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Warhammer 40K: Typhus & Mortarion – The Betrayal

5 Minute Read
Nov 19 2020

Before he was Typhus, Calas Typhon was a loyal captain of the Death Guard. What caused the rift between the First Captain and his Primarch?

Games Workshop highlighted Typhus today in an article that hit some of the highlights of his current career. We’re fulling expecting the next chapter of Typhus’ saga to unfold when the Death Guard codex drops. But one part of that article stuck out:

via Warhammer Community

“To say that Typhus doesn’t have the best relationship with his Primarch, Mortarion, is a massive understatement.

Read all about the start of their troubled relationship in The Buried Dagger.”

That’s great and all but if you’re like me you kind of want some answers right now. Plus, I’m sure not everyone is fully caught up on Typhus’ lore anyhow. Or why he started going by Typhus and not Typhon in the first place. Good news – we’re about to cover all of that.


via Lexicanum

Calas Typhon – The Early Years

Typhus was born Calas Typhon on the Death Guard’s eventual homeworld of Barbarus. Typhon was a half-breed, the result of one of the Overlords of Barbarus taking a liking to his Human Mother. As a child upon the toxic planet of Barbarus, Calas Typhon was troubled by nightly phenomena over which he believed he had no control. Objects would shudder and smash around him whenever he was frightened or angered, and plants would wither and die under his gaze. These phantom powers troubled him greatly, but he resolved to turn them to his advantage. By the time Typhon reached maturity, he had learned to master the psychic energies that resonated within him each night; a feat of will that impressed his elders mightily. With this act, Typhon became stronger in his resolve to succeed than any of his peers.

When Mortarion defected from the Overlords after witnessing their atrocities, Typhon was the first person the Primarch encountered and the young child helped lead him to safety. During his early adulthood, Typhus was a champion of Mortarion’s early Death Guard in his war against the Warlord of Barbarus. When the Emperor reclaimed his lost son Mortarion from the poisonous mists of Barbarus, and reunited him with the the superhuman warriors born from his gene-seed, Typhon was amongst those chosen to join their ranks. As he joined the legion, his psychic potential was suppressed through training due to the anti-psyker sentiment of his Primarch. Nonetheless through his rugged talent, Typhon was eventually able to rise to the prestigious position of First Captain. He shared a strong bond with Mortarion, the two being close comrades due in part to their shared origin as outsiders even among Barbarus.

Typhon To Typhus – The Horus Heresy

According to Typhon himself, he was secretly converted to worship of the Gods of Chaos during the Zaramund Campaign, receiving revelation at the touch of the hand of an old woman. Typhon’s allegiance to Chaos predated that of his own Primarch, or of Horus himself[2a]. With the help of his new gods, Typhon became First Captain of the Death Guard and commander of the battleship Terminus EstTyphon was not particularly loyal to Mortarion, and always wished to travel the Galaxy and forge his own destiny in the name of the Ruinous Powers.

After being instructed that the time was right by Erebus, Typhon and his forces rejoined Mortarion during the purging of the loyalist world of Ynyx. Disappointed that Mortarion had still not yet embraced Chaos, Typhon began a scheme to force him to accept the truth. When the Death Guard’s fleet embarked for Terra Typhon framed the Navigators of the fleet with evidence that they were agents of Malcador the Sigillite, executing them with his Grave Wardens in the name of protecting the Death Guard.

Typhon then assured his Primarch that he could lead the fleet to Terra without their help, using a group of Psychic Legionaries who were Librarians in all but name only. instead, he led them into a trap – becalming the Death Guard fleet in the warp, adrift, helpless and at the mercy of Chaos. hen came the Destroyer Plague and the Death Guard were struck down as the Legion suffered agonies beyond imagination, not even being able to suffer death.


Enraged at the trap he had led them into, Mortarion himself confronted his former friend aboard the Terminus Est. Typhon expressed his desire for Mortarion to accept Nurgle’s embrace, but instead the Primarch attacked the First Captain. Typhon’s psychic abilities allowed him to hold off the Primarch’s attacks for a time, however Mortarion eventually prevailed and struck down Typhon with his scythe. Due to the Destroyer Plague, Typhon quickly came back to life. Mortarion then revealed his ace in the hole: unleashing the deformed Ignatius Grulgor from his confines.

Grulgor strangled Typhon to death, fulfilling his oath to Mortarion to kill the First Captain. However Typhon quickly came back to life, and both the First Captain and Daemon laughed as Mortarion realized he had been betrayed. As a reward for his service to Nurgle, Grulgor dissolved and merged with Typhon’s body. His body became home to the flies of Nurgle, his armour a hive of pestilence. He then became Typhus, Herald of Nurgle and the Host of the Destroyer Hive. Fully corrupted by Chaos, Typhon and the rest of the Death Guard went on to fight for Horus in the Siege of Terra.


The rest, as they say, is history. Mortarion never really forgave Typhus for his betrayal. Typhus never really forgave Mortarion for his denial of the powers of chaos. Ultimately, it was Typhus who caused his legion to turn to Nurgle. It was his scheming that caused a schism between the two – a rift that never really healed regardless of the fact that they have both given in to the gifts of Nurgle.

If you want to learn more about Typhus, Mortarion and the Death Guard, be sure to check out the Lexicanum!


What do you think? Was Typhus only speeding up the inevitable or were his actions an unforgivable betrayal to Mortarion?


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