside Magnus and Sanguinius, the Khan would form the Librarius, organizing, training, and equipping psychic Astartes to use their powers in support of their brothers. It was rumored that the Khan himself also was in possession of psychic powers of some sort. Though the Khan shared a close friendship with Magnus, he would often share his concern that Magnus and his legion was drinking too deep of the chalice of power that the Warp offered. Chogoris seems to have been one of the only planets where the psyker-shamans practiced moderation well enough to avoid being killed as witches or accidentally turning the place into a daemon party. The Khan had always been more in favour of only taking as much as you absolutely needed, to only sip from the cup and never drink it in full, as to do so would be to invite disaster. Magnus and his legion chose to ignore this and continue as they always had. If Magnus had listened to Jaghatai, he would perhaps not have been duped by Tzeentch. Or perhaps nothing would have changed, you can never know with Tzeentch. As a precaution, the Khan instigated a "conversation" between the psyker-friendly Legions - the number of Librarians who supported Magnus on Nikea would have been down to him, were it not for Horus dicking around and fixing the results.
As the Khan shared a close brotherhood with some of his fellow Primarchs, there were also some he most certainly DID NOT get along with. Chief amongst them were Mortarion and his Death Guard. Mortarion distrusted all things Warp related and would often openly speak out against the Librarius, seeing it as nothing but foul sorcery. Mortarion would later be amongst those who pressured the Emperor into calling the Council of Nikaea. Leman Russ and his Space Wolves were also amongst the people the Khan had no wish to get close to, mostly because he didn't want his legion to be seen as savages, an image the Vlka Fenryka seemed to embrace. The White Scars constantly strove to achieve the most noble of human pursuits - seriously, they went in for poetry and calligraphy. In addition, the comparison added salt to the wound of the V Legion's entrenched estrangement from the Imperium, suggesting how little effort others took to understand the Chogorians. Though the White Scars were not "executioners" like the Space Wolves or "world eaters" like Angron's berserk XII Legion warriors or "the perfect" Astartes like Fulgrim's Emperor's Children, they simply were what they were. They never demanded respect from anyone, and if the other Legions knew nothing of them, then that was their loss, because the White Scars knew about them. The V Legion was faster -- they moved faster and they killed faster. Secretly, Khan and the White Scars resented the outsiders' disregard greatly, yet they refused to change their ways or Legion culture. As a founder of the Librarius, the Khan opposed Mort, Russ, and Angron's plans to shut down the use of psykers - given that he believed that all the Primarchs had something of the Warp in them, he also thought they were deluded.
On a pettier note, the Khan didn't have much time for Fulgrim's vanity, thinking he was too attached to his beautiful clothes. In one conversation he confidently stated that he could kick Fulgrim's arse in a fight simply because his brother boasted about his prowess, whereas Jaghatai was an unknown quantity to almost all his brothers. Fulgrim staked everything on being seen as perfect (The khan also found the ideal of Fulgrim and his legion insisting they were perfect to be insulting, after all if you were perfect you can't improve anymore); the Khan sought to achieve it no matter who did or didn't notice. Some would say this also applied to the Khan's fashion sense- between the furs, silks, dragon helmet and that mustache he was as fabulous as Fulgrim, without making any fuss about it. He might've got on well with the likes of Sanguinius, but as the Angel and Horus pointed out, none of them really knew him.
The official line about the Warp being benign also made things difficult with his dad. Jaghatai was big on truth, and hated the idea of building a civilisation on a lie. As a result, they didn't keep in touch, to the point that the Imperium seemed to completely forget about the Scars. This might've had something to do with the Khan's preference for fighting Orks and other xenos. There was no need to convince them to buy into a "truth" he didn't believe, and he was free to hunt. The Emperor's return to Terra probably also sounded like "building bigger walls" to the Khan's ears - at one point in Scars he bluntly tells a human logistics officer that they have conflicting ideas about the fate of humanity.
The Khan had the honor of fighting alongside Horus in the Ullanor Crusade and was present at the event that saw Horus promoted to the Warmaster. The Emperor also stepped down as leader of the Crusade to return to Terra and work on a secret project (a Webway gate that Magnus would later thoroughly destroy in an attempt to warn the Emperor of Horus's treachery).
Just before the White Scars were sent on another campaign, a great Imperial conclave was called upon the world of Nikaea. This grand council, known to history as the Council of Nikaea, was called by the Emperor of Mankind himself, and was intended to determine whether or not the use of psychic powers represented a boon or a grave danger to both Mankind and the nascent Imperium of Man. The Khan had intended to attend and argue for the case of the Librarius alongside Magnus and Sanguinius, but Horus ordered the Khan to journey to the Chondax system to rid the system of an Ork infestation. Weirdly, the Khan did not simply go to the Council anyway considering he had the right to do so even when ordered to do something else as the Emperor said they could come to debate and what the Emperor says goes. The Khan chose to obey Horus (a decision he would later come to regret) and chose to send a representative in his place instead: his chief Stormseer Targutai Yesugei. Unfortunately Yesugei struggled to speak convincingly in Gothic, and the Imperium apparently couldn't find a competent Chorgorian translator. Which is weird since everyone present could probably speak every human language (and many alien) to ever exist anyway considering they are Primarchs and the motherfucking Emperor himself. Not to mention that with his Astartes brain enhancements there is no reason for Chorgorian White Scars to not speak Gothic. The outcome of the Council of Nikaea is well known. The Emperor disbanded the Librarius and banned all further use of warp related powers.
Having operated mostly as an independent force for most of the Great Crusade, no one knew what the fuck the Khan and White Scars were up to. The traitors had no idea where he was or what he was doing (except the Alpha Legion, since information is their schtick). On the loyalist side, Dorn suspected that since Jaghatai and Horus had been close friends, he could very well have sided with them.
Equally, the Khan had no idea about the murder kegger Horus had thrown in the Istvaan system or anything that had happened afterwards. After the dust had cleared up, the legion received a series of conflicting messages; both sides were making a grab for one of the last legions to pick a side. Jaghatai's immediate response was to side with Horus, but then the Alpha Legion turned up to confuse his plans. After considering how little info he had, he opted for the grimdark equivalent of "Fuck y'all, I do what I want", and set off to do some detective work. Cue an extended road-trip to Prospero, where he found out that Leman Russ had indeed defeated his best friend Magnus and burned the planet (the fragment of his soul left behind there wasn't too upset about it though, since he eventually realised he had it coming and told the Khan as much) but that Horus and company had indeed turned traitor. The ultimate Tzeentchian trolling - None of It Makes Sense, and yet All of It Is True!
Then Mortarion turned up, trying to recruit the Khan to the Heresy. After kicking the psykers out of the loyalist legions, Mortarion found himself surrounded by them among the traitors, and now sought the Khan as an ally in getting rid of them there. The Khan told the Death Lord he was an idiot and, in an epic duel, kicked the crap out of him for just "assuming" that his Legion would side with Horus (well, that and the betrayal and murdering) and pointing out Mortarion's own hypocrisy in siding with the traitors, despite taking some serious punishment himself. Then he put down the warrior lodges among the Scars that had been fomenting pro-Horus sentiment before finally getting his shit together and heading home to Terra. So far in the fluff, we don't know the ultimate fate of the traitorous Noyan-Khan (presumed to be executed), while the lower-ranking marines were given the chance to redeem themselves or willingly facing death for not reneging on a warp-sworn vow (we know now that a few of them went off with some Iron Hands and treated Horus Aximund as a Chorgorian facelift, while several others were employed in an attack against Mortarion). Senior figures in the legion noted that the propensity of Terrans in the rebelling part of the legion meant that the Chogorian part would become more insular and ingrained in their traditional views (which is kind of what happened 10,000 years later on).
In the intervening years, the White Scars (and the guerrilla tactics Sagyar Mazan units) played merry havoc on the traitor advance, being the only full-strength (roughly) legion fighting against the forces of the 5 main traitor legions and delaying the advance to Terra for several years. However, the Scars couldn't last forever in a war of attrition and Horus's forces started to box them in. The Khan reluctantly called all elements of the legion together (after launching numerous feints) and made a push to the one glimmer of hope they had left...the mysterious abandoned Dark Glass project hinted at by captured members of the Navigators. Unbeknownst to the rest of the Imperium, the Emperor hadn't staked everything on the nascent Terran entrance into the Webway - Dark Glass was a backup entrance to the galactic Webway network. After beating a retreat from the Emperor's Children and Death Guard (during which Khan straggled and then a tore the heart out of a Keeper of Secrets), the White Scars FINALLY arrived at Terra only to be greeted by Leman Russ; still pissy that the Scars hadn't taken his side immediately several books ago. The Khan's response was to throw down his broken-apart sword (recently recovered from the insides of the before mentioned Keeper of Secrets) and bluntly tell the Wolf King that after the journey his legion had endured, NOTHING would keep them from the Throneworld and his father. Russ broke face for a bit and applauded the Khan for his perseverance in the face of utter ruin. Thus the Scars finally took their stage on the walls of the Imperial Palace, while Russ decided to shag off Emperor-knows where and get his own legion killed.
During the siege of the Imperial Palace by the traitorous forces of Chaos, the White Scars recaptured one of the major space ports of Terra from Chaos so that Loyalist reinforcements could land on the planet. It is said that the Khan was leading his warriors from the top of a Land Raider, a sight which became a tale that has been told in awe ever since, across ten millennia. Coincidentally, he was apparently known to overturn Land Raiders with his bare hands during the battles of the Heresy. Makes you wonder what Ferrus and Vulkan could flip, if they were so inclined.
Murals remain in the Inner Palace of the "Holy Khan" battling at the Lion's Gate Spaceport, against something huge, winged and wielding a scythe...
After the Heresy, Khan went on a crusade to rescue Imperial warriors captured by the Dark Eldar. During one battle, it was reported that Khan
finally got bored with his old life and decided to start a Dark Eldar harem was sucked into a Webway Gate, with no sign of him discovered since then. The White Scars believe that he's still alive within the Webway somewhere, and given the weird effects the Webway has on time this may actually be the case. And now that we have one two Loyalist Primarchs back in action already, and another in stasis busy sleeping, it's possible that the Khan might return as well somewhere down the line.
On the Tabletop
For ideal viewing, read this section as fast as possible.
|The Khan Afoot:||395||7||6||6||6||6||8||6||10||2+/5++/3++ in cc|
|The Khan Mounted:||460||7||6||6||7||6||7||6||10||2+/5++/3++ in cc|
While the Khagan doesn't have the WS8 most expected him to, he still has a very respectable statline, with a high initiative and attacks. These combat stats are paired with the White Tiger Dao: an MC AP2 weapon with Duellist's Edge and +1 strength on the charge. He also has the Crusader special rule, which coupled with his insanely high initiative means you're always going to sweep the enemy but if you end up in a fight you can't win you can always make use of the Bleak Wind, that grants Khan and his unit the Hit and Run special rule.
Khan’s Sire of the White Scars rule is that he always goes first in the first turn of combat no matter what (even if he's not the one charging). It flat out says that Khan always attacks first in Assault, after Hammer of Wrath, but before Initiative step 10. If for some reason you go against another model with the same rule, then you go by Initiative trait and Khan is I8 base (9 with Duelist's edge), in addition this rule grants All White Scars the Scout special rule (this also means they have Outflank). Since Khan IS the Lightning From Blue Skies he (and his unit) can automatically arrive from reserves on any game turn (decided at the game start) and you always choose which side to come in from - no need to roll - combined with the White Scar Legiones Asartes rule (+1 to roll for going first, +1 to Seize the Initiative, +1 to first Reserve roll for each turn) makes the White Scars with Khan the king of reserve dickery, in your faces Horus and Alpharius!
As for the rest of his wargear he's got his armor The Wildfire Panoply which is 2+/5++ which becomes 3++ in Assault (even to Overwatch) and makes him Move Through Cover for his shooty needs and he's also got an Archaeotech Pistol and Frag Grenades.
Finally, the upgrade we've all been waiting for: For 65 points, one point of initiative and the Crusader rule you can take the Sojutsu Pattern Voidbike this souped up prototype has two Master-Crafted Heavy Bolters (RAW he can only fire one per turn) and does D3 HoW hits. The Khan is an Unmatched Rider (ladies...) so when he jinks it gives him a 3+ save while completely ignoring Dangerous Terrain.
|The Primarchs of the Space Marine Legions|
| Loyalist |
Corvus Corax - Ferrus Manus - Jaghatai Khan
Lion El'Jonson - Leman Russ - Roboute Guilliman
Rogal Dorn - Sanguinius - Vulkan
| Traitor |
Alpharius/Omegon - Angron - Fulgrim
Horus - Konrad Curze/Night Haunter - Lorgar
Magnus the Red - Mortarion - Perturabo