40K Lore: The Sorcerers of Chaos!

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With all this heretical talk of Tzeentch and the Thousand Sons going around, Loremasters, we must protect against a terrible foe.

Editor’s note: We have a special guest lecturer-again. Our last series on the nature of daemons was deemed too heretical and while we await the agents of the Inquisition to finish purging the last heresy from our archives, we have a rare treat. One of our battle-loremasters, who we all assumed had been killed, has returned to us with tales of heresy and death from around the galaxy:

What drives a man to heresy? Is it lust for power? Greed? A burning desire for revenge? All of these things make their homes in the human heart. And every desire seems ripe for the feast in the eyes of the Ruinous Powers. And yet–in spite of this, perhaps because of the Emperor’s Protection, or perhaps because there’s a certain spiteful bloodymindedness that anyone, from the most cantankerous and secretive loremaster, to the lowliest guardsman who’s been ordered over the top–there’s a certain kind of unrelenting spiteful determination to keep the Universe from somehow winning that keeps the base, corrupt heart of humanity pure. It’s beautiful, in it’s own ignoble kind of way. Sure it’s greed and corruption, but it’s honest human greed and corruption.

But it’s when people start getting ideas in their head that they ain’t full of cowardice and spit and vinegar that Heresy takes hold. It’s when you start to thinking you’re maybe somehow above all of this–better than the lowly commoners that you start gettin’ full of Heretical thoughts what worm their way into your heart of hearts. And they’ll tell you you’re meant for great things, and make you forget that you gotta eat, kill, and backstab your way to the top only to get inevitably betrayed one day if you’re lucky. It’s the sort of thing that gets you outta bed.

Not so these heretics. Now sure there are cultists–and they’re heretical and all, but for the most part they’re still people. Dumb and wrong and deserving of the Emperor’s justice or mercy dependin’ on what helps you sleep better at night. But the worst of them is the Sorcerers.

It’s bad enough they come from Space Marines (who couldn’t help you figure out which end of a bolt gun faces the right way without a Codex tellin’ ’em what to do), but they come from Librarians. They’re the ones who are supposed to know better. But tempted by dark magic and secret rites passed down from some heretical nonsense that won’t die right if you shoot it with a lasgun, they turn to Chaos and then they get…poncy.

The first Chaos Sorcerers emerged from the ranks of the Thousand Sons before and during the Horus Heresy. Some of these Sorcerers were exiled after the Rubric of Ahriman was cast and they now sell their services in exchange for sacrifices or the chance to hunt down arcane lore. Only the World Eaters destroyed their Sorcerers, Khorne having no interest in sorcery. If a Librarian overreaches himself and draws on too much psychic energy he may be granted visions of immortality and whispered promises of power.

At least the minions of Khorne had the sense enough to know no good can come from any of this sorcererererering.

Most Sorcerers are granted gifts by their god, which further enhance their psychic powers. They are also often selfish madmen, believing themselves superior to all others and on a mighty quest for power and knowledge to increase their mental fortitude and develop new ways of using their powers. Often the visions given to Sorcerers are unattainable, subsequently driving them to extremes in their desire to achieve these goals.

Sorcerers often take part in Daemonic Pacts to increase their powers through the use of Daemonic energy. This pact bargains some form of service or payment in return for a part of the Daemon’s power. The Sorcerer can use this power to unleash staggering psychic powers, in the same way as Daemons use it to maintain their grip on reality. The greatest Sorcerers have dozens of daemonic pacts to increase their powers to unimaginable ends. While this can be useful and attractive, eventually a price must be paid by the Sorcerer.

And that right there brings us to the biggest thing that goes wrong with Chaos, Sorcery, and Chaos Sorcery. Take a look at the fates of these “powerful sorcerers” and know well what comes to those who truck with powers best left shot with a bolter.

Jharek Kelmaur was a Chaos Sorcerer under the command of the Iron WarriorsChaos Lord known only as “The Warsmith” during the Siege of Hydra Cordatus. Described as a short, hunched, pathetic figure whose eyes had been sewn shut, Kelmaur aided the Warsmith in his quest for Daemonhood, typically as an adviser on psychic matters, and as an augur by receiving and interpreting visions by communing with the Gods of Chaos. He was also responsible for transformation of Etolph Cycerin by infection with the Obliterator virus.

At Hydra Cordatus, Kelmaur had chose not to inform the Warsmith of a faint psychic distress signal that had managed to leave the planet, trying instead to impress a wholly successful effort on his own part. Rather than risking the wrath of the Warsmith, Kelmaur tried to bolster his precarious position by sending the Iron Warriors’ flagship, Stonebreaker, to the system’s translation point to intercept any Imperial reinforcements. This was a mistake which allowed a Battle Company of Imperial Fists to avoid the Stonebreaker and land on the planet, reinforcing the besieged garrison. For his duplicity and the scale of his mistake, the Warsmith transformed Kelmaur into a Chaos Spawn after he had served his purpose

Severin Drask was a Sorcerer Lord of the Crimson SlaughterChaos Space Marines. In a vicious battle, Drask was badly wounded and killed when the Eversor AssassinSylas Torq detonated. Tzeentch lost his faith in Drask and withdrew his support, which resulted in the entire Temple of Shades collapsing with him.

Malafor was the SorcererLord of the Death Shadows Warband, when they mustered on Sybari to launch a surprise attack on the Realm of Ultramar. However before the Warband could launch their attack, Sybari’s Systemwas invaded by Hive Fleet Behemoth and the Shadow in the Warp created by its presence drove Malafor insane. When the Tyranids invaded Sybari, the Death Shadows found themselves leaderless and the Warband was destroyed in less than an hour.

Myrath the Damned was a Thousand SonsSorcerer, who was the second in command of the Chaos forces led by the Daemon PrinceVyrokan. He took part in the Daemon Prince’s attack on the Imperium city Valmar Magna, which reduced it to ruins, and later clashed with a Dark Angels task force and the FreebladeKnight Gerantius, who were sent to reclaim the city from them. In the fierce battle that followed, Myrath killed many of the Dark Angels before he met his end; when he fought Gerantius and was crushed by the Freeblade’s foot.

Ygethmor the Deceiver is the Sorcerer Lord of the Black Legion and Chosen of Abaddon. He was foiled by the EldarElarique Swiftblade, who decapitated the Sorcerer before being killed in turn.

So let that be a lesson to all of you. Truck with Chaos and all that awaits is an ignominious and ironic death on a backwater world. Unlike faith in the Emperor which guarantees you an unremarkable death on some backwater world.

But at least you’ll be full of good, honest, hard-working spite.

  • Kevin Maloney

    I’d say Iskandar Khayon deserves a spot on this list.