The Dancing Scythes Space Marines Chapter
As his chapter began to reach maturity, Diodes took his chapter away from Medusa. The Dancing Scythes accepted the requests of any Imperial Guard commanders, such as when the 1st Clan helped crush insurrection on Abilin II or the annihilation of Orks on the fortress world Sagelo. Diodes actively sought the most brutal conflicts to prove the strength of his young chapter. It was this quest for battle that would lead to the most pivotal moment in the chapters history. During a muster of the chapter to assess their strength, the astropaths received an emergency message from a Mechanicus warship, Omnissiah's Will. The message directed them to the ruined world of Dalan Prime, on which a Explorator fleet had been ambushed by a chaos fleet led by Iron Warriors. In the ensuing battle the chapter suffered 60% losses, including Diodes. Yet the Explorator expedition was saved along with recovered STC's and the Dancing Scythes gained a powerful new ally.
The Dancing Scythes would deliver the Mechanicus survivors to their home world, Lareso IX. Leading them was Ren Apilan, former captain of the 1st Clan and favored of Diodes. In return for their efforts the Lareso IX techpriests offered an alliance to the Dancing Scythes, known as the Dalan Prime Proclamation. This agreement would even include a Fortress Monastery on the moon of Lareso IX, a forgeworld in the subsector Texka of the Segmentum Pacificus.
In the wake of the battle Apilan began a series of reforms to the chapter organization. Most notable was his elimination of the Fifth through Tenth Clans. He felt increasing the concentration of marines per battle group would lend well to their mechanized tactics. The rebuilt chapter was organized around four Battle Clans, each a little bit above two hundred men strong, with a few certain chapter elements being integrated into the Headquarters Can. Despite some internal turmoil over these reforms (which included a lethal duel between Apilan and one of his captains) the chapter quickly regained its strength within half a century.
The most notable event for the chapter in recent history was the 7 Worlds Rebellion. Six major worlds across the subsector Texka threw down their Imperial rulers and aligned to the forces of Chaos. The Imperium mobilized its forces in the sector to respond, with the Dancing Scythes in the forefront of much of the fighting. In addition the Scythes greatest rivals, the Order of His Amethyst Heart, also played a pivotal role. Once the Imperium was fully engaged on all six worlds, the world of Tartus also joined in the revolt. Tartus was a important shrine world and the home of the Order of His Amethyst Heart. The Order pulled all of its forces back onto Tartus, serving to keep the beleaguered Imperial defence on the world alive. The Order fought tenaciously yet suffered significant losses.The Dancing Scythes were one of the first forces to reinforce the Order on Tartus. Soon other forces were brought onto Tartus as the first six worlds were won back, and after long war the shrine world was taken back.
The Dancing Scythes would be awarded their sole Contempor Dreadnought from the White Consuls during this conflict. In addition the Order of His Amethyst Heart (which was brought to near extinction) would become close allies to the Dancing Scythes, despite their theological differences.
Diodes Tomb is a small airless moon orbiting Lareso IX. With little mineral wealth, the moon had been used as nothing but a small port for Mechanicum patrol fleets. When the Dalan Prime Proclamation was issued, the small port was turned over to the Dancing Scythes. The chapter reinforced the port base into a formidable Fortress Monastary they renamed the Falx. Lareso IX itself is a wealthy forgeworld, in most part due to the discovery on Dalan Prime. Whilst the discoveries did not lend them increased military strength, the worlds Skitarii are well trained and spirited. Much of this is due to the regular training exercises the Dancing Scythes organize.
When siege or urban warfare is required heavier units are deployed, such as Vindicators and Land Raiders. Headquarters deployments are often kept in reserve for situations such as those, the hardy Iron Sworn and Terminators both very capable in a full on assault.
Another element kept from the Iron Hands is the Clan Council, composed of the Clan Captains, Iron Master, Master of the Apothecarion, and Chief Librarian. The Clan Council serve as advisors to the Clan Master, but the also serve as a check to his power. No Clan Master can choose an unpopular course of action without the support of atleast four council members.
Battle Clan Organization
1 x Command Squad - (Clan Captain, 10 Sternguard)
2 x Sternguard Squad - (1 Iron Father, 5 Sternguard)
14 x Tactical Squad - (10 Marines)
2 x Assault Squad - (10 Marines)
30 x Scout Squad - (30 Scouts)
2 x Apothecary
5 x Iron Adept
Total Strength: 220 (Clan Captain, 2 Iron Father, 20 Sternguard, 140 Tactical Marines,20 Assault Marines, 30 Scouts, 2 Apothecary, 5 x Iron Adept)
Despite their large numbers of Tactical squads, the chapter rarely deploys the codex ten man squad. The Dancing Scythes tend to gravitate towards the Razorback over the Rhino for its heavier armament, and as such the smaller crew capacity allows for several squad members to become vehicle crewman for both the transports and other combat vehicles. One notable feature of the Dancing Scythes is the absence of Devastator squads. Chapter battle doctrine favors the use of their extensive motor pool for fire support. When heavy weapons are called for, it will often be provided by servitors and Thunderfire Cannons.
Iron Adepts are the equivalent to techmarines of other chapters, though they are superior to many of their cousins due to their increased training. After their service to the Martian techpriests they will continue their study on Lareso IX. During battle they will fight alongside Headquarters support detachments, deploying Thunderfire batteries and activating the sacred Dreadnoughts for war. Each Battle Clan has a smaller number of Iron Adepts to maintain the wargear and vehicles of the Clan. Iron Adepts that show a paticulary high level of skill may be selected to become an Iron Father. Iron Fathers take the place of chaplains in the Dancing Scythes, being a combination of techmarine and chaplain. The Iron Fathers are integral to the function of a Battle Clan, as they serve as tactical advisors to the Clan Captain and spiritual advisors to the rank and file. They are often used as section leaders. Due to their importance each Iron Father deploys with a veteran squad of Sterngaurd. The highest ranking is known as the Iron Master, the head of the Chapter Forge
Headquarters Clan Organization
Dreadnought Conclave – (1 Clan Master, 9 Dreadnooghts)
1 x Command Squad - (Warden, 5 Terminators)
3 x Terminator Squads – (5 Terminators)
5 x Iron Sworn Squads - (10 Iron Sworn Marines)
Apothecarion - (8 unassigned Apothecaries)
Librarium - (5 Librarians, number will vary due to nature of psykers)
Chapters Forge - (1 Iron Master, 20 Iron Adepts)
Total Strength: 105 (1 Clan Master, 20 Terminators, 50 Iron Sworn Marines, 8 Apothecaries, 5 Librarians, 20 Iron Adepts
In a tradition passed down since the death of Diodes, the Clan Master of the Dancing Scythes is interred into a dreadnought sarcophogus upon being elected to the position. This seems strange or even abhorent to other chapters, as internment into a dreadnought is only for great warriors who have suffered grevious wounds. It is a great honor among the Dancing Scythes, as it emulates the great founder Diodes but is also the apex of any marines coversion from flesh to steel.
As Clan Masters are normally healthy when they ascend to command of the chaprer, they do not need to be kept in slumber as long as a normal dreadnought, allowing them to effectively command the chapter. Yet they must still rest for periods at a time.In order to maintain his presence in the chapter during these periods the Clan Master is represented by the Warden, the captain of the Headquarters Clan
The Clan Master is notable as being the sole Contempor pattern dreadnought in the chapter. Since the 7 Worlds Revolt the Clan Master has been encased in the Shield of Tartus. This was formerly a dreadnought of the White Consuls, who fought alongside the chapter in suppressing the revolt. The White Consuls gifted the relic to the Dancing Scythes after the 3rd Battle Clan rescued the Consuls 2nd Company on the world of Tartus. armed with apowerful conversion beamer the shield is a dangerous opponent. It's power is multiplied by the squads of terminators, Iron Sworn, and dreadnoughts that deploy alongside it.
The Warden is the equerry of the Clan Master, serving to ensure that his lords edicts are enforced and to protect his authority during his time of rest. Traditionally the position of Warden is held by the strongest of the Iron Sworn. The position is not chosen by the Clan Master; instead the Iron Sworn themselves elect the strongest among them to the position. The position is seen as a great honor, yet some refuse the honor as the position is permanent, so there is no possibility of becoming a Clan Master. Those who refuse are often shamed by their brethren for forsaking their duty. The arms of the Warden include the Astris Falx, the ancient power scythe forged and weilded by Diodes before his internment into a dreadnought. The position of Warden did not come from Apilan, but it came a millenia later after a period of turmoil in the chapter whilst the Clan Master slumbered.
The Iron Sworn are veterans of the Chapter that served out an Iron Oath. The Iron Oath is an ancient tradition between the Dancing Scythes and the techpriests of Lareso IX. The Dancing Scythes lend a small number of marines to the Mechanicus for a certain period of time, similar to the Astartes relationship with the Death Watch. These oaths can last a small amount of time, perhaps for one specific but deadly mission, or can last for decades.The number of marines currently under the Oath varies, atleast two will serve as the honor guard for the Lareso IX Explorator General, but the number never reaches over a dozen. If these volunteers accomplish their task they return as changed men. The Mechanicus gift them with heavy augmentation, making them more machine then man, even for a son of Ferrus Manus. One powerful piece of equipment is a form of rare teleporter array technology thats allows them to deep strike much like terminators. Iron Sworn serve directly under the Clan Master, acting to bulk out the forces at his disposal
As the chapter favors armored warfare, it has vehicles in abundance. Predators, Land Speeders, and Razorbacks in paticular are favored. Predators are deployed in the Annihilator pattern with heavy bolter sponsons and Razorbacks with lascannon and plasma gun turret.Land Speeders are deployed in squadrons of three with two heavy bolter and multi-melta Tornado patterns, and a heavy bolter armed Typhoon. Land Speeder Storms are also heavily used as the preferred deployment method for Scouts. The Scythes also keep a large number of specialized vehicles in reserve, such as Storm Talons, Vindicators, and Whirlwinds. Over time the Scythes has rebuilt much of its lost stock of Land Raiders, yet it still lacks the numbers it once had before Dalan Prime.
The chapter fleet only has a single battlebarge, the Medusa's Progeny, flagship of the Headquarters Clan. Each Battle Clan has two strike cruisers and a small number of support frigates.
One weakness of the Dancing Scythes relationship with the Mechanicus is that the people of Lareso IX are not of a paticulary hardy warrior stock. The vast majority toil away in the factories of Lareso IX, and the tech priests are not paticulary happy with the idea of large numbers of able bodied youth being sent to perish in chapter recruitment trials. The Skitarii also draw their own enlisted manpower from this recruitment pool, and they too do not wish to drain the best of the recruiting pool. The only recruits available from Lareso IX are the progeny of the Skitarii officer corp. Membership into the officer corp is hereditary, and the children of officers are sent away at five years old to begin training. It is assumed that some will die in training, as many of the recruits never graduate at eighteen years old. But the reality is that the Iron Master and his Iron Adepts monitor every recruits progress, and the best are selected at age eight.
While this process creates excellent recruits, the chapter only takes a third of its recruits from Lareso IX due to the small recruitment pool. The chapter however has another recruitment world, known only to the chapter and the highest ranking Lareso IX techpriests: Gorgons Nest. This small moon orbits the methane covered atmosphere of Lareso VIII. This moon was previously thought uninhabitable, its hot surface covered sparsely with vegatation and its local fauna either too small to subside off of or too large and dangerous to hunt. When Apilan relocated the chapter to Diodes' Tomb, his first priority was to have a safe and local source of recruits for the chapter to rebuild. With assistance from the Mechanicus, primitive humans were abducted from a variety of feral worlds the chapter recruited from during its early history. Tranplanted onto their strange new home, many were unable to cope with the change of enviroment. However the strongest survived, and those few survivors formed the warrior tribes that the chapter now recruits from. The tribes are also monitored by the Iron Master and Dreadnoughts, and when time comes the chapter abducts the strongest eight year olds.
As for non-Astartes forces, the Dancing Scythes have mixed relations. Members of the Ordo Hereticus and Eccleciastacy are paranoid of their close relations to the Mechanicus; yet at the same time the Ordo Xenos have established a good relationship with the chapter, who contribute a decent share of marines to the Death Watch.
Besides the Mechanicus, the closest allies to the Dancing Scythes are the Order of His Amethyst Heart. These Sisters of Battle were once rivals to the Dancing Scythes, both groups contributing major resources to Imperial efforts in and around Subsector Texka. The Sisters did not trust a group so close to the Mechanicus and their religous cult. These relations were always tense but never became violent, though everything changed after the 7 Worlds Rebellion. Both groups fought desperately to keep Tartus an Imperial world, and earned each others respect The Order, which once numbered a thousand strong, was reduced to just a one hundred battle hardened sisters. Shamed at their failure to keep their own home free of corruption, the Cannoness declared that the Order would go on an eternal crusade of pentinence. The Amethyst Heart has abadoned their duties on Tartus to another order, and they now crusade across the subsector and beyond, hunting the forces of chaos. They do this on the frigate Sickle Edge, a Dancing Scythes escort crewed mostly by servitors with a few chapter serfs. Whilst the chapter still technically owns the ship, it remains permanently attached to the Order of His Amethyst Heart. The only permanent Astartes crew member is an Iron Adept who acts as a liason to the order and runs maintenance. The order has remained small, never using its time to rebuild itself. Instead it remains a battle hardened cadre of just around 100 sisters.
The close relations with the Mechanicus has affected chapter beliefs, and the chapter has adapted many of their beliefs of the Emperor as the Omnissiah. This has created tension with the Ecclesiarchy and certain members of the Ordo Hereticus. The Dancing Scythes also hold their ancestors in high regards. Ferrus Manus is honored as their father and the son of the Omnissiah, and heros of the chapter such as Diodes and Apilan are looked to for inspiration.
The Dancing Scythes are always seeking to venerate their ancestors through emulation, such as the common habit of replacing their hands with bionic replacements to emulate Ferrus Manus. This habit even applies in death. Despite the name of the home, Diodes' Tomb, the Dancing Scythes do not bury their dead. Instead the dead of chapter are launched into the sun of Lareso, the cremation emulating the death of Diodes under the super heated bombardment of Dalan Prime.
Edited by sitnam, 13 April 2014 - 06:16 PM.