Thanks for reading! This is a w.i.p story/history of my successor chapter to the Imperial Fists, the Sons of the Aquila. Though they are directly descended from the Black Templars, the sons pay heed to both Father-Chapters; as is honoured in their shoulder guard colour scheme - one yellow trimmed with red, and one black trimmed with white - and in their attitude.
I hope you enjoy c&c is always welcome. I love fluff so I have tried to make it as grounded as possible. I think my writing style changes slightly throughout so may need to neaten it.. although I have interspersed the story with 'lays' or sagas.
~Roo~ Extract from 'The Lay of Ophellia':
The Lay tells how the Ancient served first in the Imperial Fists under Sigismund fighting in his Great Company on the Holy Soil of Terra.
After the Heresy, Antonidus Witherlogh went with Sigismund to found the Black Templars. He excelled here, and was granted permission to wear the black and white motif of Sigismund (but halved – not quartered. This tradition extends to the 1st Coy Theign Guard)
He was grievously wounded yet entombed in a Dreadnought during the Age of Apostasy, and the ‘Lay of Dimmamar’ relates the blessing of his new shell by no less than Sebastian Thor.
During the closing years of the 12th Black Crusade in M41, Witherlogh once again served with 3rd Captain Rufeo de Jehan-Gir, 473rd Fighting Company, Black Templars. In conjunction with the Administratum, Chapter Foundation rights were granted to secure the new territory and the world of Geatland-in-Tempestus became home to the Sons of the Aquila. The tale of this is told in the ‘Geat-scops’ or the great ‘Lay of Foundation’ Additional: The Battle of Geatland-In-Tempestus, extracted from the Lay of Foundation.
During the retreat to the Eye of Terror, known to the Imperium as the Great Chase, The Arch-Heretek Varakhul of the accursed Iron Warriors Chapter had occupied and ravished the Saxe-Gothe System. A set of 8 worlds and moons, once proud and prosperous, each now boasting a mighty fortress in the shape of an eightfold star.
The High Marshall of the Templar’s ordered a Fighting Company to be assembled to retake the system and rout the Iron Warriors to the Eye. Assistance from Battlefleet Tempestus was requested, but during the Great Chase, only a meagre few regiments and little armour was spared.
Amongst the Templar’s who pledged their swords were Battle-Captain Rufeo de Jehan-Gir, Godwin son of Ethelred, Hatha son of Ingel and the Ancient Witherlogh. These men formed the core of the 473rd Fighting Company.
After a series of hard fought sieges broken only by the reckless zeal and bravery of the Templars, the Arch Heretek was pushed back to the world of Geatland-In-Tempestus.
Here, the 9th Grand Company of the Iron Warriors had turned a sacred Basilica of the Emperor of Man into a twisted fortress. What was once a temple dedicated to the Glory of the Emperor was now a place of darkness and death, wrapped in steel and ceramite. It’s alters lay smashed, and its statues defiled. In their place rose monstrous accretions of forbidden tech, deadly and reeking of the taint of Chaos. Every entrance, every wall, every rampart was a revolting example of the Iron Warriors skills in siege defence and the twisted legacy of their Dark Gods. From the Lay of Foundation – ‘Long was the siege and the battles bloody. 30 days and 30 nights did the Sons of Dorn labour in their prosecution of those who turned from His Light. Upon the 15th day did a baleful light shine from the highest tower of that accursed place, and daily did the horrors of the warp increase. And on the 29th day did the High Ancient smite mightily the warp curséd gates of Svenenburgh, and great was the sound of their renting.’
The Iron Warriors had begun a great ritual upon the 7th day, with Librarians and Astropaths stricken with pain for light years around. De Jehan-Gir pushed for a total assault, no matter the cost, arguing that it would be madness and fatality to allow the ritual to be completed. Lord General Fortenbraz of the Ventian Highlanders and Theatre Commander mocked the attitude, stating that the battle would be won when and only when fresh armour, artillery and titans could be released from the Grand Chase to the Eye of Terror. Such a siege, he said, could not be broken with men alone. De Jehan-Gir would not accept this and after long hours spent in prayer to the Emperor, appealed to higher authorities. With the blessing of the Inquisition, a single company of Grey Knights was granted to the siege.
On the 28th Day, The 473rd Fighting Company of the Black Templars led by Captain Rufeo Marchese Constantin de Jehan-Gir, Ancient Witherlogh and a single company of Grey Knights rallied behind the banner of the Aquila and stormed the forces of Chaos in the shadow of the Gate House of Svenenburg. Fortenbraz ordered the Guard to hold, confident his superiors would exonerate him after the attack failed.
Bloody and long was the fight, but few fell in the charge. Those who bore witness say they truly felt the Emperor’s hand that day....
Though the charge was more successful than Captain Rufeo had hoped, utter horror waited at the gatehouse itself.
The ritual was completed.
Once, the gate had been a mighty work of many artisans - a piece of Unity and Beauty - bearing a fresco of the Emperor Triumphant over the Heretic. In its place was now a twisted monstrosity of metal, flesh and stone.
A great demon’s head bearing many faceted eyes grew from the centre of the gate; an amalgamation of flesh melting into stone. Great twisted arms thrust up and out of each gate, wrapping around each gate-tower as the demon writhed, seeming to be trying to pull itself free of the abomination to which it had been bound. Flesh and cable, organs and metal, weapons and blades; the stink of the Demon was like unto a charnel house and those without the zeal of the Angels of Death failed, and fell. From the Scop of Foundation – The Lay of the Reeve‘And we reached the great abomination which barred the only route forward; great was the air of menace, and rife the stink of sorcery. A score or more of Fallen Ones gathered in front of their abomination; praising and adulating their false gods of the warp. I saw the Ancient One, as he did regard the scene; Heretics, depraved and drab; Sacrifices by the score; chained to walls or driven upon spikes to bind this thing of Chaos. Since that foul day, I have not heard such a cry of anger, of vengeance, of revulsion than that which echoed from the ancient mouth of Witherlogh. Ne’er has an Ancient moved so fast, I swear these Emperor-given eyes did lie to me. Rally to the Ancient did the Grey Knights and survivors, and a flying wedge of vengeance – wrathful vengeance of the righteous - struck that Demonic Gate like unto the Spear of Russ’
The charge of Witherlogh and the remaining marines of the 473rd tore a bloody rent in the traitors; which the Grey Knights swiftly exploited and drove towards the Demon-Gate.
As Captain Rufeo rallied the remnants of the 473rd about the Ancient, the horde closed in behind them. Though the Grey Knights were free to face down the gate, their rear was expose, and they would be swiftly overcome. Declaring ‘They have their duty; we have ours’ the 473rd formed a wall of steel and faith betwixt the Knights and the battlefield.
Whereas the charge had driven through the forces of Chaos like the parting of a sea, now they smashed back in like waves; breaking upon the rocks of the Templars, wavering, breaking back and then crashing down again. Iron Warriors; cultists and demon. Tainted technology, spiderlike, metal-fleshed and deadly; all fell before the zeal of the Angels of Death.
Time and time again the 473rd held, taking tens of the foes for each Templar that fell. Each man that fell, however, brought doom one blade edge nearer. As their numbers began to dwindle, Captain Rufeo ordered the remaining Chaplain’s to begin ‘The Lay of Doom’, a mighty song-tale of fire, of reckoning and the Emperor’s judgment. The lament was taken up by the remaining battle brothers; the sound carrying clear and far as a clarion call; and they sang glory to the Emperor as they slew. The Lay of Methusel
Though Captain Rufeo knew it not, this sound reached across the battle field to the ears of a young Guard Captain of the Ventian Highlanders, named Methusel. Though the battle had carried to the near distant gates of Svenenburg, he could see the valour of the last stand. A faithful man was he - loyal to his Emperor unto death; and the decision of Lord General Fortenbraz to refuse support to the attack had grated against his faith and resolve. Questioning his superior had led to a near execution; and only by hastily backing down, and clever word-craft had he kept his rank – and his head.
Now, alone in his dugout, his perceived weakness tormented him; should he not serve the Emperor by following His leaders faithfully? But were not the Angels of Death His right hand? Then unbidden came the words of Inquisitor Ravenor, in ‘The Spheres of Longing’ remembered distantly from sermons, as a child: ‘’How may I ask what I owe The Emperor? - When all I owe is to the Golden Throne, and by Duty I will repay.’’Duty.
When young Methusel next came forth he seemed a changed man. Always a strong speaker, he was now fired with zeal. He leapt atop the foremost trench, fearing no bullet or blade. With almost joyous wrath, Methusel declared that the Emperor’s eyes were on them; His Son’s were fighting and dying for Him at that very moment. Would they fight and die alone while the soldiers of Ventia merely watched?. The preachers were quick to join his side, bolstering his righteous rhetoric. More and more of the surrounding Ventian Guard flocked to him, Commissars alike: for none lauded the shame of watching a last stand that they could aid.
Methusel and his preachers whipped the Guard up into a zealous frenzy; none could doubt his logic and devotion. Then as undoubtedly he knew would happen, the Lord General pushed through the surrounding troops with his few remaining Kasrkin at his side. Batting a preacher to the side with the flat of his blade, he climbed to the lip of the redoubt where the fiery young captain stood rousing the men. Facing the troops and Methusel, Lord General Fortenbraz drew his service pistol, aimed it at the Captain and loudly accused him of bearing the taint of treachery and chaos.
Calmly, Methusel knelt before the General; made the sign of the Aquila and thusly spake ‘If the Emperor wills my death, then kill me now.’
For one deathly moment the onlookers feared the worst as the General stood trembling with anger and fear barely maintaining his aim. Then, a great bark of sound and a blinding light brought all to their knees. When their eyes opened, the Lord General was spread on his face, dead without a single mark.
Captain Methusel still knelt on the ground, face down turned with his hands still forming the Aquila upon his breast. For what seemed like an eternity, no one moved; the soldiers perhaps for fear of their Commissars; the Commissars – for fear of their faith.
Taking his opportunity, the Pontifex – Highest Preacher of the Ventian Highlanders, rose up next to the still kneeling Captain. ‘Witness the judgement of the Immortal Emperor! Those who die with their back to the enemy will never reach His side. The General doomed himself by cowardice thrice in the eyes of the Emperor. Who amongst you will do the same? I thought so. Who amongst you, then, will name our greatest weapon against Cowardice, against Fear, against the Heretic?’
Captain Methusel finally arose. Drawing his sword, he pointed over the redoubt, towards the still fighting 473rd.‘Duty’ As one, the Ventian Highlander’s went to war.
End.... for the time being. If you read all that THANK YOU! And please let me know what you think.