Who do you kill for, cousin? Who would you die for? The Imperium betrayed the Emperor as surely as the Emperor betrayed his sons. Do not seek your Way there. What reward do you see your brothers earning from the Gods of the Warp? Do not seek your Way there. Hwaet! I will tell you of the true Way. - Excerpt from "Sayings of the Warsmith"
All of this? An illusion. A floating world of dreams and fancy. Nothing more, but nothing less. We eat, drink, and sing. We make war, we make art. We float along. That is all.
Following the Horus Heresy the 49th Grand Company fled with the bulk of the Legion into the Eye of Terror but did not stay long on Medrengard. Their last known location under their original Warsmith was a battle fought in the ruins of an unrecorded Crone World against a warband of the III Legion. Following this conflict no word of the 49th Grand Company was heard of on Medrengard for several millennia. It wasn’t until the run-up to Abaddon’s 7th Black Crusade that the 49th Grand Company returned to the homeworld of the IV Legion in their unusual spacehulk, their armour rededicated in orange and black, and a new Warsmith at their head. They ventured forth with the Iron Warriors flotilla during the break out of the Eye of Terror, but took advantage of the confusion of the so-called “Ghost War”, slipping the leash of the Warmaster and headed for the fringes of galactic civilisation. There they reestablished themselves as mercenaries and pirates, known only to the galaxy at large as the Iron Hounds space marines chapter.
The boundless vastness of the great Galaxy is my enclosed property, and I bury the dead on my own premises.
Deep within the bowels of the monstrous hulk, protected by dark, labyrinthine passages where the fey and otherworldly mislead and snatch away the careless, lies the Warsmith's fortress. A virtual city, the home of the Iron Hounds is crafted of stone and iron inside the cavernous holds of the ancient, forgotten vessel at the center of the hulk. The towers, barracks, temples, manufactorums, monuments, and museums of the fortress are connected by open plazas and promenades, with the skies and environs cloaked in visions of lost planets and histories that never were. At the center of this web, high above the other structures like an Olympian temple, is the throne room, where the Warsmith holds court with his subjects and guests, and communes with the ancient and bizarre gestalt machine spirit which controls the space hulk.
The Old Gods are always watching, and it is a sin to leave them bored. Me, I like the big guns. Nothing builds dramatic tension quite like a cannonade.
Tradition is a duty. Without it we have no identity. Without it we are just another group of rabble, clawing at the edges of the Imperium.
He refused to believe unless he could see it for himself, which is not unreasonable. I told him to go ask the Old Warsmith and his brothers down in the Armoury, but he cried out that talking to Dreadnoughts was liable to get him killed. Of course it would get him killed! How else do you see Waelheim?
When the Ruinous Powers formed and overthrew the gods of the Eldar, so too must they have usurped the true gods of Mankind. The 10,000 gods of human history were but multiple facets of the same basic truth, a central pre-Chaos pantheon, and they were not destroyed when the Ruinous Powers overthrew them. They reside in a sanctuary realm beyond the Warp that the Iron Hounds call Waelheim, and a divinity known as Khalder moves freely from that realm and the Warp.
The Iron Hounds believe that the Old Dead Gods are always watching, calling out to Mankind. Khalder is their herald, who gathers those worthy of them. Souls that are fearless, those that die glorious deaths in combat and with clean souls, these will burn bright in the eyes of Khalder. He will pluck them from the Sea of Souls and spirit them away to the Pure Land of Waelheim to live in a warrior's paradise with Mankind's most ancient forefathers.
So the Iron Hounds fervently believe.
Do not bother me with details. Except the good ones.
While their organisation is not far from codex adherent loyalists, their method of arranging a task force is more haphazard. The Warsmith chooses a force commander and gives him a mission. It is up to that force commander to assemble an appropriate task force by petitioning individual leaders throughout the warband to join their respective squads to his efforts. The interpersonal relationships of the warband’s leaders is hugely important, and a good deal of charisma and luck is necessary to cajole an effective force into existence. It is unusual for an entire company to go to war under its own captain and fight as cohesive force, but not unknown. The captaincy of a particular company is largely administrative and a matter of title.
Nothing of lasting value can be achieved by being a slavish plaything to the creatures from another dimension that dare to call themselves "gods" or "daemons". They exist to be subdued, used, then disposed of. The galaxy belongs to Humanity, and Humanity belongs to the Legions. Make them to know their proper place, bind them into iron and brass, yours to command, or suffer not their unclean presence.
Alongside the apothecaries, the Iron Hounds also maintain a corps of warriors who function similar to chaplains. Where the apothecaries excise sin from the flesh, these priests focus the minds of the Iron Hounds. On top of attending meditation sessions and ritual, each herjar-brother is expected to practice an art, and to pursue it with dedication and zeal during the down time between battles. A favorite among the Iron Hounds is epic poetry, though more creative herjar-brothers sculpt or paint, while the more eccentric become experts on obscure scholarly topics. The priests monitor these activities, assigning deadlines for new content and organising exhibitions to ensure the constant engagement of the warriors' minds. Herjar-brothers who fall behind in their artistic or scholarly endeavors are censured, with the priests having broad power to inflict punishment on stubborn warriors to ensure that the chaos of the warp does not find purchase within undisciplined minds.
Yes, a dream. That is all. But there are idylls and nightmares. I bring terror in order to cleanse the soul. I bring death in order to release the soul. They call me evil, but they have no understanding. I bring darkness in order to exalt the light.
Most commonly heard is "To Waelheim! To Waelheim!" Also heard is the old Legion battle cry, "Iron Within! Iron Without!"
Edited by Warsmith Aznable, 16 September 2015 - 10:26 PM.