BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

40K Lore: Erebus – Father of the Horus Heresy

4 Minute Read
Aug 25 2015


Today we delve into the one man most responsible for the Horus Heresy – the father of lies – First Chaplain Erebus of the Word Bearers.

via our sistersite Lexicanum

Erebus is one of the most prominent members of the Word Bearers Chaos Space Marines and a member of the Dark Council of Sicarus. He was the harbinger of the Horus Heresy, instrumental in converting first Lorgar and then Horus to Chaos.



At the onset of the Heresy and the end of the Great Crusade, Erebus held the prestigious position of First Chaplain of the Word Bearers Legion. He was a fearsome and intimidating Astartes warrior, sections of the Book of Lorgar tattooed across his shaven scalp to terrify his enemies. Feeling abject humiliation after the Emperor‘s punishment for their legion’s deification of him, Erebus began to tell Lorgar that were other gods in the universe that could be worshiped. Thus Erebus, aided by Kor Phaeron, were able to slowly poison Lorgar into accepting Chaos. After the pilgrimage of the Word Bearers into the Eye of Terror, Lorgar and his legion fully embraced Chaos. Erebus would play a vital role in his legion’s new plans. It is unknown when Erebus himself began worshiping Chaos, but it may have been through his faith in the Covenant of Colchis before joining Lorgar, which worshiped aspects of the Chaos Gods. Like Kor Phaeron, Erebus kept these secrets from his primarch.

Some time before the time of first contact with the Interex, Erebus began associating with the Luna Wolves legion and with the Warmaster in particular. During negotiations with the Interex, Erebus stole an archaic anathame sword from their closely guarded Hall of Devices, precipitating the war. This was not simply out of greed – it was all part of his carefully managed plan to corrupt the Warmaster and bring him under the influence of his own secret masters, the Warp powers of Chaos.

Erebus gave the weapon to the traitor Governor of the planet Davin, Eugen Temba, and played Horus’s pride to get him to lead his expedition fleet back to Davin and personally bring it back to compliance. Temba played his part, wounding Horus with the anathame as Erebus intended, and the Luna Wolves’ apothecaries couldn’t heal his wounds. Erebus suggested to the Mournival that Davin’s Serpent Lodge could heal their primarch. The grief-stricken Ezekyle Abaddon and Horus Aximand turned Horus over to their care and Erebus projected himself into Horus’s fever visions disguised as the late Hastur Sejanus. Opposed by Magnus the Red, Erebus won over Horus to his cause with visions of a future that deified the Emperor and a select few primarchs, rejected the rest, and had seemingly forgotten Horus’s contributions compared to the offer of replacing the Emperor and possessing unimaginable power.

Erebus continued to pour honey into Horus’s ear, directing him further from the Great Crusade and pursuing his own ascension. By showing the Warmaster the powers of the Warp and urging him to make pacts with the gods of Chaos, he eventually set Horus on the path to heresy against the Emperor.


Erebus on the Vengeful Spirit

Along with Horus, Erebus masterminded the Isstvan III betrayal, ever mindful of the need to eliminate those loyalist elements of theTraitor Legions before the war on Terra could begin. Garviel Loken suspected Erebus as a traitor and conspirator, which only led the corrupt Chaplain to add him to the list of doomed Astartes brethren sent down ahead of the virus bomb assault on the planet. Erebus remained with Horus throughout the Heresy, acting as his dark spiritual adviser and co-conspirator.

After the Battle of Signus Prime, Erebus presented the Red Angel to Horus. Erebus let his arrogance slip in Horus’s presence, blaming Horus for disrupting his plans for the Blood Angels and Sanguinius, and Horus punished him by flaying Erebus’s heavily-tattooed face from his skull with his own athame. He later proved instrumental in the aftermath of the Battle of Calth, successfully summoning theRuinstorm to effectively split the Imperium in two. Later during the Shadow Crusade, Erebus is nearly killed by Kharn after the World Eater discovers the First Chaplain’s role in the death of his friend, Argel Tal.


Erebus is currently a member of the Dark Council, the ruling body of Sicarus and is often engaging in power struggles for control of the Legion with Kor Phaeron. During the 13th Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler, Erebus would appear leading an army of Word Bearers across the Cadian Sector, sacrificing millions of human captives to summon a vast army of Daemons across the Sector.


In Greek mythology, Erebus is the son of the primordial god Chaos.

Learn More of the Word Bearers


~Do you think there is any better villain in the Grimdark than Erebus?


  • Horus Heresy Game: A Name Emerges & More