Today learn the tale of the first of the Heretic Astartes to welcome a Daemon of the Immaterium within himself – Argel Tal of the Word Bearers.
Argel Tal was the Captain of the 7th Assault Company of the Serrated Sun Chapter of the Word Bearers Space Marine Legion during at least the latter half of the Great Crusade. Later, he would be referred to as the Crimson Lord of the Gal Vorbak; captain of the Word Bearers’ first daemon-possessed Space Marines.
Tal was a native of Colchis, inducted in the Word Bearers Space Marine Legion by First Chaplain Erebus, who at first had chosen him to become one of the Legion’s Chaplains. Argel’s implantations and initial training was overseen by the Apothecary Turyon. Eventually Argel Tal took up the role of Captain of the 7th Assault Company in the Serrated Sun Chapter. Being onboard the light cruiser Orfeo’s Lament alongside Ingethel the Ascended, Argel Tal witnessed the horrible world beyond the Eye of Terror, while undertaking The Pilgrimage ordained by Primarch Lorgar. While in The Eye, he was bonded, unknowingly at first, with the daemon Raum. He returned to the Legion, and after Lorgar’s request he divulged to the Primarch his experience in the Immaterium, providing useful insight for the Book of Lorgar. In honor of his achievements in the Chapter, his Primarch installed him as the Captain of his Gal Vorbak (the “Blessed Sons”) an elite cadre of warriors who were the first to wear the crimson colour on their power armour. Despite his accomplishments, Tal held many doubts about the future and confided frequently with the Confessor Cyrene Valantion and over the years the two became very close. It was shown to Lorgar by Ingethel the Ascended during his sojourn into the Eye of Terror that Argel Tal will become much more powerful, becoming taller than a Primarch in his Daemon form, and will fight and die during the Siege of Terra. He is said to be killed by the Primarch Sanguinius after rampaging through a squad of Imperial Fists. However Erebus would later claim that this was only a potential future.
The Gal Vorbak
Originating from the Serrated Sun Chapter of the Word Bearers Legion, they were originally members which had journeyed with Ingethel the Ascended to the newly-settled planet Cadia and the Eye of Terror to discover the Primordial Truth, bringing the revelation back to their PrimarchLorgar. During their experiences in the Warp-tainted Eye, the members of the Serrated Sons became possessed by Daemons and most would eventually willingly submit to them in exchange for enhancing their already superhuman Astartes powers. The Gal Vorbak’s first notable action was fighting against loyalist forces in the Drop Site Massacre, where all the original members were wiped out battling Custodes (and Corax) save for Argel Tal. In the aftermath of the battle, Tal formed a new generation of Gal Vorbak known as the Vakrah Jal.
Members of the Gal Vorbak were distinguished by the crimson red color of their armor, as opposed to the standard grey that pre-Heresy Word Bearers wore.
Early Horus Heresy
Later while leading the Gal Vorbak in the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, Argel Tal descended on Isstvan V against the Raven Guard and their loyalist allies, the Salamanders and the Iron Hands. During the fight against the Custodes sent to watch over the Word Bearers, Cyrene along with most of the Gal Vorbak were killed and Tal was utterly devastated. In the aftermath of the battle Argel Tal frequently visited Cyrene’s tomb aboard the Fidelitas Lex. To honor their memory he took up two near weapons: the Guardian Spear that killed his close friend Xaphen and the Power Sword that slew Cyrene.
Later Heresy & Death
After Istvaan V Argel Tal gathered together survivors of broken Word Bearer companies and formed the Vakrah Jal, the Chapter of Consecrated Iron, a new elite unit of Possessed Marines that would train in the fighting pits of the World Eaters aboard their flagship Conqueror. He later fought in the Shadow Crusade alongside World Eaters 8th Captain Khârn, whom he had become friends with during the course of the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy.
During this time, Tal became the favorite of Lorgar but Erebus attempted to manipulate him to his own ends, going so far to try and earn his trust by resurrecting Cyrene. He took part in the Battle of Armatura and the Nuceria Massacre and in the latter was murdered by Erebus, as the Dark Apostle claimed Argel Tal’s influence would prevent Khârn from embracing the Ruinous Powers and thus cost them the war. Ingethel’s prophecy that he would “die in the shadow of great wings” was fulfilled as he died in the shadow of an Aquila on top of the Imperator Titan Corinthian.
~ Erebus is truly the Arch-Heretic of them all…