Black Legion: The Infamous Traitors of the Horus Heresy

Black Legion: The Infamous Traitors of the Horus Heresy

Ten thousand years ago, the Imperium of Man was torn asunder by the Horus Heresy, a galaxy-wide civil war that pitted brother against brother and Primarch against Primarch. At the center of this conflict was the Luna Wolves Legion, led by the Warmaster Horus Lupercal.

Though Horus was ultimately defeated, his legacy of betrayal and bloodshed lives on in the form of the Black Legion – the twisted remnants of his once-loyal sons, now dedicated to the service of Chaos.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Formerly the Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus
  • Led by Abaddon the Despoiler, heir to Warmaster Horus
  • Largest Traitor Legion, bolstered by other Chaos warbands
  • Launched 13 devastating Black Crusades against the Imperium
  • Responsible for the destruction of Cadia and creation of the Great Rift

Origins: From the Luna Wolves to the Sons of Horus

The Black Legion traces its origins to the Luna Wolves, the XVI Space Marine Legion led by Primarch Horus Lupercal during the Great Crusade to reunite humanity under the banner of the Imperium of Man in the late 30th Millennium.

Horus was the Emperor’s favored son and was granted the prestigious title of Warmaster, serving as the Emperor’s proxy and supreme commander of the Great Crusade. In recognition of Horus’ accomplishments, the Emperor renamed the Luna Wolves the Sons of Horus.

However, Horus would ultimately fall to the temptations of Chaos, launching the cataclysmic galaxy-wide civil war known as the Horus Heresy in an attempt to overthrow the Emperor and seize control of the Imperium for himself.

This rebellion was ultimately defeated at the climactic Siege of Terra, when the Emperor slew Horus in single combat, though the Master of Mankind was himself mortally wounded and interred in the Golden Throne.

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Rise of Abaddon and the Black Legion

The death of their Primarch was devastating to the Sons of Horus. The Legion retreated to the Eye of Terror, where they built a fortress-tomb on the Daemon World of Maeleum to house the preserved corpse of Horus.

Leaderless, the Legion nearly tore itself apart until the Heresy-era First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon assumed leadership. Abaddon renamed the Sons of Horus the Black Legion, both to expunge the name of the failed Warmaster and to symbolize their new purpose – to finish the war Horus had begun and to destroy the Imperium in the name of Chaos.

Abaddon swiftly moved to consolidate his power, eliminating his rivals, crushing all who opposed him, and recovering Horus’ corpse after it had been stolen by the Emperor’s Children.

Burning the body to ash, Abaddon declared himself Horus‘ heir and the new Warmaster of Chaos, and set about rebuilding the Legion. He incorporated numerous Chaos Space Marine warbands into the Black Legion, steadily increasing their numbers and fighting strength.

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The Black Crusades

With his Black Legion bolstered, Abaddon launched his infamous Black Crusades – massive invasions from the Eye of Terror designed to bring the Imperium to its knees in the name of the Dark Gods.

To date there have been thirteen Black Crusades, each more devastating than the last.

The early Black Crusades, while costly for the Imperium, were largely unsuccessful in Abaddon’s ultimate goal of reaching Terra and throwing down the “Corpse-Emperor”. However, as the Crusades progressed, Abaddon demonstrated his strategic brilliance and the growing power of the Ruinous Powers.

During the 12th Black Crusade, better known as the Gothic War, Abaddon nearly succeeded in breaking through the Cadian Gate that protected the core of the Imperium.

The 13th Black Crusade would prove to be the most successful for Abaddon and the Black Legion. Abaddon led the largest invasion force ever seen since the time of Horus, and focused his efforts on the Fortress World of Cadia.

Though the Imperial forces fought with valor and determination, ultimately Cadia fell, its destruction tearing a massive gash in realspace known as the Cicatrix Maledictum – the Great Rift.

This Warp Storm cut the galaxy in half, dividing the Imperium and allowing the Forces of Chaos to rampage across countless worlds. Abaddon and his Black Legion continue to be a dire threat as the Imperium reels from this near-fatal blow.

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Black Legion

Organization and Recruitment

In the wake of Horus’ demise, the Legion’s structure and organization broke down as the Black Legion fractured into disparate warbands. However, under Abaddon’s leadership the Legion has regained a sense of discipline and purpose.

While individual warbands still harry the Imperium on their own, they all owe allegiance to Abaddon and will quickly answer his call to war when a new Black Crusade is launched.

Two known command structures exist within the Black Legion. The first is the Ezekarion, Abaddon’s elite inner circle of lieutenants and advisors.

The second are the Chosen of Abaddon, the Warmaster’s four top field commanders, each devoted to one of the Chaos Gods: The Lord Ravager (Khorne), Lord Deceiver (Tzeentch), Lord Corruptor (Nurgle) and Lord Purgator (Slaanesh).

The Black Legion is now considered the largest of the Traitor Legions, having swelled its ranks with Space Marines from other Legions and Renegade Chapters that have been absorbed over the millennia. The Dark Gods grant their favor to the Black Legion, and mutations of the gene-seed, once considered a flaw, are now seen as marks of divine blessing.

Gene-seed and Daemonic Possession

The gene-seed of the Black Legion was once considered relatively pure and stable, as the Luna Wolves were known for their reliability and loyalty. However, following the Legion’s fall to Chaos, mutations and degradation of the gene-seed have become increasingly common.

This is further exacerbated by the Legion’s frequent use of daemonic possession, as many Black Legionnaires willingly allow themselves to be possessed by Warp entities to gain additional power and favor from the Dark Gods.

While such mutations would be considered a flaw or corruption in loyal Space Marine Chapters, within the Black Legion they are seen as marks of divine favor. The more mutated a Black Legionnaire becomes, the more they are celebrated and elevated within the Legion’s ranks.

This embrace of Chaos corruption has led to the Black Legion becoming a terrifying and twisted reflection of the once-noble Luna Wolves.

Notable Campaigns and Battles

Throughout the millennia, the Black Legion has been involved in countless campaigns and battles against the forces of the Imperium. Some of their most notable engagements include:

  • The Battle of Terra: Though this titanic conflict occurred before the formation of the Black Legion, many of its founding members, including Abaddon himself, fought in the final battle of the Horus Heresy.
  • The Slave Wars: In the aftermath of the Heresy, the Sons of Horus, now based on the Daemon World of Maeleum, fought a series of brutal conflicts against the Emperor’s Children Legion, culminating in the theft of Horus’ corpse.
  • The Battle of Cadia: Abaddon’s 13th Black Crusade achieved what no other had – the destruction of Cadia, the fall of the Cadian Gate, and the creation of the Great Rift. This was a monumental victory for the Black Legion and a crippling blow to the Imperium.
  • The Diamor Campaign: In the wake of the Great Rift’s creation, the Black Legion launched a massive assault on the Diamor System, devastating the Blood Angels Chapter and turning the tide of the Cryptus Campaign in favor of Chaos.
  • The Invasion of Ultramar: Following the resurrection of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman, the Black Legion attempted to thwart the Primarch’s efforts to reach Terra and aid in the defense of the Imperium. Though unsuccessful, the Black Legion’s assault on Ultramar bought valuable time for the Forces of Chaos.

Legion Fleet and Weaponry

The Black Legion commands a vast fleet of powerful warships, many dating back to the days of the Great Crusade. At the time of the 13th Black Crusade, the Legion’s fleet rivaled Imperial Navy Battlefleets in size, boasting numerous capital ships and dozens of escort squadrons.

The flagship of this armada is the infamous Vengeful Spirit, once the personal battleship of Horus himself and now commanded by Abaddon.

In addition to its conventional forces, the Black Legion also employs a number of horrific superweapons, such as the Planet Killer (a vessel capable of destroying an entire world) and the Blackstone Fortresses, ancient alien constructs of immense power.

These assets make the Black Legion a threat not just to individual planets, but to entire star systems and sectors.

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Notable Members

  • Abaddon the Despoiler: Warmaster of Chaos, heir to Horus, and supreme commander of the Black Legion. Abaddon is the most powerful Chaos Lord in the galaxy and the mastermind behind the Black Crusades.
  • Iskandar Khayon: Known as “Khayon the Black”, this former Thousand Sons Sorcerer is one of Abaddon’s most trusted lieutenants and a member of the Ezekarion.
  • Haarken Worldclaimer: A mighty Chaos Lord and herald of Abaddon, Haarken led the Black Legion forces during the Vigilus campaign, fighting against the resurrected Primarch Roboute Guilliman.
  • Ygethmor the Deceiver: A powerful Sorcerer and Warpsmith, Ygethmor serves as Abaddon’s chief advisor and is a key member of the Ezekarion.
  • Telemachon Lyras: Once a proud Captain of the Emperor’s Children, Telemachon now serves as one of Abaddon’s most skilled warriors and a champion of Slaanesh.
  • Devram Korda: Known as the “Tyrant of Sarora”, Devram Korda is a vicious Chaos Lord who serves as one of Abaddon’s Chosen, the Lord Ravager.
  • Threxos Hellbreed: A savage Khornate warlord, Threxos commands the Hounds of Abaddon warband and serves as the Lord Ravager of the Chosen of Abaddon.

The Future of the Black Legion With the Imperium reeling from the creation of the Great Rift and the onset of the Noctis Aeterna, the Black Legion stands poised to achieve their ultimate goal – the destruction of the “Corpse-Emperor” and the conquest of the galaxy in the name of the Dark Gods.

As Abaddon’s power grows and more warbands flock to his banner, the Long War enters a new and terrifying phase. The Imperium must stand resolute against the rising tide of Chaos, or risk being consumed by the same darkness that claimed Horus and his once-loyal sons ten millennia ago.

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Eye Of Terror

The Black Legion and the Long War

The overriding goal of the Black Legion is vengeance against the “Corpse-Emperor” for the defeat of Horus and the driving of the Traitor Legions into the Eye of Terror.

Abaddon and his Legion are committed to overthrowing the Imperium, putting Terra itself to the torch, and raising the banners of Chaos over the galaxy. The Black Crusades are merely the most blatant manifestation of Abaddon’s ongoing Long War, a war that will only end when the Imperium is ashes and the Dark Gods ascendant.

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Who is the current leader of the Black Legion?

Ezekyle Abaddon, former First Captain of the Sons of Horus and now Warmaster of Chaos.

What was the Black Legion originally known as?

The Luna Wolves, then later the Sons of Horus during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy.

How many Black Crusades have there been?

Thirteen Black Crusades to date, each led by Abaddon the Despoiler.

What was the outcome of the 13th Black Crusade?

The 13th Black Crusade resulted in the destruction of Cadia and the creation of the Great Rift that has divided the Imperium.

How does the Black Legion’s organization differ from other Traitor Legions?

The Black Legion has a more unified command structure under Abaddon compared to other Legions, though it still operates through semi-independent warbands. Abaddon also has elite circles of lieutenants and commanders known as the Ezekarion and the Chosen of Abaddon.

In summary, the Black Legion is the arch-foe of the Imperium, surpassing all other Traitor Legions in size, strength and malevolence. Led by Abaddon the Despoiler, this Chaos Space Marine Legion is determined to end the Long War by destroying the Emperor’s realm and plunging the galaxy into the darkness of Chaos.

The Black Legion’s ultimate goal is to complete the mission that Horus started – to conquer the galaxy and claim it for the Dark Gods.

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