"And the Roots of the World reached deep into the earth,
but even they could not reach there,
where the Deep One lay dreaming without sleeping"
Founding First Founding Legio Numeral VI Cognomen (Great Crusade) Wolves of Caliban Cognomen (Post-War of Secession) Beasts of Boudicca Primarch Varus Nemestrinus (Segimer) Homeworld Caliban (Boudicca) [DESTROYED] Allegiance Traitoris Extremis
Once, the Beasts of Boudicca prowled the stars as the Wolves of Caliban, the VIth Legion of the Emperor of Mankind. Led by their Primarch, Segimer, known to the Imperium as Varus Nemestrinus or as the King of Woad and Wyrd, they were an unstoppable, merciless force of nature, let loose as punishment upon those who would oppose the Emperor’s design. They were a savage, fierce force, noted for their uncompromising attitude to warfare and a curious tribal culture that hearkened back to the Primarch’s days amongst the mortals of his homeworld. They were counted amongst the Emperor’s most trusted assets, relied upon to do what others could – or would – not do.
But it was all a lie. In secret, Segimer had pledged his soul to the Primordial Annihilator long before the Emperor had come to Caliban, and in the shadows he planned the destruction of his Father’s realm. When the War of Secession came, the Wolves of Caliban lay in wait, sowing discord and mayhem amongst the warring factions before finally revealing their true colours. With all pretence of loyalty cast off, the Legion went on to commit atrocities the scale and scope of which has never been eclipsed, bringing millions of Neverborn into the material world and drowning hundreds of worlds in blood and fire, all in service to the Ruinous Powers.
In the end, it was Segimer’s own arrogance that led him to his death, and the breaking of his Legion. Seeking to make use of the Emperor’s weakened state after the Battle of Molech, he launched an all-out attack on the space station where his Father’s battered fleet was recovering. Tearing through the station’s defences with his Legion’s elite as his fleet massacred the loyalists in the void, Segimer finally confronted the Emperor of Mankind deep in the station’s bowels, only to die moments later as the Emperor revealed the trap he had lain for his errant son.
With their Primarch and their entire command staff eliminated, the Wolves began a disorderly retreat, any semblance of discipline lost in the chaos and confusion that reigned in their ranks. When a second wave of loyalist vessels arrived in-system to finish what the Emperor had started, the Wolves of Caliban knew they were doomed. Only a bare handful of ships escaped the massacre, and those who managed to limp back to their homeworld found only a dead rock, scoured clean of all life by the newly-formed Adeptus Mechanicus.
With no other option, the remaining Wolves of Caliban retreated into the Eye, where they would eventually transform into the myriad warbands that form the Beasts of Boudicca. Now, the Beasts are no more than petty raiders and pirates skulking in the shadow of the other Traitor Legions. Their hearts still burn with the desire to visit vengeance upon the Imperium for the death of their Primarch and homeworld, but without their Primarch to bind them together, their forces remain too scattered and disunited to threaten the loyalists’ holdings. But it is whispered that recently, a champion has risen among their ranks, one of legendary charisma and skill, who seeks to bring back his Legion from its slow and agonizing death…
The Wolves of Caliban’s homeworld was, as their name implies, the Death World of Caliban, located in what would later become the Segmentum Obscurus of the Imperial domain. They did not refer to the world as such amongst themselves – the Wolves were noted for using a variety of nicknames for the planet, such “The Hearth”, “The Great Mother”, or “Boudicca”, the latter term always spoken with a reverence for which no explanation was ever given.
At first sight, Caliban was undeniably a beautiful world. The planet’s mountains and valleys were covered in dense, dark forests, through which clear streams and rivers ran; banks of mist rolled gently over the landscape at dawn and dusk; and all over the world one could experience the sights and sounds of a pure, natural ecosystem, untouched by the relentless industry of civilisation. Indeed, in the reports of those first human explorers who came to Caliban during our species’ diaspora across the stars, the world is described as nothing short of a paradise, a jewel amongst the stars – that is, until these explorers came face to face with Caliban’s original inhabitants.
For Caliban’s forests were home to some of the foulest, most monstrous creatures ever seen in the galaxy. Creatures that had no right to exist in any sane universe stalked the forests, the valleys and the mountains, as varied in shape and size as the stars themselves. What few records remain of the first human civilisation on Caliban paint a horrifying picture of their struggle against the sanity-rending beasts that were now hunting them, a struggle that only ended when the few survivors escaped the planet in their last void-capable ship, never to be heard of again.
Later, much later in fact, Caliban was recolonized, this time not by naïve explorers but by a hardy military expedition. Upon encountering the beasts, these proud men and women dug their heels into the dirt and set out to exterminate the creatures once and for all. They fought the horrifying beings with bullet and blade, driving many of the lesser breeds into extinction, and built vast fortresses meant to withstand the assaults of even the greatest of the monsters. It is in these holdings that the first Orders of Caliban were formed, and from where these warrior-knights would sally forth in later years to strike against the darkness that surrounded them.
Despite the victories the Orders won in those dark, unsung days, it was clear to all that the battle against the beasts could never truly be won. In the end, there would always be too few knights to fend off too many creatures; and some of the greatest threats to the settlements could only be harmed by the most exotic weaponry in the Orders’ arsenals. Whilst the common populace might give in to despair in the face of such a truth, the Orders themselves steeled their souls with the hope that one day, they would find a way to rid their world of the monsters that dwelled upon it. But it is whispered that one Order, perhaps broken by the prospect of failure or seduced by powers beyond their understanding, turned to a darker path to victory, and in doing so, became something worse than what it had sought to destroy: the Knights of Lupus.
But before the other Orders of Caliban could discover the full extent of the Knights of Lupus’ perfidy, a bright comet appeared in the planet’s night sky, heralding the coming of the one who would change Caliban’s fate forever…
The coming of Segimer
How the life-pods containing the infants that would one day become the Imperium’s greatest warlords were taken from the Emperor’s gene-labs and scattered throughout the galaxy, none can say. Even the Custodian Guard, the Emperor’s own bodyguards, have no answer for that question, even after ten thousand years of deliberation.
Regardless of how it came to be, the Emperor’s sons were ultimately taken from Him, cast into the void and spat out on a variety of worlds. Some landed on prosperous, civilised worlds; others on barren wastelands devoid of human life. Some had to fight for their existence from the moment they woke; others were taken in by the local populace and raised as one of their own. Most of the stories of the Primarchs’ early lives, and the challenges and tragedies that came with them, have been lost to the vagaries of time, as such things must.
The story of Segimer, however, is particularly obscure. Despite the Thucydes’ best efforts, the King of Woad and Wyrd never spoke of what happened to him in those first few years he spent on Caliban. Even the location of the crash-site of his life-pod remains a mystery to this day, although it appears to have been somewhere far from the civilised parts of the world, in those shrouded places where even the Orders of Caliban dared not tread.
The boy stares into Caliban’s night sky as he is tied to the stone slab at the center of the pillared structure. He does not resist when the hooded figures attach the ropes to his wrists and his ankles, nor when they smear the foul-smelling blueish paste unto his flesh. He does not fight back, even though he could, even though his body rails at the thought of being bound or leashed. He lies still, listening to the words and the chants of the people surrounding him, watching the smoke of the fires burning between the stone pillars drift upwards towards the stars. In the distance, he hears the wind rustling the leaves of the forest, and the howls of animals crying out in anticipation for what is to come.
Even when the eight hooded figures draw their crude, onyx blades, the boy’s gaze does not shift from the midnight sky. Somewhere, deep inside his mind, he can hear a voice crying out, begging him to turn away, to flee – but he does not. Instead the boy stares into the void, wondering what it is he will see when the darkness takes him, and what will emerge from his journey to where the Deep One sleeps…
The Primarch himself usually began the tale of his life’s story with his first meeting with another human being - a member of one of the planet’s forest tribes, those few bands of humans who, against all odds, eked out a short, brutal existence in Caliban’s wilderness. He would describe how the man – a druid, as he later found out – came across him as he was feasting on a wolfhound he had slain moments before. What was said between them, the Primarch never did reveal, but he ended up following the druid to the tribe’s camp, where he was taken in and raised as one of the tribe’s own. He would go on to say that he took to his new life well, and eagerly fought and bled alongside his adopted brothers and sisters against the many dangers threatening his new home, becoming a fierce hunter and warrior in only a handful of years. Upon reaching adolescence, he passed the final rites of initiation, and was elevated as a true member of the tribe. This momentous occasion was marked both by the tattooing of his scalp – a tattoo none save the druids of the tribe were ever to see –, and the bestowal of the name he would carry until the day he died: Segimer.
This story was later added to the’ ‘official’ history of the Primarch’s life as compiled by the Thucydes, albeit with the caveat that they had not been able to verify the claims for themselves, given that they too were prohibited from ever setting foot on Caliban itself. Despite this, it was readily accepted as the truth – for none could see any reason to doubt its veracity, and the story in itself was unremarkable enough to not draw suspicion; certainly compared to the tales of some of his brothers, whose tragedies are related elsewhere.
However, ever since Segimer turned against the Emperor during the dark days of the War of Secession, the tale of his early years on Caliban, like the rest of his history, has come under closer scrutiny. Through these investigations, it has become increasingly clear that the Primarch had been enthralled to the Ruinous Powers from a very young age, perhaps even from the very beginning. In all his actions, both those before and after his reunification with the Emperor, the seeds of the ruin he would bring upon Mankind can be seen, sown by either his own hand or that of his servants.
Imperial investigators have traced this trail of corruption to its very roots, and coupled with what the Adeptus Mechanicus uncovered in the camps of the tribespeople Segimer claimed as kin, some sliver of the truth has been lain bare. With utmost certainty do we now know that the tribes of Caliban had been corrupted by the Primordial Annihilator long before the Primarch had even arrived on the world, their heresy hidden from sight by the forests and caves in which they dwelled. It is our belief that these tribespeople and their wicked faith were instrumental in turning the Primarch of the VIth Legion against his gene-father, and that it was they who set in motion the events that would set the galaxy ablaze.
The First War for Caliban
Yet the tribespeople were far from the only warp-tainted humans on Caliban. Indeed, even in the settled parts of the world, where the Orders of Caliban held sway, corruption festered in the hearts and minds of the weak and weary. Whilst only fragmentary evidence on the Orders has survived – the result of Segimer’s thorough purge of all that could be traced back to them -, the few records that escaped this destruction hint at the many insidious threats the Orders were confronted with in the years Segimer was growing up among the tribes.
Unnatural diseases, mutant uprisings, court intrigues and general unrest forced the Orders to increasingly look inwards, their extermination campaigns against the beasts of the forests temporarily put on hold as they struggled to maintain order amongst their charges. The extreme measures some Orders had to take to ensure the peace in their communities – ranging from witch hunts, summary executions, and in one case even the decimation of the population – began to lead them down a dark path of tyranny and oppression, which only bred more resistance to the Orders’ rule among the populace.
In desperation, or perhaps in cruelty, some among the Orders turned their scientific and technological endeavours to the creation of a variety of instruments of control and domination, ranging from the mundane to the outright horrific. The forges of these Orders blazed with industry as they sought new means to combat the madness sweeping through the streets of their homes, and long-forgotten weapons of devastation and annihilation were brought back from hidden vaults as deterrents for both internal rebellion and outside interference. A few of them sought salvation in genetic experimentation and mass cybernetic enhancement, mutilating their subjects into things incapable of independent thought or action – or things so antithetical to human existence that our sources dare not name them.
When the other Orders discovered these heinous practices, the backlash was immense. So horrified were they by the actions of their fellows, that they saw no other option but to eradicate them in their entirety. The revulsion they felt at what could only be described as the complete and utter perversion of their duty was enough for the remaining Orders to transcend their personal differences and unite themselves into one greater whole: The Grand Order of Caliban.
The Grand Order descended upon the errant Orders with fire and fury, toppling fortresses and outposts, burning down settlements and putting entire populations to the sword. Neither quarter nor mercy were given in these grim battles, as both sides fought to preserve their own way of life at any cost. Caliban was set ablaze, its landscape scarred by the horrid weaponry unleashed upon its soil, its streets and cities covered in blood and ash, and its people dying in their millions.
Slowly but certainly, the treasonous Orders began to fall, their rulers dragged from their holdings and executed by the Grand Order’s vengeful commanders. Stronghold after stronghold fell as the Grand Order marched on relentlessly, heedless of the casualties it was taking, increasingly blinded by its desire for vengeance against those who had defiled their homeworld and people. By the time the Grand Order reached the last few holdouts of its enemies, its strength had been greatly diminished – barely a fifth of its original numbers remained. And yet the Grand Order’s warriors fought on, determined to see this conflict end, and peace return to the lands.
As the last of the Orders were being wiped out, one of the Grand Order’s armies stumbled upon the isolated stronghold of the Knights of Lupus – an Order about whom dark rumours had circulated long before the other Orders had turned to their vile methods. They had not been heard of throughout the entire war, which had led some to believe that they had been wiped out by the beasts of the forest – or perhaps, a rival Order.
There was some truth to these rumours, as the Grand Order’s warriors discovered no more than an overgrown ruin, which was in the process of being reclaimed by Caliban’s ever-expanding forests. Curiously, there were no signs of any struggle or battle having occurred either inside or outside the fortress’ walls; nor was any trace found of the castle’s former occupants. It appeared as if they had all simply vanished, along with all their belongings and records – as if they had been erased from history itself. The only true clue as to the Knights of Lupus’ ultimate fate was found in the catacombs below the fortress – but what the Grand Order’s men found there was apparently so revolting that it was stricken from all records, and the fortress itself was atomized by controlled demolition.
When the last Order was finally defeated by the Grand Order’s forces, the people of Caliban breathed a sigh of relief. Bloodied but unbroken, the men and women of Caliban could now turn their gaze to the future once more. The civil war had cost them much, but they would rebuild, as their ancestors before them.
As the armies of the Grand Order began to march back to their homes, and their leaders turned their attentions to the restoring of their communities’ glory, the threat of the beasts of the forest, their primordial enemy, drifted ever further from their memory. None of them had questioned the sudden decrease in the creatures’ attacks when the civil war had begun in earnest – many believed that the horrific weaponry unleashed during the great battles between the Orders had been enough to scare them back into their hiding places.
This assumption would cost them dearly – for as soon as the fighting between the Orders had ended, did a new enemy reveal itself…
Why am I here?
The captive stared at the walls of the pit he had been thrown in. One could hardly call it a cell; it was no more than a natural hole in the soil, covered by a crude wooden grate. A poor substitute for the dungeons he was accustomed to; if he still had his armour, he would have broken out of this would-be prison in moments. But he did not have his armour. At the moment, he had nothing.
Why do I still live?
He could barely see anything. Both his immediate surroundings and the world beyond the grate were cast in a gloomy twilight. Here, in the depths of the forest, every shred of Caliban’s meagre sunlight was as much a luxury as water in the desert. He wondered if he would ever see it again, that distant star. If he would feel its warmth on his skin once more before the end.
Will I die here?
The man idly traced over the scars on his arms, his legs, and his chest. Each of them was a memory of a battle fought, a challenge met, an enemy defeated. With a measure of pride, he noted that he had never earned a scar on his back. Not even this time. Not even when all he had built had been brought down around him, he had not fled. He had not turned his back to his enemy. He had stood and he had bled, alongside the last of his knights, bringing death to the vile things that had come to destroy them, until at last they had been bested. They had fought well, all of them.
Were they here, too?
Satarna, Grandmaster of the Knights of Lupus, pondered these questions in silence. He could not tell how long it had been since he had been brought here. He found that he could not even recall how exactly he had ended up here; everything between the battle for the citadel and the present was no more than a blur, like a dream, fleeting and ephemeral. Perhaps he was dreaming; or perhaps he was already dead, and all this, the pit, the darkness, the pain – was the hell he had consigned himself to when he had opened that blasted tome.
If only he had turned back. If only he had turned back from that place, if only he had let the tome burn along with it. If nothing else, at least his soul would have remained pure. He would still have risen to greatness – perhaps not to the heights he had achieved through the tome’s secrets, but high enough at least. High enough to make a difference. To inspire. To be something… more.
More than the wretch he was now. More than a fool destined to die in the hole he had dug for himself. More than -
Satarna growled, tightening his calloused hands into fists.
I made my choice. I stand by it.
But would I do it again?
He unclenched his fists, and slowly turned his hands around. He studied the lines crossing his palms, as his mind mulled the question over.
“Still alive, are we?”
The voice hit him like a splash of cold water. Startled, Satarna jumped back, his hands instinctively reaching for weapons that weren’t there. His eyes darted around, looking for the source of the sound, but found nothing.
A low chuckle echoed through the cave.
“And lively, too. Calm yourself, Lord of Wolves…”
A face appeared in the gloom on the other side of the grate. Two piercing blue eyes and a wolfish grin met Satarna’s gaze as he turned his attention to it.
“… I have come to make you a deal.”
The death of the Orders
The Emperor arrives
The Great Crusade
Much like its organisation, the Wolves of Caliban’s combat doctrine was shaped primarily by the teachings of the Principia Belicosa. Whilst the Legion had a natural penchant for close combat, they did not specialize themselves in that aspect of warfare to the extent that certain other Legions did. Instead, they continually used and refined the strategies and tactics outlined in the Principia Belicosa, perfecting its combined-arms approach to the point that the Wolves of Caliban became the textbook example of how a Legion should operate in the field.
When the War of Secession’s second phase began, it rapidly became clear that the Wolves of Caliban had not limited themselves to the Principia Belicosa’s teachings as much as was often believed. For rather than hurling its own warriors into the fray, as many of its peers did, the Legion heavily relied on the mortal auxiliaries its Discipline Corps had swayed to Traitors’ cause, using them to detrimental effect against the Loyalists whilst at the same time minimizing their own casualties. Indeed, much of its overall strategy now seemed to revolve around the conservation of its own strength, keeping it in reserve until the enemy was weakened enough to destroy with a well-aimed decapitation strike.
Additionally, with all pretence of loyalty to the Imperium cast off, the Psykers amongst the Legion – who had continued to train in secret – were now free to unleash the full might of the Empyrean against the Legion’s enemies. Aside from the myriad powers that the Librariums of the Adeptus Astartes had taught its members before they had been disbanded, the former Librarians of the Wolves of Caliban now harnessed the raw essence of the Warp to rip tears in the fabric of reality, bringing scores of Daemons into the material world, or to empower weapons and armour with fell sorceries. The most gifted among their number specialized in the dark art of daemonic possession, turning their brothers (or, more often, unwilling sacrifices) into vessels for the Neverborn, or binding powerful daemons to their vehicles.
As the War of Secession dragged on, and the Traitor Legions began to rely more heavily on the fell powers of the Empyrean, other changes were wrought in the ranks of the VIth – changes of a more physical kind. Those who fought against the Legion increasingly faced warriors who were more beast than man, both in temperament and in appearance. The most disfigured amongst them appeared as massive, wolf-like creatures, with clawed hands and feet, distended jaws and elongated teeth, their bodies covered in matted fur and scraps of ruined Power Armour.
Post-battle dissection of these warriors revealed the horrid truth behind their origin. Unlike the possessed Astartes, they had not been artificially created by the Legion’s sorcerers, or even its dreaded Druid-cult; shockingly, it appeared that the Legion’s gene-seed itself was causing these transformations. Whilst the Legion had always had its fair share of minor mutations – such as the long canines seen amongst its veterans, and their unusually well-developed senses – due to the addition of the so-called Canis Helix to their gene-seed, continual exposure to the Warp’s corrupting influence seemingly triggered a far more drastic reaction within their bodies. The gene-seed of these warriors began to actively rewrite itself, continually breaking apart and rebuilding, causing their bodies to mutate uncontrollably.
Over time, this genetic breakdown caused immense psychological and physical trauma to those who fell victim to it, shattering their sanity and eventually turning them into little more than rabid beasts, capable of only rudimentary coordination and speech. Those who were too far down that path were so uncontrollable that the Wolves did not so much direct them into battle as simply unleash them, using them as expendable shock troops or to sow terror and confusion amongst their enemies. Those who endured the strain did not fare much better, as both their own mental state and that of their fellows progressively degraded to the point that even the Legion’s infamous Discipline Corps had tremendous difficulty maintaining even the slightest semblance of order.
This gradual deterioration made the Wolves’ combat doctrine increasingly difficult to predict on the battlefield. Only when they were headed by Segimer himself did they act with some of their former discipline, and even then, units often broke off from the main force to pursue their own ends.
After the death of their Primarch, and the breaking of the Legion, this pattern of behaviour became even more pronounced. Unlike the other Traitor Legions, the remnants of the Wolves of Caliban largely went their own way, carving out their own path in the galaxy without much care or thought for their once-brothers. Each of the former Legion’s warbands gradually developed its own unique combat doctrine, based on the preferences of its leaders, its arsenal, and the alliances and enemies it made throughout the Long War. Some of these still cling to the old methods, operating much in the same way as they had under Segimer’s command, but most now wage war in ways befitting their new status as raiders and pirates.
The VIth Legion’s culture was an interesting blend of its Terran roots and Caliban’s heritage. Unlike many of his brothers, Segimer did not shy away from his Legion’s pre-unification legacy; on the contrary, he embraced it. Prior to taking to the field in the Great Crusade, the Primarch spent the majority of his time immersing himself in all facets of Imperial culture, learning its many intricacies from scholars and warriors alike. Once he had learned all he could, and thoroughly impressed by what he had seen, Segimer set forth to mould his Legion into a vessel for the Imperium’s ideals, implementing a range of Terran customs into its cultural, ideological and organisational make-up.
One of these customs was the adoption of an Imperial name upon ascension into the Legion, to which additions were made throughout a Legionnaire’s career. This was no attempt to erase a warrior’s origins – rather, it was to remind them that they belonged to a greater whole, a greater unity than their former Calibanite tribes. Each Legionnaire took great pride in their name, and each part of it was chosen with considerable care. Most often, they were derived from ancient Terran literature, although some also sourced them from other cultures who had been sufficiently suffused by the Terran spirit.
Another was the practice of Discipline Masters, who were elevated into instruments of the Primarch’s own iron will. The VIth Legion had always struggled to contain the ferocity of its members, and only the strict enforcement of order by the Discipline Masters had managed to bring some cohesion to the Legion. After its reunification with the Primarch, the Legion did not suffer this problem to the same extent as before, but Segimer considered it useful to keep the Discipline Masters in place to further temper his Legion’s choler. As symbols of their authority, they were allowed to bear the Raptor Imperialis on their breastplate, and often bore standards topped with the Imperial Aquila into battle.
Caliban’s own heritage was not forgotten, however. In fact, Caliban remained as it had been before – an isolated, feral world ruled by cultured, yet undeniably savage tribespeople. At Segimer’s personal request, no attempts were made to integrate the Calibanites into the wider Imperium beyond what was necessary for the Great Crusade’s demands, and no Imperial outposts were raised on the world barring those of the Legion itself. This caused no small amount of controversy, particularly amongst those who adhered most strongly to the Imperial Truth, who saw the Calibanites’ belief systems as troublesome superstitions that warranted censure, and the Adeptus Mechanicus, who coveted the planet’s mineral wealth.
Caliban’s inhabitants therefore remained an insular people, whose cultural practices were largely a mystery to the wider Imperium. The Wolves of Caliban themselves were no more forthcoming when it came to their homeworld’s culture, and even Segimer himself provided only scant details when pressed.
What little was known painted the Calibanites as a people whose lives were dominated by nature in all its myriad forms. Caliban was a harsh, unforgiving world, and only by attuning oneself to its natural rhythm could one hope to survive its many challenges. To prosper in its forests and valleys, one had to understand and respect the laws of nature, and accept one’s own place in the greater cycle of life, death, and rebirth. The world around the Calibanites was thus as integral a part of their existence as their own flesh and blood, and they treated it accordingly.
These simple teachings were passed on from generation to generation through rituals and festivals, which were usually led by members of the planet’s caste of druid-priests. These wandering hermits stood apart from the rest of Caliban’s often violent society; they were not beholden to any of the world’s many tribes, nor did they pay tribute to any of its warlords. Due to their duties as keepers of the faith and guardians of its mysteries, they were seen as veritable holy men, as sacred as nature itself. None amongst the notoriously bellicose Calibanites, not even the most foolish and brash, would dare make demands of them, let alone threaten them, for doing so would bring down the wrath of Caliban itself upon the transgressor.
Of the rituals and festivals themselves no information was ever recorded, for outsiders were not allowed to witness them. It is clear, however, that many of these rituals and festivals were still performed or celebrated within the Legion, albeit presumably in a different form. Their main purpose appears to have been to forge bonds of unity between those who hailed from rival clans, and to keep the Calibanite spirit strong within the Legion.
This secrecy remained unquestioned for most of the Great Crusade, although some amongst the Imperial administration, and even a few members of its fellow Legions, quietly voiced concerns about this throughout the period. Warmaster Teman apparently broached the subject with his brother Segimer once, but little seems to have come from it. Given that there were other Legions whose cultural idiosyncrasies sparked greater outrage – such as the blood-rituals of the XIVth -, the Wolves’ naturalistic spirituality, while bordering on a violation of the Imperial Truth, presumably did not warrant any further investigation by the Hand of the Emperor. In his eyes, these peculiar rituals and festivities could be tolerated, as long as they aided the Legion in maintaining order and cohesion.
Since then, a lot has been revealed about the Wolves of Caliban, but details of its cultural practices still elude us. It has, however, been proven that the rituals and festivities in which the Legion indulged were, in fact, dedicated to the Primordial Annihilator, and that sacrifices – both of humans and of other creatures - were a common element in these practices. These gatherings appear to have been moments of catharsis for the Legion, in which the Legionnaires could drop the mask of loyalty and civility and embrace their primal, barbaric nature for a while, and bring praise to the Ruinous Powers as their Calibanite kin did.
Unlike the other Traitor Legions, the Wolves appear to have always worshipped the Primordial Annihilator as a single, undivided entity. In fact, they seem to have actively shirked away from the cult-worship of specific aspects of the Ruinous Powers that was so prevalent amongst their brethren. In an intercepted communique between two of the Legion’s officers, one of them even claimed that the very concept of gods, or a Pantheon, was no more than a delusion, a simplistic interpretation of the true, unknowable shape of Chaos, fit only for the small-minded and weak.
Curiously, the Wolves maintained much of the secrecy surrounding their culture even during the later stages of the War of Secession, when the treachery and corruption of the Traitor Primarchs had been laid bare. They continued to hide their activities and practices from view, sometimes even going as far as executing their own allies to ensure that their secrets did not spread. What drove them to such drastic measures, none can say, but given the depths to which the Legion sunk, perhaps it is better not to know.
At the tail end of the War of Secession, Caliban was destroyed by the newly-formed Adeptus Mechanicus, and with its death much of its cultural legacy disappeared. Coupled with the fragmentation of the Legion following its decimation at the hands of the Emperor, this caused a gradual shift in the Wolves’ beliefs, and eventually, the Legion’s original culture was supplanted by new creeds, which appear to be more in line with those of the other Traitor Legions. At present, only a few warbands of the Beasts of Boudicca still cling to the veneration of Chaos Undivided, whilst most now worship a single deity of the Pantheon.
Aulus Saturninus (Atrebas), Master of Discipline
Legionnaire Atrebas, known as Aulus Saturninus to the Imperium, was the Master of Discipline of the VIth Legion during the Great Crusade and the War of Secession. A native of Caliban, Atrebas was one of the first inductees from the world after the Segimer’s reunification with the Imperium. Known as a stern, uncompromising and dependable figure, Atrebas would quickly draw the attention of the Discipline Corps, who recruited him into their ranks. Over the course of several decades, Atrebas became one of the Corps’ most prominent members, first rising to the rank of Consul-Opsequiari, and later, when the Terran Master of Discipline died in battle against the perfidious Aeldari, being unanimously elected as his successor.
Under Atrebas’ leadership, the Discipline Corps gradually began to shift its attention from its role as peacekeepers amongst the Legion’s ranks to the forming and maintaining of relations with other branches of the Imperial war machine. To this end, members of the Discipline Corps were sent out across the galaxy to lend their experience to other Legions, or to take temporary command over isolated regiments of the Imperial Auxilia.
This strategy was but one of many ways the VIth Legion was steadily expanding its network of allies and friends within the Imperial political and military machine, but it was perhaps one of the most insidious. For unbeknownst to the other Legions and Imperial High Command, Atrebas had entrusted the Calibanites under his command with a hidden, secondary objective: they were to sow the seeds of dissent amongst their charges and cousins, seek out those amongst the unenlightened who might accept the truth of Chaos, and weed out those whose loyalty to the Emperor might compromise the Legion’s plans.
Only when the Traitor Primarchs revealed their true alliance during the War of Secession did the full extent of this hidden treachery become apparent. Both sides found many of their soldiers defecting to the traitors’ cause, their pledge of allegiance often accompanied by the immediate betrayal of their once-allies. Regiments were torn apart from the inside as traitors assassinated commanders and destroyed critical infrastructure, or turned from the Emperor’s light entirely, purging their ranks of any dissenters along the way.
Even the loyalist Legions did not escape Atrebas’ machinations. Many of their Warrior Lodges, serf-populations and auxiliaries had been infiltrated by agents of the Traitors, who subtly caused discord and mayhem amongst the loyalists’ ranks by acts of sabotage and misinformation. Only when the Edict of Nikea was revoked and the Legions’ Librarians returned to active service, were many of these hidden traitors found out and eliminated, but by then, the damage had been done.
Atrebas himself did not live long enough to see the results of his actions. He was caught in a surprise attack by a Secessionist Solar Auxilia Cohort early in the War of Secession, his vessel obliterated by the Cohort’s flagship during the ensuing void battle. Ironically, said Cohort would later go on to join the Traitors, its officers having been corrupted by one of Atrebas’ subordinates.
The warband known as the Blackbloods is currently the largest warband of the Beasts of Boudicca. Sworn to the service of the Plague God, Nurgle, these warriors seek to finish what their Primarch had started: the enlightenment of all of Mankind to the glory of Chaos. To that end, their rusted, plague-stricken vessels are always on the move, travelling from world to world, seeding cults wherever treachery is yet to blossom, and spreading vile diseases there where the Corpse-Emperor’s lackeys hold fast.
In combat, the Blackbloods make use of a variety of tactics, as their Legion before them, although they have picked up several new tricks since devoting themselves to the God of Disease. Their Druids have learned the secrets of rot and decay, allowing them to inflict unholy horrors upon the flesh of their enemies, and to bring those unfortunate souls back to serve them as horrific Plague Zombies. Many of their warriors have also taken in the gifts of the Grandfather, becoming hosts to a myriad of diseases, their forms hideously disfigured by tumorous growths and grotesque mutations. Black blood oozes from open wounds and sores, rotting flesh and skin sloughs off brittle bones, and toxic vapours are pushed out of wheezing lungs as these so-called “Death-sworn” make their way across the battlefield. These Traitor Astartes are disgustingly resilient against all but the heaviest firepower, and only by the complete obliteration of their corpse can the lingering taint they exude be removed. The Blackbloods often uses packs of these warriors to dislodge fortified positions or entrenched enemies, for even if they do not manage to reach their target, their sickly aura and the horrid diseases they carry are often enough to erode their enemies’ willpower and strength, making them easier prey for the rest of the warband.
The Blackbloods are led by an enigmatic Chaos Lord known as Warchief Ambior, of whom it is claimed that he is the very last of the Primarch’s original followers. While this is extremely unlikely, given that all of Segimer’s closest companions were recorded as having died during the ambush that destroyed the Legion, it cannot be denied that Ambior’s skills and knowledge rivals those of the Legion’s former elite. He has orchestrated hundreds of successful campaigns against the Imperium, ranging from simple raids to full-on invasions, and it is said that he has sired a thousand cults to the Dark Gods across the Segmenta, many of which have yet to reveal themselves.
Despite the many encounters the Imperium has had with the Blackbloods, no-one has ever been able to lay eyes upon the Warchief himself. Even the Assassins of the Officio Assassinorum have never gotten Ambior in their sights, despite their numerous attempts to slay the Blackbloods’ leader. Some have therefore argued that Ambior does not in fact exist, that he is merely a misdirection, a ruse used by the Blackbloods to keep their enemies in the dark. But those who have faced the Blackbloods know, with absolute certainty, without any true shred of evidence that whatever Ambior truly is, he is very, very real.
++ PLACEHOLDER - WORK IN PROGRESS ++
- Evil Space Wolves who are more Celtic-inspired than Viking-inspired, and who worship the Primordial Annihilator in a Lovecraftian manner (think spreading evil cults, bringing forth unspeakable daemons from the aether, etc.)
- Have slightly mutated into a mixture of Evil Space Wolves, Evil Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus, and Word Bearers
- Worship Chaos Undivided – to the Beasts of Boudicca, Chaos is a force of nature, unknowable and primordial. The idea of a Pantheon is a delusion, a construct for the limited human mind to make sense of what Chaos truly is. The Truth of Chaos must be spread to all of Mankind, and the Beasts of Boudicca will stop at nothing to make that happen.
- Venerate nature in all its forms. To the Legion, nature is sacred, as it is the purest manifestation of the Primordial Annihilator. Mankind should not attempt to transcend its natural state through industry or technological development, as in doing so, Mankind moves away from its true self. Man should only take what nature provides - all else is stealing from the Great Mother.
Relations with other branches of the Imperium
- Poor relation with the Adeptus Mechanicus, due to the latter's veneration of the machine over the natural.
Edited by Brother Ezra, 06 May 2020 - 06:28 PM.