Thank you, brother, for always taking the time to review this and all the other posts in these parts of the forum. Your dedication is absolutely exemplar, and your criticism always on point. I am, seriously, very grateful for your time and encouragement.
Once I started to write again with more frequency, I found myself making some serious progress. In fact, despite changes pending review, of course, I can sum up the chapter summary, and 4/5 parts of the chapter brief already. All I need is to write the part about the chapter's organization. This text should allow anyone who cares to read about the chapter, to get a quick idea of who they are. If they like it, they can read some more detail. If they like THAT, then they can go ahead and read the history of the chapter in full detail, as they go on.
If it makes reviewing it easier, I'll sum it all up right here:
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The Wings of Dawn is a loyalist chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, and codex-compliant successors to the Dark Angels. They are formally a part of the Sentinel Founding, and are based on a distant, broken death world named Alcides, near the edge of the Eastern Fringe.
It is a chapter formed up of warriors made from the gene-seed of the First Legion. Heirs to their Primarch’s heritage of an unyielding loyalty to the Imperium, and a stoic determination in the face of inescapable death. Distinctive traits which were highly sought after for the creation of these warriors, as they were brought into service with the specific task of holding a line at the farthest reaches of the Eastern Fringe; and to sacrifice themselves to the last man in order to stop a prophesized evil that would come into the known universe from the depths of undiscovered space.
This is a chapter born, destroyed, and then reborn, in defiance of prophecy. Having acted as the unwitting engineers of their own downfall, and as the agents of the great cataclysm that struck their home-world at the turn of the 37th millennium. Having then survived this doom, and their battle against their fated enemy, despite the wisdom of the visions and the holy predictions of the great Imperium going against them.
The battle brothers of the chapter are grim warriors, who truly embody the sacred words of the Emperor: “And they shall not know fear”. They are courageous to the point of being thought of as suicidal, and they never allow themselves to give an inch to the enemy. Still, they are not stubborn or foolhardy, as other chapters can be. Their sacrifices are not made for pride, for wrath, or for glory, but for duty. Their genetic makeup carries with it the strategic prowess of their Primarch, and so, the combination of their traits makes the Wings of Dawn a force of warriors who are never hesitant to lay down their lives, but who always do so in service to a greater plan for victory.
From within the hallowed halls of their monastery, the Sigmalite Fortress, they maintain a constant watch over the larger segmentum. Ever in open vigilance for any activities on the part of the enemies of the Imperium, but also in secret search for any signs or clues which may tell of the return of their fated enemy. This, as they live on in constant suspicion that their own survival, millennia ago, must have meant that the doom they once stopped is not forever gone, but rather that its existence is forever bound to the chapter, and while one survives, so will the other.
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Origins of the chapter
The battle brothers of the Wings of Dawn are a chapter twice born into service for the Imperium of Man. Originally created inside the vast laboratories of Mars and from the gene-seed of the First Legion, through the careful selection of deeply studied and meticulously vetted candidates. All of them taken from many of the various faithful planets of the Segmentum Solar. A brotherhood then made anew after a great calamity, and from amongst the surviving inhabitants of their own sundered home-world. All of these new warriors being brought into service during the final days of the 37th millennium, as a gambit, thought out by the last true-born battle brothers of the chapter. One which was desperately enacted, so as to somehow play out their own twisted fate, and ultimately fulfill their preordained purpose to the Imperium.
The creation of the chapter was the result of prophecy. A reaction to a vision of a great and terrifying doom, which was to come from beyond the farthest edges of the known galaxy. The lives of these warriors —the battle brothers of what was named, at first, as the Lightkeepers—, were nothing more than the elected response from a concerned Imperium. Chosen to face against a new and unknowable enemy, which would soon be at its gates.
By the mandate which led to their founding, the battle brothers of the Lightkeepers chapter were all born to ultimately die, and to —in doing so— save humankind; for their deaths had been foretold as the means through which to ensure the destruction of whichever evil was bound to spring up from the great darkness of the unknown cosmos. One force made to consume the other, so that countless other imperial lives would be spared.
Because of this, the Lightkeepers were created from the gene-seed of the First Legion. In the hopes that the genetic legacy of the Dark Angels Primarch would grant unto them the loyalty, resolve, and honor-bound sense of duty which would be needed to face down their own inescapable sacrifice, with unbreakable determination.
Destiny, however, would play itself out in a way unlike that which had been foretold in the prophecies. In the end, the battle brothers of the chapter would manage to stop the doom they had been created to fight; but they would do so without dying out themselves. They would, in fact, survive the death which had been spelled out to them as their one inescapable fate. These few survivors, these last Lightkeepers, being unable to truly understand the complexities or the implications of their own survival, would decide to proclaim their former chapter as dead.
They would decide to hold their fates fulfilled, and from the ashes of their former selves they would choose to have themselves be born again, and under a new name. Free to carry on the fight against the enemies of the Imperium, as the Wings of Dawn. Haunted, however, by the unshakeable suspicion that their survival against fate would one day mean the return of their true nemesis.
Chapter home world
The chapter is based on the far-off death world of Alcides, in the Orientis Lux system. A place located at the edge of the Eastern Fringe, beyond which nothing exists but the blackness of unending space. A place deprived of any indigenous intelligent life. Discovered and colonized almost a full millennium and a half before the arrival of the chapter.
This planet was once a relatively large and successful industrial hub for the Imperium. Then housing billions of imperial citizens, spanning three colossal hive cities, and numerous refineries and industrial hubs. All of this, despite the deadly hardships posed by its climate, its topography, and its natural fauna. And, although it continues to house many millions of imperial citizens into the present day, the great catastrophe that struck it at the end of the 37th millennium has turned it into little more than a fractured shadow of its former self.
In any case, Alcides has been, and still is, a dangerous world of cold, red rock. With storm filled skies which are constantly lit up in a green haze, caused by the powerful auroras that spread across the entire upper atmosphere; consequence of the particular radiation that emanates from the system’s lone star. With large and wild ocean masses, and vast cragged continents; all of which hold numerous and abundant caches of an emulsion-like substance which is refined by imperial citizens into fuel, both for their military industries and their own daily survival.
It is the home to a peculiar genus of beasts, called the Fellhae. Agile, cunning and ferocious monsters that proliferate in many places across Alcides, in various species and subspecies. Each one adapted to their own specific environment within the planet biosphere. These creatures manage to survive this otherwise very inhospitable place, mainly due to their ability to consume not only lesser beasts, but also the emulsion-like substance which is abundant in Alcides. Each species of the genus possesses some variation of a special set of glands and organs, which they can use to ingest and metabolize this substance, so as to then use it as either a secondary source of nourishment, or as a natural weapon with which they can vaporize water, melt stone, or disintegrate both flesh and bone.
The natural ability of the Fellhae was quickly adopted through technology by the early settlers of Alcides. This led to their accelerated development, which in turn allowed them to thrive despite the dangers posed by the natural predators and the plentiful other hazards of this death world. Their ingenuity and perseverance led to the founding of great hive-scale cities, as well as numerous refineries and industrial complexes, across the many emulsion ponds and reservoirs that lay across the various depths of the planet’s mantle. All of them interconnected by a great underground network of roads and defensive positions centered around the crown jewel of their claim over the planet: The Sigmal. A colossal refinery and drilling outpost, stretching for miles in width and length, and reaching from the surface of the planet and down to its very core.
Having survived the sundering of Alcides, at the end of the 37th millennium, the Sigmal acts now as the fortress-monastery of the chapter. Its hallowed chambers housing the battle brothers of the Wings of Dawn, as well as what remains of the history of their old selves. What millions of human inhabitants which yet remain on the planet, all look up to the chapter and their mighty fortress for protection from a world which they have mostly lost forever.
So, at present, Alcides is a world broken by the ravages of the great disasters that once struck it. With more than one entire hive city having been lost millennia ago to the power of multiple atomic-level explosions and repeated waves of searing solar radiation. With entire mountain ranges having crumbled into dust as a result. With the very shape of its continents and of its oceans having changed beyond control or repair. It is a world now reclaimed by the Fellhae, with its human survivors having been pushed back into the remnants of their once great civilization. Forced to hold the line against both the beasts and the elements from the relative safety of what remains of their underground network. Their lives are now spent in surviving to the best of their ability, while producing the tools of war that are required by both the planetary defense force and the astartes themselves. Heroes who, in turn, keep a vigilant watch, as the perils of the death world encroach more and more, all around them, with each passing generation.
Culture and traditions
The battle brothers of the Wings of Dawn chapter are characterized by a grim demeanor. In the same vein as others who also take their genetic heritage from the First Legion’s Primarch, these warriors carry themselves with somber detachment and solemn purpose, as they go about their lives, both in and out of combat.
They are shaped by the conditions of their home world, to see human life as something valuable that must be protected, but ultimately ephemeral. They hold themselves to be the protectors of their home world, and the liberators of all systems besieged by the enemies of humankind. With their war cry —although at present being somewhat removed in meaning from what it originally was, in the early 38th millennium—, upholding and exalting these ideals. Still, in the end they see all human life as something to be sacrificed in the pursuit of otherwise greater ends, should the need call for it. They feel deeply for the weak who might fear their own deaths, and hold a special form scorn for warriors who show even a semblance of doubt at the idea of laying down their lives for the good of others.
They are shaped, also, by their own history, to renounce most manners of pride and glory. Boasting comes hard to them, as their lives are spent in a sort of shameful remembrance of the fact that, not only could it very well be argued that they should not exist at all, but also that they themselves are, in no uncertain terms, the ones responsible for the destruction of so much of their own home world, and for the death of billions of imperial lives.
They are a chapter that follows the letter of the Codex Astartes very closely. Consequence of their proximity to various areas of influence from other codex-compliant chapters (most notably, the Ultramarines themselves). Consequence, as well, of their use of the Codex in the 38th millennium, as source of knowledge with which they were able to rebuild themselves, after their own decimation. Still, although most of their original traditions (as developed during the brief period of time in which they existed under their previous chapter designation) remain lost to them, some fragments survive, and in relative resemblance to the way they were crafted from the foundational traditions inherited from their progenitors. All of these preserved into present day in as much as they can be, by the brothers of the Reclusiam.
Following this amalgamation of traditions, the Wings of Dawn follow the old chapter structure of the Codex Astartes, both in composition and command, yet they keep their own inner circle from amongst the masters of each of their ten companies. Their task being an agenda all to their own. One which, although not tied to a secret shame as it is with their parent chapter, is still the primary concern of the high command of the chapter at all times: the pursuit of any evidence of the survival of the great enemy they once faced at the sundering of Alcides. As knowledge of the chapter’s past grows within a particular battle brother, they are inducted more and more into this inner circle, and they are granted further responsibility in the eternal watch they all maintain for the return of this great evil.
Before even beginning such a path, though, any new warrior that might enter into the ranks of the chapter must pass through a series of trials. Each born from the features of their home world, the state of the human civilization that remains upon it, and the events that led to the chapter’s current condition. All of them playing a part in shaping an aspirant into becoming a true battle brother.
Beyond the instruction and training that any potential astartes must survive in order to be considered at all as adequate by the chapter, the inner circle of the Wings of Dawn, then, and under advisement of the Arch Chaplains of the Reclusiam, makes their aspirants go through three particular rites of initiation. Those who survive them, must then perform a ritual of self-sacrifice known to the chapter as the “staring into the light”. Surviving this final trial is the only way to become a battle brother, and with each aspirant that survives it the chapter as a whole comes one step closer to understanding the true nature of their own fate.
The Wings of Dawn are close adherents to the Codex Astartes. Having taken the text drafted down by the Primarch of the Thirteenth Legion as the basis upon which to rebuild their military structure and traditions; this then combined with the training methods and special combat tactics of their own progenitors.
Within the scope of the Codex, the chapter has a particular focus for high-speed assault maneuvers, followed up by the supporting advance of large infantry formations. These, usually deployed through the use of combat squads, so as to pursue specific objectives of tactical value on the battlefield, in accordance to the abilities and equipment of each part of the overall formation.
In incorporating various training protocols and combat doctrines inherited from the First Legion, some parts of the chapter organize themselves in specialized wings. With the veterans of each battle company of the chapter always being deployed using suits of Tactical Dreadnought Armor, to engage the enemy with a silent ferocity, akin to the Dark Angel’s first company. With the first assault squad of each battle company of the chapter always being deployed as high-speed shock troops, riding into combat using bikes and landspeeders, with a deft maneuverability and deadly precision, akin to the Dark Angel’s second company.
Due to the natural environment of their home world, one of the main weapons of choice for the battle brothers of the chapter, is —of course— plasma. Be that in the form of personal sidearms for most commanding officers of various hierarchical positions within the company structure, in the form of plasma guns and combi plasmas for specialists and sergeants in the battle lines of each company, or in the form of the heavier plasma cannons for heavy gunners in both the battle lines and the heavy support formations of each company.
The fuel of these weapons comes from the special emulsion that is abundant in the chapter home world, and it is used indiscriminately by those battle brothers blessed with the honor of wielding the weapons that fire it. Without fear or consideration for their own safety, as they engage the enemy with their armament charged to their deadliest possible capabilities, as often as possible.
In combat, the battle brothers of the chapter are merciless, yet always focused on a tactical victory. Never allowing themselves to act upon a desire for blood and carnage for their own sake. Their engagements are well planned and strategic, placing tactical victory over personal glory, every time. Although this makes for the chapter being useful as allies for most other forces in the Imperium, what causes concern for any who fights besides them is the chapter’s willingness to die in combat in order to secure victory for the Imperium; and their expectation that whoever they fight alongside with shares the same disposition. This has often given way for other commanders of various imperial forces to think of the Wings of Dawn as straight up suicidal. Something that would be hard to argue to be far removed from the truth.
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This is as far as I go, at present.
Edited by Berzul, 08 April 2020 - 08:38 PM.