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The Angels of Veneration

- - - - - Angels of Korumani Chapter Angels of Veneration Chapter Inquisitor Teriq Ausar

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#1
Brother Tyler

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(Part I)

gallery_26_7190_208.gif Chapter Datafile: Venerators of Korumani gallery_26_7190_276.gif

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Founding - M.34
Progenitor Legion - Dark Angels
Known Descendants - None
Homeworld - Korumani III
Allegiance - Loyalist


Notable History
The Venerators of Korumani Chapter was more commonly known simply as "The Venerators." The Chapter amassed a respectable battle record in the six hundred years of its existence, including the Paramon Crusade, the Vandressen Punitive Expedition, and the Defense of Ferotas IV. The Chapter is most well known, however, for sacrificing itself in order to ensure the defeat of the daemon prince known as “Doombreed” when that fell being led a bloody black crusade in early M35.

Despite being descended from the Dark Angels Chapter, the Venerators of Korumani followed the dictates of the Codex Astartes quite closely and aren’t known to have deviated from that tome in terms of organization and heraldry as commonly followed by the other Unforgiven Chapters. In addition, there is no evidence that the Chapter maintained a close relationship with its predecessor during its six hundred year existence. Some speculate that the Dark Angels Chapter turned its back on the Successor on the basis of the High Lords’ decision to create the Venerators of Korumani despite the severe losses the Dark Angels had suffered during the Fourth Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler.

Livery
The Venerators of Korumani wore silver armour. The Chapter badge depicted a black shield with a yellow winged lion passant in chief bearing a sword upright in one hand.

Company affiliation was indicated by the addition of the company number in white at the bottom of the shield in the Chapter badge, an uncommon practice, but one within the broad interpretations of the Codex Astartes.

Squad affiliation was indicated by the squad number in white upon the black squad badge, with the Chapter using the style of squad badges most commonly used by those Chapters that adhere to the Codex Astartes. When wearing tactical dreadnought armour, the Chapter badge was worn upon the right shoulder and the number upon the shield indicated the squad to which the terminator-brother belonged (since the Venerators of Korumani followed the dictates of the Codex Astartes and only allowed the trained veterans of the 1st Company to wear the rare tactical dreadnought armour).

The veterans and officers of the Chapter often wore black tabards, though this practice was by no means universal.

Discussion Topic

The winged lion image is used by kind permission of Mike Harpin.

#2
Brother Tyler

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(Part II)

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When the Lakourin Archive was rediscovered in 581.M40, one of the numerous codices found within was a small book whose worn cover bore no discernible marks. Dubbed the "Lakourin Codex," the pages within included sketches and notes about a Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes identified as the "Venerators of Korumani." The notes described various members of the Chapter, including Otrak-Brother Masleh and Silatar-Champion Gabuthelon. The journal assumes that the reader has familiarity with the Venerators of Korumani as the peculiar titles are not explained.

Of special interest in the Lakourin Codex is a page depicting the logo of the Venerators of Korumani, a stylized winged lion bearing a sword. The golden lion is shown on a black shield. No known Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes bear this heraldry and it has been concluded that the Venerators of Korumani were a Chapter lost to the Imperium in one of the countless wars through the ages. On the same page is a sketch of an axe head labeled as the Axe of Veneration. According to the note, this weapon was wielded by the Chapter Master. No such weapon has been recorded in any other histories, nor is such a weapon known to be possessed by any of the forces of the Imperium. If this weapon did exist then it was probably lost along with the Venerators of Korumani.

Other notes describe the Chapter's prosecution of the Defense of Ferotas. Scholarly study has discovered that the world of Ferotas IV in the Segmentum Pacificus has been the site of several major conflicts. Once a thriving agri-world, the planet was reduced to a wasteland in M38 by a force of renegades. Prior to that, it was the scene of at least three major battles, at least one of which involving the Adeptus Astartes.

Some suspect that the Venerators of Korumani may in fact be the Chapter known colloquially as the "Venerators." That Chapter was known to have perished during the event known as the Tide of Blood.

Research into the Lakourin Codex has revealed hidden ciphers within the pages. Though these ciphers have yet to be broken, the implication is that the codex was collected in secret by some agency other than the Venerators of Korumani. Who that agency was has yet to be determined.

#3
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(Part III)

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TERIQ AUSAR – The “Battle Lord” who rose from
obscurity in the aftermath of the Tide of Blood [ref. Liber
Malificarum, Chapter MCMXXIV] to become one of the
Inquisition’s most renowned warriors during the dark
days of the Umbra War. Records indicate that Ausar
originally trained as warrior in service to the Ecclesiarchy
and was accepted by his master, Talman S’oyatar,
following service under that Inquisitor during the
Ra’athmani Investigation. Demonstrating exceptional
intellect and self-will, Ausar later became S’oyatar’s
apprentice. Necrocognition cortical transcript confirmed
that S’oyatar appointed Ausar as his successor shortly
before the former was slain during the Tide of Blood,
and Ausar’s formal elevation to full Inquisitor rank was
bestowed at the Conclave of Prayanus.

Endowed with an imposing stature, Ausar was known for
his quiet demeanor. He spoke rarely, but when he did,
his gravel-like voice carried significant weight. He was
famed for the baroque armour and richly embroidered
clothing he wore, as well as the massive axe he wielded
in battle. The enormous power weapon was said to be
potent against daemonkind, though the origins of his axe
are lost to the annals of time. As befits one with his
original training, Ausar was a formidable hand-to-hand
combatant, and he seemed to relish enacting the
Emperor’s judgment upon heretics and traitors in the
thick of melee. It was his operational acumen, however,
that earned him the title of “Battle Lord.” His ability to
predict the stratagems of his opponents and maneuver
the forces under his command rivaled those of the most
seasoned of Imperial Guard commanders.

gallery_26_7190_4789.gif
Inquisitor Ausar’s Rosette


His most famous exploits include the Judgment of Vurth
and the Endori Pogrom (though credit for the latter has
publicly been attributed to the Warmaster Crymus).
Ausar is known to have risen through the ranks of the
Inquisition where he served alongside the famed Galaor
Sanlucar and Inquisitor Lord Kirill Maxmatbi. Ausar was
the sole survivor of the Thorne Incident which took
place during the Umbra War, in which Sanlucar and
Maxmatbi gave their last full measure in preventing the
renegade Ahriman from accessing the Librarium at
Thorne III [ref. Codicium Bellum Umbra, Volume IV,
Chapter LIII].

The official records of his actions span three centuries. At
several points he disappeared from visibility, only to
resurface years later with no explanation as to his
actions during the intervening years. Teriq Ausar’s
ultimate fate is unknown, and some speculate that he
may have led a failed expedition into the warp storm of
the Mosaik Sector. Several expeditions into the Mosaik
Sector have been conducted over the millennia since
that time in an effort to discover the truth of his fate
and, if possible, recover the axe he used in battle. None
of these expeditions have succeeded, however.

In the meantime, there have been a handful of scattered
reports of individuals matching Ausar’s description over
the millennia [ref. Investus Incident 492.M36, Battle of
Tharnge Gorge 202.M38, and multiple sightings during
the Abelane Crusade 505-512.M40]. The claims of Ausar
being the individual described in the reports, however,
are apocryphal at best. These stories parallel a number
of other “Wandering Inquisitor” legends. In all
likelihood, the individuals in the reports have drawn
upon the memory of Teriq Ausar in perpetrating their
actions.
Excerpt from the Mythos Ordos Inquisitus Volume XXIII M40


INITIATION

Midael of the Dark Angels, formerly Master of the 4th Company, stood in a vault deep within the Rock. Unarmed and unarmored, Midael was dressed only in the ceremonial robes of those that had been initiated into the secrets of the Deathwing. Before him stood the Grand Master of Chaplains, also robed, but armed with his staff-like crozius arcanum and wearing the armor and regalia of his office. The Grand Master of Librarians stood behind Midael, also robed and wearing the blue armor of his order. To either side of Midael stood the Master of the Ravenwing and the Supreme Grand Master, both robed and armored. The vault itself was dark and filled with a number of artifacts – banners, weapons, books, and other curious items. Strangest of all was an upright sarcophagus. Midael mentally cataloged each item within sight as the group stood in silence.

The voice of the Grand Master of Chaplains projected from the skull-like mask that adorned his helmet, breaking the silence within the great vault, “Master Midael, you have progressed through the ranks of our order, proving your prowess in battle as well as your trustworthiness to keep our secrets. Yes, ours is an order of many secrets and as you have ascended the ranks you have learned a great many. Not only have you proven your worthiness to keep those secrets, but you have also proven your worthiness in pursuing the most secret and sacred of the Chapter’s missions – to hunt the Fallen. As you stand before me, nominated by the Supreme Grand Master to become the Master of the Deathwing, there are still more secrets for you to learn and to keep.”

The Grand Master of Chaplains paused for a moment, silently regarding Master Midael. He then raised his crozius arcanum and struck the metal-shod end of the staff upon the floor three times, breaking the silence with the echoes of the blows. Only once the sound abated did he continue, “Once, long ago, the Unforgiven declared a vendetta against the Holy Orders of the Emperor’s Inquisition, and we achieved our vengeance from within the shadows.”

Then came a voice from behind Midael, that of the Grand Master of Librarians, Camael. The tell-tale sounds of parchment told Midael that the Chief Librarian was reading from a book.
”The Dark Angels Chapter had been among those that repelled the First Captain of the Luna Wolves when he launched his fourth black crusade out of the Eye of Terror. The cost to the Chapter had been high, but the Dark Angels had proven their supreme valor at the Battle of Tanagras Gate and the Assault on Riöle V. In the aftermath of the Fourth Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler, the High Lords of Terra declared that the gene-seed of Lion El’Jonson, Primarch of the First Legion, would be the foundation of a new Chapter. So it was that when the Supreme Grand Master was told of the honor bestowed upon the Dark Angels, it was his duty to choose one from among his battle-brothers to lead the new Chapter.

The Supreme Grand Master, Rabdos, was not easily fooled, however. When the delegation from the High Lords of Terra appeared before the Supreme Grand Master, there was one among them who was not of them. Though this individual never spoke or identified himself in the presence of the Supreme Grand Master, the subtle deference with which the others treated him was telling. Rabdos saw through the deception, realizing that the man was a member of the Inquisition. The Supreme Grand Master discerned that there was a deeper purpose to the new Chapter and that the Inquisition was at the root of the conspiracy. The Unforgiven had always taken care to conceal the perfidy of Luther’s followers and the hunt for the Fallen from outsiders, especially the Inquisition. For the Inquisition to suddenly take a hand in the Dark Angels was of significant concern, requiring extreme caution. In this, the High Lords of Terra spoke for the Emperor and could not be denied, but the Unforgiven could not allow the gene-seed of the Lion to be sullied with a lesser purpose hidden from them by the Inquisition.

Though it pained the Supreme Grand Master to do so, he chose Narsinael, Master of the Ravenwing, to lead the new Chapter. Narsinael had already been secretly chosen by the Supreme Grand Master to be his successor, but the Master of the new Chapter would have to walk a fine line between the hidden agenda of the Inquisition and the true purpose of the Unforgiven. The Supreme Grand Master trusted Narsinael above all others. So it was that Narsinael and a band of chosen brothers departed the Rock with strict instructions from the Supreme Grand Master – they must appear to the Imperium to be a Chapter with no visible ties to the Dark Angels, a Chapter that would serve whatever purpose the Inquisition had without being consumed by that purpose. In the meantime, they were to secretly preserve their bond with the Unforgiven.

Granted the world of Korumani III in the Segmentum Solar near the warp storm known as the Gates of Fire, Narsinael and his brethren declared to the Imperium that the Chapter would be known as the Venerators, and the Imperial records refer to them as the Venerators of Korumani. In following the direction of Supreme Grand Master Rabdos, the Venerators of Korumani did not follow the patterns of heraldry used by the other Unforgiven Chapters, instead looking to the Codex Astartes. Their appearance and traditions were also influenced by the customs of Korumani III, for it was solely from that world that the Venerators recruited. Charged with protecting that region of space from threats to Mankind, the Venerators found themselves arrayed against pirates and renegades, incursions from within the Gates of Fire, and xenos threats. To the larger Imperium, the Venerators were as any other Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes.

History would remember them as the Venerators of Korumani.

We of the Unforgiven, however, know their true name.

They were the Angels of Veneration.

And they hunted the Fallen.

As recorded by Oriares
Grand Master of Librarians
Dark Angels Chapter
631.M34”
The Grand Master of Librarians closed the book loudly. Moments later, the ritual continued as the Master of the Ravenwing spoke, “The Angels of Veneration fell during the Tide of Blood. In the decades prior, the Inquisition had begun to work closely with the Chapter, sending one of their own named Talman S’oyatar. It was this Inquisitor who was with the Angels of Veneration when Doombreed and his hordes poured forth from the Gates of Fire. Inquisitor S’oyatar was a competent warrior, and his retinue included several other warriors. The Inquisitor and his entire retinue, however, perished along with the Angels of Veneration.

As far as the Imperium knows, however, one among them survived.”

#4
Brother Tyler

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(Part IV)

The Grand Master of Chaplains then lifted a book from the small table to his side, holding it out for Midael to take. As he reached out to take the book, Midael noticed the badge of a gold embossed winged lion bearing a sword within a dark shield upon the cover. He took the book in both hands and opened it to the page marked by a crimson cloth. The Grand Master of Chaplains directed him to read the page in silence. Upon the page was a scrap of parchment, affixed to the page by a wax seal bearing the mark of the Librarium, and there were comments written above and below the scrap:
”Report from Lionborn:

Through careful investigation I have acquired a journal with this scrap bound within. The scrap is labeled as a “Prognostication from the Augurium of Titan, M34.”

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“Centuries from now, the Doomed One shall lead a host
and spill the blood of thousands. He who rode the path of
damnation upon Holy Terra long before the Unification
shall ride forth once again. Our Order will stand shoulder
to shoulder with other orders, for the Doomed One seeks
vengeance upon the Adeptus Astartes. The knights of
Titan; the heralds in iron; the sons of the Lion in colors
unknown; the raptors of war – these orders and more shall
answer the call to war. Two orders will fall, but the
Doomed One will be stopped.”


Take notice of the comment written at the bottom by another hand:

“We must ensure that it is not the Grey Knights that fall!”

This comment is accompanied by the embossed seal of an inquisitor. The writing is that of Božidar Skala, the Inquisitor Lord who trained S’oyatar.

The passage in red foretells the coming of the daemon prince Doombreed and his black crusade. The Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes mentioned in the passage correspond with several of those that fought against Doombreed, including the Angels of Veneration and the Warhawks. I believe that the “knights of Titan” and the “Grey Knights” mentioned in the written comment are one and the same, and that they are the mysterious Chapter that provided the reinforcements at key points of the black crusade, including the large force that ultimately defeated Doombreed. From what I can tell, the Inquisition arranged for the founding in which the Angels of Veneration were created in order to create the “sons of the Lion in colors unknown,” intending to sacrifice that Chapter in order to ensure the survival of these Grey Knights.

Vengeance upon the Grey Knights would be problematic. Even with my ascendance through the ranks of the Ordo Malleus, Titan is inaccessible to me. And based on what little information I have been able to glean about the Grey Knights, they would be a formidable adversary. Besides, it doesn’t appear that the Grey Knights were complicit in the conspiracy.

The hand of the Inquisition in this matter is undeniable, however, through Inquisitor Lord Skala and his cabal. Lord Skala perished during the Sanglamore Incursion in 940.M34, but I have identified several of his close associates, including Inquisitors Sanlucar, Fathiya, and Maxmatbi. I will investigate to determine if any of these had a hand in the events and, if so, exact revenge for my fallen battle-brothers.”Midael closed the book upon reading the text, placing the book in the oustretched hand of the Grand Master of Chaplains who replaced it upon the table.

The Grand Master of Chaplains then stepped aside, allowing the Supreme Grand Master to assume position at the front of the ceremony.

#5
Brother Tyler

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(Part V)

Supreme Grand Master Mardero pulled his hood back, revealing his war-scarred visage. The augmetic eye, replaced after his natural eye had been lost to Eldar raiders, reflected the flickering lights of the torches ensconced on either side of the massive door through which the party had entered the ancient vault. The Supreme Grand Master stood in near silence, the rasping sound of his rebreather the only noise within the vault. At last, Mardero spoke, his voice made deep and ominous through the vox emitter that had replaced the vocal cords lost in battle against the savage Urgh’ast five years prior. “When news reached the Rock that the Angels of Veneration had fallen in the Tide of Blood, the Supreme Grand Master at that time, Focalor, was dismayed. Within the Reclusium, one thousand black candles were lit as the Chapter mourned the deaths of our brothers.” As the Supreme Grand Master spoke the word “brothers” the Grand Master of Chaplains again struck the shaft of his crozius arcanum upon the floor of the vault three times. The Supreme Grand Master allowed the echoes to subside before continuing, “A convocation of the Unforgiven was called. It took several months for the leaders of the other Chapters to arrive, at which the convocation discussed how the Unforgiven should act concerning the Angels of Veneration.”

“Two days later, however, a ghost ship approached the Rock. It was the Light of Purity, the personal vessel of Inquisitor S’oyatar. In response to the challenge signals broadcast by the defenders of the Rock, the vessel transmitted a code known only among the Unforgiven, a code which the Angels of Veneration would never have revealed to outsiders. The vessel was allowed to dock. A heavily armed delegation awaited the occupants of the Light of Purity within a hangar of the Rock. What happened next has been recorded in the Liber Angelus Veneratos.”

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At this, the Grand Master of Librarians continued with the oration, reading from the same book as before:
”To everyone’s great surprise, the first passenger to debark the vessel was Grand Master Mikha’il, known to several of those present and bearing the Axe of Veneration, a Heavenfall Blade crafted from the same meteoric iron as the Sword of Secrets and wielded by Narsinael and each of the succeeding Grand Masters of the Angels of Veneration.

Mikha’il led a handful of his battle-brothers from the vessel. The last Angels of Veneration presented themselves to the rest of the Unforgiven. Mikha’il and his brothers had survived the fate of their Chapter, though their battle-damaged armour and wounds were clear to see.

As the rest of his battle-brothers were taken into the care of the Dark Angels, Grand Master Mikha’il reported to the convocation how the daemon prince Doombreed and his hordes had burst forth from the Gates of Fire and how the Angels of Veneration found their Chapter world, Korumani III, directly in the path of that black crusade. Reinforced with Inquisitorial allies, the Angels of Veneration put up a valiant defense. The forces of the Imperium were outnumbered ten to one, however, and the enemy army included renegade Space Marines and daemonic entities. Korumani III itself was overrun and the Angels of Veneration took to their fleet of vessels. Ultimately, the Angels of Veneration were joined by half a dozen other Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes; and while the black crusade was turned back, the Venerators were all but destroyed.

Mikha’il’s next revelation, however, was a shock to his audience.

The Inquisition had dealt the deathblow to the Angels of Veneration.

When the forces of Chaos were finally banished, the strike cruiser Bastion and several smaller vessels were all that remained, with less than 200 Angels of Veneration surviving the fighting.

It was the allies of the Angels of Veneration, however, who struck the final blow. As the surviving Angels of Veneration ships mustered in the Daedalos system, three of the Inquisitorial vessels opened fire, destroying all of the smaller vessels almost instantly and severely damaging the Bastion. The combination of massive firepower and the multiple hull breaches exposed the superstructure of the ship to the void, resulting in over 50% casualties among the embarked Space Marines. As the Bastion fell into the gravity well of a large moon, Mikha’il and his brothers were able to escape aboard one of the vessels that had been within the hangars.

Prior to Doombreed’s black crusade, the Angels of Veneration had been joined by Inquisitor S’oyatar and his retinue. The Inquisitor had appeared in the Korumani system several months before the Tide of Blood had burst forth from the Gates of Fire. His arrival had heralded Doombreed’s black crusade, and the Inquisitor and his retinue fought alongside the Angels of Veneration. S’oyatar and two of his retinue members, a warrior apprentice and a servitor, had survived until the very end of the fighting, falling in the last battle as Doombreed’s forces were repelled from the Bastion. S’oyatar’s ship had been aboard the Bastion, along with the bodies of the Inquisitor and his retinue. The Angels of Veneration had intended to perform funerary rites and return the bodies to the Inquisition. The ship was the only vessel in the hangar to survive the onslaught of the Inquisitorial attack and it was this ship that Mikha’il and his surviving brothers escaped upon as the Bastion was destroyed in a cataclysmic impact upon the surface of the moon.

Before the eyes of the combined Inner Circles of the Unforgiven Chapters, Grand Master Mikha’il swore to avenge his fallen Chapter. He requested that his battle brothers be given sanctuary among their kin, each to serve within one of the other Chapters so that the Unforgiven would know their valor. He would bring justice to those that had dared to turn on the sons of Lion El’Jonson.

At this, he outlined his plan. Though audacious, none would deny him his vengeance."


#6
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(Part VI)

Interlude – M35

Deep within the Rock the Grand Masters of several Chapters descended from the Dark Angels Legion met. Most were accompanied by a handful of other officers from their Chapters. Everyone in the dark chamber was a member of the Inner Circle of their Chapter, the most senior members of each of the Chapters that were collectively known as the Unforgiven.

The Grand Masters were arrayed around the circular room, each seated upon a ceremonial chair that bore the badge of his Chapter, their officers standing immediately behind them. Guttering torches flickered around the walls, casting dancing shadows.

On one side of the circular room was a great crimson door decorated with scenes from the time of the Legion when the Primarch Lion El’Jonson led the Emperor’s First Legion in the Great Crusade. Opposite the door on a slightly raised dais was a massive throne, similar in style to those upon which the other Chapter Masters sat, but with golden arms in the shape of stylized lions. Seated upon this throne was Focalor, Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels Chapter and leader of the Unforgiven.

Focalor’s stern gaze was fixed upon the Space Marine who knelt before him, the Master Apothecary.

“Rise, brother Anael,” commanded Focalor.

At this, the kneeling figure stood. “My lord, he will live. His appearance is as you commanded. He will now pass for a normal man of very large stature. What little deviation there is from the corpse will be thought to be the result of the battle against the warpspawn.”

Focalor nodded and asked, “How long until he recovers?”

“Two days, lord.”

“You have done well,” answered the Supreme Grand Master. “The surgery you performed was, I think, the first of its kind that has ever taken place within the Apothecarion. You are to be commended.”

Bowing his head slightly, Master Apothecary Anael responded, “Thank you, lord.”

“Please, Master Apothecary, tend to your patient.”

At this command, Anael bowed in respect, turned, and marched from the room. Upon his exit, the great door was closed behind him.

After a few moments, the Supreme Grand Master turned to the blue-armoured warrior to his left and asked, “And were you successful in your task, brother?”

The Grand Master of Librarians nodded slowly in answer. The Chief Librarian had long ago lost the use of his voice in a struggle against the servants of the Blood God, their vicious weapons severing his vocal cords before being banished back to the Warp by his psychic might.

“And we are certain,” continued Focalor, “that none will see through our ruse?”

The Grand Master of Librarians turned his gaze upon his counterpart from the Angels of Vengeance, Kelhaek, and the two looked at each other in silence for a moment, after which Kelhaek stepped forward and knelt at the point where the Master Apothecary had recently stood. “My Lord,” he said after a moment, “Grand Master Nekraor is certain. Any investigation by the Inquisition will determine that S’oyatar’s apprentice survived the war and that the Inquisitor conferred upon him the rank of Inquisitor. The Inquisitor’s last memories of his apprentice’s face will be those that Anael crafted.”

“Most excellent,” responded the Supreme Grand Master.

The Grand Master of the Guardians of the Covenant then stood and asked, “And what of our brother?”

Kelhaek again looked at Nekraor, the two communicating in silence.

“He no longer knows himself to be our brother. He will believe himself to be the man whose face and memories he carries. Only when he encounters the spoor of those we hunt will his true identity come forth, and then only when he is alone. At all other times, he will be the other.”

“And can we be certain,” continued the crimson-robed Grand Master, “that none will penetrate this subterfuge?”

“Yes, Lord,” answered Kelhaek, “the triggers are concealed deep within. None but one versed in the exact same patterns as those we used can hope to even detect their presence. The most talented of the Inquisition’s psykers will sense the locks as nothing more than the psychic guards of one with formidable willpower, one who has faced the denizens of the Empyrean. And when his true self comes forth, he will be one of us again until he willfully reassumes the mask of the other.”

“The Grand Master’s plan will work,” he concluded.

At this, the Supreme Grand Master spoke. “Then we must make haste, brothers, for there is little time to deliver him to the appointed location. The Light of Purity must be prepared so that it matches his memory of its near destruction, and the Inquisitor’s body must likewise be treated. Our brother will wear the armour of the Inquisition and will bear the battle blade of the Acolyte now, while we will preserve the weapon of his birthright here until he attains his goal.” He turned to the figure standing at his right and said, “Brother Ledriel, deliver him in the Sword of Caliban.” The Master of the Ravenwing nodded in acknowledgement of the command.

Supreme Grand Master Focalor then addressed the assembled Grand Masters and their Inner Circles, “Henceforth, our brother shall be known as ‘Lionborn.’ May the Primarch grant him the vengeance of the righteous.”

“Let the Lionborn’s remaining battle-brothers join each of our Chapters. We must record their recollections of the Angels of Veneration that none will forget their brave deeds.”

The Supreme Grand Master stood and drew the great ebon blade from its scabbard, holding it horizontally before him with one hand on the hilt and the other grasping the blade. The other Grand Masters assumed similar positions with their own weapons, each crafted from the same meteoric iron. “To the Lionborn and the Angels of Veneration, brothers,” to which the others responded, “To the Lionborn and the Angels of Veneration!”

The Feast of Veneration
Every fifty years, the Unforgiven Chapters hold a feast day. The feast is called by different names among the various Chapters. To most it is the Feast of Veneration. To the Angels of Redemption it is called the Feast of Remembrance, and to the Disciples of Caliban it is the Eve of the Forefathers. Among all of the Unforgiven Chapters, however, the ceremony follows a similar pattern.

At the front of the feast hall will be a small altar, upon which rests a book bound in dark material and decorated with an image of a winged lion bearing a sword. Upon the book will be a metallic chalice filled with a dark liquid.

The Chaplain presiding over the ceremony will signal the beginning of the ceremony by striking his crozius arcanum upon the floor three times, at which all of the brothers assembled will stand silently. The Chaplain will then address the Chapter:

“Let us not forget those who fell, proud inheritors of Lion El’Jonson.”
We will not forget!

“Let those who would attack us fear our wrath.”
For we are Death!

“Venerate those who died in the service of the Emperor.”
They died fulfilling their duty!

At this the Master of the Chapter will approach the altar. He will take the chalice in both hands and hold it high so that all can see. The Chaplain will continue the oration:

“May the blood of the Lion never be spilled in vain.”
The blood flows in our veins!

“May the heart of the Lion never waiver in its mission.”
Face the darkness without fear!

“May the hand of the Lion strike the enemy down.”
Wield the blade of justice!

The Chapter Master will then raise the fist of his right hand to his left shoulder and conclude “We will not forget” to which the assembly will respond:To those born of the Lion!

The presiding Chaplain will signal the end of the ceremony with three more strikes of his crozius arcanum, at which all will sit and the feast will begin.
Investigation of the Religious Beliefs, Rituals and Practices of the Legionnes Astartes, Balthazar van Heppel
Death Ceremonies of the Legionnes Astartes


#7
Brother Tyler

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(Part VII)

Midael stood in attentive silence, never shifting his gaze from the face of Supreme Grand Master Mardero. It was the voice of Ledriel , Grand Master of the Ravenwing, that he heard next, however, the black-armoured warrior standing to Midael’s left.

“Through the arcane skills of the Chapter’s Apothecaries, Grand Master Mikha’il was surgically altered to resemble one of the warriors who had accompanied Inquisitor S’oyatar, one named Teriq Ausar. What set Ausar apart from the other members of the inquisitor’s retinue, however, was his size. The man was unnaturally large, approaching the size of a member of the Adeptus Astartes. Though large for a normal human being, Ausar was, nevertheless, not of a stature matching that of the average transhumant Adeptus Astartes. Grand Master Mikha’il’s body had to be shortened. That he survived this process was testament to his exceptional fortitude, for the process of removing portions of his skeleton and musculature forced him to endure several agonizing procedures. His black carapace, too, had to be hidden both from himself and from other observers. The surface plugs were removed, allowing for later surgeries to replace them should Grand Master Mikha’il ever determine that he had completed his vengeance and rejoin the Unforgiven. The real Ausar had originally trained as a warrior in the Eclessiarchy, his stature and physical formidability making him a natural candidate as a bodyguard to high ranking members of the Adeptus Ministorum. He had been seconded to the service of Inquisitor S’oyatar during one of the inquisitor’s many investigations, however, and S’oyatar had realized that Ausar was also possessed of a keen intellect. Talman S’oyatar trained Ausar as an acolyte, one who would potentially ascend to the ranks of the Inquisition. Ausar was well on his way to becoming a full Inquisitor until he lost his life in the Tide of Blood.

It wasn’t only Grand Master Mikha’il’s face and body that had to change if he was to assume the identity of Ausar. The Inquisition was sure to investigate the matter most thoroughly. In order to fool the Inquisition, it was necessary to tamper with his memories, transferring those of the dead Ausar into the mind of Mikha’il and then making subtle changes. As Ausar, Grand Master Mikha’il couldn’t afford to suspect anything, so his memories had to explain certain elements of his physical resilience. To this end, certain aspects of his physiognomy were explained as the result of training and battle wounds. Other elements, however, couldn’t be explained so subconscious compulsions to ignore them were built into his mind. In addition, the Inquisition was sure to utilize necr-ognition on the deceased Inquisitor S’oyatar in order to validate the warrior acolyte’s claims being appointed a full inquisitor by his mentor. The librarians of the Chapter were tested to their fullest in accomplishing these tasks, their mastery of reaching into the minds of others assuring their success despite the fact that one of these minds was already deceased.

As Ausar, he served well and faithfully as an inquisitor, completely oblivious of his true purpose. His tasks as an inquisitor were not directly related to the missions of the Unforgiven. Subconsciously, however, his mind was allowed to evaluate every fact and action, sifting for traces of two things. First and foremost, he would attempt to root out the conspiracy that had led to the destruction of his Chapter, avoiding direct action as he built up the framework of the conspiracy and identified the conspirators. Only when he had developed the complete picture would he take action and enact the vengeance of the Unforgiven, and then only when he could manipulate the situation so that the hand of the Unforgiven would remain invisible. His second task was to utilize the resources of the Inquisition to hunt the Fallen.

Once the last Grand Master of the Angels of Veneration had been prepared, he was transferred to his ship unconscious, the ship moved to a location near where the Bastion had been destroyed. The bodies of the Inquisitor’s other retinue members were destroyed, and the crew of the Light of Purity was likewise replaced with servants of the Chapter.The Light of Purity was set adrift with its entire crew unconscious, believing that they had just escaped the destruction of the Angels of Veneration. The ship’s astropath broadcast a distress signal to that effect before being rendered unconscious by the Dark Angels. The vessel was eventually recovered and the sequence of events as envisioned in the plan came to fruition.

His armour and weapons, however, remained hidden deep within the vaults of the Rock, there should Grand Master Mikha’il ever complete his self-appointed mission and decide to cast off the identity of Inquisitor Ausar.

He operated seemingly alone, the crew of his ship always remaining aboard the Light of Purity. Whenever he needed to replace one or augment the strengths of his retinue’s capabilities, the Unforgiven would provide for his needs, dispatching the resources to locations in secret so that Mikha’il could retrieve them for his purposes.

Over the years, as Ausar he collected a vast store of information on both missions. His discoveries were secretly transmitted to the Unforgiven Chapters, and the intelligence he provided led to the successful capture of four members of the Fallen by various Chapters of the Unforgiven. His inquiries into the conspiracy against the Angels of Veneration amassed a wealth of information. All the while, he advanced through the ranks of the Inquisition.

Finally, Grand Master Mikha’il collected the complete picture of the conspiracy behind the downfall of the Angels of Veneration. Having the facts, however, he had to select the right moment to enact justice. Simply destroying all those involved would have created consequences for the Unforgiven, and a direct war with the Inquisition would have been unwise. Mikha’il was forced to act from the shadows.

Having collected the facts, Grand Master Mikha’il entered into a trance aboard the Light of Purity, psychic routines built into the original programming by the Librarians allowing his mind to self-reconstruct. The will of Mikha’il took over from that of Ausar, planning the downfall of those that had planned the death of a Chapter of the Unforgiven. Once completed, the mental routines of Ausar had been altered to allow for the plan to be implemented and the identity of the inquisitor once again took over.

Over a span of decades, Inquisitor Ausar established alliances with those to whom justice would be brought. Over the years, a handful of the villains were brought to justice as the circumstances allowed. For the most part, however, these were minor players in the conspiracy and those most responsible for the destruction of the Angels of Veneration escaped justice. It wasn’t until the followers of the Arch-Traitor launched an attack upon the Imperium that Mikha’il as Ausar was able to enact his vengeance upon the primary conspirators. Inquisitor Ausar survived that momentous event, though his allies did not. The identity of Ausar remained preeminent and was ignorant that the deaths of his allies in that war had been engineered by Grand Master Mikha’il.

Within the annals of the Unforgiven Chapters this event has come to be known as the War of Vengeance.

The histories of the Imperium are conflicting and varied, depending upon the source. To the High Lords of Terra and the Imperial Guard, this was the Thorne Incident.

The Inquisition is a shadowy organization, however, and recent researches among the Inquisitors have determined that the larger Thorne Incident was the stage for one of the many internecine conflicts that take place among Inquisitors. Though the true facts of the event elude them, the Inquisitors recognize the essence of the war. To them it is called the Umbra War."

#8
Brother Tyler

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(Part VIII)

As Master Ledriel finished his narrative, Supreme Grand Master Mardero gestured with his right hand, directing Midael’s attention to an ancient suit of silver power armour standing in the corner of the vault.

“Grand Master Mikha’il’s oath required that he leave all indicators of his proud heritage behind,” explained the Supreme Grand Master. “His wargear was left in the safekeeping of the Dark Angels; to be preserved until he had avenged his fallen battle-brothers and could return once more to the kinship of the Unforgiven. Here stands his armour, a suit crafted by the finest artificers of the Chapter. Upon the chest plate is the sword-bearing winged lion that serves as the badge of the Angels of Veneration, the laurels of victory surrounding the badge.”

“Upon the left shoulder pad you can see the badge once again, this time upon the Halo Imperialis and above a plate bearing the Chapter’s true name, ‘Veneratos.’ If you look carefully, you can see the names of each of the Chapter’s Grand Masters carved upon the rim, each followed by the individual’s personal honours. All except for Grand Master Mikha’il, for the honours were only added upon the death of the Grand Master and Mikha’il left the armour in our care while upon his own mission. The first name you’ll see is that of Narsinael, he who was once Master of the Ravenwing within our own proud Chapter and who departed our ranks to forge his own legend as Grand Master of the Angels of Veneration. Next you’ll see that of Maion, who was inducted into the Inner Circle of the Dark Angels and served as Narsinael’s second, succeeding him. After Maion fell at Vyryk IV, he was succeeded by Ezekiel, the first of the Grand Masters to have been born upon Korumani. It was Grand Master Ezekiel who led the Chapter upon the Paramon Crusade. He was succeeded by Uriel, longest-serving of the Grand Masters of the Angels of Veneration, leading the Chapter for two centuries before falling in battle during the Döen Expedition. Finally we come to Mikha’il last of the Grand Masters of the ill-fated Chapter.”

“Upon the right shoulder pad you can see the Imperial Aquila surrounded by a laurel, the marking adopted by Narsinael as the indicator of his rank as Imperial Commander of his Chapter and the world of Korumani. Throughout the Chapter’s existence, the Angels of Veneration were seen as staunch adherents of Primarch Guilliman’s dictates, using markings and heraldry more consistent with the Codex Astartes. This caused many to think that the Chapter did not maintain any ties with its progenitor. That was, of course, the intent.”

The Supreme Grand Master then indicated a small golden shield upon the left thigh, the shield embossed with a broad-armed cross. “Here you can see one of the places where the armour was repaired, this shield covering damage sustained in the Paramon Crusade when Grand Master Ezekiel fought a fell champion of the one of the traitor legions, the shield incorporating the badge of the crusade. Upon the right arm you can see how damage sustained by Grand Master Narsinael during the Ferotas Campaign was covered by the device of a sword. Elsewhere upon the armour you can see how the artificers of the Chapter repaired the armour over the years, the proud scars of battle marked with the honours earned during those battles. The Grand Masters of the Angels of Veneration led their battle-brothers from the front, serving as exemplars of the high ideals of Lion El’Jonson and demonstrating supreme valor. What you will not see, however, are the marks of our Legion, for it was decided at the time of the Chapter’s founding that it would present itself as a prodigal son, one without any visible ties to its progenitor. Supreme Grand Master Rabdos and Grand Master Narsinael had correctly discerned the Inquisition’s involvement and they took pains to ensure that the Inquisition would never learn of the dark secret of our legion.”

“On the stand in front of the armour you can see the bolter used by Grand Master Mikha’il. This Umbra pattern bolter was granted to him when, as a member of the Chapter’s First Company, he helped to recover the Chapter Standard after Ancient Gabriel had fallen. The bolter was fabricated by Otholomos, a famed artificer in service to the Angels of Veneration, and bears his mark upon the stock.”

“To the right of the armour you can see the empty stand where the Axe of Veneration, the sacred weapon of the Grand Master of the Chapter and badge of his office, was placed by Grand Master Mikha’il. This weapon was crafted from the same meteoric iron that the Sword of Secrets is made from and is a Heavenfall Blade. It was designed by Grand Master Narsinael, an axe rather than the traditional sword to further set his Chapter apart from our own.”

The Supreme Grand Master allowed Master Midael a few moments to study the ancient suit of armour, after which he lifted his left arm, directing Midael’s attention to the baroque armour that filled this space. The suit was of an unusual style, consisting of a breastplate decorated with the visage of a snarling beast, and various overlapping plates of bronze-rimmed plates with dark enamel and embossed designs. Rising from the back of the armour was a field generator in the shape of the stylized symbol of the Inquisition, the generator capped with the face of a maned lion. Beneath the great suit of armour were heavy robes, richly embroidered with gold thread in a pattern reminiscent of the bodyguard orders of the Eclessiarchy. The cuffs of the robes were turned up, the light colored material covered in script in High Gothic. The armour was cinched at the waist with a heavy belt, the buckle depicting the symbol of the Inquisition; and from this belt was suspended a broadsword, one of the weapons of the Eclessiarchy Guard. In front of the armour was a stand holding a great axe, a massive blade capped with a rampant lion from whose back protruded a great spike. The large handle ended in a ribbed cable that stretched around the back of the armour.

“This armour,” said the Supreme Grand Master, “was that worn by Mikha’il in battle. It is based upon a pattern worn by the Eclessiarchy Guard, but the original pieces have all been replaced with components of Adeptus Astartes power armour. The armour isn’t a match for Errant armour, but it is sufficient to the needs of an inquisitor.”

“At the armour’s hip you can see the blade that Ausar brought with him from his service as a guard within the Ministorum and which Mikha’il wielded when assumed Ausar’s identity as an inquisitor. This weapon executed numberless heretics and traitors. When the identity of Ausar was overcome by that of Grand Master Midael, however, the sword was replaced with the great axe you see on the stand.”

Midael studied the blade of the great weapon, taking in every curve and design upon the surface. It took but a moment to recognize the lion design as a variation on that of the badge of the Angels of Veneration, and though the central portion of the blade shone with a silvery hue, the sharpened edge betrayed the tell-tale dark iron that marked it as a Heavenfall Blade, much like those born by the senior members of the Unforgiven. As recognition dawned in his eyes, the Supreme Grand Master continued with his oration.

“As you can see, the Axe of Veneration was re-forged into the weapon you see before you. When Mikha’il declared that it was finally time to enact the vengeance of his Chapter, the vengeance of the Unforgiven, upon the conspirators within the Inquisition, it was time to once again wield the weapon that symbolized his role and prowess. The weapon, however, was certain to be known to the conspirators and Mikha’il could not afford to betray his allegiance to the Unforgiven. It was decided that the weapon would be re-shaped. The master artificers of the Dark Angels toiled for several months, finally presenting the weapon to Mikha’il in a somber ceremony. It was this weapon that helped to forge Ausar’s reputation, and it is this weapon that is most associated with the Battle Lord. It was this weapon that banished the servants of Chaos back to the Immaterium, and it was this weapon that ended the lives of those that dared to destroy the Angels of Veneration.”

“The news of the secret victory was transmitted to the Unforgiven Chapters, and each entered notification of the oath fulfilled in their copy of the Liber Veneratos.”

#9
Brother Tyler

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The Rock, 112.M38

The Master of the Rock moved within the deepest catacombs of the mobile base of the Dark Angels Chapter. His sacred duties were to oversee and maintain the most secret of devices used by the Chapter, devices whose existence were known to only a handful of the Chapter's members. The Supreme Grand Master had ordered that the Chapter's senior techmarine enact the Rituals of Activation upon machinery that had remained in Dormant mode for centuries. It was not the techmarine's place to question the contents of the machine or the reason for the Supreme Grand Master's order. His place was only to enact the rites.

He had tended to the device for decades since ascending to his position. That the device was a stasis vault was obvious to him - this was not the only stasis vault for which he was responsible. Whatever lay within would not be revealed to him for the machinery he attended to was external to a secured vault. That only the most senior members of the Inner Circle were allowed access to the vault was known to the Master of the Rock.

The machine spirit within indicated that the contents were preserved intact. Striking twice upon the rune of reanimation, the Master of the Rock intoned the Litany of Awakening. After a moment, a deep humming could be heard from within as the machine began its work. Observing for a moment to ensure that everything was in order, the techmarine recorded the data. Satisfied, he departed the catacombs to report to the Supreme Grand Master.

The contents of the device would be ready in twelve hours and the members of the Inner Circle would need to prepare for the rituals that would follow.

#10
Brother Tyler

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+++ INCOMING MESSAGE +++
+++ TERRA +++
+++ LORD COMMANDER OF THE IMPERIUM +++
+++ ULTIMA FOUNDING +++

+++ IN HONOUR OF THEIR SERVICE AND SACRIFICE, THE VENERATORS OF KORUMANI WILL BE REBORN IN A NEW CHAPTER BEARING THE GENE-SEED OF LEGIO I +++

+++ BATTLE-BARGE DESIGNATED "OBSIDIAN LION" EN ROUTE TO THE ROCK +++

+++ RENDEZVOUS ESTIMATED TWO MONTHS +++

+++ NEW CHAPTER NAME UNDETERMINED +++

+++ CHAPTER MASTER ADAR VAHRAM WILL COORDINATE WITH CHAPTER MASTER OF DARK ANGELS CHAPTER +++

+++ GLORY TO THE IMPERIUM OF MANKIND +++
+++ MESSAGE ENDS +++






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