GENE-SEED (PREDECESSOR): Dark Angels (Angels of Vengeance)
CHAPTER MASTER: Pyrrhus Brasidor
CHAPTER WORLD: Urkona
FORTRESS MONASTERY: The Hold
MAIN COLORS: crimson, bone, silver
BATTLE CRY: “For the Emperor!”
CURRENT STRENGTH: none (see “Present Activities” below)
KNOWN DESCENDANTS: none
The earliest recorded actions of the Throne Knights Chapter date back to M34, in the years following the Howling. Created from the gene-stock of the Angels of Vengeance Chapter, the Throne Knights lineage ultimately derives from the 1st Legion and the primarch Lion El’Jonson. The various Unforgiven chapters were under scrutiny at this time as evidence of their willingness to abandon erstwhile allies in pursuit of their own agendas was mounting, so the choice of the Angels of Vengeance as a predecessor was unusual. In all likelihood, the Angels of Vengeance had performed a great service to the Imperium and had been rewarded with the prospect of siring a new chapter, though the nature of that service is lost to history.
The Throne Knights operated as a crusading chapter for the first eight centuries after their founding, participating in operations throughout the Segmentum Obscurus, including participation in at least two of the crusades of the Adeptus Ministorum and the purging of the xenos Thal’kreen. The Throne Knights are also recorded as successfully defending against a minor Chaos incursion in the Scarus Sector; as well as re-taking the Imperial world of Johexis from renegades, an event known in latter day Imperial histories as the Bloodsword War.
Librarium Note: It is worthy to note that the leader of the Chaos renegades in the Bloodsword War was the Fallen once known as Heraniel, Sword Lieutenant of the 18th Chapter of the 1st Legion. Heraniel’s broken body was recovered by the Throne Knights and submitted to the Rock following the Bloodsword War.
Operating as a crusading chapter for the first few centuries of its existence, the Throne Knights Chapter claimed Urkona as their chapter world following the Jager crusade in M35. Their actions over the next two millennia are a history of warfare, ranging from the purging of space hulks to countering Ork Waaaghs. Their most famous actions by far were the Second Battle of Zurst and the Crusade of the Emperor’s Light [see below].
Suffering severe casualties in the Crusade of the Emperor’s Light, the Throne Knights entered a period of rebuilding. They had been reduced down to less than four hundred battle-brothers, losing almost the entire First Company and the majority of their senior officers in the bloody fighting. Though the chapter was capable of regaining its full strength in time, some taint had insinuated its way into the chapter within the Banehold warp storm. The exact nature of the taint has never been ascertained, but it took a combined force of three full chapters to bring the errant chapter to heel. The chapter has since been listed as traitoris purgatus.
Librarium Note: The Inner Circle members of the Throne Knights Chapter waivered in their devotion to the Legion and the Hunt for the Fallen. In M580.M37, the Throne Knights rendezvoused with the Rock in the Agripinaa sector. The chapter was called to task on their Meeting with the Supreme Grand Master, the Grand Master of the Throne Knights, Pyrrhus Brasidor, questioned the need to complete the Hunt, and then claimed that his chapter’s devotion and service to the Emperor and the Imperium were sufficient to absolve them of their obligation. He cited renegades from other legions that had remained loyal to the Emperor and pointed out that the chapters descended from those legions remained in the good graces of the High Lords of Terra. He was immediately censured by the Supreme Grand Master. The Throne Knights Grand Master retired to the Imminent Fury with his honor guard and returned to Urkona, indicating that his chapter was autonomous and answered to no one but the Emperor and the High Lords of Terra. After this event, the Throne Knights refused to respond to the missives of the Supreme Grand Master. Worse yet, the Throne Knights Chapter had developed a known relationship with members of the Inquisition following the Bagrattius crusade. Fearing that the Throne Knights would reveal the existence of the Fallen and doom the Unforgiven chapters, the combined Inner Circle decided to act. Three entire chapters were mobilized, recalling all subordinate forces that had been deployed. The combined force then journeyed to the Nikor system and launched an assault on Urkona. Catching the Throne Knights Chapter off guard, the combined force succeeded in destroying the Throne Knights to the last man, though not without casualties. Though the gene-seed stores of the Throne Knights were divided equally between the three chapters, the Angels of Vengeance refused to accept what they considered to be tainted gene-seed. Their share was taken by the Dark Angels for distribution among the Unforgiven chapters as they saw fit. The fortress-monastery of the Throne Knights was then destroyed by orbital bombardment.
Knowing that the destruction of the wayward chapter could not remain a secret, the Dark Angels submitted a report to the High Lords of Terra describing how the Throne Knights had succumbed to moral corruption and heretical practices, submitting several Warp-infused relics recovered from the chapter’s librarium as proof. The High Lords of Terra accepted the explanation and commended the three chapters for the action. The remaining relics of the chapter were seized by the Dark Angels and taken to the Rock for destruction.
Once an ocean world completely covered in water, Urkona had collided with a rogue planet billions of years before mankind had first crawled from the sea on Holy Terra. The rogue planet was destroyed in the collision, its raw material breaking apart and sinking into the depths of Urkona. The force of the collision forced Urkona off its orbit, thrusting it to the extreme edge of the life-supporting region of the star Nikor before its orbit stabilized. Most of the lifeforms indigenous to Urkona suffered extinction as a result of the planetary collision and shift in climate, but a few hardy species survived. Moreover, alien material introduced by the rogue planet evolved into a variety of new species able to survive the deadly frigid ecology.
Urkona was originally settled by Mankind during the Dark Age of Technology. The settlers were eventually reduced to a pre-industrial technology level and their colony ships were salvaged to fabricate city-state dwellings deep beneath the icy surface of the planet. Cut off from the rest of mankind during the Age of Strife, the human colonists developed into a caste-based feudal culture. The most important of the castes were the Structors and the Venati. The Structors were responsible for the building and maintenance of the city-states and their life support systems while the Venati were a warrior-hunter caste. Initially responsible for hunting on the surface to provide food for their city-states, the scarcity of native fauna and competition with other city-states inevitably led to open warfare between the city states. The city-states were eventually reduced to just five, but the separation between the surviving city-states reduced competition for food and resulted in minimal warfare between the survivors. This balance of power remained stable through the Age of Strife.
Urkona was rediscovered by mankind during the Jager crusade when renegade forces sought to escape the forces of the Imperium. Pursued by a small force of Throne Knights Space Marines, the renegades were ambushed by a Venati hunting party. Though the Venati were wiped out to a man, they succeeded in killing far more of the better equipped renegades. Impressed by the prowess of the Venati, the Throne Knights Chapter claimed the world as their own, establishing the fortress monastery in an orbital station.
The Throne Knights remained aloof from the surface of their planet, descending only to conduct training and to recruit neophytes. The inhabitants of Urkona remained largely ignorant of the Throne Knights Chapter, knowing only that Venati often disappeared while on the hunt [see Recruitment].
When the combined force of the Dark Angels, Angels of Redemption, and Angels of Vengeance destroyed the Throne Knights Chapter, the Venati hunting parties on the surface of Urkona saw, but failed to understand, the great battle taking place in orbit above them. When the orbital fortress of the Throne Knights crashed to the surface of the planet, destroying one of the city-states, the Venati knew only that the fiery wreckage had destroyed their city-state. The survivors fled to the nearest enemy city-state, seeking refuge. Captured and tortured, they told their tale to their disbelieving fellows in the city-states beneath the ice. Further hunting parties confirmed the destruction of the city-state and the tale has grown into an oral lesson about the anger of the Sky Gods, spreading to all of the Urkonan city-states.
To this day, Urkona remains a minor recruiting world of the Angels of Redemption chapter.
The Throne Knights Chapter was destroyed in mid-M37 by a combined force of the Dark Angels, Angels of Redemption, and Angels of Vengeance Chapters in an action that has been recorded as the Judgment at Urkona.
The watershed events of the Throne Knights Chapter were the Second Battle of Zurst and the Crusade of the Emperor’s Light.
Second Battle of Zurst
The Second Battle of Zurst was a battle of the Stonefist War which took place in M36, in which the Throne Knights under Master Mykenon destroyed the Tagus landing fields. The landing fields were the essential destination of any ships traveling through the Drewlian Gate, a stable passage through the Warp.
The renegade leader, Hehrn Rodnar, was a chief lieutenant under the arch-traitor, Hraz Stonefist. His forces had successfully captured the strategic worlds of Almanaras III and Kadr Fein, commanding the major route between the Antimar and Ange Lus sub sectors. He now prepared to advance into the Ange Lus sub sector with a massive force of renegades, which was strong enough to take on the Astra Militarum forces in the segmentum. There were two Throne Knights detachments operating in the Ange Lus subsector, however: Strike Force Mykenon, on patrol near Heveron, and Strike Force Eumaios en route to Thracian Primaris. The Drewlian Gate separated the two sub sectors. Any military force moving between the two sub sectors would have to cross through the Drewlian Gate to the Tagus landing fields.
The renegades had strengthened the position at the landing fields by securing the orbital defenses, a network of orbital weapons platforms that created a gauntlet of interlocking fire between the Drewlian Gate terminus and the atmosphere of Kadr Fein.
The two Throne Knights strike forces linked up near Ingeran and Mykenon, as the senior officer, assumed command of the overall force. Mykenon’s plan involved dividing his force into three elements. The largest element was under his direct command and was to storm the landing field at Kadr Fein from the north. The second element under Master Eumaios was to attack the near-orbit defenses while the third element under Sergeant Telanicus was to launch a diversionary attack on the south end of the landing fields.
The attack on the south end of the landing fields began at dawn when devastators opened up against the bastion at Morbat. The defenders were prepared for the assault but were still taken by surprise when centurions and assault squads burst from their cover and charged up towards the bastion in the face of fire from the defenders. Soon the opposing sides were engaged in hand-to-hand fighting.
Observing the assault, nearby renegades moved to reinforce the remote bastion. This action succeeded in diverting the attention of the renegades, enabling Master Mykenon’s force to launch the main attack on the opposing end of the landing field. Meanwhile, the Throne Knights fleet under Master Eumaios was weathering orbital defense fire while destroying most of the network of orbital guns. This prevented the forces in orbit from firing upon the Throne Knights forces engaged on the planet below.
The action was swift-moving, deceptive and daring. The decisive result produced a substantial improvement in the Imperial position by keeping renegade forces separated ahead of the imminent Battle of Heveron. Sergeant Telanicus was grievously wounded in the fighting and was later interred in a dreadnought sarcophagus, continuing to serve the chapter for seven centuries. Master Mykenon delivered the deathblow to Rodnar in single combat, depriving Stonefist of one of his most tactically adept subordinates.
Crusade of the Emperor’s Light
The Crusade of the Emperor’s Light was part of the Wars of Apostasy in M37 when the forces of the Imperium fought to regain control of worlds that had broken from the Imperium during the Reign of Blood.
The Ecclesiarch sought principally to recover shrine worlds and stamp out pockets of those still loyal to Goge Vandire. The Adeptus Ministorum forces, spearheaded by the Adepta Sororitas under the leadership of Alicia Dominica, were joined by multiple contingents of the Astra Militarum and Imperial Navy. Several Adeptus Astartes Chapters seconded detachments to support the crusade, among which was a strike force of the Throne Knights Chapter under Master Urkaenos.
The crusade succeeded in regaining control of over thirty worlds, including four shrine worlds of the Ecclesiarchy. The Throne Knights were heavily involved in the fighting for two of the shrine worlds. More importantly, Master Urkaenos personally led a force that reinforced Sister Dominica’s contingent after it had been cut off by surprise reinforcements. Though Master Urkaenos later died in battle at the Invasion of Talvisota, his leadership and prowess throughout the crusade were reported to the Ecclesiarch by Sister Dominica. The Throne Knights Chapter was awarded a Victorix Maxima upon completion of the holy crusade and the Ecclesiarch had a statue erected to honor Master Urkaenos at the Convent Sanctorum.
Librarium Note: The Throne Knights reported multiple battles in which they faced traitor Adeptus Astartes during the Crusade of the Emperor’s Light. None of those they encountered were of the Fallen, nor were they thought to have known of the Fallen. The Throne Knights reports highlighted the fact that one of the traitor forces they encountered appeared to be renegade Iron Hands Space Marines.
The Throne Knights chapter was organized similarly to the other chapters descended from the Dark Angels Legion. While this was similar in most respects to standard Codex Astartes chapter organization, there were several distinct differences.
The first two companies of the Throne Knights are where the greatest differences from other codex chapters resided, mirroring the organization of other successors of the 1st Legion. As with the Dark Angels chapter, the 1st Company of the Throne Knights was known and feared as the Deathwing, veterans who only took to the field of battle in tactical dreadnought armor. Similarly, the 2nd Company was the Ravenwing, and those who made up its ranks were masters of high speed attack - every warrior rode a bike, land speeder, or atmospheric craft.
The remainder of the chapter was organized along strict codex lines, with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Companies forming the battle companies; the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th the reserve companies; and the 10th Company consisting of scouts.
Librarium Note: As with other Unforgiven chapters, the most senior leaders of the Throne Knights formed the Inner Circle. The membership of the Inner Circle included the Grand Master, the Masters of the Deathwing and Ravenwing, the librarians, the interrogator-chaplains, and select senior company masters.
The Throne Knights maintained a modest fleet, having only a single battle barge, the Imminent Fury, and four strike cruisers. In addition, the Throne Knights operated the Spear of Retribution, which was larger than a standard strike cruiser and able to embark a force twice the size of that which a standard strike cruiser can embark. The Spear of Retribution appeared to be a heavily modified version of a Lunar class vessel, though how and where the Throne Knights acquired this ship is unknown.
The Imminent Fury
The Throne Knights employed a unique method of recruitment that also served as a test for veterans. Induction into the chapter’s veteran company took place only once a year. Each year, a handful of battle-brothers were submitted as candidates the veteran company. These candidates were assigned as pairs. Each pair of battle-brothers was inserted into the icy wastes of Urkona wearing only protective cameleoline clothing and equipped with homing beacons for their own use and as well as other supplies. Each pair would first construct a camouflaged shelter, using the shelter as a base of operations. They would then hunt the Venati hunting parties, stalking them and taking the youngest for the chapter. Once the first of the neophytes had been seized, one of the candidates would remain at the shelter as guard while the other would continue the hunt. They would then take it in turns, one using the provided supplies to keep the neophytes alive and protected from the elements while the other would return to the hunt in order to seize another neophyte. Each pair would continue their hunt until they had gathered a half dozen neophytes or a week had passed, at which point they would activate their homing beacon and take their captured back to the chapter.
On the handful of occasions in which a candidate was slain by Venati, the other candidate would subdue those of the Venati hunting party that he could while slaying the others, immediately activating the homing beacon. The entire Venati hunting party would be taken to the chapter and accorded honors. Those that were young enough would become neophytes while those too old for the process would become thralls. Chapter tradition maintained that the neophytes from such events were destined for greatness.
While the candidates operated with maximum stealth when recruiting, members of Venati hunting parties occasionally snatched glimpses of the Adeptus Astartes or the remains of their shelters. To the Venati, the candidates became creatures of fear and superstition, beasts that haunted their nightmares and invoked fear. The candidates became creatures of myth – the Sarmenkar (Great Ice Devils).
The Throne Knights livery featured deep crimson as the predominant armor color. Chest decorations were typically in silver and both the winged skull chapter badge and common squad badges were displayed on opposing shoulder pauldrons in a bone color. Company affiliation was displayed upon the left kneepad using a distinctive system that drew upon that used by their progenitors, the Angels of Vengeance, and which could be traced back to the First Legion. Throne Knights sergeants were distinguished by black helmets rather than the usual red.
Though the chapter followed the Codex Astartes closely, one minor deviation was that veterans wore bone colored helmets rather than white. Similarly, the members of the 1st and 2nd Companies were distinguished only by their bone colored helmets, squad badges, and honor markings.
The chapter’s neophyte scouts displayed markings and livery that generally conformed to the dictates of the Codex Astartes.
The company captains, referred to as “company masters” in a practice that paralleled other Unforgiven chapters, wore the standard rank insignia provided in the Codex Astartes. One notable difference was the additional wearing of rank shields at the left shoulder. These shields displayed the heraldry of their company and served as the basic badge of office.
BATTLE STANDARDS OR CHAPTER BANNERS
The Throne Knights habitually carried banners into battle, including both unit-based standards and banners as well as personal standards. One notable type of personal banner was known as a Mortem Banner, referring to the Mortem Oath. Such an oath would be sworn to achieve a particular objective or to die in the effort. The common feature on such banners was the imagery of a skull wearing a laurel crown, representing victory in death. Master Urkaenos swore such an oath during the Crusade of the Emperor’s Light, successfully completing his oath when he struck down the leader of a traitor warband. The majority of his force was killed or injured in the action, including his banner bearer, when the traitor force was augmented by Warp-spawn. The Mortem Banner was damaged in a hell-born conflagration, but the singed remains were submitted to the Adeptus Custodes on Holy Terra when the chapter was awarded the Victorix Maxima.
Shown below are pict-captures of two of the standards carried by the Throne Knights during the Crusade of the Emperor’s Light. The banner on the left was that of the 4th Company while that on the right was Urkaenos’ Mortem Banner before it was damaged.
Librarium Note: While the remains of Urkaenos’ Mortem Banner are in the safekeeping of the Adeptus Custodes and beyond our reach, the 4th Company Banner pictured above was destroyed after the Judgment at Urkona.
Amassing a battle history over three millennia, the Throne Knights Chapter earned many awards and commendations. The most significant of these, though, was the Victorix Maxima for the Crusade of the Emperor’s Light and the statue to Master Urkaenos at the Convent Sanctorum. The statue still stands today, one among many honoring the heroes of the Imperium that have fought alongside the Adepta Sororitas.
The Throne Knights followed normal Space Marine tactical and strategic doctrine as found in the Codex Astartes, the masterwork of the primarch Roboute Guilliman. While conforming to the broad tenets of tactical flexibility espoused within the Codex Astartes, the Throne Knights demonstrated a preference for rapid assault and first strike methods. Wherever possible, they would concentrate their forces, though they would employ combined arms with different elements of their forces converging at strategic points in order to achieve victory.
The chapter typically operated as two elements. The first element comprised the majority of the chapter embarked aboard the Imminent Fury and a fleet of strike cruisers and rapid assault vessels. This element would engage in major campaigns, often crusading in furtherance of the chapter’s self-appointed mission to continue the spirit of the Great Crusade. The second element comprised a task-organized force built around a battle company. This element would also include squads from other companies, and would generally resemble a much smaller version of the first element. The second element would operate from the Spear of Retribution. At any point in time, one of the two elements would be deployed while the other would perform the dual role of defending the chapter’s home world while training, reconstituting, and preparing for deployment.
The warrior cult of the Throne Knights Chapter was secretive, but was known to have been heavily influenced by the hunter-warrior caste rituals of the Urkona populace. Chief among these rituals were the symbols of the hunt as well as a combination of rites featuring survival of the cold and the embrace of fire. A handful of testimonies from eyewitnesses serving alongside the Throne Knights reported considerable facial tattoos on various battle-brothers of the chapter.
While the Throne Knights did not literally deify the Emperor, the strength and passion of their belief in him was equal to that of any adherent to the Imperial Cult. They believed that the Emperor represents the pinnacle of Humanity and regarded him as the founder of the Imperium and as their creator. The Throne Knights believed that the Emperor would eventually heal and rise from the Golden Throne, and would subsequently achieve total conquest of the galaxy. The chapter believed that its role was to continue the ideals of the Great Crusade, furthering the expansion of Mankind in its eventual dominance over the galaxy. The Throne Knights venerated their Primarch as much as they did the Emperor and continually strove to emulate the example of Lion El’Jonson.
The Throne Knights were notoriously intolerant of non-humans and would refuse to fight alongside armies that included alien races, abhumans, and mutants. They were highly suspicious of outsiders and often appeared unreasonably aloof and intransigent. Indeed were a number of occasions where the Throne Knights withdrew suddenly and with no explanation from a warzone when confronted by an Imperial inquisitor or missionary.
Created from the gene-stocks of the Angels of Vengeance Chapter, the Throne Knights’ gene-seed was pure and showed no signs of degradation. When the Throne Knights Chapter was destroyed, the majority of the gene-seed stocks were taken by the Dark Angels Chapter, with the balance taken by the Angels of Redemption. The predecessor of the Throne Knights, the Angels of Vengeance, refused to accept any of the gene-seed, despite the losses the chapter suffered in the heavy fighting required to destroy of the Throne Knights.
CHAMPIONS OF THE CHAPTER
Mentes Urkaenos, Master of the 4th Company, served as senior commander of Throne Knights forces during the Crusade of the Emperor’s Light. His career as an Adeptus Astartes began auspiciously when, as a young boy, he had been part of a Venati hunting party stalked by venerable brother-candidate Koratedes, and had been witnessed to be the one that struck the deathblow upon Koratedes. He was especially attentive in his devotions to the Emperor and his armor during the Crusade of the Emperor’s Light was festooned with various seals of piety, purity, and devotion. He bore the argent laurel as reward for his defense of the 4th Company Banner when xenos Eldar ambushed a Throne Knights force during the Dursk War, standing over the fallen form of Master Remneus as he held the banner aloft. His actions during that incident earned him candidacy for the Deathwing and he eventually returned to the 4th Company as Master of that company three decades later.
Alkinus Mykenon was a brilliant tactician and bold leader. He favored a massive axe in battle, a mighty weapon crafted to his specifications after he had served as Chapter Champion under Grand Master Kromedes. Mykenon later became Grand Master of the Throne Knights, serving the chapter for three centuries before finally being slain during the Tethsarch Incursion. After his death, his skull was displayed in the chapter’s grand hall, the bones covered in a layer of silver inscribed with the record of his awards.
Librarium Note: Mykenon’s axe was one of the items retrieved from the Throne Knights fortress monastery during the Judgment at Urkona. It was taken as a spoil of battle by the Angels of Vengeance, who purified it and bequeathed it upon the Master of the 8th Company, Master Reduel, for his bravery. Master Reduel later disappeared during the Grenuet Wars and was presumed dead, the axe disappearing with him. Mykenon’s skull was protected by heavy wards, beyond the ability of our Librarius to counter without great risk. The skull remained in the chapel and was destroyed when the fortress monastery was destroyed.
This chapter was created as part of the Brotherhood of the Angels 2014 challenge. I wanted to explore the question of just how far the Unforgiven are willing to go in order to protect their secrets.
The format used for the article was driven by the challenge. My vision required a much different format, but I got some mixed signals and just decided to go with the standard format.
I may update this as I have time, especially to present the article in my original vision. I just need to either get the BBCodes working or I'll have to render everything as images.