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IIRC, they are the space marine chapter stationed on Terra (Earth). They are responsible for protecting the high lords, the Emperor, Mars, and all other important areas in the solar system.
 

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thats the Adeptus Custodes.

to quote the old Codex Imperialis

"The Imperium is ruled in the Emperor's name by the incalculably vast Adeptus Terra, the ancient Priesthood of Earth, whose masters are the High Lords of Terra. The Adeptus Terra numbers billions upon billions of individuals on Earth alone."

etc etc
 

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Oh I see, the Adeptus Terra are teh priest hood of terra and the Adeptus Custodes are the Marine chapter of which I spoke. Cool. Then why is the priest hood referred to as an adeptus? It gives teh impression of a Marine chapter...or was this before GW used Adeptus to represent only marine chapters? (early in teh fluff writing?)
 

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The word "Adeptus" applies to various branches of the Imperial organisation, hence Adeptus Astronomica, Adeptus Sororitas, Adeptus Administratum, Adeptus Ministorum, etc etc.

I thought the custodes were a small, elite organization, not one that numbers "billions upon billions" of people.
God knows how many Custodes they are, but the billions upon billions refers to the Adeptus Terra, administrators and bureaucrats.
 
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