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Alt-IA: Dark Angels


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Aurelius Rex

Aurelius Rex

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Index Astartes: Dark Angels

The Dornian Heresy

Unable to stand by and allow the Imperium to destroy their homeworld of Caliban, the Dark Angels were forced to rebel against the Emperor, and even their own uncaring Primarch, Lion El’Jonson. With the advent of the Dornian Heresy, Luther took the Astartes under his command to Istvaan, and publically allied the legion with the rebellion, assuring that the Dark Angels would forever be seen as traitors by the Imperium. Though they were able to defeat the Lion on his vengeful return to Caliban, the Emperor’s psychic intervention to save those Unforgiven Dark Angels who had remained loyal to Jonson reduced the planet to an uninhabitable ruin. With their homeworld destroyed, Luther and his Dark Angels wield the power of the Warp as a weapon in their search for the Unforgiven, that they might finally convince them of their error in supporting the Lion during the schism.

Origins
A
ll of the Astartes Legions have been shaped and defined by their homeworlds, but the influence that Caliban exerts upon the Dark Angels, even ten thousand years after its destruction, is surely the most profound. At the time the primarchs were scattered across the galaxy, Caliban was swathed in dense forests which were haunted by fierce and unnatural chimeras known as the great beasts. The embattled human colonists had long-since lost contact with the rest of mankind due to the warp-storms of Old Night, and much of their technological heritage had been forgotten. Even Terra itself had faded from memory to become little more than a myth.

However, in the face of such adversity the nobility of the human spirit still prevailed. Knightly orders, sworn to protect the people of Caliban, made it their calling to hunt down and destroy the great beasts. It was one of these expeditions that came across the infant primarch wandering deep in the heart of the forests. Having been starved of human contact, the boy was feral, and yet his presence and spirit was unmistakable. The leader of the knights, a great man called Luther, adopted the child as though he were his own son, and named him Lion El’Jonson, or ‘The Lion, the son of the Forest’ in their dialect. Many and varied were the tests and trials to be accepted into the Order, as the knights called themselves, but Luther was an excellent tutor, and the Lion a natural warrior and strategist. From Walking the Spiral, where they honed their sword-craft into a defence against any foe, to the Verbatim - their book of tactics and teachings - Jonson excelled. When he returned from the quest to hunt down and kill one of the great beasts, he did so bearing the body of the most feared and terrible creature on the planet; that of a Calibanite lion. Such a feat was more than enough to see him admitted to the Order as a full Knight.

Luther had always been seen as a future leader of the Order, but the arrival of the Lion had changed all that. Jonson had been gene-crafted to command the Emperor’s legions, and these innate skills saw him rapidly eclipse his mentor. But for all of the Lion’s peerless talents, an echo of the feral forest child still remained. There was a coldness and detachment from human emotion about him, his bonhomie always a fraction forced and stilted. To Luther’s credit, he was never taunted by petty jealousy, as within the Lion El’Jonson he saw the chance to do something more than simply continue the endless war against the great beasts. There was an opportunity to unite all of the knightly orders and eliminate the abominations from the face of the world once and for all. Certain that Jonson was the saviour of Caliban and its people, Luther put aside personal ambition, and made it his sole purpose to ensure their shared vision came to fruition.

Though it took many years of blood and toil, the great beasts were systematically purged from the forests, with the forbidding Northwilds their last refuge. The final sweep brought them into contact with a group calling themselves the Knights of Lupus, which had always been vehemently opposed to their crusade. Upon approaching their fortress, it became clear why this had been so. In their isolation, they had taken to the study of sorcery, and even held a menagerie of the great beasts. That a knight could ever fall to such corruption filled Luther with loathing, and the resulting war was crushing and swift. With their protectors destroyed, the crusade to purify Caliban continued apace, and inside a short span the very last great beast was put to the sword by the Lion himself.

Shortly after, as though it had been some form of knightly test of his worth, the Emperor arrived upon Caliban to greet His lost son. With Him came the Astartes of the First Legion, super-beings which had been patterned upon Jonson’s own genetic code. The Lion was named lord and primarch of the new Dark Angels, and Caliban became the legion’s new homeworld. Jonson decreed that the best of the Order be inducted into the legion, and to ensure that they always had a plentiful supply of arms and weapons, Caliban was to take its place in the Imperium as a ‘properly industrialised world’.

As only the youngest members of the Order were able to be fully transformed with the gifts of gene-seed, Luther was denied the chance to become a full Astartes. Instead he was given extensive augmentation using the new Imperial science, and made up for any deficiency with characteristic skill and resolve. By the time the Dark Angels were ready to take their allotted place in the Emperor’s Great Crusade, Luther had risen through merit to once more become Jonson’s second in command.

The Great Crusade
T
o the Calibanite Dark Angels, the Great Crusade was simply the logical extension of their quest to destroy the great beasts. Having already made their world safe for humanity, they relished the prospect of doing the same for the whole of the galaxy. However, before they could bring more than a handful of planets into Compliance, Luther and a cadre of his closest brothers were ordered to leave the Expeditionary fleets and return to Caliban. The Lion said that he needed to ensure a plentiful supply of new initiates for his armies, and who better for the task than the man who had raised and trained him. Luther applied himself to this vital task with diligence, ensuring that chapter after chapter of impeccably trained Astartes were sent to join the Lion.

Years turned into decades, and while the Astartes of the training garrison continued to perform their duties admirably, there was no sign of them ever being allowed to rejoin the Great Crusade, or even that the Lion would return to his own homeworld. Though it was not discussed openly, there was a growing unease that their primarch had turned his back on Caliban. Worse still was the way their beloved planet had been changed since the arrival of the Imperium. Its verdant forests had been all-but destroyed to make way for mines and manufactories, and its people had been forced out of their ‘unproductive’ settlements. Instead they were housed in grey, soulless hive-cities called arcologies. Despite the introduction of Imperial medical technologies, health and life expectancy had if anything begun to worsen, and simmering discontent had broken out into strikes, civil disobedience and even riots.

Luther recognised that Caliban’s true riches lay not in its minerals or war production, but in the courage and vitality of its people, yet time and again his protests over the devastation of their planet in despatches to the Lion were ignored. When the astropathic response finally came, it chilled Luther to the bone. Instead of throwing his support behind Luther’s calls, he seemed concerned primarily with ensuring that his expedition’s lines of supply did not become over-extended. Their success had taken the legion so far from the homeworld that Jonson had long considered recruiting closer to the front lines. If the industrialisation of Caliban had reduced their suitability as aspirants, then now would seem the prudent time for the training garrison to select a more productive world. The revelation that his primarch was willing to turn his back on their home so completely shocked Luther to the core. He had always considered Lion El’Jonson to be the deliverer of his planet and saviour of its people, but now it was clear that he was willing to see Caliban and its people pay the price for his naked ambition.

Tragedy was piled upon tragedy when an investigation into the riots at the Northwilds arcology revealed massed sacrifices and the practice of base sorcery. Such practices had echoes of atrocities they had witnessed on Warp-corrupted planets during their short time in the Great Crusade, although they never thought such things could occur on Caliban. While they were able to stop the rite from being completed, and the entity prevented from manifesting, it laid bare the canker at Caliban’s heart. The arcology had been built upon the remains of the Knights of Lupus’ fortress – the group which had sheltered the great beasts - but the corruption which permeated the area still endured. The Dark Angels were not alone in comprehending the grave nature of the situation, as Imperial investigators dug through the ruins, and came to the same conclusion. From having witnessed the purges the Imperium meted out to the populations of such warp-tainted planets, Luther knew that the same fate would befall his world if news of it got out. He could not stand by and let Caliban and its people be destroyed. Their only option was to break away from the Imperium.

At Luther’s command, all communication and travel out of Caliban was stopped, and the Imperial representatives preparing reports on the matter taken into custody. Non-indigenous workers and military personnel were hunted down and interned, and the few Terran-born Dark Angels among their ranks made to choose where their true loyalties lay. For a short while their secret was safe, but it was only a matter of time before the silence, or merely the interruption in the flow of recruits to the Lion’s expeditions, would be noticed.

... when I reached the place you told me you met them, my brother, I found that despite all the logging which had devastated the area, a small patch of the dark woods remained. Possibly the Watchers in the Dark had protected those trees, or it may simply have been that even the mindless logging servitors knew better than to desecrate that place. I felt them watching me for many minutes before they finally emerged from the darkness. There were three of them at least, but even with all the fascinating readings collected by my armour’s auspex, their faces remained concealed beneath their hoods.

I told them of the threat to our world and begged them for any aid they could give, but they were dismissive and aloof. They even said that the stain of warp-sorcery stained us all, and it would perhaps be for the best if Caliban was destroyed. It took all my self-control to keep from drawing my blade, but knew that you had said they were immune to such weapons. I instead retorted that they must also be tainted, to which they contemptuously said that their kind has knowledge which shields them from such things, before fading back into the gloom.

Clearly their kind will not aid us voluntarily.

Excerpt of personal message from Luther to Brother-Librarian Zahariel


In preparation for the inevitable Imperial response, every possible advantage was sought. This even included appealing to the mythical race of creatures known as the Watchers in the Dark, which according to folklore were said to be the guardians of the Calibanite forests. Even with all of the planet’s formidable defences at their disposal, and the armouries emptied to equip the civilian population, they would eventually be crushed by the might of the Imperium. Only then did Luther learn of another, much more potent source of power that could be wielded – that of the daemon which lay beneath the Northwilds.

The mysterious Lord Cypher proved to be not just the guardian of the legion’s traditions, but also the keeper of forbidden knowledge into the nature of Chaos. He claimed that the Knights of Lupus had made a close study of such things, and that their great library, which held all manner of arcane secrets, had not in fact been burned. Luther was revolted by the idea of embracing the power they had so long fought against, but with the shadow of death looming large, he regretfully accepted Cypher’s aid.

The Dornian Heresy
T
he silence from Caliban had drawn all manner of Astropathic enquiries, but the most unexpected of all was from the Primarch of the Imperial Fists, Rogal Dorn. Rather than the half-expected declaration of war, the Emperor’s Praetorian instead confessed that they were fellow conspirators against the Imperium. Dorn’s new masters, the Gods of Chaos, had noticed Luther’s studies of their realm, and were greatly impressed with the potential it showed. Dorn went on to say that the rebellion hung in the balance, and that the presence of Luther’s Dark Angels at Istvaan would be invaluable in crushing the Astartes legions which could not be convinced to join him.

Though Luther was unwilling to abandon his prepared defences, Dorn’s rebellion seemed to be their only chance at throwing off the oppressive yoke of the Imperium. Dorn made offers of aid in their fight, and pointed out that the Lion’s expeditions were so deeply entrenched within the Ghoul Stars that Luther’s forces would be able to make the trip to Istvaan and back comfortably before the loyalists would be able to get back to Caliban. Though the offers of aid were tempting, what finally convinced Luther to join Dorn at Istvaan was that it would be the perfect opportunity to irreparably blacken Lion El’Jonson’s reputation. By going to Istvaan, the Dark Angels – all Dark Angels - would be seen as traitors and heretics however vociferously it might be denied by their primarch.

Despite the relatively small number of Dark Angels present at Istvaan, the legion reaped a bloody tally against the loyalist Raven Guard. Corax’s desperation to find Rogal Dorn drove them to attack the rebel lines time and again, only to find their famed feints predicted, cut off and destroyed with consummate skill. When the slaughter was over, and the survivors spread the word of the rebellion across the Imperium, the name of Lion El’Jonson was spoken with the same contempt as that of Guilliman, Manus, Vulkan and Dorn. His task complete, Luther returned to his homeworld not with weapons or siege-masters, but with certain arcane devices crafted to his own specification, and a name. It was the true name of the daemonic entity which dwelled beneath the savage Northwilds of Caliban.

The last time that Luther had been to this place, the Watchers in the Dark had contemptuously dismissed his pleas for aid. This time, it would be different. Rather than going as a supplicant, he instead strode in boldly, as befitted a lord of the Astartes, and the wielder of great powers. Within seconds, the angry hiss of whispers cut through the silence, and they stepped from the shadows – more than a dozen of them – to surround him. From the depths of their hoods came accusations of sorcery and warp-craft, and outrage that he dare bringing such corruption into their presence.

Before they could carry out their threats of retribution, Luther raised the device that he had been given by Dorn in payment for his services on Istvaan. A marvel of the techno-aetheric craft, and constructed to his personal specifications, not even the Imperial Fist forge-masters who had created it could have guessed its intended purpose. There was only time for the Watchers to register but the briefest flicker of concern before the artefact activated, and the hooded figures dropped to their robed knees in shock. Pulling his pistol from its holster, he shot one of the diminutive creatures, and was gratified to see the bolt round tear apart what he could only assume was the figure’s hooded head. It seemed that the sensor data his auspex had collected on his first visit had proved to be valuable after all.

“When we spoke last,” said Luther, his face illuminated by the sickly glow of the device, “you said that you had knowledge that shielded you from the corrupting nature of the Warp. Tell me all you know of this...”



While the weak of mind were susceptible to the corruptions of Chaos, Luther proved to be naturally adept at wielding it as a weapon without being affected by its more self-destructive excesses. He taught this ability, which he called ‘Walking the Spiral’ due to its similarities to the Calibanite method of practicing swordplay, to the rest of the training garrison, the better to protect them against the coming storm.

So it was that Lion El’Jonson returned to Caliban for the first time in more than half a century, and he did it at the head of a massed war-fleet. Luther had dubbed them the ‘Unforgiven’, both by the Imperium for their perceived treachery, and for the way they had betrayed Caliban. The angry hails for an explanation, so long met with stony silence, finally received a response, as every orbital defence battery and missile silo opened fire. Almost ignored amongst the exchange of firepower, the true danger to the fleet was summoned from beneath the Northwilds, and unleashed against the Lion’s ships. Coils of warp-energy made daemon-flesh materialised around the vessels, constricting and crushing hulls like eggshells.

The sky was raked with fire as - in extremis - drop-pods blossomed from the dying ships. Countless thousands of Dark Angels rained down upon their homeworld not in their usual coordinated strikes, but simply to escape certain death in orbit. With no preliminary bombardment to suppress enemy ground fire, the result was similar to the catastrophe which had befallen the loyal legions at Istvaan. Those that reached the ground alive were met not only by Luther’s Astartes and a well armed civilian militia, but by spectral shades of great beasts which lurked within every shadow. Slowly but surely, the Unforgiven were surrounded, isolated and pinned down. They were losing, and yet despite all this, Lion El’Jonson still fought his way through to the fortress-monastery, and challenged Luther to a battle to the death. Though a primarch, Jonson was little match for the power his mentor now wielded, and after a titanic battle, he was left broken and bloodied, the Lion Sword shattered into pieces.

Though besieged inside His throne room by the very legion assigned to protect Him, the Emperor had been far from idle. Driven by savage necessity, the webway portal – the very project He had withdrawn from the Great Crusade to pursue – had been redesigned and reengineered to do things previously thought impossible. Malcador, of course, had counselled that they should use the portal to escape from Terra and rendezvous with Horus for a counter-assault, but it was not His way. He was the Master of Mankind, and could not slink away from His beloved Terra and leave it in the hands of the Ruinous Powers for even a day.

It had pained Him greatly to see the Lion so maligned and attacked for the offences of lesser men, but with the galaxy engulfed in civil war, there was no way to get word out about the mistake. While He had been unable to prevent the destruction of his loyal sons on Istvaan and Prospero, at least there was a chance to stop Caliban from being added to that list. In the hours that followed, the Emperor was forced to use every scintilla of psychic mastery and skill, and in return was able to pluck most of the loyal Dark Angels away from certain death. Better still, to have such a force alongside Him at this time might even be enough to break the siege before it could become entrenched.

As though the Chaos Gods had at last realised the scope of their defeat, the Warp around Caliban began to flux wildly with their fury. The very architecture of the webway network began to destabilise, tearing whole sections loose, flooding others with daemonic entities, and trapping each of the Dark Angels within their own drifting fragment of space-time. In the instants before the portal overloaded, the Emperor had just enough time to psychically imprint a fragment of Himself upon each of them, so that when they did finally return to the material universe, He would be able to sense it and reclaim them. The Ruinous Powers had been able to steal away the primarchs and hide them from Him, but this would not be repeated with the Dark Angels.


Before Luther could administer the final blow, a presence in the aether far different to the chorus of the daemonic made itself known. A great shuddering groan echoed through the fortress-monastery, shattering the very rock beneath their feet and plunging Jonson down into the depths of a bottomless chasm. All across the planet, the embattled loyalist Astartes were enveloped by mystic portals of psychic force and plucked from existence before they could be cleanly executed. Any celebration was short lived, as the remains of the portals pulsed and fluxed wildly in the warp-saturated environment. From across the planet they converged upon the Northwilds, all the while growing larger and more destructive. All of their attempts to divert or disrupt the vortices ended in failure, and when they at last reached a critical mass, the resulting explosion was the equivalent to that of an exterminatus device.

The Dark Angels had broken from the Imperium and made war against their primarch to save Caliban and its people, and yet still they had failed. In the scant hours before the end, there had barely been time for the Astartes to reach orbit, let alone evacuate the population to safety. In stunned silence they watched in horror as the planet’s crust disintegrated and the atmosphere boiled off into space, only leaving when the mountain-sized lumps of debris lifted into space by the explosion became too much of a threat. For a time they travelled without destination, simply letting the currents of the warp carry them. Though the civil war raged around them they fought for neither side, other than to defend themselves or to take supplies that they needed. They were lost souls, bereft of meaning or purpose.

When their aimless wanderings eventually threw them together with the Space Wolves, it seemed as though their prayers for oblivion were about to be answered. There had always been barely concealed enmity between Russ’ legion and the Dark Angel Expeditions, but instead of a battle, they instead found a reason to carry on. Like them, the Space Wolves had aligned themselves with Chaos, specifically the worship of Khorne, but had become locked into a downward spiral of self-destruction and bloodlust. Luther and Russ bonded over their shared hatred of Jonson, and the Space Wolf was particularly appreciative of the shattered Lion Sword, which had been rescued from Caliban as a trophy. Though the intricacies of Walking the Spiral were far beyond the comprehension of the Space Wolves, the Dark Angels were at least able to teach them the rudiments, so that they could channel their aggression.

Still content to meet annihilation and oblivion, the Dark Angels accompanied their new comrades on their journey to Terra, but their progress through the warp seemed as aimless as before. The currents of the Empyrean seemed particularly erratic, leaving them becalmed, or delivering them far from their intended destination. It was at one such wrong turn that they found themselves near to a backwater world, devoid of intelligent life but for a single reading of distinctly Astartes origin. To their amazement, the Dark Angels found that it belonged to one of Jonson’s Unforgiven, who had disappeared so mysteriously from Caliban. Only under the most excruciating of tortures did the man’s tongue finally loosen, to say that he had been saved by the grace of the Emperor Himself.

This revelation filled Luther and the Dark Angels with a drive and determination they had thought lost. Not only did they know who was to blame for the destruction of Caliban, but the Unforgiven were still out there to be captured and convinced to renounce the Lion. When the news that Dorn’s Heresy had been broken robbed them of the chance to kill the Emperor, it was at least tempered by the knowledge that they could still track down and enlighten their former brothers.

Walking the Spiral
W
hile the fates had conspired to keep them from the Siege of Terra, the Dark Angels knew that there were other, more subtle ways to destroy the Emperor. The Heresy was over, but it had left anarchy in its wake, which gave them the opportunity to undermine the Imperium not just through open warfare, but by instigating cults to the Gods of Chaos in all their varied aspects. Throughout all of this, they honed their ability to Walk the Spiral and stayed aloof from the actual worship of the Warp themselves. The cults they created were simply another weapon in their arsenal, with little thought given to what might happen to them after the Dark Angels moved on. Only on rare occasions did they expend the time and effort to educate them in even the basics of Walking the Spiral, as the messy and self-destructive trajectories of these uncontrolled cults provoked such a hysterical over-reaction from Imperial authorities.

The Fate of Lord Cypher
As befits a figure so shrouded in mystery, the ultimate fate of Lord Cypher is suitably ambiguous. No-one has borne the title within the legion since just after the end of the Heresy, and legion records on the matter are sealed. Some claim that he was killed in battle – the most common rumour being that it was against the Salamanders - while others say that he simply cast aside the name for his own reasons and instead put his pistol-wielding skills to use in one of the legion’s Assault squads. As always, the most enduring theory is also the most outlandish. It postulates that he became consumed by the theory angrily proposed by Leman Russ at the Conclave of Nikaea that the Soul-binding process left the Emperor vulnerable to corruption by sorcery, and went about trying to bring this to fruition.

Experimentation, including the attempted possession of soul-bound test subjects such as Astropaths, proved to be catastrophically messily failures, and indicated that the Emperor’s spirit was in fact immune to corruption by this method. Undeterred by these setbacks, Cypher is said to have attempted the possession of one of the Soul-bound Thousand Sons, and that the resulting psychic explosion incinerated them both, along with several adjacent decks of the ship on which they were travelling. While the truth may never be known, the Thousand Sons are noticeable by their absence from the groups of forcibly possessed Astartes used in battle by the Dark Angels.
On their travels, they also searched for any word of the Unforgiven, reasoning that the odds of them having encountered one on the way to Terra could not have been simple chance. After several years without even a hint of their quarry, this optimism started to fade, until Luther happened to make a pilgrimage back to the broken, airless ruins of Caliban. There, on the very planet from which the Unforgiven had been snatched away, Luther was able to use his warp-craft to divine what had become of them. It was clear that the Emperor’s intervention had not just seen them scattered not just through space, but also through time, and that it might be many thousands of years before all were returned to the material universe.

Even for one with Luther’s unearthly powers, the Runes of Caliban were all-but impossible to decipher. Only when one of the Unforgiven was on the verge of re-entering the physical plane does the precise time and place of this event become apparent. As soon as this occurs, the closest Dark Angels fleets break off from their current engagements – even leaving allies in the midst of battle - to track down and capture their erstwhile brother.

It was not long before the Imperium became aware that the Dark Angels had returned to Caliban, and although they remain ignorant of the true purpose of these visits, they took every opportunity to bring the legion to battle. Due to Luther’s interrogation of the Runes, he knows approximately when the next appearance will occur, and the legion fights with an unbreakable determination to destroy any defences that stand in their way. The length to which the legion goes to identify the arrival of one of the Unforgiven is similarly reflected in the care taken to ensure they capture their target alive, with masters who bring back a corpse frequently meeting the same fate.

Once safely back in the bosom of their legion, the Unforgiven are persuaded of their error in having sided with Lion El’Jonson and turning their backs upon Caliban. If they continue to resist, the Interrogator-Librarians are forced to use ever more extreme methods to ensure their enlightenment. For those subjects who continue to resist to the point where only death would silence their devotion to the Lion, there is but one possibility for redemption; their bodies and souls are given over to entities from the Warp. Although they see the need to possess their brothers as a great failure of their skills and oratory, sometimes such things are the only way for the Unforgiven to finally achieve forgiveness.

As Luther and the Dark Angels grew ever more adept at wielding the power of Chaos, their schemes to destabilise the Imperium became increasingly ambitious. They found that through the precise placement of cults and massed blood sacrifices, terrible and destructive resonances could be set in place within the warp to effects far greater than the sum of their parts. The most notable example of this came in M36, when the Dark Angels took advantage of a natural increase in the activity of the Empyrean to wreath almost the whole of the Imperium in debilitating warp-storms. The Astronomicon was obscured, war-fleets were lost forever, and whole sectors were completely cut off, raising the spectre of a return to Old Night.

With warp travel compromised, forge worlds sat idle without raw materials, the populations of hive worlds starved or turned to cannibalism, and Imperial armies could not arrive in time to crush dissent or repel Chaos attacks. As the walls between the real and the immaterial wore thin and a widespread loss of faith in the Emperor swept the galaxy, it was joined by the daemonic pandemic of living death known as the Plague of Unbelief.

Just as the Imperium teetered on the brink of destruction, the Dark Angels’ plans were thwarted by the self-sacrifice of Lorgar of the Word Bearers at Dimmamar. Just as the precise placement of cults had brought effects far beyond the sum of their parts, the events of Dimmamar disrupted the carefully orchestrated resonances, and averted it from reaching its full apocalyptic crescendo. The Dark Angels could, however, take comfort that through their actions they had caused the death of one of the few remaining loyalist primarchs, and better, the hated Ecclesiarch of the Emperor’s Ministorum.

Ever since that time, the Dark Angels have been patiently working to divine ever-more potent and destructive methods to destabilise the Imperium, and are certain that eventually they will be responsible for the death of their most hated foe – the Emperor Himself.

Combat Doctrine
W
hen the Dark Angels take to the field of battle, especially when it is to hunt down members of the Unforgiven, the first to arrive are most commonly the Ravenwing. Named after the knightly cavalry of old Caliban, these bike-mounted brethren operate far ahead of the main force. Through their knowledge of the intricacies of the Empyrean, they are able to locate the fastest currents through warp-space and reach their destination with unparalleled swiftness. Using their speed and skill they are able to run their prey to ground, and leave far behind anything they can’t overcome by surprise. However, if the Unforgiven continues to elude them, the arrival of the rest of the legion will seal their fate.

In combat, the Dark Angels are strictly controlled and intensely focussed upon their mission – a trait all-too often lacking in other Chaos Legions. While hunting down their former brothers, it is of the utmost importance that the target is taken alive. This precludes the use of orbital bombardments or artillery, but as soon as the Unforgiven has been secured, the full fury of the legion is unleashed to eliminate any witnesses. On more conventional battlefields, the power of Chaos is wielded to great effect. Their Interrogator-Librarians can hurl magicks at the enemy, conjure up terrible nightmares to stalk the battlefield or predict the path of future events. They can also anoint their brothers to carry the blessings of the Dark Gods for the duration of the battle.

Although the legion does not allow daemons to possess their own bodies, the practice is used extensively for normal humans. Be they willing cultists or captives, these highly unpredictable forces are used as terror-weapons and cannon-fodder. Treated with contempt, any survivors are forgotten as soon as the battle is ended, without even a bolt-shell to end their pitiful existence. Treated with more care are captured enemy Astartes, whose far more robust physiques mean that they can stand up to the rigours of daemonic possession for far longer than a single battle. Of all the legions, the capture and desecration of a Word Bearer is always the most satisfying, as to witness their devotion to the Emperor curdle is truly a sight to behold.

The most brutal and dangerous of missions, from the storming of Imperial fortresses to the boarding of enemy warships, are spearheaded by the veteran brothers of the Deathwing. In remembrance of the forests of Caliban, their Terminator armour is of the darkest green, and nothing can stand against their implacable advance.

Organisation
A
lthough the Dark Angels still retain a semblance of their original organisational structure, the requirements of their situation have necessitated the inclusion of certain subtle changes. Luther holds the position of Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels, as well as the title of Master of Caliban. This is not simply a relic of history or bitter reminder of past failures, as the remnants of the planet are vital to the legion’s future. The First Chapter, under Luther’s personal command, is notable in that it is composed entirely of Terminator-clad veterans. Known informally as the Deathwing, they are responsible for securing the Caliban system while their lord divines the runes for signs of the Unforgiven.

The legion’s other chapters are far more conventional, being composed of up to a thousand power armoured battle brothers. The chapters are self-sufficient, their fleets spread throughout the galaxy and each containing a contingent of Ravenwing the better to respond to the emergence of one of their erstwhile brothers. The masters of the chapter are supported by Interrogator-Librarians, who study the intricacies of the Empyrean and harness the power of the Warp in all its forms. The legion’s most senior members may be inducted into a group which is privy to the deepest secrets of Chaos. To enter this Inner Circle is to risk madness and death, and only those most adept at Walking the Spiral are permitted to transcend to this new level, and unlock the gifts therein.

Once the captured Unforgiven are convinced of their mistake in having followed the Lion, and of having turned their backs upon Caliban, either through persuasion or by possession, they are presented before Luther, and then returned to a place of honour within the chapter that found them. While these individuals are rarely allowed to rise to any position of authority, they are an important part of the chapter as they symbolise the reason why the Dark Angels continue to fight their Long War.

Recruitment & Gene-Seed
S
o haunted was the legion by Lion El’Jonson’s threat of recruiting from worlds other than Caliban, that in the wake of the destruction of their homeworld they stubbornly refused to take any new initiates. Though it took many decades, the decline in their numbers eventually forced Luther to decree that the Dark Angels would have to recruit once more, or face extinction. This was done only grudgingly, and rather than taking initiates from wherever they found suitable stock, as is common with other fleet-based legions, they have instead returned time and again to less than a score of planets.

Now, with Dorn’s Heresy ten thousand years behind them, the overwhelming majority of the legion draws its heritage back to the new recruiting planets, such as Kimmeria, Tessera Rubis or Klades Tertius. Despite this, through their training and psycho-conditioning all brothers carry with them a deep sense of bereavement for the loss of noble Caliban. The legion pointedly avoids sowing the seeds of Chaos close to their recruiting worlds, so as to prevent their future brethren from becoming corrupted, and over the millennia the Dark Angels have become fiercely protective of these planets. Despite most of them being under Imperial rule, many a Dark Angel has fought and died in their defence. Be it against the Orks at Piscina IV or to purge the Plains World of Genestealer infestation, each brother is similarly driven to ensure that the nightmare of losing a homeworld is not repeated.

The Dark Angel’s skill at keeping the corrupting influence of the Warp at bay is reflected in the quality of their gene-seed, which is by far the least corrupted of any of the Chaos Legions. This is due mainly to their ability to Walk the Spiral, but it is also a tribute to the zeal of the legion’s apothecaries. Progenoids are harvested from the battle-brothers as soon as they mature to minimise the possibility of corruption, are minutely scrutinised, and stored inside specially shielded vaults until required. Although all of the implants continue to function, the gene-seed has accumulated a number of flaws. While not sufficient to noticeably impair their performance, the difference is apparent on the rare occasions they are able to compare it to progenoids harvested from captured members of the Unforgiven.

Beliefs
T
he Dark Angels utilise every aspect of the Chaos pantheon, but far from being blind zealots, they are instead coldly analytical in their approach. It is their belief that through the study and application of the Warp, they can harness and wield it as a potent weapon to further their own ends, in particular bringing about the downfall of the Emperor, and the capture and conversion of the Unforgiven. Through the teachings handed down by Luther, they have limited their exposure to its most corrupting properties, although they are more than happy to subject others to its effects, and are instrumental in the propagation of cults to the Ruinous Powers throughout the Imperium.

They have also attempted to educate the other Chaos Legions in aspects of their chosen paths, most notably in the case of the Space Wolves, but also the Raven Guard, who they tutored in the ways of Tzeentch after the loss of their mysterious progenitor. Other legions, such as the tortured Blood Angels and the self-loathing Salamanders, are less receptive to their insights, and are even openly hostile, for which they are all the poorer.

While Chaos is the means by which the Dark Angels carry out their plans, the thing that drives them is their endless hunt for the Unforgiven. Luther’s obsession, as the other Chaos Legions see it, with trying to obliterate any sign of his dead primarch’s existence, to the point of convincing the Lion’s followers of the righteousness of their cause at all costs, is seen as a dangerous distraction. There are countless examples where they have been fighting alongside other legions, only to break off from the assault at a critical juncture to investigate word of one of their brethren, and in the process handing their enemies a victory. This self-destructive urge has soured otherwise warm relations with allies, and has even been cited by outsiders as an unconscious manifestation of Malal within their character.

As soon as the niceties of the formal presentation had been dispensed with, the room was cleared, leaving Luther alone with Marthes, the newly Forgiven member of the Dark Angels. Ostensibly this was to allow the two to talk, but there was little conversation to be had apart from the endless repetition of how Caliban was the man’s home. The Interrogator-Librarians of the Fifth Chapter had been artless, but effective enough in their own fashion... it pained him so when they lost one to possession.

It obscured the psychic imprint left behind by the Emperor’s soul.

Poor Cypher had paid with his life to find that Soul-binding was not the way, but his researches had opened up a far subtler path. With every member of the Unforgiven they captured and broke, Luther gained a clearer understanding of the Emperor, and each piece of the puzzle brought him closer to corrupting and destroying Him. Luther’s last attempt had caused a disruption in the Astronomicon for more than a week. He was certain that a real breakthrough was within his grasp.

So important was the need to keep this secret that the rest of the legion, even those of the Inner Circle, believed the lie wholeheartedly. Let the other legions think that the search for the Unforgiven was merely the result of flawed characters, desperate to punish their primarch. Let them believe it, and leave the Dark Angels to their ‘pointless diversion’. Better derision than having to battle the entire galaxy for the future of the Emperor’s soul.


Battle Cry
U
pon the battlefields of Istvaan, the Dark Angels declared that they fought “For the Lion, and for Caliban” to blacken their hated primarch’s name. Now, though, a multitude of battle cries are used, with the honour of choosing and initiating the chant offered primarily to one of the redeemed Unforgiven.

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 10 April 2011 - 12:04 AM.

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#2
Aurelius Rex

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Timeline to the webway and the loyal DA’s fate:
The Emperor goes back to Terra after Ullanor. He works to build the webway portal in the Imperial throne room, and unlike in the norm-‘verse, it isn’t damaged by Magnus delivering a warning about Horus at Istvaan.
The events of Istvaan and Prospero are unknown to him until too late. When the news Dorn’s betrayal is broadcast by the escaping loyalists at Istvaan, the Imperial Fists garrisoning the Imperial Palace trap him inside the throne room. He is safe for the moment, but under siege. He could be urged to use the webway to escape the planet to safety, but rejects the idea.

He broods over the loss of his primarch sons and their loyal sons at Istvaan and Prospero, and is intent that this should not happen again.
When he senses the disruption in the warp caused by Luther using the Chaos WMD against the Lion and the loyalist Dark Angels on Caliban, he uses the Webway portal (beyond how it should usually be used – he is the Emperor, after all, and should be allowed to do crazy pseudo-science like this) to whisk them to safety. Either as side effect, or due to interference from the Chaos WMD, he realises that the DA will be scattered throughout time and space, and not wanting a repeat of how his primarchs were whisked away and scattered, he tags / imprints them before they are lost so that he will be able to sense their presence when they finally emerge and will easily be able to find them.

(Include this in a Colourpiece, which foreshadows the Emperor’s actions, and the fact that will be later revealed in a final Colourpiece, that Luther is trying to capture them to get an imprint of the Emperor’s soul, to corrupt him to Chaos.)

Unfortunately, the Emperor is mortally wounded in the fight against Dorn, and so is unable to he is in no position to reclaim them. Work out why no-one else in his inner circle survives to know to do anything about this from the Loyalist side – Malcador and Horus dead? Would Magnus have been able to communicate with him about this even after His entombment? With the webway portal in the throne-room turned into a daemonic portal by Dorn, would anyone else, even Magnus, be able to find them?

The upshot is that the webway stunt destabilises Caliban to the point where it loses its atmosphere and much of its structural integrity – not to the point of becoming just ‘The Rock’, but uninhabitable to normal humans, and a handy hidey-hole for the Chaos DA when they return. Luther has to return to the ruins of Caliban as he can use his Chaos knowledge to divine where loyalist DA have recently been spat out into the material universe, and uses the knowledge to aid in capturing them. It goes from impossible to find then across the whole galaxy and the while of time (many not out yet!) to tracking down some quite noticeable individuals. This is why they have to come back time and again, despite the risk of being attacked by the Imperium. They only know if one has recently been spat out – they can’t just plot out when all future ones will occur, as they wouldn’t then have to keep returning, and would be too easy for them.

They then send out their raiders to track them down. To the other Chaos Legions (and within the context of the main body of the article, it is because Luther wants to show the DA that sided with the Lion the error of their ways – he wants to convert them to Chaos.

However, in a final Colourpiece from Luther’s POV, it makes it clear that his true intention is to find and convert (or daemon-host) the loyal DA as they each contain a partial imprint of the Emperor’s soul – foreshadowed by the Emperor POV Colourpiece from before - and that by collecting enough pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, as it were, they will be able to corrupt the Emperor directly with Chaos, and win the battle once and for all. Have the flickering of the Astronomicon as a first test of their attempts to do this.

_______________________________________________________

Previously established material:
From Overview article:
[On Istvaan] The final force to break from the warp was composed of vessels belonging to the Dark Angels, whose arrival came as a surprise to those assembled. Lion El'Jonson himself had sent word that they would not be able to return in time from their assignment among the Ghoul Stars. It was explained that the force had arrived directly from their homeworld of Caliban, and Luther, the legion’s second in command, was welcomed into the burgeoning fleet.

+++

In the greatest betrayal and military disaster the Legionnes Astartes had then faced, the Imperial Fists, Dark Angels, Iron Hands and Salamanders decimated the survivors of the planet-fall. It was only the timely intervention of the cruiser, Eisenstein, which had been commandeered by loyalists among the turncoat forces, which allowed even a small percentage of the ambushed legions to fight their way back into orbit, and escape.

+++

The Imperial Fists, Salamanders and Iron Hands headed to the Sol system to tighten their grip on Terra, while Luther and his Dark Angels went to rendezvous with their brothers under Lion El'Jonson on Caliban. What occurred on the Dark Angel homeworld is unrecorded by Imperial history, except that it ended with the utter destruction of the planet.

+++

With another fresh legion throwing its weight behind the traitors, and the fleets of the Dark Angels and Space Wolves only days away, The Emperor had no choice but to cut out the Heresy at its source. He and his finest troops prepared to board the Phalanx and destroy the Arch-Betrayer, Dorn, on his own battle-barge.

+++

Although their home-world of Caliban was reduced to an asteroid field, Luther and his Dark Angels have stubbornly retained a strong presence in the system, although they have also been seen to appear from nowhere and destroy targets throughout the galaxy. The reason for these attacks has been hotly debated by Imperial strategists over ten millennia, with theories ranging from institutionalised insanity to that they are searching for, or trying to obliterate, someone or something...


From IA: Space Wolves
On occasion the Space Wolves found themselves fighting alongside marines from other legions, and while Russ counted most of his brother-primarchs as firm friends, in the case of the Dark Angels the rivalry was far from cordial. The gregarious and headstrong Russ found Lion El’Jonson to be cold, arrogant and superior, a fact made worse by them having brought a greater tally of worlds into compliance than the young Space Wolf legion. This antipathy spilled over to such a degree that after their shared enemies had been defeated it was common for unseemly fistfights or even blood-duels to erupt.

+++

Their salvation came from an unexpected source: the Dark Angels. When yet another warp-jump deposited then far off course and within hailing distance of a Dark Angels fleet, the Space Wolves prepared to continue their long-standing feud. Instead they were greeted warmly as fellow enlightened of Chaos. Luther, the Dark Angel’s commander, said that he had personally slain Jonson for the glory of Chaos, and further, claimed to have embraced and studied the Dark Gods in all their aspects. With Luther’s aid, the Space Wolves were able to control and direct their aggression. This was performed in a symbolic bloodletting on the planet of Dulan. Even though the world had sided with Chaos, the two legions tore down the Crimson Fortress of its ruler, the tyrant Durath. The blood pact, sealed with Durath’s evisceration, gave the Space Wolves a deeper understanding of Khorne. From then on, Russ and his brothers had the chance to be masters of the blood-tide rather than its servants.

Both fleets continued onwards, drawing torturously slowly but surely towards Terra. With the two Chaos Legions only days from their destination, and the war balanced upon a knife-edge, The Emperor was forced into a desperate gamble to attack the leader of the Heresy on his flagship. Though Dorn was killed and the heart torn out of the Chaos Legions on Terra, it left The Emperor a broken, mortally wounded husk.

Even with the Chaos Legions in full retreat and the vengeful loyalists eager to avenge their fallen lord, Russ still continued onwards. It was only the sage counsel of Luther that turned him from the path of certain destruction. He said that they must have faith that everything had transpired according to Khorne’s great plan. With the Imperium in such a state of upheaval there was an entire galaxy of skulls ripe for the harvesting. The idea that Khorne himself had prevented them from reaching Terra in time did not go down well with the Space Wolves, with Wolf Lords openly voicing their disgust. At last, however, Russ turned them aside, and they set course for Fenris, leaving a swathe of butchered worlds in their wake.

+++

Since their enlightenment at Prospero the Space Wolves have dedicated themselves to the worship of Khorne, slaying entire systems in his name. Without the structures of faith gifted to them by Luther, their wild, self-destructive excesses would long-since have driven the legion to extinction. As a mark of respect, the Dark Angels are one of the few of the Chaos Legions the Space Wolves are willing to fight alongside. They usually prefer to fight alone, confident that even while heavily outnumbered, they are more than a match for any opponent.

+++



The following is a sub-plot that I don't think will fit into the article . I wanted it as there may not be many other chances to tell the story of the Dornian Heresy Eisenstein, but wordcount and narrative flow look like this will be a no-no. I will leave it here in case I need to salvage it for later, or to laugh bitterly at my own folly. :rolleyes:

The tattered remains of the loyalist legions escaped into orbit, and Dorn’s idea was for the rebel ships to trap them and completely destroy the loyalist fleets to prevent word of their treachery from getting out. [From the overview: It was only the timely intervention of the cruiser, Eisenstein, which had been commandeered by loyalists among the turncoat forces, which allowed even a small percentage of the ambushed legions to fight their way back into orbit, and escape.] Luther becomes aware of the plan by the loyalists among the Fists, Sals, Iron Hands (?) and Dark Angels to take control of the cruiser Eisenstein, and allows it to continue. Dorn wouldn’t be able to blame the Dark Angels, as it was due to the actions of all of the traitor legions that caused it. Instead, Luther orders his ships to fall out of position – blaming it on the actions of the cruiser Eisenstein – allowing the remaining loyalists to escape and bring word of Dorn’s betrayal ahead of time. Luther cares not for this – he knows the Imperial Fists have the Emperor’s palace firmly under their control and is confident that Chaos will still win. He does this to make sure that word gets out that the Dark Angels had gone renegade. This would smear the name of the Lion as a traitor in the eyes of the Imperium, and see that Jonson would head back to Caliban to sort him out, where Luther would be ready and waiting for him. Alternatively, the Eisenstein lets the loyalists escape with no help from Luther’s Dark Angels, and with the story out anyway, Dorn is happy to let Luther return home to Caliban and draw Jonson’s Dark Angels back there for a confrontation rather than go directly to Terra, which might otherwise tip the balance of power in favour of the loyalists.


+++

Although I like the idea of the narrative of these colourpieces, time ans wordcount constraints mean that they are being cut from this draft. In case they are ever needed I am storing them here for now:

Colourpiece: Scrying on Caliban
Luther scrying the runes of Caliban – Luther could see them as stars – thousands of stars too distant to make out – although three of them are getting closer to the point where they are ready to read – the marines are ready to be spat out back into the material plane. An Event is growing closer, but is too distant to be able to tell any information. It could be a week, or a year. Inject tension by having him order the Deathwing attack the approaching Imperial forces to hold them off and buy him the time he needs to complete the scrying. Show how driven he / they are to find even one of the Unforgiven. Could some of them have already been spat out before he got back from Terra, with no way for him to track them?

Colourpiece: POV one of the Unforgiven.
Reflecting that they were attacked as traitors even while travelling back to Caliban. When he emerged from that timeless stasis he was disoriented, hated for the armour he wore, and hunted by Imperial authorities, and so hid his power armour and tried to lose himself amongst the teeming hordes of humanity on this backwater planet. He has made a life for himself, rising to a position of power and used it to make their lives better. He sees the Ravenwing and recognises them for what they are, and that they are after him.

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 08 April 2011 - 10:17 PM.

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#3
Lysimachus

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Looking really good Aurelius, nice work again! Very logical too, especially the bit about the Emperor’s reasons for boarding Dorn’s ship.

Cypher? Keep him cryptic, or openly a leader of the chaos DA legion? Leading the loyal DA in their nebulous quest?


Definitely the last one, although still keeping it very vague, much as he is in the norm-verse. I’d make him very feared by the Chaos DA, maybe even hint in some way that they think he might actually be the Lion reborn/returned/etc?

What fate for Luther? 'Sleeping', or leading the chaos DA as a Daemon Prince? Analogy would be that he was banished to the warp for an indeterminate time, and is prophesised to return?


I wouldn’t have him too active, the ‘prophesised to return’ thing sounds good.

#4
Ace Debonair

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Oops. I normally try not to read these before the IA is almost completed, but I assumed the post at the top was the Alpha Legion one still. :lol:
Oh well, let's see if I can contribute anything while I'm here. ;)

They know that the loyalist Dark Angels have been scattered through time and space (by the power of the Emperor?) and use Chaos to find them (Hunt for the un-fallen?) and analagous interrogator-chaplains try to turn them from the Lion and towards Chaos. If they don't, they either die, or are turned into daemon-hosts to serve the legion.


Awesome. In an ideal world, there'd be a need to keep the presence of these loyalists a secret from the other chaos legions...

Perhaps Luther personally gives his word that he slew all the loyalists, and evidence to the contrary might make the other legions question his 'wisdom' vis a vis chaos?
Or perhaps the Lion might have survived the encounter, and Luther and his DA are constanly searching him out, if only to find evidence of his death? Cue Cypher, carrying El'Jonson's sword... ;)

Homeworld
What about the remains of Caliban? They hang around the Caliban system... why? Do they have the Rock? Is that where they bring the loyal DA (Think of an analagous name for them like 'The Fallen'.)

You could call the renegade good guys 'the Unforgiven'. :huh:
EDIT: As in, Luther will never forgive them for siding with the Lion.


I can just picture a chaplain interrogating one of the loyalists, and the loyalist spitting at him; "How far you have fallen - but we are true Dark Angels still. Though we are unforgiven for your crimes, we remain loyal to the Lion and the Emperor until death."

I wonder - will the Chaos DA still have Deathwing and Ravenwing equivalents?

- Cypher? Keep him cryptic, or openly a leader of the chaos DA legion? Leading the loyal DA in their nebulous quest?
- What fate for Luther? 'Sleeping', or leading the chaos DA as a Daemon Prince? Analogy would be that he was banished to the warp for an indeterminate time, and is prophesised to return?

The latter options for both of these would be epic. :evil:

Edited by Ace Debonair, 14 January 2011 - 02:25 PM.


#5
Grey Hunter Ydalir

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Cypher? Keep him cryptic, or openly a leader of the chaos DA legion? Leading the loyal DA in their nebulous quest?


I like Cypher being cryptic and how he is known by neither loyalist nor traitor for what he actually wants. He can indeed lead the (un?) fallen as he somewhat has some link to now, but I don't think anything overt. His secret mission in the current verse is a mystery but there are some good theories to it, obviously these should be different for the alt-verse but I don't think it should be anything concrete, to do so would kill him as an enigma.

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#6
Aurelius Rex

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Thanks for the feedback, guys. Have included some more ideas, including why they hang around the remains of Caliban, why they are going after the Unforgiven (I'm using that! :pirate: ) and that the Emperor is in danger from their schemes. Best to keep Cypher cryptic... possibly even to have him as unattached to the Chaos Dark Angels, probably never even to use the name, just to have the un-named character in style only, and dangle the possibility of him being Jonson.
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#7
Ferrata

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All looks good so far, but there are a few questions I think that are important. How did Luthor get a winning majority of the Legion on his side? I'm not 100% on the fall of the DA, but I always believed it was a smaller unit that fell, hence why they lost the fight. Was this entirely due to coming out of the closet and making the Imperium damn the DA or did he convince more of them? Was it the Lion's falt that he was more willing to forget Caliban than to save it?

As for the Raven/Deathwing, the DA would have had them as a legion, so it might make more sense for them to keep them after they had fallen. The Ravenwing was a part of Caliban history before the Lion so Luthor would keep as he was more Caliban than the Lion. Maybe the Deathwing is something a little more disapproving, made up of those Unforgiven that refused to turn from the Lion's side and have been brainwashed and turned into Daemonhosts?

Quick Edit:

Would that make them the Deamonwing?

Edited by Ferrata, 15 January 2011 - 10:32 PM.


#8
Hemal

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Maybe they had assistance? Dorn might have given Luther some of the fancy toys he used to destroy the Legions, as a gift for their assistance.
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#9
Aurelius Rex

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Hmm... on how the outnumbered Chaod DA 'won', I have been thinking about the mechanics, but don't think there is anything that is insurmountable. There are a number of equalisers that could be used, such as Edward Woodward, the fact that it is writted from the evil DA perspective, that they could have all manner of WMD Chaos spells at their disposal (my favoured choice ATM), even who was the defender (got back to Caliban first), although the WMD spell could easily trump even that advantage! I would want to keep the Imperial Fists out of the story if possible, as it should be a DA vs DA fight without other legions sticking their noses in, I feel.

Something I want to work in is an alternate method for the destruction of Caliban, and the scattering of the Loyalist DA through time and space. There is the possibility that Chaos did it to save the evil DA, but that is rather similar to the norm-'verse. Instead I would like to work on having the Emperor doing it using the webway portal in his throne room. He is trapped there anyway, it is still intact as Magnus hasn't destroyed it with his norm'-verse antics, and he feeling bad about not being able to help (or know to help) the loyalists destroyed at Istvaan. When he realises that he is going to lose another of his sons / legions on Caliban, he uses the webway portal in a way unknown to pseudoscience in a one-shot deal to whisk the loyal DA away from their certain doom. This disrupts Caliban to the point where it is effectively destabilised and destroyed... and shoots the loyal DA out through time and space.

This then ties in with the evil DA needing to hang around the remains of Caliban to work out where and when the Loyal DA were sent, and that by 'turning' them, they get a piece of the puzzle over the Emperor's soul, as he put so much effort into saving them that they have peen imprinted with it... If they capture and tuern enough loyal DA, they think they can use the power of Chaos to corrupt the Emperor and 'win' the battle for the Ruinous Powers.

Tie this in with the Thousand Sons and their soul-binding - they get the idea from interrogating them, as well as astropaths, before hitting on doing it through the loyal DA instead. The Lion is a cypher (unnamed) figure they are hunting for in vain...

Aagh... ! I am still working out the kinks, and haven't got the idea clear here yet so don't judge this too harshly. ;) I think it could be the big idea that could really help the IA to pop.

... If I can get the right execution! :yuck:

Ooh, Daemonwing! That could be cool!
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#10
Ace Debonair

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Thanks for the feedback, guys. Have included some more ideas, including why they hang around the remains of Caliban, why they are going after the Unforgiven (I'm using that! ) and that the Emperor is in danger from their schemes. Best to keep Cypher cryptic... possibly even to have him as unattached to the Chaos Dark Angels, probably never even to use the name, just to have the un-named character in style only, and dangle the possibility of him being Jonson.


One of my ideas made it into a DH article? :D

Good times. :Elite:

#11
Ace Debonair

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Hey, an update on the sly. :P
Good stuff!

They know that the loyalist Dark Angels have been scattered through time and space (by the power of the Emperor?) and use Chaos to find them (Hunt for the Unforgiven) and analogous interrogator-chaplains try to turn them from the Lion and towards Chaos. They either convert under torture, or if they don’t break, are turned into daemon-hosts / possessed to serve the legion.

They can also use other Astartes as daemon-hosts / possessed. Word Bearers and Thousand Sons would be particularly appropriate for them to target given their connection to the Emperor... although would the Thousand Son’s soul-binding prevent them from being possessed, and just end in their explosively messy death instead?


Epic and cool in equal measure. If the Thousand Sons appear incorruptible (or at least explode rather than be posessed), I'd certainly think the DA should be desperate to capture them to just to try new methods or experiments on them. :)

And the capturing and transforming of loyalist Word-Bearers is just too delightful an irony to ignore.

Were they behind the Plague of Unbelief that swept the galaxy and caused the death of Lorgar and the Age of Apostasy?

Heck, they've got to have been.
If that wouldn't be the DA's most triumphant example of almost-scientific application of the Chaos Gods, I don't know what is. ;)

3. White Scars (Slaanesh)
?

With the Scars, you could have the DA take the role of encouraging them to get out there and fight for Chaos, rather than languishing in their luxuries?

6. Salamanders (Malal)
The Salamanders would hate the rest of the Chaos Legions, and especially the ‘zealots’ the Dark Angels appear to be to them. In response, Lorgar would no doubt see them as a part of Chaos’ rich tapestry, although they clearly do not realise the part they are playing.

I'd have thought Lorgar wants to set fire to that rich tapestry in this universe. ;)

Do they have Deathwing and Ravenwing branches? Why would they?

Ravenwing could be Luther's most trusted Unforgiven-finders, and Deathwing could be the ones tasked with storming Caliban when required?

He broods over the loss of his primarch sons and their loyal sons at Istvaan and Prospero, and is intent that this should not happen again.
When he senses the disruption in the warp caused by Luther using the Chaos WMD against the Lion and the loyalist Dark Angels on Caliban, he uses the Webway portal (beyond how it should usually be used – he is the Emperor, after all, and should be allowed to do crazy pseudo-science like this) to whisk them to safety. Either as side effect, or due to interference from the Chaos WMD, he realises that the DA will be scattered throughout time and space, and not wanting a repeat of how his primarchs were whisked away and scattered, he tags / imprints them before they are lost so that he will be able to sense their presence when they finally emerge and will easily be able to find them.

Given that Magnus is tracking down the Grey Knights, and has had his legion's souls bound to the Emperor, I could forsee Luther being extremely concerned that Magnus might recognize this and find the Unforgiven first. In light of that, you could also use the Deathwing as a task force to occupy Imperial attention whilst the Ravenwing go Unforgiven-napping.

Colourpiece 2: Final one POV Luther revealing his true intent
This makes it clear that his true intention is to find and convert (or daemon-host) the loyal DA as they each contain a partial imprint of the Emperor’s soul – foreshadowed by the Emperor POV Colourpiece from before - and that by collecting enough pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, as it were, they will be able to corrupt the Emperor directly with Chaos, and win the battle once and for all. Have the flickering of the Astronomicon as a first test of their attempts to do this.


Holy cow, that's epic. :eek


Examine why Luther would not tell the other legions, let alone other Dark Angels (outside the inner circle) what he is really doing. To let it become public knowledge would mean that it would inevitably get back to Imperial forces, which would turn them into public enemy number one. It would also be a free-for-all, and the other Chaos Legions would all want to get in on the act, setting up their own competing schemes. With the cover of wanting to convert the Lion’s DA followers, they are willing to let him get on with it without interference, thinking it a simple internal DA matter.  


It'd be pretty awesome if Luther doesn't tell his 'Inner Circle' the whole truth, either. And very DA of him, actually. :lol:

He could claim the Gods have said they'll reward the DA greatly if they catch and break all of the Unforgiven?

#12
Aurelius Rex

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:) It isn't the first time I have mixed up Lorgar and Luther! :lol:

Thanks for the feedback, Ace, I will put it into the mental blender. I have been wrapped up with feedback for people the last week or two, but have found time to mull over and develop things in my head for this as well. Particularly like the Scars idea, and the parallel to Magnus' quest... that could go nicely in a colourpiece. :D

Edit 09/02/11: Added a bit on Istvaan, with Luther intentionally allowing the loyalists to escape from planetary orbit as he wants there to be witnesses that the Dark Angels were renegades, thereby damning the Lion in the Imperium's eyes.

Edit 13/02/11: A major update, mainly focussing on the actions post-Heresy. I included many of the ideas suggested by Ace and Hemal - thanks, guys! While I still need to re-read sections of the two Dark Angels Horus Heresy books, and use the info to flesh out further the way the origins and Great Crusade sections will work out, I am approaching a critical mass with the article. The aim is to start writing at least a first, rough draft of the Pre-Heresy section by the end of next weekend.

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 13 February 2011 - 03:48 PM.

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#13
Aurelius Rex

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Gack! After re-reading the Horus Heresy book 'Fallen Angels' I am left feeling very annoyed. When I first read it, the Caliban thread seemed to be... jumbled and incoherent to say the least. It didn't hang together as a story for me, and going back over sections of it again I am none the wiser. Perhaps they are trying to just be secretive, but it just seemed that the motivations didn't make sense.

This really annoys me as I am trying to get something of the story straight for the Dornian Heresy version of events.

If anyone can help to explain this spaghetti tangle of loose plot threads that called itself a book, then please shout out! What was the Lion's motivation in sidelining half the DA? Why would he want to get the new Cypher, knowing his murky past, and why would he think he would be loyal to him? Why would the Terrans
Spoiler
The whole thing seemed either wilfully garbled in an attempt to be mysterious to the point of being annoying, and / or it was just terribly written... I can't decide which. :yes:

Given the intentional level of obfuscation surrounding the DA, I think I am just going to have to go with a theory and say (quite reasonably) that it is written from Luther's perspective, and so it is only right that things will be skewed in this direction and may not be the 'truth'.
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#14
HellChyld

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that sounds like a good descion. luther's perspect would fit as your points above being kept in mind while re reading it again scream a major :woot: to me too. i'm trying to figure out the lion's motivation is some unknown information from the emperor to his son which luther wouldnt know of or the lion is just that big a dickwad. not real informative i know but its all i can come up with at the moment..

gallery_48988_6285_1641.jpggallery_48988_6285_1098.jpggallery_48988_6285_1776.jpggallery_1805_634_6746.jpg


#15
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[Hemal’s idea] Does he give Luther something he wouldn’t otherwise have if he had not gone, to explain why it didn’t happen like the norm-‘verse pattern of events?

Well, the Imperial Fists are the best defenders in the Imperium. The Dark Angels are about to do a very serious defence action. Could this simply not be in the way of tactics, guns or even manpower? The Imperial Fists and Dark Angels share information, Chaos for Fists and Sieging 101 for Angels.

#16
Ace Debonair

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They have converted / possessed Unforgiven Dark Angels amongst their ranks. They also capture and use other Astartes as possessed. Word Bearers and Thousand Sons would be particularly appropriate for them to target given their connection to the Emperor... although the Thousand Son’s soul-binding prevents them from being possessed, and ends merely in their explosively messy death. The more robust Astartes physique mean that they are able to last longer before breaking apart than mere humans, but even they do not last for more than a handful of decades They could be used as terror-squads. They also possess normal humans, either willing cultists, or captives. These are used as disposable troops - cannon fodder and as a terror-weapon – and any that survive are left on the planet.


Gene-Seed
Not particularly degraded for a Chaos Legion - they don't allow themselves to be possessed.Consider incorporating the Quintessence Daemonica purification idea from the Order Encarmine – a way that they can keep from degenerating despite what they do and where they go.


Bit of a conflict there, methinks. ^_^
Unless the posessed do exist, and are kept secret! :ph34r:

...You know, I might be getting carried away with the whole 'secrecy' thing. :lol:

#17
Aurelius Rex

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@Ace - Well, they wouldn't see the forcibly possessed (loyal) Unforgiven as 'them' - they are the enemy, and once they are possessed they are very valuable as talismans of their victory. I see your point, certainly, and will have to be careful how I word it. They certainly wouldn't harvest the gene-seed after they have been possessed, but they may well do before they do it... could be a throwaway note that the marine won't break, so they decide to possess him, but beforehand they extract his progenoids, adding insult to injury.

@Phil - I am working on how Luther could get something from Dorn in return for Istvaan that would invert the events of the siege of Caliban... The DA would only be at Istvaan for a very short time, so little time for training, and I want to try to keep it a DA only affair at Caliban. I am currently settling on Dorn (with his close links / possession by Chaos Undivided) giving Luther an artefact / knowledge which allows him to unlock the power of Chaos, possibly tied to the Ouroboros daemonic worm (its true name?) at the heart of Caliban's corrupted northlands - from Fallen Angels. This could also explain why it is a one-shot deal that they can't activate wherever they fight - it was tied uniquely to Caliban.

I have been tinkering and adding to the stock of ideas, firming them up, but the arrival of the in-laws last week has meant that things didn't go as fast as I had wanted.

I have publically said it will be posted on April 1st, but wanted to get it dusted a good while before then, so that I can steal a march on the next article... that way, there won't be as large a gap when I keep back the last three articles for the PDF! ^_^
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#18
Ace Debonair

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@Ace - Well, they wouldn't see the forcibly possessed (loyal) Unforgiven as 'them' - they are the enemy, and once they are possessed they are very valuable as talismans of their victory. I see your point, certainly, and will have to be careful how I word it. They certainly wouldn't harvest the gene-seed after they have been possessed, but they may well do before they do it... could be a throwaway note that the marine won't break, so they decide to possess him, but beforehand they extract his progenoids, adding insult to injury.


Right, gotcha. That makes sense.
Just at first glance it seemed a little contradictory. ;)

I have publically said it will be posted on April 1st, but wanted to get it dusted a good while before then, so that I can steal a march on the next article... that way, there won't be as large a gap when I keep back the last three articles for the PDF! :)

I suppose if it runs late you can always say it was an April Fools thing, then. :lol:

#19
Aurelius Rex

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I have had a tricky time working through some of the specifics in my head, but with a week until April first, it has reached critical mass. The problem with available time in the day to get anything on this done has also eased in the short term, at least. I have not got all the information from my paper notes to the post, but it will be there when the draft is complete.

The draft has already started, with the Combat Doctrine, Beliefs and Recruitment & Gene-Seed sections down. The plan is to plough through as much of the rest as possible over the weekend, and have as many days as possible next week for proofing and feedback. Don't worry about this / waste any time on the amorphous spawn it is currently, but anyone interested and available - I will tap you for feedback next week! :ph34r:

Thanks in advance,
John.

Edit 25/03/11: Rough draft of the Organisation section up.

Edit 26/03/11: Got a good chunk of the Dornian Heresy section drafted. Getting there slowly, but steadily. It is coming together, but Friday seems far too close to properly pull it all together. :P

Edit 27/03/11: Working on a draft of the Great Crusade.

Edit 28/03/11: Re-organised things and repositioned the colourpieces, and did a first proofreading pass on the half of the article that is drafted.

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 28 March 2011 - 11:10 PM.

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#20
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Printed off, will have a read at some point over this week :D

#21
Aurelius Rex

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Thanks, Phil. :tu: I have bitten the bullet and announced on the board that I won't have it ready for Friday 1st April, and that it will instead be on or before Saturday 9th April which gives me 8 days more.

Better still, if I get it properly drafted by the weekend it will give me the week to properly proof it to a shine and get proper feedback from you all here rather than the very rushed situation I put you through with the Alpha Legion.

That means that if anyone wants to give feedback now then that's great, but bear in mind that a shedload is still to be changed, so don't bother with anything but an overview of the basics rather than going to town on the speelung mustooks und grammer erurs. :( I would rather you save your detailed effort for the properly drafted version I WILL have done by the end of the weekend. :)
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#22
Ace Debonair

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That means that if anyone wants to give feedback now then that's great, but bear in mind that a shedload is still to be changed, so don't bother with anything but an overview of the basics rather than going to town on the speelung mustooks und grammer erurs. :) I would rather you save your detailed effort for the properly drafted version I WILL have done by the end of the weekend. :)


Ah. I'll check back here next monday then, and see what's what. ;)

EDIT: Hmm, posted halfway through what I was saying.

To finish:
I had a quick read before, and it seems ok so far, but if stuff's getting moved around and edited, I'll save any in-depth analysis stuff for later. :D

Edited by Ace Debonair, 29 March 2011 - 10:22 PM.


#23
Sigismund Himself

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*Steps from the Warp*

An interesting read as always John :) I think this has a few more loose ends though, which I've pointed out below.

I think that the Adminastratum having control of Caliban is a bit of a weak point in the story. Did any legion hand over control of their home planet to the Adminatratum? I would paint it as the Lion's will that it be industrialised and it helps show the disconnect/aloofness the Lion's views have when compared to normal people.

Something that should be explored further is Luther before the Lion arrives. He's a far, far greater player in this universe and knowing more about him would

As part of this, I would also explore the relationship between the Lion and Luther more in the article, since this seems to be part of the key of Luther's turning (which I don't think is explained too clearly at the moment). What's it like for a father to be surpassed by his child, be proud of him, be one of the few who thought they understood him and then be apparently be betrayed by him, before taking revenge. It's epic! :P I'd try and work it and the emotions in a little more.


I'd put in about Cypher leading the assault on the knight of Lupus and that's how he gets/knows of the books. I'd also have him being killed by the exploding Thousand Son in the attempt to possess it. It ties up loose ends so that you don't have to mention him again and there's not confusion on why there's no Cypher running around or the role.

I think the section on the Watchers are a little confusing at the moment but then it is a draft :)

The relic Dorn gives him should probably be corruptive, why would the Dark Gods not want to corrupt a servant to ensure loyalty?

Also, why wouldn't the Emperor use the Imperial Webway to escape? The reasoning for the loyalist DA being saved doesn't make much sense at the moment to me. Perhaps tie it in to the Sensei in someway? Or maybe the Emperor did it to distract the traitors from actually taking on the Imperium fully?

Walking the Spiral- love it!

Perhaps an additional reason the Imperium doesn't keep a permanent force at Caliban is the risk of taint and infrequent recurrances of the worm thingy/tentacles being summoned.

The view of the DA on the cults they raise is also an interesting area. Do they teach them control or just let them go unrestrained, using them as mere tools rather than spreading the idea of control?

I've thought of a potential reason for the possession of the loyal DA. Perhaps they use possession as a way to break the marine, more by getting him to slowly enjoy the deeds he's doing and becoming despairing of the way he's being blackened by the use of his body (kind of like how Luther used the Drop Site Massacre to blacken the name of the Lion).

Apart from that, the small details really shine. The last point I want to know is what happens to the Lion!

#24
Ace Debonair

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The view of the DA on the cults they raise is also an interesting area. Do they teach them control or just let them go unrestrained, using them as mere tools rather than spreading the idea of control?


I actually figured from the early drafts they'd try different things with the cults. You know, in the manner of scientists patiently conducting experiments to see what makes the Chaos Gods tick, and what produces the best results from their worship.

Just to throw another idea into the hat. ;)

#25
Aurelius Rex

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Thanks, guys! I am still mixing up the ideas, and have thrown down a stew of them for the Walking the Spiral section that I will draft into something more coherent tomorrow, but the discussion of how they treat the cultists (re do they teach them control) was a really interesting idea. The same idea goes for their use of possessed humans - disposing of them after the battle rather than taking them with them.

I originally saw them as coldly analytical (and calculating) in that they are merely using them as weapons, and so aren't bothered if they survive, just that they are effective at damaging the fabric of the Imperium... but it is certainly an interesting aspect that their clinical nature would see them experimenting to see if it is worth their time to have a controlled cult, or if the normal cult which messily (for all parties) self-destructs is more effective for them. I love the idea that they have done the fieldwork over the millennia and do it on a case by case basis... but usually don't bother to teach them anything more than the most rudimentary aspects of Walking the Spiral. The callous disdain for them would be about right for them. :evil:

But I am not sure how much of that I can fit into the article... it is a really nice bit of texture, but as always the word count is a concern. :D

Edit: 03/04/11: Good progress on many of the outstanding sections with the Walking the Spiral drafted and the Great Crusade section completed. Unfortunately I have not done as much as I had hoped, so all the colourpieces are still outstanding, as is the whole origins section and a chunk of the Dornian Heresy section, so I am nowhere near where I wanted to be at this stage in the weekend. All I can do is plough through it as fast as I can to give you guys as long as possible for feedback before I publish next Saturday... it has already slipped once! :tu:

Edit: 04/04/11: Finished drafting the Dornian Heresy section. Just the colourpieces, the shortish origins section and the battlecry remain to be drafted. I have decided to just drop the interrogation of the Unforgiven colourpiece as, while it is a central thing, it is explained well enough elsewhere, adds nothing to the story and is otherwise too similar to the possession of the Thousand Son colourpiece. Once all the drafts are done I will proof the heck out of this, and hopefully find some way to trim the wordcount.

Edited by Aurelius Rex, 04 April 2011 - 07:41 PM.

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