@Blitzy We are, though given the timeframes presently involved in sheet creation, I will ask that you craft your sheets as quickly as you're able to. The link to the Discord server is in the first post, of course, so feel free to jump in there at will.
Homeworld: Ictar, located in the Segmentum Pacificus and near the border with the Segmentum Obscurus. Ictar was once a pleasant world dominated by a single Pangea, but cataclysmic natural disasters shattered the continent into a fractal landmass and dramatically changed the climate, plunging the humans who dwelled there back thousands of years on the technological timeline. Now, Ictar is covered in scattered islands dotted in a whirling sea. Ictar is icy and frigid, with sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall gripping the planet for around 90 percent of its cycle. Most vegetation struggles to grow in the frozen soil and cold air, giving rise to forests of rugged trees. Even more so than the vegetation, Ictar's wildlife has been shaped by the harsh conditions of the world. Great furry predators dominate the land, plaguing settlements and devouring unwitting natives who wander too far into the wilds between villages without ample protection. The sea is home to multiple dangerous reptilian species that make sea travel between islands a challenging task at best. Furthermore, the planet is prone to earthquakes, which in turn has a tendency to cause tidal waves.
Appearance: Like the other Primarchs, Tymos is enormous in size compared to a standard human. However, in comparison to his brothers, Tymos is slightly shorter, standing a little over 10 feet. A combination of warp-altered genetics and the climate of his home planet, Tymos has very little pigmentation, sporting an unsettling combination of a sickly pale complexion and lifeless dark grey-black hair. The skin on his face is weather-beaten from years of cold winds and his facial features are sharp and angular. His small eyes are a deep shade of brown with a dull red tint to them, combining with his pale skin to give him an otherworldly and frankly quite frightening appearance. In terms of his stature, Tymos is more lean and gaunt than some of his more well-built brothers, but the loss of strength is compensated for by greater speed and agility.
Personality: The easiest way to summarise Tymos would be enigmatic. The Primarch of the Black Manticores is notoriously difficult to decipher due to his deeply secretive nature and deliberate unpredictability. Tymos is very picky about what he says and what information he divulges, going as far as to bluntly ignore questions if he is not willing to share the answer. He is constantly analysing and calculating, trying to use his knowledge of psychology to stay two steps ahead and affording himself the ability to seize the initiative and control situations as needed. In the manner that Tymos seeks to understand, influence and control and situations, Tymos can be considered a highly manipulative individual. His unpredictability stems from a desire to be so; by understanding others Tymos looks to calculate what they would expect from him, and then formulate a plan to do the exact opposite and blindside his foes.
Tymos is harsh and merciless, willing to do whatever needs to be done in order to achieve victory even if that is at the cost of countless lives. No level of force or violence is considered too extreme, with the Primarch regularly looking to excessive bloodshed to quickly scare enemies into obedience. Tymos, intentionally or not, can be extremely cruel, and there are rumours that he deliberately applies excessive violence in battlefield scenarios because he is a sadist and enjoys doing so. How true this is, is unknown. He can come across as callous and uncaring; he values the lives of his brothers and his sons, and that is about as far as his compassion extends. His grim demeanour, lack of outward expression and odd appearance make being in Tymos' presence a highly unsettling experience.
The Primarch of the Black Manticores is somewhat paranoid due to the persistent psychic warnings he receives and is suspicious of others, always trying to calculate their thoughts and feelings not only to best them but also to protect himself from betrayal. People that he struggles to read make Tymos feel uncomfortable and frustrated. This is because Tymos places such a large emphasis on loyalty; having been shown so little in his early years, the loyalty afforded Tymos by his men on Ictar was his most valued possession, and betrayal is Tymos' undisputed biggest fear. As much as he expects loyalty, Tymos gives it; he is fiercely loyal to his brothers, to his sons and to his father, whom Tymos holds in a near-reverence regard.
Despite his grim demeanour, callous nature and undeniable tendencies for extreme violence and cruelty, Tymos has the best intentions at heart. While he can be bitter and resentful, Tymos is entirely devoted to the Emperor and would never willingly harm any of his brothers. He sees himself and his legion as loyal tools of the Imperium, willing to cross lines that others would not in the name of the Emperor, and to that end almost sees himself as the Emperor's most loyal servant. His extreme tactics are applied out of necessity rather than desire. Nevertheless, there are many who view Tymos with concern and fear.
Tymos does have some good qualities amongst his muddied, dark personality. He is perceptive and adaptable in his thinking, willing to alter plans at a moment’s notice if it would be advantageous. The entire organisation of his legion is designed for maximum adaptability. Tymos is fiercely loyal to people he cares about, including the Emperor and his brother Primarchs. He sees each of his Astartes as his sons and does his best to know his men. Tymos is diligent and will achieve the goals set for him by any means necessary. He will apply himself utterly to solving difficult situations to the point that he can become obsessive. Tymos leads from the front; a hands on commander who inspires his men by leading them into battle himself when possible. He even has a sharp sense of humour and wit, often manifesting as sarcastic quips that are amusing to some, and plainly uncomfortable for others.
Skills: Tymos' understanding of psychology is unparalleled, giving him the capacity to manipulate and predict others and governing every tactical decision he makes. He employs his troops specifically with the goal of utter psychological domination as well as physical and seems to take pleasure in his doing so. Tymos is an agile and furious combatant, never remaining in one place and raining swift blows upon his enemies. A firm grasp of logistics and warfare gives Tymos the ability to use his troops for subterfuge and sabotage.
Assignment Grade: Kappa. Tymos has no ability to consciously control or manifest his psychic powers. However, his psionic abilities often manifest as a sixth sense, almost like a powerful gut feeling that influences his decisions and emotions. Although Tymos is now aware that it is latent psychic power, he previously had suspected it to be a spiritual power. The indications that Tymos receives are far from clear, manifesting as simply as a feeling that something odd was brewing in the days prior to the Emperor's arrival on Ictar to a sense of impending danger. Although it has its bonuses, these indistinguishable feelings of being in danger have helped to make Tymos somewhat suspicious and paranoid.
Following intervention by the foul powers of the warp, Tymos' gestation pod fell upon the icy feudal world of Ictar in the Vitus System of the Segmentum Tempestus. The world had previously been a successful human colony, but a series of cataclysmic natural disasters caused the single Pangaea on the planet's surface to shatter into a scattered archipelago of varied islands. It was followed by rapid, extreme climate change, fracturing the human settlers on the planet into separate groups and thrusting them back thousands of years to a near medieval level of technology. Over generations, their origins as colonists were forgotten and quarrelling clans formed, battling constantly to seize resources from one another in the harsh, unforgiving conditions.
The pod landed in a forest on one of Ictar's largest islands, falling in the icy no man's land between the territories of several rival clans. Tymos was not discovered for over a year. Between the vicious, aggressive wildlife and the extreme cold, the young Primarch, around the size of a six-year old on his landing, should not have survived twenty four hours. Yet through some combination of will, fortune and fate, Tymos managed to live in the dangerous wilds for around fourteen months, blissfully unaware that other human life on the planet even existed. By his first human contact, Tymos had already grown rapidly, reaching the size of a young teenager.
Tymos encountered his first humans by chance; stumbling across a group who appeared to be tracking the same dinner that he was. Opting to remain unseen, the young Primarch maintained a safe distance, stalking the group instead as they hunted, observing their behaviour and interactions. He followed them back to their village, a moderately sized ring of wooden spikes surrounding a smattering of thatched-roof huts. Tymos knew nothing about these people; until now he had wholeheartedly believed he was alone in the world. He longed to be one of them but simultaneously did not at all trust his life to them. So instead, he watched and waited, gathering intelligence and learning their patterns, their interactions, their behaviours, spying and learning what it was to be human.
Eventually Tymos decided that existing as part of a group, where resources could be shared and numbers provided strength, would be to his benefit. He hunted down a small creature and smothered himself with its blood, using a makeshift blade to tatter his clothing, and stumbled into the encampment feigning injury. His hope was that he would be able to manipulate the humans into feeling sympathy and taking him into their fold. Instead, when Tymos stumbled bloodied and limping into the village calling for help, he was met with an axe blade at his throat.
Tymos' arrival split the village in half. The village was the seat of the Iceblood Clan, a savage warrior tribe. Half the population wanted to chop his body into pieces and feed it to their livestock, and the other half wanted to at least wait a few days and see what this bloody stranger truly was before slaughtering him. Tymos immediately regretted his decision, feeling disappointed, alienated and a little betrayed. He had trusted that these people would find the kindness in their hearts to help a wounded teenager, and instead he was caged like an animal, deprived of his freedom and sustained on meagre amounts of food so vile that even a pig would turn its nose up at.
In his squalor, Tymos stewed. Anger and bitterness swelled within him. He waited three long days for these humans to make their decision. He was questioned repeatedly; it was through this he learned that there were other clans, rivals and enemies, and they believed Tymos could be a useful bargaining chip. Yet it was evident that the boy, who wholeheartedly believed that this village was the only one of its kind anywhere, knew nothing of other clans. Perplexed but no longer baying for his blood, the elders decided that Tymos would be allowed to stay for the time being. Like his brother Primarchs, Tymos' rise was inevitable.
Although Tymos had been eventually accepted, he was not truly one of them. He noticed quickly that all the other boys his age had parents who cared for them, while he was left alone to scavenge his own scraps from what others threw out. Tymos had a lot of time to watch and learn, keenly observing all of the human behaviour from friendly interactions to the backstabbing of clan politics. All the while, Tymos was growing, become taller and stronger. It appeared, among the Iceblood people, strength was power. Those who were successful killers were revered, and those who did not were assigned menial jobs washing clothes and feeding livestock. Realising the only path to earning some respect and a warm dinner was to prove his strength, Tymos began learning how to fight.
His time in the wilderness had hardened Tymos, making him remorseless and sharp-witted. He knew how to kill animals in more ways than he could count on two fingers within weeks of his landing. Surely, people would not be too different. He picked fights with other boys his age, beating them with ease. Then bigger boys, a tougher challenge but one he overcame nonetheless. After some time beating other boys bloody for their lunch, some of the clan warriors took note of Tymos and put a wooden sword in his hand, teaching him the art of hand-to-hand combat. From there, the Primarch never looked back.
It took a couple of years for Tymos to reach the size of a grown man. It took him a couple years more to reach a height of ten feet, standing head and shoulders above even the biggest men in the clan. He had proven his worth, fighting in countless raids on other clans, spilling blood for no reason more than survival. The clan he fought for made extensive use of sneak attacks and psychological warfare, wearing their enemies down and filling them with terror, and Tymos adopted these philosophies to heart. His imposing size was certainly an asset, but the behemoth wearing a bone mask and storming into another village with his skin covered in blood-drawn patterns was a sight that made even the most hardened raiders fill their drawers on the spot.
It was during these years that Tymos met Morael Moon-Born, a fellow warrior. Morael earned Tymos' trust, nicknaming the Primarch 'Tall Tymos'. Despite all the years spent among them, none of the Iceblood people ever treated Tymos like one of their own. They had allowed him to stay, yet fending for himself among them was arguably more challenging than in the wilds. Only once they realised his power did they take any notice of him, and even now they used him as if he was a tool, a human battering ram to be thrown into the fray against other villages regardless of his safety or thoughts on the matter. Tymos did not trust them, focussed solely on his own survival. Seeing the way they would stab each other in the back to get a leg up disgusted him, filling Tymos with suspicion and mistrust during his formative years.
Eventually to Tymos, survival seemed an odd goal. A goal for the short-sighted and the narrow-minded, who could not see past tomorrow. Tymos had bigger ambitions. He set his plan in motion, with Morael at his back, and challenged the clan leader to a duel for the position. Tymos made a point of dismantling his opponent, dodging frenzied blow after frenzied blow, staying out of arm's length. His movement was fluid, his mind steady and composed, dodging and sweeping about his opponent. Eventually Tymos' blade began moving, nicking an arm here and a leg there. After a time the blade sunk deeper, catching tendons and muscles, disabling the enraged warrior.
Tymos protracted the duel for almost an hour before the man before him, supposedly the village's greatest warrior, kneeled. Tymos had severed both of his hamstrings and broken both of his arms at the elbow, leaving him defenceless. The Primarch loomed over him, almost double his height when standing let alone kneeling, staring down at him with an unfeeling gaze. These people had never shown him mercy nor kindness, and they would earn none in return. He had seen they could not be trusted, and no amount of strength would keep these people in line. Yet an even more effective tool than strength, Tymos had come to find, was fear.
The next few hours were literally torturous. The village leader stood tied to a wooden post in the village courtyard, screaming in agony as Tymos worked. He removed nails and teeth, severed fingers and toes, and peeled the man's flesh from his body. Tymos made every man in the village, the warrior caste, come to the fore, take the knife and peel flesh from the body of their former leader lest they wish to suffer the same fate. Tymos took no pride or joy in the horrifying practices that he had made these people witness. Yet he knew that this was what it would take to keep these people in line, and for that he would never be apologetic. If they ever dared to step out of line, he would be more than happy to set another example.
It worked. The village fell in line, and others followed. Tymos made a point of similarly executing every village's leader as he and his men conquered first their own island, and then the surrounding ones, and then beyond. The more Tymos butchered, the less resistance they faced, with villagers even greeting him and his men at the gates with their leader bound as a plea to spare the rest of them the bloodshed, another indicator of the fickle and treacherous nature of people to Tymos. He installed new leaders at Morael's recommendation, but would never fully place his trust in any of them for fear of betrayal. With Morael at his side, Tymos blazed a bloody trail across the white snows of Ictar, bringing village after village into his domain. It was not for the sake of bloodshed alone. Tymos developed an effective infrastructure, developing villages into specialized producers of resources that could be shared across his lands, and ensuring justice and peace. Importantly, those that stepped out of line made good examples to ensure others did not follow suit.
When the Emperor came, it came as no great shock to Tymos. He had sense something brewing for some time. He had grown bored of Ictar and its pitiful people, and for a few weeks now it had felt like someone was calling out to him from above. In his dreams he had seen golden angels and as the day of the Emperor's arrival drew nearer the feelings intensified. When he came, Tymos accepted his every word without question, always believing he had been born to serve a higher purpose than to oversee some brutes in the snow. In return for his loyalty, Tymos asked that he be allowed to repay the years of faithful, unquestioning service that Morael had given him by taking him away too, a request that the Emperor granted.
After some time educating Tymos and preparing him to serve at the forefront of expansion for the Imperium of Man, Tymos was united with the XVIII Legion. When choosing a name, Tymos thought of his time on Ictar. Their apex predator had been the manticore, a foul beast with the body of a great cat and a vicious barbed tail filled with venom. Tymos had worn a Manticore sigil since taking over as leader of his village, and looking at the onyx sigil in his hand, decided that like the beast of his homeworld his own legion would too be apex predators, feared by all. Thus, he redubbed the XVIII as the Black Manticores.
The first thing Tymos did was overhaul the legion's training and organisation, redesigning the legion to fit his own military philosophies. He placed an emphasis on flexibility through organisation and set up specialised units to act as a varied toolbox at his disposal; for their is no use for a hammer where a needle is required. He installed many of the traditions he had grown up with into the ideology of the Astartes under his command and rewrote their tactical doctrine to favour subterfuge and terror tactics. Under Tymos, the legion formerly known as the Ghost Legion were reformed into a well-drilled army that wielded fear as effectively as any other marine may wield their bolter. Tymos has led the Black Manticores in service to the Emperor and his crusade ever since.
“Not much further, my lord.” Tymos offered little more than a grunt in reply to the scout, his eyes darting about the wintry gloom of their forested surroundings. The gnarled trees all around them were barren, solidly in the grip of Ictar’s mid-winter. Barren branches stretched desperately upwards towards the dim light of the sun, weaving around each other to form a bizarre interlocking canopy. The forest floor was almost as bare; the mesh of branches was about as much use for stopping the snow as would be a sieve, and the ground was a patchwork mixture of frozen earth and crisp white. Smattered clusters of stubborn plants clung to their roots in the places where sunlight was able to penetrate, their leaves a deep green and their flowers a bland shade of grey. Amongst it all, four men marched.
Tymos looked around at his company. At his left walked his most trusted, Morael. Snowflakes hung in the bush of his black beard like decorations, and aside from the thick furs and leather armour hugging his bulky frame he was also wearing an obviously concerned expression. His left hand lingered constantly above the axe at his side and his right was balled into a tight fist. He spoke no words, but he did not need to. Tymos could tell what the man was thinking, and he shared his friend’s sentiments. But, Tymos needed to see with his own eyes. In that, he had no choice.
On his right marched the two scouts who had set all this in motion. The bald one who had spoken earlier was constantly looking over his shoulders, as if he expected trouble, and the other marched in silence, watching the ground. Tymos did not know them by name; a sad truth of expanding rule was that it became impossible for one to know every man he commanded. Try as he might, the villages were just too widespread and too populous for Tymos to know them all anymore. They seemed good men, but one could never be too sure. There was every chance that the pair of scouts were luring Tymos and Morael into a trap for one of the dozens of upstarts to try yet again to dislodge Tymos. Fools who attempted anything of that ilk did not often keep their heads for too long after. “Down.” At the scout’s words, all four men lowered their stance. “Ahead. The clearing, my lord. Can you hear it?” Indeed, the unmistakable sound of human voices. They were deep and sounded as if someone were speaking into a great metal tin. There were other noises as well. The voices were accompanied by a low hum, and the sounds of a dozen armour-clad feet thudding against the frozen ground. A strange wave of familiarity washed over Tymos. Although uneasy, Tymos did not feel endangered. Bolstered by new-found confidence, he stood to his full height, dwarfing the crouched men around him.
“Tymos. Surely you do not mean to approach?” Tymos did not reply immediately.
“I do. I must see it, brother. If what these men say is true,” he gestured to the two befuddled scouts, “then it is imperative.” Morael knew better than to argue. Nothing he could say would dissuade Tymos from this venture. Morael stood, even at his full height falling four feet short of the gargantuan Tymos, and relieved his axe of its bindings, gripping it firmly. He said no more, simply nodding his compliance. The four men walked forward, clearing the rows of watching trees and stepping into a wide clearing. As they did so, the voices stopped. Ahead of them, an enormous metal construction stood. Resembling a bird, the construct was tall, long and angular, with great steel wings stretching out from either side. Around its belly, some sort of ramp was descended into the snow, and at its base stood enormous armour clad men with glowing eyes. They were tall; shorter than Tymos but closer to his own height than Morael’s. The smaller warrior recoiled at the sight, but a firm hand on his shoulder from Tymos steadied his resolve. The four men walked closer.
The warriors had obviously spotted them now. They held curious weaponry, some sort of projectile weapon if the way they raised and pointed them at the approaching men was any indication. They made no sound, weapons fixed on the four strangers that dared approach them. As they drew closer, Tymos reeled at the enormity of the metal construct they had huddled around, larger than even the ships they had sailed the seas upon. Suddenly, in unison, the soldiers lowered their weapons, holding them across their chests. From up the ramp, the obvious sound of footsteps could be heard.
A single man descended. The single most marvellous man that Tymos had ever beheld. He was radiant, more so than Ictar’s sun even at the height of the Sun Season. He was taller than even Tymos, with hulking golden armour and long yellow hair that fell about his shoulders. His face was smooth, perfectly symmetrical and smiling, yet with a steely gaze and sharp features that commanded nothing but full respect. Despite himself, Tymos was overwhelmed by his magnificence and authority.
The golden man approached Tymos and his companions. As he drew nearer Tymos observed the intricacies of his armour patterning, ornate and carved with murals and patterns finer than anything the forges of Ictar had or would ever produce. He was taller than Tymos, and as he approached the two stared each other directly in the eye. The man’s smile vanished as he looked Tymos up and down for a moment, and reappeared seconds later as eye contact was restored. The scouts had retreated somewhat, and even Morael stood a couple of paces behind, his axe still drawn.
“What is your name?” His voice was soft and soothing.
“Tymos.” He did his best to retain his composure. He had never seen another man even close to his own size, yet this one dwarfed him in both stature and aura. “Tymos Venatum.”
“Tymos Venatum.” He smiled as he said it, mulling the name over no doubt. He outstretched an armoured hand. Tymos hesitated before grasping it firmly and shaking.
“Who are you?”
“I am the Emperor of Mankind, Tymos.” The words did not make sense, yet Tymos could sense he was not lying. Tymos ruled this planet, yet this man did not. This man ruled beyond this world. He glanced back at the giant metal bird. Some sort of ship for sailing the sea of stars, no doubt. “Look at your companions, Tymos. Look at mine.” Tymos did as he was bid. “Now look at us. At yourself, and at me. You know you are not of this world.” His words rang true. Tymos was closer in size to this supposed Emperor than anyone else he had ever met. His words were baffling, yet there was an undeniable truth to them. “You are my son, Tymos. I am your father, and I have come to bring you home.”
The Black Manticores
The XVIII Legion
"We Bring The Dark!"
Legion Strength: Recent estimates place the strength of the legion at around 90,000 Astartes.
Legion Organisation: Squad sizes vary depending on battlefield role; for example a standard squad of Manticore infiltrators numbers 10 Astartes, while recon squads are smaller and squads designed for holding positions are considerably larger. All squads are lead by a sergeant, and squads are grouped together into Platoons of 50 Astartes under the command of a Platoon Sergeant. These platoons are grouped into Battalions made of 200 Astartes under the command of a Lieutenant, and these battalions are grouped into companies of 1,000 marines under the command of a Praetor. The Praetors of each company answer directly to Tymos, forming a war council that collaborate to reach a decision on the legion's next move, although Tymos still holds an overriding say on the matter.
Each company acts as a functioning military unit with a specialised function, containing a mixture of battle line squads, support squads and specialist units. However, beyond providing a broad grouping, the company structure actually has very little bearing on the Legion. When the Manticores deploy they do so as a Battle Company under the command of the Primarch, or in his absence, a Praetor hand-chosen by the Primarch, and can contain any number of squads, platoons or companies with various battlefield roles. In doing so, the Manticores have created an incredibly fluid organisational structure that is highly adaptable to meet the demands of their campaigns and also makes it incredibly difficult to pre-empt their deployments. Typically, the Manticores like to deploy smaller forces with an emphasis on waging war from the shadows, rarely taking to the field in large numbers unless it brings a tactical benefit or the situation otherwise demands it, but they do have the capacity to deploy significant numbers and substantial firepower if needed.
Genetics: The genetics of the Black Manticores legion are actually quite stable. Like their Primarch, the marines of the Manticores have an almost sickly pale skin tone and all have either very dark brown or entirely black hair. They all have the same eye colour, which is a warm brown tone with a dull red tint to it, making them seem almost daemonic in appearance. Many believe they look like ghosts or vampires, adding to their fearsome aesthetics. Other than in appearance, the Manticores have no notable deviances or apparent defects. At least, none that have been uncovered yet.
Tactical Doctrine: The Black Manticores are masters of psychological warfare and subterfuge. Rarely seeking a fair fight, the Manticores aspire to cripple their enemies with fear, hitting strategic targets to cause mass disruption and panic and then fading away as quickly as they came. This is normally achieved by deploying infiltration units such as Seeker squads, colloquially branded "Ghost Squads" by soldiers of the Imperial Army, behind enemy lines in small groups. These units are tasked with conducting extensive reconnaissance to identify the enemy's command structure, numbers, resources and supply sources, and then orchestrating extensive missions to disrupt these elements in as many ways as possible using ambushes, night raids and assassination attempts. The Manticores strike hard and fast, favouring the application of excessive force and zero mercy against their foes, looking for maximum horror and bloodshed. Manticore Astartes operate like phantoms, fading away as quickly as they appeared and leaving little trace apart from the carnage of their attack and a handful of horrified survivors to tell the tale.
Astartes of the Black Manticores are fast-thinking fighters with brains as sharp as their blades, used to operating in small groups with little support. They are difficult to pin down, adept at fade-away attacks just as much as they are at eluding enemies. The Manticores have specialised infiltrator units for carrying out 'Terror Ops', specific missions designed to spread fear. This can be anything from wiping out patrols and returning the heads to the garrison, to sneaking in under the cover of night and slaughtering watchmen, leaving butchered and flayed corpses to be discovered at dawn. No act is considered too heinous for the Manticores if it helps achieve victory; marines of the legion have been known to adorn their armour with gristly trophies and hooked chains, drawing runes on their armour in the blood of their foes and dusting their armour with ash from the ruins of cities and garrisons that they have laid waste to. More recently, there are some suggestions that the Manticores have come to take pride and pleasure in their operations.
The Manticores rarely conquer quickly, instead protracting their campaigns in order to grind an enemy down over time until their final assault is opposed only by the remnants of a tattered, poorly-supplied and persistently terrorised force, already on the brink of breaking. When the time for the final push does come, the Manticores make use of purposefully imprecise artillery bombardments to shatter the morale of their foes as they advance, driving fear deep into the heart of even the hardiest defender. When the Manticores descend, a blur of ferocity and gore, many turn and run, and the others are slaughtered where they stand. As a result of their tactics the Manticores rarely take heavy losses. Their methods are terribly effective, but the indiscriminate and violent methods they favour have lead to a fearsome reputation and a certain level of notoriety among their fellow Astartes. Furthermore, those among the legions who believe in honour have called the Manticores cowardly. They favour results over speed, and so will drag out their campaigns for as long as necessary to achieve the result they desire.
The ranks of the Black Manticores contain a number of different specialist squads, created at the designation of the Legion's Primarch to fill specific battlefield niches. Seeker squads are infiltration specialists, consisting of the legion's sharpest marksmen and specialising in the assassination of enemy command figures. Haunter squads are specialist terror troops. Outfitted with the gristliest of trophies and special issue skull helmets, Black Manticore Haunter marines are ruthless killers usually dispatched to deal with substantially weaker opposition in the most brutal and horrific ways possible. Tormentor marines are specialised Devastator marines outfitted with heavy frag cannons and dispatched primarily as either ambushers, attacking armoured convoys and supply trains, or with the aim of demolishing enemy emplacements and buildings to soften defensive positions.
Favoured Wargear: The Manticores revel in the use of savage melee weaponry, making use of lightning claws, chainaxes and polearms. Every soldier, regardless of rank or role, carries a long, savage flaying knife designed for peeling the skin from foes, although most are carried symbolically. The legion has a preference for projectile weapons, with heavy bolters and missile launchers the mainstay of Manticore heavy weapon squads, although plasma weapons and lascannons do see use in dedicated tank hunter squads. As a standard infantry weapon the Manticores drill extensively to master the use of their humble boltguns. The Manticores also make frequent use of prototype weaponry, persistently petitioning the Mechanicum for access to experimental weapons in the hope of finding new ways to bring righteous terror to the foes of the Imperium. Infiltration and recon squads of the Black Manticores make frequent use of camo cloaks. Manticore assassination and infiltrating units have been known to use poisonous darts and to coat their blades in slow-acting but fatal venoms to ensure the kill while also guaranteeing maximum suffering.
Ideology and Relationships
Legion Ideology: The Manticores are odd in that they are highly traditional and somewhat superstitious. The Black Manticores have no concept of honour, or at least no respect for the concept. They do, however, prize strength and loyalty above all else. Tymos reveres the Emperor not as a God, but as his father, and admires his power and experience. This attitude is reflected in the Astartes of Tymos' legion; each and every soldier is willing to lay their life on the line and make any sacrifice necessary to bring victory to the Imperium of Man. The culture of the Manticores is one seeped in long-standing tradition that stems from Tymos' upbringing. Although many no longer believe the superstition that underlies the rituals and ceremonies anymore, they are maintained out of respect for Tymos' origins. Some traditions are still employed now for the use of psychological warfare; bloodletting of captives is common and their blood is often used to decorate the armour of Astartes before assault missions, adding to their fearsome appearance. The retrieved fallen are also cremated in ceremony and their ashes collected and retained in the chapter's fortress. Ritual executions, such as the Blood Eagle, are often employed to make examples of the fate that befalls heretics and traitors. Overall, the Manticores value every Astartes of their legion as true brothers and are incredibly close-knit, inspired by the strength of their leaders and fiercely loyal in their devotion to Imperium of Man.
Relationships: The Black Manticores view themselves as humble workhorses, carrying out the gritty work that the other legions won't sully themselves with. As a result, the Manticores often find themselves deployed to tackle particularly troublesome worlds where a psychological approach will be effective, or as a supplementary force to aid other legions with their shadow ops. No one can dispute the effectiveness of the Manticores, but not all agree with their methods and not all are happy to be deployed with Black Manticores alongside them. The Manticores are pragmatic enough to acknowledge that the strength of the legion does not lie in its combat prowess in an open field. As such, they usually dedicate more resources and troops to upping the ante on their psychological warfare campaigns while allied Astartes forces fight the battles in the field. As such, there is normally only a small Battle Company of Black Manticores fighting alongside any other Astartes legion at a time.
Soldiers of the Imperial Army consider an assignment alongside the Manticores to be a safe one; the Imperial forces are usually utilized as labour while the Manticores wage their war of terror, and by the time the army is put to use in a final assault their foes are normally already beaten. The legion's relationship with the other legions and with the Emperor is difficult to discern; the dedication of the Black Manticores to the Lord of Mankind and his Imperium is unquestionable and the Manticores have never given reason to be distrusted, but the extremity of their methods and severity of their actions walks a fine line and a much darker path than many other Astartes legions, and exactly how this is viewed is difficult to determine. It has been said, however, by Imperial Army soldiers and other Astartes alike, that to be in the presence of a squad of Black Manticores is an incredibly unsettling experience. The Manticores barely consider Xenos as separate species, choosing instead to see a single enemy of the Imperium and one that simply cannot be allowed to fester.
The relationship between the Black Manticores and the Mechanicum is a unique one. The Manticores recognize the importance of the Mechanicum's work and are constantly petitioning them for experimental weapons. However, generally favour projectile weapons and melee, meaning they are dismissive of many of the Mechanicum's creations. Their distrusting nature also prevents the Manticores from widely adopting new weapons and tech until they have been extensively tested in combat and proven that they are worth utilizing. How the Mechanicum feels about the Manticores is unknown, but the Manticores see the Mechanicum as an extremely odd machine cult that, although is essential to the technological development of mankind, is not to be trusted and should be seen more as servants than equals.
Morael the Moon-Born - The captain of Tymos' personal retinue, Morael is a fearsome warrior and one of Tymos' closest companions. Before the coming of the Emperor, Morael fought at Tymos' side in over a dozen wars between clans. As close friends and allies, one of Tymos' principal conditions for agreeing to come with the Emperor was that Morael be allowed to accompany him. Morael was eventually inducted as an Astartes and subjected to the necessary procedures, becoming a member of Tymos' legion. Earning renown on the battlefield, Morael continued to serve alongside his friend Tymos, eventually rising to command the First Company of the Black Manticores as a Praetor. From this position, Tymos made Morael the founding member of his personal bodyguards and allowed Morael to select nine other worthy Astartes to complete the unit.
Dryden Morsus - The Chief Warpriest of the Black Manticores, Dryden oversees the legion chaplaincy. Unlike the title of Lorekeeper, the title of Warpriest is purely symbolic and holds no extra responsibilities. Dryden embodies the principles of self-discipline, loyalty and sacrifice, using his experience and zeal to inspire his fellow Astartes, reinforcing the idea that any and all sacrifice that brings the legion closer to victory is a worthwhile one. Tymos admires Dryden and recognises the sway he holds is essential to the control of his Legion, but is wary of his growing influence. Tymos once tried to persuade Dryden to join his personal retinue at the recommendation of Morael, but Dryden's will and sense of duty prompted him to refuse the Primarch's offer, an action that means he still holds tremendous respect from Tymos to this day.
Ophiel Mectus - Mectus is the Chief Lorekeeper of the Black Manticores. As head of the Librarium, Mectus is responsible for directing the deployment of psykers in Manticore combat operations as well as their utilization off the battlefield. As part of his role, Mectus and his order are also charged with recording the history of the chapter so that the great accomplishments of their warriors can be immortalised. Ophiel was chosen for the role by Tymos; although the legion harboured no great love for him, all could recognize that his records spoke for themselves, making him the prime candidate. Although Mectus has conducted his duties perfectly since his appointment, it is still viewed by some as a poor choice.
Clave Excrucio - Praetor of the Twenty-Third Company, Clave is one of the legion's most twisted members and someone that Tymos has been watching with concern for some time. Although his activities are known to none outside of the Praetorium of the legion, Clave has developed a tendency to employ extreme interrogation methods, pushing his victims to their absolute limits to inflict enormous physical and psychological damage. While it has its uses, the concern arises from the apparent fact that Clave takes great pride and a sort of perverse joy in his work, wearing it as a badge of honour. While not an evil man, it appears Clave believes himself one of the most dedicated servants of the legion and thinks that his willingness to carry out the atrocities he does is a symbol of his loyalty and dedication.
Sevris the Red Sting - The most feared assault leader among the Black Manticores, Sevris is the Praetor overseeing the Black Manticores Third Company, nicknamed the Obsidian Angels. Following a particularly brutal campaign in which Sevris lead a solo assassination mission against the leader of a heretical cult, a miscalculation led to Sevris being confronted by dozens of guards. Slaughtering most of the guards single-handedly, by the time Sevris reached his target he had slain so many that his black armour had literally been painted red, prompting the remaining guards to flee and his target to fall before him, begging for mercy. Rumours spread of the so-called Red Sting, and recognizing the value of having Sevris as an icon of fear among the enemy, Tymos approved for Sevris to have a bespoke set of red armour made. To this day, the sight of a single red marine among the black marines of the Manticores is enough to make men break and flee. Sevris is one of Tymos' closest friends and confidants.
Dalvus Quill - Quill is the Chief Apothecary of the Black Manticores. Due to the lower than average number of casualties that result from the campaign tactics of the Manticores, Quill oversees a smaller than average Apothecarion. A shrewd man, Quill has earned his position by saving countless lives on the battlefield, earning prestige and respect among the legion as a true hero. Recently, Quill has begun research into studying cybernetics, which have never previously been employed among the Manticores save for replacing lost or amputated limbs.
Geryon Aculeus - Chief Admiral of the Black Manticores. Aculeus answers directly to Tymos and is in command of the entire legion fleet, with all individual admirals and ship captains answering to him. Aculeus commands from his personal ship, the Dusk Raptor. The Black Manticore fleet is primarily used to establishing planetary blockades, providing orbital fire support if needed and preying on weaker vessels. While certainly not a weak fleet that could be rolled over, the fleet of the Black Manticores is not one of the galaxy's most renowned naval forces.
Leonarys Morix - One of Tymos' most trusted Praetors. While Morael typically stays by Tymos' side as part of his personal retinue, Leonarys is usually the Primarch's first pick for command of a force that he cannot lead personally. A highly competent and seasoned warrior of the Manticores, Leonarys is shrewd and cunning, and has a preference for implementing sabotage.
The Black Manticores
The XVIII Legion
"We Bring The Dark."
Legion Strength: Approximately 85,000 Astartes.
Legion Organisation: Squad sizes vary depending on battlefield role; for example a standard Black Manticores tactical squad numbers 10 Astartes, while recon squads are smaller and squads tasked with holding positions are considerably larger. All squads are lead by a sergeant, and squads are grouped together into Platoons of 50 Astartes under the command of a Lieutenant. These platoons are grouped into Battalions made of 200 Astartes under the command of a Captain, and these battalions are grouped into companies of 1,000 marines under the command of a Praetor. The Praetors of each company answer directly to Tymos, forming a war council that collaborates to reach decisions on the legion's next move, although Tymos still holds an overriding say on the matter.
Each company acts as a functioning military unit with a specialised function, containing a mixture of battle line squads, support squads and specialist units. However, beyond the formality of providing a broad grouping, the company structure actually has very little bearing on the Legion. When the Manticores deploy they do so as a Battle Company under the command of the Primarch, or in his absence, a Praetor hand-chosen by the Primarch, and can contain any number of squads, platoons or companies with various battlefield roles. In doing so, the Manticores have created an incredibly fluid organisational structure that is highly adaptable to meet the demands of their campaigns and also makes it incredibly difficult to pre-empt their deployments. In this way, the Legion is able to tailor the forces they deploy to meet the needs of the challenge they face. Typically, the Manticores deploy smaller forces with an emphasis on waging a war of terror from the shadows, rarely taking to the field in large numbers unless it brings a tactical benefit or the situation otherwise demands it. Like all Astartes legions they do have the capacity to deploy significant numbers and substantial firepower if necessary, but will explore any and all alternative tactical approaches before resorting to doing so.
Genetics: The genetics of the Black Manticores legion are reasonably stable. Like their Primarch, the marines of the Black Manticores have sharp, angular features, an almost sickly pale skin tone and all have either very dark brown or entirely black hair. They all have the same eye colour, which is a warm brown tone with a dull red tint to it, making them seem almost daemonic and dead in appearance. Many believe they look like ghosts or vampires, adding to their fearsome aesthetics. Other than in appearance, there have been no noteworthy deviances in the gene seed of the Black Manticores thus far.
Tactical Doctrine: The Astartes of the Black Manticores are masters of psychological warfare and subterfuge. From the moment their training begins, the regimes of the legion focus heavily on achieving a profound understanding of the mind, and the ways in which it can be manipulated and dismantled. While obviously not frail beings, the gene-seed of the Manticores means the marines of the legion are leaner and lighter than those of their brother legions, giving rise to an adapted style of warfare that capitalises on their natural boons and emphasises speed and agility over raw strength. As such, the Black Manticores would seldom be seen marching towards their opponents without heavy mechanized support, preferring instead to wage an asymmetrical campaign that centres around the steady dismantling of the opposition with a combination of terror tactics and stealth operations.
Black Manticore combat operations typically begin with extensive reconnaissance carried out by highly trained teams. These squads are equipped with cameleoline camouflage cloaks, scanning and communication equipment and long-range scopes on their bolt rifles. The Black Manticores make extensive use of camouflage tactics when doing so would be beneficial, using a mixture of cameleoline cloaks and armour coverings to aid concealment. However, there are normally many occasions in which the Manticores opt to be seen. Once appropriate intelligence has been gathered and the Manticores have a firm understanding of numbers, supply lines, leaders and logistics, their terror campaigns can begin. Ritualistically adorning their armour with skulls, body parts and runic patterns, the Black Manticores mould themselves into conduits of fear and despair. Striking without warning and seemingly as if from thin air, the Black Manticores descend upon their hapless victims with indiscriminate brutality. Aspiring to plant fear and uncertainty deep into the hearts of their foes, the Manticores will butcher and mutilate with no mercy and no remorse, before vanishing as quickly as they came and leaving nothing but horror and gore, and a few survivors to tell the tale. The fact that these actions are carried out not because of insanity, but rather a calculated tactical choice, makes this all the more terrifying.
This is possible due to the mandatory training of every Astartes in the art of ‘Shadowstepping’. While many suspect this power to be of technological or psychic origin, it is actually derivative of the talents of native huntsman on Ictar. Using a combination of stealth skills, psychological manipulation and clever utilisation of one’s surrounding environment, it is possible for the marines of the Black Manticores to manipulate the perception of their foes. While easily put into practice by those trained in it, marines can control their own concealment with immense effect, seemingly appearing from the shadows and vanishing as quickly as they came. This is an incredibly powerful tool in both stealth operations and terror operations; armour-clad marines covered in skulls and blood can appear in an instant, butcher a foe, and vanish as quickly as they came. After witnessing the Shadowstepping tactics of a Black Manticores terror strike, it is impossible for one to feel comfortable in their surroundings, constantly looking over one’s shoulder and double checking the corner of every room for hidden foes. By leaving victims to tell the tale, the Black Manticores instil paranoia and fear, as well as publicising their actions and making sure the enemy knows who hit them, and that they cannot prevent it from happening again.
This manner of waging psychological warfare is just one way that the Black Manticores seek to gain an advantage over their enemies. They will seek any and all advantages, looking to dismantle their enemies piecemeal and win the war before battle even commences using intense psychological warfare, sabotage, assassination, ambushes and all manner of disruptive covert operations. To the Black Manticores, the best battles are the overtly one-sided ones created by their own persistent work. The Black Manticores fight loyally for the Imperium and will do whatever is necessary to achieve victory in the Emperor’s name. If a single knife in the right back will do the job, then fine, but this is seldom the case, and there is no such thing as excessive force in the dictionary of the Black Manticores. Excessive violence and butchery are common themes of Black Manticore operations, drawing disdain from many of the prouder and honourable Astartes legions. The Black Manticores believe that they are loyal servants of the Imperium and are simply willing to do whatever needs to be done, not constrained by moral codes or foolish concepts like honour. However, there are constant swirling rumours that the Black Manticores revel in slaughter and the infliction of pain upon their foes, and these rumours have more than a grain of truth to them. If victory necessitates the slaughter of millions, the Black Manticores will shoulder the grim responsibility without hesitation and deliver the Emperor’s wrath without mercy.
The Black Manticores rarely conquer quickly, instead protracting their campaigns in order to grind an enemy down over time until their final assault is opposed only by the remnants of a tattered, poorly-supplied and persistently terrorised force, already on the brink of breaking. When the time for the final push does come, the Manticores make use of purposefully imprecise artillery bombardments to shatter the morale of their foes as they advance, driving fear deep into the heart of even the hardiest defender. When the Manticores descend, a blur of ferocity and gore, many turn and run, and the others are slaughtered where they stand. As a result of their tactics the Manticores rarely take heavy losses. Their methods are terribly effective; the advantage to their slow and protracted methods is near guaranteed compliance, but the indiscriminate and violent methods they favour have lead to a fearsome reputation and a certain level of notoriety among their fellow Astartes. Furthermore, those among the legions who believe in honour have called the Manticores cowardly. They favour results over speed, and so will drag out their campaigns for as long as necessary to achieve the result they desire.
Covert operations make up a large part of the operations of the Black Manticores. Extensive reconnaissance paves the way for extremely effective and highly trained specialist covert units to conduct assassination and sabotage missions. Acting with composure and restraint, the Manticores are able to wage sophisticated and complex covert campaigns. In the field, the Astartes of the Black Manticores have been known to utilise a unique sign language that allows marines to communicate without activating vox technology or talking to one another. The combination of specialised armour, training and equipment, such as that counteracting enemy scanners and communication equipment, allows incredibly effective stealth operations. Killing key figures, depriving fortified positions of supplies, ambushing patrols and turning an enemy’s own technology against them are all common features of their operations that feed into the psychological aspect of their doctrine. Sleep deprivation, starvation and thirst all amplify the effects of Manticore raids a thousand fold. Arming slaves and provoking rebels are not common tactics but have been implemented by the Legion before. Overall, the marines of the Manticores are highly trained, intelligent, remorseless killers, and are extremely good at what they do.
Favoured Wargear: Ultimately, necessity dictates the right tool for the job and to that end, the Black Manticores can be flexible. However, there are obvious trends and preferences in their Wargear. The legion evidently favours projectile weaponry over energy weaponry, utilising heavy bolters, combi-bolters, shotguns, grenade launchers, missile launchers, rotary cannons, autocannons and frag cannons much more commonly than energy, laser, melta or flame weaponry. Most troops are equipped with smoke and flashbang grenades as standard alongside fragmentation grenades. Equipment aimed at disrupting enemy scanners and communications is extremely commonplace. There is a strong emphasis on getting maximum effectiveness from even basic kit, and to that end Astartes are drilled with an emphasis on effective use of their bolters and bolt pistols. Where the Black Manticores really make their equipment their own, is in their melee implements.
The legion favours savage weaponry that will cause maximum terror, making use of chainaxes, chainglaives and lightning claws most commonly. Many non-melee orientated Astartes will have claw-like implements attached to one of their wrists that provides a last-line melee weapon if needed. As well as this, all Black Manticores carry long-bladed, cruel looking flaying knives. While mostly ceremonial, they see extensive use in units like Haunter and Tormentor squads. Terminator armour is a rare sight in the legion outside of fabled specialist units. Black Manticores have been known to make some use of throwing knives, poisoned darts and venom coating on their weapons, ensuring the kill and maximum suffering even in the event of their death. The collection of weapons and trinkets with personal value and sentiment is extremely common among the Astartes, with such collections being a matter of great pride for many of the marines.
Armour: The Black Manticores primarily make use of Mark IV pattern power armour. However, these suits are highly modified. To favour their style of warfare, the Black Manticores have modified their armour suits in such a way that they sacrifice large amounts of the protection they afford in order to facilitate a much more quiet and agile style of warfare. Enhanced sound dampening technology, thinner more lightweight plating and more balanced weight distribution has created a suit that co-operates with the extensive stealth training of the Black Manticores to allow the armoured Astartes to move in near silence. Cameleoline cloaks and armour coverings see some use, but all armour is given a matte finish that absorbs light rather than reflecting it, making these marines very difficult to spot in low light conditions, hence why many of their operations are conducted at night-time. Bare metals are entirely absent on Black Manticore armour. The Black Manticores decorate their armour with runic patterns, terrifying imagery and gory trophies to inspire fear in those they allow to lay eyes on them, and the process of doing so is ritualistic among the brothers of the legion. The legion does maintain heavy Mark II power armour suits so that the legion is not left disadvantaged if unfortunate enough to have to withstand a siege or heavy frontal engagement. Furthermore, the Black Manticores are one chapter who have been trialling the use of Mark V armour suits on behalf of the Mechanicum. These suits are quieter than the Mark IV suits even before modification. The Legion possesses around 1,000 of these armour suits, which are distributed to veteran Astartes that operate in specialist squads in order to get the most use of them.
Vehicles: As they are deemed counterintuitive to their style of warfare, the legion makes little use of heavy vehicles compared to other legions. When tanks and dreadnoughts are bought into use, they are decorated like the armour of the Astartes, covered with gory images and horrifying trophies, up to and including entire corpses. The legion makes much more use of landspeeders as recon vehicles and sometimes small unit transports, as these can easily be modified to favour stealth and concealment. For transports, the legion avoids the use of drop pods, instead favouring the precise delivery of aerial transports and gunships. In particular, the legion uses a unique variant of Stormbird that is outfitted with stealth technology to evade sensor detection and deliver Astartes to the drop zone in near silence. Ground transports are used commonly but the Astartes will normally disembark some distance from their target and then approach on foot in relative quiet. Artillery support comes almost entirely from the Imperial Army.
Excrucio Squads: Among the best kept secrets of the Black Manticores legion are the Excrucio squads. Outside of the legion, there are practically none that know of their existence, and those that do will only do so because they have the trust of the Primarch. Operating even outside of the conventions of the Black Manticores style of warfare, Excrucio squads are interrogation specialists. They take to the field among the ranks of their brothers in raids, indiscriminate from any other troop. Yet their mission is to find a target and extract information. This is achieved with an unimaginable cycle of sadistic and purely cruel torture methods, using powerful stimulants to prevent their victims from dying and ensuring they can feel every single kiss of the knife. They are incredibly few in number, with maybe only thirty to forty Excrucio marines currently in the legion. How exactly these squads came to be is a matter of mystery, but were they not so effective at their role, Tymos would have abolished them long ago.
Haunter Squads: While many of the marines of the Black Manticores can fill several roles, Haunter marines are the dedicated terror troops of the legion, existing for the sole purpose of sowing dread and horror among their foes. Often using chainaxes or lightning claws, Haunter squads are deployed to carry out the most savage and barbaric actions imaginable without mercy. They are notorious for toying with their prey, often prioritising non-lethal hits like the dismemberment of a limb and leaving their victim to bleed to death in agony while watching their comrades suffer similar fates. Among the ranks of the Black Manticores, Haunter marines are typically the most violent and mentally unstable of the Astartes, and as such can not be trusted to conduct covert ops that require finesse and discipline and thus have been entirely outfitted to delivery death and horror upon the legion's foes.
Morsus Terminators: Little is known about the Morsus Terminator cults that exist among the Black Manticores legion, primarily because anyone who has witnessed first hand their actions in the battlefield is either a fellow Black Manticore, or dead. Unlike most Terminators, the Morsus are not a combat role given specifically to veterans. Instead, Morsus Terminators are specifically conditioned for the sole purpose of destruction. Most Morsus Terminators are recruited from the Berserker Cults of Ictar exclusively for this role. Deploying only by teleport strike, these terminators are few in number and are deployed only when the scenario warrants the utter devastation of a target in a short space of time. Placed at the centre of the maelstrom, these berserker terminators will set about their task of delivering annihilation with absolutely zero concern for their personal safety, fighting with uncontrollable rage and ferocity. Most terminators will shrug off mortal wounds, continuing to wreak havoc only to succumb once the fervour for war and blood that enthrals them has subsided. Morsus Terminators are rarely used, filling the role of a glass cannon; they are undeniably effective but will likely be destroyed in the process.
Shrike Bombers: Taking the opposite approach to their usual technology, Shrikes are specially outfitted close-support aircraft that are designed to travel extremely fast while emitting an unbearable high-pitched shriek. Colloquially called screamers or banshees, these fast and agile bombers make use of much smaller bombs but in greater number, with their operations designed to be long-term bombardments that chip away at the morale of their enemies. Shrike bombings have been known to go on for hours, filling the sky with a cacophony of shrieks and explosions that can cause immense psychological damage to the target over time. Shrike bombings are usually used to strike at targets that are difficult for infantry units to access, or as a preliminary strike before a larger assault by Black Manticore forces.
Stinger Squads: These are the specialised assassin squads of the Black Manticores. Typically consisting some of the legion's most composed and ruthless warriors, these lethal soldiers are deployed in groups of anywhere from two to five marines to eliminate important personnel. They are selected from a very early stage in their training and given a unique training pattern that indoctrinates and prepares them for their future battlefield role. With access to a wide array of weapons to meet their needs, these marines are the most likely among the Black Manticores to make use of poisons, and prefer to kill up close where they can take trophies of their kill and collect any important personal effects from the target like vidlogs or files.
Tormentor Squads: Tormentor marines are elite heavy weapons specialists. Typically these marines are used in ambush attacks on enemy vehicle and infantry convoys, causing disruption and panic, and fleeing the scene before the enemy can mount an effective response. Typically their weapon choice will befit the situation, choosing autocannons for demolishing light vehicle columns, frag cannons or heavy bolters for infantry and missile launchers for heavier targets. As heavy weapons teams they can be comfortably deployed in standard battlefield scenarios as well, and have been employed in raids that require the destruction of a hard target such as a certain building or vehicle.
Wraith Pattern Stormbirds: A heavily modified version of the Stormbird vessels commonly used as gunships and transports deployed to suit the stealth operations of the Black Manticores. This particular pattern trades out two of its four lascannons turrets and four of its six dreadstrike missiles to free up weight. The vessel is painted black by default, although cameleoline has been used to paint the underside of the vessel in some engagements. Fitted with cutting-edge stealth technologies, Wraith Pattern Stormbirds are substantially quieter and harder to detect than standard transports, allowing the legion to drop squads of marines practically on top of their target with minimal chance of being noticed. They are undetectable to most forms of scanners and sensors and make use of sound-dampening technologies to aid in their concealment. This pattern of Stormbird is the favoured method of deployment for the Black Manticores.
Legion Culture and Relationships
Legion Homeworld: The homeworld of Tymos is Ictar, and this is where the legion's primary residence is. Their primary fortress monastery resides on this world and most of the legion's recruitment comes from here and surrounding systems. However, due to their suspicious nature, the Black Manticores refrain from dedicating to a single centralised location due to fear of that one location being lost, and instead have a smattering of smaller holdings across the stars, the locations of many of which are a deliberately guarded secret.
Legion Culture: The Astartes of the Black Manticores have been shaped by the teachings and ideology of their Primarch Tymos. As such, they are a ritualistic and superstitious people, with many of them recruited directly from the warrior tribes of Ictar itself. The Black Manticores have little regard for the concept of honour, seeing no value to the concept of engaging ones’ foe honourably when engineering tactical advantages is clearly a superior military strategy. Like Tymos, they prize loyalty and individual strength above all else. Having watched the fractured and warlike nature of the Ictaran people all his life, Tymos instilled in his legion a deep sense of brotherhood and a singular, uniting sense of purpose.
That purpose is war on behalf of the Imperium. Each and every marine is fiercely loyal to the Emperor, willing to fight to the last man and do whatever needs to be done to achieve victory in His name. While many legions are loyal, the Black Manticores know no limits, going as far to commit horrific atrocities and enormous casualties in the name of the Imperium, going far beyond where most other legions would draw the line. The tactical basis for the horror they inflict comes from their deeply disturbing emphasis on psychological warfare and terror that stems from the strategic teachings of the Ictaran tribe Tymos grew up amongst.
The legion still carries many of the rituals and traditions that the Ictaran people held dear before they were brought into the Imperial fold. Berserkers, among the most ferocious warriors, are recruited directly into the cults of the Morsus Terminators. The hunting traditions of the Ictaran people have been adapted and built upon using the transhuman physiology of the Astartes and psychological manipulation to develop the Shadowstepping art that every Astartes is versed in. The decoration of ones’ armour both for the purpose of intimidation and as a rite of passage has been instilled in the legion as a ritualistic process; the progression of a marine’s armour occurs when they become a fully fledged Astartes, limited to a handful of adornments that are built upon as an Astartes gathers more trophies from their operations. In a similar way, runic patterns drawn on armour can tell a soldier’s tale, and in this vein, veterans typically have heavily patterned armour suits compared to comparatively newer Astartes. This is furthered by the tendency of the Astartes to collect weapons with personal attachments and sentiments, leading to each marine having a collection of favourite armaments.
Some Ictaran traditions and superstitions have been maintained despite the fact that other Imperial forces deeply disapprove of them. The bloodletting of captives is a common practice in which prisoners of war are drained of their blood by a legion Warpriest, and the collected blood is then used to draw runic patterns on the armour of present Astartes. The blood runes and accompanying litanies are believed to confer various boons to those who wear them, bringing luck and protection. Flaying and dismemberment of foes are common and ritual executions are implemented as part of their terror ops. Fallen brothers are collected as a matter of priority and cremated in ritual ceremonies on great pyres. Their ashes are collected and used as fertiliser for the soils of the gardens in the legion’s monasteries, allowing the death of their brothers to give rise to new life. In terms of leadership, Warpriests, Lorekeepers and Fleshmenders are held in extremely high regard by the Astartes.
The ritualistic Black Manticores are mysterious and secretive, paranoid and untrusting to many outside of their legion. As a result, the legion is careful about what information about them is disclosed. The reputation they hold is largely a matter of self-engineering, with the legion choosing to make public their violent and brutal actions in order to synonymise their name with terror. Furthermore, the identities of many high-ranking officers are kept guarded, and the legion will never go out of its way to make specific members known. Especially, the existence of units like Morsus Terminators and Excrucio Squads, who would be heavily frowned upon, are closely guarded secrets.
Relationships: The Black Manticores view themselves as humble workhorses, carrying out the gritty work that the other legions won't sully themselves with. As a result, the Manticores often find themselves deployed to tackle particularly troublesome worlds where a psychological approach will be effective, or as a supplementary force to aid other legions with their shadow ops. No one can dispute the effectiveness of the Manticores, but not all agree with their methods and not all are happy to be deployed with Black Manticores alongside them. The Manticores are pragmatic enough to acknowledge that the strength of the legion does not lie in its combat prowess in an open field. As such, they usually dedicate more resources and troops to upping the ante on their psychological warfare campaigns while allied Astartes forces fight the battles in the field. As such, there is normally only a small Battle Company of Black Manticores fighting alongside any other Astartes legion at a time.
Soldiers of the Imperial Army consider an assignment alongside the Manticores to be a safe one; the Imperial forces are usually utilized as labour while the Manticores wage their war of terror, and by the time the army is put to use in a final assault their foes are normally already beaten. The legion's relationship with the other legions and with the Emperor is difficult to discern; the dedication of the Black Manticores to the Lord of Mankind and his Imperium is unquestionable and the Manticores have never given reason to be distrusted, but the extremity of their methods and severity of their actions walks a fine line and a much darker path than many other Astartes legions, and exactly how this is viewed is difficult to determine. It has been said, however, by Imperial Army soldiers and other Astartes alike, that to be in the presence of a squad of Black Manticores is an incredibly unsettling experience. The Manticores barely consider Xenos as separate species, choosing instead to see a single enemy of the Imperium and one that simply cannot be allowed to fester.
The relationship between the Black Manticores and the Mechanicum is a unique one. The Manticores recognize the importance of the Mechanicum's work and are constantly petitioning them for experimental weapons. However, generally favour projectile weapons and melee, meaning they are dismissive of many of the Mechanicum's creations. Their distrusting nature also prevents the Manticores from widely adopting new weapons and tech until they have been extensively tested in combat and proven that they are worth utilizing. How the Mechanicum feels about the Manticores is unknown, but the Manticores see the Mechanicum as useful servants of the Imperium. They do not view them as equals, but appreciate the essential nature of the work they do and so are only too happy to help them in their technological developments.
Praetor Morael, the Moon-Born: The captain of Tymos' personal retinue, Morael is a fearsome warrior and one of Tymos' closest companions. Before the coming of the Emperor, Morael fought at Tymos' side in over a dozen wars between clans. As close friends and allies, one of Tymos' principal conditions for agreeing to come with the Emperor was that Morael be allowed to accompany him. Morael was eventually inducted as an Astartes and subjected to the necessary procedures, becoming a member of Tymos' legion. Earning renown on the battlefield, Morael continued to serve alongside his friend Tymos, eventually rising to command the First Company of the Black Manticores as a Praetor. From this position, Tymos made Morael the founding member of his personal bodyguards and allowed Morael to select nine other worthy Astartes to complete the unit.
Praetor Leonarys Morressius: Leonarys was one of the legion's most accomplished leaders before Tymos was reunited with his sons. After heavily vetting his commanders, Tymos found a deep sense of admiration for Leonarys. His strength of will, quick mind and unquestionable loyalty were all traits that quickly saw him become one of Tymos' favoured Praetors. While Morael will always remain by the Primarch's side, there are few that Tymos would choose to lead a Battle Company over Leonarys. A veteran battlefield commander experiences beyond compare within the legion, time and time again Leonarys has proven a competent and valuable asset and one that Tymos considers utterly irreplaceable.
Praetor Sevris, the Red Sting: The most feared assault leader among the Black Manticores, Sevris is the Praetor overseeing the Black Manticores Third Company, nicknamed the Obsidian Angels. One of Tymos' favoured Praetors, Sevris is commonly chosen to lead Battle Companies that Tymos cannot. Following a particularly brutal campaign in which Sevris lead a solo assassination mission against the leader of a heretical cult, a miscalculation led to Sevris being confronted by dozens of guards. Slaughtering most of the guards single-handedly, by the time Sevris reached his target he had slain so many that his black armour had literally been painted red, prompting the remaining guards to flee and his target to fall before him, begging for mercy. Rumours spread of the so-called Red Sting, and recognizing the value of having Sevris as an icon of fear among the enemy, Tymos approved for Sevris and his squad to have bespoke sets of red armour made. To this day, the sight of red marines among the black marines of the Manticores is enough to make men break and flee.
Chief Lorekeeper Ophiel Mectus: Ophiel Mectus is a veteran Astartes and the equivalent of the Black Manticores Chief Librarian. Lorekeepers are charged with upholding the history of the legion and chronicling their actions to be passed down so that their heritage can never be lost. Ophiel in particular is not one for crawling battlefields. Instead, Ophiel Mectus has developed a reputation as a bookworm, persistently trawling through data repositories in hope of new information that might help unlock some great secret of the universe or improve the tactical effectiveness of the legion. When Mectus takes to the field it is normally for reasons of self-interest, and despite his undying love for his brothers, Ophiel sees his work as more important than that of a rank-and-file Astartes and can be both condescending and arrogant.
@BCTheEntity The Golden Spears are finished and ready for review.
Name: Kaldun, the Golden Conqueror
Baalros is a Feral Death planet located on the far reaches of imperial space and is mostly mountainous terrain with frozen valleys in between the peaks, filled with mutated monsters. Nearly all of the 15 million strong population lives in fortress cities atop these mountains, safe from the highly aggressive and mutated nightmares below. These cities are built around ancient gravity wells, keeping the oppressive and crushing natural gravity of Baalros at bay. Once, before the rise of Primarch Kaldun, hordes of Feral Ogryn roamed the frozen plains and would attack the fortresses fairly regularly. Now, nearly all of the Ogryn that exist on Baalros are tamed, and completely loyal to Kaldun and the Imperium.
It had always been a haven for those who wanted to escape the galaxy’s notice, and where the powerful would send their criminals or other undesirables. This was no exception when the Age of Strife began, and psykers either fled the persecution they faced on their own planets and throughout human space, or were sent there by the more merciful planetary rulers, to hide their shame.
When warp storms devastated the surrounding system, Baalros barely survived. It’s already harsh frozen lands were aggressively mutated by the storms, turning what were once merely inhospitable lands into hellscapes of mutants and monsters. The people fled to the mountains, building fortresses around the gravity wells ( that allowed the wardens of the prisoners to survive on the high gravity planet) to fight off the nightmares below. In the inevitable power struggles that followed, psykers would rise to be the ruling class. Of those, the only ones that survived were the ones who learned how to defend themselves from possession and master their powers.. They and their chosen followers established small kingdoms in the mountains, and would war with each other over resources and control within the gravity wells. By the time the warp storms had ended, Baalros had regressed back to the iron age with the Psyker King’s bloodlines still ruling with an iron fist and battling with each other for dominance. The reasoning for the teachings the Psyker King’s passed down to each other from generation to generation was forgotten, but never stopped, protecting them from the predators of the Warp even if they no longer even knew of the Warp.
Appearance: Kaldun stands at 12 feet tall, with golden hair, fair skin, and piercing golden eyes. A scar goes across his face, stretching from the top left of his forehead to the bottom right of his chin. A reminder he keeps, despite the malleability of his form, of the benefits of restraint. In battle his power armor is similar to that of his Legion, shining gold with a black trim, the golden spear that marks the heraldry of the Legion emblazoned on his chest. In battle Kaldun carries a force spear of his own creation. A short spear that is meant to be wielded in one hand Kaldun’s spear can be thrown a short distance, smiting his enemies, and return to his hand again. In the seldom instances where neither his vast psychic powers nor his spear can reach his enemies, Kaldun keeps a heavy bolter on his person.
On the rare occasion he is not in armor, Kaldun wears Astartes robes and a body glove.
Personality: Arrogant, self-righteous, proud, rowdy, and possessing a temper that is both quick to ignite and terrible to behold, Kaldun is akin to a force of nature. Weakness and self-doubt were the traits of the dead in Baalros, and it is a lesson that Kaldun keeps with him at all times, especially as a leader in the Great Crusade. There is no place in the Emperor’s plan for doubt, and any weakness must be crushed if Kaldun’s father’s plan is to be realized. He possesses little patience for the careful planning and plotting of some of his brothers or sisters, instead preferring to rush forward and claim his destiny, and the destiny of mankind.
After bringing his savage homeworld under his control and taming as much of it as possible, Kaldun has an unshakeable faith in himself and his path. If he has made a choice, he is certain it is the right one and there is nearly nothing that can dissuade him from it. While proud, Kaldun isn’t resistant to change. This is most readily apparent in his approach to psychic abilities, technology, and tactics of his enemies, even xenos. If it is a technique he can learn, a technology his legion can benefit from, or tactics he can put to use, he will do so.
He takes a savage joy in all aspects of life, from the sorrows of defeat to the elations of victory.
Kaldun is not suited for the more patient or delicate tasks. He is not the one who plans out great strategies, the logistics of war, or organizing a planet after it has been conquered. Kaldun chafes under what he views as the shackles of running an empire. He is a conqueror, not an administrator and leaves the intricacies to those far more suited than he is.
Natural Warrior: Kaldun is a master of warfare, possessing an instinctive knowledge of the flow and ebb of battle and, while preferring close combat himself, knows how to plan for a war. For those parts of battle that Kaldun himself is weak at (logistical planning, grand strategy, assassinations, scouting, etc etc) Kaldun knows how to appoint the best possible person for the job.
Psyker King: Kaldun is one of the three most powerful Psykers in the Imperium, capable of both skills of impeccable finesse and terrifying raw power, and he doesn't shy away from using his powers. He was taught by his mortal father in Baalros that his powers are meant to be used to their fullest ability to establish his control and protect those under his charge, and Kaldun keeps those teachings with him. As such, Kaldun views his powers as a tool more than anything else, a weapon to be used against the Imperium's foes. He wields them as another weapon in his arsenal. A very powerful one, certainly, but nothing more than another tool of war. It matters little where these powers come from, so long as they function. This mentality, pressed upon him by Baalros and its focus on function and survival, has led him to mostly ignore the Warp. While he is aware of its existence and knows that it is where he draws his powers from, Kaldun spends little to no time actually looking into it the little bit that he can. So long as it keeps fueling his powers, he cares little for what it is and how it works.
Assignment Grade: Alpha Plus.
Kaldun has mastered all the known Imperial Disciplines with ease, instinctively picking up the skills as he was taught them (though, it should be noted that his definition of mastering divination is to study the skill long enough that he can lightly reach into the future in battle giving him supernatural instincts and reactions to attacks) and has a myriad of other powers that aren't defined to the Imperial Disciplines. An immensely powerful Psyker Kaldun is only shadowed by his father and, depending on who you ask, his brother Iniephor.
Biography: When Kaldun crashed through his mortal father’s wall King Calan took this as a sign from the gods. The King had been praying for an heir, as he and his wife had been unsuccessfully trying for years, and then Kaldun appeared. A child with golden locks, wrapped in a strange shell. Calan claimed the child as his own, and began raising him as the next ruler of Shandar, the fortress city and what territory surrounded it. In six months Kaldun was as large as the tallest of teenagers. In a year, he was taller than all the warriors in Shandar. He had already surpassed the warriors in terms of physical strength and combat skill, showing a natural affinity for the art of war, and was rapidly beginning to exceed his father in terms of psychic power and skill. Another year passed and Kaldun gained more and more power and experience as he was taught the art of war by hunting the feral Ogryn and culling their numbers around Shandar. He was ready and raring for actual war, to test his might against foes who weren’t simply wild beasts. Soon, Kaldun got his wish and war reached Shandar. The fortress city’s most valuable mine had been seized by a rival, and Calan refused to let such a brazen act go unanswered; he sent a war party to the mine, with Kaldun in its ranks.
They found the rival’s forces dug in, and descended upon them like the wrath of the heavens. Kaldun was a force of nature, roaring with laughter and savage glee as he tore through the enemy with blade and magic. They were destroyed within moments, and the mine reclaimed. Kaldun was more at home in battle than he had ever been in his father’s halls, and he was eager to return to it. His father declared war on the rival city, and Kaldun once more marched to war. Over the next few years he would engage in and lead his father’s forces to victory, fighting viciously in the mountains that were their homes. They pushed the enemy back to their own city, until the rival city sued for peace. Calan, despite Kaldun’s protestations, accepted the delegation into Shandar.
Things were going well, with terms for peace that were exceedingly favorable being drawn up by Kaldun’s father, until one of the warriors defending the diplomat made a snide remark. Already balking at the idea of anything less than total victory, Kaldun leapt at the excuse for a fight and attacked. In the ensuing brawl, Kaldun was scarred across the face and his father was slain. The diplomat and his guards were dead, and peace was no longer an option.
Ascending to the throne of Shandar the very next day, Kaldun never forgave himself for his impatience, and swore that he would never act so foolishly again. But neither did he forgive Shandar’s rival for starting the war in the first place. It was there that he focused the bulk of his rage upon, and the bulk of the rage of his people. Within a week, he had rallied his armies and marched to the rival city, demanding their surrender in return for mercy. Predictably, they refused. Kaldun and his army got their wish. After six months of brutal fighting, they cracked the city’s walls and conquered its populace. The leaders were executed, the citizens subjugated. Exulting in his victory, and gazing out from the walls Kaldun turned his thoughts to the rest of Baalros. It was a fractured world, filled with cities that fought each other as much as they fought the planet itself, weakening one another further and further. A world that needed to unite, that he needed to unite.
Unfortunately, as he gazed upon his weary troops and his newly conquered subjects, he realized that he would need better soldiers. As willing and brave as his troops were, they needed more rest and there were some who still wondered if he should lead them after indirectly causing his father’s death. Doubtlessly as well there would be braver people he conquered, who would refuse to fight for him. No, he needed powerful soldiers, who would be able to fight tirelessly and loyally. Who would not question.
Kaldun’s eyes were drawn to movement in the distance. A lone feral Ogryn, investigating the noise of celebration. An idea blossomed in Kaldun’s mind, and he smiled. Ogryn could learn, he had seen that much himself. They could be tamed, even if it was only through respecting power. They were seemingly tireless, and utterly loyal to whatever passed as a leader of their chief. They would be perfect.
His advisers called him mad. His warriors rankled at the idea of fighting beside the monsters they had culled for so long. But, as in all things, Kaldun had set his mind upon something and they could do nothing before his will. He would train an army of Ogryn to fight for him, to help him conquer Baalros. Nothing would stop him.
It took a few years to gather enough to form a proper army. The hard part was capturing the Ogryns without killing them. Once they were captured it took a minimal amount of time to tame and then train them. It turned out they were sentient, if only in a limited way. Similar to dogs, they could be tamed. They could be trained, and were completely loyal and utterly fearless once they were. It was useless telling them to do much else beyond ‘charge and kill everyone who doesn’t look like us’, but Kaldun didn’t need them to do anything else.
Equipped with his new army and his people’s loyalty, Kaldun marched forth to unite Baalros under the banner of Shandar.
Decades passed. Many battles and wars were fought, friends were gained and lost in the haze of war, and still Kaldun inexorably expanded Shandar’s borders until all bent the knee to him. They were united, and the squabbling over resources was settled through negotiation rather than bloodshed. With Baalros firmly under his control, Kaldun turned his attention to expanding his control over the Ogryn. While there were now thousands completely loyal to him, there were still many more that fought and clawed as feral beasts in the wastes below. They needed to be tamed, to further secure his control over the empire. That task kept his attention for a few years, but eventually almost the entirety of the Ogryn population on Baalros would be tamed and civilized.
With the Ogryns tamed, Kaldun turned his attention to training Baalros’ small Psyker population for battle. While the vast majority of what few Psykers there were had been kings and queens, and their heirs, there were still a few that slipped between the cracks, however. Ones that needed to be trained and guided. To consolidate his power and ensure no other Psykers would try to rise up in rebellion with their powers, Kaldun set about setting up a training center that would help the Psykers control their powers and make them loyal to him.
In time, that task too was finished, and Kaldun became restless. He was not meant for governing, or statehood. He was meant for combat and conquest, for war and bloodshed. Without any goal before him that would grant him those things, he found life to be dull. That was when the Emperor arrived, and showed him his true purpose.
: Kaldun stood upon the walls, gazing out over his kingdom. He was bored. Listless. He had conquered his enemies, forcing them to bend the knee. He had broken the Ogryn, taming them into his dim-witted but fiercely loyal army. He had crushed what few rebellions had arisen in an attempt to overthrow his glorious empire. There was nothing to do, no one worthy to fight. The mutants stayed in their frozen pits of hell, either unable or unwilling to ascend the mountains to fight them. The idea of managing his empire, settling disputes over resources and other petty squabbles disgusted him. So here he was, pacing along the walls of Shandar, like an Ogryn trapped in a cage.
He wasn’t meant to be a ruler, least of all in peacetime. There were others in his Empire that were far more suited to the task than he was, he was merely lucky to have been adopted by his father. Try as he might, he could not bring himself to transition over to the trials of ruling during peacetime. Even the Ogryn could be retrained to do simple labor with little trouble. Their low intelligence was a boon, allowing them to happily go from warriors to laborers or farmers with no qualms.
If only he could do the same.
He was also unsettled. His instincts told him to be on guard, but for what? There were no more enemies to battle, no more monsters to slay. Nothing could challenge him, least of all in the center of his power. But still he was still tense. The air felt heavy, like the calm before a brutal storm. Something was coming, but he could not see what it was.
“You’re not meant for this.”
Kaldun whipped around, his short spear at the ready. Standing behind him on the wall was a man, covered in a grey hood. Kaldun had never seen him before, nor did he recognize his voice. But his instincts screamed at the sight of him. As seemingly human as this man was, Kaldun felt a great danger from him. “Who are you? And how did you get past the guards?”
The man walked to the edge of the wall, ignoring Kaldun’s questions. “You’re a warrior. Designed for battle, for conquest. But now there is nothing for you to fight. No enemies for you to conquer. No challenges for you to face. It must chafe, knowing that you are now a weapon without purpose.”
“Answer me! Who are-” Kaldun started to demand, only to be cut off by the man. The sheer authority and command in his voice silenced Kaldun. For the first time in a long time, Kaldun was cowed into silence.
“I can give you purpose.” The man turned to look at Kaldun, and even though he could not see the man’s eyes, Kaldun felt them piercing into his soul. “All you have to do is kneel, and swear allegiance.”
The incredulity of the demand broke the stupor the man’s gaze had brought upon him, and Kaldun roared with laughter. “Swear allegiance to you? You have guts, stranger! To walk up to the King of Baalros and demand he bend the knee! For your courage I will let you live, despite your arrogance. Leave now, while I am in a good mood.” Kaldun turned around, chuckling.
“A duel then.” The man’s voice came again, challenging. “If you win, I’ll go. If I win, you kneel.” Kaldun turned around, smirking. This was the challenge he’d been waiting for. He sensed that this man was dangerous. Perhaps the most dangerous person he’d ever met. This was what had been missing. The thrill of danger, the thrill of the fight. “I accept. I hope the journey here wasn’t too long of one.”
The fight itself was pitifully short. As soon as Kaldun attacked, the Emperor revealed himself. Kaldun was blinded in a flash of golden light, his spear easily deflected by the Emperor’s blade. He lashed out with bio-lightning, only for that to be deflected as well. With one blow the Emperor swept Kaldun off of his feet and put him on the ground, blade at his throat. “You asked who I am? I am your father. The Emperor of mankind. You are my son, one of the Primarchs of man. I will give you the purpose you need. I will give you the battles and wars you thrive in.”
Kaldun heard these words and knew them to be true, deep in his soul.
“I kneel to you, my Emperor.”
It would be soon after that Kaldun would be introduced to his Legion. Once proud and powerful, the then named Emperors Aegis had been brought low by attrition and mutations, only recently coming into their psychic powers. Kaldun took the 15th legion and reforged them. He taught them to control their powers, stabilizing the mutations. He changed their purpose from being the Imperium’s shield, to being its shining spear. The Golden Spears were born, leading the charge of conquest for the Imperium and for the Emperor.
Legion Name: The Golden Spears (Formerly: The Emperor’s Aegis)
Legion Number: XV
Legion Strength: -30,000 Astartes -Hundreds of thousands of Mechanicum Battle Automata designed to be controlled by Librarians -Millions of Astartes Auxiliaries ‘Baalrosi Golden Legion’ (Constantly reinforced from planets that the Spears conquered). Deploys a much higher amount of Ogryns than other Imperial Regiments, and possesses Psyker Squads. -2 Skitarii Legions that travel with the Legion as it conquers planets.
Armour Appearance: Shining Gold with Black Trim. Left shoulder pauldron is black. Legion Symbol is a golden spearhead wreathed in flame, on their left pauldron.
War-cry: “Tip of the Spear! Edge of the Blade! Point of the Lance!” “We are the fury!”
Chandrian: Captain of the First Company, Kaldun’s most trusted friend and adviser, first to volunteer for the Golden Spears’ Geneseed in Baalros. Terminator Librarian.
Julach: Captain of the Second Company. Non-Psyker.
Zarbiel: One of the first Dreadnoughts of the Spears. One of the few original Astartes from when the legion was first created. Psyker.
Boamiel: High Lord of the ‘Baalrosi Golden Legion’.
Narba-23: Mechanicum liaison, head of the Skitarii legions accompanying the Golden Spears.
Galiar: Fleet Commander.
Favored Tactics/Battlefield Role:
”You were once the strong shield of the Imperium. You have been broken, but I will reforge those shattered pieces into a mighty weapon to pierce the heart of our enemies. You will be the tip of the spear in our Crusade.” - Primarch Kaldun, upon meeting his legion.
Due to their, comparatively, small size the Golden Spears often work in Joint Operations where they serve as the vanguard for the forces they are working with. It is not uncommon to see groups of Golden Spears all across the galaxy, working with other Space Marine legions, the Imperial Guard, or even the Cult Mechanicum.
The Golden Spears are a psyker legion, with a little under half of the Marines having powerful psychic ability. They channel these powers into close combat, preferring to be at the forefront of battle and war. There are few better than the Golden Spears at Assaults and Deep Striking, wielding their psychic powers to great effect and bringing the wrath of the Imperium down upon their foes.
Due to the Legion’s focus on psychic powers in tandem with close quarters assaults, all of the Golden Spears Terminators and Dreadnoughts are also the legion’s most powerful Librarians.
The Golden Spears are still capable of conquering planets on their own, and the majority of the Legion is with Kaldun and is supported by the Baalrosi Golden Legion. To boost their numbers while conquering planets on their own, the Golden Spears utilize a number of Mechanicum battle automata, outfitted with psi-crystal matrices so that the machines are controlled by Golden Spears Librarians with ease. These automata provide much needed numbers to the Legion, while the Baalrosi Golden Legion provides support. Due to their need for battle automata, the Golden Spears have an agreement with the Mechanicum, granting the tech-priests first access to any technology discovered in the process of conquest. To ensure the Mechanicum’ interests are protected after the Golden Spears leave, and to assist the Legion in battle, two Legions of Skitarii often travel with the Golden Spears, fulfilling the roles that the Legion is weaker at. Assassination, Scouting, Sniping, etc.
Legion Characteristics/Ideology: The Golden Spears are fully committed to the idea that they are Mankind’s protectors and champions, boisterously and . They view the rest of mankind as children that need to be guided and protected, similar to how parents view small children. This patronizing manner, going into condescension may grate on nerves, but it comes from a place of genuine desire to see humanity improve and protect them. They are often seen establishing military camps and fortresses, securing a planet they have recently conquered from invasion and making the people there strong enough to fight for the Imperium and defend themselves.
If the Legion finds Psykers among the populace, they take them under their wing, training them in both how to wield their powers and how to ensure their powers don’t destroy them (essentially protecting themselves from daemonic possession, but since they don’t know what daemons are, they just assume it’s the powers destroying them.) These Psykers are formed into battle squads and attached to the Baalrosi Golden Legion, to be used in battle for the Imperium.
Geneseed Flaws: The Golden Spears suffer from two flaws. The first is that while their psychic powers are strong, this connection to the Warp results in mutations. Horns or claws. Sharpened teeth. Pupils that are those of animals. Skin that can be a range of colors, along with eyes of a solid color. So on, so forth.
The second is what is referred to as the Joyous Fury. At times, the Marines become filled with the elation of battle, reveling in massacring their enemies. This is marked by a mad laughter as the Marines engage in acts of needless and senseless barbarity, often leaving advantageous positions to bring themselves the joy of slaughter.
Emperor: Kaldun and the Golden Spears are completely loyal to the Emperor. They obey any and all commands he has without question or hesitation.
Imperial Army: The Imperial Army and the Golden Spears are on very good terms. While the way which the Spears tend to act around them can grate, it is all forgiven when the Golden Spears and their force fields block hundreds of rounds of incoming fire, their librarians shred tough enemy fortifications, or their apothecaries heal their wounded.
Mechanicum: The Golden Spears are on good terms with the tech-priests, as they provide the Spears with a constant supply of battle automata for their conquests and the Spears guarantee the Mechanicum first access to any technology they find.
Xenos: For the most part, as long as the Xenos isn’t a threat to mankind, the Spears attempt to enact the Edict of Tolerance. Not because they believe Xenos are equal or deserve protection, but because they believe that Xenos are better put to use serving humanity and the Imperium than they are exterminated at will. They do not hate Xenos, but certainly look down upon them as lesser.
Other Space Marine Legions (to be expanded upon):
The Lantern Bearers: Rivals. The Spears and their brother legion have a strong rivalry, bordering on disdain for one another.
Daughters of Iron: Affable. The Spears are often sent to aid the Daughters during the final push, and as such work together frequently.
Name: Hyperion Aigleos Titles: The King of Lions, The Golden Giant, The Second Sun Gender: Male Height: 14'1"
Planet: Hemera System: Ashvinium Sector: Vesta
Hemera is the only habitable planet of the Ashvinium dual star system. The yellow giant Sulis is orbited by the red dwarf Orcus. Also called the planet of everlasting daylight, every portion of Hemera is illuminated by at least one star. Rather than the usual day-night cycle Hemera is defined by white, yellow, orange and red shifts. It's a knight world home to House Lucienus who also also formed the ruling class of Hemera. The planet itself is under constant peril of the Orchinates, a mysterious breed of techo-biological creatures that are especially active under the pure shine of the red sun Orcus. As the former capital of the Vestan League and later the famous birthplace of Hyperion the planet underwent a rapid growth and became something akin to a Hive World while still being admninistered by House Lucienus. One of Hemera's curious elements are the extensive orbital structures left behind from the Age of Strife. Astrum Vis Conligitor, a gigantic archeotech solar collector array which got reactivated and now powers wide range of orbital structures.
Hemera is where Hyperion grew up yet his seat of power was relocated to the artificial fortress-moon of Heliopolis. Used to be an abandonned archeotech megaconstruct found by Hperion he eventually made the artificial planetiod the new capital of the Vestan League and later the Vesta sector. The surface is dominated by defensive emplacements and sprawling hive cities, having untold miles of ceramite and plasteel as their foundation. The middle levels on the other hand feature an artificial ecosystem with vegetation-rich soil, hydrophonics and residence for the affluent. Some of these levels also act as the Lions' personal training grounds ranging from exercise places to wildernesses made to simulate dangerous environments. The innermost levels are the heart of Heliopolis, featuring engineering rooms and wide range of technological marvels which needs constant care from a legion of Techpriests. Though has its own power source and even capable of erecting void shields Heliopolis is incapable of locomotion, limited to only maneuvering engines needed for orbit corrections.
Hyperion is a statuesque person known to possess an imposing physique even by Primarch standards. He's known to have auburn hair but occasionally it can change anywhere between the shades of platinum blond to deep crimson. His piercing eyes have a sky blue tint but they can be also overtaken by a golden glow. His well-kept mustache is an iconic part of his face. In terms of body shape Hyperion is known for his wide shoulders and frankly overdeveloped upper body. Even compared to his already towering stature his chest rivals that of an Astartes Dreadnought. Even moreso than the other Primarchs he has a difficult time to go through narrow spaces. Hyperion usually needs transport custom fit for his dimensions in order to board them. His brass colored shining armor is accented with blue, its high polish often makes Hyperion a truly radiant giant. Its multi-scaled construction rattles with a distinct melody which broadcasts his approach.
Hyperion is a boisterous yet entirely dignified giant of a man. He's warmhearted and generous person who approaches others lovingly even if he keeps them at arms length. Hyperion rarely uses indoor voices and wherever he's the place almost resonates of his presence. And yes, he has a superiority complex. He consider himself the pinnacle of humanity and second only to the Emperor. There's practically no end to his confidence and he remains positive even when facing grave adversity. Hyperion doesn't look down on other people yet he does pity them for their inferior birth. This extends even to fellow Primarchs, although Hyperion would never make this apparent. Given his complex it's given that Hyperion has a constant desire to prove himself and reaffirm his place in the world. He loves challenges and competitions, sometimes even treating combat like a game. He is a gracious loser who treats failure as something he could learn from to be closer to his ideal self. Hyperion is honorable and dislikes unfair challenges that favor him. On the other hand he is not repulsed by the other side trying to stack the challenge in their favor. He believes the increased adversity and stacked odds only give him more to strive for.
His life philosophy is rooted in texts of Hemeran sages, the so-called Inner Sun Theorem. According to the sages one's inner bastion can be likened to a blazing sun which enriches their life. One has to identify their own sun and kindle it to true radiance. Like the changing shifts of Hemeran day cycle, one's sun has many faces. Discovering new faces to one's sun lead to fulfillment. Hyperion has found many faces to his own sun yet the most radiant facet of it all is the Emperor himself. As the very personification of his sun he serves the Emperor with almost blind faith. Hyperion considers the Emperor the only person worthy of his devotion and unconditional trust. In addition to following this difficult yet dignified path he made sure to teach his interpretation of the Inner Sun Theorem to his own legion and even government officials he had particularly lasting relation with. Hyperion has firm beliefs yet he does not force people to share them. The essence of the Inner Sun Theorem is about self-discovery and Hyperion follows this almost religiously.
Hyperion is a mighty warrior known to fight with unparalleled ferocity. Like a whirlwind on legs the giant's swings mow down masses without leaving options to approach him. His bulky build may not make him the fastest warrior but the sheer strength behind each blow leaves no room to exploit before the next strike comes crashing down. Upon analysis the reason behind his whirlwind nature becomes apparent, he never strikes with his full power. Hyperion has an overdeveloped upper body which grants him phenomenal strength even from his arms alone. He does not need to strike with all his might. Nor it's wise for him to do so. Hyperion's body is unbalanced with his huge upper body being barely supported by the comparatively smaller legs. He has a weak foundation and must hold his strength back to avoid being caught flat footed. If he were to deliver strikes with his full strength it'd be devastating yet it would also give a massive opening for his enemies to exploit. Thus Hyperion must fight conservatively. This is the curse of his inhumane strength. On the outset Hyperion may appear to be a simple fighter who relies on their pure muscle to overcome obstacles yet deep down his technique is refined and very nuanced. Normally his body build would make Hyperion a questionable duelist but combined with his unique style he can actually dominate in mock fights against his fellow siblings.
His imposing body and boisterous confidence also lead room to charisma. He's an awe-inspiring figure whose presence and words could be like something spoken by a fierce god. He's a dignified and glorious leader, always capable of commanding respect. Be it in governance or out on the battlefield, Hyperion is a person who could rally people behind him. He may not be the best speaker, nor an absolute genius in tactics but those he interacts with burn with fire likened to thousands of suns. He isn't perfect, nor he pretends to be such. Yet his men cannot help but admire Hyperion, viewing him as their ideal. His faults don't mar this radiant existence, rather complement it.
For those unfamiliar with Hyperion outside his reputation may be surprised to learn this shining giant does not merely revel in war. Hyperion derives the most enjoyment from seeing his work in its destined glory. He's a builder, both of wondrous crafts and whole nations. He has a keen eye for management even if he prefers to leave the paper work to his subordinates. He has eyes to see greatness in people and nurture that to fruition. He likes to surround himself with great people rather than trying to take on a task on his own, appointing the right men for the right jobs. All the while Hyperion is open to new experiences, always ready to improve.
Alpha-class Psyker Hyperion is a massively powerful psyker, taught by multiple disciplines even if never mastered any. His most famous ability is the so-called "battle aura", a mysterious instinctual forcefield which reinforces his body, protects him and can be even expelled as raw psychic energy. When his battle aura is at its height Hyperion's body grows while his muscles bulge even further. More importantly his unseen aura bursts into psychic flames and his body radiates dangerous heat. Obviously maintaining high levels of aura and using large amounts of psychic energy will tire Hyperion out hence needs to use this in moderation. A psyker's mental fortitude can fluctuate but for Hyperion this is extreme. His beliefs are rooted in the Sun and he's remarkably weaker during the night. Conversely his power rises dramatically during the day and reaches its plateau during the noon. It's said that Hyperion is second only to the Emperor during the noon. When the Sun shines the brightest, he is the most radiant.
Hyperion had learned psychic arts from multitude of places yet his foundation originate from his mother, Agamadea's witchcraft. This unconventional method straddles the line towards sorcery yet never quite passes it. Her mother may had been a sorcerer but Hyperion possesses the iron will to resist the charms of tainted power. One of his unique abilities involve the absorption of raw heat and radiant energies, turning these sources into his personal power. For example he could breach plasma reactors and use them like batteries. Very rarely and with preparation he could also convert some weapons fire into power but this is far less reliable. Aside from that he inherited some of Agamadea's healing talents and has relatively decent expertise with elemental fire or setting up psychic wards. As a psyker he also has premonitions on occasion as well as the capability to communicate telepathically. Yet as far as proficiency goes neither of these are Hyperion's forte.
- Tuagh Solais: One handed axe crafted out of Nemean Lion's very heart. A massively powerful force weapon imbued with Nemea's mysterious xenotechnology. Like any force weapon Tuagh Solais stores, amplifies and directs Hyperion's psychic power which makes it very handy both for combat and also controlling his innately large psyker potential. Tuagh Solais is famously so powerful any mortal it cleaves burst into flames from the raw immaterium. When fully charged with Hyperion's psychic powers the axe is known to be an immeasurably destructive device. Bound to Hyperion the axe at times appear as if it has a will on its own. For example once struck in the ground only Hyperion is worthy to lift it. The axe also flies back to Hyperion once he had thrown it, be it however many miles.
- The Promethean Gauntlet: A giant power fist worn on Hyperion's left. The main body is made of auric-adamantium alloy, the only material assured to never break under Hyperion's strength. Its sheer size allows the gauntlet's wrists to hide a trio of Lastrum Bolters. Over the years the gauntlet was adjusted and upgraded by multiple artisans and even Hyperion himself. The current variant holds only one of the original Lastrum Bolters, a Volkite Blaster a Nova Projector. Power is supplied by a Nemesis Force Bracer replacing the comparatively weak generator and turning Hyperion into the gauntlet's battery. The end result is a very versatile equipment which can be used at all ranges and could even temporarily project refractor fields for protection.
- Orichalcum Scale Mail: By using an extract made from slain Orchinates to cure the steel they can create Orichalcum. The process is labor-intensive and requires a supply of Nemean beast carcasses. In addition the Mechanicus only gave provisional sanction to its production. As a result only Hyperion has permission to wear armor made of this new material. Orichalcum is about on par with high quality personal armors yet when it comes to maintenance the Orichalcum scales are easy to replace even in the middle of the campaign. Another important feature is that they react to Hyperion's psychic power, allowing them to stretch and enlarge as needed to follow the Primarch's temporary size changes. The armor is kind of heavy, almost twice the weight of artificer armor yet provides the same protection. The scale armor flexes better than solid breastplates which gives him a modicum of speed yet also tires him faster, turning Hyperion into a deliberate and well-contained tornado of power.
While Hyperion is well-known for his might he also has some less-known yet still understood weaknesses. For starters his imposing physique has a sorts of Achilles heel, it's largerly unbalanced. With the combination of restrained strikes and psychic assistance he manages to keep himself upright but in case he'd need to deliver a strike with all his power it'd unbalance him enough to take painful seconds of recovery. More skillful fighters may also take advantage of his comparatively weak legs to rob Hyperion from his anchor to the ground. Of course the King of Lions may expect your trick but this doesn't change the fact he has a physical weak point in a sense.
His second famed weakness is psychological in nature. He grew up on Hemera of the everlasting daylight and developed a philosophy rooted in the sunlight shining down upon him. As a consequence he feels weaker when caught in the darkness. Depending on the extend of dark and the length of exposure this could sap his strength considerably. Although this weakness is only psychological and Hyperion has shown to occasionally harness alternative sources as his "Sun". The Inner Sun Theorem considers everything that gives meaning to a person their "sun" and by that extension Hyperion considers the Emperor his ultimate sun which always shines upon him. In case he's in a bind Hyperion can use his faith as a sudden burst of power although this forced state may not last indefinitely. Overall it's a wise advice to not poke the Lion unless you are prepared to get burnt.
Early Life Hyperion's capsule drifted to Hemera of the everlasting daylight. His foster parents were the witch Agamadea and the giant mutant Phoronestor. While abominations by the Imperium this pair seemed to be an exception to the rule. They were of upstanding character whose corrupted nature made them ostracized from society. Hyperion spent the next 10 years in the wilderness. He slept among lions, foraged food, competed with Phoronestor and taught witchcraft by Agamadea. Eventually he had learned of his foster parents' sacred duty: they were guardians watching over a wellspring of immense power. The energies of the well permeated the forest which attracted Orchinates and unsavory individuals alike. Once old enough to fight Hyperion patrolled the forest alongside Phoronestor to ward off trespassers. This is around the time when he met Lykourgos the Great, esteemed errant knight. Hyperion mistook the knight for a malicious individual and attacked him, only to be disarmed and forced to yield. Realizing the youth's potential Lykourgos then offered to train him in knightly arts and promised to warn every soul to avoid the woods. The friendship between these two lasted a lifetime. Yet this serene and almost idyllic situation soon shifted for the worse. Agamadea became ill, afflicted by the strain of suppressing the well for so long. Without her input the power of the well only increased, drawing in hordes of Orchinates on the weekly basis. Worse, the forest began to take up frightening shapes and the once peaceful animals gone crazy. One day a horde of unparalleled size assaulted the fortress lead by a giant Orchinate resembling a lion-chimera. They battle was hard fought but the exhausted Phoronestor could not vanquish the lion. With all hope lost Agamadea used the last ounces of her power in a heroic struggle only to end up within the lion's maws. Hyperion just barely escaped with his life yet swore revenge.
Facing the Nemean Lion The forest of Nemea soon became a new nest of Orchinates and the once huge lion-orchinate turned into a borderline invincible beast of colossal size known as the Nemean Lion. The delicate balance between knights and orchinates broke immediately and numerous villages fell prey to the beast's ire. Even when the combined might of the noble houses gathered to face this creature it only produced a standstill. The Nemean Lion was seemingly unstoppable. During this time Hyperion was a wanderer who slowly elevated to the status of a folk hero. He was neither a knight nor a noble, only an enigmatic commoner who fought beasts. Four deadly years passed under the crisis in which time Hyperion's might and skills only grew. With his preparations complete Hyperion was determined to end the Lion of Nemea for once and for all. Hyperion approached the lion's lair, the resting place where the colossal orchinate is kept away from the White Sun Sulis. Carrying an arsenal of mighty weapons Hyperion began his ambush. Yet the creature proved to be beyond his wildest imagination. Weakened as it were the beast still seemed impervious to all mortal means of harm. The fight went on for long hours during which every single one of Hyperion's equipment broke down. He had nothing left. Yet his concentrated efforts managed to break off one of the lion's claws. Capturing his price Hyperion took it for the exit, still chased by the lion. Even if by instinct the Lion of Nemea knew if it loses sight of Hyperion it'll die. The Primarch was counting on the beast's tenacity and so a 7 day long battle of attrition ensued. Hyperion will strike the beast with fervor during the White Sun and will hide in shelter during the Red Sun when Orchinates at the height of their power. Both sides were at their wits' end when the lion's impenetrable armor finally gave out. Using every last ounces of his power Hyperion leaped forth and delivered a vicious series of blows, ending the lion's reign of terror. With the beast vanquished the creature lost its form, turning into a massive puddle. Within the center of this puddle Hyperion saw a pulsing organ, the lion's heart. More than that Hyperion had recognized the wellspring's power. Using the strange amorphous material Hyperion then forged his legendary weapon, Tuagh Solais. [To be continued...]
Official Name: Lions Illustris Other Names: Suns of Hyperion, The Lion's Pride, The Lion's Legion Old Names: Imperial Suns, Nova Vanguard, Astral Claws, Bronze Dragons, Celestial Champions Legion Number: XIII Primarch: Hyperion Aigleos Legion Strength: exactly 120,000 active Legionaries at all times Warcry: "Praise the Sun!"
Lions Illustris are known to possess the largest supply of Mark II armors. The early cooling issues of the Maximus Armor and the Lions' traditional views made the upgrade unpopular and instead the Vestan armorers began modifying old equipment to meet the new standards, named Mark IIa. This introduced new ceramite plates inspired by the Mark IV, rearranged cabling to reduce exposure, replaced old systems where appropriate and numerous other minor alterations. These changes were quicker than producing new armors but still have drawbacks compared to just equipping the new Mark IV armors thus it's unpopular with other legions. The Lions are easily recognizable for their shiny and highly polished brass and bronze colors, meant to represent the Sun. For more visible accents they use neon blue metallic paint which gives them a will-o-wisp visage while illuminated by fire. While advanced sensors render typical camo pointless there's something to be said of the bravery of the Lions to brandish shining equipment easy to see even with the naked eye. And to be watched they shall. Their old Mark II power armors are known to be highly customized and often feature decorations to awe people.
The Lions Illustris recruits exclusively from Sector Vesta, Hyperion's own realm. As part of the Tithe every male child is mustered in the sector, seeing if they could offer worthy candidates. Those found worthy will be taken to Heliopolis at ages as early as 6, welcome to the Brotherhood of Sun. Unlike most the Lions' geneseed is preferably implanted in the preteens, leaving plenty of time for growth. During this time the children candidates undergo training, education and constant tests. Aside from learning to be better soldiers they are also taught Vestan arts and philosophies, craftsmanship and skills that are commonly associated with Hyperion. Many of the tests themselves are in a sense recreation of Hyperion's deeds. Of course with such standards not a lot of candidates succeed becoming full Astartes but depending on how far they got these individuals from the Brotherhood of Sun could achieve various heights of prestige in Vestan society. Unlike for many other legions the Astartes also retain their memories and has a vague yet existing connection to their old families.
The Lions Illustris are warrior poets who value both martial prowess and wisdom. They consider life a journey to self-perfection and their ideal being Hyperion. While many Primarchs have strong personal cults what Hyperion established is very much over the top. Lions are nurtured to be staunch atheists but they view their Primarch almost like a walking deity, their unquestioned Sun. They are constantly inspired by Hyperion and consider his words to be law. They all groom their mustaches in the fashion of their Primarch and some even dye their hair or change their appearance in other ways to resemble Hyperion.
Lions are rather sociable yet also keep outsiders at arms length. They are considered prideful yet not unreasonable. Many are eager to compete yet not afraid of actually losing. To them a defeat with the knowledge is almost more valuable than triumph. Yet this changes completely when it comes to the legion as a whole. While the individual legionary is brimming with optimism the entire body of the legion has a certain reputation which they must maintain at all costs. As a group the Lions Illustris struggles with a centuries old superiority complex. They must be better than anyone, the alternative is almost unthinkable. On a good day this could serve as a sorts of inner fire, galvanizing all the legionaries to action. Worst case scenario their wounded pride could send the Lions into an unexpected frenzy and they are willing to do almost anything to remedy it.
Legio XIII's heroics began during the Unification Wars which earned them the name Imperial Suns. Conversely they lost almost their entire legion and recovery took over an entire century. During the first years of the Great Crusade they saw no action and rather posed with various authorities as honor guard. Frustrated by their idleness they were renamed Nova Vanguard and undertook special missions which required swiftness and precision. Of course this didn't satisfy the warrior hearts of Astartes and they have striven for more. By 824.M30 they grew to seven chapters and renamed Bronze Dragons. No longer hiding in shadows they brandished shining bronze armor and were feared as methodological assault specialists. In 842.M30 the legion reunited with Hyperion and using his genes Legio XIII soared up in size.
In 850.M30 they earned the name Celestial Champions with the reputation of undefeated elites. This of course was a fabrication and in effect the Champions were just ordinary Astartes of an under-strength legion. Yet the myth prevailed through artificially low numbers, careful choice of only "worthy" battles and manipulation of records to highlight the Champions. Legio XIII always had a superiority complex but during their time as Celestial Champions this behavior peaked completely. Of course this didn't last forever and they were forced to participate in the Second Rangdan Xenocide. The conflict was a dreadful meatgrinder and the Champions fell like any Astartes. Though records imply superior performance of losing only 10 chapters the truth got laid bare for the Legionaries, breaking their confidence. With moral at its all time low Hyperion's sons faced a colossal crisis. They were "saved" in the last minute by xenos invading the legion's heartland in Sector Vesta. They left for the other end of the galaxy and defeated the aliens in a long yet glorious skirmish. In the conclusion of the war Hyperion made his famous "You are all lions!" speech which lead to their current name, Lions Illustris.
Hyperion's geneseed is known to be stable and does not interfere with any of the implants. That being said this is only if fairly specific course of recruitment is followed. For starters geneseed implanatation must happen at early age, preferably before 8. Second, the recipients need 2-5 years of incubation period which is followed by a painful transformative process. During these points many of the recipients could fail to pass and may wash out from the program early. Worse, if they are unprepared the process may even kill them. As such extensive care is needed to groom these individuals to the right state.
As for quirks the most notable peculiarity is the Lions' infravision. This allows them to accutely discern heat sources and even use it as a simplified IFF between brothers which is indiscernible for others. This also influences their view on flames which they find beautiful. Their acute senses allow them to almost see better in the midst of blazing infernos rather than be overwhelmed by it. Another less explainable quirk is what referred as Incarnation. The exact reasons for why is unknown but Legionaries can gradually turn to resemble their Primarch more. Some claim it has to be spiritual, through aligning one's soul with their progenitor. Others think it's down to physical compatiblity. Either way a number of Legionaries experienced this to various degrees. This can appear in growth spurts, facial resemblance, acquiring skills they never possessed before or in the most rare cases even psychic awakening. The process is gradual and could stop or restart at any moment. Some may only grow a few inches taller while there are extremely rare cases of Marines becoming 10 feet tall. Incarnation is a mysterious yet welcome phenomenon among the Legionaries and soon accompanied with said individual climbing the Legion's social ladder.
Favored Tactics/Battlefield Role:
The Lions Illustris is considered an assault focused legion which methodically tears apart their opponent. Most of their equipment is colored in highly polished brass which denies camouflage for sheer intimidation factor. They put the enemy forces into disarray before conducting precise and timely strikes to collapse the enemy's ability to fight as a group. To do this they gather lot of intelligence and give fair degree of initiative for individual squads. They rarely fight in full strength, preferring to keep reserves in such state they could be deployed rapidly. The discipline of the Lions is perhaps their most remarkable aspect, able to coordinate to such degree the enemy has little time to adapt. Their flexible chain of command further capitalizes on this, allowing them to mix and match soldiers from different units when necessary. For example they can immediately merge two under strength squads or even chapters which then would continue the relentless assault. Alternatively they can absorb reinforcements rapidly as if the unit never suffered any loses, a characteristic they share with the Immortals. The Lions Illustris rarely attacks from the same direction as other forces of the Imperium. It's believed that the erratic nature of other armies would only disrupt the Lions' own maneuvers. The only exception are Solar Auxilia and Questor Imperialis from the Vesta sector who trained alongside the Lions.
Equipment-wise the most obvious quirk of the Lions is their preference for fire. They have a large stock of Volkites which they maintain excellently. This allows them to carry Volkite Charger as their standard weapon rather than the Bolter. Be it flamer, volkite or melta it's likely the Lions use an obscene amount of them. They associate the flames with the Sun and are outright exhilarated when surrounded by fire. Their own craftsmen and rock-solid relations with the Sollex cult of Mechanicum also provide them with some weapons unique to the legion. Most notably the Drakon Casters that can expel their content of Prometheum either as tongues of flame or intense streams of Melta. In melee the Lions chiefly use their Labyris, a more compact chainaxe distributed for all legionaries. On the other hand the artificial gravity of Heliopolis makes grav-vehicles unstable and as such the Lions Illustris uses little if any hovercraft due to the poor training environment.
-Labyris: A relatively small type of chainaxe that hangs off the belts of every Lions legionary. It has a short handle of only 60-70cm, ending in a relatively small head and compact power source. Labyris originates from Hemera's knighthood and the weapon is compact enough to be wielded by ordinary humans. Their smallness makes them easy to carry and they are the universal melee weapon among the Lions Illustris. The short chain spins the diamantine teeth at literally blazing speeds, often producing sparks and orange glow. The weapon is resilient enough to block other chainswords and bites into armor better. On the other hand the ordinary chainswords do a meaner damage so Labyris requires more finesse. As a backup and utility tool the Lions still use high-quality knives albeit of more modest size (35-40cm) referred as combat daggers. In spite of their smallness their tapered monomolecular blades make them into really effective stabbers.
- Labyris Varys: A larger variant of the compact Labyris chainaxes, designed for heavy melee combat. It's 150cm long with long guard-rail protecting almost the entire shaft against glancing blows. In comparison the head is relatively small and sheated within a pair of monomolecular blade sections. The idea is that the conventional head delivers the impact, biting into the armor after which it is pushed back thus allowing the chain teeth to grind through the target. This combination gives the weapon remarkable performance against armor, albeit a bit tricky to handle. Thanks to the great strength of Astartes it's possible to wield a Labyris Varys in one hand, although both hands are recommended for delivering the most powerful blows. As such it's more common to combine the Labyris Varys with a combat shield.
- Sollex Pattern Power Weapons: Sollex is a sub-cult of Mechanicum found within the Vestan Sector. While not sharing the Vestan beliefs they are similarly obsessed with light&heat related studies to understand the Sun, regarding each other as kindred spirits. Sollex power fields are unique in their blazing quality which vaporizes rather than disrupt matter and known to coat the weapon in a visage of flames. Sollex powerfields are less stable and hence are only recommended for weapons where the field covers less than half the weapon surface. Axes are common but they also produce various hammers and maces where the field only intensifies at the moment of impact. One such example is the Sollex Morning Star, usually a one-handed mace with ball shaped head protruded with numerous triangular spike blades. The weapon's Sollex power field explodes on impact while the remainder of the energy helps the spikes to punch deep into the target. Thanks to the power field the spikes are never stuck and they tend to explosively vaporize flesh or even metal in their immediate vicinity.
- Dawnbringers: Two-handed power weapon resembling pollaxes wielded by ancient knights. The weapon is a sophisticated mixture of a Sollex powerfield generator and a Volkite Caster. It can hack like a power axe, thrust like a power spear and bash like a power mace. While there are weapons excelling in each of these roles better than the Dawnbringer the combination what makes this a truly remarkable weapon. The Volkite Caster itself is built into the shaft and perfectly in line with the weapon. It lacks aiming devices thus less useful as a ranged weapon but it sees excellent use during combination attacks. As the blade tears through the target or the spike punctures the armor the user can unleash a point-blank Volkite blast to incinerate the vulnerable internals. Obviously the proper use of a Dawnbringer requires immense amount of skill and even more practice thus only Champions and similarly accomplished fighters are allowed to use them. This and the fact the Dawnbringer's successful swings can incinerate people like Hyperion does with Tuagh Solais means the mere appearance of these weapons commands adoration and respect among the Lions Illustris.
- Drakon Weapons: A complex yet ingenious weapon uniting the features of Flamer and Melta type weapons, making use of the fact both relies on the same source of prometheum fuel. The end result is a somewhat bulky but versatile weapon of questionable origins. According to the Sollex sub-cult the Drakon weapons are entirely canonical, assembled based on STC fragments while filling up some of the blanks. In the eyes of the Mechanicum as a whole it's to be decided thus only the Sollex sub-cult, Lions Illustris and House Lucienus are authorized to make use of such weapons. There are three main variants: Drakon Caster, Drakon Projector and Drakon Siege Array. Being the smallest the Drakon Caster is essentially combining Hand Flamers with Melta Pistols in effectiveness, lacking range but decently portable. Drakon Projectors on the other hand are bulky heavy weapons that equate Melta Guns and Heavy Flamers. Lastly the vehicle exclusive Drakon Siege Array functions both as a Multi-Melta and Inferno Cannon. The multi-functionality obviously adds bulk and complexity thus they aren't a perfect replacement to their parent weapons. Still, the added convenience is decently useful for the Lions Illustris.
- Melta Beamers: While Drakons were merely something Sollex improved upon the Melta Beamers truly bear their handiwork. Using a long acceleration tube and ionizing lasers it allows the searing hot streams of fusion matter to retain their potency for greater ranges. The first product was the Inferno Rifle which shoots fusion streams for many hundreds of paces. While not an anti-vehicular weapon its power is sufficient to breach most personal armors. Next they developed the Thermal Beamers, a type of Melta Cannon with dramatically increased range. Melta weapons usually have a niche for very short range punch against hardened targets but the beamer technology broadened these horizons. For now the Melta Beamers are still under Mechanicum evaluation thus only the Sollex sub-cult and their typical affiliates are using these.
- Sabre Strike Tank: While most legions utilize them the Lions are especially fond of these small vehicles which seems to thrive in assault. While not particularly well-armored they are fast and carry hard-hitting weapons. Aside from the usual loadout of Volkite Sakers and Neutron Blasters the Lions also install them with Drakon Siege Arrays which allow the Sabres to pretty much melt their way through any opposition or belch out massive tongues of flesh-boiling flames. They also have the Sabertooth Recon Tank which uses the same chassis but replaces the heavy weapon with Auspex and has a top-mounted heavy weapon turret as its sole armament.
- Arquitor Bombard: Sabre with even heavier ordinances mounted backwards for higher stability. They are called for close artillery support and the Lions have a few unique munition types for them. Spicula for example could equip Phosphor Warheads which cover large swathes in unquenchable fire to deny entire hive blocks from the enemy. Morbus meanwhile has the limited option to load Nova shells which contain their own melta core for overwhelming effect.
- Predator Eradicator: Medium tank which mounts a Drakon Siege Gun instead of the standard autocannon turret and usually carries a pair of Volkite Culverin sponsons into battle. It's meant to be a frontline vehicle thus outfitted with reinforced front armor and flare shield. They are meant to excel in assaults where they melt bunkers, tanks and fortification alike while the flame thrower function allows them to ignore cover.
- Wolfram Lykaios/Skoll: More obscure variants of the Wolfram MBT these tanks enjoy quite the popularity among the Lions Illustris. Lykaios replaces the Battlecannon with the more arcane Volkite Demi-Cannon and has a hull-mounted Volkite Demi-Carronade (short range gun that incinerates all in its way regardless of obstacles). Wolfram Skoll features a melta cannon and melta siege array for evaporating all obstacles although the Lions utilize the more exclusive Sollex Pattern. It uses a Thermal Beamer (which has more than twice the range of Melta Cannons) and a Drakon Siege Array (which also doubles as a flamethrower). The Sollex Pattern is more versatile but requires more frequent maintenance from specialists. This does not deter the Lions Illustris to utilize them in almost every battle.
- Hemeran Lions: Native beasts of Hemera these creatures are renowned as noble pets and loyal partners. They possess sharp claws and fangs which could tear through even metal and their thick hides can be surprisingly resilient to weapons. Hemeran Lions exist in various breeds and their ferocity combined with their unusually high level of cunning meant they also found utlity as weapons of war. Hemeran Lions are organized in prides and commanded by an Astartes Pridemaster.
- Lion-Knights: Hemeran Lions that grow to giant proportions (Dire Lions) can function as mount for Astartes. These beautiful creatures only accept a select few who forged strong bonds with their respective Lion. These so-called Lion-Knights are well-decorated elites who literally charge into the enemy lines using their power lances and the fiery breath of their Dire Lions. Though not so fast compared to jetbikes the Dire Lions are very nimble and could climb and traverse terrain normally difficult to reach with vehicles. They almost always strike from unexpected angles and without leaving time for the enemy to prepare.
- Sky-Dragoons: A term used in reference to the Lions' own type of jump infantry. Their main duty is to spew fire and send enemy units into chaos. They wield Drakon Casters, a short-ranged weapon uniting flamer and melta functions. Said weapons can be put on mag-holsters during close combat where the Sky-Dragoons employ a wide range of melee weapons. Every fourth squad may even eschew Drakons for various power weapons, heightening their close combat prowess. Sky-Dragoons are meant to attack locations that normally are difficult to approach and quickly put them out of commission. The combination of flames and heavy-hitting yet point blank ranged melta means they could immediately accomplish their primary objective after which they engage in close combat and prevent the enemy to recover.
- Shieldbreakers: Lions' own version of the Breachers. They wear reinforced version of the Mark III power armor rather than adopting the boarding shield. Though this doesn't provide the same defense it means the Breachers of the Lions Illustris are more nimble and have more decisive actions rather than just holding up in a firefight. Rather they use relatively heavy weapons like the Labyris Varys or torrents of flames and melta via Draken Casters to eliminate threats. While the core of the Shieldbreakers are assault veterans their main bulk is composed of the so-called "forlorn hope", shamed individuals who try their hardest to restore their honor in such grim battlefields. Shieldbreakers are heavy assault infantry who carry twice as much equipment compared to their peers and are expected to lose quadruple the count. They aren't meant for prolonged combat but they are quite dashing when seen in the fight. With the advent of Tactical Dreadnought Armor the Shieldbreakers really only seem as cannon fodders, meant to add more bodies since equipping entire chapters as Terminators is costly.
- Eclipse Watch: Elite recon troops and also special agents whose history dates back to the Legion'a formative years. They wear midnight black armor with symbol of the Nova Vanguard and lead by veterans from Terra. Tactics wise they share more with the Night Watch than the rest of the Lions and viewed somewhat as outsiders. Since the leadership is Terran from the early years of the Great Crusade this isn't that surprising. In terms of battlefield role they are the scouts, seekers and secret agents of the Lions. Their midnight black armor is outfitted with cameloine to meld into the surroundings and they wear customized Mark II armors to be the most silent. They prefer to act alone in support of the larger legion and even Hyperion at times finds them difficult to control.
- Saturnine Pattern Terminator Armor:The Mark II Tactical Dreadnought Armor "Saturnine" was in a fierce competition with the Mark II, later known as the popular "Cataphractii Pattern". Those involved with the development of the "Saturnine" soon migrated to Vesta and kept refining the armor rather than work with the Mark III. As such the Forgeworld of Sollex eventually became the Saturnine Pattern's primary maker, although the low numbers meant they chiefly produced Terminator armors for the Lions Illustris. Defined by its giant pauldrons that make up a hemisphere the Saturnine Pattern is robust with practically no weak points at the front. The shoulder pads hide auxiliary generators and combined with the suit's sheer bulk it can support a wider range of functions. The drawbacks are in its size, agility and vision. Though the Saturnine pattern has even more limited vision than the Cataphracti the Lions Illustris learned to fight in groups to cover that. The lack of upper arm movements may be restrictive at first but given the sheer strength of the Saturnine's servos it actually doesn't limit melee combat. The top part between the two pauldrons can also house various special weapons. There are two variants, normal and fire support. The normal variant houses weapons that are fixed to a forward arc and usually house weapons like Phosphor Launchers or other special munitions deployment measures. There's also a bulkier option where the suit houses an semi-automated turret thus allowing the Saturnine to lay down fire from any directions. This makes the Terminator a literal walking tank and even carrying autocannons or stripped down lascannons is not outside the possibility. On the other hand the "fire support" optimized Saturnine misses the main purpose of a Terminator which is to lead assaults. Yet just as the Deredeo Dreadnought there are some situations where a turreted Terminator is just what you'd need.
- Phoenix Guard: The elite of the elite, these 120 individuals are selected from the best of the Lions Illustris. Each of them bears title named after the 120 competitions Hyperion fought against the Emperor. They are usually picked from the Legion's champions and if a Phoenix Guard falls, another takes his place. They wear artificer armor embedded with Orichalchum scales gifted by Hyperion and they act as his personal retinue of bodyguards. Their weapon of choice are Phoenix Halberds which are actually Force Chainaxes with each teeth extracted from the psycho-active Orchinates. Though the majority of the Phoenix Guard aren't powerful Psykers they have training to exercise their power in groups and support Hyperion in combat. As sidearms the Phoenix Guard usually carries Volkite Casters on their off-hand wrist and may even replace that for Inferno Casters or similar attachments if necessary. Phoenix Guards are also remarkable for their height as they are rarely shorter than 8 feet and may even approach 10 feet on occasion. This is thanks to that without an exception all Phoenix Guards have experienced high degree of the Incarnation phenomenon.
- Magius: Effectively the Librarians of the legion who are taught somewhat differently from the norm. Magius are heavily influenced by Vestan clergy, white wyches and Hyperion's own experiences. They are a relatively new addition although psykers to some shape were always present in the legion. Magius do maintain cordial relationship with the Librarius department but they aren't strictly part of it.
- Skald: A role which is akin to the Chaplain mixed with duties of Remembrancers. Skalds are warrior poets who record the legion's deeds, craft songs and generally uphold the legion's spirit. They are also somewhat heavily involved with propaganda and partially responsible for the legion's penchant for twisting records to their favor. Each Chapter usually has 3-4 Skalds.
- Legatus: High-ranking member in the Legion. They aren't neccessary the strongest of the legion but they are people of strong character with leadership skills befitting their position. They are effectively people who are second only to Hyperion and in his absence the words of a Legatus are the words of the Primarch himself. Legatus is a title to be earned and unlike most position their numbers vary. Legatus aren't neccessarily required to lead a battle and at other times more than one Legatus could be present. At times like these disputes are resolved through prior discussions or even casting a vote.
Lykourgos, The Younger: Son of Lykourgos the Great he's one of Hyperion's closer confidants. Being too old to undergo the full Astartes process he only carries portion of the Space Marine enchantments but regardless a valiant fighter and worthy to stand beside Hyperion. Currently he's tasked with the protection and governance of Vesta during Hyperion's absence.
Escanor the Giant: Towering Space Marine and one of the mightiest among the Phoenix Guard. His imposing 10 feet height and customized Saturnine Terminator Armor renders him a complete juggernaut, a champion who's said to never lose during the noon. Hyperion is impressed by Escanor's prowess and personally spars with him on occasion. As mighty Escanor might be he's hardly wise and known to be somewhat bullheaded.
Brother Cassiel: Venerable Dreadnought serving the 13th Legion for over two centuries. He fell during the Unification Wars after saving the Emperor's life. In return for his service Cassiel became the first ever Astartes to be entombed within a Dreadnought sarcophagus and he loyally serves the Imperium even to this day. The procedure was experimental and compared to other Dreadnoughts his mental state is in a constant flux. One moment he's sharp as he were in life when another time he's hallucinating and relives visions of the Unification Wars. In such fantasy state Cassiel usually grasps his surroundings but reimagines them as other characters. Orks may become techno-barbarians, he starts babbling terms nobody understands anymore and his actions take a strange turn. This usually doesn't degrade his combat prowess, may even provide him with newfound fury. Yet for fellow legionaries this is a sad reminder of Cassiel's broken psyche.
The Lions Illustris are a popular legion and their tales spread across the Imperium. They are considered noble and powerful which is exemplified with their towering Primarch. They are borderline idolized by the masses and considered the very example of what the Astartes should be. As the Celestial Champions they strived for universal appeal but since their reorganization to Lions they bravely show what makes Legio XIII unique, only to awe the people further. They are considered heroes and if possible Imperial censors are even more zealous to strike at sources attempting to beschmirk their name. Criticizing Astartes is already a crime which may result in capital punishment but with the Lions' support one's loose lips could quickly cost an entire family. That being said for being so noble and respected, beneath the surface the Lions have a much more complicated web of relationships.
The Emperor, Hyperion and the Lions: The Lions' Primarch is revered not just personally but also spiritually. Though the legion is atheist they view Hyperion as an entity closest to god. This is particularly troublesome since Hyperion is devoted to the Emperor and would want his legion to feel the same. They don't, they only follow Hyperion and do everything else to respect him. The only exception are the Eclipse Watch and other small groups of Terrans who have this relation reversed. They are loyal to the Emperor first and consider Hyperion to be their superior and somebody like their "esteemed elder", not even a father figure. Hyperion knows this and even appreciates their behavior. Weird as that may seem.
Other Legions: The Lions Illustris consider themseves to be the best of all the twenty legions and would not shy away from proving it. They are fairly competitive and have a high opinion of themselves. Yet they are also indoctrinated to view other legions as their distant brothers, though with mixed effect. Another large group pays respect to fellow legions to not displease Hyperion, a similar reason as how their "loyalty" works for the Emperor. Then there are the occasional bad apples who pick fights and have to be reigned in by their comrades.
Imperial Administration: As a "popular legion" the Lions requently have interactions with the imperial governing system. In general these relations are positive although a strong minority of Imperials beleive that Hyperion is carving out his own personal empire. This could keep officials more wary of him or even perform actions to undermine the legion. The Eclipse Watch itself actually has their own separate relationship with the Administration, a rather shady one. The Eclipse Watch occasionally works in ways that is contradictory to the Lions yet serve Imperial intentions. They are loyal to the Imperium, not Hyperion, afterall.
Imperial Citizens: Hyperion wants to guide humans to prosperity, that is his grand duty. He beleives in mankind's great destiny. He is widely regarded as a just ruler beloved by his people. Yet when it comes down to the individual Hyperion may get oddly pragmatic about it. The life of a single human is inconsequential to the whole. While he's amicable in his interactions the Primarch doesn't really care of lowly people's lives. His gaze is fixed on the future while almost being blind to the present. His legionaries have varying stance on regular humans. Some can form personal connections with them while others are completely incapable of empathizing with humans. They prevent causalities to please Hyperion or to maintain the legion's image but when nobody sees them the Lions could be downright cruel.
Vestan Sector: Though Hyperion respects all of mankind it's obvious he has a very soft spot for the Vesta Sector. After joining the Imperium the region flourished like never before. In some sense it became an experiment from Hyperion to see if he can create his perfect nation on a small scale before trying to apply it on the galaxy as a whole. As for the legionaries they of course have a lot of connections to Vesta, bordering on patriotism.
Cult Mechanicum: The Lions have a bit odd relation to the Mechanicum. In general it can be regarded as positive but there are some obvious strains. For starters the Mechanicum is troubled over the Lions' usage of technology with questionable approval. While they don't disrespect the Mechanicum the Lions were treading a fine line on the eligibility of some of their equipment. Another stress point is Sollex, a Mechanicum sub-cult which has a tendency to shelter factions who were falling out of favor in Mars. The fact the Lions keep a very close relationship with Sollex members only make this more problematic. Regardless, compared to other legions where actions bordered on tech-heresy the behavior of the Lions is just mildly concerning.
Xenos: The Vestan League fought off numerous Xenos threats and this early experience shaped Hyperion's thinking about them. He has pretty sour experiences with most alien races and his title "Orkslayer" was not just earned for show. That being said he doesn't close up to the option of negotiating with Xenos. As a ruler he has experiences in making practical deals and for that matter he considers the Edict of Tolerance as such. While mankind is superior the xenos are good "fertilizer" for humans to grow upon. He has little intention of establishing cordial relationships with aliens but he will be delighted to use their xenopower as subjects and workforce for mankind's future. In his eyes the Edict of Tolerance is nothing less than an expression of mankind's imperialism. Xenos are inferior, treacherous beings yet there's some merit in subjugating them. The very least it's more productive than wasting power on exterminating docile aliens.
Psykers: Hyperion is a born psyker and raised by a witch. He views psychic powers like a crude gun, devastating but delicate. Hyperion is aware of the Immaterium and that malignant creature lurk within its depths yet largely obvious of demons, not to mention the nature of Chaos. What he is aware of is the dangers of sorcery. His adoptive mother was a sorcerer and Hyperion saw the terrible price of such powers. He considers psychic powers an useful tool, one that should not be ignored. At the same time he takes up a cautious stance and this is the main reason he does not completely trust the current Librarius even though he was one of the founders.
Updated my sheet. While my Primarch is almost untouched I added my Legion sheet.
Homeworld: Baigok - A Civilised World similar to ancient Terra with a vast body of water adorned by continental landmasses and governed by a global hegemony
Appearance: Fierce falcon-like eyes of hazel pupils below sharp raven brows strike an everpresent, perceiving gaze into all around him. Chin and jaw chiseled to such perfection there could be left not an inch of doubt regarding their sculptor's divine excellence, Asura is a mythical demigod of Ancient Terra in the flesh. His stature at 11.5 feet, his physique is a clear indication of his divine purpose in the world. Sleek curves blend with angular precision to form a streamlined musculature reminiscent of a masterfully crafted blade.
Personality: Asura is first and foremost his own champion. Unapologetically straightforward and self-assured to the point of arrogance, he takes the fight to the enemy. Literally. Always on the frontlines, he personally prosecutes his wars with frightening speed and precision, blitzing through campaigns in a single-minded, perhaps primitive, perception of war as a struggle to decapitate the enemy or be decapitated yourself. He may leave the seeds of insurrection behind but in his mind, the foe has been cut to pieces and thus next war awaits. But where one would expect the blind accumulation of battlefield glories to decorate his very persona, Asura is unexpectedly lacking in his boasts. He is an artist of the duel, a grandmaster of the blade and only through confrontation with the greatest of foes does he find fulfillment in the eternal pursuit of perfection. A more cynical perspective however, and one much less voiced if said person has any sense of self-preservation, could be that he has done more than enough for his deeds to boast for themselves. Regardless, the Primarch himself is a silently charismatic champion on the battlefield, the sound of the slaughter that ensues from his presence heralding his presence for all foes, a challenge in itself to try and take his head if they can. Glory follows but not for his enemies.
Champion Duelist: A swordsman of such ability that he is known throughout the galaxy even amongst xenos, Asura has challenged and successfully defeated a myriad of foes from mighty Ork warbosses to Aeldari Howling Banshees to even Incubi Hierarchs. His sword strokes are a blur even to the eyes of a Primarch, his style all-encompassing and everchanging in the thick of combat. He is a champion of Mankind and he ends whole wars in single combat.
Master Bladesmith: He is steeped in every aspect of the blade. Greatswords, sabres, double-headed battle axes, twin daggers, Asura's forge is a place where weapons fit for the gods are created from the sweat of a demigod. The blades he forges are each unique in aspect from one another. Where one may be a tool of pure, unadulterated destruction, the other may be a thing of subtlety, a dormant creature that erupts into a ferocious apex predator when unsheathed from its scabbard.
Tactical Instinct: Asura's mind processes swathes of information from his immediate surroundings in the heat of battle. His every movement is a calculated act of positioning that optimises his path of slaughter in a way that gives him the best killing stroke while covering him from anticipated threats such as a sniper's shot. His tactical acumen lends itself well to his style of up-close-and-personal warfare.
Shock Combat: It comes as no surprise that Asura's preferred method of waging war is shock warfare. He personally leads his Legion in the use of shock tactics against the enemy, committing everything to a rapid surgical strike deep into the enemy. This philosophy of war is also executed in void war, his fleets always seeking a clean decapitation of the enemy flagship. This can even involve Asura himself personally teleporting aboard an enemy ship with his full bodyguard retinue.
Assignment Grade: A Beta level psychic being, Asura possesses the gift of prescience, a gift he can consciously control though it is limited to his focus on the enemies he can perceive in the immediate moment. In combat, he can perceive the trajectories that a projectile can take or see a sword stroke before it is even made. This power can be extended to others with a gifted ally finding their sword strokes swifter and stronger.
He descended from the heavens wreathed in fire and the fury of the gods. His arrival was chanced upon by a man who'd raise the young Asura up though not in a way any traditional parent would. Baigok was a world ruled by a global hegemony known as the Heavenly Council, each member of the council the scion of a powerful dynasty. The world had known nothing but peace for decades, the Council enacting policies of extreme state surveillance on its own people backed by a formidable military in a world of relatively advanced technology with cybernetics, STC pattern weapons and vehicles and pre-spacefaring aircraft. Slavery was the norm with society being divided into castes all the way up to the Council dynasties themselves. Entertainment was prevalent in the debauched pleasure dens of Baigok's cities but the mainstay were the arenas in which the blood games were held.
Asura's "father" had been a poor slaver, beset by debts and disowned by the main branch of a much more well off family. He saw Asura not as a son but as chattel, a gift from the heavens after he'd sold off all his former slaves, whatever few he had anyways. Whatever his moral faults, the man prepared Asura for a life of violence from the outset, training the young Primarch as his own prized gladiator. Asura grew unnaturally quickly much to the slaver's shock and pleasure and once Asura was the size of an adult man, he was thrown in the deep end.
The arenas of Baigok were spectacles to behold, each one designed to accommodate a myriad of "games" from survival mazes to underground fighting cages. Asura was but one of millions of designated chattel for the entertainment of a degenerate society. He killed his fellow men at first, becoming more of a spectacle as he grew and grew, the 'Fighting Titan' his slaver father marketed him as. The games he partook in became more dangerous. He'd face cybernetically enhanced foes in single combat, escape a forest filled with death traps all the while fighting off fellow competitors and the drugged up predator beasts sent to kill them.
His success made his slaver father very wealthy and consequently the man saw fit to invest some of that wealth back into Asura. He lived in a cell like the slave he was but it was a rather spacious cell and adorned with everything he'd need to prepare himself for the next "game". He mastered many blades as a gladiator, developing a taste for the scimitar. Winning so many fights and games until he was reputed to be unstoppable, even his slaver father ceded to whatever demands Asura made. He was even gifted with things he had not asked for from material luxuries to offerings of women though he felt no desire for things beyond that of the blade.
Asura had become an icon of Baigok. He was a champion of the people, particularly his fellow slaves. This did not escape the near omnipresent gaze of the ruling Council. The games became increasingly more dangerous, more traps and greater foes. If they thought the Fighting Titan a fool then it would prove to be their greatest mistake. Asura knew what was happening but he bided his time.
The greatest arena of them all was the Pantheon of Shanglai, based in the heart of the largest metropolis of Baigok. The events held in this arena were said to be bigger than the rest, more spectacular than any other. Only the upper castes were granted the privilege of witnessing the strongest champions from across the world compete for the favour of the Council. Asura had been the reigning champion for years though of all things offered, freedom had never been something he'd asked for. Only weapons, armour, riches but never freedom.
It was on the final night of a grand series of events in the Pantheon's arena that much of the world came to watch either live or from pixelated live screens. This night had been advertised to be greater than all previous final nights for Asura wouldn't be facing just any foe. He'd be facing a gathering of the best gladiator fighters of Baigok, all arrayed against him at once. Even 1 man, however much of a giant he is, would buckle before a host of tens of thousands strong. It would be his ultimate undoing they said.
When Asura stepped onto the arena, it was to the cheers of a whole arena. But to the Primarch, the cheers and claps of the spectators were empty, tinged not with admiration for Baigok's greatest gladiator champion but of fear instead. He sensed their sweat and their anticipation. Their anticipation of his death. The Primarch smiled when the great slabs of ferrocrete before him on the opposite side of the arena slid open. Shadows danced in the darkness within. The crowd, hundreds of thousands of them, stood up and screamed. The members of the Council that were in attendance on a patron's box in the lowest tier of the spectator's ring stood up and clapped. Clapped for what would be their champions. Their executioners.
But what emerged instead wasn't the thousands of enhanced alpha gladiators everyone had been expecting. No, what emerged instead was a shuffling of hundreds of horribly mutilated and freshly scarred men in the armour of the Pantheon's guards. The gladiators themselves? They emerged from the dozens of entrances to the spectator rings above Asura, bloodied but grinning grins of pure malevolence. The crowd really screamed then. Closing his eyes, Asura even made out the voice of his adoptive father amongst them.
The night that ensued would be known as the Night of Blood. Tens of thousands of gladiator slaves poured into the greatest metropolis of Baigok, slaughtering countless civilians until the remaining Council members that had not been attendance in the Pantheon organized and set their military against the rampaging slave army. A violent and bloody war would break out, sweeping the continents of Baigok for years. In the end, the slaves of the world vastly outnumbered their masters and through grinding attrition warfare alone, freedom prevailed.
Asura had united the world of Baigok as its gladiator-king. The arenas remained but this time, it would be the upper caste and their descendants who'd fill the role of the competitors. The prize? Their lives. Wars would still follow for though the Heavenly Council was an oppressive authority, it nonetheless had established iron law and order upon the world. The Primarch was no statesman, he abhorred legislation and matters of governance. He was, however, a very good killer.
After crushing a series of organized enemy armies that challenged his right to rule, Asura was undisputed as the master of the world. Able to harness the manpower of millions, the Primarch looked to the stars, envisioning the day he'd come to them. But he never expected the stars to come to him.
He was the master of a world. But what was that to the master of the stars? His great crimson cloak billowed behind him, draped around burdensome black armour free of ornamentation; once a symbol of his status as a gladiator-slave but was now a symbol of his status as gladiator-king, as much an object of his regality as a throne was. Around his waist was a thick brown strap from which a curved scabbard rested. Adorned by emerald jewels shaved to pointed studs and laced with reflective gold tint, Asura's favoured blade was sheathed snug within, able to be drawn quicker than the blink of an eye by its wielder. Tipped steel boots echoed where he strode in the palace, his servants careful to avoid being trodden on by their giant of a master.
Perhaps he'd always been destined for something more after all. There had been none of his ilk in all the world, no matter how much he'd devoted for an answer. Any answer would have sufficed but to have none at all beyond the empty shell that was speculation was as existentially maddening as discovering the man you'd once thought a father had never really been a father in the first place. Enslaved as a baby, his purpose purported to be solely that of a slave warrior, the man seemed truly pitiful in retrospect. Asura had long forgotten his name and face, irrelevant details that were worth forgetting.
The pod he'd arrived in had been taken apart, the pieces melted for whatever debauched utility the slavers desired of it. Alchemy he had supposed. He couldn't really ask anymore, not after he'd killed them all. So he'd remained with the question since birth. Since...now. When it was finally answered for him in a way he'd never had predicted. Fitting that it was in such grandiose a manner too. His people had bowed immediately. How promptly they'd done so. Asura had known He was coming for him. He didn't need anyone to inform of that. It was an instinctual feeling, an acknowledgement of a presence that should not belong yet did belong.
His radiance seeped through the entrance like cascading gold sheets of silk. Asura stubbornly held fast even as the presence Himself entered the chamber. Before him was a being wreathed in fiery glamour, adorned in gold-gilded panoply of an armour that hummed a tune of vaguely recognisable notes. Power exuded off him, unintentionally or not, it bathed the Primarch in its strangely familiar warmth. Asura looked at the Emperor and the Emperor looked at Asura. Words unspoken passed between the pair.
Asura narrowed his eyes, his raven-black brows furrowing as he grit his teeth behind a thin lipped smile. No word nor gesture had been expressed yet there had come an urge over the gladiator-king. It implored him to bow to such divine majesty, to bend the knee and acknowledge the impossibly overwhelming presence gripping Asura in its gaze. But Asura resisted with all his might. Bow? Why would he bow? Why should he bow? He was a free man, a slave nevermore. The steel-like muscle-fibers of his massive chest tensed.
"What are you?" Asura asked, his voice strained.
The Emperor smiled, "You have an idea, do you not?"
"I'd like to hear it from you regardless."
"I am the Emperor of Mankind. I am your Creator."
Voices and sound streamed into his mind like a floodgate bursting open. Recollections of images, scenes that he'd relegated to the depths of dreamstate, sharpened and became clear for the first time. Asura's right hand strayed to the hilt of his sword, choler swelling up from within him, unnerved by his own memories. If the Emperor thought anything of Asura's belligerence, he did not show it.
"What...what is my purpose?"
His creator stared at him for a moment that spanned eternity. It was neither scrutinizing nor inquisitive. The Primarch could glean nought from his face.
When He at last spoke, it was with the finality of fate. "You will be my general. You will wage war across the stars in my name. You will be my greatest champion."
Asura gave a single, near-imperceptible nod. Then he knelt before the Emperor of Mankind. When he looked up, the Primarch saw the face of a pleased man before him.
The Dread Lords
Formerly known as the Space Dragons
Legion Number: XIV
Legion Strength: 85,000 Astartes Warriors, 350 Imperial Knights of House Gambrige
Warcry: "Dread My Blade!" "Take Their Heads!" "We Are Asura's Wrath!" "To Pieces! Cut Them To Pieces!"
First Captain Sunsu Kan - Captain of the 1st Company and Praetor of the XIV Legion
Chief Librarius Gao Zi
Chief Apothecary Caron Maek
Knight Harien - Scion Dolorous of House Gambrige
Favored Tactics/Battlefield Role: The Dread Lords are the shock troops of the Imperium, taking the fight to the enemy through blitzing fast shock assaults. Masters of close quarters combat, the Dread Lords operate best as a rapid assault strikeforce, conducting operations with speed and precision and a doctrine that demands nothing less than the total annihilation of the enemy.
In open battle, they execute mass mechanized assaults on the enemy, their practice of armoured warfare a proven and admired trait of the Legion. However, mechanized warfare is merely a tactical aspect of their combat doctrine and the killing strike in any Dread Lords offensive will always be inserting their Legionaries deep into the ranks of the enemy to conduct brutal close combat action.
In planetary assaults, the Dread Lords will execute massed drop-pod deployment, often under extensive danger-close orbital bombardments. Dread Lord tactical operations against conventional enemy targets often involve reconnaissance units that are used to probe the enemy positions for a vulnerability with lightning assaults being executed against any possible target. Enemy positions are repeatedly probed by highly mobile Dread Lord assaults until one of the assaults succeed. When successful, the Dread Lords execute a surgical strike onto the position composed of much of their forces. Once in close quarters, the Dread Lords will proceed to tear the enemy within apart in a bloody butcher sparing none.
The Dread Lords prefer to avoid protracted ranged battles particularly siege-warfare. When deployed against an entrenched enemy such as a Hive City, the Dread Lords would either call upon the aid of a brother or sister Legion more adept at siege warfare or execute extensive orbital bombardment on the target. If orbital bombardment fails to breach the target, the Dread Lords will tend to withdraw from the battlefield then proceed to enact Exterminatus extremis on the enemy planet, a highly controversial action even for a Space Marine Legion but one that fits within their purview of total annihilation.
In void war, the Dread Lords conduct their assaults with a focus on ship-to-ship boarding actions. The Legion employs a very crude and reputedly barbaric device known as Ursus Claws, barb harpoons that are the size of an Escort ship. Fired at the hull of an enemy ship, these immense harpoons lock onto the insides of the enemy ship via magnetism. The Dread Lords ship then pulls the chains of the harpoon back, dragging the enemy ship along with it until it is within reach for Dread Lord Breacher squads and Terminator teams to assault.
Dread Lord Legionaries conduct close quarters warfare with an eery aura of calm about them. A favoured approach of the Dread Lords when assailing enemies in close quarters would be to march silently toward their foes. Their stride would be relentless and unbroken even once engaged in combat. They'd cut to pieces any foe in their way while continuing to march onward and this abnormal silence and the ease in which they'd dispatch their enemies while marching would rout many enemy armies though by then it'd be too late for the Dread Lords would break into a massed charge and run their enemies down into pieces.
Imperial Army auxilia assigned to the Dread Lords Legion often take a support role in any direct combat engagement with Army infantry assigned to "cleanup" duties after the Dread Lords have extracted from the battlefield.
When deployed against a non-Compliant human world, the Dread Lords are known to be particularly ruthless, moreso than other Legions, in their execution of restoring Compliance. Once organized enemy resistance has been crushed, the Legion examines the extent to which the world has defied the Emperor and a punishment befitting of the crime is swiftly enacted. Whole cities have been razed to the ground and their populations butchered by the Dread Lords just for the crime of religious fervour, even if it is worship of the Emperor.
Legion Characteristics/Ideology: Only the strong rule the XIV Legion. Even before the Primarch Asura returned to his Legion, the warriors of the XIV had always been a brotherhood defined by one's martial prowess on the battlefield and the concept of a warrior guided by a code of honour and ethics. However, their Primarch personally cut away characteristics of the Legion he felt detrimental to the Legion's purpose as a bloody and brutal instrument of the Emperor's will. Asura placed upon the Dread Lords a simple code from which all were to abide by; There is no surrender in battle. The foe deserves nothing but total and complete destruction. Butcher the enemy to pieces or be butchered in turn.
Glory is materialized in the form of the killcounter. The purging of the Emperor's enemies, in whatever shape and appearance they took, was the ultimate personal glory. Dread Lord Legionaries fight with extreme savagery, merciless to anyone they are set upon. They do not ask for nor grant mercy beyond a efficient and effective death. They shall be the dread of the Emperor's enemies and where they march, pieces of the enemy shall be strewn about like a bloody red abattoir.
The XIV Legion are known for their gladiator arenas. Their arenas are ever-changing dueling fields from gladiator pits to an elevated ferrocrete platforms so high up that even an Astartes may injure themselves if they fall of it. Though promotions and rank are determined by raw fighting prowess and leadership on the battlefield, sometimes disagreements break out between warriors. Dread Lords can settle disputes between their brothers in an arena with all duels expected to be to the death, such is the culture of the XIV Legion where personal honour is treated with such value though by only the most serious of disagreements will ever result in a Blood Duel. Even out of the battlefield, the bloodthirsty nature of a Dread Lord Legionary and their desire for close combat are managed by personal combat duels in the gladiator arenas common in Dread Lord ships.
The Dread Lords are known for their tradition of wearing thick chains around their hands and the weapons they wield. Gladiators in Baigok were often sent to fight with their weapons chained on their hands and arms so they wouldn't drop it out of fear. Legionaries wear their chains in close combat and in duels, it is a popular warrior tradition in the Legion.
Baseline humans are viewed as lesser than an Astartes in the art of war and it is why Imperial Army auxilia attached to the XIV Legion are almost always in a support element role. Asura does not preach compassion for humans. There is no mercy spared by a XIV Legionary when slaughtering a non-Compliant human population for the Emperor's will is absolute and the Dread Lords are an instrument of that will.
The XIV Legion view themselves as the sword of the Emperor and thus adhere strictly to his will including the Imperial Truth. Religion is treated with the utmost disdain and the Legion is known for their zero-tolerance policy of religious fervour even if it is worship of the Emperor. A religious populace can expect the same treatment from the Dread Lords as a non-Compliant populace; total annihilation by their blades.
Blood Duels are something every Legionary in the XIV is familiar with. Aspirants are always pitted against another foe in an arena, usually another Aspirant though the Legion does get creative with the kind of opponent an Aspirant faces. Armed with a melee weapon of their choice but with no bodily protection, Aspirants fight for their lives. Legion Apothecaries often rebuild the crippled bodies of most Aspirants and these fortunate few go on to become Neophytes. Their trials will only intensify in hardship from there for the XIV continually tests its recruits with gladiatorial contests and live-fire exercises, a single mistake could mean death for a XIV recruit and it is through such harsh training that the Legion weeds out those who are worthy of becoming a Dread Lord. The Legion is not averse to recruiting from primitive Feral and Feudal worlds its fleets come across, such practice called a "Blood Tithe" in which potential Aspirants are drawn from the world's masses. The Dread Lord's training regimen prepare a recruit in all forms of conventional warfare and it is only as a full-fledged Astartes does close quarters combat form a core of their training. Internal combat competitions within the Legion is common with the Primarch Asura himself overseeing matches between companies, these exercises intended to improve operational effectiveness of all units involved. However, ultimately it will not neither arena nor practice cage but the true battlefield in which a Legionary of the XIV proves himself as a warrior.
Relationships: The XIV Legion are a proud and capable legion so when they do request the aid of a brother or sister legion, it will surely be a situation that truly requires the skills of the legion they have requested aid from. In return, their sibling legion can expect the Dread Lords to come to their aid in kind.
Relations with the Daughters of Iron: The Dread Lords have operated with the Daughters of Iron on previous occasions and both legions share a mutual dislike of one another based on the reputation of the other Legion.
Relations with the Stargazers: The Dread Lords have worked closely and successfully with elements of the Stargazer's macroclade fleets on multiple occasions in the past. There was mutual respect between both Legions for the other's devotion and unflinching service to the Emperor and His will. The Stargazer's zealotry and passion in the field of battle alongside the Dread Lord's ruthless waging of war sent many foes to their demise.
Relations with the Serpents of the Sun: The Dread Lords and the Serpents have combined their respective shock warfare and maneuver warfare philosophies in the past to incredible success in joint combat operations, truly annihilating any foe unfortunate enough to stand in the way of these 2 Legions. There is a high degree of respect amongst the Dread Lords for their sister Astartes of the XVII however only a select few Dread Lords are even privy to the aspect of faith that is the foundation of their sister Legion. Had the Serpents faith become widespread knowledge, relations between the 2 may not be what it is today.
The Dread Lord's condescension of the Imperial Army's capabilities in direct action operations is well known. This may cause frosty and even passive hostile relations between other Imperial Army divisions and the Legion though the Legion always gets its way no matter what.
The bureaucracy of the Imperial government is viewed as an annoyance, a pest that can and should be swatted away lest it hinder combat operations.
Homeworld: Chalice, a planet technologically and culturally resembling ancien Greece but with most of the population regrouped in city-states surrounded by immense walls to prevent giant feral beasts from wreaking havoc.
Normaly sized/shaped for a primarch, his eyes shine a bit with a glimpse of silver.
Personality: Gabriel is very protective of humanity in general. But sometimes, combined with his lack of tact, this could resemble pity or disrespect. For example his legion rarely fights alongside normal humans, not because he hates them but because he think they are too weak for the battlefield and it’s the role of the astartes to do the fighting. Since he has been quite sheltered by his foster parents, Gabriel is also a bit naive, often not thinking too much before talking which caused him some troubles. Gabriel highly values honor, that’s why his legion refuses to use any "disrespectful" tactics like stealth or traps. For him, honor is what elevates humanity from the other barbaric species who taint the galaxy. Gabriel is also an extremely steadfast individual when it comes to willpower. Even so he’s quick to acknowledge his mistakes when he makes some, his resolve is almost unbreakable. He’s quite hard to anger but when his wrath comes forth (like someone disrespecting his father) he’s even harder to calm down. Gabriel ADORES his father which he considers to be the ultimate human being, the savior and protector of humanity. Therefore all of his decisions are not only absolute but right and noble. Since he lived his early life in a very religious environment his respect for his father can often be seen as worship as every world conquered must pay hommage to the Emperor as the ultimate being in existence. Nonetheless he respects the decision of his father to not be treated as a god and insists all he and his legion are doing is just hommage and not worship, even though a lot of people think he’s just playing with words.
Skills: -Melee specialist: Gabriel was raised on a world without guns and since then he almost always trained and fought with melee weapons, making him extremly proficient with them. He favors the sword for its agile nature but he also knows his way around almost every type of close quarters weapon.
-Expert duelist: Considering the importance Gabriel gives to honor it comes without surprise that Gabriel engages in an extensive number of duels. That plus the genetic predispositions he got from his genitor made him one of the fiercest duelist of the galaxy. Extremly tactical and precise, learning techniques and from his few mistakes at a frightenning pace, he has even sometimes been seen sparring with the Emperor himself, getting stronger after each defeat.
-Monster hunter: During his "childhood", Gabriel hunted and brought down the majority of Chaloce’s megafauna, making him an expert at fighting opponents larger (and even sometimes stronger) than him.
Gabriel is an absolute monster on the battlefield but his candid nature and lackluster education made him a poor strategist. Event though his legion is more specialized in glorious heroic charges than complex tactical manœuvres, there’s still a need for tactic. Gabriel is aware of those shortcomings and lets the strategy to his trusted captains. For his legion, Gabriel is more of a champion and an exemple that a tactical mastermind. He’s not abandoning his role as leader of the 15th legion though, he still always has the final word on any matter regarding the Emperor’s Seraphim. He just knows when to listen to his advisors when it comes to things other than fighting for the glorious future of humanity.
Assignment Grade: Alpha Gabriel manifested his powers at a young age. On his planet those were seen as gifts of the gods and although rare there were scholars on the planet who were able to teach him how to control his powers. Gabriel utilizes some common powers to a certain extent like increasing his physical abilities, boosting moral or scaring the enemy. He also sometimes uses the power of his mind to heal the injured but his specialty is commanding the sky. Most of the time he uses his psychic might to alter the weather, creating massive hailstorms or smiting his foes with powerful lightning bolt straight from the sky or on the contrary creating massive droughts on limited areas. He also seems to particularly like the ability to sprout massive psychic wings from his back, allowing him to fly at impressive speeds. He could achieve the same result without the wings but enjoys the look that gives him. For unknown reasons, Gabriel’s presence seems to be uncomfortable and even painful for Warp creatures like Daemons. His psychic powers also seem to be particularly effective against such entities. He probably has been made that way by the Emperor but he doesn’t know and never asked.
Wargear: -The Silver Thorn: a shard of a great monolith that the cultists of Chalice used for their rituals (see Biography), it has a great connection with the Warp. It act as a catalyzer and allow his wielder to focus his psychic power through it increasing both power and precision. After being studied by his fellow primarch Iniephor on Terra and proven non-dangerous Gabriel had it reforged as a sword by his sister Eiohsa. Focusing his psychic power into the blade turns it into an extremly powerful force sword. It is particularly effective against Daemons and other Warp-powered defenses.
-Custom made primarch battle-plate: heavier that what most of his brothers and sisters use, trading mobility for a greater protection although most of the time Gabriel just uses his psychic powers to nullify these drawbacks by augmenting his strength or just flying. This armor comes with a hand-mounted custom-made flamer on the left arm and an Iron Halo prototype, the Argent Bulkward which can expand its force field to protect people around the primarch.
Biography: Like all of his brothers and sisters Gabriel was sent into an unwanted journey through the stars while still an infant. His pod crashlanded on the planet of Chalice, an isolated world of the Segmentum Tempestus. Chalice was a planet technologically and culturally resembling ancien Greece but with a strong religous presence. Most of the planet worshipped the four gods known as "The Warrior" represented as a muscular horned man clad in red armor and fighting with an axe, "The Damsel" wearing a purple dress, patron of the arts and passions, "The Gardener", god of life and fertillity, always represented as an old man with green ragged clothe. And finally "The Scholar", the god of knowledge and wisdom wearing long blue tunic. For the trained eye it was obviously a disguised cult of the Runious Powers but for the people of Chalice they were their gods and protectors. Most of the population of Chalice is regrouped in city-states surrounded by immense walls supposedly crafted by the gods themself to prevent the giant feral beasts who populated the countryside to wreak havoc.
Gabriel landed in the nest of a what the primitive habitants of Terra would have called a wyvern. After he crashed on the planet the wyvern’s attacks suddenly stopped which led the inhabitants of the nearest city to investigate only to find that Gabriel had killed the beast and survived by eating his remains. The child was discovered by a group of explorers wanting to investigate the reason of the strange lack of wyvern attack. For the people of the closest city state the infant was a gift from the gods. A soon to be champion who would rid the land of the vile beasts that plagued it.
He was brought to the chief of the city who promply adopted the boy. The boy was named Gabriel Argenti from the glimpse of silver he had in his eyes. Soon the best teachers were called, mighty warriors and powerful sorcerers (once his psychic powers awakened) to make him the champion his world desperatly needed. After only a year the child, now taller and stronger than anyone ever seen in the city, already surpassed all of his preceptors. His education other than the arts of combat and magic were focused on the worship of the gods and how he was a savior sent by them to destroy the monsters outside the city. It was kept to the bare minimum so the child could be more easily controlled.
When he was deemed ready, he left the city for a three-years. In that time he did what everyone on Chalice thought was impossible, ompletly purging the land from every monster that dwelled there. Gabriel was greeted as a hero but he did not enjoy much time to rest. As he came back from his quest he caught his father back in his private villa performing a despicable and secret ritual, sacrificing numerous people to the runious powers. The people of the city states were indeed favored and protected by the gods but not without cost, a tribute paid to some vile gods instead of generous deities. The interruption of the ritual interfered with the warp energy that was being wielded at the time which ended by the summoning of several daemons. The apparition of those abject creatures were the straw who broke the camel’s back for Gabriel who slaughtered everyone in the room, killing the daemons, the cultists and his father. When it was discovered the whole population turned against him, as he was the only one alive who had seen these so called demons, and his father did bring numerous miracles upon his people thanks to the favor of the gods. For the people of the city what Gabriel had done was a blasphemy and a treason and he should be punished for it.
Unwilling to fight the people he swore to protect he fled the city but swore to free them from the schackles of the false gods. He passed the rest of his time on Chalice destroying churches and hunting down priests but his lack of knowledge about his enemy and their sheer numbers made the task almost impossible for a man alone, even as formidable as him.
But never he fell into despair and one fateful day his perseverance was rewarded. The sky opened and from it giant flying ships emerged, and from them descended giants clad in metal led by an even greater being covered with gold and radiating with light. It seem that while he was at his lowest, his mind instinctively sent psychic calls for help through space and were recieved by the master of mankind when the crusade fleet entered the sector. Thanks to this powerful link between father and son, the Emperor knew exactly the situation and was able to start the purge of the planet. Gabriel fell on his knees, that was it, the gods he worshiped before were only lies. The real god was here and he came from the sky to smite the wicked.
The Emperor quickly reunited with his lost son. The two locked themselves inside the throne room of the city-state Gabriel was raised in and they talked for days. At first the master of mankind explained to the primarch what he was and what was his purpose, he then taught the young man why he was not a god and why no religion should be built around him. After days of talking the two of them emerged from the room with Gabriel deciding to take up his role at the head of the 15th legion, the Storm Heralds.
Gabriel didn’t stop his veneration though. For him the Emperor deserved to be praised but not as a god. Gods were only vile creatures feeding off humanity’s fear an weakness for their own benefit. No, the Emperor has to be praised for what he his: the ultimate being in existence, the apex of humanity and as such every human should acknowledge him as the rightful leader of the human race and the galaxy as a whole.
In addition to their normal Astartes duties, Gabriel and his legion were secretly tasked to take care of all the chaos cults and possible daemonic incursions that comes along. The Emperor presented the daemon to Gabriel as nothing more than "mindless psychic constructs" born from the madness of degenerate worships performed by particularly stubborn and psychically powerful religious adepts. The Master of Mankind insisted on the fact that these creatures were extremly dangerous but that him and his sons where abnormally resistant to them and thus making the Storm Heralds the best candidates to protect humanity from this threat.
This new task filled the primarch with pride. He was personally gifted a mission from the ultimate being that only he could accomplish. He of course accepted it without a question.
He fulfilled his duty with all the zeal and fervor he was capable of and purged hundred of cults and other abominations in the name of his father until he was awarded the honor of renaming his legion by including the Emperor’s name. He decided to rename the 15th legion the "Emperor’s Seraphims" after beasts from Terra’s old folklore supposed to be envelopped by god’s fire, they used to both share the warm love of god for his creation but also the burning wrath he could use on the one who defied him. A fitting name considering the vision he had of himself and on his legion as the shield and sword of mankind.
The Meeting: W.I.P
Legion Name: The Emperor’s Seraphims (originally Storm Heralds)
Legion Number: XV
Legion Strength: 50 000 astartes, several Imperial Knight houses, the titan legion Tempestus
Gabriel is extremely reluctant to sacrifice human lives, so only the best of the best among the recruits are selected to begin the difficult procedure of becoming an astartes to increase their chances of surviving both the training and the combat, making the 15th legion relatively small in comparison to the others.
The legion has an unusually high number of Imperial Knights fighting alongside them, Gabriel particularly enjoys their vision of the combat where honor is primordial.
The Seraphims are also often helped in combat by the titan legion Tempestus, a legion known for their fierce and relentless assault. The seraphim fought several glorious battles alongside them and a real bond formed between them as Tempestus looks more than a Knight house on steroids looking for glory and honor on the battlefield than an ordinary titan legion.
The armor is more silvery than white. The Seraphims often decorate personally their own armors with symbols or scriptures paying homage to the Imperium and his Master.
Warcry: "We stand in the Emperor’s light and slay those who remain in darkness"
"The sword of the Emperor, the shield of mankind"
"Feel the fury of the storm" (More used when they were called the Storm Heralds)
Battlemaster Aurelio Luctis Unlike most of his brothers, Aurelio is extremely calm and level-headed. He possesses an incredible talent for strategy and tactic, making him the de facto "general" of the legion. His strategies and tactics still need to be approved by Gabriel but most of the time the primary is too busy fighting at the frontline.
Chief Librarian Emilios Miridis One of the professors who taught Gabriel during his childhood. Emilios showed him how to control his powerful psychic powers. After making sure he had nothing to do with the cult led by his foster father Gabriel then asked his real father to make him an astartes as well. The Emperor warned him about the risks of the procedure as Emilios was fairly old for the astartes transformation. He managed to survive and became the chief librarian of the legion, guiding numerous astartes in the ways of controlling their powers with calm and pedagogy. At the same time he can become a truly frightening force on the battlefield when he unleashes all of his psychic might.
Legion champion Michael Velius Brash, arrogant and impulsive, Michael's only redeeming quality is the immense Zeal he shows while fighting the enemies of humanity. That and his almost flawless combat technique, especially with polearms, makes him easily the second best duelist of the legion after Gabriel. Giving him both the titles of legion’s champion and the primarch's favourite sparring partner. He is a decent psyker, mostly using his powers to enhance his physique or to activate his force halberd
Favored Tactics/Battlefield Role: Most of the astartes in the legion prefer to fight up close and personal, making the "heroic charge" leading to "glorious melee combat" the main strategy of the Seraphims. Considering that and their small number they most often fight paired with another legion, charging and storming key locations on the battlefield or opening breaches into the enemy lines. They often use any means that could help them closing the distance between them and their enemies, including drop pods, jumpack assaults, fast transport vehicles… On the other hand the legion almost never uses any artillery or heavy vehicles at the exception of the Imperial Knights following them on the battlefield dnd a fair number of dreadnoughts at least for a legion this size. Gabriel and his legion gives a great value to human lives so the Seraphims are quite prone to entomb their fallen into a dreadnoughts when possible. Due to their mere presence being painful for daemons, a trait inherited from their primarch, they are also often secretly sent to purge chaos cults or daemon incursions resulting of those cults.
The legion has a quite impressive number of psykers (around 25 to 30% of the astartes). Those powers are viewed in the legion as gifts from the Emperor and so they tend to prioritise recruite manifesting psychic power for the geneseed implantation. Not all of those psykers get integrated to the Librarius, some prefer to remain rank and file soldiers. They mostly use offensive powers like lightning bolts or other sorts of moral or physical augmentation to help their brothers in combat. By working together they can also manifest weather changing abilities like their primarch, affecting the battlefield to their advantage. Like their primarch those powers seem particularly effective against warp creatures.
-Cherubims: a unit entirely composed of elites within the elites, they are charged of the perilous mission of dropping behind the enemy line and hitting them from the back. They are all powerful psykers using force swords, their captains are also equipped with iron halos.
-Fellblades: Gabriel is a really forgiving primarch and because of that, the ones in the legion who lacked honor on the battlefield are given a second chance in the Fellblades. Often sent as cannon fodder, decoy or other dangerous roles, they must fight at the worse places on the battlefield until an officer deems them worthy to return and fight alongside their brothers.
-Paladins: the personal bodyguards of the primarch, clad in terminator armor covered with prayers addressed to the master of mankind in high gothic. Their rank are filled by former champions of the legion, battle-hardened veterans, elite fighters and powerful psykers, rivaling the Cherubims for the title of best warriors of the legion. They don’t have standardised equipment, each member uses what he favors in battle. Every member of the Paladins have the same rank, they don’t have a captain as this role if filled by the primarch himself.
-Templar pattern (left) and Hospitaller pattern (right) imperial knights: unique patterns of knights only seen fighting alongside the 15th legion. Extremely specialised in close quarter combat. They are equipped with a Thuderstrike Gauntlet and a Principe Powerblade for the Templar and powermace coupled with a more powerful short range plasma annihilator and two twin melta guns for the Hospitaller.
Legion Characteristics/Ideology: The Seraphims share the immense respect their primarch have for the Emperor. A respect some could easily mistake for a religion as they are often seen chanting some praise for the master of mankind before, during, after the battle and even outside the battlefield. They insist on the fact that paying homage that way, isn’t a religion because the Emperor is real and worthy of those praises. A lot of people accuse them to be only playing with words to hide their worship but they are truly convinced that what they are doing is not a cult like the hundred ones they already purged. They just make sure that every citizen on every conquered planet knows they are now under the rule of the ultimate being in existence and that he’s their only way to salvation.
"Religion" aside, they are often acting in what could be described as "knightly" behavior, truly loving the population of the Imperium and eagerly wanting to protect them. While not in combat the astartes of the 15th legion are often seen helping the population in different labours with their prodigious strength. Some of the psykers of the legion event have been seen using their powers to help healing wounded civilians.
They tend to respect every legion as the creation of the perfect being even if they will openly criticize them if they use disloyal or dishonorable tactics.
Like their primarch they tend to be accidentally condescending with mortals, often treating them like children. For example, they think their place shouldn’t be on the battlefield because it’s way too dangerous for their frail bodies to fight the horrors the galaxy contain.
Relationship with other legions W.I.P
Considering their views on normal humans on the battlefield the Seraphims aren’t really popular among the ranks of the Astra Militarum even though some regiments owe their lives to their last minute intervention.
On the opposite, they are close to numerous Knight houses as their style of combat is similar with a greater focus given to honor.
They are indifferent toward xenos. They don’t feel any need to protect them like the humans but have no particular grudges against them. As long as they don’t threaten the Imperium and his inhabitants, they are allowed to live and if they get integrated in the Imperium, then they will be glad to protect them like every other citizen (even if their lives are less important than human life in the eyes of the Seraphims).
They try to remain in good terms with the Mechanicus, paying homage to the Emperor as the Omnissiah when they are in the presence of members of the cult of Mars.
Homeworld: Irkalla Solum, classification δτ ("Death World"), should not exist. Records from the Dark Age of Technology name it as Irkalla Tertius, the least of three worlds capable of supporting life in that star system but humanity's fall from grace took a bitter toll. During the Age of Strife both the hive world of Irkalla Secundus and the agri world of Irkalla Primus were destroyed in an unknown cataclysm that shattered the system, untold trillions perishing. Naught now remains of them save for circling rings of dust and rock that dance about their home star. But by some stroke of luck one world settled by man remained intact, preliminary analysis by the Adeptus Mechanicus suggesting that a conjunction of Irkalla Tertius with the gas giant of Irkalla Sextus sheltered it from the storm.
Once an overlooked mining world feeding precious minerals to the flourishing society within the system during the Dark Age of Technology, that past immortalized by the monumental hulks of long inoperative mass excavators. Now, it is one of the few stellar bodies capable of supporting an atmosphere in the Irkalla system, and the only one with a gas mix compatible with human life. But though it was saved from destruction, the scars of that ancient calamity are deep.
Those who survived the shattering of Irkalla slowly picked up the pieces, the old mining concerns forming the basis of a new path forward in an uncertain world. Man labored tirelessly to raise himself from the calamity's ruin in a world forever changed, a stranger to them once more. It is a challenge depressingly common throughout the former realm of humanity during the Age of Strife, and the challenges here are greater than most.
The local wildlife on Tertius, fierce to begin with, were not cowed by the devastation wrought upon their home. Instead they grew stronger, and some whisper that they seemed to grow crueler, monstrosities unknown to humanity stalking them at their weakest hour, turned mutant and feral on a world inundated by radiation and worse. And more beside stalk the wastes, for stalking the blasted landscape are the relics of the long past golden age. Maddened automatons, clouds of death, and horrors forgotten generations ago all bring death and terror. Yet even here, surrounded by great and powerful terrors, humanity pressed on.
+++Accessing Carta Galactica...+++ +++Primary information recovered from Dark Age data core, record date approximation M22+++ +++Supplemental information gathered by the hand of the Glorious Emperor of Humanity ???.M30+++ +++Beginning record.+++
Welcome to Irkalla! Whether you've come to our home to stay, or just passing through, you'd do well to get accustomed to our little slice of the galaxy. Please note that accommodations for non-human physiologies are significantly hard to find outside of Irkalla Secundus, if you require such please contact the +WARNING: DATA CONTAMINATION DETECTED. PLAYBACK SKIPPING CORRUPT SEGMENT.+ and do enjoy your stay!
Irkalla Stella: A standard yellow dwarf, similar in many respects to Sol itself. Stellar cartographers estimate that the Irkalla star is approximately halfway through its lifespan. [Kids, click here for more fun star facts!] +Supplemental information for adolescents was unrecoverable.+
Contemporary examination of the star reveal it be aberrant, having somehow transformed into a blue dwarf. Local reports indicate that it intermittently surges purple-violet in defiance of known science, but this was not recorded by Imperial instruments. Mechanicus scholars have requested permission to erect a stellar observatory.
Irkalla Primus: The breadbasket of Irkalla! Located about as close as you can get to the sun without burning up, crops grow here at a rapid rate. So bountiful are its fields that over ninety percent of its output is exported to other star systems within +WARNING: DATA CONTAMINATION DETECTED. PLAYBACK SKIPPING CORRUPT SEGMENT.+ and that's just to name a few of the local delicacies. Visit today!
Irkalla Primus has been destroyed, orbital track now inhabited by a ring of planetary fragments.
Irkalla Secundus: Capital of the Irkalla system, the great cities here are home to over twenty billion people and counting. If you're interested in high arts or the nightlife, or anything in between, there's something here for you. Restaurants, bars, clubs, opera houses, and more dot the spires, some local outposts from establishments linked back to Terra itself!
Irkalla Secundus has been destroyed, orbital track now inhabited by a ring of planetary fragments.
Irkalla Tertius: If you like to rock a little bit more on the wilder side, this is the place for you! A cold world rich with mineral deposits, several mining concerns from +WARNING: DATA CONTAMINATION DETECTED. PLAYBACK SKIPPING CORRUPT SEGMENT.+ dot the surface, enticing explorers new and old! But take care, outside the mining zones little has been done to push back the native wildlife, and they're not the funnest critters to mess with. For those day trippers out there who want to spend the afternoon risking life and limb and evening in a warm bed, this is the place for you!
Redesignated Irkalla Solum. The planet remains intact and its original record remains approximately 60% accurate. Exploitation of mineral deposits is highly encouraged, as the same calamity that destroyed the rest of the system rent great chasms in the surface, exposing a bounty of wealth. Local fauna have become only more dangerous however, and there are reports from the locals that technology predating the Age of Strife remains active. Extreme caution is advised.
Irkalla Quartus: We like to think of Quartus as our last little light before you head out into the great dark beyond. It's a small planet, barely large enough to keep an atmosphere, and rests at the opposite end of the habitable zone from Primus. Settlement is extremely minimal, and we ask that any who wish to do more than tour the planet sign several liability release waivers. If you just want to get away from it all and eke it out like humanity used to, you can't get better than here.
Irkalla Quartus has been destroyed, orbital track now inhabited by a ring of planetary fragments.
Irkalla Quintus: If Quartus isn't remote enough for you, give Quintus a shot. Resting outside the habitable zone, your only neighbors will be the occasional mineralogical survey. Please note, settlement assistance is not available on Quintus.
Irkalla Quintus has been destroyed, orbital track now inhabited by a ring of planetary fragments.
Irkalla Sextus: An immense gas giant near the outskirts of the system, Sextus is the home of the largest refueling depot for light years. For many travelers, this is their last stop before heading off to parts unknown, and trust us that you'll never forget the sight of an entire fleet of sprint traders lighting their drives as they depart.
Redesignated Irkalla Quassus. The very world seems to bleed, a great cloud of gas trailing from it as it drifts through the void, and it is significantly smaller than prior records suggest. Mechanicus envoys hypothesize that examination of this wound could be used to date the shattering of Irkalla.
Irkalla Septus: Sextus' little sister, Septus is a far smaller gas giant but still rich in hydrogen and helium fuel. Travelers frustrated with the wait times at Sextus can make use of the smaller depots located in orbit here, but it's most commonly used by local shipping.
Redesignated Irkalla Moror. The former gas giant has dissipated entirely, leaving only the dense metal core to mark its passage. Even this has been knocked significantly off course, its orbit now highly elliptical.
This document was prepared by the Irkalla Tourism Board. We hope you enjoy your stay!
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Appearance: Daena is clearly a mutant, fully formed wings sprouting from her back. Even overlooking these, her form is distressing for most to look upon, blessed by a perfection beyond the human to the point that her beauty seems inhuman. Over nine feet tall, her face is set with eyes of pure white, tresses the same color cascading down from her head. To some, she is an angel sent from on high, to others, an abomination of the human form, but to all it is clear that the giant woman is no ordinary human.
At peace she wears fine, if unornamented, robes appropriate for one one of high station, all such clothing tailored not just for her superhuman form but also the horror of her unwanted gift. At war she girds herself in finely wrought raiment, a suit of artificer armor that remains light enough for her to take flight unaided. She makes no attempt to hide the truth of herself in any arena, forcing the awe struck and the disgusted both to deal with the sight before them.
Personality: The Mistress of the XIVth is an impassive judge, a silent figure upon her high table, observing and weighing all. Her pronouncements are handed down with an iron surety, and it is said that only her father can dissuade her from a decision once she has made it. But beneath her iron countenance is a woman crushed by the weight of her office and the responsibilities it entails. Such is her compassion for mankind that she has been forced to kill her compassion itself, locking herself in the brutal calculus of death.
Those who she saves. Those who she will not save. Those whose lives she will spend. Those whose lives she will not spend. Those who she will kill. Those who she will not kill. Those who are saved because she killed they who would have killed in the future. Those who are not saved because she did not kill they who kill in the future. Each is assigned and weighted, awaiting the terrible doom to be given. What is one death to save one thousand? What is one thousand deaths to save one million? What is one million deaths to save one billion? What is damning one world to save ten? What is a xenocide to save all mankind?
To save one must kill. To kill is to deny salvation. But if each she sends to their death means the salvation of another, it is worth it. It is enough for a death to purchase a life, and the greatest tragedy for death to be in vain. By the same token, there is nothing more certain to rouse her wrath than wanton slaughter, no affront greater than a needless killing. Those who reject the infinite mercy of the Glorious Emperor of Humanity, be they man or xenos, are pitied as fools who bring death upon their own heads - who must be forced to submit and their leaders brought to account.
And yet, deep within her breast, one hope blazes. A dream. The conviction that it must be possible to save all.
Flight: Though mutated, some use may be made of her infliction. The wings upon her back are fully functional, capable of lifting her into the air and enabling her to fly with shocking maneuverability. Such is their strength that she can even fly in full power armor, though she prefers a far lighter suit of artificer armor designed for her.
Resilience: Danae's mind and body both are difficult to break, the Primarch having been exposed to horrors beyond human comprehension before being rescued by the Emperor. Spikes of hard radiation and the sight of countless companions falling have both hardened her, and she is all but immune to both environmental hazards and psychological distress.
Inquest: Observation and evaluation are two sides of the same coin, and she has mastered both. With but a glance, she is able to determine the weak points in an opponent's armor, their relative strength compared to both herself and other foes, and determine how best to strike them down. Prolonged examination of a person, place, or problem permit her something close to true understanding, keen intuition filling in the blanks and providing a more or less accurate picture off of minimal information. Such insight is often combined with her psychic powers.
Deathsight: An irregular and not always desired psychic gift, Danae has the ability to gaze at any being with a soul and determine its manner of death. This is not true foresight, but instead the future most likely to occur. Due to the lack of context provided with such visions, it is impossible to tell if actions taken in response to such information are truly averting the fate - or simply playing out as designed.
Decree Absolute: Rarely does the Primarch use this ability, but when she does woe betide all upon the field. Channeling the force of her own conviction, she pronounces a mighty doom with such force that all who hear it are convinced that not only should the judgement come to pass, but that it must. Armies and nations have been whipped into furor upon her word, never stopping until all is as was said or they lay dead.
Heavenly Raiment: A unique set of Artificer Armor, crafted by the command of the Emperor Himself to grant His daughter protection from all foes. Perilously light, it offers little more protection than standard Astartes Power Armor but is essentially weightless and permits Danae to fly unencumbered. As added protection, it incorporates a conversion field, dazzling all those who would dare land a blow upon the Primarch.
Lance of Judgement: Building upon the basic patterns of force staves and swords, Danae commissioned the creation of a force spear to her specifications by reforging her own weapon of Irkallan truesilver. The resulting weapon is both light and deadly, its blades sharp enough to pierce even the stoutest armor without the formidable psychic might of its wielder. In her hands, it is an instrument of death, ending the strongest of foes in a single strike.
Purgation: A masterfully crafted inferno pistol, Danae has been seen to take impossibly distant shots with this sidearm. Like all melta weapons, it is able to burrow through armor like so much tissue paper, showering the other side with molten death.
Assignment Grade: Delta. Though most associated with the discipline of divination due to her uncanny pronouncements, her ability with such powers is rather limited in comparison to true masters. Danae is most proficient with telepathy, using it as effortlessly as speech. Sending orders, reading the minds, inspiring her followers, or simply striking down those who face her all within her capabilities.