Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Night Lords in the Aleph Sector

Lord Raziel for most of his 10,000 year existence was a captain of the 7th Night Lords grand company. He now fights as an independent chaos lord in the Aleph Sector seeking to topple the control of the imperium and tau over human worlds and to build his own empire of mankind. To understand his story and appearance in the Aleph Sector, one must know the history of the Night Lords.

The combat doctrine of the legion was once to use terror as a weapon for the pursuit of higher goals. Examples were made of those who defied the Night Lords, collective punishments and horrific massacres set an example to the enemies of the Night Lords and through terror whole star systems bowed to their will rather than take up arms. Terror induced order and was enough in itself to avoid conflict and bloodshed. Even during and after the Horus Heresy the Night Lords kept true to their vision of an Imperium of man untainted by hypocrisy, religious fanaticism and superstition. However this did not last, for ever since the assassination of the Night Lord’s primarch Konrad Curze, the legion has dissolved into madness and nihilism, finding no goal or purpose to fight for save the pursuit of fear and sadism in itself. The use of terror has now become the goal of the legion and thus has bred its own war logic. The legion that once despised fanaticism of all kinds is now commanded by a Demon Prince named Acerbus and who openly dedicates himself and his followers to the service of the chaos gods.

The Night Lord’s primarch knew the legion was flawed, that there were many who would not have the willpower to distinguish between the use and pursuit of terror. Thus Konrad Curze chose the Night Lord with greatest willpower resolve and vision Zso Sahaal as his heir before he let the imperial assassin kill him. Unfortunately for the legion Zso Sahaal was trapped in stasis for 10,000 years and thus unable to avert the legion from its downfall. Captain Raziel was one of the few in the legion that understood the doctrines of the Night Haunter and had the strength to resist the slide into madness and sadism. Only a captain though and outnumbered by officers and marines infatuated with sowing fear and suffering amongst their victims he could only keep silent and followed the orders of the demon prince Acerbus for ten thousand years as his legion deteriorated, his undying hatred of the imperium the only thing keeping him from despair.

As the legion settled within the Eye of Terror, Captain Raziel was able to build up strength and reputation in the legion leading countless successful raids on imperial shipping and defeating imperial guard and space marine forces around the Cadian gate on several occasions. His command of marines increased yet his victories were always unappreciated by the legion who preferred launching genocidal attacks on hive worlds to facing formidable opponents. Raziel never felt the satisfaction of his chaos crazed brothers at these minor victories knowing full well that in the grand scheme of things they amounted to little and would never be able to crush the imperium.

Depression from this futility and the effects of prolonged exposure to the warp began to fray his mind over the centuries. Raziel would enter long trances in the timeless existence of the Eye of Terror totally isolated in his stronghold chambers from the rest of his army. During one such trance he fell into a long coma and when he awoke found his body had warped so that vampiric wings emerged from his spine. Increasingly he felt a predatory lust for blood and to stalk and he knew that despite his endurance the exposure to the warp was breaking down his resistance to the flaw in his gene-seed and that soon he would become indistinguishable from the others in his legion. It was fortunate for what humanity was left in Raziel that soon after his wings evolved a message was detected in the warp of the return of Zso Sahaal on the distant hive world of Equixus. The legion departed to the world and upon arriving Acerbus ordered the Night Lords to attack the undefened hive world. No one was spared. Acerbus greeted Zso Sahaal who was disgusted and horrified by the legions descent into depravity and accused of Acerbus of betraying everything their primarch stood for. Acerbus merely laughed at Sahaal and tried to kill him to officially become the heir to Konrad Cruze but Sahaal escaped his attack and fled the planet.

Raziel witnessed this encounter and realised that in Zso Sahaal there was still hope for his legion to redeem itself from the clutches of chaos. He quietly left the council of the Night Lord commanders that followed the success of the Equixus genocide and quickly gathered his company. Raziel briefly considered trying to overthrow Acerbus and restoring the legion’s command to Sahaal but was smart enough to realise his powerbase was small and weak and that he would could not solely kill Acerbus unaided. He spoke to his officers about the need for the legion to revert back to the teachings of their Primarch and the need to fight the imperium rather than preying upon the weak inconsequential civilian targets that the legion had become fixiated with. The vast majority of his aspiring champions and sorcerers agreed and renounced their allegiance to Acerbus and swore it to Sahaal and Raziel instead. Those few that didn’t were quickly killed by their brothers hands. With his small warband Raziel fled Equixus before the remaining Night lords became aware of his actions.

Raziel knew Acerbus would come after him and so he ordered his men to sabotage the engines of the Night Lord’s fleet before leaving. Even with this act though Raziel knew he wasn’t safe from Acerbus and realised the need to get as far away from the Night Lords lair in the Eye of Terror. He also knew that if the legion were to free itself of the taint of chaos proximity to the warp would make this impossible.

Therefore Raziel ordered his fleet to set a course eastward. As the legion ventured towards the eastern fringes they came across rumours from captured traders that the Rim world planet Typhon in the Zadoc subsector, Aleph Sector had once been occupied by a Night Lord warband. Hoping to add what remained of the Night Lords to his command, Raziel landed on Typhon and decided that the planet was sufficiently placed to establish a base for the empire he envisaged to create.

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