40K Lore: Dark Apostles
Today Loremasters, we discuss the heretical teachings of the Dark Apostles of Chaos.
Vigilus burns, Loremasters! In spite of the continued efforts of the Adeptus Astartes, the Astra Militarum, and the rest of the forces dispatched to Vigilus, the spread of Chaos seems to continue. Their influence and their reach can be attributed not only to the foul might they wield, but to the heresy that drips from their voices like festering ooze from a corrupted wound. One of the biggest problems seems to stem from the most twisted of foes–former zealots who have been turned away from worship of the Emperor to the veneration of all things Chaos.
Begin chanting your Litany against Corruption, as we look into the origins and workings of the Dark Apostles. Originally the corrupted Chaplains of the Word Bearers Chaos Space Marines Legion, the Dark Apostles gleefully redirected the Legion’s fanatical zeal from preaching of the Imperial faith to howling the praises of Chaos.
Dark Apostles are impassioned and charismatic preachers, capable of causing entire Regiments of the Imperial Guard or even loyalist Space Marines to defect to the forces of Chaos. In battle they are skilled demagogues, able to exhort followers to greater acts of bravery and depravity – enemy commanders have often found out to their cost that the only way to truly blunt an attack by such fanatics is to remove the Apostle, or destroy each and every enemy facing them.
Dark Apostles carry their ritual Crozius Arcanum as they did before their fall, although the resulting Accursed Crozius have long since been corrupted and debased into deadly icons dedicated to the Chaos Gods themselves. Not only does this make them lethal assault weapons, it also marks the bearer as receiving the dark favour of the Gods, granting them protection from their enemies and allowing them a much deeper connection with the denizens of the warp. They are said to have a Senior War-Captain and an Apprentice in each of the Hosts led by a Dark Apostle. The Senior War-Captain is called a Coryphaus who leads the Word Bearer host and his words are only second to the Dark Apostle, the Apprentice of the Dark Apostle is named as a First Acolyte and will inherit a portion of the Host when the Dark Apostle and the Dark Council sees it fit. Usually the untimely death of a Dark Apostle is marked with a great loss and weeks of ceremonies are held in his commemoration, in that time the Captains of the dead Apostle’s Host are summarily executed for allowing such a thing to happen and the host absorbed into the ranks of a more able Dark Apostle.
In battle, Dark Apostles are often accompanied by their Dark Disciples, whose aid helps spur them on to higher feats. Here are a few examples of why the Dark Apostles are such hated foes.
Sor Bakphal was a Dark Apostle during the Horus Heresy and took part in the Dropsite Massacre. He later led the Word Bearers‘ forces against the Imperium on the planet Lakaph. There they surged across the planet, converting the human population to the worship of the Ruinous Powers and nearly overthrew the Imperium’s rule. However, unknown to Bakphal, an Eldar Ranger band led by Eladen Longstrider hunted him. As the Dark Apostle preached to an audience of captured Imperial soldiers, Longstrider shot him with a laser-guided needle dosed with the poison Knightsbane. The poison was too much even for Bakphal’s altered body and he died instantly, causing confusion amongst his forces, which allowed the Imperium to regroup and take back the planet from the Word Bearers.
Iskavan the Hated was a the Dark Apostle of the Ninth Host of Warmaster Garand, Iskavan was also a Champion of Chaos. Under Garand’s orders, Iskavan led the Word Bearers strike force on Cybele against the token garrison of the Blood Angels stationed there.
Iskavan was unaware, however, that his attack was simply part of a greater scheme to corrupt the entire Blood Angels chapter, a scheme that required the sacrifice of him and his men. When he realized this, Iskavan attempted to escape Cybele, but was killed by Arkio the Blessed, an act that bolstered the young Blood Angel’s growing reputation.
M’kar the Reborn was a Daemon Prince. His original name was Maloq Kartho, a Dark Apostle of the Word Bearers. Every other detail about his life has been redacted by order of the Inquisition, but even that fate alone should be enough to caution you away from listening to any of their dark rhetoric.
Guard yoruself well against heresy! One lapse in faith is all it takes!