Though the true purpose of the Angels Cruentis' existance and their true orders remain a secret, what is known about their assigned task was that the Chapter was created to follow traitor marines into the warp and hunt down individuals of importance. Though their official orders do not state hunting Primarchs of specific chapters, no one knows wether they where also on the list of important individuals or not. None outside of the Angels Cruentis Chapter knows.
The Stability of the geneseed, aswell as the unorthodox organisation and goals of the chapter suggest that the origin of the chapter would be a more specialized or supportive role of the Angels of Redemption. The angelic names the Brothers take, the weaponry and wargear aswell as their monastic look make them stand out a little from other early successors of the Dark Angels, but is similar to that of the Disciples of Caliban and the Consecrators. In fact, the entire chapter has generally an older armoury, meaning that the weaponry and warmachines used by the Angels Cruentis are mainly from before or during the Horus Heresy. Why this is the case is not known (since they are a third founding chapter, they would normally have been given contemporary weaponry and armour, but was instead given older weaponry and material). The reason why the armoury stays as archaic as it does, though, is quite clear: The Angels Cruentis do not exchange their wargear and armour for newer patterns or models, instead they are almost religiously tending to their materiel and will even go to extreme lengths to reclaim weaponry or armourparts previously lost. For this reason it is also common for the Angels Cruentis to keep their weaponry chained to their armour, like the Black Templars.
Though speculations over the chapter has existed, nobody has really seen or heard anything about them for many centuries. Thought lost to the warp, investigations of Imperium officials has just seased. The chapter is far from lost though, but have not been in the material universe for a few hundred years, barring shorter "breathers" to make sure they could press on. Indeed, the last time they broke warpspace for a longer time, a few centuries ago, was to recruit new marines.
Though the fleet once was huge, even for a Space Marine chapter, the losses in the warp have been harsh. The loss of the Hunting Wing was by far the most terrible, taking with it a Strike cruiser, nine Frigates, two Destroyers and a World Ship. With this loss, almost all of the Chapters Dreadnoughts where lost, together with all but minute Devestator marines and support vehicles.
Beeing a fleetbased chapter, they still maintain a handful of systems they frequent for recruitment purposes. The most recent, and stable, of them being the Tham system in Segmentum Pacificus. The Angels Cruentis have recruited from systems more or less chosen by chance. With the Tham-system, though, the Angels Cruentis have chosen to return.
The reason being the large success rate.
In their last two campaign to recruit, the Chapter picked up about 250 new recruits per campaign, out of these, about 75% (108) survived to become full Marines. Out of these 108, a third where twins. In both instances, the Chapter recruited from the planet Tham III in the Tham system in Segmentum Pacificus.
It is hypothesized that the fact that there are so many twins and triplets on the planet is the reason for the large successrate from the two latest recruitmentcampaigns, something that the Angels Cruentis also take full usage of by returning to the planet again the next time.
Wether a freak twist of nature or a genetic programme instigated before the reclaiming of the colonized worlds during the great crusade, the planet Tham III is a place where one in three births render twins or triplets amongst the feral population. As a result, there is a large number of Angels Cruentis that are not just Battle Brothers, but actually twin brothers.
A notable example of this is the current Chaptermaster Haroth, and his twin brother Maruth. Haroth became the Sar(Captain) of his own Host after quite some time, whereas Maruth was very early concidered to be one of the strongest Librarians in the Chapter.
On the Blooded Wing resides the Metatron entity, one of the main reasons as to why the Angels Cruentis can stay in the Warp for so long times without getting lost. The Angels Cruentis travel through the warp in a quite organised fascion. The Metatron Entity is a device that help them maintain an almost perfect view of the astronomican at all times; an ancient device from before the unificationwars that was rebuilt during the great crusade and has successively been refitted by the Angels Cruentis to work on the power of three individuals, a Librarian, an Astropath and a Navigator. This was never intended with the Metatron device and the alteration has had a spectacular side-effect: Although the three sacrificed individuals will never survive this ordeal, their beings are used by the device to see the Astronomican, to give it an, albeit cryptic, prophetic ability and boosting the Gellerfields, making it possible to create free floating "pockets" of Gellerfields between two vessels of the Angels Cruentis.
Essentially: If the Angels Cruentis have one ship on each side of an enemy ship (obviously with a certain proximity to one another) they can board the ships using jumpacks rather then traditional boarding tubes.
The danger, when boarding an enemy ship in the warp, lie mostly in the fact that the enemy ship sometime do not have any Gellerfields to protect its inhabitants from the warp, but the solid parts of the ship is usually enough to stall anything bad from happening for a while. The usage of torpedoes to open breaches, and then jumpacks to get in, greatly increase the time the ACs has to board and carry out a mission.
To further increase their chances the chapter has portable Gellerfield enhancers that magnify the strength of the emitters from their own fleet; for the pockets of safe areas, as well as quite some modifications to their armour. One such thing is the psychic collar which is fitted on each suit. Essentially "half" a psychich hood it keeps the marines from going insane and at the same time amplifies the Psychic abilities of a present Librarian to make life easier on them all.
The Metatron, then, act like a listeningdevice for the Astronomican. Beyond this, the entity also creates a stabilizing field around the ship to act as both a bouy for the rest of the ships of the Angels Cruentis' and act as a "float" to Material Space.
The Metatron looks like a set of cables and machinery, leading up to three heads, facing separate directions, that by now is not more then skulls really.
This entity maintains knowledge of the position of Holy Terra at all times and, as mentioned above, have a slight profetic inclination (it "speaks" from time to time), and it also keep communication up between all the vessels of the Fleet.
The reason for is twofold.
Firstly, the Chapter fight more or less exclusively in narrow and tight situations, wether onboard ships or on Daemon worlds, they excell at fighting in close quarters.
Secondly, during a warp-boarding 13 centuries ago the Battlebarge the Hunting Wing was lost. Most of the heavy support of the chapter was lost. Most of the Chapter Dreadnoughts where onboard the Battlebarge, as well as many of the Chapters Thunderhawks and tanks. This has left the Chapter without very few tanks, thunderhawk gunships and with a mere four Dreadnoughts left in the entire Chapter.
All Hosts take name from the Sar in charge of them, throughout the ages, the Host names have changed. Some Sars choose to rename themselfes in honour of previous Sars, leaving the Hosts get the same names over and over again. Currently therte are eight Hosts, and here are some of the names for them:
the Host of Haroth (Arch Sar Haroth, Chapter Master of the Angels Cruentis leads this Host.)
the Host of Azazel
the Host of Makiel
the Host of Rashut
Each Host is led by a Sar, which is the Angels Cruentis equivalent of a Captain. The Sarim of the Hosts form a counsil that rule the Chapter as a whole. (Sarim is the collective name of the Sar's of the entire Chapter, hence the Sarim are always only eight members.) One of the eight Sarim is declared Arch Sar, and becomes the Chapter Master and leader of the Malakim. The current Arch Sar of the Chapter is Sar Haroth. He has ruled the chapter for 150 years, and his own Host for 200 years. At an age of 300, he is not the oldest amongst the Sar, but he is not a young pup neither.
The Sarim generally wear individually coloured Armour under Jet Black Robes. Sometimes no robes are worn, it all depends on each Sar what their personal whim.
Malakim are the veterans of the Chapter, and form a "honourguard" for each Host, as well as being sort of an ad hoc organisation.
Included in the Malakim are not only Veteran Marines and Veterans in Tachtical Dreadnought Armour, but also Librarians, Chaplains, Apothecharies, Techmarines and Dreadnoughts. The Brothers that are included in the Malakim can, for the lack of a better visual (coming), be explained sort of as an "inner circle" of the Chapter. It is first when you have reached the Malakim that you are concidered to be such a stern defender o your mind that some secrets are let upon you.
The Sarim are also part of the Malakim. Inclusion in the Malakim mean finding out some very well kept secrets, such as the specific purpose of the Chapter, as well as why the Chapter has chosen to stay in Warpspace for so long (plus the fact that it is a choice to do so, rather then a matter of fact forced upon the Chapter by the fickle currents of the Warp).
Malakim can form units, but they often wear mixed armour. The TDA's of the Chapter are scarce, numbering less then 25 (meaning there is an average of 3 or less Terminator armoured Malakim per Host).
Malakim wear Black armour with Red trims and golden details, sometimes under Crimson Robes. On their right shoulderpad there are personal markings rather then Host Iconography.
Ofanim are the Assault Marines and fast attack vehicles of the Chapter (Bikes and Assault Bikes, as well as the Few Land Speeders the Chapter still has). The Ofanim is an ad hoc organisation, and have their own organisation completely set away from the rest of the Chapter. The main reason for this is that the Ofanim have an unusually high number of casualties, and thus they need to keep a different inner peace then the rest of the Chapter. All members of an Astartes Chapter know that they are going to die, most likely, at the hand of an enemy of the Emperor. The Ofanim, though, know that they will most likely die within the first half hour of any given battle. They need to get as much as possible out of the oponent before they themselfes are taken out. This creates psychotic killers amongst normal soldiers, Marines are better! Their psycho-indoctrination lasts half an hour longer per day then for the rest of the Chapter, and they have more sparetime then the rest of the Chapter. This breed a different type of Marine and they are seen as "hot heads" by the rest of the Chapter.
Ofanim are not a Host per se, and as such do not have a Sar leading them, instead, that role fall on a Chaplain.
The reason for this is that throughout the history of the Chapter, the Ofanim have proven to be very hotheaded again and again. The spiritual guidance of a Chaplain was seen as needed to soothed their irrational and "act-without-thinking" mentality.
This, along with having the entire council of the Sarim deciding tactical usage of the Ofanim rather then having a leader that can decide himself, has led to a more effective organisation and more effective usage of the Ofanim.
The current leader of the Ofanim is Chaplain Zadkiel.
Ofanim wear Jet Black Armour with red details (note, details, the trims are still black) under Crimson Robes. This is the only part of the Chapter where the Robes aren't rule rather then exception. Robes are still very much common, especially amongst the Assault Marines.
Angirim are the "standard" Brothers of the Chapter. They are divided into three groups, or types, of Brother Marines: Tactical Brother, Assault Brother and Grigorim.
Tactical Brothers are the more common Angirim. They perform the tasks of any given Tactical Marine from any given Chapter. Mostly, they are equiped with a bolter and a close-quarter weapon as a sidearm. Some prefer the Boltpistol and Chainsword combination that they have used since their initiation into the Chapter.
Tactical Brothers wear Black Armour with Golden Trims, under White Robes. On the Robes they have a Shield printed in the front and back.
Assault Brothers are Angirim that carry closequarter weaponry as standard. Chainfist, Chainsaw, Powerfist, Plasmagun, Flamethrower. They are all weapons found within the ranks of the Assault Brothers. Beyond this they do not differ from the Tactical Brothers. Assault Brothers wear Black Armour with golden Trims, under White Robes. On the Robes they have a Sword printed in the front and the back.
Grigorim are the Neophytes of the Chapter. There are no Scouts within the Chapter, instead the Neophytes are brought into the existing squads and equiped with Boltpistol and Chainsword and let to fend for themselfes and their battlebrothers. Grigorim wears Black Armour with white Trims under White Robes. On their Robes they have an Eye prnted in the front and the back.
The organisation as a whole can be seen as a small circle in the centre (Sarim) encased by another, slightly larger circle (Malakim), outside of this circle, each Host has it's own "slice" to fill with their individual Angirim, forming a huge circle.
The Ofanim are a separate organisation that lies outside of the circular organisation.
Also notable in the Chapter is that the Sarim have Librarians in their ranks, that is, most of the Sarim are actually originally Librarians, all the other Sarim are originally Chaplains. Since the Chapter performs all their duties in the Warp, it was decided quite early in the history of the Chapter, that the most important roles would be held by Chaplains (for keeping their faith strong) and Librarians (for keeping the Psyche safe).
One of the key elements of the knowledge of the Librarians is how to shield your psyche against the powers of Chaos, and as such, they where seen as the best suited leaders of the Chapter. And since the faith of the Chapter as a whole was seen as a key instrument of keeping the psyche safe, the only non-librarian Sarim have been taken from the ranks of the Chaplains.
Wether this was a wise choice or not can be debated, but it certainly has been seen as a wise choice amongst the members of the Chapter, as not a single Angels Cruentis Marine has ever fallen to Chaos...
There are no scouts within the Chapter. Scouts fulfill a role that the Chapter as a whole concider cowardly and unwanted as far as fighting goes. As a resault, there are no infiltration units whatsoever in the Chapter. Instead of Scouts the chapter, and its Hosts, have a tradition of including their new brethren into working units. These neonates are called watchers or Grigorim and have less choice in weaponry then their seasoned brethren, leaving them only Chainsword and Boltpistol at all times. It is their task to observe and learn, but also to prove themselfes worthy, by taking the fight to the enemy.
The Chapter has also not recruited for over 300 years, leaving each Host smaller then a full company.
The Average Host has 70-75 Marines of any kind in their ranks, some have slightly more, some have slightly less. One Host, "the Host of Azazel", only have 23 Marines in its ranks. Sar Azazel is very uneasy about this, but still pushes his brethren top fight on as if they where a full Host.
The 'psychic collar' they use is a device made to protect the bearer from the harshest of assaults by warp-creatures. It also acts as a conductor of a nearby psyhic hood, making the task of a Librarian a little easier (not much) in the warp then what it otherwise would be. The vincinity of psychic collars also keep the Librarins a litle better shielded from attacks then what 'just' the Psychic hood would do. Essentially, the more Angels Cruentis there are around an AC Librarian, the 'safer' and 'easier' any form of meddling withthe warp becomes for him.
The Angel Cruentis' marines also try their best to keep their psyche and soul safe, by any means possible (outside of heresy, of course!). To this end, they often alter the helmets and armour they wear to protect agains all manner of things, whether physical or psychic.
A lot of the armour and wargear of the chapter is old. Most of the suits of armour are Maximus or Crusader armour or earlier. The Bolterpatterns are also older, as well as most of the armoured detail. Out of the remaining four dreadnoughts, three are Contemptor pattern Dreadnoughts. Likewise, there are very few Corvus patterned suits of armour, almost all of them used for Grigorim.
A quick note on design
At this very moment Im working on creating final renderings of the main characters of the Angels Cruentis.
Islamic patterns will form a basis for the iconography of the Angels Cruentis.
Individual marines will wear the iconography of their respective Sar on their left shoulder, and an individual icon on their right shoulder, representing the squad or rank.
Individuals of higher rank will have highly stylized or specialized iconography and as such will sport more detailed iconography, perhaps sporting gold instead of yellow or gems added in the design.
Originally my intent was to use magical circles as the iconography of each Sar, leaving one shoulderpad for the chapter icon, but I'm leaving the chapter icon for the chest. This way I can also include the islamic theme better in the design.
The designs will only be similar to muslim iconography, as I will be making up my own, but the feel and the themle should be seen through the shoulderpad.
Despite the heavy islamic influence on the shoulderpad, I wanted a strong feature that had ties to Christianity also. The Faith of the imperium of man is very much something that looks like Catholic christianity, in all its visual aspects and, to some extent, in the build-up we can see through fluff. To do this, I went back to my books and found something interesting, and very suiting:
Church-bells where resposible for many things in the old days. Not only did they ring in the mass, but they also let people know the time (still do, in a lot of places of the world) but one of the most usefull things the church-bells of a city did was:
Warn. Not just to warn the population of a fire, an army marching in or somesuch, but also (and more thematic for the Angels Cruentis) to warn evil spirits that the power of God was there.
In ly own native country of Sweden, this meant that people claimed that Trolls and Giants where deafened and destroyed if they heard a church-bell ring, or that a church-bell could ward off such evil beings. In my current country of Belgium, it meant that wiches beware and evil spirits fled from the sound. I'm sure there are countless of other stories and variations of these types of stories linked to bells.
In short, The Angels Cruentis have to have 'em!
4th edit/ Updated With rewritten background on Fleet.
Continuous updates to be expected as I write/rewrite things to work out proper.
Edited by Colrouphobic, 02 April 2012 - 10:12 AM.