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  1. THE CRIMSON GRASP “War gives the right to the conquerors to impose any condition they please upon the vanquished.” -attributed to Shakespire, Terran dramaturge, M2 I The assault boat floated through the light debris field, ancient and seemingly forgotten, as the strike cruiser approached. Not a single light or control rune blinked to life across its surface, and its engines and weapons sat cold as the grave. It was a truly old vessel - a Trireme-class Assault Boat. Once a mainstay of the Saturnine fleets in the days before full Imperial unification of the Sol System, a handful of Trireme were used by the Legiones Astartes in a handful of their earliest battles, and yet even by the time that the last true rebellions and uprisings died away on Terra they had been almost entirely replaced; the Space Marines had quickly come to favour Dreadclaw and Caestus, whilst the early regiments of the Imperial Army were already beginning to move towards the easier to produce Shark and Condor pattern Assault Boats. The Trireme was quickly forgotten, and now it was rare for a ship in the Imperium’s fleets to even have a way to recognise the obsolete craft in its vast cogitator banks. And that was exactly what Saggar was counting on. Saggar stood in the cramped troop bay of the Trireme, his gaze seemingly locked on his squad’s helms. The light of their emerald lenses were amongst the only sources of light in the mostly powered-down assault craft, and that thin and sickly light caught the edges of the helmet crests of their kin, rendering the Sarum-forged shapes even more monstrous than normal. However, his attention was firmly within his own helm, focused utterly on the runes flickering over his display, showing the approach of the strike cruiser. The plan had seemed so very simple back in the launch bays of the Axeman’s Mercy. The strike cruiser that was approaching belonged to one of the thin-blood ‘Successor Chapters’ of the Imperium, and was unlikely to be able to tell the Trireme apart from the endless debris and flotsam of the void. Built for war in the densely populated Sol System, the Trireme was built to be far more resilient than the later generations of Imperial assault boats - in the battles over Saturn, there was a chance if you missed your target that a ship might actually be able to pick you up, and so the Trireme was able to maintain life support for incredible lengths of time. Especially when most of its occupants had the legendary constitutions of Space Marine Legionnaires. Now though, with the Butcher’s Nails biting hard into the back of his brain, and the vast form of a strike cruiser bearing down on him with no way of defending himself, Saggar was beginning to see all the ways this plan could go wrong. The runes displaying the status of the strike cruiser blinked bright, and Saggar held his breath. Even now, the hundreds of servitors linked to the strike cruiser’s defence turrets would be scanning the Trireme, trying to identify any threats. One long second passed. Then two. Three. Saggar was used to the lightning-grind of melee and the ground war, and each second sat in the dark, simply waiting, felt like a lifetime of agony. Eventually, after five more agonising seconds, a pinging green rune appeared imposed over the strike cruiser rune on his display. Saggar grinned, his tongue clicking off his iron teeth as he opened a vox-link to the hereteks and engine-cultists in the Trireme’s cockpit, Nails at once seeming to calm and tense further as the chance for violence approached. “Bring us in.” Slowly, achingly slowly, the Trireme began to move. It couldn’t ignite its main engines, not without becoming a blazing beacon on every sensor aboard the strike cruiser, and so it had to sputter and limp towards its prey on emergency micro-thrusters - drifting into the cruiser’s path more than actively closing the gap. In the troop bay, Saggar’s squad had begun to notice the movement. To an Astartes, well used to the feeling of an assault craft plying its trade, even these tiny movements spoke volumes. The Berzerkers began to twitch and fidget. The most controlled amongst them ran practised hands over their pistols and axes, performing weapons checks as a small ritual to try and appease and calm the pain engines singing in their skulls. The least controlled began to murmur and convulse, barely holding back their contempt and fury at not yet being in soothing battle. So began Saggar’s main task as a squad leader - trying to keep the World Eaters under his command dancing on the knife edge between mindless, frothing madmen barely useful as even the bluntest of weapons, and the long and painful failure that came from trying to deny the Nails. He laid a hand on the pauldron of one of the nearest struggling Berzerker, Kayst, the sudden and deliberate movement drawing the rest of the squad’s attention. That, at least, was a good sign; before some battles such small social queues had been completely beneath their notice. “Hold steady, brother. Soon, we will be ankle-deep in the blood of Imperials. The Blood God and the Nails will both have their fill and more, and our brothers will praise us as the heralds of yet another glorious victory. Is this not why we are the favoured of the Fell? Trusted above all others to be his preferred companions? We strike smart first, and it does not dull our fury. Blood for the Blood God!” “Blood for the Blood God!” The squad’s response shout was crisp and eager, and Saggar smiled again. Playing to their egos, and reminding them that the eye of one of Khorne’s favoured was on them in part because they could still be trusted to show at least a little restraint, had done its job, and Saggar felt some of his earlier confidence return. A different vox-link chimed, filling Saggar’s ear with the adrenaline-buzz of the Trireme’s heretek pilot-devotee, “Boarding proximity achieved, Lord Saggar. Bringing mag-clamps online.” The assault boat shuddered and hummed as, beyond the thick walls of the troop bay, it gently connected with the hull of the strike cruiser before locking itself into place with an array of esoteric mag-locks and proto-ursus harpoons, sharp as lamprey teeth. “Sealed and airtight, Lord Saggar. Melta-rams are now back online. We fire at your command.” Saggar slammed a fist into the release rune beside him, rising with the unlocked harness and forcing his way through his Berzerkers and the small knot of cultist and subhuman support they had brought with them until he stood at their fore, eyes almost boring a hole through the assault boat’s ramp. “Do it.” Saggar’s squad ran through the sparse outer corridors of the strike cruiser at a speed far beyond a jog. There was little restraint or control here, and even less attempt to move with any true silence or stealth. However, it had not yet devolved into a full and unrestrained charge, and even Kayst was still pausing and changing direction almost immediately after Saggar gave the order, and given how loud and insistent his own Nails were growing, that gave him no small amount of satisfaction. Besides, true stealth would barely have served them here. If the Astartes on this ship had not immediately noticed the assault boat breaching their hull, they would notice soon. Saggar simply had to complete his mission before the Imperials managed to stop him. They had yet to encounter any meaningful resistance. There had been a few knots of mortals here and there, most likely Chapter Serfs trying to eke out a handful of personal, human moments here, far enough from their duties, masters, and the ship’s key systems that the small sins of human inefficiency - love, tabac, and the other tiny excesses of dutiful slaves - were tolerated or ignored. None had survived contact with Saggar’s Berzerkers. He had let Kayst lead the way. The Berzerker had flung himself at each and every small mob of mortals, scattering them like a felinid coming down amidst song birds; with rent lines of blood and shrill cries of weakling panic cast all about him as his chainsword swung. The rest of the squad was barely a breath behind him, chainaxes and eviscerators lashing out at the mortals that tried to move away from Kayst’s frantic swordstrokes. In the wake of each cull (Saggar refused to insult Khorne or his own squad by calling the events ‘battles’, or even ‘skirmishes’) Rell had paused for a half moment to stoop amongst the corpses, the strange tools of his twin disciplines rattling at his waist as he bent to coat his fingers in the rapidly cooling blood of their victims, using it to daub crude runes on the walls and on his own armour even as he rose and moved to catch up with his fellow World Eaters. After the fourth such small ritual, Saggar spared Rell a nod, trusting the old Berzerker to read the implicit question in the gesture. Rell did, but his answer was full of his usual vagaries. “Too soon to tell, Saggar. It’ll all depend on how many thinbloods are on this ship once we are through proper.” Saggar grunted, annoyed but not surprised, before turning back to run with Kayst at the head of the squad. They were coming up on the objective, and there was precious little time to waste. There would be time enough to wrench answers out of Rell later. A few corridors more, and another mob of serfs, and something in the air changed. The keening pitch of the Nails sang higher in Saggar’s skull, and the faint scent of sanctified Mechanicus oils and the burnt residue of gun lubricant began to filter through his helmet. “Kayst, blade up and faster - I taste Imperial corpse-machines on the wind.” Kayst snarled, and Saggar braced himself for a backhand from the Berzerker’s sword, worried for a moment that the bite of the Nails would cause him to lash out at the implicit chains of authority in Saggar’s words. Then the snarl continued, morphing into something akin to a laugh, and Kayst broke into a full-tilt charge, bringing his chainsword up from the lazy and vaguely ready position it had lived in since they had deployed to a proper guard, from where it could be deployed against an actual opponent. Saggar lengthened his own stride, rushing to keep up with Kayst, and as the pair rounded a sharp bend in the corridor, they were met by a hail of solid slugs. A trio of heavy servitors - semi-living and lobotomised human bodies, filled up with simple aggressor machines, targeting matrices, and massive slabs of armour, and literally armed with some form of primitive rotary cannons - had locked their feet against the deck, choking the air down the long corridor with blazing hot ammunition. It was a kill-zone that few forces in the galaxy would be able to push through with ease. The World Eaters had never been a typical force. A veteran of the Long War in the truest sense, Kayst had served in the XII Legion’s Destroyer cadres, even earning the Blood Hand and fighting in the elite Red Hand Squads when Horus’ doomed rebellion had reached Terra. His place had always been in the teeth of the enemy, screaming back in the face of firepower that should have been overwhelming. He had survived the heavy weapons of Dorn’s precious Imperial Fists, the massed fire of entire Aeldari corsair bands, his own lethal and sickening wargear, and even, at the height of the Legion Wars, a full salvo of lascannon beams from the Sun Killer elite of the III Legion. These servitors were nothing in the face of such a legacy. The Destroyer lowered his shoulders, turning as he ran so that most of the howling slugs struck the already scarred Legion badge on his heavy pauldron. The weight of fire seemed to barely slow Kayst, and he howled as he continued to put one foot in front of the other, closing the gap between the squad and the servitors with the unnerving speed of a true Astartes. The bullets could do little against the ceramite of power armour, and where they found the soft armour of joints and armour seals, the sting of pain simply caused Kayst to howl louder and run faster, fury burning his blood as he sought to avenge himself upon the machine-men. As Kayst reached the servitors, he laid into them with his chainsword, crashing into the Imperial cyborgs with a series of heavy, two-handed swings. The first few blows struck at the weapon limbs of the servitors, although Saggar was unwilling to assign that to a desire to help cover the advance of the rest of the squad, or to any sense of strategy or tactics, rather than the blind and mad luck of a warrior lost to the Butcher’s Nails. Regardless of why he had done it, Kayst’s first flurry of blows had nonetheless knocked their heavy guns out of their pre-sighted alignments, and the rest of the Berzerkers were left unopposed as they ran the last stretch of the corridor, their own howls joining Kayst as they joined the fray. There was more of a fight here than there had been with the Chapter serfs. The blade-limbs of the servitors were just fast enough to parry one or two of the World Eaters’ swings, and a desperate close-range salvo from one of their cannons brought Badis crashing to a knee, a string of impact craters running down his breastplate. However, they were just three simple machines, and in the face of ten of the most powerful assault specialists the Imperium and the Eye had ever produced, they had never stood a chance, and by the time Badis had heaved himself back up with his eviscerator, the fight was over. It took Saggar long seconds to silence his own Nails enough to look to his squad after the last of the servitors fell, and even more valuable moments were lost as Saggar and his Brothers pulled the worst of their members back from the abyss. Even once calmed, Kayst paced like a caged predator as he waited for the squad to advance again, and Badis had been lost for a while, furiously tearing into the collapsed servitor that had shot him. However, eventually Saggar was able to drag his squad back from the fog of the Butcher’s Nails enough that he could stand and take stock, grinning as he saw what the servitors had been guarding: an interior bulkhead door, marked with an eyeless skull emblem - the same heraldry that had been emblazoned across the side of the strike cruiser. Another iron-toothed smile broke behind his helmet. Saggar turned, barking at Rell to get to the door. He paused, his eye lenses rising up to meet Saggar’s. He had taken advantage of the squad’s brief halt, daubing a dozen crude runes in the thick blood of the squad and the vital almost-oil of the servitors, and all but covering both of his vambraces in the strange half-script. The lifeblood was stark and bright against the death-grey of his armour, and as he moved past Saggar to investigate the door, it seemed to move slower than the rest of him, lingering like the afterthought of ritual in his wake. “Can you get it open, Rell?” Rell’s first response was little more than a grunt; a distracted half-snarl of Nail-bite and focus that made it very clear he would answer when he was good and ready, and not when Saggar asked. Saggar felt his anger rise in response to the implied disrespect, and forced his ire back down as Rell set to work, pulling a series of dataspikes and grav-drivers from his belt in order to assault the command console next to the bulkhead door. Long ago, Rell had been an initiate of the XII Legion’s Forge. Having shown a natural aptitude for machinery and mechanisms, he had been pulled from the line and named a Techmarine Initiate. However, Rell had never been sent to Sacred Mars to learn the great mysteries of the Machine Cult; just as his aptitude had been discovered, Angron and his sons had been called to Istvann by the Warmaster Horus, and would soon be embroiled in the all-consuming chaos of Horus’ Rebellion. With the World Eaters dispatched to Ultramar for Lorgar’s Shadow Crusade, and Mars besieged by those still loyal to the Throne, Rell had been taught his trade not in the Forge-Shrine, but in the crucible of war. As a result, Rell had never learned the higher mysteries of the Cult Mechanicus, but he had learned a brutal practicality that appealed to Angron’s Legion. No deep studies of the ancient Cybernetica or the lore-matrices of the great cogitators for Rell, instead he learned to repair a tank whilst under attack by Guilliman’s precious Locutarus Squads. No chance to ever learn the nuances of voltike production or how to set a voxgheist upon an entire world, instead Rell had learned the art of forging weapons from the broken machines of the XIII Legion. Rell might never have been considered a ‘true’ Techmarine, and even now boasted little of the true heretek mastery of the Warpsmiths of other warbands, and yet his ability to function as a rough mechanist under fire and through the howling of his Nails was an asset Saggar had long-since come to rely on. It had left its mark on Rell, though. There was a petty spitefulness that ran through the very core of Rell’s psyche; the old wound of never being allowed to study and master the great war-arts of the Mechanicum had never healed. Saggar had once heard that during the Shadow Crusade, Rell had made it his personal mission to kill as many of the Ultramarines’ Techmarines as he could, robbing the enemy of the knowledge and expertise he would never have the chance to obtain. Those same rumours had claimed that each of the tools of the Techpriest that Rell carried had been taken from those same murdered foes - each dataspike and wrench and plasma-cutter a trophy of a foe slain and a blow delivered to the accumulated wisdom of the enemy. Saggar had no idea if such tales were true, but having seen Rell’s fury in the face of Imperial Techmarines in the long years since Skalathrax, he could well believe it. “Saggar, it’s as we feared,” there was a rumble beneath Rell’s voice, an anger borne of having to admit defeat - admit weakness - for even a moment, “Whoever these thinbloods are, they actually put some thought into defending themselves. The inner bulkheads have a kinlock on them. I could force this one open, but all the others would stay locked shut. My dataspikes and petty scrapcode will never convince the door we are supposed to be here.” Saggar nodded, slapping a hand against Rell’s power pack, hoping that the gesture of camaraderie would reach through the Nails and the Berzerker’s wounded pride. They had always known there was a chance Rell would be unable to breach these sorts of defences - the soft work of corrupting and deceiving augury and identification systems had never been his great strength - and so they had come prepared. Saggar shouted an order back down the corridor, to where a small knot of cultists and mutants were slowly making their way through the strike cruiser in the Berzerkers’ wake. Several bestial mutants lumbered forwards, braying and bellowing in something between brash posturing challenges and pious prayers to their Astartes masters. Two were pure brutes, towering over the mortal cultists and blessed with spiralling crowns of horns atop their elongated heads, and swung their heavy chainswords with the righteous arrogance of bodyguards, but it was the third beastman that Saggar had called forward. Smaller than its kin, the third beast was hooded in the ragged approximation of robes, and carried a long stave - a cobbled-together badge of office made from broken icons, glyph-stained bones, and a twisted skull. The beastherds that dwelt in the depths of the Axeman’s Mercy called creatures such as these “shamans” - petty witches and pseudo-psykers whose extensive mutations had given it some deeper connection to the Warp. As the shaman approached, Saggar felt the edges of a Nails headache press at his mind. It was nothing compared to a purer human psyker or true Astartes Librarian, though - Saggar had often wondered if the beastmen’s sheer Warp pollution registered differently to the pain engines in some way, although whenever he had attempted to discuss it with his brothers they had laughed at his interest. However, the ‘softer’ impact of the mutant witches made it easier for the Berzerkers to stomach their presence, which is why they had been picked for this mission. “Burn their pathetic machines awake, witchblood. Open this ship to the Crimson Grasp.” The shaman brayed a response and lumbered forward, beginning to gesture and murmur in a language uncomfortably close to High Gothic for something with such bovine features. Where Saggar and his kin worshipped Khorne above the other gods, and as a grand warrior and pillar of fury and sacred rage, the beastherds worshipped Chaos as a single, primordial whole - an antithesis to order and civilisation. Whatever magic the shaman had taught itself to call upon was clearly borne from this idea of a Primordial Annihilator; it was the magic of disorder, the sorcery of lies and deception, the song of the twisting of bonds and proper function and loyalty. And it was exactly what the squad needed. The Nails buzzed louder in Saggar’s skull as writhing shadows began to dance between the shaman’s staff and the console, and he bit down hard on the urge to cut the beastman down, casting an eye over his squad to make sure that they were doing the same. The shaman’s dark magic poured through the bulkhead door’s sensor-arrays and gene-protocols, myriad illusions confounding it and overwhelming the simple machine spirit. The sensors scanned and scanned again, and a donut emerged in its protocols. There were Astartes in front of it, and surely they were its masters? What other Astartes could be on the ship? It served the Astartes. It served these Astartes? “Rell, now.” Saggar’s command cut through Rell’s battle with his own Nails, and he pushed his way back towards the console, grunting in disgust as the tendrils of the shaman’s magic caressed his armour. A dataspike slammed roughly into the console, and with that the machine spirit’s defences were finally completely overwhelmed. Rell grinned, feral delight overwhelming him despite the proximity of the mutant’s foul sorcery as he punched in a command. Emergency Protocol Exile Extremis Initiated. Unsealing all inner bulkhead chambers. Ave Imperator. The bulkhead door began to scream and screech as it slowly unlocked and rolled open, revealing the dimly lit corridor beyond. For a second, nothing beyond the bulkhead changed. Then, as the rest of the strike cruiser began to realise what was befalling it, the corridor beyond was lit by the flashing strobe of warning crimson, and the screaming of the door was joined by the wailing of klaxons. Saggar began to laugh, and punched through a vox command to the waiting Trireme. “Pilot, relay the following back to Axeman’s Mercy: Mission accomplished, Lord. We have our way in.”
  2. Hi all, The reemergence of Codex Grey's Heralds of Light reminded me of this Renegade Chapter created as a community project for the second Legio Imprint: Eye of Terror (both were used in a campaign together) I managed to find the word doc for the IT, so I've submitted it to the Showcase. The discussion thread for it is long gone, so I'll add this one to the bottom once it's been approved.
  3. Index Traitoris: Lions of Alba Pride's Fall Throughout the long history of the Imperium of Man, there have been those who have chosen to stand against their people, their brothers and their Master. Many are corrupted by their own desires for power, knowledge or glory. But perhaps the most dangerous to face are those turned to darkness by misplaced pride and honour. Traitors motivated by selfishness and greed will falter if it will preserve their contemptible lives, but those certain of their own righteousness will fight ever onwards, with all the fury and resolve they showed as loyalists. Among such unabashed renegades stand the Lions of Alba. Origins and Early History: "We put too much stock in our past glories and histories; in the end, they are but ashes in the march of time." The Champion (The Lions' Fall, Act I, Scene IV) The Lions of Alba are a relatively young Chapter, that contradictory records date to both the 23rd and 24th Founding. Successors to the gene-seed of the noble Rogal Dorn, they were first lead by a cadre of veterans from another Imperial Fists successor, the Shields of Dorn. Once the new Chapter had acquired enough war materiel to be largely self-sufficient, it was directed towards the galactic northeast, to the edge of the region known as the Eye of Terror. The young Chapter spearheaded a crusade to reclaim systems lost to chaotic invasion several centuries before. Amidst these conquered worlds they discovered one that, despite being vastly outmatched, had refused to bow down to its oppressors. The people of Alba, possessing no technology more sophisticated than steel blades and stone walls, had courageously fought a guerrilla war of resistance against the forces of Chaos but were finally on the verge of being wiped out. Impressed with the tenacity of the locals, the Marines intervened, destroying a vast force of traitors in open battle. Days later, after conducting the necessary purity checks on the populace, the Chapter declared the world as its own through right of conquest. Alba became the location of the Chapter's Fortress Monastery as well as the primary source of their recruits. As a mark of respect to the great bravery shown by the common people of their new home, the Marines took the name Lions of Alba. Over the following centuries, the world and those of the surrounding systems prospered as never before under the watchful eye of the Chapter. But all such golden ages must end... The Old Master and the Three Captains: "...And 'tis our fast intent. To shake all cares and business from our age; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we, Unburden'd crawl toward our death." Chapter Master Leyr (The Lions' Fall, Act I, Scene I) By the beginning of the 40th Millenium, the Lions of Alba had settled into their role of protecting the outlying Sectors around the northern rim of the Eye of Terror. They had been led for nearly five centuries by Chapter Master Leyr, a venerable warrior of campaigns and victories beyond counting. Respected though he was, Leyr had reached an age of more than nine hundred years and had decided that it was time for another, more vigorous warrior to lead the Lions into battle. On Alba, amongst the feudal Lords that ruled over the populace, succession had ever been a convoluted affair, riddled with politicking, contention and even occasional bloodletting. Many of these traditions had become part of the Chapters' own way. Brother-Captain Cordell of the 2nd Company, a proud but capable soldier, was held by many (including himself) as the natural and obvious choice to succeed Leyr. However, he had spent long years away on campaign, and in his absence Gorinel of the 3rd Company and Rygen of the 4th Company had worked to sour the relationship between Cordell and the elderly Leyr. Convinced by the words of his two subordinates, the ancient Master declared that a Chapter Conclave would be held to ratify his choice of successor. On hearing of this, Cordell returned with all speed to Alba, sure that his time to reign had finally come. When he arrived and discovered his brother Captains' scheming, the conclave was riven by arguments and recriminations. The entire Chapter was divided and Leyr was once again placed at an impasse. Finally, Rygen, who had a reputation as a cunning strategist, stepped forward and declared that he would willingly share the mastery of the Chapter with his brother Gorinel, thereby healing the schism. While Cordell scoffed at the suggestion, Leyr was tired and eager to find any solution to his problem, even one that was less than perfect. He accepted Rygen's proposal, quietly stating that the two Captains would rule jointly when he stepped down. Cordell's reaction was immediate and furious. He decried Leyr's decision as the weakness of an old man and demanded that the Chapter Master name a single successor. Though still bowed by age, Leyr responded angrily, his proud hearts fired by the insult his officer had delivered. Incensed, he ordered in a suddenly thunderous voice that if Cordell would not respect his wishes, the Captain and his men would be punished, banished from Alba to wander the stars for a hundred years. An angry curse died on Cordell's lips, quashed by his master's ire. With his head bowed, Cordell silently left the great hall, followed by his men and by Gorinel and Rygen's satisfied stares. Chapter War: "For the good of us all? If so, I cannot see it." Brother-Captain Cordell. (The Lions' Fall, Act III, Scene II) The 2nd Company left Alba with heavy hearts, each one sure that they would not see their world again for many years. Strangely though, it would be only a matter of weeks before they would look upon Alba's green fields once again. Only seventeen days after the conclusion of the conclave, Gorinel and Rygen, their patience for the vagaries of Leyr's great age worn thin, seized control of the Chapter and forced the venerable leader to announce his formal retirement. While Leyr outwardly accepted his fate, the canny old warrior quietly used his influence among the Chapters support staff to have a message sent to the 2nd Company, in which he apologized for his foolishness in alienating Cordell and revealed the treachery of the other two Captains. Cordell, headstrong as ever, reacted at once and turned his vessel around to return to Alba. Even as the Strike Cruiser of the 2nd Company raced towards home, Leyr's duplicity had been uncovered. Chapter Master Gorinel, enraged at his predecessor's betrayal and the perceived slight against his own honour, reacted rashly. He stormed to Leyr's quarters, drawing his sidearm. With a single bolt shell, Gorinel angrily executed the Marine who had once been his mentor. As his rage slowly subsided, Gorinel realized that his impulsive action had killed all hope of a reconciliation between himself and Cordell just as surely as it had killed Leyr. On hearing of his brother's actions, Master Rygen immediately insisted that the Chapter be mobilized for battle, ready to face down the returning 2nd Company. As Cordell's Strike Cruiser arrived in orbit above Alba, the rest of the Lions' Fleet moved to encircle the lone vessel. Cordell stubbornly insisted that he be allowed to speak to Leyr, and Gorinel and Rygen flatly refused. Prideful words and heated recriminations were exchanged, followed by challenges and insults. Who among the gathered Astartes fired first is unknown, but the results were inevitable. For a matter of minutes the skies of Alba were lit as if by a second sun as the Chapter turned upon itself. Though Cordell ranked among the greatest leaders the Chapter had ever known, his fate would surely have been sealed were it not for the commanders of several of the Lions smaller escort vessels. Horrified by the murder of Leyr, they rebelliously opened a hole in the blockade around Alba and aided Cordell as he fled from the ambush. Together, they fought their way to the edge of the system and escaped into the warp. Gorinel and Rygen immediately launched a pursuit, declaring Cordell and all his followers to be renegades that had to be hunted down. What followed was a series of running battles that burned across several systems, as the two Masters led their forces against Cordell's. The war between brothers raged for several months but eventually played itself out to its only possible conclusion. On Dardelio IV, Cordell and his outnumbered and poorly equipped forces were cornered and killed, butchered to the last man. Lions of Alba Chapter Heraldry. The Imperium: "We have seen the worst of our time: machinations, hollowness, treachery - all ruinous disorders. They follow us disquietly to our graves." Lord-Commander Glawster (The Lions Fall, Act I, Scene II) However, the ponderous weight of the Imperium had already begun to move. Imperial authorities were alarmed by the reports of what had happened at Alba and by the violence spreading across the sub-sector. Lord-Commander Glawster of the Imperial Navy, an old friend of Leyr, had mobilized a task force to investigate further. Even as the first salvoes were fired above Dardelio IVs atmosphere, Glawster's ships were quickly closing in. While Gorinel stolidly ignored the long range hails from the Imperial Navy as an unwanted and unwarranted intrusion into Chapter affairs, Cordell sent a last, desperate message revealing what he saw as his brothers' treachery to their Master, their Chapter and the Imperium. Though Gorinel was able to enjoy the momentary satisfaction of seeing his former rival's broken corpse brought before him, his ignorant and proud refusal to respond to Glawster would bring ruin to his Chapter. With no reason to believe otherwise, the Lord-Commander accepted Cordell's message as genuine; and as the ships of his Fleet entered the Dardelio system, it was with shields up and weapons armed. Even as Gorinel and his forces boarded their vessels, the Astartes ships came under crippling long range fire from the Navy Fleet. Gorinel's response to this new treachery was to fight back, but Rygen insisted that the Lions, weakened by their war against their former brothers, must retreat. After a moment when it seemed that even more of the Chapter's blood must be spilt, Gorinel acquiesced to his brother's demands and the Lions limped away, hiding themselves in a nearby nebula. Though Glawster's ships could not prevent the Lions' escape, the Lord-Commander did not rest. Messages were sent across the breadth of the Sector, appealing for help to hunt the traitors down. Days later, after completing temporary repairs to their vessels, the Lions quietly made their way back towards Alba. What they found there was terrible to behold. Their home, once a beautiful jewel in the blackness of space, had been reduced to nothing more than a lifeless rock. The interrogation of the crew of a Navy escort captured while patrolling the system revealed the truth. Imperial forces, including three Companies of the Heralds of Light Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, had responded to Glawster's warning, falling on the Lions' world, killing the few, impenitent defenders and plundering their Fortress Monastery. Before their ships had left orbit, the Heralds had delivered the final blow, a pair of cyclonic torpedoes that had reduced all living things on Alba's surface to ash. Broken-hearted, the Chapter lamented the loss of its home, but there proved to be little time for grief. The fleet's long range augurs picked up no less than four separate groups of Imperial ships, each approaching at high speed from every direction. Gorinel and Rygen argued again as to whether they should fight or flee, but once more Rygen's tactical acumen prevailed. Even impetuous Gorinel was forced to see that there was no chance of victory or revenge here. With a voice filled with bitter hatred of all those that had betrayed and turned against him, he cursed the vile Imperium and swore that to the very last breath of their very last warrior, the Lions would bring bloody vengeance and damnation upon it for its treachery. With a final howl of grief and denied rage, he turned the Chapter fleet to the only heading left open to it - deep into the vast chaotic realm known as the Eye of Terror. The Lions' Fall: Written by the dramatheurge Myrlow and based on eyewitness accounts of scribes and soldiers attached to Lord Glawster's task force, the play entitled 'The Lions' Fall' remains surprisingly popular among the worlds surrounding the Alba system, and is still performed regularly in festivals or feasts. Despite its controversial subject matter, it has escaped censure by local Administratum officials and the Ecclestriarchy due to its focus on the heroism of Captain Cordell and his doomed Company rather than on the fall of his Chapter. When the Lions of Alba first tried to reclaim their planet, their forces made a point of first visiting Myrlow's home world of Sachsen, and systematically exterminated all of the dramatheurge's descendants and relatives for the slander done on their Chapter's honour. Beliefs: "Wretched betrayer! Are you bored as you sit upon your golden throne... That you have us crushed like ants? Do you take joy in watching your sons weep?" Brother-Captain Gorinel (The Lion's Fall, Act IV, Scene III) More than five hundred years have passed since Alba was cleansed and the Lions were declared renegade, yet in some ways the Chapter has changed very little. The Lions are still characterised by the qualities one would expect of Astartes born of the genetic lineage of Rogal Dorn; driven by their uncompromising sense of pride and honour, grounded by their stubborn determination to endure and persevere. Sadly, such fine qualities have been twisted against the Lions' former masters by the cruel hand of fate. The Lions believe themselves utterly betrayed, turned against without reason by those who should have been their staunchest allies, and they hate the Imperium and the Emperor with all the fire and fury that their heritage gives them. This all consuming hate influences the thoughts and motivations of every member of the Lions, each now willing to commit all manner of heinous actions that they would once have considered unthinkable, if it would bring their goal of vengeance even one step closer. Although the Chapter as a whole still fervently believes in Master Gorinel's oath of retribution against the Imperium, there is a growing undercurrent of bitter realization among many Marines that such a goal will never be attained. They know that the Chapter is already lost and that all its actions since the destruction of Alba are nothing more than the death throes of some wild beast. With every battle, they see more brethren lost, yet the Imperium of Man continues on unhindered. Such hopeless warriors, often led by Master Rygen, fight on because that is all that is left to them. They are utterly professional, cold where their brothers are zealous, determined that when their death comes, as it inevitably must, they will have taken the highest possible toll of blood among the betrayers of the Imperium. The Chapter still clings to many of its traditions and various special days are remembered; of particular note is the Day of the Betrayal, commemorating their 'exile' from Alba, and it is on this day all battle-brothers retake their oath to bring vengeance on the Imperium. The Chapter has, as of recent history, tried twice to invade and 'reclaim' the now barren Alba system, but has thus far been repulsed. Organization and Tactics: "What you have charged me with, that have I done; And more, much more." Brother-Captain Rygen (The Lions' Fall, Act V, Scene III) Now based on a handful of ships and escort vessels that are all that remain of the Chapters' once mighty fleet, the Lions survive by raiding against Imperial systems around the borders of the Eye of Terror. While their sense of honour prevents them from engaging in the wanton pillage and slaughter of civilians so common among renegade Astartes, they will attack Imperial worlds for supplies, war material and potential converts to their cause. Such assaults are never hidden with subterfuge, but are committed openly for all to see the rightful stand taken by the defiant Lions. Although the Chapter are considered traitors by the Imperium at large, they have not succumbed to the warband structure favoured by most renegades and still cling tenaciously to an ad-hoc Codex structure, adapted for their much-reduced numbers. The Lions maintain several Battle Companies and although these formations are typically far smaller than in a loyalist Chapter, each still has a comparable proportion of Tactical, Assault and Devastator units. As the Chapter has lost most of its vehicles in the years since it was pursued from the Alba system, it has become necessary to use non-mechanized stratagems to accomplish its goals. The reduction of the battle brethrens' numbers has also forced the Chapter to allow its Sergeants a greater level of autonomy, and missions often have to be executed on a squad by squad basis. In battle, the Lions are zealous warriors, full of bitter pride and determination. Marines of the Chapter will never voluntarily fall back, fighting stubbornly onwards even against overwhelming odds. While this has occasionally snatched victory from defeat, all too often the Chapter has suffered for its beliefs. The Lions lack the resources needed to properly maintain their assaults and their refusal to cut and run has many times resulted in losses that they can ill afford. In recent years, as their own fatalities have mounted, the Lions have taken the controversial step of making temporary alliances with other warbands. While for the most part these have taken the form of pacts of non-aggression or trade of materials, the Chapter's marines have on a handful of occasions actually fought beside their renegade brethren. Any agreement with such vile and contemptible traitors is viewed by the Lions as distasteful in the extreme; but these pacts are nevertheless countenanced for the simple reason of the opportunities they bring to strike out at the far greater and more reprehensible enemy, the hated Imperium of Man. Gene-Seed: "It is the Emperor who weeps; he cannot save us from ourselves." The Champion (The Lion's Fall, Act IV, Scene III) The Lions of Alba trace their genetic lineage to the Primarch Rogal Dorn and before their fall, their Apothecaries had a reputation for fastidious precision in the care of the Chapter's precious gene-seed. Such exacting standards appear to have been continued even since the loss of Alba, as more than five centuries later the Lions seem largely untroubled by the countless deviancies that plague those Astartes who turn from the Emperor's light. This is not to say that the Lions are unaffected by the warping properties of the chaotic region that they have been forced to call home. Some few battle brethren have been cursed by the blighted hand of mutation. Such changes - be they scaled skin, weeping sores or even in a handful of extreme cases additional eyes or mouths - are viewed with utter disgust and as a sign of deep shame to any warrior unfortunate enough to be so disfigured. While those Lions who have been affected endure their shame with stoic dignity, they will at the same time attempt to limit and conceal their corruption by sealing themselves within their power armour, thereby attempting to protect their brethren from its insidious spread. Whether such efforts will prove successful is a question that can be answered only with the passing of time. Battle Cry: "For Alba! For vengeance!" The agonizing fire in Brother Boras secondary heart had increased to an inferno, and he painfully gulped air into his shattered lungs. The last blow must have cracked the Black carapace within his chest and driven shards of it into the flesh beneath. Given enough time, Boras could recover from even such grievous wounds, but time he did not have. Even as the Herald of Light rose to a painful crouch, his opponent stepped through the gaping hole in the thick plascrete wall that had been created moments before by Boras heavy form being hurled through the air. The renegade was clad in powered armour quartered in yellow and white and carried a long, heavy blade. Though both sword and armour had seen better days, the quality of their manufacture was clearly evident. A name was written across one shoulder, half obscured by dirt and battle damage, but Boras could make out that it ended GEN. The traitor spoke softly, continuing an argument that had raged even as had their combat. "Brother, will you not see it? He has betrayed you, just as surely as He did me." Boras snarled under his helmet, but could not reply for his voxcaster had been damaged. Angrily he tore the malfunctioning armour from his head and spat scornfully on the floor before his foe. While no acid bubbled in the liquid, thick blood reddened it. "You are the betrayer, heretic! You turned from the light, and so He turned his back on you!" The renegade paused, lowering his blade, and casually reached up to remove his own helm, hanging it carefully on his belt. Beneath it, Boras was surprised to see, not a warp-corrupted horror, but rather the face of an Astartes little different in aspect from any of his own brethren. The traitor's face was stern and proud, yet was marred by an air of weary bitterness. A faint smile crossed his lips at Boras' words. "Indeed. Then tell me, brother, how does that explain your current predicament?" Boras growled angrily at the insult and with the last of his strength, he hurled himself suddenly forwards, combat blade outstretched. Almost effortlessly, the renegade stepped aside and lashed out with a booted foot, sending Boras tumbling excruciatingly back to the floor. He lay still, unable to move. "I have no time left for this, brother," said the traitor coldly, raising his long sword. "Will you not renounce Him? There can be no doubt that He has betrayed you." Boras replied, his voice a pained whisper. "The Emperor protects." The renegade stood above him, reversing his blade and raising it for the killing strike. The last thing Boras would ever hear was his quiet reply, given in a voice oddly tinged with a mixture of hate, sorrow and hopelessness. "No, he does not."
  4. From the album: Sarment Sector Colour Schemes

    Emblem of the Iron Harbingers Night Lords' Warband.
  5. From the album: Sarment Sector Colour Schemes

    Emblem of the Shadow Wolves venerating Slaanesh
  6. From the album: Sarment Sector Colour Schemes

    Emblem of the Shadow Wolves venerating Tzeentch
  7. From the album: Sarment Sector Colour Schemes

    Emblem of the Shadow Wolves venerating Nurgle
  8. From the album: Sarment Sector Colour Schemes

    Emblem of the Shadow Wolves venerating Khorne
  9. From the album: Sarment Sector Colour Schemes

    Emblem of Koshi Proctor (often known as Doctor Proctor)
  10. From the album: Sarment Sector Colour Schemes

    Badge of the Hecatonchires. Note the use of a reduced shoulder pad: the Hecatonchires have lost the Black Carapace, meaning that they cannot use Astartes Power Armour.
  11. This is what I have as a start to my Chaos counterpart to my Bloodmoon Hunters. Chaos is not usually my thing but I wanted to show the dark side of the Bloodmoon Hunters way of doing things as well as the Hereteks of Mjorn who take their Xenarite beliefs too far. The Unchained Confederation is a chaos warband that was created from the thirst for innovation, power and knowledge. They are a grouping of warbands that no longer believe in the Sanctity or righteousness of the Emperor. They feel that the Emperor's rules and visions bog them down from acquiring the power and knowledge that could make them a Power House in the Universe. Although they do not share knowledge and information between the many parts of the warband, they are quite effective considering their erratic and adaptable fighting style. Not knowing exactly who their leader is, puts them at an advantage for their leader cannot be found and killed to terminate the warband activity and if, by happenstance, she was to be killed, any other member can keep the warband together because only a select few know who the leader is. This warband is very adverse to being bogged down by rules and are quite successful in their mission for knowledge and innovation. Warband Organisation The Unchained Confederation are a loose gathering of groups under various war leaders who provide mutual support for supplies and otherwise but mainly work their own individual objectives as dictated by their leaders. A mysterious female Heretek is the ultimate leader of this loose confederation but few in the warband know and even fewer if any outside it. The Unchained Cofederation is divided into numerous independent groups which have limited knowledge of their counterparts. This ensures that should one group be compromised, the others would not be captured. Combat Doctrine The Warband shows a high-degree of adaptability in battle, both in terms of tactics and the weapons its members employ. When an enemy counters one tactic used by the Unchained, the war leader plans accordingly, adapts, and changes strategy, enabling it to outmaneuver its enemies and catch them completely off-guard. Flexibility and willingness to adapt to their situation represents the core of the Warband's combat doctrine. As they prepare to engage their opponents, these members are always careful to identify all of their assets and utilize them to the fullest means possible. These often include assets that are not identified within the constraints of the Codex Astartes. These members often choose to take measures that others might consider dishonorable. The Hereteks of the Unchained are enigmatic figures in an expansive organization which trades in information and technology, always selling to the highest bidder. The Hereteks appear to be highly competent in their trade: all secrets and technology that are bought and sold never allow one customer of them to gain a significant advantage, forcing the customers to continue trading information to avoid becoming disadvantaged, allowing them to remain in business. These Hereteks supports the principle that any methods of advancing humanity's ascension are entirely justified, including illegal or dangerous experimentation, terrorist activities, sabotage and assassination. Their operatives accept that these methods are brutal, but believe history will vindicate them. Communication throughout the Unchained sometimes takes the form of steganographic messages embedded within broadcasts and other forms of media. Warband Beliefs Freedom from the shackles of the Imperium is one of the few unifying concepts of the Unchained Confederation. Most consider the lack of freedom as the greatest punishment and the greatest sin. The Unchained Astartes seem to bear little respect for anyone or anything, save for power and innovation. They tend to show no love for civility or deference when dealing with others, but they have been known to show pleasure in testing their skills against worthy foes. The Unchained Astartes have made deals with Hereteks, many from Mjorn to continue their trend of improving upon themselves seeking perfection. Many have fallen either to Slannesh or Khorne due either to a mentality for Perfection or Bloodlust of the hunt. What balances these forces of the Chaos Undivided leaders who unite them under their banners. A very very few fall to Tzeentch getting caught up in making ever more complex plans for ambush. Nurgle is represented as well for various reasons but these are another minority. A great many of the Unchained see the gods as a pantheon and a tool. A path to power and as a whole the groups follow no centralized set beliefs. Mjorn Xenarites Hereteks continue to pursue of forbidden xenos technology. Such is their curiosity, they wage war against the alien races of the galaxy not to conquer or exterminate, but to study. The Xenarites are dedicated to the study and exploitation of alien technology, a policy which most Tech-priests off of Mjorn find highly offensive. Xenarite Heretek expeditions attack alien populations, planetary garrisons, even the Skitarii Legions of other Forge Worlds. Open war with Imperial authorities common. These Hereteks pursue the dark path of tech-heresy completely on their own, forging their own roads to damnation independent of any direct connection to Chaos or the Dark Mechanicum, though still wholly in violation of the strictures of the Cult of the Machine God. They support the Astartes of the Unchained to improve upon them and use them as a steady supply source. It is among the Hereteks, Tzeentch has a greater following. Hereteks involve themselves in innovation and manipulation heavily. Homebase The Chained Barque is an ancient and highly complex device constructed by unknown Xenos as a superweapon, but never successfully implemented before their extinction. It is unknown who initially began the development of the Chained Barque. Countless different species obtained and made contributions to the design over the course of millions of years, but none successfully deployed it. Despite the Chained Barque's elegant design, techpriests could only determine that the device exploited the same technology, and were left to speculate on how it would ultimately function. Experimental mixtures of compounds were to make a more efficient fuel for Barque traveling long distances. The interferometric array into the Barque's systems results in a real-time map of a Sub-sector. The Chained Barque serves as both a data repository and stealth ship for the enigmatic information traders. The ship ingeniously draws it power from the thunderstorms raging constantly on one of their hidden base planets that they set it to orbit, relying on an interlocking system of kinetic barriers, grounding rods and capacitors to avoid being ripped apart. Cortical implants allow users to "see" screens projected in front of them. A user's eye movements are tracked, syncing to hand gestures as they sift through data. Notable Warband Members Ciara Ghlic - The Mysterious leader of the Unchained Confederation. What little is known about her other than she is a Dark Skinned Renegade from the Forge World Mjorn. She was a follower of the Xenarite principles. Known now as Mistress Shackle, she manipulates and controls the Unchained Confederation central leaders. Ruling from the shadows on her massive Barque, she has access to information through many and sometimes unknown methods. Her most dangerous weapons are her abilities to process information and her willingness to use such information.
  12. Index Traitoris Legion: Death Guard Vectorum: Seventh Pestilence Threat Rating: Extremis Known Leader: Julgolax Homeworld: The Plague Planet Colors: Bone White, Rotten Green, Tarnished Brass and Silver Insignia: a 7 made of 7 fly icons. Strength: Roughly a company, unknown Battlecry: none Motto: "A blessing is best given to those who do not look for it." History The Seventh Pestillence is the remnant of a much larger company of Death Guard from the aftermath of the plague. These plague marines are all natives of Barbarus before it's destruction and have carved out a location for themselves on the Plague Planet similar to their company's barracks on their birthworld. The Seventh Pestillence Vectorum is lead still by it's original leader, the former commander Julgos Nothan who took up a new name after the great infection. The company was one of many within the 4th Great Company of the Legion to embrace their new situation during the days of the Horus Heresy. Since then they had been primarily a raiding force which made excursions out of the Eye of Terror in search of new worlds to conquer and new populations to destroy. Like many Vectorums, they see themselves as bringers of Nurgle's blessings, that each plague is a new and glorious opportunity for each imperial and alien alike to serve the will of the Plague God. Organization The Vectorum still adheres to it's ancient battle tactics and marches forth in waves of combined arms assaults, now supported by hordes of captured Poxwalkers and daemons of Nurgle. Their tactics mostly rely on fighting on foot but their twisted Warpsmith still keeps watch over a small host of Rhino and Land Raider APC vehicles for terrain too difficult to cross effectively on foot. The favored tactic of Julgolax is to send in his hordes of infected Poxwalkers flanked by swarms of daemonic flies and jabbering Nurglings to pin the enemy down in combat before his main force arrives to create a crescendo of plague-ridden violence. He orders his warriors to practice restraint though, as any survivors are taken to replenish his beloved Poxwalkers and the corpses of the dead are used to create grotesque hives for his cherished fly swarms. Recruitment Since the geneseed of Mortarion has long since been corrupted beyond all reproduction and all known reserves destroyed, recruitment is nearly impossible. The Death Guard have employed the sorcerous powers of their Plaguecasters to replenish their ranks via pacts and agreements with the Dark Mechanicum. Through the bargains struck by the Plaguecasters, the souls of the most worthy fallen warriors can be brought back and summoned into new bodies grown by allied forces in the Dark Mechanicum but it is rare and these warriors must fight all the harder to gain acceptance among the members of the Vectorum. The cost is usually quite high for the Plaguecasters as more pacts are made with daemons, they face great torment should their charges fail and die again... Alliances The Seventh Pestilence has always found itself aided in times of war by the forces of their patron, when circumstances warrant it, and they view direct intervention by the Plague Hosts of Nurgle as a sign of great favor and blessing from Grandfather. In particular, the Great Unclean One known as Gholburast has shown great interest in the forces of Julgolax and was the one who gifted him the Black Tree those millennia ago on Nurgle's behalf. The Seventh Pestilence has allied itself with a few outside organizations in order to keep their war efforts supplied and operational. Julgolax has made personal pacts with the Dark Mechanicum and a warband of Iron Warriors under Warpsmith Thulbor. In exchange for war material and support from the famed daemon engines of the Iron Warriors, Julgolax has given his allies an entire world on the border of the Eye of Terror (now Cicatrix Maledictum) with which to practice their craft. In addition to them, Julgolax has known to ally himself on occasion with members of the Word Bearers, Black Legion and even the Night Lords should they agree. Notable Battles (WIP) Notable Individuals Julgolax - Formerly 7th Company Captain Julgos Nothan of the 4th Grand Company, Julgolax took up a new name as the last vestiges of humanity rotted away. From a lifetime of despair that weighed heavily on his Legion, new joy came in the form of spreading the plagues of Nurgle to the people of the Emperor's fractured domain. He spent nearly a decade of leading raids into realspace to rid any lingering regret from his blackened soul in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, and subsequently corrupting his body beyond return. He is a warrior loyal to Mortarion through and through, and has always possessed an independent streak that made him a born commander. Regoth Molod - During the Great Heresy, Molod was one of many psykers who were repressed by Mortarion and who eventually were given free reign to explore their powers after the Legion had fallen. Regoth Molod was one such psyker who fervently embraced the varied and bizarre powers available for him to learn from communing with the daemons of Nurgle. He has always been a part of the same company as Julgolax and though he is sometimes a challenge to his lord's rule, he would not dare cross the ancient and favored commander of the Vectorum. His powers have given him great status and respect among the host of warriors and will often lead his fellow plague marines in the absence of Julgolax. Subolod - Once the most honored of Julgos' company, bearing the standard of the 7th company to battle, Subos Galt had followed his captain ever since he was promoted to Captain and they had always been friendly rivals. Since the great infection, Subos had followed suit with his commander and embraced the fall from grace. He too took up a new name as part of washing away any lingering doubts or regrets and bore the gifts and burdens of Nurgle proudly. His great Plague Bell and Tocsins of Nurgle ring mournfully as they sound the approach of the Vectorum's plague marines, a death knell to many beleaguered defender. Known Relics Plague Bell of Gholburast - This Plague Bell which bears the great symbol of the Fly, thrums with an aura of despair as it's mournful gong drives the enemy to despair and the swarms of daemon flies to a frenzy of stinging, biting and lacerating. Plaguereaper of Julgolax - This mighty flail was fashioned in similar fashion to the other plague weapons wielded by the mighty Lords and Plaguecasters of the Legion but instead of a traditional scything blade, it's affixed with a cruel spiked censor globe with a diminutive Nurgling inside called "Gibblet" who constantly expels virulent slime and noxious gasses. The Black Tree - This abhorrent, infected tree is a twisted, slimy, black growth that lives in the heart of the company's Strike Cruiser "Exhumed Fury". It's rotten, fungal heart pulses with fell energies that it draws from the ships' reactor core and supplies many of the incredibly tough Rotwood for use in creating the Vectorums' plague weapons. It was a gift from Nurgle earned for the victory over the Blood Angels during the Putrefaction of Blood campaign. ​The Rotwood Known by several names, The Blackbone Plague, The Ebonheart Plague, The Ossifactor, the Rotwood derived from the Vectorum's Black Tree. This gnarled, fell spore is used not only to make terrible plague weapons for the worthy to bear into battle but also a vehicle for the doom of worlds. Taken and cultured from the Black Tree, samples of the Rotwood are encapsulated within munitions designed to hammer into the target world from orbit and begin an uncontrollable pattern of growth. The Rotwood is resilient, voracious and grows alarmingly fast when exposed to an energy source, be it biological or mechanical. The target population will experience the sudden and terrible surprise of grey clouds of spores released from selected sites which immediately begin infecting their hosts with nigh unstoppable black growths over their bones. Meanwhile, the spores can also manage to find energy sources to create mirrors of the original strain, the Black Tree. The Rotwood is notorious for spreading quickly because of it's highly mutable form, able to transition in minutes from an airborne spore to an infection and back to a spore within days once the host has reached the last stage of infection and dies, being reborn as a Poxwalker. Once a single Rotwood spore finds purchase, doom is practically assured.
  13. The Eyes of Tivan Blood for Blood Cast in the image of nobility and austerity, the proud, conflicted warriors of the Eyes of Tivan chose the wrong path to end their suffering. Broken warriors humbled and enslaved to wills greater than they, the passing of millennia and the incessant turmoil of war has eroded their identities until they can no longer tell the difference between servant and god. Age of Heroes "Come, sons of slaughter. The Enemy of All desires your presence, your power, your blood. Stare deep into the smoking mirrors and be reborn as Those Whose Slaves We Are. His eye is upon you already. In His sight, Tivan knows you.” -- High Priest of Moyscax, fourteen centuries before the Emperor unifies Terra The World Eaters' 30th Echelon had been ordered to break itself. The Warmaster's treachery had begun, but they were too distant to join in the wars on Istvaan III. And so its commander had been ordered, by their broken father, to purge his ranks of the weak of heart and arm upon the bloody shores of whichever world they came upon. Unknown to Captain Brute Tyrke, the feral jungles of Moyscax proved a more than adequate crucible. The world of Moyscax was one of deep green lands, broken only by the smudges of black and glaring red that marked the extensive fires that tried, and failed, to keep the jungles at bay. Fire of a different sort afflicted the world on the day of new stars. The 30th Echelon landed upon the world of Moyscax like a doomsday rain of meteors. The World Eaters' orders from their commander had been simple and exactly the kind they loved to hear. The world of Moyscax would not be brought into compliance. It would be butchered wholesale. With the Nails hammered into their skulls singing of blood and pain, the World Eaters tore through the settlements. Primitive warriors stood their ground against them and were struck down with impunity. Their wives and children were easier targets. However, no matter how easy the massacre, one truth played out across the world as the conquering sons butchered their way across. No matter the victim, no matter their abilities, they knew as little fear as their killers. Hate only was in their eyes. No matter the futility, they would strike back with all their weak might as life was torn from them. The first sign of the dangers Moyscax would pose was in the religious centers of the world. Great, mountainous piles of bones dominated the centers, flaming torches upon their peaks illuminating blood sacrifices that should never be known by humanity. Bodies with their hearts torn free would be kicked from the peak and tumble to the bottom. These bodies would barely begin to settle at the base when, horrifyingly, they would stand and race, screaming murder, for the nearest living thing. The World Eaters laughed in the face of these charges, but the laughter turned to blood in their throats when the unclothed, unarmed bleeding dead struck with enough power to shatter chainaxes and stab through ceramite armor. With blunt claws would they tear open the enemy, and with small fangs would they engorge themselves of blood and flesh. This was how Moyscax would defend itself against would-be conquerors. Had it been any other conqueror, they might have won. The chained warriors of the World Eaters welcomed death in the pursuit of bloodshed. No World Eater flinched from the dead, no matter that a dozen would die before the black-eyed monstrosities could be put down. The mountains of dead were toppled, the rituals subverted and those already turned struck down, at great loss. At the center of the world, deep within the primitive civilizations' grandest city, built upon an island of skulls that thrust from a shallow lake of blood, the World Eaters were held back the longest. As religious centers everywhere were stamped out with finality, often at the cost of the last living World Eater to assault it, Captain Tyrke led his finest up a mountain of dead that dwarfed the grandest of Moyscax's natural mountain ranges. Bodies twitched and with great fury freed themselves from the slopes to throw themselves upon hulking Astartes. Many Marines simply disappeared as hands void of muscle yet great of strength pulled them under too fast for the victim to roar with anger at his demise. None of it slowed their advance. As a force that began as hundreds, mere dozens reached the beclouded peak. Like the home of ancient gods, Moyscax's great temple was dark, foreboding and splashed red with blood. The survivors of Tyrke's command never once hesitated. The Nails prevented them from ever experiencing that. As one, they mobbed the Temple to meet and kill the dark gods of Moyscax. The Foundations Cracked "How could anyone champion this insanity? Necessity be damned, along this road lies only that fate from which we flee." -- Ragiin Loeras, former Techmarine of the Emperor's XII Legio Astartes, Lord of Outer Night Captain Tyrke's 30th Echelon left the burning world of Moyscax with a mere one hundred and fifty Marines, a loss of more than four for every five. Their lord father would have been pleased, if would ever care to know. The world of Moyscax had broken them, shattered them, and those few that emerged from the darkened temple high above the burning land had been marked, changed. Clutched tightly in his hands, Tyrke carried from its depths an icon of obsidian, which shined bright with the deepest black, torn bloodily from the hands of the Archpriest. Carved into its surface was a single, staring eye and its gaze was upon them all. The 30th Echelon no more, for there was no longer enough to form a Battalion, nor even a second Company. The World Eaters repainted their worlds clenched by the jaws upon their shoulders into that of the obsidian eye, christening themselves the Eyes of Tivan. Though small in strength, the Eyes of Tivan entered the battles of the Heresy as they always did. No hesitation, or a care for losses sustained. Reports abounded of a World Eater force that would strike loyalist worlds, burning their cities before drowning the flames in blood. They were fearless and savage, many so far gone that they didn't bother to arm or armor themselves before striking enemy lines with obscene force, their black eyes seemingly void of life or thought. Behind the naked savagery was the armored core. Just as relentless, just as savage, just as merciless. One band of World Eaters, releasing its own torrent of bloodshed to take part in the galactic flood, the rising tide finally slapping upon the shores of noble Terra. The actions of the Eyes of Tivan upon Terra are lost to history. The Siege was too great in scope for the minor details to be retained, but they left their mark nonetheless. Ten thousand years later, it remains a customary greeting to the denizens of the hives of western expanse of Hy Brasil to shine a light upon their face, to prove honorable intentions by showing the whites of their eyes. However, what history does hold is that the Warmaster's horde was defeated upon his death. Like their brothers, the Eyes of Tivan fled Terra. The Eye of Terror's gaze upon them burned like the obsidian eye of their icon, drew them in and embraced Blood is Life, Life is Eternal "They cannot hide the falseness of their faith. They believe it frees them, but it only chains them further. I know, oh, I know. I can feel the chains, the tick-tick-ticking of them in my head. These chains; we will never be free. Kill them all." -- Brute Tyrke, Red King of the Eyes of Tivan The Eyes of Tivan fared poorly during the Legion Wars following the Horus Heresy. More and more of their brethren fell to the singing of the Nails, to the brutal whisperings of their black-eyed patron. Though terrible in battle, their losses were more horrific still. It was a lesson their brothers had already learned. Give in to the blood, give in to the pain, and be free within it. It was a lesson their Lord refused to heed, as decades turned into centuries, though it was a battle he was destined to lose. The obsidian idol, never far from Tyrke's presence, was an ever-present companion within his own mind. There, from that pocket of red darkness that itched with such familiarity, understanding came. Life was enslavement. Death was no escape. The eternal game of the Gods would hold them hostage as pawns for as long as the game was played. Only the death of a God could upset the balance enough to end the game. Only with the game over could freedom be gained. As that dark presence within Tyrke's mind roared in victory, the Eyes of Tivan finally, finally gave in to the bidding of their Blood God, by vowing to take his head. Their eyes blackened, their minds deadened, their fury deepened. Lesser servants of their patron bonded to them, one and all. From that point on, sanity was expelled from their souls. They would wage war across the galaxy, working ever to undermine the actions of their own brother warbands. All the while, never knowing they have become nothing more than a tool for a lesser deity of the Warp to gain ascendancy within the Blood God's court. For Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows. Only that it flows. Combat Doctrine "Hrngh. Ah, the Nails bite is strong. Days in the blood pits, still they demand more. Damn them. Must I blacken my eyes to be free of this? Must I?" -- Blood-Sergeant Agalito Brog The Eyes of Tivan fight with all the bloody rage common to World Eater warbands. Aspects of war like ranged combat or armour divisions have become foreign elements, lost alongside their sanity. The Eyes of Tivan include themselves in the terrible crusades that spill with regularity from the oppressive Eye of Terror, spreading murder and hate across the Imperium. How the Eyes of Tivan strike out at the enemy varies by each member of the Warband. Some, such as their Chaos Lord, the Red King, wade into battle fully armored and armed. Many behave like further degraded Berzerkers, their rush to enter combat brought on by such a great need that things such as war plate or weapons are forgotten where they fall from clawed fingers. Like the tortured, lost sons of the Great Angel, the Eyes of Tivan exhibit many cannibalistic traits in their rages, preferring to drink of the blood rather than simply letting it spill upon the earth. Though nothing brings them more pleasure than slaking their bloodthirst upon the worshipers of the False Emperor, often it appears that their true intent is to break their own crusades. At the cusp of victory, the Eyes of Tivan turn from their grand slaughtering of the foe to visit the same destruction upon their erstwhile allies, all too often tipping the balance so that the forces of Chaos are routed. Though none now doubts the perfidy of the Eyes of Tivan, there are always over-prideful Chaos Lords who feel themselves invulnerable to such betrayals and rarely is the Warband without such a warhost. With such servants, their patron gains in power primarily by weakening or destroying the powerbases of its rivals. Organisation "There! Did you hear that? In the wind, listen! The whispers, they sound so near. The words are madness. Wait! What was that?" -- Last transmission of the 451st Jarglundd Recon; first recorded report of the phenomenon known as the Black Wind The numbers of the Eyes of Tivan are forever in flux. Though their recruitment process is quick, their manner of war means that it is rarely enough to keep them ever more than three, four hundred Marines. The Eyes of Tivan practice a terrible blood ritual to convert a recruit. The hapless victim is taken and their heart torn free. As the body twitches in its death throes, the blood and heart of a dead Marine is forced down the corpse's throat, while a Lord of Outer Night performs the binding ritual that seals one of their patron deity's lesser servants into the body. The practice fails more often than not, but enough of the recruits stand from the altar under their own power to keep the Eyes of Tivan from extinguishing themselves. Within the Warband, there is a very strict hierarchy. Lord of all is the Red King, Brute Tyrke, a hulking monster in Terminator armor with the obsidian eye implanted into the chestplate, though many say within his own chest as well. Though his own eyes shine just as black, it is no mere servant that inhabits his body alongside his own soul, but their patron, Tivan itself, that is bonded to him. Beneath him are the Lords of Outer Night, those high officers and commanders of the former 30th Echelon who, upon surviving the crucible of Moyscax, were granted the boon of Tivan's greater servants, blood gods themselves who were worshipped on that dark world. The remainders are the legionaries of the Warband, though a lesser caste exists below. These are the cultists that rally behind the Warband, the recruits whose transformations are stillborn, the Marines, of any rank, who failed to control themselves. These are the Blood Slaves, feral beasts without intelligence but full of ferocity and power. The Blood Slaves are the warband's shock troops, the first cast into battle. Rarely do any survive to leave it. Beliefs "Take their hearts and eat of it. Slice their throats and drink from it. Blood is power, so we keep it for ourselves. It makes our deaths all the more sweet, for it will not be our blood alone that flows from our veins." -- Ta'omes, Lord of Outer Night Over the millennia, the Eyes of Tivan have had their consciousnesses subverted by the entities they have taken into themselves, who now wear their skins. Though many have retained their former identities, much was lost. Most now identify strongly with the entities' memories and recall themselves as ancient blood gods, older than humanity. Whether the individual was lost to the daemon within, or was so corrupted that the two became one, is unknown even to the individuals themselves. Whatever the case, their bodies are suits no different from the armor they wear over it. The Eyes of Tivan are worshippers of Khorne of a different sort. Though they do not praise him specifically, they rally to his cause and are clearly crafted in his image. Their true beliefs are far more self-centered. The only gods they openly praise are themselves. This is their worldview, that they are the mortal forms of eternal gods, birthed for the sole purpose of preying on the galaxy. In interactions with other traitors, kin or otherwise, the rivalry they feel can be so overwhelming that they seek nothing more than their total destruction. Battle cry "I see you." --- --- --- --- --- --- --- http://i.imgur.com/F99l5vX.jpg Their icon is typical World Eater one, but replace the world with a black ball carved into an eye. Not the Eye of Horus, I am imagining a simple circle in the center to look like a pupil, with the cracks leading from the fangs looking like red veins. Thanks go to Kol Saresk for helping me come up with ideas.
  14. Defenders of Saint Chaste, Saviours of Sarment, Attack Dogs of the Cardinal... all these titles and more could once have described the War Wolves. However, all were set aside when they betrayed the Imperium on Sarment Prime and decimated the Ecclesiarchy's main powerbase in the sector. Where once their rage was seen as righteous, a manifestation of the Emperor's Wrath, it is now held in ignominy, a sign of their corruption and Heresy... Hello, and welcome to my new DIY project! After having suffered a fair amount of hobby burnout in the second half of 2018, Ive decided to start afresh, stripping my old Shadow Wolf models and ripping the core of my old DIY fluff out - I should therefore be able to start on a more stable base. I've decided to attempt a sort of a blog format here, where I'll take you through my thought process, as I think it could be of use for those who are starting out on their first DIY project and have no idea where to start. That doesn't mean I'm attempting to claim any knowledge that isn't already out there (quite the opposite - learning new snippets of fluff is a constant endeavour), or to have the best writing and/or creative skills (I'm not quite self centered enough not to realise that there are many better things popping out all over the place). Still, I do have a certain experience in writing Indices (that never quite get finished), and my short time as a moderator here forced me to examine the different pitfalls that are all too frequent (many of which I have fallen victim to more than once). As such, I hope this thread will be both entertaining and informative to you (even if it is just to see where I make mistakes). I welcome all (constructive) criticism - after all I wouldn't be writing this on a forum otherwise - but I still wish this project to be my own, so do not feel snubbed if I don't follow your recommendations. --- In terms of format, I shall attempt to maintain the index up to date in the second post, and the first "blog" entry should find itself in the third post. If you notice I haven't updated the IT in a bit of time after my latest blog entry, don't hesitate to poke me - I'm very bad at keeping the final document ship shape and sparkling ^^ And off we jolly well go!
  15. The Violent Gods Identity unknown Date:999.M41 Ref:................LBC//BLO Re:.................Adeptus Astartes; Renegatus- The Violent Gods "The love of wisdom walks a mere step in front of its eternal cohorts: blissful ignorance and wanton temptation. Fate would, of course, not deign to have them run in opposite directions, but, rather, they run in the same." -(Ancient Terran Philosopher, Unknown) +++TRANSMISSION INCOMING+++ +++TRANSMISSION RECEIVING+++ + + + 999.M41 Our Gracious Lords, In what follows we share new developments within our ongoing investigation into the renegade Astartes faction known as Saevus Dei, the Violent Gods. We are imminently grateful for the opportunity to provide assistance and hope you will find our work helpful to the ongoing progress of your invaluable research. May the Emperor protect. + + + We argue here that the available evidence suggests, specifically, that the rogue Astartes warband we will hereafter refer to as the Violent Gods is led by the Prognosticator assigned to the missing Silver Skulls Strike Cruiser Aevum immediately prior to its disappearance. + + + The facts of Aevum's otherwise-unremarkable disappearance return to the fore of our project given the involvement of the rogue Astartes warband known as Saevus Dei, the Violent Gods, in a number of conflicts preceding the specific grouping of events composing what has been called "The Night of a Thousand Rebellions". [The involvement of the Violent Gods in this specific grouping of events- and the events that now can be seen as leading up to them- constitute the reason(s) for this report.] It is not only, however, the mere existence of structural similarities between two extant Strike Cruisers that we think constitutes good reason to give credence to the thesis advanced at the start. It is, furthermore, the striking similarities among belief systems to which we point to further our case. We have long keep at merely an arms distance the Silver Skulls Chapter due to their deviation in the form of the use of the so-called Prognosticators instead of Librarians. As you well know, Prognosticators are assigned to each company and are highly revered in a manner unique to the Silver Skulls. In addition, the belief among the Silver Skulls in the power of the divination methods of the Prognosticators makes them spiritual advisors, taking on some of the duties assigned to Chaplains in Codex-compliant chapters. As such, we consider that (ceteris paribus) a detachment of Silver Skulls is more likely to fall under the sway of an influential rogue Prognosticator than a typical detachment falling to a rogue psyker in the average chapter, given a culture of distrust of psykers (given that the psykers in question command such reverence) is conspicuously absent among the culture of the Silver Skulls. If the aforementioned two reasons justify continued investigation, one would expect to see two types of evidence: first, a case in concreto of a deviant Prognosticator, and, second, a case in concreto that substantiates an explanatory route from a somewhat overenthusiastic belief in divination to full-blown heretical cult of personality via the manipulation of an otherwise benign trust of the approved forms of divination. Here we submit that we have instances of both, with the former causing the latter. We now move to a demonstration of both points, taken in turn, interspersed with arguments for their connection. Origins 584.M41 The Disappearance A simple archival search shows the rather abrupt cessation of transmissions from Silver Skulls Strike Cruiser Aevum while on a mission of unknown (classified) specification near the Minisotira sector within Segmentum Pacificus. Internal reports disclosed by the Silver Skulls note increasingly erratic transmissions from Aevum, which contained a task force drawn from the 5th and 8th companies (in toto significantly less than a full company), with the entire detachment falling under the command of an 8th Company Captain Kehan. Correspondence mentions mild unrest among the battle-brothers, including increasing paranoia from the some of the assigned specialists, in particular from the assigned Prognosticator. After reports involving steadily increasing intensity in the aforementioned ways, transmissions (as noted previously) ceased altogether. Aevum is officially listed as lost in the warp anomaly known as "the Gate of Fire" and the erratic reports preceding its disappearance have (in our estimation) so far been justifiably dismissed as unrelated to the direct causal circumstances of Aevum's disappearance. +++TRANSMISSION INTERRUPTED+++ +++DOCUMENTS INCOMING+++ LOG: 140.583.M41 We have arrived at [redacted], as per Jaruk's guidance. Though I confess that I am puzzled as to why our mission has taken us this far from Varsavia- and with relatively small numbers and limited resources- I am not one to question the readings of the Prognosticators. Time will tell- as it always does- the precise nature of our business here. LOG: 200.583.M41 Jaruk has been unable to read the runes. Protocol demands that we wait to move on until Jaruk no longer suffers what from what the other Prognosticators call the Deep Dark, an inability to understand the will of the Emperor using the runes or the Tarot. Periods within this closed window of communication are said to only ever be temporary, momentary lapses in access that fade with time such that the ability eventually fully returns. Jaruk, however, does not seem encouraged by this apparently common piece of knowledge and has become increasingly isolated. He is, as is well known, normally a well-liked and inspiring figure, both charismatic and wise. He has been in his chambers for over two months as of the time of this log and has spoken to no one. Even as Captain, I fear to ask of his well-being as to not disturb his attempts to successfully use his gift of sight again. May the Emperor protect. LOG: 289.583.M41 The Prognosticators continued silence has engendered a number of violent episodes in the fighting cages, with loyalties often divided along regional affiliations. Brothers from the southern tribes of Varsavia have most often been the aggressors. Disciplinary actions have been taken but the number of incidents continues to rise. I worry that my ability to properly adjudicate between the two factions will erode if Jaruk's silence forces us to remain in limbo. The indefinite nature of the halting of our progress has clearly made members of our detachment restless. Whatever its true cause, it nonetheless remains that I cannot afford to have continued erosion of trust between us due to infighting. LOG 293.583.M41 I sense whispering. I know not of what, or how, but I am beginning to expect that some of the brothers are unified against my command. I am convinced the southerners do not trust me. Or, rather, perhaps they do not trust me nearly as much as they trust Ovis, the southern-born Techmarine, or his twin brother Kelsus, our Apothecary, who are the highest ranking of those born of the southern tribes, and seem to speak for them. More than half of my command is southern-born, including my chaplain. Only with the first sergeant, my delegatus and confidant, am I willing to share these thoughts. Jaruk has been around far longer than I, and will prevail if we do not end up on the same side and the situation escalates. I have no direct evidence of Jaruk's machinations, but I have long suspected that there was far more to his silence than mere penitence or even the semblance of genuine faith. Indeed, paranoid as I feel for even entertaining the thought, I know his silence has been quite productive for his aims. Warp storms continue to make outside communication difficult for days on end, all the more reason to suspect that he sees far more than I. It is only now that I can see that he has only tolerated my command, and it now seems that I am not in charge in anything more than name. If Jaruk speaks, we are bound to it. If I question his judgment, I question the word of the Emperor himself. When he finally speaks the word as given him by the runes, perhaps only then will I know if I am betrayed or not. Until then, I dare not utter such thoughts to anyone, save the first sergeant, whom I have asked to investigate the matter by any means necessary. I speak these thoughts only to give voice to them in case such ominous events do come to pass. I pray they do not, and if my suspicions are wrong, then I ask forgiveness for ever harboring them at all. LOG 297.583.M41 Nothing has substantiated my previous delusions, and I expect nothing will, as the first sergeant has found nothing out of the ordinary to report. I am embarrassed by my lack of faith. The Emperor has finally made our fate clear to Jaruk, the bickering has ceased, and we are set to return home when the warp storms subside. With the burden of the Deep Dark relieved, I suspect my doubts will subside as well. I remain alert regarding the fissures in our detachment that has been born out of this regional rivalry, but for now, I am happy to report that it seems as if my worries were in vain. May the Emperor protect. +++DOCUMENTS RECEIVED+++ +++TRANSMISSION RESUMING+++ First Encounter 866.M41 Imperial forces arrive to the dying throes of rebellion on Enneardia, a feudal world in the Sabbat Worlds in the galactic northwest region of Segmentum Pacificus. Upon further investigation, authorities also find evidence of past activity in the forms of unauthorized (assumed to be excommunicate) Astartes presence (including extensive vehicle activity) as well as evidence of several forms of outright butchering by the locals of human and animal bodies in conjunction with forms of ritual divination. Drawing and inscriptions at the various sites show what seemed to be rough versions of Astartes figures- clad in dark metallic armor, and almost always labelled with what translates from the local lingua franca as Violent Gods. Though at the time it was unclear as to which Astartes faction might be responsible for such depictions, a pattern emerges with later discoveries elsewhere within Segmentum Pacificus. Reavers of the West c. 940.M41-951.M41 Imperial Navy escorts throughout Segmentum Pacificus begin compiling reports of sightings of several Astartes vessels of unknown designation, largely unadorned and colored dark metallic. Boarding actions by then-unknown Astartes result in significant casualties and pillaging, in several cases leaving the vessels functionally immobile. Elsewhere, Astartes (presumably of the same faction) make planetfall and are thought to be responsible for several cases of abductions of a number of adolescent males, often leaving significant casualties in their wake and quickly disappearing with little more than a few eyewitnesses. Reports from those eyewitnesses speak of the same dark metallic armor, adorned with totems, severed skulls, runes, etc., and subsequent investigation corroborates mentions of increased psyker activity. In 951.M41, a Dark Sons Gladius Class Frigate is the subject of a boarding action by same dark-ironclad warriors, with all but a few being killed or captured. It is from this incident that we have most of our knowledge of the actual tactical tendencies of the Violent Gods. Consistent with reports elsewhere, they are reported to have arrived quickly and with little warning, were equipped for maximum versatility, and were thought to have access to resources beyond those possible from simple piracy, a point to which we shall later return. Confirmation 960.M41 The discovery of a ruined and abandoned Astartes-class Strike Cruiser on a sparsely-inhabited moon known as Taru in the Adrantis system (also northwest Segmentum Pacifus) marks what we consider to be the primary piece of direct evidence for our claim(s). Within the ruins of the vessel are quarters clearly marked off for what seems to have been the commander of the vessel, filled with objects of a similar sort to those found during the investigation of the aftermath of the events on Enneardia. They are speculated to have been used for heretical forms of divination, specifically haruspicy. Furthermore, the vessel has been refinished in a dark metallic color, consistent with the depictions at Enneardia. Though most of the insignia that would otherwise show the original Imperial owners of the vessel is defaced, the investigation returned with a pair of Mk VII pauldrons, obviously repurposed and refinished, but still bearing the outline of Silver Skulls insignia, prompting the investigation undertaken here- though their mere existence in this context need not imply anything further. Contact was initiated with the Silver Skulls, who quickly provided necessary ship specifications for comparison. As thought, analysis reveals this ship to have no significant structural differences between the ruined Cruiser found on the Adrantis moon and Aevum. Mysteriously, however, little was found in the way of bodies, wargear, vehicles, etc., leaving authorities to assume that the ship was successfully unloaded and its contents salvaged before it was abandoned prior to its eventual descent to the surface of Taru. Thus the evidence here is admittedly circumstantial. + + + For further context, we offer the following (tentative) profile of what we currently know of the so-called Violent Gods: Homeworld It is so far unclear where the faction is based, and so it is equally likely that they are simply nomadic and fleet-based. At least the one relatively uncorrupted aformnentioned Strike Cruiser- otherwise indistinguishable at a distance from a loyal Astartes Strike Cruiser- is confirmed to have once been under the control of the Violent Gods, though it seems as if they are capable of drawing upon resources of unknown origin. In particular, there exist confirmed evidence the activity (from the Enneardia site) of relatively extensive vehicle use, including both Predators, Land Raiders, dreadnought(s), drop pods, and Thunderhawk-class gunships, suggesting either the existence of alliances with other renegade factions, or even perhaps a larger fleet than what has been thus far observed. Organization They do not seem to lack access to more fundamental resources generally, however, and we suspect they have a number of competent Techmarines and Apothecaries, given the evidence of the activity of vehicles at their disposal and the seeming influx of new gene-seed, though we can only speculate as to how the new geneseed is acquired. How they are formally organized (and if at all), however, is as yet unclear. Combat Doctrine Despite limited contact, generalizations can be reasonably made regarding a coherent fighting style. Seeming to favor lightning assaults using drop pods and close quarters fighting, the average member of the Violent Gods is nonetheless equipped for maximum versatility, and have even been observed to be quite adept at effectively operating the boltgun one-handed, a feature responsible for leading earlier researchers to speculate a VI Legion lineage, though that theory, we argue, ought to be discarded and replaced with the one we defend here. Geneseed Though it is now suspected that many of the Violent Gods are indeed of Silver Skulls lineage, it cannot be the case that all members now are, given the size of Aevum's originally assigned detachment and what we know of the current fighting strength of the Violent Gods. If, as suspected due to their fairly robust access to resources, they are in collusion with other more established renegade factions, we maintain that it is likely that their ranks may include other traitors, perhaps even those allied with Huron or otherwise involved in the Badab conflict, though we dare not speculate here. Further, this explanatory gap means that we cannot rule out the existence of new rebel Astartes of their own creation with genetic material and/or aspirants acquired from unknown sources. This being the case, some of the Violent Gods may very well have geneseed of chimeric heredity. Beliefs The Violent Gods- given what was found at the site at Enneardia and at the site on Taru- are thought to practice trophy-taking, haruspicy, and likely even ritual forms cannibalism, perhaps focusing on consumption of the liver and the brain, presumably for the benefits they have been known to impart via the function of the omophagea. We have attempted to reconstruct a possible belief-system that may serve as a profile that may add to the resources of those who may come into contact with the Violent Gods, given what we now believe are the facts regarding their origin. It is likely that the average member of the the group in question is-if it is even helpful to speculate that they have any reasons beyond pure treason for their compliance with the agenda of traitors- explicitly or implicitly adheres to some sort of pantheistic/animistic mysticism, characterized by the belief in the efficacy of omens, tokens (such as the skulls/teeth of a number of different megafauna), runes, and other primitive practices of divination. Consistent with our thesis, similar beliefs are present among the brutal, southern tribes of Varsavia, the source of aspirants and homeworld of the Silver Skulls. Though great care is taken in the psycho-conditioning of aspirants to analyze and eliminate beliefs that are inimical to orthodoxy, the chapter cult of the Silver Skulls (in particular- their abnormal reverence for their Prognosticators) we think all but ensures that the eventual attraction to unorthodox forms of divination would not arise as spontaneously as it might otherwise be expected to in chapters with fundamentally different chapter cults. The same general caution we have emphasized for those who investigate or otherwise monitor the Silver Skulls has (at least in this case) been urged for the sake of cases like this one, where such beliefs are now thought to have manifested themselves here in the case of the Violent Gods. Battle Cry From an inscription at Enneardia: "Astra inclinant, sed non obligant." + + + We leave the decision on whether or not to notify the Silver Skulls of this hypothesis and the evidence that we have amassed in its defense to your discretion. The composition of the Violent Gods that are of Silver Skulls lineage could turn out range anywhere between just a single member and the entirety, as we believe Jaruk to continue to be alive. Whether it is made up of many or even just one would likely be of little import to the Silver Skulls, and we have scant direct evidence that could further demonstrate our hypothesis in any way other than in the (admittedly) circumstantial way in which we have been proceeding. Nonetheless, the similarities between the profiles of the renegatus Astartes faction known as the Violent Gods and the unquestionably loyal Silver Skulls is one that suggests reason for caution in our dealings with the Silver Skulls, present or future, and provides some reason to continue to keep a watchful eye of the Chapter, particularly now given the existence of a plausible scheme for how such beliefs may yield a particular kind of traitorous Astartes, particularly the case a of a rogue Astartes psyker. To continue with this line of investigation would be to develop a richer schemata for how and why a special sort of deference to divination in the case of the Prognosticators might make such a case as this one possible, but such a task has not yet been attempted, though we suggest that it ought to be. We hope to have succeeded in supplying useful information for the aid of those who may come into contact with the Violent Gods when the current unrest in Segmentum Pacificus can be addressed. May the Emperor protect. M. D. C., A. X. N.; Ordo Hereticus + + +
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