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IL XIII - Sky Reavers

alternate heresy five ruins sky reavers

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The Sky Reavers


“Captain, this is Fighter XV-212, it’s hell up here! They’re moving too fast, none of us can lock on to them. It’s hard enough to dodge the anti-air fire from the ground, but they’re circling around, picking us off one by one and there’s nothing we can do. It’s inhuman, sir, no man could pull those speeds or turns off. Permission to …”

- Last recorded transmission from enemy combatant XV-212 during the Assault on Koccichi by the XIIIth Legion


The fast moving lords of the air, the Sky Reavers aim to dominate the sky above any battlefield before committing to any ground operations. Their superior aerial skills, combined with the numerous modifications they have made to their aircraft, makes them highly mobile foes who can strike from any angle. Their primarch, Aato, is a caring and scientifically-minded Primarch, looking to form close bonds with his brothers and protect his homeworld above all. This love of his homeworld would fuel his scientific experiments, as he began obsessed with finding a way to travel vast distances without the need for the warp to guarantee the survival of his home system. It was this obsession that would lead him and his legion down a path away from the light of the Imperium.


Numeration: The XIII Legion


Primogenitor: Aato Vayrynen


Noteworthy Domains: Maaparatiisi (Homeworld)


Observed Strategic Tendencies: Aerial Superiority, Multi-Vector and Sub-Orbital Attack, High-Mobility Warfare


Allegiance: Separatists, Socius Solicitus


Colours: Navy Blue and Gold


Sky Reavers Legionary (Art by Algrim Whitefang)


Sky Reavers symbol (Art by Algrim Whitefang)

Edited by TrajantheGreat, 27 July 2020 - 11:23 AM.




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The Prince of the Skies, Aato Väyrynen flies above the battlefield until descending on his prey. A caring Primarch, Aato highly values his legion and his home system, and will go to great lengths to protect them. He is scientifically minded, constantly thinking of solutions to problems and his experiments, spending most of his spare time in his laboratory or on a test field. His main desire is to find a way to travel without using the Warp, a desire bordering on an obsession in protecting his home system from Warp Storms. This obsession would lead him to go to any length to protect his homeworld, an objective that the Ruins threatened to destroy forever.




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Sky Reavers – Sahaquiel


Allied with the Mechanicus in their efforts to creating and testing the Talaria from the strange relic found on Mars, the Sky Reavers received special dispensation to create their own version of the superiority fighter. Among the burning lava-flows of Mezoa they more closely adapted the Sahaquiel variant from it's original design, creating a truly dangerous superiority fighter feared amongst the enemies of Man.



With the Sky Reavers help in the initial Talaria development it was decided that a pact and a project would be made in conjunction with the Mechanicus. From the ranks of the Divisio Artisan, Fabricator-Architect Diagus Setp-Unum were dispatched along with a cadre of Forge Lords and Cybersmiths to the Forge World of Mezoa. From their fiery new workplace on Mezoa the foundries worked night and day to churn out the raw materials needed to feed the cadre as they went about iterating on the already impressive chassis of the Talaria. Going through several different design branches headed up by a different Forge Lord the end result could have been very different had the Techmarines and Commanders of the XIIIth decided otherwise.

The project in fact was rather fruitful for the Sky Reavers, seeing many of the alternate designs and functional elements picked up later on despite their rejection, the main result however, was a league above the parts of the others.

Though limited in it's testing phase it had a remarkable effect on both the observing body and shockingly enough, for the test pilot as well. Over the lava plains of Mezoa's southern hemisphere was a hostile ground of ash-choked sky and volcanic thundertorms Sky Reaver pilots would bring the machines to the very edge of their capabilities. With several of the previous tests ending in failure of the machines involved it had proven itself a harsh and unforgiving regime that worried the Forge Lords with it's extremity. As the final set of test flights spooled up for the day the pilot, Sliknos Barra, would make legion history, a fact which his fellow pilots wouldn't forget for a long time.

As the testing of the final design commenced, Barra engaged the plane in a number of modes, performing aerial acrobatics expected of the Legion's name, it was however, during the final set of manoeuvres that he would black out. A feat that had never happened before, the Forge Lords, bolstered by the advice of the Apothecaries, had assumed that a transhuman pilot would never fully succumb to the effects of high-G movements. They had assumed wrong. For a short while during a violent turn Sliknos blacked out, leaving the aircraft in free fall. Within moments he had recovered and continued on with the test, not saying a word to the observation crews. Though his companions in the Legion might jest it proved to be a new problem to be considered and overcome by the design team, that even the mighty circulatory system of an Astartes would have it's limitations. After several more iterations the final candidate was chosen by Kyösti Salminen of the Second Wing, sent to judge the designs based on the every-evolving frontier of the Great Crusade at the time. It was by his experienced hand then that the Sahaquiel was chosen, having overcome it's issues and risen amongst the others as a veritable master of the skies.

From here on Sahaquiel's were produced and allotted to the various Wings of the Legion, though always in small numbers, in the hands of any Sky Reaver it dominated the sky and space of any planet it was deployed to. Several traditions have emerged as a result of the culture of both Maaparatiisi and the Imperium intermingling throughout the Great Crusade. One of those derived by Sahaquiel pilots is the 'Crusades' they held after campaigns. Named in imitation of the Great Crusade pilots would drink specialised alcohol that could even effect astartes physiology. Each pilot would attempt to drink amounts equal to the amount of kills they had scored together. At the end of the night before everyone retired they would drink a full flagon for every comrade that had been killed in the squadron. This final drink of course was never turned down, no matter the marine's state prior to it. Some also chose to remember the fallen by having an ale mug with their initials or callsign painted onto their craft to forever remember them. Alongside some of the other traditions involving personal coins, a pilot's naming ceremony and the burning of large instruments, the pilots of the Sky Reavers have developed a distinct sub-culture all of their own.



Although distinctly the same profile as the Talaria the Sahaquiel variant has a plethora of improved elements to help raise it above even it's predecessor in dogfighting capability. With the advent of improved missiles, thrusters and alternate weapon loadouts the craft has been optimized as much as possible for aerial and space combat. The largest and most obvious difference is a set of 2 new thrusters placed under the air intakes. While it may seem counterproductive that they face forwards, the thrust they output can help perform feats of aerial acrobatics thought impossible before. They, along with the improved manoeuvring thruster nozzles are used to great effect in void combat, helping dodge enemy fighters and ship point defence systems with ease. In terms of weaponry a switch to fixed heavy lascannons and new missile types accentuate it's abilities against both swarms and harder single targets. Coupled with a direct-link harness system able to monitor the pilot's health and adjust blood-flow, the Sahaquiel has been adapted into it's 'Superiority' well, opposed to the Dune Serpents relative departure from the original design.



In keeping with the superiority class of the aircraft it has had a major redesign of it's main weaponry, that, contrary to the other two variants, leaves more space within the body, rather than taking more up. In addition the new missile types -able to be mounted within the body and on wing pylons- allow for an array of enemy targets to be harried and destroyed. Listed below are weapons that have either been changed from the base Talaria design, or new weaponry that can be mounted. All base Talaria munitions can still be mounted.


Laser Weaponry

  • Twin-Linked Arachnus Heavy Lascannons


  • 3 Internal Bays

  • 4 External Pylons

    • 'Stiletto' SRAAM

    • Strix Missile Pod


Changing out the laser destroyer array brings a two-fold change to the craft that the Sky Reavers were in favour of. First, it's removal and replacement with a lighter system allowed for the craft to gain a large boost of speed, which in turn would better serve it's role in combat. Second, was the replacement system; a set of twin-linked 'Arachnus' heavy lascannons. The rapid rate of fire of cycling smaller lascannons was deemed a waste of energy by the XIIIths Techmarines. They did this knowing that their pilots would more reliably be able to score single-hit-kills with the more powerful system easily overcoming the loss of the gimbal mounting system. Affixed to the fuselage on either side of the cockpit, they are angled inwards slightly to converge at a set point in front of the aircraft. This point angle is usually adjusted to the pilots specifications by maintenance crew to person preference.

Thanks to the hardened nature of both the Stiletto missile and it's short range, the weapons system fits snugly into the Sky Reaver doctrine. The close-range guidance needed is something easily achievable thanks to the expertise imbued within the XIIIth Legion pilots training. Able to overpenetrate smaller single fighters and even cause significant damage if aimed well at larger targets such as dropships and bombers, it is an esoteric but effective weapon.

With a pair taking up an entire pylon to themselves or replacing an entire internal missile bay with their bulk the Strix missile pod contains a storm of firepower waiting to be unleashed on the enemy. Within the unassuming oblong structure are a myriad of small guided missiles that can be fired off in volleys to distract, deny or kill enemies with a wave of flak and high explosive firepower. With each pod able to fire off several volleys before expending itself it is a highly effective weapon when it comes to overwhelming their defences, or fending off hordes of smaller flyers often seen among xeno ranks.



The obvious change between the basic Talaria design and the Sahaquiel to a casual observer would be the addition of two thrust-vectoring nozzles mounted just under the air intakes. They would be even more surprised then that not only do they add to a pilot's repertoire of combat manoeuvres, but they, along with the original engines are now capable of vertical take-off and landing as well. Able to turn all 4 sets of engine nozzles downwards they can allow the craft to take off and land from virtually any clear surface, doing away with the need for large runways. In terms of tactical flexibility this alone gives the Sahaquiel another edge over the Talaria, but in tandem with the addition of more powerful manoeuvring thruster jets it's effectiveness in both atmospheric and void dogfighting is second to none.

The ability to mount and properly supply these upgrades with sufficient power does mean that a pilot has to watch their energy usage far more closely than before, with rapid use of multiple engines needing to be carefully looked after. In some cases the additional engines have made the aircraft a downright unruly aircraft to use effectively, with the sheer number of systems needing attention almost impossible, for mortals at least. While in atmosphere the secondary engines can close their nozzles to avoid intake of unwanted objects, and quickly activated by redirecting engine power through their outputs instead. In void warfare the secondary engines do a far better job of making themselves useful. The ability to rapidly accelerate, decelerate and change direction are key to winning. And with the main engines, forward engines and manoeuvring thrusters, the Sahaquiel has all 3 in spades


Technical Specifications

Type: Air/Void Supremacy Fighter

Vehicle Name: Sahaquiel

Forge World of Origin: Mezoa

Variants: N/A

Crew: Pilot

Powerplant: 2x Alta-VII 'Vengeance' Plasma Reactor

Empty Weight: 28.5 tonnes

Loaded Weight: 44.2 tones

Length: 24.2m

Wingspan: 18.3m

Height: 7.8m

Operational Ceiling: N/A

Max Speed: 3395kmh (2109mph/Mach 2.75)

Range: Unlimited


-Superstructure: 60mm

-Hull: 84mm


Notable Sahaquiel

Aerlong's Grace – Lieutenant Barrik Varj

Motus Mort – Captain Darrell Torka

'Stiletto' SRAAM


A rather odd weapon found amongst the arsenal of Sky Reaver pilots, the Stiletto is a unique weapon designed to cause as much damage as possible with minimal use of explosive force. With it's hardened nose cone it punches it's way into targets with impunity at short range.



Seen as something of a backwards weapon by those Forge Lords who initially helped create the Sahaquiel, the Stiletto is a small missile in comparison to those normally mounted in Imperial aircraft. With a large portion of the body taken up purely by a highly concentrated promethium engine it leaves little in the way of room for the warhead and targeting systems, but that is precisely the specialised role it is meant to fill. With machine-spirit linked to the targeting systems of the Sahaquiel, the missile doesn't rely on any complex internal machinery to acquire an enemy. Though this and it's small engine leave the weapon relegated to metaphorical knight-fighting range in aircraft terms, it's main method of damage is the hardened diamantine tipped nose cone. Where other missiles are meant to scatter flak or create small explosions to knock enemies from the sky, the Stiletto is designed to penetrate a target as deeply as possible, destroying as much internal structure as it can in the process.

Though it's limited range hinders it, a good Sky Reaver pilot can easily fire one of these missile at the right time to over-penetrate a target (passing through it completely) almost guaranteeing a kill while doing so. Though the targeting demands a pilot be within a short distance of the target, and maintain lock for a confirmed hit, the short size of the missile and the ability to hurt even large bombers and landers has more than made up for it's shortcomings.


Technical Specifications

Length: 1.4m

Width: 14cm

Weight: 0.5 tonne

Engine: Hydris XII Promethium Jet

Targeting Cogitator: Unknown

Maximum Speed: Mach 2.5 ( 3087kmh/1918mph)

Maximum Range: 5km (323 miles)

Payload: Diamantine Armoured Warhead



Strix Missile Pod


The answer to the question of 'how many missiles is too much?' the Strix missile pod is a by-product of the project that created the Sahaquiel, who, while not creating the aircraft, instead made a weapon capable of tearing hordes of smaller flyers and craft from the sky in one volley.



Built in containers with row after row of missiles, the Strix is a relatively simple weapon when viewed from the outside. With well over several dozen small missiles loaded into them they are able to be mounted on a number of hardpoints on aircraft or in the case of the Talaria and Sahaquiel, two can be fitted within a single internal missile bay. They are primarliy armed with either high-explosive warheads, flakk warheads or a mixture of the two for use against air targets. To limit both ammo expenditure and as to not overwhelm the pilot with the sheer amount of firepower that might possibly damage himself, they are mainly fired in volleys that use up around a quarter of the box at a time.

The real power, however, lies within the pods themselves. Within each pod are several small cogitator units that link up to the aircraft' own machine-spirit, giving it a boost in it's capabilities. It is this boost that allows the missiles to target up to a dozen enemies per volley and be able to hit them reliably, with the accuracy only going up the more pods are connected. Mainly for use as an air-to-air weapon the Strix can be used against ground targets but it's accuracy is diminished somewhat. This is due to the cogitator-minds penchant of becoming confused with sensor returns from a variety of objects detected on the ground.

The significant issue with such large pods is a large increase in weight and a lack of heavy anti-air firepower. It is for this reason that the Strix is seldomly used alone as a pilot and the maintenance crews would make sure to account for enemy capabilities when assigning weapons. All the Strix missiles in the world might have no effect when the enemy is too heavily armoured to be damaged by them, or they could prove too manoeuvrable for the pilot should he be laden down with half a dozen missile pods slowing his speed considerably.




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Pre-Primarch XIIIth


Unification Wars

The XIIIth Legion was raised towards the end of the Unification Wars, raised from the conquered people of Nordyc in the aftermath of the Battle of the Red Frost. The people who made up the first initiates into the XIIIth retained their techno-barbarian flair for technology, with individual modifications of weaponry and vehicles promoted within the legion. The first actions of the XIIIth were in rapid strikes, dropping onto targets from the skies and coordinating air strikes. The XIIIth proved designed for aerial combat, with their geneseed allowing them to fly at speeds and pull off manoeuvres no others could do. It was on the eve of the Great Crusade that the XIIIth gained their cognomen, as they formed the vanguard of the Emperor’s forces pushing into the Sol System. The Emperor noted their eagerness to begin the conquest, and dubbed them the Void Seekers, appointing them to be amongst the advanced elements of the conquest.


The Great Crusade

However, early on a psychological flaw in the legion’s geneseed manifested itself, with individuals falling into deep despair and many legionaries feeling a void within their souls. Instances were recorded of XIIIth Astartes withdrawing from their brothers and volunteering for testing experimental developments in technology, often with fatal results. Some within the legion came to take their cognomen as a sick kind of joke, as the feeling of emptiness became known as the Void. Depression did not claim all who felt this, though, as after 815.M30 many more were inspired by the discovery of the first Primarch, Araphel, to seek out their own gene-father. First amongst these was Legion Master Juhani Laurila, recruited into the legion after the end of the Unification Wars but a skilled fighter and possessing a sharp tactical mind.


The most notable additions the Void Seekers made to the Great Crusade were in the field of technology, being responsible for aiding the Mechanicum in developing new aircraft and anti-aircraft weaponry. Notable examples are the Talaria Superiority Fighter and weapons such as the ‘Stiletto’ SRAAM, providing both the Legiones Astartes as a whole and the Void Seekers particularly with dominating air power. The techmarines of the Seekers became specialised in the maintenance of aircraft, and were the ones who created the first Accipitrine Dreadnoughts to accompany the Legion into the skies. 


The Void Seekers travelled perhaps the furthest of any legion during the Great Crusade, moving with incredible speed between campaigns and discovering more human civilisations than any other. They did not stay long after the necessary compliance actions were completed, as the Seekers deep down were motivated solely to find their gene-father. They would have to wait for over a hundred years, but eventually a Seekers fleet discovered a new system and were engaged by vessels from one of the worlds. Word was soon sent to the Emperor that another of his sons had been found.




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Aato’s Origins


Aato Väyrynen’s stasis pod did not crash-land as many of his brothers’ did, his stasis pod slowly drifted into Maaparatiisi’s atmosphere, the low gravity of the world barely pulling on the pod. It is impossible to know how long Aato moved through the atmosphere, though later conversations with Aato would reveal that he awoke at some point and was conscious when he was found. He was collected by a group of airships, thinking the pod to be debris to be salvaged. On the journey back to the cloud city of Raipio, Aato studied the voidsmen and aircraft, Aato had aged enough in his pod to be able to learn to speak from listening to the voidsmen, and when he arrived at the harbour of Raipio he slipped off the ship and escaped into the city. There he lived amongst the homeless and orphaned children, many children of voidsmen who died in battle. He earned food by sneaking into the harbour and stripping ships for parts to sell or create unique devices to sell on the black market. During this time Aato also encountered Maraparatiisi’s dark secret: the pernicious drug trade made from the deadly flora. Many of the homeless that Aato lived aside were former pilots and voidsmen who had lost out in the highly competitive aeronautical systems, having resorted to performance-enhancing drugs to keep pace with younger pilots to the point that their lives were ruined.


Aato lived on the streets for a few years, until one day he found the opportunity to stow away on one of Raipio’s grandest warships. Taking to the skies, his ship was attacked by a rival city, and the warship suffered severe damage and began to fall. As the crew began to evacuate, Aato refused to abandon ship, and worked to repair the damage by himself. He managed to get the warship heading back towards Raipio, but even with his innate aptitude he was unable to save the ship. Aato retreated to the peak of the ship, and jury-rigged a thruster to launch Aato himself at Raipio’s harbour. He barely managed to reach the harbour, throwing himself forward and landing hard on the city floor. The survivors of the warship saw him and his efforts, and the voidsmen picked him up and took him back to the Raipian Air Base.


It was here that Aato found his true calling, as his skill in engineering and piloting were discovered and honed alongside Raipio’s many voidspeople. He began improving on the designs of the aircraft and worked to improve safety and save the lives of the pilots. These new aircraft propelled Raipio to a position of prominence on Maaparatiisi, winning several air battles and gaining control of cities that had opposed Raipio for generations. Aato led the fleet on many occasions, working on modifying his own personal airship to surpass any other vessel on the world. As leader of Marapaatiisi, Aato began expeditions to planets within the system, which the scientists of Marapaatiisi had named after Aato. While many different kinds of resources were found, the worlds were not capable of maintaining self-sufficient colonies. He coupled this with attempts to fix the social problems of his world, seeking to end the dependencies on the planet’s drugs and elevate the next generation of citizens.


The Imperium would eventually discover the Aato System, with a Rogue Trader vessel being detected by a scout vessel from Marapaatiisi, which returned to Marapaatiisi and alerted Aato. Aato responded by mobilising his fleet and making the Rogue Trader at the outermost world of Jaakkola. As soon as the Rogue Trader met Aato, he knew he was in the presence of a Primarch, and word was sent back to Terra to inform the Emperor that another of his sons had been found.




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The Rautasiipi 


Perhaps the greatest asset available to the Sky Reavers, the Rautasiipi is an organisation that intersected with the Wings structure of the Legion. Containing the Legion’s techmarines and forge lords, alongside a select number of pilots, the Rautasiipi were the Sky Reavers in charge of the maintenance of existing aircraft and the development of enhancements for aircraft and fast attack elements, and even whole new patterns. While the majority of the Rautasiipi are focused on keeping existing craft, the most technologically skilled members have been responsible for many of the Legion’s unique versions of existing vehicles. They answer directly to Aato himself, and often aid him when he requires assistance in a project.

Two small off-shoots of the Rautasiipi are the Patsasvalmistaja and Hautausurakoitsija, containing the Legion’s Praevians and Mortificators respectively. Whilst the Sky Reavers are not known for their automata or walkers, the Praevians forsaking the typical Castellax and Vorax Classes for Artalax and Ursarax Automata and the Mortificators taking to the skies alongside Accipitrine Dreadnoughts.

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