Planets of Importance
Ancient Departmento Cartographicae map depicting the location of Colchis in the Segmentum Pacificus
The world of Colchis was one of the first worlds settled in Mankind's exploration of the stars. Located to the galactic northwest of Terra within the region of space later known as the Segmentum Pacificus, Colchis was located towards this Segmentum's westernmost region along the border of the neighbouring Segmentum Obscurus. Colchis' continental masses were dotted with strange, crumbling edifices, and no amount of exploration and research could fathom their purpose. At three times the size of Terra, with a fraction of the population, it took almost five standard years to turn once around its merciless sun. And it turned with great patience; a day lasted a Terran week, a week lasted a Terran month. From orbit, its skin was a visage of unforgiving mountain ranges and auburn desert plains, veined by threading rivers. It was in dry lands like these that that humanity's ancestors -- the very first men and women on the world no longer called Earth -- rose in lands that would become known as the cradle of civilisation.
Mechanicum Explorators at the time of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium put the date of its first human settlement sometime during the 16th Millennium, though it is impossible to be certain. Imperial scholars and historians believe that the world of Colchis was once highly advanced technologically during the Dark Age of Technology like much of the rest of human-settled space, but fell into anarchy during the turbulent time known as the Age of Strife and that its population regressed to the level of a pre-industrial, feudal society.
When the Ultramarines returned to Colchis to purge it after the Horus Heresy they found a collapsed world. All of the industries were destroyed and people barely clung on to life. The Inquisition ordered the cleansing by the use of cyclonic torpedoes, disrupting Colchis's delicate geological structure, and thereby triggering a catastrophic explosion that annihilated the planet.
Few records remain of the Colchisian society that arose from the ashes of the Age of Strife. Various fragments of these records are reproduced in the Speculum Historiale, the exhaustive history of the Great Crusade penned by the historian Carpinus. In his description of Colchis, Carpinus tells of a caste of priests calling themselves the Covenant who rebuilt the shattered society of Colchis on the promise that a great leader would one day come to deliver them from the darkness their world had descended into. With harsh religious observance, the Covenant's strict dogma became a gigantic, monolithic belief structure that permeated every facet of daily life on Colchis. Colchis was a world of peace and law, and the people of Vharadesh, the capital city of the world also known as the City of Grey Flowers, respected its holy leaders above all.
Over the generations, civilisation had spread itself thin across the arid continents of Colchis, with most of its city-states clinging to the coasts. Each city-state maintained links to the others though sky trade and ocean freight, on a world where roads across the desert plains would be little more than folly. Unlike much of the emergent Imperium, Colchis was unprotected by vast orbital weapon platforms. More tellingly, it also had little in the way of the industrious space stations responsible for feeding and refuelling parasitic expeditionary fleets in their crusades through the galaxy.
Colchis at this time still bore the scars of long-forgotten greatness -- an age of wonders, ended in fire. In that sense, it was a future echo of what Khur would eventually become following the rebuke of Lorgar and his entire Word Bearers Legion by the Emperor of Mankind. The world's surface was bruised dark by the bones of dead cities, fallen in unrecorded ages, never resettled. New cities had risen elsewhere with the genesis of a simpler, quieter culture. The ancient ruins suggested a machine-driven empire had once ruled Colchis, though little evidence ever came to light regarding its destruction. The lost kingdom's legacy was evident even in orbit, where drifting, dead hulks -- locked in orbits that would still take millennia to completely decay -- marked the graves of interstellar shipyards.
At that time, few Imperial fleets ventured near Colchis, and not merely because of its lack of resupply capacity. Rumours circulated, citing unreliable shipping lanes, and the disappearance of the 2188th Expeditionary Fleet in a nearby region added fuel to that particular fire. Colchis seemed a world focused upon looking inwards, even backwards, refusing to clear its skies of wreckage from the Dark Age of Technology, and resisting all Imperial edicts to establish new orbital bases. The planet's one concession was to allow the Mechanicum of Mars access to those serene hulks, letting the Tech-priests plunder whatever they desired. The region was not haunted. No Imperial commander would ever give voice to a laughable superstition, when such words were holdovers from a more indecorous age. Yet still Colchis saw scarce traffic, and its resistance to supplying the Great Crusade remained inviolate.
It was said this defiance could only have come from Lorgar, the Emperor's Seventeenth Son, for no other authority would allow a planet to remain so curiously provincial. In the capital city of Colchis, Vharadesh, a golden plaque was fixed to the immense doors leading into the Spire Temple of the Covenant. This tablet marked the Primarch's supposed words -- words he had never admitted, yet never denied, speaking to his father. It was also said, by the few that witnessed such rare moments, that the Primarch smiled each time he passed those words, and reached out to stroke his golden fingertips across the etched lettering.
Colchis was hardly devoid of technology. It enjoyed the benefits of Imperial life and culture, despite its master's hesitance to supply materiel for the Emperor's war. Auspices in the skytraffic towers of Vharadesh tracked the activity in orbit, with scanner consoles lighting up at the sudden pulse of so many signals. Word from the XVII Legion's Expeditionary Fleets was constantly cycled back to Colchis, for the people of the homeworld took great interest, and great pride, in the conquests of their chosen champions. Mothers and fathers listened in the hope some chronicle would detail the glory of a son taken from them in childhood and reshaped as one of the Astartes. Covenant clergy listened for inspiration to preach of the primarch's righteousness. This network was maintained by astropaths, sending short psychic-pulses of information back to their counterparts on the home world. Several times a week, broadcast from speaker towers across the Holy City, updates of the Legion's progress drew flocks of listeners. City-wide celebrations were declared by the Covenant, the world's religious-caste of rulers who gained control over the world after being led by Lorgar, each time a XVII Legion expedition completed an Imperial Compliance action upon a new world in the name of the God-Emperor.
On Colchis, as on many of the Imperium's dryest worlds, the indigenous life coped with the climate however it could. For the human population, it was a matter of coastal cities, immense water filtration facilities, irrigation farming, and dealing with the seasonal floods from the rushing rivers that acted as blood vessels for the arid plains. Vharadesh, the Holy City, was the nexus of such industrious efforts. Swathes of irrigated farmland reached out from the city walls, a triumph of ingenuity over nature. Colchis was an arid, thirsty world, but the perfection of the human form showed in all things.
The Coming of Lorgar
Of Lorgar's coming, Carpinus speaks of a fiery comet smashing into the foremost temple of the Covenant bearing the infant Primarch, while Lorgar himself often made oblique references to his 'pilgrimage' to Colchis. Another tale tells of the arrival of a strange, golden-skinned child at the doors of the Covenant's largest temple, asking to be schooled in their ways. The child was taken into the temple and given the name Lorgar, growing to manhood within its walls and quickly mastering the many tenets and codes of faith imposed by the Covenant. The truth of the matter will, in all likelihood, never be known, and though the answers may lie in the blasted words of the Liber Malum which is sealed in the deepest vaults of the Library Sanctus on Terra. Its pages must never again be opened. Lorgar became a devout member of the Covenant, taking fiery words of faith to every corner of the globe, where the power of his oratory and charisma won him many supporters. He rose rapidly through the ranks and though the people of Colchis loved him, he had enemies within the Covenant who grew jealous of his popularity and challenge to their power.
Wars of Faith
His enemies had vastly underestimated the depth of belief in Lorgar's words and the Covenant split into two factions, each deeply opposed to the other's belief, and each believing that only they could save their people. A holy war of horrific proportions erupted, with more and more of the population forced to choose sides as the battles grew larger and spread across the planet. For six years the fighting raged across Colchis and many were the atrocities carried out in the name of holy righteousness.
The Arrival of the Emperor
With the end of the war, the people awaited the arrival of the divine being prophesised by their saviour Lorgar, and less than a year after the final battle, a mighty, sky-borne vessel descended to the temple on a trail of fire. The Apocrypha of Skaros tells that the Emperor and the Primarch of the Thousand Sons Legion, Magnus the Red, descended to Colchis with two squads of Thousand Sons Astartes, to meet its mighty war leader. Lorgar dropped to one knee, immediately recognising the Emperor from his visions, and swore his undying fealty to him. Under Lorgar's rule, every facet of the Covenant's belief structure was devoted to the worship of the Emperor and the population of Colchis rejoiced, united behind their new and wondrous god.
The arrival of Lorgar had brought with it both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because the Primarch's presence later brought the world into the fold of the Imperium, a curse because his arrival signed the planet's death warrant many hundreds of years later. Under Lorgar's brief rule the planet prospered, but when the Emperor came to Colchis and put Lorgar in command of the XVII Legion, who Lorgar renamed the Word Bearers, those officials of the Covenant Lorgar left behind to govern the world allowed the planet's civilisation to fall into decline.
The Fate of Colchis
During the Horus Heresy, when the Ultramarines took the fight to Colchis, they found a devastated world, its industry in ruins and its people clinging desperately to civilisation. Given Lorgar's treachery and the Imperium's fear that his Chaotic taint had spread throughout the population who had converted to the Word Bearers' heretical faith in the Ruinous Powers, the newly-formed Inquisition ordered the planet to undergo Exterminatus and the Ultramarines' Battle Barge, Octavius, bombarded Colchis with Cyclonic Torpedoes. The geological structure of Colchis was highly unstable and the resultant seismic activity caused by the torpedoes' detonations split the planet apart. Nothing now remains of Colchis and where it once existed is still a closely guarded secret by the Inquisition.
For the other forms of life on Colchis, lacking the capacity to affect their own environment, adaptation and evolution went hand in hand. Many plants in the drought-wracked scubland had leaves with a layer of fine hairs to catch and hold more moisture from the infrequent rainfall, and as a defence against the wind's drying touch. Colchis demanded much from its native life.These forms of plant life had been catalogued by Imperial scholars over the years, and promptly ignored. All except for one wildflower growing in the alluvial deserts -- a flower that couldn not be dismissed so readily when it meant so much to the Colchisian people.
The moon lily bloomed with leaves of silver, white and grey -- all to reflect more of the sun's harsh light, stunting its own photosynthesis in the name of survival. Fragile, beautiful, the moon lily was a gift between Colchisian lovers, a decoration at weddings and festivals, and those trained in its breeding and care were as respected as teachers and priests among the populace. Across balconies throughout the capital city, especially on the spires claimed by the Covenant, great hanging gardens of white and silver blooms contrasted against the tan stone walls. Vharadesh was the Imperial designative name for the capital city, and in the ruling caste's religious sermons, it was referred to with passion and pride as the Holy City. But to the people of Colchis, Vharadesh would always be the City of Grey Flowers.
The world designated Forty-Seven Ten was the tenth world brought into Imperial Compliance by the 47th Expeditionary Fleet of the XVII Space Marine Legion, under the command of Primarch Lorgar Aurelian. The Word Bearers not only brought the knowledge of the Imperial Truth to the people of Khur, but their zealous religious fervor and beliefs in regards to the divinity of the Emperor of Mankind, whom they referred to as the God-Emperor.
The people of Khur willingly embraced the Word Bearers as their saviours. The greatest Chaplains of the XVII Legion extolled the divinity and righteousness of the Emperor, and Lorgar himself delivered countless speeches and sermons, converting millions to the Emperor with his words alone.
At the direction of the Word Bearers, the Khurians demonstrated their faith and devotion to the God-Emperor by building their new planetary capital city of Monarchia, which would come to be known as the "Perfect City" -- the model city of perfect, abject devotion to faith in the God-Emperor.
Judgement of Khur
"People of Monarchia, capital city of Forty-Seven Ten, hear these words. We, the warriors of the XIII Legion, are oathed to this moment, honour-sworn to this duty. We come bearing the Emperor's decree to the tenth world brought to compliance by the Forty-Seventh Expedition of humanity's Great Crusade. Your compliance with the Imperium of the Man has held for sixty-one years. With the greatest regret, the Emperor of Mankind demands that all living souls abandon the city of Monarchia immediately. Moments ago, your planetary leaders were given the same warning. This city is to be evacuated within six days. On the final day, your planetary leaders will be allowed to send a single distress call. No one is to remain in Monarchia by dawn of the seventh day. Go now to your homes. Gather your belongings. Evacuate the city. Resistance will be met with bloodshed."
— Proclamation by Primarch Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines Legion during the castigation of Khur
After the Horus Heresy
Like all of the worlds tainted by the influence of the Traitor Legions, Khur was subjected to an Exterminatus during the Great Scouring of the early 31st Millennium by the Imperium. This was done to eliminate all remaining Chaotic corruption within the planet's population, as they had remained staunchly loyal forever after to the "angels" from the stars who had first taught them the potent power of faith. Khur today is a Dead World, though its location remains a highly classified secret of the Inquisition, to prevent any from searching out whatever Chaotic relics and artefacts might remain upon the planet.
Some 40 standard years before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, Cadia was a world inhabited by a primitive race of violet-eyed humans who worshipped the four Chaos Gods, probably a remnant of Mankind that had turned to the Ruinous Powers during the hardships of the Age of Strife. Prompted by the so-called Pilgrimage of the Primarch Lorgar of the Word Bearers Legion to discover whether or not the Gods once worshipped by adherents of the Old Faith of the Word Bearers' homeworld of Colchis actually existed, Lorgar journeyed with his Word Bearers Legion's Chapter of the Serrated Sun to what was then the fringes of known Imperial space as part of the 1301st Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade. At this time, Lorgar had not yet fallen to Chaos, though he had turned against the Emperor of Mankind as a deity no longer worthy of his worship after the Emperor and the Ultramarines had personally humiliated him and the entire Word Bearers Legion on the world of Khur 43 standard years before the start of the Horus Heresy. The Emperor had come to Khur personally with Malcador the Sigillite after ordering the Ultramarines to destroy the Khurian city of Monarchia where the Emperor was worshipped as a God as a result of the teachings of the Word Bearers. He made his displeasure known to Lorgar about the Word Bearers spreading the religion of Emperor-worship to every world they brought into the Imperium, in direct contravention of the rationalist, atheist philosophy of the Imperial Truth. The Emperor forced the entire Legion to kneel against their will through the use of his psychic might and then explained that they were the only Astartes Legion to have failed his purpose on the Great Crusade. After this humiliation Lorgar, on the advice of his First Captain Kor Phaeron and the Word Bearers First Chaplain Erebus, decided to undertake a Pilgrimage to discover if the Gods worshipped by the ancient Old Faith of Colchis were real and worthy of the Word Bearers' faith and allegiance.
The Word Bearers were also accompanied on this Pilgrimage by 5 members of the Adeptus Custodes who had been set by the Emperor to watch over everything the Word Bearers did to prevent them from falling back into error once more. The 1301st Expeditionary Fleet exited the Warp near the largest Warp Storm in the universe, later known as the Eye of Terror. The Fleet's Master of Astropaths advised Lorgar that unusual "voices" in the Warp were heard in the vicinity of the great Warp rift, voices that spoke directly to the Primarch as well, the voices of the Chaos entities within the Immaterium.
The decision was made to hold orbit over Cadia and for the 1301st Fleet's elements to make planetfall on the unknown world, designated as 1301-12. The landing force was comprised of Imperial Army, Word Bearers, Adeptus Custodes and Legiones Cybernetica elements. The landing party, led by Lorgar, was greeted by a large number of barbaric human tribes, tribes described as "dressed in rags and wielding spears tipped by flint blades...yet they showed little fear." Most notable were the barbarians' purple eyes, which reflected the colour of the Eye of Terror itself in the spectrum of visible light. Despite the Custodian Vendatha's protests and request to execute the heathens, the Word Bearers approached the natives. A woman emerged from the crowd and addressed the Primarch directly, calling him Lorgar Aurelian and welcoming him to Cadia. This woman, the priestess Ingethel, would ultimately lead the Primarch down a path of spiritual enlightenment that actually marked the beginning of Lorgar's fall to heresy and Chaos. Later, Ingethel of Cadia would lead the 1301st Fleet's scout vessel Orfeo's Lament into the Eye of Terror and thus change the Word Bearers forever as they were exposed to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos and slowly corrupted, the first of the Legiones Astartes to worship the Chaos Gods and become Traitors to the Emperor. The Cadians, primitive as they were, used a language which was akin to the Word Bearers' own Colchisan tongue. Many traditions of the Word Bearers were mirrored by the culture of ancient Cadia, leading Lorgar to believe that the original settlers of both his own homeworld of Colchis and Cadia shared a common heritage.
Following the visits into the Eye of Terror, Lorgar ordered a cyclonic bombardment of the planet, wiping out the Cadians and leaving the planet abandoned, so none within the Imperium would know what had transpired there.
Edited by SlaveToDarkness, 23 August 2014 - 01:19 PM.