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Every moment of anger, hate, deceit, pain, suffering, pleasure, and desire is mirrored in the power of Chaos. When its legions march, they march to return upon us a ruin that is of our own making. Chaos, also known to its servants as the Primordial Truth or the Primordial Annihilator, and to the Imperium of Man as the Archenemy, is the universal and usually malign spiritual force embodied by the malevolent intelligent entities comprised of psychic energy that live in the Warp. Chaos is also itself the turbulent psychic energy that comprises the Immaterium and gives shape to the nightmare domains of the individual Chaos Gods that are collectively called the Realm of Chaos by savants of the Inquisition. The most evolutionarily-advanced mortals, psykers, can utilise this energy, thus making them capable of abilities which transcend the standard physical laws of the material universe as humanity understands them. However, the malevolent power of Chaos can gradually corrupt a psyker, tainting his mind and body and turning him into the slave of the Ruinous Powers. Chaos corrupts Mankind so easily because it speaks to the character flaws inherent in every man and woman and seeks to exploit the weaknesses of their all-too-human natures.
It takes an extraordinary individual of truly iron will and selflessness to resist the serial temptations of Chaos. With all the obvious dangers associated with Chaos, such as mutation, daemonic possession, and spiritual damnation, some might wonder why anyone would willingly choose to serve the Ruinous Powers. You are not free whose liberty is won by the rigour of other, more righteous souls. You who have enjoyed freedom, who have done nothing to earn it, your time has come. Just before the birth of the Emperor of Mankind on Terra in the 8th Millennium B. The rise of Chaos and the first three Chaos Gods seems to correspond to the rapid rise and development of humanity in the Milky Way Galaxy, implying that Mankind, of all the sentient species of the galaxy, was primarily responsible for the disharmonising of the Warp and the birth of the first three Chaos Gods, or at least the major Chaos Gods in their current form. Over one hundred centuries ago the all-powerful Emperor of Mankind was interred in a huge stasis crypt called the Golden Throne in the bowels of the Imperial Palace on Ancient Terra.
The Adepts of the Adeptus Terra, the Priesthood of Earth, cling to power ferociously, ruling on in the name of the corpse on the Golden Throne despite the Emperor’s millennia-long silence. They hold the worlds of the Imperium in a constant state of terror, proselytising their zealotry and feeding the fears of the populace to keep them cowed and malleable. The Imperium thrives on war and oppression. Its weapon factories and shipyards run night and day, arming its forces, and faceless conscripts by the billion are hurled into conflicts they cannot win. Imperial citizens are indoctrinated from birth to hate and fear outsiders, and at any given time the Imperium is fighting dozens of genocidal conflicts.