This Chapter is part of a group others involved in what we call the "Astartes Vocates", an idea my friend, Commissar Molotov had some time ago, and I wanted to take part in. The basic idea was one of a "Blessed Founding" to counter the "Dark Founding" of the 13th, and we decided each Chapter in the Vocates would focus on one aspect of purity. The Judicators represent the "Purity of Purpose", and from the moment Mol threw the name at me I was in love with it. I immediately began work on the concept, and it has seen many revisions over the past several months. I have refined it with others involved with the project, and I believe that the article is finally in its final stages of revision. All of the Vocates have seen it though, and there isn't much they can say anymore, so I'm proud to present the Judicators and their article to the 40K community. It's been a pleasure writing this article, and I'm happy to see my idea come so far from conception to near-completion. I hope everyone here enjoys reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing. With that said, I present the Index Astartes: Judicators!



"It is your duty to judge, not only the guilty but the innocent. You must be the balancers of scales, to see the guilty punished and the loyal proven. Only through your faith in the Emperor can your duty be done. Only in His name can that judgement be pure and righteous."--Chapter Master-Balancer Eusebius to his Captains, prior to the Battle of Faymon's Gate.

Index Astartes:
The Judicators


Data Reference: Adeptus Astartes/Chapters/Judicators

Origins

The glorious history of the Judicators began in the Fourteenth Founding, dominated by the shadow of suspicion and whispers that the Dark Founding had birthed. Paranoid, the High Lords and techpriests took great pains to ensure the young Chapter had the finest geneseed and equipment the Imperium could offer. Hopes were stacked high upon the Chapterís young shoulders, for Mankind was in need of grand heroes to lead them into a shining future; to the credit of the Judicators they did not buckle beneath the weight of expectations, even in their earliest stages. Indeed, they have only strived to exceed those expectations in all ways.

The Judicators were formed from the geneseed of Roboute Guillman, one of the Emperorís finest Primarchs, and it fell to one of his successors to lead the young Judicators in their tentative first steps. It was the Libators, Second Founding successor to the Ultramarines, who sent the man who would become their new Chapter MasteróCaptain Eusebius of the Libatorsí 10th Company.

Eusebius had spent many years as a recruiting Veteran Sergeant, culling the Libatorsí home world for those potential recruits that would best serve his Chapter. After being elevated to Captain, he had been instrumental in bringing the Libators to full-strength for the first time in centuries. With his Chapter in such a position, it was hoped the skilled Captain could now do the same for the Judicators.

While unquestioningly loyal to his Primarch and Emperor, Eusebius worried at the prospect of leaving his Chapter; since youth, all he had known were the Libators. However, Eusebius found comfort knowing that a small group of Libators would accompany him to the fledgling Judicators and finding strength in their presence he faithfully obeyed his Chapterís request to train their successor. Proud and determined, he took the the Libatorsí donated battle barge, Tyrannus, and took flight to his new home.

After his arrival, Eusebius walked amongst his new Chapter, examining their qualities as warriors in ways that were his tradition. He spoke to them, prayed with them and greeted them all as his new battle brothers. Satisfied that they were worthy, Eusebius named them Judicators aboard their battle barge. In honor of his new Chapter, his armor and weapons were repainted in new livery, before ceremoniously taking his place as their first Chapter Master. It was a time of great anticipation for all as the Tyrannus and a handful of other donated vessels lifted off with the new Chapter aboard, roaring into the stars on fiery wings of purpose that still carry the Judicators to this day.

Not long after their departure, Master Eusebius was approached by Baraquiel the Castigator, recently-appointed Chapter Master of the Castigators, another 14th Founding Chapter. Along with several other approached Chapter Masters, Eusebius joined Baraquiel on the Castigatorsí battle barge, Imperius Excelsis, and swore an oath of loyalty to the Imperium and each other. This oath brotherhood would later become known as the Astartes Vocates, and together they have forged an impressive list of triumphs in the name of the Emperor.

Vessels of Judgement

Master Eusebius had originally entertained doubts of leaving his home world and Chapter to lead the Judicators, however the presence of several Libator companions helped to calm his unease. Often he would speak with them of their former home world and Chapter, their words soothing the pain of loss that plagued him in the lulls of battle. As his history with the Judicators lengthened, passing centuries saw each of Eusebiusí closest friends fall in service to the Emperor, and each death weighed heavily on him.

Every fallen brother represented a link broken with his former Chapter and home world, feeding the gnawing loneliness inside him. In his struggles with such feelings, Eusebius focused his troubles outwards, hunting down and avenging each of his fallen brothers in turn, stopping at nothing to see these wounds repaid a thousand fold upon his enemies. When he wasnít avenging his brothers, he quietly planned how he would do so, composing long works of punishment in his quarters during his short periods of free time allowed when not on campaign.

After the deaths of his brothers were avenged, he welcomed the company of Judicators in his staff and bodyguard, but their presence was not as effective on him as the former Libators had been. Unwilling to discuss his troubling feelings openly, Eusebius continued to pen works, expanding from avenging individual deaths to ideas of judgement which would punish those who had wronged the Imperium of Mankind, not just his fallen brothers. These ideas of judgement and punishment became more and more elaborate; called ďTrials of OrdealĒ they were ways he could identify all manners of transgressors and see them punished for their crimes.

Towards the end of his illustrious career, Eusebiusí loneliness continued to follow him; discussing his former Chapter and home world with those closest to him eased the pain for short amounts of time, but nothing could free him from his thoughts. Slowly, he became more obsessed with judgement in an attempt to ignore his painful memories, forming and conducting elaborate rituals on the battlefield to carry out his sentences. The Judicators, unaware of their Masterís internal struggles, watch unsure and awed as Eusebius transforms from warrior to a living vessel of judgement.

At the Battle of Faymonís Gate, the inspiring Eusebius was laid low after carrying out his judgement on the foul Khorne champion, Khamon the Blood-Letter. Dying in the hands of an Apothecary, Eusebius named his successor and passed on his final wishes before the Emperorís Peace claimed him. The named successor, Master-Balancer Jonas, meditated for several days in Eusebiusí former quarters while deciding how best to proceed without their beloved Master. During his meditations, he stumbled across a large tome in Eusebiusí quarters titled Liber Vindex and in an attempt to gain further insight into his wishes, Jonas read the work.

Astonished at what he read, he called the Chapter together in the Reclusiam and shared Eusebiusí work. The Liber Vindex seemed to reveal that Eusebius had gained a powerful view into the Emperorís Will, and as a reward he was possessed as a vessel of judgement to not only destroy, but punish the enemies of Mankind. In an attempt to record his revelations, Eusebius composed the tome for study and reference. He had also used the tome to slowly reveal his realizations to his Captains, whom he had taken to calling ďBalancers of ScalesĒ, a title he likewise used to refer to himself.

Finally aware of the meaning of Eusebiusí transformation, the Judicators were left silent and amazed at what their fallen Master had become. At that moment in the Reclusiam, Master-Balancer Jonas vowed that they would all follow the example of Eusebius, to prove themselves worthy of the Emperorís Judgement and carry his Will to the very depths of their enemyís heart on the tip of their blades. Centuries later, the Balancers of Scales still maintain copies of the Liber Vindex, while the original rests in a glass case in the heart of the Reclusiam for all brothers to view and take inspiration from as they pursue their chosen duty.

Home World

The Judicators have never settled on a home world, instead choosing to remain in their space-borne monastery aboard the Tyrannus, although today the ship has grown substantially from the barge donated by the Libators. They consider it their eternal duty to carry the Emperorís Judgement wherever it is needed most, or expected least. Most recently, their fleets have been sighted in the Eastern Fringe lending their support against the most recent Tyranid and Tau threat there.

Despite not having a single world to call their own, the Judicators have Recruiting Barracks stationed on several planets along a common route their fleet travels. Some of them are worlds which the Judicators purged for settlement, such as the tundra world of Nanuk. Others, like the massive city-world of Meceno, allow the Judicators to recruit from their populace. The populations and recruiting practices vary from world to world, but commonly the Judicators prefer not to recruit from savage, feral populations. The intense dedication of their belief to being vessels of the Emperorís Judgement requires them to have a clear focus of mind, a trait which is not common to such backward populations.

It is a testament to their strong belief in this ideal, and the leadership of the Chapter, that so many recruits hailing from various planets are able to work flawlessly as a unit. The Chapter prides itself on severing all ties to a neophyteís previous life so that they are better prepared to know the Emperorís Judgement and carry it out without doubt or hesitation.

Absence of a dedicated home world also frees the Judicators from feelings of attachment that would otherwise compromise their duty. Such was the case when one of their recruiting worlds in the Baltec system, the feudal world of Hiberon, became infected with a xeno cult. The Third Company, under command of Captain-Balancer Peleth, had arrived to inspect potential neophytes and instead found rebellion building in the planetís capital city. Without hesitation he dispatched his forces and less than a week passed before the area was deemed cleansed with more than 100,000 civilians dead and much of the city in ruin. Satisfied their honor was secure, Captain-Balancer Peleth left with a handful of recruits from the Chapter Barracks; the inspirational inscription over the entry arch, ďThis land is judgedĒ, taking ominous new meaning from the smoking city below.

Battlefield Doctrine

As befits a successor of Roboute Guillman, the Judicators follow the tenets of the Codex closely, maintaining a tactical flexibility to engage and judge the enemies of Mankind in whatever means suits the situation. All weapons, vehicles and tactics are favored equally, allowing them to exploit the weakness of any opponent while simultaneously protecting their own. A focus is placed on training in all conceivable battlefield environments and conditions, ensuring the Judicators are able to quickly adapt to situations that would leave them wanting. This focus has allowed them to carve victories across the galaxy in all manners of campaigns

The Codex Astartes serves as a rough guide to the Judicators, rather than a work to be taken literally. It is used most often as a training guide, to introduce a brother to many different battlefield scenarios, how they are best handled and why. As the Marine gains experience, he becomes less and less reliant on the Codex, providing the Judicators with creative, unpredictable warriors of the Emperor capable of spontaneous decision to deal with rapidly changing battlefield conditions. The Codex continues to serve as a guide throughout a Brotherís career, but with time he becomes less and less dependent, eventually consulting its pages for quotations, spiritual guidance and theory of battle doctrine that only more complex-minded soldiers can put to use.

The most exotic of their battlefield practices is fed by their desire to deliver the Emperorís Judgement through their bodies and weapons, often leading to rituals where enemy officers are forced to submit before the Judicators and face their ends. These rituals are historically performed by the Captains and Chapter Master, each carrying the title of ďBalancer of ScalesĒ. It is their duty to recite the crimes committed and carry out whatever judgement the Emperor has deemed fit. If the Balancer of Scales is not present on the battlefield, generally the guilt of the party and necessary punishment has been decided on beforehand, but are still stated for the benefit of the accused. The Judicators pride themselves on the practice, bringing themselves closer to the Emperor and His Will.

Chapter Organization

The Judicators follow the Codex in their organization as well as tactics, following the tenets of Guillman to ensure the entire Chapter functions as quickly and effortlessly as possible. The first Company is made up strictly of Chapter Veterans, each of whom is trained in the use of the holy Tactical Dreadnought Armor, though the number of suits makes them available to approximately half the Company at any one time. The Second through Fifth Companies are Battle Companies which form the backbone fighting force, made up of a combination of Tactical, Assault and Devastator squads. Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Companies are Reserves, responsible for training newly initiated brothers under the careful guidance of Chapter Dreadnoughts.

The Tenth Company is formed completely of Scouts, representing the future of the Chapter and each neophyte is treated as such. A legacy of Balancer-Master Eusebius, training requirements have always been high, and were it not for the Judicatorsí wide recruiting base there is no doubt the size of their Scout Company would be dangerously low. Upon recruitment, each neophyte swears a vow to sever all ties to their previous lives, including all responsibilities or relationships. To assist this process, each neophyte has his name stricken from record and memory, replaced with a new name the Chapter gives him to represent his new life as a vessel of the Emperorís Judgement. The exact process of choosing a name varies from circumstance to circumstance, but all are equally ritualistic and effective in strengthening the bond between the neophyte and the Chapter.

The most divergent characteristic of the Judicators is the Balancer of Scales, a role fulfilled by the Chapter Master and each Company Captain. It is a term originating from several speeches and quotations from Chapter Master Eusebius, who was the first Balancer of Scales, in addition to the nine other Brother-Captains at the time. It is the duty of the Balancer of Scales to channel the Judgement of the Emperor and to administer His justice to the enemies of Mankind, whose very existence is a crime only punishable by eradication. They are responsible for judging not only guilt, but loyalty, distinguishing their allies from their enemies. It is often their former role that is considered the most scandalous, and is the sole reason the Judicators are isolated even amongst other Astartes.

Balancers of Scales oversee the Trials of Ordeal, rituals and practices the Chapter uses to prove the loyalty or guilt of an accused person; at one time this practice was used strictly within the Chapter, but certain events have led the Judicators to see that loyalty is not something to be assumed. After the Forge Knights Chapter turned to heresy and their traitorous commander was executed by Captain-Balancer Tiber, the Judicators have broadened the Trials of Ordeal to include their allies. On a battlefield, the decision of a Balancer of Scales is considered final, his judgement being that of the Emperor Himself, his ability unquestioned due to the strenuous tasks required to even take the position. In the case of multiple Balancers of Scales being present, one is chosen as being chief among them, and all others defect their Judgements to him. If the Master-Balancer is present, the duty currently held by Chapter Master Zaccheus the Just, all other Balancers will concede their judgements to his.

Chapter Beliefs

The core belief of the Chapterís cult is that each marine is a vessel for the Emperorís Judgement, and through them the Emperor punishes his foes. This is most exemplified by their Balancers of Scales, who go through many Trials of Ordeal to prove their abilities, in addition to the strenuous requirements necessary to be a Captain of a Space Marine Company. Judicators acknowledge that their judgement does not truly come from them, or from their Balancers, but rather from the Emperor Himself and thus infallible.

It is this belief in their infallibility, combined with their zealous need to judge the loyalty of themselves and those around them that has led to the irritation and anger of many Imperial forces. Inquisitors forced to submit to these Trials call them inane, proof only of the aloof nature of the Judicators themselves that they think themselves worthy to claim judgement in the Emperorís name. More than one Planetary Governor has filed complaint after the Judicators forced them to submit to Trials of Ordeal before they would deploy their forces, the refusal of such Trials often resulting in the refusal of aid and the Judicators broadcasting their leaderís cowardice to the planetary populace. Several inquiries have been made into such events, but conclusions have either placed the Judicators in the right or investigations were inconclusive. Regardless, many Imperial forces care little for the Judicators and their practices, regardless of how many rebellions and heresies the Judicators claim to have defeated prematurely thanks to their close link to the Emperor.

In addition to their very poor relation to many standard Imperial organizations, the Judicators share similar positions in the eyes of many Adeptus Astartes. Considered independent and autonomous organizations, answering only to the Emperor, many a Captain has been driven to anger to have his loyalty called into question by a Balancer of Scales. Most commonly referenced is the so-called ďTrial of WarlordsĒ, when the Judicators arrived at the head of an Imperial fleet while calling the Warlords Chapter demanding an answer for their purging of a rebellion that resulted in the complete decimation of the planet. As a result of that Trial, the commanding Balancer of Scales sentenced the Warlords to a penitence crusade where they would be forced to redeem themselves in blood for their actions. Following this, several Chapters such as the Thousand Swords took great offense to the Judicatorsí decision to even become involved in the matter, but to judge and punish their own Astartes brethren was unforgivable for many. Such resentment seemed to go unnoticed by the Judicators, however, and they have continued to do their perceived duty throughout the stars. The Warlords were not the last Chapter to receive the unwanted attention of a Balancer.

As consequence of their unrelenting pursuit of carrying the Emperorís Judgement, the Judicators hold very few allies amongst the Imperium. Most forces are suspicious and wary of their presence, knowing that at any time a Balancer of Scales may arrive to challenge the loyalty of those around him. Others do little to hide their contempt for past Trials, particularly those who personally felt the sting of the Judicatorsí judgement. It is their curse to live a lonely existence amongst the stars, forever isolated by their duty and having little hope of finding refuge with those outside the Chapter itself; a willing sacrifice for unquestioningly following their duty to Primarch and Emperor. Many brothers exist in a state similar to that of Master-Balancer Eusebius, hiding gnawing pains of loneliness beneath an exterior of unquestioning duty and loyalty. As a result, bonds within the Chapter itself are strong, as brothers constantly prove themselves worthy of the trust required to be a vessel of judgement for the Emperor Himself. Those few allies the Judicators have, such as the Castigators and Libators, are also cherished though even they are not immune from submitting to the Trials of Ordeal.

Campaigns

Since their inception, the Judicators have claimed victories for the Imperium in nearly all imaginable theatres of war against seven major alien races. They have been instrumental in actions ranging from pre-colonization purges to crushing pirates along shipping lanes to ensure the life-blood of supplies flows freely. Their battles are often in enemy systems as well as Imperial worlds, striking into the heart of enemy territory to bring the Emperorís Judgement where it is least expected by their foes. Most recently, the Judicators have earned honors fighting the Tyranid threat and Tau expeditions, culminating in the judgement of a member of the Ethereal caste and a number of traitorous Guard commanders that defected to the Greater Good.

Among the stranger foes in their glorious triumphs are the Necrons, whose presence has only been recently felt in galactic history. The Judicatorsí sole encounter with the Necron threat came while investigating several distress calls that originated from the central portion of Segmenta Ultimum, near the Dominion of Storms. Several colonies had vanished in rapid succession, and the Judicators had responded while en route to the Eastern Fringe. While traveling through the area, the Judicators stumbled upon a strange fleet that did not respond to initial contact, and upon further inspection was revealed to be xeno in nature. A quick examination revealed the xeno fleet was on a course to the city-world of Meceno.

The commanding Balancer of the fleet, Captain-Balancer Bedan of the 3rd Company, contacted the Planetary Mayor-Governor of Meceno and informed them of the inbound xeno fleet. The governor immediately requested assistance, fearing for more than 600 billion Imperial lives on his world. Though initially upset with Bedanís condition of submission to a Trial of Ordeal, Mayor-Governor Phillip Wyler complied and passed. Captain-Balancer Bedan informed the Governor the xeno fleet would be stopped, and ordered interception of the enemy fleet.

The enemy fleet was relatively small, but seemed to be carrying strange xeno-tech weaponry that took a heavy toll on the Judicator fleet. Eventually the enemy defenses were breached, and boarding parties were torpedoed into the enemy hull; feedback from the first boarding squads was strange indeed. The interiors of the ships seemed to be made of a strange, shimmering metal, and no sounds could be heard on the ship as they would have expected. It was unclear as to who their enemy was until metal warriors stepped out from the liquid-metallic walls of the ships. Fighting was close and bloody, made more so as nearly half the xenos they killed simply reformed and resumed fighting. The Judicators would not be denied, however, and slowly they gained the upper hand on each xeno ship.

Aboard the lead xeno vessel, Captain-Balancer Bedan led the charge onto the Command Deck, and a short fight led to the capture of the robotic alien lord in addition to his humanoid bodyguards, eerily draped in scraps of human flesh. Forced to his metal knees, the robotic lord was forced to submit before Bedan as his crimes against Humanity were announced. However, as judgement was to be carried out, Bedanís plasma round shifted harmlessly through the xeno lordís head, followed by the chilling sound of scraping metal. Then, without explanation, every metallic entity vanished from the ship, including the dead that had fallen during the boarding. The same incident occurred on each of the other vessels, the Judicators left alone in the silent ships.

As the Judicator fleet prepared to destroy the enemy vessels, they were hailed by a small Adeptus Mechanicus ship, carrying representatives of Mars claiming they had been sent to reclaim the alien ships, which they identified as belonging to a race called the Necrons. Suspicious, Captain-Balancer Bedan agreed to turn the ships over to the techpriests, if they submitted to his Trial of Ordeal. Annoyed at the inconvenience, the techpriests eventually agreed, but were far more annoyed when they were later told they failed their Trial and were denied access to the Necron ships. Angry and defeated, the techpriests were forced to watch the Judicators scuttle each of the strange ships, destroying whatever useful technology may have lurked inside.

The xeno menace destroyed, Captain-Balancer Bedan informed the Planetary Mayor-Governor that Meceno was no longer threatened. The gratitude of the Governor was such that his planet was later made into a recruiting world for the Judicators as thanks, and a Recruiting Barracks was constructed soon after. Already a handful of promising neophytes have been taken from the city-world, and are training under Veteran Sergeant Patrobas of the 10th Company.

Though the Judicators were responsible for saving the lives of more than 600 billion Imperial citizens in addition to destroying dangerous xeno tech and Captain-Balancer Bedan being awared the Iron Halo for his actions, Bedan and the Judicators consider the action a failure. The Necrons and their Lord were able to escape Bedanís righteous judgement, avoiding the punishment they had so rightfully deserved. Bedan has swore this will never happen again, and all Judicators keep their eyes on the stars for the strange, metallic ships that will give them a second chance at judgement.

Geneseed

The Judicators, like most Chapters, are drawn from the geneseed of Roboute Guillman himself. Descended from the ranks of the Libators, a Primogenitor of the Ultramarines, they have inherited many of the traits of Roboute and they are a credit to his purity and skill as a commander. There are no mutations within the geneseed of the Judicators; all organs function properly and they are always prompt with their tithes to Mars to prove that purity.


Data Reference: Adeptus Astartes/Judicators/Chapter Icon

Sidebar

Quote Originally Posted by ĒSend Me HomeĒ
Master-Balancer Eusebius, formerly of the Libators, was deeply troubled with grief from leaving his home world and brothers behind. Despite unquestioningly and loyally fulfilling all duties presented to him as a new Chapter Master, and creating a Chapter whose many battle honors continue to due honor to his name, he wished for nothing more than to one day return to his beloved Chapter. Only rarely did he ever speak of his sadness, and only those closest to him ever knew that their beloved Chapter Master suffered so heavily. During his minutes of daily free time, he often spoke of the heavy heart he wore when he watched the artificers slowly cover his armor in the colors of his new Chapter, forever obscuring the Libator livery it had once wore.

For many centuries, Chapter Master Eusebius trained his Chapter in the ways of war and led them through the harshest battlefields the galaxy could offer. He taught them what it meant to be vessels of the Emperorís Judgement, composed the Liber Vindex that held the first Trials of Ordeal, and proposed the title of ďBalancer of ScalesĒ. On the day of his death, as he lay dying in the arms of an Apothecary, he named his successor as Veteran Sergeant Jonas of his bodyguard. Eusebiusí last words were relayed to Master-Balancer Jonas when he was found; ďSend me home.Ē

For two days and nights, Master-Balancer Jonas secluded himself from his brothers and meditated. The Chapter was stricken with grief, and now that the Chapter would take its first steps without their beloved Master, Jonas knew he had to be sure. Debating for hours without rest, he eventually emerged from his quarters with confidence and gave his orders. The Chapter artificers were to restore Eusebiusí armor and weaponry to the colors of the Libators, recorded in the Chapter Librarium, and his body would be taken back to the Chapter that so willingly sent him. While initially a shock to all, compliance followed almost immediately, and Master Eusebius was accompanied back to the Libators with a small squad chosen specifically by Master-Balancer Jonas.

The arriving Judicators, while unexpected company, were welcomed by the Libators at their home world. Sergeant Rufus, in charge of the squad, informed the Libators Master of Master-Balancer Jonasí decision. There was no delay in the warm welcome and praise for returning such a great hero to his home, and the Libators permitted Sergeant Rufus and his squad to attend the services of Eusebius as he was laid to rest. After a joined prayer between parents and successors, the Judicators departed for their home, and since that time the two Chapters have enjoyed extremely close relations, particularly for the Judicators.