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The "Trefoil" Legions

Space Wolves Salamanders Alpha Legion

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#1
Custodian Athiair

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Having finally got my hands on Inferno and reading the Space Wolves section there is mention of the Trefoil of legions which were formed in greater secrecy than the rest. Those being the aforementioned Wolves, as well as the Salamanders and Alpha Legion.

 

The need for secrecy with the Wolves seems plainly obvious, they were the executioners, designed and trained to kill/destroy whoever the Emperor decrees, even if that is other legions or members of humanity. 

The Alpha Legion are a legion all about secrecy so why should their creation be any different? Although I question what about their founding required an extra level of secrecy. Based on the Wolves secrecy it is likely because it was some sort of end game requirement that the Emperor needed the Alpha Legion for that other legions couldn't know about. So the only thing I can think of is that they were maybe to be designed as a secret police either for the purpose of infiltrating the other legions and keep the Emperor abridged of any dissent or problems that could need addressing by the "Executioners". Or they were to be the secret police across the galaxy, using their ability to recruit human operatives to keep the human populace in line.

 

So two of the three make some arguable sense for their secrecy, but what was the Salamanders legion job that required that extra level over the others? Can understand if Vulkan needed extra secrecy what with his Perpetual nature and all. But that trait doesn't seem to have exactly transferred to his sons. So what about the legions foundation required them to be kept secret from the others? Does anyone have any opinions to the idea?

 

Or other opinions on the Alpha Legion?


 

Probably heretical due to the Plague Zombie problem springing up in the 41st Millenium.
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"With a spork?"

 

The Leonic Heresy (alternate history): http://www.bolterand...-leonic-heresy/

Salamanders {8th}: W:24{5} D:8{0} L:10{0}


#2
Leif Bearclaw

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The speculation is that those 3 were Legions definitely intended to persist after the Great Crusade (whether/how many of the others would is a different argument). You got it mostly right with the Wolves and AL. The Wolves being the larger scale security/threat enders/border patrols in a post GC Imperium (especially given their isolation on Fenris, they'd pretty much stay happily in the box until needed). The AL were probably envisioned as the space FBI, doing all the secret sneaky things, and if anything went wrong they still have the force of a Legion to smash the bad guys.

 

The Salamanders, remember, had a pretty major character change with the discovery of Vulkan. Before that, they were horrifically stubborn, with an almost macabre infatuation with taking on, and beating impossible odds. The best idea I've seen is that the XVIII were meant to be the Guardians of the Imperial webway. A very patient Legion that holds impossible odds as an aspirational goal? Sound like the perfect dudes for long garrison deployments, and if there were problems with the webway, they'd likely be able to at least hold their ground until the rest of the Imperial military (surviving Legions, Talons etc.) could mobilise and get to the crisis point.


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#3
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I think given the Emperors love of redundancy in the Legions the Salamanders were probably intended as another/variant "Executioner" legion. Of course Vulkan came along and ruined all that :D 


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#4
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The speculation is that those 3 were Legions definitely intended to persist after the Great Crusade (whether/how many of the others would is a different argument). You got it mostly right with the Wolves and AL. The Wolves being the larger scale security/threat enders/border patrols in a post GC Imperium (especially given their isolation on Fenris, they'd pretty much stay happily in the box until needed). The AL were probably envisioned as the space FBI, doing all the secret sneaky things, and if anything went wrong they still have the force of a Legion to smash the bad guys.

 

The Salamanders, remember, had a pretty major character change with the discovery of Vulkan. Before that, they were horrifically stubborn, with an almost macabre infatuation with taking on, and beating impossible odds. The best idea I've seen is that the XVIII were meant to be the Guardians of the Imperial webway. A very patient Legion that holds impossible odds as an aspirational goal? Sound like the perfect dudes for long garrison deployments, and if there were problems with the webway, they'd likely be able to at least hold their ground until the rest of the Imperial military (surviving Legions, Talons etc.) could mobilise and get to the crisis point.

Tbh, this is the best theory I think I've seen of the reasoning behind the Salamanders and their place in teh Trefoil. 

The possibility I myself had considered back when their Black Book came out was that they were there for a sort of 'ideological' purpose. Except where the XVIIth were supposed ot burn down things that didn't 'fit' with the Imperial Creed, teh XVIII were supposed to more 'humanistically' put acrosss what the Imperium was supposed to be believing & thinking. With occasional more 'direct' purgation as and where required, but without the same crusading zeal of the Imperial Heralds. And, alongside this, a 'collect-and-confiscate' approach ot some of the stuff they were coming into contact with [kinda like, come ot think about it,  how the XVth wound up working - as we see during the confrontation with the Yeselti in Prospero Burns as part of Unification] 

Either that or, as you've proposed, the way they 'complete' the Trefoil is by providing more static, numerous and redoubtable bodies to go with the 'shock and aaargh' of the VIth, and the 'The Emperor Knows All, Sees All, Subverts All' vibe of the XXth. It's quite complementary, in that regard; and one could suppose that the XVIIIth's greater ability to relate to ordinary mortals might have made them superior long-term occupation/'peacekeeper' troops scattere throughout the Imperium in particular areas requiring a more 'long-term' ensurement of compliance/obedience [after all, the other legions which do this sort of thing - like the IVth - tned to become bitter, paranoid, and aloof from tehir mortal subjects rather than 'in your community' winning hearts and minds and such] 


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#5
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There's slightly more information on this in Massacre with regards to the XVIIIth, but at the same time it's just as cryptic as to what it means. From the way they were quickly returned to full strength after the Tempest Galleries, and the way Vulkan was kept by the Emperor's side before being united with his Legion, I get the feeling the Trefoil Legions were intended to be the only three Legions remaining after the Great Crusade, guarding the now-at-peace galaxy and Imperium, with Vulkan being groomed to be the 'Augustus' to the Emperor's 'Caesar'.


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#6
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There's slightly more information on this in Massacre with regards to the XVIIIth, but at the same time it's just as cryptic as to what it means. From the way they were quickly returned to full strength after the Tempest Galleries, and the way Vulkan was kept by the Emperor's side before being united with his Legion, I get the feeling the Trefoil Legions were intended to be the only three Legions remaining after the Great Crusade, guarding the now-at-peace galaxy and Imperium, with Vulkan being groomed to be the 'Augustus' to the Emperor's 'Caesar'.

 

Can you possibly elaborate more on your point of Augustus/Caesar, I'm not well versed in Roman history.

 

 

 

I do like the idea of holding the webway, but I do wonder considering Magnus was obviously designed to be the one who held that beacon/gate open on the Golden Throne, would maybe a (small) legion of psychically attuned Astartes be used as torches along the dark webway route? Kind of like the cats eyes on a road, to keep ships on the right path through the various tunnels?

 

Salamanders as "public police" only really holds credence post-Vulkan doesn't it, because before that they weren't particularly humanitarian, just stubborn as hell. I suppose maybe as a garrison force across the galaxy that'd be quite useful. Able to hold the line until the axe blade of the VIth turns up to eliminate the enemy? But this idea still doesn't seem like it needs a secrecy level, it's not exactly a concept that would make other legions tetchy or nervous like the VIth/XXth


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Probably heretical due to the Plague Zombie problem springing up in the 41st Millenium.
"What in Terra's name are you doing?"
"Um...gathering tactical data."
"With a spork?"

 

The Leonic Heresy (alternate history): http://www.bolterand...-leonic-heresy/

Salamanders {8th}: W:24{5} D:8{0} L:10{0}


#7
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There's slightly more information on this in Massacre with regards to the XVIIIth, but at the same time it's just as cryptic as to what it means. From the way they were quickly returned to full strength after the Tempest Galleries, and the way Vulkan was kept by the Emperor's side before being united with his Legion, I get the feeling the Trefoil Legions were intended to be the only three Legions remaining after the Great Crusade, guarding the now-at-peace galaxy and Imperium, with Vulkan being groomed to be the 'Augustus' to the Emperor's 'Caesar'.

 

Can you possibly elaborate more on your point of Augustus/Caesar, I'm not well versed in Roman history.

Augustus was Caesar's nephew, and chosen by Caesar to be his heir and adopted son. The description in Massacre of Vulkan's time between his discovery by the Emperor and his taking command of the XVIIIth reads like he was being groomed to be not just a Primarch, but a Successor. Mind you, that may be me reading into the text.


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#8
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There's slightly more information on this in Massacre with regards to the XVIIIth, but at the same time it's just as cryptic as to what it means. From the way they were quickly returned to full strength after the Tempest Galleries, and the way Vulkan was kept by the Emperor's side before being united with his Legion, I get the feeling the Trefoil Legions were intended to be the only three Legions remaining after the Great Crusade, guarding the now-at-peace galaxy and Imperium, with Vulkan being groomed to be the 'Augustus' to the Emperor's 'Caesar'.

 

Can you possibly elaborate more on your point of Augustus/Caesar, I'm not well versed in Roman history.

Augustus was Caesar's nephew, and chosen by Caesar to be his heir and adopted son. The description in Massacre of Vulkan's time between his discovery by the Emperor and his taking command of the XVIIIth reads like he was being groomed to be not just a Primarch, but a Successor. Mind you, that may be me reading into the text.

 

 

Thank you for explaining. Question why the Emperor would need a successor though. Unless the old theory of him becoming a 5th Warp God was actually set to pan out :P

 

Also wouldn't someone like Gulliman be better at managing a galaxy sized empire than Vulkan who was just a smith? (okay not just but you get my point)


 

Probably heretical due to the Plague Zombie problem springing up in the 41st Millenium.
"What in Terra's name are you doing?"
"Um...gathering tactical data."
"With a spork?"

 

The Leonic Heresy (alternate history): http://www.bolterand...-leonic-heresy/

Salamanders {8th}: W:24{5} D:8{0} L:10{0}


#9
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There's slightly more information on this in Massacre with regards to the XVIIIth, but at the same time it's just as cryptic as to what it means. From the way they were quickly returned to full strength after the Tempest Galleries, and the way Vulkan was kept by the Emperor's side before being united with his Legion, I get the feeling the Trefoil Legions were intended to be the only three Legions remaining after the Great Crusade, guarding the now-at-peace galaxy and Imperium, with Vulkan being groomed to be the 'Augustus' to the Emperor's 'Caesar'.

 

Can you possibly elaborate more on your point of Augustus/Caesar, I'm not well versed in Roman history.

Augustus was Caesar's nephew, and chosen by Caesar to be his heir and adopted son. The description in Massacre of Vulkan's time between his discovery by the Emperor and his taking command of the XVIIIth reads like he was being groomed to be not just a Primarch, but a Successor. Mind you, that may be me reading into the text.

 

 

Thank you for explaining. Question why the Emperor would need a successor though. Unless the old theory of him becoming a 5th Warp God was actually set to pan out tongue.png

 

Also wouldn't someone like Gulliman be better at managing a galaxy sized empire than Vulkan who was just a smith? (okay not just but you get my point)

The Emperor is a powerful psyker. While he was very prescient, there was still some cloudiness to those visions. A successor would be necessary to ensure, should the unforeseen happen, His will would be done. Or (again: powerful psyker) possibly he had Lovecraftian ambitions with regards to his mortality, and planned to pull a Joseph Curwen/Ephraim Waite, with one of His Primarchs providing the next body for His consciousness.

 

As to Guilliman, he tends to be a bit too focussed on his realms and humanity. Vulkan, on the other hand, demonstrated a compassion not just towards humans, but other races of the galaxy that would have made a lasting peace more attainable. 


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#10
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Yeah but he seemed to be making Horus + Council of Terra his successors, not Vulkan. Plus Guilliman seems to be the one engineered for statescraft

Edited by Arkangilos, 12 September 2017 - 01:24 PM.

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#11
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Yeah but he seemed to be making Horus + Council of Terra his successors, not Vulkan. Plus Guilliman seems to be the one engineered for statescraft

 

I disagree with the comment of Horus, from everything I have read it seems much more the Emperor groomed Horus to be Warmaster. The leader of the Great Crusade to unite the galaxy. But beyond that he had no purpose. Horus was a general unlike any of his brothers, ruthless, efficient and brutal. He was never someone who could rule a steady empire. After all Horus saw that he - and his sons - had no purpose once the Great Crusade was over, it was one of the things that turned him against his fathers vision.

 

It's amazing what fear of uselessness can do 


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Probably heretical due to the Plague Zombie problem springing up in the 41st Millenium.
"What in Terra's name are you doing?"
"Um...gathering tactical data."
"With a spork?"

 

The Leonic Heresy (alternate history): http://www.bolterand...-leonic-heresy/

Salamanders {8th}: W:24{5} D:8{0} L:10{0}


#12
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The Wolves reveled in their executioner reputation...it would be the worst kept secret ever

Not sure whether the secrecy element and the executioner schtick are tied

#13
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It's a bit tricky to parse out because it depends on whether you believe the legions were performing their functions before or after being reunited with their primarchs.  The legions were created after the primarchs had already been stolen, and so may have been created with slightly different purposes compared to their primarch.  Not to mention, there is the impact of the primarch's homeworld on their beliefs and values.  Would Vulkan have cared as much about the lives of humans if he were raised somewhere else, by someone else?  And if not, the whole humanitarian angle of the Salamanders would be nonexistent even after Vulkan and the XVIII leigon were reunited.



#14
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Yeah but he seemed to be making Horus + Council of Terra his successors, not Vulkan. Plus Guilliman seems to be the one engineered for statescraft

I disagree with the comment of Horus, from everything I have read it seems much more the Emperor groomed Horus to be Warmaster. The leader of the Great Crusade to unite the galaxy. But beyond that he had no purpose. Horus was a general unlike any of his brothers, ruthless, efficient and brutal. He was never someone who could rule a steady empire. After all Horus saw that he - and his sons - had no purpose once the Great Crusade was over, it was one of the things that turned him against his fathers vision.

It's amazing what fear of uselessness can do
Right, but even the Emperor left the Council of Terra to rule, which is why I think Horus was supposed to be his successor, along with (hence the +) the council of Terra. Horus would be in overall military command, while the human council would be in command of civilian matters.

The Emperor acted as both head of the military and head of state. He established the council to take that the head of the state while he was gone, and he made Horus the head of the military. That was one of Horus's gripes that made him turn (book one or two of the series)

Edited by Arkangilos, 12 September 2017 - 04:40 PM.

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#15
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If we were going to look at pure, straight up replacements for both roles, it would not be vulkan because Vulkan doesn't display any of the traits that make a good emperor to any big degree like Sanguinius and Guilliman.

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#16
TheRealMcCagh

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He's immortal. We don't have any Space Marines dying of old age, but they are effected by time. Primarchs might suffer as well, just at an even slower pace. The Emperor was around for over 30,000 years. Priorities might change when you are truly immortal. Maybe the Emperor took Vulkan aside and was grooming him because he knew Vulkan would/could still be around in another 30,000 years. Consequences have to measured over thousands of years, which is something even Sanguinius and Guilliman would struggle to come to terms with.

 

That may have been his plan from the beginning, knowing Vulkan would be a perpetual, and he needed the extra time at the Emperor's side so the Emperor could make sure nothing got damaged on his trip through the warp


Edited by TheRealMcCagh, 12 September 2017 - 05:37 PM.

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#17
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Space marines age because ultimately they are still human, even if barely. Primarchs were never human.

We know every Primarch had a purpose, and we know Guilliman (even his legion before him) had a predication to empire ruling.

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#18
TheRealMcCagh

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Guilliman can also die, Vulkan can't. Having him as the head of the empire means there will never be a gap in continuity or a succession. His message wouldn't get lost in time like what happened to Guilliman's Codex Astartes because Vulkan himself would still be around. I'm not saying he is a better empire builder, just that Vulkan is permanent, Guilliman/Sanguinius/whoever wouldn't be.


Edited by TheRealMcCagh, 12 September 2017 - 07:30 PM.

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#19
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Do we know for a fact he can die and is not a perpetual? Did vulkan know he was a perpetual the first time? Do we know for a fact that he was designed to be a perpetual and it wasn't a mutation?

Guilliman has yet to actually die, and so until he does we do not even know.

Edited by Arkangilos, 12 September 2017 - 07:50 PM.

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#20
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Assuming Guilliman is a perpetual because he hasn't died seems like a strange assumption to make...


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#21
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The Emperor can die, yet not in the normal normal sense; should His mortal shell be destroyed He will eventually reincarnate again. The reason He does not is that he has not enough control over the time-aspect. Should He be "gone" for but half a century mankind will have fallen, unprotected against the Primordial Annihilator, unable to maintain interstellar travel; man will enter another Long Night wich it will not survive.

One should also point out that Vulcan CAN die, he does so on Macragge, yet is reforged by the power of the Emperor's Fulgurite and the sacrifice of John Gramatticus (like Vulcan; another artificial Perpetual). This narrative also points out the flaw of the artificial Perpetual state of Vulcan, whenever he "dies" he merely regenerates and reanimates, whereas naturally born perpetuals does not work like that, rather, when they are killed they are in function "reset" by the Universe itself in a different place (sometimes a few miles away, sometimes on the other side of the galaxy) and their corpse remains behind.

 

One can from this perhaps infer that the Perpetuals somehow are "unknowing agents" of the Universe in the struggle against the Primordial Annihilator and while mortal beings (in extremis, even the Gods of the Warp can be Unmade) can simulate this function to a limited degree it can never be equal to the real deal for not only will the Perpetual come back, they are extremely hard to kill due to the fact that Space-Time and Causality bends around them to keep them from harm (se Mark of Calth; Ollianus Persson has by this time been around for almost 45 Millennia, an while having fought in almost every human war since the late neolithic has only died a couple of times and remarks that he and his ilk "Never got the hang of getting killed").


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#22
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I've thought of the Trefoil as the Emperor's internally oriented legions. The Alpha Legion was intelligence/counter-espionage, the Space Wolves were the executioners, and the Salamanders were supposed to be the fast-response riot cops. As noted earlier:

 

 

 

The Salamanders, remember, had a pretty major character change with the discovery of Vulkan. Before that, they were horrifically stubborn, with an almost macabre infatuation with taking on, and beating impossible odds.

I read that as making them perfect for dropping into an area in general rebellion in remote areas of the Imperium where they would hold until a more substantial force could arrive.


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#23
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Assuming Guilliman is a perpetual because he hasn't died seems like a strange assumption to make...


No, that's not my assumption. What I'm saying is that you are assuming he's not, and we have no basis for that claim considering he hasn't died.

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#24
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I think the idea that the Trefoil were the Legions the Emperor intended to keep around is a premise without enough evidence behind it to justify trying to figure out where the Salamanders fit into the schema.

 

It is true that Vulkan didn't know he was unable to die until Curze told him.


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lokkorex

lokkorex

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but Guilliman can and has died, fairly recently at the hands of the eldar actually.

 

true, he got rebooted fairly quickly thanks to eldar "god of death"-magic, but he did die.


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"Loyalty is its own reward" Lion El'Johnson, Primarch of the Dark Angels legion.





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