The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden is the 14th book in the Horus Heresy series, yet it’s the start of the entire heresy. It’s one reason why Jen recommends reading this book first in the series, to make it more chronological in reading. I was going to hold off on reading this book until I reached it naturally in the sequence, but like A Thousand Sons and Prospero Burns, I opted to skip ahead to read it before I read Lorgar’s book in the Primarch Pilgrimage. After starting his novel, I am so glad I did jump ahead with ADB’s HH novel.
I knew Lorgar fell from grace after the devastation of Monarchia, but I wasn’t aware of the fine details. Now that I am, I can say three people caused Lorgar’s fall: Erebus, Kor Phaeron, and the Emperor.
Would it kill the Emperor to talk to His sons?
The book begins with the destruction of Monarchia, Lorgar’s “perfect city” he erected in the name of the god-Emperor. The Emperor sent down Roboute Guilliman and his Ultramarines to lay waste to the city, which, in typical Roboute fashion, was done efficiently and without killing anyone. The only blood that was spilled was from when Lorgar back-handed Malcador and when he punched Roboute squarely on his ass.
But as Lorgar begs to know why this was done, Malcador finally calls for the Emperor to speak. The big man teleports down, tells Lorgar he takes too long bringing worlds to compliance because of his religious fervor, and oh by the way, I’ve already said I’m not a god, stop worshipping me like I am one. As Lorgar tries to ask his father more questions, Big E teleports away. It’s essentially his way of saying discussion is over. I have spoken, you will not question, I don’t see any reason to continue discussing it. Go do what I’ve made you to do, accept it and move on.
If He had JUST sat down with Lorgar to talk about things, or at least talk about things before destroying Monarchia, perhaps Lorgar wouldn’t have been so quick to heed Kor Phaeron and Erebus. Lorgar just wants to be loved and praised by someone, especially his true father. But then again, since Lorgar evidently needs something to worship, that may be a pretty tall perhaps.
Then there’s this fucking guy…
I was livid with Erebus after the events of Horus Rising and False Gods, but this is the first time I got to see just how big Kor Phaeron’s role was in Lorgar’s fall. Kor Phaeron is Lorgar’s adoptive father (although I’m learning in the Lorgar primarch novel that that’s not entirely true), and he once was a high priest of the religion on Colchis. What was this religion? It was worship of the four gods, aka Chaos lords. Kor Phaeron indoctrinated Lorgar with this religious view for most of his life until the Emperor showed up, who took Lorgar under his wing and insisted there are no gods.
Kor Phaeron couldn’t let this go, after all, no gods pretty much means his entire life has been a lie. That would be hard for anyone to accept, but he was at least given a new purpose. He couldn’t be a full Astartes because of his age, but he was still given some Astartes treatment and Lorgar made him his First Captain.
However, Kor Phaeron couldn’t stand being out of the spotlight. As soon as the Emperor left, he was keen to swoop down and say you know, the Emperor isn’t a god, but remember there are others. We’ve worshipped them for centuries on Colchis, and haven’t you noticed so many other worlds we’ve brought to compliance have the same religion? This has to mean we are right, doesn’t it? Let’s go find them.
Lorgar, in his grief, agreed. Kor Phaeron, master manipulator.
But let’s not forget the biggest asshole of them all…
In reading the first two parts, I wasn’t sure who was the bigger prick: Kor Phaeron or Erebus. It’s a pretty big toss-up. On the one hand, Kor Phaeron was the one who let god-worshipping cultures continue behind Lorgar’s back, because he had a feeling this would happen or some nonsense. Plus in part three, I’m never going to forgive Kor Phaeron for talking Lorgar out of stopping the fight between Fulgrim and Ferrus. But also in part three, I’m reminded of Erebus whispering sweet-nothings in Horus’ ear.
It was this ass-clown that told Lorgar not to worry about the human sacrifice rituals going on Cadia. He was also the one who decided it would be just fine sacrificing astropaths to create a psychic barrier for the fleet. And well, he also had the bright idea to use the Custodes’ blood for his own spells and experiments. He was definitely behind the Legion’s chaplains’ secret meetings, where he taught them horrific spells and rituals to further the agenda of the gods.
Frack, my blood is boiling all over again thinking about it. There’s a reason why there’s an entire subreddit dedicated to hating Erebus. He is JUST the worst.
To sum up, Lorgar’s fall was all because of his Father who doesn’t know how to hug is sons, a religious zealot looking for a way to be on top again, a political mastermind sleazeball, and a weak-minded primarch. It’s all a recipe for heresy.
Ten books down, 44 to go. Now that I’ve caught up in Primarch-specific HH novels for our Primarch Pilgrimage series, it’s back to reading the novels in order, starting with #8, Battle for the Abyss by Ben Counter.
Horus Hearsay is dedicated to Keri’s journey through the Horus Heresy saga. The chronicling of the Horus Heresy began over ten years ago, with currently 54 books in total, not counting The Primarchs series or the various short stories. Horus Hearsay will only cover the main novels.