"Arm the bastards and they might win a few bloody worlds for us in between verses."
- – Leman Russ's high opinion on Remembrancers
"We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth."
- – John F. Kennedy
A Remembrancer was a blanket term for a variety of types of artist given the task of recording the glories of the Great Crusade. Very few of them were straightforward historians, as the Emp did not like that sort of thing. They along with the Iterators made up most of the non-Army personnel in the Expedition Fleets. Legions had varied opinions on them: aesthetically inclined Legions like the Emperor's Children and the Blood Angels loved them, the Sons of Horus and Word Bearers were divided on the matter although their leaders were fine with them, and Legions like the Death Guard, Space Wolves, and Raven Guard hated them. Angron actually had the World Eaters throw theirs out of their main expeditionary fleet (onto another ship, not out the airlock like you would expect) when they started bugging his flag-captain (admittedly, that is a good reason). They are featured throughout the Horus Heresy series.
Essentially, the Emperor hired them together to have someone to point to whenever the 'they should have sent a poet' cliches came up. In all seriousness though, that he went for artists and writers instead of simple historians is one of a great many hints towards a human-wide cultural renaissance which was, perhaps, the greatest casualty of Horus' little tantrum.
As for their future, the Remembrancer Order didn't survive to see the 41st millennium. They were disbanded by the Order of Dissolution, decreed shortly after Horus' betrayal became known. The Horus Heresy was deemed too tragic and wrong to be worth remembering, and the possibility that this would eventually lead to the slow forgetting of Imperial history (and pre-Imperial history, at that matter) was dismissed as a necessary sacrifice that had to be done in order to keep the Imperium stable.
After learning of how much of its own history the Imperium had forgotten following his revival, Roboute Guilliman took inspiration from the order as well as the Conservatory of Terra from before the Heresy to form a new order of documentarists and historians, giving them his personal seal of approval to carry out their duties. The Inquisition and Ecclesiarchy were particularly unhappy about this, as their remit frequently challenged the established orthodoxies of both organisations. Additionally, he appears to have sanctioned the re-creation of a new Remembrancer order to ensure the Imperium's history is not lost again.
Notable Members of the Remembrancer Order
- Euphrati Keeler - An intrepid pictographer (her photos of Horus' crippled equerry Maloghurst and of the Mournival were a big step towards getting the Remembrancers accepted; even Ferrus Manus liked her picts) turned crazy-ultra-charismatic psyker (maybe, it's left deliberately ambiguous as to exactly what she is) turned first Imperial (possibly Living) Saint. One of her more enduring pictures caught a comet that was renamed after her. The fact that this comet went through the Eye of Terror and then led a Khornate warband across the stars is rather ironic. Another picture of the pre-Heresy Horus Lupercal (along with her early notes on the nature of the Imperial Creed) became the 41st millenium's equivalent of the Da Vinci Code - something that would, in the wrong hands, destabilize the Imperium were it not for Eisenhorn burning them. She would survive the purge at Istvaan III and escape on the Eisenstein, though she eventually went underground and no-one could find her when she returned to the Imperium. She was later captured after being saved from a Chaos assassin and taken to the Imperial Palace, exactly where she wanted to be...
- Mersadie Oliton - Human camera and writer that would have had sexual tension with Loken of the Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus, except he was an Astartes. Instead she became "his" remembrancer, planning an account of the Crusade from his perspective. Witnessed and recorded Horus's murder of the Remembrancers on the Vengeful Spirit, which she replayed to Rogal Dorn as evidence that his brother had gone mad. She would also survive the purge along with Keeler. Though she would be imprisoned on Titan because she had information about Horus too sensitive to leave wandering about... something Loken would give a good punch to his old mate Iacton Qruze for. Eventually yeeted herself into the reactor core of the Phalanx during the opening stages of the Siege of Terra because she was being used as a gateway for daemons to invade the station. She did this in front of Loken for purposes of maximum grimdark.
- Ignace Karkasy - A poet who saw the true grimdark of the Imperium, and chose to speak out against the Astartes around him as being brutal, self-interested killing machines rather than noble defenders of humanity. However, he chose to do this as the Horus Heresy was starting to wind up, so Horus got him murdered so he wouldn't have to deal with the asshole. Rather ironic, since he would have been killed shortly thereafter over Istvaan III anyways.
- Petronella Vivar - Horus's number one fan and later his biographer. She was a rich asshole who should not have abused her bodyguard so much. There seemed to be some undertones with her that implied some romantic feelings towards Horus, but her feelings changed when he snapped her neck. Said to be from North America.
- Ostian Delafour - A sculptor who was better than Fulgrim because his statues were less perfect (Fulgim's were more like idealized automatons that dipped into the uncanny valley), and who chose to make a statue of the Emperor right in front of Chaos'd Fulgrim. Fulgrim, who already hated Ostian for his critique while well on the way to being corrupted, responded to this by impaling him with the anathame, through the statue of the Emperor Ostian was making and finally deeming it "perfect."
- Serena d'Angelus - A painter who, under Slaanesh's influence, realized that she could paint with all the colors of the human body (using bodily fluids from human corpses as the paints), having her lack of self-esteem used against her to force her into more depraved acts to avoid her paintings of Fulgrim and Lucius being "drab" and "worthless." Especially cruelly, after the paintings were done she wasn't driven on to something more insane but was left feeling totally hollow, only to realize through her love of Ostian how batshit crazy Fulgrim's Legion was getting. Shortly afterwards she committed suicide by impaling herself on the anathame along with Ostian, pinning herself to the same statue. A Chaos'd Fulgrim came back for the anathame, and decided to have some fun with her corpse (
by unimpaling it, kinda anticlimacticmaybe, the description was left decidedly vague). Note that most of the other (non-possessed) newly Chaos'd marines didn't really think of sex at all, and got their ecstasy from murdering those around them and wearing their skin. Though frankly, after seeing such a fragile, inoffensive woman suffer like that, maybe the lack of detail is for the best.
- Bequa Kynska - A composer and total bitch attached to the Emperor's Children. She tried seducing Delafour (see above), got rejected for coming on too strong, and threw a bitch fit; the narrative mainly showed us that she was totally a Slaanesh cultist without knowing what Slaanesh was. Corrupted during the pacification of Laer along with the rest of the Emperor's Children, she tried to recreate the effects of the Laeran Temple's music and visuals. The night before the Drop Site Massacre, she played her composition, the Maraviglia, to the Emperor's Children and the attached dignitaries, and her music was so
badGood! that it turned everyone into deranged psychopaths that murdered and raped everyone else in the general area. It was also enough ear rape to summon up a few daemonettes, and one impaled her during the crescendo, probably causing her to orgasm a little before dying. The Emperor's Children really liked the novelty of this performance, duplicating the new exotic instruments she commissioned and using them on the battlefield. Afterwards, Fulgrim looked around, grinned, and said "So tell me, who are we?", and his Legion answered, "We're the Aristocrats!"
- Mahavastu Kallimakus - Scrivener Extraordinary to Magnus the Red, whose library was later trashed by Ahzek Ahriman. While he was an excellent writer in his own right, he is best remembered for telling Lemuel and friends to "shut the shitting hell up" when they were arguing. Unfortunately for him, he didn't get to do much of his own writing with the Thousand Sons, as Magnus was in his brain a lot (using him as a pen) and he simply refused to pull out. He was captured by the Space Wolves while his ship was leaving Prospero for Terra, but this was not reported to Russ. What follows afterwards is a bit of a mind fuck. It turns out that Kallimakus was literally tapped into Magnus's thoughts, even beyond the point of death. The Inquisition went to great lengths to hide the body in a fortress, despite the dangers of having direct insight into a daemon Primarch's mind. Ahriman then embarked on an insanely convoluted plan to acquire the body, thus gaining great insight into the mind of his Primarch.
- Lemuel Gaumon - A societal behaviourist attached to the Thousand Sons. He was befriended and tutored by Ahriman, until Ahriman betrayed him by murdering Eris (see below) by letting her powers go haywire for divinatory purposes. Also a psyker (like all Remebrancers attached to the Thousand Sons) who could read auras, Ahriman's tutelage refined this power, and he learned to exert his influence on others. He was with Kallimakus and pals as they tried to flee Prospero before the Wolves arrived, but their ship was captured. He later returns to become a very unwilling servant of the Sigilite, gets possessed by a shard of Magnus, is exorcised, and renames himself as Promeus - the rival to Moriana and the founder of the Inquisition faction that would eventually be known as the Thorians.
- Kallista Eris - A historiographer and precog attached to the Thousand Sons, and a friend of Gaumon. After a brief period spending time in the shops of Tizca and making out with a member of the Prospero Spireguard, she had a major episode where she had to be hospitalized, only for Ahriman to step in and allow her powers to run free as an instrument to divine more information about an imminent threat to Prospero. Ended up burning to death from warpfire while screaming about "the Wolves at the door" and something about "Ravens of Blood crying out for an unknown father." Wonder what that was about? Lastly, her boyfriend had a vision and gave her ashes to Gaumon and company to get her to Terra (or at least off of Prospero).
- Camille Shivani - An architectural archaeohistorian who possessed powers of psychometry, attached to the Thousand Sons, and a friend of Gaumon. Also a flaming hot lesbian with a flaming hot Prosperine girlfriend. She had an episode with a psychneuein until a pair of Thousand Son captains, Phosis T'Kar and Hathor Maat, in a moment of bromanship, helped her out with their biomantic and telekinetic abilities. She survived, but later tried to flee the Wolves and Prospero with Gaumon, Kallimakus, and her girlfriend. The Wolves showed up at the last minute and captured their ship. Last seen in a jail cell with her girl when the Wolves passed them off to the Sisters of Silence on Terra.
- Kaspar Hawser - An archaeologist-turned-skjald who attached himself to the Space Wolves. Never actually a true Remembrancer, but was rather a former archaeologist from a related group who became a specialized Legion Serf that recorded oral histories (he actually founded an organization called the conservatory before that which tried to discover humanity's lost knowledge and probably would have been bros with Solomon Voss if they ever met). He was played like a fiddle over the course of his lifetime by a daemon pretending to be working for Magnus but was really a representative of some warp entity, and both Hawser and the daemon proved to be pivotal in the events that would eventually lead to the corruption of the Thousand Sons. The Wolves knew he was a kind of psychically-made sleeper agent, didn't give a shit, and still considered him a bro for taking the effort to fit in; there was the off chance that he still might be influenced by "Magnus", so they stuck in the fridge at the bottom of the Fang with all the dreadnoughts, and reheat him once every century to tell the tales. Which, at least, is better than a BLAMMing (also Leman Russ thought he could use him as a phone to call Magnus).
- Mendacs - A "painter" who really works for a Legion that does not exist. He was part of a network of subversive agents who would go to every minor backwater that the Legions couldn't be bothered with and would intimidate them into siding with Horus by playing on people's paranoia.
- Persephia - A former remembrancer, and now artificer for the Salamanders. Mostly useless.
- Solomon Voss - Writer extraordinaire and the first Remembrancer, founding the order along with Kyril Sindermann's founding of the Iterators. He became the last Remembrancer among the traitor legions after Horus singled him out to survive the purge on the day of the Drop Site Massacre, and was later the last Remembrancer after he ignored the Order of Dissolution. Horus forced him to become his personal scribe before sending him back to Dorn with the truth. Voss figured out the reality of the paranoid and grimdark wreck that the Imperium would become even if Horus died right then, as Horus had destroyed all trust. Rogal Dorn kept him in prison and verbally interrogated him until he got the whole story, then killed him to stop the truth from getting out, marking the first time of what would become many that the Imperium officially censored itself. On the plus side, Voss died like a man, even in the face of getting beheaded by a Primarch.
- Seriph - Vulkan's Remembrancer. Curze killed her for the lulz.
- Halerdyce Gerwyn - A comic book artist attached to the Blood Angels. Seriously. He intended to illustrate Apothecary Meros's heroic actions at Nartaba Octus, but when the Blood Angels went to the Signus Cluster, the Chaos-tainted space got to him along with most of the other poor human schmucks. Because he made friends with a blank, he lasted longer than most of the other humans. But, like the rest, the insanity of fighting daemons eventually drove him to take his own life.
- Ishaq Kadeen - A roguish individual and small-time criminal who could take a mean pict and got himself assigned as a Remembrancer to the Word Bearers instead of being turned into a servitor for his crimes. It would probably have been less painful for him.
- Lev Tieron - Formerly the Chancellor of the High Lords of Terra, he was the first of the Adeptus Terra to meet with the revived Roboute Guilliman. He was named a Remembrancer after the Second Battle of Terra.
- Olivier and Marissa LeBon - A married couple of Remembrancers. They worked together for decades, and, despite their marriage, grew desperately apart, both emotionally and philosophically. Olivier joined as a naive believer in the Imperial Truth and the Great Crusade, but became increasingly cynical and skeptical of the Imperium, the Emperor, and, especially, the Primarchs. Marissa took the opposite route - to justify her beliefs, she abandoned the Imperial Truth in favor of the nascent worship of the God-Emperor and His Sons. Whereas Olivier is unwilling to give any Primarchs the benefit of the doubt and is only interested in their negative traits, Marissa willingly lies in favor of painting them as holy beings. They were responsible, at least in part, for biographing Vulkan, Rogal Dorn, Fulgrim, and Perturabo. Olivier is implied to have died on Olympia when Calliphone rebelled against the Imperium, but Marissa's fate is left unknown, but her continued loyalty is suspicious given that she was under the care of a soon-to-be Traitor Legion for years, with nothing but the Lectitio Divinatus to maintain her faith.