Mine is going through a process of active revision and rewriting. Names, dates, and particular circumstances are all very likely to change - names in particular. Still, as things currently stand:
*** THE BLACK SHRINE ***
The roiling ethereal turmoil of the Eye of Terror is host to as many heretical cults, creeds, and secret societies as there are chaos worshipers living within it. Rather than revealing a single unified truth underlying the universe, it seems direct exposure to the Chaos Powers only encourages ever branching sectarianism. But while new chaos cults spring up every day, one insidious cult in particular has recently taken root within the chaos marine legions - or perhaps has finally grown strong enough to risk stepping out from the shadows - and the galaxy shall soon come to speak its name with terror: the Black Shrine.
Most of what is known about the Black Shrine is the result of the 'Valatia Incident', an insurrection stoked in the Valatia system by the Crimson Eyes, a Black Legion warband dedicated to the Black Shrine, which brought the cult to the attention of Inquisitorial agents. Evidence has subsequently been found of the Black Shrine's existence within a handful of other warbands within the Black Legion. This in itself is perhaps less than noteworthy - the Black Legion, unlike many other legions, enforces no creed apart from vengeance against the Imperium, and as such has been a breeding ground for any number of strange and esoteric cults. The Black Shrine's beliefs, however, are heretical even within a legion of heretics. Their primary teaching is that the Arch-Heretic Horus was possessed - not just by a daemon, but by the nascent spirit of a new chaos god waiting to be born into the universe, a new god who would upon its birth dominate and subjugate the other four gods beneath its power, and rule both the warp and the mortal universe from its immortal and perfect host. All the new god needed was a sacrifice mighty enough to herald its birth into reality. So great is this god's power, claims the cult's teachings, that only the death of the God Emperor himself would suffice. Of course, Horus failed, and died, and the Emperor lived, if his current existence can be called that. But according to the Black Shrine, so too did the unborn god, having transferred its essence to a new host, Abaddon the Despoiler, who they believe is destined to complete the work Horus started by slaying the emperor and giving birth to a new god for a glorious new age.
The Black Shrine is, as yet, a small cult, but it has a growing following, mostly within Black Legion warbands. Though there are a few chaos marine forces outside of the Black Legion who have taken up the cult, such warbands typically take the Black soon after. So far the Black Shrine has remained beneath Abaddon's notice, or else he has chosen to ignore them, perhaps because in practice the cult encourages a near fanatical worship of the Despoiler himself, and with it a sort of crazed devotion. Black Shrine warbands are among the most dedicated warriors of the Black Legion, laying their lives on the line for their god with almost gleeful abandon, making them deadly and unrelenting soldiers on the battlefield. Chaos Marines dedicated to the Black Shrine will go out of their way to desecrate the shrines and temples of the Emperor, often holding dramatic services where they ritualistically sacrifice images or servants of the Emperor, playing out what they believe will be Abaddon's inevitable victory. This fanaticism has proven a weakness at times, however, as Black Shrine warbands have on occasion abandoned key military objectives in favor of targeting objectives of religious or symbolic rather than tactical significance.
The Black Shrine encourages various methods of daemon binding, in particular voluntary and forcible daemonic possession, but also including the manufacture of daemon engines, the forging of daemonically infused weapons and armor, the collection of true names of daemons, and the sealing of daemonic pacts, allowing daemonic allies to be physically manifested in the material plain. They are known for infiltrating Imperial worlds to spread chaos cults worshipping the Despoiler as a wrathful but fundamentally benevolent destroyer god who will throw down the Imperium and break the chains of its enslaved peoples. The Black Shrine also often sends operatives to serve upcoming chaos warlords outside of the Black Legion, hoping to spread their creed in the process.
In practice the Black Shrine operates in much the same manner as some Word Bearer cults, and it is thought that the Shrine itself began with Word Bearer apostles, disillusioned with their primarch's perceived inactivity, who abandoned their legion to join the Black. This has caused tensions between the Word Bearers and the Black Legion, though thus far Abaddon's lieutenants have managed to keep the ire of the Word Bearers limited to just those war bands who actively profess the creed, rather than causing a significant rift that would prevent the Word Bearers and Black Legion from working together in larger campaigns. For their part Black Shrine war bands have made this easier by avoiding contact with the Word Bearers - or other chaos factions outside of the Black Legion who are known for possessing access to obscure daemonology - wherever possible. Why they would go out of their way to avoid other chaos marine factions in possession of daemonic lore when they themselves pursue such lore and actively court potential allies in all other circumstances is unknown.
Known Black Shrine chaos marine warbands:
The Crimson Eyes.....................Unaligned
The Warp Lions.........................Khornate
The Thousand Blades...............Unaligned
The Infinite Maw........................Khornate/Nurgle
The Abyssal Gaze*....................Unaligned
The Despoiler's Children............Slaaneshi
The Black Promise.....................Unknown
The Liquid Night.........................Unknown
The Poisoned Kiss*.....................Nurgle/Slaaneshi
* destroyed or scattered (unconfirmed)
*** THE BLACK SHRINE'S INNER CIRCLE ***
What makes the Black Shrine most dangerous is not the fervor of its warriors, but rather the insidious nature of its inner circle, and the power and ambition of their leaders, the deadly Shrine Knights. Each is a powerful chaos warlord or sorcerer in their own right. Most but not all are Traitor Astartes with histories of bloodshed tracing all the way back to the Horus Heresy itself. Several command Chaos Marine warbands of their own, while others travel with only small retinues to minimize notice from other factions, both Chaos and Imperial. All are capable of bringing entire star systems to their knees whether through warfare or treachery, and most have done so several times.
In addition to whatever personal forces at their command, the Shrine Knights are also served by the Black Shrine's inner circle, a cult within a cult comprised entirely of daemon possessed warriors and warlocks who serve the Shrine Knights with unswerving loyalty. No member of the Black Shrines inner circle has ever been successfully interrogated. Those few who have been captured burst into deadly wychfire, bodies and souls alike consumed without trace and often taking their captors with them in the blaze. What few concrete observations have been made of members the Black Shrine's inner circle leave Inquisitorial agents perplexed, as the exact nature of the possessing daemonic spirits has been impossible to discern. The daemons show no sign of alignment to any of the four greater powers of chaos. Some believe that the daemonic spirits themselves are the products of sorcerous experiments in breaking the links tying daemons to their patron powers, or binding daemons of different powers so closely together that they become an inseparable being with no singular loyalty or alignment. Other, more heretical voices fear these unidentifiable daemonic spirits may be a sign that the Black Shrine's heretical teachings have some vestige of truth, that there is a new chaos god waiting to be born, and these are but the first of its servants, heralds working to usher their unborn master into existence.
The Shrine Knights themselves also appear to be possessed, but though the daemonic spirits sharing their bodies are considerably more powerful than those possessing those of their inner circle agents, they are somewhat less mysterious. For instance, the master of the Warp Lions warband (formerly the White Lions chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, reference the Valatia Incident), shows clear signs of being possessed by a powerful Khornate daemon - either a Blood Thirster or an especially powerful khornate daemon prince, and the entire warband is colored by this alignment. However, while the Warp Lions show clear signs of Khorne worship, they do not align themselves or work closely with other Khornate warbands, even within the Black Legion, and when they call on khornate daemonic allies, they always seem to be heavily bound, rather than the free acting daemonic spirits found in the company of other Khornate daemonkin forces.
This pattern repeats itself in other Black Shrine warbands. Where they show signs of alignment to one of the four powers, they go out of their way to avoid other warbands pledged to the same power. They make heavy use of daemons, but these daemons are almost always heavily bound. The only exceptions seem to be daemons that have fallen out of favor with their patron powers - Members of the Black Shrine inner circle have been observed in the company of the rebel blood thirster Scarbrand, the exiled slaaneshi herald the Masque, and most notably and troubling of all, the fallen daemon prince Be'lakor.
*** THE SHRINE KNIGHTS ***
The order of the Shrine Knights is shrouded in a considerable degree of mystery. While the identity of several members are known, it is unknown just how many members there are. Many of the known Shrine Knights lead Black Legion war bands which profess the teachings of the Black Shrine, but there are many Black Shrine warbands which do not seem to be directly led by one of the Knights. Most of the Shrine Knights are traitor astartes, but there are exceptions - they count at least one traitor inquisitor, as well as a former planetary governor. Astartes or not, all display considerable physical and supernatural strength and a host of strange powers, and all augment their personal strength with a collection of esoteric chaos artifacts. Some lead their forces in typical traitor astartes warband behavior - raiding and piracy from the Eye of Terror or the Maelstrom, between participation in great crusades against the imperium. Others have been reported ranging far from chaos space, ransacking remote holy sites or forgotten human colonies as if looking for something. Such attacks connected to the Black Shrine have grown more frequent and more wide ranging in recent centuries, causing some to speculate either that the cult is growing in reach, numbers, and power, or else time is running out and they grow desperate to find what they seek. or both.
The one thing that seems to link the Shrine Knights is that they each seem to carry a strange stone as a badge of their office. Two of these stones were recovered, and another two observed in the possession of the shrine knights carrying them, by the inquisitor Raphael Josephus during the Valatia Incident. The inquisitor reported that the stones varied in shape and color, and appeared to be translucent, though the surroundings could not be seen through them no matter how much light was directed into the stone, and staring too hard into the stone caused considerable mental pain. Within each stone could be seen a different arcane rune, and the runes caused Josephus to suspect there might be 12, or perhaps 13, in total, though his reason for this speculation is lost. 13 is an inauspicious number closely associated with a number of dread portents of the dark powers, and as an Inquisitor Malleus, Josephus would have been familiar with such things. Josephus suspected the stones might house daemonic entities controlling the Shrine Knights, that the Black Shrine was the face of a conspiracy of supernatural rather than material origin. However, he was never able to detect such a spirit within the stones he recoverd, and Josephus's observations themselves are suspect, as his own statements showed heretical leanings and led to his excommunication and subsequent (unconfirmed) execution following the Valatia Incident. Following his reported execution, evidence was discovered by his mentor and superior Inquisitor Thraxius that Josephus himself was a knight of the Black Shrine. Though, if this is true, why he would have gone to such lengths to make his superiors aware of the cult is a mystery.
The known (or alleged) Black Shrine Knights are (or were) as follows:
Hamal Vhilgraf*...................Sons of Horus Legion............Crimson Eyes (Black Legion warband, undivided)
Prentis Dalcigrad................White Lions chapter...............Warp Lions (Black Legion warband, Khornate)
Vaughan Sharpe**..............Word Bearers Legion.............The Poisoned Kiss (Independent warband, Nurgle & Slaaneshii)
Raphael Josephus**...............Traitor Malleus Inquisitor........Independent Agent (Gamma Level Psyker)
Marquise La Trémoille**.......Valatian Governor..................Independent Agent (non-astartes, alpha-level psyker)
The Follower***......................Unknown.................................Independent Agent (traitor astartes)
Unknown name****..............Thousand Sons Legion?........Unknown Black Legion warband (tzeentch alinged?)
Unknown name*****.............Unknown................................Unknown Black Legion warband
* reported dead, but later resurfaced
** reported dead (unconfirmed)
*** A title rather than a name, original identity unknown, believed to be a traitor astartes veteran of the Horus Heresy. Legion of origin also unknown, but with suspected ties to the Black Legion, Word Bearers, Night Lords, and Alpha Legion. Believed to be the founder of the Black Shrine, due to communications intercepted by Inquisitor Josephus during the Valatia Incident.
**** a chaos marine sorcerer in terminator armor carrying a stone matching the description of those carried by the Shrine Knights was recorded attacking a number of remote outposts on the Eastern fringe at the head of a chaos marine warband displaying defaced symbols of tzeentch on black armor with no other chapter or legion iconography. The black clad warriors moved in a robotic manner and seemed impervious to their victims' weapons, consistent with accounts of Thousand Sons rubicae.
***** Inquisitor Josephus's study of previous Black Legion activity found visual evidence of an unidentified Black Legion warlord carrying a stone matching the description of those carried by the Shrine Knights during the attack on the Kromarch's palace during the fourth Black Crusade. The same warlord appeared more recently in the Despoiler's attack on the Pandorax system, where Black Legion forces were eventually defeated and driven off by the Dark Angels space marine chapter. The Dark Angels have shown considerable interest in this figure, though the reason for this attention are unclear. If they have information as to the warlord's identity, it has not been forthcoming.
*** HAMAL VHILGRAF and the CRIMSON EYE ***
Survivor of the Sons of Horus
Survivor of the Sons of the Eye
Member of the Black Legion
Captain of the Cadaver Corp
Nightmare of Mackan
Lord of the Crimson Eye
Favored of the Despoiler
Knight Arietus of the Black Shrine
Bearer of Heaven's Ram
Chosen Host of the Gigas
Once a Captain of the Sons of Horus, and later the Sons of the Eye, Hamal Vhilgraf seemed doomed to an ignoble end after the Sons of the Eye were crushed and absorbed by the Black Legion at the close of the 6th Black Crusade. Vhilgraf and the marines he once led were gathered in a company of Oathbroken, chaos marines who had earned the Despoilers Ire, forsaken by the gods and used by Black Legion warlords as expendable cannon fodder, their lives worth little more than that of common cultists. However, through skill and tenacity, Vhilgraf survived the countless meat grinders and suicide missions they were herded into, even as his former command was whittled down to a handful of veterans that came to be mockingly known as 'the Cadaver Corps'. It was during this time that Vhilgraf first came into contact with the Follower, the mysterious founder of the Black Shrine, who gave him a dull, red-orange stone with a hidden power that would change Vhilgraf's fate forever.
On the battlefields of Mackan during the closing acts of the 7th Black Crusade, Vhilgraf finally had the opportunity to catch the Despoiler's eye. There the Cadaver Corps were given one final suicide mission, spearheading a feigned attack to lead the Rampagers 7th Company and a large force of Blood Angels Death Company away from the point where the Despoiler's own attack would seek to break through the Blood Angel lines. The distraction proved successful, but there was no way a mere handful of Oathbroken marines and disheveled cultists could hope to survive against the loyalists they were sent to fight, which outnumbered them more than three to one and enjoyed the advantage of defended positions. Even so, Abaddon himself could not help but take notice when the last remains of the Cadaver Corps, covered in the blood of their slain enemies, unholy balefire burning in Vhilgraf's eyes, rejoined the battle mid way through his own assault, slipping in from behind enemy lines to take out key Blood Angels support positions.
That day Vhilgraf and his followers were lifted from the ranks of the Oathbroken by the Abbadon's own command, the favor of the dark gods apparently returning with that of the Warmaster. After the Crusade, Vhilgraf was granted command of his own warband of chaos marines newly formed from stolen loyalist gene seed, mostly Blood Angels, which he named the Crimson Eyes. He was also granted his own ship, the Purity of Flame, a captured Blood Angels strike cruiser. Vhilgraf took the remains of the Cadaver Corps as his chosen, and incorporated the survivors of the cultsts and feral chaos warriors they had fought alongside into his warship's crew.
Since then, Vhilgraf's warriors have made a name for themselves advancing the Despoiler's interests openly, while covertly spreading the creed of the Black Shrine. The Crimson Eyes have spent most of their time between Abaddon's Black Crusades working as mercenaries for other warbands outside of the Black Legion, in exchange for promises of support in the Despoiler's future campaigns. However, following the 12th Black Crusade, the Crimson Eyes disappeared into imperial space instead of returning to the Eye of Terror. They later reappeared during the 'Valatia Incident', which saw a key Imperial system fallen to chaos and anarchy, and the betrayal of the system's governor and the greater part of the White Lions space marine chapter. After the Valatia incident, the Crimson Eyes are thought to have returned to the Eye of Terror, where they and their new allies are making preparations to participate in Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade.
*** CRIMSON EYE ORGANIZATION ***
Hamal Vhilgraf - Warlord, Knight of the Black Shrine. Though once he fought exclusively at the side of this chosen, the Cadaver Corps, he is now more often seen riding a daemonic steed into battle alongside the Circle Templar.
Zhalmor Savion - aka 'Savion the Accursed', A Word Bearers apostle who offered his services as a warrior and advisor to the Crimson Eyes when the warband was newly formed. Though nominally still a member of the Word Bearers, and neither a member of the Black Shrine's inner circle nor privy to their secrets, Zhalmor has none the less been converted where he sought to convert others. The dark apostle has given himself over completely to the Black Shrine's teachings. Now Zhalmor leads the Crimson Eye's Warrior Lodges in their blasphemous rituals, and works the warriors into a frenzy before each battle.
Mathildis Vhilgen - A human woman, Mathildis rose to prominence as a knight in the Faithful's warrior class (see below), and would surely have been chosen for a candidate to be made into a chaos marine, had she been born a man. She carries the injustice of that slight of fate as any other veteran might carry an old war wound. Instead she eventually became the top human commander among the Faithful's warriors, training them, leading them in battle, and pointing out potential marine candidates to the chaos astartes. While not blessed with the might of a space marine, she showed clear (if comparatively subtle and benign) signs of the favorable influence of the warp, from exceptional size, strength, and speed, to eyes that glowed fiercely during battle. When the Purity of Flame was boarded by Imperial forces during the 12th Black Crusade, she threw herself between Vhilgraf and a loyalist space marine sergeant who had sought to strike him down, deflecting the marine's blade with a well placed shot from her auto-pistol before burying her own power sword in the soft armor of the sergeant's collar. Though it is unlikely that Vhilgraf was in any real danger, he none the less recognized her for her achievement, calling her 'sister', inviting her into his personal counsel, and making her an honorary member of his chosen, the 'Cadaver Corps'. He commissioned for her new arms, armor, and physical enhancements - both cybernetic and arcane, and she went on to serve with distinction during the Valatia campaign. The faithful worship her as a living saint, and even many of the astartes treat her with a considerable degree of respect as a sort of mascot or lucky totem, a symbolic embodiment of the Warp's favor. Headstrong and prideful, but with the skill and courage to back it up, Mathildis has become one of Vhilgraf's most valued assets.
The Cadaver Corps - Vhilgraf's personal chosen, the surviving members of the Cadaver Corps have served at Vhilgraf's side since the Horus Heresy. They prefer brutal lightning assaults, often deploying by dreadclaw into risky, even suicidal positions in order to reach high value enemy targets. Seemingly immortal, they have been reported slain on numerous occasions, only to reappear in later battles, not with new members but seemingly the same individuals that had been confirmed dead. Their captain, Gustav, possesses a deep loyalty to and admiration for his commander, but is leery and distrustful of the Black Shrine and its inner circle, leading to tensions within the warband. Sensing the growing influence of Mathildis Vhilgen, with Vhilgraf specifically but also within the Crimson Eyes more generally, Gustav has actively worked to bring himself closer to the living saint, and with Vhilgraf's approval has made her an honorary member of the Cadaver Corps itself, though in battle she is more likely to be found leading the Faithful.
Warrior Lodges - anywhere between 60 and 120 Chaos Astartes warriors, most believed to have been created using stolen loyalist gene seed, especially Blood Angels. They are divided into several warrior lodges which vary in exact number and composition with recruitment and losses. These Lodges claim various animal totems, and five such warrior lodges were active during the Valatia campaign, including Panther Lodge and Snake Lodge (smaller, mechanized infantry units), Bear Lodge (a larger infantry formation), Crow Lodge (deployed as jump infantry), and Scorpion Lodge (static long range heavy support). The Cadaver Corps are officially 'Wolf Lodge', although they do not actively take part in warrior lodge rituals or activities except during formal events involving the entire warband.
The Exalted - The chaos marines of the Crimson Eye warrior lodges are vulnerable to a kind of madness manifesting in berserk rage and fits of violence directed at their fellow traitors, no doubt the result of the stolen loyalist gene seed used to create them rebelling against the evil to which it has been committed. Such warriors are subdued, taken from their lodges, and forcibly possessed by bound daemons in rituals led by Zhalmor and the Whispered One. The result - possessed chaos marines called 'the Exalted', are used by the warband as shock troops. The Exalted are sometimes called the 'Ghost Lodge', though they are not an official part of the Crimson Eyes warrior lodge culture.
The Lost - The inevitable final fate for any of the Exalted who do not fall in battle, the Lost are a pack of chaos spawn under the mental domination of the Whispered One. Like the Exalted, the Lost are used as expendable shock troops in battle, but they are also subjected to arcane experimentation by the Whispered One and the warp smith Mojo Jokaero. These experiments usually result in the death of the subject, but occasionally they succeed in producing monsters of extreme size and ferocity, either single spawn grown to huge proportions or else clusters of spawn physically and psychically melded together into a single wretched beast.
The Armoury - Thanks to their connection to the Black Legion, the Crimson Eyes have access to a reasonably stocked armoury of typical astartes vehicles and weaponry - their strike cruiser the Purity of Flame, various landing craft including at least one thunderhawk gunship and a dreadclaw assault pod. They also have access to ground transports including rhino troop carriers and a corrupted land raider. In addition to the land raider, they have been recorded fielding traitor pattern predator tanks. Their infantry have access to the standard array of bolters, bolt pistols, grenades, combat blades, and chain weapons, as well as a variety of power weapons (mostly axes and swords), heavy weapons (especially autocannons), and specialist weapons (particularly melta and plasma weaponry). They do not appear to have access to terminator armour at this time, but have been seen fielding jump troops.
The Faithful - When the Crimson Eye warband was first formed, tribes of feral world chaos barbarians who had fought alongside the oathbroken Cadaver Corps were integrated into the crew of the Purity of Flame. The descendants of these two groups came to be called the faithful, a feudal society blending a warrior code with technical skills necessary to operate a star ship. The Faithful are now divided into a cast system - The highest class being ship officers in charge of various systems, middle classes of technicians, priests, merchants, and warriors, and a lower labor class who spend their lives in toil. The warriors are trained in contemporary militia weaponry and tactics, but maintain feudal ranks, titles, and culture. A surprising degree of respect is granted to the Faithful by the Crimson Eye warriors they revere and worship. Many of the marines of the Crimson Eye warrior lodges were elevated from the Faithful's warrior caste, and at times Vhilgraf has taken one of their number into his personal counsel (as with Mathildis), Officers and chief technicians among the Faithful report directly to their Astartes commanders without fear, provided they observe the proper respect. On feast days, Zhalmor leads grand services for the Faithful, and personally directs the activities of their priestly caste through their council of Bishops. The Faithful, despite the fact that they are mere humans, consider themselves members of the Black Legion, and the leadership of the Crimson Eyes, Vhilgraf especially, encourage this.
Black Shrine Inner Circle agents
The Whispered One - A Black Shrine inner circle sorcerer and advisor to Vhilgraf, rather than a proper member of the Crimson Eyes. The Whispered One is a beta-level psyker with a broad range of talents from daemonic binding to prognostication to communication. Though not a true chaos marine, the Whispered one does wear a suit of power armor and possesses psychically augmented speed and strength equivalent to that of any astartes. Though the Whispered One is a grim and frightening figure, he is well liked by most of the Crimson Slaughter's important figures. Vhilgraf values the Whispered One's council over any others. As a high ranking member of the Black Shrine's inner circle, Zhalmor considers the Whispered One to be almost as holy as Vhilgraf himself, while the warpsmith Mojo Jokaero (see below), views the sorcerer as a useful source of raw materials and arcane insight for his experiments on daemonic spirits. Even headstrong Mathildis defers to his words. Only Ghustav, champion of the Cadaver Corps, distrusts the Whispered One and all the sorcerer represents.
Circle Templar - Black Shrine inner circle warriors, rather than proper members of the Crimson Eyes. Their origins unknown, the Circle Templar appeared at the end of the Valatia Incident. They possess strange, archaic looking power armor, and ride into battle on shadowy daemonic steeds. The Cadaver Corps consider them to be rivals for Vhilgraf's favor, leading to tensions within the warband.
Dark Mechanicus Contract
Mojo Jokaero - A heavily mutated and cybernetically enhanced Jokaero warp smith, Mojo was the subject of genetic and cybernetic experimentation by a heretical tech priest, He slew his maker and escaped into the Eye of Terror when the experiments were discovered by a group of Sororitas who sought to destroy every trace of the blasphemous work (or, it has been rumored, to cover up their own participation before Inquisitorial agents could obtain evidence of it). In the eye, Mojo quickly found himself in the service of the Dark Mechanicus, where he earned a mixed reputation for his brilliant, inhuman designs but also for his uncontrollable temper that often led to destruction of his own work. The jokaero warpsmith was assigned as a contract observer for the newly formed Crimson Eyes, and has continued his research and experimentations while maintaining the Eye's armoury and ensuring the proper tithes of salvage are sent back to the Daemon Forges in exchange. Mojo cares nothing for the politics and doctrine of the Black Shrine, the mad jokaero is happy as long as the tithes are paid and he is given free reign on his experiments and ample opportunities to test his creations in battle. That said, he has formed a close working relationship with the Whispered One, who provides him with bound daemonic spirits to experiment on, as well as insight into ways those spirits can be torn apart and recombined into new forms.
The Ascendant - a cohort of 3 obliterators serve as Mojo's personal assistants and body guards. In exchange for an additional fee, Mojo sometimes allows Vhilgraf to deploy the Ascendant to battle.
The Astartes Cybernetica - a varying number of servitors made from fallen Crimson Eye warriors too damaged to recover. Counted against the salvage owed to the dark mechanicus, their bodies and minds are rebuilt with daemonotech augmentations and slaved either directly to Mojo's will, or to that of the daemonic machine spirits within the engines he builds. The Astartes Cybernetica serve as brute labor, vehicle pilots, and operators for heavy field artillery, including a trio of rapier weapons platforms.
Mojo's Myriad Mechanical Monstrosities - Heldrakes, Helbrutes, Maulerfiends, and more, Mojo is always working on new nightmare abominations of flesh, metal, and daemonic spirit. The service of these war engines makes up the bulk of the value of the Crimson Eye's contract, but their destructive power is worth every ounce of salvage tithed, even if the results of Mojo's experiments - incorporating multiple bound daemonic spirits slaved to heavily augmented human or astartes neural matter - are highly unstable.
Lesser servants - in addition to these potentially battle-worthy elements, Mojo is also served by a work force of Dark Mechanicus servitors and slave technicians. This work force is kept strictly segregated from the Faithful, except when maintenance of the armoury or ship systems makes interaction unavoidable. In concordance with Mojo's wishes, Vhilgraf has ordered that no attempts be made to convert the dark mechanicus slave workers to the teachings of the Black Shrine, though Zhalmor chafes at this restriction on his evangelism.
Be'lakor, the Dark Master - As the 13th Black Crusade approaches and the Crimson Eyes have returned to the Eye of Terror following their successful campaign in Valatia (the system brought to its knees, a loyalist marine chapter and militarum forces loyal to its planetary governor corrupted to chaos and brought to the Eye and the Despoiler's service, two shrine knights recruited, one of the stones discovered, and another recovered from the inquisitor Josephus), the Crimson Eyes were approached by the mercurial fallen prince Be'lakor. The daemon prince displayed knowledge of the Black Shrine's inner workings, secrets he could not possibly know, and claimed to seek an alliance with the Shrine Knights. Unable to judge the daemon's true intentions, Vhilgraf has sent word to the Follower, who in turn has called all of the shrine knights together for the first time since their founding to weigh the Dark Master's offer. In the mean time, Be'Lakor has placed himself and his personal daemonic retinue at the disposal of the Crimson Eyes, as a show of his sincerity.
The Betrayed - In the Dark Masters service are a small number of daemons of all alignments who have fallen out of favor with their patrons. Daemonic heralds and spirits rejected by their gods for not serving well enough, or else for serving too well. Spirits that had found loyalty repaid with spite, and instead of begging for forgiveness had chosen the path of rebellion, turning to the first prince as the symbol and champion of rebellion against the dark gods in ages past. Be'lakor claims this small retinue is only the start of far larger wave, as the dark powers, greedy to reach for new claims in the great crusade to come, turn a blind eye to those who have served them for so long, and he promises to lend the power of these wayward daemons to the Black Shrine, if they will but welcome him into their inner circle.
Other Notable Allies
The Warp Lions - A Khorne Daemonkin Warband newly associated with the Black Legion, consisting of a portion of the surving traitors of the White Lions space marine chapter (the rest becoming the 'Black Lions' under their former Chapter Master, a more typical renegade astartes warband). The Warp Lions are led by the Shrine Knight Prentis Dalcigrad, a former captain of the White Lions.
Valatia Militarum - the surviving human traitors of the Valatia system, once loyal to the (unconfirmed) slain planetary governor and psychic monstrosity Marquise La Trémoille, which escaped Valatia and fled to the Eye of Terror along with the Warp Lions and Crimson Eyes. It is unknown who currently leads them.
EDIT: like I said, revision is ongoing and names especially are likely to change. Folmarv -> Regulus -> Praesepe -> Al' Debarán -> the Follower (this name probably (actually maybe this time) final, but others still likely to change). Also Bordelon -> Josephus (told you more changes were coming).
EDIT 2: If any one happens to like this fluff, and is interested in incorporating it into their own army's fluff, the Black Shrine is always recruiting new war bands. If your commander proves worthy of bearing one of the Heavenly Stones, they may even be officially inducted into the order of the Shrine Knights, granting you access to the secrets of the Black Shrine's inner circle.
Edited by malisteen, 01 December 2015 - 12:02 AM.