|The Lost Millenial|
Primus Medicae Coeus
The Emperor's Children Legion
The Lost Millenial, The Other 17th, The Imperfect, The Exiles
"The Imperfect. That’s what they called us. My men had done nothing wrong, no stain was on them. They had not failed. They had not fallen short of Fulgrim’s standard. My men had committed no sin worse than following a cursed man. But they were my men, and that was the problem. I was tainted and so were they. Even in the years to come, when other men had supplanted my command and the men who had faithfully served me burned world after world searching for vindication, still their father and brothers scorned them for one man’s transgressions.
We were cursed, afflicted, cast out. We believed we had failed our Emperor. We no longer considered ourselves worthy of his Aquilla, and that was why we wore it. As a brand, a mark of our shame. I do not think there was a man among us who did not feel that shame threaten to crush him, and mine was worst of all. It was my failure that damned them all.
It was also my failure that saved them from the corruption that was to come. No one has ever thanked me for our exile. It wasn’t done on purpose, it was simply a quirk of fate, despite what [+++REDACTED+++] would have you believe. Had fate not intervened, we would be counted amongst your enemies and not your allies. So ask your questions, and I will tell you all there is to know of how the Children of the 17th Millenial came to be orphans…"
-Excerpt from the Sworn Testimony of Cyprian Novius
Librarian, 17th Millenial of the Emperor’s Children Legion
The Coming of the Primarch
When Fulgrim took command of the IIIrd Legion, it numbered only about 200 men, most of them bearing the standards that their brothers had fallen defending. Amongst this number could be counted the brilliant standard of the 17th Millenial, held aloft by the only two marines left of the once great Millenial. It would have been a travesty for a Company of Astartes to have reached such a low number, but with only 200 Astartes in the entire Legion it was a usual sight within the IIIrd Legion. "We are His children," the Book of Primarchs relates Fulgrim told them, "Let all who look upon us know this. Only by imperfection can we fail him. We will not fail!". Although they were few in number, their cries of adulation shook the hall where they had met their father.
Fulgrim was obsessed with creating the perfect legion for his father, and to do so the legion needed order. The Primarch christened the preeminent 10 Astartes his Lord Commanders and gave them command of the first 10 millenials. Under them the remaining millenials were arranged such that the personalities of the Lord Commanders suited the remaining Captains so that Fulgrim’s teachings could permeate quickly and effectively. The commander of the 17th Millenial, Captain Horatio, found himself under Lord Commander Cadmus of the 10th Millenial. Both leaders were fortunate enough to have a subordinate. Cadmus had his Sworn-champion, Cyprian Novus, and Horatio had his Decurion, Tiberius Loculus. Cadmus was in direct communication with Fulgrim while Horatio, Cyprian and Tiberius served as his inner council.
Once Fulgrim was found, the legion began to grow in strength once again and that included the 17th Millenial. Within a year they numbered 50 Astartes, allied to the 34th Company of the Luna Wolves. Although they were, at best, an allied detachment the Millenial began to make a name for itself amongst its brethren. Captain Horatio was responsible for the death of the Tyrant of Ghorst Prime, besting him in single combat and taking his malleable battle-axe, named the Rorschach Blade, for his own. The 2nd squad held the Gates of Perditia against the hordes of blasphemous sentient automata for three hours until the delayed relief force from Horus’s legion arrived. The 17th Millenial became a byword for honour and skill amongst the 34th Company. Within twenty years, the Millenial came to number 2000 fighting Astartes and had even drawn the mercurial gaze of the Primarch.
The star of the 17th Millenial was rising, and so their orbit carried them closer to Fulgrim and, by association, Horus. The Primarch of the Luna Wolves, not yet the Warmaster, chose the 17th Millenial to be part of the spear tip for the invasion of Sixty-Three-Five against a human-xeno confederation called the Haradrim. Originally the 17th Millenial’s mission was to secure the outer keep of the core planet’s centre of government. Their objective completed, they sent word to the fleet in orbit. However, due to several set-backs, the reinforcements which were meant to take the central keep were delayed. By the time Horus and his Justaerin made it planetside, the 17th Millenial were already in the throne room, almost half fighting wounded but several of the leaders dead at their feet. The presence of the Primarch only sealed their fate. After the mission was over, Horus publicly praised the 17th, although it should be noted that they were never again requested to be part of the vanguard. The fact that Horus seemed so concerned to not have his men shown up by their cousins gave the 17th more pride than the Primarch’s praise ever could.
Turning of the tide
For almost half a century Captain Horatio had led the 17th to victory and glory. The downfall of the Millenial started on the killing fields of Askania, at the fall of the Shrouded Dynasties . The IIIrd legion was close to reaching a size where it could operate on its own, but the Emperor called Horus to his side to break the Shrouded Dynasties. Already embroiled in a lengthy campaign for Sixty-Three-Twelve, Horus could not afford to leave his campaign in its entirety. But he could not deny his father’s wishes. It had been several long years since Fulgrim or the IIIrd legion had seen the Emperor and Fulgrim wished to show his father the excellence of his sons. So an accord was struck between the two Primarchs. Fulgrim would conclude the campaign for Sixty-Three-Twelve and Horus would leave to meet the Emperor, taking a contingent of the Emperor’s Children with him. The 17th Millenial was chosen as part of the legion’s representation.
The ensuing campaign was furious and hellish. However alongside their cousins of the Luna Wolves and the Imperial Fists and under the shadow of the Emperor, the Emperor’s Children fought harder to prove their worth. One instance records 17th Millenial breaking through a force of Shadow Warriors, soldiers who seemed to only intermittently exist against anything other than blades, which was over five times their size to reach the Emperor. Over 50 Astartes lay dead after that, but the assault was broken.
Rogal Dorn chastised the 17th Millenial, saying that a relief force of Imperial Fists had already been dispatched and that their move was needless and reckless. Captain Horatio retorted, some say to his credit, that the force of Imperial Fists had been delayed elsewhere and so had failed to complete their objective. Since the 17th were the closest force and they had already completed their assigned objective, the duty to complete what the Imperial Fists had not been able to fell to them. Lord Dorn was furious at the accusation that his men had failed but the Emperor forbade further argument, noting that it was not the first time that the IIIrd legion had made a great sacrifice to protect him and saying they proved that the IIIrd legion was still worthy of the honour bestowed on them in the early years of the Unification Wars. This harkening to the Proximan Betrayal was enough of an honour for the 17th and they left feeling they had accomplished what they had been sent to do, despite the ire they had earned from the Lord of the Imperial Fists.
Although the 17th had won great honour, and admittedly some displeasure, for themselves and their Legion the campaign against the Shrouded Dynasties was to be the turning of their fortunes. On the final battlefield, against the Parliament of Fourteen, Captain Horatio faced one of the members of the Parliament. Clad in energy converting onyx armour and wielding a sentient blade, one of many Lucid Blades that the Emperor’s Children would encounter, he was a formidable foe. As the battle raged on around them, the two fought; Astarte against a pale image of the perfection of humanity. Despite the numerous rents in its armour caused by Horatio’s Rorschach Blade, it was here that the record of Captain Horatio of the 17th Millenial came to a bloody end.
In the midst of battle the 10th Millenial Champion, Cyprian Novius watched as the Shadow Lord engulfed Horatio’s corpse in black flame. The skin rotted and atrophied at a frightening rate until only a bleached skeleton in a rusted suit remained, the Captain’s gene-seed and legacy lost forever. Aghast at this violation of one of the original 200, Cyprian cut a path to his friend’s corpse. His masterfully wrought duelling blade slew everything it touched until the two stood face to face. The Shadow Lord mocked him even as his men died around him. He declared that no man could best him with a blade. Were this spoken to any other Legion Champion it might have been true, but the IIIrd legion were duellists first and foremost. Cyprian wasted no time with petty insults or retorts, responding only with the lightning quick movements of his blade.
The two duelled over the bones of the former 17th captain. The Shadow Lord’s guard seemed impenetrable, his attacks unavoidable. Those who later described Cyprian’s moves would call them “almost precognisant”, although the truth of these words would not emerge until later. Ripe with righteous fury and bitter pride, Cyprian’s movements became possessed by a furious speed that few could follow. For the first time in the battle, the Shadow Lord was put on the back foot, forced to gradually shift from offence to defence in order to avoid his foe. But Cyprian would not let vengeance for the commander’s life go unfulfilled. Inevitably, the Shadow Lord could not resist the prowess of the Emperor’s Astartes and the fight ended with Cyprian’s blade buried in the foe’s chest. The Lucid blade slipped from his fingers and the Lord and Cyprian’s blade dissolved into little more than smoke. The battle was won and the 17th Millenial returned to its parent legion with glory, accolades and a fascinating relic for the legion to exploit and utilise. Cadmus judged Cyprian to be better suited for leadership of the 17th Millenial than Tiberius at this time and so Cyprian was christened Captain. Although it wouldn’t be obvious until years later, this would damn the Millenial in the eyes of the legion and save them from the predations of the Warp.
For a time, the appointment of Captain Cyprian seemed amicable. The 17th Millenial continued to grow in favour and stature amongst the Legion and their allies in the Luna Wolves and those they fought besides, several noting that Cyprian was a good successor to Horatio. Perhaps even a better commander. Although it was never to reach the heights of the 1st, 2nd or 3rd company, it was notable none the less that many within the 17th Millenial believed that it was only a matter of time until they eclipsed their peers, for even within the IIIrd legion there was friendly rivalry. Their deeds are recorded elsewhere and in none of those records does it indicate any distrust or animosity surrounding the 17th Millenial, although hindsight would suggest that some had grown suspicious of the 17th commander.
However, none of this came to any fruition until the Ullanor Crusade. The might of 8 Primarchs and part or the entirety of their legions descended on the Ork Empire of Ullanor. Fulgrim and his Emperor’s Children, allied with the Thousands Sons and their Primarch, Magnus the Red, were tasked with liberating a captured industrial world from the clutches of a Big Mek warlord called Da Convurta. The attack was designed to crush the ork populace and thereby cut of key material supplies to the rest of the ork empire. However, there were objects from the Dark Age of Technology which had accelerated the orks technology and the Mechanicum wished these to be left undamaged as much as possible. Their objective clear, the might of the IIIrd and XVth legions fell on the ork’s petty domain.
The 17th Millenial rode to war alongside their brothers. Stormbirds dropped troops, Rhinos and Land Raiders. Drop pods struck the earth and disgorged more troops, dreadnoughts and unloaded entire payloads of missiles in the space of seconds into the ork hoards. Super-heavy Fellblades pounded the ork lines, wiping out hundreds of orks with each shell. The Emperor’s Children pushed through the greenskin tides, purging with bolts, flame, and blade even as their allies cast sorcerous energies into the hoards to consume them. Against such might, no force in the galaxy could hope to stand, even one as numerous as the orks of Ullanor.
The flashpoint came when the leader of the tek-world appeared. Clad in thick sheets of beaten iron and a crude imitation of imperial servo arms was not a Big Mek as the imperial forces had expect, but a pale ork whose eyes blazed with other-worldly light. Cyprian, his Lucid blade cleaving through a nob, noticed this new threat. His forces, in an show of self-assuredness, had pushed ahead of their psychic allies. However, a new element to an existing plan was not an excuse for failure that the IIIrd legion had ever accepted before and they would not start now. Clad in pride and wielding his semi-sentient blade, Captain Cyprian roared out a challenge to his foe and charged forward.
The technology of the Imperium is often a wonderful and mystifying thing. The ancient iron halo perched between Cyprian’s shoulders had been inherited by each master of the 17th Millenial. As ethereal fire leapt from the orks fingers and solid slugs were fired from its impractical gun, the tried and tested mechanisms fired up and the energy fields dissipated the harmful energies. Striding through the fire and flashes of energy, Cyprian came, his blade reflecting the evil light in the ork’s eyes.
Despite its size, the ork was not as slow as one might have believed. Powered by the energies of the orks around him, the Weird Mek moved with speed that was unnatural. Its blazing staff smashed against Cyprian’s blade again and again. Somehow, no duelist skill Cyprian possessed was enough to match the fury of this ork leader empowered by millions of orks fighting and dying in its name. Atop a mound of corpses, xeno and Astartes alike, they duelled. Cyprian wielded his blade with the skill of a master duellist augmented by the semi-sentience of his blade. The Weird Mek drew power from his subordinates and orks simply withered and died around him, their life force drawn to sustain their leader.
The length of the duel had given the Thousand Sons time to reach the 17th Millenial. As if the minute brain of the xeno freak understood that he would soon be facing foes who could match him, he redoubled his efforts to kill the Captain of the Emperor’s Children. In one exertion of monumental fury, the ork’s staff smashed into Cyprian’s wrist. The force shattered the bones in his forearm and sent his sword flying to the side. A second later the ork brought the staff down, poised to crush Captain Cyprian’s skull. Something stopped it. Something, panic, instinct, the sudden realisation of mortality for inhuman functionally immortal super-soldier, snapped inside Cyprian.
In extremely rare cases, it is documented that souls previously barred from the warp are spontaneously able to access its power. The testimonies and recordings from several Legionnaires of the IIIrd and XVth offer no alternative explanation than that for what happened next. The staff stopped millimetres from Cyprian’s outstretched palm. His sword came back to his ruined hand as if on an invisible chain before the Captain lashed out, taking the ork’s head from its shoulders. The ork collapsed backwards, his life ended. The Waaagh! descended into anarchy and was easily routed. Cyprian was found after the fighting was done, collapsed next to his defeated foe with his brain on the verge of haemorrhaging. The battle was won, but the fortune and the fate of the 17th Millenial was forever altered.
The Crimson King
Captain Cyprian woke several days later. The 17th had been re-tasked to other arenas of war under command of Cyprian’s successor, Centurion Tiberius Loculus. Cyprian was groggy as he finally came round in a crowded apothecarion. Or rather, it felt crowded. In truth there were only two beings in the mobile apothecarion. One perched on the end of his bed, his massive stature bowing the frame. His eye smiled as brightly as his lips. The other ran his fingers through his ashen hair, his piercing violet eyes fixed on Cyprian with a fearfully caring intensity. The crimson giant at the end of his bed cocked his head and regarded him with an avian interest. His head pounded. Cyprian lifted his hand to massage his head and felt the bandages. His hair was gone and his skull was swaddled in medical cloth.
Fulgrim smiled from the back of the tent. “I was beginning to wonder if the tales of your powers were apocryphal Magnus.” The Primarch of the Thousand Sons laughed. “Waking one man up is hardly taxing Fulgrim.” Fulgrim smirked. Magnus leant back. Cyprian’s eyes flicked between his father and his uncle, waiting for some explanation. “What’s the last thing you remember?” Fulgrim probed. Cyprian dragged the memory up, although it came reluctantly. “The ork. I lost my blade. I saw your men Lord Magnus make their way to us. His staff fell and then…” Cyprian’s eyes flicked frantically from side to side. “…kaleidoscopic colour. I thought death looked like blackness but it doesn’t.” Cyprian’s eyes locked his father’s.
“That wasn’t death Cyprian.” Magnus stood up and made his way over to Fulgrim. “It is not fully understood why or how, but sometimes people who previously showed no psychic potential suddenly become psychic…” Magnus seemed to be speaking more to Fulgrim than to Cyprian. “…It’s rarer by far than the natural occurrence of the psyker gene. It’s like an aneurism…” “…just something lying in wait…” Fulgrim turned his head. “…Undetectable until the moment it appears.” Magnus nodded. He turned back and smiled. “Psykers are not to be feared Cyprian. The Emperor himself has sanctioned the implementation of Librarius departments in the Legions. You will be trained to use your new powers to aid your brothers. One of my captains will train you. Now if you forgive us, me and your father must return to the war effort.” With that, Fulgrim and Magnus left Cyprian.
In the coming days and weeks, even up to the Triumph, members of the IIIrd legion came to keep Cyprian apprised of the war effort. Captain Nadir of the 7th Fellowship came and trained him. Bereft of other duties, Cyprian threw himself into his studies and the basic techniques came easily to him. He couldn’t match the experienced psyker of the XVth legion, but his technique was adequate to not be a threat to anyone save his foes. Fulgrim even came to see him in moments he could spare, although he artfully avoided questions about the future.
After the Triumph, Fulgrim called Cyprian into his chambers aboard the Pride of the Emperor. What he had to say was a double edged sword. He presented him with an artfully wrought suit of artificer armour incorporating several of the psychic channelling technologies developed, primarily, by Magnus’s legion. It was a fine gift, but it came at a price. Cyprian no longer commanded the 17th, that honour remained with Tiberius. He was to remain in an advisory position subject to Tiberius’s whim. Cyprian bore the news with grace. Despite his Primarch’s support of Magnus’ effort, the opinion within the Legion and Fulgrim’s own mind was well known. The psyker gene was imperfect and even if he didn’t possess the actual gene, the outcome was the same. He was imperfect and imperfection could not command the Legion.
+++ Extract Interview Report 564//4853197402 +++
+++ Temporal Reference: 841//664//370//[Redacted] +++
+++ Subject: Charosin Marcellus +++
+++ Rank: Veteran Legionary +++
+++ Fealty: Previously Legiones Astartes Emperor’s Children +++
+++ Disposition: Fedelitas +++
+++ Interview Locale: [Redacted] +++
+++ Interviewer: [Redacted] +++
+++ Extraction Method: Aptus Non +++
+++ Extract Notes: Extract refers to question of the subject in relevance to their activities up to the Cataclysm of Isstvan III and the Dropsite Massacre. Subject was previously under interrogation and assumed Traitoris Perdita until countermanded by [Redacted]. +++
+++ Extract Begins +++
Interviewer: “Where were you when you brothers declared their treachery?”
Subject: “Don’t call them that.”
Subject: “You called them my brothers. They are no kin of mine. They are the bastard sons of a father who abandoned us.”'
Interviewer: “Fine, where were you when the Warmaster declared his treachery?”
Subject: “We were on the other side of the galaxy. We were resupplying at Gryphonne VI when we…”
Interviewer: “Why were you at Gryphonne VI?”
Subject: “We’d been sent to sally into the Veiled Region, to ‘reclaim it for the Imperium’…” +Subject scoffs+ “…that wasn’t the reason. Our father sent us beyond the Emperor’s light. He didn’t want his father to see his imperfect sons. He could not bear the shame of it.”
Interviewer: “It seems he was the imperfect one.”
Subject: “You think so? You with your superior tone, your Iota worn like a badge of honour, walking around proclaiming judgement on others as if you alone have the perfect understanding of right and wrong…” +Subject voice drops by 36dB+ “…Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it."
Interviewer: “What is that supposed to mean?”
Subject: “That his sin of hubris was no different than your own. And unless you learn from my father’s failing, your fate will be the same as his.”
-Excerpt from the Sworn Testimony of Charosin Marcellus
Veteran Sergeant, 3rd Century, 17th Millenial of the Emperor’s Children Legion
Captain Tiberius now commanded the 17th Millenial. He knew that the reason for his and the rest of the Millenial’s exile was Cyprian’s psychic abilities and he resented his former captain for carrying him so far from the side of his Primarch, although he would later think of this in a better light. However, Fulgrim had not slain Cyprian for his imperfection and had commanded that Tiberius keep him integrated into his company. For Tiberius the word of the Primarch was law and so he buried his feelings towards the newly appointed Librarian Cyprian and began with the mission at hand.
The 17th Millenial was sent to relieve a force of Night Lords pressing into the region of space known as the Veiled Region. Kurze and Fulgrim were no longer comrades after the events of in the Cheraut system, so this was no brotherly favour. Rather, Kurze had sent his sons beyond the light of the Imperium because he cared little for them and now Fulgrim was sending them there because he wished to forget about them. Indeed, the 'official' record states that the 17th Millenial was destroyed at Ullanor and reformed under Captain Kalimos some years later.
Heedless of their abandonment by their father, the 17th Millenial resolved that it would earn its way back into the affections of the legion and of the Primarch. As such they approached each campaign with a renewed vigour, each time seeking to outdo their record for compliance speed, casualties inflicted, casualties sustained and warlords slain. Although they were unified in their efforts, it bred a curious nature within the Millenial. Each man fought with his brothers, but each believed that he had his own personal sin to atone for and that if he could somehow display himself as remarkable then maybe he could be granted a personal reprieve. Each man, from Captain Tiberius down to the auxiliary Astartes who had barely known the legion before they had to leave it fought to prove himself.
Of no man was this more true than Cyprian, for he bore not only the weight of his own sin and the price he paid in exile, but also the exile he had inflicted on his brothers. He was always the first to volunteer to lead the most dangerous engagements or the ones with lowest odds and, with the bitter taste of exile still in their mouths, his brethren were content to let him smash himself against foes in order to redeem himself. Whilst this earned him no forgiveness from his brothers, it did slowly begin to earn him their respect. Slowly but surely he became more than just their hammer to break difficult enemies. He began to earn his place back as their brother.
It is a testament to the strength of character of the 17th Millenial that their bitter exile forged a curious unity when it initially threatened to breed discord and isolation. As the atonement of their sin became a collective identity for the Millenial as well as the individuals in it bred a culture of honest and frank criticism. Knowledge and techniques were freely shared and the leaders felt it was their duty to raise up perfect underlings so that they may return to their legion better, faster, stronger and more in the image their Father wished for them than they had left in. This culture of open criticism developed humility within the Millenial not seen since the early days of the legion. Instead of, as their brothers in the main Imperial space were, being bound by rigid command hierarchy the 17th afforded opportunities for those of the lower ranks to offer insights and critiques.
So did Four-Hundred-and-Three-Four and the last crystal city of the curious Hhujla, gaseous entities encased in malleable hyper-refractive crystal shells which they could turn into energy weapons, fall. The observations of Decurion Iapetus, a man of rank usually barred from command chains, lead the fleet to position themselves to block out the planet’s sun itself and, combined with Centurion Etiad’s limitation of energy weapons, and thereby deny the xenos of much of their offensive capabilities. Similarly the cockroach-like Vashtik were eliminated by the works of Vigilator Gaius, his recon squads and the brilliance of Apothecary Abdle which allowed the legion to hijack the pheromones which the xenos used to communicate to easily outmanoeuvre their attacks and strike with near impunity. Although the traditional command structure remained largely intact, this ability for individual brilliance in the pursuit of overall perfection allowed the 17th to flourish in its way. If its parent legion paid them any mind, they would have been impressed with their splinter’s track record. However, the bulk of the Emperor’s Children legion was involved in something altogether more cataclysmic.
Return to Isstvan
It wasn’t until the 17th Millenial had fought, bleed and died in the name of the Imperium on nearly a dozen worlds just past the edge of the Emperor’s light that their Legion finally spoke to them. For almost all within the Millenial, save those who had no recollection of being part of a larger body, this was a moment of unprecedented joy. However, the vagaries of Astropathy mean that messages do not always arrive as soon as they are meant to. When the 17th Millenial received the summons to Isstvan III, baring Fulgrim’s seal no less, the flames of betrayal were already cooling. By the time the fleet had resupplied and travelled to Isstvan III, the battle for Isstvan V had been and gone. The 17th Millenial emerged in the Isstvan system to find no sign of their parent Legion and oblivious to the civil war that was currently being waged. What they did find was a system that had been wracked by a bitter and savage war. The orbital scans of Isstvan III looked nothing like images of the planet from the fleet’s archives. Where great cities and verdant forests had once been, now there was naught but ruin and decay. No one had an answer for what happened here, but as Cyprian looked out over the scorched orb he felt the resonance of the pain and death. “What happened here?” Etiad wondered aloud. “Compliance?” Lyceus offered, but there was no confidence in the suggestion. Tiberius’s brow furrowed. He looked to Fleet Master Iapetus. “Where is the fleet?” Iapetus was frantically trying to assess the system and establish and communication with anyone. “There is no fleet.” Cyprian, almost overwhelmed by the psychic echo of Isstvan, said. “We are alone.”
It took several hours to confirm Cyprian’s words, but it seemed to be true. Isstvan III had been purged of all life, and broader analysis of the rest of the system showed a similar campaign had been prosecuted against the other planets. The 17th were not unaccustomed to seeing such devastation. Both the World Eaters and the Death Guard were capable of such a purging but even they were compelled to leave garrisons. But there was nothing and no one. No Martian terraformers , no Imperialis Militia raised and no governors assigned. Each scanning attempt and each communication sent into the void yielded nothing. The stark silence of the Isstvan system was shattered by a tear in reality as the 10th Millenial emerged for the Warp. Captain Tiberius immediately bid Lord Commander Cadmus welcome, such as it was. Cadmus recounted that he himself had been cast aside by Fulgrim. One of the many reasons was, following the 17th Millenial’s exile, Fulgrim had reorganised the Legion so that it contained a new 17th Millenial under the command of Captain Kalimos. For all intents and purposes the Millenial under the command of Tiberius had ceased to exist in a conceited attempt by Fulgrim to conceal any and all failures, perceived or real. Such a charade of perfection and an unwillingness to accept the fact that the Legion was not yet perfect but rather continually approaching it incensed Cadmus and he had quarrelled over Fulgrim’s treatment of some of his most loyal and veteran sons. Consequentially the mercurial Primarch had sent Cadmus away, presumably to ruminate on his own errors in judgement and reconsider his opinion. Cadmus, loyal to the ideals of the legion of old and his brothers from the original 200, had not changed his stance. He had assumed that the message to return, now combined with the presence of the 17th Millenial, indicated that Fulgrim had undergone a change of humours. If that were true though, neither Millenials could fathom why the fleet was suspiciously absent from the system.
Although none present could explain why, they all had the premonition that something terrible had occurred. Whilst Cadmus and Tiberius reacquainted with one another and recounted the tales of their victories in the separation, Cyprian withdrew to attempt to divine any information from the Immaterium. Isstvan as a system, and Isstvan III in particular, was heady with the remnants of death and betrayal and the veil between the Warp and reality was thin. The epicentre for this psychic wound, in Cyprian’s perception, was the Choral City. Reporting this to the Lord Commander and the Captain, the decision was made to go down to the planet’s surface to try and uncover the tale of the battle that had taken place here. Cadmus, Tiberius and Cyprian along with a strike force consisting of elements of both the 10th and 17th Millenials took a pair of Stormbirds into the eye of this emotional storm.
Records exist of those who returned to the Isstvan system in the wake of the Horus Heresy, but no account is consistent. Some speak of creatures of the warp trapped in mortal flesh rising up to fight the living. Others speak of the ruins of the city contorting into bizarre shapes and geometries, the unnatural contortions and diffractions driving mortals mad. Others still speak of temporal anomalies, of groups being separated by adjacent streets only to regroup with one aged unnaturally more than the other. In the wake of the Warmaster's betrayal, Isstvan had become a plaything for the capricious powers of the Warp. Fortunately, the Astartes constitution and Cyprian serving as an anchor kept most of the ill effects at bay. But not all. As the strike-force of the 10th and 17th Millenials made their way through the hallowed streets, phantoms of the honoured and damned rose again, enacting over and over again the betrayal in which they had fallen. Shadowed forms of the Warmaster's traitorous Astartes murdered their brethren and were struck down in kind, locked in a never-ending recital of their death-throes. As the leaders of the two Millenials made their way further into the city, the ghostly forms of their former brethren became more infrequent. The decreasing density of the spectres led them to a bunker complex. Here there were no phantoms, only the cold bodies of the quiet dead. From here, the strike force spread out, pulling data and vid-records from armour suits and the complex's arrays of monitoring systems and brought it back to Cadmus's flagship for appraisal.
After a week of both Millenial's techmarines working to extract all they could, a meeting of the Brotherhood of the Phoenix was called for the findings to be presented. The information painted a grim, if incomplete, picture. There had been a rebellion on Isstvan, a force of Emperor's Children, Sons of Horus, Death Guard and World Eaters had been sent to put it down. They had been attacked by their own brethren at some point and both Angron and Mortarion were recorded as being present. Although neither Horus nor Fulgrim were mentioned, the presence of Eidolon and Abbadon in various recorded communications as well as their notable absence left little room for doubt. Neither Primarch could possibly be ignorant of what had happened, and if they were not stopping the violence then they had to be condoning it. That only left the question of motive. Why had this been done? This was a matter of some debate. Perhaps Angron had finally lost his mind and began assaulting his children and nephews and Mortarion had come to bring him to heel. That did not answer many questions about the event, especially given that Mortarion was recorded to have attacked his own Death Guard. Angron losing his sanity was believable, but not Mortarion. Perhaps the initial rebellion had been psychic in nature and somehow the cohorts sent initially had come under the sway of the rebellious leader. This was slightly more plausible, but it begged the question as to why the only bodies were Astartes and not a mixture of Astartes and rebels. It also conflicted with some elements of the timeline they had been able to put together which suggested a chain of events initiated by the Primarchs, not the forces on the ground.
Finally, a veteran sergeant named Charosian aired the possibility that this had been a purge instigated at the behest of the Primarchs and, by extension, by the Warmaster. The planet was scoured clean of life and the findings of the few Apothecaries attached to the strike squad indicated the use of the Life Eater Virus. The initial wave had been bombed and then the survivors slaughtered. This was nothing less than rank betrayal. Several members of the assembled group decried Charosian, but the sergeant stood up to defend his position. His oratory began to sway several gathered members to his side and who pointed out the inconsistencies in the alternative positions. What purpose this purge served, he could no answer. Nor could he explain what would drive their Father and Uncles to massacre their brethren. But, lacking any alternative, that was the consensus of the group. For reasons unknown, they brethren had been betrayed, and Horus and Fulgrim were to blame. There were only two reasons the Millenials had been summoned. Either they were supposed to have taken part in the purges, or they should have been purged themselves. Which was true was irrelevant. All that mattered was that the purposes of the 10th and 17th Millenial were no longer aligned with their Father or their Warmaster. They were in rebellion.
Such a betrayal could not go unanswered. Cadmus himself swore he would bring Fulgrim to account for his actions. Tiberius agreed that the honour was Cadmus's, but suggested that they not fight together. Such a large force would be too easily brought into open conflict and crushed by a numerically superior foe. As in the days when the Legion was on the brink of extinction, they should fight separately to harass their traitorous brethren and deny materials to the Warmaster's forces. They should set off for deeper Imperial space, warn the wider Imperium of what had happened and urge them to join in rebellion against Horus and Fulgrim to bring them to account. They could not have known at this point that the Imperium already knew and was already fighting the forces of the Warmaster. All they knew was that Horus and Fulgrim were traitors and they still stood with the Imperium as they always had. With their resolve steeled and their mission, vague as it was, now decided the two Millenial's left the Isstvan system. They would not meet again until they were once again bought together by a confluence of fates in the Sol System itself.
Notable Actions in the Age of Darkness
Over the 10 years of the Horus Heresy, the 17th Millenial had continually harried the Traitors from within their own lines. Some on the loyalist side recognized them as the allies they were. Others refused to see past the imperial purple and golden aquilla they still bore proudly and tried to exact vengeance on them for the actions of their erstwhile brethren. Many of the Warmaster's forces for the longest time believed the 17th Millenial to be allied with the Primarch's will, due in large part to Fulgrim's previous decision to create a second 17th Millenial under the command of Captain Kalimos in the wake of Tiberius and his Millenial's exile. For every report the Warmaster's forces received of a force identified as the '17th Millenial' aiding them, they received another of a separate force also identified as the '17th Millenial' viciously attacking traitor forces. Had the 17th Millenial belonged to a more reliable legion, such as the Iron Warriors, Word Bearers or Sons of Horus, such a contradictory pair of reports might have been investigated. As it was, it is surmised that the traitors simply assumed this was symptomatic of the growing instability of the Emperor's Children and the death of Captain Kalimos on Iydris. As such, although Tiberius' 17th Millenial was never trusted by the traitor forces, many times they were not immediately fired on, giving them the initiative. Recorded here are the notable battles and campaigns Tiberius' 17th Millenial can be reliably tied to:
The Battle of Terra
"Where are their gods, the rock in which they sought refuge?
Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offering?
Let them rise up and help you, let them be your hiding place!...
I sharpen my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on justice.
I will render vengeance on His adversaries, and I will repay those who hate Him.
I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword will devour flesh, with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the long-haired leaders of the enemy..."
- The Apocrypha Terra
The general progression of the 17th Millenial can be traced as a galactic anti-clockwise spiral towards Terra, for surely their place was defending the Emperor. Evidently the 10th Millenial felt the same and once again the fates (or perhaps some greater force altogether) conspired to bring Lord Commander Cadmus and Captain Tiberius together. Their fleets converged to crush a straggling Word Bearers fleet in high orbit above the listening station Prophet Delta. The listening station, overrun as it was with traitor auxilia and Astartes conducting blasphemous rituals, was condemned to a fiery death to deny it's resources to the Warmaster's forces. When they had parted above the scorched earth of Isstvan III, the 17th Millenial had numbered approximately 2500 legionaries and the 10th Millenial had numbered approximately 4000 legionaries. In the closing months of the Heresy, at the edge of the Sol System, the 17th Millenial could muster a little over 1000 legionaries and the 10th Millenial had just about double that. In their travels both had picked up small contingents of Mechanicum and human auxiliaries as well as a few squads from other legions, those from legions considered Orphans of Betrayal like them and legions publicly recognized as loyal to Terra, and a single Knight Errant, The Arbiter. It was this force, collectively called the 10-17th battle group, that charged headless of the fate into the maelstrom of the final battle of the Heresy.
In the Sol System, their forces divided. The Arbiter spirited the elements of the widely acknowledged loyalist legions, along with select individuals of both Millenials, back to Terra utilizing the same mysterious collection of technology and resources by which he had appeared. From there combined battle group under the overall command of Lord Commander Cadmus, with Captain Tiberius as second in command, conducted many boarding actions against the traitor fleet, notably not against the vessels of the IIIrd legion. It is surmised that the boarding parties used in such engagements consisted primarily of those orphaned by their parent legions and these battles were an attempt to allow these elements a chance at retribution, or perhaps to procure information for the 10-17th's upcoming war. Some engagements ended with the destruction of the vessel boarded, either from fire from other ships or from internal damage and presumably when the taking of such vessels proved too costly or impossible. Others ended with the vessels parting ways without further hostilities, the boarding actions presumably successful and these loyal elements of other traitor legions free to die in a manner they felt most fitting. Whatever the case may be, after a handful of such engagements the 10-17th battle group began the battles for which they would later be known, whatever purpose such actions served apparently completed.
Given the history of the two commanders of the 10-17th battle group as part of the old 200, and the history of the IIIrd legion in general, one might have expected the 10-17th battle group to proceed straight to Terra. Perhaps, had Cadmus and Tiberius been more headstrong and fool-hardy, this would have been the case. However the traitor forces on Terra had a firm blockade around the Throneworld that the 10-17th battle group could not hope to breach without significant losses, perhaps even total annihilation. Furthermore, even if they had breached the traitor blockade, it seems unlikely at best and impossible at worst that the defending forces of the Imperial Palace would have heard any petitions or promises of fidelity from warrior so clearly of the IIIrd legion, a legion reviled as prime instigators of this madness. Faced with fire from both the traitor and loyalist sides, attempting to breach Terra would likely have neither redeemed the warriors of the 10-17th battle group nor would it have helped the Emperor's forces. Prior to the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, the warriors of the Emperor's Children were famed for knowing exactly where they fit within a chain of command. Here Lord Commander Cadmus and Captain Tiberius displayed that this discipline was not yet dead in the loyal warriors of the IIIrd legion. They understood their place as an effective guerrilla force, uniquely capable of disrupting the traitor supply lines. As such their target was different to the one many might have expected but no less formidable; Mars itself.
Much of the traitor fleet was concentrated above Terra, but the protracted siege of the Imperial Palace required constant fuel which only Mars could provide. The loyalist blockade was a ragged remnant of what it had once been and breakthroughs of traitor arms were frequent. Having just run the gauntlet of the loyalist guns, the Dark Mechanicum anticipated being welcomed into the traitor fold. So, when greeted by the resplendent vessels in IIIrd legion's colours, they didn't expect them to open fire. And so many a Mechanicum vessel was destroyed or its resources denied to the traitors. Occasionally Mechanicum vessels, laden with much needed resources, would be scuttled back to the loyalist blockade. Partly these served to provide relief to the ragged forces, but the pic-capture reels and servo-memoirs also served as a poignant message; "You still have allies."
The 10-17th battle groups's actions in the void between Mars and Terra were only part of their actions. Several of the stolen Mechanicum vessels were sent back through the blockade to the surface of Mars itself. Some were used as little more than great ballistic missiles, aimed a sowing destruction among the traitor forges. Others were used a trojan horses. The docking of Theta-Gamma-94 with one of Mars' remaining orbital docks is a particularly well authenticated, as well as devastating, action conducted by they 10-17th battle group. Over 200 Astartes spilled from the Mechanicum ship Inviolate Sentience and collapsed the orbital tether, allowing the dock and several ships tethered to it for repairs to fall into the Red Sands and crush several small outlying forges and orbital defense points not adequately void shielded. It also weakened the immensely powerful void shields of the traitor forge. But this was only the initial blow. Descending into dangerously low orbit, Lord Commander Cadmus' flagship Purity of Purpose used it's macro-cannons and powerful lances to burst the overtaxed void shields. However Purity of Purpose had been badly mauled in the taking of Theta-Gamma-94 and its weapons batteries only had enough integrity left in them to fire the preceding volley. So, Cadmus orchestrated the fall of Purity of Purpose through the Red Planets atmosphere to collide with the traitor forge. Had such a descent been attempted before the void shields were down or without the destruction wrought by the falling orbital dock, Purity of Purpose would have been carved apart utterly and her loss would have been in vain. As it was, the impact destroyed the outer layers of the ship, but left the center largely intact whilst reaping massive casualties on the Dark Mechanicum forces. From the center of Purity of Purpose, Lord Commander Cadmus led a sizable portion of the 10-17th battle group to purge the ruined Mechanicum forge, which from then on would serve as Cadmus's base of operations on the surface whilst Tiberius continued to conduct the void battles.
Another example of the 10-17th battle group's most effective attacks is the return of the Imperator titan Gaia from the battlefields of Terra. Records clearly show that a Mechanicum titan ark collected the damaged God-machine from Terra and returned it to Mars for refitting. However en route the 10-17th battle group evidently intercepted the Mechanicum ark and, likely at great cost, commandeered it. When it arrived at Olympus Mons for refitting, a fighting force of legionaries fought their way clear of the Titan and disappeared into the depths of the great forge. When the tech adepts entered the Imperator titan itself, they found yet more warriors of the 10th and 17th Millenials waiting for them and made them pay in blood to retake every inch of their own God-engine. Most heavily defended were the engine-cores and the princepts chamber and as the tech-priests began to fight their way through the titan it became clear why. The titan was woefully unstable and deliberately being rigged to undergo a cataclysmic meltdown. For every second the loyalists could delay them, the titan came a second closer to detonating. In the end it is said that the Dark Mechanicum forces never made it to the princepts chamber or the engine cores, but even if they did they did not do so in time to prevent the titan exploding in a catastrophic nuclear explosion which critically damaged certain areas of the forge itself as well as destroying half a dozen lesser titans which were unfortunate enough to share its loading bay. Furthermore, the initial breakout force which disappeared into the forges would take considerable time and resources to hunt down and all the while they would continue to sabotage the forge where they could from within. So tenacious was this force of saboteurs that loyalist forces reclaiming Mars after the Battle of Terra was over would occasionally find lone survivors, still plotting ways to disrupt the forge and oblivious that the war on Terra was over.
Several records exist of daring and punishing actions such as these, although these are among the most effective gambits, in which the 10-17th battle group would damage one of if not the most critical of the traitor's supply points. It was these actions that earned them the moniker The Scorpions of the Red Sands, a cognomen we find both in loyalist and traitor communique. In retrospect their actions can be directly attributed to lengthening the Siege of Terra to the full 60 days it would last. In light of the prevailing wisdom that believes Horus allowed the Emperor to board the Vengeful Spirit because he was running out of time before the remaining loyalist legions appeared, these actions can be indirectly credited with helping to provide a victorious outcome for the Emperor's forces. Their deeds may never have reached the lofty heights of those performed at the walls of the Imperial Palace, but they were none the less influential.
The actions of the 10th and 17th Millenials had cost them dearly and now the number of Astartes the two could field combined was less than 500, even once Captain Tiberius had retrieved Lord Commander Cadmus and the survivors of those he had taken to the surface of Mars. Perhaps one of the most bitter notes for these combatants is that, once the Siege of Terra ended, they had to endure The Scouring. The loyalist forces around Mars had come to regard the 10-17th battle group as wary allies as much as the traitors had come to loath them, but the forces fresh from Terra saw them as nothing but traitors, fit only to be put to the sword like the rest. Despite protests from the office of the late Sigilite and several loyalist fleet captains, the 10-17th battle group was relentlessly harried and driven out of the Sol System. It is a testament to the resolve of their leaders and their loyalty that the 10-17th battle group simply fled with all haste rather than stand and fight. Unfortunately the nature of the the loyalist retribution meant that, should they be boarded they were forced to defend themselves or be killed, but by all accounts the 10-17th battle group chose to run whenever possible and return fire only if strictly necessary. Even then they shot to cripple, not to kill.
However, they still had to flee but here again Fulgrim's unwitting actions led to a favourable outcome for the outcast loyalists. Since the main Emperor's Children fleet had never acknowledged the 17th Millenial's conquests in the Veiled Region, when the 10-17th battle group fled to the galactic south and into the Veiled Region, the wider Imperium assumed they had fled into uncharted space and to certain death. In reality, the 10-17th battle group had fallen back to their established conquests, vibrant and flourishing worlds that had largely weathered the Horus Heresy undisturbed. Here they found a measure of sanctuary and could rebuild their forces. It wasn't until some time later in the, when the fires of vengeance had cooled and the actions of the forces of Lord Commander Cadmus and Captain Tiberius came to light that the Imperium would re-establish contact with them, albeit at the behest of some of the Imperium's more secretive branches of governance. They would be reintroduced into the imperial fold, carrying a different but familiar name and their origins shrouded in mystery, but ever the loyal servants of the Emperor.
Forces of the 17th Millenial
Captain Tiberius Loculus - Commander of the 17th Millenial, The Killing Cut
Centurion Etiad - Tiberius's Delegatus, The Old Blood
Centurion Sebastian - The Mauled Fist
Centurion Acthelion - The Headhunter
Librarian Cyprian Novus - Former Captain of the 17th Millenial, Sole Librarian of the IIIrd Legion
Primus Medicae Coeus - Lord of the Apothecarion
Chaplain Orsai - Fell-hand of the 17th
Fleet Master Iapetus - Commander of the 17th Millenial's fleet, Master of Signals
Champion Lyceus - Wielder of Lucid Blade
Legion Tactical Squad led by Sergeant Darius, The Indomitable
Legion Tactical Squad led by Sergeant Oberon, The Rising Stars
Legion Assault Squad led by Sergeant Raths, The Bloodied
Legion Tactical Support Squad led by Sergeant Theon, The God-killers
Legion Tactical Support Squad led by Sergeant Mellin, Mechanica Mortum
The Apothecarion of the 17th Millenial, consisting of Apothecaries Lepedius, Michael and Abdle
Contemptor Dreadnought Ancient Thordorian - Keeper of the Annuls
Contemptor-Mortis Dreadnought Ancient Kiron - The First Watcher
Palatine Blade dueling cadre led by Prefector Jonathan
Legion Veteran Tactical Squad led by Sergeant Charosion, The Marksmen
Legion Terminator Squad led by Sergeant Quin, Death Walkers
Legion Outrider Squad led by Sergeant Darosin, The Fire-jackals
Anvillus Pattern Drop Pod, The Aquilla's Talons
Primaris-Lightning Strike Fighter, Bhagavad Gita
Legion Heavy Support Squad led by Sergeant Asceton, The Sun Killers
Legion Heavy Support Squad led by Sergeant Grythan, The Eradicators
Whirlwind Scorpius, Perfection's Cry
Vindicator Sabre, Shade of Virtue
Sicaran Battle Tank, Sword of Damocles
Agents of the Emperor
Knight Errant, The Arbiter
Combat Reports for L-III-0620
Imperial Search....No Result
|Battle Name||Date||Planet||Battle Outcome||Battle Summary|
|Massacre on the Aushabti Plains||044.008.M31||Kaska'Irilis||Loyalist||
Prelude to war
Captain Tiberius stood surveying the relatively open plains. A distress beacon belonging to the White Scars had been traced to this area, but they were nowhere to be seen and ..→