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The Great Crusade > III: Emperor's Children > Index Astartes: Emperor's Children


Title: Index Astartes: Emperor's Children
Description: CHILDREN OF THE EMPEROR


Benedict Arnold - January 21, 2008 11:32 PM (GMT)
The corrupted Space Marines of the Emperor's Children Legion have been the bane of the Imperial Inquisition, spreading their foul and decadent ways across the galaxy like a plague of immorality. Loyal Inquisitors train for decades to steel themselves against the temptations of Slaanesh in order to combat this seductive, deadly threat to Imperial order. Yet, long ago, these agents of Chaos were counted among the servants of Mankind; indeed, they once were the most devoted warriors of the Emperor.

Origins
Long ago, during the Age of Strife, warp travel became impossible and all the worlds which humanity had claimed were cut off from one another, forced to fend for themselves without the support of their neighbours in other star systems. The Libram ex Dominar, one of the few surviving texts from this time, tells that Chemos was one such world, a mining colony dependent on interstellar trade for food. The planet's rulers made every effort to extract enough raw food from the harsh environment to feed their people, but Chemos was a world dying a slow death. This all changed when one day the guards on the walls of Callax, the largest remaining factory-fortress, saw a meteor descend from the clouds, trailing fire across the sky before impacting barely a mile from the fortress walls. Though little manpower could be spared, the ruling Executive of Callax sent a handful of scouts to investigate the impact site, hoping for some evidence of human survivors on other worlds. What they found became legend.

In the centre of the crater, surrounded by the white-hoi remains of a stasis capsule, was a child, barely more than a baby. Orphans were normally put to death on Chemos - the Executive spared no resources to look after those who were unable to return their investment by working in the factories -but the captain of the Callax scouts looked into the eyes of the child and saw something more than human. In defiance of tradition, the captain of the scouts appealed to the Executive, Because of his value to Callax, the captain was allowed to adopt the infant as his own. He named his adopted son after an old legend long-since discarded by the people of Chemos, the mythical god of creation Fulgrim. The child named after this legend soon created a legend of his own, one that would become known to all the people of his world.

Fulgrim grew unnaturally fast, becoming a strong, capable man. At half the age of his fellow workers he was able to fulfil his obligations to the Executive, working for days without rest. Not only was he physically proficient, he quickly grew to understand the technology of the machines he worked with, and began to contemplate their improvement. By the fifteenth anniversary of his fall from the sky, Fulgrim had risen from the ranks of the workers, first becoming an engineer then one of the Executive itself. Learning of the slow deterioration in Callax and the other settlements of Chemos, Fulgrim set himself the task of saving his world.

One by one he convinced his fellow members of the Executive to fight against the entropy that was destroying Chemos. Under Fulgrim's leadership, teams of engineers travelled far from the factory-fortresses, reclaiming long-dead outposts in the planet's most inaccessible regions. The ancient mines were reopened and expanded, bringing more and more minerals into Callax and allowing the construction of more sophisticated machines. Recycling efficiency grew until, at last, Callax was producing more that it consumed. Seeing his people prosper, Fulgrim took pride in fostering he re-emergence of art and culture, reclaiming the spirit of humanity that had been sacrificed so long ago in the struggle or survival. As Callax grew, the other settlements began to ally themselves with Fulgrim. Fifty years after Fulgrim fell from the sky he rose to sole rulership of Chemos.

It was not long after this that the planet's isolation came to an end. From the grey sky came a flight of dropships, armoured and battle-scarred, each bearing the same symbol, a two-headed eagle. On hearing of this, some fragment of memory stirred in Fulgrim. Chemos had no formal army, but the dropships' landing zone had been surrounded by the Caretakers, the police-soldiers responsible for maintaining order in the factory-fortresses. Fulgrim sent word to the Caretakers to stand down and allow the visitors from above into Callax.

In his spartan quarters, Fulgrim was faced by armoured warriors from the stars. Their faces bore the scars of many battles, and from their shoulders hung scrolls listing their achievements. Their armour and weapons were finely-worked, and their banners and pennants were works of art. Fulgrim recognised that these men were not merely advanced, but civilised - his lost brothers from the stars had preserved the arts he had longed to return to Chemos. From the midst of these warriors stepped their leader, the Emperor of Humanity. Fulgrim surveyed him and, without a word, knelt and offered his sword. On that day Fulgrim swore to serve the Imperium with all his heart.

From the Emperor himself, Fulgrim learned of Terra, of the Great Crusade to reclaim the galaxy, and of his own origins. Though the story was fantastic he knew it to be true, and at the Emperor's request Fulgrim travelled to Terra to join his Legion, the Emperor's Children. Unlike the other Legions fighting in the Crusade, the Emperor's Children were few in number - an accident had destroyed nearly all of the precious gene-seed and, with the Primarch himself lost, the rebuilding had been a slow process. Fulgrim addressed the two hundred warriors who were then all that the Legion could muster. To them he gave the sacred task of bringing the Emperor's wisdom to all the stars in the sky. "We are His children," the Book of Primarchs relates he told them, "Let all who look upon us know this. Only by imperfection can we fail him. We will not fail!"

So inspired was the Emperor by the words of his newly-found son that he bestowed on Fulgrim's Legion a unique honour: the Emperor's Children would be permitted to display the Imperial Eagle on their armour's chestplates, the only Legion then allowed to display the symbol in such a manner. Fulgrim was anxious to begin his conquest of the unknown regions of the galaxy, but realised that his two hundred warriors were far too few to undertake a crusade on their own. With the Emperor's blessing he and his Legion joined the Luna Wolves, and Fulgrim fought side-by-side with his brother Horus, aiding him in his newly-assigned task of pacifying the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy. The Warmaster himself praised Fulgrim and his Legion, declaring them the living embodiment of the Adeptus Astartes.

Swelled by new recruits drawn from Chemos and Terra, the Emperor's Children finally mustered the strength to undertake a crusade alone, and Fulgrim proudly led his warriors into the unknown. To countless worlds he brought the rule of the Emperor, crushing any resistance in the certain knowledge that any who fought against the Emperor fought against Humanity itself. From the growing ranks of his Legion, Fulgrim selected a few individuals, the braves!, strongest and noblest, to become Lord Commanders, each given charge of a full battle company. Fulgrim taught the Lord Commanders personally, taking care that they were worthy of the honour of being the representatives of the Emperor. In turn the Lord Commanders passed Fulgrim's words on to the officers under their command, and they to their squads. In this way, through their leaders, each Space Marine of the Emperor's Children Legion followed the Emperor himself. To honour the Emperor, they strove for perfection in all things: battlefield doctrine was obeyed to the letter, tactics and strategy were studied in minute detail and perfected, and the Emperor's decrees were memorised by every Space Marine, adhered to in every way. While the Emperor's Children, like many Legions, considered the Emperor a man, not a god, their reverence and adoration for him bordered on the fanatical.

Benedict Arnold - January 21, 2008 11:33 PM (GMT)
Home World
During its isolation, the archivists of Chemos recorded a picture of a bleak, unforgiving world. Warmed by two small, distant suns and surrounded by a nebular dust cloud, it experienced neither day nor night, only a perpetual grey twilight in which the stars never shone. Settled long ago as a mining colony, the cities of Chemos had fallen into decay since their isolation from Terra. Without resources from other worlds thousands starved, and eventually it fell to a few hardy fortress-factories to keep humanity alive on Chemos. Short of food, water and energy, the people of Chemos were forced to limit themselves to the meagre supplies available-all citizens worked every waking hour, operating the vapour mines that drew moisture from the thin air, and the huge synthesisers that endlessly recycled food, turning yesterday's waste into today's sustenance. Recreation, art and leisure were sacrificed in order to ensure survival, and efficiency became the only value adhered to.

After coming under the rule of Fulgrim and its rediscovery by Imperial forces, Chemos quickly expanded its industrial base tÓ become an important source of processed minerals. The fortress-monastery of the Emperor's Children was established in the centre of Callax, drawing recruits from the strongest, bravest and most intelligent of the planet's population. Though Fulgrim himself never returned to Chemos, he took great care to see that his will, as the emissary of the Emperor, was followed. The recruits from Chemos proved themselves strong and resourceful fighters, but even so only a handful of them passed the rigorous tests imposed by Fulgrim to satisfy himself that they were worthy of becoming one of the Emperor's Children.

After the lifting of the Siege of Terra, and the end of the Horus Heresy, Imperial forces set out to assault Chemos from orbit, intending to destroy the Emperor's Children's fortress-monastery and eradicate any trace of Chaos from the world.

Benedict Arnold - January 21, 2008 11:35 PM (GMT)
Combat Doctrine
The Legion accepted nothing less than perfection in all their endeavours, and worked ceaselessly to perfect their military operations. Each and every Space Marine trained every waking hour for his assigned task, whether it be foot soldier, driver, gunner, scout or sniper. Every aspect of battle was analysed and used to their advantage, from terrain and weather to deployment or reserves. Nothing was left to chance.

In combat the Emperor's Children were as brave as any Space Marine who ever lived. Sustained not merely by the example of their peers but by a deep individual belief in their duty, they fought to the best of their abilities in all conditions, whether the battle was a massive attack or a simple patrol. It was widely believed that no Space Marine of the Emperor's Children had ever been routed in battle. Similarly, the Legion was highly demanding of forces allied with it -signs of hesitation or inefficiency in the Imperial Guard or even their brother Space Marines were not tolerated. The principle of leading by example was ingrained into every fibre of the Emperor's Children, and they had little patience for any other regime

Benedict Arnold - January 21, 2008 11:36 PM (GMT)
Organisation
From its humble beginnings, the Emperor's Children Legion continued to grow until it met its eventual end in the Eye of Terror. By the time Fulgrim joined the Warmaster in rebellion his Legion comprised 30 Companies, each led by a Lord Commander, a charismatic individual who embodied the best qualities of a Space Marine. As each Space Marine looked to his superior officer for guidance, each Company inherited its manner and practices from its Lord Commander. Though this was the case with many Legions, the Emperor's Children had a strength of devotion to their leaders that was almost unmatched.

Benedict Arnold - January 21, 2008 11:37 PM (GMT)
Beliefs
According to the surviving Legion monuments seized by the Inquisition, the Emperor's Children did not literally deify the Emperor, but the strength and passion of their belief in him was equal to that of any adherent to the Imperial Cult. Following Fulgrim's lead, the Legion believed that the Emperor represented the pinnacle of Humanity, and that only by following his example was it possible to attain one's full potential as a Human Being. Any person or group who resisted this goal was below contempt, not worthy even of consideration as a brother Human. However the Legion's near-worship of the Emperor was extremely hierarchical. The Emperor's perfection was thought to be embodied first by the Primarchs, by following their example, then the officers of the Legions, the Captains and Lieutenants, and finally the Sergeants and Space Marines themselves. Thus it is speculated by Inquisition theorists that it was possible for the entire Legion to be corrupted by seducing Fulgrim and his fellow officers.

The surviving scrolls tell that, before their fall to Chaos, the Emperor's Children believed that the Emperor would eventually achieve total conquest of the galaxy, and with all hindrances removed there would remain no obstacle to the perfection of Human civilisation. While their studies of battle were all-important, the Space Marines of the Legion were taught reverence for the cultural aspects of civilisation -music, art and sculpture among others. Artisans were brought from all the worlds of the Imperium to fashion the Legion's armour, weapons and vehicles to the highest standards. The diversity of Humanity was highly prized, and there were few restrictions on the avenues of learning available to the Legion.

Benedict Arnold - January 21, 2008 11:38 PM (GMT)
Gene-seed
After the near destruction of the Legion in the gene-seeding process, surviving fragments of the Codex Apothecarion Terra indicate that absolute excellence was demanded of the Apothecaries who handled and worked on the precious genetic material. This ethos quickly merged with the Legion's general belief in perfection, so that the Emperor's Children gene-seed was perhaps the most pure and stable of all the Legions. Only the finest physical specimens were chosen for implantation, so that the mutation rate of the gene-seed was practically zero. Every enhancement produced by the gene-seed functioned at peak efficiency, allowing the Space Marines to achieve their full potential in battle. No other Space Marine Legion achieved such a goal, and the technology and expertise required have never been rediscovered in the millennia following the Horus Heresy.

Benedict Arnold - January 21, 2008 11:39 PM (GMT)
Battlecry
"Children of the Emperor! Death to his foes!"

Benedict Arnold - January 21, 2008 11:41 PM (GMT)
Horus Heresy
With his Primarchs and Space Marines executing the Great Crusade, the Emperor returned to Terra, intent on strengthening the Imperium which his forces were building. Most knew that his place was at the heart of his Imperium, but one man disagreed: Warmaster Horus, master of the now re-named Sons of Horus Space Marine Legion, mightiest of the Primarchs. In his arrogance, Horus believed the Emperor to be weak, a man unworthy of the battles ought in his name. Upon hearing evidence of Horus's betrayal, the Emperor sent seven entire Legions of Space Marines to challenge the Warmaster, if necessary to destroy him. The Emperor's Children were the first to arrive in the Istvaan system, where Horus waited, and Fulgrim met Horus in person to demand he account for his actions. Instead, Horus succeeded in corrupting his brother Primarch to the powers that now held sway over him. The Council of Charon, formed after the Horus Heresy to discover the causes of the traitor Primarch's betrayals, concluded that Fulgrim's respect for Horus allowed the Warmaster to influence him, weakening him enough for Chaos to lure him away from the Emperor. Slowly, as he and Horus talked, Fulgrim's loyalty to Terra crumbled, replaced by a burning desire to destroy the false Emperor, whose rule held back Humanity from the perfection Fulgrim had always believed it capable of. Seduced by Horus's words, Fulgrim turned to the promise of a new Humanity, a Humanity that would rise to the peak of civilisation, a Humanity free of the oppressive rule of the false Emperor. Slaanesh whispered to Fulgrim, promising perfection in all things, and Fulgrim gave himself willingly to his new god.

As Fulgrim turned, so too did his Lord Commanders. They knew their Primarch to be the embodiment of perfection, and needed little convincing to follow him into Slaanesh's service. Returning to their Legion, Fulgrim and his Lord Commanders met with their captains, preaching to them the glory of Chaos. The captains in turn passed the worship of Slaanesh to their subordinates, and so on until the entire Legion had forsaken the Emperor. Denouncing the teachings of their former idol, they turned wholeheartedly to Slaanesh, giving the Prince of Chaos the same measure of devotion they had once shown to the Emperor. Slaanesh, in turn, bestowed visions of paradise on the Emperor's Children, a galaxy of ultimate freedom, where no evil was possible because every experience was a source of pleasure. The Legion's Chaplains exhorted their brothers to pursue this dream, to savour every sensation. The perfection of the Emperor's Children became perfect hedonism, limitless in its scope, unstoppable in its fury. When loyal Space Marines arrived on Istvaan V, the Emperor's Children were first among the traitors who stood against them, aiding in the massacre of the loyal Legions with gleeful savagery.

Horus's rebellion spread, casting the entire Imperium into turmoil. When Horus laid siege to Terra itself, the Emperor's Children were at his side, but they took little part in the slow process of whittling down the massive defences of the Imperial Palace. Instead Fulgrim turned his Legion loose on the uncontested areas of the planet, where billions of terrified humans cowered at the sight of the followers of Chaos, suddenly stripped of the protection they had counted on from the Palace. The brutality and slaughter of Istvaan repeated itself, but on a far, far greater scale. With the concentration of Chaos around Terra, the Apothecaries and Sorcerers of the Emperor's Children drew on the power of Slaanesh to enhance their pleasures, wantonly desecrating not only their minds and bodies, but now their immortal souls as well. Daemons were summoned and set loose among prisoners, feasting on their flesh as they died, while the Space Marines themselves sought even greater excesses of carnage and carnality. Fulgrim directed the slaughter with glee, believing that his Legion were setting their victims free from the chains of the Emperor's rule, and allowing them to feel true Humanity at the limits of experience. In that time, as the Siege of Terra raged around them, the Emperor's Children are reckoned to have murdered more than forty times their number of unarmed, defenceless people in their efforts to create new stimulants to feed their addiction to pleasure. How many more died simply to sate the bloodlust of their killers cannot be guessed at.

Benedict Arnold - January 21, 2008 11:45 PM (GMT)
Anecdotal Archive:

THE CLEANSING OF LAERAN
(Recorded by Scribe First Order Wendel Voss
in the year of the Emperor's grace 893/M31
)
Shortly after the beginning of their own Crusade, the Emperor`s Children encountered a hitherto-unknown alien race, who called themselves the Laer. Analysis of captured scouts and envoys showed the Laer to be concentrated in a single star system, Laeran. Nonetheless they had the potential to be a powerful foe. Like the Emperor's Children themselves, the Laer prized perfection in all aspects of civilisation. By the use of chemical manipulation from birth, individual Laer were adapted to their roles, whether they be workers, soldiers, diplomats, even artists. Observers from the Adeptus Administratum wondered if perhaps the Laer might be made a protectorate of the Imperium as conquering such an efficient race could prove to be a long and costly endeavour.

Fulgrim refused any notion of co-operation. Only Humanity was perfect, he insisted. For an alien race to hold its own ideals to be comparable to those of Humanity was blasphemy in its most blatant form, and deserved nothing less than annihilation. He ordered his Lord Commanders to attack immediately, beginning a war that the Administratum predicted would last decades. Fulgrim heard this prediction, and shook his head. In one month`s time, he said, the Eagle will rule Laeran.

In every theatre of war the battle was joined. The Emperor's Children attacked the Laer in space, on the surface of their worlds, beneath their oceans and over the hulls of their orbital platforms. Everywhere they faced enemies adapted to their conditions - warships connected bio-electronically to their crews minds, liquid-breathing sea warriors, scouts capable of moving as fast as a speeder, gunners whose eyesight allowed them to target individual Space Marines in squads miles distant. The casualties on both sides were horrendous - it is estimated that, if not for the excellence of the Legion's Apothecaries, more than half of its warriors would have died from their wounds.

The Laer never surrendered - their last warriors died fighting in the ruins of their capital city. One month after he had begun the attack, Fulgrim planted a standard displaying the Imperial Eagle over their corpses, leaving it the only thing standing on the worlds of the Laeran system. Over seven hundred of his men were dead, six times that number injured, but Fulgrim believed he had proven himself correct. Against the most finely-honed alien warriors ever encountered. Humanity had proven itself more powerful.

[Archivists note: The Laeran system, for ten thousand years now, has been home to three cities and a dozen mining colonies, all traces of its former rulers gone.]


EIDOLON, LORD COMMANDER OF THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN

Lord Eidolon was the first Space Marine selected by Fulgrim to lead an entire company of the Emperors Children, and was commonly regarded as the most proficient of all the Lord Commanders. Until the corruption of the Legion, Eidolon dedicated himself to mastering all aspects of warfare. His troops fought equally well in sieges, holding actions, rapid strikes and gruelling campaigns, never displaying any inexperience or inefficiency no matter what was demanded of them.

Eidolon regarded Fulgrim as a father in the literal sense, considering his bond of gene-seed to be as strong as true parentage. Though he accepted that he could never equal the Primarch in power. Eidolon nevertheless spent every waking moment studying Fulgrim's tactics and strategies, his writings and orations, in the hope of being as close to his leader's perfection as he could possibly become. Despite considerable effort, scholars in the service of the Inquisition have been unable to determine whether or not Eidolon survived the Siege of Terra.




Benedict Arnold - January 21, 2008 11:47 PM (GMT)
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