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I've been working on the IA article for my DIY chapter. My major issue is that I've become excessively long winded. I've gotten to the point where I'm not really sure how I could shorten things without losing a lot of the flavor. Any thoughts on that would be appreciated. So, for now, here is the WIP long winded portions. Let me know if you think the ideas or feasable or just outright impossible.
As the Emperor of Man was interned upon the Golden Throne, secure in the knowledge that Horus had been defeated; the forces of Chaos were far from destroyed. It was decided that the Legions should be split into smaller segments to ensure that future treachery could not be as wide spread. Never again should a single man have so many space marines under his banner. It was in this aftermath that the Imperium of man should once more reclaim the worlds set upon by Chaos.
With the death of their Primarch still fresh in their minds and the dissolution of the legions at hand many Blood Angel commanders sought to immediately take the fight back to the stars and wreak divine vengeance up their fallen brothers. One such captain, Arturus Vitus, was particular boisterous when urging his peers to move immediately. In the disarray on Terra Vitus took the opportunity to band together a host of young Blood Angels to hunt down the fleeing traitors. Setting out with only two strike cruisers and a handful of gladius frigates the Blood Angels would be certain that their honor was satisfied.
Vitus and his small band cut a glorious but costly path through any traitor that could be found. Each passing day brought them closer to their goal and the Eye of Terror. As the small fleet approached the turbulent space the momentum of the battle brothers began to wane. Casualties were mounting and the fleet that had so carefully conducted the angels on their mission was beginning to show signs of fatigue. It was at this point that Vitus considered turning back, unwilling to sacrifice the lives of his brothers needlessly. As preparations were made to return to Baal a vague distress call was received. Badly garbled the signal seemed to state that ships of the Imperial Navy where in dire need of assistance though no specific reason was given nor the names of the ships. Despite this, the dutiful captain pressed his forces on to assist.
As captain Vitus and his battle brothers tracked the source of the transmission they were taken further and further off course. It has been lost to history as to if the transmission was real or merely a ploy to destroy the Blood Angels. Only the brothers who were there know exactly what happened next and the stories have long since become more myth than document. One thing, however, is certain. The diminutive fleet was set upon by a violent warp storm. It is told to this day that virtually all the librarians were driven immediately mad. As if something in the warp had taken hold of them they lashed out against their brothers. Vitus saw no choice and ordered those librarians not yet affected be put into stasis. The rest could not be saved. With navigation impossible the marines could do little more than pray that the Emperor’s grace would save them. It is at this point that all communication with the splinter Blood Angel fleet was disrupted. Surviving Imperial records of the time record captain Vitus and his campaign as lost to the warp and presumed destroyed. This valiant group would become little more than a note in history for nearly 10,000 years.
The tides of warp space swept the handful of ships further and further from known space, casting it well beyond the reach of man. When the storm finally began to ebb the bewildered Blood Angels found themselves in a seemingly barren system. A lonely star cast its pale light across three planets and a dozen moons. In dire need of repairs Captain Vitus set a course for the planet closest to the local star. Preliminary scans suggested the world was suitable for human life but was shrouded in snow and ice. Looking very much like a pristine white orb hanging in space the planet was tentatively named Nivalis I. When the marines drew nearer they were surprised to detect primitive radio transmissions from the surface. It appeared that they were not as far from humanity as originally thought.
A close inspection of Nivalis I found it to be ripe with activity. Many small cities dotted the planet’s surface, separated by massive snow fields. Each one seemed to be self contained and simple. Almost in uniform the communities where in the shape of a great wheel with several protrusions at even intervals. Great plumes of steam would rise at random from the various buildings and workshops. Small vehicles buzzed along narrow streets, always in a hurry to reach some destination. All of this was surrounded by a tall but simple wall. These were the works of man.
First contact was made by captain Vitus himself. Sensing no threat from the human populace he and a small group of brothers landed outside the largest city. While unable to detect the marine ships in orbit the inhabitants could hardly miss the sight of a thunderhawk gunship landing. The landing party was met by a man named Hakon Karlan. He approached without fear and welcomed the “solar knights” to his city and world. Hakon held the position of Grand Master Engineer, the leader of a cog city. The bewildered space marines were ushered inside and given quite a warm reception. The Nivalians where millennia behind in technology but seemed unafraid by what they were witnessing. In every building and on every corner small devices whirled, clanked and ticked. Hakon explained that his people were great tinkerers, fascinated by anything mechanical and technological. Those with a greater aptitude for it became the leaders of guilds and cities. They had theorized that there higher technologies in the galaxy but as to date they had not yet reached them. Leading Victus and his men to the cities great hall he shocked them all by producing ancient scrolls. Hakon had in his position several Standard Template Construct texts. One of them was for the thunderhawk gunship. While they never achieved the ability to build such powerful machines they were aware of them.
The revelation of finding a human colony so far from Terra that maintained technology from the Dark Age did much to lift the spirits of the stranded marines. They were all treated as heroes and the tech marines glorified as great teachers and scholars. The Imperials taught the Nivalians about the Emperor of all men and their father Sanguinuis. They told them of the great forge worlds and mesmerized them with explanations of how the traveled through space. All of this the Nivalians drank in with great excitement and anticipation. The chance to join a society as advanced as the space marines was ambrosia to the steam driven tinkerers. As such Nivalis I, though cut off and isolated, joined the Imperium of man without a shot fired.
For 500 years the stranded Blood Angels fostered their relationship with the Nivalians. The planets natural engineers took immediately to new technologies and power sources. Under the watchful eye of the tech marines they assisted the marines in the ongoing repairs to their vessels, armor and war gear. Eager to please the sons of Sanguinuis they also were instrumental in constructing a fortress monastery on the planet’s surface, far from any city. It was also in this time that Vitus woke the remaining librarians from their stasis. He tasked them with reaching to see if any psychic beacon could be sensed. This was largely done as the first signs of the black rage started to become manifest in some of the battle brothers. With no target to channel this fury against Vitus feared his forces may die an ignoble death. Action had to be taken.
Unknown to the others Vitus was beginning to feel the black rage himself. His actions were controlled as best he could by years of dedication and powerful meditation. He made the decision to begin recruiting new marines from the Nivalian people and set about creating a proper initiation ritual. At first the veterans, priests and chaplains felt this was a rash decision as all Bood Angels were descents of Baal. Their captain was resolute, however, and as their numbers continued to be depleted it was ultimately agreed upon. [/font]
By the time Vitus had descended fully into madness it was too late to undo the decision that had been made. Several Nivalians were now space marines. Unlike their Baalite cousins, they did not have to overcome the debilitating effects of radiation poisoning. Living in a cold but steam driven world led to quite a different stock of man. The Nivalians were a tall, pale people as the sun’s radiation had to travel much further to reach them. They were almost exclusively blonde or silver haired and wore it long to fight the cold. Their minds were sharp and fingers nimble. What they lacked in strength they made up in dexterity. Without access to all the resources of their parent legion the splintered host would need a more fitting set of rites for the aspirants.
Captain Arturus Vitus was laid to rest in the crypts below the fortress monastery on Nivalis I as his successor Maius, a veteran assault marine, and the senior chaplain Fabian were diligently at work preparing the trails for new marines. Any Nivalian who wished to join the spaces marines did so voluntarily but at his own peril. Everything began with the great journey. An aspirant must travel from their own city across the ice tundra to the monastery unaided. Those who endured and survived are welcomed. Each man is locked alone to reflect on their decision and on the divinity of the Emperor and the purity of Sanguinius. They must give up all of their needs, wants and desires. No hospitality is given to them and those who beg for food, water or comfort are sent immediately away. When it is clear that the Nivalian is beyond the concerns of mortal men he is brought into the Hall of Wisdom. Each aspirant is given mechanical parts and told to recreate what it once was. This test is beyond simply weeding out the slow witted. Those who excel are secretly marked to be trained with the techmarines should they succeed in becoming a space marine. It is after this that those that succeed are given rest.
It is during this rest that each aspirant is placed into a temporary sedation, the few apothecaries left attending to their charges. While sedated the Nivalian receive the holy gene-seed that has been taken from one of the original battle brothers who arrived centuries ago. Their bodies grow, muscles expand and they become a goliath contrast in comparison to the rest of their kind. When awoken they are shocked at their stature and strength. All of the gifts that Sanguinius can bestow are now theirs, as well as his curse. One final test remains between an aspirant and his ultimate goal.
Each newly formed marine is given little more than a day’s ration and a simple knife before being sent out into the ice wastes. Their goal is simple: hunt and capture one of the planets most dangerous predators, the grendel lion. Named from an ancient human text this feline beast resembled most closely the earth lion but to epic proportions. Each cat ranged in size from 14 to 20 feet in length and 600 to 1500 lbs. With razor sharp teeth and claws killing such a beast is difficult, capturing it is near suicidal. Any aspirant that succeeded in capturing a grendel lion would be accepted as a brother. Those who failed never returned. As a final challenge, the bigger the lion captured the higher station a marine would hold among his peers. Those who brought a larger beast back would be immediately granted a place in an assault squad. It was through these practices that those who would call themselves Blood Angels slowly changed and adapted.
As centuries passed into a millennium the stoic space marines remain separated from the Imperium. The denizens of Nivalis I produced so few potential psychers that it was considered lucky to produce one in a generation. Many of the most ancient marines began to die of old age, the black rage or training accidents, taking their wisdom and knowledge with them. It seemed as if there was nothing but exile for the angels for in all their time nothing had passed through their barren space.
Maius, High Captain, of the exiled forces was growing restless. Many of his young marines did not know what it truly meant to fight a battle. They trained and prepared every day as any other space marine but not a single one had killed in the name of the Emperor. He longed for battle, for glory and for an honorable death. It seemed providence would answer his call.
Nearly 1,000 years after their arrival in the Nivalis system the warriors of the Emperor found themselves set upon by a familiar force, the ork. How or why the orks found their way is unknown but many of the marines welcomed their green-skinned foe. Taking to their refitted fleet, Maius set out for Nivalis II, the second world in the system that had yet to be colonized. As a barren and harsh ice world the captain felt this would be a suitable place of battle. In a either a brilliant move of strategy or arrogance the Blood Angel actually sent a communication to the orks, alerting them to their presence and challenging them openly. The orks, lead by warboss Grubnash, were eager to accommodate.
Grubnash and his war band made planet fall with little regard for their own safety. Ill fit ork transports landed and disgorged hordes of green skinned warriors. Maius prepared his marines and spread his veterans through the ranks of the newest battle brothers. Though badly outnumbered they were ready for a fight. The captain set up several decoy depots to entice the orks. He knew that choosing when and where the conflict was their only chance. Almost immediately they were set upon by the tide of the Waaagh. At first the inexperienced marines were pushed back, finding only a few successes through the efforts of the ancient and venerable Blood Angels. As Grubnash grew more confident he pushed his boyz more recklessly into the jaws of the space marines. As each position fell and the warriors of the Emperor were compacted closely the order came from Maius, “Give no more ground.”
At once the marines faulted in their tactical withdrawals. Shoulder to shoulder with their brothers they planted themselves on the ice and unleashed devastating fire on the assaulting green-skins. The momentum of the battles began to shift and Grubnash could sense a need for action. Surrounded with his ‘ardest Nobs he launched himself into the thick of the fray. With claw and choppa the war boss cut through neophyte marines, pushing the center of the line back and threatening to break it. Recognizing the danger, Maius was quick to react. Drawing with him his honor guard he hurled himself against his counterpart. The duel was brutal and unforgiving, the ancient warrior scoring mighty blows but receiving many in return from the ork warboss. Though it cost him his life Maius drove his power sword through the ork’s heavy armor, gravely wounding him. As Grubnash fell back to lick his wounds the remaining members of Maius’ honor guard drew close to their captain, protecting his body so it could be drawn away. It was in the ensuing confusion that chaplain Fabian quickly acted. His litanies drew the battle brothers back to their senses and he ordered an immediate counter attack.
Driven by a new resolve the marines pushed forward, hunting the wounded warboss. Fabian knew it was dangerous cornering such a beast but he saw little choice. Ork boyz fell before the enraged space marines, the crazed members of a death company squad kept pace with their chaplain tearing asunder all that stood in their way. A bloody hole was punched through the ork line, leaving Grubnash vulnerable. Green was replaced by red and the warboss knew there would be no escape. Though badly wounded he still crushed several marines before finally being put down. With their leader slain and many of their nobz scattered about the green-skins began to pull away. Fervent marines cut down their enemies as they fled and ensured this defeat would not be soon forgotten. This could be said of both forces, however, as many marines paid the price for inexperience. In the aftermath many of the veterans had been slain, including their leader. This left Fabian as the eldest and most experienced marine. The dead were carefully accounted for, their bodies to be entombed on Nivalis I. Each precious gene-seed removed by an apothecary and protected. Fabian knew that he, much like Arturus Vitus would have to take drastic measures to ensure the perpetuation of his men.
Nice work. I was just a little bit confused about where this planet is in relation to everything else - is it actually near the Imperium at all or is it in a bit of unknown space all its own? Or does no one really know?
Though the records kept by the Lions Vermillion are closely guarded for fear of persecution some have been shared to answer many questions posed by the High Lords of Terra. It is widely accepted that after the first Conflict of Nivalis II that chaplain Fabian knew that the men he commanded were no longer true Blood Angels. He was certain they were sons of Sanguinius but beyond that the differences became too apparent. Recruitment from the Nivailian population continued to escalate as the increase in technology allowed the civilization to grow. It was not long before virtually all of the battle brothers from Baal were gone. Sensing a growing need to claim something as their own Fabian consented that the host be named something more familiar. Drawing upon the rituals set out by Maius and himself, the chaplain named the marines the Lions Vermillion. New heraldry was created for them and their red armor was repainted to a tawny color. With the Nivalians help a great forge was created in the fortress monastery so that war gear could be produced and repaired. Under the leadership of Fabian the Lions Vermillion began to take on a distinct sense of unity. No longer were they separated by Baalite and Nivalian or old marine and new marine. They were simply brothers and proved to be quite capable in several conflicts with the Orks who seemed intent on destroying them.
It is here where the early details of the chapter become even vaguer. Fabian did not live much longer past his surrendering of the Blood Angels colors. As each and every link to the old ways was severed the Lions Vermillion soon found themselves a young group of warriors far from the Imperium they were oath bound to protect. Each century of isolation saw more progressive methods taken within the chapter. The stories of the God Emperor and of Father Sanguinius took on the guise of myth instead of fact. No marine who yet lived knew either man nor did they have the High Lords of Terra or the surviving Primarchs to guide them. It was in this period that great distinctions were made.
Working only by the legion doctrines left to them and the oral traditions passed on by the chaplains the Lions Vermillion’s first master set out to forge his chapter properly. Herrick Thane drew from the teachings of his mentor Fabian. He was not a Baalite and had not participated in the great Heresy. Thane was merely a Nivalian who had succeeded in becoming a space marine and rising through the ranks. He was humble but sharp of wit. His skill with a sword was legendary among his men. It was his teachings that would shape the Lions more than any other.
Thane knew that his chapter would need more discipline in the future. He intended to change their status from that of a stranded and depleted unit to a true military force. Looking to the legionary texts he divided the Lions into prides. Each one would be comprised of 100 combat marines, their support vehicles and officers. Of the 100 space marines, 20 would be veterans, 60 would be battle brothers and 20 would be novice marines. Each pride would have a senior officer, an exemplar, and a priest. It was this framework that would guide future masters of the Lions in making their own organizational changes.
Now completely distinct from their parents the Lions Vermillion continued to be stewards to the Nivalians. Through the millennia many threats would come to the system. A seemingly never ending campaign was waged against the orks. It seems their green-skinned nemesis could never be exhausted. In time the eldar found the quiet system and attempted to subdue it as well. It was not until the dawn of the 41st millennia, however, that the Lions were brought into the vast galaxy around them.
Last edited by Ferrel; January 9th, 2008 at 15:12. Reason: Cleaned up the post!