Is Luther of Caliban really a traitor of the Dark Angels, or what is the Lion that was to blame for their fall from grace?
They say history is written by the victors, but is that what really happened to the Dark Angels Legion when their planet Caliban was destroyed?
El’Jonson’s mentor, saviour, and friend, Luther discovered a young Lion El’Jonson in the forests of Caliban. He raised the Lion as if he were his own child, even giving him his name. Before the discovery of the Lion, Luther was the foremost hero of his times on Caliban. He presented him to The Order, the force of feudal knights on the planet who helped raise him. Together, Luther and the Lion battled rival knights and the ferocious beasts of Caliban until the coming of the Emperor and the Great Crusade. In honor of his past with the Lion, Luther was made the second in command of the Dark Angels. But while the two were close friends, deep down Luther began to resent the Lion for the fame and glory he won the Order and Dark Angels.
While crusading with Lion El’Jonson against the Sarosh Xenos, he discovered a bomb aboard the ship which would kill the Lion. Initially his jealousy encouraged him to leave it onboard and let the Lion die, however his better nature kicked in and he disabled it, with the help of the Librarian Zahariel, saving the Lion’s life. However somehow the Lion discovered his hesitation, and the two had a falling out. Luther was ultimately left to manage affairs on Caliban while the Lion waged the Great Crusade. Luther had to deal with a rebellion by the disgruntled nobility of Caliban who had their peasant farmers and lands confiscated by the Imperium. A cabal of Chaos Sorcerers also infiltrated Caliban to bring further instability, and Luther was made aware of Caliban’s possible Warp-infestation. Luther became convinced that Caliban would be destroyed by the Emperor as soon as this was discovered and became paranoid that the Lion had deliberately kept this from him as a death sentence. His superstitions were furthered when he learned that a cult of Terrans were in the process of a daemonic ritual, which was narrowly stopped by Zahariel, a librarian who Luther had grown fond of.
These factors ultimately led to Luther betraying the Lion, rallying many of the Dark Angels on Caliban to his cause and killing any dissidents. After attempting to utilize the Chaos Cultists own powers to his benefit, Luther seceded from the Imperium, claiming the Lion had betrayed them by leaving them on Caliban while the Great Crusade continued. Luther took to reading the books of an order who studied the Warp. He put what he learned into practice – a notable example occurred when the Librarian Israfael attacked him with a bolt of lightning, and it simply dissipated. However Astelan, an original member of the Dark Angels who was transported several millennia into the present when the Warp Storm tore Caliban apart, claims that it was the Lion who betrayed the Dark Angels, not Luther. His claim is considered heresy by Interrogator-Chaplain Boreas, and Commander Azrael has Astelan placed in a cell near Luther.
Regardless of the truth, when the Lion returned to Caliban after the Horus Heresy, Luther attacked his fleet. The Lion and Luther engaged in single combat. In this battle Lion El’Jonson wounded Luther but could not bring himself to kill his oldest and dearest friend. Luther, however, was merciless and sent a sorcerous blast straight towards Lion El’Jonson which mortally wounded the Primarch. At that moment, realizing how far he had fallen, Luther began to weep for what he had done to his friend, and the Dark Angels captured him and held him prisoner on the Rock. At this point, the Gods of Chaos scattered Luther’s forces, theFallen, through the warp. The intense battle, however, had made the planet unstable, and Caliban was destroyed.
Luther remains chained within the most secure cell of The Rock, guarded by Watchers in the Dark and his existence known only to the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels Chapter, Commander Azrael, and those who held the rank before him. He is often used as an oracle to find the other Fallen. Azrael, like his predecessors, has attempted to make Luther repent for his crimes ten millennia earlier – but, like his predecessors, he has failed to do so.
Luther only continues to rant and rave, claiming that Lion El’Jonson will come and absolve the Fallen, and that the day of the Lion’s return is close at hand.
So what is your verdict on Luther: Traitor or Savior?