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*Picture of Space Marines here, still WIP* "A poor hunter chases prey. A good hunter waits for it." - Chapter Master Koganeth, Champions of Athlum, M38.224 Early History: "Some battles are decided before swords are drawn" - Athlumi proverb Amongst the first Chapters created in the 18th Founding, the Champions were given clear objectives from their very inception. Sent to the south-east of the Glastheim Rifts, the Chapter was to establish a base of operations and destroy a festering empire of brutal, lizard-like xeno raiders called the Khovata. Arriving at their designated area of operations, the Champions immediately began a war of calculated aggression, striking the xenos occupiers wherever their defences were weakest and clearing the path for larger Imperial Guard and Navy forces to push the xenos back. On the border of the Kohvate empire lay the Death World of Athlum, a stunningly beautiful but barely hospitable planet filled with hyper-lethal plant and animal life. The Chapter found the planet's climate produced hardy, viable recruits, and quickly adopted Athlum as a homeworld, allowing them to replace the losses incurred during the Khovata wars. The final assault against the Khovata empire saw their homeworld of Lor conquered, the aliens massacred and the scant handfuls of survivors fleeing into distant space. Lor fell into Imperial hands, and was quickly turned into a mining colony to supply the Adeptus Mechanicus with ores and oils. The Champions, having succeeded in breaking the strength of the Khovata, found themselves suddenly beset by Dark Eldar - the Kabal of the Shattered World began launching raids on nearby Imperial worlds, forcing the Champions to chase after this elusive foe. At the same time, Chaos cults began to surface across multiple systems, sometimes in great numbers or with hordes of mutants or daemons in thrall. Beyond this, remnants of the Khovata sometimes launched their own bloody raids from the distant, disparate worlds they had fled to, cutting into the Champions' territory like a scythe, intent on causing as much damage as possible. The Champions were unable to easily pursue foes across so many fronts, and so changed their tactics, drawing inspiration from the hunters on their Homeworld of Athlum. Studying the habits and attack patterns of their enemies, the Champions were able to use smaller forces to lie in ambush, using guile and forward planning to intercept enemy attacks. Chapter serfs were employed as agents, gathering intelligence and acting as watchful eyes for the Chapter on many worlds. When enemies massed in large numbers, the Champions would seldom attack them head-on, instead sending strike teams of a few squads to destroy enemy supplies and materiel, sabotage enemy defences or ships, or assassinate key enemy figures. The Chapter quickly became famous for their "Death of a Thousand cuts" approach to warfare, weakening an enemy to the point the battle was all but decided before the Champions deployed their companies in open war to finish a foe. The Champions of Athlum would, in M37, become part of the "Silver Circle", a band of Chapters around the Glastheim Rifts sworn to defend the Imperium's holdings in that area. Heretics lurking in the Warpstorm-addled Rifts themselves and xeno predators attacking from all angles made the Rifts a dangerous place, but the alliance of Space Marine Chapters worked together - albeit grudgingly - to grant the Imperium some additional purchase in the region. In late M40, the Champions discovered the lost world of Kynasa, that was in many ways a mirror of proud Athlum. Home to a hardy, primitive population dwelling in the forested ruins of ancient Imperial cities, rich in danger for the unwary, and isolated enough to have largely avoided the predations of enemies. Claiming recruitment rights from the world at the same time as claiming Kynasa for the Imperium, the Champions even transported a small but significant portion of Athlum's population to Kynasa to help ensure the world's viability for future generations of recruits. The occupation of Kynasa went smoothly, and the Chapter successfully took it's first batch of recruits from the world before disaster struck, a scant few years later. After feinting an attack at the Maladar system, the Kabal of the Shattered World were able to deploy a large-scale raid on Kynasa, killing or abducting every man, woman and child from the young colony, and retreating back into the webway at blinding speed. The Champions, overcome with grief and rage, raced to get vengeance. In their haste, the Chapter made several errors of judgement that led to an extended series of defeats. Their supply lines were repeatedly targeted by the Drukhari, several Chapter serfs killed or kidnapped while attempting reconnaissance, and on two occasions Company Apothecaries were assassinated in the midst of otherwise unimportant skirmishes with unaffiliated foes. The Champions came to their senses and saw that the Dark Eldar were trying to play them at their own game. The Chapter refocused their anger, turning it from a burning rage into an ice-cold, murderous focus. To this day, both the Kabal and the Chapter remain locked in an endless series of raids, ambushes and gruelling small-scale warfare all across the south-east of the Glastheim Rifts. Recent History: "Our success depends upon our strength. Our strength depends upon our success." - Brother Maliad, Champions of Athlum 7th Company, 516.M41 Amongst the many disasters that befell the Imperium with the opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum, Athlum came under direct attack, thanks to the machinations of the heretical Blades of Atracia. Cults sprang up, seemingly in synchronicity with the appearance of the Cicatrix, no doubt seeded and sheltered by the traitors in the Glastheim Rifts for this very purpose. The Champions were, as always, quick to react, dispersing their forces to be the rock against which this wave of heresy would break. While the Champions were thus occupied, the Blades of Atracia struck at Athlum itself. With half the Chapter still entangled with enemy forces off-world, and less than eighty marines left standing in Athlum's defence, the Champions mounted a desperate last-ditch defence at their Fortress Monastery, gathering as many of the civilians as they could and bunkering down. Before the Blades of Atracia could do much more than breach the second layer of walls, however, reinforcements arrived from an unexpected direction. Companies of Primaris Space Marines, bearing the livery of the Silver Circle's Chapters at the head of innumerable hosts of Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii and Imperial Guard. The Indomitus Crusade had arrived, and with it came thunderous, inevitable victory for the Champions and the Imperium. The Riftmark leading the Chaos forces was slain, trampled to death by the unyielding Kastelan Robots of Forgeworld Valstrax, causing a mass breakdown of the heretic's command structure. The Champions were much less active in the century following the Battle of Athlum, their efforts focused largely inwards as the Chapter adapted to the changes wrought by both the attack on their own world and the Indomitus Crusade. Eventually, however, the Champions re-emerged from the Battle of Athlum with renewed purpose, striking remorselessly at heretics and aliens wherever they may be found with the Chapter's traditional precision and focus. Recruiting more serfs from other worlds allowed the Champions to spread their intelligence network further while tightening their control on the systems and subsectors around Athlum. Taking steps to ensure Athlum would never be so exposed to enemy action again, a hundred Primaris marines were assigned to what was informally called "The Sentinel Company"; a group dedicated directly to the protection of Athlum itself. Homeworld: "To be entranced by the flower is to forget the presence of the poison." - Athlumi proverb http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/sm.php?b62c=@hXbsb_hOPYE.hmmn0@@@@@@@_@.@@i8khii8khi@@@@@@@@@@@_iakk7_iakk7@@@@@@@@@@hCmX3.@@@@@@@@@@@@@.iakk7&grid=TRUE A Battle Brother of the Champions of Athlum Athlum, the chosen homeworld of the Champions, is a beautiful, verdant paradise, crawling with life. But behind the beautiful visage is a world of extreme danger. Almost every life form on Athlum is dangerous, from the incredibly poisonous blossom trees that turn the forest canopies lilac and pink once a year, to the myriad of insects whose bites can cause permanent damage to unlucky victims. Amongst the deadliest things on Athlum are the carnivorous Wyverns, house-sized flying carnivores that roam the skies looking for exposed targets to feast upon, and the Dirgewolves, giant wolves whose front half is largely covered in scales and bone protrusions, making them very hard to hurt with conventional weapons. The humans of Athlum live in scattered clans, and mostly survive as hunter-gatherers, armed with the finest bows, spears and traps that their craftsmen can make. Only the patient and the skilled can survive on Athlum, and it is from the youth of this hardy caste of hunters that the Champions draw most of their recruits. Known as the Great Spire, the Fortress Monastery of the Champions of Athlum was constructed in the centre of the planet's highest mountain range. The mountains themselves are called "The land of Angels" by the natives, and none dare tread on such sacred ground, leaving the Champions to keep a distant vigil on the people below. The outside of the Spire is faced in gleaming white marble, and it can be seen from almost a week's journey away on the plains below, reaching above even the high peaks. For recruitment trials, the Champions drop would-be aspirants in one of several pre-selected starting points, roughly a day's travel from the base of the mountains, and simply instruct them to reach the Spire. The trial routes bring aspirants face-to-face with some of Athlum's most dangerous wildlife, and then pits survivors against the treacherous, unfamiliar terrain of the mountains as they seek to reach their goal. The Chapter's outlook and methods of war are shaped to a certain degree by the native hunters of Athlum. Patience, planning and decisive action are the keywords by which both hunter and Space Marine live and die. Beliefs: "War is not the only duty of a Champion." - Chaplain Durran, Champions of Athlum 1st Company, 113.M42 Parhaps the most unusual aspect of the Champions of Athlum's outlook on the Imperium is their view on The Emperor. The Champions feel that He looks upon His Imperium with great sorrow, a soul-deep melancholy that what should have been His greatest work was laid to ruin. Additionally, the Champions believe that His Space Marines are the only surviving means of truly uniting and protecting the Imperium, and that The Emperor intended for Space Marines to not only safeguard ordinary humans, but to embody the best aspects of humanity. Thusly, the Champions of Athlum believe the Chapter must excel in all disciplines to be as The Emperor intended them to be. To this end, the Chapter can boast well-practiced craftsmen, diplomats, artists, musicians, and architects as well as great fighters and insightful strategists. The Champions point to their Primarch, Guilliman, and his own multi-faceted talents as further proof that Space Marines should be more than simple fighters. Though this diversity of disciplines obviously serves the Chapter well in many respects, it does come with its own drawbacks. Those who study non-combat disciplines are, inevitably, somewhat less-practiced in war. While the difference is almost imperceptible to outsiders, even fractional hesitations or marginal errors in a combat situation against the enemies of mankind can mean the difference between victory and death. This has led, over the centuries, to something of a culture of preservation in the Chapter, where battle-brothers skilled in one or more non-combat arts are considered to be, informally, of somewhat higher value than their purely war-trained kinsmen. This is done simply to prevent the Chapter's expertise in esoteric disciplines from diminishing, and preserve the reputation of the Chapter as a whole. Furthermore, such is the Champions' conviction that they are closer to The Emperor's ideals for the Space Marine, that many amongst the Chapter tend to treat other Chapters as either short-sighted fools or wilfully ignorant of their true purpose. Thus, the pride of the Champions remains a stumbling block in their relations with other Chapters. The Chapter's diplomatic corps exists, in part, to manage this issue - keeping the more self-assured Champions firmly in line as well as minimizing the risks of conflict between brothers. Battle Doctrines: "Squad Amanir, close with the objective. Squad Uthag, fire on my mark..." - Sergeant Galborn, Champions of Athlum 3rd Company, during the battle of Kryndaia, 233.M41 The Champions of Athlum are somewhat atypical for Space Marine Chapters in that most of their defining victories ultimately come from small-scale actions. Kill Teams sent to eliminate key or isolated enemy figures, or sabotage enemy materiel, or disrupt a foe's supply lines. Combat Patrols using carefully gathered intelligence to cripple an enemy force before it ever truly musters its' strength. Small-scale strikes used to cause large-scale effects, so that when the time comes for the Champions to muster at Company strength and take to the battlefield, often the result of the battle is decided before the Company even deploys for battle. On the battlefield proper, the Champions of Athlum fight as befitting an Ultramarine successor, with fluid battle plans that take advantage of an enemy's weaknesses as they are presented. There is a noted predilection to the use of ambush attacks, outflanking strikes and the use of carefully laid traps, mirroring the methods of hunters on Athlum. The use of camouflage is not only considered acceptable, but encouraged by the Chapter, though their innate pride ensures they seldom completely cover their Chapter's heraldic colours. Organisation: "A leader must set an example. We must set an example." - Codicier Kyrloth, Champions of Athlum 1st Company, 167.M42 Taking pride in the heritage of their Primarch, Roboute Guilliman, the Champions of Athlum proudly adhere to codex-mandated Organisation. Such structure has served the Chapter well in their time in the Glastheim Rifts, being able to disperse or gather to deal with encroaching threats as they rise. For a long time, the only notable deviation was the renaming of the traditional rank of Company or Chapter Champion as "Headtakers", given that each Battle-Brother is already a Champion in name. The arrival of Primaris marines placed the Champions of Athlum in a difficult situation with regards to their Codex-Adherence. Considering themselves exemplars amongst marines, how they handled the issue of the Codex Astartes not making provision for the Primaris Marines was seen in the Chapter as a decision of the utmost importance, and arguments amongst the Champions' leadership for how to handle the issue were commonplace. Eventually, the Primaris marines were all provisionally placed into an Eleventh Company, until such time as a satisfactory decision can be agreed upon by the Champions' leadership. Despite being technically limited to one company, the Primaris marines were scattered to reinforce the existing ten Companies around the Rifts, mirroring the way the First Company veterans are seldom gathered together. A hundred Primaris marines of varying experience and role are kept at Athlum, known within the Chapter as the "Sentinel Company" or "Vigilants" to better ward against another attack at Athlum itself. Marines in the Sentinel Company are rotated back into the regular companies on a yearly basis. Those amongst the Chapter assigned to keep a vigil on specific systems or areas of space where enemy activity is expected are given the honorary title of "Marchwarden", taken from an old Athlumi title. The Title of "High Marchwarden" is bestowed to the marine assigned as the leader of the Sentinel Company. Geneseed: "To excel in all matters is the goal of all right-thinking sons of Guilliman" - Brother Nabirad, Champions of Athlum 2nd Company, 783.M39 The Champions of Athlum bear the genetic lineage of the Ultramarines. Proximity to the radiation of the Glastheim Rifts has caused minor mutations in the Melanchrome, causing the hair of most Champions to transition to bright white from an early age. The Chapter has been known to suffer a lower successful implantation rate for geneseed in new recruits than most Ultramarine successors, but such is the pride of the Champions that they would never deign to simply request more geneseed from any stock but their own. Battlecry: Outside of company-level engagements, the Champions seldom make use of traditional battlecries, however the commonly-used motto "For Athlum and Emperor" seems to double as their most typically-used war call. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Updated: 13/7/2021 Quotes! Also added and refined some more stuff, addressing more points raised by my erstwhile and vigilant Brothers. Specific relations with the rest of the Silver Circle will have to wait until I've actually defined the rest of the Silver Circle. Updated further, trimmed a few words. It hasn't made much difference to the size of the article but I suppose every little helps!
IA: The White Hawks (LASC 19) Version 1.1
Ace Debonair posted a topic in + LIBER ASTARTES +"Men die, monsters die, only the glory of Heroes lives forever." - Talhonic proverb Early History: "Harken, Brothers; for I will sing you a tale of glories old, and heroes remembered!" - Kordran, Song-Brother of the White Hawks 4th Company, on the eve of the Battle of Kyband, 989.M40 http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/sm.php?b62c=@iakk7_hh8gh.i3rau@@@@@@@hUDtY@hbUc8@@..@_@@_@@@_@@_hI3Z8_hI3Z8@_@@@@_@@@hCmX3hcXvU@@@@@@_@@@@@@hcXvU@&grid=TRUE A typical Battle Brother of the White Hawks, sans adornments Born of the line of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman in the latter days of the Fifteenth Founding, the White Hawks began life as a crusading Chapter. Given a mandate to 'protect Imperial interests' and sent eastward, the Hawks found themselves taking part in a number of battles where their timely arrival tipped the scales in favour of Imperial victory. Parades and celebrations in the wake of the White Hawks and their battle companies became a common sight over the next several centuries, as the white-armoured marines fought against every foe they could find. Be it orks in murky jungles or sprawling caverns, or Chaos Space Marines on ashen deserts and airless moons, the White Hawks never refused a battle, and they were happy to bask in the praise of the Imperial citizens on the worlds that enjoyed their assistance. Though they achieved a respectable tally of victories, the Chapter didn't really come into its' own until the closing days of M37. A council of Inquisitors, with the blessing of the High Lords of Terra, selected the White Hawks to join a group of other Chapters in the permanent defence of a particularly perilous area of space called the Glastheim Rifts. This 'Silver Circle' of Space Marine Chapters would surround the Rifts and the worlds that bordered them, keeping the threat of xenos raiders out and penning the heretics within the Rifts in their self-appointed hiding place. The Inquisitors pressing the issue maintained that doing so would 'decisively protect Imperial interests in the area', and thus satisfy the Chapter's reason for creation. Grudgingly, the White Hawks deferred to the Inquisitors' demands. They felt certain that being assigned a homeworld would do little to interfere with their crusades. Thusly assigned to the south-east of the Glastheim Rifts, the White Hawks set about looking for suitable worlds to draw recruits from. One in particular stood out - the mountainous, feudal death world of Talhon. Humans there dwelt in ancient stone cities, their walls thick and their towers perpetually manned with archers. The reason for this was abundantly apparent; monsters roamed the wild lands all over the world. From the fearsome, dragon-like Goliandr in the mountains, to the armoured Barghrex and winged Astraptors in the forests, and innumerable others besides, voracious carnivores made up the bulk of the wildlife on Talhon. The people of Talhon were hardy and resilient, and trained from youth to fight and hunt these monsters, and in doing so, produced excellent potential recruits for the White Hawks. The Chapter set up a Fortress Monastery, dubbed the Hawk's Eye, atop a sturdy cliff in an isolated mountain range, and began inducting recruits as fast as they could find them. The people venerated their "sky warrior" guardians, recognizing them as scions of The Emperor and Angels of Death. But just as the Hawks left their mark on Talhon, so too would their new homeworld leave its' mark on the White Hawks. It is unknown if the Chapter's hypnoindoctrination procedures simply became flawed over time, or if the Chapter willingly adopted as much of Talhon's culture as it eventually did. Regardless, within a century of settling on Talhon, the White Hawks had taken on many of Talhon's superstitions and the traits common to it's native warriors. Notably, Talhonic warrior culture makes much ado of sagas and songs of ancient days and heroic battles, and its' adherents are typically equally at home boasting and bragging about their exploits in their homes and holds as well as stalking and battling their prey in the wilds. These traits have all bled into the Chapter over time, and a typical Battle Brother of the White Hawks will come across as brash, headstrong, boisterous and borderline arrogant in comparison to other Space Marines. Those that rise to leadership positions are not only the best fighters and tacticians in the Chapter's ranks, but also the ones with the most capability to keep the egos of their brothers in check. In addition to cultural adaptation, the physiology of Talhonic natives, when combined with the genetic augments that create a Space Marine, lends itself well to high levels of hardiness and stamina , even by the standards of Space Marines. While the warriors of many Space Marine Chapters are more than capable of fighting for days at a time without cease, reports of the White Hawks doing so with nary a sign of fatigue are not unheard of. The White Hawks themselves, previously used to adulation and celebration in the wake of their victories as errant crusaders, found they had little time to spare for either with the frequency and suddenness of enemy attacks on the worlds around the Rifts. The absence of this, coupled with the natural Talhonic love of sagas and songs concerning heroic deeds, left the Hawks somewhat unsatisfied with what they considered "guard duty" around the Rifts, and the Chapter has been known to send Battle Companies on distant crusades on several occasions, taking part in such diverse conflicts as the war in the Lauss Rift, or the Ensorcelled Stars Campaign. Combat is a constant around the Glastheim Rifts, and the systems around Talhon have come under increasingly violent threats as the centuries have gone on. In the final decades of M41, the White Hawks found themselves often battling isolated splinters of an unidentified Hive Fleet that seemed to lack any real focus, seemingly picking its' targets at random and attacking worlds without any kind of rational reason to do so. This Hive Fleet - dubbed Hive Fleet Goliandr by the Hawks - has grown to recognize the white-armoured Space Marines who keep attacking it, and the creatures under its' thrall now tend to fly into berserk rages when confronted by Space Marines in battle. Alongside this, Dark Eldar raids by the Kabal of the Shattered World have grown in frequency and daring over the last century, and a Chaos Warband calling themselves the [REDACTED (FOR THE MOMENT)] have made increasingly numerous sallies from the Glastheim Rifts to do battle with the White Hawks on a dozen worlds. In spite of constant war on many fronts, the White Hawks remain undaunted by their current, precarious situation. No matter the number of foes or the power they claim to wield, the White Hawks intend to weather the onslaught and come out the other side fighting, as they always have. Recent History: "You call this 'the age of nightmares and monsters'? We're the White Hawks! Don't you know what we do to nightmares and monsters?" - Captain Barodian Greystorm, in response to Lord Breiss of the Hatecrowned at the Battle of Kryndaia, 233.M41 The dawning years of the 42nd Millennium proved a difficult time for the White Hawks. From their position in the Glastheim Rifts, the entire Silver Circle bore witness to the distant creation of the Cicatrix Maledictum, an unnatural tear in space itself. Almost in concert with this horrifying event, uprisings began all over the Glastheim Rifts. The heretics dwelling in the Rifts sought to overthrow and destroy the Imperium's hold on the area, putting aside their own rivalries and squabbles for power in the face of finally destroying their hated foes. The White Hawks committed entirely to repelling this threat, deploying en masse on battlefields all over the Glastheim Rifts. It was during this time that the Indomitus Crusade arrived in the Rifts, bringing much needed reinforcements in the form of Primaris Space Marines and the means to create them. While the other Chapters of the Silver Circle - notably the Warminds and the Brotherhood of Crows - seamlessly integrated the newcomers into their ranks, the White Hawks were more than a little bitter about what they saw as 'replacements'. - Excerpt from 'Warsongs of Talhon, translated' Even the fiercest storms abate in the end When the enemy falters, we will still stand Raise your shields, sons of Talhon, be strong Let your swords sing in the gale, a deathsong Be resolute now, stand fast, endure 'Ere the storm breaks, let the Hawks fly once more! Indeed, Hawks who had trained, fought and bled to be the best they could be for the Imperium over the lastfew centuries were hardly delighted to see these 'New Brothers' presented as the Chapter's future. Only the accompanying news that the risen Primarch himself had ordained these reinforcements and seen fit to accommodate them in his own forces kept the White Hawks from shunning the Primaris marines entirely. It became commonplace in the following years for Non-Primaris (or 'First-Generation') Hawks to airily dismiss the accomplishments of their New Bothers, pinning any of their successes solely on their 'Cawl-given enhancements' rather than skill or daring, and denying any claims they truly shared the warrior spirit the Chapter is known for. Over time, however, the Primaris marines' stoic endurance of these taunts, their adherence to the Chapter's traditions, and their willingness to prove their worth in battle to their Older Brothers gradually won the grudging respect of many within the Chapter. In more recent times, enmity has given way to a more amicable rivalry. Both First-Generation and Primaris Marines strive to outperform each other in battle and make sport of the other's efforts at heroics, but without malice or bitterness. With the exception of slowly integrating the New Brothers into the Chapter, the coming of the Great Rift and the Indomitus Crusade overall did little to change the day-to-day life of the White Hawks. Though the heretics from within the Rifts were dealt a serious blow by the unexpected reinforcement of the Indomitus Crusade, the surviving traitors continue to scheme and weave insidious plots against the Imperium, striking wherever the capricious whims of their foul deities direct them to. Elsewhere, the myriad xeno threats that seek to prey on the worlds under the Hawks' watch muster their forces and prepare for war. The Kabal of the Shattered World used the distraction caused by the Rift-wide heretic uprisings to launch a raid on Talhon, burning a city to the ground and abducting several thousand men and women as prisoners. Hive Fleet Goliandr's splintered hordes wander closer to the Rifts, their maddened, howling ships disgorging swarm after swarm of feral, frenzied monsters on the worlds unfortunate enough to be in their paths. It is a time of great peril for all around the Glastheim Rifts, and surely only a matter of time before repercussions from events in the larger galaxy are felt keenly by the Chapters of the Silver Circle. But until then, the White Hawks endure. Homeworld: "On Macragge they train youths in schools to make soldiers of them. On Talhon, we teach our young to slay monsters, and make heroes out of them!" - Captain Ambrose the Wild, White Hawks 1st Company The world of Talhon is rugged and perilous in equal measure. The cities scattered across its' landmasses are bustling with life, safe behind the towering, thick stone walls that border them. The walls are buttressed, battlemented, reinforced with technology far beyond the level of the native humans there. In some places, the ruins of ancient gun emplacements can be seen, most if not all of the metal of which has long ago been taken and melted down for weapons or armour. Here and there, ancient buildings still stand, their original use long forgotten, now repurposed as shrines to The Emperor. Talhon's people are largely dedicated to the simple matter of survival in a world where nearly every creature outside of the cities is a deadly predator. Children are trained from infancy to not only survive monster attacks, but how to fight back against creatures many times their size and strength. Recruits for the Chapter must prove their mettle by successfully hunting deadly monsters as part of a group, monitored discreetly by members of the Tenth Company. Interestingly, the Chapter allows females an equal chance to participate in these trials - those that pass are inducted into the Chapter as serfs, and once fully grown are essentially granted the right to select any man on Talhon as their mate, to better increase the chances of the next generations producing viable recruits. The traditions of Talhon greatly influence the White Hawks. Perhaps the most obvious one is the taking of trophies from defeated enemies - this practice quickly became a rite of passage enacted by recruits who would take trophies from monsters they slew. Scales, pelts, horns or fangs - anything that could potentially channel the slain beast's power, hardiness or fury. These trophies were invariably added to the nascent marine's power armour upon graduation from Scout. Many veteran Marines boast multiple pelts or decorative scale armour attachments for their armour, taken from defeated beasts on many worlds. This gives the Chapter a savage, feral appearance quite unlike the rest of the Silver Circle. Coupled with this is an inherited tradition of placing great importance on the humble Combat Knife. Special hunter's knives are used by the warriors of Talhon to finish off 'worthy' enemies, as doing so is thought to amplify one's own warrior spirit. The White Hawks are known to execute defeated enemies with their knives for roughly the same reason, another custom that is looked upon as proof of the Hawks' primitive and uncivilised mindset. Beliefs: "My ancestors are smiling at me, traitor - can you say the same?" - Last words of Brother Ingrad, White Hawks 3rd Company, at the fall of Veir's Gate, 155.M38 A key element of the White Hawks' mindset is their admiration for heroes of long-gone days, such as the loyal Primarchs and those who fought beside them. These heroes are known across the length and breadth of the Imperium for their valour, and the Hawks seek to emulate the great warriors of olden days by fighting unceasingly against the enemies of mankind. So although they are quite well-known in the systems around the Glastheim Rifts, the White Hawks yearn to achieve the same level of prestige and respect afforded across the known galaxy to far more decorated and venerable Chapters, such as the Ultramarines, or the Imperial Fists. Though such a goal is certainly admirable, and the Hawks certainly pursue it with dedication, virtually everyone outside of the Chapter can see how utterly unattainable such lofty ideals are. For the White Hawks, however, this is simply considered the ultimate test of endurance - to withstand whatever the galaxy throws at them until their names are sung in admiration even in the halls of Macragge and Holy Terra. It is to be noted that even crushing defeats have little impact on the Chapter's overall psyche. The Third Company was utterly destroyed in early M38 by attempting to defeat the Nurgle Warband called the Hollow Knights in a war of attrition. When the Imperial Guard embarked on a victorious campaign against the traitors two years later, the Hawks were quick to laud the bravery of the Guard, but also to claim that the Hawks had successfully blunted most of the traitors' strength, enabling the victory. A battle in M41.989 on the desert moon of Akrilla against Hive Fleet Goliandr's mad hordes saw a similar result, the Sixth Company losing four fifths of its' strength in pitched battle with tyranid warriors after a failed decapitation strike on what was thought to be the enemy's leadership. The Hawks nevertheless touted this harrowing slaughter as a victory, albeit quietly. The White Hawks do, of course, have Librarians to record the Chapter's history and deeds. But whether born from their own obsession with proving themselves, or simply inherited from Talhonic traditions, the Chapter developed their own system of recording their victories and defeats in the form of songs and sagas. The marines most capable of composing suitable verses are given the unofficial rank of Song-Brother, and it is their duty not only to fight beside, but to observe the valour of their brothers in battle, that it may be recorded in verse and remembered until the day The Emperor lives again. It is common practice, on the eve of a great battle, for many sagas and songs to be recited, to better remind Battle-Brothers of the glories that may await them if they prove triumphant, or to remind them of past battles with hated enemies. On the subject of Librarians, the White Hawks are known to be openly wary of their psychically-gifted kin. Their superstitious nature makes them simply view psychic power as 'magic', and most non-psyker White Hawks simply regard their gifted brothers as dangerous, different, and something to be wary of. One lingering annoyance prevalent in the Chapter is that they are yet to be chosen to sire a successor Chapter, in spite of millennia of honourable service in the Imperium's name. Given that every other Chapter around the Glastheim Rifts is suffering from a degree of mutation in their geneseed, the Hawks assume the High Lords of Terra are simply being unnecessarily cautious about potential geneseed degradation. The White Hawks venerate both The Emperor and their Primarch, Roboute Guilliman, as ferocious and resolute warriors. To the Hawks, both Emperor and Primarch embodied the virtues of warrior-kings, unflinching in the face of danger and strong enough to dominate any battlefield they strode onto. The White Hawks seek the chance in every battle to demonstrate the inherited might of their great ancestors, felling great and powerful enemies and thus ensuring the defence of the realm. According to some rumours, the Primarch himself visited Drakon Primus, homeworld of the Brotherhood of Crows, whilst the White Hawks fought unnoticed all across the Glastheim Rifts. The notion that their own Primarch may have completely ignored the White Hawks is a thought that many Hawks struggle with. The current prevailing thought is simply that Guilliman, if he was truly at Drakon Primus, knew perfectly well that his own sons didn't need his presence to guarantee their victory. As a further note, while the homeworlds of three Chapters of the Silver Circle suffered direct attacks during the heretic uprisings after the 13th Black Crusade, none ventured near to Talhon. The White Hawks are quick to brag how the traitors were too scared to attack Talhon, but some of the more dour amongst the Chapter take the wildly unpopular view that even the Chapter's most hated adversaries don't consider them worthy of the attention. Battle Doctrines: "If you see your False Gods when you die, tell them to try sending their best after me next time!" - Captain Anaxam Five-Blades, White Hawks 4th Company, before slaying Dark Apostle Gexeras Vold during the First Prontera Crusade, 810.M39 Since their inception, the White Hawks have favoured bold, aggressive tactics. Many of their early victories involved them appearing to reinforce Imperial forces already in battle, and the White Hawks quickly learned the value that sudden reinforcements could have not only in the physical sense, but on both allied and enemy morale. To this end, the Hawks favour what some derisively call the "Big Entrance" approach to combat - deploying conspicuously via Drop Pod or Thunderhawk right into the thick of the battle, whenever the chance to do so arises. Furthermore, the Hawks have a long-standing tradition of bellowing challenges and taunts at enemies, even in the midst of bloody melee. This tradition is thought to have originated from further attempts to amplify their effects on morale - encouraging allies and scorning enemies in equal measure. Proudly following the teachings of their Primarch, the White Hawks will make use of diverse strategies and tactics, especially in the early stages of battles. A notable trend in the Chapter is for the White Hawks to focus their early strategies around taking out the largest and strongest enemies as soon as possible - whether to better illustrate their skill-at-arms or as another blow to an enemy's morale tends to vary from battle to battle. Another near-constant in the Hawks' methods of war is for hard-fought battles to eventually devolve into gruelling tests of endurance, mostly in close quarters combat. The White Hawks will gladly admit to making use of their prodigious vitality to simply outlast enemies in battle when more decisive tactics fail to find purchase. Though such tactics can prove costly in lives against suitably deadly or numerous foes, the White Hawks proudly point to a significant number of their victories that were earned through sheer unyielding stubbornness, knives in hands, long after ammunition had run out on both sides of the conflict. It is little surprise, then, that Assault Squads and Vanguard Veterans play key roles in the White Hawks' doctrines, sweeping across the battlefield and bringing the fight to the enemy no matter where they try to hide. Terminator Squads are often tasked with eliminating the strongest foes, their indomitable armour preserving them from all but the heaviest firepower, while Bike Squads and Predator tanks focus on isolating larger targets for the Terminators or other veterans to do their work. The inclusion of Primaris marines into their doctrines has had little overall effect on the methods of the White Hawks, although it is noted that even the Primaris marines carry knives into battle, much like their Older Brothers. Assault Intercessors, Outriders and Aggressors feature prominently in the battle doctrines of the Hawks, the latter often deployed via Repulsor to work with, or in place of, Terminator squads. Reivers join the Assault marines in the Hawks' mobile attack tactics, their affinity for disorienting and panicking enemies working well with the relentless charge of the older Hawks. Organisation: "Welcome to the Fourth Company, brother. If you're hungry enough for glory, then this is where your saga truly begins." - Sergeant Egram, White Hawks 4th Company The Chapter Symbol of the White Hawks. While largely adherent to the dictates of the Codex Astartes, there are several of differences in how the White Hawks apply their gene-father's teachings when compared with more traditional Chapters. While the Chapter boasts both a Veteran Company and a Scout Company, in practice both companies are virtually never fielded as a complete unit, instead operating in task forces alongside one of the Battle or Reserve Companies. Furthermore, in the traditions of Talhon, it is considered very unlucky to count something broken or intentionally divided alongside or before things that remain whole or intact. Given how much of their homeworld's traditions influence the Chapter, it is perhaps little surprise to see the White Hawks name their Veteran Company as the Ninth Company. The First Company is instead simply the first of four Battle Companies. Fifth to Eighth Companies act as Reserve Companies, in Codex-approved fashion, and the Scout Company remains the Tenth Company. Since the Codex originally made no provision for the inclusion of Primaris marines, the White Hawks simply incorporated the New Brothers into the Battle and Reserve Companies. The Veteran Ninth has only a handful of Primaris brothers in its' ranks; partly as a result of the Hawks' early dislike of the new marines, and partly as a result of comparative inexperience. Geneseed: "Our Primarch is famed for his wisdom, but we never forget that his hands, too, held bolter and blade." - Chaplain Braxas Ferredun, White Hawks 1st Company The White Hawks proudly trace their lineage to Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines and author of the Codex Astartes. The Chapter's geneseed has remained stable in spite of the radiation from the Glastheim Rifts, which the White Hawks have long taken to symbolise their gene-father's approval of the Chapter and their deeds. Though the Chapter was slow to truly adopt the use of Primaris marines, the White Hawks have gradually committed more and more recruits to the path of the New Brothers, resulting in a roughly equal split between First-Generation and Primaris marines amongst new recruits. Battlecry: Call: "For The Emperor!" Response: "Let the Hawks fly!" This warcry is often repeated several times, with "For The Emperor" sometimes replaced on subsequent recitations with "For Talhon", or "For The Primarch", or other such cries. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= EDIT: 23/12/2019 I can call this version 1.1 at this point, I think! Adjusted to give the Hawks roughly 7% more backbone when confronted by the Inquisition before taking Talhon as a homeworld. Hopefully it's a worthy read - any thoughts, comments, barely-contained-disgust or accusations of completely dropping the ball with the Hawks yet again are welcomed and encouraged, so... What d'you think?
Index Xenos: The Kabal of the Shattered World
Ace Debonair posted a topic in + LIBER XENOS +The Kabal of the Shattered World Early History: "You are a worthless coward, who only stabs his foes in the back!" - Last words of Edariphel Blacksword "Correction: I have others stab my foes in the back." - Kalios Rhidainyan, at the Battle of Ardanu The Rhidainyan family has long been one of Commorragh's noble class, famed for producing numerous talented warriors over the millennia, many of whom are even primarily loyal to the lords they choose to serve. When the youngest son of Irnach Rhidainyan, the ancient and cruel Master-Patriarch of the Rhidainyans, proved to be essentially worthless as a warrior, Irnach carefully arranged a suicide mission for his son to lead, in the guise of a 'daring raid' at the head of a number of other lacklustre warriors. In this way, Irnach planned to avoid tarnishing the reputation of the Rhidainyan family. Accompanying his son were a handful of Irnach's personal enforcers, to ensure the youth 'died heroically' in the coming battle, as well as their personal enoturages of skilled veteran warriors. But the son in question, one Kalios Rhidainyan, was no fool, and laid his plans to counter-act his father's death sentence. While he was, in truth, a poor combatant, Kalios' real strength lay in his natural charisma and cunning. Whilst en route to the planned 'raid', on the Imperium-held world of Ardanu, Kalios was able to win the loyalty - if temporarily - of not only the bulk of inexperienced troops, but several of his father's veterans, promising them a glorious future if he survived the inevitable betrayal. Sure enough, the Imperial World of Ardanu was much too heavily defended for a raiding party to make much progress, but Kalios was prodded into leading the battle from the front by his father's enforcers. When the Imperial defences began firing, the enforcers were supposed to cut Kalios down. Instead, the enforcers themselves were torn apart by the rest of Kalios' army. Kalios immediately ordered the retreat, but the webway portal used to access Ardanu was damaged by Imperial artillery, and did not lead the Drukhari home. Instead, the portal spat them out in a dark, forgotten corner of the webway, the way out behind them sealed by the destruction of the webway gate on Ardanu. In this un-natural realm of twisted and broken paths, Kalios and his party were lost. Only the constant threat of attack by monsters both terrifying and malign kept the raiding party from fracturing into squabbling fragments, along with the slick charisma and guile of the wily Rhidainyan son. After an interminable time wandering the broken paths of the webway, the raiders happened across what was, unmistakably, the ruins of a long-forgotten Craftworld. Long-bereft of life and covered by the undisturbed dust of countless aeons, the raiders were at last able to find shelter against the monsters that dwelt outside. At the Craftworld's heart, the raiders found a webway gate, that, in response to their presence, flickered into fitful life. Kalios, fearing what could happen if he returned alive to Commorragh, swiftly made the proclamation that this broken shell, dormant and forgotten in a nameless, dark corner of the webway, would be their new home. He swayed the raiders and their leaders with promises of a glorious future, one rich in prisoners and treasure, where they would rule this broken city as kings. And thus, the Kabal of the Shattered World was created. Recent History: "We are no longer simply soldiers to die at Lord Irnach's will. We have become the destroyers of worlds - and no foe can stand before us." - Archon Mephirion the Bleak The Kabal of the Shattered World operate mostly around the region of space called the Glastheim Rifts. Nominally an Imperial territory with thinly-spread defences, Kalios' aptitude at picking his fights carefully has seen the Kabal grow considerably in strength since their creation. The Rifts are anything but a soft target, however. No fewer than Six Chapters of Space Marines encircle its borders, embroiled in an eternal battle not only with alien invaders, but against the God-cursed servants of Chaos. Besides these arrogant giants, the Rifts boast a myriad of Imperial regiments, fleets and even an Order of the Adepta Sororitas. Nevertheless, Kalios is adept at reading the flow of the eternal wars that rage around the Glastheim Rifts, and is most often found guiding his Kabal to battlefields of his own choosing, away from impossible odds. Hundreds of worlds have felt the poisonous wrath of the raider-kings of Kalios' Kabal. This is not to say the Kabal of the Shattered World are afraid of the Imperial war machine, however. Notably, in the dying years of the 41st millennium, the Kabal of the Shattered World completely enslaved the population of the Space Marine recruitment world of Kynasa, formerly in use by the Chapter called the Champions of Athlum. Those who were not taken by the Drukhari were slain, their skin torn from their corpses and used as banners by the Kabal. This act has earned the undying hatred of the crimson-clad Champions, who have since devoted themselves to intercepting and destroying the Kabal wherever they can be found. Most recently, the Kabal of the Shattered World have managed a successful raid on the world of Talhon, the homeworld of the White Hawks Chapter of Space Marines, burning a town to ashes and taking many prisoners for their experiments. While it is surely inevitable that the Kabal of the Shattered World will eventually either be rediscovered by the keepers of Commorragh, so far the Kabal of the Shattered World remain isolated. Kalios is building the power and grandeur of his Kabal with the eventual intent of returning home a conquering hero, at the head of the most elite military force ever to grace Commorragh. In this way, the unwanted heir of the Rhidainyan family hopes to supplant his father as the leader of the family and it's strongest political force. Homeworld "Don't you see? We've built something here that nobody can take away from us - not even my Father!" - Kalios Rhidainyan The Kabal of the Shattered World live in the crashed ruins of an ancient Craftworld, deep in some dark, forgotten corner of the Webway. Access to and from this ruined ship's webway gate is generally limited to areas around the Glastheim Rifts. The vessel itself was, originally, covered in runes so ancient that even the most learned amongst the Kabal struggled to decipher their meaning. Time had at least partially eroded many of the runes, but those that remained seem to speak of sombre despair and the pain caused by grief. This is, of course, of scant regard to Kalios and his Kabal, who have converted most of the remaining sections of the ancient ship into something more befitting the Drukhari. Gladiatorial arenas, slave pens, and twisted laboratories dominate much of the vessel, surrounding Kalios and his generals' personal quarters inside a large, metal tower at the ship's centre. Organisation "We were all supposed to die. That's the truth of it. Instead, countless worlds cower at the thought of us. This is the destiny we were born to achieve." - Morrlagh the Dreaded As noted, Kalios Rhidainyan is not a warrior. He leads through cunning and guile rather than brute force. He holds the rank of "High Archon", allowing his lieutenants to claim the rank of Archon for themselves. Interestingly, Kalios always makes sure to treat his generals and most prized fighters well. This is but one of the reasons none have sought to overthrow him - nobody in Kalios' inner circle can be truly sure the rest of the Archons would back anyone else attempting to usurp the Rhidainyan Scion. In other respects the Kabal is organised mostly as one would expect a Drukhari force to be organised - factions vying for influence and power have sprung up between the Kabalites, all competing for the "right to raid" under one of Kalios' Archons. Battle Doctrines "Death comes for them, in a blaze of violent glory!" - Idarileth Skinsplitter The Kabal of the Shattered World prefer to face unprepared foes, or those already weakened through hard-fought battles. But when forced into action against a competent foe, they have proven to be fierce foes. Focusing mostly on superior speed and mobility, the Kabal typically use Scourges, Hellions, Raiders and Ravagers to strike at a foe's flanks whilst the bulk of their infantry, beasts and haemonculus-created monsters march forward at the centre, crushing any foe unfortunate enough to be caught in their way. The Kabal uses lots of Wracks in support of their Warriors and other units - there is much evidence to suggest these Wracks are created mostly from human prisoners, primarily the ones taken from Kynasa. These lumbering shock troops are treated as utterly disposable, since the Kabal make a point of breeding their prisoners to ensure there is always plenty of "fresh meat" available. [+--++ Pict-Captures of the Kabal of the Shattered World's forces are currently Pending ++--+] -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
"The Day of Fate awaits, regardless." - Motto of the Warminds, translated into High Gothic Early History: "Whatever else happens next, we fight and die as we must. Our duty demands nothing less." - Captain Janten, Warminds 2nd Company, before the siege of Derestonia Secundus http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/sm.php?b62c=@hvgwP_i8y3o.hxCHu@@@@@@@hXbsb@hCmX3@@i3CYqi3CYq@_@@@@@@@@@_._.@@@@@@@@@@hCmX3.@@@@@@_@@@@@@.iakk7&grid=TRUE A typical Battle Brother of the Warminds Created in the Eighteenth Founding to protect the worlds on the north edge of the spatial anomaly the Imperium calls the Glastheim Rifts, the Warminds claim proud descent from the lineage of the great Primarch Corax of the Raven Guard. And since their inception, the Chapter has seen their own extinction ever drawing closer and closer. Life around the Glastheim Rifts is a constant war of survival. Between xenos invaders, heretic cults and seccessionist raiders, there are no shortage of foes for the Warminds to fight again. The Orks of Waaaagh [-REDACTED-] in particular have proven to be a constant nemesis, coming back to make merciless war again and again no matter how many times they are vanquished. The xenocide campaign against the Inferash Tribune and their Prismatic Battleships ended in an Imperial victory, but at a heavy cost in lives to the Warminds, who lost most of their Second and Sixth Companies in the process. And though the worlds of the systems around the Glastheim Rifts are filled with hardy populations of humans, the geneseed of the Raven Guard is notoriously unstable. Very few recruits drawn from these worlds were found to survive the transformative process of becoming a Space Marine. Radiation from the Glastheim Rifts - a constant, broiling Warp Storm of frightening intensity and unpredictability - no doubt played a significant factor in decreasing the stability of the Warminds' geneseed even further. The Warminds took the view that this was the judgement of Corax and the Emperor, a test of the Chapter's worth. Their demise was, perhaps, inevitable, but the Warminds would strive to make Primarch and Emperor proud of them, so that they would go to their forebears' side in death and be welcomed gladly. After a few bleak decades with barely any recruits coming into the battle-worn Chapter, the Warminds finally found the former agri-world of Geffen to produce recruits with a greater rate of survival. Concerned about their Chapter's future, the Warminds established a Fortress Monastery on this world to better protect it. Over time it became increasingly commonplace for brothers of the Warminds that had been recruited from Geffen to develop psychic powers. Though the population itself showed no real signs of psychic potential beyond the average, the varied mutations in the Warminds' geneseed seemed to bring about this particular benefit. And yet, this boon brought with it more problems. Not all Warminds who developed psychic powers were able to fully control them, and those that could not were faced with inevitable descents into madness, despair and death. The Apothecarion and Librarium struggled to find a solution for this problem, and eventually hit upon a complex surgical procedure that completely eliminated the psychic potential of an afflicted brother, at the cost of removing that Space Marine's capacity to feel or display any real depth of emotion. This procedure, which the Warminds called the Quelling, served to save brothers who would have otherwise become another casualty that the Chapter could ill-afford. The Quelled were found to have lowered initiative compared to their other brothers, adapting more slowly to sudden changes in battlefield circumstances and being less able to orchestrate plans. Thus, the Quelled were barred from high office of any kind in the Chapter, and their armour marked with white shoulders to denote their status as Quelled. The Warminds became more and more convinced of their own certain demise. Each death brought the Chapter closer to extinction - an event the Warminds referred to as the 'Day of Fate', the final judgement of the Chapter and their legacy by The Emperor himself. In the latter half of M37, the Warminds were one of the Chapters drafted into the accord known as the Silver Circle - an alliance of Space Marine Chapters around the Glastheim Rifts who were forever tasked with the vigil of keeping the Rifts in Imperial control. The Warminds were, notably, the only Chapter willing to work with their new brothers-in-arms from the very beginning. Though the Warminds were chronically under-strength, they made a point of sending forces to reinforce their brothers where the fighting was thickest, gradually drawing their fellow Chapters together under a bond of shared victories against the enemies of mankind. It was, perhaps, this gamble of soldifying the kinship between the Circle that allowed the Warminds to survive as long as they did. When Waaaagh [-REDACTED-] launched a series of attacks on the Geffenia system itself in M39, both the Brotherhood of Crows and the Champions of Athlum sent battle companies to assist the Warminds in breaking the system-wide siege. In M40 the Stonebound came to the aid of the Warminds as they battled the last desperate remnants of the Inferash Tribune, their swift actions preventing the activation of the Inferash's deadly Armageddon Bombs on the hive world of Balsamo. Nevertheless, at the close of the 41st Millennium, the Warminds are all but depleted. With little more than two hundred active Space Marines left alive in the Chapter, they still fight on defiantly, with stealth, steadfast discipline and psychic might, warding off the myriad threats that beset them. Though the Day of Fate looms large, and total extinction beckons, the Warminds do their duty as best they can, and fight in defence of humanity, determined to go to their end as warriors and earn their place beside The Emperor. Recent History: "If this is not a sign from The Emperor, then surely nothing is." - Chaplain Daoadus, Warminds 3rd Company The dawn of the Dark Millennium was a time of great upheaval and transformation across the entire galaxy. Few Chapters, however, found their situation so completely changed as the Warminds did. With the awakening of the Cicatrix Maledictum came a drastic upswing in the level of Chaos activity around the Glastheim Rifts. Heretical cults that had been painstakingly seeded on over a hundred worlds in the immediate area of the Rifts simultaneously sprang into cruel action, staging uprisings, assassinations, and open rebellions across far too many fronts for the Space Marines to counter-act. The return of Waaaagh [-REDACTED-], this time as a three-pronged attack against the systems surrounding Geffenia, further stymied the Warminds' ability to fight off the heretics. Fatalism gripped the Chapter more tightly than ever - surely the Day of Fate had finally come, for every battle, every campaign prosecuted by the Warminds resulted in painful losses to the already-dwindling Chapter's numbers. But everything changed when the Indomitus Crusade arrived. A large force of Adeptus Mechanicus envoys and their Skitarii bodyguards, reinforced by over two hundred Primaris Space Marines, seven full regiments of Imperial Guard and the mighty Knights of House Tanzia swept across the Geffenia system and it's neighbours. This intervention force paused in their advance only to leave the Warminds with the new technology needed to recruit Primaris marines of their own, complete with verifiable proof the technology was approved by no less a figure than Roboute Guilliman himself. In desperate need of recruits, the Warminds took a chance on the Primaris marines. The results were astounding - the acceptance rate of the geneseed was increased a hundredfold, to the point that more than half the initiates who underwent the implantation survived the process. Furthermore, the psychic potential of the Chapter still persisted, albeit slightly less potently than before. Some amongst their number still require Quelling, and a few amongst the Chapter worry that the number of Quelled amongst the Primaris marines is rising over time. In current times, the Warminds are still experiencing something of a resurgence. Numbering above six hundred marines for the first time in centuries, over half the Chapter's number are Primaris Space Marines. Squads of Intercessors, Incursors and Infiltrators make up much of the Warminds' core forces in battle, supported as always by the enduring pre-primaris Warminds. The Chapter's mentality is currently divided on whether or not they have survived the Day of Fate and been found worthy, or whether this is merely an interlude before judgement falls upon them once again. Homeworld: "When all your life is a desperate struggle against death, war eternal holds little to surprise you." - Brother Yuandor, Warminds 10th Company Geffen used to be a large and important agri-world that supplied several systems with produce, but the fate of the planet was altered forever when a group of xeno-pirates attacked it in M32, sowing terror and death with biological weaponry on a massive scale. Now the world is largely desolate, its' population huddled around the few surviving farm-clans and the healthy land they own, or forming raider gangs in the skeletal remains of the world's once-great cities. The farm clans war often over farmable land, and food is often scarce even for the most powerful clans. Alliances are formed and broken and formed again amongst the clans, and no power base lasts forever amongst the people of Geffen. Sudden attacks by the wily and ruthless raider gangs of the Dead Cities happen whenever the raiders' food runs low. The Cities are large, desolate and forbidding, filled with traps to snare unwary wildlife - or would be hunters - while the Raiders dwell in the dark and isolated ruins to keep out of the weather. Cannibal cults will break out infrequently in situations where the population of a clan far exceeds the amount of food they can produce. This is one sin that the Warminds simply do not tolerate, however. When a cannibal cult is discovered, the Chapter's psykers will invariably root out those involved in such morally corrupt activity, publicly execute them, and burn their corpse in a ritual pyre. The Warminds take recruits from both the farm-clans and the raiders, as youths from both factions are equally likely to display the mix of strength, ferocity and cunning that makes a great Space Marine. The term 'Day of Fate' comes from an old Geffenic fable about how those who die are judged by The Emperor, and the worthy are fated to serve at His side evermore. The Warminds' Fortress Monastery, known also as the Temple of Souls, is built in the centre of the largest wasteland, far from the population centres of Geffen. With artfully constructed rooms and barren but carefully tended stone gardens given over entirely for meditation and study, it is said to be a place of learning and philosophy as much as a fortress. Beliefs: "What we leave behind after death is the true measure of our life's worth. We must leave His Imperium stronger for our efforts." - Chaplain Sonamus, Warminds 6th Company Perhaps due to their entire existence essentially being a struggle to simply survive, the Warminds are a Chapter given over to much dwelling on death and the impermanence of all life. The Warminds are also certain that The Emperor judges his sons at the moment of their death, and so are determined to fight as relentlessy as Space Marines should, to not only prove their individual worth, but to demonstrate the worth of their Chapter to Him. As far as the Warminds are concerned, the protection of Humanity is the foremost duty of Space Marines. The Chapter will willingly enter into battles or campaigns that will take a heavy toll on their numbers if it means preserving the lives of Imperial citizens. Even when a battle inflicts heavy losses on the Warminds, they are unflinching in their resolve, and press onwards to the next battle to preserve the people of the Imperium. Whenever a Warmind is slain in battle, the Chapter does feel the loss keenly, in part due to their inability to easily replenish their losses, and in part due to the psychic connection much of the Chapter shares. However, the grief carries also a portion of pride; as another marine goes to The Emperor's side and displays the valour and convictions of his brothers. In accordance with an old Geffenic tradition, slain battle-brothers are interred into a tomb below the fortress monastery, clad entirely in white and wearing a white, snarling mask to frighten off any predatory evil spirits that dare approach. The Chapter is known to make much use of modified helmets made to resemble these death masks, albeit coloured gold rather than white. These helms are often passed down through generations of Warminds, and are strictly only worn into battle, for they are said to connect the wearer to the warrior souls of the Warminds who have gone before them. The white shoulders of the Quelled are symbolically tied to the death mask tradition; for most intents and purposes any brother who undergoes the Quelling is largely treated as already dead by his brothers. Though the Warminds do not look with favour on the Quelled, they preserve and continue to use the ritual surgery that creates them whenever a Battle Brother loses control of his power for two reasons. Firstly, the simple logistics of being unable to replace every battle brother who fails to master their gifts. Secondly, every enemy attack that targets one of the Quelled is an attack not spent against a 'honed' Warmind. The Chapter must survive and fight until the Day of Fate - even if it means relying on the Quelled to do so. Outside of battle, the Warminds appear to be somewhat distant and philosophical in demeanour. It is thought that to some extent this calm, contemplative persona exists as a means to disguise the altered nature of the Quelled. On the battlefield, however, the Warminds, though disciplined, channel the hatred and rage of true Space Marines in combat. They do not shy away from battle once it is joined, as such behaviour would mark them as unworthy to their Primarch and Emperor. The Chapter's steadfast devotion to the putting the defence of Humanity first, beyond all other concerns, has earned them much respect from other Imperial forces in the north of the Glastheim Rifts. Regiments and Battlefleets alike, not to mention the PDFs of over a hundred worlds, proudly carry banners or campaign markings dedicated to the battles fought alongside the Chapter's forces. Of the Chapters in the Silver Circle, the Warminds are by far the most effective at rooting out the insidious chaos cults planted on Imperial worlds by the heretics from within the Glastheim Rifts, thanks largely to their psychic gifts. This success rate has earned the Chapter, if not the favour, then the grudging respect of the Order of the Iron Tower - an order of Adepta Sororitas whose Mission Fleets patrol Imperial Space around the Rifts, and typically express a strong dislike of Space Marines. It is also this well-documented reputation for earnest and unwavering devotion to the Imperium that keeps most Inquisitors from taking much unneeded interest in the Warminds. There are innumerable other threats around the Rifts that require the investigative eyes of the Inquisition, and the Warminds, in spite of their oddities, are simply not considered a high priority. Battle Doctrines: "If you Aeldari were half as foresighted as you claim, you'd have seen that coming." - Codicier Dolmaan, Warminds 2nd Company, to the dying Farseer Trygerd Swiftmind The combat doctrines of the Warminds echo their primogenitors the Raven Guard, with a focus on stealth and ambushes, and use of rapid engagements, misdirection and feints. Where a protracted battle is unavoidable, the Warminds make use of armour to help minimize risks to their numbers - Land Raiders, Vindicators or Dreadnoughts are often employed to protect, support, or clear a path for infantry, their durable armour and high firepower forcing enemies to react to their presence rather than focus on the Space Marine themselves. The Warminds make use of Assault Marines, Stormhawks, and Scouts to support the flanks of larger offensives, each bringing the ability to pressure enemies in different ways, and open up new avenues of attack. Typically, the Warminds field very few Vanguard Veterans, preferring to destroy their enemies with firepower. Sternguard veterans, deployed by Stormraven where practical, are used to turn the tide of battle when the Warminds would otherwise falter. But perhaps the largest deviation from their ancestors is the significant psychic power that the Warminds channel in battle. Most Battle Brothers (save for the Quelled) are capable of low-level psychic powers, such as manipulating light or dust to throw off an enemy's aim, or increasing the perceived weight of their wargear, to throw them off-balance. These powers are further complemented by the close-combat doctrines of the Chapter. Some of the martial techniques used by the Warminds can come across as needlessly elaborate or showy in comparison to the more utilitarian techniques of other Chapters. But as befits sons of Corax, this is further misdirection - the flowing movements and flourishing strikes are designed to mislead an enemy and buy the Warmind using such arts vital moments to muster their focus or gauge their enemy's reactions. In extreme situations, sometimes even standard battle-brothers of the Warminds can demonstrate impressive psychic powers, and tales of Warminds in desperate situations turning aside the strikes or shots of powerful enemies with nothing but their mind are far from unheard of. Organisation: "Our numbers are few, but our spirit remains strong." - Brother Ralhaw, Warminds 1st Company Though each Company is chronically under-strength, the Warminds adhere to the organisational tenets of the Codex Astartes, their number divided into ten Companies as per regulation. The most notable difference in how the Chapter arranges itself is in its' Librarium. With so many burgeoning Psychics in the Chapter, the Librarium is divided into twelve ranks to better detail the psychic strength of their brothers. Only high-ranking Librarians are required to wear the Codex-approved blue to denote their status. In essence, only these high-ranking Librarians are permitted to carry out the traditional duties associated with the role in other Chapters, but the lower ranks are functionally more aware of these duties and what the role of Librarian requires. Leadership roles within the Chapter still fall to Captains and Lieutenants, rather than the Librarium, but it is not uncommon for Librarians to offer advice if they have any to share. The Quelled are spread throughout squads, in the company of their more psychically-capable brothers who offer direction, protection and guidance to their wayward kin. Not all squads bear members of the Quelled, and very few squads have multiple Quelled in their ranks. Devastator and Tactical squads make the best use of the Quelled, where their unnatural calm and limitless patience are stronger advantages. The coming of Primaris marines has seen the Warminds integrate the newcomers into the ranks of their existing companies, symbolically unifying the past and present of the Chapter. Much use is made of Vanguard marines and Phobos armour within the Chapter's ranks, as befitting scions of Corax. Geneseed: "Our Primarch and our Emperor will seek to test your worth exhaustively. From this point on, your fate is in their hands." - Apothecary Zusang, Warminds 10th Company, about to begin implantation of the geneseed on a new recruit As noted earlier, the geneseed of the Warminds is equal parts blessing and curse to the Chapter. The geneseed of the Raven Guard has long been known for it's numerous discrepancies compared to other, more stable lineages, and the further mutations caused by proximity to the Glastheim Rifts have exacerbated the inherent difficulty in finding viable recruits. The singular positive trait is that most recruits into the Chapter, even the very rare recruits from worlds other than Geffen, eventually develop a degree of psychic power. Though the Warminds have often requested fresh stocks of Raven Guard geneseed to be delivered to them, the closest Forgeworld capable of providing such deliveries lies a long way away, on the opposite side of the Glastheim Rifts. Fleets heading from this Forge World have a difficult and perilous road ahead of them to reach the Geffenia system, not least due to the predations of the heretics and renegades who dwell within the rifts themselves. As such, actual shipments of fresh geneseed arriving at Geffen are a very rare occurrence indeed. Worse, the radiation surrounding the Glastheim Rifts does not take long to effect the fresh shipments once they arrive, resulting in continued difficulties with recruitment for the Warminds. The coming of the Indomitus Crusade and the introduction of Primaris geneseed essentially resolved many of these issues for the Warminds, giving them a much higher success rate in inducting new recruits. However, experiments have shown success rates amongst recruits taken from worlds other than Geffen are still extremely low, being only marginally improved from before. Battlecry: "The Day of Fate Dawns!" -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= EDIT: 21/11/2019 Another update! I can't let the White Hawks have all of the fun now, can I? All thoughts, opinions, C&C, scathing mockery etc welcome!
I played my first game of 40k a few days ago! Or rather, 40-k lite - neither me nor my elder brother are particularly quick at rules and much, much too used to old-school Space Crusade. …Which we generally house-ruled a bit anyway. Anyhow, this basically meant we played on a gameboard with squares instead of an 'open field', and we plain missed out a bunch of additional rules, keeping it extra-basic for ease of memory. The rules we forgot about include, but were not limited to: Charges the non-turn player ALSO being able to fight in a melee Acts of Faith Basically every part of Power From Pain except the "Feel no Pain" effect I'm new, forgiveness please. Anyhow, some of this came back to bite me, in the best traditions of gaming. --==--==--==--==--==--==--==--==--== The game, then; It was Sisters (and a single space marine Lieutenant for story reasons) vs Dark Eldar, on a points level probably way below the standard for most games. 15 power for the Imperium vs 13 power (and eventual reinforcements) for the Dark Eldar. The Imperium player could score victory points by claiming (standing next to) up to three objectives (represented by paint pots, because I have no suitable objectives at the moment) at a rate of 1 per turn, or by killing the enemy warlord, Idarileth Skinsplitter the Succubus, for a bonus of 3 points. The Dark Eldar player, keeping it simple, would get a point for every dead Imperium model. If they wiped the Imperium faction out, they won by default. Killing the Space Marine Lieutenant would earn 3 points, for parity and to add a little tension. We had 6 turns to grab as many points as possible. The Dark Eldar were placed by throwing dice from a long way off and putting squads where they landed (to represent them already being inside the building), whereas the Sisters were deployed on a pre-determined board edge. Now, on to the narrative required by the Iron Gauntlet, and then the battle itself. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= "So what is the story with Saint Ifrida, then?" Sister Naritha asked, for the third time that week. "I'll tell you once you show me the Dark Eldar," Acemund replied, again. It had been a long few weeks since the contingent from the Order of the Iron Tower had left the company of Captain Barodian and the Storm Eater. Ace had spent much of it in the engine rooms, trying to avoid the prying questions of his travelling companions. Given Naritha's penchant for pestering Ace with questions, this hadn't been the unqualified success he'd hoped for. Meeting with Barodian had worked out for the best, however. Ace had managed to secure the deal he'd hoped for - once he'd hunted down Idarileth Skinsplitter, he had permission to reveal the truth behind the story of the honoured Saint to the Order of the Iron Tower. The clunk of footsteps betrayed the rapid approach of another battle sister, and Estrel popped her head around the corner, gasping for breath. "There you two are! Sister Superior Ramara says you'll need to get ready for action - we've almost arrived!" Sister Estrel called out to Naritha and Acemund. "Arrived where?" Ace replied, bemused. "We haven't been travelling that long, have we?" "We didn't need to," Naritha shrugged. "We were only heading to Cironus." Cironus. The planet where Idarileth Skinsplitter and her comanding Archon, Mephirion the Bleak, had slaughtered the rest of Ace's squad, back when he had just freshly made the rank of sergeant. They'd left Ace for dead, but the White Hawks were, as a rule of thumb, difficult to kill. And good at holding grudges. Idarileth held her own grudge, of course - Ace had killed one of her daughters during the battle, and the Kabal of the Shattered World placed something of an emphasis on family - enough so that Ace's survival had enraged the Succubus into making foolish moves in an attempt to draw him out. It was a trap, surely. It had to be. But Ace hadn't come all this way to turn away from vengeance. Not when it was so close. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= "This must be strange for you," Naritha remarked, as Ace and the sisters made their way away from the landing pad. "Being back here after... what was it, five hundred years?" "Two hundred and seven." Ace grunted. "And no, it isn't strange. I don't recognize this part of the world at all. When I flew here with the Hawks, we fought closer to the poles. It was much, much colder there." There was a long moment of silence as the party continued to walk, before Naritha asked; "Are you alright? You aren't as... talkative as usual." Ace stopped dead in his tracks and fixed Naritha with a hard stare. "I've waited two hundred years for this. I have a chance to kill the creature that killed nine of the brothers that I fought, bled and killed besides for a century. But make no mistake - it is only a chance. This could go wrong and end in death, for all of us. So if I'm not talking, it's because I'm watching everything, and looking for the inevitable trap. I appreciate the attempt at companionship, Naritha, but now is really not the time." Naritha looked taken aback for a moment, and Superior Ramara looked back at the two of them, a glint of amusement in her eyes. "Easy now, Space Marine. We're on the right track," Ramara gestured ahead. "We'll know more once Karinda and Safyl get back." A scant few minutes later, the vox crackled into life. "This is Safyl to Superior Ramara - we've found them. There's an old temple ahead - they've set up camp there." -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= There weren't any guards. Every sense Ace possessed was screaming that this had to be an ambush, but thankfully the Order of the Iron Tower weren't so stupid as to walk blindly into it. The two Sister Superiors, Ramara and Lenadra, motioned their squads around to the side of the temple, moving quietly towards it. The structure was worn and dilapidated in places. Odd symbols showed veneration of the Emperor in strange aspects, such as Cironus' moon, or as a being of blinding fire. After some quiet contemplation, Lenadra gestured to Safyl, and sketched the outline of a door in the air with her pistol. Safyl nodded, brought her meltagun up, and blasted a neat, rectangular hole in the wall with practiced efficiency. Immediately there was a great hue and cry from within the temple, voices calling out in alien tongues. Drukhari. The Kabal of the Shattered World lurked within. Ace stepped forward, drawing both his chainaxes. "In case of ambush, I'll go first." Ramara shrugged. "After you, Space Marine." -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Inside the temple, there was a thrumming in the air, as well as the panicked voices of Dark Eldar in the distance. They were coming to investigate the noise - of course they were. There was a voice amongst the throng - female, authoritative, and without mercy. It should have blended in to the rest of the noise, but the voice of Acemund's hated enemy stood out to him like a ray of sunlight through the clouds. Despite himself, a savage grin formed on Ace's face. Oh please, Emperor and ancestors, let her not realise I'm here, he thought. "Over there," sister Karinda voxed, pointing the other way down the corridor. "They're building some kind of... device. It looks like a controller for something...?" "Whatever it is," Superior Lenadra voxed back, "We're going to shut it down." The tone of the distant voices had changed now. War-chants could be heard as the enemy began to close in. Ace's hands itched to activate his chainaxes, but he forced himself to wait. The machine Karinda had spotted began thrumming, a heinous, pulsing sound as the device began charging up. "Weapons ready, sisters," Ramara voxed. "We're in for a fight!" -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Deployment: Here we go then; the battle at last. Please imagine complex and foul xeno devices where the paint pots are! Nothing happened in the first turn, save for movement. Dark Eldar first, then Imperium. I forgot to take a picture of the end of the first Imperial turn, but I'll recap. The Wracks drew the short straw, being able to rush almost up to the corner of the objective room next to the left-hand group of sisters, but not without getting in range of Estrel's heavy Flamer. Under a torrent of searing flame, three Wracks were put out of their misery, leaving the remaining two out of sight. Then came the counter attack. The Wracks rushed into battle fearlessly, weapons swinging. Estrel survives the onslaught, relying on the strength of her armour to ward off the attack. On the other end of the battlefield, a kabalite warrior steps out and takes a shot at Ace. His armour keeps him from taking a wound, but it sure does make him mad. At this point, I am seriously impressed with the durability of my troops. And then not worrying about forgetting some of the rules comes back to bite me, because we totally skipped charging, with the result that: Ace thumbs the activation runes on his chainaxes (count-as lightning claws on my lieutenant), looses a mighty roar, and... moves his usual 6", stopping short of the kabal warriors. The sisters cut loose with a hail of fire and sister Izumi's heavy bolter shreds one vile xeno into tiny chunks. The warriors respond by forming a firing line, and the Emissary of the Legio Bolter and Chainsword has a moment to experience regret: Fortunately for Ace, he takes seven splinter gun shots at point blank and suffers only a single wound for his trouble. Roaring in fury and hate, the Hawk of Talhon makes ready to push through the storm of firepower. Meanwhile, Estrel does her best to push back against the wracks, but their continued striking with their poison weapons overcomes her armour, and Estrel falls before the Drukhari Flesh-constructs. I forgot to take a picture of the next turn, but let me summarize, narratively. Estrel falls; even as she slumps to the floor, her sister Bethana screams in grief and fury, rushing the alien creatures alongside Superior Ramara and her power sword. The two strike with the limitless fury of the righteous and vengeful, and the Wracks are obliterated. Ace crashes into the kabalite warriors like a thunderstorm breaking, cutting down two of them in a frenetic whirlwind of devastation. Safyl vaporises one warrior with her Melta, and Lenadra drops another with a careful shot from her pistol. Then, as the last kabalite warrior falls back, the Succubus arrives. Idarileth Skinsplitter rushes around the corner and charges into Ace. (Kind of - it wasn't a Charge move, but you get what I mean) I insisted on taking that pic partway through my brother's move. He wasn't thrilled, but the narrative needed it. Hated enemies, long-separated, finally joined in battle. Uttering curses and fury in her alien tongue, Idarileth managed to score two wounds with her Archite Glaive, leaving Ace with a single wound remaining. "Pitiful wretch!" Idarileth snarled. "You won't escape me this time!" Ace grunted a reply, gamely ignoring the deep wounds the xeno had scored on him. "At least your brothers put up a fight," Idarileth sneered. "You can't ev-" Ace suddenly threw himself forward, the pain forgotten, striking relentlessly at the Succubus, reciting the names of his fallen brothers with each swing of his axes. "Beremont! Garril! Yandir! Jorcan! Runis! Macharan! Tumol! Olsius! Morgamus!" (This really looks like Ace is recoiling from taking a smack in the face, which is more or less what happened in this turn) Meanwhile, Ramara's squad is interrupted by the arrival of some Kabalite warriors, while in the distance more Wracks can be heard marching in unison down the distant corridors. Despite the alien's best efforts, the Sisters hold, making a criminal amount of armour saves. The Emperor protects! Acemund was in over his head, and he knew it. There was no realistic way he could keep up with the Succubus - she was too fast, too capable. All his training had barely made any difference, he realised bitterly. "Get around the corner," he heard Lenadra call out on the vox. Avoiding a wild strike from Idarileth, Ace moved awkwardly around the succubus, ducking clear of the corner of the corridor as he did so. Lenadra, Naritha, and the rest of the squad following Ace raced into the fray. Idarileth turned to bring her Agonizer into play against the valiant sisters, and Ace dropped one of his chainaxes, reaching out with the speed of a striking snake, and grasped the whip firmly. Pain shot through him, more so as the Succubus wrenched her weapon free of the Space Marine's grip, but in that time Lenadra's sword found it's mark, cutting Idarileth's leg. Naritha, swinging her bolterin both hands like a club, caught Idarileth in the chest. There was the crunch of breaking bones, and the enraged Succubus staggered back, glaring ice-cold hatred at the sisters. Ignoring Ace, she launched a ferocious blow at Naritha with her Glaive. The Sororitas barely had time to raise a hand before the blow struck, but Superior Lenadra was already moving - stepping across Naritha, she took the strike in her stead, collapsing backwards with a vicious wound in her chest. (In game terms: my brother decided to kill the Battle sisters for easy VP. However, Idarileth failed all but one of her attacks - the one he aimed at Lenadra. Ace would have landed all four of his attacks, and wounded with all four, except Idarileth kept making her Dodge save!) (Naritha clobbering Idarileth with a bolter still worked fine, I guess I just need sharper chainaxes) Meanwhile, the Dark Eldar on the other front concentrated their fire on Superior Ramara. The sheer volume of firepower directed at her meant, inevitably, something found it's mark, and she fell to her knees, struggling to rise, leaning on her sword, a desperate prayer to The Emperor on her lips. Bethana, still screaming the name of her fallen sister, loosed a tide of cleansing fire over the cackling xenos, slaying two of them. Karinda's bolter managed to punch through the armour of another, but Power from Pain spared the Dark Eldar another casualty. Acemund of Talhon struck as though The Emperor himself guided his hand. Idarileth's supernatural speed availed her nought. Landing two ferocious blows in rapid succession, the wounded marine found himself slumping to one knee even as the Succubus stumbled in front of him. Ace dropped his remaining chainaxe as Idarileth slumped forward against him, pushing her back roughly, so she fell to her knees barely a pace away from him. In one quick motion, Ace wrenched his helmet free. Blood trickled from his face as he fixed the injured Succubus with a grim stare. Idarileth looked, for the first time, frightened. "You're not-" Ace began, drawing his combat knife. In the blink of an eye, Idarileth lashed him with her Agonizer - not a killing strike, but enough to make Ace drop his knife with a roar of anguish. As the Drukhari tensed to leap to her feet, sister Safyl brought the weight of her meltagun down on the back of Idarileth's head. There was a sickening crunch, and the Succubus crumpled like wet paper. Ace stared at the broken body of his most hated foe, then turned a rueful gaze on Safyl, who reached down to help the Space Marine upright. "Sorry. I know you wanted to kill her." "...It's fine." Ace sighed, and took Safyl's hand as the sororitas leaned into pulling him upright. "A dead enemy is a dead enemy." A familiar voice came over the vox, audibly shaking. "This is Bethana - we l-lost Estrel and Superior Ramara... I think that's all of the aliens." It wasn't, of course. One cheeky kabalite warrior took another couple of shots at Ace but missed both of them, so I'm skipping over that. I did take a picture though, so there it is, one Warrior's poor accuracy immortalized for all to see. The Final Turn: The advancing Wracks moved into cover, seeking to make it impossible for Bethana and company to engage. To be fair, they were too far away to successfully reach me anyhow. Likewise the other Kabalite warriors, who couldn't reach the heavily injured space marine or any of Safyl's squad. -+- So with Idarileth dead for 3 points, and two devices activated in one turn, that's 5 Imperial Victory Points, scored against the Kabal's 3 Victory Points for slain Battle Sisters. IMPERIAL VICTORY ACHIEVED! -+- -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- "Put an axe in that machine. You're hurt, leave the fighting to us," Naritha ordered Ace. The White Hawk couldn't help but spare a glance to where Lenadra had fallen. She was sat, slumped against the wall, her eyes closed, a peaceful expression on her face. Sister Uthenya knelt beside her, a hand on her Superior's shoulder as she recited a benediction to The Emperor. "Now!" Naritha roared, breaking Ace from his reverie. Wordlessly the Space Marine picked up his axe, stumbled to the xeno device in front of him, and hacked it clean in half with a double-handed strike. The rumbling noise it had been producing faltered and grew silent. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Bethana scrambled over to her sister, dropping to her knees and lifting Estrel into an embrace as she wept openly. "Bethana, there's more Eldar incoming," sister Karinda reminded her, as gently as she could under the circumstances. Bethana didn't reply instantly. "We need you," Sister Oriko urged, glancing nervously down the corridor. Bethana let loose a deep, shuddering sigh. "Oh Estrel, why didn't you wait for me?" She sobbed, mournfully. There was a clattering at the corner. Oriko and Karinda turned their attention to the approaching Warriors, filling the corridor with a hail of bolts, roaring the battle cry of the Order. "Forged in Faith! Tempered in War!" Bethana began lowering her sister to the floor. Estrel let out a sudden gasp, her eyes flickering open as she yelped in pain. "Estrel!" Bethana practically squealed. "You're alive?" "I-I'm alive?" Estrel echoed, bewilderment on her face. "Bethie, I saw Him! I saw the Emperor! I-I mean, I think I did..." Estrel squeezed her sister's hand. "Sisters!" Oriko shouted, pleadingly, as splinter rounds pinged off her armour. Bethana grabbed her flamer, her expression grim, but her eyes bright. "Tell me later, Estrel. I'm not letting any more of us die today!" -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Clearing out the remnants of the Drukhari didn't take long. Their alien devices were disabled and destroyed, and found to link to what looked like a crude attempt at shaping a webway portal from plasteel parts, in the back of the cathedral. Sister Uthenya had voxed through to a nearby Navy vessel, and they'd sent word to the nearest Order forces. Reinforcements, with explosives enough to flatten the temple, were incoming. Sisters Superior Ramara and Lenadra were carried out of the temple. The sisters of the Iron Tower - Estrel miraculously still amongst them - saw to the bodies, washing them, binding their wounds, cleaning and polishing their weapons and armour. Acemund sat and watched the sisters go about their work. He could see the pain in their eyes, but he could tell by the practiced nature of their actions that the Order of the Iron Tower were no strangers to the pain of loss. After a long interval, replete with prayers and hard work in equal measure, Naritha came and sat by Ace. She said nothing, and the two of them simply sat, keeping vigil over the bodies of the slain. After an hour or so, Naritha's stomach began to gurgle. She was about to excuse herself and search out some food when Ace spoke. "She fled, in the end. Saint Ifrida. She led an army at Syphrian against the traitorous Hatecrowned. The White Hawks and the Brotherhood of Crows had kill-teams assigned to the Saint's protection. The Hatecrowned and the cults accompanying them simply terrified her, and she listened to her fear. She died running, being shot in the back by cultists." "She fled? There's stories about Ifrida's courage." Naritha said, mildly. "I grew up hearing them." "That's all they were, stories." Acemund shrugged. "The Church asked both Chapters to keep silent on the matter, after the fact." Ace turned his gaze to the sky. "Ifrida was sainted as a healer - she cured the Grey Withering, after all - and mostly she's only lionized as a great warrior because that's what inspires people to fight." After a long moment, Naritha shrugged. "I don't know what Ramara hoped to do with that information. I'm not even sure it's worth telling to the rest of the Order." "That's up to you." Ace shrugged, and turned his attention back to the bodies of Ramara and Lenadra. "What I do know is that those two women died so your Order could fulfil a promise, and they showed courage in the face of death, far beyond anything Saint Ifrida herself did." "I wonder what stories will be told of them?" Naritha sighed. Ace turned to face Naritha, and smiled for the first time since making planetfall. "Good ones. I guarantee it." "They'd better be," Naritha countered. "Don't overshadow them with your own vengeance." "About that..." Acemund sighed. "That wasn't Idarileth." "What?" Naritha looked at Ace, puzzled. "I've seen the pict-captures - they looked just like her." "It was her daughter," Ace continued. "The one I killed at the last battle at Cironus. I recongized her eyes, just before Safyl broke her skull open. I assume the Kabal's flesh-smiths adjusted her to look like her mother with some fell sorcery or the like." Ace waved a hand dismissively. "She knew I wanted vengeance on her mother. I've been hunting the wrong enemy all this time." Naritha opened her mouth to reply, but hesitated. "In any case, she's dead." Ace shrugged. "And about to be cremated by a lot of firepower. I doubt she's going to come back for a third round." "What will you do now?" Naritha asked, warily. "Go back to the Legio," Ace replied. "My mission's over. There will be more, inevitably." Naritha nodded a few times. "This is farewell, then?" "Oh, no. It'd take The Emperor himself to keep me from attending your sisters' death ceremony. I owe them at least that much. And by then I'll have finished the saga of their last stand. It would be only fair to recite it, and to show that they will be remembered in halls far beyond here." "Maybe it'll become as popular as Saint Ifrida's tales," Naritha mused. "It might," Ace replied. "Who knows? Maybe the tale will get as far as Terra itself." "Perhaps even The Emperor will hear it one day," Naritha said, a genuine smile creeping across her face. "Maybe one day," Ace agreed, solemnly. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Phew, that's finally done. And with it, my battle report for the Iron Gauntlet 2020. Hopefully it was even done in time! This was a lot of fun - I'll probably do another report like this if I get chance to play again. We might even use all the rules next time! Anyhow - if you've read this far, thank you very much for putting up with my badly-played game, clunky story and poorly explained narrative (I swear it makes sense in the wider context of the Iron Gauntlet stuff). EDIT: Fixed some clunky grammar.
=][= Space Reserved for Model Pictures =][= "The Emperor Protects most those who Protect themselves." ~ First Tenet of the Iron Creed Background and Origins: "Do these people - good and faithful in their praise of Him - not deserve the protection of the Church?" ~ Cardinal Ebritius von Lochlane, taken from his collected Missives to the Cardinals, 062.M40 The Glastheim Rifts have long been a site where corruption and heresy fester under the surface. The malevolent forces within the Rift cannot directly overpower the Imperium's forces, but instead seek to subvert them, sowing dissent and treachery in the hearts and minds of formerly loyal citizens. During 031.M40, Ebritius von Lochlane, a Cardinal of some repute within the local branch of the Eccelsiarchy, hatched a daring plan to bolster the will and loyalty of the faithful around the Rifts. Under his guidance, a cluster of stately cathedrals were constructed on key worlds along the southern edge of the Glastheim Rifts, each one a gilded and proud monument to the glory of Him on Terra. Once these cathedrals were completed, Ebritius paid an official visit to the comparatively isolated world of Zhelnyka, where he had a vision of The Emperor and undertook a solitary pilgrimage into the mountains there. When he returned to civilisation two days later, he carried with him an old white robe, which he stated was the lost robe of Saint Ashla the Pure, whose tomb he had discovered in the mountains. Ordaining the construction of another church - one topped by a tower of polished metal, as he claimed The Emperor had instructed him to make. With this underway, von Lochlane decreed his cathedrals part of a traditional Pilgrimage route, leading from beyond the Rifts towards Holy Terra. Whether or not von Lochlane had truly beheld a vision of The Emperor quickly became a moot point. Pilgrims flocked in their billions to visit these holy sites and pay their respects to the remnant of the beloved Saint Ashla. Fiendish cultists sought to infiltrate the ranks of the faithful, but were rooted out by the vigilant priests and publicly destroyed to the roars of approval from the pious. Cardinal von Lochlane, using these displays to demonstrate the level of danger that could befall the faitfhul on their pilgrimage, rallied enough support that a sanction mandating the creation of an Order of the Adepta Sororitas was passed. Their mission was simple - protect the pilgrimage routes, and eradicate any and all traces of heresy to be found around the Glastheim Rifts. Orginally taken from and trained by a small convent associated with the Order of the Sacred Rose, these newly ordained Battle Sisters took the name "The Order of the Iron Tower", after the sacred site where Saint Ashla's robe had been found. Even while the Order was in transit to the Rifts, Cardinal von Lochlane, aided by the masses of pilgrims, continued to travel the circumference of the Glastheim Rifts, building churches and cathedrals on auspicious worlds as they did so. By 456.M40, thanks to the tireless work of the devoted and faithful, a complete circuit of holy sites was established around the perimeter of the Glastheim Rifts, and the numbers of devout citizens who prostrated themselves at the cathedrals of the Glastheim Pilgrimage continued to grow almost daily. Recognizing the need for the Order of the Iron Tower to remain highly mobile to protect this densely populated realm, the Ecclesiarchy under von Lochlane and his successors had forged strong bonds with a naumber of spacefaring allies. Most obvious of these was the attachment to the Dalchebor Rogue Trader dynasty, whose founders shared a distant heritage with Cardinal von Lochlane himself. It was eventually agreed to loan the Order the Dalchebor's Flagship, the King's Gambit, for the purpose of transporting the Adepta Sororitas in exchange for favourable trade rights on the shrine worlds of the Glastheim Pilgrimage. Alongside the Rogue traders, the priests made sure to make an ally of Forge-World Valstrax, the largest and most capable Mechanicus-held planet in the Glastheim Rifts. Putting aside small yet faultlessly constructed churches for the worship of the Omnissiah on many of the shrine worlds around the Rifts and conducting additional sermons with a decidedly Mechanicus-friendly bent, the Cardinals won the respect of the Valstraxi. In turn, their Forge World supplied the Order of the Iron Tower with a purpose-built manufactorum-vessel named the Argent Victory. This mighty vessel was designed to fabricate entire sections of cathedrals and churches for ease of construction on worlds where such resources were scarce. Finally, the influx of devout citizens inspired great faith in many of the regiments and navies of the Glastheim Rifts. In particular, Battlefleet Albanastra is made up largely of the descendants of pilgrims who settled in the Glastheim Rifts, for whom the glory of the Church is something they hold dear. The Cardinals who came after von Lochlane made a point of impressing upon Battlefleet Albanastra the importance of safeguarding the Glastheim Pilgrimages, and the devout officers were only to happy to agree, lending a portion of their fleet to transport and escort the Order of the Iron Tower along the pilgrimage routes. Some of these ships accompany the Argent Victory, and others act as an escort for the King's Gambit. The rest defend a Naval Transport vessel dubbed the Spirit of Albanastra, where the final contingent of Adepta Sororitas dwell. Early History: "War is our shrine, and our guns our chorus - so stand, and sing with us!" ~ Canoness Aragi, Order of the Iron Tower, before the battle of Byrnfeldt Hive, 249.M40 A Battle Sister of the Order of the Iron Tower The Order of the Iron Tower has had a battle-worn and turbulent history since arriving at the Glastheim Rifts. The Sisters have often been at the forefront of what has been dubbed "The War of Faith" by the Eccelsiarchy - pitted against the insidious plots and corruptions instigated by the heretics in the heart of the Glastheim Rifts. The heretics have proven to be persistent, planting the seeds of rebellion through artifice and cunning. Coming before Imperial citizens in the guise of devout, beneficent servants of their 'Great Gods', making false promises of salvation and glory to ensnare the weak-willed, and turn them, by degrees, to the cause of Chaos. The Order of the Iron Tower, from their earliest days, has shown no mercy to the corrupted. They quickly came to specialise in hunting down and exposing these heretical and deviant cults. The Order swiftly came to discover that even Shrine Worlds - and even worlds on the Pilgrimage Routes - were not immune to the seductive whispers of heresy. And yet despite the Order's perpetual vigil, these dark cults would sometimes muster their strength and take hideous action - making pacts with fell powers, razing or defacing religious sites, murdering those they could not corrupt and besieging settlements that clung to the true faith of the God-Emperor. Such brazen heresy could only meet with one fate - the violent retribuition of the righteous. The Order of the Iron Tower fought tooth and nail to cast down each and every blasphemous uprising. In the early years, the Order often found themselves fighting alone as the resolve of the pilgrims or citizens they stood to defend wavered and failed. And yet, sometimes those who fled would come back. Inspired by the absolute resolve of the Order of the Iron Tower, pilgrims and Imperial citizens alike that found their courage would charge into the fight, often with only the shirt on their back for protection, and hurl themselves into the ranks of the enemy with zealous fury. Those that chose to stand and fight alongside the Sisterhood were honoured in the aftermath, and those that died in the attempt were given a martyr's burial. It was these times, where the Sisters bore witness to the flight of cowards and the fall of the valiant, that shaped the creed of the Order of the Iron Tower. In their hours of need, the only miracle the Sisters witnessed was the miracle of human courage. Thus, the Order decided, it was the miracle of courage that was The Emperor's true gift to His people, and the means by which He judges them. Divine Intervention was not inexplicable salvation at the last minute, but rather it was the shipment of arms and armour that had arrived the month before the enemy attacked. It was the preacher whose impassioned sermon inspired a quatermaster to open the door to the armoury. It was the retired Guardsman who rallied those around him for one last charge. Though the Order of the Iron Tower speak openly of Him on Terra and his obvious Divinity, they warn people against the expectation of miracles. That The Emperor had, in His wisdom, built the Imperium for His people across the galaxy was in itself a miracle beyond equal. That the enemy could be overcome by those with the will to stand and fight was proof that The Emperor watches over His Imperium. The simple act of fighting in His name was to show true devotion to The Emperor. This creed, though at first mockingly derided as "miracles in the mundane" by detractors, quickly caught on within the Order. The impassioned sermon given by Canoness Aragi in the hours before the battle of Byrnfeldt Hive saw the loyalists within the city muster in their near-entirety and march to war with the Sisterhood, turning what would have been a brutal, protracted guerrilla combat action into a complete rout in the favour of the Imperials. Over time, what has come to be known as "The Iron Creed" by religious figures around the Glastheim Rifts has gone on to define the character of the Order of the Iron Tower. Those that follow the Iron Creed are steadfast, courageous and resolute even in the face of annihilation. The Iron Creed caused something of a stir amongst local Ecclesiarchical circles, and was the source of much intense debate amongst theologists for many years. However, the Order's absolute dedication to the Church, proven over several centuries of servitude, and their willingness to fight even the most heinous of foes with neither respite nor hesitation has earned the Order of the Iron Tower the respect of the clergy around the Glastheim Rifts. One quirk of the Iron Creed that often stays within the Order is a distrust bordering on emnity with the Space Marines. Though the Glastheim Rifts are protected from invasion by the so-called 'Silver Circle', an alliance of Space Marine Chapters, the Order of the Iron Tower have little tolerance for would-be protectors who waste the majority of their time focusing on battle with aliens instead of eradicating the Great Enemy lurking within the Rifts. Nevertheless, with a history spanning several centuries of hard-fought battles against the most perfidious and twisted of foes, the Order of the Iron Tower remains not only a bastion of Faith, but a true shield against the darkness around the Glastheim Rifts. Recent History: "We cannot promise divinity, but we can promise intervention." - Canoness Abithara, 067.M42 In the aftermath of the awakening of the Great Rift, the Order of the Iron Tower have taken an ever-more aggressive fight to the constant lurking spectre of heresy. Stretched thin at times, and struggling to protect the entirety of the Glastheim Pilgrimage route, it is not uncommon to see Sisters of the Iron Tower accompanied by bands of fanatical warrior-pilgrims, dour and steadfast Imperial regiments, or even the techno-savants of the Adeptus Mechanicus as they take to the fields of war. The Order has proven to be a long-enduring thorn in the side of the Blades of Atracia, the Warband of heretics who mastermind the endless cult uprisings around the Rifts. More of these white-clad heretic Astartes have perished at the hands of the Order of the Iron Tower than in battle with any other force. In 009.M42, a shipment of weapons and armour bound for the Spirit of Albanastra went missing. Two months later, the Spirit came across the corpse-strewn debris of the Forge-ship that had made the journey. A dozen years later, the Order of the Iron Tower were alerted to the presence of what appeared to be another Order in the Glastheim Rifts; a force calling themselves the Order of the Light Unceasing. Investigations, carried out discreetly, soon revealed that this "Order" was false. They wore stolen, repainted armour and accompanied the Blades of Atracia on their vile crusade to convert faithful citizens to the worship of the "Great Gods". A careful campaign of misdirection and espionage by members of the clergy eventually brought this false Order to battle as they attempted to sway the world of Mastari to darkness. The Order of the Iron Tower enclosed them, attacking from all sides. As soon as the battle began, the Order of the Light Unceasing abandoned all pretence, sacrificing dozens of converts and even some of their own number to flood the battlefield with a tide of Daemons. Though this bought time for a handful of the imposter Sororitas to flee, most of the Order of the Light Unceasing were wiped out that day. In 188.M42, a rare co-ordinated strike alongside the Warminds Chapter of Space Marines saw the sisters aboard the Argent Victory engage the Blades of Atracia in orbit around the factory-moon of Ausbech, successfully boarding their Strike Cruiser Spear of Truth and fighting a ferocious battle against roughly a hundred Chaos Space Marines and their innumerable serfs and servants. Though victory came at the cost of over three hundred and fifty slain Sisters, the battle culminated in Sister Estelda martyring herself to strike down the Riftmark leading the Blades of Atracia, dealing a truly decisive blow to the heretics' plans and shattering their co-ordination in that quadrant of the Rifts for many years afterward. No matter what perils may yet come, The Order of the Iron Tower stands vigil, their faith still strong and their discipline unwavering. [More to be added at a later date, if needed] Homeworld: "All the strength in the world won't help you if you lack the courage to use it. Stand up, girl. Keep fighting!" ~ Sister Katusa, Order of the Iron Tower, to an aspirant The Order of the Iron Tower do not recruit from a single world, but instead take suitable candidates from the shrine worlds along the Glastheim Pilgrimage route. Each of the fleets the Order accompanies has facilities suitable for the training and development of prospective recruits. Potential recruits for the Order are thoroughly screened at all steps of their training, lest the foulness of corruption lurk within their hearts. The training itself is highly intense, a series of brutal combat drills and trials interwoven with study of the Iron Creed, its philosophies and virtues. Of the worlds the Order draws recruits from, three in particular are known to produce a high volume of suitable candidates for the Sisterhood. In the south of the Glastheim Rifts lays Narrigost, a world that has withstood over a dozen sieges by the faithless and the heretical. Every city is a fortification, and even the churches on Narrigost are designed to withstand siege situations and repel invaders. Sisters hailing from Narrigost tend to be uncompromising and zealous in equal measure, their faith and grit armouring their minds as solidly as the armour that protects their bodies. In the East of the Rifts is Sagitar's World, a mostly-frozen world that was, at one time, owned wholly by the Valstrax Mechanicus. Lost to the Imperium after an attack by the Blades of Atracia, Cardinal von Lochlane spearheaded the reclaimation himself in the final years before his death. Though he claimed the surface for the Imperium at large, von Lochlane bequeathed the mineral wealth of Sagitar's World back to Valstrax, building small churches to the Omnissiah and allowing the Forgeworld to re-open the mining camps that had survived the Heretic's attack intact. Recruits coming from Sagitar's World generally have a greater affinity with machines than their Sisters, and are a Canoness's first choice for diplomacy whenever the Valstraxi are involved. Finally, on the northernmost edge of the Pilgrimage routes is Koruke, a hive world built on a foundation of strict customs that focus on proper veneration of The Emperor. Resolute discipline and a reverence for authority - especially religious authority - are virtually universal traits amongst the people of Koruke, making them excellent servants of the Church. Recruits from Koruke frequently exemplify these traits, staying calm and taking only decisive actions even under fire. With most of the Order's divisions having a mix of recruits from all three worlds, plus more than a dozen others besides, the Order of the Iron Tower has no shortage of recruits. If life around the Glastheim Rifts was anything besides an eternal war of attrition against ungodly forces, the Order would no doubt thrive. Life in the Rifts being what it is, however, the Sisterhood often needs to undertake extensive recruitment drives in the wake of the horrific battles they face on a constant basis. Beliefs: "To fight for The Emperor is to fight with honour. There can be no such thing as an unjust battle fought in His name." - Canoness Sefaya, 922.M40 The Iron Creed, as touched upon earlier, is the collected tenets of the Order of the Iron Tower. Serving as both the Order's religious centre and military guide, the Iron Creed is in many ways the heart of the Order. Even within their creed, however the Order of the Iron Tower is perhaps best defined at their very core by the first line of their creed: "The Emperor protects most those who Protect themselves." Or, in more traditional terms, if you fight to preserve His Imperium, then He will give you the strength to do so. Cowardice is a sin against The Emperor, but to show courage is to praise Him. But to dismiss the above as the be-all and end-all of the Iron Creed would be a mistake - the Creed itself has adapted somewhat over the centuries, as historic battles and influential Canonesses have left their marks on the Order. The Iron Creed has always placed a focus on disciplined combat over blind zeal, but it was Canoness Masuyo in 724.M40 who first penned a detailed sermon on how it behooved the Order to value survival equally to martyrdom, in order show an example of how one should live for The Emperor, and not just how one should die for Him. Masuyo was a great advocate of endurance as a virtue, and stated several times throughout her life that survival was simply a matter of supplies - always preparing for a longer, fiercer fight than you expect to face. After the protracted, casualty-heavy campaign against the Cult of Bliss in 905.M40, this teaching took a stronger hold, alongside the rise of Canoness Sefaya. The Canoness had long been of the opinion that honour had no place on the battlefield, and was more than happy to vanquish heretics through tactics previously considered 'underhanded' by the Order. Setting traps, cutting off supply lines, starving heretics to death or otherwise fighting the enemy where they could not defend themselves. After Sefaya's death in 916.M40 and the eventual promotion of many of her students to prominent roles, the Order of the Iron Tower adopted many of her teachings into their doctrines, pairing the Order's already fierce resolve with a keenly vindictive mindset and greater grasp of long-term strategic planning. In such ways, the Iron Creed has adapted over the centuries. While other Orders will recount great miracles of faith and salvation, made possible by the direct intervention of Him on Terra, the Order of the Iron Tower's history is almost entirely bereft of such examples. The Sororitas of the Iron Tower instead view such miracles as vanishingly rare and precious things, given only to those who enact His will with all their heart, mind, body and soul. Miracles are neither to be asked for nor expected by followers of the Iron Creed - He has already given you your weapons, your armour, your training, and your courage. To ask more of The Emperor would be gross disrespect of the gifts He has already given you. Those who claim to have witnessed miracles - outside of the distinguished ranks of the Ecclesiarchy - are treated with extreme scepticism by the Order of the Iron Tower. The Order's dislike of the Adeptus Astartes partially stems from the percieved preoccupation of the Silver Circle with the xenos surrounding the Glastheim Rifts, but also from the Order's multiple clashes with Heretic Astartes. The warbands that have dwelt in the Rifts over the millennia have been the Order's ultimate foe, but have also caused the Sororitas to view Space Marines as little more than fallible, corruptible, pompous weapons of war, rather than Emperor-ordained Angels of Death. Combat Doctrines: "Afraid? That's natural. But overcoming that fear is the path to victory, and to The Emperor." ~ Sister Superior Purnama to her squadmates, before the battle of Helnist Field, 114.M41 The Order of the Iron Tower is a fairly flexible combat force, equally adept at defending cities or rooting out heretic encampments. Often the Sororitas are accompanied by their numerous allies, be they fanatical pilgrims, sly Rogue Traders or dispassionate servants of the Mechanicus. In most situations, these allies will bow to the whims of the Adepta Sororitas once battle is inevitable, such is the renown of the Order's mastery of combat. Warfare as undertaken by Order of the Iron Tower is primarily conducted as close-range firefights where possible, to better utilise their blessed flamer and melta weapons. However, the Order typically avoids melee combat save for as a last resort. Sisters who have undertaken the vows of penance and become Repentia, or those bound to Penitent Engines, are generally reserved for counter-assualt tactics, or planned ambushes to tie up particularly vicious foes and buy their sisters time to reposition and better entrench themselves against the foe. Organisation: "Sixteen more martyred today. A dozen prospects picked up from the Pilgrim Fleet. No idea how long they'll last." ~ Private writings of Canoness Marel, 335.M41 Thanks to the ancient pacts and accords made in the time of Cardinal von Lochlane, The Order of the Iron Tower consists primarily of three Preceptories, each one assigned to one of the fleets patrolling the Glastheim Pilgrimage. The precise number of Adepta Sororitas in the Order of the Iron Tower is constantly in flux. By the nature of the conflicts they face, every battle is simply part of a larger war of attrition. Few indeed are the battles won without loss of life. With each conflict, the list of the martyred grows, and every woman in the Order is confronted with their own mortality on a near-daily basis. This is, however, offset by the large amount of recruits the Order can draw upon. With more than a dozen worlds serving as potential recruitment grounds even before drawing on willing young women in the Pilgrim Fleets, the Order of the Iron Tower boasts a seemingly never-ending supply of fresh recruits. Besides the main fleets, supplementary garrison forces exist on a handful of key Shrine Worlds, usually consisting of a dozen or less Battle Sisters assigned to the defence of sites of religious significance. Handfuls of Sisters can also be assigned as bodyguards for notable members of the Imperial Clergy, or as safeguards for the Order's numerous allies. At such, the Order's numbers have fluctuated wildly over the millennia. At rare times, the Order has had more trained Sororitas than they had Power Armour for them to wear. At other times, the Order has had over half its' stock of weapons and armour kept ensconced in blessed shrines aboard their ships, awaiting new owners. Regardless of their numbers, the resolve of the Sisterhood has never wavered - cowardice is a betrayal of The Emperor, and the Iron Creed binds the Order to their courage. Battlecry: Call: "Forged in Faith!" Response: "Tempered in War!" --=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=-- EDIT 17/04/2020: Added a handful of quotes, hopefully snappy and suitable enough for the Order of the Iron Tower. As always, thoughts, opinions, criticisms and stern reprimands for doing this all wrong always welcome.