THE KNIGHTS SOVEREIGN CHAPTER
GENE-SEED: Dark Angels
FOUNDING: 23rd “Sentinel” Founding [M.38]
CHAPTER MASTER: Marshal Edmunt Raik, Castellan of the Crimson Rooks
CHAPTER WORLDS: Eistvin, Ostlund & Vollstadt
FORTRESS-MONASTERY: Durumtal, Eistvin
SPECIALTY: Operational control, precision engagements and information dominance
BATTLE-CRY: 'Imperator Vult!' is a common warcry, however 'Victus aut nihil' is the Chapter motto
CURRENT STRENGTH: Endangered
KNOWN DESCENDANTS: Bronze Knights, Savage Brotherhood [disputed]
Part of an ongoing struggle for the High Lords of Terra to utilize the pure gene-seed of the former First Legion without the participation and influence of the Dark Angels or their prominent successors, when the Knights Sovereign were created they were tutored instead by a detachment of the Imperial Fists, a worthy selection to guide a Chapter of the Sentinel Founding. The influence of the sons of Dorn can be readily seen in the Chapter for centuries to come, however their brother sons of the Lion were not to be denied. Shortly after the Knights had gained the trust of the Imperial Fists and earned their independence, overseeing a turbulent Sector that had long suffered for its severely lower average technological capabilities, a contingent of the Dark Angels and other successors arrived to acquaint themselves with this new Chapter. How these other sons of the Lion knew of the Knights Sovereign true heritage is not entirely known, expected given their typically reticent nature. Multiple concerted investigations over the past millennia have revealed numerous agents suspected of feeding information to the Dark Angels and their closest successors, and it is assumed they came to this information by similar means. These Chapters showed great honor to the Knights Sovereign, with many of their retinues consisting of their highest ranking officers, including Chapter Master Grasciel of Dark Angels. The inner circles of these Chapters communed together deep within Durumtal, while specialist officers of the First and Second Companies intermingled, enlightening the Knights Sovereign to their own particular brand of war-making.
While this communion was short-lived, the bonds of brotherhood forged on this day had a lasting effect, with many of these Chapters regularly appearing within the Knights' territory and vice versa. It had also made an impression on the young Chapter's organization, especially the First and Second Companies. The Knights Sovereign still retained much of their identity as forged under the watchful eyes of the Imperial Fists, but they had grown more insular, more in keeping with the typical Dark Angels character. Indeed, their later character can be readily connected to the manner of the ancient knightly orders of the Dark Angels' long-dead home world. This marriage of traits and ideals, in many ways opposing but also complementary, has guided the Knights Sovereign for the thousands of years since.
Early in their formation, the Knights Sovereign were given a choice of three feudal home worlds within the Lowermains Sector. Though ultimately settling upon Eistvin, located near the largest nexus of Sector traffic, the discarded worlds of Ostlund and Vollstadt did dominate strategically resourceful zones. Chapter keeps were planted on these worlds, a practice perhaps learned from the Imperial Fists Chapter. Officially, Eistvin alone is classified as an Adeptus Astartes world, however after centuries of keeping close ties and recruitment practices on Ostlund and Vollstadt, the local officials tithe the worlds as if they were.
Nestled deep in the Eistvin mountains is the Durumtal, fortress-monastery to the Knights Sovereign. Building began as soon as Eistvin was selected as their home world, and had finished scant months before the Knights showed up themselves. This immense, rugged structure blends seamlessly with its surroundings. If an unaugmented human was to stand upon an outer peak, looking into the range, they would be unable to distinguish the crenelated towers from natural mountaintops. However, the Knights Sovereign took to giving it a different name than the Magos-Tektons provided: the Crimson Rook. With the Chapter keeps on Ostlund and Vollstadt being heavily inspired by, and in imitation of, the Durumtal, they are collectively known as the Crimson Rooks.
The Knights Sovereign have been at war with the Orks of WAAAGH! Urlkin for decades, a massive incursion the Sector had never before seen, led by an Ork of such impressive size that Archmagos-Biologis from several Sectors around have insisted could not exist. This Ork, crafty for his kind, has grown large on the excesses of his armies, leading regular hunts into nearby regions with such regularity that the end of most hunts is merely the beginning of another. The Knights Sovereign have tried, unsuccessfully, to convince local Administratum officials to sanction a crusade into Ork territory and end the threat once and for all. However, with the Knights' own worlds declared the targets of a hunt that has virtually emptied the Ork territories for Sectors around, more recently they have become more concerned with defense. The ongoing conflicts have stretched the Knights Sovereign thin. By the close of the 41st millennium, their numbers are reported as being four companies' worth, including officers and auxiliaries. The Chapter has undergone necessary, but drastic changes to their organization, in light of the eradication of two of their battle-companies, as well as their specialized rapid-reaction forces in the 2nd Company, not to mention the depleted numbers of their surviving companies.
The Knights Sovereign would not consider themselves as deviant, however to them it is deviancy from their forebears rather than the Codex Astartes that is relevant. Though the Codex Astartes is, as it should be, held in high regard as the epitome of all things war, the Space Marine way, the Knights Sovereign do deviate in organization. This is not seen as a contradiction or hypocrisy, but merely derived from the simple fact that the Codex could not accommodate all possible circumstances. And indeed, the inheritors of the Lion are of a unique circumstance, and so fashion themselves accordingly.
The First Company is organized into the Justiciary, and are of the ordained task of bringing the light of justice and nobility to the darkest places of the galaxy. It is said that all who gain a place among the Justiciars must first confront truth and sin in equal measure, and it is their ash-white armor that shows their absolvement. The Knights also field the 2nd Company as a rapid response force, the Errantry. The Knights-Errant exist outside the normal Chapter organization, and as such they paint their armor a deep black. Unlike the elevated Knights-Justiciar, it is only the master of the Errantry, the Earl-Errant, who sits above his brothers as a member of the Inner Circle.
The auxiliary organizations within the Knights Sovereign are primarily Codex-adherent, with the only exception being within the Reclusiam. This deviation is in fact rather common among the Unforgiven, where an additional level in the hierarchy is added. Typically known as Interrogator-Chaplains, in the Knights Sovereign they are the Prelates, a classification of Chaplains second only to the Pontifex, Chapter reclusiarch. The other prominent branches, the ironsmiths and hospitallers, are of no noticeable difference from Codex standard, though their highest ranking officers are believed to be a part of the Chapter's Inner Circle.
The Crimson Galleon – So named for its mimicry of the Crimson Rooks, intended as a bastion equal to these immense fortresses that would ply the stars, delivering the wrath of the angels. This battle-barge is often assigned to the Justiciary. Its current deployment in geosynchronous orbit over the the Crimson Rook of Vollstadt has for several months prevented the Orks from dropping ordinance and savages on the Chapter keep directly. However, the Orks have made planetfall in multiple other regions across Vollstadt, and not the mortal warriors or the Galleon's guns have been able to keep the hordes from laying siege.
Recruitment & Advancement
The Crimson Rooks are not difficult to access by the mortal populations, unlike the fortress-monasteries of many other Chapters. Thousands of people regularly seek shelter or asylum within its walls, each and every one swearing binding oaths of lifelong servitude to their new transhuman masters. These people form the Chapter serfdom, ranging from mortal knights to spread the law of the Chapter across the world to learned, trained fleet armsmen. Swearing one's life to the God-Emperor's living representatives is no hardship when compared to a life of similar service to some fickle lord or king, and so the Chapter rarely finds itself without a surplus of mortal servants. The majority of these legions of serfs will never leave their world of birth, serving the Chapter well enough there. Rather than seeking recruits from among the general populace, the Knights look to the young of their serfs. Having such large populations spread across three worlds, the Knights have their choice of candidates. The offspring of the Chapter's serfs are a more viable recruitment stock than the general populace, as all their male children go through a more intensive and extensive training in preparation for potential recruitment. However, it is not unknown for the Chapter to look to the outer kingdoms and city-states of their worlds for occasional recruitment programs in an effort to encourage diversity in thought and character, or to recover from devastating casualty rates
Upon recruitment and successful term in the Chapter's tenth company, the young scout must petition for advancement into the Reserve Companies, following a path through the Reserve Companies as delineated in the Codex Astartes. In the Reserve Companies, they hold the rank of Knight-Companion, an as yet not fully recognized Knight until advancement into the Battle Companies. A Knight-Companion must be wary of how or when he petitions to join a Battle Company, as their Masters will often refuse a Knight-Companion they deem unworthy to join their company. It is not unknown for Knights-Companion to aim too high in their petitioning, some seeking to skip advancement through the Reserves or will petition for a spot in a master's personal retinue, though it is considered disdainful and will injure the Marines' future if rejected often. No Knight or Knight-Companion can petition to join the Justiciary or Errantry. Those who join these orders are chosen by their lords, an honor none in the Chapter can refuse.
To rise in rank to Sergeant within one's company is possible regardless of one's place in the hierarchy. Typically, a Sergeant will select from among his retinue a successor to take his place should he ever fall or advance beyond this station. Sergeants of the 10th Company are provided the customary title of Castellan, sharing in the responsibility of the Crimson Rooks, which collectively fall under the purview of the Master of the 10th Company. These Masters, known by the title of Earl, are one and all arisen from the ranks of the Justiciary, at the behest of the Chapter Master, the Marshal of the Knights Sovereign Chapter. It is the Justiciary, the Earls and Marshal who form the Chapter's Inner Circle. Also prominent in the Inner Circle are the Pontifex, and his Prelates, who are responsible for selecting one from among the Inner Circle the Marshal's successor should he ever fall.
The strength of their sword arm and the accuracy of their aim are what the Knights most admire. While their battle formations have a strong reliance on infantry tactics, the Space Marine, the Knights are experts in cavalry warfare, utilizing fast vehicles to retain combat superiority and battlefield control. The Knights' approach warfare is thoroughly informed by their copy of the Codex Astartes, a five volume military discourse on: Space Marine recruitment and training; the composition and structure of the Chapter into Companies; practiced field tactics; the conduct of sieges, either offensively or defensively; and the role of the Chapter fleet.
In battle, the Knights are the fiercest of foes, full of sound and fury. Early in the Chapter's history, a previously unknown xenoform appeared within Sovereign space. Classified as the Airbreeders for the explosive population increases the xenos experienced when in contact with oxygen, the alien race proved exceptionally difficult to purge in its entirety. The Knights sought to implement purgation protocols proven successful against the Ork, however disaster struck at nearly every turn. Quickly it was discovered that the xenos race had free access to the Knights' vox communications, seemingly unaffected by encryption. Forced to adapt, the Knights began disseminating orders on the battlefield through the use of audible, vocal blasts and visual signals utilizing specialized banners. With this, the Knights were able to reclaim the initiative, and eventually every last of one of the inexplicably duplicating, hulking beasts were burned from the lands of nearly half a dozen crater-ridden Imperial domains. However, this xenos threat would persist for centuries before final eradication, and the antiquated communications became a more permanent feature.
Local Rituals & Beliefs
Integral to the Chapter cult is the Oath of Office. Like many Chapters, the Knights Sovereign swear oaths before each battle, swearing themselves to the action and sometimes a specific task they set before themselves. The oaths are affixed to their armor, and they are expected to carry through with the oath throughout the action. Oaths of Office, however, are permanent. They are drawn up at their induction ceremony where the recruited mortals have arisen as one of the Knights-Companion, and will remain with them. Addendums are added throughout the Marine's life, marking their progress through the Chapter hierarchy. Each new rank or advancement requires a new Oath of Office, adding onto the old. So it is that the longest serving Marines, the highest ranking of the Chapter, have lengthy and complex Oaths of Office finely delineating their given tasks and expectations for themselves. Like Oaths of Moment, they are highly individualized reminders of their loyalties and responsibilities, as well as personal promises of feats or endeavors, or oaths bonding the Knight in fealty to a lord or in alliance with those outside the Chapter, for the entirety of that Knight's service to the Chapter and the Emperor. Within each Knight's chambers, they keep a locked rosewood box to contain their Oath of Office, centering their devotions upon its yellowed parchment and ink of blood.
Normally, a Knight will write his own Oaths of Office, keeping its writings to himself. Advancement, especially to the Justiciary or Errantry, will be the traditional break from this custom. Where a Knight is unaware of the duties or responsibilities that await him, it is his immediate superior who will write these additions. It is not unknown for another Knight to assist in the inscribing, such as a mentor who tasks a promising pupil with surpassing his own achievements. Upon the death of a marine, if recovery is possible, his remains will be interred in a great stone crypt on the grounds of the keep or fortress he last served. The Oath will be placed upon his chest and set alight, his oaths thus fulfilled. Those interred into the mighty Dreadnoughts receive a similar ceremony. Though they serve still the Chapter and the Emperor, they have fulfilled the oaths of the living nonetheless, and exist now free from such burdens.
The genetic legacy of the Lion runs strong in the Knights, as pure now as it was in the days of the First Legion, a legacy confirmed by extensive testing by brother sons of the Lion all those centuries ago. Though the foundation of the Knights Sovereign was an experimentation of sorts, it appears that the gene-forges of ancient Mars had learned the lessons of the 21st Founding well. There were no signs of genetic manipulation of the Knights Sovereign gene-seed outside of acceptable parameters. The purity of the Lion's gene-seed has aided the Knights greatly in the past, enabling quick recoveries from crippling losses and a less lethal implantation process.
Champions of the Chapter
Marshal Edmunt Raik – Chapter Master of the Knights Sovereign, going on the third year of his disappearance. Last seen aboard the Lion's Dagger, the Marshal was to take personal command of the battle for Vollstadt and turn the tide. However, the vessel did not return to realspace at its scheduled time. Investigation along its projected path provided no revelations on its disappearance. Warp-travel is far from precise, and such disappearances are not unknown, but it could not have come at a more difficult time. While the Earl-Justiciar Hadrian Normson has taken nominal command of the Chapter since then, the Inner Circle has yet to meet on choosing an official successor.
Pontifex Theocritus VII – Born Prentis Brenmoor, the current Pontifex of the Knights Sovereign is a hard, embittered and unforgiving man, scarred not only from actions on the battlefield but from the resistance of captives stolen from hotly contested secessionist worlds. Like his namesakes, this is not a Pontifex who would prefer to remain closed away within the interrogation cells deep within the Crimson Rooks, but will often be seen at the forefront of battle among his brothers.
Earl-Errant Sydorn Lyndswor – Captain of the 2nd Company, and the oldest living Knight outside the Dreadnought ancients. He has led the Knights-Errant longer than any other Earl before him, and none of the Marines under his command have known any other Earl-Errant. His list of achievements and victories are as long as his years, though much is hidden from those not initiated into the higher knowledge. In more recent years, he has been forced to give up the Ironsteed, his advanced years and the inevitable degradation of his transhuman form preventing him from fully connecting and integrating to its biomechanics. Instead, he has taken to commanding the Errantry from the gunner's seat of a Land Speeder.
Note that unlike other sons of the Lion, the Knights Sovereign have few suits of Terminator armor
Pict-capture: Defense of Vollstadt, Knights Sovereign Sergeant in profile
Marshal's Banner - The Crimson Rook
Edited by Conn Eremon, 16 June 2015 - 06:05 PM.