Malcador the Sigillite

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"“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”"

- The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R Tolkien

"I am here because when all else fails, when all the other mighty gods have gone off to war, I am all that's left. Home. Hearth. I am the last Olympian. "

- Hestia, to Percy Jackson, in The Last Olympian
The Administratum of the 41st millennium wishes it could be half as competent as Malcador. On second thought, no they won't. Interesting armrests...

Malcador the Sigillite (Also known as Malcador the Hero or Malcador the Laundryman Of Teh Emprah) was Regent of Terra, Master of the Administratum, first Grand Master of the Officio Assassinorum, and all around bestest bud of the Emperor of Mankind during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. The real-life equivalent of Malcador's position in the Imperium was that of the Prime Minister/Chancellor, who acted as de facto Head of Government in the name of the sovereign (the Emperor).

In some respects Malcador represents something of the Emprah's final dream for mankind as well as something of the nightmare that the Imperium became. In every sense he is just a man. Not a super augmented warrior monk, just a clever old bugger. Like Big E he understood that the Imperium needed taxes and administration as well as generals and he entrusted those duties to other normal humans. Without him most of the things he created were horribly corrupted because humans are kinda jerks GRIMDARK but even then at least it was humans being dicks to each other not demigods lording it over the rest.


Having served the Emprah during the unification of Terra (by his own reckoning he was 6718 years old by the close of the Heresy), he was present during the creation of the Primarchs and advised the Emperor during the early stages of the Great Crusade. Interestingly, the very first Space Marines (as in pre-legion Dark Angels) were noted to have fought with the Emperor against a psychic group called the Sigillites (even being mentally shielded against psychic assault by the Emperor himself for the campaign; warriors from said campaign had a base d+10 on psychic defense rolls), implying that Malcador may have been one of their number.

Malcador himself explains that he is the last of the Sigillite order and further goes on to explain that they were a group which existed to preserve the memories of the past; it was Malcador's duty to remind the Emperor of the lessons of the past and to guide Him in the future. This still doesn't fully explain his seeming immortality and why the Emperor didn't kill him like he did most of his enemies. On his long life, he does point out that it doesn't come from the Emperor... according to Malcador when he met the Emperor, the "emperor" was just the greatest of Terran warlords and little else.

When the Primarchs started getting collected and the new Imperium spreading outwards, Malcador remained as the Regent of Terra, acting as a prime minister who kept the day-to-day activities of Imperium of Man running, sponsoring various agencies (like the Remembrancer Order), appointing the Council of Terra and building the Administratum from the ground up. He also was behind the creation of the Officio Assassinorum, because he realised that not all problems could be solved with either diplomacy or a public power boot to the arse.

After the Emperor returned to Terra and set up the Council of Terra, the Emperor appointed Malcador to the position of First Lord of the Council (essentially the Prime Minister of the Imperium at that point, where the Warmaster was the overall military commander) while the Emperor descended into the Imperial palace and set to work on gaining access to the Webway. Though he tried to be some kind of cool uncle/granddad to the Primarchs, most of them seem to have got jealous of his closeness to the Emperor. All of them showed off their physical oomph in front of him (though at the time Mortarion was the most recent Primarch to be discovered, so we don't know if Jaghatai Khan, Alpharius and the rest decided to lay the smackdown on grandpa), and at least two of them straight-up assaulted him.

When the Horus Heresy broke out, Malcador worked closely but-not-always-that-closely with Rogal Dorn (there were some divergences of opinions between the loyal to the point of naivete Dorn and the pragmatic to the point of cynicism Malcador) in preparing the defenses of Terra and coordinating the logistics of the war-effort, as well as overseeing a formation of special projects such as the Adeptus Astronomican and towards the end of the Horus Heresy; the formation of the Grey Knights.

A VERY interesting claim made by Malcador himself to his dying confidante Sibel Niasta was that the Heresy was all part of the plan, that the Primarchs were designed as "conquering tools and nothing more", set on course to fight for dominance and eventually turn on each other and challenge the Emperor directly. This is corroborated by what we already knew from Master of Mankind and the Emperor's own attitudes towards the Primarchs. The Primarchs were manipulated against each other with unequal favour, jealousies stoked in order to achieve this, and he also claims that those who would not be manipulated never reach the end game. What is not certain is whether he was speaking the whole truth since he does later admit privately that he had to lie to mortals to spare their sorrow, so what parts he "lied" about are uncertain; he also admits that the outcome had been altered by the great enemy who had emboldened their champions and started the battle early so he did not know with absolute certainty how it was going to turn out.

While he globally did a pretty decent job of keeping the Imperium running, there was one decision that in hindsight came to bite them in the ass spectacularly. With the worlds directly around Terra exsanguinated by the demands of the Great Crusade, Malcador and the Council decided to implement supplementary taxes on top of the already existing Imperial Tithe to pay for support for the now widespread and far-flung Expeditionary Fleets. While this was a good idea in theory, in practice it proved to be a source of discontent and rebellion. Where those worlds that had been visited by the Salamanders or Raven Guard (whose modus operandi was to limit casualties) or the Ultramarines (who wrecked things but rebuild afterwards) could and did contribute relatively easily; those that had gotten rekt by the likes of the Death Guard or Iron Hands really weren't inclined to pay even more to the Imperium who devastated their planet.

He is dead. Very, very dead. During the Siege of Terra, the only chance that the Emperor could get to join the battle would be if someone took his place sitting in the Golden Throne (since Magnus broke it and threatened Terra with a new Eye of Terror) Malcador's psychic power meant he was the only potential candidate to sit on the Golden Throne while the Emperor fought off the Chaos Space Marines. However, since he was really not on the same psychic level as Big.E, the process of painfully shutting the door in the daemon's faces each time they tried to open it burned him out (and that is to be taken literally, not figuratively) in a matter of hours. He crumbled to dust after the Emperor was returned to the seat by Rogal Dorn and Jaghatai Khan. With his last ounce of strength, he allowed the Emperor to communicate with his mortal servants one last time. Truly, an all around awesome bureaucrat and manipulator.

Malcador's Insights[edit]

There was much more to Malcador than meets the eye. He was the last of the Sigillites, a secret order of chroniclers and history-keepers that guided humanity from the very beginning through their knowledge of the past, and that the =][= symbol often associated with the later Inquisition was actually the symbol of his order, therefore he was probably one of the old-school Illuminati.

As a former enemy of the Emperor, he still acted as a devil's advocate to some degree, disagreeing with the Emperor on some very fundamental points:

  • Malcador worried about the Emperor being so far above humanity, so inspirational in his efforts to squeeze out superstition and false religion that it would eventually cause religious cults to form around himself and his sons instead, which is exactly what happened.
  • He also warned that humanity would be so invested in the Emperor that if he were to ever leave or die, humanity would not be able to handle the shock and would be left paralysed and without direction. The Emperor himself dismissed this as nonsense since his intention was to raise humanity and allow it to think for itself, but again it is exactly what happened in the end - another miscalculation on his part. To be fair, the Emperor’s plan for human independence was not completed by the time things went to hell.
    • When looked at from a different point of view: the Emperor's plan to invade and conquer the Webway (which Magnus was supposed to assist with if he had not broken it), then lead humanity into enlightenment away from the dangers of unrestrained psychic potential (which Mortarion was supposed to be the poster boy for if he hadn't switched sides) was so utterly dependent on the Emperor being the center of it all that he was was practically setting himself up for failure. While the Emperor was betting the future of the species on his own outcome, Malcador was thankfully setting up contingencies just in case everything went tits up.

Therefore it could be said that all of Malcador's efforts to create the agencies that the Imperium would need later were all part of an insurance policy that humanity could deploy if it ever turned out that the Emperor and his Primarchs could not be relied upon to carry humanity on their shoulders. Needless to say, if Malcador was the Emperor, things might have turned out better for the Imperium.

One of his more amusing requests was that the Primarchs be made female instead of male, or at the very least, add female Primarchs into the mix. His primary reasoning was that it would largely deter conflicts within his children, as boys tended to have a competitive "dick-measuring attitude" towards each other, preventing them all from cohesively working with each other. Girls are generally more level-headed than boys and act more as the voice of reason in a family, which would probably have eased some of the tensions that led to the primarchs despising each other. The Emperor eventually dismissed this, both as a joke and as an impossibility since the Space Marine gene-seed was keyed towards male subjects (He'd apparently tried to create female Space Marines at one point but it didn't work out). (Take this paragraph, once again, with a healthy dose of salt considering previous paragraphs.)

His refusal makes sense as not only would the changes to physiology effectively change supplicants into males anyway for muscle mass, endurance, stamina, and aggression, it would probably kill every supplicant with sheer amounts of testosterone needed for the rapid growth process. So, males were necessary.

The Emperor expected his sons to be of one mind as he planned to train them under his unified guidance, ensuring they would work utterly objectively with no personal feelings to get in the way (Much like him). This expectation went to shit when the Chaos Gods spirited the Primarchs away from Terra and they landed on different planets and being raised with different backgrounds and beliefs, causing friction between those whose home culture did not really mesh with each other. This undiffused brotherly rivalry (Not helped because the Emperor did not bother to ease the tensions between his sons, which as mentioned above may or may not have been intentional on His part) would eventually royally bite him back in his golden buttplate when the Horus Heresy erupted. It also caused Malcador quite a lot of physical pain - all the Primarchs made a show of their physical strength in front of him at some point, with Mortarion choking him and Lorgar backhanding him around like a ragdoll.

Malcador: First Lord of the Imperium[edit]

During the 2017 Black Library advent calender, a couple of illuminating short stories about Malcador were published, providing considerably more detail about his history and the limits of his knowledge:

  • Malcador is over 6000 years old, he actually knows down to the exact minute.
  • The Emperor was not the Emperor until he met Malcador, he was just another Terran Warlord "by another name." Of course we've known the Emp had various names/roles prior to his seizing of Terra.
  • The Sigillite Order is in place to look back at history to ensure mistakes are not repeated. This is because the Emperor must/is always looking forward.
    • Thusly the Imperial Aquila is missing an eye so that it cannot look back.
  • The Great Crusade was a plan to retake the stars for Humanity and not post-humanity.
  • The Horus Heresy was always in the Emperor's and Malcador's plans. Malcador claims that the Primarchs were not created equal and favour was deliberately spread to certain ones to stoke rage in the others.
    • Those that were not worthy were always destined to be killed or plotted to be on suicide missions/ away from the Imperium.
    • However, from "The Board is Set" Malcador is shown that the Primarch's destinies were not necessarily fixed and could have been played in different ways; some were sacrificed for greater goals whilst others were crucial to final victory.
    • Malcador claims that the issue was that they underestimated Chaos' power and how much it elevated some of the Primarchs, sped up some deaths & changed some plans. But he still claims that things are on course and/or going to plan.
      • However, from "the Board is Set" Malcador is shown not to be aware of the full plan or the flow of destinies, he is unaware of how certain seeming "winning" strategies are left unplayed because have unexpected consequences, or that certain moves played early or late can have disastrous effects.
        • Such as why the "Invincible Bastion" is not used to take the "Lord of Hearts" early on in the war, since it would force the blue "Twin" piece to switch sides and cause the game to be lost.
        • Malcador was also surprised to find out that the game could be changed by factors they might be unaware of, such as the "Corruption" of the Lord of Hearts in the mid-game, (possibly at Molech) which the Emperor seemed genuinely saddened by.
        • Malcador is also unaware of how the final conflict actually played out, having seen himself only as an advisor he was ignorant of his own role. Shown to him at the final moment where his piece: "The Fool" would switch places with the Emperor at the last moment to snatch victory and allow the "Uncrowned King" to play his "Salvation" strategy and win the game against chaos by tearing the throat out of the serpent.
    • As a huge caveat to all of the above, be mindful that according to Malcador himself at least some of these claims are lies and that the very nature of 40k's canon means that one can never be certain of anything outside of the most basic details. It's entirely possible that all the claims that the Horus Heresy was part of the plan were simply made to save face after the fact.


He was the third most powerful human psyker of his time (after Big E and Magnus the Red), being able to do things such as plunging the entire moon of Titan in the Warp to protect what would become the Grey Knights from the attacking Traitor Legions. He was also able to prevent a volkite gun from firing even while surrounded by a squad of Sisters of Silence, who were there to keep the psyker Sevarian's powers in check, without showing any sort of discomfort or loss of concentration.

Though it has never been seen, he must have been one badass warrior too, since he was the Grand Master of the Assassins. Says something that he took a bone-crunching backhand from Lorgar on the chin. This, in addition to his above-mentioned prodigious psychic power, shows what sort of man Malcador was. With his power - and considering only a few Primarchs are psychic or have psychic defenses (actually they all had psychic potential but most didn't realise, or at least understand their full potential) - he probably could've put Lorgar on a time out. On the moon. With his mind, because Lorgar's powers hadn't come into their own yet, so Malcador could've put him down for the count quite easily back then.

He proposed the Chaplain edict, ironically taking the idea from Lorgar and Sanguinius though back then they were more like Commissars, keeping order and looking for heresy, instead of the modern day warrior-priests.

There is also a tank named after him, though nowadays another tank named after an important hero and leader of the Imperium is used instead, the Leman Russ, passing over yet another perfectly servicable vehicle. Russ is a glory hogger like that.

He was also potentially the busiest man in existence, having founded the administration of pretty much the ENTIRE Imperium single-handedly. The organizations he founded--the Administratum, the Officio Assassinorum, Adeptus Astronomica and the Inquisition--have been borderline fucking up everything else and each other ever since without his guidance. So far, humans still exist, a testament to Malcador's administrative forsight. After all, a stable government gets the job done even with the worst sort.

His force staff may have also passed into the hands of Varro Tigurius, because Ultramarines.

See also[edit]

Malcador's opinion on Grimdark.

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