Universe, 8th Edition

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Through it all, the only dissenting voice was that of Orikan , the court astrologer, who foretold that the alliance between the Necrontyr and the C'tan would bring about a renaissance of glory, but destroy forever the soul of the Necrontyr people. Yet desire and ambition swiftly overrode caution, and Orikan's prophecy was dismissed. A Necrontyr year after the Deceiver had presented his proposition, the Triarch agreed to the alliance, and so forever doomed their race.

For their part, the Necrontyr soon fell into awe of their discoveries and the C'tan moved to take control over their benefactors. The powers of the C'tan manifested in the physical world were indeed almost god-like and it was not long before the C'tan were being worshiped as the Star Gods the Necrontyr had named them. Perhaps they had been tainted by the material universe they had become a part of, or perhaps this had always been their nature even when they were bound to the suns they fed upon, but the C'tan proved to be as cruel and capricious as the stars from which they had been born.

They soon revelled in the worship of the Necrontyr and feasted upon the life energies of countless mortal slaves. The Necron forces on the march during the ancient War in Heaven after biotransference. Armed with weapons of god-like power and starships that could cross the galaxy in the blink of an eye through the use of quantum phase technology, the Necrontyr stood ready to begin their war against the Old Ones anew. But the C'tan had another gift for their mortal subjects. They offered the Necrontyr a path to immortality and the physical stability their race had always craved.

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Their diseased flesh would be replaced with the living metal of necrodermis that made up their Star Gods' own physical forms. Their discarded organic husks would be consumed and their cold, metal forms would then be free to pursue their great vengeance against the Old Ones and the rest of a hateful universe, freed forever from the weaknesses of their hated flesh. With the pact between Necrontyr and C'tan sealed, the Star Gods revealed the form that immortality would take for the Necrontyr, and the great biotransference process began. Colossal bio-furnaces built by Necrontyr artifice roared day and night, consuming weak-bodied flesh and replacing it with enduring machine forms of living metal, much like the C'tan themselves.

As the cyclopean machines clamoured, the C'tan swarmed about the biotransference sites, drinking in the torrent of cast-off life energy and growing ever stronger. Whether the Necrontyr actually realised the price they would actually pay for accepting this pact with the C'tan is not known. The immortality the C'tan promised would be delivered unto the Necrontyr by way of the arcane and terrible process of bio-transference. Vast bio-foundries were constructed, and into these the Silent King's peoples marched according to the terms of the pact he had made with the C'tan.

What blasphemous procedures the Necrontyr were subjected to within the raging bio-furnaces cannot be known, but certainly, each was stripped of flesh and of soul, his body replaced by a shell of living metal animated by what remained of his guttering self. Above each furnace swooped and dove the ethereal true-forms of the C'tan as they glutted themselves on the spiritual detritus of an entire species.

It was only when the Silent King himself emerged from the bio-transference process and looked upon what had become of his people that he saw the awful truth of the pact he had made. Though immortality and nigh godlike strength and vigour were his, it had come at the cost of his soul, the effluvial remains of which had already been sucked down the gullet of a circling C'tan.

As Szarekh watched the C'tan feast on the life essence of his people, he realised the terrible depth of his mistake. In many ways he felt better than he had in decades, the countless aches and uncertainties of organic life now behind him. His new machine body was far mightier than the frail form he had tolerated for so long, and his thoughts were swifter and clearer than they had ever been. Yet there was an emptiness gnawing at his mind, an inexpressible hollowness of spirit that defied rational explanation. In that moment, he knew with cold certainty that the price of physical immortality had been the loss of his soul.

With great sorrow the Silent King beheld the fate he had brought upon his people: the Necrontyr were now but a memory, and the soulless, undying Necrons had been reborn in their place. Yet if the price had been steep, biotransference had fulfilled all of the promises that the C'tan had made. Even the lowliest of the Necrontyr was now blessed with immortality -- age and hard radiation could little erode their new mechanical bodies, and only the most terrible of injuries could destroy them utterly.

Likewise, the Necrons now enjoyed a unity that the Necrontyr had never known, though it was achieved through tyranny and the complete loss of individuality and emotion rather than by consent. The biotransference process had embedded command protocols in every Necron mind, granting Szarekh the unswerving loyalty of his subjects. At first, the Silent King embraced this unanimity, for it was a welcome reprieve from the chaos that had consumed the Necrontyr Empire in recent years. However, as time wore on he grew weary of his burden but dared not sever the command protocols, lest his subjects turn on him seeking vengeance for the terrible curse he had visited upon them.

Thus the Necrontyr became the Necrons, cursed to the eternal servitude of their Star Gods. The C'tan feasted upon the entire Necrontyr race's life energies even as they made the transfers, leaving behind only the ghostly echoes of the Necrontyr's consciousnesses. Only a few of the most strong-willed Necrontyr retained their intellect and self-awareness and even they were but shadows of their former selves.

They had been purged of so much of what had made them unique individuals. The Necrons cared not at all for their loss; all that mattered to them was that they would live forever without disease or death as their Star Gods had promised. Nevertheless, the Necrontyr species was united as never before.

The process imbued in every one of the Silent King's subjects the command protocols with which he would rule over them with an iron hand. The entire species was his to command, and so it fell upon the Necrons to honour their side of their terrible bargain. Renewed by their devouring of the souls of an entire species, the C'tan were unstoppable, and with the legions of the Necrons marching in their wake, the Old Ones were doomed.

Only one thing truly remained of the old Necrontyr -- their burning hatred for all the other living, intelligent species of the universe. Legions of the undying living metal warriors set out into the galaxy in their Tomb Ships and the stars burned in their wake. The Old Ones' mastery of the Warp was now countered by the C'tan's supremacy over the physical universe and the ancient enemies of the Necrons suffered greatly in the interstellar slaughter that followed.

With the C'tan and the Necrons fighting as one, the Old Ones were now doomed to defeat. Glutted on the life force of the Necrontyr, the empowered C'tan were nigh unstoppable and unleashed forces beyond comprehension. Planets were razed, suns extinguished and whole star systems devoured by black holes called into being by the reality-warping powers of the Star Gods.

Necron legions finally breached the Webway and assailed the Old Ones in every corner of the galaxy. They brought under siege the fortresses of the Old Ones' many allies amongst the younger intelligent races of the galaxy, harvesting the life force of the defenders to feed their voracious C'tan masters. In the closing years of the War in Heaven, one of the primary factors that led to the Necrons' ascendancy was their ability to finally gain access to the Old Ones' Webway.

The C'tan known as Nyadra'zath, the Burning One, had long desired to carry his eldritch fires into that space beyond space, and so showed the Necrons how to breach its boundaries. Through a series of living stone portals known as the Dolmen Gates , the Necrons were finally able to turn the Old Ones' greatest weapon against them, vastly accelerating the ultimate end of the War in Heaven. The portals offered by the Dolmen Gates are neither so stable, nor so controllable as the naturally occurring entrances to the Webway scattered across the galaxy. Indeed, in some curious fashion, the Webway can detect when its environs have been breached by a Dolmen Gate and its arcane mechanisms swiftly attempt to seal off the infected spur from the rest of the Labyrinthine Dimension until the danger to its integrity has passed.

Thus, Necrons entering the Webway must reach their intended destination through its shifting extradimensional corridors quickly, lest the network itself bring about their destruction. Of course, in the present age, aeons have passed since the Necrons used the Dolmen Gates to assault their archenemies. The Old Ones are gone, and the Webway itself has become a tangled and broken labyrinth. Many Dolmen Gates were lost or abandoned during the time of the Necrons' Great Sleep, and many more were destroyed by the Eldar, the Old Ones' successors as the guardians of the Webway.

Those that remain grant access to but a small portion of the immense maze that is the Webway, much of that voluntarily sealed off by the Eldar to prevent further contamination. Yet the Webway is immeasurably vast, and even these sundered skeins allow the Necrons a mode of travel that far outpaces those of the younger races. It is well that this is so. As a race bereft of psykers as a result of the loss of their souls during the biotransference process, the Necrons are also incapable of Warp travel, and without access to the Webway, they would be forced to rely once more on slow-voyaging stasis-ships, dooming them to interstellar isolation.

In the wake of these victories, the C'tan and their undying Necron servants now dominated the galaxy. The last planetary bastions of the Old Ones were besieged and the intelligent races they had once nurtured became cattle for the obscene hunger of the C'tan. To the younger sentient species of the galaxy, the Necrons and their Star Gods were cruel masters, callously harvesting their populations at will to feed the C'tan's ceaseless hunger. The C'tan were figures of terror who demanded their adoration and fear in equal measure. For unknown reasons, but probably because their individual hungers for mortal life energies knew no bounds, the C'tan ultimately began to fight amongst themselves for both sport and out of spite as they unleashed destructive forces beyond mortal comprehension.

Among the Eldar, an ancient myth holds that their Laughing God tricked the C'tan known as the Outsider into turning on its brothers and beginning their long war for ascendancy. In the course of the C'tan's struggle against one another, whole planets were razed, stars were extinguished and whole solar systems were devoured by unleashed black holes. New cities were built by the efforts of millions and then smashed down once more.

As the "red harvests" of the C'tan and their Necron servants grew thin, C'tan eventually devoured C'tan, until only a few were left in the universe and they competed amongst themselves for a long age. Eventually, even the Old Ones, who had once been defined by their patience and unstoppable will, became desperate in the face of the Necron assault. They used their great scientific skills to genetically engineer intelligent beings with an even stronger psychic link to the Warp , hoping to create servants with the capability of channeling psychic power to defend themselves.

They nurtured many potential warrior races, among which are believed to be the earliest members of the Eldar species and many other xenos races, including the Rashan, the K'nib, the Krork and many others. Millennia passed as the Old Ones' creations finally bore fruit and the C'tan and their Necron servants continued to extinguish life across the galaxy. The Old Ones' psychically-empowered servant races spread across the galaxy, battling the advanced Necron technology with the psychic power of their Warp -spawned sorcery. Facing this new onslaught, the C'tan's empire was shattered, as the psychic forces of the Immaterium were anathema to soulless entities whose existence was wholly contained within purely physical patterns of electromagnetic force.

For all the destruction they could unleash, they were unable to stop the Old Ones and the younger races' relentless advance across the stars. The C'tan, unified by this great threat for the first time in millions of years, sought a way to defeat the soul-fuelled energies of the younger species. They initiated a great warding, a plan to forever defeat the psychic sorceries of the Old Ones by sealing off the material universe from the Warp , a plan whose first fruits can still be found on the Imperial Fortress World of Cadia in the form of the great pylons that litter the surface of that world in intricate networks and create the area of space-time stability near the Eye of Terror known as the Cadian Gate.

With their god-like powers, it was only a matter of time until the C'tan succeeded and the greatest work of the C'tan was begun.

But before it was complete, the seeds of destruction the Old Ones had planted millennia before brought about an unforeseen cataclysm. The growing pains and collective psychic flaws of the younger races threw the untapped psychically reactive energies of the Immaterium into disorder.

War, pain and destruction were mirrored in the bottomless depth of the Sea of Souls that was the Warp. The maelstrom of souls unleashed into the Immaterium by the carnage of the War in Heaven coalesced in the previously formless energies of the Warp. Older entities that had existed within the Immaterium transformed into terrifying psychic predators, tearing at the souls of vulnerable psykers as their own environment was torn apart and reforged into the Realm of Chaos.

The denizens of the Warp clustered voraciously at the cracks between the Immaterium and the material universe, seeking new ways to enter the physical realm. The Old Ones brought forth new genetically-engineered warrior races to defend their last strongholds, including the technology-mimicking Jokaero and the formidable, green-skinned Krork who were the ancestors of the present day Orks , but it was already too late. The Old Ones' intergalactic Webway network was breached from the Immaterium and lost to them, several of their Warp Gates were destroyed by their own hands to prevent the entities of the Warp from spreading to uncorrupted worlds and Old Ones' greatest works and places of power were overrun by the horrors their own creations had unleashed.

The most terrifying of these horrors were the Enslavers , Warp entities whose ability to dominate the minds of the younger races and create their own portals into the material realm using transmuted possessed psykers brought them forth in ever greater numbers. For the Old Ones, this was the final disaster as the Enslavers took control of their servants. The Pandora's Box unleashed by the creation of the younger races finally scattered the last of the Old Ones and broke their power over the galaxy once and for all.

Life had stood at the edge of an apocalypse during the War in Heaven between the Old Ones and the C'tan. Now as the Enslavers breached the Immaterium in epidemic proportions, the survivors looked doomed. Ultimately, beset by the implacable onset of the C'tan and the calamitous Warp-spawned perils they had themselves mistakenly unleashed, the Old Ones were defeated, scattered and finally destroyed. Whether the species went extinct or simply fled the galaxy to seek a new haven elsewhere is unknown.

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Throughout the final stages of the War in Heaven, Szarekh bided his time, waiting for the moment in which the C'tan would prove vulnerable. Though the entire Necron race was now his to command, he could not hope to oppose the C'tan at the height of their power, and even if he did and met with success, the Necrons would then have to finish the War in Heaven against the Old Ones and their increasingly potent allies alone. No, the Old Ones had to be completely and utterly defeated before the C'tan could be brought to account for the horror they had wrought. And so, when the C'tan finally won their great war, their triumph proved short-lived.

With one hated enemy finally defeated, and the other spent from hard-fought victory, the Silent King at last led the Necrons in revolt against the C'tan masters. In their arrogance, the C'tan did not realise their danger until it was too late. The Necrons focussed the unimaginable energies of the living universe into weapons too mighty for even the Star Gods to endure. Alas, the C'tan were immortal star-spawn, part of the fundamental fabric of reality and therefore nigh impossible to destroy.

So was each C'tan instead sundered into thousands of smaller and less powerful fragments with a similar energy signature. Yet this was sufficient to the Silent King's goals. Indeed, he had known the C'tan's ultimate destruction to be impossible and had drawn his plans accordingly; each C'tan Shard was bound within a multidimensional Tesseract Labyrinth , as tramelled and secured as a Terran djinn trapped in a bottle. Though the cost of victory was high -- millions of Necrons had been destroyed as a consequence of the rebellion, including all of the members of the Triarch save the Silent King himself -- the Necrons were once more in command of their own destiny.

The Necrons had been vindicated in their pursuit only of science and control over the material realm and certainly took pleasure in seeing the Old Ones' civilisation collapse as a result of their over-indulgence of psychic power and the end of the C'tan's domination over their race.

Yet even with the defeat of the Old Ones and the C'tan alike, the Silent King saw that the time of the Necrons in the galaxy was over -- for the moment, at least. They would allow the Enslavers to take what was left of the sentient life in the galaxy and let it become an interstellar wasteland; the psyker swarm would then die away and in time the galaxy would evolve new lifeforms who would be less sophisticated and easier to dominate. In addition, the Necrons understood that the mantle of galactic dominion was soon to pass to the Eldar, one of the psychically-potent races that had fought alongside the Old Ones throughout the War in Heaven and had thus come to hate the Necrons and all their works with the burning passion that is the defining characteristic of that species.

The Eldar had survived where the Old Ones had not and the Necrons, weakened by their expenditure of lives and resources in overthrowing the rule of the C'tan, could not stand against them. Yet the Silent King knew that the time of the Eldar would eventually pass, as it must pass for all those beings still cloaked in the flesh. It would take millions of Terran years for the Eldar's power to fade, but what mattered is that the Necrons would be there to take advantage of it.

So it was that the Silent King ordered the remaining Necron cities to be transformed into great tomb complexes threaded with stasis-crypts. Let the Eldar shape the galaxy for a time -- they were but ephemeral, whilst the Necrons were undying and eternal. The Silent King's final command to his people was that they must sleep for the equivalent of 60 million standard years but awake ready to rebuild all that they had lost, to restore the Necron dynasties to their former glory.

This was the Silent King's final order, and as the last Tomb World sealed its subterranean vaults, Szarekh destroyed the command protocols by which he had controlled his people for so long, for he had failed them utterly. Without a backward glance, Szarekh, the last of the Silent Kings of the Triarch, took ship into the starless void of intergalactic space, there to find whatever measure of solace or penance he could.

Meanwhile, aeons passed and the Necrons slept on, their machine slaves and constructs guarding them while they slept on Tomb Worlds that had been purged of all life to keep the Enslavers from their door. This plan worked with an amazing degree of success until the Necrons were awakened by the forces of the Imperium of Man in the late 41st Millennium to plague the galaxy once more.

They discovered a new and unexpected age of interstellar civilisation and war much like the one they had left behind 60 million years before. The galaxy is blossoming with life once more but is still overrun with latent psykers and worshippers of the infernal Chaotic Warp energies unleashed during the War in Heaven. It will take time and a great many machinations for the Necron dynasties to regain their rightful place as the rulers of the galaxy; the agents of Chaos must be overthrown; the dangerous Eldar , inheritors of the Old Ones' mantle, eliminated; Mankind subjugated and the great work cutting off the material universe from the Warp completed before a new age of Necron dominion can truly begin.

But the Necrons are ageless and undying, their technology still unmatched by any of the younger races. And time is always on their side For millions of standard years after the Necrons and their C'tan masters went into hibernation on their Tomb Worlds , the devastated sentient populations of the galaxy slowly recovered from their "red harvests. But on the planet called Earth and later Terra by its inhabitants, a humanoid species known as Mankind was rising to prominence over 40, standard years ago. During the Age of Terra , or the Age of Progress as it is sometimes called by Imperial historians, the human race advanced beyond its ancient pre-industrial past to obtain spacefaring capability and began to slowly settle the habitable worlds in its own solar system and in the star systems near its homeworld using massive sublight starships.

The Stellar Exodus which occurred during the Age of Terra is a poorly-understood period of human history which is generally accepted to cover the majority of Mankind's initial forays into interstellar space and the genesis of most of the oldest human colonies, beginning at some unknown point in the mid-to-late 3rd Millennium.

This period is generally understood to lead into the Dark Age of Technology sometime around the 15th Millennium. During much of the Stellar Exodus, humanity lacked any knowledge of the existence of the Warp or Warp drive and so was forced to travel between the stars in great sublight generation ships or using cryogenic hibernation.

Much of the era of human history known to Imperial historians as the Dark Age of Technology that lasted between approximately the 15th Millennium and the 25th Millennium is mysterious. It was in this time that the psychic mutants called Navigators were first born, and combined with the invention of the Warp-Drive , allowed humanity to travel between worlds faster than the speed of light by using the dangerous hyperdimensional, psychically-reactive medium of the Immaterium or Warp.

The existence of rapid interstellar travel allowed human colony worlds to interact on a normal timescale for the first time and interstellar commerce and communication became possible, allowing like-minded human worlds to join into political and economic combines for their mutual benefit. Eventually, at some point during this era, all of humanity was united beneath some form of federated interstellar government. What is also known largely from the works of Keeper Cripias is that a group known as the Golden Men relied on the works of the Stone Men in order to create a fantastically prosperous interstellar society, but one devoid by later Imperial standards of spirituality or piety, focused instead upon the advancement of science and technology.

The Stone Men are known to have created a third group, the Iron Men , postulated to be some form of artificially intelligent robots, in order to assist them in their labors and carry out military duties. The Iron Men became uncontrolled and rebelled against their human creators, and a cataclysmic conflict broke out, resulting in a partial Malthusian Catastrophe across much of the settled galaxy in which there were no longer enough resources to support the vast populations of human beings.

Even worse, following the destruction caused by the war against the Iron Men, human psykers began to appear in large numbers across many human colony worlds, one of the harbingers of the final decline of the Eldar empire which controlled even more of the galaxy than mankind did in these years. The result was humanity's first introduction to the daemonic horrors of the Warp and the ultimate collapse of human interstellar civilization during what became known as the Age of Strife.

During the so-called "Dark Age of Technology," humanity had reached its scientific and technological peak. The " Standard Template Construct ", or STC, a computer database of schematics for all known advanced human technologies, had been perfected by human scientists and engineers and allowed an unprecedented expansion of humanity throughout the galaxy.

One of the reasons humanity was so successful at conquering a large part of the galaxy was the development of the artificially-intelligent constructs now only known in Imperial legend as the " Iron Men ". These powerful and fully intelligent combat robots won many wars for humanity, but for some reason turned against their masters at the end of the Dark Age of Technology.

The war was eventually won by humanity, but at a great cost. The damage was catastrophic and had shattered much of humanity's power. Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of mankind's misfortunes. As humanity became widely dispersed across the galaxy during the Age of Technology, the ancient Eldar empire began its decline; the great success of the advanced Eldar race had led to decadence and hedonism on a grand scale. Within the immaterial, psychic universe of the Warp, the spiritual corruption of the Eldar civilization was reflected in the forming of a new Chaos God, Slaanesh , which in turn caused massive disturbances in the Warp; parts of the galaxy became isolated by these Warp Storms, making Warp travel and telepathic interstellar communication increasingly impossible as the years passed, cutting off many human colony worlds from one another, including those of the Solar System.

Towards the end of the Age of Technology psykers first appeared among humanity.

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While persecuted on many backwards, regressive human worlds as witches, in enlightened and progressive societies these psykers were at first protected and accepted. The initial intolerance for psykers would later seem prescient, as many human worlds fell to the dominance of daemons and other Warp creatures using possessed psykers as gateways into the physical world. Only worlds which had rigorously suppressed psykers survived the Age of Strife. The Age of Strife followed the Age of Technology, as human civilisation collapsed in widespread insanity, daemonic possession, anarchy and inter-human civil war.

Terrible weapons of the golden age of technology were unleashed, devastating many human colonies and turning once-verdant worlds such as Baal Secundus into irradiated desert planets. Many isolated and vulnerable human-colonized worlds also became prey to hostile alien races, such as the Orks.

In a relatively short span of time, the once galaxy-spanning human civilization was brought to its knees, and was forced to endure nearly five millennia of anarchy, terror, war, genocide and slavery. Other than tales of great suffering, little information concerning these long years survived this dark time to be known to the men and women of the Imperium. Before the Fall of their potent interstellar empire, the Eldar were a technologically and psychically advanced humanoid species, generally considered the most powerful intelligent race in the entire galaxy.

Their technology had advanced so far that little or no labour was required by individual Eldar to provide the daily necessities of life. As a result of the sheer boredom and ennui that resulted, at some point during the 25th Millennium, groups of Eldar began forming what were known as Pleasure Cults dedicated to the pursuit of every pleasure and sensation that life had to offer their kind. Despite the prediction of the reclusive Eldar Seers that warned of impending doom if the Eldar did not change their hedonistic ways, government within the Eldar empire soon collapsed and the moral degeneration of their homeworlds and various colony worlds continued unimpeded.

As the pursuit of ever more extreme experiences reached its height, death reigned in the streets of Eldar cities, hunter and hunted each being part of a twisted ritual of destruction that consumed millions in orgies of savage bloodlust and excess. Some Eldar were able to see that their now-corrupt society was destroying itself, and fled in disgust; these refugees would settle in the distant, rural colonies of their empire, and would later be known as the Exodites or take to the massive, world-sized Eldar Craftworlds and sail amidst the stars as merchants and explorers, far from the scenes of hedonistic excess that were destroying the heart of the Eldar empire.

Upon dying, the soul of all deceased, sentient beings traverse the bounds of the physical realm and go to rest within the hyperdimensional realm of psychically-reactive energy that undergirds all of reality known as the Immaterium or Warp. As more and more corrupt Eldar died, their souls began to coalesce into a larger entity within the Warp, a living representation of the hedonistic corruption that had taken their lives.

This growing presence in the Warp caused massive Warp Storms to aggregate across the galaxy, eventually making interstellar travel and communications impossible for the colonies of humanity, bringing on Makind's Age of Strife. This collection of corrupt Eldar souls gained sentience sometime in the late 30th Millennium, creating the powerful new Warp entity known as the Chaos God Slaanesh , the Prince of Pleasure, called "She Who Thirsts" by the Eldar.

When Slaanesh came to be, an ethereal explosion occured that spanned the extent of Warpspace within the Milky Way Galaxy, with the epicentre being located within the Eldar homeworlds. All Eldar caught in the immense psychic blast were instantly killed, their souls consumed by Slaanesh. Most of the remaining Eldar gods who existed within the Warp were destroyed by Slaanesh.

Kaela Mensha Khaine , the Eldar God of War, attempted to combat the new Chaos God, but Khaine's form was shattered and exiled to the mortal realm where it came to rest in the Infinity Circuits of the Eldar Craftworlds but could be embodied in the form of animated constructs called " Avatars ", which rested in the hearts of the various Craftworlds during times of grave peril. The only other Eldar Gods to survive the Fall were the trickster god Cegorach also called the Laughing God , who hid himself within the Eldar Webway, and Isha , who was ripped from the jaws of Slaanesh by the Chaos God Nurgle , who now keeps her as a slave.

The Fall utterly destroyed the once vast interstellar Eldar empire, leaving scattered bands of Eldar fighting for survival. Before the Fall, vast spacecraft called Craftworlds were constructed, enabling those wishing to escape the degeneration of the Eldar homeworlds to flee, along with samples of their lost worlds' flora and fauna.

When the Fall occurred, the various Craftworlds rode out the ethereal shockwave in the Warp, some being destroyed in the process. The Exodite worlds, far from the epicentre of the terrible catastrophe, were largely untouched by the birth-scream of Slaanesh. In order to prevent the events of the Fall from ever recurring, the Eldar devised the Eldar Paths system, by which every Eldar would follow a strict, almost fanatical life path pursuing a specific activity, such as crafting or war, for a portion of their long lifespans, before switching to another Path when the previous one grew stale.

In this way, the Eldar hoped to control the extreme emotional and psychic sensitivity that had left them open to corruption by Chaos in the first place. However, some corrupted Eldar did survive the birth of Slaanesh by taking refuge within the Webway itself, which had long been home to a nearly infinite cavalcade of hyperdimensional sub-realms that were protected from Slaanesh's predations by the psychic wards erected within the Labyrinthine Dimension to keep the dangers of the Warp at bay.

These sadistic beings became known as the Dark Eldar , the inhabitants of the Dark City within the Webway called Commorragh , and they later preyed on humans and Eldar alike to find souls they could devour to keep their own lives from being consumed by Slaanesh. The Warp Storms isolating the human colony worlds for 5, Terran years had finally disappeared with the birth of Slaanesh and the Fall of the Eldar in the 30th Millennium, and the Emperor of Mankind, who had united Terra under his rule during the Unification Wars at the end of the Age of Strife, was ready with his genetically-enhanced Space Marines and the Imperial Army to reunite all of humanity under his enlightened rule and the rationalist philosophy of Imperial Truth.

Making a pact known as the Treaty of Mars with the Cult Mechanicus of the Machine God on Mars in the late 30th Millennium the Emperor promised to spare their lives the Emperor despised their use of bionics and rigid adherence to organized religion as being against everything that he stood for so long as they aided him in his mission to reunite humanity across the galaxy.

The Emperor was a man of enormous skill in the practice of science and the development of new technology, and so in him many members of the Cult of the Machine saw the coming of the Omnissiah that had been prophesied by their faith. In the treaty they signed with the Emperor, the Mechanicum of Mars pledged their support to the creation of a new Imperium of Man in which they would serve as the Adeptus Mechanicus , and the symbol of the Imperium changed from the lightning bolt used by the Emperor during the Unification Wars on Terra to the double-headed eagle known as the Aquila , to symbolise the union of the empires of Earth and Mars.

With the forge factories and industrial output of Mars, the Emperor was able to refit his armies, and more importantly, he now had the use of the Adeptus Mechanicus' Titan Legions , giant robotic war machines with the potential to dominate the battlefield. At first, the Imperium's expansion into interstellar space was slow, since the Imperial Army was still small, and more importantly the Emperor's 20 Space Marine Legions were inhibited by the absence of their Primarchs , which made the enhancement time for the creation of a new Space Marine much longer.

However, this was to end, as on Cthonia, a planet in a star system not far from Terra, the Emperor for the first time was reunited with one of his missing Primarchs, Horus. Having been discovered at an early age, the Emperor took Horus under his wing and taught him all he knew. Horus and the Emperor had a truly unique bond, that of father and son, and many times they saved each others' lives.

Although Horus was pleased at the discovery of one of his brothers, he secretly hoped to always be the Emperor's favorite son. In time, all the Primarchs were found on the worlds they had been sent to by the machinations of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, and each was placed in command of their respective Space Marine Legions. The Legions as a result were massively expanded with new recruits from their Primarch's adopted homeworlds, and new Space Marines could now be produced within only a single Terran year. But this acceleration produced fundamental defects within the psyche of each Space Marine which was later to prove fatal to many.

The Great Crusade lasted for standard years, into the early years of the 31st Millennium, and brought many long lost star systems into the fold of the newborn Imperium of Man. Under the command of the War Council of the Emperor and his rediscovered Primarchs , vast Expeditionary Fleets comprised of the Imperial Army and the twenty Space Marine Legions fought back aliens, feral human tribes, petty human dictators and the Warp -tainted forces that had gained control of large portions of human-settled space during the Age of Strife. Once a human-settled world had been pacified, it was brought into "Imperial Compliance" by a new Imperial Planetary Governor chosen by the Emperor.

Part of this process included the rooting out of any superstitious or religious beliefs of the population with a respect solely for reason and the measured advancement of science and technology, an atheistic belief system known as the Imperial Truth. It was often occupied by a unit or units of the Imperial Army that were left behind to complete the integration of the planet into the Imperium while the Expeditionary Fleet, led by Astartes, moved on to its next target. As the Primarchs took control of the Space Marine Legions that had been crafted from their gene-seed , the Great Crusade separated, moving in many directions and reaching far across the galaxy.

After the Imperial Crusade on the world of Ullanor concluded upon bringing that planet into "Imperial Compliance," the Emperor claimed it as the greatest victory of the Imperium to date, and that Horus should be given all credit. Hailing Horus and his Luna Wolves Legion later renamed the Sons of Horus , the Emperor stated that he would have to leave the expeditionary fleets behind and return to Terra to begin the next, secret phase of his plan to ensure humanity's domination of the galaxy, and that in his place Horus would be declared Warmaster, the de facto commander of all the Emperor's armies on the Great Crusade.

Although Horus was troubled that the Emperor should leave him and his brother Primarchs to carry on alone for some unknown reason, with Horus as their new commander, the Imperium's armies and Space Marines continued to expand ever outwards, rediscovering lost human worlds and bringing them into the enlightened Imperium's fold. This situation lasted until the outbreak of the terrible Horus Heresy.

Eventually, the Imperial Warmaster Horus fell to the temptations of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos and attempted to destroy the Imperium from within by usurping the power of the Emperor. The treason of Horus, known in later centuries as the Horus Heresy , spread to embrace approximately half of the Imperium's military forces, including small Planetary Defence Forces , many regiments of the Imperial Army , the 9 Chaos Space Marine Traitor Legions and several of the Adeptus Mechanicus ' potent Titans , forming the core of dark Mechanicum Adepts who chose to serve the Ruinous Powers and were later called the Dark Mechanicus.

The terrible civil war lasted for 7 standard years and culminated in a massive seige of the Imperial Palace during the climactic Battle of Terra. After 55 days of fighting, the war was ended by the Emperor of Mankind and Horus dueling in single combat aboard Horus' flagship, the Battle Barge Vengeful Spirit , in orbit of Terra, before futher Loyalist reinforcements could reach the world and throw the Traitor forces back from their prize. Although mortally wounded during the final battle with his favoured son, who had become swollen and immensely powerful with the favour of the Chaos Gods , the Emperor was able to strike down Horus using the full gathered might of his awesome psychic powers and obliterate Horus' soul from the Warp, preventing him from being resurrected to serve the Ruinous Powers once more.

Without their leader, the unity of the Forces of Chaos soon crumbled and as Loyalist reinforcements led by Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines arrived in the Solar System, the Chaos Space Marine Legions and their allies retreated to the massive Warp rift in the Segmentum Obscurus known as the Eye of Terror. At his own direction, the crippled body of the Emperor was installed into the cybernetic life support mechanisms of the psychic amplifier known as the Golden Throne , so that his mind would continue to have an anchor in realspace from which his potent mind in the Warp could battle the influence of the Chaos Gods and continue to direct the Astronomican , the psychic beacon that was the lifeblood of the Imperium's communications, commerce and interstellar travel.

Effects of a small battle of the Heresy on the Planet of Sotha drew the attentions of the Hive Fleets of the Tyranids to the galaxy, It was during these days, that they started moving towards this new prey. It began immediately after the end of the Horus Heresy following the death of the Warmaster Horus and the failure of his Siege of the Imperial Palace during the Battle of Terra in the early 31st Millennium.

It succeeded in driving the Forces of Chaos from Imperial space into finding a refuge in the permanent Warp Storm known as the Eye of Terror. Before actually being confined for all time within the life support mechanisms of the Golden Throne , the Emperor had pronounced judgment on the Traitors: he declared them Excommunicate Traitoris , and determined that they were to be driven into the hellish region of the Warp rift called the Eye of Terror , which would hold them for all eternity. All records and memory of the Traitor Legions were to be expunged from the Imperial archives.

Worlds such as Istvaan V and Davin would be scoured clean of all life because of their corruption by Chaos. The Traitor Legions' associated troops from the Dark Mechanicus , the Titan Legions or the regiments and starships of the Imperial Army and Imperial Navy that had turned to Chaos were to be destroyed or driven into the Eye. It would be as if the Traitor Legions had never existed to sully the Imperium with their betrayal. After the death of Horus, those Traitors who had not been slain outright during the Siege of the Imperial Palace fled before the vengeful wrath of the Loyalist forces.

Many made good their escape into unexplored space or disappeared into the Eye of Terror or other, lesser-known Warp rifts such as the Maelstrom. Fighting continued for another seven standard years after the Heresy had ended with Horus' death on the bridge of his great flagship, the Vengeful Spirit , before the Traitor forces were wholly destroyed or exiled into the Eye of Terror.

Many Chaos-corrupted star systems were cleansed and placed under the watch of the newborn Inquisition. The Emperor's dream of a new age of enlightenment, a time when Mankind was freed from superstition and ignorance, would turn into something far different. The Great Scouring would be followed by the ten millennia long era known as the Age of the Imperium. In the midst of the Great Scouring campaign, the Second Founding occurred. The remaining 9 Loyalist Space Marine Legions were disbanded to form the far smaller 1,man organisations known as Chapters , in accordance with the established dictates of Primarch Roboute Guilliman 's Codex Astartes.

A portion of the Space Marines, now collectively known as the Adeptus Astartes , maintained their parent Legions' original names, badges and colours whilst the remaining Chapters took on new names and heraldry. The majority of these Second Founding Chapters still serve the Imperium today.

The Age of the Imperium is the time period that began with the end of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium, and is typically referred to in the present tense. The approximate time period begins in the 31st Millennium, and continues forward, with the last year represented in Imperial records being The Age of the Imperium is generally conveyed as spanning from the end of the Horus Heresy to the narrative present - a space of approximately ten thousand Terran years. The myriad wars of the Great Scouring were fought in the years immediately after the end of the Horus Heresy and the death of the traitorous Warmaster.


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In a lengthy campaign, the Imperium's forces hunted and banished the remaining Traitor Legions from the occupation of human space. For a time the Imperium knew peace from the corrupted followers of the Chaos Gods. At the same time, many alien races that had been fought during the Great Crusade reappeared in human space to take advantage of the disruptions caused by the Horus Heresy and plagued the vulnerable worlds of Man. In order to prevent a single person from controlling as much military power as Horus had mastered and eliminate the risk of another large-scale civil war, numerous reforms were enacted at the hands of Roboute Guilliman to reshape the Imperium's political and military structure.

In this way the men and women of the Imperium could face the new post-Heresy realities of an interstellar government where the Emperor was no longer capable of carrying on the day-to-day tasks of interstellar governance. The Imperial Army was divided into the land-based forces of the Imperial Guard , and the space-based forces of the Imperial Navy , each with a separate chain-of-command structure and bureaucracy.

The remaining nine Loyalist Space Marine Legions adopted the Codex Astartes written by the Ultramarines ' Primarch Roboute Guilliman and were split into the many smaller Space Marine Chapters of the Second Founding that were comprised of only 1, men each along with their own supporting spacecraft and planetary fiefdoms.

The Orks rampaged across the Imperium on a massive scale in Nothing was safe from the Orks' primal desire to conquer the galaxy and their widespread advances were only halted when the Imperium resorted to the use of the most extreme measures, at great cost to the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. The byzantine politics of the Imperium took a calamitous turn in M32 in an event remembered as The Beheading when the High Lords of Terra , the successors of the Council of Terra that had been established to administer the day-to-day affairs of the Imperium and now ruled in the Emperor's name, were slain to a man on the orders of Drakan Vangorich , the Grand Master of the Officio Assassinorum.

The commander of the Astartes strike force was assassinated as soon as he made planetfall, but the remaining Battle-Brothers carried out the attack without him. Inside the temple they were attacked by Eversor Assassins. The Imperium descended into anarchy for several years as new High Lords rose to power.

During this period the Adeptus Terra brought the most important human-settled star systems of the galaxy that had not been reached by the Great Crusade under Imperial control and expanded the interstellar borders of the Imperium. Internal stability was gained with the establishment of Astropath Choirs on countless worlds, with major hubs established on the best-garrisoned Imperial worlds, including Armageddon , Bakka and Macragge. This allowed a reliable network of interstellar superluminal communication to function using the power of an Astropath's telepathy to send and receive messages across light years.

This period also saw the slowing of the decline in the Imperium's technology and the growth of the interstellar economy due to the rediscovery of a valuable Standard Template Construct STC database from the Dark Age of Technology in the Cana System as the Imperium expanded. Once more the Imperium repelled the forces of Chaos Renegades, Heretics and aliens alike across the galaxy and reclaimed countless lost and rebellious regions for the human race. The Emperor, always an object of veneration, only increased his devoted following of worshippers after being joined to the Golden Throne.

Many Imperial cults dedicated to the worship of the Emperor as the God of Mankind arise over the following centuries, the majority of which were united into a centralised religious body known as the Ecclesiarchy. This powerful church gains momentum until, in the 32nd Millennium, it is finally granted the status of the official state religion of the Imperium and the title of Adeptus Ministorum.

It is only a few centuries later that Ecclesiarch Veneris II receives a seat amongst the High Lords of Terra , and after standard years, the seat reserved for the Ecclesiarch is made permanent within the ranks of the Senatorum Imperialis. In Such a show of power and faith puts an end to the squabbling for the contentious seats of the High Lords of Terra that has consumed the differing factions since The Beheading.

In locked council with the mightiest of Mankind's warriors, such matters were quickly sorted out. None know exactly what was done or said, but when the Space Marines departed back to their far-scattered missions, there once again sat twelve High Lords of Terra. If there was further dissension, none dared speak it aloud. M32 the Imperium was consumed by the event known as the Astropath Wars. There is no further information on this conflict available in Imperial records. M32 the event known as The Firestorm unfolded. Sometime during the 33rd Millennium, the War of the Confessor unfolds when in a particularly violent display, the Adeptus Ministorum exerts its newfound political strength.

Many key Shrine Worlds are added to its holdings during this first of many wars of faith to come. However, he is still too powerful within the Navy to be executed without initiating a costly civil war, so he is instead despatched on an Explorator mission to the intergalactic gulf beyond the Milky Way. For the following decade, Usurs' reports reach Terra by Astropath, detailing the conquest of new star systems for the Emperor.

After two decades, these reports finally cease. Contact is never reestablished with the star systems Usurs mentioned in his reports. M33 the Blade of Infinity , a pre-Heresy Cruiser , emerged from the Warp , its re-entry signature suggesting that it had left realspace over 20, standard years before. This period predated even the Warp-Drive 's invention in the Age of Technology and suggested a radical time stream disorder.

Vox transmissions picked up the from the vessel suggested that the Blade of Infinity was trying to communicate some type of warning, but before much could be deciphered, the ancient starship disappered once again into the Warp. In its wake arrived an invasion fleet of Chaos Space Marine Legions, the Archenemy of the Imperium who wreaked much havoc. The Blade of Infinity reemerged from the Warp several more times in subsequent years, always as a harbinger of further incursions into Imperial space by the Forces of Chaos from the Immaterium.

M33, during what became known as the Year of the Ghosts , the honoured dead rose up in the Segmentum Solar to drive back the terrors of the Warp. Sometime during the early years of M34 a great threat to the Imperium arises beyond the Ghost Stars. Even today, its true nature remains suppressed.

The ravages are said to cause the extermination of a score of Space Marine Chapters and souls unnumbered. Much of the extant evidence relating to this threat has been censored or purposely destroyed by the Inquisition , but there are contradictory indications which describe the nature of the threat as both a "star-spawned plague" that swept away scores of worlds and to "Nightmare Engines" that slaughtered the populations of whole sectors. This threat is remembered only as the Pale Wasting.

M34 the terrible crisis known as The Howling unfolded. Black Templar Space Marines ended the Catelexis Heresy by executing the Cacodominus, an alien cybernetic psyker whose formidable powers allowed it to psychically control the populace of thirteen hundred star systems.

Unfortunately, the Cacodominus' death scream was amplified by the Warp and burned out the minds of a billion human Astropaths while it also distorted the beacon of the Astronomican. Millions of starships were lost in the resulting upheaval and entire Sub-sectors of the Imperium slid once more into barbarism without the dictates of the Adeptus Terra to guide them.

It is a terrible price to pay for victory. Following a fierce Warp Storm bursting from the Eye of Terror in Did you know that since , Biblio has used its profits to build 12 public libraries in rural villages of South America? Biblio is a marketplace for book collectors comprised of thousands of independent, professional booksellers, located all over the world, who list their books for sale online so that customers like you can find them!

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