Following on from my last post about the Horus Heresy I’ve been doing some thinking about the events immediately after the Emperor defeated Horus. Actually, about the events just prior the Emperor teleporting aboard Horus’ ship and then the events after.
First let’s make some assumptions.
1. The Emperor was fully aware of how widespread the Imperial Cult had spread and how high it reached within Imperial politics.
2. The Emperor knew that he was going to his death/near death when he teleported aboard Horus’ ship.
3. The Emperor fully understood that a presence in the warp is only as powerful as its believers.
4. The Emperor was more than capable of influencing the minds of his subjects both before and after he was mortally wounded and interred in the Golden Throne either through careful manipulation or psychically.
With those assumptions in mind it strikes me that, seeing his dream of a galaxy at peace crumbling down around him the Emperor would have set events in motion that would have actively encouraged and sped up the spread what would become the Imperial Creed. We’ve seen evidence of the Emperor making such plans in the past. We know that Emperor engineered events thousands of years in advance so that the Machine Cult of Mars would come into being and that he would present himself as the Omnissiah simultaneously ensuring a steady stream of warmachines for his Crusade whilst making sure that no one arm of his military was powerful enough to either stage a coup or withhold materiel without severe consequences. Or so he thought…
The reasoning is this; the Emperor tried to create a secular society in an attempt to starve the Chaos Gods of the source of their power – worshippers. Thanks to Erebus and Kor Phaeron that plan failed. Because the Emperor knew that the Ruinous Powers are only as powerful as the believers that offer sacrifices and worship them. As such by weaving the Imperial Creed into every facet of the Imperium and every aspect of an Imperial citizens life; making it a legal part of every day life to worship the Emperor, it starves Chaos of their meat forcing them to expend time and energy luring followers to their cause. Granted, for the Chaos Gods time is no object but they still clamour for adoration and sacrifices and had the Emperor fallen at Terra their power would be near limitless until humanity burned itself out. The Emperor’s ascension to God-hood gave a broken people focus.
Some would argue that the Emperor isn’t much different. A Chaos God is a sentient being of extraordinary power existing within warp space. So is, technically, the Emperor in the form of the Astronomican. The pious men and women of the Imperium fuel the Emperor’s soul as thousands of psykers give up their lives daily to power the life-sustaining Golden Throne. In many ways the Emperor’s ascension to the Golden Throne and elevation to God-hood, by design or not, was the final insult to the Ruinous Powers as the Heresy blew itself out as for 10,000 years the Emperor has been a shining beacon of purity in the swirling mass of evil that is the Warp. A constant reminder to them that despite turning his children against him, the Emperor endures. As does humanity.
Regardless of his motives and the ethics surrounding such sacrifices, those sacrifices are made because they are necessary. Although to the High Lords of Terra the sacrifices are made to a God, the Emperor and the scions of the Primarchs know that they are done so because the alternative would be damnation and ruin. Worlds are wiped out so the foulness of Chaos do not gain a foothold in the material universe because it is necessary. The armies of the Imperium grind the demon and the heretic beneath their boots because for every heretic burned and demon banished, Chaos’ grip on the galaxy loosens. It is almost imperceptible but the Emperor knows of the sacrifices and the gains made. He exists in the warp and he sees the steady flow of human souls cast into the Immaterium and understands that it is necessary.
There are those that believe the Golden Throne’s failing is the start of the Emperor’s rebirth, just as there are those that believe Roboute Guilliman’s wounds are slowly healing. In a Universe of Gods and daemons and where mortal souls are as kindling to the flames of war, both are entirely possible. But the question still remains, did the Emperor engineer, or at the very least inflame, the spread of the Imperial Cult towards the end of the Heresy as a means of steeling his people against the lure of Chaos and to lend him strength for this 10,000 year internment in the Golden Throne?