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Backstory Question: Response to a Murder? (Word Bearers)

Word Bearers

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#1
Lanparth

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I'm curious. I've been pretty deep into 40k Lore for well, most of my life. But one thing I find fascinating is politics inside of warbands and legions. Clearly there is structure, and the Word Bearers have quite the structure themselves.

 

I've been toying with the idea of writing a short story or two. I never have time really, and I have a really long Dragon Ball story I write on the side which is strangely popular. So I've got some hypothetical questions I though I'd like to ask.

 

So I'm trying to figure out a very interesting question. How would a Warband, or larger Legion fragment, respond to the murder of the Dark Apostle from someone within their ranks? Or alternatively, how would other Warbands view a Warband / Legion fragment in mutiny against their Dark Apostle? It's just a curiosity of mine.

I know how it'd work, for the most part, if a Chaos Lord was killed, but in the Word Bearers the Apostles hold the real position of power, and often they are viewed in a far more revered manner than just some tyrant of a Chaos Lord.

 

Thanks in advance.



#2
Marshal Loss

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Read the Word Bearers trilogy by Anthony Reynolds - that exact scenario effectively happens (the Dark Apostle is murdered by his First Acolyte after trying to murder him, but the host doesn't know the apostle was murdered). Dark Apostles are appointed by the Dark Council on Sicarius, and it would take a lot for the members of a host to rebel against their Dark Apostle.

 

There are a lot of factors that would go into answering it

  • If host is rebelling against their Dark Apostle, why?
  • Who murders the apostle, and regardless of who it was, is their favour with the gods high? Were they seen as his successor? Could it be seen as fate/prophecy/the will of the gods?

Perhaps if an Apostle has led them into disaster after disaster and has obviously lost the favour of the gods, his acolyte might lead a rebellion against him and before leading the host back to their homeworld to seek confirmation from the Dark Council. This is all just based off Reynolds' series


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#3
Lanparth

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Read the Word Bearers trilogy by Anthony Reynolds - that exact scenario effectively happens (the Dark Apostle is murdered by his First Acolyte after trying to murder him, but the host doesn't know the apostle was murdered). Dark Apostles are appointed by the Dark Council on Sicarius, and it would take a lot for the members of a host to rebel against their Dark Apostle.

 

There are a lot of factors that would go into answering it

  • If host is rebelling against their Dark Apostle, why?
  • Who murders the apostle, and regardless of who it was, is their favour with the gods high? Were they seen as his successor? Could it be seen as fate/prophecy/the will of the gods?

Perhaps if an Apostle has led them into disaster after disaster and has obviously lost the favour of the gods, his acolyte might lead a rebellion against him and before leading the host back to their homeworld to seek confirmation from the Dark Council. This is all just based off Reynolds' series

 

I'm just formulating a series of what-if scenarios in my head. I kinda base anything I do on "what ifs". My Tau army that I just started, in my head cannon, are rebels against the Tau Empire looking to eliminate the Caste System and murder the Ethereals for being "enemies of the people", for instance.

 

But, as a long time Word Bearers player and fan, one thing I find interesting (which I love about them too) is the fact the Word Bearers are kinda :cuss-heels, and of all the Legions / Warbands out there, you should never trust the Word, of a Word Bearer. The Dark Apostles sell their own down the river pretty routinely. They sell their allies out just as easily. Everything is about manipulation and control, and I find a lot of their leaders self-interested, as much as they are true believers. Which I find to be truly endearing, I actually really dig it.

 

I write just for exercises for my brain, honestly, for the most part. So I kinda got to thinking about making a character, whose not an Apostle or set to be one, who isn't a Veteran of the Long War, who is a fanatical worshiper of Chaos, but is a character who is... virtuous (for lack of a better term). The bad guys never think of themselves as bad-guys. They often see themselves in the lens of the Hero. So I'm intending to write a character who kinda embodies something which is very foreign to Chaos, or it has been since the Heresy. Which is someone who fanatically believes in the Dark Gods and the teachings of Lorgar, but someone who believes in being honest, and having a degree of integrity. Which I genuinely just don't see a lot of in the Word Bearers (which is awesome, might I add). 

 

Which also ends up being the Catalyst for the story, of course. Given such a character could never operate in such a Warband, at least not for long. Which of course leads to the confrontation which leads to the elimination of his Apostle. It's very much aiming to be a story about liberation and self-determination, as well as the question of loyalty and power. Now, this sounds like he's a great individual (he's not), the story is going to depict him as the kind of monster a Chaos Space Marine is meant to be, but at the same time there are humanizing traits in the primary character.

 

It's just something I'm toying with. But spoilers, a Dark Apostle may get killed.

 

Maybe. <.<


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#4
totgeboren

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Dark Apostles being killed by other Dark Apostles, or by their Acolytes seem to be tolerated by the large mass of WB as being how the system works. The Dark Apostles are the ruling class, and how they conduct their business is not for the common brother to question. If they questioned that, the religious leader caste of the WB would collapse and the legion would cease to be a legion.

If a common brother, or even a coryphaus, killed a Dark Apostle I can see three realistic scenarios.
Either the DA was so impopular and the killer so popular that they could somehow make a coverup story. But considering the ways of the WB, a conspiracy would not hold since the one ratting to the Dark Council could benefit from it too much. A storyline where they break off from the legion and form their own renegade warband could also happen, but it would require quite a bit considering the extreme fanaticism of the WB.

Or, most likely the killer would be condemned as a heretic. The Dark Council simply have to reaffirming their political might.


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#5
MaliGn

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I'm not so sure, one of the unifying traits of the Word Bearers is their loyalty to Lorgar above all else. But their rivalries with their brothers can be quite fierce and embittered. Not only that but their members can be ruthlessly ambitious. I think it sort of depends on which path within the legion they follow, I can see an Acolyte, on the spiritual path that could make them a dark apostle becoming ambitious, jealous and powerful enough to murder a dark Apostle. But not a warrior-brother who lives to serve the apostles. Using the reynolds novels as reference again it is clear that kol badar despises marduk, but, despite a number of opportunities to kill him won't because of loyalty to his office. Similarly marduk was planning to murder jarulek, and clearly had been for a while.

#6
Lord Asvaldir

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As others have been mentioning or have been alluding to I think it's very important to diverentiate between the case of a first acolyte murdering a dark apostle opposed to just any old standard Word Bearer murdering a dark apostle. In the case of the first acolyte it seems like according to the WB omnibus that it's expected a first acolyte aspires to take the dark apostle's place, and in many cases that means first acolytes actively plan to find a way to murder their dark apostle so that they can sucerd them. However, I think it would be very rare for any standard battle brother, even a coryphaus to murder a dark apostle. Like Logar the whole legion aspires for some sort of spiritual understanding of the universe, and the chaos gods sort of delivered that to them along with the Scriptures of Logar. The dark apostles channel those believes and serve as a connection to the either and the power of chaos so despite the fact that word bearers are often self serving and "the bad guys" I have a hard time seeing them murdering the leader who serves as their connection to their higher power. Still possible for sure, just very unlikely.

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#7
Lanparth

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I think a virtue of both the Imperium and the Word Bearers (given they both have religions made by the same guy) is definitely "Blessed is the mind too small for doubt". There is a reason why that's important, which is that of course its a major block to rebellion against a system dependant on obedience.
 
I always find it interesting that 40k likes to deal in this bizarre absolutes in regards to behaviour. It's like wanting people to be a certain way no matter what. I find it interesting to see what would drive someone to that point. I also find it interesting to explore the mind of someone who is loyal, and chained to their current ideology, slowly having a realization through a thought. Of course, no one says that there is going to be a happy ending lol






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