Let’s talk about another crazy 40K theory, why the Primarch Vulkan might be a major threat to the Imperium.
The Imperium of Man faces many threats, both from within and without. Traitors and Xenos press its borders, the fabric of reality has been ripped asunder and there is dissension among the ranks of it’s brave defenders. It is a dark time, a time where there is only war, and yet hope shines eternal among the stars. The return of a lost Primarch, Roboute Guilliman, has given hope to the defenders of humanity. To the Space Marines, the Angels of Death, it has an additional meaning, where one lost Primarch could return, might not others? The Salamanders in particular have long worked for the return of their Primarch Vulkan. It’s is widely assumed that the return of Vulkan would be a good thing for the Imperium. However one theory posits that far from saving it Vulkan might be the biggest threat to the Imperium ever. Let’s take a look.
The Secrets of Molech
To understand this theory we we have to go way, way back, to before the Imperium and the Unification Wars. At some point in this period, either during Old Night or the Dark Age of Technology the Emperor and several companions (including several perpetuals) made their way to the world of Molech. Molech was a settled world not far from Terra with a large number of Knights. In the legends of Molech the Emperor came to be known as the Lord of Storms and was the central figure of Molech’s old religion. On Molech the Emperor and his companions found a portal to the warp, or perhaps a particular part of the warp, and this portal was clearly their reason for coming to Molech. The Emperor it seems entered the portal and later returned having gained something.
What exactly the Emperor gained beyond the portal is up for some debate. Some think he bargained with the Chaos Pantheon for the knowledge to create the Primarchs. Others, including Horus, think that this is where he gained the power to ascended from being a powerful, yet human, psyker and became a god instead. It is also widely believed that the Emperor somehow cheated the Chaos gods in this bargain, and the Ruinous Power’s particular antipathy for the Emperor and his works may stem from this moment. Whatever the details, the Emperor seems to have left Molech more powerful than when he arrived, as evidenced by the fact that he doesn’t seem to have used a spaceship to return to Terra.
The Price Of Godhood
Millennial later during the height of the civil war he had started the traitor Warmaster Horus Lupercal came to Molech. It was not his first time on the world. During the Great Crusade, he a few other Primarchs had spent around a month there with the Emperor bringing peace and Imperium’s light to the world. Now Horus brought death and ruin. He had returned to follow in his father’s footsteps and claim the same power he believed the his father had found there, the power to become a god. In this it seems he was successful, for Horus also stepped through a portal to the Warp and returned… changed. Empowered.
The Horus that emerged from the portal on Molech was far more powerful the one that had gone in. In his mind he had achieved godhood and was an equal to the Emperor. He was now known as the Ascendant Vessel of Chaos and even his brothers recognized that he had grown. Where once Leman Russ felt he could have bested Horus in a fight, the Wolf King now saw only defeat in such a confrontation. And yet Horus’ new power did not come without a price. It was seen by many the warp was affecting his mind, he often seemed “less” than had had before, and when asleep or unconscious he appeared as a shadow of the man he had once been. Finally in the novel The Lost and the Damned we learn the truth: The power Horus gained on Molech is killing him. As Abbadon is told:
“The Pantheon gift him with great ability, but the favor of the gods carries a steep prince… Horus’ soul is bright with divine might, but it burns. Mighty as his being is, it is finite. He is not invincible in this world or the other. If we delay too long, he will be devoured by the power he commends.”
Thus it is clear that even a Primarch cannot contain the full power of godhood forever.
The One Who Can
So here is where the theory gets interesting. We know of two people who entered the Molech portal and came back apparently wielding the power of a god. Both the Emperor and Horus gained this power, and yet the Emperor survived thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands of years after entering the portal whereas Horus appears to be dying from the same powers only a few years after gaining them. So what is the difference here? Maybe the Emperor’s superior psychic might is what allows him to survive where Horus is failing. However this theory posits that it’s not physic might, but the Emperor’s nature as a Perpetual that allows him to survive, Horus’ being is finite; a Perpetual’s isn’t. To harness the power of the Chaos Gods you not only have to have immense power, such as that of a Primarchs, to gain it, but then must be a Perpetual to survive it.
This brings us back to Vulkan, for the Primarch of XVIII Legion is not only immensely powerful but is in fact a perpetual. Thus, so the theory goes, if Vulkan where to pass through the Molech portal he could harness the power of Chaos and survive to use it in full, he could potentially become as powerful as the Emperor Himself, and with no time limit. It seems that Vulkan alone of the Primarchs has the gifts to survive a warp apotheosis and grow into a true rival for the Emperor. Maybe he was designed this way, and maybe the Imperium is lucky that Horus, not Vulkan, was made Warmaster and became the target of the Dark Gods plans. Perhaps in his hubris, Erebus simply choose the wrong vessel.
Vulkan’s current whereabouts are unknown, though it is likely he is still alive and active due to his nature. His mental state is less sure, as the Primarch had a history of mental instability after his torture at the hands of Conrad Kruz and his many rebirths. Thus the theory goes that should Vulkan, either willingly or through trickery be enticed to enter the Molech portal he would become as powerful as the Emperor, though likely far less mentally stable, and a being, even a benign one, much less a crazy Chaos manipulated one, with the powers of the Emperor loose in the galaxy would without a doubt be one of, if not the, greatest threats the Imperium has ever faced. While this may be an unlikely event, it remains an interesting theory to ponder.
Let us know what you think of this crazy theory, down in the comments.