First of my apologies for the lengthiness of this reply. Kinda got carried away, if you don't care for fluff just skip down to the Index Hereticus section. If this idea would catch on I'll also have some ideas/suggestion for playing this army + making 1 or 2 unique units for it :wink:
The war had lasted for nearly three decades now and for thirty years the forces of the Imperium had been desperately attempting to push back the legions of the Archenemy from the Sabbat Worlds. Initially the countless Imperial forces under the command of Wasmaster Slydo made good progress, conquering several worlds and even disposing of the renegade archon Nadzybar. But then the tide of war took a turn for the worse, a new leader rose among the many chaos magisters that led the various armies in the region.
The new archon, Urlock Gaur, not only proved to be a capable strategist, he brought about a major turn around in the traitors that held the planets of the Khan group in their firm grip. His new lieutenants proved to be of far superior quality than those that had served under Nadzybar. The likes of Anakwanar Sek, Enok Innokenti and Shebol Red-Hand bringing the Imperial advance to a stillstand, with every world, every settlement turning into long, brutal ground battle. To make matters worse many of these new magisters brought with them new higly disciplined and trained troops. Many of them equal or even superior to the Imperial Guard, among them Gaur’s perosnal army the Blood Pact and the sadistic Children of Sek. In the hopes of breaking the back of the Archenemy’s forces the Imperium poared more and more troops into the Khan ground, among them several space marine legions.
-OF FALLEN BRETHERN AND VENGEANCE-
Casualties had been enormous, nearly all the guardsmen at observationpost X-82Alpha lay dead in the bloody, muddy trenches surrounding the vast radardishes and communcation bunkers. If it had not been for the arrival of the space marines of the Dark Hands chapter the attacking Blood Pact troops would have retaken the station, sending even more information to their treacherous masters hiding on the planets on the edge of the system.
Striding through the mud brother Anadrius inspected the remaining troops, he could see the fear in the eyes of the survivors and he knew just as well that they would not be able to withstand another attack. Twenty space marines and a handful of wounded guardsmen were no match for another regiment of veteran Blood Pact troopers. All that rested them was to sell their lives as dearly as possible...and get as much information out of ‘the prisoner’ as they could.
As the door of the communications bunker closed behind him Anadrius removed his helmet and observed as apothecary Diganus began to removed the sealed helmet of the prisoner. How this traitor had managed to survive several plasma shots to the chest still illuded Anadrius. Though he was wearing power armour he should be dead, a pile of smoldering ceramite. His armour was adorned with all manner spikes and sigils, its dark red and black [or whatever colour we end up with :wink:] contrasted by the gold decorations. Most disturbing were his vambraces, each of them ending in wickedly barbed and seemingly scared claws. The right one alined with tiny extremely sharp tubes, which the traitor had used with great skill during the battle, the gore of marine and guardsman alike still slowly leaking from the tubing.
His helmet resembled a grimassing face, much like the grotesque facial masks worn by the Blood Pact. As the apothecary removed it the gathered marines watched with resentment in their mind, expecting the vilest of creatures to inhabit this defiled piece of ancient armour. But the face that was revealed shocked them more than any warped mutant ever could. Grin on his face the traitor turned to Anadrius;
‘What’s wrong Anadrius, don’t you recognize your fellow battle-brother? Or is your memory so short lived,...old friend?’
Though his face was heavily scared, Anadrius indeed recognised the man he had once called brother. A man who had served with him through uncountable battles, who he believed to have been dead for over a decade. Still shocked, he slowly turned to apothecary Diganus and nodded him to continue. What followed were three hours of interrogation, or what any civilised man would call it, torture. The heretic withstood everything the apothecary unleashed on him until he once more sneered at Anadrius,
‘So you want to know, do you? Do you really...brother? Fine, I’ll tell you. But not because of this feeble attempt at persuasion, but because we’ll all be dead before the dend of the day....and because I still owe you. Remember the siege of Kabal III, remember how you and the others abondonned us?’
-THE PAST RETURNS TO HAUNT TO PRESENT-
Over ten years had passed since that dark day in the history of the Dark Hands chapter, on Kabal III they had fought the most costly of battles. Though the Imperial invasion force attacking the Khan group was massive, it was also spread out over a too large area. Worlds would be liberated, only to fall to the enemy again within a few weeks, all for it to start anew as more reinforcements of both sides converged on said worlds. What should have been a straight forward invasion had turned into a massacre, the entire planet of Kabal III taking up arms against the Guard regiments and the five Dark Hand companies. Hidden deep within the hive cities, the Archenemy’s troops had constructed tank factories, amassing troops and armoured companies for use in the rest of the system.
The third and seventh company made landfall in the Arganus Secundus hive, landing in the middle of the hidden enemy forces concentrated there. Within hours communications with them were severed, leaving many of the pockets of space marines in the hive stranded and most certainly doomed. Over the course of the next two weeks fighting continued across the planet, with the Imperial forces slowly, but surely being pushed back. What first started as a tactical retreat turned to an all-out route of several guard regiments once the heretic Blood Pact took to the field. It took the lives of most of the marines of the fourth company to prevent a complete massacre.When a fleet of over a dozen traitor cruisers was detected on the edge of the system, the commander in charge, admiral Qalan, ordered the retreat from the planet.
Unwilling to leave any marines behind, alive or dead, the Dark Hands made desperate raids into Arganus Secundus hive hoping to find survivors of the third and seventh company. All they found were scores of dead guardsmen, traitors and a handful of desecrated bodies of marines. Swearing vengeance for the spilled blood of their brethern the Dark Hands reluctantly withdrew from the planet. Of the nearly nine hundred marines that came to the planet, only 216 left alive. And only 58 bodies could be recovered from the blasted, smoldering ruins of Hive Arganus Secundus.
-SCARS TO BE WORN WITH PRIDE-
And now, a decade later, Anadrius stood face to face with one of those who’s death he had sworn to avenge.
Breathing heavily, covered in blood, most of it his own, the traitor continued;
‘You and the others left us there to die, like cowards you ran while we fought on. One by one we fell, many of us taken out by those Loxatl broods and Blood Pact troopers. I know not how much time went by after I myself was shot down, all I know is that it damn well hurt. Turns out those reptillian mercenaries had instructions to capture, not kill, as many of us as they could. And though many of them died in the proces they’d managed to capture nearly the entire third company, a large portion of third company and even some straglers from the fourth company.
When we woke up we found ourselves heavily restrained on board of a transport vessel that had in full desccent. After it landede we were marched from the its hold into the blistering heat of now of whatever hellhole of a planet we were’s three suns. Prodded and directed as if we were cattle, driven through the desert to the great and alluring city that greeted us as we made our first steps on this unknown world. Stripped of our armour, restrained we marched for days. Our capturers ever weary of those foolish enough to attempt escape, both the restraints and the dangers of the desert proved very effective in assisting them. On the first day alone six brothers were executed for killing one of the Blood Pact supervisors and five others drowned in the quicksand created by some monstrous desert scorpion as they attempted to escape.
When we finally arrived in the city we were not alone, several hundred marine captives, most of them from the Dark Hands, had been led there. What followed goes beyond your darkest and most frighful imaginations.....brother’
He said smiling painfully to Anadrius, angered the marine responded.
‘We are no longer brothers, you have picked up weapons against the rightful champions of the Emperor. A deed that can never be forg......’
‘Yes, yes treachery, damnation, fallen from the light...spare me the sermon Anadrius. You know better than to blindly follow every word of your overzealous chaplains, what happend to the intelligent, independent man I once knew’, the traitor replied spitefully..
Stepping forward Anadrius grapped the traitor by the neck, slowly lifting him into the air. Hatred burning in his eyes he thightened his grip until apothecary Diganus stepped in.
‘Restrain yourself brother, this heretic may yet provide use with more information. I assure you he will feel the Emperor’s wraith before this day is past and it shall neither be swift or merciful.’
Reluctantly Anadrius released the heretic, the apothecary again restraining the prisoner to the chair and injecting him with a mixture of stimulant that would keep him alive for a few more hours. Taking a deep, heavy breath the traitor continued in a slowly weakening voice;
‘Always the follower.......right brother? Very well I’ll continue, for month we were imprisoned beneath the city. Alone in a cell, I figured I would be able to resist whatever my so-called captors could throw at me. And I did, for a while....until the hunger and pain started to take its toll. All I heard the first days were screams of pain and fear, until they finally came for me. My body, my very mind became a shrine to torture. My flesh a canvas upon which with violent brushes the colours of pain and despair were painted.
I know not how long I spend in that place, nor do I care to find out. All I know is that I survived and I was once more led to the surface. There I finally saw the now scared and brused faces of some of the others, most of them looked psychically and mentally broken. Decades of training and warfare seemed washed away and for the first time I felt disgust for myself and them. Despite our prayers and training we were breaking.......giving up.
We were led, and suprisingly not driven, to what seemed to be the palace of whatever Imperial governor once ruled over this world centuries ago. Its splendour contrasted heavily with the cell and torture chambers that had housed me for a long time. We walked, I would like to say marched but most of us could barely walk up straight let alone march. So we walked, through giant hallways and galleries accompanied by our guards and everywhere soldiers stood in dark red kit with gnarling golden face masks...staring at us, with what almost felt like envy.
We finally came to a great gathering hall, what I can only imaging once held the goverment of this world. Scattered throughout the hall lay the decaying reminders of the Imperium’s abandonment of this place. And there we stood a dozen wounded, nearly broken space marines.
Up there on the throne sat their leader, a massive man clad in ancient deformed power armour. Slowly turning towards us he spoke with a voice that both chilled and intrigued me. He spoke to us with respect, honoring our deed since the beginning of the war. Proclaiming us the be the great, the strongest of the prisoners. We were told we alone had survived the dungeons..if only I had knew then what I know now.....
He spoke to each of us, calling us by name, knowing things most of us had nearly forgotten. We and we alone would be given the honour to stand before the Gaur, for our strength and honour we would be given the choice none had been given before.
Upon his command twelve suits of ornate power armour were brought in, each of them more intricate than the last, but all of them bearing hidious clawlike vembraces.
We were given the choice, join the Gaur as his trusted and rightfully feared lieutenant or fight him and die in honorable combat.
Four went before me, chosing to fight the Gaur....all died quickly and with few pain. When my time came I refused to die such a futile death, I choose them armour that had been calling to me throughout the entire meeting with the Gaur. The other men followed my lead and so began or service to our new master. Not because of duty, or training since birth, but of our own will and ambition for vengeance of those that had betrayed us. For over a decade I fought as a lieutenant against the Gaur’s rival, crushing his opponent’s skulls beneath by armoured boot. My new armour and weaponry proving to be far superior to that I had worn the centuries before.
Eventually I was rejoined by my brothers and row upon row of other champions on Cenarius, for the last ten years the forces of the Gaur had been ‘harvesting’ the fallen and captured to create a complete legion of chosen champions. And together under the command of former captain Miranus, now Magister Mirancor the Bloodied One, we gathered to once more return to Imperial held space.
You see my brother, I am merely a scouts. A drop of a sea of blood that come to consume you all, for the Gaur and vengeance we have returned and.......’
Before he could finish his sentence a great explosion shook the bunker, the Blood Pact had returned to complete their task. Turning towards the traitor Anadrius spoke,
‘Looks like justice will be swift for you after all......brother’
And with that he grabbed the laspistol of the table, killing the heretic point blank. Turning towards the one of the other marines he shouts a final order before grabbing his helmet and stepping back outside, into the mud, into the firestorm;
‘We’’l buy you time, now get this information send out.....’
The Dark Talons proclaim themselves to be the remnants of the believed lost third, seventh and fourth companies of the Black Hands space marine chapter. Although claims and marking of certain other members indicate that the legion is made up out of traitor from various chapters. But the largest group undoubtably heralds from the Dark Hands chapter. During the siege of Kabal II during the Sabbat World Crusade this chapter saw intensive fighting, resulting in massive casualties. The survivors forced to abondon the planet to the traiterous forces of Chaos, believing the largest of their numbers to be dead. In reality the entire siege on Kabal II had been planned by the Gaur, a chaos warlord, to capture as many space marines as possible. Through years of torture many of these eventually turned to the service of the warlord. First used merely as commanders and infiltraters their numbers slowly grew until they were finally large enough to be used as a independant elite force.
The origins of the Dark Talons’ geneseed knows quite a bit of variation, due to their ranks being made up of members of various chapter. And information on the most dominant group, the Dark Hand survivors, is sketchy at best. Neither their origins nor geneseed are known, save by the chapter itself and scant members of the Inquisiton.
- Combat Doctrine
The Dark Talons initially operated as lieutenants, commanders and infiltraters until their numbers grew large enough to be formed into a full legion. As such many of them have ties with the various heretics and traitors in the Sabbat Worlds region and have often been seen operating along sides the likes of the Sons of Sek and the Blood Pact.
Though loyal to the Magister Gaur of the Archenemy, they operate independantly and will go to great lengths to prove themselves in the face of space marine opponents. Especially those of their hated former brothers; the Dark Hands chapter.
Their large number, the legion counts over six hundred traitor marines, in combination with their allegiance to the Gaur insures that they see much of the toughest fighting and as such always have the best gear avaible. There have even been reports of them fighting alongside Blood Pact troopers and the mercenary Lozatl while using captured or renegade build armour like chimeras, the leman russ battle tank and even the colossal bandeblade. The Dark Talons have a very clear filosophy to war, they are convinced of their superiority to Imperial troops and will go to great lengths, using infiltraters and spies, to gain the strategic upperhand.
- Legion symbol
The original Dark Hands chapter symbol seems to have been the basis for the legion’s new symbol. Orignally a mailed hand commanding halt, it has now turned into a grabbing talon.
Original symbol –
Suggestions for new symbol-
Or maybe even something lik;
- Characteristic Features
The power armour of the Dark Talons is highly ornate [colours still to be decided] with many of them wearing beastial, grinning facial masks, much like the Blood Pact. The officers also appear to possess of an uncanning ability to take an unusually large amount of punishment before going down, this is believe to be linked to their use of what have been called Talon vembraces. This gauntlet weapon, usually fixed to the champion’s right lower arm is an ornate claw riddled with wicked barbes and spikes. Something which alone would prove an effective close combat weapon, but reports have shown that this weapon can be used to remove certain fluids from victims through the very small, but surgically sharp tubing attached to the gauntlet. However this may work, champions have proven to greatly increase in strength for a short periode after harvesting this liquid.