Tuesday, December 17, 2013

40K Lore: The Perpetuals




Who are the Perpetuals and what are they up to in the world of the Horus Heresy?

Today we give you an article by new guest contributor Tyler Mengel which was first posted on BoLS.

The Perpetuals:

I can't help but be fascinated by one of the Heresy's newest and oldest (in more ways then one) additions in the form of the Perpetuals. Here I take a look at what we know about them so far and try to unravel a bit of their mystery, 

Again before I get started I want to say, SPOILERS AHEAD. If you have not read through The Unremembered Empire, and don't want any of the surprises about the Perpetuals ruined then stop reading - right now.



Still with me?

Okay, here we go.

So far what we know about the perpetuals is that they are old, in some cases having been born sometime in the B.C. era while others were artificially created much later. Some have been living out their life peacefully, some have missions and other have been busy building empires. Really the only thing uniting them is their long lives and invulnerability. Lets take a look at the major players.

 John Grammaticus


John has the honor of being the very first Perpetual we were introduced to. He first appeared in the novel Legion as an agent of the shadowy organization only known as the Cabal. From what we are told of his history he is actually fairly young by Perpetual standards having only been born in the 29th millennium. He served as an officer in the Unification Wars fighting for the Emperor, whom he actually met. At this point in time he was not yet a Perpetual but just a very powerful psyker. When the Big E met him he saw great potential in John and wanted to talk about future plans with him at a later date. John however was terrified of him and only saw a tyrant. As fate would have it John died in a car accident before they could ever meet again and the Cabal swept in and ressurected him as a Perpetual to serve their needs. 

Since then he was integral in turning Alpharius to Horus' side, set Oll Persson along his current, fateful path and has potentially saved Vulkan from insanity. As time has worn on he has tired of working for the Cabal and feels like a traitor to his own race. When he is given a shot to fight for his own race again by non other then Eldrad Ulthuan he seizes the opportunity and seemingly sacrifices his life for the final time. However the Cabal are not done with him and bring him back from the dead, but merely as a mortal, just to face their justice for his insubordination. At the moment his fate hangs in the hands of his former masters.

Oll Persson


Oll is our second Perpetual that we meet many books later in Know No Fear. He is our first natural Perpetual we meet having been alive longer then our history records. According to Oll he served as one of the Argonauts with Jason, fought at the Battle of Verdun, in the Napoleonic Wars, in the Gulf War and countless wars past our current time period. He is a devout Catholic, a rarity amongst the Imperium, although it is apparently a religion that is at least known by many in the far future.

When we come across him he is trying to live a quiet life on Calth but war still finds him. When Lorgar's forces descend on the planet Oll saves the lives of a small group of people and attempts to lead them to safety. Along the way he runs into his old friend John who sets him upon a new path with an athame which is as old as he is. Cutting into the fabric of reality he journeys into the Warp with the other survivors on a mission of utmost importance.

In the ancient 40K lore their is a character named Ollanius Pious who sacrifices his life to save the Emperor in the final battle vs Horus on the Vengeful Spirit. It is this act that finally gives the Big E the will to kill his favored son. It is pretty much assumed that this is what will end up happening, although the athame is an interesting new piece of lore. 

Damon Prytanis

I couldn't find a picture for him.
Damon is our newest Perpetual who we first meet at the end of Betrayer. At first we know little about him other then that he works for the Cabal and was sent to recruit Cyrene. The second time we see him is on Macragge. Here he has been tasked with keeping John on task, no matter the cost. We learn a little more about his personality and he is revealed to be an assassin, although he likes to think of himself as a soldier. He follows orders no matter what and doesn't consider the consequences. Despite his dubious morals he shows that he is more then capable of handling himself in a fight, preferring to use a pair of shurkien pistols.

He was at least born before the 1900's sometime as he fought the Lakota Indians as part of the 7th calvary. He also fought at Iwo Jima where he was recruited by the Cabal and most interesting of all it is strongly hinted that he is the one who killed Martin Luther King Jr., presumably at the behest of the Cabal. He acted as an assassin throughout the following millennia, killing several important figures in history. His future is uncertain and at the moment he is under the Cabal's protection again along with John. Personally I like this character about as much as Erebus and I hope he meets his end at John's hands. 

Cyrene

Cyrene is a recent addition to the ranks of the Perpetuals. She originally died in The First Heretic but was later resurrected by Argal Tal with the help of Erebus. Although brought back to life she was merely a shadow of her former self, having seen countless horrors while dead. She is recruited to the Cabal by Damon Prytanis at the end of Betrayer. It is yet to be revealed if she is a true Perpetual or a pseudo Perpetual like John. 

Vulkan
Ferrus 1 Vulkan 2,476,098,736,764...
In one of the biggest twists since Alpharius it is revealed that Vulkan is in fact a Perpetual and cannot die. (You were warned about spoilers) Either the Emperor engineered him this way on purpose or this is merely the aspect of his father that he inherited just as his other brothers have varying qualities of the Emperor. After being killed multiple times by Curze while imprisoned he loses his sanity and after arriving at Macragge is killed even more. At the end of The Unremembered Empire he is killed one final time by John in an effort to restore his sanity and is seemingly killed for good, although it seems like he is slowly healing. Perhaps his and John's life are tied together now. I told you there would be spoilers. 

Malcador the Sigilite


This is merely speculation on my part, but it would make sense. We know he is unnaturally long lived and the second most powerful psyker next to the Emperor himself. I would not be surprised at all if he is revealed to be a Perpetual, or perhaps a fragment of the Emperor himself, as some people have suggested. I will take this opportunity to throw out another theory, could he be the Emperor's brother or son? 

The Emperor

Of course we couldn't leave him off this list, the big daddy of them all. We know for a fact that the Emperor is a Perpetual, most likely the oldest and original Perpetual. In the original lore from Rogue Trader days he was born in roughly 8,000 B.C. All of the shamans on Earth committed suicide at the same time and resurrected into one body to create the ultimate super being to guide humanity in the future. Although we don't know if this is still canon much of his history has been maintained. He has taken on the guise of important figures throughout history when needed and at other times hung back in the shadows. 

It isn't known if he is truly the "good guy" in the 40k verse as many people see him only as a tyrant with his own goals ahead of humanity's. As mentioned before, when John met him he was horrified by what he saw when he skimmed his mind. While we all know what ends up happening to him there is still much about the most important person in humanity's history that we do not know. 

Speculation 

While Dan Abnett has confirmed that he "created" the Perpetuals with John and originally had no plans for them they quickly became a favorite with the Horus Heresy team. I personally love them since they are new to the lore and one of the few unknowns in the series. They are interesting in their humanity and ties back to our own age, ranging from their past, their names (John) and their use of archaic language (Oll's use of okay). Its quickly becoming obvious that they will be a major factor in the Heresy and most likely heavily influenced its outcome.
If we look to older lore we can find similarities with the Star Child and Sensei. The Star Child is the Emperor's soul, lost within the Warp waiting to be reborn after his mauling at Horus' hands. The Sensei are the operatives trying to enact this rebirth. All of this takes place after the Heresy but the connection is that the Sensei are super powerful and seemingly immortal. They are believed to be the natural born children of the Emperor. It isn't hard to imagine that over a 38,000 year lifespan the Emperor had a few kids here and there who would undoubtably inherit some of his abilities. 
Could the Perpetuals be these children? The natural ones at least, even John could be a Sensei, having inherited the psychic abilities instead of the immortality. Ultimately we are left wondering what part they will play in the Heresy itself. Clearly the Cabal has its own goals, trying to bring about he Imperium's demise while John and Oll are on their own mission to possibly help the Emperor.
Well thats all I have on the Perpetuals. I find them to be fascinating and a great addition to the 30k lore.
 

Tyler is a life long painter and hobbyist and took home his first Golden Demon award at the 2012 Chicago Games Day with a follow up at the 2013 North American Games Day. More of his work can be found at his blog, Mengel Miniatures.



3 comments:

dickiesworkshop.com said...

great article, i wonder if malcador's relationship with the emperor was the precursor to alpharius omegon ?

Will Harris said...

There is one more perpetual I would like to add grey knight justicar anval thawn although he doesn't appear in the horus heresy that we know of it is speculated that her has been around a long time before he found his way into the ranks of the grey knights

Ian Charles said...

Theres a short story which confirms Anval Thawn is a perpetual. The eldar were shocked to her that he "died" when the GK asked for the eldar to remember who died to save what remained of a craftworld, and a farseer confirms it in communication with another member of the race.

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