This is a Early look at what I am trying to develop as a Chapter.
Re:.................Adeptus Astartes - Heralds of Ash
CHAPTER NAME: .............. THE Heralds of Ash
CHAPTER WORLD: .............Accusation
FORTRESS MONASTERY: ........Sanctuary
GENE-SEED (PREDECESSOR): ...Unknown (Blood Angels Suspected)
KNOWN DESCENDANTS: ........."NONE"
Allegiance: Imperium of Man (Fedelitas Constantus)
Chapter Master: Magister
Size Estimate: Unknown
Specialty: Psychic attack, Predictive Understanding, Religious Purges, Policing Actions, Suppression of Ideological Revolt, Targeted Decimation
Battle Cry: " "
The Heralds of Ash are a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes created during the 6th Founding, which occurred sometime during the latter years of M33. Suspected of being created from the lineage of the heroic Blood Angels, the Heralds of Ash were one of several Chapter founded in the wake of the notable event known as 'The Year of Ghosts', when the Imperium was beset by extreme Warp activity and daemonic incursions. Only when the honoured dead rose up from their graves to drive back the terrors of the warp that the heart of the Imperium just barely managed to survive. Following this event the High Lords of Terra authorised the raising of a new Founding to help bring about stability and law back to those imperilled worlds that still suffered in the iron-grip of those who followed the Dark Gods.
In M33, the newfound Heralds of Ash Chapter was ordered to claim their own Chapter planet, after being initially fleet-based. During their search for an unclaimed planet within the Imperium, a charismatic Rogue Trader convinced the Chapter Master to aid in his search for a long-lost relic on behalf of the Ecclesiarchy in exchange for exclusive rights to trade on a lucrative pilgrimage passage, which the Trader believes is on Accusation. A deal was made; the Rogue Trader received the relic to return to the Ecclesiarchial Cardinal of the sector, the Astartes would the planet. Upon landing, a large contingent of Drukhari and Chaos cultists were discovered, and the subsequent combat between the Imperial forces, Dark Eldar, and Chaos heretics was ferocious. In the course of the brutal campaign, the Rogue Trader fell in battle alongside his forces and the Heralds of Ash. To honor him, the Space Marines chose to build their fortress-monastery around the relic's burial site, preserving it for his descendants of his Rogue Trader House to return. The Inquisition, however, suspected the "relic" to be tainted, and outright warned them to stay away, leaving the artifact in the Chapter's care. They stand vigil over its corrupting influence to this day.
Around the year 831.M33 (know as the Year of Ghosts) the fairly young Chapter was assigned to a Campaign against a Word Bearer invasion of a Holy world that was created during the War of the Confessor not many years before along side a contingent of Space Wolves, and many others. For a Hundred years the war raged on as not even the dead stayed truly that way. Ghosts and Demons were common sights, but in the end the Heralds of Ash and their allies were victorious but not without great cause. Their Chapter was critically low of personnel and even the Space Wolves were eliminated. When the Inquisition came forth to investigate the war it was decided the best policy was to kill those who were direct witnesses but more so to use the superstitions as a guard against further invasions.
The First Chapter Master should have the First Captain undertake a pilgrimage to Fenris, to return the fallen Wolves' gene-seed and relics, and tell of their valor.
The Heralds of Ash during the Plague of Unbelief (Unknown.M36) sent out several companies tracking down and eliminating the many false prophets that appeared throughout the anarchic Age of Apostasy, some little more than madmen leading rebel armies, others spiritual demagogues who commanded worlds and armies.
Accusation's surface is Ashen Wastes full of the graves of the dead and the structures to house them. With nearly every square metre of dirt on Accusation devoted to the dead, even the capital city was considered an extravagance. This world is full of feral Tribes who live outside the processing center cities. Mountains full of Cairns and Tombs fill the world while very large cities act as the points of contact with the greater Imperium.
The narrow alleys and passages were steep and cobbled, leading up to the crowning monument -- the heart of the main hive city in both a physical and spiritual sense -- the Memorial Mausoleum. Nestled at the heart of the devotional architecture and adorning the metropolis like a crown was the enormous roof-dome of the sacred vault that dominated the city skyline. A colossal archway-barbican decorated the entrance to the memorial mausoleum. The pillars of the stately sepulchre were thick and tall, and the darkness of the threshold beckoned Imperial pilgrim and cleric alike.
The funereal beauty of the Mausoleum was astounding: the intricate scrolling on the wall internments; the silver lettering adorning the floor slabs, recording the names of past pontiffs and cardinals of the Ecclesiarchy; loggia supports and fat sculpted pillars reaching up to the exquisite detail of the Mausoleum’s domed ceiling. Candles and incense burned from a thousand suspended sconces, and stern statues of Ecclesiarchs already elevated to sainthood by the Imperial Cult adorned the sepulchre space in a ring around a simple block-crypt of obsidian brick.
A silver-plated elevator was used to transport clerics and Adepta Sororitas guardians deep below the sepulchre to a small complex of condition-controlled crypt chambers residing behind a thick vault door. A circular gallery spiralled about the sepulchre’s exterior, made up of marble steps and landings, providing access to the wall-combs, vaultia and the upper stories of the Mausoleum.
Imperial mortuary lighters brought an unending supply of the Imperium's noble dead from necrofreighters down to the Accusation surface. The prestige of spending just a century in the precious earth drew cadavers from light years around. Senior officers of the Imperial Guard, the Imperial Navy, members of of Hive World noble houses, powerful merchant lords, Navigators, other planetary nobility and devoted members of the Ecclesiarchy itself were all buried in Accusation’s sacred topsoil. Coffins and sarcophagi are dug up for shipment back to the families following the expiration of their leases in an unending cycle of inhumation and exhumation on a planetary scale. Grave niches in the catacombs are reused. A body may lay there for a set amount of time and any more time the buried or relatives are willing to pay for, thereafter are the bones removed and placed in an ossuary or charnel house.
A Servo-skull Manuifactorum make up one of the great industries of the world along with a trade in pilgrimages. The tourist and pilgrim industry for people wanting to visit the mausoleums of famous people and saints is booming. Pilgrims have to pay to get to the areas where their mausoleums are, then have to pay to get close to the mausoleum, and then pay extra to go in in the mausoleum. Many pilgrims don’t think about how to get back home after having visited the holy sites and stranded pilgrims make up a notable underclass on Accusation. Mausoleums have to be paid for. Those that don’t have any tourists or pilgrims paying for them, nor any founds or relatives paying upkeep are abandoned or reused.
Cremation happens often and the kind of wood used important. The poorest dead are just thrown into gas crematories while those that have paid a bit more get burned with wood, while the richest get buried for a time unless they were significant enough to get one of the Imperial Organizations to pay. Notable parts of Accusation are plantation forests that are grown only to create good funeral wood. Bones that are still there after cremation is considered blessed and are used to create lesser relics.
The Sanctuary is a structure in the center of the ruined city of The Unredeemed that is under the "protection" of the Heralds of Ash. The tower has since become a symbol of judgment by the Heralds of Ash as the city of The Unredeemed was built around it. For over the millennia, the tower cast a great shadow down on the inhabitants of the city which became a site of daily persecutions with the lower class living in tents outside the city and either dying of torture or from starvation and plague. Only the Strongest survive going through the ruined city of the downtrodden to make their way to the Sanctuary and finding none. Their they have to pledge sacrifice and loyalty to even undertake trials to become one of the Angels of Death who were above the prosecuted. The only Sanctuary to be had is being strong enough to grant it to one's self.
They deviate significantly from the Codex Astartes. Ash is considered sacred by the Chapter, and when Heralds of Ash Battle-Brothers are called to go to a distant war they perform one last act before leave-taking, a ceremony known as the Shouldering the Burden. This ash is carried in a flask by every member of the Chapter, to anoint every planet that they step foot on in a ritual ceremony called the Sharing the Burden.
Knowledge was power but needs to be seen through the lens of the Emperor. They believed there was no discipline their intellect could not master, no secret he could not unlock and make serve their purpose. For the Ashen Heralds, knowledge is salvation, the means to controlling the psychic legacy of their Primarch's gene. Every book was sacred, every writing worthy of study, every document a resource to be drained. The Ashen Heralds are publicly dogmatic, swearing oaths of loyalty and singing the Imperial hymns. They fight for the expansion of the Emperor's realm with diligence. To further this Vision Journeys to understand the future and their connections to it as blessed by the God Emperor.
Heralds make use of fire in many of their rituals and ceremonies and believe that they must be cleansed by the pain of fire before every major undertaking or initiative. The Chapter Cult that governs the beliefs of the Heralds, placing great emphasis on self-reliance, loyalty, and self-sacrifice. They hold a firm belief in isolationism, the tenet that only through spiritual meditation and exploration performed alone and in isolation from others can a person gain a true understanding of both themselves and how they can best serve the will of the Emperor.
Heralds are an extremely devout group whose faith ventured into fanaticism. They are completely dedicated to the Ecclesiarchy and an ardent followers of the God-Emperor. They greatly emphasized religion in everything they do and act with great zeal in their quest to purge the worlds of "heretics". They are portrayed as a considerably dangerous zealots and are known and feared around the Imperium. They possess an intense proclivity towards the use of torture to "purify" those they saw as heretical and are infamous for using painful and varied forms of execution. They have tried and questioned hundreds using brutal and intense methods of religious interrogation, but only a traumatized few had lived through the treatment.
After battle the Chapter keep a great memorial service for the fallen, they expect any allied Forces to participate, and react hostile to any who don’t. Most Battle-brothers write death poems before important battles. The Heralds, when possible, treat all the dead on the battle field with proper burials/cremation and death rituals. Be they allies or enemies. The Heralds are usually a quiet, sombre, and melancholic Chapter but have great reveling feasts for the death after battle. They try to keep their hunger and rage in check by doing some form of artistic endeavours mainly calligraphy, death poem writing, gravestone carving, death mask making, scrimshawing, coffin making, sculpting of grave statues or mausoleum planning and making. The Chapter’s generally battle-brothers rest in specially prepared grave niches. Battle-brothers always carry around candles they light at any graveyard or lone grave they pass, including the ones they dig themselves.
Dead battle-brother's remains are used to enhance the arms and armor the fallen use to have. By using the reclaimed carbon from his ashes to make auspex-absorbent material with which to coat repaired armor, or press the ashes into a diamond coating for the fallen's sword, in addition of using the bones of the fallen as pieces for the fallen's weapons like Femurs for buttstocks. Techmarines and Chaplains tell a Marine his predecessors' names, when/where/how they died, how their remains were used to improve the relic arms and armor he is about to inherit, and how his own remains will be used to improve his successors' arms and armor, in a grim ceremony as the wargear is issued.
The Heralds of Ash have a preference for close-ranged fire fights and use many Melta and Flamer weapons to burn whole swathes of infantry troops and to smash armoured foes. Their coming was nothing less than apocalyptic judgement delivered upon the guilty from on high, as descending from the skies on wings of fire. Against the xenos, no such quarter was given, and the wrath of the Chapter was made manifest as a tide of unrelenting carnage that only gave way once complete extermination had been achieved. The Chapter's tactical doctrines are heavily focused on the use of powerful shock assaults to shatter an enemy's resistance in a single, devastating blow. However, they cannot be counted upon to hold a position in the same disciplined way as the Ultramarines or Dark Angels, as any Marine in the midst of battle could suddenly him to charge forward in an attempt to tear the enemy limb from limb. This often has the benefit of creating victories in the unlikeliest of situations through sheer aggression.
Before battle, the Heralds of Ash gather in ritual prayer, chanting hymns and doctrines to affirm their faith in the power of the Emperor burning great effigies of the enemy and invoking blood rights to engage their primal instincts. Once done groups of Heralds charge forth in Berserk fury as remainder pick up the standards and chant holy prayers for guidance and victory to a steady drumming of war. The relentless advance of the Heralds is a terrifying sight, as the monotonous chant and beat of drums can break even the strongest will. The night before battle, the enemy can hear mutterings emanating from all around, echoed in the pounding drums, stretching the nerve and instilling every man with fear. The unshakable belief of the Heralds of Ash, that they alone can save the galaxy. Any victory won over the Heralds of Ash is only won at a terrible cost, as their fanatical attacks will only ever end when all are dead.
Groups of Heralds are charged beyond the battlefield with hunting down works of false doctrine and those who purveyed it, consigning both to destruction and eradicating flame. On the battlefield, they are tasked with seeking out those things which gave the foe the heart and courage to fight: charismatic leaders, priests, battle flags and champions. Once singled out, they are destroyed with brutal fervour, often far in advance of their own lines in order to do so, with no thought as to their own survival. Carrion eaters are somehow drawn to the Chapter’s presence and follow them, partially due to the Chaplains and Judiciars bearing censers burning incense whose scent attracts the beasts. Though none say why this is for it has not been proven the correlation.
A high percentage of Heralds of Ash manifesting some level of psychic ability. A small, but significant percentage are prone to physical mutation. The rate of fatalities among aspirants is frighteningly high. There are also those who argued that the mental scars suffered by those who survived the change were just as deep, instilling a sense of cause and purpose that manifested as unflinching, unreasoning fanaticism bordering on madness, a certainty which could in mere moments turn to insane fury when that purpose was challenged.
A tendency for skin pigmentation to permanently darken and appear Ashen often adopting an unnatural granite-like or ash quality. The Heralds of Ash have a grim determination to do their duty. This is not so much a desire to die as it is an acceptance that death is the only end to the path a Space Marine treads, and everything he does is another step along that path and one closer to his eventual demise. As this condition increases, the Battle-Brother can become more and more fatalistic about his chances. These black moods will not affect his willingness to do his duty nor makes him turn from his brothers, but it can press in upon his squadmates all the same.
Deep within the psyche of every Herald of Ash is a destructive yearning, a battle fury and hunger that must be held in abeyance in every waking moment. Few Battle-Brothers can hold this in check unceasingly -- it is far from unknown for Heralds of Ash to temporarily succumb to its lure at the height of battle. This craving is the Heralds of Ash darkest secret and greatest curse, but it is also their greatest salvation, for it brings with it a humility and understanding of their own failings which make them understand their connection to the Emperor as humanity's warriors.
The Heralds of Ash suffer from a psychic imprint left upon them they don't understand. This can cause them to go insane prior to or during battle and feel a terrible rage that is almost all consuming. Rather than let them face a slow, insane death, Heralds of Ash will form those who have newly succumbed to the Rage into a special unit known as Breakers. Breakers who has fallen to the Holy Rage are kept awake and not sedated but bound when not in combat. Their ravings and screams are faithfully recorded, since it is believed that there are prophesies and holy insights hidden in them. Wounds appear on the raving and restrained Marines despite there being no sign of the hand that inflicted the wounds, due to the sheer psychic trauma inflicted upon them. Sometimes meditative rituals during which the battle-brother is buried alive and has to claw themselves out when finished are used to try to bring a brother back from the brink of becoming a Breaker.
Accusation's society is full of death cults who each practice their own way of sending the enemies of the Emperor's to his judgment and there is a constant shadow war between the cults about whose practice is the true path. Every 10 years all the cults send their best young aspirants to the gates of city of The Unredeemed where they have to first get to the Sanctuary tower. The prospects are told they must enter the catacombs, and fight the undead haunting the tunnels, clearing the way so a Chaplain may conduct an exorcism and banish the traitors' spirits; in truth, they're fighting predators imported from death worlds, as well as aesthetically modified combat servitors, with which the observing Chaplain may see how the prospects fare under stress. Many cult-aspirants die during this time, those that return either do it broken or in honour, those that don't return are either dead or have been found fit to become initiates in the Chapter. The chapter have hidden keeps beneath the deepest/most dangerous catacombs protected by traps, and many passages are too small for full-grown men, those making it so that only the young can get all the way. Once they have come far enough they are captured and given a full mental and physical check, those boys that are show to be physically and mentally fit become initiates, the others are healed, memory scrambled so they don’t remember anything. Chapter took over some disused catacombs for use as training sites. To avoid ruffling feathers with the organizations maintaining graves on Accusation, these organizations and the planet's populace are told the catacombs belong to traitors whose crimes and sins weren't revealed until after death, forcing the Administratum to declare them damnatio memoriae.
Investigations: Heralds of Ash
Re:.................Adeptus Astartes - Heralds of Ash
- Inquisitional Archive: Noted Artifact discovered by Heralds of Ash on world now designated Accusation has markings of Xenos and possibly other origins. The artifact seems to be indestructible, pursuant of artifact now deceased. Family of the pursuant warned never to claim artifact under Inquisitional authority. Archivists will be dispatched to study artifact under the care of the Heralds of Ash. Cardinal who dispatched pursuant, eliminated. Sizable compensation that was to be awarded upon retrieval has been forwarded to the family but now they are marked as worthy of observation evermore.
Investigation Status: Logged
Edited by TechCaptain, 06 September 2021 - 02:21 AM.