fortress monastery

severelydeliciousbluebird  asked:

Just found out that some primaris chapters will inhabit the fortress monasteries of their formerly dead chapter. If black library doesn't take the chance to have a short story/novel about the primaris marines walking into the monastery for the first time and looking through the items of the previous inhabitants then they need to re-evaluate their priorities.

Me as soon as I read this Ask:

Phalanx is the mobile fortress-monastery of the Imperial Fists. Officially, the homeworld of the Imperial Fists is Terra, but in functional terms the Chapter has been fleet based and used Phalanx as its primary base of operations throughout its entire history.

As of 999.M41, the 3rd Company is defending Phalanx from a Daemonic boarding action led by Iron Warriors Warsmith Shon'tu and the Daemon Be'lakor. Shon'tu and Be'lakor are seeking to outdo Abaddon’s 13th Black Crusade by infesting the massive starship while on station in the Sol System and using it to bombard the Imperial Palace. Captain Tor Garadon is commanding 3rd Company’s defense of Phalanx. His forces have inflicted extreme casualties on the attackers and maneuvered Phalanx into the warp in order to protect Holy Terra should they fail in repelling the assault. The Legion of the Damned have arrived to assist Garadon’s forces as the battle grows desperate. The Iron Warriors used Daemonic computer viruses to take control of much of the station, forcing Tor Garadon to turn the Phalanx’s guns on itself to cleanse the infected sections. Ultimately, Be'lakor was able to summon a Warp Rift into the Phalanx but as victory seemed certain for Chaos the Legion of the Damned arrived to turn the tide. However some 10% of the Phalanx was destroyed in the battle.

The Phalanx later appeared during the Thirteenth Black Crusade over Cadia, destroying the Blackstone Fortress Will of Eternity after its shields were disabled by Space Wolves under Sven Bloodhowl. When Cadia was destroyed, the Phalanx led the Imperial evacuation fleet out of the system.

The Legion Penitent

(My original chapter, heavily inspired by various stories and games.)


The Legion Penitent

“The sin of existence is one we bear; our absolution will only be found in death. Whether it the death of our chapter or our enemies matters not.”
-Jeremiah Cain, First Chapter Master of the Legion Penitent

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The Lightbearers Space Marine Chapter

Founding chapter: Word Bearers

Founding: Ultima Founding

Chapter Master: Lazeros Iskarot

Homeworld: Orafim (Feudal world, temperate jungle world)

Fortress-Monastery: Lux Aeterna

Colours: Gold and White

Strength: 1000 marines

Battle-cry: Non Nobis Imperator! Non Nobis!

Codex-Compliant: Partially

Index Astartes - Black Ronin (Written form)

 “I’ll give you the answer to the question “What is most important to the heart of the Emperor?” The answer is, “To desire with one’s very soul every second of every day to accomplish His aim.””

Origins
Created during the sixth founding of the Adeptus Astartes, the Black Ronin have earned a reputation as courageous and just guardians of the Imperium in the millennia since their inception. The Adeptus Mechanicus birthed the nascent Chapter from the gene-legacy of the Iron Snakes, and it is said that extra care was taken when selecting the progenoid glands. No risk was taken for there assignment would be of the upmost importance. Some within the Adepts Mechanicus have made unverifiable claims that many usable progenoid glands were dispossed of in the effort to create the purest chapter possible.

Founded to defend the Ouroborus stars from those that seek to harness its energy to the detriment of the Imperium. The Ouroborus stars consist of three Rubidium based white dwarfs stuck in a equilibrium state with one another, constantly tearing material from one another. The intrinsic forces between them breaks the universes rule of motion, creating negative mass. While the Mechanicus has so far failed to harness such energy, it was determined that the enemies of the Imperium could not be allowed to try. For if they did, the fate of the universe would lie in the balance.

The Chapter’s first Master was an Iron Snake by the name of Pheus. He was known to his men as ‘the Blademaster’, and was possessed with extraordinary skill and talent with the sword, an expert in using his blade to defend the Imperium from those that seek to tear it down. When given command of the nascent Chapter, he bestowed the name ‘Black Ronin’ upon it, inspired by the events that unfolded upon Otera during the Horus Heresy. Hoping the name would inspire the same sacrifice and honour in his warriors.

Forty Seven Blackshields
“During one of the darkest parts of the Horus Heresy, Praetor Setesh of the XVth Legion, one of Magnus’ highest military officials was ordered to occupy the planet Otera, where they were tasked with locating the Kawari Kabuto Helm, a mighty artefact capable to turning the tide of the great events that were unfolding around them, an artefact Ahriman himself had narrowed down to the planet. Setesh’s secondary objective was to unravel the Ouroborus stars, and to determine the likelihood that they could be harnessed.

Planetary governor Asano Naganori, the Daimyo of the Planet was assigned in name only to assist the Praetor in any way possible. The meagre gifts Asano Naganori had presented did very little to soften Setesh presence in his lands. Asano Naganori had become deeply insulted by this but what was he to do, for he could not stand up to the might of these imposing giants clad in impenetrable armour, and capable of turning rock into dust with just their hands. No matter Asano Naganori’s approach, Setesh remained un-cooperative and scornful of Asano Naganori’s manners.

On the day Setesh learned that Asano Naganori was the only inhabitant to know of the whereabouts of the ancient helm they seeked, Asano Naganori only response to being asked where they were to find it was “You should have found out long ago, I am too busy to help you now.”

With his pride and his patience goaded beyond endurance, Setesh drew his sword in anger, lashing out and scaring Asano Naganori across his face before he restrained himself. For the crime of withholding information Asano Naganori was condemned to torture before being executing. However before Asano Naganori was able to be tortured, he enacted seppuku, or ritual suicide. That very day he forfeited his life, in belief it would be saving billions.

Whispers and gossip quickly carried the news of Asano Naganori’s death and the great sacrifice he had made for the Emperor. The situation was serious. Not only was their governor dead, but his lands and holdings were overrun and controlled by the fifteenth legion. The local inhabitants had lost all hope of this nightmare ending, with the little of what remained being in the prayers that the emperor would deliver them from evil. There prayers were not long answered.

An Imperial vessel carrying Legionnaires still loyal to the Emperor crash landed on the planet. Setesh redeployed some of his troops under his command from searching for the artefact to intercept the threat these new arrivals posed.

Giants clad in adamantium, scorched in fire, these soldiers loyal to the Emperor were outgunned, outnumber, and out positioned. There arrival at first seemed nothing more than arriving for their death. While many perished a small group managed to survive thanks to the bravery a handful of natives acting upon the honour and death of Asano Naganori.

Their survival drastically improved when news came through that the XVth legion was to withdraw and redeploy. While a blessing in disguise, from that news it was clear that Setesh had found the Helm and was preparing to deliver it right into the hands of Magnus himself.

This is where the remaining survivors of the crash, all forty seven of them prepared to lay down their lives to continue to give what remained of the Imperium a fighting chance to survive and repel the traitors they once called brothers. As snow sifted down on the evening before Setesh’s departure, the forty-seven Legionairres clad in armour as black as smoke met outside Tengu, then Oteras capital, and prepared for their attack. With information gathered from the native servants and artisans that had spied on Setesh.

Setesh garrisoned inside the Ninna-ji temple, the largest in the city. The black marines made their way through the city under the cover of darkness. Encountering very little resistance, the made their way up the temple until they finally made it to Setesh’s chamber. The marines clad in black made light work of Seteshs personal guard waiting outside his room. Inside Setesh unprepared to face any challenger in combat was still no easy challenge. One blackshield stepped forward and bought his sword down upon him for him to only parry it away with his strength and speed. The dual raged on between these two wrecking the room and destroying what would be now priceless relics. It was only when the two were held even with their blades was the Black Legionnaire able to grab Asano Naganori’s seppuku blade with their free hand and slice Seteshs throat. The Tyrant of Otera was slain

By the time of Setesh’s timely demise, Legionnaires under his command had organised and begun to repel the assault. Knowing there was no way of survival forty six Legionairres prepared to lay down their lives so one of their own could make it out of the city with the Helm, and hide it somewhere no one could possibly find it. It is said that one Legionnaire walked for thousands of miles to defend the Imperium. The XVth legion never found the surviving blackshield, nor the helm but it was not long without an established command, they received orders to leave. No Legionnaire loyal to Horus ever stepped foot on Otera ever again.”

Homeworld

Otera, homeworld of the Black Ronin is classified as a ? or feudal world in the Ouroborus system of the Ultima Segmentum. A small and impoverished world the primitive human population live on and cultivate small hilly areas. Upon the founding of the Black Ronin, the Oterans had only just begun to utilise black powder weaponry.

Otera’s settlements are surrounded by a sea of forests that are home to terrifying Wyrms. These beasts frequently descend upon and raze these villages to the ground. As a result Otera’s feudal nobility is heavily militarised. The warrior nobility that rules the planet have remained firmly traditionalist and prefer to engage in combat with their finely crafted curved, single-edged blades with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. In fact many of the elders’ tales spoke of great soldiers slaying the Wyrms with those very blades. What they knew though is that these Wyrms were nothing in comparison to the Wyrms that roam the Scorch.

Otera was located in Orbit around the Ouroborus stars. The Ouroborus stars are three Rubidium based white dwarfs stuck in a equilibrium state with one another, constantly tearing material from one another. The extreme gravitational energy being constantly released between them as long since prevented Otera from spinning on its Axis. Unlike its dark side, which is covered in vibrant forests, and snow-capped mountains, the side of the planet constantly exposed to the Ouroborus stars would be classified as a Death World, rightly referred to as the Scorch. An Arid landscape with sun baked earth, and no living organism apart from the Mighty Fire Wyrms.

The Ronins Fortress Monastery Tengu is built on top of and into the largest mountain on the planet; a stratovolcano that on a clear day can be seen from across the entire planet. For the natives Tengu’s mountain is the third and final holy mountain. Upon being selected to join the Ronin, an initiate’s very first test before they may enter the hallowed halls of the Ronin, one must climb the mountain.

Records suggest that Otera has only ever raised one regiment for the Astra Militarium. The 1st Oteran Light Infantry Regiment, known as the Ashigaru for there light of foot. The data banks on Terra reference only one campaign the regiment was involved in, the Coral Heights campaign. The Light Infantry managed to climb the mountainous passes on Ghof to secure a foothold for the siege regiments to use as a platform before the final assault. It is assumed that after the succesful reclaiming of Coral Heights for the Imperium, the 1st Oteran’s were folded into another regiment.

Recruitment

New Black Ronin initiates are recruited from the warrior nobility of the native humans on Otera. Apothecaries wonder from Tengu from time to time to immerse themselves amongst the inhabitants of their feudal world. Challenging the nobles children sword duels. Invariably, of course, the gene-enhanced Ronin will emerge victorious. Those that display the virtues of the Black Ronin will be taken as their prize, back to the halls of Tengu; a great honour for the nobles of Otera. As a sign of respect between the Oterans and the Ronin, the young noble shall present their sword as gift out of respect between the bond they already share. From there they will undertake the many gruelling trials to become an Astartes.

The Apothecaries keep an ever vigilant and watchful eye over Otera, for if a native was to ever slay a Wyrm, the Ronin shall descend to collect the warrior, and deliver him from death by giving him the chance to serve the chapter.

Once an initiate has passed all of the preliminary trials, and prior to starting hypnotherapy as part of their transformation into a weapon of the Emperor, they are required to undertake the Test of Honour. If they return to Tengu successful, they are accepted into the ranks of the Black Ronin with open arms, and the remaining procedures are undergone to turn the recruit into a fully-fledged warrior of the Emperor.

The Test of Honour is is a unique undetaking by Black Ronin initiates. With their family sword returned to them having been reinforced by the Chapters artificers, they a thrown into the wilderness of Otera tasked with saving a village from a deadly Wyrm. To defeat the Wyrm the Black Ronin believe at their stage of transformation they must display the five qualities; loyalty, courage, veracity, compassion, and honour. How an Initiate slays the Wyrm is entirely individual, some inspire a cohort of Ashigaru to assist them, whilst some are inspired by feats of great martial prowess. Whatever happens the Apothecaries are always watching. Those that slay the Wyrm without exhibiting the qualities, are assigned to the tenth clan to become the chapters scouts.

Battlefield Doctrine

Black Ronin have continued in the style of their first SeiiTaisho, preferring close combat over ranged warfare. This is further emphasised by the fanaticism of the Aonisaibushi, whose righteous ferver makes them impulsive and headstrong.

When making war, the Ronin will focus on one of two forms of combat. The first is orbital assault; where the Clan will use its drop pods and Thunderhawk gunships to perform a mass-landing in the wake of a heavy orbital bombardment. If resistance is still strong after this, the Ronin will land their heavy armour and launch an armoured spearhead against the weakest link in the enemy’s defensive line, using a multitude of Land Raider patterns.

As part of their dedication to the Emperor and their mission, the Black Ronin swear fell oaths of faith and protection. Before a battle, it is considered customary to renew one of these oaths, the particular vow serving as a focus on the particular aspect of their duties considered to be necessary to ensure success.

The Chapter’s armoury was noted to consist mostly of older-style suits of Power Armor and weaponary, a majority of which has proven particularly difficult to identify. What can be said is that each piece is increbibly ornate, the Ronin claimed they rivalled the works of art produced by the Salamanders chapter. Some reports even spoke of some nobles on Otera possessing a suit of armour worn by one of the original forty seven blackshields in the hope that one day one of their family will be selected to join the ranks of the Astartes and don their ancient heirloom.

Chapter Organisation

The Black Ronin have a unique structure that is notably different from a standard Codex Chapter. Rather than 10 companies of 100 marines, the Ronin consist of 10 Clans of varying strengths. Each Clan is based in Tengu, the Ronin’s Fortress-monastery and is led by a Daimyo, who answers only to the Seii Taisho.

Each Clan is a fully self-contained army, with all the troops, vehicles and equipment necessary to make war, as well as the spacecraft necessary to transport itself. They each have their own forges and customs. The size of each Clan is unknown but the Black Ronin is said to be one of the smaller Astartes chapters. As each Clan serves as an independent army, they maintain a much greater number of troops as opposed to codex companies.

Each Clan is made of a number of Space Marine squads just as it is laid out in the codex. However, their tactical usage varies greatly. Each squad is unique in that it rarely, if ever, will receive reinforcements, making the higher-level squads smaller in number compared to the lowest Aonisaibushi pack. Many Aonisaibushi squads could start with as many as fifteen marines. However, losses take their toll, and by the time a Aonisaibushi squad reaches the level of Chukanbushi, normally only 9 or 10 are left. This promotion is arguably the most important the Ronin will ever receive because it also welcomes him into the folds of the Brotherhood. As they age, further losses limit the squad sizes of Seieibushi down to just five or less.

Special cases may be made in certain or even dire circumstances to this process. In some situations reinforcements may be sent to current campaigns as reinforcements. Likewise, if a Daimyo deems an individual worthy and the rest of his squad is not he may elevate a an Astartes from Aonisaibushi to Chukanbushi. Normally he will not act in such manner without consulting both his first sergeant and the current members of the unit he wishes to transfer his prospect to.

Apart from this, a Ronin may find himself under direction of a Kodenbushi or a member of the Seii Taisho’s household. Some find themselves inducted into the Chapter Priesthood, Scouts, Calvaries, or should terrible wounds take their toll they may find themselves encased within mighty Dreadnought armour.

One of the ten Clans is that of the Seii Taisho, the Black Ronin’s Chapter Master. When the former Seii Taisho dies the new Master of the Chapter is selected from the other nine remaining Daimyo. Upon selection the new Seii Taisho, immediately embarks on retaking the Test of Honour, this time though, in the Scorch. Upon a successful return the new Seii Taisho’s Clan is expanded to include the household of the Chapter’s, Librarians, Apothecaries, Scouts, Techmarines, Dreadnoughts, and Chapter Relics.

Troop Types

Unlike a typical Codex Chapter, a Neophyte of the Ronin does not begin their service as a Scout.

  • Aonisaibushi are Neophyte Ronin who have just finished their most basic training and initiation rites, including passing the Test of Honour. They receive armament similar to Assault Squads in other chapters – a close combat weapon and bolt pistol, but they do not normally use jump packs. Instead of being assigned to a single Clan, Aonisaibushi are instead assigned to any one of the Clans. Their role is to charge headlong into battle, expending their youthful enthusiasm for battle on the enemy and hopefully learning the lessons of war that will enable them to survive.
  • Chukanbushi are comparable to Tactical Squad marines in other chapters and comprise the majority of any Clan. These are Aonisaibushi who have survived the trials on the field of battle, combat experience having made them less impulsive and thus less suited as a force of pure assault. In addition to their combat duties, the Chukanbushi’s role is to watch over the Aonisaibushi, reining in the worst of their reckless behaviour, and marking out those likely for advancement.
  • Seieibushi are the personal retinue and bodyguard of the Daimyo commanding the Clan, roughly equivalent to the Veterans or Command Squad units used by other chapters. Seieibushi are often the most senior and experienced Ronin in the chapter, though a younger Ronin may win elevation to the Seieibushi by performing an act of exceptional valour. Seieibushi are often granted Terminator Honours, though they make less use of them than the Veterans of other chapters.
  • The Ronin’s Scouts are Ronin that are recruited as neophyte’s who successfully pass the Test of Honour but yet to display the five qualities; loyalty, courage, veracity, compassion, and honour, needed to be a Black Ronin. As natural loners, they are ideally suited to work alone behind enemy lines for long periods of time. Ronin’s Scouts are not assigned to any of the Clans. They instead answer directly to the Seii Taisho and are under their sole command unless assigned to a Daimyo and his company on an as-needed basis.

Like everything having to do with the black Ronin, this hierarchy is not rigid; the Ronin value loyalty, courage, veracity, compassion, and honour, over seniority, and believe in advancing each warrior according to their merits.

Command Rank

  • Seii Taisho: The Chapter Master of the Black Ronin, the Seii Taisho is chosen from among the Daimyo, and leads his own Clan. It is customary for the Seii Taisho to wield the bushikatagi, one of the finest blades in the Imperium, that has a shard of Saint Asano Naganori’s Seppuko blade inlaid into the hilt. The final Seii Taisho is Sanada Yukimura who had held the position for only ten years.
  • Daimyo: each Clan has a commander (equivalent to a Captain in other chapters), chosen from that clan’s Seieibushi. It is their duty to organise their Clan, which adopts that Daimyo’s name and sigil, and often changes its battle tactics to reflect their personality and temperament.

Chapter Cult and Belief System

The Black Ronin do not seem to venerate any Primarch above the others, giving their devotion solely to the Emperor; Providing no further evidence to the gene-seed heritage of the Iron Snakes, their founding chapter. The preservation of their core values; loyalty, courage, veracity, compassion, and honour, is the Chapters core belief. The Ronin’s devotion to these values over millenia has made them isolationists, scorning those who they believe are less pure or deviate from the Codex. When a brother of the chapter falls in battle, they will exhaust great lengths to retrieve the body, so that the lifetime of loyalty, courage, veracity, compassion, and honour, the brother has bestowed upon themselves and the chapter can be venerated and recorded by the chapters Chaplains. They are also staunch traditionalists and protectors of authority, and are quick to aid Imperial governors or cardinals faced with rebellion.

The Ronin are also strongly influenced by their unique history as guardians of the Ouroborus starsa and protectors of its human population. Pheus founded a culture based on striving for the common good, and the Ronin are proud to uphold these beliefs. Where other Space Marines are aloof, and sometimes contemptuous of the Imperium’s “lesser” mortals, most Black Ronin are used to working closely with “ordinary” people on Otera and regard any human life, no matter how seemingly insignificant, as sacred and worthy of protection.They are also harshly intolerant when they encounter less altruistic behavior – greed, selfishness, corruption – on other planets in the Imperium.

Gene-seed

The Chapter is noted for the purity of geneseed tithes which is stems from their belief in the purity of the physical and of the spiritual. Partial records of an examination by the Inquisition and the Adeptus Mechanicus Biologis claimed a purity rate of over ninety percent. The only flagged raised was of a slightly underactive Cataelpsean Node. It could be for this reason why the eventual Seii Taisho Sanada Yukimura so easily succumbed to the manifestation of an Emperors aspect on their second Test of Honour after five days without rest.

Notable Engagements and History

Over their long and illustrious existence the Black Ronin have bestowed great honour and respect upon themselves, the Adeptus Astartes, and the God Emperor himself.

Hive Fleet Rusalka

At the end of M38 the Black Ronin were called to protect the Scylla system, from Tyranid Hive Fleet Rusalka. The Scylla system consisting of numerous oceanic worlds vital to the supply of fish and fresh water for vast areas of the Imperium, their loss could prove fatal to billions of lives. Seii Taisho Hajime Masamune’s Clan of the White Tiger along with Yasuke Hideyoshi’s Clan of the Jade Dragon were dispatched to intercept and eradicate this Xenos threat. Hajime fatefully fell to the Tyranid threat, however Yasuke Hideyoshi would earn much honour to be annointed the Seii Taisho successor. Yasuke’s killing blow fell on the sea bed of Sirens Prime, with orbital bombardment pushing the creatures to the sea bed, their brothers engaged the beasts in combat, before retreating and triggering the underwater volcano, incinerating the last of the Xenos threat.

Gothic War

With the twelfth black crusade being fought so close to their system, the Black Ronin could not help but become engulfed in the years of war Abaddon and plunged the Imperium into. They were tested to the limit when Abaddon ordered some of his commanders to attempt to harness the Ouroborus stars with that of a Blackstone Fortress. Fortunately for the Ronin the Blackstone Fortress never made it to them, for if they had, it would have found the full might of the Ronins fleet lying in wait among the wreckage of Abaddons fleets. The Ronin had deployed half of their chapter to boarding the foul ships, the battle was only won when Seii Taisho Yasuke decapitated Abaddons lieutenant with Bushikatagi in single combat. As the Black Ronin disembarked from the ships, they programmed the ships to fly directly into the centre of the Ouroborus stars, where any hope of salvage was lost as their gravitational forces, to this day continue to tear them apart.

Ouroborus Perdition

COMING SOO

Hating Your Enemies

Inspired by reading the Night Lords Omnibus

***Sometime during the Great Scouring, M31***

Sergeant Tybalt of the newly formed Ultramarines Chapter watched as the burning Fortress Monastery of the Night Lords lit up the bleak, perpetual night of Tsagualsa. He knew he should be feeling elated. A great victory for his Legion…no, that wasn’t right…for his chapter had been won today. 

Instead, a deep sensation of melancholy had set in for the veteran as he stared at the Thunderhawks and Land Speeders of his chapter, alongside those of its successors, dart around the burning pyre, hunting for any surviving Night Lords with thorough, codex approved search patterns. Overhead, the twisted wrecks of Night Lords vessels became fiery comets as they cut into the thick atmosphere of the planet. 8th Legion ships that had been old has the Heresy itself had been outmaneuvered, outflanked and blasted to pieces by a swarm of Loyalist vessels factory fresh from the shipyards of Ultramar.

He was old. Older than many of his brethren on this battlefield. He had lived through the nightmare that was the Heresy. He was spared the horror of Calth but nonetheless found himself fighting the Word Bearers in the Nothern reaches os the Ultima Segmentum under the command of Chapter Master Arceus. His perfect memory made it easy for him to relive the entire range of emotions he felt during those grueling years of bitter warfare. The shock and anguish of the betrayal, the single-minded hatred that kept him going through the countless battles he fought, the wash of elation and relief as the Traitors were eventually pushed back. It all came back to him, and for a brief moment he closed his eyes, allowing himself to be lost in his thoughts. This was the last traitor stronghold left in the Imperium.This was the culmination of his efforts. 

A sharp crack of bolter fire broke him out of his reverie, his centuries-old combat reflexes causing him to snap up his plasma pistol at the source of the sound. He lowered it and let out a low breath as he saw an Ultramarine standing over the corpse of a fallen Night Lord, two enormous craters in the traitor’s chest where the bolts had punched through.

“Animalistic filth!” the Ultramarine hissed from beneath his helmet. Although his expression was hidden beneath his helmet, Tybalt could feel the utter hatred and contempt radiating from his brother’s posture. 

The marine noticed Tybalt staring at him and immediately stood at attention, his bolter held up to his chest. “Brother Cadeus. 5th Company, 2nd Squad. I deeply apologize for the negligent discharge Sergeant” the warrior said in a surprisingly youthful voice. “I fully submit to whatever penance you would have me-”

The old warrior waved away his apology with the motion of his hand. “Forget it, lad” he said in a tired voice. “Just remember to save your bolt rounds for live targets next time”. He turned away and took in the view again. 

“Yes sir!’ Cadeus replied, still standing at attention. After a lengthy, uncomfortable silence the young warrior eased his posture and began to speak again. “Don’t you hate them too, sir? These feral bastards?” the venom in his voice was obvious this time.

Tybalt raised an eyebrow at this but did not turn around. “You do?”

The younger marine was silent for a few more moments. “It’s just that…I’ve seen the picts of what they did to the citizens of Sotha…what they did to many other defenseless men, women and children in the 500 worlds. I heard you served under the Hero Arceus in the subjugation of the Nostramo sector. Surely you’ve borne witness to many of their vile atrocities as well?”

For the first time in nearly a century, Tybalt felt a smile play across his lips. It was not one of genuine joy, but one held by a man who had realized the sad truth behind a twisted joke. “Aye, I did lad” the veteran said “I took part in the Battle of Desperation where they hung the dried skin of Imperial citizens from every power line in the Hive City”.

Cadeus recoiled slightly but pressed on. “Then how do you not hate them more than I do?”

Tybalt closed his eyes once more. “Because…when you’ve fought them as long as I have, you recognize a fundamental truth about the Night Lords” he said “….that you’ll never hate them as much as they hate themselves”.

Female Space Marines

Can you tell at this point if this chapter (Steel Gorgons) recruits regardless of gender and sex?

Origins

Created during the thirteenth founding, the ‘Dark founding’ of the Adeptus Astartes, the Steel Gorgons have gone onto much claim as stalwart defenders of the Imperium. The Adeptus Mechanicus birthed the nascent Chapter from the gene-legacy of the Iron Snakes. Little is known of the actual founding with the Martian delegate maintaining no reliable records.

The Chapter’s first Master was an Iron Snake Librarian by the name of Phorcys. During the century of recording the history of the Iron Snakes, preparing reports of battle for the Chapter’s records, and providing a strategic overview of the whole theatre of a war, Phorcys became well-versed in the history and lore of his chapter and the Adeptus Astartes, his wisdom lead him to understand that space marines are no more than an expendable tool to be used and discarded of, recruiting from planets to aid the disposal of sections of humanity. Phorcys believed however it was the responsibility of every aspect of the Imperium to aid in defeat of the enemies of the Emperor.

Believed to be founded with the intention of shoring up the fringes of the Ultima Segmentum, the nascent chapter was assigned the Deathworld of Ceto. In recognition of his new homeworld Phorcys bestowed the name of ‘Steel Gorgons’ after the terrifying reatures that haunt the natives at night.

It is believed that because Phorcys was a Librarian, it is the reason why the Gorgons continue to afford members of their Librarius dual roles as both company commanders and the honoured position of Chapter Master.

Homeworld

Ceto a δτ-class or Death World, homeworld to the Steel Gorgons Adeptus Astartes Chapter. Located on the fringes of the Ultima Segmentum, Ceto is a small and impoverished world shrouded in mist and rain.

Ceto’s settlements are surrounded by a sea of forests that are home to terrifying creatures they refer to as Gorgons. To shelter themselves from such horrors, the natives live in walled burghs and meagre farming collectives. The gorgons frequently raid these settlements and as such every aspect of Ceto society has become heavily militarised. It is the responsibility of every individual to watch out for the collective group. Those that have lived a long life tell of tales of finding their friends turned to stone.

The Steel Gorgons remain aloof from such concerns, instead only keeping a steady eye for any promising young individual. Upon discovering the planet the Ecclesiarchy found the population to be quite reluctant in understanding the Imperiums war machine, and so they were taught in the ways of the Cult of Astarte.

Their primary headquarters, the Fortress Monastery known as Euryale, is a vast castle that looms precariously on its mountain perch over the thatch-and-wattle sprawl that is the planetary capital.

Astarte is a female goddess on ancient terra. Many warlike peoples had a huge problem with the idea that a man could be improved by introducing the (gene)seed of another man, or create new life without a woman, and so the Cult of Astarte developed as a social convention to aid them coming to terms with the whole idea. In the cult, the Primarch has both male and female aspects, and it is this non binary aspect that gives birth to the ‘marine’. As such, the marines are viewed as a reincarnated second life, not an altered body. In this mythology the marines are literally the children of gods, and are considered 'demigods’.

An untitled fic I wrote that I may or may not make into a series

Normally, when someone walked through the serpentine halls of the Fortress-Monastery of the Spitting Snakes, it was for some official purpose. A servitor often wandered down the halls alone, as did the battle-brothers and sisters of the chapter, but an unaugmented human was a rare sight outside the outer walls and courtyards. But, exceptions were always made for Anjela.

She knocked on the massive door, at least as tall as Ol’ Malice, the Dreadnought. It opened slowly, a servitor greeting her with a waving mechadendrite. The servitor’s voice was crackly and stilted, befitting a robot that was well over a standard century old.

“Greetings, Anjela Catapharos. I suppose you are here to see the Chaptermaster?” It cocked its  head, extending an arm to the side as if to welcome her in. “Chaptermaster Vyper is currently involved in administrative tasks. I shall see if she wishes to meet you.”

The servitor rolled away on its treads, vanishing around a corner. Anjela sat down on one of the stone benches, admiring the entrance’s bas-reliefs of the Emperor and of the heroes of the Spitting Snakes. The faces of the previous Chaptermasters were carved into stone, with their greatest deeds rendered in gold under them.

The servitor came back, nodding as it spoke. “Anjela Catapharos, Chaptermaster Vyper has agreed to allow you to enter. Please, follow me.”

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Index Astartes Shadow Haunters

So for the upcoming novel I slipped in a little bit of action with my own homebrew Space Marine Chapter, the Shadow Haunters. I thought it fitting that I give a bit of background to go with them.

Motto: “Darkness there and nothing more.”

Founding: 19th

Successors of: Raven Guard

Successor Chapters: None

Chapter Master: Revus Shadd

Homeworld: Crowcrag

The Shadow Haunters are a largely Codex-compliant Raven Guard Successor Chapter. They operate from the Feudal World of Crowcrag, on the fringes of the Segmentum Obscurus. 

Crowcrag is a small and impoverished world shrouded in mist and rain. The primitive human population live in walled burghs and meager farming collectives dominated by the bleak, sheer adamantium citadels and keeps that act as the Shadow Haunters’ bases. Their primary headquarters, the Fortress Monastery known as the Blackrock, is a vast castle that looms precariously on its mountain perch over the thatch-and-wattle sprawl that is the planetary capital.

Crowcrag’s settlements are surrounded by deep, haunted forests that are home to cannibalistic tribespeople. These savages frequently raid the “civilised” settlements, and as a result Crowcrag’s feudal society is heavily militarised. While remaining aloof from such minor conflicts, the Shadow Haunters typically draw their recruits from the sons of the greatest knightly retinues, and there are many initiation rituals involved in penetrating and surviving the bleak Deepwoods alone. 

Shadow Haunter combat doctrine is directly descended from the stealth operations preferred by their Raven Guard fore-bearers. They typically eschew frontal engagements in favour of covert or clandestine initiatives, relying on speed, stealth, forward planning and a degree of terror. 

While largely compliant with the dictats of the Codex Astartes, the organisation and nature of the Shadow Haunters includes a number of quirks. The Chapter’s gene-seed seems to suffer from a strange mutation the Haunters call Othersight. This leads to ghostly apparitions and occasional doom-laden visions. Aspirants must master these revenants - normally figures from their own past experiences - if they are to progress through the ranks, though none of the Haunters are able to fully shake off the waking nightmares that stalk them. Shadow Haunter Librarians, known as Ghost Speakers, are particularly susceptible to these, and can supposedly commune with and utilise their visions. The presence of such an unsettling phenomenon combined with the Chapter’s covert tactics has resulted in a somewhat sinister reputation among other Imperial organisations. 

While physically the Shadow Haunters display the alabaster skin and black hair of their ancestors, it has been noted that extended, fang-like canines more in keeping with the Blood Angels or Space Wolves have also developed as part of their genhancements. 

Currently the majority of the Chapter are engaged with the forces of the Archenemy around the Eye of Terror, although there are also elements operating against the fledgling Tau Empire in the galactic east, and others fighting with a number of greenskin incursions in the Segmentum Pacificus. 

The Emancipators

Due to popular request after I mentioned it, here is my homebrew space marine chapter. I wanted to make noble heroes having to survive in a grim, dark galaxy. This is actually a re-edit to bring back a lot of the elements I hammered out in the name of “canon”. Also forgive things like missing emblems on pauldrons, lack of camo-pattern and inscriptions, etc—I’m not an artist.

Be prepared for a lot of reading if you’re curious, and thanks for being supportive! Since this has become a split between “Ask Jaghatai Khan” and my own personal 40k interests, I’m going to be labeling stuff like this as #homebrew.

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Ghosts of Lake Canulus

During the first half of the First Era, a powerful priesthood held Cyrodiil and large parts of Tamriel itself in its grip. This was the Alessian Order who followed the teachings of Maruhk, the Monkey Prophet whose teachings found strong purchase in Nibenay, and whose strict doctrines caused much grief to those he considered blasphemers and sinners. Having supposedly been visited by the spirit of Saint Alessia herself, Maruhk had left his home in the forests of Cyrodiil to begin to spread his gospel.

The Alessian Order established a huge monastery-fortress on the shores of Lake Canulus, near the mouth of the Panther River. From this headquarters, they slowly took control of the rest of Nibenay, displacing the former ruling class of Battlemages and merchants. It wasn’t long before they staged a coup in the Imperial City itself in the year 332, forcing the Imperial Family and Elder Council to accept theocratic, Alessian rule of the Empire. This would eventually spell doom for the remaining Ayleid principalities and kingdoms of Cyrodiil, as the overzealous Alessians enforced genocide and cultural cleansing on their settlements, burning their libraries, tearing down their temples and putting their people to the sword. These Ayleids were those who actually helped the Nedes free themselves from servitude, and their descendants, but to the Alessians they were heretics and monsters who must be purged.

At the height of their power and influence, the Alessians controlled all of Nibenay and parts of Skyrim and the Direnni Holdings. They were heavily resisted by the Colovian Estates, who drove them from their lands to preserve their own traditions. Eventually the Nords and Direnni grew tired of them as well, and crushed their forces at Glenumbra Moors in the year 482. While this crippled the Alessians for centuries and they returned home to lick their wounds, it also marked the decline of Direnni power in High Rock, in favor of the growing Breton population. 

Back in Cyrodiil, the Alessian Order initially weakened, then began again to expand west into Colovia, this time with far more success. Emperors such as Shor-El prove very popular, and the Alessians begin to focus less on theocratic supremacy and more on anti-pirate and anti-bandit campaigns. By the time of Empress Hestra in 1E1029, the Empire is once again a united force, brinign the Reach and Highrock under their control and maintaining diplomatic relations with the Nordic kingdom. Hestra’s rule marked the zenith of the First Cyrodiilic Empire. Never before or after during this Empire would it be so popular or widespread. 

A scant two centuries later, a fanatical splinter group of the Alessian Order, called the Marukhati Selective - under the leadership of Fervidius Tharn - concoct a ritual to summon Akatosh in the form of a Tower or Staff, and break him to remove the Aldmeri aspect of Auriel from his essence. This causes a massive metaphysical event called the Middle Dawn, during which Cyrodiil “sleeps” for 1008 years. The Empire naturally weakens to the point of irrelevancy during this time period, and when Cyrodiil awakens again the Thrassian Plague is destroying the other provinces of Tamriel. It is not the Nibenese but a charismatic Colovian king named Bendu Olo who assembles the All-Flags Navy to crush the Sload of Thras and sink their Coral Kingdom, ending the plague. 

Power immediately shifts from East to West, and the Colovian Estates become immensely popular. People all across Tamriel sing ballads in their honor. The Alessian Priesthood loses city after city, and miles and miles of territory until control of the Empire falls from their grasp. A shadow of their former glory, their priests turn on one another in anger and blame, and the Order is destroyed over ten years during the War of Righteousness, lasting from 2321 until 2331. The final, decisive loss of the Alessians was the razing and burning of the great monastic temple at Lake Canulus. Most of their manuscripts were burned or lost, with only fragments of the Song of Pelinal and other sagas, like Cleansing of the Fane, surviving. The Empire itself completely imploded at this point in history, losing its identity and the unity of East and West, and not to reunite again for centuries.

A modern day traveler to this isolated spot in the east of Cyrodiil may observe only wild, untamed wilderness and the crumbling stone remains of a few towers on the shores of this peaceful lake, but a student of history can feel the ghosts of Lake Canulus all around him, recalling the glories of the Alessian Past, and what could have been. Pilgrims who contemplate such things should be advised that trips to this part of Nibenay lead one into danger, as the very pirates the Alessians had so successfully crushed in their day often hide in small coves near the mouth of the Panther, and it is rumored that dark magical rituals take place in Lost Boy Caverns. In the face of such things, one is almost tempted to pray for the return of the Alessian priesthood. Almost.

(Writing: Pilaf the Defiler / Art: Lady Nerevar)