Tomes of the Librarius – The Primarchs: Sanguinius Part 2

Hello again 40k fans! Chris Morgan, Chief Librarian of the Forge the Narrative Podcast, is here again with the next weekly segment of Tomes of the Librarius. Also, 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 this 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.
In our last installment, we discussed the origins of Sanguinius and his campaigns during the great crusade. Today, we are going into what happened during the beginning and middle years of the Horus Heresy. The beginning of the tragedy that is Sanguinius’ story starts with the betrayal at Signus Prime, and the Blood Angels’ long feud with the daemons of Khorne.

The Muster

After Horus was named Warmaster and began his fall into chaos, he knew he had to do something about Sanguinius. In all of his plots and machinations, he knew that among his brothers who would not turn on their father, Sanguinius was going to be the biggest threat. The architects of the heresy – The Word Bearers – had a plan in mind with which they hoped to enslave the Blood Angels to the ruinous powers, and Horus made sure to keep the Angel busy while the plan was set into place. Stuck in a holding action against Orks trapped between his legion and the Alpha Legion, Sanguinius was kept out of the way while Horus’ plans began to come together. Using his knowledge of Sanguinius’ blood-flaw that would later be called the “Red Thirst,” Horus offered the potential of a cure that he said was in the Signus star cluster, a system on the other side of the galaxy from where Horus would unveil his treachery on Isstvan. Commanding Sanguinius to muster the majority of his legion, Horus laid the foundation for what would become the greatest personal betrayal that Sanguinius would ever feel. Horus had schemed with Kha’Bandha to see Sanguinius dead instead of turned, and his legion enslaved through a magical manipulation of the ‘Ragefire,’ a spell made to awaken the genetic bloodlust of the Blood Angels gene-seed. Horus did not want a rival to outmatch him in the eyes of the dark gods.

Close to 120,000 Blood Angels marines and support craft gathered in the muster that followed. Only those too far away to join the muster or who were tasked with protecting the Arc Angelicus on Baal were left behind when the massive fleet left. There would not be another gathering of Blood Angels of this size ever again.



Immediately after arrival, it was clear that the foe that had been promised to the Blood Angels was not there. The entire system and its population had been slaughtered and sacrificed to the dual powers of Khorne and Slaanesh, and the effect on the system defied all of what Sanguinius considered reason. Entire planets were remade into vulgar symbols of chaos, and came alive to war against the Legion. The system itself was cut off by a veil of darkness that blocked out the stars. It wasn’t until their arrival at Signus Prime that the full daemonic threat was realized. Kryiss, Keeper of Secrets, and Kha’Bandha, chiefest of Khorne’s Bloodthirsters, led a daemon army against the Blood Angels. Sanguinius’ flagship was brought down upon the planet, and became the base of operations for what would become a war of Angels in hell.

Sanguinius faced Kha’Bandha, and they fought a titanic battle across the cursed sky and earth of Signus Prime. Upon his moment of victory over the greater daemon, it unveiled Horus’ treachery and used the moment’s shock to inflict a crippling blow on the Angel. His legs broken, Sanguinius had to watch as the Bloodthirster slew his sons with the ragefire, and the psychic backlash put him into a coma. Had it not been for the intervention of the librarius, Sanguinius may not have awoken until after his sons had fallen too far. In the nick of time, he rose back into consciousness and sought out the source of the dark magic corrupting his sons. After another battle that saw him defeat the two greater demons, and saw the ragefire manifest into a living demon of rage, the war for Signus was won. The cost was staggering. Many Blood Angels had died, many ships were damaged (including his flagship), and all contact with the outside systems were lost. Only broken messages about Horus’ betrayal on Isstvan made it through. Stuck on the wrong side of the Ruinstorm, the Blood Angels set out from the system in an attempt to make it back to Terra. They ended up on Ultramar instead.

Imperium Secundus

Guilliman, ever the practical ruler, hypothesized that the Emperor may be already dead. On the other side of the ruinstorm the war raged on, but Guilliman, Sanguinius, and Lion El’Johnson were unaware. Guilliman decided to raise a new Imperium, and made Sanguinius its Emperor. He ruled begrudgingly, and at unrest. He was being troubled by visions of his death at the hands of Horus, but not knowing where or when. As a symbolic icon, he was a potent unifying force and brought hope to a galaxy in despair. His fleets were repaired, but his heart was troubled. He wanted to be out fighting and killing the traitors, and the visions of darkness about his son’s battles against the twin curses in their future troubled him greatly. Kurze haunted the capital city, dueling Sanguinius and slaying many of his sons. Conflict raged on, and their lighthouse amid the storm went out after the Night Lords attack at Pharos. During the next few years they consolidated their power and warred against the traitors on their side of the galaxy. It wasn’t until the captured Konrad Kurze revealed the truth of the Emperor’s survival that they realized their error, and began their journey to Terra.

Stay Tuned for Part III

The tragic story of Sanguinius will come to a close in next week’s installment of Tomes of the Librarius! Until then, say loyal my friends!

There’s a lot to say about Sanguinius, and I don’t have the space to say it all at once. Keep your eyes peeled for part two coming in two weeks as I take a week off to help Reece with the Las Vegas Open.


Captain Morgan

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Chris Morgan

40K philosopher, LVO Judge, Chief Librarian of Forge the Narrative, Blood Angel enthusiast extraordinaire, and slayer of traitors, xenos, and heretics; I'd rather be playing 30k right now or neck-deep in a good book. Follow me on my FB page - Captain Morgan's Librarius

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