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My 2nd attempt at an alternative Heresy. Allegiances were distributed randomly.
As such...
Index Astartes: Word Bearers
Origins​
When the twenty children of the Emperor of Mankind, the godlike Primarchs, were scattered, the pod marked XVII landed on the planet of Colchis. This temperate world was quite hospitable for life, but more notable were the extreme religious beliefs of the populace. The religion in itself wasn’t strange- a standard belief in a supreme deity, combined with a number of saints- but the devotion was unusual, and the magnificent cathedrals of Colchis were well-known throughout the future sector.

In this environment, the young Primarch grew up as a priest. He studied diligently and quickly rose to a position of leadership in the church. He had many supporters, in part because of his insistence that minor deviation in ritual was acceptable. In fact, Lorgar grew up with a belief that all religion ultimately stemmed from one deity, and all procedures were ultimately merely a form of worship. This belief strengthened over time, and inevitably led to Lorgar being declared a heretic.

“He might be a giant with golden skin, and it might be pain for men to look at him. Still, his words are heresy, and if he is superhuman- heresy is heresy. All that proves is that he has made deals with demons.”
-Living Saint Gecam


During Lorgar’s time with the orthodox church, he had gained many allies. When he was excommunicated, many of them denounced him, but most went with him into exile. Among them was Lorgar’s main student, Kor Phaeron.

Phaeron bolstered Lorgar’s faith during these dark times, always calming the Primarch down. He claims that he saw the Gods during this time, during meditation. He wisely chose to keep this new knowledge from his teacher, as it was clear that it could be interpreted wrongly, and the last thing Phaeron wanted to do is to join the crowds that were abandoning Lorgar.

After sulking for several years, though, Lorgar at last decided to fight back. Under the wise council of Phaeron, he gathered all of those dissatisfied with the Church. At the same time, Lorgar convinced large portions of the Church, already considered doubters, that their loyalty should not be to an organization but to a religion. When he declared independence, as civil war erupted across Colchis, even many previously loyal leaders joined Lorgar, either for faith or profit.

The conflict itself was short, but bloody. Lorgar discouraged looting of enemy cathedrals, though it was done anyway. He emphasized conversion instead. Personally, he was a massive presence on the battlefield, as well as an inspirational one. Although he had a distaste for killing, he was intelligent enough to know that the conflict could not be won by peaceful means. After a three-day siege of the capital city, Helram, Lorgar entered the Ultimate Cathedral.

The great monument, the center of the Church’s power, amazed Lorgar with its opulence. Decorated skulls lined the walls, and sacred pages written on metal covered the ceiling. Lorgar had been there before, yet it had been far humbler in those days. Now, it seemed like a place for only the elite, a place where money could flow in large amounts.

Lorgar, awed by the massive, exclusive waste, could do little save to ask Phaeron for a torch. Phaeron gave him one, and the Ultimate Cathedral was set to flames.

Though the building itself was destroyed utterly, Lorgar and his force made every effort to save the lives of the faithful still in it. In fact, though, no living thing was found inside, save the Living Saint Gecan (the head of the Church). Upon interrogation, Lorgar learned that the Cathedral had been closed to the public soon after Lorgar’s exile.

Resistance virtually ended after the fall of Helram, and soon Lorgar announced a new, less centralized regime. Ruined monasteries and cathedrals were rebuilt, and the economy of Colchis did even better than before, as Lorgar proved a very able ruler.

The Ultimate Cathedral, though, was never rebuilt.

The Great Crusade​

The arrival of his father, along with Magnus, shocked Lorgar. Here was a being that fit all definitions of divinity! The golden armor and impossible face of the deity were clear signs, and the power and benevolence that the Emperor would soon demonstrate underlined it. The Emperor said Lorgar was his son, and Lorgar eagerly accepted his position as demigod and general.


The only troubling point was that the Emperor did not acknowledge his divinity. Rather, he softly talked of the Imperial Truth, of a concept that no worship at all should take place. Lorgar felt doubtful over his existence then, at the moment of his greatest triumph. Still, rather quickly he came to the conclusion that it was only the Emperor’s modesty that prevented him from seeking worshippers.

“True gods,” Lorgar said, “do not flaunt their divinity. Only a god would not desire to be worshipped.”

Soon after meeting with his father and brothers, Lorgar met his children. The XVII Legion of the Astartes was named the Imperial Heralds, and their meeting with Lorgar went perfectly. Lorgar’s allies on Colchis, including Kor Phaeron, underwent the process of Astartes creation. Kor Phaeron himself, like several other notable figures, was too old to undergo the full implantation process, but rose to a high position in the Legion nevertheless.

Lorgar renamed his Legion the Word Bearers, declaring that they “must, and will, bear the word of the Emperor across the galaxy, for He is the only deity deserving of worship.“ “We are not only His army- we are his missionaries!” was first spoken in his speech and soon became part of the official, ritualized battle cry of the Word Bearers.

Phaeron privately doubted Lorgar’s words on this topic, knowing of the True Gods, but nevertheless went along.

The Word Bearers were ridiculed for their faith by some, especially the Primarch of the Luna Wolves, Horus. Horus was known for having a rift with his father, and as such Lorgar didn’t pay his words much attention. In fact, Lorgar almost considered Horus a fallen angel of sorts, having left the divine embrace for mundane, unimportant matters.

The Word Bearers marched across many places, everywhere bringing their word of the Divine Emperor. Planets turned by them were brought into line with the Imperium’s beliefs. Nevertheless, Lorgar desired never to copy the opulent and isolating despots that once governed his planet. He always walked among the people he was converting in peace, and he never oppressed the religion that they were practicing, instead merging it with his Imperial Faith.

At the same time, Lorgar followed his father’s doctrine of destroying xenos, and to them he offered no chance of conversion.

The Word Bearers’ worlds would become some of the most devout, and indeed even after what the Imperium knows as the Betrayal- and the Word Bearers as the Discovery- these worlds stood by the Emperor. When Lorgar battled to take control of the ice-world of Gefobr, he was roundly repulsed on arrival, but within a year the world was loyal to the Emperor and the faith. Many years later, after the Discovery, Gefobr again pushed Lorgar back, and despite the powers of the True Gods the planet never fell.

The Word Bearers Legion swelled quickly, but Lorgar followed his father’s recommendation on its size. Out of all Legions, the Word Bearers most precisely confined to the 100 000-Astartes limit.

Despite all of this, Lorgar’s worship of the Emperor was tempered by Phaeron’s reminding him of his youth on Colchis. The last thing Lorgar wanted was for his beloved Imperium to become a copy of the wasteful, exclusive Covenant- of the church that he had warred with then. Colchis itself, though a rich planet, was far from a trade hub. Instead, Lorgar used an open immigration policy and high taxes to create from Colchis a kind of religious sanctuary.

Among his brothers, he most closely allied himself with Vulkan of the Salamanders for his modest compassion and Sanguinius of the Blood Angels for his peaceful friendliness.

This calm state of satisfaction ended approximately a hundred years after Lorgar’s joining the Great Crusade. Out of nowhere, on a world conclusively turned to the Emperor’s worship, Lorgar’s father appeared. In fury, the Emperor bombed the major cities of the planet, barely bothering to evacuate the people. Next, he announced to the Word Bearers that they would be punished. When Lorgar- also driven to anger- inquired as to why the Emperor was doing this, the Emperor declared that the cause was Lorgar’s refusal to stop worshipping him as a god.

Lorgar was devastated, but realized immediately the parallels to the events on Colchis a hundred years prior. As the Emperor used his psychic powers to make the entire Legion kneel, Lorgar resisted and instead took out a sword.

The duel was short and hopeless. Even the power of a Primarch (and Lorgar was the weakest of his brothers at close combat, due to a general distaste for fighting) could not compare to the Emperor’s psychic might. Lorgar was pushed down, and on the ground he faced the Emperor’s judgment.

The Emperor did not yet desire to kill one of his children. Instead, he announced that Lorgar could return to the Great Crusade, but any further “disloyalty” would be responded to with the total destruction of both Lorgar and the entire XVII Legion by Russ’ Space Wolves.

These executioners were widely renowned across the Astartes, and as such Lorgar saw no other choice than to acquiesce to the Emperor’s orders for now, and risk open rebellion later. It was in that despair, however, that Lorgar received the famous communiqué from Rogal Dorn…

The Great Betrayal​

After the Emperor betrayed him, Lorgar was absolutely unapproachable. He now understood that the Emperor was completely unworthy of divine status, but the beliefs of a hundred years are not easily overturned. Lorgar desired something, anything, that would give a line out of the sheer magnitude of his mistake.

Kor Phaeron chose this moment to talk to Lorgar of the True Gods, but Lorgar refused to listen. He clearly saw the evil of the Emperor, but still could not understand how his brothers could possibly not understand their father’s darkness. Instead, they remained paradoxically loyal.

The call from Rogal Dorn shattered these doubts. Here was a Primarch that comprehended his father’s dark side. Here was an offer to join a potential rebellion decades in the making. Here was a chance- though belated and uncertain- of overthrowing the Covenant once more.

Dorn saw the Emperor as an idealist, lost in his little world of plans and paying little attention to the darkness prevalent in reality. Lorgar saw the Emperor as a traitor, and soon came to understand- by means of a furious correspondence with Dorn- that this carelessness came from a head concerned only with what should be, and with itself. Together Dorn and Lorgar hashed out a plan for the fall of the Imperium.

Lorgar feigned loyalty, and although he no longer dedicated shrines to the Emperor, he kept all other marks, such as keeping his Legion size to 100 000. For a few decades the Great Crusade continued as normal, but thirty years after the Discovery, Lorgar’s patience was at an end. The Emperor’s most favored sons- Fulgrim and Roboute Guilliman- had become Warmasters, a way of putting their Legions above the Space Marines at large. The Emperor didn’t even notice the insulting connotation, proving his indifference.

“We have valiantly fought for the Emperor for many years, yet in response he destroyed our greatest work. We are the second Legion to have seen the True Gods, and we are days away from having the biggest Legion of all supporting us, with eight others. Their oaths will be to me and the Gods. They will not be to this Emperor’s lapdog, the so-called Warmaster Guilliman. Phaeron, your suggestion borders on betrayal of the Word Bearers. It is denied.”
-Lorgar


Emissaries were sent out to nine Legions. Sanguinius’ Blood Angels were not found- they had grown tired of waiting for freedom. Two other conversion attempts failed. On Davin, Chaplain Erebus was strangled by Horus Lupercal. Meanwhile, the delegation to the Night Lords returned at a quarter of its original strength, at high speed.

Nevertheless, at the designated meeting place- a system known as Isstvan- eight fleets were soon gathered. Some of the Primarchs had dedicated themselves to a god: the bloody Perturabo to Khorne, the cunning Ferrus Manus to Tzeentch, the depressed Vulkan to Nurgle and the careful Jaghatai Khan to Slaanesh. The Lion, Dorn, Lorgar and the mysterious Angron had all selected not to put their faith in a single god, but to support Chaos Undivided.

There were many loyalists still in all eight Legions, and Lorgar came to the decision to send all of those down to the surface and bomb them all to death. This was followed through, but unfortunately a number of loyalists- led by Alexis Polux of Dorn’s Fists- had not descended to the planet, and soon caused a space battle. To make matters worse, Perturabo and Ferrus Manus ended up unable to control their tempers. Soon even those that were supposed to be allied in the cause of the True Gods were fighting each other.

It is a testament to Lorgar’s faith and leadership that the Word Bearers followed the example of their lord during the Week, and stayed out of the fighting. The few Word Bearer loyalists were exterminated, of course, and Isstvan III’s surface was bombed, by a Word Bearer Captain named Argel Tal. Other than that, Word Bearer ships remained observers, and at times peacemakers (such as when Kor Phaeron negotiated a ceasefire between the Iron Warriors and the Iron Hands).

Throughout this madness, Lorgar stayed in his ship and meditated, communing with the divine. After a week, he at last exited with a message: the Discoverers (the eight Legions allied with Lorgar) would head to Terra, and quickly.

Lorgar split the Discoverers into two fleets: the First was composed of the Iron Warriors, Salamanders, Fists and White Scars whereas the Second was made up of the Dark Angels, the Iron Hands, the World Eaters and the Word Bearers themselves. Despite the names, the two fleets were meant to arrive on Terra simultaneously and pound the Emperor into dust.

It was not to be.

The Second Fleet was continuously harassed by spies, geneseed problems that seemed to come from nowhere, and the Luna Wolves. Horus’ Legion never attacked the Second Fleet in force, because even the Luna Wolves were not the size of four Legions. Despite this, even minor incursions were enough to slow Lorgar’s advance.

When the Second Fleet arrived at Terra, they found the First in ruins. Four Legions had fought and died under the Imperial Palace’s walls. Dorn’s mastery of siegecraft had not been enough to open the Palace’s gates.

Three Primarchs were rescued by Ferrus Manus; Perturabo, though, was not through a series of events that is still unclear. The remnants of these Legions were saved as well. Then, the Second Fleet descended on Terra.

Ferrus Manus used a few stratagems to defend the landing pads and the Lion’s siege weapons. Then, the four Discoverer Legions smashed into the walls of the palace. Dorn- resting on the Word Bearers’ ships- informed Lorgar as to the weakest points in the defense.

Exactly when, or why, the World Eaters disappeared is unknown. Either way, the attack became significantly more difficult in their absence.

Nevertheless, Lorgar succeeded- even as the Ultramarines and Emperor’s Children pushed the Discoverers back from the Imperial Palace’s walls- in cracking open the bunker of the Throne Room.

He was not met there by the Emperor.

It was Fulgrim, a Warmaster, Lorgar’s brother. Lorgar’s fury was without bounds. Advancing on Fulgrim, empowered by the powers of four Chaos Gods, he replayed the events on Colchis in his shining head. He had been betrayed, and now he was denied the satisfaction of killing his betrayer.

The duel was long, but in the end Fulgrim lay dead below Lorgar’s feet. Lorgar, too, was incredibly wounded by Fulgrim’s attacks. In fact, his wounds were such that he barely saw the Emperor arrive in the room and touch Fulgrim’s hand, a moment of mourning at the height of his Imperium’s fall.

He did not have a torch.
Terra was Helram, now, and this was real. Helram had been practice, but this was reality. It was the same- abandoned, rich, exclusive.
With one eye, Lorgar observed his “father” say farewell to Fulgrim, and once more he realized how much he wanted to burn this world of worthless riches- burn it all away.
He had no torch.
His soul would have to do.


Lorgar gave his life and his very soul then to kill the Emperor. It is not known how he did this; in any case, Lorgar was utterly destroyed. The bodies found later in the Throne Room were Fulgrim’s and the Emperor’s, though the latter was soon entombed on a Golden Throne as a relic.

The Escape​

As the Emperor’s death greatly weakened the Imperium, so Lorgar’s had a huge negative effect on the Word Bearers. Kor Phaeron barely gathered the Legion and managed to escape Terra; it was fortunate that the fleet presence of the Discoverers was still far greater than that of the Loyalist Legions.

Phaeron thought about heading immediately for the Eye of Terror, but chose to first visit his homeworld of Colchis for one last time. The Imperium’s procedure for dealing with the worlds of “Traitor Legions” such as the II and XI was well-known, and as such Colchis’ doom was- Phaeron knew- not far off.

The final visit was fraught with arguments, as Colchis itself was not completely against the Emperor. Nevertheless, war had not stained the soils of Lorgar’s homeworld a second time. Phaeron took thirty thousand recruits to add to the seventy thousand that had survived the Siege of Terra, and then tried to leave for a new home in the Eye of Terror.

Unfortunately, during the escape from Colchis, the Ultramarines caught up with the Word Bearers.

The Word Bearers were forced to make an emergency series of jumps away from Colchis as Roboute Guilliman destroyed their homeworld. The rearguard was massacred by the Ultramarines. Cathedral after cathedral, many filled with those still loyal, was obliterated through orbital bombardment.

During transit, Phaeron announced to the infuriated Word Bearers and Initiates that they would take an eye for an eye and attack Ultramar, while Guilliman was distracted.

Calth was the first world of Ultramar to fall to the Word Bearers and their summoned daemons, and its once-fertile plains were filled with sacrificial pyres to the True Gods. Next, Phaeron attacked Macragge. The orbital defenses did their best to ward away the Word Bearers, but in the end a defensive force of perhaps a thousand Astartes had to deal with an attack, led by Captain Zadkiel, of twenty-five thousand.

Most of Macragge was under Word Bearer control in a matter of days, but the polar fortresses held out for weeks. As the Southern Fortress was at last breached, Zadkiel received the order to retreat to the ships, as Guilliman was coming.

He obeyed.

He could have taken it, he knew. He had a massive advantage in numbers, and the Gods had been on his side. True, the reinforcements would have been an issue, but they wouldn’t have been fast enough. Their precious homeworld would have become a shrine to the Gods, never more useful to traitors.
He could have taken it, he knew. He just wouldn’t get out of Macragge alive.


The retreat from Macragge was orderly, and Phaeron’s ships traced a curved path to the Eye of Terror. This time, the Ultramarines were left without a scapegoat for their mistakes and instead had to rebuild their damaged, daemonically tainted home.

Phaeron, meanwhile, arrived at the Eye of Terror from the north with what was likely the most intact of the seven Chaos Legions. It was an entry unexpected by the Legions already there, but an extremely fortunate one. With it, Phaeron more or less gave the Chaos Legions a theoretical leader.

They didn’t accept him. Five Primarchs were still alive, and would soon be promoted to Daemon Princes. Even the Iron Warriors, though, opposed Phaeron simply because- ultimately- his Legion had failed on Terra. Despite all the success, Kor Phaeron had to confront a horrifying truth in the Eye.

The war had been lost.

The Long War​

The War of Discovery, however, was not the end of the Word Bearers. The recruits from Colchis, and many others from worlds conquered by the Word Bearers after their conversion, swelled the size of the Legion back to a hundred thousand, where Phaeron decreed it would stay as a reminder of the Legion’s past.

Being limited in numbers, though, did not mean the XVII were weak. On the contrary, the Word Bearers have always put great pride in having every recruit be truly favored by the Gods. More than anything else, recruiting into the XVII is governed by omens and signs. The other way of overcoming their numerical disadvantage has been to summon daemons- lots of them.

Over the years, most of the XVII’s leadership has ascended to the status of a Daemon Prince. Kor Phaeron was the first, transcending after the Battle of Ophelia- an engagement, in M32, in which the Imperial Guard attempted to corner the Word Bearer leadership. They succeeded, but Phaeron fought his way out, in the process destroying the planet utterly. It is notable, though, that every other Word Bearer Daemon Prince has come from the ranks of the Symbiotes (which will be discussed in detail later).

The Word Bearers have since fought many battles, following the will of the Gods and Kor Phaeron. Their ultimate goal is the downfall of Terra and the Imperium via a new War of Discovery, and until then they are content to fight battles as the Gods suggest. Most attacks happen against Segmentum Obscurus. Despite the beliefs of many Imperial scholars, though, the Word Bearers have no overarching mission, such as finding recruits or the meaning of the divine. Rather, they trust the Gods.

The Word Bearers’ greatest military success was the 101 Incident. In the first contact between the Word Bearers and the Necrons, in an area known as Outpost 101, the robotic fleets infringed on a Word Bearer fort. The undead were defeated, but the Daemon Prince Nrewaj Fan fell in the fighting. Furious at the loss of one of his strongest subordinates, Kor Phaeron ordered the extermination of the entire species and the capture of all worlds under which they slept. The project is ongoing, but dozens of Tomb Worlds have been successfully neutralized and captured, their populace taken into the Eye.

The Word Bearers’ most startling half-success was the Macharian Heresy. After Warmaster Macharius (the first non-Astarte human to fill the position, ever) fell, his absurdly massive conquests quickly were invaded by thousands of Word Bearers, with the intent of creating a new Eye of Terror. The invasion began as a huge success, with several members of Macharius’ War Council defecting, though after about two hundred conquests insurrections in worlds thought taken brought the invasion to a halt. The Emperor’s Children arriving in the area did not help, either. Eventually the Heresy’s front was pushed back to a cluster of twenty worlds (now Daemon Worlds), where it now remains.

In any case, the Word Bearers remain a very real threat in the galaxy. Unpredictable, they are the closest organization to a true arm of the Chaos Gods in the Materium- a hundred thousand screaming Astartes whose only goal is worship.

Organization​

The Word Bearers are unilaterally led by the Daemon Prince Kor Phaeron, the Student of Lorgar. His authority is largely unchallenged, not in the least because he has a tendency of bloodily destroying most breakaway factions.

Phaeron is supported by the Symbiotes. These consist of approximately a thousand Word Bearers who share their body with a daemon. This grants them great wisdom and insight into the ways of the Gods, and most promising leaders are quickly inducted into the Symbiotes’ ranks. Considered the greatest of the Symbiotes is Argel Tal, the first Symbiote, promoted during the Battle of Macragge. His counsel has proven quite valuable to Phaeron, and his abilities on the battlefield are frightening.

”Honor? Do not talk to me of honor. The most honorable are the first to be killed; the least honorable are the second. I have walked the battlefields for ten thousand years; I know what it is like to pretend to be human. You cannot simply scheme. You must fight, and die, and be reborn.
You do not understand? It is as I expected. You are not worthy. No matter how powerful you are in the Warp, you are not worthy. You are a mere daemon. I need a Symbiote.”
-Argel Tal


Before the Discovery, the XVII was divided into several “brotherhoods”, analogues to other Legions’ Great Companies. These have remained, though now an informal group. Rather, the Legion is subdivided into ninety Companies, each composed of approximately thousand Astartes and led by a Minor Council of ten Symbiotes. In reality these Companies rarely fight together, and are mostly a rough bookkeeping tool.

It is notable, though, that not all Word Bearers are part of Kor Phaeron’s dominion. Captain Zadkiel spent half a millennium (in late M37) as a Symbiote, but then something changed. Casting out his daemon, he announced that the entity was in fact possessing him and that the entire idea of the Symbiotes was a plan by Phaeron to weed out potential political opponents and stick them under a daemon.

Zadkiel’s forces number a few thousand Astartes. They rarely deal with daemons, and in fact do not spend much time inside the Eye of Terror at all. Phaeron considers them to be misguided, but of course the seed of doubt planted by Zadkiel has grown over time, and there is a distinct possibility of- sooner or later- a coup dethroning the Student.

Combat Doctrine​

During the Great Crusade, the Word Bearers were the least combat-oriented of the Astartes, focusing more on diplomacy. Since then, this focus has translated into a love of Chaos Cults run by humans and of turning Imperial planets with minimal damage. Alternatively, when war does break out, daemons are typically summoned to help the advance.

In actual combat, Word Bearers fight without many distinguishing tactics, codified or otherwise. Ranged weaponry is typically used; the positions of Assault Squads are filled by daemons and Symbiotes. These attempt to engage the enemy as quickly and powerfully as possible. Despite this, on occasion tactics will suddenly change at the will of the Gods.

The mortal warriors of the XVII have been described as cowardly, which is of course a completely false description. What is true is that a Word Bearer will not fight at close range unless necessary, and the Legion has no antipathy towards tactical retreats. This does not mean that a Word Bearer squad galvanized by a Chaplain’s speeches won’t stand to the last: the XVII’s tactics are anything but predictable, like the Gods they serve.

On a larger scale, the Word Bearers will typically try to turn conquered planets into Daemon Worlds. As such, they will occupy population centers and sacrifice the inhabitants rather than simply bombing everything from orbit. Converted planets are often defended from Imperial attacks, but the Word Bearers prefer to claim new horizons for the Gods. As such, the Word Bearers’ preference for Daemon Worlds can be explained by this as well; after all, worlds already swarming with Warp-beings are far harder to take and require far less defense.

Any isolation from the Warp will hurt the Word Bearers, but not physically- there are not many psykers in their ranks. As such, though they hunt the Necrons with a special fury, the ancient robots do not pose a specific threat to them, excluding of course the Symbiotes and Daemon Princes- which, though important leaders, are not necessary on the battlefield.

Homeworld​

The Word Bearers’ original homeworld was Colchis, a verdant planet of beautiful cathedrals and sprawling cities. It was annexed to the Imperium as a sanctuary, though soon it became overloaded with the poor and the lazy; this was only accelerated by the recruitment of the most fit into the Word Bearers. By the time of the Discovery War, significant parts of the planet had become slums, and most of the populace either supported Lorgar’s promise of a new era or viewed Lorgar as having abandoned them. Both factions were wiped out by the Ultramarines, who performed an Exterminatus on the world.

After this destruction, the Word Bearers fled to the Eye. Their homeworld there is a planet known as Sicarus. It’s a land of red, barren soil and great city-towers topped by pyres to the Gods. The smoke from these is so strong that it blots out the sky. The Word Bearers live in these towers the majority of the time; some journey onto the surface itself, but the quantity of daemons there is so great that even the devout can often get eaten or simply trampled. Still, there is no other place in the galaxy so close to the divine impetus of the Chaos Gods, and the XVII treasures it for this.

Beliefs​

The Word Bearers hold the Gods to be the exemplars of everything good, and their daemonic servants as the children of those. Lorgar’s belief that all faiths have a common root has become Legionwide dogma that the Chaos Gods are that root, and though his teachings of acceptance and modesty have remained key parts of the Legion’s unwritten code, they have been linked to accepting fate (Nurgle) and pain (Slaanesh), or other God-related concepts.

The Primarch himself is held in high regard by the Legion, and Lorgar’s successes are remembered better than his failures. Still, Kor Phaeron is generally held as greater.

Gene-seed​

The XVII’s gene-seed has been reshaped by the Gods, providing it with a far greater chance of mutation. As such, every line and every Marine is unique.

Battle-cry​

The Word Bearers’ battle cry is long and depends highly on the circumstances, but its end is firmly engraved in every Marine’s mind:

Leader- “So slay! So scheme! So sting! So smile! Go forth…”

Chorus- “For the Gods!”
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you!
The duel- I've read (on the Internet, so qualifiers apply) that both Horus and Russ lost their temper and physically fought their father at some point, before being knocked unconscious. It just wasn't serious- more of a friendly thing. Lorgar is half that, half real anger.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
And part II!
Index Astartes: Space Wolves

Origins​

The twenty children of the Emperor of Mankind, the Primarchs, all landed on human worlds. Not all, though, were raised by humans. Mortarion’s alien “father” is the most notable of these, of course, and several Primarchs were not adopted at all- Ferrus Manus, Rogal Dorn, Angron and Konrad Curze being the most clear-cut of these.

Leman Russ, however, had a unique situation. When his pod- marked VI- landed on the soil of the freezing Death World Fenris, he was not found by humans. Instead, a pack of wolves discovered the infant Primarch and adopted him as their own.

Growing up with his three wolf brothers- Freki, Geri and Helir, though of course their true names sounded more like howls- Leman became his pack’s best hunter and leader. The other wolves found him a bit odd, of course, but given his importance and strength such things were not howled in public.

Alas, such an idyllic childhood (for Fenris) could not last. After a few failed human hunts discovered the truth about the pack, the lords of the Russ tribe began hunting it with all possible force. Though two kings were killed on such hunts, eventually Leman- as well as Geri and Helir, Freki having been killed during the battle- were brought before King Hfoer of the Russ.

It had taken the Russ half a century to capture Leman, and they mostly assumed that the Wolf King would be killed. Hfoer, though, decided to instead try to reeducate Leman to be a member of Russ society. Despite his advanced age, Leman learned quickly and soon Hfoer accepted him as a brother. Many, of course, were against such a ruling, including those who thought that Leman would obscure their own bid for the throne.

Those people were wrong.

Leman’s upbringing had left him aloof and otherwise lonesome. He was aware of human society, but never made a true attempt to fully integrate himself into it. He was an observer, one of the most powerful fighters in the realm yet one who rarely fought, save for practice. He had sworn oaths to the Russ and to his brother, and in war he led the Russ to many great victories, but in peacetime he merely watched the intrigues and debates. He lent his voice in matters that concerned him, such as war and crime, and his voice indeed carried considerable weight- it was said that Leman never lost an argument. These arguments, though, were rare.

Leman’s only moment of intervening in palace life was the coup attempt. It has since become known as the anti-Leman coup, though of course its intent was actually dethroning Hfoer. Leman was approached for aid in the planning and even offered kingship (as a puppet)- a massive mistake. Leman’s first response was to kill the messengers, his second was to alert Hfoer, and his third was to go on a rampage through the schemers’ meeting.

Leman’s fury ended quickly, and as such he again receded into the background. Still, Hfoer’s reign remained secure, and after Hfoer his son Hfaen took the throne, aided by the unaging Leman. Leman had plenty of support for taking the throne, but personally refused. The time, though, was not far when Leman Russ would have to take command himself…

The Great Crusade​

The Emperor’s arrival on Fenris almost triggered war- King Hfaen did not take lightly to another receiving the title of sovereign over him. Leman’s timely diplomacy helped ensure Fenris would remain mostly independent. In fact, the Imperium’s rule over Fenris was effectively reduced to a guarantee that Fenris wouldn’t side with the Emperor’s enemies and Fenris’ assignment as a homeworld for the VI Legione Astarte of the Imperium.

A number of these concessions were of course purely due to Leman Russ being present on Fenris and not any sort of diplomacy. The Emperor’s reunion with his son was friendly, but not overly so: Russ would, it was clear, keep distance from his father.

“He dethrones me and gives up the sovereignty of my realm, and then turns around and calls it a diplomatic victory! The arrogance of it all is astounding. He thinks he has the right- well, let him choke on it!”
-King Hfaen of the Russ


Russ’ meeting with his children- the VI Legion, the Space Wolves- was initially similarly cordial, but Leman took command eagerly and soon integrated his force into the Fenrisian way. In fact, as Hfaen was quite unhappy to learn, Leman now considered the Russ simply his heritage and took aspirants for the Legion from all tribes.

Leman’s happiness was tempered by learning his duty. It was a somber one: to eliminate those of the twenty Legiones Astartes that betrayed their creator. The Emperor knew not all of his children would follow him willingly, after all. Of course, Russ could not execute other Legiones without the Emperor’s express permission, and in fact his father hinted that he had prepared special measures in the case of betrayal. It is likely that this was a bluff, or alternatively that the Emperor was referring to the Wulfen.

In any case, the Space Wolves- Vlka Fenryka in their own language- quickly swelled their numbers. Russ kept his Legion small, perhaps at 50 thousand Astartes- he desired each Space Wolf to be powerful individually, as after all they would be facing other Astartes.

The Wolf King kept his Legion separate from others- he met little with his brothers, and had no great rivalries. He kept great working relationships with the Legions he saw as similarly devoted- the Emperor’s Children, the Death Guard and (though he would come to regret it greatly) the Iron Warriors. Russ had no true rivalries, though there were a number of Legions he worried about constantly- particularly the Word Bearers (for faith), World Eaters (for a feeling of wrongness) and Thousand Sons (for sorcery). Russ was careful to control his fears, though, trying never to fall into paranoia.

Worlds conquered by the Space Wolves were largely left as they were. Indeed, the Space Wolves asked for nothing other than loyalty to the Emperor. Some claimed that this fostered rebellion, but in truth the Great Crusade saw nearly no such worlds rebel. Lorgar’s Betrayal, though, did cause a number of uprisings on worlds conquered by the VI, likely because Russ’ not knowing Chaos prevented him from rooting out such cults (while other Legions saw suspicious activity and stopped it, even without knowing the cause).

The first instance where the Space Wolves used their power was the incident with the II and XI Legions. In fact, the Space Wolves eradicated these Legions so completely that they have been erased from Imperial records, and only their numbers remain. The Vlka Fenryka themselves similarly remember- in sagas- only that Russ obliterated these forces, and for good reason. The surviving Primarchs have said nothing about these rebels.

As the Great Crusade went on, Fenris itself stayed the same. Though Russ introduced some technology, for the most part he chose to keep the planet a “place where warriors are born”. This meant conflict, both with nature and between kingdoms. Hfaen remained the ruler of several continents, but after his death the Russ splintered. They were the one tribe that Leman gave the most technology to, but after a certain point he noticed that the new King Hfalt had more technology than Leman gave him- by far. The Russ still had a larger share than other tribes in the Vlka Fenryka, and Leman journeyed down to his grand-nephew to discuss this potential theft.

Russ went alone, with only the Wolf Guard Bjorn by his side. When he landed, he found himself surrounded by Russ guards armed with weapons most certainly stolen, as Hfalt made a bid for dominion over Fenris.

Bjorn took care of the guards, and Leman killed Hfalt with a single shot.

The end of the Russ kingdom came soon after Hfalt’s end. The land therein was taken for the Fang, the Space Wolves’ new fortress-monastery. The people largely fled to other lands, or became Legion serfs (and, in some cases, Legion members). A few condemned Leman as having betrayed his own people, but it was generally made clear that Hfalt’s rebellion left him no other choice. The Space Wolves stood for their lord unilaterally, and it was determined that the technology had been stolen through a serf spy. Despite all of this, Leman made every effort to treat his former countrymen well, even pardoning most of Hfalt’s court.

The fall of the Russ coincided with Lorgar’s attack on his father. The Emperor consulted Russ on his opinion, but Russ trusted his father’s judgment over his own. A number of records indicate that Leman actually considered Lorgar’s initial punishment too severe. As such, the Emperor made his famous compromise and allowed Lorgar to live, a decision which would soon be regretted.

After all, Russ had long feared a rebellion that his Legion would be unable to defeat by itself- yet even he could not have foreseen the maelstrom of the Great Betrayal.

The Great Betrayal​

Shortly before the Great Betrayal was announced to the galaxy, Perturabo contacted Russ. His face was twisted in fury, and he informed Russ that a third Legion had betrayed the Emperor- the XV.

Leman had doubted the Thousand Sons for a long time, and had in fact earlier suggested to Mortarion that they be tried for their sorcery. The Dusk Prince had refused, but now the trusted Perturabo’s information- as well as his clearly real anger- immediately caused the Wolf King to turn his fleet towards Prospero. Although he only informed a few of the VI as to what was going on, the Space Wolves arrived at Prospero in less than a month.

The Legion was as a whole confused as to what they were doing visiting Magnus, especially as most Fenrisians harbored a strong dislike of sorcery. In fact, the truth became popular gossip. The Primarch confirmed this as they came into orbit around the planet of the sorcerers.

Magnus, as it happened, immediately contacted Russ. The Wolf King tried to fight it off, seeing it as a sign of corruption, but Magnus honestly asked a simple question:

“Why are you here?”

Russ canceled the planned orbital bombardment in favor of a heavily defended psychic conversation with Magnus. In it, the Red Giant claimed total loyalty to the Emperor and insisted he was having gene-seed problems.

Confused, the Wolf King contacted Terra, where his father repeated what Magnus had said: the XV was completely loyal to the Imperium.

The VI remained in orbit around Prospero for weeks, as Leman tried to understand the situation properly by contacting Perturabo. At last, after the deaths of three Astropaths, Leman received a message from Terra informing him that the Iron Warriors- along with 7 other Legions- had gone traitor.

Understanding that he had been close to bombarding Prospero on the word of a traitor, Leman Russ apologized to Magnus and made for the location where he knew Perturabo would soon go- Terra itself.

Russ looked at the planet below. It was a world of sorcerers, a world that Russ hated with all his hearts. Nevertheless, he did not have sanction from the Emperor directly to execute Magnus. It was a split-second decision- would he fire the torpedoes, or not?

As his finger hovered over the button, Leman thought back to his youth on Fenris. He had been taught to watch, to think before acting. This was not the wolf pack- this was society.

Russ lifted his finger.

“Later.”


The Warp transit was difficult, interrupted several times. Still, after some time the Space Wolves arrived at Terra- only to find the traitors seemingly defeated. There were only four Legions that had been thrown back from the walls of Terra, as opposed to the eight total, and it was clear that half of their fleets had been delayed.

The Wolf King nevertheless sent out a number of missions to destroy the betrayers’ remnants. In space, the battle was quickly won, and on the surface searches discovered many of Lorgar’s followers. The Iron Warriors were part of this first fleet, and they were hunted down with a particular ruthlessness. Unfortunately, none of the Traitor Primarchs were located, despite the Vlka Fenryka’s best efforts.

Perturabo’s location was determined just as the second wave arrived at Terra. The bombardment and space battle were fierce, but in truth they didn’t matter. The Iron Hands, Word Bearers, Dark Angels and World Eaters descended on Terra, rushing towards the Emperor’s Throne Room.

Before the Imperial Palace’s siege began, though, the Space Wolves made an attack on Perturabo, Russ trying to assassinate the traitor who had been his brother.

Many Space Wolves were killed in the hasty attack. The first to make it through Perturabo’s defenses was Bjorn, but the Wolf guard was struck down by the Iron Warriors Primarch with two blows from his gauntlets. Next, the enraged Russ arrived at Perturabo’s sanctum.

The duel was long. After many strikes and counterstrikes, Perturabo’s spear was broken in half by Russ, who followed through by stabbing the IV Primarch six times. As Perturabo lay dying, his castle did likewise, collapsing onto itself. Leman escaped the debris with Bjorn’s body, which was soon interred in a Dreadnought. Perturabo’s body was found by Ohthere Wyrdmake, a Rune Priest, who brought Leman Russ his fallen brother.

The battle of Perturabo’s minefield cost the Vlka Fenryka dearly. For the death of one, a thousand at least had fallen to the various fortifications. The mop-up provided by the Space Wolves after the first wave was invaluable to the garrisons of Terra, but it left the Sixth greatly weakened for the second part of the battle as well. In sum, the Vlka Fenryka numbered perhaps thirty-five thousand at the start of the Imperial Palace’s siege.

As the Dark Angels’ siege engines pounded down the outer walls, as orbital bombardments devastated the surface of Terra, as the Iron Hands used long-forgotten catacombs to find passages to the Throne Room itself, Leman Russ stood outside the Palace. The Space Wolves were not made for siege warfare. Rather, they harassed the invaders, surging forth from secret camps below ruined cities.

It was a difficult endeavor. Russ was a tactical genius, but so were his traitorous brothers. The greatest achievement during this time was the destruction of the Beast of Caliban, Lion El’Jonson’s favored daemon-engine, by Russ. Claw after claw was ripped off of the monstrous beast, and after the Beast was helpless, the Space Wolves’ tanks pounded the monster into dust. The Dark Angels’ counterattack was met with a retreat, though several- including Wyrdmake- fell in the chase.

He stood with his arms raised, looking at the Dark Angel attackers. They had some of the most interesting machines he had ever seen, and their spirits were- different.

Others called them daemons, but Othere Wyrdmake was genuinely interested in what the Lion had to offer. He suspected it was the Lion ahead, in fact, the biggest figure in the vicinity, standing atop a tank…

Then the giant fired, and Othere Wyrdmake was no more.


Nevertheless, despite the Space Wolves’ best efforts, the walls of the Imperial Palace were breached. The World Eaters left at this point. Left with only three Legions, Lorgar made the famous dash towards the Throne Room. The Space Wolves, meanwhile, continued their war with the Dark Angels on Terra’s surface. The myriad battles watered Terra’s soil with blood, slowing Lorgar’s progress and distracting the Dark Angels from the siege, but at last the news came from the front that Lorgar had fallen.

The traitors were by this point completely outnumbered, and as such both Ferrus and the Lion made “tactical” retreats, fiercely pursued by most loyal Legions.

The thirty thousand remaining Space Wolves watched the traitors flee Terra calmly. Russ told them to waste no great effort in chasing: the Legion was too weak. Rather, the Sixth Legion aided in reconstructing Terra, and Leman Russ organized Fulgrim’s funeral.

The Escape​

The lack of interest didn’t last long. After the Emperor’s near-corpse was entombed in the Golden Throne, Leman ordered the Space Wolves to leave Terra once again.

The Vlka Fenryka were due to return to their homeworld of Fenris immediately, but bad conditions in the Warp impeded their travel. On this return trip, Russ explained the future role of the Space Wolves to his children. The new Imperium would be much different from the old, and it was with some difficulty that Russ convinced Malcador- the Emperor’s right hand and effective heir- to allow the Sixth a separate part. The Vlka Fenryka would still be executioners, rooting out the worst heretical threats to the Imperium. Simultaneously, they would remain observers, and Leman specifically gave up all command outside Fenris and the Space Wolves. Thirdly, they would stay warriors, the legendary sons of Fenris.

After several years of difficult travel, the Space Wolves returned to their home.

Leman Russ wanted to immediately start rebuilding his Legion, but he felt something off as soon as he arrived. Descending onto Fenris’ surface, he felt even more discord. His homeworld greeted him with open arms, but rumors flew of caverns filled with dark energy and of an attempt to corrupt Fenris itself.

After a few days of searching, Russ’ Rune Priests found the source of the disturbance. It was a great cavern beneath the Gevbr Ocean, into which Russ sent several warriors. They were met with gunshots, and Russ descended to yet again wage warfare on his homeworld’s surface for what he hoped was the last time.

The land below was a Dark Angels outpost, worked by a million slaves. These were once human, but had since mutated beyond recognition. Their masters were few in number, but had a large number of huge machinery, most utterly tainted with Chaos.

It did not take long for Russ to smash apart the Dark Angels, which were outnumbered and outgunned, but their biggest machine resisted destruction. It was identified as a daemon-device, but none knew what it did.

Eventually, Russ entered the machine’s inner workings. The daemon tempted him then, but Russ easily smashed aside those ideas: his loyalty was greater. Then, the daemon taunted him with the true purpose of the device: to corrupt the planetary psyche of Fenris, tainting it and eventually turning it into a Daemon-World.

“I refuse your offer.

My father created this Imperium to defend mankind from the likes of you. He created me and my brothers to defend mankind from the likes of you. He created this monolith, this modern universe to protect us.

You? You resorted to scheming, to lying, and still you couldn’t destroy it. You are pathetic- you have sacrificed morality for strength, and lost both.

I refuse your offer.”

-Leman Russ


Russ’ Space Wolves besieged the fortress time and time again, failing each time. At last, Leman released a horror from beneath the Rock. They were known as the Wulfen, mutated Space Wolves that were furred and feral- but completely resistant to Chaos. It was the Wulfen that brought down the Corrupter, as it became known, tearing it apart with unseen strength. Eventually, Russ ripped the monster’s cannon off, along with about a third of its body. It was then that the Corrupter fell silent at last.

In vengeance for the attempted capture of Fenris, and reestablishing contact with the Imperium, Russ sent a Great Company- led by Bjorn- to Caliban, as it had not yet been declared destroyed by the other Legions. In truth, though, the world turned out to be merely rocks floating in space by the time the Space Wolves arrived.

The Long War​

Over the millennia, the sagas surrounding Russ and Bjorn have grown to incredible proportions. Indeed, in all of the Imperium there are probably no warriors more famed than these two. Both have grown more powerful with time, both in skill and- in Bjorn’s case- in mechanical augmentations.

The Space Wolves have had to deal with an astounding number of invasions of Fenris over time. The most frightening of these was the Battle of the Fang in M32, an attack by the Iron Hands. The Tzeentchian Astartes hacked into the orbital codes and disguised their ships, allowing them to safely land before their treachery was announced. Led by Ferrus Manus himself, the Iron Hands came at a time when Russ was away from Fenris with most of the Legion, leaving Bjorn to head the defense while outnumbered and dealing with a psychic Legion. Nevertheless, the Dreadnought stopped several of Ferrus’ incursions before Magnus the Red arrived with several Fellowships.

The Red Giant had foreseen the attack, and easily made it to Fenris. The Iron Hands were driven back, but Ferrus made a final attack on the Sixth’s fortress-monastery itself, the Fang. The traitor Marines managed to get inside quickly, but Ferrus’ advance was met by Bjorn, who defeated the Daemon Prince in single combat and banished him to the Warp for a thousand years. Meanwhile, Magnus broke apart the rest of the invasion, and the Iron Hands fled in disgrace.

These attacks on their homeworld do not indicate that the Space Wolves are weak. On the contrary, the Vlka Fenryka have been among the most active Legions. From Centius Prime to Magdelon, the Sixth has protected the Imperium in countless battles. Over time, they have become more and more independent from the Imperium at large, and their hunts have earned both fear and love from civilians- love for their protection and heroism, and fear as in children’s stories for their impersonal destruction.

Russ and Magnus have healed their rifts in the years since the Betrayal, and indeed they are the closest that a Legion has come to becoming true friends of the Space Wolves. Indeed, even their genetic instability is similar. Curing the flesh-change took a huge toll on the Thousand Sons, though, and Russ did not want his Legion to pay the price for unsafe experimentation.

The most recent great battle of the Space Wolves was the confrontation on Garm. On this planet, Russ had long before left his spear. Unfortunately, after millennia cults had appeared, some worshiping Russ as a god and some worshiping Chaos.

The Space Wolves, led by Russ himself, came to Garm to stomp out the Chaos Cults. By the time they arrived, the planet was embroiled in a massive civil war over the spear. Eventually, Ragnar Blackmane found the lost artifact and returned it to Russ, who returned it to Fenris after the war was over. Garm was reintroduced to the Imperial Truth, Russ ensuring that the cults surrounding him were treated well but taught their mistakes.

Thus, from the Betrayal to today, the Space Wolves have remained that which Leman Russ made them- fearless, if ruthless, warriors.

Organization​

The Space Wolves are subdivided into 12 Great Companies. These consist of 4000 Astartes each, and each is led by a so-called Wolf Lord. About a thousand Marines are not linked to any single Company. These are known as Lone Wolves, Wolves that are the last survivor of their squad. They fulfill Scout roles on the battlefield.

A Great Company is subdivided into Squads, typically consisting of about 5 Marines. These do not receive reinforcements: a Squad is recruited simultaneously, and loses members with time until it dwindles to a single Lone Wolf. The Squad also receives promotions simultaneously. The starting level is that of a Blood Claw, progressing to a Grey Hunter and then a Long Fang. Each of those three groups is found in similar numbers within a Company.

Wolf Priests and Rune Priests are the two types of specialists in the Legion. Wolf Priests fulfill the role of Apothecary, while Rune Priests are similar to Librarians. They are considered the purest type of psyker in the Imperium, as they draw their power filtered from Fenris itself- though when Fenris was polluted by the Corrupter, it was demonstrated even Rune Priests were not immune to Chaos.

In general, both types of Priests make up about 5% of the Legion. Thus, in an average Company, there will be about 1200 Blood Claws, Grey Hunters, and Long Fangs, as well as about 200 Wolf and Rune Priests. Specialists are not assigned to Squads.

The highest rank that most Space Wolves can achieve is that of Wolf Guard. These are a hundred Terminator-armored veterans that serve as the bodyguards of Leman Russ and the defenders of Fenris. They are considered to be the greatest warriors of the Space Wolves, and are not divided into squads. Often, forty or more of them will be deployed at once, led by Leman Russ or Bjorn the Fell-Handed. Such an assault can break almost any enemy.

Dreadnoughts are not common in the Space Wolves, with perhaps ten per Great Company. Nevertheless, the Ancients that are present are regarded very highly and often live for millennia. Bjorn the Fell-Handed is the greatest of these: he has survived since the Heresy, and now serves as the leader of the Wolf Guard. The book recounting his exploits is almost as long as that of Leman Russ himself.

Each Great Company is led by a Great Wolf, who has total control over his forces. The leader of the entire Legion is of course Leman Russ, and the Primarch heads it as well as any possibly could.

Combat Doctrine​

The Vlka Fenryka’s arrival is typically preceded by orbital bombardment (though, of course, only on xeno and Chaos worlds). When the Legion does land, their goal is the utter destruction of the foe. They give no mercy, and often hives in which the Wolves fight will become riddled with holes in the former locations of Chaos cults.

The Space Wolves rarely use vehicles, as their belief is that every battle-brother should be able to run when necessary. Nevertheless, each Marine is given their own choice of weapon, and both close-combat and ranged brothers are common. This choice does not affect squad allegiance, and thus Space Wolf squads will be mixed.

It takes evidence to convince the Space Wolves to come to a world, but when they do they come in force. Hundreds of drop-pods drop from the sky, and upon landing they open to reveal howling Wolves. The area is then cleansed of threats by sheer force. Often, the Space Wolves leader will search for the enemy’s head and duel them- sometimes a suicidal maneuver, but when a Wolf does go down this way, he makes sure that others can finish the monster off.

Against their toughest challenges, the Space Wolves may use the Wulfen. Several thousand of these beasts languish in the woods around the Fang and under the fortress. They were once Astartes themselves, but have since lost their intellect- or at least their sanity- and become like animals. To become one is considered the worst fate a Space Wolf can suffer, and one feeling the onset of the curse will often seek a glorious death in battle- though the curse is rare, and appears much more often in young Space Wolves. Nevertheless, the Wulfen are extremely strong, and resistant to Chaos- in fact, they have an anti-psychic effect. When they rampage across the battlefield, none will be spared.

Homeworld​

The home world of the Space Wolves is oft-threatened Fenris. It is a Death World, full of freezing tundras and unstable terrain. Other than the freezing temperature, Fenris is notable for the various monsters that roam its seas and land. Among those are the Great Wolves, the Serpents, the Mammoths and the Krakens. Some of those might be xeno species and others modified during the Dark Age of Technology, but their genetic history is muddled.

As time has went on, Leman Russ has introduced some new technology to Fenris, but to ensure his people remain fighters he has hired Mechanicum agents to tinker with the monsters in order to make them stronger. Moreover, Russ ensures that his homeworld’s tribes remain disunited and often at war with one another to ensure- again- their strength. As such, Fenris has retained much of its older culture- one of heroism and struggle.

It is notable that the Mechanicum’s tinkering has had interesting effects on the krakens, and in fact the great cephalopods have now created weapons of their own. Contact has not so far been made, but if they turn out to be hostile, massive issues will erupt.

“I have not been preserved across the millennia to tell stories. The krakens may be odd, they may be xeno, they may be monsters- but they are not evil. I see much of myself in this young race.

Tell them: I accept the negotiations. If necessary, we will fight together. If necessary, we will build a spaceship to raise them off Fenris. Humanity is not alone in the stars, and it needs to stop pretending that it is.”

-Bjorn the Fell-Handed


Fenris has been assaulted by Chaos quite often over the millennia. Thus, its defenses are quite spectacular: four giant battle-stations that can see any point around the planet, as well as the impregnable fortress of the Fang, constructed with the help of the Ultramarines. This is, of course, on top of the formidable natural challenge that Fenris is to invading armies.

Beliefs​

The Space Wolves follow the doctrine of the Imperial Truth, believing in a secular Imperium. Beyond that, though, their beliefs vary significantly from those of other Loyalist Legions. Most shockingly, they agree with the traditional beliefs of Fenris, seeing nature- especially that of their homeworld- as sacred. Such minor issues are admitted by Russ as detrimental to the Vlka Fenryka’s relationship with much of the Imperium, but Russ holds onto them nevertheless, as long as they do not violate the tenets of the Truth.

The Space Wolves also have an interesting view of their own role. They believe they were created as the Emperor’s executioners against those who betrayed him. Some Imperial historians have doubted this idea’s truth, but regardless, the Space Wolves live by it.

Gene-seed​

The Space Wolves gene-seed is quite impure for a Loyalist Legion. For one, the curse of the Wulfen, though rare, is a constant danger. In general, though, the gene-seed gives improved senses, a state which Russ calls “communion with the Inner Wolf”, at the expense of gaining some predatory instincts. Fortunately, Russ’ presence has kept the situation relatively stable- it is unknown how bad matters would be if he were gone.

Battle-cry​

The most common Space Wolves battle-cry has changed over the millennia, and only Russ and Bjorn know where it started off, but currently its form has stabilized: “For Russ and the Emperor!”
 

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Index Astartes: Doom Fists
Origins​

The scattering of the Primarchs was a lamentable event in Imperial history. It was an unfortunate moment, too, for the planet of Inwit. Perhaps if the seventh pod had not landed, the world would have become quite different indeed.

The pod landed near the caves of the Dorn clan, and their leader took the young Primarch in. Rogal, as he was named, learned and grew quickly, and indeed the patriarch declared the Primarch his heir when Rogal was only five.

That feast has become forever etched into the Primarch’s memory- it is the last such memory of those who raised him.

Rogal’s uncle, Fernat, doubted his father’s decision. Arguments broke out at the celebration among those who were once close friends. Then, as the debate died down, the ceiling cracked and the entire ice cave collapsed.

There was only one survivor. As Rogal Dorn climbed across the remnants of his home, he gazed at the corpses of his loved ones. They were in various stages of mutilation, but none were breathing. They had died because of a geological accident- an unstable mountain- but nothing could be further from the young Primarch’s mind as he surveyed their bodies.

Rogal gazed at Fernat’s broken self. His uncle- the one who had doubted him- was now as dead as the rest. Good or evil, death and pain waited for all.

Fernat’s mouth moved.

“Farewell… nephew. You are the last Dorn… I doubted you… do not listen to me. You are the last Dorn… be the greatest.”

Fernat gave a last heaving breath and slipped into unconsciousness. Rogal knew there were no others.

His family- the only thing he cared about- was gone.

Dorn swore a thousand oaths that day, but all were soon forgotten. Even a Primarch would have had a hard time surviving in Inwitian winter without a home, and thus Dorn camped in a great metallic structure known as the Phalanx.

Over time, Dorn refined his philosophy in the unheated corridors of the Phalanx. Regret was a weakness- the world simply didn’t care. A single person was but a speck in the wind, and in the end all would be dust. There would be no utopia on Inwit- or anywhere else- but neither was there anything sacred in hard work. There was no point to life, but neither was there a use for despair: the universe would continue.

In the unfeeling halls of the Phalanx, Dorn tampered with the building, eventually realizing its true purpose- that of a spaceship. After returning it to good condition, Dorn blasted off.

Rogal had little interest in creating an empire. Rather, the seventh Primarch became a wanderer. He traversed his homeworld, everywhere talking of his philosophy, engaging in debates, and in the end somehow surviving. He saw much suffering below, and comforted the dying with the fact that pain, like life, was brief. At the same time, his compassion was never a driving force, as in the end Inwit lived honestly and well enough.

His words made him hated in some areas, but he was the last Dorn, already a giant, and he had the ship that could power the ways of Inwit beyond. As inventors duplicated technology from the Phalanx, Inwit colonized a number of uninhabited worlds. Rogal made note of every philosophy and religion they met, but rejected them all, seeing them as not cynical enough to accept the random evil of existence.

Nevertheless, as Inwitian colonies spread, Rogal Dorn made contact with a being even more powerful than himself- and far from his ideology.

The Great Crusade​

The Emperor found Dorn in the halls of the Phalanx. As the giant golden figure entered the room where Dorn was writing his opus- the later-famous First Book of Dorn- Rogal turned around, and after the Emperor introduced himself, Dorn accepted command of the VII Legion.

The Emperor called himself Rogal’s father, but Rogal remembered the fall of the Dorn fortress well. The Emperor had not been there, nor before or after. He appeared after Rogal had crawled out of ruins and tried to take credit for him.

Worst of all, he was an idealist.

Rogal never could have had a good relationship with such a father. He knew well that the Imperium would, with time, stagnate into a mockery of itself and that the Emperor’s goals had no chance of becoming reality. In fact, Dorn realized the Emperor’s foolishness would only accelerate the decline.

Nevertheless, Dorn did not desire to go to war against a new empire. As such, the Primarch acted much as was expected. Expanding his Legion, he founded the Hyperboreal Fortress on Inwit’s surface. The Phalanx remained as Dorn’s personal vessel, wherein he lived and worked.

Though Rogal was powerful in combat, as numerous battles against various xenos proved, his passion was philosophy. The First Book of Dorn was finished, an outline of how life should be lived- realistically, without delusions, without self-importance. The text became official ideology of the Imperial Fists (Dorn kept the name, though he was far from happy at it), despite mild disapproval by the Emperor.

According to Dorn, death and evil were part of life and should be accepted. The meaning of life should be found individually by each person, but there was no single right meaning, as there was no single right morality.

Despite Dorn’s doubts, the Imperial Fists- which quickly grew, slightly exceeding the Emperor’s decrees on size and reaching about 120 thousand Astartes- continued marching across the galaxy. Inwit was kept as it was, and the Imperial Fists did not use the planet except as a recruiting ground. With time, the world fell into disrepair, and indeed regressed to a technological level much like that on Fenris. Massive wars split the globe, and philosophical debates fell away. It is doubtless that Dorn’s unceasing preaching accelerated this decline, as greed and ennui dominating the world ruined the social system. Dorn viewed his homeworld’s constant wars and barbarism as simply the inevitable results of all great social engineering, such as what he had done; he did not regret anything, though, as the same nihilism that drove Inwit to anarchy made perfect warriors for the VII Legion.

It is said that when Rogal heard news that the monument to his family built on the Dorn home’s former site had been ransacked, the Primarch smiled and said that if the people of Inwit had not done it, he would have done it personally.

”Dorn? His devotion to his family was extreme, and he mourns for them still. His logic is great too, and thus he created a philosophy from his grief- a good one. Now, his philosophy contradicts his grief, and he chooses philosophy.
It is only the logical choice.”
-Captain Alexis Polux


Rogal Dorn had few true friends. He saw many of the other Primarchs as idealistic morons who would sacrifice themselves to protect the Imperium- in Dorn’s opinion, a supreme gesture of stupidity. Rogal Dorn did stay friends with Horus, despite some differences in philosophy: Horus supported the freedom and importance of choice much more than Rogal, who viewed choice as being irrelevant. The last Dorn also kept up a good relationship with Vulkan, explaining to the smith how his family’s destruction was in the long run inevitable, as well as with Robote Guilliman in similar situations. Nevertheless, the Empreror ostracized him due to his philosophy and even these brothers talked to him less and less with time.

Rogal’s greatest arguments might have been with Fulgrim. The son of Chemos had been raised in a horrible environment, but insisted perfection and success were possible. Indeed, Fulgrim’s friendship with Guilliman was one of the main isolating factors between the VII and the XIII.

The Lion and Ferrus Manus also opposed Dorn on philosophical grounds, both insisting humanity would endure. Rogal nevertheless never felt hate for them, rather seeing them as naïve. Perturabo, contrarily, was a good friend of Rogal’s, and the VII Primarch aided the writing of the Book of Perturabo, analyzing the morality and mental effects of war and killing. Nevertheless, even Perturabo was seen as somewhat too idealistic by Dorn: the IV Primarch was searching for meaning, an impossible search.

For all of his personal issues, though, Dorn was still a mighty warrior. On the world of Laop, he dealt with a massive host of Orks. The green xenos had no grasp of military strategy, and after gaining air superiority and learning of the xenos’ biology (causing a large rise in the number of flamers being produced in the Hyperboreal Fortress’ armories), the Seventh eliminated the threat with no casualties. Over the gas giant of Kebfr, the local xenos had forged an alliance with a small human republic; via propaganda and a few well-placed attacks, that friendship was sundered and the Imperium took over the civilization’s ruins.

Nevertheless, Dorn sunk deeper into depression with every day. He began referring to the truth- the truth he had formulated- as a heavy burden. He began retreating into the Phalanx more and more with each day. Eventually, after a cache of ancient weapons was uncovered by an Inwitian tribe and the planet plunged into a winter worse than had ever before been seen, Dorn hid himself in the center rooms of the Phalanx and allowed it to float on the currents of the Warp.

The Great Betrayal​

Rogal Dorn met the Chaos Gods in their home. When, during his travels, he saw the Phalanx’ Gellar Fields breaking down, he simply looked at the disaster unfolding calmly.

The Warp Gods were quite impressed with Dorn, and the daemon Gejv’er told the lost Primarch of the truth of Chaos. Dorn saw then the way out of his dilemma. There was evil, and indeed evil was inherent and constant, but good existed too- also constant. The only true good was truth, and the only true evil denial.

Thus, of course, the “benevolent” Imperium was the evilest of all. Convinced that they were doing good, they destroyed all sorts of true beliefs.

Inspired by this, Dorn began planning to release humanity from its enslavement. Even after he returned to his Legion and now-dead world of Inwit, he often conferred with the Warp Gods.

Rogal did not immediately reveal his discoveries to the Legion, but rather slowly disseminated them among those he could trust. Captains such as Helbrecht and Sigismund flocked to this new ideal. Still, only perhaps ten percent of the Imperial Fists knew the truth and the essence of reality; the others remained in the dark- for now.

The Hyperboreal Fortress remained the Legion’s home in this time, but as Inwit was no longer inhabitable, other worlds began to provide the Fists’ recruits. During this phase, Rogal wrote the Second Book of Dorn. He also became even closer friends with Horus. More than anything, he realized the importance of choice here- the choice between the Chaos Gods. Other choices, such as the decision to follow the Imperium, led to damnation and therefore were inferior- though, of course, it was too early to risk revealing himself.

Then, Lorgar was persecuted. After he broke, Dorn visited hi s former rival and found it almost disturbingly easy to turn Lorgar to Chaos. When Rogal discovered that Lorgar’s second-in-command- Kor Phaeron- also knew the blessings of Chaos, the conversion of the Word Bearers was a sure thing.

The agents of the Gods travelled the Legions’ length during this time, and indeed many planets too fell under Dorn’s sway. Nevertheless, Rogal knew that open rebellion would have to come sometime. Lorgar sent embassies to the Legions that Dorn assumed would join them.

Rogal, though the architect of the rebellion, stayed in the background here: he was a philosopher more than a general, and thus he inspired the movement more than he led it.

The Discoverers- as Lorgar had titled their rebellion- gathered around the world of Isstvan III, sending down those who could not be turned to the Gods onto the surface to be bombed. Regrettably, a number of mistakes took place there, and after it was declared the forces stationed on the surface would be destroyed Dorn’s own gene-son, Alexis Polux, raised the flag of rebellion.

Polux had always believed in the ultimate good of the Emperor, but Dorn had assumed his logic was greater and would turn him to the side that clearly had overwhelming force. Instead, Polux led a number of ships in severely weakening the fleet. Brother fought brother for the first time in these hallways, and both sides hardened against those which had been their friends.

In the end, regrettably, Polux escaped with a contingent of Imperial warriors towards Terra. By then, Dorn had already been told that the embassies to Horus and Konrad Curze had failed. Though upset by Horus’ betrayal of their friendship and of his principles, Rogal was not disheartened: if the fleets would make a beeline for Terra, which they did, the Discoverers could eliminate the mad Emperor himself before being obliterated by the opposition.

The Imperial Fists chose to go with the Iron Warriors, White Scars, and Salamanders as the First Fleet.

The ships blasted off from Isstvan and made quick progress through the Warp, aided by the Gods. The First Fleet arrived at Terra in a matter of months, even conquering a few planets along the way. In this journey, Dorn renamed his Legion the Doom Fists, dropping the hated adjective.

About ninety thousand Doom Fists arrived at Terra: the rest had either betrayed their Primarch and chosen the easy route, or died fighting those that did. Surprisingly, though, even the fast movement of the First Fleet was not quick enough to find an undefended Imperial Palace. The Ultramarines and the Emperor’s Children crewed the palace walls.

The first attacks were repulsed, but as Dorn strove to reorganize his forces, he saw major issues in organization. Naturally strict, Rogal could not be happy when Perturabo beat on the palace walls without orders (if somewhat successfully), and even less happy that Jaghatai Khan basically ignored the siege, instead making isolated raids. Vulkan alone didn’t disobey orders on a daily basis, but even those Nurglite troops didn’t always follow the VII Primarch’s commands.

Finally, after prolonged bombing, which caused heavy losses in Perturabo’s soldiers, the Doom Fists rushed towards the Imperial Palace. The shields were almost down, and further bombardment could open the gates.

Except there was no further bombardment.

The orbital superiority so quickly gained by the Discoverers was equally quickly broken by the arrival of a new Legion- Mortarion’s Death Guard. The Imperial forces easily won the space battle, in large part because the air force hiding inside the Imperial Palace took off and assisted them. Following the taking of orbit, the Death Guard landed on Terran soil and encircled the invaders.

Dorn was never a supporter of retreats, but he had long since learned that “honorable” concepts like fighting to the bitter end had no place in a callous, heartless world. The Doom Fists scattered.

”I cannot surrender. I will not surrender. We will return, and the Palace will tremble before us.
Now is not the time for such an assault, though. The Imperium will pay in blood- it just won’t pay today.”
-Rogal Dorn


The Legion was picked up by the forces of the Second Fleet when they arrived, far too late. Nevertheless, Dorn’s Legion had in its majority survived, with about fifty thousand still holding the banner of Chaos high. After their defeat at the Palace itself, the Fists had constructed a small fortress that had held back the loyalists forces for the entire duration; Dorn, after abandoning it, ordered it burned to the ground.

The Escape​

When Dorn learned that Lorgar and the Emperor were both dead, he ordered another retreat, this time to the Eye of Terror. It was clear to Rogal that the war was lost; too few Legions were left on their side, and too many were coming to help the Imperials.

Thus, Dorn turned his eyes towards the Eye, and left for there along with the Iron Wariors. The Warp journey did not take too long, even with the smaller incursions involved.

Nevertheless, the Council of Warsmiths had a desire to see the Imperium bleed for its evil, and for once Rogal couldn’t disagree. Obscurus would cry in pain, and perhaps then, the Imperium could at last see the arbitrariness of existence. The VII Primarch sent his champion Helbrecht into the Eye of Terror with half of the Legion, ordering them to set up camp, and personally led the Doom Fists into what became known as the Iron Cage Campaign (for its stated goal of “turning Segmentum Obscurus into an iron cage of Chaotic torment”).

The campaign began successfully, with most of the area near the Cadian Gate taken and fortified. The ultimate opposition that ruined the assault was not the Imperial Astartes forces; rather, it was mere humans that prevented the Iron Cage. The Imperial Army of assaulted planets fought to the death, even without officers. Civilians behind the front hid in the forest. Those that were caught and enslaved did as much damage as they could.

Dorn’s speeches on the glory of Chaos didn’t help. The Campaign was stagnating.

Then, the resistance organized. The partisans and slave revolts didn’t stop, but the Imperial Army came under the sway of one Kareoi Crean. She led several planets to mount a full-scale invasion on the worlds of Chaos. Dorn’s front fell back under skillful bombardment and armored assault.

Fortunately, Astartes know no fear. As the humans overreached, the Iron Warriors and Doom Fists stood their ground. The retaken planets were barren wastelands anyway. After Captain Sigismund killed Crean in an assault on her headquarters ship, the Imperial offensive stopped.

The last Dorn was, of course, shocked by the Imperium’s capability for denial. Freedom was staring them in the face, but they refused to acknowledge reality, instead believing in an Emperor whom Lorgar had personally killed. Their resolve was beyond ridiculous, but over the years of stalemate Dorn could not find a way to break it. Though retreats were small, the Chaos Legions saw no way to win. Daemons were summoned (though the Council of Warsmiths forbid those of any god besides Khorne) but they slowly lost interest in trench warfare.

The finishing touch on the Iron Cage mess was the arrival of the fresh Death Guard. Taking over for the mortals, they obliterated the new strategies thrust by Dorn onto them. They pursued the broken IV and VII to Cadia itself, and the infuriated Mortarion personally boarded the Phalanx.

The clash between the two Primarchs was legendary, and only Dorn’s pleadings with Mortarion’s First Captain Ignatius Grulgor allowed him to finish off the Dusk Prince. Still, Mortarion’s dying fury not only crashed the Phalanx into the surface of Cadia, but also broke the daemonic from a number of worlds near Cadia. Rogal himself only barely escaped the falling ship by an emergency teleporter.

The Long War​

Since the death of his father, Rogal’s goal has been simple: to show the galaxy the true power of his philosophy. The existence of the Imperium has been a constant annoyance, but non-Chaos xenos have found no love from him either.

Ironically, with time Rogal has come to embrace Horus’ stance on the importance of freedom. The freedom to choose one’s own path was the thing separating humans from animals, and from daemons. That is, freedom was not present at either of the two extremes of life, but rather determined one’s fate at either extreme.

Regardless of philosophy, though, the VII Legion has been at the forefront of any fighting it has participated in. In any conflicts against those they believe can or should be turned the Doom Fists use propaganda heavily as well.

Perhaps the best-known campaign of the Doom Fists against a non-human foe was Dorn’s invasion of Craftworld Altansar. Many on the Eldar super-spaceship were turned to Chaos, but few were killed. Admittedly, many of the converts were already secretly cultists due to Altansar’s long time stuck in the Eye. The remnants were shot out of the Eye by sorcerers, as Dorn decided they held no more value and would never understand.

Sigismund has pursued a quite distinct goal. The Divine Champion, as he prefers to be called, has led 60 failed attacks against Cadia (“Black Crusades”), seeking to regain what the Iron Cage Campaign had lost. Some worlds were occasionally captured, but others were cleansed by the Imperium. The Crusades have made amazingly little progress over ten thousand years, and it is indeed amazing that neither the Gods nor Rogal have rejected Sigismund yet.

Sigismund made his way to Dorn. He had heard Dorn was going to banish him from the Legion. This could not be allowed.
Despite the failure of his campaigns, Sigismund was of value. He was a living symbol of what the Doom Fists stood for. Never once had he wandered from the philosophy of Dornism.
“Gene-father?”
The Daemon-Primarch turned. “Do not worry, Sigismund. I will not banish you. You amuse us too much.”


The Primarch himself has become a Daemon Prince. His appearance is now that of a great yellow sun, giving off much light yet no heat. From it springs, on a yellow snake’s neck, the head. Seven black hands, doubling as feet, propel the Daemon Primarch. Nevertheless, Dorn continues to play a large part in his Legion’s functioning, and besides publishing thousands of addendums to the Second Book of Dorn, he has played part in many military actions.

Among those was the Siege of Krieg. When the Autarch of Krieg discovered the Chaos Gods, the Imperium responded by attempting to exterminate all life on the world. It may or may not have been Colonel Jurten of the Krieg 83rd who chose to destroy the once-prosperous planet; in any case, it was not the act of anyone sane. The Doom Fists joined the action, as did the Night Lords (on the other side). In the end Krieg was reduced to a wasteland by Astarte combat and bombardment. Though the Night Lords did banish the Doom Fists, they did so with severe losses. To this day, it is unclear why they would have sacrificed so much for only a few ragtag groups of humans.

Nevertheless, the Doom Fists continue to roam the galaxy, for their Primarch, their gods, and their philosophy. They are and will remain the most convinced of the forces of Chaos, and the only ones who realize its true heart.

Organization​

During the Great Crusade, the Doom Fists were organized into Companies. Since then, the Legion has never stalwartly followed one organizational principle, but rather allowed Captains to control their own sections of the Legion.

The majority of the Doom Fists fall into one of three groups: Helbrecht’s, Sigismund’s, and the “rest”. Dorn equally spends his time on each group.

Helbrecht’s group is largely made up of those legionaries that considered the Iron Cage a worthless exercise in which Rogal Dorn forgot his own philosophy and assumed everything would go well. Before the campaign, this group was small and didn’t even include Helbrecht (who specifically complained about not being allowed to fight). Since, it has grown into a bulwark of conservatism. This group is the one where the First Book of Dorn is read, and even revered on par with the Second. It believes every plan will break down, and that the only way to deal with one’s inevitable failure is to have successes too- even one’s enemies fail, after all. This group is generally less devout than the others, and even might have some unbelievers in its ranks. Its stated mission is defending the Eye of Terror and dealing (often violently) with other Chaos Legions. Helbrecht keeps his Astartes organized into six Great Companies of about 10 thousand each, which are led by a Captain and further organized only on the Squad level with Sergeants (a thousand Squads per Great Company!)

Sigismund’s group is the opposite. Though their organization is the same, having only three Great Companies (all decreasing in size recently) the goals of the Black Crusaders is to take the Mortarial Worlds and turn them back to the daemons. They are more religious in their philosophy, and have reminded some onlookers of the Word Bearers with their devoutness and mercilessness. In fact, the First Book of Dorn is viewed as only a rough draft. This organization is failing, just like Sigismund’s latest Crusades; though it will not go away anytime soon, it is quite likely that Sigismund’s power will truly decrease. Already, some reformers have founded Free Companies from the Crusaders.

The Free Companies are 343-Astarte (at full strength) groups that make up the rest of the Legion. There are approximately 100 of them, each with no number but rather a name. They roam galaxywide for recruits and loot, but personal interpretations of Dorn vary between Captains. The only thing this group truly has in common is a preference of Dorn over the subordinate leaders.

Combat Doctrine​

The Doom Fists believe their mission is to illuminate the masses. Propaganda is used heavily before the invasion, in which drop pods land and the Fists simply take over.

The details depend on the commander, of course. Often the Fists will show mercy, as they believe the galaxy should be inhabited under Chaos (not only by daemons). Other times, they will simply burn a planet down to make a point.

Regardless, the Fists are not likely to ally themselves with cults, and do so grudgingly even with other Chaos Legions. When their help is requested, though, they will come- in the process turning the outpouring of curiosity that a cult is into a Dornist structure. Some have claimed that Rogal means to become a fifth Chaos God through such organizations; those are in their majority Imperial scholars with no direct connection to the Daemon Primarch, as he has repeatedly denied any such ideas.

The Fists have a passion for defensive siege warfare, holding Daemon and Cultist worlds from Imperial attack. This is probably the main reasons anyone outside their organization might call on them. It should be noted, however, that a Dornist fortress will not be a utopia, rather focused entirely on the attackers’ elimination. After all, utopia can only be a dream.

The Doom Fists prefer neither close nor ranged combat specifically. Each member is taught to be proficient in both, at least in principle, though the choice of weapons is a personal matter. There are Squads composed entirely of Raptors, Havocs, devotees of a certain god or Sorcerers, along with those containing none of these. Sergeants typically have a certain amount of control over these things. The Doom Fists frown on the use of Possessed Marines, though, seeing them as fusing two beings of worth into one and thus equivalent to a casualty.

Homeworld​

Before the Discovery, the Seventh’s home world was named Inwit. Under Rogal Dorn, it prospered, but as time went on the general organization faded and barbarism ran rampant. Rogal announced that he wouldn’t be bothered with this, that there was nothing wrong with this, and that the undeserving would die in any case. Thus, Inwit declined, though the quality of Fists aspirants rose with frequency of battles.

In the end, the low technological level led to a nuclear war. When a cache of truly ancient weapons was uncovered by an unknown tribe, the world became a nuclear wasteland. The populace froze to death, and Inwit became a Dead World.

The Doom Fists continued recruiting from other worlds that Dorn visited before he met the Emperor and that practiced his philosophy. Rogal never did tell the Emperor of his homeworld’s ruin.

Since the Discovery, the Doom Fists do not have a single set homeworld, rather recruiting from the entirety of their holdings in the Eye. Moreover, recruits often come from worlds the Fists fight on outside the Eye. They never recruit the unwilling, though: Dorn does not desire any fools within his Legion, nor those that would forsake Chaos. This decision means that much of the Fists’ membership is filled with Chaos even before entering the Seventh.

“No. He was illuminated too late. The lies of the Emperor run deep within his soul, and thus he will turn back to them to some point or other.
Kill this Lysander- if you can.”
-Vladimir Pugh, Captain of the Fists of Imperium’s Death


Beliefs​

The Doom Fists are not devoted to a single Chaos God, but place the choice of which one to follow as a key part of existence. Nevertheless, those that choose Undivided are respected too- after all, Rogal Dorn made precisely that choice.

The Doom Fists believe there is no good and evil, but there is truth and falsehood. Most notably, though they refuse to condemn any choice as evil, they hold self-deceit to be an utterly destructive and hurtful impulse. Any who do not follow Chaos are seen as focusing on this lie, as they deny the existence or power of the Gods themselves.

Many details on these can be found in the First and Second Books of Dorn, but in the end these are quite contradictory. Only the base of Dorn’s philosophy is consistent across the Legion.

Gene-seed​

The Doom Fists’ gene-seed is mildly affected by Chaos, most prominently noted in spontaneous mutations of the hands and a lack of the Sus-an membrane and Betcher’s gland.

Battle-cry​

There is one battle-cry used by the entirety of the Seventh Legion:

“Your lies end now!”
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks!

Anyhow, sorry for the long delay, but here are the Night Lords.


Index Astartes: Night Lords
Origins​
When Konrad Curze, the Eighth Primarch, first landed on Nostramo, the world was covered in endless night. And though Curze's efforts at improving the situation would help to lift that suffocating blanket, Nostramo was not something to be perfected, as Macragge or Prospero; Nostramo was always a world to save.

Curze was not found by a family; he was forced to make a living for himself on the streets. Given the name that he had by other homeless children in his area of the Hive, the young Primarch quickly outstripped them in development. But with physical growth came mental comprehension- and with that came an understanding of the corrupt, even anarchic system of the planet.

Curze hated it.

He would say the hatred had come from before he could remember. Perhaps he was born with it. In any case, Curze's strength, agility, and intelligence allowed him to take on an alternate persona- the Night Haunter- who killed various criminals.

At first, the Night Haunter acted in punishment. With time and success, however, the Primarch became obsessed with a larger plan. He already had the mafia living in fear- why not entrench that? Those who broke the law would be killed. The Night Haunter was watching.

As Curze bgan his plan, underworld leaders began trying to get rid of Curze. None succeeded. The Night Haunter tracked the assassins and destroyed them, and then their bosses.

Nostramo was pressed- and Nostramo changed. Civilians took up arms. Former thieves and vandals hid in their homes and tried to reform for fear of punishment. One Night Haunter was not enough to police Nostramo- but enough to threaten all of it.

The government changed little. Indeed, there were periods when Night Haunter was actually labeled an outlaw. Curze ignored these claims, but as the crime rate dropped, he was forced to think of ruling the world he had saved.

Few opposed him in his grab for power. In many ways, he was the natural choice. And so it was- within three decades of Konrad Curze's arrival on Nostramo, he was its ruler.

Curze's biggest successes were in the area of public policy. In a quest to eliminate crime, the economy needed to be fixed. Trade was re-established with nearby worlds. The official system was an unplanned one, though all companies were closely policed. The police was, in fact, the basis of the government. The Chief of Police was also the heir to Konrad Curze, as the Primarch knew there was a need to provide for his inevitable departure.

Politically, of course, Nostramo became a unilateral dictatorship under Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter. The aforementioned tyrant always saw it as more of a responsibility than a right: he claimed that he simply did not trust anyone else with the post.

The citizens, of course, lived in fear- there were plenty of relative innocents tried and killed by the Curzian system. Still, the brutality kept order.

The Great Crusade​

When the Emperor first stepped on the black ground of Nostramo, he had already sensed Konrad Curze's presence. Within a few hours, father and son had been reunited.

The meeting took place in the Night Haunter's throne room. Curze was surrounded by the blades of fallen foes. The Emperor lit up the obsidian chamber with his golden light, and Curze immediately recognized him for who he was.

The conversation that passed between the giants remains unknown, but Nostramo was pledged to the Imperium.

Konrad Curze accepted his Legion, the Night Lords, and taught them in the Nostraman way. To keep the Imperium's peace and simultaneously expand it, Curze expanded the size of the VIII Legion: at its height, it numbered about 200 thousand Astartes. One might notice this violated the Emperor's decree on Legion size, but then Curze's policies were often at odds with the rest of the Imperium. When Jaghatai Khan visited Nostramo, he called it a "cold, oppressive nightmare". Many shared this opinion of the world and Primarch, notably Horus, who refused to fight alongside Curze, and Sanguinius. The feeling was mutual: Curze considered the Imperium to be unstable and many of his brothers to be mad.

The Emperor, however, was mostly on the Night Haunter's side. Towards the end of the Great Crusade, records suggest he planned to restructure Nostramo, but the Great Betrayal proved Curze was right.

Father, I know you plan even now to change my world. Do not deny it; you cannot and you would not. You desire a beacon of light, a symbol of the new galaxy you are now creating.

Yet I am dark, Nostramo is dark, and I would have us remain thus forevermore. For in a white galaxy, there is neither contrast nor standard. Darkness has its uses, Father, and you already have plenty of light."

-Konrad Curze

The Night Haunter had a deep respect for those of his brothers that he felt had the courage to do what they must, regardless of public opinion. Those included Mortarion and Angron.

The Night Lords took part in their own expeditions during the Great Crusade, rarely intersecting with those of other fleets, and brought terror to those worlds that opposed them. Worlds would surrender peacefully rather than face their conquest by the Night Haunter. Some planets, the Night Lords did conquer, such as the fiercely independent Jeuxas. There, the locals were systematically destroyed, several cities bombed into dust. Twice there happened rebellions, and twice they failed utterly: the second time, the citizenry- remembering the fate of the first uprising's supporters- opposed the separatism.

Yet problems plagued the Night Lords. One was Curze's own psychic talent for foresight. This frequently caused fits of near-madness. The Night Haunter tended to see the darkest futures, and often he was unable to prevent it. The images were typically those of crime and betrayal. The Eighth Primarch was powerful enough to see through the veil that blanketed Lorgar's betrayal from the view of others, but the vision ended up coming too late and being too unclear to matter.

The second problem was that, in an effort to swell his Legion, Curze often inducted among its ranks criminals- both reformed and otherwise. As he stayed behind on Nostramo, the First Captain- a man named Sevatar- began reporting unrest in the ranks. Worse, mutation had crept into the previously pure gene-seed.

In his visions, Curze saw the Imperium's dusk and blamed it on the weakness of compassionate Primarchs like Sanguinius. Thus he challenged the Angel to a great debate on the internal ordering of the Imperium. Sanguinius cursed Curze and claimed it would be the Eighth Primarch's ruthlessness that would drive the Imperium to ruin. The Night Haunter responded that Sanguinius' desire for peace would leave the Imperium defenseless.

When Curze returned to Nostramo, his visions had increased in frequency and power hundredfold. Head splitting, the tyrant temporarily gave his duties to Sevatar, giving orders to purge the Legion and the gene-seed. A number of Night Lords, led by Krieg Acerbus, fled to the Maelstrom; others were exterminated. One way or another, the Legion came perilously close to civil war, reduced to perhaps a hundred twenty thousand Astartes.

It was Talos, an Apothecary, who discovered a way to stabilize the gene-seed. The mutation could not be exorcized, but its progress could be slowed. Nevertheless, the Night Lords were permanently damaged, and many brave battle-brothers were consumed by mutation.

Meanwhile, Curze's feverish nightmares had spread to the rest of the Legion. Talos was one of those who felt them the strongest; others, like Zso Sahaal, were relatively immune. Regardless, from all fleets the Night Lords rushed back to Nostramo to at least police the world.

It is a testament to how well the Night Haunter secured his home planet that even during this tumultous time, few debates and no rebellions broke out.

About a fifth of the pre-troubles Legion fled with Acerbus, and an equal part died in purges and skirmishes. A quarter of those still loyal fell due to mutation. Not one other Legion sent aid to the belaguered Eighth, though it should be said that Curze never asked for it.

At last, Sevatar began rebuilding. By now, he was effectively functioning as the Legion Master, as Curze was greatly reduced. The Night Lords numbered a hundred and fifty thousand again by the time of the treachery, but all of them felt great concern for their leader, who was at last seeing the full story of the Great Betrayal. Groaning, Konrad Curze could do little save to scream out what he was seeing- he could not understand it, for the flood was too great even for a Primarch's mind. Angron and Mortarion both visited their brother, and the Emperor himself came to Nostramo to psychically aid his son.

It was a long session, but at last Curze was beginning to recover and the Emperor had departed to Terra. Then, Lorgar's emissaries arrived.

The Great Betrayal​

The Word Bearers and Night Lords had always been distant at best. Nevertheless, when his cousins in the XVII Legion arrived, Sevatar granted them audience with Konrad Curze.

The Word Bearers spoke of the Emperor betraying Nostramo. They mentioned the plans to "lighten up" the planet and announced that the Emperor was about to bring its order collapsing in on itself. They claimed the Emperor was lost in an idealistic haze, unable to make the Imperium what it could be under Curze- under Chaos, which they presented as a panacea.

In that instant, Curze understood the truth of his visions.

The Night Haunter killed five of the emissaries with one stroke and proclaimed their treachery of the Emperor. Calling Sevatar to his side, he continued the attack. Of twenty-eight Astartes sent to turn Curze from his father, seven managed to escape, three of those mortally wounded.

Curze immediately communicated the news to Terra. The Emperor was already there, and news of Lorgar's betrayal began to spread. Even as the Traitor Legions fought to kill their loyalists on Isstvan, Curze began planning the galaxywide war. Regrettably, his allies in the conflict would include primarily the enigmatic Alpharius and his rival Horus. The other loyal Primarchs and their Legiones were already converging on Terra.

The Night Lords, Alpha Legion and Luna Wolves took command of slowing down one of the traitors' fleets, namely that led by Lorgar. As Nostramo was quite distant from the fighting itself, only a small team- led by First Company Sergeant Zso Sahaal- came to defeat the traitors. As it turned out, though, they ended up infiltrating the other fleet's ships.

Sahaal proceeded to not only speed up the ships' journey towards Terra by messing with their Warp engines, but also frighten the mortal and Astarte crew. The goal was to weaken and intimidate the First Fleet before they ever reached Terra, and for a long time the Night Lord strike force was successful. On the final approach, though, Perturabo discovered a Scout.

The Khorneate Primarch's rage knew no bounds. The ships had, it turned out, suffered all of these problems due to spies! That, too, was blamed for all of the First Fleet's other issues, such as being relatively unsuccessful in conquering worlds on the way to Terra. Most of the fifty Astartes were found and executed, but Zso Sahaal and his squad landed on the surface of Terra. There, they diligently aided in the defense of the Imperial Palace's walls. Though their overall impact was small, Zso Sahaal did manage to kill several White Scar Stormseers before being tortured to death by Jaghatai Khan.

"Is that all, Khan?

I know all these methods; I have used many of them. They cannot truly hurt me, only harm me. I will die, but then again there is no other way out of here.

I am only surprised at your torture's incompetence."

-Zso Sahaal

But Konrad Curze was not passively observing the Heresy unfold from Nostramo. The disastrous betrayal worried him, but he noticed one of the Traitor Legions had apparently not joined the others in their quest to destroy Terra. Thus, he commanded a significant detachment of the Legion in a search for the Blood Angels.

Sevatar remained on Nostramo to keep order. Unfortunately, it was at this time that a group calling themselves the Liberators decided to start an insurgency. Most of the leaders and members had arrived from offworld, and the organization was what would later become known as a Chaos Cult. Daemons and dark magics were summoned from the Warp, and the Night Lords found themselves under attack from their own world.

Luckily, not all was black. Though much diminished, Sevatar's portion of the Legion was plenty to put down the rebels. The citizens of Nostramo again took up arms in defense of their home's purity. The civil war started in the lower levels of the hives, and for its majority the Eighth Legion fought there, in the belly of their planet, combating a horror that frightened even them and frightening it in turn.

The uprising had to combat not only angry civilians and Night Lords, but also the police. Organized better than ever, it would quite possibly have won the conflict even without Astarte help. Nevertheless, in newly constructed Octavus Hive, they could not prevent the entire city from collapsing into itself, burying the cultists in a pile of rubble. The daemons faced no such problems and thus eagerly burst out. In the ruins, Sevatar himself faced a Khorneate Bloodthirster. Even a mighty Space Marine like Sevatar was no match for the daemon, but he managed to hold it off for long enough that others surrounded the abomination and flooded its dark heart with bolter fire.

Sevatar lived, though his wounds forced him to be confined to a Dreadnought. The cultists, contrarily, were brought down soon after. By this time the new seers among the Night Lords had become able to use, and on rare occassions even control, their abilities. With their guidance, the last hiding places were destroyed and their attacks prevented. Nostramo returned to peace once more, and it would stay such for a long time.

Meanwhile, Curze searched for Sanguinius in vain. Nevertheless, he did find many unusual changes occuring in the Imperium. Largely unnoticed due to the massive catastrophe of the Betrayal, Chaos cults on multiple worlds had risen up and grabbed power. As time went on and traitor cities were leveled, the Eighth Primarch slowly understood how deep the rot had truly run within Imperial society. Fortunately, the cults were almost always disorganized and weak. Only on the Death World of Catachan were things different. There, the jungles were crawling with mutated life, and the last human settlements were barely holding out against the menace. The Eighth Legion gave hope and victory to this failing world, inspiring a resistance whose spirit would spread- perhaps no other Legion so inspired the Imperial Army Retakers, the regiments which returned a galaxy in turmoil to Imperial control.

The Catachan walked up to Curze with a look of gratitude, but mild dissatisfaction, on his face.

"Primarch," he said, "we thank you for saving our planet and bid you a fond farewell."

"What troubles you now?"

"Not much. It is simply that many think we should have rescued Catachan ourselves, that it was a matter of honor...."

The Night Haunter smiled. "They are right. You should have been able to save yourselves. But you can yet be redeemed. Many other worlds need the Imperial Army's help. The war is not only a war between Astartes; it is a war between mortals as well. You are needed."

"And we will answer that need," the soldier said, new determination filling his features.

As the Betrayal ended, and news came from Earth of the Imperium's victory, however, Curze realized he would never catch the Fallen Angel like this. Gathering his warriors, he set course back for Nostramo, to recover before scouring a galaxy.

The Escape​

After the Betrayal ended, the Night Lords regrouped. Many among them were sent out in small groups across the galaxy to aid the Imperial Army, Luna Wolves, and Alpha Legion in securing the Imperium.

Curze, however, soon swerved from this course of action. The Night Haunter had a vision of Sanguinius, and understanding at last the location of his brother, headed to the star of the Isstvan system.

The Eighth Primarch found the Ninth sifting through piles of bones, seemingly wavering. Yet when the Night Lords came, Sanguinius attempted a Warp jump. Fortitiously, few ships escaped, and the Blood Angel flagship- the Heart of Baal- was boarded by Curze himself.

Curze wanted only to talk to his brother, but by this time Sanguinius' mind had been poisoned against the Emperor. The two Primarchs met furious, each believing the other was responsible for the disaster that had befallen the Imperium. Moreover, Sanguinius refused to return to his homeworld and rejoin it. Instead, he wanted to strike out on his own, claiming the Imperium was now in a hopeless downward spiral.

From words the duel switched to fists, and then to swords.

The battle was short: the Angel was one of the best duelists among the Primarchs, and was able to greatly hurt Curze. At the last moment, however, he hesitated. This gave the Night Haunter time to get away, retreating to his own ships.

The Blood Angels might well have won the battle, but Sanguinius chose not to risk it. The Ninth Legion left the system.

The Night Lords wasted no time in informing Terra of Sanguinius' treachery. What they got back was Malcador's opinion as to how they should now function. In effect, the Sigilite copied some of the Emperor's ideas on brightening Nostramo, adding to that the viewpoint that Astartes should be involved in something other than war and the thought of centralizing the galaxy. Curze, in effect, responded that it was only due to the Astartes that there was a galaxy to centralize at all and that Malcador should keep his ideas to himself.

The Night Lords who had chased Sanguinius returned to policing the galaxy at large, and for some time matters were quiet. Towards the end of his life, Malcador began insisting that Curze integrate his Legion into Imperial society. Not long after, though, Curze found out that Mortarion- his closest friend among the loyalist Primarchs- had died fighting Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists. This led him to despair, and if anything the VIII has become only more secluded.

As the remnants of the Betrayal petered out and the Traitor Legions retreated to the Eye of Terror, Konrad Curze recalled all Night Lords to Nostramo. A hundred and forty thousand remained- one of the stronger post-Betrayal Legiones. Back on their sunless homeworld, the Night Haunter proclaimed that fear required mystery, and that threfore the Eighth Legion would remain a shadowed group working to protect the Imperium and terrify its enemies.

No one objected. No one would have even without the Primarch's charisma. After all, this was the mission they had been created for.

The Long War​

The Night Lords remain a Legion apart. Unlike the Space Wolves, which often operate outside Imperial norms due to their special status, the Night Lords have stayed relatively typical in their actions; their isolation and artificial mystery, however, have made other Imperial institutions doubt them quite often.

These doubts have only increased since the events of M33. The Night Lords had to deal with an increase in the frequency and severity of their visions, which reached the point of killing the seers. After an investigation, Konrad Curze found a solution to this doom, and soon after left to regions unknown with Sevatar. Whatever he did, it worked: the visions stopped completely.

"Where are you going?" Sevatar asked.

The Night Haunter sighed. "The visions. I have deduced their cause: my psychic imprint is causing them, and even my death would not fix them."

"Then what?"

"I must leave," the Primarch said, "depart until I am truly needed. In the End Times, I will come again. I will travel there directly; the machine allowing this is part of the Golden Throne and can be activated only once."

"Take me with you."

For an instant or two, Curze looked at Sevatar's uncertain posture and hopeful mind. Then, he came to a decision.

"Very well."

The leadership of the Legion passed to Talos, who stayed Legion Master for over a millennium; he met his end in late M34, in the Grendel's World Wars.

Grendel's World was an isolated planet in the galactic east. It bore little greater significance, but when it reported being under attack by a massive force of White Scars, Talos saw the chance to wipe out a lot of heretics at once. Thus, he personally led about twenty thousand Astartes to the planet.

The conflict was a long one; both sides played a psychological game, using the civilians of Grendel's World and surrounding worlds as their pieces. Eventually, the White Scars' patience broke, and they attacked first in the caverns below the surface of Tkeral V. From there, fighting broke out on all fronts. Grendel's World had to be evacuated, and Talos was killed in protecting the civilians; by then, though, the White Scars were surrounded and pushed onto the empty surface of Grendel's World. Then, the planet was destroyed.

There have been more battles since, of course. On the world of Krieg, the planet's governor turned to the worship of Chaos. On the verge of defeat, the Imperial defenders launched a barrage of missiles, leaving the surface of Krieg a wasteland. It was in this wasteland that the Night Lords and Dorn Fists clashed. The Eighth was victorious, though not without the help of Krieg's humans; indeed, these impressed the then-Legion Master so much that Krieg, like a few others outside Nostramo, became a Night Lord recruiting world.

Over the years, the Night Lords have made it their mission to make the Chaos Legions fear the Imperium. Of course, this has required much sacrifice. Constant fighting has prevented the Eighth from significantly increasing their size; it has stayed stable at about a hundred and sixty thousand Marines, despite constant recruitment. Worse, there is not a single member of the Legion who still draws breath that witnessed the Betrayal (except for Konrad Curze and Sevatar, wherever they are). This activity epitomizes the paradox of the Night Lords; they are both defensive and offensive, both defenders of Imperial Worlds and- if needed- their exterminators, both saviors and brutal dictators.

Yet through all of this, the Night Lords' loyalty has never been questioned. For they live on a world saved on police, and policemen without loyalty are merely criminals.

Organization​

The Night Lords are divided into forty Great Companies, each numbering about four thousand Astartes. The captains of these have complete power.

After the betrayal of Krieg Acerbus, the Night Lords have placed considerable safeguards into place to prevent a similar turning. Each Great Company has about a hundred Astartes as secret police, answering only to the Captain. These, concurrently with their other duties, search for corruption within the Great Company. Some call this practice paranoid, but not a single Great Company has forgone it.

Other specialists are less consistent. Apothecaries are universally acknowledged as important- after all, the second Legion Master (Talos) started out as one- but their role varies. In most Great Companies, the approximately 200 Apothecaries play no role other than fighting and assisting the wounded. The 24th and 25th Great Companies have their Apothecaries also play the role of Techmarines, with about 400 of these in each. The 10th Great Company, the original home of Talos, has a particularly large quantity of Apothecaries, one of which is always the Captain.

Techmarines are viewed as dangerous for their split loyalties by a number of Great Companies, and though they are needed everywhere, often their numbers are small. Librarians, of course, are known to be even more dangerous. Psykers inducted into the Night Lords tend to rarely go into combat; instead, their skills are typically used on a larger scale to facilitate planetary invasions. For this reason, the Night Lords utilize the second-largest amount of high-level psykers out of all Loyalist Legions, up to Alpha-level legend Creun Abewy. Of course, safeguards are always in place, and in the multiple cases when a Night Lords Librarian did go rogue surprisingly few planets have been destroyed. Nevertheless, ten of the Great Companies refuse to accept Librarians into their ranks.

The Night Lords have no Chaplains.

The entire Legion is headed by a Legion Master, chosen from the captains. He remains leader of his Company while simultaneously heading the Legion, and remains a Captain even if he resigns the higher post. This has happened on multiple occasions, and is considered to be shameful, but occassionally necessary: not everyone can head the Legion.

Dreadnoughts are not very common among the Night Lords, but those members that do survive in the eternal shell are spread out among the Companies. A taboo preventing specialists from becoming Dreadnoughts exists, linked to the general distrust.

Combat Doctrine​

The goal of any Night Lord operation is not only to win, but to intimidate the enemy into never fighting the Imperium again. Thus, when the Night Lords seek to conquer a world, their first action is invariably to spread fear and uncertainty through the defenders. This may take the form of capturing and using communication centers, using psykers to spread induced panic, or simply toppling important monuments. The goal of this first stage is to demoralize any defenders and create chaos.

Next, the Night Lords will drop. Often, the most important locations will be taken first, though sometimes seemingly random points will serve as beachheads. What is needed is a successful beginning, one that will intimidate the enemy as the war begins.

Finally, the attackers destroy the demoralized defenders. Here, the combination of fear caused artificially and fear caused through defeat can cause a rebellious world to quickly surrender, or xenos to flee. If there is no immediate concession, the Eighth is anything but merciful to the losers.

In defending a world, the Night Lords remain the masters of morale. The Dark Legion will attack communication first of all, occasionally attacking even ships in orbit using hidden reserves. If the enemy does land, the Night Lords do their best to isolate individual groups and mess with the overall strategy.

Whether attacking or defending, in battle the Night Lords know the value of the air. Jumping Assault Marines and Thunderhawks above make sure that, no matter the disposition, the Dark Legion has the high ground. Of course, plenty of bolters are also used. Devastators are slightly less common that usual, and Scouts more (despite the latter role being limited to Astartes that had not yet received their Black Carapace). Tanks are used only occasionally, and troop carriers even less: the Night Lords do not fully trust the Mechanicum, for whatever reason.

Homeworld​

The Night Lords' home world, Nostramo, was a crime-ridden wasteland when the Night Haunter came. Curze cleaned up the anarchy, centralizing the planet under his control. Ever since, the Legion Master simultaneously has complete dominion over Nostramo. The Chief of Police, meanwhile, is an Astarte captain and the default successor of the Legion Master (though others often end up as Legion Master).

One aspect of Nostramo that the Night Lords have never fixed is its darkness. Clouds of pollution orbit the planet, and even in summer it is blatantly dark. This atmosphere has led to Nostramans more suited to recruitment into the Legion, and thus encouraged.

"Install streetlights? Yes, true, every other civilized world of the Imperium has them. But Nostramo is not every other world.

We do not simply live in the darkness. We are the darkness. Malcador himself did not convince us to change our ways; why would you think you are any different?"

-Legion Master Mercution​

The VIII's fortress-monastery is the Police Headquarters, and within it the Night Haunter's Throne Room. Until Curze returns, that chamber is kept only as a relic; nevertheless, the Headquarters are constantly being used and improved. There are no more defenses, save in space, where several battle-stations patrol the skies, and except for the Grim Fortresses- bleak towers rising from the center of each Hive and meant to protect them from inside more than outside.

But through the millennia, Nostramo has remained loyal. The Eighth has taken care to remember its roots.

Beliefs​

The Night Lords believe the Imperial Truth, though their particular interpretation of it is occassionally unusual. The true uniqueness in their thoughts, though, lies in politics. The belief in a centralized government and in one person having dictatorial powers is taken to extremes, and the primary maxim of the Eighth is that a ruler should be feared, for the only thing worse than a bad ruler is an unstable ruler. After all, a world of constant coups and revolutions cannot be happy.

Thus, the Night Lords are usually perfectly willing to let civilians die for the "greater good". This should not be interpreted as them being evil- merely ruthless.

Gene-seed​

The Night Lords' gene-seed has been severely damaged by the loss in standards in the time leading up to the Great Betrayal. Even now, mutations are more common than in any other Loyalist Legion. Before the Night Haunter left wherever, visions of the future were also common; these have since ceased.

Battle-cry​

"For Nostramo!"
 

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Index Astartes: White Scars

Origins​

When the infant Primarchs were scattered, the fifth pod was luckier than most. Rather than fall into the hands of a cruel tyrant, or onto a desolated world, the future Jaghatai Khan landed on the fertile and free plains of a world its inhabitants called Chogoris, and later Imperial expeditions recorded as Mundus Planus.

The child was found by Ong Khan, the leader of a small tribe in this grassland. It was Ong that named and raised Jaghatai. The prodigious gifts that the Primarch possessed- in strength, size, and intelligence- caused him to be seen as a gift from the gods, and it was unsurprising that, at only seven years old, Jaghatai became the heir to Ong Khan’s position. Two years later, Ong died of a wasting illness, and Jaghatai became Jaghatai Khan.

These two years, and the few preceding them, shaped Jaghatai’s character. On hunting raids, the Fifth Primarch discovered his taste for plunder and suffering. As Khan, he waged ceaseless war on the other tribes for his own amusement. Each one ended in a victory, for a Primarch’s military genius was incomparable; and Jaghatai’s keen eye soon spotted a new opportunity.

The steppe of Ong Khan’s and other tribes was known as the Empty Quarter to the other inhabitants of the planet. These inhabitants were humans too, but rather than the divided barbarians of the east, they were an iron empire led by one known as the Palatine. The Empire’s army was widely considered undefeatable, but the Palatine was no fool, and he feared the barbarians of the Empty Quarter. Thus, he did not invade.

Perhaps the Primarch overestimated that fear- he decided that, since the Palatine would not invade the Empty Quarter, the Empty Quarter should invade the Palatine.

It was difficult to unite the tribes of the Empty Quarter, even though Jaghatai did not want a permanent nation but rather a horde with which to raid the Palatine’s domain. The goal was never conquest of the great empire, but only its weakening. This was accomplished spectacularly. For five years Jaghatai Khan bled the Palatine’s empire dry, while its superlative armies ran around the vast domain in vain attempts to arrest the raids. Eventually, the Palatine decided to take matters into his own hands. Taking an army of two million, he chased Jaghatai Khan into the Yunkai Mountains, until at last a great battle erupted between the barbarian and Palatinian forces.

By this time Jaghatai Khan was a giant, magnificent in battle, if slightly arrogant and rather sadistic. He enjoyed the slow despair an enemy felt as his armies crushed them. Now, though, he saw he himself would be crushed if nothing was done. Consulting the Stormseers, the Khan chose an auspicious date and, at that time, charged into the Palatinian army.

The attack was met with less resistance than expected- for all its mass, the army of civilization was not adapted to fighting on mixed terrain. Jaghatai’s lightning horsemen charged through to the Palatine himself. The ruler fought back, and even pierced Jaghatai’s head with a thrice-blessed spear; but the Khan had time to crush the Palatine before falling unconscious. With news of their leader’s death, the Palatine’s armies were routed; Jaghatai was healed, though his forehead received a milky scar from the devastating impact. The Primarch did not try to hide the wound, rather viewing it as a mark of honor.

Jaghatai continued slowly raiding the states that succeeded to the Palatine’s throne; but while he was greatly amused by their slow decline, soon far greater matters would come to occupy his mind. Soon, Chogoris would be designated Mundus Planus, and nothing would be the same again.

The Great Crusade​

The Emperor’s arrival on Chogoris was planned. He had seen that one of his children was on the world, and therefore he came personally, with a full complement of the Fifth Legion. As the Fifth Legion conquered the planet, Jaghatai Khan met his father.

It was a brief meeting, for Jaghatai recognized the Emperor immediately and accepted his rule. He asked, in return, that his people be allowed to retain their wild ways- this the Emperor gladly permitted- and that he himself be allowed to fight among the stars in the Emperor’s name.

It is said that the Emperor laughed at this, for that was what he had planned already.

The Emperor decreed that the White Scars should number a hundred thousand Astartes- superhuman warriors bearing Jaghatai’s own gene-seed. At his arrival, they consisted of only twenty thousand. Jaghatai would, with time, bring them up to about a hundred and five thousand, plus or minus battle casualties and new recruits. They had their own methods of war, in many ways similar to the Khan’s, in many ways distinct. Jaghatai learned in detail the operation of war-bikes and their uses in battle, as well as the biology and culture of the many alien species he would have to clash with; he was nothing if not a tactician, after all. On the adoption of Chogoris’ culture, however, the Fifth Primarch stood firm and insisted his Legion follow him. They did.

”You shall be my raiders, my memories, my scars. You shall be the eternity of Chogoris’ plains, and through it you shall taste the sweet tart of a fallen foe. You shall be the horseman that comes in the night and burns a castle. You shall be my raiders, my memories, my scars- my white scars!”

-Jaghatai Khan, in a speech made on meeting his Legion

At first, the campaigns went quite well. Jaghatai met his brother-Primarchs; for a long time he campaigned with Roboute Guilliman, who noted the charm and intelligence of the Khan. He fought alongside Konrad Curze and the Night Lords, at first being interested in their tactics; soon, however, he became disillusioned by the brute oppression they perpetrated on their homeworld. Jaghatai’s own had been left in the state it had been in on the Emperor’s arrival- warring feral tribes and walled city-states- but Curze created a police state, with himself as the head. The Khan saw this as simultaneously boring and immoral.

Many worlds were taken by the White Scars during this span; among them was the Eldar planet Uoserel, which was burned to the ground. Jaghatai noted a high quantity of odd alien technology at the site. For a while, he attempted to figure out its workings, but war called and he was forced to destroy what he could and move on.

The Khan noted, throughout his travels on Imperial worlds, something rather… odd… going on under the surface. Eventually, he learned of the reason. One of his brothers, going by the name of Alpharius, was inclined towards secrecy and was maintaining a web of loyalty throughout Imperial space. Alpharius had the full consent of the Emperor, and besides, when Jaghatai met him, the former Primarch seemed quite amiable; thus good relations were established.

Another fortunate encounter, met during the philosophical debates that often erupted between the Primarchs, was Corax of the Raven Guard. The Nineteenth Primarch agreed with Jaghatai’s ideals of knowledge and freedom. From Corax’ links to the Mechanicum, Jaghatai himself became well-supplied with technology. The Legion prospered.

Still, Jaghatai’s passion wasn’t conquest. It was conflict. As the Great Crusade went on, he recognized that it could not continue forever; the galaxy was finite. To drag on the entertainment, he slowed down his wars, becoming somewhat more focused on the fighting itself than on victory. His new strategy was that of a war of attrition- not as draining to the Legion as it was to conquered worlds, which proved quite difficult to re-integrate into an Imperium that had ruined them. On the upside, Chaos cults blossomed.

During this time, too, Jaghatai contacted the Emperor on what was to happen once the Great Crusade ended. The Emperor said the Legions would become enforcers in the new Imperium. The Khan, though, did not want to become a policeman. In fact, he had severe doubts that the Emperor would need a patrolling force of two million Astartes, leading him to wonder if perhaps the decision would be made to trim some of the Legions away.

The Khan was worried. And during that worry came the flashpoint that was Savarajn.

Savarajn was a human world, the center of a great trade network. Some of the best routes in the cosmos crossed here. Thus, the planet was rich, with great opulent towers and technological marvels. In other words, it was the perfect prize for Jaghatai’s barbarians.

The invasion was a slow one, indeed particularly slow because of the planet’s value. Step by step, the plutocrats were drained of their will to fight. But Savarajn was more than a convenient planet to plunder- it was the designated meeting place of the Fifth and Fourteenth Legions. Upon arrival, Mortarion already knew that the Khan had been in orbit for some time; thus he assumed the planet was almost pacified and, without consulting the White Scars, launched an all-out assault. It was successful- the Death Guard were after all Space Marines- but Mortarion’s Legion suffered massive losses, and Mortarion complained to Roboute Guilliman.

“He did not pacify the world. It is as simple as that. He has violated the duty given to him by the Emperor, and by that he has gravely harmed my Legion.

No, Xibya Khan, I will not show clemency. I cannot show clemency. Certain… irregularities… must be dealt with, no matter the pain.”

-Mortarion

The Thirteenth Primarch was by now Warmaster, and from this high office he decided to negotiate the dispute. After fighting with Jaghatai, and examining the planets he had taken, he condemned his former friend for “destroying infrastructures and productivity while giving nothing in return, and not even being fast about it”.

Jaghatai had nowhere to turn. The Crusade would, it seemed, go on without him. His culture and way of war were being censured. Rallying his Legion, he returned to Chogoris, where for some time he brooded. Appeals to the Emperor yielded no response. It was here, in the only place in the galaxy still loyal to him, that Jaghatai confronted an awful truth.

Joining the Imperium had been a mistake.

The Great Betrayal​

When emissaries from Lorgar Aurelian arrived to Chogoris orbit, Jaghatai Khan thought of turning them away. When they presented their suggestions, though, he immediately approved. He had been made to raid the Imperium, not to lead within it.

The diplomats also talked to the White Scars of four True Gods, powers of war, cunning, disease and enjoyment. Jaghatai’s interest was piqued by the one the Word Bearers called Khorne, but even more captured by the being they called Slaanesh. He/she was said to be a deity of the utmost pleasure and the deepest pain, and given that the powers the god granted were shown by the delegates to be certainly real, Jaghatai pledged his Legion without much thought.

Actually getting that Legion to follow him was slightly harder. The secret of the change in allegiance was kept until arrival in the Isstvan system. There, Jaghatai sent those most likely to keep the Emperor’s course. The entrenchment of Chogoris’ way of life in the Legion meant that few beyond those that were sent to the surface rebelled upon learning the truth. Those that did, led by Xibya Khan, captured several ships and for five days harassed the White Scars’ fleet before Jaghatai captured and skinned Xibya personally, as a sacrifice to Slaanesh. Some of his Imperials fled with Luthor.

As an additional distraction, an apparent misunderstanding led to Angron’s ships, filled with the World Eaters, firing on the Fifth Legion. A war erupted between the two factions, brought to a stop by Rogal Dorn’s counsel; but perhaps it would have been better had it not been. The World Eaters have harassed the White Scars ever since their second betrayal, even more than other Chaos Legions.

Thus the White Scars- deployed in the First Fleet, led by Dorn- sped to Terra. On the way, some tried to conquer planets lying in their fleet’s path; but Jaghatai kept his focus on Terra. In the final approach, the Night Lords were found to be lurking in the First Fleet’s ships, but to the Khan it mattered little. They were at Terra, and they would enjoy it.

Rogal Dorn tried to marshal the White Scars into regular formations, but the Fifth Legion had its own way of war. It howled across the desolate plains of Terra. It destroyed stronghold after stronghold, city after city. Sometimes it attacked the Imperial palace, swarming its walls to get a breach; but for as long as the siege lasted, victory was assured, and thus there was no real focus on breaking the walls. Some successes were reached- for instance, Jaghatai Khan personally grabbed the leader of the Night Lords, Zso Sahaal, off the Palace’s walls and sacrificed him to Slaanesh- but overall, the siege was for other Legions.

Then, in an instant, everything changed. The air forces inside the Palace and above it rose into the Terran skies, and the Discoverers’ orbital superiority was lost. Imperial forces permeated the planet, and the White Scars were forced back, not only to stop the siege but to retreat- except they had nowhere to retreat to. Without control of Earth’s orbit, the unbroken forces of the White Scars scattered across the surface.

Among the most prominent figures in Jaghatai’s Legion was a Captain, selected after the death of the previous one to hold that post, designated the Lord of the Hunt. That Captain threw off his former name and became the closest advisor to Jaghatai, as well as gaining secondary governing power in almost all matters. The Lord of the Hunt was, quite simply, the second-in-command of the Legion. During the retreat from the Imperial Palace, the Lord of the Hunt rallied the remnants of the Legion, which had become separated and were now a vast array of independent forces clashing both with the Loyalist Legions and each other. In this chaos, the Lord of the Hunt managed to create a warband large enough to protect itself from concentrated attacks, then annexed smaller groups into it to recreate a semblance of organization. His primary goal, however, was finding the Primarch.

He did succeed, a few days before the Second Fleet arrived, but found that the Khan did not dislike the chaos. Rather, he found it to be beneficial, because it fostered a spirit of independence and wildness. Jaghatai had no desire to be a tyrant, after all. Therefore, the Lord of the Hunt’s warband scattered as well, with only a few of the most loyal warriors staying by their leader’s side.

The Lord of the Hunt watched his father’s form recede.

It was foolish, he knew, but even now he wished that it had been different. Things could have gone better. Jaghatai was dashing his Legion against the rocks, and the White Scars were disappearing, for all of his efforts.

He could not, would not betray his gene-father.

But he could fix the Khan’s mistakes.​

The Primarch had his own troubles. Not long after he sent off the Lord of the Hunt, the Khan was found by a party of Raven Guard. They could do little to hurt a Primarch directly, but after their escape, Jaghatai began having his prized armor work incorrectly, often either freezing up or trying to twist in a direction other than where Jaghatai wanted it to. The unpredictable errors infuriated the Khan, as well as weakening his abilities in battle; eventually, he was forced to fight without armor on.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the Second Fleet arrived on Terra. They picked up Jaghatai and many of his Legion, by now greatly decreased in strength and numbering about twenty or thirty thousand Space Marines. Nevertheless, upon returning to Lorgar above, the Khan obtained his permission to depart early. Some of his forces, led by the Lord of the Hunt, elected to stay behind and continue to fight on Terra; but the majority scattered once more, led by the Khan. They would be raiders once more, no longer a Legion; but they would be feared by the galaxy.

As for the Lord of the Hunt, he remained at Terra, participating in the Second Fleet’s second attempt to crush the Emperor. After his death, along with those of Lorgar and Fulgrim, the White Scars joined the other Discoverer Legions in taking some ships and fleeing directly to the Eye of Terror, a place where their safety was assured. It was a cowardly way out, in a sense, but one that kept them alive and expanding, thus making certain that the Legion would have a future.

The Escape​

Jaghatai Khan’s forces ran rampant over the galaxy for a time; but the Primarch himself, along with less than a thousand followers, returned to his homeworld. Chogoris was doomed, Jaghatai suspected, but at least he would save its ways and induct its citizens into the Legion. With the unlimited gene-seed the Khan’s blood provided, the intense recruitment drive was a promising possibility.

But it failed. When the Silver Scar, the White Scars’ flagship, arrived at Chogoris they found only a wrecked asteroid. Their homeworld had been subjected to Exterminatus, demolished with everyone still on it.

It is impossible to explain how furious Jaghatai was at this; he was angry enough to send some of his ship’s missiles into the Chogoris system’s star for no reason whatsoever. Soon, however, the destroyers showed themselves. They bore the markings of the Luna Wolves, and at their head was the Vengeful Spirit, the personal battle-barge of the Primarch Horus.

A space battle erupted, but it was brief. Though the Luna Wolves had sent only a fragment of their strength to Chogoris- perhaps a fifth- they still outnumbered the White Scars fifteen to one. The ships were wrecked, one by one, Horus’ fleet not losing a single vessel. Desperate, Jaghatai tried to escape, but even that was denied to him. A skillful lance strike by the Vengeful Spirit hit the Silver Scar’s Gellar Field generators, and as soon as the battle barge dipped into the Warp, it was subjected to complete disintegration. Most of the crew was destroyed, but that was not the Primarch’s fate.

The weakened demigod was carried through room after room, each one birthing inside him great ecstasy and greater agony. The ones who bore his body seemed to be beautiful humans at times, but at others the Khan, drifting on the edge of unconsciousness, saw only indescribable horrors. At last the daemons- for they were that, denizens of the turbulent Warp- brought him to a massive throne. On it sat a serpent-like thing, seeming at times male and at times female, but both sensual and repelling in every incarnation.

The Khan recognized the figure for what it was- his god.

Jaghatai was forced to sit on a smaller throne, adjacent to that of Slaanesh; and from there, unable to move, he watched. He watched his beloved Legion be dashed to pieces against humans and other Astartes. He heard Horus laugh as he killed his greatest Captains. He smelled fear among his forces, but also joy at being challenged.

He sat on the throne for a thousand years outside. Inside the sanctum of Slaanesh, it is impossible to tell how much time passed, though most likely more. It is clear only that the long isolation let Jaghatai see the truth of what he was doing and break the bounds between pleasure and pain. Positive and negative emotion fused into one, and when Jaghatai descended to the Lord of the Hunt in early M32, his form had changed into that of a bike with five heads dangling from its seat. Another looked forward, replacing the handlebars.

“My sons,” Jaghatai said upon his return, “we have won.”

The Long War​

The White Scars have proved throughout the millennia that, when their Daemon-Primarch proclaimed that, he had been right. The Discoverers had failed to destroy the Imperium; but the White Scars achieved their aim. Always fighting against any existing authority, they now had a wonderful enemy, one that was neither too powerful to contest nor too weak to be a credible threat.

On Grendel’s World, the White Scars killed the Night Lords’ Legion Master, Talos. On the wild planet of Chondax, they looted no less than seven Space Hulks from the local Orks. Acquiring new property and enjoying themselves in bloodshed, they Fifth Legion- though it no longer functions as such- is a dangerous force, feared throughout Imperial space.

Among the most significant campaigns over the millennia was the M35 Sabbat Worlds War. There, three factions clashed- the forces of Slaanesh, led by Osnech Khan (known as the Doomrider), the forces of Khorne, led by the Daemon-Prince Sabbat, at the time the area’s ruler, and the Eldar of Biel-Tan, seeking some unknown artifact. The White Scars not only killed the Eldar expedition wholesale, sacrificing their spirit-stones to Slaanesh, but also took over the three hundred Sabbat Worlds for about two centuries. This period did end, but that end did not come from a military invasion; rather, the Doomrider grew bored and abandoned the empire. Since then, the Doomrider has won much renown among the White Scars’ ranks, though his lack of interest in the material has set him aside from most White Scars. His aim is the spiritual and the emotional, and it is unclear why he has not been promoted to Daemon Prince.

Osnech Khan sat on his jetbike, smoking.

He saw a great face, a face half male and half female, appear to him. It seemed to grow closer, and on it appeared a token.

“No,” Osnech said.

He was pledged to another. His fingers touched the eight-pointed star on his chest, and within it the invisible rune of Khorne. The apparition disappeared, as rapidly as it had come.

Osnech paused. The visions were getting more frequent, now. But it was too late to regret choices that were not made to be regretted. The cigar fell out of his mouth, and the jetbike roared to life.​

The Lord of the Hunt reigning now is the same one that dominated the Legion during the Discovery War. He remains within the Eye of Terror, but is known to command a fleet of Ghost Ships, including the infamous Celestion. These travel Imperial space, crewed by daemons and mental links to some of the Lord’s followers. Their mission is to land on planets and take their treasures back to the Eye, and though weak in battle, their element of surprise and robust construction has made them a real menace to the Imperium.

The most recent major campaign of the White Scars was the cleansing of Herodian IV. The world was taken by a Genestealer infection, and the planet’s inhabitants sent out a distress call; but the Imperium is not the only faction to monitor the Warp. The arriving White Scars eliminated or captured the Genestealers, though that took a long time; moreover, they captured most of the planet’s population and abducted them into slavery. The Imperial Army did arrive, and did achieve superiority of orbit; thus the majority of the White Scars were trapped. Thus, the Chaos Marines forced a captured Genestealer leader to breed and produce a new species’ child, which succeeded in summoning the greater Hive Fleet. The Navy did save the planet from the Tyranids, but in the confusion the White Scars (and, unfortunately, many of their slaves) managed to escape.

This underlines the volatility of the V Legion. They do not hold much territory; they do not rule. They are a raiding force, an alliance of barbarians working to destroy civilization- and in many cases succeeding.

Organization​

Before the Discovery, the White Scars were organized into twenty-five Brotherhoods, each numbering about four thousand Space Marines. Since then, the lines have become blurred. The Legion has regrown, and now numbers approximately two hundred thousand Astartes, but the scattering has left the Legion consisting of a disorganized mass of Warbands.

Some patterns can be seen. Many of them revolve around the Lord of the Hunt- he owns a personal corner of the Legion, the Hunting Companies. These number about a tenth of the Legion’s strength, and consist of ten Companies devoted to raiding within the Eye and ten devoted to protecting the White Scars’ property. The rest are sheer warbands; the largest is led by the Doomrider and numbers about fifteen thousand Astartes, but even single Space Marines controlling the firepower of a spaceship pose a great danger.

There are no Sorcerers among the White Scars; that post is taken by Stormseers. Unlike their psychic brethren in other Legions, Stormseers tend to view Chaos with suspicion. They rely on ancient, tribal sorceries, and despite worshipping Slaanesh, tend to be some of the Legion members more distant from the deity. On Chogoris, Jaghatai Khan was very close to the Stormseers, but since then the psykers’ importance has waned. Conjoined with this is a decreased recruitment of psykers. The Stormseers constitute perhaps one percent of the Legion’s strength, or even less.

Some of their roles have been filled by the Stormpiercers, though the order is also small- two percent of the Legion, or thereabouts. These were at first a splinter sect of the Stormseers devoted to summoning daemons; now, the vast majority of them are non-psykers. Stormpiercers are devoted to the power of Slaanesh and no other, often taking leadership positions in warbands or aiding the destruction of those that they see as unfaithful. At the very least, they are always the ones to perform ritual, agonic sacrifices.

The Apothecaries do not fill that role simply because there are too few of them. Most warbands, recognizing the position’s importance, have given each of their members some Apothecarion training rather than singling out one target. Only the Hunting Companies maintain separate Apothecaries, approximately ten percent of their strength. It is to the Hunting Companies that the warbands come in cases of severe injury, or for passing on gene-seed. They function as arbiters, in a way.

The Techmarines can also take that role. There are lots of them- seven thousand, plus or minus a few hundred- and they are organized. Though Mars experienced little tumult during the Discovery, outlying Forge Worlds turned to Chaos in large numbers; and from their technical knowledge, Jaghatai himself has assembled an incredible Dark Forge rivaling that of the Salamanders. Despite the Khan’s uncivilized nature, he is quite fond of new and improved ways to kill one’s foes.

“Ah, my brother from the First. I am afraid I must decline your offer. You see the Warp as a tool to achieve the goals of technology, you see. I am more in support of using technology to achieve the goals of the Warp.”

-Techmarine Taresk of the V Legion


Combat Doctrine​

The White Scars rarely defend what they have taken. Only some of the Hunting Companies stand on fortress walls and obliterate the enemy with blasts of death from mighty cannons; and even then, the territory the Lord of the Hunt keeps is often lost. The rest of the Legion wanders the galaxy in packs, warbands, each of which can rely only on itself in its struggle for survival, fun, and profit.

A White Scar raid is not typically preceded by orbital bombardment. Rather, the pirates land, take what they want, and leave. In the Great Crusade, the V Legion was fond of attrition and slow, demoralizing victories; those are rarer nowadays. Instead, drop-pods rain down from the sky, and the Astartes emerge to plunder whatever terrain they land in before taking back off.

Bikes are common, as much as they can be transported through Drop Pods or other insertion methods. Daemonic steeds are also often used. Close-combat weaponry is more common than ranged, as it is more useful for intimidation and more pleasing in the act of murder; but ranged weapons are still used in large numbers, especially novel types causing greater pain.

Sometimes, the Fifth Legion does assault a planet or sector slowly and in force. In those cases, a long series of raids is staged across various locations within the target. These are followed by an overwhelming assault at the enemy’s center of communications and government. The remaining foes can be picked off at leisure. It is significant that, in such cases, the White Scars often hold the territory taken, at least for some time. They are not fleet-based, after all- they have a homeland, even if it is a shifting one that wanders around the Eye of Terror with the Hunting Companies’ marches and flows, destroying what it meets and leaving it to the next great conqueror when he comes.

Homeworld​

While they were an Imperial Legion, the White Scars based themselves on the verdant world of Chogoris. It was a bright world, with brilliant azure seas unspoiled by industrialization and unspoiled viridian steppes. Above, mountains of chalk towered. Mechanicum expeditions reported Chogoris did not possess extraordinary deposits of any ores, but even if it had, Jaghatai would never have given his planet up. In fact, it is likely the Adepts’ decision not to try and mine the body they, insistently, called Mundus Planus was the only thing that prevented an enmity with the Fifth Legion.

After Chogoris was destroyed by Horus, the White Scars built their new base in the Eye of Terror. At any given point, they will occupy a few dozen Daemon Worlds, usually ones devoid of significant resources but located in strategic positions. Currently, Gajnek, the Planet of Pleasure, serves as the basic homebase of the V Legion. It is a festive world, dominated by the Dome, a massive hemisphere covering a quarter of the world that serves as a palace for the Daemon-Princes of the Legion and a home to their attendants. The Dome is encircled by a ring of spaceports and homes for most of the Legion, and the rest of Gajnek consists of a black ocean that traps those who stumble into it for years before releasing them, mutated with the blessings of Slaanesh. It is considered a ritual for young Legionnaries to journey into the ocean, a recreation of Jaghatai Khan’s ascension.

Beliefs​

The White Scars believe in the True Gods, and have devoted themselves to the worship of the God of Pleasure and Pain, Slaanesh. They see themselves as merely souls striving for that achievement of positive and negative emotions, though in truth they usually bring pleasure to themselves and pain to all around them. “Life is short, so enjoy it” is a common maxim among the V Legion, and they embrace it wholeheartedly.

The White Scars do revere their Primarch, seeing Jaghatai Khan as above them in every way, but at the same time, somehow, as the first among equals. In general, however, the Fifth Legion is not one of philosophers, and thus such lack of logical clarity is let be.

Gene-seed​

The gene-seed of Jaghatai’s Legion has suffered from some deterioration and mutation from the crude passage of years. No single organ has stopped functioning in every Marine, but many have been lost in each individual line.

The Khan himself still uses his blood to create new Marines; due to his daemonic nature, though, this process is unpredictable and rife with mutation.

Battle-cry​

Before the Discovery, the Legion’s battle-cry was “For the Khan and the Emperor!” Modern variants include “For the Khan and Slaanesh!” or simply “For the Khan!”, as well as completely new inventions such as “With joy and pain!”
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks!

For how the Legions were split: I used a d20 and rolled it until I got 9 different values. These 9 were traitor, the other Legions loyal. Then I randomly chose one of the Traitors to go to each Chaos God, and one to be the Arch-Heretic.

On the World Eaters: All will be revealed. You've seen my updating speed, though, and the WE are not scheduled to come soon. IA#9 will have some interesting revelations too, however....
 

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gothik: Thanks! And yep, I'm definitely continuing this- see below, and the XXI Legion is coming up next.

Everyone that might read this: How would you rank the IAs so far? That is, I know which ones I'm most satisfied with, but I'm not the best judge of my own work. It'd be really interesting to see where people feel I succeeded/failed.


Index Astartes: Ultramarines

Origins​

When Roboute Guilliman- the Primarch of the XIII Legion- landed on Macragge, it was a prosperous world. Its people had adapted to the inhospitable mountainous landscape, setting up a stable post-feudal system of world government based on the leadership of two consuls, and its future seemed assured. The greatest problem was the nobility- across Macragge, petty lords continued squabbling for land and privilege, oppressing those not born into their aristocracy and stifling progress.

The consul Konor found the infant Roboute near the sacred two-kilometer Azure Waterfall, and soon thereafter adopted the child. Gallan- the other consul- was suspicious of the child, and when the Primarch learned and grew unnaturally quickly, Gallan grew to believe the child was an inhuman monster. Perhaps Guilliman’s emotionless demeanor and arrogance contributed to this impression. Konor, however, harbored no doubts about his son. The issue of Roboute soon grew into a general feud between the two consuls. In the power struggle, Gallan gained the support of most nobles, but not all. The middle classes, meanwhile, tended to favor Konor.

For some time there was a risk civil war would erupt. In part to defuse the tension, Guilliman was sent to conquer the barbarians of the Illyrium mountains. Roboute had always excelled in theoretical military strategy, and proved even more magnificent in real war, smashing apart the barbarians’ bands and, moreover, turning many of them to the Consulate’s cause. He was preparing to return when the Eldar came.

It was a maelstrom of destruction that swept Macragge. It was not Exterminatus- not quite- but the major cities were left in ruins. When Roboute, having waited out the apocalypse in a cave, returned to the capital at top speed, he did not find even that. A crater ten kilometers across took its place. No bodies were ever found. Later, Guilliman would find out the Eldar had unleashed this nightmare in order to prevent a possible future they foresaw; but he has never decided to hate them for this reason. The episode, he says, is too tragic for anything but grief and regret.

The overwhelming feeling that took over the Primarch’s heart when Macragge saw armageddon was guilt. He had failed- for all of his amazing abilities- to protect virtually everybody he loved from fiery obliteration. He had conquered Illyrium, but hadn’t saved the empire he had conquered it for. As Macragge collapsed into chaos, Roboute Guilliman collapsed into depression.

Still, he did not indulge himself too much. As he saw the destruction that anarchy wrought- even in areas not directly hit by the Eldar attack- he swore to build up an empire again, a stronger, better-defended one. He wandered the planet, uniting small bands, founding cities, never staying in one place too long but making sure to leave an order that could protect itself in his wake. Progress was slow, but with time, about a third of the planet had fallen under Guilliman’s control. It was an array of towns and estates, though the lords lost almost all power under Guilliman; instead, the Primarch set up a system of meritocracy. Stability seemed in sight once more, with Guilliman accelerating technological progress to the point of crude earth-space missiles to protect against a xeno return.

And then the sky did light on fire again, but not as a threat. The Emperor of Mankind had arrived.

The Great Crusade​

Guilliman was uplifted by his father’s coming and eagerly pledged Macragge to the Imperium. As it turned out, Macragge was in a distant quarter of the galaxy, and the Emperor’s fleet had largely come to the region by accident. In the following years, as Guilliman got to know his brothers and discover other worlds, his bleak past was almost forgotten.

More than any of his other brothers, Guilliman befriended Fulgrim of Chemos. The two Primarchs had been found by the Emperor almost simultaneously, and Fulgrim’s life story was a light mirror of Guilliman’s own- where the latter had been born in a prosperous world and had seen its apocalypse, Fulgrim’s home planet had been dying before the Primarch’s arrival, and only his efforts had reinvigorated it.

Inspired by Fulgrim, Guilliman quickly restored Macragge to a functional world of the Imperium of Man, fully centralized and led by an elected council. At the same time, Guilliman made sure to keep a loose hand capable of tightening around his homeworld, and two titanic Polar Fortresses were built as bases for the Legion.

“Macragge shall know war no more. It will be a world of prosperity, a world of joy. The Legion will remain, and occasionally recruit; but my homeworld has seen enough destruction for an eternity.”

-Roboute Guilliman

Fulgrim was not the only one of his brothers Guilliman built a rapport with. The Lion’s technical acumen and promises of truly infinite energy and progress excited Guilliman greatly, as they were precisely the ideals of the Great Crusade. Corax, by contrast, did not seem truly interested in any ideals beyond war. The lord of the Raven Guard had been trained as an assassin, and though the Regent of Ultramar (Guilliman’s official title) feared him, there was little in the way of respect. It was even worse with the bloody Perturabo, though at least the Lord of Iron admitted his flaws. As for Rogal Dorn, Guilliman had been his good friend in the early days of his participation in the Crusade. With time, however, Dorn’s depressing nature grew tiresome, and the Regent of Ultramar came to focus on other things.

One of them was building an empire. Besides campaigning with his Legion, Guilliman also looked inward, seeking to prevent the disaster that had befallen Macragge from impacting other worlds. With his father’s permission, he organized the region around Macragge into a Realm of Ultramar. It quickly blossomed under Guilliman’s general direction and the closer watch of the four Captains chosen to oversee specific portions of the dominion. By the time of the Great Betrayal, Ultramar covered 813 worlds, each one a jewel shining in its own tint. Macragge was the most brilliant among them, a patchwork of mountains and cities that produced, per citizen, more food than the average Agri-World, more industrial goods than the average Forge World, and more money than any other planet in the vast Imperium of Man.

This success came with a price, of course- the duties of the Regent of Ultramar called often. The hundred thousand-strong Legion (Guilliman would never disobey his father’s verdict) crusaded slowly. Their speed was even more gradual because of their conquests’ nature: every world that the Ultramarines conquered, Guilliman decreed, had to be left in the best possible condition for the long term. That meant few Mining Worlds, for resources would run out without the use of the Lion’s Warp-technology; that meant a long process of rebuilding on each and every conquered planet. The Ultramarines learned to fight in small groups, for sometimes as few as ten squads were sent to conquer a resisting empire. The Legion performed well despite this stress, and Guilliman’s tactical abilities- undulled by time- ensured that fitting commanders were sent to every corner of the Ultramarines’ front.

The Thirteenth Legion conquered relatively few worlds, but conquered them well indeed. Casualty rates were high, but this was offset by the Legion’s recruiting not only from Macragge, but also from the other planets in Ultramar. Moreover, a focus on intensive training prevented the Ultramarines from relying too much on new recruits- though the long training programs lessened the Legion’s effective strength further.

Used to fighting on the edge, the Ultramarines nevertheless gained fame for the wonders they left behind. Thorough investigations were carried out on each taken planet, and the effort put into them was repaid; during the Great Betrayal, not a single world taken by the Ultramarines rebelled, making the Thirteenth the lone Legion with that distinction.

In the Ullanor Campaign, Guilliman and Fulgrim- already fighting together for some time- fought alongside the Emperor himself. Their tactical acumen, combined with exemplary success earlier in the Crusade, led him to declare the two brothers Warmasters as he departed back to Terra. There, too, he informed them of the dangers of Chaos and how to combat them- though neither brother imagined the daemonic affecting the Imperium as it disastrously did. Both Fulgrim and Guilliman were shocked at this honor, and in the years following their ascension they ensured the Great Crusade advanced faster and more successfully than ever.

That was not always easy. Jaghatai Khan, once a lightning-quick and highly successful warrior, had become little more than a barbarian raider. Instructing Corax or Horus on what to do was always difficult. Ferrus Manus and Alpharius seemed to make worlds and systems more loyal to themselves than to the Emperor. The Blood Angels didn’t particularly seem to desire war at all. Yet together, by hints and movements, Guilliman and Fulgrim seemed to steer the uncommandable. Together, it seemed they could do anything. It appeared that the wonders of the Great Crusade would continue to reveal themselves, that Ultramar’s glory would stand inviolate, that this paradise would last forever.

And only after it ended did Guilliman realize how fragile the dream of those last few years had really been.

Roboute Guilliman stared at the map once more, a hundred years later. For a century he had not dared enter this room, this strategic chamber where he had plotted the Great Crusade with Fulgrim.

An eternity had passed, for all intents and purposes, yet less than an instant in astronomical time. The stars were still in the same places, as were the planets- those not destroyed intentionally during the Betrayal. How irresponsible were men, to interfere in the dance of the heavens! How they destroyed without creating, devoured without forging!

The worlds they had been planning to conquer were distant now, lost, perhaps forever. Planets they had thought secure were the hearts of petty empires.

If Fulgrim had been there, Guilliman knew, they would have been able to recreate the Great Crusade.

And having failed him, Guilliman could only hope to hold the line.


The Great Betrayal​

Guilliman had been concerned about certain fleet movements in the months before the Great Betrayal, but discussion with Fulgrim allayed his fears. It would have been better if it hadn’t. On Isstvan, eight Legions proclaimed their rebellion against the Emperor and Imperium. Among them were the Imperial Fists, the White Scars, the Iron Warriors and- to Roboute Guilliman’s great shock and sadness- the Dark Angels.

Recognizing the importance of humanity’s homeworld, Guilliman had stationed his Legion’s Sixth Chapter on Terra at all times. Now, the entire crusading strength of the Legion, led by Roboute Guilliman, along with the Emperor’s Children under Fulgrim, joined them. Approximately forty thousand Marines reached Terra mere days before the First Fleet of the traitors attacked, largely because- as Warmasters- Guilliman and Fulgrim had had access to some of the Imperium’s fastest ships.

Strategically, Lorgar’s plots were badly thought-out. Though an able tactician in principle, the mad Primarch’s devotion led him to give up his primary advantage- the element of surprise. But as Chaos’ drop pods fell to Terra, Lorgar’s most fundamental advantage remained. There was nothing that could prepare the Ultramarines, Emperor’s Children and Raven Guard to fight their brothers.

The defending Legions hid their air and space assets within the Imperial Palace and, with heavy hearts, began the first defense of Terra.

The Imperial Fists and Salamanders battered at the walls of the Imperial Palace, but their effectiveness was greatly decreased by Perturabo and Jaghatai Khan’s disobedience. Nevertheless, Perturabo’s bloody attacks had their own effect. The Iron Warriors died in droves, but got closer to breaching the wall than Dorn ever did.

Once, on the walls of the Imperial Palace, a full Grand Company of Iron Warriors, led by Warsmith Krendl, actually reached the complex’s interior. Guilliman himself had calculated the region in question as a weak point, though, and Krendl was met by the Ultramarines’ Warmaster, as well as two full Ultramarine Companies. Krendl still had the advantage in numbers, but in a berserker rage he launched himself and his forces at Guilliman. The Warmaster was greatly wounded by the assault, but its ferocity enabled Erikon Gaius and the 21st to surround and then eliminate the Fourth Legion’s force. Gaius personally strangled Krendl before getting his Primarch to safety.

But though weakened, Guilliman was far from mortally wounded. He continued to command the Imperial forces during the recovery, though overall command was Fulgrim’s and the Emperor’s. He witnessed the arrival of the Death Guard and the destruction of the traitors’ fleet, but his joy was tempered by the knowledge that the Second Fleet was coming and the awareness that he was fighting his brothers.

Kaen Atreus, Master of the Sixth Chapter, led the Sixty-Third and Sixty-Fourth Companies on a hunt for Rogal Dorn. They found him holed up in a fortress of wreckage and recycled metal to the Palace’s west. This time, however, it was Dorn’s defenses that stood inviolate; Damocles overconfidently attacked with only the two Companies and was soundly repulsed, dying in the process.

As the Imperium burned, Ultramarines across the galaxy noted the emergence of odd cults. Devoted to the powers that would later be called the Chaos Gods, these organization destabilized many worlds and summoned terrifyingly odd creatures. The Ultramarine forces in the wider galaxy battled those attacks wherever they were, saving many worlds from the embrace of Chaos but losing many others.

On Terra, meanwhile, the dreaded Second Fleet landed. The battered Imperial forces were forced to retreat into the palace. The Lion’s forces attempted to break down the palace walls by force, whereas Ferrus Manus and Lorgar concentrated on the area of the Iron Warrior breach. After finally making an opening for themselves, the traitor Legions had a temporary advantage- but the Luna Wolves were fast approaching, and the Loyalists were still powerful.

It was during this time that Captain Lysimachus Cestus and the Seventh Company, the only Company of the First Chapter to have made it to Terra, held the abyssal depths of the Imperial Palace against constant Iron Hand emergences. It was then that Erikon Gaius directed the detonation of large chunks of the Palace to endlessly block the Word Bearers’ advance while permitting Imperial forces mobility where it mattered. It was then that the Lion himself stormed the wing of the Imperial Palace containing Guilliman, and the two Primarchs clashed in a duel of unsurpassed ferocity; each succeeded in knocking the other unconscious and thereafter had to be rescued by loyal troops. The Ultramarine Warmaster entered a brief coma after the duel, but survived.

Unfortunately, during Guilliman’s coma, the greatest tragedy of the Heresy took place. Unable to achieve a strategic advantage, Lorgar broke a path to the Imperial Throne Room. There, he sacrificed his life to kill the Warmaster Fulgrim and cripple the Emperor of Mankind. Guilliman’s truest friend was gone, and his one father might as well have been. When he awoke, the Thirteenth Primarch found his world once more gone, though this time in a less concrete sense.

He had failed.

This was Macragge, again, and Macragge was Fulgrim. Had Guilliman killed the Lion, then, he could have slowed the traitors’ advance. Had Guilliman killed the Lion, he could have been there instead of Fulgrim.

But instead he had been weak, and everyone would pay the price.​

Meanwhile, in Ultramar, First Chapter Master Marius Gage remained the temporary leader. Only one of the dominion’s planets rebelled- the ocean world of Naikisser. There, Gage began an Azure Crusade to reclaim the Eastern Fringe and return it into the Imperium’s hands. Many uprisings were defeated, and a sphere of relative stability with Ultramar at the center emerged. In the region known as the Unbroken Stars, Gage was killed while facing a behemoth space-fish, a monstrosity that floated in the void between planets and sent down lesser creatures to devour those worlds; it has recently become clear that this was probably the first Tyranid Hive Fleet to reach the Milky Way. Nevertheless, the Azure Crusade survived Gage’s death; the place of Ultramar’s leader was tentatively taken by Fourth Captain Remus Ventanus, who unlike Gage stayed on Macragge and fortified the Legion’s homeworld. The Crusade was led by Tetrarch-Captain Nicodemus.

But though Ventanus greatly expanded the polar fortresses of Macragge and crafted void defenses similar in power to those of Terra itself, most of the Legion’s strength in the Ultramar region was nevertheless involved in the Crusade- and thus the Word Bearers’ actions during the Escape became possible….

The Escape​

After the battle for Terra, the Ultramarines numbered approximately forty-five thousand across the galaxy- fifteen thousand on Terra, ten thousand in the Azure Crusade, and twenty thousand scattered across the galaxy. Infuriated at his brother’s death, Guilliman decreed that the Word Bearers would pay for their betrayal in blood. After the funeral, the Ultramarines of Guilliman made full speed for Colchis, aided by a large contingent of Luna Wolves under Tarik Torgaddon.

They arrived at the traitor homeworld only to find the remaining Word Bearers, under Kor Phaeron, being so arrogant as to be collecting recruits from the planet. The situation quickly deteriorated into a mess for the Word Bearers, and though they had a numerical advantage they soon fell into a disorganized retreat. Nevertheless, they had picked up many new recruit from the cathedrals of Colchis. Angry at this, though mostly at other things, Roboute Guilliman ordered the world be wiped clean of life.

After the destruction of Colchis, the Word Bearers did not head for the Eye of Terror like the other Chaos Legions. Instead, they flew- aided by dark sorceries- for the heart of Ultramar. Once again, Guilliman’s world died, first Calth and then Macragge.

“Hold them off. Evacuate the civilians. Macragge has been invaded from space before, and we all know how that ended.

That was then; this is now. We must ensure that there is something left for the Warmaster to rebuild from, as there is not on Calth. In memoriam, brothers! We stand for Macragge!”

-Remus Ventanus​

The orbital defenses of Ventanus were nowhere near enough to save the Legion’s homeworld. Even as Nicodemus joined Guilliman and fragments of both Legions that had been lost during the maelstrom of the Great Betrayal rejoined their leaders, assembling a fleet that contained nearly fifty thousand Astartes, the Word Bearers blazed across Macragge, seeking to corrupt it and dedicate it as a shrine to their mad gods. In that they largely failed; yet the world was cleared of civilization, though not life. Ventanus kept the Northern Polar Fortress secure from a series of Word Bearer attacks, yet after weeks of heavy bombardment and endless assaults the Southern Fortress was breached by Captain Zadkiel of the Word Bearers. It was only then that the skies above Macragge lit with the return of Roboute Guilliman.

Kor Phaeron remained at Macragge just long enough to pick up his ground troops, and then fled, heading for the Eye of Terror. Though he still had comparable numbers to the Ultramarine-Luna Wolf alliance- forty thousand, with almost as many more scattered across Ultramar- his fleet was vastly inferior, and thus he could not afford to stay. Thus Guilliman was left alone in the ruins of Macragge, for the second time.

There was mourning, and then there was rebuilding. Looking into the far future, Guilliman swore that Macragge would never be devastated like this again, not even in a million years. It was repopulated and cleansed from the rituals’ taint using the methods taught to Guilliman by the Emperor. Meanwhile, the Legion itself began a process of rapid expansion, its numbers rising sixfold within a few centirues. Accepting Alpharius’ repealing the rule of a hundred thousand, Guilliman set the nominal size of his Legion at three hundred thousand, including 29 Chapters. Ultramarines were sent across the galaxy to garrison important worlds, to ensure as few planets as possible would fall to xenos and heretics.

Nevertheless, though the Imperium recovered, the effect the Betrayal and fall of Macragge had on Guilliman cannot be overstated. On multiple occasions, he attempted to give up the title of Warmaster for his failure, and ended up keeping it only for the defensive portions of war. The Legion shared his guilt and grief three hundred thousandfold.

The Long War​

When Malcador, at the end of his long life, decreed the Astarte Legions should find callings other than war, the Ultramarines chose the study of history. Today Macragge boasts the Library of Ptolemy, the greatest archive in the Imperium, which contains a record of the Legion’s many victories.

Throughout Imperial history, the Ultramarines have defended more planets than any other Legion. They have become siege and void-war experts, though they have by no means lost their skill in offensive warfare. Prominently, in the middle of M35, Roboute Guilliman himself led the massed assault on the Nova Terra Interregnum, a group that sought to end the rule of the Primarchs and managed to usurp the loyalty of many Imperial Guard regiments; at its height, the Interregnum controlled over a hundred thousand planets. This single greatest rebellion, besides the Betrayal, in Imperial history was put down from within by the Alpha Legion and without from the vengeant Thirteenth; this pattern had recurred many times in Imperial history, from Eskrador to Carcharias, with an Ultramarine garrison and Alpha Legion agents uniting to contain and annihilate an incipient rebellion.

In other times, great xeno and Chaos invasions have been broken by Ultramarine defenders. On Chundrabad, in 141.M36, a titanic Ork invasion broke on the defenses of Captain Agnathio, which held only two hundred Space Marines. Agnathio won the battle, but the Two Hundred were lost, every single one of them killed in the fierce fighting. Agnathio himself was broken but not quite dead when relieving forces found him, and was subsequently interred in a Dreadnought.

On Arios, in 220.M38, the Word Bearers ambushed a large force of Ultramarines under Eighth Chapter Master Orlando Furioso. Furioso was quickly killed, but the assault was repulsed. This coincided with a number of other attacks on Ultramarine leadership, resulting in the deaths of seven of thirty Chapter Masters and several Captains; those assassinations did not reach their desired effect of breaking the Legion, however, and not one planet was lost in the attacks.

As the administrative division of Ultramar grew, it became increasingly unnecessary; thus in 313.M38 Guilliman formally abolished the empire, eight millennia after it had first been created. By then, however, this was a mere formality, as Ultramar had long been disunited. The Thirteenth Legion does, however, intervene in the ruling of, and often simply govern, its garrison worlds.

In 745.M41 Macragge saw its greatest invasion since the Betrayal. A titanic force of Tyranids, Hive Fleet Behemoth, descended on the system. At this point Macragge’s defenses were led by First Chapter Master Marneus Calgar, Guilliman being on Terra. It was known by this time that, if the Tyranids reached the planet’s surface, Macragge would likely be lost; so Calgar waged a desperate war in space. The conflict claimed the lives of most of the First Chapter, including First Captain Saul Invictus, and Calgar was left entirely limbless, his arms and legs later replaced by bionics; but Macragge was saved. Calgar remains the First Chapter Master today, and is revered by the Ultramarines for saving their homeworld almost as much as Guilliman is for being their Primarch.

In 002.M42, Macragge and the surrounding worlds were attacked yet again, this time by a large force of Iron Warriors under Warsmith Honsou. Though they did not reach Macragge’s surface, four of the planets closest to it were ravaged, among them the rebuilt Calth. Honsou himself was killed by an enraged Guilliman, torn in two in the depths of Calth’s cavern systems.

Yet Macragge still stands inviolate, and Roboute Guilliman’s promise yet holds.

Organization​

Upon Guilliman’s discovery, the Primarch reorganized his Legion. Formerly, it was divided into a hundred Companies (each led by a Captain) of a hundred Sergeant-led Squads each, with each Squad containing ten Marines. Guilliman added the rank of Chapter Master, with each Chapter containing ten Companies. Moreover, Guilliman created the Subcompanies of ten Squads each, led by Lieutenants. Thus, for instance, Lieutenant Cato Sicarius commands the Second Subcompany of the Captain Ortan Cassius’ Second Company, which is part of Marneus Calgar’s First Chapter. The First Chapter is oversized and includes twenty Companies instead of the usual ten. Currently, the Ultramarines include twenty-nine Chapters.

The First Subcompany generally consists of a Company’s veterans and is often mostly clad in Terminator armor. The Second through Fifth feature a mix of various Marine specializations, the standard configuration being three heavy-weapon Devastator Squads, two jump pack-equipped Assault Squads, a Scout Squad with sniper weaponry, and four Tactical Squads equipped with various weapon types. The Sixth through Tenth Subcompanies are not meant to function by themselves, and consist of only one Squad type each, with the exception of the Seventh (which is half Devastators and half Tactical Squads). The Sixth Company includes only Tactical Squads, the Eighth only Assault Squads, the Ninth only Devastator Squads, and the Tenth only Scout Squads.

New recruits typically serve in Scout Squads first; afterward, they try various types of weaponry to find their most effective combinations and join a corresponding Squad.

The Ultramarines include Librarians, Techmarines, and Apothecaries, with each of these typically numbering about five to seven thousand Astartes- a lot, but affordable for a largely stationary Legions. The Techmarines are simply Astartes of various rank that have taken a pilgrimage to Mars, but the Librarium and Apothecarium are entirely separate from the Chapters, with each being divided into thirteen Divisions of, nominally, 500 Astartes each responsible for a region of the galaxy.

These thirteen Dominions- two in each Segmentum, except Ultima Segmentum, which holds five- also provide a general organization for the Legion. The Chapters are mobile, and garrisons of nearby worlds, but of different Chapters, are often linked closer together than to members of the same Chapter half a galaxy away. In fact, the command system of the Ultramarines is generally flexible, with Captains and Chapter Masters having great leeway to customize their structures. Marneus Calgar, for instance, has devoted his Chapter’s Fifteenth Company entirely to the elimination of the Tyranid species. These Tyrannic Veterans have been vital in the defense of several planets from the extragalactic onslaught, but are also well-trained in void warfare and taking the fight to the enemy.

Combat Doctrine​

The Ultramarines’ combat doctrine is flexible and highly adaptive to the current situation. However, to say there are no patterns would be a lie. The Thirteenth Legion runs theoretical simulations on most every enemy they can possibly face in various settings; it is likely they have prepared for a given battle before they know of it. Their practical attacks are thus based around those theoreticals; they can, however, be changed at a moment’s notice.

Some of the basic doctrines of the Ultramarine combat system were written down by Roboute Guilliman in mid-M33, in what became known as the Codex Astartes. This has been greatly expanded over the years, both by Guilliman and by the Legion’s Chapter Masters; the Codex’ text is, however, only ever revealed to members of the Legion, and certain chapters are hidden based on rank. Only Guilliman, the First Chapter Master, the Chief Librarian (currently Varro Tigurius) and First Apothecary (currently Saneris Khiron) are permitted to see the full text of the Codex Astartes, as it contains parts on such topics as killing Primarchs, fighting other Ultramarines, and invading Terra itself.

”The Codex is only a guide, Captain Ventris, for all its perfection. If you thought I was going to reprimand you for blatantly violating it, you need not worry. I would, however, remind you that the Hive Mind remembers what tricks have been used against it. Try not to waste your brilliant tactical maneuvers on a small tendril, even- as wrong as it sounds- to save a world. This is a medium-term foe we’re fighting- it will be here a millennium from now- and thus it’s best to use strategy, not tactics, to kill it.“

-Chapter Master Marneus Calgar

On the rare occasion they are the attacking force, the Ultramarines generally do their best to cause as little destruction as possible except against a Chaos world, where they do their best to cause maximum collateral damage. Typically, the Ultramarines leave the civilians of a rebellious world alone, and even against xenos infrastructure is often left in place; what is waged is a street-level campaign of extermination. This is a costly and slow way of invasion, but it results in worlds that can be immediately productive.

In defense, meanwhile, the Ultramarines do their best not to let an attacker even reach a planet’s surface, or at least to permit as few landings as possible. If the enemy has landed, the Ultramarines will retreat to fortresses and hives, simultaneously evacuating the populace, and wage long-term siege warfare. In the event of a victory, the Ultramarines might use their knowledge as the Imperium’s foremost authority on fighting daemonic taint.

Homeworld​

The Ultramarines’ home planet is Macragge. A mountainous world on the galaxy’s Eastern Fringe, Macragge was home to a civilization emerging from feudalism when Roboute Guilliman arrived. Two Consuls governed an empire that spanned most of the planet.

The Primarch’s arrival upset Macragge’s delicate balance of power, and then an Eldar attack blew it to bits, along with most of the world’s life. Roboute Guilliman reunited the planet, but during the Great Betrayal, the new system- an economic powerhouse- was once again destroyed, this time by the Word Bearers. Nevertheless, Macragge was not destroyed, and after conducting a long operation to wipe out the Word Bearers’ Chaos taint Guilliman rebuilt his homeworld’s infrastructure once again, bringing in new immigrants and rebuilding ruined cities.

Macragge today is far more militarized than in either of its prior incarnations, its industry and economy largely focused on the eternal war the Imperium is in and on defending the planet. Nevertheless, it remains a standard bearer for the Imperium’s eastern regions in culture and technology. Large swaths of Macragge are, in fact, a recreated wilderness, in which animals long extinct in the rest of the Imperium frolic. Macragge retains its spectacular natural beauty, though below the surface are the scars of the lost past.

Beliefs​

The Ultramarines believe wholeheartedly in the Imperial Truth. They have always stood in opposition to superstition and irrationality, and indeed seem to hate Chaos for its unreasonableness as much as for its evil. At the same time, some irrational psychoses do exist in the Legion. Most prominently, Guilliman blames himself- and collectively, the Ultramarines blame themselves- for the two devastations of Macragge and the death of Fulgrim.

The Ultramarines also believe the Imperium, having lasted for ten millennia, should and probably will last a hundred more; they stare into the face of Deep Time, planning for it, beginning projects that will take eternity to complete, protecting the most incremental advantage, never wavering in the face of eons, knowing no fear, just as they always have and always will.

Gene-seed​

The Ultramarines’ gene-seed is the purest among even the Loyalist Legions, in large part due to Guilliman remaining among them. There are no known deviations.

Battle-cry​

The Ultramarines quote lines from poetry to march under in any particular campaign, the most common being “Courage and honor/ Until the end and past it.”​
 

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Index Astartes: Red Corsairs

The Great Betrayal​

It was some time before Lorgar’s forces began their war against the Imperium that Krieg Acerbus of the VIII Legion was enlightened. Acerbus had never before received prophetic visions, unlike many in the Night Lords; but when the gift developed in him, it awakened with unreasonable fury. The visions showed the future that the Night Haunter was creating, a dark nightmare without hope, freedom, or truth. When Acerbus gazed out the window, he realized that the future was, in truth, the present.

The Eighth Captain of the Night Lords was, however, mistakenly loyal. He kept the darkness he saw secret, and decided on a course of reform, not revolution. Rightly afraid his Primarch wouldn’t understand him, Acerbus kept those activities secret, creating a warrior-lodge of similarly frustrated warriors. There, a subculture developed, one defying the Night Lords’ impersonal enforced order- for example, its members often kept ownership of private property, and in war they put fewer limitations on themselves than the Night Lords decreed.

First Captain Sevatar was furious when he discovered the warrior-lodge. Like any tyrant, his reaction was to exterminate it.

It was done. Many of Acerbus’ followers were killed because they went across accepted paradigms, because they denied arbitrary orders. Acerbus escaped, with about thirty thousand Astartes; but they were now outlaws to the Imperium, and Acerbus knew, from his vision, that the Emperor was no less an oppressor than Curze. To escape, Acerbus and his force- renamed the Red Corsairs- headed towards a spatial anomaly known as the Maesltrom.

The Maelstrom was a Warp Storm, a place believed to be too dangerous to enter. Yet Acerbus believed that that meant it held great treasures, and managed to convince a council of Astarte leaders that this was a wise course of action. The Red Corsairs built up a base in the storm, excavating its Warp-affected riches and selling it to nearby planets, or alternatively pillaging those nearby planets and selling their wealth off. On two separate occasions the Death Guard attempted to dislodge them; but though the Corsairs suffered major losses, Mortarion’s Legion failed.

Indeed, Calas Typhon- already sworn to the True Gods by the time of the invasions of the Maelstrom- was even convinced by Acerbus that the Corsairs’ way was right. When Lorgar declared rebellion on the Emperor, Typhon and most of his oversized Company joined Acerbus. There were refugees, too, from other Imperial Legions, particularly the Luna Wolves and Thousand Sons; no major commanders of those Legions turned, though.

At first, Acerbus thought to sit the War of Discovery out; certainly, he would not join Lorgar’s dash for Terra. But then a second vision came to him, one that talked of the possibilities the galactic disorder was revealing. Acerbus’ alliance of malcontents and bandits could emerge from its exile, for the Emperor had other worries.

The Red Corsairs could liberate their region of the galaxy. They did. Waging a campaign of pillage and economic warfare, Acerbus’ force- now big enough to be a Legion- secured a fifth of Segmentum Ultima into a new federation, one based on the principles of wealth and utter contempt for societal rules. At the Triumph on the planet Orain III, Acerbus declared the Red Corsairs the Twenty-First Legion. It was a strange one, a Legion without a Primarch; the future seemed bright for it nevertheless.

But though the Red Corsairs had become powerful, their might was in large part dependent on their enemies being distracted. Even during the Orain III Triumph, the war on Terra was raging. The window of opportunity was closing fast.

Krieg Acerbus, meanwhile, was receiving an increasing barrage of visions. Typhon, once a Death Guard Librarian, recognized them as coming from the True Gods; yet Acerbus, even with Typhon’s coaching, could not handle the strain of prophecy. His behavior became increasingly erratic. Typhon, realizing the Red Corsairs were beginning to break apart, tried to stop the decay by seizing control; but in one of his last lucid moments, Acerbus instructed Typhon to allow the division. This, he said, was the true path- the Twenty-First Legion would be independent not only from the world, but from itself.

Faith in the True Gods set in slowly during this time. Many in the new Legion were simply malcontents who had no real desire to become holy warriors. When the Legion fragmented into warbands, some of those warbands entered an affiliation with one of the True Gods, or Chaos Undivided, but most remained unbound. Still, Typhon’s encouragement- strengthened by his position as leader of the largest warband, the Supreme Corsairs- ensured at least tolerance, if not dedication.

Meanwhile, Krieg Acerbus, unable to handle the gifts the Gods had bestowed on him, went mad. At the end, completely uncontrollable, he attacked his Athamemnar bodyguards. After he killed four Corsairs, Acerbus was ended- with great regret- by his friend Typhon. The latter grew to believe that he was responsible for Acerbus’ failure, and in his deep depression dedicated himself fully to Nurgle.

”I have been wrong. So wrong… the traitorous son. I sought to avoid a dark Imperium. Look what I have built instead! Look upon chaos and know despair!
I’m sorry, Father. I’m sorry, mankind. But I will not end my life alone. Die, co-traitors! For the Emperor!”
-Krieg Acerbus


The lands owned by the Red Corsairs were, for an empire, exceedingly disorganized. The Corsairs busied themselves in doing what they wished, whether raiding or trading; and the mortals in their dominion did likewise. Money was power, and there was no mercy for the weak; slavery was common, but not consistent. As the Legion broke up, the individual warbands carved out their own territories, each with their own laws, from the Crimson Slaughter’s pain-filled reign to the Liberators’ full anarchy. All of the factions, however, maintained peace with the others. Despite the separatism, they were still legion.

Besides their own empire, the Red Corsairs supported cults and rebellions on surrounding and distant Imperial worlds. Many of those uprisings needed little encouraging, and thousands of planets rebelled during the War of Discovery, in the wake of the Emperor’s betrayal. Nevertheless, most worlds remained resolute, primarily due to the web of loyalty woven by the Alpha Legion.

And as the war on Terra ended and the Discoverer Legions were crushed, grim Alpharius turned his gaze towards the Maelstrom.

The Escape​

With Lorgar’s defeat, the Red Corsairs’ domain was doomed. The forces of the misguided Imperium were simply too numerous. Worse, the covert activities of the Alpha Legion captured many of the circum-Maelstrom worlds without much of a fight.

Not all of Acerbus’ many successors were capable. Some simply cut their losses and retreated into the Warp Storm, where they could not be reached. Others were braver, but all contracted in the years following Lorgar’s defeat. Even as defections from Imperial ranks, and intensive recruiting, bolstered the Legion’s numbers it contracted into an ever-lessening area, corralled by the dark plots of Alpharius.

Typhon began to privately doubt that there was a solution to the problem. Attempts to meet the Twentieth Legion on an even field bore no fruit. Eventually, though, Typhon brought the Supreme Corsairs and three other warbands together to attack Alpharius’ flagship. The attack went well until Typhon, empowered by the Chaos Gods, attacked Alpharius himself. Typhon was greatly swollen with power, surrounded by a cloud of flies; yet he was only a match for Alpharius in stature. Two swift blows crushed the leader of the Supreme Corsairs, and the Twenty-First Legion’s unity was forever shattered.

With their leader dead, the Supreme Corsairs and their allies attempted to scatter; they failed. The Alpha Legion’s tendrils caught and crushed the defeated Red Corsairs. The battle, fought in the void of the Unekar sector, marked an end to the Corsairs’ imperial ambitions and quickly led to the Legion’s collapse into the Maelstrom.

During the millennium following the War of Discovery, the Supreme Corsairs were destroyed in desperate attempts to regain their primacy. At the end, with his warband numbering perhaps fifty warriors, its gene-seed stock completely gone, warlord Alnar Tasketer made the practical choice and merged the Supreme Corsairs into their close allies, the Nurglite Purge warband. The Supreme Corsairs had been weak, and they had been destroyed for it.

The biggest warbands in the Betrayal’s aftermath were the Crimson Slaughter, the aforementioned Purge, the Oracles of Change, the Flawless Host and the Liberators. The Slaughter were followers of Khorne; they possessed a large empire within the Maelstrom, one built on the blood of the weak. The Purge were nihilists, destroying all forms of life in order to bring about what they saw as transcendence. The Tzeentchi Oracles of Change were particularly adept pirates, having control over no planets but possessing a massive fleet. The Slaaneshi Flawless Host was noted for its avarice and hubris. Finally, the Liberators controlled about a third of the Maelstrom- if “controlled” is the right term. The Liberators’ territory was anarchic, parts of it quite peaceful, all rarely visited by the Space Marines.

A millennium after the War of Discovery, the Imperium had recognized that the Maelstrom could not be conquered. Yet the power of the Red Corsairs was contained. Still, the Twenty-First Legion had rebuilt its power in the time following Typhon’s defeat, and from this point forth their raids were an ever-present feature of Imperial life, and the Maelstrom an ever-welcoming refuge to any Imperial Space Marine fed up with their Legion.

The Long War​

Over time, the dominant warbands of the Red Corsairs have engaged in various schemes to gain primacy. Throughout M33 and M34, the Flawless Host were the most powerful; in 498.M34, in the Berillia Massacre, they exterminated the population of an entire world in Segmentum Obscurus. Thereafter, Berillia became the Host’s capital world, the first Red Corsair empire outside the Maelstrom since the War of Discovery. The Host’s domain stood for several centuries, but by millennium’s end they had overextended, and their domain was crushed by the Grey Kinghts.

Since then, many other empires have been set up by the Red Corsairs. Few have succeeded. After the Flawless Host’s defeat, the Hakanor’s Reavers and Cleaved warbands took their place in the ranks of the top warbands. The Cleaved later merged into the Purge, in M36, creating the greatest alliance of Red Corsairs ever seen. This Nurglite force went so far as to capture and raze for a second time the former Blood Angels homeworld of Baal. Their power was ended when Xaphan the Faceless of the Oracles of Change tricked them into a ground attack on the hyper-evolved Death World Catachan. The Purge’s fiercest poisons only made the plants and toads more deadly to them, and soon enough the warband was more or less demolished.

Xaphan paid a high price for his trick. His betrayal was judged as a betrayal of the Red Corsairs’ peace; he was exiled, and his face chopped off, making his title quite accurate. Thereafter, the Oracles of Change have been viewed as kinslayers and never regained their previous glory.

The Crimson Slaughter slowly declined, but in M38 they returned to glory under Sevastus Kranon the Relentless. Kranon created a tyranny of blood on the worlds the Slaughter controlled, using it to summon a particularly large number of daemons. Meanwhile, the Liberators had become the most powerful of the Corsairs’ warbands. In M40, their leader Constantitius moved the force into Segmentum Pacificus, founding a Constantine Anti-Imperium; this organization persists to this day, a haven for the merciless to be free.

In the Maelstrom,, meanwhile, Lufgt Huron Blackheart of the Astral Claws warband came into prominence during M41. Huron aims to reunite the Corsairs, contrary to the last wishes of Acerbus; he believes, in fact, that this order was part of Acerbus’ madness. Huron began his ascent by capturing the Badab sector in mid-M41, which he still rules as the Tyrant of Badab. In the war, he was greatly wounded and rebuilt with mechanical components; but he returned to lead his warband nevertheless. Hakanor’s Reavers were absorbed into it, and after Kranon the Relentless’ death (caused by a disagreement over the nature of the Warp with the Dark Angel Balthasar) so was the Crimson Slaughter. This gathering of power has been decried by many traditionalists in smaller warbands, but for now- at least- Huron Blackheart is indisputably chief in the Red Corsairs.

Huron Blackheart looked on the ruined buildings with pure joy.
It was done. Gammadin had turned the Blood Gorgons to the Blackheart’s banner, and all it had taken was a promise of reimbursement. Did Gammadin not even see how worthless the bargain was for him? If Huron achieved his ambition, the debt would be a trifle; if not, Gammadin would be in no position to claim it.
They were all like that, though. Not one of the Red Corsairs showed true foresight. Not one recognized where Lufgt Huron was leading them. They were weak, remnants of a once-great Legion.
Well, Huron would return them to glory, whether they wanted it or not. The Tyrant of Badab grinned, and a tiny piece of the Tzeentchi tattoo on the roof of his mouth became visible behind the flames.


Blackheart has been noted as extremely avaricious, even for the Twenty-First Legion. It is yet possible he might overreach like the Flawless Host ages earlier. Yet for now, he has reunited the Red Corsairs, and the Twenty-First is as much a threat to the Imperium as any other Discoverer Legion.

Organization​

The Red Corsairs are smaller than most Legions, numbering a total of approximately sixty thousand warriors due to their abnormal origins. They are divided into approximately a hundred independent warbands; as of 000.M42, there were 105, but that number constantly fluctuates.

The single largest warband is the Liberators, containing about ten thousand Astartes. The Liberators lack any formal organization as part of their ideology; in practice, their current leader is Dosius Constantitius, a member of the III Legion who defected during the War of Discovery. Some outside the Liberators believe that Constantitius specifically avoids hierarchy in order to prevent a competitor for his position from arising. The Liberators are not sworn to any Chaos God, and view the True Gods more as a tool than as a master, like several other older warbands.

The Liberators, as mentioned, number about ten thousand warriors; another few thousand Red Corsairs are members of other warbands operating outside the confines of the Maelstrom. That is, approximately fourteen thousand Red Corsairs dwell outside that Warp Storm. About forty-five thousand, then, live within it. They, likewise, are divided into warbands; but the Huronian union, which contains over eighty percent of the Maelstrom Corsairs, transcends such boundaries. Held together by the charismatic Lufgt Huron, this confederacy of approximately fifty warbands dominates the Maelstrom. Huron uses his status for his own benefit, as is expected from a Red Corsair, but also for the Legion’s overall good, and the confederacy is prospering.

Most of the warbands dedicated to a specific god are dedicated to Nurgle, following Calas Typhon; a number, however, are also dedicated to Khorne, such as the Huronite Crimson Slaughter under Dreadnought-Lord Mortis Metalikus, or Slaanesh. Fewer are dedicated to Tzeentch after the Oracles of Change’s betrayal.

The Red Corsairs have traditionally accepted any Marine who desires to join; thus, their ranks contain Apothecaries, Librarians and Techmarines. Due to the small, but persistent, influx of Imperial Marines, this organization has not much changed over time. The Red Corsairs have no Chaplains, in part because those rarely defect and in part because there is no need for spiritual leaders in a Legion of materialists.

One should also note the Corsairs’ unusual lifestyle. Rather than live together as battle-brothers, the Astartes- even of one warband- live much like rich civilians. That is not to say they are not deadly, of course. Indeed, they have to be deadly to live in luxury- few of those riches are inherited.

Combat Doctrine​

The first thing to note about the Red Corsairs’ combat doctrine is that it is not limited to war. The Corsairs are masters of economic struggle. Maelstrom worlds are closely linked to the Imperium by trade; such activity is of course illegal, but common nevertheless. Thus, these ties can be manipulated to turn a world to the Twenty-First Legion by, for example, blockading it, or hijacking its food shipments- or even by twisting prices to arrange for a cult to gain power. Perhaps only the Alpha Legion can boast of a similar understanding of using nonviolent methods to coerce.

Moreover, besides such relatively legitimate activity, the Red Corsairs eagerly engage in outright piracy. They typically board ships that are either unrelated to their empires or that it serves a greater purpose to attack. Piracy is, of course, a threat to trade; but the great connection of the Warp allows the Twenty-First Legion’s ships to attack anywhere, though with moderate reliability.

Of course, preferences differ among warbands, and many do enjoy outright planetary invasions. In such cases, the Corsairs will typically begin with an economic assault to weaken the defenses; then, they will launch a gradual attack on the world’s leadership, swooping down in brief raids from gunships and on jetbikes. Finally, an overwhelming assault on several major cities will take place, followed by a gradual general conquest. The Corsairs aim to demoralize and then defeat their victim.

In defense, meanwhile, the Corsairs are out of their element. Sometimes, they will attempt to create a situation of siege warfare, dragging on the war for long enough to get reinforcements or simply to tire the attackers out. More commonly, they will launch counterattacks to keep the invading forces off-balance. Nevertheless, though the Corsairs have their share of tactics against various foes, they have no passion for heroic last stands, and against overwhelming enemies they will just flee.

Homeworld​

The Red Corsairs’ first “homeworld” was Alkanel. A gas giant on the fringes of the Maelstrom, Alkanel- or rather, the starbases around Alkanel- became the base of Krieg Acerbus’ operations. Alkanel Rho was a massive space station, a spinning ring as massive as a moon. On its interior, it contained alien quarters; the exterior was given over to human use. The very center of Alkanel Rho housed a sphere with a giant nuclear reactor that powered the entire station; around it were the richest quarters, often inhabited by the Space Marines themselves. Over time, Alkanel Rho passed to Typhon and then to the Purge. Shortly after the latter’s defeat on Catachan, Alkanel Rho was invaded and exploded by a strike force of Death Guard.

Currently, the dominant planet in the Maelstrom- or rather, just outside it- is the Hive World of Badab, Huron Blackheart’s capital. Badab’s buildings- great ridges visible from space, like the walls of a maze- have recently, with the planet becoming affected by the Warp, begun to move around. Other than that, Badab is a typical Hive World, with great social stratification and ruled by Huron with an iron fist; it has not been severely altered by the Astral Claws’ presence.

Beliefs​

The Twenty-First Legion does not have a single, unified code of beliefs. Some philosophies are, however, common. Often a great importance is placed on freedom; society is seen as a negative, oppressive influence. Personal wealth is also seen in a highly positive light. It is believed that those without power are weak, and as thus do not deserve any sort of mercy. Indeed, the Corsairs in general have very little mercy.

The Red Corsairs’ Legion-wide unity is an exception to their general pragmatism. To simplify, the Legion believes that since no one else will watch out for them, they should watch out for one another. Nevertheless, individual Battle-Brothers are rarely truly friends, and the Corsairs are ready to throw one another beneath their ambition’s wheels- though only to a point.

Gene-seed​

The Red Corsairs’ gene-seed is drawn from all of the ten Imperial Legions. As such, first-generation Marines who enter the Legion as exiles from another are genetically from one of these ten. Astartes who are recruited directly into the Red Corsairs, meanwhile, are given “fused” gene-seed that is a combination of the Imperial Legions’; various warbands use various cocktails.

”Yes, I will personally implant the gene-seed into you. I made it, remember? A special cocktail of daemon-blood, unique to the Crimson Slaughter. If you survive, you will become- Aspirant? Aspirant?
Next!”
-Kranon the Relentless


Battle-cry​

Every warband of the Red Corsairs has a distinct battle cry. The Astral Claws’ is “Curse the Emperor!”. The Crimson Slaughter’s is “Bleed!”. The Liberators allow individual Marines to make up their own cries.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Index Astartes: Dark Angels
Origins
Of all the planets of the galaxy, the pod bearing the infant First Primarch fell on the Death World of Caliban. When the child not yet named Lion el’Jonson landed, Caliban was a vast expanse of jungle filled with the deadly Great Beasts and valiant knights struggling against the monsters.

The Primarch landed in the forest, but was soon after found by the Order, the greatest knightly organization on Caliban. The man who found the Lion was a prominent Order figure known as Luthor, and Luthor was the first man who tutored the young Primarch in the ways of war and leadership.

Luthor gazed at the young boy who had, surprisingly, endured the perils of the forest. Hezel did, too, but with more suspicion; then Luthor’s fellow knight raised his spear.

“Stop!” Luthor exclaimed. “What are you doing?”

“The child has the stink of the wild on him,” Hezel replied. “Darkness in his heart.”

“He does not,” Luthor stated. “And I will prove it.”

But though the Lion paid full attention to those lessons, another idea began consuming him. The remnants of the memories the Emperor had implanted in him led the Lion to realize how weak the knights’ technology really was, and after going from the forest to the knights, he desired to take the line further. He applied his genetic genius to invention and craft, creating new weapons and new industries to uplift Caliban. Luthor was the Lion’s right arm throughout this period, which ended with the knights beginning to win their first victories against the beasts, beating back the jungle for the first time in millennia.

Much of the Order saw this as a chance to win Caliban for what they saw as civilization, to unite the world. The Lion, however, had no interest in immediately waging a massive and bloody campaign to politically unify the humans of Caliban. He did not even truly desire to drive the Great Beasts extinct.

He had grown to admire the Great Beasts, in a sense, as ideal killing machines; and he decided to use them. The Lion left Luthor and the Order behind and embarked on a pilgrimage into the heart of darkness. He visited the beasts, and communicated with them. It is unknown exactly what transpired in the depths of Caliban’s jungle during this year; but el’Jonson came out of it with a new wealth of knowledge about the workings of the world. He had grown to understand the ways of the Spiral Creator, the nexus known as the Warp.

When the Lion returned, he began the construction of new engines, new buildings, new weapons, each heralding the beginning of a new golden age. The raw power of the Warp was strong within Caliban, and the Lion dictated the world to largely remain as it was. There would be no grand revolution and overthrow of the natural order; it would be integrated within this greater society.

Among some, the First Primarch’s seemingly arbitrary decisions bred resentment. The slaves whose blood was needed for progress to continue were one such group. But it was Luthor, who continued to play the loyal second-in-command, who most doubted his master’s decisions, though he kept this secret. For all that it had brought greatness to Caliban, the Lion’s pilgrimage had forever separated him from his oldest friend.

The Lion did not only focus on the energies of the Spiral Creator, but also on the creatures that were parts of it. The weaker ones were used within the engines, and the stronger became advisors and lords. It was such a “daemon” that warned el’Jonson of his father’s upcoming arrival.

The Lion responded quickly, by hiding- via sorcery and digging- his machines and allies. So when the Emperor arrived, nine years later, he was only slightly disturbed by the Warp around Caliban.

And Lion el’Jonson rejoined his Legion.

The Great Crusade​

The First Legion, the Dark Angels (as the Lion quickly renamed them in honor of a dream of his), were more exposed than the Lion’s father to the fullness of what he was doing with Caliban. They accepted it more readily, too. Yet little of Caliban’s Warp-tech filtered down through the Legion, for fear of excessive notice. Magnus the Red could flaunt his powers and be hated for it; the First Legion would keep their business to themselves.

The First Legion hewed relatively closely, too, to the Emperor’s proposal of a hundred thousand Marines per Legion. There were about ninety to ninety-five thousand Dark Angels, sweeping through the galaxy.

Ironically, though he knew his father would hate him his full beliefs, the Lion in many ways agreed with the Imperial Truth. He trusted in humanity’s bright future, if only it would shed that which was unconductive to progress. This caused much friction with the cynical Rogal Dorn. It also caused issues in the Lion’s relationship with softhearted Vulkan. Vulkan believed that the changes to humanity the Lion trusted in were too much, too wrapped in his own primitive morality to appreciate progress- even the brighter side of progress that the Lion revealed during the Crusade (though, to Vulkan’s credit, his complaints also had to do with the entirely valid suspicions of what the Lion was doing in secret).

The Warp was- the Lion knew- the sole way of transcending entropy and, ultimately, the end of the universe. Roboute Guilliman particularly desired the Lion’s designs for this, and received some of them, though after the Ultramarines stayed loyal in the War of Discovery they unwisely disposed of most such devices. But the Lion looked to a more specific picture than the whole universe in most things- as far as he was concerned, the end of human civilization might as well have been the end of the universe.

Magnus the Red and Ferrus Manus were also close allies of the First Primarch. Magnus admired the Lion’s efforts with integrating the Warp and technology, though he considered his own studies purer. The Lion, for his part, found Magnus’ path quite similar to his own, if less application-focused. Ferrus approached from the opposite side- his mechanical work was what the Lion combined with Magnus’ theory.

These friendships did not change the fact that Lion el’Jonson was, in general, a solitary figure. He did not make those friendships he made easily, and was more focused on his work than on people. When he chose to, though, he could be a masterful diplomat- indeed, his amazing skill in keeping the entirety of his work secret from the Emperor attests to that fact. Many suspected him of hiding something; but those who suspected didn’t care, and those who cared didn’t suspect.

Worlds the Dark Angels conquered were, after a brief but severe tithe of slaves and materials, usually integrated into the Imperium in the ordinary way. The Lion did his best to emulate the methods of Primarchs, such as Guilliman, who successfully changed planets for the better in their conquests. The Dark Angels did not permit ignorance and superstition to remain; but neither were they unnecessarily brutal.

On Haisegraith, one such planet, most of the local aristocracy- particularly destructive and possessed of several odd, evil traditions- were themselves taken by the Dark Angels as servants and sacrifices, after which the world was rebuilt according to normal Imperial precepts. Haisegraith remained a loyal Imperial world although, during the War of Discovery, Chaos cults instigated a brief civil war. Other planets, such as Grymm’s Landing, became secret Dark Angel recruiting worlds, with small bases of the Legion. That being said, here secrecy was relative; it was known the First Legion had backup homeworlds, although some of their influence on those planets stayed hidden.

As for Caliban itself, the Dark Angels’ true homeworld remained a place of jungles and of progress. Luthor, who the Lion left in charge as he departed on the Crusade, was more or less the governor- except when the Primarch visited, which was often. The Legion’s second-in-command grew increasingly more cynical and more doubting of the Legion’s vision with time, though assistance from some loyal psykers kept this uncertainty from the Lion’s awareness- an ironic inversion of what the Lion was doing to the Emperor. In truth, though, Luthor was looking back to his knightly upbringing with nostalgia.

The Lion consulted little with daemons and beasts during the Crusade, for fear of being noticed. The few communications he received instructed him to prepare for rebellion, but politics was never the First Primarch’s focus. Though he recognized rebellion was inevitable, he put it off.

But endings spiraled. On the Ocean World of Ireo, a secondary recruiting world for the First Legion, a Squad of the Alpha Legion uncovered an Ordixenus battle engine that Alajos of the Ninth Order was constructing. Misunderstandings escalated, ending in the death of the XX Legionnaires. Yet Alajos was paranoid that the incident would be revealed (moreover, a number of his subordinates, including Company Champion Corswain, sympathized with their foes); and indeed, his communiqué to the Lion on the subject was intercepted.

The news put the First Primarch on the edge. By this point, he was trying to limit his contact with the ethereal in the belief that it was destroying his purpose. Yet now he consulted a messenger of the Spiral Creator for the first time in years. The news was welcome – Lorgar and Rogal Dorn were leading a massive rebellion against the Emperor. Even though El’Jonson suspected his rival would cause it to collapse, he directed his fleets toward the Istvaan system.

The Great Betrayal​

Meanwhile, Luthor too had received Lorgar’s invitation. He took it in a different way. Gathering a few of his closest associates, he led his own fleet – crewed almost entirely by humans – to the Isstvan system. By this point, he was quite insane, but determined to stamp out Chaos nevertheless.

”I am no saint. I am not, by your measures, even a good man. How many I have tormented to death by my own hand, or enslaved for life to feed the wheels of progress? Some of this I did to keep my distaste secret, but I did it anyway, rather than come to the Emperor with my concerns. I have been a monster, but I have this, at least: that I know how monstrous I have been. Perhaps I cannot be redeemed. But I will do my best to obliterate my greatest mistake.”

- Luthor

By himself, Luthor would have simply been obliterated by the combined forces of the discoverer Legions, as Lorgar called the congregation. His ships were weaker than the Lion’s, Warp-linked only slightly as they were, and were moreover significantly outnumbered. But both Warp travel and void warfare are unpredictably slow actions, and Luthor’s associates were able to convince him to keep the fleet hidden at a distance from the conflict.

Meanwhile, the Lion met the other rebelling Primarchs. He was surprised that Vulkan had had the guts to join, and shocked that Magnus hadn’t even been invited; but he got along with most of his present brothers regardless. Unfortunately, they didn’t all get along with each other. Jaghatai Khan and Angron fired on each other, as did Ferrus Manus and Perturabo. Meanwhile, Alexis Polux of the newly-renamed Doom Fists started a counter-rebellion.

It was at this point that Luthor struck.

There was confusion, war raging for about a week before the nearly-demolished Luthor was forced to retreat; but damage was severe, even in the First, which was one of the least-affected Legions. All in all, of ninety-one thousand Dark Angels, about four thousand betrayed their Primarch (most of those having been allied with Luthor from the beginning), and another two thousand died at Isstvan. The machinery that the Lion had prepared for the battle on Terra was also diminished.

Some Dark Angels, including Corswain, had flown to Caliban when summoned to Istvaan. Allied with the thousands Luthor had left behind, they staged a planetwide revolution. The symbols of the Lion’s reign of progress were defaced, his forges were demolished, and his forests were devastated. Unlike most of his allies, which headed for Terra, Luthor flew his customized Spiralship to Caliban, where he led his fellow traitors in creating a defense against his brothers. Worst of all, because they knew they would be defeated in a fair fight, they created the Obsidian Imperative.

As they did so, the Lion was forced to put off returning to his homeworld in favor of joining Lorgar’s Second Fleet in the charge towards Terra. The fleets were initially separated due to astropaths’ restrictions, but the division was meant to be only nominal. Instead, endless delays set the Second Fleet far behind schedule. Their flight was endlessly slowed, and in the end, they arrived at Terra when the battle was already over.

The First Fleet had come first, and it had lost. Perturabo had died and the other three present Legions were devastated. As the Lion had expected, Rogal Dorn had failed. Now the time had come for him to prove he was better. Soon, the battle to prove mankind’s future was bright would begin.

It did not go as expected.

The battle-engines, them whom the ignorant Imperials called daemon-engines, pounded on the Palace’s walls; but the response was severe. Lorgar ignored much of the Lion’s advice, and instead tried to cut out the middleman and contact with the Warp Gods. The Lion, however, knew the inherent deceitfulness of these beings where Lorgar did not. So the Word Bearers fought alongside the Iron Hands more often than with the Dark Angels.

As for the First Legion, though el’Jonson disliked turning the massive energies of the Spiral Creator into simple destruction, he did so nevertheless. The cousins Zahariel and Nemiel particularly distinguished themselves during the war, together captaining the Beast of Caliban, a titanic machine formerly belonging to the Primarch himself. Meanwhile, the Lion corralled the Pink Swarm, an ooze-like relic from the Golden Age of Technology that had been further augmented with the power of the Spiral Creator.

These and other great machines – greater than anything the Loyalists had, even among the Raven Guard, for Mars was in a state of civil war – initially succeeded in weakening the walls; but gradually the Imperial Legions began to stabilize the situation. And as the Lion began to plan further breakthroughs, the unimaginable happened.

The World Eaters disappeared, without either warning or explanation. Without them, the positions of the Beast of Caliban, among others, became undefendable. The Lion rushed to his Beast, but was too late to prevent its destruction by Leman Russ and Nemiel’s death. Lorgar became increasingly unapproachable, doubting a successful end to the siege. Ferrus, for his part, tried to exploit Aurelian’s fragile state, both for personal gain and in the service of the war, while assisting the Lion’s efforts; but these attempts backfired.

The Lion and Ferrus together created a new plan for assault, one that could win the war before other Legions converged on Terra. They broke through the walls, and in the corridors of the Imperial Palace Lion el’Jonson met Roboute Guilliman. The duel lasted for hours, as battle raged at low intensity around them. In the end, the Lion stabbed Guilliman, putting him on the brink of death; but he failed to finish the deed, for Guilliman’s response caused the First Primarch to briefly lose consciousness, and both Primarchs were carried off by their men.

“Crippled? I am not crippled. A Primarch will always recover, unless they die. But I am wounded, yes, Ferrus. I’ll have to spend some time recovering… tinkering… you know. Please keep Lorgar in line, and don’t do anything stupid.

- Lion el’Jonson”

The battle could still be won; but with the Lion injured, Ferrus Manus chose to act quicker than was wise. Taking control of several among the Lion’s engines without permission, and adding them to his own, Ferrus tunneled a path to the Throne Room itself, the control center of the Astronomican and the War; but the daemonic natures were fickle, and only Lorgar himself reached the room. There, he killed the Emperor and Fulgrim, at the cost of his own life. Unfortunately, this accomplishment came at a huge cost in men, and both Ferrus Manus and Kor Phaeron – Lorgar’s replacement as leader of the Word Bearers – chose to flee.

Cursing them, Lion el’Jonson recognized that, in the end, he had no choice but to follow suit. Humanity’s destiny would have to wait.

The Escape​

The Lion split his Legion in the escape from Terra. There were approximately fifty thousand loyal Astartes left in it after the difficult siege warfare on Terra. Of these, el’Jonson sent five thousand to Fenris, the Space Wolves’ homeworld, hoping to teach them a lesson; those five thousand almost all abandoned their post before or on the Wolves’ arrival. Five more thousand, led by Zahariel, were sent directly to the Eye of Terror, along with some of the Lion’s most advanced devices. This was a failsafe, a last-case scenario for the case of everything else’s loss.

“Build the perfect world by my arrival,” the Lion is said to have told Zahariel then.

The rest of the Legion, under the Lion’s command, was tasked with ensuring the security of the galaxy outside the Eye of Terror. Their first target was recovery on their homeworld of Caliban; along the way, they encouraged Chaos Cults on a few other planets and reconquered two of their secondary recruiting worlds.

Then they arrived at Caliban. And Luthor fired on them.

The first volley came as a shock, even though the Lion had received no communication from Caliban for some time. And the fallen Angels making up Luthor’s forces, despite plenty of hesitation, were fully willing to kill their brothers. Needless to say, though, the Lion was just as willing.

The bombardment went on and on. There was response fire, and many Dark Angels died, but careful application of force ensured that Luthor’s capacity to wage war was diminished without any lasting harm to the planet itself. And then, just as the Fallen – as they were beginning to be called – were on the brink of extermination, Luthor triggered the Obsidian Imperative.

Caliban exploded into an asteroid field. But Luthor’s true evil was not in that. Using his knowledge of the Spiral Creator, the lord of the Fallen turned the foundation of reality on itself. Caliban became a dead zone for the Warp. Every daemon within the Dark Angel fleet was instantly erased from the Warp. The loss is difficult to describe in words, but it suffices to call it devastating. The vast majority of the spaceships stopped working for one reason or other, as did almost all weaponry, but such momentary weakness the Lion repaired. Yet, more, Luthor’s actions fundamentally damaged the fabric of the universe, erasing ideas themselves from the Warp.

The Lion gazed at the readings, on a gauntlet that he had designed as a failsafe specifically for this occurrence.

A dead zone. A splotch of terrible nothingness beyond space. He was not truly a psyker, but even he could sense it. So much devastation….

What had he done? How could he have led his father to this? Had there ever been a possibility that Luthor could see the Spiral Creator as he had? Lion el’Jonson did not know; but this… this was surely the worst of both worlds.

On one of the asteroids, Luthor and his Inner Circle meant to escape. The Lion and a few of his closest associates teleported onto that asteroid after determining it, using one of the few non-Warp-linked mechanisms on the Invincible Reason. They met the traitors in a titanic battle, one that eventually exploded the asteroid yet again. When the shells settled, three survived: the Lion, Astelan (a Chapter Master, and one of the best swordsmen in the Legion, he had been terribly scarred by Corswain before killing him), and Luthor. The Lion prepared for the executioner’s swing before looking into Luthor’s eyes and realizing that the madman wanted to die. A moment later, el’Jonson had decided to take Luthor with him, to use as a source of pain.

Another moment later, Luthor was on the ground, dead from a concealed poison pill – one final insult to the honor of the First Legion.

The Long War​

Many former members of the Mechanicum fled, after the War of Discovery, to the Eye of Terror. For a brief period of time they formed a series of techno-empires, but within a couple of centuries all had dissolved into the Iron Hands, the Salamanders, the Iron Warriors, the White Scars, and – most of all – the Dark Angels.

The Lion himself retreated to the Eye soon after the battle of Caliban. He almost immediately joined forces with Zahariel, who had taken a world known only as The Rock and turned it into a wondrous Spiral-based factory. It was both beautiful and functional, and Zahariel’s esteem – already high – immediately rose enough for him to become one of the Legion’s leaders.

The Lion himself continued to direct the running of the Legion and its wars in the name of Chaos Undivided, always seeing the Spiral Gods as untrustworthy, yet powerful, allies in the war for enlightenment. Early in M32, he used his strange devices to ascend to a Daemon Prince, a geared serpent that continued to direct the running of the Rock and its progress into the mysteries of the Warp, but largely ignored the wider galaxy. Zahariel and Astelan, and later other Warband leaders such as Azrael and Balthasar, took over the running of the military aspects, leading many attempts to defeat the enemies of progress.

Of course, no grand victory has yet been achieved; but many smaller triumphs did occur. In late M33, the Kulgotha system was the scene of a titanic war between Zahariel’s forces and the entrpic enemies of hope, the cloaklike Hrud xenos. Though Zahariel sacrificed himself in the process, his followers destroyed the infestation and claimed the productive, mineral-rich system for themselves. In the Battle of Petsembe (551.M37), the Thousand Sons attacked Petsembe, a recruiting world of the Dark Angels. The local human defenders and small garrison managed to hold them off for almost a year, long enough for the Dark Angels to arrive; soon after, the Fifteenth Legion retreated. Production, however, never returned to prewar levels, and eventually Astelan allowed the Salamanders to gain the world as part of a peace treaty. At Bane’s Landing, Kranon of the Crimson Slaughter warband met Balthasar of the Dark Angels in a debate on whether Chaos was the means or the end. Predictably, violence erupted; but Balthasar easily took the upper end and killed Kranon personally, conclusively winning the debate.

That is not to deny that the Dark Angels have known their share of defeats. On Altid 156, Chapter Master Zeriah’s Altid Crusade came to a crashing end. The Alpha Legion laid an elaborate trap, the product of years of effort that led to Zeriah being surrounded by twelve of the enemy Legion’s finest warriors. Still, Zeriah was armed with the hyperblade Iridescent, and he killed all twelve before finally being lost, his assault collapsing without him.

Yet even in defeats like this, the Dark Angels hold to their ideals: uplifting humanity, at any cost. Some are not ready for the dawn of the new age, but the Dark Angels know no other path to eternity exists; and so they fight on for the good of all, whether their enemies know it or not.

Organization​

Before the War of Discovery, the Dark Angels were divided into eighty-five Chapters, each of which contained slightly over a thousand Marines. The War destroyed some of those chapters and diminished many others. From both slaves and volunteers, the Lion has succeeded in replenishing the ranks, even lifting them up to approximately a hundred and ten Marines. The Chapter structure has become fluid, but the Eighty-Five are still intact. Of those, the Summit of Five is supreme – the five first Chapters, whose leaders are seen as the Lion’s closest advisory body. Currently, their leaders are, in order, Astelan, Sammael, Azrael, Yafrir, and Balthasar. Other warbands operate outside the structure of the Eighty-Five; those are smaller, and often their leaders are young and ambitious, seeking to eventually achieve a rank among the Chapter Masters. Overall, about ten thousand Dark Angels are outside the Eighty-Five, around fifteen thousand are loyal to the Summit of Five, and the rest belong to the other Chapters. The largest Chapter, the First, numbers around four and a half thousand Marines; the majority contain nine hundred to a thousand.

“What about the possessed? Kill them. Flesh and ethereal flesh should meld in far truer ways than blunt daemonic takeover, and they’re depressing besides.”

- Interrogator Belial

There are no Techmarines among the Dark Angels; every single Marine is expected to be competent in industry. Almost all are, but it isn’t as if those who aren’t are persecuted. Mindless killers are rarer than in other Legions, but they are acknowledged to have their uses. Those Marines who specialize in psychic research and development are known as Interrogators. Making up about three percent of the Legion, Interrogators are known as such for their frequent sadism, but taking joy in their actions is not a prerequisite.

Most psykers are also Interrogators; but many Chapters also maintain a special Battle-Librarian department, containing maybe a quarter of a percent of the Legion, devoted to the use of the Warp directly in battle. And, of course, some Sorcerors rise to leadership positions and stay there. Apothecaries make up a percent to two of the Dark Angels; they fuse their knowledge of man and machine, and work together closely with the Interrogators for such things as bionic and ethereal implants. They are generally respected more than the Battle-Librarians, but less than the Interrogators; yet in general, the Dark Angels have maintained a sense of brotherhood more than many Chaos Legions, and most Legionnaires have respect for most others.

In this fashion, the First Legion has maintained its power and its mission through the millennia, preparing for the next push to Terra.

Combat Doctrine​

The Dark Angels are not merely a combat organization. In general, they conquer worlds to enlighten the populace, as well as to create another Dark Forgeworld. They never leave willingly, but the fragility of many of their systems mean they leave all too often nevertheless.

On the offensive, the Dark Angels begin their attack via scrapcode and other such infiltrations, breaking apart the enemy’s ability to fight. They join this with propaganda broadcasts that explain the depths of the Spiral Creator, though not in too much detail – the populace must be kept be alive, after all, and that means flooding it with the power of the Warp only slowly. Xenos, too, are encouraged to join Dark Angel conquests, though few do. In any case, the broadcasts’ goal is more to inform than to persuade. After an immediate assault on enemy strongholds, the Dark Angels flood the planet, bringing Chaos into the planetary psyche and eventually turning it into a Daemon World. (Indeed, sometimes this step precedes all the others; the risk of discovery by the Twentieth, though, is severe). Until the moment of transformation, great industrial centers are lifted at the former sites of the enemy strongholds; underground resistance in the countryside is ignored until the forges meet and cover the entire world.

Such a slow process means the Dark Angels are often forced to defend what they have taken. Usually, the enemy is counter-attacked with scrapcode and daemons; then, the First Legion retreats to its strongholds, but also wages mobile warfare. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the enemy is never safe. Nevertheless, even a failed attempt at invasion can significantly damage economical output; so the Dark Angels use vast, Warp-affected but not Warp-possessed, ships to beat back many invasions long before they reach the surface. The result is that Dark Angel planets tend to be less self-sufficient and more dependent on nearby allies than those of most allies, but also more potentially powerful offensively.

Homeworld​

The Dark Angels’ first homeworld was Caliban. A planet of dense forests, it was before the Lion’s arrival at war with itself: knights against beasts, needless conflict without end. Civilization was at a medieval level. Lion el’Jonson joined the two sides to create a haven for the combination of sorcery and technology. The downside to this was, of course, that progress was bought by the blood of innocents; but the Lion knew the success of the human race was worth any short-term sacrifice.

Luthor and his Inner Circle destroyed Caliban at the end of the War of Discovery, and moreover poisoned the space around it. The Legion was rebuilt in a planet Zahariel renamed to the Rock. The Rock is far more mechanical than Caliban had ever been, but its spirit is just as fierce. It is a place of circles rotating within circles, bound together by tendons of both daemonic and realspace flesh. The precise geometry makes little sense, but in general, the place resembles a handleless cup in shape, with the hollow interior a docking bay for spaceships. There are no trees on the Rock, but there are animals, most of them transformed by endless mutation. They feed on each other and the sheer power of the Warp.

Beliefs​

The Dark Angels between that only Chaos can stop humanity from itself, both in terms of physics and in the societal sense. There is evidence that, before the Great Betrayal, the Lion thought of this as a depressing burden, and tried to wean himself off what he recognized as an alienating creed; but when war broke out, he dedicated his full resources towards victory, and once more embraced the darker aspects of Chaos. Luthor, it should be noted, initially shared the Lion’s beliefs but ultimately came to the conclusion that they were inhuman.

The Dark Angels’ relationship with the Chaos Gods is complicated. Basically, they are regarded as allies, but not openly worshipped, and their daemons are consulted but not trusted. Individual engines can be dedicated to a god, but individual Legionnaires should not be – though some join a religion nevertheless.

Gene-seed​

The Dark Angels’ gene-seed is a mess. Most gene-lines have every organ but the Omophagea functioning (eating enemy brains is in any case seen as barbaric), but many also add entirely new ones that may or may not function well, as well as bionic and ethereal enchancements. The Lion himself no longer donates gene-seed for the creation of new Marines himself, but many Dark Forgeworlds have created their own means of mass-producing it.

Battle-cry​

Through time, the Dark Angels have maintained their original battle-cry: “Repent! For you die today!” During the Great Crusade, “Repent” was often replaced with the less religious “Comprehend”.
 

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This is very fascinating and well written! The only problems I have are 1) wtf happened to the blood angels? (this is more just because I love them than anything else) and 2) how did a wounded lorgar kill a full-strength emperor when Horus (the strongest primarch in combat assisted by demons and barely wounded by sanguineous) was demolished by this same emperor (it was only the emperors reluctance that got him hurt)? Still though, very well written then mostly well thought out
 

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Discussion Starter #16
JAMOB: Thanks!
On the Blood Angels - all will be explained. But the Night Lords article summarizes the basics - they're renegades, but not Lorgar-aligned.

On Lorgar: Ehm. Well, the full details of what happened in the Throne Room will be explained in the Emperor's Children IA. Suffice it to say that the account in the Word Bearers IA is what Kor Phaeron says, and thus omits certain important details not known by the galaxy at large. And the Emperor is not necessarily dead, just Golden-Throned.
 

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Wow

Just wow. This is great. Really great. Magnificence. Splendor. This is exactly what I wanted. Yes, I want to read MORE.

Thus, I have a few questions. 1) White scar legion is expanded tenfold after escape?(20,000-200,000) If so, how was it possible? 2) Full force of Raven guard actually participated siege of holy terra?(Well, if not, 4.? Legion vs 7(so to speak, 4+4-1=7) Legion. It is no surprise that Lorgar failed utterly, of course) 3) During betrayal and siege of holy terra, what exactly did the Luna Wolves, Alpha Legion, Thousand Sons and Night Lords? 4) Does Imperium have a plan for the Huron Blackheart and Maelstrom's pirate traitors? 5) After betrayal, Imperium's science, technology and tenets of Imperial Truth remain mostly intact? 6) What means of Mortarial Worlds? 7) Dark Angel has means of anti-psychic(For example, Battle of Petsembe)? 8) What was the purpose of Nova Terra Interregnum? Why did they oppose rule of Emperor's loyal godling sons? 9) Mortarion was 'definitely' dead?(Like Sanguinius) or 'supposedly' dead?(Like Dorn) 10) Imperium's overall situation is much better than canon 40k?



Due to repeated, unresolved moderator problem(Why? I cannot comprehend...), I must necessarily rely on editing... I have to ask to be excused.

First and foremost, thanks for the answers. I'm looking forward next update. Please keep going this unique, magnificent scenario!

And
1. Ok... Ten thousand years is quite looooong.
2. I already know that fact. But my question is, how many legionnaires of Raven Guard participated in the siege. Approximately half of the strength, I presume(Like the Ultramarine)?
3. Just as I had thought. Post-heresy Imperium must be much, much more stable than canon. So, you didn't envisage/elaborate exact details of logistics yet?
4. I do understand how difficult it can be for Imperium. Maelstrom is the second largest warp storm in the universe, after all. There is, however, no equivalent of Badab War yet?
5. Again, "mostly". So, is there some minor changes in the Mechanicum or tenets of Imperial Truth?
6. Does Night Lord legion know existence of dragon of mars?
7. Interesting. LB's Dark Angel is all-powerful...(Jack of all trades, perhaps?)
8. Ah, simple, fundamental humane reason-not involved some insidious chaos/xeno intervention after all, I see.
5, 10. Indeed, that is one of the reasons of why I love your scenario so much. To speak candidly, it is bittersweet ending. Not sad ending. Also, I sincerely like tenets of Imperial Truth. Not some uber-zealot's medieval, static, techno-superstitious, unduly oppressive religious hellhole; canon 40k Imperium, so to speak.
11. In this scenario, certain worlds(For example, Kulgotha or Sabbat) are slightly/radically different form canon 40k?
12. Tau was...exterminated by Ultramarine?
13. CSM's gene seed procurement is more stable than canon 40k?
14. How much Horus and Corax's upbringings are different from canon 40k?
15. You had said 'ten Imperial Legions'. Well, is the World Eater loyalist(after their 'Second Betrayal'), perhaps?
16. Does Emperor live in permanent vegetable state like canon 40?
17, Does LB's Imperium have equivalent of Inquisition?

p.s What comes next in the Death Guard?

Quite neat answer. And...

1. I had thought Night Lords distrust in Mechanicum because they know existence of dragon of mars and Cult of Dragonㅡat least partially. Is it right?
2. How about relationship between Ultramarine-Tau is compared with canon?
3. just as there are nice worlds in the 40K Imperiumㅡin this paragraph, you meant canon 40k Imperium?
4. I said 'equivalent' of Inquisition, not the 'same'(In this scenario, I cannot conceive institutions like Inquisition could be viable)ㅡsuch as Alpha Legion's agent/investigator convention/organization. Thus, does Alpha Legion-associated organizations exist in LB?
5. LB's Imperium is closer to Great Crusade era Imperium than canon 40k Imperium?
6. More than half of the Raven Guard was on Terra, but far from all...about 70%, as I speculate? And how about Emperors Children Legion's participation proportion?
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Ecumene: Thank you! As for your questions:

1. Yes, over a period of millenia, they wound up increasing their numbers.
2-3. Yeah... I will admit that the logistics of the Betrayal were the least thought-out part of this. That being said, during the Betrayal, LW/AL/NL mostly fought the war across the galaxy, fighting Chaos and other uprisings on various worlds that struck in a time of weakness, as well as opportunistic xeno attacks. There were also skirmishes with the Second Fleet. The Thousand Sons had their own issues. And the only Legions with large contingents on Terra were Ultramarines, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, and eventually Death Guard and Space Wolves. That's five, and initially only three.
4. The Maelstrom traitors are like the EoT traitors, very difficult to eradicate because they're in a Warp Storm. Maybe there's a long-term plan, but certainly nothing in the short term.
5. Mostly, yes.
6. The next IA (Death Guard) will explain. Basically, they're the worlds Mortarion purified at the end of the Iron Cage.
7. They do, yes. They have means of anti-pretty much anything, really. It's just a matter of getting the silver bullet to the right place at the right time.
8. In a country as large and long-lived as the Imperium, it'd be a miracle if there weren't any major rebellions, simply because of human nature.
9. Again, the next IA will explain.
10. Far better. Which wasn't my original plan, actually, but it turned out that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ecumene: I'm honored by your continued interest! IA: Death Guard is planned to be out in December or early January (I currently don't have access to my notes, for various reasons). As for your questions:

2. More than half of the Raven Guard was on Terra, but far from all.
3. Yeah - my main brainstorming process before I began this project had to do with the pre-Heresy era. Most of the rest has been evolving as I went along.
4. The parallel to the Badab War is Huron's uniting the Red Corsairs, and his conquest of Badab.
5. The Imperial Truth has evolved from a crusading sort of atheism into a more general philosophy - one for defense as well as offense. The Mechanicum's creed, I'll need to think about. I suspect that it's bleaker in outlook but less cultish than the 30K Mechanicum, and really has nothing to do with the 40K version, but I may change my mind.
6. The existence of the Dragon of Mars is known in the higher ranks of the Imperium and Mechanicum, including some of the Night Lords. I'm not sure if anyone knows exactly what it is. (It's never been answered in canon, after all.)
7. Not all-powerful; they have significant weaknesses (getting the silver bullet to the right place at the right time is far from easy in 40K). But somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades, yes.
10. Yeah - the war between the Imperium and Chaos is, here, a true stalemate, not one that Chaos has been on the verge of winning for 10K years as in canon. Though there are certainly hellhole worlds in the LB Imperium, just as there are nice worlds in the 40K Imperium.
11. Yes - history diverged a lot for a lot of places.
12. No, the Tau are around, and similar to canon.
13. Yes - Chaos Marines in LB tend to use their own gene-seed as opposed to the Loyalists'. This is because there's a greater taboo against using Loyalist gene-seed, and greater unity of the Chaos Legions.
14. Quite different. That's all I'm going to say for now.
15. No. Again, no further comment.
16. Yes - simply because the Emperor walking around would make the Imperium way too powerful, and him being dead would make it too weak. So I took canon's compromise.
17. There is no Inquisition, though there are institutions that have some similarities.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Ecumene:

1. The Night Lords distrust the Mechanicum for the simple reason that they have some respect of independence, and thus are an empire within an empire. There are other causes too: for one, the Night Lords suspect the Mechanicum have something to do with their gene-seed issues. And yes, the fact that a xeno monster is being caged on Mars and affecting the Mechanicum's thought patterns, even if knowledge of it is limited to the high ranks of the Legion, is hardly going to endear trust either, especially among a Legion dedicated to psychology (-cal warfare).
2. The Imperium's relationship with the Tau is one that contains both war and alliances of convenience. Neither side likes the other, but the Imperium knows there are bigger threats, and the Tau typically expand via non-violent means. The Ultramarines, specifically, are probably more worried than most about the Tau, because the Tau present a long-term threat.
3. Yes.
4. Alpha Legion associates exist, yes. Some even exist openly.
5. In terms of ideology, certainly. Although the (debatably necessary) dark sides of the Imperial Truth - such as secrecy, lack of tolerance and militarization - are also still around, they haven't been amplified to obscure everything else as in canon 40K.
6. Tentatively (I may change this), I'd say about 80% of Raven Guard and 50% of Emperor's Children.

And if you (or anyone else) have any suggestions, feel free to voice them!
 
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