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Iron Warriors 49th Grand Company "The Iron Hounds" Who do you kill for, cousin? Who would you die for? The Imperium betrayed the Emperor as surely as the Emperor betrayed his sons. Do not seek your Way there. What reward do you see your brothers earning from the Gods of the Warp? Do not seek your Way there. Hwaet! I will tell you of the true Way. - Excerpt from "Sayings of the Warsmith" http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j91/montismo/hosting/49th-grand-company-300-v2_zps14101c7b.jpg http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j91/montismo/hosting/ironhound-300_zps39d9223c.jpg Origins All of this? An illusion. A floating world of dreams and fancy. Nothing more, but nothing less. We eat, drink, and sing. We make war, we make art. We float along. That is all. TThe 49th Grand Company Iron Hounds was an autonomous battle group of the Iron Warriors Legion formed during the latter stages of the Great Crusade. The purpose of the unit was to draw out the bulk of enemy maneuver units in the early stages of a planetary assault, by whatever means necessary, so that enemy formations could be assessed and their weaknesses exploited by follow-on units of the main assault force. The 49th was rumoured to be one of Perturabos exile postings for Legion personnel who were deemed loyal but of unorthodox temperament. Nothing much is said of the 49th during the subsequent Horus Heresy and their place within the IV Legion Order of Battle during any of the major engagements is not known. Following the Horus Heresy the 49th Grand Company fled with the bulk of the Legion into the Eye of Terror but did not stay long on Medrengard. Their last known location under their original Warsmith was a battle fought in the ruins of an unrecorded Crone World against a warband of the III Legion. Following this conflict no word of the 49th Grand Company was heard of on Medrengard for several millennia. It wasnt until the run-up to Abaddons 7th Black Crusade that the 49th Grand Company returned to the homeworld of the IV Legion in their unusual spacehulk, their armour rededicated in orange and black, and a new Warsmith at their head. They ventured forth with the Iron Warriors flotilla during the break out of the Eye of Terror, but took advantage of the confusion of the so-called Ghost War, slipping the leash of the Warmaster and headed for the fringes of galactic civilisation. There they reestablished themselves as mercenaries and pirates, known only to the galaxy at large as the Iron Hounds space marines chapter. Homeworld The boundless vastness of the great Galaxy is my enclosed property, and I bury the dead on my own premises. The Iron Hounds are a fleet based warband. Though they control a number standard warships and their escorts, it is the ancient space hulk The Child of Calamity that is truly their home, and it is far and away their most dangerous asset. Its origin is obscured by dozens of void ships from multiple species, many of which are lost to history, all captured in an impossible framework of leviathan girders and protected by enormous sheets of armour and modular collections of weapons. The outer layers of the spacehulk features the ships and structures of the many auxiliaries and clients of the warband, refugees from burned worlds and shattered cultures who have sworn their service to the Warsmith in return for the dubious haven of the The Child of Calamity. The overall result is as deadly as a star fort, defying Imperial classification, bristling with weapons and launch bays, capable of housing hundreds of marines and their thousands of auxiliaries, able even to maintain and land Dark Mechanicum war engines and superheavy battle tanks. Deep within the bowels of the monstrous hulk, protected by dark, labyrinthine passages where the fey and otherworldly mislead and snatch away the careless, lies the Warsmith's fortress. A virtual city, the home of the Iron Hounds is crafted of stone and iron inside the cavernous holds of the ancient, forgotten vessel at the center of the hulk. The towers, barracks, temples, manufactorums, monuments, and museums of the fortress are connected by open plazas and promenades, with the skies and environs cloaked in visions of lost planets and histories that never were. At the center of this web, high above the other structures like an Olympian temple, is the throne room, where the Warsmith holds court with his subjects and guests, and communes with the ancient and bizarre gestalt machine spirit which controls the space hulk. Combat Doctrine The Old Gods are always watching, and it is a sin to leave them bored. Me, I like the big guns. Nothing builds dramatic tension quite like a cannonade. The Iron Hounds favour attack through combined arms, depending heavily on their unique war engines and aerial assets. Mobility and firepower are central themes, with the Iron Hounds breaking radically from their parent Legion's image of protracted siege specialists. Swiftly bringing as many heavy weapons forward to fire as rapidly as possible, the Iron Hounds seek to overwhelm defenses early in the fight then destroy the survivors of the initial bombardment piecemeal. When a swift and decisive victory cannot be claimed, the Iron Hounds will often simply leave, preferring the exhilaration of the initial attack to the boredom of a steady campaign. Indeed, when withdrawal has been impossible or delayed, the Iron Hounds are known to seek out honour duels from the enemy, challenge one another in acts of suicidal daring, or even play deadly pranks upon ostensible allies. Tradition & Culture Tradition is a duty. Without it we have no identity. Without it we are just another group of rabble, clawing at the edges of the Imperium. The culture of the Iron Hounds is a curious mixture of romantic literature, heroic age poetry, and the mystical philosophies of several tribes of Ancient Terra, deliberately blended by the new Warsmith to achieve his own hidden ends. Outwardly they resemble most strongly the ancient Saexn and Skandic warrior cultures, and have superficial similarities with Fenrisian culture. Carefully selected Hindik and Nihon aspects guide the inner culture of the warband, demanding that individual space marines pursue self control through refinement of the mind in imitation of ancient Zen practices. This exercise of internal control and focus allows them to face the vagaries of fate stoically. Even more radical than this, however, is a peculiar assembly of myth and legend they have developed concerning the nature of the gods and reality itself. Waelheim & The Old Dead Gods He refused to believe unless he could see it for himself, which is not unreasonable. I told him to go ask the Old Warsmith and his brothers down in the Armoury, but he cried out that talking to Dreadnoughts was liable to get him killed. Of course it would get him killed! How else do you see Waelheim? The new Warsmith hardened his heart and will toward the Ruinous Powers. To be mutated into a Chaos Spawn, enslaved through daemonic ascension, or to have his soul torn apart in the Warp was all the same to him. The Long War was ashes in his mouth, and the Great Game a bitter joke. The Imperium was a perverted shadow of what it once was, and the glorious promise of the Great Crusade a scorned memory. Redemption was instead revealed through the Warsmith's twisted vision of The War in Heaven. When the Ruinous Powers formed and overthrew the gods of the Eldar, so too must they have usurped the true gods of Mankind. The 10,000 gods of human history were but multiple facets of the same basic truth, a central pre-Chaos pantheon, and they were not destroyed when the Ruinous Powers overthrew them. They reside in a sanctuary realm beyond the Warp that the Iron Hounds call Waelheim, and a divinity known as Khalder moves freely from that realm and the Warp. The Iron Hounds believe that the Old Dead Gods are always watching, calling out to Mankind. Khalder is their herald, who gathers those worthy of them. Souls that are fearless, those that die glorious deaths in combat and with clean souls, these will burn bright in the eyes of Khalder. He will pluck them from the Sea of Souls and spirit them away to the Pure Land of Waelheim to live in a warrior's paradise with Mankind's most ancient forefathers. So the Iron Hounds fervently believe. Organisation & Disposition Do not bother me with details. Except the good ones. The Iron Hounds are organised into specialised companies: Battle, Assault, Attack, Support, and Reserve. In addition to this is the Comitatus, which is essentially a veteran Terminator company, as well as the war machines of the Armoury and the specialists of the Apothecarion and the Temple. In support of the main space marine forces the Iron Hounds also make extensive use of unaugmented human auxiliaries. At the head of all this is a council known as the Isarnhauld, a group composed of company captains, masters of the warband, and favored sergeants and champions. While their organisation is not far from codex adherent loyalists, their method of arranging a task force is more haphazard. The Warsmith chooses a force commander and gives him a mission. It is up to that force commander to assemble an appropriate task force by petitioning individual leaders throughout the warband to join their respective squads to his efforts. The interpersonal relationships of the warbands leaders is hugely important, and a good deal of charisma and luck is necessary to cajole an effective force into existence. It is unusual for an entire company to go to war under its own captain and fight as cohesive force, but not unknown. The captaincy of a particular company is largely administrative and a matter of title. Gene-seed & Purity Nothing of lasting value can be achieved by being a slavish plaything to the creatures from another dimension that dare to call themselves "gods" or "daemons". They exist to be subdued, used, then disposed of. The galaxy belongs to Humanity, and Humanity belongs to the Legions. Make them to know their proper place, bind them into iron and brass, yours to command, or suffer not their unclean presence. The Iron Hounds maintain a rigorous apothecary program. As well as retrieving the gene-seed of fallen battle-brothers, the progenoids of noteworthy adversaries are highly sought after. While the Iron Hounds prefer the gene-seed of their Primarch, pragmatism and all-important purity outweighs any prejudice in selection. The apothecary-brothers also serve a religious function, zealously excising mutations, which are seen an impediment to earning Khalder's favoring eye. The summary execution of battle-brothers who succumb to becoming Chaos Spawn or are in danger of daemonic ascension is also a duty of the grim apothecaries. The warband makes extensive use of cybernetic augmentation enabled by the advanced facilities aboard the Child of Calamity, and it is not unheard of for long-lived veterans to be more cybernetic than flesh. Past a certain point, survival in this manner is considered unlucky or ill-fated. Alongside the apothecaries, the Iron Hounds also maintain a corps of warriors who function similar to chaplains. Where the apothecaries excise sin from the flesh, these priests focus the minds of the Iron Hounds. On top of attending meditation sessions and ritual, each herjar-brother is expected to practice an art, and to pursue it with dedication and zeal during the down time between battles. A favorite among the Iron Hounds is epic poetry, though more creative herjar-brothers sculpt or paint, while the more eccentric become experts on obscure scholarly topics. The priests monitor these activities, assigning deadlines for new content and organising exhibitions to ensure the constant engagement of the warriors' minds. Herjar-brothers who fall behind in their artistic or scholarly endeavors are censured, with the priests having broad power to inflict punishment on stubborn warriors to ensure that the chaos of the warp does not find purchase within undisciplined minds. Battlecry Yes, a dream. That is all. But there are idylls and nightmares. I bring terror in order to cleanse the soul. I bring death in order to release the soul. They call me evil, but they have no understanding. I bring darkness in order to exalt the light. Most commonly heard is "To Waelheim! To Waelheim!" Also heard is the old Legion battle cry, "Iron Within! Iron Without!"