Howdy all, and welcome to the resurrection of the Lions Eternal, formerly known as the Arctic Lions Chapter.
I have been working on these guys on and off for around 15 years now, and have never been quite happy with them.
Unfortunately, a few years ago, I lost all the files I had on them and a significant amount of notes and scraps I had written in an attemp to flesh them out beyond the constraints of an Index Astartes article.
Never the less, with the return of the LASC, this seems as good a time as any time to look to redevelop them. The below is very much a WIP, being a mixture of information I have found trawling through the B&C and my memories of the ideas I had for them.
As always, I appreciate and comments and input people may have!
At the turn of the 38th Millennium the armies of the Imperium were stretched thin, having been sorely tested over the recent centuries. Not only were armies of Xenos rampaging across the galaxy like a plague, the Imperium had been forced to counter two of the Warmaster’s Black Crusades in as many centuries. It was against this backdrop of war and desperation that the High Lords of Terra declared the 23rd Founding of Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes, the Emperor’s Angels of Death. In years to come, it would become known as the ‘Sentinel Founding,’ intended to bring swift relief to the beleaguered defenders of the Imperium. From this period, many records have been lost, destroyed, or encrypted beyond the eyes of humble scholars. However, should one of sufficient mental fortitude listen to the whispered half-truths and sift through the mountains of corrupted data files, one can begin to piece together the histories of the Chapters born of this Founding. One such Chapter, and the subject of this record, is the Lions Eternal Chapter; like many of their kind, born of the blood of Roboute Guilliman himself.
Upon the High Lord’s declaration of a new founding, there was much celebration and fanfare across Holy Terra. On Mars, the great genevaults were opened to being cultivating the required geneseed for such a mighty undertaking. Of the children of Guilliman, the genestocks of the Eagle Warriors were chosen to birth the fledging Chapter. Each of these new brotherhoods, birthed as part of this Founding, were intended to be a light, a beacon of hope, to the beleaguered forces of the Imperium. They were to be unyielding in their duty, their faith unbreakable, and honour without question. As such, only the most devout of warriors were chosen to command these new Chapters. In this instance, this weighty of honours fell to Brother-Captain Helikaon, the Lion of Guilliman, and veteran of many centuries of service.
Helikaon wasted no time instructing the new Chapter in the discharge of their duties, and it was not long before they were reaping a tally of blood from the Imperium’s enemies.
The homeworld of the Lions Eternal is a frozen death world located close to the area of space known as the Gates of Varl, in the Segmentum Ultima, known as Ursrik. Due to its proximity to several Ork held worlds, the Chapter is often involved in the quick extermination of up-and-coming Waaagh! There have been several black moments in history when the Xenos have desecrated the blessed surface of the planet.
Ursrik is the last remaining planet in the system, a single satellite of a dying star. Ursrik was once the youngest of three planets, each of them was teeming with indigenous life forms, until the arrival of the Imperium. During the Great Crusade, the mighty legion of Russ came across the system; the first and second planets were bombed from existence due to the large presence of Orks. Their debris still haunts the system, a real reminder of the zealous nature of the Imperium; perhaps it is fitting then that a chapter such as the Lions inhabits the surviving world. Over time as the system’s nameless sun began to die, and Ursrik died with it. In a short time Ursrik became the world it is today.
The planet itself is covered in thick sheets of ice, beneath which freezing oceans rage. Great mountains break the ever-present stormy cloud line, below which deadly snowstorms rage – to the point that the planet’s surface rarely sees large amounts of light. However, during a time known as the Tempering, in which high-intensity solar flares emitted from the dying sun cause areas of the planet to thaw out allowing the wrathful seas to break through, flooding vast areas of land. Alongside which hurricanes and typhoons and tsunamis of freezing water ravage the landscape, before finally freezing back over and allowing the land to recover. In which times it could be believed that the planet is trying to exterminate the last vestiges of life, allowing it to die in the solitude of space.
The fact that life even exists under such conditions is a miracle and more, each life form either adapts or dies. The human population is both resilient and unrelentingly stubborn, refusing to be defeated by their death dealing home. The Ursrikean people are grouped in large clans of warrior peoples, each member of their society is taught to fight from birth. It is a skill that often comes in handy, not only are the Ursrikeans force to combat the vicious nature of the planet; they often instigate wars and battles with other clans over food and safe shelter. Due to the unstable nature of the land, there are few safe areas where permanent structures can be built; those that can are sites of some of the planet’s bloodiest battles – places where whole clans have been obliterated.
However, the numbers of war dead pales in comparison to the umbers slain by the planet’s indigenous predators: Giant ice-burrowing worms armed with barbed tails and jaw upon jaw of razor sharp teeth; a man-eating plant-form, visually akin to a large mass of kelp, that is known to break through sheets of ice and drag its prey down into the frozen deeps of the ocean; and most deadly of all the Moros, in the tongue of the people, death in Imperial Gothic. It is a beast rivalling a tank in size, clawed hands and daggers for teeth – or at least the legends say. To see one of the Moros is to die, only the gene enhanced Space Marines can consider themselves a threat to the creature and even they have been known to die at the beast’s claws.
And yet, despite this, the Ursrikeans have managed to build a way of a life, a culture, one which has existed for millennia. Despite their barbaric environment, the planet’s people are anything but. The leaders of the clans, or the ataman, are voted into power by their peers, such a system results in leaders that are respected and obeyed without hesitation. These Ataman are the ones who declare and command wars, leading from the front as is their way; their power over their clansmen is absolute, thus only the greatest and wisest are gifted with the rank.
As might be expected, the Lions Eternal are reluctant to change the fortunes of their people, believing that such conditions rear excellent recruits for the chapter. Once every year, mere weeks after the Tempering the chapter calls on the clans to send their best youths to the Charon Peak, a great mound of ice and stone atop which the recruits fight to earn their place in the Chapter. Those that make it to this place have already passed an almighty test – they have defeated Ursrik itself. To get to the Peak, they must make their way across the across the frozen landscape, evading or neutralising each and every threat that comes their way.
Over the millenia since the Lions Eternal occupied Ursrik for their own, they have adapted the shamanistic nature of the Ursrikean belief system for their own. Whether this was a conscious decision or not is surely only speculative at this point. But it is likely that the beliefs of their homeworld quietly crept in over the centuries, until they formed a core part of the Chapter’s cult. In summary, the doctrine of the Lions Eternal Chapter can be defined as three core concepts: Name, Body & Spirit; each shaping the Chapter’s outlook in a unique way.
The most critical of these concepts is Spirit. In essence, like many cultures across the Imperium, the Lions Eternal believe that each being – Human, Xenos or non-sentient creatures – have a spirit which can interact with those around it and the nature of which is defined by the actions of said being. When a warrior dies, it is only their spirit and name that remain. The former, goes on to join the Emperor, should their service be worthy, whilst their name is honoured by their brethren. This is why the Chapter places such importance to a warrior’s name, as this name gives power to their deeds and in doing so, helps define the character of their spirit. The more pious of the Chapter’s brotherhood have been known to make offerings or placations to the Spirits of the Ancestors, to gain insight or some future wisdom. It is this concept which gives the Lions’ Librarians greater status than might be found in a more typical Chapter, as it is believed their psychic natures grant them access to the Spirit world. It is from here, that the Ancestors guide the Chapter in its actions.
In an effort to harness the strength and wisdom of the Ancestor’s spirits, the Chapter has developed the process of a naming ritual. Upon their induction to the Chapter, as a fully fledged Battle Brother, a warrior is granted a new ancestral name – usually one of a warrior of great renown in the Chapter’s annuls. To be clear, this name does not replace the warrior’s birth name. To do so, would disregard the actions of their spirits so far. It becomes a part of that warrior’s name, and in doing connects them to the Chapter’s history and animus. This ritual has been forced to develop in recent years, since the coming of the Primaris Marines. For those Firstborn Astartes who successfully cross the Rubicon, an additional name is granted - to mark this new era in the warriors' life.
- Needs a re-write, but the principles will not change.
- More emphasis on the nomadic (hunter-gather) nature of the clans
- Codex, have updated to include more Primaris as per Guilliman’s command.
- 1st Company known as the Lion Guard, rite of passage is to hunt and kill a single Moros. Many brothers attempt but are killed by their prey.
- Due to the Shamanic nature of their beliefs, Librarians have a more advisory role to the Company commanders. Unlike other chapters, Librarians are assigned permanently to a Company.
- An ‘Council of Elders’ type of group advises the Chapter Master. Senior Librarians & Chaplains.
- Rarely do Reserve Companies fight as one. They are often on long secondments to Battle Companies. They themselves on long Patrol arcs – parallels with Nomadic Ursrikean Clans.
- Codex, adaptability is prized above all.
- Idea of Trinity: Body, Spirit and Name
- Shamanistic – Spirit of all things
- Emperor’s Eternal spirt manifest in physical nature, E.g Beacon of the Astronomican
- However he is not a god.
- How do Primaris view these beliefs? Conflict with Guilliman’s more secular ideas.
- Eagle Warriors descent.
- No known issues.
Edited by Ferrus Manus, 03 April 2021 - 02:39 PM.