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Index Astartes: Prædicators
This nascent Chapter and those which were founded alongside them were created to replace the eleven chapters that plunged the Segmentum Pacificus into anarchy and were declared Traitoris Perdita during the War of the False Primarch. To prevent the events that led to an eight decade long war from ever occurring again, only the most stable gene-stock was selected. How many chapters were founded alongside the Praedicators is unclear as a great many records were purged during that time or have been lost within the labyrinth of the Administratum. A majority of the Chapters from this founding follow the strict organisational and tactical guidelines of the Codex Astartes. Like most of the approximately one thousand chapters in existence, the Prædicators follow the doctrines of the Codex to an extent, but are also known for occasionally deviating from some of the less stringent requirements.
Thadru Hucno started the Praedicators upon a path that, for over seven thousand years now, has earned them a cold reputation throughout the Imperium. Since their inception, they have become known for holding an especially grim and fatalistic view of Mankind, stemming from the strange and terrible knowledge that is their burden. The inheritors of Hucno’s visions fight to deny the inevitable, bemoaning the high price they have to pay for such meagre gains as can be won in the wars against the enemies of the Imperium - but they fight on because that is what they were created to do.
It started within a few years of their founding, as brothers with no prior signs of psychic ability began experiencing vivid hallucinogenic dreams. The Apothecaries now suspect that this was due to the slow mutation of their Catalepsean Node, a dark flaw in the Chapter’s gene-seed that they were at first loath to discuss with even their fellow Astartes. These dreams were glimpses into a horrifying future, and eerily mirrored the more worrying divinations the Chapter’s psychically-attuned Prognosticators were beginning to scry.
As the dreams progressed in severity they eventually had no choice but to reach out; first to the Adeptus Mechanicus and their Genator-Magos, Abdul Hazred, and then to the Ultramarines, the First Founding Chapter whose Primarch Roboute Guilliman was the primogenitor of the Silver Skulls Chapter who in turn were the Praedicator’s forebears. At every step their emissaries were turned away, cursed for being too frightening to be believed. Other servants of the Imperium seemed unable to see the truth staring back at them from beyond the stars; of how pointless Mankind is in this universe, and how the Imperium is the centre of nothing. The confession of their genetic mutation only brought the Imperium’s scrutiny down onto the Prædicators, and with it Inquisitorial investigation along with the immediate presumption of guilt which that entails. Faced with such levels of paranoia and suspicion, the Praedicators have now learned to stay quiet, until one day they may perceive someone who is truly ready to heed their warnings.
Charged with heretical thinking and deviation from the Imperial Creed, the Chapter was sentenced to purgatory along the Imperium’s isolated southern border. Their presence might still be of some use to the Imperium, and the location of their penitent exile was carefully chosen in order to repair the power and reach of the Adeptus Astartes, until such time as they could once again call themselves true Scions of Guilliman in thought and deed. Being haunted by unimaginable visions and nightmares has profoundly altered their tale to this day. Unlike their fellow descendants of Guilliman, the Prædicators never once aspired to take the pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Primarch before his un-prophesised return. Nor have they made obeisance to him in person since, for their visions have made them pariahs and they are still shunned by the Astartes whose gene-seed they bear.
All manner of vessels, it seemed, would frequently traverse through this region of space; merchants, miners, scavengers, prison ships, vessels belonging to darkholds, and even the occasional Rogue Trader’s personal flagship and attendant flotilla. Without these many visitors the far-flung human settlements would be isolated from one another and left unprotected. The Imperium functions on the premise that most core worlds do not need to be self-sufficient, instead focussing on the manufacture or production of a few key goods or resources which are then supplemented with essential goods from off-world. Without a steady stream of starships plying their way through the Veiled Region, interstellar trade could not exist, and the weapons and other supplies needed to stop each world falling into darkness would not be obtained.
Space travel beyond the boundaries of the Imperium is arduous and dangerous, with spacefarers relying on their ancient vessels’ powerful engines flinging them into the Immaterium - a black art poorly understood by the adepts of the Mechanicus in the forty-first millennium. Once vessels have entered warp-space they can cover thousands of light years within a relatively short time, dropping back into the Materium far beyond their starting points. The Warp ever seeks to drag helpless vessels to their doom, with its constant turbulence, and treacherous warp storms. To travel any distance at all through the warp is dangerous, impressive, and not attempted lightly. To travel between the distant worlds of the Veiled Region demanded a particular kind of dedication, madness, or disregard for the safety of those onboard. The alternative - travelling through realspace without the use of warp engines - brings its own hazards and challenges. And yet here were worlds visited by privateers and merchant princes, arriving via every means and from many directions.
Those aboard space-faring vessels in the forty-first millennium are not merely star travellers but the products of many generations passed in the darkness between worlds; these are the Void Born. They are relatively few among the teeming multitudes of humanity, but singular, and form a disparate and odd collection of misfits, strangers, and other ill-omened folk, birthed in the bellies of vessels that spend entire standard centuries charting a course through the stars. On the worlds the Void Born come to they are often shunned for their ethereal quality and considered to be unlucky, ill-fated, bringers of bad fortune, secretive, and untrustworthy. Most imperial citizens and no small number of fringe-dwellers believe the Void Born in some way to have been touched by the Warp where gravitational variance, radiation exposure, genetic distortion, and chaotic anomalies slowly take their toll. Ashore they carry a strange air about them, a perceptible something that makes others uneasy.
The plight of the Void Born was seen by the Praedicators as one mirroring their own; they too were homeless, and ostracised without just cause. Empathy overcame Hucno's soul. The Void Born, too, were somehow associated with the many and unfathomable dangers of the outer darkness. Their being inured to the Warp convinced the Lord Commander that they could serve as the source of recruitment for the aspirants who might safeguard the future of the Prædicators. Without a Homeworld of their own, the Chapter otherwise risked a slow dwindling through combat losses and the decline into old age that claims even the Astartes after many centuries. Having determined how they could sustain their Chapter, the Praedicators now settled into patrolling the periphery of the vastly unknown Veiled Region. This was ever a dangerous calling, with small groups of ships navigating amongst dense nebulae and newborn stars, suffering from waves of radiation cast off by discarded stellar matter whilst being cloaked from any hope of reinforcements or communication by swathes of stellar dust, and all the while patrolling along the galactic south of the Segmentum Tempestus, from which come the raiders and despoilers of the foul Xenos. The Void Heralds learned to deal with these conditions, or they died. The survivors became responsible for the surrounding areas of space, chief among them the Ainu System, the Nahmu Stars and the Hypnis Expanse. Apothecaries and Chaplains of the Prædicators recruit aspirants for the Chapter exclusively from the vast, city-sized spacecraft that ply the depths of the void; in this way, they follow the edicts of Lord Commander Hucno in order to ensure that the Chapter recruits only the most mentally capable and genetically suitable candidates.
Recruitment is slow and arduous, with no centralised pool of potential candidates to draw from and no way of knowing when the next suitable aspirant will be found within the innumerable shoals of voidfaring vessels. Chaplains must work within the labyrinthine political webs woven amongst the thousands of ships’ crew, often becoming embroiled in complex networks of feuds, alliances, and unpleasant little wars - all while taking care not to disrupt the carefully balanced system. Removing the wrong crewmember as a potential aspirant can potentially hamper the Void Born population's ability to maintain itself and properly crew a ship, depriving the Chapter of a valuable source of future recruits.
Brought to their Ramilles Class Star-fort, fortress monastery, Cetus, to be inducted into the Prædicators the Void Born aspirants will step out to breathe in its unique ecosystem. Some fall into a catatonic, worshipful state when they see its grandeur. These failed aspirants are led away to serve the Chapter in other ways. Those who can take in the sight of Cetus without being overcome gradually learn that large portions of the vessel are used to emulate different combat environments for training purposes, while entire swathes of space are given to meditation. The great chambers and vaults are often decorated with tapestries depicting the terrifying nightmares they are to expect but most numerous of all are the seemingly endless barren halls. It is here that neophytes will undergo the long process of psycho-indoctrination, submitting to grueling biological and genetic testing before being implanted with the gene-seed that will sustain them through a lifetime of nightmares, turning their meagre bodies into killing machines, recreating the Void Born as a Void Herald. A once humble and frail recruit becomes the epitome of humanity, the perfect warrior and servant of the Imperium.
The tactical orthodoxy is dictated to a degree by the fact that they are a Fleet Based Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes - some would say, the truest bearers of the name “Space Marines”. Their limited numbers ensure the Chapter is not used as a blunt instrument but instead to deliver precise and lethal strikes in a manner that could never be achieved by the faceless masses of the Astra Militarum. Millennia of repeated combat indoctrination has shaped them into the force they are today; efficiency in war is their only antidote for bemoaning the cost of taking something that achieves nothing, and being unable to stop the creeping darkness.
After successfully breaching an enemy ship's hull or making planetfall on a new world the Praedicators make the most of their precognitive psychic abilities by deploying as a predominantly defensive force. Their Techmarines and commanding officers orchestrate fire bases that use skilled marksmen and overlapping fields of fire to suppress oncoming attackers. Assault forces held in reserve wait for the opportune moment to disrupt their attackers further with well executed raids, attacking seemingly from all sides at once. These attacks have the dual goal of causing considerable damage and sowing confusion among the enemy ranks. Praedicators bemoan the cost of war and, so their reasoning goes, so too will those that try to defy them. It is said the only death the Praedicators fear is the slow death through madness which is the fate of so many Void Born; it is why they give no quarter and expect none in return. As with their predecessors it is not unknown to hear of the Prædicators displaying an unwillingness to go to another’s aid. After all, no one is willing to come to theirs, and sometimes the divinations simply show the cost to be too severe. It is perhaps this single fact which explains why they have survived for so long, and yet have so few allies even amongst their Astartes gene-kin.
Some opponents make the mistake of thinking the defensively-minded Praedicators are an inert force, slow to rouse and lacking in agility. Such thinking brings the enemies of mankind only woe. When the Chapter begrudgingly determines that they have to take ground, they will seek to overwhelm their foes so mightily that they may maintain offensive momentum at all costs. Nor are their assaults rash or under-prepared; preferring to engage directly after a carefully orchestrated orbital bombardment from their vast fleet assets, waves of drop-pod infantry and light equipment arrive with impeccable timing alongside Thunderhawk-deployed vehicles and other heavy assets.
Chapter Scouts will most often be required to gather vital intelligence - a mission which can demand they face the foe under a huge range of dangerous circumstances. This hard-won knowledge is used to confirm or expand on the information gained from the Prognosticators divinations. Scouts are further used in the disruption of enemy supply lines through sabotage and demolition actions, as well as to eliminate key targets with crippling campaigns of assassination missions and pre-emptive strikes.
Their collective actions are often mistaken for bravery and courage. In truth, the Praedicators stand before the enemies of the Imperium unflinchingly as they consider themselves worthless. It is only thanks to the Chaplains that walk among them in the heat of battle, reminding them of their purpose, their sole responsibility, that they continue to fight. Without strong leadership they might otherwise lapse into dark thoughts: the want to die, the want to despair, and the want to return to nothing.
It is in the organisation of the higher levels that deviations from the Codex Astartes can be seen. All Chapters include a number of officers and specialists who stand aside from the company organisation. In the Prædicators the Chapter Master is referred to as Lord Commander, as was the way of their predecessors, the Silver Skulls. The Librarians, known as Prognosticators, share the mantle of spiritual advisors (alongside their Brother-Chaplains); these psychically attuned warriors are the seers of the Chapter, scrying for divination of the future. Wherever their visions take them, they grant the squads and companies they are attached to an undeniable edge for the coming battles.
The Chapter relies on a large support staff, and highly ranked members include the Master of the Fleet, and the senior Captains: the Keeper of the Arsenal, the Abyssal Watcher, and the Warden of the Watch. Although each Captain is a Space Marine, there are actually relatively few Brethren in the Chapter’s support staff, and most non-combatant roles are performed by the Chapter’s Human serfs. The Chapter includes a large number of support staff, many of whom are non-combatants of advanced age tasked with the day-to-day administration of the Chapter. The largest group of Prædicators Space Marines in the support staff are the Chapter’s armourers and Techmarines, who are aided in their tasks by hundreds of mono-task Servitors.
The ten companies follow the structure laid down within the Codex, with the first company being made up of the most experienced Veterans among the Chapter’s ranks. Their wisdom is invaluable, and so they are attached to the Battle Companies to share their knowledge, deployed in small units and essentially armed in a similar manner to a Tactical squad though admittedly with their enhanced scopes and specialised ammunition. Only the most experienced of the Veterans will be permitted to wear the few suits of Terminator armour available to the Chapter. Unless the need for their presence on the battlefield is dire, these suits can be seen watching over you as you enter the forge on Cetus. Prædicator Techmarines have gone to extensive lengths to recover fallen suits of Terminator armour so that they may once more see battle.
The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Companies are organised along Codex lines as Battle Companies. Each consists of six battleline squads, two close support squads, and two fire support squads. These four companies and their fleets form the main battle lines and generally bear the brunt of the fighting, whether planetside or in the void. Each has a degree of autonomy and with such a variety of squads, the Companies are highly flexible and tactically adaptable.
Companies 6 and 7 are reserve Companies, each consisting of ten battleline squads. These act as reserves which may be used to bolster the front line, launch diversionary attacks or stem enemy flanking manoeuvres. With such low recruitment rates these are rarely ever at full strength. The 7th company is barely seen at all, and some say it exists now in name only.
The 8th Company consists of ten close support squads. This highly mobile company is often equipped with jump packs, and is fielded in the assault role wherever a strong hand-to-hand fighting force is needed to storm an enemy strongpoint.
The Prædicators’ 9th Company follows the doctrines laid out in the Codex, unlike their progenitors the Silver Skulls, who designate their 9th Company as a siege company. In the Prædicators, this Company consists of ten Fire Support Squads. It is the most powerfully equipped in the Chapter and is used to bolster defence and provide long-range support.
The 10th Company consists of a number of Scout squads; youths who have been recruited and partially transformed into Space Marines. There is no formal size for the company as the rate of recruitment is not fixed. They are the only company to not maintain its own fleet, and instead operate directly from Cetus. Never fighting as one coherent force, they are instead assigned throughout the other fleets where they can gain experience alongside their elders.
All of the companies, with the exception of the Scout Company, maintain transports and Drop pods for each of their squads and officers. The armoury hold onto rarer equipment more centrally, including heavy vehicles such as Land Raiders, with each of these relic war machines being allocated to individual squads as dictated by the needs of their mission or when requested by a Captain in the midst of a campaign.
The Heralds know first-hand the horrors of space and the sheer multitude of the Emperor's enemies. This knowledge forces these voidfarers - plying the dark spaces between the stars while holding a deeper darkness within - to insulate their brotherhood from that which they are duty bound to protect. Thus they live a life of renunciation, rejecting what they know is always lurking in the void beyond the hull.
From deep within the Librarium, the minds of the Prognosticators look far out into the cold vastness of space, seeing further than any of their less gifted brothers’ dream-visions. Their sight will pierce the encroaching black veil for only a second, there to witness a momentary eternity of endless shrieking immemorial lunacy, from realms whose existence stuns the brain. They rarely speak of the eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order that numbs them with the gulfs that it throws open before their frenzied eyes and scorched mind. They have uncovered the abyss beneath their illusory sense of connection with Mankind; it is their gift, and their burden.
What all Brothers see is a senseless, mechanical, and uncaring universe. Mankind dissolves into meaninglessness when impermanence is the only real thing. They have tried for so long to look away and to wake from these terrible dreams, but with no understanding their minds are pulled and stretched further. The strain is too much for some. Staring deep into the void for so long, it now only stares back, as a contradicting reflection of what they have become: Reclusive, Withdrawn, Taciturn; Denizens of the Deep.
No ordinary Prædicator will be remembered, for all legacies will be burned, but the stars will live on. To recount tales of mankind’s history and achievements only delays the inevitable entropic devouring of every shred of memory, every artifact, and every settled world. Given that, the most solemn of causes is that of the Apothecarion; for their paradoxical role is to prepare for a future that does not appear to exist. The millennia of screeching divinations and torturous dreams have left the Prædicators with only a cold senseless taste of hopelessness. Their actions cannot be compared to the fate that awaits us all; it will all be dust. Humanity’s time has come, no longer belonging in the only place they have ever known.
That tenet disturbs the Ecclesiarchy for not only does it deny the existence of their God-Emperor but also all that He opposes, and all that He supposedly defends us against. It puts the Praedicators at odds with the Adeptus Mechanicus, and particularly challenges the Techmarines within their ranks who have sworn ancient pacts with the Omnissiah. To find a follower of the Imperial Cult not openly hostile to what they consider such blasphemy seems impossible. And should the Praedicators sow their thoughts into the mind of one receptive to their message… that would be the darkest day indeed. The Praedicators reject the concept of the God-Emperor because to perpetuate such an idea - of a deity that can save us from the unsavable - only serves to deny that we are alone, and hopeless in the grandest of schemes.
Realisation of the inevitable fate that belongs to us all is creeping into our galaxy, like the tendriled Void Stalker of the Warp approaching their prey. Aside from perhaps He who now sits on the Golden Throne mankind could never fathom, fully understand, or explain fate; but it is nearly upon them all, and the Praedicators believe that it will become known as a blessed release once every citizen of the Imperium realises that their fate is no longer in anyone’s hands.
The Praedicators have no particular hatred of Xenos races, though they will gladly extinguish them if given the chance. Though all Xenos are dangerous to mankind, they are considered neither good nor evil. The greatest of the other species are merely incomprehensible, cosmic forces, that notions of morality have no significance to. They exist in cosmic realms beyond our understanding, and cannot serve as a bulwark against the darkness - but may by their mere existence hasten its encroachment. By this simple logic, they must die if mankind is to cling on a little longer in this uncaring galaxy.
While the Deathwatch and Ordo Xenos’ mode operati is considered narrow and flawed, for individual Prædicators to be assigned to a Watch Station or Fortress is celebrated, as the destruction of the Inhuman is seen as one of the last remaining noble causes in the galaxy. In the darkest millennium it needlessly stands out with towering majesty to give hope to those that have none.
Prognosticators are hybrid officers fulfilling the role of Librarian, alongside tasks more traditionally assigned to the Chaplaincy in other Chapters. While the Praedicators’ Chaplains play a larger role in the recruiting and training of new aspirants, the Prognosticators guide and shepherd the veteran Brethren, administering to the psionic and mental well-being of the Chapter's warriors.
These dour warriors are the seers of the Chapter, reading their brothers’ dreams or scrying for divination of the future, granting the squads and companies they are attached to an edge for the coming battle. The Chapter takes the readings seriously, so much so that on some occasions, the Prognosticators have successfully counselled against the Chapter becoming embroiled in a particular war. This can prove problematic, as it heaps greater suspicion upon an already mistrusted Chapter. At times this balancing act has even led to companies taking part in conflicts they know will end in defeat.
Upon a Prognosticator’s armour, pendants, and badges of office can be found Chthonic marks and runes engraved into the surface. These are not purely decorative, as they serve to channel and concentrate the Prognosticator’s psychic powers.
Given their role as wards of the psionic and spiritual health of the Prædicators, it is a rare thing indeed for a Prognosticator to take the Apocryphon Oath, and serve a Vigil of the Long Watch with the Deathwatch, the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos. In accepting a Prognosticator into his Watch Fortress, a Watch Commander gains the services of an individual of unique skill and ability. His knowledge of both the Librarian’s arts and the duties of the Chaplain are of course valuable. Yet the greatest of the Prognosticators are able to extend their ministrations to all of the Battle-Brothers they serve alongside, inspiring each and every one to epic deeds of courage, and diverting the flow of history so that these warriors can return to their chapters as heroes. It is said that it is only by the actions of those few Prognosticators who have taken the Oath that the Prædicators have gained any reputation as trustworthy allies whatsoever.
The most solemn of individuals tasked with the most solemn of tasks; it is their role to mind the physical wellbeing of their battle-brothers. Not all injuries, however, can be detected with a Narthecium scan. A medic from any other chapter might be oblivious to the emotional damage that eats away at the Praedicators. The Void Born Apothecary, however, knows only too well the torment that his brothers endure, for they too are emotionally scarred from their nightmares.
Those amongst the Prædicators with an affinity for technology are dispatched to Mars, honouring ancient pacts formed with the Adeptus Mechanicus millennia ago upon their founding. There they are initiated into the Martian tech-cults to become Techmarines. This process divides the brothers' duality complex into a triality nightmare, but it is acknowledged as a necessary process. Without Techmarines the Prædicators would be left unable to tend to the machine spirits, to observe the rites that ensure continued operation of their wargear, to repair damage taken on the field of battle, or to attend to the needs of the Fleet.
After their training on Mars they return even more mysterious and capricious, aloof and distant. Their inscrutable ways are not easily understood by most of the battle-brothers. For many they do not understand themselves, lost in doubt, dwelling on the idea that if even their Machine-God may not be eternal then their new-found faith cannot be real. Prædicator Techmarines struggle for their entire lives to unravel their three competing ideologies: the Liber Mechanicus and the Omnissiah; the Chapter’s sacred duty; and its nihilistic creed. Eternity becomes their supreme desire, fearing that nothing is real that is not eternal.
The Prognosticators that discern their dreams tell of only vague impressions of a sleep-addled mind but they all tell the same story. It is no ordinary nightmare. There is a prison deep below the surface, and something that stands a mile high but moves like flesh and blood. A rustle of wings, and a set of claws; how small the Techmarines stand beside those claws... They feel him beneath the sand, they see his dreams, and so they are consumed by another fear to be believed absolutely. Yet they cling to their visions for they sometimes reveal the location of priceless relics and STC files waiting to be found. In the end the fear and the doubt is all incidental, inevitable, and something to be borne stoically at all costs.
Their fall from grace was a result of petty rivalry, political subterfuge, and social maneuvering. An event known as The Tainting came about as agents of rival House Numa tricked a key heiress of House Vibro into a marriage of state with the little-known House Nostromo. A marriage of convenience intended to consolidate power and grow the fortunes of House Vibro was revealed as a fateful error, as the insanity within the bloodline of Nostromo entered their once idyllic family tree. The repercussions took generations to reveal themselves. By the time that it became clear how many of the matriarch’s great-grand-children bore the now-undeniable genetic flaw, it was too late; for the two Houses had become inseparably intertwined.
House Vibro abandoned their estate, seeking to escape the socio-political fallout and begin their legacy anew in a system where their reputation might not be forever marred by the insanity of House Nostromo. Having traversed the stars to find a new home, eventually establishing their small palace in orbit around Ulthar in the Ainu System; it was there, over many centuries, that they slowly adapted to the void, growing spindly-limbed, willowy-tall, and with a bluish tinge to their skin.
They conducted business by bartering their services to the captains of any vessel or fleet in need of Navigators: merchants, miners, scavengers, prison ships, darkholds, occasionally Rogue Traders, and many years later the Prædicators. The Veiled Region was tumultuous at best, and House Vibro quickly earned the reputation that there were no better Navigators to be had if a captain’s heart was set on going through it.
The Prædicators were in dire need of expertise in mapping some of the most unstable and unpredictable areas of space within the Veiled Region, and House Vibro in turn could utilise the political capital and prestige they would gain from working alongside the Adeptus Astartes. Their association has remained intact since the start of the Astartes’ purgatory sentence, and upon successfully mapping some of the most dangerous areas within the Veiled Region, House Vibro now holds an exclusive Charter Navigae which means that they alone provide a Navigator for every ship in the Void Heralds’ fleet. An unspoken term of the contract involves the occasional lapses into madness shown by the descendants of long-dead Nostromo: with a certain rate of attrition only to be expected among the Navigators, the House takes pains to provide several replacements to each fleet, as well as a special attache to smooth over any diplomatic incidents. Navigators seconded to oversight roles include Novator Italki Vibro, who personally oversees the Cetus despite its current lack of readiness for Warp-space jumps.
The Astartes of the Praedicators and the Navigators of House Vibro share a grim fatalism when it comes to matters regarding the nature of reality and the likely fate of mankind. Few would understand this shared common belief, and it may well be the foundation upon which their long and successful association stands. They both consider one another a most welcome asset, and for the Prædicators at least one their bond with House Vibro is one of the few true alliances they have.
House Vibro shares with the Chaplains of the Praedicators information gleaned from across their extended family network. With the sons and daughters of the House serving alongside merchant and miner captains, scavenger leaders, prison-ship operators, and even the few Rogue Traders they conduct business with openly, there is much to be learned and passed on. To the Chaplains, the Navigators are a bountiful source of information from across the breadth of the stars, helping them to discern what possible threats they may face, what is occurring in the wider galaxy, and (most importantly) where they should direct their efforts in the never-ending search for possible new recruits.
In return the Lord Commander attaches a ten man squad of Prædicators to the House as bodyguards which are referred to as the Starblades. Apart from regular guard duties, the Starblades may be called upon to train or lead the troops of House Vibro, undertake covert operations on their behalf, or be present aboard one of the many Vibro trading vessels. The Starblades are sworn to serve the Novator of the house as they would the Lord Commander. Because of this ancient alliance, the Void Stalker that is the symbol of the Praedicators is also depicted on the Vibro family crest.
Amongst the surviving elders of the House, scant few recall an earlier time when another promising alliance - likewise built upon convenience and the lust for power - turned to ash and madness as the true extent of what they had bound themselves too became apparent. The Praedicators’ visions are silent on this matter, or perhaps being deliberately withheld from their allies. Only time will tell if the most ancient of Navigators in House Vibro can see something that the Novator does not. For now, officially at least, the binding of House and Chapter remains a rare source of pride and rekindled hope.
It was not long after the Chapter’s founding that the Catalepsean Node in many aspirants began to exhibit signs of a peculiar mutation. Operationally, it still controls the Marine’s circadian rhythms and responses to any kind of sleep deprivation, allowing them to stay awake at full effectiveness for days at a time. Unusually, they often prefer to do so; for when they sleep they are consumed with potent, disturbing, and dark dreams, overwhelming them with dread. Prognosticators scry these dreams to glean small hints of the future, whose own dreams travel out so much further, giving them all cold black dancing in their eyes.
The Apothecaries do what they can to ease the burden of such nightmares. Those who find them all too much and are slowly driven insane are led away in pentagrammically warded chains to a chamber deep in the bowls of Cetus, where they will mutter nonsensically for their eternity about what placid island of ignorance we live in among black seas of infinity. Prognosticators study their cryptic words and piece together the dissociated pieces of knowledge revealed therein - opening up terrifying vistas of reality, and learning of our frightful position therein.
Nearly every Space Marine created since the First Founding possesses nineteen specialised organs derived from their Chapter’s unique gene-seed. The Primaris Marines, however – originally engineered by the Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl on the orders of Roboute Guilliman – are implanted with a further three. It was the Sangprimus Portum, a device containing potent genetic material harvested from the Primarchs, that allowed for this breakthrough. Entrusted to Cawl by Guilliman shortly after the Second Founding, this device resulted in a new breed of Adeptus Astartes that were deployed en masse in the Ultima Founding. Due to Cawl’s interpretation of his orders and the millennia-spanning labour of his task – during which Guilliman was injured and suspended in stasis – the secrets of these new Primaris organs were not released until late in the 41st Millennium. Despite being ostracized and cast out as pariahs, ultimately, as with most Chapters, the Prædicators received envoys of the Primarch.
Initially the Primaris were universally met with mistrust, although in each case the reasons were different. The first wave brought mistrust and suspicion down upon themselves, with their oft-repeated claims that the Praedicator’s own Primarch Roboute Guilliman had returned, an event that seemingly was not envisaged by the Chapter’s Prognosticators. The second wave was shunned because of the Chapter Cult itself – could these fresh symbols of resurgent hope ever truly understand that the ending is nigh? With time, those Primaris who have experienced the same nightmares in their sleep-addled brains as any Firstborn battle-brother have grown to be accepted and even well-received, though lingering doubts remain as to whether any of them could fall into madness - and what does it say of them that they cannot fully embrace what it is to know of the Void?
At present, the Chapter’s Cult has been reluctant to fully embrace the Primaris as equals. The Chaplains, Prognosticators and Apothecaries of the Primaris are if anything made even less welcome than their ordinary brothers, as they are seen as lacking the ability to empathise with the Firstborn when it comes to the mental torture they risk with every sleep cycle. Time will tell as to whether the Primaris become full and true Denizens of the Deep, or whether they will be left to quietly wither away and be forgotten. That said, there are those that fear the Primaris for another reason entirely; namely, that they represent the fulfilment of a long-held belief that the End of Days is nigh. Certainly, enough has happened to make some within the Chapter believe the end is coming far sooner than they had previously gleamed, and with Primarichs returning and Custodes abroad once more, perhaps in time the Primaris will be seen not as unwelcome outsiders, but the fulfilment of a prophecy scryed ten millennia ago?
Even with gene-seed implantation complete, there is one final stage that must take place before an aspirant can be called a Prædicator– he must be clad in the distinctive sea green armour. The enclosing suits worn by all Space Marines are made from thick ceramite plates that would be cumbersome but for electrically motivated fibre bundles that replicate the movements of the wearer and supplement his strength. The last gene-seed organ to be implanted in a Space Marine – the black carapace – rests beneath the skin, itself fitted with neural sensors and transfusion ports. These plug-in points mesh with Space Marine armour, linking the wearer’s nervous system to his suit’s mind-impulse controls and turning the suit into a second skin that moves with all the speed and precision of the battle-brother’s own body. Without the carapace, Space Marine armour is almost impossible to use, and it is therefore the most distinctive feature of a battle-brother and the true mark of the Adeptus Astartes. There are several marks of power armour with significantly differing appearances.
Having existed as a Chapter since the 33rd Millennium the Prædicators have collected a large assortment of older marks of armour. All of which have been maintained by skilled artificers who are not Space Marines, but servants who spend their lives working for the Chapter. Comparatively you will usually find other Chapters reserve the rights to wear these ancient suits of armour that have been lavishly restored to the ceremonial guards or elite units. The Prædicators on the other hand do not, and it is common to see Prædicators wear a multitude of older types of armour as well as suits composed of many different marks of armour.
Edited by Minigiant, 09 October 2021 - 12:42 AM.