The Miles Rufus Astartes, commonly referred to as the Twelvers, or the Red Guard, are a twelfth founding chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, or Space Marines. They arrived in the Agrippa Sector towards the end of the Kali Crusade, and rapidly rose to prominence after their near anhillation of the Schwarzchildes. Initially co-operating with the local chapter, the Victrix Astartes, they later suppressed that chapter after it was excommunicated for heresy. This elimination combined with several other events to propel the Twelvers to pre-eminent position among the chapters in the Agrippa Sector:
- The failure of the Templar Crusade in the Palatinate
- The depature of Imperial Governor and his hatchetman, Achilles of the fourth company of the Raven Guard
- The reticence of Bishamon of the Salamanders to take a role in politics
As such, the Twelvers have a voice in the Council of Houses, and play an active role in the politics of the Agrippa Sector. This role came to a head during the Fronde, when the Twelvers, through their speaker Helenus, were one of the few voices of reason calling for peace when the Houses turned on one another.
The Red Guard, also recorded in the Helios Codex as the Miles Rufus Astartes, is a product of the twelfth founding, activated in the waning days of M35.434. The chapter was formed with twelve companies, as opposed to the standard ten. The Helios Codex refers to an error in transcription in the preparation of the codices as leading to the discrepancy. However, by the time the error was finally caught, the fledgling chapter had already set forth.
Barbarossa, first Master of the Red Guard, had orders to deploy into the Africanus sector and establish a base on the world of Priory. This base was to be used as a centre of operations in bringing the sector back into the Imperial fold.
But he was fated never to reach his destination. Tragedy struck as the fleet dared the difficult tides of the warp that had kept the Africanus sector isolated for so long. A daemon of the warp set upon the fleet, destroying several cargo ships and an accompanying passenger vessel bearing members of the Ecclesiarchy and of the Administratum. It was only a matter of time before the daemon struck at the Strike Cruisers and his precious brothers.
So he struck first. Ordering the rest of the fleet to flee he turned the strike cruiser bearing himself and the twelfth company off the safe course and risked the unthinkable, combat in the warp. While desperate, his actions bought precious time, and saved the remainder of the fleet.
When they arrived safely out of the warp they waited for their missing commander. A year passed with no sign being seen; no message being received. Finally demands that they continue with their mission grew strident. They were forced to abandon their vigil and move on. The Captains of the seven battle companies and the Masters of the Library, Chapel, Forge and Apothecary voted the captain of the first company, Girardus, to stand as Legate for the chapter until such a time as Barbarossa should appear. Or, they should have proof of his death.
The first act of the Legate was to mandate the number "12" as their chapter insignia in rememberance of their missing brothers. Because of this they have come to be known by outsiders as the Twelvers, a name which caught on in common usage.
Girardus’ second act was to set the chapter back on track. Within hours of his election the fleet was on the move again, Priory its destination. The four reserve companies were dropped on Priory to establish a chapterhouse, while the remaining companies struck at strongpoints in the region. Thus the chapter had its first trial by fire, the fortress-city of Murat.
The Siege of Murat Edit
Eldar exiles had captured the world of Murat several centuries earlier, enslaving the indigenous population. Using the labour of generations of slaves they had forged a mighty fortress city on the planet which they named for the world, Murat. It was this that Girardus had set as a trial for his unblooded and mourning legion. He was determined to have his brothers tested and not found wanting. “We must break them, or be broken in turn,” was his sentiment.
It would prove to be prophetic. The fleet struck hard, scattering or destroying the Eldar ships in the vincinity. Under the cover of a ferocious bombardment the Red Guard landed and took up positions to encompass the fortress-city. Despite the bombardment and several vicious assaults the fortress held fast, and Girardus settled into a siege, determined to starve the Aliens out.
But time was not on his side. Fleeing Eldar ships had alerted their brethren, and a new fleet was forming to strike at the Marines and relieve Murat. When his scout ships brought word of the approaching enemy Girardus knew he must act once and for all. He ordered one final, desperate assault on the walls. The third company nearly broke itself, but in the end forced a breach.
Their captain, Marcus, delivered a charge that brought the wall tumbling down, taking himself with it. Then, as battle brothers stormed the breach Girardus, along with the bulk of the first company in Terminator armour, teleported into the heart of the citadel.
Though they were caught between the hammer and an anvil of their own making, the Eldar fought fiercely. The battle hung in the balance when they made a counterattack, toppling the Red Guard’s banner bearer and all but driving them from the breach. But a brother of the seventh company, one Vitus, caught it up. His brothers rallied to the standard and stood fast, driving back countless attacks.
Eventually the day was theirs, and the Eldar reinforcements fled when they received word of the City’s fall. Girardus strode to the breach to congratulate those who had held it in the battle’s darkest hour. It was then, and not before that Vitus collapsed from the wounds he had received. As the apothecary laboured he found Vitus’ body so badly shattered there should have been no way he could have remained standing.
Like the battle, Vitus’ life hung in the balance. His brothers of the Seventh company painted their armour black in mourning as they felt it was only a matter of time before death claimed the bravest of their number. But the apothecaries laboured long and hard, fighting back death, and they maintained a spark of life. Vitus’ spirit fought with them, and he clung to life. But his body was too badly broken to heal. Thus he was the first of the Red Guard to be entombed in a Dreadnought. From within he was among those who spent the following centuries reclaiming the sector for humanity and the Empire, and he still stands to this day. His brothers of the seventh company have retained the black armour in memory of his courage that day.
The Time of Troubles Edit
The completion of their mission early in M36 found the chapter at loose ends, and two occurrences led to a time of crisis. The first was the death of Girardus, who had led them to victory for close to a millenia. This was followed closely by the news of rebellion of several of the Adeptus Astartae, and the climax of the Age of Apostasy, which previously had had little effect on the isolated sector.
The news split the council of captains into factions, as did rivalry over the vacant captaincy of the first company and Legate’s baton. The question was whether to support the rebels or the Imperium, as the Red Guard had ties to several of the chapters involved. The split turned into a rift and tempers flared, and the chapterhouse on Priory erupted into violence. The only party to stand aloof was the Librarium, which took and held the chapterhouse after the initial outburst, and forced the fighting out into the surrounding city and fields.
Julian, a battle brother who survived the fighting that ensued, recorded his experiences in a text that came to be known as the Crux Crucis. A particularly disturbing passage hints at the action of some darker force, “The Enemy came among us, sowing discord and strife. And in his wake brother slew brother, and none could tell friend from foe.”
The fighting dragged on as the divisions grew deeper, and the bodies piled up. Just as the rest of the Empire was burning in the last days of the Age of Apostasy, so did the brothers of the Red Guard. Few remained of the one proud companies, reduced to played out bands of men with broken and battered equipment, surviving off starvation rations, and reduced to fighting to hand to hand as the ammunition ran out.
Finally the fighting stopped, too many were dead to carry on for a cause whose leaders were dead and whose purpose was forgotten. Into the lull stepped the Master of the Library, and from the surviving men he forged a peace whose sole purpose was survival.
One name stands out in those dark days. Varus, a mere battle brother when the fighting began, came to lead a band of brothers during the fighting. When the Librarium finally called for their brothers to lay down their arms and accept peace he was the first of the Captains to do so. Despite being desperately wounded in an ambush by renegade brethren as he returned to the chapterhouse, he refused treatment until he had seen through the debate and discussions and cast his vote for peace. He then collapsed, and the remaining captains first act as a unified body was to carry Varus to the Apothecary. There, like Vitus, he was stabilized and then entombed in a dreadnought so that he might serve on, both in battle and as a symbol of unity.
Numerous changes grew out of the Troubles. Several bands of brothers fighting in the hopeless battles began painting a Caput Mortuum, or Death’s Head, on their helmets as a fatalistic symbol of the path they had chosen. Once the chapter was re-unified the practice spread as a reminder of those who had fallen, and as a tribute to Varus’ last words before he collapsed, “Memento Mori!” Remember, you too must die.
The Librarians also adopted grey robes over their armour. The reason behind this is less clear, and several legends surround the change. One is that they were shamed by the bloody feud, and took up the robe to hide the chapter colours. Another was that the robes were to distinguish them from the combatants. A darker tale of greater concern to the Inquisition also survives. Some say a Gray Sensai joined the Librarians in their isolation, and that they were converted to his teachings.
Concern over this was sufficient to dispatch Inquisitor Sulla to Priory late in M36. His extensive and thorough investigation revealed no hint of heresy, and in his report he said, "While some of their practices are nonstandard, their devotion to the Emperor is absolute, and I find no cause to devote further energy to the investigation of these insinuations."
The Restoration Edit
The survivors were now faced with the long hard task of rebuilding what they had destroyed in their pride. The Time of Troubles had been traumatic enough that the chapter’s practices were forever changed, which no doubt led to Sulla’s comments regarding nonstandard practices.
While peace had been achieved, distrust still survived among the captains. Each guarded himself closely and kept careful watch over his brothers. This distrust slowed the rebuilding of the chapter’s strength, and Claudius, the compromise candidate elected to the Captaincy of the first company and the Legate’s Baton, was indecisive enough to exacerbate the situation.
Claudius was unfortunately long lived, and the legacy of his term at the helm was one of apathy and inaction. It would fall to his successors to weld the chapter into a whole again, breaking down the old walls and old distrusts, and reclaim the worlds they had lost while they fought among themselves.
But none had the drive, energy, and determination that had driven the successes of the first Legate, Girardus, and it would take several millennia to re-achieve what he had done in less than one. It was also symptomatic of this lack of inspirational leadership that once the Africanus sector was back under Imperial control the chapter ground back into inactivity once again. It would take several more Legate’s who only knew how to look inward before the chapter finally changed its course.
New Blood Edit
The ineffective leadership of the Captains and Legate sparked a reaction in the Chapel, and the Master of the Chapel steadily grew in power and influence. In recent centuries this has led to the election of one Secundus to the office, whose title is often abbreviated to Prior. In Prior Secundus were the qualities of a great leader not only on the battlefield but off it as well. Under his guidance the chapter began to rediscover it initiative and drive. But always he was looking for a new leader, a young, vibrant man who could fire the chapter the way Girardus once had.
His quest was not in vain. He found these qualities and more in a young initiate from one of the fringe colonies. The initiate was named Korvus, and under Secundus’s guidance he swiftly rose to prominence. Upon the death of the Legate Paullian it was time to act. Before the captains could elect another trimmer or incompetent, Secundus used all of his influence and power to engineer the election of Korvus as the Captain of the first company. Hence he became Legatus Miles Rufus Astartes, the youngest to ever bear the title.
Secundus was not to be disappointed in his choice of protégé. Korvus’ eyes were turned out to the stars, not inward like his predecessors. His first act as Legate was to undertake a pilgrimage to Terra, to touch the Golden Throne and pray for guidance, and hear the Bell of Heroes toll. Swift was his journey to Terra and back, and he did not rest long upon his return. In his absence the chapter had been making ready, and the seven line companies set forth on a great crusade to redeem themselves for their long inactivity.
The crusade moved quickly, though not directly, across the face of the Empire. Rather, it traveled back and forth as if pursuing some unknown quarry. Its destinations were as likely to be libraries and stores of information as trouble spots where the might of the chapter would be required. As the crusade progressed rumours of the questions being asked by agents of the Red Guard reached the ears of the Inquisition.
What the rumours hinted at was that the crusade was a cover for what was truly a quest, the object of which was Barbarossa and his missing ship. It also seemed that the chapter was meeting with some success, because as they progressed their pace increased and their direction became more definite. Inquisitor Asheron was dispatched to investigate immediately, and joined the chapter fleet shortly before it headed into the fringes of the Empire.
The Agrippa Sector Edit
The Agrippa Sector on the northern fringes of the Empire had always been a source of both income and trouble for the Empire. Its isolated location protected it from the worst ravages that had shaken the empire and ensured a steady flow of ships, troops, and war materials to where they were more desperately needed. Its long isolation had also led to a degree of political independence and bloody-mindedness that frequently plagued the Administratum and Ecclesiarchy.
The Red Guard’s arrival couldn’t have been more timely. Chaos and Eldar forces had been hammering the subsector of Scylla, and the war was going poorly. Plunging into the fray the brothers of the Red Guard helped turn the tide. Prior Secundus personally led them to victory over the renegade House of Schwarzchilde, capturing two of the leaders, Raoul and Belladonna, in the process.
In a series of skirmishes on the planet Kali they helped drive back the Eldar incursion there, and in a decisive move Korvus and the first company dropped on the Eldar rear lines during the pivotal Battle of Amun Tower, cutting off reinforcement and retreat in one fell swoop.
Blodsburg and the Thrackos Scandal Edit
But it was at Port Blodsburg, the capitol of the Agrippa Sector, that the Red Guard would truly make their mark. While the bulk of the Imperial forces were tied down in the Syclla sub-sector battling the Eldar, the forces of Chaos stole a march and struck at the heart of the sector.
Chaos forces leapt from hiding and captured the capitol city intact. The Imperium reacted immediately, striking back. In a bloody battle in orbit around Blodsburg the Imperial and Chaos fleets traded body blows until the Red Guard’s Captain Aeneas, Master of the Fleet, broke through the Chaos line with a squadron of strike cruisers, capturing a carrier and wreaking havoc in their wake. The Chaos fleet scattered, and the Imperium landed troops to retake the city.
It was here that the new captain of the Third Company was to both distinguish himself and cast a shadow over the chapter at the same time. Captain Hector and his men cut a swathe through the Chaos forces, dropping and capturing the starport, then forging forward to take the Great Bridge leading to the city. In concert with the fourth company of the Raven Guard, Captain Hector fought alongside Captain Achilles and smashed the Chaos defenders at the Traitor’s Gate, allowing the Third company to push forward and reinforce the defense of the Cardinal’s Palace, halting the final desperate Chaos assault.
For his actions Hector earned Imperial accolades, but rumours dogged his footsteps. He is said to have drunk the blood of enemies slain in battle and perpetrated atrocities against innocent civilians, including a massive loss of life during the preliminary bombardment of the Traitor’s gate.
Related Fiction: Great Bridge
Related Fiction: Nemesis
The Combat of the Thirty-One Edit
Nor were the deeds on Blodsburg all. In the wake of the recapture of the city, Hector McLuhan, Lord of the Sons of Man sought to reclaim some measure of honour from the disaster that had befallen himself and his allies.
The challenge read:
"Hector of the 12ers,
I call you, Cousin, from the depth of space. My voyage to Kraff was as purposeless as yours to Blodsburg. You know what I mean.
The Child is gone.
I must leave these systems now in search of other prey. Perhaps we should try our swords on each other before I leave?
I will await you on the Moon of Kraff for ten days. I propose a combat of Thirty One. I will bring three squads of Marines, and myself. I will not bring the champions of my bodyguard, or other devious or tentacled accomplices. Just thirty Marines and my own sword. No Terminators. No jump packs. No cults, whatever the False Emperor or the useless Chaos trash may call them.
Bolter to bolter, and sword to sword.
Many witnesses on Kraff reported a mighty battle, but its ending was far from clear, Some claimed Hector McLuhan was defeated. Others claimed both champions fell. Darker rumours said that Hector of the Twelvers had triumphed, but on drinking the blood of his foe became something more, or less, than he had been. Whatever the truth may be, in the end the Third Company and the Son's of Man stood shoulder to shoulder and destroyed the Tyrannids that struck in the wake of their battle.
Related Fiction: The Combat of the Thirty-One
Hive Fleet Tyrannicus Edit
There was little rest for the defenders of the Imperium. While they had battles the Ruinous Powers on Blodsburg, Hive Fleet Tyrannicus slipped into the sector unseen. Only warning from Kraff allowed the sector to remobilize in time to face the threat. In the desperate struggles that followed the world of Lombara was lost in the initial wave, but elsewhere humanity stood fast, but only just.
Forestport was the linchpin, and if it should fall the rest of the sector threatened to crumble. The Twelvers and the Victrix Astartes were comitted to the breach, and dropped in company force to secure a beachead in the midst of the infestation. The fighting was fierce, and the Fourth Company was decimated in the fighting. But the breach was made, and the infestation was crushed from within and without.
Skirmishes would follow, but Hive Fleet Tyrannicus was a spent force, and the sector safe, for the time being.
Related Fiction: Departure
Related Fiction: Sniper
Related Fiction: Aftermath
Related Fiction: The Beast
The Harrowing of Trajanus Edit
The victory at Blodsburg had not been without cost. In particular, the Green Knights of the Victrix Astartes fell to a man in the battles against the forces of disorder, and Inquisitor Lannes, their main proponent in the sector, fell with them.
But while the Inquisition was mustering its forces to execute the Bull, the Twelver's struck at Trajanus, the homeworld of the VA. The strike was pre-emptory, and according to Imperial observers, ruthless. Trajanus was bombarded from orbit, and reduced from a verdant world of forests and lakes to a smoking ruin.
The attack earned the Twelvers the hatred of many in the sector, and was called blatant opportunism to cement their power. But in the years following the attack, new rumours surfaced, rumours of an influx of new brother's on Ignatius, and sightings of Magnus the Pious armoured in the white ceramite of the fifth company
Related Fiction: Harrowing of Trajanus
The chapter's deeds in the Thrackos Scandal and the salvation of Forestport led to a grant of a world from the grateful Council of Houses, spurred by Constantine Dukas. The world was Ignatius a moon of gas giant Hraxis, newly renamed after Grand Inquisitor Hraxis, who had fallen fighting on Blodsburg.
Korvus and the Captains decided that it was time to decide. They were convinced that the goal of their quest was in the Agrippa Sector, but their base and reserves were far away. They had also suffered grievously in their battles in the Agrippa sector. Only the Third Company stood at full strength, despite its losses in the previous years. So, it was with heavy hearts that they voted to abandon Priory, and resettle on Ignatius.
Related Fiction: Ignatius
Related Fiction: Sacra Familia
The Tau in Aachen Edit
When the Tau appeared in Aachen, the Twelevers were rebuilding and preparing to receive the remainder of the brothers, and played little part in the fighting there. Only when things hung in the balance, and many feared that the forces of the Imperium would crumble between this newest threat, did they act.
Aurelius of Paran, the Master of the Library, was dispatched with his honour guard to negotiate for peace. After bullying the hawks among the Imperial Forces, especially Kitchener into seeing that their cause could best be served with peace, he took his embassy to the Tau.
But radical elements were determined that there should be no peace, even if it meant the fall of the sector, and Aurelius's embassy was ambushed when he met with the Tau of the T'essen clan. Alien and Marine fought side by side. Aurelius' bodyguard died to a man, defending not only their leader, but saving the life of T'essen herself. In the aftermath of the battle reports that Aurelius had become blood brothers with T'amiya, T'essen's warleader.
Whatever the case, the Twelver's actions in that battle served the cause of peace, and a treaty was made ceding Aachen to the Tau, and establishing Anvil as a free world to allow trade between the Houses and the Tau.
Related Fiction: Blood Brothers
Hibernia and the XIII Black Crusade Edit
Too many foes surround the Agrippa Sector, but the act of making peace with the Tau may have saved the Sector from Morpheus Vrool and the XIII Black Crusade. Many worlds had fallen, and Kitchener's homeworld of Hibernia itself was under attack before the Imperium could effectively respond.
But backed by Tau allies serving at the request of Aurelius, the counter-attack was savage. But even then it was not enough. Vrool had committed all to this throw of the dice, and his forces were mighty. Only the two great hives still held, besieged from all sides.
Hector and the Third company, the only full strength force available to the Twelvers were commited to the fray. Despite orders from Kitchener to relieve Primus, Hector dropped to Exeter's aid. The salvation of Hive Secundus was achieved, but the Agrippa Sector's dark hero, Hector, and most of his staff, were struck down beneath the blade of Lord Perdita, Vrool's second in command.
But before the Chaos Lord could finish off his foe he too fell, literally torn apart by the hands of Hector's Primus Pilus, Brutus. The siege was broken, but with their captain barely clinging to life and their leadership shattered the Third Company retreated from the fray.
It would not be until they were rallied by their new Chaplain, Prior Pius, that they would re-enter the fray, breaking the back of Traitor's desperate attempt to escape from Hibernia.
Related Fiction: Rage
Realted Fiction: Hive Secundus
The Hunt for Exeter and Beltagor's Deep Edit
His perceived betrayal at the hands of Kitchener led Exeter to go rogue after the end of the conflict at Hibernia. He took to pirating, wreaking havoc on a sector still reeling from the conflict with Vrool.
But Exeter's actions were not purely random acts of larceny, but a distraction from his true goal, the investigation of an ancient artifact on Beltagor's deep. But the forces of the Inquisition uncovered his plot, and forces were dispatched to put and end to Exeter's threat.
The Twelver's were reluctant to participate, as they were still recovering and building at Ignatius. But at the command of Grand Inquisitor Torchia they dispatched two of their newly arrived reserve companies under Sarpedon and Glaucas.
Along with Tau veterans from Hibernia and Imperial Guard regiments the campaign against Exeter and his pirate allies was brutal, but largely successful in reducing the threat the pirate represented. Its main failing was in not securing Exeter himself, and he escaped, bloodied, but unbowed.
Related Fiction: Rubbed the Wrong Way
Related Fiction: Red Plains
Related Fiction: Dry River Basin
The Fronde Edit
A rare period of peace followed these conflicts, and many looked to the improvement of the economy through trade with the Tau as sign of the Emperor's favour returning to the sector, and good times to come.
But in the abscence of an external foe, the Houses fell back to their old ways, and petty squabbles broke into outright conflict. Despite plea's for peace from Helenus, the Twelver's representative at the Council of houses, outright war ensued.
Hector was present on Blodsburg at this time, doing penance for his pride in the Great Cathedral, and bearing relics from the new Chapterhouse on Ignatius for internment there. At Helenus' instruction, and with the aid of elements of the Consular Guard he secured the Council Hive to ensure it could not be used in a pawn in the coming war.
Related Fiction: Penitent
Related Fiction: The Fronde: Council of War
Of the original twelve companies, only eleven active companies are maintained on the chapter roster. While originally founded on Codex principles, the effects of the Time of Troubles led to several significant changes.
The losses of equipment and vehicles during the Troubles led to the line companies being composed of infantry, light vehicles such as bikes and jump pack troops. As the technical expertise to maintain the vehicles was regained it was centered in the seventh company, which to this day exclusively maintains and uses the chapter’s vehicles and heavy support squads, which are assigned as necessary on an engagement by engagement basis.
Each company also maintains its own squads of scouts and veterans as a remnant of the jealous guarding of resources and personnel during the reconstruction. The Veterans of each company serve as a personal bodyguard to the captain, and the captains still meet with a bodyguard in attendance in remembrance of the dark times past.
The first and seventh companies are based off the chaptership, the battle barge Redemption, while the second through sixth line companies are based off the strike cruisers Ruthless, Remorseless, Relentless, Merciless, and Pitiless.
The eighth through eleventh companies are now resident at the new chapterhouse on Ignatius, and fill the traditional training role. The training officers are rotated out of the line companies on an annual basis, ensuring that these veterans pass their experience on to the upcoming generation of battle brothers.
The captain of the first company holds the command of the entire chapter under the title of Legate. Captaincy of the First, and hence the Legate's baton, is elected upon the death of the previous Legate. The votes are cast by the Captains of the other six line companies, plus the four masters: the Master of the Chapel, the Master of the Library, the Master of the Apothecary, and the Master of the Forge.
These individuals form the Council of the Twelve, and formulate and execute chapter policy. To ensure immediacy of command final decision on all matters rests in the the Legate's hands. This solution was arrived at millennia earlier after Barbarossa, often referred to as the Twelfth Master or Hidden Master, disappeared into the warp.
Combat Doctrine Edit
The Restoration taught the Red Guard a hard lesson. Marines cannot be replaced like guardsmen, each new brother takes long years to modify and train, and only a fraction of the candidates are suitable or survive the process.
As such their tactics are predicated around reducing the risk of a brother’s death. Transports deliver the troops into combat shielded from enemy fire wherever possible, and strong support elements from the seventh company’s arsenal of vehicles are always on hand.
That said and done, their tactics and field actions are based around taking the actions, and if necessary the casualties, needed to get the job done.
This becomes a problem when it comes to Imperial lines of command. Korvus and the captains of the Red Guard have no qualms about refusing an order to take on a hopeless mission, or acting beyond the scope of their orders to ensure the task at hand is an achievable one.
The assault on the Traitor’s Gate in Blodsburg is an example of just this. Ordered to take the heavily fortified and strongly defended gate, the Red Guard bombarded the gate from orbit prior to the assault. The fury of the bombarment was so fierce that, according to one eyewitness, “It left no stone standing upon another,” and caused thousands of civilian casualties. When confronted with this fact Prior Secundus, commander of the Blodsburg force, merely said, “Your buildings will rise again, my brothers fall but once.”
Formally of the Blood Angel line, legend and rumour have it that their geneseed was modified using other sources. Regardless of their accuracy, the information points to the twelfth founding as laying the groundwork for the genetic tinkering that led to the ill-fortuned thirteenth or, 'Dark Founding.' Investigations of some of the more formal of these allegations against chapters of the twelfth founding in the wake of the events surrounding the thirteenth founding by the Inquisition turned up empty handed, however Inquisitor Praxis branded the chapters as "curiously" orthodox.
While it is a subject of debate, it is clear that the efforts of the techpriests on the geneseed of the twelfth founding were successful. In particular, the Red Guard does not, by and large, suffer from the afflictions that plague the source geneseed, and are free to conduct practices without the threat of the Black Rage.
Despite the changes the Blood Angels love of beauty and craftsmanship survives among the Red Guard. Individual brothers often carve the relics of their fallen brothers into tokens that can be kept in their cell or borne into battle. The skulls that frequently adorn their armour are carved from these same bones, so each brother can carry a relic of a fallen predecessor as a charm into battle. This trait also reflects itself in the finely crafted armour of the Captains, whose ornate figures are often seen in the thick of the fray.
The Third Company Edit
To say the problems haunting the source geneseed have been truly eradicated would be to exaggerate. There exists a tendency among older members of the chapter to develop a thirst for blood and rage in battle akin to that seen among the Blood Angels.
While this does not appear to have been an early occurrence, it does appear among the pages of the Crux Crucius, which describes the following scene:
“Darkness would rise from the deep, and carry us down to sleep. But our dreams were haunted by the faces of brothers slain by our hands. We, driven by the Thirst, could be sated only in blood.”
Though the onset of the Thirst is rare among the Red Guard, there are exceptions. Captain Hector of the Third Company has been seen exhibiting symptoms similar to the Black Rage on the battlefield, and rumours of his drinking of blood abound.
Those who exhibit the symptoms are quietly assigned to the third company, which receives the most dangerous assignments facing the chapter in the hope that there they can find a release for the Thirst in battle, and if not, at least an honourable death.
The chapter cult of the Red Guard deviates from Ecclesiarchical standards like many of the Adeptus Astartae. Foremost among those beliefs is that despite the hopelessness of the situation, their lost twelfth company and Chapter Master still survive. These convictions are borne out, as occasionally navigators report seeing the ship, scarred and battleworn, drifting among the tides and eddies of the warp.
So members of the twelfth company remain on the books. Their names have remained unchanged for millennia, called out at every roll call by members of the chapter chosen for their purity, bravery, and strength. Being chosen for this duty is considered a singular honour within the ranks, keeping the roll of names until the day Barbarossa and their brothers return, victorious. That roll is kept in a great tome named the Twelfth Book, or Codex Duodecimalus. This ancient artifact is sometimes borne by a chaplain into battle as an inspiration to the battle brothers.
They also believe that their return will herald the rebirth of the Emperor, as Barbarossa and the ship are thought to be guarding the Star Child from the daemon Enemy as he waits in the warp. It is not clear if this belief dates to the actual loss of Barbarossa or is a later evolution due to the contact with the Gray Sensei during their Time of Troubles.
This veneration of the lost carries over to those who have fallen in battle. Unlike many chapters the Red Guard do not take trophies, but rather keep relics. The most important relic is the skull of a fallen brother. Wherever possible these are cleaned and stored in a great ossiary beneath the chapterhouse on Priory called Calvary, or the Place of Skulls. Relics are also commonly seen on the battlefield crafted and borne by the brothers as they go forth.
Regardless of the unorthodoxy of these beliefs the Red Guard’s devotion to the Emperor and the defense of the Imperium are absolute. They know from personal and bitter experience that should the Empire falter and humanity fall to the Alien or the forces of Chaos, the Emperor’s welcome upon his return would be a bitter and cold one.
Battle Cry Edit
Korvus 17:45, 8 February 2008 (UTC) Nicholas Cioran, 2002,2008