Good morning everyone! I recently posted this idea for a custom chapter I had on the Dark Angels forum, but I also wanted to post it here to get some feedback from the general community. I hope you enjoy!
I recently had an idea for a custom Dark Angel Successor Chapter that I wanted to share with you. Well, not necessarily a new Chapter, rather a remaking of an already established one: The Lions Sable. I was intrigued by their story and I couldn't help but wonder, what if they actually survived? If they did, how did they do it? How would this affect the Lions organization and relationship to the Dark Angels? Above all, how can I make them unique enough where they are simply not another Dark Angel chapter with a different paint scheme? With this in mind, I developed the following lore following the structures on Lexicanum and the 40k Wiki page. I will link some images to this topic and add lore as I develop it. I am in the last year of my graduate program, so that might end up being a hit and miss process.
I would appreciate any and all feedback!
Also, please forgive me if the formatting isn't nice or I did something wrong. I looked for guidelines on posting lore on the Bolter and Chainsword forums and didn't find anything beyond advice on how to develop a chapter.
During the Forgotten Wars (580.M31-632.M32), the Lions Sable joined a strike force consisting of the Dark Angels, Angels of Vengeance, and the Angels of Redemption to assist in the hunt for the Fallen Angel Cypher. Their trail led them to the planet of Cocytus I, a planet located within the Eye of Terror. On this planet the Lions Sable discovered a great tower covered in the symbols and livery of the Dark Angels, a vertiable den of Fallen Angels. Requesting reinforcements, the Unforgiven descended in force upon Cocytus I to deal death to their traitor brethren. The Lions Sable committed their entire chapter to the attack alongside half of the Dark Angels forces and the Angels of Redemption and Vengeance. After committing to the battle, it was revealed that the planet of Cocytus I would be consumed by a massive warp storm. All of the forces of the Unforgiven retreated except for the Lions Sable, who insisted on staying and destroying the Fallen. Purson, the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels, stayed behind with the Lions Sable. The warp storm swallowed Cocytus I, and that was the last anyone ever saw of Purson or the Lions Sable. To cover up their debacle, the Dark Angels staged an accident that destroyed any records of the Lion Sable or the Forgotten Wars.
Little did the Dark Angels know that Lions Sable actually survived Cocytus I. During the cosmic event of the Great Rift, Cocytus I was vomited back into real space. Rather than making contact with their parent chapter, the Lions contacted Imperial authorities. It was agreed upon that the Lions Sable would join the forces of the Imperium during the Indomitus Crusade as soon as they were back to full strength. Slowly but surely their numbers grew with the influx of Primaris forces, armor, equipment, and regular Space Marines. The Lions set about their task of cleanising the enemies of the Imperium with zeal, purging the traitors with the bolter and the chainsword.
However, the Lions Sable harbor a dark secret. Though the stock of the Lion had long carried a terrible burden, the Lions Sable carried one that could tear apart the 1st Legion and drive a wedge betwen them and the Imperium they served. During a battle on Cocytus I known to the Lions as the "Death of Pride," the chapter was shattered. It was only through the intervention of an unexpected ally that they were able to survive and eventually overcome their enemies. In truth, it was members of the Fallen who saved them, those who turned their back on the Lion unknowingly and unwillingly, led astray not out of corruption of soul but by the lies of Luther. Seeking redemption, they took pity on their brethren. Together they fought against the nightmares of the Warp and the forces of the Fallen that had embraced Chaos completely. It was through the crucible of battle that the Lions and the members of those still loyal Fallen created an unbreakable bond, and once they emerged victorious the Lions inducted them into their chapter and recognized them as their leaders. Thus the Lions fight not only against the forces of darkness but against time itself, as they know their secret can only last so long. Yet as long as one Lion still stands, they will give their all for the Imperium. And there is no doubt: The Lions Stand.
"Death of Pride"
Crucial to the history of the Lions Sable is the event known as the "Death of Pride." Half whispered in the halls of their newly rebuilt and recommissioned fleet-based Fortress Monastery The Fury of Caliban, it is a tale of sorrow, unimaginable loss, and a grim reminder of the price of hubris. All Lion Sable recruits must memorize the battle as it unfolded and the names of the Lions who fell upon Cocytus I, for it is only through the understanding of the past can the Lions secure their future.
After the Lions Sable issued their refusal to retreat despite the oncoming Warp Storm, Supreme Grand Master Purson of the Dark Angels ordered the rest of the Unforgiven forces to leave Cocytus I. Purson, however, stayed behind with the Lions, taking with him a retinue of his finest forces. As the scarlet trails of the retreating Thunderhawks faded upon the foul wind of the corrupted planet, Purson and the Lions Sable began forming a battle plan to destroy the Fallen forces. Purson and Zarachael, the Chapter Master of the Lions Sable, knew that the Warp storm would soon engulf the doomed planet, bringing with it the nightmarish hellscape of the Empyrean. However, they noticed that the Tower of Fallen Angels seemed to have Gellar Fields built into its foundation. It seemed that the Fallen predicted the Warp storm and planned on riding it out in their fortress. If the Lions Sable could capture the Tower and activate the Gellar Fields, they would be safe from the storm. Additionally, it would also allow the Lions the chance to crush their traitor brethren once and for all.
It was decided that the battle for the fate of the Chapter would be fought on the plains in front of the Tower of Angels. Tactical Marines, Heavy Weapons Teams, and Lions Sable armor would form a battle line directly in front of the fortress with Assault Marines positioned behind the lines in case the enemy succeeded in penetrating the formation. The Ravenwing would be tasked with protecting the battle line's flank, striking the enemy where they were weakest and pushing them back towards the middle of the field where they could be decimated by bolter and heavy weapons fire. Lastly, it was the Deathwing that would administer the killing blow. They, led by Purson, Zarachael, and the Chapter's Librarius, would fall upon the center of the traitors forces and cut their leadership down. The enemy, pinned by the anvil, would be crushed by the hammer.
The battle commenced as disciplined fire erupted from the Lions' battle line. Bolter rounds cut through the Fallen as Plasma and Lascannon weaponry lanced through the air, destroying fortifications and reducing enemy armor to ash. Predator turrets swung from side to side, annihilating priority targets while Whirlwinds dropped barrage after barrage of death dealing munitions on the traitors. On the wind came the roaring of engines, signalling the Ravenwing's charge. Landspeeders flew across the battlefield, fire pouring from their cowling. Ravenwing bikes jinked and bounced their way into the opponent's lines, appearing in one spot only to disappear and strike at another position, leaving nothing behind but mangled bodies and clouds of rust colored dirt. Faced with such fury, the Fallen battle line began to buckle under the Lions onslaught.
Now was the time for the killing strike. The air crackled and smelled of burning ozone as the elite of the Lions Sable, the Deathwing, appeared amongst the midst of the traitors in the shadow of the Tower of Fallen Angels. At the head of their forces were Purson and Zarachael, their banners snapping in the foul wind, their weapons held high. From the accounts of those that survived, they said that in that moment they truly saw a semblance of The Lion in these two champions. With warcries upon their lips, the Deathwing set to the work of purging the heretics. Storm bolters roared, power weapons crackled, and powerful psychic attacks ripped across the ramparts as the battle came to its climax. It seemed then and there that the Lions' battle plan would succeed in glorious victory.
However, that outcome was not meant to be. Rumors circulated after the Forgotten Wars, before the Lions Sable were recovered, that the chase for Cypher and the disaster at Cocytus I was actually an elaborate trap set by Tzeentch for the Dark Angels and their successors. Though this was dismissed by some at the time, the Lions Sable discovered in the ruins of the Tower of Fallen Angels that the rumor was all too true. Just as they were about to claim victory, a Keeper of Secrets named Kyroth the Seer manifested itself before Purson and the Deathwing. With it came a host of Thousand Sons Rubric Marines, gibbering Horrors bounding along in their wake. Raising its head high, Kyroth unleashed a soul rending screech and the automata of the Thousand Sons opened fire. Purson, realizing the tide was turning against him and the Lions, launched himself at Kyroth. Purson was one of the greatest warriors of the Unforgiven, a peerless swordsman and brilliant strategist. During his long life he had defeated and banished many demons. Yet, because Kyroth was a creature of the Warp and Cocytus I located within the Eye of Terror, he was more powerful than he would have been in the mortal realm. With a flick of its apian hand, Purson's ceramite armor cracked and bent, crushing him like a tin can. In a blink of an eye it was over; the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels lay twisted and mangled on the ground, the Sword of Silence and the Lion Helm at his side. Howls of joy erupted from the traitors lines as they renewed the attack. It was then that the slaughter truly began.
Zarachael and the remaining Deathwing were stunned by Purson's death. Yet they knew that if they failed to kill Kyroth the Seer, it could mean the death of their Chapter. Roaring in defiance, the Deathwing struck back. Maces hummed with violent energy as they slammed into the Thousand Son's armor with crackling discharges. Assault Cannon barrels glowed the color of boiling blood as round after round found their target. Librarians dealt swift death with their Power Weapons while searing the minds and souls of their enemies with the power of the Warp. However, it was not enough. One by one the champions of the Lions Sable fell, blasted apart by traior fire or scoured by the sorcery of Kyroth. When the smoke cleared, Zarachael, the Librarius, and the entire 1st Company lay broken in the ruins and ramparts of the Tower of Fallen Angels. With the spear blunted and the head of the legion cut off, Kyroth now prepared to rip the heart and soul out of the Lions Sable.
The Lions battle line first got wind that something was amiss when the traitor forces, which were previously retreating, renewed their attack with sudden ferocity. When they attempted to raise the Deathwing strike force on the Vox, all they could hear was static. Suddenly, flashes of brilliant blue light erupted up and down the Lions battle line. When the light faded, in their place stood Scarab Occult Terminators, the elite of the traitorous Thousand Sons. In eerie silence they reaped a harvest of flesh and blood, cutting down their prey like so much chaff. Bolts of Warp energy seared through the air as Thousand Son socerers joined the fight, reducing their targets to ash on the winds. Within minutes the Lions battle line began to crumble as their forces were slaughtered wholesale and their armored legions reduced to smouldering wrecks. Conducting a desperate fighting retreat, the Lions tried to raise the Ravenwing forces on their flanks for reinforcements. Their help would never come.
The Ravenwing, emboldened by their success, had allowed themselves to be drawn away from the main battle lines. When the garbled requests for reinforcements came from their battle-brothers, they gunned their engines and raced back to help. They would never make it back in time. Horrors appeared on all sides, spewing balefire and dark magiks into their ranks. Landspeeders disappeared in fiery explosions, bright as stars. Darkshrouds lay ruined, their relics of old Caliban broken and cast upon the ground. Ravenwing bikers and Black Knights dodged and evaded the rounds as best they could, but even they could not hold out forever. One by one they were destroyed, until there remained nothing left but a graveyard of burnt out vehicle husks and corpses to mark the final resting place of the Ravenwing of the Lions Sable.
In that dark hour, all hope seemed lost. Surrounded and best on by all sides, the Lions Sable prepared to sell their lives dearly. It was at this moment, in the jaws of defeat, that the Lions themselves were delivered. Bolter fire streamed from unknown vectors, decimating the Fallen and Thousand Son infantry. Cataphractii and Tartaros Terminators appeared, striking down the Scarab Occult Warriors. On the horizon, Fellblades and other arcane machinery from an archaic past rained death and destruction upon the forces besieging the Lions. And, perhaps most magnificent of all, a lone figured appeared in front of Kyroth, clad in black terminator armor and wielding a massive greatsword and stormshield. With a mighty roar, the two launched themselves at each other.
With the unexpected reinforcements, the Lions were able to fall back to rallying points, saving the chapter from utter annihilation. Though there were a few Deathwing and Ravenwing that managed to survive, most of the ones that survived the event that would later become known as the “Death of Pride” were regular line troops. As they dug in, they couldn’t help but wonder who their saviours were. Rumors circulated wildly. Was this the Legion of the Damned? Had the Angels of Vengeance Returned? Or was this the work of a rival Chaos warband? With these questions in the back of their mind, they prepared for the inevitable counterattack. It wouldn’t be until the next day that their answers would be provided, answers that would forever change the course of the Lions Sable.
"The Valley of the Shadow"
All through the night, the Lions arrived at the rally point. Sometimes they came in pairs or small groups, but many came alone. Their sable colored armor was cracked, bent and chipped, purity seals and company banners naught but blood and dirt encrusted rags flapping in the breeze. At very rare times the Lion lookouts would see the hulking form of a Deathwing terminator emerge from the darkness, or the low growl that heralded the arrival of a Ravenwing and his mount. Never did they see the rank and heraldry of a Company Master or Librarian. Of the 1,200 Lions that joined the assault, only 150 remained.
The highest ranking member of the Lions Sable left, Brother Sergeant Lydios, gathered together a council of 8 to decide what to do next. Without their armor, the Deathwing, the Ravenwing, the Librarius, or the Chaplaincy, they were crippled. Furthermore, the impending Warp Storm that would swallow Colcytus I threatened their existence. They did not have the numbers nor the resources to launch another frontal assault, but they also could not bleed the enemy dry with precision strikes as it would take too long. It was then that the idea was put forward to infiltrate the keep and banish Kyroth back to the Warp. Without the Librarius it was going to be a longshot, and Lydios wasn’t quite convinced that it would be the best way to sell the remaining Lions’ lives. Much like their parent chapter, the Lions took a vote with black and white marbles. Black votes meant infiltrate the keep, white meant that they would attempt to draw the enemy out and conduct a heroic last stand. When the results came in, the Lions’ fate was sealed; the black marbles outweighed the white, and they would infiltrate the keep.
As they dispersed to ready their wargear, Lydios caught a glimpse of a figure in the corner of his eye. The rest of the council saw it too, bringing their bolt pistols to bear and activing chainswords and power weapons. The figure was wearing black armor, remarkably similar to the Lions own heraldry. Lydios ordered the figure to step forward, and when it did Lydio’s hair stood on edge. The figure was clad in relic Tartaros Terminator armor which, while beaten and scarred, was the color of blackest night, seemingly drawing in and cancelling all the light around it. The remains of his tabard were bone white, though not much remained un-tattered or un-burnt except his hood. Upon his back rested a greatsword, its hilt stylized like that of an outstrectched eagle’s wings, and the pommel was a roaring lion. His storm shield displayed his heraldry; a large tree bisected in two with a green robed figure standing in front of the tree. On the right side of the tree was a Lion roaring defiantly, below it a world of unknown origin with a background the color of the old forests of Caliban. On the left side was the same Lion, but the world was cracked and burning, its background a searing red color. But, perhaps of most interest to Lydios and his brethren, on his shoulder stood, in the color of dried blood, the sword and wing sigil of the Dark Angels.
Lydios knew that he was staring at a member of The Fallen. Prior to his role as a Sergeant, he served as a Huntmaster of the Ravenwing. A plasma cannon shot 80 years ago took his left leg and arm, and although the prosthetics were top quality, he could never ride again. Rather than be relegated to clerical service, he demanded a position leading the footsoldiers of the Lions Sable. The rest of the council were not so well informed. The Lions had, much like their parent chapter, kept the secret of The Fallen from their soldiers, shielding them from the truth and furthering their ignorance. A hot wave of rage washed over Lydios; he drew his chainsword and charged The Fallen Angel in front of him with a shout of pure hatred.
The Fallen sidestepped his attack with contemptuous ease. Lydios, off balance, whirled around and aimed his chainsword in a broad, sweeping ark at the Fallen’s head. The storm shield came up fast, the chainswords teeth bouncing off the surface. With a quick motion, the Fallen slammed the shield into Lydios, sending him tumbling backwards. In that moment, to Lydios’ eternal shame, he lost his grip on his chainsword. When he got back on his feet, the Fallen had snapped the chainsword over his knee, tossing the pieces over his back. By then the rest of the council had produced their weapons out of instinct to defend Lydios. Before they could charge, the Fallen spoke in a low, raspy voice. “In the name of The Lion, still yourselves and listen to what I have to say.” With these words, the rebirth of the chapter began.
The Fallen removed his hood, revealing a face burned by the light of a thousand suns, scars crisscrossing its features. Brother Nemah, an Assault Marine whose squad was killed in the opening battle on the plains of Colcytus I, spoke first. “Who are you, and what is your purpose?” Lydios, getting his bearings again, growled. “A damned traitor and a liar is who he is.” The Fallen slowly turned his face to look at Lydios, his broken face cracked into a grin. “A liar? Your hypocrisy is as amusing as it is disturbing.” Nemah, puzzled, looked at Lydios. “What does he mean, Brother Sergeant?” “His intent is irrelevant,” Lydios barked, “his death is the only useful thing he can provide us.” The Fallen shook his head and turned to the council. “It would seem that you don’t know about your history, about our history. How your leaders,” at this he gestured violently toward Lydios “are the one ones who wrought this terrible fate upon you. How their sins and blindness landed you here upon Colcytus I.” At this he looked Lydios in the eyes. “And how, by their actions, they put your brothers in an early grave.”
Lydios was a blur of sable colored armor as he charged The Fallen. To Lydios’ surprise, Nemah intervened between the two, knocking Lydios to the ground. “Fool!” Lydios spat. “This man, this, thing is nothing but a self-serving thrall of the Dark Gods.” “He may be,” Nemah said, “but we do things as a council. And, if I remember correctly, you are not the sole member of it.” Lydios’ eyes widened in shock. He pushed Nemah off of him and looked at the rest of the council. “If that is what you want, take a vote and I shall abide by it.” Lydios shot a vehemous look at The Fallen. “Though I warn you, brothers, to tolerate this scum invites evil into our chapter.” The council all nodded their agreement and took a vote; black in favor of listening to The Fallen, white against. And of all of them, Lydios was the only one who voted against. The Fallen, seeing the results, sat his sword and shield down at the edge of the table. “Let me tell you of the Fall of Caliban, and the death of the Lion.”
As the story unfolded, the council members shock could be felt in the air. Unbelief turned to confusion and confusion turned to anger. Lydios was familiar with the story of the Fall, and he too felt the anger the others were experiencing for the first time. However, the story The Fallen told became different when it came to the final battle, the ultimate betrayal. “I was there when the Lion died,” The Fallen said. He closed his eyes as if in a trance, and his voice dropped even lower. “They looked magnificent, the Primarch and his Father. Both of them giants amongst men, legends amongst us mortals. Their fight had all the fury of a warp storm, their clash as primal as the beasts of Caliban legend.” He opened his eyes again, looking out amongst the council. “When the Lion bested Luther, I felt a wave of dread. I tried to hack my way through my enemies to get to him, but a squad of tactical marines tied me down. It was then that I saw it.” The Fallen’s eyes grew soft, his features softening. “The Lion had him. Luther was defeated. He should have struck him down. Luther always made it seem like the Lion was a tyrant, a cold blooded, conniving killer. Yet, he spared his hand, out of love for his father. The moment took my breath away.”
The Fallen got up and paced back to the end of the table where his weapons lay, his back to the council. “Luther did not feel such reservations. When he struck down the Lion, I saw him for what he truly was; a liar, a coward, and a traitor.” He turned back to the council, hands on the table, eyes gleaming with fire. “As my world fell to pieces, cracked and sundered by the arrogance and hubris of a man that I trusted with my life, I realized the gravity of my mistake. As my Primarch, my father, lay broken upon the ground, I realized the damnation that I had wrought upon my soul. The gibbering cries and insane ramblings of that bastard Luther was the crescendo of my fall, the death knell of everything I held dear. As the Warp Storm consumed me, I made a vow that I would right this wrong, that I would find my way back to salvation, and that I would bring retribution to those who stained the honor of my legion.” The air grew silent; even Lydios was drawn in by the Fallen’s oratory. “Since then I have done nothing but serve the Lion and the Emperor. When I came back to real-space, I tried to contact the Dark Angels. It was to my surprise that they arrived, green-armored warriors bearing the heraldry of my legion, ivory clad terminators, and black knights upon black steeds, with nothing but my death in mind. I fled, joining up with like-minded individuals, including the man you call Cypher. We helped where we could, striking at different points, furthering different ends. All of which were meant to help the Imperium. It was Cypher who brought us here, fearing that you would fall into the trap laid by our more traitorous brethren and Tzeentch. And fall for it you did. We led the charge when all seemed lost, we were the ones who saved you. And it is our hope that we can cooperate to see your chapter survive the long night.”
With that, The Fallen pushed back from the table. “All I ask is that you allow my brothers and I to serve once more amongst the forces of the Lion.”
The council sat unmoving. Nemah looked at Lydios. “Brother, is this true?” Lydios turned to him. “Yes, Caliban was destroyed by our Fallen brethren, and yes, Luther struck down the Lion. The rest of it, however,” Lydios said, his voice rising, “is the lies and manipulation of one trying to save his own skin!” The Fallen opened his hands in a conciliatory gesture. “Brother Lydios, you have a stout heart, and I cannot fault you for your suspicion. I have said my peace, and I offer no more in the way of my defense.” “That is as I figured,” Lydios said, “now, let us reject this offer and give him and his kin the ending they deserve.” Lydios stood up, expecting the others to rise, instead turning to find all of them still sitting. “You cannot be serious!” Lydios exclaimed. “This man is a threat to our legacy! Every moment that he draws breath is an affront to our legacy! Condemn this man!” Nemah rose from his seat. “We will do nothing until we vote.” Lydios stalked over to Nemah, inches away from his face. “I will not tolerate such heresy!” Lydios spat. Nemah’s look hardened, matching Lydios’ anger. “You do not decide, Lydios. I have spent my entire life serving this chapter, this legion. I have watched worlds burn as we abandon them for a different target. I have left brothers on countless battlefields before victory was achieved, their deaths meaningless sacrifices upon an altar that you, and others like you, constructed for us. Not anymore. We will vote our conscious, and we will be the masters of our future, not the slaves of our past.” With that Lydios left the council, and the vote was cast.
Edited by Company Master Holden, 14 October 2017 - 02:13 AM.