Culture

Malcador: First Lord Of The Imperium by L.J Goulding – A Warhammer: The Horus Heresy Primarchs Audio Drama

audiobookNephrite’s Month Of Heresies

So…here we are. Inside the mighty defences of Holy Terra as some call it. The Horus Heresy itself is close to an end. The Siege Of Terra is soon to begin. But before the forces of Chaos arrive and encounter the Imperial defences there is still some normalcy is there not my friend? Life goes on even during great heresies. And some who have served the Imperium since they were born are now due to leave this world. And they will have company at the end.

But I feel we should explain the importance of Malcador. In simple terms Malcador is the Sigillite. A member of an ancient order of incredibly psychically gifted humans with great knowledge of the past who searched for culturally important artefacts. But that wasn’t all he did. Shall you discuss his importance to The Emperor himself?

Ah yes, Malcador the…what was the word you things use? ‘Hero’ yes that was it. Founder of both the Adeptus Administratum and the Officio Assassinorum as well as a hand in the founding of the Inquisition and the Grey Knights. Funny how The Emperor’s most trusted would put in place such groups who now are so fixated on ideas of heresy…a very religious concept.

Indeed. Malcador certainly was an interesting figure. One with many shadows indeed. But I should get to the story at hand.

First Lord (as I shall refer to it henceforth) has a plot as follows: Malcador The Sigillite has been summoned. One of his oldest friends approaches her end. His personal astropath – in extremely simplified terms a powerful telepath who uses their powers for communications –shall have company as she passes on. However she has many questions for her master. And many things which trouble her greatly. But will she appreciate the answers she is given?

First Lord by L.J Goulding in my opinion is a very interesting if potentially divisive audio drama. The basics of the plot are very simple but they are executed wonderfully. There is a very strong sense of melancholy throughout as well as a few small moments of gallows humour. There are many questions put throughout: How old truly is The Sigillite? What is the true nature of his connection to The Emperor of Mankind? And What is the true meaning of the Imperial symbol? The Imperial Aquila? And…certain other worrying questions for followers of The Imperium. The possible answers one can receive to those questions must be…fascinating for Chaos to hear? Especially regarding the Primarchs. What do you say to it my…shadow of the Ruinous Powers?

Do you now see, to them the Space Marines, his sons the Primarchs were nothing more than tools. He planned to do away with them, sowed the seeds for all the pain that was to come. We, we were not their damnation. We were their saviours, welcoming them, accepting them for who they were and lifting them above what their horrid creator had planned to greater things. No wonder Guilliman…well that would be telling. Or…perhaps he told a lie to comfort a dying friend in times that even he felt were the end. It is a very easy thing to do.

You raise some interesting possibilities. Was he telling the truth? In which case…why would they have planned so far in advance? And what…things…would be the next evolution beyond even the Primarchs or the Custodes which share part of the Emperor’s own blood? But if he lies then why would the lie be so detailed? So vivid? Simply to aid the grieving and dying? Or…was he possibly lying even to himself. So that he could fight on in the forthcoming Siege? So many questions.

Unlike The Last Church this is not a two hander as we have multiple characters and voices. Although Toby Longworth – narrator for Horus Rising through to Galaxy In Flames in terms of stories I’ve reviewed as well as several others besides such as Double Eagle – as Malcador and Jenny Funnell as Sybil Aster are the main performers we have appearances by John Banks and Beth Chalmers in minor roles while Jonathan Keeble fulfils the duty of narrator. All involved play their parts expertly with particular mention to Jenny Funnell who beautifully draws you into the story with her emotions. Longworth’s Malcador on the other hand also deserves praise for having his voice practically creek with the weight of all of Malcador’s age, experience and genuine weariness.

L.J Goulding’s writing definitely attracts the attention of the listener. As well as managing rather well to pull you into the mindset that you are overhearing a private conversation you shouldn’t be aware of, they make you think – as we both discussed earlier – about the possible implications of the answers given within the story. That is why earlier I referred to First Lord being a potentially divisive audio depending on opinions for fans of Warhammer. I still however praise it as a very thought-provoking audio drama and one I will likely be listening to again soon. Just as I shall be looking out for the name L.J Goulding in future.

It was first released in 2017 as part of the yearly Black Library Advent Calendar where a new piece of Warhammer media of some description is released during the December period. The same occurred with The Revelation Of The Word in 2019.

I hope that myself and this Warpspawn here can persuade my readers to give this short audio drama a listen or perhaps a relisten if it is one you have already experienced. There is much more we could say on this one I’m sure?

Although I feel we are approaching the end of your time here. It won’t be long before you bore of me or perhaps find a different scheme to keep yourself entertained? I wonder where you will take me next? Just what do you have in mind?

Indeed we have one more tale of the Emperor’s lies and hypocrisies. One of the greatest of all tragedies that was his doing. A tale of what were to have been The Imperium’s greatest achievements with futures undreamed of. Squandered by his own arrogance and brought down by the greatest traitors of all…who in their heresy doomed all!

Sayonara!

Nephrite and Sgathaich