Space Wolves Lore – Part 1: Back From the Brink

The Space Wolves are all set to make their grand appearance in the Psychic Awakening in the next instalment of the series, Saga of the Beast. However, in recent years, the Space Wolves have been tested – not just martially but also spiritually – like no other time in their history. Let’s take a look at some of the seismic events that have befallen the Chapter of late to gain some insight into the challenges they now face…

The Battle for Alaric Prime

When the Knight world of Alaric Prime was beset by a huge Ork invasion, Logan Grimnar led three Great Companies – the Champions of Fenris, the Blackmanes and the Drakeslayers – to its defence. Despite suffering heavy losses as they struggled to turn the tide of the war against the greenskins, the Space Wolves eventually gained the upper hand.

However, when the desperate Badmek Mogrok ordered the launch of a poorly retrofitted vortex missile battery, the resulting misfire tore a hole in the veil of reality and a vast host of Khornate Daemons began pouring through the warp breach. Though many of the remaining Orks were slaughtered in the ensuing massacre, the Space Wolves were forced to fight another costly battle before they could secure a final victory.

The Wrath of Magnus

After multiple reports of psychic premonitions and strange sightings reached the Great Wolf, it became clear that the 13th Company – thought lost more than 10 millennia ago during the invasion of Prospero – had returned. Without hesitation, Logan Grimnar sent forth the Great Companies to investigate and, if the rumours were true, discover the circumstances of their reappearance. Yet wherever the Wulfen were found, so too were the forces of Chaos, forcing the Space Wolves to engage in battles in a number of different war zones. Mercifully for the sons of Russ, the Wulfen themselves proved to be brutally powerful assets, and a great many of them were returned safely to the Fang.

However, the return of the Wulfen was revealed to be part of a masterplan by the Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red, who intended for their primal fury to corrupt the controlled ferocity with which the Space Wolves fight, forever breaking the noble spirit of the sons of Russ. Though the Space Wolves largely resisted the cruel fate Magnus had intended for them, the subsequent invasion of the Fenris System – and their home world itself – proved to be a different matter entirely…

The bitter fighting that followed saw Midgardia, one of two other planets orbiting the Wolf’s Eye, completely obliterated and an indelible mark from the conflict left on every planet in the system. Even the world spirit of Fenris itself was almost polluted by the machinations of the Crimson King. Magnus the Red slew many of those who stood against him, including Wolf Lord Egil Iron Wolf, but he was ultimately undone by a fateful blow from Logan Grimnar’s baleful axe and banished by a host of Grey Knight Purifiers. Though the Space Wolves emerged triumphant, they had suffered a terrible blow that had not just left not just their own ranks heavily depleted, but also those of the Fenrisian tribesmen from which the Chapter traditionally recruited.

The Fall of Cadia

Despite the grievous losses they had suffered in the defence of the Fenris System, the Space Wolves proudly answered the call to defend the Cadian Gate against Abaddon’s 13th and greatest Black Crusade, sending any Great Companies they could spare. In the desperate fighting that took place both on the planet’s surface and in orbit above, the Space Wolves could do little to stem the tide. Egil Iron Wolf’s successor Orven Highfell fought valiantly against the numberless Chaos hordes, but was eventually overcome.

Another Wolf Lord was lost in action, presumed slain, when Sven Bloodhowl led a near-suicidal boarding action against the Blackstone Fortress Will of Eternity. Though Bloodhowl’s actions crippled the ancient fortress’ impenetrable shields to leave it open to the full fury of Phalanx’s* mighty guns, Abaddon changed tact, sending the Blackstone Fortress crashing into Cadia to seal the planet’s doom.

The Primaris Miracle

The arrival of Roboute Guilliman to the embattled Fenris System at the head a Battle Group of the Indomitus Crusade should have been the answer to the Space Wolves’ prayers, for with him, he brought many hundreds of reinforcements created from their own genetic stock. Yet to a Chapter as fiercely proud as the Space Wolves, this unexpected blessing was perceived to be little more than an underhand attempt by the Lord-Commander to undermine their unique heritage and bring them in line with the Codex Astartes. 

Logan Grimnar held a great council with the other Jarls of Fenris and his most trusted advisors to discuss the matter, and though many argued passionately for or against, the Great Wolf eventually passed his judgement. Logan Grimnar decided that a practical necessity for reinforcements, as well as their shared genetic heritage, outweighed the Space Wolves’ traditional distrust of outsiders, so he agreed to their Primaris battle-brothers being subsumed into the Chapter.

The Return of Magnus

When news of Magnus the Red’s return reached the halls of the Fang, Logan Grimnar sent no less than seven Great Companies to aid in the fighting. The campaign offered the Space Wolves the first opportunity to judge their new Primaris battle-brothers in action. Though the Imperial forces were eventually forced to grudgingly concede the sector to the rampant Chaos hordes, the Primaris elements of the Great Companies had fought valiantly, earning great respect from the new brothers they fought alongside. Fenrisian culture has ever been a meritocracy, and the Primaris Space Marines had proved their worth and, more crucially, earned the trust of their fellow Space Wolves.

The Space Wolves have, quite literally, been through the wars, haven’t they?! Be sure to check out the second part of Space Wolves lore later this week to see what lies in store for them in Saga of the Beast. In the meantime, if you’d like to read more about the pivotal events of the Wrath of Magnus, check out the collection of Tales From War Zone Fenris.

* Phalanx is the vast, indomitable star fortress of the Imperial Fists, one of the mightiest military assets in the entire Imperium.

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