[Spoilers] If you haven't read some W40k novels, notably Legion and Execution Hour, or played Dawn of War (the first one)
“Yes, yes, yes. Me, I, Mine, Due, Owe…Those are the only words I hear coming out of your mouth, and they bore me so. So before I offer my soul to the Powers out of sheer boredom, why don’t we talk about something else entirely, like, hmmm, let me see…how about you continue to serve me without question, and I reward you as I see fit? That seems an entirely fair deal to me, and I would urge you to accept, but I am entirely too eager to see what would happen should you refuse, so we wouldn’t want you to make the right decision, now, would we? Is that a yes? Good. Now, as to your richly-deserved reward. As I promised…”
Khoisan the Faceless, on a good day.
Name: Khoisan the Faceless.
Occupation: Sorcerer of the Alpha Legion, detached to oversee the Legion’s interests in the Screaming Vortex.
Titles: Heir to Sindri, Scion of the Gods, Herald of the Vortex, Champion of Chaos Undivided, Scourge of Khortusa, Veteran of the Long War, Plaguebearer, Fatechanger, Wrathbringer, Paindealer (the last four are self-styled, and he has others, but they are not as used).
Bio: Born in one of Terra’s countless hives in 788.M29, Khoisan was fated from birth to a life of violence. Life in the underhives right after the Unification having little to offer young men but a short, violent stretch in one of the local gangs, Khoisan joined at the age of nine. Taken away during a round up, he survives the long and arduous process that will make him into an Astartes of the Alpha Legion. Soon after, the Great Crusade begins, and so does his ascension within his legion. His latent psychic abilities are quickly revealed and noticed, and he enters the Librarius. Channelled, his great talents (gamma+, augmented by the Astartes’ improved cognitive abilities) remain somewhat controllable, but his masters notice his all too wilful abandon in the use of his powers.
This lack of self-regulation only earns him to stay a simple Lexicanium for all the duration of the Crusade, while lesser, not as powerful candidates get promoted, despite his feats of arms, because of his habit of putting his brothers’ safety at risk, which contrasts greatly with the legion’s doctrine. For example, he triumphs over an Ork Big Boss and his retinue of Nobz in 845.M29 but his over-the-top psychic display injures 14 of his brothers, with one of them being granted the Emperor’s peace. In 909.M29 he delivers the killing blow to an Eldar Avatar, sending an Eldar host fleeing, while he should have been protecting the assault marines with a psychic barrier, instead of chasing personal glory. After his Legion’s reunification with their primarch(s?), and his affectation to a backwater expeditionary fleet, he breaks an armoured assault on 103.7, a non-compliant world, but destroys precious technology in the nearby manufactora in so doing.
This deadlock to what he perceives should rightfully be his does not sit right with Khoisan, and, increasingly frustrated with this obvious injustice, gives in with even more wilful abandon to the use of his powers, isolating himself even further from his brothers and causing very virulent debates within the Librarius as to his place within it. With the Edict of Nikea, and the ban on Librarii, however, the question should have been settled, but that would have been blind ignorance to believe Khoisan would surrender to this absurd decision without protesting: ever angrier and more bitter, he sets himself ever further from his brothers, provoking hostility or downright hatred from most of the other Astartes in the 103rd Expeditionary Fleet.
But the Heresy would change everything.
When Alpharius joins Horus in his rebellion, word gets out to all Alpha Legionnaires in the galaxy. Khoisan sees in this a once in a lifetime opportunity. Of course, given the Legion’s recruits’ nature as independent and quick thinking, there are many voices of dissent within the Legion, and the detachment in the 103rd Fleet is no exception. Confronted with his Captain’s doubt, Khoisan doesn’t hesitate and strikes him down, as well as the six other Astartes that try to come to the captain’s aid. With their deaths, Khoisan has no trouble imposing himself as the new warlord of the Astartes, and begins one of the first, but certainly not the last, displays of cunning and treachery that would become his trademark. In one day, he seizes control of the whole expedition, turning the loyalist captains against one another with fake boarding actions, stealth torpedo strikes and psychic manipulation of the vox channels, resulting in one very blurry, very confusing space battle. When the dust settles, almost half of the fleet is gone, but none of the Astartes are dead, and Khoisan is in total control of the rest, still a sizeable force.
He then quickly makes contact with his primarch, and his orders are clear: too far from Isstvan to make it in time, he is to set sail to Terra, conquering or destroying all that would stand in his path. Which he does, with quite a bit of strategic talent, silencing most of the voices challenging his ability and right to command. This is when the Powers first notice him, and choose to make him both a pawn and a champion of theirs, promising him power and immortal glory if he would only do their bidding. His visions and prophetic seizures absolutely clear, Khoisan obviously accepts, and introduces the worship of the Chaos Gods, at first to his lieutenants, and then to the whole fleet, as slaughters, betrayals and sorceries become commonplace.
And his power grows likewise, the Thirsting Gods bountiful and generous with their newest toy. For these brief months where millions were sacrificed in their name while they were venerated by millions more of new followers, his psychic ability, aided by sorcery, grew immense, equalling that of his Legion’s most powerful warlocks.
However, Khoisan overlooked to be wary of his own Legion, not daring to imagine his own primarch could betray him, especially when their goals at last seemed to converge. Nevertheless, in a system under supposed Chaos control nearby Terra, shortly before the beginning of the siege, what Khoisan thought was the rendezvous with the rest of the Alpha Legion fleet turned out to be a loyalist ambush. By sacrificing almost his whole fleet, Khoisan escaped, only preventing the destruction of the Astartes strike cruiser Corruption’s Delight, his flagship, a Desolator-class battleship, the Edge of the Faithless, and two heavily damaged escorts that didn’t make it to the Eye of Terror and were left behind.
There, nursing and licking his wounds, Khoisan had to deal at the same time with Alpharius’ betrayal, this new dimension tainted by the Warp and his own fall in the Gods’ favour. He however kept an iron hand over what little was left of his warband, and with the sudden influx of “refugees” after the end of the Heresy, was able to recruit again. Soon, he was contacted by an Astartes answering to the name of Omegon, pretending to be his true primarch, twin to Alpharius, this weakling that had betrayed Khoisan and had remained deaf to Chaos’ call.
The meeting that followed (and for which Khoisan took every possible precaution) marked the true beginning of his ascension. Reinserted in his Legion, he was allowed to keep his warband, at the cost of his independence: he was places under the patronage of Sindri Myr, another sorcerer and one of the Librarius’ few voices that had defended Khoisan during the Crusade. Proponent to the theory that psykers are the next step in human evolution, Sindri was an easy tutor to Khoisan, and he took a liking to his new masters, though given the two sorcerers’ “natures”, their relationship wasn’t without hitches.
Cue 10000 years of war, of sacrifices (rarely their own) and sorcery. While ever more powerful, Khoisan never dared to question Sindri’s ascendancy over him, living in his shadow, and finding that increasingly harder to stand. At last came the Tartarus campaign, where Sindri, long since Lord Bale’s advisor, finally saw the means of Ascending. Using his protégé’s occupation elsewhere as an excuse, Sindri committed very little forces at Bale’s side, who, believing the lies Sindri fed him, never saw it coming. Of course, Sindri had planned to sacrifice Bale, taking the Warlord’s troops for his own, having his student arrive with his forces and see the Blood Ravens and Eldars off.
And just as planned, he found the Maledictum, but was destroyed during his Ascension by an untimely alliance of the Blood ravens and Eldars, the only detail he hadn’t expected, detail which led to his failure. During this last battle, Khoisan, savvier than his master was, instead of relying on his visions, acted pragmatically, saw the situation for what it was, rallied what troops he could, and fled the system, leaving his former master to his pathetic fate.
Finally free of any influence save Omegon’s, Khoisan was able to pursue his own vendetta against the Imperium, committing acts of piracy, pillaging and sacrificing on a small scale, while rebuilding his forces. But it didn’t have the same draw as it used to, and he started thinking about Daemonhood and the means to reach it. Many visions, warp projections, tome perusing and soul searching later, he knew what he had to do: not content to leave it to the whims of the Gods, he would seek to provoke his Ascension by manipulating the powers of the Warp, like his own master had tried, despite the many dangers and false ways this entailed.
The first step on this road he took on the Imperial Agri-world of Khortusa, in the system of the same name. There, his warband ravaged everything unopposed, as his visions had told him the world be and stay defenceless for months as a warp storm raged on. The world burned, and in a temple erected with blood and toil of countless millions of slaves, he sacrificed every living man, woman and child on the planet in a ritual to bind four Greater Daemons, one of each of the Powers, in his body. This would have been suicidal, damning folly if he had not spent years psychically projecting in the Warp warding his own soul in the preparation of this very specific ritual, and had he not known the true names of the four Daemons.
Still, the ritual took its toll on his body, as his form wavered and mutated widely in burning agony as the daemons fought each other, furious at their imprisonment, and he fought all of them at once. But on the sixth day, he emerged from the cathedral, changed, his body warped, his form flickering with energy as he walked both the planes of mortal realms and the currents of the Empyrean; not a mortal anymore, not a daemon yet, but a true avatar of chaos undivided, and his followers in their thousands knelt before his gaze, ever-changing as it took the aspects of the Gods in turn, and murmured his new name:
Khoisan the Faceless, Scion of the Gods.
Since then, Omegon looking favourably upon his child and his rising star, he has been sent to overlook all Alpha Legion ops in the Screaming Vortex and the galactic North West.
Personality: Khoisan is mild-mannered and agreeable, sane even. For a four times possessed man, even an Astartes, he retains a great deal of clarity and sanity. He is still, by and large, Khoisan, and is actively winning the battle with the daemons in his body, notably because of the everlasting battle they wage against one another, unable by their very natures to agree with each other, even when it comes to the presumptuous mortal that so entrapped them. However, when one daemon gains the ascendant, Khoisan’ mood (and face) is very quick to reflect it, which makes him very difficult to predict ahead of time. He uses this to his advantage, wearing one of his many custom-made helmets to clue in or mislead his interlocutor.
He is a forgiving master, all for second chances, maybe because of his own history. He is not a fool though, and is not one to give a third chance when bodies and souls are so useful as currency… However, while his psychic powers have expanded greatly since the ritual, and his knowledge of sorcery is second only to that of the likes of Ahriman or Ygethmor, his quickly changing moods and mutating body makes his plans and conspiracies often contradictory in both goals and means, which he has a hard time of making sense of himself…
He acknowledges no superior save his primarch, and who knows what Omegon thinks. His inferiors have varying opinions of him, especially because of his shifting personality, but emotions rarely range far from “fear”, “awe” and “loathing”. He surprisingly hardly cares though, and inspires staunch loyalty in many of his followers.
Resources: Pretty much whatever he wants, he can acquire, if it is available within the Screaming Vortex and doesn’t antagonize the other Legion warbands in the sector. His own retinue of Traitor Astartes numbers in the hundreds, his fleet counts five capital ships and a dozen of escorts, and he has thousands of well-trained human operatives, and millions of slaves and soldiers at his disposal but he doesn’t wage war in the Vortex in the nominal sense, preferring to ingratiate himself to warlords, using proxies and emissaries instead. He turns his gaze fixedly towards the Imperium, considering the Vortex not a zone for petty feuds but as a staging ground for a future invasion. However he has no desire to lead said invasion, and has not yet determined the ideal target, but when he does, he will find a warlord to be the Bale to his Sindri…
Allies and Enemies: Many of Lord Bale’s old allies, considering him a willing pawn (and rightly so) in his old master’s schemes, have elected to consider him responsible for the disaster. While not in a state of open warfare, this feud (or “rivalry” as Khoisan would sarcastically put it himself) is the cause for assassinations, sabotages, and disappearances aplenty on both sides. Omegon himself has been unable to put a stop to it, and this vendetta extends, of course, to anyone would-be allies of both parties. Anyone dealing openly with Khoisan should not be surprised if they find themselves in some measure of trouble with other agents of the Hydra… conversely, hostility toward him, while dangerous, has its own rewards. Khoisan, though, is not resourceless, and most, if not all, warlords of the Vortex owe him a few favours through pacts of varying forms.
A few details: in my W40k verse, out of the two Alpha Legion primarch, one fell to Chaos while the other remained uncorrupted, with the balance heavily on the corrupted marines' side. Whatever the ones say seriously, the others quote sarcastically (For the Emperor, I am Alpharius, etc...). Khoisan's story draws heavily from the plot of the Dawn of War game (only the first one). The name comes from a minor character in the novel "Execution Hour".
What do you think?