Warhammer 40k’s Lorgar Aurelian, the Urizen, is one of the most polarising figures in Games Workshop’s sci-fi universe. Forget Magnus the Red’s wrong-doing deniers; it’s the discussions around the Word Bearers Primarch which can often get the most heated. Is Lorgar a tragic figure, the only Primarch who sees the universe of Warhammer 40k for what it is? Or a petulant, twisted child who threw away every gift he was given?
We can’t answer those questions for you, but we will get you up to speed on the facts about Lorgar Aurelian – from who the guy is, right through to where he is now, in the 41st millennium. Fetch the sacrificial oils and braziers, because it’s time to get heretical with everyone’s favourite Archbishop of Chaos.
Who is Lorgar Aurelian?
Like other primarchs, Lorgar Aurelian was snatched from his gene-lab crib and deposited on a distant planet thanks to the mysterious workings of Chaos. The desert planet of Colchis became his new home, a desolate place ruled by a Chaos-worshipping cult known as the Covenant.
Unfortunately for Lorgar, his upbringing was not kind – he became the ward of exiled Covenant priest Kor Phaeron, a vicious and brutal man who saw in Lorgar a path to greatness.
Though Kor Phaeron attempted to instil the Covenant’s teachings in Lorgar, the budding primarch was beset by visions of a bronze-clad warrior descending from the skies. Lorgar’s preaching of these visions led to a schism in the Covenant, with a holy war erupting across the face of Colchis. By leading an army of zealous ex-slaves and by uniting scattered tribespeople, Lorgar managed to crush all opposition in the name of The One he saw in his visions.
When The One finally arrived, it became clear Lorgar had been receiving psychic images of his gene-sire, the Emperor of Mankind. Though displeased with some of the more religious aspects of Lorgar’s behaviour, He granted his son command over the 17th legion of Space Marines: the Imperial Heralds – now renamed the Word Bearers.
Joining the Great Crusade to rebuild the power of humanity, The Word Bearers worked slower than all other legions, as they would stop to destroy any hint of heresy and instil a fierce faith in the Emperor, a being Lorgar had begun to worship as a living god. The Emperor, however, became displeased – both at the speed of their conquests, and the religious zeal they showed (for his doctrine of ‘Imperial Truth’ declared that there were no gods, nor any supernatural entities, the Emperor himself included).
This displeasure culminated in the razing of Monarchia, a city conquered by the Word Bearers, which had since taken to Lorgar’s teachings with fervour. Known as the Perfect City, the Emperor tasked the Ultramarines with razing it to the ground, forcing the Word Bearers and Lorgar to kneel in its ashes in humiliation.
How did Lorgar turn to chaos?
This lesson did not have the effect the Emperor may have desired.
Though initially chastened, Lorgar’s adoptive father Kor Phaeron and his lieutenant, Word Bearers First Chaplain Erebus, revealed to the Primarch that they had secretly continued to follow the chaos-worshipping faith of the Covenant. More than that, they had discovered evidence of similar religions on many of the planets they had conquered.
These revelations, along with the bitterness and resentment towards the Emperor that filled Lorgar’s heart, turned him away from worship of his father – and back to the Covenant. Lorgar tasked Kor Phaeron and Erebus with converting the Word Bearers to the worship of Chaos, whilst the Primarch himself set off on a pilgrimage to learn more of the Ruinous Powers.
Landing on Cadia, the closest planet to the Eye of Terror, Lorgar underwent a series of rituals that showed him terrible visions of the future. A daemon prince revealed to him that only by embracing Chaos would humanity avoid the fate of the Eldar – leading Lorgar to enter the Eye of Terror, where the dark trials he undertook changed him forever. When the Word Bearers Primarch emerged, he had left any hint of his previous faith behind him, becoming utterly subsumed in the worship of Chaos Undivided.
If Lorgar had not turned to Chaos, the traitorous actions that followed – the falling dominoes which led to the catastrophic Horus Heresy – may not even have begun, as the plot to turn Horus to the Ruinous Powers was carried out by none other than Lorgar’s First Chaplain Erebus.
But he did , and, throughout the civil war, many twisted atrocities would be laid at Lorgar’s feet, as he sought the favour of his new patrons. He conspired to turn Angron, his troubled brother, into a walking Daemon Primarch made of rage itself. The Word Bearers cut a swathe of bloody rituals through the Imperium, causing the deaths of billions, and summoning a terrible warp storm – the Ruinstorm – that disrupted travel for the entire galaxy.
Even the ravaging of Monarchia had its own dire consequences. Early in the Heresy, before Horus’ treachery was known, Lorgar’s forces laid waste to the Ultramarines planet of Calth. Though this devastating sneak attack killed many and irradiated the surface of the planet, it also awakened Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman to the oncoming Heresy, and nearly led to the death of Kor Phaeron.
Though Lorgar was integral to the Horus Heresy, he was not present for its final stages. He came to believe that Horus Lupercal would be incapable of winning the war, and planned to usurp his control of the traitor legions. Unfortunately for Lorgar, some of his lieutenants couldn’t be trusted, and betrayed him to Horus. As a result, Lorgar Aurelian fled, taking the majority of his forces with him, taking refuge with his dark gods in the Eye of Terror.
Where is Lorgar in Warhammer 40k?
Lorgar, unlike many of his brethren, never made his whereabouts a secret following the end of the Horus Heresy. His atrocities granted him and his legion the favour of the Chaos Gods, allowing him to ascend to become a Daemon Prince. He and his Word Bearers now reside deep in the Eye of Terror, on their own daemon world, known as Sicarus – a planet covered in an ever growing church fuelled by misery, blood, and the eternal screaming of billions of tortured slaves.
For millennia, Lorgar sequestered himself in the Templum Inficio, his own personal temple on the planet, furthering his study of daemonology, and divining the terrible needs of the Chaos Gods themselves.
Now, in the 41st Millennium, it appears that Lorgar has emerged once again. Rumours abound that the daemon primarch has been seen preaching the dread word of Chaos, walking the mortal realms at the head of a colossal Word Bearers army.