Background


PATH TO CHAOS

The Plight

The world of Brylin was a sparsely populated world, its sons and daughters had a plentiful supply of food and every facet of their society exuded decadence.

That was before the drought.

Hundreds of leagues of farm land were devastated, and year after year the crops failed, leaving the populace fighting for the last scraps of food as the food reserves quickly dwindled to nothing.

As the world turned upon itself, it quickly degenerated into bitter fighting between warring factions, each looking for secure the last few remaining sustainable acres of farm land.

This was the time that Varro Damius would be born into. Even from birth, Damius had a semi-sheltered life from the harsh realities of the warring factions, as his father, Quintus Damius plied his services as a man of healing, giving his assistance to those who could pay him the most, and in this way, Varro Damius always had enough to eat as only the warlords controlling the only working farms could afford the food to pay.

Varro’s youth was spent learning his father’s trade, learning the many benefits of the healing herbs, how to prepare them and, in time, which plants could be used to cause harm.

Young Varro’s world outlook quickly changed as he was caught in one of the attacks, and although he acquitted himself well in the actual fighting, the sudden appearances of armed attackers made Varro ask questions. Dangerous questions.

As he learned more and more of the way the world was, and of his father’s place in it all, Varro made a decision.

Using the knowledge he had of local poisons, Varro crafted a potent mixture which would kill any man in less then a day once consumed and he dispersed the mixture into the fields, knowing it would seep into the crops and when harvested, would poison the food created from it. In the mean time, Varro hoarded his own food supply, keeping only that which would last and he waited.

As members of the local warlord begun to die, Varro found out too late that his own father had consumed the poisoned food and as he rushed to create a potion to save his life, his father died.

It was only after that day that Varro had realised what he had done, and that he had crossed the line.

A year passed, and the drought continued, and the crops Varro had poisoned slowly recovered. During the year, Varro had become an outcast of his own accord, never staying in one place for too long, eking out a meagre living foraging for land snails and existing on the few weeds he could find.

It was during this period that Varro received his first revelation, a prophetic vision of the future. He saw the coming of the Imperium, of the Emperor and of the Death Guard.

Upon the year’s anniversary of his father’s death, Varro returned to where he had once called home. That night, the Death Guard arrived.

The Imperial Truth

The Death Guard found Brylin in tatters, its vast cities shadows of their former glory. There was talk of abandoning the world to its fate and let it die amongst the newcomers. Word spread quickly amongst the local population and slowly at first, their numbers gathered around the Imperial camp.

As more and more made the trek to a possible salvation offered by the Imperials, those amongst the Death Guard who sought to leave Brylin to rot were poisoned. With no explanation as to the cause, or an effective treatment, the Death Guard affected were rendered lame by the extensive cramps.

After a few days, Damius came to the fore, and offered a treatment and proclaiming his knowledge of local lore. With little else to be done for the lame Astartes, the Death Guard accepted his offer reluctantly.

For the first few days, Damius toiled at the side of the beds of the afflicted, taking careful notes of each patient until he was sure of the cure and in what dosages to administer.

The treatment worked and the Astartes returned to full health within a few short days.

COMING OF AGE

The Death Guard

Varro’s treatment of the afflicted Death Guard did not slip the notice of the Legion’s Apothecaries, and despite his age of fifteen, he was inducted into the Death Guard.

As he completed his training to full Astartes, Damius managed to retain much of the knowledge of herb lore and found the basic principals applied to the medicine that the Apothecaries used in their administrations.

However, Damius’ gifts to the Chapter were not limited to his medicinal knowledge, as Damius was quickly discovered for his latent psychic abilities although they were of such a low level that they posed little threat to the Legion and he was given rudimentary tutelage in their use, despite that they were passive abilities, appearing and disappearing seemingly at the whims of fate.

Research

Damius continued to serve the Legion, but with each passing day, he would become increasing absorbed in his studies of micro-organisms, particularly those which wrought harm, and his research quickly spread to other chemical compounds and elements which could disrupt organic creatures.

Out of Damius’ research came a number of side benefits, including a number of serums derived from toxins, which gave Astartes extensive healing abilities and boosted certain aspects of their abilities, although Damius was careful to keep such discoveries to himself.

On the outset of the Ballix campaign, the Death Guard were amongst the nearest, and were one of two expeditionary fleets capable of responding to it in a timely fashion. Damius was amongst small number of the Apothecaries sent to Ballix to aid the Battle Brothers and extract the precious gene seed.

Despite fighting bravely, Damius was nearly killed by a stray shell during the last assault on the polar defence fortresses. Laying wounded and weeping blood from countless shrapnel wounds, Damius knew he was beyond help. With little other options, Damius injected himself with one of his serums.

Almost at once, Damius’ wounds begun to heal as the chemical compound took effect, boosting his own already enhanced immune system to new levels.

Within minutes, Damius was able to walk again despite both his legs being broken in several places only minutes before.

When Damius returned to the fighting, he found it was effectively over, with the Captain of the Dark Angel 23rd Company standing over the corpse of the enemy abomination.

Mutation

The weeks following the successful completion of Ballix, Damius would begin to exhibit increasing levels of mutation. At first the mutation were subtle, His sense of taste was the first to go and then his eyesight begun to decrease in strength.

It was not until the failure of his secondary heart that Damius acted but by then the mutations had gone to far and not even Varro’s own knowledge could save him from a horrible death as one by one, his systems shut down.

Damius begun to work fervently to slow the mutation, but with each new treatment, he only expedited the mutations until eventually; Damius could not even stand upright.

Damius awaited the inevitable failure of his internal organs, Damius begun to pray to anyone who would listen.

The Chaos God Nurgle answered his plea, and in exchange for Damius’ service, Nurgle would slow the mutation.

Damius agreed.

As the mutations slowed, Damius felt his strength return and continued his work. At first he continued to work on reversing the effects, but eventually found no way to reverse the effects.

It was at this time that the Termest Est, captained by who would become Typhus, was afflicted by the destroyer plague.

The Legion continued its downward spiral into the worship of Plague God and as the contagion inflicting the Death Guard spread, Damius remained unaffected.

Although Damius knew of the Termest Est’s fate, he did not concern himself and renewed his work on the plagues which had fascinated him since joining the Astartes.

Fragments

When Horus was defeated at the siege of Terra and the Death Guard was disbanded into separated factions, Damius took his research and fled deeper into the Eye of Terror.

Damius drifted in the Eye, often exchanging his services and his knowledge of toxins to local war bands including those belonging to the Emperor’s Children. His research continued as he was given a near steady supply of victims to test new strains upon and he would provide them with his knowledge at healing.

 It was during Damius’ life as a nomad in the Eye that he came upon Lord Arnell and he had heard the rumours that he had once been Captain Ulrain of the Dark Angels. The very same Ulrain that Damius had fought beside on the death world of Ballix.

It was during his visit to Iunsan, Arnell’s daemon world, that Damius offered his services.

PATH TO ASCENSION

Perfection of Control

The Yonta Massacre (779.M37) was but a stepping stone to the completion of Damius’ viral research. Billions of souls were turned into pawns for Damius’ control, but this was a short-lived affair.

The vast population turned insane and set upon each other with vicious abandon within a few days of being infected. The experiment was a resounding success, and Arnell granted Damius time and the resources to perfect the virus, although Damius was to provide Arnell with a number of viral warheads intended to kill its victims rather then render them controllable.

The next major field test was during the Battle of Byron. This time, the effects lasted for several months, and in that time, Damius was able to use the expendable army created at Byron to secure himself the daemon world of Gip’Sum.

The Daelon Attack was another such experiment, and each time, the time Damius had to control his victims increased.

The Second War for Tarsiss III

The Second War was the culmination of Damius’ work.

As the virus disseminated across the world, the millions living there succumbed to the plague and despite the best efforts of the local PDF and Arbites, rioting and civil unrest were rife as roving groups of infested citizens hounded the uninfected.

When the Astartes from the Fists of Flame Chapter counter-attacked, they found the world a shattered fragment of its former glory and that Damius had vanished.

As they begun to mass purges, Damius attacked. The fighting quickly devolved into a stalemate, with neither side being able to push the other. This played into Damius’ plan, and over time, the virus Damius had engineered slowly eroded the Astartes enhanced immune systems.

When the Astartes finally realised what was happening, it was already too late. As many of their number slowly turned to Nurgle, the remaining Fists of Flame fought to maintain any foothold on Tarsiss III whilst traitors turned and the roving bands of plague zombies provided constant harassment.

Ascension

Damius eventually left Tarsiss III before the world was granted the ultimate sanction of Exterminatus by the Imperial forces, and although it provided Damius certain avenues for further research for his creation, he had essentially proved his creation worked.

Damius’ attack on Tarsiss III had other lasting effects, counted amongst them was the effect it had on the Fists of Flame as the plague had reduced the Chapter to a near critical state, with around half the Chapter defecting to Nurgle and in doing so, had swelled Damius’ ranks considerably.

Ultimately, the attack on Tarsiss III had also the effect Damius had wanted all along and on the anniversary on the Second War, Damius ascended to full daemonhood and had merged with his creation with his very being, becoming host to the Rictuus plague in all its undiluted glory.

Walfen

The Imperial world of Walfen was the location of one of the repositories of Astartes gene seed, tasked with ensuring the purity testing of existing and new gene seed stocks, as well as the storage of these most valuable materials.

When the world came under attack by the forces of Chaos from not only one Chaos Lord, but the four Lords of the Four Winds, the Imperial counter-attack deemed necessary to expel them was roused, but such tasks took time and prepare and although relief forces from the Fists of Flame and the Dark Angels were sent to the blighted world to aid the Planetary Defense Forces, the Four Winds were successful in breaching the walls of the Sanctorium Imperialis, the principal store house for the gene seed stocks.

Damius was the first to secure his supply of the precious material, sending vast quantities of it up to his flagship, the Plague Scorpion which had been retrofitted with extensive cryogenic facilities to carry it safely.

When the Imperial counter-attack arrived in the Walfen system, they found that Damius had already left the system.

The Vulanin Campaign

The events at Walfen would have lasting effects for millennia, as Damius had not only secured for himself a great quantity of precious gene seed implants, but also had access to the genetic records for hundreds of Astartes chapters. This information would come to the fore during the Vulanin Campaign, when Damius’ fleet came under attack as it was making a regular stop for re-supply in the Vulanin system.

The Green Dragoon Chapter had managed to engage Damius’ fleet from an unexpected direction, virtually creeping up on him using the radiation of a nearby sun to mask their approach.

Battle was quickly joined, but Damius was prepared. For several days, Damius played a game of withdrawal and faints, never fully committing himself. The time Damius bought in this way proved invaluable until on the seventh day of the conflict, Damius struck.

The attack proceeded like every other Damius’ fleet had launched, but instead of withdrawing to safe distance, the vessels continued on their course. Fearing some sort of deception, the Astartes turned hard to avoid the collisions. That was exactly what Damius was wanting, and as the vessels slid past each other, Damius’ fleet unleashed their torpedoes.

Unlike the standard explosive variety, Damius had used the knowledge taken from Walfen to construct viral strains designed to taint the Astartes.

The ploy had worked.

Within the day, the Astartes onboard their vessels begun to mutate as the fast acting viral compounds mixed with the Rictuus strain begun to consume the Astartes flesh and eat away at their resolve.

Knowing they would forever be shunned by the Imperial at large, the Green Dragoons quickly succumbed to Damius’ offer of aid in their weakened state and accepted.

The Scions of Damius

The data collected at Walfen also let Damius advance considerably faster then his peers in the area of cell cultivation and gene splicing, and up until this point, Damius had only ever worked on viral organisms, and cultivating a complex structures such as humans were far too complex to attempt without the data he now possessed.

After the perfection of the Rictuus strain complete, Damius focused his attentions on the creation of new Space Marines, and although each specimen was slightly inferior to the examples produced by Imperial science, Damius was successful in his creation of new Space Marines.

The Scions of Damius were the result of this break through and possess a threat level rivaling that of true Astartes for woven into their very genetic makeup is an inbuilt need to be exposed to the Rictuus plague and without it, they would die within the year, ensuring they stayed loyal to the Carrion Angel for as long as they lived.

And now, as at the turn of 42nd millennium, Damius stands poised for another attack into the Imperium.