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Thread: Atlas Infernal

  1. #1
    Veteran Sergeant Skits's Avatar
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    Atlas Infernal

    I just finished reading Atlas Infernal - quite enjoyed it! Especially the mentions of Ahriman, heh. However, I'm a little confused as to the actual order of events, and was hoping someone with a better understanding of it could clarify for me.



    I admit my memory's not great at the best of times, and I was pretty tired while reading this book, so I may have missed some connections somewhere or something. Any help would be appreciated! And any other discussion on the book as well would also be fantastic.
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    Chapter Master Idaan's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas Infernal

    Haven't read the book yet, but you seem to be spot on. For more information on Czevak during 13th Black Crusade see Codex - Eye of Terror. He was indeed admitted into the Black Library, returned to the Imperium, took part in a conclave where he openly spoke of his time with the Harlequins and how their interests are concurrent with Imperium's, and was only then kidnapped by Ahriman from the Sentinel Worlds on the cusp of the 13th Black Crusade.
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    Chapter Master Xisor's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas Infernal

    Skits, it's been a while since I read it, so I can't give you precise pointers, but:




    I think that covers it...
    "Never! The bandwagon will leave without us!"- Sojourner
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    Archanist Lord Damocles's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas Infernal

    Quote Originally Posted by Skits View Post
    And! It's mentioned that Ahriman managed to get into the webway through information he'd taken from Czevak (I didn't quite get if he'd actually made it into the Library or not - all it mentioned was "sacred thresholds", though I'm assuming it was just the webway and not the Library itself) and was having more success than the Eldar had predicted - but it doesn't mention what Ahriman was doing, how the eldar got Ahriman out of the webway, or even if they did.
    Poor old Ahriman and his many failed attempts to get a library card.

    A little bit more on his breach of the webway:
    'Ahriman himself ripped open the walls of the webway with information torn from the mind of Inquisitor Czevak. His plan to breach the fastness of the Black Library came dangerously close to fruition, but the combined forces of the mysterious Harlequins and the Ulthwe Strike Force held him at it's gates. In a daring move, the Harlequinade of the Red Masque freed Inquisitor Czevak, though what they have since done with him is, at present, unknown: at present it is believed by Imperial Astropaths that he may be incarcerated by the Eldar within the webway.'
    'Death by a thousand cuts' in White Dwarf 287 (UK), pg.36

  5. #5
    Veteran Sergeant Skits's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas Infernal

    @Xisor: Yeah, I figured that about the Interregna scenes. I think the only illusions in the Interregna scenes is the smaller ship that Czevek's shuttle crashes on - the stuff preceding that I think is real. Which is where my confusion stemmed from - I didn't realise he'd been to the Black Library, then returned to the Imperium before Ahriman got hold of him.

    @Idaan: So the blockade around Cadia that the cruiser Czevak is on before Ahriman grabs him is basically the start of the 13th Black Crusade? I didn't realise that at the time - that's pretty sweet. I'm still rather new to the whole 40K universe, so I don't really know much about many of the major events.

    @Lord Damocles: Hahaha, yeah. Poor Ahriman. XD And thank you for that excerpt! I'm assuming the line "the Harlequinade of the Red Masque freed Inquisitor Czevak" refers to them freeing Czevak from Ahriman, not from the Black Library, right?

    I must admit, the main reason I picked up Atlas Infernal is because I am fascinated by Ahriman (thanks to A Thousand Sons), and I'm trying to read as much as I can get my hands on about him. Are there any more stories (apart from Goto's third Blood Raven book) involving Ahriman post-heresy? And what do people think about Ahriman's characterisation in Atlas Infernal?
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  6. #6
    Chapter Master Xisor's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas Infernal

    Skits: I'm not sure, to be honest. Given Klute's reaction when Ahriman is finally recovered, it struck me that the blockade around Cadia was made-up. But I could be wrong; as you'll notice, it's a complex book, not easily all taken in in one-go!

    The books in my 'Prospero Legacy' meta-series run as follows, they don't follow purely Ahriman, but they take in the bulk of 'other stuff' (ignoring the third Blood Raven [Ahriman] and Bill King Space Wolf [Magnus] books): The First Heretic, Prospero Burns, A Thousand Sons, Rebirth (Short), Aurelian, Battle of the Fang, Atlas Infernal. That being with PB/ATS/BotF/AI being the 'main four' of unconnected books forming a topical trilogy with AI as the Appendix.

    Offhand, I don't really recall more appearances from Ahriman. Magnus shows up, of course, and seeing the Thousand Sons with Magnus/without Ahriman is pretty telling for what it says about Ahriman's absence.

    To that extent, I think you'd probably enjoy Battle of the Fang and the short story Rebirth (Age of Darkness), if you've not read them, even though they don't speak directly about Ahriman himself. (Similarly: he's not in Aurelian, but it's got some decent Magnus in it.)

    Also the Black Library Live 2011 chapbook has Sanders' Czevak short story Necessary Evil in it. It's really good. Very short, but exceedingly good. No Ahriman in it, but the shadow of them looms large.

    As for his characterisation? I thought it was decent. Many folks have said it was 'nothing', or rather that it was 'insufficient' given how focal he was in A Thousand Sons, that his legacy surely should be better or more interesting than we see in AI. To that sentiment, I'd generally dismiss it. Not in a 'you're wrong!' sort of way, but that there's a huge amount of room for more examination (indeed, it's my hope that a second Czevak novel wouldn't actually focus on Czevak all that much, but rather look at Ahriman's Lieutenant [whose name I forget!] or actually about Ahriman himself - showing the Moriarty/Master to Czevak's Holmes/Doctor.)

    Moreover, the idea that Ahriman is 'seeking godhood' left me a little backfooted. It's almost completely disjointed from the outlook we seem to see at the end of A Thousand Sons, but then we're looking at a character nominally 10,000 years later. Who knows how many have actually passed for Ahriman, it could be less...but I'd bet that it's more. Godhood's pretty big, and it's quite different from the 'save the Legion!' goal which, as readers, we know leads to the Rubric of Ahriman.

    There's a huge, unexplored gulf when it comes to Ahriman. We know he's not a mindless devotee of Tzeentch, but then it begs the question: what's he really up to? Is he actually now insane? Is there anything left of him, anything good, anything of the Ahzek we knew and loved? Any...even vague mention of redemption or spark of humanity? Or is it all bitter, all jaded with an inside into (and idea as to beating) the 'true' nature of reality?

    As I say, there's a lot to be explored. I hope Sanders (or another author, though Sanders is fine choice) will revisit him at some length and depth soon!
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  7. #7
    Veteran Sergeant Skits's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas Infernal

    Oh yeah, I've read Prospero Burns, Rebirth, and Battle of the Fang as well. Sorry, should've mentioned those too. I'm an unrepentant Thousand Sons fan, so even if it doesn't have Ahriman I'll still devour all I can get about the Sons, hehehe. I... don't remember if I've read Aurelian or not though. D: If I have, it's long enough ago that I don't remember any of it. I'd love to get my hands on Necessary Evil, but I have no idea where I could get it, since it seems to be limited edition.

    I quite enjoyed Ahriman's characterisation in AI. I saw a couple of people in a different thread mention not liking the whole thing with Ahriman raising Mammoshad - but the impression I got from the book was that it wasn't Ahriman himself bothering with that, it was his lieutenant Korban Xarchos who orchestrated Mammoshad's rebirth, as something of a gift to Ahriman. As to Korban, I doubt there'll be more about him, since Czevak took care of him. XD Unless we get something about him before the events of AI.

    As for Ahriman himself, to me at least he still reads very much like the original Ahriman, just one that's been around for an extra ten thousand years and seen/experienced/learned a whole ton of stuff. He comes across as calm, collected, exceedingly intelligent and very driven. He'll do what he must to reach his goal, but I didn't get the feeling that he enjoys the horrible things he needs to do. Quite the opposite - I get the feeling he actually regrets it, at least sometimes. As Ahriman says to Czevak himself: "Please forgive me the horror we both know you will make me put you through." It amuses me that despite his great power and all that, Ahriman is still polite and cordial for the most part. No mad cackling for him!

    Moreover, the idea that Ahriman is 'seeking godhood' left me a little backfooted. It's almost completely disjointed from the outlook we seem to see at the end of A Thousand Sons, but then we're looking at a character nominally 10,000 years later. Who knows how many have actually passed for Ahriman, it could be less... but I'd bet that it's more. Godhood's pretty big, and it's quite different from the 'save the Legion!' goal which, as readers, we know leads to the Rubric of Ahriman.
    I totally agree - the thought that Ahriman's chasing godhood rings as pretty untrue to me. What I find interesting though, is that it's never Ahriman himself that mentions or hints at his supposed goal of godhood. It is, as far as I can recall, always the opinion of one of the other characters - Czevak, Klute, whoever.

    One theory I have about what Ahriman is really up to is this: Ahriman isn't searching for the means to godhood for himself - whatever he's actually after, whether it's godhood or resurrection or ultimate power or something else, he's searching for it for someone else. Whether that's Magnus or the Emperor (or someone else entirely!), who knows.

    Here's a line describing Ahriman that I find really interesting (emphasis mine): "A purity of purpose so powerful as to scorch lesser evils and the taint of corruption from its unswerving path." Combine that with certain lines from the prologue/epilogue of A Thousand Sons:

    "The Great Work I have begun will be the first step in proving how right we were, how loyal we were, and how loyal we might yet be. I promised to restore all that was lost when Prospero fell, and I intend to make good on that vow. This cabal will be the opening move in restoring the Thousand Sons to glory in the eyes of the Emperor."

    "We remain loyal, as we have always been."


    With those in mind, I like to believe that despite all that's happened, despite any jaded bitterness that has accumulated over the past ten thousand years, Ahriman is still loyal, still capable of redemption. He set himself a goal after the razing of Prospero, and I don't think he's ever swerved from it. The path towards that goal has taken him to dark places, sure, and I think he's aware of that, and regrets it. But he is, as he says himself, "driven by need".

    ... Eheh. Sorry 'bout the wall of text. But like I said, Ahriman fascinates me. I really do hope we get to see more about him in the future.
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    Chapter Master Xisor's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas Infernal

    Not at all, excellent insight.

    The 'Dance Without End' for the Eldar, e.g. the War in Heaven, it's legacy, the rise of Slaanesh and the ultimate end of their species...with the raising/creation of their God of the Dead, Ynnead, strikes me as a pretty sensible 'end point' for the what'll eventually happen. The Emperor dead, the Eldar obliterated, a new god rising: it dovetails somewhat with all three faction's ambitions - revitalisation of the Emperor, the Eldar God of the Dead (and a good punchline for the Laughing God) and Ahriman has a big hand in that creation...

    Of course, it's a massive stretch, but it's a fun one to muse on.

    To that extent, I heartily applaud the idea that he's still loyal. Loyal in the same way that Czevak is loyal, almost: he's loyal to a vague idea he has in his head, but he's reckless and as dangerous to his 'allies' and the 'thing he's ostensibly fighting for' as he is to his enemies. Ahriman could be the end of Chaos, but in the meantime he's a massive ally to their forces! Czevak could be the saviour of humanity, but in the meantime he's slaughtered Grey Knights and is in cahoots with aliens and renegades.

    As for Aurelian, it's the Limited Edition novella from last year; you'd probably remember reading it! It, like the chapboook, probably won't be available 'again' for consumption 'til 2013 (usually a two year wait between LE 'big publication' and republication in other volumes), but at least it gives you something to look forward to in the long term!

    Though it's not quite 'canon' as such, because it's a picture, Blades of the Traitor
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  9. #9
    Veteran Sergeant Skits's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas Infernal

    Oh man, I love that picture, I saw it in the Horus Heresy: Collected Visions artbook. I especially love the fact that, if you look closely at the leg and pauldron of the Son beside Ahriman, you can see red still showing through where they haven't quite finished painting the blue over it. At least, that's what I like to think the red is. XD

    And I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks Ahriman could still be loyal - in his own fashion, of course, like you said. Definitely as dangerous to his 'allies' as he is to anyone else. Although "reckless" isn't exactly a word I'd use to describe Ahriman, hehehe. But I get what you mean.

    I wonder what Ahriman's opinion of Magnus is now... have they split for good? Or was Magnus' kicking him off the Planet of Sorcerers just a ploy to give Ahriman the freedom to do what he needed to do? If Ahriman ever reaches his goal, will it be Magnus he returns to, or will he just go straight to the Emperor? Assuming of course he is still loyal, heh.

    Something else I've been wondering about - is it ever mentioned anywhere whether Ahriman himself took part in the assault on Terra? And, apart from all the raids on repositories of knowledge and so forth, has he ever directly attacked the Imperium in any way? Because - speaking of massive stretches that are fun to muse on - I also like to think that all those chaos cultists that Ahriman nicks off with are his way of protecting the Imperium from them. If they're with him, they're not with whatever chaos cult, and therefore not causing trouble to the Imperium through said cult. Ditto with the magical artefacts he also takes from said cults. I have no doubt he also has his own uses for them, but still. At least they're under Ahriman's control, and not out doing Emperor-knows-what. Lesser evil and all that.

    Yeah, I realised what Aurelian was after I'd posted - for some reason I'd originally thought it was one of the older Horus Heresy books, whoops. Having to wait for those stories to be re-released is gonna suck, heh.
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    Chapter Master Wyrmwood's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas Infernal

    Ahriman's quest for godhood, and his goals of revitalizing the Thousand Sons don't have to be at odds. At present, it is surely clear to Ahriman that at least a facet of Chaos was the driving force behind the events that lead to Prospero's downfall, and indirectly responsible for the casting of the Rubric. Consequently, Tzeentch 'owns' Magnus and the Thousand Sons, and its sorcerers and Primarch are all motivated and played by that god's power. If one could draw a thesis from this, it's that a power to rival, usurp or trick Tzeentch could claim the Legion for its own (as though there is a large deed to their souls!), and thus Ahriman seeks the means to become that power or to use that power, to restore the Thousand Sons and reverse the Rubric.

    Although, like Skits has noted, this may not be the truth. It's reasonable to assume that it could be, as where better to learn such knowledge or acquire the tools, than the Black Library of Chaos?

    OT: A cracking good book, and if Legion of the Damned is of a similar quality then I can see Mr.Sanders quickly becoming my favourite author!
    Last edited by Wyrmwood; 13-02-2012 at 21:49.
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  11. #11

    Re: Atlas Infernal

    Quote Originally Posted by Skits View Post
    And, apart from all the raids on repositories of knowledge and so forth, has he ever directly attacked the Imperium in any way?
    Well, if I recall correctly in the Grey Knights Codex after raiding a library of sorts he leaves a powerful spell (as a trap) that causes seemingly unnecessary damage to the Imperial forces that arrive too late actually stop him. It may have been to ensure there was no pursuit or some such though.

  12. #12
    Veteran Sergeant Skits's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas Infernal

    @Wyrmwood: That is indeed a logical theory! Whatever Ahriman's after, I think everyone can agree that it's with the ultimate goal of restoring the Thousand Sons to their previous glory (although whether he still intends the "in the eyes of the Emperor" bit is debateable. ). It's just the method that he's going to use that's up in the air, hehe. Personally I'm not a fan of the idea that Ahriman's after godhood for himself. Though I admit that's more based on gut feeling and the impressions I've gotten from what I've read so far, rather than any solid evidence or facts.

    For example, this passage from the epilogue of A Thousand Sons:

    "(Magnus) let his ambition and hubris blind him to his flaws and the knowledge that there is always someone stronger and more powerful out there. I will not make that mistake. But we are still creatures of flesh and inclined to repeat our past mistakes, so I have been careful to surround myself with naysmiths to rein in my arrogance."

    To me, that makes me think that Ahriman isn't after power for himself specifically. He doesn't want to make the same mistakes Magnus did, he doesn't want to start thinking that he's the strongest or most powerful, he doesn't want to let his arrogance overcome him. He's actively keeping people around him that will question his decisions and go "hey, wtf are you doing". Heck, that happened in Atlas Infernal. XD That doesn't strike me as something that someone wanting godhood - and the inherent implication that they'd then become the strongest/most powerful/etc. - would do.

    Granted, that intention may have changed over the past ten thousand years... but then again, it may not have.

    @SomeRandomEvilGuy: I remember seeing that mentioned. Though I don't know if that really counts as a direct attack against the Imperium - I agree it was most likely to discourage pursuit, but it could've been meant for anyone pursuing, not just Imperial forces specifically. Heck, taking Atlas Infernal into account - if the attack happened after AI, Ahriman could've left that trap for Czevak and his crew. XD Of course, if it happened before AI, then that's moot - but there's always other forces that Ahriman could be guarding against. Other Chaos forces, eldar, whatever.
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  13. #13

    Re: Atlas Infernal

    I am necro'ing this with full knowledge of my actions, because this book is simply awesome.
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  14. #14
    Chapter Master Nazguire's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas Infernal

    Quote Originally Posted by Skits View Post
    @Wyrmwood: That is indeed a logical theory! Whatever Ahriman's after, I think everyone can agree that it's with the ultimate goal of restoring the Thousand Sons to their previous glory (although whether he still intends the "in the eyes of the Emperor" bit is debateable. ). It's just the method that he's going to use that's up in the air, hehe. Personally I'm not a fan of the idea that Ahriman's after godhood for himself. Though I admit that's more based on gut feeling and the impressions I've gotten from what I've read so far, rather than any solid evidence or facts.

    For example, this passage from the epilogue of A Thousand Sons:

    "(Magnus) let his ambition and hubris blind him to his flaws and the knowledge that there is always someone stronger and more powerful out there. I will not make that mistake. But we are still creatures of flesh and inclined to repeat our past mistakes, so I have been careful to surround myself with naysmiths to rein in my arrogance."

    To me, that makes me think that Ahriman isn't after power for himself specifically. He doesn't want to make the same mistakes Magnus did, he doesn't want to start thinking that he's the strongest or most powerful, he doesn't want to let his arrogance overcome him. He's actively keeping people around him that will question his decisions and go "hey, wtf are you doing". Heck, that happened in Atlas Infernal. XD That doesn't strike me as something that someone wanting godhood - and the inherent implication that they'd then become the strongest/most powerful/etc. - would do.

    Granted, that intention may have changed over the past ten thousand years... but then again, it may not have.

    @SomeRandomEvilGuy: I remember seeing that mentioned. Though I don't know if that really counts as a direct attack against the Imperium - I agree it was most likely to discourage pursuit, but it could've been meant for anyone pursuing, not just Imperial forces specifically. Heck, taking Atlas Infernal into account - if the attack happened after AI, Ahriman could've left that trap for Czevak and his crew. XD Of course, if it happened before AI, then that's moot - but there's always other forces that Ahriman could be guarding against. Other Chaos forces, eldar, whatever.

    At the time of A Thousand Sons, and in the period where they have only just been exiled to the Planet of the Sorcerers, Ahriman may not have wanted to have absolute power and truly wanted to restore the Thousand Sons to what they were at one point. Atlas Infernal is set in M.41 and it seems quite clear from all sources about Ahriman in this time that he is far, far past any benevolent motions towards the Imperium, the Thousand Sons or whatever else. Like every other Chaos lord out there, in M.41 he is in it for himself, even if he occasionally thinks about the original intention to make himself sleep at night.
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