"A plan that rigidly ignores the ability to adapt is a poor plan. Adaptability brings victory." Chapter Master Luciard Aleas.
Founded in the seventeenth founding, the Twilight Talons were assigned to the Karise system, a small, tight cluster of planets beyond the furthest edge of the Shroud Stars. The Twilight Talons arrived there with the single, firm purpose of reinforcing the Steel Dragons and Red Lords in their exploration of the Shroud Stars. Chapter Master Odien Grendt chose for his chapter the homeworld of Mirada, which like many worlds in the Karise system, was a wilderness paradise. What seperated it from the others, however, was that Mirada was dotted with hardy tribes of hunters - an ideal base from which to draw recruits. The Fortress Monastery of the Talons was built in a crater, deep in the heart of the Rezula mountain range, at the heart of the thickest forest on the planet.
It was mere weeks afterwards that scouts discovered something which would bring great peril to the planet - an old temple, deep in the forest, overgrown with moss and ivy. At the core of this temple was an Eldar beacon of some kind. The Talons destroyed the temple, lest it's presence attract the alien race. It was only a month later when a second beacon was discovered, on the nearby world of Shasa. The Talons sent a strike force down to destroy the temple, again. This time, however, there was no victory to be had. Eldar forces appeared suddenly - striking as though from thin air and wiping out the squads assigned to the destruction of the temple. As more Twilight Talons moved to reinforce their brothers, closing from two sides in a pincer movement, the Eldar assaulted both groups of marines - striking them with alarming speed and vanishing, taking out one marine at a time until all of them were dead. Chapter Master Grendt, aboard a nearby strike cruiser, ordered his marines to pull back, out of the forests. His chief librarian, Martane Rivas, was able to sense a great psychic energy in the forest, although precisely where, he couldn't say. Grendt marshalled his forces, beaming down to the planet directly, and went back on the attack. He had lost almost all of the seventh company, but still had the entire third company, and marines from both the ninth and tenth with him. The battle was fierce, but the Eldar were as ghosts that day - punishing the marines from everywhere at once, seeming to vanish without trace every time Grendt's men made a counter-attack. Eventually the space marines had no choice but to pull back. They had lost all but fifteen of the marines on the planet's surface. Grendt, one of the few survivors, vowed revenge. He later went back with his chapter's battle barge, the Horizon, and launched a massive orbital strike on the temple. For many years, the Talons were harassed by Eldar attacks on every world in the Karise system, including their homeworld. In each battle, the Eldar inflicted more casualties than they sustained, no matter what approach Grendt and his men tried. During the defence of their fortress monastery, Grendt himself was killed by an Eldar sniper. The new chapter master, Luciard Alaes, sought, as had his predecessor, inspiration in the holy book of the codex.
Aleas spent the first month of his tenure as Chapter Master reading and re-reading the codex, meditating, and planning strategies. The Eldar were gaining ground, however, and time was short before another attack on Mirada was inevitable. Aleas emerged from his chambers one day, radiating a sense of direction that had long been lost to the Twilight Talons. He spoke to his men of a vision, granted to him in his time of need by the Emperor himself - revealing that the way was there, if only they knew where to look. He ordered his librarians to focus themselves, and divine the next move of the enemy. The Techamrines quickly compiled a database containing all known details of the Eldar attacks that the chapter had previously suffered, and it was on this database that the librarians meditated.
The next battle would be decisive. The Eldar attacked the Twilight Talons again, in their fortress monastery. This time, however, as soon as the Eldar appeared, it was into the closing jaws of a cunning trap.
While the eldar were deploying from their ships, in orbit, The Twilight Talons had moved their fifth and sixth companies into space nearby, aboard two of the chapter's strike cruisers.
The Twilight Talons then deployed their entire second company in secret, masking their movements with the powers of their librarians. The Eldar, when they attacked, were beset from both front and back - the second company closing in from the back, and marines from the first, fourth, and ninth companies fighting a brutal attack out of the fortress monastery itself. The strike cruisers, as per their instructions, closed in quickly, destroyed the engines of the eldar ships, and retreated to a safe distance. The battle was long, and difficult - even though they were surrounded and harried from two fronts, the eldar were formidable enough to hold ground for many days in the mountains. Although the Eldar could no longer retreat aboard their ships, they fought with skill and desperation. Eventually, however, the Twilight Talons claimed victory over their beleagured foes, under the crimson light of the setting sun, atop the high peaks of the Rezula mountains.
That battle was the first of many victories over the Eldar. The Eldar would devise new strategy after new strategy, and so tactics of the chapter grew more and more intricate - focusing smaller squads on distant targets, either to draw away enemy firepower, or to cripple the enemy's main assault. In the siege of the jungle world Gathari, for example, the Eldar's offence was broken by a sneak attack on their reinforcements on the neighbouring planet of Oltha, where the Eldar's ships had gone to pick up more troops from a hidden outpost. The Talons then deployed assault and scout squads to attack the Eldar's base of operations, deep in the forest. The assault marines stormed in, using melta-bombs to disable tanks, and as the enemy roused themselves to intercept the threat, the scout marines picked off as many exarchs and vehicle drivers as they could before all the marines vanished into the forest. The eldar's lack of reinforcements meant they could not launch any decisive attacks, and the Twilight Talons marched to victory.
Such powers do not come without cost, however, and the Librarians of the Twilgiht Talons live noticeably shorter lives than those of many other chapters. They frequently die in their sleep, or their mind simply loses all control and reduces them to gibbering wrecks. The recruits who show psychic potential are highly prized - and on the occasions when psykers do not pass the chapter's initiation tests, the Twilight Talons, out of repsect for the power given to the potential recruit by the Emperor, release the recruit back to his people. This practice ceased, however, when one recruit, a youth called Valar Gane, filled with jealousy and rage, suberveted a large portion of one of the tribes against the Twilight Talons. When chief librarian Maskar Lundram sensed this, the Talons closed in overnight. Gane and all his followers were found dead, outside the town walls, the next day. Gane was draped with a cloth, on which the message "The fate of heresy" was written. The cloth was pinned to Gane by a knife.
Late in their campaign against the Eldar, the Twilight Talons recieved help from the Infinity Knights, another Space Marine Chapter assigned to the area around the Shroud Stars. The leader of the foreces sent to assist the Talons was Chaplain Euval, a respected veteran of many battles. The Chaplain, however, was astounded at the methods used by the Twilight Talons, saying they "consorted with sorcery" and "distasteful, over-complicated tactics".
Chapter master Aleas shrugged off the accusations, saying all they did was with the guidance of the Emperor. The Twilight Talons as a whole have emphatically rejected claims of sorcery - their power surely comes from the psyker, amplified by the genetic heritage of the Emperor. Librarians are watched rigorously from their inception, to their final moments. The Infinity Knights were also outraged that an Astartes chapter would so openly embrace both "excessive" use of camoflauge, and use of "sorcery" to mask their movements from enemy sensors and psykers. The Twilight Talons stoically ignored the over-zealous rantings of the fanatical chaplain and his men on this matter. "The Emperor's will works in different ways, even amongst brother Astartes," was the only response that Chapter Master Aleas gave to the chaplain regarding this subject.The chaplain and his men, however, were decidedly uneasy throughout the campaign, and relied only upon the brutal, sledgehammer attack tactics that the Infinity Knights favoured. In more than one battle, the Infinity Knights would attack before the Twilight Talons were fully prepared, meaning not only did they lose more Space Marines, but several key Eldar figures escaped the battles, living to fight another day. The final battle was heralded with the first truly spectacular loss the chapter had seen in centuries - the Twilight Talons struck three outposts at once, with the Infinity Knights assisting in the attack against the largest. Chaplain Euval and his men attacked before they recieved the signal from Chapter Master Aleas, meaning the Eldar had chance to ready themselves, and repel all the Talons' attacks. Chapter Master Luciard Aleas died in the following siege, and his successor, Arta Grandall, was less than happy about the substantial losses sustained by both chapters.
"We are the sabre of the Emperor - we cut into the heart of the enemy. That is our mission, Chapter Master!"
"His Sabre?" Grandall laughed aloud. "Your tactics are more befitting of a blunt hammer, Chaplain. As is your understanding. Go back to the system you came from - your help is no longer required." Chapter Master Grandall turned on his heel and walked away, leaving the Chaplain and his pitiful number of men to reconcile themselves with their mistakes.'
The planet of Mirada in the Karise system is a beautiful, temperate, forest paradise. There are lakes and mountains in abundance on the planet, but only one ocean. The planet is littered with feral tribes. While Eldar presence on the planet may date back thousands of years, it is clear that Mirada was at one time an Imperial world simply from the beliefs of the tribes. Many of the tribes, upon the arrival of the Twilight Talons, still had ceremonies and festivals that revolved, in one form or another, around a man called the "Skyfather" and his angels. Of course, now everyone on the planet follows a more traditional Imperial creed.
There are many large, dangerous animals on Mirada, which hunters often stalk for days, weeks, or even months, learning their ways and habits, making it easier to defeat them. A number of the Twilight Talons' librarians have remarked on the ironic similarity to the chapter's own approach - the key ideal behind both is to know your enemy well.
The Twilight Talons fight like phantoms - countering enemy attacks almost before they begin, or attacking multiple, simultaneous targets in order to weaken a strong enemy presence. The driving thesis behind the chapter's approach is "Adapt and Overcome", which is also the chapter's motto. Often they attack enemy outposts for seemingly no reason, only for it to prove a vital step in defeating an enemy force many battles later.
Assault and tactical marine squads are preferred for this work, and the chapter makes less use of it's tanks and devastator squads than many other codex-adherent chapters.
In battle, one difference is use the of knives by the chapter. The knife is favoured as a 'silent kill' option, and all marines are adept at throwing knives. Many marines frequently carry two or more knives for this reason. Captain Ralu of the third company is notorious for carrying no fewer than five knives, which, according to rumour, he throws at enemies to mark targets for his men to strike down.
The Twilight Talons place a great emphasis on the Codex, and follow it as closely as possible. Often marines are rotated in and out of active and reserve companies, serving under many officers to broaden further the military experience each marine has. The chapter carefully avoids going over the codex-listed 1,000 marine limit as often as possible, even though there are no shortage of excellent recruits on Mirada.
The only deviation comes from the use of scouts - members of the tenth company are often deployed alongside marines from other companies as their armour is more suited for covert actions. Although suddenness rather than stealth is the calling card of the Twilight Talons, some of their operations rely on such tactics.
After the Red Lords and the Infinity Knights took to the Shroud Stars and identified a small rift in the warp, being utilised by a faction of the Traitor Night Lords, the Twilight Talons lent themselves willingly to the campaign. To date, the Twilight Talons have had the greatest success against the devious Night Lords, thanks perhaps to their experience at fighting enemies of a roughly similar discipline.
The Twilight Talons are the only chapter to have a permanent presence in the Shroud Stars at present - presently the third company is holding firm on the death world of Alterion. Recently, however, the actions of the Night Lords have become harder and harder for the chapter's librarians to predict, leading to higher losses against the Traitor Legion.
The Twilight Talons venerate the Emperor as a truly incomparable warrior, and his sons the Primarchs as masters of the disciplines they adhered to. Of all the Primarchs, the chapter venerates Guilliman above the others, as not only is it his gene-seed that the Twilight Talons carry, it was he who penned the Codex. The chapter follows what they percieve as the driving message within the codex - adaptation is the key to victory.
The Twilight Talons take pride that they are one of the chapters descended from the noble Ultramarine Primarch, Roboute Guilliman. The Adeptus Mechanicus reports concerning geneseed tithes indicate no flaws in the geneseed of the Twilight Talons thus far.
Each company has it's own battle cry, often dictated by the Space Marine leading the company. The battle cry of current Chapter Master, Arta Grandall - and thus the first company - is thus;
"The Emperor's Talons rend His foes!"
Edited by Ace Debonair, 08 February 2010 - 08:51 PM.