If this looks OK, I was planning to post this on the board. After that ideally it would be the third 'Ultramar themed' legion, (after the WB and UM) the Alpha Legion, but I don't know if that will give Sigismund Himself time to complete it... So how about a month or so later you unleash the White Scars, Phil?
Bear in mind that, as before, this has been written from a skewed perspective, sympathetic to the legion in question. For example, they regard The Emperor as dead, and so it is stated as such in the IA, in opposition to the skewed perspective of the other loyalist IA's like the Word Bearers.
Manipulated and betrayed first by the Traitor Legions, and then by the Imperium, the Ultramarines now stand defiantly against both great powers. From their fortified realm of Ultramar Segmentum, the legion and its successor chapters watch with pity as the Imperium falls ever-deeper into superstition, ignorance and corruption. Built firmly upon the inspired organisational principles of Roboute Guilliman, they patiently gather their strength for the day they will invade Terra and re-unify humanity under their own benign rule.
Imperial scholars claim that this was simply The Emperor seeking to protect His sons until they could finally be reunited. However, the Ultramarines believe that the Master of Mankind deliberately engineered the dispersal so that the Primarchs would be able to experience life among common humanity in their formative years. Furthermore, they propose that Guilliman was intended to be found and mentored by Konor in his unique style of leadership and organisation.
As befitting the son of a Consul, Roboute Guilliman was intensively tutored, and rapidly absorbed every scrap of knowledge on offer, before taking his place at the prestigious Agiselus Barracks in Macragge City. There he was trained in the military arts, and in short order outstripped his fellow students and even his instructors. With nothing left to learn, he graduated, and re-took his place alongside Konor. It was clear that Guilliman's gifts for the practice and organisation of warfare would be of great use in battling Macragge's enemies, both on and off the planet. Proving that their faith in him was not misplaced, Guilliman delivered an unbroken series of military victories. This culminated with the complete destruction of the pirate fleets that had long-plagued the space-lanes between Macragge and the nearby systems with which it had remained in contact.
At a banquet held in honour of Guilliman’s achievements, Konor’s co-consul, Gallan, proposed that an ancient Macragge tradition be re-instituted: After performing some great deed for the nation, a feted hero would be rewarded with the opportunity to carve out territory of their own. What new lands they could conquer for the kingdom, they could keep. Gallan proposed that Illyrium, Macragge's wild, bandit-haunted northlands, would be the perfect challenge and reward. Its savage barbarian tribes had never been pacified, and although they attacked the expedition with unparalleled fury, within six months Guilliman had bested each of the tribal leaders in single combat and earned their respect and fealty.
The conclusion of this stunningly successful campaign was tainted, however, by the news that Konor had passed away, and that as sole remaining consul Gallan had taken command of his holdings. Gallan sent his condolences, but also commanded that Guilliman and his forces leave Illyrium at once to swear allegiance to him. Guilliman returned as requested, but was horrified to see the state of disrepair that his adopted father’s former lands had fallen into in the few short months of its new consul’s stewardship. So it was that when he stood before Gallan, he defiantly refused to kneel.
Before the assembled nobles he stated in no uncertain terms that Gallan was not the only Consul; that before them stood the Consul of Illyrium, as laid down in the ancient traditions Gallan himself had invoked. Gallan had no more hold over him than the stars themselves. With that, Guilliman returned to the north at the head of his large, battle-tempered army, and after such a display of martial strength, no more talk of fealty was heard from Gallan.
Free from the restraints of tradition, Guilliman forged his own vision of civilisation. Within a decade the barren wastes of Illyrium were home to industries and military forces that put those of the rest of Macragge to shame. By the time The Emperor arrived at Macragge, drawn by tales of the nation that Guilliman had wrought, Illyrium was firmly the centre of political and military power on the planet. In comparison, Gallan’s stagnant holdings were a mere backwater. The reunion of father and son, and the relocation of the thirteenth legion of the Astartes to the planet merely reinforced Guilliman's position as the true leader of Macragge.
The worlds under their control became closely knit, with an identity as much Ultramarine as it was Imperial. With each new world, these Ultramar planets grew in military strength and cultural influence. Often their reputation would precede them to such a degree that invading forces would be welcomed on their arrival by cheering crowds rather than armed resistance. Eventually their expansion reached so far that it began to come into contact with worlds brought to compliance by other Imperial expeditions. Recognising the superior way that Ultramar was run in comparison to the staid, inefficient Administratum, an increasing number quietly petitioned to join them. There were even calls from some planets on the Eastern Fringe to rename Ultima Segmentum as Ultramar Segmentum.
This led to bitter exchanges between the Administratum and the Ultramarines. The legion was charged with instigating these petitions and of undermining the Imperium. This was strenuously denied, but the defiant Ultramarine representatives said that they would continue to lend their expertise to those Imperial planets that requested it. The war of words escalated to the point where, at the Jhalta conference, high ranking Administratum officials accused the Ultramarines of attempting to take control of Imperial worlds by stealth. During a particularly heated exchange, a member of the Administratum even dared suggest that they had turned their backs on The Emperor. With the meeting seconds from descending into violence, Guilliman himself entered the room. His superhuman charisma and presence calmed the tense situation, and by the end of the conference the Administratum representatives had accepted the Primarch’s intentions as benign. Many were even discussing organisational theories with him and taking notes. It appeared that the misunderstanding had been resolved.
According to Dorn, since The Emperor had withdrawn to Terra, He had become increasingly isolated, and this had been played upon and twisted by sinister forces so that He had refused to see even His own sons. Dorn said that behind closed doors the misunderstandings with the Administratum had been manipulated to the point where their father had become convinced Guilliman was on the brink of seceding from the Imperium. The situation had spiralled out of control, and in a fit of rage, The Emperor had commanded that a vast battle fleet be assembled to tear down Ultramar Segmentum. When disquiet was voiced at the prospect of brother marines, indeed brother Primarchs, trying to kill one another, The Emperor had decreed that anyone who opposed the order be declared a traitor and be put to death.
And so it was that Dorn came to approach the fringes of Ultramar Segmentum in command of the Imperial fleet. The Emperor’s mind, he said, had been clouded by lies and paranoia, and while Dorn had been able to convince several of the Primarchs over the course of the journey, Corax, Fulgrim and Angron had been beyond reason. As repugnant as it was, Dorn proposed that their legions could be ‘neutralised’ by ambushing them at the newly compliant Ultramar world of Istvaan V. Dorn also revealed that the Word Bearers and the Alpha Legion had been ordered to strike deep into the heart of Ultramar Segmentum. To seal the pact, Dorn transmitted to Guilliman the projected routes of the Alpha Legion and Word Bearer fleets so that they could be more easily tracked, and eventually countered.
Seeing no other option, with a heavy heart Guilliman agreed to Dorn’s plan. His legion, supported by those that Dorn had been able to convince of The Emperor’s folly, crushed the Raven Guard, Emperor’s Children and World Eaters on Istvaan V. With knowledge of their transponder codes, the Ultramarines were able to target the landing ships and drop pods before most of their occupants could even set foot on the planet. The few that survived fought like lions, and while they were no match for the forces arrayed against them, a handful still managed to escape back into orbit, carrying with them word of the rebellion.
Dorn and his legions prepared to leave Istvaan, but before they departed the two brothers met one last time. Guilliman offered the renegade legions asylum within Ultramar Segmentum. Dorn thanked him for the offer, but said that he had to return to Terra to explain his actions to The Emperor. Dorn warned that those manipulating their father were experts in the arts of twisting the truth, and the same people who had whispered falsehoods against the Ultramarines would doubtless begin to spread their black propaganda against Dorn and his comrades in the months to come. Whatever news might reach them, Dorn urged Guilliman to remember their friendship, and to trust in him.
With that, Guilliman bade them farewell and good luck. As much as he desired to return to Terra and help free his father from the malign forces that surrounded Him, Ultramar was still under attack from two full legions of Astartes. Every marine, indeed, every citizen of Ultramar Segmentum would be needed to defeat them.
Within their own borders, the fleets of the Word Bearers headed arrow-straight for the heart of Ultramar Segmentum. Thanks to Dorn’s warning, the Ultramarines were able to assemble sufficient forces to intercept their ships before they reached Macragge. Denied their primary target, Lorgar’s fleet turned its fire on any planet they could find. They seeded Calth's star with arcane minerals that quenched its celestial fire and plunged the planet into eternal, icy night. Quintarn fared little better. With the zealots’ threat of exterminatus hanging over them, the entire population were forced to pluck out their eyes. Even to this day, Quintarn is known as the ‘World of the Blind’. What Lorgar’s legion lacked in tactics it more than made up for with religious fury and a fanatical determination never to give up, whatever the cost. They did horrendous damage, and the Ultramarines had to expend great effort simply to prevent the Word Bearers from massacring entire civilian populations.
The Alpha Legion’s approach to warfare was radically different, yet just as deadly. Where Lorgar’s assault was a battering ram, destroying all in its path, Alpharius was a debilitating poison that spread insidiously through Ultramar Segmentum. The enemy were seemingly everywhere, disrupting the command structures of each world they touched through assassination, disinformation, terrorism and sabotage. Worse, they were like ghosts: working through networks of human agents and maddeningly difficult to bring to the field of battle. In any realm other than Ultramar such an approach would have caused widespread paralysis and thrown every world into selfish isolationism, but Guilliman’s organisational teachings saw them weather the worst of the storm.
Eventually, Guilliman ran Alpharius to ground on the world of Eskrador. To throw his brother Primarch off-balance, Guilliman forewent his usual tactical caution and instead attempted to beat Alpharius at his own game. Taking the enemy by surprise, Guilliman’s force hit them from multiple directions at once, overwhelming them and cutting off all chance of escape. With no other option, the cornered Alpha Legion had no choice but to engage in a conventional battle, and though they fought fiercely, they could not stand against the Ultramarines.
After a duel that seemed to last for hours, Roboute Guilliman finally executed Alpharius for his crimes at the foot of the Amanthi cliffs. Rather than being a catharsis, Eskrador proved to be a pyrrhic victory for the Ultramarines. Many great heroes of Ultramar, such as Captain Orar and Lord Kharta, Regent of Talassar, died to achieve it, yet the loss of their primarch did not stop, or even significantly slow the insurrectionist cancer the Alpha Legion had spread throughout the Segmentum.
Better news came when the Word Bearers broke off their attacks on Ultramar’s core worlds and set course back towards the Imperium. It seemed that the zealot's will to fight had been broken. In time it became clear that this had been sparked by the death of The Emperor, although it seemed that Dorn and his side of the civil war had also been defeated. Despite all that had happened, Guilliman still grieved for his father, but he knew that this was merely a pause in the larger conflict. Wounded and bleeding though the Imperium was, it was only a matter of time before their vengeful gaze turned back towards them. War production was redoubled, and a metaphorical “Curtain of Steel” was thrown around the Ultramar Segmentum.
Seeing the rise in corruption and ineffectiveness of the Imperium after The Emperor’s death, Guilliman refined and codified his thoughts in his organisational masterpiece, the Codex Ultramar. As well as laying down how civilian authorities should be structured, it also decreed that his own legion would have to be sub-divided into more self-sufficient units to cover the vast areas of space under their protection. The Grand Companies were reorganised and renamed as ‘Chapters’ of the wider Ultramarines Legion, with Chapter Masters given far greater autonomy. In this way, Guilliman created a structure that was tied closely to the worlds they protected, but was still able to call upon the rest of Ultramar when faced with overwhelming threats like Imperial crusades.
This was put to the test when they came under attack from hideously perverted forms of marines bearing the insignia of the legions they had fought alongside at Istvaan. It was accompanied by an explosion in the number of bizarre, brutal cults within their borders. Although this was initially attributed to a new ploy by the Alpha Legion, it soon became clear that it was something far more dangerous, as the full, hideous nature of the Warp was belatedly uncovered by the Legion’s Librarians. As though the reality of daemonic possession, the existence of the Ruinous Powers and their ability to corrupt even Astartes was not shocking enough, it also brought the sickening realisation of how Dorn had manipulated them, and their view of the civil war. It became horribly clear that the fanciful tales from beyond the Imperial borders – tales that had been dismissed as nothing more than black propaganda - contained a bitter kernel of truth.
The realisation of how he had been used by Rogal Dorn was devastating for Guilliman. Dorn had played expertly on Ultramar's isolation from Terra and the misunderstanding with the Administratum for his own ends. Guilliman's trust in his brother had been used to make him complicit in the destruction of three loyal legions at Istvaan, and pushed him into choosing the wrong side of the uprising against The Emperor. The blood of his father was on Guilliman’s hands, and this realisation threw him into a bout of black depression and anguished self-reflection. This development concerned his men deeply, and when he emerged from isolation, he made two announcements. The first was the aching certainty that history had repeated itself. It had always been thought that Konor’s death had been accidental, but in light of Dorn’s plot to isolate Guilliman in his attempt to kill The Emperor and snatch power, Gallan’s actions became far clearer. From sending him far away to Illyrium, to the speed with which he took control, it became obvious that the man who had adopted him had also been murdered. Under the glare of scrutiny Guilliman’s assertions were rapidly proved correct and the name of Gallan and his line were cursed across the whole of Ultramar.
Guilliman’s second announcement was even more shocking. They must heal the rift between Ultramar Segmentum and the Imperium. Despite all the blood that had been spilled, they must reunite to overthrow Chaos, the Great Deceiver. Much to the consternation of his lieutenants, Guilliman opened up a détente with those who ruled in the Emperor’s stead, and the world of Prandium was chosen as the place for what should have been a historic meeting.
Instead, it was the site of a cowardly ambush under the flag of truce, and the last, best hope for peace between the realms was squandered. The Imperial delegation lulled them with warm words, and discussions between the two sides appeared to be progressing well, until the massed ranks of Imperial Astartes tore into their Ultramarine hosts without mercy. Guilliman was the target of their ire. In his final report as head of the primarch’s Honour Guard, Kaisus described cutting through the press of bodies, only to see Fulgrim of the Emperor’s Children strike his Lord Guilliman down from behind. The two were then obscured in a cloud of acrid fyceline smoke, and when it had cleared, both were gone.
They had both been whisked away into orbit, and though the Ultramarines hounded the Imperial fleets all the way back to the border and beyond, they could not rescue their primarch. Only later did they find out the awful truth, that the Imperial forces had trapped Guilliman in a stasis field a moment from death as a special torture, and that he had been brought to Terra as some grisly spoil of war.
This atrocity destroyed forever any chance of reconciliation between the realms. It was clear that the Imperium could never be trusted, and that it would not rest until every last Ultramar world and citizen was enslaved. From what they could glean from their covert agents and from refugees who fled across the border, the Imperium was trapped in a downward spiral of superstition, corruption, inefficiency and brutality. Without the Master of Mankind, the Imperium was slowly dying, but like any badly wounded beast it could still be lethal in its death throes.
Though it is but a fraction of the Imperium's size, Ultramar Segmentum continues to be ordered, productive and efficient, which enables it to support its vast military. It is also enlightened, tolerant and cultured, a far cry from the bigotry and closed-minded repression of the Imperium. This is why refugees take such risks to reach it, and the reason that populations fight so hard against being taken back into the corrupt and brutal Imperial fold.
There have also been many calls down the millennia for Ultramar to undertake a crusade of its own. Not just to liberate border worlds, but to mount a strike deep into the rotten heart of the Imperium and stop the attacks once and for all. This is also motivated from a burning desire to storm the gates of Terra and finally reclaim the body of Guilliman from his stasis prison. They passionately call for his release, allowing him either to die with dignity, or to be healed, so that he might lead the reunification of the whole of humanity into a new era of enlightenment.
The last of these calls came just over two centuries ago in 740.M41. A large number of new successor chapters had just been founded, and the Lord of Macragge, Marneus Calgar, seemed set to decree just such a crusade to rescue their Primarch. This bold plan, though, was derailed by the arrival of the Tyranid Hive-mind from beyond the galactic fringe. These implacable aliens devoured everything in their path, stripping whole worlds to the bedrock in their hunger. This first hive-fleet, designated ‘Behemoth’, was only stopped by a Segmentum-wide deployment of forces, and the sacrifice of the bulk of the Calth Battle-Fleet. Despite this, the Tyranids succeeded where the Imperium had failed so many times, by landing forces upon the surface of Macragge. Enemies and allies alike took advantage of the devastation, with Orks, the Imperium and even the previously friendly Tau encroaching into Ultramar space.
This stopped calls for an attack on Terra in their tracks, and for a short while after the Realm of Ultramar contracted. These events were shrilly proclaimed as being ‘judgements of The Emperor’ by the Imperium’s Ecclesiarchy, and these calls rose to fever pitch in the last decade with the emergence of a second Tyranid Hive-Fleet, code-named ‘Kraken’.
But Ultramar Segmentum does as it always does: It endures. Strengthened by the lessons learned in the struggle against the Tyranids, and infused by technology gleaned from their wars with the Tau, they will rise again, all the stronger for their trials.
To ensure that the high quality of Ultramarine gene-seed is maintained, each of the legion’s chapters regularly tithe samples to a facility deep beneath Macragge’s Northern Polar Defence Fortress. There it is tested for any sign of deviation or genetic drift, catalogued and stored. This process has been invaluable in replenishing the gene-stocks of chapters that have suffered catastrophic losses, and during the founding of new successor chapters to expand the borders of Ultramar Segmentum.
As befits the world where their Primarch, Roboute Guilliman, fell to earth as an infant, Macragge remains the heart of Ultramar Segmentum. The First Chapter’s Fortress-Monastery still dominates the northlands of Illyrium, and from there the chapter master rules with beneficence. Like every world in their culture, Macragge is home to a great many military academies, and through the halls of these hallowed institutions have passed countless generations of Astartes and Segmentum guardsmen. The most venerated academy is the Agiselus Barracks in Macragge City, where Guilliman himself was trained.
While Macragge houses the first and greatest of the Ultramarine chapters, many other planets such as Orpheus and Ulixis have the honour of hosting one from the original legion, or one of their many successors. Of the core Ultramar worlds, the frozen planet of Calth and the shrine-world of Prandium, where Guilliman fell in battle, have both housed chapter monasteries. Over the millennia, Calth has grown into an orbital shipyard second only to the Segmentum Navy dockyards in Kar Dunaish. After Hive Fleet Behemoth came so close to devouring Macragge, a successor chapter, the Lamenters, was founded on Prandium. Sadly, both they, and another successor, the Scythes of Guilliman set to guard the outer rim, were completely destroyed in the Second Tyrannic War against Hive Fleet Kraken.
Despite now being deep inside the borders of Ultramar Segmentum, Istvaan V has continued to be a frequent target for Imperial attacks. Though it has become a veritable fortress-world, it still holds a special attraction for forces headed by the Emperor’s Children and World Eaters. Sadly, they seem unable to grasp that the Ultramarines were as much victims of Dorn’s Great Betrayal as they were.
Since the schism that tore humanity apart, the worlds along the border with the Imperium have been ringed with defence platforms and are under constant patrol by fleets of warships. It has been called a ‘Curtain of Steel’, and is certainly a formidable barrier, yet despite the Ultramar Navy’s best efforts, raider forces still slip past them to prey upon the more settled worlds beyond. There are even wars within the Segmentum’s borders, from skirmishes against the Tau beyond the Damocles Gulf and the omnipresent threat of Ork infestations to the insidious rabble-rousing of the Alpha Legion and the minions of Chaos. Every Ultramarine and every successor know all-too well the threats that face the Segmentum, but with courage and honour, they will endure.
Each of the legion’s chapters and successors has their own copy of the Codex, each with different changes and additions to reflect their own circumstances and experiences. The original, unamended version, written in Guilliman’s own hand, is stored in the deepest vaults of the Fortress-Monastery on Macragge, and is, like its author, preserved in temporal stasis. This incalculably valuable relic is retrieved only for the inauguration of a new chapter master. By placing his right hand on the fragile book, he signifies his intention to rule by his Primarch’s tenets and wishes.
The most important examples of changes to the Macragge Chapter’s annotated Codex in the last millennia are those concerning the best uses of heavy rail-gun technology, and the extensive tactics built up to combat the extra-galactic menace of the Tyranids. Before any additions to the Codex are allowed by the Chapter’s Librarians, the prospective author must be able to recite, and show a thorough understanding of, Guilliman’s original text. In this way their Primarch’s philosophy and intentions for the Codex have been protected down the millennia.
The second to fifth companies are the main front-line fighting strength of the chapter. In line with the balanced approach laid down in the Codex, the ideal is for each of these battle companies to contain six tactical squads, supported by two devastator squads and two assault squads. The Chapter’s first company is composed of the veterans. Clad either in Tactical Dreadnought armour or power armour, these marines are tasked with the most deadly missions, and by their example inspire all those around them to great feats of heroism. Although a Chapter of the Ultramarines is composed of only a nominal thousand Astartes warriors, these are only the tip of the spear. The chapter master is in effect the military governor of every world under his domain, and so also commands every Ultramar guardsman, Navy ship and auxilia, and when the Ultramarines go to war, so too do they.
They see The Emperor as one of the greatest men who ever lived, and the father of their Primarch. However, despite the proclamations of the Ecclesiarchy, they know that The Emperor is long dead, and have no respect for the incompetent thugs that rule in His name. For all of this, their attitude towards the Imperium is one of distaste and pity rather than hatred. Their true loathing is reserved for the servants of the Chaos Gods, and especially the Traitor Astartes, who have given up all semblance of humanity. Only once they have the full resources of mankind, though, will they finally be able to extinguish the Ruinous Powers from the galaxy.
Edited by Aurelius Rex, 12 June 2009 - 08:21 PM.