Created with a higher purpose, perhaps their end could have been different, but their history is one of poisoned ideology and atrocity. Even when they were counted amongst the loyal Space Marine Legions , their nature and actions were ever questioned. Some argued that they were simply a function of necessity, the monsters needed to drag a barbaric age into the light. Some say that they were a mistake, a misjudgment compounded by circumstance. A few wonder if they were damned from the moment they were born, that they were destined never to be part of the future they would help create.
All such speculation is ultimately pointless; no matter the cause, the Night Lords are creatures of horror and always were. The Legion's first recruits came from the linked prison sinks of ancient Terra. In vast caverns filled with the half-crushed ruins of millennia there lived men and women who had transgressed against the laws of their masters.
Condemned never to see the light again or breathe free air, they lived out their lives in fear and blind darkness. There was no law in these lightless lands, and survival existed only by a blade's edge. Only the strongest and the most ruthless survived in the subterranean warrens, and those who did grew in cruelty and cunning. Fed by a constant influx from the hive cities above, the prison sinks were an ever hungering gate to madness and murder. But of the millions who lived and died in the sinks, not all had been punished by the world above.
Amongst the bloodshed and fear, children were born. Cradled in the dark, and raised amongst death, those who lived over a standard decade were pale, silent creatures who moved without a sound.
Dour, with skin so pale it resembled ash or powdered bone, they were far from their brother Legionaries in manner and appearance.
The gene-seed of the VIIIth Legion had been well-paired with the human stock of its first recruits, and if anything it seemed as if one had been made with the other in mind. Besides accentuating their paleness of skin, the gene-seed gave the sons of the underworld the ability to see through darkness to a degree that far exceeded that of the Astartes of other Legions.
This gift was also a curse, forcing them to see the light of suns and stars through filters and flare buffers; even though they now walked in the light of the world above, the warriors of the VIIIth Legion always walked in the night. The Unification Wars "Send the Eighth! Several of those who had bent their knee to the Emperor had done so because they believed that it was the only choice. Others, having seen the empires of techno-barbarian warlords rise and fall, believed that they were simply part of a temporary arrangement.
Crimes against the new order took many faces: Whether as a consequence of their genetic inheritance, or the combination of their origins and indoctrination, the warriors of the VIIIth Legion seem to have tended towards moral absolution and a drive to enact retribution.
There were no shades of grey in the VIIIth Legion's moral universe, no degrees of guilt or innocence. Truth and falsehood was as day is to night, indivisible and unqualified. The dark was the realm of guilt, lies and monsters, and those who dwelt in the dark knew only the language of blood, the message of swift and merciless retribution for their actions.
Justice brought the light to darkness, and justice was neither warm nor caring, but as indifferent and cold as the edge of a knife. The warriors of the VIIIth Legion were creatures made to live in the dark, and to fight a war for a future of light.
In their core, they were warriors for a future that would have no place for creatures of their kind. Perhaps memory was too kind, perhaps many wished to believe that here was a nobility in such monsters, where in fact there was only horror.
Perhaps many wished there to be a purpose behind atrocity, otherwise how could such creatures be suffered to live? But it would be truer to say that it was Nostramo that set both Curze and the Night Lords on the path to treachery. Curze was the gene-sire of the VIIIth Legion, but he had two fathers, two hands that shaped his nature and through him the fate of his Legion: What the Emperor intended for his sons can never be known, but the nature of Nostramo can be.
Nostramo was a bleak, sunless Hive World of suffering, pain and corruption. At the heart of a string of planets which had kept the ability to cross the stars through the Age of Strife , it was a world of sprawling cities, of smoke, industry, and the sweat of millions.
Nostramo's wealth, for wealth there was, lay in the seams of adamantine ore beneath its surface. Worlds far from Nostramo fed on its output, and the mines had long wormed deep into its flesh. Nostramo was perpetually dark due to its pollution-clogged atmosphere and the fact that it circled a slowly dying star whose light was unable to penetrate this haze to reach the surface.
The world was barely better lit at noon than at midnight. A shroud of perpetual darkness produced by the massive amounts of toxic smog kept the planet swathed in dull greys and deep blacks. Only the rich could afford the Nostraman idea of illumination, which was little more than dim blue illumination-strips that were placed in the ceilings of the ruling hierarchy's luxurious dwellings in the spires of the dark world's hive cities.
The world had five major hive cities that straddled the habitable hub of the planet, named in sequence from Nostramo Prime to Nostramo Quintus. Each hive city functioned as a self-contained industrial system. Due to the synchronicity in the orbit of Nostramo and Tenebor, the moon interposed between Nostramo and its dying sun, these cities experienced the equivalent of a Terran night even during the middle of a Nostraman summer.
Its cities were warrens of stone and iron. Kilometre-tall smoke stacks pointed up at the perpetual night. Bridges of black metal criss-crossed the narrow ravines of alleys and streets. Manses, cathedrals and factories grew from the forest of slums, their faces and roofs crawling with gargoyles.
Smog lay over everything like a cloak drawn around a dying man, turning what little light shone from windows or lamps into sickly haloes. Dust, smoke and the reek of chemicals filled the air, and worked into the flesh of every man, woman and child, trimming away their years so that the best that life could offer was a slow decline in grinding servitude, never glimpsing the brightness of hope or the warmth of true happiness.
The physiology and genomes of the people that lived within the Nostraman hive cities remained mostly identical to that of the baseline humans from the Segmentum Solar , with the exception that none of the planet's people possessed irises; the visible part of their eyes consisted entirely of their pupils. The people of Nostramo were pale, and most were thin and gaunt, given by turns to distrust, dark humour and callousness.
This acute form of albinism, though a recessive mutation, had become common in the Nostraman populace. The vast majority of the planet's people lived in abject poverty as foundry labourers, whilst the rich grew in affluence, trampling down or simply killing outright any who dared oppose the status quo.
Depression was an inescapable way of life for most Nostramans, and overpopulation was prevented not by war, disease or legislation, but by the suicide rate. Most of these unfortunate souls would die coughing up blood and black dust on a mouldering pallet, but death from lung blight, or having chemicals eat out their bones from the inside was not the worst end that could be found on Nostramo.
The dark owned Nostramo, body and soul, and its existence was a horror to equal any xenos enslavement or nightmare of the Dark Age of Technology. If there ever had been true laws, they had vanished long ago, eaten by the greed of a few and the desperation of many. Murder was the currency of life, and strength came from violence.
Every sin great and small had its home in Nostramo's endless night. It has been said by those Remembrancers who recorded its history after its reclamation that during this time weeping and pleading were the sounds carried eternally on the wind, and every child grew to know that the only law was that of the knife, and the only right belonged to the strong to do with as they willed.
Corrupt and murderous gangs, whether or not they were named as such, ruled every part of Nostramo. From the heights of nobility to the lowest alley, every inch of Nostramo was someone's domain, someone's territory or hunting ground.
In the slum habitation stacks, the gangs ruled by raw fear, killing and torturing as they pleased, fighting wars with the feral packs of outcasts who were closer to animals than men. It was said that many of these gangs ate the dead, treating their territories as a predator might a hunting ground. In the mines and factories which still turned the planet's wheels of industry, the gangs went by names that echoes with a false authority: Slab muscled and furnace-scarred, they walked the streets clanking with weaponry and reeking of murder, enforcing order that was little more than slavery.
In the wealthier areas, the rakeheel sons and daughters of the corrupt nobility gathered in packs, clad in costumes like strutting peacocks, as quick to kill with blade or gun as they were to cast an insult. No matter what their station, almost all gangs owed fealty to one of the numberless barons, counts and lords, who in turn served still more powerful men and women, many of whom styled themselves with courtly titles that echoes a long forgotten nobility.
Though wrapped in the trappings of birth, blood and feudal right, there was no division between the rulers of Nostramo and its criminal overlords; they were one and the same, cruel monarchs of kingdoms built on sin.
Night Haunter "It is better by far to be an object of fear than of respect, for one is a truth of the soul and the other an illusion of the mind. His embryonic form's gestation capsule, cruelly ripped through the Warp from distant Terra by the machinations of the Chaos Gods , impacted on the dense cityscape of the planet's largest hive city of Nostramo Quintus, smashing though countless levels of urban debris and mouldering architecture, through the planet's crust and into its geosphere before finally coming to a halt near the highly unstable liquid core of the planet.
His descent left a scar in the virtually inviolable adamantium strata of Nostramo, the result of the supernaturally resilient Primarch's violent birth into a world that knew no light. The cratered pit his descent had carved into the planet was closed over and later regarded with fear and suspicion. Theoretically, the only way the Primarch could have reached the surface was to have swum through molten metal or had his gestation capsule borne upwards through volcanic vents to the surface.
Unlike the other Primarchs, Curze was never adopted by a human family, and was forced to fend for himself in the terrible underhive of Nostramo Quintus. He spent his early life surviving off his wits and determination, feeding himself by hunting the feral animals that roamed through the vast hive city.
He was continually plagued by visions of the darkest possible future, horrifyingly potent waking dreams that would curse him throughout his life. Uniquely among all the Primarchs, Curze grew up completely alone, surviving only thanks to his wits, ruthlessness, and courage as a child in the underhives of Nostramo Quintus. With his genetically-enhanced body and mind, Curze quickly established himself as a major power in the cities of Nostramo and thanks to countless atrocities committed by him against the world's criminal gangs and corrupt nobles, a semblance of law was eventually imposed upon first Nostramao Quintus and then the other hive cities.
Within a year of his arrival in the hive city, the crime rate of Nostramo had fallen away to nothing. Nostraman society was transformed, and the ripples were felt all over the planet. Nostramo Quintus developed a self-imposed curfew; none dared to stray out later than the early evening. The midnight streets, previously buzzing with activity, were as silent as the grave.
Mothers threatened disobedient children with the depraved attentions of the Night Haunter. Soon the name became more commonplace, used by the populace as a whole. Rumours of a hideous, dark creature that stalked the alleyways and tunnels, its filthy claws ever ready to disembowel those who strayed, abounded within the city.
The citizens of Quintus lived a half-life of fear, silent lest their words should be taken as heresy. Nostramo was ripe for the rule of the Night Haunter. The Primarch Konrad Curze , the " Night Haunter " Through the use of sheer brutality, Curze was eventually recognized as the planet's benevolent dictator.
It is during this period that Konrad Curze earned the name " Night Haunter " for the vicious murders of literally hundreds, if not thousands, of Nostraman criminals and corrupt aristocrats.
Curze later re-adopted the title after he turned to Chaos during the Horus Heresy. Night Haunter became the first monarch of Nostramo Quintus, absorbing accumulated knowledge with a diligence almost akin to greed. He ruled with temperance and reason unheard of until word came to him that some injustice had been done, whereupon he alone would hunt the offender through the hive cities' empty streets until exhaustion forced his quarry to collapse. He would then proceed to mutilate his prey, although not beyond recognition.
This unpredictable pattern of benevolent wisdom and hideous vengeance ushered the shocked Nostraman populace into new realms of efficiency and honesty. Exports of adamantium to their neighbouring worlds soon tripled.