Warriors of the Veil, Slayers of the Eldar.
"There is nothing in this galaxy as dangerous and deviant as the Eldar. They are a race without conscience, without soul. They may wear a face like that of Man, but it conceals the mind of an alien. You may ally with them, thinking them your friends, but they will turn on you, devour you, and when you die, it will be to suit their vile machinations. And your death will be the deserving death of the traitor." -Captain Rai Debonachi, Sons of Lightning 3rd Company
Founded in mid-M34 in response to repeated Eldar attacks in the Veiled Region, the Sons of Lightning are a mobile, fleet based chapter born of the gene-seed of Rogal Dorn. The Emperor's Tarot revealed that they would be named the Sons of Lightning, and time would prove this an accurate name indeed. Upon the creation of the chapter, the Adeptus Mechanicus gifted the Sons with the mighty Battle Barge, Thunderhead, and the Forge Ship, Lightning's Wrath. Now supplied with ships, a handful of marines from the Crimson Fists Chapter formed the core of the chapter's leadership; guiding the chapter's development into a full-fledged war machine. With the beginnings of a fleet and the start of a Chapter, the training cadre led their charges into the Veiled Region where they were intent on forging their legend.
The Veiled Region had long been host to Eldar raiders and the Sons quickly set about cleansing their new home. Their first conflicts did not favor the budding chapter however, as the Eldar outmaneuvered them or slipped away time and again. The Sons found it nearly impossible to bring the Eldar raiders to decisive combat, and every battle, even their victories, were tainted by the idea that the perfidious aliens had somehow gotten the better of them. When word came from the nearby system of Cajarta that they were under a massive and organized attack by Eldar raiders, the Sons of Lightning responded in force. Having reached full strength in the decades following their founding, the cleansing of Cajarta would prove to be their first true test as a chapter, one that would forge them into greatness or see them cast into oblivion.
Arriving in Cajarta, they found a system in chaos. Supply lines between the worlds had been nearly severed, the Hive World had been cut off from its imports of food and material, and the agri-world was suffering ceaseless attacks. Billions were dying of starvation and no force in the area had even seen the attackers. Deciding that the first order of business was to restore supply lines, the Sons set about clearing the agri-world of invaders and reestablishing communications and trade. Initial battles favored the Sons, though the casualties they inflicted seemed few and far between. Each time the Eldar slipped away and the Sons were allowed to claim an uncertain victory. With food flowing to the Hives and trade being slowly restored, the Sons turned their attentions towards locating the Craftworld. Every report of Eldar activity was investigated, and nearly every lead turned up only stones. Compounding this frustration was the fact that the raiders had returned, spreading the Sons thin trying to cover convoys and defend critical locations. Fighting a defensive war against the Eldar was proving untenable, and the system was poised to fall. The search for the main enemy stronghold had become paramount, and eventually their quarry was discovered hiding behind one of the many moons of Cajarta. The Sons confirmed the presence of the enemy Craftworld and gathered their entire force to strike. However, the presence of a nearby Ion Storm made scans and traditional sweeps impossible, meaning the Sons had no idea of the strength of their enemy.
Mustering the entire might of the Chapter and pulling all their forces from duties of defense, they struck. With no way to know what they were facing, the Sons had sent general calls for aid to several nearby systems, though none would arrive in time. The battles in the space around the Craftworld were bloody affairs, as the Eldar tried to buy time for their brethren to escape. They attempted to lure the invaders into the Ion Storm where both sides would be savaged by its fury. However, the Sons would not be baited, nor would their wrath be denied, and slowly they began their assault on the Craftworld proper. Almost immediately, the Sons were set upon, and the first hours to establish a beach head were amongst the bloodiest of the entire campaign. Pushing back the Eldar and establishing a drop point, the Sons slowly began to drive into the Craftworld itself. At every turn, Eldar ambushes and attacks came from nowhere, as the wraithbone of the world shifted and changed around them. Testing their tactical acumen and flexibility to the limit, the Sons learned to anticipate the ambushes, moving quickly to fall back or reinforce areas as necessary. Every step forward was made over hundreds of Eldar corpses and it was during this time that the Sons discovered the importance of the Spirit Stones. When Captain Hessa burst the stone of a Striking Scorpion Exarch, he noticed the surviving Scorpions falter briefly, before striking out in an uncontrollable rage. Relaying this information, the Sons began to focus on the stones when they could; a tactic that, while effective, earned the hatred of an entire race.
Pushing further into the Craftworld, the Sons came across the Avatar of Khaine for the first time, suffering fearsome casualties as they tried to bring the eldritch monster down. Knowing that this was the Eldar's last stand the Sons committed all their forces and the battle in the Court of Isha's Cradle was waged. The Craftworld itself, seemingly sensing its end, sailed into the nearby Ion Storm and the last battle was fought as thunder and lightning shook the sky and pounded defender and attacker alike. The Eldar paused to look upon the storm in terror but the Sons took the storm as an omen; a sign from their Emperor. Hurling themselves forward, they set upon the Eldar in a fury, harnessing the elemental rage of the storm as their own. Nowhere was this more personified than in the center of this bloody melee, where Hessa struck down the Avatar as lightning smote his blade. The storm itself raged into the God of War and when Hessa raised his power sword, it glowed red with the heat of the strike and the blood of a God. The death cry of Khaine became a scream that would herald the end of the Craftworld. Every Eldar that did battle that day was put to the sword and in a move that could never be forgiven, the Sons shattered the spirit stones of every Eldar they found, dead or alive. Ya'Jalden had been conquered, though not without cost.
More than eight hundred marines had perished in the assault, in addition to the dozens of tanks and other vehicles lost. The fleet had suffered as well, both from the defenders, and the fury of the storm which slowly burned itself out as the battle did the same. Realizing the vast strategic potential the dead Craftworld presented, Hessa and his surviving marines set about cleansing the last pockets of resistance and establishing the mighty Fortress that would come to be known as World Fall. From here they would slowly rebuild their devastated Chapter, strengthening their ties with other Imperial organizations in the process. Nearly one-hundred and fifty years later the Sons would emerge whole, having restored their ranks and their pride. With the aid of noted Inquisitors of the Ordo Xenos, as well as strong ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Sons rebuilt themselves stronger than ever and continued their never ending war against the vile Xenos of the Veiled Region.
"I cherish the hope the Eldar will try to retake this place. We will hold our ground here, and add to the supposed ghosts screaming their sorrow in the night." -Sergeant Jeras of the 10th Co.
The Sons do not maintain a typical homeworld; no planet serves as their home and place of rest. Instead, the Sons of Lightning have built a mighty Fortress Monastery, known as World Fall, on the remains the dead Craftworld Ya'Jalden. Though a dead and lifeless world, the immense psychic construct of the Craftworld's Infinity Matrix, as well as the terrible weapons and powers unleashed in the planet-ship's last stand, combine to make the Craftworld a haunting and terrifying place. Inquisitors and dignitaries visiting the Keep have described the Craftworld as a living entity, burning with hatred and impotence against those who destroyed its people and took control of its being. Though incapable of direct harm, the Craftworld's hate begins to take a toll on visitors, who slowly feel the impotent rage pressing in on them, driving some quite mad. The effect is even more prominent on Psykers, who can feel the living essence of the world more clearly than others. The Sons remain stoically unaffected, meeting hatred with hatred, and impotence with power. They have mastered the dead world and the price of its defeat is eternal servitude to its betters.
World Fall serves as the heart of the Sons of Lightning, and, with the aid of the Adeptus Mechanicus, hundreds of weapon emplacements, as well as docking facilities and hangers have been grafted onto the dead world. This makes Ya'Jalden, and World Fall, an odd sight indeed. Human technology is crudely meshed with flowing Eldar wraith-bone, and the keep itself sits like a jutting mountain of adamantium and plasteel, rising out of the aft of the Craftworld. Though incapable of even the shortest warps jumps, Ya'Jalden's crudely mounted Imperial thrusters ensure that it avoids any deadly obstacles in its near aimless drift through the Veiled Region. The sight of the Craftworld entering a system or combat zone has a demoralizing effect on their Eldar enemies, who come to realize that even their mightiest defenses are nothing to the might of the Imperium.
The Sons recruit from three main worlds: Sujuta, the deadly jungle; Gennis, the burning waste; and Cajarta Prime, the hive world. Sujuta is a lush, feral world, where the relatively primitive men wage a constant war of survival against the jungle and its inhabitants. The planet of Gennis is one large and unbroken desert, with vast underground seas at the North and South poles, connected to each other by subterranean rivers, whose waters are tapped by deep wells, each a relic of a long forgotten past. However, the wells are few and competition for them is extremely fierce, leading to constant warfare and hardy recruits for the Sons. Cajarta Prime is a massive hive world, and from its gangs, recruits are taken.
The Sons recruit equally from all three worlds, and have established small keeps on each, to which recruits must journey to be considered worthy. Each world is fraught with its own perils, and the journey weeds out many of the weak and unworthy recruits. Those that make it to the keeps are kept and trained by the Marines stationed there, prepared as best they are able for the trials that will soon follow. When the fleet returns to each world, a Proving is held at each keep, wherein all the recruits that have made the journey are tested against one another in lethal combat. The strongest of the survivors are then taken by the Chaplains and Apothecaries, where they will become true Sons of Lightning.
These three worlds are not the original recruiting worlds of the Sons of Lightning however, their previous worlds being lost to bizarre and deadly Xenos weaponry. The twin world of Gellias and Kellias were once fertile recruiting grounds for the Sons, until the Eldar deployed ancient and unknown weaponry to strip the life from both worlds and leave them as shattered husks. Both worlds are cracked and broken, though to this day, no trace of Eldar presence was ever seen or heard. Only a vengeful message from the Biel-Tan Craftworld gave indication as to the fate of the people of the world:
"We have reaped your world as you reaped ours. There will be no mercy for your sins. The Swordwind comes for you."
Hearing this, the Sons of Lightning swore terrible oaths of vengeance and retribution, and have vowed to hunt the Eldar to extinction. Blind to the notion they have only themselves to blame, the Sons have embarked on a campaign of deliberate and measured genocide against the Eldar people.
"When you hear the thunder, there is no time to wonder how long the storm has been building." -Captain Lizevius, 4th Co.
Constant battle across the Veil and the mobile nature of the Sons has led to them possessing a fluid command structure. Captains and Commanders are given large freedoms, able to wage wars as they wish. The Chapter Master oversees the myriad battles and skirmishes from the Thunderhead, and often leads the chapter to war, especially against the hated Eldar. Though scattered and divided across the Veil, the Sons are quick to unite as a chapter against a large enemy, and especially so against an Eldar force. In the event that battle with their most hated adversary is possible, the Sons will summon the entire chapter back, and the Captains of the companies will each lobby their case that they should be given the honor of the assault. Such debates are short, as prolonged negotiations would only allow their foe time to escape. When the battle plan is formed, and those fortunate companies are assigned, the Chapter Master himself will lead the forces of the Sons, often drawing first blood against their most hated enemy.
The Sons command structure, company organization, and division are all Codex based, with the exception of a slightly smaller armory, as the Sons favor speed over firepower, especially against such a mobile enemy as the Eldar they often battle. The Sons also employ a larger than average Librarium, a response to their constant battles with the Eldar. Realizing the danger and power of Eldar Seers and Witches, the Sons look for psychically attuned recruits, to better counter this threat. These tactics have led to some suspicion amongst certain Inquisitors, as the Sons maintain a higher than average psychic presence and still actively recruit candidates with strong psychic potential as often as possible. However, given their record of success, as well as their strong ties to several noted Ordo Xenos Inquisitors, the issue has never been forced.
"Above all else, A Son of Lightning must strike fast. And he must strike hard enough that there is no need to strike twice." -Sergeant Irvine Steiner, 2nd Co.
The Sons favor close combat when possible, preferring to look their enemy in the eye as they slay them. Against the Eldar especially, the Sons of Lightning prefer these tactics, as they find it is much harder for their foe to make a cowardly retreat when locked in bloody melee. They favor close combat for another reason as well, as the Sons prefer to take trophies from mighty enemies, especially leaders amongst the Eldar. The Avatar of Khaine is the greatest example of this, as the Sons rush into melee combat in an attempt to slay the vengeful deity and claim the glory of the kill. This has led to a higher than average casualty rate when the Avatar is fielded, as the Sons tend to abandon strategy in an attempt to claim this honor, though the sighting of such a foe is a rare thing indeed.
The Sons of Lightning prefer a method of warfare that relies on speed and surprise over ponderous strength and firepower. Years of battling the Eldar have ensured they are flexible and highly adaptable, able to avoid being bogged down and surrounded. However, because of their predilection for close combat, the Sons are lacking in heavy armor, and field comparatively fewer tanks and Land Raiders than other chapters. They consider this no great loss, instead arming their squads with heavy weapons and anti-armor. Each such squad is nearly always given a Rhino transport, enabling them to quickly maneuver about the battlefield, bringing their heavy weapons to bear where they can be most useful. This allows them to remain highly mobile, without sacrificing their anti-armor capabilities.
The Sons of Lightning hate the Eldar. They despise them with a cold and irrationally deep hate, that many claim has crossed the line into obsession. The slightest rumor of Eldar forces is enough to commit the Sons to battles and campaigns across the Veil and woe to any who stand between them and their quarry. Battles between the Eldar and Sons are amongst the bloodiest in the galaxy and their treatment of the very few Eldar who survive long enough to be taken prisoner is whispered to rival that of the scions of the Chaos Gods. To the Sons, nothing, not even the lives of their allies, is as important as destroying their Xenos enemies. They have embarked on a campaign of deliberate and measured genocide, with an ultimate goal of a galaxy cleansed of Eldar, no matter the cost. To the Sons there are no bystanders in this war, there are only two sides, with any not allied with the Sons being arrayed against them.
Though there have been no confirmed reports of the Sons attacking Imperial forces, there are whispers amongst the Guardsmen of the Veiled Region that the Sons secretly destroy any Imperials who side with the Eldar. This whispered belief has led to more than one mutiny against a commanding officer who accepted Eldar aid against another enemy, often with disastrous results for the world they are defending. Still, even this is often not enough to slake the Sons' hatred, and whole Guard companies have disappeared, even after turning on their commanders. The Sons do nothing to deny such rumors and some even suggest that they start them, though this has never been proven. Charges have, in the past, been leveled against the Sons of Lightning, accusing them of attacking Imperial forces or refusing to battle alongside units who have accepted Eldar aid at any point in their histories. Each time, the charges are dismissed out of hand when their record of service, as well as their many, many Inquisitorial and Mechanicus allies are mentioned.
The Sons place a high respect on Eldar kills, often taking trophies from their slain foes. The slaying of Exarchs, Autarchs, Seers, and Witches are especially respected, each earning a kill marking tattoo on the inside of the right forearm. Those marines that display outstanding skill in the slaying of their foes are quickly promoted, and thus the veteran First Company is filled with tattooed warriors each bearing the kill tattoos of many a dread foe, as well as bearing scalps, trinkets, and other trophies taken from their slain enemies. The quickest, and most reliable way to earn a place in the hallowed First is to slay one of the mighty Avatars of Khaine, the enemy's mightiest warrior. Given the extreme circumstances required for the Eldar to resort to fielding such a foe, its destruction is even more monumental. Though such a foe is never slain single-handedly, being far too powerful to engage without heavy firepower and support, the marine who makes the killing blow is always singled out for glory. The reward for slaying the Avatar is nearly always instant promotion to the First, as well as a ruby service stud, marking such a slayer for all to see. Many Chapter Masters of the Sons have borne such a ruby, and it is rumored that Nikolai Hessa, first master of the Sons, bore three at the time of his death, though it is hard to believe that one man even saw three separate Avatars, much less slew them himself. More likely this is legend grown tall to better accentuate the Sons’ first master.
"Spit acid?! Are you so weak and worthless that you need to spit acid to deal with your foes? Emperor preserve us if all our recruits are so pitiful..." -Overheard conversation between Sergeant E.C. Ritter and a recruit of the Sons of Lightning.
The Sons of Lightning are of the gene-seed of Rogal Dorn, and thus lack both the Sus'An Membrane and the Betcher's Gland. They show no signs of mutation or destabilization of their gene-seed, and their purity has remained of the highest standard. Though their gene-seed is clean, many Sons of Lightning display psychic powers, which several Inquisitors have theorized is a result of both the Sons predilection for psychic recruits and their Fortress Monastery's hateful presence. It has been postulated that those recruits with even small psychic potential strengthen considerably during their time on the Craftworld, as the constant rage projected at them slowly hardens their resolve, building their power as a resistance to this. If this is true, then the dead Craftworld is at least partially responsible for even more Eldar deaths, as the Librarians of the Sons of Lightning are powerful indeed, and turn their gifts most often against the Xenos that are their nemesis. No theories have been proven as of yet, as the Sons are loathe to be examined by a prodding Inquisitor.
The Craftworld colors the Chapter in other ways as well. The Sons point to it as an example of all things Eldar, of the weakness of the race and how even their mightiest bastions can be brought down. It also serves as training ground for the Sons, giving their recruits an excellent foundation against their hated foe, for they train where their own enemies once lived. Though the Craftworld can still subtly alter its wraithbone shape, leading to ever changing mazes, it is otherwise powerless against its captors, who flaunt their prize openly.
"Lightning Strikes! Thunder Roars!"
Edited by Shinzaren, 12 March 2013 - 03:48 PM.