Malcador the Sigillite
"No one records something they wish to forget."
- – Anonymous, though often quoted by Malcador the Sigillite, The Last Council
"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
- – Hestia, to Percy Jackson, in The Last Olympian
Malcador the Sigillite (also known as Malcador the Hero or Malcador the Laundryman Of Teh Emprah or Malcador the Mammy) was Regent of Terra, Master of the Administratum, first Grand Master of the Officio Assassinorum, the founder of the Inquisition, 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 is that of Prime Minister/Chancellor, who acted as de facto head of government in the name of the sovereign (the Emperor). He was also originally known as Brahm al-Khadour (Brah, Malkhadour WUT?), last of the Sigillites, the cursed wanderer, the perpetual.
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. Perhaps because of his belief that humanity would not outgrow the Emperor's influence, many of the organisations he created lacked adequate oversight, and descended into corruption in the wake of the Horus Heresy. Even so, this was at least 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. The Last Council confirms this, in addition to revealing that he is a Perpetual. According to at least one source, it was Malcador that convinced the Emperor to call Himself "The Emperor"; when they met, the "emperor" was just the greatest of Terran warlords and little else.
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. One can surmise that Emps discovered his Perpetual nature and figured he may as well put him to use in studying Terra's history and using it as a foundation for the further expansion of what would become the Imperium. That said, the Emperor killed the rest of the Sigillites and used their base as the core of the Imperial Palace. It has been implied that the Sigillites were also violent warlords that did their fair share of oppressing.
When the Primarchs started getting collected and the new Imperium spread outwards, Malcador served as the Regent of Terra, acting as a prime minister who kept the day-to-day activities of the 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. He also established the Conservator Order to preserve history and the Order Elucidatum to burn any historical texts deemed religious or inconvenient, so the "modern" Inquisitorial infighting is nothing new.
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 gotten jealous of his closeness to the Emperor; all of them made threatening displays of physical oomph in front of him, and at least two of them straight-up assaulted him (with Mortarion strangling him and Lorgar backhanding him around like a ragdoll). 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. Suffice to say, the Emperor only had to deal with the Primarchs at their best on the weekend whereas Malcador had to deal with the behemoth brats for the rest of the week, meaning he got the shit end of the stick. Weirdly, the Primarch that had the best relationship with 'ol Malcy was shown to be Leman Russ, who actually did treat him like a beloved old grandad that he could chill and play hrafnkel with.
His reputation with the Primarchs, especially Horus and "Alpharius", was not helped by the fact that it was him who ultimately made the decision to commit damnatio memoriae on the 2nd and 11th, this prompted Horus to confront Malcador about this, then proceeded to throw a pre-heresy hissyfit so Malcador made sure to force choke him until he calmed his demihuman tits meanwhile Jaghatai Khan & Alpharius watched like children while their drunk dad beat their older brother. Which may have played a part in forming Horus' opinions on humans and not only their ability to, but what right they had, to self-govern.
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-naivety 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 Grey Knights.
Sometime during the Siege on Terra, Magnus the Red appeared at the Imperial Palace, disguising himself, Ahriman and a handful of Thousand Sons as Custodes to invade the bowels of the imperial palace to reclaim a soul fragment of his. It was there that he found himself in an underground neighborhood with twenty individual houses for all the Primarchs, thereby putting to rest whether or not the Primarchs were ever actually meant to be raised on Terra.
It was here that Malcador and the perpetual Olivia (from the book 'Vengeful Spirit') were waiting for Magnus, where the two super humans shared an exchange of how both parties fucked everything up and it was neither of their intent to do anything wrong. Magnus calls bullshit on Malcador's feigned ignorance, grabs Malcador by the neck and demands to know where his soul shard is. When he's told that it was basically used up like a battery and doesn't exist anymore, Magnus became so enraged that it blinded him to the fact he was burning Malcador to death with his psychic rage, thereby putting to rest who the stronger psyker really is.
Magnus came to when Olivia attempted to intervene and received a bolter round in the gut for her trouble, for which Magnus killed his own son before finally looking (with full cognition) on Malcador's beef-jerkey remains still gripped in his hand. After dropping Malcador's corpse on the ground in shock, a regenerated Olivia looks over and just gifts Malcador her own life (okay) thereby putting to rest when and where Malcador became a perpetual. Except he already was established to be a perpetual circa The Last Council before the Horus Heresy began.
It was at this point Magnus fucked off to make an attempt on the Emperor's life, leaving Malcador to his own devices. Malcador gave a disapproving scowl.
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 rebuilt 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 that devastated their planet.
Malcador 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 on the Golden Throne, since Magnus's interference broke it and threatened Terra with a new Eye of Terror. Malcador's psychic power meant he was the only potential candidate to do so 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 (literally) in a matter of hours. He crumbled to dust after the Emperor was returned to the seat by Rogal Dorn and Jaghatai Khan. Keeping in mind that Malcador is a perpetual, that's some pretty hardcore currents flowing through and goes even further to show how ridiculously OP the Emperor is. With his last ounce of strength, he allowed the Emperor to communicate with his mortal servants one last time. Truly, Malcador was an all around awesome bureaucrat and manipulator to the very end.
Though, the fact he disintegrated after being taken off of the golden throne sort of defies the claim made in The Last Council that he's a perpetual. One could argue that he sacrificed his perpetual power to marginally restore the Emperor back to consciousness, what can't be waived away is the fact that unlike any other perpetual, he's a decrepit old man by the time of the Horus Heresy, and it's known he used his psyker powers to mask his age whenever it suited him and he's been subject to rejuvenation treatments to extend his own life; both are things that shouldn't be necessary for a perpetual, impossible in the former's case (unless it happens he was faking being old this whole time). In an attempt to cure this bizarre inconsistency, Fury of Magnus tries to retcon the fact that Malcador was already established to be a perpetual after the Rangdan Xenocides concluded in The Last Council by having a perpetual named Olivia give it to him after he got barbecued by Magnus during the Siege on Terra, making her own sacrifice a total waste and utterly pointless. The very idea that he self-immolated on the atomic level just so the Emperor could speak without having to use his own psyker powers is made all the more monumentally stupid considering how much more good he could've done had he not, unless it happened there was no chance he could regenerate anyway and was just making some last ditch effort to save the Imperium before the inevitable... save for the fact he had another perpetual on tap just to pointlessly waste it on reviving himself from an unnecessary confrontation with Magnus instead of reserving it for when he's about to die on the Golden Throne or have Olivia give it to the Emperor after fighting Horus.
It might be that he was doing more than just sacrificing his perpetual status so the Emperor could open his eyes slightly and slur out some orders like an alcoholic on a binge struggling to stay awake. The going fan-theory is that the Emperor might himself be a perpetual, but the message being sent by this revelation is that while the Emperor is indeed a perpetual himself as of the time he was interred to the Golden Throne, he wasn't always, and it took Malcador giving it to him at the expense of his own life to make it happen, which would make better sense considering that while ordinarily being turned into a rotting corpse means you're not a perpetual as they heal like Wolverine in X-Men 3. Except now Malcador has been given double perpetual status somehow, meaning he should still be alive regardless.
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. To be fair no one knows how far The Emperor's plans went, the Imperium could've been step two in his plans. While the Emperor was betting the future of the species on the outcome of his own plan, 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 were 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. The apparent idea was that girls are generally more level-headed than boys and act more as the voice of reason in a family (according to people who don't have more than one daughter or sister), 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; his refusal makes sense as the changes to physiology would effectively change supplicants into hyper-competitive dick-measurers anyway in terms of muscle mass, endurance, stamina, and aggression, what with the sheer amounts of testosterone needed for the rapid growth process. So, males it was; it's worth taking this in particular, with a healthy dose of salt, considering previous paragraphs.
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. To make matters worse, they tended to have complete faith in their own rectitude, with utter intolerance of anyone who got in the way (much like him). This undiluted brotherly rivalry wasn't helped by the Emperor not bothering to ease the tensions between his sons, which as mentioned above may or may not have been intentional on His part, and it would all eventually royally bite him back in his golden buttplate when the Horus Heresy erupted. As previously indicated, it also caused Malcador quite a lot of physical pain.
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.
His powers were strong enough to casually FORCECHOKE (well, he kinda prepped himself up for the confrontation, even went to pickup his power staff to help focus his powers) Horus almost to death, when the latter grew angry about one of the missing Primarch's legacies being erased and tries to say their name. Malcador says he can "unmake" Horus there and then, but relents when the Khan begs. Hard to tell if this was a bluff or not. This is before Horus gets blessed by Chaos, but it is still an incredible feat (especially considering that Forge World gave Horus Adamantium Will and a terminator armour that makes him near invulnerable to psychic powers regardless of the psykers' might), though Horus could resist to the point that it tired out the old man quite a lot. Also led to Horus being obsessed with Malcadors private history for a few decades, which he shared with the Khan before the Heresy.
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, Malcador could've put him down for the count quite easily back then. It's also worth mentioning that he was more or less able to withstand the strain of the Golden Throne all by himself (and even managed to save some psychic strength for the Emperor) before he died, a feat which in the current era requires the strength of over a thousand trained psykers and the dead Emperor himself to pull off effectively. What a hero.
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 non-compliance, 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 more often, the Leman Russ, passing over yet another perfectly servicable vehicle. Russ is a glory hog 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, the Adeptus Astronomica and the Inquisition - have been borderline fucking up everything else (and each other) ever since without his guidance. So far, however, humans still exist; a testament to Malcador's administrative foresight. After all, a stable government gets the job done even with the worst sort.
His force staff was originally thought to have passed to the Ultramarines, but it turned out it was lost instead and was later found by the AdMech.
What's the best part? He is just a normal dude. A race of potential Malcador's doesn't sound too bad, does it?
As a trivia note, his true name and title, Brahm Al-Khadour the cursed wanderer, is based off of two immortal figures in the real world's cultural legends. One is Al Khadir, an immortal figure in Middle Eastern mythology depicted as a wise sage that acts as a guide. The other is the Wandering Jew, who was cursed, like Cain in the Old Testament, to wander but unlike Cain, is subject to unwilling immortality while his journey would last until the end of time.
MOST IMPORTANTLY without his sacrifice the Emperor couldn't have confronted Horus and thus ended the Siege before Terra was taken (thus forcing Vulkan to blow up the planet thus dooming the Imperium)