Malcador the Sigillite
"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) 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 is that of 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 became horribly corrupt 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 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.
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 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-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.
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 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 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. 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.
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 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. 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 hyper-competitive dick-measurers anyway for muscle mass, endurance, stamina, and aggression with sheer amounts of testosterone needed for the rapid growth process. So, males it was.
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 undiluted 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.
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, 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 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.