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Index Astartes: Salamanders



Origins



Vulkan, eighteenth of the Primarchs, was left by the tides of the Warp on the volcanic world of Nocturne. Nocturne was a world of fire, constantly experiencing great tectonic activity and volcanism due to the proximity of its massive moon Prometheus. Despite intense radiation and great predators, the greatest of which were the draconic salamanders, Nocturne was able to support not only native life but human civilization - though civilization was, at the time, perhaps somewhat of an exaggeration. Nocturne's people were hardy, brave, and cohesive, but they ultimately lived as tribal federations, and their schizophrenic technology was far behind the standards of worlds such as Terra or Mars. It was sufficient to survive the fury of Nocturne's nature - but not sufficient to stop the dark eldar raiders who often visited Nocturne in search of resilient slaves, called 'dusk wraiths' by the human population.


Vulkan was taken into the home of the blacksmith N'bel in the city of Hesiod. He grew unnaturally fast, as all the Primarchs did, and by the age of five was making great improvements to the already vast skill of the Nocturneans in metalworking. He fought, too, hunting the great beasts of the mountains; yet he recognized soon enough that those hunts were ultimately of little relevance. True, he was far mightier than any normal man of Nocturne, but even they - especially when armed with his weaponry - were able to drive most beasts off.


The hunts that truly mattered were those of the dusk wraiths. As Vulkan's skill grew, he recognized that the dusk wraiths could not possibly be mere beasts or spirits as many Nocturneans assumed, but were instead a powerful and vile alien people. While they steered clear of Hesiod during Vulkan's early years - likely more by accident that for fear of the Primarch - they devastated other settlements, among them the city of Heliosa. It was when they returned for a second raid on Heliosa that Vulkan first encountered them; he knew they often returned to locations of a recent major campaign with minor follow-up raids, and he rallied the people of Heliosa, as well as building fortifications, to give the dusk wraiths a grim surprise when they did.


Vulkan won that battle, and the next, and the next after that. He was called the Volcanoes' Heir, followed as if an uncrowned king, treated as a near-messiah by the Promethean Cult prevalent on Nocturne - a set of superstitions and ideals that did not rise to the status of a true religion, though it might have started from mangled knowledge of Nurgle. He drove the dusk wraiths into the distant deserts, simultaneously fortifying Nocturne's cities to ensure they would never again be threatened by the dark eldar.


The victories were accompanied by a severe toll in men, but Vulkan believed it would be worth it to free future generations from the dark eldar threat. He spoke, even, of chasing the xenos into their distant realm, now known as the Dark City of Commoragh. But he was pained, at the same time, by the death of his foster father N'bel while he was away on campaign. N'bel had died in peace, the neighbors said, but Vulkan knew the illness that took the blacksmith's life was painful if brief. Yet Vulkan had others to fight for, men he also cared for deeply - the Deathfire Council, as his inner circle was called, and indeed all the people of Nocturne. For them, Vulkan continued his projects, both of peace and of war.


And then the Emperor of Mankind arrived.


The Great Crusade



The Emperor came to Nocturne in his full majesty, and father and son greeted each other in mutual respect. Vulkan acknowledged the power and intelligence of the Emperor, as well as his good intentions. With the coming of the Emperor the last of the dusk wraiths fled to their grim city of Comorragh.


Vulkan worried about leaving his world, yet the Emperor insisted that the power of the Imperium would suffice to protect Nocturne, and that there were other suffering peoples that had greater need of the Volcanoes' Heir. It was a line of logic that Vulkan could not, with what he knew at the time, deny. Yet he would spend much of his time on Nocturne nevertheless - engineering it to retain its tribal culture, but at a much higher technology level, so that settlements became cities and cities became megapoli, but the fiery wilds remained unconquered, only pierced by thin lines of human activity in those areas most favorable to it.


He did not meet his Legion immediately after that. The Eighteenth had been one part of the so-called trefoil, Legions, created and fighting separately from the other Legions for specific classified purposes. While the Space Wolves' purpose is held to have been the policing of other Astartes, and the future Alpha Legion's was targeted offensive strikes on unusual targets, the future Salamanders had been intended to be the first line of defense against incursions against the Imperium that no other could handle. In practice, though, this had often resulted in them being sent on hopeless missions to blunt an assault at great cost both to the Legion and to those who fought alongside them. They had developed a reputation for hopeless, if heroic, last stands.


Vulkan remained on Terra for three years before reuniting with his Legion, however, learning about the Imperium alongside Alpharius, who had arrived at Terra a day after Vulkan had. He forged a firm friendship with the Last Primarch; both of them kept some things to themselves, and both recognized that need in the other. Alpharius spoke globally where Vulkan did personally, and Alpharius discussed destruction where Vulkan did protection, but both spoke not of themselves, but of their duty; and in this they found much common ground.


"You have fought bravely for the Imperium of Man, and won many victories. I have no need to instruct you in either courage or triumph - though perhaps there is advice that Nocturne can yet provide, even in that.


"Yet our task is neither courage nor victory. Our task is the protection of humans throughout the galaxy. To kill, or to risk ourselves in the fires of battle, is only acceptable when it serves life; and that service to human life is our eternal calling."


- Primarch Vulkan, upon meeting his Legion


When Vulkan rejoined his Legion, he rebuilt it according to his vision, including vastly expanding its numbers. In many ways he allowed it to remain as it was, but he emphasized the need to tone down the Eighteenth's self-destructive propensities. He renamed them the Salamanders after the great drakes of Nocturne, and though he did not directly (remembering the Imperial Truth) bring the Promethean Cult into the Legion, he indirectly conveyed many of its principles. And above all Vulkan emphasized that Astartes were ultimately protectors of humanity, encouraging bonds between Astartes and the humans of Terra and Nocturne long before Malcador thought of doing the same.


And he built. Vulkan had been raised by a smith, and he continued to work in forges, even though those forges were as far beyond the one N'bel had maintained as N'bel's had been beyond the workplaces of animals. When Vulkan met the other technically inclined Primarchs, however, he was disappointed in most. Lion el'Jonson was ruthless even publicly, and Alpharius had taught Vulkan to see beneath the surface - and what he found there was a monster. Perturabo was a bloody warrior who was no longer fighting for something. And Corvus Corax was an enigma even to him, but an enigma with a distant and abrasive personality, one who seemed to have lost touch with his humanity, or at least his humility.


Vulkan was a friend to some of his brothers, notably the idealistic Lorgar, and in truth was on positive terms with almost all of them. He even remained one of the few Primarchs close to the broken Rogal Dorn. His relationship with his father, though, grew somewhat more distant over time, for much the same reason Vulkan grew cautious of Corax. This only grew more pronounced when the Emperor retreated to Terra and left command of the Crusade to the two Warmasters, for undisclosed reasons. The dream of the Imperium, too, seemed to be losing its luster, as tithes and trade laws seemed to be turning the galaxy towards a meaningless uniformity.


Vulkan and the hundred-and-forty thousand Salamanders under his command continued fighting on the front lines. In the Haerdaon Cluster, the local human population refused to join the Imperium, believing themselves safe behind titanic space fortifications - as they were, for a full decade. Yet Vulkan devised a shielding method that would withstand the fortifications' barrage for long enough that Salamander ships could send boarding torpedoes onto those fortresses, and take control of them. Once that was done, he forged an accord with the locals that saw them integrated into the Imperium without further bloodshed. In the Raqqase War, a large invasion of xenos shaped like city-sized centipedes slammed through a series of Imperial Army garrisons and threatened Ultramar; yet a squad of ten Salamanders under Captain Heka'tan held the world of Raqqase for long enough to let Vulkan routed the xenos. Of the squad in question, only one battle-brother, Gravius of Skarokk, survived.


But Vulkan could not be everywhere; and a mere two years after the Raqqase War, the consequences of that and of his joining the Imperium became clear. The dark eldar of Comorragh were dominated by the solar cults, but its noble houses, many of which formed lunar cults, clawed against them for influence. A prime hunting ground for those houses, centuries earlier, had been Nocturne. Now, the survivors of that defeat wished to make an example of those who had defied them - no matter that Nocturne was far more now than it had ever before been.


The assault was meticulously planned, and so the dark eldar struck when Vulkan and the bulk of the Legion was half a galaxy away. Yet the Salamanders that had remained in the fortress-monastery upon the moon Prometheus, as well as on Nocturne itself, proved far harder to dislodge than the dark eldar had expected, and as Vulkan hurried back, cut off from their Webway portals, they found themselves between hammer and anvil. But they had enough time for a grand gesture of spite, tapping into Nocturne's hyperactive core to blow the planet apart.


The Promethean Creed taught that the dead were never entirely gone, for the soil of their ash would feed plants that bloomed in rebirth. Yet any such catechisms were cut short by Nocturne's doom, all lines of succession brutally ended. Once the remainder of the dark eldar forces had been killed, the Salamanders reconvened in orbit around Prometheus, and were confronted with darkness where their birthplace once shone.


The Great Betrayal



For five and a half years after the destruction of Nocturne the Salamanders continued their participation in the Great Crusade; yet the Legion's mood in this time was grim indeed, and disillusioned with the Imperium. No detachments of the Imperial Army had been present to defend Nocturne, and the world's own armies had been drained away to serve the ever-expanding Crusade. Vulkan was beginning to doubt whether the Imperium could succeed at its stated aim of protecting humanity, or if it was merely an exercise in pride on the Emperor's part.


It was at the end of that period, on the jungle world of Pythos where most of the Legion's strength had been deployed, that the Grandfather's emissaries visited Vulkan. They spoke to Vulkan and his chief captains of powers beyond the Imperial Truth's lies, and in particular of Nurgle, who was capable of protection in a way the Emperor never had been. Yet the power of Chaos was intrinsically incompatible with the Imperium's demands.


Vulkan was by all accounts skeptical at first, but was ultimately convinced to accept Nurgle's offer, the pact being sealed by an agreement to join Lorgar's brewing revolt and a promise to resurrect the world of Nocturne afterwards.


Vulkan's hearts seized with hope at the proposal, yet he looked at the rotting titan warily, nonetheless. It simply offered too much, suspiciously so. True, there was a price - treachery and trial both - but it promised everything he had searched for, immortality and endurance and rebirth, if not without the test of disease.


He gripped his hammer tightly as he looked back to his captains, wondering if he should strike first. But what he saw pushed such thoughts out of his head, because the Legion -


The Legion was hopeful.


He saw belief and determination in his captains' faces, for the first time since Nocturne. He had done his best to push them onward, to push them out of the black maw of depression their homeworld's death represented even as he barely hung onto the edge of that pit himself. And now for the first time, they saw a cause to fight for.


He could not take that away from his sons. He had no one else left, after all.


"So be it," Vulkan swore. "With one exception. I will not have Nocturne reborn in the midst of a galactic war once more, for it will only face ruin in that event. Once this clash is complete, whether in victory or defeat... then, you shall bring my world back."


Soon after, Lorgar's emissaries came to Pythos, and Vulkan deployed his Legion to Isstvan to join up with the rebellion. He trusted Lorgar to build an Imperium truly dedicated to its people, one that did not needlessly deny the natural order of the universe but worked within it.


That trust in Lorgar was not misplaced. The trust in Lorgar's allies was.


The eight Legions that made up with the rebellion first fought among themselves. That some Astartes would remain stubbornly loyal was not unexpected, and Vulkan, regretfully, fired on those - though a few, led by Nomus Rhy'tan, escaped. That Lorgar's allies would fight among themselves was a different matter entirely, one that reinforced Vulkan's mistrust in many of those Legions, which was redoubled when they refused to listen to him.


They did listen to Lorgar and Dorn, at least, if not immediately. Together, the Primarchs decided to strike at Terra first, and to use that triumph to turn the galaxy to their side, leaving their enemies as the rebels. The Discoverers' (as Lorgar called them) forces were divided into two large Fleets, designed to separate the Legions whose leaders had the biggest conflicts with each other until arrival at Terra; the Salamanders accompanied Dorn's First Fleet, along with the Iron Warriors, White Scars, and Dorn's own Doom Fists. A few detachments did depart the Legion's bulk in order to assist individual worlds that would join themselves to Lorgar's banner, so as not to abandon them as the Emperor would have.


The Fleets had been meant to be separate during Warp travel, but arrive in Terra at the same time through parallel paths; they failed in this decisively, further lowering Vulkan's opinion of the other Discoverer Legions. Yet the flight, while devoid of planetary conquest, was not uneventful. Nurgle's blessings were first received by the Salamanders during it. Knowing what to expect, the Legion on the whole accepted them, if not overly happily. Vulkan further bargained with the Chaos God to ensure that the Legion's human attendants - the last Nocturneans - would also receive those blessings, as opposed to being killed by their side effects as they at first were. Nurgle acceded immediately, conveying apologies for making the error.


When the Salamanders landed on Terra then, they came as conquerors. Their ebony skin sloughed off and regrew, forming scales and cancers; their red eyes were surrounded by fungal patterns on their faces; their armor was as altered as their skin, rusted and in some cases almost unnecessary. Such was the price of eternity. The Salamanders paid it willingly.


Yet the First Fleet arrived alone, and it arrived to a defended Imperial Palace, opposed by Ultramarines, Emperor's Children, and Raven Guard. Worse, while the other Legions landed securely, Vulkan was met, at his landing site, by the Raven Guard, the Custodes and the Emperor of Mankind himself.


The Emperor did not fight often during the battle of Terra, and in no other case did he fight for more than an hour. Against the Salamanders, his assault lasted for only four hours before the Custodes retreated. Yet in that time, more than ten thousand Salamanders, including most of Vulkan's inner circle, were permanently killed by the Emperor and the Raven Guard. Vulkan clashed with his father as well, warhammer against sword, and was killed; yet he was restored to life by Nurgle's gifts even against the Emperor's power, known afterwards as the Reborn, though he never spoke of the duel afterwards. Without Nurgle's aid the Legion would have been shattered; instead, they inflicted a great toll indeed on the Raven Guard and especially the Custodes, and held the landing sites.


Vulkan swung Dawnbringer into the golden wall, again and again, barely cognizant of his own pain. Custodes flew away from the hammer, sacrifices - necessary sacrifices, he told himself. Or at the very least necessary revenge. Umojen was gone, and so was half the command structure of the Legion, but if he could end his father now, it would all be -


Then the Custodes stepped aside, and Vulkan faced his father.


The Emperor was golden radiance. He was not human, now, not even as vaguely human as Lorgar remained. He stared at Vulkan with a billion eyes channeling millennia of fury, and the Volcanoes' Heir felt entirely foolish, in that moment, like an impatient child who had peeked behind the curtain of a performance and thereby ruined it.


But his hand was already swinging, for he had trained himself against such majesty, and Dawnbringer bit into the Emperor's side, a glancing blow that connected despite an inhumanly dexterous dodge.


The Emperor showed no sign of injury, or at least no additional sign. Vulkan tried to strike once again, but twice he failed to connect, and then the sword whose name no man knew was already in his neck, and the hammer flew from his arms. But Nurgle had promised him resurrection, he remembered that, even as his thoughts slowed. And what he had seen in that moment was crucial.


The Emperor's movements had not been clean. He had been lessened somehow, diminished, at least for a time. Still vast, but... beatable. And he knew he could find the path, alongside Dorn. For he knew now, as he experienced it for the first time, that Nurgle's promise of regeneration had been a feint. That power had always been within him, and alongside it -


The Emperor spoke a word.


Vulkan had swung Dawnbringer into the golden wall, and the next thing he remembered was awakening in the Apothecarion.


"My lord!" Atesh Tarsa exclaimed. "You... you live again!"


"It is not the first wound I have sustained, my son," Vulkan said, looking at the makeshift Apothecarion and trying to remember how he had suffered an injury so severe as to force him here.


"It was the first such wound," Tarsa insisted. "What the Emperor did to you... yet you regenerated even from a charred skeleton. The Circle of Fire made flesh." The Apothecary frowned, though, as Vulkan took in the news that his contract with Nurgle had been fulfilled. "Yet, my lord... Captain Numeon, who led the effort to recover your body, without whom the Emperor would likely have destroyed you entirely... his ashes have remained ashes alone."


Thus humbled, Vulkan the Reborn barely pulled the remnants of his Legion together, only to see petty arguments split the other Legions' command. Jaghatai ignored Dorn's orders entirely, and Perturabo rarely listed to them. Yet Vulkan and Dorn still had the numerical advantage, and the Salamanders proved far harder to kill without the psychic power of the Emperor assisting the defenders. For a time, with Vulkan's and Dorn's collaboratively developed strategy of attrition, the battle looked somehow winnable, especially after Captain Rahz Obek led a hundred Salamanders into an infantry assault against direct artillery fire (survivable by Nurgle's power) that surrounded a large Ultramarine pocket and allowed the Doom Fists to come to the Imperial Palace's very gates - an action that got even Perturabo to join his forces to Dorn's... for an hour, before Mortarion arrived.


The First Fleet was broken, first in orbit and then on the ground. The Salamanders held out in individual redoubts, and continued to fight in small units alongside the Second Fleet; yet Vulkan observed Lorgar's breakthroughs without much interest, because he saw the situation for what it was.


When Lorgar killed both Fulgrim and the Emperor at the cost of his own life, and the Discoverers' fleets left Terra to pursue their lessened, disparate ambitions, the Reborn was the second-to-last to leave. And when he did so, it was with a heavy heart indeed, because he knew the price of Lorgar's failed gamble.


They had fought to protect humanity because they knew the Emperor could not. But after Terra, with the Imperial Truth becoming set as orthodoxy, both they and the Gods of Chaos had become something humanity would need to be protected from.


The Escape



From Terra, the Salamanders' fleet headed towards galactic north as quickly as they could. Vulkan received word that Nocturne had been recreated within the Eye of Terror, and journeyed there immediately, gathering the remainder of the Legion's strength to him in the process. Yet his mood was melancholy even before arrival, for he saw the future as one of eternal war.


Arrival only frustrated him further. Much of the reborn population of Nocturne was happy to live again, but a significant minority (some records say a majority) cursed the Volcanoes' Heir and the Legion for the deal they had made. When the Eighteenth Legion landed, they attacked.


Vulkan called for parley; and for once it was respected. The rebels demanded that they be allowed to die, to truly fade, for they had not chosen to return to the Circle of Fire, but had been resurrected nonetheless. To many of them, the suffering of their diseases seemed worse than nonexistence itself. Yet the Salamanders held the power to undo Nurgle's blessing.


Despite the loud protests of many of the Legion's more devout Astartes, led by Captain K'Gosi, Vulkan accepted the terms. The Salamanders turned their blades on their own people, who knelt with bared necks, happy to die. Vulkan was deeply affected by the deed, as were those that turned executioner alongside him, such as First Captain Nemetor.


Forgefather T'kell was left in command of Nocturne afterwards, to rebuild its society and fortify its orbit. The Reborn himself, meanwhile, heeded the word of Nurgle, who - in concert with the other gods - wished the Discoverer Legions to make war on the Imperium of Man once again, to prevent a total defeat. Yet his path was nearly random, with units split off from the main bulk without clear reasoning.


On the world of Kanak, a volcanic hellscape so like what Nocturne had once been, the Imperial Army forces that had opposed the Salamanders were replaced by a far more potent foe. Vulkan rejected the chance to leave the world, instead declaring that the Salamanders would hold it no matter what. And so the Legion stood firm as the Grey Knights and Thousand Sons descended onto them.


The Salamanders were resolute, but that resolution was broken barely a Terran week into the battle, after Vulkan led an attack to kill the traitor to the Legion Nomus Rhy'tan, now of the Grey Knights. Magnus cloaked fifty Thousand Sons and himself from detection, and ambushed Vulkan while the Reborn was alone at Basr'sab Caldera. Nemetor gathered a relief force as soon as it became clear what was going on, yet he arrived barely in time to see Magnus throw the Volcanoes' Heir into the active caldera, killing him forever despite various Salamander cabals' resurrection attempts in the millennia since.


While the Eighteenth still had a numerical advantage in terms of Astartes, the attritionary war afterward was one they could not win, not against a Primarch and thousands of strongly psychic Astartes supported by the Imperial Army. Yet Nemetor held onto Vulkan's last order - the Salamanders would not make one step back.


Some did anyway. One by one, leaders such as K'Gosi led small breakthroughs out of the perimeter. The last to do so was one Captain Xa'ven, seven years after the Salamanders landed on Kanak. By that time Magnus and the Grey Knights' command had left the mop-up to lesser commanders, and Xa'ven's men recorded that perhaps a few dozen Salamanders were still alive on-planet, Nemetor having fallen two years prior. Yet rumors say that some of them held out for decades.


It was not enough. The Imperium of Man took back Kanak, and the command structure of the Legion was terminated. Those that remained had either broken and fled, or been sent away by Vulkan beforehand; the only command they could agree on was that T'kell had Nocturne by right. The Eighteenth has not fought as a Legion since Kanak; the Legion's best were tested upon the anvil, and after not one survived, the brotherhood of the rest fell away.


The Long War



The Salamanders have not stopped fighting, though. They have sworn themselves to Nurgle, and they hold onto hope that, in time, they will achieve a true victory, one that enforces peace and ensures eternity. Individually and in small bands, they protect humanity - above all the humanity that lives in their own domain within the Eye, but also those that live throughout the galaxy - from the Imperium and others who would destroy them, spreading the word of Nurgle as they do; the Salamanders may not fight together, but they nonetheless hold to a firm commitment not to fight against each other. The memory of Kanak has not faded, but though they know they are unworthy of their task, they labor at it nonetheless.


This has been assisted by the Legion's suborning many tech-priests that have fled the Imperium of Man's restrictive regime. Even more than the tech-priests, though, Nocturne has benefited from an influx of fleeing Mechanicum slaves. While over time the Imperial Mechanicum has been reformed to be a more humane entity than in the Great Crusade's time, it was those escapees that truly built the Eighteenth's new industry, and they have been rewarded for it with far more respect than any other Chaos Legion gives its mortal allies.


That industry has been put to good use. In M34, T'kell organized a large pilgrimage to Pythos, where the Legion accepted Nurgle, reconquering it from the Imperium; it was in this battle that the Nurglite daemon Ku'gath, summoned by the Salamanders, slew the Dreadnought Ezekyle Abaddon, Legion Master of the Luna Wolves, while T'kell's Ordinatus-sized engines secured the world around. Not long after, K'Gosi and Crius - a Clan Father of the Iron Hands - broke the quarantine around the sapient xeno plague known as the Pale Wasting. But despite rumors of its miraculous properties, the Wasting turned out to have nothing on its mind except destruction, and K'Gosi sacrificed himself in containing it once more - though the details of the operation are shrouded in mystery. These two severe strikes contributed to a period of discontent culminating in the Nova Terra Interregnum that nearly split the Imperium in half.


The Salamanders have not fought only against humans. In late M40, the Imperial world of Orbulac came under attack by dark eldar armed with biotoxins; it was the Salamanders who responded, defeated the threat, and conquered the world for Nurgle, whose powers over disease made the dark eldar toxins look like child's play. Indeed, on five separate occasions the Salamanders have successfully infected Commoragh (which they hold to be the most monstrous in the galaxy, not to mention the grudge for Nocturne), killing large swaths of the city before the illness was contained. They have fought the other Chaos Legions too, when necessary - in 975.M41 Tu'Shan, regent of Nocturne, masterminded a defense against the Red Corsair Nihilan and his massive warhost of Corsairs, White Scars, and Dark Angels, a war for which many Salamanders returned to Nocturne and that ended in a total Salamander victory.


The Salamanders have known defeat as well as victory, of course, such as the death of warlord N'keln on the desert world of Scoria after being sandwiched between Emperor's Children and Orks, breaking a major invasion of the Imperium. It is telling that, while N'keln was able to ensure the evacuation of a small portion of his forces, he made sure he was last in line to leave and on the front lines when battle came.


"Go, Da'kir. Without your and Pyriel's sorcery to protect the evacuation ships, the mortals have no chance. Yes, you're running, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise - that's how it is sometimes. But someone needs to get word to Agatone to make sure there's no coup.


"As for me... well, yes, we'll all die on this dustball. But unlike N'keln, I don't plan on staying dead."


- Zek Tsu'gan, lieutenant to Drake N'keln


This was because the Salamanders do not fight for themselves. They fight for humanity, for Nurgle, and for a future better than the blood-forged Imperium.


Organization



The Salamanders do not fight as a Legion; they do not see themselves and each other as worthy of it, after Kanak. The highest unit of organization is the warband, led by a warlord, traditionally known as a Drake (though some warlords invent their own separate titles); warbands usually number around seventy Astartes, with almost none exceeding two hundred. It is estimated that about seven hundred such warbands currently exist in the galaxy. Many Salamanders (perhaps fifteen thousand at present) choose not to join a warband, traveling alone or in groups of less than five as Seekers. The right of a sufficiently experienced Salamander to become a Seeker is considered a holy part of the non-aggression convention between Salamanders, but Astartes do not choose this path out of a desire for freedom, but out of a more monastic need.


Yet one large organized group of Salamanders does exist, forever bound to their homeworld to protect it. Numbering six thousand Astartes at present, the Dominion of Nocturne and its Astartes - the Hearthflame - answer to its ruler, the Lord Protector, currently a title held by the young Tu'Shan. It is divided into seven Hosts led by Captains. It is an emphatic point that the Lord Protector is not the Legion Master; indeed, since M34 the Lord Protector has typically been a younger Astarte precisely so that he does not have the influence to reunite the Legion.


Several traditions have remained active throughout the Legion. First among them are the Forge and the Librarium - two institutions that have remained emphatically separate, and that maintain a severe rivalry. The Forge is responsible for all mechanical equipment of the Legion, including Dreadnoughts, and maintains a policy of never introducing the touch of Chaos into machinery, even though its members worship Nurgle with respect to living matter as devoutly as the rest of the Legion; it is associated with symbols of fire and metal, and commands one of the most powerful arsenals of any Legion. The Librarium controls both psychic power in general and deals with daemons in particular. Both organizations claim responsibility for the Legion's link to Nurgle and the moral upkeep of its members; both also have taken on some of the Apothecarion's former duties. That said, these duties have been severely reduced in scope, especially off Nocturne. Worthy Salamanders rarely need healing due to Nurgle's intervention, and recruitment is slow due to both the Legion's shattering and the great difficulty in killing Salamanders - most of those Legionnaires that survived Kanak are still alive.


Thus, the Forge is even today led by T'kell, though he abandoned Nocturne for his pilgrimage to Pythos seven millennia ago. At present the Librarium, meanwhile, is led by one Vulkan He'stan, once apprentice to T'kell before his defection to the other organization. Despite his youth, He'stan has shown incredible psychic ability, and is rumored to be the long-awaited reincarnation of the Primarch himself. Both the Librarium and the Forge number about seven percent of the Legion at present.


Combat Doctrine



Due to their organization, the Salamanders will almost always fight in relatively small groups, except if Nocturne is threatened. They are renowned for their ability to hold seemingly hopeless positions, as well as to go down fighting in genuinely hopeless ones. They take the field supported by great numbers of vehicles and heavy weaponry (ones that, even more than Imperial machinery, are designed without melding with either flesh or ether), though the use of fire-based personal weaponry - once common in the Legion - has ceased after the War of Discovery. Daemons are often called on as allies, and non-Astarte auxiliaries often fight alongside the Legion as well, bolstering their numbers, but the Astartes are always the ones to take the front line - after all, that is their reason for existence.


The Salamanders will rarely attack a world by force of arms. More often, they will deploy plagues and encourage cults, or if necessary contract daemons to do so for them. When they do invade, usually because of a strategic need to conquer quickly during a major invasion of the Imperium, it is backed by titanic engines and an intent to cow the enemy into rapid submission - especially when that enemy is human, for the Salamanders abhor needless slaughter.


In defense, though, the Salamanders are relentless. A world may be garrisoned by only a few Seekers, yet even if it is not seriously fortified, Salamander territory is extraordinarily difficult to capture. If their strongholds fall, Salamanders will wage guerilla warfare, as well as deploying various biological and psychic traps on intruders.


One particularly common form of battle for the Salamanders is void warfare. Their ships can often pass for Imperial vessels due to the lack of mechanical corruption, but in battle they typically rely on their ships' armor and sheer size to win battles - ramming, in particular, is a characteristic tactic.


Homeworld



The Salamanders' home world is Nocturne. Before Vulkan, it was a world of great volcanoes and earthquakes, of dust and ash and smoke that blocked out the heavens, orbited by the marginally less unstable moon Prometheus. Its people lived in tribes that struggled with the environment and with dark eldar attacks, but - perhaps for this very reason - maintained a certain solidarity with each other. Seven Sanctuary Cities were built in the most tectonically stable locations of Nocturne. Vulkan built the Legion's base on Prometheus, and introduced advanced technology to Nocturne while unifying it into a single tribal confederation; but the social structure of the tribes was largely preserved.


After Nocturne's destruction and recreation, it has become a Daemon World of Nurgle. Instead of lava, burning organic sludge oozes upwards in titanic diapirs; instead of ash and smoke, a fog of microorganisms hangs heavy over the landscape. The landscape has calmed down, for Prometheus was left behind in realspace, the structures on it abandoned and destroyed; but tectonic activity is still high due to a new set of moons, and the world has indeed been stretched into an ellipsoidal shape. Where once there were seven Sanctuary Cities there are now forty-nine. Yet the people, severely affected by Nurgle's influence as they are, still live not too unlike their ancestors did ten millennia ago, farming and smithing, with the Hearthflame and the Lord Protector living among them - not as tyrants, but as first among equals.


Beliefs



The Salamanders, as a whole, genuinely believe they fight for humanity, and retain many features of the ancient Promethean Cult. Yet this does not, in their minds, contradict their service to the Plaguefather. They send out deadly and torturous plagues upon Imperial planets, seeing them as a test that the worthy will overcome (and disfigurements from that, to them, mark the favor of Nurgle). They invade Imperial space in order to weaken said Imperium, for they see it as an unworthy government. Those humans within their service they do not treat as slaves (like the other Chaos Legions), though there is always a trend of Astarte superiority; but they do not grant them the right to resist the influence of Chaos, even via death.


The Salamanders also see themselves as being constantly tested. To them, every member of the Legion failed on the anvil of Kanak, and since then there is a persistent inferiority complex, as well as grudges carried by the survivors of that campaign against each other. Since so many of the Legion's notables still remember their Primarch, this mutual disdain prevents the reunification of the Legion.


"Nurgle, Initiate? Nurgle is our patron. We pray for his favor, and follow his will, within reasonable margins. For Nurgle represents the supreme virtues - humility, endurance, protection. He represents the ideals that each of us aspires to.


"Yet Nurgle is our patron, not our master; nor would he wish to be. We do not follow his every whim, as the White Scars do Slaanesh's, nor do we struggle against his decrees, as the Iron Warriors against Khorne. After all, a Chaos God is a diffuse mind in any case. You must fight for Nurgle as a symbol; yet Nurgle is not your mission - humanity is - and Nurgle is not your superior, for that is me."


- Drake Pellas Mir'san, the Winter Blade


Gene-seed



The Salamanders' gene-seed has been greatly affected by the mutagenic influence of Chaos, though far moreso in the lines maintained by the Librarium than in those maintained by the Forge. The main part of the corruption, however, does not stem from the gene-seed but from the infections introduced after implantation. A typical result for survivors is to have skin inflamed and overgrown in various ways, forming a secondary biological armor (every Salamander forges their own armor, for no one suit would fit two different Salamanders), as well as being constantly fevered to the point of boiling blood, with all hair falling out. Due to the nature of Chaos, these alterations somehow increase their combat effectiveness instead of the reverse.


Battle-cry



The Salamanders still sometimes use their pre-Discovery battle cry: "Into the fires of battle, brothers, unto the anvil of war!" A somewhat more common version of the cry today, though, is: "Through ashes, with Nurgle, as hammers, for Vulkan, into fire!"


A/N: Simultaneously an easy IA and the hardest of them... easy because the Salamanders aren't all hard to turn Nurglite specifically (they even have the obsession with the number seven already), hardest because, well, look at my username. Corrupting my favorite Chapter, and doing so in a way that holds on to a painful echo of what they were.... A lot of alternate Heresies, even Renegades, completely remove the Salamanders' compassion as opposite to Chaos; here it remains, as a monstrous echo of what it once was. For the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and a Faustian bargain is no less demonic if it is made selflessly.

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post #52 of 77 (permalink) Old 08-13-17, 07:48 AM
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LDLB experienced the Beast, but not as anywhere near the threat he was in canon. In a real sense, in LDLB, recent events are not dissimilar to the ones preceding the canon War of the Beast. So for a time the Orks really were broken, as you say. But with the Tyranids and Necrons appearing, enough resources were driven away from containing the Orks that Ghazghkull was missed. And now he's indeed something like a second Beast. He approaches that even in canon, after all.
A fair point indeed. He is evolving into a second Beast already in canon.

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Yeah, I'm thinking that they'll have a different structure, one without Vect. More decentralization, but that somewhat helps because Comorragh is in a certain sense a city under siege. It's extraordinarily difficult to take, and with the Webway the DE have sufficient mobility to raid for supplies, but at the same time there's no real possibility of safety.
Again a fair point. I have always wondered why in canon Comorragh has invaded so few times, despite of its inherent vulnerabilities.

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Well, it's also that in LDLB the Scouring pretty smoothly transitioned into a war of expansion. The approach I'm going with for LDLB is that the Great Crusade conquered a large splotch of the galaxy, but hardly all, because as you said - 200 years is a short time for galactic conquest, and 7 years an even shorter time for reconquest. With canon, then, the Imperium stabilized after the Scouring in smaller borders than before it, and continued to expand after the Scouring proper; with LDLB there was more of an attempt to finish the Great Crusade.
Indeed. I have always thought seven year period of reconquest is one the most absurd numbers featured in Space Opera.

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Are you on alternatehistory.com ? I've hashed out the numbers there.
Sorry, I haven't been aware of that site. But it seems a great place. I'm going to register in.

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Yeah, I'm scratching my head as to what I was thinking while writing that. Possibly I meant to say Ninth instead of Nineteenth? As to the Raven Guard... time will tell, but thanks for the ideas.
And I always thank you for this magnificent AH.

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Heh. I'll admit that to me it was mainly a Starcraft reference (although again there's a change I'll make for FFN - instead of 'a fraction of my swarm has been corrupted', 'the ancestors of my swarm have returned', with the Tyranids as ancestors of the Zerg instead of the other way around, so that the timeline makes sense and so that the Tyranids are properly scary). But it's the Alpha Legion, so ambiguity is the order of the day regardless.
So LDLB is a Warhammer and Starcraft crossover? If so, how the two universes are connected? Events of Starcraft had occurred in the long past of 30k(i.e. Age of Terra and Stellar Exodus)?
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post #53 of 77 (permalink) Old 08-13-17, 08:59 AM
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As always, splendid IA. So refreshing, so original, so devoid of cliché. I salute your brilliant effort, Vulkan!

So how many Raven Guard, Custodes and Salamanders killed during the landing site skirmish? And why the Custodes and Emperor himself assaulted Salamanders, while other Traitor Legions allowed to land unopposed? And what is intention behind decision of permitting Traitors unimpeded landing?

What exactly did the Emperor to Vulkan during their dual? Here is my personal speculation: it seems he erased a specific portion of Primarch's memory to make him forget innate nature of his immortality and His momentary weakness...unfortunately, it also obliterated Vulkan's awareness of Nurgle's deception and insincerity. It also seems that wounds Emperor inflicted to Vulkan is deeply metaphysical as well as physical and permanently disabled and/or nullified his Perpetual faculties, so when Vulkan was destroyed at Kanak, his body, mind and soul were utterly eradicated; Magnus' coup de grâce was also inflicted on both planes of material and immaterial, so finished what the Emperor had done. Because of this, despite of Nurgle's virulent sorcery, it has been impossible to bring back life to Vulkan...he is simply ceased to exist, and unable to return.

And IIRC, while not nearly tarrying as the Second Fleet, the First Fleet conquered a few worlds for the eternal glory of of the Chaos during its Journey to Terra.

By the way, how the First Fleet Legions managed to reach the Inner Palace? AFAIK, the farthest breakthrough achieved by the First Fleet was Warsimith Krendl's suicide assault, and all he accomplished was breaching a hole upon the Outer Walls. And even the dreaded Second Fleet had not reached anywhere near the Sanctum Imperialis - in fact, even before the Second Betrayal of World Eaters, siege was largely stalemated for months.

How much Crusade-era Nocturne is advanced compared to canon? In any case, present "Nocturne" is more akin to an Industrial Hive World than Feral/Death World we are accustomed to.

How many times Salamanders invaded and razed Comorragh? I'm a little surprised at the mention that Salamanders have successfully infected the Dark City for five times...I suppose seven times would be far more pertinent for the Nurglite Legion.

So battle of Pythos was an all-out warfare between Lunar Wolves and Salamanders, which participated majority of both Legions and ended with decisive Salamanders victory? Are they still holding the death world? Or...Pythos is no longer a Death World?

How advanced the Salamanders technology, especially compared with other technologist Legions? It seems they have automated much of their gears and machines.

So Salamanders believe Imperium is corrupt, inefficient and not stalwart enough to defend humanity while they are just and true defenders of mankind? They are blinded of evil of Chaos, despite of Execution of "resurrected" Nocturnes?
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post #54 of 77 (permalink) Old 08-20-17, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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So LDLB is a Warhammer and Starcraft crossover? If so, how the two universes are connected? Events of Starcraft had occurred in the long past of 30k(i.e. Age of Terra and Stellar Exodus)?
Well, 'crossover' is a bit of an exaggeration - but yeah, I see some form of Starcraft's events as having happened in the distant past of 40K.

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As always, splendid IA. So refreshing, so original, so devoid of cliché. I salute your brilliant effort, Vulkan!
Thank you!

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So how many Raven Guard, Custodes and Salamanders killed during the landing site skirmish? And why the Custodes and Emperor himself assaulted Salamanders, while other Traitor Legions allowed to land unopposed? And what is intention behind decision of permitting Traitors unimpeded landing?
Not unopposed, but far less opposed. The numbers defending the Imperial Palace were much lower than the attackers', so the Emperor focused on one of the attacking Legions, trying to knock it out. As to why the Salamanders... well, that's a good question....

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What exactly did the Emperor to Vulkan during their dual? Here is my personal speculation: it seems he erased a specific portion of Primarch's memory to make him forget innate nature of his immortality and His momentary weakness...unfortunately, it also obliterated Vulkan's awareness of Nurgle's deception and insincerity. It also seems that wounds Emperor inflicted to Vulkan is deeply metaphysical as well as physical and permanently disabled and/or nullified his Perpetual faculties, so when Vulkan was destroyed at Kanak, his body, mind and soul were utterly eradicated; Magnus' coup de grâce was also inflicted on both planes of material and immaterial, so finished what the Emperor had done. Because of this, despite of Nurgle's virulent sorcery, it has been impossible to bring back life to Vulkan...he is simply ceased to exist, and unable to return.
Perhaps.... It's worth noting, though, that Vulkan's body has never been found (it was last seen sinking into lava). Some Salamanders have speculated that if it were retrieved and cooled to a livable temperature, Vulkan would regenerate once again. But the Emperor clearly did something. (I'm not going to go into more specifics because whatever this was, it's intimately connected with the Emperor's own backstory, intentionally left mysterious.)

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And IIRC, while not nearly tarrying as the Second Fleet, the First Fleet conquered a few worlds for the eternal glory of of the Chaos during its Journey to Terra.
Fair point.

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By the way, how the First Fleet Legions managed to reach the Inner Palace? AFAIK, the farthest breakthrough achieved by the First Fleet was Warsimith Krendl's suicide assault, and all he accomplished was breaching a hole upon the Outer Walls. And even the dreaded Second Fleet had not reached anywhere near the Sanctum Imperialis - in fact, even before the Second Betrayal of World Eaters, siege was largely stalemated for months.
...Outer Palace, not Inner Palace. Sorry. The point is that the way was open, before the DG arrived, enough that there would have been a breakthrough.


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How much Crusade-era Nocturne is advanced compared to canon? In any case, present "Nocturne" is more akin to an Industrial Hive World than Feral/Death World we are accustomed to.
Crusade-era Nocturne was more technologically advanced than canon in terms of the civilian population - a function of Vulkan's slightly different personality - but at the same time a Nocturnean from before Vulkan would still recognize it. Some schizo-tech tendencies; but no large-scale terraforming, for instance. Nocturne the daemon world is similar. Industry is there, and populations are higher, but salamanders (monstrous parodies of what they once were, to be sure) still live in the mountains, and the seven largest metropoli are in the same locations as they were ten thousand years ago. It's not the most efficient of homeworlds, but the Salamanders are not ones to give up on tradition.

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How many times Salamanders invaded and razed Comorragh? I'm a little surprised at the mention that Salamanders have successfully infected the Dark City for five times...I suppose seven times would be far more pertinent for the Nurglite Legion.
Oh, it would. But then, the Commorrites have successfully contained those first five plagues. Who knows what will happen when the Salamanders release the seventh....

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So battle of Pythos was an all-out warfare between Lunar Wolves and Salamanders, which participated majority of both Legions and ended with decisive Salamanders victory? Are they still holding the death world? Or...Pythos is no longer a Death World?
I'd say it's now a Salamander-owned Daemon World; perhaps threatened by the Imperium or other Chaos Legions several times, but because of its importance to the Salamanders they'll fight tooth and nail to keep it. Though now I realize that I don't actually know its galactic position; if it's far from the Eye, the local warband probably doesn't have much of a connection to the rest of the Legion anymore.

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How advanced the Salamanders technology, especially compared with other technologist Legions? It seems they have automated much of their gears and machines.
Between the DA, IH, Salamanders, IW, and WS? The thing is that it's often hard to delineate exactly what counts as technology, and what counts as sorcery - the DA have a much more expansive view of the former than the Salamanders. I suppose I'd give, if pressed, an order of DA-IW-Sal-WS-IH for military tech and DA-(gap)-IH-Sal-IW-(gap)-WS for civilian tech; but they all have their specialties. Speed for the WS, but they lack much of an industrial base, focusing on weapons almost artisanally - often trading with other Legions. The DA have their daemon-engines and other intricate meldings of ether and matter, less focused on war than one might expect, more curiosity about what's possible. The IH have superiority in bionics and information technology, but also artillery and scouting tech. The IW get the 'civil engineering' department, with a strong martial focus but also the knowledge to build the tools for it, as well as sharing massive engines with the DA; less sorcery-technology integration than the previous three. As for the Salamanders themselves... they have a strict separation between the Librarium and the Forge, and especially high integration of non-Astartes into technological matters. Strong in materials science, and naval engineering; there's again a more artisanal approach, but in a more organized fashion than for the WS - there's a sense of the craftsman having a responsibility to the object, but there's also more infrastructure to build those objects with, compared to the WS. A fair bit of automation is used because of low Astarte numbers per warband.

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So Salamanders believe Imperium is corrupt, inefficient and not stalwart enough to defend humanity while they are just and true defenders of mankind? They are blinded of evil of Chaos, despite of Execution of "resurrected" Nocturnes?
Those that performed those executions tended to be strongly affected by that, yes... and that's probably a part of why they refused to consider leaving Kanak. The survivors were mainly Astartes that were not in Vulkan's inner circle, and indeed tended to be the more devoted ones on the whole. That said, while blind to some of the implications of what they're doing, the anti-Imperial attitude is complex. It's not just about the Imperium's competence - to some extent it's about whether the Imperium should even exist. Varies depending on warband as well.

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post #55 of 77 (permalink) Old 08-20-17, 11:33 AM
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Well, 'crossover' is a bit of an exaggeration - but yeah, I see some form of Starcraft's events as having happened in the distant past of 40K.
That is...most intriguing. It is not hard to believe Emperor built UED to ensure humanity's continued survival, prosperity and expansion into stars.

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Not unopposed, but far less opposed. The numbers defending the Imperial Palace were much lower than the attackers', so the Emperor focused on one of the attacking Legions, trying to knock it out. As to why the Salamanders... well, that's a good question....
Three Legions plus Custodes and Silent Sisterhood against Four Legions. Why number of defenders were much lower than attackers? Thus, Raven Guard and Custodes failed to achieve their mission? How severe was exchange rate(that is why I had asked casualties of each combatant in the first place; as you know, exchange rate between Custodes and Thousand Sons is literally insane)? And why hadn't Raven Guard and Custodes simply pulverized landing site with their archeotech devises?

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Perhaps.... It's worth noting, though, that Vulkan's body has never been found (it was last seen sinking into lava). Some Salamanders have speculated that if it were retrieved and cooled to a livable temperature, Vulkan would regenerate once again. But the Emperor clearly did something. (I'm not going to go into more specifics because whatever this was, it's intimately connected with the Emperor's own backstory, intentionally left mysterious.)
And will be left as enigma forevermore?

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...Outer Palace, not Inner Palace. Sorry. The point is that the way was open, before the DG arrived, enough that there would have been a breakthrough.
And why on Throne Emperor and Warmasters had not closed the obvious opening?

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Crusade-era Nocturne was more technologically advanced than canon in terms of the civilian population - a function of Vulkan's slightly different personality - but at the same time a Nocturnean from before Vulkan would still recognize it. Some schizo-tech tendencies; but no large-scale terraforming, for instance. Nocturne the daemon world is similar. Industry is there, and populations are higher, but salamanders (monstrous parodies of what they once were, to be sure) still live in the mountains, and the seven largest metropoli are in the same locations as they were ten thousand years ago. It's not the most efficient of homeworlds, but the Salamanders are not ones to give up on tradition.
It is really sad that the Eighteenth Legion itself had not lived up its tradition.

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Oh, it would. But then, the Commorrites have successfully contained those first five plagues. Who knows what will happen when the Salamanders release the seventh....
Then those vile abominations will all die.

And how Commorrites respond to invasions and infections of the Salamanders?

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I'd say it's now a Salamander-owned Daemon World; perhaps threatened by the Imperium or other Chaos Legions several times, but because of its importance to the Salamanders they'll fight tooth and nail to keep it. Though now I realize that I don't actually know its galactic position; if it's far from the Eye, the local warband probably doesn't have much of a connection to the rest of the Legion anymore.
Indeed. So Battle of Pythos was really warband scale?

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Between the DA, IH, Salamanders, IW, and WS? The thing is that it's often hard to delineate exactly what counts as technology, and what counts as sorcery - the DA have a much more expansive view of the former than the Salamanders. I suppose I'd give, if pressed, an order of DA-IW-Sal-WS-IH for military tech and DA-(gap)-IH-Sal-IW-(gap)-WS for civilian tech; but they all have their specialties. Speed for the WS, but they lack much of an industrial base, focusing on weapons almost artisanally - often trading with other Legions. The DA have their daemon-engines and other intricate meldings of ether and matter, less focused on war than one might expect, more curiosity about what's possible. The IH have superiority in bionics and information technology, but also artillery and scouting tech. The IW get the 'civil engineering' department, with a strong martial focus but also the knowledge to build the tools for it, as well as sharing massive engines with the DA; less sorcery-technology integration than the previous three. As for the Salamanders themselves... they have a strict separation between the Librarium and the Forge, and especially high integration of non-Astartes into technological matters. Strong in materials science, and naval engineering; there's again a more artisanal approach, but in a more organized fashion than for the WS - there's a sense of the craftsman having a responsibility to the object, but there's also more infrastructure to build those objects with, compared to the WS. A fair bit of automation is used because of low Astarte numbers per warband.
Including Imperial Legions, especially Raven Guard(yeah, I'm really hyped up with them - they look so magnificent, unbelievably cool concepts pure unadulterated condensation). Oh, and do Thousand Sons utilize psytech like canon?

Anyway, thank you very much for extremely detailed information! Frankly, I had not expected such encyclopedic answer.

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Those that performed those executions tended to be strongly affected by that, yes... and that's probably a part of why they refused to consider leaving Kanak. The survivors were mainly Astartes that were not in Vulkan's inner circle, and indeed tended to be the more devoted ones on the whole. That said, while blind to some of the implications of what they're doing, the anti-Imperial attitude is complex. It's not just about the Imperium's competence - to some extent it's about whether the Imperium should even exist. Varies depending on warband as well.
So Salamanders are actually anarchists?
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Three Legions plus Custodes and Silent Sisterhood against Four Legions. Why number of defenders were much lower than attackers? Thus, Raven Guard and Custodes failed to achieve their mission? How severe was exchange rate(that is why I had asked casualties of each combatant in the first place; as you know, exchange rate between Custodes and Thousand Sons is literally insane)? And why hadn't Raven Guard and Custodes simply pulverized landing site with their archeotech devises?
Portions of three Legions, plus Custodes and SoS, against the vast majority of four Legions' forces. The besiegers had a major numerical advantage - as is necessary for any siege to be a fair contest (and before the DG arrived I've already established that the traitors were doing well).


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And will be left as enigma forevermore?
Maybe. Again, right now I really want to finish the last few IAs, and after that there's Renegades and a whole host of ideas.

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And why on Throne Emperor and Warmasters had not closed the obvious opening?
They couldn't. That is, if the DG had arrived several days later, the Warmasters would have executed a retreat to the Inner Palace. The battle wasn't lost, at that point, but the Loyalists were behind.

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And how Commorrites respond to invasions and infections of the Salamanders?
Well, they've retaliated somewhat, but they're not going to go into the Eye, so Nocturne itself is safe. After the second plague they had a campaign of capturing Salamanders to torture them, but then the XVIII used that to get the third plague in. On the whole, though, it doesn't really define either faction - there's a special hate between Salamanders and Dark Eldar, but even if there wasn't, meetings between them would almost always be violent anyhow. 5 or 6 plagues, bad as they were, over ten thousand years.

(The span of time is worth emphasizing. Commorragh is well-defended and easily segmentable - only a few credible attempts against it have been made. But when the dark eldar are few in number, it's a lot easier for them to gain soul energy, to the point that they don't need to raid the Imperium. So they've recovered from the few close calls they had, and the haemonculi have resurrected each other and then the cult leaders, and suddenly we're back about where we started.)

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Indeed. So Battle of Pythos was really warband scale?
No, the battle itself was a great host of many warbands on the Salamander side and a large part of the Luna Wolves against them. Since then

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Including Imperial Legions, especially Raven Guard(yeah, I'm really hyped up with them - they look so magnificent, unbelievably cool concepts pure unadulterated condensation). Oh, and do Thousand Sons utilize psytech like canon?
Well, hopefully I can make the RG live up to that.... The TS do utilize psytech, and the EC have their own technological strengths, but really they're behind the technologist Chaos Legions because specialization. (Their technological level is pretty good, and the Final Shore's is even better, but it's not their technology per se.) The RG are another matter - probably on par with the Dark Angels? Ahead on combat tech, behind on noncombat... but it's complicated, because their relationship with the Mechanicum is complicated. And that's all I'm going to say for now.

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So Salamanders are actually anarchists?
No, no. I'm not doing a good job of explaining this - of course, it's not like this is a consistent belief system; each warband really has its own beliefs. But they really hate the Imperium for what happened to Nocturne. And now Alpharius's Imperium does a really good job of preventing that sort of incident, so their hate is even less constructive than would otherwise be the case. But it's not, at its base, a rational hate - it's a hate for the destruction of Nocturne, and for what the price for its resurrection was.

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Index Astartes: Emperor's Children



Origins



When the Primarchs were stolen away from the Emperor's grasp, they landed on worlds throughout the galaxy. Each of them, in their own way, became a hero of that world, leading it to new prominence in the galaxy - although with that prominence came a revelation of the fragility that all of the Primarchs' homeworlds shared. Thus some of the Primarchs, by tragic circumstances or by their own actions, killed their homeworlds.


Fulgrim was the only one that, even before the Emperor's arrival, saved his.


Chemos before Fulgrim was a mining world that had become isolated from its markets during the Warp storms of the Age of Strife. No longer able to import food or refined products, it found itself unable to rebuild itself to be self-sufficient. Ancient machinery gradually broke down, the people of Chemos compensating by working harder. Only it was not enough, and Chemos fell into a spiral of entropy that, by Fulgrim's time, had reached an end state - incomprehensible technology maintained by ever-shrinking cities with no time for recreation, leisure, or art. Without the Primarch, it is likely Chemos would have been a Dead World when the Crusade found it.


Fulgrim was found by the planetary police force, the Caretakers, who were so impressed with the infant's beauty that they raised him despite a general custom of putting orphans to death so as not to spend resources on them. As all the Primarchs, he grew rapidly, and came to understand that his world was dying.


Fulgrim could do the work of two adult laborers by the age most children started working; but what mattered far more was his innate management engineering talent. He intuitively understood how the technology of Chemos worked and - what is more - how to improve it. The Executives of Chemos were initially skeptical of the child prodigy's proposals, but they were soon convinced by those proposals' great success.


Under the direction of the young Primarch, who became known as the Eaglestar, industry improved in efficiency by great leaps, abandoned factories were reclaimed, and contact between the cities of Chemos was re-established. He grew to be acknowledged as ruler of the entire planet through consensus - Chemos had long emphasized meritocracy, allowing those most fit to rule to do so, and there was no one else who even approached Fulgrim's merit. While the Eaglestar did not stop personally working long hours, free time did gradually return to the lives of Chemos's population, time that Fulgrim encouraged to be used in artistic activities - the cultural heritage of the world being reclaimed from ancient ruins and reforged in brilliance.


Yet Fulgrim did not stop there. He knew from the histories that Chemos had once been in communication with other worlds; he read, too, about the travel through the Warp that enabled interstellar distances to be crossed on human timescales. Thus he sanctioned a project to attempt to recreate the Warp drive. In this, however, he failed. When the kinks were thought to have been worked out, the triumphant first manned flight ended in fire and madness, leaving a great Warp Storm in the midst of the easiest route to access Chemos by.


Crushed by the loss, and certain that it was his fault, Fulgrim responded by intensifying studies into the Warp, along with safety standards on those experiments. He did not lose focus on completing the rebuilding of Chemos, turning it into a paradisaical planet filled with great gardens while its industry was modified to be maximally aesthetic and maximally sustainable, but he made it a personal project to perfect the Warp drive after all.


And being a Primarch, he succeeded. Not long after contact was established with the nearest systems in the still-accessible directions, the Eaglestar flew a great starship called the Renewal (as both its captain and its Navigator-equivalent) on a great mission of exploration. There, he heard the first rumors of an expanding Imperium of Man.


Yet the rumors flowed in the opposite direction as well; and two years into Fulgrim's mission, the Renewal encountered, in orbit around the planet Torch, the Emperor of Mankind's Bucephelus.


The Great Crusade



Fulgrim recognized his father as soon they met, and knelt without a word. Chemos was pledged to the Imperium, and the Eaglestar flew to Terra to meet his gene-sons.


But while the Third Legion had the same formal rank as the other Legions, it did not have the numbers. Its gene-seed stocks had been lost to sabotage, and without the Primarch's presence restoring it was an inefficient process. Yet the Astartes of the Third refused to fight less intensely for it, and so the Legion was on the verge of extinction. The entire Legion was called back to Terra to meet Fulgrim, yet it numbered less than a hundred Astartes.


Fulgrim gave a grand speech to the Legion, one that confirmed their name as the Emperor's Children and affirmed their sole right to wear the Imperial aquila on their armor; yet it was clear that it would take years, even with the Eaglestar's presence, for them to rebuild their numbers to effective combat strength. Thus Fulgrim remained on Terra, and there he met his brothers.


This was the peak of the Great Crusade, in a sense, a time when those who would become the greatest of the Primarchs knelt to their father in quick succession. Alpharius had been recently found, and Magnus would be rediscovered a few years after Fulgrim left Terra. Yet the Primarch found immediately after Fulgrim, and the one with which the Eaglestar forged the closest link, was Roboute Guilliman.


Fulgrim and Guilliman learned about the Imperium together, and together they dreamed of its future. They embraced the Emperor's vision - unity, secularism, grandeur, and above all eternity. They did compete with each other in little things such as the decoration of their flagship, but both ultimately, more than anything, wished to see mankind triumphant. And when the Emperor's Children - then five thousand strong, not counting the initiates still on Terra and Chemos - first set off on the Great Crusade after Fulgrim's arrival, it was Guilliman's fleet that the refurbished Renewal flew alongside.


"Our Primarch was raised on a world without war. That, in itself, is irony enough; but what some have found strange is that he has not been repulsed by conflict, and indeed has embraced it more than many of his brothers who were generals since youth.


"But while Chemos lacked war, it had not forgotten it. What had by Fulgrim's time become huddled fortress-factories had once been cities mighty enough to war with one another over resources, and Fulgrim heard tales of military glory in his youth just as we did. The Primarch could, of course, recognize the wars of declining Chemos as futile; but he saw, as we did, that the Great Crusade was no ordinary war.


"Fulgrim entered the Great Crusade with the same desire to prove himself as each Astarte does when he is first recruited. Yet he also entered it with the demonstration of a broken Legion, and the friendship of a Primarch who had lost his family to meaningless war. He was no fool dreaming of glory... yet he was aware that war can be glorious, Legion war more than most.


"That is, I suspect, why he ever demands control of the Legion's theaters of war. If a world can be turned to the Imperium by diplomacy, Fulgrim will do so. If a realm must be razed with no chance of peaceful integration, he will end it in brilliantly elegant fashion. But Fulgrim despises meaningless war against reasonable human domains, even to the point of allowing others to fight such wars without our Legion's support.


"And he is right to do so. There is glory and beauty in war, but not in the sort of warfare that helped end Chemos."


- From the writings of Lord Commander Vespasian


Yet Fulgrim grew close to others too. He respected the sheer focus of Leman Russ and Perturabo, even if he found them somewhat monomaniacal about war - especially Perturabo. His closest friendship besides that with Guilliman was with Ferrus Manus, mainly due to the latter's genius in creation both mechanical and social. Other Primarchs, however, disappointed Fulgrim when he met them. With Angron and Sanguinius, this was merely a feeling of a lack of dedication, one that would later be explained by those two Primarchs having in truth incompatible goals with the Emperor's. Sanguinius especially had a rivalry with Fulgrim, one that both Primarchs commemorated in art, symbolized by their mutual use of the wing motif. But worst was Rogal Dorn, whose regressive nihilism Fulgrim couldn't not despise.


It took most of a century for the numbers of the Emperor's Children to finally reach the Emperor-given nominal size of a hundred thousand Astartes. It would have taken even longer, but Fulgrim did hold his Legion back from battle when necessary, for he remembered all too well its state upon his meeting them. For the rebirth of his world and his Legion both, he became known as the Phoenician by the Imperium, though he kept the eagle-and-star as his personal sigil.


Yet none could deny the Emperor's Children did fight with great determination, especially when their numbers had stabilized (for their gene-seed infrastructure was greater than any other Legion's). On a world ironically called Flogreem, for a myth distantly related to the one the Phoenician had been named for, they met a population of techno-barbarian fanatics terrified of the Imperium; yet they were conquered when Fulgrim engineered an eclipse of the local by Flogreem's rings that sent the people into panic as the Emperor's Children attacked them, ensuring victory without a single Legionary life lost. But sometimes, Fulgrim knew, victory could only be achieved with the combination of willpower, tactics, and blood, as against the psychic arachnids known as the Isexat. There, thousands of Emperor's Children lost their lives in brutal warfare throughout the hundred-world empire, yet after Fulgrim forced the aliens' main fleet into a pincer, the Legion achieved victory over a region the Imperial Army had unsuccessfully besieged for ten Terran years in three months. In either type of war, Fulgrim demanded nothing less than perfection from his warriors - but with awareness that said perfection was impossible, and that in some wars victory was easier than in others. Thus, before his arrival, the Legion had followed a custom of toasting to the victory to come before a battle; Fulgrim allowed the custom to continue, but soon changed it to a more somber ceremony that reflected duty rather than pride alone (though that pride never faded, as Fulgrim saw it as a useful element of his Legion's culture to demand the best from themselves).


Not too long after the war against the Isexat, Fulgrim joined Guilliman once more. This time their fleets combined to the full strengths of two Legions, and was joined by other forces including the Emperor of Mankind himself. Then, they flew out to fight perhaps the greatest campaign of the Great Crusade, against the most powerful xeno empire yet encountered - the Ullanor Campaign.


The campaign against the orks of Ullanor was planned as much by Fulgrim and Guilliman as by the Emperor himself. It was a complete, brilliant success. Fulgrim's inherent optimism balanced out Guilliman's tendency towards pessimism to cut the empire into pieces, and ensure that its leader would face the Emperor and the two Primarchs alone. The victory of Ullanor was followed by a great Triumph, and it was there that Fulgrim and Guilliman were pronounced Warmasters, left to lead the Great Crusade in the Emperor's stead. There, too, they were first warned of the true dangers of Chaos.


Some would have taken that knowledge as a sign to shrink away from psychic power in fear; Fulgrim did not, and indeed expanded his Legion's Librarium while encouraging the acceptance of psychic power throughout the Imperium. This would, for instance, prove crucial in cleansing the xeno world of Laeran from Chaos taint. But the Emperor's Children retained, too, their reputation as fearsome warriors in person, without the aid of such abilities. They were, nonetheless, undoubtedly artists and builders as well as strategists and warriors; the worlds around Chemos, unified into a Realm of Eagles, became garden worlds that combined the appearance of wild nature with great industrial output, a rival to Ultramar - especially after the Warp Storm impeding trade was cleared by the combination of time and the Third's Librarium.


"Perfection is an aim, Roboute, an aim that I will always strive for but that I know full well is unattainable. And that means that no one is perfect. Not even our father. Yes, I know that, though he might not say it, he would prefer to have the Libraria be ended, perhaps even the entire Fifteenth... but to do so would be hypocrisy. The Warp exists, as do the monsters within it. If we deny that, in word or in deed, we put a conscious flaw into the Imperial Truth; and with that intentional weakness, the entire body of the Imperium's ideals would be corrupt, and doomed."


- Fulgrim Eaglestar


But while Fulgrim and Guilliman pushed the edge of the Crusade ever forward to the edge of the galaxy, the glory of the Imperium's golden age turned in upon itself.


The Great Betrayal



Guilliman had concerns about certain fleet movements in the months before the Great Betrayal, but Fulgrim reassured him that the movements were almost certainly innocent. To be fair to the Phoenician, however, the only alternative explanation was the beginning of open rebellion - and only Alpharius could conceive such a possibility at the time.


When news did come to the Warmasters, they hurried to Terra immediately, even as they ordered forces to intercept the traitors' fleets - the Second Fleet specifically, when that division became clear. But while Fulgrim and Guilliman were not too distant from either each other or Terra when news of Isstvan came, to return in time was still a task only the best ships in either fleet could achieve - and Fulgrim was further from Terra than Guilliman.


Forty thousand Ultramarines arrived on Terra, but only twenty thousand Emperor's Children, for there was only one ship in the latter fleet fast enough to reach the Throneworld in time: the Renewal, refurbished yet again with the Mechanicum's most advanced technology for the Phoenician upon his ascension to Warmaster. The ship had never truly been intended to carry even half as many warriors, and so most of the Legion's crusading strength was left behind to fight the galaxy-wide war, under the command of Lord Commander Eidolon.


In the meantime, Fulgrim landed on Terra, embracing Guilliman and Corax through tears as the three Primarchs prepared to defend the Imperial Palace, once again under their father's command. Yet their plans were dealt a heavy setback, because that Emperor could not fight on the front lines.


The Webway Project had been the Emperor's reason for returning to Terra, a grand plan to allow interstellar travel without the aid of the Warp. Yet in its unfinished state, it was also a severe security vulnerability; and while attempting to seal that vulnerability, the Emperor was hurt, and hurt grievously. When the First Fleet landed, he was further wounded by Vulkan, after which he could fight only for brief periods of time without completely ruining his recovery - though it is believed he would have recovered, in time.


As the First Fleet fell upon Terra, according to the hastily rewritten battle plan, Fulgrim and the Astartes with him attempted to harass the landing sites of the White Scars, Doom Fists, and Iron Warriors, both to ensure some casualties and prevent them from coming to the Salamanders' aid while the Custodes and Raven Guard fell upon them, and the Ultramarines held the palace; Fulgrim briefly crossed blades with Perturabo in this time, forcing the Lord of Iron on the defensive but being forced to retreat long before the duel could be decided.


And then the siege began. The Iron Warriors battered the walls of the Imperial Palace, ever on the front line, while the White Scars attacked lesser strongholds across Terra, and the Salamanders and Fists fought together in a more cautious fashion. Fulgrim noted the disunity within the traitors' ranks as early as the third day of the siege, and did his best to exploit it. Sallies between the gaps in the traitors' lines were undertaken; notably, captain Marius Vairosean led a mission against the White Scars' camp that opened a sinkhole underneath it, leaving the Fifth Legion without a base.


For all those minor victories, the traitors had a numerical advantage and a great deal of weaponry and psychic power both, and the loyalists were taking heavy losses; and so Fulgrim and Guilliman were forced to plan for a contraction of their perimeter. Many forces were withdrawn to the Inner Palace, and the traitors were on the edge of a major breakthrough - but Mortarion arrived just in time.


As soon as the Fourteenth and its vast fleet were spotted above Terra, Ancient Rylanor lifted the Renewal out of its hiding place in the Palace, and the great flagship broke the traitor lines, leading the rest of the fleet hidden on Terra into an attack that broke the First Fleet's naval elements. The ground forces were stunned as Fulgrim and Guilliman led a counterattack, now supported by the Death Guard's bombardment and landing. Soon after, the Space Wolves arrived on Terra along with a large Emperor's Children detachment under captain Solomon Demeter, the four Legions of the First Fleet reduced to scattered holdfasts, less than one in three of their Legionnaries left alive.


But two days before every expectation, the orbit of Neptune bled with aetheric fire, and the Second Fleet came to Sol.


Mortarion led the orbital battle; yet it was a bloodier affair than expected, with the full power of Chaos sorcery being brought to bear against the Imperium for the first time. The mortal crew of the Renewal, for instance, were corrupted by a foul ritual, and Rylanor was forced to give his own life in destroying the flagship. The Palace's walls, however, held firmer than ever, to the extent that Fulgrim granted Russ's request to fight the traitors outside them, defending Terra's remaining civilians. Even the most successful assault of the Lion's engines only resulted in Guilliman meeting the First Primarch, being knocked unconscious for days but beating the attack back. It was in the tunnels below that the Word Bearers, Iron Hands, and Dark Angels were closest to a breakthrough, but Demeter and Nathaniel Garro of the Death Guard held them back there as well.


Yet it was not easy, any of it. Eidolon found that out to his own doom in the galactic war, when he attacked Hydra Cordatus, which seemed to be a lightly defended rebellious world. He died under a tide of daemons, one only stopped with great difficulty after First Captain Julius Kaesoron took command. The Realm of Eagles too came under attack, by the Venest, a coalition of xeno species once thought defeated that struck deep into the Imperium - among them a small number of the dread Rangdan. It was Saul Tarvitz, the highest-ranking officer in the region, who rallied the local strength of the Legion and of the Imperial Army and saved the Realm of Eagles in a lengthy holding action, the invasion's back being broken when Kaesoron hurried back to Chemos with twenty thousand Astartes, though it would take centuries for some of the worlds the Venest took to be cleansed.


On Terra itself, though the fighting reached a fever pitch, as Lorgar and Ferrus Manus themselves led a subterranean attack. Garro and Demeter found their defenses either evaded with ease or smashed through, Demeter being killed by Ferrus.


Yet the Inner Palace was as well-defended as any fortress of the time. Fulgrim and Guilliman had designed those defenses to divide an attacking force into smaller fragments, yet Astartes were needed to ensure this happened without the walls being left undefended - a task which Lord Commander Vespasian volunteered to lead. Five hundred Emperor's Children and five hundred Ultramarines fought against ten thousand traitorous Astartes and their daemonic allies; of them all, only one survived, yet their task was achieved. The traitors' host was left in tatters, Ferrus Manus turned back, and with Horus on the way it was clear the Imperial Palace was no longer under threat.


Yet the Emperor still was. For Lorgar, alone but guided by the whispers of Chaos, continued his march to the Throne Room. And so Fulgrim, sending the Emperor to a safer location, clashed with the Archtraitor in the heart of the Imperium.


Fulgrim looked at the mangled body of his son. Alone of Vespasian's thousand, Lucius would live, live outside the shell of a Dreadnought - though even surviving within a Dreadnought would have been a miracle. Fabius was brilliant, truly brilliant, even if he needed to be held back from going too far all too often. Even Lucius's face would retain its beauty, though perhaps one or two faint scars would remain.


Beauty. Not beauty in the simple sense of attractiveness, but majesty. That had been why he had been spared in his first day of life on Chemos, when he had not even been fully conscious yet; it was something innate. Something given by his father. Something that did not depend on him.


And Fulgrim tensed, as he remembered Vespasian's insistence that Fulgrim stay behind, as a last defense for the Emperor. He knew his Lord Commander had been entirely correct, but... it had hurt all the more for it. It had hurt to sit back, for nearly the entirety of the siege.


He lifted Unending, inspecting the longsword Roboute had forged for him what seemed like an eternity ago. Now Roboute lay unconscious, mangled by the Lion. Mortarion was fighting the void war at Iapetus. Leman was half a world away, fighting in southern Afrika last Fulgrim had heard. Corax was completing the mothballing of the Webway.


Fulgrim was glad, in truth, that none of them were available. He needed to do this alone. To test himself, not against Lorgar - for Lorgar, while a Primarch, had never been among the more martial of his brothers - but against the Warp entities that backed him. For those self-titled gods were, without doubt, greater than he was. And -


And what was the point of fighting, if not as a test against the impossible?


A beep on his collar told him it was time, and he walked into the Throne Room, locking the door. His father would understand, when he awoke. If he fell, the psychic wards would switch back, and Lorgar would find himself trapped, to face the Emperor and the Custodes in due time; but for now... he needed to try this alone.


Because the wall was shattering, revealing a golden-headed prince, one whose armor was carved with intricate eye-paining writings down to the micrometer, one who seemed to set the air around himself ablaze with golden fire. The psychic aura was greater than Fulgrim had ever felt around one who was not his father - and even the Emperor rarely let his power show as strongly as this seeming demigod did.


Because Lorgar was here.


"You?!" Lorgar roared in shock as he entered. "Not even Father. You, for all mankind?"


"For everything," Fulgrim said, readying Unending. "But above all, for the audacity of our dream."


He had held back for the entire siege. He had held back, in a sense, for the entire Crusade; his Legion could not have survived otherwise.


But now, as two blades crashed in the last duel of humanity's greatest war, Fulgrim held nothing back.


The duel took no less than an hour. Without Chaos, it would have been an easy victory for Fulgrim; as it was, Lorgar was empowered by dark energies. None knows what truly happened in that time, but when the Emperor rushed into the room he saw both combatants mortally wounded.


But as the Emperor took Fulgrim's hand in that moment, Lorgar unleashed his foulest ritual. He sacrificed his very soul. Many believe it was to wound the Emperor, but in truth Lorgar did not have that level of control. Instead, he burned his soul to unleash a massive explosion, one that would have left the heart of Segmentum Solar - including humanity's homeworld - at the center of a Warp Storm. The Emperor and Primarchs would have lived, but the population of the Imperium's core would not have been so lucky, and the Imperium itself would have suffered a wound that might well have been fatal.


And so the Emperor took the attack's force upon his own body; and in the span of minutes, the Imperium had lost its brightest star, its worst traitor, and its incarnate leader.


The Escape



The Legion reacted in different ways to the loss of its leader, father, and savior - for the Third was more devoted to its Primarch than perhaps any other Legion. As the traitors' ships fled Terra, many of the Third that remained on the Throneworld simply stood in shock.


Others reacted by sharpening their will and their hate. Julius Kaesoron, upon taking command of the Legion, led a punitive fleet against Nuceria, the homeworld of the World Eaters - a Legion that had abandoned Terra at the battle's height, for reasons that were still a mystery at the time. Commanding a vast armada containing most of the Legion's remaining strength from the greatest ship remaining in the Third Legion's fleet, the Pride of the Emperor, he flew with the aim of destroying Nuceria via Exterminatus, as vengeance for Fulgrim, leaving Tarvitz to hold Chemos once again.


When the flotilla reached Nuceria's system, though, things did not go according to plan. The World Eaters' intact fleet was orbiting the planet, and upon Kaesoron's arrival quickly began a retreat. The Emperor's Children sought to cut it off, yet Kaesoron could not truly stop a Primarch from leading a fleet almost as large as his own to disengage.


He did his best nevertheless, single-mindedly cutting off all routes of retreat he could spot. Perhaps he would even have succeeded in forcing a battle, if not for two events. The first was Angron's psychic message - one that promised ill fortune to any who fought a battle on both sides, a psychic command of retreat that shocked the Third's Librarians into being of little use for the rest of the fight. It was from this message that one of the most powerful of those Librarians - Anguis the Inverter - later deduced the truth of the Twelfth's allegiance. The second was the decision by Captain Kharn of the World Eaters to ignore that command and cover the retreat of the fleet's remainder.


Kaesoron stubbornly fought to contain the World Eaters nevertheless, in a magnificent net of precise strikes that began to cut Kharn's fleet to pieces. Yet in these attacks - brilliantly coordinated as they were - Kaesoron neglected defense, and Kharn's boarding torpedoes reached the ship, Kharn himself killing Kaesoron before retreating. And with the loss of their leader, the cohesion of the Emperor's Children collapsed. Captain Telemachon Lyras found a way to chase away Kharn's few ships, securing Nuceria before succumbing to his wounds, but the Legion returned to Chemos humiliated by their victory, as the survivors of Terra returned to Chemos lost without their Primarch.


There, it was Captain Lucius, recovering from his near-death experience on Terra, that galvanized the Legion. He spoke of the need to continue striving for perfection, and of the potential for greatness that the Legion still had. They might have slipped some in the losses of the Betrayal, but they were still on the right path.


Lucius's good friend Tarvitz became the Legion Master, whereas Lucius became the first non-Primarch to bear the title of Warmaster, ultimately confirmed by Malcador and the surviving loyal Primarchs as supreme commander of Imperial offensive operations. Thus, it was Tarvitz who named art as the Legion's non-combat calling (a choice that surprised nobody). Lucius stepped down as Warmaster after ten years, but he and Tarvitz continued fighting on the front lines of the Imperium's reclamation, to restore the glory of the Third Legion and the dream of perfect Unity.


The Long War



Even as the Imperium's progress has slowed over the millennia, the Emperor's Children have held onto that dream. Perfection may be unachievable, but the Third Legion holds that it is possible to be arbitrarily close to it, and that it is absolutely imperative to try. The Legion's leaders are usually the first to support great campaigns of conquest, often chafing under the overall caution of the Imperium. Above all, the Emperor's Children are ambitious in choosing their projects, in art and in battle alike, their ultimate aim being the final fulfillment of their Primarch's dream.


Saul Tarvitz leads the Legion still. He suffered mortal wounds at the battle of Thessala against the nomads of the Diasporex, but the intervention of the Ultramarines under Guilliman himself allowed his body to be interred in one of the first Eternal-class Dreadnoughts, invented a decade earlier by a collaboration with the Emperor's Children's Chief Apothecary Fabius as deputy - Fabius himself tragically dying thirty years later due to his self-experimentation. Since then, Tarvitz has stepped down several times, sometimes for centuries, but has always ultimately returned to Legion Master. Lucius too has been interned in an Eternal dreadnought, uniquely not due to injuries suffered in battle but rather accumulated radiation damage and consequent aging, across over a millennium of active service.


"That's the irony of it all, Emmesh. Saul doesn't want it. He was entirely content to be a line officer, to focus on being perfect within his position; but circumstances outpaced him.


"But do not take that to mean that he has an excess of false humility. Saul is driven to do the best he can in any position he is in - not for himself, not even a little bit, but only for the Legion and for the dream. He doesn't want to lead the Legion, but neither does he want to avoid that leadership. And that is why he is the perfect choice, one no one over ten thousand years has compared to.


"It is a different situation to mine - a completely different one. I stepped down as Warmaster after a decade because Warmaster is a position for youth and ambition. Tarvitz is still Legion Master after a thousand decades because that is a position for experience and dedication. The offensive Warmaster embodies the Primarch's expansion of the Imperium. The Legion Master embodies his salvation of Chemos."


- Lucius


The Emperor's Children have participated in countless campaigns over the millennia. In M32, it was the Emperor's Children that shattered the remnants of the Beast's empire after the Beast's death, putting a final end to the most severe ork threat between Ullanor and Armageddon. In late M34, they crippled the eldar craftworld Lugganath, failing to completely destroy it but reducing it to a wraithstone skeleton and stopping its ability to strike at the Imperium for a millennium. Between 610.M36 and 660.M36, in the Dark Marches Crusade, hundreds of worlds were secured and added to the Imperium in a slow encirclement, despite interference from a massive Hrud migartion. In late M39, an armada that included three Millennials was feared lost in the Ordon Rift of Segmentum Tempestus; yet as it turned out, they had in fact traversed the rift and conquered three hundred worlds beyond it. Their specialization is demonstrated by the fact that since the War of the Beast, the Emperor's Children have added more worlds to the Imperium than all of the other Legions combined. There have been defeats as well, though - among the worst recent ones being the battle of Ichorax, where an incipient campaign was undercut by Necrons, who ultimately exterminated the entire population of Ichorax, including two hundred Emperor's Children stationed there.


The Legion's attention is not fixed solely outwards; the Realm of Eagles is well-defended, and at times there is a need to reclaim the Imperium's frontiers, such as in the war of the Macharian Heresy. The generals of Warmaster Macharius - one of the few offensive Warmasters chosen from outside the Third Legion, and the only one to not be an Astarte - dishonored their great leader's name by turning to Chaos, and Lord Commander Verant Ortys led the Emperor's Children into a reconquest. Even more recently, Tarvitz himself broke a major Salamander invasion of the Imperium that threatened Chemos itself, killing the warlord N'keln on desert Scoria.


The Emperor's Children are not warriors alone - the galleries of the Pride of the Emperor demonstrate as much, as do the carefully shaped landscapes of Chemos. But they are all, undoubtedly, warriors, fighting relentlessly for the same ideals they believed in ten millennia ago, refined but not corrupted by the passage of time. Many have said that in doing so, they seek the impossible; when a scion of the Phoenician hears that, he laughs. They are Astartes, and Emperor's Children at that. What worth is there, for them, in goals that are not impossible?


Organization



Since the death of their Primarch, the Emperor's Children are led by a Legion Master - Saul Tarvitz usually filling that position - who is guarded and linked to the Legion by the thirty Phoenix Guard. Important decisions, however, are taken by a council of the Lords Commander, numbering thirteen - the Legion Master, Warmaster, three specialist leaders, and the leaders of the first eight Millennials. There are thirty Millennials in total, the leaders of the remaining twenty-two being referred to as Tribunes; each Millennial is further divided into thirty Captain-led Companies numbering up to a hundred and fifty Astartes. The First Millennial has a special status, with every rank within it being considered a half-rank above the equivalent in any other Millennial and its warriors being outfitted accordingly. Companies are generally divided into squads of ten with some number of specialists answering directly to the captain.


There are three orders of specialists within the Emperor's Children, all three quite powerful and each making up about seven percent of the Legion. The Navarchitects are responsible for the construction and upkeep of the Legion's mechanical elements, but above all its fleet, as well as traditionally commanding individual ships. The Librarians fulfill a broadly similar role to those of other Legions, but they tend to focus on using their powers as a part of their style, as opposed to relying entirely on them in combat. The Apothecaries, following the example of the great Fabius, have in addition to their main duties a strong affinity towards biotechnological research, though the warbeasts and forest-cities they have created sometimes skirt the edge of the forbidden. Uniquely, Apothecaries and Navarchitects are both seconded to Mars for a time, in part to ensure they stay on the correct side of that edge.


The title of offensive Warmaster (with Roboute Guilliman remaining as the other, defensive Warmaster since the time of the Great Crusade) is assigned by a decision of the Lords Commander to a new candidate every twenty years, a right given to the Emperor's Children in honor of their Primarch. Most often this is a promising tribune or captain; more rarely, an exceptional sergeant or one of the Lords Commander themselves. On several occasions the title has been assigned to a member of another Legion, and on one occasion - that of Macharius - to a general of the Imperial Army. The offensive Warmaster holds a position of absolute authority over offensive operations of the Imperium under the Regent himself, though it is a poor Warmaster that does not lead by consensus. While a Warmaster's term lasts two decades at most, they are judged by the consequences of their tenure as much as for that tenure itself.


There is an additional hierarchy in the Legion besides normal rank - the Course of Glory. It consists of a competitive and semi-formal accounting of achievements in art and personal combat, with the highest achievers being those who blend successes in both. Walking the Course of Glory, however, must never take priority over acting for the good of the Legion; overly selfish actions are heavily discounted in value, and those whose focus on glory crosses the line into irresponsibility face the same punishment they would in any other Legion. Those Astartes who have been among the top thirty of the Course earn the title of Palatine, forming an informal order.


Combat Doctrine



The Emperor's Children tend heavily towards offensive combat, taking worlds more often than they defend them. Their strategy is adaptable, but when a diplomatic solution is impossible, often they will follow up an orbital bombardment with escalating strikes against secondary power centers, via drop-pod assault, that link up and ultimately surround the enemy core, quickly enough to continuously keep that enemy on their back foot (or back tentacle, etc.). Locations not of military significance are often ignored, so long as scouting confirms their irrelevance - the civilian population is not the Legion's concern. In defense, they tend to counterattack often, emphasizing retaining mobility rather than sitting back behind fortress walls, as well as being fond of using genetically crafted war beasts.


In both cases, they will often fight alongside the Imperial Army, other Legions, the Mechanicum, and other Imperial forces. Other Legions may be more integrated into civilian society, but the Emperor's Children are experts at navigating the martial politics of the Imperium and at combined-arms fighting in general.


For this reason, the Legion's specialization is less a problem than it might otherwise seem. On the individual scale, the Emperor's Children have a strong preference for melee, and especially for swordfighting. This is not simply tradition, but a consequence of the fact that melee combat tends to rely more on personal skill, and thus offers an area to excel in. Nonetheless, generally Emperor's Children carry bolters as well as blades, and use them when that offers a strategical advantage. Even the most brilliant victory in a swordfight is ugly if it was not necessary.


The Legion maintains a large fleet, but its doctrine of void warfare is most characteristic for a focus on fighters and supercapital carriers. Every Millennial features a titanic flagship, and the First Millennial's flagship, the Pride of the Emperor (destroyed in M34 but rebuilt from the fragments), is the size of a small moon, bearing weaponry to match. Of course, those flagships are architectural marvels as well as nightmares to fight. Individual Navarchitects that do not command a major ship, meanwhile, go to the opposite end of the scale, flying single-pilot ships, taking pride in wielding their fighters with the same precision that other Emperor's Children wield their blades.


Homeworld



The homeworld of the Emperor's Children is Chemos. When the Eaglestar landed on it, it was a Mining World that had not run out of minerals, but was running out of food, a planet that was losing the knowledge base necessary to maintain its factories, a civilization that no longer valued anything except backbreaking labor. The Phoenician led a renaissance of first industry and then culture, returning the concepts art, hobbies, and relaxation to the tongue of Chemos. With it, he peacefully unified the world politically under his own person.


Chemos has remained under the direct rule of the Legion Master of the Emperor's Children, as have twelve of the closest worlds to it, which together form the Realm of Eagles. Unlike Ultramar, the Realm of Eagles did not experience mission creep, and thus has remained a distinct administrative unit. Today those twelve worlds are apparent garden planets, whose carefully engineered ecosystems hide a great deal of industry. Chemos is the exception - its large-scale factories have long since been either dismantled or made into museums, but it retains research labs and artisanal workshops, as well as an intricate system of defenses. In the end, though, Chemos is a military world, and its people know that; while the Emperor's Children recruit throughout the Imperium, large fractions of their cadres are taken from open trials held annually in their fortress-monastery, Fusor, which rises like a violet mountain under the rainforests of equatorial Chemos.


Beliefs



The Emperor's Children hold to an expansive and expansionist version of the Imperial Truth. They believe the Imperium can and will conquer not just the galaxy, but the entire universe - eventually. They emphasize not only logic, but perfection, and the daring to do what seems impossible. If one does not try one's absolute best, one will never accomplish anything - for it is better to have a high aim and miss it than to have a low one and hit it. That said, the emphasis is on excellence as part of the Legion, and there is a great cultural revulsion towards those who fight for their own advancement rather than for the dream and for the art (which is not to deny that selfish ambition is a common flaw in the Legion).


Formally, the Emperor's Children do not see themselves as the best of the Imperial Legions, for each of the ten has their place. Informally, many in the Legion are proud of it to the point of arrogance. It is no accident that when the Emperor's Children fail, it is usually due to overconfidence or overextension. Notably, while the Legion respects the Emperor like the others, the Phoenician is almost worshiped. The custom, following a decree by Tarvitz, is not to speak or write his given name (outside of histories about periods before this custom became ingrained) except in a moment of sublime achievement, at which point the Phoenician is thanked - not as a god (though some skeptics have interpreted it that way), but in the manner of a muse of war.


Gene-seed



Despite the loss of their Primarch and significant attrition in offensive campaigns, the infrastructure and selectiveness of the Emperor's Children ensure that their gene-seed remains a model of purity, if sometimes at the cost of lowered activity. Additionally, while tampering with Legion gene-seed itself is strictly forbidden, Apothecaries often make additional minor physical enhancements to Marines, treatments that often improve speed and longevity at the cost of requiring continued maintenance, though any augmentations with a large chance of impacting the mind are firmly avoided.


Revellian stood before the vast vault, staring past the layers of screens at the gene-seed. The future of the Legion, as the Apothecaries said.


He did not come here often - indeed, he did not come back to Chemos often. Or had not, for the last twenty years. The theater of command of a Warmaster was great, but Chemos was Tarvitz's, not his.


But now his term was almost over, and so he returned to the homeworld, perhaps to brood. It did not help that his burn scars were beginning to ache again. He'd need something more permanent done than could be managed aboard the Of Unity. As it was... had he done well enough? He considered the Wheel of Fire campaign to be a strategic masterstroke, and containing the Cythor Fiends with as few forces as he had sent was also something to be immensely proud of. But the repeated failures in the Damocles Gulf were frustrating - against a lesser foe they would even be embarrassing.


Well, it wasn't as if he was actually going anywhere. He would have a chance to secure his victories and avenge his defeats with sword in hand. As it was, Revellian turned away from the vault to walk to the meeting - the architecture was more interesting than the contents, really. The future of the Legion, yes, but -


But as Revellian's cape suddenly stretched with a gust of wind, the Warmaster having emerged onto a roof, he saw - far below - the true future of the Legion.


The Chemiade - of course, the trials were happening right now. Hundreds of children in this amphitheater alone, a detailed cross-section of the Realm of Eagles and elites from across the Imperium. All of them were there for their own reasons, carrying their own achievements and grudges and dreams....


"Some of the younger ones might join the first cadre of the new millennium in half a decade," came a synthesized voice from behind him, and Revellian wondered how distracted he must have been not to see Saul Tarvitz.


"Four hundred years since I stood there myself," Revellian said, turning to face the Legion Master and nodding to the two Phoenix Guard flanking him. Unlike a Primarch, there were times - rare as they were - when Tarvitz actually needed a bodyguard. "I suppose that is nothing to you, of course."


"Not entirely," Tarvitz said, and Revellian imagined there must have been an expression of longing on his face deep within the sacrophagus. "The generations are different from each other, and they do not always cycle back to what they were. Above all, their brightest stars are different."


Revellian nodded, taking the aspirants back in. "Though few of them shine as brightly as your own generation. I did my best, but... there seems to be so little I had time to do." A touch of frustration, even jealousy, may have slipped into his voice; he knew it was baseless, but it was nonetheless there, in his mind if not in his speech.


"You are not the first Warmaster to tell me so," Tarvitz answered after a pause. "But I think this new cadre may surprise you yet." Tarvitz paused again before continuing. "As might your own. You know, some say that we limit post-induction hypno-conditioning and neural implants because of cowardice."


"Because we're scared of losing our identities," Revellian agreed, unsure of why Tarvitz was taking the tangent.


"But we both know," the Legion Master finished, "that it is because perfection cannot be duplicated, because each of us must find our own path. And tomorrow's perfection, too, cannot be measured on the scale of yesterday's. Or today's. A new era is coming, Warmaster; I can feel it."


"For good or ill, Legion Master?"


"It is coming for ill," Tarvitz said. "But who would we be, if we did not turn it towards good?"


Battle-cry



The official motto of the Legion is a quote of the Phoenician: "Perfection is the limit of achievement, yet it is an infinite limit." But in battle, the Emperor's Children universally use a battle cry that dates back to before the Betrayal: "Children of the Emperor! Death to his foes!"


A/N: Easily the longest IA yet, oops. The EC weren't supposed to have as much of a psychic angle either. The divergence here is of course ironic - accidentally creating a Warp Storm (however tiny) isn't supposed to redeem a Primarch - but the later discovery simultaneously allows (1) a bond with Guilliman stronger than the one with Ferrus and (2) a chance for Fulgrim to see where excessive dedication got his Legion - two hundred Astartes was a dying Legion, twenty was in effect a dead one, pathetic rather than tragic. And, of course, a strong Librarius that warned him about the Laeran blade.

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What was broken has been mended. And what was burned away can never be reforged.

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post #58 of 77 (permalink) Old 09-05-17, 04:45 PM
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Congratulations! You somehow managed to surpass yourself again, and that is not a small feat. Like the Emperors Children themselves, you faced your limit, and then surmounted it. You are truly an overachiever.

And the Emperors Children, those admirable archiving perfectionists, are now my favorite LDLB Legion. You really make me to love them.

Pride and perfection, indeed. Like this IA, and like the Children themselves.

I have always loved Emperors Children and their Primarch. They are my favorite Legion. I have always wished EC keeping their loyalty to the Emperor and his ideal, and also remain loyal to themselves.

By presenting this IA, you did them enough, necessary justice(yes, I strongly dislike other AH portrayal of "loyal" EC - either deliberately malicious, too superficial or complete deconstruction of the core theme. Thanks. Thank you so much.

You are my hero.

And so here is an exquisitely-tailored selection of thirty-three questions, in homage to the Emperors Children and their numeration.

1. So LDLB Fulgrim is even more optimistic sociable overarchiving perfectionist than his canon self, without any flaw, defect or shortcoming of original character?

2. Does LDLB Fulgrim have more interest in science and technology than canon Fulgrim? Also, is he more curious, exploring, adventurous, enterprising and initiative than his canon self?

3. Did Fulgrim love brothers such as Mortarion, Curze and Corax? They are also known to have single-minded focus. Also, what was his opinion regarding Horus, Vulkan and Lorgar before Betrayal?

4. Did Fulgrim really dead, mind, body and soul? Or merely his body has been destroyed, and his soul is persisting in the Warp? It has been canonically implied dead (loyal) Primarch soul belong to the Emperor and protected by him, just same way as saints and other truly devoted human soul (though as opposed to those mere mortals, Primarch soul is more than capable of repelling/incinerating ravenous demons by simply being themselves). Even more, unlike other LDLB primarchs, he is being nearly-worshiped by an entire Legion and probably many Imperial citizens, and belief wields great, palpable power in the Immaterium...

In short, could Eaglestar be resurrected and/or reincarnated in the End Time, like the phoenix, which is incidentally one of his sobriquets?

5. And if the Emperor absorbed massive blast caused by Lorgar, who was unable to control his Chaos-given, soul-fueled power, why Fulgrim was also embroiled in explosion? In other words, what caused his death, explosion or combat injuries?

6. So Fulgrim somehow managed to fight standstill and mortally wound a near-Emperor level entity, possessed of the Pantheon, champion-chosen of the Primordial Annihilator. I just can't speak my...*tear of pure joy and pride*.

7. What did the Emperors Children during the Escape? Continuing the Great Crusade and reconquering the Galaxy?

8. How the Emperors Children have conquered more worlds than other Nine Legions combined? There are many other "offensive" Imperial Legions - the Space Wolves, the Night Lords, the Death Guard, the Gray Knights, the Thousand Sons and especially the Lunar Wolves. In fact, I can come up only two defense-oriented Legions: the Ultramarines and the Alpha Legion.

9. Who is the victor of the Battle of Nuceria? EC or WE? Each Legion's IA describes the battle from their own perspective, so it is a little ambiguous. And which Legion inflicted more damage (ships, legionaries, personnel, etc.) to their adversary?

10. What is primary difference between organization of the EC and the UM? It seems they share very similar org structure.

11. So the Emperors Children are one of the Imperial void warfare specialist Legions, along with the Death Guard and the Ultramarines? How they developed necessary skill, aptitude and affinity? It appears at least until the Battle of Nuceria, void warfare had not been one of EC's fortes - they had neither technique or preference. When and how acquired EC that specialty?

12. So, Pride of Emperor and other EC flagships are basically a bunch of Phalanx-class superships, and EC fleets are mostly comprised of various classes of supercaptial battleships and carriers and one-pilot ships? If so, I bet while in terms of number of warship ranks EC the fifth, tonnage of fleet will rank EC the first of the Legions, Imperial or otherwise.

And how EC ships look like, from those "one-pilot ships" to titanic flagships?

13. In addition, who are void specialist Legions on the traitor sides? It has been known that void warfare is among the World Eaters specialties, but how about the Chaos Legions?

14. Do LDLB EC concern themselves of conducting "perfect" set-piece warfare or minimizing casualties and collateral damage like their canon (before-Heresy) self? Since IA doctrine section does not state any perfectly planned battlefield strategy and tactics, while gene seed section states they take significant casualties during offensive campaigns and it has caused lowered activity.

15. How many legionaries EC have? Approximately 135,000? Or more? Is each Millennial composed of same number of legionaries, including the First Millennial and other Lords Commander Millennial?

16. How the Navarchitects-crafted Emperors Children warmachines and engines look like? How they are functioning? Before you mentioned EC had the third lowest number of vehicles and aircraft, with only the Mechanicum-mistrusting, luddite-esque Space Wolves and Night Lords are making lower use of mechanical assets.

However, now I strongly suspect EC engineers are going to take same approaching to their warmachines as their fleets and arts. If that is true, I imagine EC mechanical asset consisted of a grand panoply of assortments of unique, one-of-a-kind supertanks and superaircraft, and just same as their ships, simultaneously a master-crafted weapon and a masterful work of art; essentially same in the spirit of Da Vanci drawing of weapons, and while relatively few in number than the most other Legions, its overall firepower, tonnage, performance and technology are over and above than the most Legions.

17. What exactly are Apothecaries war-beasts and forest-cities? How they look like? I imagne EC war-beasts would resemble actual animals (lions, tigers, jaguars, panthers, eagles, falcons, phoenix, roc, dragons, or other noble, lethal predatory animals) and extremely intricate and beautiful, quite often one-of-a-species, preferring power, beauty and overall quality over producibility; taking polar opposite design ethos and aesthetics to Tyranid beasts or Humonculi creations.

Also, does the EC Apothecarion have/consist of genegineers, pharmacopoeists, agronomists etc. sub-orders? Or simply all EC Apothecaries are life scientists?

18. How frequently do Apothecaries conduct their enhancement and augmentation service to themselves and brother legionaries? How many variations of those enhancements, besides speed and longevity?

19. And blessed with an extremely capable and extensive Navarchitect and Apothecary Orders, how many of pre-Betrayal legionaries have survived? Similar rate as the World Eaters, I presume?

20. During the Siege of Terra, First Fleet elements kept to fight alongside Second Fleet Legions in unison? Also, even after World Eaters departure, traitors did still hold numerical advantage? And how Ferrus Manus managed to organize "orderly retreat" and "safe escape" after Discoverers shattering on Terra? Lastly, what was Ferrus' initial plan of "nonviolent vengeance" at the end of the Crusade?

21. Who are the best/worst post-betrayal offensive Warmasters? Also, who took position of Warmaster during War of the Beast? EC performed follow-up cleansing, but which Legions participated the Beast War, eradicated green weeds, destroyed the Prime-Orks and dismantled their empire?

22. So LDLB EC considers selfish ambitions, glory-seeking, honor-obsession, self-aggrandizement etc. are morally bad and actively discourage such practices?

23. It seems LDLB Emperors *true* personality is somewhat different from his canon self in positive ways - more open, more understanding, more humane, more compassionate etc, especially compared to the portrayal of Master of Mankind and Dark Imperium, and ADB in general - Is it correct?

24. Necrons, again? First the Gray Knights, and then Emperors Children... are they specially marking certain isolated, vulnerable, and relatively easier-to-break elements of the Imperial Legions? And how many Gray Knights were killed at Crytor?

25. "Gulf of Damocles"? So significant portions of the Emperors Children have assaulted the Tau Empire repeatedly and failed? I have thought Imperium does not care Tau, and Tau does not bother Imperium, and in such way, equilibrium has been maintained. And how Tau are thinking about the Imperium and humanity in general? How advanced Tau technology compared to the Imperium, including Mechanicum and Imperial Legions? Are LDBL Tau less authoritarian, totalitarian(to the extent they are born in incubator and have no family and caste is forcefully enforced, even the slightest of deviation or disobedience to social norm means death), doctrinaire, expansionist, bellicose, hypocritical, egomaniacal, and slavish (indeed, each and every non-Ethereal Tau is basically a pheromone-slave, less than an ergate, and Ethereal are slavers in the purest sense) than its canon self(yeah, for such reasons and much more, I really distaste and despise Tau along with Chaos and Eldar - see the Damocles and Farsight).

26. How many Death Guard participated the battle of Sanctia? And why their fleet did not save them or provide orbital bombardment, aircraft sally and other supports after signal scrambling? And Death Guard have a high-ranking traitor in their rank, possibly being in charge of defense of Cadia? Now I can see the trends...

27. How the Eldar, the Necron and other "ancient races" are thinking about the Imperium of Man? Worthy foe? Existential threat? A rival empire and prime competitor of the galactic dominion? Are they less arrogant and/or chauvinistic to the Imperium and humanity in general than canon, at the very least?

28. What is the end game of the Lion and the Dark Angels?

29. What exactly are the "Tomorrow Hegemons"? How they are related to STC?

30. So Rangdan exist in LDLB? Which Legions had implemented Rangdan Xenocides? What is their current state? Also, what is the Venest? Had Rangdan been its member? Were there similar multi-Xeno coalition like them? I remember Lunar Wolves IA states they recently defeated a titanic invasion of some xeno conglomerate...

And who was more powerful, Isexat or Volcierge? Both xeno empires are composed of insectoid races, and they are quite uncommon in 40k except Tyranid and Vespid, so I'm curious...

Besides, what is true nature of the LDLB Pale Wasting? In canon, dozens of Space Marine Chapters were more than enough to contain and destroy the threat. However, in LDLB, it required collaboration between Imperial and Chaos Legions, and nearly destroyed LDLB Imperium...really, what are them? Resurgent Rangdan Cerabvores?

31. Exactly what the Night Lords are doing themselves? Does Alpharius know this? And where is Curze? If he is aware of his Legion being turning Traitor, he has to return already. If situation is that severe, why they are not curtailing their loss, temporally lowering their activity(like the Emperors Children, and such measures have not tarnished or otherwise impacted their reputation at all), and recuperating?

32. How about Primarch discovery order in LDLB?

33. What is "archetype tactics/combat doctrine" of each Legion? You already have given examples of the World Bearers, the Doom Fists and the Iron Hands. Have you similar notes regarding other Legions?

Last edited by Lunar; 09-23-17 at 01:16 AM.
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post #59 of 77 (permalink) Old 09-05-17, 05:22 PM
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And here I add my thoughts&responses to your original answers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by VulkansNodosaurus View Post
Portions of three Legions, plus Custodes and SoS, against the vast majority of four Legions' forces. The besiegers had a major numerical advantage - as is necessary for any siege to be a fair contest (and before the DG arrived I've already established that the traitors were doing well).
Understood. For details of a joint RG-Custodes operation, I will await for Raven Guard IA.



Quote:
Originally Posted by VulkansNodosaurus View Post
Maybe. Again, right now I really want to finish the last few IAs, and after that there's Renegades and a whole host of ideas.
I'm eagerly looking forward your Phoenix Imperium project!

Also, during the Siege, what was strategic role and overall responsibility of Custodes and SoS? Where they fought? How they fared?


Quote:
Originally Posted by VulkansNodosaurus View Post
They couldn't. That is, if the DG had arrived several days later, the Warmasters would have executed a retreat to the Inner Palace. The battle wasn't lost, at that point, but the Loyalists were behind.
But why they couldn't? They had more than enough prep time to seal the vulnerable point before the Siege.



Quote:
Originally Posted by VulkansNodosaurus View Post
Well, they've retaliated somewhat, but they're not going to go into the Eye, so Nocturne itself is safe. After the second plague they had a campaign of capturing Salamanders to torture them, but then the XVIII used that to get the third plague in. On the whole, though, it doesn't really define either faction - there's a special hate between Salamanders and Dark Eldar, but even if there wasn't, meetings between them would almost always be violent anyhow. 5 or 6 plagues, bad as they were, over ten thousand years.

(The span of time is worth emphasizing. Commorragh is well-defended and easily segmentable - only a few credible attempts against it have been made. But when the dark eldar are few in number, it's a lot easier for them to gain soul energy, to the point that they don't need to raid the Imperium. So they've recovered from the few close calls they had, and the haemonculi have resurrected each other and then the cult leaders, and suddenly we're back about where we started.)
And now I'm very interested - what are those "few close calls" dire enough to endanger entire Dark City, not just a few of its segments? Even an entire Legion could not hope to occupy every section of Commorragh, so...


Quote:
Originally Posted by VulkansNodosaurus View Post
No, the battle itself was a great host of many warbands on the Salamander side and a large part of the Luna Wolves against them. Since then
Since then? And so battle of Pythos was culminated as a Salamander victory? Or was it a draw?

BTW, LW IA states their multi-lung has ceased to function properly. AFAIK, canonically Horusian gene-line does not have such inherent flaw. Nor it is prone to mutations, and LDLB Legions have tremendously more advanced, sophisticated and extensive gene-seed cultivation/maintenance infrastructure and transplant technology etc. than their canon counterparts. So what exactly is cause of this particular defect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VulkansNodosaurus View Post
Well, hopefully I can make the RG live up to that.... The TS do utilize psytech, and the EC have their own technological strengths, but really they're behind the technologist Chaos Legions because specialization. (Their technological level is pretty good, and the Final Shore's is even better, but it's not their technology per se.) The RG are another matter - probably on par with the Dark Angels? Ahead on combat tech, behind on noncombat... but it's complicated, because their relationship with the Mechanicum is complicated. And that's all I'm going to say for now.
How TS are utilizing their psytech? Are they using psytech both in combat(psi-automaton, psi-cannon, psi-controlled vehicles, psi-Dreadnoughts, psi-warships, etc.) and noncombat(from civilian to Legion business to special research project)?

So, EC is the second technologically advanced Imperial Legion, far ahead of both UM and DG, and actually on a par with technologist Chaos Legions if having more distributed focus(and, conversely, that means EC technology is significantly outstripping more specialized technologist Legions in general term, instead of monopolizing a single or two sphere of supremacy, and I suppose areas such as construction and biotechnology are EC-exclusive specialties)? In addition, do the Emperors Children formally recognize science and technology as a branch of art?

And how much advanced Gray Knights and Luna Wolves technology? How high is their tech level? Is it comparable to UM and DG? It appears while UM and DG are not capable of making genuine innovation independently, and relying on Mechanicum for their tech base, but perfectly well-versed at existing, available technology, like canon IH and Salamanders.

The GK fleet(a.k.a. "Black Ships") is different from other Legions'?

Exactly what did the Iron Hands during the Crusade? Why they arranged worlds conquered by them to send their tithe to Medusa instead of Terra? Was it just a pure curiosity, or did Ferrus have other, ulterior motives? Are they continuing those "social experiments"? In addition, does each and every non-Iron Father specialization of Iron Hands make up 1 to 3 percent of each Clan, or sum total of those "minor" specializations consist of 1 to 3 percent of each Clan? Lastly, exactly what are those "Communers" and "ethereal implants" of DA and IH(and possibly other technologist Chaos Legions) possess?

Finally, how much advanced the Dark Angels and the Raven Guard, our "true scientist" Legions? Is it safe to assume that their overall technology level is greater than Mechanicum, superior to Eldar, and equal with Necron?

Oh, and do LDLB DA maintain Hexagrammaton?


Quote:
Originally Posted by VulkansNodosaurus View Post
No, no. I'm not doing a good job of explaining this - of course, it's not like this is a consistent belief system; each warband really has its own beliefs. But they really hate the Imperium for what happened to Nocturne. And now Alpharius's Imperium does a really good job of preventing that sort of incident, so their hate is even less constructive than would otherwise be the case. But it's not, at its base, a rational hate - it's a hate for the destruction of Nocturne, and for what the price for its resurrection was.
I see. Hatred is one of the most irrational emotion, after all.

Last edited by Lunar; 12-24-17 at 11:58 AM.
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post #60 of 77 (permalink) Old 09-06-17, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! And that's... a lot of questions. It might take me a bit of time to get through them all. (Also, some responses I'll have to skip, either because of spoilers for BA and RG or because I genuinely have no idea).

That said, on the whole - it might well be that I talked the EC's successes up too much. Given their nature in LDLB, it's a fine line to tread. It's worth noting, for instance - in the Great Crusade, given their rebuilding time, they certainly weren't up there in total number of compliant worlds. Instead, when Fulgrim was made Warmaster, the Emperor took into account that they had one of the highest rates of compliances over the past ~decade, the highest with size taken into account.

But what I think I got across reasonably well was the spirit of the Legion.

(And the differences of that spirit from canon's Blood Angels, who are in many ways outwardly similar but have significant distinctions - reflections, in some ways, of the gap between LDLB's and canon's Imperiums.)

Renegades Saga contributions
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(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...s-scarlet.html)
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...lesh-weak.html)
The Emperor has turned to Chaos. The dream of the Imperium has become a nightmare. But Horus and his Coalition stand against the dark, here at the end of time.

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