The Champions Eternal Chapter
Beacons of Light
ith swathes of the Imperium clinging to life by a thread following the loss of Cadia, and the birth of the Great Rift, new defenders were needed to secure the future of mankind. Every corner of the Imperium is in need of reinforcement. Among the sectors fortunate enough to receive aid is a region of space alongside the Siren’s Storm in Segmentum Tempestus, an area known locally as the Lightning Reaches. When Fleet Tertius came to secure the region, the existing Imperial forces were well on their back leg, locked in desperate struggles against Chaos invasions spilling from the Siren’s Storm, as well as with contesting forces from every major xenos race, resulting in a sprawling warzone across multiple sectors. What had drawn these forces to the same place was unclear, but without further support, the region was sure to collapse. One of the newly founded Primaris Astartes chapters accompanying the fleet was assigned stewardship of the region. The brotherhood that assumed this role was the untested Champions Eternal.
Joining their allies on battlefields throughout the Reaches, the Champions and the Imperium turned a losing battle into a bitter stalemate, finally earning the Imperial forces some room to breath and regroup. While valuable worlds on the frontlines of these conflicts have been ground down to little more than rubble and bone, the worlds inside their perimeter have some measure of security once more. Taking their place in the Lightning Reaches, the Champions Eternal will ensure that the Emperor’s Light will continue to shine on the worlds threatened by the shadow of the Siren’s Storm.
espite the desperate need for reinforcements in the Reaches, or perhaps because of it, the Champions had a difficult time locating a world suited to establish as a home. Though they could have continued operating from their fleet, a central base of operations to stockpile supplies, maintain a pool of recruits, and coordinate with allies in the midst of the wartorn Reaches, was too valuable a prospect to pass up. The search eventually led them to a manufactorum-dominated hive world called Karndanaq.
When the Champions found it, Karndanaq and its people were struggling. Though reasonably removed from the many frontline conflicts surrounding the region, an ambitious fledgling Drukhari kabal had been preying on it for years by means of well hidden webway portals. The kabal took particular pleasure in killing and capturing adults in droves, leaving countless orphans in their wake. It reached a point that many of those reaching adulthood simply bore an expectation that they would be marked for slavery in the dark city. And so it was by necessity that the planets manufactori were operated, and it’s defenses were manned, by a disproportionately young population.
Knowing that the strategically well-placed world could become a tremendous asset, and enraged by the predations of the kabal, the Chapter settled into orbit over the world to bring the Drukhari to heel. The raiders seemed to sense that their playground was being encroached on, for as the Champions began to make landings on the planet, they were met with stiff resistance from the kabal. For all their conditioning, their training and indoctrination, this was the Champions’ first true taste of war in all its brutality.
Though they took naturally to battle, their lack of experience manifested in inflexible strategies and tactical mistakes that proved costly for the Champions, and in some cases devastating for the natives. There were abject failures and grim tragedies as the Chapter fought and wrestled to gain their footing, both in physically secure landing sites and strategically sound maneuvers. Fortunately, the Champions humbled by their experiences, taking them to heart, and acting quickly to modify their methods. After their initial setbacks, the Champions quickly gained the upper hand on the kabal, routing them thoroughly from the planet.
Taking stewardship over the world, the Champions have erected a fortress on small moon Lucidimons above Karndanaq, a monastery called the Calx Eternum. Since establishing control in the system, the Champions have redistributed throughout the Reaches, breaking sieges, executing retaliatory strikes, and easing the pressure on Imperial forces stretched thin throughout the region.
“We are the guardians of of the Emperor's starry overlook, His wardens against the darkness!
No evil shall encroach while our watch endures, and our watch endures Eternal!”
Lieutenant Varatehk Kanatar’s rallying call at the Siege of C’Orragh
he Champions Eternal could hardly have hoped for a more hardened crop of recruiting stock than the orphans that kept Karndanaq limping along through the oppression the planet suffered at the hands of the Drukhari. The original population of liberated youths that lived through the scouring had the ideal combination of first hand experience of the realities of war, even combat, and the burning admiration for their superhuman saviors. There were few who did not leap at the opportunity to join the ranks of the Angels of Death.
Their uplift to Astartes served only to enhance the desire of those left behind to serve the Imperium and their Champions, and raising the next generation to provide support for the Chapter in every conceivable way became the highest aspiration of the planet’s populous. Many of Karndanaq’s manufactori were converted to supply as much materiel as possible to the Chapter’s supplies, and children are educated with the expectation of taking the trials to become Space Marines themselves.
As with all rites of recruitment among Astartes chapters, the path to joining this brotherhood is arduous. Brought before a council of Librarians on the moon above, aspirants are examined both mentally and physically, the purity of every youth’s zeal as closely studied as the purity of his genes. Those who are accepted face stringent tests based on all the ideals the Champions hold dear, specifically trials of strength, speed, courage, stamina, and wisdom. Those who meet with approval begin implantation.
Siege of Kahdem Hive
Corporal Standis pressed himself against the inside of the trench, grunting as explosions rattled his ribs, each detonation closer than the last. The traitors were closing in. Glancing up, he saw a squad of the red and gold clad astartes nearby, accompanied by another in black armor, break cover. Standis had thought the Astartes above such foolishness; there was no weathering that artillery. It was suicide. In the briefest of lulls between detonations, the corporal heard the one in black roar a single, indistinct word.
A strange, bright corona seemed to blossom around the other marines, and in a flash, they were gone. A few more shells detonated nearby, but the next explosions all sounded dull, and distant. The guns had gone still. Standis cautiously peeked over the lip of the trench and saw the advancing traitors faltering as their artillery support vanished and loyalist rallying calls begin to rise. Looking off to the side again, the corporal’s gaze was met by the black-armored marine, eyes glowing dully within the shadow of his hood.
ruly a spectacle to behold in the melee of war, the Champions Eternal are bold and ostentatious in battle. They excel in close combat fights, leaning heavily into the use of powered weapons, particularly thunder hammers, power fists, and lightning claws, with which they rain down attacks on their enemies in showers of crackling energy. The assault elements of the attack will often seek out what they perceive to be the strongest enemy, both in an effort to prove themselves and to break resistance for the advance of line squads.
Closely supporting the frontline squads are always members of the Chapter Librarium. This would seem a risky move among some chapters of Astartes, but the Champions seem to have no hesitation to put precious psykers on the frontlines of battle. To their credit, the Champions Librarians regularly demonstrate their value in combat, specializing in smiting enemy vehicles and defenses with psychic lightning, leaving enemy troops unprotected against all-out assaults by their brethren. In this way, the Librarians are powerful anchors for securing control of the battlefield and advancing across it. While it is unreasonable to expect that such use of Librarians can be without consequence, the Champions have proved remarkably successful at maintaining their Librarium’s numbers; almost strangely so.
When bringing armored support to bear, the Champions favor the new patterns furnished by Cawl’s millenia of work, and as with their infantry, they employ the flashiest and most destructive. Their Repulsor Executioner tanks and Redemptor Dreadnought chassis are very carefully maintained, alongside a significant complement of Whirlwinds that sees extensive use. Fracturing enemy formations with artillery fire prior to the hammering blow of assault units is a highly popular tactic.
Despite their relatively successful track record since the Karndanaq Campaign, the Chapter has inevitably faced its share of stiff resistance. Accounts have arisen from some of these desperate stands of cornered squads of Champions flying into a sudden, unnatural fury, laying waste to everything in their path by supposedly unnatural means. Though these brutal counterattacks invariably destroy the enemy, the only members of the Champions Eternal to walk away from these encounters are the Chaplains present.
hile the Lord Commander Roboute Guilliman has made changes to the Codex Astartes, the Champions Eternal were founded at the traditional strength of 1000 marines in ten companies. The chapter’s costly mistakes in the Karndanaq Campaign, however, incurred some terrible losses, including the entirety of the 5th company, and so much of the 2nd company that it’s remainder was redistributed, and the Champions have yet to recover these losses.
Leading the Chapter is Master Bileal Baelson, a consummate warrior and, curiously, a powerful psyker. By all accounts, Baelson manifested no psychic ability prior, during or after his creation until the Chapter undertook to liberate their chosen home world. This irregularity has not escaped notice by the more astute among Imperial leadership in the Reaches, but the turmoil in the region has made it too dangerous for the most suspicious parties to risk interference with the Chapter.
Far from the only organizational divergence, the Chapter’s Librarians appear in other unusual roles, with veteran Codiciers taking primary command of each of the companies. The Brother Librarians that join the battle line squads on the field remain distinct members of the Librarium, and aren’t specifically assigned to any squads. The companies as they stand have been only lightly adjusted for the losses the Chapter sustained are The companies and their commanders are as follows:
- Magaragan of the 1st Company (Veterans)
- Federius Libertamine of the 3rd Company (Battle Company)
- Pardos Penalios of the 4th Company (Battle Company)
- Eugalar Choromon of the 6th Company (Battle Company)
- Mareal Bloodfield of the 7th Company (Battle Company)
- Daros Drudalis of the 8th Company (Assault Company)
- Ibysr Amanatehp of the 9th Company (Reserve Company)
- Tanist Mirare of the 10th Company (Scout Company)
The current Librarium is led by one brother Teth-Aman, a Karndanaq native that rose quickly through the ranks. The chaplaincy of the Chapter is administrated by Master of Sanctity Takiel Tawnehk.
The doors of the Hall of Champions unsealed and parted, and Master Tawnehk led the way inside. “Look well, Brother,” he said in his low, rumbling voice, “Which of the Chapter’s symbols would you call the most sacred?”
Akardak paused at the question, eyes flicking over the Chapter’s artefacts, few though they were for the Chapter’s age. He raised a hand tentatively reaching toward the Endless Blade, then paused and finally pointed at the still gently billowing Infractum Faros, the unmarred banner of the 2nd Company. He looked back at the Chaplain Master, but Tawnehk sighed and shook his head.
“Your heart is in the right place, brother, but there is something greater still that we carry into battle, that inspires fear in our foes and hope in our allies.”
Akardak began to nod, understanding already dawning on him.
“Yes,” Tawnehk went on, nodding as well, “It is who we are. Our very name is power. A force for good. A light in a dark galaxy. It is our greatest artefact, and we must never lay it down.”
rothers of the Champions Eternal demonstrate a palpable degree of empathy towards the ordinary citizens of the Imperium. This comes as no surprise, as their recruits, particularly those known colloquially as the First Sons of Karndanaq, never forget their most humble beginnings, and the hope and salvation the Astartes brought them. They live to bring this relief to the rest of the Imperium, and believe they do so to the Emperor’s glory and in His stead. Among the highest ideals of the Champions is to provide the citizens of the Imperium with even the slightest inkling of the Emperor’s might and majesty, and a modicum of the inspiration that he gave to mankind.
While far less suspicious of psykers than some of their brothers in other chapters, the Champions have no illusions about the dangers posed by the warp, the temptations that face the psychically gifted, and in turn, the risks incumbent in appointing Librarians to lead companies. To address these risks, the chaplaincy of the Chapter works closely with the company commanders in a constant vigil of their spiritual purity. Assignments are rotated with the intent of both protecting chaplains from the corruption of hypothetical traitors, and exposing the commanders to scrutiny from multiple perspectives.
The Chapter cult engenders an enthusiastic and fervent personality among the brothers, emphasizing pride in their role as the Emperor’s servants, and eagerness to fulfill their duties and protect the Imperium’s citizens from the darkness of the xenos and the heretic. Chaplains have always impressed upon their brothers that the Imperium is its people; not its edifices, not its institutions. The strength of this belief was made apparent during the early months of the Karndanaq Campaign, when the Chapter’s mistakes caused terrific civilian casualties. The Champions suffered and grieved with the people, in their own way, and the simple, yet unsanctioned mantra of “Never again” has entered into the Chapter psyche and continues to be intoned on every battlefield.
The Chapter’s dead are honored in ways fairly typical for Astartes, though they maintain no ossuary relics of any kind; deceased brothers are ritually, thoroughly, cremated, and their ashes spread on the surface of the moon. Fallen brothers are often remembered in songs of lament at formal gatherings.
he Champions were told that their genetic sires are the Ultramarines, and their gene-seed seems by most accounts to have the expected stability. There is, however, the unexplained matter of certain battlefield casualties recovered from some of the most intense battlefields on which the the Champions have fought; bodies that are more boxed in their power armor rather than wearing it, withered almost as if by extreme mortal age...seemingly burned up from the inside. Only a handful of such bodies have been discovered by anyone outside the Chapter, though they are soon returned to the Champions, one way or another.
Call: “We are the living lightning!” Answer: “The Emperor’s justice strikes true!”