"The Day of Fate awaits, regardless." - Motto of the Warminds, translated into High Gothic
"Whatever else happens next, we fight and die as we must. Our duty demands nothing less." - Captain Janten, Warminds 2nd Company, before the siege of Derestonia Secundus
Created in the Eighteenth Founding to protect the worlds on the north edge of the spatial anomaly the Imperium calls the Glastheim Rifts, the Warminds claim proud descent from the lineage of the great Primarch Corax of the Raven Guard.
And since their inception, the Chapter has seen their own extinction ever drawing closer and closer.
Life around the Glastheim Rifts is a constant war of survival. Between xenos invaders, heretic cults and seccessionist raiders, there are no shortage of foes for the Warminds to fight again. The Orks of Waaaagh [-REDACTED-] in particular have proven to be a constant nemesis, coming back to make merciless war again and again no matter how many times they are vanquished. The xenocide campaign against the Inferash Tribune and their Prismatic Battleships ended in an Imperial victory, but at a heavy cost in lives to the Warminds, who lost most of their Second and Sixth Companies in the process.
And though the worlds of the systems around the Glastheim Rifts are filled with hardy populations of humans, the geneseed of the Raven Guard is notoriously unstable. Very few recruits drawn from these worlds were found to survive the transformative process of becoming a Space Marine.
Radiation from the Glastheim Rifts - a constant, broiling Warp Storm of frightening intensity and unpredictability - no doubt played a significant factor in decreasing the stability of the Warminds' geneseed even further. The Warminds took the view that this was the judgement of Corax and the Emperor, a test of the Chapter's worth. Their demise was, perhaps, inevitable, but the Warminds would strive to make Primarch and Emperor proud of them, so that they would go to their forebears' side in death and be welcomed gladly.
After a few bleak decades with barely any recruits coming into the battle-worn Chapter, the Warminds finally found the former agri-world of Geffen to produce recruits with a greater rate of survival. Concerned about their Chapter's future, the Warminds established a Fortress Monastery on this world to better protect it.
Over time it became increasingly commonplace for brothers of the Warminds that had been recruited from Geffen to develop psychic powers. Though the population itself showed no real signs of psychic potential beyond the average, the varied mutations in the Warminds' geneseed seemed to bring about this particular benefit.
And yet, this boon brought with it more problems. Not all Warminds who developed psychic powers were able to fully control them, and those that could not were faced with inevitable descents into madness, despair and death.
The Apothecarion and Librarium struggled to find a solution for this problem, and eventually hit upon a complex surgical procedure that completely eliminated the psychic potential of an afflicted brother, at the cost of removing that Space Marine's capacity to feel or display any real depth of emotion. This procedure, which the Warminds called the Quelling, served to save brothers who would have otherwise become another casualty that the Chapter could ill-afford. The Quelled were found to have lowered initiative compared to their other brothers, adapting more slowly to sudden changes in battlefield circumstances and being less able to orchestrate plans. Thus, the Quelled were barred from high office of any kind in the Chapter, and their armour marked with white shoulders to denote their status as Quelled.
The Warminds became more and more convinced of their own certain demise. Each death brought the Chapter closer to extinction - an event the Warminds referred to as the 'Day of Fate', the final judgement of the Chapter and their legacy by The Emperor himself.
In the latter half of M37, the Warminds were one of the Chapters drafted into the accord known as the Silver Circle - an alliance of Space Marine Chapters around the Glastheim Rifts who were forever tasked with the vigil of keeping the Rifts in Imperial control. The Warminds were, notably, the only Chapter willing to work with their new brothers-in-arms from the very beginning. Though the Warminds were chronically under-strength, they made a point of sending forces to reinforce their brothers where the fighting was thickest, gradually drawing their fellow Chapters together under a bond of shared victories against the enemies of mankind.
It was, perhaps, this gamble of soldifying the kinship between the Circle that allowed the Warminds to survive as long as they did. When Waaaagh [-REDACTED-] launched a series of attacks on the Geffenia system itself in M39, both the Brotherhood of Crows and the Champions of Athlum sent battle companies to assist the Warminds in breaking the system-wide siege. In M40 the Abyssal Host came to the aid of the Warminds as they battled the last desperate remnants of the Inferash Tribune, their swift actions preventing the activation of the Inferash's deadly Armageddon Bombs on the hive world of Balsamo.
Nevertheless, at the close of the 41st Millennium, the Warminds are all but depleted. With little more than two hundred active Space Marines left alive in the Chapter, they still fight on defiantly, with stealth, steadfast discipline and psychic might, warding off the myriad threats that beset them. Though the Day of Fate looms large, and total extinction beckons, the Warminds do their duty as best they can, and fight in defence of humanity, determined to go to their end as warriors and earn their place beside The Emperor.
"If this is not a sign from The Emperor, then nothing is." - Chaplain Daoadus, Warminds 3rd Company
The dawn of the Dark Millennium was a time of great upheaval and transformation across the entire galaxy. Few Chapters, however, found their situation so completely changed as the Warminds did.
With the awakening of the Cicatrix Maledictum came a drastic upswing in the level of Chaos activity around the Glastheim Rifts. Heretical cults that had been painstakingly seeded on over a hundred worlds in the immediate area of the Rifts simultaneously sprang into cruel action, staging uprisings, assassinations, and open rebellions across far too many fronts for the Space Marines to counter-act.
The return of Waaaagh [-REDACTED-], this time as a three-pronged attack against the systems surrounding Geffenia, further stymied the Warminds' ability to fight off the heretics.
Fatalism gripped the Chapter more tightly than ever - surely the Day of Fate had finally come, for every battle, every campaign prosecuted by the Warminds resulted in painful losses to the already-dwindling Chapter's numbers.
But everything changed when the Indomitus Crusade arrived.
A large force of Adeptus Mechanicus envoys and their Skitarii bodyguards, reinforced by over two hundred Primaris Space Marines, three regiments of Imperial Guard and two Imperial Knight houses swept across the Geffenia system and it's neighbours. This intervention force paused in their advance only to leave the Warminds with the new technology needed to recruit Primaris marines of their own, complete with verifiable proof the technology was approved by no less a figure than Roboute Guilliman himself.
In desperate need of recruits, the Warminds took a chance on the Primaris marines. The results were astounding - the acceptance rate of the geneseed was increased a hundredfold, to the point that more than half the initiates who underwent the implantation survived the process. Furthermore, the psychic potential of the Chapter still persisted, albeit slightly less potently than before. Some amongst their number still require Quelling, and a few amongst the Chapter worry that the number of Quelled amongst the Primaris marines is rising over time.
In current times, the Warminds are still experiencing something of a resurgence. Numbering above six hundred marines for the first time in centuries, over half the Chapter's number are Primaris Space Marines. Squads of Intercessors, Incursors and Infiltrators make up much of the Warminds' core forces in battle, supported as always by the enduring pre-primaris Warminds.
The Chapter's mentality is currently divided on whether or not they have survived the Day of Fate and been found worthy, or whether this is merely an interlude before judgement falls upon them once again.
"When all your life is a desperate struggle against death, war eternal holds little to surprise you." - Brother Yuandor, Warminds 10th Company
Geffen used to be a large and important agri-world that supplied several systems with produce, but the fate of the planet was altered forever when a group of xeno-pirates attacked it in M32, sowing terror and death with biological weaponry on a massive scale.
Now the world is largely desolate, its' population huddled around the few surviving farm-clans and the healthy land they own, or forming raider gangs in the skeletal remains of the world's once-great cities.
The farm clans war often over farmable land, and food is often scarce even for the most powerful clans. Alliances are formed and broken and formed again amongst the clans, and no power base lasts forever amongst the people of Geffen. Sudden attacks by the wily and ruthless raider gangs of the Dead Cities happen whenever the raiders' food runs low. The Cities are large, desolate and forbidding, filled with traps to snare unwary wildlife - or would be hunters - while the Raiders dwell in the dark and isolated ruins to keep out of the weather.
Cannibal cults will break out infrequently in situations where the population of a clan far exceeds the amount of food they can produce. This is one sin that the Warminds simply do not tolerate, however. When a cannibal cult is discovered, the Chapter's psykers will invariably root out those involved in such morally corrupt activity, publicly execute them, and burn their corpse in a ritual pyre.
The Warminds take recruits from both the farm-clans and the raiders, as youths from both factions are equally likely to display the mix of strength, ferocity and cunning that makes a great Space Marine.
The term 'Day of Fate' comes from an old Geffenic fable about how those who die are judged by The Emperor, and the worthy are fated to serve at His side evermore.
The Warminds' Fortress Monastery, known also as the Temple of Souls, is built in the centre of the largest wasteland, far from the population centres of Geffen. With artfully constructed rooms and barren but carefully tended stone gardens given over entirely for meditation and study, it is said to be a place of learning and philosophy as much as a fortress.
"What we leave behind after death is the true measure of our life's worth. We must leave His Imperium stronger for our efforts." - Chaplain Sonamus, Warminds 6th Company
Perhaps due to their entire existence essentially being a struggle to simply survive, the Warminds are a Chapter given over to much dwelling on death and the impermanence of all life. The Warminds are also certain that The Emperor judges his sons at the moment of their death, and so are determined to fight as relentlessy as Space Marines should, to not only prove their individual worth, but to demonstrate the worth of their Chapter to Him.
As far as the Warminds are concerned, the protection of Humanity is the foremost duty of Space Marines. The Chapter will willingly enter into battles or campaigns that will take a heavy toll on their numbers if it means preserving the lives of Imperial citizens. Even when a battle inflicts heavy losses on the Warminds, they are unflinching in their resolve, and press onwards to the next battle to preserve the people of the Imperium.
Whenever a Warmind is slain in battle, the Chapter does feel the loss keenly, in part due to their inability to easily replenish their losses, and in part due to the psychic connection much of the Chapter shares. However, the grief carries also a portion of pride; as another marine goes to The Emperor's side and displays the valour and convictions of his brothers. In accordance with an old Geffenic tradition, slain battle-brothers are interred into a tomb below the fortress monastery, clad entirely in white and wearing a white, snarling mask to frighten off any predatory evil spirits that dare approach.
The Chapter is known to make much use of modified helmets made to resemble these death masks, albeit coloured gold rather than white. These helms are often passed down through generations of Warminds, and are strictly only worn into battle, for they are said to connect the wearer to the warrior souls of the Warminds who have gone before them.
The white shoulders of the Quelled are symbolically tied to the death mask tradition; for most intents and purposes any brother who undergoes the Quelling is largely treated as already dead by his brothers.
Though the Warminds do not look with favour on the Quelled, they preserve and continue to use the ritual surgery that creates them whenever a Battle Brother loses control of his power for two reasons. Firstly, the simple logistics of being unable to replace every battle brother who fails to master their gifts. Secondly, every enemy attack that targets one of the Quelled is an attack not spent against a 'honed' Warmind. The Chapter must survive and fight until the Day of Fate - even if it means relying on the Quelled to do so.
Outside of battle, the Warminds appear to be somewhat distant and philosophical in demeanour. It is thought that to some extent this calm, contemplative persona exists as a means to disguise the altered nature of the Quelled.
On the battlefield, however, the Warminds, though disciplined, channel the hatred and rage of true Space Marines in combat. They do not shy away from battle once it is joined, as such behaviour would mark them as unworthy to their Primarch and Emperor.
The Chapter's steadfast devotion to the putting the defence of Humanity first, beyond all other concerns, has earned them much respect from other Imperial forces in the north of the Glastheim Rifts. Regiments and Battlefleets alike, not to mention the PDFs of over a hundred worlds, proudly carry banners or campaign markings dedicated to the battles fought alongside the Chapter's forces.
Of the Chapters in the Silver Circle, the Warminds are by far the most effective at rooting out the insidious chaos cults planted on Imperial worlds by the heretics from within the Glastheim Rifts, thanks largely to their psychic gifts. This success rate has earned the Chapter, if not the favour, then the grudging respect of the Order of the Iron Tower - an order of Adepta Sororitas whose Mission Fleets patrol Imperial Space around the Rifts, and typically express a strong dislike of Space Marines.
It is also this well-documented reputation for earnest and unwavering devotion to the Imperium that keeps most Inquisitors from taking much unneeded interest in the Warminds. There are innumerable other threats around the Rifts that require the investigative eyes of the Inquisition, and the Warminds, in spite of their oddities, are simply not considered a high priority.
"If you Aeldari were half as foresighted as you claim, you'd have seen that coming." - Codicier Dolmaan, Warminds 2nd Company, to the dying Farseer Trygerd Swiftmind
The combat doctrines of the Warminds echo their primogenitors the Raven Guard, with a focus on stealth and ambushes, and use of rapid engagements, misdirection and feints.
The largest deviation from their ancestors is the significant psychic power that the Warminds channel in battle. Most Battle Brothers (save for the Quelled) are capable of low-level psychic powers, such as manipulating light or dust to throw off an enemy's aim, or increasing the perceived weight of their wargear, to throw them off-balance.
These powers are further complemented by the close-combat doctrines of the Chapter. Some of the martial techniques used by the Warminds can come across as needlessly elaborate or showy in comparison to the more utilitarian techniques of other Chapters. But as befits sons of Corax, this is further misdirection - the flowing movements and flourishing strikes are designed to mislead an enemy and buy the Warmind using such arts vital moments to muster their focus or gauge their enemy's reactions.
In extreme situations, sometimes even standard battle-brothers of the Warminds can demonstrate impressive psychic powers, and tales of Warminds in desperate situations turning aside the strikes or shots of powerful enemies with nothing but their mind are far from unheard of.
"Our numbers are few, but our spirit remains strong." - Brother Ralhaw, Warminds 1st Company
Though each Company is chronically under-strength, the Warminds adhere to the organisational tenets of the Codex Astartes, their number divided into ten Companies as per regulation.
The most notable difference in how the Chapter arranges itself is in its' Librarium. With so many burgeoning Psychics in the Chapter, the Librarium is divided into twelve ranks to better detail the psychic strength of their brothers. Only high-ranking Librarians are required to wear the Codex-approved blue to denote their status. In essence, only these high-ranking Librarians are permitted to carry out the traditional duties associated with the role in other Chapters, but the lower ranks are functionally more aware of these duties and what the role of Librarian requires. Leadership roles within the Chapter still fall to Captains and Lieutenants, rather than the Librarium, but it is not uncommon for Librarians to offer advice if they have any to share.
The Quelled are spread throughout squads, in the company of their more psychically-capable brothers who offer direction, protection and guidance to their wayward kin. Not all squads bear members of the Quelled, and very few squads have multiple Quelled in their ranks. Devastator and Tactical squads make the best use of the Quelled, where their unnatural calm and limitless patience are stronger advantages.
The coming of Primaris marines has seen the Warminds integrate the newcomers into the ranks of their existing companies, symbolically unifying the past and present of the Chapter. Much use is made of Vanguard marines and Phobos armour within the Chapter's ranks, as befitting scions of Corax.
"Our Primarch and our Emperor will seek to test your worth exhaustively. From this point on, your fate is in their hands." - Apothecary Zusang, Warminds 10th Company, about to begin implantation of the geneseed on a new recruit
As noted earlier, the geneseed of the Warminds is equal parts blessing and curse to the Chapter. The geneseed of the Raven Guard has long been known for it's numerous discrepancies compared to other, more stable lineages, and the further mutations caused by proximity to the Glastheim Rifts have exacerbated the inherent difficulty in finding viable recruits.
The singular positive trait is that most recruits into the Chapter, even the very rare recruits from worlds other than Geffen, eventually develop a degree of psychic power.
Though the Warminds have often requested fresh stocks of Raven Guard geneseed to be delivered to them, the closest Forgeworld capable of providing such deliveries lies a long way away, on the opposite side of the Glastheim Rifts. Fleets heading from this Forge World have a difficult and perilous road ahead of them to reach the Geffenia system, not least due to the predations of the heretics and renegades who dwell within the rifts themselves. As such, actual shipments of fresh geneseed arriving at Geffen are a very rare occurrence indeed. Worse, the radiation surrounding the Glastheim Rifts does not take long to effect the fresh shipments once they arrive, resulting in continued difficulties with recruitment for the Warminds.
The coming of the Indomitus Crusade and the introduction of Primaris geneseed essentially resolved many of these issues for the Warminds, giving them a much higher success rate in inducting new recruits. However, experiments have shown success rates amongst recruits taken from worlds other than Geffen are still extremely low, being only marginally improved from before.
"The Day of Fate Dawns!"
Another update! I can't let the White Hawks have all of the fun now, can I?
All thoughts, opinions, C&C, scathing mockery etc welcome!
Edited by Ace Debonair, 27 November 2019 - 10:14 AM.