BY SCRIBE JERVIS JOHNSON
Being a short history of the Dark Angels and the Fallen. Based on the author's original work for the Chaos Space Marine Codex.
The Fallen Dark Angels have their origin in the dying days of the Horus Heresy, when Lion El'Jonson, Primarch of the Dark Angels Chapter of Space Marines, returned to his homeworld of Caliban. As the unsuspecting ships of Jonson's fleet moved into orbit they were met by a devastating barrage of defence laser fire. Stunned by the ferocious attack, Jonson withdrew and attempted to find out what had happened on his homeworld.
A captured merchant ship soon provided the answer; when Lion El'Jonson had left Caliban to take part in the Great Crusade, Luther, his second in command and life-long battle brother, had been left behind in charge of the remainder of the Chapter. Despite the importance of Luther's position, it was not one that suited his ambitious personality, and soon his role as planetary governor of some half-forgotten backwater world seemed more and more like an insult to him. These seeds of jealously grew until Luthor had become a man obsessed, whose own neuroses had pushed him over the edge. He became easy prey for the Chaos gods, who used their terrible powers to make Luthor one of their followers and dangerous beyond imagining. Using his renowned skills at oratory, Luther convinced the Dark Angels under his command that they had been shamed, that the Emperor had turned his face from them, instilling his own Chaos-fuelled feelings of jealousy and rage in the Dark Angels who had been left on Caliban during the Great Crusade. When the Primarch returned, these feelings erupted into open rebellion.
The fury of Jonson and the loyal Dark Angels at this terrible betrayal knew no bounds. Jonson himself immediately led an attack against Luthor's head-quarters. What followed was a fight of titanic proportions during which the two equally-matched adversaries struck blow upon blow against each other, tearing down the monastery around them until the whole massive edifice had been levelled by their battle. Meanwhile, the massed guns of the fleet pounded the planet, until the very surface of Caliban began to crack and heave under the strain of the bombardment.
As the planet itself started to break apart, the battle between Jonson and Luther reached its climax. Luther, aided by the powers of Chaos, unleashed a furious psychic attack that knocked Jonson to his knees and left him mortally wounded. But as the dying Primarch struggled to stand, his noble features wracked with pain, it was as if a curtain was lifted from Luther's eyes and he realised the full extent of what he had done. His was a triple betrayal, of his friend, of the Dark Angels, and of the Emperor. The truth shattered his sanity and he slumped down beside Jonson, no longer willing to fight.
Luthor's psychic cry of pain and despair echoed through the warp and the Chaos gods realised that, once again, they had been defeated. They lashed out in fury and frustration. A rent appeared in the very fabric of space and a warp storm of unprecedented fury engulfed Caliban. In an uncontrollable, swirling flood of psychic energy, the warp rushed into the physical universe.
Those 'fallen' Dark Angels who had served under Luther and his clandestine masters were sucked from the face of Caliban into the warp and scattered throughout space and time. Caliban, already weakened by the loyal Dark Angels' bombardment, was ripped apart and destroyed, the debris being sucked into the warp.
This story of treachery and betrayal is the Dark Angels'secret shame. None know of it other than the DarkAngels, their Successor Chapters and, maybe, theEmperor on his Golden Throne. Even within theChapter itself very few brother-Marines know exactlywhat happened during those fateful days. It is onlywhen Dark Angels reach the Deathwing that they learnthe story of Luthor's betrayal. More terrible still, theylearn that many of the Dark Angels who followed Lutherare still alive. These damned warriors are the FallenAngels.
Not all of the Fallen Angels have succumbed to thepowe of Chaos to the same degree. A large number ofthe Fallen have embraced the ways of the Dark Gods,becoming true Chaos Space Marines. However, manyothers realise that their actions during the fall ofCaliban were wrong. Disgusted by the corruptinginfluence of the Chaos Gods and unable to reconcilethemselves with the Dark Angels, they lead a solitaryexistence. Many become mercenaries or pirates,roaming the galaxy as masterless men. Others arewilling to atone for their sins and in an attempt to do so have integrated themselves back into human societies.
But their subsequent actions are irrelevant in the eyesof the Dark Angels, who believe that the only way they can rid themselves totally of their shame, and restoretheir honour and trust within the Emperor's eyes, is ifall the Fallen are found and either made to repent orare slain. This is by no means an easy task. The Fallenare dispersed throughout space and time as eitherisolated individuals or in small bands, and the DarkAngels can go for years without hearing any rumoursthat might lead them to one or more of the Fallen.
then they do however, and their mission is a success, those Fallen that are captured are taken back to the Rock. Deep inside its dungeons Interrogator-Chaplains attempt to make the Fallen repent. Occasionally they and for their pains die quickly. More often than not though the captured Fallen refuses and suffers a long, drawn-out and agonising death at the hands of those who would save his soul.
The Lion Sword is the weapon that Lion El'Jonson wielded in his final confrontation with the arch-heretic Luther. The blade of the sword was broken in half in the epic struggle, but was saved by Cypher before the Dark Angels homeworld was destroyed and all of the Fallen Angels were scattered through time and space. He carries it at his side to this day. It cannot be used in combat, but is a potent holy relic for both the Dark Angels and Fallen Angels none-the-less. Some believe that if the sword is taken before the Emperor then the two halves will rejoin as one piece, and this act will show that the Emperor bestows his forgiveness on the Dark Angels and Fallen Angels for their failure and betrayal all those millennia ago.
Cypher is an enigmatic and sinister character. He appears as if from nowhere, bringing death and destruction with him, and then vanishes just as abruptly as he appeared. Strangely, it is rare that Cypher himself instigates the violent acts that invariably occur when he is present, it is rather that he seems to act as a catalyst which fans any feelings of hatred or mistrust into a raging, uncontrollable fire.
Cypher rarely speaks, and when he does his tones are clipped and his words few. No one knows his real name, and no one in living memory has dared ask him what it might be. However, the occasional glimpse of the dark green power armour beneath the long robes that Cypher wears means there can be no doubt that he is one of the Fallen. In many ways he epitomises their fate, being cursed to wander through time and space, never to be able to return home.
However, there are some who whisper that Cypher may in fact represent the Fallen Angels' only chance of redemption, and that his seemingly random appearances hide a pattern which reveals that he is slowly moving across the galaxy towards Earth and the Emperor himself. They also point to the fact that Cypher carries a sword which he never draws or uses in combat, and that this could be the fabled Lion Sword, wielded by Lion El'Jonson himself, and thought lost forever following the Primarch's final confrontation with the arch-heretic Luther. Whatever the truth of this, it is certainly the case that if he is ever in one place for any amount of time then his presence seems to attract others of the Fallen, though none know how they are able to find him or why they gather.
Probably because of this, the members of the Dark Angels Inner Circle hate and fear Cypher more than any other Fallen Angel, and would willingly perform almost any act no matter how vile in order to capture or kill him. That they have so far not managed to do so speaks volumes of Cypher's almost supernatural prowess and ability to escape capture.