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Let the Galaxy Burn!
~ Codex - Chaos Space Marin Page 5
Death to the false Emperor!
~ Codex - Chaos Space Marin Page 3

Chaos Space Marines (also called Traitor Marines, Chaos Marines, and Traitor Legionnaires) is a word used to describe the many heretical Space Marines that betrayed the Emperor and became servants of the Chaos Gods. They come in many forms and tend to have cults that are devoted to certain chaos deities.

Unlike many other factions within Warhammmer 40,000, rather than being united under the umbrella of a higher faction or as loosely affiliated groups, they are fractious: refractory and prone to infighting amongst themselves. The are only truly unified in their hatred of the Emperor Of Man and their desire to help Chaos become the ruling power of creation via acts of unspeakable evil.

They are a playable army choice in Warhammer 40,000 and also serve in a highly antagonisic role in the related media. Chaos Space Marines are the rough equivalent of Warhammer Fantasy's Hordes Of Chaos.

History

Chaos Space Marines draw their origins back to the the crusade to united the Galaxy under the banner of the Imperium of Man, called the Great Crusade. The Chaos Gods, perhaps fearing the eventual result, stopped their own conflicts to interfere with the works of the Emperor of Man.

Starting with the Emperor's disenfranchised son, the pious Lorgar Aurellian, the Chaos Gods seduced Lorgar into Chaos-worship by showing him horrifying visions of the future under the Emperor, and convinced him that without the aid of Chaos humanity would share the fate of the Eldar. Having won over a powerful leader and orator into their cause, the Chaos Gods' campaign to subvert the Emperor's faithful soldiers began.

After purging his Legion of any elements with any loyalties left to the Emperor, Lorgar sent his First Captain Erebus as an ambassador. Erebus, keeping his Legion's new faith a close secret, began organizing the Warrior Lodges, secretive fraternal orders within the Space Marine Legions that existed outside of the Legion's regimented and ordered strictures. Though these were under the guise of providing brotherhood without rank, they were instrumental in fomenting sympathies and paving the way for the coming betrayal.

Erebus proved instrumental for setting the stage to the Horus Heresy after seeding the Warrior Lodges into a full half of the Legions and successfully engineering the fall of Horus into Chaos by stealing a powerful weapon known as the Anathame and giving it to a rebellious planetary governor who injured Horus with it. Desperate to save their leader Horus' troops were tricked into brining him to the serpent's lodge, a group of supposed mystical healers who unknown to them were secretly chaos worshippers. Using this opportunity the Chaos Gods managed to convince the injured Horus to turn against the Imperium in exchange for healing him and he quickly rose to power as the leader of the Chaos forces. The resulting conflict stretched across the known galaxy all the way to the throne world of Holy Terra consuming billions upon billions of lives, devastating countless worlds and ultimately leading to the Emperor's permanent interment upon the life support system known as the Golden Throne. In the end though Horus' rebellion cost him his life and his fellow traitor troops were forced to retreat into the realm of the Warp through the dimensional rift known as the Eye of Terror in order to avoid the wrath of the vengeful Imperial forces. For the next 10,000 years the fractured chaos legions would periodically emerge from the warp to wage war against the Imperium, their lives unnaturally prolonged and their bodies and minds twisted thanks to otherworldly energies of the Warp and the daemons that live there. In their most recent endeavor, the 13th black Crusade, the new warmaster of Chaos Abbadon the Despoiler managed to destroy the Imperial Fortress world of Cadia, an event which allowed the energies of the warp to spill into the material world and quite literally split the Imperium and the galaxy at large in half. Imperial forces have since retaliated by launching a counter crusade to push back the onrushing forces and seize the two remaining space paths to the other side of the galaxy, all while the chaos forces use the opportunity to harass and harry them as well as devastate any worlds in their path.

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