"Out of the grip of heresy will rise a new paradise, one free of repulsive Chaos. That is the task before us, and the Emperor bids us begin." First Chapter Master Ervard Brodin on the arrival of the Red Lords at the Rucio System.
The Red Lords were created during the Tenth Founding with the goal of thwarting the spreading shadow of corruption in the Galactic North. The chapter would be proud bearers of the gene-seed of Corax, and led by Ervard Brodin, former Captain of the Raven Guard's Second Company. A proud and zealous man, who put his duty before all else, he filled the Chapter with a determination to not only succeed in their missions, but to excel. As soon as the Chapter reached full strength, the Red Lords went immediately to the Rucio System to ward off possible taint of that region by the forces of Chaos. The system itself was near the border leading to Segmentum Obscurus, and would be the ideal place to start their campaign. Eager to prove themselves in their first mission, the Red Lords were utterly determined to transform the Rucio system into an incorruptible sanctuary amidst the darkness. The Chapter resolved that no one would escape their judgement - even the slightest of heretical infractions would find no forgiveness.
They began their purge of the Rucio System at Venicia, the outermost planet, and though no overt Chaotic influences were found, worship of the Emperor had grown to include a being known as Zecnat, Lord of Immortality. The Chapter noticed this obvious heresy and brutally purged all traces of Zecnat's worship from the planet, from worshippers to temples. They moved on through the system, at each world finding more heretics than the last. All met the same fate, much to the concern of Rucio's Governor-General, who grew increasingly nervous as the implacable marines approached his palace on Cestelion, the paramount planet of Rucio.
Cestelion should have been the jewel of the Rucio system, a devout paradise which dedicated its every action to The Emperor. But when they arrived, all the Red Lords could see about them was evidence of treachery. Shrines to Zecnat littered the cities and towns. Cultists roamed the streets unafraid, sporting the cult's insignia brazenly. The Governor-General was confronted by Chapter Master Brodin before the city's magnificent temple to The Emperor, and accused of allowing heresy to fester. The Red Lords stated simply that either all trace of Zecnat would be purged from the capital by sundown, or the entire city would be reduced to ash and rubble. The Red Lords pulled back from the city, and watched the gates intently. They made certain that nobody was able to enter the city or more importantly, to leave it.
As the day wore on, sounds of conflict begun to echo within the city, and the Astartes moved in. They quickly found that a large portion of the population had rebelled, fighting to the death in the name of Zecnat and defiling the Imperial churches. The Red Lords left the city, ignoring the Governor-General's plea for help. After citing the Governor's own weakness and impurity for the resultant corruption, the Red Lords fulfilled their promise by having their artillery reduce the capital to rubble and ash; the bodies of loyalist and traitor alike destroyed utterly beneath the pitiful remains of the city.
Chapter Master Brodin and his men saw this mission as a failure - that Chaos should take even the smallest of holds on a supposed bastion of the Emperor's will was an abomination. The Red Lords knew all too well now the fragility of the human mind, and how weakness of the mind could create more catastrophe than weakness of the body. The Red Lords renewed their vows to drive impurity from the Imperium, and to eradicate all traces of the taint of Chaos.
The Red Lords faced many insidious, secretive cults in their early days - enemies lurking within the heart of Imperial cities and forces, hiding like rats before the judgement of the Red Lords. Gradually, the chapter grew away from the ways of the Raven Guard, striking at targets boldly, almost daring their enemies to attack them in the open.
"Either all days are holy, or none are. Either way, we must remain vigilant. There is no time for feasting or celebrations whilst impurity exists." Chapter Master Vaulther on banning the annual celebrations held on the day the founding of the chapter.
By the time Chapter Master Brodin was slain in battle many years later, it had long been decided his replacement would be First Company Captain Mordrim Vaulther. Vaulther was considered the 'voice' of a large faction within the Red Lords who were embittered with the failure of humanity to fight Chaos. Try though they might, the influence of the Enemy seemed to grow at every turn. Frustration at the lack of success in driving out Chaos turned slowly to contempt and anger in the hearts and minds of the Chapter.
With Vaulther's rise to power, he exercised his extraodinary charisma, winning all but a handful of the chapter completely to his ideals. The new Chapter Master had decided the only true bastion against the predations of Chaos were the Astartes. However even they, as the Red Lords were aware, could be fallible. From that time onwards, the Red Lords percieved themselves protectors of a fragile, foolish species. Vaulther concluded that if the Space Marines were all that stood against Chaos's domination, the fall of even a single Astartes not only weakened the chapter, it weakened the Emperor's grip on the Imperium - which was unacceptable. The new leader of the Red Lords vowed to do everything in their power to minimize losses in battle, and his men quickly altered their strategies to mostly include artillery strikes - from orbit or from the surface of a planet - to all but destroy an enemy force before closing for the kill. Only the few miserable beings that survived the explosive barrages would earn the glory of dying at the hands of an Astartes. Vaulther also proclaimed that rather than lurking in the shadows, like the despicable minions of Chaos, an Astartes should stand tall and proud - defying enemies to come forth and receive judgement. This last edict was the cause of much clamour and concern from within the chapter - were they not sons of Corax, the man who risked his own legacy for the sake of the Emperor and Imperium? The man who made shadows his domain and weapon of choice? However, over time Vaulther's eloquent speech and dedication to his principles wore down his opposition's misgivings - and the success of his approach could hardly be denied. Under his rule, the Red Lords flourished.
Vaulther's dedication to purity was absolute - banning celebration days from his chapter and insisting on at least two hours of every day spent in solitary meditation for every marine. In his mind, only purity marked the difference between the fallible minds of humanity, and the guiding light of the Astartes. It is a testament to his charisma and fervour that he was able to convince the chapter that his way was the only way. Many scholars assert that by this time the majority of Red Lords had lost faith in humanity and were easy to steer, though the truth of this is uncertain. In any case, even though Vaulther died in battle one hundred and ten years after his rise to power, the edicts he made whilst in charge have been enforced by chapter masters ever since.
"While meditating today, I remembered the place I came from. I remembered how the people quaked with fear at the thought of the Red Lords. As they rightly should. " Seventh company Sergeant Ulthur Gatlock.
Though the planet of Cestelion was almost completely purged, a few colonies of people who followed only the Emperor's truth remained. The same can be said of many planets in the Rucio system - here and there small colonies consisting solely of those found to be pure enough by the Red Lords cling to survival. It is from these colonies that the new recruits of the Red Lords are now drawn. Cestelion was a civilized world, with large, isolated cities. Between these are thick forests, rugged mountains, tundras and deserts, marking the planet as a superb site for the Red Lords to train new recruits. The native Cestelions, like many other surviving people in the Rucio System are a fairly hardy breed, made hardier by the stark reality of having to hunt for food and resources, since the destruction of most of the industrial cities by the Red Lords themselves when purging the System. These practices, along with the close monitoring of the planets by the Red Lords for signs of impurity, make the Rucio System an ideal ground from which to draw young recruits. However, the number of recruits who successfully complete the training is relatively small, thanks in part to the diminished populations of their native worlds. This is compounded by the fact that the Red Lords are exceedingly thorough in their selection of potential members. The tests run by the chapter last upwards of two years in total before a potential member is even inducted into the Tenth Company.
The population of Cestelion have learned to both revere and fear the Red Lords. Those who fail the chapter's intermittent purity checks are never seen again, and even those who pass such tests are frequently mind-wiped. There are literally thousands of rumours and stories whispered about the chapter - but not too loudly, lest the Red Lords hear them and deem the words impure. When the Red Lords come to recruit, however, the people of Cestelion organize competitions, under the instructions of the chapter, to see which children are most worthy of being recruited. After the Red Lords leave with the best available recruits, the population is permitted to celebrate modestly, and the Astartes and their new recruits return to their fortress monastery. The Fortress Monastery, known as the Red Crown, lies deep in the mountains. Only the Red Lords know its precise location, and new recruits are transported there sedated, leaving them in the heart of unknown lands when they awake.
The Red Lords infrequently recruit from suitable planets as they are found, and only under the most dire of circumstances. The Red Lords are careful to distance themselves from mortal men, knowing the uprising on Cestelion could easily happen again without due vigilance. As a result, Marines generally spend most of their lives serving aboard the chapter's fleets, ranging wherever they detect traces of Chaos in order to eradicate all vestiges of the Great Enemy.
"Our duty now is to stand firm; the enemy must know that here we will stand, and here he will never take hold."
2nd company Captain Adgar Raithlund.
The Red Lords often choose to fight in a way infrequently relied upon amongst Astartes, preferring sustained artillery attacks to cripple an enemy before closing to finish the attack against their targets. The infantry of the Red Lords pride themselves on patience and marksmanship, and many of the veteran marines have also spent much time in the chapter's Whirlwinds at one stage or another in their lives. The Red Lords have not forsaken close combat, recognizing it as an effective way to eradicate enemy forces once the firepower breaks them, but it is by no means the specialty of the chapter. Unlike their parent chapter, the Raven Guard, the Red Lords seldom rely on stealth other than to pinpoint loacations for artillery attacks. The Chapter propounds the theory that excess deceit and trickery are too close to the domains of Chaos, and that without Corax himself to oversee such conduct, the constant imitation of such tactics bear risk to the soul.
Occasionally the Red Lords will enter combat alongside Imperial Guard forces, generally participating by co-ordinating artillery strikes on enemy positions. Other times, the Red Lords arrive on the battlefield unannounced, and carry out their own plans - almost always using the guardsmen as bait to draw enemies out for the Red Lords to destroy. Survivors of these 'co-operative assault' conflicts are notoriously both rare, and exceedingly wary of Astartes.
Whilst the Red Lords strive to preserve humanity, the Red Lords will purge cities down to the bedrock if a heretic is said to shelter there. Cities that know the Red Lords are coming often round up anyone they can find who has questionable views in an attempt to deflect such forceful wrath.
"Our numbers matter not, for our purity gives us the strength and valour of thousands." From the Red Lords' prayer chant "Valour", said in the hours before battles.
The Red Lords are a codex adherent chapter when at full strength. However, nearly constant conflict and a slow recruitment rate have drained the available number of marines in the chapter, and presently they have numbers enough to operate eight functional companies rather than ten - although marines from the diminished companies still bear their company's number. The reserve companies are presently somehwat smaller than usual due to this lack of able-bodied marines. The Red Lords are further hampered in their efforts to recover their numbers by the number of recruits who fail the extensive testing and screening even before admittance to the Tenth Company, leading to a smaller pool of Scouts to serve the chapter.
The number of Whirlwinds in the chapter is larger than average, thanks to some ceremonial exchanges of armour with other chapters, allowing each of the active companies to deploy more artillery. It is sometimes speculated by scholars that the heavy use of hypno-conditioning on the chapter's recruits has taken its toll on the Red Lords' ability to react quickly as a force. The unifying factor in almost all of the Chapter's defeats is the use of enemy stealth and surprise attacks. Ironically, many of these same scholars postulate that if the Red Lords chose to follow closer to the footsteps of their parent chapter, many of these losses could have been avoided.
"If a thousand civilian lives must be spent so that a heretic dies, then those lives were spent in the Emperor's name." Chapter Master Mordrim Vaulther.
The Red Lords believe themselves the sole guardians against the lures of Chaos, as they believe not even other Astartes maintain sufficient dedication to purity. Although some other chapters in truth follow an equally dedicated number of rituals and prayers, The Red Lords see any deviation from the path they walk as risking corruption. When in co-operation with other Astartes, the Red Lords are quick to preach the worth of purity, although this advice is seldom acted upon, to the concern of the Red Lords. Since their creation the Red Lords have combatted the wiles of Chaos, and their beliefs were strongly reinforced by Mordrim Vaulther and a succession of Chapter Masters who stood by his ideals. Since Vaulther's tenure as Chapter Master, purity has become uppermost in all aspects of a Red Lord's life - they must be pure of thought, word and deed. Impure thoughts beget heresy, and many Red Lords are known to sternly punish themselves for their own infractions. The punishment for the breaking of oaths or vows made in the Chapter is almost always death, though some warriors have been offered the chance to atone for their failings by leading charges in the coming battles.
Also key amongst the Chapter's beliefs is a reverence of the Emperor and the loyal Primarchs; recongized as heroes whose purity allowed them to resist the Ruinous Powers, irrespective of the cost to themselves. The Red Lords are fiercely proud of Corax, Primarch of the Raven Gaurd, as it is from this genetic line that they descend. The 'flaws' usually associated with the Raven Guard are seen by the Red Lords as the necessary removal of unworthy organs, arguing that neither one contributes truly to what makes a Space Marine great.
"There is no flaw in our Geneseed. Only a means to judge the unworthy." Third Company Captain Admund Black.
Descended from the genetic line of Corax, the Red Lords take fierce pride in their heritage, even if their battle tactics do not reflect those favoured by their Primarch. The Red Lords know that Corax compromised his geneseed to bring his legion back up to fighting strength - but they see it as the lesson which he left them. Purity must be paramount - any other choice can have far-flung and devastating consequences. Corruption must always be met with extermination, and no cost is too great to destroy utterly the heretic. The Chapter often boasts that the gene-seed of Corax is most efficient of the Primarch's gene-lines for rooting out the impure, claiming those who fail the implantation process harbour impurity deep in their hearts. Questions adressed to the chapter about the state of their geneseed are always met with either stony silence or contempt, but the samples kept by the Adeptus Mechanicus are in no better condition than any other Raven Guard successor.
"At the distance from which we will strike them down, it matters not which war cry we sound." Sergeant Vallai of the Fifth Company
The Red Lords seldom make use of a formal battle-cry, although the chapter's motto of "Where purity fails, we strike!" is often recited by squads when engaging in close-quarter combat.
Updated! - 25/05/2011 (English date)
Any opinions, praise, scornful mockery or C&C of the ideas above is more than welcome.
Edited by Ace Debonair, 31 July 2012 - 10:08 PM.