Saul Tarvitz: The First Loyalist

Many heroes of the Imperium were forged in the crucible of the Horus Heresy. Names like Garviel Loken, Targutai Yesugei, Revuel Arvida and Sigismund echo down the ages… but before them all there was Saul Tarvitz. Tarvitz has had rules for The Horus Heresy game since 2012, and now, his model is on its way… and it’s been worth the wait.

This is a spectacular depiction of the last loyal captain of the Emperor’s Children, faithful to his description in the opening trilogy of the Horus Heresy novel series. But did you know that he was first named long, long before that series was ever conceived? In fact, he was the first Space Marine from the Horus Heresy ever to be named (closely followed by two other familiar names), way back in 1988’s Space Marine* rulebook. We’ve dug the piece of text out of the archive for you to see. It’s worth noting that things have changed a bit in the background since then – references to Chapters and the Codex may seem a little odd…

The first image of Tarvitz came in 2003’s Horus Heresy Card Game, where he appeared as a hero for the Emperor’s Children, illustrated by the legendary Dave Gallagher.

When Black Library began to explore the Age of Darkness in 2006, Saul Tarvitz formed a key part of the opening narrative. He appears in Dan Abnett’s Horus Rising as captain of the Emperor’s Children 10th Company, and a voice of reason among the more eccentric commanders of the Legion, such as Eidolon and a certain Lucius, who we’re sure absolutely wouldn’t go on to be a terrifying monster ten thousand years later.

Tarvitz became close friends with both Garviel Loken and Tarik Torgaddon of the Luna Wolves, bonding over their ambition to serve the Emperor and their primarchs and to forge the Imperium into a paradise for all of mankind. He next appeared in Galaxy in Flames, where this ambition proved to be mere fantasy as the Warmaster Horus declared his treachery. The Emperor’s Children were among those Legions who followed Horus – but Saul Tarvitz remained loyal to Imperial Unity.

By Tarvitz’ actions, a sizeable army of Space Marines loyal to the Emperor survived the virus bombing of Isstvan III and proceeded to hold off Horus’ armies for weeks. He convinced his old honour brother Nathaniel Garro to seize the frigate Eisenstein and flee for Terra to warn the Emperor of Horus treachery. For this, and many other deeds, Tarvitz was named commander of the ragtag force of Emperor’s Children, World Eaters, Death Guard and Sons of Horus, his skill as a leader and a warrior respected by all.

During the battles, he was betrayed by Lucius and defeated his former brother in a duel – one of the few warriors ever to have done so. When the traitors made their last assault upon the few remaining loyalists, Tarvitz fought to the last, but eventually fell in the bombardment of the planet, loyal to the very end. 

Tarvitz may not have survived to fight on in the Heresy, but when the model hits tables, you’ll be able to see what might have happened if he had – could the last loyal captain of the Emperor’s Children help to turn the tide against the traitors? That’ll be up to you.

While you’re waiting for Tarvitz, check out the novels Horus Rising, False Gods and Galaxy in Flames to see how the war for humanity began, and discover the full extent of Tarvitz’ role in the opening battles. All three novels are available to download in eBook and MP3 audiobook editions now.

* This was what was known as an “Epic-scale” game, where armies of hundreds of very small warriors, tanks and Titans clashed.

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