Index Astartes: The Blades Aurus
|CHAPTER NAME: ..............THE BLADES AURUS|
FOUNDING: ..................UNKNOWN, BELIEVED 7TH FOUNDING (EARLY M34)
CHAPTER WORLD: .............NONE (FLEET BASED)
FORTRESS MONASTERY: ........CHAPTER BARGES (THE SABER, THE ÉPÉE, THE FOIL)
GENE-SEED (PREDECESSOR): ...UNKNOWN UNTIL M42]
KNOWN DESCENDANTS: .........NONE KNOWN
"We are an unbroken chain of blood and ceramite stretching back six millenia in the Emperor’s service. We will not break here. We will not break today"
- Chapter Admiral Talmus, The Lord Épée, Galunthor Orbit, 999.M41
The Chapter are characterized by two over-riding beliefs. The first is an uncompromising belief in the Imperial Truth, and the aims of the Emperor's Great Crusade, as they understand it. They do not believe in any gods, including the Emperor, and strive to reclaim the lost knowledge of humanity. They are unafraid to voice these beliefs: something that has bought them into conflict with both the Ecclesiarchy and certain factions of the Inquisition.
The second main belief is that each suit of power armour's Machine Spirit has a unique personality, influencing its style of fighting and prefered role in battle. Initiates and suits are carefully matched, and new Battle Brothers take on the name of their armour.
The Chapter is split into three fleets, lead by great Chapter Barges, named The Saber, The Foil and The Épée. As a fleet-based Chapter they are by necessity experts in naval engagements and boarding actions. This specialization in boarding actions broadens out to their widespread expertise in Zone Mortalis combat.
DOCTRINE AND ORGANISATION
The Blades Aurus are a minimally Codex compliant chapter. The most obvious exception to the Codex Astartes is that they are not formed into companies, but rather into three great fleets. The Chapter Admiral of each fleet has complete autonomy and authority within their fleet. Only decisions that affect the entire Chapter are decided by the counsel of all three Chapter Admirals, and these Great Councils are often several centuries apart.
The Chapter are specialists in Zone Mortalis combat: from the twisted corridors of space hunks to the deep caverns of mine worlds, from boarding actions against enemy fleets to rooting out cults in the depth of the underhive. Due to the restricted space, they make minimal use of vehicles. They do however make extensive use of gunships, drop pods, and assault rams.
The Chapter have maintained the Codex ruling of all battle-brothers being able to function in all battlefield roles. Each battle-brother will undertake a rotation in the assault and devastator squads, and although the majority of the Chapter are deployed as tactical squads, they will quickly and easily adapt to changing missions, taking up heavy support or close combat equipment as needed. With each fleet, and indeed each vessel, often acting independently, this flexibility is not only desirable, but necessary.
Rather than being organised by company, the battle-brothers are organised by ship, with each of the Chapter Barges, the flagships of each fleet, having 100-200 battle brothers, and each strike cruiser having 50-100 battle brothers. The veterans of the chapter are all nominally members of the 1st company, and all initiates are members of the 10th company, but these designations are purely honourary, not organisational. The captain of each vessel also acts as commander on the battlefield, and as such they are expert in both navel and terrestrial warfare.
The three fleets are formally known as 1st, 2nd and 3rd, although they are also known by the name of the Chapter Barge which leads them, Saber fleet, Foil fleet and Épée fleet. Theoretically, each fleet comprises of 333 battle-brothers, on-board the Chapter barge and three cruisers. However, in reality a fleet will often have 400 battle-brothers, and at times have reached over 500. This has been largely ignored by the Inquisition and the Adeptus Terra, as each fleet acts independently, making the Chapter more like three undersized Chapters with a shared heritage than a single, over-sized unit. The Chapter Admirals are aware of this though, and take pains to ensure that no more than 1000 of the Blades are ever in one system, so as not to invite repercussions. Their beliefs already make them targets for
some members of the Inquisition and they seek to avoid antagonizing the organisation.
In late M33, the Magos’ of the forgeworld Aurus discovered an armoured container in their storage yards, filled with geneseeds locked in storage. They immediately searched their records for any hint of where they had appeared from. The techpriests discovered that after the Horus Heresy, geneseed from all leagons had been returned to the Sol System for safekeeping. One fleet carrying these geneseeds had been ambushed on the edge of the Aurus system. Clearly, some cargo had been recovered, and had been misidentified in the confusion.
The High Lords all but laughed in their face.
A Chapter under the Mechanicum’s control would upset the balance of the Imperium, as well as being an insult to the the Adeptus Astarties, who valued their autonomy. However, the High Lords agreed that a Chapter would be founded, but as independent as every other Astarties, as long as the Mechanicus agreed to provide to promised equipment. The Prists of Magus immediately agreed, much the the chagrin of their allies. The geneseeds were transported under close guard to the Sol System, and wheels of the Imperial burocrisy ground into motion. The Chapter was founded in M34.
As the Blades Aurus were not founded from another chapter in the traditional way, they did not have the core of veterans inherited from their parent chapter that other successors often do. Their first centuries were spent in support of more senior chapters, several descended from the so called ‘Shattered Legions’.
After their findings on Bec'tor in early M35 the Blades Aurus are determined believers in the Imperial Truth, utterly uncompromising with traitors and xenos, and most importantly, that there are no gods, knowing that the Emperor expressly forbade being worshiped. This has, unsurprisingly, put them in conflict with the Ecclesiarchy, most notably the Kontras Incident in early M36. In more recent millennia there has been a grudging acceptance that the faith of the mass of humanity is a necessary evil, giving them hope and binding the vastness of the Imperium together. However, they still despise those they think should be better than this, especially their fellow Astarties who worship the so called “God-Emperor”.
Secondly, and seemingly somewhat contradictory, is the Chapter's great reverence for the machine spirits of their power armour. Each suits’ machine spirit is believed to have a personality, influencing its style of fighting and preferred role in battle. Each initiate is carefully matched to a a suit before they become full battle-brothers. Some initiates have remained in the 10th company for decades before a suitable machine spirit becomes available, while suits have remained unused for centuries until finally there was a deserving candidate. When the Blades are forced to retreat from a battlefield they will attempt to take the helmets of their fallen battle-brothers, as well as their geneseeds, so that their machine spirit can return to the Chapter to serve again. This has gained them the unfortunate, and unfounded, reputation as head takers amongst some guard regiments they have served beside.
Due to their initial recruits coming from forgeworlds, and their close contact with the Mechanicum, they were often involved in the Martian Quest for Knowledge; after Bec'tor this broadened more widely to reclaiming the lost knowledge of mankind, both that lost since the Great Crusade, and knowledge from the Dark Age of Technology. However, they dispise technology that is outside the purity of humanity, seeing it as an insult to the Machine Spirits.
When the fleet reconvenes the real testing begins aboard the Chapter Barge. Those who are not physically comparable, who do not have the mental capacity, or are psychologically unable to face the unending battle, are found a place within the crew-serfs of the fleet, more suited to their abilities. Those who fail in their loyalty to the Imperium are given to the Adeptus Mechanicus to become servitors, where their lack of faith can no longer be a weakness to the Chapter. The remaining few then begin their selection, training and testing, through which many will fail, often fatally, before they might, finally, become initiates of the Chapter.
It is often assumed this would lead to conflict: the crew-serfs jealous that they did not have the opportunity to become Astartes, the battle-brothers arrogant and superior that the crew-serfs failed the testing. Instead, both groups are told the same parable. The Chapter is like a master crafted sword. The blade shines bright, stories are told about it, and it cuts down it's master's enemies. But with a weak hilt the blade cannot reach its enemies, and the hand of the master is vulnerable. Without a scabbard the blade will be dull and damaged before the battle, unable to reach its potential. The blade is the Astartes, the crew-serfs are the hilt and scabbard: songs may not be written about them, but the battle could not be won without them.
The Chapter adapts its recruitment practice to the world they encounter. This constant recruitment often leads to a large number of initiates being in the chapter at any one time, however this works well with their preferred tactics.
Until recently, after the Galunthor Disaster, the gene-sire of the chapter was unknown, although the Chapter believed they knew the story of their founding. Their geneseed is remarkably pure, with all of their organs working fully, and without corruption. Over the six millennia since the Chapter’s founding the battle-brothers have speculated about their origins. Given the full function of their organs, they cannot be descendants of Dorn. Given their lack of a change in skin tone, they are not descended from Corax or Vulcan. They do not display any conspicuous mutations, so they cannot be of the stock of Russ or Sanguinius. Their temperament seems at odds with the sons of the Khan, and not do they show the hatred of the flesh of Ferrus’ lineage. It has often been assumed that they are one of the many scions of Guilliman, or perhaps of the Lion.
NAMES WITHIN THE CHAPTER
When an initiate takes their suit of power armour and becomes a fully-fledged battle-brother of The Blades Aurus, they renounce their old name. The new Astartes will take the name of that armour, choosing one of their previous names as a suffix to distinguish them from previous bearers. The new Battle Brother is expected to spend time in communion with his companion machine spirit, and go into the archives of the Chapter, studying its previous battles and campaigns.
After several decades it will be difficult to distinguish the Astartes from his namesakes. Indeed, dreadnoughts of the Chapter can be awakened after centuries and still find their old comrades seemingly still around them, their personalities relatively unchanged, and 'remembering’ old battles.
It is rare for a Space Marine to survive when their armour does not, but if a Marines armour is badly damaged and significantly reconstructed, the battle-brother is expected to tend to it, and nurse it, in the same way a seriously injured Astartes would go through having to learn to use a replacement limb.
When new suits of power armour are built their first wearer is carefully selected from the very best initiates, the librarians, tech-marines and apocatheries working together to choose the correct candidate.
The ascension to tactical dreadnoughts armour is seen as a death and rebirth. Only the last remaining member of a squad becomes a terminator, renouncing any name other than the name of the armour they now bare, becoming simply the latest incarnation of a great hero of the Chapter.
POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY WITHIN THE CHAPTER
The three Chapter Admirals of the Blades Aurus each command one of the fleets, and take as their flagships one of the Chapter Barges.They are expected to be experts of both naval and terrestrial warfare, commanding the Astarties in every theater. Chapter tradition dictates that the Chapter Admiral rarely takes to the frontline, instead taking a broader overview. Due to this, Chapter Admirals will often live for many centuries, and so the character of the Chapter Admiral will often influence the character of their fleet. In the same way, rivalries between the Chapter Admirals will become rivalries between their fleets. The three Chapter Admirals receive the title Lord Saber, Lord Épée and Lord Foil, respectively.
The Chief Librarian of each fleet holds the title of Archivist General. The Chapter have somewhat of a wariness about librarians. They are aware that the Emperor banned the the Librarius at the Council of Nikaea, and although this was repealed in the Codex Astartes this has not made them fully comfortable with psychers. In consequence, librarians are often kept away from the battlefield, acting as keepers of the Chapter’s knowledge and artifacts. As such they can detect any hint of taint within these artifacts. When the librarians are deployed into war, they are always accompanied by a squad of the Chapters veterans, there to act as both bodyguard and watchers.
Master of Ships
The chief Techmarine of the Chapter has both the traditional title of Master of the Forge, but also the unique title, Master of Ships, and it is this title that is used in preference. The title demonstrates that without their knowledge, the vessels of the fleet, and hence the entire Chapter, would not be able to operate. The Chapter’s great respect for technology extends to their Techmarines, of which they have an unusually high number. Since the Chapter often operates in high technology theatres of war, such as space hulks and forgeworlds, units are often led by Techmarines. Every Marine is expected to have some knowledge of technology, knowing what can be destroyed without thought, and what needs to be preserved at all costs.
An autocannon shell took him in the left temple, exploding the right side of his head, his blond hair suddenly stained red.
“Sanguinius wept”, Mantorus yelled, “what kind of idiot goes into battle without their helmet?!”
SELECTED HISTORY AND BATTLE HONOURS
The Founding [M34]
As the Blades Aurus were not founded from another chapter in the traditional way, they did not have the core of veterans inherited from their parent chapter that other successors often do. Instead, the Priests of Aurus and their allies within the Mechanicus sent ‘volunteers’ to the Sol system, where the Imperial Fists garrison tested them. The attrition rate amongst these first recruits was unusually high, with many failing to survive the ordeal. The rumour within the later Blade’s Aurus was that the Fists garrison was overly harsh, resenting training troops that they saw as being too loyal to Mars, and who were clearly not sons of Dorn.
Given the remarkably low survival rate of the recruits, eventually, 100 initiates were formed into a scout company, given the strike cruiser Koncerz, and put under the command of ‘The Scions of Guilliman’. It was during this campaign that the Blades saw their first battles, and, eventually, the first of them were granted the status of full Battle-Brothers. It is also believed that this was the beginning of their reverence for the machine spirits of their armour, as their childhood on Mechanicus worlds combined with the reward and pride of their final step to becoming Adeptus Astartes. After this campaign, with all of the first cohort having risen to full Battle-Brothers, and having begun to grow their numbers, they were them transferred for a campaign under the command of ‘The Sons of Manus’. The two Chapters got on surprisingly well, as the new Blades Aurus had all grown up on Forge Worlds and so both Chapters shared a respect for the Cult Mechanicus. From ‘The Sons of Manus’ the Blades learnt determination, an even deeper respect for machines, and, perhaps, their later decision to not have a single Chapter Master. Their next campaign was under the ‘Brotherhood of Vulkan’, as the Lord’s of Terra believed that the Brotherhood‘s knowledge of flamer and melta tactics would be perfect for the Blade’s Zone Mortalis specialism. Although initially suspicious of the Blades, their shared level of stoicism, respect for machine craft and maintenance of their equipment eventually eroded many barriers. The final of these training campaigns was with ‘Corax’s Ravens’, where it was believed that the Raven’s skill in stealth and the use of small forces for precision strikes would benefit the new Chapter. Whilst the Blade’s excelled in both roles, and gained a great respect for the use of gunships which has remained to this day, they clashed with the Raven’s in how the final blow was delivered. While the Ravens prefered to go in for close quarter kills, destroying the enemy with bolt pistol and chainsword, the Blades’ closed their ambushes with a hail of fire, perhaps having being influenced by their previous two campaigns.
Finally, the first Blades Aurus were considered veterans ready to conduct their own affairs. Having grown to around a three hundred Battle-Brothers through their flow of new recruits, the remaining of the original marines were granted the title of First Company of the Blades Aurus. At the same time, the Adeptus Mechanicus delivered the initial great Chapter Barges, The Saber, a new vessel but built to truly ancient designs. Their first semi-independent campaign was again beside ‘The Scions of Guilliman’. During this time the Chapter recruited vivaciously, attempting to build their new brotherhood. Despite battle-losses, by the end of the campaign the Blade’s Aurus were up to 500 full battle-brothers, enough to consider the first fleet more than fully manned, and well on the way to the beginning of the second fleet. It was with the salute of the ‘The Scions of Guilliman’ that the Blade’s Aurus were finally considered a Chapter in their own right. Whether these ‘Scions of Guilliman’ were the same as first saw the Chapter off is unknown, but it is commonly considered so, if only for the poetry of them being there to see the Chapter grow from adolescence to adulthood.
This lack of knowledge about which Chapters the Blades served alongside may seem at odds with the Chapter’s later detailed records, but it is believed to result from two facts. Firstly, the Blades were under the direct command of other Chapters, and it would be these chapters who kept records of the battles fought and wars won. Perhaps, deep within the fortress monasteries of ancient Chapters, the records still exist. Secondly, those first Battle-Brothers had the knowledge, and may simply not have considered that there would be a time when it was not common amongst the Chapter. It was only a millennia after the fact, when all of the Chapter knew of the stories from the epic tales that were passed down to each new initiate, that they realized that no Brothers remained who could tell the first hand details.
It is worth noting that the Chapters that carried out the majority of the Blades Aurus’ training were either the so called ‘Shattered Legions’ or their descendants. These Chapters have often been below strength, and so it may be that that was another reason the Blades were given to them. It may also be that all three were chosen, so as the Blades did not adopt the Iron Hands', and their successors, grudges against the other ‘Shattered Legions’.
The Artos rebellion [late M34]
Artos IV was an agriworld in the Segmentum Solar. Discovered during the Great Crusade it had clearly been terraformed, and had been occupied by humans, although no survivors were found.
As a ship approaches it appears that the world has bands, spoilt only by small seas and lakes. Each band is made up of a different crop, each perfectly designed for the climate at that latitude. Even the seas are filled with an algae that can be easily refined into a protein rich paste, and the animals of the planet have specific roles in maintaining the ecosystem.
At each pole, two great domed cities were discovered. Beneath the twin cities were 80 great armoured bunkers, each able to house 10,000 and contain enough supplies for them to remain there for over a year. It was quickly surmised that these bunkers were to house the residents of the city in case of an attack. Only a huge orbital bombardment would be enough to break open the bunkers, and such an attack would throw so much detritus into the air that it would cause an artificial winter, destroying the ecosystem of the planet, and rendering it utterly useless. Therefore, the ancient residents of the cities must have planned to simply wait out any attack behind the great doors of their bunkers, until the enemy retreated or reinforcements arrived.
After Artos IV was found it was rapidly reinstated to fulfill the nutritional needs of the ever advancing Great Crusade. The most advanced technologies were employed around the planet, requiring minimal human effort for the harvesting of crops. The two cities were refitted into great refinery, processing and packing facilities, with the vast majority of the population living within them. The Northern City, simply called Artos North, became the capital, housing the main Spaceport and the palace of the Planetary Governor.
By M34, Artos system is well protected, as the area around the system is often affected by strong warpstorms, and the only reliable passage leads directly through a major Imperial Navy base. Further, its position with the Segmentum Solar means the entire region is well guarded, and any enemies that do penetrate that deeply into the Imperium care little about a rural backwater world. This perhaps explains the naivety of its population.
Approximately 100 years before the Artos Rebellion, rationing had been initiated on Artos IV, as increased food was required by a new campaign setting off from the nearby Navy Yard. Given that the rationing did not affect the productivity of the planet, the Adeptus Administratum decided that the rationing system could stay in place, increasing the efficiency of the planet.
More than three generations passed on Artos IV, with stories of the time of plenty before rationing becoming greater with each telling. A movement amongst the population, and which gained traction amongst the leadership of the planet, reasoned that the far away war must surely be over, and the planetary population deserved to be released from rationing. Surely, of the millions of tonnes of supplies that were exported each year, some were not needed? The Planetary Governor succumbed to the pressure, and agreed. When the next Imperial convoy came, they would refuse to release the supplies until their demands were met. Disagreement on the planet was still amicable, and so those who disagreed with the proposal would be allowed to move to Artos South, while all those who supported the proposal would move to Artos North. The city was soon crowded with over 90% of the population, demonstrating the great unity of the population, with only a fearful minority in Artos South.
The following month, when the Navy convoy arrived, Artos proudly broadcast their demands: no supplies for the Imperium until rationing is stopped. The navy captain declared them traitors, and that if they did not submit immediately the consequences would be dire. A few among the population had second thoughts then, but the feelings of the majority was summed up by one phrase: ‘What's the worst they can do?’. Another sure sign of their naivety.
The convoy captain signalled back to the Navy Yard, requesting reinforcements, but they had no forces suitable for a planetary assault, and a strike from orbit would render the planet useless. Fortunately, the First Fleet of the Blades Aurus was in system making minor repairs, and so their aid was requested in the retaking of Artos IV.
A message was immediately sent to Artos IV, 'Stand down immediately and only the Planetary Governor would be executed, the rest stripped of any titles but forgiven. Any who now see the error of their ways should go to Artos South, the loyal population of which would be rewarded. Any who remained in Artos North would see what happened to traitors to the Imperium’. Truly, Artos was a sheltered system, for the response was not fear and cries for mercy, but affront that they would be attempted to be bullied. A planetary defence force of 10,000 volunteers was assembled to show the bullies that the people of Artos IV meant business.
A week later, all contact with the orbital defence satellites was lost, and so the hunters who were familiar with the terrain of the northern continent around the city were sent out as scouts. A week later they reported that there was a crew of naval engineers constructing what appeared to be a temporary spaceport. They could see only a couple of thousand naval personnel there, most of them not soldiers, and the defences were not yet complete.
The commander of the PDF decided this was their moment. They would capture the ground crew, and use them as hostages, showing the Imperium that the people of Artos had to be respected. And so the PDF set out, spread wide across the tundra, trusting that the aerial defences of Artos North would protect them from assault craft, and that any orbital strike against such a widely spread force would damage the balance of the planet’s environment.
Two days later, when the PDF was only an hour from their objective, they saw new stars light up the sky behind them. The telescopes of Artos North detection vessels coming directly down towards the city at great speed. The aerial defences rushed to fire on them, but the craft were moving too fast. Only a few shots hit home, and none of the assault rams were destroyed. It was only at the very last second that massive retro-thrusters were engaged, their force shaking the very city itself, before megameltas burnt their way through the dome of the city. The Blades Aurus had arrived, and with them, the Emperor's judgement upon all traitors.
The PDF received updates as they happened, and turned back towards the city immediately, realising far too late that they had been drawn away from the city on purpose. Reports came in that less than two hundred enemy combatants had entered the city, far too few to take a city of over a million. The gunners remained at their posts in the walls of the city, expecting the real assault to come from outside. Contact was lost with each of the gun positions in quick succession. It was only then, almost 30 minutes after the assault had begun that the civilian population began to panic, rushing towards the great bunkers. The Blades had got there first, mowing down the crowds as they surged forward, the front ranks torn apart by bolter fire, but still pushed on by those behind them.
Over the radio the PDF heard the screams of the dying, their cries for mercy going unanswered. Each soldier knew that their friends, their family, everyone they had ever known was in the city. Every hour as they pushed back towards the city, more reports came in of the armoured giants systematically moving through the hab-blocks, killing all they encountered. The PDF were only minutes away when all communications stopped, the final broadcasts having being of tears, and unanswerable questions of why they had been left to die.
Each soldier now truly hated the Space Marines, maintaining their morale only by telling each other how they would take revenge, how the enemy were cowards who would be cut down when they faced actual armed resistance. Once the PDF reached the walls of the city there was no command, no coordination, only fury. The troops rushed in through the open gateway, entering the great entrance chamber of the city, usually used for convoys of vehicles. Over a thousand of the PDF were inside when the first of the heavy bolters opened fire, cutting great, bloody sweathes into the lightly armoured troops. The PDF kept advancing forward, pushing ever closer through sheer weight of numbers. When they were within 20 meters of the gunners, the Marines turned and ran into the city, and with a great howl of rage the soldiers gave chase, each group pursuing a different Astartes. They soon found they had been led into another trap.
Factory yards became kill zones, hab unit corridors turned into lines of fire. Within an hour, over half the PDF were dead. Their commander managed to regain control, fortifying the city entrance, but he knew they would have to move eventually: in the race back to the city they had abandoned the slower trucks containing their food. He made a split second decision, and soon his remaining forces were sprinting towards the bunkers beneath the city. Although caught by occasional bursts of fire, they appeared to have outmanoeuvred the Astarties. As the thick, armoured door of the bunker closed in towards them, and they slammed on the locks, both mechanical and electrical, they began to plan what to do next. They knew that the bunkers were impenetrable, and with the amount of supplies they had they could wait for years. They would wait for the Imperium to attempt to replace them and restart production, and then go out on hit and run raids. They would never get full revenge, but they would be a thorn in the enemy's side for years, decades, to come. They watched the vid screen as a squad of Marines guarded the door, knowing that if nothing else they were inconveniencing the Marines, keeping them from moving off-world. Three days later the squad disappeared but the PDF had learnt their lesson, and would not be drawn out of the bunker that easily. Minutes later they felt a deep shudder and the vid feeds went black.
Chapter Admiral Hibertius of The Saber reported success back to the Naval commanders. All the traitors had been eliminated, with minimal harm to the city, and none of the major facilities had been damaged. A single hab block had been fully destroyed as the Chapter collapsed the corridor leading to the bunker which the final rebels were sheltering in. The techmarines had made sure to secure and reinforce the surrounding structures, so there was no risk of further damage to the city.
Within weeks new workers had been bought in from a nearby hiveworld, screened to keep only those most loyal to the Imperium. They were more than happy with the rations offered on this new world, far in excess of what they could have scraped together on their own in the hive. The survivors from Artos South were granted positions as managers and trainers of this new influx as reward for their loyalty. It was calculated that the traitors within Bunker 13 would have supplies to last them over two years. Stories remained for centuries that the screams of those buried within could be heard on certain nights, and children scared eachother with stories of the survivors turning to cannibalism or suicide.
Bec'tor [early M35]
By early M35, the final, third fleet of the Blade’s Aurus had been founded, the Chapter having reached a nominal 1000 Battle Brothers, and the 3rd fleet was on the cusp of operating independently, as they had intended to since the beginning. However, it was during this period that the 2nd fleet, and the nascent 3rd fleet, were deployed to the world of Bec'tor.
Bec'tor has been a thriving world before The Heresy, having been brought into the Imperium relatively intact, it’s civilization supported by the planets extensive mineral content. However, when it was re-discovered during The Great Scouring it was a barren world, it’s human population utterly annihilated, and was subsequently quarantined.
But, as with everything, human greed and the needs of the Imperium overcase this, and by M35 new mining operations had been opened up on the planet, the population housed within the mines which riddled the planet. By 163.M35 all contact was lost with the planet, and a group of Imperial Navy destroyers were dispatched to investigate. What they found horrified them. The mining works had completely fallen to the worship of Chaos, and had sacrificed all those who would not join them to their dark gods, leaving them staked out on the surface in strange, twisted patterns. A strike team was assembled from local planetary defence forces, and was dispatched into the main mine, seeking to cut-off the head of the beast. This force was quickly ambushed and slaughtered, their last vox signals being of screams and the chanting of cultists. A new, desperate plea for reinforcements was send, and The Blades Aurus answered.
The Foil and The Épée were still operating together, and they, their six accompanying cruisers and approximately 600 Battle Brothers were soon in orbit. The Blades’ first move was to launch a massive aerial assault, their gunships destroying every surface evidence of the cultists, isolating the separate mining works from each other. The full force of the ground troops were deployed into the largest cave-network, going in to avenge the PDF that had come before them.
Meanwhile the fleets gunships, augmented by the auspexes of the orbiting vessels, searched the planet for any further sign of the enemy, or unrecorded openings into the cavern network. An anomaly was detected inside a small hill near one of the original settlements and a squad of Marines led by Techmarine Talmarus were dispatched to investigate. Once the servators had cleared a tunnel to the anomaly it was found to be an ancient Imperial bunker, consistent with the Great Crusade era. Oddly, the door appeared to have been sealed from the outside.
The entrance was slowly opened, Talmarus scrying for any hint of traps or treachery. The Marines burst in, rapidly searching the room, and finding only long-abandoned equipment which appeared to have been left carefully packed. As the techmarine invoked the long slumbering Machine Spirit of the bunker a vid-screen flickered into life, showing an unhelmeted Astarties wearing silver-gray armour, a brief flash of a flame over an open book showing on his left pauldron.
“Word came back to us that Our Lord had proclamation that the Emperor was divine, and was teaching this to the worlds he bought into compliance, and our discomfort grew. Our supplies became delivered less frequently, and we increasingly had to rely on ourselves. Still, we mastered our bodies and our minds, ready to answer any call to arms.
“After the humiliation at Monarchia, when the Emperor forced us to kneel before the Ultramarines and denounce the belief in the Emperor as god, I, optimistically hoped that would be the end, that we would be welcomed back into the legion, that our steadfast observation of the Imperial Truth would be rewarded. Such was not to be.
“The few space-worthy vessels that we had commanded were requisitioned for Lorgar’s renewed campaign, and we were left stranded on this world. Perhaps, even a Primarch does not like to be reminded of their mistakes. We made the most of it, drilling and training the planetary defence force into an organisation that the Emperor himself would be proud to lead into battle. We schooled officers whose fathers and grandfathers we had also trained, the skills and reactions of a military commander drilled into them from an early age.
“Finally, while my squad and I were out training in the Valahao mountains, a fleet of our Brethren entered the system. Their Admiral refused to answer Commander Dans’ questions until their fleet was in orbit, saying only that he was acting on the orders of Our Lord Lorgar and that we were finally about to serve our legion. Once in orbit, the Admiral demanded that Commander Dans formed up the whole garrison in the parade yard as soon as possible, and that only at that point, when he could address every Battle Brother, would he give them Lorgar’s message. My squad and I were on the opposite side of the planet, and it would take many hours for a gunship to be sent to retrieve us. Commander Dans contacted us and updated us on the situation, telling us to head to this bunker. The advantage of having been left to our own devices was that we had a communications net which we shared with the PDF, in parallel to the traditional legion communications. Commander Dans set it up such that we would be able to view the parade ground, without delaying the rest of the garrison hearing their orders. I think, perhaps, centuries of bitterness at having being abandoned allowed him to commit this petty disobedience. It certainly saved our lives.
“We gathered around the vid-screen, watching as a shuttle bearing the nobel heraldry of our legion settled in the parade ground. Seconds passed, and we could almost feel our Battle Brothers leaning in, waiting for their first glance of our kin since we had been sent back from Khur. Suddenly there was a great explosion, our screen briefly blinded by the flare of light. We cursed, wondering what had gone wrong, seeing our Brothers ripped apart by shrapnel. Gray-clad tactical dreadnought armoured shapes materialised, and as we recognized the teleporters we assumed that our Brothers in orbit had come to avenge some terribly timed xenos attack. As their storm bolters ripped into our comrades in the garrison we were quickly disillusioned.I would like to say that we rushed to action, but instead we stared. Perhaps as you watch this Astartes fighting Astartes is no longer a surprise, but for us such a thing was unthinkable. The very idea that Brother would turn against Brother was outside the realms of possibility, and so we watched uncomprehendingly as chaos unfolded.
“Monitor displays lit up in warning as every major weapons facility on the planet was hit from orbit with pinpoint accuracy. We watched the vid-screens as they showed scenes of drop-ships falling across the planet. It was only as we watched fully armoured Astaries butchering civilians that we were rocked from our motionlessness. As I commanded my squad to grab their equipment, I watched the movements of our former Brothers, seeing to understand their tactics and seeing none. I saw them bypass defensive positions to launch themselves into masses of unarmed onlookers, ripping them apart with their hands, the fresh blood staining century old armour. They let survivors escape, watching them fleet in terror as the Battle Brothers chanted their strange prayers. It was too much to bare, and I turned from the screen, leading my Battle Brothers to fight our kin.“We double timed to Karnder, linking up with the local PDF force, men who I had known for years. We launched hit and run attacks against the traitors, and several times we disguised ourselves amongst them before hitting hard, our loyal allies rushing to take advantage of the enemies’ confusion. We did this for several days, but losses among the PDF were heavy: mortals cannot stand up to the Astarties for long.
“Gray haired veterans whom I had known since they were boys began to look at us sideways, as if expecting us to suddenly turn and mow them down. The youngsters looked constantly nervous, grabbing their lasguns as soon as we walked nearby. Things came to a head when a spooked unit of the PDF began to fire at us. The majority of the squad reached cover, but Brother Gotom was killed by a chimera’s multilaser. They claimed it was a mistake, but I had clearly told them where we would be, and they had watched us move out.“I have pulled my squad back to this bunker to resupply. We can no longer trust the PDF to fight beside us. In a few hours we will go to sell our lives dearly against the traitors. We know there is no hope of rescue. I leave this record for when the Emperor and our loyal Brothers within the legion come to reclaim this world and punish our treacherous former kin. Know that we are Word Bearers, and we shall carry the word of the Emperor to our grave. Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant”.
CURRENT STATE OF THE FLEETS [M42]
The last Great Council was in 921.M41 when there was a disagreement between the Fleet Admirals of 1st and 3rd fleet. Fleet Admiral Talmarus Neumann of The Foil believed that uncovering ancient human knowledge was the only way to make a breakthrough in the stalemate of war that the Imperium, and so prioritized requests from the Mechanicus or investigations of Hulks. Fleet Admiral Mantorus Ackerman of The Saber believed that pursuing this, rather than concentrating on fighting the enemies of humanity, was abandoning their duty. They did not quite come to blows, but a simple compromise was made: their two fleets would not meet again until one of the Fleet Admirals died.
Despite transferring some Brothers to 2nd fleet, the fleet was already over sized, so was only reduced to approximately 350 Battle Brothers. With the strife throughout the Imperium, Saber fleet has rapidly deployed to put down rebellion, treachery and witchcraft. They have taken to hitting hard and fast, ripping out the heart of the enemy and moving on, leaving the mopping up to local forces.
Even with their reinforcements from 1st fleet after the Galunthor Disaster, 2nd fleet are severally under-manned. Since gaining the knowledge of the creation of Primaris marines they have been recruiting widely, and pushing their aspirants even harder. Although the fatality rate amongst the aspirantes has risen, this has been deemed acceptable by Chapter Admiral Talmus, as each gene seed left is even more precious than usual, and should only be implanted into the very best of aspirants.There are elements of conflict within the fleet: the survivors of Galunthor are resentful of the newcomers, but also have a deep sense of guilt, none more so than the Chapter Admiral. The transferees from 1st fleet have attempted to fit in, but they came with their own command structure and customs, and so integration time has been needed. The Primaris marines have been accepted as they were selected and trained by the Blades, as well as coming directly from their geneseed, however, as they become fully fledged Battle Brothers they are outstripping their older brethren in many ways, blurring the old lines of skill and seniority.
Pursuing a lead on the potential site of an unexplored battle of the Great Crusade, Foil fleet were caught out somewhere between the Pelegron cluster and the Ghost Stars when the Astronomican flickered and went out. At that distance its light was already dim: without it, navigation became almost impossible. Their Brothers in the other fleets have not heard from them since.
Edited by TheBladesAurus, 01 December 2019 - 03:02 AM.