Crimson Fists Space Marine Chapter

A Second Founding successor of the Imperial Fists, the Crimson Fists have maintained the proud traditions of their Progenitor Legion for ten millennia, battling the multitudinous enemies of the Imperium with a stoic ferocity for which they have become renowned. Though recently decimated by the Waaagh! of the infamous Ork Warlord Snagrod, the Arch-Arsonist of Charadon. the noble battle-brothers fight on through their chapter's darkest epoch, drawing on their proud spirit and 10,000 years of faithful service to the God-Emperor of Mankind.

Origins

"Nothing ever assured me more that the Emperor truly watches over us than when I saw our Chapter Master return to us from death."

Sergeant Huron Grimm at the Siege of New Rynn City

The origins of the Crimson Fists lie at the end of the Horus Heresy. In the wake of the cataclysmic civil war that saw the arch-traitor Horus bring the Imperium to the very brink of ruin, those Space Marine Legions still loyal to the Emperor embarked upon a massive program of reorganisation and rebuilding. Roboute Guilliman. the Primarch of the Ultramarines Legion, presented his Codex Astartes - a tome of epic proportions that set out the future of the Legionnes Astartes as smaller units called Chapters, each formed from a parent Legion. A number of the Primarchs, including the Imperial Fists' Rogal Dorn, vehemently opposed Guilliman`s plan, hailing it as detrimental to the security of the Imperium, and a grievous insult to the honour of his legion.

The matter came to a head when the Imperial Fists' strike cruiser Terrible Angel was fired upon by the Imperial Navy. To his eternal credit, Rogal Dorn relented rather than plunge the Imperium into another bitter, internecine war. As did his brother Primarchs, he divided his legion into three chapters: the die-hard followers of the Primarch retaining the livery and title of the Imperial Fists, the more zealous brethren becoming the Black Templars, and the more recently initiated and level-headed members, the Crimson Fists.

The newly-formed chapters were apportioned a battle barge, a number of strike cruisers and several rapid strike vessels from the Imperial Fists' extensive Meet, and struck out to forge a destiny all their own. Over the next ten millennia, the Crimson Fists would carve their name in the annals of the Imperium, proudly maintaining the legacy of Rogai Dorn and the Imperial Fists.

Taking pride of place within the Assimularum of the chapter's space-faring fortress-monastery, is a majestic hololith carving depicting the chapter's first Master, Alexis Polux. In this masterpiece. Polux is portrayed during the newly-formed chapter's first action, the Scourging of Uralek Prime, in which the Crimson Fists fought and defeated a large force of Exodite Eldar who were attempting to eradicate the small Imperial colony recently founded upon that world. Polux was a giant of a man, whose physical strength belied a cold, rational and supremely logical mind. His character did as much to mould the future of the new chapter as the legacy of its Primarch Rogal Dorn, and his masterful and stoic defence of the colony serves to this day as a tangible example to new initiates of the chapter.

Polux fell eight centuries after the founding of the Crimson Fists, during the battle for an unnamed system, codified as HR8518. The system was occupied by a previously unknown alien race, who came to be referred to as the Scythians. These deviant xenos warrior monks made war using terrible venom-based weapons, and it was such a poisoned projectile that struck the Chapter Master in the temple and brought about his death. It is said he fought the deadly poison for many days before his superhuman physiology was finally overcome, though before he Scythians from HR8518 to his warriors. After his death, his forces enactec his plan, and the aliens were repulsed from the system after a short but extremely bloody campaign of xenocide from which the Scythians learned the true power of the Imperium. The xenos have since rarely engaged Imperial forces in open battle preferring instead to mount stealthy raids and assassinations where their deviant, underhanded and dishonourable ways can prevail.

Home World

For nine thousand years, the Crimson Fists were a space-borne chapter, plying the space lanes of the Imperium aboard a fleet led by the gargantuan fortress-monastery Rutilus Tyrannus. They were a crusading chapter, in the same manner as the Imperial Fists and the Black Templars, though they maintained close ties with the Loki sector in Segmentum Tempestus, which is home to a number of feral worlds from which the chapter draws new recruits. Segmentum Tempestus is infested by many Ork empires, and the chapter soon became expert in fighting these barbaric aliens.

It was after the glorious conclusion of the Voltigern Crusade in 745.M40 that the Crimson Fists were granted fiefdom over Rynn's World in the Loki sector. The sector had been threatened by a number of nascent Ork empires, and the Crimson Fists were able to attack each one in turn before any individual warlord could amass the strength to start a Waaargh! In the aftermath of the crusade, these empires collapsed as warlord turned upon warlord, their ambitions stymied by their inability to present a unified threat to the Imperium. It was more than a thousand years before another Ork empire would threaten the Loki sector, in the form of the disastrous Waaagh! Snagrod.

Prior to Waaagh! Snagrod, Rynn's World was a pleasant agri-world, providing exotic foodstuffs to the Imperial nobility across the entire sector and beyond. The Crimson Fists built their fortress-monastery in the inhospitable Hellblade Mountains, and though they retained feudal rights to the world, they allowed the hereditary governorship to remain in the hands of the local nobility. This very much follows Rogal Dorn's approach to worlds from which the Imperial Fists would recruit, allowing the chapter to concentrate on their own duties while the administration of their world is handled by those most qualified to do so.

Rynn's World's proximity to the chapter's primary source of recruitment, the feral world of Blackwater, made it an ideal homeworld. This allowed Crimson Fists apothecaries and Chaplains to attend the annual 'Festival of the Bloodied Fist', during which the most promising ot the feral worlds' young men would vie for the opportunity to join the mighty warriors from the stars. During the festival, the aspirants must undertake feats of great strength and courage, culminating with the Rite of the Dragon, in which the would-be Space Marine must track and kill one the ferocious swamp-dwelling Barb Dragons, killing it with only his bare hands in order to earn the right to become an aspirant. Each year, only a handful of young men get as far as this rite, and only one or two of these are likely to survive it, ensuring only the aspirants are accepted into the chapter.

With the destruction wrought by Snagrod, Rynn's World has much rebuilding to undertake. The Siege of New Rynn City was a protracted conflict that saw the city, and vast swathes of surrounding land, reduced to a barren, war torn wasteland. Now the conflict has been won, the surviving Crimson Fists are looking to their chapter's future, and the building of a new fortress-monastery.

Combat doctrine

When the Imperial Fists Legion was divided into individual chapters, those brethren of a more moderate nature became the Crimson Fists - where many of their former brethren in the legion railed against the changes wrought by the implementation of the Codex Astartes, the Crimson Fists embraced them. As a result, the chapter has maintained the combat doctrine set down by Guilliman, training in all the aspects of war the Astartes may expect to undertake.

Throughout the chapter's long and glorious history, it has become noted for its expertise in fighting the many alien monstrosities that assail the Impenum of Man, in particular the Orks. While the Crimson Fists have never neglected training to fight any and all foes, it is true that they have proved a valuable asset to the Ordo Xenos, contributing many battle-brothers to secondment in the Kill-teams of the Deathwatch.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Rynn's. World, the chapter has found itself severely depleted and unable to fight in the manner proscribed by the Codex Astartes. Throughout the war, Chapier Master Kantor was forced to field his squads as infiltrators and guerrilla troops, attacking specific, high-value targets rather than spearheading massive assaults, as would most other chapters in such a conflict. With the resolution of the war, one of Kantor's primary aims has become the rebuilding of his chapter into a viable fighting force once more.

CHAPTER MASTER KANTOR

Pedro Kantor has served as the master of the Crimson Fists for almost a century, and his record of service goes back another 250 years before he assumed that position. He first rose to prominence at the Battle of Melchitt Sound, where, as a sergeant, he led his squad in a boarding action against the Ork kill kroozer, the Growler. The kroozer was disabled by the attack, allowing the Crimson Fists' strike cruiser, the Crusader, to break the Ork battle line, scattering the alien fleet and winning the battle for the Imperium.

Captain Cortez, serving as the Captain of the part in such celebrated victories as the Battle of Steel Cross, the Defence of Fortress Maladon and the Kardian Campaign. The two warriors rose through the ranks together, fighting side by side as brothers, Cortez' stubborn nature tempered by his friend's even-minded calm. Kantor reportedly grieved deeply when his compatriot disappeared fighting Eldar pirates in the Wheel of Fire, though Kantor, like many of those who knew the Captain of the 4th Company harbours the belief that the notoriously invulnerable Captain lives on yet.

Faced with the destruction of the vast majority of his chapter at Rynn's World, Kantor was faced with a choice few Chapter Masters have ever had to make. He could lead the remnants of his decimated force in a vainglorious last enemy as possible before succumbing to their overwhelming numbers, or, as he chose, he could marshal his resources and deploy his remaining force in missions that favoured small, elite units, looking to the eventual rebuilding of the chapter. It has been noted would have chosen the former option, ensuring their chapter a place in legend rather than accept their virtual defeat. It is to Kantor's eternal credit, and is a mark of a leader of superior character that he made the choice he did, for the Imperium can ill afford the loss of such a chapter as the Crimson Fists.

Organisation

As has been noted, the Crimson Fists have, since their founding ten millennia ago, adhered rigidly to the precepts of the Codex Aslartes. Following the Battle of Rynn's World, the chapter is committing all available resources into rebuilding this organisation.

True to their origins as a space-borne, crusading chapter, the Crimson Fists have traditionally maintained a large fleet of battle barges, strike cruisers and rapid strike vessels. Though the Battle of Rynn's World saw these assets depleted enormously as Ork kroozers rampaged throughout the system, those vessels that survived the initial losses of the war proved invaluable in stalling the Ork invasion until the Imperial Navy could muster a response, reinforcing the Navy once they were in system, and in moving Kantor's small force around the warzones to make best use of its skills. Following the losses of the Rynn's World campaign, the chapter finds itself in the unusual position of having more specialists than battle-brothers. The chapter's fleet vessels are commanded by Techmarines under the Master of the Fleet, and a number of Apothecaries are also stationed aboard these ships. The presence of these experienced brothers is vital to the rebuilding of Ihe chapter, for without the Techmarines' intricate knowledge of the workings of the Machine God. the Crimson Fists could not remain a viable fighting torce, and without the Apothecaries' knowledge of the complex process of creating new warrior brethren, the chapter would dwindle and disappear within a short span of years.

With the completion of the Rynn's World campaign, the Apothecaries have begun the long process of inducting new brethren. The process cannot be rushed however, for the Crimson Fists have a long and noble tradition to maintain, and to compromise on the quality and suitability of aspirants at such a critical juncture in the chapter's history could one day spell its doom.

A number of Scout squads have been accepted into the ranks ol the newly reformed 10th Company, and these individuals are forging the future of the Crimson Fists with every battle they fight They have already distinguished themselves m early actions against the Ork invaders, and are developing an abhorrence for the barbaric race beyond even that of a veteran of many xenos wars.

Beliefs

The final destination on my pilgrimage to Rynn's World was my visit to the Jadeberry Hill Necropolis. Upon that blasted knoll is headstones, each one a memorial to a fallen battle-brother of the Crimson Fists. Each stone is engraved with the battle honours of a hero whose mortal remains will never be recovered, his body blasted to atoms by the fell hand of fate. I lingered at that bleak place for a day and a night, meditating upon the seeming futility of my own existence. Come the morn, I was struck by a revelation. Had not the Crimson Fists resolved to prevail in the face of utter defeat? If so, then I would strive to emulate their example. I am but a man, but I shall crane my neck to look upon the faces of giants.

Preface to chapter V. 'In the Footsteps of the
Angels of Death', by Herak Sactorii

The Crimson Fists venerate the Emperor as the gene-father of the Adeptus Astartes, and Rogal Dorn as the Primarch of the Imperial Fists Legion. They maintain a strict calendar of holy days, one of the most sacred being the Day of Foundation, during which the entire chapter gathers to celebrate its creation. During the ceremony, extracts 1rom the works ol Alexis Polux are recited, as well as the words of Dorn himself. The chapter's greatest victories are remembered, and its boldest sacrifices commemorated. In this way, the lessons of the chapter's history are passed down through the ages. ensuring Ihe brethren learn from the actions of their ancestors. This sort of critical introspection is encouraged by the Codex Astartes. but actually practiced by very few Space Marine Chapters, whose pride will often preclude any admission that they have anything to learn from past mistakes, or indeed that their predecessors erred in any way.

In line with their ancestry, the Crimson Fists have been observed on occasion to follow the Imperial Fists` tradition ot fielding a Champion of the Emperor. The chapter fields the Emperor's Champion far less frequently than other Imperial Fists successors such as the Black Templars, but there have been a number of recorded instances when a battle-brother has been overcome with visions of the Emperor on the eve on battle, and taken up the Black Sword and donned the Armour of Faith to lead his brethren into righteous battle against the Emperor's foes. No instance of an Emperor's Champion being fielded has been recorded since the destruction of the Crimson Fists' fortress-monastery on Rynn's World, and it is entirely likely that the ancient and sacred vestments of the office were lost forever in the destruction.

Gene-seed

The Crimson Fists draw their recruits from a number of feral worlds in the Loki sector, most notably the world of Blackwater. The natives of this world are renowned for their ferocity and courage, but are far from barbarous primitives. They are a noble people, whose lives are a daily struggle against adversity, and it is this stoic nature that makes them such ideal material for the Crimson Fists.

Being a successor chapter of the Imperial Fists Legion, the Crimson Fists share their genetic legacy with them, inheriting many of the characteristics of their Primarch, Rogal Dorn. The chapter's gene-seed is highly stable, though the Imperial Fists', and therefore, the Crimson Fists', genome is lacking the Betcher's gland that allows a Space Marine to spit acid, and the Sus-an membrane that allows him to enter a life-sustaining state of deep sleep.

The Imperial Fists are known to suffer from a deep-seated drive towards self-sacrifice and penance. They strive to master the self-inflicted punishment of the pain glove, and are notorious tor their dogged pursuit of victory, even in the (ace of overwhelming odds. Perhaps because their initial membership was drawn from the less extreme members of the Imperial Fists Legion, the Crimson Fists do not suffer from this headstrong impulse to anywhere near the degree of their progenitors. They are certainly every bit as noble, relentless and dedicated, but have clearly conquered any urge they may have to prove their devotion in the fires of self-imposed penance.

The chapter only narrowly escaped extinction during the destruction of its fortress-monastery. According to the genator-adepts of the Adeptus Mechanicus, a chapter reduced to less than a company of brethren has only a 20-25% chance of survival, for the failure rate of the progenoid gland will often preclude the successful harvesting of new gene-seed, resulting in an inability to induct new brethren. It was only the chapter's superior gene-seed that saved it from extinction, for the Crimson Fists have been reduced to less than a company of brethren, yet seem more than capable of rebuilding their numbers - however it will take many decades before those numbers are at anything approaching full strength.

Battlecry

Chaplain - "There is only the Emperor", brethren - "He is our shield and our protector".

THE RYNN'S WORLD INCIDENT

In mid 989.M41, the Ork warlord Snagrod the Arch-Arsonist of Clurdon united the warring fictions border ing the Loki sector, and launched Ihc largest Waaagh! the Peryton 163 Cluster had seen in almost a millennium isolated Imperial colony of Badlanding.

The defenders of Bidlinding were utterly unprepared for the invasion, and within days the only major strongpoint of resistance was, the town of Krugerport, where the remnants of the Mordian 18th, 24th Lammas and 49th Boros regiments put up a bold, but ultimately doomed, defence.

Confident that he had the world in his grasp, Snagrod put out incessant, ranting broadcasts, boasting that his next conquest would be Rynn's World, which lay only a few weeks warp travel from Bidlinding. Chapter Master Kantor responded immediately, despatching the 4th Company under Captain Drakken to Badlanding to stall the Ork Waaagh! and determine its strength.

The battle of Krugerport was a tragic defeat for the Crimson Fists who found Waaagh! Snagrod to be far larger and more aggressive than any could have predicted. Only a handful of Space Marines survived the battle, though those that escaped were able to bring invaluable intelligence back to Rynn`s World. Kantor ordered the immediate recall of those companies fighting away from Rynn's World, mobilised the Planetary Defence Force, and prepared for the inenvitable invasion.

When the Waaagh! hit Rynn's World, it was with a force unparalleled by any other Ork invasion since those of Armageddon. As Ork drop ships and roks fell through the night sky. Kantor and his Command squad, along with a bodyguard of ten battle-brothers, were inspecting the outer defences of the Crimson fortress-monistery. Seeing the invasion upon them, the small force prepared to return to their base, when the horizon was the incadescent white. Night turned to day, and an instant later a blast wave struck the Marines, barrelling them to the ground. For long minutes the very air burned and howled like the gates to hell itself had been flung wide, before subsiding and leaving the night lit red by a distant conflagration.

The Crimson Fists' fortress-monastery had been destroyed. By infernal chance, a single warhead, launched from the Laculum battery, had faltered on its trajectory, falling from the edge of the stratosphere back towards the ground. One single missile should have proved insignificant to the mighty adamantium walls of the fortress -monastery, but this was not the case. The missile struck an unknown weak point, penetrating deep into the rock upon which the fortress stood.

Its fuse set to burrow through the metres thick armoured hide of a starship before striking the chapter's arsenal. The resulting protecting ordnance capable of crippling a capital vessel, ripping the heart out of the mountain on which the fortress stood. The arsenal, the fortress-monastery of the Crimson Fists, the mountain, and an area half a mile wide were atomised in a heartbeat.

Kantor witnessed the destruction of his chapter from afar, but set aside his grief to consolidate what little power he still commanded. Going to ground, Kantor resolved to make for New Rynn City, where a small contingent of Crimson Fists stood beside the local militia. The trek to the city took ten days, and lying low during the day to avoid the increasingly rapacious Ork hunter-killer-eater patrols. They marched throughout the night, never stopping for food or rest. On several occasions they ran into Ork invaders and were forced to fight their way through, but on the tenth day they reached New Rynn City, to find it under siege by a massive force of the barbaric invaders.

Skirting the edge of the enemy, Kantor led his men towards the only intact access to the city, an underzoom that crossed under the river Pakomac to the island on which the city stood. The gates of the underzoom were barricaded, and Kantor's force reached them scant moments before the invaders launched a near suicidal frontal assault upon them. To Kantor's great joy though, Crimson Fists manned the gates. Together, the two forces fought for hours to repel the endless tide of Orks that smashed into the barricades.

The Siege of New Rynn City was to grind on for eighteen months, but under the inspired leadership of Pedro Kantor, the Imperium won out against near impossible odds. The wider war would like many years to win, and many of the worlds of the Loki sector captured by Waaagh! Snagrod, including Badlanding, are lost, remaining in Ork hands to this day.