The Knights Adamant were a chapter of Ultramarine gene-stock. Up until their distinguished service in quelling a devastating Hrud migration from the Ghoul Stars, the chapter was fleet based. The Knights Adamant had never previously encountered a threat as grave as the Hrud, and the conflict left a mark on the chapter culture.
The Hrud’s ability to accelerate entropy, prematurely aging enemy troops and degrading enemy materiel make them a particularly deadly species of alien. The chapter watched in horror as entire Agri-Worlds withered and died, and whole hives collapsed under their own weight as the steel girders holding them up oxidized and crumbled. The effect on the Imperial Guard regiments the chapter was fighting alongside was even more chilling. Young conscripts grew old and frail in a matter of minutes. Fuel lines degraded as if they had not been maintained for decades and vehicles would not function, no matter how the machine spirit was appeased. Not even the transhuman physiology of the marines of the Knights Adamant kept them safe. By the end of the campaign, barely enough marines to field two companies survived.
The highest ranking officer still surviving, and not interred in a dreadnought, was a techmarine named Nikola Carnot. In a controversial move, Carnot took up the mantle of Chapter Master. To calm suspicions about his dual dedication to the chapter and to Mars, Carnot formally renounced his vows to the Machine Cult, a slight that would not be forgotten for the rest of the chapter’s service. Carnot also declared that the chapter would begin construction of a fortress monastery on the surface of MX-115, a planet recently reclassified from Hive World to Dead World, where the Hrud incursion had been most destructive. The post-apocalyptic landscape of the planet served as a morbid reminder of what was lost, and the threats that humanity needed protection from.
Possibly due to the analytical mind of their Chapter Master, or possibly due to the macabre landscape where they made their home, the Knights Adamant became obsessed with entropy as a physical quantity. It alone determined the fate of any chemical reaction or process. To the chapter, entropy proved an even greater threat than any xenos ever would. They scoured the sector for ancient texts and data repositories where the sages of antiquity described the esoteric rules by which entropy determines all of existence. These heretical texts marked the downfall of the chapter, for in opening their minds to the idea that there existed a fundamental property of the universe that not even the might of the Imperium – not even the might of the Emperor Himself – could overcome, they had damned themselves.
Over the next few centuries, the Knights Adamantine returned to near full strength. A silent feud with the Machine Cult of Mars had left the armouries of the chapter with fewer vehicles than the Codex dictates, but the chapter was flush with marines and their genestocks were full. Carnot had also tasked his chaplains with compiling the Index Thermodynamica, a treatise outlining how best to limit the resources lost to the great thief of entropy. Under the oversight of the chaplaincy, squads were sent out to the worlds that the chapter recruited from to conduct an inventory of each of the planets in the sub-sector. The results of the inventory were grim. The planets were found to be excessively wasteful. Imperial bureaucracy, a corrupt and greedy nobility, and an ill maintained infrastructure was losing trillions of units of entropy every year, far in excess of what was deemed necessary by the Index Thermodynamica. At these rates, the planets would survive a scant few millennia before becoming useless in the defense and support of the Imperium. Furious, Chapter Master Carnot penned an ultimatum to the offending planetary governors and noble houses who ruled the planets in the sub-sector. In it he demanded that if the planets were to continue to enjoy the aegis of the Knights’ Adamantine protection, they would have to make steps to comply with the Index Thermodynamica.
The response from the planetary leader’s was silence. The terms were wholly unacceptable. The austerity measures outlined in the Index described a level of luxury, while far in excess of the living conditions that the planets menials laboured under, were unthinkable to the upper classes who enjoyed the lion’s share of the fruits of the planets’ industry. Astropathic messages were sent out to the Ecclessiarchy, the Inquisition, and anyone else who would listen, describing the heretical text penned by the renegade Astartes holding the sub-sector hostage.
Within months a fleet of vessels led by Inquisitor Pangloss broke system and began a bombardment of MX-115. The orbital defense batteries fired back on the fleet but were quickly overwhelmed. Beyond the automated defenses, no response came from the surface. No chapter vessels were found at anchor in orbit. The planet had been deserted. Inquisitorial scouts reported back from the surface that the fortress monastery was deserted. Signs of internal violence were present, and the corpses of scores of marines as well as no few dreadnoughts lay shattered in the halls of the fortress. The librarium, reclusiam, and armoury were cleared out, but most curious of all was the geneseed repository. Signs of a great fire, and the remnants of demonic formulae were all that remained.
“No future! No hope!”
Edited by Magpie Knight, 13 July 2021 - 02:07 AM.