"Let no man who raises arms against you survive to do it twice." - Blade proverb.
The Blades are an Adeptus Astartes chapter of Ferrus Mannus' geneseed, trained by the Iron Hands in the methods of their great Primarch, and crafted to bring glory to the Imperium. Founded in the closing years of M33 to combat the mounting threats to the Imperium, the Blades training cadre was led by Captain Losare, an Iron Hands commander who did not share his comrades utter intolerance of weakness. He believed weakness was present in all men and only by accepting this could mankind rise above itself, standing proud and tall with their own strength. He was a skilled and dedicated commander, but such aberrant views made him unpopular within the chapter, and so when their geneseed was called for in the new founding the Clan Council saw this as a way to peacefully rid themselves of him. He chose a cadre of marines with similar views and set out to make a chapter that saw the galaxy as he did: a dangerous place, full of weak men who needed to be nurtured to overcome their hardships.
Setting out far from Medusa and his former brothers, they eventually came across a system in the far North-East region of Segmentum Obscurus. The system was called Burrei, and its planets were peaceful, verdant worlds; seemingly untouched by the ravages of a galaxy at war. A pair of semi-Civilized worlds, Rejal and Therph, worshiped their version of the Emperor and converted quickly and smoothly to the Imperial Creed, easily embracing the technology and changes of the Imperium. The small death world of Veran was left untouched, to be used as recruiting ground from its savage tribal warriors. Even the garden world of Lafen was quick to embrace the Imperial Way, clearing large tracts of land to serve agriculturally, providing food and export to the civilized planets. In all things the people of the system were the ideal populace for a Space Marine home. Lorace believed this to be a sign of the Emperor's blessing on the new chapter, that four such worlds could be found together and could so quickly and peacefully be turned to his Light.
The Blades settled, and quickly began to develop their Chapter, building their numbers and striking against the Greenskins of the nearby systems, both to ensure the peace of their new home, and to give their trainees valuable combat experience. The deathworld of Veran proved to be the perfect recruiting ground, and Losare himself claimed the first batch of potential recruits, starting the legends of the Giant King and his Warriors, who took the worthy into heaven. Even the more civilized worlds provided strong recruits, reinforcing Lorace's belief that his Chapter had been blessed. When their numbers had reached Chapter strength, Chapter Master Losare declared that the Blades would crusade among the stars, returning every 75 years to reintegrate new recruits and restock their fleet. Leaving his most trusted Captain in charge of recruitment and the maintenance of the system, Losare and his 900 warriors set out, leaving 100 marines to train the recruits and continue their management of the nearby Ork threat.
For 75 years the Blades crusaded, earning accolades and victories over the major enemies of man. Everywhere, they spread the light of the Emperor and taught the value of helping their brothers to overcome what hurtles blocked their way. Defeat itself seemed to shy from their presence, and none who witnessed their glories could doubt that the Emperor himself was guiding them. In the 75th year, they returned to Burrei and its planets, where they restocked and resupplied. Losare was pleased to note the success of his Captain, who had trained many new recruits and won much victory against the nearby Orks. He also noted with pride how quickly the local populaces had adapted to Imperial rule, and how quickly the chapter was establishing itself. Finished resupplying, Losare set out again, winning more victories and claiming more worlds, bringing each to the light of the Emperor with minimal casualties and as little infrastructure damage as possible. The cycle continued thrice more; 300 years since their discovery of the system and its pious people. The fifth crusade set out and another 75 years passed before the Blades returned home once again, only to find that everything had changed.
In the absence of the Blades, something changed amongst the populace. Something stirred the dark urges of their hearts and fanned the flames of rebellion. As one united system they rose up and revolted against their Emperor, casting down His statues and setting fire to His worlds. The Blades deployed immediately, but were caught off guard by the size and coordination of the rebellion. The marines and recruits who deployed were overwhelmed and killed; their Fortress-Monastery on Veran was seized and pillaged. By the time Lorace and his chapter returned, the system was in anarchy, the populaces having turned to the worship of Chaos and on each other. Corrupt rulers held sway over cities and their people, offering up everything to their Chaos masters. Though few records exist from these dark days, the Blades maintain that some outside force was at work, goading the populace on. Whether this was true, or whether the citizens betrayed the Emperor of their own accord is of little relevance, as the the main force of the Chapter returned, too consumed by rage and grief to trouble themselves with such details.
It broke Lorace's mighty heart to see his beloved worlds fall to such a state, and in the void where love had been, vengeance and hate took up residence. The Blades were disgusted by the lack of faith in their own worlds and set to cleansing them with such zeal as to give the most vile traitor pause. Amid the decades of battling to reclaim the worlds, something changed within the Blades. Before they accepted weakness and lent their own strength to aid the weak when they could. Now, they began to abhor the weak populace that had turned on them, and in their disgust, began an ever more violent approach to dealing with such callow folk. Every world in the system felt the Blades anger, and none more so than Rejal. As the last world in the system to be pacified, it felt the fullest force of the Blades' rage. Deciding to make a permanent example of the world, Lorace deployed a trio of cyclonic torpedoes directly into the planet's core, the detonation of which shattered the planet from the inside out. Cracked and broken in a display of horrific violence, the planet's ruins exist even now, bound together by their own gravity. The Blades may have planned this, as the shattered planet serves as a permanent reminder of the price of disloyalty to any and all who reside in the system.
By the time the last fires of rebellion had been put down, and the system brought back into line, the death toll was in the billions, and the once vibrant worlds were burnt echoes of their former glory. The populace of the system had dropped nearly in half, and still the Blades were not satisfied. As retribution for the system's betrayal, the Blades killed the first born of every family in the system, letting them know forever more than dissent was never to be tolerated. All men above the age of 25 were put the sword as well, so that the populace would forever remember their treachery. In one move, the Blades reduced the population in half yet again, gave birth to a matriarchal society, bred a new breed of fanatical loyalists, and turned forever from the kindness of their past. The survivors of the Burrei Purge renewed their faith in the Emperor under the direst threat, and the new female-driven societies preached the value of strength and loyalty. They swore the most fell oaths of loyalty to the Blades and within a year, the system was a model of Imperial faith once again, albeit an underpopulated one.
Satisfied that his system was now in line, the aging Lorace decreed that the new focus of the Blades would be to crush the seeds of rebellion wherever they sprouted and to put down any who would even whisper of secession. They rebuilt their monastery on one of Veran's moon and once more set out among the stars. This time however, they did not bring the Emperor's light to the darkness. Instead, they brought His sword to the betrayers, earning a fearsome reputation for curbing heresy that outclassed even their forebearers. Finding like-minded allies among the most hard lined elements of the Inquisition, the Blades dedicated themselves to destroying any and all who had betrayed the Imperium and its Emperor, no matter where they hid. The Blades' crusades had begun anew, and the faithless would tremble.
The Blades make their home in the Burrei system in the North-Eastern Segmentum Obscurus. Once home to a pair of civilized worlds, one now shattered and lifeless, a verdant garden world, and vicious deathworld; the Burrei system is the perfect home ground of an Astartes chapter. The devastating effects of the Purge have had a profound psychological and sociological impact on the system. The destruction of the once civilized world of Rejal serves as a permanent physical reminder of the brutal wars, but the impact on the remaining worlds's societies is even more noticeable. In the aftermath of these terrible events, the number of surviving men was barely a quarter that of the women, and none was over the age of 24. It was the women who filled the void, taking on every role from Planetary Governess to PDF Commander. In the centuries that followed, men were permanently relegated to more physical roles, while women continued their dominance of nearly all aspects of leadership. All the worlds are now matriarchal societies dedicated to the Emperor and his servants, the Blades.
On the Deathworld of Veran, this change has seen the rise of two distinct, gender based tribal cultures. The men war with the women, and vice versa, battling for dominance of the planet. The female tribes capture men for breeding, and the men capture women for the same purpose, ensuring the continuation of both sects. Should a male tribe give birth to a female, or a female tribe give birth to a male, they will be inspected for flaws and then raised in a grueling environment to be a breeder. Such captives live a life of relative safety, though only so long as they continue to produce new offspring for the tribe. Though only the men can become Astartes, the Blades make sure to honor the fiercest warriors of both genders with weapons and other trade goods, ensuring the competition for dominance stays fierce.
Among the civilized worlds, the Purge saw the resurgence of worship in the Emperor as a vengeful yet just God. All the varied societies pay homage to Him in nearly the same way, with fanatical female led churches, all of whom have a military arm. Strength is the most valued quality in the now militarized system and each man and woman hungers to prove him/herself before the God-Emperor. This fascination with strength has led to the idea of 'might makes right.' Disputes are often settled by ritual combat, and those accused of a crime always have the right to trial by arms. Though nearly impossible to survive, if the accused manages to succeed in these trials, he or she is cleared of all charges and welcomed again as a productive member of society. Though this system would seem likely to produce high crime rates and violent offenders, the ever watchful eyes of the Blades ensure that the populace adheres staunchly to the ideals of the Emperor in his warrior persona. Repeat offenders and serial criminals often disappear without a trace, often in conjunction with a Blades 'compliance patrol.' Though some view the Blades's heavy-handed influence on the system as a role unworthy of Astartes, the Blades view the absolute faithfulness of their home worlds to be the highest priority, and they actively hunt down and destroy any rebellious or secessionist elements, often in gruesome public displays of torture and execution.
Hidden among the many unnamed moons of Veran is the Blades's Fortress-Monastery, carved into the bedrock of one of these many satellites. It is from here that the Blades wage their eternal crusades against the betrayers of the galaxy, and to the people of the Burrei system, the moons of Veran have taken on a sinister reputation. Children are scared into obedience and worship of the Emperor by tales of the Blades, who emerge from the dark of the stars to snatch away any who turn from His way. The constant presence of the Blades in the system and on the worlds they recruit from serves as a telling reminder that the Emperor is always watching.
The Blades head into every possible battle through the use of Drop Pods, screaming from the sky for the ultimate in terror and surprise. Once on the ground they engage their foes in close combat whenever possible, reveling in their strength of arms. As they have directed their might almost singularly against betrayers, traitor marines, and secessionist planets; the Blades have come to delight in breaking the spirits of these hated enemies in the fury of melee warfare. As such, long-range firepower and heavy weapons are taken to battle only when necessary, and even the tactical and devastator marines are armed with a blade of some kind, should they be 'forced' into close combat.
Squads are organized on an ad-hoc basis, an almost singular break from their Codex organization. Each squad commander draws his men from the Company's pool of resources, ensuring that specialists go where they are needed. As fighting forms tight bonds, it is common for a squad's lineup to remain constant even past a campaign, barring death or promotion. Orders are obeyed instantly and without question, even in the strangest of circumstances, as the Blades view the questioning of orders as the first step towards secession and, ultimately, death. As such, squad commanders have great authority while on campaign and are given large freedoms with how to complete their missions.
The Blades obsession with self-reliance and personal strength has lead to a marked downturn in the deployment of vehicles and heavy armor. Each warrior believes that only by relying on himself and his fellow Astartes can victory be won, and nearly all the Blades see the deployment of armor as a crutch. After all, how can a warrior prove his strength when the steel beast fights for him? However, they are not fools, and when the situation calls for it, the Blades will deploy armor, though only so long as absolutely necessary before withdrawing and redeploying into the fray on foot, a strategy some fellow Astartes chapters have called foolish and time-consuming. Should an Astartes commit some offence against the Chapter, it is likely that he will find himself seconded to the armory as a form of penance, until his reparations have been made. This motivates these fallen Blades, as they bear witness to their brothers winning honor and glory in the crush of close range battle, while themselves earn nothing, as no kill made with a vehicle is celebrated.
The Blades organize themselves as closely to the Codex as they can, though minor divergences do occur. The Blades possess a smaller than average Librarium, seeing the psyker taint as a dangerous, yet necessary risk. They do not actively recruit psykers, and indeed try to avoid them. Still, psychic recruits occur, and each is molded into a librarian of the Chapter. In contrast to this, the Blade have a larger than average Reclusiam, with many marines taking the vows of the Chaplain. The fervently devout people of the Burrei system lead naturally religious and military lives, and it is no surprise therefore that many of their sons become Chaplains within the Blades. The Chaplains are seen as positions of true honor, blending military strength seamlessly with the worship of the Emperor. The High Chaplain sits at the right hand of the Chapter Master and is often the first voice that the great leader will call on for advice.
First Master Lorace's initial disagreements with his former Iron Hands brothers extended to the position of Techmarine, a role Lorace was known to despise. As he initially believed that mankind must use its own strength to stand and be recognized, he viewed the Techmarine's insistence and reliance on machinery to be the antithesis of this belief. As such, Techmarines were an unwelcome, but necessary sacrifice for the Blades. Those with the proper attitude for technology were both pitied and despised, as their induction into the tech-cult denied them the opportunity to win glory for the Emperor with their own, human strength. Even after the events of the Purge and the subsequent realignment of the Blades's beliefs, Techmarines were still shunned, now for their reliance on technology and machinery over strength of true flesh and soul.
As the Blades despise the use of vehicles as a crutch, they possess only a small armor pool consisting almost entirely of Land Raiders, which they use to fill nearly every combat role. Even these mighty vehicles are rarely deployed however, and it is almost a miracle to witness the deployment of any grouping of armor. The Blade possess only a handful of Predators, Whirlwinds, and Vindicators; and they possess no Land Speeders of any kind, feeling that the Speeders are too fragile and weak to stand to the stresses of combat. What armor the Blades deemed useless was traded away to other chapters in exchange for valuable terminator armor, relic weapons, or master forged equipment, ensuring that the Blades are extremely well outfitted in their chosen methods of warfare.
The Blades have earned a reputation as cold and uncaring men who weigh the fates of an entire population on the actions of a few. They see betrayal as the ultimate form of weakness and attack relentlessly those who abandon their oaths. When combat with a traitorous world or rebellious system is concluded, the Blades often carry out their practice of destroying the first born of every house. This has earned the Blades a particularly grim and bloody reputation and many fellow Astartes have refused to fight alongside such callous warriors. This has made them other enemies as well, notably from factions among the Inquisition, who see the purges of the Blades as crossing the line. Such inquiries and rebukes have thus far been blocked by the most hardline elements of the Inquisition who look approvingly on the brutal stance the Blades take. The Blades care not for politics, instead focusing on their goal of destroying every last traitor and oath-breaker in the galaxy.
The Blades believe strongly in the Emperor, worshiping him as the Great Father of their race, and the strongest of them all. They do not pray to him for strength or guidance, but rather believe that deeds alone are worthy of him. They believe that the greatest way man can show his worship to the Emperor is to destroy those who have turned from his light. The Blades hold a special hatred for those governors and planetary leaders who turn from the Emperor, feeling that the Emperor gave them everything and they still cast it aside, an attitude that extends to the traitorous legions. When in combat with the faithless and oath-breakers, the Blades give no quarter, putting all who battle against them to the sword. Their overriding philosophy is that those who raise arms against their brothers, fathers, masters, and friends must be dealt with in such a way that it can never happen again. This has led to the barbaric yet effective practice of cutting the right hand off a third of the non-combatants of traitor worlds to make a simple point: Any world that would raise a hand against the Imperium shall lose that hand. This practice, more so than any other, has brought on Inquisitorial censure and rebuke, as a crippled workforce is an inefficient and useless workforce. Still, none can argue over the results, as many a world visited by the Blades has been carved into a model of Imperial faith.
Though the Blades care little for allies or friends, they maintain a stiff yet productive relationship with the most hard line elements of the Inquisition, who point the Blades towards traitorous worlds or rebellious factions. This symbiotic relationship ensures that these oath breakers are dealt with, and that the Blades are protected from the censure of less callous elements of the Imperium. Many an Inquisitor has underestimated the Blades however, thinking they will merely deal with an offending world's rebellious elements, and are shocked when they realize how brutal and unflinching the Blades' methods are. As a Chapter, the Blades have become synonymous with the harshest response and only the most dedicated Inquisitors now call upon them for aid, though this suits the Blades, as they can always find enemies to slay.
The Blades are off the Iron Hands gene-seed, and though they once split themselves because of their differing beliefs, they have returned to the fold, in a manner of speaking. They share their forefather's intense hatred and disgust of weakness, though they battle more against the weakness of the soul than of the body. Unlike their fathers, the Blades share no great affinity with the Adeptus Mechanicus, nor do they posses the high level of bionics that their gene-fathers do; breaks from the Iron Hands tradition that trace their beginnings all the way back to Lorace's original belief that Mankind must not rely on anything but his own strength. What they do share is a willingness to put down the rebellions of the Imperium with lethal, often brutal, force.
Black Blade stabbing an open palm.
Edited by Shinzaren, 06 December 2013 - 03:44 AM.