‘Black Legion’, the second volume in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s series of novels following the fortunes of Abaddon the Despoiler and his coalition of Chaos warbands, is available to order now. We in the Warhammer Community team have been looking forward to this for months, and although we’ve barely started reading it, we’re already pulling out interesting lines and discussing what they might mean.
Aaron is known for his ruminations on the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and there are plenty in ‘Black Legion’ about how he views the Dark Gods and Chaos Space Marines, and loads of teases about what is to come for Abaddon. Here are some of our favourites, and our thoughts on them.
“The Gods hate us. I truly believe this.”
These are the opening words of the novel, and seem to say something about the very nature of Chaos and its mortal servants. Chaos is emotion given form, and hate is among the most powerful and primal of emotions. Do the Dark Gods – creatures of great power but no real will – hate those with the freedom to make their own choices?
The novel’s narrator, Iskandor Khayon, suggests that the Gods hate Abaddon most of all because he chooses not to serve any of them, and instead to try to bend their power to his own will. Did Horus do the same? Is that why he ultimately failed, because he was betrayed by the Gods that gave him his power? And does the same fate await his successor as Warmaster…?
“I remember every man, woman and child whose mind I touched, whose body I puppeteered, whose flesh I gouged out hollow as a haven for a daemonic parasite, purely because of what I am. A legionary’s brain is sculpted to retain everything from the moment of his awakening as a Space Marine to the second of his demise.”
Imagine committing ten thousand years worth of monstrous, evil acts – slaughtering billions, destroying civilisations, betraying brothers and fighting to tear down everything you once built. Imagine the sheer horror of all of that being burned into your mind.
And worse, imagine remembering what you were before, before the corruption and the hate and the evil – and knowing that you can never again be that pure soul, that you are damned by the actions you cannot forget. That is a tragedy of the Heretic Astartes.
“Is there some aspect of my leadership thus far, Khayon, that leads you to believe I look kindly upon failure?”
Abaddon, like Horus before him, does not suffer failure gladly… even amongst his closest comrades. Khayon learns this early in the book when a mission goes wrong and he returns to the Vengeful Spirit in disgrace. But the novel suggests that, quite unlike the former Warmaster, the Despoiler is willing to overlook such failures in order to teach a lesson or achieve his greater goals… but not without suitable punishment, though it may be subtle and far from immediate.
“You were ignorant then, Ezekyle, and your place was to give counsel to a deluded fool. We are all far more than we were in that age of moronic optimism.”
Abaddon and his Black Legion do not look upon their history kindly. Of course, they remember it all, and in their exile, they judge themselves more harshly than any Imperial historian or inquisitor ever could. But most of all, they judge Horus. To the Imperium, his is a name that conjures fear, a byword for treachery and horror and loathing, and a warning of the perils of pride.
But to the Black Legion, the name Horus represents something far worse. Failure. Horus is seen, as the quotation above suggests, as a deluded fool who thought he could unite the entire Imperium beneath him and topple a god through open war. Abaddon’s plan, this suggests, is something far greater and more subtle… and long term. Not just a war. A Long War.
“I did not despise him then, at least not to the depths that would follow. This was before the years where the two of us sought in futility to end the other’s life, before we divided the Black Legion with our bitterness, bringing our brothers to civil war.
The Black Legion was born out of dark times, and it will return to dark times. Abaddon brought together warring heroes from across the Traitor Legions and gathered them under his banner sworn to one dark purpose. But even the would-be Warmaster’s iron will may not be enough to stop them falling apart once more.
It is the nature of Chaos to never be still and to never stop trying to tear itself apart – just see the way the four Dark Gods plot and scheme and war on one another. Their servants are no different, and it must be Abaddon’s place to stop such internal warfare from destroying the plans he is carefully laying… unless of course, such feuds and rivalries are part of those very schemes.
As you can see, there’s plenty of intriguing stuff in ‘Black Legion’, along with oodles of action and Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s well-known intricate character dynamics. And it’s worth noting that all of the five quotes above come from just the first three chapters of the novel (the first of which you can read for free in the downloadable extract) – the rest of the novel promises much, much more, including the beginnings of the First Black Crusade. You can order your copy now in hardback, eBook and MP3 audiobook formats, or secure the lavish Limited Edition. You’ll find them all on blacklibrary.com.
Originally Posted on: warhammer-community.com