Pride Before the Fall...
At the end of the 13th Black Crusade, the Fiery Lions chapter, which had only been involved in a support capacity safeguarding supply shipping, had become painfully aware of the fact one of their escort ships, containing a full squad of marines led by a 1st company veteran, had gone traitor during the conflict.
The Flaming Claw VII had been escorting an inquisitor and his retinue to the war zone on his specific request. The Flaming Claw had originally been an Imperial escort corvette, part of a squadron which had gone missing approximately 650 years before. About 15 years after the incident, the Fiery Lions Cruiser Fire of Justice was blatantly attacked by the same squadron of corvettes, a mere 10 light years from where they initially disappeared. The Fire of Justice destroyed 3 of the vessels and damaged the 4th without sustaining any substantial damage itself.
When a boarding party gained entry to the disabled corvette, they discovered its crew, covered in all matter of blasphemous tattoos, symbols and mutations, had committed mass suicide prior to the boarding. It was subsequently towed to the Fiery Lions main fleet, re-consecrated and retrofitted for use by the chapter, as per their ancient charter. The corvette was issued to the 5th company and assumed patrol duties with the 5th company fleet as a picket ship immediately after.
During its service though, it had always been considered an unlucky ship and was never really popular with its crews and its marines. A large number of strange occurrences have taken place during its service with the Fiery Lions, with Astropaths and Navigators going mad, freak accidents becoming almost common and the highest peacetime death toll in recorded chapter history.
When the Inquisitor, whose name will be withheld by order of the Ordo Hereticus, came to the Fiery Lions for aid, he found the chapter willing to comply for the right price, as it had been with other Inquisitors before. He was granted the use of a corvette, the Flaming Claw VII, and a complement of 9 marines from the 5th company, led by Veteran Sergeant Mossert of the 1st company to escort him to Cadia.
According to Imperial records, the Flaming Claw VII made it as far as Uralan, where it was last sighted. When it was next encountered by the Imperial Navy several months later, it was adrift near the system of Kato. Most of its crew was found to have committed suicide, while the rest had been savagely slaughtered, including six of the Fiery Lions marines, which had been especially mauled to the point of being barely recognizable. Blasphemous sigils and vile sentences were streaked in the blood of the dead on the walls. Of the other four marines and the Inquisitor, no trace was found.
A nearby Fiery Lions detachment was warned by the Naval Task Force commander and made great haste to reach his fleet. Upon their arrival though, the Navy guards onboard the Flaming Claw VII had been pulled back, as several had been found dead, having committed suicide. The Fiery Lions’ Librarian accompanying the detachment investigated the corvette and after a lengthy contact with the Fiery Lions Admiral, he ordered the Flaming Claw VII destroyed.
The Naval Task Force made short work of the small escort craft and resumed its patrol, while the Fiery Lions on the scene, with the recovered bodies of their brethren, returned to their main fleet.
Not long after that, reports started to come in of a small group of powerarmored brutes hijacking and raiding nearby shipping, slowly making their way towards the Maelstrom. They were identified by the color of their armor; a bright orange. The Fiery Lions had in the meantime never stopped investigating the disappearance of four of their brethren and had recovered the broken body of the missing Inquisitor on an abandoned space station near Kato. A multiheaded snake tattoo stripped from his back and stuffed in his mouth, he was hung upside down from a barbed hook in the ceiling, another dead Fiery Lion was found in a room nearby, apparently poisoned. A faint Warptrail, the only evidence of the others leaving, was headed straight for the Maelstrom.
Fearing the worst, the Fiery Lions began a desperate search for their wayward brethren, undoubtedly knowing there could only be one outcome to the situation, when they were contacted by the Legio Bolter and Chainsword. The Legio, having suffered grievous losses during the last Black Crusade, was requesting the chapter to send them one or more marines to bolster their ranks. Traditionally however, the Fiery Lions had never detached marines to the Legio, save for a handful of extraordinary occasssions.
When the next target of the Legio became known though, the Fiery Lions Admiral, Van Speyk, decided to send one of his men after all, in the light of the evidence found on the space station. The Fiery Lions addition to the Legio Bolter and Chainsword is under orders from the Admiral himself to report on, seek out, and if possible kill, all Fiery Lions traitors encountered. Only when all blemishes on the Fiery Lions’ honor have been erased, is he allowed to return to his own chapter. If the Legio will let him, is another matter altogether though…