Their names lost to the Warp, their regiment forgotten and their once proud home world in ruins the regiment now known to Imperial Scholars as the ‘Traitor 13th’ had a long and glorious history. Whilst much of this has been erased from the Imperial Archives by Inquisitorial decree, some remains in living memory, and no end of rumours and legends tell of their fall.
Hailing from an obscure and militaristic Ecclesiastical world within the Maelstrom Zone of the Ultima Segmentum region of Imperial Space, the ‘Traitor 13th’ was once the defenders of the Imperial Truth in their system, and was joined by a prosperous Agri-World and a Forge World that supplied the system’s garrison with the necessary food and munitions to combat the Chaotic and Orkish threats of the Maelstrom as well as numerous Pirate raids. Their prowess in defending their home world was well known, as was the religious fervour, bordering on fanaticism with which they did it that. To all in their neighbouring systems, they were the ideal Imperial Soldiers; veterans of a hundred incursions with unshakeable faith in the God-Emperor to guide them as His mailed fist – yet it was their faith that would be their undoing.
Targeting the Ecclesiastical worlds on the frontiers of the Maelstrom, a strike force of the Word Bearers 13th host entered Imperial Warp Space 3 days before all contact was lost with the system. Opening a small Warp Rift’s on the neighbouring Agri-World, the Word Bearers unleashed hell on the system as boiling blood rained from the skies, staining the fertile earth below whilst their crops failed; turning to mulch with too many diseases to combat. The ‘13th’ responded immediately, fighting back the tide of Daemons.
6 hours after the rift had opened, it vanished; the victorious Guardsmen rejoicing in what they believed was divine intervention. However, the first blow had already been struck and the agricultural production of the world had been severely crippled, cutting the system off from its much needed imports. Within 24 hours, hunger had started to set in and riots broke out across the Agri-World in response to the Governor of the system’s command to begin rationing, only to be put down by the ‘13th’.
In the wake of this wave of panic and discontent the Word Bearers opened another rift, this time much larger than the first, above the system’s Forge World. The ‘13th’ once again responded fearlessly but there was no reprieve this time as the rift increased in size, a massive Warp Storm spreading across the system as on the surface of the Forge World a full half of the regiment was stranded and wiped out as the very surface of the planet warped beneath their feet. Three days following their first contact with the Word Bearers, the Warp Storm had grown to such size that all communication was severed between the system and the rest of the Imperium; hope hung by a thread, yet their faith remained.
+++ All Imperial records end here, with the fate of the entire ‘13th’ declared as KIA by Inquisitorial Mandate +++
Yet the legends never ceased, and many in the planets neighbouring the Maelstrom have begun to suspect that the fate of the '13th' was much darker despite Inquisitorial attempts to silence those they perceive to be 'at risk' of exposing true events.
It is told that when their faith finally abandoned them, much of the populace rose up against the Imperium through fear and hunger. Feeling betrayed by the god they had devoted their lives to when no aid had come to relieve them; they turned against those who had once valiantly protected them. With fully ¾ of the planet fallen to Chaos, the ‘13th’ mounted their last defence in the capital city of the Ecclesiastical World in a bid to buy those citizens that remained a chance of evacuation.
When the wall was breached, tides of frothing cultists teeming through the Space Port where the last of the evacuations were taking place the ‘13th’, numbering only 100 men now, made their stand, forcing the enemy back after days of intense fighting and great loss; only 15 remained of these veterans of 100 incursions.
Neighbouring worlds tell of the heroic defence mounted by the ‘13th’ when the enemy breached the walls of the last remaining Space Port as they attempted to evacuate all they could, their noble sacrifice as they gave up the last of their shuttles, remaining on the doomed planet to waylay those that sought to destroy them and the last stand made by the ‘13th’ before the Shrine of Saint Crassus. All tell of their eventual demise yet the truth is much darker.
+++ Here begins an Inquisitorial Documentation pieced together from captured Cultists in service of the Word Bearers 13th Host and members of the revived ‘Traitor 13th’ +++
Hiding amidst the bodies of the fallen before the ruins of the Shrine of St Crassus, their blood stained armour turned grey by the dust that stuck to it and wrapped in their Camo Cloaks, the last of the ‘13th’ waited. As the Cultists returned, they arose from the corpse strewn ground, like vengeful spectres, prayers to the Emperor on their lips. Striking from the shadows they fought until their laspacks ran dry and their combat knives were dull, disappearing as quickly as they struck and before the enemy could strike back. The legends tell of Cultists who threw themselves into fiery infernos and mutated craters in fear of the wrath of the ‘13th’, yet their victory was short lived.
Encircled, and now fighting with what little they could salvage from the rubble, the last of the ‘13th’ barricaded themselves within the desecrated Shrine they so had fought before. It is in this moment, alone and trapped, the enemy closing in on all sides and hammering on the doors and windows the faith of these 15 men finally faltered.
As the Warp Storm cleared, and the baying hordes broke the ruined Shrines doors, salvation came. The last of the ‘13th’ were not met with the vicious horde they were expecting, but by a single man. Towering above all others and enclosed within Crimson armour covered in an unfamiliar script they could not read, the man spoke, his voice booming; powerful and unwavering yet filled with conviction. He spoke of a ‘Primordial Truth’ and the existence of Gods more powerful than they could ever imagine whose sheer power they had witnessed first-hand yet defied to the last. Yet it was their conviction that granted them mercy; all that was asked in exchange for their lives was that they renounce the False Emperor. Unlimited power could be theirs, from Gods that would answer.
Broken and in despair, the last of the ‘13th’ accepted the offer of the Apostle of the Dark Gods. Inducted into the Word Bearers 13th Host, from where their name derives, they formed an Auxiliary force, specialising in urban warfare and terror tactics in service of the Word Bearers and began to rebuild their once glorious regiment. Gifted with heavy armour that emulated their saviour, the most fanatical of the last of the ‘13th’ were given positions of leadership within the regiment whilst the remainder formed as special operations force of veterans who struck from behind enemy lines.
+++ No further information available as most 'subjects' were unusable by this stage of the torture +++
+++ Transcript - Field Report 113: Commander (Redacted) of the Krieg 256th Infantry Regiment. For the attention of Inquisitor (Redacted), Ref: ‘Traitor 13th’ +++
A cell of highly trained and well equipped Human Auxiliaries have been spotted and engaged on Monastery Worlds close to the Maelstrom. They appear to be working in conjunction with Word Bearers forces in the region and attempts to capture and identify have been unsuccessful, however our scouts have inferred that they resemble the rumoured ‘Traitor 13th’ alleged to have once been the (Redacted) Regiment that had previously been considered KIA.
All those involved in the escalation of this rumour have been silenced indefinitely as requested and a report sent to you in the Inquisition for further investigation.
Equipped as heavy infantry, they appear to be highly specialised in covert operations and stealth based warfare. Reports confirm they have been both deployed on the front line as shock troops or from their Valkyrie transport behind enemy lines. It is believed that they are the same cell due to identical markings.
I request immediate intervention from the Inquisition as many of our key supply facilities and positions of strategic importance have been destroyed. Analysis of the damage suggests a preference for Plasma weapons of a much higher quality than previously encountered in traitor regiments in this system and this seems to be the case in all other equipment too.
[...] Unexplained gurgling and strange voices speaking several unknown languages follow before the transmission breaks [...]
+++ Voice Recognition identified one language as Old Colchisian. The other was unidentified. The fate of Commander (redacted) and the Krieg 256th is yet unknown, all attempts at further communication has failed. An Inquisitorial investigation force has been dispatched +++
This is the start of my Traitor Guard Project Log here on Heresy Online. They were originally designed as a complimentary force to my Word Bearers but have since developed from there. I hope to write a little background for each unit and expand on the history of this force as the Log progresses. I appreciate all comments and hope you enjoy following.
Here is my first completed unit, the 10 man Veteran (special operations) squad referred to in the above extracts.