Barbarians. Backwards brutes with no understanding of science and technology, clinging to superstition rather than embrace the modern age. Yet for all that, they are dangerous brutes and loyal in ways that put us all to shame. So do I fear the IIIrd?
I'd be a fool if I didn't
-Kozja Darzalas, Primarch of the Warbringers
The IIIrd Legion- the Crimson Lions
Primogenitor: Hectarion Mycenor
Cognomen(prior): The Blood Wolves
Allegiance: Fidelitas Sine Recursu(the Emperor)
Hectarion is the second largest Primarch of the Brotherhood of the Lost, being almost eye to eye with Daer'dd although Hectarion isn't anywhere near as broad as Daer'dd(mainly because Daer'dd is a giant. Hectarion is actually on the broad side for a primarch). While he's an inspirational presence for his sons and no slouch as a tactician, Hectarion is at his most dangerous in close combat and he is, alongside Raktra and Gwalchavad, one of the best close quarters fighters of the Brotherhood of the Lost Primarchs. Because of this, he doesn't hang back in battle and is instead in the vanguard, seeking out the enemies leaders wherever they are and killing them.
However, unlike Angron, Hectarion isn't a one trick pony who fights and does nothing else(he'd also probably lose to Angron in a fight, in fact he does in his canon variation). He's more a barbarian king in space, and unlike Russ he doesn't just put on an act. He owns the role of barbarian king lock, stock and barrel, as evidenced by his empire, the Dominion. While he did learn the more modern aspects of Imperial bureaucracy from his brother and tutor, Alexandros Darshan VonSalim, he doesn't micromanage. Instead, he prefers to govern as the early Germanic kings did, offloading the more tedious elements of running an empire to his human bureaucracy while he deals with matters such as war(obviously) and dispensation of justice within the Dominion's borders.
In spite of all of this, Hectarion harbours a secret which he doesn't share with any of his brothers until the Insurrection and even then, he only shares it with Alexandros and Pionius. Back when he was a king on his homeworld of Mycenae, he fought a bloodthirster, Ma'annan, in single combat. While he defeated and banished it, it successfully left a shard of itself inside him and while the Emperor managed to banish most of it, he couldn't banish all of it without obliterating Hectarion's soul. As a result, a shard of Ma'annan has stayed a part of Hectarion's soul.
It is because of this that Hectarion has his unthinking loyalty. Other than a loyalty to his warlord, the first thing is that he feels the Emperor saved him from a slow degeneration into little more than a beast that was driven by a desire for bloodthirst and nothing more. Nothing Hectarion can ever do will pay off that debt in his eyes. Second, Hectarion feels as if he failed the Emperor. He was the only one of the Emperor's sons to be tainted by a deamon being melded with his soul and so Hectarion is driven by a desire to never fail again and, while it's often said Primarchs know no fear, Hectarion fears failure and feels that, of all the Emperor's sons, he has the most to prove. Hence his loyalty.
Tactics, Strategy and Warfare:
The IIIrd's preferred approach to warfare is relatively simple: form a shield wall and charge, getting into melee as quickly as possible. Once there, they rely on their skill, savagery and the mass and extra protection of the shield wall to carry the day. Because of this, along with the benefits of their gene-seed, they tend to do well in boarding actions as that's where that kind of strategy really shines.
That said, as with all legions, they are capable of turning their hands to almost any form of warfare but even when they do need to adapt to a situation which doesn't favour a shield wall, such as a planetary assault, they still like, whenever possible, to fight equipped with shields.
The main form of warfare in which are most definitely inferior to the other legions is armoured warfare. Their pool of tanks is very small for a legion of their size, mainly focussing on heavier vehicles like land raiders and mastadons with virtually no rhinos or other such "light" tanks.
How do they fit into the setting:
The Imperial Army are stand offish with the Crimson Lions. On the one hand, the Crimson Lions are fierce warriors who try and protect the common humans of the Imperial Army as is their duty. On the other, the Crimson Lions have no time for officers who display a style of leadership which involves sitting back and letting their troops do the fighting, thinking that they are cowards, and less for incompetents, who they often break the necks of or otherwise kill on the spot. In addition, they tend to fight as and where they want to, forcing the Imperial Army to fit in around it rather than cooperating and their lack of mercy for xenos out of loyalty to the Emperor leads them to go to extremes which sometimes unnerves Imperial Army troopers. So the standard Imperial Army troopers gives them an awed respect rather than the love they give the Halycon Wardens and the officers aren't overly fond of them.
With the Mechanicus, the Crimson Lions are frigid at best due to their world views being largely opposites.
In the legions, the Crimson Lions are very close to the Iron Bears, Scions Hospitalier and Halycon Wardens(although the Crimson Lions attitude towards xenos causes tension between the two sometimes). They are friendly with the Void Eagles, whose attitude to xenos is also quite unforgiving and both respect the other's abilities when it comes to boarding actions, and the Sheperds of Eden. They have a healthy respect for the Drowned, due to their capabilities in boarding actions, the Godslayers, Fire Keepers, Warriors of Peace, Wardens of Light and Lightning Bearers due to their achievments. They dislike the Dune Serpents due to their use of dishonourable weapons, the Eagle Warriors due to having clashed with them in battle even before the Insurrection, the Steel Legion due to their collective mindset and use of technology over skill at arms(in the Crimson Lions' view) and the Warbringers, who delve too deeply into gene matters for the Crimson Lions' liking. They outright despise the Berserkers of Uran and Grave Stalkers, seeing them as honourless.
What makes the legion unique?
They're savage warrior kings, ruling over their own kingdom within the Imperium but like the germanic kings of the late ancient and early medieval era rather than in the micro managing manner of the Ultramarines. They're more controlled and more loyal to the Imperium than the World Eaters, take more joy in battle than the Blood Angels and are more "barbarian" while they're less animalistic than the Space Wolves.
Oh and shields. Lots of shields.
Role in the Insurrection:
On the Day of Revelation they get ambushed by the Berserkers of Uran. Then, a decade and a half(I think?) later, they are the defenders against the Berserkers and Eagle Warriors in the Blood Crusade, an all out assault on the Crimson Lions kingdom of the Dominion. They then also fight at the siege of Terra.
What they do in the decades between these campaigns isn't known at the moment. More information on that at some later date.
End of the crusade:
Rule the Dominion and fight any other enemies who appear to threaten the Emperor's realm after the Great Crusade. Other than that, I don't know and I doubt the Crimson Lions would either. They wouldn't really ask as they would believe the Emperor has a plan and he will tell them when they need to know. However, they would be nervous, and Hectarion even more so, about the idea of peace. They were built to fight and what's more, they enjoy it. Yes they will rule in peace, but what else? However, mostly they'll shrug and go "A question for another day". Hectarion, now he agonizes over it much more.
Flaws in the gene-seed:
(Section on the Burden to be added in when I've written it)
In addition to that, marines with the Crimson Lions gene-seed are noted to be slow learners(when compared to other astartes and slow learners rather than slow to memorise things). This is, in all likelihood, where their more conservative attitude and lack of interest in technology when compared to other legions come from.
Edited by Lord Thørn, 28 November 2017 - 09:22 PM.