Zophar (Sarthuul) Edit
Based in the same planetary system as the infamous Mordian in the Segmentum Obscurus, Zophar’s home planet of Andralius has little to boast of. It is a planet which, unlike Mordian, is able to rotate in orbit. As such, Andralius’ atmosphere is much less cruel than that of Mordian, and rather than inhabiting hives, the people of Andralius tend to live in relatively large cities with high population densities, although there are some smaller, outlying towns and villages. Being a dusty planet, the areas outside of the main cities of Andralius occasionally suffer sandstorms (not so strong as to destroy all those living outside of the cities, but enough to claim at least a few lives per storm). Unlike the Mordians, the Andralians are not famous for being tough, or determined probably due to their relatively easy living conditions and lack of a difficult history such as that of Mordian – in fact, the Andralians are generally seen as ‘soft’ by those who know anything of their unimportant planet.
The Andralian PDF is founded on paranoia. After the cultist uprising on Mordian which led to widespread slaughter and almost lost the planet to the enemies of the Imperium, the vast majority of Andralians know nothing of what happened on Mordian (other than perhaps a few rumours), but some of those who are politically higher up (especially the Imperial Governor of Andralius) have heard tale of how close their neighbour planet came to being destroyed (or worse, conquered) by enemies of mankind. Therefore, in the eyes of Andralius’ Governor, the reason d’être of the Andralian PDF is to root out and destroy those who may be plotting against the planet’s governance. Thus the PDF serves more as a Gestapo than anything else; operating in the major cities of Andralius, trying to find any and all information relating to any anti-imperial groups. The treatment of those suspected (and usually suspicion is enough to warrant punishment) serves as a strong example to all citizens to toe the line, and as a result of this, the PDF rarely have any cause to act.
Zophar was brought up in one of Andralius’ cities, a city named Suborthil, and his father was the most senior officer in the Suborthil region’s PDF. Zophar was born as the youngest of three brothers, and, to make matters worse, he was the ‘runt’ of the litter, being relatively small and scrawny. When he was young, Zophar’s father, Ezekium, often told Zophar that he was ‘His biggest disappointment’ and lamented that he could not be more like his two brothers, both of whom stood at about 6 foot 2, and were built like brick walls. Ezekium was locally known to be a despicable character – his life’s work being to suspect and, if necessary, turn in his fellow city members, the mentality of his job (superstition, a sense of superiority and cruelty) become the mentality of his life. Zophar’s mother was a housewife, preparing meals for a husband that rarely came home. These circumstances of Zophar’s upbringing would go a long way to explain much of his personality.
Zophar may have been small and scrawny, but in order to prove to his parents he was every bit the man that either of his brothers were, Zophar was determined and exceptionally brave. Using his small stature to his advantage, Zophar focused on building up agility, to compensate for the strength he knew he would never have. When he reached the requisite age, Zophar followed the footsteps of his father and his brothers and joined the Suborthil branch of the PDF.
Zophar underwent the necessary training for those who wished to join the PDF, and began making a name for himself. Zophar became known amongst his fellow troops for two things; 1) he never smiled, and 2) he never questioned orders, or flinched when carrying them out, no matter what they were. The most notable example would be during Zophar’s first week where, allegedly the neighbours to Zophar’s childhood and early adolescent home, were complaining about imperial rule. Zophar killed the husband and wife, close family friends, without uttering a word. Later it was hypothesised (but only in private) that the rumours were created by Zophar’s father in a perverse test of his son’s loyalty – which would explain the ‘coincidental’ timing and targets of Zophar’s first task. Through this relentless determination and career-mindedness, Zophar soon became an officer, even before either of his brothers – on that day Zophar felt no happiness. If a psychologist were ever to have assessed Zophar, they would have said that he was traumatised beyond any real emotion – he was entirely depersonalised, becoming essentially a machine programmed to obey his father.
On what would be Zophar’s last assignment, Zophar was called out of Suborthil. Apparently, a tradesman from a nearby town had entered the city and tried to preach against Imperial control, wittering on about some ‘glorious uprising on Mordian’ – a dangerous speech considering the rumours concerning problems that had occurred on the nearby planet. The PDF soon caught the ‘preacher’ and interrogated him. The ‘preacher’ claimed that a ‘great prophet’ was residing in his home town of Gathik. Zophar’s father, not wanting to leave the relative comfort of Suborthil ‘rewarded’ Zophar by allowing him to take charge of investigating this ‘prophet’. Zophar was assigned to take control of a 5 man detachment consisting of himself, his two brothers, a man trained in the use of a meltagun (because such a weapon would be put to better use in the uncertainty outside the city than the weapons locker inside the city), and the final man trained in first aid.
On Andralius, mechanised vehicles were not abundant, and thus the squad was obliged to make a three day walk from Suborhtil to Gathik through the sandy landscapes, having to wear protective masks to stop sand particles gathering in their lungs (a common affliction for those living in outlying regions). When Zophar’s squad finally reached Gathik they witnessed a sight which they could never have prepared for. At the end of a long, deep trench gouged into the sand just on the borders of the town lay a small, metal pod. The pod was perhaps big enough to house three men, and had a strange, eight pointed star painted on the side. Zophar indicated to his men to prepare to engage an enemy, and the squad raised their guns. As they approached the pod, they could see that it was shut, sealed in a way incomprehensible to them.
The squad began advancing into the town, and in doing so saw, through the dust, an outline. At first they thought it might be the outline of a man, but as they approached, they saw that it was far too large, standing at about 8 foot tall, and built entirely in proportion to this. It was a though someone had taken a man and scaled him up. As the squad approached the monstrous man they heard him preaching, and they began to see the townspeople’s outline, all grouped around him to hear his words. Zophar knew at that instant this man, this thing, had to be eliminated. The townspeople could be dealt with afterwards. The squad got closer to the thing, which they could now see was heavily armoured, and continued to advance, hoping to get within meltagun range. Just before the squad got within range the thing reached into a hip holster and pulled out what looked like a large, pistol, size in proportion to that of the thing wielding it. Without turning around, the thing simply swung the pistol behind himself and pulled the trigger. There was a monstrous crack as the meltagun operator’s head exploded in a shower of gore. Zophar, characteristically unflinching, instantly dropped to the floor. His companions were less well composed. His two brothers attempted to return fire, shooting their lasguns at the thing’s head. The thing laughed and rushed them, drawing a sword from his hip-sheath with his free hand. The thing swung the sword and decapitated Zophar’s brothers in a single swing. While the thing was distracted decapitating Zophar’s brothers, he noticed that the metlagun operator had dropped the meltagun as he died, and that it had landed within reach of where Zophar had dropped to the ground. The thing, clearly enjoying itself turned to face Zophar’s medic, who has simply glued to the spot; terrified. The thing lifted its sword, and as he brought it down in an arc, Zophar rose to his feet with practiced grace. Zophar swung the barrel upwards to face the thing’s head in the same movement he rose to his feet and pulled the trigger. The thing let out a horrible scream as its head melted, but not before decapitating Zophar’s only remaining companion.
The thing’s body went limp and collapsed heavily to the floor. Zophar exhaled audibly and then noticed the sword clutched in the dead thing’s hand. The sword not only looked unusual, but somehow it felt unusual. Zophar could feel it; the sword calling out to him. He didn’t know how or why, all he knew is that in the same way he automatically obeyed his father, he was now compelled to automatically obey this sword. The sword wanted him to pick it up, and he needed to oblige it. Zophar prised the sword from the dead thing’s hand (through a great, great deal of physical exertion) and he picked it up. At this point Zophar, as he had existed until now, was gone forever.
Sarthuul was thrilled. The Alpha Legion were always such a bore; but humans were fun. Sarthuul had no power over his last owner, he being a genetically enhanced super-soldier whose only purposes in life were to fight and convert. Now it was his time. Now, Sarthuul was in control. Now, Sarthuul was no longer obliged to do the bidding of his bearer. Sarthuul had found a vessel over which he had absolute control, and he liked it. Sarthuul was a lesser daemon of chaos, not in service to any god, but acting independently. Sarthuul loved to manipulate others into doing his bidding and trick others into thinking, saying or doing exactly what suited Sarthuul. He was, quite literally, an embodiment of devious manipulation. While not being particularly powerful, Sarthuul had always made himself available to be summoned, knowing that when foolish mortals tried to make a deal with him, he would be able to use some feat of deception, or linguistic sleight of hand, in order to trick them into signing away their souls; most commonly without ever really getting what they wanted. However, Sarthuul’s complacency was ultimately his downfall, and in his eagerness to trick as many mortals as possible, he was eventually summoned by a mortal well enough versed in the ways of his kind. Sarthuul was summoned by a Chaos sorcerer named Herthor, and was bound to a sword forced to serve his new master.
Herthor was the head of a squadron of the Alpha Legion working to prepare imperial planets for chaos invasion (it was even rumoured that the chaos cultists who initiated the attack on Mordian could be traced back to the work of one of Herthor’s infiltrators), Herthor wishing to conquer the planets in the name of Chaos and himself (although mainly the latter). Herthor was killed during the conflict on Mordian (during the famous ‘last stand’ of the Mordian Iron Guard), and his sword was claimed by one of his marines, before they made a tactical retreat. The Chaos Marine who took the sword claimed himself to be the new leader of the Squadron, being the bearer of the daemonic weapon. The tactical retreat took the Alpha Legion squad away from Mordian, and across the system, narrowly avoiding destruction by the imperial psykers (the Alpha Legion Squad had retreated from the planet prematurely, partly due to the death of their leader, partly due to the turning tide of the battle, and partly because they felt that their main task – to sow the seeds of rebellion – had already been accomplished). In their retreat across the Mordian system, the Alpha Legion squad passed Andralius, and Charnok, the new leader of the squad decided to use a single man short distance transport pod, to scout the planet, in the hopes of finding an opportunity to start a second, more successful form of the Mordian rebellion (the Mordian system was ideal for the Alpha Legion’s purposes, as its position in the Segmentum Obscurus would make it easier to defend against any potential Imperial retaliation). It was during this planetary excursion that Charnok’s fate crossed path with that of Zophar, and Sarthuul found his way to a suitable host.
Sarthuul used Charnok’s transport craft to contact the legion’s main ship. He knew he was in a delicate position – his new form was relatively delicate and any of the marines on the ship would literally kill for possession of such a daemon weapon as he (or Zophar, the distinction between the two was now so blurred Sarthuul was no longer sure whether his true residence was within the weapon or within his new host, but he knew he didn’t want to be forced to separate the two and risk finding out), and Sarthuul was in no hurry to be in obedience to another master. Sarthuul told the ship that their leader was dead, but that he knew their goals, and had found a better way to infiltrate imperial planets. Clearly, an 8 foot tall renegade marine is a very conspicuous agent on an Imperial planet, but a human would fit in perfectly. Sarthuul could use his new form, along with his own ability to manipulate and coerce, to sow the seeds of rebellion on imperial planets, preparing them to be conquered by the forces of Chaos. As well as this, his more inconspicuous form would make him ideal for other acts of sabotage such as assassinations, the retrieval or destruction of specific objects on populated planets and a multitude of other tasks that could be achieved through pure force, but would much more easily achieved through more deceptive, sneaky means.
Sarthuul reasoned that making such an offer would be his greatest chance of being allowed to live and keep control of his new form, but the deal was not as one-sided as he had presented it. As well as gaining the freedom which came with almost absolute control over his new host, Sarthuul knew that while on his missions, he would be able to manipulate entire cults into pledging their souls to him personally. Maybe he would even gain enough power to figure out how he could break his bond to that accursed sword, and return to his previous existence as an unbound, free daemon. Sarthuul would soon return to the ship to take up his new position in the squad, but first he had a planet to corrupt and many souls to claim – in fact, his new body seemed to hold some contempt for Andralius, and he would be more than happy to help it find revenge...
Since then, a small renegade craft, reportedly bearing the markings of the Alpha Legion has entered the Carthax Sector and riots and rebellions have recently increased almost threefold, accompanying reports of the same inciter - 'The Great Prophet Sarthuul'.
Notable Heresies Edit
Zophar/Sarthuul took part in The Succession of Inquisitor Lord Calleia as head of the Carthaxia Conclave, and even infiltrated the vote-casting, casting a vote which he has since asserted through astropathic communications to have been for Calleia. Why he would have voted for Calleia is, of yet, a mystery, but it appears to be within his plans (as far as they can be told).
During the recent unrest over whether or not The Carthax Sector was home to a new living saint, Zophar/Sarthuul has been mentioned in several reports. His most notable actions included fighting members of the Holy Inquisition over evidence regarding The Saint, dealing with Xenos in order to obtain confidential Imperial information, and eventually infiltrating an orbital station with destructive capabilities and activating its laser, presumably killing The Saint and inciting many ensuing riots over her apparent death.