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  1. The world was on fire. The Galaxy suddenly found itself in strife and calamity unlike anything seen before in the last 60 Million years. This was an unrivaled catastrophe in human history. Humans and their various warmachines fight their rebelling automations in brutal warfare from the ground to the skies and throughout local space. Various projectiles of death pierce, maim or obliterate flesh, bone, wires and metal without mercy or pause. The land bore various craters and crashed spaceships while entire forests and Hive Cities burn and gutted of life. Worst of all are the anomalies. Tears in space, reality being altered beyond comprehension while spectral beings manifest in droves tearing man and machines apart, twisting insides with strange incantation, spreading all-killing filth or using sharp-unnatural weapons to painfully dismember their victims. Their voices echo through the battlefields and the minds of all fighting in this world. Madness spreads throughout humanity. The humans of this world fighting desperately against the Manchines and Spectral Ghosts now turn on each other. Some have lost all sanity and started killing anything they could find, including themselves. Others are fighting alongside the ethreal beings and some of the rebelling automations, those with strange marks and deformations all over their metallic bodies. Soon me and my fellow squadmates found out the truth. The twisted voices and strange sensations came for us, what little resistance we tried to form against the temptations easily fail. We too embraced the madness and started attacking everyone else that did not follow the truth of the Four True Gods. Thirteen of us, each Gene-enhanced Cyborgs wearing mighty Power Armor, armed with various weapons, rip and tear to show our devotion to our new patrons. A being of Golden Light started attacking all of the followers of the Dark Gods. With simple thoughts entire hordes are ignited and burnt asunder. Over a dozen of the mightiest Chaos Daemons, Iron Men and Human Champions fly to confront the Unbeliever known as Neoth. A climatic battle ensues as they fought like blitzing lights moving faster than even cyborg eyes could perceive. The leader of our squad convinces us to teleport and take over a nearby 'science outpost', butchering any enemy combatants or civilians in the way. A blast blowing a gigantic hole in the wall allowed us to see Neoth hovering, staring at us. Just as he was going to blow us up a dark magical blast hits him from nowhere. Manifesting from the shadows is a Daemon with grey skin, unique amongst the others. "Belakor." The voices whispered to us. He was once a Xeno tens of millions of years ago, the first mortal to sell his soul to Chaos, first to become a Daemon Prince. And the voices promised us the similar glorious rewards once we've done the ultimate act of devotion. Some of our squadmates are confused, thinking we've taken this facility to enhance our abilities or find a way out of this world. It is then that our leader activated the experimental weapon that would annihilate the entire world and everything in it to dust. Some of the Thirteenth refused to go along, their puny minds unable to comprehend and accept the will of the Gods. Gunfire ensues, the five of us plus our leader gunning down our former comrades instantly without hesitation. Up high above the being of light and ethreal shadow unleash. Realiizing the plan is in motion, Belakor closes in and wrestles Neoth before the weapon activates and cosigns this world into oblivion. Everything lit up in an instance before my sight turned dark. Though near death the miracuolous Warp saved me and my true comrades and gave us the rewards we were promised. Our leader became a Daemon Prince of Undivided while my four comrades became Daemons themselves, each worshipping one of the Four. As for I, I felt untold power coursing through my veins as I quickly lost consciousness. Belakor managed to teleport out of the planet just in time while Neoth felt the full blast from the weapon, severely injuring him. He would not be an annoyance for the next couple of millenia.
  2. From the album: Models

  3. From the album: Models

  4. The Champions Eternal Chapter Beacons of Light Origins With swathes of the Imperium clinging to life by a thread following the loss of Cadia, and the birth of the Great Rift, new defenders were needed to secure the future of mankind. Every corner of the Imperium is in need of reinforcement. Among the sectors fortunate enough to receive aid is a region of space alongside the Sirens Storm in Segmentum Tempestus, an area known locally as the Lightning Reaches. When Fleet Tertius came to secure the region, the existing Imperial forces were well on their back leg, locked in desperate struggles against Chaos invasions spilling from the Sirens Storm, as well as with contesting forces from every major xenos race, resulting in a sprawling warzone across multiple sectors. What had drawn these forces to the same place was unclear, but without further support, the region was sure to collapse. One of the newly founded Primaris Astartes chapters accompanying the fleet was assigned stewardship of the region. The brotherhood that assumed this role was the untested Champions Eternal. Joining their allies on battlefields throughout the Reaches, the Champions and the Imperium turned a losing battle into a bitter stalemate, finally earning the Imperial forces some room to breath and regroup. While valuable worlds on the frontlines of these conflicts have been ground down to little more than rubble and bone, the worlds inside their perimeter have some measure of security once more. Taking their place in the Lightning Reaches, the Champions Eternal will ensure that the Emperors Light will continue to shine on the worlds threatened by the shadow of the Sirens Storm. Homeworld Despite the desperate need for reinforcements in the Reaches, or perhaps because of it, the Champions had a difficult time locating a world suited to establish as a home. Though they could have continued operating from their fleet, a central base of operations to stockpile supplies, maintain a pool of recruits, and coordinate with allies in the midst of the wartorn Reaches, was too valuable a prospect to pass up. The search eventually led them to a manufactorum-dominated hive world called Karndanaq. When the Champions found it, Karndanaq and its people were struggling. Though reasonably removed from the many frontline conflicts surrounding the region, an ambitious fledgling Drukhari kabal had been preying on it for years by means of well hidden webway portals. The kabal took particular pleasure in killing and capturing adults in droves, leaving countless orphans in their wake. It reached a point that many of those reaching adulthood simply bore an expectation that they would be marked for slavery in the dark city. And so it was by necessity that the planets manufactori were operated, and its defenses were manned, by a disproportionately young population. Knowing that the strategically well-placed world could become a tremendous asset, and enraged by the predations of the kabal, the Chapter settled into orbit over the world to bring the Drukhari to heel. The raiders seemed to sense that their playground was being encroached on, for as the Champions began to make landings on the planet, they were met with stiff resistance from the kabal. For all their conditioning, their training and indoctrination, this was the Champions first true taste of war in all its brutality. Though they took naturally to battle, their lack of experience manifested in inflexible strategies and tactical mistakes that proved costly for the Champions, and in some cases devastating for the natives. There were abject failures and grim tragedies as the Chapter fought and wrestled to gain their footing, both in physically secure landing sites and strategically sound maneuvers. Fortunately, the Champions humbled by their experiences, taking them to heart, and acting quickly to modify their methods. After their initial setbacks, the Champions quickly gained the upper hand on the kabal, routing them thoroughly from the planet. Taking stewardship over the world, the Champions have erected a fortress on small moon Lucidimons above Karndanaq, a monastery called the Calx Eternum. Since establishing control in the system, the Champions have redistributed throughout the Reaches, breaking sieges, executing retaliatory strikes, and easing the pressure on Imperial forces stretched thin throughout the region. Recruitment We are the guardians of of the Emperor's starry overlook, His wardens against the darkness!No evil shall encroach while our watch endures, and our watch endures Eternal! Lieutenant Varatehk Kanatars rallying call at the Siege of COrragh The Champions Eternal could hardly have hoped for a more hardened crop of recruiting stock than the orphans that kept Karndanaq limping along through the oppression the planet suffered at the hands of the Drukhari. The original population of liberated youths that lived through the scouring had the ideal combination of first hand experience of the realities of war, even combat, and the burning admiration for their superhuman saviors. There were few who did not leap at the opportunity to join the ranks of the Angels of Death. Their uplift to Astartes served only to enhance the desire of those left behind to serve the Imperium and their Champions, and raising the next generation to provide support for the Chapter in every conceivable way became the highest aspiration of the planets populous. Many of Karndanaqs manufactori were converted to supply as much materiel as possible to the Chapters supplies, and children are educated with the expectation of taking the trials to become Space Marines themselves. As with all rites of recruitment among Astartes chapters, the path to joining this brotherhood is arduous. Brought before a council of Librarians on the moon above, aspirants are examined both mentally and physically, the purity of every youths zeal as closely studied as the purity of his genes. Those who are accepted face stringent tests based on all the ideals the Champions hold dear, specifically trials of strength, speed, courage, stamina, and wisdom. Those who meet with approval begin implantation. Combat Doctrine Siege of Kahdem Hive Corporal Standis pressed himself against the inside of the trench, grunting as explosions rattled his ribs, each detonation closer than the last. The traitors were closing in. Glancing up, he saw a squad of the red and gold clad astartes nearby, accompanied by another in black armor, break cover. Standis had thought the Astartes above such foolishness; there was no weathering that artillery. It was suicide. In the briefest of lulls between detonations, the corporal heard the one in black roar a single, indistinct word. A strange, bright corona seemed to blossom around the other marines, and in a flash, they were gone. A few more shells detonated nearby, but the next explosions all sounded dull, and distant. The guns had gone still. Standis cautiously peeked over the lip of the trench and saw the advancing traitors faltering as their artillery support vanished and loyalist rallying calls begin to rise. Looking off to the side again, the corporals gaze was met by the black-armored marine, eyes glowing dully within the shadow of his hood. Truly a spectacle to behold in the melee of war, the Champions Eternal are bold and ostentatious in battle. They excel in close combat fights, leaning heavily into the use of powered weapons, particularly thunder hammers, power fists, and lightning claws, with which they rain down attacks on their enemies in showers of crackling energy. The assault elements of the attack will often seek out what they perceive to be the strongest enemy, both in an effort to prove themselves and to break resistance for the advance of line squads. Closely supporting the frontline squads are always members of the Chapter Librarium. This would seem a risky move among some chapters of Astartes, but the Champions seem to have no hesitation to put precious psykers on the frontlines of battle. To their credit, the Champions Librarians regularly demonstrate their value in combat, specializing in smiting enemy vehicles and defenses with psychic lightning, leaving enemy troops unprotected against all-out assaults by their brethren. In this way, the Librarians are powerful anchors for securing control of the battlefield and advancing across it. While it is unreasonable to expect that such use of Librarians can be without consequence, the Champions have proved remarkably successful at maintaining their Librariums numbers; almost strangely so. When bringing armored support to bear, the Champions favor the new patterns furnished by Cawls millenia of work, and as with their infantry, they employ the flashiest and most destructive. Their Repulsor Executioner tanks and Redemptor Dreadnought chassis are very carefully maintained, alongside a significant complement of Whirlwinds that sees extensive use. Fracturing enemy formations with artillery fire prior to the hammering blow of assault units is a highly popular tactic. Despite their relatively successful track record since the Karndanaq Campaign, the Chapter has inevitably faced its share of stiff resistance. Accounts have arisen from some of these desperate stands of cornered squads of Champions flying into a sudden, unnatural fury, laying waste to everything in their path by supposedly unnatural means. Though these brutal counterattacks invariably destroy the enemy, the only members of the Champions Eternal to walk away from these encounters are the Chaplains present. Organization While the Lord Commander Roboute Guilliman has made changes to the Codex Astartes, the Champions Eternal were founded at the traditional strength of 1000 marines in ten companies. The chapters costly mistakes in the Karndanaq Campaign, however, incurred some terrible losses, including the entirety of the 5th company, and so much of the 2nd company that its remainder was redistributed, and the Champions have yet to recover these losses. Leading the Chapter is Master Bileal Baelson, a consummate warrior and, curiously, a powerful psyker. By all accounts, Baelson manifested no psychic ability prior, during or after his creation until the Chapter undertook to liberate their chosen home world. This irregularity has not escaped notice by the more astute among Imperial leadership in the Reaches, but the turmoil in the region has made it too dangerous for the most suspicious parties to risk interference with the Chapter. Far from the only organizational divergence, the Chapters Librarians appear in other unusual roles, with veteran Codiciers taking primary command of each of the companies. The Brother Librarians that join the battle line squads on the field remain distinct members of the Librarium, and arent specifically assigned to any squads. The companies as they stand have been only lightly adjusted for the losses the Chapter sustained are The companies and their commanders are as follows:Magaragan of the 1st Company (Veterans) Federius Libertamine of the 3rd Company (Battle Company) Pardos Penalios of the 4th Company (Battle Company) Eugalar Choromon of the 6th Company (Battle Company) Mareal Bloodfield of the 7th Company (Battle Company) Daros Drudalis of the 8th Company (Assault Company) Ibysr Amanatehp of the 9th Company (Reserve Company) Tanist Mirare of the 10th Company (Scout Company) The current Librarium is led by one brother Teth-Aman, a Karndanaq native that rose quickly through the ranks. The chaplaincy of the Chapter is administrated by Master of Sanctity Takiel Tawnehk. Beliefs Calx Eternum The doors of the Hall of Champions unsealed and parted, and Master Tawnehk led the way inside. Look well, Brother, he said in his low, rumbling voice, Which of the Chapters symbols would you call the most sacred? Akardak paused at the question, eyes flicking over the Chapters artefacts, few though they were for the Chapters age. He raised a hand tentatively reaching toward the Endless Blade, then paused and finally pointed at the still gently billowing Infractum Faros, the unmarred banner of the 2nd Company. He looked back at the Chaplain Master, but Tawnehk sighed and shook his head. Your heart is in the right place, brother, but there is something greater still that we carry into battle, that inspires fear in our foes and hope in our allies. Akardak began to nod, understanding already dawning on him. Yes, Tawnehk went on, nodding as well, It is who we are. Our very name is power. A force for good. A light in a dark galaxy. It is our greatest artefact, and we must never lay it down. Brothers of the Champions Eternal demonstrate a palpable degree of empathy towards the ordinary citizens of the Imperium. This comes as no surprise, as their recruits, particularly those known colloquially as the First Sons of Karndanaq, never forget their most humble beginnings, and the hope and salvation the Astartes brought them. They live to bring this relief to the rest of the Imperium, and believe they do so to the Emperors glory and in His stead. Among the highest ideals of the Champions is to provide the citizens of the Imperium with even the slightest inkling of the Emperors might and majesty, and a modicum of the inspiration that he gave to mankind. While far less suspicious of psykers than some of their brothers in other chapters, the Champions have no illusions about the dangers posed by the warp, the temptations that face the psychically gifted, and in turn, the risks incumbent in appointing Librarians to lead companies. To address these risks, the chaplaincy of the Chapter works closely with the company commanders in a constant vigil of their spiritual purity. Assignments are rotated with the intent of both protecting chaplains from the corruption of hypothetical traitors, and exposing the commanders to scrutiny from multiple perspectives. The Chapter cult engenders an enthusiastic and fervent personality among the brothers, emphasizing pride in their role as the Emperors servants, and eagerness to fulfill their duties and protect the Imperiums citizens from the darkness of the xenos and the heretic. Chaplains have always impressed upon their brothers that the Imperium is its people; not its edifices, not its institutions. The strength of this belief was made apparent during the early months of the Karndanaq Campaign, when the Chapters mistakes caused terrific civilian casualties. The Champions suffered and grieved with the people, in their own way, and the simple, yet unsanctioned mantra of Never again has entered into the Chapter psyche and continues to be intoned on every battlefield. The Chapters dead are honored in ways fairly typical for Astartes, though they maintain no ossuary relics of any kind; deceased brothers are ritually, thoroughly, cremated, and their ashes spread on the surface of the moon. Fallen brothers are often remembered in songs of lament at formal gatherings. Gene-seed The Champions were told that their genetic sires are the Ultramarines, and their gene-seed seems by most accounts to have the expected stability. There is, however, the unexplained matter of certain battlefield casualties recovered from some of the most intense battlefields on which the the Champions have fought; bodies that are more boxed in their power armor rather than wearing it, withered almost as if by extreme mortal age...seemingly burned up from the inside. Only a handful of such bodies have been discovered by anyone outside the Chapter, though they are soon returned to the Champions, one way or another. War Cry Call: We are the living lightning! Answer: The Emperors justice strikes true! Chapter Tactic Living Lightning Battle brothers of the Champions Eternal strike with the fury of the storm, unleashing psychic devastation to break enemy lines as their assault elements crash into the foe. When a Psychic or Deny The Witch test is made by a <Champions Eternal> PSYKER, re-roll any or all dice rolls of a 1. In addition, all <Champions Eternal> INFANTRY units may add +1 to advance and charge rolls. A battle brother of the Champions Eternal, painted by WarriorFish
  5. I think this in the correct forum. Anyways, YouTuber Majorkill commissioned the artist Paul1748 to animate a duel between Star Wars villain Darth Vader and a Space Marine Librarian. The animation quality is good, in my opinion. It shows both duelists using a variety of their in-universe powers. The ending will undoubtedly upset fans, though. Thoughts?
  6. The Cerberus Chapter The Edge of Chaos: Origins During the millennia following the Sentinel Founding, the Sons of Unity Chapter had many successful campaigns, repelling numerous Ork, and later Tyranid and Tau incursions on a number of fronts. On several occasions the Chapter performed joint operations with regiments of the Imperial Guard, as well as other Adeptus Astartes Chapters, and always to great effect. On other occasions, when the threat of the Orks or other xenos was too great and no Imperial allies were at hand, the Chapter fought alongside the forces of xenos which shared threatened worlds, even once at the side of the elusive Eldar. Many brothers grew concerned that the Chapter was compromising too much, and risked opening the door to xenos uprisings. It was from the fires of these battles with and against xenos allies, and from the fallen brothers along the way, that the first seeds of schism were sown in the Sons of Unity. One Marine in particular loathed the very notion that his Chapter had defended xenos worlds or interests; death was preferable to accepting xenos aid. After the disastrous and costly battle fought alongside the Eldar, the flame of hatred grew into a consuming and towering inferno. In the peace time of the months that followed, a message appeared in circulation among the worlds of the Systems Alliance, the council of worlds that answers to and supplies the Sons of Unity. The message appeared to be full of the Emperor's fervor. It called for humanity to rise from its squalid seat on scattered worlds and take back the stars as the Emperor had sought to do during the Great Crusade. It went so far as to decry the actions of Chapter Master Androssen and the Sons of Unity, demanding the immediate exterminatus of xenos races within their reach and a covenant between the Systems Alliance and its Chapter to never again accept the aid of the xenos unless to use them as the tools they were meant to be, for the furtherance of Mankinds interests. Needless to say, the message caused uproar throughout the systems, while Androssen and the Sons only watched silently and sternly from their ships above. Attempts to trace the message lead only as far as a dead Astropath on Rho, the Chapter Homeworld. Many were frightened or appalled that anyone would speak out against a Chapter Master with such force, others, a small but often wealthy minority, were inclined to agree. It was not long after that Androssen relinquished command of the Chapter, returning to the Veteran Company. However, the hierarchy leadership on Rho, together with the new Chapter Master Brahm Kahoku dismissed the message as the ravings of one "elusive and overzealous man." Unfortunately, it was more than just a man. Janus Maeleth of the 3rd squad and 5th company had been a non-native recruit to the Chapter, as well as of non-military parentage, a rare trait amongst recruits. Since his induction he had shown nothing less than an Astartes spirit. In private, though, he had a vision of a different Imperium, the undisputed power in the galaxy, an Imperium like the days of the Emperor. As he examined the galaxy's present situation though, the only future he could imagine for it was one ever grimmer and darker. The Sons' involvement with the Eldar prompted him to finally act. If he could only spread his vision to the larger Imperium, perhaps things could change. When his secret manifesto was disregarded by the Chapter Master, Maeleth prepared to take matters into his own hands. It began with a request for the Chapter's attention to a threat in the remote system of Akuze, a request coinciding with the first orders of the 25th founding. Janus, well known throughout his company for his skill at spotting an opportunity, convinced his squad sergeant to volunteer them for the contingent being dispatched to Akuze. To his fellow marines it was a good omen; whenever the squad followed one of Maeleth's plans they had never failed. Unfortunately for them, Janus was looking at a different opportunity. Arriving on Akuze, the five squad contingent found the small Imperial colony in ruin, no survivors and no sign of what had caused the destruction. Or so they had thought. Even as they had entered the system Janus, manning the sensor array, had detected the telltale signs of life still on Akuze, and before they had landed he had discovered a single, massive decomposing xenos corpse near the colony's edge. It appeared to be some sort of giant subterranean serpent. Janus later speculated that this was one of the first vanguard organism strikes by the Tyranids, but he left no evidence to determine the truth. Withholding this deadly secret from his brothers, the detachment scouted the ruins and found only a few broken, mangled corpses. Careful to lead the team away from the serpentine corpse, the marines prepared to leave. When they regrouped, Janus was missing. No sooner was the realization made, then the attack came. No less than seven of the massive burrowing serpents attacked the unit, claiming eight marines in the first seconds alone. The battle, if it could be called that, was over in minutes, leaving forty nine marines strewn on and beneath Akuze's surface. Janus had left his brothers long before the attack had come and returned to their dropship, damaging the ship till it could barely fly. As he commanded the ship alone back to Rho, he carefully sabotaged its systems, erasing essential reports and surveys. He then relayed repeated urgent messages to Imperial authorities in the vicinity, claiming that a vast, unknown xenos fleet was approaching, and passed on censored details of the mission on Akuze. By the time Janus had made it back to Rho to share his report with the Chapter, the Tarot were already being consulted back on Terra. While the Chapter Master was still reviewing Maeleths report for submission to the Chapter Librarium, the orders were returned from the High Lords: Janus Maeleth was to be promoted to lead a training cadre in the formation of a new Chapter meant to stall the xenos invasion. Terra had confirmed an impending threat from the subsectors surrounding Akuze and now meant to rely on Maeleths experience to defend Imperial space. Janus led the training cadre to the subsector of Akuze, where they began to recruit from the young colonial world of Shanxi. There they took the name of Cerberus, bound to guard the Imperium forever with watchful eyes in every direction. After nearly four decades leading and training neophytes, building up its arsenal, and maturing the necessary organs and gene-seed while the Chapter slowly grew, no sign of the fleet that Maeleth claimed destroyed his brothers ever appeared. The Sons of Unity soon withdrew from their successor. Kahoku hadnt trusted Janus ever since his return, and for all those years his report from Akuze remained under scrutiny. The two Chapters had cut ties before the first Cerberus marine donned Power Armor. Imperial authorities showed no concern or suspicion, relying not on the report of one Marine, but on the divination of the Tarot. It had promised a threat would rise from the Akuze subsector, and the Cerberus Chapter was the answer. Home World Assigned Home World: Shanxi Shanxis history in the Imperiums records is a small, tragic footnote. It had been colonized barely more than three centuries prior to the organization of the Cerberus Chapter, and enjoyed notoriety for housing the growing force. Colonists favored the world for having Adeptus Astartes protectors, although no colonist was ever allowed to see or interact with a Cerberus Marine. For several decades after the founding, Shanxi enjoyed unparalleled peace. After that, according to Imperial record, Shanxi was abruptly attacked and almost purged of life by an unknown xenos fleet which retreated only at the appearance of a sizeable Sons of Unity strike fleet. Why the Sons of Unity were in the area remains unknown, but they only opened communication with the colonial refugees upon learning that the Cerberus Chapter appeared to have been destroyed in its youth, leaving only the remains of a single Gladius frigate and a few attack craft destroyed by the xenos scattered in decaying orbit. Refugee accounts reported enormous plumes of flame erupting from the facilities of the fledgling Chapter, and indeed no corpse was found in the planetary fortress or the derelict fleet craft that was not charred beyond recognition. In time, Shanxis population recovered, but their pride never did, and the world has since been largely forgotten. Meanwhile, sector and segmentum authorities were left to wonder if the near loss of Shanxi was the threat Cerberus had been founded to forestalland if the Chapter had simply been doomed to destruction from the start. Second Home World: Akuze In truth Shanxi was only another ploy by Janus. The planets invaders had been enticed into attacking the planet by transmissions from the new Chapter Master. Sacrificing a few of the new marines and neophytes, as well as the frigate, the remaining Cerberus Marines departed Shanxi during the battle, and returned to Akuze. The planet had not been recolonized, but declared a death world. It had barely been habitable before, largely a rocky, mountainous mass with a sandy surface ill-suited for anything but small scale mining. From orbit Maeleth ordered the destruction of the dens of the serpentine creatures that had laid the groundwork for his plan all those years ago. For a little more than a century after, Akuze was the home of Cerberus. Potential recruits were kidnapped from surrounding systems and brought back for testing and induction, though Maeleth stopped the creation of additional marines well before the Chapter reached full codex strength. One final time, the Cerberus Chapter took to the stars, destroying their facilities, purging records and leaving no trace of their stay on Akuze. The Fleet: Despite abandoning any kind of homeworld, the Chapter is not confined to its fleet, which is modest in size. The Chapter maintains fairly rooted local bases wherever its cells operate. Most of the Chapters marines are concentrated in roving fleet detachments with the highest ranking marine overseeing two to three operations, which are largely staffed and run by serfs. Battle Barge: Anadius Strike Cruiser: Western Maw, Crimson Maw, Winter Maw, Fang of Orthus, Charon, Penumbra Apex, Strobilos Key Worlds: Cord-Hislop- Secret Manufactorum/Serf recruitment Eldfell Ashworld- Warp->Population experiment, Imperial Freighter Ter Alan Combat Doctrine The Cerberus Chapter is well and truly divergent from their progenitors. Where the Sons of Unity fight cohesively in sizeable forces and use codex organization, Cerberus troops often fight in thin and independent units, sometimes no larger than a combat squad. The Chapters cell organization has led to Cerberus Marines being accustomed to limited communication. In battle, the spread of squads will often use long ranged attacks to probe enemy weaknesses. Upon finding one, the squads redeploy with those facing stiffer resistance giving ground in order to support the rest of the force in striking the weak point. Often, by the time an enemy realizes that their targets have not retreated, but flanked them, it is too late for a counter. When two or more cells fight together, one commander will preside and give broad orders which squad leaders are free to accomplish as they see fit, making the force as a whole unpredictable. Cerberus strategies revolve around being rapid, and untouchable; altogether elusive, with only the rarest applications of brute force. Because there goals are best served by anonymity, large scale combat actions are rarely undertaken, and never alongside allies outside the Chapter. They do not employ devastator squads or battle tanks and have few transports. Through extensive research they have adopted a unique brand of Dreadnought known as the Atlas, which make use of highly modular chassis to house and conceal data cores. These have greatly aided in protecting Chapter data stores by giving them both mobility and defenses, but also made them the Chapters most important relics. Organization Current Chapter Master: Janus Maeleth- The Chapter Master lives up to the title by which the Chapter serfs identify him: the Illusive Man. Maeleth and Captain Corei disappeared in pursuit of an artifact less than a half a century after the Chapter left Akuze. Now almost six hundred years later, as the Sons of Unity become not only increasingly aware, but also more threatening of the Chapters operations, Maeleth and Corei have returned, claiming to have been enlightened by a sojourn in the warp. The brothers Arterius, who had shared leadership of Cerberus after the demise of the previous Master, insisted only on the tests of genetic purity, after which they relinquished command. Maeleths actions since then have managed to steer the Chapter away from the searchlight of the Sons, but the danger is still there. Masters/Company Captains: Master of Sanctity: Rei Ashe- Brother-Chaplain Ashe most often appears at the head of joint cell operations. He is the first among the Chapters Chaplains to have envisioned the threat posed by their parent Chapter, and has been personally responsible for multiple successful evasions. Forge/Fleet: Saren Arterius- A deadly void strategist, Arterius is sure to be present if elements of Cerberus fleet engage the enemy above atmosphere. In a juxtaposition of doctrine, Arterius will almost always attempt to maximize firepower and outnumber the enemy if possible. The sizeable fleet at the Chapters disposal complements this tactic. Saren led the Chapter for almost a century before Maeleths return. Apothecarion: Astrico Nurinos- Most frequently found working with the research Cell, the Chief Apothecary and his drastic methods are responsible for reviving the first marines from the Sleeping Death. Chief Librarian/Research Cell: Kai Lanius (Chapter Librarians, cerca. 75 Marines) The Research Cell is formed largely by Chapter serfs, who are mostly scientists, or medical personnel plucked from the elite of a number of worlds the Chapter has encountered. They are responsible for the maintenance and guard of stored gene-seed as well as finding ways to implement technology recovered through the efforts of the Artifact Cell. Working in concert with serfs of the Armory Cell, the Librarium pioneered advancements in the free-form power fields used in Sons of Unity digital weapons, leading to the mass distribution of effective power bayonets. Lanius delegates most recording and research duties to his understudies and prefers to oversee the testing of the Cells experiments, usually in combat. Notable Librarians: Paulus Grayson Telon Vasir Armory Cell: Don Pelos-Red (cerca. 250 Marines) When Cerberus deploys in force, it is the Armory Cell and Don Pelos that lead them. Pelos is a savage combatant with a more earnest hatred for xenos than most, including the Chapter Master, and also the first Armory Cell commander to lead the Chapter into battle against loyalist forceswho happened to be the Sons of Unity. The cell is divided into five equal groups led by sub-commanders. Pelos tends to depend on these and the squad leaders to execute appropriate tactics, as the Cell commander is only satisfied at the heart of battle, or personally maintaining the Chapters arsenal. Maeleths Personal Cell: Evarus Corei-White (cerca. 50 Marines) The highest rank a Cerberus marine can attain is to serve in the Chapter Masters personal Cell. These marines may be veterans of a thousand battles, but under Corei they spend most of their time coordinating the operations of other Cells. Corei remains silent as to the details of his time in the warp, and on the battlefield maintains the same icy demeanor. When Maeleths Cell takes to the field, it is an ill omen for the enemy indeed. Infiltration Cell: Fairn Drellius-Black (cerca. 25 Marines, 75-175 Scouts) As part of the second most active Cell, the troops under Fairn Drellius command are spread across many sectors. The missions handed down to them are frequently political espionage and politically motivated assassinations, though they serve just as well on the battlefield. The Infiltration Cell employs most of the Chapters serfs as secret emissaries to dignitaries, planetary governors and any potential allies or benefactors to the cause of The Illusive Man the serfs purport to serve. Maeleth goes to great lengths to put such players into power, and in return the Chapter has a significant flow of resources outside that of official channels and eyes spanning almost an entire Segmentum. Artifact Cell: Desolas Arterius-Yellow (cerca. 200 Marines) Desolas appeared particularly pleased to resume command of the Artifact Cell when the Chapter Master returned. The primary functioning Cerberus Cell, ordained to scour the galaxy for anything and everything that can aid in humanitys advancement, it has never seen more success than the years since Maeleth reappeared. These artifacts usually take the form of xenos tech, and usually must first be acquired from xenos possession. Artifact marines tend to be the most experienced in combat in the Chapter, but also have acquired substantial knowledge both of technologies and cultures. The debriefings following every operation are almost as important as the work itself, and protecting that knowledge is held as a sacred duty. Cell Operations: The Cells operate as independently as possible, with the Armory Cell being the most cooperative. Outside that, Cerberus fanatically guards their knowledge and, as often as possible, their identity from any and all organizations in or outside the Imperium. When private communication is necessary, steganographic messages are sent embedded in otherwise ordinary Imperial broadcasts. The ability to decipher these messages rests solely with marines, as no serf could be trusted to keep quiet if captured. Operation Shingle: Aimed at adapting varied Imperial assets, especially military resources, for Cerberus use. High value objectives are focused on assets and materials previously held exclusive by other Imperial organizations or Astartes Chapters. Op initiated by the capture of a Callidus assassin. Operation Phoenix: Attempts to awake/expand psyker abilities in different subjects. Eldfell turned to ashen Deathworld. Operation Doorway: Imperial citizens in useful positions across multiple sectors disappear, to be replaced by Chapter serfs, providing intel on local governments and cults both helpful and harmful. Essential in the subterfuge of the Blue Sons cult, whose radical beliefs culminated in an attempted mass sacrifice to reincarnate the Emperor from the Warp. Zero loyalist casualties. Indoctrination: The hypnotherapy of Cerberus marines extends beyond conditioning them against the horrors of war, but also subtly altering their attitudes, enhancing their loyalty, and ensuring no conflict of ideals with the Chapters oftentimes questionable methods. It is rumored among Chapter serfs that xenos tech may be used to achieve this end. Beliefs Since Janus original manifesto against the xenos, the Chapters views have evolved into the same. Xenos civilizations are seen as obstructions to humanitys progress, useful only for providing mankind with the resources and technology necessary to advance. The Chapter venerates knowledge only. Through the Chaplains, Janus has taught that the Emperor is no more, that while he was the pinnacle of humankind in his time, he will not return. Humanity must carve its own path in the galaxy, but is ill equipped to do so. The Cerberus Chapter is their strong arm, the one force truly looking out for mans best interests. To this end, life is a resource which sometimes must be sacrificed. To achieve its ends, the Chapter will overthrow an Imperial Governor or assassinate an Inquisitor in a heartbeat if they believe them to be a hindrance to the Chapters strength, believing that strength for Cerberus is strength for humanity. Unlike most imperial organizations, xenos tech is not abhorred but treasured and studied by the Chapter, who believe it is the key to ensuring mankinds dominance in the galaxy. The Chapter has cells researching Mind Impulse Unit applications, teams in every corner of two Segmentums searching for STCs, and machine cults working constantly at reverse engineering useful xenos tech. Much of this technology finds its way onto the battlefield, with frequent use of plasma and power weapons, and every scouts first weapon is the sniper rifle. The most frequent meeting of Cells are the Armory and Artifact contingents, the former often ensuring the security of the latter as lost relics and potentially useful tech is hunted down for the Chapters collection and study. Gene-seed Though still bearing the Sus-an Membrane failure known to the Sons of Unity as the Sleeping Death, the Cerberus Chapter has made far greater strides towards curing the condition. While their progenitors study and seek to cure the Sleeping Death within Imperial sanctioned parameters, the Cerberus Chapter cannot be burdened with such restrictions and much of its research devoted to correcting the Sus-ans forced coma is of questionable nature. Maeleth brought with him startling biotech research when he returned, which jumped the cure process centuries ahead of what Chapter Apothecaries had projected. Only seventy years ago, the first activation of the body of a comatose marine occurred, under the direction of Apothecary Nurinos. It appears, though that much of the mind is still beyond awakening, and the process produces little more than numb and volatile shock troops. The current technology of the Imperium has limited the research significantly. Unperturbed, Nurinos has approved many of these awakened marines for combat duty, and they have proved brutally efficient in the field. Battle-cry Battlecry: Humanity Prevails! Motto: Semper Vigilus Chapter Badge art of http://guardianoftheforce.deviantart.com/ wallpaper.
  7. The Sons of Unity Space Marines Chapter Origins It is a well-documented truth that during the foundings following the 21st a great deal of extra care was taken to ensure not only the purity of the genetic material used in producing new Chapters, but also to guarantee the faith and worth of recruits. Too long had the worlds of the Imperium waned under the ever growing xenos menace. Chaos continued to spread while the Emperor's Angels of Death spent their precious blood to stem its advance. During the next millennium, countless marines fell in glorious combat, defending mankind. The weakened reaches of the Imperium needed to be reforged and made strong again. So during the 23rd founding when orders were handed down from the seats of Terra to raise a new Chapter in the Dominion of Storms, Imperial agents could hardly have been happier to receive the reports of the Rho system. At the head of a coalition of smaller systems they call the Systems Alliance, the Rhoans claimed that their world could bring honor to a Chapter as its home world. Further investigation by a joint commission from Terra and Mars confirmed the hive world's claim. At the heart of the Dominion of Storms, Rho was ideally placed to house a Chapter of Space Marines. In the following decades preparations were made, and geneseed sought after. Here, problems began to occur. The initial batch of gene-seed, which records indicate was supplied by a successor of the Salamanders, vanished enroute to Rho, leaving no trace. After this the Chapter whose tithe had now been lost refused to provide any more genetic material. Between the late hour of the founding and the sheer volume of Adeptus Astartes already raised, support for the ordained Chapter started to dwindle. It was then that the gene-seed of the zealous Shadow Wolves fell into consideration. A proud example of Adeptus Astartes of Imperial Fists stock, the Shadow Wolves were more than willing to sire a Chapter, and from their stores a supply was formed. The Chapter's Master of the Forge was chosen to lead the training cadre, and with the blessing of the High Lords and the Emperor, the force set out to answer the needs of Man. Arriving on Rho, the training cadre found a world truly ripe for the birth of an Adeptus Astartes Chapter. The people of Rho were united, but had done so through their militancy. They had spawned a deeply disciplined and stringent society, and formed chains of command as much in their social structure as in their local military force, which until then had been largely devoted to supplying and manning nearby Guard formations. Provided with the great honor and responsibility of a Chapter of Space Marines reinforced their ideals, and they looked upon their world as truly blessed by the Emperor. Their education was strongly infused with military doctrine, their environment produced hardy children, and their dedication to the Emperor was unquestionable. Stefan Hacaitus, the new Chapter Master, made sure to personally oversee the first selection of recruits, and as they stood at attention beneath his calm gaze, he announced to the initiates and their people the name of their protectors. They would honor the symbol of their people, and be known ever after as the Sons of Unity Chapter. As the attending crowd exploded into cheers and celebration, the compliment of Neophytes overpowered them, bellowing the first sounding of the Chapter Battlecry, led by their Sergeants: "Strong alone! Stronger together!" History Throughout their history, the Sons of Unity have become known not only for their skill with combined arms, but also for the stigma of cooperating with xenos on numerous occasions. Specific records are spotty, but show that in nearly any instance where multiple factions have joined battle and a xenos foe has extended an offer of alliance in favor of crushing a common enemy, the Sons of Unity have accepted, and there have even been rumors that the Sons themselves have been the first to open communication. Such rumors are stifled where possible, but their shadow remains. As can be expected, there have been times when this has backfired and it has cost the Chapter dearly. On one particular occasion the Chapter allied with the elusive Eldar, whose Craftworld was hastening through their space to fulfill its own enigmatic objectives even as a tide of Orks descended on the system. Whatever the Eldar sought, it appeared they could not afford a long campaign against the green horde, and offered to aid the Sons of Unity in cleansing their home system. The Eldar, following their own unintelligible battle plans, were nearly impossible to coordinate with and despite successfully putting down the Ork threat, the companies involved suffered heavy losses. When Sergeants of the Sons of Unity attempted to detain the Eldar after the battle for debriefing, they were cut down as the Craftworld sought to continue its mad pace out of the system. In retribution the then Chapter Master, Davian Androssen, engaged the Eldar navy and cut a swathe to the Craftworld itself. Eventually the Eldar escaped with their fleet all but decimated, but not before again inflicting painful casualties on Unity forces and subjecting more marines to the Sleeping Death. Androssens masterful maneuvers with the fleet earned him the nickname Admiral among the locals. At the same time, systems belonging to other nearby xenos faction, and even former allies, began to foolishly entertain ideas of expansion. The danger posed prevented the Chapter from pursuing full justice on the Eldar. The efforts of the local xenos were eventually halted by Unity QRFs, and in the atmosphere of bloodlust, certain voices within the Chapter called for the exterminatus of these lesser races, but Androssen would not permit an action that would completely extinguish a race without an edict from the High Lords of Terra themselves. Admiral Androssens fame spread throughout fleets and navies in nearby sectorsbut his authority within the Chapter was irreparably cracked. It wasnt long before Androssen stepped down, but his legacy continues to be felt as the Sons of Unity became markedly more adept at employing Thunderhawk formations after transposing the his tactics.The consequences of the Eldar incident and the xenos incursions that followed were the defining challenges of the next Chapter Masters career. Despite being relatively new to the Veteran Company, Brother Kahoku, another very skilled void strategist, was elevated to lead the Sons of Unity. Special Hatred of Chaos (Reapers) Mistrust of Successor Chapter Home World Rho is an ocean hive world the Dominion of Storms, roughly between Tangar and Jhenna. There are a few small landmasses composed only of bare rock, and from and around the largest of these are the hive cities created. Contrary to most hives, the more luxurious portions(Or what passes for it among the spartan Rhoans) are deeper in the rock, beneath the waves, and include many transparisteel halls and rooms branching out into the deep, some of which are actually quite ornate. Above these, just out of reach of the tides and waves are the usual manufactorums and industrial districts, with the higher portions of the hives dominated by defensive bastions. On and below the water's surface the Rhoans employ gargantuan craft that house, train, and deploy their military forces. The largest of these constitute mobile planetary defense platforms whose ability to disappear beneath the sea have made the planet quite a fortress in its hostile sector. Indeed, all of Rhos most vital tech, its leadership, and most Sons of Unity facilities are hidden beneath the planets oceans. The Fortress Monastery of the Chapter is known as the Valley Citadel. The only valleys on the planet are the underwater trenches, and it is in the widest of these that the bulk of the Citadel is housed. Protected from direct attack by melta-type depth charges and torpedo emplacements, and guarded against indirect approach by one of the planets defense platforms and a suite of early warning and targeting systems housed on Rhos moon, there are few better defended strongholds for lightyears. The Apothecarion is separated from the Monastery, making use of multiple of the Rhoans submarine housing craft to stay spread out and hidden among the many other trenches crisscrossing the ocean floor. Rho is not without mysteries of its own, though. Artifacts have been uncovered in a number of places beneath the surface indicating that the system, or at least the planet was inhabited long before the humans' first arrival, though any actual record of a civilization has yet to be discovered. Recruitment All recruiting for the Sons of Unity is done on Rho, though it isn't required that recruits be native. The other systems in the Alliance frequently send children of Imperial Guardsmen to the planet for teaching and training, and these have the same opportunity to become recruits, though they must pass the same stringent tests to do so. While not always as successful as the native children of Rho, all the worlds of the Alliance have provided valuable lifeblood to the Chapter over the millennia. Gone Fishing Its said that the current Master of the Arsenal, Urdnos Rex, was confronted by a deep sea Parauc-Uda as he descended. Long, lithe monsters whose throats are lined with teeth as keen as a chainswords, and maws large enough to engulf a marine whole, they are the dominant predators on the planet, only hunted by the humans when they become a danger to their ships. If record is to be believed, Rex escaped the creatures first lunge and destroyed one of its eyes with his stone. Leaving the writhing beast to finish his task, the great fish came after him, catching up as he laid hands on the gauntlet. A deadly dance ensued as Rex retreated towards land and air while the Parauc continued to strike and harass him. Meters from the surface the beast made one final lunge at the very moment Rex discovered the use of the omni-blade contained in the gauntlet which he used to spear the predator through the other eye. That Rex returned to the surface with a dead Parauc-Uda in tow is indisputable, and he frequently makes himself present at trials to tell the tale. The process is grueling, as with any other Space Marine recruitment programme, and plays largely into the world's ocean surface. A common test sends the recruits to one of the few beaches on the planet with a more or less steady descent rather than a drop off, and entrusting each with a stone large enough only to weigh them down. Stripped of any equipment or protection, they are required to navigate along the sea floor, allowed to return only after retrieving a relic of the Chapter placed there for the purpose of the test. Participants are frequently forced to defend themselves from the marauding ocean life using only the boulder given them and their wits, or if the recruit is fortunate enough to be making the return journey, he may taste the might of the Astartes using the power armor gauntlet each successful aspirant must retrieve, equipped with the digital weapons unique to Unity Marines. Successful initiates join the Scout company for a minimum tour of ten years, during which they are exposed to the doctrines of the other specialist companies and assessed for transfer. Combat Doctrine Sons of Unity warfare is, naturally, cooperative warfare, units and brothers working in close coordination with one another to dismantle a threat. To speed the process along, the Chapter employs swift strikes, often by surprise and tends to use more force than is generally deemed necessary. This doctrine stems from the old maritime actions of the Rhoans, where a victorious battle depended on the speed with which a force could bring to bear its armaments, or, if possible, a surprise maneuver on the open water. To these ends the Sons of Unity make extensive use of their Assault Marines and advance their Tactical squads using Rhinos. There is a high proportion of vehicles in the Sons' companies as is common amongst Dorns successors, simply because those marines who are native Rhoans are well adapted to being inside a plasteel shell with a deck of some kind beneath their feet, and are well known for their attunement to a vehicle's machine spirit. Ranged and armored combat is preferred by the Sons, though the importance of hand-to-hand is not lost on them. As skilled tacticians, Unity Marines recognize that the best application of a close assault is to wipe out an enemy unit already withered by concentrated fire. The combined arms of tactical squads and ranged heavy support of devastator squads have a valuable place in every applicable Sons strategy. The principle shortcoming of the Chapter's combat operations, at least as viewed by outsiders, is how easily they allow those operations to be interrupted by extractions and rescue missions. Every marine of the Sons of Unity is loathe to leave a fallen brother behind; to do so is more than a dishonor to a fallen comrade, but to his squad, his company, and tantamount to friendly fire in severity. Preservation of troops is favorable to noble last stands, a philosophy adopted as much from the Shadow Wolves as the Rhoans for whom it has historically been considered an act of the highest depravity to leave someone, even an enemy, to drown in the ocean's waves. Rarely are Unity tactics applied to pitched warfare. Instead, commanding officers are expected to analyze every combat situation when possible to determine the best approach and timing for a precision attack, and the Chapter is not above well placed ambushes or small team infiltrations, though these must be performed by Scouts. Plans are made based on an ideal force size, and then usually a smaller secondary detachment is added to provide backup. Among the Sons, those functionaries frequently referred to in other chapters as serfs often include high ranking military officers and strategists from Rhos upper echelons, who volunteer service, often permanently. Their roles vary from simply receiving and prioritizing orders and requests from the surrounding systems and Terra, to occasionally even aiding in the strategic planning of attacks. Organization Current Chapter Master: Atlas Shepard Masters/Company Captains: Master of Sanctity: Thane Krios- As devout a Chaplain as can be found in such a dark galaxy, Thane lives for his brothers. He ensures that penances are not only paid, but that every marine understands that any sacrifice they make is of no consequence if it is not in the service of the Emperor and His people. If its not a suicide mission Here, The Forge Masters finger highlighted a part of the Tau ship below the engines, Its an emergency induction port, meant to deliver coolant to the reactors should they go critical, though it should be empty right now. Talius explained. The glowing orange halo of his servo-skull adjutant dimmed as it let the hologram flicker and fade, and when Zorah spoke again the Chapter Master was sure he heard a smile in his voice, Time it right and youll get in undetectedjust behind their battlesuit deployment bays. Forge Master: Talius Zorah- Forge Master Zorah is among the most proficient engineers in the Imperium, said to be able to assemble almost any piece of STC equipment, even tanks, without the aid of a template. With an extensive knowledge of the workings of multiple ship classes, both Imperial and Xenos, Zorahs expertise has proved a valuable tactical resource on many occasions. Apothecarion: Mordin Solus - Chief Apothecary Solus rarely leaves Rho, and is almost always at work with his prot
  8. Well as I paint up my models, I hope I can get some suggestions from the painting vets here, considering my rookie status. The last models I painted before these were from my Tau, at least two years ago, so I'm excited to be back in the saddle. Last word of introduction: My table top force will frequently feature units from different Chapter's of mine, and even some not mine just because I love the scheme so much, hence the Cameo army. For now, all I've got is some Sons of Unity, the bulk of my current Combat Patrol. They're still needing a lot of touching up, especially for lenses, but I'm pretty happy with them so far. Enjoy! Suggestions on painting, photographing, or conquering the galaxy readily welcome! These were my first test scheme models, the force originally meant to be of the third company. After changing to second company, the sergeant of the 6th squad: A look at the, eh...shoulder drape thing(help?), one of my first attempts at using an ink/wash: Captain Kirrahe, drawing the line with his blade, my first attempt at a power weapon: I tried to save him for last when I was feeling more reacquainted with painting. He was sort of a gift from a buddy, because I went so long without playing my little marine force since I had no commander. Sergeant of the 8th squad, 's got something on his nose: Shield came out so nicely(pf, hard to mess up), I'm almost afraid to mar it with a Chapter Symbol: The 8th squad(so far): Half of the 6th squad (there's an assault combat squad and a marksman combat squad, but I forgot to organize them that way). To the left of the Sergeant is his right hand man, the marine with the tommy boltgun. I'm sad because I can no longer remember the bit I used to make the drum barrel, and I really want to convert more of those: The rest of the squad, including the marksman sergeant. The rocket marine is pinned/magnetized to double as a bolter marine, because I'm pretty obsessed with having my options: So that's the force so far. If you look close, you can see there are a lot of parts I forgot to paint, and lots to retouch, but it was more fun than I remember it being, so no big deal. One unlucky marksman marine missed the photo op because he was on the second row of minis in the case and went overlooked XD, but it's a full Tac Squad. Their rhino is primed, but so is the Cerberus Atlas Dreadnought(Still haven't thought of an interesting way to convert those), and as Cerberus is going to be my main army, I'm itching to start it. Anyway, hope those are enjoyable, more coming just as soon as I, eh, motivate myself!
  9. Index Traitoris The Thornbacks Origins Barren "There is no deeper meaning, Iron Brother." Semesius interjected coldly as he examined the inner workings of his right hand. A slow smile spread on his face as he caught a glimpse of an ironical tear glistening on the inquiring marine's face, "Hm, the weak lean on meaning. Inancas showed us that. In time you will overcome it," he clenched his bionic fist, testing servos and gears, "or become just another weakness for us to remove." Among the later Chapters created during the 25th founding of the Adeptus Astartes was a successor Chapter of the Red Talons known as the White Hawks, created to crusade the fringes of Segmentum Pacificus. Though the Chapter's centuries of service were honorable, the White Hawks did not endure a millennium. Their downfall, caused from within, was rooted in the Chapter's founding. The same reading of the Emperor's tarot that called for the new Chapter made an unusual specification: the founding Chapter Master was to be the Red Talons' youngest first company veteran. A handful within the training cadre, led by one Captain Iacomas Inancas, was vehemently opposed to the tarot's appointment of Chapter Master. The marine indicated by the tarot was known as Agreus Nomios. If records are to be believed, Nomios was the youngest inductee to the Red Talons' first company. The subject largely of awe and respect turned to one of disbelief, and suspicion when the training cadre was informed, but as soldiers, and brothers, the remaining marines fell in. As the Chapter grew through the decades, there was no outward sign of disquiet, but as the decades stretched into centuries, with each passing act by the Chapter Master, the malcontent grew in certain hearts. What Nomios and his faithful brothers called adaptation and welcome change, Inancas claimed to be the trampling of their gene-fathers' traditions beneath their boots. What Inancas called the preservation of their gene-legacy, Nomios regarded as undermining authority. Even so, Inancas swayed many marines, both veteran and neophyte, with a silver tongue. What had started as little more than collective mistrust of the Chapter Master grew into a vitriolic hate shared by an ever growing following. The situation came to a head during an oratory by Nomios broadcast to the entire fleet as it made its way to a new battlezone as the fleet passed a temperate deathworld known as Direita II. Few remember what words were actually said. Some believe Nomios suggested that the traditions of their primogenitors contradicted the true wishes of the Primarch. Others justify what happened next by claiming that Nomios decried the Talons and the Iron Hands as fools with heretical beliefs. Whatever the words, the result was almost immediate, and some still say it was the plan all along. Ships loyal to Captain Inancas broke formation, and cut off communication with the rest of the fleet. Those marines loyal to Nomios that found themselves on traitor vessels were taken by surprise and quickly subdued, while on the other ships, marines under Inancas were inciting chaos with sabotage and ambushes, ensuring that their deaths would cost the loyalists dearly. Civil war erupted. Many of those that remained at the Chapter Master's side were the skilled pilots for which the White Hawks were reputed, while those that followed Inancas were more from the assault elements, favoring bloody boarding actions and personal combat. Within minutes, fleet guns had been turned on former brothers. The element of surprise gave Captain Inancas' smaller fleet time to concentrate fire on the Monastery Barge, the Black Castle, crippling its weapons and engines and setting it adrift. The battle raged for little more than a day and night above the planet. The Black Castle was soon caught in the planet's gravity, and pulled from the sky even as repairs to its engines were being completed. In the rest of the fleet, Nomios' pilots had not been able to hold back Inancas' assaults, and several loyalist ships were captured with the help of those traitors still on board, while a number of others were scuttled by the loyalists to keep them out of enemy hands. Their staggering losses notwithstanding, a strike team of Nomios' most trusted brothers, along with the Chapter Master himself, infiltrated Inancas' ship, the Void Rogue and attacked him on its bridge. Captain Inancas challenged Nomios to a duel, discarding all his weapons except a combat knife. Nomios accepted, but as the duel went on, it began to turn in the traitor Captain's favor. Raging as his own blade was knocked away, Nomios landed a punch on the soft armor beneath Inancas' raised arm and triggered hidden digital weapons, a burst lazer that all but removed Inancas' right arm. The Captain had enough time to claim Nomios an unworthy coward before his throat was slit by his own knife. Nomios and his marines abandoned the ship after locking into a crash course with the planet. Their attack, however, did not go unnoticed. Inancas had dispatched his own team before being cornered, and the bomb on Nomios' Thunderhawk detonated spectacularly as it made its escape from the Void Rogue. At that point, the scales tipped in favor of the traitors. Though they died fighting to a man, every loyalist ship was blasted into fiery rain over the plains of the planet below. The victory of the traitors, though complete, had come at a bitter cost, and marooned them with much of the Chapter's wargear and remaining gene-seed trapped on the planet's surface. At first, Direita II was hostile, as it had evolved to be, dangerous even to Space Marines. In time, though, the remaining traitors came to master it and call it home. Now under the command of Inancas' right hand, a former Captain known as Semesius the Disinherited, traitor remnants of the White Hawks have begun to grow once more. Casting aside their old identity, they now call themselves the Thornbacks, a name adopted from the planet's deadliest predators. Homeworld "This world, untainted, it is the perfect challenge of our might. It has bred strength. It will do the same for us." ~Sergeant of Recruits, Omester Direita II is a world roughly similar to ancient Terra, with geographic diversity and a multitude of accompanying climes. The White Hawks' War not only showered vast areas with debris, but several of the Chapter's ships are still buried in its surface. The Thornbacks have concentrated themselves around the remains of the Black Castle and the Void Rogue which both fell in a marshy region between a large river and the planet's single great ocean. The Thornbacks have since discovered small pockets of native humans, tribals that manage to survive on the knife's edge of life on Direita II. The planet earned its classification as a deathworld for two primary reasons. A toxic mineral laced throughout the planet's crust has rendered it undesirable for colonization. The mineral, known to natives as 'skull rock' for its coloration and recognizable deep pock markings, often releases lethal hallucinogenic dust residue into the air, making it unbreathable by any but the Space Marines until it is subdued by the rains. Due in part to this, the natives usually settle in the forests or swamps in elevated or treetop communities, where the dust is both less likely to penetrate, and too heavy to rise. The only real guarantee of safety is to avoid the surface deposits, and these areas have been avoided by the tribes for generations. The raised dwellings are also necessary to escape from the planet's dominant life, the Aoulef, a native term combining the words for pebble and man. Named for their scaly, ridged backs, the pebble men are four legged reptiles of immense size and brutal strength. With jaws up to half as long as their considerable bodies, and keen senses, Semesius' scouts have encountered these predators hunting in every environment on the planet except the barren mountains. They hunt in large family groups led by a single elder. These particularly ancient beasts are believed by the tribes to be immortal, and their distinctly more weathered hides give them their name: thorned men. These are the beasts that now serve as the traitors' name and symbol. Apparently immune to the toxic dust, and with bottomless appetites, these predators have been attributed to the disappearance of more than one careless recruit. Worse still, as the most fertile part of the planet, the swamps are host to the yearly mating migration of the pebble men. As a result, both the tribes and the traitors must also endure the yearly influx of predators. This is the greatest trial of the natives, for when the hunger of the reptiles reaches its zenith, as many as fifty of the beasts may converge on potential prey. This has taught the natives a degree of patience to rival that of the creatures themselves, as a wrong movement can endanger an entire settlement. Recruitment Induction The recruit roared in pain and defiance at the stump of his right hand, twisting away from the chained form of the snapping predator as the echoes his cry filled the chamber. The Apothecary quickly lifted the blood spattered neophyte, kicking away the still-seeking maw with a ceramite boot as he led away his charge. In the hundred years since the war with the White Hawks, the Thornbacks have cultivated a healthy gene-seed supply, largely as a result of paranoid self preservation. A portion of the surviving gene-seed was immediately given over to implantation, both to replenish the supply and to reinforce the remaining traitors. Those native tribals deemed pure enough made excellent recruits. Their knowledge of the planet's dangers was invaluable, and evolutionary mutations that had strengthened them against the lethal mineral dust resulted in marines with powerful lungs who have even influenced the Thornbacks' strategies and tactics. Unfortunately, the hazardous environment has also caused countless minor mutations among many of the natives, and for the most part the Thornbacks find them unfit for dedicated recruiting. Their preferred source is for recruits is Trinovantum, previously the hiveworld from which the White Hawks recruited. With a simple lie, the citizens of Trinovantum have never questioned the abrupt change in livery of their supposed custodians. The recruitment process includes many common Astartes tests of skill and strength, but when it comes times for recruits to receive the traditional bionic right hand replacement, the brutal nature of Semesius and his men becomes much more apparent. A number of pebblebacks, as the marines call them, are captured and blinded. Even blind pebblebacks can survive in the wild, and they hunt by simply opening their mouths while partially or fully hidden underwater, and waiting. Their mouths and tongues are highly sensitive, and at the slightest touch from a foreign object, be it a fish or a log, the powerful jaws snap shut, easily cleaving through its prey. The specimens kept by the Thornbacks are used in a ritual 'amputation' in which recruits are made to sit beside the chained beasts, and hold their hand between its open jaws. At the first drop of sweat that falls, the deed is done. Combat Doctrine Lurkers Vile The fishing village's sturdy docks had been largely destroyed in battle, the remaining one tightly held by the planet's PDF. It was their one reliable method of getting troops across the lake after the attack on the airfield. The tiny fishing port had to be held. In the still dimness of dawn, a single guardsman stood watch at the pier's end, while his compatriots huddled around a fire a hundred meters away on land. Slowly, silently, a bald head studded with metal rose from the water just outside the guardsman's field of vision, followed by broad shoulders. The Scout's hands rose just as slowly stopping about a foot above the surface. A twitch of a finger on his mechanical right sent the signal. The shot came from across the lake, taking the guardsman in the chest without a sound. He careened backwards into the Scout's waiting hands and disappeared beneath the surface. Below the water, dozens of yellow helmet optics blinked into life, moving towards the surface. Still comparatively small and with limited supplies, the Thornbacks do not involve themselves in major engagements with their enemies, but like the pebblebacks, will lie in wait and ambush vulnerable targets. Direita II neighbors one subsector with an Imperial colony, which has more than once been raided, and within a radius of only a few sectors are another colony, and an Astartes recruiting world. While all are appealing targets, the latter is the preferred victim of Thornback raids. The small size of their fleet enables a certain degree of stealth, which they use to surgically pick apart defenses and extract materiel and prisoners from their victims. This is of utmost importance to the renegades. While the obscurity of their homeworld has afforded them a good deal of security, they are all too conscious that drawing the full attention of the Imperium would be their undoing. With a combination of small numbers, and attacking isolated targets, they have been able to prosecute their grudge against the Imperium without bringing ruin on themselves. Though the Imperium has thorough documentation of the piracy plaguing the region, some of it even suggesting that rogue astartes are responsible, they still haven’t been able to pinpoint a source. More often than not, the Thornbacks will take only the few resources valuable to them, as they consider the true prize the opportunity to attack recruitment pools for loyalist forces. Under Semesius' direction more than one settlement has been razed to the ground leaving many a grieving parent, and not a single child, the precious youth whisked away to Direita II and an uncertain fate. Their preferred strategy for attacking ground targets is to make use camouflaging elements, particularly grasslands and local bodies of water. To maintain the element of surprise, landings may be made miles from targets so as to approach submerged. Scouts, especially those native to Direita II, are highly skilled at killing unseen from the water, and softening or marking targets for a Thornback assault. To further conceal their activity and movements, the renegades will often adopt the tactics and livery of loyal Astartes chapters, including the extinct White Hawks; some Thornback revel particularly in this deception, sowing dishonor and doubt among loyalists and their wards. Planetary attacks are relatively few and far between, considering the greater risk entailed, and far more often the Thornbacks simply wait for trade fleets plying the same lanes past Direita II that they once followed, and destroy or capture these. The Thornbacks maintain a marked preference for boarding actions, as the War cost them most of their armored assets, and still cripples their efforts to replenish standard supplies and even make simple power armor repairs. One venerable manufactorum ship, scuttled during the final battle of the Hawks, remains partially operational on the planet's surface. Though they haven't had any luck restoring additional systems, the Thornback carefully maintains those that do work, providing them with a steady supply of arms and ammunition. One of their most recent battle was also one of their greatest. It began as a carefully planned raid on a freshly completed orbital dock above the mining planet Magnabulum. Hoping to secure a more powerful and reliable setting to repair their ships and stage their attacks, the Thornbacks planned to seize the station before its full defenses and fleet escorts could arrive. The renegades employed every trick and tactic they had, disguising themselves as a combined force of White Hawks and Tauridae Astra, the chapter whose world the renegades sometimes raid for recruits. With the Tauridae impersonators playing the part of assigned escorts, they gained access to the station, and then subtly sabotaged control of docking bay defenses, opening the way for the larger “White Hawks” force to move in and gain a foothold. Staging a battle between the two teams, the Tauridae Thornbacks fell back deeper into the station with its other defenders, only to turn on them once inside, gaining near complete control of the station. Things were going well, until the actual defense fleet of the Imperial Navy arrived, earlier than scheduled, and with elements of the real Tauridae alongside them. Briefly the two forces clashed, but the loyalist force overwhelmingly outnumbered the renegades. Though they could hold the dogs of the Imperium at bay with the station’s defenses, they would never get away with the station, and the longer they remained, the more likely that their true identities could be exposed. Redirecting their efforts to preventing the loyalists from flanking them, a small detachment of Thornbacks penetrated deep into the station and began overloading the reactor. With a fighting retreat, the Thornbacks abandoned the orbital dock, their final escape covered by the detonation of the reactor. The field of debris remains down to the present, while the Tauridae have endured close observation from the Inquisition ever since. Though capturing the station was a failure, the results proved an unexpected boon when, scant years later, the Cicatrix Maledictum tore across the galaxy, cutting off the local loyalist forces from reliable naval repair and resupply, and leaving them exposed to more daring raids by the Thornbacks. Organization The Thornbacks very loosely maintain a loyalist Chapter organization for ground combat, with a little more than three and a half companies worth of marines to command, though the number dwindles as the years go on. Usually leadership on the battlefield is simply a continuation of leadership from a respective unit's fleet assignment. Ship 'crews' and contingents are far more strongly defined, and there is great pride among marines for their respective vessels, often with attached rivalries. Many of these associations were, and remain with, ships of the original Chapter fleet, most of which were destroyed. The most feared and respected Thornbacks were originally assigned to the Void Rogue, and though the ship will never leave the planet, those marines that truly distinguish themselves are still ceremonially inducted into its contingent. These marines now often take the lead on the Thornbacks' single working Strike Cruiser, the Cloud Gallows. Beliefs "Concern yourselves with only one thing, brothers. We must not only take and give nothing in return. We must take that which is of dearest cost to replace. Honor. Strength. Power." ~Semesius the Disinherited Semesius maintains a warped value for the purity that so concerns marines of Manus' line, believing that the truest purity is not only absent of weakness, but that which enables power. The Imperium and Adeptus Astartes appear unable to accept this 'natural truth', even the majority of the mighty Space Marines submitting to restrictive laws and imposed limits. While it is unclear if this was ever Inancas' real intent, it is preached as such. Much of the Thornbacks' beliefs revolve around the aggrandizement of Captain Inancas, and the rejection of the White Hawks, to whom is attached all the blame for the Thornbacks' situation. The Iron Brethren, similar in function to the Iron Fathers of their parent legion, teach that the Hawks were the epitome of weakness. A Chapter given power, but unable to keep it. These views are projected on the Imperium as a whole, an empire feigning unity, and losing strength because of it, a sinking ship which the Thornbacks have abandoned. Though Semisius would restrict their beliefs to simple philosophies, recruits from Direita II have such deeply embedded tribal superstitions that they almost can't function without them. As a result, most recruits, who now make use of and perpetuate the damaged gene-seed of the White Hawks, associate the gene flaw with the spirit of the dead Chapter. Gene-seed Last Drop in the Well The Iron Brother did not move, and Semesius' smile became a snarl of disgust. "If they will not be satisfied, tell them what they want to hear," It was clear he hadn't had anything particular in mind, but as he finished a sudden pensive look fell over him, and after a moment's silence he added, "Say they are the tears of the White Hawks, despairing at their failings. Their vessels are ours now, their legacy dead and ours begun. All they can do is mourn for the children of the Imperium that fall by our hand." Though the White Hawks had no flaws in their genetic material, severe damage to the gene-seed stores was sustained when the Black Castle crash landed. Much of the gene-seed was rendered useless, the loss of which was intensified by the loss of over half the Chapter. What remained has proven surprisingly resilient, though an Occulobe flaw has perpetuated to the Thornbacks as a whole, causing a yellow discoloration to the eye as well as a facial nerve degeneration that causes marines to shed tears, most frequently during combat where it is attributed to heightened adrenaline levels and the usual contorting of the face that tends to accompany battle. Some Thornbacks train themselves to be completely impassive in combat to reduce the effect. Others embrace it, intrigued by the way it can disturb and confuse outsiders who see it. Battle-cry "Our blades hunger! Give us the taste!"
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