If one is versed in the ideologies of the historian and the philosopher it is easy to understand why it is philosophers who have written the most about the Nurgle presence in the Adrilles War. The most convincing argument regarding the topic of Nurgle come from the Cult Mechanicus:
“Khorne was attracted to Adrilles because of the call of the Warp, but its horde was active throughout the war because it was easy to find souls to harvest. Of all the powers at play in that war it can be argued Khorne’s reasons were the simplest. Free the Warp and wash the planet in blood. The Lord of Decay– the oldest of the four Ruinous Powers and the one most involved in the plights of mortals– would have felt the ripple of the Adrilles War in the Warp because within the first days of the war there was not only death and destruction involving Astartes, Terrans, Necrons, Tyranids and Tau, but also the birth of new life– yes, the Jager Corps’ manipulation of psychic energy to raise Tyranid life, but also the melding of Necron technology and Tyranid biomass. Nurgle is the God of Disease, Death and Destruction, but is also the God of Rebirth. Death and destruction on Adrilles was a daily event. It need not the prodding of Gods to make it so. But Rebirth! Now that would require the influence of a God.”
The first record of Nurgle in the Adrilles War comes from a Space Wolf commander attached to a 10-man squad of Terminators. On the 10th day of the war, the Terminators, a Dreadnought, and two squads of Grey Hunters converged on Imperium ruins at the foot of a mountain in the planet’s southern hemisphere. That region had not seen as much fighting as the northern hemisphere, but Arjac Rockfist believed the Jagers would have established fortresses within the mountain ranges and thus dispatched numerous, diverse combat squads to survey the area and report back to the Strike Cruisers in orbit.
The Space Wolves combat unit had recently joined with another unit operating in the area whose armoured support had become mired in nearby foothills during one of the flash storms that plagued the area. This second combat unit was held in reserve and was under orders to advance only if resistance was met within the ruins.
It was obvious something was amiss with the ruins. A haze hung over the place– a shimmer that moved in fits and obscured what lay beyond. There was also a fetid stench the Wolves’ rebreathers could not fully cleanse. The commander signaled his troops to move in.
The writings of the Space Wolves’ commander is a martial account — movements, orders given, shots fired, casualties. It offers no insight as to what the commander suspected was in the ruins nor does he spend words speculating on how Nurgle arrived on Adrilles or even how long those daemons he encountered had been in the ruins. His cold, short, factual accounting does, however, end with a break in form. “There is a new player at work in Adrilles,” he reports, “and it is the form of Disease.”
Throughout the Ages of Imperium, Man has sought to weaken the power of unspeakable horrors by giving it name. “When something has a name– a label– it can more easily be understood by those who do not possess the knowledge– nay, the courage– to face it. That the Astartes labels the creatures of the Chaotic realms is perhaps the most dire example of the danger posed by these so-called Ruinous Powers.” — from Forbidden Texts of the 30th Millennium, compiler, L’Ash Umbrio, exact date unknown
The Space Wolves fought a bloody battle against Nurgle daemons– Nurglings, Plaguebearers, Plague Drones, Beasts of Nurgle, a Herald, and a disease ridden beast known as a Great Unclean One. When the battle began, the Space Wolves commander ordered the units held in reserve to move in. Blood Klaws and Grey Hunters rushed to support the units already engaged with the daemons.
Daemon and Space Wolves both paid the butcher’s bill that day. The Space Wolf unit commander found himself alone, facing down the Great Unclean One and the one remaining Beast of Nurgle. The dead littered the area around him, including the smoldering form of the Dreadnought and the ruins of the Plaguebearers who had cut through its armour with their Rust Swords. The brief moment of calm made him realize someone must survive the fight to ensure a report got back to Arjac Rockfist. So the commander withdrew, making his way back to the armour and support staff in the foothills. From there he filed his report. The chaotic storms in the planet’s atmosphere made it difficult to communicate with the orbiting Strike Cruisers but he hoped his report would reach someone.
There is one final thing that must be mentioned about this first clash with Nurgle during the Adrilles War. In his report, the Space Wolf commander writes: “Herald opens portal. Creatures best described as twisted and pink emerge.”
This is, most likely, the first proof of Tzeentch’s presence on Adrilles.
On that topic, the historians, philosophers and Cult Mechanicus are– for now– silent.