In 901.M41, as a result of Lufgt Huron's apparent mental destabilisation, the Master of the Astral Claws and Lord of Badab attacked and destroyed an Imperial investigation fleet as it entered orbit around Badab. Huron's action can be understood with the benefit of hindsight. The Adeptus Mechanicus had long complained of the Astral Claws' tardiness in submitting gene-seed for routine analysis, whilst the chapter had amassed a huge debt in planetary tithes stretching back over a hundred and fifty years. And when the Imperium moved against its wayward chapter, a full scale rebellion was initiated, the most serious of its kind since the end of the Fourth Quadrant Rebellion in 780.M41.
The Tyrant of Badab, as Commander Huron is known in Imperial histories, was a power-hungry and ambitious individual who should never have risen to power within a Marine Chapter. He was plainly a dangerous individual, able in many respects but lacking the absolute dedication to humanity vital in a Lord of the Imperium. It will never be known for sure, but current hypotheses suggest that the Commander was either an alien shapechanger, or otherwise subject to alien domination of a most unnatural kind. A sudden and unexpected manifestation of psychic powers may lie at the heart of the matter.
By 903 three other chapters, the Mantis Warriors, Executioners and Lamenters had joined the rebellion. Imperial shipping was attacked, and a ship belonging to the Fire Hawks Chapter was captured by the Mantis Warriors in 904. The Fire Hawks immediately retaliated, and soon five whole chapters were involved in the fighting. The Emperor recalled the Marines Errant from the Eastern Fringes, but they quickly found themselves fully occupied protecting Imperial ships in transit.
In 906 two more loyal Marine units, the Red Scorpions and the Minotaurs, had been brought in, and the threat to Imperial shipping was more or less quashed. In 907 the Red Scorpions and Fire Hawks were recalled to their normal service duties in the galactic east, and two more chapters, the Novamarines and Howling Griffons were committed to space-lane duties.
Meanwhile, the Star Phantoms began the task of besieging Badab whilst two other chapters were drafted in to investigate the worlds occupied by the Mantis Warriors and Executioners. The Lamenters were caught in an ambush by the Minotaurs in 908 and eventually surrendered after bloody ship-to-ship fighting. This came as a great blow to the Tyrant, and the rest of the war consisted almost entirely of close sieges. The uprising came to an end in 912 with the fall of Badab and final defeat of the Astral Claws. Before the war was over, The Exorcists, Fire Angels, Salamanders, Space Sharks and Sons of Medusa all became involved for short periods of time; chapters replacing other chapters as pressures elsewhere necessitated their re-deployment.
With the rebellion over, The Mantis Legion, Executioners and Lamenters were granted the Emperor's forgiveness, subject to undertaking a hundred year crusade. The homeworlds of the Mantis Legion and Executioners were forfeited to the Space Sharks and Star Phantoms for their part in the war. The other legions received salvage rights to spacecraft and a proportion of the booty. The Astral Claws were all but destroyed. Only a contingent of about two hunded fought their way through the Exorcists' blockade and escaped into deep space. They have not been heard of since. Of the fate of Imperial Commander Lufgt Huron, Master of the Astral Claws and Tyrant of Badab, nothing is known.
The Chapter's fall from grace began in 901 M41 when Huron ordered the destruction of an Imperial Investigation Fleet as it entered orbit around Badab. The fleet had been dispatched because of the Chapter's continued tardiness in sending Gene-seed to the Adeptus Mechanicus, as well as the amassing of a large tithe debt owed to the Imperium, a debt spanning a hundred and fifty years time.
With the destruction of the Imperial Fleet by the Astral Claws space assests, Huron declared himself Tyrant of Badab and declared the planet's secession from the Imperium. By 903 M41 three other Chapters had, for still unknown reasons sided with the Tyrant and succeeded as well; the Executioners, the Lamenters, and the Mantis Warriors. All records of their reasons where destroyed and the surviving members could not recall any reason being given. The Inquisition believed it was the taint of Chaos, but upon examination of the survivors, none was found.
The first recorded engagement by Barab Forces with Loyalist Marines
came in 904 M41, when the Fire Hawks were drawn in by an attack from
the Mantis Warriors. By 906 M41 Loyalist Chapters arrayed against the
rebellious Badab forces included components of the Marine's Errant,
the Minotaurs, and the Red Scorpions chapters. In 907 M41 Badab was
besieged by the Star Phantoms Chapter, and the so called Badab War,
later known as the Fourth Quadrant Rebellion, ended in 912 M41 with
the liberation of Badab. The remains of the Astral Claws, numbering
around two-hundred combat ready and walking wounded marines, were forced
to flee with the broken body of their Master, they fled from the Imperium.
Later records show that the remnants of the Astral Claws became the
Red Corsair Pirate group, who's current location is unknown.
Little is known about the Mantis Warriors from the time before their involvment in the Badab War. Also refered to as the Mantis Legion, for some strange unknown reason the chapter chose to side with the Astral Claws, Executioners, and the Lamenters as part of the rebellous Badab Forces. The first recorded engagement with Loyalist Marines came in 904 M41, when Mantis Warrior forces ambushed forces from the loyal Fire Hawks Chapter, causing a swift retaliatory action. In 907 M41 the worlds occupied by the Mantis Warriors and Executioners were recaptured by forces of two formerly unnamed Marine Chapters. Since then information has been found to lead one to believe the previously un-named where forces of the Space Sharks and Star Phantoms chapters. This information seems to be confirmed by the forfitted possessions of their homeworlds to the Sharks and Phantoms. In 912 M41 the Mantis Warriors were granted the Emperor's forgiveness, and sent on a one hundred year crusade.
Little is known of the Lamenters pre-Badab war, most of their records where destroyed in the conflict. However, close examination of the sacred standard of the Blood Angels Chapter depicts the winged Sanguinius wearing a robe with what appears to be a variation of the symbol of the Lamenters Chapter badge. The Lamenters however, have produced no rumours similar to those of the other Blood Angel's successor chapters, nor the Blood Angels themselves. In 698 M41 the Chapter was part of a combined Space Marine force led by Marneus Calgar, consisting of forces from the Angels of Absolution, Marines Errant, Silver Skulls, and Ultramarines chapters. During a seven year crusade the force inflicted a series of major defeats on the Ork empire of Charadon delaying the invasion by Waaagh Argluk by some thirty odd years.
During the Badab War, the Lamenters, for some strange unknown reason, sided with the rebellious Badab forces of the Astral Claws, Executioners, and Mantis Warriors Chapters. In 908 M41 the Lamenters were caught in an ambush by the Minotaurs Chapter, and after exceedingly bloody ship to ship boarding actions, surrendered to Loyalist forces. In 912 M41 they were granted the Emperor's forgiveness, and sent on a one hundred year crusade along the Eastern Fringe. After the chapter forgivness by the Emperor, the Chapter's banner was sent to the Adeptus Sororitas to be restored and purified. The banner became known as the Banner of Tears for the sisters who wept as they rewove the banner into a once again pure symbol of the empire. It was taken with the Lamenters on their penitent crusade, and remains one of their most holy relics.
In 992 M41 Tyranid Hive fleet Kraken invaded from the Eastern Fringe of the Imperium. The Lamenters, along side the Scythes of the Emperor Chapter who where assigned to watch the recently forgiven Lamenters, were originally alone in dealing with this threat. But the Marines were outnumbered literally millions to one, and approximately nine-tenths of the Chapter was destroyed in the fighting, and similar results felt by the Scythes. Their current disposition of forces is unknown.
The Scythes of the Emperor are lead by Chief Librarian Tormal who is their only remaining senior officer and librarian and has been with the chapter for almost a century. Of the last 10 years in constant war with the Tyranids. They were founded in the close following years of the Badab War in which their primary mission was to enforce the Emperor's will on the Eastern Fringe. Their secondary mission was to watchover the recently forgiven Lamenters Chapter for any further signs of revolt following the Lamenters revolt after their involvment in the Badab War.
Little remains in the Imperial Database about the origins of the Marine's Errant. In 698 M41, the chapter forces formed part of a combined Space Marine force led by Marneus Calgar, consisting of forces from the Angels of Absolution, Lamentors, Silver Skulls, and Ultramarines chapters in additon to those from the Marines Errant. During a seven year crusade the force inflicted a series of major defeats on the Ork empire of Charadon, delaying the invasion by Waaagh Argluk by some thirty odd years.
The Marines Errant also saw action during the Badab war, entering battle in 904 M41, when the Marines Errant were recalled from actions on the Eastern Fringe to reinforce the Fire Hawks Chapter. However, rather than reinforce the Fire Hawks, they quickly found themselves fully occupied protecting Imperial shiping in the area.
In the year 963 of the current millennium, Space Marine chapter 'Fire Hawks' was ordered into the Crows World sub-sector. Crows World and adjacent planetary systems had fallen into anarchy following heavy raiding by Eldar Pirates. The Fire Hawks' intervention would drive the Eldar from the human worlds, restoring Imperial rule and teaching the alien invaders an important lesson. The entire chapter-fleet, including the chapter's mobile space-fortress, made a successful warp jump from the Piraeus system a mere 120 light years from Crows World. The five ships, over eight hundred brethren, and two thousand other personnel expected to reach Crows World within no more than 12 hours. They never arrived.
Twenty years after the event the chapter was officially declared lost in the warp and presumed destroyed. The great Bell of Lost Souls tolled a thousand times, and it said that the Emperor himself ordered a Black Candle to be lit in the Adeptus Chapel of Fallen Heroes.
Fire Hawks: Legion of the Damned
On 9667986.M41 a routine Imperial patrol passed through the Ork held system of Jakor-tal. The squadron uncovered altogether unexpected scenes of devastation. The limited facilities available to the patrol could uncover no clue to the identity of the attacking forces. The incident was noted and passed into the everlasting record of the Administratum.
A rash of similar incidents within the same and adjoining sectors soon began to arouse the interest of the Inquisition. Squadron commanders throughout these sectors were reinforced and ordered to double their routine patrols. The incidents continued apace, increasing rather than declining in frequency and destructiveness. Even so, no sign of the intruders was discovered for almost a year. Then, on 3628987. M41, a patrol ship in the Maran sub-sector narrowly avoided a collision with a space-craft at the Cift jump-point. The patrol ship was entering the Cift system as the unidentified craft was leaving. Alerted by the close encounter, the patrol crew scanned the entire jump-area and discovered two long cylindrical objects within the intruder's projected flight-path. These were hauled aboard and proved to be standard space-coffins without identification markings.
The coffins were shipped back to earth and opened by the Adeptus Mechanicus. The coffins themselves were identified as belonging to the Absolute, one of the spacecraft from the vanished Fire Hawk fleet. Inside were the armoured remains of two Space Marines. The unconventional armour colours and unofficial insignia puzzled the investigators, but serial numbers tallied with equipment made by or issued to the Fire Hawks. The armoured suits were expected to house members of the lost chapter, and were carefully broken open. The bodies within were human, but further identification proved impossible due to their advanced state of decay.
The full truth would not emerge until almost a year later when a besieged Imperial research station received unexpected help. The garrison had been attacked suddenly by Ork pirates. After three hours of fighting the situation looked hopeless. Then, without warning, the Orks found themselves attacked in the rear. The ferocity of the fighting appalled even the station's defenders. Within half an hour, several hundred Orks had fallen to the mysterious, power-armoured figures. Then, as suddenly as they had appeared, the warriors vanished. This time they left behind a banner - the gnarled chapter flag of the Fire Hawks - and inscribed upon it was the motto In dedicato imperatum ultra articulo mortis (For the Emperor beyond the point of death). As well as the banner there was a recorder and sundry other sealed items. These were immediately shipped to Earth.
From the data contained in the recorder the Administratum was able to determine exactly what had happened to the lost chapter. Following their warp-jump the entire fleet had been caught within a warp-storm of terrific intensity. Stunned by the power of the warp, the chapter was forced to endure the attacks of powerful warp entities. Ship after ship was destroyed and absorbed into the fabric of the warp. Soon only one craft remained. By a daring warp-exit manoeuvre the craft burst out of warp-space, emerging far in the galactic east, thousands of light years off-course and beyond even the psychic light of the Emperor.
The original survivors numbered two hundred brethren. All gene-seed had been lost, all initiates killed, and most of the chapter's masters were gone. None of the ordinary human staff have survived at all. To make matters worse the brethren had changed. This change became more obvious over the next few months. Skins began to blacken and blister, flesh began to fester and putrefy. Slowly they began to die. Within days of the transition into normal space it became obvious that the chapter had been exposed to some form of dangerous mutation or disease. It took many years to navigate a way back into the Imperium, during which time almost half the brethren succumbed to the malady. Those who remained were no longer sane. Pain and despair had driven even their hardened minds beyond the point of rationality. Doomed to agonising deaths, they gradually became obsessed with their fate. Now they only wanted to die. But they were still marines, still loyal to the Emperor and humanity. They would not die without a purpose.
So began the unstoppable war of the Legion of the Damned! The marines elected to remove all insignia from their armour. Instead their armour would be black, decorated by each brother with whatever emblems of death he chose (the accompanying illustrations show some typical variations). Most brothers employed a similar theme - skeletons, bones and skulls.
All ranks and companies were abolished, most of the chapter's officers were already dead and the remaining warriors were too few to make up a fully functioning chapter hierarchy. All brothers were to be equal before death - levelled by the certainty of their assured extinction. The warriors decided to expend their lives attacking enemies wherever they could be found. The disease had robbed them of their sanity, but not their loyalty!