Legion Name: Scorpus Crusaders
Legion Number: XVI
Legion Size: 60,000
Legion Theme: Knight Crusaders/Masonic/Secret Sects
Legion Tactics: Siege Warfare, Infiltration and Sabotage, Mounted Cavalry Assault.
Primarch: Kaleb Dae’delion
The Scorpus Crusaders are a stalwart legion dedicated in service to humanity and it’s continued expansion across the known universe.
While the Scorpus Crusaders fight to preserve the Realm of the Imperium they bare little patience for civilians caught unwillfully in battle, believing those who choose not to fight, or who are too weak to do so, should stand aside for others more mighty and willing.
They will not hesitate to pull the trigger if civilians are too stubborn or ignorant to remove themselves from the line of fire, and though they are far from callous murderers as some other factions of the Imperium, their apparent disregard for the safety of civilians during war causes no small amount of tension between the Scorpus Crusaders and other, more nobler Legions.
Their Primarch, Kaleb Dae’delion, Leads his legion from the mobile star fortress known as the Deusius which he’d originally uncovered on his homeworld of Behldet prior to being bought into the Imperial fold. He is a mighty and indomitable force who leads his Astartes and those serving under him into combat with the glory and awe of a living god. His very presence on the field of battle rallies those under his command, and drives them to fight ever harder as his sheer force of will emanates from him in an almost palpable aura.
An exceptional warrior, he guns down his foes with the Legion’s uniquely crafted high-explosive bolter shells, fired rapidly from his wrist-mounted Bolt Caster.
In close combat he crushes those who stand before him with his mighty heavy-flail 'The Excoriator', and withers their attacks upon his shield, the 'Indomitable Voluntas'.
Kept at his belt is an ornate dagger coated in lethal venom powerful enough to lay a Space Marine low with a single graze. This Kaleb calls the 'Clandestine Barb' for he does not use it openly as a weapon, instead choosing the most opportune moment to make a single precise throw or strike at his opponent’s weakest spot, ensuring the venom-soaked blade lances their flesh.
Always seeking a challenging opponent or the chance to improve his abilities, Kaleb’s skill in combat is great enough that few may claim to match his seemingly endless endurance.
In terms of tactics and conflict the Scorpus Crusaders are not overly concerned with matters of void warfare, such exercises are better left to the Trepitus Auxilia who man the army’s space vessels.
The Legion’s main concern is getting from the air to the ground for which they have a number of deployment strategies.
A favoured approach utilised by them when facing huge, unbreachable cities or limited landing-zones, such as on Ocean Worlds, is to simply blast free a topographically tactical position from orbit and then unload troops en mass within the crater to sweep the area of any possible survivors. Their successful deployment is shortly followed by heavy armour, artillery, and the hasty construction of deployable, template-built fortifications.
Once on the ground, the Crusaders bombard the enemy’s lines or lay waste to their city’s key infrastructure from beyond the defensive walls.
This impressive show of firepower not only serves to soften their opponent but also ensures the successful infiltration of the Legion’s Excursor sabotage units, a specially trained undercover branch of the Legion, who make up the majority of the Secret Six-Thousand.
In open conflict however, the Crusaders take on an utterly unique approach.
Cloned from within the genelabs of the Apothecarium and mechanically augmented by the Techmarines of the Legion come the Equus Maximus. Genetically enhanced Behldeian warhorses designed by the Primarch Galvarien at the request of Kaleb, the Equus Maximus are purpose built to carry an Astartes rider in full power armour into battle. Also heavily armoured themselves, they’re capable of headlong charges into enemy ranks which would decimate any lesser cavalry units attempting the same. More manoeuvrable and silent compared to the typical Space Marine bikes, the Equus are capable of swift flanking tactics and shock-and-awe strategies, being particularly useful at breaking enemy formations.
In the early days of the Great Crusade shortly before reuniting with their Primarch the Scorpus Crusaders, then known as the Raiders of Steel, had suffered catastrophic losses to their forces.
Less than 10,000 Astartes remained and their armoury was left woefully under stocked. From this shattered Legion however, their newly inducted lord was eventually able to rebuild them from the ground up.
Prior to his joining the Imperium, Kaleb had already been well into the process of assembling a system-wide army with the goal of striking out into the galaxy.
However, this plan was swept up in the arrival of the Emperor.
Kaleb had instantly recognised this golden being from a vision he’d received as a child and knelt before him, submitting his forces, his system, and his destiny to the true Master of Mankind.
His army was inducted into the XVIth Astartes Legion, the Raiders of Steel, as a supplemental regimented Auxilia who trained to fight alongside the Astartes warriors.
These human soldiers would later come to be known as the Trepitus Auxilia after the star of their home system, and continued to fight closely alongside the Legion as it was bought back to strength.
It was during this consolidation of forces that Kaleb renamed the XVIth Legion to be the Scorpus Crusaders in honour of the Great Crusade and of his scorpion-infested Homeworld, Behldet, from which a great number of new Astartes were inducted.
The influx of new recruits brought with them many traditions and much culture from their home, most of which Kaleb openly encouraged, but among it all Kaleb personally wove the secretive ritual consumption of scorpion venom, known as Leirusium, into the upper echelons of his Legion as a test of initiation for powerful and trusted warriors, as it had been on Behldet.
Later it would be refined into a much less potent sweet liqueur which the Legion’s members openly consume like cheap wine, becoming slowly intoxicated as they do so. This was done at Kaleb’s command purely to hide the truth of Leirusium in plain sight, misleading many to believe it to be nothing more than an unusual beverage favoured by the Legion.
It was in fact this venom which had bought on Kaleb’s vision as a child, having been stung shortly after his arrival on Behldet by one of the native Deathstriker scorpions.
Though the incredibly lethal Deathstrikers were an ever-present threat, the people of Behldet had figured out how to filter the lethality from their venom and create a shamanistic brew, from which they received indescribable and oft inexplicable visions.
But even among the natives it was kept a closely guarded secret.