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[LI01] Alt-Heresy IA: Space Wolves


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Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

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The Space Wolves Alt-IA is in the final stages of proofreading and editing. Please chip in with any comments or ideas as before.

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Index Astartes: Space Wolves

The Alternate Heresy


Leman Russ's early experiences on Fenris left him with an abiding hatred and suspicion of sorcery, a feeling that was reinforced by what he saw during the Great Crusade. Concerned that the Thousand Son’s magicks would lead them to corrupt even The Emperor, the Space Wolves attacked their homeworld to avert a worse fate. When Magnus's counter-attack brought them to the brink of destruction Russ called out to his father for aid, but his pleas were instead answered by Khorne, the bane of all enchantments. The Space Wolves prevailed by giving themselves over to the beast within, revelling in bloodletting and bestial fury. Now, as Khorne’s chosen legion, they have turned on The Emperor who they see as the Arch-Sorcerer. They now slaughter all in their path, taking skulls and trophies from their fallen opponents for the glory of the Blood God.

Origins
Author

Aurelius Rex is a board veteran, 40K quiz master, Arena of Death Overlord and former moderator of the Liber Astartes section. The Alternate universe 'Dornian Heresy' posits a history where events turned out just a little different, and this is the latest of the Index Astartes articles about how each of the Legions was affected. For more information on the Dornian Heresy, read the Overview Article here.

A
ncient Fenris, the world onto which the infant Russ came to rest, was a world of violent extremes. Trapped in an acute elliptical orbit, its winters were long and dark, and the gravitational upheaval as Fenris passed close to its sun threw the scattered inhabited islands into turmoil. The human tribes were forced to make their living from the storm-tossed seas, building boats from the few trees to survive to maturity and the hides from monsters of the deep. These vessels were vital not just for fishing, but to relocate entire communities to new islands as their own sank beneath the waves. Such a harsh world forged hard and hardy people, nomads, with little care for knowledge that couldn’t be carried inside their heads. Survival meant not just being able to navigate the waves, but to drive the enemy into the sea, be they raiders, or simply a tribe unable to defend, and hence unworthy of inhabiting, the precious islands.

However, it was not these people that the infant primarch was found by, but something far more dangerous. According to Gnauril the Elder’s legendary saga, 'The Ascension of the Wolf King', he was raised in the first few years of life by a pack of Fenrisian wolves, suckling from the she-wolf like a cub and hunting on all fours with the pack. It was these raids that first brought him into contact with the tribes of man. On hearing of the wolves terrorising his vassals, the ruler of the island ordered his bondsmen to bring back their pelts. The pack was lured into a trap set by a wyrd, one of their rune-priests, who planted the impression that one of their number was wounded and crying out for help. Once hemmed in by the steep walls of a gorge, the dense undergrowth was set ablaze with flaming arrows, and the maddened animals slaughtered as they broke from cover.

TThe boy-primarch saw his den-mother charge at the hunters, only to be knocked to the floor by the rune-priest’s eldritch lightning. With a wordless howl of fury he leapt to the mighty she-wolf’s side, scattering the humans that sought to harm her. Despite being struck by many a poisoned arrow, rage and defiance still burned within him. In the end it was the rune-priest’s sorcery that finally rendered him insensible. The wolves were skinned, but the feral curiosity was securely bound and returned to the halls of Thengir, King of the Russ tribe. Seeing a challenge before him, Thengir boasted that he would tame the feral child and teach him the human tongue. Though it started as a humorous wager, the king soon grew to regard the boy as his own son, naming him Leman of the Russ. While he retained a certain lupine savagery, the boy took to his new-found human heritage with aplomb. His extraordinary strength, skill and cunning earned him a dominant role within the tribe, and cemented his position as the rightful heir to Thengir’s throne.

In Leman Russ’s rise to greatness one group found themselves excluded from the king’s councils: the once-powerful rune-priests. Some say that Russ could never forgive what they had done to the great she-wolf who had raised him. Others claim that having only recently gained the power of speech and human reason, seeing the wyrds cloud men’s minds and steal their thoughts seemed to be the worst kind of crime to the young primarch. His instincts were vindicated when the Rune-Priests used their powers to twist loyal members of the tribe to attack Russ and King Thengir. Recognising the taint of sorcery, Leman Russ swiftly dispatched the rune-priests among the group and ended the attack, but not in time to prevent Thengir from suffering a mortal wound.

The freed bondsmen grovelled for their lives at the feet of Leman Russ. They spoke of how their will had been stolen, that they had been nothing but helpless puppets in the attack. They also claimed to have heard talk of the involvement and complicity of other rune-priests, both on the island and further afield. Grimly, Leman Russ bade them stand, and in a voice filled with certainty made the following proclamation:

“To beat someone in a fair fight and prove your dominance is only right. To trick your opponent to do so... all the better. But to steal someone’s mind with sorcery; to take from them the very thing that makes them human... that can never be forgiven.

“We will kill them all.”

To this end, the tribe of the Russ took to wearing torcs made of solid, dependable iron. A known protective against sorcery, its qualities were further enhanced by quenching the glowing metal in the blood of an enemy. Thus protected, the tribe of Russ, under their newly crowned Wolf-King, had expunged the taint of sorcery from their island and from those of their neighbours by the time The Emperor arrived on Fenris.

Russ’s early instinctual acceptance of The Emperor as his true father was severely shaken when it became clear that He was not just what the Fenrisians would call a wyrd, but the most powerful one in the galaxy. The Emperor patiently explained the difference between wild sorcery and his own tightly controlled psychic powers, but Russ refused to listen. Even the honour of commanding a legion of the Adeptus Astartes was taken as an insult. He coldly accused The Emperor of being no better than the rune-priests who had used others to fight their battles for them, and contemptuously threw the offered golden thunderbolt and lightning sigil to the floor. Russ confronted the Adeptus Custodes who had subtly moved to protect their lord, but The Emperor bade His guards stand aside, and realising what it would take to convince him, issued Russ a challenge.

The Master of Mankind and the Wolf-King fought bare-handed all through that night, and as the sun rose over the wreckage of the lodge-house, the matter was finally settled. The Emperor had shown He was willing to spill His own blood, rather than just demand it of His subjects, and by merely surviving that long, Russ had proved beyond doubt that he was truly one of his father’s Primarchs. All that remained was for The Emperor to establish His dominance without question. With a mighty blow that stunned the assembled crowd, The Emperor struck Russ square in the face and knocked him out cold. Then, to the appreciative cheers of the Fenrisians, the bloodied Master of Mankind placed His golden sigil around Russ’s neck. In doing so, The Emperor formally passed command of the Sixth Legion to their Primarch, known ever-after as the Space Wolves.

“Books? We keep our knowledge up here! {taps head}Any tribe that used its wood to make paper rather than spear shafts or axe handles would not last long on Fenris, I can tell you! We were given some books once to try to ‘civilise’ us, so they said. They came in very useful to get the fire going, and the pages were certainly smoother and more comfortable on the cheeks than using ghora leaves after a big meal, {grins toothily} though I don’t think that was quite the ‘civilising’ effect they had in mind!”

- Chief Bran Irontooth on the benefits of the Imperium


The Great Crusade
W
When Russ awoke he was a man transformed: at ease with his place as the enforcer of The Emperor’s will among the stars. The legion took the stable and previously unexplored continent of Asaheim as its base and established their Fortress-Monastery, which they called the Fang, at the summit of the highest and most forbidding mountain peak. The original Terran legionaries adapted quickly to their Primogenitor’s whims, and the hardy islanders of Fenris proved to be excellent candidates to take the Helix Lupus and join their ranks.

Formative Tactics
‘I was barely initiated and full of the spirit of the Wulfen when the Primarch himself summoned my pack of Blood Claws. He led us deep into the forests of Asaheim, and put our skills to the test tracking a pack of Fenrisian wolves.

‘From the cover of a rock outcropping we watched as the pack brought a herd of snow-elk to bay. The young wolves howled and snarled, then charged straight towards the solid wall of bulls that faced them. I gasped at such brave stupidity, muttering that they would be torn apart upon the elk’s razor sharp antlers, but Russ just laughed softly and pointed to a patch of scrub. From it burst the older and wiser members of the pack. They had taken advantage of the noisy distraction to infiltrate the herd’s weakly guarded flanks. In the panic the defensive line was scattered and the young wolves had no trouble bringing the mighty bull elks down one by one without a single casualty.

‘As the pack began to feast, Russ turned to me and said “That is how a true wolf fights, Bjorn. That is how we fight..."’
Though savage and unconventional by the standards of many other legions, the Space Wolves’ innate skills as seafarers and raiders translated well to the role of bringing the lost human worlds into compliance with the Imperium. Russ’s legendary charm, amply backed by the threat of his ferocious warriors, persuaded all but the most truculent planetary leaders as to the benefits of the burgeoning Imperium. On occasion the Space Wolves found themselves fighting alongside marines from other legions, and while Russ counted most of his brother-primarchs as firm friends, in the case of the Dark Angels the rivalry was far from cordial. The gregarious and headstrong Russ found Lion El’Jonson to be cold, arrogant and superior, a fact made worse by them having brought a greater tally of worlds into compliance than the young Space Wolf legion. This antipathy spilled over to such a degree that after their shared enemies had been defeated it was common for unseemly fistfights or even blood-duels to erupt.

Despite their complete trust in the Emperor, the culture of Fenris left the Space Wolves eternally vigilant for any taint of sorcery in the worlds they conquered. Where less ‘superstitious’ legions blinded themselves to the truth, the Space Wolves took the same direct and bloody approach to the uncanny that they had on Fenris. It seemed that on every planet they brought into compliance, no matter how tranquil, a coven of wyrds lay hidden like the maggot within the apple. Though the very concept of the daemonic was treated by others at the time as laughable, the Space Wolves saw them for what they were. In the face of mass possession and daemonic manifestation even the oblivion of global extinction was a kindness.

While Russ himself calmed the misgivings of his men over working with aberrations like Astropaths and Navigators, he forcefully forbade battlefield psykers in his legion, and was outspoken about their use by other Astartes. The worst offenders in Russ’s eyes were the Thousand Sons. Their Primarch, Magnus the Red, believed wholeheartedly that psychic talent was the key to Mankind’s future, and used it as an integral part of his war strategy. The first and last time the two legions fought alongside one another, they came within moments of all-out warfare. The experience convinced Russ that Magnus’s explorations into the nature of the Immaterium were nothing more than thinly veiled sorceries of the blackest kind.

Russ was not alone in his concerns, and on the planet of Nikaea the Master of Mankind called a council to stand in judgement on the subject. The Wolf-King was characteristically forthright in his views, and supported with damning testimony from like-minded primarchs such as Mortarion, Corax and even Dorn, Magnus’s fate appeared sealed. When judgement came the Thousand Sons were not only allowed to continue their practices, but also given leave to soul-bind themselves to The Emperor. Fearing that Magnus had used his corrupted powers to influence their father’s decision, Russ stormed from the council and laid plans to save The Emperor from Himself.

The Burning of Prospero
“Fear not of how Imperial history will judge our actions. If we stand aside this day, the Imperium itself will soon be history.”

- Leman Russ on the eve of the Burning of Prospero

B
elieving that the soul-binding ritual would allow Magnus to poison The Emperor’s essence with sorcery, Russ gathered his entire legion together to attack the Thousand Sons’ homeworld of Prospero. To their credit not a single brother shied away from the terrible thing the Wolf-King had asked of them.

With all of their cunning and skill, the Space Wolves were able to catch the legion of sorcerers unawares, chasing off their fleet and blasting their orbital defences into wreckage before descending onto the planet below. What they found beneath the shining white cities’ veneer of purity sickened the Space Wolves to the core. They uncovered entire libraries of sacrilegious texts, buildings constructed for the sole purpose of conducting black rites, and a populace who openly bore the stigmata of the mutant and the witch. While the Space Wolves drew the noose around the heavily protected capital city of Tizca, Russ had no qualms about ordering sustained orbital bombardments to scour the lesser cities from the face of the planet.

The Space Wolves advanced cautiously beneath the protective shield-curtain, and at first met only scattered resistance. Emboldened, they pressed on, only to find the city itself becoming a labyrinth, as though the buildings themselves were moving and re-arranging to fragment their forces. It was then that the Thousand Sons finally showed themselves. Isolated and unsupported, the Space Wolves were attacked from all sides by balefire and mind-numbing enchantments. Their iron torcs were of little use against such potent magicks, and with his legion dying around him Russ called out to his father, to anyone, for aid in destroying the sorcerers.

The answer came from deep within him. It was the personification of the bestial fury that had boiled inside his soul since he had first run with the wolf-pack on Fenris. It was the part of him that yearned to slaughter whole worlds, to feast upon warm flesh and to swim in oceans of blood. The howl that started at the back of Russ’s throat echoed from the shining towers and was in turn taken up by every Space Wolf in the city. In an instant the enchantments faltered, the insane cartography shifted back to the norm and aetheric lightning guttered and died in the sorcerer’s hands.

Transformed into little more than slavering beasts, the Space Wolves fell upon their tormentors. Only after they had reduced the city of Tizca to a charnel pit did they return to anything resembling sanity. They did so with the name of their saviour on their reddened lips: Khorne, the God of Skulls and Blood, the bane of all sorcery. There were bodies of Thousand Sons among the piles of corpses, but not nearly enough to account for their full numbers. Most tellingly, of Magnus himself there was no sign. Stalking through the rubble of the primarch’s tower sparked a memory of the battle in Russ that changed the legion forever. He remembered fighting the cyclops primarch, trading blows which shook buildings to their very foundations. Just as he had Magnus at his mercy, a figure in golden armour appeared from nowhere and parried the death-blow with an ornate spear. The memory of the heart-strike, only narrowly turned aside by Russ’s thick chest-plate, brought back an ocean of pain, but it was washed away by the joyous remembrance of tearing the assassin apart a second later.

Magnus the Red was long gone, but the corpse of the golden armoured warrior remained. He recognised the man for what he was, a member of the Adeptus Custodes, his father’s personal bodyguards. He also found the remains of the golden thunderbolt sigil that had been destroyed by the Guardian Spear’s thrust. With an iron certainty Russ knew the truth of the matter. From the actions of the Adeptus Custodes, it was painfully clear that The Emperor not only condoned the sorcery that Magnus has perpetrated, but stood proudly with him. Russ also recognised the thunderbolt sigil for the focus of psychic power it most certainly was. While he had worn it Russ had been influenced to be utterly loyal to his ‘Allfather’. After its destruction, Russ could see The Emperor for what he truly was: The Arch-Wych.

With the Thousand Sons gone, Prospero’s shining cities in ruins and its mutant population put to the sword, Russ tasked his legion with an even greater challenge. The whispers of his new patron in his ears, Russ declared that they would tear down the Imperial palace and put The Emperor to the sword.

Drowning in Blood
T
he news that Rogal Dorn had also seen the light and had crushed three legions loyal to The Emperor roused the Space Wolves to jubilation. It seemed that at last mankind was awaking to the threat, and was rising up as one against sorcery. In a state of high excitement the legion returned to its fleet and set course for Terra to join the revolution. This celebratory mood rapidly soured though, as the legion immersed themselves in the worship of Khorne with riotous bouts of bloodletting and head-taking. Worse still, what was always going to be a long journey seemed to be cursed. The tides of the warp had turned against them, slowing their progress to a crawl and sweeping them far off course.

The fleet’s Navigators were blamed, either through incompetence or by intent, yet even the most bloodcurdling of torments failed to right their course. Russ’s realisation that their new-found gifts allowed them to traverse the warp as well as any Navigator put an end to the mutants’ lives, but not to the fleet’s predicament. Cooped up with no one but each other to vent their frustration upon, Russ became concerned they would either arrive too late, or that the legion would destroy itself long before it reached Terra.

Their salvation came from an unexpected source: the Dark Angels. When yet another warp-jump deposited then far off course and within hailing distance of a Dark Angels fleet, the Space Wolves prepared to continue their long-standing feud. Instead they were greeted warmly as fellow enlightened of Chaos. Luther, the Dark Angel’s commander, said that he had personally slain Jonson for the glory of Chaos, and further, claimed to have embraced and studied the Dark Gods in all their aspects. With Luther’s aid, the Space Wolves were able to control and direct their aggression. This was performed in a symbolic bloodletting on the planet of Dulan. Even though the world had sided with Chaos, the two legions tore down the Crimson Fortress of its ruler, the tyrant Durath. The blood pact, sealed with Durath’s evisceration, gave the Space Wolves a deeper understanding of Khorne. From then on, Russ and his brothers had the chance to be masters of the blood-tide rather than its servants.

Both fleets continued onwards, drawing torturously slowly but surely towards Terra. With the two Chaos legions only days from their destination and the war balanced upon a knife-edge, The Emperor was forced into a desperate gamble to attack the leader of the Heresy on his flagship. Though Dorn was killed and the heart torn out of the Chaos legions on Terra, it left The Emperor a broken, mortally wounded husk.

Even with the Chaos Legions in full retreat and the vengeful loyalists eager to avenge their fallen lord, Russ still continued onwards. It was only the sage counsel of Luther that turned him from the path of certain destruction. He said that they must have faith that everything had transpired according to Khorne’s great plan. With the Imperium in such a state of upheaval there was an entire galaxy of skulls ripe to be harvested. The idea that Khorne himself had prevented them from reaching Terra in time did not go down well with the Space Wolves, with Wolf Lords openly voicing their disgust. At last, however, Russ turned them aside, and they set course for Fenris, leaving a swathe of butchered worlds in their wake.

The Scourging of Fenris
A
s the Imperium regained its strength it took to reclaiming the worlds which had sided with Chaos during the Dornian Heresy. The ancestral homeworlds of the so-called Traitor Legions were particular prizes for them, but were something that could only be attempted by massed crusades of the loyalist Astartes. Excepting Macragge, which has not fallen to this day, Fenris was the last Astartes homeworld to fall. For long periods it was isolated by swirling warp storms from the Eye of Terror which, as though attracted by the worship of the Blood God, had swept out to encompass Fenris. Still the consummate raider, Russ used the brief periods in which the warp was calm to bring the judgement of Khorne down upon the already weakened Imperium, always returning to Fenris just before the storms descended once more.

The Collars of Khorne
Worn by the warriors of Fenris as a ward against magic, iron neck torcs became common even amongst the Terran-born members of the Space Wolves. After the legion came to the worship of the Blood God, they took to calling them ‘Collars of Khorne’ and carved elaborate skull symbols into the metal. Far beyond simple superstition, these devices have a potent protective effect against psykers and magic, Khorne being the bane of such things. As the custom is to anoint the collar in the blood of a defeated opponent, the chest armour of a Space Wolf is constantly splattered crimson. So ingrained is this that collars taken from dead Space Wolves have been observed to exude blood for months or even years.

The most infamous collar was crafted for Bjorn the Fell-Handed, the iron for which supposedly came from the blood of thousands he had personally slain. It is said that Khorne took exception to Bjorn’s hubris at withholding that which was rightly his, and damned the Wolf Lord for his actions. At the climax of the Proxima Rebellion, the moment of his greatest triumph, Bjorn was struck down and consigned to eternity inside a dreadnought. Any son of Russ who dares to wear Bjorn’s collar is imbued with Bjorn’s legendary fury and skill, although not, it seems, with a long life.
Eventually, three years shy of the second century anniversary of the Emperor's entombment inside His Golden Throne, the warp-storms enshrouding Fenris briefly cleared and a crusade launched to assault the world with overwhelming strength. The loyalists had hoped that their relative isolation would have caused the skull-takers to turn upon one another, severely depleting their numbers, but this was not to be.

During the Scourging of Fenris, every isolated island became a battleground. The animals and even the landscape itself seemed to rise up as though driven by the will of the Blood God to oppose the invaders. The war of attrition stretched from weeks to months, but finally, under a burning sun that filled the sky with ominous portent, the Imperial forces broached the walls of the Fang itself. Though there were other legions and indeed Primarchs fighting across Fenris, only the Thousand Sons led by Magnus, the Word Bearers commanded by Lorgar and the Black Templars under High Lord Abaddon set foot inside the Space Wolves mighty Fortress-Monastery.

In the centuries since the Wolf-King and the Cyclops had fought to a standstill on Prospero, Russ had become both a Daemon-Primarch and an Avatar of Khorne. In such a clash no mere mortal could hope to survive, and the Fang’s massive halls were choked with the dead of both sides. Then, after three days, the loyalist simply withdrew and returned to their ships. The only sign the Space Wolves found of their Primarch was his frostblade, Mjalnar, and his massive, empty suit of daemon-armour scattered outside the entrance to his personal temple to Khorne.

Though consumed by the disappearance of their Primarch, there was no time for the Space Wolves to ascertain Russ’s location, or even if he was still alive. The loyalists had fled because the world itself was dying, its ever-eccentric orbit in terminal decay. The Space Wolves blamed the Thousand Sons, claiming that only the foulest of sorceries could have performed such a deed. Bereft of their Primarch, and with their world tearing itself apart, the legion did the same. Some remained on Fenris and slaked their bloodlust by killing whoever they could find before the end. Most took to their ships and were scattered across the galaxy by the tides of the warp, content simply to wreak their vengeance upon the Imperium.

Organisation
A
fter the disappearance of Leman Russ, the Space Wolves’ fiercely headstrong and independent nature meant that no single Wolf Lord could claim the unanimous support of their peers. As a result the legion fractured into Great Companies, with charismatic Wolf Lords such as Kyrl Grimblood, Hengst Bloodmane and Bjorn the Fell Handed leading their brothers out on disparate, uncoordinated rampages. In time even these allegiances began to fracture. The first to depart were groups of younger Astartes who broke away from what they saw as the staid and complacent rule of their commanders. As death or spawn-hood claimed the original Wolf Lords, feuds erupted amongst those who sought to succeed them. Such confrontations generally end with the victor claiming the skulls of his challengers, but on occasion it has led to the acrimonious breakdown of once-mighty Great Companies.

The Wolf Brothers
Burning with the arrogance and certainty of youth, and no longer burdened by their fealty to Leman Russ, large numbers of Blood Claws rejected the teachings of their elders and struck out to show the galaxy the meaning of unbridled aggression. Wilfully ignoring the structure of Luther’s teachings, which they saw as an anathema to the purity of Khorne, each competed to be the most brutal and bloodthirsty in honour of their god. Though these so-called ‘Wolf Brothers’ drowned the stars themselves in blood, such intensity could never be sustained. They were rapidly consumed in the crucible of war, dead either at the hands of the enemy, or just as likely, murdered by each other. Such a fate is little deterrent, though, and periodically bands of rebellious Blood Claws leave the confines of their Great Companies to follow in the footsteps of the original Wolf Brothers.
Newly inducted marines start out grouped together into large packs known as Blood Claws. With the vitality of youth, they rush headlong towards the enemy to spill blood in the name of Khorne. Those skilled or lucky to survive long enough to assimilate Luther’s insights take a more measured, and even more effective approach to battle. These Grey Hunters use stealth and cunning to quietly lope into position, the better to deliver swift death to their unsuspecting enemies. The finest exponents of Khorne’s art rise to the position of Wolf Guard. They are charged with the most important tasks, such as enforcing their master’s will upon a difficult pack, or clearing a path for the Wolf Lord to challenge the enemy’s leaders.

The legion has no love or need for the written word, instead storing all of its knowledge and history in the form of sagas recited aloud. While every brother strives to tell the epic tale of their deeds on the battlefield, the legion’s specialists use it as an aid to complete their own tasks. The Iron Priests consign everything to memory in this way, from the operation of starships to the repair of weapons and armour, while the Choosers of the Slain use the sagas to recall the procedure for the creation of new Space Wolves.

The Space Wolves' ships are crewed by humans referred to as bondsmen. They attend to the marine's needs and even follow them onto the battlefield. Some are cultists of Khorne who have consciously sought out the legion in a vain attempt to prove their worthiness as Astartes. Most bondsmen are simply souls taken captive rather than swiftly killed during raids. In either case such weaklings do not last long before running foul of one of their master’s rages, or becoming food for the Fenrisian wolves on the long journeys between battles.

Combat Doctrine
O
n the field of battle, the Blood Claws throw themselves madly towards the enemy. In their desire to fight these young marines, often transformed into bestial Wulfen, lose all thought of tactics or stealth. The more mature members of the legion use their years of experience to work their way into position, ready to attack the enemy in its vulnerable flanks. The psychological effect of this cannot be over-estimated. Even the most disciplined gun-line has faltered and broken on the realisation that they face not only an onrushing tide of claws and teeth, but that the enemy is already behind them and slaughtering its way towards them.

While the legion does not intentionally summon daemons, such acts being much too akin to sorcery for their liking, the entities are drawn to the sites of their butchery anyway. Lesser daemons have been observed to burst from corpses or exude themselves from pools of freshly spilled blood to aid in the slaughter. After the fight has been won, and befitting their nomadic nature, the legion and its assorted hangers-on descend to pick the battlefield clean. Guided by scent the battle brothers return to the sites of their kills to take trophies from worthy enemies. In the case of other Astartes this can include weapons and pieces of armour to replace the damage that inevitably occurs. They rarely repaint it, preferring that it remain as a reminder of their battles, and as a taunting sign to their enemies of their previous defeats.

In their wake come the Choosers of the Slain. They stalk the battlefield selecting skulls adjudged to be particularly prized by Khorne. They also claim the gene-seed of fallen Space Wolves and select those enemies who fought well enough to be saved from the brink of death and forcibly initiated into the legion. Under the direction of the Iron Priests, the legion’s bondsmen are sent out to scour the area for anything of use. As the Space Wolves have little manufacturing capacity, and even less interest in settling down to use it, almost everything they have has to be scavenged, ranging from bolt-rounds to entire Land Raiders. Only when the Fenrisian wolves have return from chasing down and glutting themselves upon enemies that fled in cowardice from the battlefield does the legion start its journey to the next battle.

Gene-seed & Recruitment
B
ack to the earliest days of the legion, the Space Wolves’ method of gene-seed implantation has been brutally idiosyncratic. Since their conversion to Khorne, this has become all-the more acute. After the infant Primarchs had been stolen away and scattered across the galaxy, The Emperor ordered that the legions’ implants be created based upon what remained of their gene-templates. In the case of the Space Wolves, the process was flawed, resulting in extensive and crippling levels of rejection and mutation. A number of alternate therapies based upon their Primarch’s gene-sequence were investigated, but the one finally selected was known as the Helix Lupus. At first the process was almost rejected as it transformed the aspirants into incoherent savages, devoid of all reason. However, when the changes had subsided, it was recognised as the missing piece of the puzzle, reconfiguring the aspirant’s body into a form far more amenable to the quirks of the Russ gene-line.

This was initially conducted under controlled conditions, with subjects restrained throughout the process and intravenously fed with the nutrients required to fuel their transformation. On taking command of the Legion, Russ changed these procedures dramatically. A sterile laboratory was no place for the birth of a Wolf of Fenris, and so immediately after the Helix Lupus was administered, aspirants were dropped into the mountainous wastes of Asaheim. In the midst of the change, these bestial creatures were expected to follow their urges; to hunt down and consume the flesh needed to reconfigure their bodies. They then had to show enough composure to return to the Fang so that the process could be completed and their training begin in earnest.

After the Heresy, the application of the Helix Lupus became even more brutal. On the battlefield, the legion slaughters indiscriminately, dedicating their kills to Khorne, their God of blood and skulls. Stalking through the carnage like cadaverous wraiths are the Choosers of the Slain. Part apothecary, part acolyte of Khorne, they minister to their fallen brethren, deciding if they are worthy to live on, or to yield up their gene-seed and skulls to their god’s throne. The Choosers also select those enemies that have fought with sufficient valour and ferocity, and proved worthy of joining Khorne’s legion. They are touched by the will of the Blood God himself, with skills that far exceed the wit of even the most skilled chiurgeon. Under their ministrations, and with the application of the Helix Lupus, even a mortal wound may be averted.

Once marked by Khorne in this way, the beast within is released, and the long, agonising process of transforming their bodies and minds into those of sons of Russ can proceed. While traditional gene-seed implantation processes require that the aspirant be no older than early puberty, it appears that the ministrations of the corrupted Helix Lupus can allow this process even in full grown adult candidates. It has even been suggested that it can even be used to forcibly corrupt Astartes of other legions to serve Khorne. Though none of the loyal Legionnes Astartes have ever admitted this has occurred with any of their brothers, it would certainly bring a new danger to the prospect of fighting against the Space Wolves; that in doing so they risk a fate worse than death.

In addition to the bestial nature of the Helix Lupus, the Russ gene-line has always exhibited certain quirks, such as their uncannily sharp senses and how their incisors grow long and tusk-like with age. Over the millennia, the warping power of Chaos has bestowed further beneficial changes which boost their already considerable strength and brutality. Under the watchful eyes of the Choosers of the Slain this process has been being guided to bring them ever-closer to their ideal of the perfect killer.

Homeworld
F
enris, the place of the legion’s birth, was a death-world even before it was claimed by Khorne. Its islands periodically sank beneath the waves, forcing the population to brave the kraken-haunted seas in search of new homes. The fertile volcanic soils allowed them to grow crops in season to see them and their animals through the long, cold winters, as well as grain for the brewing of ales.

The planet’s sole continent, Asaheim, was the only place insulated from this tectonic upheaval. Permanently raised up above the battering seas, its coast was a single precipitous cliff-face, which meant that the first time humanity was able to set foot there was with the arrival of the Imperium. The animals that stalked the forests and mountain peaks of Asaheim were no less dangerous than those found in the oceans: bears, mammoths and most dangerous and iconic, the Fenrisian wolves. Packs of these had even been found on the islands, hunting the livestock and inhabitants, and well able to brave the seas in search of fresh prey.

Though Fenris died when its erratic orbit plunged it deep into the heart of their sun, a more subtle death occurred when Russ returned after the Heresy. Those that would not dedicate themselves to Khorne were culled and the turbulent seas ran red with the blood of the ‘unenlightened’. The twin losses of both Primarch and homeworld shattered the legion into warbands which set off on the sea of stars in search of new planets on which to ply their murderous trade.

On occasion these warbands tire of the Imperium and gravitate to the Eye of Terror to test their blades and take the skulls from worshippers of the other gods of Chaos. Like many other Legions they have claimed a world there, though not as a home, but a shrine. It is to this dead world, far beyond the prying sensors of the Imperium’s null-ships, that the legion comes to make their offerings to Khorne. The mountains of votive skulls stretch up into the daemon-haunted clouds, a pile they say that supports and raises Khorne’s throne higher with every death. In a realm where the warp and the material plane intersect, who is to say that they are wrong?

Unable to accept that their ancestral home is truly gone, some Space Wolves are drawn to return to the Fenris system. This knowledge has been used by the Imperium, and in particular the Thousand Sons, to bring them to battle. The presence of the legion’s blood-enemies desecrating the site of their homeworld is an insult that no true son of Russ could ignore. Many a Space Wolf warband has gone willingly into the teeth of such a trap, the most glorious being the fate of Wolf Lord Skyrar and his Dark Wolves. They destroyed three escorting frigates, and even with their ship debilitated by wild magicks, were able to ram the Thousand Sons’ battle barge and catastrophically breach its warp core. Long after it had closed, the echoes of Skyrar’s Rift still pulse through the Fenris system as a sign of their defiance.

Beliefs
S
ince their enlightenment at Prospero the Space Wolves have dedicated themselves to the worship of Khorne, slaying entire systems in his name. Without the structures of faith gifted to them by Luther, their wild, self-destructive excesses would long-since have driven the legion to extinction. As a mark of respect, the Dark Angels are one of the few of the Chaos Legions the Space Wolves are willing to fight alongside. They usually prefer to fight alone, confident that even while heavily outnumbered, they are more than a match for their opponents.

While the fate of Leman Russ is unknown, every Space Wolf has a theory. Some say that, like Roboute Guilliman, he was captured by the Imperial primarchs and returned to Terra in chains. Others say that he was banished to the warp, or that his very essence was annihilated by Magnus’s psychic power. They all agree, however, that even death itself will not be able to prevent Russ from returning to reunite the legion for the final great battle – the Wolftime. Some believe that with the forces of Chaos gathering and finally organising themselves for an almighty attack upon the Imperium, that the End of Days is at hand, and that Russ’s return is imminent. Having been denied setting foot upon Terra during the Dornian Heresy, they believe that no power in the universe could prevent him from taking his part in the final destruction of the Arch-Wych.

Battlecry
U
sually the only thing the Space Wolves’ opponents hear before the attack is the berserk, ravening howl of the Blood Claw packs, but on occasions where the whole force fights out in the open, “For Russ, for skulls, for the Wolftime!” is frequently used as a battlecry by the Wolf Lord.

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 06 July 2009 - 06:23 PM.

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#2
Aurelius Rex

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I will collate the quotes and notes that discuss the Space Wolves in this separate post to the core IA post above. I am off to visit my parents for the long weekend and may not have any net access. See you all later, guys!

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Even as the Imperial forces assembled to confront the Ultramarines, terrible news came from Prospero that the Space Wolves had fallen upon the homeworld of the Thousand Sons. They proclaimed that Magnus was mired in foul sorcery, and that they would save the Emperor from himself by ending the threat to the Imperium. With the dream of mankind coming apart at the seams, the legions came into high orbit around Istvaan V.

...

The Space Wolves that left the ruins of Prospero and set course for Terra were a much changed breed. Although they arrived believing that they were protecting the Imperium, the ferocity of their battle with the Thousand Sons stripped away the veneer of righteousness. By the end, the Space Wolf legion had been baptised in blood, and anointed into the overt worship of Khorne, the Blood God.

...

With another fresh legion throwing its weight behind the traitors, and the fleets of the Dark Angels and Space Wolves only days away, The Emperor had no choice but to cut out the Heresy at its source. He and his finest troops prepared to board The Phalanx and destroy the Arch-Betrayer, Dorn, on his own battle-barge.

...

The coalition of traitors fractured, and then scattered, with the Blood Angels, Salamanders and White Scars commandeering whatever vessels they could to escape. The Dark Angel fleet turned from its Terran course, and even the blood-crazed berserkers of the Space Wolves faltered, before falling to fighting amongst themselves.

...

The intentions of other Traitor Legions, such as the White Scars and the Space Wolves, are much clearer. The White Scars now exist only for the thrill of speed, sensation, and battle, while the Space Wolves have submerged themselves wholeheartedly in the worship of Khorne. The disappearance of Leman Russ during the Purging of Fenris saw the legion disintegrate into warbands, each competing to be the most brutal and bloodthirsty in honour of their god. The Space Wolves' attentions extend little beyond slaughter, and there is little place within the legion for the crafting of weapons or armour. Instead, the Space Wolves have chosen to scavenge such things from slain foes, which act both as trophies which proclaim their combat prowess, and to repair the battle damage they inevitably sustain.


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#3
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Okay, the Space Wolves really aren't my thing...actually they are down there with the Iron Hands but thats another topic altogether.

The Emperor; maybe he could lie, never tell Russ that he is a psyker. Russ is dumb enough never to find out, or be easily convinced otherwise. And once The Emperor lets him loose with his own force, why would Russ turn back? This makes it easier for Russ to believe the Emperor has made a mistake (seeing as the Council would prove that the Emperor is a psyker). Believed he has been betrayed, the Emperor capable of lying, Russ takes it into his own hands to do what he feels is right.

I like the idea of having the Thousand Sons ready for the war, Magnus knowing that the Space Wolves will attack but doesn't want to stop. He can't wait to lash out at the beast at the Emperor's side. Khorne hides his part in it, so Magnus doesn't see that the attack will force the Wolves into his hands (plus the Heresy hasn't occured yet so even Magnus might not believe a son could fall). This adds a nice dark side to Magnus, he willing accepted war with the Wolves when he could have had others step in the way.

I'm not sold on the nightmares, it seems similar to Corax's fall. I like the idea of seeing Norm'verse stuff, but dreams just screamed Corax. Maybe one of his own men tells him a story which triggers his imagination. Say that the Wolves had Bard-esque marines who told tales of the past, maybe one seems awfully similar to the fall of the Thousand Sons.

#4
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I think keeping the basic Khorne/Slaanesh rivalry occuring will be fair, regardless of multi-dimentionalness, i think Khorne and Slaanesh will always be rivals.

As for the Dark Angels, although it may just be a considered as a "oh no, that's just a simple mirror image of the norm-verse" i think excluding the blood fued between the two might be nice. The alt-SW already have grudges against the alt-TS and (i assume) alt-WS. At bare minimum exlcluding the DA/SW fued would be nice, at most, maybe work the two legions in a more "positive" light (i use postive loosely, after all, this is Chaos B)).

However the last point somewhat depends on what the alt-DA are akin to in terms of the norm-verse.
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#5
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On the Space Wolf - White Scar thing, I did elude to some hatred, but didn't really go into it;

During this time, the beast led his Legion to such horrors as the Red Highway Massacre, a feat which, even with their bitter hatred of one another, the Khornite Space Wolves respect as a martial blessing almost without comparison



#6
Aurelius Rex

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Thanks for the feedback, guys. :o Have just arrived back from the other side of the country after visiting my parents in Ipswich, so other than brief net access I have not back up to speed on the Alt-Heresy... although reading the new IG codex makes me want to have the Alt-Cadia a homeworld for one (or more?) of the traitor legions - have the entrance to the Cadian Gate guarded by Chaos forces. :)

So I have to get back into the swing of things with this, and properly address the above ideas properly. Off the top of my head, I hadn't thought of consciously inverting things so that the DA and SW were not enemies. It is interesting, but if any legion was going to make enemies with about everyone, it would be the khornate cult legion who would not exactly play nice with anyone! :o Perhaps the DA could be the notable exception to this - it would be a nice twist if we can come up with a reasonable rationale. The DA (Luther) were one of the first legions to take Chaplains from the WB, perhaps Luther's fall was precipitated by it being corrupted into worshipping the chaos Pantheon, and they taught how to structure and direct their worship of Khorne on their shared trip to Terra, and in return the SW respect the DA and are the closest legion they have to 'friends'?
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#7
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Tales of his fate abound among the Space Wolves. All ultimately believe that he will return to them for the Wolftime, the final battle to tear down accursed Terra, and then drown the whole Imperium in blood and fire.

This kind of caught my eye, it seems strange that the blood-thirsting Wolves would have tales. I just see them screaming "He will return" or "Wolftime for the Wolf God" or something akin to that basic level over bardic tales of their Primarch returning. Maybe they don't believe he's dead because they don't believe anyone could kill him.

The DA (Luther) were one of the first legions to take Chaplains from the WB, perhaps Luther's fall was precipitated by it being corrupted into worshipping the chaos Pantheon, and they taught how to structure and direct their worship of Khorne on their shared trip to Terra, and in return the SW respect the DA and are the closest legion they have to 'friends'?

On a side note, I'm not sold on Luther being the fallen and Lion the Loyalist (again), but that is a discussion for IA: DA. I think a DA-SW friendship, for the lack of a better word, would be the best idea. They already hate the Thousand Sons and the White Scars, adding a third would just be too many.

#8
The Angelus Sanctus

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Thanks for the feedback, guys. ;) Have just arrived back from the other side of the country after visiting my parents in Ipswich, so other than brief net access I have not back up to speed on the Alt-Heresy... although reading the new IG codex makes me want to have the Alt-Cadia a homeworld for one (or more?) of the traitor legions - have the entrance to the Cadian Gate guarded by Chaos forces. :confused:



I say go for it!! Why should this particular alt-verse have the Imperium guarding the Eye... I like the idea of Chaos controlling Cadia and using it as its main staging grounds to the regular universe and as the first line of defence for the EoT.

Heck, if you don't plan to blow up Caliban in this verse, the entire sector-area would be partly Chaos owned. I swear the SW and IH have their homeworlds "nearby". Be an interesting twist instead of, "oh, they became traitors, let's blow up their homeworlds".
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#9
Aurelius Rex

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Belatedly getting back to addressing the feedback. ;)

Okay, the Space Wolves really aren't my thing...actually they are down there with the Iron Hands but thats another topic altogether.

I don't think there are any legions that I actually dislike, Phil, although there are some I find easier to get a handle on than others. ;) Russ is not really a problem, but I suspect the Death Guard and Salamanders are the ones I would find more tricky... so hopefully Nick will be able to ace the Vulkan story.

The Emperor; maybe he could lie, never tell Russ that he is a psyker. Russ is dumb enough never to find out, or be easily convinced otherwise. And once The Emperor lets him loose with his own force, why would Russ turn back? This makes it easier for Russ to believe the Emperor has made a mistake (seeing as the Council would prove that the Emperor is a psyker). Believed he has been betrayed, the Emperor capable of lying, Russ takes it into his own hands to do what he feels is right.

I don't think Russ is actually that stupid - in fact he is talked up in the codex as one of the greatest tactical minds in the Imperium - hyperbole, perhaps, but still - and I get the impression that it was widely known then that he was a seriously powerful psyker. Given the avoidable mistakes that the Emperor made in the norm-'verse with his kids, some of which have been avoided in the Alt-'verse, having a completely unforseen problem of The Emperor not realising that Russ distrusted psykers when they meet seemed pretty reasonable... Perhaps The Emperor's fault was that he didn't allay Russ's concerns when they first met or somesuch.

I like the idea of having the Thousand Sons ready for the war, Magnus knowing that the Space Wolves will attack but doesn't want to stop. He can't wait to lash out at the beast at the Emperor's side. Khorne hides his part in it, so Magnus doesn't see that the attack will force the Wolves into his hands (plus the Heresy hasn't occured yet so even Magnus might not believe a son could fall). This adds a nice dark side to Magnus, he willing accepted war with the Wolves when he could have had others step in the way.

I will certainly be putting a skew on it that to make the Space Wolves position seem more sympathetic, and flipped for the following TSons IA to show their perspective. The exact dynamic I am still working on.

I'm not sold on the nightmares, it seems similar to Corax's fall. I like the idea of seeing Norm'verse stuff, but dreams just screamed Corax. Maybe one of his own men tells him a story which triggers his imagination. Say that the Wolves had Bard-esque marines who told tales of the past, maybe one seems awfully similar to the fall of the Thousand Sons.

I see what you mean that overusing the dream thing... Even if it sounds good, there is probably a good reason to hold off using it here, especially if it could come off as a needless gimmick. Good call. :)

This kind of caught my eye, it seems strange that the blood-thirsting Wolves would have tales. I just see them screaming "He will return" or "Wolftime for the Wolf God" or something akin to that basic level over bardic tales of their Primarch returning. Maybe they don't believe he's dead because they don't believe anyone could kill him.

On them telling tales of the past, it is something I am trying to do to differentiate them from the berserker Norm-World Eaters. It goes to the wider topic of how to do this - don't just make them one-dimensional wolfy WE clones - and to be honest the Norm-WE are pretty one-dimensional in the 'Burn! Slash! Kill!' department. I am trying to make them different in their devotion to Khorne... To that end I want to keep their almost bipolar 'quick to anger' side, so that they are not always blood-hungry maniacs. Additionally, I want to keep aspects of their norm-'verse character, such as having oral histories (sagas). I want to tie this in with the fact that the Fenrisians were nomads due to the state of fenris's landmasses being in constant flux. They could not carry books or printing presses, only what they have in their heads. This is an extra reason for them to distrust the soulless book learnin' of the Tsons. They would continue to be nomads after the fall, and keep the oral tradition as a vital - indeed only - method of retaining their history and any information they want to hold onto. They would need to be lucid for at least some of the time for this to work... If they are constantly frenzied they will be indistinguishable from the norm-WE, and in addition be pretty boring to write about. :)
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#10
Aurelius Rex

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I think keeping the basic Khorne/Slaanesh rivalry occuring will be fair, regardless of multi-dimentionalness, i think Khorne and Slaanesh will always be rivals.

Definitely a rivalry is in order. Like the idea that even through it they respect a 'bloody work of genius' in a group they dislike. :tu:

As for the Dark Angels, although it may just be a considered as a "oh no, that's just a simple mirror image of the norm-verse" i think excluding the blood fued between the two might be nice. The alt-SW already have grudges against the alt-TS and (i assume) alt-WS. At bare minimum exlcluding the DA/SW fued would be nice, at most, maybe work the two legions in a more "positive" light (i use postive loosely, after all, this is Chaos :lol:).

Having considered this I think subverting the expectation and having the DA being the only legion the Khornate Wolves get along with is exactly what I want to go with.

I say go for it!! Why should this particular alt-verse have the Imperium guarding the Eye... I like the idea of Chaos controlling Cadia and using it as its main staging grounds to the regular universe and as the first line of defence for the EoT.

I don't have to decide yet, but as a placeholder it makes sense that the former Imperial Fists would be the ones to garrison Cadia. :)

Heck, if you don't plan to blow up Caliban in this verse, the entire sector-area would be partly Chaos owned. I swear the SW and IH have their homeworlds "nearby". Be an interesting twist instead of, "oh, they became traitors, let's blow up their homeworlds".

The proximity of the IH, DA and SW homeworlds is nicely coincidental - I hadn't thought of that. I think I mentioned in the overview that Caliban was destroyed in the battle between the two factions as normal, though have to work on exactly what happened to do it. Fenris is getting punted into the system's star - a destabilisation of its already highly elliptic orbit - which is a fate I have not seen used before. I would imagine that like the Norm-'verse traitors, the Imperium would destroy the Alt-traitor homeworlds as a default position. That is why I like the idea that the WS homeworld doesn't suffer this fate, although it needs a cracking explanation / rationale to make the most of the plot hook. The Norm-Russ 'left' 197 years (check) after The Emperor was entombed inside the Golden Throne... Could have it take the same time for the resurgent Imperium to fight their way through to Fenris. A combination of the proximity to the EoT affecting travel and the violent opposition of the SW would easily make them the last homeworld to finally be 'cleansed'. Sounds good to me!

On a side note, I'm not sold on Luther being the fallen and Lion the Loyalist (again), but that is a discussion for IA: DA. I think a DA-SW friendship, for the lack of a better word, would be the best idea. They already hate the Thousand Sons and the White Scars, adding a third would just be too many.

Hehe, I think we have touched on this before... To a large extent this has already been established in the overview, with Luther taking his Caliban garrison half of the legion to help Dorn at Istvaan, and going turncoat. The thinking was that even though it stay like the norm-'verse as Lion = good, Luther = bad, the twist is that everyone knows that (half) of the legion has fallen to chaos. It makes a change from thinking up a good reason why the primarch would flip. :lol:

The plan is to get the Homeworld section completed tonight... I am in a race with Phil to finish the IA that I am waaaay behind with, so I need to get motoring. ;)

John.
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#11
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Thinking up a good reason for Jonson to flip requires about three seconds. He's the most self-centered out of all the Primarchs. All that has to happen is that he be told no once. :D

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#12
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I can't remember if you kept the idea of the Maelstrom alive in the alt-verse, but perhaps the general EoT area could be a Maelstrom/Expanded eye.

Perhaps with the fortification of Cadia, the Eye managed to swell somewhat forced the Imperium to abandon the destruction of Fenris, Medusa (well i think its Medusa) and Caliban. I think making the Chaos forces of this alt-verse more aggressive may be an interesting idea. I mean, do you really want to recreate the norm-verse in it's alt view but still maintain the idea of this had to be destroyed, that had to be expunged etc etc.

Give Chaos the sector, you know you want to :(
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#13
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Give Chaos the sector, you know you want to

That would be two Chaos-controlled sectors :( The only problem with this is that, well in my opinion, the Alt-Chaos forces are a lot less united than their Norm-'verse counter-parts. The Ultramarines are a completely seperate entity, the Raven Guard and White Scars are not team players. The Salamanders follow Malal, so don't play for Chaos. Sigismund doesn't command any respect from the Traitor-Primarchs, even those seeming more willing to play along. Having them carve out this large empire just seems a bit unbelievable for such a weakened unity force. If Cadian was taken, then it is more likely to be the first gate in Hell over the last of Heaven.

Hehe, I think we have touched on this before... To a large extent this has already been established in the overview, with Luther taking his Caliban garrison half of the legion to help Dorn at Istvaan, and going turncoat. The thinking was that even though it stay like the norm-'verse as Lion = good, Luther = bad, the twist is that everyone knows that (half) of the legion has fallen to chaos. It makes a change from thinking up a good reason why the primarch would flip.

I think it should be considered of changing the DA, if a reasonable fall could be thought of. I don't think sticking 100% true to the Overview article is needed, as some things will need to be changed to fit with the details of the Legions. I doubt people would complain if you 180 on the Luthor-Lion thing. I did think of a half-plan, but I'll contact you about that later.

Also, I will comment on the Space Wolves at some point during today.

The plan is to get the Homeworld section completed tonight... I am in a race with Phil to finish the IA that I am waaaay behind with, so I need to get motoring.

Unless I get distracted, you so aren't going to...ooohhh shiney....

Edited by Ferrata, 20 May 2009 - 10:30 AM.


#14
Aurelius Rex

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The traitor legions are indeed far less organised as Phil has said. I think you are the first person to have noticed this, or at least commented upon it, Phil. :) In addition to his list you can add the C'tan influenced Iron Hands, which probably would be opposing the warp powers. So true to their name, Chaos is completely disorganised. The overview has them finally getting their act together at the end of M41, potentially for a war on Terra.

As to the Dark Angels, I am actually very happy with the path they are set upon at the moment, and really don't want to change it. I know that there may be a reason to retcon things in the overview when there is no other option, but this should be a last resort, and I am happy with the current view of things. :)

If Cadian was taken, then it is more likely to be the first gate in Hell over the last of Heaven.

Ooh! If I can think of a way to work a variant of that line in, consider it stolen, Phil! B)
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#15
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Also, I will comment on the Space Wolves at some point during today.

I lied...

With the Space Wolves and they get angry over being blood-blood-blood (which is good, but doesn't come across in the Overview article), is this a Hulk-esque thing of normal marines most of the time but when they get angry they lose it, or a more Wolverine-esque thing were they are relatively angry most of the time but go into 'berserker-rages'. Actually, I think neither is the best idea, but I think more Celtic-berserker idea would work better (plus I love the idea of Power Armoured Bards!). They are happy-go-lucky guys outside of battle but lose totally and utterly in battle.

Something I've tried to explore my Wings of Death is the older, martial aspect of Khorne and not the blood hungry nature that seems to be number 1 these days. This would mean some changes from the Overview, leaving the Space Wolves less bloodthirsty but it should make a more itnersting chapter whilst leaving the White Scars to be the more war hungry of the chaos forces.

#16
Aurelius Rex

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I am still working on how to represent the Wolves' differences... Some of it is in the new section 'Drowning in Blood' about the Chaotic Dark Angels schooling the Wolves on how to control the 'Blood-tide'. I still need to clarify it though - it stops them just doing a Khârn and just butchering each other when there is no one else around. The way I am planning it, it shouldn't step on anything from the overview piece - it certainly wouldn't turn them into wusses, after all the Khornate cult should be the most aggressive, warlike legion, but it is more controlled than the way the Norm-WE do things. Bard-marines? There may be some genuine bards amongst them, the rest would have some skill in oral history and appreciate it. It would be how they 'brag' about their kills and their 'heroic deeds' to their brothers.

The oral tradition / by rote would be how they would remember how to do technical stuff like repairing things and creating new initiates.

I am also having trouble with the battlecry... using the bards to recite something might be the way to go.


So I have made a good start with the drafting process. The Recruitment / geneseed section, homeworld and the history after the burning of Prospero (Drowning in blood and Scourging of Fenris) is done. There are a bunch of minor changes to make on the above that I want to get done tomorrow, and hopefully a section, even if it is just a short sidebar or something. :lol:

+++Edit 01/06/09: Progress was stalled by trying to work out the kinks in a supposedly 'quick' Skyrar colourpiece. ;) Back on track with more drafted sections like the Organisation section and the new Wold Brothers colourpiece - here they are young Blood Claws that reject the teachings handed down by Luther to direct their worship from self-destructive avenues and split off, to inevitably flame out shortly after - most likely dead at each other's hands!
I will probably transplant some of the Fenris homeworld section up top to the origin. +++

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#17
Aurelius Rex

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Because of a concern about the wordcount, and the endless potential for colourpieces I am finding as I write, I have decided to completely remove the Bucharis colourpiece completely - it was covered in the Word Bearers IA sufficiently anyway.

Similarly I have been trying to work out the best way to present the Skyrar and his Dark Wolves initially coming from the Alt-verse, but being blown into the norm-'verse. Again because of the need to keep the wordcount down, and to link it to the following IA: Thousand Sons the hints will go in the homeworld section here, followed up with a report from a Tsons librarian on the hole it made in the universe, speculating it was a ____ gate, reaching through with his mind and realising what is on the other side, such as the Rubric / chaos fate of the norm-Tsons and slamming it shut forever with a 'spell'.
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#18
Ferrata

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Any chance I can get this in word? I hate doing detailed feedback online and I have no printer at Uni :tu:

#19
Aurelius Rex

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Any chance I can get this in word? I hate doing detailed feedback online and I have no printer at Uni :)

I don't have a fancy copy of this on word other than one I quickly cut and paste in each evening. It should be simple enough to do the same, Phil. I did send you the fancy word IA for the Ultras and WB yesterday, though.

THe plan is to spend a couple of days on this article and get it moving again. Probably starting from origins and working on from there. This may mean more WS feedback will be delayed a little, but it will resume soon.
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#20
Aurelius Rex

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With the Ultramarines posted I have been able to give some thought to the Wolves' origins and Great Crusade sections. Origins is more complete, but both tie in better with the rest of the article.

The big concern is again the word-count. Up to 6K already, so I am going to have to do some serious pruning when the drafting process is complete.

+++ Edit 18/06/09: Jigged some things and the homeworld section looks much better now, and the wordcount has dropped by 200 or so. Tomorrow is two months since I started this article, so longer than the average and counting, so I am highly motivated to get this finished ASAP. :) +++

+++ Edit 19/06/09: Finished the Origins section, started the proper draft on the Great Crusade and tightened the links throughout with the Dark Angels.

The plan is to have at least the historical sections like the Great Crusade (Nikaea) and Burning of Prospero finished by the end of the weekend, along with their associated colourpieces. That would be a major step towards having completed draft. +++

+++ Edit 20/06/09: Managed to complete the Great Crusade section today, so the plan is on track with the Burning of Prospero pencilled in for Sunday. After that there is still sections like and a couple of colourpieces and sidebars, but if I can keep up the momentum I hope to be into the (doubtless extensive) proofreading and editing process within a week. A man can dream, I suppose. :) The word count just under 6.3K, but is likely to leap when the Burning of Prospero is fleshed out. Note to self - brevity is a virtue! +++

+++ Edit 22/06/09: Completed the Burning of Prospero and have managed to explain how it caused him to fall to Khorne. It took another 500 words to do it though... Six sections remain before the serious editing and proofing massacre. The plan is to complete at least one a day, with them all done before the weekend is out. :( +++

+++ Edit 23/06/09: The Collar of Khorne sidebar is done, along with a couple of pages of proofing and tightening. Even with lengthening the sidebar, the word count only goes up about 50 or so. I also remembered that Kyrl Grimblood was AoA, not just after the Heresy, so inserted Jorin Bloodfang (who was Heresy) in his place. Now... Which piece to do tomorrow? How about the 'Fate worse than Death' colourpiece? +++

+++ Edit 24/06/09: Colourpiece drafted. Just Intro paragraph, Beliefs, Combat Doctrine and Battlecry to complete. +++

+++ Edit 25/06/09: Proofed up to the Burning of Prospero (changes added in now) and added a skeleton for the intro paragraph. Unfortunately I am completely unhappy with the colourpiece from last night. -_- As it stands I don't think it adds anything to what had already been said in the Gene-seed section, so I have three choices - 1) Add another paragraph for the payoff, 2) Cut it completely and trim the word count by nearly 300, or 3) rewrite it from the Space Wolves perspective, which might work nicely. Until I decide what to do it is being moved down to the quote below, dropping the word count to 6700.

Colourpiece: A Fate Worse than Death
Only when he was sure the traitor marine was dead did Major Saahar submit to the pain and slumped to his knees near the edge of the ravine. He was broken inside, bleeding freely inside his carapace armour, but he had honoured the name of the Frateris Militaris. In the darkness he could hear the rest of the pack. He was out of ammunition and his chainsword was gone, but he still had faith in his heart. At least he would show them how a servant of The Emperor would die with honour and dignity. Even while the wolves surrounded him Saahar continued to pray. He was aware of his neck being bared by a monstrous ogre of a man, but the killing blow was stayed by the wheeze of a cadaverous wraith.

‘This one has both skill and bravery, and his wounds are all to the front,’ came a voice like a death rattle. ‘And as we are now one brother short, it is only fitting that Ranulf’s killer should take his place among our ranks.’

Rough hands held him in place and a syringe needle stabbed expertly into his neck. The Helix Lupus tore through his bloodstream like burning ice, knitting his wounds back together, flooding his brain with images of blood and skulls and awakening the beast within. The faltering prayer turned to a howl and another loyal servant of The Emperor died. In his place stood a soul taking the first steps in a pilgrimage towards Khorne’s Throne of Skulls.

+++

+++ Edit 26/06/09: Beliefs complete and combat doctrine half done. It's getting there slowly. I will see if I can complete the drafting process tomorrow on the last small bits which will leave the proofing and editing process. +++

+++ Edit 28/06/09: All drafted bar the intro paragraph. Combat Doctrine and Battlecry seem reasonable. For the coming week I am going to closely proof it multiple times. The intention is also to trim it down, but this never seems to work in practice. :) The aim is to drop it by at least 200 words... or at least to stop it going above the 7K mark. :lol: +++

+++ Edit 29/06/09: Proofread and edited out at least a hundred words - total ~6790. Yay! There is still plenty to do but it is good to get to this stage at last. +++

+++ Edit 30/06/09: The first half proof read and edited again. With luck every time there should be less bone-head mistakes and each subsequent pass will get quicker. There are still things like the intro to complete, but I will have a go at BBcoding it up from here. +++

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 30 June 2009 - 11:22 PM.

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#21
Aurelius Rex

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It is coming together now. The last piece to draft is the introductory paragraph, but other than that I have started on the proof reading stage and taken a first stab at BBcoding. Concerning proofing I have given the first half two good passes - though still more are required - while the second half is much rougher.

As before, feel free to pick and poke at it. ;)

John.

+++ Edit 04/07/09: The initial proofread on the second half was pretty extensive and time consuming, but it is now updated. Only the next pass will show if what I changed it to is coherent or not. It is just a week until I disappear on holiday and I really want to get this dusted before then, so the aim for the weekend is to complete the intro paragraph and proof it in its entirity again. However, it seems like however many passes I make at this, fresh eyes always find other problems and ways to improve it. :) +++

+++ Edit 05/07/09: Proofed the whole article and still found lots of little changes, edits and alterations, so another pass is still in order. The word count has dropped below 6700, which is also good. I will see if I can settle on an intro paragraph as well tonight, but time is getting on. +++

+++ Edit 06/07/09: Intro section finally added and a complete proofread that only turned up a few relatively minor changes! That is it for me, but I am sure that some fresh eyes from you guys will see plenty of things that need changing. Two weeks after the 2 month average turnaround time, but I am happy with what I produced which is the important thing. From tomorrow it is full steam ahead for the Thousand Sons and the other half of the story. :) +++

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 06 July 2009 - 06:27 PM.

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Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn

#22
Sigismund Himself

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Leman Russ's early experiences on Fenris left him with an abiding hatred and suspicion of sorcery, a feeling [perhaps 'belief' would work better?]that was reinforced by what he saw [perhaps 'his experiences' would work better here?] during the Great Crusade. Concerned that the Thousand Son’s magicks would lead them to corrupt even The Emperor, the Space Wolves attacked their homeworld to avert a worse fate [perhaps 'this terrible future']. When Magnus's [need the 's' here?]counter-attack brought them to the brink of destruction Russ called out to his father for aid, but his pleas were instead answered by Khorne, the bane of all enchantments. The Space Wolves prevailed by giving themselves over to the beast within, revelling [my browser's dictionary says 'reveling'] in bloodletting and bestial fury. Now, as Khorne’s chosen legion, they have turned on The Emperor who they see as the Arch-Sorcerer. They now [using 'now' again after the last sentence is a bit too repetitive] slaughter all in their path, taking skulls and trophies from their fallen opponents for the glory of the Blood God.

Ancient Fenris, the world onto which the infant Russ came to rest, was a world of violent extremes. Trapped in an acute elliptical orbit, its winters were long and dark, and the gravitational upheaval as Fenris passed close to its sun threw the scattered inhabited islands into turmoil [perhaps mention 'each time', otherwise it sounds like it just happened one. Maybe that's just me though..]. The human tribes were forced to make their living from the storm-tossed seas, building boats from the few trees to survive to maturity and the hides from monsters of the deep. These vessels were vital not just for fishing, but to relocate entire communities to new islands as their own sank beneath the waves. Such a harsh world forged hard and hardy people, nomads, with little care for knowledge that couldn’t be carried inside their heads. Survival meant not just being able to navigate the waves, but to drive the enemy into the sea, be they raiders, or simply a tribe unable to defend, and hence unworthy of inhabiting, the precious islands.

However, it was not these people that the infant primarch was found by, but something far more dangerous. According to Gnauril the Elder’s legendary saga, 'The Ascension of the Wolf King', he was raised in the first few years of life by a pack of Fenrisian wolves, suckling from the she-wolf like a cub and hunting on all fours with the pack. It was these raids that first brought him into contact with the tribes of man. On hearing of the wolves terrorising his vassals, the ruler of the island ordered his bondsmen to bring back their pelts. The pack was lured into a trap set by a wyrd, one of their rune-priests, who planted the impression that one of their number was wounded and crying out for help. Once hemmed in by the steep walls of a gorge, the dense undergrowth was set ablaze with flaming arrows, and the maddened animals slaughtered as they broke from cover.

TThe [two T's there] boy-primarch saw his den-mother charge at the hunters, only to be knocked to the floor by the rune-priest’s eldritch lightning. With a wordless howl of fury he leapt to the mighty she-wolf’s side, scattering the humans that sought to harm her. Despite being struck by many a poisoned arrow, rage and defiance still burned within him. In the end it was the rune-priest’s sorcery that finally rendered him insensible. The wolves were skinned, but the feral curiosity was securely bound and returned to the halls of Thengir, King of the Russ tribe. Seeing a challenge before him, Thengir boasted that he would tame the feral child and teach him the human tongue. Though it started as a humorous wager, the king soon grew to regard the boy as his own son, naming him Leman of the Russ. While he retained a certain lupine savagery, the boy took to his new-found human heritage with aplomb. His extraordinary strength, skill and cunning earned him a dominant role within the tribe, and cemented his position as the rightful heir to Thengir’s throne.

In Leman Russ’s rise to greatness one group found themselves excluded from the king’s councils: the once-powerful rune-priests. Some say that Russ could never forgive what they had done to the great she-wolf who had raised him. Others claim that having only recently gained the power of speech and human reason, seeing the wyrds cloud men’s minds and steal their thoughts seemed to be the worst kind of crime to the young primarch. His instincts were vindicated when the Rune-Priests used their powers to twist loyal members of the tribe to attack Russ and King Thengir. Recognising the taint of sorcery, Leman Russ swiftly dispatched the rune-priests among the group and ended the attack, but not in time to prevent Thengir from suffering a mortal wound.

The freed bondsmen grovelled for their lives at the feet of Leman Russ. They spoke of how their will had been stolen, that they had been nothing but helpless puppets in the attack. They also claimed to have heard talk of the involvement and complicity of other rune-priests, both on the island and further afield. Grimly, Leman Russ bade them stand, and in a voice filled with certainty made the following proclamation:

“To beat someone in a fair fight [perhaps a better phrase is needed here? Like 'on equal ground'] and prove your dominance is only right. To trick your opponent to do so... all the better. But to steal someone’s mind with sorcery; to take from them the very thing that makes them human... that can never be forgiven.

“We will kill them all.” [Quote marks are a bit oddly placed here, might be missing one]

To this end, the tribe of the Russ took to wearing torcs made of solid, dependable iron. A known protective against sorcery, its qualities were further enhanced by quenching the glowing metal in the blood of an enemy. Thus protected, the tribe of Russ, under their newly crowned Wolf-King, had expunged the taint of sorcery from their island and from those of their neighbours by the time The Emperor arrived on Fenris.

Russ’s early instinctual acceptance of The Emperor as his true father was severely shaken when it became clear that He was not just what the Fenrisians would call a wyrd, but the most powerful one in the galaxy. The Emperor patiently explained the difference between wild sorcery and his own tightly controlled psychic powers, but Russ refused to listen. Even the honour of commanding a legion of the Adeptus Astartes was taken as an insult. He coldly accused The Emperor of being no better than the rune-priests who had used others to fight their battles for them, and contemptuously threw the offered golden thunderbolt and lightning sigil to the floor. Russ confronted the Adeptus Custodes who had subtly moved to protect their lord, but The Emperor bade His guards stand aside, and realising what it would take to convince him, issued Russ a challenge.

The Master of Mankind and the Wolf-King fought bare-handed all through that night, and as the sun rose over the wreckage of the lodge-house, the matter was finally settled. The Emperor had shown He was willing to spill His own blood, rather than just demand it of His subjects, and by merely surviving that long, Russ had proved beyond doubt that he was truly one of his father’s Primarchs. All that remained was for The Emperor to establish His dominance without question. With a mighty blow that stunned the assembled crowd, The Emperor struck Russ square in the face and knocked him out cold. Then, to the appreciative cheers of the Fenrisians, the bloodied Master of Mankind placed His golden sigil around Russ’s neck. In doing so, The Emperor formally passed command of the Sixth Legion to their Primarch, known ever-after as the Space Wolves.

[Two 'W's here, one Dropcap, one non-dropcap] When Russ awoke he was a man transformed: at ease with his place as the enforcer of The Emperor’s will among the stars. The legion took the stable and previously unexplored continent of Asaheim as its base and established their Fortress-Monastery, which they called the Fang, at the summit of the highest and most forbidding mountain peak. The original Terran legionaries adapted quickly to their Primogenitor’s whims, and the hardy islanders of Fenris proved to be excellent candidates to take the Helix Lupus and join their ranks.

Though savage and unconventional by the standards of many other legions, the Space Wolves’ innate skills as seafarers and raiders translated well to the role of bringing the lost human worlds into compliance with the Imperium. Russ’s legendary charm, amply backed by the threat of his ferocious warriors, persuaded all but the most truculent planetary leaders as to the benefits of [perhaps insert 'joining the' here. Also, when you say burgeoning, to me this suggest Russ was found relatively early on] the burgeoning Imperium. On occasion the Space Wolves found themselves fighting alongside marines from other legions, and while Russ counted most of his brother-primarchs as firm friends, in the case of the Dark Angels the rivalry was far from cordial. The gregarious and headstrong Russ found Lion El’Jonson to be cold, arrogant and superior, a fact made worse by them having brought a greater tally of worlds into compliance than the young Space Wolf legion. This antipathy spilled over to such a degree that after their shared enemies had been defeated it was common for unseemly fistfights or even blood-duels to erupt.

Despite their complete trust in the Emperor, the culture of Fenris left the Space Wolves eternally vigilant for any taint of sorcery in the worlds they conquered. Where less ‘superstitious’ legions blinded themselves to the truth, the Space Wolves took the same direct and bloody approach to the uncanny that they had on Fenris. It seemed that on every planet they brought into compliance, no matter how tranquil, a coven of wyrds lay hidden like the maggot within the apple. Though the very concept of the daemonic was treated by others at the time as laughable, the Space Wolves saw them for what they were. In the face of mass possession and daemonic manifestation even the oblivion of global extinction was a kindness.

While Russ himself calmed the misgivings of his men over working with aberrations like Astropaths and Navigators, he forcefully forbade battlefield psykers in his legion, and was outspoken about their use by other Astartes. The worst offenders in Russ’s eyes were the Thousand Sons. Their Primarch, Magnus the Red, believed wholeheartedly that psychic talent was the key to Mankind’s future, and used it as an integral part of his war strategy. The first and last time the two legions fought alongside one another, they came within moments of all-out warfare. The experience convinced Russ that Magnus’s explorations into the nature of the Immaterium were nothing more than thinly veiled sorceries of the blackest kind.

Russ was not alone in his concerns, and on the planet of Nikaea the Master of Mankind called a council to stand in judgement on the subject. The Wolf-King was characteristically forthright in his views, and supported with damning testimony from like-minded primarchs such as Mortarion, Corax and even Dorn, Magnus’s fate appeared sealed. When judgement came the Thousand Sons were not only allowed to continue their practices, but also given leave to soul-bind themselves to The Emperor. Fearing that Magnus had used his corrupted powers to influence their father’s decision, Russ stormed from the council and laid plans to save The Emperor from Himself.

Believing that the soul-binding ritual would allow Magnus to poison The Emperor’s essence with sorcery, Russ gathered his entire legion together to attack the Thousand Sons’ homeworld of Prospero. To their credit not a single brother shied away from the terrible thing the Wolf-King had asked of them.

With all of their cunning and skill, the Space Wolves were able to catch the legion of sorcerers unawares, chasing off their fleet and blasting their orbital defences into wreckage before descending onto the planet below. What they found beneath the shining white cities’ veneer of purity sickened the Space Wolves to the core. They uncovered entire libraries of sacrilegious texts, buildings constructed for the sole purpose of conducting black rites, and a populace who openly bore the stigmata of the mutant and the witch. While the Space Wolves drew the noose around the heavily protected capital city of Tizca, Russ had no qualms about ordering sustained orbital bombardments to scour the lesser cities from the face of the planet.

The Space Wolves advanced cautiously beneath the protective shield-curtain, and at first met only scattered resistance. Emboldened, they pressed on, only to find the city itself becoming a labyrinth, as though the buildings themselves were moving and re-arranging to fragment their forces. It was then that the Thousand Sons finally showed themselves. Isolated and unsupported, the Space Wolves were attacked from all sides by balefire and mind-numbing enchantments. Their iron torcs were of little use against such potent magicks, and with his legion dying around him Russ called out to his father, to anyone, for aid in destroying the sorcerers.

The answer came from deep within him. It was the personification of the bestial fury that had boiled inside his soul since he had first run with the wolf-pack on Fenris. It was the part of him that yearned to slaughter whole worlds, to feast upon warm flesh and to swim in oceans of blood. The howl that started at the back of Russ’s throat echoed from the shining towers and was in turn taken up by every Space Wolf in the city. In an instant the enchantments faltered, the insane cartography shifted back to the norm and aetheric lightning guttered and died in the sorcerer’s hands.

Transformed into little more than slavering beasts, the Space Wolves fell upon their tormentors. Only after they had reduced the city of Tizca to a charnel pit did they return to anything resembling sanity. They did so with the name of their saviour on their reddened lips: Khorne, the God of Skulls and Blood, the bane of all sorcery. There were bodies of Thousand Sons among the piles of corpses, but not nearly enough to account for their full numbers. Most tellingly, of Magnus himself there was no sign. Stalking through the rubble of the primarch’s tower sparked a memory of the battle in Russ that changed the legion forever. He remembered fighting the cyclops primarch, trading blows which shook buildings to their very foundations. Just as he had Magnus at his mercy, a figure in golden armour appeared from nowhere and parried the death-blow with an ornate spear. The memory of the heart-strike, only narrowly turned aside by Russ’s thick chest-plate, brought back an ocean of pain, but it was washed away by the joyous remembrance of tearing the assassin apart a second later.

Magnus the Red was long gone, but the corpse of the golden armoured warrior remained. He recognised the man for what he was, a member of the Adeptus Custodes, his father’s personal bodyguards. He also found the remains of the golden thunderbolt sigil that had been destroyed by the Guardian Spear’s thrust. With an iron certainty Russ knew the truth of the matter. From the actions of the Adeptus Custodes, it was painfully clear that The Emperor not only condoned the sorcery that Magnus has perpetrated, but stood proudly with him. Russ also recognised the thunderbolt sigil for the focus of psychic power it most certainly was. While he had worn it Russ had been influenced to be utterly loyal to his ‘Allfather’. After its destruction, Russ could see The Emperor for what he truly was: The Arch-Wych.

With the Thousand Sons gone, Prospero’s shining cities in ruins and its mutant population put to the sword, Russ tasked his legion with an even greater challenge. The whispers of his new patron in his ears, Russ declared that they would tear down the Imperial palace and put The Emperor to the sword.

The news that Rogal Dorn had also seen the light and had crushed three legions loyal to The Emperor roused the Space Wolves to jubilation. It seemed that at last mankind was awaking to the threat, and was rising up as one against sorcery. In a state of high excitement the legion returned to its fleet and set course for Terra to join the revolution. This celebratory mood rapidly soured though, as the legion immersed themselves in the worship of Khorne with riotous bouts of bloodletting and head-taking [doesn't make too much sense, why would their mood sour as they become closer to their god? I get what you mean but perhaps it could be worded a little better]. Worse still, what was always going to be a long journey seemed to be cursed. The tides of the warp had turned against them, slowing their progress to a crawl and sweeping them far off course.

The fleet’s Navigators were blamed, either through incompetence or by intent, yet even the most bloodcurdling of torments failed to right their course. Russ’s realisation that their new-found gifts allowed them to traverse the warp as well as any Navigator put an end to the mutants’ lives, but not to the fleet’s predicament. Cooped up with no one but each other to vent their frustration upon, Russ became concerned they would either arrive too late, or that the legion would destroy itself long before it reached Terra.

Their salvation came from an unexpected source: the Dark Angels. When yet another warp-jump deposited then far off course and within hailing distance of a Dark Angels fleet, the Space Wolves prepared to continue their long-standing feud. Instead they were greeted warmly as fellow enlightened of Chaos. Luther, the Dark Angel’s commander, said that he had personally slain Jonson for the glory of Chaos, and further, claimed to have embraced and studied the Dark Gods in all their aspects. With Luther’s aid, the Space Wolves were able to control and direct their aggression. This was performed in a symbolic bloodletting on the planet of Dulan. Even though the world had sided with Chaos, the two legions tore down the Crimson Fortress of its ruler, the tyrant Durath. The blood pact, sealed with Durath’s evisceration, gave the Space Wolves a deeper understanding of Khorne. From then on, Russ and his brothers had the chance to be masters of the blood-tide rather than its servants.

Both fleets continued onwards, drawing torturously slowly but surely towards Terra. With the two Chaos legions only days from their destination and the war balanced upon a knife-edge, The Emperor was forced into a desperate gamble to attack the leader of the Heresy on his flagship. Though Dorn was killed and the heart torn out of the Chaos legions on Terra, it left The Emperor a broken, mortally wounded husk.

Even with the Chaos Legions in full retreat and the vengeful loyalists eager to avenge their fallen lord, Russ still continued onwards. It was only the sage counsel of Luther that turned him from the path of certain destruction. He said that they must have faith that everything had transpired according to Khorne’s great plan. With the Imperium in such a state of upheaval there was an entire galaxy of skulls ripe to be harvested. The idea that Khorne himself had prevented them from reaching Terra in time did not go down well with the Space Wolves, with Wolf Lords openly voicing their disgust. At last, however, Russ turned them aside, and they set course for Fenris, leaving a swathe of butchered worlds in their wake.

As the Imperium regained its strength it took to reclaiming the worlds which had sided with Chaos during the Dornian Heresy. The ancestral homeworlds of the so-called Traitor Legions were particular prizes for them, but were something that could only be attempted by massed crusades of the loyalist Astartes. Excepting Macragge, which has not fallen to this day, Fenris was the last Astartes homeworld to fall. For long periods it was isolated by swirling warp storms from the Eye of Terror which, as though attracted by the worship of the Blood God, had swept out to encompass Fenris. Still the consummate raider, Russ used the brief periods in which the warp was calm to bring the judgement of Khorne down upon the already weakened Imperium, always returning to Fenris just before ['as the' sounds better to me] the storms descended once more.

Eventually, three years shy of the second century anniversary of the Emperor's entombment inside His Golden Throne, the warp-storms enshrouding Fenris briefly cleared and a crusade launched to assault the world with overwhelming strength. The loyalists had hoped that their relative isolation would have caused the skull-takers to turn upon one another, severely depleting their numbers, but this was not to be.

During the Scourging of Fenris, every isolated island became a battleground. The animals and even the landscape itself seemed to rise up as though driven by the will of the Blood God to oppose the invaders. The war of attrition stretched from weeks to months, but finally, under a burning sun that filled the sky with ominous portent, the Imperial forces broached the walls of the Fang itself. Though there were other legions and indeed Primarchs fighting across Fenris, only the Thousand Sons led by Magnus, the Word Bearers commanded by Lorgar and the Black Templars under High Lord Abaddon set foot inside the Space Wolves mighty Fortress-Monastery.

In the centuries since the Wolf-King and the Cyclops had fought to a standstill on Prospero, Russ had become both a Daemon-Primarch and an Avatar of Khorne. In such a clash no mere mortal could hope to survive, and the Fang’s massive halls were choked with the dead of both sides [What kind of clash? Another rematch between Magnus and Russ, or were other Primarchs involved? It wasn't clear and I'mcurious]. Then, after three days, the loyalist [force] [missing either 'force' or an s on the end of loyalist] simply withdrew and returned to their ships. The only sign the Space Wolves found of their Primarch was his frostblade, Mjalnar, and his massive, empty suit of daemon-armour scattered outside the entrance to his personal temple to Khorne.

Though consumed by the disappearance of their Primarch, there was no time for the Space Wolves to ascertain Russ’s location, or even if he was still alive. The loyalists had fled because the world itself was dying, its ever-eccentric orbit in terminal decay. The Space Wolves blamed the Thousand Sons, claiming that only the foulest of sorceries could have performed such a deed. Bereft of their Primarch, and with their world tearing itself apart, the legion did the same. Some remained on Fenris and slaked their bloodlust by killing whoever they could find before the end. Most took to their ships and were scattered across the galaxy by the tides of the warp, content simply to wreak their vengeance upon the Imperium.

After the disappearance of Leman Russ, the Space Wolves’ fiercely headstrong and independent nature meant that no single Wolf Lord could claim the unanimous support of their peers. As a result the legion fractured into Great Companies, with charismatic Wolf Lords such as Kyrl Grimblood, Hengst Bloodmane and Bjorn the Fell Handed leading their brothers out on disparate, uncoordinated rampages. In time even these allegiances began to fracture. The first to depart were groups of younger Astartes who broke away from what they saw as the staid and complacent rule of their commanders. As death or spawn-hood claimed the original Wolf Lords, feuds erupted amongst those who sought to succeed them. Such confrontations generally end with the victor claiming the skulls of his challengers, but on occasion it has led to the acrimonious breakdown of once-mighty Great Companies.

Newly inducted marines start out grouped together into large packs known as Blood Claws. With the vitality of youth, they rush headlong towards the enemy to spill blood in the name of Khorne. Those skilled or lucky to survive long enough to assimilate Luther’s insights take a more measured, and even more effective approach to battle. These Grey Hunters use stealth and cunning to quietly lope into position, the better to deliver swift death to their unsuspecting enemies. The finest exponents of Khorne’s art rise to the position of Wolf Guard. They are charged with the most important tasks, such as enforcing their master’s will upon a difficult pack, or clearing a path for the Wolf Lord to challenge the enemy’s leaders.

The legion has no love or need for the written word, instead storing all of its knowledge and history in the form of sagas recited aloud. While every brother strives to tell the epic tale of their deeds on the battlefield, the legion’s specialists use it as an aid to complete their own tasks. The Iron Priests consign everything to memory in this way, from the operation of starships to the repair of weapons and armour, while the Choosers of the Slain use the sagas to recall the procedure for the creation of new Space Wolves.

The Space Wolves' ships are crewed by humans referred to as bondsmen. They attend to the marine's needs and even follow them onto the battlefield. Some are cultists of Khorne who have consciously sought out the legion in a vain attempt to prove their worthiness as Astartes. Most bondsmen are simply souls taken captive rather than swiftly killed during raids. In either case such weaklings do not last long before running foul of one of their master’s rages, or becoming food for the Fenrisian wolves on the long journeys between battles.

On the field of battle, the Blood Claws throw themselves madly towards the enemy. In their desire to fight these young marines, often transformed into bestial Wulfen, lose all thought of tactics or stealth. The more mature members of the legion use their years of experience to work their way into position, ready to attack the enemy in its vulnerable flanks. The psychological effect of this cannot be over-estimated. Even the most disciplined gun-line has faltered and broken on the realisation that they face not only an onrushing tide of claws and teeth, but that the enemy is already behind them and slaughtering its way towards them.

While the legion does not intentionally summon daemons, such acts being much too akin to sorcery for their liking, the entities are drawn to the sites of their butchery anyway. Lesser daemons have been observed to burst from corpses or exude themselves from pools of freshly spilled blood to aid in the slaughter. After the fight has been won, and befitting their nomadic nature, the legion and its assorted hangers-on [perhaps a little too informal? Maybe 'serfs' would work better] descend to pick the battlefield clean. Guided by scent the battle brothers return to the sites of their kills to take trophies from worthy enemies. In the case of other Astartes this can include weapons and pieces of armour to replace the damage that inevitably occurs. They rarely repaint it, preferring that it remain as a reminder of their battles, and as a taunting sign to their enemies of their previous defeats.

In their wake come the Choosers of the Slain. They stalk the battlefield selecting skulls adjudged to be particularly prized by Khorne. They also claim the gene-seed of fallen Space Wolves and select those enemies who fought well enough to be saved from the brink of death and forcibly initiated into the legion. Under the direction of the Iron Priests, the legion’s bondsmen are sent out to scour the area for anything of use. As the Space Wolves have little manufacturing capacity, and even less interest in settling down to use it, almost everything they have has to be scavenged, ranging from bolt-rounds to entire Land Raiders. Only when the Fenrisian wolves have return from chasing down and glutting themselves upon enemies that fled in cowardice from the battlefield does the legion start its journey to the next battle.

Back to the earliest days of the legion, the Space Wolves’ method of gene-seed implantation has been brutally idiosyncratic. Since their conversion to Khorne, this has become all-the more acute. After the infant Primarchs had been stolen away and scattered across the galaxy, The Emperor ordered that the legions’ implants be created based upon what remained of their gene-templates. In the case of the Space Wolves, the process was flawed, resulting in extensive and crippling levels of rejection and mutation. A number of alternate therapies based upon their Primarch’s gene-sequence were investigated, but the one finally selected was known as the Helix Lupus. At first the process was almost rejected as it transformed the aspirants into incoherent savages, devoid of all reason. However, when the changes had subsided, it was recognised as the missing piece of the puzzle, reconfiguring the aspirant’s body into a form far more amenable to the quirks of the Russ gene-line.

This was initially conducted under controlled conditions, with subjects restrained throughout the process and intravenously fed with the nutrients required to fuel their transformation. On taking command of the Legion, Russ changed these procedures dramatically. A sterile laboratory was no place for the birth of a Wolf of Fenris, and so immediately after the Helix Lupus was administered, aspirants were dropped into the mountainous wastes of Asaheim. In the midst of the change, these bestial creatures were expected to follow their urges; to hunt down and consume the flesh needed to reconfigure their bodies. They then had to show enough composure to return to the Fang so that the process could be completed and their training begin in earnest.

After the Heresy, the application of the Helix Lupus became even more brutal. On the battlefield, the legion slaughters indiscriminately, dedicating their kills to Khorne, their God of blood and skulls. Stalking through the carnage like cadaverous wraiths are the Choosers of the Slain. Part apothecary, part acolyte of Khorne, they minister to their fallen brethren, deciding if they are worthy to live on, or to yield up their gene-seed and skulls to their god’s throne. The Choosers also select those enemies that have fought with sufficient valour and ferocity, and proved worthy of joining Khorne’s legion. They are touched by the will of the Blood God himself, with skills that far exceed the wit of even the most skilled chiurgeon. Under their ministrations, and with the application of the Helix Lupus, even a mortal wound may be averted.

Once marked by Khorne in this way, the beast within is released, and the long, agonising process of transforming their bodies and minds into those of sons of Russ can proceed. While traditional gene-seed implantation processes require that the aspirant be no older than early puberty, it appears that the ministrations of the corrupted Helix Lupus can allow this process even in full grown adult candidates. It has even been suggested that it can even be used to forcibly corrupt Astartes of other legions to serve Khorne. Though none of the loyal Legionnes Astartes have ever admitted this has occurred with any of their brothers, it would certainly bring a new danger to the prospect of fighting against the Space Wolves; that in doing so they risk a fate worse than death.

In addition to the bestial nature of the Helix Lupus, the Russ gene-line has always exhibited certain quirks, such as their uncannily sharp senses and how their incisors grow long and tusk-like with age. Over the millennia, the warping power of Chaos has bestowed further beneficial changes which boost their already considerable strength and brutality. Under the watchful eyes of the Choosers of the Slain this process has been being guided to bring them ever-closer to their ideal of the perfect killer.

Fenris, the place of the legion’s birth, was a death-world even before it was claimed by Khorne. Its islands periodically sank beneath the waves, forcing the population to brave the kraken-haunted seas in search of new homes. The fertile volcanic soils allowed them to grow crops in season to see them and their animals through the long, cold winters, as well as grain for the brewing of ales.

The planet’s sole continent, Asaheim, was the only place insulated from this tectonic upheaval. Permanently raised up above the battering seas, its coast was a single precipitous cliff-face, which meant that the first time humanity was able to set foot there was with the arrival of the Imperium. The animals that stalked the forests and mountain peaks of Asaheim were no less dangerous than those found in the oceans: bears, mammoths and most dangerous and iconic, the Fenrisian wolves. Packs of these had even been found on the islands, hunting the livestock and inhabitants, and well able to brave the seas in search of fresh prey.

Though Fenris died when its erratic orbit plunged it deep into the heart of their sun, a more subtle death occurred when Russ returned after the Heresy. Those that would not dedicate themselves to Khorne were culled and the turbulent seas ran red with the blood of the ‘unenlightened’. The twin losses of both Primarch and homeworld shattered the legion into warbands which set off on the sea of stars in search of new planets on which to ply their murderous trade.

On occasion these warbands tire of the Imperium and gravitate to the Eye of Terror to test their blades and take the skulls from worshippers of the other gods of Chaos. Like many other Legions they have claimed a world there, though not as a home, but a shrine. It is to this dead world, far beyond the prying sensors of the Imperium’s null-ships, that the legion comes to make their offerings to Khorne. The mountains of votive skulls stretch up into the daemon-haunted clouds, a pile they say that supports and raises Khorne’s throne higher with every death. In a realm where the warp and the material plane intersect, who is to say that they are wrong?

Unable to accept that their ancestral home is truly gone, some Space Wolves are drawn to return to the Fenris system. This knowledge has been used by the Imperium, and in particular the Thousand Sons, to bring them to battle. The presence of the legion’s blood-enemies desecrating the site of their homeworld is an insult that no true son of Russ could ignore. Many a Space Wolf warband has gone willingly into the teeth of such a trap, the most glorious being the fate of Wolf Lord Skyrar and his Dark Wolves. They destroyed three escorting frigates, and even with their ship debilitated by wild magicks, were able to ram the Thousand Sons’ battle barge and catastrophically breach its warp core. Long after it had closed, the echoes of Skyrar’s Rift still pulse through the Fenris system as a sign of their defiance.

Since their enlightenment at Prospero the Space Wolves have dedicated themselves to the worship of Khorne, slaying entire systems in his name. Without the structures of faith gifted to them by Luther, their wild, self-destructive excesses would long-since have driven the legion to extinction. As a mark of respect, the Dark Angels are one of the few of the Chaos Legions the Space Wolves are willing to fight alongside. They usually prefer to fight alone, confident that even while heavily outnumbered, they are more than a match for their opponents.

While the fate of Leman Russ is unknown, every Space Wolf has a theory. Some say that, like Roboute Guilliman, he was captured by the Imperial primarchs and returned to Terra in chains. Others say that he was banished to the warp, or that his very essence was annihilated by Magnus’s psychic power. They all agree, however, that even death itself will not be able to prevent Russ from returning to reunite the legion for the final great battle – the Wolftime. Some believe that with the forces of Chaos gathering and finally organising themselves for an almighty attack upon the Imperium, that the End of Days is at hand, and that Russ’s return is imminent. Having been denied setting foot upon Terra during the Dornian Heresy, they believe that no power in the universe could prevent him from taking his part in the final destruction of the Arch-Wych.

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All done. I think I got everything, though my eyes were blurring a little at the end due to the time of night here so I may have missed something.

#23
Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

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Many thanks for the feedback. That looks really in-depth! :) It has been almost exactly two months since I finished this article so it will be interesting to see how fresh eye - both mine and yours - make of the Space Wolves. I will also have to see how well it complements the Thousand Son version of events!a about
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Index Astartes: Scions of Dorn