Hello 40k fans! Chris Morgan, Chief Librarian of the Forge the Narrative Podcast, is back from hiatus to drop some knowledge bombs again with the next Tomes of the Librarius article. Also, be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!
Just as a reminder, in this series we will explore facets of the history and legends of the Grimdark. This is meant to be an easy summary and introduction geared towards new players or people unfamiliar with the setting, but should still be an interesting read or fun refresher for those already familiar. There’s so much detail in 40k lore that a bare summary seems so inadequate, but for new people this should be the right portion to get a feel for the history of the universe we enjoy our games in.
Rounding out part three of this trio, this next segment will conclude the ‘Battlefields of Legend’ series. We are finishing today with the planet Macragge, homeworld of the Ultramarines and their primarch. I struggled and debated between this planet and several others (including Terra, which I determined deserved its own series), but due to the lore significance of this world I ended up going in favor of it. Rest assured, I’ve got more planets up my sleeves (figuratively) to entertain you with! Let’s get to it!
Guilliman’s Landing and Goals
Macragge was already a prosperous world when Guilliman landed there as an infant. Adopted by one of its most powerful lords, Guilliman’s mind was shaped in part by the ordered politics of the new world. Indeed, Guilliman is the only primarch that had anything resembling a mother, and his upbringing was about as stable as one could hope to expect. The world itself was temperate and technologically advanced despite the age of strife, with spaceflight capable craft and trade going on between different planetary systems. As primarchs do, Guilliman shook up the natural order of the world, and upon the murder of his adopted father he took up the mantle of ruler.
His practical and organized mind quickly and ruthlessly eliminated deviance from his grand schemes, and he created a prosperous and expanding kingdom that spanned multiple worlds. No process was too small and no procedure too mundane to escape his notice as he sought ways to optimize the expansion of his influence. When the Emperor came with the Great Crusade, he found a tiny empire with a loyal son ready to join him, and Macragge was the jewel at the center.
The Crusade, Heresy, and Imperium Secundus
Guilliman was an efficient administrator and empire builder, and his part in the crusade created the 500 worlds of Ultramar. Under his guidance, armies vanquished their foes and planets were brought into the light of Imperial Truth with mechanical efficiency. Macragge was the seat of his power, and it would be the place that he would retreat to when the treachery of Lorgar struck at Calth. Cut off from the Imperium at large by the Ruinstorm, Guilliman was forced to watch from Macragge as his empire of 500 worlds was picked apart by the ravaging hordes of the Word Bearers and the World Eaters. Using the light of the Pharos Mechanism to set up a beacon through the warp, Macragge became the light in the storm that eventually brought his brothers Lion El’Johnson and Sanguinius. With the fate of the Emperor unknown (even going so far as to presume him dead), Guilliman named Sanguinius the new Emperor and together they gathered strength in hopes of defeating Horus’ rebellion.
The Fortress of Hera was the seat of power from which the Triumvirate ruled, but even this ordered seat of power was not safe from the predations of the traitors. Konrad Curze, once a prisoner to the Lion, escaped and began a murder spree that threatened the order of Macragge. The killing was widespread, and combined with his sedition tactics, the Night Haunter raised rebellions on the world against its rulers. He was nearly successful in killing Guilliman and the Lion before he was hunted down and brought to his knees. The damage he had done shattered the unity of the Triumvirate, but also inadvertently set it on the course to return to Terra.
Macragge would continue to be an important world in the years following the Heresy. Guilliman became the Lord Commander of the Imperium, and set to the task of rebuilding the broken empire left in the wake of Horus’ treachery and demise. This goal would eventually be cut short, as an encounter with Fulgrim would leave him poisoned nigh unto death. Unable to cure him of the wound, he was put into stasis and brought back to Macragge. Set almost as a living idol, it would be ten thousand years before his hand would shape the fate of mankind. Even so, his sons the Ultramarines would continue his legacy, with the Fortress of Hera and Macragge at the heart of their efforts.
In 10,000 years of war, Macragge was the base of operations of the Ultramarine chapter, and the capitol of what remained of the ever-diminishing 500 worlds. There are only a few recorded instances of it coming under threat, and most are in the last few hundreds of years leading up to the modern era of 40k.
The Tyranid Invasion
Hive Fleet Behemoth invaded the Ultramar system, and proved nigh-unstoppable. It took the full-might of the Ultramarines and the sacrifice of the First Company to ensure victory. Marneus Calgar, the Chapter Master, was wounded severely by the Swarlord in the battles of that war, and it would take decades of hunting to scour the world and the sector of the Tyranid influence – a task still underway.
The Veil of Darkness
In the aftermath of the defeat of the Ultramarines 2nd company at the hands of the Necrons, the foul Xenos managed to inflitrate the palace itself and would have succeeded in sacking the Fortress of Hera if not for the intervention of Cato Sicarius (and some weird time-travel shenanigans) that would see the harm undone before it could begin.
The Return of Guilliman
In the aftermath of Abbadon’s destruction of Cadia, the Black Legion surged forward across many warfronts, getting so far as to launch an invasion on Macragge itself. With battle raging in the shrine-chamber of Guilliman’s stasis, Yvraine and the Magos Belisarius Cawl managed to awaken the Lord of Ultramar in time to swing the battle in the Ultramarines’ favor, and herald a new age of defiance over the shadow.
The Future of Ultramar
With the end of the Indomitus Crusade and the war for the fate of humanity in full-swing, Gulliman’s attentions have returned to his pocket empire. The Death Guard are laying siege to the 500 worlds, and he means to break it. With Macragge as his bastion against the darkness, Guilliman will either cast out the shadow, or die upon the walls of the Fortress of Hera…
I hope you enjoyed this third installment of Tomes of the Librarius! Next week we will be moving on to another three part series. What would you like to see covered? Let me know in the comments below!
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