Also I'm doing this whole thing for my own twisted amusement and it's a big bonus if others get something from it, do I really want the pressure of evaluation etc...? 'I just don't think I can take that kind of rejection!' ;o)
Forged In Blood
“Blood and Sand! Blood and Sand! They call for you.” Veteran Sergeant Proximo, 10th Company.
Every ninety years a comet known as the Hammer; enters the Helios system and passes close to the Blood Drinker’s home world. On San Guisuga, the restless skies above the Montes Tonitrus cease their constant disquiet and clear; leaving the jade green smear of the passing comet’s tail to cast a haunting light across the land. This period, called the Ascension, lasts for one hundred and fifty days and is a time of great celebration and feasting among the tribes; for this is the time when the demigod warriors of the Sky Father will choose a worthy few to ascend into their sacred ranks.
Young warriors make the perilous journey to the mountainous holy city of Nibiru, an arduous trek whose myriad dangers exact a heavy mortal toll. There the survivors petition the cities monks for their blessing to compete as Aspirants in the Trials of Ascension, a series of gruelling games and brutal gladiatorial contests which will test their skill, strength and courage to its limits and cost many more their lives.
Throughout the trials, Comitatus from the Chapter secretly mingle amongst the city's monastic inhabitants who throng to the great arena; their task to assess the competing Aspirants potential, highlighting those of most promise and passing that information back to the Master of Recruits.
The final day of the trials begins with the Blood Drinkers themselves arriving to oversee the last of the surviving Aspirants compete. Roaring from the heavens, their Stormravens set down atop a colossal stone pedestal raised above the arena in the shape of an armoured fist clenching a raised chalice. The giant Astartes, clad in their blood red armour descend to the baying of horns, the thundering of drums and the deep chants of the amassed monks, their voices raised as one in praise.
|A Warrior fights for Ascension|
At day's end when enough men have died, the Master of Recruits selects usually fifty of the bloodied but unbowed Aspirants; calling them in turn, to approach and kneel before him. There he presents them with a combat blade, its tang inscribed with their name; they are then carried away on a tide of monks and acolytes to be feted like kings and enjoy one final night of revelry before leaving the mortal world for the realm of Gods.
This final night is known as the Feast of the Red Dawn; for as the Hammer pulls away from the system its calming effects on the planet wane. Roiling clouds start to fill the sky once more and a hot wind begins to blow out of the Magnus Solitudo. As the twin Helios stars rise the next morning, the air is stained with dust from the desert; casting a red pall over the city; if rain should fall, it falls in heavy droplets of blood red.
The following day the Aspirants make their way to the Field of Swords, a high plateau to the north of the city bounded on all sides by statues of legendary Blood Drinker heroes. Entering through a triumphal arch carved with great deeds of the Chapter, they are greeted by the Master of Recruits and a group of Veteran Sergeants of the Chapters 10th Company, then ushered to waiting Stormravens for transport to the Chapter Fortress.
|Training ground within The Maw|
Upon arrival at The Maw they observe a period of vigil in the Basilica of Sanguinius, where rituals of purification and litanies of mental fortitude are performed to prepare them for their next step along the path to becoming an Astarte.
They are borne away to the Sanguinary Crypts and there the process of transforming them into mighty Astartes begins; their heads are shaved and metal shunts are surgically inserted throughout their bodies, Gene-seed implantation is commenced and the proto-organs react almost immediately to the key signatures of the ingested blood from the Calix. The Aspirants are then placed in upright sarcophagi made of intricately carved platinum and the shunts are connected to the interior of the sarcophagi with a nest of snaking tubes; these serve as feed lines, life function monitors, hypnomat probes and a multitude of other arcane devices whose mysteries are known only to the priesthood.
When the Aspirants emerge they are fast on the road to becoming a physically mature marine and are ready to begin their training as Chapter Neophytes. They have increased considerably in size and their muscle mass has grown exponentially; their canines have grown into distinctive fangs and their faces now carry echoes of their Primarch's noble features. Many of the new internal organs germinated by the Gene-seed are fully functioning; these include the Omophagea organ which suffers a mutation particular to the Blood Drinkers, resulting in a literal hunger for blood.
The Sanguinary Priests have never been able to fully determine the cause of the mutation, although accepted theory points towards a reaction between the very unique San blood type and that of Sanguinius, causing this usually benign organ to beget such cravings; a condition possibly exacerbated by the already indoctrinated tribal blood rituals of the Neophytes.
Pictures used 'The Green Comet' by sprit3s , 'Gladiator Concept' by Sorin Lupu , 'Training Facility' by Alexandr Melentiev , Misc images from Index Astartes Book I copyright Games Workshop Limited 2000-2011