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Tears of Darkness (formerly("Defenders of Rodinu") (formerly the "Imperial Knights")
Sons of Guilliman
Chapter Master Rurik
Concrete-Gray [formerly Ice Blue and White]
Force on Force Engagements
~150 Marines [Combat Effective]
"Whoever will come to us with a sword, from a sword will perish,"
The Chapter Masters of the Defenders of Rodinu
Chapter Master Vsevolod
Chapter Master Nevsky
Chapter Master Pereslav
Andrey The Usurper
Chapter Master Aleksandrovich
Chapter Master Rurik
History of the Tears of Darkness
Founding and the Battle of Nevipus
In the early years of Millennium 36, the High Lords of Terra convened and decreed that a range of new Chapters of Adeptus Astartes are to be raised to combat the constant threat of Chaotic Invasion from the Eye of Terror. The Sons of Guilliman are selected to act as the "Mentoring Chapter" to the newly proclaimed "Imperial Knights". The Sons dispatched a group of Veterans that numbered between 40 and 50 Astartes that served as the basis for the First Company of the Knights.
For over a century these forty Battle Brothers quietly trained and built the Imperial Knights Chapter with the help of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the local Imperial Guard and PDF Commanders. Growth was slow however as the constant struggle against the forces of Chaos in Segmentum Obscurus was not necessarily kind to the newly founded chapter. Several notable battles against Chaotic Warbands from that emerged from the Eye of Terror (that was to the Galactic North of Novoskov) resulted in crippling defeats during which Chapter Master Vsevolod was killed.
Out of desperation, newly appointed Chapter Master Nevsky called upon the Lords (Boyars) of the Rodinu system to muster their Imperial Guard Regiments and accompany the Imperial Knights in a mighty revenge crusade. The Rodinu system obediently began to muster and train thousands of Imperial Guardsmen and the Imperial Knights quickly secured the blessing of both the Mechanicus and the Adeptus Administratium to sally forth as they proposed.
Just before the necessary forces had been raised however a great Greenskin Horde emerged from the void and laid siege to the Rodinu system. The Imperial Knights own Fortress Monastery World of Nevipus was besieged by a force of Orks that outnumbered the valiant defenders some 10 to 1! After consulting the Codex Astartes the remaining veterans from the Sons of Guilliman (who made up the ruling Troika of the Knights) advised their younger brethren to await reinforcement from the wider Imperium. The "newly" raised Imperial Knights however strongly urged their elders to rethink this course of action.
Finally after several months of siege had passed, a young Initiate who would later become Chapter Master Aleksandrovitch convinced Chapter Master Nevskey to launch a surgical raid on the Warbosses' camp.
Nevsky and three of the four hundred Astartes of the Imperial Knights boarded Thunderhawk Gunships and performed a daring airborne jump directly into the camp later that day. The combat was savage and desperate, as the Marines were slowly ground down by the unimaginably vast Greenskin horde. As his warriors died to buy him time, the Chapter Master dueled the Warboss himself and succeeded in severely wounding the great beast by splitting his face with his blade.
Rumors that their Warboss (regarded as a favorite of Mork) circulated within the Greenskin horde; and the sea of Orks slowly began to despair. Seizing upon this critical moment, Chapter Master Nevsky called in a force of Imperial Guardsmen from Orbit who quickly landed on the enemy's flanks. Using these fresh forces to distract the horde, Nevsky then called upon the hundred Marines in reserve.
While this move was reckless as it risked the entire surviving chapter, it was also bold enough to snatch the momentum from the horde and drive them into the northern wastes of Nevipus. Isolated in the frozen north, the Greenskins were bombarded around the block by the Imperial Navy Forces in system and the Fleet of the Imperial Knights. Six months later, the Grand Master and the First Company (called Druzhyna) purged the final remnants of the Green Tide.
The gravely depleted Imperial Knights then moved from world to world, purging what Greenskins persisted in the wilderness and gathering warriors of distinction in the hopes of replenishing their numbers. The Imperium's reinforcements arrived in time to witness the final destruction of the Green Skin Horde and the death of the wounded Warboss known as "Berger" (who had fled Nevipus) at the hands of the Chapter Master and his Druzhyna. The victory was not without it's price though and the great Chapter Master Nevsky died just as his great foe, the Warboss, drew his last breath.
News of this struggle was ferried to Terra and was of particular interest to the notable newly appointed Ecclesiarch Paulis III and his (secret) master Goge Vandire. These two high lords decreed that the Imperial Knights would instead be designated as the "Defenders of Rodinu" in honor of their great efforts and the sacrifice of their late Chapter Master. In response the Defenders of Rodinu worked to earn greater favor of the Church of Man by allowing Ecclesiarchy Missionaries onto their own homeworld of Novoskov.
The Age of Aposty and the Usurper
The feud between several other Astartes Chapters and the Mechanicus against the Ecclesiarchy was unknown to the Defenders of Rodinu for the simple fact that they were a newly founded chapter that had yet to become heavily involved in the quagmire of Imperial Politics. As the time that would become known as the Age of Aposty began, the discipline minded Defenders believed that the forces of the Church of Man were acting in the will of the Emperor and thus the Imperium.
On several incidents the Defenders dispatched the Druzhyna to aid the Frateris Templar as they spread what the Defenders thought was the proper Worship of the Emperor. As the "Reign of Blood" wore on however, the Defenders of Rodinu began to slowly become aware that all was not as it seemed.
The rise of the Confederation of Light (and Sebastian Thor) coupled with the destruction of the best of the Templar Frateris (via the Storm of the Emperor's Wrath) led to a falling out between the Defenders of Rodinu and the Church. Chapter Master Nevsky's successor Chapter Master Pereslav himself began to quietly contact other Astartes Chapters including the Imperial Fists in the hopes that they could join the rumored "coup" that would see the death of Goge Vandire.
Brother Captain Andrey, Captain of the Second Company got wind of these communications however and proclaimed Chapter Master Pereslav a heretic. Leading a force comprised of fifty Marines and over three thousand mortal zealots, he deposed the Chapter Master and forced him to leave the Fortress world of Nevipus. Pereslav then fled to Novoskov and rallied the scouts of the Tenth Company, while simultaneously ordering the Captains of the other two companies to return to the home system and depose the pretender.
The Druzhyna themselves were en route to Holy Terra at the time, commanded by Brother Chaplain Vasily (the only Chaplain of the Defenders of Rodinu). They only received word of their one time Battle Brother's treachery when they entered the Sol System and were waylaid by agents of the Inquisition who had been quietly watching the known supporters of the Ecclesiarchy. Detained by the Ordos, these elite warriors would be unable to aid their Comrades.
Andrey who had since proclaimed himself Chapter Master, called upon the dying martial power of the Ecclesiarchy for aid. In response, a small compliment of the “Brides of the Emperor” were dispatched to act as a symbol of the "Chapter Master's" legitimacy and his status within the Ecclesiarchs’ order.
Chapter Master Pereslav upon hearing of his enemy's reinforcements, calls upon the local Imperial Guard Commander, General Nogai Tartar who lent the "true" Defenders of Rodinu his Regiments (most notably the 3rd Shock Regiment of Gioll). This anglo-Defenders force then lays siege to Nevipus and driove the usurper Andrey into space. Forced to gather his remaining Astartes and Mortal Warriors (the Brides of the Emperor were all killed in flight) the Renegade then fled into the Eye of Terror.
Chapter Master Pereslav then repeated his order for all of the Defenders of Rodinu to return to Nevipus. Feeling that his own incompetence had led to the Andrey Heresy and in reaction to the news that Sebastian Thor and the Confederation of Light had finally killed the rouge Ecclesiarch, Pereselav calls upon the Holy Orders of the Inquisition to evaluate the spiritual health of the Defenders of Rodinu.
The Pentient Crusade
The Inquisition immediately took possession of the territories of the Defenders of Rodinu and began a long and arduous interrogation of the Astartes. One by one the chapter was interrogated and an official report on the incident compiled. Under investigation until 723.M36, the Defenders of Rodinu were limited to only four full companies of Astartes.
With the outbreak of Abbadon's fifth Black Crusade the investigation concluded and the Chapter was assigned a penitent Crusade that placed it directly in the Despoiler‘s path. As the Defenders of Rodinu were such a small force, they were limited to hit and run style engagements; often in support of other Imperial Armies. Spared from the heaviest fighting, the chapter still suffered heavy losses. As the Fifth Black Crusade finally ended, the Chapter was again recalled to their homeworld where there was talk of disbanding them entirely.
In order to secure the favor of the Administratium and hopefully prevent his Chapter from suffering a similar fate as the Wolf Brothers, Chapter Master Pereslav passed command of the Chapter to the newly proclaimed Chapter Master Aleksandrovich. Pereslav then joined the Deathwatch with five other Brother in the hopes that their service to the Inquisition would be enough to atone for the chapters' close relations with the Ecclesiarchy.
This move was a desperate one but successful and the Administratium abruptly ceased to quietly discuss the proposed destruction of the Chapter. With this breathing room granted, the Defenders of Rodinu worked to quickly rack up a string of small victories over various Chaotic Warbands and Ork Marauders.
The Great Humiliation (537.M38)
For several centuries, the Defenders of Rodinu tried to rebuild their lost strength while waging a constant war against Chaos Warbands and Pirates around the Eye of Terror, only to suddenly lose the majority of their Chapter’s Battle Brothers, their Homeworld and their Fortress Monastery in a single engagement. What started as a minor skirmish between Imperial Guardsmen and a Chaos Cult beneath the hives of Novoskov turned into a full blown war when Traitor Astartes were discovered. While the Defenders of Rodinu were carrying the fight to the foe, it seemed that the foul and secretive warriors of the Alpha Legion had been at work.
The Chaotic Cults that had long dwelled beneath the very streets of Novoskov arose as one great army, shattering the expertly drilled PDF and trapping the majority of the Chapter’s Scouts and Recent Initiates within their own Fortress! The Imperial Guard was alerted as was the Inquisition, but the other Imperial Armies in the System were all seconded to the frontlines around the Cadian System, fighting the Vanguard of Abbadon’s Eight Black Crusade.
On their own, the Defenders of Rodinu assaulted the Traitors via drop pod and for seven days fought through their ranks. While the plan was a fine example of the sheer savagery and brute force the Astartes could muster, it was also an example of the arrogance of Guilliman. While they were only outnumbered two to one by the Chaotic Cultists and Traitors, the traps and killing fields constructed by the Alpha Legion ensured that the valiant Defenders paid for every yard of their home planet.
The foolish assault was doomed to be one that would be lamented by the remnants of the Defenders of Rodinu for centuries, as even their Chapter Master Aleksandrovitch was laid low by a precious volley of Alpha Legion Bolter Fire. Without his leadership, the three companies on the surface of Novoskov quickly fell into a vicious and bloody cycle of pacification. Friendly and Tainted Civilians alike were purged by the blood maddened Warriors and before long their once vibrant world was nothing more than an ash covered wasteland.
Combat is never kind, and the methodical cleansing of Novoskov surely forced the Defenders of Rodinu to take more than acceptable losses. Out of the three companies that had landed, only one could be formed from the ruins. The unnaturally large number of dead triggered a darker and deeper part of the Alpha Legion’s plans however, and just as the Defenders thought that they had won the day their homeworld was consumed by a massive warp rift. The entire population of a hive world coupled with the death of dozens of Astartes [both traitor and loyalist] had allowed the Alpha Legion Sorcerers to craft a tear in reality so massive that it swallowed the planet and the surviving Defenders.
The raw wound in existence allowed for untold millions of unspeakable horrors to pour out into the Rodinu system. Unable to alert the wider Imperium, the Defenders of Rodinu valiantly tried to stem the tide long enough for a part of Chapter Serfs to flee Rodinu with the news of the unholy summoning. Much to the dismay of the newly proclaimed Chapter Master, Rurik, the Serfs were butchered by a fleet that bore the foul sigil of the Black Legion. Unable to face either the Daemons of the Alpha Legion’s machination or the newly arrived Black Legion flotilla, the Defenders of Rodinu fled their system aboard what remained of their fleet.
Broken and battered, they limped into Imperial Space only to find that for their ruthless annihilation of the citizenry of Novoskov, an act that led to the formation of a great and terrible Warp Rift, the remnants of the Chapter had been declared Excommunicate Traitoris by the Inquisition. Hounded by Imperial Forces, the Defenders of Rodinu were forced to flee into the very Eye of Terror they had once stood guard over! Drifting in the endless insanity, they were waylaid by a lone Astartes who seemingly materialized aboard their vessel. Going by the name of Otet, he spoke at length about the evils of the Imperium, evils that the Defenders of Rodinu were now willing to believe.
Otet offered the Defenders a place in his newly forged War-band known simply as “The Troika of Tyrants”. The Troika was comprised of Otet’s followers, a rouge Space Wolf or Wolf Brother and his Pack of Grey Hunters, and the remnants of the Defenders of Rodinu. Numbering around two hundred Battle Brothers, the Defenders of Rodinu slowly absorbed the other groups, elevating Rurik over Otet. This led to a bloody and drawn out engagement aboard the flagship [and only ship] of the Troika’s fleet, the Defenders Battle Barge, “Kuznetsov”. The somber hallways of the battle barge turned into killing fields as the Defenders of Rodinu purged Otet, his followers, and the rouge Warriors of Fenris.
The struggle was not easy however, and during the course of the chaotic conflict Chapter Master Rurik was forced to make a blood pact with a Daemon of Khorne. In exchange for the power necessary to best Otet and the Warriors of Fenris, Rurik would pledge their skulls and the skulls of his fallen to the Blood God. Using this unholy strength, the Chapter Master butchered Otet, his followers, and the rouge Wolves. Feeling the power of the Blood God, Rurik led his Chapter deeper into the Eye, deeper into the swirling madness that would in time consume their souls.
The Defenders of Rodinu were not sighted for several millennia, leading Imperial Scholars to believe that the once devout Astartes had returned to their home system to sacrifice themselves for the God Emperor. The Chapter was labeled “destroyed”. The Rodinu system was eventually reclaimed by the Imperium, and within two decades it’s planets laid to waste by the order of the Ordo Hereticus. It seemed that the entire sordid affair was concluded when isolated worlds and Mechanicus Stations along the Eastern Fringe began to go silent. Thought to be the usual raiders or Pirates, the threat was only confirmed as Astartes when the Ultramarines caught the hostile’s ship on auspex before they fled into the Warp. It was the “Kuznetsov”.
Eager to redeem a part of their greatly spread bloodline, the Ultramarines gave chase and arrive just in time to witness the looting of Mechanicus Surveyor Station 0162 orbiting the dead ocean world of Tyran. Tyran had a tortured past, and had at one point been an Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator Base. The world was then devoured by Hive Fleet Behemoth and had also been the Imperium of Man’s first contact with the Tyranid Race. The Mechanicus had been keen to monitor the planet, to explore the possibility that the devoured worlds of the Tyrannids could in some way act as staging points for future Hive Fleets either through the production of new Organisms or the sub-surface construction of biological factories.
When neither theory had proven to be truthful, the Station was promptly abandoned and then taken by a band of smugglers. These criminals served as offerings to the Lord of Skulls, their station as the delivery system of a dark message to the Imperium. As the Ultramarines ran their fleet’s auspex over the burning remains, an image and audio recording was relayed to the bridge of the vessel, “Internecio”. The image was of an Astartes of unknown allegiance gazing upon the burning station that sat before the Loyalist vessel even now. It was two minutes of this, the Marine gazing upon the fires before the figure turned and whispered,
“We have been reborn not as Defenders, but as Tears; Tears from the Darkness.”