Name: Nathanael Shethar
Chapter of Origin: Dark Angels
Type of Marine: Chaplain, former Apothecary
Personality: Nathanael is a pensive, introspective character, who always finds time to search his own mind and soul for any flaws, and does his best to excise them with his considerable will. Though this renders him somewhat taciturn at times, it also makes him a perfect candidate for Chaplain – one so familiar at hunting his own weaknesses is adept at seeking them out in others.
Serious, Nathanael finds little time for small talk, but delights in discussing more meaningful topics, whether they are practical and tactical or theoretical and philosophical, having partaken in conversations and debates with his brothers that have, on occasion, lasted weeks. He does his best to present himself as open to his brethren should they seek any help, spiritual or otherwise – possessing a poetic turn of phrase, and a black, morbid sense of humour that has uplifted and offended in nearly equal measure.
Nathanael’s will is iron, and combined with his training in the hallowed Reclusiam of The Rock, has rendered him all but immune to the manipulation or reading of the witch and psyker – it also allows him to push himself beyond his physical limits should the situation call for it, but also makes him hard to dissuade once he has set his mind on a course. His trust and respect, though hard-won, are prizes not to be considered lightly. The same is to be said of his hatred. Zealous but not unreasonable, Nathanael will only rarely channel the full force of his belief and personality, preferring to lead through encouragement and loyalty than fear. However, like his gene-father before him, though Nathanael may be slow to anger, once roused his fury is lightning-fast and unrelenting.
Physical Appearance: Unarmoured, Nathanael stands taller than most astartes, at 7’8”, with a build that would be considered bulky and muscular for a human, but is lean and long-limbed for a marine – his power armour increases his height to 8’3”.
His skin, what little of it is unmarked, is unhealthily pale – unmarred flesh is seen only in patches, however, as his body is covered in a web of welts and thin, interlacing scar tissue from his regular sessions of self-flagellation, fresh application of whip and salts ensuring that they never fully heal.
The marine has left his face intentionally unmarked, with looks that could be considered too delicate to be plastered on a skull harder than ceramite – his features are sharp and noble, with a shapely, defined nose, thin lips and large, dark eyes that stare unwaveringly at the subject of his attention. Utterly unmarred by age, Nathanael’s face has not changed since he was a neophyte, but it is rarely fully visible, as even when unarmoured it will be partially obscured or shrouded by either a cowl or his long, black hair.
In contrast to his princely, youthful features, Nathanael’s voice is deep, coming straight from his chest, and varies from a low murmur when talking to a strangely sonorous roar when reciting litanies in battle, perfectly suited to the role of instilling inspiration or fear as needed.
Armour Appearance: Nathanael is clad in a suit of ancient Mk. 2 Power Armour that dates back to the almost-forgotten era of the Great Crusade – passed down through generation after generation of the chapter, it has seen much use. Now, due to its prestige and venerability, only those who have truly proven themselves beyond doubt in the service of the Sons of The Lion are given the privilege of its protection.
Due to its millennia of use and the many owners it has had, the armour has undergone heavy modifications – little of the original armour remains, due to the stress and wear and tear that in the various theatres of war it finds itself in. Generally, the replacement parts and plates have been of better quality than the original, in order to maintain the suit’s integrity for future generations, lending it a better degree of protection than most suits of power armour. Most notably, its neck joint has been replaced with a more modern piece, giving free rotation of the helmet, and the armour’s joints have been shored up with additional couters, tassets and gardbraces, lending it additional defence and giving it the appearance akin to the Knights of Caliban, themselves modelled on the knights of Old Terra.
The helmet, modified by artificers who exclusively serve the Reclusiam, has had its face-plate modified into the motif of a slit-eyed, metallic skull, its grill forming a leering approximation of a mouth, and is surrounded by a ring of studs that bolt it onto the helm beneath – this was made especially for Nathanael, and he values it both as a tool of faith and terror, and as a sign of the esteem in which his chapter holds him. It is not painted white, but left black. Otherwise, the armour is fairly undecorated bar ribbing on its extra plating, as much a defensive buff as decoration, designed to aid in the deflection of shot and blade – he also has three purity seals, all of which are attached to the bottom of his right pauldron. The only other embellishment is a set of hooks and rings built into the ceramite that allow him to hang censers and holy texts.
Nathanael wears long, flowing robes that, unlike most of his brethren in the Reclusiam, are a shade of green far darker than the armour of the Unforgiven, and are also far more extensive in their coverage than most, allowing him to be utterly covered in them should he rest his arms by his sides – made of a high-quality flak-weave, though they offer no additional protection, the robes are hard to damage and easy to repair. They are useful for allowing him to conceal his armaments and personal effects beneath their bulk. Attached to his belt and into the hooks and rings on his armour are censers set alight only for ceremony and battle, along with two tomes, one holy, one unmarked.
Weapons and Equipment: Nathanael’s primary weapon is not, as is for most chaplains, a Crozius, but a mighty relic blade Naful Malakh
– shaped like a zweihander, unlike most weapons of the 1st Legion Naful is devoid of winged angel motifs, with a blade well over 6’ in length and a half-hand in width. It is a symbol of the knowledge and craftsmanship of ages past, its power generator hidden within its mass, and a useable grip that extends nearly a foot above the hilt (above which sit two barbs to prevent an opponent’s blade from sliding onto Nathanael’s hand), lending it greater versatility. The sword is devoid of décor or engraving, its blade made of a dark, unknown alloy that has an oily sheen when viewed at certain angles, its hilt and handle are made of the same material, indicating it to have been forged from a single piece. It rests in a scabbard on Nathanael’s back.
The chaplain is also equipped with a crozius, its head that of the Chapter’s symbol; a hooded figure with angel wings, as opposed to the standard Imperial Aquila – as long as his arm, designed to smash rather than cut, it is a useful weapon to the chaplain, but not one that sees much use due to his choice of primary armament. To Nathanael it is more a symbol of office than a weapon of war, and spends more time at his belt than in his hands. It is also the most modern piece of equipment that he carries.
For ranged combat, Nathanael carries into battle a combi-plasma based on the Tigrus-pattern boltgun, with a straight magazine and underslung plasma chamber – this is the most heavily-decorated of his weapons, bearing engravings of the names of the members of the Dark Angels’ Reclusiam to wield it in battle before him – his own name has been added to it, and there is space yet for many more to be added after he has passed on.
As a sidearm, Nathanael has a reliable, if somewhat bulky, Mk. 1 Phobos bolt pistol, though it rarely sees use.
Otherwise, distributed about his person, Nathanael carries two tomes, one of which is filled with the various litanies and rites ascribed to his office, and the second of which is far smaller, and never opened. He carries various incenses and oils to burn in his censers, a lighter, a small toolkit for his weapons and armour, and ammunition. Tucked into a secret holder strapped to his breastplate, under the armpit, is where he keeps both his pistol, so that it might stay hidden, and a nine-headed whip, kept neatly coiled. Hanging around his neck, though usually kept under his robes, is his rosarius, shaped into an emblem of a winged sword – though small, its quality and artifice are of obvious excellence.
Background: When taken into the chapter, the young Nathanael was unusually sociable, with even the excessive gravitas and humourless sincerity of his surroundings and training unable to repress his natural flair for finding common ground with nearly any who he met. Seventy-four years of service in the Apothecarion, standing by helplessly as his brothers died in battle, often unable to offer them any remedy bar the Emperor’s Peace, began to wear on the even-tempered and gregarious Nathanael, becoming increasingly bitter and introspective as the futility of his existence and his own mortality became increasingly dominant aspects of his regular thought processes.
In spite of becoming quieter and ill-given to prolonged conversation, increasingly refusing to engage in any meaningful discourse with his brethren, knowing that he would only have to pull the gene-seed from their corpses once they fell in battle, Nathanael did not lose his naturally poetic turn of phrase – a little purple for some, but perfect for the Reclusiam. His calling came during the battle for Telassar, a world that was a mineral-rich ashy wasteland and whose governor had decided that the Imperial creed was no longer to his liking. While assaulting an emplacement near the base of the hive city of Telassar Primus, serving in the Reclusiam’s command squad, his commander, Chaplain Jedaiah, was struck down by a plasma-blast that came from a rebel bunker. Even as the Chaplain fell, Nathanael snatched up his crozius and started bellowing oaths at the enemy, urging his men forward and assuming command. Leading the charge, Nathanael cut a bloody swathe through the rebels of Telassar, Jedaiah’s units accepting his command and capturing the bottom five tiers of the Hive City before halting to await reinforcement.
After the battle of Telassar was concluded in the Dark Angel’s favour, the attention of the Reclusiam turned to Nathanael – after thorough investigation and screening, his purity and diligence was seen as flawless, and he was promoted to Chaplain, taking Jedaiah’s Crozius and Rosarius as his own, and was awarded his armour for his service. Since then Nathanael has forced himself out of his shell, trying to re-use and re-hone his social skills, but those who knew him before would still know Nathanael to be a changed man – though again talkative, his nature has become altogether more focused and serious. He is often used as an emissary for the Dark Angels when they must communicate with bodies outside their own chapter, a diplomat for both his ability to persuade and intimidate.
Nathanael’s tempering was during the Siege of Vraks twenty-eight years ago, when he joined in the assault conducted by fully half of the chapter on the Vraks Starport, fighting his most hated foe, the apostates who had turned away from the Emperor’s Light and Word – Chaos Space Marines, arch-heretics of the mysterious Alpha Legion. Throwing himself and his men again and again at the traitor’s lines, beating down traitor after traitor with his crozius, roaring litanies of hatred and commands in equal measure – over the course of the eight-day battle Nathanael personally claimed the lives of over a dozen Alpha Legionnaires. Battered and bleeding, his armour dented and rent open, Nathanael and his men weathered the devious traitors’ counter-attack as the Deathwing claimed the final victory, crushing the last of the enemy marines beneath an iron fist.
For this, Nathanael was awarded the use of Naful Malakh
, with which he slew many enemies of the chapter before his seconding to the Deathwatch – why this happened, he will not say, but the Chaplain appears to have no problem with this unusual transfer to outside his chapter. It is, he suspects, an attempt to foster better relations between his chapter and the Inquisition, between whom he knows there is bad blood.