@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 ancient Greece but with most of the population regrouped in city-states surrounded by immense walls to prevent giant feral beasts from wreaking havoc.
Normally 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 thinks 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 who 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 extremely 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 duelists of the galaxy. Extremely tactical and precise, learning techniques and from his few mistakes at a frightening 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 Chalice’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 tactics. 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 example 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 extremely 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 minimize these drawbacks by augmenting his strength or just flying. But if the primarch really need some agility some layers of external protection (for example the pauldrons and knee guards) can be easily ditched off, even mid-battle. Gaining ease of movement in exchange for less protection. This armor comes with a hand-mounted custom-made meltagun on the left arm and a special Iron Halo prototype, the Argent Bulkward which can expand its force field to protect people around the primarch.
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 ancient Greece but with a strong religious 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 fertility, always represented as an old man with green ragged clothe. And finally "The Scholar", the god of knowledge and wisdom wearing a long blue tunic. For the trained eye it was obviously a disguised cult of the Ruinous 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 themselves 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 promptly 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 desperately 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, completly 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 ruinous 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 was the straw who broke the camel’s back for Gabriel which 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 shackles 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 seems that while he was at his lowest, his mind instinctively sent psychic calls for help through space and were received 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 a 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 extremely 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. Gabriel and his legion were therefore secretly tasked to take care of cults to ensure those "psychic constructs" won't be a problem for mankind anymore.
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 enveloped 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: Gabriel was still astonished by the spectacle he witnessed. Giant flying ships coming straight out of the sky with giants clad in metal emerging from them. The primarch was shocked and amazed at the same time. He hasn’t had much time to handle the surprise as a small group of golden warriors came to meet him. Several questions came in the primarch's mind, but before he could as at least one the strangers asked him to follow them. Their master wanted to see him. Gabriel followed while remaining on his guard while they were leading him into the throne room from where his adoptive father led the city. In his place was standing someone else, radiating with a brilliant aura of power and magnificence. At the view of this apex of mankind Gabriel fell on his knees, he knew inside of him that this man wasn’t a conqueror coming to enslave his people but a savior who would banish the false gods who had wronged him. After a minute that seemed to him like an eternity, he managed to find the mental strength to talk. "My god… I would like to apologize on the behalf of all the people of this city. They have been fooled into servitude by foul deities. I humbly ask for your forgiveness, and I beg you to save this world from the demons who tried to take it!"pushing his head against the ground The "god" put his titanic hand on his Gabriel’s shoulder and the primarch suddenly felt instead a nice warm feeling. "You were indeed fooled, and I will rid this world of those false idols. But you are wrong on one thing my son, I am not a god, only your father." At these words Gabriel was filled with so much pride he thought his chest was about to explode. He couldn’t believe what was happening to him at this moment and because of that maelstrom of emotion he started to shed tears. The golden titan raised him on his feet. "Leave us alone" he said to the guard who brought him his son "Come my son, we have much to discuss." They locked themselves in the throne room and talked for hours. The Emperor meticulously convinced his son why he wasn’t a god. Explaining him what he was, that he had brothers and sisters just like him, the great crusade, his legion and everything the primarch had to know before embarking on the crusade. The last thing they discussed was the monstrosity Gabriel faced previously. The Emperor paused and for once took the time to think before answering to his son: "Those are just mindless psychic constructs, created by the mind of fools and their despicable cults." This answer satisfied Gabriel, he didn’t asked for more because he didn’t need more. He only knew those creatures were a danger for mankind and he was the most qualified to dispose of them. He was just proud to be useful to his father. After that, all of Gabriel's despair was replaced by hope and determination. The idea to make the galaxy a better place at his father's side filled him with joy and he departed his planet to join with his sons that his emperor told him about without hesitation.
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 trims are more golden than yellow. The Seraphims often personally decorate 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.
Uriel the Deathseeker Uriel was the prior champion of the legion before Michael. One day, pushed by his zeal and his pride he ordered to charge the enemies instead of retreating like was asked to. Numerous astertes lost their lives in this pointless assault. Uriel instantly lost his rank of champion and joined the Fellblades (see "Special units") as the result of his grievous mistake. His talents on the battlefield gave him numerous occasion to rejoin the ranks of the legion with his other brother but he always refused. He is persuaded that only an honorable death can restore his honor.
Reliquary master Omiros Nassilis Responsible for keeping safe all the relics found by the chapter. He also chooses which astartes are worthy of taking one of them in combat. He’s also a skilled psyker and scholar charged of studying (or sealing) all the warp-related objects the legion encounters.
Chief apothicary Raphael Palamaris His usage in tandem of his biomantic psychic powers with his medical skills, supported by his extensive knowledges on the human body (augmented or not) make him without a doubt the best medic of the legion.
Angelos Galanis, commander of the Cherubims Known for his out of the box thinking and invaluable courage he leads the cherubim in their perilous mission. He heavily modified his terminator armor to make it able to follow the other jump pack equipped Cherubims during airstrikes to the surprise and disbelieve of many in the legion.
Armisael the first champion First (and often recognized as best) champion of the Seraphims. When he finally fell in battle, it became a priority to entomb his body into a contemptor dreadnought so his talent wouldn’t be lost forever. Every standard 10 year he his awaken to give the most promising legionnaire a special training session to pass down is experiencing.
Princeps William Galhahan, commander of the Tempestus legion and his Imperator-class titan Storm Caller
Joanna Saintclaire Joanna act as the spokeswoman for all the knight houses that follow the Seraphims in the Crusade because she’s regarded as the most skilled and honorable as them all. She pilots the Aquilla Magestis, a unique Imperial Knight, relic of a long forgotten age and prize of a tournament between numerous knight houses. In addition to the powerful weapon, it comes equipped with (a power claw and a spear with a meltagun inside) the machine is far more manoeuvrable than any Imperial Knight and seem to enhance the senses of the pilot even giving some sort of foresight ability. But this process is extremely demanding for the mind and sometime body of the pilot making piloting the monster of a machine really exhausting and even dangerous.
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 and a fair number of dreadnoughts at least for a legion this size. Gabriel and his legion give 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 recruit 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 with 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 hand-crafted armors covered with prayers addressed to the master of mankind in high gothic. Their ranks 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. In term of weapons and protection, they don’t have standardised equipment, each member uses what he favors in battle. Every member of the Paladins has 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 a earthshaker powermace coupled with a more powerful short-range plasma annihilator and two twin meltaguns 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 and after the battle. 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 (we'll see as the rp progress)
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 Mechanicum, 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 Mechanicum 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 humanity's zenith, that past is 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, but the challenges here were 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 destruction 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 M30.890+++ +++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. Mechanicum 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 eight hundred 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. Mechanicum 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!
+++End of record.+++
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 beauty beyond the human to the point that her perfection is 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 with the clarity increasing as the event comes closer into being. 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 by the greatest masters of the Stargazers legion. Shockingly thin, it offers far more protection than it appears, made of sheets of auramite overlaid with a coating of silver and black adamantium. Should that outer covering be destroyed, the pure gold of the material that girds the Emperor's own Custodes would be revealed. Despite the great weight, it is rendered essentially weightless due to the installation of an abeyant, permitting 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: Appearing as a masterfully crafted inferno pistol, Danae has been seen to take impossibly distant shots with this sidearm. Closer examination reveals the truth, the "pistol" as large as a melta gun. 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 minds, inspiring her followers, or simply striking down those who face her all within her capabilities.
Incubation pod XIV was flung far from Terra, its course taking it deep into the Ultima Segmentum. Out upon the fringes of the galaxy is a lonely and scarred star, orbited by shattered rings of gas and dust - and one world that still bore life. Hurtling by the corpses of dead worlds, Danae's incubation pod crash landed upon the former mining world of Irkalla Tertius. Once a vital conduit of mineral wealth for teeming trillions, the scavenger clans of Irkalla are the descendants of foremen, technicians, and guards who once operated the automated digs.
Threatened by wildlife, other survivors mutated by the harsh environment, and the senseless depredations of automatons following nonsense orders, the people of Irkalla were loathe to approach the crashed pod. Eventually, a man with more courage than most came to see what fell from the sky, and upon recounting that it was a device that shone of metal avarice overcame fear. The scavengers fell upon the pod, keen to salvage its material for their own projects, only to discover a child inside. The fact that she was clearly a mutant complicated things less than might be expected, the clan simply sending her to live with the local witches, wyrds, and oracles living in the hulk of a defunct mass excavator the shadow of which loomed over the makeshift village.
Like all her siblings, she grew rapidly, absorbing every skill she was taught by those around her. Regrettably, she proved a second-rate prophet despite the best training, the growing child far too obstinate to introduce vagueness and flattery into her foretellings for them to seem 'genuine' to a planet accustomed to superstitions. Lest she bring disrepute to the seers around her with her penchant for only telling what she saw, the make shift temple assigned her to the guards. Austere figures bearing truesilver spears and cloaked in robes, the ranks of the guards were constantly worn down by the native wild life and their fellow man. While most who traveled to the great hulks of the mass excavators did so to beseech the wyrds who based themselves from that relic of a bygone age, there were always the foolish and greedy who sought to loot those tombs of the past.
It was while chasing down one such scavenger that then teenager awoke to her most accursed of gifts. Pursuing the thief deeper into the bulk of the dead god-machine then her fellows dared, wings unfurled and spear upright, she descended into a blackness so deep that even the senses of a Primarch were of little use. Her foe, armed with stolen archaeotech, was far less hindered and readied a killing strike against the guard. The vision that unfurled before her in that moment was unlike her attempts at divination, the path to victory shining bright in her mind's eye with an unnatural clarity - but it was not from her perspective. Instead young Daena foresaw herself swoop down upon out stretched wings and drive her spear into the chest of her enemy, through his own eyes. An abomination come from on high, the deliverance of justice, the angel of death.
Returning from the pits once filled with glimmering ore and untold riches, the guard was given the title of Deathseer and underwent the training to refine her newfound skill. Over the course of years, she found a way to see without sight, gazing into the swirling probabilities about everyone's soul and seize upon their terminus. For all men who live must one day die, all things that begin must in time end, and it was there, at the the cessation of possibility, that she was drawn. Despite her best efforts, she could never elevate her gift to the point of decreeing true fate - but in some ways that made her more valuable to the oracles. A warrior will pay more to know of a doom he can yet change than one which is set in stone after all. Indeed, the limitations on her sight were all likely preferable than perfect visions would be, for there is little more reassuring than being told that ones death is so distant no details can be parsed from what was seen.
The popularity of the 'Oracle of Death' soared across Irkalla as her predictions either came true, or even better, came just true enough for death to be thwarted. Such was Daena's fate never to conquer or unite her world, but instead to be viewed by the jostling techno-barbarians and scavenger clans as a valuable resource. The tribe that found her soon capitalized upon the fame of the angel who fell from the sky, their village quickly expanding to accommodate all those who wished to have their deaths seen. For nigh on a century this was the Primarch's life, accruing riches and power as she inevitably became mistress of the oracles and wyrds, her dominion stretching from their 'temple' to the growing city and the wastes beyond. While around her, chaos and death reigned, within her realm saw peace and a measure of prosperity. Slowly but surely, she began increasing her control, seeking to win without fighting and bring her peace to every soul.
Until the day she began to see her own death. She had first tried to do so as a child, shortly after her power first showed itself, and saw nothing. Decades passed with the woman occasionally daring to gaze into her own future, but the lack of response was so stunning she began to doubt if she could use her power on herself. And then she could. A sudden vision, brought forth by the innocuous act of looking herself in the mirror, of a purging light scouring her from existence. Troubled, she sent her servants and spies to discover if a new archeotech weapon had been discovered elsewhere on the planet, to no avail. Even more troubling was seeing that her closest companions seemed to suffer the same fate, and so she prepared herself for what was to come in the only way she could.
A grand convocation of every psyker with even the barest skill at divination was brought together, the assembly peering through the skeins of fate to find the bringer of their doom. When the truth was discovered, it is said that the oracles and prophets and wyrds and witches screamed in terror at the power of the being they witnessed, but Daena only whispered 'father' before dismissing those who had hurried to her side. Faced with the impossible might boring down upon them, the Primarch made no attempt to ready for war. It would make no difference either way.
When the Emperor came, his daughter recognized him and welcomed him to her home. Of what they spoke, little is known and much is rumored, but she agreed to stand by his side and bring his peace to the galaxy. Thwarting the fate she had seen, she boarded his ships of gold and reunited with her own gene-daughters, at last taking command of the XIVth. But the occasion was anything but a happy one. Discovered by a Stargazers fleet led by her brother, the stench of death hung heavy in the air and the number of her own Astartes was few. It is said that it was during these early days that she adopted her stoic countenance, but this is wrong. Far too astute to waste tears on the Stargazers in public, she nonetheless lamented the sacrifices they had made, and will make, alongside her own daughters.
It was only the beginning of her sorrows. Departing with the Emperor for her own Legion's main force, she found herself installed as Mistress of the XIVth halfway through the brutality of the Rangdan Xenocides. The deaths she foresaw for her own daughters, women greeting their Primarch and mother for the first time, etched themselves upon Daena's mind. Each Astartes who swore fealty to her, each who saluted her joyously at her finally having been found, each boasting during the grand feasts, each of her daughters who would suffer death and worse at her first commands - they were far too much to bear. Her closest confidants, the few she bothered to take with her from Irkalla, were the only ones permitted with her in private in those days, and whispers swirled that the Primarch was unable to command her own Legion. Feeling something on the verge of breaking inside of her, the telepathic woman took the step of reaching into her own mind to smother her emotions themselves, a state that rendered the superhuman far less than human more often than not.
Ordering her Legion forwards into the most wretched of wars with the cold efficiency of an automaton, she weighed the corpses made with each decision and picked the lighter side of the scale. Atrocity and slaughter were justified in the name of ending atrocity and slaughter, but even with her neutered emotions her daughters whispered that their mother wept at the sacrifices made at her command. Keeping to her resolve, the grim humor of the XIVth soon named her 'Doomsayer' - a name that stuck. Her reaction upon hearing the title given to her by her daughters is said to be one of the few times she smiled during the bio-pogroms, the Primarch ordering the Legion's name changed on the spot.
With the conclusion of the hellish conflict against the Rangdan, Daena and her Doomsayers retired to the rear echelons of the Grim Crusade, resuming the original mission of the XIVth. While the uncharitable whispered that she lacked the resolve of her sister Eiosha or the inhumanity of her brother Sarghaul, she dedicated herself to ensuring that Compliant worlds remained so. Installing herself as the highest judge on hundreds of worlds she ruled on matters of loyalty, treason, Compliance, and Tolerance, speaking with the authority of the Emperor himself.
A streak of gold descended from the sky, tracing the same arc as Daena's silver pod had made so long ago, the Deathseer of Irkalla tensing as she strained to make out if it was the death she had foreseen. She relaxed when it came close enough to be seen clearly as a ship, her death would not come so impersonally at the least. Turning to the identical oracles kneeling behind her atop the great bulk of the mass excavator that was her home, she beckoned at them to follow her as she made her way back inside.
"Do you trust me?" she asked the twins, her wings fluttering to steady herself as she climbed inside of the hull.
"Of course, Deathseer," the pair said as one, walking in after her with an unnaturally smooth gait. "And to answer your next question, no, we do not know what happens after you order the visitor to be let inside. So, it makes perfect sense for us to trust you. We'll be blind in a few minutes anyway," they add.
She said nothing further as she flew down to the great hall that had once been.... she wasn't certain what it once was, but it was a suitably cavernous space to fit the supplicants and attendants that were par for the course when foreseeing a great hero's death. Seating herself down upon her throne, wings splayed, she made ready to wait until the inevitable arrived.
The oracles had told her what this day would bring, as much as they could, several times but nonetheless her pulse quickened when the guard knelt before her and made his report. "There is a man at the gate, my lady. He calls himself the Emperor and wishes an audience with you. It is as was said."
"The Emperor of what?"
"The.... Emperor of Humanity."
"That is a novel title..." The natives of Irkalla occasionally coalesced around strongmen and barbarians with a variety of ostentatious claims but this... felt different. She believed it.
Casting a glance at her personal seers for a moment, Daena gives the guard a nod. "Very well. Let him in. I do not think I have seen for an emperor before," she said, attempting to calm herself with levity - and also by going off script. Sometimes it felt good to defy fate, but she felt the glares from her oracles as she robbed them of the last certainty they had as their prescience was stolen from them but she paid it no mind. They'd get over it. Or they'd be dead.
A blinding light washed over the room as the doors opened, and for a moment she wondered if it was death after all, until her senses adjusted. Her eyes saw a gleaming figure, that much was true, a tall man in golden armor - but that is not what she saw. What she saw, what overwhelmed far more mundane sight, was the sheer number of possibilities radiating off of this Emperor - the sheer number of deaths. Sitting upon her throne, she saw a thousand thousand endings as he approached her, fate itself twisting and writhing with his every act. He was a locus of events, a place of many beginnings and many endings. And oh, he had so many endings.
She saw him die. She saw herself die. She saw those around her die. She saw those she never met die. But not once did the deaths stay the same.
The man, a flaming sword in hand, severing her head. Her, forcing her spear deep inside of his breast. The man, a gold tipped claw piercing her heart. Her, falling from the sky as impossible figures tore her apart. Her, leading the same against him. A winged man, his spine broken. A wise man, turning to dust. Armies killing at her command. Armies dying at her word. Worlds cracking. Cities starving. The stars burning. The man, a living a corpse, dying over the course of ten thousand years upon a throne of gold.
And then he came to a stop before her and the future vanished from her sight.
"Daena io Azrael. The Angel of Death. Deathseer of Irkalla." He spoke in statements, a man used to obedience. Perhaps a man deserving it.
Composing herself upon her throne, she regarded this Emperor clearly for the first time. He was tall, taller than even herself, and possessed the same impossible perfection. A word blossomed in her mind, once lost in the chaos and frenzy of visions, surfacing once more.
"You know why I have come then."
"I know enough. I have seen enough."
"Then shall you join me?" he asked, and in that moment the sight of her death was never clearer. To answer no would to invite utter destruction, for her father had no need for truculent children.
"A question, father, I beg of you," she said, raising a hand as if to ward off the fate that was creeping closer and closer. The Emperor gave only a nod in reply, but that was enough. "Do you think we can actually succeed?"
A long silence stretched out as the two superhumans stared at one another, the vision of her death fading away the longer he thought on her question. When his answer finally came, it was not a surprise. The same will to demand obedience seemed to apply to the galaxy itself.
"We must, Daena. For all mankind."
Fluttering down from her throne, she presented herself on bent knee to him, staring up into his eyes as she supplicated her twisted body before him. "Then I am yours, if you shall have me, oh Emperor mine." Oh murderer mine.
Legion Name: Doomsayers, formerly known as the Judicators
Legion Number: XIV
Legion Strength: 200,000 Astartes
A Lady Commander of the Doomsayers in Mk IV Armor.
A Doomsayer Praetorian in Mk II Armor, so rare are Mk IVs within the ranks of the XIVth Legion that even its Honor Guards are not fully outfitted with them.
A Doomsayer Veteran.
A Doomsayer Tactical Marine.
A Doomsayer member of the Revenant Wing.
Warcry: "We are the final judgement!" was the Legion's original warcry, "Your doom comes!" has become increasingly popular since the adoption of the Doomsayer name.
Legion Mistress Vairya Kurus: The first and only leader of the Judicators before reunification with Daena, she was granted the honor of retaining her title and now serves as second in command of the Legion. As the effective executive officer of the Doomsayers, she serves as head of the Praetorate and is tasked with ensuring that the needs of the Legion are met.
Equerry Yekterina Ascania: Equerry to the Primarch, one of the last Terran Astartes who fought with the Legion before Daena's rediscovery. The Primarch values her relative youth and her ability to consider both Terran and Irkallan influences upon the Legion, and often consults her for a fresh view of proposed changes.
Praetor Primus Asha io Qaphsiel: Head of Daena's personal bodyguard, one of the few Irkallan Marines raised to the Praetorate in any capacity. Raised within the temple that the Primarch herself dwelt in, she was in training to become a guard when the Emperor arrived. Swept into the stars and transformed into an Astartes, she quickly won acclaim as a warrior and was soon gifted an intricate silver spear of the same make as her Primarch's own and inducted into her guard.
Lady Commander Livia Kastrioti: Commander of the First Chapter, a Terran born warrior who partook in smothering the last embers of the Unification Wars. Even as other Legions set out across the galaxy under the command of the Emperor and his generals, a great bulk of the Doomsayers remained behind within Sol and upon Terra itself to ensure that the hard won peace was kept.
The Two Hundred: Ladies Commander of the Doomsayers, undisputed mistresses of the Legion's two hundred or so Chapters. The Lady Commander of the First Chapter is often considered the first among equals in their number, but the best that Livia could hope to accomplish is advising her sisters in arms. These operational commanders are trusted with and accustomed to independent command, and each is a fearsome warrior in her own right.
Librarus Spenta io Raziel: The senior-most Irkallan Marine within the Legion, Spenta is the Chief Librarian of the Doomsayers and in many ways a mirror of her Primarch. Granted a limited form of Deathsight, the legacy of her gene-mother has also transformed her hair and eyes a stark white. Formerly a junior oracle within Daena's temple, she was one of the few witches of that place deemed both stable and young enough for transformation into an Astartes.
Mistress of the Forge Elise Hohenheim: Born to a family of engineers in the confederation of orbital habitats and moons around the great gas giant Saturn, Elise was a girl when the Saturnyne Ordo was brought into Compliance with the Imperium. Her technical aptitude was noticed immediately after her induction into the Legion, the new Astarte sent to Mars for training as a Techmarine in accordance with the Treaty of Mars. To say her religious indoctrination did not stick would be an understatement, the entirety of the Legion's Techmarines at best paying lip service to the Omnissiah. The arrival of her Primarch and the Emperor's decree that the XIVth was exempt from the provisions of the treaty was a relief, and the highest ranking Techmarine of the Doomsayers has worked to ensure that true believers within her ranks are kept content.
Lord Engineer Gustav Hohenheim: Twin brother of the Mistress of the Forge, he originally followed a vastly different career path than his sister, becoming an engineer involved in the manufacture of the Solar Auxilia's fearsome Void Armor. His skills soon granted him a name of his own, and though some may decry his appointment as nepotism, few would question his abilities to his face. Serving alongside his twin as head of the non-Astartes scientists and engineers attached to the Legion, he performs much the same role of a Mechanicum representative within other Legions.
Navigator-Plenipotentiary Ramalies Pytheas: An ancient house of the Navis Nobilite that predates the Imperium itself, House Pytheas has served the Emperor since the days of the Unification Wars. Ramalies is himself a veteran Navigator who has served with the XIVth since it was founded, eventually rising to the august post of Navigator-Plenipotentiary of the Legion. Charged with coordinating the secretive Navigators with their Astartes mistresses, and senior-most of their number, he is arguably the most powerful person in the ranks of the Doomsayers other than the Primarch herself.
The Doomsayers are unique among the Legions for retaining almost all aspects of their original character, including the Terran Standard organizational template laid down by the Officio Militaris at their founding. The Legion with the Primarch and Lady Commander at its head is divided into Chapters, nominally composed of one thousand Astartes, led by a Lady Commander. Chapters are further subdivided into two Battalions of five hundred, led by Lieutenant Commanders, which are then broken down into Companies of one hundred each under the authority of a Company Captain. A Company is composed of four platoons led by Lieutenants - three line platoons and a support platoon. The line platoons consist of two standard tactical squads of approximately ten Astartes, with an attached support squad of another five, comprising roughly a fourth of the Company's fighting power. Finally, the support platoon is the home of heavy weapons, armored vehicles, and their maintenance and operational personnel.
Under the original dictates of the Officio Militaris, each Chapter was expected to be able to not just fight alone, but operate independently for indeterminate periods of time. The Ladies Commander of the Doomsayers are still granted this awesome right, and each is in command of not only a thousand Legionaries but an entire fleet with which to transport them. As a result, the full might of the Legion is almost never brought to bear, its Chapters strewn throughout the galaxy. A common deployment pattern of the Doomsayers is for a Chapter to be dispatched to a collection of worlds nominally brought under Compliance, but considered too militant or technologically advanced to leave loosely guarded. Dividing up her Companies, the Lady Commander sprinkles garrisons across potentially rebellious planets, ensuring that their populaces remain Compliant. In this way the Legion not only gains battlefield experience through the more typical assignments given to an Astartes, but that of peacekeeping and administration as well.
Perhaps even more shocking however is that the Legion remains comprised, at least on paper, almost entirely of Terran born stock. Originally raised from warriors of the Achaemenid Empire, a coalition of tribes who swiftly swore fealty to the Emperor, and recruiting further afield as Unification wore on, the Legion maintained its original raising grounds even after reunification with its Primarch. Though partly done out of need, there were few both strong enough and with pure enough genes on Irkalla to replace the influx of Terran Marines, it was also served a convenient secondary purpose. The militant tribes of Terra, those of Albia and Meric and Ursh, were keen for martial glory even centuries after Unification, and service in the Legiones Astartes proved an adept release valve for such hunger. Though the Legion has also taken to recruiting from the worlds it garrisons, it keeps itself to a strict policy of only accepting volunteers from not only these planets but Irkalla and Terra as well.
This results in an intake rate that some functionaries of the nascent Administratum find impossibly low considering the standing strength of the Legion in recent years. Indeed, much of the Legion's history seems deliberately obscured, the XIVth nearly doubling in size after the Rangdan Xenocides, an event coinciding with the creation of the Revenant Wing, a rapid strike force utterly at odds with standard Doomsayer doctrine. Every member is a veteran of those grim days, and seem to hurl themselves at death with a wild abandon, charging headlong into the heart of the enemy's forces. Marines of the Revenant Wing act so contrary to the typical behavior of the Doomsayers that some whisper they are not members of the XIVth at all, but that is of course merely conjecture.
The arguably greater variation that the Doomsayers have taken from the Legion norm is their refusal to induct their Techmarines into the Martian Mechanicum. Having remained in Sol far longer than the other Legions ensuring the Compliance of the Selenar gene-cults of Luna and the tech-enclaves of the Saturnyne Ordo without which the Crusade itself might flounder, they become linked not only with these independent scientific minds but also the Terran researchers of the Emperor himself. For decades this was an informal affair, the Legion operating with Imperial scientists and recruiting technically inclined women from Saturn's habitats while still obeying the tenets of the Treaty of Mars. It was upon Daena's rediscovery by the Stargazers that change was truly wrought, the Emperor decreeing that the Doomsayers were exempt from the requirement to have their Astartes technicians be members of the Cult. The motivation behind this proclamation is still unclear, some contending that it was requested by the Primarch herself due to her zealous adoption of the Imperial Truth, while others whisper that it was the Emperor's way of 'balancing the scales' due to having two of his sons so tightly tied to the Mechanicum. Regardless of the rationale, the number of Mechanicum Techmarines in the XIVth, always low, has been permitted to stagnate, their losses replaced by secular scientists trained on Terra, Luna, and around Saturn.
Where other Legions have a tendency to adopt particular styles of battle, the Doomsayers seem to almost consciously reject such specialization. Serving as a reserve and garrison force prior to Daena's discovery, the Primarch has made almost no alterations to the Legion's order of battle with the notable exception of the Revenant Wing. Able to fight any conflict, but lacking true mastery, they are the consummate second line, ready to engage in any emergency that may develop without obvious weak points.
Their greatest weakness is a lack of speed - where a Legion such as the Lurkers can immediately enter amphibious operations, the Doomsayers must first prepare themselves for such a battlefield. But this is in a sense also their greatest strength, for the patience required to observe and understand an enemy, to determine the best means by which they ought to be destroyed, have taught them secrets more forthright Legions have ground into the dust of history. Where the Serpents or the Dreadlords would erase their foe utterly, the Doomsayers pore over their ruins and lore, and have amassed a great trove of knowledge.
While the other Legions have grown and evolved, tailoring their wargear to their tastes, the Doomsayers have remained strangely static, utilizing to a woman almost the same equipment that they left Terra with. Mark II Power Armor and Volkite weaponry have yet to be replaced in any significant numbers with Mark IVs or bolters due to lack of wear - the latter of great significance to the Legion's secret councils. While upon the surface the Legion may seem strangely inactive, even indolent, its Primarch is watchful for threats that could threaten the entire Imperium. Spurred on by the harsh lessons of the Rangdan Xenocides, the Doomsayers have dedicated themselves to the eradication of enemy psykers - and the culling of enthralled Astartes. The darkest rumors contend that these have already been put to good use.
When the XIVth was reunited with its mistress, there was surprisingly little discord between them. Serving as the Emperor's magistrates and peacekeepers, the Judicators had already begun to see themselves as the Imperium's shield, and so the ideological drive of their Primarch to preserve human life was well received. Where other, more bellicose, Legions find war to be glorious, Daena and her daughters view it as a means to an end and zealously work to enact the Emperor's justice and peace upon the galaxy.
To that end, the Doomsayers dedicate themselves not just to martial vigor, but make a study of all aspects of humanity. Senior officers are expected to not only be strategic thinkers, but to have a working understanding of both the Administratum and the Lex Imperialis. The countless worlds throughout the galaxy that play host to a garrison from the XIVth often see the officer in charge place herself as both chief judge and bureaucrat, handling matters of justice and taxation if more appropriate Imperial officials are lacking. Dedicating themselves not just to humanity's expansion, but to the idea of humanity, it is no surprise that the XIVth's fleets have one of the largest concentrations of Remembrancers, Iterators, and Elucidators of any of the Legions.
As stalwart believers in the Emperor's vision of a united mankind free of superstition, every member of the Legion is versed in the dictates of the Imperial Truth and scorn the worship of any God. Senior elements of the Legion, the Primarch included, have however began to wonder if the Emperor has kept silent on matters of great import, for the writings of cast down foes paint a picture of a foe that the Truth would render humanity utterly ignorant of if they were true. What even those doubters do hold as firm as any faith however is that if the gods spoken of in the rantings of the insane and superstitious truly do exist, then it is their duty to eliminate them from the universe.
Such dreams of utter extermination are not held towards all of humanity's foes however, the Legion viewing the Edict of Tolerance as a wise and prudent measure. The ultimate expression of xenocide would result in war unending, costing the lives of countless scores of humanity. Altogether better to end a war peacefully and increase the power of the Imperium than waste it on a foolish notion of purity. These notions compound upon one another - for if there are no gods, if only reason prevails, then it must be that any species with which one may reason can come to accept the Emperor's peace.
Internally, the Legion has relatively few cultural markers imposed or influenced by their Primarch or her geneseed, the melange of Terran tribes predominant in its place. Two massive exceptions do exist however. The first, and by far the more important, is the Legion's outlook upon death. Influenced both by the thoughts of their Primarch, and the preponderance of psykers who develop abilities similar to her Deathsight, it is believed that one's death will come when it comes, and that it is the duty of every member of mankind to face it well. As a result, the XIVth has a remarkably small number of Dreadnoughts, the honor reserved only for those who deserve to face death twice. The second is driven entirely by Daena's genetic legacy, with a significant proportion of all Legion aspirants developing either the whited out eyes or white hair of their Primarch - some developing both.
Other than these markers of their Primarch's influence, compared occasionally to that of the Lions Illustris, the Doomsayers have a rather stable geneseed. Astartes of the XIVth tend to be more likely than average to develop psychic ability, and often develop on the shorter end of superhuman, resembling baseline humanity more than even their other sisters. This suits their tendencies quite nicely, their immense scale granting them immediate awe and respect without appearing inhuman.
This embrace of the human does not end there, for the Legion does not just permit but instead requires its Astartes to maintain mundane relationships. Developed from the martial tribal culture of the Terran techno-barbarians that swelled the ranks of the XIVth, the idea that a warrior would leave her family behind has always been anathema to the Doomsayers. The glory hungry tribes went so far as to preserve the gametes of aspirants to the Legion, ensuring that their gene line could continue if the Legionnaire went to prove her worth. Daena did not just tolerate this, but expanded it after taking control of her Marines, standardizing the process so that all under her command could have a mundane child if they so desired. The first of only two stipulations is that such a woman be a mother in truth to her children, and the Doomsayer's children travel with the fleets like any other child of the Crusade. The second is that it is forbidden for the father to be another Astartes, the concept considered both incestuous and rather besides the point.
The Emperor: It is unclear what the Master of Mankind thinks of the XIVth, with just as many whispering that he favors them as that he despises them. Kept far from the front lines for most of its history, and when brought to the fore rarely permitted to leave His side, it was assumed for centuries that He held distrust towards the abilities of its warriors. Yet, the missions they were entrusted with were of the utmost importance, often quelling rebellions within the heart of the Imperium that could spell disaster for the Crusade had they been left unchecked. In the quietest of councils however, it is rumored that the Emperor grows concerned with the knowledge the Legion has begun to amass.
Malcador and the Administratum: The Doomsayers are the Sigilite's favorite Legion almost by default, being as they are one of the few among the Astartes who think to care for the needs of the Administratum and his Order Elucidatum. Malcador frequently makes use of the Legion for his more irregular activities as well, knowing that the XIVth are always willing to assist entreaties from the civilian government. The Doomsayers often receive reports sooner and are able to receive what they need far easier from the Imperial bureaucracy, an advantage that is often overlooked.
The Imperial Army: Taken as a whole, the Exercetus Imperialis have no small measure of awe and respect towards the Doomsayers, a respect that is often mutual - especially among the regiments of the Solar Auxilia and the Old Hundred. Loathe to waste human life, the Doomsayers refuse to throw the regiments of the Army into the meat grinder, a fact known and treasured by both officers and enlisted alike. Members of the Solar Auxilia raised from Saturn have a special affection for the XIVth, more than a few military families having a daughter within its ranks.
The Mechanicum: The Priests of Mars do not particularly like nor dislike the XIVth Legion, instead viewing them with something altogether different and in many ways worse: utter indifference. Categorizing the Doomsayers as a Legion of least concern, most Mechanicum resources are diverted to ensuring the smooth operation of the other Astartes. Though of little issue at the moment, the Legion's own Techmarines more than sufficient for routine maintenance, there is notable lack of Tech-Priests among its fleets. It is considered likely that this is the Primarch's own doing, her initial exposure to the Mechanicum via the Stargazers seeding a distaste for the only religious body permitted within her father's Imperium. Surprisingly, the Mechanicum cares little for not receiving Techmarines from the Legion, more conservative magi contending that such were borderline hereteks to begin with. So long as all other provisions of the Treaty of Mars are followed, including the timely delivery of rediscovered STCs and the approval of new technologies, both parties seem content pretending the other does not exist.
The Navis Nobilite: Few Space Marines engage with the affairs of the Navigators, but for the unusual deployment of the Doomsayers it is a necessity. Compacts have been forged with a slew of Houses for the services of their sons and daughters, for each Chapter of the Legion is expected to be able to traverse the Warp on its own - requiring an immense number of Navigators.
Other Legions: The XIVth has kept itself aloof from the affairs of its brother and sisters even before its Primarch was discovered, its typical duties seeing them fight alongside the Imperial Army far more than other Legions. Where they did interact, it was at best for the duration of a campaign as emergency reinforcements before leaving once more. Daena saw no reason to alter this state of affairs, a decision that proved wise in the wake of the Rangdan Xenocides, a grueling era of war that saw the Doomsayers slay scores of fellow Astartes.
Homeworld: The Planet Ragnoth is far from ideal to live in. From its almost entirely carnivorous fauna to the neverending desert. Being in the middle of three suns, it is almost always dawn or day. Ragnoth, though, if far from uninhabitable. The natives of Ragnoth have adapted to its harsh environment by building large communities either underground or above ground, in which the buildings are made out of the surprisingly cool sandstone. Glelidor believes he was taken here by The Warp to see if he was worthy of living in the harsh universe.
Ragnoth’s fauna is mostly what you would see in a regular desert, except larger and more hospitable. Large rattlesnakes, check. Humongous cacti, you bet your bottom dollar. But the most dangerous of the animals that inhabit Ragnoth are the Deathstalker Scorpions. The residents of Ragnoth are wary of these beasts. Being the size of three humans, anyone would be scared of these monsters. All but Glelidor. He was notorious for killing Deathstalker Scorpions. So much so that he was called “The Deathstalker''.
Personality: Glelidor, though being a ferocious hunter and warrior, knows the value of his own life. Since he has gotten into many near-death situations before discovering he was a primarch, he knows to live his own life to its fullest, never straying away from a dull moment. Some adventures of his were riding a Deathstalker Scorpion to its nest, killing a group of bandits with nothing but a rusty knife, and beating his village chieftain in a brawl. He lives life by its moments, making memories that will last a lifetime.
Glelidor, though, has a darker side. He was blessed with a limitless memory. Meaning he doesn’t forget easily. If anyone has wronged him, he makes a mental note of it, making sure to pay them back in kind. It's not just limited to humans. He has enacted his wrath against animals and xenos alike. Just in case something happens to him, he writes down his grudges in a book he calls “The Iron Tome”. Once he completes a grudge, he crosses it off the page with his own blood. The grudges can be as small as pranking his friends back or as large as killing a heretic. Sometimes these punishments can get ludicrous. For example, one time his friend, Lucious, was captured by a group of raiders. Glelidor made it upon himself to blood eagle every single raider alive.
Skills: Glelidor already had a great memory, being able to recall events from his birth. But when he was reborn as a Primarch, his expansive memory only became better. He could not forget anything from natural causes. Only some massive warp-fuckery could alter his mind. He also has heightened perception. Being able to spot a needle in a haystack, as some would say. His greatest skill is his accuracy. With his heightened perception, he can spot an object from a mile away and can shoot it with a bolt pistol. Of course, he wasn’t naturally able to do this. This was a gift from the emperor
Assignment Grade: His assignment grade is epsilon. His main skills are bodily enhancements, being stronger, faster, more durable, and being able to perceive things that the normal human cannot see.
Biography: Glelidor, given that he lives in a practically abandoned and merciless planet, has had a steady upbringing.
His mother was a caregiver in his village and his father was a warrior, training him from a very young age to fight and survive. Everyone in the village knew him from a very young age as an infamous troublemaker, but a kind one at that. Whenever he would get caught getting in trouble, he would fess up and take the punishments like a man.
His parents always said he was a blessing from the stars. He never really knew what that meant until later in his life. Glelidor grew suspicions that he was not from Ragnoth when he was very young. He was fair skinned, while everyone else was tan. He was a tall man, standing at nine and a half feet tall, while everyone else was much smaller than him. When he finally confronted his parents about it, they confessed. He was not from this world. They found him when a strange pod crashed into the planet, not far from his village. The fact that Glelidor was not from this planet did not mess with him, though. He believed that he was meant for this village, and nothing would change that.
It was clear from a very young age that he was destined for something greater than Ragnoth. This first became evident with his memory. He had a nearly perfect memory, recalling things other people should not have. The village quickly used this to send him on espionage missions. These missions would never go according to plan. This was because of his headstrong mindset and an itch for battle. When he was sent to spy, he would come back with blood on his hands.
When he turned 12, it was time to be given his nickname. Everyone in his village was given a nickname when they turned 12. Instead of just being given one, Glelidor wanted to earn his. So with some convincing, he sent out on his own. His mission, to prove to the universe his worth.
Days passed and no one heard from Glelidor. Some were convinced that he simply died from dehydration. He appeared ten days later, towing a corpse of an eighteen foot tall Queen Deathstalker Scorpion.
The Village rejoiced in seeing Glelidor alive. They dubbed him “The Deathstalker” and named him a proper man. Mind you, he did all of this at the age of 12. His antics were only starting there, though. Every year, on his birthday, he would set out into the unforgiving landscape of Ragnoth and bring home the corpse of a Deathstalker Scorpion.
His village rejoiced in him as a hero, his enemies feared him like a demon, and his reputation spread across Ragnoth like a sandstorm. The tales and legends of The Deathstalker only got more and more ludicrous. Some say that he drank the blood of Baby Scorpions to stay hydrated during his adventures. Some others say that he rode an adult Deathstalker into battle.
Once Glelidor turned 18, the sands of fate were changing in Ragnoth. A revolution was brewing between the kingdom of Conace (the ruling governmental body) and the tribes. Glelidor knew that he had to do something about it, so he left his village and made his way to the capital of the resistance, a small hamlet known as “Requiem”. Word got out quickly that the Deathstalker was part of the resistance. Rising through the ranks quickly, he soon became the face of the revolution. He became great friends with the son of the rebellion’s head, Lucious. Both were cunning strategists and ferocious warriors, and soon became close friends. Fast forward three years, and the siege of Conace was about to end. Glelidor, now a hulking mass of man, led the final charge into the city on top of a Deathstalker. Needless to say, the revolution won, and a new government was in place.
The Meeting: Some call it a hellscape. Glelidor calls it home. It has been years since he has been to his village. Him being now a man and a war hero, he was hoping to see his tribe and family again to show them what he has accomplished. Though, playing in the back of his mind, was Lucious’ parting words.
“Be prepared for anything on your journey back. Ragnoth is an unforgiving planet”
Glelidor could not help but think what would be waiting for him. Having no technology at his village, he did not have a way of communicating with them. Slowly but surely, he made his way to his village. About halfway there, the sandstorm cleared. Once it did dissipate, Glelidor could have sworn he heard “Know you fate…” coming from the distance. He looked around, seeing nothing. He just shrugged it off, taking a mental note of what happened.
A quarter of the way there, the voice started repeating itself. “Know your fate, know your fate” Was playing non stop inside Glelidor’s head. It was maddening. He took a moment to sit down and take some water. While drinking, the captain thought he saw a glint of gold in the distance. He put his water down and stood up, only to see nothing but the dunes. “That's it, I am going mad.” Glelidor said to himself.
As he got closer to the village, the voices only got louder. Clutching his head, he stumbled over a sand dune, only to see a village destroyed. “No, nononono” He kept repeating to himself, trying to drown out the constant noise inside his brain. He got tunnel vision as he ran towards his home, getting visions of a man in gold, saying “Know your fate”. He heard screams of women and children, metal clanging against metal, and the splat of blood against sandstone.
Glelidor struggled to get to the heart of his village. Once he reached the center, all the visions and voices stopped. He let out a blood curdling scream. It echoed through the sand dunes. As he knelt in pain, he heard footsteps behind him. “Know your fate, Glelidor.” The voice said. As he turned around, he saw a giant of a man in gleaming golden armor. The giant knelt down, to get to Glelidor’s level. “I am simply a man, a vision to tell you who you truly are. You are my creation, a Primarch, one destined to lead my soldiers in the Grim Crusade. Remember this, my child. Remember your pain, your grudges. In this sorrow you will be reborn anew. Come to Terra, my son. There you will learn the truth of your heritage and your destiny..."
Legion Name: The Grudge Bearers
Legion Number: XXth
Legion Strength: Being one of their newer Legions of Space Marines, the Grudge Bearers have roughly eighty five thousand units. Though this does not mean that their replenishment rate is stagnant. The Geneseed of Glelidor is strong, so new Grudge Bearers are being reborn every single day.
Glelidor sometimes chooses Grudge Bearers that distinguish themselves in the field of battle. These “Deathstalkers Chosen” are the elite of the elite in his Legion. Where the Deathstalker is, the Chosen are not far behind.
Warcry: “Today is our Victory Day!” “Awake the Iron!”
Dramatis Personae: ANCIENT LUCIOUS: Lucious was a close friend of Glelidor before he was made into a primarch. Often bickering with one another, they are almost inseparable. Lucious is wise beyond his years, and it shows. He is Glelidor’s right hand man, often taking the position as a tactician rather than a soldier. Due to his tactician nature, he has helped turn the tide of many battles. “Through patience, we can defeat the enemy. Through wisdom, we can exploit their weaknesses.” CONSULAR IGNEEL: The “Master-At-Arms” of the Legion, he is a space marine that has distinguished himself through the fires of combat. Igneel was the first member and the commander of the Deathstalkers Chosen, and is the second best fighter in the legion (right after Glelidor). “Crush the Infidel!”
Favored Tactics/Battlefield Role: The Grudge Bearers excel in infantry and armored combat. Their Space Marines are embedded with every grudge written in the Iron Tome, a book that Glelidor writes his grudges in. With all that knowledge, they are induced into a rage when seeing someone or something that is written in the Tome. This makes them excel in combat against said foe. If they are fighting anything that is not written in the book, they do average at fighting. This is where the Armored component comes in. They have modified Predators and Land Raiders that add more torque to the engines and more firepower to the guns. These modifications, though, make them expensive to produce. So there will be less tanks on the battlefield than an average Space Marine Chapter
Legion Characteristics/Ideology: While the Grudge Bearers are angry most of the time, they are also surprisingly cool headed when needed. For example, in battle. They only go into a blood-curdling rage when instructed, the rest of the time following orders to the letter. That's another thing about them, their reactions to orders. They are very literal with what they follow. For example, if instructed to stand guard, they will quite literally stand guard until they either die or are ordered to do something else. This is because of their sense of honor. If they do not complete an order, they will consider it dishonorable, and will try to do anything to amend it, even if it be “falling on their swords”.
Relationships: The Grudge Bearers are extreme in what they do and brave to the point of stupidity, this can be very off-putting to anyone who doesn’t understand them. While they gained the respect of the Imperial Guard’s high command, the grunts don’t have the highest respect for them. You see, the Grudge Bearers think that their sense of honor should be imposed onto everybody. This can lead to some awkward interactions with any other space marine or imperial guard.
The world of Mithra sits in an ideal position within the life zone of its star, Rahken, with a somewhat warmer climate than Terra during the early era of human history. Whether this entirely accounts for the world’s dangerous megafauna is another matter, with various theories revolving around the world’s settlement during the Dark Age of Technology. The majority of the world’s land surface is covered in rainforest and savannah, ranging to desert and cold-tundra at the extremes. No continent on Mithra is permanently covered in snow or ice. The most obvious hallmarks of the planet’s original settlement are the space elevators connecting the world to its two moons, Khonsu and Thotha. While neither moon naturally possessed life or a climate, both have been reshaped into paradise estates through extensive terraforming and palace facilities. Mithra is a Knight World, with noble houses having formed around the original pilots of the Technological Warsuits. Local understanding of the technology of the warsuits, moons and elevators is relatively high for an isolated Knight World, with a Caste of Engineers able to maintain all three to a high functioning degree, if not able to recreate them entirely.
Being reintroduced to the Imperium has not radically altered Mithrasee society, with most representatives of the wider Imperium remaining upon one of the twin moons as opposed to the world itself. The frontier-cities that Sekhmetara established during her unification of the world and its moons remain and have steadily grown since the Imperium has instigated greater settlement efforts upon the world and there is a growing class of influential and wealthy Mithrasee upon the world itself as a consequence.
Standing twelve feet tall, Sekhmetara bears herself with an imperious stance even for her brother and sister primachs. Her skin is a dark nubile tone, and while her form is no doubt visibly powerful by any human measure, she is somewhat slender and feminine by Primach standards, the strength in her form not obscuring her curvaceous build or the softness of her features. Across her skin are various golden markings, unlike the traditional nobility of her home planet, these are formed from actual metal, so that her primach physiology does not remove the markings within the scope of days. Even still, they require rework every few years. Her long dark hair is often elegantly styled, although on occasion she will appear with shockingly white hair. How this is achieved is not immediately obvious, certainly not dye given the nature of Primachs.
As befitting of a Mithrasee noble, Sekhmetara takes great care with her appearance, especially when the occasion suits it and it is not difficult to understand, even visually, why the people of her homeworld considered her the likeness of their Goddess of the Hunt reborn.
If one was being favorable, one might describe Sekhmetara as unwaveringly confident, a critic might call her arrogant. She likely falls somewhere in between. The product of success in both martial and political matters on a world where such things are prized with religious fanaticism. That is not to say she is abrasive, although likely some find her too self-aggrandizing. She is smooth of tongue in the extreme, a carefully presented character of whatever aspect of her pleasure or wrath she wishes to embody at the specific time. When she wishes to, she can appear the opposite of aloof, as invested in whoever she is conversing with as she could anyone else in the entire galaxy, but this can be replaced with cold fury in the next moment, genuine or acted. She is a being that has grown up with the pressure and benefits of divine rule and there is much in her behavior that is reminiscent of the divine beings of ancient myth.
Perhaps more unusually among primachs, she takes great interest in social and cultural arts, her ‘Crusade Court’ a font of such things, retaining the trappings of Imperial Nobility from her homeworld.
-Martial Skills: All Primachs are dangerous, but Sekhmetara is so in a way which seems to balance between refined nobility and wild aggression. Having been raised a noble in the Knightly society of Mithra, followed by exile to the untamed wilderness of her home planet, she has fought both ritually and for survival against monsters that could fell a Knight Lance. In battle as a part of the Crusade, she wields the Glaive Encarmine, a masterfully crafted power glaive, Alongside this, her gauntlets house twin-volkite weaponry and retractable power blades. -Charmer: Sekhmetara is a skilled diplomat as much as she is a warrior and tactician, her force of charisma motivation in the extreme, coupled with an upbringing in the cultured halls of her homeland, she is just as insistent to take in the cultural intricacies of other worlds, both for use in her role in bringing more worlds into the Imperial fold, but also simply as one who appreciates such things.
-Eye of the Huntress: Sekhmetara has a seemingly supernatural connection to both the natural world and the art of the Hunt, seemingly able to stalk prey where no other can find a trail, or implement the advantages of her surroundings with a capacity which exceeds even the greatest of mortal or astartes commanders.
-Refined Arts: As well as a simple observer of such things, Sekhmetara is well versed in the creation of artistry, be that art itself, dance, sculpture, song, the refined tactics of noble generals, she has delved deeply into them all, more than capable of impressing the greatest minds and performers of the worlds she encounters.
Assignment Grade: Delta: While not always immediately obvious, Sekhmetara has a strong connection to the Warp, her interactions with it often subtle. Her presence calls attention to her, or allows her to mask herself beyond what her form and presentation should allow. The most visually obvious use of her psychic power includes cosmetic changes to herself, hardly as obvious as those who can twist their whole forms, but using it often to change the colouration of her hair, to cause her golden markings and eyes to glow, and other such tricks which only add to the impact her presence can bring. As she has regained contact with the Emperor, her control of her psychic abilities have honed somewhat, and she has begun to be able to wield more directly damaging psychic abilities, however she still tends to avoid this.
Sekhmetara’s arrival to Mithra and its moons was not a peaceful occurrence. As her lifepod was cast back into reality, the vessel struck Thotha, the pod crashing into the opulent artificial gardens of the Silver Court, the ruling noble body of The Empire of the Scale. Loosely known as a garden, these were instead vast grounds that varied from sculpted pleasure gardens to wild xenos-hunting grounds with deliberately challenging terrain. It was within the latter that the Primach life-pod landed, with enough force to register initially as a noteworthy meteorite impact. The Royal Bondsmen discovered the crash site with relative ease, within a day of the impact despite the vast scale of the hunting grounds. It was several weeks, however, before Sekhmetara would be discovered, by then as mature and developed as a child, albeit on a greater scale, having lived and hunted among the monstrosities that the nobility would hunt for sport.
The Bondsmen which eventually found her were not, however, the original Royal patrol, but instead the Men-At-Arms of House Khafre discovered the nascent primach. Rather than strike out at the unknown, the Bondsmen approached the young Sekhmetara with restraint, allowing her to see them out of their Armiger Warsuits as an exercise in trust. Rather than return her directly to Silver Court, Sekhmetara was instead spirited away to the Estates of House Khafre nearby, where she would shortly meet who would become her adoptive family. While Sekhmetara, as any Primach, quickly took on and mastered the linguistic skill of communication, the weeks she had spent surviving in the wild continued to define her for the early months of her time within the Estate of House Khafre, being decidedly unsafe to approach for both the noble family themselves and their bondsmen. While this presented as wild rage, in actuality it was from a place of savage cunning as the Primach assessed their goal in acquiring and housing her. It was the younger generation of Khafre nobles, then grandchildren of the House Patriarch, Kwasi and Isabis, who first formed a true bond with the Primach. It was through their social interactions that Sekhmetara accepted her place within the House, even if she surely already knew her destiny was beyond that of an adoptive scion of a Knightly House. Once she was properly ‘socialised’ her existence became known across the Silver Court, the prodigal adopted child of House Khafre, who quickly took up and excelled at any task, art or martial, brought to her. In her mind, the exchange was little more than a game to pass the time as she gathered more knowledge about the situation she, and the planetary system she called home, was in. It was a game she enjoyed, however, and as time passed, her bond with her adoptive family grew.
It was very swiftly apparent that it was more than just rapid maturity and increased capability which marked out the Primach, for she swiftly grew taller than her adoptive peers, and then taller again than even the most gene-enhanced of the Noble Men-At-Arms in the service of the Empire of the Scale. The House of Khafre hailed her as a prodigy, a gift from the Gods of Old, while the other Noble Houses that became aware of her either proclaimed that she must be a sign from the Great Serpent, or an ancient heresy to be extinguished. Most notably, her increased physiology meant that she would never be able to pilot the sacred War-Knights which were the sign of nobility across Mithra and its connected moons. Her admission into the Dance of Knives, the proving ground of the nobility, was therefore contentious. Many whished her bared, many among her own House through it folly to try, even her greater physiology would surely fail against the competition of nobles clad within their Questoris armoured demi-titans. Both were ignored, and with the support of House Khafre, no precedence was found to keep her from participating. The Dance of Knives embodied the wilder aspects of the Knightly Nobility, ritualised tests of combat deep in the bio-engineered wilds of the Silver Court’s hunting grounds. Each of the noble scions involved had trained all their lives for the contest, but to Sekhmetara, this was simply coming home, to the place of her first memories. The young primach made a mockery of the Thothan elite, the fastest dance that had been recorded, lasting scant days as opposed to the month long contest anticipated by the ruling caste of the Empire. Such a devastating upheaval was felt even among the planetside fiefdoms paying tribute to the Empire and the word of the Sekhmetara and House Khafre spread ever further.
The rule of the Empire of the Scale was not kind for those fiefdoms, and even the privileged nobility atop Thotha could wrankle under the power of the Serpent Priests. With such a challenge to the established order, these rumours of Sekhmetara soon became mythology, her name became synonymous with the ancient Wild Gods of Mithra, gods which many among the fiefs which still opposed them empire maintained as sacred. This was a challenge the Silver Court could not ignore, and so the plot to censure House Khafre began. The House, however, was not without its own substantial allies at court, and so when the first blows struck, they were prepared. Legions of House Bondsmen fought back against the levies of the Serpent Priests, the Inner Circle of the Household riding out within their ancient Questoris battlesuits. It was a fierce battle, but it was also a screen. As the greatest lords and ladies of House Khafre fought and died, the future of the house was stolen away by more subtle means, absconding down the great grav-carriers of the Star-Bridge to the surface of Mithra itself. Sekhmetara and her adopted siblings among them. With a handful of Questoris battlesuits, barely any more bondsmen, and the wilds of Mithra to face while well within the territory of the Empire, the future did not seem bright for the Household despite their narrow escape. Avoiding the population centres of the Scale-Fiefdoms, the survivors of House Khafre struck out through the wilderness of Mithra, crossing vast savannahs and great tropical jungles, encountering monstrous creatures with more than enough strength or brutal cunning to fell one of the Knight suits. It was the uncanny ability of Sekhmetara, along with her martial ability, which lead them through. Even before they had left Imperial territory, her legend had grown yet further. Evidence of the vast monsters slain by the Primach were taken as proof of her survival, and continued ability, by those longing for freedom from the Serpent Priests.
It took over a year of travel through the wilderness to escape the borders of the Imperial-Fiefs, the few survivors of the journey making it to the city state of Malika. By the time of their arrival, they were anticipated, and the opportunity to strike back at the Empire of the Scale brought a sense of celebration not just to the survivors of the exodus, but also the people awaiting them. After finally catching sight of the great huntress that the stories had famed, the Council of Merchants ruling Malika immediately swore their city to Sekhmetara, even before she could ask. Over the next weeks, the word from Malika began to spread. Several Fiefs swore loyalty simply through the insistence of the Council of Merchants, but even so, Sekhmetara travelled to them. To do so, the Techno-Smiths of Malika offered her one of their greatest relics, a hover-vehicle, said to pre-date the Ancient Dark. The Primach altered the mechanical wonder to suit her form, and for the first time, possessed a steed capable of bearing her at the speed she wished. Not all of the independent fiefdoms were willing to side with the growing federation on rumour or request alone, many more, however, were quick to correct this upon encountering the rapidly moving Primach, her energy and charisma leading the way, and her unrepentant fury propelling her further when the former was not enough. Few direct battles were fought during this stage, although there were many duels of honour in the style of the Mithra nobles. Sekhmetara herself fought some, although most were taken upon and won by her growing cadre of loyal Questoris Knights.
Malika had been the staging point of her efforts to unite the fiefdoms against the Empire, and it was here that all gathered to swear loyalty, not just to the cause to drive back the Serpent Priests, but now also to the rule of the Primach herself, the years of her efforts in unification solidfying that this was not simply a short term federation of states, but the formation of a new power. Some voiced concerns that they were simply trading one Imperial ruler for another, and the Primach herself did little to debate this. She instead set out to prove that at every opportunity, she was the ‘better’ choice. Her people were more prosperous, her armies more victorious. When the first stone of the foundations of the new palace at Malika were set, so to did the Crusade against the Empire of the Scale truly begin. It was a gruelling conflict, for all the nations and cities she had brought together, the Imperial forces sitll outnumbered them, and with the technological marvels found on the satellite moon that housed the Silver Court, were more advanced as well. The Khafre forces, however, made up for this with skill at arms and tactical marvel, launching daring raids and assaults through the untamed wilderness of Mithra. The elements themselves seemed to ride alongside the Knight Lances of New-Malika, and it was rumoured on several occasions that Sekhmetara lead hosts of the wild beasts themselves against the Serpent Legions. Fiefdom after Fiefdom fell to the sweeping advance of the Primach’s forces. These conquests were fast and fierce, but they did not seek to maim and burn. From the oppressive rule of the Empire of the Scale, chains were broken, and The Empire of Unconquered Sun was born. By now the old stories of Sekhmetara as the chosen of the Wild Gods, or even one of them reborn in flesh, how now swept through the populace. She never endorsed such things herself, but nor did she quash them. When it was this fact that brough the noble houses of the moon of Khonsu down to parlay with her, and lend their forces to the final defeat of the Empire of the Scale, she was more than willing to wield their faith as her weapon.
Once these fresh Knight Lances and their bondsmen joined her more electic force, the days of the Empire of the Scale upon Mithra were numbered. No longer forced to rely on hit and run tactics and the force of diplomacy, the Unconquered Sun utterly excised the corruption of the Empire of the Scale from Mithra, and preparations for a means to assault the moon of Thotha began.
They would never be completed, however, for during the celebratory feast to mark the surrender of the final Fiefdom loyal to the Empire on Mithra, the Emperor covertly met with Sekhmetara and revealed both himself, and her true origin. Little is know widely of what they discussed, but by the time the meeting had concluded, Sekhmetara had sworn loyalty to the Imperium and in doing so, signed the death warrant of the Moon that had been her home. The next day, Sekhmetara Khafre joined her father, and new Liege, in the systematic destruction of Thotha. Much of the Silver Court was annihilated from orbit, before The Abyssal Lurkers were unleashed on the surface. While the memories of all those present have since been distorted by the psychic might of the Emperor, this stands as Sekhmetara’s first interaction with Astartes and one of her siblings. Shortly, the 20th Legion was summoned to Mithra, to meet their Primach at last.
Sekhmetara took to her place as the Primach of a Legion with great enthusiasm and commitment to her vision. She remade the Legion, which had previously been renown for some of the most gruelling engagements of the Crusade, into a fighting force modeled off her successful campaigns on Mithra. The Primach took well to the greater technologies of the Imperium of Man, and the intricacies of voidwar. Ever since her ascension to command of her Legion, the Tears have specialised in the swift compliance of human worlds through decisive strikes and deft diplomacy, although much as with her time on Mithra, Sekhmetara now longs for a greater challenge to place herself and her daughters against.
Night had fallen over Ghutan, scant hours after the Unconquered Sun had broken upon it. From atop palace battlements which overlooked the city, the blanket of darkness was pierced with a thousand lesser pinpricks of light. Most of the conquests of the campaign had been reserved, or simply diplomatic surrenders. Ghutan had earned its fate, however. The rulers of the city had been almost as devoted to the Serpent Priests and their lies as the Silver Court itself, they had long resisted the advances of the Unconquered Sun, performing ever greater atrocities in the name of their scaled god to summon his aid, or simply to infuriate those who fought to free Mithra. It had been futile, Sekhmetara had lead the final charge herself, they had crushed their armies, annihilated their defences, tore down their idols. She had allowed the sack of the city’s noble quarter with no reservations. The downtrodden of Ghutan had even joined her armies in doing so.
The palace, however, was incandescent in another kind of light. Once the ruling nobility and priests had surrendered, likely seeking a last change to spare the wrath of the Empress of Malika, she had ordained that the celebration of their great, and final, victory upon Mithra be held in the palace that had once orchestrated the greatest obstacle to their success. The great serpentine icons, statues and works of art had been pulled down, shattered, and replaced with the icons of Sekhmetara’s reign, the blazing symbol of dawn. They had turned this den of vipers into a house of light and joy. At least, that was the idea. As Sekhmetara stood on the great balcony overlooking her latest conquest, she could not hide from the hollow feeling which held sway within her. Her gaze rose up to the dominant figure of Thotha in the Night sky, and the column of light marking the great star-bridge connecting it to Mithra. The connection point was some distance away at this time of the lunar cycle, although she knew it to be heading towards them. Her eyes, keener than any human she had ever known, picked out the impossibly distant structures and artificial biomes across the moon. She recalled her memories, of her childhood, both wild and among her adoptive household. She held the image of her adoptive father, Techan Khafre, in her mind, shutting her eyes to do so. Sekhmetara would not be content until not just Mithra was free of the Serpent Priests, she would demolish their Silver Court, and carve the name of Khafre into their burial mount. Her sombre mood, however, was ruining the celebrations, and she knew she should return to the victory feast she had earned. Many of her followers, even her inner circle, we acting like the war was won, writing off any chance of being able to assail Thotha itself. She would have to dispel this idea, but, perhaps after one more night.
“A worthy view.” The voice surprised her, it was rare, almost unheard of in recent years, that anything could ambush her, even the great monsters of the wilds, let alone a human. Still, she turned her head slowly to the side. To her great surprise, she found her features level with another. For the first time in decades, Sekhmetara found her eyes level with those of another. There had been rumours of another being akin to her roaming Mithra of late. She had taken it to be headless superstition, no matter how much her heart yearned to hope otherwise. There were none like her. At least, she had thought so. “A worthy conqueror.” The man, dark skinned, as most with on Mithra, if not so dark as her own. He was handsome, in an imperious sort of way. That almost made her laugh, for her to think of someone else as imperious. He motioned to her as he spoke, offering her a golden cup, a twin in his own hand. She accepted with a slight bow of her head, the scent of the wine wafted up to her immediately, with a subtle tone she did not recognise. “I often wish it had the same affect.” She spoke simply, speaking with this stranger with the assumption he knew her trials. “It looks like fun.” She motioned back towards the palace, referencing the revelry occurring.
“There is a plant, from a far off place. Somewhere quite different to this, to everything you know. You will feel it, now.” The man explained, before taking a sip from his own cup. His words brought a raised eyebrow to her features, attempting to process his words. A thousand questions fought for competition in her mind, but something about the stranger, more than simply the nature he presented, prevented her from asking, for now.
Instead she took a sip of her drink, savouring the taste of the wine, much as it always had been, before she swallowed. The effect wasn’t instant, but, after a few moments, it was there. The barest tingle, the smallest dulling of her senses and a soft surge of elation. She laughed, he look of deep thought breaking into a smile, as she looked down at the cup, then back up to the stranger.
“So, that is what it feels like…I understand now.” She laughed again, swirling her drink before taking another sip.
“Well, an approximation. You will never feel it entirely the same, for, you are not the same. You are so much more, Sekhmetara Khafre, and I feel such joy to have found you.” The stranger’s smile grew kinder, and, in a break of decorum, should he had been any other guest to her gathering, placed a hand upon her bare shoulder. She began to speak, not to challenge the gesture, but to ask one of her many thousand of questions. That was when the Light struck her. The man’s touch set her every sensation afire, he mind plunged into an incandescent so bright it robbed all other sensation.
When she finally spoke, long before she returned entirely to her mortal shell, her thoughts still glimpsing vistas of greatness, of the vast scope of the stars, she managed one simple word.
“You cannot mean to allow this!?” The words, uncharacteristically direct and openly emotional, chased Sekhmetara as she moved through the halls of the palace, the auric shine of her armour playing back the firelight of a hundred torches.
“I allow nothing, the Emperor, my father, your new lord, commands it.” The Primach responded simply, opening and closing the gauntlet of her left hand, watching as the unfamiliar new technology whirred to life within. She had fired the weapon within before, a gift from the Imperium upon its true arrival, but she yearned to see it in true practice. “It is our ‘home’ sister, the Priests corrupted the message of the Great King, but they are the enemy not ou-”
“Do not speak of your snake god again, sister, not to me, and never to our Emperor or his subjects.” Sekhmetara whirled to warn the suddenly cowed figure of Isabis, the slender woman practically jumping back at the rare sight of true anger from the Primach towards her adopted kin. “And do not take my compliance for simple inaction, Thotha will burn because the Emperor wills it, but every moment will be deserved. If you blame anyone, blame the Serpent Priests and your foul god. I do not simply allow it, I relish it. I am the Unconquered Sun and my fire will cleanse all trace of those who have cursed Mithra.” The details of Sekhmetara’s eyes disappeared beneath the bright glow of her building power, starting gold before transitioning to the surging white-blue of plasma fire, the heat crackling through the air, forcing Isabis back another step.
“You were chosen sister, you ca-”
“Prophecy is a lie, we forge our own path now.”
Legion Name: The Tears of Dawn
Legion Number: XX
Legion Strength: 75,000 Marines supported by The Knight Lances of Mithra and a large contingent of Auxilia. The Legion maintains a much larger contingent of Jetbikes and aerial mechanised forces than Legions of equivalent size. The Legion fleet also provides greater firepower than the size of the legion would suggest, however it does so through large numbers of smaller, faster, vessels.
Armour Appearance: Legionary:
Warcry: “Sol Invicta.” “The Dawn Breaks.” “For The Light Encarmine!”
Ahonsa Mensu: First Captain of the Tears of Dawn, Ahonsa is the second individual to hold this rank since the unification between Primach and Legion. A native of Mithra, she is young for her position, ambitious and utterly dedicated to Sekhmetara’s vision for the Legion. Ahonsa has a particular dislike to the Terran members of the Legion who have questioned her Primach’s willingness to place important duties on the shoulders of non-Astartes from Mithra. Unlike many of the high-ranking members of the Legion, she opts not to fight from atop a jetbike, instead having forged her career in the recon units that are so key to The Tears War Doctrine.
Kvasi Khafre: The Primach’s younger brother via her adoption into House Khafre, Kvasi forsoke his natural place as the primary heir of House Khafre to join Sekhmetara’s crusade. Almost as impulsive, bold and brilliant as the Primach herself, Kvasi acts as Sekhmetara’s primary liaison with the Knight Lances which fight alongside the Tears of Dawn. There are few individuals closer to the Primach than her adopted brother, but even the knights of other houses that accompany the Tears have a grudging respect for the tactical doctrines he has assisted in writing.
Isabis Khafre: Younger sister to both Sekhmetara and Kvasi, Isabis never ascended to pilot her own Questoris warsuit, but equally was beyond the age to become an astartes by the time of Mithra’s compliance. Rather than remain upon their homeworld or try to find another military role within the XX’s fleet, Isabis has instead become a rembrancer and orator of impressive ability, already considered among the most favoured across the Crusade. Unlike her two older siblings, she comes across, generally, with a softer approach, although she is just as often in the Primach’s company as a warrior-brother.
Bahati Khafre: One of the youngest surviving members of House Khafre, Bahati was able to be fully inducted into the Tears of Dawn, the only member of the noble house to have done so. Despite Sekhmetara’s fondness for those of her homeworld, Bahati has received no among of benefit from nepotism, although years after compliance, is now a Captain within the 6th Chapter. Bahati is a bold and aggressive officer even by the standards of the Tears of Dawn, and feels a burning desire to prove the strength of Mithra, the Tears, and House Khafre to the wider Imperium.
Chief Librarian Elosha Turna: One of the few remaining Terran Tears with a position in close proximity to the Primach after the death of First Captain Jeriah some years before, Elosha has been instrumental in helping the Primach to hone her psychic ability. Elosha is typical in mindset for the Terran Tears, being far more stoic than their Mithran sisters, but no less dedicated to the Primach and committed to her change of vision for the Legion. Sekhmetara and Elosha seem to have a genuinely close bond, rivalled only by those with her adopted family.
Favored Tactics/Battlefield Role: The Tears of Dawn combine an approach which favours diplomatic resolutions to human compliance with a surge of brutal, if elegant, force. Small in terms of numbers for a Legion, the Tears boast a far greater arsenal of jetbikes and aerial strike craft than their number would suggest, the pilots of their Legion being famed across the Imperium and their fellow Legions. The war-doctrine of the Tears is to combine the anvil of their Imperial Army and Knight lance allies with the hammer of the Tears aerial drop-strikes, deploying via Storm Eagles, Thunderhawks and drop pods while the tide of their jetbike mounted warriors continue to sweep over the enemy. This approach is a substantial departure from their role before Sekhmetara was discovered by the Imperium, having been a mechanised infantry force dedicated to gruelling campaigns in some of the most problematic warzones, with a particular focus on extermination campaigns.
Legion Characteristics/Ideology: While before the Tears of Dawn were subdued and sombre, rarely fighting alongside their fellow legions except when circumstance demanded it, and with little support from the other wings of the Imperial warmachine, they are now a vibrant display of warrior-culture centre around the spirit of Mithra. The Tears of Dawn are encouraged to have pursuits outside of their combat role in the Legion, although many still use this opportunity to hone more specialised or ritualistic martial pursuits. While the Legion itself is on the smaller side, their fleet is substantial, bearing a greater amount of Imperial Army elements alongside the Knights and Bondsmen of Mithra. Alongside these, are a great number of rembrancers and other civilian roles, which has formed the Tears fleet into a cultural hub among the stars. Within the Legion itself, particularly the Mithran-Born, many of the trappings of their birth culture survive, with warrior sisterhoods arranged around the themes and concepts of the Mithran Wild Gods. The exception to this is the faith of the Serpent Priests, last acts of Sekhmetara on her homeworld being to instigate various purges of the Empire of the Scale’s religion, even if she had grown up among it.
Name: Ahgnemir Thordemir Ehgnarlothna Porganiga Nicknames: The Northern Lord - His homeworld (generic cute furry animal(s)) - Brothers/Family The Bear - Those who meet him can't say his name, so they say, Lord, typically will call him this behind his/Astartes/family's back. Dwarf - When people want a fight Gender: Male
Homeworld: Nova Chatti This is a frozen hell hole of a world. The only livable area is the tundra to the north of the ice flats and the frozen oceans to the south. This livable zone is tiny but brimming with life; humans live in small settlements, usually surrounded by wards, or under the lone mountain on one of the southern Coastal planes. Food is usually grown inside caves or comes from the different animals which inhabit the planet. Some have the luxury of heading to the south side of the planet, which has a migratory fisherman tribe, but the Northmen do not believe these people are real as the trek to the planet's non-frozen side is deadly, and few survive the trip to or from. The planet also has a high gravity, meaning jump packs and grav-vehicles are useless upon its surface.
But on average, they live within a two-mile radius of where they are born; the men typically do not travel more than several miles outside the warded zones. Few travel during a war, and typically it is settled on a field by throwing spears across it until a single individual was hit. Then the winner was decided, but when the wife taking and ritual slaughter came, it was almost a one-sided battle every time. The attackers usually had complete surprise over the defenders. But in some cases, the defenders do prevail.
But there are six major tribes and fifty-six minor ones. The Capitol under Inn Mountain, or Icebrook Fortress, is expansive in population compared to the surface settlements. It also has the largest clans, the clan of the North Lord, which encompasses the adopted children of the Primarch (orphans), the family of the primarch (brothers and all), and the Astartes. In the family's case, each is worshiped like walking and living gods sent to protect them from the creatures that walk the planet.
Appearance: At ten feet, he is likely one of the shortest of the Primarchs, but out of size and musculature, he is likely one of the largest as even bare; he can withstand colds most Astartes could not. He is squat and built out rather than up. His musculature shows him as a man of craft and war. It is similar to what you would find in northern latitudes a few hundred years ago, it conserves heat and is a natural body shape, but in a primaries form, it is exaggerated. His sons do not share this quality and are much like standard Astartes in height. There is a thick hair layer covering most of his body but for parts such as his hands, upper face, portions of the neck, and feet. But this is typically shaven off on a regular as it deviates too far from the standard.
His face is rather not the greatest looking; once, he would have been a beautiful man in almost perfect resemblance to his father, but fighting the beasts of his world, it was left in ruins of its former self. Most of it did heal, and you can see the resemblance of a once beautiful man, but that is faded behind torn scars and broken bones that never set correctly. He is typically seen with a mask or a veil over his face.
His hair and facial hair do poke out from the edges of it and typically is braided in some fashion to show its volume and density, but also the trophy beads and bone that hang from his hair. If you peer closely, there is a silver gem upon a bone necklace below the beard.
His attire out of battle is typically that of thick robes covered in runes or animal skins that fit different roles from basic pants to a runeforge apron.
In battle, he wears a suit of white mail over light power armor. In favor of a helmet, he wears a white veil and cloak in alpine and snow environments; it suits well to blend into the environment. It is also covered by runes, of course, which help this unnatural chameleon effect.
Personality: Humans come first - He is humane to those human worlds he finds, striving to find and bring all non majorly mutated humans back into the fold of a human empire. He strives to look as human as possible; this includes changing his appearance by shaving and making-up to hide anything that makes him seem animal-like, such as the thick hair that covers most of his body.
Pseudo-Religious - He believes there is something that comes from the warp, and he senses it; he does not know how and is relatively unaware of the power he holds in the warp. He creates runes and wards to keep demons and other malignant spirits at bay. To his knowledge, this works. His father says there is nothing but the known world, but he knows something terrible is out there, and it tries to call to him and those around him.
Partially Xeno phobic - even though extensive testing has been done on races such as the Eldar, he believes them to be human. This is due to their appearance and their gestures towards him. They are just slightly mutated in his eyes, but when you begin to deviate away from human, growing tails and extra parts when you're a definite mutant, that is when you become alien to him. He hates those aliens who can think but do not look like humans. They did not try to match humanity's greatness and must be destroyed for it. But, he does have a love for the nature of planets, trying to preserve them in any way possible inside of his fleets.
Nature-loving - He hates the industrial look of many imperial worlds; the large cities and spires drive him insane. This also puts him at odds with most mechanicum agents. The few who do enjoy his presence primarily focus on biological machines rather than metal ones. He does enjoy some mechaniucum friends, however, but that is because their machines are oddly beautiful for something made of metal.
Assistantless - His culture, or at least his original tribe took no servants or slaves; this became widespread after his ascension to the lordship of the planet. The small tribal feuds would end in some forced marriages, but the marriage was more than man and wife, as the two had to support each other to survive. Typically several wives were taken for different tasks within a homestead. The husband would provide food, and material for the homestead, while the wives kept it orderly and maintained. If either failed, the homestead would likely fail because of the planet's detrimental effects. He does have several wives, but he does not consider them servants, even though that is pretty much what they are.
Humanist - Astartes, even though super-soldiers should be human, he believes no Astarte is better than any man; he encourages them to seek human emotion and lifestyles outside of their warrior clades. To keep in touch with family, and to start their own. If possible, bring a sister or brother along. Their children with foreign world populations may help the future Astartes surge as their homeworld can only have so many people upon its natural landscapes. He is trying to find a way to have children with women himself; in secret, this is done much like modern artificial insemination, but it is why some of his previous wives are dead.
Calm - Compared to his gene family, he is considered calm between each of them, rarely angering and taking things slowly and methodically for a barbaric culture he lived in. Rarely does he lash out, to the point where one of his wives, when angry with him during the reunification with his blood father, had struck him so many times she had managed to break the mask he was wearing that day. He had stopped his father from striking the woman down as well, as she was a part of him due to their binds in marriage. But, when focused on a man who had disgraced a wife of one of his sons, the man was tortured publically.
Skills: He is a wonderful forge smith and rune crafter, leaving a little bit of himself and his soul (literally) with everything he crafts. His works are beautiful, flowing, and natural, using resources found upon the places he travels as the world(s) are for humanities taking, as that is how things naturally should be.
In warfare, he specializes in guerrilla and shock infantry tactics. Alpine, Cities, Forests, and Arctic regions are his primary locals for his favored tactics. Outside of these environments, his tactics are a baseline for a Primarch's martial abilities.
The cold has little to no effect on him as if it does not matter at all. He has been noted fasting in the below zero icefields of his homeland, meditating in runic circles. Even when some could touch him in his meditation state, he would feel like a fire burning, yet he would barely melt the snow with his body temperature. The longest he has been out being one month, but that was when he asked to come inside by someone dear to him.
Runeforger - His runes, although they are warp-based, are master crafted and unique. Each one is a beautiful sign which has its purpose, but with this. He leaves a little bit of his soul and blood inside each rune he crafts, as he believes that is what wards off the evil spirits and monsters that infest his planet and warp while traveling.
Assignment Grade: Beta - Rune Forger, with his homeworld in proximity to the largest Warpstorm that has persisted, the first primarch was granted power from beings beyond his knowledge. They placed him upon his world, and he felt the world around him but did not know-how; those who took him in told him of Runes and Warding away evil spirits. He does not know/believe he is a psyker, but those runes he crafts typically do as they're intended to do. But he also refuses to believe that it is anything but his natural abilities as a primarch and that anyone can learn his ways. This is primarily out of ignorance.
Before the emperor, upon his entry into Nova Chatti's atmosphere, he had sailed across the solar system Suebi for a month before landing upon its frozen surface. With this time, the Eye's warp energies and the sun's radiation have created a hotbed for warp energy to spawn and manifest. Luckily for him, his reentry had warded off much of the chaotic spirits trying to bury themselves inside his memories. He had landed inside of a settlement near the northern pole of New Chatti. His body had adapted to the planet quickly, his infant state growing thick hair across his body and adapting rapidly to the cold.
By the time he was a teenager, he had been left on accident once outside. He was magnificent, but his neglectful adopted parents were surprised in his survival; they placed an amulet around his neck, which was toward him when away from home. Something which can withstand below zero temperatures could not be taken by the spirits that lurked beyond the totem wall. Thankfully, the teenager had grown up well within the mile or so of his birth.
His fifteenth sutensday was a surprise when his rather isolated village was attacked by a neighboring village, having never left home. He was told to hide while the men fought as if he was found, the women would be slaughtered as well. He was still an outsider, and he was a bad omen for several surrounding tribes due to his height. He could have easily passed for a giant by this age, but unluckily for him, he would not grow much taller as an adult. But the opposing tribe, the Inn, would be victorious, and the village would be ransacked for women and children to add as slaves. He was luckily never found.
When he left, he found a spear, not that of his adopted father, but it was a spear of his tribe, then set out to hunt those who had destroyed his home and the safety of his home. Reaching out beyond the totem wall, he found nothing but howling wind and bloody snow that tracked for miles.
This he would follow, for days and nights he did. Stalking through the barren snow wasteland behind the Inn and what was left of his people, they eventually reached a mountain. This mountain was built upon a cave system, one which the Inn resided in. It was massive and coated by a fungus that lived on the roof and illuminated the typically frozen and dark planet. As the ice turned black, he had made his move into the cave system, to which his slaughter had begun.
A day later, the Inn's last was under his banner; they had barricaded themselves in with the slaves and had such become slaves themselves. Instead of making them slaves, he decided to free each one inside and create a new tribe, one that would rule over the area's surrounding the mountain. The tribe of the Northern Lord was born, and it waged war upon tribe after tribe. Until it conquered the entire world, or what was habitable on the world, some two hundred miles of land spanned to the North of the Mountain.
By the time he was eighteen, he had five wives. One for each month of the year, but this was primarily to clean his home, cook for him and his guests, finance his home and life, and two for political reasons. After two years of constant war, he decided that it was enough for him. He had been raised in a decent home, violence was rare, and until the Inn had come for his people, he had seen death twice before that moment. After that, he had committed thousands of acts of violence on those who wished to be left alone, those who wished to worship those creatures that stalked the lands, and those who wanted to fight for their independence. Typically those cultures he had destroyed left some imprint on that of the Mountain Inn. Servants and slavery were outlawed. Instead, all house duties should be done by wives and such; this was to help improve population growth to rekindle some form of life on the planet after the wars that had raged upon its small surface frozen.
After his reunion with his father, the gene stock which had been dwindling was likely to stay dwindling as the radiation and warp energies that had been imbued within him made it hard for those who wished to become an Astartes of the first legion. It is not that the gene-seed was corrupted by chaos, but it did make the likely hood of death over fifty percent. Most initiates would die from their first treatment. Those who become warriors in the legion are typically from the southern lowlands where he was 'born and raised.
The legion was devastated; by reunion with his first sons, they were down to several thousand. A genetic defect that almost had the legion erased had made it to where the stock would at first create a perfect astartes with all organs available. Still, soon after, it would turn them into blubbery mutants, their mind staying intact as they watched themselves turn into an abomination. With the primarch in hand, the geneseed did flourish, but the ability to create and Astarte was hard. Few outsides of his homeworld were able to take the geneseed, but when it was applied successfully, it created that astartes with little genetic difference to their cousins but for a thicker hide and a light fur. There would be another defect, which would come in the geneseed, which in some cases would seek out its next host rather than the ones who completed trials.
These souls are called the Chosen and are typically seen with a bloody hand upon their face rather than their shoulder, as that is where the primarch can touch them in their medicae bed before their surgery. They are primarily souls that will become runepriests; they are typically psykers who wish to follow in their fathers' footsteps of rune crafting. They spend one full on their father's flagship before being sent back to the tribe (company) they came from.
Several years after he departed from his father, his legion had ten thousand soldiers ready. He began his conquest, looking for more lost souls along the fringes of the Imperium. Trying to bring them back into the fold of humanity, there would be a slow process as they wish to document everything, usually leaving a handful of Astartes behind to oversee the world's compliance. Their families would intermingle with the local population, forming another tribe from which the legion recruit from in the future.
There was one battle of significance that the Primarch had fought in. This was again an arthropod species that inhabited a lost human world; the humans were still alive but had primarily lived in small settlements that acted like watch posts for the only living hive upon the planet. The bugs were on one of their final assaults when the Astartes arrived. Ten days of constant fighting raged on as his legion and the army units tied to his fleet drove the bug creatures into caves, which the Astartes would then assault again. On the thirtieth day of fighting, the ground broke up to reveal the queen, and about between it and the primarch ensued. The skull of the Queen can still be seen in Icebrook Fortress upon his homeworld. Over several days, this fight was said to be the Astartes and primarch fighting the spawn which the queen was laying during the fight.
The Northern Lord sat at the feasting halls, looking over the different chieftains, their wives, warriors, and friends. He had been eating with them for more than two hours, conversing with those near him as his wives went around serving the different guests that had arrived. He was going to make sure they were all happy and sound. He had just conquered the last people on the Northmen and was thinking of journeying south to see those in the ocean once again.
Ahgnemir stood; he was going to give the final round of the night, his flagon held high above his head as something peered into his soul. The flagon soon fell to the table. Gasps, awe, and wails had filled the room as the giant man held his head and dropped to the ground in a spasm. Something was coming. He felt it surge through his head, and he screamed out as he clawed his way to his feet before leaving the room, heading to his chambers for solitude. Those he left in the room were on the floor now as an echo of his soul had screamed to each one of them. It was maddening; for a moment, they felt the pain he did, but it was gone within a second.
The five women close to him were crying; they had felt it the most as he is the second it took them, had felt everything. He had called out for their help in this, and they only fell themselves. They felt him locked inside their bed-chamber and felt his pain through the door and the city. For a week, this would continue; the guests became the caretakers to the five women outside the door to their husbands' rooms. Feeding them, and keeping them alive, listening to the murmurs and words from their lips. Wards and shrines had been placed around them to protect them. But the words still came, and they began to sound like the Northern Lords' works were coming from their lips.
On the fifth day and the end of the planetary week, he came out, and the women fell exhausted. He stared at those in awe of him.
"The gods are coming... Find me a cart... I will take them with me..."
An hour later, the five women were upon a cart being pushed down the streets. Behind him, those who had attended the feast, and behind them, a line of souls wandered behind them. Falling behind as the end of the precession has passed them or joining in on the flanks. Outside the entrance of the cave, a lone figure stood in gold. Ahgnemir stared at the figure and moved away from the cart towards the man. He knew this is where the voices in his head were coming from; he knew he was safe from then on. His hands extended out to either side of him, bowing was not in his culture, but embracing was. He would embrace his father; tears wept from his eyes and fell frozen upon the snow beneath them.
His father, the one he was taken from, was there for him. This was the god he had seen in his dreams and vision, the one he had asked for help and guidance. He felt this power around his neck in the ward he hung from it. He took a step back and stared at the man in front of him. He saw a face he had not seen in a long time, one that was similar to the one he wore as a child, a teen, and a young adult. But no, this face was not his; he wore this man's face. He was ashamed to have to let his face become so scared and destroyed at that moment. He had destroyed perfection, the perfect man. He turned and saw his first wife awaken.
"Father... My... Father, I am sorry I could not show you more grace and pageantry, but my people welcome you... That is my first wife, Boudica, the Warrior Queen of this world. We wish to welcome you and invite you to our home."
"First... Son..." The Emperor spoke, "turn, and face your sons."
Behind the Emperor stood ten giants, men in silver Mark II armor, that of the first legion, the Dawn-Breakers. His first sons of blood, he realized that he had a connection with these men too, the Emperor overshadowed it, but now that they had his attention, he too felt a connection with them. They are what he and his wives had always wanted, sons, powerful sons. The first captain, Ellion, took a step toward his grandfather and embraced him. Just like what he had done with the Emperor. The crowd silent. This was something unheard of to them; it was a sight that was amazing and almost indescribable. Godly, that was a good term to describe it, godly. They watched the gods that walked among them, meeting.
Ahgnemir embraced each of his sons and turned to his people and slowly awakening wives, "Feast yourselves... gorge your bodies of food, a new Era has come for us, and these are the messengers of progress! We will join them in the stars!"
Hours had passed, and the feast hall could not contain the number of people feasting in his home had expanded his capacity, so the regiments of soldiers that were with the emperor, as well as those of the first legion, were set up outside the cave entrances that lead under the mountain. The food stores were gone within hours, and more were coming in. The feast lasted an entire day, but the day after began the induction into the Imperium of Man.
He was brought aboard the Emperor's flagship, and samples were taken from him. These would improve the gene-seed stock of the legion and help create the next generation of the newly dubbed, Bloody Hands. A name forged from one of the ceremonial rituals, which had connected Ellion to Ahgnemir, where they cut open their palms and embraced each other, the handprint being placed upon the captain's shoulder pad over the old symbol, which still lingers upon Ellion's armor today, under the blood of his father. It can be seen inside the Warriors' chamber upon the flagship of the Legion, the Crimson Arm.
Soon enough after that, he and what was left of his legion were off with the Emperor to wage war on another planet in the system which was inhabited by drukhari raiders and the human slaves captured from his homeworld; he had never fought them or known about them in his time living on the planet.
Legion I – Bloody Hands
Legion Number: I
Legion Strength: 40k-60k average, deficient genestock/donor capability due to location Each Tribe (company) is done by the bloodlines and the wave of recruitment, some companies have gone extinct, and their flags are held in both the fortress and the legion's flagship. The smallest company is around fifty 'Elder' Astartes; the largest is around three thousand.
Armor Appearance :
For The Emperor, for Ahgnemir, for Man
The primary armor will be Mark II Crusade Armor, their elite holes Mark III. Mark IV is slowly being brought into service with the first legion, but they are scarce and usually reserved for Veterans.
High Legion Officers, First Company, and the Various Priests usually have white instead of red and red instead of white. Their robes have a pure and unnatural white with runic wards and inscriptions in Horigahn.
Their iconography varies from company to company, but each one will have a white hand inside it. Typically, this is placed upon an Astartes armor when inducted in by a chaplain and then the Primarch when they arrive in the fleet with him.
The chosen, however, is always done by the Primarch first and will receive their iconography from him upon their induction into the ranks of Astartes. It will be placed over their face on their helmets.
Dramatis Personae: Boudica the Warrior Queen - Mother of the Chapter and husband of the Northern Lord. She, even though extremely old, has had rejuvenating surgeries to prolong her lifespan. She is the caretaker to the primarch and servant to her sons. She is aided by the other two living wives of the Primarch, Gurtra, and Lolnamia. As well as the 'wives' and siblings brought along by the genesons of the primarch.
First Captain Tenebrus - First captain, one of the first Astartes in the legion, and the second Astartes to meet and embrace their primarch and father. He did not have as good a relationship as Ellion had, but the bond between them is still long and enduring. One of the last Astartes from the Dawn-Breakers.
Second Captain Gorgion - The Second captain is a newer astartes, and a chosen. His face is a close resemblance to his genefathers in that it is broken and battered, but his face is far flatter than his father's. His hair is red instead of brown, and he is massive and coated in his hair. It was an ugly sight to see the man, but he is loud and boisterous compared to his father. Typically is seen as a fool. Gorgion was one of the child warriors his father used in the last war on their homeworld and was present during the feast when he first felt the light of the Emperor. He was the first new Astartes with the improved geneseed from Ahgnemir.
Druid Master Gohn - The high apothecary of the legion and leader of the legion's druidic order. I like to keep those alive and preserve the rituals and rights of the legion and its homeworld. Fervently believes that Big E is the only good god but feels the others calling to him. He rejects them as he knows the path of salvation.
Runelord Ahgnemir - Named after his father, a new trend in the legion for the past decade with recruits from the newest tribes. Runelord Ahgnemir is the leader of the legion's runepriests; they are entirely forged of the Chosen. But he is well known for creating the scriptures and runes that coat the white hulls of the legions vessels and the wards that linger upon the bulkheads' doors inside the ship.
Chaplain / Smithlord Parettrigron - The Smithlord/chaplain order holds similar roles to the Druid order; the smithlords keep the tenants of the emperor and those of the chapter from conflicting. This is the equalizer in legion politics. They are the moral base for the legion and take a vow to their primarch. They hunt the psykers known to them; the runepriest order is excluded as that is not 'magic' to the legion. But, these are also the men who maintain much of the legion's large equipment; they also make the gifts for other legions and masterwork items. Those chosen for the role will always be some of the best smiths in the legion and teach initiates how to repair and forge their equipment.
Scion (great lord) Stormgah - The Borarh are the warrior order for those who focus primarily on their abilities as warriors. They are strong warriors and typically are the baseline for the majority of the legion. Though, they hold the most champions compared to the other orders. This was created by Ellion being the first Scion, or Great Lord. He was one of the finest swordsmen the chapter has had, but he was felled by an insectoid queen long ago. The only thing that remains of him is his shoulder pauldron. But, the order strives to be as good as he is, yet few can get close to the legends of the first Scion. Stormgah is a close second, a stern and angry man; his skills with a Warhammer are almost unmatched. But with a sword, he's likely one of the worse astartes with the blade.
Blood Guards - The elite guard of the primarch, all chosen, there is one from each of the legion's main four orders. These four men act as advisors and guards to their father and mother. They are a destructive group, covered in runic symbols. They are almost always on battle plate, and their shifts will change if their successor can best them in battle. Only one of the Blood Guards has not been chosen, but he was Ellion, one of the legion's greatest swordsmen.
outside the legion
General Bells Sigard - The Lord of the Army, which accompanies the Legion's primary fleet, leader of the Tengari Warriors, the regiments of Tengari, a smaller planet fight alongside the legion and are the backbone of most wars fought by the fleet. They focus on infantry and siege compared to the legions shock soldiers. But they are effective fighters and soldiers. He is an angry man, which counters acts the calm nature of the primarch. But, he does have some weight on what happens and is trusted in tactics of war.
Favored Tactics/Battlefield Role: They are generalist fighters, but their tactics focus on ambush and urban warfare. Quick moving infantry, with some support elements for heavier targets. Taking their time to lure and destroy their enemies into scouted positions, and if possible, to assault positions that are well document and planned. But weapons are no favorite weapons or ranges; each astartes has his own preferred method of war. Like their father, they fight best in frigid conditions where the snow covers them. They rarely utilize speeders or gravity packs as their planet cannot host these vehicles due to the planet's gravity. For mobile units, bikes are typically used for fast attack and transportation. Anything else is rarely used, but land raiders, rhinos, and other tanks are used in moderation.
Legion Characteristics/Ideology: Compared to some legions, they believe they are fully human, just enhanced to protect humanity. Warriors and artisans of them, each one forges his own equipment as they are not always in the mechanic's favor and tend to their own. They keep family with them from their prior lives to help spread the genes which can host the first legions geneseed. They host no servants but those considered wives and themselves. They do not enjoy servitors and primarily do not use them when available. But they are a religious people, believing in gods, and they were given the ability to become the guardians of the gods by becoming Astartes. They wear runes and trinkets to ward away from the dark gods who created the creatures that lurk on their homeworld's surface and the spirits that were not properly dealt with after death. They are famed like the early Germanic and Brittanian Celtic tribes. They are xenophobic, to anything that does not resemble a human should be killed. But they hate waging war upon human and human-like species; they try to be sons of gods to the best of their extent. But, their features with the geneseed typically make them look like hairy demons or apes.
The geneseed is highly selective, and in some cases, it will kill the intended host for one chosen by the geneseed; these are known as the chosen. Warriors chosen by the geneseed as if the seed has a spirit, it seeds out psykers to protect them and guide them as if it had a soul of its prior owner, which would lead back to the primarch. But there is a high mortality rate in the process and most who are to be elevated die.
Those with the best likelihood are those which the southern peoples' blood have, and their descendants regardless of what world they come from. The families brought along, spread the genes, and form new tribes, creating new tribes (companies) of Astartes. But, the geneseed also affects hair growth, as it speeds it up and covers most of the body; regular shaving must be done to keep within the standards of the primarch direct order.
Geneseed Flaws : Animalistic Fur - Through the age of when the World was not under the Imperium's reign, tribes would choose an animal to support and dedicate their lives to, this being for protection, sustenance, or fear. This translates as well going forward into the tribes which compose the legion. Like the primarch, they grow fur, and it typically that of which the tribe is bannered under, such as the primarchs tribe, which typically hosts the fur colors of the southern bear, a large brown and red-furred creature. If unshaven, it will cover the entire body of the Astartes.
The Chosen Gene - With proximity to the Eye of Terror, the geneseed is unstable and psykic. The chosen gene comes from the newer addition of the geneseed created after the primarchs return to the legion. More specifically, the geneseed is implanted into a psyker of any level. After it is extracted from their body or corpse for further use, it becomes a Chosen geneseed.
It has become an organism of its own, acting as a parasite for non-psyker aspirants, killing them outright if they are weak in body and mind, and killing them soon after implementation if they are strong. It is excruciating and can happen during any part of the transformation into an Astartes. It has killed some of the best aspirants of the legion and many of the worst.
Once the chosen geneseed has been identified, special treatment is taken into it, and the different orders will strive to set forth to find a psyker donor for the geneseed. Once one has been found, it will make them an Astartes. They will have portions of the memories of the last owner(s) of the geneseed and a heightened ability over the others.
But, it is susceptible to the warp, those who turn to the lessons of the dark gods of ancient times or listen to the voices in their head will slowly begin to change to something detrimental, this has not been seen but once, and that was attributed to a viral strain during a biotoxin storm.
Relationships: The imperial army and navy have fine relationships with the first legion; they care about each soldier and fight alongside them to limit necessary risks. Those who fight alongside the first legion typically have easier wars and fights. The mechanicum is the legion ire as the relations between them have been sour for a long time. Sometimes to the point of small skirmishes between the factions. But they try to love and embrace all of humanity and races like the Eldar, which resemble humans.
But, orks are hated, as well as great beasts (warp spawn); they notice that many warp threats but consider them great beasts of other planets that are akin to their own. Believing them to be some devolved species of alien that were like prior humans or something similar. They also hate insectoid species.
Alright! I've been working like a mad fiend in my google doc to get this done, and here it is.
X Legion, The Pact of the Lance “You take more flies with honey than vinegar, Hogg.” Hogg snorted. “And what’s a fly’s pelt worth, young master?” he said.” ― David Drake, With the Lightnings
Primarch Arnulf Wode Lancer Primus The Boss The Old Man
Homeworld: Salient Tertius (Civilized World) Salient Tertius is a arid, desert planet of vast, sandy plains and large oceans of glittering blue water separating the continents, of which there are six. Salient Tertius is the only planet in its system that supports life of any kind.
Before Imperial Compliance, Salient was ruled by great merchant houses who regularly dueled their private armies against each other in the vast desert wastes in highly orchestrated, highly glamorized military actions that were as much advertising as warfare. Much of these ‘glory wars’ were conducted by armored fighting vehicles, and the men and women that crewed them were called Lancers, a callback to the armored knights of old Terran lore.
After compliance, the surviving merchant houses now turn their mercantile expertise outward, using their energy and vast monetary reserves of the old house wars to help fund the Great Crusade, as well as trading expeditions to other Imperial worlds, as well as sanctioned Xeno territories.
Appearance: Arnulf gives the impression of being squat and solid. Short for a primarch, at just above nine feet in height, the demigod exudes a domineering, commanding presence, full of confidence and bravado. His face is craggy and gaunt, covered with scars and pock-mark wounds from past conflicts.
His musculature is, of course for one of his stature, defined, but no artistry was present when he was geneforged. He is bulky, with wide shoulders, big biceps and forearms, and a barrel chest propped on legs that seem to be two stout trunks.
At peace, he wears a no-frills service uniform resembling something from Imperial Army issue, though of course the decorations on it are Astartes, and the tailoring is far finer than anything procured from an Auxilia storehouse.
In wartime, on foot, he wears the bare-metal powered plate of the Pact, adjusted for his size and stature, sporting a powerful DAoT void shield generator that can shrug off firepower far in excess of its diminutive size. Cruelly dismissive of melee combat, Arnulf’s favorite weapon is an oversized autocannon that fires discarding sabot shells, a lost relic of a weapon capable of toppling whole city blocks with a sustained burst of fire. Although he carries a power blade, a cruel, heavy, single-edged cleaver of a sword, he rarely uses it, preferring to obliterate his opponents from range.
More often, though, he rides in the cupola of his personal superheavy tank, a curious vehicle consisting of a Baneblade-pattern hull mated to a Fellblade turret.
Personality: Arnulff is decidedly choleric, his temper constantly flaring at life’s every inconvenience. However, he is very genuine, possessed of surprising honesty and insight, which wins him respect in Imperial courts despite his combative nature. The other primarchs have come to value his lack of subterfuge, even if they find him grating to be around for too long. Arnulf values the company of his brothers and sisters who are willing to listen to him, good or bad, viewing his own behavior as a, in his words, ‘grox-shit filter.’
Arnulf himself has an attachment to people, weapons, and equipment that have survived the crucible of combat, often eschewing things or people that haven’t ‘seen the sharp end’.
His attitude towards humanity is that of a firm shepherd. His interpretation of the Astarte’s role in human affairs is an aloof, but decisive protector, letting humans be humans while the Space Marines do the fighting, interfering in human affairs only when they would be self-destructive. His pride in himself and his legion can make him seem dismissive of baseline humanity, but in truth Wode desires wholeheartedly the day when Humanity reigns over the stars and his host can rest.
Psyker Grade: Thoroughly Kappa. It is something of a running joke that Wode’s grating personality is caused by lack of a soul, but in truth he merely possesses no psychic potential.
Skills: Wode is much like other primarchs, a physical powerhouse coupled to a lightning-fast mind and indomitable charisma. Outside of these gifts, though, he is startlingly mundane, with no psychic powers, nor is he even really as gifted at single combat as the rest of his siblings, his own philosophy of combat relying on meeting the enemy with force so overwhelming that the vagaries of tactics and fighting forms become irrelevant.
If anything sets him apart, it is his determination, and his ability to inspire his men to fight with all they’ve got, to squeeze every last ounce of potential from the seemingly outmatched, outgunned, and outmaneuvered. It remains to be seen if this charisma extends to his siblings however.
Return to Sender: A massive superheavy tank, the Return was a Baneblade-pattern tank passed down from generation to generation from the Great Merchant House of Salubria, the house Wode served, and eventually led, in the Salient Unification War. Destroyed by an ammunition explosion when the Emperor came to reclaim his lost son, the vehicle was restored as a condition of the pact that bound Wode and his gene-sons to Imperial Service. It has been extensively modified and upgraded, now surpassing the capability of even the mighty Fellblade class of tank in service with the Legiones Astartes, the turret of which has been retrofitted to the Baneblade’s hull in place of the standard one.
Last Argument: Wode’s personal autocannon, a large weapon that resembles a tank gun more than a carried small arm. It fires a discarding sabot shell made of superdense alloy that carries incredible kinetic force, capable of punching through most protective means with enough sustained fire.
Castellum O Fortuna: Wode’s armor is upsized Mk 3 Astartes plate, stripped of paint to show the bare ceramite and adamantium of its construction. Embedded within it is a relic void shield generator, that, when activated, provides a bubble of energy protection that is intensely powerful. When broken, the shield dissipates in a violent release of energy that can knock squads of armored Astartes off their feet.
Arnulf Wode was separated from the Emperor much like his brothers and sisters, the stasis pod containing him eventually landing on the civilized world of Salient Tertius, a world ruled by an oligarchy of opulent merchant houses who had taken to controlling their populations through predatory and exploitative means. Wode was found in the desert by fighting men of the Great Merchant House of Salubria, and taken in to be raised amongst the regiment’s camp followers.
Wode grew up quickly, like all of his siblings, and learned the trade of soldiering from his surrogate family. He enlisted in the Salubria Merchant Army alongside a friend of his, Saul Imogen, the two of them serving in the same tank as a loader and radio operator respectively. Wode rose through the ranks quickly, eventually getting his own tank, then platoon, then company, and finally command of the Merchant Army itself.
Having become jaded and cynical at the spectacle of glamorized, advertised warfare that the Salient merchant houses indulged in like bloodsports, Wode enacted a conspiracy he had been planning, turning several key members in the Salubrian merchant houses and killing the rest who opposed his bid for control. The Salubrian Merchant Army became the Salubrian Unification Front, and Wode used them to wage a war for planetary unification and end the degrading practice of war for sport.
It was at a pivotal point in this war that the Emperor came to claim his lost son. Just as Wode was preparing to break the Southern houses in a surprise night raid, the Emperor unleashed his own tanks of the Lightnings legion, Wode’s lost gene-sons. The Imperials easily destroyed the incompetent merchant army. Wode, however, unwilling to treat with what he saw as off-world meddling, engaged the Imperial forces in a titanic tank battle.
Wode lost, and the SUF was defeated by the Imperial task force, but at great cost. Wode’s underequipped, undergunned rebel army inflicted hideous losses on the attacking Imperials, with some SUF vehicles becoming multiple aces in a single night.
With Wode’s defeat, the Emperor offered a truce, and then service in his Imperium. Wode accepted, naming terms that the Emperor accepted unconditionally. This agreement was named the Pact of the Lance, which Wode’s legion named itself after, replacing their original name of Lightnings.
The Pact was as follows:
1. The Salient Unification War would be finished as the Pact’s first action. 2. The surviving men and women of the Salubrian Unification Front would receive a pardon, as well as the option to continue service in the Imperial military. 3. Wode’s personal tank, the Return to Sender, would be repaired. 4. The Astartes of the Pact of the Lance would inherit the Right of Conquest, a common clause in Salient army contracts that allowed soldiers to keep plunder from the battlefield for their personal gain.
In return for these stipulations, Wode was to be bound to the service of the Emperor for life, carrying out the Grim Crusade for as long as it was necessary.
First Meeting It had been a hard run. Wode stood in the cupola of the Return to Sender, his Baneblade super heavy tank and checked a handheld auspex again. The little device was wirelessly hooked up to the real auspex display in his command throne inside the vehicle, allowing him to check his contacts even when he stood as he was now, with his head up out of the hatch. As he expected, there was no evidence of their opponents in the Southern merchant houses just yet, but, if his intel was right, they’d be running into them soon.
The point of this run had been to make a cross-country assault across the desert sands, hitting the enemy elements just as the morning suns rose over the horizon. It turns out at their current pace they’d get there a little earlier, which was just fine to the men of the Salient Unification Front, Arnulf Wode’s personal army.
“All task force elements, this is Sally 1.” Wode spoke into his throat mic. “Close your intervals by 300 meters and increase pace by five klicks. We’re getting into the AO.”
It was planned, like always, to be the kind of attack that had become the trademark of Wode’s rebels - to smash into the enemy, breakthrough to their rear, and then slug it out while the other bastards were still figuring out what was going on. It was a strategy that worked, relying on the superior training and aggression of the SUF. They didn’t have the best tanks - most were locally produced copies of STC designs, save for the very best of Wode’s host, which had been passed down for generations within the Salubrian Great House that they had supplanted. They didn’t have the best firepower - most of his tank army didn’t even have full on-the-move gyro stabilization. They were outnumbered in nearly every conflict they fought.
What they did have, and what the other merchant houses would never understand; with their armies of hirelings, more loyal to the credit than to their cause, was the will to do the job, no matter how unpleasant.
Salient Tertius, the ball of rock they all lived on, was unused to the concept of total war. Conflict was ritualized, glamorized, and so shot full of ancient regulations it was as meaningless as parade drill. Men died on the sands, blood trickling into the dunes to be sucked up by the landscape and the houses grew fat on it, harvesting their population in demeaning displays of opulence. Wode was tired of it. His men were tired of it, and damn it, they were going to do something about it.
Tonight would be the biggest something. This night raid would break the southern houses, Wode thought, it would break their confidence. With luck, the inter-factional squabbling as a result of their trouncing in the southern scrubland would do the rest of the work for them, but, they had to be shown the error of their resistance in the first place. Salient would be united, and tonight that unification would be forged.
“Sally 1, this is Sally 1-2.” A voice crackled into the earpiece of Wode’s tanker helmet.
“Go ahead Saul.” Saul Imogen was Wode’s XO, a steadfast, friendly man who had been at Wode’s side ever since they were privates in the old Salubrian Merchant Army.
“I’m picking up Auspex contacts but… well. I’ll patch the feed to your console.” Saul sounded uneasy.
Wode descended into his Baneblade’s command throne, bringing up the main viewscreen. Saul’s gun camera feed was grainy, indistinct, but Wode could pick out silhouettes of tanks. Burning silhouettes of tanks.
Something had, in the time it took them to get from their FOB to the Southern army positions, wiped out said army, completely. It was a level of destruction that even the SUF hadn't yet achieved in their bloody little war. From Wode's count, every tank that their contact in the southern houses had said would be here, was here, and it was knocked out.
Wode raised his hand to key his throat mic, but his earpiece exploded with chatter. He checked his auspex monitor again, keying it up on his command throne’s view plotters. The long range scans were thick with radar contacts, all of them five or so klicks out, and so densely packed they almost appeared to be a solid line. Not the worst thing, but the new contacts were behind his tanks. He jacked the hydraulic lift on his command seat up, putting his head and shoulders above the hatch rim to the tanks cupola, then put a pair of high-vis binoculars to his eyes.
There. He could see the dust being kicked up by… Stars above, hundreds of tanks. He zoomed in a little more. Hundreds of tanks, and none of them were the inferior copies of the SUF. Ranks and ranks of Predator tanks, all of them so new he couldn’t make out even a rust trail. This was bad. He knew without question that this had been the force that had destroyed the Southern Houses army, and had made an oblique run across the desert to outflank anything that would come to investigate the destruction they had caused.
But who were they? The Southern houses had no political schisms that Wode knew of, and no merchant houses possessed so much pristine, new-model armor. Offworlders? Possible, he supposed, but from where?
“Radio discipline people!” Wode barked, his voice drowning out the panicked confusion on the radio. “All Sally units proceed to the ridgeline a klick to the north. Go hull down, and set up sightlines in a reverse slope.”
A chorus of assents was heard from the tank units. Immediately, the armor began to move, including Wode’s Baneblade, which ground and rumbled under him like a giant predatory cat.
He keyed his mic again. “All Vivian units. Disembark your transports and set up your rocket teams amongst the wreckage of the Southern house tanks. Do not fire until enemy armor elements are in range. Transports, turn your engines off, but keep running on battery.”
Vivian was the callsign to their mechanized infantry complement. They began to move as well, a motley collection of tracked and wheeled transports that interspersed themselves amongst the wreckage of their vanquished enemy. He keyed his mic one more time.
“This is gonna be a tough one, Lancers. We have to assume their auspex is as good as ours, so they know we’re here, and we’re not going to outmaneuver them. We hold this ridge, and we punish them for every meter they move. If we can break their center, then maybe we can break out and pincer them, but for now, we hold what we got.”
Another battery of assents followed, the men calmer now that they had orders. There was work to be done now, and by God, they would be the ones to do it. It was only a few minutes to get the task force to get into position, and by then, the enemy armor was in range of the SUF’s longest range guns. Still, Wode held his men to silence. The longer they waited, the less time the enemy had to accurately range them.
More minutes passed, then more. The approaching line of armor began to flash, autocannons peppering the ridgeline that Wode occupied. If they were in range, then it was time.
“All Sally elements, open fire! Roll ‘em!” Wode shouted, then the world crashed to chaos as his Baneblade fired off a giant, rocket propelled shell. The rest of his armor fired as well, as close to unison as could be achieved.
It was a wall of shot, and almost all of it impacted the enemy line, kicking up great gouts of dust and smoke and fire. Wode’s own shell from his tank had passed, through-and-through, an enemy Predator tank and detonated the ammunition, popping the turret off the hull like a tiddlywink. More of the enemy lay shattered and broken, but they kept coming. No first volley, effective even as that one was, would deter a competent enemy, and a defending force never had it that easy.
His own line was getting it now - Wode whipped his head to the left and saw two tanks that were pouring black smoke, holes present in the gun mantlets where lucky shots had penetrated and achieved a kill. Crewmen were bailing out of the stricken armor, dragging their comrades who were unlucky enough to be harmed during the destruction of their vehicles.
Another volley. Another reaper’s harvest. Wode wondered, in a small part of his mind not occupied by this fight, what would happen to this tank graveyard. Would it be cleaned up? Would these tanks be recovered? Or would it stand here, bodies and all, until the sands reclaimed it?
Well. That was someone else’s problem. The enemy gunline was getting more and more ragged as it got closer. Now the enemy could properly take aim and shoot, scoring consistent kills against Wode’s armor. His inferior tanks, copies, monkey models, of the armor attacking them now folded like paper when hit with enemy munitions, but, they held, a battered string of turrets protruding from a ridge pockmarked with shell-holes.
“Vivian elements…” Wode shouted. “Hit ‘em!”
The infantry spoke up now. Largely ignored by the attackers, they unleashed a blistering volley of anti-armor rockets into the sides of the tanks that had begun to pass by them. Destruction became butchery. Dug in as they were amongst their transports and the destroyed Southern Houses tanks, the infantry could shoot and displace as they pleased, disappearing into the gunsmoke as the disciplined missile teams scythed down the approaching vehicles.
Kill counts for the SUF were climbing into the obscene, nine kills, ten kills per tank, but the enemy kept coming. They had the numbers. They had the support, but every SUF loss was irreplaceable, whereas these off-worlders kept coming, giving as good as they got. The infantry reaped a heavy toll, but soon, the enemy’s own mechanized elements displaced into the tank graveyard Wode’s men were fighting from. They were giants, covered head to toe in powered plate, wielding obscenely oversized guns and chainsaw… swords? Wode had never imagined such a brutal, cruel weapon, but here these offworlders were, butchering his men with them as easily as a man might shave.
He ground his teeth, his eyes transfixed with anger. Were they just gonna sit here and take it, then? His mind worked at a frenetic pace, arriving at two options. They could could sit and slug it out some more, but that advantage was going away. The enemy was about to take the graveyard between them, and he wasn’t confident he could win a static shooting war. The enemy had already reaped a butcher’s bill from advancing and shooting - allowing them to sit and use their no doubt superior gunnery computers was a losing gamble to his mind.
That left offense. Fight them in the confusion of the graveyard. Use the SUF’s training and verve to keep the enemy on the backfoot. Get up and actually fight the damn war. A grimace turned into a feral grin. He might save his infantry too, who, despite the effectiveness of their position and the necessity of their sacrifice, he couldn’t help but feel he’d left them out to dry.
“All Sally elements!” He roared. “Advance! Meet them in the wrecks! We’ll take them out one by one!”
A cheer sounded. This was it - he could push them back here, and his men knew it too. They surged forward, tanks cresting over the slope and running pell mell into the fracas. His Baneblade simply plowed through the berm, showering him and his vehicle in fine, powdery sand that made it look like they’d crashed through a bakery.
What happened next was a slideshow of butchery, a little slice of Gehenna. Tanks exchanged fire point blank, often killing eachother in the exchange. Men and armored offworlders were torn apart by grenades and gunfire, splattering blood and viscera in great gouts. Wherever Wode’s command tank fired, something died. The smoke and dust and grit was so thick, targets were silhouettes at best, mentions at worst. Coordination broke down. Vehicles broke down, and men perished, but the offworlders kept coming, kept fighting, kept battering them.
Wode’s tank pushed through the nightmarish vision of death that their battlefield had become, the Sender parting the fog of war the desperate brawl had created. As his vision cleared, his stomach sank. His auspex chimed as it registered more enemy contacts. Another wave. How could there be another?
He pushed his binoculars to his face. They were coming from the same direction as before, but this time, it wasn’t predators. No, it was superheavies, like his, of a model he was unfamiliar with, backed up by odd, box-shaped vehicles that sported no turrets but were far larger than anything he had but the Sender. He reached up to his throat mic to shout… something. Wode didn’t even know, and he never had the opportunity to find out.
The offworld supertanks spoke, and Wode’s contribution ended. He was flung from his cupola as at least three separate impacts shattered his vehicle’s pockmarked, rent armor and detonated the ammunition. He landed face down in the sand, and his eyes closed, his brain desperately thinking of what to do even as unconsciousness took him.
When he awoke, it was with the grimy, bloodied faces of his surviving men peering down at him. He could see Saul’s gaunt features, creased with worry. Other men and women were crowded in with them, all of them jockeying for position to see what had happened. They were crammed into some kind of tent, presumably a holding tent for the captured, and now defeated, SUF.
“Boss, hey.” Saul said, his voice hoarse with thirst. “You gotta get up, man. The… offworlders, they’ve been coming by here, and they, well. They’ve been asking for you. Can you walk?”
Wode grunted, raising himself up onto his elbows. He looked down at his feet, which were bare. He was wearing… almost nothing really. The explosion that had popped him from his ruined Baneblade like a champagne cork had blown off all his clothes, but left him miraculously intact. Even his cuts and bruises, taken earlier that day, had closed up and faded. It’d always been like that, some far off part of his brain had said, he’d never been sick, and even grievous injuries had just gone away, whether or not the medical attention given to them was competent.
“I think so, Saul.” Wode said eventually. He took Saul’s hand, though it wasn’t much help to the far, far larger man, and stood, brushing grit from his naked body.
“Y’want somethin’ to wear, Arnie?” Saul said, chuckling. “You’re naked and you look like shit.”
Wode grinned. “Yea? You got an XXXL uniform laying around I don’t know about? All my kit’s gone with the Sender.”
Saul grimaced, looking like he’d been punched. “Aw, man. The Sender. I can’t hardly believe that.”
“Me neither, Saul.” He sighed. “Well. If they trounced us that badly, then I suppose they can deal with having to see what I was given when I was born. You’ll come with?”
“Sure boss. We’ve been through this much. I was there at the start, and I can be there at the end. Least I can do for the SUF. For… you.”
“For all of us.” Wode echoed.
They exited the tent, two ragged prisoners. They were picked up immediately by a waiting detachment of the armored giants that had butchered Wode’s men. Oddly enough, the warriors formed a guard of some sort around Wode, escorting them across the miserable SUF camp the way they might escort an honored dignitary. Arnulf was taller than these men by a head or two, but they dwarfed Saul, who was only five and a half feet tall. The warriors said nothing audible while they walked, but Wode could hear the clicks of vox pushes keying and unkeying inside the helmets.
“Awful gracious of them.” Saul said, fidgeting with a watch on his wrist as they marched. “With how they were attacking us, I was expecting a bullet in the head when I called the surrender.”
Wode nodded. “It was you who packed it in, then?”
Saul nodded. “Yea. I… I couldn’t, y’know? I couldn’t wrangle them like you can. Everyone was so scattered, panicked…”
Wode smiled, gently. “Saul, if I hadn’t been blown out of my britches, I’d’ve done the same, I think. If you’d stayed and fought til the last, I would’ve dragged you out of your grave and killed you again.”
Saul laughed. “Glad I saved myself that.”
They approached a pre-fab building that had been erected quickly, but with great skill in the hours after the battle. Strung along it were banners from an outfit Wode had never heard of, the Lightnings, and a golden, eagle standard pole with an ensign hanging from it so brilliant, so stark that he couldn’t help but gawp at it. Depicted on it was a twin-headed eagle, an…
Aquila. The word struck into his head like a hammer striking a gong. Where did he hear of that word before? Had he seen this image in his past? Maybe. He couldn’t place it, but something in his soul knew it, knew it as sure as he knew his own name.
The escort reached the building and stopped, forming a procession that led to the door. These men wore armor of an ochre yellow, with a sigil on one shoulderpad of a black lightning bolt gripped in a mailed fist. They snapped to attention with a bang of steel on steel that made Saul jump. Wode merely clenched his jaw, and, with as much poise as he could muster, he walked, Saul in tow. The giants each snapped to parade rest as Wode passed, and as he got to the doors, the last two men on each side opened them.
Inside was a lavish room, a round table that sat a living god burnished in gold armor. Faceless sentinels stood at the wall behind him, similarly adorned, wielding great spears with brutal, chopping blades and integrated guns of some sort. As Wode entered, his eyes began to water, so struck was he by the brilliance of the man before him. Watering soon became tears. Something welled up within him that never had before. He realized, Wode realized, that he had missed the man before him. As his soul had recognized the aquila, it recognized this man, it had loved this man, like…
“My son.” The giant said, his voice sonorous, deep, cooling the welling emotions in Arnulf like a cool stream of water on a hot day. “My son… returned to me.”
Wode was struck dumb by this. Son? Was this man his father? “I… You have me at a disadvantage…” Wode choked the words out, his voice small and somewhere far away.
“I understand. There is much you must come to know.” The giant spread one hand, encased in a bladed, gold talon. “You and your men fought well. Fought exactly as I had made you. I have come…”
The god in front of Wode smiled. “You could say I have come to… enlist you. I have need of you, lost child of Mankind. Of… me.”
Wode and Saul sat. If this god in armor was affecting Wode so severely, Saul was worse. He simply weeped, sobbing openly at the sight in front of him. Arnulf put his massive hand on Saul’s shoulder, squeezing it gently.
“You got a strange way of asking for help, y’know that?” Wode said. His voice had waver in it, but something in him firmed up. “These men were my friends and comrades, and you’ve butchered them.”
The god dipped his head. “You speak the truth, despite the risks. I could be finished with you here, you know?”
“You could do that.” Wode admitted. “But you didn’t have to meet with me if that was your goal from the start.”
“And you didn’t have to fire first.” The god’s tone was patient. “Intentions, actions, and consequence all form great patterns that we, of men, cannot truly discern when we make the choices that we do. Despite what we have done to one another, we sit here now, no?”
Wode nodded. “Speak, then… Father. It’d be a waste not to, if I’m getting your reasoning.”
“Just so. I have… I did, rather, create you for a great purpose. This war you’ve started on this planet. Why did you start it?”
Wode shrugged. “I felt I had to. The way the people here were being treated disgusted me. I wanted to wipe it clean. I wanted... I suppose I wanted to see the beasts that run this rock extinct so that something more… more dignified could take its place. As to what, I mean…”
He laughed, a small, soft thing. “I didn’t think that far.”
The god nodded, as if this was the answer he’d expected. “I made you exactly for what you described. I wanted a conqueror. A leader. What spurred you to action here, on Salient, happens every day, every hour, across this galaxy, in far greater numbers, in far worse circumstances. I share your feelings. I suspect the way I felt somehow implanted onto you when I forged you. You have siblings much like you, siblings who were created to lead my vast legions across the stars, all reflections of me. These men with me were made in your image, from the same stock.”
“The giants?” Wode asked. “The butchers?”
“The Astartes.” The god corrected. “The Space Marines. And… your gene-sons.”
Wode was silent, for a time. The god regarded him with paternal interest, leaning forward in his seat.
“And you want me for this… what? Crusade?” Wode asked, finally coming around.
The giant nodded. “A crusade. A grim, crusade. I want to reunite the scattered remnants of our species. We’ve struck out amongst the stars, my son, and in our arrogance we have lost one another dabbling in forces, in technology we don’t understand and can never fully tame. I want you to help me wipe clean the predators, the… monsters, from the galaxy so that we can stand united once more. So that we can live free of fear, of degradation.”
Wode nodded, chewing on his lip in thought. “It sounds like you want a pact from me. An agreement.”
“If that’s what you wish to call it.”
“It is. Alright, dad.” Wode met the god’s gaze, his eyes burning at the man’s brilliance, but he stared anyways. “I join your crusade, and I lead my sons into battle. That’s what you want from me.”
“Well, I have terms too.” Wode said. “I’m convinced, but there’s loose ends here.”
“Name them. I’m sure we can fulfill what you request, within reason.”
Wode looked to Saul, who nodded. Both of them looked up at their God, their Emperor. Their father. He nodded to them.
What came next, was history.
Name: Pact of the Lance (Former Name: The Lightnings)
General Term: Lancer, Pacter
Legion Number: X
Legion Strength: ~150,000 Astartes ~ 200,000 Auxilia, combat and non-combat
Armour Appearance: The Lightnings were never really a legion that desired lots of ornamentation, and the Pact proved even more visually austere. There is little regulated ornamentation of armor, with most legionaries forgoing it entirely, as space is at a premium in armored vehicles. The armor is unpainted metal, and the Legion symbol is often traced out in black paint with no color whatsoever. The Pact relies on the armor’s in-built transponder system to identify command ranks and other legionaries, preferring to keep their armor unadorned to make it harder for snipers to pick out important members. The Legion wears mostly Mk 2 armor for its availability, though the Mk 3 is popular amongst the mechanized infantry for its durability in assaults and close range gun battles.
A veteran tanker of the 1st AG. Note the augmentic leg, many tank commanders survive their vehicles being shot out from under them, and leg injuries are common due to interior fires and explosions venting from open hatches as they climb out.
A mechanized infantryman. This Lancer has opted for a close combat loadout, using the Legion’s trademark spear.
Artillery Lancers often go helmetless to make the conditions inside the fighting compartments of self propelled guns more tolerable.
Warcry: “Roll ‘em!” (Official, often used as the radio command to commence an attack) “Saints and Martyrs!” (Unofficial, used as an expletive)
Favored Tactics/Battlefield Role: The Pact inherited a lot from their Primarch and the fast moving, desert wars of Salient where he learned his trade. The trademark of the young Legion is its tank companies, vast ranks of Imperial armor that strike out at the foe in precise, unstoppable spearheads of steel and guns.
The Pact favors the aggressive war, using their tanks as battering rams to punch holes in the weakest parts of an enemy battle line, then encircling the cut-off foe and destroying them in detail with the less glamorous mechanized infantry of the Legion and its Imperial Army auxilia. It is not uncommon for the Pact to outpace its logistical elements, relying on prosecuting their conflicts with plunder from their opponents.
Even on the defensive, the Pact will constantly probe the enemy for weaknesses, and, if detected, sally forth on daring raids that will hopefully allow the Pact to once again operate on their terms.
Legion Structure: The Pact is organized much along the lines of Wode’s army during the Salient Unification war. The roughly 150k Astartes are split into 5 army groups of 30,000 Astartes, and each of those armies is split into brigades of 5,000. Those brigades are split into regiments of 2,500, battalions of 1250, companies of 250, platoons of 50, so on, so forth. These are of course, mostly on paper, as in reality the Legion is split into mission-specific task forces made up of any composition of Astartes from any of the army groups.
The 5 army groups each have a specialization, the 1st being tanks, the 2nd being mechanized infantry, and the 3rd being self propelled artillery. The 4th is the specialist army group, made up of combat support Astartes like combat engineers, reconnaissance assets like Land speeders, and anything else the Pact may need without dedicating 30,000 Astartes to doing it. The 5th is the replacement and training army group, and is never actually deployed. Instead, the other army groups source replacement personnel from the 5th.
The Imperial Auxilia assigned to them are responsible for their own organization.
Legion Characteristics: The Lightnings, much like the Judicators (later the Doomsayers) had very little trouble integrating with their lost genesire. Their way of war was similar to Wode’s own little merchant army, and they took to his views on armored, aggressive war like a raccoon takes to trash.
Culturally, the Pact is very pragmatic and results-oriented. What works, works, and what doesn’t is abandoned. Legionaries from Wode’s host are constantly honing their craft, running training exercises day and night until even the most complicated maneuvers are rote memory.
Unlike a lot of Astartes, however, the Pact values free time, rotating units out of action to rest during operations, where the Legionaries engage in recreational activities, such as cards, dice, feasts, and sleep. Due to a defect in their gene seed, the Pact’s Catalepsean nodes operate at a reduced capacity, making it necessary for these warriors to recuperate at levels that seem indulgent to more austere Legions. In particular, Lancers often engage in human vices such as lho sticks and stimulants, especially to stay awake during their high tempo combat operations.
A quirk of the Pact is the Right of Conquest, a clause written in the titular Pact of the Lance that allows the Pact legionaries to keep the loot from their victories. Battlefield trophies were a perk of employment in the Salient merchant houses, with many soldiers joining for the opportunity of bringing home valuable trinkets and weapons for prestige and money. The Pact practices this into the current day, keeping vehicles, weaponry, banners, and technology from conquered enemies, many times using that loot in battles immediately after the conflict they acquired them in.
The Legion also practices the Astartes custom of service studs, although instead of time served, the Legion uses studs to mark combat deployments where a Lancer scored at least one kill, with the color of the stud denoting the rough amount of said kills. Lancers without studs are considered ‘new meat’ and are subject to mild ridicule and jests from their fellow legionaries.
Dramatis Personae: 1st Army Group Praetor Erhardt Grieg: The Bloody 1st is led by Praetor Grieg, a hardbitten, gregarious Astartes tanker who has crewed AFV’s since before Wode inherited the Legion. The 1st is, of course, directly under the Primarch so Grieg is considered the Legion’s second, although he does not act as Wode’s ‘voice’ nor has any desire to do anything but ride his tank into battle.
2nd Army Group Praetor Johann Kohl: Kohl is the leader of the Second Army group, the Bandits. If Grieg is the veteran tanker, then Kohl is the veteran infantryman. Dominated by mechanized infantry, the 2nd takes great pride in their men doing the vast majority of the ‘hard work’, as it is the mechanized infantry who does the bulk of the killing in the wake of the tanks. Kohl is a quiet, ruthless man, with a cutting tongue that even the Pact considers cruel.
3rd Army Group Praetor Armin Schultz: Schultz is the leader of the Redlegs, the Third Army Group of the Pact. Schultz is a methodical, calculating leader, not prone to any sort of emotion at all. He likes his men to carry out fire missions with cold, clinical precision, as timely artillery support can mean the difference between victory and glory, or an ignominious death.
4th Army Group Praetor Gregor Liebowitz: The 4th Army group is captained by Praetor Liebowitz. A fiery tempered maverick, Liebowitz is a tireless advocate of unusual technology and tactics, always finding new ways to ‘torment’ (his words) the men of the 4th with some new battle lore or experimental wargear from the Legion forges. Nominally, the 4th is the combat engineering army group, but in practice the 4th AG is a catch-all for anything the Legion needs, including the legion's apothecaries and librarians, but not in great number, earning them the nickname ‘Geniuses.’
5th Army Group Praetor Saul Imogen: Saul is a baseline human from Salient, a rarity in the Legions as a human holding Astartes rank. Saul was the XO of Wode’s personal army in the Salient Unification Wars, and a capable tank man. He, along with a cadre of Astartes and Auxilia training officers, drill the aspirant Astartes mercilessly in the principles and concepts of armored warfare. Saul is friendly and good-humored, but has an almost legendary reputation amongst the Lancers due to the oddity of his rank and duties. It is a common joke amongst the Legionaries, for instance, that Saul is the true primarch of the Tenth, and Wode is secretly taking his orders.
1st Company of the 1st AG, 'Hell's Wall': While the Pact mostly parcels out its legionaries in mission specific task forces, one company is always deployed together. Hell's Wall is an elite formation of the Legion's Superheavy Fellblade tanks, led by Erhardt Grieg himself. Given the best vehicles, the crews of the 1st are all multiple aces, experts of both blistering offense and stolid defense, having laid low many enemy vehicles and monstrous xenoforms. Hell's wall will fight to the last, always eager to test their steel against the worst foes the Crusade has to offer.
Relationships: The Emperor: The Emperor is father, employer, and commander all in one to the Pact. They are an uncomplicated Legion and hold no resentment to the Imperial regent.
Their Primarch: To the Pact, Wode is idolized as an example of all they believe in. Wode often fights in the front, whether on foot, in a transport, atop his relic tank, or even in more mundane armor such as Predators, Land Raiders, and on one notable occasion from the back of a humble Cargo 8 supply truck. This ethic, while dangerous, endears him to his men, human and Astartes alike.
Malcador and the Imperial administration: Strained. Wode is blunt, coarse, and uncaring of anyone's opinion except his men, his father, and everyone who helps them get into the fight. The red tape already present in the fledgling imperium grates on the Legion and their genesires nerves.
Cult Mechanicum: The Pact has a great regard for the Cult Mechanicum, if nothing else because a legion so dominated by armored fighting vehicles needs the support. A techpriest enginseer looking to increase his station in the Cult would do well to sign on with the Pact - the Legion will provide good reference to any techpriest who can keep up with the maintenance demands.
Other Legions: The Pact views other Legions on a sliding scale of trustworthiness based directly on how often they’ve deployed together and how competent the other legion was perceived to be. The Pact, however, views itself as the best, of all time, ever, and no other legion could ever hope to supplant their own opinion of themselves.
Imperial Army: The Pact views the Auxilia much the same as other legions, the only ones being worth a damn being the ones who have served with them and served well. The Army doesn't have much of an opinion, good or bad, of the Pact, in part due to the legion's age, and partly due to the similarity of the Pact to conventional Imperial Army armored formations.