Magnus the Red
"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief."
Magnus the Red is the primarch of the Thousand Sons, and (is takeda shingen in space) rules over the Planet of the Sorcerers. He is directly after the Emperor the mightiest Psyker/Sorcerer in the whole Warhammer 40k Universe. He is notable for having a big ol' red eye right in the middle of his forehead (or one eye which was cut out depending on who you ask), red skin and being huge like a peacock, even as far as SPESS MEHREENS go. He is also the Primarch of the Blood Ravens (supposedly but not officially confirmed), which would explain both their color scheme and high percentage of psykers.
The Great Crusade
Magnus landed on the planet of Prospero (A planet whose ancient civilization was composed predominantly of psykers, who had fled there because they were persecuted by humanity at large for being psykers.) As Magnus was himself such a being, he formed a kinship with the people of Prospero in short order. Taken in by Prospero's people, he absorbed knowledge like a sponge, and became crazy powerful, and in time far exceeded the power and control of all of his teachers. After a while, he became the single most powerful thing on the fucking planet, and he led a campaign to eradicate a race of predators on Prospero known as the Psychneuein, which had overrun many of Prospero's early cities, and had an unhealthy fondness for laying their eggs in unsuspecting psykers' brains. Which was probably why the beasts had destroyed the entire population of Prospero, save for its capital city, Tizca. One by one, bit by bit, Magnus' forces retook the planet, putting the Psychneuein to the sword, and within a year, Magnus had completely reclaimed the entire world (except for the Desolation of Prospero, which was everything except for Tizca).
Once the Psychneuein were destroyed, Magnus became the planetary leader by popular demand. Magnus decided to be fucking awesome, and he rebuilt the cities (or mostly just Tizca). Like a somehow perfectly stable fortress lasting some 50 years in Dwarf Fortress, Tizca became arguably the most beautiful city in Imperial space, with crystalline spires and pyramids, long marble roads, and psychically-resonant crystals in key locations; designed to calm the turbulent minds of younger psykers and help them control their burgeoning psionic potential. The city quickly became known as a shining jewel of humanity, and one that showed proudly how far its citizens had come from the brink of near-extinction. Prospero also had one of the most technically advanced defensive networks in the Imperium, all of which was hilariously wasted except for the shields when Magnus, in a fit of Primarch-scale angst over his "I screwed everything Dad was doing and failed my own purpose entirely in the process" whoopsy-daisy, decided that the Space Wolves should get the rabbit punch.
All this time, Magnus continued to codify and systematize everything he could about the 'Great Ocean' - the name the Prosperans had given the Warp. Huge libraries filled with knowledge about psychic powers and the warp were established, and Magnus himself used his powers to peer into the Empyrean itself, claiming many of its secrets, though at terrible risk to himself. While this was exceptionally dangerous, much of what the Imperium's Inquisition currently knows about the Warp came directly from several of his manuscripts that survived.
With such a powerful mind heading into the warp, it was inevitable that the Emprah (who happened to be out and about the galaxy looking for his lost sons) would eventually take notice. So he eventually came to Prospero, and he and Magnus psychically brofisted before talking for several days. The Emperor taught him even more about psychic powers, but cautioned Magnus to slow down and be careful, since foul horrors lurked in the warp and liked nothing better than forcibly sodomizing an unprepared Psyker's soul. Magnus took much of this to heart - but what the Emperor did not know was why - Magnus' forays into the warp had already come at a price - his right eye, sacrificed ala Odin when he had consorted with warp-entities whose nature he did not understand until the Emperor explained shit.
Magnus was put in charge of the Thousand Sons, but would not immediately embark on the Great Crusade - since many of his Legion were psykers, and there had been so many small mutations that a number of them couldn't survive the gene-seeding process. Even worse, during combat psykers ran the risk of losing control of their psychic powers and undergoing the "Flesh Change", where their body mutated rampantly out of control at all the Warp energy running through them (we call them something else, but won't speak its name as...wait, I didn't say it's naSHHTLSUROHSONTOOLS!) Magnus had been aware of the mutations his people were suffering, and he had entered the warp previously to gain answers as to the cause and cure - though Magnus didn't know it, he had consorted with Tzeentch right before he arrived, and the god of Just as planned saw a lot of potential in this one. In return for a way to stop the flesh-change (Tzeentch backing off), he traded his eye so hard that he never had it in the first place, disregarding the advice of the Emperor to "save" his sons.
In any case, because of the setbacks that had befallen the Thousand Sons, the selfless efforts of Magnus to save them, their shared psychic talents, and the continuing suspicion of many in the Imperium and among the other Space Marine Legions towards the Thousand Sons' use of psychic abilities and the rampant mutations present in their gene-seed, the Primarch and his Astartes developed an extremely close emotional and psychic bond - arguably the strongest such bond among all Primarchs and their Space Marine Legions, exceeding even the Luna Wolves' dedication to Horus and the Blood Angels' dedication to Sanguinius.
Finally, about midway into the Great Crusade, 100 Terran years after it had begun, the now "stable" and full-strength Thousand Sons Legion, with Magnus leading them into the field, were permitted to take part in the effort, as the 28th Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade. And it was glorious. When they were called to the field, the Sons were a sight to behold, flinging forth psychic storms to consume enemies of the Emperor and striking with both precision and prescience, using their abilities to ascertain enemies' weak-points. Magnus was unique among the Primarchs in that he would always try diplomatic routes first, however - in this way, the Thousand Sons won many battles without so much as a shot fired. This did not sit well with Rogal Dorn or Guilliman, who viewed this as unmanly. Likewise, Magnus drew constant distrust from Mortarion and Leman Russ, who distrusted the Sons' sorcerous ways and were somewhat concerned by a trait the Sons had picked up: after conquering or annexing a world, they would take huge amounts of knowledge - books, scrolls with forgotten lore, and ancient artifacts - back to Prospero for study, analysis, and codification. And this doesn't sound like the Blood Ravens, some say? Nicking everything shiny and not nailed down was the Thousand Sons thing, and nobody looted so prolifically. The White Scars aligned themselves with the Thousand Sons and Blood Angels to set up the Libraries, but actually did so to impose some restraints on psykers and make them more acceptable to everyone else, and avoiding the dangers that the Sons were so cavalier about. Their worries only intensified when it emerged that the Sons had little warp critters call "tutelaries" buzzing around them and acting as warp power-packs.
Though when diplomacy didn't work Thousand Sons was known to fuck entire armies with lightnings, fireballs, mass mind control and precision strikes dealing so much devastation with only few marines, that entire companies of Iron Warriors would weep in tears of jealousy, if they ever cross Sons during Great Crusade. Magnus himself once fought Ork gargants by himself, and despite being able to zap, melt or transmute their hulls with just power of his mind he instead scaled himself to the size of Warlord class titan, and beat the shit out of Gargants with his bare hands.
It wasn't long before Magnus was called to task by his brothers. The Sons' obsession with preserving valuable knowledge - whatever the source - pissed off several of the other Primarchs. The Thousand Sons' political opponents among the other Astartes Legions found their methods useless, and arguably counter-productive to the goals of the Great Crusade which sought to spread the specifically Imperial strain of human civilization across the galaxy, and possibly dangerous to boot, since the Warp was so dangerous. Arguments between Magnus and the other Primarchs became so pitched and so violent that on one occasion, Leman Russ and Magnus got into a giant fucking brawl on the council floor, and it only didn't end in bloodshed because Lorgar managed to talk both of them down, causing Russ to grudgingly holster his weapon and Magnus to stop chargin' his lazar. Finally the Emperor stepped in, bitch-slapped everyone for acting like a retard, and pointed out that whilst dangerous, Psychic powers were extremely necessary to the Imperium writ large. Chaplains were added to Space Marine chapters in order to ensure adherence to the Imperial creed, Psykers were to abstain from using their powers, and Jaghatai Khan was to facepalm whilst groaning that this is exactly what he'd warned Magnus about. Magnus was ticked off, but calmed down a bit a little later and continued the Crusade with the new restrictions in place (actually, they carried on with their arcane ways in secret. Read A Thousand Sons).
When Magnus learned that Horus intended to betray the Emperor and slaughter the other Astartes Legions, he resolved to use any method possible to warn the Emperor. With no other option, he made a deal with Tzeentch that combined their powers and smashed open the Webway from the warp (because Magnus could not be bothered to find an entrance) and used it to travel within range of the Emperor. Unfortunately, his doing so destroyed a top-secret Webway project that the Emperor had been working on for Over 9000 Years, which would have rendered dangerous warp-travel obsolete and would connect the Imperium of man using a human-engineered version of the Eldar's webway gates. He called Magnus to task for using Sorcery to activate the webway on top of this, refused to listen to Magnus about Horus, and declared Magnus a DOUBLE HERETIC. Magnus fled the scene rather than fight with his own father, realizing that the Imperium was comprehensively fucked and that he needed to do all he could to protect it and Prospero. Really, the Emperor probably should have told his super-psychic son about his psychically-sensitive all-important project THAT MAGNUS WAS DESTINED TO OPERATE, but Magnus should not have been using sorcery at all.
When Horus learned of Magnus' attempt, he was quietly amused. The Emperor ordered Horus to have Russ bring Magnus back to Terra to stand trial for what he had done, and Horus, being a dick, quietly altered Russ' orders to lay waste to Prospero and slaughter the Thousand Sons. As Magnus was already a declared double heretic and he hated Magnus even before this, Russ took to this like a Furry to Ironclaw (barring a last-ditch attempt to Skype Magnus through a psyker). Accompanying the Space Wolves were a full contingent of Adeptus Custodes, millions of Imperial Army troops, and the elite Imperial anti-psyker unit, the Sisters of Silence (think a unit full of Culexus Assassins and you get the general idea).
Magnus, sensing this, and realizing that this had been Just as planned and that Tzeentch had done this intending to completely destroy both the Thousand Sons and the Space Wolves, decided to dick with the Lord of all Fate: He decided to accept the destruction of everything that he had worked for, so that Tzeentch's ultimate goal would only be half-fulfilled. Tzeentch was richly amused by this. As Prospero burned, Tzeentch and Magnus engaged in act after act of dickery and counter-dickery, with Magnus finally pushed into a towering rage and taking to the battlefield at his capital, crushing his enemies with volleys of MIND BULLETS before he engaged Leman Russ in close-combat. The two fought fiercely, when Magnus managed to Falcon pawnch Russ so hard it shattered his breastplate and punctured one of his hearts. Russ was still in the battle (mostly because he had back up in the form of two fucking massive wolves and Magnus' concentration was elsewhere) and after getting lucky and taking out Magnus' awesome eye, performed a back breaker on him and ended the fight. Tzeentch was greatly amused by all how this panned out - it's rare that anyone, let alone a mortal man, could try to out-manipulate the architect of fate himself. He thus made Magnus an offer: Become Tzeentch's servant, and preserve what was left of his legion and homeworld, or watch what was left of both burn as he lay dying.
...For Magnus, it never really was a choice. The response of Magnus' new patron was immediate - for once, Tzeentch was true to his word. The City of Light was transported into the Eye of Terror to a new Daemon World. Prospero was destroyed that day, but Magnus and his Legion survived. By the time the Thousand Sons were seen next, they had joined up with Horus' force of Traitor Legions on their way to lay siege to Terra (not actually confirmed), and Magnus the Red had become the most powerful of all Tzeentch's daemonic servants. Magnus had never served Tzeentch willingly, but now had no choice - exactly as Tzeentch had planned from the very beginning, and now he was committed to the very cause he had tried to foil. JUST AS PLANNED!
Some head-scratching does arise at why Magnus didn't a) simply tell his Legion to lay down their weapons and try and talk Russ out of obliterating the entire world or b) take the hara-kiri option, which would have at least brought everything to an end a little earlier.
Magnus was stuck in limbo for a while, until Jaghatai Khan rocked up to Prospero to find out what had happened and found a shade of his brother down in the caves. Magnus served up a nice big info-dump and in return Jaghatai banished him from Prospero. Magnus then travelled to the planet Tzeentch had set up for him (apparently Lorgar had kept trying to persuade him to join the Heresy during this period, though we don't know how when he couldn't reach his Legion).
And so, the Horus Heresy came and went. The Siege of Terra occurred, Horus had fought the Emperor and (SPOILER WARNING) failed, and the Traitor Legions were driven to the Eye of Terror. However, the Thousand Sons now had to deal with more immediate problems: with their serving of Tzeentch, the Flesh Change returned with a vengeance. Magnus made efforts to stop this, but being a servant of the God of Mutation has its drawbacks and before long Magnus seemed to have given up. Growing desperate, Ahzek Ahriman, the Chief Librarian and First Captain, took matters into his own hands. Having lost his brother to the Flesh Change before they found Prospero, Ahriman gathered a cabal of other sorcerers, the Book of Magnus, and performed the Rubric of Ahriman in an attempt to stop the Flesh Change. The results were not what Ahriman expected: while it stopped the Flesh Change and further empowered all psychic Thousand Sons, all non-psyker Thousand Sons had their bodies turned to dust and sealed within their Power Armour, becoming little more than robots needing guidance from a Thousand Son sorcerer.
Magnus was furious. Confronting Ahriman, once his most favored son, Magnus was about to kill Ahriman when Tzeentch spoke to him: "Magnus, why do you seek to kill my pawn?" Once again, Magnus had been used. Broken, Magnus simply exiled Ahriman from the Planet of Sorcerers. For the last ten thousand years, Magnus has labored to restore his Sons bodies to their original forms, failing all the while.
Unknown to everyone, save perhaps Tzeentch itself, the failed rubric also had a side-effect: Magnus's conscience and psychic might fragmented into several alter-egos, each with different personality's and goals.
He later showed up on FENRIS ITSELF and became the second Daemon Primarch after Angron to get shit done, rampaging through imperial lines and laying waste to everything in his path with MIND BULLETS and RAW PHYSICAL POWER until the Space Wolves responded and after a extremely hard fight
managed to banish him back Magnus phased out himself and teleported all his marines out of the Fang, after reaching his goal, sabotaging an experimental Space Wolf geneseed mutation cure, and killing an entire Great Company HQ, Great Wolf (turns out wolfing a Wolf Lord's wolf means warping your hands inside him and ripping his hearts out) and almost killing Bjorn the Fell-Handed himself as a nice bonus. To be fair, Space Wolves almost managed to actually banish him back to Warp, and Magnus was almost out of energy and barely able to sustain physical form at the end of battle because he had dementia from his time in warp (and because, daemon prince or not, that many wolves, Bjorn and an exploding tank of promethium will fuck you up). Khorne was so impressed by this badassery that he decided to give a little leeway to Khornate sorcerers.
Funny how two out of two Daemon Primarchs to have gotten shit done ended up being repelled by the actions of the Space Wolves. And the best thing? Unlike Draigo "beat Mortarion and the Death Guard silly singlehandedly" faggotry, this fluff is actually somewhat well written, with the Space Wolves being pushed to their very limits trying to repel the chosen of Tzeentch, and they only got off easy once he fucked off after his main objective was finished.
- If you translate his name into latin, you get Magnus Rubricatus , meaning red is great. Also it has "rubric" in it. Sly GW strikes again!
|The Primarchs of the Space Marine Legions|
| Loyalist |
Corvus Corax - Ferrus Manus - Jaghatai Khan
Leman Russ - Lion El'Jonson - Roboute Guilliman
Rogal Dorn - Sanguinius - Vulkan
| Traitor |
Alpharius/Omegon - Angron - Fulgrim - Horus
Konrad Curze/Night Haunter - Lorgar
Magnus the Red - Mortarion - Perturabo