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Ok, rather than resurrecting an old thread, I thought I'd post the (hopefully) final draft of my chapter's fluff, complete with names. You can also find this in my sig, but to save you a click:
Former name: The Desert Knights
Current name: Avengers of Dyeshr
Former Home Planet: Dyeshr
Current Home Planet: None
Former color scheme: Desert browns under bleached bone
Current color scheme: White over shadow grey, blue shoulder pads/gun casings
This chapter began as an outpost for the Space Marines on the barren planet of Dyeshr prior to the Horus Heresy, later becoming redesignated as the Desert Knights, a descendant of the Ultramarines, during the Second Founding. Members of Dyeshr's indigenous population came to the planet long before the Emperor's time, with only an ancient symbol the marines now bear on their shoulder pad offering any clue to their origin. They are a hearty type, who have adapted to the harsh, desertlike conditions, wearing light, loose clothing, drilling for water, and hunting one of the planet's few native species, a nasty predatory creature that lives in the deep deserts and has no name.
It is a rite of passage for aspiring tribal leaders to venture into the desert, carrying nothing but a traditional hunting knife with a curved blade, and kill one of these beasts, returning with a trophy, typically a claw or tooth. This practice was adopted by the Knights, who used it to test a Space Marine's mettle as he seeks Veteran Sergeant status.
Tribal leaders often return to the desert, typically once per decade, to hunt the beast again and prove their worthiness to remain in power. If they do not return, it usually means they have been killed/eaten, and a new leader is chosen. The leader of the Desert Knights, the great Chapter Master Decimus Valerius Avitus, followed this tradition as well, making camp every 10 years on the edge of the Barrier Dunes, which overlook the massive desert wastes near the planet's equator, where the beasts live.
Three weeks before he would undertake this task for what would be the last time, a fleet of Chaos ships, chasing the remnants of an Imperial Guard detachment that was displaced from a destroyed neighboring world (fluff to come on this), approached Dyeshr. The Guard, seeking the Emperor's assistance, were immediately lent aid by the Knights. What followed was originally dubbed the Great Battle of Dyeshr, but sadly would come to be renamed the First Battle of Dyeshr. Ships from both sides clashed in orbit around the planet, eventually leading to the abominations' fleet being broken with the destruction of the capital flagship. To this day, the locals remember seeing the meteoric fragments of the ship streaking across the sky as they were consumed by friction in the atmosphere, all, it turns out, save one piece, which crashed in the middle of the wasteland, where the beasts live. Unbeknownst to anyone on the planet at the time, a fragment of a powerful tablet that would change the Chapter forever, was onboard, and survived the crash. Little is known about it to the Knights, but it has come to be known as The Artifact.
Its existence was initially insignificant, and had no effect on the planet's population. Indeed, no one knew it was there. Up in orbit, a large portion of the Chapter's fleet, led by the Chapter's Chief Chaplain, along with the Imperial Guard ships, began pursuing the broken Chaos vessels, chasing them halfway across the galaxy in an attempt to bring them the Emperor's justice for destroying the Guard regiment's homeworld and other countless crimes against the Imperium.
Meanwhile, life on Dyeshr returned to normal. One day, three weeks after this great battle, as planned, the Chapter Master ventured into the desert to complete the hunting ritual once more.
But not one night after arriving, Decimus stood up in the camp he and his retinue had made, and staring intently into the desert, declared he needed to leave, and he did so, remaining missing for three days, leaving his prized weapons including his great campaign power sword behind.
Upon return, he carried a small object wrapped in a cloth under his arm. He declined to explain his whereabouts or what he was carrying, and this was the beginning of the end for the Desert Knights as they knew themselves.
Master Decimus immediately called the hunt off, and returned to the Chapter's Fortress Monastery. For one week, he locked himself in the sacristy, taking no food, water or visitors. When he finally emerged, his closest advisers noticed a change in him. His eyes looked darker, more hollow, and as he walked the air itself seemed to contort and shift. Over a period of weeks, his taint intensified, and try as they might, his advisers, along with what few company commanders remained on the planet, became drawn in to his power. The sacristy itself had been changed. The candles and other light sources had been extinguished, and a glow emanated from under the edges of a cloth draped over an object placed in the center of the room.
Clearly, something was amiss. Captain Quintus Vitruvius Paterculus (the little father), the reknown up-and-coming commander of the fifth company, who arrived weeks after the First Battle of Dyeshr, having been unable to extricate himself from another unrelated campaign. He was initially disappointed he missed the battle, but his tardiness would prove to be his Chapter's salvation. He immediately noticed something wrong with his Chapter, and before he could take action Inquisitor Elena Falkirk of the Ordo Malleus arrived on the planet, tracking an artifact supposedly used by heretics to boost psychic powers (fluff on this to come). It turned out the artifact had been serving as a link to the warp for some of the tainted ones on board the Chaos ship, and once it had been forced to abandon them was looking for a new subject to bond with, and had found one in Master Decimus. Inquisitor Falkirk didn't take long to discover this truth, and Quintus, wishing to get to the bottom of what was happening to his Master and his Chapter, offered to help. Falkirk, along with a contingent of his company and a company of Grey Knights summoned by Falkirk, went to the Fortress Monastery to get to the bottom of the matter, which Quintus believed would happen without bloodshed.
But when he sensed the game was up, Desert Knights Chapter Master Decimus Valerius Avitus unleashed the power of his newly-tainted companies, launching what became known as the Second Battle of Dyeshr. The surprising strength and numbers of tainted marines might have been too much for the heroes of the Imperium to bear, but the Chapter would be saved by the return of its fleet, and that of the Imperial Guard, both of which had brought the remnants of the Chaos fleet to the Emperor's justice.
Bolstered by the reinforcements, particularly the valor of the Guard, who were enraged by seeing the Chaos taint still lived, Inquisitor Falkirk and Commander Quintus charged the monastery, breaking through the main defenses and chasing Master Decimus to the sacristy, where the artifact sat, practically pulsing with power. It was a fragment of an ancient tablet that once bore runes and inscriptions that, when uttered aloud, channeled immense power through its bearer. Had Master Decimus had the entire tablet, it is quite possible the battle would have ended quite differently.
Confronting his Master in the sacristy, Quintus saw how far Decimus, and Quintus' beloved instrument of the Emperor's Holy Will had fallen, and Quintus flew into a rage, battling his master in a conflict that shook the building even more than the cannon fire coming from the Imperial Guard siege tanks outside.
But even Quintus was not powerful enough to defeat his master in battle, especially with the taint of chaos supporting him. Decimus might have killed Quintus, had Falkirk not seized on the distraction and destroyed the fragment, blasting it to bits with her psycannon.
The effect was immediate. It was as though a huge psychic wave had flowed through the monastery. Tainted soldiers faltered, hesitant with confusion, providing just the opening the heroes of the Imperium needed. Inside the sacristy, Decimus stood over Quintus, in the middle of what would have been a death blow, and staggered back, stunned. He looked around the room with the expression of a man who had never been there before. In a small whisper, he could barely be heard by witnesses saying, "What have I done?"
Broken and defeated, Decimus fell to his knees, removing his chest plate and pulling out a curved hunting knife, the same knife he had used to slay beasts in the desert so long ago. He turned to Quintus, and in a glance the company captain knew what his Master wanted, to die with honor and repentance. Falkirk watched as the Master plunged the knife into his belly, performing ritual suicide. Quintus stood by his side, stone-faced, as he raised up his power sword and decapitated his leader. His Master dead, Quintus stalked silently from the room, so affected by the sight of his Master's fall that he was unable to speak to anyone for three days.
The battle ended quickly, with only a small contingent of tainted Chapter companies and ships escaping into the warp. In the wake of the carnage, officials of the Ministorium Militaria were on the verge of declaring the Chapter annihilated, its remaining leaders, now championed by Captain Quintus, executed, and the planet's population properly cleansed, for fear that such an insidious taint could take root again, but Inquisitor Falkirk and the leader of the displaced Guard regiment lobbied against that action, arguing that Captain Quintus proved the Chapter was not lost. Dyeshr itself was not tainted – Falkirk gave her assurance of that – and remained a loyal planet to the Imperium.
In the end, the Ministorium chose to declare the Desert Knights a penitent chapter. Rather than disbanding, the chapter has been ordered to abandon its homeworld, its colors, and its original name, taking on the new name of the Avengers of Dyeshr and begin a two-century quest to hunt down and destroy the tainted remnants of the Desert Knights, and to destroy the remaining fragments of the tablet to ensure the fate of the Desert Knights never befalls another chapter. Quintus, while clearly the most-respected leader of the new Chapter, has staunchly refused to take the title of Chapter Master, recalling his near-defeat in combat in the sacristy. Instead, he has vowed to assume the mantle of Master only once his new Chapter has finished its penance, though he still is the Chapter's leading voice.
Meanwhile, the planet Dyeshr became home to a new group of protectors – the displaced Guard regiment, which would come to be known as the Dyeshri Desert Watchmen, patiently serving the Imperium and awaiting the return of the Emperor's Ronin from their quest.
Nice stuff. My only advice is that the earlier part feels like a briefing and the later part seems to be a story. I'd write it all out as a story. Really flesh out these characters, really fight those battles. What you have here is a really nice outline for something that could make an awesome story. Good luck, whatever you decide to do with it. And I hope your Marines have the Emperor's blessing on their crusade.
Mostly, I was concerned as to whether it all seemed to go together, clash with known fluff "facts," etc. Thanks for the support.