The 1st Heredes
++From an interview with Markus Cantat Verba, Remembrancer Primaris of the Segmentum Pacificus++
"They were efficient, oh that's the truth to be sure! Often enough the battle was over for those foolish enough to stand again them before they even knew it had begun. Ah but when it came to those bastards in the 1st Heredes it wasn't the battle you had to be worried about...its' what came after."
World of Muster: Vasalius
Attached to: Compliance Fleet Vasalius
Flagship: Manifestum est Finis (Manifest Destiny)
Lord Commander: Lord Commander Xander Filius Purechild (The Grand marshal, the Progenies Invictus, The Stone Man.)
Observed Strategic Tendencies: Heavy bombardment followed by rapid aerial insertion of elite troops and specialists aimed at striking vulnerable key targets before the main body of the force sweeps through the opposition before they can reform. Highly mobile and adaptive making extensive use of extremely well trained and equipped mobile infantry.
Allegiance: Fidelitas Totalis
Symbol: A golden face with a crown held aloft by an Imperial Eagle.
Drawn on the very day the Emperor set foot on the planet and the planet swore fealty to the Imperium, from a world of unforgiving, strict military tradition; the Vasalius 1st Terra Heredes Imperial Auxilia prides themselves on their tactical efficiency and battlefield prowess, an efficiency they proved by deploying not more than one Terran month after the date of compliance. (though it is claimed they would have deployed earlier had it not been for delays caused by tardy ship captains.)
True to their numeral, the 1st Heredes is the first Auxilia drawn from Vasalius. They're numbers are made up of the best trained, finest soldiers of the HomeGuard, the military arm of Vasalius, and they're equipped with the finest gear the forges of "The Tomb" hive has to offer. So confident are they in their abilities that they have gone so far as to declare themselves superior to the Legion Astartes in regards to effectiveness as a military force, a boast that not only stems from an absolute confidence in their training and tactics but also from a deep seeded belief set forth by Gregor Purechild, the savior of Vasalius, over two hundred years ago. Which in part includes the belief in the divinity and inherent perfection of man, An ideal they believe the Emperor personifies, and one that they strive for.
So deeply rooted is this ideal in the minds of the people of Vasalius that to the 1st Heredes defeat is as alien a concept as sharing a recaf or lilo-stick with a greenskin, or worse...and Eldar. They are supremely confident, absolutely convinced of their victory, and unflinchingly loyal to the Emperor of mankind.
A reflection of the environment of Vasalius, the tactics of the 1st Heredes emphasis speed and efficiency. Tactics developed by the HomeGuard of "The Grave" Hive necessitated by the frequent radiation storms that plagued the surface of Vasalius. (as the deadly storms render any activity on the surface impossible.) In order to adapt to this limitation, the HomeGuard focused on the development of highly trained tactical units who's role it was to disable an enemy Hive's defenses as quickly as possible so that the main force of mechanized infantry could roll over the defenders before another storm blew in. The 1st Heredes, using the much more advanced weapons and equipment granted by the Imperium, took this efficient tactic and turned it into a science, adding the added element of artillery (previously unavailable to the HomeGuard due it's static nature.) to unbalance the enemy before the tactical teams arrived.
Extremely xenophobic, almost to the point of being considered purist, the 1st Heredes only grudgingly admits the effectiveness of some ab-human auxiliaries and the Astartes, but refuses to field the first and only tolerates fighting along the later. Instead they rely on specially equipped units that attempt to fulfill the role ab-humans would normally serve. The 1st Heredes believe the dream dreamt by Gregor Purechild and that of the Emperor's of a galaxy united are one and the same, and they would gladly die to see it happen.
The Day We Knelt
Markus disengaged the seal on his helmet, grunting as he pulled it off and set it in his lap with shaky hands. He sat there, staring at the battlefield where the men of Vasalius had sought to prove the strength of the purity of mankind. Where they had stood resolute against the traitors of Uran, the Berserkers.
He looked down at the helmet in his lap, it's once gleaming black surface now tarnished by days of constant fighting. It's glaring visage now marred by the impact dent from a round that had failed to penetrate, crazing his right eye lens instead. He smiled forlornly, remembering the day a similar helmet had been issued. It had been the proudest day of his life. The day they had knelt.
Today was the day! Today was the day the Emperor was coming to Vasalius. It was a day anticipated by the entire population of their world ever since the department of Media and Propaganda had released the news just over a week ago. Yet, even though he stood resplendent in his newly issued armor, surrounded by the rest of the recently formed 1st Terra Heredes Auxilla, who themselves were surrounded by the rest of the Homeguard; Markus Knight found it hard to believe.
They had been standing there at rigid attention for an hour, while drones buzzed overhead taking pic-feeds and watching for anyone foolish enough to let their discipline slip. The excitement was like a flood, filling the massive chamber, threatening to bash down the walls that were created by years of harsh discipline and training. Markus struggled with the overwhelming emotions, and he was convinced that if he was forced to hold it in for much longer he'd be sure to burst. He was instantly glad for his enclosed helmet when a drone buzzed past him, more than aware of the consequences should he have earned it's attention.
What a helmet it was too! Environmentally sealed, with an inbuilt vox and a HUD! Like the rest of his brand new armor it was the best Vasalius had to offer, and worth considerably more than his life if his quartermaster was to be believed. He'd been awestruck when the Lieutenant and his guards had come to his Homeguard platoon wearing the armor, It's black metal plates polished to a mirror like shine. He'd been even more shocked when they told him he'd been selected to serve in the 1st Heredes. High marks they had said.
The energy in the room seemed to change suddenly and drawn from his reminiscence, Markus found his gaze drifting upwards. He immediately arrested the movement, cursing himself for the lapse in control. He cringed inwardly as he waited for the inevitable rebuke from his Sergeant, but when one was not forth-coming he decided to risk a glance around himself and quickly realized why. No one had seen his slip, because they were all looking up.
High above the assembled force an eagle made of gold and fire descended through a gateway that had opened in the ceiling of the cavernous chamber. It's regal passage followed by the gaze of everyone present, enraptured by it's majesty. Before long it had come to rest on the landing pad, the rad scrubbers having already began cleaning the residual radiation from it's hull.
Markus could hardly breath. The anticipation creating knots in his chest as the crowd waited for the transport's hatch to lower. He imagined hearing a collective gasp from those around him, masked by a sudden hiss of releasing pressure before the ramp finally lowered, smoothly, to the deck. He willed his eyes to pierce the gloom within the transport to get a glimpse of the individuals he knew were inside, his HUD already tracking their signatures passively.
The gasp imagined earlier became a reality as ten golden giants wearing tall conical helmets marched in twos down the ramp, each of them carrying massive halberds that were easily twice his height in length; with what looked to be a huge gun at the end near the blade. Each of the giants looked well over three or four feet taller than Markus, who himself was about average height for a man of Vasalian stock. They formed a corridor at the base of the ramp and were soon followed by another giant, this one carrying a gigantic broadsword that made the standard issue NCO sword look like a toothpick; who made his way to the end of the corridor before he, and the rest of the honor guard snapped to attention.
The silence that followed was deafening, though Markus could feel the wave of disbelief growing. The Emperor of Mankind was guarded by giants? Ab-humans?! Were the people of Terra so weak, so unworthy that no pure human was up to the task of ensuring the protection of the Emperor? Markus would later reflect that the proudest day of his life might have also been his last if the Emperor hadn't chosen that exact moment of step from the transport, so close was that wave of disbelief to turning into outrage that only by doing so did he prevent a massacre.
The change of mood was instant, the hostility radiating from the crowd immediately replaced with awe, adoration, and more. Tears ran down Markus' face as he beheld the Master of Mankind, and like many there that day he found it difficult to keep his feet beneath him. The Emperor was...he was a man of... Try as he might, Markus couldn't even begin to describe the man who shone like a golden sun. He was perfect, and yet even that word didn't seem to do him justice.
The recordings of that day would fail completely to show the emotion of the assembled men, due mostly to the concealing quality of their armor...The entire Homeguard of "The Grave" as well as the newly formed 1st Heredes, standing at attention. static and in complete silence before the Emperor, as the glorious Lord Commander, the Grand-marshal Xander Purechild, marched forward. The Lord Commander's speech would go down in the histories as one of the grandest speeches given before the Master of Mankind, yet try as he might, Markus couldn't recall what it was he actually said.
His speech concluded, the Lord Commander drew his sword, the legendary Sword of Vasalius, and saluted the Emperor before kneeling and offering his sword. Markus, along with the rest of the 1st Heredes then marched forward and as a powerful up-welling of pride filled his heart, he, along with the entire assembled host, knelt before the Emperor of Mankind.
Oh and how the people of Vasalius cheered...
Markus stared off to his right, to the place he knew the Grandmarshal had fallen. He could still see the banner of the 1st Heredes, posted defiantly in the soil of this alien world so far from Vasalius, billowing in the wind. How valiant the Lord Commander had been for those precious few seconds he stood against the Primarch of the VIIth legion, while the brave men and women of Vasalius fell around him in their final stand.
He felt a shadow fall over him, and looked up into the soulless glowing red eyes of a Berserker who stood over him, his chain-axe held almost casually in his hand. They stared at each other, the moment stretching for what seemed like forever before the traitor raised his axe for the killing blow.
"Any last words meat-bag?" The giant barked.
Markus smiled grimly, and with a hand covered in the blood he'd been futilely trying to keep from flowing from the fist sized hole in his gut he pushed down on the plunger of the detonator sitting in the helmet on his lap. A detonator that was rigged to the explosives the Lord Commander has ordered to be concealed throughout throughout their defensive positions. Positions the Berserkers of Uran now roamed looking for survivors to butcher.
"For the Emperor." Markus growled as his world erupted with blinding light, and his ears filled with the glorious battle cry of the warriors of the 1st Terra Heredes.
Lord Commander Purechild
"Today is the day, children of Vasalius; my 1st Heredes! Today is the day we show the Emperor that it is upon our shoulders that mankind will come to realize it's destiny of galactic domination, not those of the impure that claim to be his true sons, who so readily shrug off their vows of loyalty! That it will be with the lives of the pure children of Vasalius, of mankind; with which victory will be earned, not by those abominations of the divine form that call themselves Astartes!
Today on this field of war, we will fight these traitors, and we will win, and the Emperor will see the truth of our purity!
For Vasalius! FOR THE EMPEROR!!"
++Xander Purechild on the eve of the "Battle of Carrion Hill."++
Brilliant tactician, skilled warrior, natural born leader. Lord Commander Xander Filius Purechild (or the Grand Marshal as his men call him) is all of those things; he is a stern, highly disciplined, extremely intelligent individual who leads from the front. (as any self respecting Vasalian must.) As a direct descendant of the Savior of Vasalius, Gregor Purechild, Xander Purechild was kept secluded from the rest of the hive, and even his peers, until his fifteenth birthday by the variable army of attendants and advisors of the Purechild family at which point he attended Officer's academy to learn the skills necessary to take his place as General of the HomeGuard.
Told practically from birth that he was the most important person on Vasalius, Xander is a perfect example of the Purechild System in concentrate and because of this he's about as arrogant as they come, utterly convinced of his superiority over not only his peers but any individuals he may encounter as well, excluding the Emperor of course. As another effect of his upbringing, he has an unbend able belief in the righteousness of the Purechild System, so much so that at the age of twelve after finding out his half sister had given birth to a "substandard" child and had tried to hid it, he immediately reported her to the Office of Procreation, even though he knew she'd be executed for her crime along with her child.
Like all powerful men, General Purechild can tend to be somewhat narcissistic and vain. He expects absolute obedience from his "lessers" as the natural way of things and is known to punish those who fail to meet that expectation severely, usually by summary execution. He's also known to being quite accustomed to having things go exactingly as planned, and is prone to extreme displays of rage when they don't. Even once beating an attendant to death in front of his command staff when she spilled recaf on him during a military briefing.
As a military leader he finds any sign of weakness in others disgusting, including mercy, and so has a reputation for ruthlessness on the battlefield and will exhaust any resource, including the lives of his men, to claim victory. He has a reputation for what many would consider unnecessary brutality on the battlefield, often orchestrating public executions, genocide, and torture. His moniker, "The Stone Man," is derived from one of his favored methods of execution, in which he has the individual encased in rockcrete with their nostrils left uncovered; left to die a slow agonizing death. He then puts the statue on display within his flag ship, the Manifestum est Finis.
Like all Vasalians, he abhors ab-humans, believing them a insult to the purity of mankind, though he has a particular dislike of Astartes, going so far as to openly admit to not understanding why such "creatures" were needed to persecute the Emperor's Golden Crusade, believing the war could and should be won by the blood of "pure" humans.
Ultimately, one might say the Lord Commander is a darker reflection of the galaxy in which he exists. A brutal survivor, a ruthless killer; supremely confident in his ability to persecute war against the enemies of the Emperor and mankind without compassion...or mercy.
General Purechild Lore Story: PENDING
"Once, in my youth, I might have found the Giant's Paradise system fascinating. Its' seven worlds, each unique, serving as a playground to my inquisitive mind. Now, however, as I look upon this lost system waiting to be reclaimed in the name of the Emperor all I seem capable of caring about are the boundless resources the planets have to offer."
++Stylis Hex, Imperial Planetary auditor of the 47th Imperial Expeditionary fleet.++
Located near the center of the Segmentum Pacificus, Giant's Paradise is actually a rather small system in terms of planet count as it has only seven planets orbiting its' massive blue star, known as Blue Sol by the people of Vasalius.
What the systems' planets are lacking in number, they make up with size. Each of the seven planets in the system are massive compared to the size of the cradle of humanity. Even the smallest of the seven, a molten rock unfortunate enough to be located closest to the sun known as Ave Magna; is six times the size of Terra.
Each planet is bigger than the last. (with the exception of the twins, as they have the exact same mass) After Ave Magna is the once verdant Vasalius, the only planet in the system capable of sustaining life, then the golden gas giant Tenebris, with her seven silver rings. Next are the twins, Rubro the fiery gas giant and Caerula the Ice world. They are followed by the great white gas giant, Frigus Frater, who's storms are so treacherous and cold that every probe sent into the atmosphere by the exploratory fleet was lost before having penetrating more than one thousand feet. Lastly, perpetually in the shadow of Frigus Frater, is the dead planet known as Praesidium. A hallow rock devoid of atmosphere or gravity, which would later be converted by the people of Vasalius into a massive complex of spaceports and fortresses.
With the exception of Rubro, who's fiery storms render any endeavor for material gain impossible, each of the seven planets offers a wealth of goods valuable to the Imperium, though it is the asset provided by Vasalius that has proven the most valuable. Manpower.
The Seven Siblings
There once were seven siblings that lived on a blue star. Ave Magna was the youngest and prone to fits. Vasalius was bright and clever. Tenebris was the most beautiful of the seven and danced with her seven rings. Rubro and Caerula were twins and did everything together. Frigus Frater was the largest and often confided in the eldest brother, Praesidium. Praesidium was strong yet boastful, and enjoyed coming up with games for he and his siblings to play.
One day, Praesidium came to his siblings and suggested a new game. He challenged them to jump out into the black waters off their blue star as far as they could, and the winner would be the one who jumped the furthest. The siblings jumped up in excitement, always glad to join in one of Praesidium's games, and they discussed what order in which they would jump, ultimately agreeing Ave Magna would jump first.
Ave Magna brags about how far he can jump to his siblings and begins to run, but trips before he can jump and falls. The youngest fits and cries while his siblings laugh.
Vasalius is clever and jumps of the head of the younger and gets even further.
Tenebris the beautiful jumps gracefully, using her rings like wings before gliding into the waters.
The twins jumped together, and landed together.
Frigus Frater took his turn, and would have landed on the twins had they not flung him further out to avoid being smashed.
Once all the siblings had jumped, it was the turn of the eldest. With a smile, Praesidium dropped all his things, all his clothes; everything that would weight him down. He got a long running start and jumped with all his might, landing in the black waters just beyond his brother and rejoiced for he had won his game. But the jubilation of the siblings at the fun they had had was soon replaced with dread, as they realized in their eagerness to outdo each other they had jumped too far, and could not get back to their blue star.
Praesidium, without his warm clothes, was the first to succumb to the cold black waters and with a final shiver and an apology to his younger siblings he died.
Frigus Frater, having lost his closest brother, grew so cold that he froze his sister Caerula.
Rubro, seeing her sister frozen burned brightly with desperation, hoping to free her sister from Frigus Frater's icy embrace.
Tenebris could think of nothing to say to sooth her grieving siblings, so she danced instead.
Vasalius tried to come up with a way to save her siblings, but could think of nothing and began to cry, filling the deep places on her face with tears.
Ave Magna, so close to the blue star but unable to do anything to help his older siblings, grew more and more angry, and burned with rage.
And so, the seven siblings that lived on the blue star that sought to play in the Giant's Paradise drifted forever in the black ocean between stars, forever.
"They say our ol' Vasalius weren't always teh heartless witch she is today. That she use'd to be a right beautiful lass wearing green and blue, not teh funeral grey she wears now. Teh kind o' lass that'd pull ye into her ample bussom and encourage ye ta explore her hidden places. HA! Ah, but ye can't be doing that now, not without one of dem home-guard suits...or a death wish. Ye go out there now and teh only thing you'll find thanks to dem frakkin Eldar is death, and radiation."
++excerpt from a passing conversation with a Vasalien auto-driver by Markus Cantat Verba, Remembrancer Primaris of the Segmentum Pacificus++
Imperial Designation: 2-45-3 (Second Segmentum, forty-fifth system, second planet from the primary star.)
System: Giant's Paradise
Sector: Segmentum Pacificus
Once a verdant world of deep green forests and golden seas of grass, blue oceans and white capped mountains, the Vasalius discovered by the Emperor's Expeditionary fleets was a radiation blasted, barren wasteland devoid of life as a result of a cataclysmic event known as the "Razing" that happened just over two hundred years previously. The conditions on the surface are so hostile to all forms of life that the entire population of the planet lives within three massive, densely populated underground hive cities know as The Grave, The Tomb and the Crypt. (Thus named because of a popular belief that that was the ultimate purpose the cities would serve for the doomed people within.)
Every day for a Vasalian is a battle for survival. So densely populated are the hives and so limited is the available space that the leadership of the cities were eventually forced to make hard choices to insure the survival of the population as a whole. In the hives of Vasalius even being born is considered a privilege, as it means your parent's application for procreation was approved. A hard fought and even harder won right within the densely populated cities where powerful families covet the right to create life, and thus continue their bloodlines. However, just being born isn't enough.
A deep seeded ideology know as the Purechild System, coined by Gregor Purechild over two hundred years ago, dictates that every child born must go through rigorous inspection for any traits considered "impure" by the system. Those found to be impure are disposed of, and the family's right to procreate is removed. Likewise are the elderly removed, pushed out onto the surface to be blasted away by the intense heat generated by the radiation storms that race across the surface, once they've reached a certain age, status being the only safeguard from such a fate.
Food and water are likewise strictly regulated, and the general population is constantly kept just short of starvation, while the powerful and influential elite feast. Besides murder, starvation is the most common cause of death among the general population. The second being radiation poisoning, as many people are forced to drink tainted water to stave off the effects of dehydration.
To further control the population, all crime on Vasalius is punishable by death, from petty theft to murder. Even disrespecting a person of influence can carry a death sentence for the offender if the offended is so inclined.
One would think the conditions on Vasalius would lead to constant crime and rebellion, yet that is not the case. Due to a mandatory enlistment required at the age of fifteen, the people of Vasalius have an unflinching sense of nationalism and survive day to day thanks to a strict military doctrine taught to every Vasalian as they grow. So ingrained is this belief in service of nation that any Vasalian would throw down their life if they believed it would serve Vasalius, and by extension, the Imperium of Mankind.
+SEARCHING FOR READABLE DATE+
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200 years before the discovery of Vasalius by Imperial Exploratory fleets
(BACKGROUND NOISE OF UNIDENTIFIED SOURCE)
"Sir, We've lost contact with Bunker 33-B!"
"Sir, Bunker 27-A is requesting assistance, they report enemy forces as their primary gate."
Gregor Purechild wasn't listening, the various reports little more than a droning noise amidst the denials that screamed in his mind as he stared at the tactical holo-lith display in front of him.
'How had it come to this?' he wondered as one by one the green indicators of friendly bunkers filled with his people, men, women and children; were swallowed by the ever advancing wave of hostile red that represented those blasted Eldar.
"Sir, the volunteer PDF is requesting orders. They're reporting ninety-eight percent casualties. They're being wiped out up there!"
"Sir, bunkers 48-E, 35-A, and 17-A have gone dark! No response on any frequency!"
Their beautiful world. Perfect, pure...sullied by these vile zenos who'd appeared at the gates of Vasalius Prime, the capital city of the planet; reduced to rubble when Gregor had refused the Eldar representative's demand that they abandon the planet. The damned aliens that claimed the planet was theirs. The absurdity!
The people of Vasalius, having always thought themselves safe on their verdant planet, had been nearly defenseless against the brutal attacks by the Eldar, and only by ordering the population into the shelter bunkers that dotted the planet had Gregor been able to save them. He'd established a PDF as quickly as he could, equipped them with whatever weapons they could find, but even then they had been pushed back again and again. Soon enough not even the reinforced rock-crete of the bunkers could keep the aliens at bay.
"Sir, we've lost all contact with every bunker except 1-B and 1-C!"
"Sir, what do we do? SIR!?" Gregor sighed and closed his eyes wearily.
"Sir?" Gregor locked his steel grey eyes on his adjunct, the stress of the series of tragedies obvious in his gaze.
"You heard me."He whispered. "Relay the order to B and C and raze her to ash. Leave nothing on the surface alive. And pray that our descendants forgive us for our heinous crime."
Edited by TheBlindPrimarch, 09 December 2017 - 09:36 PM.