Chaos Predator - "Brontus" - Arrogant Sons, Black Legion Warband
It was a dark time for the Iron Hands after the death of their sire on the fields of Istvaan and the nigh shattering of their legion but some companies of stragglers still fought back the Warmaster with any device they could conjure up. One of such brotherhoods of warriors was the Rhodium Compact, a band of Iron Hands made from two companies who were spared the ignominy of the Dropsite Massacre. The Rhodium Compact was en route to Istvaan when they were reached by the rumors of their sire's death and it is a testament to the steel resolve and discipline of Iron Father Kalan that this band of warriors turned their backs on their doomed brethren and decided to take the vengeance of the 10th legion to the stars.
For months the powerful Desolator-Class Battleship Rhodium stalked the stars in search for a worthy quarry. Iron Father Kalan enacted a strict protocol of search and destroy missions and a string of punitive actions severely hammered the renegade forces of the traitor legions. In this dark months which turned into years, full of misery and dread, deceit and shattered hopes the Rhodium Compact endured and their mighty vessel was the doom of many a traitor to the Throne of Terra.
All this came to an end when the unassailable Rhodium was hunted down by a covenant of traitors and its ironclad spirit was shattered in a daring void assault. For days the Thousand Sons fought across the length of this leviathan of black iron skin and steel bones but on the ninth day of the battle Rhodium was no more, the ship bore a new name, a dreadful name from now onward to the eternity, The Arrogance.
Since most of the engagements in which Rhodium took place were in the void, against the ships of the Warmaster, it was a surprise (though somehow predicted by the mastermind of the attack) that the mighty Desolator-Class Battleship had in its ripe belly a veritable stockpile of weapons, armour and vehicles bound to reinforce the loyalist cause on several worlds in the Sadoru Subsector. Among this mighty hoard of techno-arcana and astartes war machines was also a complement of Predator tanks, fresh from the forges of Medusa and yet untested in battle.
Initially the Thousand Sons were overjoyed to find a complement of such fine armour in the belly of the conquered ship but it soon revealed to be an unpredictable burden. Most of the Iron Hands vehicles revealed to be "enhanced" by the peculiarities of the 10th legion such as MIU links, techno-arcane systems and even sarcophagus installations more fit for a dreadnought than for a tank. This proved to be a major problem for the Thousand Sons who severely lacked the trained and enhanced personnel to fully take advantage of the many Predators and Rhinos aboard the newly christened Arrogance.
The story of "Brontus" as Predator Tank E-372-HG-Delta is known, begun aboard the Arrogance. The machine spirit of the Predator was yet untested in battle and ignorant in the ways of the world. Using scavenged Iron Hands who were beyond recovery as forced implants to activate the MSU links, the Thousand Sons managed to activate several of this war machines in order to supplement their shattered legion. Initially the Iron Hands force wired to the systems of their tanks were a liability, several hundreds of slaves died during the attempts to placate the Machine Spirits of the Predators and soothe the choler of the enslaved Iron Hands, but in time and thanks to a constant supervision and telepathic manipulation the spirits of the tanks were placated and at long last the Iron Hands realized the truth borne by their captors.
Brontus was one of the Predator Tanks whose first roar of anger and smoldering hot fury was unleashed upon the loyalists. Both machine and driver were now consecrated to the Warmaster's cause and while some Iron Hands pilots still rebelled against their fate soon the legends of the Rhodium Compact begun to circulate on the battlefields of the Horus Heresy.
Named after battle brother Brontus, an Iron Hands marine, a former Havoc in the Rhodium Compact, this Predator Tank is now intertwined with the choleric spirit of its pilot and years of exposure to the mutagenic effect of the Warp sealed the fates of machine and marine for eternity. A daring machine spirit, Brontus is often found in the forward elements of the Arrogant Sons, venting the fury of its heavy bolters and autocannon upon those who dare to oppose the might of the Black Legion. Marine Brontus is still capable of communicating with his brethren and it is perhaps only due to his iron will that his Predator Tank is still unblemished by the caress of Chaos on the outside, yet inevitably corrupt in the inside.
The ancient MSU link is still active and Brontus is a very responsive steed, each thought of its pilot is answered by the enslaved machine spirit and each choleric outburst is echoed by the roar of the many weapon systems. The MSU allows Brontus and unprecedented control over the Predator Tank and it is thanks to this dark technology that the steeds of the Rhodium Compact are victorious in battle. Working tirelessly as only a host of minds linked in a noosphere can, Brontus and its iron brethren are a fearsome force of armoured hulls and spiked threads. Communicating in bursts of machine cant, the Rhodium Compact uses a lingo named "The Aracant" which is a form of early Medusan, used as the battle cant of the squadron.
When once this detachment of Predators fought their captors and rebelled against the Thousand Sons, much like their entire ship and onboard systems, they relented their position when they came to learn the truths about the Heresy, especially when it was revealed to them by Iron Father Kalan, now self christened Warpsmith, Lord of Manusiarium, the forge aboard the Arrogance. Most of the pilots accepted their fate with the iron resolve typical of the 10th legion but for marines like Brontus and others who clung to their old beliefs it was their Iron Father who finally soothed their adamant wills, some by coercion, some with technophage viruses or with infected warpcode but inevitably the entire Rhodium Compact came to serve the Arrogant Sons and was integrated as part of the warband soon after the Heresy.
In M41 the Rhodium Compact is still very much active though the once noble machines of the astartes are in the minority now. Warpsmith Kalanthrox expanded the might of the Arrogant Sons with daemonic engines and hosts of Helbrutes, but undeniably when true battle is joined and the Black Legion fights a worthy foe the Rhodium Compact is unleashed. Brontus is still there, still fighting with cold blood, iron will, an Iron Hand trough an trough, still clad in black, albeit of a more sinister hue. The hull of this Predator Tank is still sable but the choleric nature of its pilot in now made manifest. Adorned with trophy spikes and cruel teeth of adamantium, Brontos is now a brawler, an apex predator. What the heavy bolters and the autocannon fail to destroy is soon gauged by wicked spikes or ground to dust beneath its treads. The marine inside is now one with his machine, the skin of Brontos is his own, the sensorium of the tank his eyes and ears. Deep down Brontos reached the apotheosis, the pinnacle of belief typified in his legion, the flesh is weak and only iron is strong enough. Brontos is now not only a machine, but a machine of death, a herald of violent intent and his thoughts are now beyond mortal ken, he is now one with the machine spirit and one with his brothers in the Rhodium Compact squadrons.
Ultimately the Iron Hands became a weapon, a weapon of the Warmaster, a weapon of the Arrogant Sons and some might claim a weapon of humanity. The Rhodium Compact is now a dread presence in the Eye, when the Arrogant Sons go to battle they are accompanied by their brethren clad in adamantium and it is no secret that the Warmaster gave a commendation to this squadron when they fought valiantly their loyalist brethren during the 10th Black Crusade. Brontus much like his brothers desires nothing more than to unleash his rage upon the foes of the Black Legion but in order to prevent him or his brethren to vent their all too choleric fury aboard the Arrogance their Predator Tanks are chained in the vast Rhodium Hall, their pilots dormant much like the helbrutes of the warband. When the need for such direct means of violence such as the Rhodium Compact is required the machine spirit are roused from their slumber and warpcode floods the minds of their pilots. The squadron then advances with machine-like precision toward the many lifters and when they are unleashed on the planet the cold efficiency and sheer brutality of this traitor Iron Hands and their adamantine steeds in truly a grim spectacle to behold.
Edited by Tenebris, 06 October 2014 - 01:38 PM.