Prospero was chosen by its original settlers for one reason: its remoteness. Isolated from the most common Imperial travel lanes and boasting virtually no independent resources of any value, Prospero had only one redeeming quality: it was a good place to hide. In the end, it was not even that. Today it is a blasted ruin, declared Purgatus by the Inquisition.
Through the millennia of endless raiding since, it has been discerned the City of Light survived its transit through the Immaterium intact. It came to rest within the Eye of Terror, upon a world that has come to be known as the Planet of the Sorcerers. That daemonic place is a seething cauldron of magical power, reflected across its breadth in the form of infernal volcanism and tempestuous skies saturated with magical vapour. Towers jut from craggy fists of rock thrust up from plains of lava, twisted and obscene mockeries of the spires and pyramids of learning which were the hallmarks of the City of Light before its fall. Mightiest of them all is the obsidian monolith that is the Tower of the Cyclops, said to be so massive it can be discerned from space with the naked eye. More obscenely, the Tower of the Cyclops looks back, as the pinnacle of the obelisk is a glowing warp eye, through which Magnus watches the paths of the future. The Silver Towers of the City of Light have been transfigured by the sorcerous might of the Thousand Sons into space-faring fortresses in which psyker lords set out from the Planet of Sorcerers to traverse the cosmos, launching vengeful assaults upon the Imperium of Man.
The organisation of the Thousand Sons before the coming of Magnus is not currently known but it is recorded that they were not considered particularly different from the organisation of a typical Astartes Legion apart from their unusually high number of battle-brothers that possessed psychic abilities which resulted in the Legion possessing the most powerful Librarians during that era. When Magnus took over command of the Thousand Sons, he instituted organisational and hierarchical changes within his Legion. Units known as Chapters in some of the other Legions which contained approximately 1000 Astartes were now referred to as "Fellowships" within the Thousand Sons. The most Fellowships the Legion was able to field when they rebuilt the Legion never numbered more than ten.
However, at the conclusion of the particularly bloody Kamenka Troika Campaign where the Thousand Sons had lost nearly nine hundred Astartes, this effectively wiped out an entire Fellowship. Rather than rebuild the decimated Fellowship, Magnus decided to reorganise and maintain the Legion with only nine Fellowships. This organisation was referred to as the Pesedjet. The legion's command structure was adapted in accordance with Prosperine philosophy and were now known as the Rehati (or the coven of Magnus) a secondary command-track in which the Legion's senior officers were ranked according to psychic ability and influence
As part of their training, all Captains of a Fellowship undertook a secondment to another Space Marine Legion to learn its ways and further the Thousand Sonsâ€™ understanding of the galaxy and pursuit of knowledge. Khalophis had served with the Iron Warriors, a Legion he admired and ranked second only to the Thousand Sons. Phosis Tâ€™kar fought alongside the Luna Wolves, and never tired of regaling his brothers with tales of meeting Horus Lupercal, or boasting of his close friendship with Hastur Sejanus and Ezekyle Abaddon, the First Primarchâ€™s closest lieutenants. Hathor Maatâ€™s secondment had seen him serving with the Emperor's Children in their earliest days as they fought alongside the Luna Wolves. As Hathor Maat told of his experience to his fellow Captains, he had caught the Phoenicianâ€™s eye with his perfectly moulded features, and had fought within his sight on many an occasion. Maatâ€™s proudest possession was an Oath of Moment carved by Fulgrim, and fixed to his breastplate as he took his leave to return to Prospero. Uthizzarâ€™s secondment had been amongst the shortest ever served, lasting a little less than a Terran year with the Space Wolves. Ahriman had spent five years with the Word Bearers, learning much of their Legion and methods of war.
Magnus placed great faith in his subordinates, believing he had taught them well, that their powerful sorceries gave them the necessary tools to function independently of him. Before the Heresy, individual Thousand Sons squads were not led by Veteran sergeants but by those who showed the most psychic promise. These "thrall-wizards" were apprenticed to more experienced Sorcerers for their cabalistic training, but at the same time gained experience leading men in small units. While this practice meant it was rare for a Thousand Sons Astartes who did not possess some measure of psychic talent to become a ranking officer, it also meant those Sorcerers who did gain prominence had considerable combat experience. As a result, the Thousand Sons, a numerically small Legion to begin with, rarely took to the field en masse. Instead they campaigned in smaller detachments under the command of Sorcerers who often acted with much more authority independent of their Primarch than the officers of other Legions. This command experience has stood them in good stead as independent leaders of Chaos Space Marine warbands since the Heresy, to the Imperium's considerable and continuing misfortune.
When Magnus the Red reorganised the hierarchy and organisational structure of the Legion he had three specialist units created -- the Rehati, the elite Scarab Occult Terminators and the Hidden Ones of the Scout Auxillia.
- Rehati - The Rehati was the XV Legion's inner coven of advisors and was comprised of the most trusted confidants to Magnus the Red throughout the Great Crusade until the start of the Horus Heresy. The Rehati were drawn from the ranks of the elite Captains of the Thousand Sons' Fellowships to address whatever issues were currently concerning the XV Legion. Its members were ever-changing, and inclusion within the Rehati was dependent on many things, not least of which was an Astartes' standing within the Legion. The Cults of the Thousand Sons vied for prominence and a place in the Primarch's inner circle, knowing that to bask in his radiance would only enhance their powers. As the power of the Empyrean waxed and waned, so too did the mystical abilities of the Cults. The Rehati served a similar position for the Thousand Sons that was comparable to the Mournival of the Sons of Horus Legion
- Scarab Occult (Sekhmet) - The specialist unit known as the Scarab Occult were also sometimes called the Sekhmet or Magnus' Veterans. They were made up of the best and brightest of the the Thousand Sons Legion and equipped with crimson-coloured Tactical Dreadnought Armour. The Sekhmet were active throughout the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. The Scarab Occult were all members of the elite 1st Fellowship, under the command of 1st Fellowship Captain Ahzek Ahriman. These proud and extremely devoted warriors were both combat Veterans and highly-ranked members of the psychic mastery cult system of the Thousand Sons. None of the Sekhmet were below the Cult grade of Philosophus, the final Cult rank a warrior could hold before facing the Dominus Liminus. Each warrior was able to mentally transcend their physical and emotional weaknesses; achieving a form of emotional purity that resulted in warriors who were both fearless and willing to follow orders immediately and unquestioningly. This extraordinary level of discipline was commented on by some of the other Primarchs who witnessed the Sekhmet in action during the Great Crusade. The Great Khan of the White Scars Legion, Jaghatai Khan, commented that they were no better than automata, whilst, in a similar vein, Ferrus Manus of the Iron Hands Legion likened them to robots, though some within the Thousand Sons suspected that knowing the Iron Hands' affinity for technology, this comment may have been meant as a form of compliment. Leman Russ, the Great Wolf of the Space Wolves Legion, showed disdain for what he perceived as the Sekhmet's perceived "lack" of fighting spirit and espirit d'corps due to their taciturn natures. The Sekhmet's status following the Thousand Sons Legion's transformation into a Chaotic Traitor Legion devoted to Tzeentch and the enactment of the Rubric of Ahriman is unknown.
- Rubric Marines - The Rubric Marines are the remnants of Astartes warriors of the Thousand Sons Legion who were inadvertently created when the Chaos Sorcerer Ahriman cast an incredibly potent spell called the Rubric of Ahriman to halt the process of degeneration and mutation caused by the energy of the Empyrean that afflicted his Battle-Brothers after they had escaped to the Eye of Terror and were exiled to the Planet of the Sorcerers. Though their corruption was halted by the spell and they were now devoid of mutation, they were all but stripped of independent will as well. Rubric Marines are basically living suits of armour which still move and function, and can respond to orders just like a sentient man, though they are little more than automatons. They quickly fall into inactivity unless a Thousand Sons Chaos Sorcerer is nearby to direct them, although in the fire of combat something of their former battle hunger returns and they move with greater clarity and purpose. The Thousand Sons' Chaos Sorcerers use their Rubric Marine brethren as bodyguards and enforcers as well as guardians for the great libraries of grimoires and vaults of ancient scrolls held by the Sorcerers of the XV Legion. The Rubric Marines are particularly excellent in this role, for they have no spark of curiosity left and are utterly loyal to their psychic masters.
- Hidden Ones (Scout Auxilia) - The Hidden Ones were a specialist unit of the Thousand Sons that served as the Legion's Scout Auxilia. There is very little in the way of information of how this mysterious unit was deployed or what kind of operations it undertook. Imperial historical accounts show that there is the distinct possibility that these specialised reconnaissance troops served a far more sinister role for the XV Legion that was more akin to espionage agents than a unit of typical Scout Marines composed of Astartes Neophytes engaged in reconaissance-in-force and combat infiltration missions, though the Hidden Ones also carried out those types of missions. An operative of the Hidden Ones would infiltrate a target organisation of interest to gather intelligence while operating under a cover so deep that they never even realised that they had been psychically-reprogrammed to act as a sleeper agent for the Thousand Sons. The Hidden One's status following the Thousand Sons Legion's transformation into a Chaotic Traitor Legion devoted to Tzeentch and the enactment of the Rubric of Ahriman is unknown.
Cults of the Thousand Sons
The Cults of the Thousand Sons represented sub-formations composed of potent psykers within the XV Legion who specialised in certain psychic and sorcerous disciplines during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. The Thousand Sons, like some of their fellow independent-minded Astartes Legions, employed a non-standard organisation within the XV Legion that were known as Cults and into which every Astartes was placed based upon their level of psychic ability.
Though some Thousand Sons Astartes never developed any measurable amount of psychic ability after being implanted with the XV Legion's gene-seed, the majority did develop some form of psychic ability just like their Primarch Magnus the Red soon after competing the transformation process. The Legion used these five different Cults to develop and improve the abilities of the often powerful psykers found amidst this Legion's ranks. Membership within these Cults was determined regardless of the Fellowship (Chapter) to which each Astartes belonged within the Legion since Cult membership was based upon the psychic ability for which a Thousand Sons Astartes displayed the most affinity. Each Fellowship of the Thousand Sons was usually made up of Astartes coming from all five of the Cults within the XV Legion, though it was not unheard of for a Fellowship's membership to be dominated by the members of just one of the Cults.
These five Cults had been founded within the Legion by the nine original members of Magnus the Red's inner circle or cabal who were collectively known as the Rehati. The Rehati had each earned mastery in one of the five psychic disciplines recognised by the Legion and most other scholars of sorcery. Each Cult was formed to further the development of one of the recognised psychic aptitudes: the Athanaeans focused on telepathy, the Corvidae sought to develop their precognitive abilities, the Pavoni learned to make use of physiokinesis, the mental manipulation of one's own physiological processes, the Pyrae plumbed the secrets of fire, a discipline called pyrokinesis, and the Raptora mastered the potent power of telekinesis. The leader of each Cult bore the rank of Magister Templi. The leader of all the Cults was known as the Magus and this was a rank exclusively held by the XV Legion's Primarch, Magnus the Red. The highest rank within the Cult system was that of Ipissumus, a grade which represented a being free from limitations, who lives in balance with the corporeal and incorporeal universe. For all intents and purposes, the Ipisssumus was the most perfect being in the universe. This esteemed rank was represented by the most powerful human psyker in existence -- the Emperor of Mankind.
On the Thousand Sons' lost homeworld of Prospero, in the capital city of Tizca, each Cult maintained its own pyramidal headquarters, which served as both a repository of the arcane knowledge that they had collected about their chosen psychic disciplines from across the galaxy as well as training facilities specifically geared towards enhancing psykers who displayed strength in one of the five recognised psychic disciplines. Each of these pyramids' front gates was topped by the great golden icon that represented the Cult, save for the pyramid of the Pyrae Cult, which was topped by an ever-burning flame and whose gate was guarded by Canis Vertex, a Warlord-class Battle Titan of the Legio Astorum that would see action during the Burning of Prospero.
To further represent the distinctiveness of the Cults' members, the Astartes from each Cult would display the Cult's insignia upon the shoulder plates of their Power Armour, with the Cult's distinctive icon placed within the centre of the XV Legion's Pre-Heresy Legion badge as displayed above.
It is currently unknown what happened to the Cults of the Thousand Sons Legion in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy and their transformation into a Traitor Legion of Tzeentch, as well as the vast changes wrought in the XV Legion by the Rubric of Ahriman. It can be assumed that the same range of basic psychic powers not only still exists among the Thousand Sons but has probably been greatly enhanced by their residence within the Eye of Terror and their innate connection to the Lord of Change.
The five Cults of the Thousand Sons Legion were as follows:
- Athanaean - The Athanaean Cult's members were practiced masters of the discipline of telepathy, and were able to transmit their thoughts and read the thoughts of others. They often acted as the Legion's communications officers since their communications were secure from all but other psykers and they assisted the Corvidae in conducting intelligence operations based on psychically-gleaned knowledge. While the Corvidae could provide an overall strategic direction based on their reading of the likely probabilities of future events occurring, the Athanaeans could use their ability to read the minds of the enemy to shape the Legion's battlefield tactics more directly, through weapon choice, the types of troops to be deployed and where, and the choice of the most advantageous terrain.
- Corvidae - The Corvidae were skilled in the psychic discipline of precognition, determining the likely probabilities of future events. They served as the Legion's seers, warning their Battle-Brothers of dangers before they materialised. The Corvidae Cult also helped guide the Thousand Sons Legion along the lines of Fate during times of conflict and in pursuit of their overall psychic and material growth as a Legion. The Corvidae were responsible for much of the Legion's strategic planning. Corvidae could determine events that were not only far in the future but were immediately about to happen, which allowed them, for example, to navigate a minefield before it exploded or to know the exact sequence in which a series of enemy soldiers would fire at a particular target. The Cult badge of the Corvidae was a black raven's head.
- Pavoni - The Pavoni Cult tended to be the most egocentric of the known Cults within the Thousand Sons Legion, as they had developed the psychic discipline known as physiokinesis. Physiokinesis allowed the Pavoni to manipulate body chemistry and physiology within themselves as well as others, a very useful trait for a group of already superhuman warriors. Skilled practitioners of physiokinesis were able to alter their physical appearance by manipulating the physical characteristics of their facial features at will as well as making themselves immune to the harmful effects of dehydration and other physical ailments. On the field of battle, the Pavoni were able to generate lightning by unleashing the inherent bioelectricity of their own nervous systems and focus it offensively, as well as cause the hearts of enemy warriors to explode by literally boiling the blood within their veins. When using these abilities against their foes, the Pavoni had a reputation for venality and spite which bordered on the sickening. The Pavoni were also the designated healers of the Legion, as they were capable of accelerating cellular growth and protein synthesis, which made them extraordinary medics who saved the lives of countless Astartes when even the Apothecaries could not.
- Pyrae - The Pyrae were pyrokinetics, meaning that they had developed the ability to both generate and control fire, the power for which was drawn from the Warp. The Pyrae could both generate lethal bursts of fire from their bodies that they could shape into a number of different forms, including projectiles fired from their hands as well as fire shields that could hold back foes and melt away incoming weapons fire. The Pyrae could manipulate existing or standing sources of fire and with their connection to the Warp could lower the temperature of flames striking their own bodies or the bodies of others, effectively making them immune to the effects of fire or great heat. The Pyrae also developed secondary psychic abilities that allowed them to control and manipulate mechanical automata like the robots of the Legio Cybernetica and even the massive Titans of the Collegia Titanica. These secondary abilities were known as technopathy. At the time of the closing years of the Great Crusade, the Pyrae Cult was in the ascendence within the XV Legion's hierarchy, while the Corvidae Cult was at its lowest ebb for nearly fifty standard years. For centuries, the Corvidae had been pre-eminent within the ranks of the Thousand Sons, but in the Legion's final decades within the Imperium, their power to read the twisting paths of the future had diminished until their seers could barely penetrate the shallows of things to come. The Cult badge of the Pyrae was a phoenix wreathed in flames.
- Raptora - The members of the Raptora Cult were gifted practitioners of the psychic discipline called telekinesis, and were known as telekines. In battle, a Raptora Cult member could psychically fling physical objects at their enemies or rip their enemies bodies' apart through the application of immense telekinetic power drawn from the Immaterium. When used defensively, telekines could generate barriers of invisible kinetic force known as "Kine-Shields" to block physical attacks on themselves or others. During the Burning of Prospero, the massed members of the Raptora Cult generated a massive kine shield over the whole of the city of Tizca intended to protect it from an orbital assault by the Space Wolves. The shield eventually failed when the sheer power unleashed by the Loyalists' assault upon the kine-shield proved to be more than the individual Raptora Astartes could mentally bear. They fell exhausted to the terrible mental strain, one by one, until the psionic shield collapsed.
The XV Legion was initially created from Terran stock. After his genetic-sons of the XV Legion were reunited with their Primarch, Magnus the Red's pact with Tzeentch was sealed; only one in a thousand Battle-Brothers were spared from the further corruption of the flesh-change. Throughout the rest of the Great Crusade, the Legion recruited exclusively from Prospero, despite the reality that the isolated world possessed only a small population with low genetic diversity. Though new recruits were only culled for the Legion in small numbers, many of them were psychically gifted. This resulted in the Thousand Sons being a smaller Legion than was common amongst their fellow Astartes.
Currently it is unknown how the Legion is able to maintain its current strength. It was once observed that the Legion has performed what appeared to be some sort of resurrection ritual for a slain Thousand Son Astartes. This magical conjuration allowed the XV Legion's Chaos Sorcerers to summon the spirits of deceased Thousand Sons from the Warp so they could possess a mortal body. The Sorcerers were able to use either a living body or a deceased shell for the embodiment of the dead souls. it made no particular difference for the ritual which was used, as both were effective. These newly possessed bodies then transformed into reborn Thousand Sons Battle-Brothers, maintaining the always small numbers of the XV Legion even after their fall to Chaos.
Edited by SlaveToDarkness, 23 August 2014 - 05:37 PM.