"The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude."
- – Aldous Huxley
"Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god."
- – Aristotle
"I would rather betray all that is beneath the Heavens rather/before being betrayed by it."
- – Cao Cao Mengde
Lion El'Jonson, also known as The Emperor's First or simply The Lion, is the Primarch of the Dark Angels Space Marine Legion. He was scattered along with the other Primarchs to the far corners of the galaxy by the shenanigans of the Dark Gods. He finally came to rest on the beautiful but deadly world of Caliban. Raised by monastic order of medieval knights, Lion turned out to be a very honorable man and your typical knight in shining armor. His problem was, just like his dear old dad, he had a hard time sharing his personal feelings and an even harder time sharing secrets, an attribute his sons would go on to DEFINITELY NOT SHARE AND ARE TOTALLY 1000% LOYAL! Wielded a massive Final Fantasy-sized power sword called the Lion Sword.
As of the 41st millennium, he's actually still alive. While Roboute Guilliman crusades to unfuck the galaxy, and Corvus Corax and Leman Russ hunt traitors in the Warp, Lion is still stuck in stasis inside the Dark Angels' fortress-monastery, The Rock. The Dark Angels COULD have brought this to Gorillaman's attention and had Cawl fix Lion up, but they don't know he's there because SECRETS. Cypher is currently keeping Lion's sword warm for him.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality
- 3 Trivia
- 4 Gallery
"And so the lion stepped from the darkness and saw that there was light. And that light said unto him. "Go forth and conquer your fear. For our enemies are but fear incarnate and only through their smiting might we be free." And when the Lion roared, all who stood before him trembled."
- – Interrogator-Chaplain Altheous- Will of Iron
His first decade was spent in the warp-tainted forests of Caliban, completely alone but for monsters and other horrors of that tainted world. He flourished there and at the end of this decade, he encountered humans for the first time: a band of knights belonging to the group called "The Order." Considering how impossible it is to encounter a healthy young boy in the wilderness of a death-world, they believed the child to be a monster, and prepared to kill him. But one of them, a young man named Luther, prevented his fellow knights from attacking (which is good for them as they probably would have had some difficulty defeating a primarch.) Luther and the band brought Jonson back to their Fortress-Monastery and named him 'Lion El'Jonson' which means Lion, Son of the Forest. Yes, there's a language where "Lion" means lion, "El" means The, "Jon" means forest, and "son" is just son. Alternately, he could just be "Lion of the Johnson," which is equally apt (the HH books confirm that bit, which means that Jonson is their word for their planet-spanning forest); whether the "El" is related to the somewhat Semitic cast of many Calibanite names is unknown (although the setting is much more Brythonic in character). There is a possibility that Lion only lived in the forest for a few months rather than years because in HH all other Primarchs were shown to be at their prepubescent ages when they came out of their pods, and they will grow to full adult size in a year or so. Follow that logic if Lion lived in the forest for years, he would be a full-grown Primarch when he was found and not a young boy.
It´s unknown how exactly the Lion survived all those years within the tainted
jonsons forests, and in all the years to come he would never speak of it. He also did not in fact speak for some time after being taken in by Luther, which is, in fact, a symptom of autism, with which he is as arguably canonically as tainted with (see below) as he is with a preposterous name. He is one of the more interestingly developed of the loyalist primarchs.
- When fighting with Curze (in AoC) he reveals that during his ten years amongst the chaos beasts he had been constantly plagued by promises and threats from the lips of the demons that hunted him (Apparently you can’t start too young as far as Chaos is concerned), and that his dreams had been of storms and darkness. He is disgusted with Curze and renounces him for his weakness for giving into such things so easily.
- The fact he emerged damaged but not broken, with even the barest resemblance of humanity after spending 10 years alone without help or guidance whilst being drowned in warp taint is remarkable; few of his brothers were tested in such an extreme manner (the only others coming close being Curze and Mortarion) which could explain the Lion's contempt for Curze going beyond perhaps what even that nasty little sociopath elicited in Guilliman and Sanguinius.
Within the fortress monastery of the Order, the Primarch was assimilated into the society. There, he and Luther formed a close friendship, despite their differences. Where Luther was charismatic, Jonson was taciturn. While Luther understood the hearts of the men under his and enemy command, Jonson was simply a brilliant strategist, stubborn to a fault once he committed to a course of action. Despite their different approach to many things, the two men seemed to fill the gaps in each others' personalities and thus became an incomparable team. In the following years, Lion El'Jonson would quickly rise through the ranks of The Order, until he reached the title of Supreme Grand Master of The Order; his great deeds winning him praise among his fellow knights. Luther started to harbor a small seed of jealousy, feeling that his own deeds were overshadowed by those of the Lion. The Lion on his part did not care much about the power and fame he had accrued, preferred to be known as a hunter, slayer of beast instead of the king of Caliban. (He was also being very mindful, if not paranoid, about the whispers of Chaos he heard during his youth being fulfilled by his actions.)
As strange as it might sound, the forces at work upon Caliban actually had their own name for the Lion, with the Great Beasts referring to him as "The Nightmare" (no not the one from Soul Calibur). The powers that were at play upon that tainted world, whatever their origin, started making creatures with the sole purpose of killing him; despite his faults, you know you're a grade A badass when even chaos beasts are running scared of you, and the world itself is actually trying to kill you.
When the Emperor arrived on Caliban to rejoin Lion El'Jonson with his legion and send him off to the Great Crusade, not all natives were pleased with his arrival. The coming of the Emperor brought industry to Caliban, its beautiful jonsons cleared, the nature destroyed by machines of the Mechanicum. Some older members of the Order saw further change brought by the Imperials in the ranks of the younger knights: they feared that their old ways and tradition would be lost forever, and thus saw no other solution to the problem than to try and assassinate the Emperor.
Unfortunately for them, they had chosen to involve a young knight named Zahariel into their plot, and he was none too happy about it. Thanks to him, the plot was foiled and he was eventually absorbed into the Legion for his uniqueness of mind and spirit. Lion El´Johnson was given command of the 1st legion, which he named "Dark Angels" after an old Calibanite myth (it seems a lot of the Primarchs are big softies for old myths). Military camps were set up for the general population and those distinguished enough would become Space Marines, either by gene seed transformation (if they were young enough) or through extensive genetic manipulation. The first to undergo such treatment was Luther, who became Lion El'Jonson's second in command.
"We have killed so many in these charnel-systems that our hands may never be free of the stain of it."
- – The Lion commenting on the Rangdan Xenocides: Scions of the Emperor.
During the campaign known as the Rangdan Xenocides the Crusade would be halted by a species of such macabre power and technological might that it looked like the Imperium had met its doom. The Imperium's losses during the Xenocides would not be exceeded until the dark days of the Heresy; with the implication that entire legions had been [REDACTED]. The First Legion led by the Emperor himself would be burdened with the "Lions" share of the fighting, with the legionnaires forced to live in their armour for months or years at a time.
It was at this dark time that the Lion was discovered upon Caliban. Upon his discovery the Emperor would stand down and install the Lion as the overall leader of the war effort against the Rangda. Those Dark Angels that fought during this campaign swear that the war would have been lost if not for the presence of the Lion, with many claiming that he was the Rangdan's 'destroyer'.
This also goes towards explaining why the Lion didn't travel under the tutelage of one of his other brothers: there simply wasn't enough time. The Lion went straight from leading tech-knights on a single world to taking the fight to the most dangerous foe the Great Crusade had ever faced across entire star systems and sectors. Talk about a baptism of fire.
During this time a certain person using the name "Alpharius" would seek an audience with the Lion. Both the Lion and "Alpharius" understood that the Emperor would have to eventually leave the crusade and return to Terra, leaving one of his sons as the Warmaster in his place; "Alpharius" wanted it to be the Lion. "Alpharius" offered to lighten the Lion's burden by secretly taking over operations against the Rangdan so that the Lion and the First could withdraw and rebuild. The Lion of course refused the offer, as it was his duty to see the war all the way to its conclusion.
When the threat was finally dealt with there was a decade-long series of purges completed by the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves that left entire human-populated sectors lifeless to ensure what was hoped to be a final victory; these two legions entrusted above all others to do what needed to be done. Other legions such as the Luna Wolves and Ultramarines, who had been otherwise occupied with the ongoing wars in the galactic west, were now firmly in the ascendance. Those legions that had retained their strength having not suffered at the Rangda's hand now took centre stage in the Great Crusade. Compared to these new 'paragons' the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves were now viewed with distrust by the wider Imperium, and accusations would continue to overshadow them.
The Imperium was saved by the actions of the Lion and his Dark Angels but through their losses that they had sustained during the conflict they lost their standing among the other legions, and with the rise of the other legions that had not taken part in the Xenocides the Lion had evidently lost his chance at the title of Warmaster once the Emperor returned to Terra. it's likely that certain members of the old legion may have seen this loss of prestige as a failing on the Lion's part, leading some like Astelan to view him as an unworthy master.
Throughout the Great Crusade there were few records of the Dark Angels' victories kept, but it was widely known that Jonson won acclaim for his masterful tactics and the tenacity of his Legion, managing to accumulate a tally of victories second only to Horus's Legion. It infuriated Jonson's fraternal rival, Leman Russ, to admit that another Primarch could claim more triumphs than he, but the two would not meet each other until much later.
The Sarosh Campaign
Some time during the Crusade, the Dark Angels took over the campaign from the White Scars in bringing the planet Sarosh into “the light” of the Imperium. The Saroshi managed to fool both legions into believing that they were interested in becoming a part of the Imperium (though the Imperials suspected that something weird was going on). In reality, the Saroshi were secret worshipers of the Ruinous Powers.
The Lion invited their leader The Lord High
Executioner Exacter to his flagship (for dinner) in order to finalize the compliance. The Saroshi took advantage of this by smuggling a nuclear device on-board the spacecraft. The High Lord Exacter then denounced the Imperium and its false Emperor, before personally insulting the Lion by claiming that he and his sons where abominations and nothing more then the product of rutting beasts. The Lion responded by splitting the bureaucrat in twain.
Meanwhile in the hangar bay, Luther had discovered the nuclear device and was pondering whether or not he should let it go off and kill his long-time rival and thus finally becoming the rightful head honcho of the Order. Luckily for everyone, Zahariel was once again in the right place at the right time, and successfully reasoned with Luther. Then they ejected the device into space, where it detonated causing only minimal damage to the ship. Meanwhile, the Saroshi executed the unsuspecting Imperial civilians and army personnel on the planet's surface.
After the situation in space stabilized, a meeting was called to decide what was to be done with the Saroshi. But before the meeting, Zahariel observed the Lion and Luther speaking in a huddled corner, their words unheard by anyone, though the intensity of their conversation plain for all to see. The Lion then abruptly turned away from Luther, his face a mask of unreadable emotion, while Luther's expression was one of despair and anguish. Zahariel would later note that from this moment on, the seemingly unbreakable bonds of trust and brotherhood between the Lion and Luther were gone forever.
Needless to say the Lion wasn´t too pleased by all this and so he decided to personally lead his forces to the surface. After dealing with the Saroshi and their demonic allies the Lion made a declaration announcing that the flow of new recruits from Caliban was not proceeding as swiftly as was hoped. The Great Crusade was entering a new and vigorous stage, and the Dark Angels needed fresh warriors to take the light of the Imperium onwards therefore experienced Astartes were to return to the homeworld with all speed to ensure that the recruitment of new warriors was put back on track, Luther and Zahariel and around 500 Dark Angels made up of those that had been injured during the fighting but also some that seemed to have been picked at random where to return to Caliban. Though officially there was no stigma or disgrace placed upon those returning and despite the apparent honour in such a responsibility, many had been shocked at the decision, especially at the apparent dismissal of Luther as up to that point he and the Lion had been inseparable. If the Legion needed warriors so badly, why were they being pulled from the front lines? Training recruits was a job for elders, men who were full of wisdom but past their physical prime.
- “Angels of Caliban” gives us a brief look into the mind of the Lion and shows that he is very much conflicted about sending Luther back to Caliban; meaning it to be both a punishment and a genuine desire to demonstrate to his father/brother that he still trusted him enough to entrust him with the very future of his sons (he really isn’t very good at expressing himself, is he?). He viewed himself as little more than a warlord whose place is on the battlefield and believed that he had left his home world in the hands of people that were far more suited to running and safeguarding it than he ever could. On top of that he had mixed feeling regarding Caliban itself as it brought him to question exactly where he belonged. Despite wanting to return home there was always something more important that took precedence; there was always another enemy, always another war to wage and new frontiers to discover (duty before anything else).
The Dulan Campaign
The leader of that world refused to give in to Imperial rule, going so far as calling Russ the Emperor´s lapdog. Russ, never one to take criticism well, put his efforts into destroying every trace of the enemy while looking for their homeworld.
Unfortunately for Russ, the courts of Terra felt he was taking too long and sent the Lion to finish the campaign for him. When the two met they instantly took a dislike to one another, but agreed to cooperate in order to get the job done. When Russ got word that members of his 13th Company were being held captive with their mutations being broadcasted as evidence of their corruption, Russ deviated from the agreed upon plan to take the enemy capital and so the Lion moved in and killed the enemy ruler; denying Russ his kill.
Russ felt that the kill that was righteously his had been stolen from him by Lion El´Jonson and so he began a brawl with the Lion by walking up to his brother after the battle and punching him square in the jaw. The Primarchs were matched in strength, speed and cunning, and their duel went on for a day and a night. The brawl ended when the Lion threw Russ through a table; seeing the foolishness in their fight Russ got back up and began to laugh, he felt his honor had been satisfied. Unfortunately the Lion didn't have the same opinion, so he took Russ's laughter as his brother mocking him, and if there's one thing the Lion can´t stand, it's people mocking him. He threw a left hook sucker punch he knocked Russ out cold, and when Russ woke up several days later, the Lion and his forces were gone. To say he was furious would be an understatement, but once he calmed down Russ realized that the Lion had actually done him a favour by quietly disposing of any damning evidence of the Wulfen.
10,000 years later both chapters still choose a champion from amongst their number in order to re-enact their Primarchs' duel whenever the two cross paths. There are two versions of the duel: Duellum Honestas, which is to first blood and Duellum Dolor, which is to the death. It is customary for the Dark Angels to recite the ancient battle chant "- Two sucker punches were thrown that day. Only one Primarch walked away."
Near to the end of the Great Crusade the Lion, along with Horus, Fulgrim, and Jaghatai accompanied the Emperor to the Planet Molech. The four Primarchs would spend almost one hundred and eleven standard terran days upon the surface of Molech but whatever they did during this time was erased from their memories by the Emperor himself (the same thing he did to Zahariel in Descent of Angels) before they left leaving almost a hundred regiments of the Imperial army, three Titanicus cohorts and a garrison detachment from two Legions to guard the Emperor's secrets.
An interesting little detail is that Molech is apparently where the Emperor made his deal with the Ruinous Powers; the deal was apparently that in exchange for power and knowledge he would provide them with vessels powerful enough for them to enter the material universe. The fact that he returned there with exactly four primarchs is very telling..
Was the Emperor planning to make good on his deal by offering up his sons as sacrificial vessels for the dark gods in order to save his own skin? Why would an almost all-powerful ("godlike" being) give up any of its power? They wouldn't, for that would leave them in a weaker position then you were before. Of course this is trying to apply logic to Chaos, they may have agreed simply because they were bored, and this would make things more interesting (all primarchs are infused with Warp power after all). It could be that he simply tricked the Chaos Gods, as it is even explicitly said by Ingethrel the Ascended in "The First Heretic" that the Chaos Gods considered the primarchs their property. So it could be possible that the Emperor simply bargained for some warp power to create "stable greater daemons" (i.e. the primarchs) for the Chaos Gods, without ever intending on delivering on the promise. Also this was not the first, but actually the second visit of the Emperor on Molech. Therefore it is far more likely that the EMPRA wanted to fortify this world on his second visit rather than offer four of his sons up as sacrificial lambs. The planet contained a gateway to the Realm of the Chaos Gods and he possibly needed some of his sons for that (or he wanted to keep up appearances that the deal was still on and took them along as some kind of proof). Not to mention that the EMPRA even left an immortal female perpetual behind to guard (and if necessary) close the gateway forever, should it ever become necessary. Unfortunately she was killed by Horus before she could finish the incantation, or the whole epic duel on the Vengeful Spirit would have played out entirely different.
Later during the Heresy the Lion would encounter a two headed Lord of Change (possibly Kairos Fateweaver, the oracle of Tzeentch) who claimed to have met the Lion before but although he recognised the voice of the daemon the Lion could not remember from where. During the Lion's confrontation with the two headed Lord of Change his mind stirred with vague recollections, of pleading and entreaty.
Did the Emperor, knowing what was going to happen, actively seek to placate the Dark Gods so as to avoid the disaster that would follow? Answer: No/Yes/Maybe, as they consider the EMPRA their greatest enemy, and furthermore refer to him as "the Anathema" for a reason (Anathema means a person or thing detested or loathed: The Chaos Gods hate the Emperor and may even fear what his actions might bring about) The origins of the Chaos Gods loathing for the Emperor may have been the result of his theft, he had wronged them, and now they want pay back; you could argue that the Emperor's actions and presence are what have caused the Chaos Gods to turn their attention away from the Great Game towards the Materium (He took the greatest gamble in history, and now the galaxy is paying the price). Horus suspects that the Emprah came to Molech (on his first visit) and stole his psychic might from the Chaos Gods (saying that the Emperor came with a spaceship but left without it) and takes this as proof that the Empra was not always as powerful as he is now / was at the time of the Horus Heresy. However, it is equally likely that that the Emperor simply used a spacecraft on his first visit to Molech, as teleporting across half the galaxy would have represented a huge effort and use of psychic power - even for him - which he would have needed to recover from. This in turn would have made it impossible for him to enter the Chaos Realm and act from a position of power.Even the word Molech is remarkably similar to the word Moloch which is a biblical name relating to a Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/moloch) if you read the page there might be a couple of other interesting similarities that you might find in relation to the Emperor. But then again a guy named after demon of lust is part of the zealous fun police in 40kverse.
Reaction To Horus becoming Warmaster
Surprisingly despite their differences both Russ and the Lion shared a similar reaction to Horus becoming Warmaster, whilst many of their brothers threw massive temper tantrums and acted like spoiled brats, both the Lion and Russ accepted the decision with cynical resolve unsurprised that it had been Horus that had been chosen. Neither had been pleased with the decision but neither of them could doubt his fitness for the role, for none of the primarchs had ever matched Horus’s achievements, nor the intimacy of his bond with the Emperor. Well, except for Sanguinius, that is.
Initially after Horus’s appointment there was a silent but very awkward tension between Horus and the Lion. The relationship between the two primarchs had always been fractious (Horus believed that the Lion felt he should be the most revered primarch because his Legion was the first), never spilling over into confrontation but Horus knew circumstances would put their brotherly bonds under additional pressure. Surprisingly it was the Lion and not Horus who made the effort to extend the olive branch, an offer that Horus could not afford to ignore.
The position of Warmaster does not make you the next Emperor in waiting, but as shown in “Unremembered Empire”, was the highest military position in the Imperium. Horus as the first found already had a long and proven record that, although the Lion seems to have been catching up to quickly, had yet to be beaten. Horus also had one thing that the Lion, despite his brilliance, did not: his natural charisma - the ability to get people to do what he wanted, and to act as a mediator between his various brothers, who would normally be at each other’s throats. The Lion also had a stubborn, independent streak that meant that, although he would follow the orders he was given, he would do it “his way”, which might not gel well with what other people may have wanted
In the short story The Board is Set the symbolic depiction of the piece used to represent the Lion is the "Double Edged Sword", which indicates that the Emperor may have known that the Lion had the capacity to bring both favourable and unfavourable consequences, and therefore kept him away from the position of Warmaster for that very reason. Additionally, Lorgar was given a vision apparently showing all the Primarchs that would side with Horus during the Heresy. One of the Primarchs shown fits the description of the young Lion arriving on Caliban. The Chaos Gods seem to have really wanted and fully expected the Lion to have joined their side during the Heresy. The fact that the Lion stayed loyal either shows that the Emperor made the right choice with the Lion, or that the sword hadn't swung both ways yet.
Shortly after the Isstvan III Betrayal but prior to the Isstvan V massacre the Lion would lead a small select group of Dark Angels to capture a set of Ordinatus war engines that Horus would have used against the Imperial Palace. Note: These weapons were so big that a blast from one could take out an entire starport. Despite successfully winning this campaign and capturing the weapons, the Lion would use them to attempt to persuade Perturabo into supporting his candidacy for the position of Warmaster, since he figured the Imperium would need to select another one. Suffice to say that the Lion had no idea that his brother had already turned and would likely end up using the war engines on Terra anyway.
When the Horus Heresy properly broke out, the Dark Angels began a push-pull war with the Night Haunter and his legion; tired of this constant battle, the Haunter invited Lion El'Jonson to parley on the planet of Tsagualsa. Here Konrad Curze once again mocked the Dark Angels telling Lion El'Jonson on how in the future the Dark Angels would be called into question as to whether they were truly loyal or just waiting on the sideline to join with whomever won the battle. This only proves that Curze wasn't in the office the day the memo about “Not Mocking the Lion” was handed out as the Lion after waiting patiently for his brother to stop ranting apologised to Curze for what he referred to as "-such a dishonourable blow." before he proceeded to impale Konrad through the gut with his sword, defiantly proclaiming that "-‘I do not care who knows the truth now, tomorrow, or in ten thousand years. Loyalty is its own reward.". The two brothers proceeded to have a brutal and bloody brawl which resulted in their respective legions having to separate the two brawlers. Though not before Corswain of the Dark Angels had played bull rider on Konrad Curze's back. Being dragged back to their individual ships while flinging curses at one another, the Lion swore that he would not return to Terra before he had made Konrad Curze and his legion pay for their insult against the Dark Angels, inadvertently ensuring that Curze's prediction would come to pass.
There was a short run-in with daemons where the Dark Angels aboard the Invincible Reason found themselves trapped between reality and the Warp without the protection of the gellar field's. The command deck of the flagship was saved by the intervention of one of the legions former Librarians breaking the edict of Nikaea, which helped the Dark Angels to figure out that psychic powers were the best weapon against creatures of the warp, so when the Lion reinstated the Librarius, one of the Chaplains got a bit pissy over him defying the edicts of Nikaea and demanded that the Librarian be immediately executed, even as tides of daemons continued to flood the ship. So what did the Lion do? Delivered a brutal backhanded slap which KNOCKED HIS FUCKING HEAD OFF! No-one fucks with the Lion. Any questions? (it should be noted that the Lion did show genuine sorrow and regret over the Chaplain's death).
This scene has caused no small amount of nerd rage amongst Dark Angels players.
When reading this scene there is a number of things to bear in mind:
- this is not a common occurrence; the shock displeased by those who witnessed the event goes to show this was not the normal behaviour that they are used to from for the Lion.
- the entire ship is currently trapped between reality and the Warp without the protection of the Geller field.
- the Invincible Reason is currently being overrun by a tidal wave of daemons, and the longer things take the greater the loss amongst his Little Brothers.
- the Lion gave the Chaplain multiple chances to step down, explaining that, yes the Librarian had broken the edict, but their current situation required their power to be utilised. The breaking of the edict would be dealt with only after the daemons had been dealt with first.
- the Lion struck out in anger hitting the Chaplain with the back of his hand, as proven by the armour shards embedded in the back of his gauntlet. This looks more like a disciplinary action then an actual attempt to kill. The Lion lashed out in blind anger, not intending to actually kill; it's up to you to decide whether this makes it better or worse.
- It only took a split second for the Lion to realise what he had done, and his normally stoic appearance was replaced by one of anguish. After looking at the hand that struck the Chaplain he knelt, his eyes never leaving the ruined body and swore that they would mourn for the Chaplain once the ship was once again safe.
Also around this point it was apparent that the Lion was hanging out with the Watchers in the Dark who were apparently feeding him information. (Which is kind of a WTF, are they members of the Cabal or not? And do they want to fuck humanity or not? and what does the Lion know about it?). The Watchers were informing him that his legion back on Caliban were starting to get naughty, but the Lion also knew in advance that Robot Gorillaman was generally disregarding the Imperium at large and focusing on his own little empire and saw him as a threat almost as bad a Horus, knowing that it could potentially mean sacrificing his legion if he took too long.
He did take a short break from chasing Konrad around and went to go break up a fight between the Death Guard and Iron Hands, who were arguing over who should get an awesome sentient warp engine of unknown origins called Tuchulcha: part of a trinity of sentient Warp constructs consisting of itself, the Plagueheart and the Ouroboros (the creature at the heart of Caliban); all three parts were at one time part of a single warp entity used by the Old Ones to create their Webway network or at least part of it. Strangely enough Tuchulcha refers to Caliban as its home and that ‘Salvation’ it waiting there not just for it but for the Dark Angels as well. However since the Lion had no real way to tell friend from foe since the Death Guard were working for Horus and the Iron Hands were now working for Rowboat Girlyman he ended up shouting at Typhon for a bit and telling the Iron Hands to go fuck themselves and took the Tuchulcha for himself.
At around the same time, Magnus, from his location in the Eye of Terror had sussed out that the Lion was carrying around the "seeds of his own destruction", but it is uncertain if he is referring to Tuchulcha, the Watchers in the Dark, the soon-to-be-Fallen Angels, or something else, since there seems to be a lot of influences surrounding the First Legion during this period.
The Dark Angels would then use the device to ambush the Night Lords and eventually break their legion, forcing them to scatter and become a raiding force from then onwards. Konrad Curze, after emerging from the deathly coma caused by the savage mauling he had received at the Lion's hands during the ambush, would end up lurking around the Dark Angels flagship playing a deadly game of hide and seek, which the Lion almost won until someone interrupted him by radio.
After the shattering of the Night Lords the Lion would head towards Macragge with a force of 20,000 Dark Angels, leaving the bulk of the Legion under the command of Corswain. His last command to his Seneschal was to find Russ of the Space Wolves, and to engage the enemy wherever possible. In order to make the search as effective as possible the Legion split up into Orders, allowing them to search a much wider area. They would unfortunately fail to locate Russ as he and the Space Wolves would end up being saved by Calibanite Dark Angels, who 59 years previously under Luther’s command had been sent out to distant fortresses across the void and have recently been trying to piece together what has been happening during the Heresy due to the nebula interfering with communications. (Which begs the question, how did Russ know the Lion was heading to Macragge in ‘Vengeful Spirit’ if Althalos hadn’t had any word from the Lion and had no idea what he was doing?) Though the Calibanite Dark Angels have sworn themselves to Luther (most have never even seen the Lion or any other primarch for that matter) these ones seem to still be loyal to the Emperor.
Corswain would travel with Belath (the same arse from “Call of the Lion”) to hunt down forces under the command of Typhon, they would end up giving the Death Guard such a hard time that Mortarion himself decided that he needed to take control of the situation personally. Belath would eventually end up annoying Corswain (yes, this guy is so annoying he managed to get under the skin of the guy who held his own in a verbal duel with Sevatar without losing his cool) and was ordered to commandeer as many transports as he could and head to Caliban in order to collect all the Dark Angels stationed there and bring them into the fight.
The Lion would end up on Macragge playing nicey nicey with Roboute Guilliman who was planning on building his own Imperium Secundus after figuring out that the current one was fucked and he'd do better being in charge himself, but having the Lion turn up pretty much put a halt to those plans. Guilliman didn't want to give the job of Regent to the Lion since the Lion was technically the older brother and deserved it more than he did, and the Lion didn't want Guilliman to have it since he knew Guilliman was a prat and could've been saving the Imperium rather than building over the top of it while it burned around them. An eventuality that Lorgar had actually aimed to achieve with his objectives in the Battle of Calth, since it would starve Terra of necessary resources in the upcoming Siege of Terra
...Then Konrad broke loose and pretty much waged a one man war against Ultramar, then Vulkan was revealed to have been on Macragge the whole time and the two proceeded to bitchslap each other about for a bit. Guilliman & the Lion would then have a pissing match because of this over who was hiding the most secrets. Eventually Sanguinius joined the party and they made him regent, solving both of their problems.
The Lion would become known as the Lord Protector of Imperium Secundus, essentially making him the Warmaster, in all but name, of the remaining loyalists now allied with the Imperium Secundus. Sanguinius would be the Emperor, Guilliman the architect and the Lion its Lord Protector. Guilliman would command an army of bureaucrats, senators and lawmakers whilst the Lion would be the general of the combined armed forces. He would be able to take the fight to Horus at the head of the finest augmented warriors dedicated to the most beloved of the Primarchs. Recruited, organised and armed by the greatest logistician in the galaxy and commanded by its paramount general. You really would struggle to put together a better combination, too bad they didn’t really get on or Horus really would have had a fight on his hands.
Despite the Primarchs' public display of unity not all was well with the newly formed alliance. The Lion took Curzes’s escape very seriously, seeing it as his own personal failure; the fact that his treacherous brother had once again slipped through his fingers infuriated him and it would continue to play on the Lion’s mind. He would also grow increasingly annoyed with Sanguinius who despite being made regent seemed to want to do nothing but lock himself away and mope around feeling sorry for himself like some stroppy teen.
As time passed the Lion would grow increasingly obsessed with hunting down his wayward brother and bringing him to ‘justice’ for his past crimes (sounds strangely familiar for some reason) and would begin to neglect some of his other duties towards the Imperium Secundus (seriously is anyone else getting a weird sense of deja vu) in favour of preparing in secret to finally put a stop to the Night Haunter’s antics. (In all fairness you can’t really blame him, hunting down another Primarch, especially one as elusive and dangerous as Curze isn’t exactly something you can do half-arsed).
Through the events of “Angels of Caliban” the Lion proves just what he is willing to do and sacrifice in order to catch Curze, and that he is undoubtedly an apex predator among the warp spawned monsters that comprise his family. With the blessing of Sanguinius he unleashes the Dreadwing upon Macragge, whilst at the same time deploying the Deathwing to protect the capital and enforce marshal law. Although the populace where unhappy about the restrictions placed upon them, the Lion had good reason for doing so; terrorist attacks had spread across Macragge resulting in the death of both large numbers of civilians and even entire patrols of Space Marines. The terrorist activity was spreading out from the mountainous region of Illyrium, whose people it would turn out to have been worshippers of "Chaos" for centuries before Guilliman's foster father was even born. The people of this region had never accepted him as Macragge's ruler, but decided that discretion was the way to go, and had kept their rituals secret; for as long as a Primarch stood against them they knew that they could not win... yet. The Lion saw the pattern in their workings, and knew that Curze was the one pulling the strings; something Guilliman refused to accept. The people of Illyrium now had their own demigod on their side and where quick to take action against the rest of Macragge. Both the Lion and Guilliman argued over how to deal with them; Guilliman refused to take up arms against "his" people, and the Lion argued that they could not move forward whilst this rebellion acted as a weight around their necks; Sanguinious sided with the Lion much to Guilliman's dismay, although the Lion was warned that orbital bombardment was out of the question; to which the Lion simply rolled his eyes and did it anyway (in a very sneaky way of course). The Lion would clean up the mess that Guilliman should have dealt with a long time ago, but then again that is what the Lion was there to do; he was there to do the dirty work so the other two could keep their hands clean.
The Lion corners Curze in an isolated mountain range where he tells the Dreadwing to stand down as he is going in alone. Curze’s shadowman antics have grown old and he is becoming increasingly predictable especially for the Lion, who is also drawing more on his hunting instincts than in any of his previous portrayals. The final brutal confrontation between the brothers is finally upon us and if Curze is the Batman then the Lion must be mother fucking Bane (seriously the similarities between Russ and the Lion are starting to add-up). The Lion drags Curze; paralysed, broken, and chained before his brothers for trial where Curze reveals that the Lion did in fact disobey the direct order from Sanguinius regarding the use of excessive force. Despite doing all the dirty work and handing over Curze to them on a silver platter the Lion is banished from the Imperium Secundus and the Lion sword is broken in two as punishment. As they are preparing to leave the Lion has an epiphany regarding what Curze’s visions reveal; if Curze’s fate was to be killed by an assassin at the Emperor's command then he needs to be still alive for such an order to be given. If Curze is killed before he is meant to then they may bring about a future where the Emperor’s fate could be drastically changed for the worst. The Lion under the belief that through his brothers continued existence he can keep the Emperor alive for a bit longer actually gives up the last chance he had of saving his legion and home world, bends the knee to his brothers and begs them (SERIOUSLY IF ANYONE STILL HAS ANY DOUBTS REGARDING HIS DEVOTION TO THE EMPEROR THEN YOU DESERVE A SLAP) to spare Curze’s life (he’s got better plot armour then the space wolves at this point) and pledges to be his brother’s keeper.
Now knowing that Terra still stood, the three Primarchs gathered the bulk of their forces and headed into the Ruinstorm, with the intent of forcing their way through. Sanguinius would end up almost having a major falling out with the Lion, after hawk boy decided to break Curse out of his prison, leaving a trail of unconscious Dark Angels; all so Sanguinius and Curze could go to Davin and find out what remained there. The Lion would be so mad he nearly ordered the planet destroyed with his brother on it. Realising what he had almost ordered, the Lion came to the realisation that even now the enemy was manipulating them; subtly playing upon their fears, dreams and wants, exploiting their personality and natural instincts to drag them down a path of fate that would only lead to their self-destruction. Feeling the invisible chains that had shackled him without his notices he immediately sent a message to Guilliman, warning him to be watchful, as they could no longer trust their first instincts. The message was received by Guilliman, who took the hidden meaning very seriously as he himself was suffering his own inner conflicts of self-doubt and inaction.
Once through the Ruinstorm, the three fleets parted ways. Whilst Guilliman’s fleet tried to punch a hole through the enemy’s fleet in order to allow the Blood Angels to get to Terra, the Lion and his forces went on an Exterminatus spree through traitor-held space in order to draw more of Horus’s forces away from Terra. Did you ever wonder why there is no mention of the Traitors home worlds after the Heresy? The Lion and the Dark Angels are why. The Lion would go on to unleash destruction of unprecedented scale, crushing traitor world after traitor world across the galaxy. When the traitors were defeated there would be no safe haven for them to run to.
One of the biggest lessons the Primarchs took from their trip through the Ruinstorm was that symbolism and symbolic actions were very important when fighting the forces of Chaos; for example a sword is a more effective weapon then a bullet, not because it's more powerful, but because the person has to be the one to drive the blade home (a sacrifice is pointless if it doesn't mean anything). The Lion took this lesson to heart, he wouldn't just destroy his enemies, he would wipe them out completely, root and stem, until there would be nothing to be remembered.
Just as he told his brothers he would, the Lion tore a path of destruction through the traitor territories. They destroyed Chemos and other worlds, but by the time they reduced Barbarus to space dust, they began to realise that they were not having the desired effect. The traitors seemed to be indifferent to the destruction of their homeworlds and refused to be drawn away from Terra.
The Lion had taken to haunting the abandoned levels of the Invincible Reason since the destruction of Luth Tyre. He didn't even bother to appear when Barbarus finally died. Although he didn't tell the legion the reason why, as it seemed the Astronomican was dead; now that the Ruinstorm was gone the Lion reasoned that the eight weeks of darkness combined with the prophetic visions of Curze and Sanguinius meant that despite their efforts Horus had won. All that was left to do was to make sure it was a hollow victory and the Lion would make sure he avenged his father by making sure Horus ruled over an empire of ash.
He confided only in Mistress Fiona, the ship's navigator, and Stenius the ship's captain. They had been reliant on Tuchulcha to travel since Luth Tyre but had kept it a secret until they were sure of their chosen path. The revelation that Stanius had been trusted to use Tuchulcha came as a real surprise to Holguin, as it was up until that point a well-known fact that the Lion had been suspicious of his loyalties.
A meeting was called to discuss what their next move should be, with the Lion demanding that all wings of the Hexagrammaton should be heard. Although the gathering took place the Lion was nowhere to be found. The meeting started seemingly without him, with the gathered assembly bowing to an empty throne. The debate gathered momentum with both astartes and mortals arguing on both sides. The Lion bought the heated debate to an end by suddenly appearing among them, seated upon the throne, catching them all by surprise. By remaining unnoticed the Lion demonstrates that he may have been better at reading people then he let on, without them being aware of his presence he was able to listen to the honest opinions of both his legionaries and his mortal crew. The mortals would never have spoken up in his presence and he was no longer getting open and honest answers from his voted lieutenants. The heads of the Hexagrammation were not just a military force but also acted as his closest advisers and confidants. Despite his efforts to reassure and encourage them to speak their minds, the death of the Brother-Redemptor at the Lion's hands had colored their view of the Lion. Although they may have had opposing views to their Primarch they now kept them to themselves. This essentially isolated the Lion, leaving him alone without anyone he could truly confide in; this didn't help the fact that the longer the Heresy dragged out the more the primal beast that slumbered in his heart was being pushed further to the surface. By remaining unseen he was able to get the honest views of both sides, that he wouldn't have gotten if he had made his presence known.
"You never learned! You should have been faster! It was your pride that kept you in the void! And I am guilty, just as you are. So fight me, and we will pass sentence on each other, the guilty slaying the guilty. I will not ask you again"
- – the Lion maddened by grief confronts Russ under the monument of Dulan
Some time near the end of the Horus Heresy the Lion's campaign to destroy the traitor worlds came to a close and they decided to make their way back towards Terra. Gathering their men and ships the Primarchs led them into the warp, where they were assaulted by daemons attempting to stop them reaching Terra. Many brave Space Marines and proud ships were lost. Great storms, sent by the Chaos powers themselves, swept them off course and drove them to the many shadowy corners of the universe unseen by men before or since. Brave men went mad, or starved or died in hideous plagues but still the ships drove on, ploughing through that terrible secret sea.
The Space Wolves and the Dark Angels dropped into the fighting around the ruins of the Emperor's Palace joining forces with the remnants of the White Scars and the Blood Angels they swiftly drove the forces of Chaos from the rubble. The arrival of Russ and Jonson had broken the forces of Chaos and with the death of Horus they fled in full retreat but for the first time the Primarchs felt no joy in victory and saw no glory in their deeds.
Both the Lion and Russ took the Emperor's loss very badly; maddened with pain, heartbreak and despair, bitter words were spoken (The Lion believed that if Russ had not insisted on stopping to deal with every under siege world they stumbled across then they could have made it on time). Filled with rage Jonson prepared to strike Russ down. Russ simply exposed his chest, offering his heart to Jonson's blade. At the last second the Lion perceived the madness of the situation and as his blade pierced Russ's primary heart he turned his stroke aside, deflecting the blade from bone, and missing the second heart. When Russ awoke he found Dorn and Jonson standing over his bed. The Lion approached his brother and bowed his head begging his forgiveness which Russ gladly gave. Gathering around the three Primarchs swore a great oath never to do battle against each other again.
The Horus Heresy had placed a heavy toll upon the First Legion. With their Legion scattered across the galaxy fighting battles alone and without support, it was not the loss of lives that the First sacrificed to Horus' ambition. No, not for them the honourable toll of blood paid by the other loyalist legions, but a heavier burden paid with the sacrifice of the legions unity and identity. Who they were and who they might have been had been slowly but surely eroded away, piece by piece surrendered to Horus' war. The trust, friendship and brotherhood that had existed among the legionnaires shattered beyond repair, Caliban would prove to be the final breaking point.
Fall of Caliban
" How? How can this be? Do you realise what you have done? That you have doomed yourself is terrible, but in so doing you have condemned your brothers, and even Caliban itself, to damnation. And for what? Look around you, Luther! Look at what you have become. Look at what this has done to us all. What promise did they make you that you would barter away your soul? What could be worth this price? "
- – Lion El’Jonson, last recorded words of the Primarch during the Battle of Caliban
"Damn you Luther – how could you betray us? We were your brothers, and now we must join you in eternal damnation."
- – Lion El’Jonson, Primarch of the Dark Angels
The events after the Horus Heresy are unclear; the forces of Chaos had been defeated, but they had left the Imperium in ruins. For Jonson one final, shattering betrayal remained to be discovered on his return to his homeworld of Caliban. As the unsuspecting ships of Jonson's fleet moved into orbit they were met by a devastating barrage of defence laser fire (ordered by Astelan). Stunned by the attack the Lion withdrew and attempted to find out what had happened. Luther had used his skills at oratory to lead the Dark Angels under his command to turn their backs upon the Emperor and their Primarch.
The fury of Jonson and the loyal Dark Angels at learning this information knew no bounds. They had fought from one end of the galaxy to the other and now they found that their own homeworld and their own brethren had turned against them. The Lion immediately ordered an assault on the planet, the massed guns of the fleet easily disabled Caliban's defence laser batteries and then scoured the planet driving the rebel Dark Angels back to their fortress monasteries. Lion El'Jonson led an assault on the greatest of the monasteries knowing that this was where he would find Luther. The two opponents were equally matched, for Luther had been enhanced by the dark gods of Chaos (He had become a Psyker of such power even the combined might of the watchers could not restrain him).The two former friends met in a combat the likes of which would not be seen again. The two combatants moved with inhuman speed and agility, their blade movements too fast for any observer to follow and when they connected the impact produced shockwaves that shattered the massive cathedral, causing chunks the size of battle tanks to fall around them as they dueled. At the apex of their titanic struggle they had levelled the monastery but still they continued the battle amongst the ruins.
Meanwhile the massed guns of the fleet carried on pounding the planet, reducing the other fortress monasteries to rubble. As the planet itself started to break apart the battle between the Lion and Luther reached its climax. Luther weakened by the long combat staggered and fell leaving himself open to a death blow but Jonson could not bring himself to strike the finishing blow. As he hesitated Luther unleashed a furious psychic attack that knocked Jonson to his knees and left him mortally wounded. At that moment it was as if a curtain had been lifted from Luther's eyes and he realised the full extent of what he had done, the truth shattered his sanity and he slumped down beside Jonson, no longer willing to fight.
A rent appeared in the very fabric of space and a warp storm of unprecedented fury engulfed Caliban. Those 'fallen' Dark Angels who had served under Luther were sucked from the face of Caliban into the warp and scattered throughout space and time (read the legacy of Caliban trilogy to find out who was responsible). Caliban already weakened by the loyal Dark Angels' bombardment was ripped apart and destroyed.
The Dark Angels flew down to the surface of what remained of Caliban and in the heart of the ruined wasteland they found Luther. Luther just constantly repeated the same words over and over again: the Primarch had been carried away by the Watchers in the Dark and one day he would return to forgive Luther for the terrible sins he had committed. Of the mighty Primarch, Lion EI'Jonson, there was no sign.
The Dark Angels took the biggest remaining chunk of Caliban and turned it into their Fortress-Monastery, calling it "The Rock," and to this day, the Dark Angels and their successors hunt down "The Fallen," to torture them until they have confessed their sins and have been granted absolution, then execute them. THERE WAS A SMALL ACCIDENT AND CALIBAN WAS DOWNSIZED BECAUSE IT WAS TOO BIG ANYWAY. IT'S COOL, WE GOT THIS. NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG. The Lion is currently fully healed in a regenerative stasis-induced coma in a hidden section of The Rock, making him the only other loyal Primarch confirmed to be alive as of M41. The 7th edition goes at bit further by stating that when the clarion call of battle sounds for the last time, Jonson will be summoned forth from his millennial rest to defend the Imperium of Mankind from its enemies. Then shall all traitors quake in fear, for the Lion’s vengeance will be terrible indeed.
"Of all the Primarchs, save perhaps Mortarion, Lion El'Jonson stands apart. Partially this is due to his taciturn nature - a brooding silence hangs over him at all times. Yet there is something more... something buried beneath his noble exterior. Perhaps this is a result of his upbringing, growing to maturity along in the monster-ridden forests of Caliban. Even at a council of war, the Lion moves like an apex predator. He is always watching, always planning, always hunting. He unnerves even his brothers"
- – Remembrances of Malcador the Sigillite
There is a marked difference between the Lion we see before Caliban’s unification with the Imperium and the one we see later during the closing days of the great crusade and the heresy. The Lion on Caliban is portrayed as a rather optimistic if introvert character, looking towards the stars and dreaming of all the great deeds and adventures that waited for him and the people of Caliban if only they could be reached. Later on we see that his optimism and dreams have become bitter and cynical. It is a portrayal of a person who truly desired to bring about a brighter future for his people but when he finally reached the stars he discovered that those dreams quickly turned to ash; there was no peace waiting for them only more battles. He was a dreamer that had come to the horrible realisation that there is no golden future waiting for humanity amongst the stars only war without end. (IN THE GRIM DARKNESS OF THE FAR FUTURE THERE IS ONLY WAR)
The Lion, may have been of the few Primarchs to genuinely understand their nature as warp infused creations built solely for the purpose of domination, and this would have affected him deeply, colouring his view of himself and his brothers and hence why he kept everyone at arms length.
During his youth on Caliban he secretly suspected that he was just another beast of the forest due to his singularly powerful nature; Like his brother Mortarion, the Lion had witnessed first-hand the malign influences of the warp, but unlike Mortarion, the Lion had the benefit of learning about the nature of Chaos from the libraries of the the Knights of Lupus, allowing one of their number to remain in the Order after he had brought his world to heel; then successfully exterminating all of the beasts and had leaving himself as the only "Beast" remaining on the planet. Even after joining the Great Crusade and being made aware of his origins and the existence of other Primarchs, he kept himself to himself and did not share any camaraderie with them, he certainly did not seek any of them out and was rarely present during celebrated events, quite possibly not seeing any point in if they were truly "Savage Weapons, one and all" as his brother Curze later put it.
It is interesting that like Perturabo and Mortarion, the Lion was also sidelined for much of the Great Crusade and left to fight dirty wars and extermination campaigns. Much of the history of the First Legion goes unrecorded because they operated on the fringes, leaving no survivors in the wake and seldom coming into contact with other Legions. Where the Iron Warriors fought in ignominious wars for ground no-one cared about, and the Death Guard were considered distasteful because of the carnage they wrought, the First Legion did both of those things but on such scale and efficiency that their successes were indisputable; if the Emperor needed weapons to conquer worlds, then the Lion simply busied himself with the business of dispassionately conquering world after world, to the point where his other brothers were certain that either he or Guilliman would eventually have the highest total by the end of the Crusade despite the Lion's late start, and made the Lion was a serious contender for the position of Warmaster.
On the matter of Chaos: where Mortarion hated warpcraft wherever he found it and sought for its sanction and destruction, the Lion, whether because of his innate understanding or the knowledge imparted to him from the Knights of Lupus, also saw no hypocrisy in using the warp while simultaneously recognising its dangers. At the Council of Nikaea, while he supposedly favoured the censure of Magnus and was openly in favour of neither side, his representative voted in favour of the continued use of Librarians. Since the Lion was noted as being very capable in the higher echelons of Imperial politics, he would likely not have countenanced his representative being allowed to voice a different opinion from his own, which speaks of an understanding the limits of power and necessity for control. While he did adhere to the edict, when daemons were first encountered during the Heresy, he immediately and firmly reinstated the Librarius, understanding full well the threat that was posed and the weapons necessary to defeat them.
Always the pragmatist the Lion would never throw away an advantage when it came his way, one of the lessons the Lion tried to teach the young knights on Caliban was that if they were ever lucky enough to come into possession of something that could give them an advantage over their opponent then they would be fools not to use it. When planning an attack or defense the Lion always strove to find the most effective solution to any given situation; he was very much a champion of the idea that you don't always need large numbers to overcome your enemies. Sometimes all you need is the right people in the right place at the right time, even a single well placed bolter round can rip the heart out of your enemy’s formation or even topple an empire. After all, self-sacrifice is to be respected, but the careless expenditure of lives and material is an unforgivable sin.
Just to be clear the most effective solution is not always the “nice” option. Like the Dark Angels of 40k he is the flag bearer for the ends justifies the means. If the most effective solution in stopping a large ork waaagh is to sacrifice a city in order to lure out the enemy into the open where they can be wiped out in one go then that is what will happen. The Lion will take no pleasure in the act but will not balk when it comes to making such a decision. He had annihilated armies then agreed peace terms with their rulers, like the Emperor before him the Lion could not afford to count the price only the prize. Trillions of lives depended on the survival of the Imperium and it was sheer vanity to think that such a goal could be achieved without cost.
Although we want to see them as the heroes of the setting each and every one of the primarchs without exception are capable of unspeakable acts of butchery beyond our comprehension; each has been responsible for the extinction of entire species throughout the galaxy, the only difference is whether they enjoyed it or not. Lion falls into the category that does not take pride or enjoyment from such acts but still recognises them as an unavoidable necessity.
So, basically he's Batman without the sneaking.
The Lion held himself to an incredibly high standard that extremely few people could match, even amongst his brother Primarchs, to the point of obsessiveness. He was so concerned with his personal responsibilities that he would become blind to other matters surrounding him; case and point his obsession with hunting his brother Curze that had him chasing barest scraps of his brothers movements and thus incidentally winning sixteen separate engagements against the Word Bearers and World Eaters during the Imperium Secundus as he moved from lead to lead. Only towards the end of the Horus Heresy did the Lion begin to understand how much his obsessions were costing him and had to mentally second-guess his decisions as the fleets were making their way through the ruinstorm, though at that point the damage had been done, his reputation had already taken a dive with his brothers and his own legion.
He also had a distinct tendency to brood on things rarely sharing his thoughts with anyone without encouragement, preferring to keep to himself unless specifically called upon; even those that had known him for years and had grown accustomed to his thought processes could not really hope to follow his line of reasoning.
The end result was that the Lion had outwardly poor social skills by Primarch standards, coming across as aloof but undoubtedly superior; there is a reason that the courts of Terra held him in such high regard. Much like his brother Perturabo, the Lion is sort of commander who would issue orders and expect them to be performed without question, but would not lower himself to your level to explain them. But unlike Perturabo, he is the sort of leader who could also inspire awe, where you would be unable to comprehend the magnitude of the differences between you. This is not to say he lacked empathy or compassion but by his very nature it meant that he would never be able to truly relate to those around him. His relationship with the rest of humanity can be summed up like this: if you were to take a big powerful predator like a lion from the wild and train it to protect an ant colony, no matter how well the lion does its job it’s never going to be able to relate too or understand the creatures under its protection, they are simply too alien to each other. No matter how well trained or domesticated you think the lion is at the end of the day it’s still a bloody lion and still comes with all the same predatory instincts that it would have possessed in the wild.
He is, in many ways the mirror opposite of his brother Leman Russ; where the Wolf King puts on a disarmingly savage facade on the outside, he is savvy and brilliant on the inside; by contrast the Lion appears noble and majestic on the outside, but holds his savage nature within. Russ originally thought of the Lion as a cold-hearted, arrogant bastard; but after recognising the Lions qualities, he later conceded that the Lion had every reason to be.
As to the whole "unable to read others" thing; the notion came from Brother-Redemptor Nemiel who was himself is a subjective source of opinion on the matter when one considers his dubious history regarding the Order of Caliban. Although Holguin, the Voted-Lieutenant of the Deathwing believed that the whole thing may have actually been orchestrated by the Lion on purpose as a sort of smokescreen. The Lion purposely acts in a way that makes people believe something and then maintains the falsehood, letting rumours and contradicting opinions spread without denying or affirming anything. The commonly held belief that he struggled with understanding people may well be just another falsehood, designed to mislead any potential opponent (which amounted to pretty much everyone)
Influences from Empy
The Lion shares a lot in common with the Emperor. Just like his dad, he's a charismatic and highly intelligent leader that had trouble relating to his subordinates and putting trust into them when it's really needed. Ultimately it's this secretiveness and lack of communication as well as deliberate withholding of some critical information from his sons that turned half of his legion against him, just like the Emperor kinda turned half of his Primarchs by not sharing with them the critical information about the project he left the Great Crusade for and the existence of Chaos gods. In a way it makes perfect sense - Lion being the first Primarch, he wasn't altered as much as others from the original genetic code taken from the Emperor himself.
According to the “Russ" Primarch book; when it comes to politics, the Lion "does so well on Terra" which implies that he is more than capable of holding his own among the Imperial courts and is described as having a dark, sombre majesty perhaps more than any other Primarch with a calm presence of one born to rule and comfortable in the role. The story also seems to allude to the unique aspect of the Lion as he is called the regent to the one who had created them all, possessing a kingly aspect not diminished by time, remaining one of suzerainty, domination and command. This kingly aspect is also demonstrated in Angels of Caliban when Typhon is in the presence of Horus he feels that maybe he should bow but when the Lion shows up there is no maybe, he immediately drops the knee along with everyone else present without a single thought needed. Typhon also mentions that being in the Lion's presence was like prey being discovered by a predator and that even the members of the Adeptus Astartes found themselves flooded with dread.
Beyond all other considerations. His loyalty to his father was absolute, the Lion seems to have truly believed that the Emperor was the only power truly worthy of sitting the throne of Terra, stating very clearly that his father was the one and only being to whom he would ever bend the knee; he would rather see he and his legion destroyed than allow another to usurp his father's throne. In fact he wanted very little for himself - a greater daemon of Tzeentch (possibly Fateweaver) found that it had nothing to offer the Lion besides an abstract notion of "freedom" and the prospect that the Lion would live his own life free of the burdens and responsibilities that chained him to his fate. The Lion rejected his offer. This is not to say that he would blindly follow any order given to him. The Emperor may have been his rightful liege lord, but as Dorn explained “The Lion has never been anything other than his own master."
Relationship with other Primarchs
"He saw our imperfection, and he suffered it to remain, and that was the heart of his nobility. In the end, then, he truly was better than us. The archetype of Legions, First of us all."
- – High praise from Leman Russ
There are very few instances of interaction between the Lion and his brothers during the Great Crusade. He was thrown straight into the Rangdan Xenocides and the most part he busied himself and his Legion with the business of conquering worlds in the Emperor's name (i.e. doing his job like every other Primarch should have been doing), and so were rarely seen at big events. He was not present at the investiture of Horus as Warmaster at Ullanor, nor was he a part of the Council of Nikaea. It seems that despite all of this and his lack of presence during family meetings, his reputation always seemed to precede him whenever Primarchs met.
For instance: Leman Russ first met the Lion at the end of the Faash campaign, and had only heard about him based on his rapidly increasing war record and the fact he seemed to be doing well in the courts of Terra at a time when Russ was starting to be scrutinized as being unsuitable for his current task. Their first actual face-to-face meeting with each other involved Russ being forced to give an apology for an avoidable friendly-fire incident; Russ considered the Lion insufferably arrogant and promised to wreck him if he pulled similar shit again. The two did eventually garner a mutual respect for one another, but only after the Emperor had fallen and the bad blood between them had been resolved.
Similarly, Roboute Guilliman seemed to have first met the Lion face-to-face after the Heresy had already began. Making disparaging jokes about how good the Dark Angels look on parade, and then having his envy placated by his "mother" by noting that the Emperor brought him into the Great Crusade before the Lion was discovered. Even so, Guilliman later outright tells the Lion that he was the only brother out of all of them that he actually looked up to, or ever felt jealous of (remember, Guilliman is a politician at heart), and that it was really only a two-horse race between the Lion and Horus for the position for Warmaster. Even so, he didn't include the Lion amongst his "Dauntless Few" (it's worth noting that he didn't include Horus either) and later clarified that the Lion's motives were too inscrutable and that he was just too insular to make the Regent for the new Imperium Secundus, though even though Guilliman himself couldn't trust the Lion, he had absolutely no doubts as to his loyalty to the Emperor.
As an extension of this: Rogal Dorn thought that Lion was just too egocentric and full of himself to really care about anything but his own feelings and deeds, unable or unwilling to view the world from other people's perspective, and as such was unfit to lead. Though this could also just be a case of psychological projection, with Dorn projecting his own negative qualities upon another. After all Dorn accusing anyone else of having a prideful, harsh or abrasive personality is a laughable case of the pot calling the kettle black. (Heck I don’t think he had a single nice thing to say about any of his brothers. Even Sigismund in “Templar” silently agreed with Alajos that Dorn could be ‘frustrating’ at times). What is also of interest is that the two once compared notes on prosecuting wars, with the Lion being quoted as saying "No plan survives contact with the enemy", to which Dorn responded "Then you aren't making enough plans". Despite this, the Lion was one of only two Primarchs permitted entrance into the inner sanctum of the Phalanx.
The Lion held both Guilliman and Dorn' accomplishments in high regard, referring to them as "men of the mind", but also noted that they could also be too rigid when it came to "sticking to the plan". The better the plan, the better the assault. Yet there are times when even the most well thought out strategy's must be abandoned, and instead one must put their faith in their own power and ferocity. Knowing when to forsake the reasoned approach is the difference between victory and defeat. Basically, Lion knew when to use the disciplined and intellectual styles of Dorn and Guilliman and when to let his sons go super space murder-machine like the Space Wolves and World Eaters.
As for Horus himself, the only recorded meeting between the two was at Zaramund in 970.M30 when the Lion boarded the Vengeful Spirit without ceremony or any form of Honour Guard or retinue; gate-crashing a war-council, still causes everyone else in the room to drop to their knees instantly, especially after Calas Typhon had dithered about whether or not to do so for Horus. The Lion says two sentences to Horus before turning to berate Luther about disobeying orders and then stalks off again like a boss.
Although he has demonstrated no negative feelings towards Magnus, he still supported the sanctioning of his brother. But his representative was still given the authority to stand in favour of the Librarius itself.
Amongst his other brothers; Sanguinius considered him practically beyond reproach, though did not give any reason why he felt that way, and refused to countenance any censure of the Lion for his actions in prosecuting the Shadow Crusade until the evidence against him was irrefutable. Upon his banishment from the Imperium Secundus, the Lion held no animosity towards either of his brother's; this was not his place, and he would leave knowing that he and his legion had fought hard. The Dark Angels managed to reclaim much of the five hundred worlds lost to the traitor forces. They would leave knowing that they had helped to secure a foundation upon which humanity could begin to build again; The Lion and his legion may no longer have a place in it, but he knew that as long as Sanguinius and Guilliman were in charge, Imperium Secundus would work out just fine. Still, the reason for The Lion's banishment was a questionable one. The fact that the man in question saves your empire and is probably very popular with the people only makes things more complicated.
His relationship with Konrad Curze is more well covered, though only after the Heresy had already begun and making them enemies of each other, with the two being compared as reflections of one another; both being self-raised in the wilds of their own planets and holding the potential to have come to the same fates. The Lion admitted that he once considered Curze to have been one of his closest brothers, the two being somewhat kindred spirits (due to the nature of their childhoods, growing up alone in the dark), and Curze in turn referred to the Lion as his "blood brother" now turned "blood enemy".
Apparently, Alpharius found that the Lion was the only brother that he could not abide, ironically because he could "never tell what he is really thinking". Though someone called "Alpharius" appreciated his views on war and secrecy and wanted the Lion in the position of Warmaster, so offered to help him out during the Rangdan Xenocides and keep the First Legion intact. This may be a case of Alpharius being deliberately contrary with his words or may represent the view of an entirely different person, there were two twins after all.
The only "friend" the Lion might have had amongst his brothers during the Great Crusade seems to be Vulkan and/or Perturabo. Though the theory about Vulkan is only based on the in-game mechanics from the allies chart, where their Legions are Sworn Brothers to each other, though the Salamanders are buddies with a lot of Legions, and there is no real indication of what the Lion or Vulkan actually felt for one another personally. As for Perturabo, the Lion had enough trust in him to grant ownership of Ordinatus weapons just prior to the deployment at Isstvan on a promise that he would be supported as the next Warmaster in order to continue the Great Crusade, pointing out that Perturabo's compliments actually meant something to him, though this may have simply been the Lion being polite; it's kind of sad that Perturabo, who craved recognition, may have screwed over one of the only brothers who actually recognised his worth. It would have been nice if some writefag were to make something in which Perturabo, touched by the Lion's words and trust, decides to fuck over the traitors with the Ordinatus goodies and remain loyal for Lion's sake.
Even amongst his brothers the Lion was renowned for his brilliant mind. Whether understanding tactics and logistics with the same effortless ease as Guilliman, calculating warp jump calculations in his head faster than the ships computers or planning a campaign to the last detail the Lion demonstrated a level of excellence that even the most gifted of his brothers struggled to match. To many he would be considered the consummate general and was arguably the most imaginative strategist and tactician amongst the Primarchs. Given enough time to prepare and the resources needed Guilliman was probably the better planner overall between the two Primarchs. The Lion however was much better when it came to thinking on his feet, able to adapt and change his plan as the situation demanded with much greater ease then his more bookish brother.
He was also a superlative swordsman as evidenced by the fact he could draw his blade and strike a blow faster then Konrad Curze could react and could block and counter a blow that Guilliman had not even seen coming. When the Lion went to war he fought with clinical movements; a ruthless economy of muscle and motion each thrust and parry executed to perfection.
During his time among the Order the Lion had learned the lesson to command without doubt. Luther had impressed upon him the need to be unwavering in his convictions even in the face of impossible odds. Later during the heresy he wonders if he has learnt this lesson too well and that what was once firm leadership had now become uncompromising tyranny.
It has been theorised that due to their nature all the Primarchs are inherently psychic to some extent. Each was imbued with warp energy at the time of his creation by the Emperor. The Lion is no exception, and has demonstrated abilities that could be psychic in origin.
- Prophetic dreams: A long time before the arrival of the Emperor on Caliban the Lion’s dreams had been haunted by visions of a golden light (the Emperor) descending upon Caliban from the heavens to change it forever but every time he tried to reach out to the light (possibly his attempt to reach Terra or just his attempts to truly relate to others) it would vanish, leaving him alone in the dark (possibly foretelling the death of the Emperor or even the Lion's own eventual fate: alone, hidden in an unreachable chamber beneath the Rock for 10,000 years).
- Fabulous Hawk-boy and Batman also had the power to divine the future through dream and possibly ecstatic state of the mind (and soul, considering Warp shenanigans), but Forge World didn't gave them access to the Divination psychic discipline; unlike Magnus and Lorgar. Too bad, precognition would suit both Sanguinius and the Lion, and they wouldn't need to run away from Arch Dæmons.
- Whilst descending into the labyrinthine mines under Sarosh, Zahariel realises that the smoke filling the tunnels was in fact etheric energies, visible only to Brother-Librarian Israfael and himself. Zahariel took note that the Lion seemed to be able to see these energies too, since his gaze seemed to follow the drifting trails of pain and anguish traced in the smoke.(He seems to be able to see and feel ethereal and warp based energies including warp taint)
- When fighting demons the Lion has demonstrated an ability very similar to a Librarian wielding a Force weapon; seemingly unconsciously channeling the rage and fury from deep within himself along his sword in the form of cleansing white flames causing his demonic opponents to explode. If all the Primarchs inherited some ability from the Emperor the Lion could very well have inherited his father’s ability to destroy souls entirely. Whether or not he knew this (or could have used it to defeat Horus and permanently kill Daemon princes is debatable). Daemons were known as nephilim on Caliban and the Lion remembers hunting these otherworldly beings within the deepest depths of the deep woods, killing them with nothing but his bare hands.
- The Lion has used mental shields to hide his mind/presence from his demonic opponents (a trick he picked up when he was alone in the wilds of Caliban) and to keep others from reading his mind; he was apparently quite the discussion of interest among the legions' librarians before they were disbanded. Why the legion's librarians were trying to read their own Primarch's mind is unknown, but that kind of activity probably didn't make the Lion trust them any better.
- Dreadwing has the Lion pulling a Corax, appearing as if from thin air. A meeting of the representatives of the six wings, and a great number of the high ranking members of the fleets mortal officers and support staff is called. They start by bowing to the Primarchs empty throne before engaging in a heated debate on how they should move forward. As the debate reaches the boiling point the Lion suddenly appears seated upon the throne, despite it being surrounded be observers. It's very likely that the Lion was seated in the throne the entire time.
- It is implied in "Angels of Caliban" that El'Jonson has some kind of passive psychic abilities that allows him to sense his surroundings and the people and creatures around him.This is apparently how he managed to survive the horrors of Caliban during his early years and allows him to “instinctively” react (jedi like) to actions and situations far faster than his demi-god siblings would normally be able to (the Lion effortlessly blocking a blow that Guilliman couldn’t even see coming). "Dreadwing" implies that the Dark Angels may have inherited a watered down version of this power; their "instincts" for hidden perils far surpassing that of the other 'hunters' among the Space Wolves or White Scars. Along with a predisposition to the dark that could only be rivalled by the Raven Guard.
It shouldn’t come as to much of a surprise given his childhood but his abilities seem to be tailored towards hunting down and killing warp entities.
The idea that the Primarchs all had Psychic potential has been pretty much confirmed in “Inferno” were it states that they were all transcendent beings, forged not just of physical matter but of psychic force, in some this quality was channeled into superhuman physicality (Vulkan, Mortarion), but others held power to manipulate the Warp either directly or subconsciously as prophetic foresight (Sanguinius, Curze), preternatural stealth (Corax) or an aura of majesty beyond the mortal (Lion).
Note that this is of course Black Librarian Heresy since old Fluff gives a quite different version of the Primarchs: all of them being "as powerful as the Emperor and even more powerful in a way". This would be impossible if they were not Psykers. All of them. And the old Fluff also specifically states that they were meant to be healed from the taint of Chaos (i.e. immune to the Perils of the Warp which had cause the Shamans to combine in order to form the Imperial Soul), but that they were a disappointment in this regard because of their too early exposure to the Warp (implied to be responsible for various mutations, such as Magnus' horntits, Sanguinius' wings, and Lorgar's hairetical baldness), which also explains why the Emperor forbade them to use psychic powers at Nikea. In 6th edition (and kind of in 7th too), it can also be pointed that Primarchs stats are similar to those of a normal human specializing in Biomancy. Which is totally unsurprising since their (and tellingly, the Astartes) physical abilities even without their armor is far beyond any amount of bio or gene enhancement. In fact, the capabilities of the Iron Hands bionics go beyond what machines are capable of. If augmenting humans like that would have the same results as Astartes, that is what the Emperor would have done, implying a subconscious...techno-sorcery and biomancy perhaps for all Space Marines and Primarchs.
Named after the poet Lionel Johnson who was a (bum)chum of Oscar Wilde until Wilde spurned him for his cousin, then he posted a few emo "FUCK YOU" break-up poems on Wilde's facebook page before finding religion and penning a poem called "Dark Angel".
During his lifetime The Art of Thomas Hardy (1894), Poems (1895), Ireland and Other Poems (1897) were published. He was one of the Rhymer's Club.
In 1892, Johnson converted to Catholicism (and the 30K Johnson was betrayed by someone called Luther, hmm...) He repudiated former friend Oscar Wilde and directed a sonnet at him called "The Destroyer of a Soul" (presumably the soul of his cousin Lord Alfred Douglas, whom he had introduced to Wilde the previous June). In the following year, Johnson wrote what some consider his masterpiece: "The Dark Angel". The Primarch of the bath-robe wearing Chapter is named after him.
He died of a stroke after a fall in the street, though it was said to be a fall from a barstool (probably as a dark joke about his drinking habits).
The Rock (the club was actually called Caliban's after Prospero's hidden evil spirit in The Tempest) is also a (now defunct) gay night club in Nottingham (where GW HQ is based) and *BLAM* HERESY! VILE HERESY! Also, he was originally referred to as "Lyyn Elgonsen", which was barely more subtle, but sounded more
badass like someone was pronouncing it through a mouthful of co*BLAM*.
One can also draw analogues with the life of the Lion to the tale of Lancelot (roll with this).
- Lancelot "Du Lac" (of the Lake) > Lion "El'Jonson" (of the Forest)
- Both were spirited away from their fathers (King Ban of Benwick / the Emperor)
- Both were raised in mystical environments (Magical kingdom of the lady of the lake / warp tainted forests of Caliban)
- Both become questing knights of peerless quality, said to be almost faultless by those who meet them.
- Lancelot covets Guinevere disastrously while the Lion coveted the warmaster position and his acts of self-promotion contributed in part to the fall of the Emperor.
- Lancelot spends the rest of his life in isolation and shame and after his death his followers went on a penitent crusade clearing up his affairs - pretty much the same story with the Lion
- Lancelot was involved with the quest for the holy grail (which was a euphemism for God's Forgiveness), an artefact heavily associated with the Knights Templar whom the Dark Angels were partly inspired by. In fact it was Lancelot's son Galahad (who also had a magical sword) who was one of the few knights to discover the grail and thus redeem his family and the kingdom. - See conspiracy much? Welcome to the Dark Angels
As of the Horus Heresy weekender 2019 we have the confirmation that the Lion's rules are currently being play tested. Apparently 'top tier' (not holding my breath here) but without any real notably glaring strengths or weaknesses, while possibly having the ability to counter other primarchs' strengths. This seems to translate into him being able to ignore debuffing effects, whilst at the same time denying his opponent their own buffing effects (potentially ignoring the effects of the Talon of Horus, and denying Guilliman his ability to gain WS); depending on how this ability is written it could either be one of the strongest Primarch abilities in the game, or an absolutely useless one. He will have access to both the Lion Sword and the Wolf Blade.
It may still be some time before we have any official rules to use, but using the information already provided we can probably guess what he may end up looking like.
They said that surfing on a rock, while the planet was being orbital bombarded and holding a sword, was a bad idea. Shows what they know. I look cool.
One of the Primarchs Assemble comic by marinaizarne. Going by mythical trope of the King in the Mountain he should have had longer hair and a very long beard... but since he had to be pretty, he most likely has been groomed by the Watchers.
|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