Index Astartes: Sussurro Abyssi
"What is dead cannot die"
MAJOR REWRITE IN PROGRESS
Version 2.0 (WIP)
Being founded as all Chapters do, from the most stable of gene-stock, it is clear they weren’t the only one, how many chapters were founded alongside is unclear, with a great many records lost within the labyrinth of the Administrum. All that is known is that at least half a dozen were founded; Howling Griffons, to name one, a majority of which follow the strict organisational and tactical guidelines of the Codex Astartes, like most of the approximate thousand chapters in existence, as do the Sussurro Abyssi to an extent.
He started them upon a path that for over seven thousand years has earned them a cold reputation among the Imperium since their inception, with their grim and fatalistic view on Mankind, from the strange and terrible knowledge they burden. They fight to deny the inevitable, bemoaning the high price they have to pay for such meagre gains - but they do it because that is what they were created to do. It started within a few years of their founding, brothers began experiencing vivid hallucinogenic dreams as their Catalepsean Node slowly mutated. These dreams were glimpses into a horrifying future, and eerily mirrored the more worrying divinations the chapters Prognosticators were beginning to scry.
As the dreams progressed in severity they reached out; to the Adeptus Mechanicus and their Genator-Magos, Abdul Hazred, to the Ultramarines that shared the same primogenitor as their Silver Skull forebearers. Only to be turned away for being too frightening to be believed. How could they not know the truth somewhere in their minds, how could they not; look out into the stars, or into the void and not realise how tiny we all are, how pointless Mankind is in this universe. The Imperium is the centre of nothing. The confession of their genetic mutation only brought the Imperium’s scrutiny down onto the Whisperers, and with it Inquisitorial investigation and spurning suspicion. So they learned to stay quiet, until one day they perceive someone is truly ready to listen.
Sentenced to purgatory along the Imperiums isolated southern border that would repair the power and reach of the Adeptus Astartes, until such time they could once again call themselves Scions of Guilliman. Haunted by unimaginable visions and nightmares has profoundly altered their tale to this day, and Unlike their fellow descendants of Guilliman before his un-prophesised return, the Sussurro Abyssi have never once aspired to take the pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Primarch. For their visions have made them pariahs and shunned.
All manner of vessels would traverse through this region of space; merchant, miner, scavenger, prison, darkholds, and even Rogue Traders. Without them these human settlements would be isolated from one another and left unprotected. Interstellar trade could not exist, and the weapons needed to stop a world falling into darkness would not be obtained. There travel throughout the Imperium is arduous and dangerous, their ancient vessels powerful engines flinging them into the Immaterium where they can cover thousands of light years within a relatively short time, dropping back into the Materium far beyond their starting point. The Warp seeks to drag helpless vessels to their doom, with its constant turbulence, and warp storms.
Those aboard those vessels are not merely star travellers but the products of many generations passed in the darkness between worlds, Void Born. They are relatively few among the teeming multitudes of humanity, but singular, and form a disparate and odd collection of misfits, strangers, and other ill-omened folk, birthed in the bellies of vessels that are spending standard centuries charting its course through the stars. On the worlds they came to they were shunned for their ethereal quality and considered to be unlucky, ill-fated, bringers of bad fortune, secretive, and untrustworthy. Believed in some way to have been touched by the Warp where gravitational variance, radiation exposure, genetic distortion, and Warp anomalies slowly take their toll. A shore they carried a strange air about them, a perceptible something that makes others uneasy. It is those of the Blackholds treated worst for with them comes a darker reputation. They are couched in stories of dire curses, bleak fortunes, baleful massacres, cannibalism, hauntings and worse.
The plight of the Void born was one of reflection; they too were homeless and ostracised without just cause. Empathy overcame Proteus’ soul. They too were somehow associated with the many and unfathomable dangers of the outer darkness, and being inured with the Warp, convinced him that they could serve as the source of future Sussurro Abyssi. Without a Homeworld and having settled into patrolling the periphery of the vastly unknown Veiled Region, with its dense nebulae and newborn stars that suffer from waves of radiation alongside discarded stellar matter whilst being cloaked in stellar dust, along the galactic south of the Segmentum Tempestus, from which come the raiders and despoilers of the foul Xenos. The Abyssi became responsible for the surrounding areas of space, chief among them the Ainu System, the Nahmu Stars and the Hypnis Expanse. Apothecaries and Chaplains of the Abyssi recruit aspirants for the Chapter from the vast, city-sized spacecraft that too ply the depths of the void in order to ensure that the Chapter recruits the strongest mentally and most genetically suitable candidates. Most terrifying of aspirants are from the Darkholds. The Darkholders are a breed apart to those with the wisdom to see it, a higher proportion of Chaplains are recruited from these terrifying vessels. Recruitment is slow and arduous, with no centralised recruitment and no knowing of when the next suitable aspirant will be found within the innumerable of voidfaring vessels. Chaplains must work within the labyrinthine of political webs woven amongst the thousands of ship's crew, who might all be embroiled in complex webs of feuds, alliances, and unpleasant little wars to not disrupt the carefully balanced system. Removing one wrong aspirant can potentially hampers the void born population's ability to maintain itself and properly crew the ships themselves and deprive the Chapter of a source of future recruits.
The Chapter's space bound fortress monastery, flagship, and foremost warship appears as a pre-imperial battle station, is known as Cetus, a gigantic starship of origins unknown. In form and scale, it is nearer a planetoid than a conventional vessel. Its foredeck can dock a dozen Imperial Navy Cruisers around its circumference. The vessel is a hive city in space, with its great spires reaching towards the stars, and its striking resemblance to the now lost Word Bearer trident shaped Furious Abyss-class Super Battleships of the Great Crusade. It rivals that of the Phalanx, wielding the firepower of a formidable ﬂeet, with its studded surface of arched gun batteries, the squat shape of its plasma lance, and Psionic charges alongside other defences.
Brought here to be inducted into the Abyssi the Void Born aspirants will step out to breath in its unique ecosystem and see; large portions of the vessel used to emulate different combat environments for training purposes, swathes of space given way to meditation, tapestries of the terrifying nightmares they are to expect but, most of all the endless barren halls. It is here neophytes will undergo the long process of psycho indoctrination, and gruelling biological and genetic testing before being implanted with the gene-seed that will sustain them through a lifetime of nightmares, and turn their meagre bodies into killing machines and into an Abyssal Whisperer begins. A once humble and frail recruit becomes the epitome of humanity, the perfect warrior and servant of the Imperium.
Following the same reading and understanding of Roboute Guilliman's Codex Astartes as their Predecessors, the Silver Skulls that stay close to the main tenants, has protected the Abyssal Whisperers from further suspicion and scrutiny from the Inquisition. The inevitable enveloping darkness never leaves their thoughts but, War is their purpose, it is what the Whisperers were created for, and it is their last source of pride and satisfaction.
The tactical orthodoxy is dictated to a degree as Fleet Based Adeptus Astartes Space Marines. Their instrumentality ensures the Chapter is not used as a blunt instrument but instead a lethal strike unlike the faceless masses of the Astra Militarum. The millennia of repeated combat indoctrination has shaped them into the force they are today; efficiency in war is their only antidote for bemoaning the cost of taking something that achieves nothing, and being unable to stop the inevitable darkness.
Establishing themselves as a predominantly defensive force, they orchestrate fire bases that with their skilled gunfire and overlapping fields of fire, supress oncoming attackers. They wait for the opportune moment to disrupt their attackers further with well executed raids from their Assault forces. That cause considerable damage and sews confusion among the ranks. They bemoan the cost of war so, so must those that try to defy them, it is said the only death they fear is the fear of death through madness; it is why they give no quarter so readily. As with their predecessors it is not unknown to hear of the Whisperers unwilling to go to another’s aid, no one is willing to come to theirs, and sometimes the divinations show the cost to be too severe. It is perhaps this single fact why they have survived for so long.
When they begrudgingly have to take ground, they seek to overwhelm their foes so they may maintain momentum, preferring to engage directly after a carefully orchestrated orbital bombardment from their vast fleet assets; to then drop-pod infantry and equipment alongside thunderhawk-deployed vehicles.
Chapter Scouts will most often be required to gather vital intelligence under any circumstance which is used to confirm or expand on the information gained from the Prognosticators divinations. They are used further to disrupt enemy supply lines with sabotage and demolition missions, as well as eliminate key assassination targets.
Their actions are often mistaken for bravery and courage. They stand before the enemies of the Imperium unflinchingly for they consider themselves worthless. It is only from the Chaplains that walk among them in the heat of battle, reminding them of their purpose, their sole responsibility that they continue to fight. For many they want to die, want to despair, and want to return to nothing.
An outside observer would find it difficult to spot any differences between the Sussurro Abyssi and a chapter rigidly adhering to the tenants of the Codex, such as the Ultramarines. Sussurro Abyssi have been considered a near Codex Astartes-adherent chapter for much of their history, although the nature of a fleet-based chapter does require some flexibility in this regard, with isolated fleet elements being forced to adapt their tactics to the resources available to them. Additionally, the Denizens of the Deep fight predominantly without direct Imperial support due to their ill-omened reputation, instilling in them a sense of self-reliance uncommon in many Codex-style chapters who are more comfortably meshed in the greater Imperial war machine.
It is in the organisation of the higher levels that deviations from the Codex Astartes can be seen. All Chapters include a number of officers and specialists who stand aside from the company organisation. In the Sussurro Abyssi the Chapter Master is referred to as Lord Commander, as was the way of their predecessors, the Silver Skulls. The Librarians, known as Prognosticators, are partial spiritual advisor alongside their Chaplains; these warriors are the seers of the Chapter, scrying for divination of the future. They grant the squads and companies they are attached to an edge for the coming battles.
The Chapter relies on a large support staff, and highly ranked members include the [TITLE], the Captains; [TITLE], [TITLE], and the [TITLE]. Although each Captain is a Space Marine, there are actually relatively few Brethren in the Chapter’s support staff, and most non-combatant roles are performed by the Chapter’s Human serfs. The Chapter includes a large number of support staff, many are non-combatants of advanced age tasked with the day-to-day administration of the Chapter. The largest group of Sussurro Abyssi Space Marines in the support staff are the Chapter’s armourers and Techmarines, who are aided in their tasks by hundreds of mono-task Servitors.
The chapter is comprised of Ten Companies each led by a Sussurro Abyssi Captain, who has progressed through the ranks. He is attended by a Command Squad, consisting of the Company’s Standard Bearer, Apothecary, and Company Champion, as well as other brethren assigned to aid the Captain in his duties. Each company includes both a Prognosticator, and a Chaplain, who preside over the brother’s spiritual well-being and reminds them of their duty.
Each of the ten companies comprising of the Sussurro Abyssi, follow the structure within the Codex. The first company is made of the Veterans among their ranks. Their wisdom is invaluable to the chapter, and so they are attached to the Battle Companies to share their knowledge, essentially armed in a similar manner to a Tactical squad. Only the most experienced of those will be permitted to wear the few suits of Terminator armour available to the Chapter. These suits can be seen watching over you as you enter the forge on Cetus. Denizen Techmarines have gone to extensive lengths to return fallen suits of Terminator armour so that it may once more see battle.
The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Companies are organised along Codex lines. Battle Companies, each consisting of six battleline squads, two close support squads, and two fire support squads. These four company and their fleets form the main battle lines and generally bear the brunt of the fighting. Each have a degree of autonomy and with such a variety of squads, the Companies are highly flexible and tactically adaptable.
Companies 6 and 7 are battleline companies, each consisting of ten battleline squads. These act as reserves which may be used to bolster the front line, launch diversionary attacks or stem enemy flanking manoeuvres. With such low recruitment rates these are rarely ever at full strength. The 7th company is barely seen at all, some say it is now only there in name only.
The 8th Company consists of ten close support squads. This highly mobile company is often equipped with jump packs, and is fielded in the assault role wherever a strong hand-to-hand fight force is needed to storm an enemy strongpoint.
The 9th Company consists of ten Fire Support Squads. It is the most powerfully equipped in the Chapter and is used to bolster defence and provide long-range support.
The 10th Company consists of a number of Scout squads; youths who have been recruited and partially transformed into Space Marines. There is no formal size for the company as the rate of recruitment is not fixed. They are the only company to not maintain its own fleet, and instead operate directly off of Cetus. Never fighting as one coherent force; instead they are assigned to the other fleet where they can gain experience alongside their elders.
All of the companies, with the exception of the Scout Company maintain transports and Drop pods for each of their squads and officers. The armoury hold onto more centrally, including Land Raiders, each being allocated to individual squads dictated by the needs of their mission or requested by a Captain on the spot.
Many of the Battle companies and Reserve companies include a number of Dreadnoughts to remain a part of the company in which the warrior served before being interred within the metal sarcophagus in which he fights, and his presence bolsters in the company’s fighting strength considerably.
The Abyssi know first-hand the horrors of space and the sheer multitude of the Emperor's enemies. This knowledge forces these voidfarers, plying the dark void between the stars holding a deeper darkness within, to insular their brotherhood, a life in renunciation from what is lurking in the void beyond the hull.
Minds of the Prognosticators deep within the Librarium look far out into the cold vastness of space further than any brothers dreams. Their sight piercing the encouraging black veil for only a second to see shrieking and immemorial lunacy, with eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order. A mountain walked or stumbled, for their minds to then be scorched. It has uncovered the abyss beneath their illusory sense of connection with Mankind.
What all Brothers see is a senseless, mechanical, and uncaring universe. Mankind dissolves in the meaningless when impermanence is the only real thing. They have tried for so long to look away and to wake from these terrible dreams but with no understanding their minds are pulled and stretched further. The strain is almost too much for some. Staring deep into the void for so long it now only stares back, as a contradicting reflection of what they have become, Reclusive, Withdrawn, Taciturn; Denizens of the deep.
No ordinary Denizen will be remembered for all legacies will be burned but, the stars will live on. To recount such tales only delays the inevitable entropic devouring of such. For that the most solemn of causes is that of the Apothecarion; to prepare for a future that does not exist.
The millennia of screeching divinations and torturous dreams have left the Inquiliana Abyssi with only a cold senseless taste of hopelessness. Their actions cannot be compared to the fate that awaits us all, it will all be dust. Humanities time has come, no longer belonging in the only place they have ever known. Nothing can be saved from the inevitable terror that we should all fear, even those you call Gods of ruinous powers. There are no gods!
That tenant disturbs the Ecclesiarchy for not only do they deny the existence of their God but, all that it opposes; all that is supposedly defends against. It puts them odds with the Adeptus Mechanicus, and the Techmarines within their ranks who have sworn ancient pacts with the Omnissiah. To find a follower of the Imperial Cult not openly hostile to what they consider such blasphemy will be a darkest day indeed. To perpetuate such an idea of a deity that can save us from the unsavable, only serves to deny that we are alone, and hopeless in the grandest of schemes.
Realisation of the inevitable fate that belongs to us all is creeping into our galaxy, like the tendriled Void Stalker of the Warp with their prey. We could never fathom, fully understand, or explain fate but it is nearly upon us, and it will become known as a blessed release for our fate is no longer in anyone’s hands.
They understanding that there is only Xenos and Mankind in this tumultuous galaxy, for ‘Gods’ are only considered omniscient from not being understood and obeying a set of laws. Though all Xenos are dangerous to mankind, they are neither good nor evil, the greatest of which are merely incomprehensible, cosmic forces, that notions of morality have no significance too. They exist in cosmic realms beyond our understanding. While the Deathwatch and Ordo Xenos’ mode operati is considered narrow and flawed, for the Abyssi to be assigned to a Watch Station or Fortress is one of the last remaining noble causes in the galaxy.
Their own splendour is that of which was unwillingly bestowed upon. In the darkest millennium it needlessly stands out with towering majesty to give hope to those that have none. For we all go into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever.
Prognosticators, are hybrid officers fulfilling the role of Librarian, alongside tasks of the Chaplaincy, they administer to the psionic and mental well-being of the Chapter's warriors.
These dour warriors are the seers of the Chapter, reading their brothers dreams or scrying for divination of the future, granting the squads and companies they are attached to an edge for the coming battle. The Chapter takes the readings seriously, as such that on some occasions, the Prognosticators have counselled against the Chapter becoming embroiled in a particular war, however this can prove problematic as to heap greater suspicion on an already mistrusted chapter. At times this has led to taking take part in conflicts they know will end in defeat.
Upon a Prognosticator’s armour, pendants and badges of office can be found Elder marks and runes engraved into the surface. These are not purely decorative, as they serve to channel and concentrate the Prognosticator’s psychic powers.
Given their role as wards of the psionic and spiritual health of the Sussuro Abyssi, it is a rare thing indeed for a Prognosticator to take the Apocryphon Oath, and serve a Vigil of the Long Watch with the Deathwatch, the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos. In accepting a Prognosticator into his Watch Fortress, a Watch Commander gains the services of an individual of unique skill and ability. His knowledge of both the Librarian’s arts and the duties of the Chaplain are of course valuable. Yet the greatest of the Prognosticators are able to extend their ministrations to all of the Battle-Brothers they serve alongside, inspiring each and every one to epic deeds of courage, and diverting the flow of history so that these warriors can return to their chapters as heroes. It is said that by the actions of these few Prognosticators that the Denizens of the Deep have gained any trustworthy Astartes Chapter allies at all.
The most solemn of individuals tasked with the most solemn of tasks. It is their role to mind the physical wellbeing of their battle-brothers. Not all injuries however are visible to be seen. An Apothecary of another chapter would easily be oblivious to the emotional damage that eats away at them. An Apothecary of the Sussuro Abyssi however knows too well the torment that his brothers endure, for they too are emotionally scarred from their nightmares.
Those amongst the Abyssi with an affinity for technology are dispatched to Mars, honouring ancient pacts formed with the Adeptus Mechanicus millennia ago upon their founding, where they are initiated into the Martian tech-cults to become Techmarines. This process divides the brothers duality complex into a triality nightmare but, it is acknowledged as a necessary process. Without Techmarines the Abyssi would be left unable to tend to the machine spirits, to observe the rites that ensure continued operation of their wargear, repair damage taken on the field of battle, or to attend to the needs of the Fleet.
Upon their training on Mars they return even more mysterious and capricious, aloof and distant. Their inscrutable ways are not easily understood by most of the battle-brethren. For many they do not understand themselves, lost in the belief that if their Machines could not be eternal then it cannot be real. Abyssi techmarines struggle to unravel their three competing ideologies; Liber Mechanicus and the Omnissiah, Chapter’s duty, and its creed, their entire lives. Eternity becomes their supreme desire, nothing is real that is not eternal.
The prognosticators that discern their dreams tell of only vague impressions of a sleep addled mind but, they all tell the same story. It is no ordinary nightmare. There is a prison deep below the surface, and something that stands a mile high but moves like flesh and blood. A rustle of wings, and a set of claws; how small they stand beside them claws. They feel him beneath the sand, they see his dreams, and so another fear to be believed. There visions sometimes reveal relics and STC files to be found, for it is all incidental and they are not bad. If it is not eternal it cannot be real.
The mightiest fallen Denizens, those within whom deny the dying of the light, with a life that still burns bright, are preserved from their final rest. The restless memories of the ancient heroes who pilot them can extend back to the early years of their Chapter and its earliest history. They are revered by other Space Marines, not just as potent warriors, but also as enduring millennia of hauntings from all that they have seen, and dreamt.
To honour these courageous warriors, the fallen heroes are allowed to sleep away the centuries within the ancient crypts alongside their deceased brothers in arms, waiting, dreaming until the stars are right and war calls them once more into service of the Imperium.
Descendant of the line of Guilliman, through the legacy of the Silver Skulls, their Gene-seed maintained its renown for its stability upon the founding of the Sussurro Abyssi; only exacerbating the distinguishing features of the void born recruits drawn features and pale pallid skin.
Not before long the Catalepsean Node began to exhibit signs of a peculiar mutation, operationally it still controlled the rhythms and responses to any sleep deprivation, allowing them to stay awake at full effectiveness for days at a time. They do, for when they sleep they are consumed with potent, disturbing, and dark dreams, overwhelming them with dread. Prognosticators scry these dreams to glean small hints of the future, whose own dreams travel out so much further, giving them all cold black dancing in their eyes.
The Apothecaries do what they can to ease the burden of such nightmares but, for those who find them all too much are slowly driven insane are led away in pentagrammically warded chains to a chamber deep in the bowls of Cetus, where they will mutter nonsensically for their eternity about what placid island of ignorance we live in among black seas of infinity. Prognosticators sit piecing together dissociated pieces of knowledge opening up terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein.
Nearly every Space Marine created since the First Founding possesses nineteen specialised organs derived from this gene-seed.The Primaris Marines, however – originally engineered by the Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl on the orders of Roboute Guilliman – are implanted with a further three additional organs. It was the Sangprimus Portum, a device containing potent genetic material harvested from the Primarchs, that allowed for this breakthrough. Entrusted to Cawl by Guilliman shortly after the Second Founding, this device resulted in a new breed of Adeptus Astartes that were deployed en masse in the Ultima Founding. Due to Cawl’s interpretation of his orders and the millennia-spanning labour of his task – during which Guilliman was injured and suspended in stasis – the secrets of these new Primaris organs were not released until late in the 41st Millennium. Despite being ostracized and cast out as pariahs, ultimately, as with most chapters, the Sussuro Abyssi received envoys of the Primarch.
Initially the Primaris were universally met with mistrust, although in each case the reasons were different. The first wave was suspect, claiming Robute Guilliman had returned, an event that seemingly was not envisaged by the Chapters prognosticators. The second wave were shunned because of the Chapter Cult itself – Did they understand that the ending in nigh. In general, those Primaris who have experienced the nightmares in their sleep addled brains have grown to be accepted and well-received, though lingering doubts remain if any of them could fall into madness.
At present, the Chapters Cult has been reluctant to fully embrace Primaris. The Chaplains, Prognosticators and Apothecaries of the Primaris are if anything less welcome than their ordinary brothers, being un-empathetic to the torture they risk with every sleep.
Time will tell as to whether the Primaris become full and true Denizens of the Deep, or whether they will be left to quietly wither away and be forgotten. That said, there are those that fear the Primaris for another reason entirely; that they represent the fulfilment of a long-held belief that the End of Days is night. Certainly, enough has happened to make some within the Chapter believe the end is coming far sooner than they have gleamed, and with Primarichs returning and Custodes abroad once more, perhaps in time the Primaris will be seen not as unwelcome outsiders, but the fulfilment of a prophecy scryed ten millennia ago.
Even with gene-seed implantation complete, there is one final stage that must take place before an aspirant can be called a Denizen of the Deep– he must be clad in the distinctive sea green armour. The enclosing suits worn by all Space Marines are made from thick ceramite plates that would be cumbersome but for electrically motivated fibre bundles that replicate the movements of the wearer and supplement his strength. The last gene-seed organ to be implanted in a Space Marine – the black carapace – rests beneath the skin, itself fitted with neural sensors and transfusion ports. These plug-in points mesh with Space Marine armour, linking the wearer’s nervous system to his suit’s mind-impulse controls and turning the suit into a second skin that moves with all the speed and precision of the battle-brother’s own body. Without the carapace, Space Marine armour is almost impossible to use, and it is therefore the most distinctive feature of a battle-brother and the true mark of the Adeptus Astartes. There are several types (or ‘marks’) of power armour with significantly differing appearances. Many older marks are often worn by Abyssi ceremonial guards or elite units. Power armour is maintained by skilled artificers who are not Space Marines, but servants who spend their lives working for the Chapter. Especially talented artificers are justly celebrated, and examples of their work is highly prized. Elements of ancient armour are religiously hunted down, for they carry both the history of the Chapter and the triumphs of heroic individuals. Such pieces are lovingly restored and painstakingly engraved with new designs. As a result, it is quite common to find power armour that combines pieces from different marks, every greave and gorget a recollection of mighty deeds and battles won.
Version 1.0 Artwork&Graphics
Edited by Minigiant, 15 February 2018 - 02:04 AM.