Numeration: The Ist
Anasem, The Stormborn
The Lightning Bearers
Tendencies: Naval Engagements, Zone Mortalis and Boarding Actions,
Planetary Interdiction, Precognitive Warfare, [Purgation].
Noteworthy Domains: The Realm of the Sphere (a semi-autonomous administrative region of the Maelstrom Zone, Ultima Segmentum, accorded full rights or governance and muster by decree of the Emperor.
Allegiance: Traitorous Maximus
The Harbingers – The Legion of the sire of Insurrection, whose name now echoes through time and the shattered realms of mankind as a curse. Though an age of darkness would follow them in their wake, these heralds of the end times once trod a different path. So great was their fall, that few now remember that they and their master were once raised above their brothers of the Legiones Astartes. The First Legion, once first in esteem and courage amongst their kind, were warriors cut in starlight, fierce and intelligent, gracefully bearing the Emperors own lightning over centuries of glorious conquest during the Great Crusade. To humanity, they were angels of light, a bright star in the firmament of the Emperors greatest designs. To the Legions, they were the first amongst equals, paragons of all it was to be of the Astartes and champions to the Great crusade. Once Loyal, and trusted above all others, the Harbingers now stand as a mirror held up to the Imperium itself, a bright guiding light of hope, now corrupted and fallen to eternal darkness.
Origins: The First Among Equals
As the Emperor set his eyes to the stars beyond the unity of Terra, he raised new armies to fight his coming crusade. He drew these in part from the forces aiding him in Terras Unification, and in part from his subjugated enemies, and besides the Genebreeds, Warwights and battle emissaries were the first of the Legiones Astartes.
These Legiones were far from the vast armies in their hundreds of thousands which would later unify the galaxy, but inheritors, bearing the legacy of the Thunder Warriors that had come before them, which together represented a fighting force singular throughout history.
The Ist Legion stood sentinel over the creation of the monolithic organization the Legiones Astartes as the Emperors prototypes. Created in secret, bearing the first (and some would claim purest) gene-seed, the Ist legion was believed to have been hand crafted in their alpha stage, by the Emperor and his closest genesmiths. In stark contrast to the larger raisings of the later Legions, the First (as they had become known) were created in training batches of a dozen aspirants at a time. The remarkable children the Emperor choose for this earliest of experiments were drawn from across Terra from all walks of life, children of noted intelligence, genetic stability and, some would note in hushed circles, a predisposition for unusual gifts. The road to becoming an Astartes is one fraught with peril and difficult. It goes without saying that many of these earliest implantations would end in tragedy, but the aspirants who survived the prototype stage of genetic enhancement would prove themselves capable and cunning. The surviving proto-1st-Legionaries trained relentlessly with the most vicious and skilled Thunder Warriors of Unity. It can be said that these early experiments in training regimen and instruction would form the bedrock of generations of Legionaries to come. These first warriors were baptized in the fires of unification, with squads of aspirants seconded to grizzled Thunder Warrior Regiments. The aspirants who survived these grueling trials and combat missions would find themselves elevated to the level of the first true Legionaires, bearing advanced and potent forms of Powered armor.
These first veteran inductees of the Ist eventually formed coteries of experienced officers who would come to oversee the training of future Legionaires of the younger Legions. In this fashion, did the emperor impart a sense of shared brotherhood amongst the earliest Legions, for even decades into the Great Crusade, the younger Legions would find themselves seconded officers from The First to help guide them and advise them on the surest way to Uphold the emperors vision for humanity.
The final years of Terra’s Unification would see the Ist Legion achieve a series of faultless victories which would serve as examples and be lauded by their brother Legions until the dying light of the Great Crusades End.
As prototypes to the wider Legiones Astartes, the Ist Legion mastered all manner of warfare in the name of the Emperor, to hone themselves as the perfect instruments of combat. To this end they began conducting sieges, shock assaults, boarding actions and rescue operations, all the while learning and improving their warcraft, codifying their newly learned strategies for future dissemination. While they excelled in all styles of war, the Ist Legion applied themselves to each warzone in a truly singular manner, for the Ist Legion fought with Controlled aggression, every situation and stratagem carefully measured and weighed, to best affect desired outcomes. Perhaps through the influence of their genetic heritage or the use the Emperor put them to, the First become synonymous with intricate, but swift and faultlessly decisive pinpoint assaults, locating a point in the grand scheme of each combat, a fulcrum around which the tide of battle could be swayed by their effortless intercession.
In such a manner were some of the greatest victories of late unification won, wherever foes against the enlightenment of mankind could be found, the Ist Legion fought with honor and grace to illuminate mankind and fulfill the vision of the Emperor. If any event from this time speaks to the nature of the Ist Legion, it would be the raising of the crystal fortress, what came to be known as the ‘Silencing of the Eternal Dirge.’
From the darkness of old night came the Cult of Rapture, a society of human blood mages and gene-grotesques who reveled in the ritualized slaughter of millions. Over centuries the Cult subjugated the southern Polar Region of Terra enslaving entire generations of that once prosperous region. The Cult was comprised of more than the petty tyrants all too common across Terra at that time. They were instead, an organized Religion, exulting the abhorrent mutations of the Psyker and worshiping dark and ancient false gods. Each day, thousands of innocents were sacrificed to feed the bottomless hunger of their warlocks, creating in the process a great psychic malignancy afflicting the region known as the eternal dirge, a reality bending affront to the natural order of the universe, both twisting the perception of those enslaved and guiding those who abased themselves to the abhorrent cult. Wherever the Cult’s grotesques were lead by the dirge, a grisly pogrom was enacted to cull thousands in order to strengthen their enclave and sustain the song which fueled them.
Until the coming of the Emperor.
As unity slowly began to encompass terra, the Emperor turned his attentions to the Crystal Fortress of the Cult, the diseased seat of the ritualized power. Every effort of the Emperor’s mortal soldiers and gene crafted thunder warriors to pacify the polar region had met with disaster. More often than not, entire armies were enthralled by the Dirge and turned back to cruelly assail their fellows.
The Emperor had foreseen the perils of warpcraft as a threat to his designs and turned to his 1st Legion for the regions deliverance. While all Astartes had been crafted to serve as the Emperor’s greatest warriors, the Ist Legion had been created with a further specialization in mind. To combat the malignancy of rogue Psykers and the repugnancy of warpcraft, the Emperor had looked to create warriors in his own image, the wider Legiones Astartes were all meant to reflect aspects of the Emperor, to become embodiments of his might, the Ist Legion however, had been crafted at the genetic level to reflect a shard of the emperors psychic might.
While it is true that many legions contained warriors proficient in the use of psychic powers, indeed some legions where psychic power was relatively common place, no legion shared the innate and widespread psychic proficiency that became manifest within the First. This genetic propensity towards unlocking humanities psychic potential was further expanded by the Emperors focused efforts to recruit children with noteworthy and controlled psychic talents into the Ist Legion.
[summary of battle of the crystal fortress]
The Ghost Crusade
As the fires of organized resistance on Ancient Terra were smothered out by the Triumph of Unity, The Emperor set his eyes to the stars and launched his Great Crusade. While this war of Ideals and ambitions spread from the Solar system in fanfare spearhead by his resplendent Legions, another war began in silence.
Old Night had seen the collapse of countless Golden Age societies. Empires and individual worlds found themselves suddenly isolated, cut off in a galaxy where threats loomed abundant. Many worlds found themselves besieged by Xenos of varied and unknowable qualities. Many more worlds were torn apart by civil war and self-immolation as resources dwindled and panic reined. Great swaths of the galaxy faced a darker fate still.
For millennia, the warp had served as a means of empire for nascent human cultures spreading throughout the galaxy. With the psychic awakening, and the Terror of Old Night, the boundaries between material and immaterial realm wore thin on thousands of worlds. Here it was that madness reined and neverborn creatures stalked and ravaged the life that they had for so many eons craved with envious eyes.
In a galaxy which the Emperors Imperial Truth claimed was sterile and Godless, the existence and rediscovery of tainted worlds and the malevolence that held sway over them proved a dire threat to unity. For if such worlds were encountered in abundance by crusading hosts, dangerous questions might arise.
For the sake of Humanity, and the success of the great Crusade; knowledge of these worlds and their malevolence must be sought out, purged and subsequently sequestered from the records of humanity.
Such was the Mandate of the Ghost Crusade.
From the very beginning of the Great Crusade, it had been a direct imperial Dictate from the Emperor to enact exterminatus upon worlds discovered to have substantial warp breaches. While all Legions and Expeditionary Forces were tasked to obey this edict, the Emperor; realizing the threat exposure to such warp anomalies could inflict upon warriors and the foundation of Imperial Truth, sought to craft warriors with a mandate to seek out, and war upon these malevolent threats, far from Imperial Eyes. For this purpose, he created the Ist Legiones Astartes.
Madrigal: Time-lost Empire
Near the galactic center, located in the maelstrom zone lies the planet Madrigal. Madrigal is a world of storms, but this was not always so. Milliena ago, Madrigal was a colony of Mars. By the standards of todays Mechanicum auditors, it is credited to have achieved the approximate status of Ultima Forgeworld.
In its earliest days, Madrigal; consisting of a large population with the psyker mutation, began to forge its own reputation as a center of Void navigation and ship construction. Its lunar shipyards are said to have been the envy of Saturn in its golden era. But, as time dragged on and the psyker mutations became more erratic and widespread, the projects within Madrigals forge-vaults become secretive affairs, esoteric and haunting.
It was in this time-shrouded era, that madrigal was believed to have fallen under the thrall of a machine lord recorded only as the Thunder King. Accounts from this time make reference to terrible, unfathomable experiments being conducted in the Thunder Kings vaults. While the natures of these experiments have been lost to the ravages of time, the consequences are laid bare to Imperial record. At the culmination of some heinous work, the surface of Madrigal became an irradiated nightmare of atomic fire and warp-spawned horror. So great was the psychic outburst of the planets death, that a large tendril of the warp anomaly known to imperial cartographers as the “Maelstrom” was pulled hazardously close to the planets orbit. Whether this was the goal of the experiments or some unforeseen side effect, the result remains the same. Every two Centuries (by Terran approximation) Madrigals orbit brings it passing through an (in system) warp disturbance.
Horrendous as this event was, life on Madrigal was not completely extinguished. The survivors of the Thunder Kings cataclysm found refuge high in the planets extensive mountain system; above the dense rad-storms, which clung to Madrigals surface.
There, the surviving Magi looked out from their mountainous Islands across a sea of storms and vowed to never allow such warp-knowledge to surprise them with destruction again. It was here that the first sky cities; anchored to the mountain fastnesses, were constructed. And within them, the first seeds of the of the mystic colleges were planted, eager in mourning, to once and for all quantify and understand the nature of the Warp so that its power is never abused.
It was to this world that one of the Emperors sons would be flung, the arrival of Icarion would forever change the fate of Madrigal.
The years following the cataclysm of the Thunder King saw Madrigal undergo a Period of gradual change. The Techno-Magi continued to build up their mountainous domains into crude Principalities, whose currency and continued survival relied heavily on salvaging expeditions to the rad-haunted surface of their world.
It was the threat of the first passage through the in system warp disturbance that would shape madrigals future. Those Techno-Magi Gifted with future sight began to foresee the horrendous outcome for Madrigal that would occur should the plant pass through the Warp Event. They pulled together what scraps of their former technology they could scavenge and for a half century, endeavored to save their world lest it pass through the storm unprotected and fracture under the strain.
Salvation came at last with the creation of the first planetary Macro-Geller field. Although the field was more permeable to warp-space than smaller conventional shipboard field generators, The Macro-Geller field was sufficient to shield Madrigal from the most destructive effects of colliding with the warp-space anomaly.
Despite the fact that every 200 (Terran standard) years Madrigal would become a haunted place, stalked by creatures that defied rational explanation, the stability created by the Geller field and the centuries between each “storm season” allowed civilization on madrigal to build up and eventually prosper.
Akira: The World Forge
From Madrigal’s earliest history, the surface laboratories and forge-vaults served as the domain for the esoteric tinkering of Madrigals Adept Magi. But it was Madrigals lone satellite; the moon Akira which served as the heart of the Forgeworlds industry.
Very little of Akira’s surface remains unaltered. The millennia had seen the moon not only covered with massive construction facilities and gargantuan ship breaking yards but also hollowed out to make room for great foundries and dockyards where the where the artifice and tradecraft of Madrigal is wrought into the stuff of interstellar fleets.
The hollowing out of Akira destroyed the moons ability to power its own industries and so the Lords of Akira bound themselves to Madrigal; in exchange for Madrigals geothermal power, Akira would supply the Princes of Madrigal with the vessels required to sustain their individual stellar empires.
From paying these energy tithes, the various principalities each came to control their own separate voidborn armadas with which they could carry out trade and war with their neighboring systems.
Fierce competition for these energy contracts and the vessels themselves led to rivalry and even outright war between the disparate Princes.
This was the state of Madrigal at the time of Icarion’s arrival and like a falling star; his capsule plummeted to the surface.
Edited by Athrawes, 29 February 2016 - 08:14 PM.