|CHAPTER NAME: .............. STRIGOI|
FOUNDING: .................. 3RD [SUSPECTED]
CHAPTER WORLD: ............. VERIAD
FORTRESS MONASTERY: ........ ARX CREPUSCULA [LUNAR BASE]
GENE-SEED (PREDECESSOR): ... BLOOD ANGELS
KNOWN DESCENDANTS: ......... NONE
The chapter is noted to be extremely bellicose, resulting in or perhaps even because of their high activity. Task forces of the Strigoi are constantly scattered all over the galaxy, eager to slay the enemies of man wherever they may find them. Here is the nature of the chapter laid bare: they are war masons, filled with a grim pride for their work, unapologetic towards their censors. Alas, they may be justified in their bearing - mankind always has need of those who rage against the darkness, no matter how monstrous they may be. As the gears of war grind on and the Imperium braces itself to endure fresh horrors, the Strigoi stand ready to fight, their blades whetted and their thirst unslaked.
Although concrete information regarding their beginnings and early history has been lost to the currents of time, the sources at hand reveal that the Strigoi were created from Blood Angels gene-seed some ten millennia ago, suggesting that the chapter is a product of either the third or fourth founding. Indeed, the Liber Angeli describes the genesis of a chapter bearing a strong reminiscence to their profile:
Alas, this new fraternity took to the stars, the Revenant at their head leading them into new wars among uncaring stars in an attempt to quench his thirst for vengeance. Forged centuries later, made of whole cloth and minds unblemished, they nonetheless daubed themselves in the grey heraldry of ages past, for the Great Angel’s crimson was not theirs to wear anymore. The Revenant and his butchers only halted on their quest for blood when they discovered a world fit to bear their burden, where they would begin to create a legacy of their own.
Records pertaining to the chapter’s activity steadily become more prevalent towards the end of M.32, citing the Strigoi as crucial to the containment of several chaotic incursions around the Cadian Gate. Particular emphasis, however, is placed on both their characteristic brutality and frustratingly dismissive interactions with anyone not of their number, concluding the assessment by labeling them a powerful, if difficult ally to work alongside.
Curiously, their disdainful behaviour extends as far as to other chapters of sanguinian descent, the circumstances admitting this icy relationship unknown to any not of the brotherhood. In contrast, the Strigoi have never sired a successor chapter of their own, a fact they seem to view with marked indifference.
Veriad - The Crucible
The chapter is based in the Veriad System, close to the galactic core. Nearly bereft of all sentient life, it serves as an ideal stronghold for a brotherhood as fiercely independent as theirs. Only the system’s eponymous capital planet provides ample ground for mankind to prosper, making it the Strigoi’s primary source of recruits.
Of its history before the coming of the chapter, little is known. Evidence seems to suggest that the star system was settled by human colonists shortly before the nightmares of the Age of Strife became reality. It may have been this infamous period of psychic madness and burning worlds that tore the fledgling civilisation asunder and permanently rendered it down to primitive remains.
Veriad would be rediscovered towards the end of the 30th millennium by the 805th expeditionary fleet. Having made the arduous journey deep into Ultima Segmentum, these dutiful pioneers anchored long enough to record their findings before leaving for the frontlines of the Great Heresy, the world slipping into obscurity for centuries more. The Strigoi of M.32 found a world of gloaming beauty to call their own, bedecked with mist-laden forests and blue oceans. Not that the chapter had eyes to spare for this most unusual si, for their attention lay elsewhere. The treetops hide a deadly clash of man and monster that moulds prime material for the Adeptus Astartes.
Human life on Veriad is a privilege rather than a right. The barbaric clans that roam its wilds carve out their existence with the edge of a blade, each of them a killer of prodigious skill, be they man or woman, a child or fully grown. Truly, nothing less would suffice. The thicket around their meagre dwellings is rich with nocturnal megafauna that would drag careless veriadans into the wild given the chance. To remain a step ahead thus sees them able to not only weather their predations, but also turn the tide against them, hunting the creatures for food and raw materials. Each kill made strengthens a clansman’s reputation, earning him the regard of his kin - perhaps even that of the mysterious grey huntsmen from the skies.
A Fortress between the Stars
Besides their recruitment drives, the astartes have little to no contact with the Veriadans. Recluses by nature, they make a quality out of solitude as they exemplify through the bulwark of stone and metal that is their fortress-monastery.
The Arx Crepuscula (Low Gothic transl.: Duskhold) is no creation of the Strigoi, its artless spires and black-metal ramparts having existed before they first arrived at Răugol, Veriad’s moon. Initially identified via auspex as a number of simple subterranean facilities, week-long expeditions performed by first company kill teams revealed that nearly the entire satellite was hollowed out to accommodate an old space station of Terran origin. Though little power flowed through its systems and no trace of the structure’s occupants remained, the discovery was deemed a sign of the Emperor’s favour and the Strigoi claimed it by right of conquest.
Centuries later, the Duskhold still stands firm as a symbol of Imperial supremacy. The fact that it is confined to Veriad’s orbit does not impede its deadliness, far from it: the Strigoi have taken every measure to ensure that the monastery’s numerous defences can obliterate any threat to Veriad at a safe distance. Its enormous firepower is controlled by the chapter’s host of serfs, skilled menials that administer the daily goings-on of the keep and oversee the maintenance of it and the belongings of their masters. Răugol is scarcely attended by more than a handful of marines as the endless wars in the galaxy demand their attention elsewhere. This may go some way in explaining why much of the Hold’s halls and corridors remain unexplored to this day - indeed, with the chapter preoccupied, hardly anyone has dared to descend into the moon’s bottomless depths over the millennia. Of those driven enough to try, not all have returned; more than likely lost in labyrinthine corridors that seem impossible to map. A fortunate few, however, would see the light of day once more, sometimes bearing the fragments of technology thought lost to time.
Veriad's riches is kept far away from prying eyes not simply by means of the Duskold’s blistering weapons batteries; the space near the galactic core is also ripe with cosmic phenomena, making the knowledge of safe travelling routes an invaluable resource closely guarded by the chapter. The Veriad system has remained unconquered for over nine thousand years - even so, there was certainly no shortage of attempts.
Wrath of Angels
Sanguinius’ gene-seed provides his sons with qualities unique among the Adeptus Astartes. The spawn of the IX legion have proven themselves tenacious, uncannily resilient and possessed of the singular ability to recruit from almost anywhere as the Blood Angels themselves exemplify by transforming the rad-poisoned nomads of Baal Secundus into potent warriors cast in their master’s fair image.
Of course it is their more aberrant quirks for which the bloodline is famous; the twin flaws that have coloured their history for millennia. Most prominent of these is the Red Thirst, that primal craving for a foe’s flesh and blood which has to be held in check constantly lest its bearers tear themselves apart. The Black Rage on the other hand manifests itself only at the end of a battle-brother’s lifespan. Simultaneously the strongest tie to their Primarch and the greatest burden they possess, it forces them to experience their progenitor’s final moments in a delirium from which there is no escape. It is a wicked irony that their own flesh ensures that these space marines die as they lived; caked in gore, screaming oaths to a father that cannot hear them.
In the Strigoi, the Blood Angels and their ilk once again show themselves inextricably linked to their gene-coded features as they feed on the viscera of the battlefield dead. Indulging this archaic carno-ritualism likely provided the catalyst for their chapter’s own mutations, rendering the curse in their genes visible to all. Many appear strained by some unseen effort as their faces, so famously reminiscent of their Primarch’s features are marred by pallid, craggy skin. The more poetic among their censors have spoken of their ancestors’ sins writ large, whereas others see unforgivable deviancy in a chapter of malign stature.
The fell practises of the chapter are no mere attempt to still their urges, though. Cause for the excessive bloodletting is their belief that the Red Thirst is not part of their curse, but the greatest weapon bestowed upon them by the Emperor of Mankind himself. Their purpose is to turn these powers upon the alien, the daemon and the traitor with unrelenting force and prove the will needed to restrain their inner brute once the day is won. Such a path holds opportunities for glory and madness in equal fashion, but the Strigoi march on undeterred. Sanguinius’ blood boils in their veins by design, and to neglect its call is to neglect their duty.
It is a sickening truth that the practices of the chapter do not halt at the defilement of enemy remains, but going farther to dictate the consumption of their own dead. Most grotesque in this matter is that the astartes ascribe their morbid ways a twisted sense of honour. As their memories are preserved by virtue of the omophagea, the fallen are granted a measure of immortality, an eternal life more vivid than the likes of unread records or corrupted pict-feeds could provide. Only the death of the last Strigoi could end their chapter’s legacy: an ever-evolving archive of battlefield experience.
A strong focus on the martial honour of its warriors can be found in several of the chapter’s myriad traditions. This is hardly a surprise given their belligerent nature, yet easily missed as their savage get belies any sophistication. A disciplined mind and strategic brilliance are as imperative to a model battle-brother as his skill with blade and boltgun, and thus all are drilled to the highest standard. A significant part of these drills are regular duels, fought with edged weapons and overseen by their peers. These bouts serve to settle disputes and, of course, establish the participants’ skill-at-arms, but also as an outlet for the mania that perpetually gnaws at their spirits. Fatalities among the contestants are not unheard of despite the cathartic purpose of the duels, surely the consequence of injustices corrected and slights avenged.
As a space marine’s body is covered in battle scars and devotional tattoos, so does their armour bear testament to their many achievements. All Strigoi are encouraged to add to and display their personal heraldry, adorning their suits with trophies, campaign badges and kill-marks. Their ‘Respect through Renown’-type of approach even extends to potential allies, a habit that makes successful relations with the chapter notoriously difficult. The Strigoi’s ceaseless warmongering has sometimes defamed them as dull or shallow among their breed. Nothing could be further from the truth, as these sons of the Angel simply understand that their role in the Imperium is that of a bloody weapon; never the artisan, never the statesman.
Any conflict involving the Strigoi is an unsubtle and grisly affair. Their inherited bloodlust compels them to seek their foes out as fast as possible, rending them to pieces in the mayhem of close combat. Most often, this translates into massed infantry assaults supported by mechanised elements, making their transport vehicles a crucial component in most maneuvers - Impulsors, Razorbacks and venerable Land Raiders weathering opposing firepower before disgorging frenzied squads of Tactical Space Marines and Assault Intercessors directly into the face of the enemy are a sight most familiar to onlookers. Many line units carry additional melee armaments as a result, wielding an assortment of chainblades, wickedly edged combat knives and short-range pistols as often as boltguns and -rifles. The high speed and intensity of these operations regularly leaves their allies far behind them, a consequence that serves the chapter well enough. The Strigoi form the tip of the Imperium’s sword, striking hard and fast as dictated by the tried and tested doctrines of the Codex Astartes.
Deep within enemy lines, the warriors of the chapter gladly undo the mental locks keeping their Thirst in check, unleashing inhuman violence and turning their combat zones into abattoirs. Nobler men may have attempted to dispel the legends of these atrocities, denounce them as an insult to their honour or silence the detractors. The Strigoi embraced their ill repute, becoming a byword for brutal subjugation. Yet the most dreadful aspect of their work is witnessed after the killing is done, when the marines gather the bodies of the slain and the priests speak their litanies of sanctification. Only then do they indulge in the acts that earned them the reviled title of Voratores Mortem - the Eaters of the Dead.
Order of Battle
Over the course of their long and storied existence, the chapter has developed an organisational structure divergent from codex standard. Based on the guidelines presented by Primarch Guilliman, the Strigoi are divided into ten companies, each with a nominal strength of 100 space marines. Of these, eight are outfitted as battle companies, a circumstance attributed to the Strigoi’s pragmatism and insatiable hunger for war. Providing them with additional flexibility, the adjustments allow the space marines to hold multiple fronts scattered throughout the galaxy, scout- and veteran formations being distributed among them as the situation demands.
These are ideal conditions. In truth, the Strigoi are continuously undermanned as they endure the ravages of blood and battle, numbering approximately 700 full-fledged astartes. There is little to be done against this severe attrition bar upholding an aggressive recruiting policy spanning all of their tributary fiefdoms. Veriadan culture may consider conscription an honour, but from the noisome hives of Mundus Vilis to the dead grounds of Corageddon, grief meets the day when ships bearing skulls and blood drops hang in the sky.
The armies of Răugol are led by their chapter master, a warlord of supreme skill bearing centuries worth of experience. In him, everything a member of the chapter strives to be is united, fit to lead his kinsmen to glory in the name of the Emperor and his Angel. He is advised by his masters of the reclusiam, librarius, armoury and apothecarium respectively, forming a pentad charged with guiding the Strigoi through the Imperium’s struggle for survival. Often, when matters are at their gravest, the council is expanded with the addition of the company captains, equerries and dignitaries such as a representative of the Fraternis Ferrum, the chapter’s dreadnoughts. Together, they are the wit, the strength and the will of Sanguinius’ sons made flesh; the red-stained hand capable of wielding a weapon as vicious and as ardent as the Strigoi.
Like their progenitors, the Strigoi field a number of specialist units and officers. As they are hardly known as a spiritual brotherhood, the distinction of these marines is invariably owed to their exceptional characteristics or unusual obligations. None of them operate truly outside of the command hierarchy of the chapter, though all stand - in their own ways - alone.
- The Impalers - Assumed to be the equivalent of the Sanguinary Guard, the Impalers have devolved into an instrument of violence rather than virtue. Their members are undoubtedly the chapter’s most murderous elements brought together, armed and armoured with the finest wargear available. Impaler charges are terrifying things accompanied by frenzied howls and a thirst for blood that comes too easily to even these astartes, a trait that has caused the assault cadre to remain a source of concern despite their undeniable efficiency.
- The Wardens - Sometimes referred to as the Sin’s Watch, these sullen figures are much akin to the chaplains of other space marine chapters. Alongside serving in their roles as war-priests, ritual guides and retainers of the Strigoi’s most precious relics, it is they who must watch their fellows for traces of madness. In this matter, they are the sole authority within the chapter, acting at their own discretion to remove the stain. A Warden must therefore be a brother of unbreakable resolve, lest the weight of his duties utterly crushes him.
- The Death Company - The chapter’s afflicted are called the Morituri, for the sentence of all who wear the red saltires is death. Dispersed among the chapter’s strike forces, each group is overseen by a Warden intended to usher them into one last fight. With the readiness at which Strigoi officers throw these lost souls into ‘forlorn hope’-assaults, estimating their strength is nigh-impossible. Some have looked to the pits of the chapter’s fortress-monastery in search for answers, its darkness parted by the fitful cries of caged beasts...
Strigoi power armour typically bears the grey of unpainted ceramite mixed with fields of white, black and gunmetal. Even with the significance of their chosen colours - or lack thereof - unknown, they reinforce the astartes’ cold, disparaging demeanour in the presence of others.
Conversely, the rest of their livery betrays the beast beneath. The rugged, bullish type V warplate they favour emanates the same violence the chapter has quickly become synonymous with, its characteristic molecular bonding studs having found their way onto many other suits since. All but gone are the blood drop pendants and chalices closely associated with the sons of the Great Angel, replaced by grim reminders of mortality. Flensed, hollow-eyed skulls are chained to belts, oath papers and armorials promise an unquiet death to those who would fall upon the dominions of man.
True to their ad-hoc nature, the Strigoi have long ago resolved to using only the most crucial markings to denote their strategic disposition. Usually borne on the right pauldron are the appropriate symbols for either veteran status, battleline-, close support- or heavy support duty while company designations are foregone completely. Squad numeration is limited to the respective sergeants’ armour, lessening the effort of merging depleted squads and serving to identify unit leaders.
The sigil of the Strigoi is known as the Vultus Monstri. Displayed here is the visage of the victorious predator, tearing its eyes from its quarry to stare down another adversary - a warning and an unspoken challenge both.
Ionel Ardelan, ‘Crimson Crow’, Master of the Strigoi
Many a chapter master of the Adeptus Astartes is a paragon of his brotherhood, displaying the key virtues of his chapter and inspiring awe and respect in those around him. Chapter Master Ardelan is no exception to this - few battle-brothers in the history of the Strigoi can match his ferocity, his skill with blade and boltgun or his callous disregard for the allies he deploys his space marines alongside. When the Crimson Crow leads the fiends of Răugol to war, nothing that blocks the path of his sledgehammer-like assaults stands for long, be they friend or foe.
Away from the front, Ardelan's personality displays the dour streak commonly found among the chapter as he buries himself in casualty reports, tactical analyses and the numbers of the Morituri, counting the days until the Strigoi's extinction and wondering whether it will come by the hand of the Imperium's enemies, or the realm they serve.
Piotr Rednich, ‘The Shepherd’, High Warden
It is said that of the personalities of the Strigoi's command echelon, the High Warden cuts the most sinister one of them all. Piotr Rednich is widely known for his uncompromising nature, and a reputation like that is not easily earned in a chapter made from murderers and madmen. Less prone to the boundless rage that grips the rest of his brothers, Warden Rednich's wrath is cold and focused, having found its mark among his chapter's ranks almost as often as the foe. As a member of the Reclusiam, it is his sworn duty to watch the Strigoi for possible signs of the Flaw, isolate the affected and bring them under his control. But the litanies and catechisms of focus only bring a chaplain so far, which is when Rednich's crozius maul tastes the blood of Sanguinius, bludgeoning his brothers into submission or ending their lives outright when they cannot be restrained. The practice has earned him the epithet of the 'Shepherd', referring to an ancient terran parable of a man going to considerable lengths to return one of his animals to his flock - a noble duty taken to its violent extreme.
Atticus Bronn, First Captain
Atticus Bronn’s promotion to captaincy of the esteemed First Company was as much a symbolic gesture as it was an acknowledgement of his talents as a warrior and a commander. As one of the first primaris marines awoken by Belisarius Cawl, Bronn fought in Primarch Guilliman’s Indomitus Crusade before being reassigned to reinforce the Strigoi alongside a small number of fellow sons of Sanguinius. It was also them who provided their new brethren with the necessary knowledge to produce more of their number, an enormous boon for the chapter’s demanding war effort. Though not all Strigoi initially accepted the ‘new breed’, resistance against their induction began to recede when Master Ardelan made his perspective on the matter clear by replacing the deceased First Captain Nemitz with Bronn.
It did not prove easy, but the primaris marines eventually came to terms with the identity of their new chapter, earning their place among the ranks of the Strigoi. The First Captain in particular became an exemplar of the chapter - ruthless, cunning and possessed of a thirst for blood that is the match of any firstborn Strigoi, Atticus Bronn continues to prove that he is deserving of the trust placed in him by his liege lord.
ca. 900.M32: The Battle of the Nemean Gulf
The Strigoi engage elements of the World Eaters in a massive void battle near Cadia Prime during the 3rd Black Crusade. Severely outnumbered, the young chapter prevails nevertheless as a boarding party led by Captain Costyne successfully breaches the enemy flagship. Sixth Company breaching teams cleave themselves through decks upon decks of maddened cultists and frenzied Khornate berserkers before they finally reach the bridge. Costyne proves unable to best the 12th legion warlord, yet still the dying captain manages to slay the command crew using a demolition charge. Without a strong leader to hold the chaos fleet together, the World Eaters’ ranks begin to fester with dissent and disarray, allowing the rest of the chapter to run them down.
ca. 001.M36: The Aenean Massacres
In the aftermath of the Nova Terra Interregnum, the newly unified Imperium is wracked with insurgencies caused by the collapse of the Ur-Council in Segmentum Pacificus. One such revolt is the civil war of Aenea Majoris, a hive world of extreme importance to the Departmento Munitorum on account of its production of Accatran-Pattern lasguns. Unable to quell the riots by themselves, the desperate planetary government sends a plea for assistance into the void, which is answered by the Storm Giants and the Strigoi. Though the former extend the hand of comradeship, the Strigoi, unwilling to cooperate, make planetfall upon Aenea early and begin to butcher the incensed civilians. The killing proceeds for four days, by the end of which the global population had dropped to a critical 13% of its former size. Both the planetary governor and the chapter master of the Storm Giants demand the commander of the self-appointed censure host to explain the excessive violence applied to the populace. The reply they receive is as simple as it is accurate:
“Condemn us if you must, but our work here ensures that the thought of such heresy won’t cross their minds for generations to come. We are Judgement and we are Death. No misplaced sense of mercy will keep us from our duties, and never will we let a crime go unpunished.”
ca. 906.M41: Of Snakes and Slayers
Preparing to disband after bringing the Varus Crusade to its successful conclusion, a Strigoi force at near-chapter strength is informed of the reappearance of the Arclight, a 9th legion vessel reported as lost during the closing years of the Horus Heresy. Fully intent on reclaiming the vessel for the sons of Sanguinius, the Strigoi experience a rude awakening when the seemingly dead ship is revealed as an elaborate trap set by the Alpha Legion. A merciless space battle ensues, with the coveted Victory-class battleship reaping a fearsome tally among its would-be liberators. Even so, the chapter manages to free the Arclight and destroy the last remaining traitor legionaries.
Bloodied, but unbroken, the Strigoi tend to their wounds; ninth captain Ionel Ardelan is chosen to replace their fallen chapter master. As the Arclight is given to the Adeptus Mechanicus for repairs and ritual cleansing, the Strigoi return to Veriad to replenish their worryingly low numbers, dismissing the call to join the Badab War.
ca. M42: The Fiends that stalk the Stars
Reinforced by newly created primaris space marines, a strike force consisting of the third and seventh harrows alongside elements from the veteran and scout formations makes haste for the Eastern Fringe. Led by Master Ardelan, the Strigoi plan to ravage the Tau expansion fleets and exterminate the myriad xenos races lingering in the outer rim of the galaxy, hindering them from exploiting the chaos in the wake of the Great Rift.
Edited by AHorriblePerson, Yesterday, 11:30 PM.