Jump to content

Welcome to The Bolter and Chainsword
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

[LI01] Alt-Heresy IA: Word Bearers


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
38 replies to this topic

#1
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
The Alt-Heresy project is moving apace, with the third IA, for the Raven Guard went on the board last week, and Matt and Phil working on the Alpha Legion and White Scars. While I have to go through my notes and carefully edit IA:Ultramarines, I did want to get the ideas mulling for the next part - the loyalist Word Bearers.

The countdown to this being complete by mid-April starts.... NOW! ;)

+++

Index Astartes: Word Bearers

An Alternate Heresy


The Word Bearers are tireless in their crusade to have the galaxy worship The Emperor as divine. It is a duty they carry out with both impassioned, fiery rhetoric and the cleansing purity of the bolt gun. They were one of the first legions to comprehend the existence and threat of Chaos, and that faith in the God-Emperor was soul-armour against its wiles. They used this knowledge to save Warmaster Horus from possession on Davin, but to their regret were unable to prevent the Dornian Heresy, which crippled their living deity. As Guardians of the Faith, they founded the galaxy-spanning Ecclesiarchy, and after witnessing how it nearly plunged the Imperium into another civil war, now act as its moral compass to ensure that such a powerful body can never again be corrupted.

Origins
U
niquely among The Emperor’s Primarchs, Lorgar’s formative years were spent not on the battlefield, but within the cloistered halls of the seminary, struggling with concepts of faith and the nature of divinity. The planet of Colchis had been settled early in the first wave of human expansion into the galaxy, but had become isolated and fallen into feudalism during the Age of Strife. Through the long millennia an order known as the Covenant remained a spark of hope against the darkness. Though much of the meaning behind their belief had been lost to superstition, they kept alive the knowledge of a humanity that had colonised distant stars, and the promise that one day they would be reunited.

The tale of how Lorgar came to the Covenant is recounted by Carpinius in his Speculum Historiale. It posits that Lorgar was subconsciously aware that The Emperor was searching for him, and this was the reason the Covenant’s tenets resonated so strongly. Once initiated into the Covenant, he absorbed every aspect of the vast and complex creed, and as would be expected of a Primarch, excelled in its practice. Driven by the knowledge that re-unification was at hand, and urged on by his friend and mentor, Kor Phaeron, Lorgar undertook a pilgrimage across Colchis, preaching to whoever would listen. His speeches were electrifying, and soon drew crowds in their tens of thousands, but gave his political enemies a chance to eliminate what they saw as a powerful rival.

It was only with an army approaching that Lorgar’s innate skills in warfare came to the fore. Over the course of eighteen months, his small entourage of clerics and civilians was transformed into a battle-hardened army numbering in the hundreds of thousands that swept away all who opposed them. Lorgar had not started the fight, but he was determined to finish it. Whenever he wearied of the slaughter, Kor Phaeron was there to assure him of the righteousness of their cause, and by the time the final enemy stronghold was razed to the ground and peace restored, the death-toll was truly monumental. His actions were vindicated, though, when shortly after The Emperor, accompanied by Magnus of the Thousand Sons, did indeed land on Colchis. Unafraid, Lorgar knelt before the Master of Mankind, and pledged the planet to His worship.

Lorgar was instructed by Magnus on the marvels of The Emperor’s Imperium, and given command of the legion of Astartes based upon his genetic pattern. He named them the Word Bearers, and inducted his most devout followers into their ranks. Kor Phaeron was of course amongst the first members of the Covenant chosen to join the legion, but in a tragic twist of fate, suffered catastrophic side-effects during the gene-seed implantation process. Though the death of his closest friend since childhood was a source of great pain to Lorgar, he bore the loss stoically, as an event pre-destined by fate.

Despite such views being regarded as laughable superstition on all but the most primitive Imperial worlds, Lorgar was unashamed by his beliefs. He saw to it that the Word Bearers and the Covenant embraced the worship of The Emperor with unrivalled devotion. They made it their duty to bring enlightenment to the galaxy.

The Great Crusade
L
orgar and his legion of Astartes were charged with reclaiming the scattered worlds settled by humanity under the rightful dominion of The Emperor, and they took to the task with zeal. Each world they liberated required a lengthy period in which they built great cathedrals to The Emperor, and won the people over to the cause. They would not continue on to the next planet until the previous one’s devotion was unquestioned. Although their progress was much slower than that of other legions, the planets converted by the Word Bearers, such as Yara and Fortrea Quintus, stand among the most devout in the Imperium, unwavering in even the darkest days of the Heresy. However, with a million worlds to claim, The Emperor grew concerned.

Lorgar disappeared behind the great armoured doors of the throne room. Outside, Horus stood stiffly to attention amongst the Custodes, unable to relax. He had witnessed events that had moulded the fate of the Imperium, and the meeting going on beyond that armoured wall had the feel of another pivotal moment.

He had only met his Lorgar once before today, and that briefly. His brother had struck him as intense and earnest, even brittle, but Magnus classed him as a friend, and Horus had learned to value his judgement. That was why he had been so ardent in trying to change The Emperor’s mind. Certainly the Word Bearer expeditions had been slow, but it was borne from the best of intentions. Horus knew The Emperor was uneasy that some of His subjects had taken to deifying him as a living god, preferring a form of empirical rationalism to such errant superstition, but perhaps such beliefs could be harnessed for the good of the Crusade.

Horus’s concern was that there was something fragile about Lorgar; as though he was a fine blade that had not yet been tempered. He sensed a great potential within his brother, but that at this stage too brutal a chastisement from the object of his worship would cripple him. That had been the reason Horus had pushed his father so hard to take a more measured approach.

Something about that conversation puzzled him even now. When he had asked where the harm was with some of his subjects worshipping him as a god, his father's face had darkened, and He had muttered ’Better they pray to me than to... others...’ before pausing. It was as though he was on the verge of revealing some great secret that had been welling up inside him, but then the moment passed as fast as it had arisen.

It was alright, though. Perhaps it was Lorgar’s infectious faith rubbing off on him, but Horus felt certain that his father would tell him what he needed to know when the time was right.

When the summons came to attend to The Master of Mankind, the Word Bearers took it as a pilgrimage, and the entire fleet set aside their plans of conquest to attend to their lord. Lorgar took his audience with The Emperor as a great honour, and hung on every word his father said. He emerged transformed; his eyes opened to how he might even better serve the great work. By making such slow progress, they were denying so many other worlds The Emperor’s Truth. In the words of Lorgar: “Let the reclamation of worlds in the Great Crusade be the way we praise Him”.

By the time the Word Bearers reached their next world, the expedition had transformed its practice beyond all recognition. The task of converting newly compliant worlds to the worship of The Emperor was instead given over to men and women from outside the legion. These preachers and missionaries were given the task of guiding the worlds in worship after the Word Bearers had gone. Beyond the ad-hoc army of zealots that gravitated to their banner, a new, highly trained and well resourced military formation was created, called the Frateris Militaris. Nominally independent of the Imperial Army and Navy, they would ensure the preachers’ voices were heard.

Chaplains of the Word Bearers
Even amongst a legion of the devout, Word Bearer chaplains stand out as paragons of The Emperor’s Truth. Charged with ensuring the spiritual health of the legion, those chosen to enter the Reclusiam are trained and tested extensively before they are allowed to bear the Crozius Arcanum and Rosarius of their office. As befits their dedication to The Emperor, the imagery of His ancient thunderbolt and lightning icon is prominently displayed. This device predates the Aquila, and goes back to the wars to unify Terra. Lorgar selected it over the double eagle, honouring his father’s decree that Fulgrim’s legion would be the only Astartes to bear the later image. Just as their souls are sanctified and annealed by their training, so too is their armour. The process darkens the slate grey ceramite plates to midnight black. This, and the distinct death head skull mask they wear, makes them a fearsome sight to behold.
These changes greatly accelerated their progress in the Great Crusade, but not content with spreading the word to their one small corner of the galaxy, Lorgar went further. He approached his brother Primarchs to incorporate chaplains into their own legions, and while many rebuffed the idea as outside interference, the Thousand Sons, Dark Angels and Lunar Wolves were the first to embrace the concept. Lorgar sent his personal confessor, Chaplain Erebus, to Horus's legion, and he became a frequent visitor and confidant to the man who would eventually become Warmaster.

As Lorgar’s tenets for the worship of The Emperor as divine spread through the Imperium, it incorporated other nascent cults dedicated to the Master of Mankind. One of the most influential sects they absorbed was that of Lectitio Divinitatus, a faith prevalent amongst the artists, poets, iterators and even military forces that accompanied the Great Crusade’s expeditions. The co-opting of this group strengthened a religion already in the ascendant, and brought with it a group of people adept at catching the imagination and stirring the passions.

At Ullanor, The Emperor announced that he was going to return to Terra, and that Horus would command the Great Crusade as Warmaster in his stead. His last act before leaving was to call a conclave at Nikaea to rule upon the allegations of sorcery surrounding the Thousand Sons, and indeed that of all psykers within the Legionnes Astartes. The brother-Primarchs were sharply divided in their opinions, and not even Lorgar’s impassioned defence of his friend could sway Russ and Mortarion from their stance. The Emperor eventually ruled that there would be tighter restrictions on Astartes Librarians, and in addition the Thousand Sons would be ‘soul-bound’, and merge their essence with Him to grant them greater protection from the dangers of the warp.

Lorgar saw this as a great honour for his friend, and when he spoke with Magnus even referred to it as a “communion with the divine”. It was then that Magnus revealed the dark truth that had been haunting him; that the words of Corax, Russ and Mortarion held more to fear than even they realised. On that night, Magnus explained the nature of the Empyrean, the existence of the Chaos gods, and the vulnerability of psykers too weak, or weak-willed, to resist. It was, he said, a truth so devastating that The Emperor would rather it not be known, even to most of His sons, for the fear it would bring. Magnus, however, believed that Lorgar must know, and that widespread belief in The Emperor would be vital to shield them from the Sinister Powers.

The vigilance of the Word Bearers and the Thousand Sons paid off sooner than they could possibly have expected. On the primitive world of Davin, Warmaster Horus was laid low, and while the baffled apothecaries misdiagnosed the malady as the effects of poison, Chaplain Erebus recognised the signs of daemonic possession. Together with the psychic presence of the Thousand Son’s Primarch, Erebus carried out an exorcism which banished the entity and brought the Warmaster back from the brink.

From that point onwards, the Sons of Horus joined the covert war against Chaos.

Ultramar Segmentum
T
he barely averted possession of the Warmaster had brought home to Lorgar the dire threat posed by the Ruinous Powers, and that not even the Primarchs were immune to the danger. The Imperium was not yet ready to accept the full horror of what they faced, but Lorgar, along with Horus and Magnus, remained alert to the machinations of Chaos. Unfortunately, in a bitter twist of fate, this very caution was used by the Arch-Betrayer to further his own schemes, and is a salutary lesson into the wiles of the Great Enemy.

For some time there had been disquiet voiced over Roboute Guilliman’s ever-expanding realm in the galactic east. During the Great Crusade his quest for power and control had driven him to claim vast areas of the galaxy, and his legion had swollen correspondingly. Even with the Eastern Fringe brought into compliance, Guilliman’s domain had continued to grow as Imperial worlds bordering it petitioned to join his so-called ‘Ultramar Segmentum’. When Rogal Dorn approached Lorgar with evidence that the Ultramarines were set to secede from the Imperium and challenge the rightful rule of The Emperor, Lorgar was instantly concerned that the Ruinous Powers had found a new champion.

Aware of Lorgar’s suspicions, Dorn laid subtle hints to reinforce the impression that the Ultramarines had been corrupted. Claiming it was the will of The Emperor, Dorn had marshalled fully half of the Legionnes Astartes to assault the Ultramar Segmentum. While the bulk of the forces arrayed against Guilliman moved to strike at him on his newly conquered world of Istvaan V, the Word Bearers and the Alpha Legion were tasked with attacking Ultramar Segmentum from within. As was his favoured tactic, Alpharius scattered his legion far and wide to destabilise the rebellious Segmentum, while Lorgar’s fleet set course for the core worlds on the assumption that with Guilliman captured or dead, the rebels would look to Macragge for leadership. This plan was stymied because of the ever-increasing numbers of enemy vessels that shadowed them through the warp. This was seen as yet more evidence the Ultramarines were in league with the daemonic, and only much later did it become clear that their course had been given away by Dorn, the Arch-Betrayer. Forced to break out of the warp far short of Macragge in an area of space known only as ‘the Abyss’, the Word Bearers tore into the shadowing Ultramar fleet with a ferocity borne of the righteous denied.

Despite their triumph, it was clear from Astropathic scans and readings of The Emperor’s Tarot that overwhelming forces had been massed for the defence of Macragge. Knowing the Word Bearer’s dogmatic approach, the Ultramarines had expected that nothing would deflect Lorgar from a frontal attack, and so had drawn their armies and fleets back to the expected, well defended battleground of their capital world. Although not possessing the tactical genius of Horus or Alpharius, Lorgar’s decision to split the fleet and attack the neighbouring systems to draw the Ultramarines away from Macragge caught the defenders off-guard.

+++ People of Quintarn, you have turned your eyes from The Emperor’s Light, and for this heinous crime you must face the consequences. Our fleet will arrive in <crackle> sixty... nine... hours and... twenty... one minutes, <crackle> and unless every single eye has been plucked out before that time, your entire world will be reduced to ash. <crackle> People of Quintarn, you have turned your eyes from The Emperor’s Light... +++

Fragment of automated recording broadcast by the Word Bearers fleet

Displaying a degree of brutal inventiveness not previously associated with the Word Bearers, the lightly defended Ultramar worlds were devastated. Iax and Talassar were invaded and their cities sacked, Masali was bombarded from orbit, and Calth’s star was put to death by the Battle-Barge, Kor Phaeron. Even that paled compared to Quintarn, which they turned into the World of the Blind without having to fire a single shot. The campaign proved successful in drawing the Ultramarines away from Macragge, and in the early stages it seemed that it was only a matter of time before the planet would be weak enough to attack directly. All-too soon, though, reinforcements started to flow into the area, and not just from neighbouring sub-sectors, but Ultramarine forces fresh from their shocking victory at Istvaan.

Communication so far back to the Imperium through hostile territory was problematic, but eventually it became clear that Istvaan had been a ruse. Rogal Dorn had been in league with Guilliman, and that the Praetorian had plunged the Imperium into a civil war. Many of Lorgar’s captains pleaded with him that they should return to Terra with all haste, but they were over-ruled. Lorgar said that no force could stand against The Emperor, and that as a god, He would inevitably destroy the traitors. Their duty remained the same; they must destroy Dorn’s ally and prevent them from marching on Terra. Historians have debated Lorgar’s motives for not returning to Terra. Most attribute it to his stubborn dogmatism and faith in the divinity of The Emperor, although a few cite practical considerations; that they were so far away and so deeply mired in combat that they would never have been able to return in time to make a difference. Lorgar had already shown greater tactical skill than he was generally given credit for, and this has been viewed as further evidence of a growing tactical maturity.

As the war went on, Guilliman himself returned to coordinate the defences, and the scouring of the core worlds degenerated into a bloody stalemate. Although the legion was gratified that the threat they posed at the heart of their realm prevented the Ultramarines from moving to reinforce Dorn’s insurrection, the prospect of the Word Bearers ever setting foot on Macragge seemed to diminish with every passing day. That was until the arrival of envoys from the Alpha Legion.

Working together at last, a plan was devised to break the impasse. With Alpharius’s tactical genius and the Word Bearer’s stubborn determination and indomitable will, Macragge was to be brought to its knees. Using Alpharius himself as bait, the Alpha Legion drew Guilliman and a large proportion of his forces to the planet of Eskrador. The Ultramarines could not pass up this rare chance to strike back at the Alpha Legion in open battle, and took advantage of the seemingly collapsing Word Bearer threat to strike with overwhelming force.

The grand assault upon Macragge never came, though. Just as the Word Bearers were withdrawing from their scattered battlefields to assemble for a massed planetary assault, their plans were torn apart by catastrophic news; The Emperor had been grievously wounded by Dorn and lay dying. Lorgar couldn’t have stopped his legion leaving for Terra even if he had wanted to, and they threw caution to the wind in their flight. In their grief their allies were forgotten. Withdrawal turned to rout, and many brothers died during the return to their ships. Many more lost their lives as their ships were destroyed by the pursuing Ultramar fleet.

A feeling of desolation settled over the legion on the endless journey back to Terra. Despite Lorgar’s calming presence, the thought that their God-Emperor could be proved to be vulnerable, and therefore fallible, gnawed at them. For some wounded brothers it was all too much; brethren in the ship’s Apothecaria who should have returned rapidly to their squads died in their droves. Even proud veterans who had passed unscathed through the bloodiest battles of Calth and Iax succumbed to the soul-sickness, laying down their heads to rest, but never awaking.

In the depths of the gloom Lorgar addressed them. Every brother on every ship heard his proclamation. The Emperor was not dead, he said. His heart still beat and His soul still blazed like a nova within the Astronomicon. Had He not destroyed the Arch-Betrayer and banished the Traitor Legions from His sight? He explained that this was an act of transcendence, pre-ordained, and that just like the fate of his friend, Kor Phaeron, it was not their place to question or doubt the divine actions of The Emperor. The events they had endured were a test of faith; some had been found wanting and been judged accordingly. Those that remained had proved themselves, and were all the stronger for it.

When Lorgar stepped down from the command-pulpit, there was a silence so deep it drowned out the noise of the fleet’s warp engines. Then, as one, every brother raised a cry of devotion to The Emperor and to their Primarch. With that one speech Lorgar healed the spiritual wounds that had threatened to cripple the Word Bearers, and by the time they reached Terra they stood ready to take their place as paragons of faith in The God-Emperor of Mankind.

The Rise of the Ecclesiarchy
T
he Dornian Heresy had revealed the true, horrifying nature of the Ruinous Powers, and despite, or even because of The Emperor’s sacrifice, Imperial citizens turned to worship Him in their trillions. Lorgar’s talk of faith in The Master of Mankind being soul-armour against Chaos resonated with a fearful populace, and within decades it had become the official religion of the Imperium. The monumental task of coordinating the worship of the God-Emperor across the galaxy was given to a new body called the Adeptus Ministorum, or the Ecclesiarchy. It was only natural that Lorgar, author of most of their tenets of faith and son of The Divine Emperor should lead this new body. As Ecclesiarch, he became one of the High Lords of Terra, the group that ruled in The Emperor’s stead.

Cathedrals, basilicas and monasteries dedicated to the faith sprang up across the Imperium, especially on planets where The Emperor Himself had walked during the Great Crusade. No true Imperial citizen was without a devotional medallion bearing the thunderbolt and lightning sigil, and shrines in workplaces and homes became commonplace. Preachers and missionaries accompanied the fleets that brought worlds back into the Imperial fold, with even the most backward feudal world taught a suitably simplified version of the creed.

Lorgar used his growing influence to heal the rift between Terra and the Adepts of Mars. There was much bitterness at the Mechanicus’s relative silence during the Heresy, but after much discussion, an understanding was reached whereby the tech-priests and magos accepted the Omnissiah as an aspect of The Emperor’s divinity. He also bartered the Word Bearer’s support for Abaddon’s Crusades in return for his own Wars of Faith. In the main these were directed against the Traitor Legions that most closely aligned themselves with the Gods of Chaos, but on occasion it became necessary to fight against human worlds that had perverted the Imperial creed for their own ends.

The Age of Apostasy
A
lthough Lorgar was the Ecclesiarch, he was also a Primarch of the Adeptus Astartes and continued to lead his legion into battle. In M36, warp-storms swept across the whole of the Imperium, disrupting travel and weakening the boundaries between the physical plane and the realm of the Ruinous Powers. This led to widespread unrest as planets were periodically isolated and the whispers of Chaos grew stronger. It was the start of what later came to be called 'The Age of Apostasy'. To combat this, Lorgar personally voyaged across the Imperium, re-igniting the faith of those who had faltered, and rooting out the Chaos cults that sprang up in unprecedented numbers.

On the planet of Dimmamar, Lorgar led a force of Word Bearers and Frater Militaris against an outbreak of the Plague of Unbelief. The scale of the infection ran far deeper than had been anticipated, though; most of the population had degenerated into hollow-eyed walking dead and daemons of Nurgle stalked the streets. Despite Lorgar’s inspiring presence, his small force was cut off and surrounded by enemies numbering in the billions. When their last bolt round had been expended and the last flask of sanctified promethium had run dry, Lorgar threw open the great doors of the cathedral they had garrisoned. In the shadow of his father’s house of worship, he and his battle-brothers strode out, unafraid, into the press of plague-infected wretches. In a strong, steady voice, Lorgar recited from the Scriptures of the Dead, his sacred warhammer in one hand, a metre-long adamantium spike of the cathedral’s damaged altar in the other.

For days the slaughter went on, and Lorgar wearied, not of battle, but of the waste of his Emperor’s humanity. Though he could have fought on until the end of time, Lorgar dropped to his knees in prayer to his father. As his retinue formed a protective circle around their Primarch, the battlefield was enveloped by a golden glow and a feeling of peace which gave even the pestilent hordes pause. When it faded away, the Primarch of the Word Bearers’ soul had returned to The Emperor. Despite the many wounds he had suffered, his face was peaceful and at rest. This final sacrifice infused the world with The Emperor’s Grace, and in doing so every daemon was banished and the Plague of Unbelief driven from every human on the planet. It is said that there is no zealot like a convert, and the survivors of Dimmamar set out to prove the truth of this. As living proof of the power of The Emperor to save their bodies and souls from the Fell Powers, they returned to the worship of Holy Terra with a passion. The planet became a shrine world, and such was their piety that the Word Bearers even took to recruiting from the planet.

For the Word Bearers, the loss of Lorgar was a tragedy second only to The Emperor’s grievous wounding at the climax of the Dornian Heresy. Without their Primarch the Word Bearers were bereft, going through the motions as before, but pale shadows of their former selves. Into the yawning chasm left by Lorgar stepped an ambitious and greedy marine by the name of Goge Vandire. He excelled in organisation rather than in piety, and his guiding principle proved to be the accrual of personal power. Such a person should never have been allowed to become a Word Bearer, but once inside, his manipulative, scheming nature saw him rise inexorably through the ranks. While the legion grieved, Vandire smoothly assumed command of the Word Bearers, and so doing became the Imperium’s new Ecclesiarch.

Once ensconced on Terra as a High Lord, Vandire traded on the deep well of sympathy over the death of Lorgar to further extend his power base. As his confidence and lust for control grew, he used manipulation, bribery and threats of excommunication against High Lords who dared to oppose him. By the time it became clear that Vandire had ordered the assassination of the Master of the Astronomicon and replace him with a more malleable candidate, it was already too late – his grip on power was unassailable.

Vandire’s Imperium was in a perilously fragile state, though. Still wracked by warp-storms and beset by the resurgent Traitor Legions, his response was to call for ever-more brutal Wars of Faith. Rather than targeting the true enemy, these pogroms were aimed at persecuting parts of the Imperium that showed even minor doctrinal differences to his own, increasingly idiosyncratic view, or worlds which baulked at the ever-higher tithes demanded by the Ministorum. While Vandire’s radical interpretation of the lore differed wildly from Lorgar’s, the concept of disobeying orders came harder to the Word Bearers than to perhaps any other legion. A sense of deep unease spread through the legion, and they took increasingly creative interpretations of Vandire’s edicts to minimise the harm that they were doing, much to their master’s displeasure.

Events came to a head when Vandire moved to oppose the only group able to threaten his schemes: the Legionnes Astartes. Up until that point the other legions had stayed neutral in the power struggle. The Wars of Faith were carefully targeted to avoid systems with marine homeworlds or recruiting bases, and both sides were unwilling to be the first to fire for fear of igniting a second Inter-Legionary War. This uneasy arrangement was broken when Vandire accused the Emperor’s Children, who had never felt the need to have chaplains in their ranks, of impiety. When the Legion Master of the World Eaters spoke in their defence, he and their chaplaincy were branded apostates for defying the will of the Ecclesiarch. With the threat of whole legions being branded Excommunicate Traitoris, it seemed inevitable that brother would once again be pitted against brother, to the ruin of all.

The Fall of a Tyrant
The man who eventually rose to epitomise resistance to Goge Vandire’s reign of terror came from within the ranks of the Word Bearers; a young initiate by the name of Sebastian Thor. He was everything that Vandire was not; devoutly pious and selfless. Thor had in fact been born on Dimmamar at the time of Lorgar’s ultimate sacrifice, the symbolism of which was not lost upon his followers. Thor claimed with great passion and eloquence that the actions Vandire had taken spat upon everything that their Primarch had stood for, and called for him to immediately step down. In response, Thor was branded a heretic and sentenced, in his absence, to death. Any forces sent to carry out the Ecclesiarchal decree, be they Frateris Militaris, Imperial Army or detachments of Word Bearers only swelled Thor’s host, as they were won over by his stirring oratory. Recognising a sense of the purpose they had thought lost, the Word Bearers flocked to Thor’s banner. Even marines from other loyalist legions joined the great pilgrimage through the Imperium, which led inexorably towards Holy Terra, and the confrontation with the insane Ecclesiarch.

Feeling his control of the Imperium slipping away, Vandire revealed the existence of a previously hidden and fanatically loyal force. He had long been concerned over the way his own legion had responded to his edicts, and knowing the Frateris Militaris were no match for Astartes, Vandire had, though base trickery, groomed a sect called the Brides of The Emperor to become his enforcers. Their faith was subtly corrupted into an unshakeable devotion to Vandire himself, and using his position armed them with potent weaponry and even a crude version of power armour. Thor’s open defiance pushed Vandire to send contingents of his Brides to ensure the compliance of the Word Bearers, but this insult backfired. The resulting bloodshed pushed ever-more Great Companies to side with Thor.

By the time the coalition reached Holy Terra, Vandire’s paranoia and desperation had reached fever-pitch. The seriousness of the situation had even penetrated the secluded, armoured throne room of The Emperor Himself, and tragedy struck when a group of Custodes were attacked and killed by the Brides, who claimed that they had tried to sway them from their loyalty to Vandire.

After that outrage, what became known as the Second Siege of Terra was bloody and brief. Unwilling to back down, even in the face of The Emperor’s displeasure, the Brides died to a woman, and their order expunged from the pages of history. Dishevelled and raging, Vandire was hauled bodily from his hiding place by Sebastian Thor, his time of misrule at an end. The two Word Bearers were then brought by the Custodes to The Emperor’s throne room to face judgement. While Thor emerged as the new Ecclesiarch, Goge Vandire was never seen again, and none present would ever speak of his fate.

It is a testament to the character of Sebastian Thor that he was able to rebuild the reputation of both the Ecclesiarchy and the Word Bearers. Part of the act of contrition was to make radical changes to the organisations of both bodies. While the High Lords on Terra were purged of Vandire’s influence, Thor took advantage of the waning warp storms to tour the Imperium and reorganise the Ministorum. Even though Vandire was gone, his cronies were unwilling to yield their petty fiefdoms without a fight. The Traitor legions had also taken advantage of the confusion to venture forth from the Eye of Terror. By the time the Word Bearers reached the domain of the Apostate Cardinal Bucharis, they found that the entire sub-sector’s population had been culled by the butchers of Leman Russ’s Traitor Legion.

At long last the greed, corruption and lust for power that had been so rife under Vandire’s rule were swept away. With the Ministorum returned to its role of guiding the galaxy in the worship of The Divine Emperor, and to protecting the Imperium from the whispers of the Fell Powers, Sebastian Thor announced his final reform: he stepped down as the Ecclesiarch. No longer would any Word Bearer hold the role. Instead, the legion became the Chamber Militant of the Ministorum, acting not only as its strong right arm, but as the body charged with ensuring it never again overstepped its bounds. These decisions returned stability to the galaxy, and marked an end to the Age of Apostasy, and ever since, the Word Bearers have remained diligent guardians of The Emperor’s Truth in the Imperium.

Combat Doctrine
We Astartes charge the guns of the arch-enemy clad in ceramite and bearing the most potent weaponry that mankind can devise. They do the same wrapped only in a prayer. The next time you speak ill of our pilgrim brethren, boy, you’ll be doing the same.

- Sergeant Dolchac of the Word Bearers

T
he legion frequently takes to the field of battle leading much larger groups, such as the Frateris Militaris, Imperial Army or even massed mobs of pilgrims. It also places much weight upon divinations and interpretations of the Emperor’s tarot, and for these reasons the Word Bearers have gained a reputation for tactical inflexibility and naivety. While it is true that they cannot match the skill at arms of the World Eaters, or the strategic acumen of the Alpha Legion, it is a foolish commander who underestimates them. Once dedicated to a goal, the Word Bearers are enthused with an unquenchable will to succeed, and the exhortations of their chaplains drive them to incredible feats of strength and endurance that can only end in victory or martyrdom. They inspire the same fervour in those around them, so that once committed, the only way for the battle to end is with the total annihilation of one side or the other.

While the Word Bearers are the fatal spear-point in any attack, the psychological effect of an endless tide of wild-eyed zealots closing on the enemy cannot be discounted. These mobs are often little more than local citizens, untrained and armed with nothing but improvised weapons. Individually they are no match for a well-drilled opponent, and yet they give their lives willingly in the service of The Emperor, and are lauded for doing so. Across the Imperium there are vast monuments built to honour the glorious sacrifice of these martyrs, often alongside the mass graves of the fallen.

Organisation
The Tower of Blood
The tallest monument to the martyred is the recently completed Tower of Blood, on the world of Tanakreg. Traitors of the Iron Hand legion stormed the capital-hive of Shinar and drove the survivors into the surrounding wilderness. The small contingent of Word Bearers that responded found the enemy numerous and well dug in, but were able to rally the scattered refugees and whipped them into a righteous fury to re-take their city. Even hardened veterans of the Imperial Army would have faltered at the sight of their comrades being flayed to the bone by the weaponry deployed by the traitors, but the citizens of Shinar were resolute. In a long night of bloodshed the hive was liberated, and though it was reduced to an uninhabitable ruin in the process, the mechanical abominations of Ferrus Manus were at last destroyed.

In honour of the fallen, a vast tower was constructed where the city had once stood. At the dedication ceremony, Chaplain Veraik, a veteran of the campaign, said that the tower had been built, like the Imperium itself, with the blood of martyrs. The tower extends high into the clouds above, and the pilgrims’ contest that it contains one block for every life that was lost that day, although calculations have shown that if this was truly the case it would reach into low orbit.
F
or nearly five millennia the Word Bearers were commanded by Lorgar, and in their Primarch’s absence, this role has fallen to the Legion Master. Aware that the first person to hold the position came perilously close to destroying the legion, subsequent Masters have been diligent in their attempts to redeem it. Despite the moral authority that chaplains wield amongst the Word Bearers, they do not command. Such a task is far too important to get bogged down in the minutiae of directing the flow of battle. Instead, their role is to provide spiritual guidance, inspire their brethren, and watch over the souls of those under their charge.

Librarians are greatly valued by the captains of the Great Companies, and their divinations and predictive abilities through readings of The Emperor’s Tarot are used to inform strategy. It is also common for companies to be drastically reorganised on the eve of battle based on how the cards fall, even if it flies in the face of what is known of the enemy or expected battlefield conditions. Despite disdain for this practice from outside the legion, it has proved to be divinely inspired on countless occasions. Even when it has led to catastrophic defeats, these are borne with stoicism as the Will of The Emperor.

Because of the dramatic changes in organisation from battle to battle, squads are not assigned to assault, tactical or devastator specialties. Instead, marines are expected to be proficient each of the roles. Their designation on the battlefield is displayed by coloured votive cloths worn as tabards or draped from shoulder pauldrons, with sergeants proudly displaying their colours on richly embroidered back banners. Such ostentatious displays not only help to identify the squad’s position to their officers, it also acts as a spur to inspire their allies to ever-greater acts of valour.

Their role as guardians of the Imperial creed, enforcing and, where necessary, checking the power of the Ministorum, requires the Legion’s strength be distributed thinly across the galaxy. For this reason, Word Bearer Great Companies are composed of less than five hundred brethren each, perhaps half the size of that found in most other legions, the better to cover the vast distances involved. Their fleets are accompanied by ramshackle civilian transports packed with zealots eager to martyr themselves for the cause, as well as regiments of Frateris Militaris. Encased in matt-black carapace armour and wielding powerful hellguns and purging flame weaponry, the grim-faced Frateris endlessly strive to emulate their Astartes superiors.

Beliefs
B
elief in The Emperor as divine is the guiding light of the Word Bearers. They understand better than most the threat from the Ruinous Powers, and that mankind is beset on all sides by malign forces that would seek to destroy or enslave it. Only through a deep understanding and acceptance of The Emperor’s Light can the Imperium hope to survive, and to that end they help to spread His Holy Word to the furthest corners of the galaxy.

Though it is routine to carve the words of Lorgar into the ceramite of their power armour, some initiates choose to sear large passages of the holy texts into their flesh so that they will never be without the words of their Primarch. This practice is often taken to extremes by chaplains, with a rare few covering their entire bodies, heads and even their tongues with the sacred script. This is done with a red hot stylus and the sap of the Black Jula bush, a plant native to Colchis. Because of the super-human regenerative capabilities of the Astartes constitution, even this potent scarring will fade over time, and just as faith must constantly be renewed, so too must the devotional script branded into their skin.

Homeworld
C
olchis, long-isolated from the wider human galaxy was reborn with the arrival of Lorgar. His presence brought back not only a new era of piety, but drew the attention of the God-Emperor Himself to their world. In the thousands of years since it was embraced by the Imperium, Colchis has become a focal point for the Adeptus Ministorum. The holy places and temples of the Covenant have been expanded, and now there are a multitude of cathedrals, basilicas and shrines to the saints, and through them, the Master of Mankind.

Pilgrims flock to Colchis in their millions, but the holiest site, the place where The Emperor first set foot on the world, is forbidden, because on that spot was built the Legion’s Fortress-Monastery. From there, protected by adamantium walls as strong as their faith, the Word Bearers ensure that their compact with the Imperium is kept. Engraved upon those walls, just as it is engraved upon their souls, is the credo that Lorgar adopted on returning back to Colchis after seeing The Emperor entombed within the Golden Throne: “The Emperor protects, but we must also protect The Emperor.”

Gene-seed and Recruitment
L
ike their faith, the gene-seed of the Word Bearers is pure, with all implants working as efficiently as when Lorgar commanded the legion. Their apothecaries treat the gene-seed as sacred; a palpable connection to their beloved Primarch, and regard it with the same reverence the chaplains hold the word of Lorgar.

The Word Bearers draw their recruits not just from Colchis, but from across The Emperor’s Imperium. Strength of faith is as important a factor as skill at arms, and as such Cardinal-worlds and the Ministorum-run Schola Progenium orphanages are prime recruiting grounds. Word Bearers are expected to be thoroughly conversant with Lorgar’s writings, which teach the importance of sacrifice, and the willingness to suffer pain and death in the face of the unrighteous. Such lessons are an excellent preparation for the life of an Astartes.

Just as the gene-seed implantation procedure strengthens the body, their lessons in theology strengthen their souls. Despite the skill of the Legion’s apothecaries, there are cases where the Primarch’s gene-flesh finds the neophyte wanting. Just as happened with Lorgar’s friend, Kor Phaeron, this is stoically accepted as the Will of The Emperor. Most of those who are rejected are granted The Emperor’s Mercy, but some are spared, and find another way to serve doing menial tasks for the Ministorum. Because of this, it is not uncommon to see these pitifully misshapen, hunched figures in the shadows of cathedrals, acting as choral page-turners during masses or ringing the bells to call the faithful to worship.

Despite all their interventions, his body was tearing itself apart. He called out to the Pantheon of Chaos to save him; his great work was not yet complete. Lorgar had been blooded, pushed to take the lives of innocents. He had been primed for blind, credulous belief. Having passed inspection by the hated Emperor, and in possession of a whole legion of Astartes, he was ripe for disillusionment and enlightenment to the true powers of the divine. All the intricate plans, all those years of work... All ruined by the incompetence of an apothecarion implantation servitor.

Through the agony, and eyes clouded with rheum he dimly made out a presence; Lorgar. He tried to speak, to convince him of the majesty of the Chaos Gods, but his trachea had swollen closed against the breathing tube. He tried to reach out to the tray of chirurgical equipment to slash open the fool’s throat, but he had been firmly restrained to prevent his violent muscle spasms. As the Larraman’s cells began to curdle the blood in his veins, he heard the final, unknowing insult.

“I am sorry, my brother, but fear not. No one will ever be allowed to forget your loyalty and service to the creed. You will forever be remembered as Master of the Imperial Faith.”

Trapped inside his meat prison, begging for release, Kor Phaeron howled.

Battle Cry
T
he Word Bearers do not have a single fixed battle cry. Instead, an appropriate passage is chosen by the chaplain from amongst the Books of Lorgar. He then leads the assembled marines in a recitation of the faith, before blessing them for the coming battle.

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 19 April 2009 - 03:17 PM.

Posted Image

Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#2
Ferrata

Ferrata

    ++ PUNIO TRUCIDO ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 9,909 posts

The Emperor doesn't chastise Lorgar for worshipping him, either because it doesn't come to his attention, or he intentionally indulges the trait. 'Let the reclaimation of worlds in the Great Crusade be the way you praise me, my son.'?

I would go for the later. Along with Angron's rescue and accepting Magnus, this seems to push the idea that the Emperor pushed many of His sons to fall in the norm 'verse. So let Him embrace the worship for 'as long as they fight for the Imperium'.

Kor Phaedron! He seemed like a bad'un and a chaos sleeper from the start! Does he die during the marine implantation process, and Lorgar names a big monument / world in his honour, the irony being that if he had lived he would have brought them to ruin? Should he survive and unsuccessfully try to corrupt Lorgar, and be cast down? Would this lead to a schism of faith in the legion? A nice idea but it might be a bit busy...

Part of me wants to suggest that Lorgar is offered the chance to worship 'real' gods by Phaedron, but Lorgar says he rather worship his father 'For His actions can be seen', and actually managing to convert Phaedron to the loyalist side. Phae., ashamed by his failings, takes it upon himself to either kill himself or become the most devout Word Bearer (although this could lead to some suggests that the Faith of the Emperor was actually set up by a Chaos worshipper and there goes a conspiracy train.)

Refer to IA:UM to get details of attacks. The Planet of the Blind. The Alpha Legion - any contact? Is Alpharius seen as too pragmatic for a fundamentalist like Lorgar? When do they find out about Dorn's Betrayal? Do they try to return to help, or stay in the certainty that The Emperor will assuredly strike the rebels down? Are they too busy to make contact with the Imperium and don't find out until it is too late? They leave when they hear that The Emperor has been struck down, and are harried all the way back to the border by the Ultramarines, although the Alpha Legion stay in Ultramar Segmentum even then.

Like I said it the Alpha Legion thread (maybe not like this though), I think they should have a modern English-Scottish relationship. So, the Word Bearers like the Alpha Legion, see them as brothers, whilst the Alpha Legion hate the Word Bearers for their bluntness. As for what Lorgar would do, I see him staying where he is believing his 'God' could defeat anyone. Maybe he underestimates Chaos.

Proposed death of Lorgar during the Age of Apostasy, when he wades out into an army of posessed (plague of Unbelief zombies?) with nothing more but the bell, book and candle to drive out the corruption.

I still think he needs a hammer. Nothing says faith like a hammer...

Kor Phaedron rebels at this idea - tries to convert Lorgar to Chaos, starts a schism for what he sees as the true meaning of the Covenant being perverted, that The Emperor is a false prophet / god. Kor Phaedron has a lot of support, but most of the Astartes and especially the Terran-born marines side with Lorgar. The legion covers up the schism, or at least the sections that stray into the worship of Chaos

Sounds a little DA/Fallen-ish. Unless you are dropping this aspect of the DA (which I don't think you are) it seems a little copy & paste.

#3
The Angelus Sanctus

The Angelus Sanctus

    ++ RUBERO CUNICULUS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 10,085 posts
I don't know why, but i'm swinging my vote to having Kor Phaedron knocked out. Definitely not as early as the whole marine creation time frame, but maybe in the time he starts to stretch out his feelers in the name of Chaos, an unfortunate encounter with something (possibly the Eldar of all races if you are to follow the WB becoming a major contributor to the Ecclesiarchy).

Ferrata made a good point about the DA/Fallen-ish bit that i have to strongly agree with.
Armies Owned:
Angels of the Lion (DA): Grand Master Angelus Sanctus | Space Wolves: ? | Iron Hands: ? | Sisters of Battle: ?
Emperor's Children: Lord Amorr'ei Ge'hinnom | Thousand Sons: ? | Word Bearers: ?

My Stuff:
My Photobucket | My Blog | My B&C PC&A Blog

#4
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
Thanks for the feedback, guys, and great to see you involved in this, Chris. What did you think of the Emperor's Children IA, Chris?

I certainly take your point about a covered up schism being too much like the DA Fallen... I think it initially came from the idea that in this 'verse the DA's treachery is way out in the open and so there was not a direct clash, but I definitely don't want it to be cut'n'paste!

Hmmm, Phaedron is something I will have to work around in my head to get right.
Posted Image

Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#5
The Angelus Sanctus

The Angelus Sanctus

    ++ RUBERO CUNICULUS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 10,085 posts
I'll have to give the EC one a read, but i'd imagine it will a great read ;)

Granted my general input won't be overly useful say versus Phil's contributions, but i'd figure some side-lines cheering helps.



I'm still in favor of an "early knocking off" of Phaedron. There has been so many stories (incl the Black Lib) where Chapters are faced with internal schisms of one side being loyal, one side becoming tainted by Chaos. Granted it's an effect that we'll always be faced with, but to be honest, as a reader, you can only read that same plot device so much before it becomes bland and as a result really drops the quality of what you are reading.


I mean, if we were to exercise our full creative licence, why not make Phaedron break away. not in a "i've fallen to chaos and can't get up" way, but perhaps he wished to pursue another course of Imperial worship (once again, NOT in a bad way) and to the disappointment of Erebus and Lorgar, he and those that would follow broke away. Almost as a sign of things to come (the breakdown of Legions to Chapters, assuming that was maintained in the Alt-verse, as my reading hasn't been intensive on the matter). The real kick would be for them to come back AFTER the Heresy and say, hey, we've formed a church like body (cha-ching Ecclesiarchy) and yeah...


That or i have some really silly ideas in my head......


++EDIT++

Because i have a migraine atm (and thats the story im sticking too!) where exactly is the EC article? :P

Edited by The Angelus Sanctus, 03 March 2009 - 07:29 AM.

Armies Owned:
Angels of the Lion (DA): Grand Master Angelus Sanctus | Space Wolves: ? | Iron Hands: ? | Sisters of Battle: ?
Emperor's Children: Lord Amorr'ei Ge'hinnom | Thousand Sons: ? | Word Bearers: ?

My Stuff:
My Photobucket | My Blog | My B&C PC&A Blog

#6
Ferrata

Ferrata

    ++ PUNIO TRUCIDO ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 9,909 posts
Because I'm feeling lazy, the link is in John's sig...

The Codex Astartes was never written (Guilliman did write something similar but the name is escaping me, Codex Ultrama...) and thus the Loyalist legions never broke down into chapters.

#7
The Angelus Sanctus

The Angelus Sanctus

    ++ RUBERO CUNICULUS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 10,085 posts
I found the original one, but i wasn't sure if any changes had been made for the final print.

Hmm, if the Astartes was never written (obviously i have some reading to catch up on) maybe Phaedron could break away with 1000 or so marines. The WB Legion, would still be stuck as a Legion, but i don't see why informal Codex structure couldn't be adopted on the odd occasion.
Armies Owned:
Angels of the Lion (DA): Grand Master Angelus Sanctus | Space Wolves: ? | Iron Hands: ? | Sisters of Battle: ?
Emperor's Children: Lord Amorr'ei Ge'hinnom | Thousand Sons: ? | Word Bearers: ?

My Stuff:
My Photobucket | My Blog | My B&C PC&A Blog

#8
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
I really need to finally pull together the changes for the EC, RG (and UM) IA's so that I can tidy them up and don't leave them hanging. :D

What was everyone's reading of Phaedron from the original WB IA? Mine was that he was power hungry, should never have been a marine, and if not a chaos plant from the start, was deeply flawed and susceptable to the lure of the Ruinous Powers. It makes me thing that he is destined to go rotten - even tempting Lorgar with the Ruinous powers would disgust Lorgar so much that he would have to kill him and would never be able to laugh it off... The Eldar intervention card (specifically) has been played in saving the Death Guard from making their ill-fated warp-jump so I wouldn't want to replicate that again, and while there are certainly ways of having him killed in battle or a random accident, I was not sure how to give it enough dramatic punch...

The geneseed failure during implantation appealed initially because:

1) Having Phaedron's death be caused by Lorgar's own geneseed would make him feel personally responsible for the death of his closest friend and confidant, making him all the sadder for the wasted potential.
2) Hopefully the reader would realise that if he had lived he would have tried to bring down the legion - so Lorgar's monuments to him as a hero of the Imperium would be all the more ironic.
3) The geneseed failure might be attributed to divine intervention... or Lorgar's geneseed recognising the taint in Kor's heart even if the primarch himself doesn't.

Urgh! Still thinking!
Posted Image

Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#9
The Angelus Sanctus

The Angelus Sanctus

    ++ RUBERO CUNICULUS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 10,085 posts
Although you have some interesting points there with the geneseed failure, for some reason, i was getting the norm-verse Corax vibe about it (and Word Bearers chanting nevermore :D).

I think the main point that i'm trying to make is that i wouldn't want you to create a sad and depressed Primarch who got too wrapped up with his own mis-givings.

I'd almost suggest the un-expected marine creation process accident, but that was pretty much covered by Norm-Verse EC.

The other thing with your thoughts John is that i also had the whole Lion/Luther re-play again when you were discussing things between Lorgar and Phaedron, so that may be an avenue you may wish to avoid.


Or a twisted corruption idea... instead of Phaedron trying to corrupt the Legion, he and a small group try to meet up with Rogal Dorn, and in a private discussion about the greater Chaos Pantheon, Dorn has him and his WBs slain for preaching heresy (this would be pre Dorn's coming out of the closet). He then uses this as material to point the finger at Lorgar and WB having been tainted by Chaos, Lorgar defends his Legion by claiming they are not tainted and Phaedron's actions were solely on his own head (this also helps Dorn shift any suspiscion he's been receiving towards Lorgar to buy himself more valuable time). Horus steps in to stand up for Lorgar assuring Dorn that Lorgar would not pursue such a course of action and to simply dismiss Phaedron and his men and cite it as a case of an insignificant number of WB trying to illicity intermal chaos and strife (which would be very similar to norm-verse WB). With Horus backing Lorgar, Dorn decides to retract his allegations of corruption of Lorgar's Legion and everyone goes back on their merry way, albeit somewhat more cautious...


Also, the Alt-EC was a great read :lol:
Armies Owned:
Angels of the Lion (DA): Grand Master Angelus Sanctus | Space Wolves: ? | Iron Hands: ? | Sisters of Battle: ?
Emperor's Children: Lord Amorr'ei Ge'hinnom | Thousand Sons: ? | Word Bearers: ?

My Stuff:
My Photobucket | My Blog | My B&C PC&A Blog

#10
Ferrata

Ferrata

    ++ PUNIO TRUCIDO ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 9,909 posts

Check on this. The Emperor’s Children don’t agree to having chaplains before the Heresy, and as they stick with their previous organisation, they never do introduce them.

Even if they never did introduce Chaplains (which I don't think they should), they would still keep the Aquila as, for a lack of a better word, their copyright. Since no-one else was allowed to use it, then I don't think having it Chaplains would make sense. I'm not sure how the Lightning Bolt would work in a similar manner to the Aquila, it doesn't really fit on the end of a stick well :) Maybe you could alter how Chaplains are seen, instead of the deathly marines of the Norm 'Verse (Warrior-Priests) they could be more peaceful, for a Space Marine. So instead of having a weapon of office, they have another symbol (boo/halo) etc. They could even taken on a different colour than black (I was thinking the post-fall normal Word Bearers colours for a bit of an in joke, but I couldn't think of a way to justify it). You could even keep them the same colour as their brothers, following the idea of more integrated marines.

Should he become the Chief High Lord as well, or save for later?

Maybe have him offered the gig but he rejects it saying 'No man, not even a son of The Emperor, should be head of state and faith.' This harks a little to the AoA and makes him look like a better man.

I'm not sold on the WB-centred AoA though. Unless you lessen the degree of the Wars of Faith, how can you justify the other Legions not stepping into help. Obviously, you have no second siege of Terra, but for some reason it doesn't feel right to me. I'll think of ways either to warp the WB-AoA into something more to my taste or another route all together.

#11
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
I have made a lot of changes to the Thor storyline on paper, but have not posted them. It boils down to Lorgar dying, Vandire using the goodwill and sympathy generated to do his own, seriously misguided powergrab, taking his eye of the real enemy and turning his forces on humans within the Imperium with minor doctrinal differences rather than the chaos cults... This alienates the other legions and eventually his own Word Bearers. Word Bearer Thor steps forward and marches on Terra (via a circuitous route because of the warp squalls), picking up converts among the WB and friends among the other legions along the way, until he finally topples Vandire at the second siege of Terra and brings back integrity to the Ecclesiarchy and the Word Bearers.

After I came up with this I realised that it could be read (loosely) as an analogy for certain world events of the last decade, but it honestly isn't intended as one... It is simply meant as a variant of the battle between Vandire and Thor from the SoB codex. :)

I was going to use the line that after the death of Lorgar, the Word Bearers were led by both the worst, and then best (non-primarch) legion masters in their history.

There was a belief amongst aspects of the Norm-Inqusition (Thorians!) that Thor and others like him are akin to The Emperor reborn, or at least could be a receptacle for The Emperor to be reborn into... It would be interesting if Alt-Thor was regarded in some circles in this way - the only man that could have healed the rifts caused by Vandire's destruction of the Ministorum and the WB's reputations.

As to the legions staying neutral, I will have to see how to word it. It is a callback to the chapters staying out of the Reign of Blood (AOA). Perhaps neutrality would be the wrong word... The presence of a marine legion contingent would have made the War of Faith fleets pause and move on to an easier target, an unspoken arrangement that they don't put themselves in a position where they will be forced to make a decision in the early stages.

I shall have to work on the wording.
Posted Image

Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#12
Ferrata

Ferrata

    ++ PUNIO TRUCIDO ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 9,909 posts
I'm not sure how the loyality to your commanders works with the Word Bearers, but you could have only Vandire and his close bodyguard truely 'evil' whilst all the others, though full of distaste, follow their orders. I'm imaging many men having the Henry V scene when they ask if the sins they commit following their orders are their sins or the sins of their Commander. Unable to not follow orders, Vandire continues. The other Legions know about the distaste within the ranks and thats why they are unwilling to stand against the Word Bearers, just acting as protection to many systems. Finally, Thor comes through the ranks and is able to convince his brothers to basically commit Heresy. Then you have Thor and his Word Bearers marhcing on Vandire, his few Word Bearers and then a bunch of other people caught up in his bloodlist (Brides of the Emperor? If you believe the Norm-Vandire took these as his bodyguards for a little bit of 18+ entertainment, do they work for an Astartes?)

It does sound a lot better in your above post over the article at the moment.

There wouldn't be a need for a Chamber Militant if the Chamber is the Word Bearers, unless you have the decree that the Word Bearers will no longer be in charge of the Ecc. (maybe this is one of the ways Thor is able to calm matters). Though this would have consequences on all Astartes giving up their positions of power which might not be something you want to do.

#13
Ferrata

Ferrata

    ++ PUNIO TRUCIDO ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 9,909 posts

Note on Magnus. At Nikaea, Lorgar is torn as he has a good relationship with Magnus, and has a small Librarium in his own legion. The Emperor is a psyker and is divine, so he doesn't treat psychic powers as inherently evil as other legions do. When The Emperor says he will Soul-bind the Thousand Sons, Lorgar sees it as a communion with the divine, and is happy for his brother. (Jokingly jealous?)

Just something which occured to me on this, maybe you could use this little bit as another pro-Lorgar moment. State that he was in favour of the use psykers as long as it was peaceful/defensive powers, such as the devine guidance of the Astrom. Maybe this is why he doesn't see it as evil, because he uses it for good. All his Librarians are trained in concealment, healing, resolve etc instead of offensive powers...

#14
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
Sorry for not responding for a few days, Phil. My youngest has had her 8th birthday celebrations this weekend.

Briefly, though, you have touched on the kind of things I wanted to cover, especially the Brides of The Emperor (never get admittance to the throne room by the Custodes and die to the last woman?) and the WB finding it (initially) especially difficult to question orders / orthodoxy handed down by their leader... They were used to Lorgar being sane for a start. I also want Thor to turn things round so the stain on the WB character is at least partly wiped clean, and probably that after Thor tidies things up he also has to step down as Ecclesiarch in favour of a non-astartes, but who, and how would this affect things? The WB would be its chamber militant, especially if the Brides never turned to the light.

Hehe, no sisters of Battle in the Alt-'verse will probably provoke Melissa into a rant, but then the slightest little thing does that!

I will upfate what I have tonight, but it is still very WIP. I think the plan will be to properly draft the AoA first, then I will be able to get things like the organisation / beliefs / combat doctrine sections established. Once I have one section properly drafted things generally seem to slot into place...
Posted Image

Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#15
Ferrata

Ferrata

    ++ PUNIO TRUCIDO ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 9,909 posts

Sorry for not responding for a few days, Phil. My youngest has had her 8th birthday celebrations this weekend.

Tell her Daddy's creepy online friend says congrats and Happy Birthday.... :)

The WB would be its chamber militant, especially if the Brides never turned to the light

I think this works the best, but like the SoB not under the command of the Ecc. but they just fight alongside them a lot. You could always bring the SoB into the universe another way, but I don't think that is really required unless you want to do more work (i.e. it doesn't fall into any of the IAs).

As for who, I don't think you need to name them. Just says one of the conditions that Thor accepts is that the WB do not head the Ecc.

#16
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
Good to be back - thanks David! :yes:

After a slow start I think I have reached critical mass with this now. The ideas are beginning to gel and I have made loads of changes on the Word format while the board has been down. This all means that by the end of tomorrow I hope to have the first properly drafted sections up - a psychological milestone as once that starts, things seem to move towards a tangible goal rather than just adding to the jumble of ideas.

@Phil - I would agree that I don't have to name a specific person, and probably not even go into who would lead the ecclesiarchy rather than the WB. It is just an example of me over-thinking things, so thanks for the reality check. :)

+++ Edit 12/03/09: Got a good draft of the Post-Heresy section, 'The Rise of the Ecclesiarchy', and about two thirds of the Age of Apostasy section. The Apostasy features Lorgar dying, Vandire succeeding him and going power crazy, and Thor opposing and in the bit I am still to write, deposing him.

The plan is to finish the last AoA section tomorrow, and have at least the homeworld / recruiting and geneseed sections done by the end of the weekend. Any thoughts on geneseed problems that would be fitting to the Word Bearers? I can't think of any, and if in doubt 'pure' would be the default position. :)

I also really want to collate the feedback on the EC article and have that submitted to the Librarium over the weekend too. :) Hassle me if I don't get it finished, Matt. :eek +++

+++ Edit 15/03/09: Objective for the weekend partly completed. AoA section finished and the now joint recruitment & geneseed section done, along with a nice idea about searing the flesh with biblical quotes that have to be periodically re-done. No homeworld section though yet.

On the EC article changes, I have sorted through the vast pile of disorganised paperwork and found all the feedback, so should have a crack at it ASAP. ;) +++

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 15 March 2009 - 10:55 PM.

Posted Image

Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#17
Ferrata

Ferrata

    ++ PUNIO TRUCIDO ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 9,909 posts
From my brief overlook, the GS&R section looks good, though maybe a little bit of an over use of faith.

As for Chaplains/Captains, I would say avoid it. Captains lead. Instead of the popular belief that being a Spiritual Guide would detract from being a Combat Leader, the Word Bearers could be the other way around, that being a Combat Leader detracts from being a Spiritual Guide...

#18
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
Thanks, Phil. Work and home have been busy the last few days and progress has suffered. I would have liked to get on with drafting further sections, but instead all I have managed is the still important tasks of making the chamnges to the Emperor's Children article (removing the 'black' from Abaddon's Crusades) and submitting it to the Librarium (still in the queue as of this morning) and proofing and taking notes for changes to the WB drafted sections.

When I make the changes tonight I will look to avoiding the overuse of 'faith'... I know how annoying it was to read McNeill abuse the word 'perfection' in the BL book, 'Fulgrim'. :D

I would also agree about having captains leading. Chaplains will have a big role in the legion, but as spiritual advisers.

As it goes on I will have to see how the balance of 'nice' and 'mental' WB progresses... How much are they like the Spanish Inquisition or the Taliban / Iranian theocracy? It will of course be from their POV to an extent, where they think that they are doing these things to save the souls of humanity from Chaos, even if they burn you to death to do it. What they do in Ultramar Segmentum will be the most overt display of the legion's nastiness - I shall really have to see the best way to explain the 'Planet of the Blind'... :)


Just about finished the BL Word Bearer book 'Dark Apostle'... Not a great fan of the prose but slogged through it to get a feel for the Norm-legion. Twenty pages from the end I stopped and read Abnett's 'Necropolis' - far better. He really is about the only BL author worth buying.
Posted Image

Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#19
Ferrata

Ferrata

    ++ PUNIO TRUCIDO ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 9,909 posts

a +++ heavy, metre-long shard of something holy but club-like from the damaged cathedral.

'a metre-long shard of the Holy Alter from within the cathedral which had been destroyed by an enemy shell whilst Lorgar himself read from the Scriptures of the Dead.'

#20
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
Ooh! Consider it stolen, Phil!

The last week has been a creative bust as RL has been intruding, but the plan is to really push on with this now. Completion by the end of the month seems overly ambitious, but I would settle for it being dusted by the first week of April.

+++ Edit 26/03/09: Worked hard on a decent draft of the important 'Ultramar Segmentum' section. One bit is missing and it will need proofing to high heaven, but it is a good stab. Still need to make the proofing changes on the previously drafted sections, but hope to do that and more over the coming weekend.

Also got to edit up and submit the Raven Guard article and my Wolf Brothers Lost Chapters comp entry (short fiction) to the Librarium. Should, ahem, keep the Emperor's Children article company in the queue of articles waiting to be approved or denied. ;)

@Phil - Sorry for not responding on the changes to the White Scars article. It is a really good piece of work and I wanted to respond properly but have not had time... I took the opportunity to re-kick-start progress on this article I am sorry to say. :blush: +++

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 26 March 2009 - 09:56 PM.

Posted Image

Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#21
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
I have just included a colourpiece from the POV of Horus waiting outside the throne room where The Emperor is talking to Lorgar about his slow progress in the Great Crusade. I try to keep the word count down in these colourpieces, but it is one of the pivotal moments for why Lorgar didn't go off like a spoiled brat and turn to Chaos.

Colourpiece
Lorgar disappeared behind the great armoured doors of the throne room. Outside, Horus stood stiffly to attention amongst the Custodes, unable to relax. He had fought creatures that defied belief and witnessed events that had moulded the fate of the young Imperium, and the meeting going on beyond that armoured wall had the feel of another pivotal moment.

He had only met his brother, the Primarch of the Word Bearers, once before, and that briefly. Lorgar came over as intense, earnest, even brittle, but Magnus classed him as a friend, and Horus had learned to value his judgement. That was why he had been so ardent in trying to change The Emperor’s mind. Certainly the Word Bearer expeditions had been slow, but it was borne from the best of motivations. Horus knew that The Emperor was uneasy about the way some of His subjects had taken to deifying him as a living god, preferring a form of empirical rationalism to such errant superstition, but where was the harm.

The concern was that there was something fragile about Lorgar; as if he was a fine blade that had not yet been tempered. Horus sensed a great potential within his brother, but that at this stage too brutal a chastisement from the object of his worship would cripple him. That had been the reason Horus had pushed his father so hard to take a more measured approach.

Something about the conversation with his father puzzled him even now. When he had asked where the harm was with some of his subjects worshipping him as a god, his father had muttered that ‘perhaps it was better they prayed to me than...’, before pausing. It was as though he was on the verge of revealing some great secret that had been welling up inside him, but then the moment passed as fast as it had arisen.

It was alright, though. The Emperor would tell him when the time was right.



Does the colourpiece convince as to Horus's motive, and explain why, with a bit more time, Lorgar was 'tempered', or strong enough to face the trials that lay ahead, like the 'death' of The Emperor?
Posted Image

Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#22
Ferrata

Ferrata

    ++ PUNIO TRUCIDO ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 9,909 posts

Lorgar disappeared behind the great armoured doors of the throne room. Outside, Horus stood stiffly to attention amongst the Custodes, unable to relax. He had fought creatures that defied belief and witnessed events that had moulded the fate of the young Imperium, and the meeting going on beyond that armoured wall had the feel of another pivotal moment.

I feel like the end of this is a little bit of a cop out; you could do some good play on the real universe here. How about "young Imperium, but the meeting going on beyond that armoured wall could well shape his future, if not all of mankind." In the Alt-'verse, Horus could be referring to having a troubled younger brother who might need to be kept in line (and thus Horus having to be accompanied by Lorgar).

Something about the conversation with his father puzzled him even now. When he had asked where the harm was with some of his subjects worshipping him as a god, his father had muttered that ‘perhaps it was better they prayed to me than...’, before pausing. It was as though he was on the verge of revealing some great secret that had been welling up inside him, but then the moment passed as fast as it had arisen.

The Emperor's words seem a little too unpoetic for my liking, and a little too obvious. Maybe something along the lines of "Better I than daemons." And then go onto say how Horus thinks he is referring to the different pagan gods of other worlds but something about the tone of His voice made even Horus' stomach feel ill at ease.

Everything else looks good

#23
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
I will certainly have to re-visit the colourpiece section again. The quote is very weak, certainly, and needs a lot of thought. I didn't want to use the word 'daemons' as I thought it was too obvious, and cutting the sentence short would leave it clear to the reader but leave Horus in the dark. If he had known, he might have been better prepared for Davin.

I have added four more paragraphs to the great crusade section, and hope to get more done tomorrow, (great Crusade 'complete'?) but from Friday to Monday I will be incommunicado at the in-laws in Wales.
Posted Image

Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#24
Ferrata

Ferrata

    ++ PUNIO TRUCIDO ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 9,909 posts
Maybe 'Better I than others'

As for the new paragraphs, I feel maybe one of the traitor legions should also be one of the first to embrace chaplains. I not sure who would be the right choice, but it would make a nice twist that one of the first to embrace them falls to Chaos, almost echoing the fall of the Word Bearers (but not really). Maybe this could work with the Dark Angels and their fall be a religious one?

#25
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

    ++ GESTORIS ++

  • ++ MODERATI CEDO ++
  • 5,726 posts
That sounds like a good replacement, Phil. :tu:

I have piggybacked my in-law's net connection so I should have access for the weekend after all. Expect updates on Nikaea and Horus's possession - already written - and hopefully a completed Origins, which I am working on now.

The idea that Luther had embraced the worship of The Emperor, but it had been perverted to Chaos is nice, Phil. It would be more fully explained in the DA IA, but I could easily lay in the hints of it here. :wacko:

+++ Edit 07/04/09: Good progress over the weekend, with the early sections all done now (bar the intro paragraph and the chaplain sidebar). That still leaves the (hopefully quick) homeworld, combat doctrine, organisation, beliefs and battlecry sections, and a whole pile of proofreading. The plan is to properly proof the recently completed early sections and draft at least one of the outstanding sections tonight, and to get it dusted before the end of the weekend... It is the final stretch, but I have not forgotten about feedback for the 'Scars and Alpha Legion IA's. ;) :) +++

+++ Edit 10/04/09: The washing machine finally packed in, but its replacement is now wired up and running, and I got round to writing the Combat Doctrine section, and on the basis that Word Bearer fans would appreciate it, an Alt-'verse nod to the events in the Dark Apostle BL book. Timing has obviously slipped, but I am still aiming to have it dusted by the end of the weekend. +++

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 10 April 2009 - 07:56 PM.

Posted Image

Alternate Heresy Index Astartes articles for the World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Raven Guard, Word Bearers,
Ultramarines, White Scars, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons and Blood Angels available as a pdf
Click here for the Legio Imprint download thread
Iron Warriors +++ Iron Hands +++ Alpha Legion +++ Dark Angels

Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn