The newly christened Chapter crusaded around the Maelstrom's edges for twenty bloody years, long enough for their forces to fight on two hundred worlds in nearly twice as many engagements, before they found a home world that immediately struck a chord with one of their senior cadre leaders; Malathion, the Angels’ first Master of Sanctity, saw Altius III and its people as the “wellspring of a resurgence against the Darkness.” The new Chapter vowed to protect the planet and surrounding sectors from the predations of the denizens of the Maelstrom and spearhead assaults into that dangerous territory to claim new worlds for the Emperor-, which, it must be noted, they accomplished on several occasions.
On the field of battle the Chapter was famed as any Astartes force inevitably is. True to the heritage of their parent Chapter, they kept the vast majority of their warriors on active duty. Their victories filled volumes, and their sparse defeats were bought at a terrible price for the foe. Even unforgiving Imperial histories and the sharp tongues of Inquisitors cannot expunge legends of the Angels Wrathful from the people of the planets they liberated from alien and heretical dominion.
As with any successor of the Blood Angels, however, some spoke darkly of them and their flaws. They were ferociously intent on getting to grips with the enemy, and many Guardsmen were horrified to fight beside them for fear that, instead of tearing the enemy limb from limb, they might be the victims of the Chapter’s bloodlust.
Before the Chapter was founded, the planet was a vast wilderness; its people built fortresses against an unforgiving wilderness. The men and women of this planet were of a feudal system ruled over by a warrior-monk society; the people were disciplined and tough, making excellent recruits and servants for the Astartes. The fervor of Altius III’s people had long been expressed in combat, but they hungered to expand their devotion to different areas. Visionary leaders combined the energy of the Altians people and the skill in art and edifice that Sanguinius’ sons are famed for to transform the planet.
Altius III became a mix of artificial and natural beauty, and the faithful came from across the galaxy to see its wonders. Among these, too, came young and devoted warrior-pilgrims determined to join the ranks of the Chapter. Altians, initially wary of outsiders, grew to accept those from beyond their world as sheep of the same flock.
Destruction of Altius
Not one brick remained on another as the Violators tore down the monuments to the Emperor’s glory with unholy glee. Chaos Space Marines bathed in the blood of innocents, defiled many of the relics of the Chapter, and made obscene displays of Altian defenders. The Tor Noirox, or Tower of the Lost in the old Altians tongue, was broken open and the frothing madmen within set loose on the populace. Natural wonders were demolished, rivers dammed and polluted, mountains split apart by orbital fire, and the skies filled with smoke laced with toxins and the ashes of the dead. The proud Altians were shattered in mind and spirit, fleeing in terror into the wilds they had held bulwarks against for generations.
An Astropathic choir just managed to reach one of the splinter forces of the Angels Wrathful, and the call was relayed to all the Chapter's forces. With haste that only Space Marines can attain, the Chapter invaded its own system with guns blazing. But, through some witchery, the Violators escaped the barrages of the Chapter's Battle Barges. With ashen taste in their mouths and their hearts weighing down upon them, the Astartes descended upon their home world.
It is said that the death of Altius was mourned for centuries, that songs of lament were spun, memorials erected, vivid paintings of glories past put to canvas. Even today, in light of the heresy of the former Angels Wrathful, many a preacher will sermonize in memory of the shrine world.
But all this was as the rambling reminiscences of old men to the sorrow of the Chapter. The home world they held dear was a ruin; their anger and sorrow turned their memories to bitterness and an appetite for vengeance. Nearly a hundred Brothers were so overcome that their sanity broke, unleashing the fury of the Black Rage within them, and all had to be put to death. Even after the horrors of their Excommunication, this day must remain the blackest day in the Chapter's long history.
Of course, such an offense would not be mourned long before the Brothers of the now homeless Chapter turned their minds and souls to revenge. As Astartes, warriors without peer, they would express their grief and fury through the destruction of their foes. They left the ruin of Altius III with heavy hearts, but renewed purpose. The Chapter Master of the time, Lord Amon-Belloc, declared a hunt that would last "till not one Violator hides from our wrath, or the End, whichever comes to be first."
They were never to be so vulnerable again. The Chapter consolidated its strength in the Chapter’s fleet, with their main Battle Barge, Sword’s Vigil, renamed the Rebirth of Altius and expanded upon to include the facilities of their destroyed Fortress Monastery. They had a duty to maintain strength beyond their capacity to house, and so they bent their energies to gaining a larger fleet. Several smaller ships were easy to obtain, but the real boon came alongside another tragedy in the history of the Imperium.
A Chapter descended from the Angels Wrathful themselves, the Lions of Ajax, was obliterated in an ill-fated feud with the Chaos Lord Zebulon Hellshrike. A strike force led by a contingent of the Angels Wrathful, intent on avenging their Successors, was able to capture much of their resources from the Chaotics who had seen to the Lions’ destruction- the pride of which was the decimated Chapter’s Battle Barge, His Shining Blade, which, in defiance of the Navy, the Chapter took for their own by right of kinship and patronage from many influential allies.
With a fleet to suit their needs, the Angels Wrathful fought across the galaxy, gaining new recruits for the Chapter and establishing numerous Keeps watched over by a small staff of officers and serfs. These Keeps would oversee the recruitment and creation of the Chapter’s Neophytes, and send them to the Rebirth for further training.
In this way the Chapter dealt out the Emperor’s wrath, striking fear into the hearts of the scum that inhabits the Maelstrom. Despite the blows fate had dealt them, they rose with greater furor than ever before. The area around the Maelstrom saw a noticeable improvement under their fury.
But there is a dark secret to the success of the Angels Wrathful. After the death of Altius III, every ounce of energy the Chapter possessed, every string they could pull, every tie they could use was exerted towards the destruction of the Violators and the gaining of power to slaughter the Emperor’s foes. Every hint at a chance for vengeance was seized upon, even those beyond the understanding of mortals.
Documents recovered from the fall of the Angels Wrathful indicate that the Chapter used occult means to enhance their knowledge. The Librarians of the Chapter went into trances to hear in the echoes of the Warp, to release their spirit-selves and sail the ebb and flow of its energy. All is known upon the Sea of Souls, and at times the gibbering of Daemons and the surges of energy led to revelations in the hunt for their enemies. The pure, however, know that consorting with the Warp leads only to damnation, and it is doubtless this practice led to the noble Chapter’s fall.
The Chief Librarian Algamar, in these sojourns, found what he believed to be a powerful, benevolent Warp power. Over three decades of studying this being, he came to believe he was in contact with the Emperor's soul, bolstered by the worship of Mankind’s trillions and the sacrifices made to sustain Him over ten thousand years. Over centuries, he used the knowledge he had gained to alter his Chapter's fate. Gradually, their faith was subverted to the 'Emperor's' will, 'His' agenda. One day 'He' answered the prayers of the Chapter.
During the long and bloody 'Aranis Crusade' to bring the Emperor’s light back to a benighted sector of Imperial space, the Astartes nearly met their match. A mighty Ork horde’s back appeared to be broken upon the plains of Saria IV. Several Companies of Angels Wrathful, supported by Imperial Guard forces in the rearguard, pursued with cleansing fire. Word came, however, of a force of Violators who had encamped near the Orks and were using them as a shield for their designs.
The Chapter would not be held back from its most hated foes, and immediately attempted to break through the greenskins. But their path led them straight against an Ork settlement that had been tainted by the warp-magicks of the Chaos filth. Impeded by this, the Angels were surrounded by the Orks, and despite their faith and skill at arms, were about to be overrun. Then the unbelievable happened.
In a manifestation that caused nightmares, visions, and insanity for nearly the whole contingent of Scholastica Psykana stationed in the Saria system, beings appearing as angels in gleaming plate and wielding blades of fire descended upon the Orks. With their forces bolstered by such creatures, the Angels Wrathful tore through the heart of the enemy. Both the Orks and the Violators were massacred. This day came to be known as the Ascension in the records of the Chapter, for they thought themselves truly blessed by the Emperor.
However, the Inquisition had been watching the Astartes under guise of aiding the Crusade. The Emperor’s Tarot had predicted tumult and betrayal in relation to them, and this ‘Ascension’ was proof positive of their infidelity. Interrupting the victory celebration after the Ascension, an Inquisitor Imloth called upon the might of the Ordo Hereticus to destroy the Angels.
Imloth had little time to accomplish his task, and thus he planned his attack
Inquisitor Imloth fled the battle, barely escaping with his life, and attempted to call on the Grey Knights; however, the planet was rife with rebellion and violence that stemmed from the death throes of the Chaotic presence on the planet, hindering his communications. A strike force of Angels Wrathful, led by the single surviving Wrathbringer of the Fifth, dogged his every step and eventually killed him.
Imloth’s death, despite the satisfaction it brought the Chapter, hastened the Imperial response, and the Chapter was immediately declared Excommunicate and Extremis Diabolus. The Grey Knights struck swiftly, and managed to destroy the Chapter’s Rapid Strike Cruiser, the Lux Conquistas. Though many of the Chapter’s recruits that were aboard this vessel perished, the remainder of the Chapter’s forces escaped to the Rebirth of Altius, skillfully evading the war fleets sent to crush them. Those Chapter Keeps that were known of were quickly assaulted and destroyed.
Rioting broke out on a hundred worlds as monuments to the honor and glory of the fallen Chapter were torn down. Whole libraries were decimated for fear of a single book detailing the Chapter. Heretics burned for their voiced excuses and justifications for the Angels Wrathful. Eventually the Angels Wrathful became a memory at best to all but those who hunted them.
After the Chapter’s fall, the garrison on the ruins of Altius was withdrawn, the Imperium seeing no need to protect the world. The husk and the dejected society of nomadic scavengers inhabiting it were abandoned to an approaching band of Orks, and it is likely that the beasts had their warlike way with the planet.
After the Ascension, the Chapter’s activities are shrouded in the secrecy that is essential to their survival. They are hunted by the Inquisition and attacked by any Imperials who know of their Excommunication. It is known that the Brothers of the Chapter are plagued by mutations, particularly feathery wings, glowing eyes, and even haloes of light- mutations that, reminiscent of holy imagery though they are, mark them as worshipers of the Dark Powers. Rumors spread of a war within the Chapter and the fielding of a Death Company, and the Inquisition point to these as more proof of their corruption and dwindling numbers.
It is known that they changed their name to the Angels Ascendant and adopted a golden wing as their new heraldry; many Inquisitors believe this was meant as a ruse, or perhaps a show of devotion to their new patron. Through this guise they are able to fool many Imperials not wise to it. It is even suspected that many of the more radical elements within the Imperium support them, such as Thorians in the Inquisition, and elements of the Ecclesiarchy, where many Chapters find no allies.
Scouts are rarely used, as the Chapter’s relatively high mortality rate forces Neophytes into power armor so the Chapter’s warriors can be better protected. They must learn even more quickly than the Initiates of other Chapters, and given the active nature of the Chapter that education will take place on the field of battle rather than the training grounds aboard the Chapter’s fleet. When recon is essential, a hardened veteran will lead the mission, with Neophytes acting in support. An Initiate will be placed in a Battle Company after basic training and will remain there till death, promotion, or specialization.
Given their hunted nature and often-unsupported operations, it is unsurprising that the Chapter's brothers appear ready for anything. They go into battle armed with grenades, bolt pistols and rifles, and all manner of hand-to-hand weapons. The fluidity of organization within the Chapter is astounding- squads of Astartes are normally tight-knit bands of brothers who have decades of experience alongside each other, but the Chapter's warriors seem able to assess casualties and amalgamate squads for peak efficiency without hesitation or doubt.
Heavy weapons, while more man-portable to Astartes than to Imperial Guard, are rarely used as the bulk and required ammunition for the weapons would slow the Space Marines down, and comparable anti-tank or infantry capability can be found in special weaponry. Heavy armor is rarely deployed, even the swift vehicles of the Astartes adapted with Lucifer engines unable to keep up with the Chapter’s relentless advance; excepting Vindicators and Baal Predators, which epitomize close support, standard Astartes vehicles are never seen alongside their forces. Perhaps even more rarely fielded are the Chapter’s Land Raiders, for the engagements in which a Lord of the Chapter would risk losing such hallowed vehicles are few and far between.
Their operations are fast and merciless, as well as unpredictable. Presumably pressed for supplies, they will raid outposts and armories, but also seem to strike where other Imperial forces are slow to react; backwater worlds, fringe worlds, and so on, beset by aliens and heretics, are 'liberated' by the heretic Chapter. Many Inquisitors feel that these operations are designed to stir discontent against the Imperium at large. All too often a fleet from the Imperium will arrive to find the enemies they came to fight replaced with a grudging populace. Inquisitorial agents often arrive soon after, if not soon before, these war fleets, striving ever to find ways to trap the Angels and destroy them. But the Chapter is cunning, and will not stay in the same area of space for long.
Since their ‘Ascension’ on Saria IV, the Angels Ascendant have enjoyed the support of Warp-creatures similar to those who aided them against the tainted Orks. It is curious that the Chapter does not appear to participate in daemonic summonings or count on their appearance; however, it is certain that these beings have saved the Chapter’s forces from capture or destruction on several occasions. Those cursed with such knowledge theorize that belief in the Dark Gods alone, if fervent enough, can conjure such things. If so, the zeal of the Angels Ascendant must be strong indeed.
The Chapter's Serfs often are still seen fighting alongside them at the outset of an engagement, though the servants cannot keep up with the rapid advances of the Angels. They also aid in the construction of wargear, and samples recovered from battlefields are of high quality. While much of the Serfdom is drawn from humans who are strong yet obviously not Astartes-grade, those few aspirants that fail and survive are often inducted into the Serfdom. Many of these attain leadership positions in that body, as the fact that they were considered for the tests outweighs their failure of them.
It is noted that those fighting the Chapter, or worse at its side, have divulged the most significant change in the Chapter since its fall. The Angels never fielded a Death Company, as none of those who fell to the Black Rage were deemed remotely fit for combat; it would seem that in recent decades however that the Chapter has been seen fighting alongside warriors in blackened armor who fight with even higher fervor and fury than their Brothers. This can only be the Death Company, and the Chapter's numbers must be dwindling if they are willing to deploy these lunatics.
In addition, since the heresy of the Ascension, the Chapter has often seen aid from beings of the Warp. These creatures do not take the form of the obscene and horrifyingly unnatural beasts normally associated with the Empyrean; they instead appear as angels akin to those of myth, with silvery wings and blades of fire. These creatures, however, are of the Warp; all such denizens of Chaos' realm are craven and bloodthirsty.
They believe that the Emperor will meet them after death in a paradise reminiscent of Altius III, where they will rest until the final battle, when the 'Gates of Beyond' shall open, heroes and foes of millennia past rise again, when the traitors are finally cast down and the Emperor and the Primarchs return to this plane to lay waste to all filth and xenos, establishing forever the divine rule of Mankind over the galaxy. It is known that they hold these beliefs still, though subverted to the will of whatever power they truly serve- when interrogated, captured Angels will speak of cleansing the galaxy for the Emperor's coming. The heretics even go so far as to describe the Imperium as corrupt itself, fallen far from the Chapter's ideals, which they hold to be those of the Emperor Himself. Inquisitors believe that this stems from their fatal sin, pride, in being one of the Emperor's Finest- the Astartes see their word as the mandate of the Emperor Himself, never daring consider that they might be duped by some other power.
In their time serving the Imperium the Chapter was known for its intolerance towards mutants and even some accepted abhumans, seeing them as little more than cannon fodder. Fate, it seems, has a sense of humor, for they are now more flagrantly mutated than any they spurned. They did show leniency towards mutants of psychic kind, as long as the powers they held were used in the service of the Emperor.
Many in the Imperium took a dim view of their form of faith before their fall, and now detractors point to this radicalism as a flaw leading to it; the privileged, or cursed, few who know of such things whisper that it is the Changer of the Ways who, in his eternal machinations, aids the Angels in some diabolical plot; as evidence, they point to the deceptive nature of their mutations and daemonic servants. Some fools and heretics purport that the Chapter yet serves the Emperor, but are always met with purgation.
Like their Primogenitor Chapter, Initiates undergo a process by which they become Space Marines via a 'Sarcophagus.' For a hundred days and nights, the arcane processes of those machines alter their bodies until they emerge fully-fledged Space Marines. Also similar to the Blood Angels, the Angels have a subdivision of their Apothecarion known as the Sanguinary Priesthood. The blood of the Primarch runs in their veins and they bear the Chalices of the Sacred Blood, which play key roles in many Chapter traditions, and exsanguinators, as do Apothecaries.
At their inception, the Angels Wrathful did not suffer from high rates of the Black Rage like their brother Chapters, though those few who suffered from its stigma were driven so insane by it they were completely unfit for combat; their bloodlust often forced the hand of a Chaplain to give them the Emperor’s Peace to avoid further casualties. The Chapter was incredibly protective of its geneseed and the purity of it, as is any Chapter, and the Apothecarion was constantly undergoing experiments to explore and treat the Black Rage.
Though little is known of their geneseed’s behavior after their condemnation, it would seem from the increasing mutations that the geneseed they possess is degrading. It is unknown to agents of the Imperium if these mutations are causing consternation or fear among the Chapter’s members, but given that they revere mutations as gifts, it is likely that they are not concerned. An Inquisitor Taroth dared suggest that the geneseed might be evolving. He was declared Hereticus Extremis in 832.M41 and publicly drawn, quartered, and immolated by a council of his peers.
For Atius, for the Emperor!
Liberal use of the Counts-As principle allows a prospective commander to choose many Codices to represent the Angels Ascendant. However, in army design the Chapter works in a very direct fashion, eschewing heavy firepower or cowardly stealth for speed and capability in assault. Let these principles guide your efforts, and go kick ass in the Emperor's (?) name!
EDIT: Edited according to advice.
Edited by Imperialis_Dominatus, 21 October 2010 - 07:56 AM.