Also, I'm loathe to drop the selected battles I've made, as they were arguably the funnest part to write, but was wondering about their relevance... They do a good job of further showing the character of the chapter though - actions speak louder than words! Please C&C and thanks for your time!
Angels bring salvation, whereas the Eagle brings both the wings of deliverance and the talons of judgment. Vermin cower in the shadow of the Angel’s light – yet even in the darkness the Eagle spies them with keen suspicion, and swoops to crush them with beak and claw. So it shall be with us, not Angels or mere saviors; but guardians, arbiters, judges, Astartes – Eagles all.”
~ attributed to Supreme Justice Jurge Orllew, first Lord of the Guardian Eagles
The Guardian Eagles are an ancient chapter, with a history that goes back 9000 years of shrouded time to the 4th Founding, in early M.32. Much of the specifics of their early history are unknown – lost to the march of millennia and reduced to distant legend. What is known is that they were formed as a fleet based chapter from the line of Rogal Dorn, and their hallowed first master, Supreme Justice Orllew, supposedly stamped his unique mark on their temperament that endures today.
Unlike many other chapters whose beliefs have been influenced by some defining, watershed moment, the Guardian Eagles have experienced no such dramatics or shames that have changed their core beliefs. This is not to say that they have had a stable history though – far from it. The Eagles have weathered thousands of years of controversy over their grating temperament and policies, and have been to the brink of extinction numerous of times for it. For nearly 500 years they disappeared on a penitent crusade during the Apostasy. On at least two recorded occasions they have been counted as catastrophically reduced and subsequently destroyed. More exposed to the politics of petty men than most Astartes, the chapter has been embroiled in some of the most devastating internecine conflicts in the Imperium. Yet through this long history of endless war and persecution, the Eagles have always walked the narrow road they have set themselves, and come out even more determined in their beliefs because of it.
I hate the traitor for his weakness as much as for his treason.”
~ Belia Stanislav, High Prosecutor of the Guardian Eagles
It is the Prosecution who goes first, lambasting the brother as a weakling and even heretic through fiery rhetoric or cold presentation of fact and evidence. Then the defense takes the stand, close brothers, sergeants, and even captains or lords listing the individual’s noble deeds and accomplishments, sacrifices and services.
It is the chapter command who then act as the judge and jury – the 10 Justices, Supreme Justice, High Prosecutor and Tribunal, who retire behind closed doors to decide the legacy of the fallen. It is often an easy decision, for most brothers’ deeds far outweigh their failings, and the scales are tipped and gavel struck to allow another name to be added to the Court of Heroes.
This is not to say it is unheard of to find those wanting – too many failures, suspect character or a record short of deeds will just as easily tip the balance against, and consign the marine to a fate worse than death – the obliteration of his legacy and mark on the chapter. Every Guardian Eagle knows that this final judgment is the most important one of not just their lives, but their existence, and makes them even more determined to ensure that their conduct meets the righteous standards of the chapter.
Life (and death) in the chapter is subject to constant judgment of merit. Every Marine aspirant has been broken psychologically and emotionally by Prosecutors, their former personalities eradicated. Omniscient monitoring in chapter facilities analyzes body language, conversation and activity to unmask the smallest thought-heresy. After-action reviews are essentially judicial trials of conduct. Deviance in character, failure in duty and tactical error leads to personal sessions with a Prosecutor in the Interrogatium, or a hearing with chapter officials. Mind-wipes or lobotomies of the chapter’s own members are not uncommon, nor are arco-flagellations unheard of. All these practices are viewed dispassionately as common sense and responsible necessity – indeed, the Eagles accuse the wider Imperium of recklessness by not adopting such high standards.
Indeed, what is most controversial about the Eagles is that outsiders do not escape any of this paranoia or strict judgment. Unlike many others, the chapter sees part of the duty of Astartes as being judges and enforcers, with the prerogative to police and impose discipline where they see fit. When a semblance of weakness is perceived, the chapter is famous for the brutal punishments it metes out, ruthlessly intimidating survivors into a new period of public fear, submission and stability with the threat: “We will return.” The Guardian Eagles maintain that no man, organization or world is above their scrutiny, and with their unappeasable standards often cause outrage with sneering accusations, unilateral population culls and disposal of Imperial officials and Governors. In everything they do, the Guardian Eagles seek to very publicly show the power of the Emperor - and His intolerance. Survival comes through power and persecution alone, and humanity needs a strict hierarchy, law and discipline to ensure stability. To be true guardians of the Imperium means perpetuating the harsh authority it was founded and survives on.
This potential arrogance is conversely tempered by the chapter’s own belief in hierarchy and paranoia of even their own motivations. Though the Eagles will always hold natural distrust of even those they hold in high regard, they are just as suspicious of themselves as outsiders, and don’t excuse themselves from the hierarchical power that they believe in so much. Thus, just as brothers within the chapter welcome judgment and accusation from their peers, so is the chapter willing to accept such decisions passed from others – provided it is by those they view as having proper authority. Understandably, there has always been controversy between Eagle and outsider on exactly what organizations hold this authority.
For all this, the Guardian Eagles are largely similar to most Astartes regarding the status of the Emperor and primarchs; great men, but not gods. However, symbols of Imperial authority, primarily the blessed Aquila, are seen as potent signs of allegiance and the enduring nature of His realm. Subsequently, the hallowed eagle is given greater import than in other chapters, festooning livery, rhetoric, armor, weapons and even ships. The importance placed on symbols of Imperial power is further seen in the chapter’s policy towards monuments. Temples, churches, palaces, fortresses, statues – the Eagles will defend all stubbornly, no matter the cost to themselves or to those they are protecting. All this is not out of undue spirituality or religiousness – but merely a calculated way to enforce Imperial authority and morale. The Eagles wish to portray the authority of the Emperor as infallible – what better way to do this than to ensure His structures and symbols are so?
~ former Supreme Justice Gheist, 32nd Lord of the Guardian Eagles
In addition, the importance the chapter assigns to symbols of Imperial power has meant the Guardian Eagles have been the salvation of many Ecclesiarch buildings through the long centuries, which has gained them somewhat of a reputation amongst the priesthood. Yet despite all their advances, the Guardian Eagles maintains a cordial detachment from the organization. Not for them the false bliss of religion, a tool to control the needy, clamoring masses; but the cold determination of humanity’s destiny.
On the other hand, few other chapters or organizations live up to the Eagles’ strict standards on purity, penitence and ruthlessness – other more nobly-minded Astartes are known to take open displeasure at the Eagles’ practices, and blows have been traded throughout the chapter’s history on this fact. The few chapters that the Eagles do keep healthy relationships with are their likeminded brethren, the likes of the zealous Black Templars and fanatically pure Red Scorpions.
The suspicious streak that runs through the chapter can however make them very testing to work with – the Eagles’ habits of forever second-guessing their allies, looking for signs of treachery and leering at suspect loyalties has always drawn attacks from those unwilling to accept these insults; while the unilateral policies of intervening in the governing affairs of worlds and taking the law into their own hands is always controversial. The chapter is polarizing – some viewing its recognition of Imperial power structure and conservatism as welcome, while others seeing its views as dangerously overstepping the jurisdiction of Astartes.
Imperial tolerance has waxed, waned and been pushed to the brink many times, and disciplinary actions and even penitent crusades litter the chapter’s history and threatened its continued existence. Without an ancient heritage of indisputable loyalty, instances where they have been correct in their suspicions, and supporters in significant conservative power blocs, the chapter would almost certainly have been more harshly dealt with long ago. Whether the chapter’s interventionism and grating character will continue to be tolerated remains to be seen.
Those areas not given over to holding cells on Domineul are under the heel of one of the most oppressive police states in the Imperium. Menacing propaganda blasts continuously – vast pict-screens cast brooding messages of suspicion, daily ‘Hate-casts’ whipping the population into frenzies of patriotic rage at imagined traitors. Billions of vox/pict-thieves in streets, factories, and homes are monitored around the clock by banks of servitor-cogitators, the smallest crime condemnation to be tortured and brainwashed, or simply thrown into the savage hive-prisons. Fully a quarter of Domineul’s ‘free’ population are informers to the martial central government – or the Inquisition, which has a significant presence on the planet. The towering skyline is dominated by the monolithic Schola Progenium and Inquisitorial basilica, and nearly everyone not incarcerated on the planet is involved in martial and policing activity. With this tight security, pacified populace and unique training conditions, Domineul is an important marshalling point for Imperial forces, hailed as a haven by conservatives the galaxy over.
It is testament to the Guardian Eagles’ close relations with several organizations and personalities that the chapter is allowed to interact extensively with this busy planet, maintaining a small shipyard behind Domineul’s moon. Recruits are usually drawn from the extensive law enforcement and defense garrisons, these boys exposed daily to the vicious armed combat across the world. The population of Domineul is highly regimented, judgmental and grim, and unquestionably loyal to the Imperium. Most defining of all, they possess a natural air of suspicion towards all around them, ingrained from a lifetime of monitoring and indoctrination. The Guardian Eagles respect these highly disciplined and subservient people, considering them paragons of proper Imperial society, and indeed many of their beliefs and practices have been assimilated from this unique culture.
“Ex astra mortis” – from the stars, death
With this recent dearth of capital ships, the chapter has come to use the significant number of escorts of the Hunter, Gladius and Nova classes as rapid-response and independent recon vessels. Sent on independent missions to enforce the Eagles’ brand of justice on Imperial worlds, each is able to cleanse a few cults, enforce discipline and execute a lax governor – tasks that don’t require an entire battle barge or strike cruiser.
What larger ships the chapter does possess are all ancient, fearsome, even by Astartes standards – each a symbol of Imperial power, prows and flanks shaped in the likeness of monstrous, predatory eagles to inspire shock and awe. The Guardian Eagles utilize these ships in this manner whenever possible, blasting entire continents with propaganda and even using weapons to physically carve monumental messages of Imperial supremacy into the land. It is not surprising or unknown for worlds to capitulate merely on this show of power alone, and further adds to the infamy of the chapter.
Hadrian Kommodus, Supreme Justice and Lord of the Guardian Eagles
25 Honor Guard, “The Tribunal”
~1,500 chapter equerries and servitors
Belia Stanislav, High Prosecutor
~150 arco-flagellants, “The Appeal”
Tybalt Proctor, Master of the Arsenal
1001 Tech Servitors
14 Land Raiders
Nemius Thorel, Justice of the Peace
6 Strike Cruisers (High Justice, Iron Talon, Guilty Verdict, Void Eagle, Discipline, True Wrath)
Battle Barge Death of Innocence
21 Rapid Strike Vessels
32 Thunderhawk Gunships
1st Company, “The Judges”:
Captain Ilisha Oberast, Justice of Execution
2nd Company, “The Jury”
Captain Judar Siniscarr, Justice of Punishment
3rd Company, “The Accusers”
Captain Ophel Syscilla, Justice of Persecution
4th Company, “The Verdict”
Captain Urseus Brascht, Justice of Repression
5th Company, “The Sentence"
Captain Zoryn Kazimier, Justice of Discipline
8th Company, “The Sanction”
Captain Kaidus Gripen, Justice of Intervention
9th Company, “The Adjournment”
Captain Goddard Torfus, Justice of Damages
10th Company, “The Inquest”
Captain Joscheau Zaqeed, Justice of Inquiry
In addition, the chapter also has the practice of keeping an additional distinct fighting force, known as “The Appeal”. Here are those wretched souls who have confessed their sins to the Eagles, and wish to redeem themselves – by serving as arco-flagellants. Coming from ‘disciplined’ civilian populations, Guard regiments, failed aspirants or serfs, or even disgraced Marines from the Eagles’ own ranks, “The Appeal” is chosen very carefully and are special as they have been given more than a bolt to the head. They must have committed to the eyes of most outsiders the most minor of crimes (such as theft or thought-crime) and are also subject to physical and spiritual requirements before their appeal may begin. Coming under the direction of the Interrogatium, “The Appeal” is most often spread throughout the different deployments of the chapter.
Currently, the Guardian Eagles are recovering from the losses sustained as part of their most recent penitent crusade 54 years ago, numbering approximately 600 battle-brothers in total and missing the 6th and 7th Companies, with all others Companies under-strength.
As expected by the Guardian Eagles’ beliefs, their combat doctrine is equally as uncompromising. Despite organized as a Codex chapter, the Guardians prefer not to sneak in the shadows, or strike with adequate surgical force. Instead, they seek to meet the enemy openly, striking with heavy handed strength unmatched in raw power and glory. Heavy armor, heavy firepower are thus what the Guardian Eagles prefer, the unstoppable massed strike of hulking tanks, Terminators and dreadnoughts showcasing the Emperor’s wrath through total destruction. In addition, the Eagles also extensively utilize their auxiliary force; that is, their ‘company’ of arco-flagellants and penitent servitors. Deployed as expendable line-breaking close combat shock troops, these waves shield the advance and cause disruption and fear amongst the enemy, their psychotic frenzies a contrast to the ordered and calm advance of the Eagles.
The chapter is not shy about collateral damage inflicted on civilian or friendly forces – saturation orbital bombardments, indiscriminant ordnance employment and even ‘massed battlefield disciplinary actions’ are all relatively common. Orbital bombardments often presage any combat action where possible, no matter the circumstances – from a worldwide invasion to even a squad-level skirmish. This unbridled display of power is calculated as much to inspire loyalty and fear in allies who witness it as to the raw destruction it unleashes on enemies.
In addition, the Guardian Eagles maintain the genetic legacy of Dorn and his Imperial Fists in their stubborn, unyielding nature. This trait manifests in their continued pressing of the attack, or dogged defense to the last – they are not a chapter wont to retreat once committed, even if momentum of the initial blow is lost. In this case, a grinding, slower advance is led by Terminators and armor, conservatively pressing forward to slowly crush the enemy through methodical movement, weight of fire and inexonerable pressure.
It is an unwritten value that the Guardian Eagles prefer clean destruction at range to close combat, believing that getting close to foes increases the chances of heretical ‘infection’ by them. That does not mean however, that an Eagle will shirk from the deed if duty demands it – just an increased level of interrogation after action.
The Guardian Eagles are notable for their cold demeanor in battle, silently executing orders or calmly condemning the enemy in spiteful verses of judgment. However, when the frenzy of battle or the vileness of the enemy grows too much to bear, the Eagles utilize the spontaneous, brutal damnation of “Guilty! Guilty! GUILTY!”
Selected Battle Honors
Honor Won, Heretic Absolved, 756.M35
The fleet of the Guardian Eagles’ 1st, 2nd and 4th Companies fights an apocalyptic battle with the Word Bearers in the void around the Maelstrom. Despite suffering punishing losses, including destruction of the strike cruiser Golden Death and worse, the capture of the battle barge Infinite Vengeance, the Eagles reap their own tally of vessels, and it is the Word Bearers who withdraw first.
The Branding of Tychus, 458.M37
In orbit above the Traitor-held hives of Tychus, the Eagles utilize one of their favored propaganda tools on a massive scale. Using starship weapon batteries and lances, they carve colossal messages of damnation onto the face of the planet, threatening the population to surrender and die quickly. Sprawling an entire continent, the massive brand of the Imperial Aquila that scars Tychus’ surface is clearly visible from space, and is a minor pilgrimage site to this day.
The First Cleansing of Yaldritch, circa 650.M37
Landing on the civilized planet, the Eagles find a prosperous and loyal world untouched by war, ruled in benevolence. Yet the illusion is shattered when the chapter discovers open condemnation of current Imperial policies are allowed to be circulated among the population for ‘discussion’ and ‘democratic’ reasons. Such encouragement to heretics is not to be tolerated, and the Eagles destroy the headquarters of each political cult with Terminators, orbital bombardment and Thunderhawk strafing runs, before executing the weak Governor. The planet is crushed under the iron-shod boot of martial law within the year.
The Second Cleansing of Yaldritch, 656.M37
Yaldritch rebels against the strict government implemented for it, and war rages for 2 years. The Guardian Eagles return, and blast the planet with propaganda and shows of force from orbit before beginning the assault. The rebellion ceases almost immediately, fear of the Space Marines etched into the planet’s culture, but the Eagles push the attack anyway, slaughtering those surrendering to them.
Guardian Angels, 987.M37
On a penitent crusade, the Guardian Eagles travel far, to a distant system that has seen the touch of another Astartes chapter – the Guardian Angels. There the Eagles find a weak government without the jackboot of oppression to keep the populace safe, apparently in homage to the Angels. Finding a single mutant cult imbedded on a world, the Guardian Eagles are vindicated and their characteristically brutal campaign of repression begins; executing the Governor for laxity, they convince the population of her heresy and support bloody pogroms and coup to impose martial law, before leaving the system secure. The Guardian Angels are furious at this insult to their accomplishments, and the chapters have clashed in considerable violence on the few occasions they have met since.
The Fate of Hive Telireem, circa 440.M40
War rages on the hive-world of Jusuere Secundus, caught in the path of an Ork Waaagh! A six-month siege for Hive Telireem is lifted by the Guardian Eagles 4th Company just as Orks start to swarm over the walls and up the hive. Executing the ruling Magister for incompetence and sloth, assault squad ‘Invocation’ then detonates a fission device under the topmost spires, where the ruling elite still recline in luxury. Two cubic miles of jagged steel is sent tumbling and sliding down the north slopes of the beleaguered hive, obliterating everything in its path and utterly destroying the Ork army. 120 million die, and the hive is saved.
Enemy Adjourned, 563.M41
The 9th Company of the Guardian Eagles lives up to its title when deployed on the manufacturing world Forscythe against Waaagh Bonesplitz. For three weeks, the entire company’s guns run hot as they repulse a perpetual green tide thrown at the last area of resistance, the forge master’s sprawling manufactorum. Gun barrels are changed every minute as they melt under the heat, ammunition belts and magazines linked directly back to the immense production lines or plugged into the power grid. While literal mountains of bodies and debris pile up outside the doors, tons of smoking brass is dumped over the walls to crush the oncoming horde. Despite all this, the defenders are slaughtered to the man, Captain Vorsf and his last command found atop a mountain of spent shell casings and bodies, guns fused shut and said to be still hot to the touch.
The Hondor Secession, 279.M41-339.M41
The Guardian Eagles play an integral part in the 60-year long conflict in the Hondor system, during which the capital planet, Hondor IX, is razed and its population reduced by 70%. ‘The Verdict’ make a dramatic company-strength aerial insertion into the heart of the capital city, securing the hotly-contested Governor’s fortress – and maintain this position for 5 years, till war’s end. Despite the pleading from Imperial commanders for assistance on other fronts, the Eagles hold position, committing only paltry forces to offensive raids.
The Betrayal of Inquisitor Frelisch, 926.M41
The influential Inquisitor Frelisch asked for the Guardian Eagles’ aid on several occasions to cleanse corrupted Inquisitors he had identified, tasks which the Eagles go about with relish. When it is found he was merely getting rid of rivals for a petty power grab, the Eagles are rightly furious and storm Frelisch’s massive personal palace. Burning the traitor’s kingdom to the ground, they then make something useful out of him – a servitor, which accompanies any of their appearances to the Inquisition to this day. The Eagles accept a 20-year penitent crusade as punishment from an Inquisitorial conclave.
The Retrial of the Penitent Gidius Karyle, 989.M41
Fighting the cornered Tau in the ruins of Hive Cesurid, the entirety of “The Appeal” is unleashed in force to breach the Tau lines. The screaming, animalistic charge rips through the alien’s order of battle in a mad hour of psychotic flailing and butchery. One such repentant soul is redeemed in the eyes of the Eagles during the battle, seen in numerous acts of "significant noble vigor”; including leaping to single-handedly eviscerate the airborne Tau Crisis command complement, crushing enemy morale. The penitent Gidius Karyle was subsequently recognized as having served his sentence, and redeemed in service to the Emperor – the second time in recorded history anyone has earned this from the Eagles.
The Tersius Annihilation, 993.M41
A splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Kraken meets its end in a decisive fleet action around the planet Tersius IV. Coordinated by Supreme Justice Kommudus, the chapter and Imperial Navy hold the Tyranids in lower orbit while St. Sybalt, Guided Hand and Governor Hummus use their nova cannons, cyclonic torpedoes and planet killer batteries to blast the moon L-12-CX towards Tersius IV and into the Tyranid fleet. The beast-ships are torn apart in a storm of meteors and dragged down to the death of both planetoids.
Edited by SpecialIssueAmmo, 13 May 2011 - 09:21 AM.