"For a thousand years we have given ourselves to the Imperium. Our blood has been spent instead of its children, our lives given as a tithe for the innocent. A hundred times our Chapter has faced annihilation but we have survived. And yet now, as the light of the Astronomicon dims we are called upon one last time to give ourselves wholly and completely. So, come brothers, let us die so that these wretched souls may live one more day...
Captain Jodus Ammeo (KIA) - Battle of St Pelinards Spire M41
Salvation through Sacrifice - IA: Star Leopards
Star Leopards Chapter Symbol
Founding: 13th [M.35] (Suspected)
Chapter World: ARGENTIS (Destroyed M.41)
Fortress Monastery: Argent Spire (Destroyed M.41)
Primogenitor: Unknown (Suspected Salamanders)
Known Descendants: None
“They call us cursed. That we are fated to fall. I say they are cursed because their fear of failure means they won’t even try”
Captain Konor Pell - Battle of Martyr’s Plaza M.41
Although Imperial records of the time are at their best incomplete and hazy and at their worst complete fallacy and hearsay or even out right destroyed there is evidence that supports the Chapter’s claim of being founded in the Thirteen or so called Dark Founding. This proof is mostly just hints and half truths hidden in imperial records on a dozen different worlds. Indeed even though the Chapter loosely claims to be children of the Primarch Vulkan and founded from his children the Salamanders genetic testing has shown genetic markers common with both the sons of Nocture as well as others unique to the Imperial Fists of Rogal Dorn, plus several others that cannot be traced to any specific source. Whilst this lack of true and clear records on their past has haunted some of the Chapter in the past the Star Leopards as a whole tend to focus instead on their future and current circumstance rather then focus on suppositions on what their past and origins may have been.
The first clear and definite records of the Chapter date to M.36 in the troubled region of space known as the Mercurian Passage, a narrow treacherous region of Segmentum Ultima. The Passage served as a rich, albeit dangerous, path for traders and Imperial vessels that had come under increasing pirate as well as Xenos activity. Although typically stable the Passage was known to suffer sudden and unpredictable Warp storms of a particularly savage nature. These storms brought with them all manner of Warp born horrors and would leave in their path the detritus of Warp travel, such as orkish roks or other xenos infested Space Hulks. These hazards made the otherwise profitable Passage an oft treacherous journey. After loosing several of his families vessels to just such threats Rogue Trader Garos of the Vandimos Dynasty, whom frequently used the Passage to deliver vital goods to Imperial forces engaged on countless war zones across the Segmentum, petitioned Segmentum Command for further resources to be assigned to secure the Mercurian Passage. Recognizing the strategic importance of both control in the Mercurian Passage as well as remaining on good terms with the Vandimos Dynasty his request was sent on to the High Lords of Terra and in time was answered by the assignment of the Star Leopards to keep order and pacify the troubled region of space. Upon arrival the Chapter soon established Imperial control in the region, basing patrols to help counter whatever threat presented itself from the ocean world of Argentis. It was on this world they would establish their fortress monastery to further secure the region and its strategically vital trade routes.
The Star Leopards would go on to continue to fight across the length and breadth of the Imperium, plunging into any number of conflicts on countless worlds. They soon formed a reputation for taking on overwhelming odds and, through sheer grit and determination winning through. They were most noted for taking on the conflicts where people seemed to have been otherwise abandoned by the great war machine of the Imperium. It wasn’t unheard of for the Chapter to deploy to worlds where the last vestige of Imperial resistance fought on against an overwhelming force, striking from Thunderhawk and drop pod to place themselves between the enemy and whatever loyal forces remained. They were often the last shining beacon of hope to countless dying worlds, true Angels of Death. It was a tactic that cost them dearly and the chapter was brought to the brink of extinction on several occasions. They soon gained a reputation with Imperial command as cursed, as harbingers of impossible odds. Still those whom had been saved by the Chapter still offered prayers of thanks to the Emperor for his angels and the legend of the Chapter grew.
The fall of Cadia and the birth of the Cicatrix Maledictum plunged the entire Imperium into chaos. None escaped the nightmarish hell of the Warp spilling into real space and the Star Leopards were no better off. Argentis itself came under sustained attack from the denizens of the Immaterium. The Chapter dug in and attempted to save their homeworld but it was a battle doomed to fail from the start. With the Mercurian Passage already known for its violent Warp storms the hellish waves of Warp energy that overwhelmed Argentis were of a scale unseen in the area. Faced with never ending waves of daemons as well as countless warbands of Chaos even the unexpected aid of the Eldar of Craftworld Yme-Loc could do nothing to stem the tide. As the battle hung in the balance the Farseer Talondir of the Eldar host approached the Chapter Master of the Star Leopards. He had a deal. He had seen the future of the Chapter, its destruction should they continue to fight. But he offered a deal that would save the Chapter. He could, via the webway, sent some of the planets survivors as well as what was left of the Chapter to safety. But in exchange they would need to detonate the Chapter's ammunition store and destroy the homeworld forever. For the world of Argentis was home to a long dormant Web portal but it was one the eldar couldn't allow to fall into Chaos hands. It was an impossible decision but one that had to be made. And as the last of the Star Leopards that were able fled the planet via the Aeldari's warp magics Chapter Master Kristof stayed behind to detonate the warheads that would reduce Argentis to dust.
'Raylan Carentan - Chief Librarian by Greyall
The Chapter was in ruins. Scattered to the winds, its Chapter Master gone and its homeworld destroyed the Chapter was again on the brink of extinction. This time, however, they lacked a homeworld to draw recruits from and were lost to the far side of Imperial space. Even the enigmatic Eldar whom had brought them from the ruins of their homeworld disappeared. But the Chapter was determined to survive. The remaining Captains and leaders of the Chapter gathered and formed a plan. The remaining warrior houses would separate, each going different ways, to look for a new homeworld, seek out recruits and to prove the Chapter still a threat to the enemies of the Imperium. They coined this the Redemption Crusade for they felt the loss of their homeworld was a great sin and stain on the Chapter’s honour. A stain that needed to be redeemed. The arrival of Guilliman and his Primaris reinforcements were at first welcomed by the Chapter, their numbers helping swell the decimated ranks of the Chapter. But for many within the Chapter the Primaris were more another sign on the death of the Chapter as it was, for the Primaris were born of the gene-seed of Guilliman and his Ultramarines as the Chapter’s own gene-seed was as mysterious to the Primarch as it was to the Chapter. This, as well as growing instablilities in the Chapter’s gene-seed meant it was unlikely to accept the further enhancements of the Primaris and successful implantation rates in new recruits was extremely low. To further compound this the new reinforcements were not of Argentis and knew nothing of its culture and people. A culture that was fast dying out with the death of every marines of the chapter. The death knell of the Chapter seemed to have been sounded.
Still, no matter the risk, the Redemption Crusade goes on, with reports of the Star Leopards fighting in warzones across the beleaguered Imperium. There arrival is oft a welcome relief for the commanders of humanity know that the Star Leopards will answer the call for aid, no matter the odds.
“ She was a jewel, Argentis. A shining gem in the hellish night that the Passage became. An gleaming example of beauty and perfection, as if formed from the very breath of some divine being itself. And now it is ash and dust. Speak not to me of Argentis, recruit, for I have no time for such bitter memories.”
Sergeant Kolaj - MIA, Redemption Crusade M.41
Ask any marine of the Star Leopards on what their homeworld of Argentis was and you would receive a different answer, if you received an answer at all. For many it was a sanctuary from the doom and hatred of the galaxy. For others it was a fortress for them to launch their crusade of hate against the xeno and traitors of the galaxy. For other’s still it was as part of them as their blood and gene-seed. Argentis was all of these things to the Star Leopards. Originally taken to act as a forward base for the Chapter’s operations in the Mercurian Passage the ocean world with its rugged forested islands soon became much more for the brothers of the Chapter. As the Star Leopards spent more and more time on the planet and began to recruit from the worlds native feudal tribes they began to form a connection with the world and eventually petitioned Segmentum Command for rights to the world as their homeworld. It was a request that was granted with much pomp and ceremony and the Star Leopards would establish their fortress monastery on the top of one of the worlds tallest peaks. They build a great silver tower that stretched high in to the planets cerulean sky and had deep vaults that tunneled their way to the bedrock through the massive mountain. In these deep tunnels were stored the Chapter’s vast store of armaments and relics.
When the Cicatrix Maledictum opened its terrifying maw across the galaxy many worlds were engulfed in the warp energies that spread across the galaxy and Argentis was one such world. As daemons and traitor astartes spread violence and blood shed across the beautiful world the Chapter Master of the Star Leopards, Chapter Master Kristof, was approached by a Farseer of the enigmatic Aeldari whom revealed to him a secret his homeworld had long kept hidden. For Argentis had once served as a refuge for the Aeldari. Although not one of the fabled Aeldari Maiden Worlds it was, none the less, home to a long dormant gate to the mysterious webway. A gateway that could not be allowed to fall into the hands of chaos. For if it did it would, eventually, be able to be entered by chaos and give them a path onto the various eldar craftworlds. When the Farseer met with Kristof they struck a deal and as the eldar evacuated what they could of the Chapter and the worlds population Kristof led a defiant last stand, leading the traitor forces deeper and deeper into the catacombs, fighting alongside his chapters first company. When they could go no further, when they reached the vast ammunition stores at the heart of the mountain Kristof detonated the munitions and Argentis was no more.
On the other side of the galaxy what remained of Argentis’s native population and their astartes guardians emerged on a desert world. It was from here they were rescued by Imperial forces and eventually given ships and supplies to carry on their fight. They were granted further resources by the Indomitus Crusade and have since begun functioning as a Chapter again.
For now the Chapter operates from their varied fleet, as each company takes their part of the Redemption Crusade far and wide. The Chapter has no homeworld and, until they find the redemption they seek, they never will.
“ Form a line Brother! Protect them with your bodies if you must! We are the Emperor’s shield! Duty till death! Salvation through sacrifice!”
Reclusiarch Barak Tobit - KIA, Battle of Cicero’s Landing M.40
The Star Leopards became renowned for their way of way in and out of the Mercurian Passage. They would strike like a hammer blow, raining down from drop pod, thunderhawk gunship and even low orbit to smash their way between loyalist forces and whatever foe assailed them. On occasions they have been seen as reckless and foolish, throwing themselves into conflicts most other Imperial forces have withdrawn from. But they stand true to their belief that as long as there is a hope of a battle being won they wont stand idly by. Whilst this has led to the chapter being all but decimated on several occasion it has also earned them the respect of other allied forces and there are many who have over time been more then willing to send aid to the chapter.
Since the fall of Argentis and the loss of so much of the Chapter much of how the Star Leopards go to war has been changed. Every marines life is now precious as the Chapter hopes to rebuild. That is not to say the Chapter will not place itself between an enemy and a friend but rather how they go about such attacks has changed. Where before the chapter would rely on shock and awe strikes and hammer blow tactics to break an enemy charge now they will rely on precision cuts and attacks avoided rather then shielded. They will sooner evacuate a population centre then stand at it’s walls to the last man if such a tactic can be done.
Star Leopard Battle Brother
With the Tenth Company decimated and the Master of Recruits lost on Argentis it is not uncommon for the Star Leopards to take the neophytes of the Chapter into battle alongside the chapter’s more veteran members in a manner not entirely dissimilar to the Black Templars and other crusading Chapters. Unlike their more zealous cousins, however, this has been done more out of necessity then choice for there are too few battle brothers left to teach the vast influx of new recruits the chapter has been forced to take on.
The Primaris detachment assigned to the Chapter tend to operate more like their Ultramarine gene sires. Where the first born of the Chapter tend to have mostly disregarded the teaching of the Codex Astartes, following its tenets only in principle, the Primaris tend to follow Guilliman’s texts with the fanaticism typical of the descendants of the Thirteenth Legion.
“There is no eleventh house…”
Primaris Captain Kollt
The ancient people of Argentis were divided into several distinct groups known as the Nine and One, or Ten, Houses. These represented the nine tribes of ancient myth whom ruled the worlds islands. The other tribe, the tenth, was the group known as the Houseless, or those whom were not sworn to any particular house. One could move between these houses as was needed but it was rare for someone to move from one house to another, baring unusual circumstance. So when the Star Leopards established themselves upon the world it was no surprise when these traditions began to find their way into the Chapter. The Companies took the mantle of the Houses, with the Tenth Company taking on the role of the Houseless. The First Company took up the mantle of the First House, those warriors whom had been selected by the High King, or Chapter Master, as his personal household. All the nine houses were capable of conducting war on their own part, and often did. Each of the Nine more resembled the battle companies of more Codex compliant Chapters, although the individual make up of each company was decided by the High Captain that led it. For example the Seventh House were known for their dogged determination and composed mostly of tactical and devastator squads where as the Second House, the house of the Wolf, were known to have a preference to long ranging attack bike squads. Whatever their make up these houses were still kept at close to the one hundred marine level of Codex compliant chapters and oft operated in much the same way.
When Argentis fell and the Chapter was all but destroyed a great number of the High Captains fell with it, including the entire First House and the Chapter Master Kristof. When the remaining High Captains met they agreed to separate into smaller bands, consisting mostly of one House or another. What was left of the Houseless was divided amongst the remaining houses with the Master of Recruits among the fallen and all the survivors having more then earned their place in the Chapters ranks. Each House now maintains its own Master of Recruits, known as the Master of the Hearth, whose job, amoungst others, is to ensure the Houses survival till the Chapter is reunited. With the fall of the First Company as well each House maintains its own veteran cadre. Although technically still members of their House they are separate from them, maintaining their own council until such time as the Chapter stands together and a new First House is founded again.
The Primaris assigned to the Chapter have not taken well to this blatant disregard of the Codex and have, instead, maintained their own Company system within the Chapter’s Houses. This has led to the common phrase of the Primaris being “The Eleventh House” and apart from the Chapter entirely, an accusation they vehemently deny. They still continue to operate as such, however, and elements of Primaris are instead assigned alongside their first born kin as the need arises.
Edited by Brother Argent, 17 May 2020 - 09:31 AM.