|This article or section is about something oldschool - and awesome.|
Make sure your rose-tinted glasses are on nice and tight, and prepare for a lovely walk down nostalgia lane.
"Where I fall, ten more shall take my place! And one hundred each of them!
So strike me down! I am the harbinger!"
-Ollanius Pius, an Imperial Guardsman, to Warmaster Horus. You read that correctly.
“Why the hell is everything always our job?”
-What he said just before that battle
Ollanius Pius embodies what it means to be a soldier of the Imperial Guard in this grimdark universe. He is THE most hardcore Guardsman ever and also the legendary saint of the Imperial Guard, because as legend goes, in the hopes of protecting the Emperor of Mankind, Ollanius Pius put himself directly in front of a walking demigod of battle. The fact that he did so without fainting, shitting himself in terror, or mewling like a wounded grox suggests that his testicles must have been forged from Mars-grade adamantium (or more likely, he had power balls. His testicles were of such might that they ignored armor saves in close combat). Ollanius Pius is so manly that he makes Vance Motherfucking Stubbs, Commissar Yarrick, Kharn, Colonel "Iron Hand" Straken, Logan Grimnar and Sly Marbo piss themselves in terror.
Naturally, like a bunch of awesome shit and virtually every piece of lore that has ever existed in Warhammer 40,000, Games Workshop sort of retconned this story in several ways. Firstly his introduction is a bit of a retcon, since Ollanius wasn't in the original battle (read the Slaves to Darkness book) where the Emperor teleported to Horus' bunker (not flagship) and fought him there. Then when he was introduced, he was said to have originally sacrificed himself during Horus' assault on the Imperial Palace, placing himself between the Emperor and Horus (which would mean in that version Horus broke through), which makes sense, so they had to change it. The next story the Emperor fought Horus in Horus' command bunker again, teleporting in with Imperial Fists and Custodes, and while having a bunker on the ground makes it entirely possible that Pius was there (especially since the traitor legions were busy at the palace walls) it's fairly unlikely. Then they changed it again, this time having Emps board Horus' flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, along with a company of Imperial Fist terminators and Custodes, no Pius this time due to the fact that a Guardsmen would probably die the second they arrive there. At no point from here on out is Ollanius ever mentioned to have boarded the Vengeful Spirit, though the idea of a heroic sacrifice was kept, GW replaced Pius with a Spehss Mahreen Terminator, which wasn't that bad but then they retconned out the Terminator with an Adeptus Custodes, which is SIX KINDS OF LAME.
Fantasy Flight Games brought him back though (sort of, leaving his existence in current canon questionable at best), which is a great justice and if you trust them, he really is just the most badass Guardsman ever, though exactly what he did isn't too clear besides die for the Emperor. But, NOW, thanks to Dan Abnett, if GW ever returns Ollanius to his place at the Emperor's side, that's no big deal. He'll just be over 10,000 years old. Still a normal human, but just one that regenerates and has lived a long time. So...following the trend, there is a risk that he will be added back in the universe as the one who made the chip in Horus's armor and not Sanguinius, and thus completely ruin the original story.
Other than the fact that he was man enough to stand up to Daddy's former favourite with nothing more than a flashlight and toilet paper armour, not much else is known about him, which probably means that he did even more heroic and manly shit during the Siege of Terra.
The entire point of the character is to demonstrate that true courage and inner strength can be found even among the weakest (by comparison) of individuals. (Also, see "Tank Man" ). Games Workshop, in their infinite wisdom, completely missed this point and proceeded to replace the brave and ordinary little soldier with a progressively bigger and stronger superhero with every reveal/retcon, thus in a way making Horus' fall to Chaos seem less and less despicable; the original story of a superhuman so remorselessly killing an ordinary human could be seen in a similar light as a grown man killing a child. It is probably a near certainty that the next retcon will trade up the Custode for one of the missing Primarchs (such as the glorious and magnificent Ollanius Partridge) or a fucking omnipresent Imperial Knight. Further updates will likely add the Terminator, the Custode, the second missing Primarch and an Imperial Titan for good measure, all at the same time.
However, in the Visions Of Heresy Novel, the humble Imperial Guardsman is back with his heroic act of sacrifice, though it is not stated whether his name was Ollanius Pius.
He also has a relic in the latest 6th Edition Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard codex, with the fluff saying he martyred himself against Horus and is the epitome of Imperial Sainthood. The Dark Heresy Blood of Martyrs splat mentions him there, saying the story of Pius is apocryphal (bringing up that other organizations have their own version of the tale) but still frequently told and he is widely venerated among Guardsmen as an exemplar of what a faithful Guardsman should be. So the Imperial Guard apparently canonically believes the original version of the tale, whether or not that's what actually happened. And at this point, nobody knows what actually happened and never will because GeeDubs refuses to enforce any kind of consistency in its own fluff (see below).
Also known as "Why the Black Library should not be allowed to write or sell anything"
In Dan Abnett's Horus Heresy novel "Know No Fear" Ollanius Pius' lore has changed dramatically. In the book he is named "Ollanius Perrson" (or "Oll" to his friends) and is part of a small group of immortal humans spread throughout the galaxy called Perpetuals. John Grammaticus (who is alive and well) claimed that out of the entire Ultramarine empire (which at the time consisted of a staggering 500 planets) there are only three Perpetuals (the total amount in the Imperium is unknown, but almost certainly not much higher). Pius is confirmed to be at least 30,000 years old and is the same "breed" as Grammaticus and possibly the Emperor. At first this sounds like GW is missing the point again, but besides his extreme age and the whole immortality thing he seems to just be a normal human with normal human strength (coupled with the fact that, by all indications, he hasn't died once so far). Which, when compared to the psychic gestalt ubermensch that is the Emperor, is kind of important; Ollanius is more representative of every strength (and weakness) of Mankind than the Emperor EVER was.
In the days of ancient Terra he was one of the Argonauts who adventured with Jason on the Argo to get the Golden Fleece and later he learned how to fight with a bayonet whilst fighting for the French in the trenches at Verdun during World War I. He actually demonstrates his bayonet-trench fighting skills at Verdun in the novel "Angel Exterminatus." In Angel Exterminatus, the Iron Warriors Trident Warsmith Kroeger has a flashback (sort of, the memories were the memories of other people) and relives the near-death of "Carl", a German soldier at the hands of one "Olivier Perrson." Carl thought Ol was very rude because he interrupted Carl's dinner. Yes, poor Carl's dinner. Ol happened upon Carl eating . . . Carl's own commander. Oh yeah, Carl was a closet cannibal. Still, Carl thought it was a bit of an overreaction by an overly Pius asshole to stab Carl in the gut. Carl was only saved from a certain death when the crush of the battle forces Ol out of the trench.
He was also a member of the Fellowship of the Ring, a Harry Potter classmate and a main contributor to quantum theory (Dan Abnett likes to mix popular references without any sense) but these facts was finally removed from the novel because of lack of space. He was also dubbed an "Old one" in the latest novella from BL "Perpetual", but that's probably just a coincidence...
He is confirmed as being very religious but hates Chaos and looks to the Emperor as a peer rather than a god/divine. He was a veteran in the Imperial Army before retiring to become a farmer on Calth. In the events of Know No Fear Pius joins in the fight against Chaos.
We don't get it either but a vision given to Ollanius by Grammaticus indicates that he'll be restored to his original status as the person who sacrifices his life to save the Emperor from Horus, so at least he's back. Of course, whether he actually dies when this happens given the Perpetuals' ability to resurrect themselves upon death is anyone's guess. He might, as during Mark of Calth he realizes that this is going to be the end for him. Which makes sense given that he was killed by a super-chaos Horus. You don't get up from that, immortality won't help you if your soul is snuffed out. But perhaps not.
WARNING: The following entry is so manly that reading out loud may cause you to suddenly grow a beard. Girls, do not read this out loud. A fa/tg/uy's explanation on Ollanius:
LOOK AT THIS FUCKING GUARDSMAN.
He's spent months fighting a grueling war in which his enemies are demigods allied with daemons, and now he's found himself in the closest thing to Hell he's ever known. He probably wasn't even supposed to get teleported up to the arch-traitor's battle barge in the first place, and just ended up in the wrong place at the worst possible time.
Somehow he's survived horrors beyond comprehension to make his way to the very bridge of Horus' flagship. He saw a veritable angel call upon Horus to answer for his crimes, and he saw that angel die as messily as any guardsman. His Emperor - who he fervently believes is a god incarnate, even if he's not supposed to - lies mortally wounded, and Horus, perhaps, has taken a moment to gloat before he strikes the killing blow.
His armor is slightly more effective than tissue paper, his weapon slightly more powerful than a flashlight. A single electrified claw from Horus' weapon is bigger than his entire body. He stands before a being infused by the dark gods' with incalculable power, that can and will obliterate his soul with no more effort than it would take him to swat a gnat. Nothing he can do could possibly make a difference.
He could run. He could turn his weapon on himself. He could give in to the insidious whispers that echo from the ship's corridors into his mind.
Ollanius Pius does the duty his Emperor requires of him. He dies standing and holds the fucking line.
A short poem about Ollanius Pius
The first time I hold my blood in my hands,
The first time I see a man with nothing.
Would be the first time I see my own lands,
Covered in heresy, death, and rotting.
My son stands over him corrupt and pale,
A guard Ollanius Pius stands free.
My fallen Horus lifts the deadly flail,
In one instant, the strength of man I see.
This mere man done what I was unable.
A tear flows from my eye and it is clear,
The tyrant's cold reign I must disable.
Briefly I know what it means to feel fear.
I leave the future to the strength of man,
For they alone do far more than I can.
Another poem regarding Ollanius
Somewhere in the universe a coin flip lands on its side.
Somewhere in the universe a drop of water saves a life.
Somewhere in the universe a pebble stops a landslide.
Maybe it is because someone believed hard enough.
Maybe it is because everything is secretly fair.
Maybe it is because the universe is a vast place.
Yesterday, I was very cold.
Yesterday, I was very hungry.
Yesterday, I wanted to run away.
Today, I am going to believe hard enough.
Today, a pebble will stop a landslide.
Today, I am not going anywhere.