Today we delve deep into the Space Wolves 13th Company, Brothers lost for 10,000 years.
The 13th Great Company was one of the original Great Companies of the Space Wolves Legion of the Adeptus Astartes. The 13th Great Company disappeared during the Horus Heresy, only to re-emerge from the Eye of Terror during the Thirteenth Black Crusade.
The 13th Great Company was formed from the followers of Leman Russ from his days on Fenris, before the coming of the Emperor. As such they were known as the “Greybeards” to the rest of the Legion, while they referred to themselves as the “Wolf Brothers”. Immediately preceding the Heresy, the Company was led by the Wolf Lord Jorin Bloodhowl.
The 13th Great Company was lost during the Space Wolves’ pursuit of the Thousand Sons, following the Battle of Prospero, though the exact circumstances of their disappearance remain a mystery. One legend states that the members of the 13th Company swore to hunt their foes down until every last one of the cursed marines was slain, no matter how long it took, nor where the traitors fled. They vanished from Imperial records, and their stone on the Grand Annulus (the record of Space Wolf Great Companies in the Great Hall of theFang), was replaced by a black slab of obsidian. Since then, the subject of the 13th Company has become taboo among the Space Wolves, and it is forbidden to speak of them except in whispers. The black stone on the Grand Annulus has come to represent all the Great Companies in the chapter‘s history that have disappeared, been destroyed in battle, or turned renegade. Before their disappearance, their totem was the sign of the Wulfen, but no Great Company has used that badge since the Heresy.
At some time in late M41, the 13th Great Company was encountered by Ragnar Blackmane on the shadow-copy of Charys conjured by the Thousand Sons. Lord Bulveye was in command, though he was not forthcoming about the 13th Great Company’s origins, or how the Great Company had fared in the 10,000 years since their departure. A small number of the 13th Company’s Wolves fought alongside Ragnar and his comrades to defeat the Chaos Sorcerer Madox, thwarting a plot by the Thousand Sons to destroy the Wolves. The 13th Great Company was also suspected to have saved Imperial forces under Black Legion attack in the Ormantep Raid
Somehow, the hardy sons of Russ survived their journey through the Eye and emerged, long after they should have perished, during the 13th Black Crusade. Given that they vanished before the Emperor was interred on the Golden Throne, they have been missing for approximately 10,000 years. There are even rumours that Russ himself was their leader, although this was never proven.
One thing that sets the 13th Great Company apart from the rest of the Space Wolves is the large percentage of warriors who have succumbed to the Curse of the Wulfen. Whether the increased percentage of 13th Company Marines who have succumbed to the Curse is a result of their prolonged exposure to the Eye of Terror, or whether it existed before their disappearance is unknown. However, Space Wolf legend describes Wulfen as the “13th Wolf,” which stalks all of the Space Wolves.
Due to the lack of available reinforcements, resupply, or proper facilities, the 13th Company’s organization and equipment departs heavily from Space Wolf norms. The 13th Company maintains the dark grey colour scheme of the Pre-Heresy Space Wolves, on what little remains of their original equipment. Much of their armor and weaponry has been replaced with material scavenged from their fallen Chaos foes. Not surprisingly, their Company has almost no heavy equipment such as tanks, Terminators or Dreadnoughts. Because of the impossibility of recruiting new brethren, there are no Blood Claws in the 13th Company. Each and every Blood Claw has long since advanced to a higher rank.
The core of a 13th Company warband is the Grey Slayers, which fulfill the same role as Grey Hunters. The Company’s assault specialists are the Storm Claws. They are equally experienced, but still more hot-headed and aggressive than the Grey Slayers. The key to the 13th Company’s movement through the Warp are the Rune Priests. Because the Eye of Terror has unlocked hidden psychic powers in many recruits, the Company has no shortage of these highly gifted individuals.
Their most drastic departure from the rest of the Chapter is their willing use of the Wulfen in battle. Though normal Space Wolves sometimes use individual Wulfen in battle, the 13th Company use entire packs. Each and every member of the 13th Company carries the Curse, and it manifests itself in the Space Wolves at different times. The mutation’s effects are even more pronounced because of the influence of Chaos; and yet, conversely, having to wrestle with this curse for so long has left the 13th Company exceptionally resistant to the malign influence of Chaos. It is believed that this is the only reason that the 13th Company – who have always remained loyal to Russ and the Emperor – have been able to survive for so long inside the Eye of Terror.
“Listen closely Brothers, for my life’s breath is all but spent. There shall come a time far from now when our chapter itself is dying, even as I am now dying. Then my children, I shall list’n for your call from whatever realms of death hold me, and come I shall no-matter what laws of life and death forbid. At the end I will be there. For the final battle. For the Wolftime.”
Primarch Leman Russ – before his final departure into the Eye of Terror