Hello everyone. This is my first DIY chapter that I've committed to paper. I will add more as time permits, but I wanted to get the opening up so I don't lose it. I would of course like opinions on what has been written so far, especially regarding lore-friendliness.
+ Index Astartes +
(This humble clerk apologizes for his poor image creation skills.)
+ The Royal Martyrs Space Marines Chapter +
Royal Martyr power armor before the application of chapter, company, and squad markings.
+ Origins +
In the early stages of the Nova Terra Interregnum (M35), the Senatorum Imperialis foresaw that a number of Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes would need to be founded to combat the usurpers gathering power in the Segmentum Pacificus.
The Adeptus Ministorum was an institution growing in power at the time, and as a result it was able to specify the parameters for the founding of several Adeptus Astartes chapters. The Royal Martyrs, founded shortly before the profound upheaval that ended the Nova Terra Interregnum known as the Cataclysm of Souls, was one such chapter. Officially, the Royal Martyrs were part of the the 11th founding of Adeptus Astartes chapters, and were taken from Ultramarines geneseed.
The first inductees into the newborn Royal Martyrs were true to the chapter name, taken from the scions of powerful families of the Segmentum Solar (almost all relatives of Cardinals, faithful Planetary or Sector governors, or even the Ecclesiarch himself) not destined to inherit their ancestral holdings. The original training cadres of Ultramarines were not very happy with this arrangement, thinking that the recruits would be soft, but a surprising number survived training and went on to become exemplary Space Marines.
Part of the rider attached to the proclamation of the 11th founding by the Ecclesiarch stated that, while the original battle and tactics training of the Royal Martyrs were to be completed by Ultramarines, the new Chapter's theological education was to be completed solely by Ministorum priests. Furthermore, other forms of training were to be overseen by Ministorum agents, and once the chapter was on its feet, the Ultramarine training staff was to return to their mother chapter. This arrangement made the Ultramarines reject the offer to educate this new chapter, but they changed their minds at the last moment before the first Astartes glands were to be grown. No official reason was given for the change of heart, but it is believed within the Royal Martyrs that the High Lords threatened to use Black Templar geneseed instead if the Ultramarines would not comply.
The early campaigns of the Royal Martyrs were almost all within the context of the Nova Terra Interregnum, and later the Cataclysm of Souls. The Royal Martyrs were dispatched around the Segmentum Pacificus, and even in parts of the Segmentum Solar, to support uprisings against those who sought to destroy the unity of the Imperium and the Emperor's Holy Faith for their own petty personal ambitions. As the dust settled on M35 and the usurpers on Nova Terra were defeated, the Royal Martyrs finally settled down from being a fleet-based chapter to their own homeworld.
At the completion of the Cataclysm of Souls, the Ecclesiarch was so pleased with the service of the Royal Martyrs that he gifted a relic power maul, as mighty as a thunder hammer, know as the Main de Justice to the Chapter Master. He also authorized a unique chapter badge depicting the head of the weapon to be bestowed upon the chapter; previously the Royal Martyrs had used a slight variation of the Ultramarines inverted omega rune.
The Main de Justice, the relic power weapon wielded by the Chapter Master of the Royal Martyrs
+ Homeworld +
The Royal Martyrs primarily operate along the border of the Segmentum Solar and the Segmentum Pacificus. The location of their fortress monastery is on the agri-world of Asón in the Segmentum Solar, in a sector that abuts the Segmentum Pacificus. The Royal Martyrs, half jokingly, half affectionately, refer to the series of border sectors that they "watch over" as the Segmenta Avia.
Unlike many Space Marine chapters, the Royal Martyrs do no recruit from their homeworld due to their unusual recruitment doctrine (see below). Rather, Asón is seen as a perfect place to practice their renunciation of higher titles and power for the good of the Imperium. The various farming and fishing collectives on Asón elect their planetary governor when the old one dies (pending approval from the subsector governor, of course), and these collectives are more mercantile concerns than noble houses, so the Royal Martyrs consider the planet to have no true nobility or royalty.
Otherwise, Asón is a fairly pleasant temperate world with many different biomes. Its primary export is a kind of sardine that is fished from the planet's nutrient rich oceans in great trawlers, then canned and sent off to hive worlds and Imperial Guard regiments as a cheap food appropriate for lower hive dwellers and enlisted men. Besides these sardines the planet produces many other kinds of foodstuffs, from barely edible fungus paste to real, actual beef (1500 Terran pounds sterling for a quarter kilogram).
The Royal Martyr's fortress monastery is the sprawling rococo monstrosity known as the Windswept House, so named because it is located on cliffs that tower far above Asón's second largest ocean, where it is frequently buffeted by high winds. The monastery is located away from any kind of settlement and does not have road access to anywhere else, as it is intended as a retreat for the Royal Martyrs. Other Astartes might scoff at the apparent frivolity of the Windswept House, but the fortress monastery is well fortified. Almost every statue or fresco conceals some kind of automated defense, and it is riddled with secret corridors and rooms which are known only to the Royal Martyrs and their chapter serfs.
To date, Windswept House has been breached four times, each time by an Eldar strike force attempting to recover suits of armor from their elite warrior sergeants that had been taken by the Royal Martyrs as trophies, though all attempts have failed. Furthermore, the fortress monastery has been besieged innumerable times over the past 5000 years by Ork Waaaghs that periodically crop up. With the help of the Royal Martyrs, Asón's PDF has always manage to repulse such attacks on the planet. More recently, minor attacks by questing tendrils of Hive Fleet Leviathan have been defeated, but the government of Asón and the Royal Martyrs are waiting for the "big one" that is sure to come.
The Reclusiam at Windswept House
The Librarium at Windswept House
+ Combat Doctrines and Operational History Overview +
The Royal Martyrs have been in existence for approximately 5000 years, so their combat doctrine has had to change to tackle the different challenges that they have faced over the ages. These changes can broadly be reflected in three eras: From their founding to the end of the Cataclysm of Souls, from the Cataclysm to the conclusion of the Age of Apostasy and issuance of the Decree Passive, and from the Decree Passive to the modern era.
Originally founded as a fleet-based chapter, the Royal Martyrs were intended to be used by the High Lords as rapid reinforcement for rebels struggling against the false High Lords of Nova Terra. As such they had an over-strength fleet for a typical Astartes chapter. Their combat doctrine in this period focused heavily on the use of gunships for air support, drop pods to provide fast relief for beleageured rebel forces, and heavy weapons to provide powerful cover and "punching force" for their typically under-equipped anti-Interregnum allies. As over 95% of their opponents in this era were non-Chaos aligned humans whose own tactics and strategies were largely the same as the Imperium's, their own tactics and strategies reflected this.
At the conclusion of the Cataclysm of Souls, the Royal Martyrs were granted their fief on Asón and transitioned from being a fleet-based chapter to being one with a distinct theater of operations. However, their cozy relationship with the Adeptus Ministorum combined with being a still-young chapter without strong internal opinions, saw them still used as a force primarily against the enemies of the Ecclesiarchy. The Chapter Masters would prioritize requests for their intervention from the Ecclesiarch or important Cardinals over other missions. Thus, they mostly retained rebellious Imperial factions as their primary enemy. However, without the urgency of the Cataclysm of Souls, the Royal Martyr's troop and tactical dispositions slowly changed to match that of a more generalist Space Marines chapter. No emphasis was given to any particular formation or troop type, and the Royal Martyrs overall became a more tactically and strategically flexible chapter.
The Royal Martyrs strongly resisted the advances of Goge Vandire, who had killed the previous Ecclesiarch and seemed bent on merging the Adeptus Ministorum with the Adeptus Administratum. The Royal Martyrs joined with Sebastian Thor on his crusade to purify the Ecclesiarchy and were forced to fight against Vandire's "Brides of the Emperor" and those units of the Frateris Templar that sided with the insane High Lord. It was with a great deal of mental and spiritual anguish that the Royal Martyrs undertook this fight.
At the conclusion of the Reign of Blood, the issuance of the Decree Passive by the new High Lords was a body blow to the Royal Martyrs. The prohibition of keeping "men under arms" by the Ecclesiarchy could easily be broadly read as making its close relationship with the Royal Martyrs illegal. Though, as an Astartes chapter, they were nominally independent, it was clear to all that the Royal Martyrs had acted as an institutional Space Marine force for the Adeptus Ministorum. The reorganization of the Brides of the Emperor into the new official armed force for the Ecclesiarchy as a way to dodge the Decree Passive also displaced the Royal Martyrs from their position.
These legal changes in the structure of the Imperium led to the reorganization of the Royal Martyrs once again; a reorganization that endures to the present day. Without legal recourse to provide military power to the Adeptus Ministorum as they once had, the Royal Martyrs began to shift focus toward protecting their home region of the borderlands between the Segmentum Pacificus and the Segmentum Solar. This forced renewal saw the Royal Martyrs focus on enemies external to the Imperium as their primary foes for the first time in 2000 years.
The chapter's "Segmenta Avia" contains numerous agri-worlds. Furthermore, the chapter's recruitment doctrine leads to almost all of its brothers being recruited from agri-worlds, pleasure/paradise worlds, or feudal worlds. This conjunction of logistics and personal taste saw the Royal Martyrs move from being protectors of the Adeptus Ministorum to being protectors of these kinds of rural worlds. Furthermore, the chapter saw that such worlds were often overlooked by other Astartes chapters and even the Imperial Guard and Navy, who frequently prioritized worlds with manufacturing power.
These types of worlds in the Imperium frequently come under assault, or are the target of nefarious plots, by Eldar seeking to reclaim planets that they had terraformed into paradises in ages past. The Royal Martyrs stand against these attempts at reclamation by the pitiful fallen race, and the Eldar have become their primary foes. They have fought against the Eldar in everything from huge traditional conquest campaigns to the Eldar's more frequent hit-and-run tactics. Operations of the latter sort often result in the Royal Martyrs having to attempt to unravel some hidden attempt to unleash a super weapon that would destroy human life on the planet.
In order to combat the Eldar threat, the Royal Marines have adopted some of the tactics that they used thousands of years ago during the Cataclysm of Souls. They have once again adopted a policy that allows for rapid redeployment of forces, especially the use of drop troops, and support by an air force. This allows them to counter the highly mobile Eldar and quickly reinforce PDF or Guard units that have been subject to an Eldar ambush. The use of these tactics also allows them to overcome the rural, and even wild, nature of the worlds they protect. By using drop pods and an air force, the Royal Martyrs can overcome problems of moving through heavy vegetation on the ground. To provide the power necessary to back up their mobility tactics, the Royal Martyrs especially like to use heavy weapons, which they have found very effective against relatively light Eldar armor. Artillery (especially Whirlwinds) that can cover large areas with explosions or shrapnel- and therefore overcome Eldar holo- fields, are also favored. In order to counter the psychic threat of the Eldar as well as preempt and disrupt the Eldar's precognitive seers, the Royal Martyrs try to ensure that their Librarium is almost always at full strength. Librarium training focuses on divination and precognition, often through the Emperor's Tarot, in order to beat the Eldar at their own game.
After the Eldar, by far the most frequent threat to the Imperium that the Royal Martyrs have had to combat are Orks, a periodic plague on mankind. Though the Royal Martyr's battle tactics have evolved to deal with Eldar, they've found that they are also effective against Orks. Studies on Ork tactics by the chapter indicate that they are drawn to test themselves against big threats and heavily fortified locations. Using their rapid deployment tactics developed against the Eldar, the Royal Martyrs have found that they can often confuse an Ork horde by not presenting any single target that seems worthy of attack.
More recently the arrival of the Tyranids has provided a challenge to the Royal Martyrs. Drawn to the biomass heavy worlds that the chapter protects, the endless numbers of the Tyranids are not a threat countered by highly mobile forces. While the Royal Martyrs have re-adopted the quick strike tactics that served them well in the Cataclysm of Souls, they have not done so to quite the extent that they did during that era. They deploy a more conventional Astartes force against Tyranids, though possession of a great amount of area bombardment artillery can sometimes given them an edge. Still, the Royal Martyrs prefer to engage Tyranids only when they can act as the cutting edge of an Imperial Guard cleansing advance.
Despite this new-found focus on protecting "rural" worlds, both in their "Segmenta Avia" and around the Imperium, the Royal Martyrs have never forgotten what they believe to be their true purpose- to serve as warrior monks for the Adeptus Ministorum, nor their great debt of gratitude to the Ecclesiarchy for its support in their founding. As a consequence, the Royal Martyrs have looked for ways to skirt the Decree Passive and assist the Ecclesiarchy in military operations when they can. To this purpose Chapter Masters following the Age of Apostasy have rebuilt the chapter's void fleet to pre-Cataclysm of Souls levels. They have committed a third of the fleet to carry roughly one third of the chapter around the Imperium with the dual goal of both protecting under-served rural planets and providing support to the interests of the Ministorum. In the latter capacity they will often deploy a small number of squads to support Adepta Sororitas missions, though they are always careful to not take a leading role in such operations. In this way, the Royal Martyrs assigned to the fleet often end up combating Chaos-tainted humans, though only very rarely do they fight traitor Astartes or large numbers of demons.
+ Subsection A: Disposition toward Imperial Allies +
In general the Royal Martyrs "get along" with the other Imperial military commanders during joint operations. They rarely withhold important operational information from non-Astartes forces as some Space Marine chapters are wont to do. They are known to work especially well with Imperial Guard, Navy, and PDF commanders who share their aristocratic background, often bonding over shared interests or similar youth experiences. The situation is a little more complicated with the Sisters of Battle, as while the two organizations share a great faith in the Emperor and his church, the Royal Martyrs have some lingering resentment at being displaced as a military instrument of the Ecclesiarchy. When assisting the Sisters of Battle, the Royal Martyrs usually remain polite if slightly frigid at first. If the campaign is lengthy usually the heat of battle and shared belief will lead to increasing friendliness and coordination. The Royal Martyrs rarely fight directly alongside large Mechanicus forces, who are generally not deployed to protect the types of worlds that the Royal Martyrs consider their charges. As the Mechanicus is a vital component of the Imperium the Royal Martyrs strive to work well with the armies of the Machine Cult when necessary, but the strange beliefs and sometimes grotesque practices of the Mechanicus are very off-putting to the Royal Martyrs. When possible, the Royal Martyrs have their Techmarines deal directly with Mechanicus agents and commanders. If it is not possible, usually the Royal Martyr propensity for magnanimity is enough to ensure sufficiently cooperative efforts, if not close camaraderie.
It is their fellow Astartes that the Royal Marines often have the hardest time working with. Deep conversations about chapter beliefs and recruiting practices do not often occur on the battlefield, but if they do it sometimes leads to cold relations with their fellow Space Marines. As orthodox adherents of the Imperial Cult, they are in theological disagreement with many Space Marine chapters over the divinity of the Emperor, a very serious topic. Royal Martyrs do not understand why some chapters recruit from what they consider to be the scum of the Imperium- ultra violent hive gangers, maximum security prisoners, barbarians who can't even read, and the like, and have a hard time respecting other Astartes commanders who come from these backgrounds. They also strongly dislike Space Marine chapters that erase the pre-geneseed implantation memories of their members, as the Royal Martyrs consider their royal connections, families, and upbringing to be vital parts of who they are individually and as a chapter. For their part, many Space Marine chapters consider the Royal Martyrs' policy of recruiting people who are not engaged in a life-or-death struggle every moment of their pre-Astartes existence to be the height of folly, given what life is like once one becomes a Battle Brother. These differences between Royal Martyr commanders and other Space Marines can lead to friction during campaigns regarding everything from target priority to troop deployment.
Battle Barge Dieu et Mon Droit auspex pict capture of a Royal Martyrs 9th Company Devastator squad firing upon unknown Craftworld Eldar disabling a solar power array on the garden world Blofonheim.
The Devastators are supported by 9th Company's resident Techmarine, Ferrante Nemours, who draws the fire of the hateful xenos into his custom artificer armor.
+ Organization +
The Royal Martyrs are overall a Codex Astartes compliant chapter. The major exception to this is that the chapter's fleet command is organized as an additional subgroup called the Armada, similar to the Librarium, Reclusiam, Apothecarion, and Armory. The Master of the the Fleet is a company captain-level position that commands the Armada from the chapter's Battle Barge flagship Dieu et Mon Droit. Below him are the captains of the chapter's other capital ships (usually, two other battle barges and nine strike cruisers) who are all veteran sergeants. The chapter's escort ships (usually 20-30 frigates) are crewed and captained solely by chapter serfs. The Master of the Fleet and the veteran sergeants that command the other capital ships are usually selected from 1st company battle brothers or sergeants, or battle brothers or sergeants whose record and length of service could see them promoted to the 1st company, who have expressed an interest in void combat. The Armada does not contain any rank-and-file battle brothers and was adopted to ensure there were no conflicts of interest that might arise by having the Master of the Fleet also be the commander of a particular company. With the exception of the Chapter Master, the Master of the Fleet and the Space Marine veteran sergeant captains below him have complete discretion over the disposition of their ships; any other squads or companies they are carrying are merely passengers. Serf captains can be commanded by their Marine passengers, but orders that deviate from mission parameters must be checked with the Marine captain of the capital ship they have been assigned to escort if it is at all possible.
The chapter has a strong superstition against what they call "translation of captaincies." This is the moving of the captain of one company to be the captain of another. There has been a much higher incidence of grisly mortality with unrecoverable progenoid glands for captains who are moved from one company to another. Thus, if a captain dies, his replacement is almost always promoted from within the ranks of his company, and not via a transfer from another company. Transfers between companies are usually done only at the rank of battle brother. Because of this situation, the "reserve companies" of the chapter are not considered to be of lesser rank or honor than the battle companies; indeed the 9th Devastator company is considered second in honor only below the veterans of the 1st company.
+ Subsection A: Chapter Serfs +
The serfs of the Royal Martyrs are split into two groups, Hereditary Serfs and Vowed Serfs.
Hereditary Serfs are Imperial subjects whose families are bound to serve the Royal Martyrs in perpetuity. The Hereditary Serfs exist in a "pool" and are assigned to duties or jobs as need by the Ordinator of the House and his staff. Such serfs fulfill most of the menial roles in the chapter, from janitors in the Windswept House to naval ratings on the chapter's battle barges. The highest position that most Hereditary Serfs can hope to attain is that of Valet, a personal attendant to one of the Royal Martyr's battle brothers and who are also charged with cleaning and basic maintenance of his wargear. Artificer and medicae are also desired positions. Hereditary Serfs are not permitted to worship with the Royal Martyrs and are ministered to by regular human Ministorum clerics and maintain their own separate chapels. The Royal Martyrs tend to take an affectionate, if patronizing, view of their serfs, though individuals will vary widely. A Royal Martyr who treats the Hereditary Serfs badly will probably receive a quiet talking-to from his chaplain or other superior. If the behavior continues, it is unlikely to be addressed further unless it becomes outright murder, but it will certainly be a black mark against the Marine's chances of promotion.
Vowed Serfs are serfs that had been recruited by the chapter for induction as Marines, but failed the process and survived. Usually, it is because the aspirant's body rejected one or more Astartes bio-modifications, though occasionally it is because he was severely and irrevocably maimed in a pre-implantation training exercise. Before any kind of training can begin, an aspirant is put through extensive psychological tests and required to take the monastic vows of the chapter (hence the term Vowed Serf), so no known aspirants have failed induction for reasons of poor character. Vowed Serfs follow the same monastic schedule as the Royal Martyrs themselves (see below) and must remain chaste and celibate. The highest positions among the serfs are reserved for Vowed Serfs; the highest being the Ordinator of the House. The captains of the chapter's frigates, bridge officers of all the chapter's void ships, and the sacratiums that care for the Reclusiam are also all positions reserved for Vowed Serfs. Vowed Serfs have the honor of being addressed as "Brother" by the Royal Martyrs and are assigned to a company or special command, and are permitted to worship with them in the Reclusiam of Windswept House or one of its satellite sanctuaries on the chapter's ships. Vowed Serfs come from the same royal blood as the Royal Martyrs themselves, so it is almost unheard of for them to be mistreated, but if it happens the Marine in question is likely to be severely disciplined, and may even be subject to duel challenges by battle brothers that were part of the same "inductee class" as the abused Vowed Serf.
Pict capture of 4th Company Captain Yves Hugo St. Cloud (deceased) in 433.M37 during a moment of downtime at the conclusion of the Vittefleur Pogrom.
+ Chapter Beliefs and Practices +
The circumstances surrounding their founding mean that the Royal Martyr's chapter cult is an orthodox part of the Adeptus Ministorum. Each of the chapter's chaplains is also a fully qualified Ministorum priest who can minister to any Imperial subject in need. As always with Adeptus Astartes cults, the chapter's cult has some unique emphases.
+ Subsection A: Royal Warrior Monks +
The Royal Martyrs maintain, when not in the middle of a warzone, a monastic way of life that has existed among mankind before even the Dark Age of Technology. Before he is accepted for training, a potential aspirant must vow to remain chaste and celibate, and must renounce any claims to titles, land, fortunes, or any other temporal good to which he may be entitled. Royal Martyrs members are not required to cut off all contact with their families, though it is severely restricted: each member may send one letter per year to a person of his choice who is not a member of the Royal Martyrs or its serf. They may receive any number of letters. Both outgoing and incoming letters are read by the battle brother's company chaplain (or the Master of Sanctity for members of special commands and lesser chaplains) for moral and theological purity before they are sent or delivered. Not even the Chapter Master is exempt from this; he must submit his yearly letter and have his letters read by the Master of Sanctity as well. The Master of Sanctity has his letters screened by the Chapter Master. Only Techmarines are exempt from this treatment; though still limited to sending only one letter, instead their correspondences are vetted by the Master of the Forge, who is the only member of the chapter who has no one read his own letters.
Once the difficult training and initial implantation of the geneseed have been completed, all Royal Martyrs at the scout level and above are required to adhere to the classic monastic threefold division of time: 8 hours of prayer, 8 hours of work, and 8 hours of rest per day.
The 8 hours of prayer are completed by performing a series of sung prayers in the Reclusiam or any subsidiary temples that are spread throughout the day called the Officium Divinum. The Royal Martyrs maintain a complex calendar indicating what prayers are to be sung on what days of the year. The habit of performing the different "hours" of the Officium Divinum eventually becomes so ingrained in the chapter's members that they can often sing them from memory, and will do so on the battlefield. Because of their long experience singing the Officium Divinum, even musically untalented battle brothers eventually develop a modicum of facility with singing. It has been a great surprise to many of the Royal Martyr's battlefield allies when the squads they are fighting with suddenly break out in baroque polyphonic singing while chopping off Ork heads or gunning down fleeing Chaos cultists. Techmarines are not required to partake in the Officium Divinum or other worship services with the other brothers, and conduct their own religious rituals within the Armory's shrine to the Omnissiah.
For the battle brothers of the Royal Martyrs, 8 hours of work usually means combat training. Each company captain has his own routine for training, but nothing deviates overmuch from "standard" Astartes training that one might find in a typical Ultramarines successor. Usually it is a mix of exercise, target practice, and fighting mock battles or duels. Royal Martyrs members who are part of a special command, such as the Librarium, Armory, or Apothecarion, usually alternate days between combat training and taking care of whatever it is that their special command requires.
8 hours of rest means a number of different things. Sleeping is the most obvious answer, but as a Space Marine needs far less sleeping time than a regular human, it leaves a lot of time for other pursuits. Traditionally, eating and bathing are subtracted from this part of time. Otherwise, the Royal Martyrs are encouraged to pursue the aristocratic activities to which they were accustomed before they entered the chapter. Physically inclined Marines will often go hunting or fishing, engaged in athletic games (right now a game where small balls are hit with mallets from the backs of equine quadrupeds is popular with the chapter's brothers), or continue exercising or fighting mock duels. More intellectually inclined brothers add time for silent prayer and contemplation or the reading of scholarly works of history, theology, and philosophy. Culturally inclined brothers will write and read poetry or otherwise create and enjoy artistic works. An enduring pass-time for the chapter has been for the Marines to sit for portraits for each other, and the Windswept House had galleries with 5000 years of portraits painted of Royal Martyr Space Marines (and occasionally other subjects, probably the most common are Imperial Guard commanders they have served with) by their brothers. Rakish brothers will often play cards (just for bragging rights- they take vows of poverty and own no personal possessions with which to gamble), engage in witty repartee (referred to by uncultured chapter hereditary serfs as "bants") or arrange wine and cheese tastings.
+ Subsection B: The Pontifical Cult +
The involvement of the Adeptus Ministorum, and especially the Ecclesiarch, with the origin and history of the chapter has led to a culture of great reverence for the office of Ecclesiarch and the person who holds it. Chaplains are expected to intimately know the writings and sermons of the Ecclesiarchs, including its current incumbent, and battle brothers are also encouraged to read these works. Perhaps the greatest manifestation of this respect is the enormous Pontifical Narthex, the antechamber to the Reclusiam in the Windswept House. The Narthex contains a fresco of every single Ecclesiarch, from the first to Decius XXII, the current office holder. Many of the frescoes were painted by Royal Martyr battle brothers.
+ Subsection C: The Cult of the Martyrs +
It should be no surprise given their name that the Royal Martyrs revere martyrdom above all else. The believe that martyrs have a special place at the side of the Emperor, helping him combat the evil powers of the warp. Because of this, most Royal Martyrs prefer to move on to their eternal reward rather than be interred in Dreadnoughts. Apothecaries of the chapter will administer the Emperor's Mercy to critically maimed brothers unless the brother in question has specified beforehand that he wishes to continue to serve the chapter as a Dreadnought. Consequently, the Royal Martyrs have far fewer Dreadnoughts in their ranks than many other Space Marine chapters.
The Royal Martyrs divide martyrdom into three levels: white martyrdom, red martyrdom, and Royal or purple martyrdom.
White martyrdom is the giving up of luxuries, ease of life, and worldly glory and titles in service to the Emperor and his Imperium. Royal Martyrs consider themselves and all Space Marines to have obtained this level of martyrdom. Ministorum clerics, astropaths, and currently serving Imperial Guard members are also said to have this level of martyrdom. White martyrdom is the only level of martyrdom that can be freely given up; for example, an Imperial Guard soldier who completes his tour of duty and returns to civilian life loses his status as a white martyr. The Royal Martyrs venerate their Primarch, Roboute Guilliman, as the highest example of white martyrdom (as he is still alive, technically).
Red martyrdom is reserved for people who give their lives in service to the Imperium. Since Space Marines are never known to die of old age, all Royal Martyrs and other Space Marines will eventually achieve this level of martyrdom. Imperial Guard members who die in battle and psykers who give up their lives to the Astronomican have also obtained this level of martyrdom.
This highest level, Royal or purple martyrdom, is only for people who have been killed specifically because of their worship of the Emperor. Typically, only being killed by Traitor Marines, Chaos cultists or worshipers, or demons can provide this kind of martyrdom. Ironically the Royal Martyrs rarely reach this level because they rarely combat such foes, though those who do are the greatest heroes of the chapter. Primarchs who gave their lives during the Horus Heresy are the archetypes of purple martyrs and are greatly revered by the Royal Martyrs.
Fresco of Ecclesiarch Greigor XIV in the Pontifical Narthex of the Reclusiam of the Royal Martyr's fortress monastery, the Windswept House.
Greigor XIV is the Ecclesiarch who gifted the Royal Martyrs their current heraldry and the relic thunder hammer Main de Justice.
+ Geneseed and Recruitment +
When the 11th founding of Space Marine chapters was being discussed, the Ecclesiarch of the time required that some of the new chapters be founded according to his specifications in order to obtain his support for the proclamation. When the plans for the founding were drawn up, the Ecclesiarch specified that the geneseed for the chapter that was to become the Royal Martyrs be taken from a specific, stasis sealed gene-vault on Mars: vault number 0018-0011-1302. The other High Lords considered the specificity of this request to be unusual, so they established an inquiry to look into the contents of the vault. It was discovered that, during the scheduled inventory of geneseed vaults 40 years prior, the august Magos Genetus Lōc Terenell had certified that 0018-0011-1302 contained an unused stock of Ultramarine geneseed. Unfortunately, Lōc Terenell had been assassinated by Moirae schismatics 10 years after his inventory, and was not available to comment on the matter directly. The Fabricator-General of Mars insisted that the unique tripcode indicating that Lōc Terenell had certified the contents of the gene-vault could not be hacked or spoofed, so the matter was quickly resolved. Vault 0018-0011-1302 was opened and its contents emptied in order to be cultivated for implantation into the first generation of Royal Martyrs.
Other than this historical footnote, the geneseed of the Royal Martyrs is much like any other Ultramarine-derived geneseed, and does not possess any unusual characteristics or deviations.
+Subsection A: Recruitment+
In keeping with their founding stock of recruits, the Royal Martyrs will only take aspirants from those who possess royal blood; generally, that means from hereditary rulers who possess the rank of planetary governor or above. In order to avoid destabilizing the political environment, they will generally only take on aspirants who would not directly inherit important titles if the current holders die. Thus, the Royal Marines are a chapter of second sons, cousins, and princes du sang. The Royal Martyrs believe that this ensures that they will receive the best people the Imperium has to offer while simultaneously avoiding the pitfalls they believe harm chapters who recruit from violent gangers or other similar undesirables. It also does not hurt that the entire chapter is related to some of the most wealthy and politically powerful families in the Segementums Solar and Pacificus. The chapter prefers to recruit from the "rural" worlds it has a penchant for protecting (a mutually reinforcing phenomenon). They generally avoid recruiting from hive worlds and other heavily industrialized worlds; the chapter has observed that the royalty on these worlds tend to be unusually decadent and corrupt, though they do not ban the practice. The Royal Martyrs do have a longstanding by-law that if the chapter's strength dips below 60%, they may recruit from what they call the "Pairie de l'Empire"- essentially the most powerful nobility that, nevertheless, does not control any planetary governorships or higher titles. This state of affairs is called "La Condescendance" and it ends when the chapter is at 60% or higher strength.
The "Segmenta Avia" - the series of sectors on the border of the Segmentum Solar and the Segmentum Pacificus- that the Royal Martyr's claim as their home region was settled during the Dark Age of Technology by settlers from the now mostly forgotten portion of Terra known in history dataslates as Europa. The ancient country of Franc provided most of the colonists, but there are some oddities out there; the pleasure world of Bisaldeo was settled, for example, primarily by people from the area to the south of where the Imperial Palace is now. The royal family of Bisaldeo is unusually psychically active and, over the years, has provided roughly 40% of the Royal Martryr's librarians. The cultural character of the Royal Martyrs generally reflects the origins of its recruits in the colonies settled by Franc and her near neighbors (though, of course, altered by over 10000 years of separation). Since the same pool of families makes up the majority of recruiting stock for the chapter, it is common for a battle brother to have one or two relatives also in the chapter, though often generations apart. Having said all this, roughly 1/3 of the chapter at any time is patrolling the wider Imperium with the portion of the chapter's fleet that is dedicated to that task. The wandering fleet can and does recruit as it needs according to the standards set by the chapter as a whole.
When looking for new recruits, the Royal Martyrs keep an eye out on the young relatives of a planet's ruler when they descend to assist him for potential recruits. More commonly, the Royal Martyrs are contacted directly and asked to come look at a young man as a potential inductee. A chaplain is dispatched with a medicae team to interview the young man and conduct some preliminary psychological tests. The chapter looks for young men who are forthright, honest, faithful, energetic, courageous, and magnanimous. They are generally not worried if the boy has any combat experience (something hard for a 10-12 year old aristocrat anyway), and indeed a violent or bloodthirsty temperament is likely to see the potential recruit rejected. If the child's character meets with the approval of the chaplain, and the medicae team certifies that he is not sickly or a weakling, he will be taken to the Windswept House for preliminary training. There, he will be subject to a year of harsh military discipline and exercise, further psychological profiling, and the early levels of indoctrination. If, after this year, he is not found wanting, he will be asked to take the monastic vows of the Royal Martyrs and his real training can begin as a neophyte and he is prepared for implantation of the geneseed. If the child does not take the vows (very rare due to undergoing some indoctrination), or is found to be unacceptable, he will be returned to his family (who will have to deal with a 12-13 year old who is now probably a marksman on par with the best snipers in the local PDF and knows how to kill a man with his bare hands in a variety of different ways). On exceptionally rare occasions a recruit will be found to have Chaos or Xenos taint during his introductory year. He will be granted the Emperor's Mercy and his family will be told that he was killed in an unfortunate training accident (the Royal Martyrs do not like to outright lie, but a bit of mental reservation such as this is not beyond them). Thereafter the Royal Martyrs will keep as close a watch on the family as they can, and if the taint in the boy was serious, they may contact Inquisitorial representatives to investigate the matter further.
Lōc Terenell, certifier of the purity of the Royal Martyr's geneseed, captured in a pict as a young genetor in 244.M34.
+ Chapter Motto +
The Royal Martyr's motto is "Unam Sanctam" which, when translated to Low Gothic literally means "One holy." A translation that better captures the meaning is "One faith," or even "One Church." When going into battle, the motto is expanded into the battle cry "Unam sanctam, unum Imperium!" or "One faith, one Empire!" When leading or fighting with a PDF or Guardsmen, they will often drop this cry and use the much more commonly known "For the Emperor!" so their allies can join in and thus be spiritually strengthened.
+ Appendices +
Edited by Formosus XVI, 24 November 2018 - 10:39 PM.