The origins of the Jieshi Is’Malal are tied to the Alpha Legion, the twentieth and last of the first founding chapters established. Alpharius was re-discovered by Horus of the Luna Wolves in the 30th Millennium.
Instead of sending Alpharius back to the Emperor as soon as possible, Horus began to train Alpharius, often allowing the newly-found Primarch to take tactical command of the Luna Wolves. Horus was impressed with Alpharius’ skill and ingenuity, while at the same time Alpharius was in awe of the martial power wielded by Horus, and his knowledge of when and where to use it.
Eventually, Alpharius was sent to meet the Emperor, but they spent little time together due to the pressing needs of running the Imperium. Alpharius was quickly sent to take command of the Twentieth Space Marine Legion, which came to be known as the Alpha Legion.
The Alpha Legion was the final Space Marine Legion created for the Great Crusade, and Alpharius threw himself and his Legion into the Great Crusade, eager to emulate the actions and successes of the more established Legions, and to prove his own Legion’s worth. Their first campaigns were highly successful, and Alpharius’ preferred tactics were quickly adopted by the Legion as a whole. Alpharius advocated that the best attacks came from multiple directions, and that keeping a commander’s options open was the way to success. No Alpha Legion force ever engaged an enemy without a backup plan, with flanking forces and infiltrators always ready to capitalize on any weak points exposed by the enemy.
Alpharius was said to have tirelessly worked towards the training of his officers, encouraging independent thought and listening to their advice. He constantly set challenges for them, sometimes in the middle of a battle, to force his officers and troops to adapt and improvise. On rare occasions, he would disappear entirely, to assess how the Alpha Legion performed without its leader.
Often berated by the other primarchs, particularly the Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman, Alpharius’ only consistent friend and supporter was Horus. When Horus renounced the Imperium and raised the banner of revolt, Alpharius was quick to side with his mentor against the Emperor.
It was after the defeat of Horus at Terra that the Alpha Legion scattered. Unlike the other legions, the Alpha Legion did not retreat en masse into the Eye of Terror (although it is believed that Alpharius did establish a base of operations in the Eye). It was during the Great Scouring that Belak first heard the Word of Malal.
Belak was a Commander in the Alpha Legion, a confidante of Alpharius himself and one of the Alpha Legion’s most promising officers. It was on Hira that Belak encountered Malal’s envoy, the Shadowlord, who bid him ‘SPEAK’ and as Belak spoke his aide Vardek recorded – this manuscript became the Kirwan