Here follows an abridged version of the article first published as one of a series focusing on the history of the various Marine Chapters and Legions, sadly now long out of production. Although much of it relates to the World Eaters following their descent and betrayal, there are some highly interesting nuggets of information concerning both their Primarch and on the ethos of war that pervades perhaps the most bloodthirsty of Legions to take part in the Great Crusade.
Kept chained within the deepest dungeon of the Library Sanctus on Terra, the bloodstained pages of the Liber Malum records the fate of those who have trod the path to damnation. To even mention its name is to risk madness. Many are the blasphemous heretics and tyrants whose names sully the pages with their treacheries, but foremost amongst these damned souls is the name of Angron, Primarch of the World Eaters Space Marine Legion.
The legend of Angron is incomplete and there is much that is not known, or so shrouded in dark legend that the true facts are impossible to discern. How Angron came to be separated from the Emperor so soon after his creation and the name of the planet he eventually came to call home, is unknown. Indeed where this planet was or even if it still exists is uncertain. Carpinus' Speculum Historiale speaks of Angron's world as technologically advanced, (though does not name it), ruled over by a caste of wealthy elite who lived in decadent opulence while the populace of their cities lived in abject poverty in the slums surrounding their walled palaces. To distract the populace from their daily woes, the rulers of this world held regular death games in colossal arenas with cybernetically enhanced gladiators who battled in mortal combat to satisfy the bloodlust of the people. It was on this world that the Primarch Angron was eventually to be discovered, but how he came to be there is unrecorded.
However it came to pass, it is known that Angron was discovered by a slaver who chanced upon the bleeding figure of the Primarch, surrounded by scores of alien corpses, high in the northern mountains. History does not record to what race these aliens belonged, but many Imperial scholars believe them to have been Eldar, perhaps attacking the Primarch with some foreknowledge of what the future held for him. Angron had been grievously wounded, but was alive and, seeing that all his wounds were to the fore, the slaver realised that Angron must be a formidable warrior. Taken as a slave, Angron was nursed back to health and bio-neural implants were surgically grafted to his cerebral cortex.
Relics from the Dark Age of Technology, these would boost a warrior's aggression and strength in battle and turn him into a frenzied killer. Angron was taken to the planet's capital where his obvious potential as a gladiator was soon realised and he was bought by the largest and most patronised arena in the city. The cells below the arena were home to several thousand cyber gladiators, and Angron now took his place amongst them.
After only a few months, Angron had gained a bloody reputation as a proud warrior of fearsome skill with a strong sense of martial honour. He killed hundreds of warriors, in single and multiple combats, but those who fought well, he spared. Angron was a firm favourite of the baying crowds, and while he appeared to relish the life of a gladiator, he was always plotting ways to escape his life of slavery. He was a troublesome slave, with an instinctive anti-authoritarian streak and several times attempted to break out of the arena's dungeons. The fighters were held under extremely heavy security, with hundreds of heavily armed guards constantly on duty, and every attempt met with failure.
Within a few years, his fame had spread to every corner of the globe and his reputation as a fearsome killer was well established. Thousands flocked to watch Angron fight and, under his tutelage, the gladiators became deadlier and deadlier until no other arena's warriors could stand against them. Following another failed escape bid, Angron finally understood that he could not succeed alone. His unbending warrior's code and training methods had made him a well respected leader amongst the gladiators and, with the largest death games on the planet rapidly approaching, Angron began planning his most daring escape attempt yet.
For these games, Angron was permitted to stage a vast display of battle involving every one of the arena's gladiators and, at its height, as the crowd drowned the arena in cheers, Angron's followers turned on their guards, butchering them and fighting their way free. Against soldiers armed with guns their casualties were horrendous, but nearly two thousand managed to escape into the city, stealing what weapons and supplies they could before battling their way into the mountains. Angron's army took refuge in the highest reaches of the northern mountains, close to where he had been discovered by the slaver many years ago. The rulers of the planet immediately dispatched a force to destroy the escapees, but woefully underestimated the capabilities of Angron's slave army. Within days, a few pitiful survivors was all that remained of the once proud host, stumbling back to the city, their weapons taken and comrades slaughtered.
For the next few years, many such forces were sent against Angron's slave army and each one was defeated, cut to pieces by the psychotic fury of the cybernetically enhanced warriors. But attrition and hunger were taking their toll on the slaves and soon they numbered less than a thousand. On a mountain named Fedan Mhor, as darkness fell, Angron was finally surrounded by no less than five vastly superior armies and it looked as though the slave rebellion was finally over. Not even the Primarch could stand against such numbers and the following day's battle would surely see him dead.
It was around this time that the Emperor came to this world, drawn by the psychic aura of the Primarch. The Emperor had observed Angron in secret from orbit for some time, watching with pride as he led the slaves in battle. Now he descended to the planet's surface, offering Angron leadership of the World Eaters Space Marine Legion and a place at his side. But, to the Emperor's surprise, Angron refused. His place was here, with his fellow slaves, and he would die before deserting them. Angron and the slaves dug their graves during the night, a signal to their enemies that they would fight to the death rather than surrender. The Emperor knew that even though Angron was a Primarch, he would perish in the coming battle and, bringing his ship into low orbit, teleported Angron away from Fedan Mhor. Without their leader, the morale of the slaves was destroyed and the following morning they were slaughtered by the combined armies of the planet's rulers. In space, as the Great Crusade continued, Angron eventually took command of the World Eaters, but never forgave the Emperor for his abduction from the planet and what he saw as a betrayal of his martial honour.
Knowing how effective at boosting a warrior's prowess the psycho surgery could be, Angron ordered the Techmarines of the World Eaters to duplicate the process, using the implants in his head as a template. However, the art of this technology's construction had long since been forgotten and the early attempts at reproducing it were unreliable, often triggering uncontrollable and unstoppable psychotic episodes in the recipients. Eventually, the Techmarines were able to construct working implants that heightened aggression and strength, grafting them to whole companies of World Eaters Space Marines. Initially, the enhanced companies were highly successful, quickly gaining a fearsome reputation as terror troops. No mercy was offered by the World Eaters, only bloody death at the end of a chain-axe. The Liber Malum speaks of whole systems surrendering wholesale rather than face the wrath of the World Eaters. But it was only a matter of time before the Legion's use of psycho surgery on its recruits became widely known. Following the infamous Ghenna Scouring, where an entire planet's population were butchered in a single night of bloodshed, the World Eaters were censured by the Emperor and commanded to cease the use of implants.
Angron paid little heed to this and ordered the work of the Techmarines to continue, until almost every Space Marine in the Legion had undergone the ritual surgery. Blood rites became an increasingly important part of the Legion's heritage as their slaughter continued across the galaxy, and it became common practice for Space Marines to compete in the number of enemy skulls they could take in battle. Many of Angron's brother Primarchs voiced their concerns to the Emperor, and now the Master of Mankind made a fatal error. He dispatched Horus, the most trusted of all the Primarchs, to confront Angron and bring him back into line. Horus was a master psychologist and, unbeknownst to the Emperor, had already been corrupted by the Chaos powers. In Angron he saw a warrior consumed by bitterness and resentment and it was a simple matter for Horus to feed that bitterness, emphasising the Emperor's betrayal, painting him as a weakling in need of replacing. He told Angron exactly what he wanted to hear and, when Horus eventually betrayed the Emperor, beginning the first galactic civil war, Angron's World Eaters marched beside the Sons of Horus.
The home world of Angron remains a mystery to this day. No known record exists of where the Emperor encountered Angron and none of those histories scanned by the scribes on Terra appear to match the description given in the Speculum Historale of Angron's world. Scholars postulate that Angron himself may have returned to his home world upon the outbreak of the Horus Heresy and destroyed it to avenge the death of his fellow slaves. It is certainly true that the World Eaters destroyed a number of worlds seemingly at random on their bloody advance to Terra, but whether one of these was his home world is a riddle that only Angron knows the answer to.
Many suspect that Angron's gene-seed was corrupt from the start and the World Eaters were damned the moment they were created. Others point to the known history of Angron and insist that his Legion could have been saved had the signs been noticed earlier. Whichever is correct, the Space Marines of the World Eaters have a physical need to shed blood and kill, a driving imperative that sends them into a berserk fury of unrestrained bloodthirsty psychosis. So strong is the desire to kill that the World Eaters will turn on one another to satisfy their bloodlust should no other foe present itself.
Anecdotal Archive: THE CLEANSING OF ARIGGATA
During the heady days of the Great Crusade, the boundaries of the Emperors space were continually being pushed back by his Primarchs. Many worlds welcomed the arrival of the Emperors armies, while others foolishly resisted. Ariggata was a technologically advanced world that had been isolated from the Imperium for many centuries, and when Imperial envoys arrived bearing word of the Emperors return, they were executed in a bloody gesture of independence. The military might of Ariggata was formidable and thus the honour of its pacification fell to warriors from no less than three Legions, the Luna Wolves, the Ultramarines and the World Eaters. The Emperors Warmaster, Horus, was in overall command of the force, and under his masterful generalship, the armies of Ariggata were quickly subdued until only the Basalt Citadel, seat of the planet's rulers, remained in enemy hands.
Imperial forces laid siege to the citadel, but the pacification was taking too long for Horus' liking, he wanted to be away from this world to seek further glory. To quickly end the siege he bombarded the mighty walls of the citadel from orbit, ordering Angron and the World Eaters to storm the breaches created and slay the enemy leaders. The walls of the citadel had been forged during the Dark Age of Technology and, despite a week long orbital bombardment, only a single breach was made. Roboute Guilliman counselled caution, but nether Horus or Angron were willing to wait. Angron threw the World Eaters at the walls of the Basalt Citadel, a firestorm of lasers and bullets wreaking bloody carnage amongst their ranks. The World Eaters were undaunted, a ramp of corpses allowing them to finally crest the breach and, once within the citadels walls, the battle-maddened Space Marines slew everything that came within the reach of their chain-axes. The ancient halls echoed with terrified screams for a day and night as the World Eaters rampaged through the citadel, and when Angron finally led his warriors from the charnel house, not a single soul remained alive within.
When the Ultramarines moved in to secure the citadel, they were horrified at what they discovered. The chambers and vaults of the citadel resembled a madman s abattoir, dismembered corpses lay where they had fallen and the stench of death was an almost physical thing. No-one had been spared, every living thing had been butchered in the World Eaters fury. By the time the appalled Ultramarines left the citadel, the World Eaters and the Luna Wolves had already departed, leaving the Ultramarines to garrison Ariggata until the Imperial Army arrived. Before Guilliman was able to confront his brother Primarchs regarding the massacre on Ariggata, the Heresy erupted, both Horus and Angron spitting on their oaths of loyalty to the Emperor, and Guilliman`s worst fears were confirmed.
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