The reasons for the drastic measures undertaken in the creation of this Chapter may well have their roots in the after-effects of the thirteenth Astartes founding: the so-called 'Dark Founding'. All records relating to this tumultuous event have long since been eradicated or lost within the labyrinthine bureaucracy of the Imperium, leaving behind only supposition and fevered assumption. Those few individuals aware of exactly what transpired during those dark days would seem unprepared to divulge their secrets. Whatever exactly occured, it is clear that the myopic focus upon genetic purity that characterised the founding of the Castigators has affected the Chapter deeply to this day.
The Chapter's first Master was a Black Consul by the name of Baraquiel. He was known by his men as 'the Castigator', and was possessed with a fervent desire to purge the enemies of the Emperor for their transgressions. When given command of the nascent Chapter, he bestowed the name 'Castigators' upon it, hoping to inspire the same righteous fury in its warriors.
During the Castigators' first centuries of service, the Chapter maintained an unceasing war against the enemies of the Throne. Baraquiel was a keen strategist, and he drove his newest warriors to their limits. Moving from campaign to campaign, the Chapter fought to establish a legacy that would last the ages. The world of Rihad witnessed the Castigators _________________________________. On Kessok, the Castigators swore binding oaths to _______________________.
The planet was perhaps most notable for its 'tidally locked' orbit, which meant the time it took to rotate on its axis and the time it took to orbit its star were exactly the same. This peculiarity resulted in one half of the planet being shrouded in perpetual darkness whilst the other basked in permanent light and debilitating radiation. It should never have sustained life - and yet it did. The Castigators were drawn to the world by a flickering distress signal, picked up by chance by the fleet's augurs. It appeared that millennia ago, an Imperial vessel had crashed onto Losanco's surface. The descendents of the survivors clung to a thin strip of land between the light and dark sides, an area of perpetual twilight known as the terminator. Though arid and inhospitable, it was the only area on the planet where life could survive.
The plight of the Losancans was dramatic and precarious; they were caught between light and dark, between mutation and freezing doom. Settlements had been scattered across the terminator, fortified towns built mainly from scrap metal recovered from the ruined hulk of their vessel. These established enclaves of human existence were defended by armed militias and sustained by the slowly degrading technologies.
The wastelands were also inhabited by bands of scavengers and reavers. Many were mutated as a result of the radiation - some almost beyond recognition. Highly aggressive, Losancan legends suggested to the inhabitants that one day the Emperor would appear, bringing light and tranquillity to its troubled people and transforming the planet into a verdant paradise. The legends continued that He would only appear when the planet was 'deserving' - which was taken to mean when it was freed from the blight of the 'impure'. The survivors had grown to blame the mutants for their predicament, learning to fear and hate the mutants with what had become an almost instinctual loathing for imperfection and disease. Babies showing even the most minor of malformations were hurriedly and quietly killed by their own mothers or families, such was the stigma of giving birth to a mutant offspring. This hatred of mutation extended beyond the physical form - those children that displayed burgeoning psychic abilities were executed in public ceremonies of devotion to the Emperor.
Whilst the militias tend to the settlements, keeping them safe against the depredation of the mutant scavengers, a somewhat rarer breed of brave and pious warriors take it upon themselves to eradicate the mutants' blasphemous scourge from the planet's surface. A loose brotherhood, these roving bands of Mutant Hunters are not tied to any particular settlement. Instead they roam the wastelands, stopping at towns to resupply, to pray at the Emperor's shrine and to barter for goods. Sand-scarred, hard bitten, the Hunters evoke fear and respect in equal measure. Hardened by their lives, they lead their parties with a steady hand and a commanding voice that rises above the harsh winds of the endless desert. As they rest, they will be joined by new recruits, hungry for vengeance and retribution. Some will be survivors of mutant raids or of destroyed settlements. Some may have simply had a religious awakening, a sense that something must be done. Young and impressionable children revere these rugged warriors for the terrible sacrifices they have made in giving up their lives and venturing into the deserts.
Losanco's potent symbolism struck a chord in Baraquiel's soul. The dichotomy between light and dark and the survivors' struggle against corruption convinced him that they could serve as a potential source of future Castigators. He ordered a series of rigorous tests to confirm their genetic purity. Once he received the results, the Chapter began construction of a Fortress-Monastery buried deep within the moon of Losanco Secundus. Through their interactions with the local populace, the Losancans came to see them as grim emissaries of a God-Emperor that had turned His face away from an impure galaxy, leaving His finest warriors to oversee His domains. The Castigators are fully aware of the native legends and have even fostered them to promote hatred of the mutant.
As the hunters go about their work, they are often observed by the Chaplains of the Castigators. These ebon-armoured giants will on occasion approach the parties. Any youths travelling with the Hunting Parties will be carefully appraised for their suitability to join the Astartes. The Chaplains will provide the hunters with weaponry and basic equipment that can be traded or used to make their lives that bit easier. In return, those children that meet the Chaplains' stringent standards will be taken. These new recruits then begin the next phase of their lives. The Castigators' Fortress-Moon, known as Sanctuary, hangs heavy in the sky. Its pitted surface is studded with arched gunports, the squat shapes of lance-batteries and other defences. It holds the legacy of the Chapter's millennia-long history. It is here where the records of the Chapters' actions are kept, where the trophies won by the Chapter are stored, and where its Marines train.
A large part of the fortress is given over to places of worship; indeed, each Company maintains its own extensive Chapel. These massive structures provide both a place of worship and a record of war. Campaign banners and Company standards drape the walls; the armour and accoutrements of long-dead heroes remain displayed so as to inspire the living. Many of the chapels hold the spoils of war. Every marine whose body has been recovered is laid to rest within the Chapels' crypts. These sacred tombs are also where the Dreadnoughts of the Chapter are allowed to rest; remaining alongside their dead comrades until the chapter calls them into service.
As Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes, practical issues dictate the Castigators' tactical orthodoxy to a degree. The limited numbers of the Chapter ensure that they are not used as a blunt instrument like the numberless masses of the Imperial Guard. The Castigators could be considered a predominantly attacking force, mounting and executing rapid, overwhelming assaults that ensure the Space Marines always maintain the initiative. Indeed, the Commanders of the Chapter would accept a traditional battle only on the most favourable of terms, or if necessity dictated. Drop-podding troops and thunderhawk-deployed vehicles can rapidly assault the enemy. Tactical and Devastator squads can suppress the enemy with skilled gunfire before the Chapter's Assault Marines descend upon them. Faced with such decisive force, the enemy simply cannot resist.
When called upon to defend ground, the Castigators raise icons of faith and sacred standards high before planting them into the ground, vowing to make the enemy pay a heavy price for each step taken. They will grimly fight to the last whilst inflicting as much damage as possible upon enemy forces, asking no quarter and giving none. The Castigators are ferocious warriors, known on occasion to fight to the last man rather than admit defeat. Battles against the chapter are always bloody and hard-fought, simply because the Castigators refuse to retreat unless their commanders order such. As part of their defensive strategy, the Castigators will attempt to disrupt their attackers. Assault forces undertaking skillfully-executed raids can cause huge amounts of damage before rapidly disengaging. Scouts can sabotage enemy materiel or assassinate prominent leaders, even going so far as to teleport the Chapter's Terminators into an enemy camp to brutally decapitate them.
During protracted campaigns, the Castigators have been known to establish firebases (also known as Castellum) from which they can operate. Whilst such circumstances are relatively rare, as the Brothers of the Chapter would prefer to remain mobile (and can typically rely upon the vessels of the Castigators' fleet) these bases can provide a venue to repair, rearm and supply the forces, as well as providing a solid redoubt from which to assault their foes.
Because of the chapter's unflinching bravery, even the Collegiate Strategos has paid tribute to the Castigators, its annals acknowledging them as one of the finest examples of the Imperial maxim 'death before dishonour'. The Castigators are determined, stubborn warriors, determined to struggle to victory whatever the cost. Whilst some have criticised the Castigators for their tactics, the Chapter has - thus far successfully - refuted these statements, claiming that rather than single-mindedly fighting their way into certain death, they judge their fights well to ensure that the enemy is eradicated. To the Castigators, a wasteful death is pointless, but a justified death is the greatest honour.
The second, third, fourth and fifth companies are the battle-companies, each with a mixture of tactical, devastator and assault squads. With such a variety of squads, the Battle Companies are highly flexible and tactically adaptable. Indeed, a typical force deployed by the Castigators will be centred around a Battle-Company, with attached elements from other Companies.
The sixth and seventh companies are tactical reserve companies; the eighth and ninth are assault and devastator reserve companies, respectively. The Reserve Companies often fight support of their brethren in the Battle-Companies, reinforcing battle lines, launching diversionary attacks or countering enemy assaults. In addition, the Marines of the Reserve Company can be transferred into the Battle-Companies to replace casualties sustained. The Castigators' tenth company, the scout company, is small when compared to other chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, mainly due to the chapter's extremely thorough recruitment processes. Much like the first company, the scouts almost never fight as one force. Instead they are assigned to the battle companies where they can gain experience alongside their elders.
The newly-created Castigators chapter had a number of Librarians, drawn from the Black Consuls. During their initial ten-year crusade, the Castigators also recruited a number of psychically-gifted initiates from the worlds they fought upon. As the original Librarians died out, and the Castigators continued to recruit from a world where the pyschic population was eradicated, the chapter began to absorb the Losancan belief system. They could no longer countenance 'witches' sullying the chapter's name, and as such the responsibility of keeping a record of the chapter's history was given to ordinary brother-marines who adopted the role of 'Librarian'. Now each of the Castigators' brother-marines will undertake a period of service in the chapter's Librarium once every decade, working to duplicate ancient texts and to pass on the stories of the Castigators' past. These 'Librarians' accompany Company Captains, recording the chapter's history, recounting tales of battles fought throughout the millennia, and learning lessons from the actions of others. This allows every battle-brother to be intimately familiar with the chapter's history of warfare.
Like the majority of Space Marine chapters, the Castigators honour ancient pacts with the Adeptus Mechanicus that stretch back millennia to their very founding. Those amongst the Castigators with an affinity for technology are dispatched to Mars, where they are initiated into the Martian tech-cults. This is acknowledged as a necessary process - without the techmarines, the Adeptus Astartes would be left unable to tend to the machine spirits, to observe the rites that ensure continued operation of their wargear, or to repair damage taken on the field of battle. But the process comes at a lamentable price - the loss of battle-brothers to the worship of the Omnissiah. The techmarines are mysterious and capricious, aloof and distant. Their inscrutable ways are not easily understood by most of the battle-brethren. Indeed, some of the more zealous factions among the chapter distrust the techmarines. To them, the worship of the Omnissiah is at best dangerous, and at worst heretical. It is a duty of the Chapter Master to ensure that these ideological tensions are defused and that no blood is spilt. It is said that some of the Castigators' techmarines struggle their entire lives to resolve the differences between their chapter's creed and the dictates of the Liber Mechanicus. These tortured souls keep their distance from their beloved battle-brothers that hate them so, seeking solace among the lobotomised servitors and the machine-spirits that inhabit the chapter's equipment.
The Castigators are known to adhere to philosophies that could be compared to Inquisitor Goldo's principles of Monodomination. They are utterly ruthless and unforgiving when it comes to those they perceive as aiding the enemies of the Imperium. Mutants, aliens, psykers and religious deviants are all to be called to account for their activities. The only punishment for those who stray from the Emperor's path is death. The Castigators are utterly devoted to this belief and have in the past even been openly hostile towards loyalist Space Marines they have perceived to have a mutated or debased gene-seed. They utterly refuse to work alongside aliens such as Eldar or Kroot.
Whilst some have called the Castigators overly aggressive, narrow-minded, or bigoted, none can deny the fervour with which they go about their tasks. The Castigators have influential allies that allow them to continue unmolested; some traditional and puritan Inquisitors have gone so far as to openly applaud the Castigators, seeing their actions as those of the truly faithful. The chapter has worked in concert with puritan elements of the Emperor's Inquisition on several occasions throughout its history. It is not uncommon for such Inquisitors to work with militant cults in the Imperium such as the Redemptionists to create frenzied mobs and stir up hatred, intolerance and xenophobia amongst planetary populations. These beliefs are similar to those of the Castigators, and this has lead to them aiding such cults at the urging of an Inquisitor.
Above all, the Castigators revere the Emperor for His sacrifice and for all He had to endure to ensure that humanity survived the dark days of the Horus Heresy. He surrendered more than most can even imagine. Many of the chapter's marines commit acts of self-mutilation in an attempt to further their own spiritual growth. These acts are overlooked by the Chapter's commanders, as they encourage piety. The pain is welcomed, and is a small price to pay for understanding even a small sliver of the Emperor's suffering and sacrifice. The Castigators look upon the Chapter's Dreadnoughts with awe. This is in part because chapter reveres these warriors for the heroic deeds they achieved in life, and also because they echo the Emperor Himself - their bodies are shattered but still they continue to fight the enemies of Humankind. Their courage, determination and tenacity are an example which every marine in the chapter strives to emulate. The ancient warriors encased within these sarcophagi can prove devastating on the field, and company Captains often seek their counsel before committing their forces.
It has been noted by Imperial observers that the Castigators grudgingly tolerate both the Astropaths and those of the Navigator Gene. This has led some to criticise the Castigators' belief system as hypocritical. The Castigators roundly refute such allegations, arguing that both institutions were created and sanctioned by the Emperor - just as the Adeptus Astartes were.
In memory of their auspicious founding, every fourteen years those companies not currently engaged in battle meet at the Sanctuary. Battle-brothers, comrades and friends are allowed to meet and honour their success together. Great trophies are brought back to the fortress monastery and relics are paraded in front of the assembled marines. Each and every dreadnought in the chapter is awoken and great prayer services are held to honour the fallen, to remember the great moments of the chapter's history and to reaffirm oaths of loyalty, piety and faith. Captured banners are paraded, the heads of defeated foes exhibited and the manner of their capture and defeat recalled with grim detail. The ceremonies last for fourteen days and then the chapter disperses once more to where they are needed to continue the protection of the Imperium of Man. Neophytes inducted into the chapter during this two-week period are seen as blessed and are usually predicted to become great warriors.
The Castigators' Apothecaries demand absolute and total excellence in maintaining that purity. The Apothecarion ensures that only the strongest and healthiest of Losanco Secundus' populace are selected to become marines. The trials for neophytes are particularly stringent, and the Apothecaries take great care to ensure that the gene-seed does not develop flaws or mutate in any way. Any neophytes that exhibit signs of mutation are dissected as subjects of study in an attempt to determine what went wrong. Progenoid glands extracted from dead marines may not be implanted if there is any suggestion that they may be tainted.
This unyielding thoroughness means that the Castigators replace losses at a slower rate than in most marine chapters. In recent years there have been few occasions when the Castigators have been at full chapter strength. The Castigators contend, however, that their rigidly maintained purity makes them more than a match for their foes.
Edited by Commissar Molotov, 06 March 2011 - 02:41 AM.