Heroes and Villains: Bjorn the Fell Handed
Bjorn the Fell Handed, the oldest known dreadnought in the Imperium of man; having seen the glory of the Emperor before he was placed upon the golden thorne and having had the honour of serving in the personal retinue of Leman Russ himself. One hundred and ninety-seven years after the Emperor was incarcerated in the life-preserving Golden Throne, Leman Russ vanished from the Imperium.
He was last seen by his legion during the Feast of the Emperor’s Ascension, where it is said that Russ climbed onto the oak table on which he duelled the Emperor at their first meeting to give a speech, but froze. After a long silence, where it appeared that he was overcome with a vision, Leman Russ fell to his knees, then turned and issued hushed instructions to his most faithful retainers. He simply announced to his loyal brothers that he would be leaving, but would return “for the final battle, for the Wolftime”. He then vanished, taking all but one of his retinue with him; the youngest member, Bjorn.
For seven years after Leman Russ departed for parts unknown, many believing him to have travelled to the Eye of Terror, his place was set at the banquet table as his Legion eagerly awaited his return; but it never came. After those long seven years, the wolf lords of the space wolves elected Bjorn, the one remaining member of Russ’ retinue, as the new great wolf of the chapter. Bjorn decided if Russ was not going to return to his chapter, then his chapter would seek him out; this beginning the first of many great hunts. These hunts recovered many relics, including the Primarch’s suit of armour, but none have come close to locating their leader or those that had gone with him.
Bjorn further gained renown on the planet Algol Nine, when he saved the planetary governor from sacrifice to the demon Thran’saba. This event is depicted upon the banner which proudly hangs atop his dreadnought armour that he was later interred inside after receiving grievous wounds from the traitor Primarch Magnus the Red during one of the great hunts. After being fatally wounded Bjorn spends the next five hundred years at the forefront of Space Wolves battles as a dreadnought before drifting a deep slumber that eventually claimed all of the dreadnoughts of the space wolves.
Bjorn the Venerable
Of all of Bjorn’s deeds and service to the Imperium, none are better known to any of the servants of the Imperium that have met or seen Bjorn than his defence of the Fang, the mighty monastery on the space wolves Homeworld of Fenris, against the traitor legion of the thousand sons. The attack itself was the revenge Magnus, for it was the space wolves who had destroyed his world of Prospero just before the Horus Heresy. The attack on the Fang was personally led by Magnus the Red, after he and his legion had carefully manoeuvred the bulk of the space wolves away from their home in pursuit of a distraction force that had been meant to leave Fenris almost completely defenceless.
The Defence of the Fang
Great Wolf Harek Ironhelm sought for many years to bring Magnus to battle. Several times Magnus appeared to him as a vision among the ruins of devastated cities and taunted the great wolf for his inability to stop him. After many fruitless efforts to catch up with the raiders Harek became obsessed, and took to searching worlds along the edge of the Eye of Terror itself. Eventually he found what he believed to be the thousand sons’ secret base on Gangava and launched a full-scale attack against it. In this he was deceived; Gangava was held by a strong garrison of chaos force allied to Magnus but these were a distraction.
Even as Harek attacked Gangava, the fleet of the thousand sons and their chaotic levies appeared in orbit over Fenris. The Fang was held by a skeleton force of space wolves and their thralls. For forty days and forty nights the thousand sons assaulted the citadel. Bjorn the Fell-handed, most ancient of the space wolves dreadnoughts, was woken from his long sleep and took charge of the defence. Under Bjorn’s direction the space wolves fell back to the innermost chambers of the Fang, collapsing the tunnels as they went. Simultaneously, a force of scouts, under the command of Haakon Blackwing, managed to escape from the citadel and take ship to Gangava, bringing word of the siege to Harek. Harek was overcome with fury and shame at his folly and immediately ordered the chapter’s fleet to Fenris, bringing the entire fury of the Space Wolves with him.
As Harek’s fleet arrived in the system, Harek coordinated an attack with Bjorn and the surviving defenders of the Fang before launching and assault to carve out the heart of the thousand sons siege, an assault that the great wolf led personally. On the slopes of the Fang itself, Harek led the space wolves he had taken into the rear of the thousand sons forces while Bjorn led the defenders against the front of the thousand sons attack in a pincer that caught the traitor legion off guard. As Harek’s forces and Bjorn’s forces slowly linked up and began to route the thousand sons, Harek faced off against the evil Primarch himself.
For all Harek’s ability and prowess in combat, he was merely a marine fighting a Primarch that had been forced to embrace the powers of chaos. Magnus was too strong for him and slew Harek, but not before taking a terrible wound himself from Bjorn as the ancient dreadnought surged from his own fighting to help Harek; coming to late to save the great wolf but personally dealing the blow that saw the leader of the thousand sons forced to leave the planet. Caught between two forces and left without a leader, the thousand sons were forced to retreat from Fenris; though some of them do linger on the world and several have been discovered over time.
Bjorn the Legend
Were it not for the actions taken by Bjorn during the initial siege, the world of Fenris would have been lost to the space wolves and the revenge of the thousand sons would have been complete. Bjorn’s stalwart denial of the space wolves worst enemy earned him eternal respect amongst all of the space marine chapters, even the respect of the dark angels, long time rivals of the space wolves.
Bjorn continues to sleep bellow the Fang with the other venerable dreadnoughts, the space wolves will not wake him up for any trivial reason. However he has been known to awaken himself upon rare occasions, between battles he is a renowned storyteller, well versed in the sagas of Leman Russ and he enjoys testing the Wolf Priests. It is rumoured that he is left in his slumber upon his own request, his reason’s being known only by him though if anything it is because he does not wish to walk in an Imperium that has fallen so far from the one he knew ten millennia ago.