Escalation - A broken blade can still cut
"We lost brothers. We lost warriors. But we did not lose our courage. Question this again, and I will kill you, brother."
Veteran Iskar Jarak, to his Praetor.
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Broken Edge, Tactical Blade Meanas
During the Crusade against the Blackmaw xeno-kind, the Iron Talons were deployed in Chapter strength across a sector-wide warfront. Whilst Chapter-scale deployment of the Astartes may seem an overly agressive move, the Iron Talons have never been a large Chapter and lack the volume of battle-brothers of other Astartes. Numbering somewhere in the region of 700 to 800 Astartes, the newly appointed Chapter Master Sevrin Kallas deemed it appropriate to call together all 7 Blades of the Talons and deploy in force to prosecute the subjugation of the Blackmaw ork clans. Almost a full decade of warfare, coupled with the close-range combat doctrine inherited from the Founding Scars, resulted in the Iron Talons suffering high casualties and bringing themselves almost to the point of Chapter-death. The results of this can be seen most prominently in the under-strength Tactical Blade Meanas, referred to as a Broken Edge. Consisting of the five surviving Tactical Astartes from Meanas, they have been joined by the sole survivor of the 5th Blades fourth Tactical unit and form an ad-hoc fighting unit used primarily to support the advances of the Assault Blades.
Led by Veteran Jarak, the Broken Edge normally deploy via Razorback armoured transport as fire-support for the swift moving Assault Blades, securing objectives after they have been cleansed by their brethren. This close association with the Assault Blades has coloured the combat actions of Meanas and they are often to found engaging the enemy in close range firefights and advancing into areas of intense combat. An almost fatalistic attitude seems to colour the orders and decisions made by Jarak, almost as though he and his brothers seek to join their fallen brethren and see Meanas reunited once again. This has not gone unnoticed and the Broken Edge often find themselves censured by Praetor Varras for their oft-impetuous and foolhardy exploits. Second of the Talons squads deployed to Aren Prime planetside, Meanas took it upon themselves to harry and harass Secessionist relief columns and comms-stations. While these actions were within standard Talon combat doctrine, they were not ratified by Praetor Varras and only their unparalleled success saved Jarak and Meanas from further censure and punishment.
The four line Tactical Astartes of Meanas can be seen here in the now-standard mix of armour marks and plate sections. After the bitter drawn out conflict of the Blackmaw Subjugation, it was rare for an Astartes to wear a set of power armour consisting of plates from a single mark and these Astartes bear witness to that truth. Several pieces of Mk IV and Mk VII plate can be seen above, along with reconditioned sections of Mk VI and Mk VII plate. Each brother bears the traditional red right arm and bone plate of the Iron Talons, along with the company marking of the 5th Blade displayed on the left kneepad. Again, the Talons preference for non-Codex squad markings and the display of kill-tokens and fetishes is in evidence, with each brother bearing xenos tusks and bone sections in triumph. It was in part this savage appearance that went some way towards explaining the less-than-enamoured attitude displayed towards the Iron Talons by Imperial persons on Aren Prime, who by all accounts were expecting a Chapter more in the vein of the Argent Crucifers or vaunted Ultramarines.
Iskar Jarak, Veteran of Tactical Blade Meanas, perhaps comes closest to the biased ideal of an Astartes that Imperial forces were expecting, bearing as he does several relics of an Ecclesiastical nature. Mounted atop the power plant for his reconditioned mix of Mk VII plate is a simple devotional icon taken from the altar of the Demoscien Cathedral on Praxis 9, site of the fall of the majority of Tactical Blade Meanas, while a ragged section of tapestry from the same Cathedral is draped across the rear of the power plant. While some might think that Jarak does this to honour and venerate the God-Emperor, the truth is far more pragmatic - they are marks of shame, borne by Jarak in recognition of the fall of his brothers and a constant reminder of their fate. This morbid celebration of his brothers death is one of the many reasons that Shield-Father Brukhalian keeps a close eye upon Jarak and Meanas, ensuring that their melancholic nature does not turn into outright despair. Armed with a rugged Godwyn pattern bolter and straight form power sword, Jarak is an imposing warrior and easily the equal of many other champions of xeno-breeds and traitors alike and his tactical acumen ensured that the Broken Edge became a hated and feared force on Aren Prime, renowned and reviled in equal measure by the Secessionists for their uncompromising and brutal nature as well as the speed and fluidity of their attacks.
The final member of Meanas is rarely spoken of. Known only as the Penitent, this Astartes has been stripped of all honour and identification markings and is forbidden from bearing the winged talons of the Chapters symbol, instead bearing only a scroll detailing his trangressions inked in his own blood. This is the gravest punishment that the Destriants and Praetors of the Talons can mete out, further compounded by the actions of the Chapters Librarians who mind-scrub the brother to ensure that even he cannot remember his name, only the dolorous deed that has earned him this punishment. Once marked in this way and armed only with a bolter and combat blade, the Astartes is expected to find his end in battle in order to atone for his sins - the irony is that the mere existence of the Astartes ensures that this end is hard to find. During the Aren Prime intervention, the remnants of this particular Penitent were recovered from the site of the final clash with Secessionist forces, his search for redemption finally achieved.
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