CHAOS
CYPHER THE FALLEN ANGEL

"I know not if he represents the greatest
threat or greatest hope for the Imperium.
I only pray we stop him before we find out"

Inquisitor Bastalek Grim

Cypher is an enigmatic and sinister character. He appears as if from nowhere, bringing death and destruction with him, and then vanishes just as abruptly as he appeared. Strangely, it is rare that Cypher himself instigates the violent acts that invariably occur when he is present; it is rather that he appears to be the catalyst which fans any feelings of hatred or mistrust into a raging, uncontrollable fire.

Cypher rarely speaks, and when he does his tones are clipped and his words few. No one knows his real name, and no one in living memory has dared ask him what that name might be. However, the occasional glimpse of the dark power armour beneath the long robes that Cypher wears means there can be no doubt that he is one of the Fallen. In many ways he epitomises their fate, being cursed to wander through time and space, never to be able to return home.

The Fallen Dark Angels have their origin in the dying days of the Horus Heresy, when Lion El'Jonson, Primarch of the Dark Angels Legion of Space Marines, returned to his home world of Caliban. As the unsuspecting ships of Jonson's fleet moved into orbit, they were met by a devastating barrage of defense laser fire. Stunned by the ferocious attack, Jonson withdrew and attempted to find out what had happened on his home world.

From The Heresy of Cognitive Dissonance
by Cardinal Elyass Vallkante

Upon the dead world of Cthelmax, our Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator team researched the ruins beneath the fractured crust of this barren rock. Severa lprevious expeditions to this planet had already been lost, but an entire company of veteran soldiers and a squad of Space marines guarded this expedition. Upon our arrival at the site of the previous expedition, we were astounded to find a battle underway between a group of dark armour warriors and strange silver-skinned constructs of gleaming metal. They fought before a rippling gateway of jade-veined darkness as a being with a skin of shimmering gold killed the warriors with ease, each languorous blow from its hand cutting a warrior down.

But I saw that, alone amongst the dark warriors, a single figure darted through the combat, firing twin pistols and evading every blow. As the golden being turned to face him, he slashed its torso with a shining silver knife. No sooner had the blade struck than it was wrenched from his hand and swallowed whole within its golden flesh. The sounds of battle continued, but a dark veil dropped around the combatants and when next I looked into the tomb, there was no sign that anything had occurred. The chamber was empty.

A captured merchant ship soon provided the answer: when Lion El'Jonson had left Caliban to take part in the Great Crusade, Luther, his second in command and life-long battle brother, had been left in charge of the remainder of the Legion. Despite the importance of his position, it was not one which suited his ambitious personality, and soon his role as planetary governor of some half-forgotten backwater world seemed more and more like an insult to him. These seeds of jealousy grew until Luther had become a man obsessed, whose own neuroses had pushed him over the edge. He became easy prey for the Chaos Gods, who used their terrible powers to make Luther one of their followers and dangerous beyond imagining. Using his renowned skills at oratory, Luther convinced the Dark Angels under his command that they had been shamed, that the Emperor had turned his face from them, instilling his own Chaos-fueled feelings of jealousy and rage in the Dark Angels who had been left on Caliban during the Great Crusade. When the Primarch returned, these feelings erupted into open rebellion.

The fury of Jonson and the loyal Dark Angels at this terrible betrayal knew no bounds. Jonson himself immediately led an attack against Luther's headquarters. What followed was a fight of titanic proportions during which the two equally-matched adversaries struck blow upon blow against each other, tearing down the monastery around them until the whole massive edifice had been levelled by their battle. Meanwhile, the massed guns of the fleet pounded the planet, until the very surface of Caliban began to crack and heave under the strain of the bombardment.

Explorator Majoris Doreth [suppressed].M41
Cthelmax - Primus Site

You may say he doesn't exist, but I know better. When I was crewing on an ore freighter back in '73, we were laid up in Dagohma making repairs. That was the time the mining Guilders sent in their hired guns to clear the colonists from the Shantos Hills. The colonists were all for packing and leaving until Cypher arrived, but his prowess and his words gave them courage. Before long the Guilder compund was under seige. He didn't stay til the end, but by then there was no stopping to colonists; they stormed the compound and hung the Guilders from their own strip-mining rigs. No one else could have done what he did, so what if he didn't tell anyone his name? When the Space Marine Angels of Death arrived a few weeks later he was all they were interested in, but no one told them anything even when they were declared rebels and the trials began. No one forgot what he had done for them and they died proud and free.

Arsann Crowe, Recidivist and Heretic

As the planet itself began to break apart, the battle between Jonson and Luther reached its climax. Luther, aided by the powers of Chaos, unleashed a furious psychic attack that knocked Jonson to his knees and left him mortally wounded. But as the dying Primarch struggled to stand, his noble features wracked with pain, it was as if a curtain was lifted from Luther's eyes and he realised the full extent of what he had done. His was a triple betrayal, of his friend, of the Dark Angels and of the Emperor. The truth shattered his sanity and he slumped down beside Jonson, no longer willing to fight.

Luther's psychic cry of pain and despair echoed through the warp and the Chaos Gods realised that, once again, they had been defeated. They lashed out in fury and frustration. A rent appeared in the very fabric of space and a warp storm of unprecedented ferocity engulfed Caliban. In an uncontrollable, swirling flood of psychic energy, the warp rushed into the material universe.

Those 'fallen' Dark Angels who had served Luther and his clandestine masters were sucked from the face of Caliban into the warp and scattered through space and time. Caliban, already weakened by the loyal Dark Angels' bombardment, was ripped apart and destroyed, the debris being sucked into the warp.

This story of treachery and betrayal is the Dark Angels' secret shame. None know of it other than the Dark Angels, their Successor Chapters and, maybe, the Emperor on his Golden Throne. Even within the Chapter itself very few brother-Marines know exactly what happened during those fateful days. It is only when Dark Angels are inducted into the Deathwing that they learn the story of Luther's betrayal. More terrible still, they learn that many of the Dark Angels who followed Luther are still alive. These damned warriors are known as the Fallen Angels.

Not all of the Fallen Angels have succumbed to the power of Chaos to the same degree. A large number of the Fallen have embraced the ways of the Dark Gods, becoming true Chaos Space Marines. However, many others realise that their actions during the fall of Caliban were wrong. Disgusted by the corrupting influence of the Chaos Gods, and unable to reconcile themselves with the Dark Angels, they live a solitary existence. Many become mercenaries or pirates, roaming the galaxy as masterless men. Others are willing to atone for their sins and in an attempt to do so have integrated themselves back into human societies.

But their subsequent actions are irrelevant in the eyes of the Dark Angels, who believe that the only way they can rid themselves totally of their shame, and restore their honour and trust within the Emperor's eyes, is if all the Fallen are made to repent or are slain. This is by no means an easy task. The Fallen are dispersed throughout space and time as either isolated individuals or in small bands, and the Dark Angels can go for years without hearing any rumours that might lead them to one or more of the Fallen. When they do, however, and their mission is a success, those Fallen that are captured are taken back to the Dark Angels Chapter Monastery - The Tower of Angels. Deep inside its dungeons Interrogator-Chaplains attempt to make the Fallen repent. Occasionally they do and for their pains die quickly. More often than not, though, the captured Fallen refuses and suffers a long, drawn-out and agonising death at the hands of those who would save his soul.

Transmitted: Hunter Fleet Phaleg
Received: Tower of Angels
Destination: Grand Master Azrael
Intercept/Redirect: None, Inner Circle members restricted
Date: 3677999M41
Telepathic Duct: Epistolary Kheros
Ref: FLN/30724592/IP
Author: Interrogator-Chaplain Phaleg

The tarot has guided me truthfully as always. On Amistel I captured three of the disciples of a heretic calling himself the Voice of the Emperor. They proved quite informative. They received their orders on Lelithar where the cult of the voice is strongest. Their descriptions of the Cult Magus conforms with Fallen one-zero-zero. I urge you to bring the Tower of Angels and all the might of our Chapter to Agrapinna sector. One-zero-zero's machinations have destabilised the entire sector and provoked a substantial response from the Ecclesiarchy. Stealth will not serve, we will need to fight our way through to him. That he should be sighted so openly, so close to the remains of Caliban in times such as these demands urgency.

I believe the Gate is about to be stormed, our final reckoning with the Fallen is at hand.

However, there are some who whisper that Cypher may in fact represent the Fallen Angels' only chance of redemption, and that his seemingly random appearances hide a pattern which reveals that he is slowly moving across the galaxy towards Earth and the Emperor himself. They also point to the fact that Cypher carries a sword which he never draws or uses in combat, and that this could be the fabled Lion Sword, wielded by Lion El'Jonson himself, and thought to be lost forever following the Primarch's final confrontation with the arch-heretic Luther. Whatever the truth of this, it is certainly the case that his presence in one place seems to attract others of the Fallen, though none know how they are able to find him or why they gather. Probably because of this, the members of the Dark Angels Inner Circle hate and fear Cypher more than any other Fallen Angel, and would willingly perform almost any act - no matter how vile, in order to capture or kill him. That they have so far not managed to do so speaks volumes of Cypher's almost supernatural prowess and ability to escape capture.

Every segmentum, indeed almost every sector of the Imperium has a Cypher legend, some of them dating back thousands of years. The sheer number of tales carries a weight that defies disbelief and the numbers of bounties offered for his capture over the years would buy a sub-sector were anyone to collect them. It is clear that the popularity of Cypher legends is tied to a basic human attraction to non-conformity. Self-deluded radicals clearly believe that the institutions of the Imperium attempt to deter individuality and in a perverse reaction feel a subconscious approval of the maverick mystery man.

The neurosis is classically formed: Cypher is hooded, clearly implying that he is an outlaw who wishes to avoid recognition- needless to say this is a pointless gesture because everyone clearly does. Indeed, the man is only Cypher because the observer confers that identity upon him. No doubt anyone who ferments rebellion and defies capture becomes Cypher and perpetuates the myth.

Tales commonly emphasise Cypher's prodigious skill with pistols, normally he is portrayed firing both a plasma pistol and a bolt pistol with unerring accuracy. This technique is normally associated with hive gangers, particularly outlaws of the sort that attract a particular type of mystique and is clearly a product of uncontrolled wish fulfilment rather than accurate observation. Finally, and most perplexing, are the frequent references to the sword he carries. Note that here is not one credible example of the sword being drawn. Despite this, the rumour most commonly heard is that the sword is broken and is somehow connected to the early history of the Dark Angels chapter of Space marines. The link with the Dark Angels is a difficult one to prove as they are amongst the most secretive of the Adeptus Astartes. It is known that the Dark Angels and their successor Chapters sometimes refer to themselves collectively as the Unforgiven and are frequently seen hunting down renegade and traitor Space Marines without official sanction. It is assumed by some, therefore, that Cypher is a former Dark Angel and that his sword may be one of their sacred relics. This is pure supposition and an insult to the reputation of the Emperor's most devout warriors.