"This is the legacy of our Primarch - that we continue to fight in the name of the Emperor against the crowding darkness. Before I go to join Him, and stand ready for the final battle, there is one last request I make of you. Take this broken shell, and harvest from it anything that may still function to give my brothers the strength to continue our Primarch's legacy." - Thought to be the last words of Chapter Master Cassar Thadrus, Infinity Knights
"Sometimes in death, we can achieve even greater things than we did in life." - Captain Rall Hamir, Infinity Knights Second Company
The new Chapter would be led by Captain Cassar Thadrus, formerly of the Ultramarines' Second Company. Somewhat surprised by the honour, Thadrus vowed to take his mission to heart, setting forth as soon as possible to put his new brothers to work. The Infinity Knights were assigned a homeworld, Ashar, in the Saias system. Previously noted by Inquisitor Tarret as an eminently suitable world for Astartes to recruit from, Ashar was only a short distance from the space that would later be claimed by The Storm of the Emperor's Wrath. Almost as soon as they arrived there, the Infinity Knights departed in search of battle. All throughout the sector, Space Marines and Guardsmen alike found the call for help answered by the Space Marines of the Infinity Knights. The Chapter seldom fought alone in these early years, instead reinforcing Imperial forces across a hundred battlefields.
Chapter Master Thadrus' tenure as an Infinity Knight was regrettably short. He met his end on the surface of Laucus' World, fighting the vile Dark Eldar. His last wishes were simple - for his body to be frozen, and any worthwhile organs harvested to replace damaged ones in his brother marines. This simple request struck a chord within the Chapter - numerous dying marines would plead for a similar fate, until eventually the Chapter's Techmarines were forced to modify a chamber on each Strike Cruiser and Battle Barge to accomodate the willing dead in a form of cold storage.
The practice of replacing damaged organs spread throughout the Chapter over time. Eventually, this practice expanded - lost limbs would frequently be replaced with arms or legs taken from fallen warriors of the Chapter, rather than replaced with bionic parts. Although outsiders find the practice unnerving, or even reprehensible, the Infinity Knights see it as a way of honouring the dead - even past the boundaries of their mortality their strength of arm, or keenness of eye earns them honour after honour. Dreadnoughts, too, became prized by the Chapter, for a similar reason. Using these sacred machines, a Space Marine could essentially conquer the domain of death, and defiantly live on past the time alloted to him.
Over time, debate rose in the ranks of the Infinity Knights, calling their mission into question. Some amongst the Chapter felt that they should be travelling further afield, aiding Imperial Forces over a much larger scale. Others felt that the Chapter should stay true and steadfast to the original mission dictated to it by only fighting in the sector surrounding their homeworld. Some amongst the dissidents proclaimed that the Infinity Knights could never be true to their mission without expanding their area of influence. The numbers of those in favour of travelling afar grew with each recruitment cycle, and unrest threatened to rear its ugly head.
Eventually, after years of debate, and with the unanimous consent of the Infinity Knight's Captains of the time, a new, altered interpretation of the Codex-approved Chapter formation was put forward. Since that time, the Infinity Knights have earned a reputation for honour and valor, the Wandering Companies throwing themselves into conflicts alongside Imperial forces across almost the length and breadth of the galaxy whilst their brothers earnestly protect their homelands.
"Death is not the end of honour". - Chapter Master Algren Irames, Infinity Knights
The death of Chapter Master Thadrus, all those millenia ago, left a profound mark on the Infinity Knights, who found a deep and satisfying meaning in the simple request of their mentor. The spread of marines donating their bodies to the apothecarium rose with startling quickness, but quickly became just another part of ordinary procedure for the Chapter, and is now surrounded with ritual customs and practices both seen as ancient and hallowed by the Infinity Knights. Cybernetic parts are infrequently seen within the Chapter, although organic replacements are quite commonplace, especially amongst older marines.
The Chapter's views on death are also somewhat unusual - marines whose organs or limbs are used after their death to repair injured brothers are said to gain a portion of every honour that the repaired marine earns from that point onwards. Dreadnoughts are seen as an extension of this - allowing a worthy marine to surpass his alloted lifespan and continue to serve the Emperor in defiance of the boundaries of death.
Battle-Brothers whose limbs or organs have been biologically replaced frequently engrave or paint the names of their donor-Brothers on their armour. An evolving tradition within the Chapter is to paint or engrave the names of organ donors on the inside of a marine's armour, rather than the outside. In recent times ,one increasingly frequent behavioural fault has surfaced within the Chapter; sometimes older Infinity Knights suffer from mild bouts of schizophrenia, usually borrowing mannerisms or personality traits from their donor-Brothers, or answering to their donor-Brother's names as well as or instead of their own. Occasionally afflicted Battle-brothers also find themselves using 'We' rather than 'I' as a personal pronoun.
The Infinity Knights' fervour in the pursuit of their mission has also burnt itself into the Chapter psyche. They respond to any Imperial call to arms with zeal and haste, diving into even the most dangerous of battles without further thought. Though this approach has cost them dearly in lives, through these actions the Infinity Knights have forged good relations with the Adeptus Mechanicus, Imperial Guard and even some of their brother Chapters. On some occasions, Strike Cruisers have returned carrying no more than a dozen marines. Sometimes the Cruisers never return at all, leaving their true fate unknown to the rest of the Chapter. The losses of life on these missions, so far from home, is still a cause of some tension within the Chapter, for some Infinity Knights still disagree with the decision to wander so far abroad.
The Infinity Knights, like most Space Marines, venerate the Emperor as the pinnacle of Humanity's potential. Guilliman, as the Chapter's great ancestor, is held somewhat above the other Primarchs. However, the Knights hold all the loyal Primarchs in good esteem, feeling each represents both a being of truly steadfast honour, and a legacy of great servitude to humanity.
"I admire their courage. They seem to rush in where even other Angels of Death would hesitate to tread." - General Teve MacLyn of the Glasgham First Regiment
The Infinity Knights, while fundamentally reverent of the Codex, tenuously adopted an altered Chapter formation to better deal with their changed perception of their mission. The 4th and 5th Companies would take up the mantle of 'Wandering Companies', using the Chapter's Strike Cruisers to reach further out into the stars. Whenever a Wandering Company returned home, they would replenish their ranks and exchange roles with another Battle Company, allowing a fresh division the chance to serve Humanity and The Emperor further afield. The most notable difference is that each Wandering Company is given the right to induct any worthy recruits discovered on their travels into an ad-hoc Scout formation. These recruits are then admitted to the Tenth Company on their return to Ashar.
When a Wandering Company returns home, there is usually a brief celebration in honour of their success, then a period of re-arming and re-organizing before the Company leaves again. Often the returning Wandering Companies will rotate various members back into the ranks of the Battle Companies. This serves the dual purpose of allowing more marines to experience combat in faraway places against a myriad of new foes, and allowing the marines with that experience a chance to utilize their new knowledge in defence of their home.
Apothecaries are highly prized in all companies, for only they can perform the difficult surgeries used to replace damaged or failing bodyparts with those of the fallen. Such is the importance of the role to the Infinity Knights that the Chapter has expanded its Apothecarium to accomodate a greater number than commonly seen in Codex-adherent Chapters.
The Infinity Knights also boast a higher than average number of Dreadnoughts, gifted over the centuries by the Adeptus Mechanicus as rewards for battles fought alongside explorator fleets. These treasured machines are always treated with utmost reverence and looked after with extreme dilligence - a practice that has earned much respect from various factions within the Mechanicus.
"The enemy will be quick to guard his weaknesses, allowing us to crush that which he thinks secure." - Captain Bruc Haedar, Infinity Knights Seventh Company
The doctrine of the Infinity Knights on the battlefield is simple - strike enemies hard and fast. The Chapter, to this end, often engineers its strategies in favour of a single, fatal attack, most frequently revolving around the deployment of the Chapter's Dreadnoughts to 'tear the heart from the enemy' and break down their strongest forces. It is worth noting that the Infinity Knights sometimes take higher losses than other Astartes Chapters, as this strategy is occasionally employed even when not an optimal way to achieve victory. The Infinity Knights' unusual views on death, however, mean that they do not neccesarily view this as a drawback.
After victories, the Infinity Knights are known to linger for long enough to gather their dead and bring them before the apothecaries, a duty usually supervised by a Chaplain who chants litanies to ensure the continued purity of the lost marines.
"This is the world I came from, and here I will be buried. But my life will be spent amongst the stars." - Sergeant Raul Dussan, Infinity Knights Third Company
Ashar, the main recruiting world of the Infinity Knights, is a large planet, substantially bigger than Holy Terra. Much of its landmass is barren desert, with widely scattered mountainous regions. Humans mostly survive in two ways on Ashar. Either by seeking cover in the mountains, on the slopes of which vast, sheltered cities have evolved; or by travelling in tribes across the desert. War between cities, or between tribes, is commonplace on Ashar.
The Infinity Knights themselves have taken an active hand in influencing their homeworld. Junior members of the Apothecarium are required to spend several months travelling from city to city, or from tribe to tribe, practicing and teaching such medicine as required by the Asharans. As such, the people of Ashar have an inbuilt respect for doctors and medicine, and to raise a hand in anger against one can have dire consequences. It also means the Asharans have advanced in the field of medicine - in many cases showing an understanding of biology and medical science that belies their primitive technology.
The Infinity Knights hold recruitment trials out in isolated, desolate locations, accepting volunteers from all walks of life to try and earn their way into the Chapter. Those that arrive at these trials in the deserts are made to work with members of other tribes or cities, and pitted through gruelling challenges designed to test the limits of the human body. Those that pass these tests are considered eligible for recruitment, and taken via thunderhawk to the Fortress Monastery, built into the side of a cliff near the north coast of the largest continent.
An old Asharan tradition amongst the city-dwellers is that dead warriors are buried in the valleys that run between the mountains, their graves marked by a spear driven into the ground. Whilst the Infinity Knights have taken to ritually freezing the bodies of their fallen brothers, the technology used to do so is not perfect, and over time even those carefully managed and frozen body parts can suffer damage that renders them useless. In homage, perhaps, to that Asharan warrior tradition, whenever a Company returns to Ashar, the remains of any dead Infinity Knights borne by the Company are buried in vast caverns beneath the Fortress Monastery. Most frequently, the bodies have many functioning organs removed prior to the burial, and kept for as long as possible in the specially modified storage rooms aboard the Company's vessels. A popular rumour amongst Asharans is that on the day the Emperor walks again, he will restore the dead Astartes from the depths of Ashar, made whole and incorruptible, to serve alongside him once again.
"In life and death both, we carry and represent the legacy of our Primarch." - Apothecary Asir Sciran, Infinity Knights Tenth Company
The geneseed of the Infinity Knights comes directly from the lineage of the Ultramarines, the sons of Roboute Guilliman. It is considered a link not only to the Primarch, but to all heroes from any Chapter descended from this noble lineage.
However, over the centuries, a minor flaw has revealed itself in the geneseed - older Astartes are occasionally prone to a slow degredation of the organs that mark a Space Marine. For the most part, the failing organs can easily be replaced with working ones via surgeries, so as yet this flaw has not directly claimed any lives within the Chapter. While much study has gone into determining the cause of this degradation, Apothecaries, Librarians and scholars alike are yet to find the source of the problem. Theories that the geneseed's recent degredation are linked to the schizophrenia developing in the Chapter's veteran circles are presently considered groundless.
Updated 01/10/2011 (English date)
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Edited by Ace Debonair, 02 October 2011 - 09:01 AM.