Among the Knights of Altair, no name is spoken with more hatred and loathing than Voloh Gudag, a champion of the Ruinous Powers whose crimes have embittered and outraged this noble Space Marines Chapter for more than three centuries.
A baneful influence on the Corvus Cluster, Gudag first rose to prominence on Mundi Prime in 386.M41. This Imperial hive world was being torn apart by widespread rebellion, and the Knights’ 4th Company was dispatched to suppress the uprising after the Planetary Defense Force was forced to retreat out of several hive cities.
Given the harsh living conditions on many Imperial worlds, civilian unrest is common in the Segmentum Ultima, and the unrest on Mundi Prime appeared no different—just another in a string of planetary insurrections then occurring in the region. But, after encountering highly organized and well-armed resistance as he attempted to clear the fetid underhives of rebellious cities, the commander of the 4th Company, Brother-Captain Marcus Adarlardo, discerned a sinister intelligence behind the revolt.
With the assistance of the Adeptus Arbites, and the timely arrival of an inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus, Adarlardo learned of the Chaos cult that was instigating the civil unrest—and of its leader, a young and recently disgraced member of the Ecclesiarchy, a wanted criminal by the name of Voloh Gudag.
Widespread and brutal interrogations of the populace and captured heretics finally led authorities to the lair of the young cult leader, and a raid was launched to seize him. But Gudag—perhaps warned by his godlike masters—had fled, leaving behind a devastating trap. When a team of Terminator-armored battle-brothers broke into the underground catacombs where he had been hiding, a thermonuclear device was detonated—taking out the squad and the entire hive city.
Over the next few hours, a similar nuclear device exploded in every major city on the planet, killing more than 200 million citizens and devastating the world’s economy, upsetting its ecosystem, and vaporizing nearly half the 4th Company’s contingent of battle-brothers.
Maddened by grief at the loss of so many under his command, Captain Adarlardo swore vengence against the cult leader and spent the next six months chasing him across the sector. On a dozen planets, Gudag spread chaos, rebellion, and death, constantly taunting the brother-captain as the 4th Company attempted to corner the criminal.
The 4th Company ultimately disappeared, last seen in the latter half of 387.M41 after its Battle Barge, The Emperor Defiant, was spotted chasing Gudag’s ship into the dreaded Jericho Reach, a Warp-cursed region of the galaxy that was lost to the Imperium in the 36th Millennium. (After two centuries, the 4th Company was formally declared lost and the company was re-commissioned—to some objection—at the chapter’s fortress-monastery by inducting four squads of battle-brothers transferred from other companies.)
In the centuries since, Gudag has instigated numerous horrific crimes against the Imperium, and he has taken apparent delight in provoking the Knights. Now, nearly 400 years old, Gudag is described as a withered old man—yet one with astonishing physical strength and signs of growing psychic ability. In recent decades, the Inquisition reports, some cultists have referred to Gudag as a “warlock.”
Notable incidents associated with Gudag:
THE KASSIG PLAGUE (530.M41)—Gudag creates havoc by spreading a Chaos-tainted virus to dozens of worlds in the Calix Sector. First recorded on the world of Kassig, the “Kassig Plague” leaves victims little more than diseased, mindless, and hyper-violent creatures that stumble about and attack anything that moves. The Knights spend nearly two years cleansing the sector of millions of victims that citizens came to call “zombies.”
THE MERCHANT MASSACRES (574.M41)—Several merchant ships operating in the busy Raetor System go silent, failing to respond to all attempts at communications. Boarding parties discover the crews have been massacred. Clearly subjected to torture and ritual killing, the crews’ bodies are piled before altars to the Ruinous Powers. Several in the boarding parties go violently insane at the sight of the desecration and must be executed on the spot.
Authorities hastily download what records they can from the ship’s cogitators and abandon the cursed ships, but not before each ship’s controls are set on a collision course with the system’s sun. It is from among the recovered records that an image of Gudag is found, evidence of his involvement in this heresy.
THE LOST NAVIGATORS (682.M41)—Nearly 1,000 transport ships arrive in the Tellorian System, bringing more than 1 million devout worshipers to the Feast of the Emperor, a once-a-century celebration held on the Shrine world of Tellor.
As the religious ceremonies commence, violence erupts in orbit. Cultists masquerading as pilgrims launch a simultaneous assault on the navigator’s sanctum of more than 100 ships.
Although crew members manage to overwhelm the majority of attacks, at least 17 navigators are seized and taken to shuttles that flee orbit and rendezvous with an unidentified spacecraft that suddenly drops out of Warp near the planet—and quickly departs once the navigators are brought aboard.
An interrogation of captured cultists uncover Gudag’s plan to turn over the navigators to the Cyclopean Congregation, a band of renegade navigators who control a small empire near the Hadex Anomaly. This attack outraged the Noble Navigator Houses, most particularly the House Belisarius, as one of the kidnapped navigators was a distant cousin of the reigning Celestarch.
REBELLION ON YANGON (714.M41)—The last signing of Gudag is during an attempt to incite rebellion among the workers of the forge world of Yangon. Uncovering Gudag’s involvement, Inquisitor Serillian takes advantage of the enmity that the Knights of Altair harbor for the cult leader and requests their assistance to capture this criminal.
The chapter’s response is everything Serillian could have wished for. Marshal Ioculus himself arrives on the planet with the Terminator-armored 1st Company. The Knights’ battle barge scarcely arrives in orbit before drop pods and Thunderhawks descend on the capital hive city and begin a ruthless scouring of the underhives in search of the warlock.
Although rebels have been stockpiling weapons and raising troops, they are hardly prepared for the daunting military presence deployed by the Space Marine Chapter, and armed resistance is quickly annihilated. Gudag is temporarily cornered during the fight, but in a display of his growing psychic powers, he kills three battle-brothers with blasts of witchfire before escaping to a ship that blasts into orbit and outraces every Imperial ship that attempts to intercept it.
Rumors suggest that, after his ship escaped into the Warp, Gudag took refuge on Magog, a world that has long served as a breeding ground and training center for the Powers of Chaos. Located near the Hadex Anomoly, a cancer upon the fabric of time and space, Magog is a world of formidable military defenses that even the Knights dare not assault on their own. For now, Gudag is safe from Imperial retribution
For his crimes, the Ordo Hereticus has declared the highest Imperial sanction, Excommunicate Traitoris, against Gudag.
EST 03/741 INQUISITORIA
CROSS FILE: Imperial Threats; subfile: Eastern Fringe heresy analysis
INPUT DATE: 5 274 721.M41
INPUT CLEARANCE: Inquisitor Level
AUTHOR: Inquisitor Serillian
TRANSMITTER: Astropath Primus Szar
We haven’t heard the last of Gudag. His activities for the Ruinous Powers obviously have earned him favor with his demonic overlords, for his psychic power has grown to frightening levels. His escape to Magog means he has had decades to plan his next crime against the Emperor, and I suspect that we’ll see signs of his insidious work soon make itself plain.
Portrait by Nuttavut Baiphowangse. (Copyrighted, art used under creative commons attribution-noncommerical-no derivative works license, (baizilla.deviantart.com).