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Setrus
19-09-2006, 16:41
Hello there.

Feeling that any army needs a good background to become truly enjoyable I've written up this little piece for them...:p (Yes I do know that it follows the white dwarf way...I casually stole it.)
I'd love feedback btw. :)

Here is the link to the army lists themselves that will use this background:

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?p=953110#post953110

Now on to the fluff itself!
__________________________________________________ ________


The Phoenix legion

Origins

The Phoenix legion was created in the twelfth founding, a successor chapter to the White scars, back then it was known as the Storm eagles though. In the first six thousand years of service the chapter followed the codex astartes to the letter, even though they still retained some of the White scars fondness of speed.
As such the Storm eagles were known as a highly mechanised and codex following space marine chapter that somewhat seemed to be blessed by the luck of the emperor.
The chapter was highly religious, believing their luck to derive from the emperor himself and that their holy crusades in purging the world of xenos filth, pathetic traitors and horrible heretics to be one of utmost importance. Their chaplains preached a belief of compassion for the people they protected, that they fought for something grander then themselves.
To them nothing was as important as defending the people.
That was before the massacre at Manda IV though.

Since their founding the Storm eagles had been a crusading force, a space borne force that had moved all over the Ultima Segementum. They had always acted as a vanguard force that cleared the path for imperial guard armies in an effort to ease the effort of seizing the planet itself.
As such they weren’t used to long wars, a lack of experience that would cost them dearly.
Manda IV, held by ork forces, had been designated as their new homeworld though, if they could take it that is. It was a reward for their services to the empire, and at the same time a good opportunity for the empire to conquer an productive agri-planet.

The chapter master at the time was Tholius Breban, a man who reminded them of their founders. He was brash to the point of arrogant, brave, a skilled rider and a man who believed in swift assaults. He therefore commanded the entire chapter to instantly make landing upon the open plains of the southern hemisphere.
The orks were slaughtered, thousands falling in the initial bombardment, hundreds more as the marines made landing and another couple of thousand as the lightning assaults of the Storm eagles cleared a large part of the south from the aliens.

Here the obvious lack of experience in a protracted war with any foe, especially the orks, made itself evident. Rather then to push his advantage against the disorganised and largely unaware orks remaining Tholius commanded the chapter to build their monastery.
Just when the building was done reports from scouts arrived though, the orks had multiplied and were now lead by the warboss Zarkoz. The warboss, well aware of the Storm eagles, had united the orks and were now leading them southwards!

Undaunted by the reports of uncountable numbers of foes Tholius readied the entire chapter for battle, sallying out to meet their foes head on.
They met at the plains of deception.

The battle was long and hard, requiring every marine in the chapter to give his outmost.
Space marine artillery barely needed to aim as they pounded the vast sea of green charging across the plains, many actually having to cease their firing as their barrels grew too hot and needed to be cooled off.
The rugged terrain on the western flank saw ambushes and traps as the less experienced initiates of the Storm eagles engaged ork commandos and wartracks. On the eastern flank the orks surrounded a hill where the veteran first company took post. They were unable to take it though and soon piles of their dead covered the hill as the awesome firepower of the veterans destroyed anything in range.
But it was in the centre where the battle was to be decided. Deploying and re-deploying tacticals in transports and using their fast bikes as support the remaining marines of the Storm eagles fought in the way they had grown accustomed. Their formations were as rippling water as they constantly pushed the orks backwards and punished any attempt of an organised attack with relentless firepower and assaults.

After four days the centre of the orks broke and scattered, the others soon following suit in a general retreat.
That’s when Tholius Breban gave his disastrous order. Seeing the broken ranks of orks flee before him Tholius ordered a general pursuit, to destroy the ork menace in one blow. The first company protested to this order but were swiftly overruled by the command and the younger battle brothers.

The Storm eagles were, even though they were marines, exhausted, ammunition was scarce due to difficulties sending in supplies and many of them were injured. None the less they pursued the orks, scores of the beasts falling, their backs riddled with bullets.
The pursuit went on for larger parts of two days, where the space marines got more and more scattered as individual squads gave chase according to the last order from command.
But slowly the pursuit stalled as the fleeing orks realised that the marines pursuing them were few in numbers and without the support of one another. Many of them also got bolstered by the orks that hadn’t participated in the battle, the new orks eagerly throwing themselves into a battle they hadn’t even known about before then.
At first they endured, fighting re-deploying in a semi-defensive pursuit with their faster troops. But with the loss of many transports and their bikes growing more and more scarce due to enemy fire the marines found themselves fighting in squads instead of as an army. They were suddenly fighting for their lives.
The last general order Tholius gave was this: “Retreat.”

The first company, consisting of their veterans who were the only ones that had protested against the general pursuit order, fought their way eastwards. Finally they managed to reach the only unguarded landing site in the area, there they were picked up by thunderhawks and shuttled up to their fleet in orbit.
The tenth company, their scouts, fled westwards, using stealth to avoid the ork pursuit. The scouts then managed to gather in a forest, too tired to do anything but watch the hordes of orks passing their hiding-place.
The rest of the marines, the few survivors that is, were forced southward. Bereft of transports and only having a few bikes and assault marines left the Storm eagles retreated slowly. Unaccustomed to this they had a hard time holding the pursuing orks off their backs, the barbaric beasts picking off marines as the days went on.
Finally they managed to retreat into their monastery. Putting the defensive systems online and manning every defensive position the marines made their stance.
They held the orks for several hours before they succumbed, exhausted and too few in numbers to hold their enemies at bay.

Details are hard to come by at this stage. It is known that several transmissions were exchanged between the monastery and the fleet still in orbit. What was said is unknown though. From a few captured films it is known that the orks finally breached the monastery’s defences through the chapel, smashing the idols to pieces before surging into the rest of the compound.
It is at this moment the fleet opens fire, the concentrated bombardment breaching the very walls of the monastery as well as covering a large area around it. Orks and a marines were torn apart in moments, those that didn’t were torched alive in the fires of the second salvo.
Despite this last act many thousands of orks still remained, and Zarkoz was still known to be alive and still uniting the tribes in a frightening pace. Knowing that there was no way they could continue the campaign the scouts still on the surface used their stealth once more. Sneaking past victory-drunk orks they went out to the vast plains of the battlefield and started to gather all the gene-seed they could.
Then, after several close calls avoiding ork troops, the scouts managed to seize a landing site long enough for the thunderhawks to pick them up.

After that the Storm eagles practically disappear from the empire as they rebuild their strength. The scouts that had survived were immediately promoted to full marines, but found that they had no power armour to don. This was fine to them though as a new philosophy took hold among them: to see but not be seen.
At the same time their veterans remained detached from the rest of the marines. Their different experiences had separated them somehow and the veterans actually refused to take up command of the marines. Aloof and silent of whatever had occurred the veterans laid the responsibility of remaking the chapter unto the untried shoulders of the new marines.
Instead, in a drawing of straws, a sergeant of the scouts was chosen. His name was Imius Lersu. Imius instantly reorganised the chapter, renaming them the Phoenix legion in respect of the fallen, and of the survivors of the defeat.
Imius decided that a homeworld was not for the chapters best, instead they would remain a fleet-bound force. He further decided to change much of the organisation and their way of fighting. This was both due to their loss of their motor-pool and their tactical armour, and because a great change of philosophy among the survivors of the chapter.
After somewhat rebuilding their strength the Phoenix legion fleet broke up in a few battle groups, the small fleets only hearing from one another through astronomican messages, if even that.

Homeworld

The Phoenix legion still doesn’t have any homeworld, most of their forces concentrated on their strike cruisers. If anything could be considered ‘home’ for them it would be their only Battle barge, the ‘Phoenix tear’, but most of them hasn’t even seen that ship and consider the bunk on their strike cruiser to be their home.
As far as anyone knows Manda IV is still under ork rule.

Combat doctrine

The Phoenix legion eschews power armour and any motorised vehicles except bikes. This was initially mostly due to their losses, but as time has passed they has continued to ignore the codex astartes in the use of these vital pieces of equipment. Instead they favour the carapace armour. The only exception to this being the veterans who always wear their terminator armour.
The Phoenixes believes in the use of observation and stealth. They never engage if there’s another route to their objective, most of their operations actually results in no to few losses for either side as they perform whatever they were supposed to do. Only to slink away before reprisal can be brought to bear.
The Phoenix legion sees itself as an elite force of space marines, and as such not a regular army of grunts. Trench warfare is practically unknown to them and the crude use of artillery is something they snort at. They believe that use of pure force, the destruction of enemy troops and the battle of attrition is something reserved for the imperial guard. They are marines, and should therefore be employed in achieving specific objectives.
This suits their lone groups of ships who often arrives on the many battlegrounds of the galaxy, offering their aid to the imperial forces. Being marines they can’t be commanded by the imperial guard, but mostly they agree to the missions they are assigned, if those don’t go against their beliefs that is.
Many of their scouts are actually acting as simple observers, lone groups of soldiers who observe clashes between various forces to gather tactical and strategic data on the various conflicts. These small groups usually stay away from both forces, keeping their presence masked. The reports are later beamed up to their growing archives to be analysed and dissected by their leaders.
The nature of their missions and the long time they can sometimes spend behind enemy lines favours their focus on field commanders. Their sergeants are expected to know how to act in any situation, when to retreat, when to engage, when to observe and when to call in the other forces in the area.
Being such objective-focused infiltrators also means that the Phoenix legion many times has surprised the enemy by their sudden changes in resistance. Most of the times their forces slink away, not even trying to inflict any kills on their foes, but when there is an objective to take they are very stubborn and determined. They have assessed the risks and believe that every soldier they’re committing is sacrificable if it means that the objective is met.

Organisation

The changes wrought by Imius is still in effect and breaks whole volumes of the codex astartes. There is still a great lack in powered armour among their troops, a few sets collecting dust in their armouries mostly. They also remain largely vehicle-less, using the extra space in their cruisers as leisure areas or for training.
They no longer has any company organisation, instead being focused on ‘strike teams’ that can vary from a small squad of scouts on a war-torn world to a hundred marines ready for insertion in their strike cruisers.
The scouts have been divided into four ranks though, to make an easier learning curve for their new recruits and to distinguish their more battle hardened warriors.
Alpha level marines are the newest recruits, relying on sniper rifles and other long ranged weapons these scouts make their observations from long distances, as they do during combat. This is both to spare them from unnecessary losses and for the sake of the growth of the chapter.
Beta level marines are more experienced scouts as one should expect, relying on the standard bolter and perhaps a heavy weapon to augment their firepower if it comes to a fight. These scouts observe the foes from a closer distance, making sure that they get more detailed information then their Alpha level brothers.
Gamma level marines are the most experienced of them all. Relying more on daggers and other weapons for close engagement then the others. Some of them can get as close as within an arms reach of their foes without being spotted, and of course uses this skill to learn everything they can of their foes.
Then there is Delta level soldiers, these have heard the call of their White scars genes and as such mount the only vehicle their forces has, the bike. These mostly come from the Gamma levelled soldiers who has had their implants the longest time of all the levels. Using their bikes these men patrol in a more general way. Keeping clear of enemy forces using a mix of stealth and speed. When in engagement they usually get up close like their Gamma brothers though.

Then there is the infamous Omega level marines, the silent veterans in terminator armour that observes every movement aboard the ships and who usually do as they see fit. These retain their ‘company’ status, even though it’s more of a gesture considering there are no other companies.
None know how they make their choices, but fact of the matter is that scouts sometimes are taken, without warning or explanation, from their brothers by the silent veterans. These scouts can range from Delta to Alpha level, for ‘the firsts’ it seems to make no difference.
As ‘the firsts’ never seems to remove their faceplates it’s unknown wherever these abductions join them or are used for some other purpose.
The Omega level marines often seems to act as something of a police. As the leaders of the forces are chosen from the Gamma level soldiers the Omegas are never represented in the higher commands. But they watch the leaders, always. If a commander gives an order that could be seen as foolish or breaking other, unfathomable goals, they will have no misgivings about threatening him, and if he persists…turning their weapons on him.
The rest of the Phoenix legion endures this mysterious behaviour with stoic silence, sometimes disagreeing with the ‘big brother’ attitude the Omega level marines has, but mostly accepting it, viewing ‘the firsts’ as necessary to retain level-headed officers. Then there is also the fact that most scouts fear the omegas more then they fear the strongest foe.
This has given a rise of alienation against the Omegas, the others keeping their distance to them and giving them nicknames such as ‘the silent types’, ‘the lonely’ and so on. This seems to fit the Omegas though, as they silently keep their distance to the scouts. Mostly they stay in their own area of the ships, only keeping a few guards stationed in various parts of the ship, ever silent statues watching over the others.

Setrus
19-09-2006, 16:42
And a little more....

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Beliefs

The films showing how the orks poured through the chapel of the chapter in its early history still leaves a visible marks on their beliefs.
The Phoenix legion now scorns praying and religion, in stark contrast to their earlier beliefs. They even go as far as saying that the chaos gods and the C’tan are mere beings of flesh and blood (Or something else.) that can be injured and killed like anyone else.
This lack of fate has created some laxity among their ranks, and when not on duty it’s not unheard of them to take it easy, play cards and play chess as much as they train.

Despite being such a special ops force the Phoenix legion is quite open, speaking with a frankness and directness that sometimes insults the sensitivity of others. They often relay information to other imperial forces, their scouts often delivering their reports in person before disappearing back into the unknown.

The Phoenix legion has a simple, ranked, code with a larger purpose at heart:
1: To defend the interests of the empire.
2: To preserve its own numbers.
3: To preserve as much of the imperial holdings as possible.

This code may sound odd to most commanders, for isn’t the empire its inhabitants, its planets and cities? Not so for the Phoenixes. Their lack of faith and observatory nature has taken them to the conclusion that the empire can do without some of its extra weight at some times.
Is it in the empires interest for them to save a million refuges? What would they do if they were sent to the already overpopulated hive city? Nothing that’s what. So therefore they are expendable and not worth to fight over.
Why should the protect this ruined city? It’s of no use now and rebuilding it would drain certain sectors dry from resources. And if there’s no people to rebuild it it’s equally useless.
It is under debate if #2 and #3 should be exchanged. For what use are thirty marines compared to million of civilians that can man that empty city? In those moments the crass and cold Phoenixes switch those two around, sacrificing their forces without a second thought. Not out of empathy, but because it’s in the best interest of the empire.
As such the Phoenixes has several times happened under the gaze of the Inquisition. For what space marine would willingly abandon an entire planet to the enemy without a fight because “it was merely a burden”?
What the Phoenixes thinks about other chapters seem to vary without any form of reason, perhaps depending on observations they’ve made or otherwise. It’s still a fact that they shun the aid of most chapters, preferring to act on their own as much as possible, only acting as scouts for other chapters at the most.
The Phoenixes believe in honour, but not glory. For them there is no glory in a kill or a battle, no marine dies gloriously according to them, no charge is glorious and no victory gives glory. Honour isn’t gained through a kill unless it’s for furthering their mission, only the success of a mission and actions during it to do just that are regarded as an honourable action. All other actions are simply excesses.
Celebrations are silent things. The nature of the Phoenixes doesn’t lend itself to feasts but rather a quiet evening with a little music, a good deck of cards and a couple of crass comments and jokes. This in particular disturbs many imperial institutions as it’s a great show of laxity, bordering heresy according to some.
They are Spartan in taste and therefore regard overly use of decorations as a useless gesture and waste. What use is wine when you got water? What use is a balcony when you got a window? What use is a silvery sword when one of steel does just the same?

Gene-seed

For all intents and purposes the gene-seed of the Phoenix legion is stable. The Betcher's Gland has mutated though and is rendered partly inoperative, instead secreting a sticky saliva that’s practically useless.

Battlecry

Mostly being covert forces the Phoenixes doesn’t have an actual battlecry. The few that has fought next to them have only noted a curt “engage” spoken into the radio before their attack is launched.

Current

The current whereabouts of the Phoenixes is hard to even guess. Stray sightings have been reported from the Segmentum Pacificus to the furthest reaches of the Ultima Segmentum. The chapter master is known as Morius Tien. Apparently he’s crass and forward spoken even for a Phoenix and has been known to insult more then a few people, not to mention that he has attracted the attention of the inquisition more then a few times already.
The second in command is more known actually. Gilius Rem is quite the soft-spoken and diplomatic man, an odd trait for a Phoenix. He’s therefore somewhat ridiculed among the other marines, if in a cheerful manner, but has proven invaluable in keeping some semblance of good relations with other imperial organisations.
He’s often the one who relays messages and anyone who wants to talk to the chapter master must first talk to him, and if he’s allowed to talk to Morius then Gilius will undoubtly stay in the same room, trying to keep the conversation from going sour.
While Gilius is more diplomatic it also means that he’s more empathic then his brethren. Which sometimes puts him in clash with the code they live by.

Gdolkin
19-09-2006, 23:31
Very interesting bud, but were they the storm eagles or the storm giants? cos the storm lords were a 2nd founding of the white scars, the storm giants are another canonical chapter, but as far as i know you've made up the storm eagles.. so if ya gonna monkey about with their doctrine, equipment, organisation, beliefs etc to such an extent maybe you'd better settle for callin em storm eagles in the first place. just a thought. you also spelt cease as seize somewhere, plus a few minor grammatical errors. however, this is a really cool idea and a very different take on marines and how they see themselves- good work fella. oh yeah and it goes alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon etc omega so maybe switch your gammas and deltas around? coool name too, Phoenix Legion, surprised its not already a canon name- even sounds like it could have been a first founding legion. what's their colour scheme, and how do you model marines in carapace armour? ditching the power armour is a big one dude..

Setrus
20-09-2006, 05:37
Thanks for the feedback, mucho appreciated. :)

Oh and yes...meant to be storm eagles all the way...will fix that. :o

Hmmm...retaining the name, I have to think about that one.

Switching the gammas and deltas...can do. :)

Well the scouts are painted with codex grey armour with brown and green 'blobs' (for a lack of better word) of green and brown on them for camoflage. (looks better then I thought it would.) Meanwhile the clothes are dark angels green with 'blobs' of brown on. Black bolters and brazen brass on the eagles finishes them.
They look quite nice, a mix of camoflage for city and greenery while still retaining uniform. :)

For the terminators I'm not so sure, since they're a little seperate. Either I go for codex grey without the 'blobs' (can you see a terminator sneaking?) or I'll go for chaos black with blue-whitish stars on them. What do you think?

Gdolkin
20-09-2006, 13:04
Cool. For the Terminators, what colours were the original Storm Eagles? Black with stars sounds good but maybe too different from rest of chapter.. definitely no camo. I can't think Phoenix without thinking flame-y colours. It's your toys though bud, how about codex grey with black for mourning and flames for rebirth on the termies? gotta be sinister..

Setrus
20-09-2006, 16:01
I actually haven't thought about the colours of the storm eagles...:o
But now that I think about it I suppose it probably would have been something white-grey with some red (white scars) plus maybe...green shoulder pads?

And that suggestion on colours was awesome! If I can manage it that is...
Black for mourning? Now that's good...why didn't I think of it?
Say: Codex grey body, black shoulder pads (and perhaps something else? Boots?) and white-blue flames on the black areas? (I REALLY like the idea of white-blue flames:D :p )
Now that's a cool combination come to think of it...

Gdolkin
20-09-2006, 21:57
Now ya talkin' bud! Bunsen-Burner style flames eh?..sweet. Do it.:D

Setrus
21-09-2006, 07:04
Cool...thanks...I will. If I'm skilled enough that is. Anyone knows a good "flame-tutorial"? (And NO, I'm not talking about "how to flame another member" tutorials. :p)

St.Germaine
22-09-2006, 11:45
You're showing your Western bias (not that this is a bad thing) by tying black to mourning. As I recall, the Japanese consider white the color of death. If they can do it, so can the culture that the marine recruits were drawn from.

Setrus
22-09-2006, 12:56
Well...yeah. :p

I guess I could do them with white shoulder pads and so on...but doing (as Gdolkin said) bunsen-flames on a white background would be really difficult...

Besides, I stink at painting white. :p

Thanks though, it's nice knowing people have ideas and are willing to share them. :)

Setrus
26-09-2006, 18:43
A small fluff thingie I hope catches the 'feel' of the force...enjoy:
(why isn't there more stuff like this btw?)

Engage

Gilius Rem watched the column of people march down the rubble-strewn street, sighing heavily at the sight. His bike was resting against the wall behind him and his bike squadron escort was right behind him, patiently waiting for him to finish his inspection.
None in the column saw him or his men from behind the broken remains of what once had been a bakery.

To call it a ‘column’ was a incorrect though. It was rather a huddled group of people struggling forward through the ruined remains of city eighteen. Most of the refugees were greyish in colour, covered in the same dust that lay over the broken ruins around them.

They were about a hundred in numbers, covered with torn clothing and scabbed wounds from their struggles. How far had they gone? How many had died during the journey? The struggle over Erxu five with the eldar had continued for so long…that was the only reason that he and his men were there, for once in larger numbers. To aid in stabilizing the planet for the empires sake.

He frowned at the sight of a large man stumbling as he lead the people on, two of his toes missing and the wounds still fresh by the looks of it. They were still behind eldar lines…if only barely, how had these people survived? By the looks of it they must have been more, but somehow this group had survived the hounding of the xenos.

Impressive.

They would soon reach the imperial lines, as far as Gilius knew there were no eldar left in front of them, his men had seen to that in a small raid. After all…a bottlenecked defense was only good if the enemy came from the right direction.

Activating his headset Gilius contacted HQ, not bothering to switch off the general channel: “This is Gilius Rem, are you there master Morius Tien?”

There was a brief crackle of static. “I’m here Gil…and stop with the official crap.” Gilius managed a weak smile at the rough voice responding. Morius had never been one for expressing himself…

“Yes master, forgive me.” Gilius heard a muttered curse at the other end, also hearing slight chuckles behind himself as his escort listened to the conversation. “I have roughly a hundred refuges here at my position, should we escort them or simply let them find their own way?”

There was a pause.

“Master?”

“We got enough refugees already.” Came the reply. Gilius grimaced at the words…that could only mean one thing. He hated that…

“But master, they’re almost there and look able bodied, surely they could do something?”

“No, it won’t serve the empire, you know the code as well as I do.” There was a slight pause. “Besides…they could be spies.”

Spies!? From eldar!? Why did Morius always have to try and justify his actions for Gilius? Maybe because he always questioned them? Stupid code…it had its moments, but at times as these Gilius disliked it more then anything in the world. More so then the damn xenos…

“Yes master.” Gilius replied, cutting the transmission short. He should have known…should never have contacted HQ. Turning around he saw his guards wait impassively, they didn’t seem to care one bit about the severity of the order… “Everyone got that?”

There were half a dozen confirmations in Gilius headset as his brethren confirmed the orders.

He sighed, turning back to the scene before him. A little kid stumbled on her steps and was immediately picked up by her mother…damn code!

Gilius voice was neutral as he gave the order: “Engage.”

Immediately dozens of marines arose from the rubble around the refuges, their dark clothing and gray carapace armour blending into the surroundings so much that it looked like the rubble had suddenly gotten a life of its own.

At first there were screams of fright and a general scuttling backwards, a small child shrieked as it awoke.

Then a woman recognized the marines and shouted over the crowd: “Stop! Look! It’s the angels of liberation!” Her voice got the others to pause. She smiled broadly as she headed towards the side of the road towards the closest marine, reaching out as she said: “Thank you! Thank you divine warriors of his might! I will…”

BLAM!

The shot blew her head apart, sending a shower of bone and blood towards the crowd.

There was a stampede as everyone wanted to get away at the same time, the last vestiges of order disappearing as the refuges started to run back the way they came.

Gilius closed his eyes, muttering a prayer as he heard the bursts of bolter fire rake the screaming refuges. Prayer was frowned upon in his chapter…but at times like this he couldn’t help himself.

Getting to his feet he turned around and found his men waiting. He tried a smile but failed: “Right…lets get this over with.”

The others just shrugged…uncaring,