Today we delve deep into the embodiment of rage and wrath – the Red Angel – Angron, Primarch of the XIIth Legion.
Angron (also known as the Red Angel and originally as Angronius of Nuceria, Lord of the Red Sand) is the Primarch of the World Eaters. He was raised on the brutal world of Nuceria, fighting as a gladiator slave and having his aggression enhanced by surgical implants known as the Butcher’s Nails. The only Primarch taken into service of the Emperor against his will, he fell to Chaos during the Horus Heresy, afterwards becoming a Daemon Prince of Khorne. Savage and in a state of constant rage, he was nonetheless renowned for his battle-prowess and alongside Leman Russ and Vulkan was considered one of the most physically powerful Primarchs. The Chaos emissary to Lorgar called him the Fighter.
During the Scattering, Angron was thrown to the Civilised World of Nuceria, far from Terra. He plummeted into the icy mountains of that planet, and not long after a slaver found him, and a scene of carnage. Surrounding the wounded young Primarch were the corpses of numerous Xenos. Imperial scholars would later theorise that they were Eldar who had foreseen the great bloodshed that Angron would cause and had tried unsuccessfully to stop him. After being enslaved and nursed back to health, Angron was brought to the planet’s capital called Desh’ea. There, he was modified with the psycho-surgery known as the Butcher’s Nails and forced into the techno-gladiatorial arenas, where he proved to be undefeatable and a fan-favorite. Several times he tried to lead his fellow gladiators in revolt and failed each time. Finally, he succeeded and after butchering his way through the crowd he led his rag-tag army into the mountains of the planet, where he lived for several years. The civilized cities sent armies to destroy Angron, but none were able to oust the Primarch and met the same demise. Nonetheless, the issue was never in doubt, his forces had little to eat in the barren mountains and were exhausted from the constant battling.
The Emperor Arrives – Command of the World Eaters
His fate seemed sealed when seven well-equipped armies surrounded Angron and his starving forces. In desperation, Angron fed his trusted comrades his own blood to keep them alive. Just as the battle was about to begin, the Emperor of Mankind‘s Fleet arrived in orbit over the planet. The Emperor teleported directly to Angron’s point of deployment with a few trusted Adeptus Custodes. The Emperor promised Angron a legion made in his image, limitless power, and lifetimes spent perfecting the Art of Conquest. But, to his surprise, Angron refused. He chose instead to die amongst his comrades while fighting his oppressors. Reluctantly, the Emperor returned to his flagship above. Yet just as the battle was about to begin, the Emperor teleported Angron against his will back up to the fleet. He could only watch in anguish as those he regarded as his brothers and comrades were quickly annihilated. In a rage, Angron killed one of the members Custodes which surrounded him but was forced into a state of submission by the Emperor’s psychic might. Angron angrily asked why the Emperor not intervene to save his comrades upon Nuceria’s surface, but the Emperor dismissed the question as lacking vision. He was the Emperor and had his eyes set upon the Galaxy, not a single tyrant battling a slave revolt. The Emperor expressed hope that Angron in time would learn to understand what he had done. Angron stated to the Emperor that he was meant to die upon Nuceria, and now but a ghost remains. The Emperor replied that a ghost would suffice for what he had planned for him.
Before Angron could reply he was teleported to a nearby vessel of the XII Legion, the War Hounds. Angron initially refused to have anything to do with his Legion, and when several Captainstried to talk to him, he brutally killed them, as they had been ordered by the Emperor to not raise a hand against Angron. The dead included the acting Legion commander, Gheer. Eventually, Captain Khârn of the 8th Assault Company managed to form a rapport with Angron, talking about the rituals of Angron’s gladiators and the traditions of the War Hounds. Now convinced of their worthiness, Angron took full control over his legion, which he renamed the World Eaters, saying they would form new traditions together. During the course of the Great Crusade, he reaped many victories, although some criticized the extreme and bloodthirsty tactics he used to ensure the destruction of his opponents.
After a series of bloodthirsty massacres and his disregard for his father’s orders to discontinue use of the Butcher’s Nails among World Eater initiates, the Emperor dispatched Horus to bring Angron back in line – a fatal error, as Horus was already corrupted by the forces of Chaos. A master psychologist, he told Angron exactly what he wanted to hear: that the Emperor was a weakling, devoid of honour and that there was a place for him in a new order, along with revenge against the brother Primarchs that had criticized his legion. Angron needed no further convincing, throwing his legion on Horus’ side when the Horus Heresy broke out.
During the Heresy Angron would team up in the Shadow Crusade with Lorgar and his Word Bearers to strike at Ultramar in conjunction with the traitor offensive at the Battle of Calth. Angron, seeing Lorgar as a weakling, refused to cooperate with him and frequently wasted time sacking and butchering strategically worthless targets. The tensions between the two Primarch’s boiled over to a near battle, which was only interrupted by a Dark Eldar attempt to assassinate Angron himself. After the two Primarch’s worked together against the Dark Eldar, they put their feud aside.
However, Lorgar, recognizing Angron’s instability and hidden sorrow over his forced departure from Nuceria, recommended that Angron return to his adopted homeworld to find a sense of closure as well as possibly overcome the Butcher’s Nails, which were slowly killing him. When the two Primarchs arrived, however, they discovered that the slave-lords of Nuceria had massacred Angron’s comrades and told the population that he had fled during their last stand. Infuriated, Angron ordered that the World Eaters and Word Bearers purge Nuceria of its population. During the battle against Imperial forces, Angron saved Lorgar by stopping a Warhound Titans foot with his bare hands before it could stomp on his brother. Later the Ultramarines led by Guilliman arrived, determined to exact vengeance on the traitors for the Battle of Calth. Angron went on to duel Guilliman himself during the battle, defeating the Primarch in a furious rage. But while Guilliman managed to escape thanks to an intervention by nearby Ultramarines, this was precisely what Lorgar had wanted and the Word Bearers Primarch began a Khornate ritual. Using Angron’s rage as a conduit, Lorgar channeled the power of Khorne and surged the Red Angel with the powers of Chaos. Angron was transformed into a hulking, even more bloodthirsty, avatar of violence and rage that had overcome the debilitating effects of the Butcher’s Nails. For his new form, he was given a massive Black Runesword forged by the Dark Mechanicum. The first words that the newly ascendant Angron spoke where his desire for Kharn to massacre slaves in the lower decks of the Conqueror and build him a skull throne.
Angron and his World Eaters went on to mindlessly rampage throughout the Galaxy, ignoring Horus‘ calls to muster at Ullanor in preparation for the drive on Terra. Perturabo himself was eventually sent with orders to bring Angron to Ullanor at all costs. Upon the world of Deluge, the Iron Warriors arrived to find the population butchered and stacked into mountains of corpses. After withstanding an assault by crazed World Eaters and Khornate Daemons, the sky opened up and Angron himself entered the carnage. Perturabo and Angron engaged in a brutal battle, with the Daemon having the clear edge in power and speed. However despite taking many wounds Perturabo endured and goaded Angron, declaring that he was born a slave and now was a slave to Darkness for all eternity. By using the Iron Warriors, Iron Circle, and Volk to out-maneuver and bombard the World Eaters, Angron was bested as an Ultramarines fleet appeared in orbit over Deluge. Angron laughed and declared that they were all now going to die, but Perturabo reminded the Daemon Primarch that he had seen his warriors butchered while he had done nothing once before. This moved Angron enough to act, and after creating a Warp Storm the Iron Warriors and World Eaters fleets were able to escape the Ultramarines and move to Ullanor, where they accompanied Horus for the muster.
Siege of Terra
Angron subsequently appeared in the climax of the Solar War. As a massive Warp Rift opened up over Luna which allowed the primary traitor strikeforce to assail Terra itself, Angron was seen perched aboard one of the battlements of the Conqueror.
By the Siege of Terra, Angron was a blood-crazed slave to Khorne. He demanded that Horus allow him to directly attack the Imperial Palace, regardless of the fact that the Emperor’s psychic barrier around the world would see him likely die in the process until such a time where the traitors could weaken it. After hearing that Mortarion‘s Death Guard would instead be the first to assault Terra, Angron fell into a rage and massacred all he came across within the bowels of the The Conqueror. Lotara Sarrin feared that he would murder the Tech-Priest‘s attending to the vessels reactor, risking a catastrophic meltdown.
This forced Kharn to confront Angron within the ship, where the Primarch revealed he knew of the 8th Captain’s ultimate destiny and wished to supplant him as the Chosen of Khorne. The two battled, with Kharn being little match for his gene-father. However before Angron could finish him, Kharn placed a teleport homer on the Primarch which transported him to the shifting maze within the nearby Night Lords flagship Nightfall within, Angron became trapped and spent his time battling the many traps within the maze. Later when traitor rituals weakened the Emperor’s psychic barrier on Terra, Angron was shot out of the Nightfall and into space, where he made his way to the surface.
Angron appeared in front of Terra as a flaming meteor, landing and slaying friend and foe alike. He fought his way to the walls of the Palace, where he saw Sanguinius and roared a challenge. Sanguinius refused, saluting his brother and stating that while they would battle one day this was not that day. Angron raged, but due to the lingering effects of the Emperor’s barrier could not pursue him into the Palace. During the battle for the Lion’s Gate Spaceport Angron destroyed a Capitol Imperialis and then a Leviathan, but was again unable to advance past the Palace walls. When the Lion’s Gate Spaceport fell to a massive traitor assault and the Emperor’s shield shrunk to only encompass the Sanctum Imperialis, Angron led a horde of World Eaters on to the Eternity Wall. Angron and Kharn led an assault on the Eternity Wall Spaceport, and in a moment of clarity the Primarch regained some of his old noble visage. He gave an opportunity for the defenders of the Spaceport to surrender, though they responded by blasting him to pieces with their gun batteries. Angron quickly regenerated, and along with his World Eaters massacred the defenders of the Eternity Wall Spaceport.
Eventually, Horus was slain by the Emperor and the traitors were forced to flee Terra in defeat. Already savage and brutal, the World Eaters quickly found a new master in the form of the Blood God Khorne, eternally demanding sacrifice and skulls. Angron led his legion into their worship and oversaw his Legion’s retreat into the Eye of Terror.
During the middle of the 38th millennium, Angron and fifty thousand Khorne Berzerkers slaughtered their way through Imperial space for over two centuries. This incident became known as the Dominion of Fire. The wars and rebellions the forces of Khorne sparked ravaged over seventy sectors. In the end it took four Space Marine chapters, two Titan legions and more than thirty Imperial Guard regiments to retake what the Imperium had lost. Ninety percent of the area has since been recovered by the forces of Mankind.
In 444.M41, Angron invaded the Imperial hive world Armageddon. He led four World Eaters companies and a daemonic host against the local defenders and their Space Wolves allies. Angron’s forces ravaged the planet, but he was continually forced to slow his advance to erect monuments to Khorne in order to sustain his Daemonic form in the Materium. In the end, however, he was defeated when he was confronted by a force of 109 Grey Knights. Angron and his escort of twelve Bloodthirsters, the Cruor Praetoria, initially decimated the Grey Knights sent before him until a newer recruit and extraordinarily powerful Psyker, Hyperion, managed to first snap, then break the Black Blade at the height of the struggle. Now at a disadvantage, Angron was banished back to the Warp by Brother-Captain Taremar Aurellian in a battle that only thirteen Grey Knights survived.
“What would you know of struggle, Perfect Son? When have you fought against the mutilation of your mind? When have you had to do anything more than tally compliances and polish your armour?” […] “The people of your world named you Great One. The people of mine called me Slave. Which one of us landed on a paradise of civilization to be raised by a foster father, Roboute? Which one of us was given armies to lead after training in the halls of the Macraggian high-riders? Which one of us inherited a strong, cultured kingdom? And which one of us had to rise up against a kingdom with nothing but a horde of starving slaves? Which one of us was a child enslaved on a world of monsters, with his brain cut up by carving knives? Listen to your blue-clad wretches yelling of courage and honour, courage and honour, courage and honour. Do you even know the meaning of those words? Courage is fighting the kingdom which enslaves you, no matter that their armies outnumber yours by ten-thousand to one. You know nothing of courage. Honour is resisting a tyrant when all others suckle and grow fat on the hypocrisy he feeds them. You know nothing of honour.”
~Angron, was there ever any free will in him, or was he merely a tool all along?