Thursday, 9 December 2010

Blood Drinkers Fandex : Origins

I've spent the last week or so of rare and precious free time working on the Blood Drinker Fandex project and after much cursing, gnashing of teeth and the odd ceremonial thump to the side of my cogitators casing (MS Word is truly a devil that refuses to be tamed) I've pieced together the following for the Origins section of the dex, a lot of it is a re-write of work I did over on B&C but having put it through the old grey matter sieve again, I think it's come out for the better.

I've also produced an orbital picture of the Chapter Homeworld of San Guisuga; the project is still in its infant stages and as such I haven't pinned down the layout yet, but I'll keep posting up the meat of the work as I finish it, with a view to eventually turning the whole thing into a PDF.

Origins of the Blood Drinkers
"Fiery the Angels rose and as they rose deep thunder rolled around the shores." M2 Visionary, Blake of Britonnica - Merica, A Prophecy

In the year 021.M31, the Great Scouring drew to an end as the final embers of The Horus Heresy were stamped out by the remaining loyal Space Marine Legions. Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines had finished his great work, the writing of the Codex Astartes. With it he intended to restructure and order the Legions, in the hope of preventing such a catastrophe as the Warmaster’s treachery ever befalling the Imperium again.

One of the first Legions to submit to the Codex were the Blood Angels; they had been left reeling by the death of their Primarch Sanguinius, most noble of the Emperors sons, murdered at the hands of the monster Horus. Factions had formed amongst the Angels as the rights of succession were disputed and grief turned all too easily to anger as dark, terrible thoughts haunted the minds of many a Battle Brother.

Azkaellon, last of the fallen Primarch’s Sanguinary Guard, began to galvanise support for Guilliman’s reformation; seeing it as the best hope of re-forging the riven Blood Angels. He oversaw the division of the Legion and separated their numbers along the fracture lines created by the succession quarrels. The Blood Angels formed six new Codex Chapters; one retained the hallowed name and traditions of the former Legion, remaining on their homeworld of Baal, the other five were the Second Founding Chapters, also known as the Successors, sent forth into the stars to forge legacies of their own.

Reclusiarch Julius Vladarius, a staunch supporter of Azkaellon was chosen by him to lead one of the Successor Chapters; but Vladarius was reluctant as he wished to remain at Azkaellon’s side. Legend tells that as he meditated upon Azkaellon’s offer in the newly appointed Reclusiam Tower, he was visited by the spirit of Sanguinius who revealed to him a vision and entrusted him with a great quest. Vladarius never recorded the details of his vision for he deemed it sacred to him alone; but it is said he immediately strode from the tower to meet with Azkaellon and accepted the undertaking, proclaiming that the new Chapter would be named the Blood Drinkers by the will of Sanguinius.

Power Armour of Reclusiarch Vladarius prior to his accession to Chapter Master

The first entry of the Chapters Chronicles, the ‘Liber Potoris’ lists the names of the thousand marines chosen to accompany Vladarius and records their departure from Baal, along with a portion of the former Legions Armorium, on three ships in the early days of 023.M31.

The Chronicles go on to detail the Founding fleets rapid push into the Segmentum Tempestus, guided by Vladarius in pursuit of his vision and tells mythic tales of the Chapters many adventures during their quest. Deadly encounters with Xeno races such as the Ah’bazzi of Sakha whose bestial metal teeth were said to tear through ceramite as though it were vellum.

A daring rescue of thousands of Imperial refugees from the converted bulk hauler Coscoroba, as it fell into the gravity well of the Vigors Star; one of the last recorded missions of the venerable Stormbird.

And epic battles like that of the Ropidal Breach and Indraja Massif during the Scourging of the Ungoliant Peninsular Worlds.

After a voyage of 94 years standard, in the year 117.M31 the Blood Drinkers fleet entered orbit around a long forgotten world in the Helios System of the Scatha Sub Sector. Vladarius proclaimed their quest to be nearing its end and that this would be the Chapters Homeworld; the planets name according to ancient Terran charts, was San Guisuga.

Planet of the Blood Drinkers
"Blood is Life." Ancient San proverb.

San Guisuga is classified as a Death World by the Imperium. It is situated in the Binary Star System of Helios in the Scatha Sub; this in turn is part of the Draco Sector of the Segmentum Tempestus, close to the border of The Veiled Region.

It is an almost barren world of blasted bare rock and desolate desert wastes seared by radiation from the systems twin suns. But against all Imperial logic a continent sized pocket of habitable terrain exists, somehow protected from the rest of the planets lethal environment; roughly nine million square miles in size, it is located across the equator and southern hemisphere.

Constant geomagnetic storms prevent any meaningful orbital scanning of the surface and along with the vast debris swathe of the Acheron Asteroid Field; they pose a significant hazard to any ship attempting to navigate the system.

Surveys conducted by Artisans of the Chapter suggest that this was not always so; that San Guisuga was once a verdant and bountiful world before some great cataclysm befell it and the surrounding system, countless millennia before the arrival of Humanity.

The Harrowing

The human inhabitants of San Guisuga are most certainly the descents of a settlement during the Dark Age of Technology, although now primitive shadows of those Forerunners.

Their tribal legends tell of an immense Ark carrying the peoples of Terra; that was wrecked upon the planets great desert. These castaways set out from the wreckage on a desperate exodus towards a distant haven of habitable land, but great numbers of them perished crossing the burning wastes. Those that survived to reach this land found their salvation short lived and many met swift brutal deaths by fang, claw, vine and root as the savage nature of the lands flora and fauna was revealed.

Thousands more succumbed to a plague that condemned them to suffer a lingering and painful death as they were consumed from within by parasitic plant growth.

Cern's Kiss
Officio Assassinorum Cypher Mort-Lacus Accepted - Greetings Grand Master

Ref: 640509-040147
Date: 2384646.M41
File: Cern's Kiss
Status: Sealed Data

The apothecary skills of the Blood Drinkers Sanguinary Priests traced and isolated the plague of San tribal legend; a virulent plant spore from the jungles of their home planet was found to be its cause. Samples of the spore were later ‘obtained’ by agents of the Venenum Temple of the Officio Assassinorum and weaponised.

This highly effective bio toxin designated Cerns Kiss has been employed on a number of operations, most notably the termination of Planetary Governor Kaitos and his entire household in 680.M40, following their detection as Genestealer Cultists by agents of the Inquisition.

It was during the plague, when all hope was lost and it seemed to the Terrans that San Guisuga would become a tomb for them all, that a messianic figure arose. Remembered in tales only as the Red Prophet, he was both a courageous warrior and man of learning, possessed of mystical powers and most importantly, he was immune to the plague. He traveled among the fearful remnants of the shipwreck survivors, fighting off many terrible beasts and offering his blood as a cure against the fatal malady, saving them from certain death.

The grateful people elected the Red Prophet as their leader, he founded a great city as the seat of his governance and from it he ruled justly and wisely. But after many years the Prophet became restless and ceded his rule to a council of elders from the tribes. He set out alone into the wilds of San Guisuga prophesying that when the Children of the San, as the people were now known, were in their greatest need; he would return to lead them once again.

Centuries past and the petty jealousies of men led the San to quarrel among one another; the Prophets city was abandoned to war, but worse was to follow. A group of San had fled from the conflict to San Guisuga’s landlocked Sea, there in its remote islands they uncovered ancient Xenos ruins, great pyramids buried beneath the jungle, their vine choked stones carved with depictions of a strange amphibians and reptiles. In search of power over their enemies, these San delved deep into the secrets left behind by the long forgotten alien race.

Over time, as they experimented with dark science and practiced fell warp magic, they were corrupted by forces they could not comprehend, descending into madness, becoming depraved beasts who craved the flesh of others of their kind. They struck out from their dark bastions, reaping death and destruction on all they could find; those they did not kill were dragged away to slavery or far worse fates.

Chapter Archive Pict 031/11492 - 'Eaters of Men' 

The Descent of Angels

The other San learned to live in a constant embattled state, desperately fending off the frequent raiding parties of cannibals in conflicts of ever increasing brutality; slowly but surely, despite their bravery, settlement after settlement was destroyed and their future looked bleak.

It was at this time that the Blood Drinkers arrived, descending from orbit, they made landfall close to the remains of the Prophet's city, at a place now known as the Field of Swords. The leaders of the besieged settlements, although fearful of these giants from the sky, came to meet with them. They believed Vladarius to be the Red Prophet, returning to them from the heavens in their darkest hour and they soon flocked to his banner as he and his Astartes led them in a war against the Chaos worshipers. 

After several weeks of bitter fighting Vladarius and his forces assaulted the last enemy fortress; the Chapter Master personally leading the attack up the blood soaked steps of that cursed pyramid. Despite facing certain defeat, the Chaos forces revelled in every act of carnage they could inflict before their dark lives were snuffed out and they made the valiant attackers pay dearly for every step of their ascent.

Upon reaching the summit Vladarius was faced by the leader of the cult, a twisted Champion of Chaos, wreathed in shadow and flame; they fought for a day and a night, a great storm broiling around their epic conflict, each clash of blades a flash of lightning, each roar of rage the drum roll of thunder. Finally, his armour rent and flesh torn, Vladarius toppled his daemonic foe, impaling the beast upon the pyramids capstone whereupon it's broken body was consumed by the storms fury, at last putting an end to the evil.

Extract from the San Tale of Reclamation
"It was the Age of Destruction, the Year of Carnage, the Eaters of Men were dancing with the Lizards once more and their Worm Magic hunted for those Children that the Spirits had kept hidden. 
The Sky Father had cast down the Black Serpent and tricked the Ancient of Days. He took up his War Hammer and struck the seal of the heavens, it broke and silence covered them.
The Children called out and the Sky Father heard; sending three Star Chariots, he returned to us the Red Prophet, now Chieftain to the Sky Fathers Warriors, giants wearing metal skin and bearing Thunder Rods.

The Red Prophet came to where the Children had gathered and spoke the words of the Sky Father; blades were raised and the valley was as steel grass.

So it was that the Red Prophet led the Sky Fathers Warrior Sons and the Children in a Great War Dance together until the Eaters of Men were less than shadows and dust beneath their feet."

After his victory, Vladarius set about recruiting the first of the Chapters Aspirants from the San's warrior clans; their ferocious martial prowess truly befitting a chapter born of Sanguinius. He ordered the Prophet's city rebuilt, naming it Nibiru, the San word for 'Crossing' and raised within it a mighty arena where the Aspirants would be tested.

Today San Guisuga has been divided into several distinct geographic regions by its Astarte rulers, with the San maintained as feral tribes, scattered throughout the habitable lands.

The Cor Atrum is entirely covered in dense jungle and tropical rain forest, laced with rivers; it is alive with dangers too numerous to count. Within its depths are the fortified tree settlements of the jungle tribes. Skilled woodsmen and hunters of the great beasts of the forests, they are completely at one with the Atrum’s lethal nature.

To the east the forests are bounded by a range of mountains, the Montes Tonitrus. So called as the upper atmosphere is constantly in turmoil and violent electrical storms are frequent. Here among the peaks rising up to five miles in height is the sacred city Nibiru home to a monastic order dedicated to the worship of the Sky Father and his warriors; these monks are the only San able to commune directly with the Astartes, who they revere as demigods.

The jungle rivers and mountain waterfalls feed into the Smaragdus Sea, along its shores are dotted the stilt villages of tribes who harvest its bounty, braving the monsters that lurk in the depths. The south western waters are studded with numerous islands of the Insulae Lacerta, the site of the Xenos ruins and former domain of the Chaos cults. These islands are considered cursed and forbidden to the San; it is here that the Blood Drinkers conduct much of their initial training.

Surrounding these lands are the border dunes of the Magnus Solitudo; home to the hardy nomadic tribes. These wanderers scour the harsh wastes, searching the sands for treasures of the past which they give as offerings via the monks of Nibiru to the Sky Father.

Beyond their domain lies the Lapis Balteus, the bones of the planet laid bare by the ancient cataclysm. Here the atmosphere becomes thin and during the hours of daylight radiation levels turn flesh to ash in moments.

Located out in this vast inhospitable waste is the Krake Rift and within its depths, the Blood Drinkers fortress monastery known as The Maw.


Bix said...

11/02/11 Tweaked the Descent of Angels section adding a Tribal Origin Tale to give a better feel for the character of the renamed Children of the San (I don't know why I ever went away from that one) and rephrased a few paragraphs that didn't quite work for me.

Bix said...

Been back and tweaked this again, purging all the html 'scrap code' out with a rinse through note pad; it was messing up the script layout.

Hopefully that should be it.

Bix said...

Been back again with another rewrite (I know I just can't stop tinkering), simplifying the San origin story, removing the four brothers for a more streamlined 'Chosen One' storyline and losing all the tribal names which were really surplus to requirements and niggled me some.

Also added additional info regarding the naming of the San plague; I always loved these little side boxes in the old GW backgrounds.

Now I've just got to iron out the changes throughout the rest of the Fandex work.

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