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    Chapter Master Fox Of 9's Avatar
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    A Sword Forged For Vengeance

    THE BLADE IS FORGED


    Ten millennia ago, in the aftermath of the calamitous war known as the Horus Heresy, a second treachery would befall Primarch Lion El'Jonson and his Dark Angels Legion. His closest friend, and trusted ally, Luther, consumed by the dark-jealousy in his heart, had fallen to the whispers of the Dark Gods. Having been seduced by the Dark Gods' lies, Luther, a man known for his passionate oratory, led the Dark Angels stationed on Caliban into heresy.

    So it became, that instead of arriving home to jubilation, that the loyalist Dark Angels were instead greeted with a sudden, shocking storm of laser-fire from the planet's surface. A dozen or more of Lion El'Jonson's ships were torn asunder in this opening barrage, and several more would be lost before the fleet could retreat, back into deeper space. Once the Primarch pieced together what had occurred upon the planet's surface, his cold fury was a terrifying sight to behold. Now determined to punish his once-father and traitorous sons, The Lion quickly planned what would become a devastating assault on the planet's surface.

    Orbital bombardments from Lion El'Jonson's fleet systematically began to obliterate Caliban's defense lasers, driving the traitors on the surface back into their void-shielded fortress monasteries. Under the cover of this bombardment, The Lion himself led a surgical strike into the heart of the traitorous Dark Angels: Luther's stronghold, the seat of his power, and the mightiest fortress-monastery on the planet. As fire rained down from the starry-heavens, Lion El'Jonson and Luther himself came face-to-face, squaring off in a frenzied struggle. Luther, transformed into a Chaos Champion, was now evenly matched in strength with the enraged Primarch, the violence of their duel rending the fortress apart around them. Then, as the planet itself began to crumble beneath the ferocity of the loyalist Dark Angels' bombardment, Luther stumbled, no longer able to keep pace with his former son. But, at this critical moment, The Lion faltered, unable to bring his sword down upon, and slay his former-father. However, Luther, his mind warped and twisted by the Dark Gods' whims, had no such compassion, and with a monstrously powerful psychic attack, blasted the Primarch off his feet.

    It was only after this, that Luther did finally realise what he had done. He had betrayed a man he once called son and brother, bringing him low with a wicked, tainted power that had deluded him into committing such a horrific act. This sudden realisation and the clarity of mind it brought with it, was too much of a burden for Luther to bare. His mind fractured, leaving him to collapse with a sorrowful scream, falling to his knees at Lion El'Jonson's side. Hearing this cry, the Dark Gods knew they had been denied their prize. Enraged, they engulfed Caliban in vast Warp storm. The planet, its surface already cracked and broken, could not withstand the Warp storm's intensity. In its disintegration, vast swathes of the planet were swallowed whole by the Warp, along with those surviving traitors.

    In the wake of this great cataclysm, the loyalist Dark Angels descended to the last remaining vestige of their homeworld. Preserved by might void-shields, Luther's ruined fortress stood alone atop an outcrop of shattered rock. It was there that they found the arch-traitor, alone, gibbering, and insane. Though there was no sign of their Primarch, Luther swore that he had been borne away by an eerie procession of shadowy, hooded figures. Perhaps even worse than this, the traitorous Dark Angels were also gone, bearing with them the dire tale of the legion's shame.

    With their Primarch missing and their Battle-Brothers on Caliban having betrayed them to Chaos, the Dark Angels decided the true story of treachery behind the destruction of Caliban must remain secret; no outsider must learn of the schism that had split the Ist Legion, or that any Dark Angels had ever turned to the service of the Ruinous Powers. Should the truth be revealed, the Dark Angels would be labelled Excommunicate Traitoris and never given a chance to redeem themselves.

    To aid in keeping this dreadful secret, the senior members of the Legion formed a secret conclave, an Inner Circle formed of the Legion's Masters. Together, they created an overlapping system to watch over their own brothers, and also themselves. Believing that everyone must be scrutinised for signs of corruption. To ensure that such an event could never befall the Legion ever again.

    Such had been the scale of the disaster of the Fall of Caliban that there could be no hiding it. Psykers across the galaxy had sensed the Warp Storm that ripped the world apart, and the titanic flash of the tempest meeting the indomitable force field surrounding the Dark Angels' Fortress-Monastery had blazed like a supernova. However, the Dark Angels erected a systematic cover-up of the truth, for each remaining Battle-Brother of the Ist Legion had taken stringent vows of unspeakable binding to never reveal what really took place on Caliban. Their story might not have held up under an intense inquiry, but it was a time of great upheaval in the Imperium and the retreating Traitor Legions were bolder near the Eye of Terror: the Night Lords, in particular, laid many ambushes that took a high toll on their Imperial pursuers. That a Warp Storm had claimed the Dark Angels' homeworld, and so many of their brethren, was but another tragedy in a deluge of grim tidings.

    Inquiries found the Dark Angels battered, grief-stricken and bereft of reinforcements, but there was little time for any succour, for war called. Across the galaxy, Traitor strongholds remained and many rebellious planets had yet to be shown the error of their judgement, but most ominous of all was the rise of the Xenos threat. Much of the Imperium's strength had been siphoned off in the civil war and so countless planets found themselves at the mercy of a new wave of Xenos attacks. Leaving only those necessary to oversee the work being done on the reconstruction of what would become The Rock, the Dark Angels split their remaining Legion fleet in an attempt to answer the many distress calls that reached them.

    In the Cadian Sector, they joined the Blood Angels, themselves still reeling from the loss of their Primarch Sanguinius during the Battle of Terra. Together, like vengeful angels, they drove the Traitors and daemons alike into exile. On Seption Prime, Dark Angels Terminator companies arrived just in time to provide a rearguard action, allowing the Ultramarines to extract their forces before that Plague Planet lost to the pestilential whims of Nurgle was destroyed by Exterminatus. All who fought alongside the Dark Angels lauded them as steadfast warriors, utterly dedicated to the destruction of the Emperor's enemies. However, years later, upon their return to The Rock, the much-depleted Dark Angels' Legion found themselves greeted with disturbing news.

    At the time of the Fall of Caliban, the Dark Angels thought their traitorous brethren had all been destroyed, vanquished to a man in the Warp Storm that blossomed in the death throes of their homeworld. And while it was true that the Fallen Angels had been swept into the vortex of that horrific rent in the galaxy, the fury of the Dark Gods had not slain them. The scryings of the Legion's Librarians searched long and hard for their missing Primarch. Of him, they could read no signs. They did, however, pick up traces of the Fallen and determined that the Traitors yet lived, although what remained of their psychic signatures were widespread, and the connections were already fading out of mindsight.

    The Masters of the Ist Legion greeted this new shock with typical stoicism, despite the inner turmoil it created. On the one hand, they feared that while the Fallen lived, knowledge of their Legion's treachery against the Emperor might be spread throughout the galaxy. On the other hand, the continued existence of the Traitors offered hope, for if the Renegades could be tracked down and forced to repent, then the sins of the Legion might be absolved, washed away in the blood of the Fallen. The Grand Masters of the nascent Inner Circle swore that so long as even one of the Fallen remained alive and unrepentant, the Dark Angels would be Unforgiven, cursed by their brothers to atone for all eternity. As the hearts' of the Inner Circle reeled from the hammer blow of this dark truth, a second tumultuous event was already forming on the horizon.

    Less than a full standard year later, Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines Legion and Lord Commander of the Imperium of Man, formally submitted the Codex Astartes and decreed that the nine remaining Loyalist Legions would be divided into 1,000-man Chapters. The Chapter Masters of which would be directly beholden to the Emperor Himself and no other, not even the Primarchs of their original founding Legions. To the Dark Angels, this decree was met with a mixed reception. Not that anyone outside the Legion's Inner Circle could've known. Some saw it as a fitting punishment for their failings. Others worried that dividing their strength between multiple commanders would impede their ability to successfully hunt down and capture the members of the Fallen. A select few raged and cursed at the audacity of this new decree. However, a growing, silent majority agreed that perhaps this was an opportunity. That this decree was a blessing in disguise. With the cataclysmic destruction of Caliban still fresh in their minds, they could not risk drawing any undue attention to themselves, and how else could they justify sending dozens, if not hundreds of Astartes on secret missions, spreading the forces of their Legion unchecked, across such vast swathes of the galaxy. Thus, the Dark Angels acquiesce to the decree and began planning to split the Legion down into six Chapters, and so it appeared that they followed Guilliman's dictates to the letter.

    As with every deed since the fall of Caliban, however, the Dark Angels were following a hidden agenda. Their successors, who would collectively become known as the Unforgiven, formed their own Inner Circle to guard the knowledge of the Dark Angels' secret shame. Each one establishing companies concurrent with the Deathwing and Ravenwing, though named differently to maintain at least the veneer of individuality. In reality, though the Unforgiven claimed their own Chapter homeworlds, heraldry, and doctrines, their leaders attended clandestine meetings on the Rock with the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels. These ritual-laden gatherings saw the Unforgiven take their orders from the master of the Dark Angels, so that the ongoing hunt for the Fallen could continue in utmost secrecy.

    The Chapters created from the Dark Angels' Legion purposely grouped together Astartes of similar temperament and outlook. The Angels of Absolution, formed of Battle-Brothers who felt that their shame in the eyes of the Emperor of Mankind had been wiped away due to their actions during the fall of Caliban and that they had already earned his absolution. The Angels of Redemption, made up of the most zealous Battle-Brothers of the old Legion, of whom, none could be dissuaded of their mission to hunt down the Fallen. A duty they performed with particular zeal. And lastly, the Angels of Vengeance.

    The Angels of Vengeance were comprised of those who believed their perceived sins were irredeemable in the eyes of their Primarch, and the Emperor of Mankind. And that since the fall of Caliban, they were all Heretics, one and all, irrespective of which side they had fought on. But they knew the Imperium was still in great peril, and would not survive without them and their fellow scions of Lion El'Jonson. So it was, with renewed purpose, that these Battle-Brothers rededicated their lives in service to the Imperium, prepared to constantly seek out the threats of Xenos, Heretics, and apostates, so that they may do battle. And in doing so, if only in death, earn a modicum of forgiveness.
    Last edited by Fox Of 9; 29-07-2019 at 19:26.

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