NAME: Maelstrom Harriers

ORIGINS: Betrayal paves the road to Chaos. This betrayal can take on many forms. One such betryal is surrounded in mystery. The Maelstrom in the Ultima Segmentum has existed since the time of the Horus Heresey. The White Scars were initially charged with defending Imperium space from it's denizens, but the sheer size of the Malestrom made it necessary for further defenses to be implemented. In 598.M35 the Astral Claws were founded for the sole purposes of policing the Malestrom's borders.

What followed is shrouded in mystery. Lufgt Huron, Chapter Master of the Astral Claws was deemed a threat to the Imperium. Several Chapters were sent after them, many of which ended up joining with them in rebellion against the Imperium. Lufgt renamed himself Huron Blackheart, and his Astral Claws and supporters the Red Corsairs. Selling their souls to the powers of Chaos undivided they entered upon the unholiest of damnation and continue to plague the Ultima Segmentum to this day.

But there was another betrayal that day, for not every Space Marine was pleased with Blackheart's aquiesence to the powers of Chaos. They had come to support him believing that the High Lords of Terra must have made a mistake. They offered up their arms against their own Chapters believing it for the good of the Imperium, and of the Emperror. But Blackheart had betrayed them. He was an agent of Chaos, and had sold their souls to further his own ends, and they had unwittingly helped them.

It was at this time a Librarian of great power grew angery. What he saw as a betrayal by Blackheart, and the bitter knowledge that he had betrayed the Imperium filled him with a great hate for the powers of Chaos. Screaming out in anguish he pleaded to the ether for the power to destroy his betrayer, and the ruinous powers.

Taking on a new name, the Librarian began to gather others around him. These were Space Marines he knew to be of like mind. Full of self loathing, and hatred for the powers of Chaos and of Huron Blackheart. They were never to be welcomed back to the Imperium, forever damned by the Warp. Most of these were of the Librarian's originating Chapter who had followed him to Blackheart's Banner in the first place. Regaining their trust was hard, but with the promise of power they followed him willingly again into the breach.

Maladict. The name echoed in the ether. Many Imperium psykers knew not what it represented, but they grew fearful. Sorcerors of Chaos heard it ring out as well, and they understood. Negation. Death. Fire. Chaos. They too grew fearful, for why should that name unease them so?

The first raids came. With a hellish scream, scores of bike mounted warriors, garbed in black and white armor and twisted by the Warp, raided a Red Corsair outpost as Imperial scout forces observed. Some were driven insane by what they saw, others filled with an awe at the savagry involved. A Sanctioned Psyker passed out during the observation, blood flowing from his ears, nose, and tear ducts. When he awoke weeks later he would only scream, his psychic powers stripped from him from the sheer power wielded by a man at the forefront of the raiders.

Reports come in steadily. There is rarley action near the Malestrom that doesn't show these strange rider's presence. Loyalists, traitorous scum, it seems to matter not who they attack. All fall victim. There are rarley any survivors, those that do are forever maimed.

Maladict, and his Maelstrom Harriers continue to plague the Ultima Segmentum. Pyres of desecrated bodies, and the wreckage of war the only signs of passage. In the ether, a dark god laughs . . .

COMBAT DOCTRINE: With their hit and run nature, the Harriers utilise a large ammount of Bikes. Almost their entire forces is mounted on these hellish war machines. The proximity of a Chapter with a large assortment of Bikes (the White Scars) means that they can keep this force well in working order without a dedicated Forge World. Filled with hatred for Chaos, the Imperium, and even themselves they tend to be nearly suicidal in their attacks. The goal of utter destruction foremost in their mind. They tend to stay on the field of battle well after a seasoned Imperial commander would have quit, just so that they may have a clear chance at the salvage involved.

HOME WORLD: None. The nature of the Malestrom Harriers is such that if Blackheart or the Imperium knew where they were they would surley be hunted down and destroyed. Instead they are fleet-based, and seem to have a rather disproportionate ammount of vessels.

ORGANISATION: Intercepted radio messages suggest that the Maelstrom Harriers are divided into several Cohorts each led by a pragmatic, brooding, yet charasmatic individual. These Cohorts are loosley organised into Phalanxes. These Phalanxes tend to be rather small, with many being only 5 members large.

The exact number of Cohorts is unknown. Five seperate Cohorts, each under rather unique leadership have been identified to date. Given the size of the Maelstrom and the nature of the Warp it seems likley that there are several more.

It would seem the Cohorts act relativley on their own, banding together only if a large force is needed. The exact size of the Cohorts can vary wildly as well. Some, such as the one led by Varthis the Bloody, a former Resplendant Blades Sergeant, leads a band smaller than a standard Space Marine Company under the banner of the Omega. The Cohort led by former Space Wolf Gredlik Bloodhowl however, is known to be at least twice that size.

As such the fleet composition is also relativley unknown, though it is estimated that many Cohorts operate from horribly corrupt Strike Cruisers while a handful have damned Battle Barges. Attempts to reclaim these vessels and save them from their unholy existance have all but failed to date.

GENE-SEED: Their exact origins may never be known. As more reports filter in however, the interest of the Dark Angels and several of the so-called 'Unforgiven' Chapters has been drawn. Considering the tactics employed by the Harriers, it is possible that a large body of their forces consists of former Ravenwing members. Mutations are very visible, but this is most likley a result of their betrayal to Chaos than any Gene-Seed defect.

BELIEFS: Hatred consumes the Harriers universley. Driven mad by the relasation of their full betrayal to the Imperium, and with the fullest contempt for the forces of Chaos, they are content to raid against any and all factions to the point of self destruction.

There are a few Cohorts whom have embraced the powers of Chaos undivided, yet they still have been seen raiding against fellow Chaos forces. The Blood God Khorne could possibly benefit from such sadists, though it's possible that given their anti-social and psychotic nature that Slaanesh grows in power through the acts of torture inflicted on any survivors found.

It is an act of futility to try to comprehend Chaos, it is enough that it exists and should be destroyed.

BATTLECRY: Varies from Cohort to Cohort, and even Phalanx from Phalanx at times.

UNIFORM: The Maelstrom Harriers, while organised disparagingly, have a clean cut uniform that clashes with their Warp spawned mutations. This fits their so-called 'style' but makes it rather easy to track them down.

The heretics have painted over their original Chapter colors, injuring the spirit of their armor. According to eye witness acounts, the left half of their armor has been painted Skull White, with the right half being painted Chaos Black.

In place of their Chapter's badge they wear a stylized skull in Chaos Black, with striking simularities to markings found on the 'Long Fang Packs' of the Space Wolves (Further investigation into this 'coincidence' is pending).

They don't appear to utilize squad markings in the traditional sense. They instead bear the banner of their Cohort in white. As mentioned before, a total of five different Cohorts have been positivley identified.

The founding Cohort falls under the leadership of the sinister Maladict, a rumoured Librarian attached to the Ravenwing of the Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter. His symbol is that of the 'Ace of Spades.' It is a symbol utilised widley across the galaxy, especially amongst pirates and the Imperial Guard . The symbol is usually associated with death.

The most recent reports have him wearing a helmet he had claimed from a Chaplain of the 'Angels of Redemption', one of the so-called 'Unforgiven' Dark Angels successor Chapters, and a massive scythe in immatation of the fabled 'Grim Reaper' character. It is possible in his madness he believes himself to really BE the 'Reaper'.

The first occurance of a distinct Cohort happend in 138.M37. A former Sergeant of the Resplendant Blades Space Marine Chapter was positivley identified as the leader. Varthis, now called Varthis The Bloody, was recorded stalking through the halls of an Imperium outpost. He looked right into one of the security cameras and grined insolently into it before all video feed was lost.

His banner is that of the Omega, and is known to wield an axe of possibly Daemonic origins. The Omega Marines have attempted on several occasions to eradicate this elusive character as they view his usage of their banner the most grieveous insult. To date no such attempt has succeeded, and one of their Strike Cruisers was seen as part of his Cohort's fleet nearly a century later.

As the forces of Chaos grow, so do the Maelstrom Harriers. The next Cohort Commander to be identified was the Space Wolf Greldik Bloodhowl, a former Wolf Guard Battle Leader under the command of Wolf Lord Sven Ironhand whom Logan Grimnar declared outlaw and fled to the eastern fringes.

Wielding a massive Thunderhammer, and with four Fenrisian Wolves twisted by the Warp, he has been seen at the forefront of every battle involving his Cohort. A flag attached to the back of his Bike boldy tells all his opponents who he is with a Wolf's head on an Iron Cross flowing behind him.

Recently, a Cohort under the banner of the Skull has appeared. Leading it was a man the White Scars report was 'expert at bladework' and wielding what appears to be a corrupted sword used by The Emperror's Champions. Reports are limited, but it appears that it is possible a few members of a Black Templar Crusade have fallen to Chaos and are now amongst the Maelstrom Harriers. That they could corrupt the most zealous of the Emperror's servants is the most horrific thought! Hopfully this will provesto not be the case, but only time will tell.

The last Cohort to be positivley identified uses a pair of 'Snake's Eye' Dice as their badge.
Reports indicate that it's leader rips people apart with his bare hands, or more likley a Power Fist. The tactics used in battle are reminicent of the stubborness of the Crimson Fists, yet the ferocity is comparable to that of the Blood Angels. The Cohort seems to rely on a lot of luck to get through it's battles, as it is the smallest found to date at an estimated 60 members.

Time will tell if there are more Cohorts lurking around the Maelstrom. Considering we can only 'see' the outside edge, and that most Space Marine Crusades leading into it rarley come back or get very far, it is highly likley there are numerous others yet to be discovered.

- Be As Swift As The Wind
- Never Despair
- Aspire To Glory
- Faithful Unto Death