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Found 5 results

  1. Version v.1.2

    129 downloads

    An Index Astartes article detailing the homegrown Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, the Heralds of Light.
  2. View File Index Astartes - Heralds of Light An Index Astartes article detailing the homegrown Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, the Heralds of Light. Submitter Codex Grey Submitted 03/16/22 Category Background (Lore)  
  3. WAR 'TIL DEATH: THE STEEL DOGS CHAPTER NAME: .............. THE STEEL DOGS FOUNDING: .................. 8TH [M.34] CHAPTER WORLD: ............. KELL FORTRESS MONASTERY: ........ CAVES OF CANEM GENE-SEED (PREDECESSOR): ... IMPERIAL FISTS KNOWN DESCENDANTS: ......... NONE We are the Emperor’s hounds, to lie at the Emperor’s feet – Commander Simeon Ward, On Fealty The Steel Dogs were created in the Eighth Founding to serve as part of the Astartes Praeses on the northern border of the Eye of Terror. Greatly honored by such an important responsibility being granted to them, the fledgling chapter took their duties as a sacred charge from the Emperor. They saw their mission and even their home world as sanctified by Him on Earth - the Emperor had shown them the way and given them the tools to carry out His word, and they worked ceaselessly to be worthy of such an honour. Over the centuries and millennia following the chapter's founding, reports returned to Terra of pirate bands hunted down, heretical covens rooted out, and Chaos raids driven off in ferocious space battles. On dozens of worlds, the Steel Dogs died so that the people of the Imperium might live in safety, each of them thanking the Emperor for the opportunity to fall in His service and that of humanity. They dedicated themselves to serving the Imperium and its people, and their dedication was rewarded with victories and accolades. The chapter's home world of Kell was their particular pride. Though many chapters would have remade the world in their own image, the Steel Dogs recognized that the planet had endured the corrupting forces of Chaos for millennia without ill effect. Any world which could do so when the Eye of Terror loomed in its sky could hardly be anything other than pure. Indeed, being entrusted with such a prize was an honour to the chapter as much as to the planet. The Steel Dogs thus trusted that the Emperor's benevolence would guide Kell, as in the centuries before they arrived. They founded their Fortress-Monastery in tunnels on Kell's moon, Avren, and interacted with the planet only in emergencies or when recruiting. The Astartes Praeses are the watchmen on the walls of the Imperium, and the the Steel Dogs were ever-conscious of the responsibilities of their position. Other chapters have the freedom to pursue glory, to seek out enemies, and to embrace the challenge of the fight, but the Astartes Praeses have no such luxury - at least, not in the minds of the Steel Dogs. The proper place of a Steel Dog was to die defending the Imperium from those who would do it harm, not to win glory and honor and a place in history. This belief was reflected in the chapter's recruitment, and where other chapters took the greatest warriors from their home worlds, the Steel Dogs took those whose strength lay in their humility and dedication to duty. While these policies served the chapter well for many centuries, the Steel Dogs eventually noticed that their recruitment intake was declining. Where once they might have taken a hundred aspirants, they would now take fifty - and those numbers were sinking ever lower. It soon became clear that while the recruits were as physically strong and capable as before, their spiritual strength was lacking. The tests of character and morality which ensured that only the worthy and the pure became Space Marines of the Emperor were as effective as ever - it was the people who had changed. These weaknesses did not stem from the tendrils of Chaos - the people of Kell had not abandoned the Emperor. The population had simply turned away from the self-sacrifice, humility, and strength of spirit the chapter demanded. Boys longed to be Space Marines so that they could earn glory and be mighty warriors, not so they could serve the Emperor and protect Mankind. They wished to be masters, not servants. Steel Dogs by slaine69 The chapter was disturbed by this. The people of Kell had seemingly abandoned the Emperor-sanctified ideals by which the chapter lived. Debate raged over what to do. To intervene in the lives of the population was unthinkable - morality imposed would be no morality at all. It was impossible to abandon their home world for another - it would be a stain on their honor, a violation of the duty with which the Emperor had charged them. To reward weakness by taking those not worthy of being Space Marines would be an even greater stain. But something had to be done. With heavy hearts, the Steel Dogs resolved that if the weakness of the people was all there was, then that was what they would use. In the chapter's next recruitment cycle things were different. The tests of morality and purity were gone. All those who were strong enough, quick enough and deadly enough were welcomed into the Scout Company. The chapter took more recruits in one cycle than they had in the previous three. The successful aspirants were rewarded with feasts and celebration lasting almost a month, before beginning the process of becoming a Space Marine. A full five years later, the Tenth Company’s Strike Cruiser slipped into orbit above a small, feudal world whose name has since been lost to time. Battle-hardened, the Scouts aboard were now stronger, faster, and more deadly than any normal man. The Captain of the Tenth assembled them in the hold of their Strike Cruiser, where he exhorted them with tales of their victories and of the triumphs they had won. He told them that as a sign of the Emperor’s trust in his new Space Marines, the planet below would belong to them for the next month, for it had been lax in its service to the Imperium. It was up to the new Steel Dogs to instruct the population in the proper duties of an Imperial subject. They would receive the final surgeries to activate their Black Carapaces over the next three days, and on the fourth day they would descend to the world below to show the people what it meant to be a Space Marine. That night, as each Marine lay on the cold tables of the Apothecarion, Librarians of the chapter probed their minds, showing them visions of the world below, and whispering questions in their minds of being a Space Marine of the Steel Dogs truly meant. Primed by their Captain's two-edged exhortations, the recruits' answers varied - some dreamed of meditation and training, some of debauchery and vice, and all too many of violence, dominion and murder. Only a few dreamed of service and the stalwart defense of those who cannot defend themselves. When the new Space Marines woke from their surgeries, they were irrevocably divided into two groups. Those few who chose to defend the people rose as normal Space Marines, the Angels of Death who are humanity's most capable guardians. Many were not so blessed. They found that their will was no longer their own - arcane devices buried within their skulls and the strictest of chemical conditioning now kept them firmly under the control of their officers. For their sins, they were to be condemned to an eternity trapped within their own minds, released only to fight the enemies of the Imperium. They would never ascend the ranks, only serve and die for the chapter and Mankind, faceless giants in power armor bound to the will of their commanders. Such was the punishment for those who sought power for themselves, and not for the service of the Emperor and his people. Such is the punishment today. Organisation A true son of the Emperor does not need to be told to do what is right – he knows. And those who do not must be punished for their ignorance. –Captain Thaddeus Fetladral Though the Steel Dogs' new recruitment methods granted them an influx of new soldiers, it required adjustments in the methods of the chapter. Originally, the Steel Dogs favored relatively subtle battle plans, relying on deception, surprise, ingenuity and any manner of other dishonorable tactics to counter the often superior numbers of Chaotic forces. The chapter was less concerned with immediate glory than with their greater duty to defend the Imperium and contain the forces of Chaos within the Eye of Terror. The damnati, as those who fail the final test are known, are mistrusted and viewed with contempt. Since they are not promoted (or even seen as competent by some commanders), the chapter thus has a correspondingly smaller pool from which to draw its specialists and officers, and the Steel Dogs have modified their tactics to compensate both for this and for the perceived unreliability of the majority of their troops. The chapter's battle plans still use their original tactics where possible, but they are often forced to rely on the massed infantry of the damnati and use their subtler stratagems as complements to that hammer blow. Methods of utilising the damnati on the battlefield often bear a marked resemblance to the older combat styles of the Space Marine Legions, the methods of which are still contained within the Codex Astartes. Where modern Marines rely on extremes of skill and precision, the ancient Legions relied as much on weight of numbers and excessive firepower. It is these tactics the Steel Dogs have been forced to embrace. Supplementing direct confrontation with their traditional subtler strategies has allowed the Steel Dogs to continue to engage larger Traitor formations, but the Battle Companies are almost constantly reinforced by elements from the Reserve Companies in order to provide the necessary numbers to support such directness. This has spread the Chapter thin across their areas of responsibility, and they now endure a frenetic pace attempting to deal with the increasing number of threats with correspondingly reduced resources. The command staff of the Steel Dogs have become relatively inexperienced due to the smaller cadre from which they can be drawn. The chapter does its best to ensure that all receive superlative instruction to compensate for this, and much of that education involves the specialized art of commanding the damnati. One of the first things Steel Dog officers learn is how to phrase orders so the damnati do what the officer intends – and, perhaps more importantly, so they do not do what the officer does not intend. There have been several occasions in the chapter’s history where poorly phrased orders have granted the damnati license to turn their weapons on their officers - and the damnati have done so. The presence of the damnati has also provoked several formal organisational changes from the chapter's prior methods. First, the damnati are not granted the formal rank of Brother - instead, they are simply Marines, and are only addressed as such. Captain Esca Blackblood, Lord of the Second, Seneschal of Devlin Captain Esca Blackblood is unique among the Steel Dogs. As leader of the Second Company, his service has been exemplary. But it is his origin that makes him singular – Esca is the only officer in the Chapter who failed the test of morals at the end of his tenure as a Scout. For seven years, Esca served as a damnati in Josen’s Squad of the Second Company. When holding an isolated village outpost during the campaign on Garibaldi’s World Sergeant Josen and his deputy, Brother Shepherd, were both killed by Eldar raiders. Conventional wisdom in the Chapter would have it that a squad of damnati left leaderless should be forced to follow their last orders until finally relieved – Josen’s Squad should have been annihilated. Instead, Esca took command. Seizing his dead Sergeant’s comm array, Blackblood coordinated the defense of the village and its people, then lead a counterstrike against the raider base in the nearby wastelands. Though many of the Eldar escaped into the Webway, the destruction of the Webway gate left Garibaldi’s World safe from the Eldar, and concluded the campaign successfully. Victory was sweet, but the dilemma of the victorious Esca Blackblood was a difficult one for the Chapter. Though skill at arms is no sign of the moral capacity to be a true servant of the Emperor, Blackblood had gone out of his way to ensure that the village under his squad’s protection was exposed to as little danger as possible. Furthermore, it became evident upon inspection that his various control implants had all become almost completely non-functional. Esca had done what his duty to the Emperor demanded without compulsion. In light of these circumstances, Esca was reluctantly confirmed as a sergeant. Despite the nervous view taken of him by the Chapter command staff, casualties among his superiors and skill at command saw the young sergeant rise to captain soon enough. Blackblood’s skill and frequently demonstrated dedication to the good of the Imperium have caused some in the Chapter to whisper concerns that the Chapter’s methods of selection may be prone to error. However, none have yet dared to air these concerns publicly. In the mean time, the Second Company and its captain serve the Emperor with strength and purity equal to that of any other company of the Steel Dogs. Second, the chapter's First Company now serves as Field Police, with a squad seconded to each Captain of the chapter at all times. They serve to watch over the damnati and provide each Company with a contingent of reliable and capable soldiers to execute difficult missions and serve as bodyguards and support if necessary. This has resulted in the First Company no longer fighting as a cohesive formation - its banner has hung furled in the Fortress-Monastery for centuries, and its various ceremonial posts are rarely filled. Third, the chapter's Scout Company remains quite separate from the Battle Companies. Scouts do not speak to full Marines other than their officers, and the company rarely deploys alongside other chapter forces. This is intended to keep the Scouts from becoming aware of the moral test which lies ahead of them, and so far has proved successful. Instead of supporting other companies, the Scouts serve to deal with situations that are not worth the commitment of full Marines, deploying in a fashion and circumstances similar to that of the regular companies. Finally, the chapter's rank structure now includes several deputies and redundancies, such as the resurrection of the position of Lieutenant, which attempt to alleviate some of the difficulties inherent in the chapter's officers' relative lack of experience. The chapter's Cult has evolved greatly over time. Initially dedicated to the Emperor as creator of the Imperium and of the Space Marines, the ever-present threat of Chaos has clarified in the chapter's mind the perfection of what the Emperor wrought. Equally, the tendrils of the Great Enemy have warned the chapter of the dangers of even seemingly-innocent changes to doctrine. Within a few centuries of their founding, the chapter had become firmly convinced of two things - the perfection of the Emperor and that which He had sanctified with His approval, and the danger of change, which all too often serves as first innocuous entrance of Chaos. Many Dornian successors are conservative by nature, and many fervent in their devotion to the Emperor, but the Steel Dogs have become unusually so, especially as the lights of the Imperium grow ever dimmer and more twisted dark forces spill forth from the Eye of Terror. The damnati have, if anything, driven the chapter further in this direction, as the changes they force triggers an instinctive defense of the chapter's other doctrines. Some Imperial observers have expressed surprise that the chapter chose to create the damnati rather than die with honor, but this overlooks the third principle which drives the Steel Dogs - their dedication to their duty as part of the Astartes Praeses. The chapter sees that duty as a personal charge from the Emperor, and as time has gone by and their fervency grown, so has their willingness to do anything, sacrifice anything, destroy anything, so long as their duty is fulfilled and the Imperium kept safe. The damnati do not represent an abandonment of the chapter's beliefs - only demonstrate the extent to which the chapter will compromise those things they hold dear to protect that which is even more important. SELECTED BATTLES "My strength is as the strength of ten, for my heart is pure. My strength is as the strength of a hundred, because they did not see me coming. It is better to sacrifice personal honor and win, than sacrifice the honor of the chapter by losing." – Captain Esca Blackblood Esca Blackblood by slaine69 The Etherway Engagement [274.M37] The Dark Eldar are one of the most vicious enemies humanity has ever faced. Though others match them for capability, few match them for sadism. When their presence was reported in the Arc-Royal system but no raiding took place upon the system's planets, the Steel Dogs' Fourth Company was sent to investigate. Though it took several weeks, eventually a chapter scout ship discovered what had drawn the Dark Eldar forces to the area. The system's cometary cloud held a Dark Age of Technology colony ship, the Etherway, almost impenetrably armored and still inhabited. Even barely functional, these ships are still valued prizes for the Adeptus Mechanicus, and their inhabitants often make excellent recruits for the Imperial Guard, Marine chapters, or, if nothing else, the ranks of a local Forge World's servitors. The Dark Eldar were still searching for a way in when the Steel Dogs came upon them. Though the chapter managed to drive off the raider's ships, many Dark Eldar remained on the hull of the massive station. The chapter was not yet experienced in the use of the damnati, and so the operation's commander ordered his Marines into a prolonged hunt across the surface of the structure. Its baroque design and the lack of gravity made the prenaturally quick and subtle Dark Eldar even more dangerous than usual. Though the damnati served the chapter well in the battle across the Etherway's surface, standing firm where even other Space Marines might have hesitated, their tenacity was tempered by inflexibility. The damnati could beat the Dark Eldar - until their officers fell, when they would be surrounded, outmaneuvered, and destroyed. Eventually, they were ordered to open areas on the Etherway's hull. The Strike Cruisers then raked remainder of the colony ship's surface with their point defense systems. Though not dangerous to full warships, these weapons were more than sufficient to eliminate the remaining Dark Eldar raiders. Though the Dark Eldar were annihilated, many of the damnati and their officers lay dead. The Chapter's high command took stock of this, and the Steel Dogs' tactical principles were revised, trying to balance the need to face dangerous and subtle enemies with the inflexibility of the damnati. In many ways, each battle the chapter has faced since has reflected this - where the commander finds this balance, the Steel Dogs triumph. Where he fails, so do they. The Battle of Thrycross [698.M38] Triumphs are rare in the histories of the Astartes Praeses. Far more common are pyrrhic victories, desperate last stands, and the crushing of rebellions which flare up again as soon as the Space Marines have departed. Though it is the Black Crusades which draw the attention of Imperial historians and responses from across the Imperium, the raids and isolated attempts at conquest of various Chaos warbands are a constant thorn in the side of the Imperial forces that defend the Eye of Terror. One of these conquest attempts involved the warband of Khulloth Von Strang, a Slaaneshi prince who had marauded, debauched and depopulated his way through half the outer worlds of the Thrycross system before the Steel Dogs' Fifth Company arrived. The two forces met in battle on Thrycross itself, a maze of chasms and caverns, and a running battle raged through them. The Fifth Company had begun the battle understrength and without their usual supporting elements, and the deceptive wiles of the Slaaneshi adherents proved capable of overcoming even the powerful conditioning of the damnati. A handful even attempted to turn their weapons on their officers, though most simply collapsed into catatonia or robotically followed their last orders. Still, the confusion this engendered in the ranks proved fatal to the coordination of the various elements of the Steel Dogs’ assault. Though they dealt fearsome casualties to the Chaotic warband, they were driven back toward Thycross' capital. Finally, Lieutenant Takeshi St. Veir, the surviving senior officer, ordered the remainder of the company to retreat to the capital, remaining behind to challenge the members of the warband to single combat in a large canyon outside the capital. The Lieutenant was slightly surprised when six of the Chaotic Champions accepted his challenge. Though he defeated the first three, the poison of their weapons and the foul emanations of Chaos slowly broke his strength, and the blade of the fourth separated his head from his shoulders. However, even before his lifeless body had slumped into the dust, the walls of the canyon erupted in fire and smoke, and avalanches buried all but a few members of the warband. The remainder of the PDF had planted charges throughout the canyon while the Steel Dogs fought the warband, and the death of St. Veir triggered them, annihilating Von Strang's forces - including Von Strang himself. The surviving handful of Chaotic warriors were easy pickings for the PDF and the remainder of the Fifth Company. Though it cost them greatly, the Steel Dogs had discharged their duty as Astartes Praeses. The Battle of Port David [143.M40] The world of Port David lies near the edge of the Eye of Terror, and assaults upon it were frequent. When the Steel Dogs' Third Company responded to a distress call from Port David, they were expecting something unusual, as Chaos so often provides, and they were not disappointed. Most assaults on Port David came from offworld, but the most recent assault had been coupled with several of the planet's nation-states siding with Chaos. While some strife between the various constituent nations of the planet was not uncommon, this was unprecedented. Equally odd were the tactics and methods of their opponent - Grand Captain Inquis Longtooth, who led a force of surprisingly well-trained and equipped Beastmen reinforced by elite Chaos Space Marines. The battles at Port David were studied by the chapter for a thousand years afterward. Captain Phelan Aeacid of the Third was perhaps the brightest tactical mind the chapter had seen, and Longtooth a canny opponent. Longtooth’s forces outnumbered the Marines by hundreds to one, and massed ground attacks should have been suicidal. But Aeacid moved his forces as though they were ghosts, using his air superiority to move his troops from deployment to deployment, always striking where the enemy was weakest. Enemy maneuvering encountered minefields and booby-traps. Small squads mimicked conventional Space Marine tactics while larger forces massed elsewhere. If the enemy was foolish enough to respond, the massed force struck the remaining enemy troops and broke them. Though not as flexible as other marines, the superior forces the Steel Dogs could bring to bear meant that wherever they struck they were victorious. Longtooth’s forces bled, but so did Aeacid’s. Each battle cost soldiers that could not be replaced, and the Port David PDF was virtually useless, fractured with suspicion and mistrust in the wake of the initial uprisings. Indeed, Imperial analysts have since questioned whether Chaos corruption was not responsible for much of this intransigence. Regardless of its cause, the result was that the Steel Dogs were poorly supported against a much larger force, whose numbers seemed to be eternally swelled by traitorous locals, eager to win plunder in the service of the Dark Gods. Though they managed to drive Longtooth's forces back into their friendly cities, Aeacid decided that the only solution to their dilemma was to strike those enemy cities that lacked effective garrisons, in hopes of sparking rebellion and discord within the enemy's ranks, and (if nothing else could be done) depriving the enemy of their base of support by destroying city infrastructure and forcing Longtooth to either lose support or dedicate resources to maintaining them. In the confusion that would result, the Steel Dogs might be able to get the upper hand. Likewise, a strike against their former allies would revitalize the PDF. Unfortunately, things proceeded badly. Aeacid was killed by a sniper almost immediately upon entering the city. Most of the PDF was slaughtered, and those who were not either surrendered or switched sides. The remaining Steel Dogs quickly realized that the situation was untenable, and withdrew, but several squads of damnati were left behind in the city. Local intelligence sources later reported seeing some of those same damnati serving as lieutenants in Longtooth's forces. Though the Third Company did its best to salvage the situation, all but one of the cities surrendered to Longtooth, most without even a token fight. The Third oversaw the evacuation of the last city's population offplanet, then withdrew themselves, leaving Port David in the hands of Longtooth and Chaos. Steel Dogs by Greyall * * * Hauled out of the Legio Imprint, both for my own convenience and because the files are down for a little while. Feedback welcome. Greyall's image was unfortunately omitted because the article's not really long enough to fit it.
  4. +++ Heralds of Light +++ 'Cut through the night!' + Lore + Index Astartes: Heralds of Light (Downloadable version) +Models+ Intercessor Intercessor Veteran Sergeant Firstborn Captain (by @jah-joshua, owned by @DarkKnightCuron) + Art + Chapter Heraldry Battle-Brothers (by @Aerion the Faithful) Vengeance (by @Aerion the Faithful)
  5. Index Astartes: Heralds of Light The Heralds of Light are steadfast defenders and servants of the Imperium. As members of the Astartes Praeses, they were created with the express purpose of guarding the regions surrounding the Eye of Terror, and have taken their task to heart. Where other Chapters are free to seek fame and glory, these unsung heroes have stood valiantly against the darkness since the thirty-second millennium. Even now with the galaxy split in half and their homeworld in ruins, the Chapter keeps fighting and refuse to abandon hope. Origins 'Let us light the way, Brothers!' – First Chapter Master, Alcaeus Rex On the first day of the thirty-second millennium, the historical 3rd founding was initiated. Completely new Chapters were created from the genetic material of the old Legions, bolstering the numbers of the overexerted Adeptus Astartes. Spurred by Abaddon the Despoiler’s first Black Crusade, several of these Chapters were drafted into the Astartes Praeses, tasked with reinforcing Imperial forces in the troubled Segmentum Obscurus and protecting the Imperium from further invasions from the Eye of Terror. One such Chapter was made from the gene-seed of Rogal Dorn's Imperial Fists, chosen for his Legion's unflinching bravery during the defense of Terra. They were named the Heralds of Light and would bring the Emperor's radiance to the darkest corner of the galaxy. Gifted with a mighty Battle Barge, the Undying Light, a cadre of Imperial Fists veterans lead the new Chapter towards Segmentum Obscurus on a glorious crusade of reclamation. After nearly two centuries, their initial campaign came to an end with the First Defense of Lucerna. The battle saw the entire Chapter deployed on and above Lucerna, a planet cut off from the Imperium during the Horus Heresy, now occupied by a large warband of Word Bearers. Although the losses were grievous, the Heralds were victorious and recognized as saviors by the Lucernan people. The Lucernan had been defiant in the face of Chaos and fought bravely, despite their inferior training and equipment. Impressed, the Heralds took Lucerna under their protection and claimed it as the Chapter’s new homeworld. Since that time the Heralds have made their name in the fight against Chaos, fulfilling their duties as guardians to such a degree that they have teetered on the brink of destruction many times. During the Age of Apostasy, the Heralds were nearly wiped out fighting the traitor hordes taking advantage of the internal power struggle. The Chapter was spread thin during the Gothic War trying to contain the invading forces, hunting down bands of Raiders who managed to slip through the Cadian Gate. For nearly nine millennia the Heralds of Light have stood their ground, and Lucerna has been a bulwark in the defense of the Imperium. Unyielding as a lighthouse; a symbol of humanity in a dark tempest. Yet when the Thirteenth Black Crusade poured out from the Eye of Terror, the Herald’s resolve was not enough to save their homeworld. Homeworld “This world shines with the light that guides us.” – First Chapter Master, Alcaeus Rex. Lucerna is located in Segmentum Obscurus in the galactic north, south of the Eye of Terror in the Turbatus sub-sector. A beautiful terrestrial planet covered in wide oceans, deep forests and high mountains, similar to Holy Terra of ages long gone, Lucerna stood in stark contrast to much of its surrounding systems. To the Heralds, Lucerna was the very symbol of everything the Emperor fought for and made it their sacred duty to forever protect the world. Settled during the Great Crusade, this prosperous civilized world became a testament of the Emperor’s vision for the human empire. Due to its isolation during the Heresy, Lucerna was unscathed by the fires of war, and remained a tranquil world until it was rediscovered. Even in times of conflict between the various Lucernan states, the people raised great leaders, able to unite the whole population and uphold the harmony. The great Lucernan library, cherished by both the people and their Astartes protectors, contained art, relics and documents from the times before the Heresy, ensuring that knowledge of the Imperium survived. Lucerna never forgot about the Emperor, and in time the people came to believe that He would one day return. Fully aware of the Astartes presence on their world, the Lucernan populace looked towards their guardians with great reverence. To have a member of the family join the Chapter’s ranks was an immense honor. The Heralds rarely involved themselves with matters of planetary rule, preferring to serve, only intervening if requested to or when it was absolutely necessary. After rejoining the Imperium, the planet became the primary source of recruits for the Chapter and the Lucernan Planetary Defense Force evolved into a formidable military organisation. The PDF has fought side by side with the Heralds on many occasions, even off-world when necessary, defending the Lucernan system and beyond. No matter how capable the Lucernan PDF was, it would not be enough. As the Thirteenth Black Crusade laid waste to the Segmentum, the Heralds divided their forces over several battlefronts. In the turmoil that followed the opening of the Great Rift, Lucerna was cut off from the bulk of the Herald’s strength. Contact was lost and only a handful of Astartes remained on the planet. The Heralds themselves never learned the exact details of what happened, but when they finally returned to Lucerna, the planet was overrun by Chaos forces and warp storms threatened to consume the system. Although bled dry from the Black Crusade, what remained of the Heralds of Light charged into the fray in a desperate attempt to save their people. They managed to temporarily secure their Fortress-Monastery, evacuating as many as they could from all over the planet while turning ancient cities to dust with orbital bombardment to keep the enemy at bay. Stubborn as they were, even the Heralds realized that staying would mean their doom. And so they left Lucerna, their home for millennia, barely escaping with less than three companies’ worth of Astartes, spread among the battered remains of their fleet. The Watchtower, the now ruined Fortress-Monastery of the Heralds, sits dark and silent surrounded by ice and rock near the northern pole. Built in the architectural style of Rogal Dorn, undeniably inspired by the defenses of Terra, the Fortress-Monastery was an impressive sight. The outer layers consisted mainly of massive walls and defense mechanisms, while most of the Chapter facilities were below the surface, as an added protection against orbital bombardment. But in the center, on the highest point of the Watchtower, a great fire burned for millennia, kept alive by a constant stream of a natural gas that produced a bright blue flame. Reflected by the ice of the surrounding tundra, melding with northern lights, the Fortress bathed in an ethereal aura. Known as the Flame of the Emperor, this fire was of great symbolic importance to the Heralds, representing the light of Mankind in the darkness of space. Though the great fire atop the Watchtower has gone out, a remnant of this flame still burns in the inner chambers of the Undying Light, fueled by a dwindling supply of gas from their lost homeworld. Organisation “They will be remembered! They will be avenged!” – Current Chapter Master, Marcus Savvor. Following the fall of Lucerna, the Heralds of Light became a fleet-based Chapter. The Undying Light, the ancient flagship of their fleet, once again serves as the Chapter’s home. This venerable Battle Barge bears the scars of countless battles and is one of their most valued assets. Of the rest of their once impressive fleet only four Strike Cruisers survived and a handful of support vessels. Aside from the few artifacts they managed to secure during their escape, many priceless relics of the Chapter's long and glorious history were also lost. The Chapter might have been disbanded at any other point in history had it not been for the arrival of a Torchbearer task force from the Imdomitus Crusade, carrying Primaris Astartes and technology. The Heralds embraced the reinforcements as what it was called – the “Primarch’s Gift”. When presented with the opportunity to cross the Rubicon Primaris, all who could did, seeing it as the final test to prove themselves worthy to continue as a Chapter. The Heralds of Light remain a Codex Adherent Chapter, having followed the traditional ten company structure for most of their existence. While still under strength, the companies are recovering their numbers, and the Chapter is also supported by a sizable remnant of the Lucernan PDF survivors who swore their short lives to serve the Heralds. Even a handful of Lucernan refugee children have joined the ranks of the Heralds themselves. Little time has been wasted on licking their wounds, as Chapter Master Marcus Savvor has declared a crusade of atonement, vowing to restore their honor by reclaiming lost territory and avenging their fallen brothers. Some quietly hope to one day retake their homeworld as well. Combat Doctrine “We are the Wardens! We are the Walls.” – 2nd Company Mantra. As members of the Astartes Praeses, duty requires the Heralds to frequently fight alongside other Imperial organizations. They have gained a reputation for throwing themselves into combat to support their allies, occasionally forgoing comprehensive planning in favor of providing aid as fast as possible. As a consequence, the Heralds do not always fight on their own terms, having participated in numerous defensive operations as well as other tasks unusual for Astartes. This approach has proven to be very strenuous and often stretches the Chapter thin as they strive to answer every call for aid. The Heralds themselves see this as a natural part of their responsibilities, not a strategic weakness, but a tactical challenge to overcome. Whilst they have been known for their lack of planning, it is in the heat of battle the Heralds have gained their renown. The Heralds have always been a flexible fighting force, able to quickly react to an ever-changing combat situation and have become famous for their ability to adapt and improvise. Cooperation with allied organizations has always been important to the Heralds, and to effectively work together with another fighting force, one must be able to take advantage of each other’s strengths. As such, they strive to excel in all areas of combat so that they may better support their allies. Like many descendants of the Imperial Fists, the Heralds have inherited a reluctance to accept defeat. This can sometimes blind the Heralds to risk, as they fight on where other Chapters would fall back. The Heralds themselves view it as absolutely necessary for a servant of the Emperor to be willing to die in battle, and the Chaplains constantly preach of self-sacrifice. Only by the supreme sacrifice of some of the greatest Imperial heroes, like Rogal Dorn or the Emperor Himself, does the Imperium still stand. Their resolute nature has frequently put them at risk, but is also what keeps them fighting on where others would give up. Beliefs “We fight the battles others cannot win. We suffer the pain others cannot endure. We face the horrors others cannot withstand. For we are Astartes; This is our duty, and we embrace it.” – Chapter Teachings. The cult of the Heralds places great emphasis on humility, self-sacrifice, and loyalty. They see themselves as servants of the Emperor and therefore protectors of humanity. All who live under the light of the Emperor are worthy of their protection, and the Heralds are known for their tolerance of both ordinary humans and even ab-humans. Unlike many Chapters, the Heralds are not exceedingly proud or self-absorbed, but humble and reserved. They exist to serve mankind, not the other way around. The Heralds value the division of power in the empire as absolutely necessary, but they also strongly believe that if mankind is to be victorious, the forces of the Imperium must work together. Their humbleness and willingness to collaborate has earned them many allies within the Adeptus Astartes and other Imperial organizations. During their existence, the Heralds have developed a conviction that the Emperor will one day rise from the Golden Throne, and unite humanity against Chaos. Their duty is to keep the Imperium safe, until the Emperor returns and leads them in a second Great Crusade. With the advent of the Indomitus Crusade and the Psychic Awakening, the Heralds belief has only strengthened, fueling their actions with a near zealous fervor, unlike anything they have displayed before. However, this is undoubtedly influenced by their recent losses, producing a deep thirst for vengeance as well. The Heralds of Light bear an intense hatred for Chaos in all its forms, and it is abhorred for its corrupting touch. Falling to the Dark Gods is the greatest betrayal to the Emperor and cannot be tolerated. They consider the Ruinous Powers to be the ultimate threat and the Heralds show no mercy when it comes to the annihilation of Chaos. They have been especially vigorous during the various Black Crusades over the millennia, and this in turn has earned them the hatred of many Chaos worshipers. To them, Lucerna was the greatest provocation; a torch burning with the flame of the False Emperor. Geneseed “Cut through the night.” – Chapter Motto. The zygote cultures required to grow both the Betcher's gland and the Sus-an membrane have been lost or damaged over the millennia, but like all sons of Dorn the Heralds do not mourn these losses. Despite their proximity to the Eye of Terror, the Heralds' geneseed has remained remarkably stable with no signs of mutation. Now, with the integration of the Primaris technology, the geneseed’s integrity has been solidified. The Heralds are once again ready to fight against the endless horrors of the universe and bring light to the darkness. --- Original Discussion Topic
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