Hey guys! It's been a long time since I've been active, but I'm back, and I've brought with me several years worth of accumulated lore-knowledge to improve my Chapter creation. These are my latest creations, the Adjudicators. I hope you enjoy!
Founding Chapter: Angels of Absolution
Primarch: Lion El’Jonson
Battle Cry: Officer: "His Will is Manifest!" Battle-brothers: "We will see it done."
Heraldry: balanced scales
Colors: charcoal gray, silver-grey arms, lower legs, backpack
Specialty: precision raids, surgical strikes, combating other Astartes, ruthless pragmatism, combined arms
Chapter Master: Akraziel
Fortress-monastery: Chapter Barque Judgment’s Shadow
Known Descendants: Headsmen
The Fourteenth Founding of the 36th Millennium, occurring on the heels of the mysterious Thirteenth Founding, saw the Adeptus Terra more concerned than ever with establishing the legitimacy and the heritage of the Space Marine Chapters it oversaw. Those Chapters founded at this time were subjected to the most intense scrutiny and the most stringent tests of gene-seed purity. The Adjudicators were no exception. Founded from Angels of Absolution stock, the Adjudicators have a long and glorious history of service to the Imperium. They take particular pride in their record-keeping; the Chapter Librarium aboard the mobile fortress-monastery, the Chapter Barque Judgement’s Shadow, houses some of the most comprehensive records of the last five millennia to be found in the Imperium.
Descended as they are from the Angels of Absolution, it is no surprise that the Adjudicators consider themselves spiritually absolved of the sins of the Fallen. This belief has shaped the Chapter’s development from its establishment on, though it has not stopped them from participating in the hunt for the Fallen. This they pursue with a zeal unburdened by guilt, fueled by righteous fury. But their wrath has always extended far beyond the Fallen. Throughout their history, they have taken any and all reports of treachery very seriously. This blinding hatred for breakers of the Emperor’s law is not directly owed to the doctrines of their progenitors, but instead, to their first Grand Master, Zahel.
A former Company Master seconded from the Angels of Absolution, Zahel was known to his former brethren as “the Penitent” for his conviction that the Emperor’s absolution carried with it a tremendous burden. He was always troubled by what he saw as his fellow Angels of Absolution seeming to take the Emperor’s forgiveness for granted. Though he was eventually promoted to Master of the Fourth Company, Zahel was always somewhat isolated from his brothers for his puritanical view of his obligation to the Emperor. For this reason, he jumped at the chance to take command of his own Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, whom he could mold in his image as he Though the newly-christened Adjudicators did not hold themselves responsible for the betrayal at Caliban, they were adamant that, in return for His forgiveness, the Emperor demanded of them that they act as his agents of justice in the galaxy at large. Zahel’s burning hatred for the traitor, heretic and criminal was adopted by the Marines under his command, and his abiding sense of deep obligation to the Emperor worked its way into the foundational texts and holy books of the Chapter. Even in the early days, the Adjudicators were known for the fury they brought to bear against those who had wronged the Emperor. Once word of a potential heresy reached the Chapter’s ears, it would fall to the Grand Master to determine the fate of the accused. The Adjudicators would gather as many witnesses and as much intelligence as they could in order to deliver a just verdict, and there are several occasions recorded in which the Chapter found the evidence insufficient to act. When it was otherwise, however, the Adjudicators would leap into the fray using any and all tactics at their disposal to ensure the annihilation of the guilty.
An example of this tendency can be seen in the Battle of Artexa in 822 M37. For reasons unknown, the Swords of Garados, an old and lauded Space Marine Chapter, renounced the Emperor’s Light and turned to the worship of Chaos Undivided. The Adjudicators, still barely two centuries old and led by Grand Master Zahel, were called in to aid the Grey Knights and the Ordo Hereticus in putting an end to the heresy of the Swords. In a campaign that became known as the "Harrowing of Artexa," the fledgling Adjudicators acquitted themselves nobly; by the battle's end, there were none remaining who could doubt their efficacy in war.
The uncompromising pragmatism that marked the Artexa Campaign became, under Grand Master Zahel and his successors, a cornerstone of the Adjudicators’ martial philosophy. From that point on, the Chapter refined and perfected a combat doctrine focused on combined arms, precision strikes, and minimizing losses while maximizing enemy casualties. Unlike that of many Space Marine Chapters, the history of the Adjudicators is replete with instances of feigned retreats, artillery bombardments, and other unorthodox tactics deemed “dishonorable” by other Astartes. To the Adjudicators, however, the ends justify the means. Their obligation to repay the Emperor’s absolution trumps any petty concerns of honor or the rules of warfare. Whether justice be done by the blade of a chainsword or a precision lance strike from a strike cruiser in orbit matters not at all; their role as the Emperor’s Executioners grants them dispensation to act as they will, that those who have taken arms against Him may be punished accordingly.
The Harrowing of Artexa:
When word spread that the Swords of Garados had turned traitor, the Ordo Hereticus was at a loss; there were only a few thousand Sisters of Battle operating in the area, and the Chapter homeworld of the Swords of Garados, Artexa, was well defended, manned by the full strength of the Swords and their heretical PDF allies. Fortunately for the Ordo, the Chapter fleet of the Adjudicators was operating in the area, having just crushed a budding Waaagh! in its infancy. The Inquisitor in command of Ordo Hereticus operations in the subsector contacted Grand Master Zahel, begging him to come to the aid of the outnumbered and outmatched Sisters. Zahel consented, bringing with him the entire Chapter fleet.
En route to Artexa, the Adjudicators were joined by a small contingent of Grey Knights. Rumors abounded that the Swords of Garados had pledged themselves to Chaos; initial reports claimed that daemons had successfully been summoned to Artexa. The Grey Knights, under Brother-Captain Barbarossa, had been sent to ensure that the nascent Chaos incursion be put down by any means necessary. To that end, they contacted the Adjudicators, offering Grand Master Zahel their services in crushing the traitors and their allies. Zahel agreed, and the Space Marines moved against Artexa together, joined by several thousand Sisters of Battle and elements of the Imperial Navy just after entering the system.
The Harrowing of Artexa began with a pitched battle in orbit. The full fleet of the Adjudicators, alongside Imperial Navy assets and a Grey Knights strike cruiser, faced off against the Chapter fleet of the Swords of Garados in pitched combat. Initially, it appeared that the invaders had the advantages. A ritual performed by the Swords of Garados' sorcerers, however, was able to break down the warp defenses of the Imperial Navy. Seizing control of key parts of the Imperial ships, the sorcerers forced most of the Navy vessels into close range, where their superior firepower was rendered useless. Daemons appeared on the bridges of battleships, while the Traitor Marines launched their own boarding parties to take advantage of the confusion. Battlecruisers found themselves cut off and boarded by well-organized Astartes strike forces, and the Imperial Navy was rapidly whittled down until only a small fraction remained. But in their haste, the Swords had neglected to monitor the ships of the Adjudicators, which had circled behind them and taken position to the rear of their fleet. At a signal, the Chapter fleet fired. Compromised Imperial ships and the defenders of Artexa alike were cut down in the merciless volley. The remaining ships of the Swords tried to turn around, only to find themselves counter-boarded by loyalist Astartes or caught by the guns of the surviving Navy ships. The surviving traitors retreated to their fortress-monastery as the leaders of the task force met to decide Artexa's fate.
The Imperials were somewhat divided. The Radical Inquisitor in command of the Ordo Hereticus forces wanted to capture and interrogate the upper echelons of the Traitor leadership. The Grey Knights, meanwhile, were adamant that all those living on Artexa be purged. Throughout it all, Grand Master Zahel remained silent on his throne, contemplating the myriad possibilities. Then, without warning, he stood, unsheathed the Arbiter's Word and slammed it down on the table. He had seen enough of the debauchery into which the Swords of Garados had fallen. The Lord of the Adjudicators had given his ruling. Artexa and the Swords would burn.
After the battle in orbit, the rest of the war was shockingly brief. Grand Master Zahel ordered the entire Sororitas contingent, alongside eight companies of Astartes, to make planetfall east of the monastery. There, they were to raise an altar to the Emperor and begin bombarding the fortress' walls. Zahel hoped to draw the Traitors out of their stronghold by presenting them with an obvious target in what appeared to be the majority of their forces. Prior to the ground invasion, Zahel conducted extensive research into the character of the Swords' commanders. His findings were confirmed when his Librarians and the Grey Knight Prognosticators, who had been scrying on the heretics below. The commander of the eastern section of the monastery's defenses, Captain Shavath, was a hot-blooded warrior who had pledged himself fully to the Blood God. The Grand Master reasoned that Shavath's already-tenuous grip on sanity would cause him to rush out to meet the perceived challenge. He was not disappointed. The eastern contingent, under their blood-mad leader, rushed out into the field to meet what they believed to be the bulk of the loyalist forces without bothering to consult their more rational brethren. It was then that the real attack commended.
The Adjudicators and their Grey Knight allies concentrated an elite contingent of their forces at a single point in the eastern defenses of the fortress-monastery. The Swords of Garados were caught off-guard by this assault. Before they could mobilize a defense, the strike force was in their stronghold, cutting down Traitor Astartes and heretic PDF alike as they made their way to the shield generator. There, they encountered the first real resistance. The Chapter Master of the Swords, Karabdis, had been granted powerful boons by all four gods of Chaos, and was flanked by a number of daemonic bodyguards and Chaos Terminators. These elite units gave even the Grey Knights pause; several fell, and Brother-Captain Barbarossa, cut off by a swarm of Bloodletters, was isolated from the rest of the Imperial strike force. Though he fought bravely, his wounds began to take their toll. Soon, he was barely able to keep the daemons and the Swords off him.
Before they could strike down the son of Titan, however, there came a blast of lightning that sent howling daemons back to the warp and laid low a number of Traitors. Grand Master Zahel, along with his honor guard and epistolary escort, arrived on the scene, carving a path towards the stricken Brother-Captain. Several of his elite guardsmen were slain, but through strength of will and skill at arms they formed a perimeter around the Grey Knight. Zahel himself challenged the heretical Chapter Master to single combat. There, before the eyes of all his guardsmen and those Grey Knights who had survived, the Lord of the Adjudicators dueled the Traitor to a standstill before shooting him through the knee with his plasma pistol and taking his head with a stroke from the Arbiter's Word. That done, the Adjudicators and the Grey Knights destroyed the powerful void shield generators, rendering the fortress defenseless against orbital attacks. They then withdrew to the fleet, leaving a small contingent of Astartes to draw the attention of the Swords away from their ruined defenses.
Barely had the Thunderhawks taken flight before the Chapter fleet began raining hellfire down upon the fortress-monastery of the Swords. The Adjudicators had seen what they had needed to see; the Swords were guilty beyond redemption, and their treachery would be paid in fire and blood. The earlier assault on the fortress-monastery had drawn most of the Traitor Marines back to their base. Now, with their void shields down, nothing could save them from the repeated lance strikes and torpedo impacts that slammed into their once-proud walls and towers. It was over in hours. In the aftermath, the Adjudicators returned once again to the surface, using their total control of the skies and their superiority in manpower and armament to ruthlessly eliminate any Swords who had survived. Even the Grey Knights were impressed with their zeal and persistence; Barbarossa, in gratitude for his timely intervention, even bestowed upon Grand Master Zahel the right to bear the tome and sword of Chapter 666 on his right vambrace.
Grand Master Zahel:
Zahel had been Company Master of the Fourth Company of the Angels of Absolution prior to his being granted command of the newly-formed Adjudicators. A quiet, introverted man, Zahel was recruited from a prison world, where he had been imprisoned after murdering the Arbites who had killed several of his close childhood friends on the hive world where he was born. Despite his withdrawn nature, Zahel quickly distinguished himself from the other aspiring Angels of Absolution in both his martial skill and, surprisingly, his leadership prowess. Within two centuries he had reached the rank of Company Master, having won a string of victories that brought him to the attention of the Angels’ Inner Circle. There were even those who whispered that Zahel might one day ascend to the rank of Grand Master himself.
Despite his successes, however, Zahel was a deeply troubled individual. He did not dispute the notion that he and his brothers could not be held to blame for the sins of the Fallen; to him, it was ludicrous of the Dark Angels and the rest of the Unforgiven to hold such guilt in their hearts. But he was troubled by what seemed to him to be the cavalier attitude the other Angels of Absolution held towards their forgiveness by the Emperor. A former criminal himself, Zahel could not escape the feeling that he had been absolved for a higher purpose than mere warfare. In his very soul, he felt the weight of the debt he owed the Emperor for His clemency. This feeling left him constantly ill at ease; he spent countless hours in the Chapter’s Reclusiam, and painted his armor with the dark ash of a supplicant before each and every one of his battles.
This behavior did not go unnoticed by his brothers. They dubbed him “the Penitent,” watching his actions half in awe and half in trepidation. Still, he stood apart from them in many ways, despite his rank, and he eagerly accepted his Grand Master’s offer to become the lord of the newly-founded Adjudicators Chapter. It was with his new brethren that Zahel truly came into his own as a commander. At the head of his own Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, he could at long last pursue the task the Emperor had set forth for him. His own personal tradition of painting his armor with the penitent’s ash became a hallowed rite of ascension to his new Chapter. More importantly still, his own feelings of obligation to the Emperor would become an integral part of the Adjudicators’ belief system. The Chapter would draw its recruits only from those who had sinned and brought back into the Emperor’s Light, as he had been. In this way, Zahel hoped, his legacy and his sense of purpose would live on in his descendants.
Grand Master Zahel led the Adjudicators for the first three centuries of their existence, establishing many of their most hallowed traditions and winning a staggering number of momentous triumphs in the process. When he finally fell in battle against the dark eldar in the early years of the 37th Millennium, his battle-brothers were driven to such all-consuming fury that not one of the xenos escaped the field that day. In his wake, the first Grand Master left behind a Chapter shaped in his image which would uphold the traditions and the values he had established for all the millennia to come.
The fall of Cadia and the subsequent creation of the Cicatrix Maledictum hit the Adjudicators hard. They had been engaged in a protracted campaign against the Ork empire of Warlord Gitgutta when the sky had turned red and traitors, heretics and worse had poured forth. In the grinding three-way conflict that followed, the Adjudicators saw their numbers whittled down to a mere two hundred and fifty Marines, and their Grand Master, Kriav, killed in action. Third Master Akraziel took command of what Imperial forces remained and, after defeating the Orks decisively and crippling the Chaos fleets in a shocking naval victory in orbit, issued the order for Exterminatus.
Following that hollow victory, the Adjudicators found themselves in dire straits. The galaxy was in turmoil, and they were too few to openly engage with the hordes of Chaos and the xenos who sought to take advantage of the Imperium's situation. Instead, the newly-elected Grand Master Akraziel organized a series of hit-and-run engagements intent on crippling the enemy's supply lines. His tactics were wildly successful, minimizing his own casualties while sowing confusion and panic amongst the foes of the Imperium. Total victory, however, eluded him, thanks to the massive losses his Chapter had sustained. The Chapter fleet was still strong, and under his leadership, won a series of stunning victories. But the Adjudicators were largely unable to commit to ground conflicts for a decade after the fall of Cadia.
That all changed when the Chapter encountered forces of the Indomitus Crusade. Upon the discovery of Roboutte Guilliman's resurrection and the advent of the Primaris Marines, Grand Master Akraziel was quick to incorporate as many of these new warriors as he could into the ranks of the Adjudicators. Moreover, he ordered those few brothers of the original Chapter yet living to undergo conversion to Primaris status, with he himself being the first to do so. There was some dissension over this, but ultimately the Adjudicators acceded to the will of their lord and became a Chapter composed entirely of Primaris Marines. With their numbers thus reinforced, the Adjudicators have been able to fully commit to the fight against Chaos, winning several notable victories against the forces of the Death Guard, Word Bearers and others. As of 100 M41, the Adjudicators have returned to full strength, and Akraziel has declared the long-postponed Nineteenth Executioner's Crusade in honor of his ascension to the rank of Grand Master.
By and large, the beliefs of the Adjudicators do not differ dramatically from those of other Space Marine Chapters. They venerate the Emperor as the illustrious father of the Imperium and their primarch, Lion El’Jonson, as his most worthy son. Indeed, the Adjudicators hold that the Lion yet lives, and that he will return to lead them and their brethren when the Emperor has need.
There are, however, a number of subtle differences in the Adjudicators beliefs that set them apart from other Astartes. The sermons given by their Chaplains place great emphasis on their duty as agents of Imperial justice. Particular importance is given to the notion that the Emperor's forgiveness entails their unwavering servitude. It is for good reason that the Adjudicators recruit from those who have skirted the line of treachery; the debt each battle-brother owes the Emperor for His forgiveness makes them zealous in the extreme. Each Adjudicator sees his Chapter as the Emperor’s Judgment made manifest, and their training regimen is partly intended to crush their own feelings of self-doubt. Sometimes this unshakable self-belief has caught a budding heresy in its infancy. At other times, however, the Adjudicators have been accused of acting too hastily against fellow servants of the Imperium. For its part, the Chapter maintains that the presence of even one traitor puts a Space Marine Chapter or an Imperial Guard regiment at risk. The Adjudicators are firmly convinced that to die by their hands is preferable to falling to treachery.
The Adjudicators are also notable among Dark Angels successors for their beliefs regarding the Fallen. Like the Angels of Absolution, the Adjudicators hold themselves blameless for Luther's rebellion. However, they insist that their status as sons of the Lion, descendants of those who served alongside Luther and his Fallen brethren, places a unique burden upon their shoulders to maintain puritanical standards of loyalty. Moreover, the brothers of the Chapter believe that the Emperor's absolution was granted them specifically in order to enable them to hunt down and eradicate unrepentant traitors. Their exoneration carries with it a great burden. While even one xeno, traitor or heretic remains at large, their work is not finished, and the debt they owe their Emperor remains unpaid. To fail in their obligations as the Emperor's Executioners would be to spit upon the mercy He so generously granted them.
In order to carry out their Emperor-given duty, the Adjudicators must maintain absolute purity and loyalty. They take great care to ensure that members of the Chapter remain committed to their responsibilities as agents of the Emperor. The Marines regularly undergo screening by Chaplains, Librarians and Apothecaries to ensure their spiritual, mental and physical purity. If a wavering soul is identified, he is taken by the Chaplains to the cells of the Judgement's Shadow. There, battle-brothers undergo stringent questioning and psycho-indoctrination. They are forced to recite the most sacred mantras of the Chapter, and are bathed in holy water and touched with precious relics in order to ensure their continued loyalty. In almost all cases, the warrior is deemed pure and returned to the ranks of his brethren. There have been a rare few, however, who have failed the test. Whether these are executed, imprisoned, or something worse, none can say. All that is known is that these failures are never seen by their brothers again.
As to the Fallen themselves, though the Adjudicators despise them for their betrayal of the First Legion, they are not seen as particularly special in comparison to any other traitors. When they are encountered, the Adjudicators, like the Angels of Absolution, engage their traitor brothers with a righteous fury unburdened by the repressed guilt of the Dark Angels and most of their other successors. The capture of the Fallen is a grim task, but it is one the Adjudicators are proud to undertake, and the capture of a Fallen Angel is seen as a badge of honor rather than a symbol of their failures.
The Adjudicators draw exclusively from the criminal elements of their recruitment worlds. The Chapter serfs and Chaplains who maintain their Chapter Keeps there keep a close eye on the actions of the various criminal societies of the feudal and hive worlds from which they derive most of their recruits. If an individual distinguishes himself from his colleagues by savagery, ingenuity and skill, he will be taken to the Chapter Keep by one of the Chaplains. There, potential Adjudicators undergo an absolutely hellish regimen of psychological torment, in addition to the standard physical trials, with the goal of destroying the aspirant's sense of identity and rebuilding him in the image of the Angels of Justice. Those aspirants who survive the ordeal retain few, if any, of the traits that defined them before being taken by the Chapter. Even then, however, few are prepared for the final trials of the Adjudicators: the Purgation and the Blooding.
The Adjudicators firmly believe that a sinner must confront his guilt head-on before he can truly be considered free from blame. They take this belief to its literal extreme in the rite of passage known as the Purgation. The aspirant is taken to a secure facility and tied down, where he is fed a complex mix of chemicals designed to heighten his emotions. All the while, a Librarian hidden behind a one-way mirror amplifies the aspirant's feelings of guilt and shame for past misdeeds, forcing these repressed feelings to manifest in his mind as a horrifying daemon that, to the aspirant, seems all too real. This daemon of past misdeeds is fed by the psychic power of the Librarian, and strengthened by the heightened emotions of the aspirant. Its attacks, therefore, while not leaving any physical marks, are more than capable of leaving an aspirant brain-dead, useless even as a servitor. Only the truly repentant, those with the strength of will to accept the price of the Emperor's forgivness, survive this horrifying ordeal.
After the Purgation, the final trainees are returned home for one final test. In his first act as a servant of the Emperor's Justice, the aspirant returns to the stronghold of the criminal organization that spawned him. There, in a ritual known as the Blooding, he brings the Emperor's Justice down upon his former comrades. Any hesitation is treated as an automatic failure; at this, full-fledged Astartes drop from orbit to make short work of the aspirant and his former friends. Those who succeed in executing their affiliates are inducted into the Chapter as scouts, the first step on the road to becoming a fully-fledged Adjudicator. It is telling of the high standards of the Chapter that, while only one in a hundred aspirants survives the Purgation, only one in ten of these initial survivors succeeds in his Blooding. The Adjudicators must collect thousands of recruits from dozens of worlds in order to fill gaps in their ranks, but the consistently high performance and fanatical loyalty of those who survive proves the utility of the training process.
The goal of this brutal training is nothing less than the complete restructuring of the aspirant's psyche to prepare him for his new life as an avatar of justice. To the Adjudicators, confronting and overcoming their own secret failures is necessary in order to devote themselves entirely to the Chapter and the Emperor. As long as guilt remains within, no potential recruit can possibly be worthy to take on the monumental task of dispensing righteous judgment to the enemies of the Emperor. Once one's sins have been exposed, confronted, and absolved, he is born anew, ready to stand in the Emperor's cleansing light without fear of exposure, confident in his own righteousness and ready to take His foes to task for their own wrongdoings.
In combat, the Adjudicators fight with all the grim determination expected of successors to the First Legion. They are known for the dark and somber High Gothic litanies they chant in the midst of battle, which enemies and allies alike find chilling. The Chapter’s commanders often take days before a battle to gather intelligence, searching for weak points in the enemy’s position and marking the locations of officers, headquarters, and supply depots. When they strike, it is often at these points, and in force, with infantry and light vehicles preceded by devastating bombardments and supported by gunships, tanks and dreadnoughts. In the event that the initial strike is repelled, the Adjudicators will often feign a retreat, before turning around to catch their overstretched pursuers off-guard. However, the Chapter is renowned for its pragmatism and adaptability in combat. If one method is found wanting, the Adjudicators will fluidly implement one of the contingencies developed by Chapter command on the eve of battle and memorized by each member of the strike force. Moreover, the Adjudicators have shown no reluctance to use “dishonorable” tactics, such as tactical withdrawals and strategic bombardments, in order to win an advantage against the foe. They are particularly fond of using orbital bombardments against an enemy whose defenses have been devastated in a ground assault, as they did to great effect in the Artexa Campaign. This is not to say that the Adjudicators engage in dishonorable conduct as a rule. Quite the contrary; with fellow Imperials, the Chapter is typically a model of respect, if not of friendliness. Their more questionable tactics are reserved for the foe; in their eyes, the enemies of the Emperor are beneath contempt, and therefore, beneath honor.
Following the return of Guilliman and the creation of the Primaris Marines, the Adjudicators, with their usual pragmatism, quickly and completely integrated these new brothers into the Chapter. Moreover, each of the existing Adjudicators underwent the process of conversion from baseline Astartes to Primaris. Now composed entirely of Primaris Space Marines, the Adjudicators eagerly seek out ever more dangerous foes of humanity to test their new capabilities against in battle.
The Adjudicators maintain a similar organizational structure to that of other sons of the Lion, with one noticeable difference. Rather than splitting their Deathwing and Ravenwing equivalents into two distinct companies, the Adjudicators instead group both forces together into a unique over-strength Company dubbed the "Ashen Order." Members of the Order, bikers and terminators alike, paint their armor the same silver-grey as the is usually reserved for the arms and legs of other Adjudicators. Additionally, there is a second circle within the Ashen Order, comprised of the Adjudicators' equivalents of the Deathwing and Ravenwing Black Knights--dubbed "Knights-Executioner" and "Black Judges," respectively. The Ashen Order is directly under the command of the Grand Master of the Chapter. However, given the rarity of a full-scale deployment of the entire Order on one battlefield, command is often delegated to one of four Castellans, two drawn from the ranks of the Knights-Executioner and two from the Black Judges. The whole of the Ashen Order is privy to the secret of the Fallen, and as a result the dealings of its members are cloesly policed by the interrogator-chaplains.
In addition, the Adjudicators maintain a larger-than-average secondary core of veterans, who are rotated frequently between the Battle Companies so that their expertise can be put to use where it is most needed. Indeed, it is speculated by some that the Chapter has enough of these veterans to fill a normal Chapter's First Company, but these reports have proven difficult to confirm.
The Chapter itself is led by a single Grand Master, himself a member of the wider Inner Circle comprising all the lords of the Unforgiven. Interestingly, however, the Lord of the Adjudicators is not appointed by his predecessor, but elected from among the Company Masters and the Castellans of the Ashen Order by the battle-brothers as a whole. The candidate is then subjected to a rigorous examination by a council made up of the other Masters and Castellans, the Reclusiarch, the Chief Librarian, the Master of the Forge, the Chief Apothecary, and the Chaplain and Veteran Sergeants of the company he led. This process takes days, during which the Chapter is commanded by the Venerable Chaplain Nikephoros, a four-thousand-year-old dreadnought who fell in the Battle of Ulthmar in M37 against the dark eldar. Once the candidate has been approved by the Council, he is presented with the relic blade Arbiter's Word by the Reclusiarch and led to the bridge of the Judgement's Shadow, where he is acclaimed by his brethren as Master of the Adjudicators.
The Adjudicators maintain a number of Chapter keeps scattered throughout the Imperium, particularly in what was once the Maelstrom region. Some of these are small outposts housing a few Chapter serfs, servitors, and apothecaries. Others are massive redoubts containing everything from gene-seed banks to armories to forges. The largest of these is the Fortress of Mathias, located on a desolate moon in the far reaches of the Verdian system. The Chapter's large fleet, when not actively on campaign, travels between each of these strongholds, making stops for refuel, rearmament, and to pick up newly-created Astartes to replace old losses. Only the Grand Master, the Reclusiarch, and the Chief Librarian know the exact order in which these keeps will be visited; even the Masters are kept ignorant. It is thus that the enemies of the Adjudicators, both within the Imperium and without, may be unable to predict their movements.
The gene-seed of the Adjudicators is drawn from the Angels of Absolution, a Second Founding successor to the Dark Angels. The gene-seed of the First Legion is well-known for its purity, and the Adjudicators are no exception to this rule; they take enormous pride in their illustrious heritage. Despite their own high standards, however, the Chapter tolerates minor mutations among their fellow Astartes without incident. Extreme cases, however, are quick to arouse suspicion in the Adjudicators; on a few occasions, they have come to blows with their fellow Astartes, particularly those of the 21st Founding, for fear of genetic impurity. Unsanctioned tampering with the Emperor’s work is seen by the Chapter as a quick path to heresy, but the work of Belisarius Cawl, conducted as it was by one who had worked alongside the Emperor, and sanctioned by Roboute Guilliman, constitutes a legitimate endeavor in the eyes of the Adjudicators.
Chapter Barque Judgement's Shadow, fortress-monastery of the Chapter
Battle-barge Retribution, sister ship to the Executioner's Stroke
Battle-barge Executioner's Stroke
Strike cruiser Orion's Lament of the Ashen Order
Strike cruiser Headsman, also of the Ashen Order
Strike cruiser Victor's Justice of the Third Company
Strike cruiser Terror to the Guilty of the Fourth Company
Strike cruiser Black Sun of the Fifth Company
Strike cruiser Lance of the Lion of the Sixth Company
Strike cruiser Penitent Blade of the Seventh Company
Strike cruiser Pirithous' Judgment of the Eighth Company
Strike cruiser Absolution of the Ninth Company
Strike cruiser Dark Tribune of the Tenth Company
15 rapid strike vessels
Grand Master Akraziel: A legendary warrior and a peerless tactician, Grand Master Akraziel has served the Adjudicators with distinction for some four hundred years. He was recruited from the feudal world of Daxos in 595 M41. Previously, Akraziel had been a member of one of the warrior societies on the planet who had attacked and robbed representatives of the Imperial governor. After years of training and indoctrination by the Chaplains, the future Grand Master returned to his erstwhile brethren to face his final test. He proceeded to massacre the entire warrior-society, burning their chapel and crushing their false idols beneath his heel. Following this and his subsequent induction into the Chapter, Akraziel rose quickly through the ranks. By the time he was sent to the Deathwatch, he had reached the rank of Veteran Sergeant. After three decades of service with the Ordo Xenos, Akraziel returned to the Adjudicators a Watch Captain before assuming the rank of Master of the Third Company upon the death of the title's previous holder. When Grand Master Kriav was killed in battle against the Ork warlord Gitgutta at the close of the 41st Millennium, Akraziel led the retaliatory strike that claimed the warlord's head, then ordered a withdrawal into orbit to destroy the lost planet below. Following this, he was elected Grand Master by his brothers. After a short trial of only a week, his ascension was approved by the unanimous ruling of the Council. Presented with the Arbiter's Word by his brothers, his masterful organization of a guerilla campaign following the opening of the Great Rift propelled him to legendary status among Imperial forces in the former Maelstrom region. Akraziel has led his Chapter for well near a century now. His open-minded nature, understanding of long-term strategy, and faith in Guilliman's return--along with the desperate straits his Chapter had found itself in following the opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum--led him to wholeheartedly accept the gift of Primaris Marines during the Indomitus Crusade. He himself was the first of the Adjudicators to undergo conversion.
Venerable Chaplain Nikephoros: Once the Reclusiarch of the Chapter, Nikephoros fell in battle against the dark eldar on the shrine world of Ulthmar in late M37, and was interred within a dreadnought shortly after the battle's conclusion. To the surprise of all, he has maintained the full use of his faculties in the millennia since, and his insight into the spiritual wellbeing of the Adjudicators, as well as his knowledge of all the various foes opposed to the Imperium, have led to his being awakened many times over the centuries, both for council and for his expertise in battle. Tradition also holds that, while a new Grand Master is in the process of being elected, leadership of the Adjudicators falls to Nikephoros. In this capacity, the Venerable Chaplain has seen several notable campaigns to a successful conclusion, with the terrible Fraxian Crusade against the orks, the dark eldar, and the forces of Chaos foremost amongst them. In many ways, Nikephoros is the spiritual heart of the Adjudicators Chapter, a fact which gives his word an inordinate amount of influence amongst his brothers.
Reclusiarch Kephalos: The new Reclusiarch of the Adjudicators, Kephalos has served in his capacity as head of the Reclusiam for a scant two decades. Nevertheless, he has proven himself time and again a worthy successor to the vaunted Reclusiarch Okous. In battle, Kephalos is zealous, furious and inspiring, exhorting his men to great deeds by his own terrifying example. Off the battlefield, however, Kephalos is contemplative, serene, and thoughtful; many battle-brothers come to him for personal spiritual guidance on a one-on-one basis. They find the doors to his chambers wide open; the Reclusiarch sees it as his duty to be an accessible source of spiritual guidance to his brothers. Often, a word from Kephalos is all that is needed to banish a brother's uncertainty and to fill his heart with renewed faith. Even Grand Master Akraziel has tremendous respect for his Reclusiarch's spiritual resolve.
Chief Librarian Marcian: The Chief Librarian is a mysterious, enigmatic figure rarely glimpsed without his blue battle-helm. Few Adjudicators can remember a time when Marcian did not hold sway in the Chapter's voluminous Librarium. Despite his unsettling nature, however, the Chief Librarian is fanatically loyal to his Chapter, taking great pleasure in his role as master of the Librarium. Indeed, one of his few enjoyments in life is recording another foe crushed by the fury of the Emperor's Justice in the Liber Damnatum. He has a tremendous respect for Grand Master Akraziel, though he has clashed with the younger, more approachable Reclusiarch Kephalos in the past.
Theophranes, Master of the Forge: Heavily augmented with bionic limbs, eyes, sensors and organs, Lukan Theophranes is scarcely recognizable as the human he was in his youth. Nevertheless, though his reverence for the Omnissiah runs deep, his fealty is reserved for the Chapter alone. To the techmarines of the Forge, Theophranes is a harsh master, enforcing as he does the tenets of the Chapter and serving as an ever-present reminder that their loyalty is to the Adjudicators and the Emperor, not to the Mechanicum on Mars. Outside the Forge, Theophranes is quiet, collected, and analytical. Surprisingly enough, however, he has a remarkably strong friendship with Reclusiarch Kephalos. In addition, Theophranes has taken a remarkably active hand in battlefield affairs for a techmarine, having led his brothers to victory in a number of battles.
Chief Apothecary Kodas: Quiet and patient, Kodas Xilleus is rarely seen outside the Apothecarion, where he spends much of his time educating new apothecaries in their duties and filing away gene-seed for later use. He rarely speaks in meetings of the Chapter Council, but not for lack of understanding. Oftentimes, he simply prefers to allow the Company Masters their opportunity to make bombastic proclamations before chiming in when a topic in his area of expertise is to be discussed. Few in the Chapter know much about him, and he prefers it that way. Nevertheless, his many centuries of distinguished service are an apt testament to his loyalty, skill and devotion to his craft.
Castellan Morian: Recruited in 778 M41, Morian is relatively young for a Castellan of the Ashen Order. His accomplishments on the field, however, leave no doubt as to his capabilities. Morian was responsible for the successful conclusion of the two-decade-long Juron Campaign against Ork, dark eldar, and rebel PDF forces during his time as a Veteran Sergeant of the Third Company. After the death of the Company's Master, Morian assumed direct command of planetside operations. With no forces besides his own Company, a few Mordian regiments, and two squads of Ashen Order Terminators, he broke the back of a nascent Waaagh!, sent the Kabal of the Single Tear back to the Webway broken and empty-handed, and utterly annihilated the traitor defenders of Hives Mordrax and Lankelos before the rest of the planet surrendered unconditionally. In the aftermath, he ordered the execution of every official left alive on the planet. They had failed in their duty, and the Emperor's Judgment spared none. A scant few years later, Morian was promoted to Castellan of the Ashen Order in the wake of his predecessor's death, a position he has held in honor ever since.
Castellan Raphael: Hot-headed and brash, Raphael's first decades of service were marked by multiple campaigns alongside the White Scars and the Sons of Jaghatai Chapters. Their hit-and-run style of warfare would heavily influence Raphael's own tactics; in his capacity as one of the Castellans drawn from the bikers of the Order, Raphael never fails to make use of the power and versatility imparted upon his warriors by their great mechanical steeds. He is also a superlative bladesman; in all the Chapter, only Grand Master Akraziel and Chapter Champion Zakarias exceed him in skill. Raphael takes great pride in collecting trophies from his fallen foes. He particularly enjoys taking the weapons of worthy adversaries, and it is said that Raphael can recall the names and faces of each of the former bearers of the many blades that line the walls of his trophy hall aboard the Headsman.
Third Master Nathanahel: Nathanahel is the epitome of the cautious, conservative planner. He is a moderate in all things, ever striving to strike a perfect balance between one extreme and the other. As such, he and Master Raphael are often at odds with each other. They respect one another as brothers, but the seemingly-reckless tactics employed by his brother grate Nathanahel's teeth to no end. Despite that, he is well-loved by his men; under his watch, casualties are always minimal, and the damage inflicted to the enemy is no less devastating for it. As of now, the succession to Grand Master is contested between Nathanahel and Morian of the First. Despite this, the two Masters are on good terms with one another, often conducting campaigns side-by-side or advising each other on tactical innovations.
Fourth Master Justinian: Justinian is something of a recluse among the Adjudicators. Introverted and shy off the battlefield, the Fourth Master comes into his own on it. A powerful orator and a strategic genius, Justinian goes to great lengths to inspire his men with acts of insane heroism and fiery diatribes. When not in battle, however, he ordinarily withdraws to the practice cages or to his private chambers, where he immerses himself in the study and mastery of the very tactics used by Lion El'Jonson in his most famous battles. His only true friends amongst his brothers are Reclusiarch Kephalos and Grand Master Akraziel, who recognize in him the intelligence and the drive to one day serve the Chapter in an even higher capacity.
Fifth Master Constantine: Constantine is a dour, stalwart man with a propensity for long, grim silences and dogged determination in the field. He is famous for his mastery of defensive warfare, a skill he refined during the Siege of Daxos alongside the Iron Knights. During that long and bitter battle against the Iron Warriors Traitor Legion, Constantine developed an intense loathing for the Sons of Perturabo and for Obliterators in particular. Too many brothers fell to those monstrosities for him to forget them. He also maintains a healthy respect for the Dorn's sons, and has fought beside a number of Imperial Fists' successors in his crusades against the Iron Warriors.
Sixth Master Valentinian: Valentinian takes his role as Master of the Sixth Reserve Company seriously. He knows that by his efforts is the Chapter's strength maintained. On the rare occasions when his Company has been deployed in force, Valentinian has showed immense pragmatism and kept a cool head, relying on gathering intelligence before striking a blow. He also has a great appreciation for the efforts and sacrifices of the Imperial Guard. Whenever possible, Valentinian seeks to keep their casualties to a minimum. Indeed, he once had the general of a badly-mauled regiment executed after his suicidal and unnecessary charge left three-quarters of his men dead. To Valentinian, even the lowest Guardsman is an asset to the Imperium, and must be treated accordingly.
Seventh Master Ikarios: Seventh Master Ikarios served on the same Deathwatch kill-team as Grand Master Akraziel when he was still a member of the rank-and-file. The two share an unspoken bond forged by the secret horrors they confronted together; on one occasion, they were among the six survivors of an original Deathwatch task force of twenty. Ikarios is calm, calculated and strategic. His expressions and his words never betray his true intent; only Akraziel can divine what the Seventh Master is truly thinking behind his emotionless facade.
Eighth Master Julian: Like Second Master Raphael, Julian is a skillful, aggressive commander with a propensity for lightning attacks. Unlike Raphael, Julian prefers the hammer to the blade, preferring to crush his foes out in the open by the proper and rapid application of force. He prefers to lead by example, using his jump pack to drop from Thunderhawks to land directly on top of the enemy's position.
Ninth Master Alaric: A firm believer in the doctrine of victory by superior firepower, Master Alaric is the preeminent expert in artillery and ranged combat among the Adjudicators. He is well-known for his hatred of the Tau; their mastery of long-range combat has challenged his abilities on more than one occasion, though he has thus far emerged victorious against them.
Tenth Master Valens: Valens understands better than anyone that the future of the Adjudicators rests squarely on his shoulders. He does not participate in the internecine politics of the Chapter. Instead, he focuses his efforts on ensuring the Adjudicators never lack for aspirants; his agents maintain thousands of potential recruits in the various Chapter Keeps, though few of these survive the rigorous training process. It is an endeavor he takes considerable pride in; Valens hopes his legacy will live on in the young Scouts he has come to know by name.
Lieutenant Niketas: A member of the Third Company, Niketas was recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant following the Saxin Campaign. During that terrible conflict against the forces of Chaos, Niketas took command of his demi-company when Lieutenant Renault was killed in action. Taking up the Lieutenant's relic sword, this mere battle-brother rallied his brothers to make a fighting retreat to a pre-prepared defensive position, where they proceeded to stand against the hordes of Chaos for sixteen hours before reinforcements arrived. He even fought the Chaos Lord leading the assault in single combat for fourteen minutes (which, given his lack of experience and the Chaos power coursing through his enemy, was an astounding accomplishment) before drawing him into an ambush by a combat squad of Hellblasters. Since then, Niketas has served as an able second-in-command to Master Nathanahel; only time will tell if he one day succeeds him.
Brother-Sergeant Manuel: Manuel is an aged Veteran of the Ashen Order whose deeds are the stuff of legend for the neophytes of the Tenth. With almost five hundred years of service behind him, the "Rock of the Order," as he is commonly known, is an inspiration to the battle-brothers around him. His victories include spearheading the charge against the witch Zinaria, facing down the Ork warlord Blooddrinka in single combat, and surviving on his own for two weeks in a Genestealer-infested space hulk after a teleportation accident left him stranded. He has twice refused promotion to the Grand Master's Honor Guard, believing he can best serve the Chapter as the most illustrious Sergeant of the Ashen Order. He has yet to be proven wrong.
Brother-Sergeant Isaac: A young Sergeant of the Fourth Company, Isaac gained the notice of his superiors by rallying the population of the hive city of Ulthran in their stand against a Tyranid splinter fleet. By his heroism, the hive endured for a month before the rest of the Chapter arrived in force to send the Tyranids to oblivion. He is also one of the few outside the upper echelons of the Chapter to have been inducted into the Inner Circle, thanks to his encounter with one of the Fallen during his service with the Deathwatch.
Arbiter's Word: The broadsword known as the Arbiter's Word has served as the personal blade of the Grand Master of the Adjudicators since the days of Grand Master Zahel. The blade was recovered aboard the space hulk Mordred's Redoubt, where it was found in the possession of a Fallen Angel whom the Adjudicators had tracked for centuries. Zahel himself led the Terminator squad chosen to board the space hulk. Fighting their way through a number of traitors, cultists and xenos, the Terminators and their lord came face to face with the Fallen Angel in the heart of Mordred's Redoubt. During the ensuing struggle, Zahel broke the traitor's blade in two. Afterwards, however, he found himself so taken by its craftsmanship that he ordered it repaired by the Chapter serfs. The reforged blade became his personal weapon, and he used it for all the years until his death to great effect against the enemies of man. In his eyes and in the eyes of the Chapter he ruled, the breaking and reforging of the sword mirrored their own recruitment rituals. The Arbiter's Word quickly became a legendary symbol of redemption and duty to the Adjudicators. Passed down for millennia from Grand Master to Grand Master, the sword has brought justice down upon untold numbers of heretics and traitors, and it is rightly revered as the greatest of the Adjudicators' relics.
The Liber Damnatum: The Liber Damnatum is at once among the most revered and the most feared of all the relics of the Chapter. With its origins in the days of the Mastery of Zahel and the aftermath of the Harrowing of Artexa, the great tome comprises a complete record of the heresies and treacheries punished by the Adjudicators, as well as a complete list of all the Fallen known to the Chapter, with those who have been captured and redeemed marked by a cross in the blood of the Fallen Angel in question. In addition, the names of those of the few Adjudicators who have failed the regular tests of purity conducted by the Chapter are recorded therein, though it cannot be said if their fates are similarly marked down. The full truth is known only to the Grand Master, who keeps the mighty volume locked in a compartment in his chambers accessible only to the bearer of the Arbiter's Word. Grand Master Akraziel takes great care to ensure that the secrets of the Liber Damnatum remain his and his alone; on a few occasions, he has personally taken the book into battle with him to ensure that it is ever kept under his watchful gaze. The Grand Master has himself contributed hundreds of pages worth of traitors punished to the Liber, a tally matched only by that of Grand Master Zahel himself.
The Darkening: To the Adjudicators, the ashen color of their armor is symbolic of the redemption of their bloodline and their total dedication to the Emperor. This absolution must be earned, not given, and for this reason, the Chapter's scouts are not permitted to wear the full regalia of a true battle-brother. Instead, the scouts wear unpainted grey ceramite as a reminder of the ages when their Chapter was without true purpose, with only the symbol on their left shoulders serving to mark them as Adjudicators. Upon ascension to full battle-brother, the Adjudicators engage in a ritual known as "the Darkening," in which they mark their armor with dark ash from the sacred hearth in the Reclusiam of the Judgement's Shado. Afterwards, they painstakingly repaint their power armor to reflect their newfound status. In this way, the Astartes are constantly reminded of the great debt they owe the Emperor.
The Executioner's Crusades: In the aftermath of a new Grand Master's confirmation, the Chapter Council convenes to declare the target of an Executioner's Crusade, a campaign in which the full strength of the Adjudicators, barring those companies actively engaged in other warzones, is committed to right a grievous wrong committed by the enemies of the Imperium. The Executioner's Crusades are always against those foes who have eluded Imperial justice on more than one occasion; only these are deemed worthy of being targeted by this most holy of the Adjudicators' wars. Executioner's Crusades are incredibly sacred events; sermons are held daily in preparation for the war to come, and the Chaplains regularly go out amongst their warriors to bless their armor and anoint their wargear with the sacred oils of the Chapter. Despite the overwhelming strength of those enemies targeted by the Executioner's Crusades, not a single one of these holy wars has ever ended in anything less than total victory. Even the Ninth Executioner's Crusade into the Maelstrom itself, which was directed against the forces of the treacherous Knights of Idraxis, culminated in the total annihilation of the Knights at the cost of a full third of the Adjudicators Chapter. The most recent Executioner's Crusade, the Eighteenth, marking the ascension of Kriav as Grand Master, was waged against the necron forces of the Whispering Prince, who had terrorized the surrounding Imperial systems with his arcane whispers for over a century prior to the Crusade. The Adjudicators made planetfall on the capital world of the Whispering Prince and, in a brutal campaign, destroyed all primary, secondary and tertiary tombs in the system despite suffering heavy losses. The Crusade culminated in a duel between the Whispering Prince and Grand Master Kriav aboard the former's tomb ship as he attempted to flee the system. Despite being wounded heavily, the Grand Master was able to overpower his unliving foe, sacrificing his left arm to deal the necron a killing blow before retreating and destroying his prized tomb ship. Other Executioner's Crusades have had similar success; few foes can stand against the full might of the Adjudicators brought to bear against them. With the restoration of the Adjudicators' full numbers at the end of the first century of M42, Grand Master Akraziel has declared the long-awaited Nineteenth Executioner's Crusade, though as of now its target remains unclear.
Edited by Brother-Sergeant Valorum, 20 October 2019 - 02:13 AM.