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Jut a quick word from me before we start - the legion fluff is now up to a standard where it can be presented properly to the forum. please read, vote in the poll and give feedback as appropriate.

happy reading!


The History Of The Dark Talons - Part One
Written by Hephesto and Jacobite

(Original idea belongs to Heph so all credit to him)


-PROLOGUE-


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 Warmaster 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 stand still, with every world, every settlement turning into long, brutal ground battle. To make matters worse many of these new magisters brought with them new highly disciplined and trained troops. Many of them equal or even superior to the Imperial Guard, among them Gaur’s personal army the Blood Pact and the sadistic Son's of Sek.

In the hopes of breaking the back of the Archenemy’s forces the Imperium poured more and more troops into the Khan system, attempting to not only defeat them on the battle field but also to cut the supply lines from deeper in the Sabbat Worlds Cluster. One of the many efforts under taken by the Dark Hands Chapter. Their object was to flank the Sabbat worlds and then make a small warp jump behind the enemy lines to take out several worlds which acted as staging posts for the Blood Pact and Tratoir Legions. When these Worlds were liberated they could be re-enforced and used as a staging post for the Imperuim's forces to not only push deeper into the Sabbat Worlds cluster but also to double back and attack the enemy from the rear. It was a ambitious strategy especially given that Warmaster Macroth had only been in command for a matter of months. The first planet to be assaulted was Kabal III, it would soon become the site of the Chapters shame, though it would take them 10 years and another planet, Halfite Major, before they became aware of it.


-OF FALLEN BRETHERN AND VENGEANCE-


Casualties had been enormous, nearly all the guardsmen at observation post X-82 Alpha lay dead in the bloody, muddy trenches surrounding the vast radar dishes and communication 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 re-taken 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) 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. With a grin on his face the traitor turned to Anadrius and in a voice dripping with contempt spoke:

‘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 end of the day....and because I still owe you. Remember Kabal III? remember how you and the others left us while you fled?


-THE PAST RETURNS TO HAUNT TO PRESENT-


Over 20 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 had consisted of six full Space Marine companies, two regiments of Imperial Guard and a Armoured Company, the world they faced was the major transport route for Blood Pact into the Khan Sector, to make matters worse Intelligence had been wrong, the Space Marines had expected minimal resistance, instead they encountered over fifteen Brigades of highly trained and well armed Blood Pact. What should have been a straight forward invasion, liberation and reinforcement quickly turned into a massacre, the Imperial Forces out numbered nearly 20 to 1. The entire planet of Kabal III took up arms against the Imperial Forces.

The Third company and portions of the First and Eighth companies made landfall in the Arganus Secundus hive lead by First Captain Retrave, embarking in the middle of the hidden enemy forces concentrated there. The Fourth Company under the command of Librarian Tanthus landed in the trenches outside the hive and began to fight their way in while the Sixth and Seventh companies backing up the Guard regiments and Armoured Company as they focussed on other objects across the Planets surface. As soon as the Imperial Forces landed strange activity began in orbit, unpredicted warp activity began to make communication difficult. Within hours radio contact between the fleet and the would be liberators 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 to a ravine which had been designated as the fall back location.

The only success story came from the Fourth Company who broke through to their brothers inside the Hive. After meeting up with the rest of the Dark Hands the forces continued into the Hive via a tunnel which they believed would lead them to the Plasma Rectors deep within the Hive Core, if they could shut them down then the assembly lines supplying the Chaos forces would grind to a halt. The rest of the Imperial forces were forced to start a tactical retreat however but this soon turned to an all-out route of the Guard Regiments once they realised the extent of heretic Blood Pact forces. It took the lives of half of the Marines of the Sixth Company to prevent a complete massacre. When the commanding officers realised just how numerous the enemy was, the commander in charge, Lieutenant General Qalan, ordered a 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 First, Third, Fourth and Eighth company. All they found were scores of dead guardsmen and traitors. Of the tunnel that the Space Marines had gone through there was no sign. Trying to raise the lost companies on the radio yielded nothing. Swearing vengeance for the spilled blood of their brethren the Dark Hands reluctantly withdrew from the planet. Of the nearly 500 hundred marines that came to the planet, only 100 left alive. To make matters worse only one body was recovered from the blasted, smouldering ruins of Hive Arganus Secundus. When it became clear that they couldn’t wait any longer due to both the proximity of the Warp Activity (which was fast becoming a full scale Warp Storm) and the approaching enemy forces the last Thunder Hawks returned to a remnants of the fleet in orbit, leaving one last radio broadcast to their lost brethren. The last message was:

“ Brothers, if any of you are still living here this cry. We cannot stay, the magics of the enemy grow near and we must go. We have waited for as long as we can. We will avenge your fate brother! May the Emperor be with you. Die with honour. Your on your own”


End Of Part One
 

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The History Of The Dark Talons - Part Two

Written by Hephesto and Jacobite

(Original idea belongs to Heph so all credit to him)



-SCARS TO BE WORN WITH PRIDE-

And now, two decades 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, you could have stayed - you had the man power, you could have raised the planet! But like cowards you ran while we fought on. We saw you go!. That’s right we had completed our mission and were heading to relieve you. Our radios were being interfered with, we had heard your transmissions, but we couldn’t reply and we got to the drop zone just in time to see your Thunder Hawks fly off. We screamed into our radios for you to return untill our voices were raw. You left us so we fought on, for six months we fought. By some cruel twist of fate the last message you sent to us was constantly ringing in our ears, even when the vox finally failed it still could be heard over the wind. It was mocking us, taunting us with your cowardice. One by one we fell and as each of us fell we began to see the truth. We began to see that the Emperor was a lie!. Everything we had been taught was false. All the while we were being slowly ripped apart by those Loxatl broods and Blood Pact troopers. I know not how much time went by until I myself was shot down, all I know is that it damn well hurt. Turns out those reptilian mercenaries had instructions to capture, not kill, as many of us as they could. And though many of them died in the process they’d managed to maim then capture nearly all of us. I had half my face ripped up and my left arm torn clean off by a Loxatl claw in a brawl on the eastern side of the Hive, before passing out from a combination of pain and shock maul blows to the head.

When I awoke I found myself heavily restrained on a slab of stone on board of a transport vessel that seemed to be in full descent. My armour had been stripped from me and I was dressed in a rough spun smock. From a small amount I could turn my head I could see that I was in a vast hold and surrounded by my brothers, some of them I had seen shot and maimed before my very eyes. Now they seemed to be in a perfect state of health bar scaring. I could feel my left arm again.

After it landed we were marched from the ship’s hold into the blistering heat of whatever hellhole of a planet we were on. Under it’s three suns, we were driven like cattle, prodded, directed and driven through the desert to a great and alluring city that greeted us as we made our first steps on this unknown world. Restrained we marched for days. For every one of us there were at least five Blood Pact with shock mauls to guard us. On the first day alone six brothers were executed for killing one of the Blood Pact guards. They needn’t have bothered, both the restraints and the dangers of the desert proved very effective in prevent escape. That same day 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, nearly one hundred other marine captives had been led there. They came from every chapter imaginable. 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 wrath 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 before injecting him with a mixture of stimulants 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 all I heard for that first month was screams of pain, anger and your ever present radio transmission, 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. They used everything against us: pain, pleasure, starvation, daemon fire… and always accompanied by those words. At the beginning 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.

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 broken and brused faces of the others. There were about two hundred of us. Two hundred out of the five that had been led to the cells. Decades of training and warfare seemed to have been washed away and for the first time I felt disgust for myself and them. We were nothing but shattered husks of warriors, no master, no purpose. 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 shuffled, I would like to say marched but most of us could barely walk up straight let alone march. So we shuffled, 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 were all forced into a great cavern, a holding cell. I saw many of my old comrades: First Captain Retrave, Librarian Tanthus but not a single one of us said a word to each other. The guards moved amongst us, pushing us into groups. Every now and then a group would be lead away.

After several days my group was pushed out and directed down a long tunnel. 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. Amongst my group was Librarian Tanthus, a Space Wolf easily recognisable thanks to his fangs, two Iron Drakes with their wyrm tattoos and a finally Imperial Fist, still trying to look as arrogant as ever. Tanthus’s eyes were blood red and I could only guess at what sort of treatment he had. The remaining members of the group were all Dark Hands.

At the centre of the room, on a high throne sat 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 dead since the beginning of the war. Proclaiming us the be the great, the strongest of the prisoners. We were told that we and the one hundred and fifty others that had survived the dungeons would now receive our reward... 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 somebody called the Val-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 Val-Gaur as his trusted and rightfully feared Chosen or fight him and die in honorable combat. The Val-Gaur turned out to be one of Urlock Gaur’s most trusted advisors and Generals. He could offer us all we ever wanted. The armour called to me, it sung out promises of death, revenge and riches. It promised me power.

We were given the choice, join the Val-Gaur as his trusted and rightfully feared Chosen or fight him and die in honorable combat. The armour called to me, it sung out promises of death, revenge and riches. It promised me power.

One of the Iron Drakes was first to decide, head held high he strode across the floor towards the stairs to the raised platform and with quick steps he made his way up towards the seated man. A guard attempted to block his path but with a sweep of his hand the Iron Drake wrenched the stave from Blood Pact’s fist, this was quickly followed by a kick that sent his body flying through the air. Twirling the staff experimentally the marine swung it towards the armoured figure’s head. A bladed gauntlet shot up and blocked the blow before the other hand punched forward and sliced into the Astartes abdomen before ripping up and out in a spray of blood and gore. With a gurgle the Space Marine fell to the floor before rolling to the foot of the stairs in a smear of red.

A Dark Hand was next to make his choice, he took a step forward and made his way towards the power armour. The Imperial Fist, seeing this, charged forward with a wordless scream and threw himself onto the back of the marine, bringing him to the ground. The two began to fight, great swinging blows of their fists impacting on each others heads. Several guards made moves to intercept but the figure on the Throne stopped them and continued to watch the combat below. Another Dark Marine charged forward to help the Imperial Fist. The power armoured man made no attempt to stop him. I recognised the new combatant, he had been a Chaplin in the Eighth Company. It was at that point that Tanthus stepped forward. With a look up at the throne and a outstretched hand he immolated the struggling figures with purple fire. The room became filled with smell of burning flesh and the sound of crackling could be heard. The enthroned man just smiled a sinister smile and continued to stare down at us. Tanthus walked towards the armour and this time no one made to stop his path.

It was at this moment that those of us still in line began to see the truth. We began to see that the Emperor was a lie. Everything we had been taught was false. I hated the Imperium for abandoning us on Kabal, that I hated all you who had betrayed us and left us to die. I realised that there was no way out, that Chaos was the only true answer. That Chaos was the power we all wanted. That was our right as Astartes...

End of part two
 

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The History Of The Dark Talons - Part 2.5

Written by Hephesto and Jacobite

(Original idea belongs to Heph so all credit to him)

So we began our 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.

I was joined by the other survivors of the dungeons and together we formed a new Chapter. The Dark Talons. The majority of us were former Dark Hands but there were others, others like the Space Wolf and second Iron Drake. We were lead by Tanthus and First Captain Retrave. Now you may be the Dark Hand of Death, Anadrius, sent by the Emperor to exact his will upon your enemies but I became a Dark Talon of the Gaur: sharp, swift, deadly. For over a decade I fought as a Lieutenant against the Val-Gaur’s rival’s both Imperial and Chaos, crushing his opponent’s skulls beneath armoured boot. We were his personal bodyguards and every victory we won replenished our ranks with more and more Astartes seeing the truth. Our numbers swelled to three hundred, then four and finally there were seven hundred of us. We grew rich, powerful… and over confident, we soon learnt the price of our loyalty.

‘As is your punishment traitor, your own arrogance and lust for power has dammed you!’ interrupted Anadrius, ‘so for crimes against the Emperor, for desertion and heresy I sentence you to death’

(This is the cut point, just add on the orginal ending here to remove Malal stuff)

‘Oh shut up you pompass ass’ laughed the restrained man, ‘I haven’t finished yet, the story is only halfway told. Now if you would let me finish…’

His voice trailed off, waiting for the answer. Before giving the go ahead Anadrius quickly spoke into his radio. It seemed they still had time before the enemy broke through. Grudgingly he nodded. The fallen Astartes continued his voice now barely a whisper:


End of part 2.5
 

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The History Of The Dark Talons - Part Three

Written by Hephesto and Jacobite

(Original idea which this stems from belongs to Heph so all credit to him)



-THE SECOND BETRAYAL AND THE RENEGADE-


“For years we proved our strength to our master. You think the rivalry between the Astartes is intense, it is nothing compared to the competition we went through to gain the Gaur’s favour. We fought everybody, Blood Pact, Mutants, other Chaos Legions, the Imperium, whoever we could, we killed. We proved our strength through the fires of combat. Millions fell to our blades and our name became synomomous with fear. Soon the Val-Gaur began to make plans, plans that would make him the new Archon but the entire scheme rested on one planet. A planet he knew the Dark Talons would do anything to return to: Kabal III. He knew that this was where the Guar was, planning the next phase of the war. So we returned to the world that was our undoing. This time we swore it would be different.

But yet again the enemy knew we were coming. A minder high up in the command structure must have leaked Val-Gaurs true intentions to Urlock because we were greeted by wave upon wave of Blood Pact. We fought like men possessed, not one single blade or bullet even came near the Val Gaur…”

The traitor paused, his face darkening with rage

“If only his nerve was as strong as we were! Like you he fled when the battle began to look like we would lose. He left us to fight a rear guard action while he escaped into orbit. We were left to be butchered like cattle while he ran away with his tail between his legs. No doubt he expected us to tie up the Gaur’s forces long enough to regroup the few loyal to him and then strike again. Our blood was to pay for his escape. Our blood paid for nothing!. We set that world alight with our rage. We put every single man, woman and child on that planet to the sword, the sky was black with the smoke of burning cities and screams rent the air. You should have seen it Anadrius, it was beautiful, piles of bodies higher than mountains and all the while the rage coursing through our veins.

In the ruins of Hive Arganus Secundus we stood, the hour hundred that remained, the veterans of both betrayals. It was there we held a council. Every man had the right to speak. We didn’t know what to do, no master, no direction. Some said we should go to Urlock Gaur and pledge our blades to him, some were for hunting down Val-Gaur and making him pay. A few wanted to join the Red Corsairs. We all knew however that we couldn’t ever trust another mortal again. Not after all the back stabbing. It was then that a figure appeared from out of the smoke.

He was dressed in black and *********** armour with his head covered. We all watched as the man strode into the circle. First Captain Retrave walked over to the figure, challenging him. For a moment the strange marine just looked at the Captain. Then the figure spoke:

“You need not fear me for in your hatred you are not alone.”

Those words have never left me. The man then removed his hood to reveal a pale face with jet black hair. It was obvious that the man was of Night Lords stock but not even the Night Haunter himself had been as deathly white as the Marine who stood before us.

“My name is Kilm Vanshal, voice of Malal. His has seen your pain, your suffering and your abandonment. He ,like you and like me, has been spurned by the other Gods and betrayed by his fellows. And he, like you, wants vengeance !”

Malal, the Fifth God of Chaos. The Outcast, the Renegade, the Lost. He was the only one we could trust not to betray us for he knew our pain. He had experienced it himself. Cast out by the other gods eons ago he now demanded retribution and destruction on all things. We saw a god who knew our pain and in us he saw followers whose hatred for both Chaos and the Imperium was unshakable.

In the ruins of Kabal III we pledged our immortal souls, for the third time and final time, to a new master: Malal, God of destruction.

Since then we have grown more powerful. We are stronger now than you, stronger than the followers of the Four. There is nothing you can do to stop us, no way to predict where we will strike next and although you may kill me there is…"

Malal Stuff ends here

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 bolt pistol off the table, before shooting the heretic point blank. Turning towards the one of the other marines he shouted a final order before grabbing his helmet and stepping back outside, into the mud, into the firestorm;

‘We’ll buy you time, now get this information sent out, this new threat could be the undoing of us all.....’
 

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Porn King!!!
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I am diggin it. I have absolutely no problems with any of this.
 

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Jac "Baneblade" O'Bite
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Cheers Wraith thats great to hear.

The Index Astartes will hopefully be done by Saturday or Monday at the latest. The IA will cover:

The Dark Talons personality all through the process of becoming traitor
Their Combat Doctrine, Tatics and Weapons (mmm weapons)
Notable Characters
Breif Run Down On Malal
Allies (Very Important!!!)

Plus anything else I have forgotten.

Please don't be afraid to critique the work, we want everybody to be happy with the Legion
 

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Links Manager
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:D cool stuff....obviously has my vote!

@ Jacobite, if you need any help with the IA just let me know.
 

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Jac "Baneblade" O'Bite
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@cccp_one: Sorta - kinda like lighting claws execpt a lot nastier.

@heph: I'll be using your work as a basis as its perfect but if you want to add more when I've finished and edit my work like I did with yours then please feel free its only fair.
 

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Jac "Baneblade" O'Bite
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Ok here is the first part of the Index Hereticus. Credit again goes to Heph who wrote the orginal article and I have just expanded upon.

The majority of it is there, all that needs adding is the Beliefs of the chapter and run downs on each of the main characters within the chapter which i will have done tomorrow. I would do it now but its about half two in the morning and I've been working on this for about 6-7 hours straight. For some reason it has taken me a lot longer than usual. Hopefully I've written it in such a way that will allow allies but still get across Malal alligiance. Anyway here it is.



INDEX HERETICUS


- Origins -

The Dark Talons proclaim themselves to be the remnants of the once thought lost Third and Fourth companies (along with portions of the First and Eighth) of the Black Hands Space Marine Chapter. The legion is made up, in the majority, by members of the Dark Hands Chapter although the markings of certain other members indicate that the legion does contain a sizable number of traitors from other chapters.

The Dark Hands Space Marine Chapter were founded from Imperial Fist and Dark Angel gene seed in 783.M34 to combat disturbances in the Segmentum Pacificus. The Chapter soon gained a reputation for its bravery and it’s arrogance. The only two Chapters the Dark Hands acknowledged as being superior to their own were the Imperial Fists and Dark Angels. The Chapter specialised in assault warfare and was often the first to enter the walls of the enemy fortress after smashing the enemy defences asunder with short range fire fights that showed the metal and courage of the Chapter. They always preferred to meet the enemy face to face and distained the use of tactics which involved the use of guile and stealth.

During the siege of Kabal III during the Sabbat World Crusade the Dark Hands saw intensive fighting which resulted in massive casualties. The survivors were forced to abandon the planet after a warp storm threatened to cut off the planet from the wider Crusade,. Believing the largest of their numbers to be dead the Sixth and Seventh Companies withdrew from the planet. What they did not know was that the surviving members of the First, Third, Fourth and Eighth were only one click away from the extraction zone when they left. The survivors were forced to continue the war. After six months of constant fighting the last of the abandoned Dark Hands was brought down. In a peculiar move by the Forces of Chaos, the Space Marines were deliberately captured rather than killed. The prisoners were then transported deep with Chaos Territory to a unknown fate.

Thirty years later the Chapter returned to Imperial space. They were, however, completely unrecognisable. Their armour and tactics had changed and the arrogance and distain towards the weaker members of the Imperium had transformed into a full hatred of those who had abandoned them. Now they fought not for some higher nobler cause but for a mysterious figure by the name of Malal.

After the Dark Hands found out that their brethren had fallen to Chaos and returned they changed their name to The Knights Of Shame. Shortly after they embarked upon a 500 year Crusade to remove any taint of corruption within their ranks. All iconography, purity seals, gilding, and rank badges were removed from their armour and the Chapter now fights in bare metal. They have even taken the unusual step of requesting a Ordo Mallus Inquisitor to be with them at all times.


- Gene-seed And Mutation -

The Dark Talons’ gene seed knows quite a bit of variation, due to their ranks being made up of members of various chapters. Unlike other Chaos Legions the Dark Talon’s do not suffer from any substantial amount of mutation in their Geneseed. The reason for this is not known but it has been theorised Malal may prevent the effects of the warp from taking it’s hold on the members of the Chapter unless a individual member expressively wishes it.


- Combat Doctrine -

Being former Space Marines the Dark Talons are well versed in all aspects of combat and throughout their short history they have changed their style several times depending on outside influences affecting the Chapter.

After being left behind on Kabal III the Dark Talons were forced to drastically change their tactics to suit the hit and run nature of the war they were then forced to fight. Instead of the ‘up the centre’ approach that they had previously taken the chapter began to operate using short sharp strikes characterised by brutal close combat before withdrawing and striking somewhere different.

Under the command of the Val Gaur the Dark Talons operated as Lieutenants, and Commanders in the Blood Pact under the Val Gaur’s command as well as acting as the personal bodyguard for the Val Gaur himself. Close Combat remained the preferred fighting style as it allowed them to prove themselves worthy of their position as the chosen of the Val Gaur. As an added bonus it also allowed them to take out their anger and hatred on the enemy at a personal level. This preference for up front combat very soon began to border on sort of behaviour that has become the hallmark of the likes of the World Eaters Legion and the Berserker cult was being to become quite sizable within the Dark Talon ranks. If it was not for the second betrayal on Kabal III it is quite possible that the entire Chapter would have succumbed Khorne insane blood lust.

After the Second Betrayal the Dark Talons have become more controlled. This may be a direct result of no longer being so closely affiliated with Khorne or simply a shift in direction due to the involvement of Kilm Vanshal.

It has only been since Kabal III and the Val Gaur’s betrayal that the Chapter has begun to use vehicles in any great number. This was due to the Dark Talons not having any particular need for them before. While under the Blood Pact command they left all the heavy armour to the Blood Pact Tank Divisions. However now, due to their new autonomy, they have been forced to acquire some vehicles.

The Chapter has returned to a sort of middle ground between the combat styles, they now operate with a very fluid and unpredictable grace that often confuses the enemy. Squads will strike seemingly at random before the full weight of the Dark Talons comes crashing down.



- Organisation -

The Legion currently numbers approximately four hundred marines and due to it’s comparatively small nature when compared to other forces in the area the Dark Talons generally fights as a whole (the Blood Pact alone is estimated at ¾ of a million strong). The number is however slowly growing due to a dispossessed former member of Fabuis Bile’s retinue who has joined the Chapter.

The Chapter is ruled over by a council of three: First Captain Retrave, Liberian Tanthus (both former Dark Hands) and Kilm Vanshal (a ex Night Lord who functions as a Pseudo-Chaplin). Other than each of the three leaders having two lieutenants who act as aids there is very little in the way of a structured hierarchy between the council and squad level. In addition title of lieutenant is purely honorific as the position gives very little in the way of extra power that a sergeant doesn’t already have.


- Allies -

Due to their time in the service of the Val Gaur, and despite their allegiance to Malal, the Dark Talons have ties with the various heretic organisations in the Sabbat Worlds region and have on rare occasions been seen operating along sides the likes of the Sons of Sek and the Blood Pact. They also enjoy a very good relationship with the mercenary Loxatl despite the obvious issues between the two forces.

The Dark Talons will play one God’s forces against another and will not hesitate to sometimes ally themselves with one side in order to achieve their aims.

The use of daemons within the Chapter isn't that common, although they have been known to be tricked into fighting for the Talon's through the use of captured icons. When they are used they employed as meat shields to keep Dark Talon's squads from taking casualties.

On a side note, any Chaos force (mortal or daemon) that fights along side the Chapter invariably also ends up destroyed as soon the greater foe (be it Imperial or Chaos) has been defeated. The Dark Talons will always exact revenge upon their betrayers, its just the amount of time until their destruction that sometimes varies.



- Characteristic Features -

The power armour of the Dark Talons is highly ornate and each individual warrior is free to personalise his armour with what ever adornments he wishes. Some choose to retain the bestial, grinning facial masks that they had affected while serving with the Blood Pact. Others remove all vestiges of their service and start afresh, adorning themselves with trophies and kill markings. Certain members of the Chapter also appear to possess an un-canning 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 Vambraces. This gauntlet weapon, usually fixed to the champion’s right lower arm is an ornate claw riddled with wicked barbs and spikes. This 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 it works, champions have proven to greatly increase in strength for a short period after utilising the Vambrace.


- 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.


- Battle-cry -

A hate filled cry of: “You are on your own!”


_____________________________________________________________

Comments etc appreciated.

Final 1/3rd tomorrow, or tonight - whatever it is.
 

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Porn King!!!
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8,137 Posts
Even more coolness.
 

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Links Manager
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Yet another great job here Jacobite, just a few typos and it will be perfect imho :wink: Great stuff with the ex-Night Lord chaplainy guy and a former servant of one of my fav characters Fabius Bile!

In fact if I have the time I'll check both the fluff and this part for typos etc (everything is pretty much spot one for me, so no worries about your/our content) tonight....and get that second and hopefully third colourscheme done!
 

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Jac "Baneblade" O'Bite
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Cheers guys.

Thanks for doing the checking for me Heph if there is one thing I hate more than anything its checking for typo's and editing my own work. I'm fine doing someone elses just not my own. Great work on the color schemes btw.

The idea of the ex Fabius Bile servant just came into my mind basically as I was posting it up as I thought that with only 400 marines the chapter needs some way of getting bigger/replenishing its troops. And I thought the chapter really needed a sort of guiding character who was more experianced in the ways of the warp.

Anyway I'l get to work on the last part of it in a few hours. Should be up later today.
 

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Links Manager
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Serious thanks for Jacobite's excellent efforts on expanding on this concept!

Re-checked and major changes have been highlighted with red.

Updates;
- typos
- numbers worked out as specified
- index part 1
- index part 2 (sequence might need some rearranging, but it is all there)

Still coming / working on;
- The Legion's major characters and their history
- if all the edited red sections are in order I'll remove the red




The History Of The Dark Talons - Part One
Written by Hephesto and Jacobite

(Original idea belongs to Heph so all credit to him)


-PROLOGUE-


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 Warmaster 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 stand still, with every world, every settlement turning into long, brutal ground battle. To make matters worse many of these new magisters brought with them new highly disciplined and trained troops. Many of them equal or even superior to the Imperial Guard, among them Gaur’s personal army the Blood Pact and the sadistic Son's of Sek.

In the hopes of breaking the back of the Archenemy’s forces the Imperium poured more and more troops into the Khan system, attempting to not only defeat them on the battlefield but also to cut their supply lines from deeper in the Sabbat Worlds Cluster. One of these many efforts was undertaken by the Dark Hands Chapter. Their object was to flank the Sabbat worlds and then make a small warp jump behind the enemy lines to take out several worlds which acted as staging posts for the Blood Pact and Traitor Legions. Once these worlds were liberated they could be reinforced and used as a staging post for the Imperuim's forces to not only push deeper into the Sabbat Worlds cluster but also to double back and attack the enemy from the rear. It was a ambitious strategy especially given that Warmaster Macroth had only been in command for a matter of months. The first planet to be assaulted was Kabal III, it would soon become the site of the Chapters shame, though it would take them 10 years before they became aware of it.


-OF FALLEN BRETHERN AND VENGEANCE-


Casualties had been enormous, nearly all the guardsmen at observation post X-82 Alpha lay dead in the bloody, muddy trenches surrounding the vast radar dishes and communication 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 surely re-taken 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

Still awaiting colourscheme choice;
dark red and black (or whatever colour we end up with) 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. With a grin on his face the traitor turned to Anadrius and in a voice dripping with contempt spoke:

‘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 end of the day....and because I still owe you. Remember Kabal III? remember how you and the others left us while you fled?


-THE PAST RETURNS TO HAUNT TO PRESENT-


Over 20 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 had consisted of six full Space Marine companies, two regiments of Imperial Guard and a Armoured Company, the world they faced turned out to be in the direct path of the major transport route for Blood Pact troops into the Khan Sector. To make matters worse recon reports had been wrong, the Space Marines had expected minimal resistance, instead they encountered over fifteen Brigades of highly trained and well armed Blood Pact. What should have been a straight forward invasion, liberation and reinforcement quickly turned into a massacre, the Imperial Forces out numbered nearly 20 to 1. The entire planet of Kabal III took up arms against the Imperial Forces.

The Third company and portions of the First and Eighth companies made landfall in the Arganus Secundus hive lead by First Captain Retrave, embarking in the middle of the hidden enemy forces concentrated there. The Fourth Company under the command of Librarian Tanthus landed in the trenches outside the hive and began to fight their way in while the Sixth and Seventh companies backing up the Guard regiments and Armoured Company as they focussed on other objects across the planet’s surface. As soon as the Imperial Forces landed strange activity began in orbit, unpredicted warp activity began to make communication difficult. Within hours radio contact between the fleet and the would be liberators was 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 to a ravine which had been designated as the fall back location.

The only success story came from the Fourth Company who broke through to their brothers inside the Hive. After meeting up with the rest of the Dark Hands the forces continued into the Hive via a tunnel which they believed would lead them to the Plasma Rectors deep within the Hive Core, if they could shut them down then the assembly lines supplying the Chaos forces would grind to a halt. The rest of the Imperial forces were forced to start a tactical retreat however this soon turned to an all-out route of the Guard Regiments once they realised the extent of heretic Blood Pact forces. It took the lives of half of the Marines of the Sixth Company to prevent a complete massacre. When the commanding officers realised just how numerous the enemy was, the commander in charge, Lieutenant General Qalan, ordered a 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 First, Third, Fourth and Eighth company. All they found were scores of dead guardsmen and traitors. Of the tunnel that the Space Marines had gone through there was no sign. Trying to raise the lost companies on the radio yielded nothing. Swearing vengeance for the spilled blood of their brethren the Dark Hands reluctantly withdrew from the planet. Of the nearly 500 hundred marines that came to the planet, only 100 left alive. To make matters worse only one body was recovered from the blasted, smouldering ruins of Hive Arganus Secundus. When it became clear that they couldn’t wait any longer due to both the proximity of the Warp Activity, which was fast becoming a full scale Warp Storm, and the approaching enemy forceed the last Thunder Hawks to return to the remnants of the Imperial fleet in orbit, leaving one last radio broadcast to their lost brethren. The last message was:

“ Brothers, if any of you are still living hear this cry. We cannot stay, the magics of the enemy grow near and we must go. We have waited for as long as we can. We will avenge your fate brothers! May the Emperor be with you. Die with honour. You’re on your own”


-SCARS TO BE WORN WITH PRIDE-


And now, two decades 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, you could have stayed - you had the man power, you could have raised the planet! But like cowards you ran while we fought on, we saw you go!. That’s right we had completed our mission and were heading to relieve you. Our radios were being interfered with, we had heard your transmissions, but we couldn’t reply. When we finally made it to the drop zone we were just in time to see your Thunder Hawks fly off. We screamed into our radios for you to return untill our voices were raw. You left us so we fought on, for six months we fought. By some cruel twist of fate the last message you sent to us was constantly ringing in our ears, even when the vox finally failed it still could be heard over the wind. It was mocking us, taunting us with your cowardice. One by one we fell and as each of us fell we began to see the truth. We began to see that the Emperor was a lie!. Everything we had been taught was false. All the while we were being slowly ripped apart by those Loxatl broods and Blood Pact troopers. I know not how much time went by until I myself was shot down, all I know is that it damn well hurt. Turns out those reptilian mercenaries had instructions to capture, not kill, as many of us as they could. And though many of them died in the process they’d managed to maim then capture nearly all of us. I had half my face ripped up and my left arm torn clean off by a Loxatl claw in a brawl on the eastern side of the Hive, before passing out from a combination of pain and shock maul blows to the head.

When I awoke I found myself heavily restrained on a slab of stone on board of a transport vessel that seemed to be in full descent. My armour had been stripped from me and I was dressed in a rough spun smock. From a small amount I could turn my head I could see that I was in a vast hold and surrounded by my brothers, some of them I had seen shot and maimed before my very eyes. Now they seemed to be in a perfect state of health bar scaring.

After the transport landed we were marched from the ship’s hold into the blistering heat of whatever hellhole of a planet we were on. Under it’s three suns, the two hundred and sixty of us who had been captured we were driven like cattle, prodded, directed and driven through the desert. We were headed to a great and distant city beckoned us forwards as we made our first steps on this unknown world. Restrained we marched for days. For every one of us there were at least five Blood Pact with shock mauls to guard us. On the first day alone six brothers were executed for killing one of the Blood Pact guards. They needn’t have bothered, both the restraints and the dangers of the desert proved very effective in preventing escape. That same day 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, nearly one hundred other marine captives had been led there. They came from every chapter imaginable. 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 tightened 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 wrath 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 before injecting him with a mixture of stimulants 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 all I heard for that first month was screams of pain, anger and your ever present radio transmission, 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. They used everything against us: pain, pleasure, starvation, daemon fire… and always accompanied by those words. At the beginning 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, the pain and the madness started to take its toll.

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 broken and brused faces of the others. There were about two hundred of us. Decades of training and warfare seemed to have been washed away and for the first time I felt disgust for myself and them. We were nothing but shattered husks of warriors, no master, no purpose. 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 shuffled, I would like to say marched but most of us could barely walk up straight let alone march. So we shuffled, 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 were all forced into a great cavern, a holding cell. I saw many of my old comrades: First Captain Retrave, Librarian Tanthus but not a single one of us said a word to each other. The guards moved amongst us, pushing us into groups. Every now and then a group would be lead away.

After several days my group was pushed out and directed down a long tunnel. 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. Amongst my group was Librarian Tanthus, a Space Wolf easily recognisable thanks to his fangs, two Iron Drakes with their wyrm tattoos and finally an Imperial Fist, still trying to look as arrogant as ever. Tanthus’s eyes were blood red and I could only guess at what sort of treatment he had endured. The remaining members of the group were all Dark Hands.

At the centre of the room, on a high throne sat 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 deeds since the beginning of the war. Proclaiming us the greatest, the strongest among his prized the prisoners. We were told that we, and the two hundred others that had survived the dungeons, would now receive our reward... 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 him, the Val-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 vambraces.

We were given the choice, join the Val-Gaur as his trusted and rightfully feared Chosen or fight him and die in honorable combat. The Val-Gaur turned out to be one of Urlock Gaur’s most trusted advisors and Generals. He could offer us all we ever wanted and all along my eyes were draw to the suits of power armour. They called to me, it sung out promises of death, revenge and riches. A siren song promising me great power.

One of the Iron Drakes was first to decide, head held high he strode across the floor towards the stairs to the raised platform and with quick steps he made his way up towards the seated man. A guard attempted to block his path but with a sweep of his hand the Iron Drake wrenched the stave from Blood Pact’s fist, this was quickly followed by a kick that sent his body flying through the air. Twirling the staff experimentally the marine swung it towards the armoured figure’s head. A bladed gauntlet shot up and blocked the blow before the other hand punched forward and sliced into the Astartes abdomen before ripping up and out in a spray of blood and gore. With a gurgle the Space Marine fell to the floor before rolling to the foot of the stairs in a smear of red.

‘A most unwise choice’, the Val-Gaur spoke mockingly.

A Dark Hand was next to make his choice, he took a step forward and made his way towards the power armour. The Imperial Fist, seeing this, charged forward with a wordless scream and threw himself onto the back of the marine, bringing him to the ground. The two began to fight, great swinging blows of their fists impacting on each others heads. Several guards made moves to intercept but the figure on the throne gestured them to stop and continued to watch the fight below. Another Dark Hands Marine charged forward to help the Imperial Fist. I recognised the new combatant, he had been a Chaplin in the Eighth Company. It was at that point that librarian Tanthus stepped forward. With a look up at the throne and with outstretched hand he immolated the struggling figures with purple fire. The room became filled with the smell of burning flesh and the sound of crackling could be heard. The enthroned man just smiled sinister and continued to stare down at us. Still looking up at the Val-Gaur Thantus slowly walked towards the power armour and none of the remaining prisoners made an attempt to stop him.

It was at this moment that those of us still in line began to see the truth, we began to see that the Emperor was a lie. Everything we had been taught was false. I hated the Imperium for abandoning us on Kabal III, I hated all you who had betrayed us and left us to die. I realised that there was no way out, that Chaos was the only true answer. That Chaos was the power we all wanted, it was our right as Astartes. Each time we faced our former brothers we were careful not to kill them. Haven’t you wondered what has happened to the rest of the Eighth Company Anadrius?.

Anadrius bristled, as did every other marine in the room. The Eight had been missing for several years while going missing in transit. The Chaos marine saw this and laughed.

'No' whispered Anadrius, unable to comprehend what the traitor was saying.

'Yes brother, yet more of the Dark Hands joined us. We took new recruits from veterans among the Blood Pact and through careful planning our numbers swelled to three hundred, then four and finally there were seven hundred of us. We grew rich, powerful… and overconfident. We soon learnt the price of our loyalty. '


The History Of The Dark Talons - Part 2.5


Malal Section

So we began our 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.

Out of the two hundred and twenty five that had survived the cells only twenty five turned down the armour and were killed. And together we formed a new Chapter: The Dark Talons. The majority of us were former Dark Hands but there were others, others like Space Wolves and a few Iron Drakes. We were lead by Tanthus and First Captain Retrave. Now you may be the Dark Hand of Death, Anadrius, sent by the Emperor to exact his will upon your enemies but I became a Dark Talon of the Val-Gaur: sharp, swift, deadly. For over a decade I fought as a Lieutenant against the Val-Gaur’s rivals both Imperial and Chaos, crushing his opponent’s skulls beneath my armoured boot. We were his personal bodyguards and every victory we won replenished our ranks with more and more Astartes seeing the truth. Our numbers swelled to three hundred, then four and finally there were seven hundred of us. We grew rich, powerful… and over confident. We soon learnt the price of our loyalty.

‘As is your punishment traitor, your own arrogance and lust for power has dammed you!’ interrupted Anadrius, ‘so for crimes against the Emperor, for desertion and heresy I sentence you to death’

‘Oh shut up you pompass ass’ laughed the restrained man, ‘I haven’t finished yet, the story is only halfway told. Now if you would let me finish…’

His voice trailed off, waiting for the answer. Before giving the go ahead Anadrius quickly spoke into his radio. It seemed they still had time before the enemy broke through. Grudgingly he nodded. The fallen Astartes continued his voice now barely a whisper:


-THE SECOND BETRAYAL AND THE RENEGADE-


‘For years we proved our strength to our master. You think the rivalry between the Astartes is intense, it is nothing compared to the competition we went through to gain the Val-Gaur’s favour. We fought everybody, Blood Pact, Mutants, other Chaos Legions, the Imperium, whoever we could, we killed. We proved our strength through the fires of combat, millions fell to our blades and our name became synomomous with fear. Soon the Val-Gaur began to make plans, plans that would make him the new Archon but the entire scheme rested on one planet. A planet he knew the Dark Talons would do anything to return to: Kabal III. He knew that this was where the Gaur was, planning the next phase of the war. So we returned to the world that was our undoing. This time we swore it would be different.

But yet again the enemy knew we were coming. A minder high up in the command structure must have leaked Val-Gaurs true intentions to Urlock because we were greeted by wave upon wave of Blood Pact. We fought like men possessed, not one single blade or bullet even came near the Val Gaur…’

The traitor paused, his face darkening with rage

‘If only his nerve was as strong as we were! Like you he fled when the battle began to look like we would lose. He left us to fight a rear guard action while he escaped into orbit. We were left to be butchered like cattle while he ran away with his tail between his legs. No doubt he expected us to tie up the Gaur’s forces long enough to regroup the few loyal to him and then strike again. Our blood was to pay for his escape. Our blood paid for nothing!. We set that world alight with our rage. We put every single man, woman and child on that planet to the sword, the sky was black with the smoke of burning cities and screams rent the air. You should have seen it Anadrius, it was beautiful, piles of bodies higher than mountains and all the while the rage coursing through our veins.

In the ruins of Hive Arganus Secundus we stood, the four hundred that remained, the veterans of both betrayals. It was there we held a council, every man had the right to speak. We didn’t know what to do, no master, no direction. Some said we should go to Urlock Gaur and pledge our blades to him, some were for hunting down Val-Gaur and making him pay. We all knew however that we couldn’t ever trust another mortal again, not after all the backstabbing. It was then that a figure appeared from out of the smoke.

He was dressed in black and *********** armour with his head covered. We all watched as the man strode into the circle. First Captain Retrave walked over to the figure, challenging him. For a moment the strange marine just looked at the Captain. Then the figure spoke:

‘You need not fear me for in your hatred you are not alone.’

Those words have never left me. The man then removed his hood to reveal a pale face with jet black hair. It was obvious that the man was of Night Lords stock but not even the Night Haunter himself had been as deathly white as the Marine who stood before us.

‘My name is Kilm Vanshal, voice of Malal. His has seen your pain, your suffering and your abandonment. He ,like you and like me, has been spurned by the other Gods and betrayed by his fellows. And he, like you, seeks vengeance !’

Tanthus then stepped forward and spoke: ‘Tell us what your god wants Night Lord!’

Before Vanshal could answer a second figure appeared beside him. There was no flash of light or clap of thunder, it was as simple as one minute there was only dust and the next there was a second person there.

Dressed in simple black robes the figure towered over everybody else. With a face that was a mix of wolf and crocodile and three eyes it was clear that this was no man, nor had ever been. Opening a mouth full of teeth it spoke with a voice that chilled every one of us to the bone.

“He is no Night Lord Tanthus. The time he spent with those animals is over. He serves a higher purpose than simple terror now. As will you…”

Malal, the Fifth God of Chaos. The Outcast, the Renegade, the Lost had honored us with its prescence. He was the only one we could trust not to betray us for he knew our pain. He had experienced it himself. Cast out by the other gods eons ago he now demanded retribution and destruction on all things. We saw a god who knew our pain and in us he saw followers whose hatred for both Chaos and the Imperium was unshakable.

In the ruins of Kabal III we pledged our immortal souls, for the third time and final time, to a new master: Malal, God of destruction.

Since then we have grown more powerful. We are stronger now than you, stronger than the followers of the Four. There is nothing you can do to stop us, no way to predict where we will strike next and although you may kill me there is…’

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 bolt pistol off the table, before shooting the heretic point blank. Turning towards the one of the other marines he shouted a final order before grabbing his helmet and stepping back outside, into the mud, into the firestorm;

‘We’ll buy you time, now get this information sent out, this new threat could be the undoing of us all.....’




INDEX HERETICUS


- Origins -

The Dark Talons proclaim themselves to be the remnants of the once thought lost Third and Fourth companies (along with portions of the First and Eighth) of the Black Hands Space Marine Chapter. The legion is made up, in the majority, by members of the Dark Hands Chapter although the markings of certain other members indicate that the legion does contain a sizable number of traitors from other chapters.

The Dark Hands Space Marine Chapter were founded from Imperial Fist and Dark Angel geneseed in 783.M34 to combat disturbances in the Segmentum Pacificus. The Chapter soon gained a reputation for its bravery and it’s arrogance. The only two Chapters the Dark Hands acknowledged as being superior to their own were the Imperial Fists and Dark Angels. The Chapter specialised in assault tactics and was often the first to breach the walls of enemy fortresses after smashing the enemy defences asunder with short range fire fights that showed the metal and courage of the Chapter. They always preferred to meet the enemy face to face and disdained the use of tactics which relied on of guile and stealth.

During the siege of Kabal III during the Sabbat World Crusade the Dark Hands saw intensive fighting which resulted in massive casualties. The survivors were forced to abandon the planet after a warp storm threatened to cut off the planet from the wider Crusade. Believing the largest of their numbers to be dead the Sixth and Seventh Companies withdrew from the planet. What they did not know was that the surviving members of the First, Third, Fourth and Eighth were only one click away from the extraction zone when they left. The survivors were forced to continue the war. After six months of constant fighting the last of the abandoned Dark Hands was brought down. In a peculiar move by the Forces of Chaos, the Space Marines were deliberately captured rather than killed. The prisoners were then transported deep with Chaos Territory to a unknown fate.

Thirty years later the Chapter returned to Imperial space. They were, however, completely unrecognisable. Their armour and tactics had changed and the arrogance and disdain towards the weaker members of the Imperium had transformed into a full hatred of those who had abandoned them. Now they fought not for some higher, nobler cause, but for a mysterious figure by the name of Malal.

After the Dark Hands found out that their brethren had fallen to Chaos and returned they changed their name to The Knights Of Shame. Shortly after they embarked upon a 500 year Crusade to remove any taint of corruption within their ranks. All iconography, purity seals, gilding, and rank badges were removed from their armour and the Chapter now fights in bare metal. They have even taken the unusual step of requesting a Ordo Mallus Inquisitor to be with them at all times.


- Gene-seed And Mutation -

The Dark Talons’ geneseed knows quite a bit of variation, due to their ranks being made up of members of various chapters. Unlike other Chaos Legions the Dark Talon’s do not suffer from any substantial amount of mutation in their Geneseed. The reason for this is not known but it has been theorised Malal may prevent the effects of the warp from taking it’s hold on the members of the Chapter unless a individual member expressively wishes it.


- Combat Doctrine -

Being former Space Marines the Dark Talons are well versed in all aspects of combat and throughout their short history they have changed their style several times depending on outside influences affecting the Chapter.

After being left behind on Kabal III the Dark Talons were forced to drastically adapt their tactics to suit the hit-and-run nature of the war they were then forced to fight. Instead of the ‘up the centre’ approach that they had previously taken the chapter began to operate using short sharp strikes characterised by brutal close combat before withdrawing and striking somewhere different.

After joining the forces of the Val-Gaur the Dark Talons operated as lieutenants, and commanders in the Blood Pact under the Val-Gaur’s command as well as acting as his personal bodyguard. Close combat remained the preferred fighting style as it allowed them to prove themselves worthy of their position as the chosen of the Val-Gaur. As an added bonus it also allowed them to take out their anger and hatred on the enemy at a personal level. This preference for up front combat very soon began to border on behaviour that has become the hallmark of the likes of the World Eaters Legion and the Berserker cult was began to become quite sizable within the Dark Talon ranks. If it was not for the second betrayal on Kabal III it is quite possible that the entire Chapter would have succume entirely to Khorne’s insane blood lust.

After the Second Betrayal the Dark Talons have become more controlled. This may be a direct result of no longer being so closely affiliated with Khorne or simply a shift in direction due to the involvement of Kilm Vanshal.

It has only been since Kabal III and the Val-Gaur’s betrayal that the Chapter has begun to use vehicles in any great number. This was due to the Dark Talons not having any particular need for them before. While under the Blood Pact command they left all the heavy armour to the Blood Pact Tank Divisions. However now, due to their new autonomy, they have been forced to acquire some armour and vehicles of their own.

The Chapter has returned to a sort of middle ground between the combat styles, they now operate with a very fluid and unpredictable grace that often confuses the enemy. Squads will strike seemingly at random before the full weight of the Dark Talons comes crashing down.


- Organisation -

The Legion currently numbers approximately four hundred marines and due to it’s comparatively small nature to other forces in the area the Dark Talons generally fights as a whole (the Blood Pact alone is estimated at ¾ of a million strong). Their numbers are however slowly growing due to a dispossessed former member of Fabuis Bile’s retinue who has joined the Chapter.

The Chapter is ruled over by a council of three: First Captain Retrave, Liberian Tanthus (both former Dark Hands) and Kilm Vanshal (a ex-Night Lord who functions as a Pseudo-Chaplin). Other than each of the three leaders having two lieutenants who act as their aids there is very little in the way of a structured hierarchy between the council and squad level. In addition the title of lieutenant is purely honorific as the position gives very little in the way of extra power that a sergeant doesn’t already have.


- Allies -

Due to their time in the service of the Val-Gaur, and despite their allegiance to Malal, the Dark Talons have ties with the various heretic organisations in the Sabbat Worlds region and have on rare occasions been seen operating along sides the likes of the Sons of Sek and the Blood Pact. They also enjoy a very good relationship with the mercenary Loxatl, despite the obvious issues between the two forces. The Dark Talons will play one God’s forces against another and will not hesitate to ally themselves with one side in order to achieve their goals.

The use of daemons within the Chapter isn't that common, although they have been known to be tricked into fighting for the Talon's through the use of captured icons. When they are used they generally are deployed as meatshields to keep Dark Talon's squads from taking casualties.

On a side note, any Chaos force (mortal or daemon) that fights alongside the Chapter invariably also ends up destroyed as soon as the greater foe, be it Imperial, Xenos or Chaos, has been defeated. The Dark Talons will exact revenge upon anyone foolish enough to betray them, its just the amount of time until their destruction that varies.


- Characteristic Features -


The power armour of the Dark Talons is highly ornate and each individual warrior is free to personalise his armour with what ever adornments he wishes. Some choose to retain the bestial, grinning facial masks that they had affected while serving with the Blood Pact. Others remove all vestiges of their service and start afresh, adorning themselves with trophies and kill markings. Certain members of the Chapter also appear to possess an un-canning 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 Vambraces. This gauntlet weapon, usually only used by a handfull of champion’s is fixed to the right lower arm is an ornate claw riddled with wicked barbs and spikes. This 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. Whatever the precise effects of this liquid may be is unknown, but champions have proven to greatly increase in strength and endurance for a short period after utilising the vambrace in this fashion.


- 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.


- Battle-cry -


A hate filled cry of: “You are on your own!”


- Beliefs -

The Dark Talons have a very clear philosophy to war in which they are convinced of their superiority to all other forces and will go to great lengths, using allies, infiltrators and spies, to gain the strategic upper hand.

Malal’s influence on the Chapter is major. It is he who stopped them from tearing themselves apart and giving them direction. The Dark Talons venerate Malal as their master and saviour and would do anything for him. In return he aids them in their endeavours. The Dark Talons attempt to scuttle Chaos efforts at every opportunity but they will also attack Imperial forces when possible as well. What their plans are in the long run and who they wish to win the Sabbat Worlds Crusade is unknown and maybe never will be known. The only thing that can be counted on is the unpredictability and malice with which the Dark Talons pursue their enemies.


- Transport And Warp Fleet -

The Chapter transports itself using the remains of the fleet it had while in service of the Val-Gaur as well as other ships it has picked up along the way. Reports vary on the number of ships in the fleet but they generally number between eight and ten. The one ship that remains consistent in all reports is Desolator Class Battleship known ‘Betrayers Torment’. How the Chapter came into possession of the ship is unknown since it has been out of Imperial service since M34. Never the less the ‘Betrayers Torment’ is considered the Flagship of the Dark Talon’s fleet. It is frequently escorted by Slaughter Class Cruiser called Malal’s Talon. This ship is believed to be the personal vessel of the Kilm Vanshal and is known and feared for its speed and grace. Other ships thought to be in service with the fleet include two Space Marine Strike Cruisers and a number of Imperial Cobra Class Patrols.


- Home World -

The location of the base of operations for the Dark Talons is unknown. One theory that has some merit to it is that it is located somewhere in the Warp and is shrouded from unfriendly eyes by Malal’s power. If that is the case then finding it and eliminating it would prove very difficult even to the most well equipped fleet.
 
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