Recent (Night Lords Series) Questions
Just a quick update on my lunch break to answer some questions that winged their way to my eyes and ears recently, mostly regarding the Night Lords series. These are an amalgamation of jazz from various recent signings (Games Day, as well as Dublin and Belfast), my forum inboxes, my Facebook inbox, and junk from the forum spread that I can’t resist visiting.
Spoilers kept to a minimum – or at the very least, no stronger than those in ‘The Core’.
- “Who are the new characters in Blood Reaver?”
Blood Reaver features a few new major and minor players in the series. These are (in no particular order): Lucoryphus of the Bleeding Eyes, Variel the Flayer, Nonus, and Hound. Some of those you’ll know from their teasers in ‘The Core’, others you’ll have to guess.
- “Is Blood Reaver about Uzas, the way Soul Hunter was about Talos?”
Naw. Here’s the thing.
The Blood Reaver is one of the many titles used by Huron Blackheart, probably because his name is a bit silly and he’s shy about it. Blood Reaver (the novel, not the guy) still features Talos as the primary protagonist, but he’s slowly changing from his desperately lost passivity in Soul Hunter. This is where he starts to realise that just surviving might not be enough in the Long War. With everything degenerating around the crew of the Covenant of Blood, perhaps it’s time to fight back or just accept defeat. Even though he has no desire for leadership, others in the Legion look to him for guidance, and it’s much harder to claim “Guys, I’m not Malcharion’s heir, honestly” when he’s actually carrying the war-sage’s bolter.
Time to nut up or shut up, you know?
Beyond that, the others in First Claw do show up a little more. Uzas, Xarl, Cyrion and Mercutian get a lot more screen time, as does Variel (obviously, because in Blood Reaver we see how he joins First Claw in the first place).
- “I read on Forum X that one of First Claw dies in Blood Reaver.”
No, cupcake. You read that in one of the middle chapters, I accidentally killed one of them while indulging in a side-plot, and subsequently rewrote the entire chapter because it was stupid and irrelevant. (You’re starting to see why this novel is late, right?) I’d never give a spoiler that a character actually died – that would be ball-achingly lame.
That said, it’s war. Soldiers die in war. That’s what makes it a war, and not a particularly immersive game of Lazer Tag.
- “What is the Exalted? A Daemon Prince? A Possessed? A Chaos Lord close to Spawnhood?”
This gets explored a little more in Blood Reaver, actually.
Seriously, as much as I cleave to the background as described in the codices, you’ve got to realise that the game’s rules don’t always represent the lore all that well. Chaos doesn’t just touch people and say “You’re X, you’re Y, you’re Z.” It’s Chaos. It’s chaotic. Chaos would infuse its victi– uh, its followers with whatever the hell it wanted. Most Chaos Gifts wouldn’t fit neatly into the army lists in the back of a codex, like.
That said, I can shed some light on this. Vandred (the VIII Legion 10th Captain) is a lesser consciousness in the creature that is now The Exalted. Cyrion knows this – he comments on it in Soul Hunter. So the Exalted is something like a Daemon Prince in that he’s been, uh, promoted like they have. But with his ascension came possession, like one of the weaker “battlefield” Possessed. In short, he’s either a Daemon Prince that doesn’t fight the way most others do, or he’s a really, really powerful Possessed. Both are true. Or neither. I don’t care, leave me alone.
- “Why do you always say ‘Astartes’ in your novels?”
Because I hate the way “Space Marines” sounds.
They’re post-humans. They’re technically a different subspecies, vaguely similar to the way a mule is different from a horse or a donkey, but has bits of both. They’re Homo Astartes (stop laughing, you at the back), not Homo Sapiens.
“Space Marines” connotes something very lame, very generic, to me. “Astartes” doesn’t.
- “Why does Talos dream about the Eldar? / Will the Eldar prophecies feature in the third novel?”
I’ve been open and up front since the beginning on this one. The trilogy has a very distinct focus, split by both physical and the mental considerations. Mentally, the storyline is about facing up to responsibility in the face of temptation, vengeance, corruption, loneliness – or some combination of all four. All of the characters face that to some degree; it’s intrinsic to the whole deal. But physically, the narrative is about getting back to the Eye of Terror alive, albeit in a roundabout way, after the Legion wears out its welcome in Imperial space.
The third novel, probably called Void Stalker, is about the final stretch on the road home. At the end of Soul Hunter (and throughout Blood Reaver) Talos suffers increasingly violent premonitions about the Eldar. If you’d not already guessed they’d be fighting the Eldar at some point, then frankly, I suck at my job. But whatever.
The Night Lords have their sanctuary in sight by the end of the series. But what orbits the Eye of Terror? What colossal, half-ruined remnant of a fallen empire might just be in the way of them reaching home?
Exactly. Craftworld Ulthwe.
- “If Talos is the Soul Hunter, Huron is the Blood Reaver, who’s the Void Stalker?”
I’m not telling you, stop asking. Just wait a year and a half.
- “Why do the Night Lords eat other Astartes’ gene-seed?”
For a few reasons, and none of them are nice.
Firstly, it’s the threat of cannibalistic desecration. When you’re fighting other Astartes (an enemy that can’t feel fear) the best you can do is let them know that if they lose, you’re going to do some absolutely horrible things to their dead bodies. It might buy you a second’s distraction.
Secondly, it’s not an idle threat. It’s a vicious way of ensuring that your enemy knows his death will never serve his Chapter. Think about it this way: Astartes aren’t just warriors, they’re also incubators for progenoid glands – they carry the “seed” necessary to make the next generation, just in a sterile and sexless way compared to humans. By threatening to eat to eat an Astartes’ progenoid organs, you’re removing a massive piece of his legacy in the Chapter, as well as harming the Chapter’s future. You don’t just kill the warrior, you deny the creation of any others that would’ve followed in an unbroken genetic line.
Thirdly, Talos was an Apothecary. When he makes the threat, it’s something that shows the absolute depths of his hatred for the Imperium – and, by that virtue, everything that he once was.
And lastly, because of this: http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Creation_of_a_Space_Marine#Omophagea