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The definitive Haarlock's Legacy speculation [AND SPOILER!] thread


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#1 The Laughing God

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 06:29 AM

This thread is started to compile all the loose information about Erasmus Haarlock, his legacy, his dynasty, the adventure trilogy, and to speculate about this ill-fated Rogue Trader and his connections to other Dark Heresy themes. A place to theorize, speculate, share views and secrets and come away inspired ... let us be prepared before the Dark Traveller returns!

About the nature of Haarlock's dark legacy, in an earlier thread on its connection to the Tyrant Star, I offered this:

After having read Tattered Fates, I have some new notions about the mystery of the Tyrant Star.

 

It is something coming from another time, something from the past sent to the present, and cannot yet fully manifest in our time, so it's limited now to spectral appearances.

Erasmus Haarlock is behind it all. He wants to recreate time or return to a former epoch in order to get his wife and daughter back. For example: returning to the past to prevent their fates from happening. That is why he is lost now .. he still exists but in another time, in the past.

Perhaps he has killed all the Haarlock descendants because he wants to undo the things they have done, some great evil they wrought, and he wants to reset things to a time when they were not yet doing those dark things he has come to regret now.
 

Now I have read Damned Cities, and it shed some more light on these secrets. The themes of time and clocks are continued, and on p70 it says literally that he means to undo the past to get back that which he has lost, i.e. his wife and daughter. So that's Erasmus' goal: to control time, the past and the future. In the words of the Mirror Daemon: 'to change what was and master what can be'. Also note the message between the gilded spiders in the tower of Haarlock's Folly in Damned Cities p37: 'The future is ours', and the message above the stunning drawning of the daemon on p52 of that book: 'All shall be returned'.

It leaves a lot to ponder:
1) how is this all connected to the Tyrant Star, the black sun which is featured in Haarlock heraldry and which plays a part in Tattered Fates? In House of Dust And Ash, on p213 of Disciples of the Dark Gods, there is heraldry of the black sun on Haarlock's tomb, and words that read  'Death is but a door'.

2)what is the connection to the Hyades Locks mentioned in The Radical's Handbook (p82), which is linked to the 'portals of sleep', which is referred to by the line 'show me the portals of sleep' on the silver key that is among the auction items in House of Dust And Ash. In the Radical's Handbook it says that the key 'was once held by the Herald'. Haarlock is the Herald. The whole thing of locks and keys is a theme investigated in the utmost secrecy by the Tyrantine Cabal so there you have another connection to the Tyrant Star.

3) what is the relationship between 'the first and the last' of their line, Solomon and Erasmus Haarlock?

4) what is the significance of the golden spider heraldry on p36 of Damned Cities, which is coupled to the black sun emblem? why the spiders, suddenly?

5) is the Gilded Widow in House of Dust And Ash a representation of Haarlock's daughter? On p219 of Disciples of the Dark Gods she seems to say as much.

6) the pages of Tattered Fates and Damned Cities are shot through with barely readable 'handwritten' letters. On p56 of the last book for example it says: 'we entered the realms between worlds where there is no time or space'. What the hell is this? :)

7) what do we make of the prophecy issued by the Gilded Widow in House of Dust And Ash (p219): "The black sun burns and he comes, riding its wake (...). At its passing the eye shall be snuffed out, the carrion lords thrown down, and the hungering ones torn from the outer dark.'
Tyrant star? Eye of Terror? And the carrion lord is the Emperor ???

Also note, btw, that in Tattered Fates there is a clear reference to the other two Haarlock adventures: 'The Mirror shatters and the Island burns', on p56 which ofcourse is about the events in Damned Cities and House of Dust And Ash.

I am really curious to what you people think of this all and which insights you have gleaned from the secrets and tidbits of information scattered over various books. Every speculation, guess and hunch added here is highly appreciated :)

 


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#2 sinisalo

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 10:49 PM

Fantastic write-up! I don't have the books in hand, but here's some of my idle speculation.

 

The Laughing God said:

Also note the message between the gilded spiders in the tower of Haarlock's Folly in Damned Cities p37: 'The future is ours', and the message above the stunning drawning of the daemon on p52 of that book: 'All shall be returned'.

Paraphrasing here, from Chapter I from Disciples: "There shall be no difference between man and beast / for all shall be returned". Presumably the Black Sun makes "men" into "beasts" as seen in Tattared Fates finale, when then Sun appears and the locals start tearing each other apart. Also what happened on Tanis.

 

The Laughing God said:


1) how is this all connected to the Tyrant Star, the black sun which is featured in Haarlock heraldry and which plays a part in Tattered Fates? In House of Dust And Ash, on p213 of Disciples of the Dark Gods, there is heraldry of the black sun on Haarlock's tomb, and words that read  'Death is but a door'.

The "Death is..." quote is a traditional Imperial proverb (at least in the WH wiki). Also, it seems like it was Haarlock's little joke: the tomb holds not his body, but the mechanism to open the Crematoria doors. "...but a door", geddit?


The Laughing God said:

2)what is the connection to the Hyades Locks mentioned in The Radical's Handbook (p82), which is linked to the 'portals of sleep', which is referred to by the line 'show me the portals of sleep' on the silver key that is among the auction items in House of Dust And Ash. In the Radical's Handbook it says that the key 'was once held by the Herald'. Haarlock is the Herald. The whole thing of locks and keys is a theme investigated in the utmost secrecy by the Tyrantine Cabal so there you have another connection to the Tyrant Star.

The Silver Key is a Lovercraft allusion: http://en.wikipedia..../The_Silver_Key

In the story, the protagonist uses the key to... you guessed it, travel back in time to his childhood. There/then he expects to enter "a certain dream-city" and to rule over it.

So: has Haarlock already gone "beyond" and travelled to the past? What's the Dream-City in Wh40k terms? The warp? Death itself?

The Laughing God said:

4) what is the significance of the golden spider heraldry on p36 of Damned Cities, which is coupled to the black sun emblem? why the spiders, suddenly?

The spider symbol is the Haarlock line's heraldry, isn't it?

 

 



#3 Idaan

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 11:38 PM

You missed one reference: on page 97 of "Radical's Handbook" there is a sidebar about "Bray Lexicon", a grimoire describing 7 most powerful daemons of Calixis. The last one is called "The Night Traveller": whose nature is unknown, but who is a "kinslayer", who returns from where nobody has return and who heralds the End of Days.



#4 Cheezy

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 12:35 AM

The Laughing God said:


6) the pages of Tattered Fates and Damned Cities are shot through with barely readable 'handwritten' letters. On p56 of the last book for example it says: 'we entered the realms between worlds where there is no time or space'. What the hell is this? :)

The whole letter goes like this(it's the same on every page of Tattered Fates and Damned Cities):

You accuse me of being a Madman.
What right have you to judge what is sane and what is not?
I have fought with the shadows at the edge of your vision.
I have seen the faces that laugh at you in your nightmares.
I have smelt the foetid breath that issues from the mouth of hell itself.
I have heard the silent voices that make your spine tingle with dread.
I have entered the realms between worlds where there is no time or place.
I have clashed with creatures the sight of which would sear your soul to the core.
I have bested horrors that chill with a gaze and tempt unreasoning terror.
I have faced death eye to eye and blade to blade.
I have stared into the eyes of insanity and met their all-consuming stare.
I have done all this for you; for your protection and the guarantee of a future for Mankind.
Only the insane have strength enough to prosper; only those those that prosper truly judge what is sane.



#5 The Laughing God

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 04:29 AM

@Sinisalo: what happened on Tanis? Wasn't that the planet expunged from Imperial records that was put to the sword by the Haarlocks? Do we have more information on Tanis in the Dark Heresy books?

The 'man and beast shall be alike' part is also tantalizing .. of the Herald it is also said somewhere that 'his coming shall be announced by the footsteps of fools' which ties in neatly to the revelrie of madmen that the Tyrant Star seems to cause on the worlds that it visits.

@Idaan: this seems to suggest that Erasmus Haarlock himself may have become a greater daemon! The Mirror Daemon in Damned Cities 'fears what Haarlock has become...'

@Cheezy: from where did you get the complete text of the 'letter'?

 

 

 

 


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#6 Graver

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 07:15 AM

The Laughing God said:

@Cheezy: from where did you get the complete text of the 'letter'? 

I recognize the text, I read it in one of the books but for the life of me I can't find the passage again. However,, and I may be remembering things wrong, I think it comes form an Inquisitor accused of heresy and not from a Haarlock.

The Laughing God said:

3) what is the relationship between 'the first and the last' of their line, Solomon and Erasmus Haarlock?

 

I love the ideas you've come up with so far and am co-opting them into my universe. This, however, is a bit problematic as Solomon wasn't the first Haarlock. That honor belongs to... um, some distant, unnamed, and more then likely forgotten individual from the deep deep past. However, the first Haarlock to hold the Haarlock Warrant and thus found the Haarlock Dynasty wasn't Solomon -it was Mordercia in 395.M36. Solomon didn't hit the scene until about 300 years after the granting of the Haarlock Warrant, though he was close to the beginning. However, Solomon was the first to discover the Caylix Expanse, so...

It was also mentioned in anouther thread that the whole first and last thing could be a play on the Lovecraft story, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, which i rather like. After all, what if Mordercia, for all his piety in helping Thor in the apostate war fell in with sorcery and found a way to possess his descendants, corrupting Solomon and so forth down the line? Of course, the first and last could just be referring to those that matter to the Calixis sector which i reckon would begin with Solomon, though i'll be introducing the Dextar Ward situation to some degree into my universe.

 

The Laughing God said:

4) what is the significance of the golden spider heraldry on p36 of Damned Cities, which is coupled to the black sun emblem? why the spiders, suddenly?

 

The spider first appeared, if i recall, in Tattered Fates. I don't own the book, but anouther forumite pointed out the spider to me when i was looking for information on the Haarlock heraldry. Apparently, there is a painting that the players can discover in Tattered Fates that depicts a void ship destroying or leaving a destroyed world (Tanis?) with a golden spider on it's prow marking it as a Haarlock vessel. Then there's the spider brides...

The spider being a part of the Haarlock heraldry and a symbol seems to fit well. After all, it was well established in House of Dust and Ash that the Haarlocks are rather renowned plotters and crazy over-the-top trap makers, like spiders waiting for flies to become ensnared in their web. Oh the webs they weave and all that.

The Laughing God said:

5) is the Gilded Widow in House of Dust And Ash a representation of Haarlock's daughter? On p219 of Disciples of the Dark Gods she seems to say as much.

That's the theory I'm working under. If the theories of Erasmus trying to find a way to bring his immediate family back to life, he might have devised methods to house or trap their souls until he could "fix" things... I wonder as to his wife now... Though it dose raise an odd question. If the Gilded Widow is his daughter, to whom is she a widow and what of their fate? After all, for Erasmus to entrap his daughter in an oracular device and then have it called or made to look like a widow would seem to suggest that her being married to a now dead man is a major part of how he sees her and, thus, is of some import.

The Laughing God said:

 

7) what do we make of the prophecy issued by the Gilded Widow in House of Dust And Ash (p219): "The black sun burns and he comes, riding its wake (...). At its passing the eye shall be snuffed out, the carrion lords thrown down, and the hungering ones torn from the outer dark.'
Tyrant star? Eye of Terror? And the carrion lord is the Emperor ???

 

Like all prophesies, it's so damned vague it could mean anything (and thus, never be wrong XD ). How I read it is:

The eye is the Eye of Terror thus signifying the Black sun is something from beyond the warp which even the powers of the warp are incapable of stopping and will eventually succumb to. Alternately, the eye being snuffed out could be an allusion to the Black Sun's black light inferring that it will make all men blind at it's coming, unable to see (and thus unable to reason or unable to reason and thus, unable to "see") and plunge all into pure and perfect blind darkness. This seems to be thematic with the Haarlocks. After all, look at the Children of the Kingdom. They are blind things that come from purist feted darkness. Why did Haarlock chose to call them the Children of the Kingdom? Perhaps they are those who languish in the Kingdom of the Black Sun ruled by a king in rags and tatters? (had to throw him in ;-) )  Perhaps they are those who will inherit all the worlds of the calixis sector when the sun breaks through, perhaps they are what men shall become under it's light, strange bestial, regressed worm like things crawling in the dark. If Erasmus ever found a way to travel through time, then he already has, and if he already has, then perhaps they are what mankind will become under the Tyrant Stars baleful light plucked from a black future. After all, in House of Dust and Ash, they seemed to come from nowhere -it Erasmus figured out how to travel through time, perhaps that nowhere they suddenly came from is a nowhere in the future when man's eyes have been snuffed out and black light covers all his domain, the true inheritors and children of the Kingdom of Man. That's all just a random thought I had as i was writing this... though I think I like some of it.

As for Carrion Lords (it's plural), I read as not the Emperor (sigular) but as an allusion to the Necrons or possibly the Slought. Both have the whole lords of death thing going on. This might be an indicator that the Star is not of C'tan origin or is some-how anathema to them. After all, when it appears, there seems to be a good bit of warp disturbance, heightened psyker birth, etc showing it to be closely related to or having an effect on the warp breading an impassioned madness as opposed to the cold madness that the C'tan and their pawns tend to bring out in people. If we go with the eye of terror and Necron thought line, perhaps those two parts of the prophesy are illustrating that the Tyrant Star is neither beholden to the Warp and is something beyond it as well as it not being of Necron or C'tan manufacture and will be their doom as well.

Tearing the Hungering Ones from Outer Dark seems to be a reference to the Tyrranids. They come from outside the galaxy (the outer dark) and they eat a lot (hungering ones). What it means by tearing them from the outer dark, I don't know, but if they're torn from something, they must be placed somewhere else. If they're torn from the outer dark, what's left for them but here? There are lictors mentioned in CA, apocalyptic mumblings about them starting to appear in calixis and what they could mean, Inquisitors from the Ultemar sector turning briefly to look to the Calixis, etc. Perhaps the Tyrant Star has it's origins with the Tyranids? The names are so damned similar, perhaps it shall bring them or something close to them to the calixis sector... though what this has to do with Haarlock, i have no clue. That's just how that part of that prophesy seems to want to spell things out, at least in my reading of it, though, to be honest, I'm not too keen on the Tyrant Star having a Tyranid connection... it lacks the gothic horror vibe that everything else about it has.

 

 



#7 BTJ

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 07:28 AM

 The text is on the bottom of the fluff pages in the Inquisitor rulebook.



#8 ThenDoctor

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 01:15 PM

 

if you can find it my post called "the key to the sector" is my take on the link between the haydes lock, the silver key, and the council of 7 i can seem to copy anything right now

 

 


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#9 MDMann

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 03:21 PM

The Hugering One's and the Carrion Lord's could both (or either) be the Slaught, who fear Haarlock anyway. It seems they tried to use him or understimated him and now regret it.



#10 Luthor Harkon

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 08:24 PM

Idaan said:

You missed one reference: on page 97 of "Radical's Handbook" there is a sidebar about "Bray Lexicon", a grimoire describing 7 most powerful daemons of Calixis. The last one is called "The Night Traveller": whose nature is unknown, but who is a "kinslayer", who returns from where nobody has return and who heralds the End of Days.

That somehow sounds like the C'tan called 'The Nightbringer'. As his nature is not daemonic and probably unknown. He is also a kinslayer as he consumed most of the other C'tan. As the personification of death he also fits rather well into the vision of the herald of the End Days.

The C'tan Outsider is also mentioned as 'That Which Lies Outside will be drawn to the harvest' and 'The One who lives Beyond, the Lord of Insanity'

Maybe the abhorrent xenos known as 'The Harrowing' that were coming from the 'Echoing Vault' and were 'passing through dimensions' as mentioned in the RH fit to possible Necron servants as well...

Maybe though all this is just a reappearing theme fitting to the whole Lovecraftian feeling of Warhammer 40K.

The Laughing God said:

@Idaan: this seems to suggest that Erasmus Haarlock himself may have become a greater daemon! The Mirror Daemon in Damned Cities 'fears what Haarlock has become...'

I don't think so as these 'Seven Devils of Dread Calyx' (whcih included the Night Traveller) were first mentioned and written down by Solomon Haarlock before Erasmus was even born. But speaking about time travel...hmmm...

Graver said:

Perhaps the Tyrant Star has it's origins with the Tyranids?

At least that is what Inquisitor Van Vuygens believes.

 



#11 Cheezy

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:42 PM

The Laughing God said:

@Cheezy: from where did you get the complete text of the 'letter'?

 

I actually pieced it together from the pages of Damned Cities. It took some time and a lot of squinting and creative use of a flashlight. I propably ruined my eyes in the process as well :)

 



#12 Darth Smeg

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:59 PM

Cheezy said:

 

I actually pieced it together from the pages of Damned Cities. It took some time and a lot of squinting and creative use of a flashlight. I propably ruined my eyes in the process as well :)

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#13 MDMann

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 03:28 AM

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#14 The Laughing God

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 07:10 AM

MDMann said:

The Hugering One's and the Carrion Lord's could both (or either) be the Slaught, who fear Haarlock anyway. It seems they tried to use him or understimated him and now regret it.

Interesting! where did you read that?


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#15 Graver

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 08:26 AM

The Laughing God said:

 

MDMann said:

 

The Hugering One's and the Carrion Lord's could both (or either) be the Slaught, who fear Haarlock anyway. It seems they tried to use him or understimated him and now regret it.

 

 

Interesting! where did you read that?

 

 

I don't know about TF and DC, but such seems implied in HoD&A in regards to Master Nonesuch. It states that he is at the auction to be certain that members of the Haarlock line are dead as they have had dealings in the past and are the only ones who would recognize the Slougth's plans. I don't know if the Haarlock's dealings with the Worms that Walk and the Slougth's plans are detailed any further in TF or DC however.



#16 The Laughing God

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 10:12 AM

Graver said:

If the Gilded Widow is his daughter, to whom is she a widow and what of their fate?



Perhaps Erasmus Haarlock slaughtered her husband as well? Or perhaps she is the daughter of someone or something else? The monstrous entity in Tattered Fates was known as the Widower, which seems to suggest 'widows' is a theme in the Legacy too.

Idaan said:


You missed one reference: on page 97 of "Radical's Handbook" there is a sidebar about "Bray Lexicon", a grimoire describing 7 most powerful daemons of Calixis. The last one is called "The Night Traveller": whose nature is unknown, but who is a "kinslayer", who returns from where nobody has return and who heralds the End of Days.

 

This is interesting! Solomon Haarlock was the first to mention these seven daemons, and perhaps he has become the 7th one himself, or allowed the 7th daemon to take over his body, to bring his plans to fruitition.


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#17 Graver

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 11:35 AM

[This is a bloody quote from one post up from the Laughing God]

Perhaps Erasmus Haarlock slaughtered her husband as well? Or perhaps she is the daughter of someone or something else? The monstrous entity in Tattered Fates was known as the Widower, which seems to suggest 'widows' is a theme in the Legacy too.

[here in ends the quote from one post up]

Well, if she is indeed Erasmus' daughter, then she wouldn't be a widow by his hand as, supposedly, it was his wife and daughter's death at the hands of warp terrors summoned up by Mathiras Haarlock that lit a fire under Erasmus' arse, sent out to the halo stars to return ten years latter and commence the slaughter of the Haarlocks.

The two big defining traits of the Gilded Widow (besides being some form of warp being that is entrapped in a mechanical body who has prophetic powers) is the fact that she's named a Widow and that her father imprisoned her in that mechanical body. If she was/is indeed the daughter of Erasmus, the one that died in Mithiras' attack, then it would be Erasmus that placed her soul in the mechanical body and, if that is the case, why call her or play up her being a widow above that of a daughter. After all, the central defining trait of a daughter to her father is the fact that she is his daughter, more so then someones wife, mother, etc For most fathers, first and fore-most, she is his daughter and always will be. As Daughter and Widow are two traits which seem important to who/what the Gilded Widow was/is, figuring out the whys and hows of those two roles, i feel, would answer a lot in regards to the Haarlock mystery.

Of course, the name might be a call back to the spider theme (black widow) as well as just a call out to the theme of familial death (like the widower... a direct calling to Erasmus' tragedy?) or, heaven forbid, a throw-away name because the author thought it sounded cool. It's probably the latter and we're putting way too much thought into this, but, dang-it, if you're going to name an NPC or creation in a story an odd and evocative name, then there should be a reason for it because you bet the audience is going to try to make sens of it...


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#18 MDMann

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 02:23 PM

@ Laughing God: It's implied in the House of Dust and Ash.



#19 RedMike

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 09:47 PM

Just to throw my hat in - couldn't the name 'Widower' imply that Haarlock has fashioned this device in his own image, to provide another tantalising clue to the PCs about his overall objective - i.e. the restoration of his line from beyond the grip of death, with himself at the helm?



#20 The Laughing God

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 10:53 PM

 @Graver: wouldn't surprise me if the Gilded Widow is indeed a throw-away name because it sounded cool and ties in to the Widow theme. The whole House of Dust and Ash adventure in some respects seems like a draft version of Tattered Fates anyway (though I really like it!): acolytes locked up in a closed locale (the crematorium vs the mansion) with a countdown to destruction (the firestorm program vs the Tyrant star), a dangerous murdering entity (Gilded Widow vs the Widower), meant to do away with Haarlock's descendants and relatives.

A thought that suddenly struck me after perusing Tattered Fates again (which has some references in the form of the words 'captivity'  and 'time'  next to a painting of the fate of Tanis, IIRC, and the Widower says something like ' a shadow out of time'  when referring to the Tyrant star, but I will have to look this up once I am back behind my books again) ...

... what if the Tyrant star is some kind of shadowy representation of Tanis, the soul of that murdered world, come back from the past to cause destruction and madness???

Maybe Komus is Tanis but caught out of time, a lingering echo of a world slaughtered overnight?

 

And about that letter that is printed on the pages of Tattered Fates and Damned Cities .. I noticed it is also on the pages of the Radical's Handbook. If we can find it in more books, its significance to the Haarlock's Legacy should probably not be overestimated :)

Bwt the more I think of it, the less I find Damned Cities to be about Haarlock. It is a murder mystery and the main protagonist knows about Haarlock, but that is all. It's more like a standalone adventure with some references to the Legacy thrown in at the end, then a logical and narratively logical installment of the trilogy.

 


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