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Differences of the Successors - Update Project - GotC

Guardians of the Covenant

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#1
Grand Master Belial

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I originally wrote this at the end of 2007 after the previous codex came out and the Frater of that time wanted more information about their beloved successors. As one who liked to write science fiction for fun, I took to the boards with my own interpretation of each of the Successors and allowed the community to shape them into what became the original article that has since been added to the Librarium. Now it is 2013, little more than five years has passed and a new Codex has come out. With it, the canon for the Successors have intentionally been kept to a minimum to let us the gamers add the missing details with our creative imaginations. Now all of us here have our area of the hobby we enjoy more than the others, be it gaming, painting, converting or writing narratives. For those that enjoy other aspects of the hobby besides creative writing and would like to know more about the Successors, I present this UNOFFICIAL background to you for your use. Take from it what you like, discard what you don't. Use this as a framework to add more depth to your Successor and enjoy!

 

THE GUARDIANS OF THE COVENANT

 

The Guardians of the Covenant have extensive battle arenas above and below the surface of their mountainous world where they extensively train in the many different arts of war. Their followings of the tactical writings of the Lion and other prominent Astartes allow them to see the patterns of war even before the first enemies have set foot upon a world. Through the study of an enemy’s culture and military drill, they know their enemies as well they know themselves. In battle, they attain victory with very few casualties.

Many an Imperial Commander has benefited from their advice. Shortening what would normally be a very lengthy conflict to one lasting only a matter of weeks or months. To that end, many Imperial units and even some other Astartes Chapters have requested their help in devising new training procedures and to develop new battlefield tactics. Though this knowledge comes with a hidden price; for the Guardians study their fellow allies as well as their foes.

Unusual for a marine chapter, the Guardians of the Covenant make use of non-psyker Librarians or Chronicler to record the activities of any that might be deemed a threat to the Imperium or the Unforgiven. This process is not without risk and it is up to the Interrogator-Chaplains and the true Librarians to verify the reports and to check the purity of the Chronicler. Once the report pasts these rigorous tests, the Guardians of the Covenant proceed to develop and adapt new methods of conquering the threat.

HOME WORLD

The mountainous world of Mortikah VII lies near the Western Rim of the Imperium in the Segmentum Pacificus. However, below the surface of these majestic mountains lies a darker realm. A realm with noticeable signs of artificial activity, but to as to what lies in those caverns is a matter of speculation for the Guardians of the Covenant like their progenitor are very tight-lipped about themselves. Some of the wild speculation suggests subterranean forges, perhaps made by the Adeptus Mechanicus itself.

Yet the wildest speculation does not even come close to the mark. During the times of the Great Crusade, the Dark Angels Legion was led personally by the Emperor until the Lion was found. They captured Mortikah VII with little resistance. The warriors amongst the indigenous humans were receptive to the Star Warriors and began an exchange of knowledge. The Emperor was moved by their knowledge not only in war but of the arts, culture and history that they possessed and their desire to learn in an effort to refine themselves to a level of perfection. The Emperor decreed that the world would be a place of knowledge and art. To that end, he set to work to create a massive repository for the works of the Great Crusade and the History of Man. The residents seeing the gift for its true value blessed the Emperor by constructing the largest fortress ever constructed on the planet to protect the only entrance to the repository and to tightly control those who dared to learn such knowledge for anything but noble gains.

When it came time to continue the Crusade, the Dark Angels left behind a small contingent to guard the repository. During their time acting as a garrison, the Dark Angels kept a cordial contact to the citizens. They noted the piety and sophistication of their warriors. Sadly, after the events of the time known only as Horus Heresy, the planet of Mortikah was forgotten and lost for a time. The Angels garrisoning the planet died at their post, with no responses for their pleas for assistance.

It would be several millennia until the planet was rediscovered by the Imperium; the Explorator team found a world little changed over time. It was during a meeting with the leaders that a single question was asked. “Where are the Dark Angels? For only with them will we speak.” Within a short time, the Unforgiven returned to Mortikah VII and learned of their ancient orders and even more so, the secrets of the hidden repository of knowledge.

For a time, members from several Unforgiven chapters returned to the duties of protecting the world until the High Lords of Terra declared a need for another Founding of Space Marine Chapters. The Unforgiven honored their duty by establishing a Chapter on the world made up of warriors taken from the populace. Tasked with upholding the Covenant the Emperor made to the people of Mortikah VII.

COMBAT DOCTRINE

The Guardians of the Covenant will study their opponents before committing to action. During this time they study patterns within patterns, terrain features, and equipment all the while formulating plans to counteract any perceived strengths and exploit the most minor of weaknesses. So that when they do act, they fight as though they can read their enemies thoughts. So perfect is their executed plans that many an enemy fall before firing a shot in return.

The Guardians of the Covenant seem to be the least likely to follow a rumor regarding the Fallen Dark Angels. Though in truth, the scholarly studies of the Guardians have yielded many of the Fallen that have turned away from fighting altogether to enjoy a simple life in a remote part of the Imperium. Their downfall typically is in a single legendary battle where a simple man of the village faced off and defeated a nigh impossible foe.

Of particular note, the Guardians of the Covenant have become a particular bane for the agents of the Traitorous Alpha Legion. Many a plan had been unraveled by the discrete intervention of the Guardians, educating the wayward agents back into the Emperor’s Light and revealing the folly of the Alpha Legions plans.

ORGANIZATION

They maintain a rigid coherence to the Codex Astartes and the Requiem Angelis and as such they follow the standard structure of most Unforgiven Chapters.

Two subtle variations appear in the Guardians of the Covenant. First is the size of the Chapters’ Scout Company. There appears to be a higher number of Scouts within the Guardians then is common for a Chapter of their size. Some may attribute it to the very low casualty rate while some are more critical. Saying they are using the undefined size of the company to house their Chroniclers - Full marines who stay within the Company in a reconnaissance role to study other forces. There are even reports of Chroniclers performing secret missions for what purpose none can say.

The second variation is in the Techmarines. While the number of Techmarines is not unusual, their aloof character seems to be absent. There are a number of records where the Guardians of the Covenant fight with their Techmarines to complete a mission as a cohesive unit. Of particular note is the occasions where the marines would assist the Techmarine in working on an assortment of machines, indicating that the even the secrets of the Adeptus Mechanicus are not hidden from the scholarly Guardians.

BELIEFS

The Guardians of the Covenant attempt to learn all that they can so that in combat they will be unsurprised by anything that they may encounter. A belief which has served them well for there are legends told throughout many guard units of the nigh unshakable demeanor of a Guardian of the Covenant. One particular legend had a combat squad of Guardians on a world targeted by the Tyranids. This particular squad stood motionless as a Lictor was terrorizing the local PDF regiment sent to destroy it. The PDF troopers were in a state of panic but the Guardians stood resolutely still save for a single shot. The Lictor was found dead some days later from the bolt wound, but by then the Guardians of the Covenant had left.

BATTLECRY

“Power through Knowledge”
“Strength through Thought”

Time to update this venerable old document to take into account some changes from the new Codex. But I will let the Frater to suggest any modifications or additions. I left the photos out for the moment so I could see some painted models.


Edited by Grand Master Belial, 05 February 2013 - 11:18 AM.


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#2
Phoebus

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Two thoughts:

1. This Chapter is qualified as the most monastic of the Successors... but I don't really get that from this article.
2. Space Marines dying at their post due to longevity... eh. To begin with, one of the neat bits of 40k is that there really is no definite answer as to just how long Space Marines can live for (absent violence). I mean, we even have a novel ("Firedrake") where a Salamander literally lives to the 41st Millenium after shutting himself down and sitting on a throne.

#3
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I've got some ideas which I need to flesh out on paper before I submit them here .... Also got 2 children under 4 trying to kill each other at the moment too so better deal with that first! :D

Anyway, my ideas in bullet point form:

- The Covenant: this is the key to the whole chapter really. I like the idea that the big E set the original covenant, but would like to have the Dark Angels corrupt the initial idea to their own needs and requirements .... Something along the lines of using the art and knowledge repository as a cover for a more sinister purpose to do with either the Fallen or hidden archeotech .... Something the DA doesn't want the Inquisition getting wind of

- monastic brotherhood: developing this theme further .... More widespread knowledge within the chapter of "things that should not be", such as chaos etc, with the upshot that the astartes must spend much longer being conditioned to handle the truth and effects of chaos, before going out to do battle. This leads to larger than normal training companies and more time available for monastic study

- combat doctrine: 1st and 2nd company nomenclature; already have some ideas about this

- history: past grandmasters etc

Will post in more detail later :)

#4
cernunnos

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I think it is difficult to represent a monastic chapter because all space marine chapters could really be described as monastic, certainly if defined by the characteristics of chastity, poverty and obedience as in the Christian tradition of monasticism.

I think the approach of this current background summary, which seems to portray the chapter as somewhat scholarly is one possibility. Many monastic orders have played a role in the transmission of philosophy and knowledge down the generations and this could be one example. In fact expanding the fluff of Mortikah VII to make it clear it is a monastery world dedicated to the collation and preservation of the collected cultural and academic works of humanity could reinforce this.

Another approach could be the chapter being a training ground for Unforgiven Chaplains. Much as the techmarines are sent to Mars for study, so chaplains are sent to the Guardians of the Covenant who are the keepers of the legions rituals.

One other possibility would be to focus on asceticism. The Guardians of the Covenant could actually practice self-denial by refraining from hunting the fallen. Instead they could dedicate their service to the Imperium as a whole. The covenant could be this promise to defend mankind, and their self-discipline in refraining from pursuing their own agenda could be a penance paid on behalf of the whole Dark Angels legion for the sake of their spiritual health. Indeed it is also possible that the Guardians of the Covenant could be a tour of duty that the Unforgiven undertake at some point in the name of purity, much like the Deathwatch.

I also had an idea about reconciling the longevity of astartes with the disappearance of the original guardians. We could have the original guardians still being alive in a sense. They could have wired themselves into the digital archives, much as the master of the rock is wired into the rock. They remain sentient, their minds roaming the archives and protecting the records from corruption over the millennia. They now act as an oracle for the Dark Angels, sifting through the vast amounts of data that are constantly added, looking for patterns in the disparate facts for clues in the hunt for the fallen.

#5
Phoebus

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I think the approach of this current background summary, which seems to portray the chapter as somewhat scholarly is one possibility. Many monastic orders have played a role in the transmission of philosophy and knowledge down the generations and this could be one example. In fact expanding the fluff of Mortikah VII to make it clear it is a monastery world dedicated to the collation and preservation of the collected cultural and academic works of humanity could reinforce this.

Try this on for size:

If our historical monastic orders were responsible for recording and passing down knowledge, what would a monastic order sworn to war record and pass down instead? The Guardians of the Covenant could be the spiritual (and literal) guardians of the "covenant" that is maintained by the Dark Angels. What would this "covenant" be?

Well, to begin with, a collection writings left behind by Lion El'Jonson, which contain his wisdom and war-fighting knowledge (his tactics, strategies, theories, ideas regarding weaponry, vessels, etc.).

I mean, I think the idea that Roboute Guilliman was the only primarch to write down his ideas on war isn't just highly unlikely; I think it's outright contradicted by the fluff. The Codex Astartes would then be the most famous and most propagated of such works - because it was the most complete, it was written with a specific purpose, and it was endorsed by the highest authorities (Guilliman becoming the Lord Commander of the Imperium and one of the first High Lords of Terra).

Lion El'Jonson strikes me as quite the intellectual fellow. And in all honesty, as much as I'm a proponent of the Space Marines having brilliant minds, when the Dark Angels are described as waging "typically brilliant campaigns" (or words to that effect), I like to think that some of that is the legacy of their primarch. That way, it's not as if the Lion just passed on suspicion and paranoia (which I don't buy, by the way; I think that's far more a culture/society thing than a genetic issue).

Beyond that, the Covenant could be the covenant that forged the Inner Circle. It could be the covenant of traditions, laws, and ethics that bound the Order to the defense of the people of Caliban - and that could parallel how they view their service to the Imperium. It could also be the physical record of all the campaigns they have waged since the Horus Heresy, or it could just be the physical record of all the campaigns they have waged against the Fallen.

In their capacity as Guardians of the Covenant, the members of the Inner Circle who are born to this Chapter could then be described as the "spiritual guardians" of the Unforgiven. It could be they who keep the rest of the Inner Circle in a sort of check: by pointing out historical precedents, or examples of the Lion's wisdom that determine how they should proceed when faced with a critical decision.

Thoughts?

Edited by Phoebus, 20 January 2013 - 03:02 PM.


#6
facmanpob

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A kind of advisory group to the Council of Supreme Grandmasters? I like it.

Mortikah could even be the secret meeting place for Legion "war councils"

#7
Phoebus

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I like that second bit. "Advisory group" sounds a little too mundane to me, though (no offense!). I prefer "the conscience/spiritual guides of the Council of Supreme Grandmasters". The Dark Angels and their Successors come off much more powerful, thematically speaking, if they recognize the gravitas of the wrong they do when the (for instance) abandon position to go chase after a Fallen... than if they just do so callously. Know what I mean? :)

#8
Bryan Blaire

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Beyond that, the Covenant could be the covenant that forged the Inner Circle. It could be the covenant of traditions, laws, and ethics that bound the Order to the defense of the people of Caliban - and that could parallel how they view their service to the Imperium. It could also be the physical record of all the campaigns they have waged since the Horus Heresy, or it could just be the physical record of all the campaigns they have waged against the Fallen.

In their capacity as Guardians of the Covenant, the members of the Inner Circle who are born to this Chapter could then be described as the "spiritual guardians" of the Unforgiven. It could be they who keep the rest of the Inner Circle in a sort of check: by pointing out historical precedents, or examples of the Lion's wisdom that determine how they should proceed when faced with a critical decision.

Thoughts?

It sounds like this basically makes them the new "Lord Cypher" position, but for a whole Chapter. Given the Order's "need" for this position and the Dark Angels' seeming love for tradition, etc, it makes a bit of sense that they would institute something that fills a similar purpose.
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#9
cernunnos

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Try this on for size..............................................


Well I think that the current blurb in the codex has them revering sacred writing including the Codex Astartes as well as the Requiem Angelis and others, so that really has to be included, and seems a good foundation to start from.

This idea of the covenant being a set of laws, traditions and ethics that bind the legion, define their duties and inform their decisions is a decent one. I also think trying to build a picture of a legion still governed by the values of the original order, albeit as interpreted by the Lion, is a good one.

The Guardians of the Covenant as the spiritual guardians of the Unforgiven does sound very appealing and the idea that the decision to abandon an ally is something carefully considered rather than just simply callous really adds an extra layer of meaning to the decision and indeed elevates the significance of the hunt for the fallen in general as you commented.

While I like the idea in general, I would say that I am not sure that it is wise to clearly define what the covenant is. There is a value to keeping things a bit mysterious, and it is rather fitting for such a secretive chapter. Personally I would probably favour an approach consisting of a series of speculations on the nature of the covenant, perhaps with the use of quotes from inquisitors and academics. Rather than a single categorical truth there would be a series of conspiracy theories. I also think it is quite good to keep things open to allow players to come up with their own version as fits their vision for the chapter.

Edited by cernunnos, 20 January 2013 - 06:20 PM.


#10
facmanpob

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I like that second bit. "Advisory group" sounds a little too mundane to me, though (no offense!). I prefer "the conscience/spiritual guides of the Council of Supreme Grandmasters". The Dark Angels and their Successors come off much more powerful, thematically speaking, if they recognize the gravitas of the wrong they do when the (for instance) abandon position to go chase after a Fallen... than if they just do so callously. Know what I mean? Posted Image

None taken - I wasn't trying to make them sound like the UN, just couldn't think of the correct phrase! ;)

Definitely agree that the finished product shouldn't be too specific in detail, as part of the whole lure of the Unforgiven is the mystery surrounding the chapters and their true role in the Imperium.

Interestingly, playing around with Latin the other day, as you do ;) , I found out that the word 'Tutor' has a double meaning - teacher and guardian! So 'Tutores Foederis' could be used as both Teachers of the Covenant as well as Guardians of the Covenant

#11
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I like that!

#12
facmanpob

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OK, so noticing that GMB has written up the AoA article has reminded me of this thread! Too much activity on the DA sub-forum, can't hold all information in my head! cry.gif

 

Anyway, I've fleshed out some ideas and will fire up the laptop after work this evening and commit them to the board for posterity.

 

In the meantime, I had an idea regarding company nomenclature....

 

1st Company - Tutores ..... This has the dual meaning in Latin of both Teacher and Guardian, and I think adds a nice flavour to the idea of the Inner Circle being both Guardians of the secrets of the Chapter/Legion, but also Teachers/Chroniclers researching/storing/hoarding/analysing information (how does the codex put it?    "they pursue the scholarly arts as much as the martial")

 

2nd Company - Quaesitores (Seekers)

 

3rd Company - Auctores (Authors) ...... although this could actually be 10th Company if we are sticking with the idea that 10th Company is very large to accommodate all of the extra Marines spending sabbatical time contemplating the works of the Lion and the Big E ....... they would probably also pen new works on a regular basis

 

More later when I get home smile.png



#13
Grand Master Belial

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I am liking what I see here. I'll go through the posts and incorporate what is noted here that seems to have been accepted.

Something I keep wondering about this project is should there be material that remains hidden or do flesh it all out since it is unofficial and players can use or discard whatever they choose? In particular is the names of the Characters. I left them out in the AoA article but would like to fill them in to at least give the frater something they can use to make their marines more unique then they are Azrael painted in different colors.


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Differences of the Successors Update Project - AoA - AoR - AoV - Cons - DoC - GotC - AoVig

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#14
Grand Master Belial

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Ah, a thought! If another frater besides myself writes up the article. It might be worthy of TWO pearls in the PTR challenge set forth by Shadow Guard. I'll have to ask.


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#15
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Well, I've been naming my marines as I paint them for a while now. Happy to put them forward for consideration :)

Edited by facmanpob, 04 February 2013 - 11:04 AM.


#16
Grand Master Belial

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Go for it!



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Differences of the Successors Update Project - AoA - AoR - AoV - Cons - DoC - GotC - AoVig

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#17
Grand Master Belial

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Adding a legal

 

I originally wrote this at the end of 2007 after the previous codex came out and the Frater of that time wanted more information about their beloved successors. As one who liked to write science fiction for fun, I took to the boards with my own interpretation of each of the Successors and allowed the community to shape them into what became the original article that has since been added to the Librarium. Now it is 2013, little more than five years has passed and a new Codex has come out. With it, the canon for the Successors have intentionally been kept to a minimum to let us the gamers add the missing details with our creative imaginations. Now all of us here have our area of the hobby we enjoy more than the others, be it gaming, painting, converting or writing narratives. For those that enjoy other aspects of the hobby besides creative writing and would like to know more about the Successors, I present this UNOFFICIAL background to you for your use. Take from it what you like, discard what you don't. Use this as a framework to add more depth to your Successor and enjoy!



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What is the terror of death? That we die, our work incomplete. But what is the joy of life? To die, knowing our task is done.

Differences of the Successors Update Project - AoA - AoR - AoV - Cons - DoC - GotC - AoVig

Brotherhood of the Angels 2012 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 Legends of the Angels 2015 DA - LA 2016 DA - LA


#18
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Btw, I didn't manage to post anything further yesterday as I fell asleep after having a bath when I got home ...... the effect of the drugs I was given by the dentist and several ibuprofen I suspect! :)

 

Will hopefully post stuff tonight! :tu:



#19
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Quick update of ideas:

 

Addition to the Homeworld section

 

Like all Chapters of the Unforgiven, the Guardians are tight-lipped about their history, beliefs and operational motives, and there are secrets more subtle and dark than the Covenant with the Emperor held deep within the caverns of the Chapter fortress. The nature of these is obscure, although if keen-eyed observers were allowed to live to share their stories, they would undoubtedly mention the regularity with which Supreme Grandmasters of all of the Unforgiven Chapters visit Mortikah, and possibly note the fact that behind the walls of their fortress the Guardians use ancient terminology when referring to each other, appellations which have not been heard for 10,000 years. It is for these reasons and more that the Chapter's inner sanctums are hidden from all but the highest ranking members of the Unforgiven, and most especially from the most prying eyes of the Imperium, for if those secrets were to be revealed......

 

1st Company - Tutores Foederis (Teachers/Guardians of the Covenant)

 

The Tutores Foederis, or Tutores for short, are the Inner Circle of the Guardians of the Covenant. Led by Prefect Chamuel, the Company takes it's operational lead from the Dark Angel's Deathwing, exclusively wearing Tactical Dreadnought (or Terminator) armour in battle, and preferring teleport assault over other forms of delivery into combat. The term 'Tutores' holds a dual meaning within the chapter. On the one hand meaning 'Teacher', the term reflects the guiding role the Inner Circle have in training and instructing their brethren in the esoteric ways of the Unforgiven. However, the term has an alternative meaning: Guardian. The Inner Circle are, quite literally, the Guardians of the sacred and most secret Covenant laid down by the Grandmaster of the Dark Angels after the Chapter's inception.

 

2nd Company - Quesitores Vindictae (The Seekers of Forgiveness)

 

The 2nd Company, the Quesitores, uses speed and stealth to act as the eyes and ears of the Chapter. Venerating the bike, speeder and fighter, the Company excels at lightning fast raids on the enemy, completing a themselves, or paving the way for accurate teleport assault of the Terminator armoured 1st Company. Its two most senior officers, Prefect Cassiel (Grandmaster) and Magister Sacrorum Orfiel (Interrogator Chaplain) exemplify the flexible nature required in commanding and controlling a fluid and rapidly changing battlespace. The Seekers have a dual role within the Chapter, not only acting as fast attack and reconnaissance troops, but also spearheading the Chapter's hunt for the Fallen.

 

10th Company - Auctores (The Authors)

 

The 10th Company is shrouded in mystery, far more so than would normally be expected of a Space Marine Chapter. On the surface they act as any other 10th Company, training recruits and inducting them into the ways of the Astartes. Under that surface lies a more sinister purpose. On achieving the rank and position of battle brother, a Space Marine would normally leave the 10th Company and progress into the Devastator Squads of 9th Company, but this process appears delayed within the Guardians of the Covenant. More cynical observers would suggest that their scouts are not permitted to achieve the rank of Battle Brother until they have conducted a successful reconnaissance and intelligence gathering mission, and returned to the chapter fortress to scribe their report according to the ancient discipline. Both the purpose of these missions and their targets are unknown. The Commander of the 10th Company, or Grandmaster of Recruits and Keeper of Mysteries, is also something of an enigma. On achieving the position, this senior member of the Inner Circle steps aside from the normal Command structure of the Chapter and will never again set foot outside the Chapter fortress, and for this reason the other members of the Inner Circle may give their lives for the Emperor, safe in the knowledge that the secrets of the Chapter and its role within the Unforgiven would be maintained. In fact, the Grandmaster of Recruits is considered second only in rank and seniority to the supreme Grandmaster of the Chapter. His personal heraldry is that of an empty scabbard, but which sword it is waiting for is known only to him, the Council of Supreme Grandmasters, and one other.

 

Any comments or thoughts very welcome, more to come soon :)



#20
Grand Master Belial

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I don't know if this has been retconned or not. In the past, the Successors had a Grand Master of the Chapter and only Azrael was the Supreme Grand Master. With Belial being another Grand Master, there should be Four in each Chapter: Grand Master of the Chapter, Inner Circle, Librarians, and Chaplains.

If the board behaves this weekend, I hope to be able to start incorporating the above into the update.


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#21
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Not sure about the Supreme GM bit, so more than happy to demote the other Chapter Masters! :)

Written some more and will post it later tonight if the board stays up.

#22
facmanpob

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I thought I'd write a little short story (well, a series of montages really) in an attempt to capture the essence of how the Guardians differ from the rest of the Unforgiven. If its crap then feel free to ignore it, but if its half decent then please feel free to use it in the fluff! smile.png

The story of Gedael

Gedael crouched at the edge of the clearing idly thumbing the selector switch of his rifle as the Thunderhawk settled to the ground in front of him, his camouflage cloak shifting gently in the breeze. The ramp lowered and a lone figure emerged, encased in armour the colour of flame-blackened steel. A blue robe covered his shoulders, and swept aside as the figure moved purposefully down the ramp to the forest floor below. The figure reached the bottom of the ramp, turned to face Gedael and beckoned.

Gedael smiled, knowing that although he was effectively invisible to normal eyes, the subtle powers of a Chronicler Librarian would not be so easily fooled. Standing, he stalked towards the gunship, halting and kneeling several metres from the Librarian.

The armoured figure spoke, repeating the words he had said a hundred times before, on a hundred different worlds, “Petitioner Gedael, you aspire to join the ranks of the battle brothers, and leave the 10th Company which has been your home. You have activated your locator, and we have descended from the void. Have you completed the task that was given by the Keeper of Mysteries?”

His head remaining bowed, Gedael replied in the ancient form without understanding the full meaning of the words, “I have returned from the wasteland. My task is complete, and yet my burden is just beginning. I become Unforgiven, but you cannot grant me forgiveness. I would return to the fortress to petition the Keeper.”

“Very well, Gedael, rise and enter.”

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Gedael knelt in the shadowy alcove, quietly speaking to the servo-skull scribe floating in front of him. Almost fifty alcoves cut deep trenches into the walls of the Chamber of Authors, although at this time only three were occupied. Gedael had knelt unmoving for 96 hours since returning to the Chapter fortress on Mortikah VII, and felt stiff and fatigued despite the enhanced metabolism of his gene-enhanced body. His report was almost complete, however, and his mind turned to the upcoming interrogation by the Chroniclers and Masters of Sacraments. The Librarians and Chaplains would no doubt be true to form in their questioning, ensuring that he had completed his mission to the harsh standards required, before recommending him to join the 9th Company as a full battle brother.

The servo-skull’s mechanical eye blinked in front of him, giving the impression of impatience where none existed. Gedael realised he had stopped speaking, and quickly regained his focus. He was nearing the end of his tale, one that a human youth might find full of heroes and derring-do, but which for him was simply the culmination of 2 years of lone intelligence gathering for the databanks of the Chapter. His mind strayed briefly once more, contemplating the irony of a Space Marine scout carrying out secret intelligence gathering operations against an Imperial world.

And such intelligence that he had gathered!

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Twelve hours later, Gedael stopped speaking and stood. Turning, he strode purposefully over to the duty Sergeant and bowed. “All done Gedael?” asked the Sergeant, smiling and ignoring protocol for once. As fate would have it, the Scout Sergeant had carried supervised most of Gedael’s early training, and was pleased to see him on the verge of becoming a full battle brother.

“I have, Sergeant”, replied Gedael, “and I place myself at the convenience of the Interrogators”.

“Good. Return to your cell and await them, Gedael, but take sustenance first. You will need your strength for the trial that awaits.”

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The Keeper of Mysteries looked up from his desk as the Master of Sacraments entered his chamber.

“You have read the report of Petitioner Gedael, Brother?”

“I have, Lord Keeper.”

“And your thoughts......” The Keeper left the words hanging as he leant back into the overly large chair.

“His words are, well, I am honestly not sure how to describe them, My Lord.”

The Keeper sighed, “The Master of Sacraments at a loss for words. Not something that happens every day. Let’s just say that they are not what we were anticipating when we sent him on the mission. You must administer this trial personally Brother. Zianor will be your Chronicler.”

“As you wish, Lord Keeper.”

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Gedael stumbled to one knee, centred himself, and slowly rose once more. Blood pooled on the stone floor of the cell, his blood. In a bizarre parody of normal human thought processes, his mind flickered between thoughts of having to clean the cell, and whether or not there would be stains for the next occupant to see if he didn’t survive to clean the mess. Two armoured figures slowly revolved around him as he struggled to focus on them in his psychically addled state. Blue robe, black robe, blue robe, black robe .... it seemed to go on forever. He snapped back into focus, drawing on the reserves of his strength, and took stock of his surroundings once more. This was his cell, the one he had slept in for the entirety of his training when not off planet or engaged in field exercises. It was the way of the Chapter, prisoners were interrogated in the hidden dungeons, petitioners and battle brothers in their own cells. By this subtle difference alone did he know that he was still in consideration for joining the ranks of the battle brothers, and not simply being tortured to death.

The black robe halted in front of him, “Chronicler Zianor, you are sure you detect no taint?”

The blue robed figure responded front behind Gedael, “I am certain, Brother, he tells the truth, shocking though that truth might be.”

The Chaplain lifted Gedael’s chin, the gentleness of the movement making a mockery of the physical and psychic punishment he had been dealt over the past week. “Petitioner Gedael, you have returned from the wasteland, and your task is complete. Your burden has begun.” The ritual words energised Gedael; was he nearing the end of his ordeal? And yet, as soon as he had begun, the Chaplain deviated from the ritual. “Gedael, the report you have filed contains revelations which are difficult to believe. No, difficult is not the correct term. They are abhorrent to the Chapter. And yet there is no taint within you, and both I and Brother Zianor can detect no deceit. You present us with a puzzling situation. Await our return.”

With that, both robed figures swept from the cell, leaving the door swinging open. This is unusual, thought Gedael, as he sank to the floor and finally passed out.

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An hour later the robed Astartes returned, flanking a third figure robed in red and armoured in gold. The golden figure entered the cell, and knelt in front of Gedael, laying a hand on the arm of the slowly stirring Scout.

“Gedael” he said gently, “I make no apology for the harshness of the interrogation carried out by Attaris and Zianor. It was necessary in order to satisfy ourselves that you had not been compromised by our enemies. Now, look me in the eye and answer a single question. Did you see it with your own eyes?”

Gedael looked into his eyes with trepidation, the breach of protocol almost unmanning him, “Yes, My Lord Guardian, as close as you are to me now.”

The Chapter Master of the Guardians of the Covenant nodded, stood and turned to the others. “Brother Attaris, continue the trial in accordance with the Requiem Angelis, I will investigate this matter personally. Zianor, follow me and kindly inform the Keeper of Mysteries that I require his presence in the Inner Sanctum.” With those words spoken, he pulled the red robe around his body and departed, Zianor close behind.

Interrogator Chaplain Attaris, Master of Sacraments, moved slowly into the cell.

“Stand, Gedael”, he said firmly. Gedael pulled himself up a final time.

“Petitioner Gedael, you have returned from the wasteland, and your task is complete. Your burden has begun”, the Chaplain repeated his earlier words. This time however, he continued the ritual. “You have become Unforgiven, but I cannot grant you forgiveness. You have been found worthy, and may petition the Keeper.”

The Chaplain turned and walked out of the room, stopping once at the door and turning. A rare smile crossed Attaris’ face and he fixed Gedael with his piercing gaze, “Well done brother, you will be a credit to the ranks, and have strength enough for the Chaplaincy...... should the Chapter survive that long”.

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The Keeper of Mysteries bowed deeply, the act casting even deeper shadows across his hooded mien. “Welcome, Supreme Grandmaster, to our humble fortress.”

A flicker of a smile shot across Azrael's eyes, although the rest of his face remained impassive. “You haven’t changed, my old friend.”

“Changed, My Lord? There are those that would declare change to be tantamount to heresy.”

A snort of derision erupted from beneath a third hooded robe. The figure, swathed in black, approached the pair and declared, “And those fools would have damned us all a hundred times over if they knew the truth of it”.

“My Lord Consecrator”, replied the Keeper of Mysteries, once again bowing deeply. “I thank you for your presence. I regret that my own Lord Guardian is absent at this time. However I have been instructed to take his place in the Inner Sanctum”.

“Very well”, said Azrael, “is the rest of the Council assembled?”

“My Lords of Redemption and Absolution are not in attendance, Lord Azrael”, responded the Keeper, reverting to the vernacular, “they are currently prosecuting rumour and supposition in the search for our dark brethren.”

“Do not refer to them as such, Keeper”, snarled the Lord Consecrator, “they are traitors who do not deserve the accolade of being called brethren.”

“As you say, My Lord. Nevertheless, once they were called our brothers, and we do well to remember it”. The Keeper motioned for the two Chapter Masters to follow, and led them towards a shadowy alcove in the corner of the chamber. Hidden in the recesses of the alcove, the entrance to a long narrow corridor could be glimpsed, flanked by two hulking members of the 1st Company elite, the Tutores Foederis. A pair of storm bolters raised to the ready as the trio approached, and the terminators moved to block the entrance. The Keeper of Mysteries spoke the approved words of passage, and the guards stepped aside, raising their powerfists to the salute.

The trio of Unforgiven entered the long corridor, and began the twisting and torturous descent to the chamber hidden deep in the bedrock of Mortikah VII. Braziers lined the corridors and passageways, the crossed swords icon of the Guardians of the Covenant backlit by deep red flames, echoing the Chapter colours from time immemorial.

Finally, they completed their descent, halting in front of a pair of doors crafted in ancient days from the trees of lost Caliban, flanked by a second pair of Tutores Foederis. Placing his palm against the sigil in the centre of the doors, the Keeper spoke the words of entry, and they swung inward, revealing the hidden Council chamber, and the waiting Chapter Masters of the 1st Legion, the Lion’s Legion, the true Dark Angels.

Edited by facmanpob, 09 February 2013 - 07:11 AM.


#23
FerociousBeast

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Awesome, facmanpob, very good. I don't suppose you're planning to reveal Gedael's secret?

(It's Azrael, by the way...)
Dark Angel Codex Project:
Project Redemption/Project Unforgiven: The Bolter & Chainsword Dark Angel Forum's effort towards updating the Unforgiven

FB's Greatest Hits:
My Beef with Codex Space Marines: Constructive criticism and proposed solutions
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The Role of Terminator Squads in Codex: Space Marines: An analysis

#24
facmanpob

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Oops spelling errors! Thanks for pointing it out :)

Gedael's secret? He uses Head and Shoulders for dandruff free hair.


.... Oh wait, you mean the OTHER secret! Ahhhh, well, that may just have to wait ;)

#25
segmentumobscurusstudios

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I think it is difficult to represent a monastic chapter because all space marine chapters could really be described as monastic, certainly if defined by the characteristics of chastity, poverty and obedience as in the Christian tradition of monasticism.

I think the approach of this current background summary, which seems to portray the chapter as somewhat scholarly is one possibility. Many monastic orders have played a role in the transmission of philosophy and knowledge down the generations and this could be one example. In fact expanding the fluff of Mortikah VII to make it clear it is a monastery world dedicated to the collation and preservation of the collected cultural and academic works of humanity could reinforce this.

Another approach could be the chapter being a training ground for Unforgiven Chaplains. Much as the techmarines are sent to Mars for study, so chaplains are sent to the Guardians of the Covenant who are the keepers of the legions rituals.

One other possibility would be to focus on asceticism. The Guardians of the Covenant could actually practice self-denial by refraining from hunting the fallen. Instead they could dedicate their service to the Imperium as a whole. The covenant could be this promise to defend mankind, and their self-discipline in refraining from pursuing their own agenda could be a penance paid on behalf of the whole Dark Angels legion for the sake of their spiritual health. Indeed it is also possible that the Guardians of the Covenant could be a tour of duty that the Unforgiven undertake at some point in the name of purity, much like the Deathwatch.

I also had an idea about reconciling the longevity of astartes with the disappearance of the original guardians. We could have the original guardians still being alive in a sense. They could have wired themselves into the digital archives, much as the master of the rock is wired into the rock. They remain sentient, their minds roaming the archives and protecting the records from corruption over the millennia. They now act as an oracle for the Dark Angels, sifting through the vast amounts of data that are constantly added, looking for patterns in the disparate facts for clues in the hunt for the fallen.

 

I absolutely love the idea that the original marines are now wired in to the archives!