A Space Marine's duty is to defend the Imperium. Though we are no longer men as they are, the people of the Imperium are our sacred trust, the people of our home world especially so. To forsake them is to forsake our honor and our right to serve the Emperor. Never forget this, or you forget yourselves.
- from Chapter Master Taramant's Ascension Day address on the third year following the Ice Lords' mobilization
The Ice Lords, though an obscure chapter of recent founding, have a proud history of service to the Imperium. Their just governance of Franklin's World is widely admired, and their reputation in combat is sterling. Tenacious, honorable, and dangerous, the Ice Lords are a credit to the Adeptus Astartes and to mankind.
Black were the first days of our history. But so are all days, until mankind is triumphant. - The Chronicle of the Ice Lords, III Canticle
Formed as part of the 26th Founding, the Ice Lords have had a history spotted with misfortune. The chapter suffered a blow early in its lifetime when their training cadre, forced out of warp due to a drive malfunction, was ambushed by iniquitous traitors even as the cadre traveled to join their new charges. Though the enemy marines were repelled, the ferocity of the battle meant only three marines of the Angels of Absolution training cadre survived - Taramant, the senior Sergeant, Belicarius, a junior Chaplain, and Lahdemor, a Codicier. Undaunted, they continued on to join the Ice Lords, and pledged to do everything possible to ensure that the Chapter would be worthy of service to the Emperor. Their vessel, the Heart of Caliban, was ceremonially rededicated to the service of the Ice Lords, and remains a proud part of the chapter fleet today.
Despite the loss of so many of their mentors, the Ice Lords performed admirably. It was remarked by observers how the remaining cadre made new use of seemingly archaic tactics, and on how they seemed to possess experience and capability far beyond their junior ranks. Soon the battle-brothers of the chapter were ready for active duty, and they proudly marched aboard their ships for transfer to their new home world.
Chapter Master Taramant remained secluded throughout the journey, in consultation with the Emperor's Tarot, finally emerging just as the flagship left warp space. While the Chapter's new home world loomed, cold and white, in the viewport, he declared that they would henceforth be known as the Ice Lords. "For duty and honor are cold as ice. And when all else is gone, duty and honor will remain."
Franklin's World is a cold and desolate planet on the northernmost rim of the Segmentum Obscurus. The harsh conditions do not matter, for settlement of the planet is confined to the large cities which float high above the surface. Arcane technology keeps the cities aloft, technology which has resisted the Adeptus Mechanicus' attempts to decipher it. Closer and simpler mysteries now command their attention, though the occasional enterprising team still returns for an exercise in frustration and disappointment. Geographical surveys of the planet below had been frequently thwarted by the raging winds and snows of the surface, making the workings of the world below as much of a mystery as those above.
The Ice Lords took Falconscott (the smallest and least populated of the cities) for their own, fortifying it and adding weapons emplacements across its hull and spires. They began inducting recruits from the population, whose adventurous pilot-knights and vicious tunnel-gangers proved excellent Space Marines. After the celebrations surrounding the Chapter's arrival on the world, Taramant promoted close association with the populace, exhorting the Space Marines to remember that these were the people of the Imperium, and their duty incarnate. The young marines took these lessons to heart, and the bonds between the Marines and their people grew. Small chapterhouses were established in the other cities, both to aid in recruitment and to promote the marines' association with the populace.
The Fall of the Fortress
Although I am not certain as to the cause, Sergeant, I think what may be far more important are the effects. - Techmarine Janos
The Ascendant Festival on Falconscott marks the longest day of the year. The ice which typically covers the tips of city spires melts, and the cities are suffused with warmth and laughter. All Space Marines present on the planet are dispatched throughout the cities, to mingle with the population and observe those who might make good candidates for the Chapter. Games of strength and skill are common, and bloodless aerial battles between young pilots an entertaining diversion for the crowds. Although ordinarily a happy time, the hundred-and-twenty-eighth Festival after the Chapter's arrival on their home world was marked by calamity.
As the revelers celebrated across the planet, the streets of Falconscott began to shudder. The strength of the spasms threw grown men from their feet, and even the Space Marines were hard pressed to keep their balance. Clouds whisked by, and the wind grew to a howling shriek as the mighty city began to plunge toward the surface of the planet below.
Techmarines and officers raced into the bowels of the city, while the other marines attempted to contain the panic among the citizens. However, the arcane machinery which had confounded the best Techno-Magi of the Imperium was still loathe to give up its secrets, and the Marines remained ignorant of what might have caused the precipitous descent. They could only do their best to ensure that the city was not destroyed upon impact.
Fortunately for the Chapter, ancient backup systems were functional. As the city approached the surface, its rate of descent began to slow. But impact was inevitable, and the population was thrown into confusion and panic as millions of tons of metal struck the ancient ice of the planetary surface.
The buildings and lower tunnels of Falconscott were breached in dozens of locations, driven deep into the ice. Some were crushed, along with their inhabitants. Some were cut off from the rest of the city, the people within left to slowly starve with no chance of rescue. The regular, coherent levels of the lower city were gone, replaced with a crazed metal-and-ice warren of tunnels, chasms and precipices, while the upper city was a twisted wreck, shattered ice and building intermingled to form a strange and confusing new world.
Master Taramant and many other marines were gone from Franklin's World, fighting the last of the Genestealers from the hulk Vociferous Abomination. The young Captain Telemachus of the Sixth was the senior officer in the city. He notified Taramant of what had happened and began to search for survivors in the undercity, leaving a few of his sergeants to organize the citizens above. Despite the many lives Telemachus saved, the Marines and their people were trapped, out of reach of the other garrisons on-planet, who possessed no ships capable of penetrating the howling winds on the surface.
The Knights and the Wolves
Your thoughts do not show us a new way, Telemachus. All they show are my failings as a teacher. - Taramant of the Ice Lords
By the time Master Taramant returned, with powerful landers that could penetrate the winds below, conflict had arisen. In the months Telemachus and his men had spent trapped within Falconscott, they had lost all respect for the people of the city and grown to despise them for their weakness, coming to believe that the fall of Falconscott had been punishment from the Emperor himself. When a mighty wolf had leapt from the driving snow into the city, slaying a dozens of the citizens before being brought down itself, Telemachus had taken this as the final proof of the Emperor's displeasure with Taramant's beliefs. Further attacks by the beasts only reinforced this conclusion.
These wolves had been unknown before, overlooked by unambitious Mechanicus genetors who feared the planet's harsh environment, but they soon became a common sight in the snow outside the city. They were great, hulking beasts, long of fang and powerful of limb, solitary and dangerous, and Telemachus admired their power.
Telemachus and his supporters insisted that the way of the wolves was the way to true greatness for the Ice Lords. The Ice Lords should concern themselves with the Ice Lords, first and foremost. Consorting with the people of Falconscott hurt the people, for they could not become strong enough to stand on their own, and it hurt the Ice Lords, who were weakened by the need to defend the people, instead of using all their might to strike against the enemies of man. Using less than their full strength was a betrayal of the Emperor, as was weakening his subjects by not allowing them to achieve strength on their own. Thus, said Telemachus, the best course of action for the Ice Lords was to leave Franklin's World and its people behind. Though the people would find it hard at first, it could only strengthen them in the long run. His supporters, who had christened themselves the Wolves, agreed.
Taramant did not, and his wrath was terrible to behold. He rebuked Telemachus in a public Conclave of the Chapter, calling the Captain dishonorable and little better than a traitor. Telemachus had confused personal glory with honor, Taramant said, and deserved neither. Belicarius and Lahdemor supported Taramant wholeheartedly, as did the majority of the Chapter brethren, who were christened 'Knights' by the jeering Wolves. Further incensed by this behavior, Taramant stripped Telemachus and his supporters of their rank in the Chapter and of their place in the Chapter's Roll of Honor, declaring that they had abandoned their duty, and must earn their honor back or be forgotten. Humiliated, beset by the Knights, and with their influence within the chapter greatly eroded, the Wolves subsided, at least for a time.
I understand what it represents, Taramant. I just wonder if there were not warmer worlds which symbolized our duty to humanity. - Chaplain Belicarius of the Ice Lords
Franklin's World is nearly as cold as the empty space which surrounds it. Howling winds lash the snow and ice into strange and twisted forms, and life is rare and dangerous. The people of Franklin's World, however, are isolated from this in their expansive floating cities. Constructed in the Dark Age of Technology, their presence on this desolate world on the edge of the galaxy has been a question of great debate among Imperial scholars. Whether it was once a military base, a research station, or something far stranger, Franklin's World is now an isolated planet which has little contact with other systems. Its people are relatively happy, and the floating cities are ruled by powerful noble families, each of which maintain their own fortified towers within the cities. These nobles pride themselves on the mastery of their ritualized forms of war, and duels upon gliders which soar on the shrieking winds between the towers are a popular form of entertainment and an equally popular method of settling dispute. The tunnels beneath the cities, meanwhile, are home to few other than criminals and those forced down from the surface due to mutation or heresy. The vicious tunnel gangs which breed in this dark environment are the source of some of the Ice Lords' fiercest recruits, but that practice has come into question due to the marked tendency of former gangers to become Wolf adherents.
Falconscott, of course, is now much different than the other cities. Always the smallest city, its population is now even smaller than it was. The old social order has remained much the same, but the introduction of the former residents of the undercity has sapped the power of the nobles, who now face organized, dangerous groups unfamiliar with obedience. Some few of the city's areas still have fully functioning environment systems, and these have become havens for commerce and community. The remainder of the city is increasingly moving into newly excavated ice tunnels, preferring to build anew rather than attempt to salvage the chaotic wreckage that most of the city has become.
The surface of Franklin's World itself has lately been discovered to be far different than previously thought. The mighty wolves discovered after the Fall of the Fortress are just one of the dozens of newly discovered creatures which seem to make their homes in the freezing wastes. Mechanicus Genetor teams have expressed a pronounced interest in the makeup of the monsters, and have taken several corpses for study. They remain loathe to actually explore the surface themselves.
You are no longer men. You are to be Space Marines. You now serve mankind, in a way that you could not before, because you were of mankind. You must defend them, help them, and die for them. That is as it should be. - Chaplain Belicarius, addressing a group of new initiates
The Ice Lords subscribe to the typical Astartes belief that the Emperor is the savior of humanity, but not a god, and they hold to it with a vehemence equaled only by that of First and Second Founding chapters. However, they maintain no veneration for their Primarch, Lion El'Jonson, a quirk which has astonished Imperial observers. Unsurprisingly, they are reticent about this facet of their beliefs, and also demonstrate a marked aversion to associating with those chapters that refer to themselves as the Unforgiven.
The beliefs of the faction known as the Knights were for many years the beliefs of the chapter as a whole. Taramant and the Knights believe that the role of the Space Marines in the Imperium is to defend the people of the Chapter home world and the people of the Imperium. Concerns of the chapter and of individual marines are subordinate to the demands of that duty. To reinforce these beliefs, Taramant encourages communication with the people of Franklin's World, often making use of civilian artisans or laborers. There are relatively few chapter serfs - most of the chapter's servants are drawn from the general population and return there after a period of service. The few serfs are generally drawn from the pool of failed aspirants, and are encouraged to maintain bonds with their families outside the fortress monastery. Most serfs direct ordinary laborers or serve in relatively honorable positions in the fleet or monastery.
Space Marine participation in public rituals and in the administration of the world is common. The Captain of whichever company is serving to garrison the planet at any particular time also serves as the Lord Commander of Falconscott. The Lord Commander is the final court of appeal on the world (though it would be a fool who requested his judgment in a trivial matter), and a Space Marine also serves as executioner to the courts. On holy days, Space Marines often judge tests of skill and strength, and occasionally participate in bloodless melees where one marine confronts several challengers from the people. In addition to this, the marines are expected to wander the streets of whatever city they may be in, visiting family or friends from their old lives. All this had produced a remarkably close bond between the marines and the people, but the advent of the Wolves has soured it.
Although Taramant's efforts to force the Wolves into submission have been mostly successful, their silent defiance and all-too-public initial protestations have greatly hurt the chapter's relationship with the people. Although no overt conflict has arisen yet, the people of Falconscott are noticeably less welcoming toward the marines. This appears to greatly trouble Master Taramant, and what course of action he will take to try and mend this breach with the populace is unknown.
Wolf-based iconography is growing common among some of the more vicious members of the Chapter, while those who hold to Taramant's ways have begun to adopt the sign of a broken sword to show their allegiance to his ideas (and, the more cynical adherents note, the probability that they will come to naught). Taramant, meanwhile, seems to hope that a schism within the chapter can somehow be avoided, and appears to be trying to contain the schismatic beliefs to their current holders, while ensuring that new recruits of the Scout Company are firmly indoctrinated in the thinking of the Knights.
There is growing worry among high-ranking officers that the Wolves may resent the attempts at suppression of their views even more than they already seem to. Although combat operations have in no way suffered as yet, it is a sign of the depth of the problem that several officers are beginning to express concern about the possible loyalty of their troops. Civil war may be unavoidable.
Your enemy's realization that he watched every direction but above is the most gratifying sight you can see in this life. - Captain Darius of the First Company
Most Space Marine Chapters rely heavily on a crushing orbital or aerial assault in order to secure their victories. While the Ice Lords are not unwilling to make use of such tactics, they seem far more comfortable on the ground, using more conventional tactics of maneuvering armor and infantry to secure victory. The superlative skills of Ice Lords pilots will be put to use in providing close air support where conditions permit, whether that be with lighter bombers and fighters or with the powerful Thunderhawks.
This likely stems from the Chapter's early difficulties with their training cadre - rather than cultivate the broader skillset of other Chapters, Taramant and his compatriots appear to have decided that it was best for them to focus their limited resources on the cultivation of a mastery of the most basic methods of Space Marine warfare. Though time has obviously allowed the Ice Lords to broaden their capabilities and acquire a familiarity with what are seen as standard Space Marine tactics, the Chapter seems to retain a marked preference for the methods of their initial instruction.
The combat doctrine of the Ice Lords relies on the use of fast elements to support a heavily armed, but less flexible, force. Speeders and aerospace craft are the favored means of providing this support, likely due to the influence of recruits who possess remarkable facility with both. Their experiences with clearing Space Hulks and with the monsters beneath Falconscott have also begun to shape the chapter into formidable close-quarters specialists.
The Ice Lords have often displayed the Dark Angels' legendary tenacity, especially when defending civilian populations. However, they display none of the Dark Angel intolerance towards abhumans and non-humans, and equally none of the standoffishness or inscrutable tendencies to desertion of a combat zone the Dark Angels are infamous for. These traits have combined to make the Ice Lords popular with Imperial commanders, who appreciate tenacious and capable allies, but appreciate them even more when they do not suddenly depart the field of battle without explanation.
Slavish adherence to formal ritual is a sign that one knows the wrong rituals - Lahdemor, Master of the Librarium
The Ice Lords are generally a traditional codex chapter, with all that entails. In exception to the norm, the Ice Lords Scout Company is hardly ever assembled as a formation, and usually operates as individual squads attached to companies fighting offworld. Captains are given relative leeway in the structure of their companies, and the reserve companies are generally not the monolithic organizations of specialists that they are in many other chapters, though they are expected to maintain facility with particular areas of expertise.
The Reserve Companies often engage in pirate-hunting and other such exercises, to keep their skills fully honed. The First Company is regarded similarly to a normal Battle Company, and often undertakes similar engagements and serves a normal rotation in garrison on Franklin's World. The First Company is almost always under the personal command of the Chapter Master, and the post of First Company Captain is thus usually held by the least experienced of the Captains.
It will be hard to defend the Imperium if we succumb to corruption from within, young initiate. Harder still if that corruption involves tentacles. - Tull, Master of the Apothecarion
The Ice Lords recruit from every city on Franklin's World. The nobles of the upper cities are trained in warfare from early ages, as are many of their adherents, and these youths make fine Space Marines. The glider duels common among city spires have made piloting almost second-nature to a warrior of Franklin's World, and many Space Marines retain this aptitude. The vicious gangers of the undercities are excellent hunters and close-fighters, but their overwhelming tendency to follow the beliefs of the Wolves has lead to a noted decline in their recruitment.
Among the gangers, recruitment by the Space Marines was seen as recognition of one's prowess as a fighter, while recruitment in the upper city is looked upon as one of the highest honors a family can receive. Many commoners have found their other children sought after as husbands or wives for nobles after a son is taken as a Space Marine, while a failing noble house can find its popularity restored with such a coup.
The Ice Lords bear the geneseed of Lion'El Jonson. It appears pure and uncorrupted, which is of little surprise considering their relatively short history and the notable purity of the Dark Angel seed. Quite why the Ice Lords do not maintain many Dark Angel practices has not been determined, but it clearly cannot derive from the geneseed. No record has ever been found of the Ice Lords referring to themselves as Unforgiven, and the Chapter actually seems to actively shun the company of such Chapters. Much speculation has arisen among some Imperial scholastic communities as to why this might be so.
Roar your defiance to the enemy. Let them feel the chill of fear, and let them know that they face the true defenders of Humanity - Chaplain Belicarius
Honor and duty remain!
Edited by Octavulg, 29 January 2013 - 02:16 AM.