¡Spoilers! Lo que sabemos del Emperador.

La semana pasada en el súper recomendable podcast @lavozdehorus, que podéis escuchar aquí, hablaron del Emperador (Master of Mankind, para los amigos).

Hubo algunas cosillas que, dentro del fluff más o menos aceptado entre los fans, me chirriaron un poco, pero como algunas novelas de la herejía hace mucho que las leí, no fui capaz de situar las inexactitudes al respecto. Ayer tuve un rato libre, así que me puse al lío y encontré al menos tres de ellas.

Antes de seguir, una advertencia. Esto no es una crítica al programa. Al revés, ojalá hubiera más como ese. Es una interpretación, partiendo de las últimas novelas de la herejía y que, entiendo, ahora se consideran canon. Todo lo canon que se puede ser cuando hablamos de un mundo de fantasía basado en muñequitos de plástico (o belenes, como decía mi amigo Agus).

No pases de aquí si no quieres comerte unos spoilers como pianos de grandes sobre la Herejía de Horus.


Estáis advertidos. Si cruzáis este umbral, abandonad toda esperanza... En serio, no continúes leyendo este artículo si no has leído Vengeful Spirit, The Path of Heaven y Master of Mankind.


Empezamos.

Hay tres preguntas que interesa contar aquí:

  1. ¿Tiene el Emperador un pacto con los poderes ruinosos?
  2. ¿Cual es la razón de que el Emperador vuelva a Terra justo después de Ullanor?
  3. Si el Emperador puede ver el futuro ¿Como no predijo la traición de los Primarcas y la consiguiente guerra en el milenio 30k?

Bueno, allá vamos.

El pacto con los Dioses del Caos.

¿Es cierto que el Emperador tiene un pacto con los Dioses del Caos? Algunos incluso hablan de él como otro Dios del panteón del Caos. Bueno, podríamos decir aquello de si, pero no.

Si habéis leído Vengeful Spirit, sabréis que Horus acude a Molech en busca de una parte de su memoria que, sencillamente, ha desaparecido. Long story short, el Emperador y algunos Primarcas estuvieron en Molech y allí encontraron una puerta. Una puerta nada menos que a la disformidad, que el Emperador utilizó para viajar allí y volver con poderes inimaginables para el resto de los mortales. Una vez hecho esto, borró estos recuerdos de aquellos que le acompañaban y selló la puerta, dejando un guardián en el planeta.

Esto es lo que McNeill nos dice sobre ello:

At the dawn of the great diaspora, the Emperor travelled here in humble guise and found the gateway to a realm of immortal gods. He offered them things only a god-in-waiting could offer, and they trusted Him. They gave Him a measure of their power, and with that power He wrought the science to unlock the mysteries of creation.’ Horus was radiant as he spoke, as though he had already ascended to a divine plane of reality. ‘But the Emperor had no intention of honouring His debt to the gods'.

He turned on them,taking their gifts and blending them with His genecraft to give birth to demigods. The Emperor condemns the warp as unnatural, but only so no other dares wield it. The blood of the immaterial realm flows in my veins. It flows in all our veins, for as I am the Emperor’s son, you are the Sons of Horus, and the secret of our genesis was unlocked upon Molech. The gateway to that power is in Lupercalia, far beneath the mountain rock. Sealed away from the light by a jealous god who knew that someday one of His sons would seek to surpass His deeds.’

Así que, técnicamente, el Emperador llegó a un pacto (supuestamente) con los Dioses del Caos, pero ese pacto está roto desde el mismo momento en que utiliza ese poder contra ellos (y la prueba es que éstos intentan destruir el Proyecto Primarca dispersándolos por la galaxia).

Conclusión: No hay pacto entre el Emperador y los Poderes Ruinosos.

Después de Ullanor.

Sabemos que el desfile en Ullanor, y el nombramiento de Horus como Señor de la Guerra responde a la necesidad de los Primarcas de "alimentarse" del orgullo y de la adoración de los demás, razón que el mismo Emperador da a Jaghatai Khan cuando hablan del tema.

Mucha gente cree que el Emperador decide irse en ese momento porque ha acabado con la única gran amenaza, el imperio orko, y que puede volver a su trabajo (The Great Work). Pero esto es bastante inexacto, atendiendo a sus propias palabras el día del desfile (extraídas de The Master of Mankind).

I leave not by choice,’ He promised them. His voice carried across the geoburned plateau, aided by the speaker-drones and vox-emitters liberally populating the muster. ‘I leave not by choice. I leave only because I must. Know this, and know my regret, but know also that I return to Terra for the good of our Imperium.’

Esto no suena precisamente a "he terminado mi trabajo aquí, me voy a casa a trastear en mi laboratorio". Está diciendo que no le queda más remedio. Además, el Khan sabe esto, de voca del Emperador, sobre sus hermanos:

Only three of them ever thought to ask why I timed my emergence as I did.’

A pesar de lo cual, nunca pregunta a su padre genético quienes son esos tres primarcas.

Alguno pensará "Vale, pero eso que dice es justo lo que hizo a continuación, volver a su laboratorio en Terra". Si, pero no por la razón que comentábamos más arriba. Nos lo confirma el mismo Jagathai Khan en The Path of the Heaven, cuando, ya en el interior de la estación Dark Glass, reconoce el trabajo de su padre, y cree entrever las razones de su regreso a Terra:

The lie has always been present,’ he mused. ‘Right from the start. We preached the Imperial Truth to the masses, yet employed sorcerers and mutants to guide us through the heavens, and practised the very arts we pretended did not exist to sustain them. That was the great lie, and I could not endure that. It could never have lasted. And so here is the question – why was it allowed to happen?’

My Father was neither a monster nor a simpleton. He did a thing only because it had to be done. Perhaps He could have explained more, but I will not believe, even now, that there was not a reason for His choices. He led us to Ullanor, then left. After that, He was silent, and only the words of the Sigillite emerged from Terra. What project could have kept Him from the Crusade that He instigated? Only one that was necessary for its survival. And so I have been pondering all His words to me, trying to find the ones that explain it, and I curse that we spoke so little, and that our minds were so unlike to one another. ‘In the end, I come back to the same place. My Father hated the lie as much as I did. He knew the Imperium could not last as long as its foundations were knee-deep in the warp. It was necessary to use these mutants and witches, but they could not be allowed to endure. They would be passing tools, like the warriors of thunder that united Terra – blades that would grow blunt and be cast aside. We were always told that the Great Crusade was the end of things, and all else was subordinate to it.

I believe this now to be false. The Crusade was launched to give Him something he needed – knowledge, perhaps. Maybe forbidden, maybe lost, maybe xenos, maybe dragged from the aether. But after finding it He went back, and put into place His scheme of eternity, and for the first time since the Ages of Strife His mind was no longer turned towards His creations. Thus they wandered. Thus they fell.’

Demasiado vago, estará pensando alguno. No, si habéis terminado esa novela. Porque a continuación, el Khan descubre algo de lo que no se ha hablado mucho entre la comunidad (quiero pensar que porque mucha gente no está al día con las novelas en inglés):

What scheme do you speak of?’ The Khan inclined his head equivocally. ‘I know not. I do not have His genius. But consider this – the Navigators are the last of the old mutants, the final throwback to our distant horror. They are the clearest and most potent exemplars of the lie, and for as long as the Imperium needed them it could never rest secure. If my Father were truly set on making the Imperial Truth a reality, they could not have been suffered to remain. There must have been another way. And others, perhaps in the Nobilite itself, must have known or guessed this.’ Ilya sank back into her chair. ‘Then I understand now.’ ‘Understand what?’

Why you allowed me to pursue Achelieux. You do not believe it possible to return. You wish to meet your end out in the void, fighting your brothers in the honourable way. To hunt this place – the Dark Glass – is merely for knowledge. Before the end, you would know whether you were right.’ The Khan smiled. ‘No, szu, you judge me too harshly. My oath binds me – if there is a path to the Throneworld, I will take it.’ The smile dissolved. ‘But if there is not, and all ways are barred, then, yes, I would learn why my Father turned His back on us.

This place may be the key, it may not...

En este momento ya podemos adivinar el objetivo del Emperador, una vez consiga acceso a la telaraña, podrá deshacerse de todos los mutantes (psíquicos y navegantes) que podrían condenar a la humanidad a largo plazo.

Espera ¿Ha dicho telaraña?

For the first time, the Khan turned to look at him. ‘What were your people doing here?’ Veil shrank back, clutching at his ruined, bound hand. ‘I know not,’ he stammered. ‘Truly. I only interpret the signs.’

[...]

Dark Glass’ command station was a circular arena, a hundred metres wide, ringed by concentric terraces facing a single central branched column. Was this place ever used?’ asked Arvida. Yesugei nodded. ‘There were many souls here, for a long time.’

He was here. He built this place.’ The Khan looked back at him. ‘This is the work of generations.’ He put the lens down. ‘How was it kept secret? Who knew of it?’ ‘I do not know.’ Veil’s ignorance, as ever, sounded perfectly genuine. ‘They were only rumours, things he let slip. He was close.’ ‘Yes, so you say. The crew here must have run into the hundreds.’

Whatever it was built for, it does nothing now.’ This was a control centre,’ said Veil. ‘There are decks below us, a hundred of them. We cannot leave, not yet.’

I remember this.’ The far-off past, back when he had first been taken to Terra. He had walked the endless corridors of the Palace, exploring the city-world from its highest spires to its deepest pits. He had been free to roam, and none had dared hinder a primarch in his Father’s house.

During that time he had seen the Emperor only rarely, for He had been called away by the duties of the Great Crusade, and when returned to the Palace was habitually occupied with the thousand cares of empire. It had been a day in winter, the flanks of the mountains white and glaring. The Khan had roved far into the deep places, treading the paths of the Palace foundations. Earth-movers were still active down there, gnawing their way through the roots of the peaks, hollowing out what would one day become the greatest and most secure of the Palace’s hidden halls.

The Sigillite’s people were every­where, mingling with squads of Legio Custodes in crimson robes and golden armour. It had not taken much to elude them – Jaghatai had been doing that all his life. He kept travelling, ever further into the heart of the earth, the lights dying out, the rock unworked, the earthbreakers dormant and unmanned. There had been a shaft there, just like this one. Cables had run down its entire length, just as they did here. Great energy coils had been sunk into the walls, feeding engines of unknown purpose and power.

At the very base of it all, thick with darkness, he had spied a last unfinished hall, immense beyond anything else in that assembled vastness. All the cables led there, terminating over an empty stage. Scaffolds straddled the edifice, lost in the dusty occlusion, heavy with haulage claws and chain-lifts. He had not noticed his Father’s presence until too late, for that was the way with Him – He would be there, then not there, like light on water.

‘What is this place?’ the Khan had asked. ‘The end of the Crusade,’ the Emperor had replied. And that had been all he ever learned. Now, unimaginably far away, out in the furthest tracts of cold space, here it was again – the shaft, the machines, the power coils, identical in every detail.

[...] There is nothing here for us.’ Then the Khan turned and started to march back the way he had come. There was no time left for speculation [...] The end of the Crusade. Dark Glass had not been made by House Achelieux. It had been made by the Emperor.

Only the nominated primarch has the strength to maintain an active link. A primarch. One of the Eighteen, each with his role, each with his purpose. Which one, then? A psyker-lord, surely. Magnus, perhaps? Or Lorgar? Maybe the Angel, or the seer Kurze?

[...] this been abandoned, an experiment intended to be forgotten and only uncovered when the lines of communication were broken? The questions remained, clustering fast, all unanswerable. He was vacillating again. Whatever the truth, the throne’s intended recipient would never sit in place now, and in that at least Achelieux had been right. To even contemplate taking on the machine, attempting to use it, that felt like pride, or madness, or despair.

[...]

You can see the Cartomancer’s light. You can follow it. Go deeper, and the aegis shatters. The lights go out. The Eye is blinded. The deeper in, the worse the poison. He perceived the truth. Both thrones had been made for the same reason – to plumb the deeper ways, to free the species from the nightmare of the shallow warp, to bridge a link across the hidden paths, ones that only xenos had known, and which the Emperor had found some way to access.

Dark Glass was the lesser node, the one where the technology had been tested, anchored in the furthest recesses of the void while the Great Crusade scoured its widening path ever further from the home world. In the chaos that had erupted since, the portal had been left behind, lost but not forgotten, neither by its creators nor its opponents in the labyrinthine halls of the Paternova.

The way had already been opened on Terra, uncontrolled and damaged. Yesugei could see it clearly, bleeding like a severed artery, its ragged edges swarming with the warp-made-flesh, yaksha in their millions. There ought to have been a soul on the Throne above it, guarding it, able to complete the link between worlds, but the seat was empty. To reach out to Terra – that was what Achelieux had tried to do, to open a path through the stratum profundis. No storms could block those ways, for they ran beyond the known, into the deeps of oblivion where only the ghosts of slain xenos gods sullenly lingered. Ilya had been right.

There was a path, albeit an incomplete one. With all that remained of his self, knowing the peril, knowing the pain, Yesugei reached out into the throne, delving into its unholy complexity. He saw the energy banks within it burning like starlit nebulae. He felt its cold, mechanical spirit, pitiless and enduring, and knew it could be mastered, if only for a moment...

Cuando llegué a este punto, casi me caigo de la silla. Os juro que esa no la vi venir. Uno de los giros más molones de la Herejía. Al final del libro, el mismo autor nos lo explica:

A particular aspect of this is the Emperor’s own plans, which on the face of it seem close to crazy. As the Khan points out in conversation with Ilya, why leave the Great Crusade at its peak, withdraw without explanation, and then say nothing even as Horus kicks off his civil war? Here I’ve tried to sketch out some responses to that, most notably the secrecy element.

The Imperial webway project, of which we’ve had hints all the way through the series, has a staggering scope, the product of many years of toil, and which held the promise not only of negating the threat of Chaos, but also sweeping away much of the Imperium – its starships, its Navigators, and possibly more than that. So, there’s a reason for the big man being a bit cagey... Which brings us to the other major element in The Path of Heaven – the Navis Nobilite.

These guys have always been a fascination for me, one of the oldest parts of the Warhammer 40,000 mythos. In the Horus Heresy, the Navigators are (by necessity) playing both sides at once. They’re indispensable, as precious as diamonds even after fighting for your enemies. It seemed implausible to me that elements within their houses would not have had some involvement with the Emperor’s grand scheme, since such a radical shift required the labour and expertise of millions.

And if there were some who were working to further those plans, as surely as night follows day there would be others who would resist it. In this war, all institutions – from the Mechanicum to the Imperial Army – are split down the middle.

Correcto. En un momento de la Cruzada, el Emperador consigue algo que le permite completar el proyecto de la telaraña, y abandona a los Primarcas. No sabemos exactamente si tuvo que ver con la puesta en funcionamiento o el fallo en Dark Glass, o de algún otro elemento (no nos lo han contado todavía, y puede que no nos lo cuenten). Lo que está claro es que no abandona la cruzada porque ha previsto que, como en el pasado, imperios han caído en su punto más álgido.

Lo que nos lleva al siguiente punto:

¿El Emperador conoce el futuro?

Si, puede, pero no como pensamos nosotros. Esto se deduce de su conversación con Ra, uno de sus Custodios:

You ask about the very nature of foresight,’ said the Emperor. ‘From your words and tone, you suggest it is no different to looking back down a road already travelled, and seeing the places and people you have passed.’

You imply omniscience.’ ‘I imply nothing, unless by my own ignorance. I merely seek enlightenment.’

You speak of seeing the future,’ He finally said, ‘without knowing the limits of what you speak.’Where you stand now,’ the Emperor said, ‘is the present. Do you see the top of the cliff?’ ‘Of course, sire.’ ‘That is the future. You see it. You know what it is. Now reach it.’ Ra hesitated. ‘Now?’ ‘Climb, Custodian.

Aquí se alarga explicando una metáfora sobre como ve el futuro, y como los demás creen que lo ve. Pero sigue divagando sobre los Primarcas...

I prepared them all, this pantheon of proud godlings that insist they are my heirs. I warned them of the warp’s perils. Coupled with this, they knew of those dangers themselves. The Imperium has relied on Navigators to sail the stars and astropaths to communicate between worlds since the empire’s very first breath. The Imperium itself is only possible because of those enduring souls.

No void sailor or psychically touched soul can help but know of the warp’s insidious predation. Ships have always been lost during their unstable journeys. Astropaths have always suffered for their powers. Navigators have always seen horrors swimming through those strange tides. I commanded the cessation of Legion Librarius divisions as a warning against the unrestrained use of psychic power.

One of our most precious technologies, the Geller field, exists to shield vessels from the warp’s corrosive touch. These are not secrets, Ra, nor mystical lore known only to a select few. Even possession by warp-wrought beings is not unknown. The Sixteenth witnessed it with his own eyes long before he convinced his kindred to walk a traitor’s path with him. That which we call the warp is a universe alongside our own, seething with limitless alien hostility.

The primarchs have always known this. What difference would it have made had I labelled the warp’s entities “daemons” or “dark gods”?’

Hasta aquí, nos confirma alguna cosa de las que hablábamos más arriba, y nos dice que los primarcas lo han sabido todo el tiempo, que no les ha mentido, como afirma Lorgar (por ejemplo). Puede ver a donde va, pero no todo lo que ocurre por el camino, todas las variables posibles (curiosamente, es exactamente lo mismo que cuenta el fluff Eldar sobre los videntes y los hilos del destino). Él mismo no sabe lo que puede ocurrir o cual es la mejor solución. Y de aquí que tome las decisiones que toma.

The Emperor nodded. ‘When the vault was attacked and the Primarch Project compromised, should I have destroyed them all? Or do as I did, and trust that I would be able to restore them to grandeur? If I had destroyed them to prevent their abduction, would the Imperium have risen as it has now done?

Así que por eso siguió adelante, a pesar de saber que podría haber problemas, quiso lograr su objetivo, la iluminación de la humanidad, es decir, acabar con sus lazos con la disformidad.

Y ya más adelante, en las notas del autor al final del libro, tenemos algo más sobre el origen del Emperador (relacionado con lo que comentaban en el podcast):

The fact is (let’s rip this band-aid off right now) I didn’t want to reveal anything about the Emperor as any kind of definitive, objective truth. I don’t think anyone should, either - partly because understanding the Emperor’s nature and origins hasn’t been important for three decades of enjoyment in the supremely popular setting (and it’s never going to be necessary for that), and partly because, well, no answer will ever be satisfying enough or believable enough for everybody.

Could the Emperor have been born from the souls of primitive shamans? Is he a Dark Age construct aping human form, left out to enact his will over the now- ignorant species? Was he a manipulative overlord and tyrant who knew everything of Chaos? Was he just a good man whose intellect strained to work alongside the levels of those beneath him, and was he ultimately failed by lesser beings? All of them might be true. None of them might be true.

Hay más cosas sobre su origen, en el primer capítulo, durante su primera conversación con Ra, pero si habéis leído el libro, ya sabéis de lo que hablo: Su tío mata a su padre, y él mismo acaba con él en venganza. De cualquier manera, ya hemos oído lo que dice Dembski-Bowden: Hasta ahora el 40K molaba sin saber su origen, y esto no cambia nada. Pero para mi, la teoría de los chamanes es la menos probable: Volviendo a las novelas, en The Master of Mankind podemos ver como uno de los Señores de la Guerra pre-unificacion (una, de hecho) le acusa de ser un arma fuera de su caja, un monstruo de épocas pasadas...

En fin, espero que esto haya aclarado algunas cosas. Entiendo que es un muro de texto en toda regla, pero tampoco he tenido mucho tiempo para ordenar cosas. Estoy seguro de que hay mil detalles por comentar, escondidos en historias cortas y audiodramas, pero, en general, creo que mi discrepancia con el contenido del podcast (el origen del propio Emperador, su decisión de volver a Terra, y la capacidad para ver el futuro) está bastante clara.

Si habéis llegado hasta aquí, enhorabuena (o perdón!). Y si por lo que sea, no habéis leído estas novelas, tenéis los enlaces para comprarlas más abajo. Son la leche. No dejéis de leerlas. No os arrepentiréis.


Bibliografía:

Vengeful Spirit, de Graham McNeill.

The Path of Heaven, de Chris Wraight.

The Master of Mankind, de Aaron Dembski-Bowden.

Nota del autor: Me gustaría saber si el nombre Catullus Rift es un homenaje Lovecraftiano de Wraight, o simple casualidad...

Nota a GW: Si, este artículo contiene mucho material copiado de novelas de su propiedad, con lo que lo retiraré gustosamente si me lo piden.

Wilbur Whateley

Untacremas de día, tuitero de noche, frikazo a tiempo completo. Manly beard working as intended.

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