The Flesh Tearers Space Marine Chapter
The Flesh Tearers Chapter was created during the Second Founding, from the Blood Angels Legion. The Flesh Tearers possess the same savagery and fearsome reputation as the Blood Angels, but have also inherited the Black Rage. Indeed, the Black Rage has become more apparent and it is now only a matter of time before the entire Chapter is consumed.
During the terrible, bitter fighting of the Horus Heresy, the Blood Angels` Primarch, Sanguinius, was killed by the Warmaster hours in the Emperor`s assault on the traitor`s battle barge. The psycho-genetic after-effects of this trauma were not fully realized until later - the resulting Black Rage flaw had yet to be recognized. So, according to the dictates of the Codex Astartes, the Blood Angels Legion of Space Marines was broken into Successor Chapters, each numbering 1,000 battle brothers and in possession of a fraction of the old Legion`s geneseed stock. One of these Successor Chapters was the Flesh Tearers.
Following the dreadful slaughter of the battle on Terra, the Flesh Tearers were granted a single battle barge, the Victus, and immediately headed off into deep space with orders to crush any remaining rebel strongholds. For three millennia the battle barge was directed to the loneliest regions of galactic space, the Flesh Tearers Space Marines on board crusading against worlds still loyal to the dead Warmaster and ruthlessly driving back any alien incursions that crossed their path. During this time of exploration and battle, the Flesh Tearers gained a reputation for outright savagery, far outstripping the rumours surrounding their parent Chapter, the Blood Angels. Even the distant High Lords of Terra heard tales of whole populations slaughtered whenever traitorous followers of the fallen Warmaster were found, and entire convoys of ships destroyed when they tried to flee the Flesh Tearers` bloody retribution.
But the galaxy is a huge place and communications can be unreliable. The High Lords ruling the Imperium in the Emperor`s name saw the amount of previously hostile worlds pacified by the Flesh Tearers` actions, and, in this time of rebuilding after Mankind`s dreadful civil war, they were satisfied and did not look too closely.
The Flesh Tearers Chapter journeyed through space on board the Victus, dispensing the Emperor`s fearsome justice to all who would stand against His rule. Taking centuries in its course, the battle barge navigated its way through the far western reaches of the galaxy, intent on sweeping clear the increased alien presence rumoured to be found there. The Flesh Tearers eventually discovered the isolated and forgotten world of Cretacia.
The oversized world of Cretacia was the fourth planet in a system of seven, and at first approach it appeared to be uninhabitable. Finding Cretacia perpetually shrouded in dense cloud, the Flesh Tearers effected landings on the planet to discover what lay below. What the Marines discovered was a planet to rival to any deathworld known in its lethality to human life.
A trackless landscape of dense jungles and steamy swamps harboured many vicious reptilian, amphibious and insectoid forms of life. Many Space Marines were lost to these hostile creatures on the first day before effective perimeters could be established. Even so, patrols still reported casualties from insects as big as men with sharpened proboscises that could penetrate power armour, huge reptilian predators, almost as large as Scout Titans, that ripped through entire squads, and gigantic herbivores that could easily crush an unwary Space Marine with a massive foot.
The Flesh Tearers quickly fought back against these immense creatures. Squads were engaged in hunts to cull as many of the native monsters as possible, ostensibly to clear more landing areas, though garrulous Imperial Scholars now speculate that these hunts were for no other reason than to satiate the Flesh Tearers' lust for killing. As the patrol squads ranged further through the jungles and swamps, incredibly, humans were found.
The humans discovered were apparently descended from some long lost colony originally formed millennia ago during the Dark Age of Technology, but had since devolved into an extremely primitive state. Lacking all but the most rudimentary aspects of a language, these primordial humans had somehow managed to not only adapt to living amongst the titanic monsters that roamed Cretacia, but to actually thrive in the hostile environment. They proved to be incredibly strong and had superior reflexes to compensate for their more limited intellects, giving rise to a race that was fierce enough to defend itself against the largest of the creatures that preyed upon them.
The Flesh Tearers promptly rounded up hundreds of the ferocious humans and the Chaplains and Sanguinary Priests of the Chapter set to work, testing their minds and bodies in soul-destroying trials to determine any evidence of corruption caused by their long isolation from the Master of Mankind. Though extremely backward and primitive, the Flesh Tearers deemed them free of deviancy.
Chapter Master Amit saw the value of the world of Cretacia. The inhospitable terrain and deadly creatures provided an ideal testing ground for his troops, whilst the primitive humans already inhabiting the world could easily be moulded into potential battle brothers. Declaring Right of Conquest, Amit founded a permanent home for his Flesh Tearers.
The Flesh Tearers are considered by Imperial strategists to be the epitome of a dedicated assault force. Those who have actually witnessed their bloodthirstiness in action, however, report of seemingly calculated brutality and savagery on an unparalleled level. A Flesh Tearers army in battle seeks nothing more than to rush towards the enemy with all haste in an effort to tear them apart with chainswords and power fists and, if need be, their bare hands and teeth.
Heavy weapons and armoured vehicles are eschewed in all but the very largest of armies, as the barely controlled blood lust that arises in every battle drives each Flesh Tearers Space Marine forward to destroy their enemies in close combat. The extremely limited vehicle resources of the Chapter tend to be concentrated on transports such as Rhinos and Razorbacks, as the Flesh Tearers prefer to surge forwards and take the enemy with bolt pistols and power axes.
When confronted by enemies who cower within bunkers and fortifications, the Flesh Tearers employ short-ranged melta weapons, power fists and even their own raw strength. Once unleashed, they will permit nothing to stand between themselves and the gratification they can find only in close combat. There have been occasions, though none well documented, when allied forces have accidentally interposed themselves between the Flesh Tearers and their foe. The Flesh Tearers remain unrepentant to this day regarding the savage consequences of this folly.
The terrible violence that follows a Flesh Tearers army has made many other forces of the Imperium extremely wary of fighting alongside these Space Marines. Carefully laid plans can be shattered by the Flesh Tearers` eagerness for combat, and their bloodthirsty actions on the battlefield have sickened even veterans of countless wars. The Chapter has been under almost constant Inquisitorial investigation following the Kallern Massacres of M.36, and some Imperial Guard officers have dared to refuse the dubious honour of fighting alongside the Flesh Tearers, particularly after rumours started to spread concerning their vindictive assaults on entire planetary populations during the Arcata Uprising of M39.
Relatively few forces have fought alongside the Flesh Tearers more than once. Claims regarding their unnatural behaviour during their Feast of Victory, during which many enemy prisoners disappear, have meant that few force commanders are willing to stay in the vicinity once the fighting is finished.
Though originally formed within the dictates of the Codex Astartes, the Flesh Tearers have been ravaged by the curse of the Black Rage and now number barely four full companies. Unless some salvation can be found, their numbers may be halved within the next millennium.
Though the Chapter tries to adhere to the Codex Astartes, adjustments to the structure of their companies have been necessitated by their depleted numbers. All four are considered to be 'Battle Companies' with no reserves being present anywhere in the Chapter. Each Marine is fully expected to be proficient in Tactical, Assault and even Devastator duties, as well as being skilled in the operation of all the Chapter's remaining vehicles. In theatres of war, individual squads will rapidly change their role to suit the mission and equipment on hand. In addition, the 1st Company, breaking from the tradition of most Space Marine Chapters, is not a pure veteran force, as so few Flesh Tearers are able to withstand the pressure of the Black Rage long enough to gain such status. Instead, individual squads of Veteran Marines are formed within each company out of the most accomplished warriors they have.
The Flesh Tearers' fleet is also comparatively small, with the battle barge Victus being their only major warship. The Victus is millennia old, but has been kept in fighting condition and is capable of transporting the entire Chapter. A far more common sight for the enemies of the Emperor are the seven rapid strike vessels which the Chapter keeps in operation. Each has been modified to carry an entire company.
The Flesh Tearers dropped the Blood Angels' practice of blood transfusions to new recruits when they split from the Legion after the Heresy, but by this time Sanguinius' pain had already become so bound within the Chapter's geneseed itself that they could not escape the effects of the Black Rage. Indeed, the Black Rage seems to have become more uncontrollable, perhaps because of their isolation or a change in their gene-replication practices. It has now become apparent that the Flesh Tearers' geneseed has mutated a great deal over the past ten thousand years and degenerated vastly. Every year, more and more Flesh Tearers succumb to the Black Rage, with very few being able to survive more than two hundred years before the Curse of Horus overtakes them. Cretacia has provided the Flesh Tearers with a good source of recruits in the past, as the primordial humans make excellent potential Space Marines; only a small percentage of them reject the genetic modifications that make a Space Marine superhuman, while their simple minds are easily adapted to the mental conditioning all Space Marines undergo. However, even this supply of battle brothers has proved insufficient as the Flesh Tearers defective geneseed accelerates in its degradation.
This has increased the burden on the Chaplains and Sanguinary Priests whose responsibility it is to restrain brethren whose violent and uncontrollable behavior forces them to be kept apart from other Marines. They are habitually locked away in a purpose-made prison known as the Tower of the Lost, located many miles from the main stronghold of the Fortress-monastery. The victims of the Black Rage imprisoned within the Tower of the Lost constantly howl their fury at the walls surrounding them, their wailing cries competing with the roars of the huge creatures that prowl the swamps around the Tower. The Chaplains and Priests constantly search and experiment, anxious to discover a cure for their lost brothers and bring them back into the Chapter, knowing all the time that the Black Rage will soon consume them as well. It is the duty of the Librarians of the Flesh Tearers to travel widely, desperate to find the ancient and sacred texts which they believe must exist, in the hope of finding lasting salvation from their curse.
The Flesh Tearers have developed a dreadful cry when they charge that, amplified by their power armour's vox-systems, has been known to stun lesser enemies into utter submission. To date there have been no recordings made of their cry, though the few survivors of their assaults have described it as a wailing sound that drove deep into their minds, bringing to the fore an absolute terror that made it almost impossible to halt the Space Marines' brutal assault.