Monday, 31 October 2011

Blood Drinkers Fandex : Chapter Honours

A final push on the Chapter background for the Fandex and I've put together a potted history of engagements and events involving the Blood Drinkers mostly over the past few centuries of the 40k timeline. I've included what I can find from the few official bits of writing featuring the Chapter, noting the source at the bottom of the post (although I have added or omitted minor detail to aid in the overall flow of my story telling) the rest is based on what battles I've fought with my army over the years and from the depths of my occasionally fertile imagination (they'll be the overly long bits).

Extracts from the Liber Potoris
"Ride the Lightning." Motto of the 8th Company 'The Talons'.

310M36 - The Plague of Unbelief
The Chapter deploys several companies to the Hive World of Vaust in the Segmentum Pacificus; there they engage in bitter street fighting in support of the uprising against the apostate Cardinal Bucharis. (i)
311M36 – Liberation of Bellerophon
Chapter Master Avicus leads strike force ‘Red Storm’ in cleansing religious fanatics still loyal to the now dead Cardinal Bucharis, from the former capital of the Draco Sector in the Segmentum Tempestus. The ferocity of the conflict leaves this once jewel of the Imperium, a broken and haunted shell.

126M39 – The Karkason Crusade
Grievously wounded and taken prisoner, following a heroic but futile stand against a Titan; an enforced duel that cost the lives of the rest of his squad. Lieutenant Kroff Tezla is liberated by Marines of the Imperial Fist Chapter, during fighting against Chaos rebels led by Lord Fulgor Sagramoso. (ii)
Sagramoso has led a planetary revolt, declaring himself an independent sovereign and a god. After the conflict, Tezla is returned to the Chapter where he is interned in the sarcophagi of the Furioso Immortal ‘Eternal Thirst’ to continue his service to Sanguinius and the Emperor.

373M39 - Delta IX Massacre
Asdrubael Vect, leader of the Kabal of the Black Heart and Supreme Overlord of Commorragh leads an attack on the Imperial planet of Delta IX, one of the largest recorded incursions into the Imperium by the Dark Eldar. The Chapter deploy forces in response, but arrive too late to prevent the now infamous massacre of the planets populace. (ix)

887M39 - The Death of Integrity
During its third baneful appearance in the star systems near Vol Secundus, the Space Hulk designated Death of Integrity was subjected to a full boarding assault by the forces of the Novamarines and Blood Drinkers Chapters, with nearly two hundred Terminators leading the attack.

In a grim campaign fought in radiation fogged-darkness, the hulk was successfully purged of the Genestealer infestation that inhabited it, with a 53:1 kill ratio achieved in the Space Marines favour.

Lauded for conducting an almost flawless assault, the glory of the two Chapters was made even greater when the hulk revealed priceless STC materials when dissected by the Adeptus Mechanicus. They, in an uncommon display of gratitude, supplied each Chapter with a great bounty in the shape of a newly commissioned strike cruiser from the fleet-forges at Triplex Phall, delivered into their hands exactly thirty standard years later after construction had been completed. (iv)

142M41 - Bradur IV Rebellion
The Commander of the 3rd Vorradion Regiment, Imperial Guard, having been appointed Governor of the garrison planet of Bradur IV; rebels against the Imperium.

Imperial justice is swift and total; less than a hundred days after the rebellion began, the governor's palace is assaulted by the Blood Drinkers 3rd Company, with orders to take no prisoners and accept no surrender terms. Bradur IV is reclaimed for the Emperor in a few bloody hours. (iii)

410M41 – The Lalinta Prime Campaign
Captain Gaius Turpo leads a joint expeditionary fleet from the Blood Drinkers and Ultramarines Chapters to discover the fate of this Imperial Guard founding world. They find it in the clutches of an insurrection by Chaos cultists, with rival traitor Marines of the Death Guard and Thousand Sons vying to carry out an invasion of the continent of Novus Colonia. There to lay claim to ancient Eldar artifacts from before The Fall, unwittingly uncovered by an Imperial mining project.

Victory in a major ship engagement drives the Chaos fleet from orbit allowing the Marines to make planetfall; but they are sorely tested in a campaign that sees them driven to the brink of madness and turned against each other by the twisted sorceries of their corrupt foe.

Only the intervention from an unexpected quarter, Eldar from the Craft Worlds Biel Tan and Kaela Mensha, turns the tide of battle and saves the planet from damnation.

Lieutenant Marcus Tiberius is gifted the legendary weapon ‘Ahred`var’ by Alanthrasil Swiftblade; in recognition of the Blood Drinkers actions in saving the life of the Eldar nobles sister, the Spiritseer Eminielle, after she fell at the Battle of Haxtes.

Victory secured, the uneasy alliance dissolves; the Eldar vanishing as mysteriously as they had appeared, removing their ancestral relics for inclusion and study in the Black Library. Despite their mutual animosity and certainty that they will meet as foes in the future, both sides cannot deny a new found respect for the other.

425M41 – The Rasczak Sanction
The Chapter is censured by the Ordo Xenos following an investigation by Inquisitor Rasczak into their actions on Lalinta Prime. They are accused of failing to prosecute a Xenos race, loss of artifacts vital to the interests of the Imperium and suspicion of withholding Xenos technology. All charges are however sequestered when the Blood Drinkers renew their oaths to provide a regular tithe of Marines to the ranks of the Deathwatch, increasing the number threefold.

444M41 – The Pavonis Secession
Following years of devastating attacks by Dark Eldar raiders and the perceived inability of the Imperium to provide adequate defence; the Guild Houses of several systems in the Pavonis Sector found the Hanzian League and threaten secession from Imperial Rule if their homeworlds and interests are not safeguarded.

The Lord Sector Nihllius Callidon, dispatches far more military resources to crush the movement than he ever devoted to fighting the pirate incursions; but the League’s immense wealth and sympathy for their cause amongst local forces sways many an Imperial Commanders loyalties.

Over a quarter of the fleet and almost three full regiments of Imperial Guard revolt; led by the charismatic and brilliant General Aanton Reenez, the secessionist deal a string of defeats to Imperial forces, driving them out of two entire Sub Sectors and forcing Lord Callidon to call for outside aid.

Blood Drinker strike force ‘Retribution Thunder’ under the command of Captain Yusuf Israfel of the 1st Company, is in transit to the rebellion on Armageddon and diverts to deal swiftly with the conflict. The Marines carry out a series of lightning attacks at key secessionist strongholds; the worlds of Coldis, Rodan and Ubrak bear witness to the wrath of the Astartes and despite a valiant defence orchestrated by General Reenez he and his forces eventually surrender.

Lord Callidon holds a triumph in the liberated city of Chaleos, parading the secessionist prisoners to a weeping crowd; Captain Israfel attends out of protocol although he finds the Lord’s company distasteful and the spectacle offends his sense of honour.

Without warning the city is attacked by a large force of Dark Eldar, in the panic that ensues Lord Callidon flees. Israfel and his honour guard launch themselves into the fray to defend the innocents being butchered by the twisted Xenos and the Captain finds himself alongside the chained Aanton Reenez. The General entreats Israfel to release him and his troops so they may fight and die as soldiers and the noble Astarte orders it so.

With the Marines cutting a swathe of destruction through the cackling enemy ranks, Reenez’s troops gather what weapons they can and join the desperate fight, many fall, including the General but eventually they succeed in driving the Dark Eldar back through their webway portals. Israfel kneels at the side of the mortally wounded General, who reveals the reason for his revolt and asks that the Blood Drinker grant a last request.

In the days that follow it becomes clear that Lord Callidon had been in league with the Dark Eldar for many years, having made a pact to sacrifice Imperial citizens from the Sector in return for a limit to the number and scope of their raids. Callidon had manipulated the deployment of Imperial forces so that any potential rivals were left undefended and targets for the next raid; the secessionist prisoners were to be but the next offering in this diabolical scheme had the Xenos not grown impatient for the next tithe of flesh.

General Reenez had always suspected this, but could not prove it, his plan had been to defend the planets of the Pavonis Sector as best he could from the Dark Eldar and hope to draw Imperial Forces from outside the Lord Sector’s influence into the conflict and perhaps reveal the conspiracy.

The Blood Drinkers pursue Callidon’s Oberon class Battleship with cold determination, their boarding parties making swift work of securing the massive ship despite its formidable defences. When the ship is reclaimed by a pilot crew of the Pavonis Battlefleet, the desiccated corpse of the disgraced Lord Sector is found, but of the remaining thousands of the ships compliment there is no sign.

Israfel sees to it that the dying request of Aanton Reenez is honoured, all his surviving troops are granted pardon and reinstated as loyal servants of the Imperium; he also raises a shrine to the General in Chaleos, the words above the tomb entrance carved by his own hand ‘A true hero and an honourable man’.

457M41-The Red Rout
The First War for Armageddon has concluded before the Blood Drinkers can be deployed, however they still have a role to play in its aftermath. The defeated World Eaters Legion has been left shattered and in disarray, with banishment of their Primarch the Daemon Prince Angron; their forces retreating across the Segmentum Obscurus towards their cursed bastions within the Eye of Terror.

The Chapter commits several strike forces to the pursuit alongside a number of other marine Chapters and is involved in many actions against the traitor forces, including the now legendary Battle of Iridium III.

Strike force ‘Noble Advance’ comes to the aid of the Imperial Agri-World of Iridium III, surprising a World Eater Warband that has descended upon the planet to pillage and murder.

The newly promoted Captain Tiberius leads the attack with his favoured tactic of daring airborne assault, the speed of which catches the traitor marines completely off guard. The combined firepower of the 8th Companies Thunderhawks and Stormravens decimate the Warbands armoured column, punching a hole in their defences, into which pours the spear tip of the 1st Company.

The First’s Sanguinary Priest Terentius Varro, clad in his pearl white and blood red Terminator armour heads the charge, exhorting the veterans about him to heroic feats of arms. They cut down all who stand before them, frenzied squads of Berserkers, hulking Traitor Terminator’s and even a fearsome Dreadnought.

Initially deployed to guide the airborne strike, Scout Squad Hasta is attacked by the Warbands Chaos Lord as he attempts to break out of the ambush and rally his warriors. Sitting astride a mighty Juggernaut of Khorne the Warp twisted Champion of Chaos sneers at the poorly matched novitiate marines. The squads Veteran Sergeant, Oenomaus, hurls himself at the monster with Krak grenades clenched in both fists; the resultant explosion tearing the metal daemon and it’s infernal master to pieces. By the Emperors grace, brave Oenomaus is thrown clear and survives although horrifically injured; he will bear his scars as marks of honour for many centuries to come.

799M41 – Relief of Seleucia Primus
Chapter Master Cassius Verus personally heads three companies in a battle to lift a brutal two month siege of this Hive City on the Imperial planet of Tigris; the planet having been overrun by an Ork Waaagh.

Verus is mortally wounded by the Daemon blade ‘Neqa’el’ unwittingly wielded by an Ork Warlord, Zodgrim Rotdreg of the Badmoon Clan and command falls to Captain Marcus Tiberius of 8th Company. With the Marine forces having suffered heavy casualties and shaken by the recent loss of their Master, Tiberius orchestrates an aerial withdrawal of the remaining Blood Drinkers. Faultless in its execution, not a single Stormraven or Battle Brother is lost and several high value members of the cities resistance are also extracted.

During the withdrawal High Chaplain Azariah single handedly fights off an ambush by Blood Axe Kommandos and recovers the body of Verus, slaying Rotdreg in the act. But the blade ‘Neqa’el’ eludes the Chaplain; with its thrall dead, the weapon uses its fell warp magic to disappear amongst the carnage of battle to await a new soul to damn.
Rotdreg’s death and the vital intelligence supplied by the evacuated resistance leaders results in the lifting of the siege by Imperial Forces and the successful defeat of the Waaagh by the year’s end.

800M41 – Hail Imperator
Marcus Tiberius is proclaimed Imperator, Chapter Master of the Blood Drinkers.

802M41 – Cleansing of Helios Alpha
The Chapter comes to the aid of the Cadian 35th as they lay siege to the Daemon infested hive world of Helios Alpha. The Blood Drinkers ferocious assault swiftly breaks the stalemate, although the high incidence of collateral damage amongst the Guardsmen fighting alongside the Astartes leaves Cadian High Command decidedly hesitant to accept the Chapters aid again. (v)

816M41 - The Seige of Hive Ibellus
Two of the Chapters companies are dispatched to the Jericho Reach to reinforce the ongoing Achilus Crusade in its quest to bring the Reach back under Imperial rule. They deploy in the Orpheus Salient mere months before the first tendrils of Hive Fleet Dagon strike the world of Castobel.

Some say that the Chapter was drawn to Castobel by the scent of blood, the two companies of Battle Brothers taking up residence in the highest spire of Hive Ibellus and fortifying it for a protracted siege. It was not long before the Tyranids struck and when they did, the Blood Drinkers were waiting.

Alone of all Castobels hives, Ibellus stood firm against the billion strong horde; the noble, almost beatific Battle Brothers manning the walls and setting such an example for the hive militias that it is said the men sang with joy as they fought, knowing that they could never fail.

It was only later that dark rumours began to circulate, despite the best efforts of the militia's commissars and hive enforcers. Some claimed that Xenos infiltrators were stalking the hives by night; but others spun a far more disturbing yarn. The rumours told of people dragged screaming from their beds late at night and of terrible blood-curdling cries emanating from the spire the Blood Drinkers used as their headquarters. Still later it was said that enforcer patrols found exsanguinated corpses deep in the hive sinks, battered and pulped as if thrown from the greatest heights of the spire.

None could locate the source of these dark tales, which many rumourmongers claimed as proof in itself that something was afoot. The people of Castobel were fighting for their very existence against a foe that might have overwhelmed them months before were it not for the heroic deeds of the Blood Drinkers and so for a while at least, a few blood-drained corpses easily blamed on alien stalkers were the least of their worries. (viii)

989M41 - Rynn’s World Reclamation
The Blood Drinkers are one of the many Chapters rotated through combat operations during this long and drawn out conflict to retake The Crimson Fists homeworld and the surrounding Loki Sector from the forces of Waaagh! Snagrod. (vi)

997M41- The Gryphonne Exodus
As the seemingly unstoppable force of Hive Fleet Leviathan cuts an apocalyptic swathe through the Segmentum Tempestus, Imperial forces struggle desperately to establish Inquisitor Kryptman’s galactic cordon.

The Blood Drinkers come to the aid of their brother Astartes the Knights of Gryphonne and the Legio Gryphonicus Titan Legion; together fighting a costly holding action to allow a hastily assembled, ragtag fleet, time to evacuate the Gryphonne system.

The Tech Priests of the Forge World Gryphonne IV refuse to abandon their planet; as it has the finest defences in the Galactic South, they believe they can fight off the Tyranid onslaught. But the slim hope of a minor victory has no place in Kryptman’s desperate and horrific gambit.

Imperial forces fall back to the bastion of the Forge World but word reaches the Blood Drinker commander, Captain Togrul Jezreel of 2nd Company that Kryptman has signed an Exterminatus order for the planet despite it still being held.

This information, received from one of Jezreel’s Battle Brothers in the sworn service of the Deathwatch, convinces the Mechanicus to begin an evacuation but it may already be too late. A last broken report from the defenders before the Shadow in the Warp rendered the system dark was that the first waves of Mycetic Spores had begun to fall upon the planet.

Later Inquisitorial records that form part of the backlash against Kryptman’s actions of genocide and the eventual issuing of a Carta Extremis, show the Exterminatus order as successfully executed and list the planet as a Dead World, its population of over eight billion souls sacrificed. The Legio Gryphonicus, its Skitarii Legions, four companies of the Knights of Gryphonne and both the 2nd and 4th companies of the Blood Drinkers are presumed lost.

Captain Aajz Solari of the Raven Guard is rumoured to have made contact with a large refugee fleet under the protection of the Knights of Gryphonne in the Reductus Sector; further information is pending.
999M41 – Defence of Baal
A tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan is judged to be on a direct course for the Blood Angel homeworld of Baal, just as the Bloodthirster Ka’Bandha (ancient adversary of Sanguinius himself) returns from the Warp at the head of a Daemon army and attacks Ammonai, the outermost planet of the Baal system. Commander Dante sends requests for aid to all the Blood Angels Successors. The Blood Drinkers heed the call to arms as do all others save the Lamentors; the stage is set for the defence of Baal and possibly the last battle of the Scions of Sanguinius. (vii)

(i)    Imperial Armour Volume 2.
(ii)   Space Marine by Ian Watson.
(iii)  White Dwarf 109.
(iv)  Warhammer 40,000 : Compilation / Imperial Armour Vol 9 The Badab War PtI / Deathwatch Honour the Chapter.
(v)   5th Edition Codex Blood Angels.
(vi)  Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader.
(vii) 5th Edition Codex Blood Angels.
(viii) Deathwatch Rites of Battle.
(ix) 2nd Edition Codex Dark Eldar / Warhammer 40,000 : Compendium.

Pictures featured 'Blood Angel Captain' by John Blanche, 'Space Marines' by Radojavor , 'Dark Eldar' by Alex Boyd,  'Angels of Death' by Geoff Taylor


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