Jen and I joke about the Lion a lot in regards to how much he expects everyone to just know what he means and/or accept what he says without question. In a way it makes sense, since he was raised by wolves in the forests of Caliban. In the wild, there is no need to share why you think a certain way or speak at all. Even when he’s around humans, he’s the motherfucking Lion, AMIRITE? You don’t question the Lion. Like Mother Gothel, the Lion knows best. In Lion El’Jonson – Lord of the First by David Guymer, we get a good look at the method to his seeming madness.
The book even opens with the Lion knowing he knows best. Only HE knows his father’s true face. He knows he’s the true favorite of his father. He understands his father best, because they are exactly alike. Neither share what they mean because they shouldn’t have to. The other intrinsically knows what they mean.
Now that latter part is certainly true. I’ve griped for many Horus Heresy books that the Emperor wouldn’t have so many problems if he talked to his kids once in awhile. The Lion insists that his father doesn’t need to, as after all, HE understands him just fine. Perhaps they are cut from the same cloth as the Lion suggests, which would explain why the Lion acts the way he does with everyone. Luther was his Malcador, in a non-jealousy way.
Speaking of people just accepting/understanding his plans without question, have you ever wondered why the Lion was not at Ullanor?
“Why I’m Not Where I’m Supposed to Be” should be the title of his autobiography.
Spoiler warning for his autobiography: the answer is because I have good reasons that should not be questioned.
His Dark Angels actually don’t understand why they’re not going to Ullanor. They have no idea why the Lion decided he needed to go to the Northern Fringe. All he’s told them is the same thing his father told him: “Where you must.” The Lion knows this is where he must be, and that’s a good enough answer for anyone.
He does say at one point that they are here at Muspel to quash grumblings of rebellion from this new compliant world. That doesn’t appease any of them, as they all know that newly compliant planets have disruptions in the beginning. The Angels should only step in if it picks up momentum to overthrow the Imperium entirely. But the Lion says they must be here, so damn it all, they are.
However, when they reach orbit, it suddenly becomes apparent that something is seriously rotten in Muspel. One of the Dark Angels ships suddenly blows into full mutiny. When they touch down on the planet, all of its citizens appear to be afraid of something. The questions only pile on when the Lion orders Duriel of his Ironwing to get the main city siege-ready while he goes hunting in the forests for the enemy. Then other questions crop up when Librarian Aravain quells the mutiny, but then doesn’t share what he thinks started it.
I spent most of this book trying to follow the flow of information. It would break me to be a Dark Angel.
The Secrets Within Secrets Within Secrets
As frustrating as it is to read how much NONE of the Dark Angels talk to one another—yes, they complain about the Lion not sharing, but them not sharing is just how it is and is TOTES DIFFERENT—you do get to see some payoff for all of the secrecy.
Aravain knows what started the mutiny almost immediately, but he tells everyone he doesn’t so he can go to a secret meeting of a secret order within the Legion to tell them what he thinks it is. Everyone at this meeting wears a hood, so no one knows who any of them are. The only member Aravain knows is the one who introduced him to the Order of Santales. He doesn’t know who the leader (preceptor) of the Order is. None of them think the Lion knows about the Order, much less anyone outside of the Order. Because of this, when the enemy compromises Aravain’s mind, it can’t find out who knows what the enemy is because Aravain doesn’t know.
I snickered along with Aravain at that moment, but then I immediately thought, “Okay so there’s ONE example where it’s good you guys keep secrets from one another.” The Lion ended up showing me another example, the jerk.
Ever heard of the Khrave?
You most likely haven’t, because thanks to this battle, Lion El’Jonson wiped out the entire species. YOU’RE WELCOME, by the way. No one knows of this battle outside of the Dark Angels and the Emperor, and the Lion doesn’t care. He was where he must be, and his unsung victory saved billions of human lives.
The khrave was a xenos race that lives inside and outside the empyrean. It feeds on psychic energy and latches onto minds to create external hosts. It’s basically a psychic parasite that has been around since before Slaanesh was born. It has sensed humankind coming forth as another galactic empire for them to feed on and wipe out like they’ve done with so many empires before Man. Then they’ll move on to the next up-and-coming race.
Like COVID-19, the parasite can travel between hosts by touch. Signs of infection include prominent black veins across one’s face, the ability to keep moving even with broken legs, and sudden psychic power that could rival the Emperor. Those with the highest risk of infection harbor dark thoughts of anger, jealousy, and general displeasure. In other words, all normal humans are at high risk. The Dark Angels, however, don’t have many emotions at all and cannot be infected. It does not mean, however, that the khrave can’t harvest their brains for knowledge before killing them.
But never fear, the khrave are no longer a threat thanks to the Lion.
That’s why we should not question the Lion. He always knows what is best, what he must do, and where his Dark Angels can serve the best as exterminators of the galaxy. And that’s why you should vote for the Lion as the next Warmaster.