Let’s talk about how Guiliman plan’s to destroy his father’s Imperium.
Since his return from death Roboute Guilliman, the Avenging Son, has been hard at work. On the face of it, Guilliman has spent every waking moment working tirelessly to shore up his father’s realm. He has rebuilt the Space Marines by introducing the Primaris, launched the Indomitus Crusade, fought the Plague Wars, battled across countless stars, restored the glory of Ultramar of Old, and passed numerous reforms aimed at restoring the Imperial Government. Yet he has done nothing but aid the Imperium’s real foe: Himself.
While on the surface of things Guilliman has been working to uphold and reinforce his father’s Imperium, the Primarch of the XIII seems to have plans of his own. In truth, the Avenging Son has been hard at work undermining the long-standing Imperial apparatus. Like an insidious Chaos Cult, Guilliman and his followers have wormed their way into every aspect of the Imperial government. He has co-opted vital figures and institutions, broken the power of those who oppose him, undermined the pillars of Imperial power, and waged a secret war for control of Mankind. All of this was done in service to his long term goals: the destruction of the Imperium of Mankind, as devised and formed by the Emperor and upheld through the long millennium by the faithful.
This is not to say the Guilliman wishes for an end to Mankind, Galactic government, or civilization. In place of the Emperor’s Imperium, the Last “Loyal” Son would rise his own version of an Imperium. Make no mistake should Guilliman win, while the Imperial borders may not change, and while the stellar empire of Mankind may persist, the Imperium as we know it will be gone, dust and ashes like its corpse lord.
The Avenging Son is at heart an empire builder. At creation, the Master of Mankind seems to have imbued his 13th son with his ambition and organizational skills, creating a post-human being will the need to organize, and the drive to expand organization across the stars. Even before being reunited with the Emperor Guilliman was empire-building on Macragge. From there, he would go to join the Imperial war effort to build the Imperium. Yet even while supporting his father’s grand ambitions, he could not resist empire building of his own. Under his care, Macragge came to rule over a mini-Empire within an Empire, the 500 worlds of Ultramar.
In Ultramar, Guilliman strove to build an empire that was, if anything, more perfect that the greater Imperium his father was making. Ambition drove Guilliman here, long before brother turned on brother, to try to prove himself a better ruler than the immortal Master of Mankind. Alone among the brother Primarchs the Thirteenth had an empire, a shining beacon of culture. Did Guilliman hope with Ultramar he would win the Emperor’s approval, as he once sought to win the support of his foster father, Konor? Could the Primarch’s motivations be nothing more complicated than a child seeking approval?
We do, however, know that not even the outbreak of the apocalyptic civil war known as the Horus Heresy could stop Guilliman from building. As the Ruinstorm, as a massive galactic wide warpstorm, swallowed the galaxy, and with many fearing the Holy Terra might have already fallen, Guilliman moved to build an Empire of his own out of the ashes of his father realm and based in Ultramar known as Imperium Secundus.
Guilliman sold his plan to his brother Primarchs Sanginiuis and the Lion, as a contingency in case Terra was lost and a way to keep mankind’s flame alive in a hostile galaxy. Yet despite Guilliman’s claims to continuity, it’s clear the Imperium Secundus, built out of Ultramar and its five hundred worlds, would be a different beast than the original Imperium. Nor did his brothers entirely trust Guilliman in this, going so far as to call him as ambitious as Horus.
It is clear that his ambitions did not end there. In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy and the Emperor’s internment on the Golden Throne, Guilliman once more took up the role of an empire builder. With the Emperor wounded and unable to command the Imperium, Guilliman took charge as Lord Commander of The Imperium. It’s not entirely clear how Guilliman was chosen over his brothers, though the fact that he led the largest loyal legion and had a strong power base in Ultramar likely played a role.
Guilliman wanted to make his mark and set about reorganizing things, writing the Codex Astartes, and secretly starting the Primaris project, among other things. Ultimately whatever plans the Avenging Son had for the post-Heresy Imperium were put on abrupt hold when he was mortally wounded by the traitor Fulgrim.
Guilliman’s Already Putting His Plan Into Action
Awakening nearly ten thousand years after being wounded, Guilliman found the Imperium and the galaxy considerably changed. Mankind’s realm had fallen into the darkness of superstition and ignorance, twisted by millennia of warfare into a creaking ossified mockery of its past self. It is an Imperium and a fate that Guilliman despises, for his personal beliefs are antithetical to the current Imperium. Moreover, and importantly for his plans, his brothers, the loyal ones at least, are gone, lost, or dead. Whatever personal pain this may have caused him, it did open the way for Guilliman to take control of the Imperium. This time his brothers could not hold him back.
Shortly after his return to Terra, a Terra bearing little resemblance to the one he recalled, he did just that, declaring himself once more Lord Commander of the Imperium and Imperial Regent. After taking over control of Imperial forces, Guilliman set about enacting sweeping reforms. At first, these seem primarily aimed at combating the dire military situation. After securing Terra from attack, and gaining the loyalty of both the Custodian Guard and the Sisters of Silence. Under cover of the Indomitus Crusade and the Primaris Project, Roboute Guilliman affected a take over of the entire Imperial military apparatus. Using the dire straights of the Imperium as an excuse, the Avenging Son has gained more direct personal power than anyone has held since the Emperor walked the stars.
The new Primaris Marines have a deep, likely inbuilt loyalty to Guiliman, and with them, he has managed to infiltrate even the most stubborn and independent chapters. His changes are not limited to the military either. He has already reformed the Codex Astartes, changing the fundamental laws governing Space Marines. His next big step seems to be the Codex Imperialis. As part of this, he created the Logos Historica Verita. This group works under Guilliman and was originally charged with finding and rediscovering the history of the Imperium and chronicling the current strife.
Made up of historians, Rogue Traders, and other agents, the Logos ultimately has ended up being Guilliman’s personal Inquisition. In addition, he created the Officio Logisiticarum. to support the Indomitus Crusade and oversaw supply, communications, and other logistical matters for the Crusading forces. As the crusade spread throughout the Imperial, so did the power of the Officio Logisticarum, with them establishing Hub-Fortresses across loyal space and taking over logistics and communication or large parts of the Imperium. All of this points to a major reformation.
Guilliman ultimately wants nothing less than to destroy the Imperium as it exists and rebuild it anew. He hates this fallen, dark Imperium, and wishes to restore it to the glory of the pre-Heresy Days. A return to the ideals of Unity. In this, he would no doubt say he is merely following his father’s will. This is a course correction to get things back in line with His plan. However, that may not be the case at all. Guilliman is ambitious to a fault and it seems highly likely, given his past, that he is at least partly motivated by trying to outdo his father, making a better Imperium, better laws, and even better Space Marines.
This also supposes that the Imperium as it now stands is in fact not the will of the Emperor. If the current Imperium is what the Emperor actually planned for (as the Dark Gods once told Horus) then in trying to destroy the Imperium as it is Guiliman is moving in direct opposition to the Emperor’s will. We will have to see, but Guilliman might not be the savior the Imperium thinks he is.
Let us know if you think Guilliman is a threat to the Imperium, down in the comment!