Shakya Vardhana

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This page details people, events, and organisations from the /tg/ Heresy, a fan re-working of the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. See the /tg/ Heresy Timeline and Galaxy pages for more information on the Alternate Universe.


Shakya Vardhana
Darius Cyaxares.jpg
Discovered (world)

Simurgh

Discovered (period)

c.822.M30

Legion

Nineteenth

Great Crusade Command

10th Expedition Fleet

Heraldry/Sigil

Eyes of the emperor.png

Distinguishing Traits

Visionary

Flaws

Detached

Horus Heresy role

Loyal

Disposition

Walked into the wastes of Marusthali

Dominion

Marusthali

Though he was dear to me, I did not share Shakya's belief in prophecy. His sense of destiny made him utterly fearless and devoted - but it also took him from the Imperium when he was sorely needed.

(Excerpt from Gaspard Lumey's private correspondence.)

Shakya Vardhana was the Primarch of the Nineteenth Legion, the Eyes of the Emperor. He bore the gift of prophecy and was a formidable general, inspiring his men to feats others would have found impossible. Although he was betrayed by the officers of his Legion at the outbreak of the Hektor Heresy, the majority of the Vardhana's gene-sons stayed true to him. The desperate, forgotten battles with the Traitor camp were just as great contribution to the Loyalist cause as their valiant stand in the Siege of Terra.

History[edit]

Many uncertainties remain about the life of Shakya Vardhana. If his brother Primarchs were legendary figures, he seemed to be something out of a myth. Such accounts that survive of his early life tell of prophetic and mystical deeds that are difficult to square with the more accurate records from the time of the Great Crusade.

Youth[edit]

Shakya Vardhana was one of the twenty Primarchs created in the Emperor's laboratory deep beneath the Himalayzian Mountains. As he and his brothers gestated in their pods, the malfeasance of the Ruinous Powers stole away all save Hektor and sent them tumbling through the Warp. Lost to the Emperor and drifting beyond space and time, the Vardhana's containment pod was damaged and the infant awakened to gaze upon the madness of the Immateria. The sight forever changed his eyes, leaving them sightless pools of shifting, liquid silver.

The outskirts of Pulvar and the wastes of Simurgh

Shakya Vardhana's damaged capsule crashed near the hive Pulvar on the planet Simurgh. Aristocrats and merchants of Pulvar were busy with their amusements and noticed nothing. The soldiers saw the light in the sky and decided it was a problem for the aviators, the aviators saw the object falling towards the ground and thought the soldiers would deal with it. Pulvar's workmen heard the crash, but were busy with their duties. It was only the Gosheni - the tinkers and scavengers of Simurgh - who came out to investigate. The band that laid claim to Shakya's pod were well-pleased at their find, thinking that the valuable materials could slowly be sold off to fill their bellies. All were surprised to hear the soft cooing of an infant from within, and immediately began a discussion of to do with him. Some felt that he would only be a liability to the group. But dark-haired Bithia declared that the infant had been sent from the heavens to replace the one she had lost that same day, and those who had wished Shakya gone from their ranks were too ashamed to deny her.

For a time, Bithia boasted of the heaven-sent nature of her adopted son and her kin were skeptical. Yet the more perceptive of the Gosheni took note that Shakya was perhaps even more extraordinary than his mother claimed. Just a month after being rescued from his containment pod, Shakya had the size of a four year-old child and spoke with the fluency and insight of an adult. This swift maturation and prodigy soon convinced all who met him that the boy was something supernatural. Many wondered at how his blindness hindered him little, for his other senses were extraordinarily sharp. More extraordinary still was his gift of prophecy. Shakya's advice, though sometimes obscure, came to be sought out throughout Pulvar until the Hive's ruler, Ashpenaz the Golden, summoned the Primarch for an audience. Unlike the others who requested the Primarch's advice Ashpenaz was not accustomed to asking for anything. He simply demanded that Shakya serve him directly as a seer and in any other capacity the tyrant desired.

Shakya rejected Ashpenaz, telling the tyrant, "It is not my fate to serve you. We shall both render service unto my Father who dwells above, although only my sons will remember your name." This calm retort drove the autocrat into a rage and he ordered his guards to drag the Emperor's son into the torture chamber. Though the Primarch could easily have slain his assailants, he meekly put himself in their hands and endured the lash, the rack, and worse for three days. Through all these indignities, Shakya never cried out in pain nor even winced at the mortification of his flesh. At the end, the torturers of Pulvar could only report that they now wept whenever they thought of their old craft.

Cyber-gladiator of Pulvar

Asphenaz the Golden realised that Shakya could not be broken, but did not yet think himself defeated. Resigned to destroying that which he could not possess, he commanded his men to throw the Primarch into a pit of cybernetically-deformed gladiators. Asphenaz favoured using these wretches, driven mad with the pain of their deadly implants, to gain some amusement from the disposal of his enemies. Yet when the gates were thrown open and the cyber-gladiators goaded towards Shakya, the machine-men walked towards him with their weapons lowered. The son of the Emperor spread his arms in welcome to the gladiators and they knelt at his feet, worshipping the being whose presence eased their torment. As Shakya laid a soothing hand on one of the mutilated men, Ashpenaz felt his own heart shrink in his chest. Although the tyrant was lord of Pulvar and it surrounds, his would-be victim, clad only in the patchwork robe of a Gosheni, had mastered him without so much as an angry word. Ashpenaz the Golden fell to his knees and begged Shakya Vardhana to forgive him, but the Primarch smiled warmly in response and denied the need. It had always been their fate to come together in this way.

Under the guidance of the Primarch, Ashpenaz sought to reform his laws and military. But conspirators among the aristocracy, jealous of their privileges, rose up to overthrow the old tyrant. The Vardhana and his Gosheni family saw Ashpenaz smuggled out of Pulvar. A small group of their followers fled to the nearby hive Yathrib, where the Gosheni were many and the laws were lax. In the depths of Yathrib, Shakya and Ashpenaz (now devoted to the Primarch) trained an army of outcasts to avenge the cruelties of Pulvar. Such an endeavour could not be kept entirely secret, even from so lax a regime as that of Yathrib, but the Vardhana won the ordinary soldiers of the hive to his cause and they were glad to stay silent for him. After three months of preparation, Shakya Vardhana came to the Magistrix of Yathrib and informed her that she would now rule in the name of his Father. The outraged Magistrix ordered her men to throw out the upstart, but even her bodyguards had changed their loyalty.

From the victory at Yathrib, followed shortly by a campaign against Pulvar, Shakya Vardhana began to unify battered Simurgh. It is said that in this time the Primarch never raised his voice in anger, let alone struck another being. His fearlessness and generosity of spirit, together with the miraculous deeds he performed swayed many to his side. Those who stood against the Vardhana swiftly learned that the Goshenis' lives in the hidden places of the planet's underhives had taught them much about stealth, raiding, and manoeuvre, all skills that could be applied to warfare. The Gosheni struck from beneath without warning and seemed to disappear in an instant, a feat attributed to the Vardhana's spiritual power.

Unlike many of his warrior brothers, Shakya Vardhana did not rule in person. He anointed Ashpenaz the Golden as the Dictator of Simurgh, content with the title of "advisor". Few dared to question this regime, awed by the Primarch's power and welcoming the just rule of Ashpenaz. Under the guidance of the Vardhana, Simurgh's dictator passed many reforms to the benefit of the people and supervised great engineering projects to cleanse the planet's hives of filth and squalor. Justice became the shield of the meek rather than the sword of the strong, and the population became civilised without growing degenerate. This enlightened despotism lasted until an even greater power arrived on the Hive World.

While Ashpenaz dealt with the day-to-day rule of Simurgh, Shakya Vardhana's visions of the future grew much more powerful. Storms of darkness roiled across the galaxy, clouding the light within the hearts of men. But the Eagle took flight from his nest and soared through space, kindling a human radiance to outshine the stars. Shakya saw the Eagle arrayed in gold, and bearing his mighty spear and staff of office arrive on Simurgh and bear him away. And he saw hints of the Eagle in peril, but the Primarch's sight could not pierce the veil that the Adversary had placed upon this danger. The whispers of this last vision greatly troubled Shakya. He spent much of his time in seclusion and meditation, attempting to finally break down the veil to the future and discover the identity of the Eagle's nemesis.

The Emperor of Mankind

The Emperor, too, was looking into the strands of fate. But His visions were focused on the fate of His long lost sons, and Simurgh came to loom large in His sight. The sign of a Primarch's hand was clear in this peaceful, obedient world, productive and harmonious yet still outside of the embrace of the Imperium. When the Great Crusade reached Simurgh's system the Emperor Himself landed upon the Hive World and went on foot with a host of his golden-armoured warriors to find Shakya Vardhana.

Ashpenaz the Golden had once been a fool, but the scales had been lifted from his eyes long ago. As soon as he heard the news of the Emperor's coming, he ordered his soldiers to welcome the starfarers and personally went to rouse Shakya from his meditations, hastening the Primarch to meet the god-like being who had landed on Simurgh. The meeting was as subdued affair as was possible, with no bodyguards or courtiers present. The Vardhana and Ashpenaz bade greeting to Hektor Cincinnatus and Arelex Orannis, who entered first as heralds of the Emperor. Shakya Vardhana's visionary sight showed him an image of Hektor at the head of the greatest army the Galaxy had ever seen, yet hollow and broken inside. He saw Arelex take wound after wound in defence of his sons, until his body was entirely replaced by machines. But when the Emperor himself entered, the Vardhana saw no prophetic allegory. Once exposed to the healing light of his father, the Primarch's eyes returned to seeing the present world. Yet the glory of the Emperor was too much for the mortal eyes of Ashpenaz. From that day on, the old tyrant saw nothing but an after-image of humanity's master. He abdicated in favour of dark-haired Bithia, the woman who had adopted Shakya, and went to his grave without a word of complaint.

There was no need for the reunited Father and son to argue. Shakya Vardhana put himself at the Emperor's disposal and the ruler of mankind was glad to appoint his son as the leader of the Nineteenth Legion, the Crimson Hawks. On their voyage back to Terra, the two would discuss many things, including Shakya's troubling visions of a danger to the Imperium. Though the Emperor took his son seriously, he explained to Shakya that the veil over the looming dangers was not placed there by an adversary, but represented the vagaries of fate. Whatever perils would be faced were not yet determined, and so could not be foreseen. Taking Shakya into his confidence, the Emperor charged his son with preparing the Nineteenth Legion not for the conquest of the Galaxy, but the defence of that conquest against whatever peril would emerge.

The Great Crusade[edit]

The Death World Marusthali

Before taking command of the Eyes of the Emperor, Shakya Vardhana travelled to the Death World Marusthali and stayed in its wastes for a whole season. He disclosed his purpose only to the Emperor, and it must be assumed that the Master of Mankind had no objection to his son's activity.

As he had on his homeworld, the Vardhana spurned a direct role in ruling his Legion. Instead, he put his faith in the Council of Ten, the founders of the Acharya caste who had led the Eyes of the Emperor before the Primarch's rediscovery. His reasons for this trust are obscure, but many believe that the Vardhana was more concerned with his visions and assembling his own cohort, the Disciples, than the broader operations of the Nineteenth Legion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Legion's overall contribution to the Great Crusade was far exceeded by many of the other Legions. On a visit to Ciban IV, Shakya offered an explanation for the Eyes' slow pace to his friend and brother Primarch Gaspard Lumey: "I have built a lighthouse but the sun still shines."

Yet when the two met again on the eve of the Core Worlds Campaign, Shakya saw darkness approaching. The Primarch's vision became confused. Although he was still sharp and insightful on the events of the next weeks, everything beyond that was clouded in darkness. As the months stretched on, the Vardhana could not even be sure when the Adversary would strike, only that peril loomed. He did all he could, preparing his Legion and striving to find a compromise at the Council of Nikaea. Yet neither Shakya Vardhana nor his mighty Father could prevent the eruption of civil war and the opening of the Hektor Heresy.

The Hektor Heresy[edit]

In the eyes of Shakya Vardhana, the disaster began with the exile of the Fifth Legion in 004.M31. As Gaspard Lumey's fellow commander, he argued hard that the Fifth's actions in the Core Worlds Campaign were a military necessity and had reduced, not increased, the level of destruction. Yet few were prepared to side with him. When Gaspard himself abandoned the cause of arguing against his own censure, the die was cast. Shakya confided his vision of the future to Gaspard Lumey, saying that he saw the Fifth Legion leading a great fleet to humanity's birthplace and waging a brutal war against the Emperor's most-trusted servants. Gaspard dismissed the prophecy with a smile and a brotherly embrace, then left for the far reaches of the galaxy. When the Eyes of the Emperor themselves were ordered out to the south-east of the Ultima Segmentum just a few months after the Fifth Legion's departure, Shakya was certain that a civil war was brewing. He did not doubt that Gaspard Lumey would return with arms in hand, but it remained to be seen whether the difficult Primarch came as a conqueror or liberator.

Regardless of the clouds on the horizon, the Vardhana was determined to acquit himself well in the new assignment. Hektor Cincinnatus had dispatched the Primarch and his honour guard, the Disciples, to the Malluma system. The Warmaster's instructions were to regroup at Malluma and defend the newly-won Imperial worlds there from an imminent Orkish offensive, then to go on the attack and eliminate the greenskin menace at its source. Some of the Vardhana's veterans voiced concerns that the order effectively banished another Legion from the central reaches of the Imperium. If the Primarch shared these worries, he did not see fit to protest to the Warmaster and the Eyes of the Emperor duly moved out in accordance with their orders.

Dodu rises over Malluma

As the Legion's fleet warped into the Malluma system, their former Librarians all began to experience headaches. Shakya Vardhana himself found that his physical vision started to blur shortly after arrival. The fleet command as a whole were concerned that Malluma did not respond to their communications. In a brief council of war, the Eyes' senior officers agreed that, in the absence of Ork vessels, the most likely explanation for the lack of signals was that the moon had been gripped by rebellion. Shakya determined to lead his men to subdue the rebels and secure Malluma before continuing his mission.

Moonfall was eerie. The Eyes' vanguard touched down in the green light shed by the gas giant, Dodu. Fanning out to secure the landing zone for the Legion, they found hardly a trace of human beings. The moon's largest and most sophisticated facilities, including a massive ferrocrete landing pad, had vanished. Yet older monuments remained, mysterious and out of proportion to human works. Once the Primarch had his feet on the soil of Malluma, he determined to seek out and destroy whatever dangers lurked on the foreboding moon. Shakya Vardhana led a host of his warriors into the largest structure, seemingly a temple or municipal building.

The Eyes of the Emperor fanned out through the dark complex, sensing that their enemies lurked within. Despite the warriors' skill and equipment, the unnatural shadows confused their navigation and the Marines ended up scattered. Alone, Shakya Vardhana faced a terrible presence that spoke to him. The entity named itself as the Shadow in Time and explained that it had granted Shakya his visions of the future in order to guide him to this place. Shadow in Time went on that it, like the Vardhana, was greatly concerned for the fate of the galaxy and slowly attempted to persuade the Primarch into a pact. Yet the entity's suggestion that the Emperor himself might be a threat was a terrible error in its argument, for Shakya Vardhana knew that his visions had always pointed to his Father as the hope for humanity.

Refusing Shadow in Time was the right course, but it was not easy. The entity blinded Shakya and tore at him with its talons. The Primarch swung back in vain, mighty Shimti sailing wide of its mark. As even his miraculous vitality began to ebb, the Vardhana struck the chamber's floor in desperation, shattering it and sending himself and Shadow in Time tumbling downwards. Trapped beneath the rubble until his wounds healed, Shakya could do no more than listen. The entity mocked him for his folly and its laughter masked running footsteps, but Shakya recognised the approach of his loyal warriors. Shadow in Time vented its fury on the charging Marines but Disciples poured into the chamber, determined to defend their gene-father and fortified by his will. Aurus Morelia's booming voice raised above the thunder of massed weapon fire. "His Eyes are upon you!"

Whatever manner of being Shadow in Time was, it could not withstand the onslaught of the Space Marines. Shakya Vardhana, still blinded and struggling to heal the wounds inflicted by the entity, was helped from the complex by his faithful bodyguard. Outside, chaos had erupted. Unspeakable Things had emerged to slaughter the valiant Space Marines. Only the former Librarians, sensing that they faced beings vulnerable to their own powers, were able to stem the tide and allow the Disciples to withdraw intact. No punishment was meted out to the men who had defied the Emperor's decree, for the Vardhana was among them. Sensing that the hour of decision was at hand, the Primarch ordered his forces to withdraw from doomed Malluma and set course for Terra.

Post-Heresy[edit]

All of the Primarchs were lessened by the Emperor's sacrifice, but none more strikingly than the Vardhana. Without the Emperor's light, he could no longer see the world around him and had to rely on his other senses for the simplest tasks. His Legion, ravaged by disloyalty and devastated by the bitter fighting in the Segmentum Solar barely amounted to a Chapter. But the Vardhana did not shirk his duties to the Imperium. He provided council to his warlike brothers, helping to broker the compromise of the Reformation and secure a balance of power among the loyalists.

During the Reign of the Primarchs, the Vardhana served as Lord Tempestus, the supreme warlord of an entire Segmentum. His own Eyes of the Emperor were joined by warriors drawn from the more numerous Legions, though it must be said that Segmentum Tempestus was a relatively low priority and the Vardhana's primary responsibility was to draw a frontier that could be held with as little effort as possible, thus freeing up troops to join Brennus in his watch over the Eye of Terror.

Personality[edit]

Shakya Vardhana was a philosophical yet judicious man. Due to his vision and upbringing he had the bearing of a prophet, though he cast off religion in favour of the Imperial Truth. His patience and mental discipline were astonishing, even among the Primarchs, and it was said that he never raised his voice in anger. If his character was flawed, it was by inaction. Shakya's visions gave him a far greater perspective on the course of the future than any of the Primarchs - indeed, his foresight was among the most powerful of any being in the Imperium - but he was often loathe to intervene, fearing that he would cause greater troubles than those that his visions had revealed.

He enjoyed visiting and counselling his brothers, as their father once counselled him. He often quoted various proverbs and challenges his brothers to think outside the box when they are presented with difficult decisions. This annoyed more than a few of them. Nonetheless, he embraced his brothers' individuality. On occasion he would provide them with cryptic prophecies, though he knew that whatever he could see was already set in stone. While he tried to maintain a humble disposition, many felt that he looked down on them with his riddles. Others were unsettled when they looked into his warp tainted eyes. The Vardhana's calm and even temper disarmed the normally acrid Gaspard Lumey, and the two would become close friends during the Great Crusade. Due to their close association during the Reformation, Shakya Vardhana and Arelex Orannis would forge a somewhat difficult friendship. Both greatly admired the other's abilities, but their manners were often at odds.

Appearance[edit]

Like all of the Emperor's sons, Shakya Vardhana towered over mortal men and Space Marines alike. The Primarch had dusky skin and a athletic, well-muscled body. Due to exposure to the warp as a babe, his eyes were pure silver like pools of liquid metal. His face had a timeless youth, giving him an otherworldly appearance. The Vardhana's hair was thick and dark, shorn along the sides of his head with the rest gathered into a pony tail that fell just below his neck. He usually wore the long loosely fitted robes of his adoptive people, the Gosheni and favoured muted colours. Shakya Vardhana spurned jewelry, his only ornament being golden rings looped in his hair. Yet in times of war his panoply was awe-inspiring.

Wargear[edit]

The Vardhana favoured close-fitted, streamlined artificer armour in burnished gold colour, rather than the radiant gold of the Emperor and his custodes. His chosen arms were Shimti, a potent Force weapon in the shape of the Simurghian Axe, and Manāt, an ancient heavy bolter that mighty Shakya wielded one-handed. He was well-accustomed to the jetpack and jetbike, but never became reliant on their maneuverability. The Vardhana famously claimed, "I have learnt to fight with my hands and feet alike."

A fan's Attempt at Rules[edit]

PTS WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv
Shakya Vardhana: 480 7 6 6 6 5 6 5 10 2+/4++



Unit type: Infantry, Independent Character.

Wargear: Armor of the Oracle, Manāt, Occulari Umbrorum, Shimti.

Special Rules: Adamantium Will, Bulky, Crusader, Eternal Warrior, Eyes of a Prophet, Fear, Fearless, Fleet, Independent Character, It Will Not Die, Night Vision, Master of None, Servant to All.

Armor of the Oracle: It's primarch armor yo. You've seen it before. 2+/4++.

Manāt: A carbine heavy bolter. S5 AP4 Assault 4.

Occulari Umbrorum: This psychic artifact from the dark age of technology magnifies the psychic emanations of its bonded user. Originally used for interstellar communication, Shakya's modifications to it allow him to cast his psychic premonitions through it. After deployment, give one character in your army the Occulari Umbrorum. Shakya can now measure the range of psychic abilities from that character's position.

Shimti: It's a big axe. S+1 AP2, Force.

Eye of the Prophet: Shakya is a Master Level 3 psyker, but may only roll on the Divination psychic discipline. Additionally, you may reroll seize the initiative rolls (your or your opponents), and you may halve the scatter of deepstriking units if you so choose. All shooting attacks count as precision shots, and Shakya gains the Nightvision USR.

Master of None: Shakya may never be warlord.

Servant to All: Shakya may roll Look Out Sir! to save other characters.

Shakya is the buffmander of the Hektor Heresy, rivaled only by Johannes on the traitor side. If used carefully, his Occulari can double the amount of potential targets for Shakya's divination buffs, and he's deceptively powerful in combat too. His melee output may seem pretty mediocre for a primarch, but think about it with divination powers to back it up. Yeah, even with his middling gear and stats, Shakya is actually one of the more formidable challenge primarchs, though if he's blowing his powers on himself for a duel, that means he isn't buffing his army. Sound Familiar? It should.

The Primarchs of the /tg/ Heresy
Loyalist: Alexandri of Rosskar - Arelex Orannis - Brennus - Gaspard Lumey - Golgothos
Onyx the Indestructible - Roman Albrecht - Shakya Vardhana - Tiran Osoros
Traitor: Aubrey The Grey - Cromwald Walgrun - Hektor Cincinnatus - Inferox - Johannes Vrach
Rogerius Merrill - The Voidwatcher - Tollund Ötztal - Uriel Salazar