+++ DISCLAIMER +++
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THE WINGS OF DAWN
Dark Angels Successor Chapter
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+++ CHAPTER DATA SHEET +++
DESIGNATION : The Wings of Dawn (renamed from their original designation, the Light Keepers)
HERALDRY : A shinning blade, stabbing down, with crimson wings at its sides
ARMY COLORS : Green and ivory
BATTLE CRY : Fiat lux! (Let there be light!)
PROGENITOR CHAPTER : Dark Angels
FOUNDING : Year 581.M37, part of the XXIII "Sentinel" Founding
REFOUNDING : Year 996.M37 (with official recognition given in the year 010.M38)
CODEX ADHERENCE : Codex-compliant, with minor organizational deviations
CLASSIFICATION : Home world based
MAIN SECTOR : Eastern Fringe
MAIN SYSTEM : Orientis Lux (Easternmost Light)
HOME WORLD : Alcides, at the edge of the system's habitable zone
MAIN STRONGHOLD : The Sigmalite Fortress
CHAPTER MASTER : Grand Master Zerephiel, current (anointed in the year 134.M42)
CHAPTER STRENGTH : Half-strength (∼600 Active Battle Brothers)
STRATEGIC FOCUS : Infantry formations, combat squad deployment, plasma weapons, suicide missions
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+++ CHAPTER SUMMARY +++
The Wings of Dawn is a loyalist chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, and codex-compliant successors to the Dark Angels. They are formally a part of the Sentinel Founding, and are based on a distant, broken death world named Alcides, near the edge of the Eastern Fringe.
It is a chapter formed up of warriors made from the gene-seed of the First Legion. Heirs to their Primarch’s heritage of an unyielding loyalty to the Imperium, and a stoic determination in the face of inescapable death. Distinctive traits which were highly sought after for the creation of these warriors, as they were brought into service with the specific task of holding a line at the farthest reaches of the Eastern Fringe; and to sacrifice themselves to the last man in order to stop a prophesized evil that would come into the known universe from the depths of undiscovered space.
This is a chapter born, destroyed, and then reborn, in defiance of prophecy. Having acted as the unwitting engineers of their own downfall, and as the agents of the great cataclysm that struck their home-world at the turn of the 37th millennium. Having then survived this doom, and their battle against their fated enemy, despite the wisdom of the visions and the holy predictions of the great Imperium going against them.
The battle brothers of the chapter are grim warriors, who truly embody the sacred words of the Emperor: “And they shall not know fear”. They are courageous to the point of being thought of as suicidal, and they never allow themselves to give an inch to the enemy. Still, they are not stubborn or foolhardy, as other chapters can be. Their sacrifices are not made for pride, for wrath, or for glory, but for duty. Their genetic makeup carries with it the strategic prowess of their Primarch, and so, the combination of their traits makes the Wings of Dawn a force of warriors who are never hesitant to lay down their lives, but who always do so in service to a greater plan for victory.
From within the hallowed halls of their monastery, the Sigmalite Fortress, they maintain a constant watch over the larger segmentum. Ever in open vigilance for any activities on the part of the enemies of the Imperium, but also in secret search for any signs or clues which may tell of the return of their fated enemy. This, as they live on in constant suspicion that their own survival, millennia ago, must have meant that the doom they once stopped is not forever gone, but rather that its existence is forever bound to the chapter, and while one survives, so will the other
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+++ ABOUT THE CHAPTER +++
ORIGINS OF THE CHAPTER
The battle brothers of the Wings of Dawn are a chapter twice born into service for the Imperium of Man. Originally created inside the vast laboratories of Mars and from the gene-seed of the First Legion, through the careful selection of deeply studied and meticulously vetted candidates. All of them taken from many of the various faithful planets of the Segmentum Solar. A brotherhood then made anew after a great calamity, and from amongst the surviving inhabitants of their own sundered home-world. All of these new warriors being brought into service during the final days of the 37th millennium, as a gambit, thought out by the last true-born battle brothers of the chapter. One which was desperately enacted, so as to somehow play out their own twisted fate, and ultimately fulfill their preordained purpose to the Imperium.
The creation of the chapter was the result of prophecy. A reaction to a vision of a great and terrifying doom, which was to come from beyond the farthest edges of the known galaxy. The lives of these warriors —the battle brothers of what was named, at first, as the Lightkeepers—, were nothing more than the elected response from a concerned Imperium. Chosen to face against a new and unknowable enemy, which would soon be at its gates.
By the mandate which led to their founding, the battle brothers of the Lightkeepers chapter were all born to ultimately die, and to —in doing so— save humankind; for their deaths had been foretold as the means through which to ensure the destruction of whichever evil was bound to spring up from the great darkness of the unknown cosmos. One force made to consume the other, so that countless other imperial lives would be spared.
Because of this, the Lightkeepers were created from the gene-seed of the First Legion. In the hopes that the genetic legacy of the Dark Angels Primarch would grant unto them the loyalty, resolve, and honor-bound sense of duty which would be needed to face down their own inescapable sacrifice, with unbreakable determination.
Destiny, however, would play itself out in a way unlike that which had been foretold in prophecy.
Soon after claiming their home world, conflicts with suspiciously well organized and driven pockets of civilian resistance, opposed to the presence of the astartes, would drive the chapter into an escalating war against their own population. This long and bloody conflict would cripple the planet’s generatorium networks most of all; pushing Alcides into an energy crisis of such scale so as to force the Light Keepers to order the place to be mined to its very core, for new resources. An action which would then lead to these warrior’s own demise, as it would inadvertently release something terrible from the world’s depths. A kind of xenos intelligence, unknown to any imperial records, and until then dormant inside the planet core. Powerful in terrifying ways, and with no greater desire than to destroy the chapter and its home world.
The battle brothers of the Light Keepers chapter would come to know this entity as their fated enemy, and would rise to meet it in battle. This, during what would later be named as the War of Sacrifice. And, although they would eventually triumph over this world-ending event, they would do so without dying out themselves. In spite of what had otherwise been foretold, they would, in fact, survive the death which had been spelled out to them as their one inescapable fate.
These few survivors, these last of the Light Keepers, being unable to truly understand the complexities or the implications of their own survival, would decide to proclaim their former chapter as dead. They would decide to hold their fates fulfilled, by vowing to the death of their old chapter. Thus, claiming the prophecy as fulfilled, and their enemy as vanquished. Then, from the ashes of their former selves they would decide to be born once again, and under a new name. Free to carry on the fight against the enemies of the Imperium, as the Wings of Dawn. Haunted, however, by the unshakeable suspicion that their survival against fate would one day mean the return of their true nemesis.
CHAPTER HOME WORLD
The chapter is based on the far-off death world of Alcides, in the Orientis Lux system. A place located at the edge of the Eastern Fringe, beyond which nothing exists but the blackness of unending space. A place deprived of any indigenous intelligent life. Discovered and colonized almost a full millennium and a half before the arrival of the chapter.
This planet was once a relatively large and successful industrial hub for the Imperium. Then housing billions of imperial citizens, spanning three colossal hive cities, and numerous refineries and industrial hubs. All of this, despite the deadly hardships posed by its climate, its topography, and its natural fauna. And, although it continues to house many millions of imperial citizens into the present day, the great catastrophe that struck it at the end of the 37th millennium has turned it into little more than a fractured shadow of its former self.
In any case, Alcides has been, and still is, a dangerous world of cold, red rock. With storm filled skies which are constantly lit up in a green haze, caused by the powerful auroras that spread across the entire upper atmosphere; consequence of the particular radiation that emanates from the system’s lone star. With large and wild ocean masses, and vast cragged continents; all of which hold numerous and abundant caches of an emulsion-like substance which is refined by imperial citizens into fuel, both for their military industries and their own daily survival.
It is the home to a peculiar genus of beasts, called the Fellhae. Agile, cunning and ferocious monsters that proliferate in many places across Alcides, in various species and subspecies. Each one adapted to their own specific environment within the planet biosphere. These creatures manage to survive this otherwise very inhospitable place, mainly due to their ability to consume not only lesser beasts, but also the emulsion-like substance which is abundant in Alcides. Each species of the genus possesses some variation of a special set of glands and organs, which they can use to ingest and metabolize this substance, so as to then use it as either a secondary source of nourishment, or as a natural weapon with which they can vaporize water, melt stone, or disintegrate both flesh and bone.
The natural ability of the Fellhae was quickly adopted through technology by the early settlers of Alcides. This led to their accelerated development, which in turn allowed them to thrive despite the dangers posed by the natural predators and the plentiful other hazards of this death world. Their ingenuity and perseverance led to the founding of great hive-scale cities, as well as numerous refineries and industrial complexes, across the many emulsion ponds and reservoirs that lay across the various depths of the planet’s mantle. All of them interconnected by a great underground network of roads and defensive positions centered around the crown jewel of their claim over the planet: The Sigmal. A colossal refinery and drilling outpost, stretching for miles in width and length, and reaching from the surface of the planet and down to its very core.
Having survived the sundering of Alcides, at the end of the 37th millennium, the Sigmal acts now as the fortress-monastery of the chapter. Its hallowed chambers housing the battle brothers of the Wings of Dawn, as well as what remains of the history of their old selves. What millions of human inhabitants which yet remain on the planet, all look up to the chapter and their mighty fortress for protection from a world which they have mostly lost forever.
So, at present, Alcides is a world broken by the ravages of the great disasters that once struck it. With more than one entire hive city having been lost millennia ago to the power of the planet's would-be destroyer. With entire mountain ranges having crumbled into dust. With the very shape of its continents and of its oceans having changed beyond control or repair. It is a world now reclaimed by the Fellhae, with its human survivors having been pushed back into the remnants of their once great civilization. Forced to hold the line against both the beasts and the elements from the relative safety of what remains of their underground network. Their lives are now spent in surviving to the best of their ability, while producing the tools of war that are required by both the planetary defense force and the astartes themselves. Heroes who, in turn, keep a vigilant watch, as the perils of the death world encroach more and more, all around them, with each passing generation.
CULTURE AND TRADITIONS
The battle brothers of the Wings of Dawn chapter are characterized by a grim demeanor. In the same vein as others who also take their genetic heritage from the First Legion’s Primarch, these warriors carry themselves with somber detachment and solemn purpose, as they go about their lives, both in and out of combat.
They are shaped by the conditions of their home world, to see human life as something valuable that must be protected, but ultimately ephemeral. They hold themselves to be the protectors of their home world, and the liberators of all systems besieged by the enemies of humankind. With their war cry —although at present being somewhat removed in meaning from what it originally was, in the early 38th millennium—, upholding and exalting these ideals. Still, in the end they see all human life as something to be sacrificed in the pursuit of otherwise greater ends, should the need call for it. They feel deeply for the weak who might fear their own deaths and hold a special form scorn for warriors who show even a semblance of doubt at the idea of laying down their lives for the good of others.
They are shaped, also, by their own history, to renounce most manners of pride and glory. Boasting comes hard to them, as their lives are spent in a sort of shameful remembrance of the fact that, not only could it very well be argued that they should not exist at all, but also that they themselves are, in no uncertain terms, the ones responsible for the destruction of so much of their own home world, and for the death of billions of imperial lives.
They are a chapter that follows the letter of the Codex Astartes very closely. Consequence of their proximity to various areas of influence from other codex-compliant chapters (most notably, the Ultramarines themselves). Consequence, as well, of their use of the Codex in the 38th millennium, as source of knowledge with which they were able to rebuild themselves, after their own decimation. Still, although most of their original traditions (as developed during the brief period of time in which they existed under their previous chapter designation) remain lost to them, some fragments survive, and in relative resemblance to the way they were crafted from the foundational traditions inherited from their progenitors. All of these preserved into present day in as much as they can be, by the brothers of the Reclusiam.
Following this amalgamation of traditions, the Wings of Dawn follow the old chapter structure of the Codex Astartes, both in composition and command, yet they keep their own inner circle from amongst the masters of each of their ten companies. Their task being an agenda all to their own. One which, although not tied to a secret shame as it is with their parent chapter, is still the primary concern of the high command of the chapter at all times: the pursuit of any evidence of the survival of the great enemy they once faced at the sundering of Alcides. As knowledge of the chapter’s past grows within a particular battle brother, they are inducted more and more into this inner circle, and they are granted further responsibility in the eternal watch they all maintain for the return of this great evil.
Before even beginning such a path, though, any new warrior that might enter into the ranks of the chapter must pass through a series of trials. Each born from the features of their home world, the state of the human civilization that remains upon it, and the events that led to the chapter’s current condition. All of them playing a part in shaping an aspirant into becoming a true battle brother.
Beyond the instruction and training that any potential astartes must survive in order to be considered at all as adequate by the chapter, the inner circle of the Wings of Dawn, then, and under advisement of the Arch Chaplains of the Reclusiam, makes their aspirants go through three particular rites of initiation. Those who survive them, must then perform a ritual of self-sacrifice known to the chapter as “staring into the light”. Surviving this final trial is the only way to become a battle brother, and with each aspirant that survives it the chapter as a whole comes one step closer to understanding the true nature of their own fate.
The Wings of Dawn are close adherents to the Codex Astartes. Having taken the text drafted down by the Primarch of the Thirteenth Legion as the basis upon which to rebuild their military structure and traditions; this then combined with the training methods and special combat tactics of their own progenitors.
Within the scope of the Codex, the chapter has a particular focus for high-speed assault maneuvers, followed up by the supporting advance of large infantry formations. The former usually being deployed in the shape of bike squads and support vehicles, or in the shape of vanguard strikes of teleporting heavy infantry, or in a combination of the two. Meanwhile, the latter usually being deployed in combat squads, with frontal attacks from specialists and backfield support from heavy gunners, both pursuing multiple objectives of tactical value on the battlefield per the abilities and equipment of each part of the overall formation.
In incorporating the various training protocols and combat doctrines inherited from the First Legion, some parts of each battle company in the chapter organize themselves as specialized wings. With the veterans always being deployed using suits of Tactical Dreadnought Armor, to engage the enemy with a silent ferocity, akin to the Dark Angel’s first company. And, with the first assault squad always riding into combat using bikes and landspeeders, with deft maneuverability and a deadly precision, akin to the Dark Angel’s second company.
Due to the natural environment of their home world, one of the main weapons of choice for the battle brothers of the chapter, is —of course— plasma. Be that in the form of personal sidearms for most commanding officers of various hierarchical positions within the company structure, in the form of plasma guns and combi plasmas for specialists and sergeants in the battle lines of each company, or in the form of the heavier plasma cannons for heavy gunners in both the battle lines and the heavy support formations of each company.
The fuel of these weapons comes from the special emulsion that is abundant in the chapter home world, and it is used indiscriminately by those battle brothers blessed with the honor of wielding the weapons that fire it. Without fear or consideration for their own safety, as they engage the enemy with their armament charged to their deadliest possible capabilities, as often as possible.
In combat, the battle brothers of the chapter are merciless, yet always focused on a tactical victory. Never allowing themselves to act upon a desire for blood and carnage for their own sake. Their engagements are well planned and strategic, placing tactical victory over personal glory, every time. Although this makes for the chapter being useful as allies for most other forces in the Imperium, what causes concern for any who fights besides them is the chapter’s willingness to die in combat in order to secure victory for the Imperium; and their expectation that whoever they fight alongside with shares the same disposition. This has often given way for other commanders of various imperial forces to think of the Wings of Dawn as straight up suicidal. Something that would be hard to argue to be far removed from the truth.
The overall organization of the Wings of Dawn shows a strong adherence to the Codex Astartes, instead of one that might more closely mirror that of its progenitor chapter, and unlike what is most customary for the successors of the Dark Angels. Despite this, both developed and inherited variations exist in their application of the organization template laid down by the Primarch of the Thirteenth Legion.
The chapter uses some leadership traditions and nomenclature across its hierarchical structure, much more akin to those of the First Legion. A Grand Master stands as the highest position of authority, with an inner circle around him, composed of the ten masters that lead the ten companies in which the entire chapter is divided. They are aided closely by a Reclusiam which holds not one, but two strata of spiritual leaders for the battle brothers of the chapter: The company chaplains and the chapter arch chaplains. The formers are —as the Codex commands—, those battle brothers tasked to serve as exemplars to their brethren within each company. The latter are grim and solemn figures, much feared and revered within the chapter. Researchers of the past and keepers of traditions, tasked with aiding the Grand Master directly in much higher pursuits than the other chaplains. Principal of which is acting as the counterpart to the Librarium in the task shared by them both, of keeping on the rites of the Eternal Watch. The permanent state of surveillance the chapter maintains for any activity which may tell of the resurgence of their fated nemesis, somehow returned from the death to which the last of the Light Keepers cast it, millennia ago.
The high command, led by the Grand Master, and supported by his senior advisors and personal support staff, is followed by the offices of the Master of the Armoury as leader of the chapter’s techmarines, the Master of Sanctity as leader of the Reclusiam, the Master of the Conclave as leader of the Librarium, and then the offices of the Apothecarium.
Ten companies are then organized under these offices. All of them following the company marking structure of the Codex Astartes, save for minor deviations in markings and regalia which are meant to designate positions of leadership and command within a squad, demi company, or company. Still, each of these ten formations is led by a master, who is aided by a chaplain, and supported by the company lieutenants. All companies except the tenth company are further led by the members of their respective command squad. The battle companies, then, are supported even further by their veteran squads.
Each company will keep dedicated and active dreadnoughts at all times. These sacred machines of war house within them the remains of the true born. The original founders of the chapter. The last of the Light Keepers, who survived the sundering of Alcides, and vowed to the death of their old designations, so as to allow the chapter to be reborn as the Wings of Dawn. Their wisdom and experience is something that goes beyond mere combat; and beyond what most battle brothers that fight alongside them might realize during their early years of service in the chapter.
Past this more traditional structure, the organizational deviations inherited by the chapter from its progenitors become more apparent. With their peculiar training rites and combat doctrines having found their way into the chapter through a dogma that the battle brothers of the Wings of Dawn call the Excerviunt. One of the few surviving elements of battle lore from the Light Keepers. Salvaged from the ashes of old Aclides by the true born brothers of the chapter. Closely guarded by the arch chaplains of the Reclusiam, and carefully expanded through millennia of combat experience since the new founding of the chapter.
By the dogma of the Excerviunt, one half of the first company of the chapter, as well as its entire company command structure, and each veteran squad of each battle company (from the 2nd through to the 5th), they all engage in battle exclusively with the use of suits of Tactical Dreadnought Armor, and their fighting style closely resembles that of the Dark Angels own First Company. The veterans of the first squad of the first company are the finest warriors of the entire chapter. To them belongs the title of the Knights of the First Dawn.
In similar fashion, the first assault squad of each battle company, as well as one half of the 8th Reserve Company, they all ride into battle in attack squadrons, using bikes and landspeeders as support vehicles. These warriors employ a fighting style that closely resembles that of the Dark Angels own Second Company. The first squad of the 8th Reserve Company is composed of the finest riders of the entire chapter. To them go the honor of riding the best bikes in the chapter (named the Fellhur), and to them belongs the title of the Knights of the Dying Star. Despite these warriors being veterans in their own right, their position is at the head of the 8th Reserve Company, so as to act as keepers of the combat rites and traditions for all riders of the chapter. Any battle brother that wants to become a rider in one of the battle companies must first be recognized as worthy by the Knights of the Dying Star.
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+++ HEROES OF THE CHAPTER +++
The child of lesser nobility, from the feudal world of Echledom, in the neighbouring system of Egea. Born under an ill star, during the End Times proclamation by the Seer of Corrinto. He was brought into the chapter as an aspirant directly by former Grand Master Asfarael, during a diplomatic mission to the system. A young and unassuming child, he nevertheless managed to catch the attention of the old warrior by quickly divining the true purpose of his coming as one of persecution of heretical dogma within the higher ranks of lordship in Echledom, under the auspice of the Ordo Malleus of the Inquisition. He served the Grand Master with bravery, grace and cunning, as his guide in court. This, to the successful unveiling (and later, the complete destruction) of a large and intricate cult of worshipers to the demon god Tzeentch, which would have been the downfall of the entire system.
His ascendency through the ranks of the chapter was long, slow, and hard-won through many victories, both on and off the battlefield. A path which led him to first taking on the mantle of Master of the 4th Company, and then, eventually, the title of Grand Master. A position he was elected into by the inner circle in the year 034.M42, after proving himself worthy by successfully leading his battle brothers through the impossible “Gauntlet of Kul’Narogsh”. A dreadful campaign through a hellish dreamscape inside the Cicatrix Maledictum, crafted by the daemon prince Ilianae’Naeregoshii. An exalted scion of Tzeentch, and infamous champion of the heretic warband known to Imperium records by the blasphemous moniker, “Mankind Liberators”.
As the XIVth Grand Master of the Chapter, he wields the oldest and most sacred relics in their armory. Symbols of his authority and leadership. The Blade of Einheart, master of the Lightkeepers, as well as the Shield of the Lost. The only surviving piece of Elsheim’s armor, reforged thousands of years ago into a small carapace which —by tradition— is worn into battle by one of the chosen war hounds of the Grand Master, to protect him.
All of these great achievements, and marks of prestige and honor, however, have not come and are not kept without cost or hardship. By the circumstances of his birth and of his induction into the chapter he has lived the life of an outsider amongst his battle brothers. His position is one which has been granted out of a kind of begrudging respect and admiration, but not yet devotion. In fact, the very nature of his recruitment, along with his seeming ability to divine into the very thoughts of his enemies in order to outsmart them and outmaneuver them, as well his own personal record against so many servants of the Changer of Ways; it has all served to engulf him in a dreadful air of suspicion inside the chapter. Something that weighs on him at all times, sombering his demeanor and his leadership.
Those few who do trust him in earnest within the high command of the chapter, though, see Zerephiel as a worthy successor to the line of Elsheim Einheart. A mighty warrior and a valiant leader, under whose command the chapter shall endure ever stronger against the enemies of the Imperium.
One of the oldest living members of the chapter. Evanor has served as librarian under the command of three Grand Masters, and across a lifespan of more than half a millennium. All that time while being deeply devoted to the Eternal Watch, and to the pursuit of any sign or trace that might tell of the survival and return of the Doom of Alcides.
Being an extremely gifted psyker, as evidenced by his talents since early childhood, he was eagerly chosen by the Scholastica Psykana, to be granted unto the Wings of Dawn per their need for strong psykers with which to hastily renew the halls of the Librarium after the decimation of the Conclave. A tragedy of the 41st millennium, known on record as the “Butcher’s Night”, which saw the lower halls of the Sigmalite Fortress become flooded with the blood of near every psyker the chapter once had. This, by the tricks and machinations of the fiendish servants of the Changer of Ways. A score which would not be settled until the “Gauntlet of Kul’Narogsh”.
It did not take long for Evanor to rise in status inside the chapter, to become the Master of the renewed Conclave. While other librarians could believe themselves able to best him in single combat, or in their mastery of war, none could ever hope match him in knowledge of their lore, in raw psychic power, or in strength of will.
Having served for so long and in such a high position of command, he has been able to develop a profound sense and understanding of the chapter and its future, in a way that is far beyond the grasp of most battle brothers. Hence his words carry great weight inside the chapter. In fact, he was personally responsible for setting the wheels in motion for the anointment of the current Grand Master, brother Zerephiel. Someone to whom he owes his life, after having been saved by him at Kul’Narogsh. Someone who he undoubtedly believes will be instrumental to the fate of the chapter, at the return of their Doom.
Born on Alcides in 834.M41. The once acting sergeant of the 1st Company’s 6th Squad rose to his position of command during the Adastraea Campaign in 024.M42, when he was forced to take charge of the badly damaged forces of the 2nd Company against the T’au armies that had entrenched the planet. This, after Master Sagan —the former commander of the company and his direct predecessor—, met his tragic end at the hands of the xenos commander, Shas'El T'Au Vel'Na V'Rok.
Dragomir is a ferocious warrior, who prefers direct engagements. As a commander he likes to lead his battle brothers from the front lines, and always seeks to inspire bravery in others by his own example. Although his attitude to both combat and command can be considered to be quite cavalier, his service record as Master of the 2nd Company is filled with notable triumphs against impossible odds.
Because of this he has the honor of wielding one of the chapter’s prized relics into battle: Fellbane. A masterfully crafted thunder hammer granted as a gift by members of the Inquisition’s Ordo Malleus.
An experienced warrior, and a respected leader in his own right. Osric has been a lieutenant in the 2nd Company since the year 035.M42. He was granted the rank directly by the Grand Master, with whom he served faithfully for years, back when Zerephiel was the Master of the 4th Company.
Osric’s approach to war stands in stark contrast to that of Company Master Arcalis, as he leads his battle line with a calmed attitude and a particularly cold detachment from the chaotic nature of war. This, along with his skills, makes him far better suited for strategic analysis than bloody carnage.
As second lieutenant, he is both honored and charged with serving as personal aid to the Grand Master, whenever he commands the company’s forces in battle. His regalia is adorned in the bronze of the Chapter’s Command, instead of the gold which is the mark the 2nd Company, to reflect this.
Born to a family of Generatorium workers. He was given up to the chapter in the year 038.M42, as part of the tithe mandated by the Covenant of Vaerlides, shortly after his ninth birthday. Quick of body and sharp of mind, Oriel showed immediate promise as an aspirant, and became a fully-fledged battle brother in a surprisingly short number of years. His abilities allowed him to climb the ranks fast, gaining command of the 2nd Company’s 3rd Tactical Squad right after the chapter’s victory in the Elærion Campaign, in 077.M42. Only a couple of years into his third decade of service.
Due to his abilities he is favored by his Company Master for missions that require finesse and precision. As such, he is often tasked with leading critical ‘Kill Team’ type assignments for the chapter.
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+++ CHRONICLES OF WAR +++
An account of the chapter's history in the 42nd millennium
At any particular time, one will find the bulk of their forces —in the form of the Reserve Companies, led by the First Company—, stationed in Alcides. These warriors being tasked to hold the planet from inside their halls in the Sigmalite Fortress. With their lives dedicated to prayer, to training, and to keeping guard against the many dangers that abound in every direction.
Still, warpaths are kept by the Battle Companies, for their part. With their their numbers being deployed constantly into the multiple warzones of the Charadon Sector, through divisions formed from their various Demi Companies.
These warriors, as sustained by regular rotations from the Alcidean reserves, help to keep humanity safe in this far off part of the Imperium. By fending off the mortal dangers posed by the daemonic forces that surge from the tail-end of the Cicatrix Maledictum, the virulent traitors of the Death Guard’s plague worlds near Ultramar, the slave armies of the Sautekh tomb worlds, and the insidious treachery of the T’au Empire.
This balance to their power has been upset, however, since the early days of the 42nd millennium. The battle brothers of the chapter having become increasingly scattered across the stars. With their strength now stretched across new warzones far beyond their ancestral home, and with the fate of many of their own being unknown and uncertain.
A BROTHERHOOD, DIVIDED
No communication has been possible with these warriors for a great number of years, and with each passing day the Grand Master feels more pressure, both from his advisors and from the members of the inner circle, to declare the companies as lost. To rebuild them with the fresh blood of new recruits. Perhaps even through the use of the gifts offered by the joint efforts and genetic craftsmanship of Mars and Ultramar: The Primaris Marines. Something to which the Arch Chaplains advice strongly against, with a great sense of foreboding.
The Grand Master knows that a decision will have to be made soon, as the recent events of the so-called Psychic Awakening, which has thrown the galaxy into new turmoil, make it all the more evident that the chapter needs to return to its full strength if it is to survive these harrowing times.
The choice remains a pending task still, however, even if for a but few years more. Poorly buried under other more pressing matters, as the enemies of the Imperium gather on mass near the sector, in the form of great swarm of Tyranid beasts. All of them born as a splintered strain from the terrible and terrifying Hive Fleet Kraken. Their numbers going rampant and unchecked across the north bank of the Cicatrix Maledictum, endangering the corridors that serve as the only true gateway into the Imperium Nihilus. Creatures already driven to a mindless frenzy of bloodlust, after consuming entire human worlds in their path towards the Imperium.
The Grand Master has answered the call to war himself, with a strike force that aims at destroying the swarm, or at least at disrupting its advance, so that a Liberation Fleet from Ultramar can be formed in time to fend it off. He has taken direct command of the Knights of the First Dawn and the remaining warriors of the First Company, as well as the full might of the Second Company.
Thus, leading a combined army of nearly a hundred and fifty battle brothers up the far side of the Hadex Anomaly, and towards the Carima System. The one place where the head of the snake may be cut, before it swallows the bridge that holds humanity together, whole.
'WARZONE: CARIMA' — First contact with the Hive Fleet Uroboros [124.M42]
A short but grueling voyage around the farthest edge of the warpstorms sprouting forth from the Hadex Anomaly, led Zerephiel’s fleet to Carima.
His strike force would be the delivery of an initial attack on the emboldened Tyranids, who had already consumed most human lives in the colonized worlds around the prime star and claimed near absolute dominion of the entire system.
With preliminary strategic analysis performed, after communications were established with the remaining Planetary Defense Forces on the very edge of the system, the Grand Master decided to direct his forces to an initial deployment on the surface of Corsuvio VII. A lesser industrial world serving as a steppingstone for the swarm, from which they could threaten launch their final strike against the remnants of humanity in Carima.
These creatures were of the most curious breed and behavior. Clearly a splinter fleet from a larger hive, and still not defined by any imperial xenobiologists. Having conquered Carima with ease, and even having consumed an entire chapter of Astartes in their wake yet opting to then slow down their advance. To consolidate their positions upon the larger world of Corsuvio IV, despite no biomass being left to consume.
Whatever their purpose in making such a timid decision, Zerephiel could see the opportunity presented to him. His forces would make planetfall on Corsuvio VII and engage the Tyranids. They would break their slow march across the distal zone of the system and begin to turn the tide on the swarm.
The battle brothers of the 2nd Company, under the company banner, and with Zerephiel himself at the head, took to the woods around the ruins of the Arforo “RF-02” Refinery. A place by which a predicted pattern of movement of these beasts could be made out. These wrangled monsters would be ideal targets for first contact and interception.
The swarm came about as predicted, yet emerging from the woods in numbers outside what had been foreseen by the astartes, who had honed their combat skills back in Alcides against beasts just as deadly, large and strong as these, yet only ever present twice in their history in such an overwhelming mass.
The monsters made a mad rush forward, cutting the distance through the ruins of the refinery in the blink of an eye. The bulk of their formation splitting up into three great columns, each one running into the fray under the lash of the larger, hulking beasts, which kept up the rear. Most of them lining up heavy bioweapons; forming an array of artillery, with which to rain death upon any battle brother that might dare to leave their entrenched positions beyond the ruins, to countercharge the swarm.
Their line would eventually be broken through, though, and by one of the swarm’s most deadly creatures: The flying hive tyrant. With wings of a span in the length of an entire Rhino-Class APC, and fangs and claws capable of shredding ceramite and fibrosteel as if cutting through little more than wood.
The creature fell on the slopes of the hill in a dive, shrieking hungrily and viciously along the way, and aiming directly at the devastators in their elevated position. Shrugging off flakk missiles and hellfire shells as it went. Borther Aramil Althonos, the Champion of the Second Company, and chosen blade of the Grand Master, would break off the ranks of the 3rd Tactical Squad, and climb the hill in a dash to intercept the creature.
On the top of the hill he would challenge it, and after a long duel of strength and instinct versus skill and faith, he would find the way to slay it at last. The hulking beast falling over him and around him. Temporarily burying him under a husk of shattered scales and bleeding flesh.
Meanwhile, on the other flank of the battlefield, Zerephiel readied his battle brothers to suffer the clash of the two main Tyranid columns. The bolters of two full Tactical Squads roaring wildly with every bolt; the weapons proving capable of relenting the creatures advance, yet also proving unable to stop it entirely. Both forces driving each other to a bloody stalemate of sorts.
In an attempt to break the chokehold of the swarm, Zerephiel gave orders for his Excerviunt veterans to drop from the fleet overhead, and into the back line of the enemy forces. Terminator Armored warriors emerged valiantly from the teleportarium, with First Epistolary Naevis at the lead, and dealing thunderous barrages of bolter and assault cannon fire into the larger creatures. Cutting through them just in time to give their brothers respite from their artillery fire.
Yet, as the veterans marched forward through the cragged ruins of the battlefield, they inevitably came into contact with the most terrifying asset of the Tyranids: The swarm queen. A gargantuan beast, alone capable of cutting through the mightiest warriors of humanity with little effort. Gifted with a psychic might that was entire dimensions beyond anything even a seasoned psyker like brother Casimir could withstand for long.
Their battle was short lived, with the veterans forced to retreat, yet managing to give the rest of the army the time needed to break the will of the swarm and send it into flight.
So, with no side capable of fully breaking the other, the Tyranids began to retreat back into the woods, under the watch of the astartes, who kept their positions behind their defensive line, on the far side of the battleground. Not yet deeming it wise to prolong the conflict further, but to rather begin scouring the area for vital intelligence that could be found about their opponents, first.
The ruined site of the refinery would prove worth their efforts, as strands of data remained inside the local uplink to the planet’s central cogitator, which was somehow still operational despite the onslaught of the Tyranids.
Scrambled, degraded, and incomplete, yet still useful bits and pieces of information were there, both from the original survivors of the first stage of the xenos invasion, as well as from another First Legion successor chapter. One which seemed to have come to rescue the system during the initial attack by the hive fleet. A mangled force, composed of battle brothers from a common ancestry, who had, apparently, laid down their lives in order to allow transports to carry the inhabitants of the core world of Corsuvio IV, and to the relative safety of the final outpost of the Planetary Defense Force.
From this information Zerephiel managed to come to the idea that the invasion might not have been just a random act of mindless destruction, but rather a purposeful maneuver by this splintered hive fleet, to an end yet unknown.
With restocking operations finished, and a pressing need for more data as to the nature and the motives of these creatures, Zerephiel commanded his strike force to resume their advance towards the main industrial hub of the planet.
There, he hoped, he would find some answers.
'WARZONE: CARIMA' — Ambush at the Orsset Prometium Node [124.M42]
The astartes pressed the march to reach the industrial hub that lay beyond the ruined refineries. Over green fields turned into blasted wastelands in the wake of the swarm.
The core arms of the battle line, under the personal command of Grand Master Zerephiel, were making a slow and steady advance across ruined settlements and over multiple relay stations. This, while the battle brothers of the first assault squad were engaged in forward scouting operations, with the Excerviunt veterans awaiting the call to support them from their teleportarium chamber, back in orbit.
Hours of treading through mud and smoke led these warriors to the middle-perimeter line of the Orsset; the industrial hub’s outer network. With the straight path through it leading over a promethium node which, although damaged, was somehow still active in the midst of the overall devastation caused by the swarm. Its pulsating energy serving well to hide the biomarkers of what was —unbeknownst to the astartes—, a trap set by the Tyranid overmind, as a part of its retreat from their previous battle.
As the sun began to set overhead, a hunting party of genestealer brood of various mutated strains, led by bipedal monsters clad in golden suits of armor, sprung from their hiding places in between the promethium reservoirs. Dozens of creatures descended upon the column of marching battle brothers, in a storm of deadly fury.
Still, luck proved to be somewhat on the side of the Imperium of Man, for the Tyranids —in their ravenous hunger—, had placed their trap too close to the fortified segment of the Orsset, and had sprung it too early on their quarry. This gave the astartes just enough time to rally around their commander, and at the foot of an imperial bastion which stood abandoned and mostly undamaged amongst the ruins. Part of the old defensive line around the industrial hub.
While firing lines were being set up in no-man’s land to delay the advancing march of these creatures, and support groups were being deployed in nearby shrouded vantage points to provide retaliatory support as needed, the battle brothers of the second tactical squad quickly manned the fortress. Rousing the machine spirit of the automated gun batteries into action as they went about setting up firing positions atop the ramparts. Plasma blasts, heavy bolter shells, and autocannon rounds, all soon began to rain down on the genestealers in quick succession, thinning their numbers.
The battle came swiftly, with the vanguard of the Tyranid host crossing no-man’s land and overrunning the firing lines formed by the first tactical squad of the Wings of Dawn, all in one fell swoop. With their numbers being still plentiful despite the unrelenting firepower of the Imperium’s artillery, and with their advance being undeterrable by the mere presence of infantry groups on the ground.
The warriors of the first tactical squad joined the supporting force around the gates of the bastion, as the beasts of the Hive Fleet descended upon Grand Master Zerephiel, down each side of the fortress. Their front lines bearing their curiasses of gold, and waving blasphemous banners, in malicious mockery of the will of the God Emperor.
Pushed now into close quarters, the commander of the Wings of Dawn cried out to the battle brothers all around him, a call to arms. And as he stood in the middle of the battle, with the Blade of Einheart shinning bright in white steel and crimson blood, spraying the bile of the beasts on the blighted earth, a solemn chanting of the chapter’s words began to fill the air: “Fiat lux! Fiat lux! Fiat lux!”.
The frenzy of the genestealers was such as to make even the strongest heart cower, yet by the grace of the aegis of the chapter, the Shield of the Lost which stood always faithfully at the commander’s side, the vicious talons of these creatures proved ultimately unable to mow down the astartes. One by one they fell to the blades of humankind.
Ultimately, the trap had failed, and victory had so come to the Imperium of Man, at the feet of the Imperial Bastion.
The warriors of the chapter —although bloodied by the ordeal—, now received the light of the coming morning with renewed spirits. Their march could continue, with their first true victory having been hard won against the swarm.
Edited by Berzul, 07 July 2020 - 08:34 PM.